10 Phrases to Remove from Your Food/Exercise Vocabulary

Greetings! Just have some things on my mind I wanted to share over here on this blog thing.

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This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a while, but after traveling and listening to the way some friends talk about food/eating/working out, and the way the Real Housewives of Orange County (side note:why is it this group that does it the most? Real Housewives of NY seem to eat normally…) talk about food/eating/working out, and the way some of my fitness-hyped friends/gyms talk about food/eating/working out, I’m at my breaking point. Time to write!

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I wanted to discuss a few things that I continually hear that are NOT HEALTHY behaviors. Sadly, society has made them ‘normal,’ so I can’t classify them as NOT HEALTHY NORMAL behaviors. Maybe some day.

Anyways, society has warped people’s ideas of what it means to be healthy. Even in the nutrition world, I see people I know take it too far. Nutritionists I follow on Instagram post their daily workouts and show all their pristinely healthy foods.

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I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with regular exercise or black bean brownies, but like, it’s okay (actually, healthy) to have a bit of flexibility in your diet. Eating too healthy  and working out rigorously all the time isn’t healthy; in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

It can cause stress, anxiety, food-fear, guilt, and tumultuous relationships with food that can spiral into an eating disorder, or cause people to flirt with disordered eating thoughts and behaviors for years.

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Admittedly, this is a lesson I learned with time. We all make mistakes, grow, and learn. So here are phrases I have banned from my vocabulary, or, at the very least, phrases or thoughts that I recognize as unhealthy if they creep up in my brain or in conversation. I encourage you to read them and assess your relationship with food:

1. ‘I’m banning sugar/fruit/carbs from my diet.’

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Are you? That sounds difficult, sad, and downright impractical. Glucose is your body’s preferred source of energy, and it needs it!

I have no idea who decided bread and pasta are like, the worst thing ever, OR who decided that that the only ‘acceptable,’ sources of carbohydrates are quinoa and sweet potatoes, but it’s time to recognize that carbs are an important part of a healthy diet, as are sources of fat and protein.

So important, in fact, that it’s recommended you eat a majority of your calories from carbohydrates. So embrace that bread baby! And the fruit. All the fruit. And unfollow anyone on Instagram who tells you fruit is bad for you. They are bad for your mental health.

2. ‘I feel so guilty if I eat ____.’

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Eating should never make you feel guilty. You are a freaking living organism for crying out loud. Do you feel guilty drinking water if you’re thirsty? No, you probably don’t.

So why on earth would you feel guilty giving your body fuel when you are hungry? Eating when you are hungry is the same as drinking when you are thirsty. Give. Your. Body. What. It. Needs.

And if you have guilt or anxiety around certain foods, perhaps you need to assess your relationship with eating. Food is just food. If you want an apple, eat an apple. If you want a cupcake, have a cupcake. Your body will break it down, digest it, and give you energy. So eat food. Enjoy it. And move on with life.

3. ‘No food after XX:00pm.’

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Hey just another reminder that your body is a living organism, not a clock or a machine. You should eat when you are hungry. Period. Want lunch at 10:00am? Eat it. Want it at 2:00pm? Also cool.

Clocks don’t always match up with your hunger cycle, and every day is different. Instead of judging when you want to eat, or setting up windows when you can, start listening to your hunger/fullness cues instead of eating on a schedule.

4. ‘I didn’t work out today, so I can’t eat any __________ or go out to dinner/dessert.’

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That sounds like a rigid, unhealthy relationship with food and movement. If you’re moving your body with the sole intention to burn calories, OR you feel you do not ‘deserve’ certain foods if you haven’t worked out enough, you may have an unhealthy relationship with exercise.

Here’s a fun fact: you burn calories all the time. When you’re sleeping, when you’re digesting food, when you go to the bathroom, even when you think – all of those things burn calories.

The human brain consumes roughly 420 calories per day, so you should be eating enough to fuel your brain, organs, and body enough to live through each day with ample energy and mental clarity.

