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Full Day of Eating: 101 Ways to Eat Zucchini

I’m currently blogging from the coffeeshop that I will basically be living in over the next 4 years, sipping on a decaf iced latte and eating a GF lemon lavender muffin. YES.

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Since I have some time on my hands today and tomorrow, I figured I might as well do another full day of eating! My life is going to get crazy starting Monday. I want to still blog during vet school, but I recognize that school is my priority so I will definitely¬†be blogging less. My goal is 1 post/week. We shall see. In the meantime, I’ll have a couple of posts scheduled to go up next week ūüôā

The theme this week is 101 ways to eat zucchini. As i mentioned before, I have a massive amount of zucchini. Not part of my full day of eating, but the other day I made some zucchini fritters, served with shredded zucchini and corn salad. For the fritters, I grated up 2 large zucchinis, realized it was a massive amount and pulled some out for the salad, then squeezed out excess liquid and mixed in garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper, chopped chives, nutritional yeast, and egg whites.

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I served them with applesauce, creamy goat cheese, and ketchup.

Also, if you’re wondering what my current day to day is like, it’s mostly spending time with this one:

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She’s gotten better at actually, you know, sleeping during the night.

But back to the FDOE.

This is from Friday! I wanted to do morning Crossfit instead of evening, and for some reason I was thinking I’d have to do 5:45am. Then remembered that I’m not at my home box and there are lots more options, like 9:30am! I love that, even though I’ll probably never be able to do it during school.

Breakfast:
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Fruit stand peach+sunbutter on GF toast. I got GF bread that wasn’t frozen this time, and the quality of my toast is WAY better than thawing it from frozen!

Crossfit was deadlifts plus a quick WOD that included lots of cleans and a little running. We did a warm up of relays on the assault bike, and I was a little too excited to hop on that I didn’t get my leg up high enough and scraped my leg on the base of the seat…whoops.

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Right after Crossfit, I hit up the grocery store and picked up stuff for a potluck tonight, plus some staples and a protein bar, that I broke into.

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Afterwards, I made a lighter lunch since I had just eaten a protein bar. Avocado toast and a kale salad with lemon juice, cooking spray, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper. Love this simple salad.

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I also broke into that day’s impulse buy for dessert:

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Afternoon snack: GF frozen pumpkin spice muffin with butter.

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I wasn’t super hungry for dinner, so I made a zucchini scramble that came out really well! Zucchini, egg whites, and garlic and herb alouette spreadable cheese. Plus half a piece of GF toast with butter.

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For dessert, I made a couple of flapjacked protein cookies and ate them with vanilla halo top.

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That evening, I met some vet students for beers. I think the consensus is that we’re all excited but nervous for Monday! When I got back, I had a snack of red, white, and blue banana bread from the freezer. It looks sad because when I was reheating it, I flipped it over and that was a fail.

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I also had a couple of GF cookies:

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I’ll probably throw a weekend post or something up tomorrow, but otherwise, we’re going in folks!

Why Bodybuilding and Fitness Youtubers Appeal to Me (But I’ll Never Compete)

Hello, hello!

I have something a little lengthier to talk about today, but first I wanted to touch on a few eats!

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Monday night, we had grilled pear and grilled chicken salads with goat cheese. You can definitely grill pears, and they’re definitely delicious! On the side was roasted sweet potatoes (I could seriously eat these all day, every day).

Leftovers became my lunch salads two days in a row, but with champagne vinaigrette and fig goat cheese.

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Wednesday night, we had to break out the champagne one last time for vet school applications because I got called off the wait list at Cornell. I ended up declining (brrr), but I had originally stayed on the wait list because I wasn’t sure what I would decide if the choice came. Excuse the interesting outfit, it is courtesy of the need to change out of scrubs after work.

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For anyone interested, I do plan on talking about my vet school application process at some point, in case some pre-vet runs across it.

Dinner was BBQ chicken salad with guacamole.

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Aaaand onto today’s topic. This was something I’ve been thinking about for the past few days, and finally decided to touch on it.

