Friday, March 11, 2011

Eat More, Drive Less

It's a radical concept, but if you want to eat waaaaay more food than usual, lose weight, and get more fit--drive less. Walk your happy hiney to the store, the post office, your friend's house, wherever. You will save lots of gas money, which means you're keeping gas out of the environment, and your butt will be look awesome.

I have a theory that walking is also good for meditation. When you walk, you aren't (hopefully) distracted by music or texting or what have you. You're in tune with the rhythm of your feet, and that pulls you in to the rhythm of your soul. It's good for you, keeps you from making yourself busy all the time in an effort to avoid whatever it is in your head that you may not want to contemplate.

And, walking could save the planet.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I've been thinking about the nature of the world today. It seems like I'm always running here, running there. I skipped two classes yesterday just because I needed some time at my apartment. You heard me--I didn't skip to party, or hang out with friends. I skipped to go to my apartment and sit on my couch (well, and to make some bread and a couch cover, but I digress). I needed some un-rushed time where no demands of my time were being made. I think it's healthy to relax and not fill every hour with activity. Unfortunately, that's often not the way the world works.

So, new efforts will be put towards a little yoga and tea every morning--to start my morning by relaxing. By being more efficient at work, I also won't have to do any work outside of that. Next semester, I'm also only taking one night class instead of two--that's going to make me feel much more free. I'm also about an hour away from resigning from the scheduled portion of an every other Saturday job, so I'll always have a two day weekend. I'm feeling fine, but I've definitely been getting warning signals that it's time to do some time management, or I'm going to start feeling very stressed and overextended.

So, how is this relevant for the reader? My suggestion is to stay really tuned in to yourself. Take note of how you're feeling on a day to day basis. Are you stressed or relaxed? Enjoying some free time for friends, family, and hobbies, or are you overdoing it as far as work, school, or other commitments? Do what you can to weed out excess time constraints early, rather than letting your physical or mental healthy suffer.

Now, go have some tea.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Plant Plans

My initial reaction to that idea of planting a garden is, "Oh, man! I can plant one of everything!" Unfortunately, that's entirely illogical given the space I have and the time I have. So, I went to the secondary list, which is what I eat almost daily, and seems most logical to try to grow myself.

Summer squash
Green Beans


Though I typically prefer pole-type plants, this year I'm going with bush variety, just to try something new, as well as to ease the amount of supplies and labor that are required initially.

Above are my favorite veggies, the ones that make me wish every year for summer, and thus are the ones I am most pushed to plant. The March list I plan to put in next Thursday.

On a side note, there's a little tiny strip of green on the sidewalk by my apartment that I'm pretty sure is neglected by the world. I'm planning to get a couple of cheap packs of wildflower seeds and plant them there, to create a little unexpected beauty. What can you do this week to create some beauty for yourself, your surroundings, or someone who really needs it?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bad hippie, bad

Well, maybe not BAD, but bad. Moving has put me in a rush lately (despite this, I am finally fully moved). Consequently, I've been eating whatever was available--which has often been fast food. No fruits, no veggies, in the scheme of things anyway. Maybe a salad here and there. :( My belly is not happy with me at all. As I wrote about a week or two ago, things move better when they're fed properly. So, take this as my vow to be better. No fast food, fewer carbs, since those have also been the bane of my existence for several days now, and lots of veggies and fruits. I've got to be hard core for at least a week to get this straightened out.

Argh. It's so much easier to be mostly good all the time, so that you don't have to be painfully perfect every now and then. Noted.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Plastic Grocery Sacks

My boyfriend is a sweetheart of a guy, but in the first five minutes of talking to him you wouldn't necessarily get the 'environmentally concerned' vibe. In fact, I'm not even sure that's a label he would hardily rush to claim. However, he recycles more than I do, and is always reminding me to grab the reusable grocery sacks. He drives a diesel, which gets twice the gas mileage my car does. When I used one plastic grocery sack at Kroger the other day, his comment was, "Well, I guess I can use one at the house for something."