Exercise should make you feel good; it should make you feel stronger. It isn’t a box you have to check off your list every day in order to eat appropriate amounts of food.

I don’t want to look back on my life and regret missing fun dinners or desserts out because I didn’t work out enough that day.

5. ‘Never miss a workout! #Noexcuses! #MotivationMonday.’

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No excuses? What if you’re sick, tired, sore, or having a really stressful day where adding exercise to your routine will greatly increases your stress level? Those sound like darn good excuses to me…

Exercise should enhance you, not stress you out. And you should be able to ride with the ebs and flows of life and skip exercise when you aren’t feeling it or it isn’t convenient and not feel guilty or anxious about it.

Overexercising can increase stress hormones like cortisol, and cause all sorts of nasty impacts on your body/health. Making overexercise unhealthy.

If you think it’s more important to burn calories every day than to maintain your health, you should seriously check your relationship with food/eating.

6.  ‘I was so bad last night….I ate  _____.’

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If you are labeling eating behavior as ‘good,’ and ‘bad,’ you may be flirting with (or have a full blown) disordered relationship with food.

People ask me all the time “Is X food or Y food better?” To which, I always respond, “Foods are very complex and everyone is different and in need of different things, so that’s a very complicated question.”

Try not to view foods as ‘good,’ and ‘bad.’ Sure, there are foods that have more fiber or protein or vitamin whatever than other foods, but just because a food is high in sugar or lacking trace minerals doesn’t make it ‘bad.’

Sometimes you gotta eat for your mental health or to enjoy social experiences. For example, if you choose not to eat cake on your friend’s birthday even though you want to eat it, simply because you think it’s ‘unhealthy,’ you are doing yourself more harm than good. And sometimes you just need a damn cookie after a long day because you are craving it.

Same goes with travel. Tasting new foods while traveling should enhance your travel experience, not cause anxiety. EMBRACE IT.

7. ‘I feel insane if I don’t workout every day.’

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Do you? Because that is a little insane, and sounds a bit like exercise addiction, especially if missing exercise causes you to have anxiety. See numbers 4 and 5.

8. ‘I’m at my calorie limit for the day, so I can’t have any.’

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If you count calories or track macros, I urge you to stop.

Can I ask you a question? Is your body a calculator? No. No it is not. So why are your treating it like a math equation. Every single day is different, so your needs are different each and every day to reflect that.

Some days you may be crazy hungry and need 5 meals and 4 snacks. Other days you may have less of an appetite. Both are totally normal. So why would you try to achieve a specific number each day, you’re actively disengaging from your hunger/fullness cues and REALLY messing with your body’s ability to naturally maintain homeostasis and body weight.

Do yourself a giant favor, and skip the counting. You’ll feel free, and more in tune to what your body wants, and what it actually needs.

9. ‘Earn/Sculpt Your Body.’

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This is something I often hear at gyms or boutique fitness studios. Even at a boutique fitness studio I really love and have a membership to, I see/hear this all the time and it bothers me.

Here’s why: I just don’t think you should feel like you have to treat your body like it’s a goddamn piece of clay for some art show or something. Your body breathes. It digests food. Your brain thinks. It helps you learn, create, share information, and interact with others. It also helps you be able to exercise, and do all other amazing tasks you may need to do throughout the day.

Your body is FREAKIN’ AMAZING. So instead of viewing it as something to manipulate, how about showing it some gosh darn well-deserved appreciation?!

10. ‘I’m on a cleanse/doing a non-toxic lifestyle thing.’

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Lol…I have no idea what people mean by ‘cleansing’ or ‘detoxifying foods.’ These are sexy phrases that have no scientific backing/evidence. No food has shown significant evidence to cleanse or detoxify you…your liver and kidney remove any real toxins so you can consider yourself all good on that front.

All of these cleanses and detoxifying powders and pills and potions and are simply a way for unregulated supplement companies and the ‘health influencer’ Instagram stars who promote them to make money off vulnerable people who are innocently looking to improve their health. Which is pretty shitty and irresponsible of them, if you ask me.

