ok, so if you do not know, the salon i work at is in a very Jewish neighborhood. Most of the clientele is jewish, the owner and some other stylists are as well. i worked in a jewish salon in LA as well, but not during Hannukkah season, so i didnt experience the things im learning about at this salon.
the day before thanksgiving i worked my first Henna. A henna is exactly what you think- when they put henna on the brides hands before her wedding. However, its much more than that. the best way to describe it is a wedding shower, because the bride is getting gifts to prepare her for married life and it happens a couple days before the wedding. The couple is Israeli/Moroccan, and Wednesday was the first night of Hannukkah. So not only did i experience my first Henna, but also my first Hannukkah. The salon owner (Rina) had been telling me how amazing the food would be, since we were invited to be at the event in between changing the brides looks, i only ate fruit and Shakeology all day so i wouldnt screw myself into eating way more calories than normal.
the hor d'oeuvres and side dishes were amazing. there was a carrot salad that tasted very similar to the morroccan carrot salad i ate during the ultimate reset! there was also sweet pickled cucumbers and baba ganoush, and olives, and other vegetable salad dishes. i had a little pocket filled with potato and a pastry topped with caramelized onions and another bite sized pastry with spinach and sundried tomato. a rude waiter took my plate while i was still eating and replaced it with fish, which i do not eat, so that helped restrict me from over eating for sure lol. we were busy styling the bride during the main course, so i didnt get to try that, but i did have dessert. Rina was raving about these "hannukkah donuts" (i cant remember the hebrew name, and even if i could, i couldnt spell it!) that i HAD to try. lucky for us, the brides mom had prepared the dough herself so they were the real deal. i had no idea what to expect but when i bit in, it was VERY FAMILIAR. where i am from in Massachusetts, most people are Portuguese. portugees eat fried dough, aka Malasadas. the hannukkah donuts tasted just like malasadas, but shaped like a donut. rather than being sprinkled with powdered sugar, it appeared to be honey or agave on top. it was delicious, and im proud to say i only are 1. i did also have some jewish cookies though. i didnt think they were anything like cookies, but thats what Rina called them. They were all different shapes and crunchy and covered in either honey or agave, some had sesame seeds (which i love) they were amazing. the food, as promised, was great. i got to see the bride and groom carried in, in thrones held up by men. i also saw them held up in chairs on the dance floor while dancing. and i also saw the first candle of hannukkah get lit! what an exerpience!! tuesday i go down south to do Jenni & her families hair (the beach body coach i met on instagram who home schools her kids, i blogged about them in the past) and theyre celebrating hannukah too! so i look forward to lighting a candle with them as well!
i didnt get home from the Henna until after midnight. went right to bed and got up early to go to the gym to run a couple miles before i hit the road.
the next day was not only the 2nd day of hannukah, but also thanksgiving and my nanas birthday! i drove up to orlando to have dinner with my aunt, her husband and children, my nana, and her partner at a super fancy restaurant called Norman's. on my way there i ate an apple and drank shakeology. I assumed i was going to be eating salad because restaurants can be tricky, and also because they are a fancy restaurant and most of those have a small menu. boy was i wrong!! they actually had a seared tofu vegan option! it wasnt actually on the menu but the waiter told me about it. i admit, i had four dinner rolls (yikes!) but it WAS thanksgiving! and the bread and olive oil and spices were amazing ( i only had about a table spoon of oil, no butter). i had water to drink, no alcohol. my first course was a salad with spring mix, nuts, and dried dates and apricots. my mail course was tofu with quinoa and veggies. i skipped dessert and had a pot of amazing vanilla french press tea, with honey. on the way back to my aunts hotel room we passed some hot apple cider and i did have a cup, the cups were about the size of a dixie cup you keep in your bathroom. i aint mad about that!
that night i drove from orlando to ormond beach to spend the night and black friday with my maternal family. when i got to my memes, there was cherry pie and pumpkin bars and M&Ms and candy corn and creme puffs and cheesecake. i ate NONE. i went to bed, happy, not hungry, not stuffed, and proud.my uncle, from north carolina, was there. i havent seen him in almost exactly two years. last i saw him was about 2 months before the day i started my life style change. we took a pic together that to this day, horrifies me! so i made sure we took an AFTER picture. good news is, he still looks great too!
the next day i woke up, laced up my sneakers, and took a 2 mile run around the neighborhood. i listened to christmas music. it was awesome. my christmas spirit is on HIGH this year lol i had a fruit plate for breakfast and hummus and carrots for a snack. we went to the Daytona Speedway to see the Turkey Trot- aka a classic car show they host every thanksgiving weekend. i wasnt that excited about it, but had way more fun than anticipated. it was so cool seeing my grandparents get all excited about cars they used to have and stuff. plus i was spending time with them and my aunt and uncle, so it didnt really matter what we did.
