Fly Fishing!

Brian’s interest in fly fishing is probably best summed up in his response to a curious coworker  “If there’s one thing social media tells me, biking and fly fishing is v trendy right now.”

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Swift Industries is one of the more influential companies for the way we bike, and they are huge supporters of camping/biking/fishing/etc. They recently collaborated with Tenkara, a Japanese company that sells telescoping fly-fishing rods that are ideal for backpacking or biking trips where portability is key. Naturally, Brian The Outdoorsman jumped on the trend, set his ukelele aside, and decided he wanted to be a fly fisherman. I mentioned this at work, and it turns out one of my coworkers is an avid fisherman and offered to lend us a full kit so we can give it a try before investing in a bunch of fishing stuff. His pole wasn’t very space efficient and ended up sticking about 2′ off the back of my bike, but it was free so we definitely aren’t complaining! We took advantage of Washington’s free-fishing weekend (when they don’t require a license) and rode about 12 miles south to the Cedar River Trail.

We knew it was supposed to be partly rainy the whole weekend, but I don’t think either of us expected to be outrunning giant thunderstorms the whole day! The whole ride to the trail, we had one eye to the west on the clouds that were getting darker and darker by the minute. We had a ridiculous headwind too, but I convinced myself that it would be a tailwind on the way home so it was worth it. (spoiler alert, I was sorely disappointed when that turned out to be very wrong) We pulled off the trail into downtown Renton as it started to sprinkle. Mostly to use the bathroom, but the timing was perfect since it started to downpour the minute we walked into the cafe. One surprisingly vegan and unsurprisingly disappointing cupcake later, we were back on our bikes and only a few miles from our fishing spot.

In theory, since the trail ran adjacent to the Cedar River, we could’ve stopped anywhere that looked good, but I did a little googling to find some of the spots that were better for fly fishing. Mostly, I just wanted somewhere that wasn’t popular, had a large clearing (so we wouldn’t hook a tree or anything), and wasn’t private property. Luckily we pulled off at a spot called Belmondo’s Reach which turned out to be like the most perfect spot ever. When we arrived, we were the only ones there at this huge clearing where the river was shallow and ran along a beautiful cliff. Brian immediately dropped his bike, grabbed the pole, and ran to the water.

We messed around and practiced casting for about 30 minutes before two more people showed up and started fishing like 30′ away. We were kind of disappointed at first since it’s way more intimidating trying something for the first time with an audience, but after about 20 minutes, the guy came over and started chatting with us. We explained that we were doing this for the first time and the extent of our experience was 20 minutes of YouTube videos, and he was super nice and even gave us a few pointers! We heated up soup and rice for lunch and took turns eating and “fishing” and being backseat drivers from the sidelines. Part of me definitely thought we’d catch at least a tiny fish, but alas, nothing. Probably a good thing though, since we were mostly focused on casting and probably would’ve yanked the poor fish out of the water and flung its face off before we even noticed it was hooked! It was still a lot of fun though, and so nice to spend the day relaxing outside in the fresh air after being sick for a week.

After a few hours of sun, the sky started getting dark to the west again. Within like 5 minutes, the wind picked up, the drops started falling, and there was a massive crack of thunder! We threw everything into our bags, grabbed our bikes and started sprinting away from the creek trying to get under the nearby bridge before we got soaked. We had a long ride ahead of us, so we decided to just ride it out and see if we could outrun the storm. Sure enough, the sun was out again in 30 minutes and we pulled over to lay in the sun, eat strawberries, and watch a cricket game that we had ridden past earlier.

Our ride back to Seattle was SO WINDY. That tailwind I was hoping for swept around and turned into a headwind the other way too. It was ROUGH.

We made a snap decision to detour to the driving range that we like in Jefferson Park and have a quick snack and rest. We chose to ride the gorgeous but deceivingly hilly Chief Sealth Trail (we call it Chief Keef Trail) and added probably 300′ of unnecessary climbing to our trip. We hit a bucket of balls, ate a bucket of fries, and then ended up waiting an hour for the rain to stop before we headed home.

We caught the break in the rain until we were a mile from home when we got dumped on. We ran into this awesome mom who was riding her daughter home on the back of her bike and they’d gotten caught too. She was wearing a soaked tank top because she’d given her sweatshirt to her daughter, and she was telling us how they were on mile 30 for the day and almost home when they’d gotten dumped on. I love seeing moms (and dads) like that who are absolute work horses and power through for their kids. I mean, this lady was riding uphill in the rain and the cold, with an 8 year old on the back of her bike and wasn’t giving up. She wasn’t even in a bad mood! I love it.