One. For something.
We should all take a note, myself included. This got me to thinking in general about plastic grocery sacks. We should all absolutely be carrying our own sacks to the store, but every now and then, we still will wind up with one or two coming home with us. But, is that really as bad as it seems? They fit bathroom trashcans perfectly, which prevents us from buying special trash bags and the extra waste that comes with. To be fair, if you're going to spend the money on biodegradable, (more) environmentally friendly trash bags, I totally encourage you to do so. They also work well for scooping litter, packing fragile items, and can be recycled into crafts if you have the time for it.

My only point is, try not to waste, as always, but if you wind up with a couple of plastic sacks, don't flip out--recycle or reuse!

Gas Prices, Walking, and Eating Lunch

I just moved, as you all know. Lucky for me, that move is next door to a fire station and a freeway. First night of sleep was interesting.

Seriously though, I'm incredibly lucky because I can see a food truck called Green Cuisine from my window. It's an all vegetarian food truck. They also recycle, which is just one small step in reducing waste on our planet. Another huge step is driving less. I walked to Green Cuisine for lunch yesterday, and I want to encourage everyone to walk for their lunch today.

Gas prices in my area are at about $3.35. I don't know about you, but that's not in my budget. Consequently, I'm working on a new plan that will put all of my gas trips on a single line, hopefully to streamline or minimize my gas usage. In addition, with where I've just moved, I have the ability to walk about a mile and be at a farmer's market (in May, anyway). I can also take a trolley to get to the closest grocery store. I admit that this takes longer, and requires better planning ahead--no running to the store because you forgot a gallon of milk. Nonetheless, in the long run, your healthy and your bank account with both thank you. If you must drive, for whatever reason, try to make it along a line of other errands you must do--or on the way to and from work. It's the extra trips that really cost.

Consider getting out the old bicycle. It's great exercise that often feels effortless because it's so fun, and, with a lovely basket and set of pannier bags, can haul almost anything you could give it. (Tip: Baby wipes are lightweight, and excellent in the summer for freshening up after a long ride to school or work--or even after a short one, humid as it gets here in the South.)

Have a lovely Friday and a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Garden Plan 3

Well, apparently now I am the proud owner of two potential garden locations. Number two is at my DB's (dear boyfriend) house. He will not weed, plant, harvest, water, or otherwise harm or nurture said garden. However, the use of land is offered. Sounds good to me. I can be a bit territorial about gardens, and if I'm being honest I'd probably really prefer that no one else is picking about in my growing things.

However, in an effort to not put all my eggs in one basket, I think I'll do half in one location and half in another. This way something somewhere should turn out. Again, pictures to come as soon as I'm at these locations at a reasonable hour for such a thing.

On a side note, CANAS (Central Arkansas New Agrarian Society) has recently formed and meets once monthly at Vino's. They are open to anyone with an interest in gardening, be it larger scale farming (sustainably) or smaller home plots, or even just a plant in the house at all. I doubt I'll make any meetings this spring, as they're all when I have class on Wednesday nights, but I encourage everyone else to go. The people that make up CANAS are worth knowing.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Lack of Gas = Crappy Eating (aka, the story of the lone sardine)

In case you were wondering, it takes fire to cook. Here, fire means electricity. This may not come as a surprise to most of you, but for those of us just finishing a move, it's more than a little distressing. It's an odd story that doesn't bear recounting, but let's just say that I won't have a cooking surface until Thursday, and that it's not because I forgot to have it turned on.

Nonetheless. Upon waking this morning, I was in quite a rush. When I did get to my apartment, where food might have been waiting, the only thing there (due to said move) was a block of cheese and some ketchup. I chose neither.

When getting to work, I thankfully discovered the oat bran cereal I left last week. I ate about half the box. It's pretty high in grains and fiber, so not too awful. I was also happy to discover the can of sardines in my drawer. While the majority may turn their nose up at these lovely little fishies, I'm here to tell you that they are a gift from the sea. High in protein and healthy fat, they are a quick meal that can't be beat--particularly when put on a piece of bread. Nummy!!

