Concussion Confessional: What I Learned From Concussion Recovery

Hello friends! Wow. It. has. been. a. minute. But I promise I have a valid reason for my absence, and it was related to my health. Specifically, this spring, I had not one, but TWO concussions within a 3 week period, which greatly limited my allotted/tolerable screen use time, and I had to be selective as to what I used my computer time for.

And as much as I love blogging and intend to blog consistently from hereon out, it fell to the wayside when I could only be on the comp a few hours per day, and computer-dependent school deadlines cluttered my calendar for several months.

Anyways, I wanted to talk about why I’ve been gone and to share my experience with having multiple concussions.I didn’t tell everyone I knew I was going through concussion recovery, mostly because I really didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. While I was going through all this, I felt really alone, scared, and quite sad.

I am hoping sharing my experience will help at least one other person going through concussion recovery to feel some sort of relateablity, and hopefully, a bit of hope.

So buckle in, here’s the story:

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Random Eats Lately

Hey hey! How’s it going? I’m just popping in to share some random meals and snacks I’ve been into lately. I love reading these posts because they inspire meal and snack ideas in my own life, so I hope to inspire some of you. Let me know if you like these kinds of posts! They’re fun to write so I’m happy to share more like them.

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This past week was particularly emotional and stressful and chaotic in school, work, career stuff, and with some family stuff too, and I ended up getting a killer migraine on Friday, which I took as a signal that I need to take a step back and relax for like, a hot second. All that to say I wasn’t as motivated to post serious intensive content this weekend and wanted to write something bubbly and fun. Now on to the food:

Avocado Toast from Mathew’s Food & Drink

Last weekend my friend Raag came to visit me in JC and we got brunch at Mathew’s. I got the avocado toast and it was one of the better avocado toasts I’ve had. Ever since Vital Root changed (ruined) their avo toast, I’ve been looking for a new avo toast bae and I think I found it.

It came with whipped avocado, fresh peas, radish, pickled shallots, and poppyseeds on toasted sourdough. The fresh peas added a nice pop of sweetness that contrasted nicely with the tangy pickled shallots. And I’m a sucker for poppyseeds so I was so into this. Paired with a side salad and some shared tater tots.

Ripple Foods Yogurt Bowls

I bought some Ripple Greek style yogurt recently and was excited to try it. Verdict: decent, but doesn’t taste like Greek yogurt. The thickness is there, but I want that TANG baby. Also, it was a wee bit gritty.

With bananas, homemade banana bread granola, berries and goobs of peanut butter on top, however, it was a satisfying snack for sure. Still think I prefer Kitehill Plain Greek style yogurt, but the search for a perfect vegan Greek yogurt continues…

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Adopting Millie + Millie FAQs

Ahhh! Four years ago today I adopted Millie. That’s crazy to me. In some ways I feel like it hasn’t been that long, but it many others I simply can’t imagine my life without her.

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I get a million questions about Millie so I thought I’d address them here!

1. How did you adopt Millie?

img_1499the very first photo/selfie of us together!

Senior year of collage my roommate needed to move and we ended up breaking our lease and because no one needed a roomie in the middle of October I ended up living alone. I didn’t mind it, but I also desired companionship and have always been an over-the-top animal lover so I began exploring different pet options.

For a while, I toyed with the idea of a cat or a some sort of rodent. I was still a college student and lived in New York City and had no idea where I’d be living after graduation, so I kept convincing myself a dog was impractical.

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How I’m Liking Jersey City So Far

Hello all! If you’ve been following me over the last few months you may already know that I relocated to New Jersey just outside the city and now commute into the city for school. I thought I’d chat a bit about Jersey, how and why I came to this decision, and how I am liking it so far.

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If you want more of a backstory as to how and why I ended up here, you can read this post. But long story short, I was wronged by the city too many times and ended up staying here out of the generosity of a family friend and ended up liking it so much I decided to stay put.

Overall, I am really liking it. Yes, my commute is long (slightly over an hour), but I think the distance between me and the city has been good for my mental health, stress level, and our relationship (ie relationship between me + NYC).

Below you’ll find my honest take on JC thus far. Happy reading!

