Long time no write, I know, I know. I recently had the opportunity to journey to Travis Air Force Base in order to participate in Airman Leadership School (ALS). Mistakenly, I had thought I would be able to post while attending, but instead spent the time doing homework and getting very, very sleep deprived. Okay, so I did go out and party twice, but twice in two weeks isn’t that bad. Despite that, I had tons of fun and met some very cool people. I also got to live out of a hotel fridge and microwave for five weeks. Saying that switching from my normal natural food cooking to frozen Amy’s dinners and half organic sandwiches was a shock to the system would be putting it mildly.
The first week at ALS I got very, very, stomach sick. We are talking pain, bloating, not being able to eat, the whole nine yards. After the first week, as I got a little smarter about shopping at the local commissary and ditched the non-sprouted soymilk, things got a little better. However, my stomach never felt 100%, and my workouts certainly suffered both from the lack of good, real natural food and the sleep deprivation.
I made an interesting discovery half way through. Giving into impulse and sheer hunger, I bought normal Oreos my first week. One of my favorite foods, I usually don’t buy them because a) non organic, b) I will eat the whole bag in three days. When it comes to Oreos, I literally can’t stop myself. The second week, I bought Newman’s Own All Natural Oreos (they were hiding the first week) and had a completely different experience. While they still tasted amazing, I didn’t develop this uncontrollable urge to continue to eat them until I felt sick. It made me think back to what I have heard about food science, and how certain foods are produced to make you unable to stop eating. Case and point, me and Oreos.
When I came back to my little apartment in Sacramento, tired and hungry, I dug out leftover Italian Brown Rice Salad from the freezer, heated it up, and TASTE EXPLOSION. I had remembered this dish being good when I left, but after weeks of non local non organic food, this simple dish I made myself took on a beyond heavenly quality. I ate my little portion, and felt full, satisfied, and healthy. Like I could feel the nutrition literally flowing into my veins.
I guess this whole experience has driven home to me, once again, just how important this natural food journey is. We live in a world full of food made by people in white coats. It takes a lot of dedication, and will power, to break the mold and get back to real cooking, real food, and real eating. But this is all part of real health, and therefore necessary to real living.
I am very happy to be back, making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin apple butter, and some sort of spicy rice and bean slaw that I haven’t really figured out yet. And that is all part of this real food adventure!
This week in updates: Sleepy time?
I am exhausted. My cumulative sleep deprivation is pushing me to consume an extra cup of coffee or energy drink a day just to be social. Luckily it is the weekend now, and I intend to clean, eat, exercise, cook, and sleep. A LOT. I have to be ready to fix some planes come Monday! While I loved talking about leadership for 5 weeks straight, I am super excited to get dirty and greasy and work with these little birds. They may be drama queen air force rejects, but they are my birds now, and I’m going to do my best to take care of them.
I also wanted to mention that I got peer pressured into spending some time volunteering with the special Olympics this week, and I highly recommend it! What impressive, high spirited, and frankly adorable athletes. I got to cheer them on, with some cool people from work, and very much enjoyed myself. I hope next year I am not dragging butt and can stay the whole day to see the medal ceremony!
I very much liked the special Olympics oath. I think the athletes, and everyone really, could learn a lot from it.
The recipe: Italian Brown Rice Salad
This recipe was adapted from The Gluten Free Italian Vegetarian Kitchen by Donna Klein. I simplified the recipe and still, wow what a good flavor! And talk about a healthy and unique way to eat rice and beans. If you want even more healthy goodness, add some chopped kale! This tastes good fresh, but better cold out of the fridge the next day.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 cup freshly chopped basil
8 pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1 cup uncooked brown rice
15 ounces black beans, cooked
Cook rice. Mix all ingredients together. Enjoy!