WIAW—Guinea Pigging it Up?

Hi friends! Welcome to another WIAW.


Before we get into my full day of eating, I wanted to show you guys what I did with my Soulard Farmer’s Market haul. I sautéed the zucchinis in garlic and nutritional yeast, and served them with fresh mozzarella and some of my mini heirloom tomatoes. Cookies were an appetizer because I stopped at Target after spin to pick them up, and it was late, and I was about to eat my arm, and if you thought I’d make it the mile home without breaking into them….


Ok, time for WIAW!


For some reason, I’ve gotten in the habit of having a flapjacked muffin on my days off. We’ll go with it. This is only my second time having the apple cinnamon, but it’s good! For some reason it’s hard to find. The other day, I was wondering if, since I hadn’t known this flavor existed, there were other flavors I was missing out on?

The answer is yes. There’s a S’mores flavor! I ordered a 4 pack online to try, so I’m excited for that! Plus packages are awesome. But food packages? Amazing.


I also had a few snap pea crisps (I often randomly have a few of these at meals) and half of a mediocre peach. Target has has awesome nectarines, but I didn’t see any when I went so I got these. They’re fine. Not amazing. The season is ending, I suppose!

Before getting ready for the day, I did half of a Blogilates ab video. I’ve neglected these. They’ve gotten so much harder haha. Sidenote: I got a yoga mat to do at home ab workouts and hopefully some yoga classes. I didn’t realize until rolling it out in class for the first time that it has a rocket ship on it. It’s pretty cool! But I think it might be meant for small children…it’s also sort of short, but good enough for me!

My coffeeshop of the week was The Mud House in Cherokee. This is my second to last one on the list!


As per usual, I got a decaf cappuccino.


I liked this a lot! It had that bitter/rich high quality coffee flavor. A little darker than some, which I would say is not quite as much my preference. I would say this falls about at the same level as Rise, but I might rank it a hair above because they had food!

They had amazing sounding grits, and an amazing sounding goat cheese sandwich (and they had GF bread), but after much deliberation, I went with the soup of the day, which was vegetarian split pea.


It was definitely a good call. I swear, my entire diet could consist of soup, salad, and sandwiches, and I’d be a happy girl.

I actually had a pretty productive day, school wise. I was dragging a bit in the morning, but with my low caffeine tolerance, the decaf was enough to make me WIRED. Not bad wired, but wired to the point of happiness and productiveness. (Note: I’m very certain I didn’t accidentally get full caf because that actually would kill me.)

I did a little bit of coffeeshop hopping today. Actually, I planned my entire day around visiting the other coffeeshop. Why? It’s trial day.

I haven’t had gluten in over a year. Not exactly at least. I accidentally had a tiny bit twice (that I know of): Thanksgiving (eating the top off of cheesecake and getting some of the crust) and a mislabeled turkey meatball. Both caused flares, but not terrible ones. (Thanksgiving wasn’t great partly because the excess of other things that make me flare.) The last time I intentionally ate gluten was a few crackers the night before my endoscopy. I spent most of the night lying on the floor, super nauseous, feeling like death.

But it’s been a long time. My gastroparesis is so much better. I don’t have to take stomach meds daily in order to function anymore. The fear of a flare is not constantly on my mind. Part of this is managing what and how I eat, but I honestly think my stomach has healed a lot, even since the spring. I’m not going to take over this WIAW with talk about all that, expect another post soon, but the sum of it all is that it was time.

I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted enough to test for a long time. But I don’t envision myself having to be meticulous about gluten long term; it’s a pain, and I hate the social situations I find myself in (I know it really isn’t a big deal to have to avoid a food, but for some reason I’m really self conscious about this.) But then I discovered a true St. Louis staple, and I could not find anywhere that had it gluten free: Gooey Butter Cake. After much research, I learned that Park Avenue Coffee had some of the best gooey butter cake, so this afternoon I stopped by to pick up some of the original (they have tons of other flavors too).


I decided to plop down there for an hour or so with my textbook, so I got some peppermint tea (#nomorecaffeine).


For a snack pre-workout, I had a Luna bar and the rest of my peach from earlier.