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Why Counting Calories/Macros is Worthless

One of my least favorite trends right now / ever is counting calories and macros. It’s right up there with juice cleanses and detox latte potions (but that’s another article currently in the works). These things are very trendy right now on blogs and by those self-proclaimed ‘wellness experts’ and ‘wholistic healers/nutritionists’ on Insta, and while some people devote themselves to such regimes religiously, I am going to share with you why I think for most people it does more harm than good.

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Now. I’m not here to tell you it’s wrong to care about the food you eat. But if you’re hyper-focused on numbers, you may be missing the point of what it means to be actually be healthy.

Below are just a few of the reasons I advise against counting calories, carbs, or macros. I hope you enjoy and feel free to leave thoughts in the comments.

Disclaimer: Dietitian-guided meal planning and food tracking may be appropriate for those in the early stages of recovering from eating disorders or disordered eating until proper self-feeding is reestablished.

1. You don’t really know exactly how much you need, and a lot of different sources will give you different answers.

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While it’s true formulas exist to guide health professionals to estimate how much of certain macronutrients or calories a person needs for various life stages and health conditions, unless there is a case of enteral feeding, these are approximate values.

It’s highly unlikely that the calculations you compute at home or find on the internet are precise enough to match your exact needs. Moreover, you probably have varying levels of activity and sleep every day, which these formulas will not reflect.

If you don’t believe me, try googling “calorie calculator.” Type your info into a few different ones on the internet. See what happens. When I did it, I got a different value from every single website, proving a lack of validity for these values.

2. Not every item of food you eat has the exact same caloric content every time.

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Think about when you eat out. Let’s say, for example, I get a you pick two at panera. A go-to order for me is the garden veggie soup with pesto, a salad with avocado added, and a side of bread. Sometimes my soup has like, a bucket of oily pesto on it. Sometimes there’s barely any. Same with the amount of avocado, nuts, and tomatoes in the salad. It’s slight different every single time.

The bread that comes with it is sometimes a tiny nub, while other times I get a big round end piece. On lucky days I beg two pieces. You get the idea…all this to say that unless you eat nothing but perfect former and processed packaged foods (which I hope you don’t think is s way to get healthy), knowing the exact caloric and macro values of your food is nearly impossible, and studies have shown most people are pretty terrible at accurately tracking food and caloric intake.

What about a muffin your sister made? Or a latte at your local coffee shop? Even the USDA database has food values that don’t always reflect the actual food you eat (ie, they list 60 calories per slice of bread…the bread I eat has 80 calories per slide according to the label).

Are you going to neglect these foods because you don’t know how precisely they fit into your eating pattern?

Don’t! Free yourself! For the work involved, there is little to no benefit to tracking your calories or macros. If anything, it invites obsessing and micromanaging which can do more harm than good (see below).

3. It causes stress, and stress really mess with your physical and mental health.

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Keeping track of calories, carbs, etc requires a decent amount of attention and brain space on a daily basis. Perhaps you have plans to go out to dinner later but are worrying all day about the meal not fitting into your shiny perfect numerical nutrition boxes. Or maybe your coworker spontaneously suggests happy hour drinks or a classmate offers to share some birthday cupcakes in class. Cue stress, panic, anxiety, and loss of control taking over.

Eating the same amounts every day isn’t healthy, nor realistic. Life has ebbs and flows and is meant to be enjoyed spontaneously at times. Subjecting yourself to deprivation or hyper rigidity will likely cause you stress and anxiety, both of which can impact your hunger hormones and mess not only with your hunger and fullness cues, but also with your sleep schedule and mental health, cultivating a path away from optimal functioning, instead of one towards it.

Moreover, think of all the brain space you must devote to tracking your intake. Now imagine what else you could fill that brain space with: creative thoughts, fulfilling activities, or more time to spend with family and friends or spent cooking yummy nourishing meals. Sound better than counting carbs? I thought so.

4. It doesn’t take into account how hungry you are.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: your body is not a calculator, so it shouldn’t be treated as such. Unless you sleep, move, think and breathe the exact same amount every single day, you shouldn’t eat as if you do.

One of my biggest issues with calorie and macro counting is that it teaches you to disengage with your inherent hunger and fullness cues. Once you lose touch with them, it can be quite difficult to remember how to self-regulate.

