Tag Archives: health

Chocolate: Good For You

Oof. I just wrote this WHOLE POST for you and lost it. I am not happy (I should probably eat some chocolate). I am also not going to retype everything, so now you’re getting the shorter version. Sorry.

Anyway!

I think you guys are probably aware that I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I’ve written about it a fair amount.

And, I mean, duh. Who isn’t a Harry Potter fan?

Anyway, while I’m not silly enough to believe all of that magic really exists (or, at least, I’m not silly enough to admit that on the internet…), there is one little bit of magic from those book in which I totally believe: chocolate reallycan heal.

(source)

I’ve recently increased my chocolate intake and have told myself it’s for stress. However, I’ve also learned that it’s good for me and that maybe I’m doing it subconsciously for healthy reasons!

Let me have it. Sometimes you just need a win, right?

Here’s a sampling of some of the chocolate we have around the office.

20120306-095906.jpg

Don’t worry. I never have that much at once.

Usually.

I recently read this article in Eating Well Magazine (November/ December 2011 edition) and liked it so much, I thought I’d share it.

20120306-100029.jpg

Last time I typed up this post, I re-typed the whole article for you. Not gonna happen again.

The bottom lines:

1. It makes you smile.

2. It helps you see better.

3. It’s a diet food.

That’s enough for me!

But, just in case it isn’t enough for you, you can check some other articles out:

I love it when these things work in my favor.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat some chocolate!

1 Comment

Filed under Blog Posts

Healthy Goals for March

February was a month of major ups and major downs. More on that tomorrow. Sort of.

Anyway, it made me think that maybe I need to set some simple, healthy and reasonable goals for myself to focus on throughout the month of March.

1. See my friends more.

I had the pleasure of seeing all of these smiling faces last night, which in turn put a huge smile on my face. I spent so much of February sick that I ended up being holed up in my apartment for most of it. No more! I’m happiest around my friends. And gosh, they’re great.

2. Get back into my fitness routine.

Between a very busy work schedule and losing my patience with my ever-frustrating knee, I’ve been in a phase in my life in which fitness has been on the back-burner. I so miss the fitness side of myself (and of this blog!).

Fortunately, I talked to my Physical Therapist about this last night, and she decided that we’re going to come up with a consistent fitness routine for me that I can keep up even with the knee problem.

Right now, we’re leaning towards Pilates. While this would be an expensive decision to make, I also feel it would likely be one I wouldn’t regret.

3. Master the art of painting my own toenails.

Random, but it’s a solid budgetary goal. I’ve already mastered the art of painting my fingernails (you have no idea how long of a process this has been). Any pedicure tips?

4. Cook more.

Especially, cook more foods like this:

20120301-093943.jpg

Those were dishes cooked for me last night at the dinner party with those wonderful people you saw pictured above. So delicious and so healthy! Specifically, those foods are salad, Vegan Ragu, and Kale, Mustard Greens and Butternut Squash.

Amazing.

The Vegan Ragu recipe was created by my friend James and the Kale recipe was created by my friend Brian. I convinced each of them to email me their recipes. I will post them this month!

So, some sub-goals…

4a. Cook and post about the Vegan Ragu.

4.b. Cook and post about the Kale, Mustard Greens and Butternut Squash.

Now that they’re specifically listed out like that for the world to see, I can’t get lazy about it. 🙂

Oh, we also ate this delicious Apple & Almond Cake last night. I’ll be making this at some point, too!

I don’t know if that’s a March goal, but itwill happen.

5. Get more sleep.

I make this goal every month. I rarely follow through. Doesn’t mean I won’t try this month.

6. Take my vitamins every day.

See Goal #5. 🙂

6. Take some me time.

20120301-110142.jpg

I don’t know if I’m quite the type for Meditation or anything, but I do know that I need to find some balance in my life. I work a lot. I love the work I do — and all of the jobs I have — but I also stopped finding much time for myself. Not having the gym be a daily part of my life these days took away time that used to be my “me time.”

Lately, I’ve been taking my hours off to watch TV or read scripts for work. While these are great ways to escape, I think that’s exactly what I’m doing — escaping. Maybe I need to take time to write in a journal, or something. I’m not even sure how to spend “me time” anymore.

How do you spend your “me time?” And what are some of your goals for March?

2 Comments

Filed under Blog Posts, Recipes

Back in the Gym

I barely took any pictures this past weekend, which makes the whole “snapshots of my life” thing a little moot. First one, too! Oh, well.

