My Health Hero

Who inspires you in your own health journey?

Recently, I was contacted by the American Recall Center to do a post about my health hero. I thought it was an interesting idea. I think we’re all inspired by someone (or even by ourselves) to be the healthiest person we can be and those ‘health heroes’ deserve a little recognition every now and then!

My health hero is my dad. He grew up in a household that wasn’t very athletic, and as a result, he never really got into sports. Despite that, he always emphasized the importance of staying active throughout my childhood.

He was the one who taught me how to ride a bike. He was the one who would walk with me and my sister to the park and push us on the tire swing. He cheered us on at our dance recitals and soccer competitions. After I participated in a tennis summer camp, he bought his own tennis racquet so he could play with me…and he’s become my unofficial tennis partner over the years. He’s gone on bike rides with me, leads the way on family hikes in the mountains and likes to go for walks around the neighborhood.

My dad LOVES to hike!

My dad LOVES to hike!

Even though he works at a desk job all week, he tries to stay active on the weekends, and I’m so happy that I’ve been an influence in getting him to do that.

I’m also so proud that he’s started to make healthier choices with his eating habits. He grew up in Wisconsin, aka land of cheese and beer, and he hasn’t always been the healthiest eater. But over the past year or so, he’s cut out most processed foods and even though he’s nowhere near vegan or vegetarian (someday 😉 ), he eats mostly fresh fruits and veggies, lean meat and nuts. He loves cookies, but now he only eats ones made with real ingredients from Whole Foods. I love cooking with him, and trying out new veggies–he introduced me to brussels sprouts and parsnips! He’s also very supportive of my plant-based lifestyle and loves eating at vegan restaurants with me.

My dad introduced me to brussels sprouts in 2011 and I've loved them ever since.

My dad introduced me to brussels sprouts in 2011 and I’ve loved them ever since.

Who is your health hero? Why do they inspire you?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this post! 

Work It Out

I don’t mention a lot of fitness stuff on here, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a big part of my life! Especially during the summer I love to get outside and get my heart pumping with some fun workouts.

I will admit that I’ve fallen into the trap of ‘exercise guilt’–you know, like feeling bad that I’m not a runner or for not working out as hard on one day compared to the previous one. But honestly, exercise always feels better when it’s something you truly love to do and aren’t pushing yourself to enjoy it. And I’m slowly learning that taking a rest day every once in awhile is okay. I’m not so good at that part right now, but I know it’ll come. For now, here are some of the things I enjoy doing, guilt free!

Tennis

How embarrassing is this photo? I’m so glad I’m not 15 anymore!

This is probably my favorite physical activity at the moment. It’s fun because I do with my dad (and sometimes sister) so we can talk and laugh. I love outdoor exercise, and being out in the sunshine on a perfect summer day feels amazing. Tennis works your whole body (and mind!) but it doesn’t feel like a workout to me because I enjoy it so much.

Biking

Another old-ish photo (from 2 years ago) but at least I look okay in this one!

 

Biking is another of my favorites. I love how powerful I feel when I’m pedaling along a trail, feeling the breeze and sun on my skin. I have definitely experienced a few wipe-outs and not-so-great rides, but I keep coming back for more. I haven’t biked in about a month, since I haven’t had the chance to refill the tires with air, but I’m excited to get back on my bike and ride!

Yoga

I wish I had a cool pic of me doing a yoga pose…

Yoga keeps me centered, focused and (somewhat) flexible. I love how it stretches out my muscles when they’re sore and I am obsessed with the feeling of weak spaghetti arms after doing a bunch of chaturangas. I still have yet to go to a hot yoga class, but I’m dying to.

Cardio Circuits

This one is my favorite at the moment!

Most days I just end up doing a bunch of 10 minute cardio circuits throughout the day. I like them because they’re short but kinda intense and they’re basically equipment-free. I space them out throughout the day for time’s sake and also because I like being active throughout the day.

Hiking

Why yes, we do like to hike in the snow during the summer!

