Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Something that made me laugh

So I've started reading Eat Pray Love, which I am loving by the way, and in the first part of the book there were many parts that brought a smile to my face.  The author is a very witty writer and I have enjoyed these comical bits throughout the book.  So far, the one that made me actually laugh out loud when I was walking and reading on my way to work was the following, from Story 20:

So the author is talking about how she loved to try new foods when she was in Rome.  And so one day she was with her friend Luca, trying a Roman specialty (intestines of a new-born lamb) and how she comes to a point when she can no longer continue to eat it and so she pushes it aside for a salad.  The following is a direct quote from the book:

"You don't like it?" asks Luca, who loves the stuff.
"I bet Gandhi never ate lamb intestines in his life," I said.
"He could have."
"No, he couldn't have, Luca. Gandhi was a vegetarian."
"But vegetarians can eat this," Luca insisted.  "Because intestines aren't even meat, Liz.  They're just shit."



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful Even From Afar

First of all--Happy Thanksgiving!!!

So it's no surprise that we are not in the US celebrating Thanksgiving today. Nope, today was a work day in Chile, nothing special for the majority of the population here. I, however, have been wishing we were home. Even if I wouldn't eat the turkey now, for me, it's not about the food. It's about the company and being grateful. Although I'm not gonna lie, a great meal just makes the day all the more special.

I tried to plan a Thanksgiving celebration with friends here just like we did last year but this time of year is complicated--there are so many events going on that matching up all of our schedules is ridiculously difficult. Not to mention that it isn't a holiday so preparing a delicious meal for 10+ people means that it has to be done on a weekend. In short, after taking a look at our schedule and talking to my friends, it wasn't looking like we'd get to Thanksgiving until January (if that)!

But I do think it is super important to remember and put in the forefront everything that we are thankful for. And that is what I intend to do....just like a million other bloggers out there. I might even try to incorporate this idea of a gratitude journal into my daily life. I was just given a super cute little flip pad for my birthday that would be perfect to jot down a daily or weekly gratitude list. Anywho, that is a bit of a tangent. Back to the point.

This year, I am so thankful...

...for my wonderfully sweet husband,

...for my crazy little fur child, even though she sometimes causes me TOO much stress like with this whole getting spayed process,

...for my family and friends back home who I miss so dearly,

...for my friends who are my family here in Chile,

...for the fact I have been able to venture around the world, or rather the Americas, and learn about other cultures,

...that two of my best friends got to come visit us in Chile this year (Nichelle & Staci)

...that our loved ones are healthy for the most part, that I have come into a new-found love of reading, that I can cook and have the freedom to choose how I eat, that my husband and I have stable jobs that are helping us prepare for the move back to the US, that I have figured out what I want to study even though the where and when aren't quite clear, that the 33 miners were found alive and rescued, for dark chocolate, for massages, for roses and gerberas and any other flowers, for late harvest wine (my fave), for the fact that we survived the earthquake, for yoga which has helped me find more balance in my life, for the ability to not be financially burdened, that I have learned so many lessons from living in Chile, that I came upon a little store called Lush, and many but many things more!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What's Wrong With Our Food System

"Think local, choose organic, know your farmer and know your food."

This video was passed to me through the gringa group and while I think this kid is a bit too rehearsed in his speech, more people need to hear his message and understand exactly what he is talking about. Most all points he touched upon can be read more in depth in The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It is a great book that will lay out all the information on not only the conventional food industry, but also the giant organic industry and small local organic industry. Then you can make your own choices about how you want to eat but at least you will have all the information to make an informed decision, instead of an ignorant one that the food companies hope we all make.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy Meal Shelf Life

Now, I am sure most people my age remember being taken to McDonalds and getting a Happy Mean when they were a kid. I used to go with my grandparents on the weekends and I loved getting those toys. While I sure enjoyed my time and meals at McDonalds, I now know how toxic they are (hopefully they weren't that toxic when I was younger) after watching Supersize Me and now this youtube video (both of which I suggest you watch):

