Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday Thrirteen 09/01/2011

Yes, I have been busy.  Therefore, this blog will be a round-up of the rest of our summer; a mish-mash of activities, travel, food, books, fun and somewhere in there something I like to call my "24-hour hedonistic behavior".  Yeah, read on:

1.  We did another family walk, this time along the beach.  There's a walking path and riding path that is a total of 6 miles round trip.  We had only planned on walking the path (silly mommy for thinking I could keep the kids OFF the beach itself).  You can guess what happened.  Not even halfway into our walk the kids decided to descend upon the beach, which I was TOTALLY unprepared for.  The only thing I brought was a mat, snacks and water.  We kicked off our shoes and began walking along the shore, collecting shells.  Then we sat and enjoyed the sunny day while the kids made sand castles.  Despite the fact that my daughter got soaking wet while trying to run from an incoming wave (even that didn't phase her) it was a relaxing and fun day.  It was a nice reminder that I don't have to plan everything to enjoy it (translation:  I am a CONTROL FREAK!).

2.  In a prior post about our trip to Texas I mentioned several times the anxiety I was feeling about flying.  Yet, after we got home I told my husband that I wanted to fly again.  It wasn't as bad as I thought (plus the drugs helped) but really, it came down to the fact that I wanted my kids to get used to flying.  With that, we flew up to San Franciso for our 10th annual family reunion on August 27th.  Our flights were delayed both ways!  On our way home our flight was delayed because the plane that we were supposed to fly on had some kind of mechanical problem and was taken out of service.  I know I'd rather sit and wait for a plane that DOESN'T have any mechanical problems but 5 hours at the airport is a long time, especially when the flight is only a little over an hour!  The kids handled the delay well and were extremely excited when we finally landed in L.A.  Upon seeing the LAX light sculptures my son declared, "There's no place like home!"

3.  Our family reunion was held in San Mateo.  It was nice and warm and in an area befitting of a great family gathering, with a park, grassy areas, and a sectioned eating area.  It was the complete opposite of San Francisco which was windy during the day and chilly and wet with heavy fog at night.  I don't know how I used to hit the clubs with my girlfriends late at night in that weather, wearing, well...you know...not so warm clothes!  Regardless, seeing my family is always a good thing no matter what the weather is!

4.  If you know me well, you know I eat pretty clean, as do my kids.  When I say clean, I mean we refrain from eating junk food or fast food, we stay away from processed or packaged foods, we limit our intake of any white foods; basically sugar, bread and pasta.  We treat sweets as such....a treat, not an everyday occurence.  When I cook I make sure our meals include lots of veggies with fruit for dessert.  I have 2 kids with special needs, one with mild heart defects and one whose bladder is basically paralyzed, plus diabetes runs in my family.  I can't HELP but want to eat healthfully.  Now, I will admit that about 3 months before our trip to Texas I began feeding my anxiety about flying with sugar.  Lots of sugar.  Much more than usual.  So MUCH more that it was unusual!  I knew what I was doing...trying to comfort with sugar, but I could also feel the difference in my energy and as tired as I was I couldn't sleep well, plus I felt myself dragging when I ran.  Anyway, after our trip I slowly started to cut back on the sugar.  On July 17th (yeah I remember the date and that the last bite of sugar I had was in the form of a Key Lime Pie) I went cold turkey and cut out all sugar (bread and pasta were never a problem.)  The following weekend Borders announced it was closing all its stores which prompted me to make a trip.  There I discovered Everyday Paleo.  My brother had mentioned eating Paleo to me a couple of years ago since it was very close to how I was already eating, however I never looked into it further.  This cookbook lead me to read more about Paleolithic eating and I'm happy to say that I've been eating Paleo since that weekend and it's soooo easy.  The short version of  Paleo is that you CANNOT have sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, starchy vegetables and soy or any products made of or with these items.  You can have meat (all kinds, but hot dogs do not count), fish, vegetables, fruit and nuts (but not peanuts, they're considered a legume!)  You basically eat like a hunter-gatherer!  I sleep better.  I have more energy, my skin doesn't look dull and tired and best of all, I'm performing better during my runs!

