June 11, 2012

I’ve been neglecting the blog for good reasons–don’t worry.

and honestly, I probably won’t be all that consistent with posts much anymore. But when I was writing this blog & really deep into it, I realized something: I love this stuff and I want to do it forever and ever.

And by “this stuff” I mean sharing why living healthfully is wonderful & worth it, and how it’s pretty simple, once you get the hang of it. But I don’t just want to do it in blog form. I want to be official. So guess what?!

In the last 8-10 months, I’ve applied for, been accepted, and enthusiastically accepted a spot at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy! Come September, I’ll be perusing two degrees: One in Food Policy & Applied Nutrition, and another in Public Health. Friedman is an amazing place — have you heard of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign? Probably. It was based on Shape Up Somerville, a “community based research study” done at the Friedman School. Neat, huh? I only applied to one school, and I’m very confident that it is the right place for me to be to get started with this stuff!

I’ll be in school for 2.5 years, and while I’m a little bit nervous (okay, very) about going back to school after 4 years working, I got a desk in my apartment a bit earlier than necessary, and am slowly warming up to the idea of homework.

Right now for work, I educate people on a large scale as to the importance of philanthropy, and encourage them to change their behavior and donate money to their university. My goal is to educate people on a wide scale as to the importance of health, and encourage them to change their behavior and life in a healthier way. I think I want to focus on children, but I don’t really know yet. I don’t want to limit my focus before I even get started!

Other than that, life is great. I’m loving everything about biking season (the MS 150 ride from Boston to Provincetown is in 12 days!), I’m (still) reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and running is still impossible, due to the charming ramifications of my stupid stress fracture. I haven’t jumped in the ocean yet this summer, but I will soon.  I have 46 days until my last day of work (timed to coincide with the timing of the Olympics), and I’m psyched to get going on this next chapter! Thank you to all you for supporting me through this blog (and even in real life, of course) and helping me truly realize the best way that I can live and enjoy my life while helping others to better theirs!

February 19, 2012

The Strength Part of the Gym Is Not Male Exclusive

Sometimes I do weird stuff in the gym. I stare (to learn new moves), I make badass psycho faces (to amp myself up), and I mouth the words to almost every single song I listen to (because it’s fun). But today, I think my weirdness reached a new level: I walked around the gym and counted people.

There were 27 people doing cardio work. 20 of them were women.

There were 19 people doing strength training. 2 of them were women.

Are men & women really that different that our bodies require completely different forms of exercise? Absolutely not.

I watch a lot (read: all) of The Biggest Loser for a number of reasons, and something that I have been recently paying attention to is that the workouts that the trainers put the men & women through are essentially the same. You don’t see Bob screaming, “Ladies–ellipticals! Men–squat presses!”.

I’m not a fitness professional, but it’s easy to see that both strength work and cardio work are crucial for fitness. Strength work  builds muscle, and cardio work uses muscle — they balance each other out. If your muscles are stronger, they’ll be more effective during cardio. Continue reading

February 9, 2012

Lentil Soup

I think it’s challenging to find a more comforting, hearty, soul-warming, healthy, and simple wintertime dinner than lentil soup.Like most things I cook, lentil soup can take on whatever flavors you want, and you can pretty much put anything that grows in the ground into your soup. I made this when I had a yucky cold a few weeks ago, so I wanted to load it up with sinus-clearing and nutritious things. I made it up as I went along, but this is definitely a lentil soup recipe worth repeating. So give it a try!

Continue reading

February 6, 2012

Why Calorie Counting & “Diet” Foods Aren’t Ideal

The breakfast I’m enjoying as I write this has around 250 calories.

This could mean that I’m eating a poptart and some orange juice, 1 serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, a donut, or a bowl of oatmeal made with milk.

Calories don’t mean anything.

“250 calories” does not thoroughly explain how my body will respond to the food I’m giving it, yet for so many people, calories are the focus.

Calories are simply a measure of energy, and when we’re talking about food, they represent the amount of energy stored in a food.  Calorie counting as a meal plan suggests that all calories are equal, but our bodies do not at all think that. Our bodies are much more concerned about the nutrients and carb/protein/fat ratios in food, so perhaps we should be, too. It just makes sense to fuel our bodies with attention to how they react to fuel, don’t you think?

