Weekend Confessions

weekend confessions

Confession #1: I’m currently blasting Ariana Grande’s “Right There” and belting it in my apartment (you know I’m rapping Big Sean’s part too), because Megan moved out and I’m alone.

Confession #2: I miss Megan a lot. I miss the microwave and trash bin that she provided this semester too, but I miss her more.

Confession #3: Finals are DONE, and I am now a senior/physical therapy graduate student!!! But I’m really feeling the “responsibility drop-off” (← literally just made that up) and have been trying to balance my empty study schedule with my real life to-do list.

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study break last week

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crepe study break as a farewell to our friend Tom from Ireland!

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fresh out of our gross anatomy final, dying inside a little but living the dream

Confession #4: Instead of doing the online portion for my CPR course on Thursday night after my last final, I went to a summer birthday celebration (for all of us who have summer birthdays that we cannot celebrate during the school year) and a bonfire.

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Confession #5: The amount of sugar I consumed that night (cake + ice cream + cookies + s’mores) is really scandalous as a future healthcare professional, but no regrets.

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Confession #6: Since I went to the bonfire, I went to sleep past 1pm, had to wake up at 7am to finish the online CPR course, literally RUN to print out my certificate and meet up with my friend Janice to go to the in-person portion of the CPR class. #responsible.

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But now I am CPR certified! “Ah ah ah ah stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.”

Confession #7: Lunch on Friday was very beige. For bucket listing, Rachel and I went to Roxy’s for grilled cheese and truffle fries, followed by Toscanini’s for the B3 (brown butter, brown sugar, brownie) flavor. A meal of champions!

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Rachel and I both got the three cheese: VT cheddar, muenster, and fontina cheeses inside perfectly crispy, buttery white bread.

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The truffle fries were RICH. Truffle oil with rosemary and salt. So fantastic.

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In addition to the B3 (the required bucket list item), Rachel got marshmallow fluff and I got butter almond (so much butter that day), and we both enjoyed them thoroughly. I’d say Toscanini’s has the best ice cream in the Boston area! It’s so dense and satisfying, similar to gelato.

Confession #8: I didn’t finish this blog post but scheduled it to post for this morning, so it was incomplete when it went up. Whoops. Here’s the rest.

Confession #9: Instead of sleeping early on Friday night (which I needed because I was exhausted), I went to my first Red Sox game ever because one of the Deans of the school was giving out a bunch of free tickets to my friends and me while we were playing hacky sack outside earlier in the day.

Sleep vs. first (and maybe only) Red Sox game ever with friends on a Friday night?

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I don’t even like baseball, but the experience was a blast.

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My favorite part was dancing between innings to try to get on the jumbotron but failing every time. I maybe watched the actual game for a total of 5 minutes.

Confession #10: It has been utterly freezing over here in Boston in the middle of May (read: 40-50*F), but since people are moved out and it’s supposed to be hot for the rest of the week, my apartment’s heat is off. That means I’ve been incubating myself in multiple layers inside my room.

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MIDDLE. OF. MAY.

What is this madness!?

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Confession #11: I worked out with Ben on Saturday, and his original workout was too hard for both of us that we had to scale it down as we went on. It was a great one though!

10 crab walk pushups // 10 plank up downs// 10 plank shoulder tap holds // 10 burpee-squat-front lunge twists

.3 mi run

15 crab walk pushups // 15 plank up downs // 15 plank shoulder tap holds // 15 burpee-squat-front lunge twists

.6 mi run

10 crab walk pushups // 10 plank up downs// 10 plank shoulder tap holds // 10 burpee-squat-front lunge twists

.9 mi run

15 crab walk pushups // 15 plank up downs // 15 plank shoulder tap holds // 15 burpee-squat-front lunge twists

1.2 mi run

We ran on the grass to mix up the terrain, which was good. Those complex burpees were apparently added in just for me, but they were killer!

Confession #12: I returned my rental book a day late, but Barnes and Noble is generous and gave me a two day grace period instead of charging me $45 right away.

Confession #13: Briana, Sarah, Dom and I watched the Hannah Montana Movie on Saturday night, and I 100% enjoyed it.

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Confession #14: I took a bunch of my friends to Le’s Vietnamese for pho on Sunday because it’s cheap and good food. They let me order and advise them on how to eat everything correctly.

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Between six of us, this was less than $40! And it was so satisfying and delicious on the rainy day.

Confession #15: We went to buy froyo afterwards, and my cup was $7. So much for saving money.

