Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wrong Side of the Bed

Today I woke up in an unnecessarily bitter mood.

Jordan had slept over and had trouble sleeping, and then woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and as the saying goes "misery loves company" so he took me along for a grumpy morning.

Once he was gone, I was faced with a mountain of dishes in the sink, and dishes I had previously washed piled up in the drying rack. Some of these were mine of course, but being in a grumpy mood, I washed them all while bantering madly to myself of how I always get stuck doing everything around the house, when I am the one that has the most to do! Geez I just took the trash and recycling out last night too, and cleaned the bathroom which looks like crap again because Sookie likes to throw litter!

I then took the feminist approach and assumed the boys were leaving all of the house work for me to do because I am the only girl and clearly they must think I am only good for domestic purposes.

After settling down from my pity-party, I comforted myself with a nice breakfast of left over
home-made cottage potatoes (aka homefries :P ) and my last egg, over-easy, with some ketchup and a cup or 3 of Pumpkin Spice coffee. I think its the cold, but I have been craving really "breakfasty" breakfasts lately.

After breakfast I headed out to Framingham to get some school work done and go to class. I brought an apple and nutrigrain bar as some brain food.

Despite my snacking I was definitely in need of some more substantial lunch when I got home. I mixed up some more left over Spaghetti + mixture of frozen veggies + Vegan Chili, and some extra spaghetti sauce, and then added some 50% reduced fat Cabot Cheddar Cheese (currently on sale at Shaws.)

In the mix: Broccoli, Asparagus, Green Peppers, and carrots... I wish I had a few other colors in there, but the chili livened up the mix.

Vegan Chili
(Its always frozen come photo-op time!)

Nomnomnom. It was very good.

I may have snacked on a mini bag of popcorn with chocolate chips and raisins while watching "Charlie Bartlett" and cleaning the apartment (SEE!! AGAIN!)

Tonight I am heading to Gloucester so it I wait that long to eat I'll just go get to steal J.'s food, a rare and exciting treat :)

And just to confirm, I am no longer bitter, and am in a much better mood, and now off to take my Sports Nutrition Quiz!

Tightening the belt buckle

This past week I have been completely freaking out about everything I have to do, and even moreso, about money.

Right now, I am technically doing ok moneywise… I have some savings, and an adequate amount to pay for bills/rent/loans/food etc. etc…. unfortunately- the key word is NOW!

I am doing a lot of forward thinking right now (which is good and bad.)

Next year I will be doing my internship and grad school full time. It is HIGHLY inadvisable to work during... which means, right now I basically need to save up enough money for living expenses and tuition for the next year.

Unfortunately a lot of expenses are nonnegotiable e.i, I do not think my landlord is going to suddenly come down on my rent, and now that I legit have to be commuting a lot more, I have to resign myself that paying for gas is inevitable.

three of the only "expenses" I can really control, are food, going out and shopping. Shopping: I technically do not NEED to go shopping at all... other than for some household items like toilet paper, tooth paste, etc. In regards to going out, I am already relatively frugal, and most of my friends are too (clubs with covers? psht, overrated) so that makes it a little easier... however, based on my mental health, I refuse to become a hermit, so I will be budgeting in some 'going out money'

Finally there is food. I am really good at not spending money EXCEPT when it comes to food (girls gotta eat, you know!) I rarely go out to eat, but I can do some serious damage at the grocery store.

I believe I have mentioned in the past, I have a slight obsession with which is basically a budgeting website.... based on this website I have concluded that I spend about $230 on food (including groceries, restaurants and alcohol) a month (excluding what I pay for with cash,.... which is very rare.)

Since I am constantly talking about the topic of 'Eating Healthy on a Budget' I am going to put myself on a budget and test my own capabilities! I started doing this a bit throughout January-- but for the sake of officially keeping track I am going to start February 1st.

Since I usually spend $230 a month,

(Here's the summary of the last year...)

I am going to attempt to cut that in half and go down to $115. We shall see how this goes....

