Monday, May 30, 2011

Be Kind to Your Belly

By the end of April, after finishing up a hectic busy season in my day job, which involved too much sitting at a desk, eating meals on the run, and hitting up happy hour, I was feeling a bit sluggish, toxic, and generally unhealthy. I need more whole, vibrant foods back in my diet. Which lead me to the decision to give up both dairy and alcohol for four weeks in May. Curious to know the results of my eating experiment?

They were all positive! I lost about an inch off my waist. I saved money from not purchasing drinks out at dinner or wine at the grocery store.  My skin looks clearer and more radiant. And my minor digestive tummy troubles have improved significantly. And best part? I still indulged in dessert every day.

I also didn't find giving up either dairy or alcohol as difficult as I thought it would be. There are enough dairy substitutes on the market, everything from butter to ice cream to sour cream, that I never felt deprived. Eating out was a bit trickier at times, but I was always able to find something on the menu. When I'm having a drink it's typically in a social situation, but I didn't feel that not drinking inhibited my ability to mingle or attend functions. Although, I must confess, that I did cheat once and had a drink at the Knee High Stocking Company, a speak-easy on Capital Hill, during the four weeks.  But I had a good reason - my Groupon was going to expire and I needed to use it!

Want to change up your diet? Whether it's giving up dairy, eating less junk food, going vegan, or whatever your personal goal may be, the main key is to plan ahead. Stock up on yummy, healthy foods from the grocery store so you aren't tempted by a drive through the fast food window or reaching for a candy bar when you're tired, hungry, and cranky. A few specific products I recommend are:
  1. Earth Balance non-dairy butter
  2. Purely Decadent soy ice cream in Cookie Dough or Turtle Trails
  3. Alicia Silverstone's book The Kind Diet, for vegan recipes
  4. Nature's Path frozen Homestyle gluten-free waffles
  5. The Raw Food Detox Diet, by Natalia Rose for delicious healthy recipes
Happy Eating!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tea Time!

I recently hosted a Charitea - a tea party benefiting a non-profit. If you'd like to host your own tea party here are a few tips:
1. Tell guests that tea party attire (aprons, gloves, pearls, tiaras, feather boas, etc.) is strongly encouraged. Tea tastes better with accessories!
2. Serve multiple types of tea - black, green, white, and herbal. Be sure to label them so attendees know which is which.
3. Decorate with tulips and as much official tea time dishware you can find - tea pots, cups and saucers, three tiered serving trays, creamer and sugar, and petite dishes. You can find a lot of this on
4. Serve small finger-foods, such as tea sandwiches, scones, and mini cupcakes.
5. Pick a charity and ask guests to make a small donation. My selected charity was Friends of Maiti Nepal. You can make a donation here.
5. Give out gift bags to guests as a thank for you attending and for making a donation. Possible items to include are tea bags, tea candles, eye masks, and other small goodies.