Final Review of the Wild Rose Cleanse

Holy-cow batman, it’s been a while. I must confess I really needed a blog break so I hope you all can forgive me. Since I left everyone hanging by not finishing up my final review of the Wild Rose Cleanse I decided to make that my first post back to tie up any loose ends. I have loads to catch you all up on, including that I went to Europe, saw loads of things, ate and drank even more lovely things and have been back and cooking without you. I will leave those subjects for another post; today with Spring FINALLY showing it’s face, we are going to finish talking cleanse.

IMG_6076Final Review of the Wild Rose Cleanse

Overall I really liked this cleanse, and more than anything it gave me a loose diet to follow and a goal to commit to that diet. Below are somethings that the cleanse taught me about my own life style:

  • Restricting your diet really helps to make you more creative in the kitchen.
  • When I re-introduced dairy and gluten I felt disgusting. This experience has pushed me to get me off dairy and scale down my gluten intake.
  • I used My Fitness Pal to record what I was eating, to make sure I was hitting the right vitamins, calorie and macro needs. This made me realize I need to watch my healthy fats because the low-carb aspect of the diet made me go overboard on fats.  I relied on them too much while on this diet which I feel wouldn’t have happened had I been a meat-eater. Almond butter curbed my sugar craving which was a great quick-fix trick for me but it became a tablespoon by tablespoon habit, fast. I really encourage you to all track what you consume over a month period, it give you insights into what you are lacking, and what you are doing right.
  • You can really eat more vegetables in a day then you are right now. I didn’t think it was possible as fruits and veggies are in every meal and most snacks for me, but you can, and you should.
  • I know I preach this often but it’s worth repeating, water is amazing! It curbs your appetite, it wakes you up, it keeps your energy going (and yes it makes you have to pee every 30 minutes) BUT everyone should drink more water.

The thing I feel most people want to know about this cleanse is, yes, I lost weight but that wasn’t the point of me trying it so it was a pleasant surprise. Also it was hard to maintain after re-introducing gluten, yeast, processed foods (like pre-made breads) and dairy into my diet. If you have more restraint and can very slowly reintroduce and omit things that cause issues you’d be more successful in the long run.

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Shock and Awe

I wish I could pass off last week as a bad dream, a nightmare of unrealistic proportions, but I can’t.  The older I get, the smaller our global community feels to me. The more my heart hurts when people are needlessly killed or hurt, physically or mentally. I don’t want you to relive the details, and I don’t want to give any wrong doers anymore screen time however if you are completely unaware of what I’m hinting at this article by Jezebel exacts my sentiments of most of what went on last week. Sunday Walk near the woods It has me thinking about how we cope with loss and overwhelming stress. Last week I started running again, and eating cleaner. I took gluten and dairy almost completely out of my diet. I didn’t drink any wine and doubled my water intake. I walked to work every morning. I slept my eight hours to the best of my ability and I tried to reset my mental state one day at a time. While all of that helped me, I still feel like I’m a 5 am alarm clock that won’t shut off. Blaring in the dark while your eyes are blurry. When I feel overwhelmed I usually find comfort in focusing on things I love. My little family, my friends, my blog. I totally tried, really hard,  but found myself retreating into a small bedroom with my laptop and my favorite video game while history podcasts went on in the background. I was trying to will everything out and away while I was still in my head, swimming in thoughts. I’m in shock. I’m in total awe that when things seem to get better, in a second they can turn on their heads.

I’ve never had a dog so stoked to be at the vet. He made everyone’s day.

On my morning walks I tried to see the life of the city. I share my photographs on Instagram (Azee16). I wanted to give people things to look at that weren’t damaging to the heart. These are the images I shared: Music culture is a huge part of Halifax. This piece is on the outside of a bar that used to be called The Marquee. IMG_4005 Behind the buildings on Gottingen street, this sea of tags give horizon to a scare parking lot. IMG_4006   Brunch with my love, hells yeah they made eggs benny with waffles! IMG_4019   Took a stroll in the sun in the South end of our city, I found a small dead tree transformed into a pair of seals. 