when we got home we made dinner. meme made boiled potatoes ad pork chops. I made roasted veggies (carrots, mushrooms, zucchini & squash) and a big salad. it was delicious, and another great eating choice victory! everyone ate the veggies and most ate the salad. it made me so happy to see my family eating good! my aunt and uncle arent over weight, so i dont worry about them. but i know my grandparents do not eat right, so seeing them enjoy "my kind of food" made my heart happy.
if youve been following me for a while, you know visiting my meme is always tough. she loves to feed. and her food tastes amazing, but its SO far from clean its scary. at one time, i dreamed about her food. and for the first year of my weightloss, i missed it. last christmas i decided that i was going to allow myself one plate of her type of food. i had only been eating vegan for about 3 weeks, but had been trying to eat cleaner (rather than just less calories) for only about 2 months, although i had already lost 100lbs. so i thought it would be OK to eat some stuffed shrimp, mashed potatoes, stuffing, veggies sauteed in butter, etc. i had ONE plate. about an hour later i was doing my aunts hair and having insane stomach cramps and hot flashes. in the middle of it, i had to lay down on the floor because my stomach hurt so bad and i thought i was going to pass out. i spent a long time in the bathroom, and quickly learned that even in moderation, Memes delicious food no longer agreed with me. now ive been eating mostly clean for 14 months, and vegan for a year, so i knew i couldnt even give it a try. but want to know the amazing part? meme didnt push me once. she never said "ash eat this!!" "ash, just have a bite" "how about a little peice?" not ONCE. historically, meme sends me home with tubs of leftovers and about a million canned goods. not this time. her fridge was STOCKED with fresh produce. i knew she had bought it for my stay, because they dont eat too much fresh produce. she always over prepares in the food department, so i didnt think it was that weird she bought way more than i could ever eat in 24 hours. but what i didnt know was that she intended to send me home with all of it. she literally emptied her fridge into my car. i planned on grocery shopping today. the only thing on my list i didnt have was garlic and kale. meme sent me home with an entire weeks groceries. literally. i planned my meals and i have enough food to feed me for the entire week. she gave me mushrooms, tomatos, zucchini, squash, carrots, bell pepper, onions, 2 tubs of hummus, celery, oranges, bananas, apples, parsnips, and about 30 spices. she also sent me home with some awesome plates. she said she wanted to get me plates because she knows i like my food to look nice. thats when i realized how awesome it is that my meme is on facebook. how else would she know something like that!? i have blogged that presentation of food is extremely imporant because it will make you feel more or less satisfied. she also sees all my pics of my pretty food. i thought it was so cool that she picked that up, ive never told her personally how i feel about presentation. my Meme is my angel. i LOVE all of my family, but this is the woman who makes me feel like i can do no wrong. she literally knows everything i have ever done wrong, and still loves me just the same. ive never questioned her love, because she puts it all out there. id have to be dumb, deaf, and blind to not see how much she loves me. my lifestyle is SO different now a days, and to see her do things differently than shes done for 60 years just to make me happy, is a serious reminder. i thought for the rest of my life my grandmother would be feeding me fudge and junk food. but now i realize it wasnt about the kind of food. at the time, i LOVED fudge and junk food, so she wanted to make sure i had some when i was with her and when i went home. but now she sees i loved fruit and veggies, and she wanted to make sure i had some while i was with her and when i went home. my mom does the same thing for me, and of course i appreciate her, but my mom has never mailed me 5lbs of home made fudge LOL so its not as big of a leap. for Meme to go from mailing me 5lbs of fudge at Christmas to sending me home with 20lbs of produce is a HUGE leap. i am so proud of my family.
in the spirit of thanksgiving, i should put it out there that i am SO thankful for the support of my family through all of this. they really do go out of their way to keep me on track. whether it is stocking their house with foods they dont even eat so i have options (like my mom and meme do), or inviting me to a restaurant that will meet my needs and not pressuring me to eat dessert, to letting me store a foam roller and workout equipment at their house, letting me borrow their cars to get to the gym or zumba while i am in town, not teasing me and picking on me and asking me when ill be done losing or when i can "eat normal" again, constantly telling me how proud they are of me, getting involved and working out or drinking shakes with me, allowing me to cook for them and they actually eat and enjoy my food....... i seriously COULD NOT ask for a better family through all of this. i love you guys!!