Unfortunately, my office mates didn't agree, and I reasonably acquiesced to their preference that I not eat them. Sadly, as I was unable to cook anything to bring, this left me with...campus food. (Duhm duhm duhm) Quizno's appeared to be the best option, so I ordered a chicken sandwich. Fine and dandy, probably not too many calories--but $8!

To be fair, my food woes of the day have been almost solely based on poor planning and time management skills. Despite that, I can't help but secretly and unfairly blame the prejudice against sardines for my plight--branch out! Give it a shot! It's cheaper than Quizno's, after all.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Garden Plans

This week, I jumped what felt like a ten foot tall hurdle. I found a new apartment. It's downtown, directly across from a fire station and a beer and pizza joint. I'm considering ear plugs for sleeping, depending on how often the fire trucks seem to run. Despite that minor detail, it's in an awesome location: the top floor of an old building being used for a weekend theater. I'm incredibly excited.

What I'm even more excited about is the "For Sale" vacant lot behind the apartment. Some of it is gravel, but some of it is nice grass. I absolutely plan to practice a little rebel gardening this year. There's another term for it that I wish I could recall, but the entire premise of rebel gardening is that you just sort of move in and take over any vacant green space you can find.

While I will certainly be ready for the possibility of the lot being sold mid-growing season, I'm not really expecting it, due to various geographical and economic factors. So, I move in March 1, a Tuesday, and I expect by April 1 to have some good sprouts shooting up. Pictures to come the post after moving day.

Veggies to plant:

english peas

Second batch:
End of March, Beginning of April:
green beans
2 kinds of squash
3 lettuces

To come...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Food For the Day

I've been thinking lately about what I call "The Patented Hippie Diet".

The patented hippie diet consists of veggies, fruits, grains, fish, oatmeal, and home made bread, and maybe some yogurt. I'm not a super carnivore myself, but meat (organic, free range, etc) in moderation is certainly reasonable. The idea is that if you feed your body properly, it will treat you properly.

Doctors (not all, however) will tell you that anywhere from 1-5 bowel movements per week is normal. I must disagree. Whatever amount of food goes in, there will be some waste from each meal. Ideally, you would have a bowel movement each time you eat. However, particularly if you eat a really small meal, you may not. I would say that if you are going once a day, you are probably ahead of most people. Twice is pretty damn good, and every time you eat is a bowel movement rockstar. If you're having "problems" going, you are, almost certainly, not getting enough fiber. So, stop coming to the pharmacy and getting laxatives and Immodium, and change your diet! It's easier, cheaper, and MUCH better for your body and your belly.

I've noticed that if I eat 'like a hippie', I tend to go at least twice a day, I feel better, and I'm thinner. No, hippie food isn't fried, it's rarely overly savory, and beyond the fruit and honey sweetness, it's not typically sugary. But, it's pretty dang good, and really good for you. So, next time you have a choice between a fat burger and a veggie panini, at least give it some thought before you add the side of fries.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Local Eats

Today's article has to do with my particular craving. Indian food.

As I missed posting last Friday, a short introduction to local buying.
When you purchase from local establishments, more than half of the dollar spent returns to the community--an immeasurable value over time. It also supports uniqueness of a city. The better small businesses do, the more likely others are to open a small business. Food quality is also often better at local eateries, specifically.

So, today, specifically, food.

The Star of India is by far the best Indian restaurant in town. The staff always greets you as though you are a beloved niece, long lost. It's 'always a pleasure darling, always a pleasure.' However, you will find yourself well attended only when you need attending--you are never bothered overly.

The food is amazing. When it comes to Indian food, if you accidentally order too spicy, remember to ask for a side of yogurt. It will kill the spice, but keep the flavor. The chicken tikka saag was epic, and the lamb biryani was so tender it was worth a tear.

Short version: if you like Indian food, or even if you don't, you'll love the Star of India.

Happy Local Eating!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On the memories of Gardening

I'd like to be a toddler, walking through the garden at my grandfather's heels, digging my toes into the sweet earth...once more, just once more.

