Saturday, June 30, 2012

Estrella Damm Daura: the best gluten-free beer review

I avoid gluten because it makes me feel bad.   However I am still human and I like a beer once or twice a week.  Most beer is basically wheat soda so I've stuck to the gluten-free beers like Redbridge which is a decent sorghum gluten-free beer by Anheuser-Busch.

Redbridge gluten-free beer

 It doesn't taste like normal beer but I've gotten used to it.  It's cheap (~$7.49 for a 6 pack) and so easily available they sell it at my local Wal-Mart.

Bard's is another gluten-free sorghum beer that tastes a bit better but is more expensive and harder to find.

Bard's gluten-free beer

I basically thought I'd have to live with sorghum beer as my gluten-free alternative... until the other day the dude at the liquor store recommended Estrella Damm Daura for a gluten-free beer.   The label doesn't say ANYTHING about it being gluten-free or list any of the ingredients so I only bought one bottle for $1.89.

Estrella Damm Daura bottle

no ingredients
It tastes like... beer.  Exactly like regular, gluten-y beer.  Apparently Estrella Damm Daura is brewed with barley and the gluten is taken out after brewing.  Brilliant.  I hope more gluten-free brewers follow suit.

Do you have any gluten-free recommendations? 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Merrell Lithe Glove Barefoot Running Shoe review

I got my first pair of barefoot/minimalist shoes, the Merrell Lithe Glove barefoot running shoe:

Merrell Lithe Glove Barefoot Running Shoe

I've heard so much about the comfort of those five-fingered Vibram shoes and how they changed people's lives but I just didn't think I was granola enough to pull them off.  I need something more subtle, especially being around high school kiddos all day.  You'd be surprised at the stuff they FLIP OUT over when they stare at you all day and your appearance deviates from what's routine.  Once (and only once) I wore skinny jeans instead of my usual kinda baggy (not unintentionally) Abercrombie (via Goodwill) pants.  WOULD NOT SHUT UP ABOUT MY SKINNY JEANS.

Anyways, I was also a little worried that barefoot shoes wouldn't be good for me- I have high arches and have used arch supports in my shoes for years but still had arch pain. 

My foot pain has lessened considerably after practicing yoga barefoot several times a week and I wear flip flops most of the time now due to not working during summer, so my feet have strengthened a bit.

I took the plunge when I found out barefoot wasn't just good for running but also weight lifting: apparently being barefoot offers more stability and proper alignment for squats and deadlifts.

It didn't hurt when I found there were more socially acceptable barefoot options- the New Balance and Merrell barefoot shoes look like sneakers but have Vibram soles.  I decided on the Merrell Lithe Glove because the price was right ~$80 down from $125 on Amazon, the reviews were mostly positive, and I liked the color.

Vibram sole
I've really enjoyed weight lifting and walking around with these shoes so far and plan to start running with them.  You do have to ease into these shoes to allow time for your underused muscles to strengthen.  Here is Vibram's suggested training schedule.  My superior extensor retinaculum is definitely sore after only wearing these shoes for 1-2 hours a day while walking, at pilates class, and weight lifting.

From above

I don't wear socks with them.  They are really wrapped around your feet, there's no way you can just kick these off when you get home you have to unlace and unwrap these puppies.

  This is how they look with my gym wear:

Apparently these shoes reek after a while, but fortunately mine haven't started smelling yet.  They do rub against the back of your foot so go easy until your feet toughen up.

What do you think of this barefoot idea?  Does  it have any validity? What are your favorite barefoot shoes?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tim LaHaye hates yoga

I've been inexplicably drawn to Christian author Tim LaHaye for years now.  I can only compare it to the bizarre crush my hybrid-driving, vegan, Hare Krishna friend has on Toby Keith.  What would they make for 4th of July cookouts?  What would we do with my crystal collection? It could never be.

Tim LaHaye

It started when I was in middle school and saw the kids who were kinda dumb but way more popular than I get totally enthralled with the Left Behind series.  In the Bible belt, church was a pretty cool to be socially active in throughout high school, which didn't help me much.