Some days you’re just extra hungry for no reason. That is okay. And other days you may not feel as hungry as usual. That’s also normal. But you should eat according to what your body wants and needs given the situation. This means listening to hunger and fullness rather than a chart full of numbers.

5. It sucks the fun out of eating and eating out.

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Per the reasons mentioned above, calorie and macro counting suck joy out of life. Don’t do this to yourself. Food and eating are meant to be pleasurable. They’re intended to be shared, joyful experiences, or at the very least, fulfilling nourishment to cary out the rest of your life’s passions without being distracted by hunger or stressed by food charts.

This evening, for example, I overheard two well-intentioned females picking items off a menu based on what would fit their macro plans based on what else they had eaten that day. It made me so sad. You are meant to enjoy the food you consume, not micromanage it.

Imagine instead if these girls ordered what they had wanted instead of what they did order, and satisfied the craving their body had, nourished mind body and spirit, and moved on with life. What struck me the most was that the concern was not on the healthfulness of the varied food options, but rather, a game of numbers and macros. I almost wanted to butt-in from my table and tell them that their original order was actually highly nutrient-dense and would likely keep them satisfied for hours. But I held back…

Well there you have it: the reasons I advise against counting calories and macros.

If you are looking to improve your health, my best advice is always the same and relatively simple: fill up on plant-based foods (fruits, veg, beans, nuts, seeds, etc). Moderate the rest. Eat what you want when you want it, and stop when you’re satisfied. Listen to your body. They’re smarter than we give them credit for. And don’t forget to prioritize sleep an stress reduction, both of which may be compromised by rigid dieting.

Cheers to a happy, healthy 2018, free from self-inflicted diet stress.

Orchard Grocer Review

Monday was my last day of winter break before spring Semester started up again. My friend Caty had off work so we planned a late lunch date to orchard grocer to celebrate MLK day.

Orchard Grocer is an all-vegan deli on the Lower East Side, stocked with vegan spreads, sauces, faux meats, cheeses, snack foods, and candies. They also have a deli counter where you can order some vegan sandwiches and soft serve.

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Travel Recap: Colorado

Wednesday:

Wednesday night I landed around 5:00pm Denver time and my sister kindly offered to pick me up from the airport since she got off work early that day, which I was super thankful for because Millie was NOT having a good travel day (usually she does fine, but she, like everyone, has her days she is not feelin’ it).

After waiting 5ever for my luggage, we headed to my sister and her husbands place, stopping for tofu and kombucha at Natural Grocer’s along the way.

Disclaimer: Millie does not engage in recreational marijuana lol; this was a joke!

Back at her place, her husband whipped up a Super yummy cauliflower rice stir fry with crumbled tofu and a spicy peanut sauce. I didn’t take a photo cause #hanger but it was YUMMY in my tummy.

After that we just kinda chilled and hung out until bedtime. I was pooped.

Thursday:

I didn’t sleep well AT ALL on Wednesday night, and neither did Millie. I think it was the altitude. And then Millie woke me up for the zillionth time at 4:00am and I decided to put her out and feed her. And after that, I was just up, and couldn’t fall back asleep no matter how hard I tried.

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Jenn and Tyler both worked Thursday, so I went to a free birthday Yoga class at CorePower, half napped, and worked in the guest bed the whole day with Millie. Anyone else get super pooped while adjusting to altitude? I feel WIPED the entire first day.

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Then, at night, the three of us met up with my friend Vic to celebrate my birthday early with dinner at True Food Kitchen Denver. I started off with this really yummy house-made ginger tea with lemon thing. Because, you know, turn up.

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We ordered a bunch of stuff to share including a butternut squash pizza with almond milk ricotta, a charred cauliflower with a yummy vinaigrette glaze and dates, tofu mushroom lettuce cups, a seasonal salad with a bunch of burnt veggies and squash and white beans and pomegranate, a veggie bowl with teriyaki glazed sweet potatoes, quinoa + hemp seeds, avocado and some other veggies, and a winter squash toast appetizer.

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Noms.

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The charred cauliflower was my favorite. I also was SO looking forward to redeeming my birthday dessert and they were out. Boo. Looks like no bday desserts for me once again this year.

