Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fast Food & Festivals

 Hey everyone! So here I am, playing catch-up on a Tuesday night since I've worked the last few nights and slept during the day today. After I woke up today we took the dog to the dog park, then had to run to the grocery store and of course the health food store for some wheatgrass. I had finished my box of wheatgrass shots late last week and hadn't gone back to the health food store because I found myself busy with working consecutive days. I didn't think a few days would matter, but I think it has. Allow me to explain.

As we all know, I work night shift. So each afternoon when I wake up, I take my serving of wheatgrass shots.

One serving is two little squares
So I thaw them out under warm running water, then down the hatch they go.
I then proceed to pack my lunch for my night at work, get a shower, update my blog, whatever I feel like doing before I go into work. By the time I am driving into work I feel awake, alert, (not buzzed or jittery from coffee) and most of all I feel peaceful. This is a feeling I dare say I have never experienced before, especially while on my way into work. I would like to mention that my whole life, I have been a nervous nelly, especially while driving into work. Like most nurses, I wonder what my assignment will be, how busy or stressed out I will be, how hectic or crazy the family of my patients will be, etc etc. Now that I'm in the ICU I wonder much bigger things, like will I walk into a code, will I have an empty bed that will get a code patient or a rapid response transfer, will I know what to do when (that's right, when) my patient goes bad, etc etc. To be just two weeks off orientation in a new area of nursing, in a new job, in a new huge hospital, and not be stressed out while on my way into work is really amazing!!

 In addition to making me feel alert and clearheaded while also feeling calm, I find myself in a good mood almost all of the time. Again, for a stressed out nurse this can be unusual. I started to wonder what caused this change in my mood. Could it be the wheatgrass?

I have read testimonials from people who drink wheat grass, and they all say they feel much happier, and calmer too. One guy said his co-workers asked him what he was "on" because he was always in a good mood when he got to work each morning. I really did not think this would happen to me. It's not a huge, in-your-face difference, I just feel peaceful and more happy than I have in perhaps my entire life. So maybe that is huge. You decide.

 So I ran out of wheatgrass last week and didn't think skipping it for a few days would really matter. I went into work two nights without it and to spare you the drama, I did find myself to be more tired, and slower to wake up in the daytime after napping. This afternoon when I did finally wake up I was not in a good mood, even though the sun was shining and we went outside. I just felt a little off. So I trekked to the grocery store and bought some wheatgrass shots because again, I'm not sure if this is what is making the difference, but it might be.

 I have come to the conclusion that perhaps if we all ate 100% of the essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that we need each day, none of us would have headaches, none of us would feel lazy, none of us would be cranky. It's because we deprive ourselves of the good stuff and feed ourselves the bad stuff that we become overweight, unmotivated, depressed and unhappy.  So am I replacing happy pills with wheatgrass, or am I giving my body what it needs? Am I dependent on wheatgrass to be happy, or is my body naturally happy when I give it the things it deserves? Again, I think I am giving my body what it needs, and if I can do that with something else, I would be happy to try, but since wheat grass is so convenient and easy to take and it does the job, I will drink it. A wheatgrass shot is the same as eating 3 pounds of vegetables, and it contains 70% of the chemical make-up we need to live! Powerful, indeed. Thinking about it that way, it's a wonder that the positive side effects aren't more pronounced and noticeable.

Moving on..

 We had a fast, fun-filled weekend! On friday we took Sophie to the dog park with our friends Rob & Gena and their dog, Wallace. Then we went on a double date for dinner to a restaurant called Mellow Mushroom.

I decided to promote this restaurant on here because they were so vegan friendly! You can order off the menu, create your own pizza, or create your own calzone. What a pleasant surprise to see vegan cheese as an option, and the waitress offered to hold the butter and parmesan cheese that they put on the dough. Yes, please! The cheese they used was so cheesy and creamy, what deliciousness!
 The restaurant was really cute, and it even had a school bus inside that was hollowed out so you could eat in it. The whole place was very trendy and trying-to-be-hippie-ish. It's nice to know more places are offering vegan options. Now we can venture out of the kitchen every now and again :)

 On Saturday morning I went to a St Patty's day parade with some friends. Melissa and I actually know each other from Ohio, and we even worked at the same hospital! Her parents were in town to visit, so we all went Uptown to enjoy the beautiful weather, the parade, the festival, and some drinks.

 I think I was the only one not wearing green... I didn't even think about it, (I blame only getting 3 hours of sleep) and it wasn't even St Patty's day! Come on now! But I did get my hair highlighted for spring, and some layers put in. I think that makes up for not wearing green :)

Melissa and her boyfriend. What a great couple!

We went to a little irish restaurant and sat outside, had some drinks and some food...
 It was a perfect day, too! I'm starting to notice almost all the days in Charlotte are like this. I have to tell myself not to wake up in a frenzy and try to get outside before it rains or the clouds come out. It hardly ever rains here, and sunny is the norm.

 Sunday night I had to go back to work, so The Boyfriend was on his own when it came to dinner. Hence the Fast Food portion of this blog. He whipped up this delicious pasta dish using this recipe as a base. It's called Self-Saucing One-Pot Pasta, and it has about a million alternatives. The basic idea is throw everything into a pot without cooking the noodles first, and put the lid on. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring once. We used black olives, artichokes, tomatoes, a little water, and seasonsings. Then topped with diaya cheese right before serving.

I took my dish outside on our patio to snap a pic because I liked the natural light:

We have made this before, but this time was much better. It was so creamy and cheesy. Maybe I should let the boyfriend cook by himself more often ;)

 Today I made raw rice. I originally found the recipe here, and this is their picture:

 As you know we are trying to eat more "raw" foods, but how do you make raw rice? Well you can't. So we use cauliflower instead.

Raw Rice:
 1/2 head of cauliflower
 2 tablespoons tahini
 a couple leaves of swiss chard (I didn't have any so I used a couple leaves of kale, stemmed)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp each of oregano, basil, parsley
sea salt to taste.

Put all ingredients in food processor and pulse until cauliflower is in little pieces. The texture comes out looking like rice.
I didn't love this, because I am not a big cauliflower fan, but it wasn't bad. I will make it again, and maybe top with some nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy taste. Or I might just top with some daiya cheese and melt it on top. I am trying to force myself to eat more cauliflower, because I know it's so good for you. I think cauliflower is an acquired taste and am I working to acquire it :) In addition, it is so easy and fast to make, and it's raw. No cooking or microwaves involved. Pure, healthy food!

Tomorrow we will be embarking on a spontaneous, two-day adventure! Stay tuned to find out where we will be going, and to view the beautiful (hopefully) pictures!

Have a great night!

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