Same with ‘giving your digestive system a break.’ Hey guess what, you still digest things like juice. And your digestive system is designed to digest food on the regular. Like I said in #9, your body is FREAKIN’ AMAZING.

Would you put your pet on a cleanse? No, you probably wouldn’t. Because you’d think to yourself “No, that’s not normal. My dog is supposed to eat every day and would be grumpy if they didn’t.” Well then. Same goes to YOU!

So skip that cleanse, and buy some delicious groceries and EAT. Because eating is satisfying, delicious and fun.

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I challenge you to recognize when these phrases come up in conversation, on TV, on a magazine cover, on an Instagram ‘health influencer,’ star’s stories, or on the wall at a fitness boutique and ignore them. You have the power to do so and it is oh so very freeing.

This takes time and practice to do so be patient and forgiving with yourself. But your brain and body will thank you!

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San Fran Recap

Hello! If you follow me on Insta or know me IRL, you probably know I visited San Fran last week Friday – this week Wednesday. It was my first time there so it was quite the adventure. I thought I’d recap it on the blog since I love reading travel recaps. So here we go!     IMG_6556

Friday:

Friday I left work, went home, grabbed my stuff, and headed straight to the Milwaukee Airport for my 3:20pm flight to SFO! Travel snacks included apples, Trader Joe’s Just Beets beet chips (SO GOOD), a mix of almonds + cashews, a Larry’s and Lenny’s cookie, and Kashi Peanut Butter Chocolate bars (a new #vegan flavor)!

All were packed in my Stasher bags, which are my latest obsession. If you’re trying to reduce your plastic consumption, I highly reccomend them. They’re also silicone, so you can dishowasher them, and microwave food in them! #smartstuff #notsponsored #justafan

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Friday night I got in around 6:40pm local time and took an Uber into SF. Traffic was poopy so it took a solid 2 hours. Once I was in town, I met two of my good college friends for dinner at a place called Souvla. The place had super cute vibes and we sat outside in a garden area with Christmas lights and heating vents. I had heard SF gets cool at night, and I gotta say, that is true!

We all got giant salads. I’m not sure why so many of my photos from this trip are so blurry. I think I was often hangry and I also need a new phone.IMG_6516

I got one with Japanese sweet potatoes (my FAV!), olives, walnuts, pickled red onions, pea shoots, and subbed the garlic yogurt sauce for olive oil + lemon juice and asked for no cheese.On the side, we shared some Greek fries (that had olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, etc).IMG_6514

Nom! It was a good time catching up and enjoying some food (it was almost 10:30pm my time by that point, so I was starving). It was probably one of my fav meals of the trip! Kinda wish I had gone back and got a sandwich, but maybe next time!

After that, I headed back to my friend’s place for the night (HUGE thank you to my friend Cassie for letting me stay at your place!). We just kinda crashed and watched RHONY <3.

Saturday:

Saturday morning started out with a trip to the farmer’s market at the Ferry Building. It was awesome! IMG_6553

We waited in line for about 30 minutes for Blue Bottle, but once we got (yummy yummy) coffee we were ready to explore:

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Yummy fresh produce and cute little baby gherkin cucumbers that looked like mini watermelons!

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#ViewsOnFleek

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Also at the farmer’s market tried fresh soy milk from this really cute homemade tofu stand. It was…much different than the kind you buy in the store lol.

After that we walked around inside and eventually headed over to the Golden Gate Bridge and walked across it! It was windy and a bit cold but pretty cool. We literally walked through clouds.

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Peaking sun at the top!

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Look! My wrinkles aren’t that noticeable here. lol #oldpeopleproblems

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Due to our inability to hail an Uber/Lyft on the other side, we walked back across, and then took an Uber to Blue Barn for a super late (like 5:30pm) lunch.

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I had a salad and some booch. It was okay but overpriced IMO. I think I misordered. I will say though the veggies were SO FRESH and the dressing was excellent.

