Monthly Archives: January 2015

Why Caffeine is Not a Substitute for Sleep

How’s everyone’s week going? My week has finally slowed down and I feel like some of the fog has lifted. My midterm is over, my allergies took a turn for the better today, and a good night’s sleep helps!

I’m also on Day 2 of my caffeine detox. Granted, it’s a forced detox after I got so sick from coffee, but it’s still led me to reflect a bit. Also-caffeine withdrawal is very real. I felt like I was in such a fog yesterday, but thankfully it seems much better today!

Since skipping the coffee these past few days, I’ve realized how I feel so much more in tune with my body. I was drinking it so often this quarter that I felt like I had a constant buzz. Before overdosing on it, I was wondering what effects it would have. It made me happier, perkier, more engaged, but it was always there, and I would often be at the verge of mild overcaffeination.


But more importantly, I feel like I was using it as a crutch. Don’t have enough time to sleep? That’s fine, I’ll just drink coffee. I was trying to do it all-stay on top of work, socialize, workout early every morning-and I neglected sleep. I could stay awake because COFFEE but after a few weeks of this, I was starting to feel worn down. While coffee may seem like a great solution when you’re tired, it’s important that we don’t use it to mask a symptom of a deeper problem. Sure, you may FEEL better, but lack of sleep can wreck havoc on your body. Here are some of the ways how:

1. Interferes with ability to concentrate and learn new things.

2.Impairs decision making and creativity.

3.Weakened immune system.

4. Weight gain: “Sleep deprivation increases production of the stress hormone cortisol. Lack of sleep lowers your levels of a hormone called leptin, which tells your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. In addition, it raises levels of a biochemical called ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant.

Sleep deprivation prompts your body to release higher levels of insulin after you eat, promoting fat storage and increasing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

-This basically means sleep messes with the hormones that regulate appetite to cause you to eat more and store more fat.

5. Risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.



Although caffeine treats the symptom (sleepiness), it is definitely not a replacement for sleep. I’m definitely going to try and make sleep more of a priority. I know we’re all busy, but it IS possible if it is important to you!

Do you get enough sleep?

WIAW-Rough Morning

Guys. It was a rough one over here. But let’s still celebrate food as of late with Jenn!


I figured out that whatever weird sinus-y thing I’m dealing with is allergies, not illness. Unfortunately, that still kept me up a bit last night! On top of that, I was up fairly late doing homework. I woke up for 6am Crossfit, which was definitely not enough sleep. The workout was a good one though-and getting off campus helped my allergies. For strength, we did overhead squats and toes to bar. The conditioning was a 15 minute AMRAP of:

5 dumbbell ground to overhead (I used 25#s-ground to overhead means clean to shoulders and then push press or push jerk to overhead)

7 pull ups (banded for me)

9 squats (no weight)

I finished exactly at 9 rounds! This was one of those that ends up being pretty hard because none of the moves are terrible so you can just get tons of reps in.

The roughness started afterwards when I decided I needed a big cup of coffee to get me through the day. I normally drink espresso drinks, so I don’t have as good of a gauge of how much caffeine is in regular coffee. Normally I do half a packet of instant in milk, but this time I did a full packet.


I basically chugged it on an empty stomach and was about halfway through my banana with sunflower seed butter when I realized I felt pretty weird. And it quickly dawned upon me that I had made a terrible mistake. My heart started racing and I started shaking. Besides feeling awful, being over caffeinated also really freaks me out. I felt really nauseous and shaky for the morning, but it was a lot better by my 11am class. Even now, in the evening, I’m not feeling 100% but definitely a LOT better.

Lunch was super lame and picture less because I was scared to eat anything too heavy-2 crackers and an English muffin. After lunch, I felt a lot less shaky. The good news is I have still managed to get a fair amount of studying done for my midterm tomorrow despite this!

I was starving mid-afternoon and feeling better so I heated up the last slice of my drowned cranberry bread.


I was starving again around when dinner opened-and it smelled delicious through my window! I went with pretty basic foods still.


