The Ballot at Tiffany’s — Politics at the Dinner Table

Hello there! You’re a little late to the dinner table tonight, but that’s okay! I was just telling my guests how to register to vote online! The deadline was yesterday (10/22), so hopefully you registered before you got here. If not, you are welcome to smile and pretend that you did. 🙂

Oh, hi again! Yes, another post so soon. Why? Because this is time-sensitive, with an impending deadline of October 22nd at midnight. I’m still getting over some of my procrastination issues, but I’m hoping I can use them for good this time:

Did you know? In California (and several other states) you can now register to vote online! But, the absolute deadline is MIDNIGHT, OCTOBER 22nd. (Not after Monday, but BEFORE Monday) So, do it today! If you haven’t already, register to vote now!

“But, Tiffany, how does THAT work? Are YOU registered to vote?”

This is how it works: 
– Once you fill out the online form, the system will search the DMV database for your California driver license or ID card number, date of birth, and last four digits of your social security number. 
– If your information is found, you have the option to authorize elections officials’ use of your DMV signature
– once you hit SUBMIT at the end of the online application,  an electronic image of your DMV signature will be added to your voter registration application! 

And yes I am registered to vote, thankyouverymuch. I even voted in the primaries! 🙂 




“But, Tiffany, I don’t live in California!!!”
Sad times. Many of my other posts are globally-friendly, though! 🙂 Comment below with your location and I’ll email you something fun to make up for this post!

So, Californians, here’s is what you need to do, immediately:
[STEP 1]
Cut a hole in the box. Just kidding.

Actually, check the database to see if you are registered to vote: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/registration-status/

All you need to input is your house number (just the number, not even your street!), your date of birth, and your zip code!

This is what it looks like if you’re registered to vote (well, without my pink censoring):


Skip to STEP 3 if you are already registered vote.

[STEP 2]
Register to Vote!!

To make it easier, be ready with your California driver license/ID card number, the last four digits of your social security number, and your date of birth.

If you do not have a CA driver license/ID card, you can still register online by 10/22 at 12am, as long as you print out the form, sign it, and mail it to your county office immediately.

Disclaimer: If you are enrolled in a confidential address program, like Safe at Home, DON’T register online. There ways to register confidentially if providing your address could put you in life-threatening danger.  

Here is the link to Register to vote:  http://registertovote.ca.gov/ 

You will find the following button on the bottom of the page!





[STEP 3] Take a moment to appreciate being a citizen of a country built on freedom and democracy. Of course, America is not perfect, but at least we know we have a voice, and can make an impact if we take action!


You did it!

Now that you’re registered to vote, you can leave now if you’d like.

I’ve always heard that it’s impolite to discuss politics at the dinner table, so really, you can stop reading now.

Stop it!!!

…bye?

Okay if you r e a l l y  wanted to know how I am going to fill out one of the bubbles on my ballot, stay and read on. This bubble will actually make an impact on the food that makes it onto the average American’s dinner table:

If you’ve been following along this month, you know that I’ve participating in October #Unprocessed. The basic reason that I eat natural, whole foods is for the wonderful health/environmental benefits, but it’s also to avoid some pretty scary things that happen to processed foods:

This November 6th, I will be voting YES on Proposition 37, supporting the Right to Know what’s in our food. Why? Because I love to cook for my family and friends, and I want to be sure I don’t feed them anything harmful along the way.

Basically, Proposition 37 will require that food in stores be labelled honestly and clearly if they contain genetically engineered foods. For me, this means being able to serve food from my kitchen and into people’s tummies that is free from harmful chemicals that big food companies do not want us to know about.

In striving to eat mainly natural, whole foods, I’ve spent a lot of time scrutinizing the ingredient labels as I shop for food. Though I’m pretty well versed in food and nutrition, it can still be challenging for me to really know what’s in the foods I’m eating. What is soy lechitin and what is it doing in my chocolate? What type of plant oils are natural and which are chemically engineered? I believe that we as consumers have the Right to Know, no matter how little or how extensively we have studied food.

In case I lost you there, here’s a quick video that sums up this new report about genetically engineered foods:

If you haven’t heard the name Monsanto before this video, or have never thought twice about picking up that bag of hot cheetos at the gas station, I’d like to give you a little insight about the American food system.

While there is a seemingly vast variety of food brands out there, most of them are controlled by Big Food companies that have lots of financial lobbying power. Not to mention, they’re all buddy-buddy with the Mr. Genetically Engineered Food Man a.k.a. Monsanto.

Interestingly enough, “Coke, Pepsi, Nestle, Kraft and Kellogg’s .. are donating tens of millions of dollars against ‘Yes on 37,’ [and] already label GMO foods in 50 countries around the world, including all of Europe, Australia, Japan, Russia and even China.

It’s hard to believe that Pepsi, Kraft and Nestle could label GMO foods in China, but somehow want to deny consumers in California that same right! For some reason, the same corporations that espouse the ideals of free market capitalism believe that  Americans shouldn’t have honest and transparent labels on their food. – [source]

I could talk your ear off about this, but I’d never want to spoil your appetite while you’re Dining at Tiffany’s! Also, I’m no political/scientific expert — I’m just your average consumer that believes we have the Right To Know what’s in our food.

Here are more useful links to read so you can decide for yourself if you believe that we have the Right to Know:
California Right to Know – Get all the facts!
Just Label It – Ways to take action
New York Times  by Michael Pollan – a MUST-read to learn about the maginitude of Prop 37

Last but not least, here are some ways you can spread the word:
– share this post with others!
If you’re on Tumblr, REBLOG THIS POST (click here) to encourage others to vote too!