I’m just not that into quinoa in salads? Not my thing. Wish I had noticed the build-your-own option before ordering! Wanted tofu!! Would have probably been way more satified if I’d noticed adding it was an option before paying. The tiny wedge of rosemary bread was delish though; wish I had 20 of them. Oh well!

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After that we went back to my friend’s place and chilled for a bit. At some point we ended up going to Oakland to go to some Japanese Fried Chicken Place and check out some bars. My bocce ball game was fuego, apparently (I think because I was the least only one not intoxicated?)

I didn’t take any pics because idk why. Anyways, it was a good time and I stayed out much later than usual!

Sunday:

Sunday I got up super late for me! Like 9am or something…granted it was 7am central time but still. After we got coffee at a cute place by my friend’s apartment, we strolled about and headed to brunch.

We stumbled upon a place called Jane, and shared avocado toast with pickled jalapeños (which I’d never had on avo toast before and it was super yum) and shallots, and a poached egg (which I let her enjoy), a super yummy seed bread with almond butter and house-made jam.

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We also shared a very refreshing a ‘detox’ smoothie bowl. Lol @ the use of word detox. P sure my liver and kidneys get rid of the toxins in my body, but ya know, #marketing.

I also liked how this cafe had a ‘Breakfast Salad’ on their menu. Such a cute, good idea. Because no rules say when you eat certain foods. #nofoodrules 🙂

Then my friend indulged my desire to be touristy and we went to Alamo Square so I could take photos of the Painted Ladies, aka the Full House houses. Cool shit, man.

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After that, I met another friend (originally from MKE) in Delores park. He was kind enough to show me around the Mission District (where I saw two men naked minus weiner covers).

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We popped into some various odd stores (like ones with bones and taxiderme’d (I googled past tense of ‘taxidermy’…and couldn’t find a definite answer lol) animals and adorable coffee shops and famous local chocolate and Mexican places.

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And saw some cool street art.

At one point, I wanted a snack, so we got some Sourdough bread at a bakery. I can’t recall the name which is a bummer, but it was yummmy. I got a big roll that was whole wheat sourdough + walnuts. I should have gotten 6. Give me bread all day long. I also ate an apple I found in my bag (lol).

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We also stopped at a bar, before I took an Uber to Trader Joe’s by my friend’s apartment around 7. I grabbed some veggies (since we were planning on dinner at her place that night) and, of course, former TJ’s employee that I am, a local bag.img_7233

At least at the Trader Joe’s I used to work at, it was a thing to collect bags from all over. I have Wisco, Colorado, Chicago, Arizona, and now San Fran, and am always eager to add to my collection. :).

I also got chocolate (for personal needs), some bananas (DUH), and an additional bag of beet chips. And one for my dear friend who was so kind to let me stay with her:).

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My friend sautéed some veggies in coconut aminos + oil and some other stuff and we made salad bowls. I also ate more bread and half an avocado. And chocolate. Because chocolate.

Before bed, I enjoyed a white grapefruit I purchased at the Farmer’s Market the Day before. #SOFRESH. Have you ever had white grapefruit before? I had never!

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Then, it was Housewives (Orange County this time) + bed time.

Monday:

On Monday I had planned to attempt to get day-of tickets to Al Catraz, but ended up switching plans per recommendation of my friend Shawn who suggested I venture to Muir Woods National Monument.IMG_6659

I went with Shawn’s rec, and after a clusterfuck with my debit card not working and the bus route being messed up due to construction, I got in an Uber and headed on my way.

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I had put my Uber destination as a shuttle station for one of the shuttle buses that goes to Muir Woods, but after conversing with my Uber pool mates, realized that they were going to Muir Woods! Their final destination was Muir Woods, and they were in a hurry, so I asked the driver if I could just go to Muir Woods since he was headed there anyway and the Uber Pool mates didn’t want to waste the time dropping me off. He agreed! And didn’t even charge me extra. #win

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My Uber Pool mates also happened to be public health professors at a university (can’t remember which one exactly) in Austin, TX! How neat! I told them they were my #goals.