This one is definitely a summer-only occurrence but I always look forward to hiking. Colorado is an awesome state for it, and I’ve climbed a lot of (small) mountains in my life. My parents are really into it and have dragged me and my sister along since we were itty bitty and now I can say I truly love it. It feels great to get more in touch with nature (I’ve even seen a baby bear on a hike once!) and challenge myself on the trails.

What’s your favorite way to work out? Have you ever seen a scary animal on a hike?

Top Ten Tuesday

So in case you haven’t noticed, it’s already almost May. Ummmm, what the heck?! Seriously, I feel like just the other day it was Christmas. Like many other college kids, I’m feeling pretty burned out on school at this point. But my summer unofficially begins in 10 days, so obviously I am beyond psyched for that! I say unofficially because I have only one final exam this time around, so I’m starting my summer a little early, heading home next Friday and popping back up here to take my final the following Thursday…then my summer will officially begin!

Because of this burnout, which extends to many aspects of my life (oh summer, please come faster!) I’ve decided to do a little Top Ten list type post for today, as a little recap of my weekend, and also because I can’t really think about posting an actual post 😀 Hopefully you enjoy this for the time being though!

Ten Foods I Can’t Live Without

1. FruitOkay, technically this is cheating, but there are a billion fruits I can’t live without, from grapes to pineapple to watermelon to bananas to raspberries to kiwi to…you get the picture!

2. Almond milk. I love the unsweetened vanilla kind, but the plain unsweetened is kinda growing on me.

3. Oats. 

My favorite oats combo at the moment--topped with kettle corn, pretzel sticks, raisins and peanut flour/almond peanut cashew butter.


4. Kale. It’s great in chip form, cooked up with some salt/pepper/garlic on the stove and even raw and massaged with some kind of dressing.

5. Tempeh. My vegan “meat” of choice. I love it’s nutty flavor!

6. Peanut flour. 

I prefer peanut flour to PB2, I just store mine in an old PB2 jar so it's less messy!

7. Kalamata olives. Some people can’t stand olives–I don’t understand those people!

8. Medjool dates. So gooey, so caramel-y, so addictingly good.

9. PB Puffins. Do I really even have to explain this one? It’s basically my crack (besides peanut flour).

10. Sweet potatoes. 

Saturday's simple but yummy dinner: sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste, baby carrots, garden herb Sunshine veggie burger topped with mustard.

Ten Things I Did This Weekend

1. Went to an independent film fest with my dad. We’ve gone to it since it started 5 years ago–we both love seeing random short indy films.

2. Went to church on Saturday night. Pretty self-explanatory!

3. Went out to eat…4 times! Normally, we barely ever eat out, except for when my mom drops me off back at school after a weekend at home. Due to our busyness this weekend, we had to eat out a lot. Definitely a struggle for me with my ED thoughts, but I mostly succeeded. Yes, I did order ‘safe’ things, like salads and veggie/hummus plates, but I truly enjoyed all of them. My favorites of this weekend were the salad I ordered at Mad Greens on Friday afternoon (baby spinach topped with Kalamata olives, dried cranberries, artichoke hearts and garbanzo beans with a fat free balsamic dressing) and the salad I got on Sunday night at Noodles (the Med salad with no dressing or feta, topped with grilled tofu). I kinda learned that I’m really not a tofu girl–it’s not necessarily the texture, but the taste for me. I’m not the hugest fan.

4. Played tennis with mi padre. Usually we play singles and a half (because we play with my sister) but she was unavailable so the two of us just played singles. It was so warm out and I was running around more than usual, so it was a great workout!

5. Grocery shopping. When my mom and sister picked me up on Friday afternoon, we hit up the Whole Foods and Super Target up here, then back at home we picked up a couple more things at the Super Target by us. And on Sunday, my dad and I ventured to Walmart where I stocked up on Truvia.

6. Bought my first-ever Zevia! I got the cream soda variety, and while I’m still waiting for the perfect opportunity to enjoy it, I have a feeling it’ll be incredible. Hopefully not so incredible that I feel the need to buy it on a regular basis since it’s pretty expensive…

So excited to try this!