After dinner, we went back to their place, put the pups out, and went to bed.

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Friday:

Friday my sister had off work so we took the pups hiking at Three sisters wilderness area. Millie had SO MUCH FUN it was insane.

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There were many sniffs involved!

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Afterwords we headed back to her place to shower. In the afternoon, the three of us ventured out to Whole Foods in search of vegan cheese, fruit, veggies, guac, crackers, and other goodies to make a charcuterie plate for dinner. Whole Foods ended up being out of many of the cheeses we wanted (womp womp) but we still picked up some yummy ones and nice spread. I reviewed the ones we tried here.

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We also got Hail Mery’s pies which I reviewed here.

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After that we played some board games and chilled and went to bed early.

Saturday:

Saturday we left in the morning for Rocky Mountain National Park. We did a nice walk around a frozen lake and played on the ice a bit.

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I had fun with portrait mode.

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After, we stopped in Boulder, CO for the Celestial Seasonings tea factory tour!

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It was pretty legit considering it was a completely free tour. While we were waiting for the tour to start, we got LOTS of tea samples and were offered the ability to have any flavor brewed for us to try. The tea tour was about an hour, and included a video about the company, as well as a walk-through of the facilities. The mint room smelled so minty it hurt my eyes!

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Next, we hit up Whole Foods Boulder to check out the Beyond Meat Sausage since we were close by they have the Beyond Burger Bar there.

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The Beyond Burger bar is where the whole Beyond Burger got it’s start, and it’s currently the only place in the country you can get it. I’m writing a whole review for Spoon, which I will link here once it’s live, but long story short, it was good!

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It came with these weird quinoa tots. And Jenn and I also ate salads.

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After we got back, I showered and did some homework while Jenn napped and Tyler gamed.

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Eventually I got hangry and woke Jenn up and we ate leftovers from the previous night for dinner with zero pants or fancy arrangement, all standing around the kitchen island inhaling food like savages.

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We finished off the evening at C-Squared, a local cider brewery, where we met up with our friend Vic and some of her friends / boyfriend. GTs.

Sunday:

Sunday I slept until 6:40am (late for me). Millie was also so pooped she didn’t want to get out of bed!

I tried to bake something but messed it up (I’m going to blame never before baking at altitude lol). Didn’t matter much, though, since we ventured out to Thump (not Trump) for coffee. 

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At Thump, I spotted a vegan coconut almond scone that was out.of.this.world.

I’m not a huge scone person but if all scones tasted like this one I would be. The inside was super fluffy and the outside was crispy and had crunchy caramelized coconut flakes and the whole thing just tasted like fluffy almond extract which is one of my favorite flavors EVER.

Tyler and I noshed on this while we walked the dogs at Chessman’s park.

Millie rode co-pilot home. We quickly dropped off the pups and headed to brunch at Vital Root.

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Per this post, Vital Root USED TO have the best avocado toast on earth. They changed it significantly and now it is MEH! They took away the crispy chickpeas, balsamic glaze, and spicy chili sauce…aka everything magical about it.

Also, maybe it was just the one I got, but it was like SOPPING with oil and super greasy and gave me gnarly acid reflex. I was super bummed. My sister’s tofu scramble was pretty tho lol.

I was in a poopy mood after that because I was bummed about the toast and sad about going back to the city. I just love hanging with Jenn and Tyler so much and really miss them. Plus, the city is just a hard place to go back to when you’ve been away.

I left for the airport around 3:00pm and off Millie and I went on our 5:50 flight to Newark. We landed around 11:00pm local time and Millie was a TOTAL rockstar traveler (#proudmamma).

And now it’s back to the grind! My bday is tomorrow and I plan to post a reflection post, as well as a review of my trip to Orchard Grocer soon. Stay tuned!

My Actual 2018 Intentions

I wrote a little while ago about some New Year’s resolutions that I believe are more fulfilling and life-giving than those related to weight-loss. But I thought I’d share my actual personal 2018 intentions that I’ve set over the past few days while reflecting on my previous year and what’s ahead.Screen Shot 2018-01-06 at 3.08.34 PM

If you care, feel free to continue reading. If not, don’t worry, I’m sure there will be a food post to inspire your tastebuds soon. Personally I like reading these kinds of posts and try to write a blog I would want to read so here we go: my actual 2018 resolutions.

