I’m almost there.
Thursday, I finished my last undergraduate class ever. Possibly my last University class ever. (We’ll see if I go to grad school. But that’s a topic / question for another day). I’m so ready to be done with school, but at the same time not.
[[asian-style salad bowl with spicy peanut dressing]]
Now, the only thing standing between me and graduation is 2 final exams and a paper. I wish I could say I’m in full-on study mode, but motivation has been running seriously low. Senioritis, much? Come on, Rachel – you can do this!
[[all mixed up - loved the kelp noodles in this bowl!]]
I’ve done this for 4 years now (where the hell did all the time go?!), and I’ve had much harder semesters than this one. I know I can do this. One more week (ish) and I’m home free.
[[ribboned greens, peppers, lentils, avocado, salsa, parsley - I love salad season]]
I’m all too ready for what’s next. Working. Making a living. Doing something that I actually enjoy, as opposed to studying for a degree that made me so stressed and unhappy at times. I’m ready for a change.
[[especially when the weather is nice enough to enjoy my salad in the yard!]]
One more week. I know I can do this. 2 exams, 1 paper and I’m done doing Math and Physics for a while.
[[simplicity - greens, tomato, cucumber, TJ's smoked trout, hummus, little oil & vinegar]]
I can make it through the home stretch. 2 exams, 1 paper – nothing compared to what I’ve done over the past 4 years.
Are you good at staying motivated when you’re so close to being finished?
Current favorite salad combo… and GO!
[[P.S. I may or may not be back to blog before graduation. Who knows - I may want the stress-relief / distraction of writing, or I may just want to crash. AHHH!]]
Wow, I can’t even remember the last time I did a traditional, What I Ate Wednesday post. By traditional I mean one that actually track a full day of meals and snacks as opposed to just a compilation of things I’ve been eating. For some reason, I was just in the mood to take pictures of (almost) everything I ate yesterday.
Tuesdays are my busiest days in terms of classes, so lunches and snacks are always packed. This is a pretty typical tuesday for this semester as far as eats go.
Toast with PB & cinnamon, papaya chunks. Eaten way too fast, because the idiot that I am woke up at 7:35 and for some reason thought it was 8:35 and that I only had 40ish minutes to get ready for school. (I like to take my time in the morning, and usually like to get up around 8am for my 9:30 class. I know, not that early compared to most of you crazies out there, but I am NOT a morning person. I’ve tried.
Anyway, I scarfed down this breakfast even though I wan’t super hungry because I thought I needed to get moving in time to get to class. Then I sat down to check the weather before getting dressed and realized that it was indeed 8am, and not 9am. And I had an hour to kill. Hardly an ideal start to the day. At least I had time to slowly sip my giant jar of water!
On the way to class, I got myself a large iced coffee with soy milk to try and perk up for the day. Coffee was delicious, but I think I was still half asleep. Nearly all day.
Snacks, eaten in class sometime between 11am and 12:30. I could have probably eaten lunch then based on how hungry I was, but I don’t have a break between classes then, and I have a dance class (yes, dance with a fractured foot. try to figure that one out. hint: it involves chairs). So energy-dense snacks it is. P.S. That quest bar very nearly tastes like cookie dough. I don’t usually go for dairy-based processed snacks, but these are just too delicious, and somehow take care of my constant cookie cravings.
It was also my last week of dance class, so the teacher brought in some goodies for us to share. I munched on some wasabi peas, yogurt raisins, cashews, and banana chips. But I didn’t want to spoil my appetite for the delicious lunch I had packed!
Collard wraps and more papaya for lunch, eaten around 3pm, after dance. Collard wraps are probably my absolute favorite ways to pack tons of veggies into my lunch and make it super portable.
all packed up in my Eco Lunchbox. Love this thing!
In the wraps – tempeh, avocado, peppers, horseradish hummus, parsley, and BBQ sauce. Hey, I never claimed to be normal. Delicious.
