Gettin’ Figgy With It + Pumpkin and Spice?!

My Mom told me this photo of my breakfast was “blog-worthy.”

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Egg white oats with cinnamon, skim milk, a fig, cinnamon vanilla granola, and strawberries. So delicious!

Have you ever tried egg white oats? They’re a super easy way to sneak some additional protein into your morning oatmeal. The egg whites also add tons of volume so you feel like you’re eating more. Love it!

Pro Tip – If you’re making them in the microwave, I recommend stirring vigorously after 30 second intervals, or else you might just end up with a big gloppy mess. I learned that the hard way.

By the way…. I found out something excellent today….

imgresTHIS EXISTS!!

Oh my gosh! I love Siggi’s, and I’m so excited to try this flavor¬†for fall! Granted, it is only July 29th, people! But this will definitely give me something to look forward to when September rolls around.

When I used to work at Dunkin’ Donuts, we would get our beloved Pumpkin Spice coffee flavor syrup in, like, mid-August! I would always stick it to the man and refuse to indulge in it until it was officially fall. I felt like if you started enjoying pumpkin flavored things too early, they wouldn’t be special anymore! What do you think? ūüôā

Questions for You —

  • Have you ever tried egg white oats? If so, how do you make them?
  • What’s your favorite pumpkin-flavored fall indulgence? (Can’t believe I’m even asking that already!)
  • When is an appropriate time to start enjoying pumpkin-flavored things?

 

Barre, Figs, and the Best View in Austin

Good morning and happy Monday!

I hope you had a fun, relaxing, and rejuvenating weekend. By the time Monday morning rolls around, I usually¬†feel pretty optimistic about the week ahead. I try not to fall victim to a negative “Monday mentality” … but of course, sometimes it works better than others. ; )

Sunday morning began with a bit of a later start, then a free barre class at Whole Foods Domain. Thanks to Barre3 and Whole Foods for putting on this free July workout series!

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Oh. my. goodness, I am feeling it today! I typically do not get sore after working out (I wish I did!), but barre totally did it for me. For being so low impact, barre is an amazing workout! After yesterday, I’m totally sold.

Barre is all about stimulating the muscles by using a small range of motion. Think a mix between ballet, aerobics, pilates, and yoga. I have yet to attend a true barre class at a studio, so if yesterday’s class was a modified one, I can’t imagine what a real class would be like. Yikes!

After class I browsed Whole Foods for awhile. As always, I had to resist the temptation to buy, well, everything!

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Instead, I opted to snack on a plain Stonyfield Greek yogurt, banana, with a little cinnamon and maple syrup borrowed from the cafe counter. =) Savvy and inventive!

Once I headed out, I decided to check out Mount Bonnell, an awesome scenic overlook with a great view of Lake Austin. I was already pretty sweaty, so the climb wasn’t bad at all!

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Gorgeous view, isn’t it?

I’m heading off to work in a few minutes, and I’m already looking forward to my mid-morning snack. ūüôā More Greek yogurt (can’t live without it!) and a fresh fig. I found them on sale this weekend at Central Market, which was pretty exciting for me.

Where I grew up in Pennsylvania, you’d never see fresh figs in the grocery store. Then once I moved to Texas I started seeing them, but they would always be about $8.99/lb. Pricy! But check this out:

Super score on figs :)

Super score on figs ūüôā

Have a great day, everyone!

Of possible interest –¬†The symbolism of figs .. plus a recipe from Free People

Recipe, Running, and Roommate Bonding

Happy Saturday! What’s everybody been up to today?

For me, the last few days have been pretty evenly split between work and play. That’s how it should be, right? On Monday I got margaritas with my roommate, Tuesday I went with a friend to watch E.T. outside for Sound and Cinema, and Wednesday evening was yoga on the Whole Foods roof. I’ve been going every week, and it’s such a blast!

