Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Study Break!

So after our big weekend for Kelly's Birthday, it was ready to hit the books and the library! 

Last night, a big group of us meet at the library, and I tried to conquer some of the pages and pages of reading I had been assigned for the week. As I was studying, I started to notice how hungry I was and it was becoming extremely distracting to my focus. I then began to think how hard it often is for college students to stay on a normal eating schedule of just breakfast, lunch, and dinner when we are on crazy hours with classes, studying, and going out. I usually like to study later at night, especially when I have late classes the next day but eating dinner at 5:30 or 6:00 just isn't going to give me the energy to keep studying until 12:00 or 1:00, or even 2:00 in the morning. So today I resolved to find some snacks that are both healthy and easy for studying late or whenever you need a little pick me up.

1. Hummus and pita chips

This one is one of my favorite, mostly because I would eat hummus everyday if I could. It is also super easy if you just buy your favorite brand of hummus and pita chips at the grocery store. My favorite is Sabre, which also comes in mini hummus packets, perfect for packing!

Also if you have the time and are feeling chefy- then you can make your own hummus. Here is a DIY hummus recipe that I found:

1 15 oz can of chickpeas, well rinsed

1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/4 cup 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh-squeezed

Drain and rinse the chickpeas thoroughly. Blend all of the above ingredients in a food processor or blender until very smooth.


Happy hummusing!

 2. Almond butter and anything!

Almond butter is basically a health nut staple and you can combine it with so many things. Some of the things I am thinking would be celery, bananas, and apples but feel free to be creative! Almond butter I am into is 365 almond butter.

3. Chips, yes chips

Now I am surely not advocating Dorritos or Cheese Puffs but there is nothing wrong with some more healthy chips as a snack. Try to choose more veggie based chips. Although just because they say veggie on them doesn't mean that they are necessarily healthy- some veggie chips are made with mostly potatoes and just sprinkled with other veggie flavoring. Instead make sure that you are buying veggie chips that have real veggies (other than potatoes inside them). Ones you should definitely try are Terra Chips and Jensen's Orchard Veggie Chips. 

4. Bars!

If you are super lazy and just want something quick, compact, and easy- there is always the miracle of the bar. Beware also of bars. I think it is important to have both a combination of fruit and nut. Make sure they are all natural. Bars to definitely check out are KIND Fruit plus Nut Bar and my all-time favorite, (I have met the owner of the company!) Larabars. 

Well that is all the snack recipes I can think for you right now but for as an extra bonus here is a picture I grabbed of Alexis munching down on some natural, organic peanut butter and a banana at the library last night!

Yay Lex!

On a side note- in addition to studying and trying to figure out ways to snack healthily, I am preparing for my first half marathon this Sunday! I am going to go get some Gu from the local running shop tomorrow so I can see how my body reacts running on it before I use on race day. Also just trying to hydrate myself and stay super healthy this week!

Happy snacking!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Eating Healthy, Srat Style

Hey all! The past week and weekend have been crazy but everything is finally starting to settle down.

One of our best friends Kelly turned 21 this past weekend and it was filled with non-stop celebrating! We started the weekend off with dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant where I legitimately stuffed my face with guacamole and chips to the point that there was no room in my stomach for anything else. Definitely not my healthiest moment, but delicious nonetheless.

Then Friday we headed out to Kluge Vineyards in Charlottesville for a little wine tasting! It was quite the experience as we became friends with a frenchman named Gregory who knew almost an unhealthy amount about wine.

We tried a range of wines from their staple Viogner to their "Simply Red." They also had an awesome Rosé that we enjoyed for the rest of the afternoon.

It was such a beautiful area and a nice getaway from the hectic week at UVa. We'll definitely be heading back there.

Heck even if we're not wine tasting I'll be happy dancing around in the fields!

I wanted to write about what it's been like to keep up a healthy lifestyle while living in a sorority house with a kitchen full of snacks. We have a new chef at our house this year who has been very accommodating to a gluten-free diet, but the snacks in the kitchen are not. This is probably a good thing, because I would eating a diet consisting of animal crackers and grilled cheeses if I did not have this limitation. Instead I've been all about the apples or bananas with peanut butter, peaches, yogurt, and Cinnamon Life cereal (which is daaa best!).

