My Whim is Law

…where a single parent in Portland still believes that wishing will make it so…

My kale-avocado salad (aka ‘kale crack’)

I thought I had this posted already on the site – but I was WRONG. Guess I’d better fix that already if I’m crowing about it as ‘kale crack’, eh?

And since people at the potluck today asked for it (along with my friend Devon on Twitter), I went to my email archive to pull out what I’d emailed a friend a few months ago (who also came back with rave reviews.)(See my notes below…)

Salad’s super-easy. Just shred your kale finely & put in large mixing bowl. Add salt (I use coarse kosher salt, but sea salt or reg table salt will do) & 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix that thoroughly.

Then add 1 of your avocados (you should have two) to the bowl, along with the juice from a lemon (don’t know what you need if using reconstituted, I don’t measure much!) and use your hands to mix, rubbing the salt-avocado-oil-lemon mixture into the leaves until they’re soft/wilted enough to your taste. Rinse hands, and then add the other avocado, diced, along with anything else you might want in the salad – pepper, sliced green onion, halved cherry tomatoes, diced red pepper are some that I’ve used. (But you shouldn’t need a ton of add-ins, save for the other avocado & some pepper). Stir gently to combine, then refrigerate for 1-2 hours. (I don’t always do this part.)

Over time, you can play with proportions – more/less oil, lemon, salt, avocado. You can choose to dice & combine both avocados instead of mixing with your hands. (I’ve used up to 3 smallish avocados & mashed them all into a healthy bunch of kale before, too)

For today’s salad, I used two bunches of lacinto (dinosaur) kale (you can use curly as well, but it just takes more work to chop/deal with stems) and two avocados. The citrus was split between 1/2 a lemon and 1/2 a small grapefruit. And I also added in 3 sliced scallions, some shredded carrots from the Whole Foods salad bar (scored during this AM’s emergency run), & some sunflower seeds. I seasoned with both the salt & some fresh-ground pepper & a dash or two of gomasio as well.

Here’s the original recipe I started with last summer (now saved to my own Google Doc collection, of course!)

Posted in Caveman Eating, Chef Whims, Get Betsy Healthy | 1 Comment

Where do I shop? Why do I shop there?

Update: Because my very dear friend Robert Wagner delights in messing with me (even though he knows it’s a dangerous endeavor and doesn’t actually accomplish the desired results most of the time EVER), I’m indulging this sleep-deprived new father by linking back to his faux-diatribe. Mighty UMC of me, eh? The Great Grocery Store Showdown, or: Why @betsywhim is (gasp) WRONG!. Oh, and that ‘not gelling with the general public’ jab? That’s a compliment, @robwagpdx…

Soooo…the grain-free pumpkin cranberry muffins that I made before were a complete and total fail last evening. (I did remember to go to New Seasons – my natural foods store of choice (with a few caveats, detailed in the narrative below) to grab eggs & walnuts. But the sweetener I subbed in place of the maple syrup made the whole mass inedible. (Or maybe it was the fact that I forgot to mix in the flour, spices & baking soda bowl into the liquid mass the first time I ladled it into mini cupcake tins. It’s a mistake I’ve never made before – but I caught it quickly enough to recover. Or so I thought, anyway…)

So all 4 dozen mini muffins – destined for a paleo potluck at 11 am today – are now lovingly residing in my compost bin outside. And I still need something to bring to the potluck!

Enter Plan B: the raw kale-avocado-citrus salad I’ve brought to events before. (Update: Actually documented the recipe in a subsequent post on request – it’s awesome!) The salad I’ve now dubbed ‘kale crack’. It’s fast, it’s dead simple, and it ought to meet the stringent dietary requirements of a bunch of people I’ve never met before. Right? Right.

So off I trotted to my nearest natural foods store – Whole Foods – tweeting as I went.

Sure enough, the AM Twitter gallery was there to weigh in with their opinions of what I should be going, along with a list of just why (“good soups, better prices, doesn’t smell as bad as store X, etc.”)

The first coffee spit-take came courtesy of my friend Justin (a regular source of spit-takes on Twitter, don’t you know…), who ranks healthy grocery stores around the PDX metro area as follows:

@GeekEyeCon @betsywhim 1) Trader Joe’s. 2) New Seasons. 3) Getting kicked in the face. 4) Whole Foods.

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I get it. They don’t call it Whole Paycheck for nothing – and that’s why, even though it’s closest to my house, it’s 3rd on the list of the stores I frequent when I’m buying the foods that get/keep Betsy healthy.

OTOH – it’s often the first option I pick for certain items. When they have a meat sale (on their antibiotic-free, grass-fed beef, for example) – it’s killer. They have the full-fat brand of Fage plain greek yogurt I buy — whereas both Trader Joe’s and New Seasons are afraid of full-fat anything these days. New Seasons? Had 5 different variations of no-fat and/or low-fat Fage last night when I was there – and all other kinds of products I’d turn my nose up first. (No meat sale today – but I did get my Fage today at WF, since I couldn’t during last night’s trip to NS. Natural fat from real food is GOOD for you, people – don’t be afraid of it already!)

