Skinny Fat

I really shouldn’t be on a computer right now. All day I’ve been having the tell-tale signs of a migraine headache. You know it’s going to be bad when after taking a 2 hour nap you still feel horrible when you wake up. Bleck. In general the entire left side of my head and neck is useless. My ear hurts, my lymph node hurts, my head hurts, the space behind my eye hurts, and my neck is sore. However, seeing as I have a boyfriend who I’ve turned into my concierge, a roof over my head, and an abundance of Advil, this bitch fest is now over.

Moving right along,

Body image series starting…NOW! Today’s agenda is on this past year’s buzz word “skinny fat.” It’s actually a dangerous oxymoron. There are thousands, no, millions, of people in America who are overweight and nearing obesity. This is not good for your insides, your bones, your breathing, and your health in general. Many diseases we have are directly attributed to poor diet and lack of exercise. We are getting sicknesses only royalty used to get! What’s even more troubling is seeing kids younger and younger who are facing these ordeals. This is all bad and highly publicized, but little attention is given to people of “average” weight. Perhaps you are someone like that. You may not have the body of a (healthy) bikini model, but no one has ever picked on you because of your weight.  At 5’3 and 130 pounds I’m right there. I’m not the teeniest, but I’m not the largest. I generally feel comfortable in my body, though, I have my days when I’m less than impressed. Unfortunately, being average or “skinny” isn’t a license to eat whatever you want and shy away from physical activity.

When you hear most magazines and T.V talk-show hosts talk about Skinny Fat, they are mainly talking about girls who, despite a small frame, have a rather high amount of fat to muscle in their body, but thanks to genetic luck it’s not as apparent. Over a lifetime this can become dangerous because fat (i.e, extra weight), as stated above, stresses the body. It’s very true that someone of larger stature can actually be healthier than a skinnier person. Another thing I see is people who are of “average” size eating whatever they want and not thinking much of it. I cannot remember how many times growing up my mother would comment: “oh, she can eat whatever she wants. She’s so tiny!” Sure, if you are not dangerously obese then it will be safer for you to have a few unhealthy foods here or there.  But a few slices of greasy pizza—I’m talking the gooooood Papa John’s, melt in your mouth, not one bit artisanal stuff—on a regular basis will start to have negative repercussion. Secondly, you also are not doing yourself any favors by encouraging poor eating habits that will be harder to change in later years. You might think you’re the only one affected, but say you want to have kids. I know, I know, a little into the future, but we’re going there! Kids are smart and will watch what you eat. If you never touch your veggies there is good chance little Anna is going to fight you on eating hers. And if you have really bad eating habits your kids will most likely emulate then, which can lead to obesity, and I’m sorry but it just is not fair to a kid. And thirdly, those pounds will start creeping on over the years; there is a reason my momma never says “I’m so tiny” anymore.

I also can empathize with Skinny Fat people and agree that there are many societal reasons why it’s easy to come complacent and stay on that track. Since so many people are obese, I do believe we’ve become a country that has a tendency to look at people who are a healthy weight and immediately assume they’re “sickly” or “need a burger.” I used to get embarrassed when my friends would ask why I was eating a salad “because you already have such a good body” or not go to the gym because those same friends would say “why do you bother? You’re already so in shape.” Rock and a hard place, right? If there is anything you will hear me say (well, more like see me write) a lot on this blog is that, yes, there are societal constraints around men, women, old, young, black, white, etc. They suck, but you also can choose how much they affect you. Rise above them! Don’t feel like you need to scarf down a burger to prove something. Don’t feel like you cannot go to the gym. Politely explain to people that it still matters what you put into your body and how you push it and that you want to grow up healthy and hot. Most people will respect that and the ones that don’t are far and few and clearly are haters that you should promptly rid from your life.

Still not sure where to start?