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(Photo via Whole Foods Austin Facebook)

Yesterday I decided to get my workout in before work. A quick, sweaty 4-mile run!¬†I was a little nervous about going for a run before work because I wasn’t sure if I¬†allowed enough time to¬†shower, have breakfast, and get ready for work. It turned out I had ample time! Nice. It definitely felt good to get my workout out of the way before most people were even out of the house.

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Is Being Hungry a Crime?

It’s time for me to address the hungry, hungry elephant in the room…

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…Hunger!

Have you ever felt embarrassed¬†or¬†guilty for being hungry? How many times have you or a friend made a joke about how much or how frequently¬†you can eat? I’m totally an offender of all of these. But hunger is part of our natural body functions, so why should we feel ashamed of it?

I’m not a dietary expert, but I definitely believe that some people tend to be hungrier than others. Luckily or unluckily (depending on how you look at it), I am someone who gets hungry quite frequently. I typically eat three meals and two snacks a day, so sometimes it feels like I’m ALWAYS¬†eating!

A sample food log of mine. Line breaks indicate that a period of time passed by.

Here’s what a typical day’s food log looks like for me. I keep track on my phone or “Stickies” on my computer!

I know that eating eating every few hours¬†is good for your metabolism and blood sugar. To me, it’s a win-win! Eating more often keeps¬†my taste buds and my soul happy. But when the little voice in the back of my head starts saying things like, “No one else is eating now…” or “Didn’t you just eat breakfast?,” it really makes me stop and think!

Before I reach for a snack, I try to do a quick self-assessment. I ask myself the following:

  • What am I craving and why? Maybe I’m just in the mood for something, or maybe I¬†know I need to get¬†some protein in because I had a carb-focused breakfast. Either reason is okay! I just try to be mindful of why I’m choosing a particular food over another. If it’s late, I’m tired, I had a bad day, or I’m bored… that might be a reason to reassess the¬†situation.
  • When was the last time I ate?¬†Typically, I will eat something every 3-4 hours. Although I don’t limit myself to only being able to eat at specified intervals, I can usually “justify” a¬†snack if it’s been¬†3+ hours¬†since my last meal.
  • What have I eaten so far today?¬†I aim to incorporate¬†a variety of proteins, fats, carbs, vitamins, nutrients, etc. throughout the course of my day. So for example, if I have already consumed milk, yogurt, and eggs… I probably won’t choose cheese for a snack. Or if I pack a breakfast and a lunch that are sweet, fruity, and peanut buttery (hehe), I’ll bring veggies¬†a mid-afternoon snack. Planning is key!

Something¬†I’ve been hearing a lot lately is to consume the majority of your calories earlier in the day. This prevents you from getting too hungry later in the day and losing all “willpower,” if you will. I actually think my body prefers this, as well. If I eat breakfast between 6:30-7 AM, I will definitely be ready for a snack at 10:00. If I wait until noon, I’ll be beyond starving!

Here’s the thing. Compared to some people, I eat a lot. But it’s not because I’m a pig… if anything, it’s because I’m healthy! I’m not going to¬†make self-deprecating jokes about it anymore. In actuality, I’m the one who gets to eat something delicious 5-6 times a day. Who’s laughing now? ūüėČ

Questions for You –

  • Have you ever felt embarrassed of your hunger? If so, how do you deal with it?
  • How frequently¬†do you eat something?
  • Do you keep a food log?

Quark and Quinoa

Quark and quinoa… everyone’s favorite “Q” foods! Okay, probably the only Q foods that I can think of. ūüôā But that’s what I’ve been eating today!


Have you tried quark yet?¬†Elli Quark¬†was just introduced into Central Market grocery stores in Texas, and I cannot be more excited! In case you haven’t heard of it, quark is very similar to Greek yogurt. It’s like Greek yogurt’s sleek younger sister!

Today, I piled mine with blueberries (loving lemon blueberry¬†everything lately) and a few Rainier cherries… perfect for lunch outside! I also tried the red velvet flavor a few weeks ago.¬†Red velvet cake lovers… you’re going to want to get your hands on it asap.

