Calling out the negative coping mechanisms for my stress without judgement.

pray.

…I would say that I should probably do more of this. Or at least do more silent, intentional prayer. I am definitely praying all throughout the day for my patients and for continual strength from God to do what I need to do, but to be with the Beloved in a quiet space is a rare occasion these days, and I know that it is in my control to change that.

What I think I really need to clean up is my night routine. The hardest thing these days is coming home exhausted and wanting to “turn my brain off,” so I turn to social media or talking to friends or watching an assortment of Youtube videos (other people eating or working out or talking about God usually). I KNOW THIS IS NOT THE ANSWER. But I’ve been doing it anyway in an attempt to fill myself.

Guess what. It’s not working super well.

My face is broken out in acne; my cortisol levels shoot me up at around 7am even if I want to sleep in; my workouts feel really difficult; I sometimes find myself stress eating. None of this is first-time experience, and I know that the sources are a) stress from work; b) lack of quality time with God. One of these can be changed, for sure, if I really want it. And I do.

I am grateful that, at this point in my life, I can call out these negative coping mechanisms of mine without being hard on myself. I am also grateful for these seasons of stress and adjustment that remind me of my weakness and the need to rely on God c o m p l e t e l y.

Something that helps me with bouncing back from negative coping mechanisms is to “just say yes to the next good thing.” Whether that’s putting down the phone at 9:00pm, taking out the trash the night before instead of almost forgetting in the morning, turning off the TV Youtube while I’m eating dinner, etc. Say yes to ONE next good thing. Just one.

eat.

The best thing I ate last week was chicken saag with garlic naan and basmati rice from a local Indian restaurant. My brother picked it up for us + his girlfriend on Thursday night, and we had a lovely socially distanced dinner in the backyard. It made for two delicious meals, which is the best ūüôā

move.

I’ve still been loving the outdoor KB workouts on Sundays hosted by @kettlebellgains_apparel. I didn’t go this weekend because I needed a bit of rest (aka napped too long and was a sort of too late lol) and wanted to catch up with family over video chat, but most Sundays I try to make it down there for awesome community and HEAVY kettlebell work!

Otherwise, my workouts have been mostly strength/mobility-based and pretty low key. I’ve been telling my patients, “I work out so I can do this [physical therapy]!” And I mean it.

groove.

On Friday night, I got home late so I ran up and down the stairs blasting uplifting praise and worship to sing, dance, and work up a sweat ¬Į\_(„ÉĄ)_/¬Į whatever works.

On Saturday, I met up with my apartment-mate from last year, Yuka! She loooooves NYC, so I gave her a little tour of some of my favorite spots, some new-to-me spots, and some of her requested spots. It was a day of 29K+ steps, lots of carbs, and good friend time! Masked and outdoors only, of course.

It was fun writing a good old blog post again. This always helps to ground me. Thank you, as always, for reading along on this 7+ year journey.

So tell me:

Do you find yourself using “negative” coping mechanisms at times? How do you try to bring yourself out of those?

What are some things that ground you during stressful/challenging times?

Do you like Indian food? Fave dish? What is the best thing you did this weekend?

I Ate a Whole Humble Pie This Week!

Not just a slice.¬†Like, God pie’d me in the face with the whole¬†humble pie.

I’ve been home for only five days, and I feel like I have learned¬†many¬†humbling lessons. Let’s just say: If you ask God to humble you¬†and teach you how to love others more deeply, He WILL. Not always in the way you expect/prefer, but He will.

Without boring you too much with all lessons I learned, I will share just one slice of this humble pie, which is my hip pain that I’ve been complaining about this past week. After consulting two physical therapists, we have concluded that it is very likely that I have a labral tear, which means I will not be able to run the Spartan Race in two weeks. I’m kinda crushed, but I am thankful for loving friends and family and the ability to still walk and move.

Time to get reacquainted with lots of yoga and Pilates!

Humble pie isn’t the only thing I ate at home (thankfully). There have been two birthday¬†celebrations and much-needed family/friend time!

Thursday

Back in Boston, my day started with green banana silver dollar pancakes.¬†Because I had time…

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…or so I thought. Until¬†I left way too late for the bus station FOR NO GOOD REASON AT ALL and ended up having to¬†run¬†for the bus. I felt like such a dummy for leaving so late and almost missing my bus. I am often late to things, but this really woke me up. #humbled.