7. Rode my bike for the first time since last fall. I never get the chance to ride it during the winter because of snow (duh) and there was even some lingering snow when I came home for spring break. I got in two quickie miles that were super hard because my tires were flat. Oops!

8. Worked on my final papers. Not fun, but they have to get done at some point!

9. Starbucks trip! I ordered a tall unsweetened iced coffee with 3 pumps of sugar-free hazelnut. Even better than the plain unsweetened with Truvia. I loved the nutty taste.

10. Repainted my nails silver and pink. I love this color combo and I actually haven’t had it since the beginning of school back in August!

My (slightly chipped) nails, and my lovely snake ring from American Eagle.

Ten Things to Do Before School’s Out

1. Finish my papers/essays. I’m definitely on track, just gotta keep my motivation up.

2. Clean my room. Vacuuming, dusting and all that should probably be done before I peace out.

3. Laundry. I don’t want to burden my mom too much, so I’m planning on washing my sheets and towels.

4. Finish up my last two weeks of classes. Even though I’m so done, I still have to get through 8 more days of classes. I can do this!

5. Make a (huge) list of recipes to make this summer. Some of this list will be coming ‘atcha tomorrow or Thursday for WIAW.

6. Turn in the last page of my internship stuff. The adviser in charge of organizing internships for students has such limited office hours that every time I stop by her office she isn’t there. I need to get this in though!

7. Move everything out of my room. Most of this will be done next Friday, and the rest the day of my only final. Not exciting or fun, but it’s gotta be done.

8. Sell my textbooks? Since I won’t be here during finals week, I’m not sure if this will get done, but I hope it will so I won’t have to have all these books laying around until the next buyback.

9. Study outside. It’s been incredibly nice here lately (I’m talking 80 degrees in April!) so I want to do this at least once.

10. Move out of the dorms…forever! I can’t tell you how excited I am for this. I love my dorm this year, since it’s all my own and it’s new and has air conditioning, but I am so ready for my own place next year.

What’s on your top ten foods list? What’s the best thing you did this weekend?

WIAW: Compare & Confess

Hi everyone 😀 How was your weekend? Ehhhh, mine was nothing special but sometimes stuff’s gotta get done and it’s not fun but it feels so much better when you finish it.

Peas and Crayons

Do you ever have weeks when you take food pics and you think, “Awwww man, I gotta pick just ONE of these pictures for each meal! But a lot of them are really good!” That’s how I feel a lot, so I decided that for this weeks WIAW, I’m going to do a little ‘comparison game’ or whatever and post 2 pictures for each meal instead of just one. And for even more fun, I’m gonna add in a little confession session that I saw on Amanda’s blog recently. So here we goooooooooo!

Monday's breakfast: carrot cake overnighters topped with drippy AB and raisins, spicy veggie sausage, gummy vitamins. Yurmmmmm 😉

Tuesday's breakfast: cake batter oats (with sprinkles!), spicy veggie sausage (do I even have to mention this?), gummy vitamins, gummy calcium chew. I felt like a kid eating this breakfast, because it had sprinkles and gummies! No shame, though.

Confession: I don’t like PB. Errrrrr…please don’t attack me 😯 !!!!!!!! I honestly have not had peanut butter in years, probs since elementary school, and even then I wasn’t a huge fan. I actually prefered just-jelly sandwiches to just-peanut butter ones. Yes, crazy I know but that’s just me. But I’m not a nut butter hater by any means–almond butter wins my heart! It’s just…IDK, so much richer and yummier than PB, in my opinion.

Sunday's lunch: Amy's low-sodium Cali veggie burger spiked with curry powder, with carrots, raisins and frozen nanner slices on the side. A more traditional lunch.

Monday's lunch: Oikos Greek yogurt cup in honey, peanut butter Puffins (addiction!) and date. Sometimes (errrr, all the time?) you just gotta satisfy the sweet tooth.