1. Spend less time doing things I dislike, and more time doing things I enjoyimg_9795

At some point in the last 6-ish months, I decided I want to stop spending time subjecting myself to self-induced misery.

Obviously, in life, there are times we must do things we don’t enjoy out of necessity. But I’m done self-selecting to engaging in optional activities that make me angry or irritated or feeling down. I’m done hanging out with people who drain me of my happiness or try to bring me down or try to belittle me. I’m finished with workouts I don’t actually like (goodbye running, hello barre classes!).

This also means focusing the time I must spend on things I don’t love (like certain errands, chores, or school/work assignments) so I have more time to do things that make me happy and bring up my vibes, like hanging with my pup and baking, and not feeling guilty about it. Fun, joy, and happiness are important. Life is too short to grind yourself to miserable bits.

2. Socialize a wee bit more

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I’m a hermit. I can cozy up and introvert myself into an abyss. All I need is my dog, my sittin’ pants, a cup of cocoa, and the internet. But I want to try to spend time with people I genuinely enjoy being around a bit more this year. Nothing crazy, just making more of an effort to be around people who bring me joy.

3. Stress less about things that really don’t matter

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Meaning I don’t waste my time or energy obsessing over things that are insignificant in the grand scheme of life. Like someone cutting me off in the parking lot, missing the A train and having to wait 20 minutes for the next one, disliking my expensive meal at a restaurant, or someone trolling me or my work online.

Just gotta take a deep breath, realize how insignificant I am and how the event is so minor in the grand scheme of the universe. I’m slowly getting better at this. And honestly, it’s so relieving.

4. Focus less on the past and more about how I can make my future better

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I used to obsess a ton over mistakes I made and spent a significant amount of time and energy being angry or angsty at people or events. Now I do this less. Because at some point I realized it literally does not serve me in any way. So I’m not doing it anymore. Gurl, bye.

5. Spend less time resenting New York, and more time enjoying it.

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We all know I had a bumpy start with moving back to the city. So bumpy, in fact, I ended up moving to Jersey. I don’t regret this, and I do believe that the space has been good for us.

But I really truly should start to appreciate the city more again, and maximize my time and opportunity there. This means eating more of NYC’s amazing food, taking in shows and events and opportunities while I’m there.

I’m certainly ready for something different after I finish my current degree, but I don’t wanna look back on my time in the city and regret not taking advantage of all the amazing things New York City does has to offer.

6. Spend more time doing things that allow my brain to slip into a semi-meditative state

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I’ve tried the meditation thing many times. It doesn’t work for me. I know it’s a practiced skill, but since it frustrates me currently I decided I’m not going to force trying (at least now).

So that means finding things that allow my brain to be in the chillest state possible. Activities where I don’t watch the clock and have no concept of time or space and my brain feels as chill and can wonder freely about without interruption or judgement. For me, this is baking, long walks with Mil-dawg, barre classes, and watching garbage TV while making lists.

7. Chill

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Yup.

8. Do things I’ve wanted to do for a long time and haven’t yet

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No more excuses. I’m gettin’ old. If not now, when. Hold me to this!

9. Eat more yummy foods

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Always a fulfilling goal to have.

10. Appreciate what I have and be less wasteful

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Less attitude, more gratitude kinda thing. And less food waste and more efforts to compost and recycle!

11. Continue to support growing creative talent

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This is something I’m super passionate about: I love supporting talented people trying to get their work out there.

The truth is, every photo, video, recipe, or blog post you see takes effort, and putting yourself out there is scary. You get backlash and hate and critique pretty much no matter what you do.

That’s why, when I see talent and effort, I love to support it. Over my years with Spoon, I’ve met and interacted with SO many people. I am constantly inspired by their creative talents, work ethic, and intellect.

I’ve also met and interacted with many other independent creators on various platforms, including YouTube, Instagram, the blog world, and more.

Here’s to people supporting each other and watching each other grow rather than competing with them or tearing them down!

That’s it for me! These aren’t really resolutions as much as aspirations to better myself/reach my goals. Hope you have a wonderful 2018 and if you have any #inspo for me please comment or message me on Insta!

