It, my friends, is time for a life update. These life-update posts give me weird, mixed feelings - like, do people actually care? Does anyone want to know what goes on in my life aside from school, school, and school?
Those of you who do are reading this and are much appreciated :) I won't waste your time, so let's get right to it!
A couple weeks ago, Jeannette from @sweatysweetpotato and I teamed up for a week-long sugar cleanse. We excluded any and all refined sugars from our diets - the typical ones being maple syrup, coconut sugar, turbinado sugar, and the like. One of the main questions you guys asked me was if we planned to continue eating fruit (or a more aggressive and concerned "wait, why are you cutting out fruit?!?!" - which we never planned to do) - let me tell you something: unless type 2 diabetes creeps up on me or some nasty, potentially life-threatening allergy to fruits suddenly squeezes itself into my biochemistry, I will NEVER cut out fruits. Bananas, berries, melon, and mangoes are some of my favorite things ever! So are apples, but I would've ruined that alliteration if I including them in that previous sentence, ya' know?
Anyway, our intention was not weight loss or simple restriction and control, but rather pure experimentation driven by the desire to a) understand more of sugars' effect within our individual bodies and b) learn to detach ourselves from the habitual (and sneakily sugar-laden) protein/energy bar in our daily diets. We did NOT plan to change our lifestyles completely to forever exclude sweet treats. Over the past couple of weeks, I'd been feeling like I needed to come face-to-face with our prevalent sugar is/was in my diet. No - nothing like refined cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, but additives like the ones I mentioned above that the body still metabolizes similar to how it would traditional sucrose (table sugar).
So, what did I find? Clearer skin, less need for "a little something sweet" after each meal, prolonged focus level for a longer period of time after a meal (not thinking about my next snack five minutes after I just finished lunch), and less bloat (because gut bacteria likes sugar) . Sorry for all the hyperlinks, but each of those simply explains a bit more in depth about how dietary fat and sugar both affect specific physiological feelings and the resulting bodily reactions. Like I said before, by no means am I never eating a cookie again. BUT I'm now much more aware and cautious of the amount of sugars - everything from fruits to protein bars to my favorite vegan ice cream - I consume everyday and how my body feels afterwards. I definitely will cut back, but I will not cut out.
NEW VOLUNTEER POSITION
I mentioned this in my Instagram story the other day, but by now, it's disappeared. About two months ago, I quit my donut job in hopes of lightening up my life-load (work + school + blog + me-time + social life = omgthisiswaytoomuch), but God presented me with another opportunity with which I could fill some extra time and, of course, be of benefit to my peers in need. After the application and interview process, I was chosen to become a Peer Health Educator on my campus, and I'll specifically be consulting with students who have any sort of nutrition- or fitness-related question. This can be anything from navigating the campus dining system to squeezing in more veggies throughout the day to creating a workout plan to - this one is the one I'm most excited for - assisting with potential or existing eating disorders. My position is not a paid one, but it's already worth just as much (if not more than) any paid job I've had before.
I'm SO excited - and yes, I use capital letters to help portray that sense and hope that maybe it's contagious for you readers - to get started and involve myself more in the campus that has helped foster immeasurable growth for me in the past three years.
More blogging - YAAAAAAY! - more capital letters - more YAAAAAAAAAAY! One of my goals as I emptied my plate over these past few months has been to invest more time into this place. Since then, I've been wrestling with reminding myself that this can be considering my "job". However, I don't want anyone to think that my motivation here is to make the most money I can. My motivation is and always will be sharing and loving and encouraging, not advertising. Investing more time into this place means investing more time into you as my beloved readers, into me, and into the future.
That being said, I want to hear from you! What kinds of posts do you want to see more of: recipes, workouts, nutrition tips, life posts? Be specific and leave comments below. I truly cherish your input!
Don't get ahead of yourself - I don't have my life figured out or anything. What I do know is at a least a layout of the next year and a half-ish. A significant chunk of classes still stand between myself and my graduation, so that represents the year and a half ahead of me. Once this quarter is all finished up (in about 8 weeks), I'm heading on home down to SoCal for the summer to spend some mucho needed time with my parents. Homesickness hit me hard this quarter, so I'm taking that as God's way of welcoming me back home. Allllllso a large part of my summer plan includes more involvement with NuttZo! More details to come on that, so stay tuned. And for the remainder of my time, I'm hoping to take a few classes to lighten the load when I go back to school for my senior year.
And now for the more unknown. When I do finally graduate from Cal Poly, my plans are to apply for a grad school a coordinated dietetic program - which is basically a combo of grad school + dietetic internship, after which I'll be eligible to sit for my RD exam. As of right now, I'm loving this idea because, by 2024, all RD's will be required to have a Master's degree, so why not do it now, anyway?
My workout routine has shifted immensely throughout the past 12 months. After letting go of running (officially), I've had to turn to other forms of cardio not only for my physical health, but also for my mental health. I've tried swimming and cycling, but those never seemed to satisfy my desire for something more steady-paced that I could do while I let my mind clear itself out. When I ran, I didn't have to think about my next stroke or my next interval - I just ran. Thankfully, I found that the stairmaster has a similar quality to it! Though it doesn't allow me to breathe in the fresh air of outdoors like running did, I can pop my headphones in and indulge in some podcasts (my favorites right now are Dr. Stephen Cabral, Food Psych, The Chasing Joy Podcast, and Bulletproof Radio). For about 45 minutes, I climb at a low-medium speed just to get my heart rate up and sweat a bit. On the weekends, when Cal Poly's gym sleeps in with the rest of the college students, I lace up my sneakers and head out for a long walk (yes, this includes more podcast-binging). Fresh air - fiiiinally!
Finding an exercise routine that works for me, that makes me feel good, and that I don't have to force myself to follow took months (maybe even years), so be patient if you're struggling with the same thing. Keep an open mind, too, because you never know what you and your body will love!
Aaaaaand that's about it! Want to know something funny? My teachers and professors have always taught me to never end an essay or presentation like that - "so... yeah. that's it!" - yet, I end almost every non-recipe blog post with a similar line. Oops? Good thing I'm not graded on these.
Thank you times a million for reading. I'm so grateful to be included as part of your day and I hope you've benefitted from this post somehow, someway. Leave some feedback below!