In Which Jenn Takes Her Vitamin, Singular

Not to suggest that you should believe everything (anything?) you read in your Facebook feed, but I was intrigued by a note posted by a former boss of mine last week about vitamin D. She claimed that she had been diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency, and because D is tied to thyroid function, it was messing with her weight. Once she started taking vitamin D supplements, she dropped twenty pounds. No other effort needed.

Hmmm.

Point 1: My family, both maternal and paternal, has a history of its female line suffering from hypothyroidism, which of course does a number on the metabolism. I haven’t been diagnosed with this issue as yet, BUT I understand that doctors can differ widely in what data cutoffs they use to diagnose the malady.

Point 2: I have a personal history of freaking out about my weight, obsessing over my weight, and essentially letting my weight dominate my life. I’ve come a long way from my lowest point, but I still wonder – if there’s nothing really wrong with me, should I be looking for solutions to problems that don’t exist? I mean, sure, I could drop some weight, but I don’t NEED to.

Anyway. I bought a bottle of vitamin D supplements. I figure it can’t hurt, right? But I thought I’d open it up to the forum: do you have a vitamin regimen, and if so, do you find it makes a noticeable difference in how you feel? Have you had any negative vitamin or similar supplement experiences? How do you know when to leave well enough alone?

Insert “Go Ask Alice” lyric here.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which We Talk Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian

MOON: Okay, let’s do tea!

JENN: We did the afternoon tea in the Grand Floridian’s Garden View Lounge for the first time in June of 2008. There have been many changes since then, some positive and some negative, but it is the one WDW restaurant I have returned to more than any other. I think my count is up to… I dunno, five times? Six?

Anyway, Moon and I went again in February, so we figured we’d talk about it, because it is awesome.

MOON: I was just looking at photos of our tea yesterday. Yuuum. 😀

JENN: The Garden View Lounge is located on the first floor of the Grand Floridian, at the back of that vast lobby area. It’s scarcely even its own room, just kinda roped off up a few stairs in a vestibule. The walls are almost entirely made of window and the views of the grounds are lovely. I love watching the cast members go by and their adorable Victorian outfits with the caps and the knee pants!

The Garden View Lounge afternoon tea service can be purchased a la carte or in certain pre-set prix fixe menus. We almost always get the Grand Tea, largely because of the dessert options, but we’ll get to that!

The first thing you do when ordering said Grand Tea is select your tea. The teas are loose leaf and brewed individually in personal pots. Unfortunately, the tea menu condensed awhile back, deleting my favorite tea, the cassis. Still, the selection is good and the quality is high. I want to say I got the Mad Hatter tea last time? It was a lightly flavored black tea and very good. You’re given lump sugar and milk if you want your tea English style.

They put your teapot in a tea cozy to keep it warmer. And cuter.
The little strainer is for putting over your cup as your pour, to keep
the loose tea leaves out.

MOON: I have no memory of what I picked, but I’m pretty sure I would have picked a black tea. So, one of them.

JENN: The Grand Tea also comes with champagne, although you can substitute sparkling cider. This we did on this particular occasion, as we were running the Princess Half in a few days and didn’t want to overdo it on the alcohol. The strawberry wedged on the edge of the glass is a nice touch!

Another time, this coulda been champagne!

The Grand Tea comes in three courses, alongside your tea and champagne/cider. The first course is tea sandwiches. These had been pretty much the same over the three or four years I had them – and then on this last tea, they changed!

The most important thing about the finger sandwiches I want to mention, however, is that they are easily customizable to fit certain diets. Moon is a pescetarian, which means she’ll eat fish but no meat. The sandwiches include chicken salad as well as duck wrapped in… um… prosciutto? Some pork product. The waitress was happy to sub the chicken salad for a second smoked salmon sandwich and the duck for an extra onion tart.

Other sandwiches include (if memory serves) a cucumber sandwich, an egg salad sandwich, and a pear and gorgonzola sandwich (shrimp salad sandwich wasn’t included during this run – maybe it’ll make a return or maybe it’s been permanently replaced?). I think they’d have to make you something different if you’re vegan, but vegetarians should be pretty easily accommodated by doubling up on the sandwiches they can eat. Of course, it never hurts to call ahead! They can probably make completely new sandwich combinations as well with a little notice.

The chicken salad sandwich has curry and is Jenn’s favorite!

MOON: The first time I went to tea with Jenn was around four or five years ago and at that time I was vegetarian to the max and I remember not having a lot of options. This is not to say that I did not enjoy it! The tea is really why I’m there, anyway. But yeah, if you’re vegetarian you’ll probably want to call ahead, and if you’re vegan you definitely will.

JENN:
  The second course consists of a delicious scone with Devonshire cream and what I believe is strawberry jelly and a strawberry jam tart (again, I’m pretty sure it’s strawberry but my memory could be fritzing; let me know if you know it to be raspberry). These are of course exceptionally tasty, but they’ve changed the presentation of the jam and cream. The latter used to come in a pretty whipped dome shape, and the former used to arrive in its own personal little jam jar. Not that either of these things have any bearing on the taste, but I kinda miss ’em…

The final course is your choice of either two pastries chosen from a little tray or English trifle. We can’t really speak to the pastries because we ALWAYS get the trifle, and I’m going to let Moon take this one because she has such an uncharacteristically effusive take!