I got to Muir Woods around 11.

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There was no cell service/wifi which was pretty refreshing. I spent about an hour and a half walking around the grounds and scoping things out.

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Around 12:30, I headed back to the Visitor’s Center for some fuel. I ate a banana, an apple, a bagel with peanut butter, some random vegan ‘protein cookie’ thing (which I ate as a cookie, not as a protein supplement/meal replacer) and full bag of beet chips (lol). I packed food in anticipation of not having access to any, unaware that there’s an awesome looking organic cafe with vegan options at the visitors center…oh well…maybe next time? I guess I prob saved some $$, so at least there’s that.

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Then, I went on a longer hike way up into the tops of the mountains (? not sure these are actual mountains…but I hiked all the way up the steepness into the clouds).

Here’s me at the top (yes I asked a nice family to take my photo LIKE A SUPERFICIAL DORK.

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Muir Woods was SO lovely. Just look at the trees! The redwoods were ginormous. It was really refreshing to have a day to myself and disconnect.

Around 3 I decided I was pooped from walking up hill for over an hour and then downhill for an hour (after an hour + of walking flat surface pre-lunch) so I decided to catch the 3:15 shuttle to Sausalito.

I waited for the shuttle. 3:15 came. No bus. Not to complain or anything, but it was chilly. I was hangry. People were all grumpy and confused and wifi-less. Around 4:00pm, a bus rolled up and the driver told us that due to construction and a bus issue, they were short on busses and running behind.

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He then let on about 20 people (I was not one of them) and assured us another bus would come soon.

Around 4:30, another bus came. And the bus driver got off. And then he said it was time for his break….and to the displeasure of all of us waiting…proceeded to go pee and dissapeared for a while. Hey, everyone is entitled to a potty break….but I think the crowd was hangry, cold, and tired, and was quick to express displeasure lol.

I DID get on this bus when it came back tho. And eventually got to Sausalito around 5:15. I was debating taking an Uber back to SF since I was cold and exhausted, but then someone offered me a Ferry Ticket for $5 (regular price is $12) so I took it.

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The Ferry was….bumpy lol. The waves were a bit intense. But it was a nice experience.

The Ferry brought us to Pier 39. I walked back to my friend’s place. Along the way, I stumbled into Ghiradelli Square. I popped my head in to pee in their bathroom (lol) and as I walked in someone handed me free chocolate! I was super hangry so it was perfect. I didn’t take many pics there because I was so focused on peeing and eating and leaving.

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Near my friend’s hood, I grabbed a venti coconut milk chai from Starbucks while I waited for her to return. Then, she went to a kickball thing, and I just chilled. I also went out and grabbed some food at a nearby store (I just got a bunch of random things – multiple rolls, an almond butter packet, some potato thing (lol was def feeling carbs), and a salad. I ate that + a cookie and some chocolate.  And fell asleep at some point because I was pooped. Yay sleep!

Tuesday:

Tuesday was probably my fav day of the trip. I woke up and ate a banana with pb and then  took myself on a long walk to the famous Tartine Bakery. It was about a 50 minute walk from my friend’s place, but I had the time, and it was nice to see the city.

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I ordered the orange tea cake, which was the only vegan option. I really only wanted sourdough bread, but they said I’d have to buy a loaf….lame. The tea cake was pretty good, but not phenomenal for the $5 price tag. My friend said I couldn’t judge them since I ordered something vegan and that’s my own fault. It just wasn’t special. It was good, but only good (wouldn’t go back for it). It also wasn’t labeled vegan; I asked if there were any vegan options and that was it. So you could order it and not know it’s vegan.

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In my opinion, if a bakery is talented, or a chef is, they should be adaptable. I would have been happier if I just had my damn bread (was craving it), so I think my mood was already a bit skewed. What do you think?

Anyways, after that I got myself over to a train station and took the Cal Train for about an hour to Menlo Park to visit my friend who works at Facebook HQ! Lol yes, their address is really 1 Hacker Ave!