I was at a party with college friends I hadn’t seen in a while last weekend, and one of them commented that I look fitter. This was really interesting to me. Because honestly, I feel like I look fitter, but it’s really hard to judge myself, you know? This had me thinking about some changes I’ve made. I mentioned about a month ago that I was stepping up my diet, and I do think I’ve made some progress since then, and it’s honestly been really easy.

If you followed my transformation story that I posted last year, after gaining weight in college, I lost around 20 pounds over the course of my senior year. One of the biggest reasons I was able to do this was I had a shift in mindset; after dealing with stomach issues, I now had to eat to feel good and feel healthy (which I discuss in this post).

I think one of the most significant changes in my mindset was taking the emotion away from food. Suddenly, my health and how I was feeling was more important that looking a certain way, or weighing a certain amount. I also got to the point where I was comfortable with myself and I trusted my body to not freak out after overeating here or there, which took away a lot of stress. Sure, occasionally I emotionally eat. But it’s not every day that I feel the need to stress eat, so when it happens, I let it happen (or look for a slightly healthier alternative) and accept that as part of life, and know that one day or one meal won’t change anything in the long run. *That being said, if you find yourself stress eating every day, I think it’s important to look at the root of the problem (why are you constantly stressed?) and change something, because constant stress is not sustainable.*

In the last year or so, I started watching fitness youtubers. I watch them for meal ideas or workout inspiration, but it turns out, a lot of them do bodybuilding competitions. It seems like every youtuber has done a bikini show at some point. I find body building incredibly fascinating. It’s science and the knowledge of the human body in its purest form: you eat xyz, you do xyz workout, and these changes happen as a result. I think it’s so cool. You make changes in your input, and the body changes as a result. The current trend is to track¬†“macros” or the macronutrients carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and eat them in a certain ration to achieve results. I think this is a really cool manipulation of the human body. That being said, I can confidently say I will never count macros because 1. that is way too much effort and 2. I don’t have any goals serious enough that any of that really matters.

One thing I’ve been enjoying lately is listen to fitness podcasts while walking Chloe. The only one I’m really listening to now is Amanda Bucci’s podcast, and it’s interesting to hear some of these discussed in more detail, as well as to hear more background about other “fitness personalities.”

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(As seen on today’s walk.)

The podcast I listened to today was about building muscle and losing fat. It got me thinking about my own food and fitness direction in comparison. In terms of “goals,” I can’t say I have any desire to do bodybuilding, no matter how trendy. Nothing against it, but I really do what I do to be athletic. Some of these body builders consider low intensity cardio versus HIIT and talk about specific training splits. I’m just not that serious, and really just have the goal of being athletic (and i guess look athletic as a byproduct?). In my line of work, I have to be able to hold a 100 lb dog and be¬†in weird positions restraining animals for long periods of time, and contort myself to something with an animal such that the animal is more comfortable and less stressed (our comfort never matters, haha!). I like to be able to run fast (relatively) and lift heavy things and feel strong. That’s my goal. Training for life, right? And it’s totally fine to have different goals!

What I was bringing this back to was that I like the bodybuilding approach to food and fitness in the way that it takes the emotion out of food. It’s science, which is what rely appeals to me. While I don’t count macros, I do count calories. And because I’ve gotten to the point where there’s not as much emotion attached to food, they really are just numbers to me that I can manipulate. I’ve learned what numbers (and at what time) work for me, and I can objectively shoot for those. I’m OBVIOUSLY not perfect, but the numbers and data driven approach really does appeal to me.

That all being said, another thing that I think helped me progress a lot was being honest with myself. The last couple of weeks, with a new and funky eating schedule, I tried one approach but felt blah, and often found myself craving more things. I took a step back and said, “hey, this isn’t working for me, knowing what I know about my body, how can I change things?” I think in the past, I might have thought, OMG I’m overeating, what’s wrong with me, let’s do this extreme! Versus now, I unemotionally analyze what the problem might be and try to solve it.