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The mochi made it really heavy…okay, the amount of froyo I got also made it really heavy.

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Confession #16: I worked out with Sarah yesterday morning and my butt is mighty sore today. We did some rowing, weighted step ups, split squats, and squat jumps. That’ll do it.

Confession #17: A bunch of us got together last night to watch Inside Out, which Sarah and I had watched halfway through but had to leave during a cliffhanger. We finally finished it last night, and I am unashamed to say that I shed a tear. What a great movie.

Confession #18: I’m definitely not an early bird anymore. My three day streak was short-lived.

Hope you all have a beautiful week!

So tell me:

Any “confessions” from this weekend?

The best thing you ate this weekend!

Your guilty pleasure movie.

Are you CPR certified?

 

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Bread, Butter, Cheese and Sugar

The diet of champions.

I did something spontaneous, and it worked out tremendously! I had been wanting to have a wine and cheese night for the longest time this semester, so I finally reached out to my peers, asking if they were down for such an event this weekend.

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Long story short: They were down, and we all pulled together for a fabulous wine and cheese night!

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A few of us picked up some artisan cheeses from Sheridan’s Cheesemonger in city centre, and it was surprisingly so inexpensive! Other people picked up some cheeses from the local grocery store too, which were just as delicious. The selection included gouda, some aged cheddars, blue, goat, brie (so much brie), and chive + onion cheddar.

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What you don’t see here is the baked brie in puff pastry that a couple girls made. *drool* You can see at the top right of my plate below that I got a nice hunk of it though!

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I went back for the equivalent of, like, five more plates. I also learned that I hate wine. I almost choked every time I swallowed it.

We played Heads Up and Sardines afterward, because we’re quasi-adults. Such a fun night!

Other eats recently have involved a load of carbs, butter, and sugar. All the things that are demonized by our culture, but hey, when in Ireland…

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afternoon scones with butter and jam are my favorite

I’m aware of the general amount of carbs and fat I’m consuming here, and sometimes I’m tempted to be bothered by the fact, but I never feel overloaded or gross with the treats I’m eating. Granted, I don’t always feel like a spring chicken after a heavy meal (i.e. wine and cheese night), but I also don’t feel deprived or restricted, which is good for the mind AND body.

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I still love green things

If we’re being 100% honest, sometimes I still look at my stomach and think, “I know I could do better with my diet.” But then I remember, “What would that do for me? Would I really be happier with a little less fat? Is that where my worth is?”

And then the rational side of Alison comes back. Of course my worth is not in my body. I’m feeling energetic, lively, and grateful, and it is my duty to radiate that outwards, not to focus it inwards for some construction of “perfection”.

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Irish oat “flapjacks” (aka oats, butter, golden syrup, and brown sugar — DELICIOUS)

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Megan shared some of her garlic bread with me, and it was so satisfying

This isn’t anything we haven’t heard before (from myself or from the rest of social media), but reminders are always needed.

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I baked something! Some banana bread baked oatmeal for easy breakfasts this week.

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still going strong with the pb banana for breakfast #forever

Another sign that recovery is always subtly ongoing: I used to love having pasta for dinner in middle school, but then disordered eating shut that down in high school, and even in college to an extent. A bowl of pasta for any meal was subconsciously ingrained in my mind as “too many carbs” for so long that I generally avoided it, with or without deliberate thought about my carb intake. It’s not that I wouldn’t eat a bowl of pasta (trust me), I just wouldn’t consider it first on a menu or cook it for myself, even if I was craving it.

Silliness!!!

It had been a long time, but I bought a bag of pasta and cooked it up with some beef and spicy tomato sauce on Saturday night. Plus some unpictured roasted broccoli!

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*punches the air because it was so good*

Similar sentiments about white bagels, actually, now that I think about it. Again, I have no actual “fears” of these foods anymore, but I just recently realized that I don’t often get them for myself, and for no good reason. ‘Cause I really love pasta and bagels!!

(I’m saying all this not because I’m struggling, but because honesty is the best policy. I want to reassure others that having these thoughts/realizations, even after recovery, is still normal. We can kick ’em to the curb though 🙂 )

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brunch after Mass at Metro Cafe yesterday: toasted bagel with smoked salmon, guacamole, and rocket salad

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Speaking of Mass, the church we went to yesterday was gorgeous, and the choir was phenomenal! It was the best Mass experience I’ve had in Ireland so far. The church was St. Teresa of Avila on Clarendon St.

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After brunch, we were walking back home when I spotted Murphy’s Ice Cream. I squealed.

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It was €5 for this tiny cup, but it was a special tiny cup of ice cream. I mean, butterscotch whipped cream? C’mon. Definitely a better deal than a €5 shot.

Two last spontaneous things I did:

I RAN. 4.5 miles! I haven’t run that far in…a year? Two years? It was beautiful outside, and I was too sore to do any strength/HIIT stuff, so running was the perfect way to move and groove on Friday.

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Second spontaneous thing was cooking this weird rice dish last night with leftover white rice, tikka masala sauce, spinach, and two eggs.

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it was alright

Hope you all have a wonderful week! We have a couple finals and then a 10-day mid-semester break!!

So tell me:

Do you like wine?

What did you do this weekend? 

How are we feeling about carbs, butter, and sugar these days?

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 🙂

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 ➔ 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 ➔ 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! 🙂

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!

Christmas Chronicles

Post-Christmas healthy living bloggers be like:

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And I’m still just like:

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There’s been an endless supply of food on our vacation in Canada so far, and I can’t say I’m very stressed or upset about it at all. It’s definitely a lot more sugar and salt than I’m used to in such a short period of time, but there’s some nutrition in there. Most importantly, though, there has been a lot of fellowship and joy surrounding the meals, which is the best part!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/weekend. Here’s what’s been going on with me and my family…

Christmas Eve breakfast was a festive affair! Davida’s green pancakes with pomegranate arils to complete the holiday look.

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We went to Mass on Christmas Eve since we would be traveling all day on Christmas.

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After Mass we ate dinner at our favorite Japanese restaurant for suuuuushiiii.

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note the ideal fish to rice ratio — crucial aspect

Apple pie a la mode was waiting for us at home (leftovers that we froze from Thanksgiving)!

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I WAS SO FULL. But superbly content.

I woke up at the fine time of 4:20 AM (lol) after going to sleep at midnight. I had a little bit of time before we were hitting the road, so I did a super quick workout just to get the blood flowing before being the car for 10 hours. Working out before traveling these days is about moving for the sake of moving, not for the sake of burning calories. It’s nice and a lot less self-imposed pressure.

Mom and I packed some quality road trip food, if I do say so myself. Exhibit A: Mom’s salmon, brown rice, and broccoli packets.

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When we finally arrived at my grandparents’ place, we had some good rounds of ping pong (if that doesn’t scream Chinese workout of the day, I don’t know what does).

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(Also, my grandma owns me in ping pong.)

Dinner was the first of many Chinese meals on our trip. It was absolutely delicious, MSG and all. The fish was super fresh too. Suuuuper fresh.

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I apologize if any of you are squeamish, but that fish was incredible.

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We’re staying at my fellow fit relatives’ place currently, so of course we partook in some ninja activities upon arrival.

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My bro offered to take a slow motion video of me throwing knives, and I thought that would be a fantastic idea so I could scare all my best friends back at college. ‘Twas a great Christmas overall 🙂

Leftover green pancakes the next morn’!

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My cousin and I worked up a sweat for an hour or so playing Just Dance on her Wii. That game is no joke! Like, you need a decent amount of dance skill to be fairly good at it.

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And then more food with more cousins for lunch! Followed by Mah Jong (Chinese card game) and Chinese checkers. Did I mention we’re part Chinese?

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solid combo of leftover Christmas food and fresh sushi

At night, we all attended my great uncle and aunt’s golden anniversary celebration. 50 years of marriage, how ’bout that!? Inspirational.

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It ain’t no celebration without copious amounts of food in this family. Ergo, more eating.

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Peep the full pig on the right. We like heads on our food evidently.

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Ermahgersh.

Also, ermahgersh at all the little ones and the ex-little ones who are now taller than me (not saying that much, because I’m so short).

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Yesterday morning, I woke up early-ish to get some moves and grooves in. I did a fun yet killer circuit workout that I came up with in the basement. A classic and refreshing Greek yogurt bowl was breakfast afterwards.

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My family went to Mass and lunch (more Chinese food!) from the late morning to the early afternoon. Then we drove over to my mom’s side of the family for the rest of the evening. They greeted us with more food hahaha. ha. ha.

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another great combo of Thai food and Shepherd’s pie

Surprisingly, I never felt super full or overwhelmed. I ate what I wanted, and that was that. Yes, there were more times than usual this past week when I felt stuffed, but honestly, it’s the holidays. THERE, I SAID IT. I’m using the holidays as an excuse. What are we gonna do about it?

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The best part was hanging out with my cousins though. We even unintentionally matched with our cousin telepathy.

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girls show teeth, boys do soft smiles

It was a fun evening, and now it’s late… and I’m kinda hungry again… Not even kidding.

I am beyond grateful for my family, nourishment, health, and fellowship. God is good. Joy to the World, the Lord has come!

Hope you all have a great Monday! Three more days of 2015!!!

So tell me:

Three things you did this Christmas/weekend! 

Best thing you ate over the holiday. The sushi on Christmas eve OR that super fresh fish.

Consciously Avoiding Sugar Again?

It’s so pretty outside!!!

At least here in Boston. I hope it’s pretty outside for you too. It’s so pretty here, in fact, that I did some yoga-ish stuff out by the river yesterday. The crisp temperatures are perfect for keeping you cool when you start working up a sweat.

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All while the leaves are starting to change and I am starting to realize that getting out of bed in the morning becomes exponentially more difficult.

I haven’t shared a full day of eats in a while, so let’s look at that for this wonderful What I Ate Wednesday!

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While we’re at it, I want to talk to you about sugar in my life lately. It’s present (that’s for SURE), and sometimes I feel like it’s present a little too much. I don’t hide the fact that I am head over heels for the dining hall desserts and that I have one basically every day.

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breakfast // dorm oats: rolled oats with vanilla protein powder, banana, cinnamon, and pb

I don’t eat dessert because I feel like I “deserve” it or because I feel like I need to prove that I’m not afraid of dessert. At this point in my journey, I eat dessert because it’s delicious.

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lunch // roast beef, pepper jack, lettuce, tomato, roasted veggie, honey mustard sandwich on whole wheat + pear

Needless to say, I’ve noticed that my dessert intake has been rather indulgent in the past few weeks. I should make it clear that I am not guilty in regards to the calories/sugar/fat from the desserts. Rather, I am aware that I’ve been eating a lot of sugar, and I dunno…as a health-professional-to-be, I feel inclined to do something about that.

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snack #1 // cinnamon rice cake from a stash of communal snacks in the Catholic Center

I somewhat consciously try to avoid processed sugars throughout the day when I’m walking, dancing, learning and such. However, I still do eat quite a bit of sugar overall throughout the day (often in the form of bananas…)

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snack #2 // banana with peanut butter

I try to keep my sugar sources pretty wholesome for the most part. That being said, I don’t obsess over it. I mean, some of the sauces that the dining hall uses for their savory dishes probably have just as much sugar a cupcake, but it’s guatever.

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dinner // Creole chicken (like a sweet BBQ sauce) with rice + side salad

With all this in mind—my higher consumption of desserts lately and my fairly high consumption of sugar (from wholesome sources or otherwise) throughout the day itself— I decided to take a break from all desserts for five days last week. I challenged myself to not eat dessert from Monday-Friday (I kinda cheated on Friday during retreat…so Monday-Thursday).

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dessert (last night, not last week) // carrot cake a la mode

It was obviously challenging some nights, but I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself. I know that during my recovery, it was dangerous to deny myself sweets because there was a good possibility I was avoiding sweets because of calories. But these days, I have NO FREAKING CLUE how many calories I’m eating every day, so I’m just eating what feels right for my body. Some days that includes dessert and others it doesn’t.

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post-dessert // some pineapple at a night event

Instead of eating dessert all last week, I still ate some cottage cheese with granola and more banana (I know, I know). Arguably, I was consuming just as much sugar in eating a concoction like that as I would be in eating dessert.

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post-dessert part two // a couple fried plantains with honey

So I guess, in my mind, my dessert fast last week was to lower my sugar intake, but in reality, my dessert fast was more about challenging my self control. The wonderful thing about all this is that I feel comfortable challenging my self control in regards to food again. I’m not worried that I will start having disordered intentions in avoiding certain foods.

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late night snack // spoonful of pb

I feel one step closer to that elusive 100% recovery, if that’s possible.

To clarify, the eats I just showed you were from yesterday, so I wasn’t on a dessert fast. I only did the dessert fast last week. 🙂

*DISCLAIMER: It has taken me a long time to get to this point at which I feel comfortable and healthy avoiding certain foods for a short amount of time. If you have a history of an eating disorder, please be honest with yourself in making these decisions.

Hope your day is sweeter than my three-part dessert last night!

So tell me:

Have you ever fasted from dessert for an extended period of time? 

Do you prefer sweet foods over savory foods? I do indeed. If that wasn’t obvious.

Does anyone else eat bananas like insanity?

What did you eat yesterday?