Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oops, I have a blog?

Sorry for that long hiatus. I'm alive, I swear! I wish I could say that I have been terribly busy this past couple of weeks, but that would be lying. My laziness got the best of me, which is why I haven't posted a thing since my trip to DC. Which was great, by the way! I got to go home and visit the fam. Fun :)

I got to try a couple of restaurants while I was in DC. The first day, we went to Bus Boys and Poets, a hip restaurant near the DC Convention Center that is also a venue for artsy community events. There's also a small fair-trade market and bookstore. Food-wise, they offer sandwiches, soups, burgers, salads, pizza, coffee. Pretty standard and solid. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, which are clearly labeled on their menu. I chose the veggie burger which came with sprouts, tomatoes, and avocado with a side of sweet potato fries. The veggie patty was a bit dry and dense, but overall, it was quite yummy. The best part was the sweet potato fries. I am obsessed with sweet potato fries, and these were perfect! The skinny fries were perfectly crunchy and sweet, and the burger came with a lot of them. They filled up more than half my plate!
I cleaned my plate, and ate every last one of those delicious fries. It was very filling and my tummy was happy :)

The next couple of weeks will be final exams, and then I'll be going home! I can't wait, mostly because I miss cooking in my kitchen (haha, is that bad that I miss my kitchen more than my family?). I'll try to update more often and be a better blogger :P

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On the Road Again

Guess how I'm going to be spending my Thursday night and Friday morning? Driving! (and hopefully sleeping, as well) But where am I going? To Washington DC! What am I possibly going to do there? Attending Powershift 2011!

What is Powershift? It's a conference for young activists who are passionate about global environment issues. Here's a description taken from the website:

This spring, over 10,000 young leaders will converge on Washington, DC to stand up for our future. At Power Shift 2011, we’ll stand together to reclaim our democracy from big corporations and push our nation to move beyond dirty energy sources that are harming the health of people and the planet.

I'm SO excited for this! However, between here and there, it's about 850 miles, a 16 hour car ride, factoring in breaks, and a long, sleepless night. However, it'll be so worth it! I enjoy road trips, especially in a car full of college kids :)

Oh, and did I mention that I am kind of from DC? I live in the suburbs, so more like the DC metropolitan area. I love DC and would have to say it is one of my favorite cities.

I'll be sure to update about my trip, if not during, then after :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rainy Monday

I woke up this morning at 6am on the dot. I have been trying to go to bed around 10pm for the past few weeks, and every morning, like clockwork, I wake up around the same time. Usually, I need about 7-8 hours of sleep to feel fully rested, and then I wake up automatically. I usually don't like to sleep in, unless if I go to bed super late, and I would definitely say that I am a morning person. I just love the light of dawn, the quietness, and leisurely getting ready for the day. This way, I am never rushed to get out the door, and I can sit down to a nice breakfast.

Actually, scratch that. I do that in the summer, but when I am at college, I tend to sleep late (around 2-3am) and wake up around 10 or 11am! It's funny, because all my friends have to wake up early during the school year, and sleep in during summer break, but I am the opposite. I sleep in at school and wake up early in the summer! However, since I am trying to be healthier, I am trying to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.

Waking up early gives me the time to squeeze in a run. I like to run in the mornings, especially if it's going to be a hot day. I can't stand running in the heat. This morning was wet and a bit rainy. I was going to take a rest day today, since I ran Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Also, I am adverse to getting wet (I hate wet feet!). However, since I woke up so early and have so much time before my 11am class, I got a bit restless and went out for a short jog. Although it rained a tiny bit, I am so glad I went out today! It was cool and breezy, and it felt glorious. I should take more advantage of rainy days like this.

Okay, gotta eat breakfast and get ready for class, now! Have a great Monday!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring is most definitely in the air

This morning was beautiful; warm and sunny, a light breeze, the smell of flowers, and... pollen. I set out for a run this morning, and mid-run, my allergies started acting up. By the time I complete 5.6 miles, my eyes were itching like crazy, my nose was running, and I couldn't stop sneezing. Come on, trees, you're killing me... KILLING ME.

Ugh, this time of the year, it's unavoidable. Being indoors helps a lot, but I don't want to hole up inside when it's just so nice out! I try to avoid taking allergy medication, but I might have to buy some if it gets any worse. Hopefully the trees will stop trying so hard to reproduce, and I can go outside without wanting to scratch my eyes out.

