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The Results of My 10-Day Yoga Challenge

Fitness, Healthy Living, New York City, Travel

The Results of My 10-Day Yoga Challenge

6 Comments 11 August 2016

Clearly, I overestimated my newly found mindfulness, because on Saturday morning, hours after finishing Day 5 of my 10-Day Yoga Challenge, I looked down at my feet and didn’t recognize the flip flops I was wearing. They did look very similar to the ones I wore to yoga earlier that morning, same color, same style, and they fit rather comfortably. But there was a little pizazz to the stitching that I didn’t remember noticing before. At first I thought, “Wow, look at me honing my focus to such little details. Yoga is really increasing my awareness.” But upon further investigation, I realized that in my post-class reverie, I had slipped on someone else’s shoes. I feel terrible for the person who walked home or hopefully just hobbled to their car barefooted, which they must have done, because when I went back to the closed studio, there were my flip flops waiting for me outside the door.

If you missed my last post, I’m attempting 10 consecutive day of yoga at Power Yoga Buffalo while away from New York for the summer. Why? You’ll have to read that post which covers Days 1-5.

The first 5 days felt eternal. I was constantly sore, every class seemed never-ending, and I couldn’t help but come out of poses early in order to prevent total muscle failure that would have resulted in me collapsing to the floor. After every class I felt relief that it was over and thought that maybe that would be my last class, but as the day went on I started looking forward to the next one.

Days 6-10 were definitely hard, but each day I felt victorious instead of relieved at the end of class. I didn’t just endure and let it happen. I actually did the practice. The soreness started to melt away, and I became less intimidated by certain poses. Sitting in chair pose no longer felt like torture. I started to flow through transitions, albeit while wobbling, from one pose to another instead of seeing each pose as a separate challenge.

On Day 6 I found my people. My people show up on Sunday mornings at 7:00 when the 20-somethings with the cute yoga butts are at home sleeping off their Saturday nights. But Sunday mornings my people show up. They’re the ones who snuck out of the house before the kids woke up. They’re the ones who are squeezing in 75 minutes for themselves before they haul everyone to church and then cook brunch for the family. They don’t have tatoos or the most stylish yoga gear. But these people work hard. On Day 6, we smoked it.

Day 7 needed to happen at the non-summery hour of 6am in order for me not to break my streak. I had a few things scheduled throughout the day, and believe me, if I could’ve chosen another time, I would have. But I’m actually glad I went that early. I liked these people, too. I am these people. They rolled out of bed, just like I did, but now they will head to work feeling like the hardest part of their day is over. That’s exactly how I felt when I taught 6am spin class. After conquering that mountain, I could do anything. Bring it, Day.

What are the chances I can find a 6am yoga class in New York?

Day 8. The reason I had to take the 6am class on Day 7 was that my sister-in-law invited me to a BodyPump class at her YMCA. I adore BodyPump almost as much as I adore my sister-in-law, so there was no way I was going to turn this offer down. I used to be a certified BodyPump instructor and loved teaching it in that terrified love sort of way, but I hadn’t taken a BodyPump class in about a year because it’s not easy to find in the City. If I had kept up with it even as a participant I would not be the weak-armed, 40-something woman that I am today.

BP_Gluten-Free_Cat

If you have a gym nearby that offers BodyPump. GO to it. You will find that strong self that you forgot was there.

I assumed I would feel the way I always feel when I lift weights for the first time after weeks/months of weightliftinglessness. Like Wile E. Coyote flattened at the bottom of a canyon by that huge boulder that inevitably caught up with him. But something incredible happened in that class on Day 8. Power yoga completely erased any potential soreness from Body Pump. I kept waiting for that delayed onset muscle soreness, which happens to my body like clockwork 36 hours after asking it to do something new. It never came.

PYB_Gluten-Free_Cat

On Day 9 I started to feel a little panicky. I only had two days left. And after that I’ll purchase another week, and then it will be over! I will be leaving Buffalo and this adorable little studio. I was already starting to miss it. Now that I know about this, how am I going to get on without it?

Day 10 was a powerful class. There wasn’t anything drastically different from what we normally do, but it was a powerful class because I felt powerful. There’s a lot of repetition in power yoga. The flow is repeated, poses are held multiple times, and it’s easy to get lost in the “one more time” mentality. In fact, on Day 9 the only way to keep my mind present was to count the vinyasas. We did 32.

