Monthly Archives: January 2016

Distinct Lack of Donuts

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend!

Mine was good! On Friday I got to spend some time with pigs, rabbits, and a dog in a lab animal class I’m currently in. I finished class for the week around 2:30 and had a very low key afternoon watching Monk. Has anyone seen that? It’s been off the air for a while now but I still love it! No evening workout for me—I went to Crossfit that morning and it wore me out. We did a nice little interval workout: 3 rounds of 250m row, 10 kb swings, 10 burpees, 10 kb swings, 10 burpees, 250m row. It was an all out sprint, and then we had ample recovery time between rounds.

Friday evening my house had our Special Dinner for the quarter, a big event where everyone dresses to a theme. Since my house is called Roth, our theme was Hoth, or Star Wars themed. So…I haven’t actually really seen Star Wars. At all. I was at a loss for what to wear, so I ended up as the worst ewok ever haha.

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The food was of course delicious. We had Indian food catered, and I tried my best to keep my portions modest but it was so good! Even better? There was gluten free blueberry cake for dessert.

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Saturday morning began with a short run. I wanted a rest day, but my stomach was kind of in recovery mode from my flare earlier that week and exercise usually helps, so I went for a low-key 2.5 mile jog.

For lunch, I met up with some of my friends from my freshman dorm, back at our old dining hall. So weird to be back! I had pho and some rice pudding.

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After lunch, my friends and I drove up to San Francisco to one of my favorite coffeeshops, Dynamo Donuts. It’s my favorite for several reasons. The coffee is amazing (Foru Barrel), and the milk foam is perfect. It’s right off the highway to it’s easy to go to. And they have amazing donuts, including gluten free. I’ve been there 2x before so I was excited to go back.

After spending about 30 minutes finding a parking spot and parallel parking (not my strong point in the car I drive now), we arrived only to find they were out of donuts. SO sad. At least the coffee was just as fantastic as I remembered!

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We spent a few hours there working on schoolwork—I got a couple of problem sets done, one of which isn’t due for another week so I was happy!

Sunday has been pretty low key so far. I began my morning with a 3 mile run. My race is in a week, so I wanted to see a bit what i could do with the pace. I feel ready and excited! I hit my goal pace perfectly and wasn’t dying, which is always a plus. After my run, my friends and I were on kitchen cleanup duty for the weekend. Everyone has to clean the kitchen once a quarter, thoroughly. My job was the fridge clean out, which was kind of a mess thanks to our special dinner and leftovers from that that were dripped everywhere. I also had to toss the leftovers from the week, which there were a lot of. I ended up actually not being able to carry the compost bag of food, and needed my friend to carry it out to the bin with me. Once at the bin, I couldn’t exactly lift the bag high enough to get it into the bin. It was a heavy bag, because I’m decently strong! I had to have my friend tilt the bin, and I swung it up with all my might. As it landed in the bin, it splashed ALL over us. Like, food scraps all over our faces. I just burst out laughing, because it was so ridiculous. I was just glad that I had been the one filling the bag so I could identify that it was in fact marinara sauce all over our faces.

The rest of the day has been spent doing laundry, schoolwork, and procrastinating. My friends and I are also planning a trip to Seattle over spring break, so we booked our tickets and are working on a place to stay. It should be fun!

Day in the Life Winter 2016

Hello! As promised, I’m popping in for another day in the life! So here we go!

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6:33: Get out of bed. I woke up about 15 minutes earlier, and am getting up an hour before my alarm thanks to an early bedtime!

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Record the night in my sleep journal, which I have to keep as homework for my Sleep and Dreams class. It was a good night’s sleep!

Then it’s time to get ready for my morning workout. In this process, I accidentally started updating the software on my phone which took foreverr and was super frustrating while I was trying to take pictures of everything. GRR. Some photos had to be taken retroactively.

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Daily vitamins: probiotics plus a gummy multivitamin. I know they’re mens, but the differences are not significant and when I couldn’t find my normal brand I went with what looked most delicious.

Next, I head downstairs for a pre workout snack and realize I have a friend.

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Was not expected that! He has quite a presence in the corner there. We’re having a Star Wars themed dinner in my house on Friday, which I’m assuming is why he’s there!

I go in search of the gluten free crackers.

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I usually do about 2/3 of a serving pre-run, and there were only about 5 crackers left so I supplement with another 5 from a bag in my room.

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7:15: Check weather and bundle up (although not enough because #CAgirl).

