Category Archives: Health

PB&J Smoothie.

IMG_2245

I want to preface this whole thing by saying: do not add too much peanut butter to your smoothie. I love peanut butter. A whole lot. I love eating it on bananas, oatmeal, celery, and yogurt, and even especially eating it straight from the jar by the spoonful (or five). What I do not enjoy is drinking peanut butter.

And if you put too much peanut butter in your smoothie, that’s exactly what will happen. Trust me on this one! I know you want your smoothie to taste peanut-y, but remember: you can always add more peanut butter. You cannot take it out.

This is tooo much peanut butter. Too much! Less is more (mostly).

This is tooo much peanut butter. Too much! Less is more (mostly).

Glad we cleared that up.

Now, it’s time to get excited about this smoothie, because it is basically heaven. It’s your favorite childhood sandwich (well, mine at least)… in smoothie form! It’s smooth, rich, creamy peanut butter meets sweet strawberry jam. It’s more like a milkshake than a smoothie.

When you set out to make a smoothie and end up with something that resembles a milkshake, you know that you’re doing well at life. Continue reading

A Yoga Challenge!

Most important part of the yoga challenge is the post-yoga snack!

Most important part of the yoga challenge is the post-yoga snack!

It’s right about now that the excitement of the holidays begins to wear off and all the sparkly things are put away and everything is no longer pumpkin or peppermint flavored (side note: I don’t understand why there aren’t pumpkin and peppermint flavored things all year long. Who doesn’t love pumpkin and peppermint?!)

And also because soon, we’ll be seeing brightly colored bikinis and pretty pastel nail polish and white sundresses and floppy straw hats and coral lip-gloss everywhere. This will carry us all the way through spring break and summer.

And then we will once again meet with pumpkin spice and muted colors and sophisticated glitter.

But right now, there isn’t really anything that we, as a society, are anticipating. New Year’s resolutions are starting to dissolve into the chaos that is Real Life and spring break is far, far away.  

This seems like bad news. One of my professors once said that February is the worst month; it’s full of a lot of work and there aren’t any holidays or distractions to break it up.

But this is actually good news! Because this is the time that we are free from distractions to evaluate our lives, and evaluate whether we are content when there isn’t a whole lot of excitement. There’s time for self-reflection.

There is also time for… yoga! (That whole preamble leading up to “yoga!!!” was relevant in exactly zero ways. I’m sorry for that.)  Continue reading

A “Green” Smoothie (Or, what to do when things don’t turn out as expected).

Hi everybody!

Today for breakfast I decided to partake in the green smoothie trend. I didn’t have almond milk or kale on hand, which most green smoothie recipes call for, so I just decided to make it up as I went along! And it ended up being pretty tasty, so I decided to share it here (you can find the recipe at the bottom of this post). My “green” smoothie is a blend of bright fruit and OJ, fresh spinach, and peppery parsley. It’s sweet and herbal.

I call this a “green” smoothie because, while it contains plenty of healthy leafy greens, it is an unfortunate brown color (this is why I didn’t post a photo). In my smoothie-making adventures, I somehow failed to achieve that beautiful emerald hue that food bloggers everywhere have down pat. You know the one I’m talking about- it makes you think of fresh-cut grass and homegrown basil and budding spring leaves and sunshine and happiness.

It’s okay. There’s an upside to this.

If people ask what you’re drinking, you can tell them it’s a chocolate milkshake, and they will walk away in awe, wondering how you manage to drink chocolate milkshakes for breakfast and maintain that svelte body.

Not that I have a svelte body. Moving on.

Speaking of smoothies, I love love love this whole foods info-graphic! It’s great because it provides a basic smoothie template, making it really easy to make do with what you already have in your fridge (ironically, this actually makes it easier for me to not go out and feel the need to spend $17162 on smoothie ingredients at Whole Foods. So that’s good).

Smoothie

Graphic courtesy of Whole Foods.

This info-graphic is from the Whole Foods Healthy Eating handbook, which you can find here.

