Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cinco de Mayo Prep

I will still be juicin' on one of my favorite days of the year, Cinco de Mayo.  5/5. So harmonious.

Obviously I could choose to end my cleanse pre-CdM, but that would open myself up to the temptations of beef, pork, cheese, and copious amounts of tortillas (in various forms).  Knowing the importance of the post-cleasne transition back to real food, I know this is not a good idea.

I have decided to celebrate my own Cinco de Mayo on May 25th.  I chose the 25th because 5 x 5 = 25.  I invite everyone to celebrate with me.



But with the true Holiday just a few days away, people are getting excited and the recipes are flowing over the interwebs.

Today, Refinery 29 featured Elizabeth Bank's Cowboy Caviar Dip.  Upon inital review of the ingredients and the recipe, it seems like a fancy guacamole.  I'm inspired.


Cowboy Caviar Dip
15 oz black-eyed peas
11 oz shoe peg corn
2 chopped avocados
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
2/3 cup chopped green onion

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp salt 

Make the dressing separately, and then mix in when serving.

I took the tomato out of this recipe because I'm not a huge fan of tomatoes in guacamole, but if you want to add in some seeded/chopped tomatoes, GO WILD!

My Google images search shows me that Cowboy Caviar looks delicious) and probably does need the tomatoes.  It's more of an avocado-y Pico de Gallo than a guacamole.  Unless, of course, you decide to mash up those avocados!

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! And a big thank you to Refinery 29!  Om nom nom.

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Case of the Mondays.

Today is Monday.  Today was a bizarre-o day.

I can't quite put my finger on what it was, but today was not normal.

Some good things about today:
-I took my first Flybarre class at Flywheel.  Boy, was that hard! I was a sweaty mess afterwards and am a bit nervous I will be immobile and sore tomorrow.
-I tried the Juice Press Rainforest smoothie (sans agave).  Yummy.  A little sweeter than I expected/wanted.
-I began making my NYC Restaurant Bucket List.  It is super duper long.  Post-cleanse do I start eating out or cooking for myself?   I want to do both!


So why was today non-normal?  Dunno.
I wasn't getting into the groove with my juices.  Maybe it was because I started the day off so sweet, or maybe because I bought such a random hodge-podge of juices, not really considering a daily "menu".  I also wanted to bring my computer to work for a specific project and I didn't.

Juice! And subway feet.

Overwhelming things:
Too many people in New York.  I bumped into and got bumped by many today.
Too many restaurants I want to try.  See above re: bucket list.
Too many aspirations and adventures to strive for/embark upon.  Eat at restaurant vs. cook vs. order in vs. juice.

Too many juices? Never.

But, it is OK to say no.  I give myself (and anyone else) permission.

As my friend said to me today, "just because we live in New York City doesn't mean it needs to be any different than another place.  If I was in Ohio there would still be stuff going on every night.  Maybe not as much of it.  But it's OK to have a lazy night..."

Preach.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday + Cleansing

Today is Day 7 of my cleanse.

It is also a beautiful Sunday in NYC and I got up early to seize the day!  Carpe Diem!


I walked from my apartment North West through SoHo and the West Village.  I passed plenty of shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and shoe repairs.  Some were familiar, others not as much.

If I were not cleansing I would have likely stopped in 2 or 3 of these locales for a cup of tea or coffee, maybe a gluten-free treat, or just to browse.

Today, I didn't.

I do not feel deprived from taste or nutrition with my cleanse, but perhaps a bit deprived in experience.  So much of my life is about trying new foods in new places so now I must focus on just trying new things....new activities, new adventures.  Changing my mindest and adapting is a great exercise.

So now, I sit in a Le Pain Quotidien, sipping on a mint tea infusion and I write to you, my elusive reader.  I hope you have a beautiful Sunday filled with experience, adventures, and hopefully something tasty!

My work station.

Temptation

I've tempted myself.

On Friday:
I arrived at work and my coworker has a massive chocolate bunny leftover from Easter on her desk.  About once an hour we talked about it.

My home-baked Passover treats are still in the office and since I've had them before, I know how delicious they are.

I sat in a 1.5 hour meeting and was the only one not eating a classic NY bagel with cream cheese and/or peanut M&Ms.

I went to lunch with my team for "bonding".  My coworkers ate a cheeseburger with bacon, a chicken club sandwich, and a tuna burger.  And fries.  Crispy fries.  They looked delectable.

Juice and Colors
Colors!

On Saturday:
I went to Smorgasburg.  This food mecca is filled with things I really love.  Tacos, ice cream, Blue Bottle Coffee, lobster rolls, cheese, you name it!  Luckily, it was a gorgeous day and I had a fine time just taking in the scenery.  Also, you can say I "cheated" because I drank coconut juice from a coconut, but I just substituted that for a JP juice.  Sue me!