Confession: I’m not a runner. I know that it seems to be some sort of prerequisite or something to be a health/food blogger, but I’m just not into running. I really admire people that are hardcore runners for XC teams or do marathons all the time, but it’s not for me. My “sports” of choice are tennis, mountain biking and yoga. And that’s okay, ’cause everyone’s different (and I’m totally not dissing running, bee-tee-dubs). Whatever floats your boat is what I say.

Outfit of the day, as per usual: cropped denim jacket (birthday present), red floral romper (Hollister). I thought I looked cute, until I had to go to the bathroom, and realized I had to take off the jacket and the romper. Yikes. Talk about high maintenance.

...and, random tickets to the gun show! Bahaha, just kidding. I'm not sure why this is in here, but I'll roll with it. I still struggle with thinking my arms are HUGE, but I'm working on it. Body by yoga, people!

Confession: I actually read the newspaper on a daily basis. Call me crazy, but I like to stay informed. Plus I basically only read the lifestyle, food, fitness and comic sections 😛 Plus I’m a broadcast journalism major, can ya blame me? Of course this means I watch the TV news too!

Monday's afternoon snackie: Late July Mild Green Mojo multigrain chips (aka my crack), frozen nanner slices (when will these run out?) and homemade Greek yogurt/guac dippage. Sometimes my savory tooth comes out of hiding and I gotta tame it.

Tuesday's afternoon snackie: PB Puffins (told ya they're addicting) alongside a dark chocolate almond butter fudgie. You can't go wrong with this flavor combo.

Confession: I would usually rather do something with my family than with people my own age. Since high school’s been over, it’s been kinda hard for me to really connect really well with other people that are the same age as me. I feel like a granny compared to them, because I’d rather go to bed early (11 pm or midnight) and wake up early-ish (8 am…well, early compared to most college kids) and I absolutely hate partying. Unfortunately, I’ve mostly found that everyone around me wants to party down every weekend. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. No thanks, I’d rather remember my college years and actually get a career when I graduate, so partying is a no-go for me, plus it’s not that fun. Plus, I really love my fam–they are amazing, they ‘get me’ and we always manage to have fun together.

Monday's later-than-usual dinner (due to random floor meeting): Whole Foods spicy black beans, half toasted Ezekiel tortilla topped with spicy guac, side of mango and pineapple. I thought I'd love the beans, but I wasn't a fan. They weren't so much spicy as they were, um, tomato-y. Disappointed, but next time I'll just rinse off all the sauce and call it good.

Tuesday's dinner (sorry about the awful lighting, it's starting to get dark when I eat!): big honkin' sweet potato topped with agave almond butter dip and trail mix, frozen tropical fruits. I wonder why I haven't turned orange yet, with all the carrots/sweet taters/mango I eat?

Confession: I have a weird addiction to medical mystery shows like Mystery Diagnosis. I think a part of me wants to be a doctor of some sort, but the other part of me totally hates math and science so…nah! I just find these shows so fascinating, but they also kind of make me go all OCD and worry that I might have some of the same symptoms and wait years for a correct diagnosis. Yeah, I’m a big worrier!

Monday's dessert: second ever experience with deep chocolate Vitatops...sooooo amazing! I love how the chocolate chips get all melty when you heat up the muffin. A side of raisins for good measure (plus I'm obsessed with them).

 

Um, sometime-last-week's dessert: dark chocolate overnighters topped with chocolate apple crunch trail mix, with the ever-popular frozen nanner slices on the side. You can't go wrong with chocolate, trail mix and banana.

Confession: I have a may-jah sweet tooth. But, uh, I think y’all already knew that 😉

As if you needed more evidence of my sweet tooth (seriously, I must have something sweet at every meal, whether it's just fruit or cereal or something), here's Sunday's entire dinner: PB&J Remix overnighters (topped with PB Puffins and raisins, for the PB and jelly), bloobs on the side. I don't do oats for dinner usually, but I gotta admit that I love them.

Quick, give me one confession! And…did you enjoy the gun show 😉 ??????

Gettin’ My Schweat On!

