Filed under: Heath + Beauty, lifestyle, personal | Tags: alcohol, benefits of sobriety, reducing alcohol consumption, sobriety, wine
Every day since my last sip on Monday night I have wanted to come home and have a glass (or 2 or 3) of red wine. And every day I have succeeded in reminding myself of my goal. My disappointment over not completing the challenge would ruin any enjoyment from having even a sip of wine.
My commitment to completing the week without alcohol began from a desire to start making some sacrifices in my life. I’ve been a bit glutinous in the last year – indulging in food & drink and skipping exercise for no reason other than laziness. After a year of my laissez-faire lifestyle, my body started telling me it wasn’t really up for that sort of behavior anymore. Cutting out alcohol for a week seemed an appropriate first step towards making a change. While I was contemplating the change, I thought back to this time last year and remembered training for the Austin Half Marathon. I remembered that I wasn’t partying as much because I had workouts to complete. I made sure to get enough rest, to eat intelligently, and to drink in moderation. I was consciously taking better care of my body so I could complete my goal. Though I haven’t set any fitness goals yet this year, it seemed natural to mimic those lifestyle choices from a year ago in order to get my body back into a good routine. I refused to have to buy new clothes because of weight gain. No stinkin’ way.
The most surprising discovery from this experiment was how I felt during the business week. I slept SOUNDLY through the night. That never happens. For years I’ve blamed Milo for my restless nights. But now that I realize that it may have been ME keeping HIM up, not the other way around. I was so surprised by this that I did a little research and found that in most cases, even though alcohol is a depressant and can help people initially fall asleep faster, alcohol can be disruptive to the second half of sleep for a variety of reasons. This in addition to the obvious fact that if I’m going to sleep with alcohol in the system, I’m probably going to sleep a lot later than normal. As a result of my restful sleep, I felt energetic and refreshed during the day. Having a clear mind, positive attitude and more energy made my work day much better.
Though I fully intend to celebrate on Tuesday with a glass of wine and a pat on the back, I expect to cork my imbibing for at least one more week. Most likely it will be longer. I see it as a long-term weight and spending reduction plan, and also a way to feel better day in and day out. I have a handful of celebrations coming up that I will make exceptions for (can’t take all the fun out of life), but I hope to find a more moderate, less excessive way to enjoy myself in 2010.
Cheers to those who’ve supported me & to those of you trying to do the same for yourselves!
Filed under: Heath + Beauty, personal | Tags: no alcohol for a week, sobriety
I’ve often threatened to spend a week away from alcohol but it hasn’t happened yet (not purposefully anyway). Because life has stabilized, because I have begun to right my exercise wrongs, because I’d love to cut some unnecessary calories from my diet, and unneccessary spending out of my budget and because I don’t have any alcohol-exclusive events planned this week, I’ve decided to start an experiment today: no alcohol for a week.
There is one small caveat to this experiment. I opened a wonderful bottle of Red Bicyclette pinot noir Saturday night and have about 1/2 a glass left to sip, which I am most certainly going to do tonight. So technically, the week will begin tomorrow. (And so the procrastination begins. No no no, I’m kidding. I’m sticking to my guns on this one!)
As I make my way through the week I’ll be updating here to log my journey, and hold myself accountable to my decision. I’m also using the opportunity to look a little harder into the long-term affects of alcohol on the body. While I am super health-conscious in other aspects of my life, the negative affects of imbibing were always pretty easy to ignorantly overlook. With any luck this experiment will lead to positive change in body & budget!
Filed under: Austin, food, Garden, go green, Heath + Beauty, outdoors | Tags: arkie's grill, austin gardening, fall vegetable plantings, square foot gardens, summer vegetable garden, texas vegetable gardens, the natural gardener
It’s July 29th and I’m enjoying my first semi-official “snow day” in Texas.
The Pennsylvania snow days that I’m accustomed to usually come in the winter, and they’re usually accompanied by snow. In Texas, there is no snow and there is no winter. Today’s “snow day” was courtesy of an electrical transformer that blew up outside of our office this morning and wiped out all power to the office complex, with no hopes of repair for at least 8 or 9 hours.
In celebration of my snow day, I met Melissa for breakfast at Arkie’s Grill on East Cesar Chavez (which is only open M-F). Not the topic of this post, but if you’re reading this in Austin: GO TO ARKIE’S! And go for breakfast! It’s like stepping into a movie filmed in the early 1970′s. And the pancakes were the best I’ve had anywhere – even better than Kerbey Lane. Bold statement, I know. Just trust me on this one.
