Sunday, 10 December 2017

Binge-Worthy TV Shows This Winter

Gilmore Girls
Yeah, I'm starting with a classic, but for two very important and justified reasons: Firstly, if you haven't given Gilmore Girls a try yet, why? The hype doesn't exist for no reason, let an ex-skeptic assure you! And, secondly, there are plenty of seasons, so trust me, the binge will be REAL.

If you're into crime, mind-game kind of TV shows, I highly recommend this British hit! The entire show centers around the one crime, so you get invested in the characters and the plot on a whole new level, and as a huge criminal-minds-SVU-NCIS binger, I certainly didn't pick the ending, which was a huge win in my book!

Again, dark, and at times, more slow and suspenseful than it is action-packed; however, it's flat out brilliant. Admittedly, there are less seasons than other shows as it's newer, but honestly, you'll power through what's available on Netflix, and you'll be left with absolutely no regrets.

Peaky Blinders
Another Brit-Hit; If you haven't at least heard of Peaky Blinders, where have you been living? It's Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy kicking ass in Birmingham, it's gangsters (but actually cool gangsters) -- just watch the trailer, then watch the show, then thank me.

The best way to describe Shameless is as a "Drama-dy" -- you know, a dramatic comedy? This show has arguably the perfect balance of light-hearted fun and comedy, and super heavy tones and realities about what it's actually like to be butt-broke in America.

I've written about this show before, and that may or may not have something to do with the fact that I watched the entire thing for a project in one of my film classes, BUT I also really, really enjoyed this show! The episodes are only 20 minutes, which makes it a great, less-comital binge, and similarly to Shameless, this show deals with disability (here, cerebral palsy) in a lighthearted comedic, heavily satirical but well done way.

True Detective -- Season One
IF YOU HAVEN'T, DO. I cannot praise this show (correction: the first season of this show) enough... it's been years since I watched it and it still comes to my mind immediately as one of the greatest seasons of television I've ever seen. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that I love thriller/crime (which this definitely is), and the fact that Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey wrote it/star in it (both of whom I also love), perhaps? Either way, do it. I didn't leave my room until I finished it, and 100% would do it again.

The Fall
If you can deal with a little bit of stalker-creepy-thriller in your life, this is your show. All I can really say is Jamie Dornan plays a great creep (to the point where if I ever see him on a street, I'll probably run away...)


Friday, 8 December 2017

What Greek Life Gave to Me

USC Gamma Phi Beta
When I came over to America for college, before having even the slightest knowledge of what state I would end up in, let alone what school I would be attending, there was one thing I was certain of: Greek Life was something I wouldn't consider. Ever.

Of this, I was adamant. My image of what Greek Life is came solely from Legally Blonde and House Bunny -- both great films that paint sorority life in a not-so-great light. From where I sat, the reputation of superficial sorority girls had to have come from somewhere, and therefore, I wanted to be as far from cookie-cutter, image-obsessed cults as I could.

When I first got to USC, my perception of Greek Life seemed to fit perfectly into the stereotype I'd expected it to. The first few girls I met who were in Greek Life happened to come across in such a manner that I confirmed within myself "thank god you didn't do that to yourself, annie, they're crazy..."

In my second semester of my Freshman year, I joined a sorority, and let me assure you, I was far more shocked by this than you'll ever be. As such an anti-Greek-Life advocate from day one, constantly whipping out the classic "I'm sure people love it, it's just not my thing" line, here I was.

Explaining this development to my family and friends back home, all of whom who have exactly the same perception of Greek Life as I'd held only a few months earlier, made me realize the root of why I joined. I didn't join Greek Life for the parties, or the fancy house, or the super-southern apparel -- I joined in spite of that surface-level stuff, quite honestly. I decided to invest my time and energy into a sorority because the girls I met were genuine. I met girls from all over the country and world who had, for their own reasons, found a place of stability and support and excitement: friends that would watch movies in pajamas with you when you just couldn't get out, friends who would take you out if you didn't know the city well, friends that would tutor you in the classes you were struggling in, friends that would take you home for the holidays when you had nowhere to go, friends that would leave you notes and chocolate on your bed when you're having bad days, friends that would be there for you always, unconditionally.

