Monday, September 28, 2009

I'm Still Here...

Kind of. So I mentioned a few blogs ago that I was going through a break-up and I'm still having a rough time with it, on top of having some health issues that I'm trying to work through. I've lost a fair amount of weight and haven't had much of an appetite so I'm going to go on a haitus, and eat whatever I feel like for a bit, just so I'm eating something. I'm not totally falling off the wagon though. Im still very mindful on what's in my food and am still doing lots of cooking for myself (just made a great Tuscan tomato soup with the end of the summers tomatoes!).
So I'll be back. I haven't totally given up the corn free dream.
I'll be back!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The iPhone App of My Dreams...Almost

So I was reading The Life Ledger blog again when I read about an iPhone application that I immediately had to download. It's called "Food Additives" and lists many of those crazy chemical thingies that are listed on the back of food boxes that we, as the normal consumer, have no idea what they mean.

I was playing with it last night and have to say I was mildly disappointed, not only as a non-corn eater, but as a regular old consumer. They have an alphabetical listing of many food additives (not all, as I couldn't find plain old fashion maltodextrin) and then gives information on the additive like if its plant or animal based or just straight up chemical and if its been gauged to be a potential danger or not. Which I have to say I was disturbed by how many were classified as undecided or possible dangers. My other disappoint was that although if did say if chemicals were plant based, that didn't tell if it was corn based! I need more details, people!

So if the creators of the application read this blog, please let us know exactly what plants these additives are derived from. But for everyone else who reads this and is concerned about whats in your food, then I highly suggest checking out this application


Sunday, September 6, 2009

College Football + Corn = BFFs

This weekend was the first UVa home game and I must admit I had some fears about how to tailgate corn and meat free. And rightfully so. Tailgating with my male friends from college involves lots of grilling (no veggie burgers of any kind in sight) and lots accompaniments. Cheap accompaniments. Like Kroger brand ketchup and chips, which of course had some form of corn in them. So that left me at the tailgate drinking beer (which I was later told might contain HFCS! Still looking into whether Bud Light poses a threat to my corn free lifestyle), and eating pistachios. Yes, someone brought a few nuts and I got to nibble on them like the squirrel I am. Oh, but wait, squirrels eat corn, so squirrely I am not.

Anyways, we left the tailgate for the UVa/William and Mary home game without tickets, being advised by well versed non-ticket-holders that it was ridiculously easy to scalp a ticket for $10 or less. Sounded awesome.

An hour later we've walked at least a mile to the stadium plus however much else we walked around Grounds (thats UVa terminology for campus) looking for tickets with no avail, as apparently the game was sold out. According to these well versed non-ticket-holder friends of ours, this was the first time this had happened in their history of attending UVa games. The 4 of us who did not have tickets weren't giving up and decided to get crafty and go to first year dorms and ask the awkward, anti-social kids if we could borrow their student id in return for collateral of our own ids. Sounds like a great idea, until you figure that the awkward, anti-social kids are probably going to be the last ones out there to trust random alum with ids that they've only had two weeks, and that they view as their life lines.

Anyways, at this point, I'm ridiculously hungry. I was being convinced to continue on this journey with the promise of stadium food, which guaranteed was all chocked full of corn. So I'm not doing so hot and my mood quickly degrading. And this is where desperation comes in. When chatting with some adorable little first year girls about where they think they highest concentration of anti-social kids were, I spotted a picnic table strewn with three family size packs of white flour hot dog buns. And I've never seen hot dog buns that looked so good. Nevermind that they were white flour, or that they had been sitting out for hours, Girlfriend was HUNGRY. The lovely little first years generously offered them to me, and I immediately jumped on their offer. Until I read the ingredient label, and shocker, they had high fructose corn syrup in them. BREAD! BREAD! Someone, somewhere, was laughing at me.

So I stayed strong, and resisted. My friends were giving up on the idea of tickets and a bar on the corner with food and booze was looking better and better. So I waited.