I. Love. Sweat. Okay, just kidding, I’m usually completely grossed out by it (and no worries, I use deodorant daily!) But if the sweat comes from working out, then I love it. It makes me feel like I’ve been working hard and I’m getting stronger.

Pre-bike ride. Maybe too much navy blue?

One of my favorite ways to “get my schweat on” (and yes, you must say it that way. okay, just kidding, but it sounds a million times better like that) is biking. I’m not quite a hardcore cyclist yet but I love hittin’ the trails for some pedal pushin’. Honestly, I can pronounce my “g’s”, it just sounds cooler without them. But I’ve been kinda slacking on the bike riding this summer. Okay, so I did do a 7-miler bike event at the beginning of June and I also did a 4-miler in the middle of June, but things have been pretty dead as far as biking goes. It’s not like I’ve been lazy all summer–I’ve just been mostly playing tennis, which I’ve been loving, but I missed biking.

My "just did 4 or 5 miles" face. Please ignore the messy hair.

Today, my dad and I hit a new greenway trail.It started out fairly normal, some small hills, but nothing too bad. It was pretty quiet too–not many others were on the trail. Then we got to a major street and had to cross it in order to keep riding. No biggie. So we crossed and then kept riding…until we got to an even more major street. Silly us, we thought it would be the same deal–we’d cross at the nearest stoplight and continue on our way. Wellllllll…that’s not quite how it worked out. The sign directed us up the hill to cross at a different light, because apparently the closer light didn’t have a sidewalk so we couldn’t get to it. So we went up the hill–me pushing my bike because I was freaked out by all the cars whizzing by a couple of feet away. We finally make it up the hill (after passing by some super sketchcar repair shops), wait to cross and then make our way back down the hill on the other side of the street. At the bottom of the hill, we see the trail sign again and try to follow it. Fail. We end up walking behind a creepy closed-down building trying to find where the trail starts up again but there is my trail. Then my genius dad (sense the sarcasm there? sorry, Daddy, you’re usually very smart, but in this case, not so much) takes a closer look at the sign and realizes that the rest of the trail will be built in the future. Yep, we’re so smart for not reading that earlier. So, long story short, we walk back up and down the hill and finally head back to the trailhead.

Oh yeah, and we also went to a local parade this morning, and this is what I wore. Abercrombie Kids plaid tunic top, Hollister navy cami, Hollister navy twill shorts, American Eagle chain-and-diamond necklace. Forever 21 love ring.

Well, I didn’t notice it on the way there, but it was definitely downhill heading out. So what does that mean? Uphill heading back. Awesome. Actually, it wasn’t too bad, but I had blisters on the back of my heels from walking up and down the hill, it was super hot and my head was killing me. But I made it up each and every one of those hills. So proud of myself. Needless to say, I definitely got my schweat on this afternoon. But it was totally worth it to feel amazing and sweaty–not to mention grabbing some froyo afterwards! We checked out yet another brand new frozen yogurt shop and they were offering a 2-for-the-price-of-1 deal today, so it was cheap-o! Unfortch, I didn’t have a camera with me but I got marshmallow and Irish mint froyos topped with kiwi and raspberries. Hit. The. Spot.

Okay, so def not froyo, but I had to get a foodie pic in here somewhere, right? This was an amazing Whole Foods salad I had last weekend when I picnicked and hiked. Baby spinach, red onions, craisins, maple-glazed pecans and mandarin oranges. The dressing was nast so it went uneaten, but the salad was so good, it didn't need it!

How do you like to “get your schweat on”?

The BIG Day!

Well, I can officially say that I’ve completed my first official bike event! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!

It was a lot of fun, exciting and tiring all at once. I mentioned in my last post that it was a 7 mile ride and before I did it, I thought it would be super easy. I’ve ridden that far before, it can’t be that bad, right? I wouldn’t say it was bad, it was just…challenging. There were a few steep hills but one giant “killer” hill. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but it was hard. Colorado is not a flat state AT ALL! I took a few quick breaks but I didn’t get off my bike and walk it once! I am so proud of myself. For pretty much the entire course, I was way ahead of my dad. But he did really well on the killer hill and didn’t even stop once, so I’m proud of him too. The ride was a really good experience and I really want to do more rides like that this summer, but hopefully work my way up to a longer distance.