I’m love to discuss this Proposition with you further. Please email me with any questions & remember to VOTE on November 6th! 🙂

With love,

Tiffany R.

Dining at Tiffany’s
diningattiffanys@gmail.com
Twitter: @diningattiffs
facebook.com/diningattiffanys
Instagram: @diningattiffs 
Tumblr: @diningattiffs

PS: Yes on 30, No on 32. 🙂

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Others eat #Unprocessed, too! — Clean Eating/Paleo Style

Introduction 

Hello! You just walked in for the second half of the October #unprocessed challenge, in which I join over 6,000 people to eat only whole, unprocessed foods for one month!

I’ve been eating very delicious, unprocessed foods lately, but of course I’m not perfect — I have some deliberate exceptions that I have partaken in. It has been challenging, but it’s totally doable!
“Autumn Cakes”: Sweet potato, shrimp + fresh-squeeze orange juice, chard stems, garlic, cinnamon, cayenne, pepper
Garnished with chard leaves!
Deliberate Exception: Anything my mom cooks, like her specialty pancit (Filipino, stir-fry noodles). Processed foods include the noodles, soy sauce, & fish cakes. Other than that, my mom makes everything from scratch! Go mom!
You can join too, either by finishing up the rest October, or starting your 30 days today!

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.content_area1 { float: left; width: 100%; } .content_area2 { float: left; } .footer { clear: both; }Scroll through this textbook to read the full introduction.
If you’re on your mobile device, flip it on its side for easier viewing! 🙂
I can tell you that since I started eating unprocessed foods, I feel much healthier and I’ve seen a noticeable difference in my body figure! Let me know if you’re joining me and we can be #unprocessed buddies. I might even send you fun texts like this one from the other day:

If you’re in San Diego, I’m happy to share #unprocessed goodies with you! Take the pledge!
If you’re like most people in my life, you won’t take my word for it and will probably ignore me.  :”(
So, I invited some guests over to help me convince you!
A Gym-Owner,  A Manufacturing Engineer, A Newlywed, A Master of Food, A Fitspirational Friend, & An Aspiring Personal Trainer.
In America, there is a dangerous dichotomy in which people are very body image-obsessed but at the same time, our country has become increasingly overweight. Because of this, many fad “diets” pop up here and there, with varying levels of effectiveness, health benefits, and sometimes even safety.
First of all, I don’t like the term “diet.” It connotes eating naked salads for lunch, and being very miserable. And I don’t very much like having naked people or misery at Tiffany’s. 😉
 
So, I wanted to invite people to the table that don’t necessary “diet,” but stick to choices and eating styles that involve nourishing themselves with good food!
Now, I’m on Instagram ALL the time, and like me, I notice that Instragram users often post pictures of their most glorious meals. Some hashtags that keep popping up under the most vibrant of these photos are #eatclean or #cleaneating and #paleo.
So, I took some time to investigate of the Eat Clean/Clean Eating and Paleo styles of dining.

Here are my findings: both of these eating styles involve choosing to eat whole, natural, and — you guessed it — unprocessed foods! Who knew?


I’m starting to believe in this more and more each day, especially since eating #unprocessed is found across many styles of healthy dining, like Paleo/Clean Eating, that are recommended by many fitness-lovin’ people:

Meet Raquel, A Gym-Owner

Raquel, 28, is the owner of The Stronghold  – a local, family gym focusing on CrossFit and Ju-Jitsu. While she enjoys training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and CrossFit, she’s been focusing on her latest hobby – her kids. 🙂


.content_area1 { float: left; width: 100%; } .content_area2 { float: left; } .footer { clear: both; }Scroll through this text box to read my interview with Raquel, A Gym-Owner!
If you’re on your mobile device, flip it on its side for easier viewing. 🙂
[Dining at Tiffany’s] What style of eating do you practice and what does it entail?
[Raquel, A Gym-Owner] Paleo, which is basically a caveman diet. If a caveman couldn’t find a certain item in prehistoric times, he wouldn’t eat it. Meats are preferred to be organic, grass-fed, etc.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] Why do you practice this style of eating?
[Raquel, A Gym-Owner] This is encouraged by CrossFit to help make you become better at cleaner eating and performance. I personally do it because it helps out with my auto-immune disorders. Gluten and dairy items make my eczema flare up pretty bad.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What have been some challenges of this style of eating?
[Raquel, A Gym-Owner] Finding healthy and paleo items on the go. You won’t find any at fast food restaurants if you’re trying to do strict paleo. You can grab a protein style hamburger at In N’ Out, but the meat isn’t grass-fed obviously. Going to family parties and hanging out with friends who basically eat junk doesn’t help either. I’m also allergic to nuts which is another challenge as a lot of Paleo puts emphasis on almond-anything: buter, milk, raw, etc.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What have been some successes?
[Raquel, A Gym-Owner] I’m definitely a lot leaner when I’m working out full time, my skin is clearer, and I feel overall pretty healthy!

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What #unprocessed foods have you enjoyed while practicing this style of eating?
[Raquel, A Gym-Owner] Loading up on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and learning how to cook without using too much additives has been fun and is a great learning experience. My husband and I frequent the Farmer’s Market more often and it’s great being able to support local farmers while trying to eat better.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What specific products do you recommend?
[Raquel, A Gym-Owner] Grass-fed beef, fresh fish, organic chicken, kale, avocados, bananas, and coconut-anything are some of our favorite items that we incorporate daily!