Anyways, those were just some thoughts for me on this Wednesday. I’m off to get my allergies retested, which should be interesting! You know I’ll share that later!

Life in Pictures

I meant to stop back in here Friday…and then Sunday…and now it’s Monday and here we are, so I’ll take it! We’re going to go through life lately in pictures, because why not?

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Work at the vet has been good. THIS GUY. <3 (Note: this is not a patient, it is a kitten one of my coworkers found!)

I feel like I’m thankfully getting back into¬†the rhthym of things faster than expected. I do enjoy my job, but still adjusting to the 2 and 3 pm lunches…

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Things have been a little crazy at home lately, and I totally forgot about the CSA box I picked out until it showed up. Thankfully, it provided the perfect easy dinner, without the need for a trip to the store! I apparently went a little wild with carrots though….the entire box was loaded with regular carrots, purple carrots, and rainbow carrots. No complaints here though! Also included were beets and broccolini, so those were roasted up and served with brown rice, an egg, hummus, and chives.

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I’m still working my way through some throwback breakfasts. This one is from my summer in DC. The banana wasn’t as ripe as I would have liked, but this is banana mashed and heated in the microwave, with cocoa powder. Plain greek yogurt, sunbutter. YUM.

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This is a typical work lunch. Leftover ginger soup with crackers and half an apple. The apples we got at the fruit stand last week are delicious, and massive.

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Roasted carrots showed up the following night as well (since there were so many!) Also on the plate was roasted potatoes with rosemary, broccoli, and rotisserie chicken (plus ketchup, of course!).

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Still going strong with flapjacked cookies. I cooked these a little bit longer than ideal though!

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I didn’t have work Friday, so Thursday was sort of my Friday? One thing about being at the vet is that it can be sort of loud (twin barkers on this particular day), and while I handle it fine at work, sometimes when I get home things feel a little overstimulating. My parents talked me into splitting a beer on this night.

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My college friends and I took advantage of my free day Friday to make a trip to San Francisco. After much indecision, we decided on taking a trip to the Ferry Building. The food there is always amazing. This time, we tried a Mexican place.

Indecision was a theme, and my friend helped me decide to go with tortilla soup (over tacos). It was a delicious decision! We also had guacamole.

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I really liked the cojita cheese in this as well!

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We explored the various vendors a bit before stopping for gourmet ice cream. I went with malted milk chocolate and it was every bit as amazing as expected.

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For dinner, I threw together a quick salad of leftover roasted beets, rotisserie chicken, dried cranberries, goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, plus roasted carrots.

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I picked up a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin from the gluten free bakery at the Ferry Building, Mariposa.

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Another typical work lunch: the same salad as the previous night with a side of crackers.

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Work on Saturday was a little tough, but good. Despite the unconventionality (for me) of working Saturdays, I actually really like the feel of the days. Everything feels a little bit quieter, and I feel like I can be more helpful. I am also getting the chance to work on some vet tech skills, which has been fun and exciting. Anyways, after work my mom and I split a dark beer for happy hour while we discussed our days and prepped dinner.

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Dinner came together in a hurry, with an opened faced turkey and havarti sandwich with apple. On the side, we finished up our produce stand artichokes. Our usual dipping sauce is a mix of mayonnaise an flight balsamic vinaigrette.

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More flapjacked cookies happening in these parts.

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Sunday I spent all day at a Pre-Vet Expo my undergraduate institution hosted. It was a really great conference, with talks by veterinarians in difference fields, lunchtime discussions with vets, and various Q&As. A few things struck me about this day. First, it’s so crazy to me how I attended this same conference 2 years ago, new to anything veterinary medicine, and here am I now, headed to vet school. What?? Second, I’m really excited about the field I’m going into. I don’t know exactly what direction I want to go in, but there are so many opportunities and I can’t wait to dive in. Lastly, veterinarians are a really great group of people. Everyone is so friendly and eager to help young, aspiring veterinarians. If any pre-vets happen to be reading, I highly, highly suggest reaching out to any vets you may know for questions or shadowing. My start came from asking my local vet about shadowing, which turned into hundreds of hours of vet experience and a job.

