Danny On: Sonic’s pickle juice slush [TASTE TEST!]

Sonic’s pickle juice slush is here! When Sonic first announced that they’d be carrying a pickle-flavored drink, I was boggled. I had never been that into eating pickles (which I honestly thought were the epitome of a pregnancy craving) until one fateful day a few months back when, for the first time in a decade, I ate the pickle spear that came with my sandwich at Panera instead of chucking it straight into the trash. I was hooked.

I knew that I had to give Sonic’s new pickle juice slush a try. I drove all the way to the fringes of Los Angeles County to the nearest Sonic in Duarte to pick one up, and I was a little let down.

Though it had a distinct pickle smell, the slush just tasted like a tangier version of a lime slushie — pickle was not the prevalent flavor, it was more of an aftertaste than anything. The pickle juice slush was super sweet and not at all like the dill pickle in a cup that I think I was secretly hoping for.

Oh, well…

Lazy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (Recipe)

Veganuary is going great so far. I’m definitely noticing changes in my body: my skin is clearer, I’m sleeping better and my stubborn midsection is thinning out.  I poop four times a day and sometimes I crave deep dish pizza so badly that I want to cry, but generally things are great.

I’m fortunate (?) enough to be funemployed right now so I’ve been spending my endless spare time using my parents’ money to experiment with a ton of exciting new vegan recipes. The last time that I went vegan for an extended period of time, I subsisted mainly on fruit, steamed vegetables, Greek salads from Panera (hold the feta!) and Amy’s canned soups with frozen brown rice. This time around, I’m trying to better myself and improve my (frequently contentious) relationship with food by actually cooking it.

One of my  recent late-night hallucinatory episodes revolved around chocolate chip cookies. Like a meth addict in withdrawal, I sat in bed shaking and dreaming of gooey chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven as my stomach growled and demanded the sugar and butter of which I have been depriving it all year. In that moment, I decided that I needed to make some vegan cookies to keep myself from going completely insane.

These cookies definitely did the trick, although take note: they aren’t like regular chocolate chip cookies. This batch didn’t come out super sweet (which I appreciate, I haven’t been eating a lot of sugar lately so “normal” cookies would have sent me into diabetic shock) and they are more scone-like in their consistency than a gooey, buttery cookie. Ultimately, they did the trick for my sugar cravings and I can’t wait to make them again. Continue reading “Lazy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (Recipe)”

A Healthier Take on Comfort Food: Banana Bread

banana-bread

“Danny, it’s 80 degrees outside. Why are you baking a hearty loaf of banana bread? Shouldn’t this sort of thing be made in September or October when the weather turns cooler? This recipe has no place being published in late May!”

Don’t rain on my parade. I eat bananas like a monkey and this recipe combines two of my favorite foods: bananas and bread. Upon realizing that there were three full bunches of bananas scattered around my kitchen the other day and one of those bunches was on its last leg, I decided to do some baking.

My recipe is based off of The Best Banana Bread from allrecipes.com and some of the user reviews of the recipe. I tried to pull out most of the bad ingredients and added in a few kicks of flavor and I think that, unlike most of my cooking endeavors, this one turned out really well.

Continue reading “A Healthier Take on Comfort Food: Banana Bread”

What To Do After A Binge

We’ve all been there before: you’ve just eaten a little (or a LOT!) more than you intended to eat in one sitting. Your stomach is expanding, you feel nauseous and, if you are like me, you cannot stop burping. You feel guilty for completely blowing your diet and feel like all of the hard work that you have put into your workout regimen has suddenly come to naught.

Like I said, we have all been there before. The most important thing to realize after you binge is that the world is not ending. Although it may be a temporary setback, you are not unraveling all of the work that you’ve put into getting in shape over the past several months. No matter how sick you feel tonight, you will probably wake up tomorrow and feel fine and ready to get yourself back on track with your clean eating.

There are, however, a few things that you can do in the meantime to help your body recover from the sudden influx of food:

1. Drink plenty of water. Water is nature’s cleansing agent; the more water that you have in your system, the faster that your body will be able to flush out all of the toxins and make way for the fresh produce and lean protein that you will begin to feed it tomorrow. Since most junk foods that we tend to binge on are high in sodium, a binge episode is likely to result in dehydration. Dehydration slows body processes such as digestion and metabolism and will leave you feeling gross for longer.

2. Brush your teeth and change into loose-fitting clothing. Brush and floss away any lingering evidence of your binge and change out of any form-fitting clothing that you were wearing while you were eating. Tasting the chocolate in your mouth and feeling your waistband stretching will only wrack you with guilt and leave you feeling depressed and disillusioned. While it is important to reflect upon your areas of opportunity, it is important not to dwell upon them.

3. Evaluate your circumstances and remind yourself of your goals. Very rarely do we binge accidentally. We habitually turn to food as a way to feel a modicum of control when we feel like our life is crumbling around us. Whether we are not performing well at our job, engaged in a disagreement with a friend or colleague or having financial struggles, eating is a destructive way to cope with problems. Remind yourself why you are on the journey to wellness and think about ways to prevent these episodes from recurring in the future.

4. Get back on track as soon as possible. If you binge at night, resolve to get back on track as soon as you wake up in the morning. Do not restrict your calories the following day; this will set you tumbling down a slippery slope of depravation and overindulgence. Continue with your regular exercise and nutrition regimen as if nothing had happened. If you are up to it, it may be worth it to do an exercise the next day that is slightly more intense or longer than your regular routine but be sure not to push yourself too hard. Deviate as little as possible from your habits and getting on track permanently will be a breeze.

5. Don’t get discouraged. Like I said, it happens to the best of us. I lost 50 pounds over the past three years and, as much as I hate to admit it, one evening of binging is not going to bring back those 50 pounds. Although you may feel discouraged, your body will slowly but surely work through the food that you have ingested and life will go on. Remind yourself of your fitness achievements and re-commit yourself to being the best that you can be.

INSANITY Day Four

shoes-cropped

It’s Day 4 for my Insanity Challenge and we are still going strong! I have a confession: I skipped Cardio Recovery today and went on a five mile run instead. Don’t get me wrong, stretching is an integral part of any fitness regimen but I was in dire need of some Danny time AND I was dying to break in my new running shoes!

Per usual, I woke up at 7 a.m. and was out the door soon thereafter. Unlike the 75 degree paradise that was Wednesday, Thursday decided to surprise me with a 45 degree morning that was brisk but refreshing. I definitely noticed a major difference in my running; I don’t know whether three days of INSANITY has already boosted by stamina, whether I have more energy from my refined diet or whether my new shoes gave me the extra kick that I needed (probably all three!) but I had an amazing run and felt great afterwards.

Ever since I realized how intense of a program INSANITY really is, I have been consciously trying to boost my protein intake. I don’t eat a lot of meat to begin with but I have been trying to double up on poultry. I just picked up a ton of brown rice and black beans at the grocery store. Beans and rice is one of my favorite dishes, especially with avocado and tomato. It is ridiculously easy to prepare and I can make a huge batch ahead of time that will last a few days. Good nutrition on a busy schedule is all about meal prep! I prepare most of my meals a few days in advance and prepare all of my fruits & veggies for the day early in the morning so that everything stays fresh but is easily accessible throughout the day.

Overall, I am enjoying the program so far. The cardio is more intense than anything that I have ever done before. One of my friends in my Challenge Group remarked it was encouraging to see the performers in the DVD taking extra breaks during the workout (at one point, Tanya yells “I feel like shit!” as she lays on the floor…). I certainly have not made it through any of the workouts so far without stopping but I can feel myself working hard and giving my all.