Found in Point Pleasant Park

Found in Point Pleasant Park

Today I bought each of my dogs soft toys that are ‘built’ to last aka for extreme chewers. In my heart I knew it would last them maybe a day but in their exuberance it not only entertained them, but us, for about one hour. The house soon was a cloud of stuffing, lit up the the sound of thumping tails and dotted with deflated animal bodies and respective parts. Unstuffed Sometimes happiness has to be found in the midst of a great mess. You have to ignore the distractions around you to focus on helping yourself be joyful. Today it meant letting my dogs teach me that happiness can take so little, yet be so rewarding.

The End

N is for…

Can anyone tell me where the last two weeks went? I feel like it hasn’t been that long but it has. I remember glimmers of birthday dinners as well as BINGO, yep BINGO! Even though I didn’t win anything it was still a great time and for a great cause.

This week has been work, work, and more work. I knew it would be a busy week for me so last week I started this post and unfortunately didn’t have it ready, but here I am sleepy-eyed, trying to turn a phrase or two before I’m forgotten.

It’s Wednesday, and I hope by now you know what that means around these parts (ahem… can I get a What’s the Word?). If you are new to my blog please check out my original series posting on Agave.

This What’s the Word? Wednesday we are catching up with the letter ‘N ‘ and N is for Nutritional Yeast!

N is For

N is for Nutritional Yeast

You most likely have not heard about this product and if you have you either are blissfully in love (me!) or a skeptic because you haven’t tried it due to its mega hippy associations. Nutritional yeast is also widely known as nutch/nooch (pronounced the same way) and less commonly (I recently discovered) as hippy dust. I quite like that one.

What is it?

Nutritional yeast is a yeast grown from sugar beets or sugar cane which may lead you to believe it is unhealthy but you would be terribly wrong. It is sold in a flake and powder form and is a natural medium-yellow color. It’s generally inexpensive and can be found at health food stores and in some natural food sections of bigger grocery store chains. Often packed in bags or tubs like the one below.

Neeko

What does it taste like?

Let’s start with what it doesn’t taste like. It definitely doesn’t taste like yeast, or ‘health food’, or cardboard. So what does it taste like, most people will describe it as a mildly nutty, cheesy or creamy taste. For this reason it’s often used as a cheese substitute in the vegan diet.

Where do I use it?

Nooch is very versatile. Given the chance I’ll sprinkle it on anything savoury. It’s amazing on hot buttered popcorn, it’s great sprinkled on soups, salads and pastas and it’s a wonderful add-in to help reproduce a cheesy flavour. It also blends well into liquids so makes a great nutritional booster to things like mashed potatoes, stuffing, sauces and gravies.

Avo-Noocho

Are there health benefits?

Yes! It’s naturally vegan friendly and gluten-free. It a very good source of vegetarian B vitamins as well as protein and fibre. The B vitamins are essential to our muscles and a lack of B vitamins usually causes muscle fatigue and lethargy. Nutritional information will vary from brand to brand however one tablespoon of the Neeko brand I have, contains about about 4.5 grams of protein and 0.5 grams of fat. The photograph below shows all the vitamin and mineral information:

nooch

V- Spot Recipes and suggestion using Nutritional Yeast:

Nutritional Yeast Inspiration around the web:

With Love from Montreal

My vacation is living in its last few hours so I figured it was about time I sent out an update. Put a pot of coffee on, this is going to be a long one.

I’m sure one day I’ll look back and laugh at the string of dubious events that happened on the trip but right now I feel like rolling around in some covers with Ben and Jerry’s, my dogs and a lot of wine, a whole lot of wine. 

I left off on my story last week when I let you guys know we were all leaving early to avoid the snow. It’s really a good thing we did because this trip may not have happened, or I might not be writing this post. 