MOON: I approve of the trifle! As you can tell by my lack of input that I do not have a strongest memory… But I remembered the trifle from our trip a few years back and had to have it again in February. It’s delicious – kind of like strawberry shortcake, with cream.

JENN: It has gotten WAY fancier. Formerly they just brought you some trifle in a bowl that had clearly been scooped out of a larger receptacle. Now it’s all artistic!

Trifle back in the day up there.

Trifle now below!


MOON:
Retrospectively, I think I would have opted for just the tea and the trifle, because honestly, I was pretty full half way through our meal. Jenn, did we finish the trifle?

JENN: We did! Yeah, a la carte might not be a bad idea, although the individual prices are a bit high… the package meals tend to be a good deal by comparison (some of these are smaller; some larger, so you have options). Maybe split a Grand Tea and buy an extra pot of tea and trifle. Great way to save money and have room for more Disney snacking later. But people with hearty appetites may want to buy their own Grand Tea. And be sure to budget a fair amount of time – we average about an hour and a half for the entire meal and lingering over tea.

MOON: I mean, if you haven’t had the whole grand tea experience: you should. I think the experience really stands out from what WDW has to offer – from a dining AND ambiance perspective.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!

In Which Moon Touches On Restrictive Dieting

We’ll periodically be putting up solo posts from one or the other of us, just to keep the format fresh. And you know, for funsies. Today Moon tackles a topic that has great meaning to us both…

Restrictive diets: say no.

Let’s talk a little about nutrition and diet. Most of the “diets” I have experienced have been extremely restrictive. So, in other words, they are not diets, but more like a blacklist for your stomach. I would like to take a different approach. How about we not create a diet based on what to restrict from our bodies, but build a balanced diet that gives our bodies what they need (and want!).

I have a lot of experience with weird eating habits and crazy diets, but let’s start with my most current eating concern. All of my adult life I have been a vegetarian. I am a vegetarian who is also lactose intolerant. But, let’s start with vegetarianism. Most of the time I get this reaction:

What DO you eat? And yes, the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding was correct in the portrayal of family members insisting that the leaner meats are not meat at all (That’s okay, that’s okay. I make lamb).

I eat everything except meat, of course! And honestly, I really love vegetables. For the past few years I’ve been trying to figure out what is going on with my cholesterol levels. I went for a yearly check-up with my primary physician and a few weeks after the appointment I received a letter that basically read, “You are overweight and should consider a weight management program.”

My initial reaction was amusement, but after going through the test results, I discovered that my cholesterol levels were through the roof. This was surprising to me because my diet contained barely any cholesterol (minimal amounts from eggs, but I rarely ate eggs). Now, I understand that cholesterol has strong ties to the genes you have, but I have NO idea about my medical history because I am adopted. However, I never before showed any high levels of cholesterol. Now, I have another condition that might account for the high levels of cholesterol, but I take medication that should balance that out. Here’s the bottom line: I needed to change my diet to try and lower at least the bad levels of cholesterol. To do this, I started to eat fish.

I cried the first time I ate fish. A small number of vegetarians out there are probably empathizing with me right now, but the majority of you are probably thinking, seriously? Vegetarianism became for me a way of life and while I did not start because I was against eating animals, over time I did feel that going back to eating meat would be in some way contaminating or somehow letting myself down.

I shouldn’t have been upset to eat fish. Sometimes I consider stopping, but I honestly have no negative side effects from eating fish (don’t get me wrong; I am absolutely for better treatment of animals. I am for eating organic and I try to stay far away from processed foods. I think our meat industry is in terrible disarray).  However, in retrospect I really believe that I should have been easier on myself for eating something that was good for me. And the fish has been helping. I am stronger and healthier. My protein levels are getting better and I will find out soon to see if my cholesterol is any better.

Here’s the thing with restrictive diets: it does something to my psyche. I go overboard with removing foods from my diet. I’ve found shortcuts to calorie intake. I think it does something to a lot of us, mentally, and I firmly believe that if your mind and body are not in the right place then whatever you are going for won’t have the best outcome.

And finally, to the point of the post: Eat what makes you healthy, strong, and happy. You might be thinking, Yeah, but I want to eat cake topped with cake. I want to play steak with Jenn. Can I deep-fry the cake? I find that my uncontrollable cravings for sugar are usually because I’m stressed. When I’m stressed I try to run to rid myself of the bad energy and usually it works enough to get me to calm down. I think if we recognize why we crave some of the unhealthiest foods all the time, we might be able to balance the real issue.

The good news is: let yourself eat something you like every now and then! There is nothing wrong with enjoying the sweet, sweet, nectar that is all foods found in a bakery. It’s the extreme desire of wanting unhealthy foods all the time that is usually an indicator of another issue. Be positive in your approach to your nutrition! Above all else, keep your body and mind happy and healthy and things will fall into place.

A lot of our diet is controlled by bad moods, stress, and anxiety. Take the negatives out of the equation and don’t be afraid to try something new.

Restrictive dieting has definitely messed with both our psyches in the past. We’ll be talking more about this subject in the future. There are still so many destructive habits floating around among women out there – but we think it’s great that blogging has opened up a dialogue about it! If you have any thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below.

Delicious sandwiches from Backlot Express.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!