Monthly Archives: August 2012

Vegan Eating

I can’t believe classes start tomorrow! With all the brewing anxiety, I know it’s important for me to start this semester off on the right foot – and that means with a happy mind and body. So yesterday (Mon. 8/27) I decided to see if I could eat a whole day vegan while sticking on campus, as vegan-eating tends to be gentler on my stomach and give me more natural energy.

My mother is someone who recently began a vegan diet, and has maintained such for about 7 months now! But, just as I mentioned, she as well does it for the health benefits and not necessarily as an animal rights activist. So, for a month this summer, I tried it myself! It was strange at first, and it was my first ever “diet”, but I stuck to it for a full 30 days and was proud of myself for that. However, a couple of factors made it difficult to maintain: A) I live in a very commercial suburb, with lots of not-so-vegan restaurant chains, and B) I worked at one of those very restaurants! Even though there were slightly healthier options, either I had to purchase those (not included in an employee meal), or it was just too busy to get something like a salad. Therefore, after the month was up and I returned to eating animal products, I decided to take what I had learned and apply it here in school!

One of the biggest things that I learned about eating vegan was that just because something does not contain animal products, does not mean that it is healthy. I ended up eating a lot of potato chips and french fries and way fewer fruits and veggies than I should have! Another important fact to remember is that as long as you pile on those greens, your concern for how much protein you are intaking is lessened significantly. Green foods are GREAT for you, and building meals around having a colorful plate is an awesome jumping point!

I’ll give an example of a very non-vegan and unhealthy meal I got on Sunday.

No good! While a meal at McDonald’s might be technically “worse”, that’s still not the right track for my eating given that I have a tendency to get this plate often here at school. Rather than playing the “well I could be eating THIS” game, I would prefer strictly being proud of what I’m putting in my body! So thus, I changed my habits for Monday.

Breakfast: cereal w/ almond milk and black coffee

Lots of sugar, but filled me up ’till lunch and helped curb any cravings for sweets for quite a while.

Lunch: wheat wrap w/ hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, and green peppers – small side of balsamic vinaigrette and a golden apple

Sodium content in the wrap and the hummus is apparently high (according to my school’s online nutrition calculator) but I know the veggies were really good to have and this filled me up nicely. (Plus, green pepper – YUM.)

Snack: pretzels and hummus

This is the same hummus  that my school uses for the wraps. I bought a container from the market downstairs and ate it with the pretzels I already had in here. It was so perfect as a midday treat!

Dinner: Veggie “beef” taquitos with black beans, rice, and a side of salsa

The salsa was necessary to add flavor, but other than that I was excited to see that there were vegan faux-meat options in the cafeteria! My friend even tried the taquito and agreed that it tasted just like real beef.

And…not pictured…okay, I had a few pieces of chocolate for dessert. I couldn’t resist! So my day was not 100% vegan, but what I view personally as the “important” things (no meat, cheese, few products containing milk/eggs) were covered. And even if the nutrition calculator is telling me there is an exorbitant amount of sodium in the vegetables I ate, I don’t care – they are veggies! I feel so good about the choices I made (even with a treat for dessert) and I am excited to continue them into the year. By avoiding overly-processed foods, I made myself feel better, and that means a better sleeping schedule and more energy for studying or exercising.

Something I may try to maintain is a 5-days-a-week vegan diet: Monday thru Friday vegan, and Saturday and Sunday I am allowed to have meat/dairy if I want it! As a money-conscious college student (who am I kidding, who isn’t?) I already limit myself to one non-campus dine-out a week (not including groceries). This could fit in nicely to my fitness plan!

I’m still trying to figure everything out, but it’s days like these that help me realize that I have the willpower to push myself in the right direction, health-wise, and so does anyone else.

The Stresses of Moving

Hey everyone! I originally started this post out with “I packed, I moved, and I died”.  Honestly, that is exactly what happened to me. EXACTLY.

These past few weeks have been nothing short of insane.  A week ago I decided to lease at a new apartment and the process of moving in has been crazy.  I moved all of my kitchen tools/appliances last weekend and this weekend I moved the rest of my things.  I had so much more to unload this time.

When my dad saw how packed the car was he said, “You aren’t going to need half of what you are bringing.”  I wondered if I did have way too much but after unpacking everything last night I realized how I needed it all.

I think you really just have to go through what you use on a daily basis and bring it with you.  Just go with your gut feeling and also bring what you think will aid in your healthy lifestyle in college!  I knew that bringing a juicer would help me to get more fruits/veggies worked into my diet.