  1. If you really love the junk food start incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet. When I started eating healthy instead of taking foods away I started adding in healthier foods on top of what I was already eating. I gained about 2 pounds, but lost it very soon because I started realizing my fruits and veggies tasted far better than the unhealthy foods I was eating. Again, I’m not a nutritionist, so this might not work for you, but for many I think it’s perfectly safe. Use common sense.
  2. Find a gym and start going to fitness classes. For example, Zumba is great and the atmosphere is awesome. Cardio will help burn or maintain your current fat levels, but don’t shy away from the iron. Start lifting weights that are heavy for you (not those dinky 2 pounders.) You won’t bulk up, you will build strength, and soon you’ll start to create a whole different body.
  3. Start hanging around with healthy minded people. Use those online creeper skills in person and scope out someone in your class that looks really into it. Mention that you’re new and was wondering if you could go to class with them next time. I’m sure they’ll be kind! Ladies, don’t be afraid to ask guys on the weight machines how to use the equipment and for pointers on exercises. It’ll boost their ego and help you gain control of your body.

Phew,

That was a lot, but it’s something I’m really passionate and concerned about. Everyone should have healthy habits. They aren’t just for folks who are forced into them in order to survive. Stay true to your values and you’ll reap the benefits.

Now I’m going to go peel away those covers and slide my sorry self back into bed!

❤ Jocellyn

Sweat baby, Sweat baby.

I’m trying to make this blog a place of discussion and anecdotes. From time to time I’ll point you to WebMd-style sites that give you hard-core scientific explanations for the things I’m talking about. But aren’t anecdotes far more interesting? I’d like to think so. How-however, don’t get me wrong: I do a lot of research to bring ya’ll new and exciting programs, other blogs, and websites I find. I spent 2 hours on StumbleUpon yesterday thumbs-upping interesting recipes, tantalizing food porn sites*, and exercise programs that make working out easy for everyone. Sure, this is really exciting research (I even managed to find a DIY link for sparkle-shoes), but it’s so hard not to tell ya’ll everything at once; I’m practically sitting on my hands! Check in often. Today I bring you exercise programs.

As usual I’m off the work-out train. Remember a few weeks ago when I was out the gates strong? Yup, I’ve gone from decorated racing horse Zenyatta, Zenyatta, Zenyatta to one that needs to be brought to the glue factory (Dear god in the sky, please don’t let my internship bosses @ Green Mountain Animal Defenders read that last bit…) So sticking to this whole horse theme, I gotta get back on one and start all over again. I was going to try some Blogilates workouts, but I StumbledUpon a really cool program called Random Abs. Each day the website will give you an abdominal routine to try out. They also give you the prior days workout and you can click on the moves to see what they look like. Best of all you don’t have to create an account, which is awesome because I feel like I have so many floating around the internet already.

Today’s workout is:

11 Pulse Up

+

25 Butterfly

+

12 Body Crunch

+

15 Elevated Crunch

+

13 Reverse Crunch

+

12 Crunch Twist

+

12 Corkscrew

. X1 Set

 

Yesterday’s was:

10 Reverse Crunch

+

10 Corkscrew

+

20 Twist

+

13 Side Jackknife

. X2 Set

(Click on the links to see YouTube demos!)

Judging by my food baby—I’d say I’m about4 months today— I really need to do one! Though, that is the beauty of trudging through abdominal routines. They really suck, and you can feel them, but they never lay you out the next day.

I also found this simple workout list. It doesn’t tell you when to rest or for how long, but it looks like something that can easily be turned into a HIIT workout.

It seems like you’d do it the whole way through and then take a 30-60 sec rest in between sets. I’m hoping this will build up some baseline strength in my joints and muscles so I can start Body Rocking again! Start simple: 3 rounds?

Before I get distracted and pour myself a second glass of wine, I’m going to slip into some shorts, wrestle on a sports bra (small-breasted girls: I envy you) and jump around like a mad, though conscious of form,  woman before writing another post tonight on my New Year’s Resolutions! I’m dying to know what yours are as well.

Now, time to peel away my workout anxiety and see what happens. Wait, I know what till happen. Whimpering, cleavage sweat, and a sense of “I AM WOMAN HERE ME ROAR!” coming my way in 30 minutes.

❤ Jocellyn

Ps: Sometimes we need some musical motivation to get us through a workout. Presto a la Dubstep Workout Remix. Honestly, what cant you search for on the internet?!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for raw vegan ice cream!!!