The toughest thing though are breakfasts. I have early morning classes four days a week that last for almost three hours. So there is a definite need to get to class full, yogurt and granola doesn't seem to do the trick anymore. My meetings with Rob, the nutritionist from San Diego, taught me a lot about fueling for the day. Animal protein is the best way to do so and to stay full. So I've been scrambling some eggs or just heating up some pre-cooked sausage links. I had some more time this morning to make a bigger meal, so I decided on a scramble with tomatoes and avocado and sausage. I was full until lunch!

Also, the other struggle is eating out while at school. Like I've talked about before, avoiding gluten allows me to do choose healthier options. That is until I discovered Rise Pizza which makes a gluten-free crust. After two nights of staying out WAY past my bedtime, this pizza has been the cure at the time but is definitely not the healthiest option. For the most part I've been able to choose healthier options like salads and turkey burgers while out for dinner.

That's all for now! This is our last week before the Virginia Beach Half-Marathon next weekend! Hopefully it will be much cooler there because it has been hot hot hot in Charlottesville (at a current 98 degrees Fahrenheit).


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back in Action

Wowwwwww I didn't even realize how long it had been since my last post! YIKES.

I'm alive and well, I promise. It's been a very very hectic week. From work training, to moving in, to sorority stuff, to school stuff; it's all makin' my head explode! But not to worry, now that I'm getting my routine down everything is going fine and dandy.

The flight back to Charlottesville went well. Instead of reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy like I had promised myself I would do, I watched about 4 episodes of the West Wing. Yes, I am addicted. I had a layover in Atlanta on the way to Cville, where I was determined to find the Qdoba in one of the terminals. Qdoba had been my last meal in this very airport before departing for Lima for six weeks earlier this summer, so it seemed appropriate to finish the circle.

The meal was pretty pleasant. I was in the international terminal, feeling jealous of all the adventures my co-food court attendees were headed on. My coolness decreased tremendously when I dropped the rest of my naked burrito on my lap, but a friendly pilot helped me clean.

The next day I headed off to Poplar Ridge, a high ropes area at UVa. I went with the other Facility Supervisors from the AFC for some good old team bonding. I got to face my fear of heights on the big swing. The iPhone pictures aren't too amazing but still cool nonetheless!

Those first two days in Charlottesville were all about work and seeing friends! Then it was time to start moving into my sorority house. It's been crazyyyyyy so far and I will be sure to post pictures of me and Mary's cute new room when it's all finished up.

So far I have had two days in the Comm School, and let me tell you those people know how to intimidate poor impressionable 3rd year students. But I've loved everything we have learned so far and am really excited about the upcoming two years.

Last night, Shelby and Kelly ventured to one of my favorite restaurants in Charlottesville. Sticks specializes in kabobs that you can get as a platter, in a sandwich, or on a salad.

I went for the shrimp kabobs and sesame beans. And mango lemonade. AMAZING.

Kell went for gazpacho and sesame beans (we love these beans).

And Shelb went crazy for her falafel sandwich.

It's been a lot harder here at school to stay gluten-free, but luckily the new chef at our sorority has been really helpful catering to this request. All the free lunches I have been getting at orientations have been great, but I find myself constantly plucking out the insides and just munching on meat and cheese. It will get better over time when I have all the restaurants in Charlottesville mapped out. We did discover a gluten-free pizza crust at a new restaurant called Rise Pizza that tastes amazingggg and will become a regular occurrence for me.

It's time for me to do a lotta reading! Sorry for being such a bad blogger. Look out for a post soon about the best music to exercise to!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Just What Momma Said: All Things in Moderation

As I have spent the summer discovering what it means to eat healthy, I have been searching for my diet niche. What is the word to describe how I eat, what I avoid, or why I eat the way I do? Am I vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, no-dairy, or only organic? The more I searched and the more I experimented in my diet, the more I seemed to find that I could not adhere to any named restrictions and obligations, although I do believe in many of their fundamentals. It is funny that after an entire summer of searching for my diet niche, I ended up right back to what my mother has been trying to teach me since I was three years old: moderation.