After my run, I fueled up with a huge bowl of mango chia oats. I am probably going to hang out at the bookstore later today and get some school work done. Hopefully. I am usually so lazy on Sundays. Actually, I am lazy most days, but especially on Sundays ;)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Food= NRG

Note to self: eat before going out on a run!

This morning, I woke up at 6am because I had trouble sleeping. I had coffee, and felt a bit queasy, so I didn't have my usual protein shake: 

I usually have a serving of Spirutein before I go out to run. I like it because it tastes pretty good and gives me a boost of energy in the morning. It also helps me stay hydrated. So when I skipped out on it this morning, BIG MISTAKE!

The start of my run was pretty painful. My muscles felt fatigued and I started breathing rather heavily. It got easier after the first 10 minutes once my body started to warm up, but I could feel my energy draining. I was REALLY hungry during my run, and all I could think about was breakfast! I pushed myself, though, and kept going because the faster I finished, the quicker I could eat!

By the time I finished my 4 mile run, my blood sugar was crashing. I quickly made a bowl of oats mixed with chia seeds and a mashed banana. I like to cook oats with a lot of water in the microwave. It comes out watery, but adding chia seeds thickens it up.

Let this be a lesson learned. In order to function properly, food and water is necessary. Don't drink enough water= dehydration. Not eating= no energy. So simple, but apparently I didn't get it.
Ah, that hit the spot ;)

I also went grocery shopping today, and bought a ton of fruits and veggies, as well as almond milk and pita bread. My fridge is well-stocked, and that makes me happy :D

For lunch, I ate an apple and a green smoothie with spinach, cucumber, mango, and chia seeds. I sorely miss my Vita-mix blender (it's at home, I'm not). My wimpy Oster blender is just not powerful enough to completely pulverize all the green bits.
Using your laptop as a place mat is NOT recommended! I have a bunch of crap on my desk, so my laptop was a convenient place to plop my smoothie on.

Got hungry a couple of hours later, so I made myself a pumpkin sandwich. I spread pumpkin puree on a pita and topped it with cinnamon, ginger, raisins, and sunflower seeds. It's not very sweet, but I can eat pumpkin straight out of the can!
Hmm, not very neat
Still tasty, though!

Friday, April 8, 2011

(: Friday!

Yay it's Friday! Well, Friday's actually almost over. I've been pretty busy today, though, and I'm going to try to go to bed before midnight because I want to get up early tomorrow to run. It's going to be hot tomorrow (nearly 90 degrees!) so I want to beat the heat.

I didn't run this morning because I needed to study for an exam at 11am. Had another class, had lunch with a friend, and then went to work. After work, I came home to change, and went out for a run in Vibram Fivefingers. They are supposed to mimic barefoot running while protecting your feet. They look funny, like toe socks, and I always get comments on them. It is kind of weird to wear them just walking around, but I think they are comfortable and enjoy the feeling of walking barefoot. I bought them in January, and used them for a bit of walking, but I haven't really ran in them, yet. They are supposed to strengthen muscles that don't get used as much when running in traditional shoes. My calves got a bit sore, since I am not used to barefoot running.

Argh, I don't know why, but I have trouble staying hydrated. I feel like I am drinking enough water throughout the day, but as soon as I started out on my run, I started feeling thirsty. By the time I came back, my mouth was dry and I was REALLY thirsty. I carry around a liter water bottle during the day, and I drank at least one and a half bottle of water today, but I was still dehydrated. It was pretty hot today, and I sweat quite a bit, though. I'm like the opposite of a camel, really inefficient at retaining water. I have to pee like crazy when I drink a lot of water, too. Meh.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hump Day

It's Wednesday night, and the week is more than half over! This post is just going to be my ramblings about my week, so feel free to bypass it.

I felt pretty crappy on Monday and Tuesday, and to be truthful, I've fallen off my healthy eating routine wagon. It was thunder storming on Monday, so I ran 3 miles indoors at the gym instead of my usual run in the neighborhood. On Tuesday, I had no energy and had no motivation to work out, so I didn't do anything except for walking back and forth to class. I skipped out on work, as well. Ugh, some days, I just feel too depressed to do anything. I don't know what triggered it, maybe the cruddy weather or feeling stressed out, but I binged on a bunch of crap foods that made me feel like crap.

Haha, I used crap a lot in that paragraph. Well, I'm hopping back on track and pulling myself out of this slump. Today, I went for a short run in the evening. I wanted to run more, but I didn't drink enough water during the day and was dehydrated. Need to make sure I'm getting enough water. Afterwards, I fueled up on a green smoothie with collard greens, spinach, cucumber, 1/2 an avocado, and chia seeds. Yummy and refreshing :)

Well, two more days until the weekend! Nothing much is going on, but my mood always seems to improve the closer it is to Friday. I just need something to look forward to.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Raw Zucchini Pasta with Cashew Sauce

Last night, I made raw zucchini pasta, or rawsta, for dinner. It takes less time than boiling a batch of cooked pasta. I wasn't that hungry, since I already had a green smoothie, so the portion I made was quite small.

Raw Zucchini Pasta with Cashew Sauce
makes 2-4 servings

  • 1 cup cashews
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt, to taste
  • water
  • 4 zucchinis, or yellow squash
  • salt, to taste

First, make the sauce by blending the cashews, lemon juice, and salt in just enough water to cover the nuts. You want to add enough water so that the blender will be able to blend it smoothly, but not so much water that the sauce will be too thin. 

I made the sauce with only 1/2 cup of cashews, which is enough for two small portions (2 zucchinis)

Make the noodles by grating the zucchini length-wise with either a vegetable peeler, box grater, mandolin slicer, or if you want to get all fancy, a spiralizer. I only had a box grater, and a mini one, at that. It worked, although my noodles did come out as pretty and uniform as a spiralizer would have made.
My mini box grater. It's cute, but not that grate great...

Bowl full o' noodles :) I think it's rather pretty, anyways. Season the noodles with salt, and let it hang out for a few minutes.

The zucchini will release some water, so be sure to drain it off before tossing it with sauce, or else it'll make your pasta watery. I made this mistake, so I had watery pasta ): 
It was still good, though!

I still have some sauce left over, so I'll be eating rawsta again some time in the next day or two. The sauce will probably keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pumpkin Banana Wrap

Like I have said before, I LOVE PUMPKIN! I had this wrap for lunch today, and it was sooo good and satisfying, and kept me full throughout the afternoon.

I love eating wraps because they are so versatile. They are also very portable, as long as you don't fill them up with soggy ingredients. I often make veggie wraps for lunch when I am at school, but I'll be making more sweet wraps in the future.

Here's the recipe for my pumpkin banana wrap, but of course, you can choose to add whatever fruit, nuts, honey, seeds, etc. you like! Choice; that's the power of the wrap ;)

Pumpkin Banana Wrap

  • 1 multi-grain tortilla (or whatever flavor you like)
  • 1 Tbsp your favorite nut butter 
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • pumpkin spices, to taste (I used cinnamon and ginger)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 chopped medjool date, or other dried fruit
Spread your nut butter in the middle of your tortilla

Spread the pumpkin puree over the nut butter and sprinkle pumpkin spice on top

Slice the banana and place on top of the pumpkin. Sprinkle on some chopped, dried fruit.

Roll it up, cut, and enjoy!
So simple, yet so good! :P

How to Start a Workout Routine

Today, I woke up early, had coffee and a protein shake, threw on my running clothes, and went for a run in the neighborhood. And kept running. Actually, I ended up running over 5.5 miles, according to mapmyrun.com

Let me say, I am not a runner. Today was the first day I went outside to run, this year. I have always been intimidated by running outdoors, afraid that it would be too hard and tiring. However, once I finally got out there, I felt so great and energized, that I wanted to keep going! I don't really run that fast, and I was going at a leisurely pace so I didn't get too tired by the end.

So how did I go from running adverse to enjoying it? First I should clarify that I am not a couch potato. I actually hate being sedentary, and get restless if I didn't do any physical activity for the day. In high school, I was an athlete, playing for the varsity volleyball team. But once I got to college, I didn't do any sports, and avoided the fitness center like the plague. I bought a membership, but haven't used the gym until the past couple of weeks.

After I committed to becoming healthier, I decided that it was high time to get some exercise in my daily routine. It started with taking a walk around the neighborhood for about an hour in the mornings. The weather was beautiful and warm, so I was motivated to go outside to enjoy the sunshine and warmth. Then, as good things never last, it got cold and snowed! That's when I started going to the gym.

At the gym, I started slow, and worked my way up to longer workouts. The first day, I just did a little cycling. Then I started running on the elliptical, and speed walking on the treadmill. For the past week, I have been going to the gym everyday, doing about 50 minutes of aerobics, some light weight lifting, crunches, and yoga to stretch my muscles. I could feel myself getting more fit, and it became easier to run on the machines longer. I stuck with going to the gym every morning, no matter how I felt, because after my workout, I always felt really good about myself.

Today, the weather has finally gotten a bit warmer, so I finally got out of the gym and hit the pavement running (literally, haha). I might have gone a bit overboard, today, but I didn't have to push myself to run that much, and I felt great afterwards. That can't be a bad thing, right?

The key steps to developing a workout routine is starting slow. If you are afraid of running and feeling exhausted by exercise, then you are less likely to do it. A good workout doesn't mean that you have to do it for hours, get all sweaty, and feel fatigued. Spring is the perfect time to get fit. The weather is warming up, so there's plenty to do outdoors!

Steps to go from Couch Potato to Fitness Fanatic:

  • Start by taking a walk. That was easy, right? 
  • Go for longer and longer walks, making sure to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
  • If you have a gym membership, try using an elliptical, stationary bike, or the treadmill. Don't push yourself so hard that you feel fatigued, but go at a pace to raise your heart beat.
  • Working out regularly is a habit. To form a habit, consistency is key. If you don't have time to work out everyday, make a goal, like "I will workout at least 4 times this week", and stick to it.
  • As you exercise more regularly, you will feel your fitness increase, and that you have more energy to go for longer and faster runs. If you did 25 minutes on the elliptical yesterday, and today you feel energized after 25 minutes, try going for 5-10 extra minutes longer. 
  • It is important to do something that you really enjoy. If you just hate being stuck in a sweaty gym, go outdoors to run, walk, play sports, whatever! If you have terrible allergies, join a gym, your local aquatic center, or even buy a workout DVD to do at home.
  • If you'd like, you can log your workout to see your progress. Seeing improvement can be a great motivator.
One more reminder: be sure to stay hydrated! You should drink water before, during, and after your workout. There's nothing worse than that dehydration-induced headache. Yuck.

So, question for you: What do you do, or what would you like to start doing, to get fit?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kale Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit

For some reason, I felt very lethargic today. Maybe it was the stress of having an exam today, or not getting enough sleep last night, but I had no energy. I went to the gym this morning, and did my usual morning workout, but it was rather painful.

Well, the exam is over and done with, so now I can relax and plan fun stuff for the weekend :) Today's dinner was a green smoothie made with spinach, cucumber, mango, and chia seeds and a kale salad with grapefruit and avocado. I felt loads better after eating, which probably means I just needed more nutrients in me. I also had a bowl of yogurt with banana and raw cashews for dessert.

I bought the kale and spinach last Saturday, and they weren't looking too hot by today. The kale lost some of that vibrant green color, and the spinach was a bit wilt-y. I pretty much only have time to shop on the weekends, so I'll have to plan my grocery shopping better. I'll choose some hardier greens next time.

The kale salad was, nevertheless, pretty yummy. I chopped it up and squeezed grapefruit juice to marinate and soften it. The sweetness of the grapefruit complemented the slight bitterness of the kale. It was so juicy and sweet! Not at all sour. I just wish I had more than my measly 1/4 of an avocado. That was all I have left, and I cut it up into small cubes to make it seem like more. Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. I would rather have plenty of large, velvety chunks of avocado. I'll make this salad again when I have more avocado.

Kale Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit 

  • a bunch of large kale leaves, tough stems removed
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit
Chop up the kale and place it in a bowl. Squeeze out the juice of half a grapefruit over the kale. Let it marinate for a few minutes if your kale is a bit tough. Cut away the rind of the other half of the grapefruit, and dice the fruit. Dice the avocado, and add it to the kale and grapefruit. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Pumpkin Chia Pudding Experiment

I have been looking up more ways to use chia seeds in recipes. Chia seeds can absorb a lot of water, and can thicken up the liquid that it has been soaking in. I found a bunch of recipes for chia puddings, and have been experimenting with my own pudding recipe. I love pumpkin pie. Actually, I love anything that contains pumpkin. So naturally, I decided to make a pumpkin chia pudding.

I have never soaked chia seeds before, so I soaked 1 tablespoon of seeds in 1/2 cup of soy milk to see what would happen:
These seeds have been soaking for a few hours, but it really only needs about 20 minutes. The mixture does get thicker the longer it stands, though. The texture is interesting. It is rather slimy, and the seeds are a bit softer than unsoaked seeds, with a nutty flavor.

I then stirred in about 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices (only had cinnamon and ginger on hand).
 The soy milk soaked chia and pumpkin puree do not mix together very easily. Also, adding some sweetener and vanilla extract would improve the taste.

I thought it would be easier to just mix all the ingredients together at the beginning, and letting it thicken. This time, I used a little less pumpkin, and the resulting mixture was quite thin.
After letting it soak for about 20 minutes, it thickened to a more pudding-like texture.
I made the second batch right after I finished eating the first batch for dessert, so I put it in the fridge to eat the next day. After letting the pudding sit in the fridge for almost a day, the pudding became thick enough to turn the cup upside down without any of it falling out! That's the power of chia ;) Oh, and it's really tasty, just like pumpkin pie :P

Pumpkin Chia Pudding
makes one serving

  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • pumpkin pie spices, to taste (I used cinnamon and ginger)
  • sweetener, to taste (maple syrup, agave, turbinado, brown sugar, etc.)
  • vanilla extract (optional)
Mix everything together in a bowl and let it thicken for at least 20 minutes in the fridge. The longer it sits, the thicker it will become.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Taking a Mental Health Day

College life can be very stressful at times, but I try to manage my stress by taking a day to unwind. This Sunday, I took the day to relax by going to Whole Foods for lunch and reading books and magazines at Borders. I get pretty stressed around mid term time, since my classes just happen to have all their mid term exams in the same week! I just finished a huge wave of exams, so I'm not too stressed right now. I studied a bit Saturday afternoon, so I had plenty of time on Sunday to NOT think about school work.

To manage stress, it's important to take a mental health day and do something that you enjoy. If you are too busy to take a whole day off, find at least a couple of hours to totally unwind. Try going to sleep early and waking up earlier to find time to take a leisurely stroll through the park or neighborhood, sitting in your favorite cafe, or curling up with a good book and a cup of tea. Whatever suits you.

Sunday morning, I woke up early and made myself a mug of coffee, which I sipped in bed, just sitting there and waking up slowly. Then I went to the gym and had a nice workout, making sure I stretched my muscles and doing a little yoga. I took the bus to Whole Foods and made myself a delicious salad from the salad bar. It was a little pricey, but worth it. I spend way too much money eating out, and most of it is so unhealthy. The salad was delicious, and at the same time, nutritious and didn't weigh me down, so I think it was well worth the money.

I topped a bed of mixed greens with edamame, roasted sweet potato, corn, red quinoa, raw beets, a "detox salad" thing that had a mix of veggies, pumpkin seeds, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I ate it with chopsticks because they ran out of forks! I don't recommend this, it was hard to pick up all the little pieces of edamame.

I also bought some groceries that I used in the wrap recipe from yesterday. Freaking expensive, I tell you. Organic produce is tasty, but when you're a poor student, it's not the most practical to buy organic. I'll stick to conventional, next time, and be more price savvy. It was a splurge (spent almost $40), and I didn't even buy that much! Oh well ;)

I've been experimenting with making chia pudding, and I'll have a pumpkin chia pudding recipe posted soon!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lovely Veggie Wrap

Today, I made a lovely wrap to bring for lunch. Sometimes I just need a change from the food available on campus. Not to say that the food is terrible. A lot of options are actually healthy, fresh, and local. I just enjoy making my own lunch for a change.

This veggie wrap contains spinach, avocado, tomato, cucumber, and alfalfa sprouts on a multi-grain wrap.

First, slice some veggies. I used about one third of an avocado, four slices of an organic tomato, and a few thin slices of cucumber. Since I am making just one wrap, I only used a third of the avocado. Avocado can oxidize easily, so if you have some leftovers, take care when wrapping it up. I put the two avocado halves together, with the pit still in, and wrapped it tightly with plastic wrap. The pit helps prevent it from oxidizing and turning an ugly, brown color. You can use this trick when making guacamole, as well. If you are making it in advance, or letting it sit out for a while, just plop in an avocado pit and it'll prevent it from turning brown.
I'll use the rest of my avocado in wraps later this week. Or maybe a salad ;)

Lay out the tortilla on a plate, and place a small handful of spinach and sprouts. Place the tomato, cucumber, and avocado slices on top. Now for the tricky part. I was a bit too enthusiastic with the veggies, so I had to remove (eat) some of the spinach before wrapping it up. Roll it up like a burrito, making sure to tuck the edges in well. Sorry I don't have a picture of this. It requires two hands!

 There we go, all wrapped up! Now let's take a look inside, shall we?
Looking good :) I actually would have kept it uncut, since it is easier to transport for my lunch on the go, but I wanted to get this lovely shot! It is well worth it. Just hope it doesn't fall apart in my backpack... I made sure to wrap it tightly with plastic wrap.

Lovely Veggie Wrap

  • 1 multi-grain tortilla (or whatever flavor you like)
  • 4 tomato slices
  • 4 cucumber slices
  • 1/3 avocado, sliced
  • small handful spinach
  • small handful sprouts
Place ingredients in the middle of the tortilla and wrap up like a burrito. Cut in half and serve, or keep it whole to take on the go.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Love Smoothies!

Did you know, that my smoothie consumption increases exponentially with the temperature? No, really, in the summer, I am constantly using my Vita-mix blender to make refreshing, icy-cold drinks. I buy a big bag of frozen berries from Costco and keep frozen bananas in the freezer at all times, so I can feed my smoothie cravings. I also have a peach tree that produces way more peaches than we can possibly consume, so I usually have quite a few gallon ziplock bags of frozen peaches. My usual smoothie is a few frozen strawberries, half a frozen banana, maybe some honey, blended with some soy milk and ice. I like them thick, almost frozen yogurt-like.

Although it is currently BELOW FREEZING here in this god-forsaken place, I want smoothies! There is snow on the ground, but I am kind of in denial, so I am going to ignore how cold it is outside and pretend it is still 80 degrees. Which it was actually 80 degrees last week. Crazy weather huh?

I brought a blender along with me to school last August, but I haven't really been using it. Let's see, I made one smoothie last semester, and maybe some matcha milk tea (green tea bubble tea) a few times. Another than that, my blender has been neglected, sitting forlornly in it's dusty corner.

I made a promise to my blender that I won't ignore it any longer! (psh, like you don't talk to your appliances?) I have been making green smoothies to try to get more greens into me. Do you know how hard it is to get veggies on campus? Other than eating from the salad bar, there is a pathetic amount of vegetables in the food options on campus. No, ONE leaf of lettuce and three slices of tomatoes in my sandwich is not enough.

Green smoothies are delicious, and so good for you. It's an efficient way to get some greens into your diet, so you aren't wasting so much time munching on that tasteless pile of lettuce from the salad bar like a freaking goat. Blending the greens also releases more phytonutrients and vitamins that your body can absorb if your chewing isn't as effective as said goat. If you don't like the taste of raw greens, up the amount of sweet fruit and it'll mask the flavor of the greens. I promise. To make a green smoothie, just blend up a bunch of leafy greens, like spinach and kale, with some delicious fruit, like banana, mango, berries, pineapple, papaya, etc. You can also add some superfoods, like chia seeds, flax seeds or flax oil, spirulina, acai, goji berries. Add enough water to blend, and you've got yourself a delicious, VERY GREEN, very healthy drink! Oh, and did I mention that green is my favorite color? Just looking at it makes me feel healthy ;)

Look at that beautiful color!
Green Smoothie Recipe #1

  • handful of kale
  • handful of spinach
  • 1/2 mango
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • water
Place ingredients into a blender, and blend on high until smooth. Adjust the amount of water depending on how thick or thin you like your smoothie.

Learning to Eat Mindfully

I am an emotional eater. When I get stressed out, which is rather often, I bury myself in food. I can just eat and eat and eat, no matter how full or sick I feel. Junk food was my drug that could put my mind at ease.

But not really. After binging, there was always the terrible guilt and shame. Junk food gave me a high, but it also came with hideous side effects. And I was addicted. Since I have been binging for so long, I didn't listen to my body's hunger cues, and I have to re-learn how to eat.

What is so complicated about eating? You eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. You crave something, eat it, and the craving is satisfied. Simple? Maybe, but my wacky brain just didn't get it.

So I am trying to avoid denying myself, or putting temptation in my way. If I had a bag of potato chips in my room, my brain will hone in on those potato chips, distracting me from unimportant things (like homework), until all those chips have been stuffed into my mouth. I am trying to eat more often, and not waiting until I am ravenous at the end of the day, when I feel like eating everything in sight.

Everyday, I have been eating a yummy bowl of oatmeal to help keep me full. I like my oats half oat bran, half rolled oats, cooked in the microwave with water. I have also recently added chia seeds, some chopped mango, and a splash of vanilla soy milk.
Oatmeal with Chia and Mango

I have recently "discovered" chia seeds, and bought a bag of them on Amazon (they were on sale!). Chia is a superfood that is actually pretty amazing for you. In my opinion, they don't have a strong taste, just a mild nutry flavor. The little, black seeds are packed with protein, antioxidants, omega-3's, fiber, and is easily digested and absorbed. Add chia seeds into your diet to promote weight loss and stabilization of blood sugar. They have magical properties when added to water. If you mix a couple of tablespoons in a cup of water and let it stand for about 10 minutes, the mixture will gel. This thickened liquid can help you feel fuller, longer.

Chia can be added to more than just oatmeal and water. Add them to your smoothies, salads, yogurt, granola, soup, pizza, ice cream, on top of a s'more, etc, etc, etc. Haha, you might not want to use my last few suggestions, but my point is that they are very versatile and easy to incorporate into your diet. See, being healthy is easy! So what are you waiting for? Get your chia on, pronto!

More info on chia seeds here
Bought these on Amazon (raw, organic, and on sale!)
But then I found nutsonline.com, which is probably a better deal (great website, btw). Wait, I take that back, the shipping is pretty pricey, while I got free shipping on Amazon. Nutsonline has great products, anyway, so I think it would be a better deal if you buy a lot or in bulk.

Mango Chia Oatmeal

  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 chopped mango
  • soy milk (optional)
Place oat bran, rolled oats, and water into a microwave safe bowl. You can add more or less water, depending on how thick you like your oatmeal. I like mine pretty thin, so I add more water. Microwave for about 4 minutes. Stir in chia seeds and chopped mango. I also like to pour some cold soy milk for some sweetness. Eat!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Eating My Way to Health

Hello and welcome to my blog! I guess this is where I say a little something about myself. I am a rather complicated person, and describing myself would probably take a few volumes, but here are a few bullet points that succinctly sums me up:

  • I love food, eating, cooking, any thing to do with food
  • My eating habits have been royally fucked up for the past few years
  • I want to change my life around by becoming a healthy freak

Yep, that's pretty much all you need to know about me. Oh, and I am also a second year college undergraduate, shuttling myself back and forth between the east coast and the Midwest to attend an overpriced university. So part of the year (school), I am scraping by in my dorm room, without a kitchen, using public transportation to lug myself to the grocery store and back. When I am at home, I have a kitchen chock full of cooking equipment and appliances, and farmer's markets and grocery stores that I can easily reach by car. 

Guess which stage I am in right now? Yep, it's March, it's snowing(?!) outside, and I am stuck in a tiny dorm in the Midwest. Without a kitchen. Or a car. Luckily, I'm pretty clever and I can hack my way through the perils of college cafeteria food and still eat healthily.

Oh yea, I should probably elaborate on that second bullet point. My eating habits are really messed up. Most of the time, I eat too little. A lot of the time I eat too much. That is the oxymoron of binging and purging. I have never been diagnosed with an eating disorder by a professional, but I don't need a professional to tell me that something needs to change. I am sick of hating my body and treating it like a dumpster. I am sick of feeling sick, depressed, alone with my secret.  After years of it, my bones and joints started to ache, I had insomnia, indigestion, heart palpitations, chest pain, constipation, heart burn, and weakness. If I continue with my disorder, I know that it will eventually kill me.

I am going to turn my life around, even if that means that I am going to turn into a complete health nut. At least I'll be healthy, strong, and alive :)

To Health,

The Challenged Health Nut

BLOG DIRECTORY, Submit blog free, Promote Blog, Best directory