Even though moving in can be stressful, I feel that you should just stay positive and try not to let everything that is going on (moving in, meeting roommates, saying goodbye to family) overwhelm you.  Move everything in and then go out and explore the area! Go for a jog outside, find your classes, meet 5 new people, etc.  Your new dorm/apartment will be your home for the next 7-8 months so enjoy it!

Dorm Time!

Kelsey here! I am so excited to finally be able to stretch my legs in my new dorm room. Even though I have the same roommate as last year (by deliberate choice, we get along so well!) several things have changed. I live in a newly renovated portion of the dorm, have a lofted bed instead of a pull-out, and there is SO MUCH SPACE! Everything just feels like an upgrade from last year. We may be surrounded by a lot of freshmen, but I can’t wait for this year.

Since I worked my job until virtually the last possible minute, I left myself only about three/four days to prepare for the move. I had to buy a new duvet, lamp, and some food-related stuff; however, a lot of what I brought last year I was able to take it with me this semester as well. This move was also much smoother because I took so much less.

I started by packing my clothes, leaving out only enough for me to wear in the days leading up to the move-in.

(Side note: living an hour away from home gives me the luxury of keeping my winter clothes there! That’s why everything fit so nicely into a mere two containers.)

Next came all the “stuff”: essentially, anything that wasn’t grocery-related. Notebooks, paper, lotion, my Keurig…you get the gist. This process was a bit…messier.

Needless to say, I had a pretty full trash bag at the end of that day! After all of that, my mom and I went grocery shopping and picked up some necessities – K-Cups for coffee, tissues, soap, etc. Then I moved everything downstairs and processed to condense this…

…into 5 Rubbermaid containers, one small rolling cart, and a very large Space Saver bag (which I TOTALLY recommend!). My dad was sure to bring along our own dolly – another heavy recommendation, as any rentable moving carts are likely limited and first-come-first-serve. We got everything up in two short trips, and then it was just a matter of setting up our room!

I have a little more set up than is pictured, as I took these pictures briefly after moving in, but this gives you the general feel for my room.

Speaking of which, I am aware that some incoming freshmen or first-year dorm-dwellers are probably uncertain about what their room may look like. To add some perspective, although I am a sophomore, this dorm is considered a “freshman” dorm, as a majority of first years at my school are housed here. It is VERY large (something like 3,000 students) and my particular floor is one of a select few that are newly renovated. I lived on a non-renovated floor last year, and though this is a definite improvement from such, I had no problem with the 40-odd-years-old room for my first two semesters. The closet is small, the storage space is somewhat “odd”, but everything is totally doable. My best advice would be to simply keep an open mind about what you can expect, and ultimately, prepare for the worst! Better to be pleasantly surprised than mortified. Besides, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t like it – at the end of the day, it’s not your forever home, it’s just a room.

Chaos!

Alison and I have been very bad about updating! This is mostly due to the fact that we’re both in the process of either moving in (A) or getting ready to go (K). Personally, I just finished up my last day of work on the 18th, and this past week I worked almost 60 hours; Alison, on the other hand, has been prepping to move to an apartment hours away from her current home and has done so in a very brief time span. That being said, we’re both very excited to start posting more and more frequently about our personal journeys. If you’ve stumbled upon us, then thanks for reading this far, and we hope you continue to check back in the future! You can look forward to new posts about eating right, exercising, and making the most of college from two girls as they experience all of the above firsthand.

A Satisfying Meal

Hey you guys! It’s Alison. I wanted to give a little break from our mass posting about school prep.  We will have more of those coming soon though so get ready!

Last night Kelsey and I were invited over to our friend’s house for dinner. What this actually meant what that Kelsey and I would be buying and cooking dinner. We knew that we would all be starving by the time dinner was ready. We wanted to cook something that would leave us satisfied but not feeling disgusting.

Together we headed over to the grocery store and bought ingredients for stuffed jalapeños and honey-coconut shrimp.

I’m a big believer in treating yourself in the right ways.  We wanted food that would be savory, sweet, and all together delicious.  While heading to the nearest fast food place or going out to a restaurant might be easier, in the end you will be left not feeling your best.  It’s okay to have that little bit of sugar that will be on the shrimp or the fat-free cream cheese/cheddar cheese in your jalapeño.  The answer is portion control!

Stuffed Jalapeños 

  • 1 package of fat-free cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of  reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 8 jalapeños (you may need more depending on how many people are being fed)

Cut the jalapeños in half and scrape the vein/seeds out.  In a bowl combine the package of cream cheese, 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, and your choice of seasoning (we used garlic powder). Mix well and fill eat jalapeño half with the mixture!