Around this time, I started feeling off. (I should note I started this post earlier in the day.) I was feeling pretty wired earlier in the afternoon, and I thought I was just really sensitive to even decaf, but then I started to feel a little like death. I think my cappuccino must have accidentally been full caf. To preface, I’m super sensitive to caffeine. It runs in my family, but when I developed my stomach illness my caffeine tolerance dropped to zero and it makes me really sick now. I started to feel really sick and shaky. It felt exactly like one of my flare ups. I hoped that Crossfit would make me feel better. I walked up and almost turned right around because I felt so rough. Luckily, copious amounts of stomach meds and some movement helped me feel a little better.

The workout started with an EMOM for 10 minutes of 3 burpees+1 deadlift+hang power clean+jerk. I stuck with 85# because I was still really shaky and didn’t want anything too heavy overhead.

The WOD was 2 8 minute AMRAPS of 200m run, 10 russian kb swings, 10 overhead lunges at 55#. Lunges are still a little hard for me with my foot. I can’t get my knee to the ground on one side without over stretching it.

After my workout, I did feel better but still rough. I decided that there was no way I could do my cake trial. I decided to take it as a sign from the universe that maybe I’m not ready, and not as healthy as I thought. Plus, when I got back to my car, I heard a commercial about all kinds of GF products, which I’ve never heard anything like before. Another sign. I don’t normally believe in non-baseball superstitions, but come on.

On the plus side, from an academic perspective, it’s very interesting to better realize that too much caffeine feels the same as a flare up, and my flare ups probably involved over activation of the central nervous system. Huh.

After my workout, I knew I needed to get some food in. This WIAW sure didn’t go as planned, but that’s life.

I knew I was low in calories for the day (I don’t think I got nearly enough food in after cycling last night) and needed to make sure I got something in without making myself feel worse. I had some GF crackers and a plain piece of GF bread while I started making soup.


What made the biggest difference in how I felt was making some hot ginger honey water. Discovering how much ginger helps has been life changing.


It’s funny, the soup I was making I used to consider my “magic soup” back when I was really sick this past winter. It cured several flare ups. I was actually planning on making it before I even had wanted to do a trial, so I guess it worked out! I did it the lazy way though. The recipe for sweet potato, pear, and leek soup is here. I cheated.


I wanted to use sweet potato soup, but couldn’t find any. the butternut squash worked out perfectly though! I took the boxed soup and added the pear (I cooked it then blended it in to a little of the soup before stirring everything together—it’s a small blender), and then adding all the flavorings. I halved all the spices because I was making a smaller volume (except ginger because #magic). And then made the croutons.


I swear I felt better with each bite.

Finally, a little bit later, I had a Luna bar because I needed more gentle food.


As for the gooey butter cake? It did not go to waste. My intern buddy came over to take care of it and watch baseball with me 🙂


So was I a guinea pig today? Not in the way I was expecting. But seriously, what are the odds the one day in the year I got caffeine was the one I had planned on trying gluten for the first time in a year? Unless the act of buying gluten caused me to flare? haha. Honestly I felt like I was doing something illicit, buying the cake.

So I guess my trial is on the shelf for now….

I apologize for the depressing health-related turn this post took—it was definitely unexpected!


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?

Surprise, Surprise



So, yeahh I didn’t exactly post yesterday. I was SUPER busy. Workout starting at 6:30, then straight to class until 3, yoga at 5, meeting up with a friend at 7, dorm community building activity 8-10, math problem set, preparing a presentation…yeah that was my day yesterday! But first let us go through the eats.

First things first, after I posted the other day, one of my dorm mates came to my room and gave me this:Image

It’s called a “slutty brownie.” It is cookie on the bottom, brownie on top, and oreo in the middle. It was super good! He made them the other day and borrowed my tinfoil, so he brought me one the other night. He even warmed it and everything! I may need to start lending out my tinfoil more often!

Ok, Wednesday morning! I believe I ate the other half of my Apple Cinnamon Blueberry bread  (last piece!) and milk pre-workout. I am in serious need of making more bread, I only have one piece of zucchini bread left, and that’s it! 

After my row+spin, I headed to breakfast with a smoothie and intentions of laying off the nuts.


Fail. (By the way, that is toast with cream cheese and egg white!)