My sophomore year at USC, now a true part of my sorority, was infinitely better, more exciting, more rewarding, and more fulfilling than the year before. Game days were exciting, with girls going everywhere and anywhere, letting ,e tag along on whatever I felt like doing in the moment. Classes were more fun and more supportive, with girls in my classes that would form study groups and send me notes if I missed a class sick, and who would tutor me when I didn't understand something. My weekends were always what I needed them to be, with the guarantee that there was always someone who was willing to go out/stay in with me.

You all know where I'm going with this. In hindsight, although I never, ever would've thought, joining a sorority, and putting my preconceptions about the organization and its members behind me, was the best thing I ever did.

Even still, however, I'll be honest with you: Greek Life and Sororities continue to be overshadowed by their universally superficial and laughter-worthy reputations, and this is a struggle I've had to come to terms with. Having people call me, or label me, as a "sorority girl" got to me for a long time. Being asked by professors or employers or truly just about anyone who wasn't in greek life whether I was in a sorority was a question I dreaded, for I felt that answering with "yes" immediately placed me -- my own personality and goals and skills and experiences -- into the same category as a stereotype that I knew actively did not represent who I was.

This needs to change.

Yes, there are infinite stereotypes all through the world and all through societies -- racial, sexual, cultural... the list is endless. And this is just another one of them. However, it is important.

Greek Life gave me friends that have supported me and motivated me and challenged me in ways nobody else ever has. My grades got better after joining a sorority, despite the fact that I took upon myself multiple leadership roles and challenges within the house as well. My 'college experience' expanded -- the opportunities for weekend outings and internships and connections and travel are endless, and all of this comes down to the people that exist within Greek Life.

At the end of the day, a sorority is an organization where girls come together to be together. The sooner the wider community realizes the power of unity, empowerment and genuine support for one another that exists within these global communities, the sooner this positive potential can grow and make change.

Don't be too quick to say no; you'll miss out on an opportunity that only comes around once.




Gift Guide: $50 and Under

Truly the best, and hardest, part about the holiday season is finding gifts for the people you love. I personally love giving gifts, and the moment when you know you've found something great is unreal! But, being the perfectionist that I am, I often spend weeks looking for that perfect something, which means leaving things to last minute is not an option!! So, now that December is truly finally here (!!!), we can start looking, without it being totally weird!

the "Who's Most Likely To" game!
The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck

Gourmand Gift Set
Hot Chocolate Maker

Milk Makeup Mini Set
Instax Picture Frame

Monogram Necklace
Monogram Cheese Board

Measuring Cups 

Marble Jewelry Box
Classic Cars Coffee Table Book

Other websites to keep browsing:
1. Paper Source 
2. Uncommon Goods
3. Social Print Studio
4. Saks Off Fifth
5. Sugarfina




Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Inspiring quotes you haven't heard (but should)

It's human nature to start taking things for granted when danger isn't banging loudly on the door -- David Hackworth

Do you give as much energy to your dreams as you do your fears? -- Unknown

There is no opposite of love, because love is everything. There is only an absence of love, which is fear -- Unknown

If we all did the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves -- Thomas Edison

You get what you want by being it, not chasing it -- Unknown

We meet no ordinary people in our lives -- C.S. Lewis

We build too many walls and not enough bridges -- Isaac Newton

Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace -- Amelia Earhart

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another -- William James

If you aren't criticized for it, it's probably not remarkable -- Unknown

Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something -- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice -- Wayne Dyer