Frostbitten

We arrived in Fredericton, New Brunswick around ten or eleven on the 8th and settled in for the night. When we woke up Nemo was just blowing through so we decided to grab some breakfast and head out on our journey. We all were excited and the roads didn’t seem that bad and guessed about 3 hours to the boarder and hopefully we could get some shopping in Bangor done, possibly hit up a wine shop before settling in for the night. About an hour into the trip the roads started to get really bad, and we passed an accident on the highway and slowed down, a few kilometers down the road we spun 360 and ended up in a ditch. Luckily Leo’s driving skills are amazing and no one was hurt, the snow padded our impact. None of us made a sound while life seemed to slow down to the milliseconds and the car whipped around in one big circle. We called CAA, and because of the horrible weather it took a while to get a tow truck there to pull us out, but the police, RCMP and the tow truck driver (who came out on his day off to rescue us all) were lovely and we were soon on our way. 

When we got to Bangor, the city was pretty much shut down, they received way more snow that originally forecasted. We parked, shuffled our stuff into our rooms and talked about dinner. One of the only places that was open was an Olive Garden, we had the best server, great food and finally relaxed a bit after an unexpected day. Wine was in order and after picking some up we arrived back at the hotel, the lounge area full of people. If I learned anything from this trip it is that people from Maine are ridiculously courteous. A few families in the area had lost power and the hotel was letting them hang out to be warm and watch some television. They even brought in soup, snacks and sweets for all the guests and residents.  Saying I was feeling welcome after a long day would be an understatement. 

Hay Bale Hideout

In the morning we headed out to Montreal, super excited for the concert on Monday. Leo picked an amazing route through one of Maine national parks and even though there was a lot of snow the roads were well looked after so we could enjoy the scenery.

Maine National Park

We passed Mexico, Maine, looped into New Hampshire and made a quick stop at a local Irving where there was more snowmobiles than vehicles filling up on gas. We entered Vermont just long enough to access a boarder crossing and were finally in Quebec. The scenery quickly changed from snow covered mountains to snow covered wheat fields, it wasn’t long before we were in the city.

New Hampshire Pitstop

We lucked out and got to stay at a beautiful hotel close to the Bell Centre where the concert was at but shortly after arriving we were told our reservation was not correct. We had booked three nights but for some reason only two nights were available, which meant we needed to plan out another night somewhere else in the city which was an inconvenience but an easy fix. Famished, we headed out for supper and I had my first experience at Les 3 Brasseurs. The food was great, as was the service, but the beer was awesome. We shared a pitcher of their red brew and called it a night.

Monday was the day of the concert and we had plans to go to the Biodome but we wanted to visit a mutual friend of ours and it was better we met up with him on Monday so we decided to go shopping instead. I love to shop, and I especially love shopping in big cities but this girl couldn’t’ find a thing. I had my heart set on some pleather vest for the concert and at the end of the journey I finally found a super cute mint-coloured knit sweater for $15 and called an end to shopping.

We met up with our friend Andrew, and went to a Montreal dining staple called Reuben’s Deli. As the name suggests there really wasn’t much for me to eat there but for a deli they churned me out a great pizza. Their food was plentiful and good from what all my friends were saying, but the waiter was a real jerk to one of my friends, so he kind of ruined the cozy experience.

Born this Way Bus

We headed back to get ready for Gaga. I went through two outfits, not feeling comfortable in either because of all the roadside eating I had been doing. I tried to style myself like Lady Gaga in her ‘Judas’ video. Exhibit A.

Lady Gaga Ready Set Go

I can’t say enough about the concert. Madeon, the 18 year old French DJ who opened, rocked the house. Gagas set was almost 3 hours long and she didn’t stop, slow down or take an intermission during the whole thing. Her outfits were incredible, her set was enchanting. She talked to the audience about acceptance, love and addressed mental illness followed by a tribute to Alexander McQueen. She touched on the objectification of women by wearing a fake meat dress and dumping herself into larger than life meat grinder (this article touches on  that performance). She preformed one of my favorite songs, Americano and really did a good job of bringing up gay rights that she later discussed with the audience. I was blown away, it  touched me on so many levels, and I was so impressed by her vigor, and pure talent.

