I Walked More Than 20,000 Steps a Day for a Week

Good morning!

I got this idea from Cassie over at Super Fit Babe, who, man, inspires me so much. I was pretty curious about how many steps I could take, and ended up purchasing my own Fitbit. I love it, and find it more reliable and versatile than my cellphone’s health app.

So let’s take a look at my progressively-lazier notes!

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DAY 1 – WEDNESDAY

  • great weather, quite humid, and very sunny
  • walked to the farmer’s market in the city, shopped at the market, then walked home
  • came home to a very distinct tan line!
  • walked home from school in the evening
  • I took two showers today
  • felt limited flexibility in my hip flexors and adductors in yoga today
  • left ankle, the one I sprained as a kid, felt a little ‘off’ (not discomfort or pain, just different – maybe tightness?)

DAY 2 – THURSDAY

  • rained in the morning, didn’t feel like walking in the morning so I did a slow yoga class instead
  • during the yin yoga class, I noticed that I was less flexible in the hips like yesterday
  • rained sporadically in the afternoon, cutting my walk a little shorter
  • walked at a slower pace than normal
  • bottoms of feet were a little sore at the end of the afternoon
  • it was difficult for me to push to 20,000 steps today
  • I wanted to eat all the carbs on Earth today, and did end up having an extra pumpkin and spinach scone, plus a brownie for dessert (amazing)
  • not yet 20,000 at night, so I paced around the house until I reached 20,000 then went to bed

DAY 3 – FRIDAY

  • cleaning in the morning took up a lot of steps
  • felt hungry in the afternoon
  • ate lots of carbs at lunch again, and loved every bite
  • easy to hit 20,000 steps, though the bottoms of my feet were a little sore
  • needed to take sitting breaks during my afternoon outing

DAY 4 – SATURDAY

  • felt energetic today
  • good weather
  • got to roll out my feet with a spiky massage ball at the end of the day, which felt very nice
  • this is the most I’ve walked in a day so far in the challenge
  • didn’t actually feel HUNGRY, but once I started eating, I couldn’t stop eating
  • fell asleep every quickly at night (writing this on Sunday morning)
  • forgot sunscreen in the morning

DAY 5 – SUNDAY

  • woke up at 6:45, feeling pretty energetic
  • great weather just a little windy
  • felt like I had a lot of energy throughout the day and wanted to walk
  • increased pace in the evening since the temperature was just right

DAY 6 – MONDAY

  • ton of energy today
  • very, incredibly hot
  • when I get tired and feet get sore, I walk even faster so that I can get home sooner and relax

DAY 7 – TUESDAY

  • so tired
  • groggy
  • not really that much to say

I like how my notes eventually got shorter and shorter out of laziness.

PROS

  1. I slept really well. Normally, I fall asleep after a few minutes of lying in bed, but this time, I felt like I fell asleep even FASTER. Even if I wasn’t sleepy, my body was overall a good level of ‘tired’, and I needed that sleep. On top of that, I ended up waking up (naturally), later than usual. While I typically roll out of bed around 6:45 or 7:00, I found myself lying in bed until 7:30 or 7:45 most mornings.
  2. Walking is almost meditative. I don’t spend much time (AKA I don’t spend any time) meditating, or doing something simple like visualizing/listening to music. However, when I walked, I got to play some of my favourite tunes and focus on the beat and the lyrics. I think this was quite beneficial for my mental health, as I came back to studying feeling a greater sense of concentration.
  3. I felt refreshed. I loved the feeling of wind in my face, and being able to see the river. Since Brisbane has beautiful pedestrian walkways right next to the Brisbane river, I felt so lucky to get some great scenery while walking.
  4. I got a tan! A pretty bad tan, to be fair, complete with some strange tank-top tan lines, but I’ve always wanted to be a little golden.
  5. Vitamin D from all the sunshine!
  6. Made me appreciate music.
  7. A sense of pride and accomplishment.

CONS

  1. It’s not as easy as it looks!
  2. It is quite time-consuming. I felt as if I didn’t have sufficient time to do other tasks, like
  3. Easy, free, transportation.
  4. Less time and desire to do resistance exercises.
  5. Decreased flexibility in my hips.

