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Stay Authentic | When words & concepts lose their meanings

Stay Authentic | When words & concepts lose their meanings

Authenticy. We all burned out on that one, didn’t we? I mean, I know I did. Live authentically. Live out loud. Best life. Bold life. For a hot minute, it seemed like every lifestyle blogger out there (raises hand, self included!) was building a community […]

Reframe Your Story

Reframe Your Story

Oh, how powerful are the stories we tell ourselves! For better or worse, right? If we’re constantly telling ourselves we can do this, we can do this, then sure enough, sooner or later, we’re going to do it. If we are constantly telling ourselves we’ll […]

Gluten-Free March | Dairy-Free April

Gluten-Free March | Dairy-Free April

I gave up gluten during the month of March (with a few exceptions). Here are my general reactions from doing this very-specific elimination diet:

It was easier than I thought.

Initial Reactions

I have to immediately caveat that with the acknowledgment that I *chose* to eliminate gluten because of curiosity and personal experimentation, NOT because of an allergy or even a [known] sensitivity. It follows then that it was easy for me to do this because I could afford to make mistakes without any serious or dangerous consequences (unlike folks with actual allergies and/or Celiac). I do not want to make light of (or presume to understand) the challenge others may face when navigating menus that I just didn’t have to deal with, beyond opting out of croutons and going bun-less on a few burgers.

That being said, it was easy [for me] and I only missed bread and noodle stuff at first. I missed the convenience of a breakfast sandwich. I tried a couple of burgers in lettuce wraps and on gluten-free buns. Burger salads (as I’ve taken to calling them) are great, but are a different thing entirely. Gluten-free buns are stupid. I’ve had a couple recommended to me that I haven’t had a chance to try yet (I really want to be proved wrong!), but the few gluten-free bread alternatives I managed to try were just sad and bland and I didn’t like them.

Gluten-Free Substitutes

Ok, so we covered that bread substitutes were a real big bummer. Portland has some dedicated gluten-free bakeries and I have yet to try these, so I’m still open-minded about something local and artisan being better than some grocery store BS.

Pasta, on the other hand, wasn’t! I found a corn-quinoa blend at Whole Foods that I love. I found a brown rice one also, but I liked the blend better. Let it be known that there is absolutely no replacement for quality, hand-made pasta from scratch (I’m looking at you Grassa, Ava Gene’s and Raven & Rose), and I won’t even bother trying to find it. But when I just want some spaghetti at home? Them blends’ll do just fine.

Soy sauce caught me once or twice (fried rice, sushi), but this will be easy to replace in the form of coconut/liquid aminos.


I only really had specific cravings in two instances:

  1. in the very beginning. Especially leaving work on the days I work doubles (Thursdays), I just wanted something easy. In general, I almost always plan on NOT cooking on Thursday nights. These are “go to late night happy hour” or “yes, you have delivery food in your budget this week,” or “mini tacos from Trader Joe’s are absolutely an acceptable dinner option” nights. On one of these early days, I did stop at a pub on the way home from work and tried a burger with one of those gluten-free buns and did not feel like my craving was satisfied. That’s ok though – that kind of craving eventually weakened (cool!).
  2. after I’d had a few drinks the night before. I know that pattern too — have drinks, go to bed, wake up dehydrated and craving salt something fierce. It was a reminder the effects of alcohol on our health, beyond the obvious and in that immediate moment, but having implications on future decisions, hydration, and the choices we make.

As a Result

So, my first day where I introduced gluten back into my diet was Easter Sunday. I promised myself I wouldn’t go crazy because while I did want to test the effects of gluten on my body, I didn’t want to shock my system as I reintroduced it.

I wish I could say I was super strategic in this reintroduction and chose some high-quality local bread or baked goods, but that’s not what happened. What happened is that I was amped UP after working a long Easter brunch shift, and I was unwinding with bubbles and a party playlist with my friends. My friend/our host supplied snacks in the form of Dino nuggets and mini corn dogs, so that was how I reintroduced gluten into my diet.

The result?