Just about as toxic as the link I posted to the nasty cool whip experiment a while back!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

First Experience at the Vega Central

After almost 3 years of living in Santiago Christian and I finally ventured to the Vega Central today. The Vega is basically a huge fruit and veggie market in the Recoleta neighborhood of Santiago. It is known for having the best variety and prices for fruits and veggies, however we had never been there for a number of reasons. They were all pretty silly reasons when I think about it now and I am SO glad that we went today! Seriously the variety is unbeatable. There were a ton of things that I didn't even recognize, especially in the Peruvian stands. The quality varies from stand to stand, but overall is great since there are hundreds of booths to choose. We parked the car on the inside of the Vega where it would be safer than out on the street and it allowed us to make trips to the car to put away the kilos and kilos of fruits & veggies that we got! Today's venture was a HUGE success--the market was way nicer and cleaner that I thought it would be. They vendors weren't shouting at us or whistling at me like I have experience in other ferias either. It was busy, but manageable.

So after a little over 50 minutes, Christian and I had purchased the following--all for about $34 USD:

  • 7 artichokes
  • 5 zucchini
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 2 orange bell peppers
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 3 heads of garlic
  • 12 huevos del campo (equivalent of free-range eggs)
  • 2 kilos of carrots
  • 1 kilo of pears
  • 1 kilo of apples
  • 1 kilo of camote peruano (sweet potatoes...or so I hope)
  • 4 kilos of strawberries (this cost us a whopping $4!!!!!)
  • 1 kilo of cherries
  • 1/4 kilo of ostra mushrooms
  • 1.5 kilos of banana
  • 1/2 kilo tomato
  • 1 kilo avocado
All of this for only $34 dollars! Amazing! I would say that all together we are taking about 16 kilos (or 35 lbs) of fruits and veggies! Mmmmm can't wait to get started cooking!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Halloween Costume Recap

Costumes were Christian's brilliant ideas.....not only that, but he made almost all of the costumes (including my hat). The only parts we bought were the guns, handcuffs, and badges.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Follow-up article on posture

Kind of a coincidence that I write about my posture today, then happen to click on the Vegetarian Times website and see an article regarding posture and why you need to improve it. Check it out here.....it has some great exercises that can be used to help strengthen your back muscles!

Working on my Posture

It goes without saying that most people could have much better posture than they do.  We live in a world now which is mostly sedentary and sitting in front of a computer for hours on end tends to cause us to relax back in the chair and let our shoulders hunch over.  Our bodies can be surprisingly lazy if we let them and the more you let them, the more they want to be lazy.  The opposite is true too though--or at least I have found it to be: the more I am active, the more my body wants me to be active.  Could explain why I am hating having a job where I have to sit in front of a computer allllll freaking day long when I would much rather be moving around.  Not that I am tied to my chair...I'm not.  I can get up and walk around.  But I can't really accomplish anything if not at my computer save the chance contract that I print out and read on paper, which I can do standing up in my small office area.  And I do do that sometimes.  But 99% of my work is tied to the computer and I can't stand up and work let alone be in movement and get things done.  

I have noticed that in the past few years since I graduated college and entered the office world, my posture has been suffering.  This is on top of the fact that I am not taking ballet classes either which were a constant reminder for years to maintain my good posture in and out of class--practicing outside of class made class go ten times better because my muscles were already used to it. I used to practice ballet anywhere I was.....especially back in high school in my English and Spanish classes.  I was in a small high achieving class and so things were more relaxed.  I was alway stretching, or sewing my point shoes while we discussed the books we had read, etc.  In fact, they nicknamed me Dancing Blonde (my hair was blonde at the time).  I remember that I actually grew about a half inch thanks to ballet, although I have most surely lost it since I stopped dancing.  

