For some reason it doesn’t really feel like summer. I couldn’t tell you exactly why, but I have a feeling it’s because ”summer” usually feels like a break to me – a time to catch my breath and recharge for the school year.
But, now that I’ve graduated, this is pretty much the start of the real world, not a vacation. I don’t mean this in a negative way at all, but this summer seems to mark the end, rather than the start of a break. Case in point – my roommate moved out this week, and I’m only just now realized how huge my apartment feels without all his stuff and furniture.
That space used to hold a TV / entertainment stand where the crap on the floor is, a big table in front of the couch, and a kitchen island right up against the couch. Now so much glorious floor space!
And still this is all I’ve got of a kitchen. Win some, lose some! I’m moving soon anyway, and I’m hoping for a little more kitchen space.
I did, however get a chance to stop by the Union Square farmers market and check out some of the bounty this season has to offer.
Gorgeous strawberries, first of the season – unfortunately they were kind of tasteless. Better luck next time?
Radishes. So pretty, so tasty! Check out that bright pink!
A bite of Vermont maple candy (YUM!). Basically pure sugar. I’m not entirely sure how one can eat more than a bite of this stuff, it’s so sweet.
Pretty flowers – which I can’t really justify spending money on, but often wish I could!
The bounty. I walked out with a super-dense loaf of sourdough rye (that was good, but not fantastic), deliciously crunchy and spicy white radishes, and local herb goat cheese. The cheese was clearly the star of the show.
And was immediately schmeared on the bread upon returning home from the market.
And, now that it’s summer, I’ve been inspired to get a bit more creative in the kitchen here and there. I wish I could say this was a regular occurrence, but I’m not going to lie. Even if I have time to cook, I still eat eggs for dinner. No shame.
But, on one fateful day, I happened upon all these elements for this noodle salad, and things just seemed to come together with little effort on my part.
Mung bean starch noodles – you’ll often see them on the menu at Thai restaurants as glass noodles. There’s only one ingredient in them. Mung bean starch! So they’re naturally gluten-free. They come dehydrated, so all you have to do is pour boiling water over then for a few minutes to “cook” them.
Sautéed mushrooms. I’m all about mushrooms lately – gotta get that vitamin D!
Creamy tahini-lime dressing. I don’t know how to photograph sauce.
Smoky maple baked tofu. This worked SO well!
Fresh cilantro – for the cilantro-haters out there, mint could easily take its place. But never leave out the fresh herbs!
Put it all together (the noodles are under all the other stuff I swear!).
Mix it up, and enjoy!
I ate this for lunch the next day, and the day after. I have to say, I was rather impressed with myself for dreaming up this recipe on the fly! Hope you enjoy.
What makes a characteristic summer for you?
Have you ever tried glass noodles? They’re one of my favorite options at Thai restaurants, and now at home!
[[disclaimer: this post gets up close and personal. read at your own discretion]]
Wow. It’s been such a long time since I’ve written one of these posts. It’s no secret this year was not the easiest for me, and to be perfectly honest, I just didn’t feel like posting about my personal life on the blog. I know I lost a ton of readers when I stopped writing so many personal posts, but sometimes that’s the way things go.
Anyway, not the point. When I left off, I was talking about my visit with an integrative medicine doctor, and promised an update when I decided what steps I would take next. Well, here’s the short version of what I did:
- went to a new gynecologist – who suggested I go back on BC
- went to an endocrinologist – where I did a few tests, but didn’t follow up
- started taking some supplements
- got more sleep, exercised less, and focused on reducing stress
Basically, I’m way too stubborn when it comes to doctors. I’m not very quick to trust people in general, and I also avoid taking meds unless I really need them. I did start taking some supplements, a few of which were suggested by a doctor or two:
- high EPA omega 3s for mood – definitely noticed a bit of a change, more on this later
- probiotics for gut – amazing. stomach issues are SO much less now.
- calcium/magnesium + D3 – for bone health, especially important for women who aren’t menstruating.
Like I mentioned before, I liked the idea of integrative medicine because it focuses more on lifestyle changes as opposed to some miracle drug – but the approach I was presented with was way too much for me, at the time would be more stress than it was worth.
Stress. That was the key. The integrative medicine doc kept mentioning stress and depletion. The new gynecologist told me I was an unhappy person and wanted me to see a psychiatrist and get me on meds – which was a little out-of-place given that I hardly met the woman, and she was telling me my life story. No thanks, lady, but noted. Then the endocrinologist mentioned testing cortisol (the stress hormone).
So what did I get out of this? I had way too many stressors in my life – both physical and mental. I’ve been this way for years, and frankly I didn’t really know any other way. In a sense, I felt like I had to be stressed because otherwise I wouldn’t be successful. I know, how stupid does that sound now? But I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who has felt this way.
[[discovering my yoga]]
I knew I didn’t want to finish my last semester of college as a bunched up ball of anxiety and stress, and so I had to let some things go. I wrote a bit about this in December, but now I’m being a little less cryptic. I had to cut down on stressors in any way possible.
I stopped worrying about workouts. If I felt like one, great. If I didn’t, that’s great too – as long as I went with it and didn’t stress about skipping it. I stuck to easy runs and other meditative cardio. I started doing more yoga(!!!). I stopped caring so much about “eating clean” and ate my chocolate when I damn well felt like. Yes I still made sure to eat my greens, load up on veggies, and limit processed junk – but that wasn’t stressful, I genuinely like eating healthfully.
And I started sleeping. Wait, what? You mean you never used to sleep? Well kind of. For a few years there, I was under the impression that I could function perfectly well on an average of 5-6 hours of sleep per night. And for a few years I did. With the help of caffeine. But I thought that was what college was supposed to be like – stay on campus all night finishing your homework only to get home at 3am, completely crash out, and still have to wake up before 9am. Crazy. But for a while, it worked.
Until it didn’t. But it wasn’t until I went abroad to Stockholm that I realized that my stay-up-all-night strategy was causing me more harm than good. When I was in Sweden, I didn’t have many classes or much homework, so I had time to sleep. And it was glorious. So this year, in an effort to reduce stress, I decided to sleep. I cut the number of nights I spent working on campus until 2 or 3am in favor of turning in an assignment a day or so late, and getting some decent sleep.
It’s funny how much you don’t realize the negative effects of not getting enough sleep until you start getting better sleep. I was much less uptight during the day. The hours I did spend working were much more productive. My stress-eating and bingeing decreased. My mood and demeanor improved, and (I think) I was just more fun to be around.
And then, in December, I got my period. Stress. Simple as that. I don’t know what really made the big difference, but I’m inclined to believe it was mostly the sleep. Since I’ve kept my fitness low intensity and my mental stressors lower than I was used to, my body responded well.
Now, I’m not perfect. I wish I could say that all my troubles and worries have melted away – but I’m human, and these things take time. But it’s good to know that I’m taking better care of my body. And it feels good to know that things are functioning they way they should. And I was able to do it without overhauling my nutrition and getting in the way of my life.
The body is smarter than we think.
Girls – have you ever dealt with amenorrhea? What helped you get back on track?
Does ever feel like you have to be stressed to be successful?
“laksjhdflkjhasdflaiuseralebfalwuehv” - My brain right now. This is one of those weird transition phases where I find myself doing a million things one day, then absolutely nothing the next. Job searching, and working (?), maybe moving, maybe not, graduated but have so much to do, blah blah blah. So jumbled, but at the same time, so much more relaxed now that school is over. I’m weird. And done ranting now.
Needless to say, I have yet to be super inspired to get creative in the kitchen. I guess I’m still recovering from school-induced lack of sleep?
Eggs for dinner. It’s my “I don’t feel like cooking” go-to. So much so, that I basically can’t eat eggs for breakfast anymore – gotta keep things interesting.
Omelet style. The roasted veggies happened before this ridiculous heat wave.
Fried-on-a-veggie-burger style. Seriously. Veggie burgers (or non veggie, if that’s how you do) with a fried eggs are seriously undervalued. Seriously.
Frittata-style. I have nothing attempting to be witty to say here.
Scramble-style. With eggplant chips. Now I really wish it wasn’t so freaking hot so I could turn on my oven again.
See? I still find ways to mix it up, even if I’m eating the same foods every night. Eggs for dinner. Hopefully next post I’ll have something a little more interesting to share
Do you eat eggs for dinner? (if you eat eggs, that is.)
- Hi, I'm Rachel! I'm a 20-something city girl with a passion for staying fit, eating well, learning how the world works, 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.
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