Friday, February 25, 2011


I've seen these ABC's on several blogs this week, and so I thought that I would follow the crowd and do my part for the herd mentality.

A. Age: Twenty-seven

B. Bed size: Queen.

C. Chore you hate: Sweeping and vacuuming. So essential, I know, but it's so annoying to have to move things around to do a good job.

D. Dogs: I want one, but can't fit one in my apartment and don't have the time for it either.

E. Essential start to your day: Coffee.

F. Favorite color: Black. It makes you look good and it doesn't get as dirty as all the other colors.

G. Gold or silver: Both, but when it comes to certain pieces of timeless-keep-forever jewelry, it would be platinum or white gold.

H. Height: 5’8.

I. Instruments you play: Does the iPod count?

J. Job title: Senior Accountant

K. Kids: Are cute

L. Live: New York City, duh.

M. Mom’s name: Lori.

N. Nicknames: None really.

O. Overnight hospital stays: None yet, and I hope to keep it that way.

P. Pet peeve: Chewing with the mouth open, loud breathers, and slow walkers.

Q. Quote from a movie: I know I went to Michigan, but it's a quote from Rudy, "Oh you are so full of crap. Your five foot nothin', a hundred and nothin' and hardly have a spec of athletic ability and you hung in with the best college football team in the land for two years, and you were also going to walk out of here with a degree from the University of Norte Dame in this life time you don't have to prove nothing to nobody except yourself and after what you gone through if you haven't done that by now, it aint gonna never happen, now go on back."

R. Right or left handed: Right.

S. Siblings: Three of them, all younger. Margaret, Jon & Tom.

T. Time you wake up: Around 5:30 a.m. during the week and between 7 and 8 most weekends

U. Underwear: I like the ones from the Gap best.

V. Vegetables you dislike: Broccoli!

W. What makes you run late: Blogging and running.

X. X-Rays you’ve had: Teeth?

Y. Yummy food you make: Guacamole.

Z. Zoo- favorite animal: The Sea Lions and Chimpanzees.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gotham City's Masked Blogger

Allow me to take extreme liberties here and suggest that I am living a Batman sort of existence.

According to my job and coworkers, I’m just a boring accountant. Little do they know that late at night, I morph into a blogger.

Of course, there are clues, if someone is looking for them….

A suspicious interest browser history list...

The clacking of my keyboard…

Sneak peaks at the NY Times health section in between spreadsheets…

Incessant blog chatter...oh wait, I never stop talking. That's not a clue.

Alas, while my blog is not a secret, I’m not exactly putting “blogger” on my resume.

It’s not explicitly against the rules, and it’s not as if I’m leaking private information or bashing a colleague, but there is still some fear that if work found out about my obsession --- err, I mean hobby, than I would be in big T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

I had already started writing this post a few days ago, but yesterday the New York Times published a story about bloggers. It’s most notably a profile on Heather Armstrong of, a blog that I have never heard of before yesterday - perhaps, because she is a “mommy blogger” and my angle tends to slant more towards healthy eating, exercise and a general childless existence.

So what’s all about? LIFE. From the outside looking in, there is nothing particularly extraordinary about dating, getting married, having sex, getting pregnant, becoming a parent and raising a family. We all play out some variant of this equation in our own lives.

What makes it good – great – no, awesome, is that it’s honest. The story of finding a husband can be all roses and champagne, or it can an all out extravaganza, with tears and self-doubt, plus humor, lust, frustration and every other human emotion invented – including love. And Anderson bares it all.

She candidly talked about her post-partum depression and openly criticized her coworkers, and it worked. Her blog went viral the day after she got fired – fired because of her blog bashing. And you can’t deny it, though I’d rather not lose my paying job over my “volunteer” job, don’t you want to read her post about when she got fired? Come on, admit it. I know you are heading over to her blog right now to look it up.

It’s not just the shock value of her blog that made it popular though. It’s the fact that it’s real; that she isn’t afraid to write ugly or scary thoughts. Though I have yet to experience the joy (I typed job at first, Freudian slip?) of motherhood, it would seem to be almost sacrilegious to admit that being a new mother is anything but life-shatteringly wonderful. But that’s not the story Anderson shared on her blog. Instead, she wrote about a depression so deep and dark that she considered suicide. And people listened. Because she was vulnerable and helpless and raw – the complete opposite of me.

From where I stand, I like my blog to come across as a source of authority. After all, I’m the oldest of four and my type-A personality loves to be right, even when I’m wrong. To top it all off, I’m a raging perfectionist. The last thing I want to do is let the whole world know that something isn’t right.