And finally, here is the recipe!  Continue reading

Sometimes all it takes is oatmeal.

Hi everybody!

So, I lied. Today will, once again, be a light blogging day, unlike what I promised yesterday. This is because I hit a little road bump when I was doing my summer applications.

I was doing really well getting through all of my apps until this morning. And then I had a slight hiccup.

Meaning I had a full-blown existential, what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life, worried about the state of humanity crisis. I started writing a novel. I debated becoming a rockstar. I decided I already was a rockstar and then cried a little while watching Netflix.

But since we’re all adults around here, we man up and deal with the situation. Here’s how:

  1.  Decide to quit real life and become an arctic explorer. Research arctic exploration jobs for 5-plus hours.
  2. Oatmeal!

IMG_0498

Maybe some of you are smart enough just to skip right to the second step. You probably are. Is this what becoming an adult means?

Continue reading

Makeup Bag Overhaul Part Two: Going Minimalist.

Hi there! I hope your weekend is off to a lovely start

In my last post, I wrote about the challenges of making sure that your makeup bag and bathroom cabinets contain products that are safe, natural, and eco-friendly.

Today, we’re talking about step one: reducing the number of products that you use. This is arguably the most important step. When we buy less stuff, we automatically decrease the waste that we produce (lessening our negative impact on the environment!), and we also decrease risks to our health. Imagine that your only beauty product was a simple bar of soap (unrealistic for most people, I know). You would be producing very, very little waste- a simple bar of soap does not have a lot of wasteful packaging. And it would be simple to research your soap brand and make sure that is free of toxins and chemicals. Now compare that to a makeup bag chock full of eyeshadow, mascara, lipsticks, foundation, shampoo, conditioner, three kinds of body wash… you get the idea. Simplifying is easier on the environment, our wallets, and our health.

But how exactly does this consolidating go? I’ve broken it down for you:  Continue reading

Makeup Bag Overhaul Part One: Despair, then hope.

Whew. What began as a search to find some contact friendly, natural mascara has turned into a full-blown overhaul of my toiletries collection, and let me tell you, it is overwhelming.

I recently got an eye infection, and decided that I should replace my eye makeup with something natural. I started doing some research, and yikes! Many large makeup brands use potentially harmful chemicals in their makeup products, and often test these products on animals. These chemicals are not very strictly regulated. Moreover, the packaging that our makeup comes in can be extremely wasteful. And, the same goes for shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant… in short, everything that I use on a daily basis.

So what’s a girl to do? (Especially a girl who uses Neutrogena foundation, a CoverGirl compact, and Loreal mascara…?!)

My first answer was: I’ll just switch to Burt’s Bees, duhhh.

Um. Turns out Burt’s Bees is owned by Clorox. While nearly all of Burt’s Bees’ ingredients are natural, they are not consistently organic, and the ownership makes me question how ethical their business practices are. This is not to say that I think Burt’s Bees products are bad! It’s totally possible that, even under the new ownership, the company has stayed true to its roots. The problem is, it’s impossible to know from the outside looking in!

This is where the process starts to get overwhelming. If I can’t trust Burt’s Bees, who CAN I trust?!

Second answer: I’ll just never shower and wear no makeup. But it’s okay because Tom’s of Maine toothpaste will give me fresh breath and sparkly white teeth.

IMG_2015

… Too bad Tom’s of Maine is owned by Colgate. Again, while this doesn’t mean that Tom’s of Maine is morally bankrupt, it’s just difficult to know what their business practices are like.

Well. This leaves us in a bad spot- in a pickle, one might say!  Continue reading

Toasted Muesli Recipe.

Everything is better toasted. Really! Well, most things. Some things. In any case, oats, coconut, and walnuts are definitely all better toasted.

IMG_2077

Throw some dried fruit, a few spices, and a sprinkling of chia seeds on top of that that fragrant toasty mix and you have… muesli!

IMG_2111

Muesli is really great. It’s also really hard to figure out how to pronounce it (it’s something along the lines of: MYOU-slee). But it’s really great anyways. Why? It’s like granola, but without the zillion grams of sugar per serving. It’s also way easier to make than granola (it only takes 10 minutes!). And it’s great for a hearty breakfast, a snack, or a crunchy topping.

Also, it helped me survive the carb, wine, and cheese overdose that happened to me when I was in Tbilisi. (Yes, I maintain that it happened to me. My host mom kept telling me to eat her delicious khachapuri and you really cannot refuse that. It would be rude. Just like saying no to the fourth glass of wine would be rude.) So, for lunch, I would go to the market across from work and buy little cups of yogurt to go with the huge bag of muesli that I bought. It made me feel a little better about the general state of my health.  Continue reading

GMO’s.

My information about health and sustainability comes from two main sources: 1) health/wellness blogs and 2) news websites. I often lean heavily toward the former, forgoing lengthy newspaper articles to read health and wellness blogs. I have no good excuse for this except that it’s usually more appealing to read things that are short, conversational, and/or interspersed with lots of pretty photos.

WSJ

Pickleaday

See? Which one would you rather read? (The right answer is mine. Obviously).

But. This approach can be dangerous. Why? Simply put, blogs are trendy. And your health, unlike your fashion sense, should not constantly fall prey to the latest fad. Recently, the blogosphere has been all about avoiding gluten, avoiding sugar, avoiding dairy, taking this and that supplement… you name it. But sometimes, these trends can have unexpected consequences.

GMO’s are no exception. It has now become trendy to bash GMO’s, and so that’s what many health blogs are doing. But there’s also another side to the story!  Continue reading

The Start.

I am very much a city girl. I was born and grew up in Houston, a city of 6 million (6 million!) people. I really like Starbucks and driving and the great indoors. In high school, my best friend gave me a water bottle emblazoned with the words, “I will never take this camping”. Because she thought of me immediately when she saw it.

IMG_2066

However.

My attitude about these types of things has changed recently.

After I finished high school, I set off for college (despite my efforts to cajole my parents into spending approximately $139841930 for me to take a gap year and save the whales). I went to a women’s college in New England. I was really geared up for it, excited to leave home and live on my own. But as I got settled in, I found that I didn’t really love it. There was a big emphasis on careerism and very little emphasis on an active, healthy lifestyle. I had always thought of myself as a career-focused woman who was going to be “successful” at all costs. I wanted to work on Wall Street, to be part of the crowd who earned and spent a lot of money. But as I immersed myself in that culture, I realized that it wasn’t for me. As I worked toward my future career “success”, I felt constantly stressed, tired, overwhelmed, and unfulfilled. I decided that I needed to re-evaluate and make a change.

And thank goodness I did! After two years at my first college, I transferred to a college in sunny southern California. The culture at my new school is centered on happiness and healthy living, and I absolutely love being a part of it. I have also found that my career goals have shifted; I now place much more value on doing something fulfilling and positive (don’t worry- I am still being realistic in my career plans! Haven’t quit school to become a yoga teacher (yet)).

IMG_1390

I won’t pretend I didn’t transfer partly (ok, mostly) because of California’s loveliness.

I just completed my first semester at my new school, and have spent some time reflecting on it over the winter break. Transferring from my first college made me realize- in a way that I never could have had I just gone straight to California in the first place- how important health (of both people and our beautiful planet!), happiness, and adventure are to me.

So! I am dedicating this little corner of the web to the following:

1)   Writing about sustainability and sharing practical, small steps that I am taking to give our planet the love it deserves.

2)   Sharing my health-related experiences and adventures.

3)   Discussing happiness!

I’m going to try to put an emphasis on practical advice and good suggestions. One of my favorite things about reading blogs is that they often have great ideas that inspire me to try new things. One-month challenges? Sign me up. A simple way to reduce my carbon footprint? I’m in.  Since that’s what I enjoy reading, I’ll do my best to write that way too. Oh, and also. I promise to always capitalize the first word of every sentence that I post on here. (Why is that a trend? Why is it cool? I don’t understand!)

I hope you decide to stick around!

-S