My instructor uses a phrase that I’ve come to love. “You’ve never been in this warrior before…you’ve never been in this chair pose before….” Even though we’ve done it 10 times already today? Even though. This one is brand new. What does this do for me? It gets me out of my head, out of my preconceived notions about what I’ve done before and what I am capable of today. Yesterday’s successes and failures do not define me now. And this reminder pushes me to do my best. Be my best. Open myself up to new possibilities. This is something that I can take with me.

  • I’ve never taught this lesson before.
  • I’ve never run these 3 miles before.
  • I’ve never had this day ahead of me before.
  • I’ve never had this conversation before.
  • I’ve never had this opportunity to love this person before.
  • I’ve never experience this moment before.

If this had been the only thing I’d learned from this yoga challenge it would’ve been enough. But after 10 days of power yoga, here are my other takeaways:

  • Showing up is half the battle.
  • Breath is power.
  • I’m stronger than I think.
  • Being present on my mat spills over to being present in my life.
  • There is no such thing as a yoga body.
  • I need to make yoga a priority in NYC.

And in just 10 short days I’ve noticed these surprising little benefits too:

  • Defined arm and leg muscles
  • Tighter abdominals
  • Better posture
  • Deeper sleep
  • Improved flexibility
  • More positive attitude
  • Increased patience (confirmed by the Husband)
  • Disappearance of “age” aches and pains
  • Brighter complexion
  • A sense of gratefulness

Buffalo friends, give Power Yoga a try! I’ll join you there every time I’m in town!

Readers, dish!

  • NYC friends, do you have a studio to recommend?
  • In what area of your life can you remind yourself that you’ve never done this one before?
  • What positive effects do you experience from exercise?
Summer Goals and a 10-Day Yoga Challenge

Fitness, Healthy Living, New York City, Travel

Summer Goals and a 10-Day Yoga Challenge

7 Comments 06 August 2016

Summer flies when you’re a teacher  Most people think we have 3 months off, but we really only have two. I know. Cry me a river, right? But you really do want us to have two months away from your children. Those 2 months are why we can welcome your kids back to school in the fall with genuine excitement and pour every last ounce of energy and creativity that we rebuilt over the summer into teaching them for another 10 months. By June, we are exhausted and running on the fumes of a distant memory when we passionately decided to change the world one student at a time.

Summer is also time for taking care of things that we let slide during the school year. Things like healthy eating, visiting family, decluttering cupboards, reading books above a fifth grade reading level, lunching with friends, and annual mammograms.

Summer is a great time for setting personal goals. Teachers are required to set goals. We have professional goals that we discuss with our principals, class goals that set tone and expectations, learning goals for each unit, individual student goals that can be educational, behavioral, or social. We are so driven by goals that when I have a few weeks without a goal I feel a little rudderless. I’m really not sure if I could function for two entire months without a goal of some sort.

One of my summer goals is to get back to my yoga practice. I have never been a yogi. When I taught fitness classes, I made sure to attend a yoga class or whip out a Baron Baptiste Yoga in a Box once a week. With all of my spinning, running, BodyPump, and sculpting classes I needed yoga to keep any kind of flexibility. But when I moved to New York, yoga was the first things to drop off my fitness plate. Then lifting weights soon followed. Now I’m lucky if I run or spin 3-4 days each week.

Yoga back in the day

Yoga in my favorite place

So enter this character in the Summer of 2016. Not the character pictured above. Enter a weak-armed, 40-something woman with the memory of yoga being a nice challenge that was pretty great for you. I needed to find a yoga studio.

Each summer we spend about a month out of the city. It’s refreshing to temporarily re-enter suburban life and remind ourselves that there is normalcy in rest of the country. Driving to the grocery store instead of walking seems a luxury. Buying a full cart of groceries, not limiting my purchases to whatever will fit in my backpack and two grocery bags, one for each hand. Wheeling that cart to the car, or better yet, having a clerk wheel it out for me. Then driving the groceries to the house where I unload directly into the kitchen which is 10 steps from the front door. Suburban normalcy.

I expected to have to drive to a yoga studio in the burbs, but to my surprise, there is a Power Yoga Studio literally at the end of the street where we’re staying. So in quintessential NYC form, I strapped on my yoga bag and walked a block to this studio.

They have a new student special consisting of 10 consecutive days for $20. It doesn’t take a Common Core math teacher to figure out that this is an incredible deal. Obviously the deal is sweeter if I go all 10 days. Two dollars per class? You can’t find that in NYC.

Motivated by a good deal, my goal began to clarify. Could I go to power yoga for 10 days in a row? Power yoga translates to hard and fast, and I’m coming from a base of zero. And it’s a 75 minute class in a 90 degree studio. That doesn’t sound too terribly bad, especially when it’s about 95 degrees outside. That’s what I told myself anyway. But I sweat while sitting on my mat waiting for class to start.

Don’t forget that the character in this story is a weak-armed, 40-something woman with the memory of yoga being a nice challenge that was pretty great for you. 

Her memory…

Yoga_Beach_Gluten-FreeCat

Yoga with a beach view

Well, I started the deal and tentatively set my 10-day goal.

Day 1 was a wake up call. I know that for some reason, whenever I get back into yoga after a period of yogalessness, I have to be careful how much time I spend upside down. A simple downward-facing dog will cause my head to pound so hard that blood vessels burst in my face. I learned this the hard way, by pushing through the discomfort. Pushing through and not listening to your body is very non-yogalike. So I warned the instructor that I’d need to come out of most inversions early. I flowed. I bent. I twisted. I held. I tried not to think about the 20-somethings with cute little butts who made it look so easy. I flowed some more. I wobbled. I warriored. I warriored so many times I wondered if she forgot the rest of the sequence. My face felt like it was going to explode each time I went down, I took breaks, and I made it through. I was so glad that I thought to bring my yoga towel left over from that Groupon package that one month I tried Bikrim. Beads of sweat dotted every inch of my flesh from the start. I left drenched but with my complexion in tact, and I knew that I probably wouldn’t be able to move the next morning.

Day 2 hurt to get out of bed, as expected. But I went. And it was so hard! I had no idea one’s arms could shake like that.

Yoga Text

Barely.

And this text pretty much sums up my intention not to continue with my goal.

Yoga Text 2

Specifically the “Bahahahahaha!”

But I went back on Day 3 for Power Yoga Hour. This meant that the class was literally an hour, a 60 minute class instead of the 75 that I had been doing. Choosing this class was the only way I could convince myself that I might be able to make it through the third day in a row. It would be shorter.

There are no clocks in a yoga studio. Why aren’t there clocks in a yoga studio??? For teachers whose days are run by the clock with every minute accounted for, time is a huge part of the day. We are constantly looking and checking the clock. Are we on schedule, behind schedule, miraculously ahead of schedule? Do I need to modify the lesson to get to Gym on time? Are they glazing over because they’ve been in their seats too long? How long have Suzie and Sally been in the bathroom? Even outside of school I’m addicted to the clock. I just need to know what time it is. I do have an uncanny ability to guess within minutes the time at any given moment. But then again it could just be that I checked 5 minutes ago.

There are no clocks in this yoga studio, but because of my ability to feel the minutes tick by I knew that this class was soon coming to an end. It just had to be almost over. I was drenched. I was spent. But it kept going. And I kept going. I reached the point where I wondered if the next chaturanga dandasana would be interrupted by a face plant on my mat, because I had no strength left to prevent it. Each vinyasa became a prayer, please don’t let me hit my face, please don’t let me hit my face. The first thing I did after class ended, after I dragged my limp body out of the studio to gather my belongings, was to check the clock. 75 minutes! That hour was not an hour at all! I felt tricked.

Something started to happen the afternoon of Day 3. I had an itch on my upper arm and felt something. Not a bug or a loose hair. It was a bump, the beginning of a muscle where my atrophied tricep used to be. I could actually feel my tricep again! Now mind you it was sore to the touch, but it was there! And walking up stairs I had this feeling like a cute yoga butt was in the making.

Day 4. I dreaded this class more than Day 2 and 3 put together, because I felt soreness with every step as I walked to class. Climbing the stairs I felt fatigued and out of breath. But I was also excited. I was getting stronger, and those extra suggestions like “and now you can try firefly” or “pop up into a headstand” or “flip your dog” didn’t cause my eyes to roll. They just hung in the air as a maybe. Not today, but maybe at some point.

Yoga is supposed to quiet the mind. But I find that my mind is still as active as ever. Here are a few things that were on my mind on Day 4:

(In plank) I can watch sweat drip off my forehead and onto my mat directly in line with my hands. I wonder if that means my alignment is on. Or off.

It must really hurt to get a foot tatoo.

There’s an ant crawling on that girl’s mat! (Girl effortlessly jumps from rag doll back to plank.) No! Little ant!! Did she smush him? Oh, there he is under the edge of her mat. Close one, buddy.

“Leg parallel to the floor.” I must be close. (I check myself.) Nope, nowhere near.

Please don’t let me hit my face.

Breathe.

How many of these are we going to do?

Please don’t let me hit my face.

No way! I did it!! (Wobble. Fall.)

How can my heart be pounding like this when I’m just standing still?

Do I feel so good after class because I spend an hour sweating out toxins or because this torture is finally over?

Leaving it on the mat

Interestingly, I haven’t once thought about what I needed to do that day, school, or things I should be doing but have been putting off. So at least my thoughts were truly in the moment even if I hadn’t reached that quiet space yet.

Then today, Day 5, happened. I had to get up summer early to fit in a class before Saturday’s activities. I woke up without feeling debilitatingly sore. I walked the quiet streets of the suburbs, recognizing that my city neighborhood would already be buzzing with dogs on leashes heading to the park, bead-headed dads stumbling into bodegas for coffee, and women in spandex heading to various fitness studios. Here, I was the only person on the street passed by an occasional car.

Laying on my mat before class, already feeling the sweat beads forming, there was no indication that this class would be any different than the 4 previous days. I scoped out a few people with watches and wondered if I’d be able to sneak peeks to gauge the progress of the class.

And then it started. I moved, I embraced the struggle of holding poses, I flipped my freakin’ dog! I noticed things about my movements that weren’t clear before. My balance was more steady. I realized that if I engaged my legs during chaturanga there was no fear of a face plant. Don’t hear me say that it was easy. It was easy like running 10 miles is easy when you’re training for a marathon. But it no longer felt like running 10 miles when I hadn’t run in a year. And at one point I realized that I wasn’t thinking about anything. I even tried to think of something that might distract me, and I couldn’t. Nothing else really mattered in that moment but the practice. Could yoga be the answer to taming the rat on the exercise wheel in my head?

We shall see!

Readers, dish!

  • Do you practice yoga?
  • What kind of yoga do you like?
  • How do you bring your mind back to your practice?
  • What are your summer goals?

PYB

Gluten-Free Retreat: Things That…

Gluten-Free, Travel, Vegan

Gluten-Free Retreat: Things That…

6 Comments 01 August 2016

I’m thoroughly enjoying a break from real life, submersing myself in things that I love, learning from others, and sleeping 9 hours each night. I’m appreciating moments rather than moving on to the next one. I’m savoring the flavors rather than inhaling for sustenance. I’m digging into the now and remembering how densely delicious it is. And I haven’t once missed my book of lists with tabbed sections and sublists of lists.

I’m enjoying the essence of things.

Things that are spreadable.

Green_Journal_Gluten-Free_Cat

RedPizza_Gluten-Free_Cat

Things that are sticky.

Art_Journal_Gluten-Free_Cat

CinnamonRoll_Gluten-Free_Cat

Things that are off balance.

YogaFoot_Gluten-Free_Cat

RedPizza2_Gluten-Free_Cat

Things that are old.

Bench_Gluten-Free_Cat

Window_Gluten-Free_Cat

Things from long ago.

Mansion_Gluten-Fre_Cat

BnB_Gluten-Free_Cat

Things that are better with toppings.

Green_Smoothie_Gluten-Free_Cat

Swapple2_Gluten-Free_Cat

SpicyPizza_Gluten-Free_Cat

Things I had forgotten about.

Magestic_Garlic_Gluten-Free_Cat

Things that are savory.

VeganCheese_Gluten-Free_Cat

TreeLine_Gluten-Free_Cat

Things that are sweet.

Sonny_Gluten-Free_Cat

Vegan_icecream_Gluten-Free_Cat

Tiramisu_Gluten-Free_Cat

Things that are green.

Log_Gluten-Free_Cat

Road_Gluten-Free_Cat

Things that make this heart happy.

Readers, dish!

  • Which picture do you want to know more about?
  • Where do you go just to “be”?
Gluten-Free Retreat: A Full Day

Gluten-Free, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian

Gluten-Free Retreat: A Full Day

5 Comments 30 July 2016

Most summers I enjoy a long weekend with gluten-free blogger friends in the country. The days are filled with relaxing, walking, art journaling, chatting, yoga, writing, shopping, cooking, blogging, and eating. Lots of eating. Here’s a snippet of my day:

Walking with a sweet friend while being watched.

Deer_Gluten-Free_Cat

Making sure this little guy made it safely across the road.

Turtle_Gluten-Free_Cat

Breakfasting. A throwback to pre-gluten-free days as this tasted exactly like my memories of Entenmann’s.

Coffeecake_Gluten-Free_Cat

Fortified with a green smoothie, of course.

Smoothie_Gluten-Free_Cat

And a new product that I’m crazy about.

Swapples_CreamCheese_Gluten-Free_Cat

Swapples! Covered in vegan cream cheese compliments of Valerie of City|Life|Eats. I think this flavor was my favorite.

Swapples_Gluten-Free_Cat

They were also incredible last night with That Chili with the Mushrooms by Shirley of Gluten Free Easily.

SwapplesandChili_Gluten-Free_Cat

Snacking at Kickshaws Downtown Market, a local whole foods market that caters to the gluten-free vegan crowd.

Kickshaws_Gluten-Free_Cat

Jackfruit and sauerkraut on vegan and gluten-free sourdough bread. (If you need your own vegan pulled-pork experience, try Johnna’s recipe. Even carnivores like it.)

KickshawsCupcake_Gluten-Free_Cat

And a strawberry shortcake cupcake for dessert. Do snacks qualify as dessert-ending meal?

Just in case I need more to look forward to, these vegan, gluten-free cinnamon rolls are on the counter waiting for breakfast.

CinnamonRolls_Gluten-Free_Cat

Or a maybe a midnight snack.

And just for fun, these caught my eye today.

KittyPiddle_Gluten-Free_Cat

Ew, right?

Full and content, I’m off to bed.

Readers, dish!

  • What do you do to let down?
  • How do you fill up when you’re feeling depleted?
Raw Vegan in the City

Raw Foods, Travel

Raw Vegan in the City

14 Comments 04 June 2013

Notice anything different today? Go ahead, look around.

Thank you, Heather Peters, for redesigning my blog banner. And thank you, Kevin Banks of In Color Creative, for making it visible to you. Left to my own devices I would have wallowed in YouTube how-to videos for a month to figure out how to switch the banner!

But why the changes? Several life-changing reasons.

If you hadn’t already heard, you may have picked it up from my Liebster Award post. In just a few weeks, we will be leaving our sweet city of Nashville and moving to New York City. This is something that we’ve talked about doing for a while, and now it’s time to make it happen.

Will my location have an effect on this blog? Absolutely!

Last Fall I give you a glimpse into my temporary gluten-free kitchen.

This is an apartment kitchen that I had already downsized from a house kitchen. So the thought of cutting my workspace and storage space in half yet again is a bit terrifying. It will change the way I cook and create, but if I can eat gluten-free and healthily in cramped quarter, so can you.

(Now my Monday Lovin’ Gluten-Free Cookbook Giveaway is making a little more sense, isn’t it? Thanks for helping me as I downsize my incredible library for this move! If you haven’t entered this week, go check it out!)

Another big change is that this blog is going high-raw vegan. Why? Because those are the only recipes that I create anymore. I have jumped around in my journey and experimented with all sorts of foods in search of what is best for my body. And I always seem to come back to my love, raw foods. So it’s time for the blog to change along with me. I have removed all non-vegan recipes from the recipe list. I have not deleted non-vegan posts as they are all part of my journey. Of course this will remain a gluten-free blog as that is the only way that I can eat. But it will focus on raw and vegan food that is naturally gluten-free.

I also can’t wait to explore the raw, vegan corners of New York City and share my findings with you!

Raw Chocolate Banana Crepes at Pure Food and Wine

I am so thankful for every one of you who contributes to this blog. You all have made Gluten-Free Cat what it is today because of what I have learned from you. The gluten-free blogging community, the vegetarian and vegan community, and the raw foods community have all given me support and encouragement through this growing process. Thank you! And I hope that you’ll come along with me on the next step of this journey.

Here are a few things that I’m really looking forward to in NYC.

Union Square Farmers Market

The Brooklyn Bridge

Walking Everywhere

Raw Foods Restaurants

Grab and Go Juice!

Cashew Ice Cream

Central Park

And now back to packing!

Readers, dish!

  • What is something that you’ve always wanted to do?
  • Have you ever dreamed about living somewhere else?
Organic Avenue: I’m in Love

GF Friendly Restaurants, Raw Foods, Travel

Organic Avenue: I’m in Love

7 Comments 27 March 2013

On a recent cab ride into New York City I did a double take as we flew past the orange Organic Avenue sign. This trip suddenly had a new purpose. It was no longer just a weekend away. I had to find out what was in that store. To my delight, I quickly learned that it was located just a few blocks from where we would be staying, which made multiple trips quite convenient.

But it only took one trip to fall in love.

At Organic Avenue L.O.V.E = Live. Organic. Vegan. Experience.

I just had to step inside Organic Avenue once to know that this was a store for me. These were my first three sights:

Cases filled with high quality, organic, cold pressed juices

Protein Smoothies and Nut Mylks

Salads and Raw Food!

Fabulous fare for a traveler like me in search of healthy food while away from my juicer, Vitamix, and dehydrator. But Organic Avenue specializes in raw foods cleanses. They have three levels to choose from: Love Easy, Love Fast,  and Love Deep. So whether you are looking for deep detox or a restart, you’re sure to find a cleanse that will work for you.

A weekend in New York is not the time for me to detox. There are just way too many gluten-free goodies to sample, but I made sure to start each day off with a healthy breakfast from Organic Avenue.

Day 1 began with Green LOVE. Crammed with green veggies and lightened with pear and lemon, this juice was absolutely delicious and refreshing. The Husband loved the Green Coco with added Thai Coconut Water.

Day 2 started with smoothies. Since I made the walk to get breakfast that morning I got first choice when I returned home with two options. I think the Chocolate Love Smoothie is one of the best smoothies I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot of smoothies. Made with cashews, hemp seeds, dates, Himalayan salt, vanilla powder, cacao powder, and Irish moss, this smoothie was a great way to start the day. The Husband enjoyed the Berry Blast Protein Smoothie so much that he bought one every day for the next week. (Lucky man got to stay in the city while I returned home on Day 3.)

Day 3 started with Berry Chia Tapioca Pudding topped with Cinnamon Raisin Granola. Strawberries, dates, coconut meat and an assortment of nuts and seeds made this a satisfying way to start our last of day trekking through the city.

Organic Avenue isn’t just a place for breakfast. You can enjoy soup, salads, snacks, entrees, and even desserts. The Husband tried their Mexi-Fresh Tacos and gave a report that made me extremely jealous.

I’d highly recommend stopping at Organic Avenue the next time you’re in New York City. It will keep you well fueled for all of the activity you have planned. Like everything else in the City, it is expensive. A bottle of juice costs between $9.00 and $12.00 depending on the size of the bottle, and a smoothie is a whopping $10.00. But considering that you’re fueling your body with high quality, delicious food in the most expensive city on the planet, it may just be a deal! Hey, I was sold!

Readers, dish!

  • Have you been to Organic Avenue?
  • Have you tried one of their cleanses?
  • What is your favorite Organic Avenue product?
Raw Foods Thursdays: 10/25/12

Healthy Living, Raw Foods, Raw Foods Thursdays

Raw Foods Thursdays: 10/25/12

16 Comments 24 October 2012

Welcome to Raw Foods Thursdays! I’m writing from the beach, and I’ve had an incredible Fall Break so far. And while I haven’t spent much time in the kitchen this week, I have been frequenting my favorite raw foods truck called Raw and Juicy.

You can read about my last review of this amazing raw vegan cafe by the sea here.

But here’s a little raw taste.

Juice Board – What to chose???

Sipping their signature juice, the Raw and Juicy, while beach cruising is vacation at its finest.

This Acai Bowl with granola, bananas, and Acai juice has inspired me to finally make my own raw granola.

The Raw Veggie Sandwich with Kale Salad is always a favorite.

Yes, I’ve eaten at Raw and Juicy a lot this week!

Since I’m on a juice kick, so I thought I’d start this Raw Foods Thursday by linking up my Carrot Beet Power Juice.

But before we jump into this week, take a look at the delicious cookies and raw treats that were shared here at Raw Foods Thursdays last week!

Quick Raw Chocolate Fudge by Vegan Brains

Raw Oatmeal Raisin Cookies by Gabby of the veggie nook

Better Than Newton’s by Veggie V’s Vegan Adventure

Super Simple Date Cashew Butter Balls by Shannon of Enjoying Gluten-Free Life

Now it’s your turn to join in the fun!

Here’s how you can participate:

  • Simply link up a raw foods recipe (see What Are Raw Foods Meals?), mention Raw Foods Thursdays, and link back to this post so your readers can join in the fun!
  • Please link to the recipe, not to a blog’s home page, so we can all find your raw foods recipe.
  • You may link up a recipe that you’ve made in the past. Just make sure to share something different each time you participate.
  • Be sure to leave a comment letting us know who you are and what you’re sharing.
  • Feel free to use the Raw Foods Thursdays blog badge created by the lovely, talented Heather Peters!

What are Raw Foods Meals?

  • Plant-based meals that are not cooked.  Dehydrators may be used no higher than 118 degrees.  (The raw foods community has differing views on temperature, but the range is between 104 and 118 degrees.)
  • Raw Ingredients: vegetables, fruit, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, gluten-free sprouted grains, beans, and oils.

What isn’t raw?

  • Anything cooked above 118.
  • Anything processed.  If it comes from a can or a package that lists more than one ingredient, chances are it’s not raw!

So what do you have to share this week?


The Green Sage: Gluten-Free Dining in Asheville

GF Friendly Restaurants, Travel

The Green Sage: Gluten-Free Dining in Asheville

5 Comments 08 August 2012

On a recent trip to Asheville, North Carolina, we were pleasantly surprised to run into another restaurant that did gluten free extremely well.  The Green Sage is a restaurant that creates healthy options using natural, local, and organic ingredients. They provide meals for those who are gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian.  The Husband I were thrilled to come across this sign while milling through the streets of Asheville.

We had no idea just how many gluten-free, vegetarian options there would be.  Every wrap can be made gluten free with a brown rice wrap, and every sandwich can be made on gluten-free bread.  Vegetarians are provided for as well, as every meat item can be substituted with tempeh.  And on top of it all, they will work with you to make vegetarian choices vegan.

The Green Sage is more than just a coffeehouse and cafe.  In fact, they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  In addition to wraps, sandwiches, and burgers, they also serve fresh pressed juices, smoothies, rice bowls, soups, salads, burritos, and organic beer and wine.

I had to try the Sunshine Juice made from juiced carrots and oranges.  It was a perfect refresher on a hot summer day.

I chose the Curry Cashew Salad Wrap with grilled tempeh, cashews, raisins, apples, and lettuce on a brown rice tortilla.  This sounds a little pompous, but it was so incredible that I couldn’t believe I was eating this in a restaurant and not in my own kitchen.  The Husband even commented on the fact that I was excited about eating something I would make for myself at home. EXACTLY!  They key is that I didn’t have to make it!

The Husband enjoyed his sweet potato fries as well as the Chipotle Jack on a gluten-free bun with tempeh, lettuce, red onion, roasted peppers, serrano peppers, pepper jack, guacamole, and chipotle sauce.  He was in heaven.

The dessert case held too many gluten-free treats for me to photograph.  I wish I could have ordered a single bite of each one. Here is a sampling of their gluten-free desserts.

I didn’t sample any of these, but I did come back later for a Double Chocolate Walnut Cookie the size of a dessert plate.  It didn’t last long enough to photograph, but it was incredible. It tasted more like a soft, rich brownie with crispy edges than a cookie, and I was perfectly okay with that.

I would highly recommend The Green Sage to anyone looking for a gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan meal.  They have two locations.  I tried the downtown location and was extremely pleased.

The Green Sage on Urbanspoon

DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE
5 Broadway Street
Asheville, NC. 28801
828.252.4450
 
SOUTH ASHEVILLE
1800 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC. 28803 
828.274.4450
 
Readers, dish!
  • Have you ever been to The Green Sage?
  • What is your favorite gluten-free, vegetarian restaurant?
A Gluten-Free Friendly Bed and Breakfast in Asheville, NC

GF Friendly Restaurants, Travel

A Gluten-Free Friendly Bed and Breakfast in Asheville, NC

6 Comments 25 July 2012

I love our trips to Asheville.  I love the mountains, the art, the pottery, the music, and the restaurants.  Okay, it’s mostly about the food for me, but I really do like everything else. I haven’t found another city as packed with environmentally conscious people as Asheville. The community believes in local food, and they are sensitive to the dietary restrictions of their city and its guests. Whether you are gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, vegetarian, or vegan, you are going to eat well in Asheville and feel good about it.