Vegetarian. My interest with a vegetarian diet came about when one of my best friend’s Mary decided that she wanted to try out eating vegetarian. She had seen a disturbing video on the production of meat and the treatment of the animals. Much to my hesitation, she showed me the video and that night we both decided we would spend the week refraining from meat. We both lasted the week, but after that I found it too hard to deny myself meat altogether and pretty much went back to my pre-video meat consumption except I still always thought twice before consuming it. Mary discovered that this was something that she both felt passionately about and something that she enjoyed (she will be posting about her reasons to go vegetarian later!). As the summer went on, I kept running into books, essays, and articles about the benefits of a vegetarian diet. I have finally come to believe that we has humans don’t need to eat the amount of meat that we on average do, that the majority of the meat industry has turned into an assembly line factory-like system with little regard to the quality of the meat, and that the treatment of the animals is both detestable and abhorrent. I do not however want to cut meat out of my life completely and I have therefore resolved to stick to eating around one vegetarian dish a day.

Gluten-free. I came across the idea of eating gluten-free when one of my good friends from home, Ashley, discovered that she was in fact gluten intolerant. Eating gluten wasn’t causing her body huge health problems but she constantly felt tired, groggy, and overall down. It was actually her acupuncturist who first told her that she had gluten intolerant. Once she took it out of her diet, she could not believe the difference it made in the way she felt. At the time I was convinced that if I wasn’t gluten intolerant, then it wasn’t something I needed to concern myself with. Then this past year I learned that Alexis too was gluten intolerant. The more I talked to her and Ashley about it, I began to realize that maybe there was something to be said for everyone cutting some gluten out of their diet. I haven’t fully come to figure out how this will play out in my daily diet but I am planning on doing a week without eating gluten and see if my body feels any differently.

No- dairy. The idea of refraining from dairy in one’s diet is still very new to me and I was really on introduced to the idea this summer after reading some different vegan blogs and bits from my good friend Ana (hopefully she will be posting soon!). The arguments I am attracted to for not consuming dairy would be the high caloric intake that often comes with dairy and coming from similar inhumane factories (or farms) that produce meat. I highly doubt that I will ever cut dairy out of my diet completely but I do try and watch how much dairy that I do it. It is very important to consume enough calcium in my diet, so I am very consciousness that if I am refraining from some dairy that I am replacing it with some other calcium source. One of my favorite and easiest ways to replace dairy while still keeping the calcium is to simply replace regular milk with soy milk.

Organic. As every health-conscious person, I am naturally drawn to the word organic on any food label or menu description. As a college student I am also naturally wary about the usual inflated price and critical of how organic something really is. Despite this, I do try to eat organic whenever possible because I believe in its importance to my health. Besides organic though, I also pay attention to food that has the word local attached to it. Often I would rather by food that is produced locally but not 100% organically than to buy food that is produced organically but has to be flown half way across the world. Also it is important to be critical of what a food company is claiming as organic. The word organic is often exploited and it is important to do a little investigating into the true nature of the production of some of your staple food items such as chicken, fruits, and vegetables. Overall I believe the simpler and more natural the production of my food is, the better it is for me.

It has taken twenty years and hundreds of thousands of meals to come back to what my mom has been trying to teach me all along: moderation. I will not completely deny my self much that I generally crave but I do have food and diet principles that I won’t compromise on account of gluttony. Food should never be something you see as evil or a burden (the day you do, a huge source of happiness has left your life) but rather it is something to love and enjoy. When you eat good and wholesome food, it becomes less about how many calories or carbs or fats there are and more about how many nutrients and vitamins and goodness is inside your delicious meal. I will leave this with a quote from one of the most famous and beloved chefs, Julia Child.

“Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sweet Home Colorado

I absolutely can not believe how fast my time at home as gone by. I will be leaving early Friday morning to fly back to Charlottesville but before I do, like Alexis, I wanted to give a run down of some of the many, many things I will miss about home:

Home- cooked meals like the one we had tonight- pork and peaches over arugula and balsamic vinegar... yummm!!

The beautiful Colorado Rockies. Enough said. 

My favorite local restaurants like Wild Ginger!

Sitting on my back porch- I could never get enough of this view. It is my peaceful mind defined. 

Red Rocks Amphitheater. The best concert venue, no competition. 

My neighborhood lake, so many memories...

And a place would be nothing without people you care about. Most importantly are my family and friends of family that are pretty much family.

Sweet home Colorado, I will miss you dearly.

But I am so excited for all the adventures that lie ahead in Charlottesville! See you so soon Alexis!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Swim the Lake

Hey all!

