Growing Up

Awkward pre-interview face.

Awkward pre-interview face.

My life may be just a few weeks away from changing a lot. I had my first Skype interview late last week with a TV station in Tulsa, OK and then a phone interview with a weather app start-up company in the Bay Area the other day. I know I was complaining 2 months ago about how my job search was going nowhere but now I suddenly have interviews for two different jobs in just a few days. Crazy how life works sometimes!

I don’t want to talk too much about the jobs because nothing is close to finalized on either one yet but it got me thinking about how I’ve been growing up a lot lately. First, I graduated from college in December. I remember when college seemed so far away, let alone graduating college and going out into the real world.

The job search has been a whole other story. I’ve gone through times of excitement, finding jobs I’d hope I’d get. I went through frustration and disappointment when I didn’t hear back from any of the jobs I’d applied to. And now I’m kind of in a state of disbelief, as I consider that I could very well be moving to another state & another time zone very soon and starting my first job and really figuring out where to go with my life.

And then just other things in my life are changing, and helping me grow up. I’m apartment hunting, trying to figure out a budget for when I have a job, finding more confidence in myself, and maturing in my relationship with my parents & sister. I had some rough times last weekend, a few heart-to-hearts and I realized that my parents are still very worried about me with my thoughts towards food & my body. Remember my Fully Raw February challenge? That came to an end a little sooner than I’d thought due to getting sick and having my mom tell me that she thought I was being restrictive. I felt mostly really great eating raw but I realized I missed some things (namely peanut flour, lentils and sweet potatoes!) and having some digestive issues made me realize that I couldn’t sacrifice my health just to stick to a way of eating that I thought was ideal. I’m still eating somewhat raw, but being less restrictive and trying to figure out how to reincorporate foods I used to love while not feeling afraid of eating them. I made sweet potato+kale enchiladas with my dad the other night and I didn’t feel too guilty for eating corn tortillas or cooked food!

A [mostly] raw lunch that I felt good about eating.

A [mostly] raw lunch that I felt good about eating.

Things are changing over here, so there might be some changes coming to the blog too. I can’t promise any consistency in my posting, but I want to share updates a few times a week and keep up with my favorite blogs. I hope you’re all okay with that!

Any big changes going on in your life right now or soon?

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WIAW: Monday’s Meals

Now that you’ve seen my meal prep, let’s see what I’ve done with all that food! These are all my meals from Monday, minus an afternoon snack of a pink lady apple and some homemade raw bites that I forgot to take a picture of because I ate them in my night class.

Let me start this post by talking a little more about Instagram. I know I’ve ranted about it in the past, but for me, it’s something I easily get sucked into even if I’m trying not to let it dictate my choices. A lot of the users I follow are raw vegans–even though the lifestyle is a little extreme (I don’t think all fats are bad, and I would like to try being more raw but not necessarily super low fat like most raw vegans), I find their viewpoint on food to be refreshing. They aren’t afraid of the carbs or sugar in fruit, and promote flexibility within the diet, but overall they’re committed to real, whole foods. So those users are positive influences on me. But then there are other users, who I stumble upon from the comments section of another user I follow, and I’m kinda pissed at what these people post. Every other picture is a Quest bar, and some even talk about how they don’t eat fruit after 2 pm because they don’t want the sugar in it to turn to fat. Disordered much? It just makes me so mad, and makes me question my own diet. Seriously, though, fruit is NOT bad and you shouldn’t feel afraid to eat it in the afternoon. And don’t preach ‘clean eating’ and ‘whole foods’ when all you eat is Quest bars and Walden Farms syrup. End rant.

Breakfast: frozen banana blended with romaine lettuce+Garden of Life raw protein powder for banana softserve, side of trail mix made with pumpkin seeds, homemade coconut bacon and raisins.

Breakfast: frozen banana blended with romaine lettuce+Garden of Life raw protein powder for banana softserve, side of trail mix made with pumpkin seeds, homemade coconut bacon and raisins.

Not an unusual breakfast for me. Actually, any breakfast not involving banana softserve is unusual. Yes, I still enjoy my cold breakfasts even into the winter. I just turn up the heat 😉

Lunch: random mix of kelp noodles, black beans, cauliflower, kraut and homemade spicy pumpkin sauce. Side of ataulfo mango and leftover homemade hannah yam fries.

Lunch: random mix of kelp noodles, black beans, cauliflower, kraut and homemade spicy pumpkin sauce. Side of ataulfo mango and leftover homemade hannah yam fries.