Aaaand double fail. But it was delicious! That right there is my attempt to make half a waffle…never works. Here it is with heated up frozen blueberries!Image


And I definitely ended up eating more nuts later that day in the form of a granola bar for snack (and then one after dinner), and I think also a banana with nut butter.Image

I had zero time for dinner, and ended up eating it at the beginning of my dorm event. I heated up some butternut squash soup that my mom delivered to me earlier this week, along with spinach and mushrooms. Topped with avocado!Image

Wednesday was not the best night….Let’s just say I had a ton of difficult work. 

Thursday morning I was up bright and early (again) for my 2x6k hard erg workout. Before was zucchini bread. I ended up PRing on this workout, which was awesome! And on 5 hours of sleep too! Afterwards, I felt entitled to a treat. this feeling of entitlement is never a good thing. The plan was to add a chocolate muffin to breakfast. Image

Half a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and egg whites, and half a raisin bagel. Plus fruit. There were not any chocolate muffins, so I went with a cranberry orange.Image

Plus part of a broken up whole wheat pancake with butter. Do you ever have days when you feel like you are a bottomless pit after a tough workout? Yeah, that was me today. So add another half pancake, half muffin, and half bagel. Plus some much needed coffee.

But gahh talk about carb overload! I definitely wasn’t feeling so hot, and this probably led to worse eating later on in the day. Example A: Lunch. Let’s be honest. This was a tough week. I felt I deserved something. I went to a cafe to study after math and before my next class, and I decided that although I wasn’t super tired (yay coffee), maybe some more caffeine would be a good idea. I decided to treat myself to a chai tea latte. And one other thing. If you are a healthy eater, look away. If you have ever considered thinking about eating healthy, look away. Image

That’s right, giant apple fritter right there! I figured I should probably get something real as well, so I got some type of dish with lentils and meat substitute.The Med school cafes are so nice! But don’t worry, I was unable to eat the whole fritter. It wasn’t as fatty as some are sometimes. And yes, it was quite tasty. I didn’t feel quite as gross as I was expecting at that point, considering the large amount of sugar and carbs I had consumed already. Somehow, I have yet to experience the caffeine/sugar crash. After class, I went back to my dorm. And stayed there. Why? NO PRACTICE TODAY. Our coach gave us the afternoon off. Why? No clue. But apparently it hasn’t happened in 2 years. So I’m not going to question it. So, so far in this day, you may have noticed something. That’s right, no nuts! HOWEVER. As I’m sure you guys all know, eating lots of sugary carbs leads to more cravings for sugary carbs…ok so maybe that doesn’t relate directly to nuts, but I had a sweet tooth, ok?Image

Banana with cocoa powder and peanut butter. So naturally I had to have some nut butter and jelly crackers as well…

Let’s just say I am not proud of my eating habits today. But hey, at least I’m honest with you guys, right?

Dinner tonight was actually pretty exciting. Indian food! At my local dining hall! That never happens!Image

And then OF COURSE it was dessert time (are you seeing a trend here?). I opted for a taste of cheesecake. (In the dining hall? What is this?) And some vanilla frozen yogurt with crushed oreos and corn pops. Ok, here’s the thing. I REALLY like corn pops. I probably haven’t had them in 10 years. But when I used to go on family vacations when I was little, my sister and I would get to pick out “vacation cereal,” which was the one time we could get whatever sugar-laden cereal our hearts desired. I almost always chose corn pops. 

Anyways, I was reminded today why I really shouldn’t eat so much sugar. I CAN’T CONCENTRATE. Which is part of why I am posting right now. Whenever I eat a lot of sugar, my ability to focus is basically nonexistent. Which is going to lead me in to No Sugar Challenge #2: The Quest to Manage My Time Better by Not Eating Sugary Foods and Therefore Have Some Capability of Focus. Let’s just say that my time is very constrained right now, so I’ll take anything I can get. But this challenge is a bit harder than last time. Why? Because I can’t eat nuts! Wahhh. :'(

I don’t know if you could tell by this post that I’m completely all over the place right now. That’s what the sweet stuff does to me! I suppose I should set a length of time for my sugar challenge. Any suggestions? Maybe 2 weeks? That’s what I lasted last time. Should I shoot for 3? 3 is my PR. Hee hee. As if this were an exercise…Ok I have obviously had too much sugar, so I am going to calm down now and report back tomorrow after a hopefully low sugar and nut free Friday! Have a great week everybody!

Do you have weird reactions to sugar? Any ideas on a timeline for my challenge #2? Any tips for replacing my beloved peanut butter?