On our last trip to Asheville we stayed at Pinecrest Inn, a lovely bed and breakfast within walking distance of downtown.  I haven’t been overly excited about staying at bed and breakfasts in the past.  The bed part is usually just fine, but the breakfasts aren’t much of a treat when you are gluten intolerant, because you can’t enjoy the delicious country breakfasts that everyone else has to eat.  Plus, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and I’m not going to waste a meal on scrambled eggs and a side of fruit when Posana has a 100% gluten free brunch menu just up the street.

But Janna and Stacy, the ladies of Pinecrest, blew me away.  Not only did they provide us with a beautiful, quiet, comfortable room, they went above and beyond to make sure that being gluten free didn’t take away from my bed and breakfast experience.

Every morning I knew where my place was at the table, because there was something different on the bread plate.  Sometimes it was a gluten-free blueberry muffin.

Another time it was a mini sweet bread from Dolci di Mariaa local Asheville gluten-free bakery.

That alone would have been enough for me, but the ladies of Pinecrest didn’t stop there.

On the morning that we had yogurt parfaits, they used Udi’s Gluten-Free Granola for everyone’s parfait, not just mine.

They made sure that the frittata was naturally gluten free and that I had Udi’s Gluten-Free Bread to go along with it.  Udi’s bread was even more delicious topped with South Carolina peach preserves homemade by Janna’s daughter, Aiken.  And a tomato fresh from the Farmer’s Market just topped it off perfectly.

On French toast morning, I wondered if I’d be eating eggs with a side of Udi’s toast, but Janna and Stacy created gluten-free French toast with Udi’s Gluten-Free Bread just for me, complete with fresh peaches.

Gluten-free breakfast every morning was a dream come true, but it didn’t stop there.

Each day, upon returning from our day’s adventures, I looked forward to afternoon dessert.  Dessert for the guests were in the dining room under a glass cake dome.  But dessert for me was in the refrigerator and promptly presented upon our arrival.

Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Dolci di Maria

Cupcakes and white wine?  When on vacation, yes!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownie by Dolci di Maria

Clearly, Pinecrest Inn gets a five star rating and two paws up from the Gluten-Free Cat on food alone.  But the actual accommodations were beautiful and comfortable, giving us the perfect weekend retreat.

We started our visit in the Thomas Wolf Suite.  Apparently there was a small leak in the closet of our beautiful room after a torrential downpour.

It was barely noticeable, but the innkeepers moved us to the Grace Room on our last evening in hopes of improving our stay.  I was actually quite thrilled, as during the booking process I couldn’t decide between the Grace and the Thomas Wolfe.  How perfect that I had the chance to experience both!

In the Grace Room we were greeted with a bottle of wine as an anniversary gift, a bouquet of fresh flowers, and a gluten-free chocolate carrot cake.  This cake was out of this world!

This amazing cake by World’s Best Carrot Cake was truly the world’s best carrot cake!  Gluten-free or not, it was so good that I must confess that the Husband only got a small piece.  And dinner was rather late that evening.

It was a treat to stay at Pinecrest Inn.  Not only is the inn beautiful, comfortable, and well maintained, the owners are friendly and determined to make sure that your experience is memorable.  I highly recommend a stay at Pinecrest for anyone looking for a getaway.

Pinecrest Inn
Janna and James Martin, and
Stacy Shelley, Innkeepers
249 Cumberland Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801
888-811-3053 • 828-281-4275
 
Readers, dish!
  • Have you ever been to Pinecrest Inn?
  • Have you had a positive bed and breakfast experience? Please share!
  • How has an inn or BnB gone above and beyond for you?
  • What other BnBs are gluten friendly?

A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, fitness fanatic, gluten-free foodie, high-raw vegan, and Mama Cat living in NYC. I've made the transition from baking and cooking gluten-free to creating raw vegan recipes that are naturally gluten free. My gluten intolerance opened up my diet to a whole new world of nutritious plant-based foods. While I'm not 100% vegan, it's my favorite way to eat, and making and sharing raw foods makes me giddy. Living in the City has its joys and challenges, and I enjoy sharing my experiences with you.

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