Me, pre-ride

 I didn’t even mind getting up early (6:45 😦 ) because I had so much fun. It just felt so rewarding to participate in something that big because I’ve never done anything like that. We even got race numbers and everything 😀

Post-ride was amazing too! They had tons of tents set up with free samples. I tried Clif Crunch Honey Oat, Clif Bar White Chocolate Mac, Clif Bloks strawberry, a sample of Mix1 Acai Pomegranate 90-cal protein drink, a few sips of Honest Tea and I snagged a ton a few mini Clif bars and Clif Bloks for another time (P.S. electrolyte drinks are disgusting!). I didn’t eat anything besides the tiny samples because I wasn’t hungry at all. It’s weird, but after working out, I’m never hungry. Me and my dad looked around at all the stuff, got a few more free things and then rode back to the car.

Once we got home, I was pretty hungry, so I made myself a fakin’ bacon guac wrap, with tempeh bacon, mixed greens, an Ezekiel tortilla and my homemade edamame guacamole. I also had a white donut peach (btw, doesn’t taste like a donut at all, it’s just shaped like one w/o the hole) and a mini Chocolate Chip Clif bar on the side. And some strawberry Crystal Lite water.

I took a nice refreshing shower which felt amazing. I’m a little tired, but my muscles aren’t sore at all. We’ll see if they are tomorrow 😉 I’m planning on doing some yoga, but taking it easy otherwise. After all, I just rode 7 miles 😛

Q: Do you ever feel hungry after working out?

BIG News!

So this weekend is gonna be filled with a few “firsts” for me! Tomorrow is my first day volunteering at the library for the kids summer reading program. I went to the brief training the other day but I didn’t really learn a whole lot about what I’m actually going to be doing, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m excited but also kinda not. It’s from 12-2 every Saturday until the end of July, and while it’s not a huge deal to be giving up 2 hours of my week, I just wish it was during a different time block. I’m a little strict when it comes to meal times. I usually eat lunch between 12 and 1, but obviously that won’t be happening since we’re not allowed to bring food with us. There is no way I’ll be hungry before I leave and by the time I get back, it’ll be close to snacktime, so I’m not sure if any lunch will be happening these next 9 Saturdays. I’m okay with that, but my parents are another story. I’m still recovering from anorexia (it’s been 2 years since I was diagnosed) and they still tend to watch my eating kinda closely. They trusted me during my first year of college to eat on my own regularly, but since I’ve been home I feel like every bite I put in my mouth is being monitored. I’m pretty sure they’d freak out if I went without lunch, even if it’s just for 9 days. We’ll see…

Sunday is even more exciting, because my dad and I are registered for our first-ever bike race! I’m not sure if it’s exactly a race, but it involves a lot of other riders and it supports a few charities, so it’s not just an impromptu ride like we usually do. We signed up for the 7-miler, which was the shortest distance, because the next-shortest one (25 miles) seems a bit too long. I think the most we’ve ever ridden is 10 miles, so the 7-miler shouldn’t be too hard. Based on my lame informal training plan, I’ve been consistently riding a little over 2 miles in 10 minutes, so if I keep up my pace of 13.5 mi/hr than the race should only take about 35-40 minutes. Well, I guess that depends on if I’m riding behind someone who’s slow 😉

I’m just hoping for nice weather (aka no wind) on Sunday so the ride will go smoothly. I rode two miles up and down my street (1 mile each way) today and I was planning on riding 3 but the wind was too much, plus I was dehydrated, my butt hurt (stupid bike seat!) and it smelled like smoke outside because of all the forest fires in the state. It wasn’t my best ride ever, but I think I’ll be fine on Sunday.

A goofy picture of me, just because

Q: What are you up to this weekend?