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What tips/resources can you leave readers for living healthier?
[Raquel, A Gym-Owner] www.everydaypaleo.com is a great website!

Raquel invites you to check out her family-owned gym – The Stronghold. They have three locations in San Diego – Point Loma, Eastlake, and Rancho Bernardo, specializing in CrossFit and Jiu Jitsu for adults and kids! This gym is more than just a place to work out; it’s a family! In fact, you can follow her @strongholdmom! The Stronghold can help you out whether you’re trying to start a new hobby or get back in shape. Visit them online at www.thestrongholdsd.com!



Meet Vic, A Manufacturing Engineer
Vic, 24, is a recent grad that loves trolling people, working out, Asian sports like badminton and ping pong, video games, and eating too much. I met Vic in our Freshmen year of college (back in 2006). When I used to live in a college dorm, we lived on the same floor. Most nights, we’d go down to the cafeteria to have nachos and milkshakes for a late night snack. 

Scroll through this text box to read my interview with Vic, A Manufacturing Engineer!
If you’re on your mobile device, flip it on its side for easier viewing. 🙂
[Dining at Tiffany’s] What style of eating do you practice and what does it entail?
[Vic, A Manufacturing Engineer] Paleo. For hundreds of thousands of years, back when humans were hunger-gatherers, we ate what we could find. This came down mainly to meat, veggies, nuts, fruits, things we could find in the wild. It wasn’t until about 5,000 – 10,000 years ago that humans discovered they could farm large amounts of grains, and so foods like rice, wheat, and corn became a large part of people’s diets. This leads us to believe that human bodies aren’t designed to eat the huge amount of grains that mots people eat today, but to eat mainly what our hunger-gatherer ancestors ate. To build on this, what’s even worse are all the additives found in processed foods today that can’t even be considered “food.” Since many of these additives have not been around for that long, no one knows for certain the negative effects they have on the body, so the best thing you can do is avoid them.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] Why do you practice this style of eating?
[Vic, A Manufacturing Engineer] I had gained more weight after graduating from college and was fed up with it. It has been the only diet that I’ve done that I can honestly say is a lifestyle change, and I’m glad I did it because now I usually crave real food instead of burgers and fries. Also, since I can eat to my heart’s content on Paleo, it’s actually been the easiest “diet” I’ve ever tried.  

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What have been some challenges of this style of eating?

[Vic, A Manufacturing Engineer] My Paleo eating revolves around my social life. When I eat alone, I eat Paleo. When my friends invite me out, I eat whatever the hell I want. This system has gotten me to the point I’m at now but I feel that I have plateaued, at least for losing belly fat. I definitely go overboard sometimes when I go out and eat with my friends. After a good week of eating Paleo, those Carne Asada Fries are hard to pass up when you go out with your friends.
[Dining at Tiffany’s] What have been some successes?
[Vic, A Manufacturing Engineer] I lost 25 pounds through eating about 70% paleo on average, along with regular exercise. In 2 months I lost my first 10 pounds, then lost another 15 pounds in the next 3-4 months. I started off being able to do 2 pull-ups, and now I can do about 20 nonstop. My mile time has broken the 6:30 mark and I need less sleep than I used to need to be able to function.


[Dining at Tiffany’s] What #unprocessed foods have you enjoyed while practicing this style of eating?
[Vic, A Manufacturing Engineer] Some of my favorites: STEAK, Costco rotissiere chicken (I’m really lazy), Pork chops, Baked salmon, Pre-marinated bulgogi (again, I’m lazy), Slow-cooked pork/chicken in a crock-pot (did I mention I’m lazy?), Sauteed veggies (especially broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, brussels sprouts, carrots), Avocados

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What specific products do you recommend?
[Vic, A Manufacturing Engineer] Mixed nuts from Sprouts (roasted, unsalted), Coconut milk (minimally processed) – my substitution for dairy milk, been trying it out for a while, Coconut milk ice cream from Trader Joes (not exactly paleo, but I really can’t give up ice cream, so i just swapped out dairy ice cream), Smoked salmon (minimally processed), Beef jerky (some are processed more than others. Try to find one with a short ingredients list)
[Dining at Tiffany’s] What tips/resources can you leave readers for living healthier?
[Vic, A Manufacturing Engineer] REMEMBER, the first two weeks will most likely suck. But be patient, because after that your body will start craving real food instead of the junk you’re used to. Also, as an Asian person I ate rice every day for most of my life. I have not wanted to eat rice for over half a year now. I still think it tastes good, just like how I still think bread and pasta tastes good, but my brain never tells me that that’s what I’m craving. It’s a good feeling. Also, don’t try to go 100% paleo at once. Cut things out a few at a time, or you will fail. 



Vic says you should check out these useful websites for Paleo recipes and tips! Mark’s Daily Apple Primal Britain Nom Nom Paleo 

Meet Kristen, A Newlywed 
Kristen is my sister’s husband’s sister. We share a fondness for many of the same things, the cutest of which is our puppy-niece, a mini-schnauzer named Sasha Patricia (reference: #sashapatricia on Instagram).

She would like to introduce herself: “I am a long-time San Diego resident and a big-time foodie poser. I am 27 years old, working full-time as a registered nurse, and this summer, became the wife to the most fun guy I know. I am really into writing; reading about people, travel and food; and I have this on-again, off-again love affair with photography. I admire superbly creative people who live their lives making the world more colorful, or more tasty, or just a more beautiful place overall!”