It’s easy to cultivate a specific image on my blog. I write it, I edit it, and I publish it. It’s mine from start to finish, but that doesn’t necessarily make it me. The things that really irk me, my biggest fears, my hate, frustration, anger, resentment, all get edited out. The thing is: I don’t want to share every secret on my blog. I don’t want you to know what happens in my bedroom or my bathroom. Those are for me to know and only me.

But I can’t deny that Anderson is on to something. That authentic dialogue is the only voice people will actually hear. There’s a reason that Jessica Simpson and the Jersey Shore became so popular and captivating and that’s because they’re not filtering themselves - even if that means risking pride and reputation.

And so while Anderson’s honesty makes her a relatable human, I don’t think that all her readers are waiting breathlessly for her next big burst of life because they want to know just what it’s like to be a mommy or a wife or a sister or a person.

We already know all about that.

Her readers sit, at the edge of their seats, the mouths slightly ajar, afraid to blink for fear of missing her next word, because real honesty takes a superhuman level of bravery. And it’s the bravery that we admire, because it’s not easy to put yourself up for judgment and criticism.

I’m taking notes on and on some of the other great blogs out there. The ones where I hear you talk about your period or lack thereof, and your birth control or your eating disorders and your depressions, and I am listening to what you have to say with awe and amazement, hoping fiercely that one day I can put it all on the table too.

Right now it’s all about the baby steps. It took a lot of guts to just write a blog. And then more to post it on Facebook and actually ask someone to read it. Still way more guts to post a comment on someone else’s blog and to openly talk about it as an important part of my life, and not some ancillary activity. But I’m getting there, day by day and post by post. I’m trying to find my voice and to tell you the pretty and ugly of running and living in New York City and of just plain living. My filter is still on, but it's getting less and less action as time goes on.

I can only hope that one day, I’ll get over my fear of being judged and just be me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blog Updates

I don't usually do two posts in one day, but I'm changing the look and location of my blog and I wanted to let you know. Over the next month, I'm designing my own website. I know Blogger's commenting forum isn't the best, so please just bear with me until my new site is up and running.

In the interim, I think I just changed the settings so that you can now comment without a Blogger account and so I will get emails immediately when you make a comment. Blogger is definitely a great way to start, but I have outgrown it. It's time to take off the training wheels.

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Half Marathon Training Plan


You’ve got to love what that testosterone makes them do.

Every so often, during marathon training I would meet a boy and he would tell me that he could run a marathon. That’s not such a strange thing to say if you regularly run fifteen miles every weekend or are a professional soccer player.

But those boys...they just can't ever say something sensible and rational.

I’m not talking about runners. I mean your average boy. The ones who will paint their bare chests and stand in forty-degree temperatures for an entire football game.

I know of two boys, one who joined a sixteen mile long run despite never running double-digit mileage before, and another who ran the New York Marathon on a six-mile-a-day habit.

In case you haven’t noticed, I am not a boy and I like my knees, so when I decide to run a half-marathon, I have to train for it.

In the past, my half-marathon plans have involved running about 3.5-5 miles three-four times a week before work with one long run on the weekend. For the first half, the long runs started at six miles and maxed out at eleven miles. The second half-marathon topped out at fourteen, and for the third, I was training for the marathon and was at the sixteen mile long run point.

Now that I’ve got a few races under my belt, I’m ready for a challenge. I’ve adopted my plan from Runner's World. It’s a blend of their intermediate and advanced plans. I’ve made a significant number of changes to both schedules and I have added in cross-training and strength work.

Don’t get confused. I am NOT an advanced runner, but I have found that I can race a half-marathon much more successfully if I actually run slightly further than the race distance. I would not recommend that a new runner tries to run greater than the race distance without consulting a coach or trainer.

My general plan works like this:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Speed workout, typically a few longer distance sprints at race pace or 10K or 5k pace. There are no 100 meter dashes in this plan.
Wednesday: Spin and strength train or run easy for one hour.
Thursday: A tempo workout, usually a mid-level distance at race pace.
Friday: Spinning and strength
Saturday: Long run, starting at 7 miles and ramping up to 14 miles.
Sunday: Spin or mid-distance run, but if I’m in a lot of pain from Saturday or I just had too much fun on Saturday or I just want to spend all day shopping in Soho, then it’s a rest day. (I’m not trying to break any world records here.)

