L.A. Baby


Have you heard that Jonas Brothers song? No? Never mind then.

The first stop on my trip was Los Angeles, CA for a 12-hour layover. I was actually really excited about this part of my trip, because I’ve heard such amazing things about California and I’d never been there before. I was also really looking forward to a nice day on the beach, enjoying the last of the summer before arriving in Australia during the winter.

Much like my flight over (which I’ll talk about in my next post), my time in LA was a bit disappointing. First of all, I was expecting the airport to be really welcoming and modern and cool with palm trees everywhere, but the part I was in just felt old and sad and lonely. I also underestimated how much of a hassle it would be to have a too-full carry on bag (with no wheels) to lug around the airport. But I was excited that this was the farthest I’d ever been away from home, and I was excited to see Manhattan Beach, so I hopped in a cab for my first taxi ride ever (lots of firsts today)! Read more →

So, what’s new?


Hey folks! Since I haven’t actually blogged in 6 months, I wanted to give a little update about what’s new in my life before diving into full-on travel blog mode (I’ll get to that in a minute). So, here’s a distilled list of the important things that have happened since I last wrote!

Important Life Events

  • I survived Physics, Analytical Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry, and finished my second 4.0 semester (woo!)
  • I was accepted into UNC’s BSPH Nutrition Program (yay!!)
  • I started doing raw liver shots
  • …wait, don’t leave! I’m not done yet! They’re really not as scary as they sound!…yep, shouldn’t have brought up the raw liver.
  • For those of you who are still here, the last and most exciting life event: I bought my plane ticket to AUSTRALIA!

I’ll be spending 5 months in Perth studying abroad at Murdoch University, then a month traveling around New Zealand, so as you can imagine, I’m going to be writing mostly about my travels. And, of course, the food I eat on my travels. Hopefully I’ll also have a little free time to do some gut bacteria blogging since I’m taking time off work and I signed up for easy classes this, but we’ll see!

8 Things From 2013 I’m Thankful For

New Year 2013

Before the first day of 2014 comes to a close, I just wanted to write down some of the (many) things from 2013 that I’m most thankful for. If you’re so inclined, share something that you’re thankful for in the comments! Gratitude is a powerful thing.

Here are my top eight, in no particular order: Read more →

How I dye and condition my hair with henna


I’ve been meaning to post about my experiences with using henna on my hair for a while now, and what better time than while my hair is coated in henna and wrapped in a Turbie Twist? (In case you’re wondering what the heck a Turbie Twist is, it’s this thing.)

I actually became interested in henna a couple years ago, primarily for the conditioning and curl-taming effects as opposed to the coloring effects. I had read that henna could help reduce frizz and relax curl pattern, and the nice reddish color was more of a pleasant ‘side-effect’ 🙂 (By the way, I think the henna has relaxed my curl pattern over the past couple years!)

But even after deciding I wanted to try henna, I spent a few months hemming and hawing before I finally got up the courage to do it. A large part of the reason for that is that there’s so much conflicting and confusing information out there! The process seems simple enough:

  1. Mix henna with liquid to form a paste
  2. Wait for dye release
  3. Put in hair
  4. Let sit
  5. Rinse out

But there are so many different opinions on the best liquid to use, the length of dye release, how clean your hair needs to be before applying henna, how long you need to let it sit, and even the best way to get it out of your hair, so I had to do a ton of online exploring before I felt comfortable enough with a method to actually try it out. And there were enough henna horror stories online that I couldn’t bring myself to take the plunge without doing extensive research first. Read more →

Raita (Indian Cucumber-Yogurt Dip)


This is my new favorite thing. The other day, my friend Laura introduced me to this great little Indian café on Franklin street, and I got Tandoori Chicken, which they served with rice and some yogurty cucumberish stuff that turned out to be raita. All I knew at the time was that it tasted like yogurt and cucumbers and I wanted more of it. So the next day, I googled ‘Indian cucumber yogurt stuff,’ and that’s how I learned that it actually has a real name, and isn’t just called ‘Indian cucumber yogurt stuff.’

I really wanted some, right then, but much to my dismay, I didn’t have yogurt on hand. I did, however, have a quart of kefir, and a fermented milk product is a fermented milk product, right? Anyways, that was my reasoning. (It turned out delicious with the kefir, but it’s probably even better with yogurt, so feel free to use either!)

There’s not really a ‘traditional’ raita recipe, because it exists in many different permutations depending on who’s making it, and where it’s being served. The primary component is yogurt (kefir in my case), and cucumber is usually present, but beyond that, it’s up to the chef. It’s pretty common to add different herbs or spices (I saw mint and cumin used a lot in the recipes I saw online), and some people will add other fresh vegetables, or even fruits. I decided to keep mine simple and go with cucumber, salt, and pepper, but feel free to experiment! (Here’s the raita Wikipedia page to get your creative juices flowing.) Read more →

Homemade Gummies


Do you ever have those times where you are so fixated on one food that you can’t think about anything else until you find that food and eat so much of it that you never want to look at it again in your life? Well, last week, that food was gummies.