I love my lunches on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays because I can come home to my apartment and whip up something that I don’t have to scarf down in between classes or make the night before to take on campus. So I can have leisurely lunches like this random one above. Seriously, it sounds like a gross combo but somehow it all tasted good together.

Monday's outfit: black blazer (Charlotte Russe), black/pink patterned dress (Target), black tights (Target), black heeled suede booties (Target).

Monday’s outfit: black blazer (Charlotte Russe), black/pink patterned dress (Target), black tights (Target), black heeled suede booties (Target).

Monday’s outfit, brought to you by Target. But really, like most of this outfit came from Target. I honestly don’t buy clothes from there that much, but I love their cheap (and colorful) tights collection and adorable shoes. My mom happened to buy the dress for me, mostly to wear to work, but I love it as a dressier outfit for school too. I’m obsessed with the boots+tights+dress combo. I need more winter-appropriate dresses. The shoes were new, on clearance, and super cute but not the best for wearing on campus. I only had two classes on Monday, and I walked about 10 minutes from my car to class each way, but these were killing my feet. I just need to get better about walking in heels.

Dinner: salad of romaine lettuce, leftover Thai sweet potato veggie burger crumbles, raisins, pumpkin seeds, kraut and more homemade spicy pumpkin sauce.

Dinner: salad of romaine lettuce, leftover Thai sweet potato veggie burger crumbles, raisins, pumpkin seeds, kraut and more homemade spicy pumpkin sauce.

I’ve been on a roll with the random meals lately. Why do the most random combos always taste the best? I hate it because I can never remember exactly what was in the mix, so I can’t recreate it 100%. Like the pumpkin sauce in lunch and dinner. I remember pumpkin puree, almond milk, nooch, sea salt and some spices going into it. Maybe some sunflower butter too. It was so rich and creamy and just yum though. And it worked perfectly with the veggie burger crumbles and other toppings in this salad.

Dessert: successful take on the mug cake. Almond flour+coconut flour+stevia+a little baking soda+almond milk+stevia chocolate chips.

Dessert: successful take on the mug cake. Almond flour+coconut flour+stevia+a little baking soda+almond milk+stevia chocolate chips.

I’ve been seeing a lot of mug cake creations around lately and I wanted to make one again. I’ve whipped up a few in the past and they’ve always been an easy dessert option. This version was my attempt at a cookie cake. It was lighter and fluffier than a traditional cookie cake, and no where near as sweet (just sweetened with stevia) but still incredible. And definitely a more realistic dessert option for this baking-averse girl.

What’s the most random but delicious combo you’ve come up with? How do you feel about the ‘no fruit after 2 pm’ thing (or Instagram disordered eating in general)?

Meal Prep Monday

Remember my ‘vegan on a budget’ posts from last year and earlier this year? I was planning on bringing them back once school started back up in the fall but it’s been…3 months since school started and I haven’t done one of those posts yet. Oops. Anyways, it’s a little late to do them again now since I only have 4 more weeks left, including finals! Crazy talk.

I’ve still been keeping up with my grocery budgeting and meal prepping, though, and I wanted to showcase a little of that, especially because I did a LOT of it this weekend. I managed to spend under $70 total for the week at 3 different grocery stores, which is way better than I was doing last semester, and I’ve been loving my long weekends (I only have classes Monday through Thursday, so 3 days weekends every week for this girl…enjoying them while they last!) because they give me plenty of time to go shopping and get my food prep done for the week. Taking an almost full course load means that I don’t have a ton of time during the week to do this, so it’s a blessing to have 3 days to catch up on stuff, including prepping my meals.

Anyways, here’s what I’ve been up to in the kitchen lately!

Groceries

Sprouts and Natural Grocers mini-haul.

Sprouts and Natural Grocers mini-haul.

I wasn’t planning on going to Sprouts this weekend, but when my friend said she needed to swing by there for a few things, I decided to tag along. I ended up getting some cheap organic Pink Lady apples (my favorite kind), Ataulfo mangoes (also my favorite) and Medjool dates. All for under $10. Afterwards I stopped at Natural Grocers, mostly because they’re the only store in my area that carries black bean pasta, which is a new high-protein staple for me. Unfortunately, they were all out but I still ended up buying a few things I needed wanted, like my favorite Hail Merry miracle tart, xylitol-sweetened gum, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seed butter–for under $15.