  • bake in the oven at 350 for 18 minutes

Baked Honey-coconut Shrimp  

The one thing I LOVE about this recipe is that no oil is needed!

  • 1 pound of shrimp (frozen is okay but fresh is preferred) – it’s okay to have leftovers!
  • honey
  • coconut flakes

Remove the tails, shell, legs, etc. of the shrimp and wash in a strainer. Dip each shrimp into a bowl of honey and let the excess honey run off when you pick it up.  Coat the shrimp in coconut and place on a cookie sheet.

  • Bake in the oven at 350 for 18 minutes – if you want the coconut to be extra crispy, turn the oven to broil and leave the shrimp in for another minute or two.

This dinner was so easy to make and was so delicious! I know Kelsey and I were both left feeling full but in the most satisfying way. Taking the time to cook your meals is going to be worth it to your body and your taste buds.

Enjoy and let us know if you make either of these dishes!!

All Boxed Up – Dorm Style

Packing time is just around the corner…aaah! Lord knows I’m nowhere near ready to go; it feels like just yesterday Alison was over helping me unload and organize everything I took back from my first year of school. But that first year – and the menagerie of unnecessary things I brought with me – have taught me so much, and so I’d like to share a little about what I feel is necessary and unnecessary when it comes to stocking up your dorm room.

Ultimately there will be a long list of items you’re bringing, no matter how you spin it. No expert is going to appear in your bedroom and tell you what to take and what to leave. Personally, I took way too much my first year. I brought along my entire Harry Potter book collection, a set of containers I failed to ever use, and like ten purses that remained in the corner of my closet for two semesters gathering dust. My advice would be to save the effort of lugging these things around and just leave them at home.

First of all, your clothing is a necessity, but you may not have a lot of space to store it. Prioritize what needs to be hung up and what can do to be folded away, and look at potentially investing in a “space-saving” rack to hang in your closet. Keep one small container in your closet to store off-season clothes, and rotate out what you do and don’t need as the weather changes. Don’t forget to donate those clothes that you don’t wear anymore – there’s no point in you keeping them if they’re just going to take up that precious space, and someone else could get much better use out of them!

Next, focus on the very necessary items. You’ll need your printer, computer, maybe a fan, a decent desk lamp…try and go through your day-to-day life and think deliberately about all of the things you use on a daily basis. Then, think of all those things condensed into a 12’ x 15’ room that is occupied by two beds, two desks, and two grouchy students. Chances are you’re going to start wondering how to make it work…the only solution is to keep things minimal.

Subsequently, all those little extraneous things you THINK you want…think again. Do you reeeally need your book of different Celtic knots? Are you ever going to wear that weird headband you got five years ago? Will you be able to find the time to use every single scarf you’ve ever owned??

Some people find it necessary to over-prepare for school, and while I see the draw and benefit of that, ultimately I will advise against it. You will not have a lot of space in a dorm, and will probably find yourself at the end of the year packing up things you’d forgotten you had with you. Bottom line is, if you don’t absolutely need it, you should REALLY want it if it’s going to take up space on move-in day – especially if you’re lugging it up several flights of stairs. (P.S. – not all dorms have elevators. Ye hath been warned!!)

The Never-ending Apartment Checklist

The task of moving into an apartment can be daunting.  Compared to a dorm, there is a lot more that you have to consider packing when moving into your apartment.

The two biggest tips that I can offer is to buy in bulk the items that you use the most and to buy those items EARLY.  Many people will move into the apartment complex you chose on the first day that they are allowed.  These students will move all of their belongings in, then head straight to the nearest grocery store to buy those necessary items (toilet paper, soap, laundry detergent, etc) that they realize they have forgotten.  You will have a very hard time finding all that you need and the last thing you want is to start off the school year stressed that your residence is not well-stocked.

Items I suggest you buy in bulk:   Toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap, dishwasher fluid/dishwasher pouches, laundry detergent.

These are all just suggestions. I find it much easier to have these items stocked up and hopefully have them last until the semester change.  After these bulk items you will need to go through each section of your apartment that you personally will be using.  Kitchen, Washer/Dryer, Bedroom, Bathroom, Living Room. This BB&B checklist pretty much covers everything that you might want to considering bringing (keep in mind, you will not need this entire list).

It’s best to be realistic with what you are bringing but also don’t forget the items you will most likely use throughout the school year.  Bring items that you will use and ones that will best aid you in your healthy lifestyle at college. Good luck!