Nothing immediate, but a definite, um, shift, in my digestion later. I didn’t realize how great that side effect had been until it wasn’t. The entire month I skipped out on gluten, I can’t remember having a single digestive issue. Not one. Call it TMI if you want, but digestion is important and a strong indicator of our health as a whole so get used to it because I’m going to talk about it here. That being said, as my dear friend said to me recently, “there is nothing quite as satisfying as a really good BM.” And she’s right. And it took reintroducing gluten to realize that I’d had a solid (no pun intended) month of RGBMs.

And then suddenly, they weren’t.

So that was one effect.

The second instance was much more dramatic. I was having lunch with some girlfriends at a torta place here in Portland. For whatever reason, I misread things and thought I was ordering a tostada when I ordered a torta. A tostada is a crunchy corn tortilla topped with delicious toppings. A torta is a sandwich. So, I thought I was ordering a corn tortilla topped with carnitas and other goodness, but what arrived was a sandwich. I figured, well, what the hell? And I went for it.

I immediately felt foggy, tired, full, and puffy — things I couldn’t remember having felt at all during the entire month prior.

Well, shit.

I think there was a part of me that was hoping that I would see a noticeable difference, and then another part of me that was hoping I didn’t. That I could go about my life eating burgers and sandwiches and roux-based soups and sauces like I always had.

I think where I have to land is somewhere in the middle. I don’t have any major issues or allergies that will require me to avoid gluten completely. But, I do feel noticeably better when I avoid it. I choose more vegetables. I plan better for snacks (fruit, protein bars, etc). I tried more ciders!

Oh! And I lost weight! I didn’t take specific measurements at the start and end of this, but I think it was something around 5 pounds, based on how my clothes fit and what I saw on the scale when I do weigh myself. I attribute this mostly to the fact that I chose salads over sandwiches and drank exactly zero beers for one whole month.

What’s next?

Well, next I go about my life cutting back on the amount of bread/wheat I consume and focus more on other types of grains, protein, nuts, and veggies. I’m ok with this. As for experimeting with how my body handles certain types of food – April is a dairy-free month!

The hardest part is definitely going to be dining out, which I do a fair amount. Home-cooking will be easy, as I’ve scaled back a lot on the amount of dairy I used at home, so cutting that out entirely will just be a manner of planning. Dining out will have to take the same kind of thought – maybe I try more vegan restaurants. Maybe I read menus more carefully. Maybe I don’t go out as much?

Open to suggestions! What are your favorite dairy alternatives? Anyone make the switch to non-dairy or go vegan and have tips?



Whole Roasted Chicken: Five Ways

Whole Roasted Chicken: Five Ways

One of my favorite convenience foods/meals is grabbing a whole rotisserie chicken from my nearest grocery store and figuring out how not to eat the whole thing at once to make multiple meals out of it. This last round, I think I got it locked […]

Elimination Diets | A Challenge

Elimination Diets | A Challenge

I sort of accidentally cut out gluten this week. Well, sort of. Maybe. I have been toying with the idea of doing a Whole30 thing for years. I’ve long been curious about food sensitivities I may have, and I have heard many success stories from […]

In an MMMBop, your [decades-old expectations about others are] gone.

In an MMMBop, your [decades-old expectations about others are] gone.

This has sat in my drafts folder since October, so I decided it was time to go ahead and publish it.

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So. My girlfriends and I saw Hanson in concert a few weeks ago. We bought these tickets back in March, which means we waited SEVEN MONTHS for the gratification of seeing an MMMBop live and in person (plus all their other stuff).

I could write about the show, I could write about the dancing, I could write about the experience of being transported back 20+ years every! few! minutes! as these child pop stars of my youth were now adults, 100 feet in front of me.

Ok, yeah, that last thing is what I’ve been thinking about, what I want to write about.

There was a moment in between all of the “MMMBops” when I was transported back to middle school, back to that video. I tried to mentally time-lapse the decades between baby drummer Zac Hanson and grown-up drummer Zac Hanson. For a second, I thought to myself, “Nope, that one’s always going to be baby Zac.”