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Overall, I enjoyed the walking and learned a bit about my mind and body. Now that classes have resumed, however, I don’t see myself continuously reaching 20,000 steps a day anymore. It was a great experiment to dabble in, and I feel more aware, more conscious, of the mild cardiorespiratory activity that I should take part in, on a regular basis. 

Walk on, everyone!

Low-Carb Recipe Ideas

Hey, everyone! Recently I’ve been experimenting with eating less carbs.

Little summary of my normal diet: oatmeal, bread, pancakes, sandwiches, more bread, grilled cheese, potatoes, granola, fancy little desserts, sweet potatoes, couscous, pizza, muffins, garlic bread, more pretty little desserts, rice, rice, rice, rice, more rice.

It’s a lot of carbs.

I mean, it’s great! Who doesn’t love grilled cheese and rice? Since coming to Australia, though, I’ve been trying to change it up a little bit. Rather than purely eliminating rice from my diet, which would be tragic, I’ve been making small changes.

Changes like using 1/2 cauliflower rice and 1/2 regular rice in stir-fries. Or having omelettes with salad on the side, instead of toast. Eating eggs and veggies instead of my typical morning oatmeal. So far, it’s been wonderful. This is absolutely NOT to say that I don’t eat granola or desserts or grilled cheese anymore – I absolutely still do – but making tiny swaps and healthier additions have made me feel more refreshed.

Here’s a little list that I compiled a while ago to kick-start a series of healthier changes! I’ll be honest, some of them would definitely make me feel deprived (eg. only hard-boiled eggs with berries for breakfast?!), so I haven’t tried them all. The bolded ones are my favourites. 🙂

Breakfast

  • breakfast wrap using egg as “tortilla”
  • breakfast enchiladas
  • pepper egg in a hole
  • egg-applesauce pancakes
  • chocolate banana smoothie
  • poached eggs with tomatoes
  • jalapeno popper egg cups
  • Greek yogurt with LOTS of mixed berries
  • vegetable frittata
  • vegetable omelet
  • egg quiche
  • cottage cheese with berries
  • hard-boiled eggs with berries
  • scrambled eggs with vegetables
  • green smoothie
  • cauliflower breakfast hash
  • cauliflower breakfast bake
  • fluffy cauliflower breakfast bake
  • cauliflower hash browns

Lunch and Snack Ideas

  • cucumber salad with shrimp
  • turkey roll ups (fill with cream cheese, peppers, cucumbers, avocado, hummus, and cheese)
  • grilled chicken spinach salad with nuts
  • tuna salad with avocado
  • mixed berries fruit salad
  • broccoli with quinoa and halloumi
  • Greek yogurt
  • taco salad
  • chia pudding
  • cauliflower cheddar mash
  • pizza soup
  • egg salad in a lettuce wrap
  • chocolate mousse
  • trail mix with seeds and dried fruit
  • hard boiled eggs
  • cottage cheese with berries
  • stuffed mushrooms
  • cheese slices with grapes
  • Greek salad
  • vegetarian minestrone soup
  • vegetables with hummus

Dinner Sides (mix and match with mains below)

  • mashed cauliflower
  • cauliflower breadsticks
  • roasted vegetables
  • makeover spinach gratin
  • brussels sprouts gratin

Dinner Protein Mains

  • cheesy meatballs
  • crustless pizza
  • burger with no bun, topped with mushrooms and onions and cheese
  • turkey lettuce wraps
  • turkey spinach meatballs
  • california spicy crab stuffed avocado
  • salmon patties
  • crustless spinach quiche
  • marinated grilled shrimp
  • shrimp stir-fry with vegetables
  • shredded harissa chicken
  • broiled tilapia parmesan
  • Dijon garlic, lemon dill salmon, maple-soy salmon

Dinner Cauliflower Mains

  • cauliflower fried rice
  • cheesy cauliflower bake
  • loaded grilled cauliflower steak
  • cauliflower baked ziti
  • cauliflower shepherd’s pie
  • cauliflower tamale pie
  • pizza cauliflower bake