The Left Behind books are about life post-rapture, after all the good Christians ascend into heaven and all the sinners are left behind on Earth (along with the clothing and jewelry of the Christians who ~made it~) and have to fend off the wrath of God and the other heathens etc.

Left Behind
Kirk Cameron made a movie out of it:

I think during the heyday I maybe read one of the Left Behind books and watched the movie and I felt that was enough.  To clarify: I don't believe in any of this stuff but I think it's interesting and I also think that there are enough people out there who believe in it strongly as to render these prophesies as important.

But the other day during a 12-hour drive home I was listening to Babylon Rising: The Edge of Darkness on audiobook.  My mother chose it because it "sounded scariest".

large print!
The Edge of Darkness is pretty much what you'd expect: a description of the protagonist, Mike Murphy,'s "six-foot-three-inch frame" by sentence #2,  Murphy having racy fantasies that end at first base, the protagonist allegedly a professor lecturing on "Biblical archeology" but rarely touches on anything archaeological and instead does something like list the various names of Lucifer in alphabetical order ("Abaddon, Accuser of the Bretheren, Adversary, Angel of the Bottomless Pit, Apollyon, Beelzebub," etc. etc. he goes on and on).  Murphy is also insanely preachy!  Whodathunk. 

But something did shock me about this book.  Tim LaHaye, through Mike Murphy, singles out yoga as spiritually perilous not once, but twice.

The first allusion comes when Murphy is being accosted by his agnostic supervisor who does not approve of the way Murphy is proselytizing in class, to which our hero Murphy retorts:
"I get it, (agnostic antagonist).  You can have a course in Greek Mythology, or lectures on the beauties of being a Wicca witch with white magic, or have health classes where you teach yoga and transcendental meditation, but the world will come to an end if the name of God or the Bible is mentioned."
I was so shocked I forgot to roll my eyes at the poor oppressed Christian.  Did he know something I didn't about the hidden dangers of yoga?  I mean I knew they banned yoga in Malaysia for like a week but surely Tim LaHaye wouldn't agree with Malaysian Islamic leaders?

The second jab came during another "archeology" lecture where Murphy alphabetically lists "things that have grown out of demon-related thinking":
"Astrology, auras, blood rituals, channeling, crystal work, dreamwork, Dungeons & Dragons, Eastern gurus.... UFOs, voodoo, Wicca, yoga."
I was getting really worried by this point.  Keep in mind this book was published in 2007 so it's not like yoga was just becoming mainstream in middle white America.  I decided to do some investigating as to what he found so objectionable.

It seems what they find so disconcerting about yoga is that in yoga and meditation you look within yourself rather than relying on God for change and that having a "quiet" mind will let evil forces in.  That's it.  I thought it would be something a bit more compelling.  Also, I have never been to a yoga class like this, what is that?

I didn't end up finishing the book and I probably never will.  But it has piqued my curiosity enough to research more into this End of Days/the Occult stuff.  I don't think the danger lies in yoga and Ouija boards like he does, but I think there's a lot of crazy people out there who take these ideas and run with it. And I'm not giving up yoga!

Anyways, namaste', Tim LaHaye.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

DIY vinyasa scarf

I'm going to learn how to sew this summer.  I've dabbled in it before but I've never been a proficient sewer but I think it would be a good prepper move to cultivate domestic skills and learn how to make and repair clothing.

My boyfriend's mom gave me a sewing machine and today I picked it up from getting serviced so there are no excuses now!

I get really cold at work so I kind of want the lululemon vinyasa scarf... just not $48 want it.  It's basically just a scarf with snaps!

lululemon vinyasa scarf
I searched for a diy and I found this tutorial and came up with this: 

etc. etc.  I think the whole project took me maybe 2 hours with the ironing and TV watching going on.  The worst part was the snaps, I hate snaps!  I'll look for a snap-free second sewing project. I'll try this again when I'm not so terrible at sewing. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vega Pre-Workout Energizer review

My vacation's over, high-altitude hiking was a great workout but it's good to get back into my routine.  I went to hot yoga and lifted weights for the first time in a week and it felt so good!  Hot yoga and weight lifting is a lot for me in one day so I needed not one but two pick me ups of Vega Pre-Workout Energizer.