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7:30: Get going on my track workout!

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I start with a one lap warm up and then stretch. I’m less than 2 weeks from race day, so I’m honing in the paces a little more. I planned to do 3x800m at 8:00 pace with a 3 minute rest in between because my track workouts have been around that distance lately, but then I realized that was silly because on Sunday I ran 1.5 miles at that pace with no rest, so I upped it to 4x800m plus a 400m sprint at the end. I’m happy to report that I felt good and solidly hit my paces!

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I made it halfway through the workout before caving in to the gloves. #CAproblems

I finished around 8 am.

8:15: Back at the house, it’s breakfast time! The yogurt in the house right now is full fat plain Greek. I topped about half a cup of that with a peeled persimmon and sun butter. I spent some time trying to arrange it to not look like something the cat threw up, and I assure you it looks much better in the picture than in person.

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While eating, I scroll through my Timehop and find this post.

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1 year ago today was my first flare up, which means I’ve been dealing with this illness for a year now. I’m definitely doing better, but I had no idea what a rough road I had ahead of me at that point!

On a happier note, here’s a time hop of baby freshman Aurora.

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After breakfast, I pack up my food for the day. I’m out of the house all afternoon and through lunch.

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Then I shower and get ready for the day. I have a piece of this gum along the way! So good. I ordered like 12 of these off of Amazon.

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It’s about 9:30 now and I don’t have class until 11:30. I spend this time finishing up my spin class—I didn’t choreograph the last hill—and doing some Psych reading.

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Along the way, my stomach starts to feel a little funny so I have a few crackers hoping that it’s not in the process of flaring up.

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11:15: Leave for class. I bike, but it’s clear across campus.

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I love this shirt but it kind of makes me crazy to look at…

11:30: Animal Enrichment Lecture. This is an awesome class. Senior pre-vets have the option to do it, and we meet once a week for lecture and once a week for hands on time with the animals. Last week, we got to hang out with pigs! Today in lecture we talked about pigs—various breeds, behaviors, and how to handle them.

12:45: Lunchtime! Class ran a little bit late today. I have leftovers for lunch. Sweet potato chicken soup and a cornbread with a drizzle of honey.

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Right before lunch my stomach started feeling a little funny and while I hoped it was just because it was empty, I suspected it might be more than that. After lunch I took my first stomach med of the day in hopes of staving off the issues a little bit. I love these new tums—they’re chews and are pretty tasty! Despite my concerns, I powered through my meal because I needed the calories for my spin class that night.

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1:15: Leave for my 1:30 class.

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My 1:30 is Sleep and Dreams, and today we talked about Lucid Dreaming (being aware that you are dreaming). It’s pretty cool how they proved it! The lucid dreamer was able to give eye movement signals from within a dream.

2:20: Break between classes. I was supposed to eat my pear at this point to meet my morning calorie goal, but it was clearly not happening. My stomach started getting angrier.

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I spent more time doing Psych reading. The reading is on Depression.

2:45: Pop a single pepto to try and quiet my stomach enough to eat my afternoon snack because I HAVE to get at least those calories in before teaching spin that evening. Hate my body a little bit. I do develop a theory about what caused the problems today though. I had a persimmon this morning, and can link flare ups to two other instances where I ate a persimmon. This was a late variety persimmon, and both other instances were this same type, so maybe it’s this particular type that is an issue, and the other ones I had earlier in the season were ok? I can’t actually think of any cases where I had this type of persimmon without a flare up. So I suppose persimmon season will be prematurely ending for me :/

3:00 Sex and Gender in Physiology. Today we’re talking about hormones.

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Thankfully, I’m starting to feel better and have a Luna bar in class. I have to be pretty precise with the timing so that I’m neither full nor starving by 5:30.

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Dealing with my stomach is such a freaking process.

4:30: Arrive at my dorm. I ordered more stomach meds on Amazon and am pretty pumped that they’ve arrived because I’m out of the orange flavor and am getting a bit tired of berry. I think I just need to accept that these are my life right now.

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I’m feeling a lot less like death than earlier, but still a bit rough and since I’m teaching spin, I take a full dose of pepto and of my new Tums. I really try to avoid taking these when I can, but Spin can be rough so it’s worth going all out. Thanks to my stomach, spin teaching days are especially stressful because I HAVE to be feeling good come 5:30.

4:30-5 Get ready for spin. The stomach meds are working. They are amazing. They are a lifesaver. My stomach returns to its normal size and I get pretty hungry. Uh oh. Nothing to do now though—my stomach is definitely not happy enough to eat right before class.

