Priorities?

I have 2 midterm exams, 1 essay (in french?!) and a project all due before Wednesday this week.  And what am I doing? Blogging? Clearly, I have my priorities straight. But in all seriousness, blogging is really the most productive distraction for me.  And it cheers me up 🙂

I loved hearing all your thoughts on food cravings!  And I wanted to say hi to all the new readers out there – Hi!  Thanks for stopping by to comment.  I’m the worst at responding to comments, but every new ‘face’ I see around here makes me smile.

[[also, I now have a blogroll! Click on the tab labeled ‘Blog Love’]]

Now, back in full force:  Discoveries, but on a Saturday!

1. Birdbath (and arm of City Bakery) has Kombucha on tap!

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Jasmine kombucha - light, subtle, flavor

Kombucha on tap is stronger than the bottled stuff, but it tastes ‘fresher’ if that makes any sense.  I may just go out for some more today…

2.  Sunwarrior Warrior Blend – I finally got my sample!

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I signed up on the SW website for a sample weeks ago... and finally got one!

It reminds me more of a whey protein, and has a kind of earth-y taste.  The vanilla flavor as not as strong as the original sun warrior blend, but this stuff still does not taste green.  Quite good!

3. Raw Cashini butter, aka crack.

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current go-to snack: cashini & rice cakes

Probably the most expensive of my current nut butter collection (I wanted to try it!).  It has a very similar texture to peanut butter, and tastes like a lighter tahini with a hint of cashew – which only means you can eat more of it in one sitting…

4.  Peppermint tea.

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tummy loves it!

For a little while now (a few weeks?) I drink a big mug of peppermint tea at night to settle my stomach before bed.  I love it – I can go to sleep without bloating or anything.  After my TJ’s peppermint tea ran out, I splurged on this stuff – and omigosh it’s amazing.  It’s basically pure peppermint leaves – and apparently a UK product? oh well.

5. New Vega Sport Protein Bars!

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chocolate saviseed flavor. protein-filled yum.

This is easily the most filling protein bar I’ve tried.  Yes, it is higher in calories than most, but it’s worth it.  Not too sweet, easily digestible, all natural ingredients, and kept me full for hours.  Now if only I could get my hands on the chocolate coconut flavor…

6. This is not your average bowl of oats.

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cooked with chia and almond milk, sunflower butter, banana & cinna on top

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an attempt to capture the goodness that is whole oat groats.

I decided to try whole oat groats.  The verdict? Amazing.  Yes they take at least 5 times longer to cook than regular rolled oats, but they have the tooth-y texture of slightly undercooked rice – which I love.  And you get the full oat flavor!  I’m a fan.

Study Time!

What did you discover this week? Any awesome new foodie finds?

If you’re a student, what’s your favorite ‘productive’ distraction?

Conquering Cravings

First of all, I’m loving all the comments on possible posting topics.  Note that I asked simply to guide for my incredible indecisiveness.  It’s one of those times where I have too many options and not a ton of time, so nothing ends up getting done.  But hopefully that’s done with for now.

[[Keep commenting on this post if you want to make sure you’re added to my upcoming blogroll page!]]

Second order of business(?): You may have noticed that I did not do WIAW.  Why? In all honestly I just really didn’t feel like dragging my camera around and taking the extra time to take pics of everything.  Do not get me wrong, I think it’s a great way to share a day’s worth of eats, but school, midterms, and my own mental health are more important.

Which leads me to the real topic of today’s post – cravings.

[[disclaimer: I am not a health professional, all statements on this page are based on my own personal experience]]

If you say you never crave anything, you are probably lying.  It may not be food related, as I know a good deal of people who just eat when they’re hungry and could care less what they’re actually eating.  But we all crave something.  Comfort, space, warmth, release, sweets – something.

Being the crazy foodie that I am, I crave specific foods all the time. Some of these cravings are really weird – like kale… And some are quite typical, like chocolate.

