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?

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Ireland: Where the Grass Is Greener

They don’t kid when they say Ireland is green.

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this is my friend, Kevin, loving life

I’m here in Dublin!! My red eye flight on Aer Lingus was pleasant and a lot quicker than I imagined it would be. Sitting for 6+ hours still made my legs want to shrivel up and fall off, but at least I got to sleep and eat the good airplane food (← never thought I’d say that!).

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fresh veggies AND fresh fruit!? AND KERRYGOLD BUTTER?

I listened to the inflight music selection, which included Adele, Ben Howard, and “Irish Pulse”. I did not actually listen to Irish Pulse, but I wish I did in retrospect. Like, electro-Celtic perhaps?

‘Twas especially sunny in Dublin when we arrived on Tuesday morning, which helped us to feel more alive after traveling overnight.

We also got a mini sweat session just by hauling our 50+lb. luggages around the airport, on and off the bus, and up a couple flights of stairs.
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Our campus is gorgeous!

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We had our information and orientation sessions, with a much-needed lunch in between at their dining hall.

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smoked colley (?), mashed carrots and parsnips, peas, potatoes, veggies, and an apple cobbler thing drowned in custard sauce

There really are lots of potatoes here. The dining halls serve them both mashed and roasted/fried. I can deal with that.

But since we have a nice kitchen in our dorm, we’ll all be cooking throughout the semester (yay!). We went to the grocery store in the afternoon, and I got two huge bags of groceries. Most people only bought one bag, and one girl told me, “You went HAM in there.”

Listen, I am good to go with what I have, and I only spent 60 euros for a lot of food + staples that will last a while. I’ll take “HAM” as a compliment.

I have yet to drink any booze here yet. My friends at home are probably screaming at me right now, but I just haven’t yet! I’m definitely planning on going out for some drinks and having some Irish whiskey, don’t worry. I just…napped through the first night when people went out to a pub for dinner. Whoops.

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Post nap: “I don’t know where the heck everyone is but I got dressed up anyway.”

I conked out at 5pm and slept through my 5:35 alarm until 7:40. I wasn’t mad about it, but dinner was a little weird, since I was lazy and not too hungry.

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spinach and (fantastic!) tomatoes with hummus

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a roll and kerrygold butter that I got off the plane haha

Our wifi doesn’t work in the dorms yet, so I went outside in front of another building to FaceTime Madre and do some other internet things before heading to bed at around midnight.

I wanted to move and groove yesterday morning, so I put on my gear and went outside to find a potential spot to work out, but there were too many people walking outside, and I didn’t want to be weird, so I just did an indoor HIIT workout.

{side note: I’m typing this in a sketchy dark corner outside to get wifi, and there’s a friendly man who keeps walking by, and I don’t know if he wants me to leave or not, but I’ll just stay until he kicks me off this bench}

Pre-workout breakfast (since I was a little hungry when I woke up) was a banana and more toast with another knob of kerrygold butter from the airplane packet.

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I am a big fan of this.

Post-workout breakfast was Greek-style Irish yogurt, which was a little thinner than what I’m used to, but still very good! I had it with raspberry preserves and peanut butter that my new friend lent me, since Madre is actually visiting this weekend and bringing me all my peanut butter then 😀 #spoiled.

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We had more touring and orientation things until 1 pm, when I was READY for lunch.

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We ate at a dining hall again since we weren’t anywhere close to our dorms. This whole plate was only 5.50 euros, and it was everything I needed. Simple, tasty, and filling.

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Then we had a scavenger hunt around the city centre (what they call downtown) of Dublin. Rachel told me that the Dublin transit system is horrendous, and she was right. I’m already terrible with public transit on the subways back in Boston and NY, but the Dublin Bus system makes me want to weep inside just a little bit.

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Maybe by the end of October I’ll be able to understand it. They’re double decker buses though, which is cool.

My scavenger hunt group found a guy on the sidewalk selling these beautiful-looking strawberries for 3 euros, so we bought them to share. Our reactions: “HOLY **** THESE ARE THE BEST STRAWBERRIES I’VE EVER EATEN.”

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So tender, sweet, flavorful, and fresh. I even ate the leaves because a) they were so small that I could barely hold onto the leaves, b) I didn’t feel like holding juicy leaves in my fingers, c) they can’t hurt, right?

Of course, we also chatted with handsome Irish musicians on the street. And they actually have angelic voices.

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Also, many people drop the f-bomb here very frequently.

At the end of the scavenger hunt, a few of us ventured to get some new SIM cards for our time here in Ireland (data usage, huzzah!). And then I was again starving for dinner, which I made back at the dorm.

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I snacked on a KIND bar while cooking up some chicken breasts, which I had on top of toast with white cheddar. Plus a salad and an unpictured peanut butter chocolate chip cookie that I brought from NY  (thanks, Aunt Tina!).

Confession: A lot of people are out at a club right now because our tour guide could get us all in for free this one night, but I didn’t want to pay for transportation for the fourth time in one day and I know I will have plenty of time to go out when I truly want to (not just because it’s free to get in. still need those dollas for booze ya know). PLUS, it was good to stay in with a couple of friends and help one of them out with room lockout issues.

I really want to do a wine and cheese night. Mostly for the cheese, but wine is good too.

Thank you to those who made suggestions for places to visit! I am very grateful for this experience. Dublin is seriously stunning and charming, and the people are so kind. I’m also meeting lots of new friends! I’m excited for what’s ahead.

So tell me:

When do you say “no” to going out?

Where are the best hidden gems in Europe? I’m trying to make travel plans and would love some input!