Monday, 18 February 2019

Rosemary Scented Carrots

Mmm, summer. Balcony garden. Huge pink Mandeville blooms and fairytale morning glory vines.

Roasted vanilla coffee beans, drip-drip-brewing away in the background, waiting to be coddled with some almond milk and ice for the perfect summer morning pick me up. Painting my toenails. Planning day trips to the beach.

Strolling through the gorgeous architecture of Chicago and then sipping fruity drinks with extra maraschino cherries on the tour boat. Stunning views of the nighttime skyline.

No homework in sight pulling me back to the depths of my textbooks.

It is pure bliss. Those moments are so much sweeter when you work hard. Big sigh.

That dream is dead now. I'm drowning in homework. Please send help.

We're getting to the hump of the semester and the only time I've savoured a cup of coffee is on my hot dates with my med-surg readings or my ridiculously thick bundle of patho notes. My research proposal whines in the distance. But we are TRUDGING THROUGH.

It's this time of the semester where I need really simple or really fast recipes so I can stick to cooking my own food every day. I don't need to be inspired! I just need to eat. Give me something to shove down my gullet quick.

These carrots are something I cook with pretty much every meat-and-potato type comfort dinner. They always please, and they are really just so delish.

Makes 2-4 servings as a side dish 
3 large carrots, peeled, quartered and cut into wedges
1 tbsp of fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt or large flake salt
pepper, to taste
generous amounts of olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, dump all ingredients except rosemary. Mix together well to ensure that the carrots are evenly coated with seasoning and oil. 
  3. Sprinkle minced rosemary evenly over top. 
  4. Baked for 25-30 minutes, flipping carrots halfway through cooking time. Serve hot. 

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

New Beginnings and Hard Feelings

Okay! Let's get realsies. Do you hate me for saying that word? I don't blame you but I'm not sorry 'bout it. I have a heart-to-heart post to share and I need to buffer it with some light humour.

Somewhere in the last few months, I hit a wall.

The tone of my 'October' post was rather upbeat, but it was actually around that time that I was feeling the full weight of some unhappiness I felt about the physical condition of my body. I felt so stuck. I was heavy with the notion that my health was an aspect of my life that I had neglected. In hindsight, the first line of that post - where I'm describing the weather - just seems so telling. That suffocating, mummifying atmosphere was still stifling my spirit. I just felt so sick of feeling the way I was feeling. It just wasn't me.

I can't name the day or the specific event that triggered the feeling but I was just beginning to feel so sick of where my body was at.* I felt sluggish and bloated. I was sleeping enough but very poorly. I was cranky, anxious and sad a lot of the time. My (vastly) underused muscles had this pent up energy that was screaming to be used, and they were tight, stiff, sore because they weren't being activated as they should be. I wasn't exercising regularly, I was overeating and eating out a lot and I definitely wasn't eating meals that were nutritionally balanced.

My confidence was majorly lagging. There is a long history behind how and why I became so sedentary, gained so much weight, and developed poor health habits. That's a personal story I don't wish to share at the moment. I just knew, in my heart of hearts, that this was not how I wanted to continue living my life. As a health care professional, and as a friend, sister, girlfriend, daughter - I have always advocated for healthy habits in all areas of life.  I was starting to feel very convicted about the way I was living my life because I had developed habits that were worsening my health physically and mentally.

All of my life I have enjoyed all kinds of food and enjoyed doing so without guilt or other yucky emotions attached. In my teen years, I was fairly active - I enjoyed exercise and I was a part of a dance team. When I looked back on those times where I was physically fit and mentally strong, I couldn't help but feel that that is more like who I am. I just kept thinking... I want my life back!

Cut to the present day, four or five months after those hard feelings came to a head. I exercise two to four times a week. I don't cut anything out of my diet, but I make a significant effort to fill up on more fruits, vegetables and fiber. I keep a journal on how my mind and my belly feel - am I feeling more strong and powerful from my exercise? Did I feel like maybe I should stretch more next time? Did I enjoy that 'splurge' food? Or would I rather have eaten something else? On a monthly basis, I weigh and measure myself to see if I'm progressing.

How I'm treating my body right now is MILES away from how I was treating my body in October. That improvement is something I'm celebrating because I'm feeling so wonderfully because of it.

*Note: not sick OF my body. Sick of the condition of my body. I love my body, and all the glorious things it does for me! 

Monday, 4 February 2019

Happy New Year...?

Oh, my darlings.

I'm terrible at this! I know you're convinced otherwise, but I truly love to write. And I especially love to write on this blog. However, I'm not the kind of person who can churn out blah-posts on a whim, simply to meet a monthly post quota. Because this is a hobby blog, I want to give you a true piece of my hobby heart when you read these words.

Thankfully, between this post and October's post (whew!) good things have been happening in my life. Good changes. Growing changes. Here is where my hobby heart comes in:
  1. I've been eating more vegetables, finding new ways to love them, and gaining this renewed love for making healthy food (*most days. Some days a girl needs Combo No. 6 from her fave Chinese place and other days this girl eats buttered toast over the sink because she doesn't want to cook).

  2. My perspectives on health, fitness and food are always morphing to be, well... healthier! Every day I meditate on the idea that health is continuous - a process.  I've stopped expecting instant results of myself. I better understand that habits are what will shape my future lifestyle. I now know that mindfully consuming yummy and/or nutrient dense food and exercising often is an investment in shaping my body to be healthy, hardy and long-lasting.

  3. I joined a GYM. My broke student self took the plunge. Rather than be hard on myself for yet again, not going to the gym before class, I got real with myself. I really hated hauling my book bag, lunch bag, gym bag, toiletries and laptop case fifteen minutes across campus, just so I could work out. It made working out so much more difficult for me, and it really made me resent it. I never stuck to my goal of working out regularly, and I ended up disappointed and self-hating every time. I know this is not a feasible option for everybody, but I joined the super cheap ($10/month!) gym that my boyfriend goes to, and the rest is history. Since doing that, I've actually stuck to my goal of working out at twice a week. 
Anyway. That's my teeny tiny crumb-sized update on my health and fitness goals. Stay tuned for a post about how I started working out even though I'm out of shape, out of breath and cripplingly self-conscious!