Here’s this week’s schedule:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 3 x 1 mile @ 10K pace, with 400 yds cool down between each mile
Wednesday: 5 miles easy or Spinning
Thursday: 6 miles, with some little uphill sprints and bursts
Friday: My very favorite spinning class!
Saturday: 12 miles (I'm already a few weeks into my training, hence the high weekend mileage)
Sunday: Spinning or 5 miles.

If you are looking for a beginner’s plan, here are the two I recommend. Hal Higdon’s and I like the Running World’s beginner plan as well, but if you are new to running, speed work can be daunting. And completely unnecessary. No one I know, did any track work for their first half; however, if you ran cross country or track than maybe you would like the challenge.

Do you follow a cookie-cutter training plan or make your own?

Music on Repeat the Week of February 21

Happy Birthday to my little sister! This week's songs were made in the eighties, just like my sister. And just like her, they've got a twenty-first century update. Just like wine, some things only get better with time.

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) [Steve Angello Bootleg] by Eurythmics

Feels like a Prayer (feat Dino) by Meck

Everybody's Free (General Electric Mix) by Global Deejays

E.T. (featuring Kanye West) by Katy Perry

Ok, so Katy Perry wasn't making music in the eighties, but E.T. is from that era!

What old songs are sounding new to you right now?

Monday, February 21, 2011

To break the fast or not?

Should I cut calories? Or workout more? Or both? Are carbs bad? Is meat bad? Does dairy make me fat? Or does it help me lose weight? Is sugar the enemy? Or fat? Or gluten? Or fruit?

For every single diet out there, you can find an equal and opposite diet. No wonder obesity rates are going up. How is anyone supposed to figure out what’s the right way to be healthy?

However, despite all this contradictory information, there is one thing that almost all of these diets agree on: breakfast.

You’ve got to eat it. That’s what they all say. So of course, if you want to get healthier, a good way to start (literally) would be with breakfast right?

The theory behind breakfast goes something like this: eating breakfast will keep the “hungries” at bay and kick the metabolism into gear. Plus there is the psychological boost of starting the day off on the right foot.

And then the New York Times had to go a print a story saying that people who ate a large breakfast actually consumed more calories and gained weight. I knew it was just too good to be true.

So what’s an aspiring healthy eater supposed to do? To break the fast or not?

I have always been a breakfast eater. Then and now, I ate breakfast. But once upon a time, I started every day with breakfast. Literally, it was the first thing I did. It was a habit and a ritual, like brushing my teeth or showering. And it had nothing to do with hunger.

Breakfast is good for you. You should eat it. But when the hunger strikes, and not when the clock does.

So now, sometimes I don’t eat breakfast until ten in the morning, despite the fact that I’ve been awake since 5:30 a.m.. At least one morning a week, I wake up and immediately think everything-bagel-toasted-with-vegetable-cream-cheese, but unless there is a rumbling in my tummy, I make my little cup of coffee and head over to the laptop for some blogging.
I don’t believe the New York Times was trying to get us all to stop eating breakfast. After all where would New York be without her morning coffee and bagel?

It's just time to start thinking about breakfast in the context of the entire day's calories. So I'm going to get Chipotle for lunch today? Then I might cut breakfast down by a third. Did I have a cheeseburger and fries for dinner? Then I will skip my mid-morning snack of mixed nuts.

Of course, no matter what the New York Times says, I'm still having my cup of coffee. Because, umm, yeah, I'm addicted.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Music on Repeat the Week of February 14

Since this week got off to an amorous start my playlist was naturally about all things love. Well, almost...

Telephone (Kaskade Extended Remix) by Lady Gaga & Beyonce

Dominos by the Big Pink

Hit the Lights (Featuring Lil Wayne) by Jay Sean

So Happy I Could Die by Lady Gaga

Talons (Phones R.I.P. mix) by Bloc Party

And this song just reminds me of any ideas why?

Red Cup (I fly solo)Featuring Lacey Schwimmer & Spose by Cash Cash

Oh yeah, and I'm a sucker for all things Gaga, so I had to get the new one too...

Born this Way by Lady Gaga

And the blurry, fuzzy, night pictures? Those are to show you how much I need a new camera.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

My trusty Canon Powershot Elph has died. May she rest in peace. Now after the obligatory mourning period, I have decided its time to buy a new one. Here's what I'm considering.