Forest Giants

Still on a concert high we went to bed late and planned to pack up, change hotels and visit the Biodome before meeting up again with our friend for dinner in the morning. We requested early check in but were not able to accommodate it so decided to head to the Biodome, in the car, with all of our stuff. It was cold out but I didn’t want to lug all my stuff through the center so I took out my wallet and camera, packed my purse with my phone and put in the trunk. I even left my jacket in the cab and shivered to the door. We spent about an hour and a half there checking out all the animals and then decided to head to the gift shop before leaving, I picked up a cute magnet, an adorable owl cup, some organic chocolate for AJs Mom and some postcards to send my friends. 

Trois Amies

We headed out to our car and on the pavement I noticed there was a lotion that we pick up from the hotel room. Leo got to his door and the window was busted open, when we popped the trunk all of my and AJs stuff was stolen, along with Leo bag with his cash. They left my coat, so I can only imagine they were watching us  and took pity on me, because it was brand new but I would have been frozen without it. They even stole my bag of half eaten snacks with one of my favorite scarves in it and my grocery bag with two pairs of used boots. We were all devastated. I felt targeted and lost. I felt lucky I didn’t buy a whole bunch of stuff while I was there but upset I now needed to replace a bunch of work clothes, shoes, makeup brushes, a bunch of makeup and toiletries, my passport and id, my phone and my straightener, unfortunately I could go on but I won’t.

We filed a police report, called CAA again and they recommended a garage. After calling the recommended garage they advised it would be two weeks before we could get in. Totally exhausted and upset, we decided to find a place that we could get plastic and tape to at least tape up the window so we could stay warm. We rolled into a garage (I can’t recall the name) and the owner Norman took our car and fixed it in 45 minutes. While we were waiting we wandered into a tiny diner and relaxed and talked to a few Montreal natives before heading back. Norman cheered us up before sending us on our way and we dredged back into the city to find our hotel.

Last Night in Montreal

AJ and Mike checked in while Leo and I went to find the parking garage. Just our luck, the parking garage was closed for renovations and we needed to park outside. The guy tending the lot did not speak English and after our trying day, Leo and I could not speak French well. We understood that we paid for an overnight parking privilege but it ended at 6am and when we went back to extend it for a few hours the guy advised he couldn’t change it now and we could come back in the morning. Leo went out at 6 am to see if we could add to our bill and no one was there after waiting 15 minutes he came back inside. Luckily an hour later Mike was looking out the window and they were getting ready to tow our car. We quickly got it corrected but now were all awake so we decided to get ready and get in on our way.

All of us were done with Montreal and our stream of bad luck. Because AJ and I had our passports stolen, we couldn’t go back through the states, so we had to cancel hotels and book new ones and cancel our plans we had made for Maine. We stopped in Edmonston, New Brunswick and had a great stay.

Quebec Landscape

I felt really defeated at this point and just wanted to get home. My mother had planned a road trip to Florida at the same time and I was bummed I couldn’t be in touch with her as my phone was gone. Luckily AJs Mom and mine are friends so they kept each other updated.

The last part of our trip was a long and boring drive but we stopped off in Moncton and ate at the Pump House restaurant and brewery. I tried their scotch ale which was super smoky and paired well with the eggplant dish I ordered. Everyone enjoyed their food and beer and their wait staff was courteous and informed. 

Pump House Scotch Ale

We arrived in Halifax extremely happy to be home. The dogs were wagging their whole bodies when we came in. Rogue went through some anxiety in the last day we were gone and chewed off her back nail but other than that, they did well. I collected my grocery bag of stuff, mostly just the gifts I got from the Biodome and left them on the table. After leaving the room for two minutes Rogue ate my magnet. It pretty much summed up our trip.