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[[source]]

So here’s the big question: when is a craving really a craving, and not just a desire to eat for comfort?  Are there times when it is better not to indulge your impulses?

As someone who has a history of comfort eating, this is something I have to ask myself almost on a daily basis.  I have a huge sweet tooth.  I eat when I’m bored, and when I’m alone for long periods of time.  I could easily have chocolate and baked goods every day if I wanted.  Physically speaking, I could easily eat dessert after every meal.  I could easily eat the portion sizes of a large man.  I could easily eat decadent restaurant dishes every day.  But would I be happy with that? No.  It weighs me down, and does not feel good.

I know this is exaggerating a bit, but regardless – comfort eating is almost an addiction.  There came a time when I needed to learn to exercise some self-control.  I’ve actually heard that self-control is like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it gets.  I guess that’s where restriction comes into play. Luckily I never got that extreme, but there was a brief period where eating a whole cupcake was forbidden – it was too much of an indulgence, and couldn’t be done.

I’m writing this now, because I think I’m starting to finally figure out which of my cravings to honor, and which to divert.  For example, I had ravioli for dinner the other day.  Random, right?  I have no idea why, but all day I couldn’t get ravioli out of my head.  And not whole grain or vegan or gluten-free – just goat cheese, red pepper and basil ravioli made with semolina flour.

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served on steamed kale with some goat cheese on top. Had to get my serving of leafy greens as well!

Pasta was one of those things that I stopped craving when I stopped eating so much of it – which I’m totally fine with.  But that made this random impulse so weird.  Regardless, I thought long and hard about it.  After some serious deliberation, I knew that I would kick myself if I did not allow this meal to happen.  And I am really glad I did.  In no way is this a particularly unhealthy meal.

However, there are other times when I do have to use my self-control muscle.  Almost every time I walk past a shop with pastries in the window, I start thinking about how much I want cookies or cupcakes.  Every time I walk past the chocolate aisle at a market, I have to remember that I don’t need to eat a full chocolate bar per day.  When there is one item or serving left of something, I have to convince myself that I don’t want it – because it most often appeals to me because it’s the last one.

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solution - make my own treats to control indulgence levels: homemade PB cup. see my recipe page! (this was actually AB)

Those kinds of cravings are comforts, ones that I would most likely indulge too much, and regret if afterwards.  These are the ones I am learning to control.  It’s not an exact science, but I think I’m getting better at it.  And of course, I feel better when I indulge now and then.  The more I honor the little things I truly want, the less likely I am to gorge myself with desserts at a party or impulse-buy unhealthy indulgences.

Now that I can allow myself to give in to little treats, I find myself craving healthy things more and more.

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there are times when all I want is WF salad bar, a box of veggie-goodness

If I eat a huge plate of quality, nutrient dense foods, I’m less likely to want that chocolate bar.

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...and there are times when I make random things out of flavors I can't stop thinking about, like this stuffed acorn squash with curried seitan and okra

And I’m starting to get more creative in the kitchen.  Which is fun and rewarding.  Which again, leaves me with no void to fill, no real reason to comfort eat.

Now, it is midterms week, and I have made one promise to myself.  I will not restrict, and I will not over-indulge.  I know I’m going to want chocolate, and all kinds of sweet things in the middle of the night.  So I’ll have a small taste, but try my best to leave it at that.  I will fuel myself with delicious, good nutrients, as I know I will feel better in the long run – and most likely have more energy.

I’d love to hear some thoughts on how you deal with cravings.

Do you listen to every little thing impulse you have?

Are there certain cravings that you know are only comfort related?

How do you exercise your self-control without going too far?

Blog Lovin’

So I have had this long list of possible blog topics staring at me since Saturday.  Reviews, issues to discuss, recipes, recaps, etc.  But for some reason I have not been able to bring myself to write anything.  Even if I have a crazy amount of work to do or am really busy, I use blogging as my break as a quick chance to get away.  I use the blog as motivation to keep my eats pretty and interesting, that hasn’t happened lately either.  I’m even running low on my fresh vegetable stock!

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the last of my squash stash all cooked up 😦

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breakfast creativity - banana breakfast 'sushi' from Gena @ choosingraw.com

Lately I have not been feeling it, and it seems that I’m not alone.  For some reason, it seems that others (not only bloggers!) are going through a bit of a ‘funk’ right now.  Why? Who knows.  Anyway, I thought it would be a good time to share some blog-lovin’. I’m creating – my blogroll!

I have a long list of probably 80-100ish(?) blogs that I read regularly, and I will be adding those to the list.  So there will be some blogs on there who do not even know that my site exists, but I’m more than okay with that.  I want those who do read my blog to know who inspires me, what my interests are and whose writing I love to read.

For those of you who are reading this now and have a blog of your own: if you would like to be added to the blogroll, just leave a comment on this post and you I will add your site.  I’ll make the page live on Friday Oct. 21, but I’ll leave comments open after that.

If you have a blogroll of your own, I would love for you to add me as well – but don’t feel obligated.  Let’s spread some love!

Now I have a little question for you. Since I can’t seem to decide what to post about lately, I thought why not ask readers what you want to see in the near future.  Some choices include (but are not limited to!):

  • recipes – I have 2 dessert ones in the queue, but ideas are always welcome
  • food tutorials – possible: nut milk, oatmeal, eggs/omelets, roasting…
  • health topics – cosmetics, sleep, anxiety…
  • book reviews – fitness/health books
  • workouts & stretch routines
  • anything else?

Ramblings, Confessions, and Curries

Friday could not have come sooner!  I’m not doing a discoveries post today.  Why? Honestly, I’m really not feeling it. So excuse the random ramblings and contents of this post.  Oh, and there’s a recipe at the end.

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confession - sometimes I dip my pre-workout banana in the coffee. try it, it's delicious.

Despite the shortened week, I was again thrown off but the change in routine.  After being really busy for a while, I have an incredibly hard time with breaks that do not involve a change of environment.  That probably doesn’t make much sense – I’ll try to be as coherent as I can here.  If a vacation involves travel, I’m more inclined to use the time to enjoy myself.  If I don’t go anywhere, I am not at all good at making good use of my time.  There is too much free time to get work done, nobody around to hang out with, and not really enough time or money to do anything crazy.  So this past week was rather unproductive, and now I have so much work to do within the next week or two.  Stress = not good!

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this round of nut pulp cookies were bad. sadness.

Despite this, I had an awesome week fitness-wise!  One thing I love about days off is that I can get to the gym early, before I do anything else with the day.  I love starting days this way.  I’m really starting to like running now, as well!  I owe a huge thanks to Tara, who (a while ago) kindly sent me some awesome tips for beginning runners.  Thanks again! I’m trying to focus on form as much as I can, to avoid getting hurt, so I’m taking all the advice I can get.

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confession - i eat my meal salads out of large mixing bowls

My running this week: monday 3 miles, Wednesday 20 minute HIIT run, friday 3.5 miles nonstop!  I’m proud of myself for today’s run, as I took no walk breaks.  My pace makes me a little sad, at about 11:00 mins/mile – but I didn’t stop to walk at all.  I have to remind myself that I’m not a born runner.  I won’t be perfect from the start.

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current beverage obsession. Just have to remember not to drink it after 5pm, or I definitely wont sleep

I had a whole bunch of other things to write, but there are too many things going on now that I lost my train of thought.  A few nights this week I’ve even had to get out of bed at 4am just to make a list, so I can sleep!  Hey brain, you want to turn off at night? Thanks.

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what? she bought cereal? kashi golean. protein, fiber, low sugar, tasty, crunchy. with homemade almond milk, sun warrior, pumpkin and cinna

As far as eats go, things have been all over the place.  I think mostly because of my workout changes, routine changes, and stress.  But, no crazy slip-ups and guilt trips, so I think I’m okay for now.  On the topic of eats, I posted a homemade coconut curry as part of my WIAW and a few people asked for a recipe.  So here it is!

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Simply Coconut Curry (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

This one-pot meal is super easy to make, and near impossible to mess up.  It’s nutrient-rich, high in protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.  You can use the ingredients I have here, or choose whatever veggies or grains you choose.  It even tastes fantastic the day after, perfect for planned leftovers. [[makes about 4 servings]] prep time: 15 mins, cook time: 1 hour +.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups cooked quinoa (measured after cooking!)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 2 cups brussels sprouts
  • 1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • a few handfuls of spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, I like spicy)
  • 1tsp garam masala, or cinnamon
  • 1tsp salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.  While the oven is heating, chop up all your veggies.  Toss all the veggies (except the spinach) in a bowl with a little olive oil and sea salt, then spread on a pan in a single layer.  Roast for about 30-40 minutes, or until they are tender and start to brown.
  2. Place all ingredients in a pot.  Stir it up, and bring to a boil.  Immediately reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for about 20 minutes – or as long as you like.  The longer it cooks, the more the flavors will combine, but it tastes delicious regardless.
  3. Serve hot, or store in the fridge for the next few days.  Garnish with shredded coconut or some cashews or peanuts for crunch.  This would also be great with a creamy glob of greek yogurt.

[[notes: I used lite coconut milk as it was all I had on hand.  Full fat would be delicious, but It would come out much creamier than mine did.  Also, be careful with the cayenne pepper, this stuff is strong – but I like my curry really spicy]]

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roasted veggies

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really just throw it all in a pot!

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and simmer away...

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the best leftovers!

Unfortunately, it’s already all gone.  Ah well, it was delicious!

That was a rather long post, kudos if you made it through the whole thing!  I’m already up later that I should be for an early morning rehearsal on campus.  Good sleep is not easy to come by around here.

Do you have any random foodie confessions/weird habits?

If you’re a runner, what was your average pace for an easy run when you started?

[[Oh! One more thing – I have 16oz package of Navitas Naturals Maca powder that I am not going to use.  It is open, and about 1-2T have been used, but I’m not really a big fan of the taste, and I have not noticed a difference in how it makes me feel, so I’m not going to use it anymore.  I hate to have to throw it out but I can’t return it.  Does anyone out there want to do a swap? I’ll thrown in some other goodies too – just shoot me an email at eatlearndiscover@gmail.com ]]

Always Fashionably Late (WIAW)

Never have I ever been one of the first 150 or so bloggers to link up for What I Ate Wednesday!  Maybe it’s because I always choose to post Wednesday’s eats, as opposed to Tuesday’s.  Tuesday is usually my worst day of the week, I have at least 4 classes with really awkward 1 hour breaks.  So Wednesday it will stay, and I will alway’s be fashionably late to Jenn’s fabulous party.

Let’s get to it!

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OIAJ! I went with overnight oat bran, though I still think I prefer hot oats in a jar. lots of cinna on top!

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second part of breakfast: amazingly tasty organic Bartlett pear

coffee on the go! made a boring class much more bearable

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perfectly ripe pre-workout banana

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the return of the green post-workout smoothie!

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grilled sandwich. best decision ever: hummus, mustard, greens, squash sauce, (invisible) peppers, on sprouted grain bread

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organic gala (not as good as honeycrisp) and goat gouda! apples & cheese = delish.

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it's okay to have chocolate as an appetizer, right?

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homemade coconut curry! with quinoa, chickpeas, eggplant, brussels sprouts, and other stuff. So glad I made a huge pot of it 🙂

Now, sipping on a coconut chai green tea (no photo…) and about to tackle some physics homework and coding.

Have you ever made your own curries?  What’s your favorite way to do it?

Best thing you’ve eaten recently?