Canon Powershot S95 $369


Takes pictures in low light without flash
Allows for manual adjustments
Small, Portable
Image Stabalizer
HDMI Connection


For a little bit more money, I could get an SLR.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 $399

Large lens allows for better zoom, color saturation, and better soft-focused background shots.
Can attach other lens to camera
High Quality HD Videos
Light and easy to carry around
Full Manual Control


For $399 on Amazon, plus shipping, this is getting dangerously close to SLR territory.

Nikon Coolpix S8100 $228Pros:

Huge high resolution photo display on the camera
High zoom lens
Fast pictures (up to 5 frames per second)
Subject tracking helps take moving shots better
Some great Night/Dark light (automatic) photo settings
Best bargain


Doesn't allow for any manual settings as far as I can tell.

Leica D-LUX 5 $799

Manual option as well as full suite of automatic photo settings
Classic Leica design (not sure if this a perk I care about, but it's all over every review I read)
Good low light photos
Comes with a free Adobe Lightshop download
High quality video


Video quality is less than all the others, though still HD.
Cost! At $799, there is a whole host of SLR's with automatic features available.

Canon EOS Rebel XS $489


SLR camera at a decent price point.
Noise-free picture taking


Photo quality is lesser than some of the digitals

Nikon D3000 $589Pros:

Fully functional SLR
6 auto modes
Guide Mode helps you learn to use the camera
Fast picture taking (eliminates shutter lag)
In-camera photo editing


At $589, it's not much less than the D3100 which takes much high quality photos.
Less megapixels a lot of point and shoots

What are your thoughts? Did I miss anything really good out there?

I'm looking for something that will take great pictures, but doesn't cost a fortune and is fairly easy to lug around the city in my purse. I used to know how to use an SLR camera in high school, but I'd have to relearn again, so that's a definite disadvantage to the SLR's. But photo quality is a major, major, major plus.

So many things to think about... I'm going to head to B&H this weekend and if see if one of those camera geeks can't teach me a thing or two and help me decide.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Songs on Repeat for the week of February 7

This week started off with the Super Bowl and an awesome commercial which reminded me of home, and which inspired my playlist this week.

Cinderella Man by Eminem

No Love (featuring Lil Wayne) by Eminem

This Plane by Wiz Khalifa

Lose Yourself by Eminem

I need a doctor (featuring Eminem) by Dr. Dre

Love the Way You Lie, Part II by Rihanna & Eminem

Mockingbird by Eminem

Nothing like a little rapper's angst to get the adrenaline flowing.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

NYC Half Marathons

Last year, I made a major mistake at the Brooklyn Half-Marathon: I forgot to sign-up. It gets worse too. I didn't realize it until the day before the race.


Wow, was I embarrassed.

Boy, was I majorly disappointed that I couldn't run thirteen point one miles in Brooklyn.

I even tried to buy a bib (illegally) on Craig's List. Turns out a lot of people want run half marathons in Brooklyn.

So I consoled myself with some red wine, macaroni and cheese and a cupcake. Hey, when life gives you lemons, make a big comfort meal of carbs and cheese and wash it down with vino.

Lesson learned. Check race registration confirmation. Check it again. Email the race organizers to double check.

Of course, there's always next year right? Nope. The 2011 Brooklyn Half Marathon is May 21st, which is five days after I get home from a ten day trip in Espana.

I guess there's always 2012.

But I still wanted to make sure that I got a New York half marathon in this spring. There are a lot of great half marathons across the country, like Chicago and Boston, but I didn't want the stress of travelling. The only stress I'm looking for is the stress that comes from running thirteen point one miles, fast.

I did some research and came up with a few halfs in the area. Here's what I considered. To even get in the running, the race had to be easily accessible from my apartment in the Upper East Side, so I limited it to races within the five boroughs only.

More Half Marathon: I ultimately nixed this one because it's two loops in Central Park, which is where I run daily. Plus Central Park is very hilly and not exactly good for PR's.

NYC Half Marathon: This race
is closed and the only way to get guaranteed entry is by raising over one thousand dollars for charity. It's a big ticket race and I seriously considered it, but the uncertainty of March weather in NY and the chore of raising money during my busy season at work ultimately deterred me.

13.1 New York: This is the one I decided to go with. The entrance fee is manageable - eighty-eight dollars. The course is pretty flat and it's not an out and back, but it's almost a loop course. But at least it's not a loop that I run weekly.

There are some good races right outside of New York City too, like the Unite Half Marathon and the Long Island Half, but these are outside of the city and would require hotels and cars, or else a huge commute the day of the race.