My husband has been having back pain due to poor posture and so this topic has been on my mind lately. I have been trying to remember to have good posture at work even though the bad habit of slouching is so easy to slip into.  I have been thinking about "pulling up", as we say in ballet, as if a string was tied to my head and was pulling me up.  I walk around my office pulled up and try to remember to sit properly at my desk as well.  I try to get up and move around every once in a while too, but some days you just can't get away from your desk.  I use this technique in yoga too because doing yoga with proper posture and with poor posture are two completely different things.  I want to teach it to Christian but he might think I am crazy.  In any case, I have to think of something to help him with his poor posture and to work his back muscles to become stronger.  One idea I have, that he is open to, is that he take an introduction yoga class which is for one month, twice a week.  I think yoga is a good option for him since he doesn't like gyms or lifting weights.  He likes to run, and while I think running is a great exercise if you like it, he still needs something that will challenge his muscles (similar to weight lifting), especially his upper body.  This is not to say that running doesn't challenge your muscles, it does....but he specifically needs upper body strength and since he doesn't like lifting weights, I think yoga is the next best choice.  So we'll see....hopefully in December he'll enroll.  I might take the class with him just for the heck of it.....plus it will be a fun couple thing to do since he refuses to take salsa dancing classes with me.  (Anyone have a gay guy friend who wants to take dance classes with me? haha....)


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Still not back in my routine

I had a great gym routine going until the last few weeks of August when life decided to get crazy.  I was hitting up the gym 4-5 times a week, twice for Body Balance (love starting and ending my work week with this class), twice for early morning Body Pump.  Then I traveled to Buenos Aires for work (def not complaining about that though), things at work got crazy busy as my team has been "restructured" meaning I am now pretty much the remaining team member (there were once 3 of us), Christian had surgery, and one of my best friends visited.....all in the span of just under 2 months.  So basically my morning Body Pump classes have been thrown out the window.  I went last week and was super happy I did, but have not gone since.  My alarm rings at 6am and my body wants nothing to do with getting up and working out. Not to mention that on those days I do generally end up feeling more tired and wiped out.  I think I may need to up my caloric intake on those days because I am pretty sure it is tied to not having eaten enough by the afternoon and thus feeling very blah.

I have been going to the gym though...even if not to my usual classes.  This week has been elliptical week.  I was able to get a lot of The Omnivore's Dilemma read while sweating it out on the elliptical.  Then I would do abs and back work and then stretch for a good 15-20 minutes.  Today I think I will do more elliptical and maybe some power-walking, or perhaps go to the Baile Entretenido class for a while.  Tomorrow the plan is to double up and go to Body Balance and then stay for Body Pump.  Then I can free up my Saturday to hit up the Mercado Paula Gourmet which I am super excited to check out.  There are actually classes today and tomorrow that I would love to attend, but sadly they are during work hours.  So Saturday it will be.

It is sometimes frustrating to me to have fallen out of my routine.  I like having my gym time planned out and dedicated because I am less likely to skip it....which is why I am trying so hard to get back into it!  Plus my gym membership ends at the end of January and at that point I have to evaluate whether I sign up again and for how long, or if I maybe sign up for  a yoga studio to try that out for a while.  So I want to get as much out of the gym as possible in these last 3 months.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Great Food Book

I just finished (today actually) reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and I must tell you it is one damn good book! While I eventually hope to write my thoughts on some of the points he makes in the book and stories he tells, I thought I'd at least write a short post to tell you to GO READ THIS BOOK in case that eventually never happens.

Everyone needs to read this book, especially if you are American. It should be required in middle/high school. It is that good.

It explains the history of four meals (as the caption below the title explicitly says) but in a way that is interesting, thought-provoking and informative....and you won't even feel like you are reading! It is as if Michael Pollan is narrating these stories to you himself. I loved living out (in my imagination) these food adventures with him and becoming educated on the history of where our food comes from--something that so many of are ignorant to.