5.  If you're interested in reading more about eating Paleo read The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat or The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy (Primal Blueprint Series).  Both books are informative and easy to read.  If you want to jump right in, visit Mark's Daily Apple (author of The Primal Blueprint).  And please don't think it's just to lose weight, though that is a benefit, or that you have to completely cut out your favorite foods (you'll read about my 24 hours of hedonistic behavior later in this post).  Eating this way comes easy for me because, frankly, I LOVE salads.  I have one everyday with a nice serving of protein.  But just the slight tweak of elimnating dairy and legumes and adding nuts made a difference for me.  You don't have to love salads to eat this way.  Read the book (start with The Paleo Diet) and go with it.  Do it for one month, 31 days and you'll see the difference.  Which leads me to:

6.  The morning of our trip at 8:30, I had some leftover turkey and veggies from the previous night's fajita dinner.  I whipped up a smoothie with unsweetened coconut milk, frozen berrries and baby spinach (it's how I make sure I get enough veggies in the morning) and then got ready to head to the airport.  This flight was delayed an hour and a half (go Southwest!) so we didn't get to our hotel until a little after 4 p.m.  We were supposed to arrive at 1:40 so that we could have a late lunch.  Since we were stuck at the airport we decided to feed the kids.  Now, since eating Paleo, I don't get hungry often.  So, I didn't have anything.  By the time we settled into our hotel and arrived at our dinner destination it was 6:15 p.m.  I had nothing to eat for 9.5 hours and wasn't the least bit hungry. I wasn't dizzy or lethargic.  I didn't feel shaky, like I needed something and I still had plenty of energy.  Eating Paleo, I eat when I'm hungry and when I do I have protein and veggies and good fats.  It's similar to low-carb, but far from Atkins (sorry, I need my fruits and vegetables and counting carbs is not my thing).  Which leads me to:

7.  For dinner we went to Sotto Mare in North Beach.  The best seafood I've had in a very, very long time.  We started with some mussels in a light broth.  I practically inhaled them they were so good!  Then I had their sauteed prawns with seasonal vegetables.  The prawns were huge!  Ginormous I tell ya!  My husband had their Cioppino and gladly shared some of the crab meat with me.  It was enough for two but my hubby ordered it for his main entree.  He started eating Paleo as well and in the first 2 weeks dropped 14.5 pounds. (I'm so proud of him!)  If you're in the area or make you're way to S.F. hit up Sotto Mare.  I suggest making reservations and if you're driving, give yourself a least a half an hour to find parking and make your way to the restaurant because if you're not there on time the host will let your reservation go.  She really will.  She was sweet and hilarious and showered our kids with hugs and attention.  It was awesome.

8.  The next day was the family reunion.  Since we were staying on Nob Hill we decided to walk to MyMy Coffee Shop for breakfast.  There I had their Fresco Omelette which had chicken apple sausage, scallions, avocado and mild cheddar.  I asked for it with no cheese and to be made with egg whites.  I stole a bacon from my daughter and sipped some tea before we hiked back up California St. to get our car at the hotel.  Then we headed to the reunion.  Despite the fact that the food table was piled with delicious looking Filipino food and desserts, I did not eat one bite of it.  I wasn't hungry.  Around 2:30 I wanted to nosh something and also wanted to show my brother the coconut butter that I consider my new "crack" so I grabbed a handful of my nut and berry mix and the coconut butter.  My brother had a little bit, my daughter ate the rest.  Yes, my daughter loves Artisana Coconut Butter, just as much as I do.  You use it just as you would peanut butter.  I eat it by the spoonful or add it to my smoothie if I need more good fat!  We left the reunion around 4 o'clock and I still wasn't hungry!

9.  After the reunion we decided to drive down the crooked part of Lombard St.  It was packed!  Thankfully, someone was directing traffic.  I think it could have been much worse.  Anyway, being from San Francisco originally, this was mostly for the kids.  You see, when we moved to L.A. almost 10 years ago, I HATED it (it took me 4 years to fall in love with it!)  On one of our "get to know L.A. excursions" in the first few months there, we happened to be in Beverly Hills and walked into a gallery.  Since we missed the Bay Area so much, we purchased a Thomas Kincade painting depicting that famous street and the scenery beyond it.  My kids always ask us about that painting and we promised them that we would drive down that street whenever we went to San Francisco.  So, we did.  We didn't say where we were but as soon as we began down that winding road my son immediately said, "It's from the painting!"  My daughter was, sadly, fast asleep.  It was a long day at the reunion and she hadn't napped all day.  That's okay.  We'll go again.  Maybe this time we won't wait another 10 years.  Yes, you read that right.  We haven't been to S.F. in nearly 10 years.  We've been up to see my family but they live northeast of Frisco and we never make it across the Bay Bridge for a visit.

Midnight Reverie, far left.
10.  After having dinner at Castagnola's on Fisherman's Wharf we walked over to Ghirardelli where at 9 p.m. I decided to enjoy myself.  REALLY enjoy myself.  The place was packed, despite how cold it was but we got lucky and scored a table after a few minutes of waiting.  My youngest sis was with us so we ordered 2 different sundaes for us to share.  I wanted the Midnight Reverie, a dark chocolate sundae where everything from the ice cream to the sauce to the chocolate chips was dark chocolate.