This cup of creamy, refreshing lemon quark was only 80 calories and 6g of sugar! Notice how it also packs 14g of protein. Talk about a win/win/win!

Now that's something I can get behind! :)

Now that’s something I can get behind! ūüôā

Last week on Instagram, Elli Quark posted something that really resonated with me:¬†“Eat Less Sugar, You’re Sweet Enough Already!” As a total sweet tooth, this is something I’ve¬†been trying to be more conscious of.

I also had a bowl of quinoa/kale/avocado/olive oil, and a peach-pear La Croix water. Random but yummy!

IMG_2157While I’m sharing food pics… you have to see my breakfast as well.¬†Everyone’s favorite – Overnight Oats in a Jar!

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Last night, in a nearly empty Reginald’s Bourbon Pecan Peanut Butter¬†jar, I added the following:

  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup skim milk, plus a splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 drops vanilla Stevia

I let it sit (and glorify!) in the fridge overnight. This morning, I added more milk and topped it with a handful of raw pecans and dried mulberries. As always, it was cool, creamy, and delicious! How can you have a bad morning when you’re starting out with ooiaj? It’s impossible!

Now it’s your turn to dish!
– Have you tried quark yet?
– Do you prefer quark/Greek yogurt as a breakfast, snack, or dessert?
(for me, it’s all of the above!)

I hope you’re having a great Monday!

Our Mutual Friends

Does anyone else feel like their favorite bloggers are like mini celebrities? I have to be honest, I feel kind of awesome when one of my favorite health food bloggers replies to my comments. ūüėČ

Like you, I’m sure, there are a handful of bloggers I’ve been following for awhile. I love being inspired by their recipes, workouts, and general daily musings.¬†And even though I know I’m only one of thousands of followers that visit their blogs every day, I feel like I know them personally! Weird, right?

Since I’m new to the blog world, I wanted to share some of my favorite blogs with you. I’m guessing there’s a good chance we have some “mutual friends!”

  1. Peanut Butter Fingers¬†(Julie)¬†–¬†As I’ve mentioned, Julie has helped inspire my workouts for years! I admire her balance. She cooks up awesome healthy recipes and snacks, but isn’t afraid to indulge every now and then. Way to be, Julie!
  2. ImmaEatThat¬†(Kylie) – Yummmm, recipe central!! Kylie does an awesome job of sharing recipes that health-ify the classic favorites (think tacos, pizza, desserts). Plus she’s a fellow Texan! Can’t wait for her eBook.
  3. Nutrition Happens¬†(May) – I nominate May for the Queen of Instagram. That’s not a thing? Well, it should be. I was a winner of May’s “12 Mugs of Christmas” contest back in December, and have basically been her biggest fan ever since. The woman is a genius with health food. ūüôā So inspiring!

    The "12 Mugs of Christmas" winnings.. a ton of tea bags! I displayed them by my desk at work. What do you think? :)

    The “12 Mugs of Christmas” winnings.. a ton of tea bags! I displayed them by my desk at work. What do you think? ūüôā

  4. The Coconut Diaries¬†(Kim, aka @pbeechie on Insta) – If May’s the Queen of Instagram, Kim should just be Queen of the World. She lost 65 pounds by adopting a healthy lifestyle, which is amazing! She’s all about weight training, and therefore, concocts¬†tons of protein-packed goodies! She makes healthy versions of EVERY sinful food you can imagine. It’s ridiculous… and I love it.
  5. Chocolate Covered Katie¬†(Katie) – Literal dessert genius. I can’t even imagine how Katie comes up with all these healthy desserts, but I’m not questioning it.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Eating Bird Food¬†– A great go-to for¬†healthy, fresh, veggie-packed recipes.
  • Garden of Vegan¬†– Gorgeous photos! Makes you think “I can totally be a vegan if I ate this food every day!”
  • In it 4 the Long Run¬†– I know Georgie from college, and her blog is definitely on its way to success!
  • @TastyHealth¬†on Instagram – I’ve been screen capping her recipes forever. Pancakes, mugcakes, oatmeal, oh my!

