Much more to learn…

I made a new discovery recently. I have experienced, for the first time, the delightful combination of cole slaw and pulled pork.

It started with a trip to the Naperville Wine Festival yesterday. I was working at the Cooper’s Hawk booth and ventured over to the “food court”, a section where several food vendors had set up shop for the day. Three of the restaurants represented were all neighbors in the nearby buildings, Sugartoad, Tap In Pub and Citygate Grille. They were holding a slider contest, with each kitchen creating a signature pork slider. Texting in my vote for my favorite got me entered into a contest to win dinner for two. The best in my opinion was Citygate, as it had the right balance of sweet, savory, salty and tangy. Although Tap In put up some strong competition with balsamic-marinated cabbage.

There were two constants among all three sliders, pulled pork, and coleslaw. Each one was considerably different from the others, with different sauces and toppings, but the cool crunch of the cabbage was a superb complement to the warm chew of the pork. Why had I never seen this before? Was this a new trend? I had no idea.

Today, I attended my second company picnic. There, at the buffet area, was pulled pork to make my own sandwich. Down the line by the garnishes, lay a big bowl of cole slaw. That simple sandwich was the highlight of the meal. As we sat down, I told my wife how this combination seemed new to me, but she was quite familiar with the idea. It just goes to show me that there is still so much out there to experience. Which, for a foodie like me, is an extremely exciting prospect. Enjoy!

Update 08/27/13: I just stopped in at Firehoue Subs and discovered I’d already experienced slaw on pork at least once before, when I tried their King’s Hawaiian Sandwich. I don’t think I’d paid enough attention last time to register what I’d eaten. I’ll have be more aware in the future.

No more HalFCuSs.

I decided to try to cut out high fructose corn syrup and see what happens. I never realized how pervasive the stuff had become. I knew it was in my soda, so I only drink soft drinks made with sugar. This has cut back my soft drink consumption in the process. Thankfully, Coke can be found with sugar in the imported Mexican variety, and Mountain Dew is offered in Throwback form. There’s a number of speciality sodas that are made with cane sugar, such as Boylan and the new Shaq Sodas, which are very good. I’ve only seen those at 7-11 so far.

My new, favorite bottled teas are Tradewinds followed by Gold Peak. Most soda dispensers are out, unless something is specifically labeled as containing cane sugar, which I’ve begun to see more and more. Jason’s Deli has a blueberry/pomegranate energy drink and Tom & Eddie’s has the Boylan sodas on tap. I’m also drinking more pure water.

I’ve had to pay attention to the ingredient lists on bread, condiments and crackers, too. No more Ritz for me, Heinz is out, and even some wheat breads use hfcs. The new Hostess Cupcakes use both, which made me sad, because I wanted to treat myself. It may take me awhile to completely eliminate the stuff from my diet, but I’m getting there bit by bit.

What results have I seen thus far? I don’t feel as strong a need to nap between shifts on my doubles. I dropped a pant size. I feel generally better and look a little trimmer. None of these are drastic, but then again, I wasn’t drastically unhealthy either. The important thing is I’m slowly adapting better healthy habits. I’m cutting back on sodium and cooking from scratch more. It’s an interesting development, but one that was long overdue.

Am I anti-hfcs? I’m not a nutritionist. I haven’t obsessed about studies, or gotten caught up in the notion of whether the real issue is our society’s inability to eat in moderation. I don’t know if hfcs is any more addictive than sugar. I only know what I’m experiencing, and I can only really speak to that. I won’t obsess about whether I’ve accidentally ingested hfcs, but I will continue to avoid it as much as possible and enjoy the results I see in my own life.

The moral of this post is simple. Sometimes, simple things can lead to small changes. Sometimes small changes are enough to make a big impact on my life. Sometimes, a big impact now and then is all I really need. Enjoy!

August. August 9th.

This is kind of a big day in kind of a big month. Two of my favorite people celebrate their birthdays today, and my most favorite person in the world celebrates later this month.

Today, the young lady who made me an uncle for the first time turns sixteen. She’s been a joy to get to know as she’s grown up into a talented and caring teenager with a bright future. Her mom’s birthday just passed, and she’s an amazing sister-in-law and friend.

Also celebrating today is one of my best friends, who made me believe I could have more than one. She was one of my first subscribers, which is just like her, supportive and involved.

On the 22nd, my wife’s birthday arrives. There won’t be much fanfare this year, but in my heart, there will be fireworks and a parade!

So, to all the ladies in my life who arrived fresh from the oven that is August, I say, “Let them eat cake!” (Gluten-free of course for you, honey.) Have a wonderful birthday, and as always… Enjoy!