And the oofy-foofy no-sugar coconut water probiotic I’m addicted to lately? (It’s a special splurge, don’t you know – mixed with soda water, it’s my go-to work beverage of choice these days.) It’s a full dollar cheaper at WF.

As the conversation evolved on Twitter (and I added more things to my basket – so much for the ‘I’m just here for kale, lemons, avocados and yogurt’ quick and dirty trip), I thought about how I’ve gotten my grocery store shopping for the month down to a science lately – and what works for me. But I’m betting a bunch of you might be able to teach me something as well.

Here’s the monthly drill:

  • Trader Joes – monthly. Pros: decent prices on milk, Kerrygold butter, eggs & bacon ends/pieces. Cons: Iffy on produce (plus it’s mostly trucked in from elsewhere.) High ratio of UMC white privileged people, who wander around the aisles chaotically, trailing their (often) demon spawn behind them with those mini shopping carts (“Caitlin, can you please grab Mommy that pasta for your cart? Please don’t push your cart into that man’s shins, darling…”). Balancing it out, I only go when I think it won’t be crowded, lower ratio of kids there, and when I’m overflowing with patience and goodwill towards mankind. Or we need bacon.
  • Organics to You delivery – weekly: Pros: It comes to my house! It’s always the same amount of money! It’s full of fresh, local, organic goodness! Cons: (minimal, really) Another batch of beets? What’s this week’s knobby little thing? On the whole? Huge win – it forces me to try new things, means I rarely have to buy produce from any grocery store, and it comes directly to my house – even when I’m not overflowing with patience and/or goodwill.
  • New Seasons – weekly: Pros: They’re local. They specialize in local, sustainable stuff from brands I respect. The CEO is not a douchebag, the company gives back to the community, the staff is excellent (and I hear NS pays them well compared to rest of industry). I feel good about shopping/buying there. Cons: Except…there’s the high UMC ratio, the crowded parking lots, sometimes higher prices (see KeVita example above) & they’re on this whole ‘low-fat everything is GOOD for you’ mantra. Still, it’s my default of the natural food stores.
  • Fred Meyer – weekly. (What? Why am I putting FM in this roster? Hang with me, chickens – it’ll make sense shortly…) Pros: They have a small, but comprehensive natural foods section (they’re my 1st choice for my Fage full-fat yogurt in the big size, for example). Ditto for organic produce if I’m having a kale emergency. They have sales. And it’s where I can also buy things like paper towels or toilet paper at non-wallet-raping prices – in the same trip! (Plus, my kids expect to be fed in my house as well – which means I can buy all the packaged/canned crap here, too – with the same sales/NWR benefits.) Cons: Have you seen the size of an average Fred Meyer? There’s no such thing as ‘just running in for five minutes to grab 3 things’ – you have to wade through all the packaged/canned crap to get to the TP already. Higher ratio of running into the person you haven’t seen in ages when you look like something scraped off the bottom of a shoe.
  • Whole Foods – as needed. Pros: Have already detailed them. Plus – did I mention that they’re close? And have a usually-half-full parking lot? (I’m usually on a tight schedule, don’t you know, so this has be counted as a plus worth considering…) Cons: Well, Justin has the pithy explanation in 140c if company ethics/morals counts for anything: “Yeah… Mackey is strongly anti-health care, anti-union, thinks global warming is fake, Ayn Rand fan, etc.” Which Brian (also part of this AM Twitter conversation) cut to the chase: “ah, so he’s a fucking idiot. Right.” And I’d prefer whenever possible to not give my money to known idiots. OTOH, they have the body wash I like (from the company that does give back/uses good ingredients.) So it’s a known evil occasional source in my book.

It’s 10 am – and it took me 15 minutes to make the salad once I got home, and 3 times that to write this post. And now it’s shower time to wipe what I called the UMC white privilege duo’ cliche (WF + Starbucks) off of me & head to the potluck.

(Um – yes, I was adding to the indignity by wearing yoga pants/holding my cell phone, @aligreco. BUSTED…)

Posted in Boss Lady, Caveman Eating, Get Betsy Healthy | 4 Comments

Yep, it’s official – I’m a ‘badass’

Hooray – it’s Friday! And I have a weekend full of events to look forward to – from a Paleo potluck brunch tomorrow (making these Grain-Free Pumpkin Muffins as my contribution if I can remember to pick up eggs and walnuts) to seeing a friend’s band play tonight to my usual kid-free Saturday-weekend dancing (where I can also check ‘more physical activity’ off my list) at a local club. But enough about what’s next – how am I doing on that list so far, anyway?