Dinner Zucchini Mains

  • zucchini enchiladas
  • chicken parmesan stuffed zucchini
  • loaded zucchini skins
  • lasagna stuffed zucchini boats
  • scalloped zucchini
  • zucchini cheesy bread
  • stuffed zucchini
  • zucchini manicotti

Dinner Spaghetti Squash Mains

  • tomato basil spaghetti squash
  • pizza spaghetti squash
  • 4-cheese spaghetti squash
  • spaghetti squash feta egg bake

Dinner Other Veggies

  • broccoli chicken divan
  • tuna melt on a tomato
  • egg roll in a bowl
  • eggplant lasagna
  • taco lettuce cups
  • cheesy butternut squash skillet
  • bell pepper nachos
  • stuffed peppers
  • taco-filled tomatoes

Finally, a list of low-carb veggies that happen to be delicious…

… with cheese, of course.

Low-Carb Vegetables

  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • spinach
  • kale
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • swiss chard
  • lettuce
  • cucumber
  • sprouts
  • eggplant
  • green beans
  • lemon
  • peppers
  • spaghetti squash
  • tomatoes
  • celery
  • parsley
  • avocado
  • radish
  • bok choy
  • mushrooms
  • garlic
  • asparagus
  • yellow squash

Himalayan Food and Heavy Salads

Good morning, everyone! It’s a beautiful Sunday morning here in Brisbane. The weather’s been much for manageable recently. In fact:

The last few weeks, it’s been so hot that…

  • my Polysporin liquefied

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    Eat Street Markets (about an hour from my house) sells these ridiculous-looking donut fries, and I think I need them in my life! The chocolate looks perfectly melty, malty, and I love the combination of textures here. I should start planning my trip to Eat Street just for this!
  • must keep room door open to allow air flow
  • carry sunglasses everywhere
  • I chug more water than I have ever chugged in my entire life
  • I don’t even need to warm up before exercising because I’m alreadywarm
  • I get a tiny sweat pool where I wear my glasses or sunglasses
  • I love lectures because they are in AC-ed rooms
  • my legs stick to chairs and they hurt to peel off
  • I shower twice a day
  • I use ice-cold water which is not even ice cold (like room temperature)
  • 7am is already burning
  • shopping malls are now AC heavens
  • I make my ceiling fan spin so quickly that it’s going to fall offand kill me
  • food scraps are stored in the freezer
  • I put my face in the freezer and take deep breaths
  • if you step barefoot outside, you will get cooked
  • I choose iced smoothies over my favourite hot tea
  • I don’t want to cook
  • I wear whole-body sunscreen all day
  • bus stops need shade covers
  • I am actually desperate to go to the beach, and I dislike beaches
  • I put my water bottle in the freezer

Anyways, on Thursday night I went to a place called MADO Turkish Cuisine. For my main course, I was debating between the veggie casserole, the moussaka (eggplant lasagna), and the eggplant boat. I ended up with the veggie casserole, which wasn’t even a casserole – it was a veggie stew in a clay pot.

For dessert, I enjoyed the kunefe, which is a crispy, chewy, sticky, springy Turkish cheese pastry doused with rosewater syrup and topped with pistachios. A very unique dish with such bright flavours and a unique, indescribable texture. Have you tried kunefe before?

  • vegetable casserole in clay pot, 2 bites salad, rice with peas, 1 piece Turkish bread
  • 1 kunefe

I had this image saved to my phone for a long, long time, because I’ve been planning a trip to Himalayan Cafe for a while. Everyone knows I have a bit of a Nepal/Tibetan obsession, and my infatuation with Nepali food is no exception. Needless to say, I had to make an effort to visit this beautiful place for dinner one day…

And I did! This gorgeously-decorated restaurant reminded me of traditional Nepali homes, complete with floor pillows, lanterns, papyrus menus, and small side dishes full of aromatic lentil stew and beans. One of my favourite parts of the dinner was the pan-fried Sherpa bread, which was spongy, slightly sweet, and topped with savoury tomato sauce and a little cheese.