11 Food and Health-Related New Year’s Resolutions That Are Way Better Than Losing Weight

It’s that time of year again: the time when everyone starts chattering about how this is going to be the year they finally lose weight. Diet talk starts flooding your ears and diet and fitness ads pop up all over the TV and social media. It’s unescapable.

But here’s a wild thought: if this stuff worked, and if these crazy cleanses and diets and fitness regimines were sustainable, then why does everyone pursue them year and year again? Oh, that’s right, because these are marketing gimmicks and money-makers from companies who have your wallet, not your health, in mind.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to live a healthy lifestyle. All I’m saying is that the diet industry has sort of distorted what it means to be healthy. And there are way more important and interesting things to pursue in life than talking about losing weight and doing juice cleanses all the time. Like, I don’t, perhaps realizing how privileged we are to be able to even not worry about where our next meal is coming from.

So here are 11 food and health-related resolution ideas if you want to make a resolution and are out of ideas since literally the only one you usually hear about is weight-loss related. Or don’t make one. That’s cool too. Eliminating extraneous and unnecessary self-placed pressure is totally something I can get behind.

Anyways, happy New Year! Hope you have a fun, tasty, and festive holiday.

1. Don’t diet

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They don’t work. They lead you to be miserable, sad and empty inside.

They also cause a great deal of stress, which leads to the stress hormone cortisol elevating in your body. Elevated cortisol is not only detrimental to overall health, but can actually make it harder to lose weight (which honestly, you probably don’t need to do anyway).

If you had a friend that made you sad, miserable, stressed, and left you feeling empty inside, would you continue to pursue a relationship with that person? Likely not. You’d probably distance yourself from them.

So you should do the same with diets. Kick that sh*t to the curb. Free yourself.

2. Let Go of Food Norms

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In the past few years, I’ve gone from being self-conscious, rigid, and weird about food norms to not giving a flipping fuck.

What do I mean exactly? Well, for example, for reasons that escape all present logic, I used to feel really weird eating lunch before noon. Like, the thought of enjoying a salad at 11am gave me anxiety. All of my friends in New York ate lunch at like, 2 or 3, so I perceived that as the normal or cool thing to do. If I ate lunch early, it’d make me different and weird and maybe cause me to miss out on eating with friends later.

This odd rigidity lasted after college, even when I would work from home. How silly is it that if I was hungry-for-a-meal at 10:30am, that I’d eat a small snack and let my stomach rumble for 90 minutes, starting at the clock and counting down the minutes until 12;00pm hit, rush to the kitchen, and rage on food.

In retrospect, it makes no sense to do this. At all. Obviously with various work and school schedules, I don’t always get to eat when I’m hungry, or eat what I feel like eating at the time. That’s okay. That’s life.

But I’ve let go of rules and regulations. Since I eat breakfast between 5-6, being hungry for lunch at 11 is totally acceptable.  I don’t judge myself for it. I eat my food, satisfy my hunger, and free up brain space to focus on other things.

There’s no right or wrong time to eat or correct meal to eat certain foods at.

So eat salad and sushi for breakfast (I have). Have lunch at 10:00am. Eat ice cream before bed when everyone else is talking about their new weight-loss plan. Do you. Live your best life.

3. Disassociate numbers and health

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Including calories, macros, and weight. Your body is not a calculator.

4. Unfollow anyone on Instagram promoting a cleanse or detox

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You can follow them again later, but free yourself from daily posts about ‘chic’ fast-tracks to health. Spoiler alert: there is no magic pill to good health. Juice cleanses are an example of a way company’s have found to make tons of money profiting off the vulnerability of those who simple want to be healthier or thinner and don’t know where to begin.

Juice cleanses don’t work. There is literally no scientific data to support them. Literally none of my nutrition professors at Columbia nor NYU ever said a single favorable thing about them.

Drinking juice is unsustainable and highly unsatisfying. Want to be healthier? Eat more plant-based foods, move when it feels good, and

5. Realize that food on Instagram isn’t real life

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I feel like the internet has set up this dream world where food always looks perfect and luscious and bountiful and full of health and wonder and it sometimes leads us to set oddly high or distorted expectations of what eating is.