  • My friend Dave called me a ‘badass’ today – and it made me so very happy! Why? Because I talked about doing a typical yoga stretch (the Cobra) alongside the more butch-y sounding activities in this AM’s home workout: planks, pushups and squats. But Twitter follower Kristina says that “In my book, you’re badass for doing anything before 7 am. (I’m not a morning person ;-)” (In related news – guess who gets to check off ‘did strength training 3X this week’ from my ‘DID IT!’ list? This badass, that’s who…)
  • Plane tickets to San Jose? Purchased, at a price that put a serious dent in my wallet. All the more reason to keep beverages to a minimum during the weekend’s excursions, no?
  • Snarky dating update (I did promise these, didn’t I?): Telling me I can call ‘any time, day or night’ doesn’t work in your favor, dude. Neither does the unsolicited/unneeded parenting advice, or the fact that I’d have to drive us both around if we ever went out anywhere, either.
  • I loved this post from my Twitter friend @hangry talking about the tools & strategies he’s used to move from ‘Fat Dad to Fit Dad‘. And it’s not just because he validated my decision to eat a handful of nuts at 12:43 pm as the first thing I’ve eaten since 9 pm last night, either. (Note to self: might want to modify this resolution a bit, no?) And I completely validate his Goodwill recommendation for ‘new’ clothes, since half of my current wardrobe is from Goodwill these days…

Speaking of Goodwill – I may need to cram in a trip to GW this weekend, in fact. I’ll need ‘new’ clothes for Monterey, won’t I???

Posted in Caveman Eating, Get Betsy Healthy | 1 Comment

The all-new daily March status report post!

Guess what else is happening in March? (Besides that whole list of stuff I’m giving up and/or recommitting to, that is…)

I’ll be posting here each and every day in March until the 30th (when #SheTeen & I leave for Monterey).

[SFX: groans of despair from the peanut gallery…)

Yep, I’m betting it’s going to be mostly about what I’m eating… how I’m exercising… what I’m reading about food, exercise & other health related issues. For example, this recent post from Richard Nikoley has really started me synthesizing (to steal a word from his post title) my own recent explorations into re-introducing foods like potatoes and dairy back into my diet. If you’re looking at paleo/primal eating, or convinced that LC is the ONLY way to go, well – Richard may have you rethinking things a bit as well. (I’ll be talking more about my own findings in the days to come…)

But for those not-so-much-into that whole Get Betsy Healthy schtick? There will also be horrifically funny dating adventures, I fear. Stories about #HeTeen and/or #SheTeen. And weaving it all together? My own snarky POV (which doesn’t even need alcohol to reconstitute it, thankfully).

Let’s see how I do as the new month begins…!

Posted in Boss Lady, Caveman Eating, Get Betsy Healthy | 2 Comments

Leveling up – Week One

I did it!

I told myself (but I didn’t tell you guys) that I was going to do 3 strength training workouts last week. And while I assumed I’d do them at home (using the lone 10 lb dumbbell I bought to do one-arm rows with) well – I went to the gym twice instead.

And I used the weights in the free weight section like a big girl! (Most of my work was in the corner/on the mats still – am still not comfortable. But at least I’m there…)

After 1 day of a cobbled-together workout, I sprung for the Rebel Fitness Guide over at Nerd Fitness, and I’m now working my way through their Level 1 Rookie Workout. (Sure, I could have put something together myself, paid a personal trainer at my gym, or pulled in my friend Amy as my fitness guide. While I will definitely lean on Amy – well, I needed something just to tell me what to do in order to get going.)

So yes, I’m doing squats. Overhead presses. Wall pushups. Planks and hip raises and deadlifts. And I’ll be doing them for at least 3 days a week for the rest of the year.

(And tracking my progress in an appropriately-nerdy Google Docs spreadsheet, no less…)

(There it is – Commitment #1. Look for more of those soonish…)

How do I feel? Energized. Way sore in spots – but not in an agonizing way. (Squats are a killer workout for me thus far, though.) And a little bit (okay, teeny-tiny bit) stronger.

What’s up for this week? What are a few more of my goals and promises? Stay tuned for the next post – and yes, there’s a BHAG on the table (for me, anyway) for the month of March, there is…

See this article by Steve about why he started Nerd Fitness (& what you can expect)

And while I was diving into Steve’s latest post, I stumbled across this incredible testimony to a more ancestral way of eating – here, the story of how a MS victim, doctor & scientist reversed the disease’s progression by eating the right foods and eliminating the ones that aren’t good for us. Please take 17 minutes to watch Dr. Terry Wahl's TED presentation

Eat real food already, people…

[This is part of a series documenting the pleasant physical changes over the last year or so. See the preamble, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9 and Part 10.]

Posted in Caveman Eating, Get Betsy Healthy | 4 Comments
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