  • 1 small bowl kidney bean stew, 1 bowl yellow lentil dahl, 1 bowl chickpeas with potatoes, few scoops jasmine rice (took the rest home), apple yogurt with chopped apple, 1 large piece Himalayan tomato paste cheese bread
  • 1 Himalayan chocolate brownie with nuts, 2 scoops ginger and cinnamon ice cream

I’ve been into tracking my health lately, and spent a lot of time choosing my plant on Plant Nanny (a water-drinking app to keep hydrated!) and looking at Fitbits.

Then, I bought my own Fitbit! Mine is the Alta HR (Heart Rate), in black. I’m still figuring it out and haven’t mastered the device, but it’s been a wonderful, motivating tool so far. And, of course, much better than my iPhone’s Health app. I bought it on Saturday and spent a good amount of time exploring one of my favourite parts of Brisbane, the Queen Street Mall.

My Fitbit also tracks the amount of sleep I get, including how much REM, light, and deep sleep I have. I find it pretty accurate, but I’m also one to fall asleep seconds after my head hits the pillow.

On Saturday, I visited the Davies Park Farmers Market. It is, so far, my favourite market in Brisbane. The atmosphere was peaceful and charming, the people were friendly, and there were so many stalls. The produce was very inexpensive, and I loved the diverse spread of ethnic eats.

One vendor at a beautiful shortbread cookie stall recommended the crêpes around the corner, from Pascale’s Crêpes. How could I say no to crepes?

Wow. I am so glad I went for these, because not only were they super cheap and freshly-made by Pascale on the spot, but absolutely delicious. I’m a huge fan of buckwheat crêpes because I love their rich, roasted, grainy flavour and crispy texture. The spinach, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese inside were perfect!

Moments later, I got dessert from Pascale as well. My dessert crêpe was equally delicious, and the combination of vanilla ice cream, Nutella, and sliced banana (YUM) really hit the spot.

  • 1 buckwheat crepe with spinach, cheddar, mushrooms
  • 1 regular crepe with banana, Nutella, 2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Another day, I baked a farmer’s market almond bostock and made a spinach omelet for lunch. I’m such a fan of almond croissants that I find myself forgetting how delicious bostocks are. On a totally different note, the filter on these photos reminds me of Rachel’s photography – her food pics are always sunny and alluring.

  • 2-egg omelet with spinach and Manchego
  • 1/2 almond bostock

For dessert, some fresh berries (also from the market) with yogurt and nuts.

  • 1/2 container strawberries, 2 scoops Greek yogurt, some honey-roasted macadamia nuts and cashews

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I’ve said it many times before, but the UQ campus is just gorgeous. I’m in love with it!

In one of my courses, we spent a lab day identifying and examining different mosquitos. Being a Kinesiology (Exercise Science) major, it was a unique experience, and I definitely learned a lot.

Completely unrelated but exciting news! My sister and I will be travelling to Prince Edward Island (Canada), for the month of July 2018. I will be going there to volunteer at the University of Prince Edward Island, and we thought it would be an awesome opportunity to spend time together after she graduates from high school. Basically, it’s going to be a disastrous-hilarious Paris 2.0.

25 Reasons Why My Sister and I Will Visit Charlottetown, PEI

(I actually wrote this list to convince her, because Seline didn’t want to go to PEI initially. She thinks it’s going to be boring. Hope I will prove her wrong!)

  1. Lighthouses!
  2. Pretty much a vibrant seaside capital city
  3. Beautiful lawns and flowerbeds (like Jardin Luxembourg)
  4. Maritime accents
  5. People are known to be the nicest of Canada
  6. Parks
  7. Boating tours
  8. Incredible ice cream shops
  9. Basilicas, cathedrals
  10. Biggest fireworks in Canada (next to Ottawa)
  11. 500 historic buildings
  12. Flight is much shorter than London
  13. Beautiful harbours
  14. Mild weather, even in the summer (high is about 23)
  15. Modern and urban, yet beautiful old sights
  16. Huge transportation hub
  17. Victorian-era houses
  18. Lots of shows, performances, theatres, musicals
  19. Pretty much the birthplace of Canada (Charlottetown = “birthplace” of Confederation), AND we will be there during Canada Day
  20. Great summer festivals
  21. Golf courses where we can finally accomplish our dream of riding a buggy
  22. Very safe
  23. World-class shopping and restaurants

In my Health Psychology class, I’ve been looking at increasing vegetable intake for people with Chronic Kidney Disease.