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All in all, we rode about 44 miles total with a headwind the whole way, and felt great. Next weekend is supposed to be 80s and sunny…. so we’re probably going fishing again!

If you missed our videos on Instagram, here’s the full story!

“where are the pictures of Veronica fishing?” you might ask. Well, while I was diligently playing the part of devoted Instagram wife… Brian was not. He took 3 photos of me TOTAL and the best one out of the three leaves much to be desired.

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Our New Plant-Based Diet

Every once in awhile, something catches my attention and I get sucked down a crazy rabbit hole, obsessing over it. My post on natural living was the last time this happened, and I’m honestly really impressed with how well we’ve stuck to those changes we made in our lives. I’ve always known the next step in natural living is food-based, but it seems like such a massively overwhelming life shift, so I keep putting it off.
This past weekend, we were flipping through Netflix looking for something to watch, and we landed on What The Health, a documentary on the health benefits of eliminating animal products from your diet. Cue the rabbit hole. We were equally interested in the science behind a plant based diet and disappointed in society for trivializing and hiding the effects that meat and dairy have on our bodies. Like most health documentaries, What The Health takes some liberties with the emotional and social reasoning, and there are always some claims that deserve a second look or deeper investigation. So there went our entire weekend.

What The Health was a great simple starting point for us to jump into this topic, since it touched on the health benefits related to diet and disease, the economic and political factor, and the animal activist side. For both of us, the political aspect was horrifying, but the health side is what made it impossible for us to ignore. An hour of basic research showed me the incredible connection between autoimmune diseases and an animal-based diet, and another hour looped in the importance of treating your gut first and foremost. Every time I made a new connection, my mind was running a million miles an hour, trying to think 5 steps ahead. If I cut this out, what are the pros and cons and how will it affect everything else? I know now that meat and dairy are bad, but what about gluten? What about sugar?! We can’t cut EVERYTHING out…
Thankfully, Brian is incredibly even-minded and I stopped to ask him if I was getting too carried away. Both of us definitely want to be more conscious of our food choices, but he agreed that maybe we don’t need to jump to the extremes right away. I’m ready to give up meat and dairy entirely, but we agreed to continue eating our normal diet while we finish up what’s already in the fridge and keep researching plant-based diets. (We did decide to change up our meal plan for this week though, and have veggie tacos instead of beef.)

The more I read, the more clear it becomes that cutting meat and dairy out of your diet isn’t just a black and white standalone decision. Our bodies aren’t designed for such blunt changes, and it’s important to keep in mind that everything we eat has a domino effect on the way our bodies react. Nutrients need other nutrients and the right environments to be properly utilized by our bodies, and the most important part of a diet is for it to be balanced. The ultimate goal is to provide our bodies with the best suited foods so they can run as efficiently as possible. A lot of nutritionists and doctors have published what they consider to be the best diet, but as long as there are discrepancies, I’m going to continue to do my own research.

Researching diets is terrifying. Every article declares that this diet is the best, but there’s no way of knowing if the author has provided the full spectrum of information including the pros and cons. I spent a good amount of time this weekend, walking up and down aisles of books about “diets.” Every time I picked up a book and read a few pages, I was cautious and skeptical that I was getting the full story. I tended to select books written by doctors and scientists, since I trust numbers and studies. We’re at an advantage in this research stage since we both feel very comfortable in the kitchen, and I was able to avoid the cookbooks and focus on research, knowing that our hurdle won’t be the actual cooking. I picked up a book about our gut, a book about eating vegan, a book about reducing meat and dairy intake, and a book on wheat to round out the spectrum. This week is going to be enlightening for me, and I hope it’s the start of a better way of eating for us.

My quick takeaway that has had the most impact for me so far is this:
Our bodies are not equipped to efficiently handle meat and dairy products. In response, our bodies produce antibodies which are most commonly known for fighting infections and viruses. In the case of animal products, our body produces a specific antibody to fight the harmful dairy and beef proteins that get into our blood stream. While the antibodies are looking, they find a similar amino acid on other tissues within our bodies, and begin to fight them, thinking they are the harmful proteins they were looking for. This is the basis of autoimmune diseases. Also, obviously, I am not a nutritionist, nor a doctor or a scientist, and I probably explained the details poorly, so do your own research.

