Midterm Season Vegan Eats + Cherry Bombe University Recap

Midterm Season Vegan Eats + Cherry Bombe University Recap

Hello once again to my fine internet friends! I hope you are having the warmest coziest fall filled with mugs of tea, hearty soups, scrumptious baked goods, and warm blankies. I’m back in the blogging game after a fatiguing few weeks of midterms and application work.

Midterms really did not bring out the best in me this year, and after crying in public from lack of sleep and overloads of stress, I decided it was a healthful idea to take a step back from the internet and putting pressure on myself to blog for a few days and focus on learning how to chill and sleep and and socialize and eat like a normal homeostatic human being again.

But! I’m feeling quite restored after this weekend of naps and friends and oodles of baking and wanted to share some meals and snacks from the past few weeks. Hope you enjoy! Leave me your favorite snacks and cozy meals in the comments below, or pop over to my Instagram and slide into my DMs.

I’ll also be recapping my experience at Cherry Bombe University, so keep on reading for that!

Avocado Toast with Za’atar:

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This was a new-to-me-combo that I’d wanted to try out for a while. I also added some hemp hearts and nutritional yeast for extra flavor/texture/satiety. It was pretty good, but not my favorite avo toast flavor combo. Still fun to try though!

Oatmeal with frozen blueberries and almond butter

I cannot get enough of this combo lately. I basically make this cinnamon banana-blurberry-oatmeal thing by cooking a 1/2 cup oats with 1/2 a mashed banana and about 1/4 cup frozen blueberries stirred in towards the end of cooking. I then pour my oats into a bowl and top with almond butter while the oats are still warm so the almond butter gets melty, and pour almond milk on top to cool it off, and enjoy.

Dumplings and the Sweet Soy Bowl from Luanne’s Wild Ginger

I visited one of my BFFs Raag in Brookyln last weekend for an early bday celebration. We grabbed lunch at Luanne’s Wild Ginger and it was excellent.

We started with dumplings (<3) and tempura. I’m not a huge fried-foods person, but I love me some doughy doughy dumplings.

For my entree, I got a sweet soy something bowl (can’t remember the actual name), with chewy brown rice, tangy-sweet-sour-spicy gluttonous soy medallions, steamed Japanese pumpkin, house-madee pickled veggies, and kale, and some yummy sauces. This was incredible. I’d eat it every day. Yum.

Happy birthday Raag!

Cinnamon Rolls

Made from scratch with Raag. We used this minimalist baker recipe. Delish! Cinnamon rolls are life.

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How Much Protein do I Actually Need?

How Much Protein do I Actually Need?

Having gone vegetarian way back in the mid-90s before it was more socially normal to do so, I think I’ve been asked about the adequacy of my protein consumption roughly a bajilion times.

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Now, I know people who have asked usually do so with good intentions, but I’ve always found it a wee bit odd everyone is suddenly a concerned nutrition expert when I tell them I don’t eat meat and like fruit, but people rarely feel the authority to directly express concern to people who live off fast food and soda pop.

Anyways, I digress…you’d think the Protein questions would have slowed as vegetarian and veganism have popularized over the years, but with the new market-focus on protein protein protein, the Qs keep coming.

So, I thought I’d type up a quick post about how much protein you actually need.

Disclaimer: As always, this is general information intended for healthy, non-pregnant or breastfeeding adults. Your needs may vary based on medical status or life-stage. Please never replace generalized health information you’ve read online with individualized clinical care.

So, how much protein do you need?

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According to the Institute of Medicine, protein should make up between 10-35% of your total caloric intake (with carbohydrates accounting for 45-65% calories and fats accounting for 20-35% of calories).

As you can see, there is a wide range of what is considered a ‘healthful’ amount of protein. I always say this, but I’ll mention it again here: there are many different ways you can have a healthy diet. No one way is the best way, and you gotta do what works for you.

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Mid-October Vegan Eats

Mid-October Vegan Eats

What is up lovely internet friends? I hope your October is chugging along in a spooky and spectacular fashion, full of treats and maybe some fun tricks too. Here are some recent eats that have entered my belly. Haven’t been the best at photoing food as of late, but here’s a bit of plant-based inspo for ya if you need it!

Pasta with Spicy Marinara:

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Spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce was my favorite dinner growing up. Like for my birthday instead of going out to dinner I asked that my grandma (who was Italian and am amazing cook) made me spicy penne and salad. It was the.best.

Then I went off pasta for a while when I went to college. I’m not sure why. I think it was a combination of no pasta tasting as good as Oma’s pasta and the fact that prior to starting my nutrition education (started junior year) I was going through a phase of being overly concerned with eating more protein than I needed (hey, it happens: ‘health’ marketing is so effective and floods all our social media channels and ads!)

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Anyways, I’m back on team spicy pasta with red sauce. I’ve been making it a lot lately. I had a Brandless gift card and although I’ve found their stuff to be overall hit-or-miss, I got a jar of their arrabbiata sauce and found it surprisingly good! So I’ve had it with some perfect foods chia noodles a couple of times and Banza a couple of times. Still obsessed with Banza. That hearty texture though! 🤤

Bagels with tofu cream cheese from Wonder Bagels

Good bagels are everything. Good whole wheat everything bagels with amazing tofu cream cheese are quite literally everything. Especially served toasty warm. A couple of local friends turned me on to this spot and now I’ve been dreaming about going back on the regular.