I did my presentation last Wednesday, and it was probably the most scared I’ve been since arriving in Australia. I was the second person to present, and the student before me did a spectacular, entertaining, insightful presentation about the health implications of tinnitus. Before my presentation, I could feel my heart pounding! Fortunately, it went pretty well.

Delicious cauliflower rice has also been on the menu, usually alongside falafels and omelets.

  • cauliflower and broccoli rice, saffron rice, zucchini, carrots, tomato, red pepper, 1 falafel, 1 egg omelet with Manchego cheese

The beautiful Brisbane weather has made it super easy for me to walk around, soak up the sunshine, and see new places.

A new discovery: there is a tiny takeaway cafe in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley region called Botanica Real Food. They serve freshly-made salads, up to FIVE types in a medium container. The ladies there really pack it in, so this full-course-meal salad weighed a solid kilogram.

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From left to right:

  • pearl barley and broccoli with capsicums and parsley
  • vegan pesto and pearl couscous salad with red onions and spinach
  • shaved broccoli salad with cashew dressing and dried cranberries
  • chickpea and carrot salad with pickled red onions
  • potato, pea, and dill salad

I actually ended up dividing it into a few meals, served with other mains – like this awesome pumpkin quiche (also from Botanica).

  • pumpkin and red onion ricotta quiche, 1/5 Botanica salad box (broccoli salad with cashew dressing, chickpea and carrot salad, pesto and pearl couscous salad, pearl barley and broccoli with capsicums, potato pea and dill salad)

Packed up for lunch another day.

  • 1/5 Botanica salad box (broccoli salad with cashew dressing, chickpea and carrot salad, pesto and pearl couscous salad, pearl barley and broccoli with capsicums, potato pea and dill salad)
  • 1/4 ricotta and walnut streusel coffee cake, blueberries, Greek yogurt

This is what the inside of Botanica looks like. These photos were taken yesterday… because I went again. They are fresh, delicious, and so addictive!

Yesterday’s salad box was almost the same, with the addition of some cabbage and a freekeh and eggplant pilaf.

Another quiche! I am in love with quiche. Their crust has an amazing whole-grain flavour. I also ate the tastiest chocolate hazelnut dessert from Le Bon Choix, which I bought on my walk home.

Alright! I wish I had more to share, but this post is already long enough.

Have a beautiful and delicious week, everyone ❤

Menus and Stuff

Good Monday morning, everyone ❤ Last week was one busy week, and this week will be equally packed with classes, presentations, and more. Here’s what I ate recently.

Omelet with peppers, asparagus, tomato, Provolone cheese (a new favourite).

Dinner at Fogata Latin Cuisine. I don’t always get appetizers, but when I do, it’s cheese bread. Brazilian cheese puffs are a little chewy like mochi, with a springy texture and good savouriness from the cheddar.

  • 6 pieces Brazilian cheese bread
  • 1 stuffed pepper with couscous and pulled pork, cassava puree, parsnip chips, radishes and sprouts
  • Pavé (large Brazilian tiramisu cake) with caramel sauce, cookies and cream ice cream, whipped cream (uncomfortably full after this big meal, not happy and not confident. Ice cream was good portion but dessert cake was just too large.)

Another day, another omelet, this time served with cauliflower rice and spinach.

Working at the library on an early Monday morning 🙂

I found myself in a post by the University of Waterloo for International Women’s Day! This was pretty cool.

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Life around campus at the University of Queensland. One day, I am definitely going to try one of their famed pizzas. The one I want to try is the vegetarian four seasons, which means the four quarters of the pizza have different toppings. It sounds so good!

I went to the Milton Farmer’s Market on one Sunday morning. It was truly a beautiful day. Next time I go to the market, I want to try the mini Dutch pancakes. There was also a mushroom vendor who was cooking up some mushroom dishes, and it smelled divine!

I’m still in love with cauliflower rice, veggies, and halloumi. I decided not to buy halloumi yesterday, though, considering I’d been chomping on halloumi like a fiend for the last month.