The good news is, the one picture I did take kind of represents my entire weekend.

20120116-122941.jpg

I went back to the gym.

I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

I had this really wonderful moment over the weekend. I was walking around and I noticed that my legs felt strong. This is a feeling with which I was, for a long time, very familiar. It was a feeling that I associated with my definition of myself and was one I thought I’d always have.

But then, I went and I hurt myself and then I had to get surgery. My muscles atrophied and I lost all ability to work out — especially my legs! So, for a long time, I lost my strength in my legs and simply forgot what that felt like.

Between my recent pilates classes, my PT exercises, the fact that I’m running around on my feet for 11+ hours a day for work (no exaggeration, seriously), and my return to the gym, my muscles are working again… which means I’m getting strong again.

It’s so good feeling like me. Here’s to a continuation of this trend, huh? I can’t wait until I’m working out for real again. It’s a slow and steady process. My PT tells me I won’t be back to 100% until April at this point (so much further out than December, am I right?) but honestly, just knowing that there is an end date to all of this is enough to keep me going.

What are the muscles on your body that make you feel strong? Mine are definitely my quads. Definitely.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Blog Posts

2012 Resolutions

Happy New Year’s, friends! I hope you all had a wonderful night last night, ringing in the New Year.

As the time tends to dictate, I’ve come up with a few New Year’s Resolutions. I am actually not all that big on New Year’s Resolutions, but this year, it just feels right — especially after my 2011 Reflections. I have a few things that I really want to work on this year, and I feel that 2012 is going to be a good year for me.

The Resolutions:

1. I want to totally and completely heal my knee. Please, oh, please, let this be attainable.

2. I want to lose all of the weight I’ve gained in the past year and a half.

3. I want to get back to feeling toned, strong and fit.

4. I want to really focus on eating clean. Fruits and vegetables are not only good for me, but truly are favorite foods and do make me feel better than chocolate and Goldfish do. Why have I forgotten that so much in the past year?

5. Career-wise, I just want to keep going the way I’m going: work hard, stay driven and motivated, and do the very best I can to be the very best I can be. Well, and land a job. The one I’m in has an end date, but the point of the one I’m in is to meet the right people and show them what I’m made of so that they’ll want to hire me. So, yea. Keep doing what I’m doing.

6. I want to be more consistent about taking my vitamins. I don’t think they really count if I only remember every other week.

7. I want to cut back on drinking — at least for a little while. It’s hardly been out of control, but alcohol does nothing good for the waistline.

8. I want to drink more water. Different kind of drinking. I think I made this a resolution last year but did not do a very good job.

9. I know this seems like such a little thing, but it’s something I’ve really been thinking about lately: I’d like to work on my posture.

10. I want to figure out a consistent blogging schedule that I’ll be able to manage. Better for me and for you!

11. Is it too much to hope for that I want to find a decent boy to date?

I think all of these are attainable. I worry that #1 will be somewhat out of my control and I know that #11 is something that I certainly can’t force. I do, however, think #2-#10 are not only completely attainable, but are really smart, healthy and simple goals.

Overall, I think my New Year’s Resolution is this:

Be this girl again:

…but with a better job (than I had when I took that photo, I mean) and better posture. 🙂

What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2012?

6 Comments

Filed under Blog Posts

Two Weeks Vegan, Done

I finished my two weeks of being vegan!

Overall, I felt really good about eating as a vegan. My body felt good and I enjoyed the challenge. When my two weeks were up on Monday morning, I felt kind of sad that the challenge was over. I also lost ten pounds during those two weeks, so that’s nothing to sneeze at.

However, I missed eggs and cheese (really, mostly eggs) so much that I was glad to know I could have them again. I’ve already had both. No regrets.

That being said, I’ve actually continued to eat mostly vegan since my two weeks were up. My coffees have continued to be made with soy milk, coconut creamer, and even almond milk (as with the delicious almond milk latte with one pump of almond syrup below).

20111116-090252.jpg

My first non-vegan day actually started with a vegan breakfast…

20111116-090337.jpg

That’s Kashi Go Lean! Crunch with blueberries, blackberries and almond milk.

(By the way, is it  berry season? Those berries were the bomb dot com.)

Lunch was also vegan. It was the new Bistro Salad from Trader Joe’s.

20111116-090318.jpg

Have you guys tried this salad yet? It’s fantastic. It has edamame, cranberries, almonds and kale in a lemon dressing. It’s amazing. And it takes forever to eat, which is a bonus for a fast eater like myself.