Meat + Bread. Not juice.

I also pampered myself with a massage, a (lose your eyes if you may be grossed out...) colonic, and 2 session in a sauna.  Not so bad.

But maybe because of all this, last night I had a dream I ate one of those mega Hershey's Kisses.  I don't even like milk chocolate (except in the form of peanut M&Ms).

This morning, Day 7, I feel fantastic.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Belly Blues

When on a juice cleanse, I expect to feel pretty darn great.  In my previous experiences of 3-day cleanses, I have felt on top of the world. Energize.  Clear Headed.  Not so hungry. Light. Flexible.

As Day 4 draws to a close, I feel 96% great.  Definitely energized and clear headed.  That 4% of not-so-great is consumed by my stomach discomfort.  Part of what I love about juice cleanses are that they pretty effectively eliminate bloating and gas.  I'm not feeling that way quite yet.  (This is Day 2 of stomach discomfort starting around 5pm).

bottles
Bottle Service.

Today I drank a lot of fruit juices (unintentionally).  Maybe that is why?

Also, I wonder how chia seeds are affecting my digestion/stomach.  They're great for a source of fiber, but maybe they are expanding in my stomach or intestine and causing some discomfort.  Yikes!

My self-prescribed cured: WATER WATER WATER.

Day 4 Menu:
Mother Earth
Doctor Green (Was amazed at how sweet I found this juice.  It was almost too much for me!)
Spicy Citrus
1/2 MILF
Body Fit
Black Label

Aloe Water!



Tacombi reaches North

La Fonda Nolita, Tacombi Tacos.  A Mexican food mecca in NoLita.  The only reason I am writing about tacos while cleansing is that I really love Tacombi and the folks behind the place are opening a NEW restaurant in Flatiron -- Cafe El Presidente.

Any time of day you go, Tacombi is likely to be jam-packed with neighborhood regulars, tourists, young, old etc, and all having a wonderful time.  I imagine the same will be said of Cafe El Presidente.  Once I'm eating solid food, this place will be at the top of my "To Do" list.  They even have breakfast offerings (although probably not gfree).  

My first time at Tacombi was back in August when I gathered with friends for a late Saturday evening dinner.  It was delicious and made all that much better by the company.

Sangria! (They only have Wine/Sangria/Cerveza)

Friends!

Shrimp and ????
Too long ago to remember, but I loved them both!

I also discovered my favorite iteration of ice coffee at Tacombi a few weeks ago.  Rather than use milk to lighten the cafe, I put horchata in!  Coffee + Sweet Rice Milk = Yum.

GrubStreet, Eater, TimeOut NY, and UrbanDaddy have all been waxing eloquent on Cafe El Presidente, and more specifically, the Al Pastor tacos.  With all this hype let's hope I can get in. 

Dreaming of tacos in a few weeks.....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Testing: IFTTT

The internet is really cool and you can make it do things for you.  My dad complains because he never remembers to check my blog and I always ask if he's read my latest post.

With IFTTT (If this, then that), I created a recipe to send him an email each time I post.  Let's test it!

Ping!

Weird Dreams

Last night I had a very weird dream.  It was kind of a nightmare.

The details are fuzzy, but I ate a lot of bread (not gluten-free!) and olive oil and avocado and chocolate...or was it ice cream?  Either way, I went crazy over this food and realized after eating it all that I was supposed to be doing an extended cleanse.

This morning, I woke up and felt oddly full.

I knew that over the course of this extended cleanse I'd notice some changes to my emotions and my general interactions with the world, but this is just plain weird.  It's only been two days!

I laughed it off and embarked on Day 3.  Tomorrow will be the real challenge as I start to get into my longest cleanse duration ever!  I'm pumped.

No more juice!

Day 3 menu (so far...)
-1/2 Fountain of Youth
-Vital Force Probiotic "yogurt"
-Gravity

I bought Sweet Potato Pie and MILF to try today or tomorrow!

I will note that I've been struggling to finish all 6 juices in a day.  I feel very full and don't feel the need to keep drinking.  Will it catch up with me?  I'm curious to see if one day I'm ravenous!



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Liquid Belly

I drink beverages quickly.  Anything liquid seems to be there and then gone in a few seconds.  My friends are always impressed at how I dominate a milkshake in just a matter of minutes.

As a little kid, I used to live on lemonade and Arnold Palmer's in the summer.  I would down these drinks at world-record paces and then get the feeling that I had no internal organs, but rather just water in my belly.  Slosh, slosh, slosh.

Embarking on a cleanse is a commitment to perpetual liquid belly.

Today's menu (so far):
1/2 Spicy Citrus with Chia Seeds
Good Weed
Gravity

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cleansing, Colonics, and the Internet

Day 1 of the extended cleanseeee (cleanse with 4 Es for 4 times the impact! Maybe?).  Well, so far, so good.  I think I'll start to really question why I'm doing this on day 9.  All in all this will be at least the 7th or 8th time that I've cleansed, but the first time I've done more than 3 days.  In all the cleansing literature I've consumer, people wax eloquent about the important of detoxing with juice and supporting/optimizing this detox with massages, dry brush scrubs, spending time in a sauna or steam room, and...colonics.  Now, one may wonder, "what is a colonic exactly?".  Think about it.  Google it.  Now you know.

I have always understood the theory behind colonics, but they terrified me.  It seems pretty unnatural and uncomfortable.  For the sake of experimenting and really giving this extended cleanse a run for my money (and because a Juice Press store manager and 34-day cleanser recommended it) I will get a colonic.  TMI?  Sorry.

The point of all this mumbo jumbo about detoxification is that I was directed to check out Gravity East Village as a reputable place for colonics and infrared sauna treatments.  I was totally unfamiliar with infrared sauna treatments until perusing the Gravity website, but they sound neat.  I'll get one of those too, please!

The best part of all this discovery was something that makes me smile and really love the internet.  At the bottom of Gravity's "Video" page is a wonderful photo and question with a 4 sentence answer that I absolutely adore.
GRAVITY East Village

Bring me a Buddha and I will happily display it in my home.

As I spend the majority of my day in front of the computer, I continue to discover such wonderful things on the Interwebs.  About people, the world, cleansing, music, Buddhas, food etc, the internet is filled with fantastic tidbits. 

Happy juicing and detoxing (in whatever form you choose...)!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

[Cleanseeeeeeeeeeeeee]. Extended Cleanse.

Dear friends and family and readers,

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love Juice Press.  I really cannot get enough of it.  There is a Juice Press on Mott Street that I tend to walk by quite frequently, and I've been known to walk past it and turn around to go pick up a bottle of their delicious juices.  Why am I so obsessed?  That's a really good question.  I think a few factors are involved.

  1. 99% of the juices I've tasted are DEEEE-licious.
  2. They are constantly adding new juice flavors to their arsenal so I am always able to try something new.
  3. Their "propaganda" is laugh out loud funny and I use the "You're a Pig" piece as a bookmark.
  4. Ginger Fireball.
  5. They offer a variety of raw foods including (some of my favorites) a marinated kale salad, chia seed pudding, falafel, and delicious "cheese"cakes and pies.  
  6. Juice Press epitomizes a healthy lifestyle brand and they are not trying to push some agenda on their customers.  At the end of the day they just want people to be happy. (And to buy Juice Press.)
  7. I like juice!

I've been actively following the JP happenings for about a year and in January I became fascinated with their Graphic Designer, Heidi, that embarked on a 31 day cleanse.  Cleansing for 31 days?!!?! It seemed crazy.

Well, to keep a long story short, in the past 2 months I've had a number of things that have caused me to consider doing an extended juice cleanse.  Lots of gluten, lots of alcohol, and lots of my body just yelling at me.  More difficult than deciding to do an extended cleanse was figuring out when to do it.  My close friends know that there is rarely a free night in my calendar and between happy hours, dinners, and weekend foodie adventures, I'm often discovering and eating food in many social settings.  Would I have to put a complete pause on my social life in order to give this a shot?  Some would probably say yes.  However, I've decided to embark on an extended cleanse for 3 weeks (mainly because I'm going to New Orleans in May and cannot travel with juices) with the idea that in the 2 weeks following the mostly juice cleanse, I will eat a raw food diet.  

Yes, I know this sounds crazy.  BUT....I have also decided to adapt the cleanse to how I'm feeling. Part of this adventure is getting really in tune with my body and understanding what it needs.  If I feel like I need something more hearty, I will opt for a smoothie or a raw food salad.  This is not about deprivation, but really about filling my body with goodness.

Monday, April 21st begins my journey.  As I mentioned, I plan to incorporate Juice Press' raw foods into my regimen and I feel very fortunate to have contacts at various Juice Press stores that have offered to help me along the journey. 


Because I want to document this experience, I will be blogging and Tweeting and Instagramming as I go.  What do I hope to get out of this process?  A more profound understanding of my relationship with food, a rejuvenated and revitalized digestive system, a chance to mentally, physically, and emotionally challenge myself, and an opportunity to be able to say "I did it!!!!".

I realize that some may criticize my decision and I am happy to entertain those criticisms and discuss accordingly.

Cheers!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Schmackary's

In honor of the start of Passover, I write about delicious (and gluten-free) hametz.

For weeks my coworkers talked about Amy's Bread and the delicious gluteny goodness that is packed into their baked goods.  I tweeted at Amy's to see if they had gluten-free offerings. They do not.