Whole Foods produce...

Whole Foods produce…

...and pantry staples.

…and pantry staples.

Whole Foods is a given, but luckily it hasn’t been a budget breaker lately. I’ve been able to spend under $50 there consistently if I also shop at another store, and I only spend around $60 if that’s the only place I shop for the week. I can’t complain! This week I bought two more expensive items (the stevia-sweetened chocolate chips and Skinnycrisps) but the chocolate chips were on sale and the Skinnycrisps I hadn’t had in months and I wanted to bring them home to have over Thanksgiving break. I was planning on buying Tessemae’s BBQ sauce (sweetened only with dates!) so I could make this ‘pulled’ BBQ cauliflower but they were all out so I just had to nix that recipe for this week. As usual, I got a ton of produce (bananas, pomegranates and persimmons on sale, romaine hearts, lime, cilantro, Hannah yams) and some other things I needed for recipes like organic peanuts from the bulk section (on sale!), raisins and yeast. And of course, a few Larabars for quick snacks during the week. This was all just under $45, score!

Meals

Some of these things I made before I did my grocery shopping, so I was kinda using up some things and getting creative. I ran out of nut butter on Wednesday I think so that was fun trying to find other fat sources in my pantry. It was nice to finally restock and have more fruit and snack-y stuff again.

Raw protein bowl for breakfast on Saturday. Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+coconut flour+almond milk base, topped with homemade raw coconut 'bacon', pomegranate seeds and a little chia ginger rawnola.

Raw protein bowl for breakfast on Saturday. Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+coconut flour+almond milk base, topped with homemade raw coconut ‘bacon’, pomegranate seeds and a little chia ginger rawnola.

I already plowed through one of the Garden of Life protein powder tubs my dad bought me late last month and I’m onto the second. I definitely recommend this brand, especially their new coffee flavor (it’s only available at Whole Foods right now, though)–decent consistency, especially mixed with coconut flour, and great stats for a raw protein powder.

Lettuce wraps...for breakfast?

Lettuce wraps…for breakfast?

This was another recent breakfast, when I ran out of bananas so I couldn’t have my usual banana ‘softserve’, which is what I have like 90% of the time. Instead, I took some romaine hearts and filled them with dates, raisins and the last of my PB. The date/lettuce combo is seriously killer! I know it sounds weird, but it’s really good. I also had some Garden of Life protein powder mixed with almond milk on the side.

Salad with romaine, leftover black bean spaghetti, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and sauerkraut.

Salad with romaine, leftover black bean spaghetti, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and sauerkraut.

Random black bean and kelp noodle bowl with cauliflower, sauerkraut and homemade pumpkin curry sauce.

Random black bean and kelp noodle bowl with cauliflower, sauerkraut and homemade pumpkin curry sauce.

Before my grocery trips this weekend, my lunches were getting pretty random. I was basically throwing together some leftovers, like the black bean noodles and pumpkin curry sauce, with some add-ins like pomegranate seeds and sauerkraut. These lunches were actually really tasty and filling–I just love the sweet and salty combos!

Oh She Glows' Thai veggie burger on top of spinach, topped with sunflower seed butter+aminos, peanuts, cilantro and mango. Side of roasted cauliflower.

Oh She Glows’ Thai sweet potato veggie burger on top of spinach, topped with sunflower seed butter+coconut aminos, peanuts, cilantro and mango. Side of roasted cauliflower.

Finally a more put-together meal! This was my take on Angela’s Thai-style veggie burger. I made a few changes to it though–I nixed the oats in favor of almond flour to make it grain free, I didn’t really measure anything, I only added in the spices/veggies that I had on hand like curry powder and cilantro and I topped mine with a sunflower seed butter sauce. These were pretty crumbly, but the flavor was spot-on and definitely the best homemade veggie burger I’ve ever had! I’m looking forward to leftovers all week..

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work and the mess.

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work and the mess.

Sometimes simple desserts are the best. Like these stevia-sweetened chocolate fruit & nut clusters.

Sometimes simple desserts are the best. Like these stevia-sweetened chocolate fruit & nut clusters.

