Tag Archives: interview

Featured: Ross Femrite

Recently I was with a couple of friends who were ordering diet pills online that were advertised for “the person who doesn’t have extra time to exercise”. This made me think of how my brother would take the situation. See, my brother is going to grad school, works as a bartender, has an active social life, plays rugby, and does triathlon. Because he has a work hard/play hard attitude and a desire to never cut corners, I know he would never be online buying a magical solution. So, of course I needed to interview him.

(EF): What’s your motivation for working out?

(RF): I always have goals that I am striving to reach to keep me motivated.  Right now I am getting ready for Crossfit games [in February].  Then, my goal will be to break the five-hour mark for the half Ironman.  After that  I need to get ready for Fall rugby season.  This always gives me something to work toward.

(EF): Why is it important to stay active?

(RF): You are only given one body, so why not take care of it?  There are a million studies out there showing how much activity helps you in all aspects of your life.  I really think if you had to choose 1 thing to improve your overall health,  activity should be the #1 choice.

(EF): What’s in that huge jug of powder you always have?

(RF): It is protein, the building blocks of your muscles.  I aim for about 200g of protein per day during training and without adding protein, it would be hard to get there on a normal diet.

(EF): What made you choose the career in PT?

(RF): I really wanted a career in the medical field where I was able to spend a lot of time working with people.  As a PT I get to do it on a daily basis.  It is also really rewarding to see people come in with problems that impact their life and be able to help them.

(EF): Best advice you’ve ever gotten for staying shape?

(RF): Always find a goal that you want to achieve and then tell everyone that goal.  It is a lot harder to quit when you know you will have to explain to people why you fell short and quit.

(EF): Advice for me in getting in shape?

(RF): Getting in shape is a slow process and can start anywhere and go anywhere.  Start slow even if it is walking for 20 minutes 3 days a week.  If you slowly increase that and add in running you will be running a 5k in no time.  Then you can increase to longer distances as you build up your fitness.  I am a good example I would have never guess I would do a half Ironman when I graduated High school, but I got there slowly over many years. Just stick to it and it will get better.

(EF): Hardest you’ve ever pushed yourself?

(RF): The last part of the half Ironman, I was dying.  The last 3 miles were not fun. The furthest I have run and biked is 13.1 miles and 56 miles respectfully.

(EF): Favorite triathlon?

(RF): I really like the Buffalo triathlon.  It is well run and just a good atmosphere, It’s probably why I have done it the last 3 years.

(EF): Why do you like Rugby?

(RF): It combines so many skills in to one sport.  You need endurance because it is constantly going.  You need strength to go up against some of those guys.  It also involves a lot of skill.  It is very physical, just like football, but you don’t have to deal with all those pads.  If you have to hide behind lots of pads to make a tackle or be tackled maybe you’re not as badass as you think you are.  The people I have played rugby with are always a good group of guys.  I have met a lot of my good friend through rugby.

(EF): Why do you like triathlons?

(RF): It keeps me in shape and gives me goals to achieve.  I am always looking to see how far I can push my body physically.  When I work out I get bored, if I do the same thing over and over.  This is true even when I race.  Triathlons give me the opportunity to always be doing something different with my workout.  Then, when I race, if I get bored I know a new leg is always right around the corner.  It makes you a more well-rounded athlete.

(EF): What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done?

(RF): I skied above the clouds in the Alps of Switzerland with 1 ½ feet of fresh powder.

(EF):Where is the coolest place you’ve ever been?

(RF): I loved Bahamas sailing from island to island for a week.  Every island was different and each reef had new things to explore.

(EF): If you won the lottery, what would you buy?

(RF): I would first pay off all of my loans and my sisters loans for school.   I would buy my parents their condo by the river.  Donate money to the Courage Center, the Eastside Banshees, and the UMN PT program.  Then I would so many toys, sports equipment, wave-runners, boats, most of the items at REI, ect….

(EF): I’m going to need you to start buying more lottery tickets. On what was your last splurge?

(RF): Being a Grad student really doesn’t allow me any money to splurge on anything.  I just bought new running shoes that weren’t cheap, but I really wanted them.

(EF): What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?

(RF): I have been to over 30 different musicals.  I really do enjoy them and listen to the soundtracks when I run.  Most people don’t think I fit in to that stereotype.

(EF): What are things we can do on a daily basis to live a good life?

(RF): Enjoy the little things in life.  It is the little enjoyments that make it all worth it.  Also always look at situations from others point of view, it will make you a better person.

(EF): Do you have someone you look to for inspiration in your life?

It is cliché, but I look up to my parents.  They always work hard and are good people and that’s what I try to be.  Plus they are still standing after putting up with me for 27 years, so they are obviously very strong.

(EF): True dat. What activity makes you most happy?

(RF): I can honestly say that working out makes me happy.  I look forward to it and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.  If not that, then laying on the beach in the sunshine.

(EF): Who’s the funniest person in the world?

(RF): I am and if you don’t believe me then just ask me.

(EF): Who do you admire most in the area of sports?

(RF): I admire the little guys who were not given god-given talent, but worked really hard to get the professional level.  It makes me angry when people like them make it and people who are naturally talented just throw it all away.

(EF): In the area of design?

(RF): I am sorry Erika, but I can’t even give you a name.  Mr. Effle for his tower and the iron structure inside the statue of liberty.

(EF): Mr. Effle? He sounds fancy. What would your last meal be?

(RF): It would be ribs with and Oreo Blizzard.  My side items would be sweet potato fries and cheesy potatoes.

(EF): What would you tell the 18-year-old you?

(RF): I would just point out what is really important in life.  I think 18-year-old me had a very warped sense of what was important.  I didn’t really have a good plan of where I was going or what I needed to get there.

(EF): If you could give someone advice, what would it be?

(RF): Look for what really makes you happy and what you enjoy.  This is one aspect in your life where you need to be selfish.  If you pursue that then the rest will fall in to place.  Also, there are no short cuts or substitute for hard work.  If you really want something then it is worth working hard for it.


Featured: Logan Maust


It really only makes sense that I wrap up this mini-project about pushing my own personal boundaries by interviewing the person in my life whose always pushing me to be more in the moment, try new things and lighten up. I’m not going to get too lovey-dovey about it, but I will note that Logan is truly the ying to my yang.

Me (EF): What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
Logan (LM): The first thing that came to mind was climbing with my little brother John in the southwest.  We drove out to a nice 300′ cliff with a guide and did some fun lead climbing.  Another cool thing that comes to mind is the trip to Savannah, GA with my college rugby team and the NDSU Lost Boys.  Driving to Florida with you was a crazy fun as well
(EF): Where is the coolest place you’ve ever been?
(LM): Prikolstal in the fjords of Norway.  It was a beautiful hike to the tallest vertical rock in the world.  It was massively enormous.
(EF): How do you stay stress free when you have me constantly worrying about everything?
(LM): I don’t really know how I stay stress free. It might start with a little immaturity. I like to joke around and smile a lot. When I am feeling stressed I take deep breaths, and that usually clears my head. That’s something my dad taught me to do when I was young.
(EF): What makes you stressed?
(LM): Looking for a job stresses me out.  School always seemed to put a lot of stress on me as well.  I guess these are probably normal things to be stressed about.
(EF): How do you stay in the moment?
(LM):  I guess I like to keep my schedule open and I try not to over plan things with many variable outcomes.  This could very well be a flaw of mine, since I am a procrastinator. I also believe if had more responsibility, I would not be so in the moment.
(EF)How do you cheer up people when they’re upset?
(LM): Upset people always seem to be able to be cheered up easily. Jokes work, babies smiling works, hugs work,  listening and being patient works very well too.
(EF): How do you cheer yourself up when you’re upset?
(LM): I like comedy, that usually pulls me out of any funk.  I also concentrate on my breathing as sort of a meditation, I guess.
(EF): If you won the lottery, what would you buy?
(LM): I don’t play the lottery, my family advised against it.
(EF): Where will you be in 10 years?
(LM): We made a big move this year and I’m having fun, but I don’t expect this to be the last chapter of our life. I do have a few long-term goals, but not 10 years down the line quite yet. One of the things on my list is to finish school. I plan on living in Florida for a couple more years (if you don’t mind much) and finish school at these cheap Florida colleges. After I graduate I would like to work around money. I have always had a fascination with statistics, whether it be sports or financial stats. I woud like to make some man money, not little boy money. I want to make some difference in the community. When I graduate I’ll have many more options so, that is why I don’t have a complete answer.
(EF): What was your last splurge on?
(LM): I guess our recent mini vacation to Miami to pick up Juan.
(EF): What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
(LM): I’m fairly clever in the wood shop.
(EF): What are things we can do on a daily basis to live a good life?
(LM): Laugh
(EF): Do you have someone you look to for inspiration in your life?
(LM): My parents.  My dad has given me some good words of advise.  My mom is patient and very caring.
(EF): What activity makes you most happy?
(LM): Lately its been being at the beach and ocean. It can be exciting and tranquil simultaneously.
(EF): Who do you admire most in the area of music?
(LM): It was Tupac back in the day.  More recently its been K’naan, a dusty foot philosopher who move to Toronto from Mogadishu,  he writes with great poetry and paints great pictures with his rhymes.
(EF): In the area of sports?
(LM): Adrian Peterson.
(EF): In the area of design?
(LM): My dad, or Frank Loyd Wright. They’re really the only people I know in design.
(EF): What would your last meal be?
(LM): I like Prime Rib
(EF): Where do you want to be right now?
(LM): Where I am. If I could change one thing it would be where my minnesota people are located.
(EF): What would you tell the 18 year old you?
(LM): Do your best (thank you Boy Scouts of America).
(EF): If you could give someone advice, what would it be?
(LM): It would be to live life lovingly and patiently.

Featured: Emily Cardella

When I was thinking about what of my friends I would interview for money management, Emily didn’t initially come up. Yes, she’s been known to teach me money-saving tricks, like getting day-old loafs of bread from Jimmy Johns and a pound of cheese to snack on, but it always seemed to me we were never depriving ourselves, just being resourceful or adventurous. Truly, I should be putting her interview under a project about exercise (perhaps you’ve seen her out running with her basset hound); or travel (besides one awesome trip I took with her to Colorado, she’s also been to Australia, and most recently, biking along the West coast and visiting me); or baking (ask her to make frosting or cookies, she can do it off the top of her head); or compassion (when you meet her, it’s incredibly obvious how much her friends, family (including her dog), boyfriend and patients are to her). Alas, her well-rounded nature has put her here.

EF (Me): What was your upbringing like in respects to how it affected your money management?

EC (Emily Cardella): I was brought up in a family without extra money, and I think it allows me to be able to keep calm and find other things to do when I’m nearly broke, but it also makes me want to succeed that much more, to see what its like to have money and be able to buy things when I want them. Also, I’m deathly afraid of spending more money than what I have, which I’ve only done once, when I went to Australia. It was easy when we were in college and no one had money, but I find the more mature my friends get, money wise, the harder it is to keep up with the things they want to do, consequently I am constantly looking for ways to save money and get by with less so I can do things with friends when they are around.

EF: If you won the lottery, what would you buy?

EC: First I would pay off my Australia loan, then I would give a lot of it to my parents, because I know my school was a huge financial burden to them, and they haven’t had a decent vacation in a long time. If I had any money left over I would help [my sister] Danielle pay for school (and probably [my boyfriend] Josh), then hope I got into PA school soon so I could just pay that off too. I’d visit all my friends in their crazy faraway places, buy them things (make them love me more). Then if any money was left over I’d start looking for my dream house. I’d probably buy another dog in there somewhere too. Unfortunately I never even buy lottery tickets, so this is never going to happen.

EF: What are some elements that were involved in choosing your career?

EC: I think at the core I just like helping people. Even when I wanted to be a vet I just wanted to help the animals and their owners. I get satisfaction out of making other people feel better, relieved. I hate seeing people struggling and hurting.

EF: What will you be doing after you retire?

EC: IF I retire, (it sounds kind of boring, and I’m just trying to start my career, so I have a few years before I’ll start thinking about retiring) I’ll probably be hanging out with my cows, training dogs, and snowboarding.

EF: What was the best thing you recently saved money on?

EC: Unfortunately, no matter how much I “save” when buying things I always see it as spending money. I really want these $100 pillows from Younkers, they were 50% off last week, and with the 15% coupon I could have gotten them for pretty cheap, but my mom works there too, and I didn’t have her with me to get another 23% off, so I didn’t buy them. I could have potentially “saved” a lot of money on those pillows, but not buying them at all saved me money too! (Probably just going to ask for them for my birthday)

EF: What was your last splurge on?

EC: Haha, probably that big trip around the US. :S

EF: What do you spend most your money on?

EC: Traveling. Almost every time I save up a big enough portion of money it gets spent on a trip somewhere. I may have to quit doing this for awhile, sadly.

EF: Who is better at saving money, you or Josh?

EC: Hard to say at this point, mostly because one of us has always been in school not making money while the other one has a full time job. We’re both pretty equally good at saving, which is one of the reasons I like him.

EF: What is something people would be surprised that you buy on a regular basis?

EC: The only things I repetitively purchase are food items, the next thing I’m buying is the Jim Croce album, Photographs and Memories, ($8), and yesterday I bought the Carpenters Christmas album for $0.50, both are incredible albums. I’m really excited to get a record player.

EF: What are things we can do on a daily basis to live a good life?

EC: Help others, but don’t scare them with your weirdness. Run (and/or exercise). Brush your teeth. Call your friends. Reflect. Be thankful. Have fun with whatever you’re doing. Get to know yourself. Bake. Build. Grow. Share. Relax.

EF: Do you have someone you look to for inspiration in your life?

EC: Everyone, I’ve found that if you get to know people, almost everyone has an inspiring story. My mom, and Riven. Really all my friends inspire me, I put you all on pedestals.

EF: What activity makes you most happy?

EC: Being outside. And playing with Tucker. Simplicity is the key.

EF: What would be your last meal?

EC: Something my mom cooked, anything really, as long as she made it.

EF: Who do you admire most in the area of music?

EC: Any of the small-time artists struggling at local coffee shops and bars. For some reason they always sound amazing to me, I love live music.

EF: In the area of sports?

EC: All the runners. Seriously, I’ve been trying to get myself running on a regular basis, it takes so much dedication. I succeed about 2 out of every 7 days.

EF: In the area of design?

EC: Love Sac. I really wish I had enough money to get the Sactionals. Brilliant.

EF: Where do you want to be right now?

EC:I think I’d like to be climbing a mountain. Or making another attempt  at snowboarding. However, I don’t mind where I’m at right now either. I have the day off and it’s beautiful outside, perfect temperature and the leaves are changing colors!

EF: If you could give someone advice, what would it be?

EC: Don’t stop believin’


Featured: Anne Heun

Anne and I met the first day in college. Her room was next to mine, and within a month, I was sleeping in her room more than my own. The next year we lived together again, and then later we moved into the stereotypical, (slightly) shady, post-college neighborhood in Minneapolis. What amazed me about her, is that she’s always keeping others in mind. The perfect ying, to my over-bearing yang. In college she dealt with my home-sickness, gave blood at every drive, remembered every birthday and volunteered for the local woman’s abuse organization. Luckily, she’s as smart as she is generous, because now she’s going to grad school to provide support to families coping with the possibility of genetic disorders in their babies.

EF: Is generosity a nature or nurture trait?

AH: Both.  I would say that it is mostly cultural.  Going to other parts of the country than the Midwest, I feel that growing up it always mattered to be nice and friendly, whereas in other parts of the country keeping to yourself is a matter of safety.  I think that generosity stems from the safety of the Midwest and our corresponding belief system – that everyone deserves respect and kindness.

EF: What are the downfalls of being considerate to others?

AH: Consideration is not always returned, and generosity can be abused.  But, I don’t know that there truly is a downfall to being considerate. I absolutely hate laying awake at night and knowing that I treated someone badly.  My biggest regrets in life come from being inconsiderate of the feelings and mindset of others.

EF: The most frustrated I’ve ever seen you was after continuously trying to donate, but being denied because you’re iron was too low. Why is it so important to give blood?

AH: Part of that was pride – I hate failing.  I also feel that it’s my duty to give blood because it’s something I can give freely that may actually make a difference.

EF: Do you have someone you look to for inspiration?

AH: When I think about my friends, and I’m sure it’s the same for you, you know how angry you get when they are mistreated.  I think that’s an inspiration.  Everyone is loved by or loves someone.  I also think of my grandma.  She is the sweetest, most selfless person that I know, and she really does make the world a better place and always puts others first.

EF: What is the place of compassion in your philosophical ideals?
AH: At the forefront.  I can’t believe how fortunate I am, and who my parents are and who I was allowed to become.  I seriously feel that something crappy has to be coming along because of how lucky I have been in my life.  Why isn’t everyone as lucky?  Why do some people lose everyone they love, have horrible diseases, or become physically disabled?  People get dealt a lot of crap, and compassion is central to my notion of humanity.

EF: If you had extra money for charity, how would you donate?

AH: To EVERYTHING!  It would be hard to choose.  The animal cruelty commericals with the sad Sarah McLaughlan song playing make me want to rip my eyeballs out.  A lot of money would go there.  I also feel like as a country we need to treat our elders far better.  They deserve to live their final years in peace, comfort, and love, and should have as much independence as possible.  I would want to build places where age is celebrated and people could live out their final years happily, instead of horrible nursing homes (although there are nice ones, too).  Losing my grandpa was hard because I saw what hospice was like, and it can be awful.  It needs to change.
EF: My family dealt with that this year too, and I saw how it took a toll on everyone. The hospice was like a breathe of fresh air compared to the nursing homes down here.
What are some things we can do on a daily basis to live a compassionate life?
AH: Small things.  When someone smiles at me in a hallway, I feel better.  When a door is held for me, I smile.  People just need to cut the crap and act decently to each other.  If you see someone who needs a hand, give it.  I saw a man on the sidewalk today who asked me a question, and I didn’t realize that he was asking for money until I was down the street.  It would be easier if we didn’t care what people think, and I wish I would have been brave enough to have gone back and given him a couple bucks.

EF: What is the biggest injustice you’ve ever seen?

AH: I see tons of injustice because it’s the nature of our world.  I hate it.  I think of my grandma.  She took care of my grandpa for the last 5 years of her life and sacrificed herself and her loves for him.  It’s not that she didn’t love him with her whole heart and didn’t want to help him – it’s just that she lost a piece of herself.  After he died, she was able to reclaim her life…until her cancer returned.  She had been diagnosed about two months before he died, but they surgically removed it and told her that it was all gone.  Then, she wasn’t feeling well, and it turns out the cancer had spread throughout her abdomen and lungs.  She wants so badly to live, and now she knows that her time left is pretty limited.  I absolutely can’t bear the thought of losing anyone I love, and it kills me.  I’m angry at the doctors, but mostly I’m angry for her.  She’s been through enough.
EF: You seem to have a knack for being there for your friends, most especially for me when I was going to go to my uncle’s funeral and you surprised me with a care package of all my favorite foods. Perfect, since I had barely eaten all week. What are other ways you’re mindful of your friends and their needs?

AH: I try to remember that everyone has deep feelings, hopes, and dreams, and I try to attend to those.  I think small things matter.  Listening is powerful.

EF: What activity makes you most happy?

AH: Spending time with my family and friends.  I miss everyone all the time.

EF: Who do you admire most in the area of music?

AH:Dave Grohl!

EF: Who do you admire the most in the area of design?

AH: EVERYONE.  I can’t design worth a crap, and anyone who makes the world a more beautiful place is truly appreciated.

EF: Where do you want to be right now?

AH: In Ames, as a 17 year old girl.

EF: If you could give someone advice, what would it be?

AH: Be kind.


Featured: Linh Tran

The story goes that a 3rd grader named Linh sat with a 2nd grader (me) and a 1st grader (my friend) on the bus. Years later we recount the story of how cool we thought we were having someone older grace us with their presence, but in Linh’s version she just didn’t have any friends to sit with. That’s Linh though, she never dwells in any negativity, she makes herself busy with something else and moves on. Not only that, but she rarely let’s me wallow in my self-negativity either. After a particularly hard break-up, she (super-woman-like) busted in to my parents home and peeled me off my place in front of the TV. Then she set up an obstacle course complete with egg balancing and twirling around a baseball bat. By the end of the day we couldn’t stop laughing. Linh’s friendship has always been the main conqueror of  my self-pity, so I thought for sure I’d need to interview her.

EF (Me): How do you keep an optimistic attitude?

LT (Linh Tran): I always ask myself, how important is this right now and try to see things in a larger perspective rather than just my own.

EF: What activity makes you most happy?

LT: Being involved, staying busy.

EF: When you’re feeling down, how do you cheer yourself up?

LT: Me time. Regrouping and re-focusing on what is important like family, work, friends, my faith.

EF: Is there something that you thought would make you happy but it didn’t?

LT: Being away from the people I love.

EF: I agree with you there. How about something you thought would make you upset but actually put you in a better mood?

LT: Stress.

EF: How do you cheer your friends up when they’re upset?

LT: Sarcasm works wonders.

EF: What was the happiest moment of your life?

LT: Every time someone tells me they love me and I know they meant it.

EF: What are your observations on what makes other people happy or unhappy?

LT: People choose to make themselves happy or unhappy, it takes a conscious effort to tell yourself you are happy or not.

EF: What’s something you do regularly that get’s in the way of your happiness?

LT: Not saying how I feel when it matters the most.

EF: If you were going to the electric chair, what would be your final meal?

LT:Spaghetti with meat sauce.

EF: What would you have even done to receive such a punishment? I feel like I’m getting too dark for an interview on positivity.

LT: Covering for someone who committed a crime and I believed they had a purpose here and was truly a good person.

EF:What would you tell the 12-year-old you?

LT:You will be challenged, things will be tough, but you will be successful and you will be happy in your own shoes.

EF: Who do you admire most in the area of music?

LT: Beyonce.

EF: In the area of sports?

LT: Joe Mauer.

EF: What’s your dream job?

LT: To be it all; a career woman, a wife, a mom, but to be good at all three.

EF: That sounds exactly like an interview I just read with Beyonce… If you could give someone advice, what would it be?

LT: You can do whatever you set your heart to, and I believe in you.


Featured: Ryan Wilkus

When I was trying to figure out who I knew who epitomized positivity, I thought about the cheerleaders I’ve known, or my life-of-the-party friends, but instead, my long-time friend Ryan Wilkus popped in my head as the obvious choice. Ryan is a man who has always stayed true to his passions (and his friends), plus—to my knowledge—has never frowned. I thought I’d try to figure out what makes him so happy. My guesses were: fresh air (he is currently living in his tent down in Mankato during the weekdays), lots of musical stimulation or large quantities of Svetka.

EF (Me): How do you keep an optimistic attitude?

RW (Ryan Wilkus): It sounds cliché, but I try to not let the little things bother me and look at the big picture. I consider myself allergic to stress and therefore try to take a logical approach to managing the important things in my life and the things “I” can control. I am also just giddy about the cool adventures that are in my future.

EF: What activity makes you most happy?

RW: Currently its rock climbing. I never feel more alive like when I am scaring the crap out of myself. Not to mention, I love being outdoors because everything becomes simpler.

EF: Is there something that you thought would make you happy but it didn’t?

RW: Taking chances and putting your self out there is always prone to failure, but its only a failure if you don’t learn anything from it.

EF:How about something you thought would make you upset but actually put you in a better mood?

RW: I am often times a reserved person(recluse at times) but most of the times I decide to socialize it is more fun than I predicted.

EF:What was the happiest moment of your life?

RW: I don’t really have one happiest moment. I try to live day by day and enjoy all of them. But to be honest, this summer has been the best time of my life……..so far.

EF: Who do you most admire for having a positive attitude?

RW: My biggest influence lately is my friend Lizzy because she lives by the seat of her pants and her heart.

EF:Where do you want to be right now?

RW: In the mountains.

EF: If you were going to the electric chair, what would be your final meal?

RW: My fathers homemade pronto pups and a glass of 1919 root beer.

EF: Who do you admire most in the area of music?

RW: Derek Trucks. He is one of the most amazing guitarists.

EF: In the area of design?

RW: Mother nature, Nikola Tesla, Frank Loyd Wright. Too many cool designers to list.

EF: What’s your dream job?

RW: An audio electronics engineer designing any kind of audio equipment. Or a mountaineering guide…….who knows maybe both.

EF: What would you tell the 12-year-old you?

RW: Don’t stop exploring!

EF: If you could give anyone advice, what would it be?

RW: Live the way that makes you the happiest. Then it will be a life not wasted.


Featured: Stephen Nemora

One of my best friends, Stephen Nemora, gave up gluten a couple of years ago, and I’m fascinated with how he’s been able to regulate himself without starving. For this reason (and that he’s easily one of the top 5 most interesting people I know) I’ve decided to highlight him in today’s post.

EF (Me): What are your current dietary restrictions?

SN (Stephen): Current Dietary Restrictions are (1) Gluten / Wheat Free (with the exception of trace amounts & the occasional beer/whiskey) and (2) Low sugar

EF: Why did you choose to give them up?

SN: I went gluten/wheat free winter break 2009. I’d had some form of chronic fatigue syndrome for a couple of years; I’d often be so tired by 9:30 AM that I’d be forced to take a nap. Other days I’d be fine or I’d pass out at like noon or in the afternoon. My energy was totally random. I had blood work done and that came back all clear, so I was convinced it was my diet, maybe a food allergy. Previous to pulling gluten from my diet, I tried eliminating nuts, dairy, eggs, and restricting sodium. When I pulled gluten, my energy stabilized. In addition, after about 2 months, I started feeling another effect. It’s hard to  describe the feeling, but it’s like my insides have more clarity or something. Also, my digestion seems more regular. It’s nice.

My acne recently flared up after being relatively clear for over a year. I’m not sure why this happened, but I’m pretty sure it had to do with the artificial sweeteners in a protein powder I was using (Gold Standard Whey). I’ve seen correlations between my sugar intake and clearness of skin in the past, so I think this might work.

EF: What’s the hardest part of having these restrictions?

SN: The hardest part about being gluten-free is that it’s often inconvenient. I can’t just grab a sandwich, or a slice of pizza, or some pasta, or even a bowl of soup (most have flour). Also, I have to read the labels of most processed foods. That being said, inconvenience is the worst of it; I don’t experience cravings, which are common with many diets. Oh, and not drinking beer. That’s kind of hard. I really like beer.

EF: What’s your favorite food?

SN: Samgyeopsal (Korean Grilling) with a big bottle of Soju (Korean booze). It’s amazing. Imagine gorging yourself on big 1/4 thick slabs of bacon, pieces of which you wrap in lettuce then top with a myriad of colorful condiments. Now imagine it drunk. Thankfully, there is no gluten and almost no sugar in this meal.

EF: I have a habit of eating the same things, do you have something you eat way too much of?

SN: Rice, Eggs, Corn Chips, Salsa, Hummus, Kimchi.

EF: Describe what happens when you go to restaurants with people where they don’t have options/very many options for you.

SN: I scream until the chef makes me a custom dish to my liking. But really, I have yet to find a restaurant I couldn’t eat at, you just have to be creative. Remember when I substituted out noodles for grilled veggies at that Italian place? That was delicious.

EF: The restaurant where I ate a 2 person lasagna by myself and made myself sick? Yes. OK, bonus round. What’s something you struggle with?

SN: High Level: Finding Things I’m Passionate About, Finding Compatible Girls, Knowing When to Let Go. Low Level: Acne, Finding Clothes that Fit, I Scowl Too Much

EF: Who inspires you style-wise?

SN: Mid/Late 20-somethings in Asia = youthful creativity + adult sophistication. People/styles that draw attention without using loud colors or anything ridiculous. The principles/elements of design.

EF: What couldn’t you live without in your kitchen?

SN: Frying pan. I invested in a really nice frying pan after being hired at Bridgevine and I have to say it’s one of my favorite possessions. Number 2 is my rice cooker. Number 3 would be sharp knives. I haven’t bought a really nice set of knives yet though because I’m still learning about knives. I think everyone should learn on cheap equipment so they can appreciate the really nice
gear.

EF: Any last words of advice?

SN: I drink a gallon of water everyday and so should everyone.