Mac n cheese, mashed potatoes, a little roasted cauliflower, and chipotle turkey soup. I was feeling god enough for a few bites of peach crispy as well-note that this plate is actually much smaller!


So…that was my day. Rough. I’m officially on a caffeine detox. I think these past couple of weeks I was depending a bit too heavy on coffee to get me through the day instead of sleep anyway, which wasn’t sustainable. I need to make sleep more of a priority!

And since today’s food was kind of boring, here are a couple of other meals!


I have a new batch of lunches! Chicken and mashed yams are same old, same old, but this time I have roasted garlic broccoli to accompany them!


A basic dinner-some type of vinaigrette based black bean salad with strips of something unidentifiable, BBQ chicken, and sweet potato fries. How pretty is that plate? So colorful!

And now, I have to get back to studying!

Coffee-yay or nay?

Weekend in Pictures

Guys. This weekend was crazy busy! I’m super behind on things but I wanted to pop in and say hi really quickly! I’m also worried I’m a little sick, but at the same time I always feel sinus-y around this time so maybe it’s allergies? I don’t know-as long as it’s gone by my race on Sunday! So this post will be really quick and picture heavy. Yayyy!


New pants. Appropriately obnoxious. In person they’re actually hot pink.


Sign #1 of a good day-perfect white as snow milk foam.


Um, I get to live here??


Lunch with my sister at Lyfe Kitchen. Avocado chicken sandwich on an oatmeal bun.


Dining hall dinner. Salad, grilled cheese, turkey, and veggies.


Challah baking! I volunteered for Challah for Hunger. 100% of the proceeds go to charity. We made a wide variety of flavors, but I purchased honey oat. It was warm, fresh, delicious, and amazing. I need to get back there more often!

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Friday night I went to Berkeley to go to a surprise party for one of my best friend’s birthdays.



Me and the birthday girl trying to look normal.


Ignore the disgusting picture. I stopped by home on the way back to school for a nap with my kitty (he crawled under the covers-the advantage to a cold house!) and food! I made banana crepes by throwing some bananas, eggs, baking powder, and vanilla in the blender. Best topped with lemon cream or chocolate chips and whipped cream.


Friday night I had a sorority recruitment event-make your own pizza! Needless to say, the pizza was delicious, but this is the only picture I left with!

Sunday morning I went for a quick 2 mile run before spending the day doing sorority stuff. We had another recruitment event-this time a waffle bar. Fresh waffles are the best. And I didn’t take any pictures except for this one of me with a matching balloon.


Sorry for the picture heavy/Aurora’s face heavy post!

What did you do this weekend? 


First PR of the Year

Happy Wednesday! I’m blogging in the sunshine between classes. I have a few food pictures and a few recent workouts to share today.


Monday morning, since I didn’t have class, I went out to brunch with friends.


I got a brie omelet with green onions and mushrooms. YUM. This may be a new favorite brunch plate, because I also want to try the goat cheese omelet!


I debated for a while whether to get hash browns or fruit. Next time I would do fruit-I guess I’m not a huge hash brown person, although these were good ones.

At breakfast, I’ve been making instant coffee a lot lately. It’s actually pretty good if you make it with just milk and no water. If I want less of a caffeine kick, I’ll do half a pack of it.


A giant cup of milk has been surprisingly filling, so I’ve kept the rest of breakfast a bit lighter. Whole wheat english muffin with cream cheese and eggs.


Yet another freezer meal-grilled chicken, balsamic brussels, and mashed yams.


I completely forgot to thaw a lunch for today, so I went to the dining halls t breakfast and grabbed the essentials for an egg sandwich-whole wheat english muffin, cream cheese, and hard boiled egg. Served with some grapes.


And then dinner last night was basic but solid. They had my favorite cabbage-miso salad, plus lemon caper salmon. There were also stuffed peppers but I wasn’t a fan, mostly because I don’t really like peppers.



Monday: 1 rep max front squats at Crossfit. I PRed at 165#! ONLY 5# PR but I’ll take it! The conditioning portion was a little running, kettle bell swings, and fairly heavy dumbbell push presses.

Tuesday: Crossfit-over head squats and toes to bar (knees to elbow) for strength, and a pretty tough conditioning workout.