Scroll through this text box to read my interview with Kristen, A Newlywed!
If you’re on your mobile device, flip it on its side for easier viewing. 🙂

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[Dining at Tiffany’s] What style of eating do you practice and what does it entail?
[Kristen, A Newlywed] Flexitarian: Almost a vegetarian, but not quite.


[Dining at Tiffany’s]
Why do you practice this style of eating?
[Kristen, A Newlywed] As much as I would love to eat only a plant-based diet, I don’t find myself with enough know-how or time in the kitchen to be committed to one and actually produce meals that I won’t find monotonous. Instead, I eat fish for my main source of protein, and sometimes (very rarely, actually) will eat poultry or beef. My specialty as a nurse is in Intensive Care, and while caring for adults with multiple co-morbidities brought on by their lifestyle choices, I quickly realized that I needed to treat my body better – starting with my food intake. I decided that I would much rather invest my money in real food now, than pay for hospital bills later.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What have been some challenges of this style of eating?
[Kristen, A Newlywed] If I had it my way, I’d eat seafood for all meals! However, now that I’m married and learning more about cooking, I have to be considerate of my non-flexitarian husband whenever I make dinner. But other than that, there really hasn’t been any challenges.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What have been some successes?
[Kristen, A Newlywed] Now, this is going to sound a little horrible because I don’t want to advocate a sedentary lifestyle, but by eating mostly vegetables and seafood, I’ve been able to maintain a healthy weight and frame for my height – without a strict workout plan (although I will ALWAYS say that a 12 hour shift in the hospital is a considerable workout method, in my humble opinion). My husband and I love to go out to eat and I often get asked how I manage to “stay so skinny.” It was never a case of trying to lose weight or “stay skinny.” My body’s ability to maintain its weight is just a side effect to making better food choices.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What #unprocessed foods have you enjoyed while practicing this style of eating?
[Kristen, A Newlywed] Easy. Vegetables! I can’t believe I used to not like vegetables as a child. I almost think this is at the fault of TV sometimes, since vegetables are portrayed as “gross.” Take brussel sprouts, for instance. It has such an unpopular reputation. But really guys, they’re just mini cabbages! And they’re awesome.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What specific products do you recommend?
[Kristen, A Newlywed] Whole fruit and vegetables. Haha, I know that sounds so redundant. But you know how juicing is kind of “in” right now? I mean, I have a juicer and I love it. But juice is still technically a processed food. Nothing will ever beat eating fruits and vegetables in the form in which they came if you want to get the full benefit of what you’re eating.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What tips/resources can you leave readers for living healthier?

[Kristen, A Newlywed] I loved the little book Food Rules by Michael Pollan. It’s a great resource for anyone who is trying to eat healthier since:
1) it’s in list form. Everyone loves a good list. Like this one.
2) it’s ridiculously easy to read. I picked up a few books on nutrition a few months ago and they’re detailed, which I like, but definitely longer. You can breeze through Food Rules in 30 minutes or an hour.
3) it explains, in plain, relatable language, the importance of eating REAL FOOD. Not food-like products.
4) it’s compact and easy to pass along to friends once you’re done. Let’s spread the idea that we were meant to and deserve to eat true food!

Kristen says she’d like you to check out: “My blurby little blog, the New Missus. It’s in its beginning stages, but I hope to review restaurants within San Diego as well as wherever my husband and I end up traveling; include anecdotes on married life; recipes as I try to cook, and whatever else I feel like talking about. :)”

Meet Selina, A Master of Food
I met Selina last year through the Slow Food Urban San Diego – Food Justice committee. Soon after, she became my coworker at the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. Then, she moved to New York and we kept in touch, mostly through Instagram. A few hours ago, I used Microsoft Paint to draw an icon of her intending to do the same for all the Dining at Tiffany’s guests. I gave up after this first try as she turned out looking like “an ethnic Daria”:

Here is her self-introduction: “I’m 23! I’m living in New York studying to get an M.A. in Food Studies, which encompasses the academics of the food system and food culture. I’m in my first semester, but so far the program is great. I have always had a love for food and cooking, and during my undergrad realized the potential to study it academically.”

.content_area1 { float: left; width: 100%; } .content_area2 { float: left; } .footer { clear: both; }Scroll through this text box to read my interview with Selina, A Master of Food!
If you’re on your mobile device, flip it on its side for easier viewing. 🙂
[Dining at Tiffany’s] What style of eating do you practice and what does it entail?
[Selina, A Master of Food] The Paleo diet believes that the human body functions the best when we eat what our Paleolithic ancestors ate- anything that could be hunted and gathered. It was after the Paleolithic era that humans began to practice agriculture (Neolithic=the beginning of farming), so simply put, grains, dairy, and legumes are not part of the paleo diet, it’s mainly vegetables, animal protein, and sparing fruits and nuts.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] Why do you practice this style of eating?
[Selina, A Master of Food] I used to be a vegetarian, and I never anticipated doing the Paleo diet, but after feeling lazy, bloated, and chubby, I was intrigued when my sister expressed her positive experience with it. I did my research, and it seemed to make sense, besides the fact that I didn’t know if I could commit to meat every day. I am a self proclaimed bread and cheese addict, so I finally decided to try the Paleo for two weeks in attempts to break the habit.