I don’t care that winter is nipping at my heels up here in VT, because I’m still going to be making ice cream. I find ice cream to be a food group people either love to a point of unhealthy obsession or simply dabble in. Living in VT means swearing your allegiance to Ben & Jerry’s. They’re the iconic ice cream company that created Cherry Garcia and more recently Schweddy Balls, along with several other flavors. What tasty calorie and sugar-laden treats. And then there are the “creemies” (Vermont-speak for soft serve ice cream) that stand not so erect in the summer heat; ah, delicious. But should we become so complacent with these treats? Can we not make our taste buds go “woo hoo!” and our intestines go “thank you”? I know for a fact that we can, and it doesn’t involve buying the low-fat, high sugar brands companies are hocking at us.  It’s time to push those sleeves up, break out the appliances, and prepare our taste buds for ultimate tantalization!

This past summer I discovered the joy of raw vegan ice cream. For every really hard-core never stray from the most natural raw vegan guru on Youtube, there are 10 more who lead perfectly healthy lives that have no qualms about having a little (sweet) fun in the kitchen. What I love about making your own “ice cream” (it really isn’t ice cream because we won’t use cream) is that it is fast, simple, healthy, and just as decadent as the brands we’ve become accustomed too. My first foray into these scrumptious treats was with avocado & coconut. I enjoyed it—still do – but lately I’ve been craving something naughtier, and thus the peanut butter and banana ice cream was born!

What you’ll need:

–          Food processor. Only use a blender if you’re fortunate enough to have a really powerful one like a Vitamix or Blendtec and want to make a big batch

–          3 really ripe bananas. Throw them in a drawer for a few days to speed up the ripening process. If you have an apple throw it in as well, as apples make other fruits ripen faster

–          2 Tablespoons of all natural peanut butter

–          2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder

–          Patience: it takes awhile for a banana to freeze!

Note: All these amounts, besides the bananas, can be tinkered with to your liking. Use more or less of either to get the taste you desire the most. You can also taste-test during the mixing to see what you want to add more of.

Directions:  Slice the bananas, put them on a plate, and pop them in the freezer. Make sure you slice and then freeze or else life will be very miserable. I froze my bananas for about a day. If they chill that long then let them sit out for 15 minutes before you throw them in the food processor. If you only have them in the freezer for 6-8 hours then don’t or else your ice cream might get a little soupy.  After you’ve gotten them off the plate (you might need a knife to slide them off) put them in the food processor with the other ingredients. If your appliance is really struggling you might want to add a spoonful of yogurt (if you don’t mind it being a little non-vegan) or a splash of almond or rice milk. The bananas will first hit a crumbly state (remember those awesomely overpriced Dippin’ Dots?) and then it will become creamy like ice cream. Scoop it out. Place it in a bowl. Share with a friend for guilt free pleasure. This is just as decadent as store bought ice creams without all the additives, preservatives, and sugar. Go us!

 

Now peel away those banana peels and get to scoopin’

Jocellyn

 

Ps: In all honesty I think the most fun I have with this blog is making up the “peel away” phrase at the end 😉

Shameless Baiting: Why you should check in later this afternoon

I have an AWESOME recipe for guilt free ice cream coming up later today. Honestly, everyone should get a mini Cuisinart food processor and try their hand at raw (mostly vegan)  ice creams. They’re creamy, decadent, healthy, and just over all amazing. This treat will be full of dark, lusty desire.

I’ll also be popping in a super informative post on either why it’s important to kill the idea of three meals a day or an angry rant on sugar: the white devil. Comment if you have a preference (the other will be posted, no worries.)

 

Now I’m off for a 10am meeting with my work-study boss. Start your day off right, and I”ll see you later!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

To Binge? Or not to Binge?

Ohhhhhhh jingle bells, jingle bells. Christmas is upon us and while we all want to have a jolly ole’ time we don’t want to end up with a tummy like Santa Clause when all is said and done. How cruel is it that Christmas falls right before New Years. We eat, eat, eat, (or deny, deny, deny) and promise ourselves that, like, omg, this is going to be the year I get in shape and by February  failure has already planted its dirty seeds into our ambitious hearts. Then there are the “get in shape by summer” articles and by summer we’re still sucking in a little at the beach wondering how this happened AGAIN for the fourth year straight. We are such cyclical beings, but let’s ignore the bikinis and ponder the task at hand: how do we successfully navigate holiday eating.