I don't know what most people grow up with anymore. Here in AR, maybe more people than elsewhere grow up with a garden. Maybe not. I was child to an older mother, so my childhood was much like that of someone a generation older than myself, when gardens were somewhat more commonplace.

A garden to me means summer, sweat, canning, family. It means fresh veggies, taking the long way around the yard so as not to disturb the plants, and old folks enjoying the pleasures of a front porch. It means good stories, and cold water, and hot coffee.

What does a garden mean to you? What feelings are you trying to capture with your garden--no matter how small it may be? Perhaps it's something more simplistic than what I've outlined here. Whatever it is, consider it as you begin considering what to plant in the next couple of months.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday, and on being behind already

It snowed last week. A foot of true powder covered the streets, the hills, and every car uncovered. It was beautiful, and I wished I was in a cabin with a fireplace.

Unfortunately, my internet was also out during that time, so I didn't exactly finish the intro posts as I had intended. All that is left is Friday's Local Stuff introduction, which you'll get Friday!

Monday's topic is food.

Like many people, I have a conflicted relationship with food. My natural inclination is to eat fried, sweet, salty, wonderful yumminess. Thankfully, I genuinely LOVE vegetables, fresh fruit, and grains, so I am able to overcome my base desires for bad food.

Most of the time.

Sugar. It's an addiction. Most people don't want to admit it--or, alternatively, they do admit it, but don't really think about what that means. When people talk about the quality of chocolate, they'll say, "Oh, you get used to the darker, less sweet stuff, and eventually you don't even think the other tastes good."

That's because, like any addiction, once it's out of your system, you don't crave it anymore. That doesn't mean you can't easily pick up the habit again--even just one little brownie, I think, would be enough to get that sweet tooth reactivated.

Next time you pick up something sweet to eat, consider if you're even thinking about whether or not you want it--or is it just a habit, a craving that you can't deny?

Sugar is certainly something I have a problem with. It's one of the things I'm hoping to work on as part of this blog.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Gardening is an valuable skill to have--it's truly a self-sufficient skill worthy of having. It's good exercise, can save you money, tastes better than store bought, has more nutrients...and can also be superbly frustrating. Bugs will strike, you'll forget to water plants, and you'll wind up eating nothing but salad because it's what survived...and it'll be worth every moment, because you will experience euphoria.

My friend Sally and I are planting a lovely garden this year. My main topics in this area will be composting, natural pest control, starting seedlings indoors, harvesting, preserving, and so forth. Hopefully, I'll also show weekly pictures to give you an idea of what my weekly progress is here at my grow zone.

Even if you are only capable of planting a small window planter with some spinach or lettuces--do it! You will get a nice feeling of pride, as well as some nice salads out of it.

Let's not forget all the salad you won't have to buy from 'the man'.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Food, and Eating It

Why, you may ask, do food choices matter? Beyond their obvious nutritional role in keeping us alive, of course.

The type of food you buy (and the places you buy it from, but we'll get to that Friday)influences the trends that purchasers at grocery stores see. The more demand for quality food the purchaser sees, the more it will be made available. The more growers are pressured to produce quality, pesticide free, fair trade, etc, food, the more they will produce of it--and the less low quality food will be sent out into the world. Less low quality food also means fewer toxins added to the environment. Think about it. You're voting with every bite you take--even if you don't care about politics, you're participating in them. Think about what you want your vote to mean.

Food. It's what's for dinner.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Barefoot Numero Uno

Welcome to my brand-spanking new blog. Well, ok, it's been sitting around, quite dusty, for a while now. Nonetheless, I am officially activating blog power.

I plan on doing roughly 3-4 posts per week, with the following subjects on the following days.

Monday: Food (sounds general, but you'll see a trend develop quite quickly)

Wednesday: Gardening

Friday: Buying and Dealing Locally

Randomly: Everything else

The theme, if you will, will be sustainability.

If you're good little readers and keep an eye out, there will also be giveaways and contests. To support local people, defined as anyone in the state of AR, since Little Rock is centrally located, there may also be coupons for local businesses available here and there.

I appreciate everyone's readership, and patience with my developing trajectory...

Happy Living!