The truth is, food doesn’t always have to look glamorous or even taste amazing all the time. Truly. It’s fuel. Sometimes you eat things that are boring and eh or maybe things you don’t like. That’s life. And sometimes there’s more to eating than picture perfect or gourmet meals. Sometimes it’s about the social element. Sometimes it’s going with the flow.

Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t really cook or style food or eat very boring food all of the time. In fact, I eat very boring food most of the time, I just don’t post all those meals and snacks to the internet.

There’s a lot more to life than food (which I know, is ironic to say on a food blog). But it’s true. Food is what gives you energy to do all the other things in life. So go ahead and eat boring food and make sh*t happen.

6. Waste less food

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Food waste is one of our nation’s tragic and hidden scandals.

40 million Americans are food insecure, meaning they don’t have enough to eat. Yet 40% of the food produced in this country goes in the trash, and often to landfills (which is also sad, since most food scraps are compostable).

Food waste wastes not only food itself, but also energy, water, and resources required to grow, package and transport it.

Even if you don’t giving a flying crap about the planet, there’s a selfish reason to care: wasting food wastes a ton of money, meaning there should be an incentive for everyone to stop buying or ordering more than we’ll realistically use, storing food more wisely (make friends with your freezers fam, seriously), and being more crafty with leftovers.

7. Take a few seconds a day to appreciate the fact that you have food

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Per reasons mentioned above. We live in a world of excess. Many of us walk around where food is everywhere, and in great abundance. Meanwhile, 40 million Americans don’t get enough to eat every year.

If you’re not food insecure, appreciate it. Truly. I firmly believe you can’t function at your maximum capacity when you are hungry.

8. Stop trying to ‘control your hormones’ with extreme diets and exercise habits

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Lately, ‘mastering your hormones’ seems to be the fastest, easiest, and trendiest way to attract followers on social media.

It really makes me sad to see people with tons of power and influence promoting extreme regimes and unscientific potions to large audiences.

The truth is, nutrition is super complicated, as is the endocrine system. And an Instagramer with a shiny feed who appears to be a queen of ‘natural’ lifestyle knows nothing about your health or what your body needs.

While I have a background in nutrition, I am not your healthcare professional, nor are any of the references listed above. If you have a concern about your hormones and/or have lost your period, consider seeing a healthcare provider about it.

Many people suffer from hormonal imbalances and amenorrhea from under-eating, over-exercising, not sleeping enough, or being too stressed out. Robyn from the Real-Life RD writes some good stuff on this topic if you want to know more from someone who is actually educated  in the stuff unlike so many self-proclaimed ‘wellness and lifestyle experts’ out there who maybe read one trendy pop-nutrition book or two.

But seriously, free yourself from believing that potion-and-mushroom-filled lattes and eliminating grains is how to fix

10. Prioritize sleep and stress reduction

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For so many years, sleep and engaging in activities that lower my cortisol were the first things to go when I was busy or overwhelmed. But lately I’ve come to realize how crucial sleep + stress management are to physical and mental health.

11. Enjoy your food more

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Life is too short. Eat dat ice cream.

10 Random Thoughts

I love reading these posts on other blogs and I have a lot of random thoughts and no where to express them so I’m going to start sharing some random thoughts here and there on the blog.

Hope you enjoy!

1. I Realized It’s Kind of Useless to Peel Carrots

I love eating big raw carrots (they taste way better than baby carrots IMO), and it recently dawned upon me that peeling them is unnecessary. This was a DUH moment. I mean, yes, removing the peel means it’s fresh and dirt-free, but it also takes time and wastes a lot of carrot.

Now I just rinse the carrot well and eat it all. A revolution for me.

(Okay truth time: sometimes I still peel them and feel the peels to Millie.)

2. This Recipe was the top post on the VeganRecipes subreddit for a hot minute on Tuesday.

I’m new to Reddit. It still feels foreign and weird to me. But this was exciting. Especially because this was my first ever food video. Also, you should make these.

3. I keep holding off on watching the season 4 finale of Great British Bake-Off on Netflix because I don’t want it to end.