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Visiting Facebook was seriously awesome; thanks so much to my friend Travis for letting me visit!

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For lunch we hit up a food court type place (they have like 9 restaurants…it’s like an all-inclusive resort). I got a bunch of vegan kale ceaser (which was NOM), and some kelp noodles with pesto, a black rice salad, some bean dish, a curried cauliflower rice stuffed tomato, and tried famous Dutch crunch bread that was totally meant for a salad…but I just ate as a side 😀 (what can I say I love carbs lol).

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Then we ventured over to the Sweets Shop (yes, a whole resto for sweets) and I got a vegan vanilla froyo with chocolate covered hazelnuts, carob nibs, strawberries, and other random stuff. YUM. Oddly, this was the only frozen dessert I consumed in SF…not sure if it was just me…but I found the vegan dessert options lacking in the area?

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I couldn’t take pics inside, but we also went in some buildings. Holy cow they have amazing snack options. And beverage options.. Like, if I worked there I’d never not be consuming something. That’s all I will say lol.

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We also stopped at the Facebook gift shop and I got a super comfy eco-friendly Instagram shirt. #fashun. And some cool iconic Facebook Thumbs Up magnets.

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After that we took a bus to Insta HQ. And obvi I took some pics in these things lol.

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Then, my friend drove us back to SF. He worked out, while I charged my phone and answered some emails at Starbucks. At Starbucks I ordered a decaf iced Americano which was DEFIANTLY not decaf and I felt insane halfway through and asked if they made it wrong. They did. Blehh. Over-caffinated yuckies.

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Afterwords, we headed to dinner at Shizen, a vegan sushi place. It was supah cute inside!

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We got spicy soy shishito peppers, ginger miso ramen (my first time trying ramen!), a beet salad, and 3 sushi rolls (can’t remember which ones). My photos are blurry because by the time we ate it was like 9:00pm and I was HANG.GREE.

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OH! Also the best thing we ordered were these yummy sweet potato dumplings which were basically giant sweet potato tots. I could have eaten those all day errday.

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The food was yummy! A bit expensive tho IMO. I feel like SF is significantly more expensive for eating out than NYC…?

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Also, I feel meh about ramen, probably because I just don’t like broth with noodles in general (give me veggie soup or pasta…but broth with noodles? never been my thing). Maybe I should give it another go elsewhere, like a Ramen shop 🙂

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After food, it was late, and bed was on the agenda. I was going to go to Denver after SF, but last minute opted to go home instead (needed some me time/missed my baby), so I rescheduled my Denver trip for later this month (holy cow it’s August?!?!?! WTF), and went home to my baby. #NoRegrets.

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Overall, a good trip. Learned a lot and saw a lot. #success. Next time I’d def want to check out some more vegan-focused restaurants (I heard Vegan Burg is super good), but overall I had a good time. 8-). And it was lovely to see my friends!

Announcement: I’m Now On YouTube!

Hey there! Back from a crazy whirlwind 5-week teaching gig that came out of no where and swept me by my feet, followed by a fun-filled 5 day adventure vacation in San Francisco.

I’ve been feeling a bit unmotivated and out of sorts since returning from my trip. This sort of drove me crazy for a few days, but instead of judging my feelings I decided to sit with them, let them pass, and be gentle with myself and allow a few days to get my shit back together.

I’m going to do a little recap on SF on the blog, but I thought I’d have a post to share that I’m now on YouTubeI’m now on YouTube. Check it out here!

I’m new to the ‘Tube but am excited to play around with it. Requests for vids? LMK! Right now it’s super amateur but I’m hoping that with a few weeks of free time before I gear back up for school to just kinda mess around.

Give me your feedback!!

-Kbakes

Recap: The Seed Experience NYC – Cooking Demo with Guy Vaknin of Beyond Sushi

This weekend I was fortunate enough to win tickets to The Seed Experience courtesy of Beyond Sushi. They had a giveaway and I entered and somehow won! Whoohoo. So on Saturday and Sunday I trekked myself down to Soho and ate a lot of samples and talked to a lot of cool inspiring people and ate a lot more samples and had me a good time.