Every magazine and YouTube Guru (and me, I suppose) is trying to say they have the best tips and tricks for minimizing holiday gain & guilt, but at the same time you need to look inside your heart, stomach, and personality to see what is right for you. If you are someone who feels emotionally stable enough to not have a break down the next day after eating more than usual then you are free to nosh. If you find that you tend to beat yourself up and slip into unhealthy acts ranging from working out too abusively the next day, dangerously limiting your calories, and falling down an emotional hole (which will probably lead to emotional eating), then be mindful of how you approach the snack table.  Don’t feel bad if you fall into the latter category. It isn’t the best place to be, but realizing  is half the battle. Keep reading my blog, reading other people’s blogs, and watching informational YouTube videos, and maybe next year the holiday season will be a less stressful time.

First consider how many parties you will be going to. At 20 I understand that I’m not going to the amount of massive soirees my 28 and 30 year old siblings are. If you are going to be attending multiple parties, then you really do need to consider how much you are going to eat. One night of eating won’t have a negative outcome;  After a week of holiday eating and the scale might start to creep. Try to fill up at the veggie and fruit platter. Walk around and mingle, but try to keep that separate from your eating. When you watch TV, write e-mails, or have conversations during meals you have a tendency to not realize how much food you’re taking in.  Wait awhile before going back for seconds; it takes about 20 minutes for your body to register being full. Ask around to see what your friends will be serving and figure out what houses have the better food. I find ham to be lackluster, so if I were a situation where ham was being served for dinner I’d be more liberal with my other choices. Here’s another trick you can try. Bring a small blue plate with you and use that instead of the paper plates being offered (of course, only do this at the house of a close friend.) Studies have shown that eating off of blue plates makes you consume less. Aside from blueberries, many blue things in nature used to make us sick, so they believe it might be part of a primal instinct we still have. I also think it isn’t the most appealing color to eat off of. I was at my Uncles this summer and was having my usual breakfast of eggs with toast & jam. I couldn’t’ figure out why I was eating so slowly and everything felt bizarre until I realized he had see- through blue plates!

Aside from how many parties you go too, you also need to consider the significance certain foods hold. At my house Christmas means Filet Mignon and Shrimp. I adore shrimp, more so than Reese’s, and Christmas is the one time of the year I can eat a lot of it for free; Thank you daddy-o! Taking that into consideration I have no qualms about eating an ungodly amount of shrimp. Shrimp isn’t the unhealthiest food cluttering the table, but let’s say Christmas is the one time your aunt from across the country comes and makes her blueberry pie that you never get to have except on the 25th. Pssh, have 2 slices if you want. Be naughty: have three. It’s not like it’s something you have access to it on a regular basis. If you are an average person with no severe health issues (aside from being a slave to the Standard American Diet, which is a health issue in it of itself, but I digress) then don’t feel bad about splurging. But if the item at hand is run of the mill apple pie from Shaw’s, well, I think we know that that means. I’m by no means saying to force food into the belly for the sake of the holiday, but if after an hour you’re thinking a second slice is looking good then have it. Another thing to watch out for is alcoholic beverages. Eat your calories, don’t drink them! And for the sake of whatever dear lord you pray to, do not get behind the wheel of car if you even have an inkling of hesitation. Cops are out, I imagine DUI’s suck, and tragedy and/or vehicular manslaughter is no way anyone wants to remember the holidays.

 

The Morning After (you don’t think I’d end on a dour note, do you?)

It begins with the walk of shame past the bathroom mirror. Perhaps the food baby has already taken root. If you ate a bunch of food, well duh! You might even feel like a rumbling pile of intestinal crud. Hey, I didn’t say trudging down the path of over indulgence would be consequence free. How you approach these next few days is what truly matters. For one, don’t starve yourself the next day. A day of eating a little more than usual is not going to do long term harm. Just eat simply. Fill yourself with fruits, berries, veggies, water, tea, and try to stay away from heavy things like bread and meat. If you are already a lover of the flax seed then add an extra tablespoon to your daily regiment, as it is a very mild, natural laxative. Go about your life as usual. If you normally work out then maybe throw in 20 more crunches or an sprint or two if you’re a runner. There’s no need to go overboard. I guarantee you that within a day or two your body will be fine and you’ll be proud of yourself for smoothly navigating the holiday season.