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Is it Really Bad to Eat Late at Night?

Is it Really Bad to Eat Late at Night?

Wednesdays are a doousy this semester, filled with running between two campuses (I TA at the Columbia main campus and am a student at the CUMC campus), and capped off beautifully with a 3-hour night class that lets out around 8:30pm. Brutal. I don’t often hate my hour commute, but let me tell you – on Wednesday nights I find it very unfun.

Typically, I snack before night class, but for whatever reason, never feel like eating a meal before/during class. Hence, I usually eat dinner once I’ve gotten home/unloaded/gotten Millie out for a walk, typically around 10:00pm. As I often document what I’m up to on Insta stories, I had a follower ask me if it’s really true that it’s bad for you to eat before bed.

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I get asked about if it’s really bad for you to eat before bed quite a bit, and see confusion surrounding the topic circulating the internet quite a bit, so I thought it could make for a fun and informative blog post.

Disclaimer: As with all my nutrition and health-related posts, I’d like to point out that while I have a background in nutrition science, I am not your healthcare provider nor personal nutritionist. I have no information on your health history or current state of physical and mental well-being. These posts are intended as general information for healthy adults. Please do not substitute what you read on the internet for seeking individualized clinical care.

First of all, Here’s The Right Time You Should Eat:

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You know when the best time to eat is? When you’re hungry, that’s when! We’re living creatures with circadian rhythms and every day presents different activity levels, stress levels, sleep levels, and environmental factors that may impact when hunger hits and when we eat.

If you ask me, clocks are pretty arbitrary when it comes to hunger. The idea that you should ‘close the kitchen’ or ‘stop eating after 7/8:00pm is totally arbitrary and it bothers me that so many people think this is a rule you should implement into your life.

So the best time to eat dinner (or any meal) is when you’re hungry for dinner (and of course, have access to food and time to eat it), whether this be 4:30pm or 10:30pm.

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Some Random Thoughts

Some Random Thoughts

I had a bit of a weird long weekend dealing with the highs and lows of the mega-strong antibiotics I’m on and decided to not pressure myself to engage in any immediately demanding work or social media on Sunday and Monday. I just needed a break.

But today is the first day of school and I’m chillin on the A train and feel like penning some random thoughts as a blog post. I personally love reading these kinds of posts, so I’m gonna try some out here. Let me know whatcha think!

1. Gratitude

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I had a pretty meh summer. Emotionally, mentally, and physically (shout-out to the mud wasp who stung me and gave me cellulitis lol), it just wasn’t what I’d imagined (for the most part, there were definitely some highlights – like my trip to Alaska – though!)

But lately I’ve somehow shifted a lot of precious anger, resentment, and sadness. I think part of it has been just realizing how fortunate I am in many aspects of my life. Yes, there are struggles, heartbreaks, and disappointments. And sometimes you work your butt off for what seems like nothing. And sometimes people are just straight up mean or rude or try to get under your skin.

But I have a lot to be thankful for. Where I go to school, the amazing opportunities I’ve had lately, my precious pea of a dog, and incredible friends.

I don’t know how or why this attitude shift happened, but I am here for it (lol). Less attitude –> more gratitude. 😎

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Cauliflower Steak with Herb & Hummus Sauce and Hazelnuts

Cauliflower Steak with Herb &  Hummus Sauce and Hazelnuts

I love cauliflower; it’s one of my favorite vegetables. I’d even go so far as putting in my top three most loved vegetables, alongside sweet potatoes and romaine. And lucky for my tastebuds, cauliflower is finally having the moment I’ve always believed it deserves, and I’ve been trying it in every shape and form I can get my hands on. However, I realized last week I’d not yet made a Cauliflower ‘steak’ before, and then when whole heads of cauliflower went on sale when I was at the stores a few hours later, I decided to give it a try, and the Cauliflower steak with Herb & hummus sauce was born.

Vegan Cauliflower Steak with Herb & Hummus Sauce and Hazelnuts

The result was an interesting and different veggie-packed dish that I will make again and again. Now, obviously, a cauliflower steak is nothing like a beef steak and I am by no means trying to fool anyone there.

Easy vegan Cauliflower Steak with Herb & Hummus Sauce and Hazelnuts

Rather, I think this is a fun way to eat veggie and should be enjoyed in its own entity (I feel the same way about rice vs cauliflower rice – just different foods completely, so I don’t compare or replace them with one another, but enjoy them for what they are). I went with a rather simple preparation for the cauliflower. Just a bit of high-heat oil, salt, and pepper.

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5 popular health trends I don’t buy into

5 popular health trends I don’t buy into

1. Collagen-mushroom-potion-infused-bulletproof-caffeinated beverages

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Seems like it’s mega on-trend to whip up $12 lattes filled with grass-fed collagen, 8 different mushroom powders, and 17 other expensive supplement potion/powders these days.