Some of the questions I want to answer this week are:
Braggs Amino
Nutritional Yeast
Bee Pollen
Eggs? At all?
Candida

Resources:
John McDougall MD on Autoimmune Disease and the Impact of Diet
Dr. Terry Wahls
What the Health
Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe
The Cheese Trap by Dr. Neal D. Barnard

Cookbooks+Recipes:
Oh She Glows – also ohsheglows.com (this has been one of my favorites for a long time!)
Thug Kitchen
Veganomicon

ps… you know what’s a scary word? VEGAN. I’m not a fan of the stigma or pressure that goes along with it, so I’m holding off for now. Plus, we’re going to continue eating fish so I guess technically we aren’t reallllllllllyyyyy vegan. Just vegan-ish.

 

Monday, 8/14

I want to be better at writing on this blog. I have about 75 drafts saved and most of them weren’t posted because I was waiting for some time to upload and edit a photo to go with. While I definitely still love having beautiful photos on my posts, I don’t want that to stop me from posting. I read through my last couple posts and was reminded why I love this blog so much. It’s so nice to look back on periods in time and remember what we were doing, how we were feeling, and what our life looked like.

Things we’re doing lately…

Going to goodwill… a lot. We’ve had some really amazing goodwill finds lately, including:
-$5 camping pads (saved us $150 over the new ones we’ve been eyeing)
-$7 donut maker (I’m obsessed)
-school supplies for Margaret’s new classroom
-$4 rain booties (because, Seattle)
-alllllll of the 20-cent mason jars!

Spending time outside!
Summer in Seattle is AMAZING. It’s even more beautiful than everyone told us it would be. The mornings are chilly (70s) but the afternoons can get up to 85 degrees. It’s never unbearably hot, never humid, and there’s always an ocean breeze. We’ve been trying to eat dinner outside at least once a week, and ride to different neighborhoods after work. One of our favorite places to ride is to Fremont and Ballard, since we LOVE the Westlake cycle track for our evening commute. We sat on the hill by the locks one night and had a picnic dinner while we watched the boats go through the locks.
We saw Gregory Alan Isakov and Blind Pilot at the Woodland Zoo last night which was basically like going to a much smaller Ravinia. It was an amazingggg concert, and the weather was perfect. It was a little chilly, but Seattle really embraces sweater weather.

Hanging our clothes out
We hung a makeshift clothesline outside our back door that holds about 6 shirts, or 2 flat sheets. It’s tiny, but I LOVE the way our laundry smells after hanging outside for a day.

Going to the farmers market + meal planning
Seattle’s farmers markets are wayyyy more legit than Chicago. You can actually buy your entire week’s worth of groceries, including produce, dairy, meat, fish, flowers, grains, you name it. We’ve been trying to stick to a meal plan the past two weeks, so it’s nice having an actual set shopping list to go off of while we’re at the market, instead of buying produce that goes to waste if we don’t use it. Also, saves us lotsa money!

Drinking SO MUCH COFFEE
I’m totally looking our gift horse in the mouth right now, but we cannot wait to use up all of the free coffee we got from Swift during our campout. It’s dark roast and not really our thing. One more aeropress worth and we’ll be able to buy a new bag of light roast 🙂 mmmmmmmm

 

Listening to…..

M.Ward – Margaret (ward) is letting us borrow her record collection for a big, and unsurprisingly, her initial namesake album was in there. We loved it.
Nils Frahm – always. We already bought tickets to see him next March. Nothing like planning ahead!
Black Sabbath – we found a cheap record at the antique store, so naturally it’s been on repeat for the past few weeks

 

Thinking about…

Our government. And trying not to be sick to my stomach about it every single day. I get at least some minimal comic relief via Twitter and some of the cheeky responses people have. Lots of credit to Dana for joining in and sending me the best of the best!

Buying a wii on Craigslist. For $50, I’m not sure if we can pass it up. We spent a good month addicted to Mario Kart when we were borrowing it from a friend.

Taking a couple of long weekends soon. Our wedding barely felt like a vacaction since it was so action-packed, and we could both use some serious time off. On the list: Orcas Islands, Portland, Chicago, Vancouver, and Hawaii.

Margaret’s first day of school! It’s today, and she’s going to be amazing. Her classroom is all set up, her outfit is picked out, and Brian and I are so so so happy for her. She’s loving her roommates (and their friends-with-boats) and that’s great.

Fall. Ahhhhhh!!! omg! I’m sorry. Too soon. But pumpkin pie sounds delicious.