5:10: Bike over to class.

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Again, bundled up. I was freezing all day, so 2 jackets it is.

5:30: Teach spin! Last night I was inspired to choreograph an epic, disgustingly heavy hill, and my class just nailed it. It was awesome! Even better? My stomach 100% behaved itself. I thought I might have problems from being too hungry, but it behaved! Yippee!

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6:30: Dinnertime! On the menu is turkey with olive tapenade, and rosemary roasted potatoes (with ketchup of course). I had some greens on the side with light champagne vinaigrette, which I bought myself because I’m sick of the sugary dressings we have! I also grab some greens for second dinner later on, and for lunch tomorrow since I’m packing again.

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This much meat is probably not wise, but I’m starving and don’t have too many other things on my plate.

For dessert, I have a few chocolate covered gluten free pretzels.

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I also grab part 2 of lunch tomorrow to claim for myself: gluten free pizza, AKA pizza made on a tortilla! There’s only one without sausage, so I don’t want it to get eaten up!

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7:15: Start typing up this post while trying to decide if my stomach is going to rebel again or if the flare up actually seems over.

7:45-8:15: Work on more Abnormal Psych reading. Decide my stomach is happy enough for second dinner.

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This absolutely hit the spot. Gluten free bread, spinach, egg, and a sprinkle of mozzarella. Egg cooked in the microwave because I don’t need anything fancy! I also had a couple of bites of potato and half of a kettle corn rice cake for “dessert.” I’m trying to work more real foods (plus veggies and protein) into my late night meal, so this was perfect.

I spent the next 30 or so minutes doing more reading and then headed to a women’s health event downstairs where I had a couple of pieces of chocolate.

Now, it’s approximately 10pm. On the agenda is the rest of my reading. It’s definitely not imperative that I finish tonight because I have plenty of time tomorrow morning before class, so I’m going to pack it up around 11 and get ready for bed then most likely!

That’s my day! I guess it turned into a “day in the life with stomach ailments” but hopefully that gives you some insight into my day to day happenings!

What does your day look like?

A New Hydration Tip and Is Chocolate Milk the Best?

Hello! I hope everyone is having a fantastic week so far! Crossing my fingers, the worse of my flare up is over and hopefully I am back to feeling (mostly) normal!

Tomorrow, I’m going to do a day in the life post, since I try to do one every few months, but today I want to catch up on the past few days as well as share some things I learned in one of my classes!

I’m taking a sex and gender in physiology class this quarter, and yesterday we had a guest lecturer come in and talk about gender differences in relation to sports performance. Here’s something interesting: there are very few studies that look at women specifically. Most of the sports performance studies are on men, or do not differentiate. Given the hormonal differences and differences in organ size (women have smaller hearts and lower lung capacity), this is significant. From the lecture, I had a few take aways for practical applications I wanted to tell you guys.

  1. Women suffer from Hyponatremia more frequently. Hyponatremia is a condition that occurs when blood sodium levels are too low. This may occur during a long, hot endurance event where a person drinks lots of water, without electrolytes, and loses lots of electrolytes in sweat. This is a serious condition, and actually kills more people in long distance endurance events than dehydration. Women are more susceptible to this because estrogen lowers the body’s “set point,” or level of electrolyte that it decides is acceptable before it must conserve water. As a result, the body starts conserving water when more electrolytes have already been lost. Because women have more estrogen than men, especially during the luteal phase of their cycle, they are more likely to have this issue of loss of too many electrolytes. So what’s the solution? Easy—consume electrolytes! Add 1/16 of a teaspoon of salt per 20 oz of water to prevent excess electrolytes loss and to improve actual water absoprtion into the bloodstream.
  2. Post-workout, women need more protein, specifically lysine and leucine (amino acids), for muscle recovery. Women have higher levels of progesterone, and progesterone increases the breakdown of protein and leads to less protein synthesis (building of muscles). Because of this, the magic protein to carb ratio in chocolate milk is likely not sufficient protein for women (but it’s great for men!). For women, something life plain low fat Greek yogurt is recommended because it has a higher protein to carb ratio.
  3. Women should not go super low carb or exercise fasted (see my previous post on fasted cardio—similar concept) because while women have a greater capacity for turning fat as fuel than men, exercising without carbohydrates leads to cortisol (the stress hormone) production, which reduces estrogen, leading to lethargy and fat gain. So carb up!