Another day, I had yogurt with raspberries and macadamia nuts (roasted with honey), plus chocolate coconut roughs. This was following a great lunch of cauliflower rice with spinach, topped with carrot pancakes.

Menus for places that I want to go! Okay, I did go to Fogata Latin Cuisine already. But next on my list are Mu’ooz, an Eritrean restaurant, and Abode Cafe, which is famous for their ham and cheese toastie (The Dulcie). Golden sourdough, mango sauce, Gruyère – this sounds incredible.

Another day, I picked up some tarts from the farmers market and devoured them alongside a veggie mix. This was so, so good. I love Portuguese tarts and the flakiness of their crust; plus, these fillings were so fresh. They went perfectly with the simple veggies.

  • 1 Portuguese chicken and herb pastry, 1 Portuguese goat cheese, walnut and honey pastry, cauliflower and broccoli rice, saffron rice, zucchini, carrots, tomato, red pepper, Manchego cheese

I’ve been experimenting with different filters. They all take on a slightly different look depending on how much light is coming into my room, depending on the time of day. Which one is best?

One assignment that I am working on is about pureed vegetables in baked goods, as an increased veggie intake, among other things, will improve the health of people with chronic kidney disease (hence the kidneys in the background). This is for my health psychology class, where we look at various theories for health interventions.

Last but not least, my weekend plans. I ended up taking a long walk instead of going to Perrin Park’s fitness program, and skipping a few bakeries on Sunday because I purchased way too many at Chouquette (ate them all yesterday without taking pics!). On the right? One of my sister’s best roasts. She always cracks me up. Another 99 days until I reunite with my favourite loser.

That’s pretty much… it… for today. I wish I had something better, cooler, more exciting. But I don’t. Have a beautiful week ✌️

Top 15 Meal Prep Tips

Meal prep!

When it comes to meal prepping, I have pretty much made every mistake possible. From leaving this raw to scorching that, I have learned a lot about preparing healthy, tasty food in bulk.

Here are some of my best tips:

  1. Plan the right number of meals, leaving some room for fun activities. For instance, I often overestimate the number of meals I need in a week. I think, I have school five days this week, which means five healthy lunches and five great snacks. But what I leave out is the fact that there might be free pizza on Tuesday, or drinks and board games on Friday. I’ve learned to look at my calendar carefully beforehand, or even cook one less meal than I should (and just buy something special one day of the week!). That way, nothing goes to waste.
  2. Write down cooking times! In the words of Shape magazine: Cooking multiple things, multiple ways, and for multiple times without a timer of some sort is a recipe for disaster, and you don’t want to waste time and money on burning up a chicken. Solution: Download a multi-timer app—there are lots for both iOS and Android. You can set, say, 40 minutes for acorn squash in the oven, 20 minutes for barley on the stove, and another 20 for that sauce in the fridge to set up.
  3. Stock up on spices. The bare minimum for me would be salt and pepper, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and curry powder.
  4. Avoid pre-cut vegetables like the plague! They are so pricey, and you don’t get to choose the shape of the veggie. I love to cut my sweet potatoes in small cubes so they cook faster. When you buy in bulk, it’s fresher and much cheaper.
  5. Scour your kitchen for things that should be used up, and base your meal prep off of that. Extra lentils? Plan a lentil stew!
  6. Plan when which meals will be eaten. Delicate items like berries, zucchini noodles, and lettuce wraps will go bad sooner, so they should be gobbled up first. Heartier things like potatoes, grains, chili, and stew can last longer, so plan to eat those later in the week.
  7. Whatever takes the longest to cook, make that first. That way, the chili/stew/pulled pork can cook low and slow while you prepare other things, or clean the kitchen.
  8. Use glass containers or BPA-free plastic containers. I have a love-hate relationship with glass containers because they are heavy, but reheat well. Now, I do half in glass and another half in plastic, depending on what else I need to take to school that day (to avoid overpacking and making my backpack into a 10-kg dumbbell).
  9. Leave some freedom an wiggle room. Be sure to prep some treats. For me, I love yogurt with baked goods and nut butter as a satisfying snack or dessert.
  10. Make what you know you love. My favourite things to meal prep include Thai green curries with vegetables and rice or quinoa, bean chili topped with cheese, and sweet potato or pumpkin stew. As a result, I make these all the time and never seem to tire of them.
  11. Find recipes that look amazing, and stick to them, especially when you go to the grocery store. Whenever I go to the store before getting recipes, I end up with a bunch of ingredients that I don’t need, and they spoil. Now, I find recipes first, write out a shopping list, and stick to the list. This also helps with that #studentbudget.
  12. Pack a good balance of healthy carbs, fat, and protein. While plain, buttered gnocchi is absolutely delicious, be sure to add veggies and protein. Also, watch the portion sizes.
  13. Don’t. Dress. Your. Salad. Ahead. Of. Time.
  14. Save your recipes on your computer or write them down. If you love it, you’ll want to come back to it.
  15. Meal prep with some entertainment! Not going to lie, it isn’t very exciting to stand and chop peppers for an hour. Why not put on an upbeat (or sad, if that’s what you’re into) playlist? Or watch a TV show or movie? Or – my favourite – FaceTime a friend or family member to chat?