I think I might even re-read it I liked it so much.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Allergies gone crazy

I didn't start having seasonal allergies until high school....or maybe I just don't remember having them as a kid.  But I do remember taking some allergy medicine during the springtime in high school and then for sure when I moved to Boulder for college.  While my hometown is located in the mountains and is very green with pine trees, shrub oak, grass, etc., the greenery in Boulder was different and my allergies went crazy when I lived there.  I remember going out to get my car and it just being covered in a thick yellow dust......pollen, and lots of it.  After a few years in Boulder I noticed that my allergies got better, even though I still took allergy medicine sometimes, they weren't nearly as bad my 3rd and 4th years there in comparison with my 1st and 2nd years.  What did happen in those last few years was that my allergies back home got worse than they had been.  Apparently my body was getting used to the pollen of the different cities and when I switched it up and went to the other town, my immune system went nuts.

My first year in Chile, spent in Viña del Mar, didn't include allergies from what I remember.  Perhaps the sea breeze kept them at bay.  I wouldn't be surprised if it honestly helped.  However since moving to Santiago in 2008, my allergies have bothered me again during the spring. And while this is my 3rd spring in Santiago, they are not getting any better.  In the past, I took lots of allergy medicine.  Last year I bought heaps and heaps of it to keep the headaches, stuffy noses and other no-fun symptoms at bay.  But this spring, along with a lot of the changes I have undergone this year, I am trying to not depend on medicine to keep the symptoms at bay.  I am tired of feeding my body medicines just to cover up symptoms instead of actually trying to fix the problem.  Plus, it just doesn't seem like a good idea to fill our bodies with all these chemicals and toxins that mess up the way our body can naturally heal itself.  

What I have noticed is that my allergies only go crazy in the mornings on my walk to work and in the late afternoons on my way home--basically when I am outside.  At work, since we have the central air system, I don't normally have many symptoms except for the occasional sneeze.  However during this past three-day weekend I was in allergy hell.  Yesterday was the worst of all the days....it was also the hottest in Santiago which may be one of the problems.  I was stuffy, sneezing, and kind of fog-headed most of the day when I was cooking and getting stuff done.  Once I started to relax a bit and read, the symptoms subsided a bit.  

I am now going to start looking for some more natural remedies for allergies.  Yoga seems to be one side of the coin (for the relaxation since stress makes allergies worse), I know some local honey would probably help too (to get my system used to the pollen from the inside out) and there are some herbal medicines that work as anti-histamines.  I might pick one up today just to have when my allergies get overbearing.  There are also some foods that are anti-inflammatory that are supposed to help, so I definitely need to start eating them.  Most of all though I'd like my body to stop reacting so harshly to the allergins. 


Monday, November 1, 2010

Enjoying time with the husband

Life has been quite busy lately which has meant that Chris and I don't get to see each other all that much during the week. We savor our time together on the weekends, which has been great for our relationship even though the whole routine has been somewhat a challenge. This weekend happened to be a three-day weekend (love it...I wish every weekend was the same!) and was timed perfectly as we both needed to relax and enjoy each other's company.

We had nice weather this weekend although today was a bit too hot for my liking--in the 90s. Just a preview of what summer will be like though.

I cooked a ton this weekend: vegan banana zucchini chocolate bread, homemade whole wheat margarita pizza, artichokes with ricotta on toast, fajitas with all the fixin's (beans for me and chicken for Chris), penne a la broccoli, quinoa lentil salad and chickpeas & pinto beans for later meals. I am thinking about baking another zucchini bread before bed now that the sun has gone down. Although I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning, it was nice to eat a variety of foods and enjoy them with the hubs.

Now I am sad the weekend is almost over.....I could go on like this forever!

Disclaimer—La Chilengüita is a blog created upon my personal experiences and which expresses my personal opinion that in no way represents the views my employer, family or friends.