Half Eaten Montreal

The one thing we all said during this trip is that everything happens for a reason. Hopefully I’ll figure out that reason sooner than later but I must say I’m super proud of all of us. There wasn’t one freak out, one tear or breakdown. We made it through each incident without quarrel or blame. We acted like adults should. The trip wasn’t completely bust, a few days ago Gaga announced her Montreal tour was the last one for about 6 months due to a hip injury that needed surgery. Despite everything, I did have a ton of fun and just in case you were wondering, I still love road trips. We all learned a lot, found a ton of kindness in strangers and made the best of our time.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be replacing all of my belongings and one thing I need to replace is my charger for my camera’s battery so there may be some interruptions in posting in the coming weeks once I lose the ability to use my camera.

If you made it this far, thanks for your attention! The next post is a food post to get us back on track!

P.S – I was just mentioned on The Crush podcast – check it out!

Road Trippin’

On Saturday we had planned a road trip to Montreal. Then the storm was forecasted:

Snowfall Warning

Source Unknown

Yesterday we scrambled to arrange plans for the dogs and ourselves and decided on starting the road trip early, by leaving late tonight!

The hustle and bustle it made me realize I may have some tips to help with road tripping and I thought I’d put together a last minute post.

  • On Monday I made a list of things I needed to do before I left as well as things I needed to pack.  Lists are pretty normal suggestions but this turned out to a be a life saver last night. When you hurry you forget things, and because most of the stuff on my list wasn’t done and  I now had 12 fewer hours to work with I was in a panic. Even if you trip doesn’t get bumped ahead, lists help you focus and not forget things like passports.
  • Stake out places you want to see when you think you will have time for a stop. For us we are stopping in Bangor on the way, so I’ve been looking at restaurants and wine/beer shops we can go to while we are there during the day.
  • Buy tickets/ book rooms in advance. While in Montreal we have a booked schedule, we are seeing a few friends and most importantly going there to see a concert. Our hotels were booked in advance along with letting them know if we needed an early or late check-in (super important!). We have also bought tickets to go to other activities advance. Why you ask? Well generally it’s cheaper and gives some structure to your trip so you can make the most out fot he time you have.
  • Bring gps, and a mapped out route and an old school map just in case
  • Normally I’d be all over snacks but I’m worried about eating just because I’m bored. If you are going to snack, or have a food restricted diet of any kind, bring healthy snacks to tide you over. The temptation to overeat or go to a drive through are ever-present and although that may be part of the charm for some people being a vegetarian/vegan means planning out what and where you are going to eat.
  • Make a new and upbeat play list, or bring an audiobook. I can’t read in the car because I get motion sick. Whether my crew wants to listen to it or I’m flying solo, it’s a good option for entertainment during a long haul. I chose Bossypants by Tina Fey because it’s hilarious and World War Z by Max Brooks.

map

Smack dab in the middle of the trip we are going to go see Lady Gaga. I have big love for this lady and I know she will put on an amazing show! What makes me even more excited is the fact we are road tripping. Despite how much I love road trips, I don’t drive, so this is a rare occurrence in my life, which is entirely sad and self-inflicted. For the duration of the road trip (five days) I will be away from blog (AFB).I do solemnly swear to post pictures when I come home and talk about the lovely events and food that happened. 

In the meantime if you are interested about what I’m up to, I’m going to try to post pictures on Instgram. I’ve had an account for long while but recently started posting pictures. They are all dog and food pictures for the most part, with a little scenery thrown in. Since I didn’t think I would ever get into Instagram (wrong) or that I would connect it to my blog (wrong, again) my user name is kind fo silly. It’s my childhood nickname plus lucky number BUT if you want to follow me, search for Azee16.

Cheers and see you in a weeks time!