[Dining at Tiffany’s] What have been some challenges of this style of eating?
[Selina, A Master of Food] For me, the biggest challenge is eating out/eating with others. When you cook for yourself at home, it’s easy to prepare dinner for yourself regarding your diet specifications. I normally cook for one, so whatever I’m feeling goes. Eating out is more difficult. Normally the safest thing is a salad with protein, and you normally have to ask to hold the cheese. I’ve been pleasantly surprised though with how many burger places offer lettuce wraps! The hardest part is avoiding the fries.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What have been some successes?
[Selina, A Master of Food] After the two weeks were up I continued on the diet, so that says something. I’ve felt more energetic, happy, and I actually think my cravings have diminished. Cutting out processed flours and major carbohydrates has helped me become accustomed to a life without them, and it’s definitely livable and enjoyable! Although I haven’t been exercising at all, I feel like I’ve lost bloat, and maybe a pound or two (but I don’t own a scale!).

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What #unprocessed foods have you enjoyed while practicing this style of eating?
[Selina, A Master of Food] Everything is unprocessed! I’ve been eating lots of chicken on salads, spaghetti squash with ground turkey and veggie sauce, butternut squash chicken chili, raw almonds, fruit, avocados, and anything I have around. When I make dinner I make sure that I have enough leftovers for lunch the next day, it makes things so easy!
[Dining at Tiffany’s] What specific products do you recommend?
[Selina, A Master of Food] For dessert I eat chopped up strawberries/apples/figs with almond butter, and sometimes a piece of dark chocolate (over 80% is okay I hear, if not, this is my cheat!) Spaghetti squash will be your best friend. You now have an excuse to cook with bacon. Bacon grease is awesome to cook with.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What tips/resources can you leave readers for living healthier?
[Selina, A Master of Food] Start simple and make enough for leftovers! After 2 days I swear you won’t need the bread/grains/flour. Eat meals and snacks, don’t starve yourself and you won’t feel deprived.

As I mentioned, Selina and I worked on volunteer projects together through the Slow Food movement! The Slow Food movement is all about eating Good, Clean, and Fair food. Read more about it here:


Meet Angelica, A Fitspirational Friend
Angelica, 24, is a friend of mine from high school and we like each other a lot, especially on Instagram. She works as a support clerk at Wawanesa Insurance. Her hobbies include working out, Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing), doing makeup, cooking, and travelling. She’s open to new adventures and is constantly trying to find new things to amuse herself! 

Angelica is one of the main reasons that I got off my butt and resumed working out after a many-year hiatus. She posts fantastic pictures of healthy food, along with results from her very disciplined workout regimens. While I try my best to stay original, I really couldn’t help but imitate her style — she is such an inspiration to be fit, or as they say in the Instragram world – she’s a #Fitspiration. :). She and I have a pending date to go hiking sometime. I’m excited. 

Scroll through this text box to read my interview with Angelica, A Fitspirational Friend!
If you’re on your mobile device, flip it on its side for easier viewing. 🙂
[Dining at Tiffany’s] What style of eating do you practice and what does it entail?

[Angelica, A Fitspirational Friend] Eat Clean/Clean Eating, Carb cycling: When I eat clean, I avoid processed foods as much as possible. I avoid anything white (bread, rice, sugar, etc). When I do eat grains, they’re whole grains like brown rice or quinoa. As far as protein sources, I eat a lot of chicken, fish (mainly tilapia, tuna, or salmon), turkey, and if I do eat red meat (which is about once a week), I try to make it as lean as possible (lean pork tenderloins, filet mignon, bison). Additives are also limited; I no longer use salt but instead use Mrs. Dash, instead of sugar, I use stevia, and in place of regular soy sauce, I use liquid aminos which is much lower in sodium. Other changes I’ve made are using coconut oil (as opposed to olive or vegetable) and drinking almond or soy milk (non dairy). I do take a meal replacement shake almost everyday (Shakeology).

[Dining at Tiffany’s] Why do you practice this style of eating?
[Angelica, A Fitspirational Friend] I’ve been eating clean since April/May earlier this year and though I’ve seen a big change in my body, I’m not seeing the results I want. I work out 5-6 times a week and even with clean eating, there is still stubborn fat that I can’t get rid of. By carb cycling, I can achieve the results I want (burning fat) but still keeping muscle.
[Dining at Tiffany’s] What have been some challenges of this style of eating?

[Angelica, A Fitspirational Friend] No carb days. Carbs are in almost everything we eat so it’s hard to keep my carb intake at the lowest. While it’s hard to keep the carb’s down, it’s also hard trying to get enough protein within a day. Although I’m constantly hungry, sometimes I can’t get myself to eat more protein.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What have been some successes?
[Angelica, A Fitspirational Friend] Better energy levels and a leaner look overall.
[Dining at Tiffany’s] What #unprocessed foods have you enjoyed while practicing this style of eating?
[Angelica, A Fitspirational Friend]  All the veggies! In the words of @Powercakes from Instagram, “Eat a rainbow!” I eat different veggies like kale, spinach, sweet peppers, different types of yam, squash, etc.
[Dining at Tiffany’s] What specific products do you recommend?
[Angelica, A Fitspirational Friend] Broccoli! It’s nutrient dense and has a good amount of protein. I also like mixed nuts as a snack. Garnet or purple yams are also one of my favorite sources of carbs.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What tips/resources can you leave readers for living healthier?
[Angelica, A Fitspirational Friend] Never cold turkey!!! Take baby steps so you give your body the time to adjust to the changes. Having one less coffee or a day without red meat can make a difference. Same goes for the gym; you’re not going to spend an hour and a half at the gym if it’s your first workout in a long time. Listen to your body, go easy when needed, but still push yourself enough to work a good sweat. Also, the scale is not everything. If your looking smaller in the mirror and your clothes are feeling a bit loose, you’re on the right track. Lastly, cheat meals will keep you sane, with moderation of course!