Hopefully you might have gotten something interesting out of that! I haven’t tried salting my water yet, but I definitely will soon. I feel like I’m constantly thirsty and constantly drinking!

So what have I been up to? Last week my friends and I had a little fruit and cheese party. One of m Christmas presents was a fruit and cheese club, and this month’s cheese was gouda, and the fruit was pears. I also sliced up some goat cheddar to enjoy with crackers.

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Also noteworthy: my parents got me some fancy chocolates from Napa, and not only are they beautiful, but they’re delicious! And coincidentally, now they’re all gone.

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Over the weekend, I visited my high school friend at Berkeley. Friday was her birthday, so I stopped by to see her cats celebrate!

Seriously though, her cats are adorable. I took pictures with both cats but not with her…They are now 8 months old, and I watched them grow up!

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It was a pretty low key night—I got there in time to go to Trader Joe’s and then make dinner. We snacked on some hummus (with GF crackers for me) and then made a salad with avocado, tomatoes, goat cheese, and hard boiled eggs.

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We actually used WikiHow for the egg method, and they came out perfectly and easy to peel. I’ve had some fails with eggs in the past, but it’s been years since I’ve made hard boiled eggs. For what it’s worth, just bring a pot of water with some salt to a boil WITH the eggs in it. Once it boils, turn off the heat and leave the eggs for 3-20 minutes, depending on your egg told preferences. We split the difference and went with 10, and they were perfect, with fully cooked yolks.

We watched a movie (Ex Machina—interesting!) and had a great time in each other’s company. I love friends like that!

In terms of health, I am happy to report that my stomach flare up seems to have ended (KNOCK ON WOOD). It’s been ending the past few days, but I actually felt normal today (!). Yesterday I was feeling not flared but that my body was having to work really hard to digest anything, until the magical dinner I had at home on the way to an off campus class. Sweet potato chicken soup and cornbread is apparently the ideal thing for my stomach. Needless to say I had leftovers for lunch today and plan to have the same thing for lunch tomorrow!

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On the food front, I had a sunflower seed butter+jam sandwich (on GF bread) for a pre workout snack today and I was way too excited for it. I think I hate pb&j every day for lunch for about 4 years in middle/high school, so when I acquired good GF bread I was all over that!

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It’s funny—with my stomach condition I feel like I have to take a very scientific approach to how I eat. Everything must be planned and considered—there’s no emotion associated. As a scientist, I actually like this. The point is, I’m trying really hard to eat foods other than straight carbs—more whole foods. While there are some vegetables I’m staying away from right now, I’m trying to work in more actual foods (like this sandwich in place of a bar). I packed an orange for snack today which was exciting because I have definitely not been getting my fruit in!

In fitness news, I did the best pull up of my life yesterday. To put in perspective how crazy that is, 2 weeks ago I couldn’t hang from the bar without shoulder pain. My shoulder is not 100%, but it still amazes me the changes that occur every weeks and the progress I make. I’m super proud of the pull up because I literally built that up from nothing. At the end of September, I couldn’t lift up my arm. Now, I did a pull up without a band. Sort of kipping, but still, closest to non-kipping I’ve done (and before I only sort of could do 1 kipping sometimes). I’m incredibly proud of this, and am hoping 2016 will be the year of the pull up!

Now, I have to go make a spin playlist for tomorrow! I’m loving my spin classes this quarter—they’ve been full! I taught tonight, and can already see that tomorrow’s class has filled up!

How do you stay hydrated? Do you feel hydrated?

Calories In, Calories Out

Today’s topic is a little bit different. I want to talk a little bit about the importance of getting sufficient calories.

I’m still navigating my new style of eating, and overall it’s going really well. One interesting change is that I don’t seem to get crazy sugar cravings anymore. I also have to be really vigilant about not overeating all at once, or my stomach will revolt. Due to both these factors, for the first time I’m having to worry about eating ENOUGH calories. I’ve had a few days where I simply didn’t get enough in, and the next day felt it a lot. I’m a very active person, and I definitely need fuel to teach my spin classes! Yesterday I felt like I didn’t have enough fuel in my body when I was teaching spin, and definitely was feeling it at the end of class. I taught spin again today, and really tried to plan my day to build in more calories.

To complicate matters, my stomach has been flaring a bit this week, so it’s actually difficult to eat enough! With all these moving parts, I also have to balance my attempt to get calories, the foods that my stomach tolerates, and appropriate nutrition (AKA vegetables). Vegetables actually have been a bit of a struggle for me lately. When I’m eaten half meals, I usually have to do a half portion of veggies, and vegetables are difficult for me to do as snacks/second meals.