Anyways, after the conference I stopped in to the on-campus gym to run 2 miles on the treadmill. My achilles held up. I pushed it, but I think the right amount. I’m doing a race in less than 2 weeks (a 5k), and while I have no grand aspirations, I just want it to go well! When I got home, I was HUNGRY. After much debate, we decided to pick up sandwiches for dinner. I suggested Which Wich, because you can get any sandwich in a lettuce wrap or in a salad bowl. I decided to try the exact salad I get at Subway, but I added avocado. It was good!

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I took a break from cookies to make this delicious bowl. Vanilla halo top, flax 4 life brownies, fudge, and whipped cream. YUM.

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Chloe got another walk Monday morning.

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And FINALLY, one more lunch: wrap with sundried tomato laughing cow, spinach, pepper, and half an apple and snap pea crisps.

WHEW.

I know that was a little all over the place! I’m actually going to record a day in the life tomorrow, so check back for that in a couple of days!

CA Girl Survives Snow in Upstate NY

We left off on the plane to up-state NY. Let’s jump in.

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This is what I arrived to.

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And I was a touch nervous when Friday morning I woke up to this:

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BRRRRRR.

For this leg of my trip, I stayed with my cousin who lives here. And probably thought my qualms about the weather were ridiculous. Things learned from this extended trip: the CA blood runs strong in my veins. Every night here I’ve been sleeping in my Northface and warm socks, and I’m currently huddled in front of the fire. That being said, I’ve definitely been surviving!

Breakfast the first morning:

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Morning sights:

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It’s so beautiful here. I had a great day, and when the activities were done, I was greeted with snow!

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My cousin took me to the grad student bar (he’s a PhD student), and I loved the vibe.

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On the walk to the car afterwards, I was greeted to even heavier snow! As a CA girl, this is incredibly exciting. I haven’t seen it snow in 4 years (when I went to the mountains 3 years ago, we were in a drought so it didn’t snow). It’s really incredible!

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We went to a good place for dinner. We started with beers (milk stout for me) and cheese fries.

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I actually really like cheese fries, but I’ve had them maybe twice in my life. I guess it’s better for my health to not have them all the time…?

For my meal, I ordered a cup of bean soup and a salad.

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I find myself eating a lot of salads when I’m traveling. It’s partly because I know how my body will react to them (I’m hyperaware of flaring my stomach when traveling), but partly because salads that I don’t make are always so delicious and usually more exciting!

After dinner, we headed into the winter wonderland of a downtown.

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Saturday, the temperatures improved quite a bit, and I committed to running a few miles with my cousin’s girlfriend.

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I was actually shocked by how warm 30 degrees felt! I definitely overdressed!

After a late breakfast, the next item was visiting a local brewery, Ithaca Brewery.

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We were encouraged to buy a beer to drink while on the tour. I’m not going to object to that! I had a chocolate stout.

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The tour was really interesting. We got to learn all about the brewing process, and even smell some of the raw ingredients like barley/malt and hops!

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They also had quite the impressive bottling system (according to my mechanical engineer cousin).

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And of course, at the end, we got to try a couple of things. I wasn’t a huge fan of either, they were hoppier than my taste.

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I feel like this blog has been less “health and fitness” and more beer lately. Perhaps I need a name change: Barbells and Beer?

One of my favorites I tried was an Apricot wheat beer!

Next on the agenda was a trip to the gorges to see a waterfall. I can’t say my boots were ideal for slippery snow conditions, but I persevered!

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Check out the falls!

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After our mini-hike, we went cider tasting, where I was promised fluffy dogs and a cat.

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Sadly, we only briefly saw the cat (he was adorable, and escaped, he wasn’t supposed to be out!)

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My favorite was the sweeter one.

We hung out in the cozy cider place for a few hours and chatted before it was time for dinner.