We ended up at Boylan Heights, a gourmet burger bar on the Corner, which has a killer veggie burger (yay!). My friend Ashley and I got there before our other friends and decided to order an appetizer. Now let me tell you something about Ashley. She's one of my very best friends, and has jokingly decided to only eat corn for the next year to make up for the corn I'm not eating. Funny yes, and I'll share some of her "blogs" (she writes on my facebook wall about her progress and uses that as documentation) with you later. Well back to the story. Ashley and I sit down and check out the appetizers and she gets very excited about one in particular that she wants to split with me - the corn dog bites. I gave her this look and said, "Of all the foods on this menu, you have to choose the hot dogs WITH CORN? HELLO!?" And she was totally seriously and then we had a good chuckle about it after

So I ended up ordering the Boylan Veggie Burger that they make in house, thinking, that well, since its made in house, its safe. I anxiously awaited its arrival, only to be disappointed to see pieces of corn springing out of it. Now this brings up the debate some people have brought up to me as to whether it was wrong to eat actual corn - corn on the cob, corn salsa, etc. And I dont think it is. I think corn is delicious and a great food, however, I don't eat it that often and didn't think it would be hard to delete from my diet. Until you run across it in vegetarian soups and veggie burgers. So I still havent decided what to do about kernels of corn. Sighhhh. I was tired, cranky, and hungry, so I gave in and just ate it.

So along with wedding weekends, football weekends might have to be cut some slack on the no corn thing as well.

Apparently corn is necessary to a healthy social life! I'm still working on some alternatives.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Why Subway is a No Way for Non Corn Eaters

So I posted on my miserable drive back to Virginia and my cursed veggie wrap. I mentioned in that post about how I have a hard time finding foods to eat on my drives from Charlottesville to Chattanooga because of being a vegetarian, and now because of this whole no corn thing. Well, Subway has always been a safe choice, because I could get a Veggie Delight and not have to worry about meat in my sub. WELL (sorry I use well a lot) I was researching Subway on the way back from Charleston as I got a sub (pre no corn days) for my lunch, and discovered something very disturbing. Subway uses high fructose corn syrup in their wheat bread! DANGER! Read this article from this great blog, The Life Ledger, for more info on Subways breads.

So this time on my ride home, I had forgotten the sandwich I had made at my parents house (corn-free of course) and had to stop at the Way, and get a sub. I took this guys word and got the white bread, which is probably the first time I've had a sandwich on white bread in about 10 years. I really wanted to avoid Subway all together, because the HFCS in the wheat bread was VERY UPSETTING to me, plus I very much dislike their new ad campaign which talks about how healthy they are, and then pushes people to throw in chips and a drink (then pushes soda)...and then a cookie! I mean, come on people, you've positioned yourself as the healthy fast food alternative and you are still out there shoving more crap down people's throats. Ugh. Take note fast food is one of my pet peeves.

So this new info has left me packing my meals for road trips and swallowing Subways white bread when necessary.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Monday!

The weather is perfect here, starting to feel like fall, which I guarantee isnt here yet. We will have another bought of summer. I'm still in mourning over the demise of my relationship so my week has not gotten off to a good start. But I thought I would send this out to you all because it is pretty funny:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wedding Weekends are Well...

So I left Thursday from Charlottesville for my home town of Chattanooga, TN where I'm in one of my best friends in the world's wedding. I packed my own lunch for the road trip, knowing that as a vegetarian, the places to stop to grab food on the way were not very vegetarian friendly (unless I wanted a wilted prepacked salad or french fries as a meal), and even my one vegetarian standby, the Subway Veggie Delight sub, was not non-corn eater friendly. A blog on that to come.

P.S. I need some new word to describe non-corner eaters. Non corn eater is just such a mouth full.

P.P.S. I also must include the fact that my boyfriend and I broke up right before I left for home (a trip he was supposed to go on with me, so that adds to my sadness) and Ive been very upset the past few days, and will try not to come off as too much of a wet rag in my blog.