Dinner was 100% not vegan, but it was still vegetarian! (More on that at the end of this post).

20111116-090307.jpg

That night, I was really happy to be done with the vegan experiment because I was back at that same restaurant/ bar I’d been to last week, at which I was unable to get anything except chips and salsa. That was probably my only frustrating vegan moment.

Anyway, that single-serving pizza was a margherita pizza and it melted in my mouth. My reunion with cheese was magical.

Magical, I tell you.

My reunion with eggs was less magical but still good.

20111116-090312.jpg

The hot part, anyway. That spinach & feta breakfast wrap from Starbucks is usually one I love, but sadly, it was kind of cold in the middle! That’s never happened to me before, so it was definitely a fluke. But, you know, cold egg whites aren’t the yummiest.

It’s okay. I’ll have a better and more magical reunion with eggs tonight at home. I’ve been thinking about this meal for two weeks and two days now, so I might have kind of a moment when I eat it.

Lunch yesterday was the same as the lunch from the day before. That salad is too good.

Dinner last night was made with my favorite cooking buddy, Lauren. We made a quinoa chili that we adapted from a recipe she found in Clean Eating Magazine.

20111116-090348.jpg

It was reallllllllllly good, so I’ll be doing a post with that recipe soon! Get psyched.

Anyway, I want to address how I’ll be eating from now on.

I think it would be really unrealistic of me to say that I could continue to be vegan. While I really enjoyed the challenge and certainly could have gone on with it longer, I also spent the two weeks looking forward to eating eggs and dairy (well, cheese, and at least any whey or milk ingredients in things like Kashi crackers or other healthy processed foods) again. For me, being vegan was a challenge I loved in part because I knew it had an end date.

There are a lot of habits that I’d like to keep up from being a vegan. The only things I snacked on during those two weeks were fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, veggies and hummus. Seriously, that’s it. I loved how that made me feel and I plan on keeping this habit.

I also enjoyed not eating meat. I feel really good about being a real vegetarian for a while. Or, actually, a pescetarian. I haven’t yet had fish, but I know that I will want it to be an option for me.

I don’t want to make any promises for how long I will keep  up being a pescetarian. I haven’t really had any craving for for meat or poultry yet, but I also know that if that craving ever comes, I want to be open to having it again. I’ve had so many issues with so many different foods in the past that I don’t want to make a hard and fast rule for myself that says I can never have something again. If I start feeling that, for any reason, I need to re-introduce meat into my diet, I will.

That being said, I plan on being meat-free (meaning no chicken, beef or pork) for a while. I don’t know how long it will last (two months? forever? who knows.), but I feel really good about how it fits into my lifestyle right now.

Have you ever been a pescetarian or vegetarian before? Are you now? How did you come to the decision?

10 Comments

Filed under Blog Posts

Running Envy

I miss lacing these guys up for fun reasons.

20111114-112023.jpg

You know that feeling of excitement and anticipation and a little bit of dread (I even miss that part)  before a run? Because you know it’s going to take you at least a mile to get into it but that once you’re in the middle of mile two you’re going to feel amazing and by mile three, you’re going to feel like a superhero.

Or, at least, that’s how I feel when I run.

Well, ran.

I love that feeling — the sense of a strong body and power and the feeling that I can do anything if I can run six miles and still feel like I could keep going at the end of it.

Of course, it’s now been over a year since I’ve run six miles, and it’s been almost a year since I ran at all. December 11, to be exact.

(Which, yes, DOES mean my birthday is coming up, thankyouverymuch for noticing…)

Anyway, it’s been almost a year, so I’ve obviously had running envy for a while now. I’ve mentioned it. However, I’ve noticed my jealousy even more than usual lately. I think it’s the whole “mobilly-challenged” thing.

(Side note: mobilly challenged? Is that right? I just asked the entire office at work how to spell that and nobody knew. I swear I’m smart. Sometimes.)

Anyway. Running Envy. It doesn’t take much.

Honestly, all I need to do is look down at a sidewalk and I get a little sad.

20111114-112011.jpg

However, I’ve done this before — I get a little too wrapped up in what I can’t  do that I end up not even doing the things I can do.

Stupid.

I’m so predictable, too. Because, for the past few weeks, I’ve been sort of slacking off on my PT exercises (predictable) and haven’t picked up my weights once (also predictable).

There’s nothing wrong with my arms, friends. Nothing.