By dinnertime, we were all quite hungry. We went to a Southern style restaurant, and I got to get the grits I was missing in Alabama! (Minus the hotel instant grits…)

It amazes me how few people have tried grits. My cousin hadn’t! I was raised on grits because my dad is a Floridian and therefore claims to be from the South.

I had a salad with bleu cheese, apple, and raspberry vinaigrette with chicken, and a side of grits. This was devoured.

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Afterwards, my cousin took me to the Cornell-Yale hockey game. I’ve never been to a hockey game before, but my cousin is big into hockey.

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The game ended in a 2-2 tie, even after overtime, but I enjoyed the game! I always thought I would like hockey live; I find it moves so fast and the puck is so small that it’s harder to follow on TV. I think hockey can be elevated to my 3rd favorite sport to watch (after baseball and football, obviously).

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Sunday (the day I’m typing this up) was the day I was to head home. As I packed up, I got increasingly nervous as the rain turned to snow, creating pretty awful road conditions. I was flying out of the tiny Ithaca airport, and given the weather report, I didn’t think I would be getting home Sunday. The snow was even worse on Monday, so I was really worried I wouldn’t get back for a WHILE. With fingers crossed and no delays yet, we headed to a nice brunch that included eggs, GF bread, and more grits.

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Sure enough, right before we were going to leave for the airport, my flight from Ithaca to Newark was cancelled. My airline only flew to Newark, and although other airlines were still making it out of Ithaca, the flights were 100% booked. SOMEHOW, after much frantic searching, I was able to hop on a flight to Charlotte, which would connect me to SFO. My cousin and I made the hour and a half trek to Syracuse through less than idea conditions (snow and sludge), extremely conceded that 1. I would miss the flight, but mostly 2. all fights out of Syracuse would be cancelled (some had already been). Somehow, despite the totally white scenery outside the airport, the flight was on time. I didn’t really believe I would get out until we were in the air!

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So here I am, in Charlotte. I have never been so grateful to return to warm temperatures (it was 78 degrees when I landed), because I knew once I made it out of New York where most of the weather was, I would likely be able to get home tonight! At the airport I grabbed a BBQ chicken salad and some tortilla chips.

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To celebrate the fact that this (fun but exhausting) trip was coming to a close, I shelled out a boatload of money for some local beer. I had a really great North Carolina beer (Lonerider) when I was in TN, which I sadly couldn’t find.

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This wasn’t my favorite, but it is what it is. Time to sign off and cross my fingers that my final flight goes smoothly!

 

I Should Have Done a Healthy Travel Series

Another weekend, another cross-country trip.

I really should have turned all these weekend trips into some kind of “healthy travel” series. Seriously. This weekend’s destination? The Boston area.

Because I’m gone SO much, I’m really trying to fit workouts in where I can, and maintain healthy eating habits (because if I don’t I will not feel too good…).

My flight Saturday morning left at a very sane time, so I didn’t have to leave for the airport until 9am. There were no Crossfit/spin classes early enough, so I went to the gym to do my own thing. I actually really like these workouts. I actually love the no-cardio lifting workouts, where there is no time pressure and I just work on what needs work. Because I deadlifted at Crossfit the previous night, I did squat day. I want to spend more time focusing on my power lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench). We’ve been doing sets of 20 reps for squats at Crossfit, but only at 60-75%. I wanted to try to work a little heavier than that. I worked by way up to 165# for doubles, which is heavier than I’ve been lifting lately, but still not that great for me. I did 4 sets of 2 at 165. I need more time with some heavier weight on the bar, that’s for sure! Then I did some accessory arm work: 3 sets of 8 single arm press (while kneeling on a knee) with 25# and 10 tricep dips. I finished it all off with abs via a Blogilates video. Abs, another thing that has been neglected lately!

A side note: I think my body is starting to feel the 3 teaching spin classes a week because I feel like I’ve been WAY hungrier than normal. Friday night, right as Crossfit was starting I got hit with that intense hunger despite eating normally all day. Huh.

