Food

Diet + Exercise. They’re Just Four [And Eight] Letter Words.

You know those people who just absolutely love working out? Like, they freak out if they don’t get a workout in every single day? They hit several group workout classes a week, they do cardio every day, plus they go to the gym and do strength training.

Yeah, I’m definitely NOT one of those people.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love to run. It’s very therapeutic in the sense that it burns extra energy and allows me to get my head on straight [writer’s mind makes you a little extra loco at times]. The actual physical act of running, though? So not my fav.

I truly envy those of you out there who have such a passion for working out. I have honestly made a solid effort to become one. I commit to these workout challenges [Tone It Up, for those females out there that are interested – actually love their programs, the timing of them just never works well with my life], I set my alarm to run before work. I’ve even been seeing a personal trainer since February [MAPT Fitness, for those fit folk out there who want an awesome trainer who acts like your brother and best friend and doesn’t treat sessions like freakin’ bootcamp – if I wanted to join the military I would have] to try and make a habit out of working out. And literally NONE of it works for me. I get so burnt out, and life gets in the way.

I’m also not somebody who can commit to eating healthy for every meal, every single day. To be completely honest, trying to work out and worry about what I’m putting into my body is freakin’ EXHAUSTING. It’s a full-time job [maybe this is why people hire other people to do it for them – personal trainers, dietitians..]. I, for one, do not have the time or energy to put into meal prepping and planning workouts every day.

Let’s be real for a sec. Does anybody actually believe that your body will be absolutely RUINED if you have “cheat” meals, cocktails, miss a workout, etc? You guys, you will be FINE. And look, I get it – I know exercise and nutrition are super important. Especially in this day and age with all the genetically modified food that’s sold at our grocery stores, and how polluted our earth has become. I totally get it. But we only get one life! We can’t be so obsessed with these two things that we forget to just enjoy living.

Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a meal, overeat, eat poorly. Don’t feel guilty for needing more sleep one morning instead of going for a run. In this day and age, it’s all about enjoying the little things in life. Indulge yourself. We get so caught up in keeping up with the Jones’, pushing ourselves to be the best that we can, spreading ourselves too thin because we have mortgages, utility bills, car payments, children, pets.. Give yourself the okay to let your guard down every once in a while. A weekend [or even a week!] off from your obsessions won’t kill you.

For some people, I think there’s a fear that if they step off track for even one second they will fall off whatever wagon they’re on. And THAT is unhealthy. Using exercise and nutrition as a crutch for other things in your life is not good, and if you are one of these people then you desperately need a vacation far away from your daily life. Like, STAT!

You guys, I am obviously by absolutely no means a professional at anything I talk about on my blog, especially diet and nutrition [seeing as I literally just stated that I cannot stick to either one for very long]. But, that said, I do wholeheartedly believe in doing things that are good for you. I believe it’s healthy to unwind, put your walls down, indulge, relax – I’m sure you work hard, so spend some of that well earned cash on a weekend away. YOU DESERVE IT!

As Donna and Tom would say, “Treat yo’ self!” [Parks and Rec – if you haven’t watched it, it’s on Netflix, and it’s hilarious].

Advertisements

RAWr

Real talk – I care waaayyyyy more about Bella’s well being than my own.

I mean, I would legit starve myself for a week if it meant that my dog could eat and survive to see another day.

Yeah.. I’m a bonafide dog mom. And DAMN PROUD OF IT.

I may have mentioned before that poor Bella has struggled with sensitive skin from the get-go. When I adopted her at eleven weeks old, she had a mild form of mange [demodex], which is relatively easy to treat if recognized and diagnosed early enough. And through trial-and-error with different kibbles, I learned that she has a very common gluten intolerance, as well as a sensitivity to fish-based food formulas. It’s basically been a constant uphill battle with trying to find a dog food that was good quality and helped her skin allergies.

**SIDENOTE: something I learned recently in my research – if you’re feeding your pets a gluten-free chicken- or turkey-based food, make sure that the meats the company uses are grass-fed. Because grain-fed animals bear grain-fueled meat. So, essentially, you aren’t really feeding your pet grain-free food at all. ALWAYS make sure you do your research!

I thought we’d finally found a solution with a brand called FROMM [I highly recommend this food, actually, for those of you whose pets don’t have horrendous skin issues and are willing to shell out some extra moola for a good quality food], but in our situation it seemed to only temporarily mask Bella’s skin sensitivities instead of help them long-term.

So the hunt was on again.

I am constantly doing research on the proper diet for Doberman Pinschers specifically. As is typical with the internet, though, every blog and every website say something different. You can basically do all the research you want but nothing will actually matter until you try things out for yourself.

I’ve always been interested in the raw diet, but I never knew anybody who had fed their dogs raw, and had heard it was pricey so I never looked further into it. But after hitting yet another dead end in Bella’s diet, I decided that maybe it was time we tried something new. Drastically new.

As luck would have it, a coworker of mine happens to feed her two black Labradors raw. And has been for six years. She hooked me up with a bunch of links to sites and gave me some pointers on where to find stuff locally. But since I’m totally green when it comes raw feeding, I decided to do some more research before jumping in feet first. And that’s when I stumbled on a company out of Maine called ReelRaw.

If you’re considering raw feeding, I HIGHLY recommend this company. You can email them before you make any decisions and their staff will answer any questions you may have. The BEST PART about this company is that they MEAL PREP FOR YOU! This is honestly what swayed my decision. Having never prepared and handled raw food for my dog, I wasn’t sure exactly what to feed her, how to properly introduce the diet, and how much to give her. This company does all of that for you [PS – this is not an endorsement, I just really like how this company works].