My days here in Colorado are winding down as well and I just couldn't leave without completing a neighborhood tradition- swimming around the lake!

I am lucky enough to have a lake in the middle of my neighborhood and it is the center of life for the people of the neighborhood, particularly during the summer. Although there is only a certain designated swimming area that the life-guards watch, if you are up for the adventure you can swim the buoys that lie around the lake for the sailboat races. And today my sister and I were up for the adventure!

I grew up swimming on my country club's swim team but I would never call myself a swimmer, so I was actually pretty nervous about swimming all the way around the lake (over a mile!). And indeed the swim around the first buoy was pretty rough- combination of some awful goggles, me still trying to crack jokes to my sister, and my complete inability to swim in a straight line lead to me looking, well, pretty pathetic. However after a goggle change out and a renewed focus, I settled into a rhythm. By the time we were closing in on the shore, I found myself wishing that I could go farther. 

One of my biggest health weaknesses is that I have terrible upper body strength and I felt that swimming was a great way to work out my whole upper body. Swimming was also a nice alternative to running  because it takes the pressure off your knees while still getting a good aerobic work-out. I don't know how much I will start incorporating swimming into my work-out regimen but I had so much fun with it today!

Much thanks to Peter, the life-guard that so kindly followed my sister and I in the life-guard boat making sure we didn't drown!

After the swim my dad and I went for a short run around the lake (so much for the no pressure on my knees) before we headed down to the beach for a family and friends picnic dinner. All the families brought a dish and it all looked so yummy!!

Between orzo salad, pasta salad, oriental salad, and kabobs, I couldn't decide what to get so naturally I just filled my plate up with everything!

Perfect way to spend one of my last days at home. Boy will I miss this place!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Things I Am Going to Miss...

Heading back to school is always such a bittersweet ordeal for me, especially because I go to school so far away and don't get much of a chance to be home.

So here's a photo montage of all of the things I will be missing while back at UVa this semester.

Some of the best friends in the whole wide world. "Friends are like stars. You may not always see them but they are always there." Such a corny quote but so so true pertaining to these lovely ladies:

The pups:

My amazing and crazy parents who know how to dress their best for costume parties.

Copius amounts of heirloom tomatoes in all shapes and sizes:

Amazing conversations with my family at dinner:

I almost overdosed on scallops this past month.

FROZEN YOGURT is going to be missed the MOSTEST:

Wonderful concoctions my dad comes up with out of nowhere, making any good day even better. Ahi tuna tower aka YUM:

And of course, San Diego sunsets. It doesn't get much better than this.

There are billion things I am anxious for back in Charlottesville including seeing my bestest friends in the whole wide world, starting at the Commerce School, running some gorgeous trails, and getting back into the swing of things.

So long San Diego, it's now the homestretch back to good ole' UVa!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Portion Control? What's That?

Don't freak out everyone, I'm not here to do a sermon about running. This time is a much simpler post in which all I will do is brag about the amazing food I've been devouring while home in San Diego.

First up, average bag lunch I take to work each day:

Now the salad marathon.

Tendergreens: Roasted chicken with avocado and tomatoes. Simple yet amazing.

Claire's on Cedros: Heirloom tomato salad with ricotta cheese and a homemade pesto along with a side of grilled chicken for some extra protein.

Neiman's Zodiac Restaurant: This dish called "Heart Couture" on the menu. It was a delish salad of lemon shrimp, roasted almonds, feta, quinoa, asparagus and tomatoes on a bed of romaine lettuce.

All of the salads are counteracted with meals like this, a feast my momma made for Amanda and I this morning. GLUTEN FREE PANCAKES DO EXIST! And taste even better when covered in bananas and filled with chocolate chips:

Butter art?

Tonight the fam headed to Market to celebrate my grandmother's birthday!

An amuse bouche of lemongrass/raspberry sorbet with mint and champagne grapes:

Grapefruit/Avocado/Goat Cheese salad (probably one of my favorite salads of all time):

Cabernet Short Ribs with Potato-Onion Puree, Corn Saute, and Chino Farms Tomatoes:

Happy Birthday Oma!!

All of these dishes are healthy, but BIG. When I get back to school I'm going to have to stop eating with my eyes, which happen to be a lot bigger than my stomach.

Only two-ish more days until I'm back in Charlottesville! Can't wait to write to you about living healthy college lifestyles when we're actually back at college.