(You can imagine there is another $100 there. C'mon! If I had $115 to photograph, I wouldn't be in this situation!)

since I am not completely starting from scratch it is not 100% fair. I do have some food on hand. and throughout January, thus far, I have spent $200 on food, which I don't think was THAT bad considering the fact that throughout the month of December I seem to have let myself get down to the bare bones. At the end of the month I'll do a sum up of everything I am starting with.

Also, I have the issue that the $115 is supposed to just be for me. Which, generally I do only shop for myself, however, with two- four other people "living" in my house, it doesn't always work out that way.

On the other hand, I also have the benefit/ problem in this experiment that Jordan likes to go out to eat etc rather frequently, in which case, he pays, since if it were up to me, I'd just cook. I am going to inform him of my plans, and perhaps he'll get on board, otherwise I'll just consider anytime we go out and he pays null, considering how much of my food, etc. he eats/uses. (Perhaps we'll consider it his 'rent').

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Back in the Swing of things....

The first two weeks were (1 word, 2 syllables) STRESS-FULL!

But I have to keep telling myself: It's NOT unmanageable! I can do this. Life is really all about balance, and I feel like in week three of school, I am finally feeling like I have at least somewhat achieved that.

I did overload my plate a little bit too much (AGAIN.) with full time school, internship and the equivalent of full time work.... but, it is going to be ok.

I started this week off by spending some time organizing my various syllabuses for my classes, and really trying to figure out what is due when, and comparing it to my schedule to find out when I actually have time to do things. It's amazing how much better you can feel just after making an organized list of what you need to get done! It's just so intimidating when its all floating around your head all mumble-jumbled.

One thing I did this week that definitely improved my psyche was getting a two-week pass to Bally's in porter. As I mentioned, I canceled my membership to Planet Fitness since I never went. It just wasn't for me. So far I have only made it there a few times, but every time I went, I made sure to kick my own butt! I love working out, but I am currently so out of shape. I really need to start scheduling in more workouts, even when I am busy. Exercise really does release endorphins :)

Also, there is hope in sight for the spring! Spring is my favorite season. I may technically like summer better, however, since I HATE winter, spring makes me the happiest. I just become in a significantly better mood. I appreciate the nicer weather so much more after holing up inside and under a million layers for months. And just getting some more sunlight in the day is amazing :D

Let the Tuesdays Begin!

This semester I am again teaching Exercise Physiology. This time I was lucky enough to have all of my labs scheduled on one day; Tuesdays.

I am very happy I don't have to commute to BU multiple days a week, however, it does mean I have to be here for a very long day.

My labs are at 8am-10am, 12pm-2 pm and 6:30pm-8:30pm. Factor in that I have to get here AT LEAST half and hour early to set up, and it takes about an hour to commute by walking and T to get here = Long Long day.

And consequently, since I am working on budgeting my food money better= lots of food to pack!
I was also STARVING last night when I packed my lunch, which might have lead me to overpack a bit....

Since I passed out so early last night, without accomplishing much prep for lab today, I was up at 5 and hit the road by 6! Consequently, I of course started off with some coffee,( pumpkin spice flavored), with nonfat lactaid milk and splenda.

For breakfast I had a nutrigrain bar on the train ride here, and then after my first lab tucked into some Cheerios and Fiber One, with nonfat, plain yogurt, and a big banana.

I also brought some fruity snacks of a small green apple, and 2 lil' tangerines (which were sooo seedy!).

I had several cups of tea to satisfy the need for warmth, and prevent me from buying a cup of coffee. I am also developing a very sore throat (NOT AGAIN!!) So I hoped that would help a little.

For lunch I brought some of my Vegan Chili, with added whole wheat spaghetti and extra carrots and tomato sauce. It was nice and hearty and warm for a cool day in the lab (outside was actually really nice out today, for January, but inside. burrr.)