Vega Pre-Workout Energizer

I'm not an energy drink connoisseur except for coffee but I know there's a ton of crap in most energy drinks and pre-workout supplements: artificial sweeteners and colors, vasodilators, loads of stimulants.

I like the Vega pre-workout energizer because it tastes good, doesn't have harmful ingredients in it, and gives me a mental and energy boost I need to have a great workout.  The açaí flavor is nice, sweet but not sickeningly so.  It does have some caffeine in the form of yerba mate and green tea, so don't take it too close to bedtime if you want to sleep.

Vega is all plant-based and has no artificial flavors or colors so the powder looks very "natural" looking:

Vega pre-workout energizer powder

Vega pre-workout energizer ingredients
If I wake up for a morning hot yoga class I'll mix up one scoop of the Vega with 2 scoops of Dr. Mercola's protein powder for a breakfast that gives me energy without making me nauseous. 
1 scoop Vega with 2 scoops Mercola

If I'm already up and have eaten but need a boost I'll have the Vega powder by itself with water.   If you're expecting this to taste like Kool-Aid or Gatorade you might be disappointed but I love it.

The bad:
  • a 30-serving tub is about $40.  It's pricey but it lasts me 2-3 months as I don't take it every day.  
  • It has some organic ingredients... but not all organic.  At this price I think it should be totally organic.  However it's still the best option I've found on the market.
  • It doesn't dissolve very easily, most of the time I'll have some left over at the bottom of the glass like this:
Vega pre-workout energy powder residue
but it's not that big of a deal, just fill the glass with more water, stir it, and drink it up.

I wore my brand new ray cool racerback today to yoga.  So neon!  I've been wary of lululemon's bright colors lately as they have some serious bleeding issues but let's be real me and dayglo like a moth to a flame but thankfully no problems at all with this one.  I think it's more the pinks and purples that bleed rather than yellows.

ray cool racerback
It was a little difficult waking up to go to hot yoga today before the Vega kicked in but I needed it.  I was in the middle of the studio today and did a headstand without the psychological comfort of a wall supporting me in class today.  I didn't kick/kill anyone and although I landed a little hard coming out of it, I'm still considering it a success.

I did workout 7B of stage 1 of the New Rules of Lifting for Women today.  3 sets of 8 reps of deadlifts, dumbbell shoulder presses, wide-grip lateral pulldowns, lunges, and Swiss ball crunches.   I wore my cross my heart tank and groove shorts.

cross my heart tank
I'm amazed at how much stronger I've gotten, I'm lifting twice as much weight as I was a month ago.  I'll update again after I've finished this stage in a week or two.

What do you take for a great workout? 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Paleo-ish chocolate covered strawberries

It's not exactly rocket science... but here's how I make chocolate-covered strawberries as healthily as possibly.

You will need:

  • 1 pint of organic strawberries 
  •  a wax paper covered plate
  •  a saucepan for melting the chocolate.
Wash and dry the strawberries.  Melt the chocolate in the saucepan on low stirring continuously:

Work fast because they got gritty after a while.  Pinch the strawberries like so as to avoid getting chocolate on the leaves:

I used a spoon to get some of the chocolate and then rolled the strawberry in the chocolate on the spoon to make sure it got covered. Place the covered strawberries on wax paper and pop it in the fridge to cool.  Easy!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fire in Estes Park, Colorado

There was a fire in Estes Park today. There has been a burn ban so no camp fires, Smoky the Bear is pointing at "extreme" fire danger, and we eat s'mores raw and cold.  Despite most of the fire fighters being dispatched at the huge fire in Fort Collins it looks like they got it under control and we didn't have to evacuate or anything.  For a while there I really missed my bug-out bag!

The fire in Estes Park

The fire in Estes Park (right) with the smoke cloud from the Ft. Collins fire in the background (left)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chemtrails in the Rockies

Where I live we get lots of chemtrails.  I've been on vacation in the Rocky Mountains for a couple of days now and the sky has been a gorgeous blue with no chemtrails... until today.  Nowhere is safe!

chemtrail-free sky the other day for comparison

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rocky Mountain National Park

I'm at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  So beautiful!  Went to the alpine area at 12,000 ft and did a 5 mile round trip hike at around 9,000 ft. 