I made myself a quick protein smoothie+Cheerios post-workout. I always try to squeeze in nutrients where I can because you never know what you’re going to end up with! Smoothie: frozen cherries, milk, cocoa powder, chocolate protein powder. Current fav (plus we’re out of frozen bananas).

I always pack plenty of snacks for the trip. I packed lettuce+hummus+a hard boiled egg to eat on the plane, as well as a few leftover roasted carrots. I was going to have that with crackers, but ended up passing a place at the airport with lots of delicious looking vegetables, so I picked up so butternut squash and brussels sprouts salad.

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We were lucky enough to get a nonstop (FINALLY), and arrived in Boston around 8:00pm. I’ve been anxiously monitoring the weather, and was happy to realize my 2 jackets from the plane were sufficient!

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On the way to the hotel, we stopped at Panera, where I had my usual half Fuji Apple Chicken salad, plus some gluten free crackers that I brought.

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We stayed at a Doubletree, as Doubletrees give you free, warm, delicious chocolate chip cookies. Sadly, I’m allergic to them (nuts) so I ate a granola bar in a sad attempt to replicate what I was smelling.

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Sunday morning, my dad and I both started the day with a 3 mile treadmill run. After that, we headed to the hotel’s breakfast buffet, which was a nice one. I had a few bites of egg and potato, and then had Chobani yogurt with Cheerios and fruit.

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Then, it was time to explore! The temperature was definitely manageable.

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We stopped in the nearby town of Worcester. The pronunciation of that is so silly to be. Apparently about half of the letters are dropped!

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We stopped at Wormtown Brewery to sample some local craft beer. We both tried Pumpkin Ale and Pilsner.

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Afterward, we drove into Boston, to Quincy Market in search of Wicked Good cupcakes.

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Lunch first though! There was tons of lobster and crab! I ended up getting lentil soup, a Greek salad, and rice pilaf. Sadly, it was far more food than expected so I didn’t finish most of the salad or rice.

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Sadly, the cupcake place was out of gluten free. My dad tried a chocolate sea salt caramel cupcake though, and said it was pretty good.

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Cupcakes in a jar‚ÄĒisn’t that fun?

Then, we were off on the streets of Boston.

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We went to the Boston Tea Party ship and museum. I saw it on the map on the way in and it looked interesting.

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We were all given feathers and backstories, and I thought my dad’s was hilarious:

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We started with a “town meeting” for some historical background, and then went out to the ship to learn more and toss some “tea” into the water.

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After, we headed into the museum to see some reenactment videos, more history, and part of one of the original tea boxes that was salvaged.

It was an interesting tour, and a fun way to kill an hour in Boston. Upon exiting, we found ourselves in the bakery/cafe, with the most amazing smell of chocolate chip cookies. Imagine my delight when I saw this:
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Finally, what I had been craving all trip! I got some with tea (of course).

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The sun was going down and the temperature was dropping, so we made the trek back to our hotel and had dinner at the restaurant there. I had a kale salad with roasted butternut squash, chickpeas, and chicken.

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And then got to enjoy leftovers from my pack of cookies!

Monday morning hotel breakfast was similar: yogurt with cheerios and fruit, plus a bit of eggs.

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Lunch was a catered Chipotle burrito bowl, with plenty of guac.

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The best part of the day?

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Obviously.

Finally, it was time to head for the airport. We grabbed some food to eat on the plane. I got a salad with goat cheese and some kombucha, and ate it with crackers.

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Other plane snacks included a protein bar, smoked salmon jerky, cheerios, and an apple. When we arrived home around 10:30, my mom had some vegetable soup waiting for us.

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But more importantly, she made a mini gooey butter cake! If you recall my St. Louis adventures, gooey butter cake is a St. Louis classic. She made a version with GF flour. This was a little different than what I had in St. Louis, a little less gooey and more custardy than sweet, but was still delicious!

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And now my friends, it is back to temporary reality. I’m home for a whole 2 days, which includes teaching a spin class and taking a final, before I’m off on my last (albeit long) adventure! My final trip takes me to 3 eastern locations, and lasts 10 days. Stay tuned as I freeze my face off!