Hope these tips work for you, and have a beautiful, healthy, rest of the week!

These photos are from Google, and therefore not my own.

Food, Face Mask, Flying Home

My last few days in Scarborough were snowy. Very snowy and up to -30 degrees at night.

On my last day of work, the team went to a restaurant called The Local, which is run by hospitality and cooking/pastry students at Centennial College. Here, the students learn to make sauce, stocks, bread, and more, while serving the public. It’s a special place with a connected cafe, open to everyone, and nothing is made from a box. In fact, all the ingredients is fresh, seasonal, local, and homemade. For example, the signature burger uses a homemade burger and bun – and homemade ketchup and a homemade pickle!

Below: plate one with creamy dill trout, Mediterranean pizza, Latin cheese puff, goddess salad, Asian green salad, rice with black beans

The menu switches up every three weeks. According to their news report, “choices are influenced by Scarborough and the school’s multicultural environment”, so everything is globally-inspired.

Below: plate two with Jamaican jerk chicken, more creamy dill trout, and spiced rice with black beans

Other cool things: there is free parking for community members who stop by for lunch/dinner, and there is no tipping! Food is served buffet-style, and there are always plenty of veggie options.

Below: dessert of white chocolate mousse with berries, salted caramel apple crumble, and raspberry chocolate mousse cake

Packing went much smoother than I’d expected, since I had fewer things. Before I knew it, both suitcases were packed and I was on my way home.

That night, I had plenty of extra oats and yogurt to use up, and I did.

“Chock full of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and probiotics (the healthy bacteria that aid digestion), there’s no doubt yogurt provides delicious benefits for your insides. But it can also do beauty wonders for your outsides as well, namely for your skin. Yogurt contains lactic acid that dissolves dead skin cells. This gentle exfoliation not only helps to create a natural glow and prevent breakouts, but works to diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles. When topically applied to the skin, a velvety yogurt face mask will help moisturize, fight acne, prevent premature aging, relieve sunburn, and reduce discoloration. It’s an all-around beauty multi-tasker.”

  • Honey: Softens and moisturizes skin, rich in antioxidants which prevent free radical damage. Reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Oatmeal: Great exfoliant. Nourishes skin and removes excess sebum and dirt from deep within skin pores.

This made me feel super fresh.

Yogurt Face Mask

  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp oats
  • OPTIONAL:
    • cinnamon
    • nutmeg
    • olive oil
    • mashed strawberries
    • lemon juice
    • mashed avocado
    • cocoa powder
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well.
  2. Wash your face, making sure hair is tied away from the face (or use headband).
  3. Optional: do a facial steam to open pores.
  4. Smooth yogurt all over face and neck. Use a thick coat.
  5. Keep on for 15 minutes, then rinse off, gently, with warm water.
  6. Splash cold water on your face to close pores.
  7. Pat dry with a soft towel.
  8. Moisturize.

How gorgeous is this? Flying over the Rocky Mountains is always such an honour, especially in the midmorning. Canada has so much to offer ❤

Exciting news: I purchased all my MCAT books and created a big study plan. I have 225 days until the MCAT that I’m planning to write on the first day of September. Let’s get studying! WOO!