Literally the one and only downside is that if you live on the west coast, it takes roughly two weeks for your order to arrive. But when the package arrived at my office a WHOLE DAY EARLY, I was like a kid in a candy store. [Yes, that is literally the point of desperation I had gotten to with wanting and needing Bella to be healthy. I get excited about raw food deliveries].

We are only a week into the new diet so I can’t say for sure if this will be the winning food route for Bella, yet. But STAY TUNED – I will definitely post my observations in a month or so..

I know that raw feeding isn’t ideal for everybody. I’m not trying to convince anybody to switch over unless you have the means to do so and are willing to try. It is more expensive than kibble, and it’s really not worth cutting corners to cut cost because in the long run you’re still paying more but lower priced meat means lower quality meat.

But what I am asking is that you DO YOUR RESEARCH when it comes to the food that you’re feeding Fido. I mean, you see the way that eating McDonald’s every day effects the human body.. The kibble you’re feeding your pet could potentially be doing the same kind of damage.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

Do any of you guys feed your pets raw? I’d love to hear thoughts and feedback!

Thanks for Giving

Pumpkins and cornucopias and turkeys – oh my!

I’m sure all of you are right in the middle of your pre-Thanksgiving fast (no real food for the next two weeks.. Juice, juice, juice!), and mentally preparing yourselves for the substantial loss your bank account is about to take due to all of the holiday food (and Black Friday shopping) that is to come. However, while we all selfishly await the approach of the holiday that is supposed to reflect the love and appreciation we have for each other, maybe it’s time we actually sit and think a minute about what we truly are grateful for.

This past weekend, I had plans to write a paper and take photos for my photography class, maybe have my parents over for dinner, and of course take my dogs out to exercise. Something happened on Friday that prevented me from getting any of these things done (nothing life or death or really that serious, but it put a hold on all of my plans). And while the schoolwork is important, it really made me realize that I’ve been putting things that truly matter on the backburner.

Every year around Thanksgiving, something happens to stop me in my tracks. Usually it’s something small, but it always makes an impact. It always reminds me that this is truly a time for giving love and giving thanks. It is not a time for taking, and it is not a time to be selfish. We are embarking on the busiest and most stressful time of year, but it is exactly the right time to slow down our lives and step away to relish in the littlest moments.

Thanksgiving was originally the meal shared between the Indians and the settlers – a day in which differences were set aside and a common agreement was shared. Now, we come together as a family and stuff our faces with expensive food and overindulge in wine and spirits. Are we really thankful for this feast?

Maybe I’m just being cynical, but if we were really thankful for what we have, wouldn’t we just have another regular meal like it was just any given day? Shouldn’t we be preparing a meal for people who are not fortunate enough to afford such grandeur on their own? To me, that’s what Thanksgiving should be about. The Indians shared their crops and the animals they’d hunted with the settlers.. Shouldn’t we, the more fortunate, be sharing with the less?

I think I could happily forgo a Thanksgiving feast every year, knowing that someone who has never experienced the pleasure of a real holiday before was given the opportunity.

Just the Tip

Friday night.

Date night, girls night, family night.. Whatever the occasion may be, you know you’re going out to eat somewhere. You know it’s going to be a great night because of the great company. And though we don’t really realize it, having a great server makes our night just that much better.

I have worked in restaurants since I was 18-years-old. I have experienced every single personality you can think of, in fellow coworkers and customers alike. Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes, we all have bad days. Leaving a server a bad tip, though, pretty much ruins their day.

tip

Now, some of you may be unaware of the tipping standard here in America, which is completely understandable, as it has changed quite immensely in the 8 years that I have worked in the restaurant industry. If I can remember correctly, the typical tipping percentage when I was 18 was somewhere around 10-12%. Recently, it went up from 15% to 20%. It sounds astronomical, but if your bill is small it is usually not a large number. And, quite honestly, if you went out to eat, you consciously chose to avoid the muss and fuss of picking a recipe, cooking it, and then cleaning it up. You actively chose to go out and pay someone else to do all of that for you. So, at the end of the day, don’t you think that the person that brings you your food, keeps your glass full, laughs at your dumb drunk jokes, and takes your flack when your food doesn’t come out EXACTLY as you wanted deserves a nice, big tip for it? I know I speak for the entire restaurant industry when I say that YES, they do.

I will be the first to admit that there are some terrible servers out there. How can someone with absolutely NO personality have a customer service job? It really boggles my mind. These select individuals (as few and far between as they are) probably don’t deserve a full 20% tip. But the ones who do are the ones who work their asses off. We tend to forget when we’re out to eat that servers always have multiple tables. So not only are they dealing with YOUR table, but they’re dealing with at least three others as well; juggling all four groups, every single order from each table, keeping drinks filled, entertaining everyone – it’s exhausting, and it’s a lot of work. And they are working for crap wages – minimum wage to be exact. So when you don’t leave a nice tip, they are relying on $8 an hour (or whatever minimum wage is in your area) to survive. People don’t have jobs for fun, people have jobs because they have bills to pay and they need to survive. Now do you see why a nice tip from you can easily be the cherry on top to someone’s day?

If you are a person who is snobby and you feel some sort of entitlement when you go out to eat, you should probably see a doctor – chances are you’ve had gallons of spit in your food, and chances are it did not come from the cleanest employee in the restaurant.

There is an Australian exchange student in one of my classes, who recently showed me an article about how Australian’s are the worst tippers in the world. (To read the article, click here). So don’t go feeling all bad about yourselves just yet. Turns out, we are one of the only countries in which servers tips are not included in their hourly wages. You can just think of yourself as a recent immigrant, just learning the crazy American ways.

So here’s a tip: leave a tip!

tipp