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The Seed Experience was a collection of plant-based speakers, demonstrations, films, samples, more samples, and what I was most interested in: COOKING DEMOS.

vegan goat cheese for days!

vegan goat cheese for days!

And yes! There was a cooking demo by the owner/executive chef of  my ALL time favorite restaurant Beyond Sushi. You better believe I went in squealing.

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fooooooood

So on Saturday afternoon after I drowned myself in new products like aloe water, maple water, tons and tons of vegan cheese and ice cream (which were all very delicious!) I watched Guy Vaknin (owner/executive chef of Beyond Sushi) make some rolls, speak about how he got where he was, and wow the crowd with incredible avocado filleting skills (seriously, you should have seen it).

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I’m planning to soon post a recipe with a how-to for making black rice sushi but I thought I’d dedicate a little time/space to speaking about Guy:

Turns out Guy started as a chef and did a lot of catering for kosher crowds. Kosher people have lots of dietary guidelines that do not allow them to eat certain things at certain times. I’m not going to pretend I understand the rules well, but Guy mentioned there was rule about not preparing and consuming fish and meat together. But Guy wanted to make a sushi roll appetizer for the crowds. So he started making vegetarian rolls. Though he’s a trained chef, he was not a sushi chef, nor even a vegetarian when he started this concept. He sort of learned it form another caterer, and when he was off duty had no other option other than to master the art.

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Guy, a culinary creative genius, used black rice in his sushi instead of white rice. He said he “saw the reaction,” and knew there was something special about this concept. He started bringing his black rice/vegetarian sushi to vegetarian food festivals, and got lots of positive crowd reactions, inquires, and press, he was inspired to go back to the kitchen and keep working. After a second year vegetarian food festivals, he decided to take a big risk, poured everything he had into one business concept, and started Beyond Sushi. He built the original location on 14th street (between 2nd & 3rd – see my original rave review here) and started by serving vegetarian sushi.

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For a few weeks, customers came in and Guy noticed that some were confused by the different vegetarian vs. vegan options, as some of his original menu items contained eggs and dairy in their rolls and/or sauces. Guy made a lot of personal reflections and seriously considered desires of customers, and decided to turn the restaurant completely vegan, and made the switch to a vegan lifestyle himself. He says he can now “not even picture” life any other way.

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The tiny sushi shop quickly exploded in popularity and has received endless rave reviews and press features for its creative and delicious approach to vegan dining and sushi. Guy still works there 7 days a week, usually in the downstairs kitchen area.

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He puts a phenomenal amount of thought and effort into every roll and every piece of sushi that beyond sushi produces. I was shocked at the time and effort the prep work behind each item on their menu. All the regular rolls have such depth and preparation – including marinating and fermenting of vegetables (often overnight) to get the flavors exactly where he wants them. The rolls of the month are all produced using local, seasonal produce from the Union Square Green Market, which although are more expensive, truly reflect the flavors of the season and the responsible sustainable drive behind the Beyond Sushi concept. It was humbling to see such a successful man so deeply passionate about his craft. He also addressed the possibility of expansion – turns out he has been approached for franchise opportunities, but wants to stay small so the quality of each roll can be carefully controlled. People are hard at work, Guy insists, every morning at 5am, julienning and prepping vegetables and sauces to stuff the rolls with flavor. This care and attention to detail are part of the reason Guy won’t go big (yet). “You can’t mass-produce this,” he said, looking down at his just-crafted roll.

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And as a huge fan having had almost every roll and wrap on the menu, I must agree with him. There is nothing like it. That’s why it’s my favorite restaurant and why I can’t even go to another sushi place since trying Beyond Sushi.

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So thank you, Guy, for the inspiration. And thank you Beyond Sushi for the tickets to The Seed, the inspiration, and for continuously delighting my taste buds. I will forever be a loyal fan and customer – wishing you all the success in the world !