Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Three Years

Wow. All I can say is wow. Today marks the three year anniversary between me and my favorite person in the whole world, my boyfriend Carlton! It makes me feel all gushy inside to think about how lucky I am. *insert love* <3

Let me tell you a little bit about this guy, so you'll be just as in love with him as I am. (ok, maybe not)
We first became "friends" when he was still dating someone else but about two months after they broke up for good. Ironically, I was the first person he called. (Maybe this should've been a sign??)
 He's always been a very big people person, and can honestly be best friends with a tree stump. I believe that's why I never read his signals because he's kind of all over the place with everyone.

Anywho, I was a senior and he was a junior in high school. We were in the same friend circle and he ACTUALLY asked me to the homecoming dance through another friend, who told me while we were ALL at Sonic together. I think back on that and omgggg that was so lame! But, I said yes because I really just wanted to have fun at my last homecoming and not be worried about impressing anyone. We were just friends, ya know?

Little did I know...
that through this whole "going to the dance together" ordeal we would eventually become a couple. I remember the night that we all went to a friend's house to watch a scary movie (maybe The Eye?) It was awful but that was the first time I realized I liked him..and it was VERY obvious to all of our friends. He just made me so happy and it was the first time I wasn't in complete control of my feelings or how I was coming off to other people.

We started to date but it was completely pressure free. We were friends first which I think is our saving grace. We liked each other as people before we became a couple. We never officially said, "let's be boyfriend and girlfriend" but on September 27, 2008, something happened that for us marked the beginning of our relationship. :)

Rather than explain how perfect we are for each other and completely nauseate you, I thought I would share some pictures that kind of documents our anniversaries. Hope you enjoy! And I can't wait to celebrate my anniversary this weekend - and to tell you guys all about it!

This was our VERY first picture together! Don't laugh..it was spirit week at our high school and our group's Star Wars costumes have gone down in history.

This was our first anniversary together and I actually forced him to take this picture because it was part of his gift :)

Second anniversary! We went to Jekyll Island and had a perfect day together. I wish we could go to the beach again!
Well we haven't had our third anniversary picture yet because we don't live in the same town anymore :( But this was taken last weekend before a wedding. I'll make sure to post an update from this weekend ;)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fresh Take On: Hummus

Hummus is a controversial item, no? Some people LOVE it and some people hate it. I've always wondered which I would be...

Before I moved away from home for college I never even saw hummus at my grocery store.

I live in suburbia...Wal-Mart is about it. Publix coming soon though! Woop Woop

So what is hummus exactly?

Hummus is a Levantine Arab food dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is popular throughout the Middle East and Middle Eastern cuisine around the globe.

Why thank you Wikipedia. I can always rely on you.

Anywho, Publix became my grocery store of choice because it is literally one minute away from my apartment. Publix has a hugeee variety of it (although Sabra is the only brand) and all of them seemed very intriguing. Because of how pricey it was I always passed it by.
When I started reading food blogs indepthly, I noticed how popular hummus was among people who had cut out meat from their diets.

Huh. Why could that be?
Let's ask Wikipedia!

Hummus is high in iron and Vitamin C and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6.The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of the amino acid methionine, complementing the proteins in the chickpeas. Depending on the recipe, hummus carries varying amounts of monounsaturated fat. Hummus is useful in vegetarian and vegan diets; like other combinations of grains and pulses, it serves as a complete protein when eaten with bread.

Aha! Such a reliable source, no?

Animal derived foods provide complete proteins to humans, something we NEED because they have all the amino acids our bodies need to function in the best way. So when a vegetarian or vegan eliminates most or all of the complete proteins in their diet, it has to be made up somewhere else.

Hummus to the rescue!!

It has been two weeks that I have gone without meat, and when I found out the benefits of eating this odd dip I finally caved in and bought some.
The above picture shows the $3.99 container I purchased. I went with the classic flavor because I really wanted to get an idea of how it tasted.

On the one minute drive home I prayed that I would like it! How could I survive without this beloved food in the veggie/vegan world??
I ran in the door and threw my groceries on the counter. Immediately opening the container I stuck my finger on the sealer wrap and got a quick preliminary taste.