Following breakfast I drove out to the Natural Gardener with a shopping list of supplies. After a month of traveling & ignoring important things like home, health, sanity, etc, I’d decided it was time to renovate a bunch of things in my life. The garden was the first natural step.
I came home with mulch, a Purple Cherokee heirloom tomato, an Arkansas Traveler heirloom tomato, a blackfoot daisy, a rosemary plant, cucumber seeds, organic foliar fertilizer, peat pots, and two starter plug trays. In the next 3 hours four tomato plants were removed in their entirety. The two heaviest producers of the spring were spared but cut to 1/3 their size. It’s likely that they will set a second set of fruit in the fall. I cut back both of my basil plants, removed arugula that had already gone to seed, weeded the beds, and added in bonemeal fertilizer. I mulched the landscape bed, planted my new finds, harvested any remaining tomatoes and hung my herb trimmings inside to dry.
In the coming weeks I’ll be adding cucumber, squash, cantaloupe and broccoli to my garden, which will most likely require a garden expansion. Tis the season to prepare for a fall harvest! With one season already under my belt I’m excited to begin a new cycle (but also wondering when Texas farmers ever get to take a break!). Here’s a few more pics from today’s productivity… how’s everyone else’s gardens doing? Any exciting finds to report??
Filed under: Austin, food, go green, Heath + Beauty, lifestyle | Tags: Alexander Family Farm, alternative food resources, Austin locavore, becoming a co-op member, food co-op, food cooperatives, Green Gate Farms, grocery co-op, Johnson's Backyard Garden, local food, locavore, Pure Luck Dairy, tomato sandwiches, Vital Farms, wheatsville co-op
When I moved to Texas in the fall of 2004, I shared a tiny 400 s.f. apartment within walking distance to the University of Texas with Zack, my then-boyfriend. With not much room to roam indoors, we spent a lot of time walking the streets of downtown Austin. One our most regular trips was just across the street to Wheatsville Co-op. There weren’t many weeks that went by that we didn’t pop in and grab a 4-pack of their delicious vegan chocolate chip cookies.
While we were living in that apartment, the old shopping center that stood between us and Wheatsville was torn down and a new mixed use development took it’s place. Years later my hair stylist took a position at a salon that operates out of the new building. Today after having my hair done I decided to walk across the street and do my grocery shopping at good ol’ Wheatsville.
The store has changed a lot since I used to shop there – they’re currently under construction to expand their building footprint. I was delighted to see local farms and producers represented throughout the store – Green Gate Farms, Johnson’s Backyard Garden, Pure Luck Dairy, Alexander Family Farm, Vital Farms… the list goes on and on. I picked up a few pounds of tomatoes from Green Gate Farms, I had attended a lecture on seed-saving hosted by two of their employees at the Sustainable Food Center this week and was curious what their produce was like. I also grabbed a few from JBG, just to compare flavor. I brought home more Pure Luck goat feta (which I am in love with – first on arugula salads, now mixed with my homegrown yellow pear & cherry tomatoes w/a little Texas olive oil, fresh basil & fresh oregano). I picked up a dozen eggs from Alexander’s Family Farm, which I haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying yet. And, of course, some tortillas from El Lago so that I can make some breakfast tacos in the morning.
As I was checking out I decided to make the commitment to become a member of the co-op. As my money seems to be disappearing more and more quickly these days, I’ve been turning to grocery stores more often to make my food purchases (always choosing Texas products when available and turning away from anything out of season in the US!). Wheatsville is the perfect halfway point between my luxurious, expensive mornings spent at Boggy Creek and the high traffic but low-cost insanity of Central Market. Not only that, but I am now part of a democratic organization that isn’t focused on profitability, but maintains a mission to “create a self-reliant, self-empowering community of people that will grow and promote a transformation of society toward cooperation, justice, and non-exploitation.” They aim to “serve a broad range of people by…using efficient methods which avoid manipulation of the customer and minimize exploitation of the producer and the environment” (copied out of the Wheatsville Co-op Mission Statement). Now that’s a warm fuzzy we don’t get from shopping at H.E.B., isn’t it? I’m excited that most of my favorite local producers are represented at Wheatsville, and better yet – as an owner I have the ability to tell the board if there’s another product/producer who I’d like to see offered at the store. It is, afterall, partly my store now.
I came home and fixed myself a tomato sandwich with the Green Gate tomatoes and some yummy yummy fresh multi-grain bread baked by a local Great Harvest Bakery here in town. It was delicious. I’m looking forward to many more years of tomato sandwiches supplied by Wheatsville, and a continued involvement with the cooperative community!