Unfortunately, if you are a looking for a race in the NYC area, all the races I mentioned are closed except for the 13.1 New York and the NYC Half if you are willing to raise money for charity. Even Brooklyn closed in a few days.

But the good news is that the NYRR will be hosting the Queens, Bronx, Staten Island, and Grete's Great Gallop later on in the year. So if you are looking for a NYC half, all is not lost.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Made in Detroit

This blog is about many things but as the name of this blog suggests, it's mostly about me running in New York City.

The city where dreams are made. The city that never sleeps. The city that makes you when it can't break you. The city. New York is where I live and I shamelessly adore it. It's not always easy living here. Often times, I feel like the score is NY: 50, Amanda: 5. This city kicks my ass more often then I like to admit.

And yet, despite all of this, I put my rain boots on, curse out the city in a tone the suggests pride, annoyance and wonder all at once, and keep on going. Yep, it's my city, warts and all.But as much as New York is the city of my moment, I am no New Yorker.

If you don't live here, I might seem like one to you with my black clothing and intimate knowledge of subway trains, but in New York City I am just another one of the city's many imports.

The new Chrysler 200 commercial featuring Eminem debuted during the Super Bowl on Sunday, and it was, in a word, awesome. The whole time it was on, I kept on squealing, OMG, that's Detroit! That's Hart Plaza! That's Joe Louis's arm! That's the Spirit of Detroit! The beat to Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' building, as I swelled with pride...for the city that I no longer live in.

How can I feel proud of something and want to lay claim to a place from which I left five years ago? A bigger insult couldn't exist than writing a blog about the very city I ran to, a clear snub to the city I left behind.

The truth is that I didn't leave Detroit because I didn't like it. I didn't run away to New York because of some Sex and the City fantasy or because of the economy. I left because I wanted to find a new path for myself on my own. I always had my sights set on leaving.

In the sixth grade, we were asked to predict where we would be in fifteen years and then read the prediction aloud. I bet a lot of my fellow sixth graders don't remember that day, but I do. They all announced varying dreams of professional sports careers, six figure cars, houses with double digit rooms, and more than a few had a kid or two figured in already. Everyone except me. You know what I said? Fifteen years ago I thought that I would be living in Paris studying art right now.

Oh how silly and idyllic I was once upon a time.

So I didn't really get it right, but living in New York City, accountant by day, blogger by night isn't that far off when I really think about it.

And Detroit? Well, that's part of my life tapestry. I create networks through Wolverines. It's an icebreaker too, as almost everyone I know has asked me at one point if I live on eight mile (no, thirteen mile). And when it gets cold in New York, I have to act tough because I'm from Detroit, which is like Antartica to people here. I notice when the cabs are American made cars, and when they aren't. And I love the fall in NY - not because the heat finally breaks and everyone comes back from the beach - but because it's college football time. Oh yeah, that's all because I was made in Detroit.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Forget all your cares and go, downtown

Today marks my first double digit run of the year. I'm not going to play any games today or try any new tricks. Just a nice flat run down memory lane. All I've got with me on my run today is some water on my fuel belt, money, Metro Card, my keys, and my music.Just me, the sun, the songs and the wind.
Here's the route I'm taking and a few adaptations depending on where you start below.

This ten miler is best for those who live on the 4/5/6 line. Just pick a starting point on the 4/5/6 between 59th and 110th, then run to 5th avenue. If you are starting below my starting point at 85th Street, for every two blocks lower you start, cut across the park 1 block sooner. So if you start at 65th Street, then cut across the park at 100th Street.

If you live on the West Side, then tack on an extra 3 miles by running over the Brooklyn Bridge and that back on the Manhattan.

The ending point is the Brooklyn Bridge stop, so you can take just about any subway train you want home. Or you can grab a nice open faced sandwich or a delicous pastry at Le Pain Quotidien on Warren Street.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Amazing, Wonderful, Magical Stomach

My stomach is amazing. For twenty-seven plus years, it’s been here for me every single day no matter what I threw it’s way. Hot sauce, monosodium glutamate, vodka, corn syrup, broccoli, artificial flavor and coloring, chocolate, coffee, sodium acetate, lactic acid, cola, steak, butter, calcium silicate – you name it, and I’ve sent it to my stomach. And somehow, some way, it all gets broken down into the building blocks of my blood, brain, lungs, muscles, heart, and even, yes, even my stomach.

And that folks is amazing. No matter what I eat, no matter how processed, how chemically derived, and preserved, my stomach finds a way to get the good stuff out of it.