Anyway, I decided to get my act together today and change that. So, this morning, I woke up at 6:30, went to the gym, did my 15 minutes on the bike, came home, did my leg PT exercises once (I’m supposed to do them four times a day), lifted weights for 30 minutes (woohoo!), and then did my leg PT exercises again.

20111114-112017.jpg

It’s ridiculous how much better I already feel. And it’s not like this is a new lesson, or anything. This is a lesson I’ve learned before.

Anyway, I think I’ll easily slip back into this routine, so I’m not worried about this whole feeling-sorry-for-myself-and-not-doing-anything-to-help-myself thing continuing. I think the trick is waking up early to do these things, just as I used to do for my workouts. I have to think of this as my new workout because otherwise I get lazy about it.  I never (well, very rarely) get lazy about working out, so it’s just going to be a matter of a little mind trick.

That makes sense, right?

I do, however, want to mix up my arms & abs  routine a bit, since I’ll clearly be focusing on them. So — What are your favorite arms & abs exercises?

 

4 Comments

Filed under Blog Posts

(Mostly) Vegan Vitamins & Supplements

I can’t say I’m going to be a vegan forever (likely not beyond these two weeks — not entirely, anyway… but more on that later), but I will say that the entire experience of trying out the vegan lifestyle has taught me a lot about my body and about what I put into it.

I know that being vegan means potentially putting your body in danger of a few vitamin deficiencies (if you’re not smart about it), so I really started focusing on getting my vitamins in through pills along with my food.  I bought a couple of new vitamins and supplements to work with my new vegan lifestyle, but I also am taking others that I simply think are good for me, in general. This does, however, mean I’m taking a TON of vitamins right now.

Check it out — this is a day’s worth!

20111110-112601.jpg

I’ll break it down for you.

Disclaimer: All information I’m getting is from Wikipedia. I am claiming absolutely zero expertise. I looked this stuff up for this post on a website (still Wikipedia) that’s known for inaccuracies. I simply want to share what I found and I highly suggest that you do your own research and talk to a doctor about what vitamins and supplements you choose to take.

20111110-112614.jpg

Vitamin B12 is particularly recommended for vegans. It aids in brain and nervous system function, along with blood formation.

20111110-112609.jpg

I’ve been taking Vitamin D3 for awhile, but it’s also particularly recommended for vegans.

As the bottle says, it supports bone health and a healthy immune system. Apparently, some research has also suggested that it may fight cancer.

20111110-112620.jpg

I think Iron is something I should probably always have been taking, but I wasn’t. That’s one of the many good things that have come out of my vegan experiment.

Iron is another supplement particularly recommended for vegans, since meat is a main source of Iron. However, since I pretty much never eat meat anyway, I should have been taking this for a while. In fact, I know that I tend to be somewhat deficient in Iron, which can lead to Anemia.

20111110-112625.jpg

Disclaimer: these are not vegan. I feel really absolutely fine about taking them, anyway. Sorry if that disappoints anyone, but they’re good for me, I’m not strict, and heck, they were expensive.

Anyway, there are a lot of reasons that science has suggested that Omega-3 pills are good for you. This includes lowering blood pressure, potentially having anti-cancer properties, aiding in immune function, and being anti-inflammatory.

20111110-112636.jpg

I assume pretty much everyone knows that Calcium helps bone health and strength, right? I feel like that’s been hammered into my head since childhood, when my mom made me drink a glass of milk with every dinner. As a result, I hated milk. I’m pretty sure that’s why I never drink it today and bought almond milk and ordered soy lattes long before I ever thought about being a vegan. I still, however, got lots of Calcium in through my nearly-daily yogurt bowls and a whole lot of cheese.

Anyway, since I stopped having much Calcium in my diet (having eliminated dairy, at least temporarily), I decided Calcium supplements would be a good idea.

20111110-112643.jpg

I’ve been taking these multi-vitamins forever. I just figure it’s good to get a little of everything in, right?

20111110-112630.jpg

Cinnamon is kind of a unique thing to take in pill form, but Cinnamon is crazy good for you! It has antioxidant properties and, as the bottle says, it promotes sugar metabolism (a really good idea for me) and heart & circulatory health.

And, I’ll be honest: I started taking it because my mom and dad told me to. I’m such a good, obedient child.

20111110-112651.jpg

I also take Glucosamine for my joints, since clearly my knees need it.

20111110-112656.jpg

Ditto for the Magnesium Citrate.

What vitamins and supplements do you take? What other vitamins and supplements do you think are good to take, especially for vegans and vegetarians?

4 Comments

Filed under Blog Posts