As for the rest of meal prep, I cut up and stored the 2 organic pomegranates I scored at Whole Foods for just $2.50 (they were on sale 4 for $5)–always messy work but I’m obsessed with pomegranates so it’s all good–made another batch of homemade sweet potato fries out of one of the Hannah yams I bought, made some more PB&J bites and some healthy ‘rice krispies’ (cacao brown rice cereal made with coconut sugar+sunflower seed butter+1 tbsp maple syrup+1 scoop protein powder+some almond milk made into bars) to use up some brown rice cereal I had and I also made the chocolate-covered fruit and nut clusters above. It’s so simple it doesn’t even really need a recipe, and I have no idea where I came up with it, but it’s basically raw mixed nuts (mine were from Whole Foods) and raisins topped with the Lily’s stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips and set in the freezer to harden. I used the stevia chocolate so these would be sugar free, but feel free to use whatever dark chocolate you have on hand. These are really good, and they’d be the perfect simple holiday dessert, maybe made more festive with dried cranberries instead of raisins and peppermint-flavored dark chocolate?

Do you like to do meal prep on the weekends? What are some of your recent favorite food finds?

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WIAW: 1 Week

1 week til I’m free (sorta) from classes. 1 week til I’m back home for the summer. 1 week til I can really relax. And 7 more days of stress, projects, to-do lists, papers and cleaning. Welcome to finals time!

Enough complaining, though, let’s get to this week’s WIAW. I haven’t posted a full day of eats in quite awhile but I managed to get pictures of all the food I ate on Monday for once!

Breakfast: chai carrot cake inspired smoothie in a bowl. Topped with cashew butter, raisins and crumbled grain free sweet potato coconut muffin.

Breakfast: chai carrot cake inspired smoothie in a bowl. Topped with cashew butter, raisins and crumbled grain free sweet potato coconut muffin.

My latest breakfast favorite is the smoothie in a bowl. It’s finally been warm enough to enjoy these regularly and since I stocked up on xanthan gum awhile back, I can finally make them thick and ice cream like. This version was made with vanilla chai Vega protein powder, almond milk, a dried fig, chopped carrots and cinnamon, plus an ice cube for a cold factor. I could eat this daily!

Lunch: spinach salad with leftover falafel+hummus & kimchi and olives; dried bananas and orange dark chocolate.

Lunch: spinach salad with leftover falafel+hummus & kimchi and olives; dried bananas and orange dark chocolate.

I basically scarfed this salad down between classes since I’ve been busy editing a video for a final project and eating isn’t allowed in the editing lab. However, I did sneakily eat the dried bananas (not like banana chips–these are soft and chewy and just made of bananas and lemon juice) and the chocolate. The salad was a bit too smelly (thanks to the kimchi) to eat inconspicuously.

Snack: an almost-raw snackplate with fresh pineapple+strawberries, part of a raw brownie bar, fig with cashew butter, Thai curry cashews, chipotle kale chips and PB2 dip.

Snack: an almost-raw snackplate with fresh pineapple+strawberries, part of a raw brownie bar, fig with cashew butter, Thai curry cashews, chipotle kale chips and PB2 dip.

I’ve been indecisive lately (when am I not?) so snackplates have been staples. I’ve been having some off days a lot lately in regards to hunger, so I ended up putting back some of the kale chips and cashews, and I wasn’t feeling the PB2. I bought it when I ran out of peanut flour, and it’s way too salty for me. I’d rather have peanut flour so I can add my own salt or stevia, and it’s got more protein anyway and is cheaper. Luckily my iHerb order came just in time and now I’m restocked.

Dinner: vegan tamale, unpictured watermelon and chipotle kale chips.

Dinner: vegan tamale, unpictured watermelon and chipotle kale chips.

I celebrated Cinco de Mayo a day late with this tamale that was on sale over the weekend at Whole Foods. I gotta say, I’ve never had a tamale before and this vegan bean-and-corn filled version was bomb! I could have gone for less corn, but it was really good and I’m glad I’ve got a second one to eat some other time this week.

Dessert: peanut flour paste, unsweetened applesauce, coconut butter stuffed date, part of a raw brownie bar, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate, half of a vegan everything cookie.

Dessert: peanut flour paste, unsweetened applesauce, coconut butter stuffed date, part of a raw brownie bar, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate, half of a vegan everything cookie.

I haven’t had one of Whole Foods’ cookies in months…but my dad offered to get me one over the weekend and I couldn’t say no. But full disclosure: I was scared to eat it. I very rarely eat wheat as I generally feel better without it, and this cookie is made with whole wheat flour. However, it’s pretty darn clean for a cookie, so I split it in half and enjoyed it over two nights without any problems. I know I’ve said before that I like eating clean and I don’t see that changing, but I want to get back to being able to enjoy indulgences like these every once in awhile.