Now it’s your turn! Tell me – Do you follow these ladies? Who¬†else are your favorites?

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Where I Stand

Want to hear my life story? Just kidding, I’m not going to go into extreme detail. But I figured it would be a good idea to provide some highlights, just to back it up and see how I got to where I am right now, both physically and metaphorically.

So, hi. I’m Emily, I’m 23 and a new resident of Austin, Texas. I grew up in Pennsylvania, and went to school in Ithaca, New York (Go Bombers!).

roomie love!

I graduated in 2013 with a degree in Communication Management and Design, and had the time of my life in school. Since then, I’ve worked as a specialty coffee barista… (“abstract latte art” anybody?), as well as a Marketing Assistant at the Anthropologie home office. Now I’m pursuing my career in ATX!

Urban Outfitters/Anthro Home Office in Philadelphia, PA. Gorgeous campus!

Urban Outfitters/Anthro Home Office in Philadelphia, PA. Gorgeous campus!

Though I was always fairly heath-conscious (low-fat Pop Tarts seemed like the better choice at the time…), it wasn’t until winter break of my senior year that I really decided to¬†get serious about it. I was completely self-motivated and held myself accountable to working out harder and smarter, and eating mostly “clean.”

I give a ton of credit to Julie of Peanut Butter Fingers¬†for my workout inspiration. I would screen cap her workouts on my phone and do them at the gym — mostly HIIT treadmill workouts and circuit stuff. It was so much easier than trying to make up my own workouts, which usually ended up in me slackin’!

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Spring semester of senior year, I also discovered Body Pump at my school’s gym. It totally changed the way I work out, and my physique! My best friend Sophie and I were accountability buddies and went to Body Pump 2x a week.

I gradually learned how to prepare different meals for myself, and sort of unintentionally adopted a mostly plant-based/pescatarian lifestyle. I eat meat about 1-2x a week, only because I just rarely prepare it.

Easy college meal: turkey, spinach, avocado, & tomato on whole wheat bread ... George Foreman'd!

Easy college meal: turkey, spinach, avocado, & tomato on whole wheat bread … George Foreman’d!

I was never really overweight, but I ended up losing 10-15 lbs. that semester, not even on purpose. In the past year, I’ve had my ups and downs and have gained about 5 of those lbs. back, which I’m okay with.

To me, health is all about balance. Yes, I will choose a salad over chicken fingers every single time. I make these choices because I enjoy eating veggies, and I don’t like how junk¬†food makes me feel. But know this: I will absolutely pile toppings into my froyo bowl, and lose count of how many Christmas cookies I ate somewhere after my 12th.

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I’m working on maintaining that “80/20” rule for eating healthy 80% of the time, and indulging the other 20%. I truly believe that living this way steers me away from bingeing and feeling deprived, which are basically the worst things ever.

This pancake...... Oh my......

This pancake (DeLuca’s in Pittsburgh)…… Oh my……

At the end of the day, I just really love to eat. A lot. And the more I exercise, the more I get to eat!¬†Both my culinary and fitness adventures have continued to evolve; I just tried oysters and took a Barre class a few weeks ago. I’ve been loving every second of it, and my body has been loving me back. Cheers!

A Long Time Coming

Starting a health blog has been a long time coming for me, and now I’ve finally decided to commit to it! I intend to share not only my daily food and exercise adventures, but also¬†my thoughts and feelings about health and fitness in general. Food and fitness have been my two biggest passions for a while now, and writing is the best way I know how to express myself. So here I am!

If this blog gains five followers over its lifetime, that’s okay with me. This project is, first and foremost, rooted within me. We’ll see where it goes!¬†I have a ton of respect and admiration for my favorite food bloggers (more on that later), but I definitely don’t think I’m the next Peanut Butter Fingers. We’ll see, though, right? Every story begins somewhere! And mine begins here.

Thanks for joining me! ūüôā