Hmm...not what I expected...hmmm...I LIKE IT!

Oh happy day it was delicious! I loved the salty, beany texture even more when I dipped these puppies in it.

These little petite pitas are PERFECT little pillows to scoop up and hug your scrumdiddlyumptious hummus from heaven!

Mmmmm see?? (Not the messy counter full of bags of food. I already explained myself!)
Yummy pillowy whole wheat bread + hummus from heaven = a happy Alex

It's always a great idea to try new things..especially when they have amazing health benefits!
 I can't wait to try the different flavors of hummus. I have my eye on that roasted red pepper one...

Friday, September 23, 2011

The first post...dum dum dum.

Well, I finally did it. The blog.

My main purpose in this is to share my stories about living a healthy lifestyle as a new found vegetarian and how I balance it with exercise and being in college (yikes). It won't be easy, but often times good things rarely are :). I hope to help others make decisions about healthy choices like some blogs did for me! (Especially this gal and this lady). I've looked at plenty of blogs and each one has given me a little more knowledge, a little more courage, and a little more desire to create my own site that can maybe do the same thing for someone else. It has definitely been a life changer and I can't wait to share my journey!

NOW. I can't wait to tell you about what finally kicked me in the butt to start this specific type of blog. It's actually 2:30 in the morning and I'm at home for the weekend to go to my cousin's wedding. So this is real stuff I'm spilling, guys. For the past two weeks, I've been starting a journey to being a vegetarian. I'd really like to go into detail about why, but it will have to wait for another post. My "home" home is in a small town in the south and that just isn't ideal for someone who is attempting to cut out meat.

On a side note, I am a junior in college and a month and a half ago I moved three and a half hours away from home to go to the University of Georgia.

 I still had not told anyone really about my decision to go veggie, because it is honestly soooo controversial here. Not eating meat is like..not drinking sweet tea. You just don't do it. (I have hated tea since birth by the way. gag)

I sort of told my parents about my decision the night before and they were surprisingly not that judgemental. I knew my mom wouldn't really care as long as I was staying healthy, and my dad just commented on how amazing his turkey melt smelled. (silly pops, that is cheese and bread that smells so good!) He may be a tough sell later on, but we shall see.

Anyhow, I was going out with my boy tonight and I chose a place that I knew would have options for me. (I researched menus which I highly recommend..not only can you make sure there is something you'll like, but if you're indecisive like me you won't make your fellow eaters angry :)). I went with the veggie trio where we were at and I made a segway into the topic of my vegetarianism.
Another side note, my boy has been mine for almost three years so it is hard for me to imagine keeping anything from him. It was highly important he understood and accepted my choice.

It ended up not going the greatest and I basically became defensive and he ended up very apologetic. (Not what you want) It went exactly how I feared it would. People who don't understand my purpose. They won't let me do what I desire because it's not the norm. I'm going to be an outcast.

In my defensiveness was born a desire to explain to as many people as I can the benefits of being veggie. The exciting adventures in the kitchen to create meatless dishes that are crazy satisfying. The health benefits of things that grow out of the ground versus cut off of an animal injected with hormones (I was shocked my how many!). Not only that, the animals. I feel so much better about my life knowing I'm not taking another's to eat. I wanted to show the GOOD parts of a healthy lifestyle. It's not only about no meat..it's about making good choices! The vegetarianism is only a piece of it.

Okay, take away the dramatics and I saw my boyfriend just didn't understand. He didn't mean to hurt my feelings and the next time I bring it up, I plan to be a lot more prepared. It isn't other people who are the problem with vegetarianism, it's me! I made it into this huge thing that separated me from others, but the people who love me will always love me. Meat or no meat. They may pick on me, sometimes it may hurt my feelings, and I may have trouble finding something to eat at my southern Thanksgiving, but my lifestyle change is for me! These small troubles hardly touch the greater positive outcome of my decision.

All I can do is live my life the way I desire. God put me on this earth to do things, and I want to do them in the healthiest way possible. Now that all this explaining is done, I can start sharing how I plan to be now fresh & FANTASTIC! Healthy recipes, stories, and pics are soon to come. :)