That is what I call loyalty.

Try asking a panda’s stomach to do that for him. Or your dogs stomach. Has your dog ever gotten into the leftover dinner and then thrown-up behind the big armchair in the living room that night? I’ll bet he has (and if you have a Labrador retriever, I’m sure you’ve seen him get into Tupperware containers, sealed garbage bags, the fridge, your neighbors trunk full of groceries while they unload the car, too.)

Have you ever seen a tiger grazing on grass or a cow tearing into a freshly run down deer? Probably not, and trust me, even if your zoo trips haven’t given you enough experience to confidently know this for sure, they don’t do that, like ever.

I’m sure there is lots of scientific information out there which would explain why human stomachs can break down pretty much anything, and convert it into energy and cells. But I don’t think a trip to the library or a massive googling episode is necessary to prove this point. Everywhere I look, nature provides lots of examples of how other stomachs just can’t handle all the crap that I love to eat.

Which brings me to my real point here: just because I can eat it, doesn’t mean that I should. Because my stomach's only really flaw is it's willingness to get down with anything and everything. Unfortunately, when a particularly unhealthy item is consumed, digestion is at the expense of another process inside the body. Have you ever felt like you needed to take a nap after a particularly heavy meal? That’s because your body is working so hard on digesting that even the process of keeping you alert is taxing.

I’m not a scientist, and I’m certainly no doctor. All I can claim to be is an expert in ME. I have noticed that I have more energy when I eat a ton of vegetables before a workout. Eating fried food for lunch mean's I'll definitely have to make a Starbucks run at three o'clock. Bananas give me lots of energy before a workout, but so does a good old cup of coffee. All I need to know that about eating a cleaner, more raw and more vegan diet is that it makes me feel good.

That we don’t have to lie around all day waiting for that antelope to digest or regurgitate our food so we can chew it again, is only icing on the cake.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Keyboard is Fixed and Vegan Kale Chips

Finally, I’m back!

I bet you thought that I was kidding about being back to writing my blog in January and that it was just another New Year’s Resolution that had finally lost its steam. Not quite.

Actually, what happened is that one cold, grey Sunday – you know the type, where all you want to do is curl up on the couch and watch your favorite movies and snack on comfort food your mom didn't let you eat as a kid – I woke up to find that a few select keys on my keyboard didn’t work. Miraculously, my computer password doesn’t use any of those keys so I was able to log in but I couldn’t type in ‘gmail’, ‘Amanda’, ‘google’, or ‘nymag.’

As one of my friends on Facebook pointed out, this wasn’t nearly half as bad as Egypt (unless you count the emotional turmoil I felt inside by not being able to check my favorite blogs (blocked at work), facebook (also blocked at work), and generally the fact that I have to do work at work….how unfair!). But I felt unhinged and bored nonetheless. Oh yeah, didn’t you know? I don’t have cable TV. So my computer is not only my link to the world wide web, but my DVD player, my Netflix and my DVR. I do have basic cable but I can only watch so many reruns of Seinfeld and Two and Half Men (take notice CBS), before you just need to do something.

So what did I do? Well, I took to the kitchen and made like a Top Chef. I made vegan kale chips, granola bars, spaghetti and garlic bread, a Thrive pizza, vegan pesto, and a bunch of new salad combinations. The best part about the week is that I finally crossed a huge threshold that has been staring me down for the better part of four months.

Nutrional Yeast. EWW, right? Yes, it does sound gross, but seriously get over it right now, because cheese is moldy milk, beer is fermented wheat and mushrooms are fungi. It’s yeast that is grown on molasses and unlike the yeast used in bread, it is not alive or active. When you buy it from the store, it comes in light yellow flakes and is almost odorless.

But the best part about it is that it melts and tastes like mild cheddar cheese, and it’s chock full of vitamins. One serving (3 tablespoons) has more than your daily recommended allowance of B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6, folic acid, and B-12, plus nine grams of protein, five grams of fiber, and only eight calories. Sounds like a power food if ever one were to exist. I used the nutritional yeast in Averie's vegan kale chips recipe, which also included a ton of cashews. It didn’t quite come out looking the same way and I think its because I used the food processor instead of the blender. The second time I added a dollop of tahini because I heard that goes well with nutritional yeast, but the flavor was a bit too powerful for me.

So don’t be afraid. Try them! And if you still can’t get your mind around nutritional yeast, then get your fabulous behind to a health food store and buy some and try some. Trust me, you will be surprised that vegetables can be so deliciously bad.