Most sources say that our bodies require around 25% of our calories to come from fat, 45% from carbohydrates, and 30% from protein (or close to these ranges). But that’s still “calories from,” as opposed to “grams of”. That’s almost like saying, “to build this house, I need 500 pounds of wood, 30 pounds of nails, and 3 pounds of hammers.” Yes, those items can be measured by their weight, but that’s not really how their measurements are best understood.  I suppose it’s easier to talk about calories since we’re all used to it, but I just think that talking about calories is keeping us from understanding food.  Continue reading

January 31, 2012

Cilantro Turkey Burger

I usually think that the things I cook sans-recipe (aka my Culinary BS experiments) are good, but. Well. This dinner was phenomenal.

She doesn’t know it, but inspiration for this one comes from my college friend, Emily, who keeps a cooking blog. Recently, Emily posted an amazing recipe for Cilantro Lime Shrimp, which I tried out for a little dinner gathering a few weeks ago now. The shrimp dish was excellent (make it!), and a fortunate side effect was a large amount of leftover fresh cilantro, which I would prefer to use instead of throw out.

Turkey is relatively plain, and uninteresting turkey burgers (read: not flavored or filled with things) can easily be dry & completely tasteless. The trick to make turkey burgers delicious is to fill them with juicy flavor givers. In this case, those things were cilantro, tomatoes, and red onion.

Turkey burgers are a great medium for creativity. Seriously. You can do anything with them. My friend served me mint & feta turkey burgers once. I made Apple Turkey Burgers a while ago. The only way to make a turkey burger not good is to not put anything in it & expect it to have a good flavor. Go crazy with these guys. But first, you really should try this preparation!  Continue reading

January 25, 2012

Ginger Honey Lemon Tea: an Excellent Cold Remedy

This is a great cure-all for the sinus-related ailments that are abound this time of year. It includes juice of half a lemon, some honey, and as much grated ginger as you can stand. This is tried and true — I’d much rather have this mixture things when I’m sick than pseudoephedrine and its cohorts, but sometimes drugs are good, too.

Anyway, if you have a cold, I’m sorry, but here, have some tea:

Continue reading

January 22, 2012

Why Minimalist Running Resulted in a Stress Fracture & Why I’m Still Doing It

There actually is a piece of footwear that causes strangers to stare more than vibrams do, and this fall, I wore it for 6 weeks.
I also had a “going out option” for when I wanted to look even cuter: No lie — the podiatrist called it a “going out boot”.

Over the summer, I was training for an October half marathon in Vibrams. This didn’t end up being the smartest thing a new minimalist runner could do — if you’re curious, here’s the post where I decided to accept that I was injured and stop running so much. After 2 wasted months (and many wasted dollars) of the podiatrist not trusting my google-diagnosis of “Stress Fracture in the Outermost Metatarsal” (which ended up being 100% correct) and having him inject me with cortisone numerous times, the MRI revealed a little stress fracture & I was instructed to wear the Boot for 4-6 weeks. Continue reading

January 20, 2012

Why I Was Vegan and Why Now I’m Not.

As some of you know, I was vegan from May-ish until October-ish. While I ultimately decided that I enjoy turkey sandwiches and easy healthy food options too much to be vegan, I learned a lot from those 5 months.

For those of you who might not know, vegans avoid animal products, which, in addition to meat, include milk, cheese, butter, eggs, and for some folks, honey. Basically, vegans only eat the plant-life that the earth produces (or things that are made only from that plant life). The fact that I live in a Vegan-friendly area made this whole experiment a lot easier, too.

I’ll try to keep the hippie bullshit to a minimum, but I’m a little bit of a hippie sometimes, so it’s challenging. Also, standard “I just Google Things” disclaimer.

Why I Was Vegan Once And What I Learned

The theory behind Veganism & clean eating intrigues me for a number of reasons, mostly because a ton of cultures survived healthfully off the land without using animal products (or by using animal products sparsely). The earth provides what humans need in order to live; if it didn’t, we wouldn’t still be around. I appreciate the “back to our roots” approach to food. Eating vegan made me feel more like I was fueling & nourishing myself than just eating. It was kind of neat. Continue reading

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