Alpine area


Lilies on Cub Lake

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ozeri Green Earth Textured Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan review

My Ozeri 10" Green Earth Ceramic Frying Pan is my absolutely favorite for cooking.

Ozeri ceramic pan
I begrudgingly gave my Teflon-coated nonstick pans away because although they're insanely convenient and easy to use, they are toxic.  I avoid aluminum cookware, I've tried a cast-iron skillet and a stainless steel pan but the cast-iron was just such a pain to lug around and cure and the stainless steel pan sticks like crazy.

Which left ceramic pans!  There are some out there that are crazy expensive, over a hundred dollars.  I bought the 10 inch Ozeri pan right before Thanksgiving 2011 and since then I've used it almost every day and I love it.  It's PTFE and PFOA free, it doesn't stick, and it's easy to clean.

frying tofu
This the first pan I reach for and the one I prefer to use, if it's dirty I usually just prefer to wash it out rather than use another.  The only problem is that sometimes I wish it were bigger.   The 10 inch pan is $29.95 while the 12 inch is $42.95 which is a huge jump but I'm going to have to spring for it soon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Denver International Airport blue mustang sculpture conspiracy theory

We just drove past the  Denver International Airport today.  I wasn't flying so I couldn't go inside.  I wanted to because I had heard about the creepy/illuminati imagery in the airport from the Jesse Ventura Conspiracy Theory 2012 Episode.

BUT I had never heard of this big blue horse statue know as "Bluficer" or "DIAblo".

Blucifer in front of the Denver International Airport

This is the statue of a blue mustang outside the airport.  Some say it an allusion to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse- the pale horse that Death rides on.  Maybe it's just an homage to the Denver Broncos.   Either way that thing has a weird history and actually killed the sculptor who created it.

Blucifer at night

Just what image I want burned into my brain right before I board a vehicle that's going 30,000 ft into the air!

What do you think?  Ugly? Are the naysayers just a bunch of Philistines who don't appreciate art?  Or is something more sinister going on?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Coconut Bliss vegan/dairy-free ice cream review

I generally avoid dairy but I love ice cream.  The soy and rice ice creams are frankly GROSS. I was so happy to find a coconut milk alternative.  My favorite is Coconut Bliss dark chocolate non-dairy frozen dessert.

Coconut Bliss

The ingredients: organic coconut milk, organic agave syrup, organic fair trade cocoa, organic vanilla extract.  Simple and delicious.  It tastes a little coconut-y at first but gets more and more chocolate-y as you eat it.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Bliss

A pint is about $6 which has four 1/2 cup servings at 220 calories a piece.  More "health-conscious" grocery stores carry it. 

I haven't tried most of the other flavors but I can tell you: don't get the mint flavor, it tasted like soap!  From now on I'm sticking with ol' reliable here.

Someday soon I'm going to try to make my own paleo version of this ice cream with honey or stevia as sweeteners instead of agave (agave is NOT PALEO and very high in fructose).

Monday, June 18, 2012

Target practice

My prepper yogini friend and I went to the range for target practice. 

shooting lesson
My boyfriend got me some new targets to practice aiming which I'm pretty bad at because I tend to anticipate the noise and flinch and aim too low, which I'm trying to overcome.

The targets are zombie themed and small, about 12"x12".  I shot all of these at about 2-3 yards which is apparently a "realistic" distance but I'm definitely no marskwoman.

sorry iPod lady
This was my first target.  I was obviously supposed to protect poor oblivious rockin' out JLo from the zombie horde and instead I just put her out of her misery.  Terrible.  And that zombie on the far right is still going because I missed out on a head shot.

Zombie magician
My second go was OK.  I mean the magician is definitely dead although I could have been much more efficient with my ammo.  I totally forgot about the rabbit though thus subjecting me to zombie rabbit rabies.

zombie clown target
My third round was better, got a couple of head shots in.  I hate clowns.

zombie horde descending
The last round is the one I'm most proud of because in my 10 rounds I got head shots in on all five zombies.  Although that one on the left might just be a hair shot.

Have you ever shot a gun? How long did it take you to shoot accurately?