 

 

 

Food Diary # 2

Food Diary # 2

I haven’t forgotten about you guys! I admit I didn’t write down what I ate yesterday, but I did make that delicious Shrimp & Garlic meal from last week. It was great the second time around as well.

Breakfast

2 eggs

Slice of Udi’s toast

The best gluten free bread ever!

One little cup of Greek yogurt with raspberries.

I’m now onto my third type of Greek Yogurt. They were out of the large tub of plain Chobani at both stores. I don’t think the stuff I have is actually Greek Yogurt, because it doesn’t have nearly as much protein as the other brands. I also accidentally bought maple flavored, not plain, so the sugar content is a little higher than I would like. Oh well, it’s delicious and a tub won’t kill me, but it is a little unsettling that the shelves might start packing “fake” Greek Yogurt. Ya ‘gotta be cognoscente of labels!

 

Snack

Mango, peach, and banana smoothie

Usually I make green smoothies with spinach, but I was having a salad today. I make my smoothies simple, with water, and I feel so nourished the moment they hit my tummy.

Sun-Maid Raisins

I love how the front says something like: the only ingredients are grapes and sun. And then the back says “mechanically steamed grapes.” Haha. Nonetheless they are still delish.

 

Lunch

Salad: spinach, black beans, onions, mandarin oranges, mushroom, basic dressing of 1 part balsamic vinegar/ 1 part olive oil

During the summer I love spinach, but as the seasons change I find myself less in love with them, which is totally normal. It means it’s time to switch back to green smoothies. A healthy tip: if you are buying canned beans make sure you rinse them or else they are packed with salt and sugar. However, I do usually just plop a whole can in if I’m making chili, but salad is lighter.

 

The trustworthy banana!

 

Lunch Break @ Work

This cute little snack size bean & cheese burrito.

It kind of had a pickle taste. I love pickles, but not in my burritos!

Cascadian Farms Harvest Spice Bar

 

Dinner @ Home

Mongolian Beef & Broccoli

This came from a Cooking Light cookbook. Prep time was really short and it only took 7 minutes to cook everything. It was a really tasty and simple meal and is definitely going in the recipe book!

 

Compared to day one, this is a more realistic idea of what I eat on a day to day basis. Because I snack so often I generally have a large breakfast and lighter lunch. Dinner is usually the middle-size meal. I know some people don’t like to eat late, but since I get home around 10 just  eating at 7 isn’t always ideal. Most nights I come home hungry, but sometimes I’m fine with some fruit and tea. Just listen to yourself. If you find you’re someone that is waking up starving then don’t be afraid to eat more at night. The reason a lot of people warn against it is because people tend to have naughty snacks while watching late night TV.

Jonesin’

I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the first issues I tackled when switching over to a healthier, happier life style. The biggest change, even bigger than my portion sizes, was controlling my ferocious cravings. Cravings can unpin even the most holier-than-thou lifestyle.

The other night at The Scuffer I was talking to Chris about cravings and how I never heard him talking about them, thus this first section is for the ladies. Think about it girls: when was the last time you heard your best guy friend lusting after a pint of Ben and Jerry’s? Or when was your boyfriend jonesing hard for some chocolate covered (insert delicious, unhealthy food item.) As much as I think there are some more serious, biological reasons we have cravings, I also think a lot of the reason cravings plague females is because the notion is foisted (yup, foisted) on us.

Exhibit A:

Mom: PMSing sweetie? I bet you’re craving some chocolate.

 

Exhibit B:

Boy issues got you down? Have some potato chips.

 

Exhibit C:

 On the verge of an emotional breakdown? Here, have some ice cream!

For many girls this idea of emotional eating has been ingrained in us the minute our mothers sensed puberty’s bitchy-ness rearing its ugly head.  Admit it: our parents were tough, but we were hellions, and puberty is over! Thank goodness. No more acne. No more mood swings. How about no more needing to soothe every rough patch with a cookie? And while boys are less likely to have tell-tale emotional eating habits, I’ve noticed that they generally make worse meal choices. Pizza, burgers, and fried treats are major food groups and since guys tend to have faster metabolisms (and fat deposits itself in different places) they don’t always have to address their bad eating habits until later in life.