Dig the well before you are thirsty -- Chinese Proverb


Thursday, 9 November 2017

10 Things You Need To Be Reminded Of

1. You are under no obligation to be the person you were yesterday (or even five minutes ago) if you don't want to be

2. You are, however, under an obligation to yourself to get real about who you want to become

3. Once you figure out why you want something, you will become unstoppable

4. The way you treat other people, and speak about other people, says infinitely more about you

5. Every emotion you feel is valid, real, okay, and temporary

6. You deserve a dizzy, light-headed, elevated kind of love

7. You get out of life, love and people what you choose to put in -- always

8. There is no point dreaming about change if you aren't willing to spur, support, or be the change

9. There's an important difference between self-confidence, and arrogance

10. You are absolutely, indisputably wonderful



Tuesday, 7 November 2017

7 Things Training For The NYC Marathon Taught Me

picture source
Just this weekend passed, I ran the New York 2017 Marathon!!! Whilst I'm admittedly still on a high (or rather, hobbling around LA trying to recover) from the actual event and rush that comes from having hundreds of thousands (millions? I don't know the exact figure) of people cheering you on for 26.2 miles (42.2 km), the reality is that, for me, the marathon was so much less about 'the day' or race. The marathon was quite literally the entire process itself.

As with anything challenging, unique, and impossible to experience through articles, watching or studying, there are a lot of things I learnt -- about myself as well as others -- through taking on this particular challenge.

1. Where you invest your energy, and what you make time for, matters more than what you tell people you want to do/be. This was one of the most important things I had to embrace and come to terms with in the weeks leading up to the marathon; despite always being an active, fit person, and always saying that I wanted to run a marathon, I never gave 100% to this dream, even if I acted like I did. Deciding to do something means really deciding to do it; for me, this meant scheduling in my training program as equally, if not more, important than everything else in my calendar (I truly skipped a class one week to fit in my long-run, rather than miss it or shorten it -- I'm not condoning that, I'm just saying...). It meant giving up certain foods (and alcohol) for the purpose of long-term fueling my body. It meant saying no to certain social events that I knew would ruin my runs the next day, or waking up at 5am to run before brunch with friends. It was literally a commitment, and it was hard, but it needed to happen.

2. You can be afraid, and still keep going. This was a big one for me, and I think it relates a lot to my lesson above. I've always been a perfectionist, and hold incredibly high standards for myself (literally, instead of immediately celebrating that I ran a marathon without stopping, my instinct was to be disappointed in my time... why?), and I think on some subconscious level, previously when I'd 'tried' to train for a marathon, I hadn't given my all, for a fear of my all not being good enough. Whilst it's easy for me now to laugh at this unsupported worry, the reality is, it can be frightening to devote yourself to a goal, or a dream, when it is both distant and/or seemingly impossible. For me, this marathon was both, and I was terrified right up until the gun went off on race day -- it took a lot of courage (courage I didn't believe I had) to run with that fear.

3. It's going to be harder than you ever thought possible. Let's be real, nobody ever decides they're going to run a marathon (or anything of similar magnitude) and thinks for a moment it will be easy in any way possible. I certainly didn't. In fact, I tried to prepare mentally and literally for any possible mishap; I read articles on marathon racing, specific to the NYC course, read advice from professional and amateur racers, experimented with pre and post-race foods, focused on my diet and exercise, wore the right running clothes, found the right shoes...... I did everything I could possibly think to do. And yet, not only was the race harder than I expected, but there were challenges I hadn't even foreseen. For example, the rain was something I didn't expect, but wasn't fussed by. However, the subsequent chafing of my socks and sports bra of all things was something I hadn't expected or even experienced before. The sheer physical pain that I felt in my joints (knees, hips and ankles; admittedly, I have been struggling with injuries, but I'm sure this pain is relatively universal to anyone who runs around for ~4 hours) was worse and more unbearable than any other I'd ever felt. My stubborn mind would not, over my dead body, let myself walk, yet I was physically collapsing trying to run through the pain. It was awful. And I'd expected awful.

4. It's going to be more rewarding than you ever imagined was possible. Yes, even though I've admitted, to both you and myself, that the race itself was far more painful and challenging than even my overly-anxious mind had expected possible, I can't deny the honest truth inside me that I would do it all again. In fact, I probably will. There's no way to put into words the sheer happiness that takes over you when, among millions of people in the most famous city in the world, cheered on beyond imagination, you cross that finish line. I cried; partly because of the pain, but so greatly because I was so overwhelmed by the emotions of everyone around me. It's a lot; I don't know how else to phrase it. But if that moment, and that feeling, isn't truly feeling alive, I don't know what is.

5. Hard-work, self-empowerment and dedication is contagious. This was much more unexpected for me, and whilst it existed along the entirety of my journey leading up to marathon race day itself, I only noticed it properly afterwards. The truth is, when one person decides wholeheartedly to chase their dream, in any regard, it empowers those around them. I'm not trying to sound all high-and-mighty in the sense that my undertaking of the marathon "inspired" people to do something similar, because that's not the case. What it does, however, is remind people (myself included) that the limit really isn't as close or as set in stone as we think it is. Culturally, there's an unspoken level of 'normal' or 'feasible' effort to invest in tasks that are relatively possible to circumstance. Shattering that feasibility -- training for a marathon whilst also keeping up with the use demands of an already-exhausting lifestyle -- reminds people that if one person can (certainly if I can), so can they.

6. Perspective is important, especially when it comes to your own sense of self. There are two major things at the play here, as far as I see perspective and satisfaction. Firstly, your personality; I know I'm an ambitious person, and that I can often be too hard on myself, and as I mentioned earlier, even crossing the finish line of the marathon, my instinct was disappointment in myself for not 'doing better' than I felt I did, or could've (should've?) done. I had to remind myself (and am still trying to remind myself) that I completed my (huge) goal of finishing the New York Marathon, despite all the challenges and doubt I'd struggled with. However, that self-talk for perspective is met with my second problem, which I've noticed on smaller scales before, but really felt/feel in the wake of this particular event; pride, in many ways and to many people, is equated with arrogance. This is a toxic equation that not only makes it difficult for myself and others to truly feel proud of their achievements, but also fosters that culture of 'not good enough,' wherein it's almost more respectable to not be satisfied with your own, hard-earned effort and achievement. This is crucial to self-confidence and the emotional fulfillment that follows chasing and completing your dreams; you need to (and I needed to) let yourself feel proud, and to embrace your own awesome.

7. You can do it -- but only if you want it. At the end of it all -- all the long runs in 100+ degree weather, the heat-stroke, the time management, the money, the emotional stress, the anxiety, the physical pain.... it can be done, but you have to undeniably, whole-heartedly, inexplicably want it -- no excuses. This is the most difficult lesson to learn and share, because it is arguably the most impossible lesson to teach or explain. All I can say is, chase after what you want; work out why you want it, and make it happen. If you find yourself making excuses, reassess the "why," because if that "why" is strong enough, so are you.

It feels surreal to me that I've finished with this goal, honestly. My day-to-day schedule is entirely freed up in a whole new way, my body is in recovery mode as opposed to 'prep' mode, and my mind is free to not worry about the upcoming mountain of pain that had loomed over me for so long. But, despite all the tears and self-doubt this journey threw upon me, I'm already feeling ready and stronger and excited for the next challenge. You absolutely can, and you absolutely will.




Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Spotlight On: Alfred's Tea Room

picture source
If you know me, you know that despite how much coffee I've begun to drink, I'm definitely a tea-over-coffee kind of person. If you know me 2.0, you also know that I'm a sucker for well-packaged products. I don't know whether this has to do with my love for interior design and decor, or my total out of control perfectionism, but I love almost nothing more than clean-cut, cute, original, well-presented products. And so naturally, since living in LA and seeing all the super-basic and kind of annoying Instagram posts that flood social media, Alfred Tea Room caught my eye. 

By the time I finally got around to getting to Alfred Tea Room, I had such high expectations, although to be honest, I didn't really know why. I mean, honestly, how good can tea get after a certain point? 

picture source

I WAS RIGHT TO BE HYPED, people. Completely right.

Now, disclaimer, despite having been back multiple times in the recent weeks, I've only tried one thing on the menu... and that's because it was recommended to me, was so good, and now all I ever want is the one, same drink.

If you're thinking of going, allow me to completely lock you into the best tea you'll ever have (pictured above); their on-tap, iced hibiscus, effervescent tea. YEP, it's a mouthful (and I'm pretty sure that's actually not the full name, but clearly, I can't even remember it properly). But it is DELICIOUS! If you like iced tea and/or kombucha, this drink is for you, promise.

picture source

In other news; I have heard really, really good things about the rest of their menu, particularly their macha lattes! The common Yelp consensus and that of my friends is that, without adding any sugar or sweetness, their macha is delicious and not too overbearing, which is a really good thing, because personally, no drink has every been as over-hyped as bitter macha lattes...

So, would I recommend it? Is this a question? Is the Pope Catholic?

(oh, and don't worry, there's a coffee room for you coffee-addicts, too!)




Sunday, 22 October 2017

My College Snack Addictions

Healthy, somewhat affordable, delicious snacks that you can keep in your college dorm/under your bed are not easy to come by -- as a junior in college (help), I feel as though I've been going back and forth between certain snacks for the past two and a half years -- some are delicious but ~iffy~ when it comes to your health, whilst others are great for you, but not for your budget.

As I'm currently training for the New York Marathon (help, 2.0), healthy snacks have been my focus lately, to make sure I'm not hungry, but also not loading myself up with foods that will hinder my physical performance. Below are my current obsessions;

1. La Croix -- okay, I realize that this isn't food, BUT, I am literally obsessed with La Croix, and I'd be lying if I didn't have it on this list. Really, I should be sponsored by them; that's how often I drink it. Personally, I'm hooked on the original & lime flavors, and I find that when I'm in that awkward kind-of-hungry-but-it's-less-than-an-hour-until-dinner phase, the effervescence tides me over easily! Also, if you buy them in bulk, they're super affordable!

source: serious eats

2. Trail Mix -- sounds pretty boring, right? NOPE! The most financially savvy way to snack on nuts/seeds/dried fruit is, of course, by buying in bulk. By doing this, you simply buy those nuts/seeds/fruits that you personally love, and mix them altogether! (There's nothing worse than buying a $10 bag of trail mix and spending your entire day trying to avoid those stupid walnuts/whatever you personally hate). I buy a stack of zip-lock bags, and pre-package them every week or so as I run out, so that when I'm running between classes (or late for classes), I have a healthy snack bag literally sitting there ready to go, and I know I love everything in it!

source: simple healthy kitchen

3. Rx Bars -- I adore these bars (personal fav is the choc-mint one, wow), and they are honestly surprisingly clean as well! I don't eat these daily simply because they are somewhat processed and unless I've done a long run, I feel a little weighed down by so much dried fruit (some have a lot of dates in there), but when you're craving energy/sugar/food, this works. Only downside; they're not that cheap per bar (another reason I don't eat them daily)...

source: simple again

4. Bobo Bars -- Another delicious, healthy, cheaper (but still, eh-ish?) option for an on-the-go hit of energy! These are honestly so delicious (esp. if you like nut butters.... wow), and they fill you up more than you would've thought! For a while, these were a staple in my daily snack diet... I was equally as hooked on these as I was on La Croix! 

source: bobo bars linkedin

5. Roots Hummus -- Personally, I try to avoid oil where I can. I'm not as wary as I have been in the past, in the sense that I still eat vegetables that were cooked with some oil and what not (definitely didn't used to want to eat that...) but I still am nowhere near putting oil on my salad or something. In saying that, I ADORE Roots Oil-Free Hummus. It's delicious, and honestly a little more dense than other hummus' that do have oil, which means I find myself needing less than those other delicious, addictive brands. Plus, the consistency is thicker, which makes it really yummy as a spread on rice thins!

Roots Hummus

In addition to these 'Top 5' that I am literally addicted to, I also love rice cakes, carrot sticks, fresh fruit, sugar-free granola and a personal love of snap peas. However, without a kitchen and fridge, I appreciate that it can feel virtually impossible to eat healthily on a budget.

Whilst I'm constantly looking for a bargain, I do want to say to remember that it's important to (most of the time) view your money on a salad or smoothie or sushi bowl as an investment in your health. That's not to say you can or should spend all your money on Poké (if I could, I would), but it is to say that, sometimes, you need to let yourself spend a little extra for a little extra.




Monday, 31 July 2017

turning twenty one

twenty one things twenty one has given me;
1. don't hold onto things that don't deliver joy and love in your life
2. listen to the kind of music that speaks to your soul and shakes your skin
3. there is no right or wrong, only what you believe
4. everyone you meet, you meet for a reason
5. time doesn't heal all wounds
6. but you can heal your own wounds, if you want to
7. being alone isn't the same thing as being lonely
8. letting go isn't the same thing as losing touch
9. your thoughts shape the reality of the people you meet, too
10. the second you stop trying, you lose
11. if you can't laugh at yourself, you're missing out on the joke
12. your reflection is subjective
13. the sky is a mirror, and the ground a ladder
14. take photos, put them in a box, and forget about them for a while
15. don't overthink it - nothing good ever came from it
16. the time you spend with someone is defined by the quality, not the quantity
17. regret and guilt will kill you if you're not careful
18. treat yourself as you'd treat your friends
19. cry if you must - but then keep going
20. your youth runs out the moment you forget what makes you curious
21. chase after the person you love; the chase is love


Saturday, 29 July 2017

Please, Don't

If you ask me why I'm sad, I'll tell you some rainy story that sounds like it should've come from a Nicholas Sparks novel, or perhaps from an on-stage tragedy that got a bad review, but certainly not from the life of a young girl. 

If you ask me why I'm sad, I'll tell you a story about knights and kings and queens and jesters, as though the magic of medieval tales might make true the quests and dragons and deception that I recount as gospel.

If you ask me why I'm sad, I'll laugh in your face and tell you that I'm not sad, and that actually I'm just a little tired from staying up late the night before, having fun and being anything but sad, because no, truly, I'm not sad.

If you ask me why I'm sad, I'll look at you and wonder whether you already know the answer or whether you're just good at reading people or whether I'm not any good at acting or whether you'll be able to tell if I lie to you or whether I should just ignore you.

If you ask me why I'm sad, I'll ask myself why I'm sad, and I'll realize that I don't exactly know why I'm sad.

And that, I guess, makes me kind of sad.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Magical Moments

Initially, when I started writing this morning, all I had was a title: Things I Can't Quite Say. Needless to say, I wasn't really getting anywhere (shocking, I know). And then it occurred to me that I was typing, deleting and re-typing some soppy, semi-poetic ballad of sadness that I felt, and felt the need to get out of my system. 

You see, I'm not good at talking to people. Not about 'real' things -- about my problems or why I'm sad..... honestly, I'm not even good at admitting when I am sad. And it occurred to me recently that my own insular self-security system was chipping away at my happiness from the inside. I had hit a point in my life where I was flooded in what I like to call 'Guilty Feelings'. I felt guilty for feeling sad about things that had happened, when I know things can always be worse. I felt guilty for feeling happy, when I know that it's not time to feel happy, yet. I felt guilty for doing nothing, and guilty for busying myself away from facing my problems. I felt guilty for just about everything.

So, naturally, when I sat down to write, all that was coming was guilt, sadness, and a little regret. How lovely. Just what you wanted to read, right?

Luckily for me (and you), my friends know me better than I do, and my writer's block led me to picking up a book that was made for me for my recent birthday. Within this book, my friend created nine chapters, each explained as a celebration of my personal life and character; friendship, courage, compassion, humility, laughter and madness, happiness, freedom, adventure, and gratitude.

Flicking through the book (all 129 pages of it!!!) I realized that I was, once again, failing to adhere to my very own advice. How often do I publish articles that focus on perspective, gratitude, authenticity and self-forgiveness? Almost always. Yet I wasn't filling myself with the understanding I would've piled onto a friend in the same situation. Flicking through pictures and recounted stories drew the guilty feelings out -- I laughed and cried and all the messy in between, and for the first time in a long time, I liked letting go.

And this is what matters. Yes, the 'magical moments' themselves were wonderful -- the travel and the laughter and the evolution of friendships -- but what really matters are those moments when you feel utterly, truly, wholly loved in the wake of their passing. 

The ability to hold onto the heat of a moment long after it has past is the ability to let yourself live a little more than you might've though possible. 


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Paleo? Vegan? Both?

A question I've been by those around me a lot lately; "are you still vegan? What do you eat? What's your diet like? Why?"
And believe me, I've been asking myself the exact same question for a while now (perhaps that's why people keep asking? Because my answer keeps changing?). For about two or three months, I've been toggling with my ratios of foods, trying to find some kind of healthy, delicious, financially savvy and convenient lifestyle for food and drink. I feel like I've been trying just about everything.

First, I re-introduced egg/fish/chicken into my diet. Why? Because at college, I don't have access to a full kitchen, nor the funds to continually buy and store fresh produce as I ideally would like to, and the 'vegan' options available to me (I live in my sorority house, where meals are made en-mass) were simply not what I wanted -- they were either tasteless, or delicious, but not good for me (think lots of sweet potato fries basked in oil...)

After that, I went down more of a Paleo pathway, trying to use my reintroduced fish/chicken/egg elements to keep me fuller for linger, replacing the calorically-dense carbohydrates that, I felt, had contributed to a little extra unwanted weight upon my body. 

Additionally, I tried (again) to completely remove sugar from my diet, however, traveling back to Sydney and reuniting with friends often seemed to mean sugary-cocktails, champagne, treats and 'special occasions'... every single day...

Consequently, the past two-ish weeks since, I've been trying to re-find that place. Searching for some much-needed weight loss, I re-adopted the paleo pathway, admittedly appealed by the age-old "cutting carbs will help you lose weight!" That said, I also felt that a paleo diet wasn't quite what I wanted -- I actually really had enjoyed my time eating a plant-based diet, and had it not been for my circumstances, I probably would not have stopped at all. 

And that is when, thankfully, whilst looking for some paleo snack recipes, I stumbled across my middle ground: Pegan. (No, I swear I'm not making it up...). You guessed it: paleo + vegan = pegan

Granted, this combination seems at odds with one another; although when you look at the diets as they exist, both fundamentally promote eating whole, unprocessed, unrefined foods in their natural form, regardless of whether this is in a hunter/gatherer sense or a plant-based one.

You see, if we base our decisions solely off research, things get complicated, especially when we are talking about weight loss. Why? Because both Vegan and Paleo diets, if you research them, have promised and delivered weight loss in their own dimensions. So how on earth are we supposed to decide what the ‘best’ pathway is?

Now, I again concede that the combination of two, differently but equally specific diets (I suppose? They're less difficult than you'd imagine, though) may make you flee at the doubling of difficulty, but honestly, from what I've read, it's a lot less 'intense' than you may be thinking.

For example,whilst absolutely no animal product exists within a vegan, plant-based diet, lean meats and egg, from what I’ve found, is optional on a Pegan one. This really comes down to individual preference, lifestyle and your own macro-dependent satiety. The consensus, however, is that if you do choose to incorporate chicken, fish and egg into your Pegan diet, these animal products should be treated as garnishes, not meals in themselves. I personally am planning to transition with fish, chicken and egg upon occasion, however I will be making a conscious effort to essentially halve my animal product presence on the plate, and double my veggies in compensation.

One thing that the two diets agree upon, however, and that is not lost within this blend; No dairy. This isn’t coincidence — yes, some people can tolerate dairy because they have adapted to, and it tastes absolutely fantastic, the negative impacts that dairy will have on the human body simply isn't worth it. You can read more about the downsides of dairy here and here as a start.

Of course, in wake of eating predominantly whole, unrefined, unprocessed, organic foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners are an absolute no-go. Honestly, though, sugar shouldn't really be a regular part of any diet, if we are being 'ideal'.

I won't ramble on any further, especially since I myself am so new to this middle-road diet (I'll keep you updated!), but for a more in-depth, doctor-approved, super-interesting introduction into the Paleo-Vegan (Pegan) diet, I recommend starting here — Dr. Mark Hyman’s blog post on his personal experiences with peganism. 
As always,


Monday, 19 June 2017

Small Ways to Save a Dollar

When you’re twenty-something, studying, maybe working (maybe not), and trying to live, money is something that is undoubtedly always on your mind. And whilst you no doubt know that prioritizing and budgeting will be, if they aren’t already, you’re new best friends, you may not have realized just how far saving a few dollars every here and there goes… Implementing these strategies (and some of your own) into your daily life can save you more money in the long run for those things are more .. important? .. to you (so basically, food).

  1. Make coffee at home, OR, drink your coffee black (cheaper and often better for you)
  2. Walk everywhere you possibly can (I’m talking anywhere within a 1 hour walk… no trains or buses or subways or metros)
  3. Bring food from home to work or campus between classes
  4. Don’t drink your meals — they probably won’t fill you up as much, and an $11 juice is not financially savvy when you’ll be buying a snack in a few hours
  5. Get onto Groupon and other discounted apps — they have everything 
  6. Ditch your gym membership and work outdoors
  7. Try to buy neutral clothes that won’t go out of fashion in two months, so you can have a solid wardrobe base all year round (and hopefully for more than one year)
  8. Wear less makeup = buy less makeup (and makeup is expensive)
  9. Carry cash per week, and make the rule that you cannot  spend any money other than the cash you have on you
  10. Remember chores? Offer to do housework, babysitting or any other job for friends, family and neighbors 

Friday, 16 June 2017

Healthy Food You'll Love - Delivered

source: new york native
Healthy food and convenience are not often (if ever) synonymous -- however, thankfully for us, the struggle has not gone unanswered. There are now an abundant of health-food-on-the-go delivery services sprouting up all over the place (pun intended), and as life would have it, us weird people (aka those that prefer eating healthy) have now found a new struggle to grapple with: where to choose. Listed below are just a few of my favorite online stores and health food sites... feel free to find & share your own, too!

1. Sakara -- This online food boutique (literally) stocks everything from salad dressings, teas and meal plans, to popcorns, chocolate that's "proven" to help your skin, and nori chips of all flavors you could wish for. Oh, and the packing is amazing  (yeah, yeah, I'm a sucker for nice packaging...)

2. Paleo Angel -- Whilst the menu offering here is more limited than the abundance of Sakara, their paleo power balls are amazing for on-the-go snacks that are surprisingly low in sugar! Personal fave: chocolate always...

3. Bearded Brothers -- Again, the menu is simplistically based around energy bars, but boy are they good energy bars... and similarly as convenient and good for you as the paleo power balls!

4. Artisan Tropic -- For those salt-loving chip addicts, this one's for you: plantain & cassava chips like you've never tasted them before. And given the taste and goodness, they're surprisingly affordable!


5. eXo Protein Bars -- Yep, it's pretty much what it sounds like (because why not try every protein bar under the sun?!) Filling, tasty, and made even better by the fact that they come in a ton of different flavors!

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