I was slightly hungry before my Physics society meeting, so I grabbed some veggies and hummus (no photo). I probably have a veg & hummus appetizer nearly every evening, because I often get too hungry before I realize I need to make dinner.
I was in the mood for a pick me up and a bite of chocolate, so I also grabbed a handful of cacao nibs before heading back out for my meeting.
Often, I’d just eat dinner at the meeting as there is always food provided, but the group ordered fajitas last night, and I just wasn’t feeling it. Yes, it’s free food, but was just not at all appealing to me for some reason. So, home for dinner after the meeting it was.
This is called “I desperately need to go shopping” dinner. Trader Joe’s Italian style sausage-less sausage (a.k.a. soysage) cooked in coconut oil with mushrooms and broccoli. I was going to make some rice or something to go with, but again didn’t really feel like it. And I’m (very) lazy.
Dessert! I know I need to cut down on the after-dinner snacking (when I’m not really exercising especially). I’m still working on being satisfied with a meal and not needing a little something sweet after, but this is the start of a high-stress time, and I’m not testing my will power now. So I settle for a little natural sweetness – the last of the papaya.
and a few spoonfuls of peanut butter. This happens way too often, but oh well. It was delicious.
So there you have it, the ridiculous story of my day through food. Which I didn’t intend this post to be, but apparently the blogging gods thought otherwise.
Are you a morning person? Do you eat breakfast before class/work?
Do you feel the need to have something sweet after dinner? How do you limit after -dinner snacking?
This post is long overdue.
Many of you may not know, but my first “taste” of the healthy living world was through eco personal care. It was nearly four years ago (my freshman year of college – holy crap), through my friend and roommate at time, Erin. The more I learned about harmful chemicals in my daily routine, the more I wanted to change my habits.
Now I’m not going to go in excruciating detail about how to make the change, what to look for in a product, which ingredients are worse than others, etc. That’s a post for another time, if demand is high enough.
For now, let’s just take a look at some of my healthy, chemical-free favorites: [[disclaimer - I was not compensated in ANY way for this post. all products were bought for myself, and all opinions are my own]]
This is by no means a comprehensive list of things that I use, as I don’t use all eco-friendly or organic products. There are a few products that I just can’t seem to find a good eco alternative for, and some that I just can’t justify paying for.
Yes, eco products are generally more expensive than, say, brands you’ll find at a drugstore. But all products on this list are ones that I think are worth spending the money on.
Jojoba Oil (Trader Joe’s, I believe $7): I use this for makeup remover. I have very sensitive skin, which gets irritated by most makeup removers. Jojoba oil is great, as it’s not really an oil but a liquid wax, and is naturally non-comedegenic. If you have access to Trader Joe’s, buy it there. It’s nearly half the price of what you can by anywhere else (most common brand is Desert Essence) – and I’m pretty sure it’s the exact same product, but rebranded. Also, this little bottle lasts for months since you only need a few drops. Totally worth it.
EO Organics Curl Gel (retail value $8.99): This is actually a new-to-me product, as I change up my hair products all the time. With crazy, curly hair like mine, I need to use a lot of crap. I usually leave in my conditioner, and use some type of defining cream. This one does make your hair a little crusty, but that goes away very quickly if you fluff your curls once they dry. It smells amazing, and a little bit goes a very long way to revive and define my curls. And I have a lot of hair.
Trader Joe’s Face Wash with Tea Tree Oil (around $6): I only use this once a week, as tea tree oil can be harsh on and irritate your skin if used too much. (The regular face wash I use is not particularly eco friendly, but I have been dealing with acne issues, so I make some compromises). My dermatologist recommended using a benzoyl peroxide wash once a week, and I really did not want to do that. Tea tree oil is a good alternative to benzoyl peroxide, without making your skin even more susceptible to cancer.
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Lotion – Lavender Coconut (retail value $9.99): If you like lavender, this stuff smells amazing (and did you know that it’s naturally antibacterial?!). It’s super light and thin, and absorbs really well. I have not had any issues with this irritating my sensitive skin, which is a huge plus. But, just note that I do not use this on my face.
Badger Sunscreen (retail value $15.99): Yes, it’s pricey. And goes on pretty thick, so it takes a little while to absorb. But to me, it’s worth it to use a sunscreen that doesn’t have all the scary chemical block ingredients – which means you have to use a physical block (zinc and titanium based) which doesn’t rub in as easily. If put on around 30 minutes before the beach or time outside, it’s relatively sweat-proof as well which is a HUGE plus.
Obagi Sunscreen (around $30): This is my face sunscreen and yes, it is $30 for a tiny little bottle. But, this tiny little bottle has lasted nearly a year already. I just mix a tiny bit into my face moisturizer and I’m set for the day (yes, you should wear sunscreen every day!). Again, worth the price for a 100% physical (read – no chemical) block.
Makeup. Once again, I don’t use all eco makeup, mostly because I didn’t want to throw away some of my perfectly good non-eco makeup and spend the money on new stuff before I use up the old stuff. When I run out of some of my other things like eye liner and eye shadow, then I’ll replace them with eco things.
Jane Iredale PurePressed Foundation ($52 including refillable compact): The the best skin-friendly makeup ever. It doesn’t irritate my skin or trigger my acne, and it blends amazingly. It is a mineral makeup, so I know that some people don’t like the way it sits on their skin (this only bothers me if I happen to be sweating when I try to put on the makeup). It also has some SPF, which is a great bonus! One compact lasts me about 6 months, and to buy a refill only costs $40. I keep 2 colors, one for winter, one for summer.
Jane Iredale Disappear Concealer (retail value $30): The best concealer ever. Lofty statement, I know, but really this stuff works wonders for my acne. I often have people tell me how great my skin looks – and I smile and say thank you, but really it’s only because of this stuff. I apply it with a little concealer brush to all my blemishes and let it dry. Sometimes I do 2 coats if I need more coverage. Then I finished with brushing on the pressed powder. It blends perfectly. One little tube of this lasts me about 6 months, so once again it’s totally worth the money.
Dr. Hauschka Mascara (retail value $25.95): I’m hooked on this mascara. Mostly because it doesn’t irritate my eyes, and I barely feel or notice it when wearing it all day. Because it is all natural, you do have to be careful about rubbing your eyes, and it is most definitely not waterproof. Actually, it usually washes off with water, which I like that I don’t have to rub to get it off. Hauschka is a great brand all around for skin care and cosmetics, but I can’t justify shelling out for most of their products. I am willing to spend on one mascara that I use every single day, and lasts me about 6 months.
Lips! Here are some of my every day favorites.
Pangea Organics Lip Balm (retail value $12): This will change your life. Seriously. It’s so silky smooth, and you only need a tiny bit. It’s made with all organic oils that do wonders for chapped lips. I love the lavender scent, but next time (if I ever run out of this one!) I want to try the fennel and orange scent. And once again, it’s worth the high price for a little balm that lasts for quite a while.
Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm (about $5): I don’t love lip gloss, but sometimes I want a little color in my lips. This is a tinted balm, so it doesn’t go on thick like a gloss or lipstick. I have the Honeysuckle color for summer and lighter occasions, and the Red Dahlia color for fancier occasions (or when I just feel like red lips). Not expensive, and you can find it at almost any drugstore.
Yes to Carrots Lip Butter with SPF (about $3.50): Sunscreen for your lips is just as important! Because this one has zinc in it (physical block, not chemical), it goes on a bit thicker and whiter than regular chapstick. But it definitely works to protect your lips, and smells quite lovely. Protect your skin, people. Worth it.
So that ended up being quite a bit longer than I expected. What can I say, I have a lot to say about products and other things that I am passionate about. I didn’t write this to convince you that you should overhaul your personal care routine right now. My only goal was to open your eyes to some great new products, in the hope that one day maybe someone out there will begin the transition to chemical-free personal care products. What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body!
I know that a bunch of the products I listed here can be a bit on the expensive side (Jane Iredale, Dr. Hauschka, other fancy skincare products), but the rest you can usually buy online for cheaper than the retail price.
Finally, I’m going to leave you with a list of awesome sites that can help you get started with your eco beauty routine:
EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database - look up your cosmetics, see what’s in them, and find greener alternatives! (everyone should check out this site. please)
Ecotools - the makeup brushes I use. Usually available at drugstores, Ulta, online, etc.
Erin’s website – be sure to check out the “Dirty Thirty” list at the bottom. And the list of greener alternatives
GoodGuide - another great product database
iHerb - most know this as a great site for obscure foodie products, but they also have a fantastic selection of personal care products for very good prices
SkinCareRx – great site to buy skin care and cosmetics, they have tons of email coupons!
Do you use eco/organic beauty products? What are your favorites? I love finding new ones to try!
Would you with to chemical-free personal care products in the future?
[[Also, please feel free to ask me any questions about this - email, comment, tweet, etc.]]
Where were we… right, healthy, tasty meals in under 30 minutes. Not impossible!
One of the key things to making quick meals is keeping them simple. Many friends I talk to say that they can’t cook, or don’t know how to cook. I call BS. Cooking your own food does not have to be fancy! Most nights I can be satisfied without a gourmet, multi-course meal.
Just think of maybe 3 things you’re in the mood for, and experiment with how to combine them. Scary at first? Yes. But that’s how you get started. You’ll have some fails, and some really ugly concoctions, but you do get the hang of it eventually.
For today’s Quick Eats meal, we are going to keep it simple, stupid! (or sweetheart/sweetie, if you’re offended by the word stupid. but calling people sweetie isn’t really my thing.
What’s in it:
- plain quinoa
- sautéed kale and mushrooms
How it came together:
- as soon as you get home: START YOUR QUINOA! rinse, measure, toast, boil, turn to simmer, and set a timer for 15 minutes. (Now you can unpack, relax, whatever it is you would normally do when you get home)
- rinse and chop your kale into bite-sized pieces. take out your desired amount of mushrooms.
- grab some coconut oil (or cooking oil of choice) and a small pan.
- when your quinoa timer goes off, turn the stove off. set the timer for another 5 minutes and let the quinoa sit covered.
- heat a few table spoons of water in the pan until it starts to bubble. add kale, toss until every leaf has turned a dark green color.
- add about 1T coconut oil and toss.
- add mushrooms, and cook until mushrooms are slightly tender, stirring just a bit. (about 2 minutes, or until your quinoa timer goes off). turn off your stove.
- fluff your quinoa with a fork. plate desired amount.
- plate your greens ‘n shrooms.
- top with whatever you like – I suggest hot sauce, soy sauce or amines, nutritional yeast, cheese if you eat it – whatever you’re in the mood for!
BAM. I chose to top with nutritional yeast and some tamari sauce (lower sodium, gluten-free soy sauce). Simple, comforting, filling. It’s naturally vegan and gluten-free, and came together in 20 minutes.
[[and you'll have extra quinoa for the next few days!]]
Healthy + quick = possible. (how’s that for math…) Just keep practicing!
Tell me about the first time you made dinner for yourself – what did you make?
Womp – and she’s back again. Just in time to share some things coming from my (tiny) kitchen.
brown rice tortilla flatbread w/ hummus, TJ’s smoked trout, tomatoes, cracked pepper. side of snow peas.
I truly wish I had something more interesting to share, but school and job-searching has pretty much taken over my life.
Super-hungry day dinner – green quinoa, roasted fennel, 2 baked eggs (which I’m seriously loving right now), small serving of ugly veggie pie.
Anyone have a tech-y, analysis job for a soon to be grad with a physics degree?
a day when I was craving GREEN – massaged kale, green quinoa, cucumbers in there somewhere, cauliflower for crunch, carrot on the side (you can kind of see that)
Plus, I think the internet has heard enough of me complaining about how I can’t run, can hardly walk, or how my foot hurts. I haven’t been in a great place this week, so I’ve tried to steer clear of the inter webs – mostly blogging.
passover throwback – bran matzah with Scandinavian-flavored salmon salad. Must remake this.
I think the most exciting thing I did this week was get a manicure. You don’t see that everyday, folks. (oh i’m SO not funny.)
attempted injera-making. epic texture fail.
yup, fail. Maybe I’ll try again, but in the meantime I’ll just settle for Ethiopian takeout.
And yes, I’ve eaten take-out and lunches out more than twice this week. Because sometimes my roommate decides to be awesome and buys us dinner.
steam-fried kale with coconut oil and tahini. warming, comforting, nourishing.
Unfortunately, I lost most of my pictures from this week because my phone’s external SD card decided to die on me. I lost about a week’s worth of pictures! I feel like some were important, but cannot for the life of me remember what. I guess that means they weren’t so important?
baked-egg tortilla pizza (with dairy-free cheeze) – for nights when you need something quick and comfort-y
Speaking of quick, I know I promised a Quick Eats series – I should probably get on that. Thing is, I make quick, tasty meals nearly every day, but I’m usually 100% focused on make food now, and don’t even think to photograph it to share. Oops. Life happens.
who says you can’t have (healthy) dessert for breakfast? oats, banana, almond butter, chocolate chips, with a cinnamon blanket
Last week I made my roommate run to Trader Joe’s this week because I was out of cinnamon, coconut oil, quinoa, tortillas, and salsa. Because I’m cheap, and a serious Trader Joe’s fangirl. It was glorious. I haven’t been there in over three weeks now. Craziness.
too lazy to dirty a dish – eat salad out of leftover greens containers. greens, avocado, beets, tempeh, tahini dressing, sprouted tortilla on the side.
I’m surely not alone on the eating-out-of-containers thing. Living (practically) alone has made my manners beyond awful. I kind of not-so-secretly love it.
roasted plantains, spinach and mashed salmon burgers.
I’m done with college in a month. I graduate in nearly 5 weeks holy crap life is happening. See why I don’t blog that often? This is what usually goes through my head.
acai bowls! I’m down to my last acai smoothie pack, what a sad day!
Oh, and I almost forgot – I have a ridiculous story to share. It’s kind of embarrassing, actually, but oh well. So, as part of my injury diagnosis, my doctor did full metabolic blood panels to check some nutrient and hormone levels in my blood (to help get a better understanding of what put me at risk for a stress fracture). At the beginning of last week, I get an email from the doc that I thought read:
“All levels are below normal. Still waiting on VitD.”
WHAT. My first thought – ‘I’m deficient in EVERYTHING? But I eat SO well! How is that even possible?’ And then I proceeded to get super depressed and freak out for 3 days straight. I even looked at all the specific results, and the all seemed to be in the normal range. I was super confused. So I messaged my doctor again, and he pointed that the previous message read:
“All levels below are normal”
Wow, Rachel. Just, wow. To say I was relieved was an understatement. I then told all my friends and family and they all laughed hysterically. Yup, I need to learn to read more carefully, and not doubt myself so much. In other news, my vitamin D levels are apparently dangerously low, and I’m now on a prescription for 50,000 IU per week. Holy vitamin D.
So, that’s my exciting life right now. Ha!
Do you eat out of containers to save dishes?
What was the most exciting thing you did this week? (Manicures don’t count! )
Hi, I'm Rachel! I'm a 22 year old college student in New York City with a passion for staying fit, eating well, and exploring. I'm a born foodie, but like to share an occasional workout, travel, or eco living post. Thanks for stopping by! And feel free to email me at eatlearndiscover[at]gmail[dot]com.
Want to get my posts in your inbox?
My Recent Workouts
- Core Fitness,
- 11.0051 miles,
- 3.0025 miles,