I also brought a pack of Lorna Doones - in case a sweet craving struck, but alas I wound up eating them mindlessly when I was on hold with the insurance company instead >___<
I am now finally home at 8:30 pm.... and am considering soup for my sore throat. My body is just exhausted and I can't wait to snuggle and pass out.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Rain Rain go away...

Miserable. Sleepy. Cold.

Those are the three best words to describe my mood at the current moment.

It is pouring out!

I had my first day at my internship site this morning (Melrose-Wakefield Hospital), it seemed really nice! All of the dietitians were very friendly, and I got to go on rounds and read medical charts-- and I actually understood 90% of everything that was going on! I was very impressed by myself, though I need to review my medical abbreviations. And of course its only day 1, not too intense so I can't go getting cocky yet! But so far, I am very happy with my placement. So the day started off good... other than the rain.

I then had to drive to Framingham for class. Driving down the highway in that downpour was scary :( Then, it took me a good 20 minutes of puttering around to find a parking spot. I eventually gave up and made my own spot >____<

After class I hurried back to my illegally-parked car (Thankfully, no ticket!)

Upon coming home I informed Ghrey how lucky he was to be an indoor bird today!
I then immediately put on my sweats and monkey slipper socks!

Sookie also appeared to be grateful for her indoor status, as she curled up in her hanging shelves.

I had originally intended on going to the gym right after class, but it was so ghastly out, that plan went out the window.

Speaking of window... This is the view from my window!

I also had a nice hot cup of tea, and made a bowl of oatmeal.

My oats were really just an excuse to satisfy a sweet craving. They included:
~1/2 cup dry oats
1 medium banana
1 tb Almond Butter (Which I know I shouldn't! But I haven't had a reaction to almonds yet and its sooo good.)
1 tsp pancake syrup
2 tb raisins
1 tb butterscotch chips
1 tb fruit preserve
lil bit of vanilla extract
and A-LOTTA hot water!

It was soo delicious-- but as usual just looked like a murky mess due to my insistence on having drowning oats.

After warming up a bit with the tea and oats I did get my butt to the gym. Of course, just my luck, half way down my street my umbrella completely fell apart. But after that- things looked up and I had a good work out, including squirrel elliptical-ing for30 minutes, and a nice, painful (in a good way) whole body circuit.

I am very happy I forced myself to the gym. I really need to kick myself back in shape.

A combination of waking up early, all that driving, the rain and some physical exhaustion made me very very sleepy and I hit the hay by 10 :) noo complaints there! (Except maybe from Ghrey who was not too happy about having to go back into his cage so early. )

Friday, January 15, 2010

Planning ahead!

One of my tips for eating healthy on a budget is to plan ahead!

After the past few days of disorganization and lateness I definitely had the motivation to pack myself a lunch for work. Packing my breakfast and lunch ahead of time generally causes me to eat healthier and spend less money, so overall positive!

I work at Mass General from 7:30 am - 6 pm so the food I bring tends to span me from breakfast to afternoon snack.

Today I brought:

A grapefruit, which I pre-peeled, because inevitably whenever I attempt to peel a citrus fruit at my desk it never really ends well.

a salad including: baby spinach, romaine lettuce, whole wheat spaghetti, two whole carrots, some frozen corn and snap peas, pumpkin seeds, and raisins.

and some multigrain cheerios and a banana.

In my locker at work I also keep a stash of Healthy choice soup, some plain oatmeal, sometimes some granola bars, and of course A LOT of tea bags, for those times (aka every day I work) where I am not actually hungry but want to put something in my mouth.

If you are trying to eat healthier, or tighten the wallet, I definitely recommend buying your own groceries and prepping ahead of time. You are more likely to make wiser, healthier choices, and pay a fraction of what you would at a restaurant or work cafeteria!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Day two of school, and stressed out and exhausted!

Not so much because of school, but more so because of all of the driving I have been doing.

After my extended getting lost trip yesterday morning, I still agreed to go with J. to Gloucester, provided I was back home by 11:30 am to get to FSC for my 12:30 class.

Which made yesterdays total driving: Somerville -> Worcester ->Framingham -> Somerville -> Gloucester = about 120 miles, excluding the trip back to Somerville and Framingham this morning.

Of course we were subject to Murphy's Law when first J.'s mothers car battery died, and J. had to spend the morning fixing it, and the 128 was underconstruction and all backed up... getting me back to Somerville a little late and consequently to class late, again.

Today was two hours of metabolism. ::Yawn:: I do sorta enjoy the topics, but it's a very dry topic. Thankfully the professor is nice and relatively interesting, and helps to make the topics more understandable and interesting, but you can only do so much with ATP, Ribosomes, Kinase, and phosphoinositides.

The worst part about being late today was I was SOOO HUNGRY and tired throughout class. We did have breakfast, but being the frequent snacker than I am, by the end of the class at 2:30, I was not a happy camper. I have also developed an even stronger coffee addiction than usual and I missed my morning cup (or 6) of coffee, so staying awake through two hours of Biochemistry was no easy task!

I had originally been intending to check out the FSC gym after class today, but given my hunger and caffiene withdrawl symptoms, I opted to grab a snack instead.

I had a Mocha Odwalla Bar and a Cuppa Joe (which I took pics of on my phone, however, apparently forgot to save them)

The Mocha Odwalla Bar was heavenly! I had been soo hungry and it fulfilled my desire for food and coffee flavor at once. As I usually say, I am not a huge bar person because I am much more into volumetrics and enjoy eating larger quantities of food, but a bar was perfect for this situation.- quick, easy, nutritious and filling. I have enjoyed every flavor Odwalla Bar I have tried thus far, this and the Green Superfood one are probably my favorites. They have a nice soft, moist texture, and are big enough to make me feel like I have gotten my 200+ calories worth.

I was disheartened by the morning and lost the will to work out (which has been happening far to frequently lately.) so I just headed home instead, where I have since been being lazy and relatively unproductive unfortunately.

I need to get back on my game and get this semester started on the right foot!

Class and Cheerios

Yesterday was my first day of class. Those who know me, know I generally am exceptionally punctual (I am getting better on being late sometimes...) but in general, I HAVE to be early. Sooo... being the first day on campus I left Somerville at 7 am, I made it to Framingham fine, HOWEVER, I did not make it to Framingham State College, so successfully. I somehow got turned around on one road and accidentally wound up back on the Mass Pike and couldn't turn around without going to the next exit and turning around.

Of course, being directionally challenged I was also relying heavily on Dot, my handy GPS. I guess at some point during our journey after I got lost, I hit something on Dot and changed the destination location... soo my GPS sent me all the way back to Worcester (16 miles out of the way...)

Here's the map of what I drove: from Somerville, to Worcester, to Framingham, and then of course back to Somerville.

I finally made it to class 10 minutes late >___<

Thankfully I had planned well the night before and packed lots of snackies for the day.
I brought: 2 tangerines, a banana, some multigrain cheerios, and soymilk

The intent had been to eat the cheerios, milk, and banana together, but the opportune time never came around and they were all eaten seperately throughout class/ running around on campus.

The multigrain Cheerios have been my new thing lately-- namely because they have been on sale at Shaw's for $2.22 the past two times I've gone shopping.

I love cold cereal, but a lot of times I have to swear it off because I can't eat it without binge eating, but these guys don't tend to cause me to overeat. They are lightly sweetened, and more multidimensional than plain cheerios as they are made with five different kinds of whole grain O's. Nutrition Facts wise: 1 cup = 110 calories, 1 gram fat, 2 grams protein, 23 grams carbs , 6 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber.

So, they are not nutritional superstar, but pretty good. I am a fan that there are only 110 calories in 1 cup, and only 1 gram of fat. The sugar could be lower, and the fiber could be higher. But overall, tasty and healthy.

As for class, I had my first Medical Nutrition Therapy Lab, which will be the second part of my internship (Still haven't found out my rotation location), and then my first Human Nutritional Science Class-- which is basically Metabolism/ Nutritional Biochemistry.

I have been really nervous about the Metabolism class, since I was not so stellar at Biochem, but day one wasn't so bad, albeit already boring.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Black Bean Soup

Going on with my bean theme, the other day I made some tasty Black Bean Soup!
I unfortunately packed it all up and froze it before thinking to take a picture, but it looks like a standard black bean soup. Low fat, high protein, high fiber, and no cholesterol :)

Black Bean Soup
1 pound dried black beans (or about 3 normal sized cans, preferably low sodium)
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB olive oil
3 cups water
3 cups vegetable broth
Cayenne pepper
Black pepper

If using dried black beans, soak them over night, then boil until tender.
In a pot, heat olive oil and add onion. Cook for about 3 minutes until becoming translucent. Add in peppers and garlic.
Once the vegetables are softened slightly, add beans, spices and water and broth.
Either using a potato masher, hand blender, food processor, or something else useful for squishing things, mash or blend some of the soup so as to mush up some of the black beans and create a thicker base.
The soup will thicken more and more as you let it simmer. Cover to reduce water loss.
Enjoy alone or topped with sour cream or chili peppers.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Beans, Beans, the magical fruit

Beans are an awesome food. They are high in fiber and protein, and low in fat. They are also ridiculously cheap and very diverse in regards to their culinary role.

So, why are beans so fabulous?

Well, as I mentioned: they are high in fiber, particularily soluble fiber, which means they help to absorb, and then eliminate cholesterol in your body. Thus, lowering your cholesterol and improving you heart health. Also, fiber makes foods more filling, so high fiber foods, like beans, keep you feeling fuller longer, so you are less likely to overeat later on.

Beans, being a plant based food, also contain lots of good phytochemicals and isoflavins, which are basically components of food that are not ESSENTIAL to life, but certainly improve ones health. Different kinds of beans are higher in certain isoflavins and phytochemicals than others, so like all foods, eat a variety! Phytoestrogens in soybeans are probably the most well studied, and have been shown to decrease risk of cancer. (lots of research also shows that eating foods simply made with soy components may not have the same benefit, so as usual, I support eating the whole food or lesser processed versions.- edamame, tofu versus soy protein isolate.)

Beans are also a great source of folate. Folate (aka folic acid, B9) is a nutrient that extremely important to DNA and cell growth and division. This is most noteable during fetal development. If a mother is folate deficient, the baby will be born with neural tube defects which generally result in death to the fetus, or severely mentally and physically disabled. In the Western world, most refined grains are fortified with folate, if you are watching your whole grain intake, you are probably eating a lot of unfortified foods, so watch out for your folate intake by increasing your bean consumption! (leafy greens are also a good source of folate as well.)

So go forth, and get down with your beany self.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


A friend of mine is working with NRG Bars to promote them and get them into more grocery stores. Consequently, I scored myself a free sample :D

The makers of NRG Bars pride themselves in the fact that their bars are 100% wheat and gluten free, which is important as the prevalence of Celiacs disease is on the rise. The bars are also made entirely out of organic ingredients.

There are currently 4 varieties available: Chocolate Chip Coconut, Lemon Flax, Cranberry Almond, and Pumpkin Ginger.

I sample the Cranberry Almond and Chocolate Chip Coconut. I will say I preferred the taste of the Cranberry Almond, but due to my recent nut allergy, I was paranoid about eating it so I only tried a nibble.

Both of the bars had a dense consistency. It kind of reminded me of slightly baked cookie dough. It had a little bit of a powdery after taste, and required drinking some water with it. The bars were very homogeneous - kind of like a Lara Bar- rather than having chunks of the various ingredients speckled throughout the bar. It was tasty, not too sweet, but not horribly bland. I had it for breakfast and it seemed fitting for the meal. The bar was very filling. I a generally a volume person, so I don't persay like eating a bar as a meal, but this filled me up and kept me going all morning at work. It would be great for those short on time, or on the go.

The basic run down of nutrition facts is 240-270 calories, 3-4.5 grams of fat, about 50 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein.

They market the bars as a snack, but at 240-270 calories a pop I would say that is probably more of a small meal, unless of course you are extremely active and need that kind of a snack between meals.

Upon reviewing their ingredients I was surprised to see the Organic Oats were basically their only whole grain. Their has been a lot of conflicting research in regards to whether or not oats affect individuals with Celiacs disease. Orginally it was though that oats were only a problem when they were contaminated by other grains, which occurs frequently. Thus, Organic oats that were kept free of contamination were considered safe, however, with further research, their has been indications that all oats, even those that are not contaminated may still be a problem... so the jury is still out. At any rate, if you do have a gluten sensitivity, proceed cautiously.

Currently NRG Bars are available at Whole Foods surrounding the Boston Area. Keep an eye out!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Vegan Chili

It's hard for me to post recipes, as I tend to not use them...

I've had a week off before I go back to the grind of working two jobs, starting classes full time, and starting internship again, so I decided with my free time it might be a good idea to make some food and freeze it. Today I made one of my staples: Vegan Chili.

I love making chili and soup type of dishes because they really do not require a recipe at all, you just throw in whatever you have on hand. I pretty much always have dried beans, and canned tomato around, so I generally always have the basic ingredients. the recipe below is what I happened to use today, but definitely feel free to add/ take away anything you like, dislike or just don't feel like buying. This makes a really big batch, but its great for dividing up and freezing for the future.

Vegan Chili
2 large cans whole tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can pumpkin
1 onion (I used red today)
2 hot chili peppers
1 cup/can chickpeas
1 cup kidney beans
2 cup black beans
1 cup corn
1 cup peas
1/2 cup edamame
green and red bell peppers (I just used 1 whole bag of frozen chopped mixed peppers)
2 tb olive oil
chili powder
black pepper
red pepper
hot sauce

Prepare any beans by cooking them if they are dried.
chop any raw vegetables (be careful with the hot peppers, getting hot pepper juice underneath your nails is no fun. I usually wear gloves.)

heat oil in a large pot, add garlic and onion, and cook for about 5ish minutes.

Add all other ingredients to pot.

Simmer for an hour or longer. The longer you simmer it the softer all of the ingredients will be and more blended together.

Viola! Vegan Chili!

It makes a great meal on its own, or I personally love to use it as an extra chunky spaghetti sauce. It can be topped with low fat cheese or sour cream/ regular or nondairy versions, to add a little bit of creaminess to it and cool it down if you made it a bit to spicy.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dalai Lama's 18 Rules to Living

At the start of the new millennium the Dalai Lama apparently issued eighteen rules for living. Since word travels slowly in the digital age these have only just reached me. Here they are.

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three Rs:
1. Respect for self
2. Respect for others
3. Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A New Year

Highlights of 2009

· Graduated from Boston University

· Started (And did not get fired or laid off from) two new jobs in my field, despite the down turned economy

· Moved from Allston to Cambridge to Somerville—experiencing more parts of Boston

· Started Grad School and Dietetic Internship at Framingham State College

· Thus far paid for my graduate education without having to take out any more loans

· Successfully started to address some of my long standing self destructive issues.

· Became an optimist

· Tried out this whole ‘dating’ thing for the first time in my life and met some interesting characters

· Drove 24 hours straight with my best friend from Florida to Massachusetts

· Adopted my new love, Ghreylin

· And of course met lots of great people, maintained old friendships, screwed up a lot, learned a lot, and had a great year.

I do not persay believe in ‘resolutions’ however, here is a list of things I hope to address in life, starting now, in 2010.

· Learn how to accept a compliment

· Work on being healthy, mentally and physically.

· Live in the moment, but make decisions that I will be comfortable with and proud of looking back.

· Continue to work on financial stability, while paying off undergrad loans.

· Prioritize. And make sure I am living accordingly.