An awkward selfie on a bad body image day.

An awkward selfie on a bad body image day.

And I’d be lying if I said I’ve been completely okay in my body lately. It seems to be a combination of seeing so many ab pictures on Instagram and just feeling insecure in my own body, but I’ve been feeling kinda crappy. Full disclosure: I don’t like body selfies like this but I feel like I needed to post one just to vent my frustrations. I feel uncomfortable in my spring and summer clothes after wearing pants all winter, and I feel like I’m gaining weight and it freaks me out. Honestly, I would love to have more definition in my abs, but I don’t believe it’s all about clean eating and working out–if that were true, I’d probably have more visible abs. As it is, I know that I do have something under there as I can flex and feel the hardness of my stomach, but it still bugs me that my abs don’t show. BTW, this picture was taken almost immediately after dinner, but I don’t have much more definition in the morning either. And I can’t tell you how much I hate seeing my thighs right now, especially in little shorts. This may be a topic for another post, but Instagram has basically become a place for comparison for me, and it’s definitely not positive comparison. I’m not sure if anyone else has felt the same way about Insta, and I’m not trying to make it seem like a bad thing (it certainly doesn’t have to be) but it seems to me that there are so many ‘ripped’ and ‘defined’ people on there that make it seem like they’re totally healthy but in reality they’re likely overexercising and underfueling. Just another reason for me to try to stay away for awhile.

I’m hoping that once the next week is over and I move back home that my appetite will return to normal and I can see myself in a more realistic light!

What have your breakfasts been looking like lately? How do you deal with changes in hunger?

WIAW: Life Lately

I kinda missed being a part of the WIAW party last week, so this week I’ll be doing a big photo dump showing my life lately. Get ready for lots of pictures!

Woke up to this last Monday and wasn't thrilled.

Woke up to this last Monday and wasn’t thrilled.

No, you’re not seeing things. This was over a foot of snow…in April. My college town got dumped on quite literally over the course of 3 days last week by winter storm Yogi. While Colorado usually gets some snow in April, we don’t usually get this much, ever! And my college is known for never giving snow days, but we got 2 half snow days last week and it kinda made my life. I had to take the bus for most of the week when classes were in session, but I’m hoping I’ll be back to driving my car to campus for the rest of the semester.

One of my favorite 'bucks drinks: tall unsweetened iced coffee, sweetened with stevia.

One of my favorite ‘bucks drinks: tall unsweetened iced coffee, sweetened with stevia.

This was consumed well before the snowstorm, when it actually was feeling like spring. I actually prefer the cold drinks to the hot drinks anyway, because I tend to get overheated too quickly with hot coffee. So I’m really glad we’re getting into summer when it’s more acceptable to sip on iced coffees and iced teas.

Recent lunch: spinach topped with green olives, raw jalapeno kraut, sprouted pumpkin seeds and white bean 'falafel'.

Recent lunch: spinach topped with green olives, raw jalapeno kraut, sprouted pumpkin seeds and white bean ‘falafel’.

Again with the salad-a-day. I’ve been going more for nori ‘burritos’ for lunch but sometimes a nice spinach salad hits the spot. Ironically, this was eaten on one of the snow days! Obviously I’m still craving summer when there’s snow on the ground. What can I say, summer is my favorite season by far.

Mini raw cinnamon rolls.

Mini raw cinnamon rolls.

I still haven’t been able to find a great vegan and GF baked cinnamon roll recipe, but the raw versions I’ve made are pretty good. This one was made with almond flour, flaxseed, raw honey, dates, raisins, coconut oil and cinnamon (duh). They turned out to be pretty tiny rolls, but the filling was ridic. So gooey…I love dates like no other!

Grilled asparagus salad.

Grilled asparagus salad.

I can’t wait til I’m home for the summer and can hit up the amazing salad bar at the Whole Foods near me, but for the next month, I’ll be slumming it at the lame salad bar at the WF in my college town. Ok, just kidding, it has a pretty lame selection but I’ve been saving money and not buying anything from there too often since it’s usually disappointing. But some of the cold salads in the prepackaged area are actually decent, like this grilled asparagus salad. The ingredients are pretty clean, and the veggies taste bomb when drizzled with some balsamic. I think these would be perfect for a veggie wrap with some hummus or guac.

Qdoba naked veggie salad with black beans, habanero salsa and tons of guac.

Qdoba naked veggie salad with black beans, habanero salsa and tons of guac.

Speaking of guac, Qdoba has some of the best. I love that they always give me a huge scoop of it, so I don’t even care that it costs extra. I pretty much get the same thing every time I go: the naked vegetarian taco salad with black beans, habanero salsa (I like things spiiiiiicy) and the guac. So simple, but so perfect.

Dessert-ish for breakfast: chocolate coconut protein 'ice cream' topped with Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and coconut chips.

Dessert-ish for breakfast: chocolate coconut protein ‘ice cream’ topped with Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and coconut chips.

I always get stuck in ruts with my breakfasts. I used to love overnight oats, then I moved to smoothies-in-a-bowl, then pancakes, then waffles and most recently chia seed puddings. Now I’m returning to the smoothie thing, but more like the protein ‘ice cream’ I’ve seen around the blog world a lot. Basically, I blended almond milk with Sunwarrior protein powder, some melted coconut oil (not needed, just for extra flavor and a fat boost), and then added a few ice cubes and some xanthan gum. It turned out thick, creamy and icy, almost like actual ice cream!

More snow this week=not a happy camper.

More snow this week=not a happy camper.

As if a foot of snow wasn’t enough, just by the time it all melted on Sunday, we got hit with another quick round of snow. This time we got about half the amount and it started to melt really quickly, but still. This is yet another reason why I really want to leave Colorado after college–I need warmth! (Just as an aside, Colorado generally isn’t this snowy, it’s a pretty dry state but we’ve had a weird spring this year).

Southwestern style nachos for dinner. Sprouted sweet potato tortilla chips, leftover sweet potato, green olives, white beans, sprouted pumpkin seeds and raw jalapeno kraut.

Southwestern style nachos for dinner. Sprouted sweet potato tortilla chips, leftover sweet potato, green olives, homemade guac, white beans, baby spinach, sprouted pumpkin seeds and raw jalapeno kraut.

I gotta say, homemade nachos are one of my favorite throw-together dinners ever. And nachos don’t have to be unhealthy! I always top mine with sauteed kale or spinach and other veggies, have plenty of beans for protein and healthy fats (seeds and guac) and use the Way Better Snacks brand of chips since they’re made from simple ingredients and sprouted grains and seeds. I also had a different twist on nachos last week with some Greek style nachos…those are a definite repeat, once I stock up on more Skinny Crisps crackers. They remind me a lot of pita chips but they’re grain free!

Nori wraps are a new lunch must-have.

Nori wraps are a new lunch must-have.

I’ve still been enjoying my salads for lunch, but I love mixing it up with nori wraps. I usually stuff ’em with kelp noodles, spinach, raw kraut or kimchi, mango or pineapple, coconut aminos and raw cashew butter. I wish they were more portable though since they make a great quick lunch option.

Random dessert: half of a cinnamon apple ALT Larabar, no sugar added vanilla coconut milk ice cream.

Random dessert: half of a cinnamon apple ALT Larabar, no sugar added vanilla coconut milk ice cream.

If you’ve never warmed a Larabar, plllllllease do! It’s so good, especially with the chocolate chip flavors ’cause then they get all melty. Warming the cinnamon apple ALT bar made it taste like apple pie, and of course I had to have it a la mode, with my favorite ice cream.

Have you discovered any unexpectedly good flavor combos lately? How’s the weather where you are? 

On Fullness, Rest Days and Intuitive Eating

You might be thinking right now, “Wow, 3 super-taboo blog world topics in one post? This girl is cray.” I can’t necessarily dispute that last statement 😉 but as much as I think these issues have been discussed to death lately, I needed to provide my own views on the topics. Amanda had a great post on this last week and it really got me thinking about how bloggers put too much emphasis on what they’re putting into their mouths and how much they’re moving their bodies. Health is important of course, but not when it becomes obsessive.

So first, my thoughts on feeling full. I have to admit, I don’t have the best relationship with this feeling. I have always had a small stomach capacity, so I’ve never been able to eat much without feeling fuller sooner than others. I’ve mostly resolved this issue by eating 5-6 small meals every day and this works for me. But, I still experience very negative emotions when I do get full. Generally, I only feel truly full after meals out, since restaurant portions tend to be larger, and even if I don’t eat the full amount, it can still be overwhelming, no matter what it was I ‘filled up’ on. Let’s look at two examples from this weekend. On Thursday night, my family came up to my apartment because my sister had a college visit at a college nearby and they wanted to save money on a hotel. We went out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants up here, and I had a delicious, individual-sized pizza with kale, garlic, figs and grilled onions on thin crust. I ate 4 out of 6 slices, along with a small orange cream vegan and gluten free cupcake following. After eating, I felt satiated but not too full. Usually, I would feel quite full for maybe half an hour, and feel some guilt over eating ‘that much’ but we ate fairly late and I hadn’t had much to eat in a few hours. However, the following day my mom and I got Qdoba for lunch. I had my usual, the naked veggie salad with black beans, habanero salsa and lots of guacamole. I ate most of the salad, and when we ran errands afterwards, I could sense that I was full, and it messed with my mind for most of the afternoon. Why was I feeling so full after basically just eating lettuce, beans and avocado? I felt guilty for eating most of my lunch, even though it was healthy and balanced.

The meal that made me feel more self-conscious about fullness.

The meal that made me feel more self-conscious about fullness.

Basically, I just have guilty feelings associated with being full, no matter what I got full from. I don’t think this is a healthy relationship to have–I’m not saying feeling full after every meal is necessarily good either, but it’s okay to feel full from a meal every once in awhile,  especially if you enjoyed it while eating. And some days, we just aren’t as hungry, and can get filled up from even little meals, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it.

I didn't get in any tennis this weekend, but I was ok with taking a rest day on Friday.

I didn’t get in any tennis this weekend, but I was ok with taking a rest day on Friday.

About rest days. I’m bad about taking them myself, but I absolutely believe they’re essential for everyone, from pro athletes to casual exercisers. Since I’ve been exercising regularly (for about the past 2 years), I’ve rarely gone a day without some form of a workout. There were a few days when I was out all day and didn’t get in a traditional workout, but I was on my feet all day running errands or shopping and I counted that as my workout, since it was pretty strenuous after a full day. But even on the days when I exercised a little less than the day before (usually because I was too busy), I freaked out. I would love to say I work out just for the good feeling it gives me, but that’s not entirely true. I also do it for the calorie burn, and because it makes me feel okay with eating. Sad, but true. But on Friday, I worked on my exercise guilt. Since my family was up here, and then we headed back to the Springs after my sister’s college visit, I couldn’t fit in a lifting session or even a quick ab workout. I wasn’t completely sedentary (my mom and I ran errands around town for an hour or so) but I didn’t do much other than that, and surprisingly, I was kinda ok with taking a rest day. Sure, I got right back into my routine on Saturday, but it helped me realize that a rest day here and there isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it might help with exercise burnout, and in preventing overuse injuries. I’m not sure if I’m ready to take a full rest day every week, but I’m hoping to get there soon.

Finally, onto intuitive eating. This one has been discussed so much lately, so I don’t want to go into too much detail here. But I do think it’s been misconstrued a lot. I think moving away from calorie/macro counting and measuring is a great thing (and something I’ve been doing since the beginning of the year) but not when it turns into something that isn’t intuitive at all…orthorexia. I know, because I’ve fallen into it myself. I’ve become more hyper-focused on the ingredients in the foods I’m eating, and it’s been obsessive at points. It might seem healthier than calorie counting, but it can be just as destructive. When people start saying they’re eating intuitively, yet still stick with ‘safe’ foods, that could be a red flag for orthorexia. When someone’s obsessed with clean ingredients to the point that they get anxious about eating foods they don’t know the ingredients for (I’m guilty as charged), it could be a sign of orthorexia. Intuitive eating isn’t about stuffing your face with cake or ignoring all healthy eating guidelines, but it isn’t about eating ‘clean’ 24/7. It’s about being flexible, sensing fullness, enjoying your food and not letting it rule your life. I feel like I was pretty good about eating intuitively this weekend. I had everything from fancy vegan pizza, to nori wraps, to Larabars, to a vegan gluten-free cupcake, lots of guac and roasted veggies to protein smoothies. I ate pretty balanced everyday, enjoyed all of my food, didn’t freak out too much when I felt a little fuller than usual and didn’t overthink my choices as usual. I know this is something I’ll still struggle with, but feeling more free is a great thing!

A healthy weekend option, balanced by vegan desserts and pizza!

A healthy weekend option, balanced by vegan desserts and pizza!

What are your thoughts on fullness, rest days and intuitive eating? 

WIAW: New & News

Before I get to the best party of every week, I wanted to share a little news with you guys. I’ll be doing a couple reviews (with a possible giveaway) within the next week so look forward to that! I love entering giveaways and reading reviews so I’m really happy that companies have started to reach out to me to share their products with my readers.

Now onto the eats! I’ve been eating a lot of “new-to-me” stuff lately which I always love. I’m not really a creature of habit, I do know what I love and stick with that but I really like switching things up and trying out new food. I did some of that over spring break and apparently that trend is continuing this week.

Breakfast: chocolate coconut chia protein pudding topped with cacao nibs, shredded coconut and chocolate chip cherry torte Larabar.

Breakfast: chocolate coconut chia protein pudding topped with cacao nibs, shredded coconut and chocolate chip cherry torte Larabar.

The chia seed pudding obsession is going strong, but what’s new is the addition of (half of) this new-ish to me Larabar flavor. I tried the chocolate chip cherry torte flavor last summer and didn’t love it. But after having it a second time, I kinda like it. I pretty much hate anything cherry or cherry-flavored, so this is huge for me. Probably the chocolate chips are what make it ok 😉

Lunch: spinach salad with green garbanzos and balsamic.

Lunch: spinach salad with green garbanzos and balsamic.

The salad-for-lunch thing isn’t new (I’ve been eating one almost every day for three months!) but the green garbanzos sort of are! I bought some frozen ones from Whole Foods on a whim about a month ago and haven’t been using them a lot, but they’re really good in salads drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I’d love to try making falafel from them too!

Lunch side: half a pumpkin pie ALT Larabar.

Lunch side: half a pumpkin pie ALT Larabar.

If you have the new ALT bars near you, please try them! Especially this flavor. It reminds me of spice cake, and is really good and filling! Half of one made the perfect lunch dessert, and it had 5 grams of pea protein to boot (the entire bar has 10 grams). I love finding all-natural vegan protein bars that actually taste good!

Snack: snackplate of yellow carrot, maple mesquite sprouted walnuts, baked apple chips, Kaia buckwheat rawnola and Purely Elizabeth pumpkin fig GF granola, southwest ranch kale chips, peanut flour paste with mini dark chocolate chips.

Snack: snackplate of yellow carrot, maple mesquite sprouted walnuts, baked apple chips, Kaia buckwheat rawnola and Purely Elizabeth pumpkin fig GF granola, southwest ranch kale chips, peanut flour paste with mini dark chocolate chips.

The kale chips are semi-new (the southwest ranch flavor of Kale Krunch chips is unreal) and so are the apple chips and the cashew butter (the WF brand reminds me of cookie dough, but it’s just made from cashews and a little safflower oil!) but the real newbie is the yellow carrot. Can you believe I’d never had a whole carrot before a week ago? I spotted a bunch of tri-colored carrots at Whole Foods and just had to snag them. I don’t think I’m gonna rely on baby carrots so much anymore, I love the crunch of these full size carrots! And the fun color is just an added bonus.

This doesn't look awkward at all...

This doesn’t look awkward at all…

‘Nuff said!

Grape Zevia.

Grape Zevia.

I’ve been wanting to try this flavor for awhile, but I didn’t want to pay $5 for a 6 pack, in case I didn’t like it. Verdict: while it’s not my favorite flavor (that would be the cream soda) , it actually grew on me and I do like it. At first it reminded me of children’s Tylenol, but it’s actually pretty tasty!

Dinner: sauteed kale, sweet potato socca pizza.

Dinner: sauteed kale, sweet potato socca pizza.

Socca pizzas are a staple around here, but this was a first for me–a sweet socca pizza. I made my usual socca base (1/4 cup chickpea flour, salt, enough water to thin) and topped it with 1/4 of a mashed sweet potato mixed with almond milk and cinnamon, crumbled maple mesquite walnuts, shredded coconut and a drizzle of maple syrup. It was like dessert pizza for dinner, and it was oh so good!


These were actually all my meals for Monday, minus my nighttime snack (unpictured because it was eaten too late for a good photo to be taken), which was coconut flour mixed with a little baking powder, chocolate chips and almond milk and microwaved to make a coconut flour muffin, a square of Alter Eco dark mint chocolate, peanut flour paste and a date stuffed with cashew butter and cacao nibs. Nothing exciting, but I love it.

If you’ve tried Zevia, what’s your favorite flavor? Have you ever eaten a weird colored veggie?