10 Wall Ball (14#)
20 Double Under
10 DB Snatch (25#)

I did actual double unders- and those gassed me! I’ve randomly made a double under breakthrough recently, and they’ve been pretty good. The downside? I whipped myself. A lot. Pretty badly. I think it’s a cute look.

I was supposed to do a tempo run that evening but I had a lot of school work. I have a race in 1.5 weeks and I’m feeling pretty unprepared!

Wednesday: 6 mile run. Since I skipped my tempo run, I picked it up a bit at the turnaround point, and did a mile at a fairly fast clip (definitely not race pace though). So….a week and a half to get fast…?

How do you work on speed?

Apparently Good Spin Music is Good Stay Awake at 2am Music

Hey guys! Here is the official recap of my Disney trip!




We ended up leaving about 2 hours later than planned…which was actually in our favor. I5 shut down in the middle of nowhere (as in, no way out) due to a big diesel truck crash. Despite sitting on I5 for 2.5 hours, I really enjoyed the drive down. We blasted music-I DJed for 8.5 hours. I started off with the Spin playlist I taught on Thursday. It was a hit in the car, so here it is!

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The problem with leaving late and getting stuck for 2.5 hours? We didn’t arrive until 3:30am. Around 1:30am everyone in the car was asleep (minus the driver) so I assumed the job of keeping the driver awake and navigating. The driver requested my spin playlist again…so apparently a spin playlist is good “keep the driver awake at 2am” music.

But we finally made it! We left for the park the next morning around 10:30. We had park hopper passes, meaning we could go both to Disneyland and California Adventure.



The first thing we did was run to Space Mountain to pick up a fast pass-which was good because the time to come back wasn’t until that night!


The first ride we went on was Pirates of the Caribbean, which I hadn’t been on before. After that, we waited in Indiana Jones line for an hour…only for the ride to shut down as we got close to the front. At that point, we cut out and got the famous Dole Whips, which are whipped pineapple soft serve. Those are definitely a must!


Then, we headed over to CA Adventure to go on California Screaming. That’s a pretty intense roller coaster in comparison to the ones in the Disney park! I walked out with my head spinning in circles, so I opted out of a second ride in favor of riding the merry-go-round.

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Dinner was clam chowder in a bread bowl. Pretty much all that was eaten this past weekend was sugar and carbs…



Then it was back to Disneyland to meet up with the group and go on Space Mountain. This was definitely my favorite ride! I think the music adds a lot to the experience! IMG_0015

Then, we grabbed churros for the line at Indiana Jones. We played silly games to pass the time-I learned that one of my friends is apparently proficient in origami? Through 2 truths and a lie. The ride fortunately didn’t shut down, and I enjoyed the ride. I was pretty disappointed with the boulder though (if you’ve been on the ride, you know what I mean-if not, I won’t spoil it!). It didn’t really show up for some reason! Ah well.

Then we headed to the younger kids’ area, now that it was later and less crowded.

So pretty at night!


It’s a Small World was a must. It was still decked out for the holidays, which was really cool!

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The last even of the night was Fantasmic, a water and lights show roughly based off of Fantasia. It was really cool-here’s a shot of the dragon from Sleeping Beauty-it seriously came out of nowhere!


And it was then time to call it a night. The next morning we cooked breakfast and hit the road. Road snacks? Coconut lemon macaroons-SO good!


I’ve never done this drive in the winter before, and everything was so pretty and green. I actually like driving through the center of CA a lot-you see things you’d never otherwise see! It was so much fun to be on a road trip with friends.

Towards the end of our journey, the song “Skyfall” came on right as we hit a big, dramatic patch of fog. The soundtrack was pretty perfect-the song ended right as we drove through the clouds.

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Isn’t California pretty?

We made it back in under 6 hours this time. We did stop at Tin Pot though, where I got the Cookie Monster Ice Cream, which has cookie dough chunks and oreo!


It was such a fun trip-even with the 2.5 hour delay getting there! I haven’t been in over 7 years so it was nice to go back!



What is your favorite Disney ride?