Sometimes are bodies are craving things because we are missing an essential nutrient, vitamin, or amino acid. If you’re a vegetarian who has surpassed the realm of meat cravings, has settled into a plant based diet, and are suddenly craving burgers and wings it may be your bodies way of telling you it needs more protein or iron. That’s when you up your bean or quinoa intake and start supplementing an iron pill. But, let’s be real, most peoples’ cravings aren’t the sign of a deficiency, but our sweet tooth whining for attention. Last time I checked cookie dough ice cream didn’t run through my veins.

To put it simply your body craves what you give it most. If you workout out your body will crave the feeling the moving. Runners who take time off for injury or sickness are well known to go through withdrawals. If you give yourself fresh salads during the summer you will crave salads. It also goes the negative way. If you give yourself chips your body will crave chips. If you give yourself soda your body will crave soda. It’s not much different than the body craving crack-cocaine if you’re a crack addict. Except the fact that crack is a lot worse than soda, but you get the point. For example, I never used to be a chocolate fiend and didn’t understand peoples near orgasms inducing lust for the dark stuff. And then I found dark chocolate. It was innocent at first. A few nibbles there, a few bites there, and before I knew it I was walking to City Market purely for the chocolate bars. Moral of the story, as I do love my morals, don’t go down a path you aren’t ready to walk. It took weeks to climb out of that chocolate craving hole.

We really need to approach this all A.A style. Before you deal with your cravings you have to accept them. “Hello, my name is Jocellyn, and I have a problem with sweets.” There. Now how do I find a solution to the problem? Sometimes you have to grit and bear it, baby. You have to tell yourself “no, I will not eat you snickers.” Some people say you only live once, but I think it’s completely okay to discipline yourself against eating snickers on the regs. Once in a while is okay, but every day—nope! Sometimes just a few weeks without the devil food will cure us of our cravings. Other times we need to supplement new and healthier foods in. Since I’m someone who likes sweets, fruits are a great way to satisfy that stubborn tooth of mine. I’ll eat some bananas, some apples, some pomegranate seeds, or drink a fruit smoothie. That usually does it.  Other times I’ll try to find a healthier way to re-create my favorite treat. Tosca Reno has a greattttt recipe for peanut butter cups. If you know me, you know that my car floor is covered in Reese’s wrappers. I even dream about them sometimes… They’re honestly the unhealthiest thing I eat; Dear God why did they start making the Big Cup in a king size? Her recipe allows me to eat them in a slightly healthier way. The calories might be the same, but since they’re made with protein powder I’m getting the added benefit. If you’re someone that likes salty food then buy some salted almonds. Take it another step and buy plain almonds and add the salt yourself to cut down on the amount.

I guarantee that if you give yourself a few weeks from the offending food you won’t think about it as much. Give yourself a few months of eating it sparingly and the taste will be completely different. Maybe it’s too sweet or too salty. I know I can barely stand drinking a can of soda! Cravings can be complex, but a lot of the time with a bit of will power and patience you can overcome them. Don’t let them control you.  And remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting a cold-war style embargo on bad foods. Don’t let people make you feel silly for being disciplined enough to only indulge certain occasions.

Now peel on into your break ❤

Up next: How to approach the holiday food and alcohol festivities, because I know you’re probably stressin’ over it…and shouldn’t!

 

Reese’s Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 Scoop (Chocolate) Protein Powder
  • 1 tbsp all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-2 packets stevia
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions

1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Divide into 2 – 4 portions in muffin tins.
3. Freeze for at least an hour.
4. Eat!

Preparation Time: 3 minutes
Cooking Time: Freeze for at least 1 hour. More is better.

*Store up to 3 days

Tools of the Trade!

Healthy living is a complex balance of proper food choices, exercise, reduced stress, and a relaxed attitude. I find that the last two come naturally after we have found a way to properly nourish and exercise our bodies. In America especially, exercise is extremely popular. But I don’t think we exercise correctly. I am always seeing people at the gym, grunting it out for miles on the treadmill, spending their precious time only to go eat horribly the next day. It’s a vicious cycle. Although I believe exercise is an extremely important part of being a healthy person, I believe most Americans need to get their eating habits majorly in line first. How ironic that the acronym for Standard American Diet is such! This post and the next will lay the foundation for you to build a fertile diet (and I mean diet in how you eat on a regular basis, not diet as in starving yourself!) I call this post: Tools of the trade!

