Monthly Archives: February 2014

MIMM-Chocolate and Friends

Happy Monday. Who has the day off? My weekend has certainly been marvelous so far!
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Marvelous is..

Oatmeal! x2. Banana oats topped with strawberries, sun butter, and a dollop of plain yogurt.

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Marvelous is…

An iced chai! I had every intention of spending the day working at a coffeeshop so I got a big chai tea! The only problem was that I for somer reason woke up much too early that morning and could barely keep my eyes open so I left for a nap…whoops. There went my productivity!

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Marvelous is…

Trying a different dining hall for lunch! It was actually really good! They had about 9 types of cream cheese, which looked homemade. I tried the cinnamon raisin, triple berry, basil and olive, and chive and onion.

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Marvelous is…

A dessert party! My sorority had a Valentine’s themed party on Saturday, so I got to dress up and eat delicious things. Fun fact-there are 3 girls in my sorority who seriously want to go to culinary school-let’s just say that we eat well!

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Marvelous is…

A kick butt run! There’s no question I’ve gotten in better shape and faster in the last few months. I did the same run I’ve done a couple of times before-it’s one of my absolutely favorite places to run because it’s SO pretty! There’s a fairly big hill in the middle-the last time I was proud I kept my pace until 11:00 for the hill. I ended up powering up the hill around a 9:00 pace! And it wasn’t death!

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Marvelous is…

A reunion with my best friends from high school! We actually went the same place the same weekend last year! (Sadly, it was the last day before I was sick for 2 months…)

Last year:

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This year:

(Excuse my sweaty-just ran self)

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But more importantly-the delicious food! We couldn’t decide between sweet or salty, so we got pancakes for the table to share. 

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Marvelous is…

Relaxing at home! I spent the day lounging around with these guys and watching the Olympics.

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Things are going to get crazy starting tomorrow because I have loads of studying to do and a crazy amount of stuff to do this week!

Marvelous is..

Homemade chocolate for my family! And heyyy I finally took down the recipe for those interested!

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Ingredients:

2 T coconut oil

2.5 T maple syrup

1 t vanilla extract

2 T half and half

1/2 c cocoa powder or cacao powder

1. Melt the coconut oil and maple syrup in the microwave, about 30-40 seconds and blend well. Then stir in vanilla.

2. Stir in cocoa powder and half and half (if the half and half is very cold, you may need to heat the mix up a bit).

3. Chill in the fridge on wax paper, or grab a spoon and enjoy!

Marvelous is…

Visiting my home Crossfit tomorrow morning! Yay!

What did you do this weekend?

Happy Valentine’s Day and Some Women’s Health

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody! I’m pretty sure this guy is my valentine:

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I slept 9 hours last night, but I’m definitely still recovering from the previous night, so this was pretty awesome. 

I’m pretty sure Valentine’s Day is a good excuse to eat cookies as pre-run fuel, right?

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These were a Valentine’s gram-one from my roomie and the other from my favorite K-pop star. Yeah, I didn’t know I had one either. 

I decided to be over the top pink today because I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually worn this sweater, and it’s just too perfect for Valentine’s day. I guess pink isn’t really my color which is why I haven’t worn it much!

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For this morning’s run, I did my 50 minute treadmill workout. I took it kind of easy though-I woke up sore and tired-so I didn’t do any of it at 1.0 incline, and it actually felt fairly easy!

I also made some awesome scrambled eggs this morning. With goat gouda <3

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After class (more on that in a minute) I experimented with popcorn and my new chocolate making skill-chocolate coated popcorn!

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Not the biggest winner though-the popcorn wasn’t very salty on it’s own, and I made with chocolate with just maple syrup, nonfat milk, and cacao powder.

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And besides Valentine’s candy, I did eat some veggies! I really liked this Trader Joe’s salad!

Now onto Valentine’s day. I know some people get sad/depressed being single on Valentine’s day but it really doesn’t bother me. I mean come on-either way, this is a chocolate holiday! Priorities, people! Last Valentine’s day, I had a 6k test (rowing) and then went to the beach with my rowing team. 

In terms of Valentine’s I’ve given out, my favorite thing of the past when I was less busy/had better access to a kitchen for the holidays was M&M cookies. I used a chocolate chip cookie recipe, and then replaced the chips with holiday M&Ms of choice. They were always a big hit, and definitely one of my all time favorite cookies! Sadly, that was wayyy pre blog so I have no pictures…

AND in the spirit of Valentine’s day, I’ve decided to share a little story with you all. I don’t usually talk about this aspect of my personal life on here, but I thought you guys would get a kick out of the awkwardness of a high school relationship. 

In high school, I ended up “going out” with a guy I really didn’t know much probably less than a week before Valentine’s day. So that was one of the most awkward Valentine’s days of my life. I had no idea what the proper etiquette was for something like this (I ended up making the perviously mentioned cookies). The worst part was that every year in the Spanish class I was in, the students make super cheesy, super silly valentines and plant them throughout the school. My new boyfriend was in the same spanish class, so I ended up making a ridiculous one for him. But he didn’t know enough Spanish to understand it, and when I explained it, he just flat out didn’t get it or apparently my sense of humor. “I think your socks are cute” is a lot less romantic in English….ohhh high school relationships. Let’s just say that one was destined for failure. 

And since we’re on the topic of cheesy Spanish things-check out this music video. Sexy macarena and creepy lyrics? Sign me up!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdGV173EyFw

You’re welcome.

Also, since today is basically about chocolate (let’s be real here), here’s a video my sister made a couple of years ago. Has anyone heard of epic mealtime? She made a vegan chocolate mountain parody. In summary, no one was strong enough to lift it…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzAZYSRx_kU

Aaaand now I’ve started myself on listening to Spanish music. Best way to spend Valentine’s day! 🙂 I can’t wait to take Spanish again next quarter!

Speaking of academic curiosity-I freaking love Biochem. I love metabolism, but I also love the endocrine system and hormones. One thing we discussed today that I thought might be of interest to some of you was this particular process:

A testosterone hormone, androgen, needs to be converted into estrogen for a healthy reproductive system. An enzyme in fat cells does this conversion. So when the body is stressed (aka starving), fat cells are depleted, hence the loss of cycle. My professor also mentioned that in many people, running 45-50 miles a week will do this (although I can’t verify this and I’m sure it varies person to person). Another interesting thing is that this number applies to males as well-this type of mileage will actually result in lower sperm count. Who knew? 

Also, another totally random and interesting fact-lactation is actually a very strong contraceptive (hormones)-and in hunter gatherer populations, it is common for women to get pregnant about every 5 years (because the children breastfeed for a very long time). Even more interesting-this timing means that a woman may only get 6-8 periods in her life. And apparently there are study linking this to lower rates of certain reproductive organ related diseases later in life. Totally random, but I thought it was interesting!

On that note-everyone go out and enjoy your Valentine’s day!

A New Record and I’m Not Delirious!

Hey guys! It’s now Thursday night. I wrote yesterday’s post in the afternoon, so I’ll catch you up on what I did after that. Hint-not sleep….Wednesday nights are the worst! I didn’t even wait until Wednesday night to start my giant lab report-I worked on it Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon and even went to office hours. And I still slept a grand total of…2.5 hours last night. That is definitely my new record. At points I even considered just pulling an all nighter since I definitely left work for myself to do in the morning. But I’m not about that life! 2.5 hours till makes a huge difference! It actually wasn’t that bad and I’m still alive and sane because I wasn’t sleep deprived going in. That being said, bed is happening on the soon side so I’m going to pump out this post in mostly picture form!

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My attempt at a veggie filled snack-brown rice, spinach, and coconut aminos.

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Super late dinner of Trader Joe’s ancient grains soup with goat gouda, plus the world’s biggest, juiciest orange.

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Homemade chocolate but I didn’t use coconut oil, just cream, and I added too much so it was super liquidy.

Sooo…one of the reasons I was actually able to stay up without must issue last night was late night consumption of junk food. I had my first In n Out experience at our hall meeting. To be honest, I’m really not a fan. The fries were just mayo and American cheese coated…which kind of grossed me out but I ate them anyways. And I had a burger less cheeseburger. And of course lots of dates and some chocolate. So while my stomach felt awful last night and this morning, I had plenty of fuel for late night studying. My body kind of rejects all the junk though because I woke up drenched in sweat…I’m so sensitive to sugar!

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So coffee and a protein packed breakfast were in order. 

Today was actually amazing because I was just super tired during Nutrition, and despite having class straight through the day, I was fine after that. In Nutrition today, we were actually filmed for a documentary that my professor is featured in. Hopefully I didn’t look too sleepy!

The highlight of my lab was not blowing myself by accidentally making TNT and finishing up 1.5 hrs early. I went to the little market for some essentials-kombucha, eggs, and my all time favorite dark chocolate. And spent the hour before Crossfit jelled out with Netflix-deifntiely the perfect afternoon.

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Crossfit was a good one. I never thought 100 kettle bell swings would feel so good! We’ve done a ton of overhead pressing lately (push press, press, jerk, thrusters), and my left shoulder (and a bit my right shoulder) has just been in constant pain for the last 3 weeks or so since it never got a chance to recover. So the push press/jerks that we did for strength were really painful, and I spent half the time trying to stretch my left shoulder out. The WOD began with 100 kettle bell swings, which actually turned out to be an amazing stretch for my sore shoulders. Go figure. And I left energized-thank goodness!

On the way back, I finally made the decision to try to try the new flavors of Quest bars, so i stopped and picked some up.

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For dinner, I had something totally random. We made some food in the slow cooker-well, my roommate did at least! Indian masala sauce with spinach, butternut squash, and paneer, served over rice.

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And for dessert, I finally tried the cookies and cream after seeing it on everyone’s social media.

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I have a love/hate relationship with Quest bars, but I have to say, the Oreo was spot on. I actually really liked this-and I couldn’t taste the artificial sweetener as much as in the other bars I’ve tried. While nutritionally I’m not a fan of Quest bars, right now I’m going to pick my battles and eat them for dessert, while getting as many veggies as possible. 

Oh, and here’s a picture from my friend’s modern dance performance I went to tonight!

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Ok, bed for me. Like now.

The Beta Carotene Challenge

Eating too many carrots can make you turn orange. True or false?

True. Fun fact-it is hard to get too much Vitamin A to the point of toxicity, but if this were to happen, it would be because it is all stored in the liver. Beta carotene is actually a precursor to Vitamin A (meaning your body would use it to make Vitamin A if you didn’t get enough Vitamin A), but it’s NOT toxic. Why? It isn’t stored in the liver. It’s stored in the tissues throughout your body, especially the face and hands.

Given my new love of carrots and this little factoid, yesterday I tweeted this:

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I’m about 90% sure I’m not kidding. So-what do I do next week when the project is officially over? A new challenge-what do you think? Eat as many carrots and beta carotene containing foods as possible? I’m going to do it! Although according to the internet, it would be incredibly difficult to do, and I’m not about to drink cartons of carrot juice…

But I’m serious for one other reason-I think I have a lack of veggies in my life, especially the roasted variety. I’ve come to the conclusion that I would eat way better, and way less sugar, if I actually had the things on hand that my body craves. Like yesterday when I wanted roasted carrots but all I had were dates. Since it’s a 3 day weekend this weekend, I’m going home on Sunday for brunch with my high school friends and a massive roasting of vegetables. I’m thinking TONS of carrots-maybe literally, cumin roasted cauliflower, and roasted sweet potatoes. It’s going to be great. I better get some dark leafy greens too though because they are actually high in beta carotene as well! I’m thinking eating as many roasted veggies as possible will do me good.

This morning, I went on a hilly 5 mile run. I ate some things I probably shouldn’t have last night, but the run gave me time to do some thinking (and I finally JUST had a revelation on where this last week of the project is going to go!)

I took some measurements this morning-my weight was close to where it was at the start of the project, up from a week ago. But then I took my fasting blood sugar. It was still at the improved level from the last couple of weeks. On my run, sure my foot started hurting, but it’s definitely an improvement. And my running? SO much better. My hamstring soreness is coming in in full force today, and I still climbed this hills without issue on my run. In fact, it felt better than it has since way back when I was rowing. There’s no question I’ve gotten faster as well. I knocked quite a bit of time off my tempo run last week.

The moral of this? 1. Weight isn’t everything. Just because that’s back to near pre-project, it doesn’t mean the other improvements aren’t still there.

2. Weeks of hard work won’t be undone by a few bad days of eating. I felt like everything I had accomplished in the past few weeks were gone. That’s not true at all! The changes are still there!

Hah-but that being said, a few days of bad eating still means a few days of stomachaches…

With that being said, I FINALLY decided how I want to proceed with this last week. I’m not going to EXACTLY stay on the project-but I’m going to use this week to practice what I learned doing the project, which I think is just as, if not more, important as the project. Which means I’m going to stick to the principles of the project, but not totally rigidly.

This afternoon is a great example. I had a piece of marble bread. And my heart was immediately racing. I’ve become more sensitive to sugar-lesson learned. In practice, this week will focus not on the restrictiveness of the project, but making better and higher quality food choices. Like yogurt and berries for breakfast, instead of muffins. Or whole grains and quality proteins for dinner. And avoiding sugar as much as possible, since I think cutting that out made the biggest difference.

To be honest, I feel a little uncomfortable “off” the project and the guidance it gave me, but also relieved at the end of the restrictiveness. Given the goal was lifelong changes, I think putting what I learned into action is incredibly important. With that said, here’s what I ate today! (Minus the marble cake which I don’t have a picture of)

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Last night I got an email about the dining hall having a special breakfast item today-congee. It’s an Asian rice based porridge, and is served with different toppings. I wanted some quick coffee, so I stopped in to give it a try.

But I also had some protein and fruit. The rest of my sheep milk yogurt with a drizzle of pure maple syrup, and a kiwi. (Sidenote-until just this second, I definitely thought it was goat milk! No wonder it didn’t taste goat-y!)

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Since I’ve had to ice my foot post-run, I’ve been having trouble with the time I have in the morning. I stepped out of the shower with 6 minutes before I had to be out the door. Make-up, clothes, and hair in this time-I arrived to class 5 minutes early. But it meant I was wearing bad shoes for my feet-I didn’t have time to put inserts in or find other shoes that matched.

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I love these shoes and wear them so much. I could really use a new pair at some point, but I set a goal for myself that I wanted to meet before getting there (like a year ago…) and that hasn’t happened so…

For lunch, I made a sweet potato and topped it with cottage cheese, spinach, and this spice blend.

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My mom sort of forced me to get it when we went grocery shopping, and I’m really glad she did! It gave my meal some much needed flavor!

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And that’s all for now! (Since this was written in the afternoon…) Lots of work to do tonight!

WIAW-Cocoa Powder is Not a Food Group

Happy Wednesday! We made it this far-wooo! This is my last week for a little while without a midterm, so I’m trying to soak it all in!

Since it is Wednesday, we’re going to celebrate WIAW with Jenn!

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Things I learned from my Nutrition class diet assessment: dates are not a food group. Things I learned today: neither is cocoa powder. Ever since I started making homemade chocolate, my cocoa powder seems to be disappearing before my eyes. I’m out of my normal cocoa powder!

I use the term homemade chocolate a bit liberally-it’s more like moist, fudgy, warm, gooey deliciousness. I’ll let you know how much like chocolate it is if I ever actually let it cool…

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There are two variations of this-one that actually is smooth and probably like chocolate if I actually let it cool, and one that is almost cakey, like the inside of a lava cake. I think it’s about time I actually gave you guys a recipe for that, so stay tuned. I need to actually measure everything out!

Also-I’m still not 100% sure how the rest of the project is going to go…I haven’t decided, and I kind of went off it again today. I want to try to finish strong, so we’ll see how it goes. But food. I ended up using Monday’s food as the day for my diet assessment because it was much more normal-the day I had originally used was the day I had a lot of the tapioca made with half and half-and I’m pretty sure I never eat that much saturated fat! Honestly I’m not feeling great physically now with my most recent eating choices, which definitely argue that I should try to stick with it! My run Monday morning was awful-I had the worst stomach cramps the whole time, and I decided to not worry about pace and just get it done-it was my long run of the week since I’m officially in half training, and at this point the miles are all that matters!

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Breakfast on Monday featured a new Trader Joe’s find-pesto gouda! It was good! A good addition to my eggs. It was a green breakfast!

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My packed lunch came together in no time at all! A sweet potato filled with cottage cheese and sunflower seed butter. I may be weird, but don’t knock it until you try it! It was reminiscent of my high school lunches of peanut butter and banana sandwiches, but this is an upgrade since it actually has veggies and better quality protein! Plus there’s that whole nut allergy thing…

Yesterday evening, I decided I should actually do the quidditch workout that I’ve been torturing them with for the past few weeks. It was quick but good! I was definitely shaking by the end! I haven’t done this many squats in a long time, and my knee was chirping at me a bit at the end. But I’m sore today! Maybe not “can’t walk” sore, but it’s definitely there!

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Roasted carrots are addicting and life changing. I’m realizing more than ever that if I had better foods on hand, my eating habits would be so much better. I could gobble these up like candy, but they’re gone so fast! Today, when they were all gone I resorted to dates as a snack-when I would have preferred carrots! The amount of dates I’ve been eating has gotten out of hand. I think I need a date detox, haha! If only I had more carrots on hand, it would be easy!

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Trader Joe’s grain and lentil soup, with pesto gouda on top! This soup was really good-but I liked the cheese on top for interesting texture!

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Fire-the highlight of my Monday! We had to film a video for my sorority recruitment. I wanted to take a selfie with my sparkler but as I brought it near my head I thought better of it. Which is probably why I still have my eyebrows…

Speaking of lack of eyebrows-we learned today that in Ochem lab this week, there’s a relatively high chance of messing up the reaction and making TNT. Awesome….

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Breakfast Tuesday morning before quidditch-goat milk yogurt, sunflower seed butter, applesauce.

Quidditch training was fun. I need to get better at not laughing so much at their pain though…Today was a new workout, and I think it kicked everyone’s butt! For the conditioning, I introduced them to EMOM (every minute on the minute), with 5 burpees and 5 push ups every minute for 10 minutes. I need to try this for myself sometime!

I decided to get coffee afterwards-which I strangely probably didn’t need because I had so much energy! 5 hours of sleep-go figure!

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I mixed it up and got a latte. Partly because I went to a different coffeeshop, and I know their cappuccinos aren’t as good. But this was delicious! My coffee-ing was cut short though when the campus coffeeshop and surrounding area was evacuated due to a bomb threat. It turned out to be nothing, but the area was closed off for a while!

My lunch pictures are kind of embarrassing. Yes, I eat salads out of ziplock bags.

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This one was grilled chicken, grape tomatoes, olives, and hummus. The sad part was that I really don’t like cherry/grape tomatoes, which I seemed to have forgotten about…

After Crossfit today, all I wanted was roasted carrots. Guess what I didn’t have? Roasted carrots. I went to the dining hall with high hopes-they sometimes have them although they aren’t very good. They didn’t have roasted ANYTHING. I got beets from the salad bar and microwaved them with olive oil, but that didn’t really change the fact that I’m not a big fan of beets. Sigh-I tried!IMG_6632

In terms of my food goals for the near future, I think I’d feel better if for starters I cut down on the dates. While they’re not horrible for me, it’s becoming clear that they are just a lackluster replacement for the real, nutritious foods that I’m craving! I think I’m going to try to avoid them completely for one day, just to break the habit. It’s amazing how much of eating is about habits!

What is one of your major ‘food groups’?