For some bizarre reason, I got it in my head that I wanted gummies, and then proceeded to look up about 22 different homemade gummy recipes that I wanted to try. When I settled on a recipe, I went to Target to gather the necessary supplies. Much to my dismay, Target did not have any silicone ice cube or candy molds that I could use for my gummies, but I was not about to settle for dumb square-shaped gummies that I cut out of a baking dish. No sir-ee, I wanted individual gummies, with shapes. 

I tried two other stores before finding a single heart-shaped silicone candy mold in Home Goods. Do you want to know how much that single mold cost? $8. EIGHT DOLLARS, people. And they even tried to make me feel good about spending that much by declaring that the ‘retail price’ was $16.  Meanwhile, the 53 homemade gummy recipes open in tabs on my computer mocked me with their tales of “wow, I found these adorable molds at Walmart for 99 cents each!” And of course, Amazon has some awesome candy molds for a couple dollars each. But that wasn’t going to help me, because I wanted gummies, with shapes, right now. (Sometimes I am not a reasonable person.)

So I took a deep breath, reminded myself that $8 is not actually a lot of money, and bought it anyways. Then I raced home, and within an hour, I was eating gummies and slowly returning to a state of normal cognition. I’m still not satisfied with the recipe, because they don’t have the same texture as storebought gummies (probably due to the lack of high fructose corn syrup), but they’re still tasty and they definitely satisfied my craving. So here’s the recipe, which I got from Butter Believer! I just changed the ratios slightly, but the original is great too. Read more →

Plantain Pancakes (and muffins!)

Plantain Pancakes

Look what I had for dinner last night! Pancakes! I actually made these for the first time a couple weeks ago on National Pancake Day (yep, believe it or not, it exists), and made them again last night. I rarely (never) eat ‘Paleo’ treats because almond flour and coconut flour don’t work that well for me, and truthfully, I just think they’re kind of unnecessary. BUT, these pancakes from The Paleo Mom are full of nothing but safe starch goodness! Read more →

A word on raw meat, carnivory, and compassion towards animals

Animal Compassion

I’m sure you’ve all seen the recent story about this man who has eaten nothing but raw meat for the past 5 years. Chances are, you reacted in disgust, recoiling at the mere thought of eating the raw flesh of an animal (despite the fact that you have, in fact, eaten sushi on numerous occasions). I have to admit, some of the pictures definitely made my stomach turn a little bit.

I wasn’t surprised by the comments on the various news articles, calling him vile, disgusting, and mentally ill, and calling his diet a ‘weird food addiction.’ But I was surprised that even in Paleo circles, his story elicited a similarly negative reaction. I would’ve expected ancestrally-minded people to be a little more open-minded, and I don’t want to call out anyone specifically, but some of the comments were unbelievably ignorant.

I just want to bring a little perspective to the situation. Read more →

Salmon Chowder (low-FODMAP)


Lately I’ve been buying a lot of bluefish. I can get it at Whole Foods for only $5.99/lb, it’s an oily fish like salmon so it has a ton of good fats, AND it’s delicious. (If you haven’t tried it, you definitely should; it’s the only fresh fish I’ve found that comes close to the affordability of ground beef.)

When I was at Whole Foods last week, I realized I had never bought a whole fish before. I know that fish broth is supposed to be an awesome source of selenium and iodine and all those other great things you can find in fish heads, so I decided to give it a shot. I brought home my bluefish (which the Whole Foods fish people kindly filleted for me), fried and ate the fillets for breakfast two days in a row, and then stuck the fish head in a pot of water and boiled it for a few hours to make some fish broth. Read more →

Carolina Healthy Nation Coalition: squashing dietary dogma one Tarheel at a time


Last year, I decided I wanted to actually do something at UNC to make peoples’ lives better, and to help grow the community of people who acknowledge that the USDA Dietary Guidelines are not the end-all be-all of good health. In my New Year’s Resolutions, here’s what I said:

I think the hardest thing about leading instead of following isn’t the added work or responsibility, but risk of failure. It’s downright scary to try and start something new when there’s a good chance you’ll fall flat on your face. But it’s better to try and then fail than to not try at all, which is why I’m going to try to start the first ancestral health student organization at UNC, called the Healthy Nation Coalition. It will be a branch of the existing Healthy Nation Coalition, which is directed by my good friend Adele Hite, and will unite all of the ancestralites on campus so that we can get to know each other and show UNC what it really looks like to “eat healthy,” whether that’s Weston Price vegetarian or low-carb Paleo.

To an extent, I did carry out that resolution. I hung up flyers all over campus, emailed a bunch of different listservs, held an interest meeting where I felt mildly awkward (as usual), and to my amazement, found a solid group of 8-10 people who care about this food thing as much as I do. We met about once a week from the end of February through May, and discussed topics ranging from cholesterol and ethical vegetarianism to exercise and nutrient timing. There were even a good 5 or 6 of us who are ‘Paleo’! But I was very wrong about one thing: it’s not an ancestral health group. Read more →