Almost as soon as the thought was fully formed, it stopped in its tracks.

Wait, what?

I looked up on stage at this 32-year-old ADULT who has been honing this talent for over twenty-five years. He’s not a baby, none of them are babies, and to keep them in my mind as child stars, rather than adults who are professionals in their practice completely undermines the decades of work they’ve put into what they’re doing. Regardless of your thoughts and opinions on their musical abilities, you can’t argue with the fact that when you spend twenty-five plus years doing something and making a living on it, it’s your thing. To say you get to call yourself a professional at this point is a gross understatement (and not my call to make).

Flip that upside down and think about the people in your life.

How many people are we not giving credit to for having grown up, for evolving, for changing and growing? (If the answer here includes yourself, take note.)

Who are we limiting to their child selves or their adolescent selves or even themselves five years ago? (Again, if you’re internally raising your own hand, acknowledge that. I know I am.)

We can say, “people don’t change,” but haven’t you?

Have you grown up at all in the past year, five, twenty? I know I have. And I hope that other people will give me the space to grow into an ever-evolving self. To change. To shake my head when someone says, ‘That’s just the way she is,” and say, “No, not anymore.”

This small moment of trying to pigeonhole this trio of child-stars-turned-professional-lifelong-musicians reminded me that if I want the chance to prove myself better, growing, evolving, and that if I’m to demand that of others, I must also accept the same of them.

2018 Goals – Update

2018 Goals – Update

At the beginning of January, I outlined some of my longer-term goals for 2018. These goals centered around financial health, new experiences, and building a new business. While I believe in long-term goals and visions, I also believe in the importance of breaking these big […]

The cure for being very cold and scared in the woods is whiskey and a soaking pool.

The cure for being very cold and scared in the woods is whiskey and a soaking pool.

Last week, I was snowshoeing with two girlfriends and after a series of small mishaps (broken gear, a couple of wrong turns, covered trails), we found ourselves lost right as it started to get dark. What started as an intended few-hour hike through Central Oregon’s […]

New Year’s Resolutions – 2018

New Year’s Resolutions – 2018

“It is our choices, Harry, that show us who we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
~ Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets

“True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.”
~ Brianna Wiest, this Thought Catalog piece

As I’ve spent the last month or so reflecting on 2017 and looking forward to this next year, this idea of our choices being what defines us continues to pop up all over the place and resonate so strongly with me. How I choose to spend my money, my time. Who I choose to spend my time with. How I choose to earn my living. These are all my choices and if any one of those things isn’t making me happy, I can choose to change it and do something different. That’s not to say that these choices are easy and that change isn’t hard; they aren’t always and it sometimes is. But we still have the power to make choices and it’s these things that define us – not how badly we want to be out of debt, not how much we wish we could travel, not what relationships (friend, family, romantic) we feel stuck in. It’s how we choose to respond, how we choose to act.

With that in mind, and believing that it’s not only important, but crucial, to set actionable goals that are specific in their intention and their timing, I’ve picked a few broad themes for 2018 (financial health, self-care vs. self-sabotage, and forever learning), and have drilled those down to a handful of specific and actionable resolutions. I also believe that we evolve and shift, so you’ll notice that the last resolution is the commitment to checking in on my goals each month as the year goes on, acknowledging progress, and shifting anything that needs shifting.

  1. Save $1,000 to an emergency fund by June 1, 2018.
  2. Save 3 months’ expenses by December 1, 2018.
  3. Graduate from IIN (July-August) and launch a coaching business.
  4. Do one new activity/take one new class each month: cooking class, dance class, language class, visit a new state park, hike somewhere new, etc.
  5. Read the books I currently own before buying any new ones. When those are read, do book swaps with friends and utilize the library before buying new books.
  6. Check in each month with these goals. Identify progress, confirm priorities, adjust, recalibrate, and move forward.