I have instated a minimum calorie amount that I absolutely have to hit, otherwise I’ll feel awful/starving the next day, and today I just about got there but it took some work and a lot of planning. And a lot of crackers. I’m going to go through the little things I did today to try and get the calories in!

First thing this morning, I had about a half serving of crackers prior to a short track workout. I woke up not feeling great (flare+hunger) but the food helped! After my little run, I had a moderately portioned yogurt bowl. 1 tablespoon sunbutter+banana+plain yogurt.

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And another couple of crackers.

Mid morning, half an hour before my first class I was hungry (thankfully) and was able to eat a few more crackers. GF crackers=my life currently.

For lunch, I has some quinoa salad with feta and craisins+a small portion of broccoli salad. For the afternoon, I packed about half a serving of crackers with the goal of eating them before I had to teach to meet my calorie goal, so I had a couple at lunch.

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After my next class, I had my main snack for the afternoon, a Raaw Macaw bar. This was is slightly denser than my other because it has a sun butter base.

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I had another couple of crackers, bringing me closer to my cracker goal.

My final class let out about an hour before I had to teach, so I finished my last several crackers.

Days like today are frustrating because I had a stomachache after eating each time, and could definitely not have eaten more at once, but by the time I finished my spin class, I was STARVING. But there’s nothing much I could have done to ameliorated the issue. I did take it easier in spin today given I wasn’t feeling 100% though. I tend to go especially hard when I’m teaching because I feel no pain, and then step off the bike and wonder what I did to myself!

Upon arriving at my dorm I had another 2 crackers, and then a basic dinner of chicken+veggies.

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I could only have about 2/3 a serving of the chicken. About an hour later, I had another half piece of chicken (trying to eat something other than just carbs) and a big rice crispy treat. These past 2 days, this giant rice crispy treat pan has been great for sneaking in some extra food!

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Dealing with my stomach condition has definitely been a learning experience, and is definitely frustrating on days like today when I did everything right, but the calories that I absolutely need to eat leave me with a stomachache.

Do you ever have days where you’re so active you need extra food?

Veterinary School

Today’s topic is a little bit different than some of the things I normally post about, but I though that some people might find it informative. One year ago, I had no idea about anything vet school, and now I’m a few short months from applying!

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Vet school requirements are quite a bit more comprehensive than med school requirements. For both Med and Vet school, you have to take required courses like chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and biology. However, many veterinary schools require additional elective classes.

Different schools require different things, so take a look at this chart. Some common electives that are required are biochemistry, genetics, microbiology, and animal nutrition. If you’re like me and go to a non-pre vet focused school, you may need to take some of these courses at other places. For example, I’m taking an online animal nutrition course through Purdue this summer. My university also does not offer microbiology+lab, so my current struggle is figuring out where to take that in the fall while working during my gap year. All required courses must be completed in the spring before enrollment. This means you can apply to veterinary school in the fall, and still take fall or spring required courses that year.

Another additional requirement is veterinary hours. These can be either shadowing or working with a veterinarian—there must be a veterinarian present of these to count. For example, my job working as a veterinary assistant counts as vet hours. You need hundreds of these hours before applying, and it is ideal to get experience in different areas.

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I 100% understand why this is a requirement. I think there are a lot of people that are interested in becoming veterinarians simply because they love animals, but veterinary medicine is so much more than that. There is no substitute for experience.

Non-veterinary hours are also encouraged for more animal experience. This could be in a research setting, or volunteering at a shelter.

Almost all veterinary schools also require the GRE, which I am currently studying for.

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The application itself is similar to the common app which most colleges use for undergrad. You need to write a personal statement, and have letters of recommendation. In addition, many schools require supplements.

Where am I in this process? Suddenly it’s all becoming much more real, and I will be applying in a few short months! Currently I have several hundreds of hours of veterinary experience, and am working on more now. I am planning to spend some time at the beginning of the summer working on my application, and then spending the rest of the summer doing something animal related (although I am still working out what this might be). Over the summer, as I mentioned before I will also take an animal nutrition class. I’m not sure what my gap year will hold, but it’s complicated a bit by the fact that I need to take a microbiology course in the fall. There are a few things I know I will apply to. Ultimately though, I want to end up in DC for my gap year, and for me right now that’s nonnegotiable!

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Any questions for me?