You can follow Angelica on Instragram @whatthegel_sick71: “I’m constantly tracking my progress in my fitness journey and posting the kind of meals I eat (clean and not clean).”

Meet Danny, An Aspiring Personal Trainer 
Danny, 23, is a UC Davis Graduate c/o 2011. He is currently studying to be an American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified personal trainer. Danny likes to play sports and work out during his free time. He also likes trying new food and restaurants, and is always down to try new things!



Danny is also the 4th member of the most successful double date I’ve ever been on. If you must know, his date was my coworker and my date was my significant other, of course! We went to Taco Tuesday at El Camino in Little Italy, SD. Naturally, Danny ordered the healthiest option. 


Scroll through this text box to read my interview with Danny, An Aspiring Personal Trainer!
If you’re on your mobile device, flip it on its side for easier viewing. 🙂

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[Dining at Tiffany’s] What style of eating do you practice and what does it entail?

[Danny, An Aspiring Personal Trainer] Eat Clean/Clean Eating: Clean eating is pretty much eating foods that are not full of unhealthy fats, sugars, excessive amounts of sodium, preservatives, etc; in other terms, “healthy” foods. Unprocessed foods are healthy because we are able to regulate calories and dictate what goes in our bodies. Many people regulate what they eat based on protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Some clean protein sources are leaner cuts of steak (i.e. flank steak), chicken breast, and fish. For my carbohydrates I stick to brown rice, sweet potatoes, oats, and pretty much anything that is whole grain. Some healthy fats I consume are nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, and anything that is low in saturated fat. Treating my body good means feeding my body good.
[Dining at Tiffany’s] Why do you practice this style of eating?
[Danny, An Aspiring Personal Trainer] I eat clean because it helps me reach my fitness goals. Along with a good workout, clean eating is very effective and promotes a healthy lifestyle. As I and many other fitness fanatics know, “Abs are made in the kitchen” and work around a 80% diet 20% workout regimen.
[Dining at Tiffany’s] What have been some challenges of this style of eating?

[Danny, An Aspiring Personal Trainer] There were many times where I wanted to quit. So many things were going on with friends in college where I was invited to outings and events and had splurged on meals and drinks. Sometimes it was multiple days in a row. I definitely felt horrible the next couple days. Initially it was difficult to change my lifestyle because dining out and socializing was a big part of my life. I also stressed over my progress. The challenges of clean eating is that healthy foods are not always accessible nor desirable at times. It can also be expensive to eat clean and healthy.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What have been some successes?

[Danny, An Aspiring Personal Trainer] I have lost at total of 52lbs over the span of 3 years. This is the healthiest and strongest I have even been. Clean eating has definitely changed my life and has allowed me to do things I have not been able to do before such as long hikes, marathons, and physical sports. The benefits are that I can share my story and help change their lives by promoting a healthy lifestyle, and helping others reach their fitness goals.

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What #unprocessed foods have you enjoyed while practicing this style of eating?

[Danny, An Aspiring Personal Trainer] nuts, fruits and vegetables.


[Dining at Tiffany’s] What specific products do you recommend?

[Danny, An Aspiring Personal Trainer]  spinach, tomatoes, almonds, broccoli, asparagus, leafy greens, all fruits (not canned), oats

[Dining at Tiffany’s] What tips/resources can you leave readers for living healthier?

[Danny, An Aspiring Personal Trainer] Making a salad is easy and convenient. Planning and prepping meals ahead of time is key.


Danny says: “Email me with questions or fitness advice! Follow my fitness journey on Instagram! Email: dannyvhoang@gmail.com || instagram: therealdho || kik: therealdho.”

—-

Hopefully you found this post helpful in considering the way you eat, especially to take steps toward health and fitness!

Just like my guests have said:

start small
keep your goal in mind
plan ahead
perfection isn’t necessary
eat #unprocessed foods!

Please leave a comment below with your story! Have you tried any of these eating styles? Are you interested in changing the way you eat? What’s your favorite unprocessed food? What questions do you have?

Remember, you can contact/follow my guests, as well!

Raquel, A Gym-Owner: www.thestrongholdsd.com
Vic, A Manufacturing Engineer: Mark’s Daily Apple || Primal Britain || Nom Nom Paleo
Kristen, A Newlywed: thenewmissus.blogspot.com 
Selina, A Master of Food: Slow Food International || Slow Food Urban San Diego
Angelica, A Fitspirational Friend: instagram: @whatthegel_sick71
Danny, An Aspiring Personal Trainer:  dannyvhoang@gmail.com || instagram: therealdho || kik: therealdho.”

With love,

Tiffany

Dining at Tiffany’s

Twitter: @diningattiffs
facebook.com/diningattiffanys
Instagram: @diningattiffs 
Tumblr: @diningattiffs

Tumbl’n and Slippin’ into October #Unprocessed

Hi! First, two announcements!

1. I made mayonnaise! From scratch! It was wild! (We’ll come back to this shortly).


2. I have a tumblr now! Follow me @diningattiffs!


Now I know it seems overkill to start a second blog, but that’s the thing.. I realize that in my enthusiasm for each topic and post, I DO tend to get a bit overkill, writing very, VERY long posts on this website. Eventually, I will turn some of my more popular posts (like resume and cover letter writing) into downloadable PDFs, but for now, just expect to find lengthy posts on diningattiffanys.com. I put a lot of time and planning into each of these posts — I truly want to be a helpful resource for my readers, so I keep it nice and thorough, letting all the flavors and textures develop into something I’m confident you can enjoy.


My tumblr will be the “microwaved” version of this website, with quick fixes of the Dining at Tiffany’s experience! Check it out!


—-
So that was the Tumbl’n, let’s talk about the Slippin’!

When I was in high school (roughly 6 years ago, wow!), this is pretty much what my lunch would consist of everyday:
1. A bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Often doused in lemon juice and salsa. We all walked around with red fingers back then.


2. A big cup of Pepsi, sometimes Mountain Dew.

Sadly, I’m not kidding. This was my daily “meal.” I should be thankful that I inherited very fast metabolism, and that these habits didn’t catch up with my waistline back then. But then again, in some ways, I’m not. Because then maybe I would have discovered the following sooner: 



October Unprocessed

For the month of October, I am joining thousands of individuals around the country (maybe world?) that have taken the pledge to eat only Unprocessed foods for one whole month. Let’s break that down a little.


You can read more about what constitutes “unprocessed” on
the organizer’s website @eatingrules, but essentially what we’re doing is going back to eating REAL food, being able to identify the ingredients in our food as naturally grown and produced. What do I mean by that? Here’s an example. Here is what was in my “meal” of choice back in high school:

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos:

Enriched corn meal (corn meal, ferrous sulfate, niacin, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid),
vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: corn, soybean, or sunflower oil),
salt,
maltodextrin,
sugar,
monosodium glutamate,
autolyzed yeast extract,
citric acid, artificial color (including red 40 lake, yellow 6 lake, yellow 6, yellow 5),
corn syrup solids,
partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil,
hydrolyzed soy protein,
cheddar cheese (cultured milk, salt, enzymes),
whey,
onion powder,
whey protein concentrate,
corn syrup solids,
natural flavor,
buttermilk solids,
garlic powder,
disodium phosphate,
sodium diacetate,
sodium caseinate,
lactic acid,
disodium inosinate,
disodium guanylate,
nonfat milk solids,
sodium citrate, 
carrageenan.

Pepsi

Carbonated water
high fructose corn syrup,
caramel color,
sugar,
phosphoric acid,
caffeine,
citric acid,
natural flavor

Gross. While admittedly SoVeryDelicious, I was basically devouring a bunch of questionable, chemically-created ingredients. Never would I ever in my conscious mind decide to have corn syrup solids/ red 40 and wash it down with caramel color for lunch. And honestly, would you?

Over the years I’ve learned a lot about
where our food comes from and what’s in our food, and I’ve transitioned to mostly a natural food kitchen. Lots of healthy produce (mostly from the farmers market), whole grains, and no genetically-modified substances like high fructose corn syrup or monosodium glutamate (MSG). I can honestly tell you that I feel so much more lively than before, and a lot of things that usually ailed me (stomach issues, fatigue, etc.) have disappeared.

With October Unprocessed, I’ve been even more critical, reading the labels of everything I eat, or skipping that all together and sticking with whole foods that don’t require labels, like produce and bulk grains/nuts.


But of course, like anyone else, I crave flavorful, exciting food! I swear, I don’t eat like a rabbit!


For example, in the first week of October Unprocessed, I was having a 1:00am hankering for Spanish Tapas, especially potato tapas with aioli (Spanish mayonnaise!). Ordinarily, I’d just do quick food at a nearby Mexican food shop or In N Out, but that stuff is clearly processed. :'(.


Determined (more like, starving), I went for it.


The potatoes were very easy, I just chopped up some sweet potatoes and baby potatoes into cubes and shallow-fried them in olive oil until soft on the inside and crispy brown on the outside.


Potato Tapas!


Now, you simply can’t do Potato Tapas without Aioli to dip it in! I don’t usually keep mayonnaise in the house because the store-bought stuff creeps me out, so I thought I’d try my hand at making my own. Here is the recipe I used: 


=====================

>> Aioli (Spanish Mayonnaise):
Ingredients:
– 1 egg yolk
– 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions:

– Channel your inner tornado, and whisk the olive oil into the yolk, teaspoon by teaspoon.
– Hope for the best.
=====================

Whisk, the morning after


Now this whisk is the only prep photo, I can post. Why? Because, oh my goodness, I was a mess!!


During my 1:00am activity of choice (Why, Tiffany? Why?!)…


..I whisked the concoction at tornado-speed. For about 30 minutes straight. By hand.


..I clumsily dripped olive oil all over the kitchen floor.


..I almost called it quits every 3-5 minutes because it didn’t seem to be working.


..I slipped in the olive oil every 3-5 minutes and narrowly avoided severe injury.

But you know what? I did it!

Homemade Aioli!


I had some extra ingredients on hand, so I added a bit of natural tomato paste and roasted garlic:


Tomato-Garlic Aioli! Yay!!


 I also made a chicken, red wine vinegar, and roasted red pepper dish, but I was so hungry that I forgot to photograph it!

As you can see, October Unprocessed has had its challenges so far, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been delicious!


My lunches lately:


Chicken, shrimp, & home-picked chard stems + coconut-chili creamed rainbow chard
Thai-style chicken meatballs with lime, cilantro, basil, chile peppers with a cauliflower, tomato, coconut-tamarind curry!

It’s not too late to join me for October Unprocessed! Even if you start with just one day, one week, or even one MEAL, you can take the pledge, rediscovering the flavors of real, whole, Unprocessed food! If you decide to try it, I promise I can guide you to making it delicious, and that if you stick with it, you’ll feel healthy and great!

Stay tuned for recipes, guest posts about unprocessed shopping on-the-go, the Eat Clean diet, and more!


With love,

Tiffany

Dining at Tiffany’s

facebook.com/diningattiffanys
Instagram: @diningattiffs


"If you can read this, thank a teacher." or.. "bAcK 2 sChOoL!"

Thanks to everyone that attended my Virtual Birthday Party!! Along with my In Real Life festivities, it was nice to get notifications all week from my online party!

[Birthday weekend at Disneyland!]

With September coming to a close, Back To School time is in full gear, whether it be K-12, college, grad school, or even sending your own kids to school. The summer fun (and my birthday month of festivities) is winding down. With that, the { dinner conversation } tends to lead to the topic of education.

We’ll start off with a scandalous and shocking reveal of a little secret that I rarely share.

——
Backstory: Back when I was in college, I was part of a student-run organization called Alternative Breaks @ UCSD. Focusing on addressing social justice issues, we trained and sent out groups of students to serve communities in need during spring or summer break, with the intent to not only serve those communities, but learn a thing or two about living a life in service to others.

In my first year participating in the program, I served as a Site Leader, leading a group of students to plan and implement a volunteer trip to San Ignacio, Belize to do public health outreach — a topic that I was (and am still) very passionate about.

[My Team: Alternative Breaks Belize 2009]
[These are students from one of the schools at which we volunteered. We taught them about healthy eating and disease prevention.]

[Showing off my pseudo-breakdancing skills in front of the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins. This was three years ago!]

I had such an amazing experience that I decided to go further with the organization and serve as a Student Coordinator of Alternative Breaks @ UCSD, training all of the leaders and sending ~120 students around the world to participate in one of nine service projects.



[AB@UCSD 2011. These students addressed social justice issues like health, environment, education, & more through volunteer trips to Argentina, Costa Rica, China, Indiana, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Indonesia, & Jamaica. This group will always be my extended family. :)] 

While students have the opportunity to travel to cool places like Costa Rica, Thailand & Guatemala, as leaders of the program & of this social justice movement, we stressed the importance of selecting a trip based on a social issue you’re passionate about rather than a location. We facilitated retreats and trainings to teach our participants about exploring social justice.

[A visual for diversity & social justice training]

[Often I facilitated the workshops. Sometimes I’d just hold the poster.]

—-
/end Backstory

As a Student Coordinator, I pretty much had my pick as to which trip I would go on. And you know what? I didn’t choose the trip that best represented a cause I care about. In fact, I didn’t even really believe that the trip would be very effective at all. Honestly? I chose it because it was the cheapest option. That’s it. My little hypocritical secret.

I ended up going on a trip to Dominican Republic to teach lesson plans at rural schools. Since these Alternative Break trips are only 1-2 weeks long, I really didn’t think that much could be done to address the issue of education in such a short span of time. What lasting impact could we possibly have in a week?

Well, long story short.. My, was I wrong..

[Teaching English to the students. Video below is from a Geography lesson.]

[Making dream-catchers for the students,  comforting them as they told us about their nightmares, and listening as they told us their dreams]

I could write you a 10-page essay about what I learned in Dominican Republic, but I will spare you. Essentially, I realized the importance of role models in education. In Dominican Republic, a country that is extremely poor, the kids had either very little or very unrealistic hope for their futures. All the girls wanted to be actresses, and all the boys wanted to be baseball players. Clearly, even in the United States, and more so in a developing country such as the DR, there aren’t many opportunities for that sort of fame. In fact, due to these unrealistic aspirations, many of the students drop out of school at a very young age, continuing the cycle of poverty.

The community really lacked positive role models. And that is why we were there. The kids were more likely to attend class when we were there, curious to learn from us and see young adults getting excited about school. Everyday, aside from teaching the fun lessons we had planned, we made sure to remind them over and over about the importance of completing their education, and knowing that they are capable of doing more. It really changed my perspective and since then I’ve been very passionate about issues in education.

After I graduated from UCSD, I served an an alumni Community Advisor for a trip to Nicaragua, focusing on the issue education. This time I was intentional about it, and had another great experience.

[Teaching math!]



[Oh, by the way. I really didn’t like kids too much until these last few years, haha]

[words cannot describe.. <3]

Our host organization, Panorama Services, really made this experience special. In fact, since this inaugural trip in 2011, UCSD has committed to send a group to that same community every year. I really hope to go back some day.
—-
& so for my last story (I promise I’ll work on making these much, much shorter), I thought I’d share what my career consists of right now. I work full-time at UCSD as a Program Coordinator for a tutoring program in which we send college students to tutor at K-12 schools in San Diego communities facing issues in poverty and education. I never thought I’d see myself doing something like this, but my experiences abroad have taught me that a lot about education that I want to bring back to my own community.

Working and learning about educational issues for these last few years has really got me reflecting back on my own experiences as a K-12 student back in the day. What kept me motivated? What things had I taken for granted? Who do I have to thank for my quality of education? There are so many things lacking in education systems around the world ( supplies, staff, support), & even in our own country (equality, funding, etc.) & I really want to explore this further. What solutions are there using the limited resources available?

I encourage you to think about your own education right now. What motivates you to continue to strive? What privileges have you experienced that others may not have had? What challenges did you face?

If anything, the quote in the title (by former President Harry S. Truman) – “If you can read this, thank a teacher,” may give you something to think about.

You’re welcome to share in the comments below, or on the Facebook page to keep the conversation going!

I wish everyone a great school year!

With love,

Tiffany

Dining at Tiffany’s

Twitter: @diningattiffs
facebook.com/diningattiffanys
Instagram: @diningattiffs