(157.5) Meal Plan Monday


Can we all take a moment to acknowledge that this is the last week of summer, at least according to the unofficial demarcation line of Labor Day weekend? I know not everyone will feel as good about this seasonal transition as I do, but Summer is my least favorite season and I’m always happy to say goodbye to it. This summer hasn’t been a super fun frolic-y one but I’ve gotten a lot of business done, personally and professionally. I feel ready to dive into fall with my head in a “back to school” kind of zone. Continue reading →

(158.4) A Diet That’s Hard to Define

Back in June, when I decided to take a close look at what was shaping my decisions about what to eat, I felt drawn to the idea of a Paleo diet, largely because of its lovable and flexible poster girl, Michelle Tam. Sticking a label on what I was trying to do felt more systematic and secure than what I was really trying to do: hit on a framework for nutrition that is perfectly suited for me (and not necessarily anyone else).

I knew I wasn’t going to count calories or measure portions–how many times do I have to prove to myself that doesn’t work?–and I knew I wasn’t going to be completely rigid about whatever it was I decided. I was after more of 80/20 kind of thing that I could manage for the rest of my life. But most of all I wanted to base this on how I felt. I’ve been paying a huge amount of attention to how what I eat makes me feel. Since June, I’ve been calling my approach to eating Paleo-ish, which isn’t bad, but it isn’t right either.

There are too many things I do that are completely not Paleo and not even Paleo-ish. Here they are: Continue reading →

(157.4) A New Podcast


Exciting news: Together with my friend and colleague Marisa McClellan, I’ve launched a new podcast called Local Mouthful. On our half-hour show, we talk about living the local food life and all that it entails–farmers’ markets, grocery shopping, meal planning, wellness, pizza, restaurants, artisan food makers, etc. Our debut episode went live last week, and the second installment will post tomorrow.

If this kind of stuff interests you, please subscribe to the podcast here and give it a listen. Like what you hear? Please rate it and leave us an review on iTunes. Want to be on the show? Drop me a line at joy@localmouthful.com. Have a question or topic you’d like us to cover? Email me about that too!  Continue reading →

(159.2) Phone Booth Phase

I’m still here! I bet you want a Dry July update. First of all, I’m proud to tell you, I completed the challenge without a single sip of alcohol. It was hard in the beginning, for maybe two full weeks, and then I started to feel the benefits and it got a lot easier. From a weight and body image perspective, I lost 5.5 pounds during the 31 days of Dry July, which was a welcome byproduct of my efforts.  Continue reading →

(160.6) Weekend Reads & Recs

Happy Friday! This week, I have written and edited so many words … and done so many interviews, that I’m just about ready to close my computer to go unwind with an episode of Unreal (see item one below) instead of a glass of wine. Yes, Dry July is still going strong and I’m still feeling pretty amazing. I’m looking forward to the sous vide cooking class I have scheduled with Dan for tomorrow and hopefully cleaning my house on Sunday. Until next week, I leave you with with a short list of reads and recommendations. If you have something to suggest to me, please tell me in the comments!


This newish drama is not exactly The Wire but it’s really fun to watch. It’s a fictional version of The Bachelor  co-written and co-created by a woman who used to be a producer on that show.  Continue reading →

(161.8) Meal Plan Monday

In Philadelphia, it’s hot. There’s an excessive heat warning that’s been in effect since yesterday, with heat indexes over 100. I did some internet research to find out if statistically August is hotter than July in my corner of the world and thankfully it’s not. August is usually fractionally cooler than July. The summer completely craters my mood, sometimes so much so that not even laying off alcohol helps. But really it’s a good time to be not drinking because wine always makes me feel warmer. On the plus side, I have not one but two fun culinary classes booked for this week (one on fermenting vegetables, another on cooking sous vide). Also, I have a meal plan. Here it is: Continue reading →

(161.5) Dry July: Half Time

I’m really excited to report that I’m halfway done my personal “dry July” challenge. I promised myself I’d abstain from alcohol for an entire month and now I’m halfway through. I haven’t imbibed, though I have been strongly tempted, and I’m feeling proud of myself. At this point in the challenge, I wanted to go over the benefits and disadvantages I’m noticing so far:


Better Sleep

I’ve done this 31-days-no-booze thing before, most recently in January of last year. I knew what some of the benefits would be. Chiefly, sleep. It was a run of alcohol-induced insomnia that brought this on, and now, two weeks in, I’m feeling so much better rested. Sleep is a main ingredient for me in productivity, creativity, mood-regulation, and happiness. Without enough great quality sleep, I unravel a little at a time. So, far and away, this is the biggest and best benefit.

Continue reading →

(162.8) Meal Planless Tuesday

I know–I’ve been a bit absentee. I’m working on an exciting new project (I’ll tell you more soon) and I’ve been very busy with my usual work as well. It’s a good kind of busy but it has been taking me away from this blog a little bit.

I mentioned before how the arrival of my CSA box each Wednesday has been knocking me off my meal planning game. Two weeks ago, I was almost overwhelmed with all the produce I got. Last week, the box had much less in it, leaving me short on fresh vegetables. On Sunday, I didn’t know what to buy because I didn’t know what was coming. I stocked up on basics and bought a bag of romaine hearts–I needed something to base a salad on between now and Wednesday. Continue reading →

(164.5) Twenty Year Time Machine Edition

This is my seventh day without drinking! Go Dry July. And I am finding myself reflecting on so many things related to my relationship with alcohol. I’ve been remembering myself right before I started drinking–me at 18, during my first semester at college. I never drank in high school, partly because I did not have the opportunity but partly because I grew up with an alcoholic father and believed firmly that even one drink would lead to alcoholism and death. At NYU, I signed up for the “health awareness” floor because I didn’t really want to be around people drinking and doing drugs. I had had enough of that at home by that time. Continue reading →