WIAW: Then and Now

You wanna know what’s pretty darn cool?

These photos of Pluto.

Wanna know what else is pretty darn cool?

Looking through my blog and seeing progress in my health, faith, and maturity. I’ve only been blogging for {almost} two years, but what an eventful two years they have been!

I’ll save the teary-eyed talk for my actual blogiversary (which I have not even memorized), but today for What I Ate Wednesday, I want to do a little “then and now” comparison of my eats. The “then” photos are from early 2014, and the “now” photos are from yesterday. So this is comparing my eats between a 1.5-year period.

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What I am taking away from this comparison of eats is that:

a) The eats don’t look all that different between then and now.

b) The volume of eats is more or less the same between then and now.

c) The caloric density of my eats is much greater now. (My eats last year were very “clean” with minimal sugar and oils.)

d) I’m doing much less activity now.

e) I’m pretty sure that I feel more energized now.

Breakfast

THEN

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plain 0% Greek yogurt with a crumbled banana muffin, banana slices, and nut butter

NOW

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full fat Greek yogurt + chia seeds with a crumbled berry banana muffin, banana slices, and giant scoop of nut butter

Snack

(In this instance, my “then” snack was more calorically dense than my “now” one.)

THEN

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Coconut nut bar

NOW

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finished off a bag of Enlightened wasabi crisps*

Lunch

THEN

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grilled chicken on undressed spinach + grapes + carrots + BelVita

NOW

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two fried eggs with goat cheese and honey on an English muffin + zucchini sautéed in sesame oil

Snack

THEN

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plain 0% Greek yogurt with banana slices and nut butter // I would often only add the nut butter if I had just worked out

NOW

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handful of almonds and the last Quest bar from Blend (finally!) // not post-workout, just hungry

Dinner

THEN

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farro with baked salmon and steamed greens // little to no oil or sugar

NOW

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quinoa with turkey meatloaf (included eggs and panko, topped with a sweet ketchup maple glaze) + salad dressed in a homemade maple mustard vinaigrette

Dessert

THEN

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Greek yogurt with dried figs // I still eat this and love it, but today there’s a lot more of this…

NOW

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peach blueberry cobbler a la mode + some unpictured 2% milk

Like I said, the eats may not look that different, but when I keep in mind the caloric density of my foods today and the absence of formal, intense workouts lately, I have to say that I’m proud of my progress.

And guess what. I feel so much better now. I don’t agree with those who say “clean eating” makes you feel better than ever. Yes, eating nutritious foods most of the time makes me feel great, but getting rid of sugars and oils from everything makes me feel crabby, not better than ever.

My goal in this comparison is not to judge my past self or ridicule myself for being a little restrictive, because that time period was just another part of my journey. I’ve learned that recovery seems to keep unfolding itself, even if you think you’re just about done, which is why I say I’m 99.9% recovered.

So tell me:

Do you notice any differences between your eats now and your eats a year (or two) ago?

What did you eat for lunch yesterday? That goat cheese, honey, egg sandwich hit the spot.

Do you like meatloaf? I LOVE MEATLOAF, and the one I made last night was fantastic.

*My friends at Enlightened sent me more of their crisps because I’m in love with them and I blogged all about it. Honesty = best policy.

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Getting Back Into a Routine {Recent Eats}

The altitude got to me in Colorado, but now the two hour time loss in New York is getting to me.

I’m such a wimp, I know. I’m mostly just bad at managing my time right now, so I end up going to sleep at midnight when I need to wake up at 6 AM to take my dad to the train station.

{Oh look, it’s 11:30 PM as I type this. Good.}

Luckily I have been keeping busy with my physical therapy internship, which I am loving so far! By observing and being in the clinical setting, I can really see myself in the career. I’m relieved that I don’t hate it 🙂

Moves have been on the slower side with some stretching, foam rolling, and strength exercises. It’s just what I need right now. I also went to a modern dance class at my good ol’ studio last night! It felt amazing to dance again. AMAZING. It also felt a little tight, because I haven’t been stretching enough…

Of course, the domestic duties are also keeping me busy. Since food is more exciting than chores and errands, I’m sharing some of the things I’ve been cooking up this week.

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leftover whole wheat banana pancakes from before Colorado (I froze ’em!) with 2% Greek yogurt, a trio of nut butters, and maple syrup + an unpictured glass o’ milk

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honey mustard pork chops with caramelized shallots + blanched broccoli with tahini sauce

For the tahini sauce (roughly): 1/4 c. tahini, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. lime juice, 1 tbsp. maple syrup, water to make it drizzle-consistency

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lunch for a long day of interning and errands: salad with sweet potato, leftover pork, homemade honey mustard dressing // carrots and hummus // orange // BelVita biscuits // Balance Bar // Enlightened mesquite bbq crisps

Stay tuned for an awesome giveaway featuring Enlightened products! I’m addicted to their roasted broad beans, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

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whole grain seed toast with melted Cabot garlic and herb cheddar and two sunny side eggs + a storm of cracked black pepper

This was brunch-y, cheesy, salty, dippy goodness that I ate for dinner one night. Get the cheese. I’m not sponsored by Cabot, but I just want to announce that I love their garlic and herb cheddar.

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Kozyshack tapioca pudding with cinnamon and nutmeg

Y’all know how much I love tapioca pudding. Add cinnamon and nutmeg, and you won’t have to worry about anything ever again. (Ha, if only.)

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overnight oatmeal smoothie: oats, Greek yogurt, milk, chia seeds, and peanut butter stirred in the blender the night before // greens, frozen banana, frozen grapes, more milk added in the morning // blend and eat out of a bowl with a spoon!

I know it looks like swamp water with algae growth, but this was so delicious and quick in the morning. Normally I would also add granola for crunch, but we were out.

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Spaghetti squash!

This was my first time roasting spaghetti squash! I cut off the stem, sliced the squash in half lengthwise, scooped out the guts, rubbed each half with olive oil + salt + pepper, roasted them face-down for 40 minutes at 375F, let them cool, and then raked away with a fork until it looked like this:

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I added some caramelized shallots

I never wanted to try spaghetti squash in the past because I knew it wouldn’t taste like real spaghetti, but it’s still tasty! It’s tastes like other squashes except in string form.

I thought it would be a good time to try spaghetti squash since there was one left in the grocery store, and my dad is eating low carb right now (I can assure you that I am not eating low carb), so it was good base for something like my favorite sriracha chicken.

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sweet and spicy goodness

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coconut cashew Quest bar with sunflower seed butter

I still have tons of Quest bars from Blend (many of which my brother took to Florida as well), so I decided to have one for dessert last night. I followed Quest bar protocol and microwaved it before spreading the nut butter and eating it with a tiny fork. I Snapchatted my Blend roommate Colby to ask if I was doing it right, and she approved.

It’s already Friday! I hope all my fellow Americans have a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend. Pop and I will hopefully be doing a small barbecue for ourselves and any of my friends who want to come. You’re invited!…but I’m not giving you my address. Sorry.

So tell me:

Do you have trouble adjusting to different time zones?

Have you ever tried spaghetti squash? What do you like to eat with it?

What is your favorite way to eat Quest bars?

What are you doing this weekend? I’ll be cleaning the house, seeing Daliza (!!!), blogging, reading, BBQing, and eating ice cream, among other things.

Hiking in Colorado

If you want to get fit, come to Colorado.

My brother told me that Colorado has the fittest people in the nation, and I believe that wholeheartedly. The atmosphere and culture just scream: “Outdoors! Stay active! Wear sneakers!”

I mean, with this kind of land, how could the culture not be that way?

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When in Colorado, do as Colorado people do. So we’ve been getting outdoors and climbing ALL the rocks!

(Warning: A ridiculous amount of photos ahead!}

Monday: Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

We started with a delicious breakfast a la hotel.

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scrambled eggs, hard boiled egg, Canadian bacon + oatmeal with honey, banana, and pb

other half of banana with more peanut butter

Mom: “Alison’s cooking.” ➔ aka cutting up a banana and spooning peanut butter onto my oatmeal.

Then we were off to Red Rocks! As soon as I started walking up the hill and stairs, my heart started beating what felt like twice as fast as usual. Hello, high altitude!

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But the beauty of the red rocks distracted me from my lack of lung capacity.

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The good people of Colorado were doing their thing, working out at the amphitheater by running the bleachers and climbing the stairs. Ben and I were inspired!

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 had to throw some burpee bench jumps in there

Ben and I decided to walk on the quick and leisurely 1.4 mile trail around the red rocks. Man, was it fantastic.

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Our time at Red Rocks ended up being a great workout between all the stairs and walking, so we were definitely ready for lunch afterwards.

DSC_0960 some Enlightened crisps to snack on

Ben found a Nepalese/Indian restaurant with great reviews on Yelp called Sherpa House. It was an all you can eat buffet for $9.99! NAAN, PLEASE AND THANKS.

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After a mighty satisfying lunch, Ben and I explored the town we were in— Golden, CO. My motive for exploration was finding ice cream, to be honest. But the quaint, western town was beautiful and charming! (We found awesome ice cream though. Caramel Oreo + Bing Cherry, oh my goodness.)

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The rest of our day was spent in our hotel room resting/blogging until we went out to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen with some family friends. I had the roasted vegetable salad with grilled chicken, which I totally devoured. Plus lots of bread and olive oil.

Tuesday: Bear Peak

This hike was probably the hardest workout I’ve ever done. At least, it’s up there. If you see a little Asian waddling with a look of pain on her face in Colorado today and tomorrow, it’s probably me.

I woke up at 7:30, and my body felt pretty tired— not quite sore, but just lead-like. I knew that Ben and I had a long hike planned at Bear Peak, but I secretly wasn’t opposed to just chillaxin’ instead. But we got up, ate breakfast, and tackled the darn hike. We are in Colorado!

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scrambled eggs + pineapple + oatmeal with honey and pb (I didn’t end up eating the yogurt)

but I did have a quarter of my mom’s waffle with the rest of the honey and banana

Let me just commentate our hike for you. We heard great things about this trail, the weather was perfect, and we were excited (Ben a little more so than I). The hike was almost 8 miles and took us just over 5 hours.

I knew it was going to be a tough hike, and I consider myself to be fairly fit, but WOWZA this hike was a whole ‘nother level for me.

At the start:

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In my head: Oh that’s cute. The start of the trail is going downhill. Bringing you down to go up. 

Me: It’s so not cool to be hiking up a mountain when you just ate a large breakfast.

Ben: Some people run up this mountain. In the winter.

Me: If we see a mountain lion or bear, the plan is that I get up on your shoulders and we make ourselves look huge. I’ll try not to scream and you just back away. And you film the whole thing.

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The hike up to the summit was about 3 miles, with 1.1 miles being straight up. Those 1.1 miles were the death of me. Ben had to stop several times for me to catch my breath. If I want to make excuses, I’d say we were climbing from 6,000 ft to 8,000 ft elevation, which is way up there for this city girl. I’m also a high maintenance packer who brought two water bottles, lots of snacks, and my jacket in my honker of a backpack.

Me: I feel like I’m using the stair master, running, doing burpees, and squatting all at the same time.

Ben: We have about 1,000 ft of elevation left. ➔ I give him a silent death stare.

Me: I definitely should have eaten pizza last night. Need carbs.

Me: My glycogen stores are depleting. I need a snack.

 peanut butter and banana on whole wheat sandwich thin

 A girl about our age was climbing up behind us, and I let her pass us because she was a beast and powered through those rocks much faster than I. Poor Ben had to keep stopping for me, but he said that made it easy for him. Ha.

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After a sweaty and butt-killing 2.5 hours, we carefully climbed up the rocks at the summit and just soaked. it. in.

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In my head: Worth it. Also, don’t fall off the mountain.

We ate a power lunch/snack at the summit before heading back down the longer but less steep 4 mile trail down the mountain.

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sweet potato, eaten just like that

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The hike down was so much less strenuous than the hike up (thanks, gravity), but it was still interesting. There was a creek that was rushing pretty hard due to melting snow, and we had to cross it back and forth at least ten times. Our feet got completely wet, but it was still a fun challenge to figure out how to cross each time.

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Ben: I lied about this being the drier side of the mountain.

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we climbed up that whole left side of the mountain

In my head: If anything will kill me on this hike, it would be a fly buzzing past my ear, causing me to spazz out and fall off the cliff.

Our last obstacle of the hike was passing by a rattlesnake, which made my heart beat just as fast as when we were ascending the mountain.

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7.8+ miles and 5+ hours later, we made it back to where we started. It was an incredible experience and I absolutely loved this hike, despite the pain my legs are in right now.

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I ate two more of those peanut butter banana sandwiches upon finishing. 🙂

Showers and relaxation were much needed afterwards. Then dinner! Mom took us to a Vietnamese restaurant, where I ate a rice vermicelli bowl with grilled pork and tons of veggies, herbs, and ground peanuts. We also shared egg rolls as an appetizer. Hit the spot so good.

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As you can see, I housed that bowl. Hiking hunger is as real as “runger.” I even had room for frozen yogurt.

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peanut butter and cookies ‘n’ cream with graham cracker crumbs, hemp granola, and mochi

Now it’s time to sleep. Does anyone who is attending Blend wanna bring a foam roller?

Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! Your lesson of the day: eat the dang pizza.

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Linking up this hiking and eating extravaganza with WIAW!

So tell me:

What is the hardest workout you’ve ever done?

Do you like hiking?

What sweet treats have you eaten lately?