It’s not that I have anything against those drinks; in fact I can appreciate the creativity behind them and recognize that they may be filling if they’re brimming with fats and protein powders. I simply don’t really buy into the grandiose health-promoting claims of these concoctions.

First, let’s talk about collagen. I’ve been digging through clinics research about it and am planning a whole post devoted just to collagen. But to keep it short and sweet in this post, let’s just say that from what I’ve read so far, I’ve concluded that if you’re into collagen and your diet lacks protein, it can be a source of protein for you.

But I’m not yet convinced that after orally digesting collagen and your stomach acid has broken it down, that it can actually maintain its structural integrity as collagen and end up in your skin and hair and nails as such.

There is some mixed clinical research on collagen and joint health, and a couple of studies on collagen and beauty (some of which have been funded by collagen supplement companies), but at this point in my PubMed dive, I feel the research is a bit shaky.

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Recent Vegan Eats

Recent Vegan Eats

Hey friends! I skipped a recent eats post last week because I was traveling and transitioning jobs! More on that later. Here are some yummy recent eats from the past 2 weeks.

I was pretty lousy at remembering to photograph my food minus when I was in Cali, but that’s just the way it is sometimes! When I’m randomly subsiding off packets of nut butter and bagels and apples while spending days in airports and/or getting home at 1am before eating dinner, my phone is the last thing I’m thinking about when nourishing myself. And actually, I don’t think it would be healthy to remember to photograph everything I eat. Anyways, I’ll be better this week, I promise. 🙂 For now, enjoy some rather random snack and meal inspo, and of course, Millie pics!

Kashi Autumn Wheat with almond milk.

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I adore shredded wheat cereals. They remind me of straight-up-childhood. Sometimes I forget about them when I’m on Cheerio or Chex kicks. But I’ve been craving sweet shreds lately and I’m a stroke of serendipity, these were on sale at the store last week, so I picked them up.

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How Climate Change is Impacting The Nutritional Value of Your Food: Part 1, Carbon Dioxide

How Climate Change is Impacting The Nutritional Value of Your Food: Part 1, Carbon Dioxide

I still remember sitting in my Public Health Impacts of Climate Change course at Columbia Mailman School of Health (my elective choice while a Columbia nutrition MS student) learning about how climate change is impacting the nutritional value of food.

To sum it up, I was “shook,” as the cool kids say. It was actually one of the lectures in one of the classes that set my on my current path, and I gotta say, no regrets.

One of the most amazing and wonderful things about studying what I study (which is the intersection of nutrition and environmental health) is that I am honestly so interested in what I am learning about that I eagerly listen and complete my reading and assignments. Especially about things like climate change and how it is disrupting the quality, quantity, and nutritional value of our foods.

I thought this could make for an interesting and enlightening blog post that will perhaps leave you feeling “woke” on the topic, eliciting similar feelings to those I felt in my chair of Mailman room 1101 (shout out to my EHS crew). If this isn’t your thing or your find this super boring, don’t worry, I’m sure more dog and dessert pictures will be coming your way soon.

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Hunger vs Appetite, and Fullness vs Satisfaction

Hunger vs Appetite, and Fullness vs Satisfaction

Do you ever find yourself thinking, “Gosh darn it, when did eating get so complicated?” Because it really shouldn’t be. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and it’s if you’re feeling any confusion, it’s certainly not your fault.

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We live in a food and weight loss-obsessed culture. Without even trying, we’re exposed to numerous food and fitness ads, ideas, and theories on a daily basis. They’re everywhere: the internet, social media feeds, TV commercials, even tabloids in the aisle at the grocery store.

All of these tidbits of information can be overwhelming. And oftentimes, to confuse things further, we hear opposing “facts” about the same topics. This encourages us to disengage with our natural eating instincts, and ignore our internal cues regarding hunger and fullness.

Today, I wanted to address a few words/concepts that may help you get back in touch with how to eat like an actual instinctual human rather than a confused oversaturated-with-misinformation human. Let’s go.

Hunger vs Appetite:

Vegan Cookie Levain Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

These words are often used interchangeably, but actually have different meanings in the nutrition science world. Physical hunger is defined by the physiological need for food. This may manifest itself as a rumbly tummy, empty-feeling stomach, low energy, and/or inability to concentrate. I know for me personally, I feel light-headed when I need to eat. But everyone is different.

Physical hunger is a result of blood glucose dropping in your body. When this happens, and your stomach is empty, a hormone called ghrenlin is released by your GI tract, sending a signal to your brain to increase gastric (stomach) acid and let your brain know “Hey! You up there! I need food!”

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Ghrenlin stops being released when food enters the stomach, letting your brain know that the need for food has been taken care of.

Appetite, on the other hand, is a desire to eat, less from a physical need, and more as a result of physical or environmental cues, such as the smell of freshly baking cookies, routines, and/or the desire to eat the doughnuts in front of you at a meeting even though you may be physically full.

If you eat in a very rigid, routine-style fashion, you may develop appetite to eat out of habit, kind of like a dog (#relatable).

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