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Also, I’m stubborn and don’t want to watch the 5th season with the new hosts. I can’t imagine the show without Mary Berry and Mel and Sue. I want to be friends with Mel and Sue. And Mary Berry. But I tried to follow her on Instagram and her account is private and she never approved…maybe it’s not her real account? lol #wishfulthinking. Still love her!

4. I can’t get enough plantains lately.

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Why have I not bought these before last week? They are SO GOOD. I let some of them ripen even more than I did the first time and decided this is key.

Last night after I got home from our department’s holiday party, I knew even though I ate a bunch of snackies and nibbles at the party, I still needed a meal to satiate me physically and mentally.

So I simply sliced a super ripe plantain, microwaved it for 2-3 minutes, tossed it in a bowl, cubed up an avocado and dumped on some black beans and mixed it all together with salt and a little cayenne pepper. I served it with a green salad. Didn’t take a pic cause I wasn’t thinking it would be anything special and also I was impatient. But it was like, incredible and took me less than 5 minutes. For a real recipe, click here.

Also, anyone else feel this way about eating meals even if you’ve snacked a ton? For some reason even if I’ve nibbled on appetizers (I know people make a meal out of them often!) I still mentally need a sit-down meal to feel satiated mentally. Even if it’s a light dish. I ju

5. I am so ready for holiday break.

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This has been a rough semester for me. First, with the housing clusterfuck, and even though I’m feeling less stressed now that I have a stable safe place to live, I have had a recent surge in anxiety and feeling a bit down/depressed that has really been effecting me.

For some reason, I’m just quickly and easily overwhelmed by socializing lately. I’m not sure why. Perhaps my mom’s health is weighing on my mind a lot (she’s really not doing so well), but I am having a hard time just socializing in person, especially in big groups.

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Lately I’ve also been frustrated by some work stuff and am also a little irritated by some administrative stuff at school preventing me from getting research opportunities. Sigh. I’m just trying to give myself some breaks where I can and not stress over little stuff.

ALSO I can’t wait for break because I deeply miss being creative and want more time for projects. I have a few on my horizon; two in collaboration with a sustainability Media hub I’m a correspondant for, and others just for me and you :).

6. We’re Supposed to Get a Lot of Snow Today

And I’m excited. The above is a photo I literally just took out of my window (at about 10:40am). When I don’t have to shovel it, drive in it, or stand outside in -20 degrees (it doesn’t get that cold on the east coast….at least in the tristate area it rarely drops below 20) I can really get into a good snow storm.

Snow storm on a Saturday = the perfect excuse to not put on pants all day, drink all the hot chocolate (click link for my go-to recipe), and be extra extra cozy and antisocial. Maybe I’ll even bake if I have enough stuff in my pantry.

7. After making these chocolate banana penguins I am humbled and also inspired to make something else way more yummy.Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 10.31.58 AM

As you may know, I host “Vegan Bites” on @SpoonUniversity instagram stories every Thursday night. I made these chocolate banana penguin things and used carrots as feet/nose instead of orange candies because I was too lazy to go to the store and also I’m reallly low on cash monies these days and Spoon doesn’t pay me to host vegan bites and I buy the groceries for all my recipes.

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So I used carrots. And I had this weird AHA moment like “OMG this is weird all raw but carrot cake banana bread would be dank.” Also, the photo above is my “Little Moe with the Gimpy Leg” penguin. I love him.

So now I can’t wait to play around with that idea! Stay tuned!

8. I bought 2 avocados for $1 from a fruit stand yesterday

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And I am PUMPED about it. Can’t wait to gobble up with TJ’s everything bagel salt. Manhattan fruit stands for the win.

9. Yesterday was a fun day at school.

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Minus stats lecture. But we had a party in stats lab and that was followed with my department holiday party. They really went all out! I bought an ugly sweater for it and it’s getting delivered today (:() so I couldn’t get dressed up, but still had a good time for the brief period my social anxiety/anxiety to go home and let my dog out let me stay!

10. Speaking of school, my classmates are the nicest people.

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I can’t say this of every academic experience I’ve had, but almost every student and TA I’ve interacted with at Mailman is so down to earth, kind, and compassionate and really cares about what they are pursuing in life. I feel so safe among them. Yay nice people!

 

Happy weekend, y’all! What are you up to this weekend? I’d love to know. 🙂