Anyways, I went to Whole Foods the night before and got a veggie wrap for the ride. I stopped for lunch at the Tennessee Welcome Center. I wasn't hungry because any food I'd eaten since the breakup did not sit well, but I figured I should try to eat something. Something on the ride reaffirmed my feelings of sad and mopey-ness so by the time I got to the welcome center and sat cautiously in the "pet walk" area (because doggies were not allowed near the picnic tables), trying to avoid doggie poos, I really was a sad sack, a wet rag, basically just a mess. As I was opening my lunch, I wiped away my tears to break out in even more tears because there on my wrap, was a label that was not on the wrap at the bar at Whole Foods. I swear,one word on the label seriously just jumped out at me, but there it was, "Corn Starch". The corn gods were kicking me while I was down and it sucked. Big time.

Thankfully my lack of hunger paid off for the most part. Yes, I still ate a few bites of the offending wrap. But most of it went to my dog, so at least someone came out on top in this situation.

So that was the beginning of a hard battle with corn this weekend, that as I get ready to leave for this wedding, is not over.

I'm really, really trying hard to avoid corn and its derivatives, but I will not give up due to a fall off the wagon, and I realize too that to most people this is a crazy idea, and that its not worth compromising my manners in some situations. For example when, at the bridesmaid luncheon yesterday, Heather, the bride's, grandmother made her special strawberry cake (which looked like it was partly made from Duncan Hines strawberry mix...corn for sure) and a large piece was plopped down in front of me, how am I supposed to say no. I'm at a table with the 20 most important women in my best friend's life, and I'm going to say no to a piece of cake (HER SPECIAL RECIPE! THAT SHE MAKES FOR HER POST MAN! AND HER HAIR DRESSER! AND OUR SENATOR!) that her dear grammy has made for us? No.

I also had a hard time avoiding the special quiche my parents had waiting for me when I got home. Now, I've been a vegetarian for over 3 years now, and yet my parents are still completely clueless as to what to feed me. So they always make me a quiche, which I love -my dad makes the best quiche this side of France. However, this quiche had veggie bacon in it, which was something new they discovered in the past year, and they put in everything they make for me. The veggie bacon, is entirely processed and in no way natural (but I must say, pretty bacon like) and has about 50 corn derivatives in it. Okay, not THAT many, but enough that I stopped counting.

I also need to mention, that I have failed to tell my parents about this little experiment of mine. I know they freak out enough about me not eating meat and how to feed me, I didn't want to add corn to the list of no-nos. But as I walked in the house, tired and defeated, and they are beaming at the wonderful quiche my dad has made (one of his best ever - swiss, spinach and mushrooms with veggie bacon), I couldn't say no. However, I did try to pick it out and give most of it to my dog. She comes out on top again.

So these were the biggest falls off the wagon, and I'm trying my best to avoid corn. I truly am. But I'm in the South, I'm with family and friends who are trying to shove food down my throat because in the words of my friend Lesley, a "Skinny Minnie", I'm emotionally exhausted and too tired to argue, and of course its a wedding, and that always means lots of food.

But honestly, the thing most abhorring to my friends about this no corn experiment? My inability to drink Jack Daniels. I might as well just become a Yankee.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Support American Farmers with Your Own Artwork!

The other day I got an email from a member of the Farm Aid team, saying nice things about my blog, which was a great way to butter me up for plugging their photo contest, Farm Fresh Pics. I would have said yes without the buttering up, because its a great cause. Farm Aid is, for those of you who have been hiding under the food charities rock, a charity that throws a concert every year featuring big names (Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp are the kings of Farm Aid) to support American small farmers. A good cause, because they fight big corporate farms that get farmers stuck in a cycle, using their seeds and growing their crops. A lot of the crops being corn. Big. Corporate. Corn. So you go, Farm Aid!

So now for the contest. Farm Aid is having a photo contest, where you can enter your own photo supporting American farmers with the awesome grand prize of two VIP passes and front row tickets to the show in October. Oh yea, and they'll pay your expenses. Thats pretty sweeeet!
So sweet that I entered my own photo, which if you recognize its awesomeness, you can vote for. FYI voting is $1 a vote donated to Farm Aid, so its a good cause!
If you want to enter a photo, you need to do so by the end of next week, September 6th. So go to your farmers market or u pick farm this weekend, or even your own backyard and snap away!