Feeling left out, I fired up seamless.com to take a look at what "Gluten Free" + "dessert" places were in the neighborhood of our office.  I will say, that considering I'm between Times Square and Port Authority and out my window I can see Chevy's, McDonald's, Auntie Annie's, Crumbs, and Five Guys, I was not super optimistic about gluten-free eateries....until I found.

SCHMACKARY'S

Cookie Monster would be in heaven at this place!!

Schmackary's Cookies are just about the best thing that ever happened to me, and Hell's Kitchen, and the world of grab-and-go gluten free baked goods.  I ventured out on one of those FREEZING days we had in March and walked into Mecca.  The online menu said there was only one g-free flavor each day, but when I arrived there were tons of gluten free flavored cookies and they were still making fresh ones in the back.  It was so hard to decide!  I finally picked the Sweet Corn (corn flour / cornmeal / sweet corn / cranberries / pecan bits) and the Monster (gluten-free oats / peanut butter / M&M's / semi-sweet chocolate / raisins).  I also picked up a Schmackaroon (cocnut macaroon) that was enormous and well worth the $3.75.

Sweet Corn and Monster cookie


The variety of flavors available is unmatched.  There is definitely something to satisfy everyone's sweet tooth.  Knowing that Schmackary's is a mere five blocks away from office has become a very dangerous tidbit of knowledge.

Omnomnomnom.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Review: The Start-Up of YOU

The START-UP of YOU
By Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

In January, General Assembly began a book club and I joined.

I had never been part of a book club before and did not really like the idea of them.  With a good book comes good conversation, but the idea of having to read something within a specific time frame and then contribute to the conversation seemed stress inducing.  Also, the idea of book clubs conjures up an image of a bunch of housewives sitting around reading The Red Tent.  Seeing as for the past few months I have yet to find a novel that piques my interest, (not to mention being less than gung-ho about being "forced" to read one,) the traditional Book Club did not appeal to me.  But I do read.  In fact, I have read a number of non-fiction books recently and have loved them. Most notably, was the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson.  I was enthralled from page to page.

Although I had such negative connotations with Book Clubs, I assumed that GA's would be different.  A community of business-minded, tech savvy, entrepreneurial cool people would probably not start hacking (pun intended) away at Oprah's list of Must Reads.  The first book that was chosen was The Start-Up of You.  The book was briefly described to me as a self-development/career search manual and manifesto.  Sounded good to me!

I procrastinated in opening the book and really diving into the content, but once I did I became inspired and satisfied.  I was driven to take action.  I've decided to give the book a brief "review" highlighting some of the key takeaways and lessons that I learned while reading.  The great thing about this book is at the end of each chapter there is an Action Plan.  These are tasks to be completed that week, that month, and in the upcoming months.  The book makes all the advice extremely digestable and gives the reader strong tools for executing on the ideas.

So here we go....

  • Search for a job even when you're not looking for a job.  This really connects with some other points that I will make below involving developing a skill set and building a network.
  • Distinguish yourself in the marketplace.  What is your competitive advantage?
  • Be flexible.  Be persistent.  Yes, these go together.
  • Learn.  Keep on learning.  Find learning opportunities and take them.
  • Plan A, Plan B, and in case all else fails....Plan Z.
  • Learn a skill during the nights/weekends.  (Sidenote: I just started to learn how to code!  Get ready to see a Blocho's Tacos redesign)
  • The PayPal Mafia and Networking - How can you help the other individual?
    • This is why LinkedIn exists.
  • Take risks.  You are over estimating the "negative" consequences.  Leaving your options open often leads to failure.  
    • "But the biggest and best opportunities frequently are the ones with the most question marks.  Don't let uncertainty lull you into overestimating the risk" (page 182).
  • A great summary of the book that comes on page 19: "Take intelligent and bold risks to accomplish something great.  Build a network of alliances to help you with intelligence, resources, and collective action.  Pivot to a breakout opportunity."
For more, check out http://www.thestartupofyou.com/

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Never Stop Learning

If you do stop, you'll fall behind.  This, my friends, seems to be reality.

Soft skills, hard skills, juggling skills.

There is SO MUCH INFORMATION AVAILABLE (in books, on the internet, from friends and family and coworkers) and so many things that we can do to learn something new.  This does not have to be learning web design or coding.  I'm talking as simple as a new recipe or a new way of tackling to-do lists.

The point is this:
There is an entire industry dedicated to giving people easy (and often free) access to classes, workshops, and development "forums".  MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are everywhere -- from Skillshare to Udemy to Lynda.com to University of Phoenix!  Dedicate time to yourself and learn something new every three months.  Why not?

A slide from a Project Management workshop I attended

Just before clicking "Publish", I was reminded of The New York Times Magazine article from a few weeks ago that addressed the age gap difference that is developing in Silicon Valley and the new school vs. old school developers and entrepreneur "battle" that is taking place.