Anything you do in life is not going to be enjoyable without the correct tools that you feel comfortable using. Let’s first start with the knives. You can’t always pop healthy food in the microwave for 3-4 minutes, stir, reheat again for 30 seconds, and let sit until cool; you have to prepare it. Not having anything but steak knives, or having dull knives, will immediately make food prep undesirable because it becomes cumbersome and quite possibly dangerous! Now I’ll be the first to admit that I check on Williams-Sonoma and lust over the Wusthof knife sets—you best believe the 20 piece collection will be prominently featured on my wedding registry—but the average chef can make do without spending 2 grand. I got a cheap knife set at the new goods section of The Goodwill for $15. They are really nothing special, and they get the occasional water marks, but they haven’t let me down.  Check e’m out! You can also go to a store like TJ Maxx and buy a high end chef knife to have around as well. Big brands like Henckels and Wusthof do have entry level sets costing around $100, but the quality is not the same as their top lines, so scope out reviews on various websites before you buy! And to the vegetarians: buy a knife set as well. You might not need all the steak knives, but you will need something burly to chop through root vegetables.

Humana ❤ Humana. Some day...

 

The next important items you’ll need are a variety of Tupperware containers. I notice people tend to use them just for leftovers and they grow dusty in the cabinet. Not anymore! At the beginning of the week, and whenever I have a spare ten minutes, I’ll chop up the fruits and/or veggies I’ve bought and pop them into a container. That way they’re all ready for salads and omelets, so I have no excuse except for sheer laziness to not throw something together quickly.  I also think it looks more visually appealing than a fridge haphazardly packed. I strongly suggest you invest in one or two containers that are specifically made for salad eaters. There will be a spot for you to store a little canister of dressing so you won’t have to lug around extra containers or bottles.  I use the word invest fairly loose since I got some for $1.50 each at The Christmas Tree Shop! Woop, Woop. As we come more concerned with the safety of our plastics, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to purchase a set of glass bowls with Tupperware tops. The glass won’t break down or warp in the microwave, and it doesn’t stain or hold smells like plastics will. Because, really, who hasn’t had a perfectly good container stained by marinara sauce?!

Another novel idea is having variety in your kitchen. Think twins. Buy more than one spatula, one cutting board, one stirring spoon, etc, etc. This partially stems out of pure laziness. You’re rushing out the door, you forget to clean the spatula, and you go to make eggs later and are greeted by a hard mess of yellow. So you pull out your other spatula. Problem solved (as long as you don’t forget to wash that one as well…) Buying different cutting boards can also clear up any potential health risks. My boyfriend and I don’t have a dishwasher in our apartment (or a double sink, which is a whole other story to gripe about), so we try to be as careful as we can to not leave traces of raw chicken, fish, or red meat. One cutting board can be designated for meat, the other veggies, and so on. It also wouldn’t hurt to get a mini cutting board for the times when it is unnecessary to pull out the big guns, say, when you’re cutting up baby portabella shroomies!

Finally, strongly consider buying a blender and food processor. These two appliances, especially a blender, are really helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Blenders make great smoothies and cold soups. Food processors, although not as crucial, are great for creating homemade tomato sauces and decadent raw vegan treats like chocolate mousse and avocado and coconut-milk ice cream! I don’t even want to get started on how I obsessively pine for a Blentec or Vitamix Blender, both are around $400, but a $30 Proctor Silex one will do the trick. The same goes for a food processor.

My mom says she loves us all, but I'm not afraid to pick favorites. I ❤ my blender

 

Take these few essential ideas and begin marching toward your new healthy life. As a college student paying my way, I can attest that you don’t need to buy expensive items and appliances to make kitchen adventures exciting and easier. Check your mail for coupons to your favorite stores, watch prices, read (and read and read) lots of reviews, and check out second hand shops to find what you need for even less. Buying these items yourself will hold you accountable for using them, because no one wants to see $30 collect dust!

Now Go Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn