Gettin’ jiggie in Bemidji

Hola chicos! It’s been too long.  Sorry about the lack of blogging…this weekend I traveled to good ol’  Bemidji, Minnesota for Nikki’s family reunion.  Let me tell ya, Minnesota ain’t so mini.

 On the plane, there wasn’t much shut eye and there wasn’t much peeing, but there was lotsa noshing. Snackies for the five hour plane ride were a given.  I munched on Trader Joe’s 100% whole wheat pretzels, some Larabars, apple crisps, and some nanner.

BAAAAACK up.  I should probably mention the humbelievable snack that Nikki Lu had waiting for me when I got to her house the night before we left.

like coming home to warm apple pie, hummusapien style

 Kale and black eyes peas (beanz n’ greenz) with some sorta sauteed zucchini. Plus a peach the size of my head.  The girl knows me too well.

Breakfast was delish, made by Nikki’s mom. 

oatmeal with whole flax seeds, dried cherries and raisins WITH a smoothie

The oatmeal was awesome, and the smoothie had about every fruit known to man in it: grapes, pineapple, banana, blueberry, raspberry, etc.

We stopped at Mall of A-murrr-ica for some Nordstrom Rack fine dining.  Wasn’t the healthiest, I must admit. I got an arugula salad with sweet corn, tomatoes, balsamic and shrimp, skip the cheese.  I don’t usually eat fish, but if I picked a veggie option on the menu it would have been literally just veggies (no beans, legumes, tofu, NADA), so I opted for the protein.  Good thing I did, since a chicken dinner night on the trip led me to finding a VERY vegetabley dinner.

vegan? I doe HEE hoe (Rat Race anyone?)

Eating well in Bemidji was tough at times, I must admit.  Luckily, we found a few hot spots, including a mini farmer’s market and a fabulous little cafe called The Cabin Coffeehouse & Cafe.  How did I find a healthy eating joint in the middle of mini soda? Well, I googled “healthy food Bemidji” of course! And looked what popped up!  A cute little cafe with tons of vegan options as well as meaty ones for the rest of the gang.  Perfecto.  We went there a couple of times throughout the trip to satiate the crying/trying vegan inside me.  The first time I got the vibrant salad, and by large, they meant XXXXL. It was a hugh jass salad for real.  Gigantenormoushuge.

field greens with shredded carrots, red onion, tomatoes, grapes, raisins, cucumber, sunflower seeds and almonds with Bragg's ginger sesame dressing

Other good eats from the Cabin Cafe included a tempeh wrap with marinated tempeh, lettuce, tomato, onion and hummus on an ezekiel wrap.  It hit the spot but was a pretty ugly sandwhich, so no picture.  I also had some root vegetable soup and an iced coffee with soymilk and stevia.   I was SO proud of Nikki when she ordered the…

It was awesome.  I also loved this place because the kids menu choices came with carrot sticks, tortilla chips, and 100% fruit juice.  Very impressive.

The Farmer’s market eats weren’t too shabby either.  They had loads of fresh zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, gluten free baked goods, and pickled asparagus.

teeny tiny

 We may or may not have ate our weight in raspberries.

We also tried a gluten free blueberry muffin, made with almond flour and sweetened with only fruit/fruit juice. It was super moist..meaning it had a good bit of oil to make up for the lack of refined sugar, but it was deeelish!

And that’s Minnesota for ya!

Anywho….current eats: TJ’s whole grain pretzels with YUMmus.

Current read: Skinny Bitch

Have you read Skinny Bitch? If you haven’t, you should.  I’m not gonna lie–in a way, it changed my life. I first read it back in Hilton Head last year, when I told my friends, “It’s really interesting, but I mean I would never be a vegetarian.” I remember saying it with such confidence.  Oh the irony.

A couple months later, in Israel, I became “vegetarian.”  I still ate fish once in a while, though.  And I may or may not have enjoyed a bit of turkey on Thanksgiving.  But during the year, I never ate chicken/pork/red meat.  And fish was very rare. Forgive me, veggie gods!! 

Next thing I know,  I’m swapping cow’s milk for almond milk or soy milk, butter for Earth Balance, making my own hummus, and exploring the world of vegan cooking in my little college apartment.  I even found the love of my life, a man named Joe.  Trader Joe.  Good thing my roomies love vegan chocolate chip zucchini muffins.  And good thing they don’t notice the difference when I sub unsweetened applesauce for oil.  Sneaky sneaky.

Now I can’t live with out vanilla unsweetened almond milk, peanut butter, baby spinach, bananas, hummus, black beans, quinoa, tofu and Amy’s.  Who would have ever thought?  Not me.

I’ve learned that you never know where your passion will take you.  I always loved nutrition, but now I study it, live it, breath it every day as I discover more and more about being the healthiest I can be.  Yes, I ate pan-fried walleye in Minnesota.  Yes, Nikki and I shared (and finished) a large cheese pizza a couple weeks ago at 2 am.  And yes, if I go to Jeni’s ice cream, you better believe I’m gonna eat it.  I’m not the perfect vegan/vegetarian, but I’m not living for a label.  I eat cleanly 95% of the time, and when I don’t, I have no regrets.

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