Thanks be to God, I juuuuuuuust made the bus and arrived to New York that night. My family welcomed me back with a belated birthday dinner at my favorite Japanese restaurant!

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fantastic fried calamari to start

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salad that came with my sushi dinner

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eel avocado, yellowtail, and tuna¬†‚ÄĒ all my¬†favorites!

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“Ichiro Sushi Sandwich”¬†‚ÄĒ spicy tuna, lobster salad, crab, egg, avocado wrapped in soy paper

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Ben and Pop’s sushi and sashimi for two!

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celebrating 21 with a¬†shiso leaf mojito¬†‚ÄĒ very tasty!

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We left full to the brim with sushi, so my dessert was a scrumptious mini pistachio muffin (made by my aunt) from our fridge.

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Friday

I started the day with Lori and Michelle’s great 18 minute plank workout, followed by a hearty breakfast.

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steel cut banana oats with cinnamon raisin pb + two eggs with veggies and sriracha

Madre¬†and I went to get our nails done and then to shop at Trader Joe’s. It was a lovely mother-daughter date ūüôā

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afternoon snack plate

We tag-teamed dinner ‚ÄĒ I made the brussels sprouts and she made the salmon (plus the leftover rice).

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Classic and so satisfying!

Saturday

Breakfast was small because there was a giant feast ahead!

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greek yogurt with bananas, cinnamon, and almond butter

Moves and grooves of the day included 45 minutes of YouTube yoga¬†before we all got dressed up and headed to the Big Apple for Pop’s grand 50th birthday celebration! He wanted to go all out for his half-century on this planet, so we started with an uber fancy late lunch at Jean-Georges, a Michelin Star restaurant located in Columbus Circle. Ooooooooo la laaaaa.

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’twas such a gorgeous day!

After we took some photos outside, we stepped into the restaurant for our 2:15pm reservation.

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Pop wanted to do the spring tasting menu, which the waiter requested the whole table do. The birthday boy had spoken, so we went with the fixed spring tasting menu. It did not disappoint!

Bread basket: I went with a slice of the Swedish rye (smeared with butter), which was very textured and flavorful!

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Amuse bouche: sesame-crusted asparagus with yuzu sabayon + beet-cured salmon sashimi with chili pepper over sunflower seeds and yogurt + warm herbal tea. Everything on the plate was delicious on its own, and the herbal tea was more like broth, but very good!

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Course one: softly poached organic egg, caviar, whipped yogurt, herbs + buttered brioche stick for stirring and dipping.¬†This was my favorite dish of the whole meal! That buttered bread stick with the soft egg and perfectly salty caviar ‚ÄĒ so unique and incredible.

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Course two: Madai sashimi, pastel radishes, nasturtium vinaigrette. This was very zesty and similar to ceviche. Refreshing and pretty to look at!

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Course three: warm green asparagus, sautéed sorel mushrooms, sherry vinaigrette. These were some of the best vegetables ever. Those mushrooms were so flavorful and meaty!

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Course four: slowly cooked bass, crunchy oat tuile, herbal lime dressing. Melt-in-your-mouth fish with great tangy dressing and some sort of pea puree. The crunchy oat tuile was so fun too!

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Course five: rack of lamb crusted with herbs, fresh chickpea puree, carrots, and aleppo pepper sauce.¬†The best lamb I’ve ever eaten. The aleppo pepper sauce went so well with the meat, and everything on the plate just WORKED.

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Course six:¬†strawberry¬†gel√©e, frozen basil and vanilla morsels, crunchy tapioca pearls, strawberries.¬†Insanely interesting. It was like the most sophisticated version of strawberry jello with dip ‘n’ dots you could ever imagine. I wouldn’t choose this dessert myself, but it was fun to eat and pretty tasty!

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Bonus dessert: Pop’s surprise chocolate birthday cake with raspberry filling

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Bonus dessert part two: homemade vanilla bean marshmallows, orange liqueur jelly, lemon curd-filled chocolates, basil chocolates, sesame caramels, chocolate liqueur-filled chocolate balls. They cut the marshmallows table side, which was the coolest. And all the chocolates minus the orange jellies were so interesting in a good way!

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he totally made his arm/hand positions perfect for my photo

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Utterly STUFFED. The food at Jean-Georges was ridiculously creative and well done, and the service was top-notch. Thank you, Madre and Pop, for letting us join in on this spectacular food experience!

After our long lunch, we gave Pop his cards…

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love how my aunt gave him a KIND bar in his card haha

¬†…and then walked over to Mass at St. Paul the Apostle Church, which is beautiful.

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Following Mass, we had another appointment at Minskoff Theater for the Broadway musical, The Lion King! We had heard rave reviews about it basically since we moved to New York, and this weekend was finally our time to see it.

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The show is really unlike any other Broadway musical I’ve ever watched. The characters are pulled off with ingenious costumes, humor and fantastic visual effects. And the singing and dancing is marvelous!

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Highly recommend ūüôā Such a heartwarming classic brought to life in an imaginative way.

Ben and I had a (literal) midnight snack at home and then we all hit the hay. What a wonderful day.

Sunday

Pop’s official 50th¬†birthday! I slept in and then started on lunch¬†for the fam. I needed a little snack though, so I ate some leftover salmon on a bed of spinach to hold me over.

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I grilled up some pancakes, roasted chicken drumsticks, and made Pop a chopped salad. Madre fried some plantains and helped me clean up a lot. What a team.

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After digesting, I laid low before doing a strength workout in the basement:

4 rounds:

  • 20 bentover rows (15# KBs)
  • 20 thrusters (36#)
  • 20 weighted setups (15#)
  • 20 donkey kicks each leg

(Walking and running hurt, but squats don’t hurt at all.)

Later that night, I met my high school dance friend, Susie, in the city for dinner! We met up at Cava, which is basically a Mediterranean version of Chipotle, except much better IMO. They give you so many toppings!!

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Susie recommended their juices, so we both got the strawberry mint lime. We tasted a bunch of them before deciding, and they were all so good!

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In my bowl: superfood greens, brown rice, harissa, eggplant feta dip, tzatziki, grilled beef meatballs, radishes, cucumber tomato salad, cauliflower quinoa tabouli, pita chips, and lemon herb tahini.

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RIGHT!? So much goodness! The company was the best part of the night though. It was so great catching up with Susie!

Monday

First thing in the morning, I dropped off Ben at the train station and then headed to the hospital I worked at last summer for one of my physical therapist friends to do a quick evaluation of my hip. She (along with my PT aunt) said that I probably have a labral tear. *sigh*

Head up, Alison!

I went back home for breakfast and a nap. I have been SO tired this week at home.

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greek yogurt, cinnamon, berries, chia seeds, purple corn flakes (!!), leftover pancake quarter, almond butter

The rest of my day involved Mass, some computer work and organization for school, and this Blogilates workout. I still want to move my joints and keep my muscles strong, but workouts are definitely very low impact and careful now.

At night, my high school friends Sam and Michael came over to hang out, which was so fun! We ordered pizza, and Madre (being the hospitable gem she is) fried up some egg rolls and TWO different kinds of pork.

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margherita

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veggie

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fried noms

And now it’s 1am and I should sleep, because next week I will be an 8-5 working human.

I hope you all have a lovely week! Prayers especially for all those in England and Europe in general ‚ô•Ôłé

So tell me: 

Which food in this post would you want to try!?

Two fun things you did this weekend.

What is your favorite musical?

Have you been humbled recently?

Gluttony or “Just Living”?

This weekend was definitely gluttony.

Disclaimer: If you are struggling with disordered eating, I ask that you please read with caution or not read this post at all. Please take care¬†‚ô•Ôłé¬†

But let’s talk about guilt over gluttony in the context of recovering from an eating disorder. I’ll start with a little fact about myself:

Before I developed disordered eating habits, I experienced guilt over eating more than I thought I should, because I felt that I was being selfish if I ate to the point of satiation. What about all the children my age who have nothing to eat for dinner tonight? My parents shut that down really quickly, but this is a real sentiment that I had when I was younger.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s prudent and good to avoid gluttony and to be mindful of our brothers and sisters¬†who have less to eat than us. However, I know from experience¬†that¬†there can be uncertainty between two thoughts during recovery:

“Am I eating all this for the sake of recovery?”

vs.

“Am I just being gluttonous?”

I am neither a dietitian nor a priest, but I do know that¬†“gluttony”¬†is necessary for recovery from an anorexia-type eating disorder. I put “gluttony” in quotation marks because eating a lot‚ÄĒ an amount greater than you feel like eating‚ÄĒduring recovery from an anorexia-type eating disorder is essential for healing the mind and body. It is the only way to get yourself to reach a healthy weight and challenge restricting behaviors.

(This doesn’t mean eating until you get sick, but many of you probably¬†understand what I mean.)

So what happens once you are completely recovered (or even 99.9% recovered)? Personally, I believe I am well past the point of “eating more food for the sake of my health”. If I eat more than I think I should at this stage of my life, it’s¬†probably¬†unnecessary. But am I gluttonous or “just living”?¬†

I think it can be argued that “just living” involves a little bit of gluttony. Most of us don’t need¬†that¬†extra drink or dessert, but those extra treats that put us a little over the top can be good for our mental health and social experience.

According to Google, gluttony means¬†“habitual greed or excess in eating”. I certainly believe that eating more than you really need is not a terrible thing every now and then (if you are at a healthy stage in life). However, for ME,¬†once it becomes habitual ‚ÄĒ once excess eating becomes…excessive ‚ÄĒ that is where I’d say¬†I’m being a little bit gluttonous.

This is a self-reflection. I do not mean to speak for anyone else! But I’m curious to hear if anyone has similar reflections.

So let’s look at the amount of food my family and I ate this weekend.

Friday Night

Dinner at Shiki with our family friends.

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some bites of my parents’ yakitori

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squid appetizer for everyone to share

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gigantic mussels for everyone to share as well

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sushi for me!

Saturday

Back story: We and our¬†family friends are HUGE foodies, and for whatever reason, it’s a tradition for us to go into NYC and do a “food crawl” to many different food vendors. Rule: We must walk.

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light breakfast (light for my standards): Greek yogurt with half a banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, blueberries, and pb

First stop: Chelsea Market! Also known as the land of “I can’t choose what to eat.”

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We all parted ways and bought our own dishes before reconvening, but we also shared a bunch of things. Many little bites here and there!

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little bites of a couple kinds of doughnuts from Doughnuttery¬†‚ÄĒ delicious!

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one of my favorite bites of the day: ginger pecan pie

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egg, ham, cheese, scallion corn muffin¬†‚ÄĒ totally up my alley

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Ben’s Mexican plate with cactus and beef

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I couldn’t even finish my¬†salad after bites of all the other things!

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After Chelsea, we walked uptown towards Broadway via High Line for a more scenic route. The weather was overcast, cool, and absolutely perfect!

We watched a matinee of Book of Mormon, which is a pretty esteemed musical. It was definitely hilarious, but it was also so vulgar and blasphemous that every time something funny happened, all I could do was stare with wide eyes and a dropped jaw. I may have smiled too.

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I do appreciate it as a musical, however. The music is super catchy and the acting was phenomenal.

We headed over to Koreatown for our post-show/pre-dinner snack. Madre and Pop suggested a Korean food court called Food Gallery 32.

I had a bite of taiyaki, which is a pastry shaped like a fish, stuffed with red bean paste. Fresh out of the iron, this thing was FANTASTIC. Crisp exterior, gooey interior, rich filling.

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Colby, you’d love this.

Plus a sip of Ben’s taro bubble tea.

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Dessert before dinner (but don’t worry, we ate dessert after dinner too).

My uncle made reservations for us at Momofuku Nishi, a trendy, modern Japanese restaurant.

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#minimalist

We were basically sitting on wooden boxes, but I wasn’t mad about it.

Family style all day!

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cold shanghai noodles

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some magical fried chicken

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butter noodles that tasted cheesy but weren’t actually cheesy

Then there was this “Impossible Burger” that we split into eight little pieces.

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Perhaps you are asking, “What the heck is this sad looking burger doing at an upscale Japanese restaurant?” Well, the burger is vegan (the patty at least). But it 100% looks and tastes like meat. Hence, the “Impossible” Burger.

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The only wow factor was that it was vegan, because otherwise, it just tasted like a really mediocre fast food burger with subpar french fries.

The main event was this 10 lb. pork roast that my uncle had to order ahead of time for our party of seven.

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the bone literally slid right out

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Ben rolling up the sleeves

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We ate it in lettuce wraps with many delicious condiments, herbs, and sticky rice. There was a good amount of meat that we got to take home for leftovers! It was a heavenly piece of meat.

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Then it was time to walk our way to dessert. Our family friends stopped at Momofuku Milk Bar to pick up some cookies to go. Then we headed to Van Leeuwen ice cream. On our way though, we got distracted by a place called Snowdays, which sells “shaved cream”.

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It’s a frozen block of cream that is shaved. My aunt shared her¬†black sesame shaved cream with coconut and mochi with all of us. Pretty unique! It’s like ultra light ice cream.

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Had to take a picture for ol’ Disney Channel’s sake. Did anyone else watch Wizards of Waverly Place?

Finally, Van Leeuwen. Ben and I shared three scoops (I was greedy. We definitely should have just gotten two scoops). I chose ginger, honeycomb, and vegan banana nut. They were all so good! I couldn’t choose a favorite.

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Obviously, humans don’t need this much food (unless you¬†burn calories like¬†Michael Phelps). I did feel gluttonous (especially with that ice cream at the end), and I do not condone eating like this every day of course, but¬†it happened, it was a wonderful time with family, and¬†I am grateful for all the food.

So tell me:

Have you ever struggled with discerning gluttony vs. “just living”?

Have you ever done a “food crawl”?

What are you doing today? Happy Labo(u)r Day!!! 

Someone Just Send Me to My Room For Bedtime, Please

I have never been so grateful for clean drinking water that is so readily available to me.

The weather here in New York has been tropical this summer! Hot (well, duh), raining in random patches, and always pretty humid.¬†Needless to say, it has been a sweat fest here and I’ve been guzzling water all the¬†livelong day.

Walking, running, standing, sitting ‚ÄĒ always sweating. Especially this weekend! Here’s what went down.

(Oh, and thank you all for your sweet words on the blog anniversary post!¬†‚ô•Ôłé)

Friday

I had never been so exhausted from work. Friday was only a little bit more physically demanding than any other work day, but MAN. I was honestly a tiny¬†bit afraid of falling asleep on my drive back home (I knew I could make it though, don’t worry Mom and Dad).¬†I think I ate enough. Maybe it was¬†lack of sleep¬†(thanks, Olympics).

I planned on working out after work, but nay to that. I sat on the couch and quasi-napped for three hours when I got home. Then I got a second wind at 10 pm thanks to a snack, watching track and field at the Olympics, and a spontaneous FaceTime with Rachel. Then I went to bed at almost midnight..yet again.

Someone needs to send me to my room to just read and go to sleep. I need disciplining like an 8-year-old, help.

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this almond and peanut butter with dried fruits and seeds (“Mad River Mojo”) from Stowe, VT is¬†magical

Saturday

I did a quick 12 minute workout (12 Minute Athlete style) in the morning before showering and eating breakfast. I had a NYC date with two college friends that day!

3 rounds (30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest):

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banana bread baked oatmeal with peanut butter and Greek yogurt

I got to Grand Central and walked to Penn Station to meet my friend, Dana. It was a brisk 22 minute walk in the city heat, so going from that to standing in the oven subway station, I was soaked.

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So happy to see Dana! Not happy that our subway was delayed for almost half an hour though.

We finally made it to the Governors Island ferry station, where our friend Cassandra was patiently waiting for an hour. So sorry, girlfran. It was also down-pouring when we got there, which shocked Dana and me as we emerged from underground (that makes us sound like Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog).

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[source]

But one quick ferry ride over to Governors Island…

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…and we met clear-ish skies once again!

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As soon as we stepped foot onto the island, Dana asked, “Can we get lunch?” Praaaaise.

We walked around to explore our options, and we found a fun food truck hub.

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I chose Yaki Taco for three tacos: curry beef, chicken, and panko fried fish, which were all messy and delicious.

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“Don’t bother me. I’m eating.” ‚Üź name that old¬†commercial slogan!

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they all look identical, but the meats are hidden under the slaw and “yum yum sauce”

Cassandra shared some of her cheese fries with us too. Ooooo, baby.

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you know it’s America when the cheese is more yellow than the Asian-Americans eating them the water bottle in the background

I knew I had to get some of this overpriced, organic ice cream from the Blue Marble stand.

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I got “The Governor” flavor, which the lady told me was a vanilla base with Grape Nuts oat clusters, caramel, and “white velvet” cake pieces. White velvet? You mean…vanilla cake?

#marketing

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it was still tasty, so I won’t hold it over her

With happy bellies, it was time to explore the island!

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peep Lady Liberty in the background

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After a few hours, we took the ferry back to Manhattan, where we parted ways. I walked back to Penn station while they went off to Brooklyn Bridge, since I wanted to make it back home in time for Mass with the fam, even though I probably reeked of sweat and city grime.

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I loved hanging out with Cassandra and Dana! Thanks, ladies, for a great time catching up and exploring the city (and for loving food as much as I do).

If you’re ever looking for a cheap but lovely and family-friendly¬†NYC¬†pit stop, check out Governors Island! I loved it.

After Mass, the family wanted to go to our favorite local Mexican restaurant. More tacos? Why not?

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maragarrrrrrita for the big man

I actually passed on more tacos and got the restaurant’s special salad and shared a good portion of mom’s rice (I ‚ô•Ôłé Mexican rice).

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Also, can we look at the whole farm that was smashed between Ben’s cemita (sandwich on sesame seed bun)?

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in the words of Pop: “there’s like a whole flank steak on that”

Later at home, I ate half a giant peach (where’s James at??) + two warmed up oatmeal dried fruit cookies (from Christmas still!).

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And since I am so bad at going to sleep at a reasonable time, I also snacked on Wheat Thins, the world’s most underrated cracker.

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I went to sleep past 2 am.

Sunday

I “slept in” until 9:30, which isn’t sleeping in that much given the time I went to bed.

At least I did something productive the night before‚ÄĒ prepping this overnight oatmeal smoothie inspired by Kath’s peach dough boy smoothie. I added a spoonful of peanut butter + half a large frozen banana and spinach in the morning.

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the fluffiest I’ve had in a long time!!

After doing some computer work and cleaning, I geared up for outdoor moves and grooves.

I’ve been wanting to do hill sprints for a while now, so I finally had the time and energy to do them yesterday. BUT HOLY FREAKING COW FLYING OVER THE MOON.

My lungs were not ready for the annihilation. It was also hot out!

After one sprint, I was literally saying to myself repeatedly, “I’m dying.” But I also kept telling myself, “I can do this. I know I can.”

I thought about Allyson Felix, Usain Bolt, my track star friends from high school, and Jesus Christ for inspiration.

The workout:

5-4-3-2-1 hill sprints (approx. 125 m) with the following circuit between each set:

  • 10 curb burpees
  • 20 Russian twists each side
  • 30 mountain climbers each leg
  • 20 air squats
  • 10 pushups

It took me almost an hour to finish, because I needed to take a break and double over to breathe many times.

It sucked but it was…fun? Is that what athletes feel?

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immediate post workout snack

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late lunch sandwich: greens, Madre’s homemade pickled carrots and radishes, turkey, swiss, mustard, and sriracha + unpictured carrots and artichoke hummus

The rest of the evening involved showering, typing this blog post, and talking on the phone with Apple Support for my temperamental keyboard. The problem seems to be fixed for now though!

I’m also listening to old Hannah Montana music for kicks. I used to be obsessed.

I better go pack for Ireland and do important things before the Rio closing ceremonies comes on. Lord knows I will want to stay up for those.

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banana bread mug cake with Greek yogurt for a late night snack after dinner

Hope you guys have a sweet week! This one’s my last week of work at the rehab hospital already!

So tell me:

Are you good about getting to bed at a regular time? 

Have you ever done hill sprints? Did you die?

What is your guilty pleasure music from the past?

Thoughts On “Getting Back On Track” After Vacation

It’s only been a week since we got back home from vacation, and we’ve gone through two bunches of bananas already.

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I didn’t ask a question, but thanks for the answer anyway, Madre ūüôā

Last week was as great a week of work as any could have been after vacation. I am so grateful for wonderful coworkers and mentors who make my job so enjoyable.

Let’s talk about “getting back on track” after a vacation.

After having three (or five) course meals for dinner every night on the cruise and heavier-than-normal breakfasts every morning, I was looking forward to a little bit of a break from endless food (although, I definitely chose to indulge in more food on the cruise). You could say that I was looking forward to “getting back on track”.

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my first meal back at home was classic avocado egg toast

But when I think of “getting back on track”, the first things that I’m tempted to do are:

  • Cut out all desserts for the next month.
  • Eat “clean” (whatever the heck that means) 100% of the time for the next month.
  • Compensate for the amount I ate on vacation by cutting down the amount/density/volume of food I eat.
  • Be strict about exercising and doing the “right” kind of exercise to maximize calorie burn.

Hear me out: These are just the first things that¬†pop into my mind¬†when I get back home. However, I’ve learned that¬†this kind of absolutist mindset¬†does me a huge disservice, and it stresses me out more than anything, which I don’t need for my digestive health or overall health.

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Pop and I went out to dinner the night we got back because we didn’t have any¬†groceries yet // vegetable bibimbap + Kalbi beef short ribs to share

I definitely did NOT eat “clean” 100% of the time¬†before¬†the vacation, so why do I need to change anything¬†after vacation?¬†I’m still working, exercising, doing my activities of daily living, etc. Those still require fuel. I also often like to eat something sweet after a long day of work, so I don’t really want to deprive myself of that.

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still lots of sweet breakfasts (that sometimes had ADDED sugars in them *gasp*)

This doesn’t mean that I still want a three course meal with a decadent¬†dessert every night. All I wanted was dried figs (which have quite a lot of sugar in them, even if it’s natural sugar) with Greek yogurt for a few nights last week, so that’s what I had.

Other days, I did still have some not-as-natural sugars. Like a slice of homemade banana bread at work, a Reese’s egg…also from work, and this snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich for National Ice Cream Day.

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You might be thinking, “Sure, Alison. But what if I actually gained a lot of weight on vacation?”

Well, I am in agreement with many wise RDs (like Robyn!) and healthy living bloggers;¬†without too much thought,¬†our bodies tend to naturally shift back to our happy weight. You’re going to be hitting your regular workouts¬†again, which I presume worked well for you before vacation. You’re going to be back to your own kitchen, and you’re not going to have access to as much food as on vacation anyway.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with consciously and deliberately¬†eating healthier and/or lighter foods after vacation. I just don’t think it’s helpful to shift to any kind of extreme “cleanse” mode.¬†

You went on vacation to get away from everyday routine for a little bit. Let yourself¬†enjoy¬†that during the vacation, but don’t let it haunt you after the vacation.

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spicy honey chicken thighs (based on this recipe) + roasted green beans for a dinner last week¬†‚ěĒ this was SO GOOD!

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turkey¬†quinoa taco bake with avocado and cilantro (and Greek yogurt added post-photo) based on this recipe¬†for another night¬†‚ěĒ this was¬†ALSO SO GOOD

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avocado egg toast + salad with homemade honey mustard dressing

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hunk o’ asiago sourdough

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quinoa with teriyaki chicken thighs + chicken spinach sausage + sautéed green beans a la Madre

It’s nice to be back in the kitchen to make our own nutritious food, but it was nice that none of us felt the need to eat oil-less, dry chicken breasts with steamed vegetables and brown rice every day. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s kind of sad if you feel like you¬†need to¬†do that as¬†“recompense”. I know I used to feel that way.

If you do want to “get back on track,” maybe focus more on the quality and nutrients of your food¬†rather than the calories or amount. Eat what you know you need and what you know makes you feel genuinely¬†good,¬†whether that’s kale or chocolate cake. Treat Trust yoself.

Needless to say, I still indulged in some sweets and rich foods this week. For the most part though, I’ve been eating foods that I normally love, which are generally nutritious and delicious. As for workouts, those have also been the same (a post about my workouts is coming soon!).

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I got Ben on the overnight oats train *high fives*

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lots of perfect cado-avos

My family even decided to go out for a rather fancy dinner on Saturday night after Mass. We were planning on using a Groupon (of course) at a Thai restaurant, but it was closed. Thus, we were diverted to a nice Greek restaurant called MP Taverna that we had been wanting to try for a while.

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three dips to share // chickpea (with some extraordinary spices), eggplant, and cucumber yogurt

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“dumplings”: basically the fluffiest ricotta gnocchi you can imagine in a tomato-based sauce with spinach, lamb sausage,¬†sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and feta #dead

Hooray for family time and outdoor lighting! ūüôā

Yesterday I hung out with my good friend Joe from college in the city! We celebrated National Ice Cream Day with ice cream sandwiches from Melt Bakery on High Line.

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We ate lunch after dessert, which is extra acceptable on National Ice Cream Day. Joe actually suggested salads, which was shocking but welcomed.

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I think there were tomatoes, roasted red peppers, broccoli, beets and brussels sprouts in there with creamy sriracha dressing

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you literally asked for it, Joe

It was so good catching up with him and walking around, despite the fact that we were being slow-cooked by the NYC heat.

I hope you all have a fantastic week! Eat foods that are fluffy, cheesy, creamy, and spicy this week. Report back on Friday.

So tell me:

What are your thoughts on “getting back on track” after vacation?

Did you celebrate National Ice Cream Day?

Two things you did this weekend!