I have no health, fitness, or dietary goals this year, other than to maintain good habits, because I spent last year establishing my own baseline for what my personal health means. I fell in love with the community and the challenge of Orange Theory Fitness. I experimented with SO many dietary changes, recipes, and new foods and I’m constantly evolving my home cooking and healthy eating. I know what my “back to baseline” is when it comes to getting any levels of depression or anxiety under control. I know when I need to meditate, write, read, be alone, be with loved ones, study something, release something.

I worked with a health coach all of last year to create new habits, identify what changes I wanted to make in my life, and learn how to amplify the things that were working and going well. Having always felt called to some form of teaching, coaching and helping other people find their own happiness and health, I decided to go through the same certification program and I’m now halfway through my own certification as a Holistic Health Coach. I’m leaning towards a focus on goals, habit-change, nutrition, and creating challenges that inspire us to have fun while being extraordinarily kind to ourselves.

I’ll be taking my first clients soon, starting with consultations in January. More details to come, but if this is something that sounds interesting to you, hit me up! Leave a comment below or send me a message, and I’ll be in touch!

Happy New Year!

Tuesdays are my Sundays, and other weekend things.

Tuesdays are my Sundays, and other weekend things.

Tuesdays are my usually my favorite day of the week. Since I work in a restaurant, and I work a restaurant industry schedule, Tuesdays are my Sundays. Tuesdays are my home days, reset days, food days, school days, please-don’t-end-so-quickly days. On Tuesdays, I do things […]

My Diary

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Tuesdays are my usually my favorite day of the week.

Since I work in a restaurant, and I work a restaurant industry schedule, Tuesdays are my Sundays. Tuesdays are my home days, reset days, food days, school days, please-don’t-end-so-quickly days.

On Tuesdays, I do things like work through my latest Imperfect Produce box (I have mine scheduled for every other Monday), roasting veggies, prepping herbs for future sauces and garnishes, chopping mirepoix for future soups, making soups, watching food/health-related TV (currently working through Michael Pollan’s Cooked on Netflix), read, and study.

Today’s no exception, and I’ve spent time studying, reading, and cooking.

Currently Studying

I’m a few weeks away from the halfway point in this Health Coach program, which is exciting and also a little overwhelming at the same time! I’ll be able to start taking clients at this point, so I’m starting to hone my ideas and vision around who my dream clients are and translating my knowledge and passion into something teachable. (If you have any interest in working with me as I get started, let me know!)

Currently Reading

At any given moment, I am currently reading 3-4 different books. For instance, I’m currently re-reading Harry Potter (well, re-reading the first three, then I’ll be reading the last four for the first time. I know, I know. But hey, I’m doing it!), listening to The Anatomy of a Calling by Dr. Lissa Rankin on audiobook, reading Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Foods (it’d be more accurate to say I’m devouring this book), and always flipping through cookbooks (latest obsession: Thug Kitchen’s Eat Like You Give a F!ck and Party Grub: For Social Motherf!ckers).

Currently Cooking

I mean, it’s December in Portland, so it’s absolutely soup season. It’s warm and cozy food season. Spices and sauces season.

This week’s soup experiment was a coconut curry lentil soup. I haven’t done much cooking with lentils, or legumes in general, since my body hasn’t particularly cared to digest them easily for many years. I’ve been slowly introducing different types of beans and legumes into my diet over the past few months, and that approach worked! My body is much more receptive to them, and I’ve been able to augment so many of my meals with more beans (which means I’m eating less meat, a longer-term goal of mine for so many reasons).

As I scoured the internet for inspiration, most of the lentil recipes I found also included some sort of coconut-curry-turmeric combination, so that’s what I went with.

I started with a basic mirepoix of onions, carrots, and celery, then added in the lentils, water, spices, and herbs. I let this simmer until the lentils were soft, then added the coconut milk and salted to taste. I’d offer a recipe, but when I make soup, I start with a template and then tweak it based on what I have on hand (and what flavors I’m going for). If you want to recreate your own version, I started with this recipe and tweaked from there.

How We Weekend

Sometimes I struggle with a different weekend than so many of my friends that work Monday through Friday, but I make the best of where I’m at by completely maximizing how I spend my time in this perfect balance of unwinding, learning, and creating.

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Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash