A Day in Photos (◡‿◡✿)

Here’s a typical school day!

7:00: wake up, hit snooze, wake up again, get out of bed. Wash my face, brush teeth, and wash dishes left over from last night.

Make lunch – peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich, almond butter with banana, and water.

Eat my morning oatmeal: pumpkin oats this time, with a crumbled almond blueberry cake and tons of almond butter.

It’s not too cold by the time I walk to school. My classes start at either 8:30 or 9:30, so I typically leave the house at around 8:00 or 9:00. Campus looks so nice when it’s all frosty!

Labs, notes, and worksheets to practice.

After class, my friends and I often get together to study. This board in an empty classroom quickly became covered in our Biochemistry notes. We had our midterm a couple days ago, and all of the glycolysis (making energy) and gluconeogenesis (making sugar) pathways were difficult to memorize.

Dinner around 7:00 was leftover sweet potato chili that I burned in my pot, brown rice, and some grated cheddar cheese. Plus a side of more glycolysis.

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Dessert came soon after: peanut butter on a chocolate-banana brownie cake square. I shared the recipe last time! It’s a vegan recipe and absolutely amazing.

Sometimes I have to prepare for upcoming interviews. I had one on Thursday for a senior home with several locations across Ontario. The job search is going pretty well, and I’ll have more details on that in a future post! For this interview, I prepared by printing out some of the posters that I created for a senior home volunteer position that I held over the summer.

And then I check out some more recipes and make some modifications (blue). You’ll see these recipes soon – I can’t wait!

And that’s it! Normally I’m off to bed at around 11:30, depending on whether or not I have to wake up early the next day.

Digestion 101: Biochemistry Basics

 

Don’t let the word ‘biochemistry’ scare you away.
Easier said than done, I know – biochemistry scares me all the time. You know what else scares me? My bank account, disappearing spiders, and that feeling of dread when there’s no toilet paper left. But that’s not the point of this post. Back to biochem! I am going to try my absolute best to explain a couple processes of digestion in simple, easy-to-understand terms. After all, why say “resynthesized into triglycerides” when I can tell you that we’re “making fat again”? Here we go.
Let’s take a look at how we digest carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are mainly found in starch. If I ate a bowl of oatmeal right now (mmm, oatmeal), digestion actually begins in my mouth. Chewing helps break the food into smaller pieces, which is good because the increased surface area means more space for enzymes to break down the oats. My spit contains salivary amylase, an enzyme that helps to break down the carbohydrates in my oatmeal. When they enter the body, they are broken down into single sugars inside our guts and on the surface of cells in our small intestine. Cells in our small intestines have a lot of surface area, so it is easy for them to make enzymes and absorb nutrients. Small intestine cells absorb these simple sugars using special cell transporters.
Fats are a bit more confusing, but still cool!
The problem with fats is that they are “hard” to digest. Fats hate water, which is unfortunate because our whole bodies are largely made of water. Fats are also compact and have little surface area, which means they must be mixed up. An enzyme called lipase interacts with the fats and water. Because our internal body temperatures are hot enough to “melt” the fats, solid fat particles become liquid. Once melted, the fats are mixed up. Our stomach squeezes together to push the mixture into our small intestine.
Our liver and gallbladder, two special organs, produce bile salts that cause the mixture to become smaller bundles. A bile salt is a molecule of cholesterol with extra polar groups, causing these bundles to love and hate water. Some parts of the bundle love water, so they are displayed on the outside, where they are exposed to water. Other parts of the bundle are scared of water, so they hide inside, and interact with the fat that we are trying to digest.
Lipase, the aforementioned enzyme, cuts each fat particle into a “head” part and three long “tails”. In scientific terms, each triacylglycerol molecule becomes a monoacylglycerol and three fatty acids. This is done because it is easier on our small intestines.  An analogy of this would be moving a dresser into different room. The dresser itself is too big to fit through the door, so you have to remove the drawers and parts of the dresser itself. Then, you can pass through the door and put the dresser together again. The long tails are absorbed into the intestinal cells instantly. However, the small intestine cells need to make these “heads” whole again (even though they were just broken). Special structures made of protein surround these reformed fats. The inside of this structure is not exposed to water, because the inner membrane, as well as the fats that they are carrying, hate water. This is similar to putting the drawers back into the dresser.
Finally, we will absorb the fat with one last step. These round structures enter our lymph system for filtration and finally into our blood in a duct named the thoracic duct. Proteins and carbohydrates never enter our lymph systems, and flow straight into our bloodstreams. Fats use a different duct (not the one our regular circulation goes through) to bypass the liver, which would spend too much time breaking down the fats. The goal of this is filtration.
In the world of babies…
Babies have specialized GI tracts that help them digest milk. Their stomachs are less acidic, and there are fewer protein-cutting proteins. Mothers can transfer antibodies and proteins directly into their unborn babies through unformed gap junctions. This is often called a “leaky gut”. In the neonatal gut, there is increased activity in three different enzymes:
  1. Rennin: rennin turns curds out of milk protein (casein, which some people are allergic to).
  2. Lactase: lactase breaks down lactose (from milk) into simple sugars: glucose and galactose.
  3. Salivary lipase: salivary lipase helps break down fats. Breast milk is very high in fats, rather than protein.

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Top 100 Awesome Things in Everyday Life

#1 – the GIFs I used in this post and the featured image of my last post.

Okay, I’m joking. But life is pretty awesome. You know the saying “the best things in life are free”? I’m not sure if I agree with it 100%, but there are some dang amazing things in life that are simpler than you might expect.

Writing this list really made me think. How awesome would my life be if I could just be a couple thousand dollars richer? How much better would my life become if my grades were just a little higher? Or if I had a couple more clothes and shoes? While those things would make life pretty sweet, I think some of the greatest moments, feelings, and actions are some of the most underrated. Whether that’s making someone smile or watching people use “your” and “you’re” correctly, I fully believe that there are some fantastic things in life that I need to appreciate more often.

Here are a couple (okay, 100) examples of super neat things in life that should happen more often. 🙂


My Top 100 Awesome Things in Everyday Life
  1. Getting a seat in the bus.
  2. Gliding scissors through wrapping paper.
  3. The smell of new books.
  4. Tea that’s not to hot, not too cold.
  5. Watching the Olympics.
  6. When public washrooms have amazing toilet paper.
  7. Laughing because someone else is laughing.
  8. Finishing something that you started a long time ago.
  9. Ice cream from street vendors.
  10. Being the first table to be called to the dinner buffet at formal events.
  11. Finding money that you didn’t even know you lost.
  12. Eating things after their expiring date.
  13. Pretty doilies.
  14. Freshly-cleaned sheets.
  15. Showing old people how to use technology.
  16. Pinky swears.
  17. When someone comments on your blog. 😉
  18. Finally getting that piece of food out of your teeth.
  19. Making it through airplane security no-problem.
  20. Practicing your signature to make it more adult-like.
  21. Making wishes.
  22. The feeling you get after flossing.
  23. Melted cheese.
  24. Learning – and remembering – a cool fact.
  25. Having oily hair and then going into the rain, because no one will know how greasy your hair is.
  26. Living with people who don’t mind killing spiders.
  27. The smell of bakeries.
  28. Canoeing or kayaking.
  29. Walking through a pile of crispy, crackly fall leaves.
  30. Live music.
  31. Seeing pictures of your parents when they were teens.
  32. Old-school video games.
  33. White peacocks.
  34. Finding out that you and your new friend have a mutual friend.
  35. Walking under a bridge on a rainy day.
  36. Bubble wrap.
  37. Peeling fresh plastic off of something you just purchased.
  38. Scratch cards.
  39. Waking up randomly in the middle of the night.
  40. Gift shops.
  41. Getting eyelashes out of your eye.
  42. Finishing your last exam.
  43. Goodie bags.
  44. When someone calls you and your phone isn’t on silent – and you have time to chat.
  45. Meeting someone who has the asme name as you.
  46. Reading a book that you’ve read before, but forgot how it ended.
  47. Fixing a clogged photocopier.
  48. Kicking dandelions.
  49. When you wear rainboots and it actually rains.
  50. When your idea works.
  51. Watching people on the sidewalk from a cafe.
  52. The sound of blades hitting the ice.
  53. Telling funny stories about your experiences – or listening to stories from a friend!
  54. The first days of snow.
  55. Pull-through parking spots – or as my sister calls them, “easy in, easy out”.
  56. The perfect hair days.
  57. Coming up with harmless pranks.
  58. Optical illusions.
  59. Feeding ducks, geese, or – let’s face it, any animal.
  60. Uniquely-coloured foods like purple carrots and orange cauliflower.
  61. Mailing something via snail mail.
  62. When you become instant friends with someone because you both dislike the same person.
  63. Getting no cavities.
  64. Listening to people speak quickly in a foreign language.
  65. Water fountains.
  66. The first shower after haircut.
  67. Perfectly cracking an eggs in half.
  68. Family barbecues.
  69. When someone stops an elevator for you.
  70. Dropping someone breakable and it doesn’t break.
  71. Playing footsie.
  72. Getting desserts heated up and served with ice cream.
  73. Actually seeing a constellation in the stars.
  74. Cool dreams.
  75. When washrooms have super powerful hand dryers.
  76. Saying something at the same time as your friend or sibling.
  77. When chopsticks come apart perfectly.
  78. When the person scratching your back finds that itchy spot.
  79. Free samples.
  80. When you finally understand a concept in school.
  81. Admiring a clean room.
  82. When people tag you in a meme on Facebook.
  83. Taking out my ponytail.
  84. When cool air hits you for the first time when walking into an air-conditioned building on a hot day.
  85. New toothbrushes.
  86. Clean glasses.
  87. That moment when you look at a clock and it looks like the time isn’t moving.
  88. Guessing the actor who voices a character.
  89. Sandwiches cut in triangles.
  90. Relaxing outside on a hot day.
  91. When a really good song comes on just as you’re getting ready to get out of the car.
  92. Hors d’oeuvres.
  93. Waking up at the right time without an alarm.
  94. Figuring out how you got to a topic.
  95. Correctly guessing old passwords.
  96. Hold music that’s actually really good.
  97. Babies.
  98. Finishing an eraser (okay, that’s never happened to me but I’m sure it’s 100% awesome).
  99. Gabbing a tissue last-second before sneezing.
  100. Trampolines.

What do you think? Would you agree with my list?

What are some of the most amazing (simple!) things in life that you can think of?

Share it with me in the comments!

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Brain Dump! ✌

  • There’s a dead spider next to our front door that was squished by a shoe and has been splayed on the wall for months. My roommates and I view that as a warning for all future spiders to STAY OUT of our unit.

 

  • I once left my brand-new white sparkly Lululemon hoodie on the bench at the ice rink during a practice, and forget it there when I got home. It was gone the next day, and I was so upset that I made “MISSING” posters for it. Have you ever lost something super important and precious?

 

  • I just made an Excel table to record my finances, and realizing that laundry takes up a substantial amount of moolah! How do you keep track of your budget?

 

  • I think I’m losing less hair. I used to lose tons of hair in the shower. Do you lose hair in the shower or when blow-drying/brushing?

 

  • I use the word “savage” a lot now to describe my sister. She says some things that are just so heartless (in a joking way) and it’s just “sav”. Any slang words you use all the time?

 

  • Kind of miss my doggie Arnie. I think he’s already eight now. I like his softie ears 🙂

 

  • Who are your favourite Disney characters? Mine are Mulan because of how humble she is, Pocahontas for her bravery and courage to stand up to her entire culture, and Esmeralda for doing everything she could to help those poorer than herself.

 

  • Do you get random ice cream cravings? I really, really want ice cream.  Haven’t had true, good ice cream for a while now. And by a while, I mean a month or so.

 

  • Speaking of ice cream, I would do anything to be back in Paris with my sister, Seline, right now! Summer 2015 really was one of the best of my 18 years.

 

  • Midterms stress me out subconsciously. I probably look calm and collected, but I get extra white hairs and pimples and feel sleepy, hungry, and bored all the time. Sneaky, sneaky stress. Do you get white hairs? (My grammar in that sentence seems totally wrong. Is it?)

 

  • I wish I knew how often I would need my laptop in each semester. This semester, I’m never taking my laptop to class because I need to do all my notes by hand. Last semester, however, I needed my laptop nearly every day! How frequently do you use a laptop or computer? Is it mostly for recreation or for school/work?

 

  • I wish there wasn’t a time difference between BC and ON. It would be so much easier for me to chat with my family. 😦

 

  • I want to try freezing chopped scallions in a plastic water bottle. Would be so convenient! Have you ever tried that kitchen hack?

 

 

  • I haven’t read a book recreationally for a while. Maybe once the semester is over and I start working at my first co-op job from January to April, I’ll aim to read a book a month or something like that. How would you guys feel about me writing book reviews here? (Let’s be honest, I’d be pretty terrible at book reviews).

 

That’s it for today! I have a midterm to study for, so bye now!

My Top 22 Favourite Food Blogs

Hey everyone! I had three classes, a midterm, and an interview today – plus a mile-long to-do list and a couple more midterms coming up…
… but I wanted to blog. And eat. And wash my hair, my dishes, and the floor.
In other words, I just want to procrastinate. 🙂
So I put this post together while devouring some of the chocolate peanut butter banana bread that I shared in my last post. Anyways, without further ado, check out some of the blogs that I love!
Blogs You Might Already Know and Love
  1. Oh She Glows: Ms. Angela Liddon is a vegan food queen in the blog world. Her recipes have never failed me, and my favourite is her vegan pumpkin pasta. Her photography is out-of-this-world, and I love the dedication she puts into each and every recipe. Her second cookbook came out recently, and it is an absolute beauty. Plus, I can’t wait to make her new vegan banana bread!
  2. Minimalist Baker: My roommate recently mentioned that he loved his chili. When I asked whose recipe it was, I wasn’t surprised to find out that it was by Minimalist Baker. I love her photography, creative recipes, and great alternatives.
  3. Cookie and Kate: Dear Kate, thank you, thank you, thank you for your honey almond cake. I make it at least twice a month – truly a keeper when it comes to healthy and delicious bakes. Also, her soups are the most colourful, aesthetically-pleasing bowls I’ve ever seen.
  4. How Sweet Eats: Funny story – I found her cookbook on a shelf at Value Village for $5, and it was brand-new and calling my name. I had to buy it, and have since been in love with her recipes. She introduced me to the whole new world of browned butter. She’s also a cheese-loving chocolate eater who enjoys beans and vegetables (cooked properly). 😉
  5. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: One of my mom’s favourite blogs. Well, it’s actually one of mine, but my mom adores all of her recipes because they are mostly in bulk and involve meat. I’ve often made these recipes for big groups of people, and they are always insanely popular. She is one of the few bloggers who show step-by-step photos, which were so helpful for me as a novice chef. Warning – you might start drooling after one look at her pizza potato skins or croissant French toast. YES!
  6. Iowa Girl Eats: The first blog I’ve ever read, and the blog that inspired me to read more blogs. Also, the blog that inspired me to create my own blog! I feel like some kind of spy because I’ve been reading Kristin’s blog before she was pregnant with her now-toddler, and long before she was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Now, her recipes are healthier than ever, and gluten-free to boot. Oh, and her travel experiences are EPIC. I think I’ve read so many of her travel posts that I could write her travel biography… in a non-creepy way, I promise.
  7. Damn Delicious: Chungah created her blog around five years ago to organize her favourite recipes, but it has blossomed into so much more than that. Today, she is one of the most well-known bloggers in the blogosphere, and has countless recipes that I know and love. She has an entire recipe category dedicated to Asian food, and it’s so colourful and beautifully-photographed.
  8. Kath Eats Real Food: Kath is an oatmeal goddess whose whipped banana oatmeal I make at least four times a week. Kath inspired my love for nut butter, fuelled my desire to visit Charlottesville, and educated me about all things from nutrient-dense living to how to use different types of lettuce. She also introduced me to tons of new foods, like acorn squash, wheat berries, buckwheat, spaghetti squash, sunflower butter, and goat cheese. If I could meet one food blogger, it would probably be Kath.
  9. Deliciously Ella: I haven’t actually tried any of Ella’s recipes, but I am always inspired by the plates she creates. She’s always making bowls of sweet potato wedges, beans, cucumber, spinach, avocado, sesame seeds, chili flakes, and big blobs of hummus. They inspire me to add all kinds of simple foods into a plate to create something more than that! Oh yes, and her cookbook is adorable.
  10. Fit Foodie Finds: this blog is a godsend. No funky ingredients like arrowroot starch, xanthan gum, or unshelled hemp hearts. Lee is not only a master photographer with a knack for creating deliciously healthy recipes, but also a yoga sculpt instructor who shares cool videos and instructional posts for circuits and tabata workouts.
  11. Happy Healthy Life: This blog is mega-colourful, so informative, and has everything you could dream of in a blog. All of these recipes are vegan, and simply amazing. I recently saved tons of recipes from this blog and can’t wait to try them out, especially the harvest rice and sweet potato tofu hash. Talk about vegan comfort food!
  12. Smitten Kitchen: My go-to blog for when it comes to “fancier” recipes, like blue cheese scallion drop biscuits and butternut squash and caramelized onion galette. You can also search her blog my season or by recipe!

Blogs You Should Check Out ASAP!

  1. Delicious Nutrition: When I skated at the Coquitlam Skating Club, Brianna was always one of the girls I looked up to. With her amazing line, expression on the ice, and work ethic, I knew she would go far in her skating! She now studies nutrition at the local college and has started creating gluten-free and vegan recipes. She also makes cooking and baking videos that you should check out ASAP for some recipe ideas!
  2. My Little Tablespoon: Cora writes the blog that I wish I could squish into a handbook and carry with me all the time. She’s also brave in both life and cooking/baking. Cora has made everything from cottage cheese fluff to vegan mushroom gravy to cauliflower shortcake pancakes (whoa), and writes with such authenticity. Her posts are very thought-provoking. Should restaurants include calorie counts? What is the relationship between food and guilt? How can we let go of food shame? Guys, you need to check out Cora’s blog ASAP for a dose of “real-ness”. Totally random, but I just checked out her peanut flour baked pancake for one, and I think I’ll be making that tomorrow. Yum 🙂
  3. Mindful Eats and Treats: Steph is a nutrition student at McGill with such a “real” voice, one of the most beautiful blog logos that I’ve ever seen, as well as great How-To’s. She makes some incredible desserts and is also an experienced traveller. Check out her adventures in Italy and Switzerland! (PS: so jealous).
  4. Vivian Tang: TBH, Vivian is the person I wish I was. Her food is mostly a fusion of Western and Asian food, and she goes from creating whole wheat cranberry biscotti to stir-frying Sichuan pepper with bitter melon. Her dessert recipes are mostly low-sugar or low-carb without compromising any deliciousness. Oh yeah, and check out her Yoga Portfolio. Her bow pose, peacock pose (!) and insect pose are textbook-perfection. You need to visit her Instagram page, too. Can’t say I’m a fan of the multipleselfies-eating-while-wearing-just-a-bra or the gym-selfie overkill, but nonetheless, #rolemodel #iwantyourlife
  5. Elle’s Veggie Eats: Elle’s blog is pretty, passionate, and adorable! Her Japanese-inspired treats always make me drool. I also love how she made a Vegan-in-Vancouver map for those plant-based foodies in BC.
  6. Moments with Rae: Rachel is one of the loveliest people I know in real life. She recently started studying at the University of British Columbia, and we actually met a couple years ago on the blog world. I knew I had to meet her, and before I knew it – we became real-life foodie friends. The first time we met, our parents had to come along to make sure the other person wasn’t just an Internet creeper. 😉 Rachel has some of the world’s most beautiful oatmeal photos, and we have crazily different tastes. She loves matcha, I’m a red bean girl. She’s into Korean food – I can’t tolerate a hint of spice. Rachel likes airy and fluffy Japanese cheesecake, and I’m all about dense, creamy, thick New York cheesecake.
  7. The Domestikated Life: Kate’s blog, in one word, is REAL. She nails some of the problems that real people have today in real life. Hey, not everyone has time to make a four-hour quiche from scratch. She is also a dietetic intern with a love for living meaningfully. She’s done a couple of Q and As, all of which are so empowering. Finally, Kate’s recipes are gold. Oven-baked cheddar zucchini, summer squash and salmon pasta, Ritz truffles – oh my!
  8. Superfitbabe: Cassie has a fascinating past and is a true inspiration to me. Her enthusiasm, body positivity, and balance in her life. Plus, we love all the same foods. Kabocha and curry, I’m looking at you.
  9. The Oatmeal Artist: Lauren’s blog is 100% dedicated to oatmeal. Her photos and recipes have inspired many of my personal favourites. Every week, she does a ‘This Week in Oatmeal’ newsletter, which motivates me to change up the way I enjoy my oatmeal. I’m also so proud of how much her blog has improved over the years. I make her fudgy peanut butter chocolate banana oatmeal regularly – it’s my #1 favourite recipe of hers!
  10. A_Boleyn: I think this blog symbolizes the cookie-baking, bread-baking, newspaper-reading grandmother that I never had (mine was all about making noodles). Her blog is a food diary that shows amazing bread puddings, adventures with a massive turkey, and a tasty-looking fudge that I want to stuff in my mouth.

You tell me – what are your favourite blogs? List your TOP 3 favourite blogs in the comments below – and share why you love them!

I suppose that’s enough with the procrastinating. Time to get back to the books!