Avoiding “The Plague”

Let’s be honest here, we all get sick, well at least most of us. And sometimes sickness plagues us at the most inopportune times, like finals week. Times like these, call for extra measures. Being sick during finals week just makes everything harder, but there are some things that you can do to help keep your immune system healthy and ward off any inklings of sickness.

  1. Drink Water. I cannot stress this enough. Dehydration can cause a myriad of issues, including lowering your immune system.
  2. Eat Healthier. Again, I say this all the time, it’s not about eating completely healthy and clean, it is about balance. Yeah, you can totally stress eat some cookies and chips, but make sure to have plenty of fruits and veggies to off set those treats.
  3. Garlic Pills. Garlic has been shown to help your immune system fight off colds and my Calc Professor always told me to eat raw garlic if I was getting sick. If raw garlic isn’t your thing, I would recommend taking Aged Garlic Pills if you think you are catching a cold.
  4. Oregano Oil. It has been shown in some preliminary research to be an anti-viral agent, so once again, if you feel a cold coming on, then it worth taking. I put two drops into a glass of warm water and drink 2-3 times a day.
  5. Vitamin C. I never really have a problem getting enough of this in my diet, but if you think that you are low in Vitamin C, it might not hurt to take a supplement or two.
  6. Vitamin D. If you live somewhere like Washington, you probably aren’t getting enough of it. You have two options, get outside on those sunny days and/or supplement with a good vitamin D supplement.
  7. Exercise. It is good for your body and for your overall mental health. Stress = higher cortisol levels, which in turns means a lowered immune system. But exercise has been found to be a really big stress reliever due to the endorphins released.

Now the trick to these things, is that they aren’t quick fixes. Yes, start them as soon as you think you are getting sick, but things like healthy eating, exercise, and staying hydrated are things that you should try and incorporate into your lifestyle. It isn’t easy, but slowly it will become part of your daily life. And taking one dose of oregano oil or garlic pills won’t cure your cold, but studies show that taking them consistently can help reduce the duration of the cold.

Also take all this info with a grain of salt, I am not a health professional and the things that I have told you are based off of personal research and personal experience. So yeah, don’t come after me with pitch forks if you find it doesn’t work for you.

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trash panda’s delight

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Trash panda’s delight, a vegan’s take on the garbage plate. So it is pretty far from the actual ingredients of a garbage plate, but I like to think the concept is similar. And in all honesty I didn’t know what to call this. So trash panda’s delight it is. An ode to my favorite neighborhood alleyway trash pandas.

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baked potato slices + vegan “meat” + broccoli + avocado + cashew cream + avocado 

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the vegan “meat” in the making [tempeh, mushrooms, onions, garlic]
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Serves 2-4

  • 1 sweet potato + 1 russet potato (or two smaller yellow potatoes)
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 2 crimini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup tempeh
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews*
  • 1/2-1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 avocado diced
  • 1 green onion sliced

Preheat oven to 425°F, clean and slice the potatoes, leaving the skin on for added nutrients. Toss the sliced potatoes in a pinch of salt and a few tablespoons of olive oil, then spread evenly on a lined baking tray. (I like to use my Silpat because it’s reusable.) Then place in the oven for 15-30min until soft and slightly crispy.

While the potatoes are baking, dice the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Add the mushrooms and onion into a pan with around a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt + ground pepper. While that is sautéing, crumble in the tempeh and continue to cook for another 2mins, then add the minced garlic and cook for another few minutes. Set aside.

Cut up the broccoli and steam until tender. (Don’t overcook!) Set aside.

Next, add lemon juice, soaked cashews, 1/2 cup water, and a pinch of salt into the blender. Blend until smooth, adding more water to achieve desired consistency. It should be creamy, but not too thick.

Now time to build. Start with potatoes, next broccoli, then tempeh mushroom mixture, drizzle over sauce, and top with the green onions and avocado.

*If you don’t have a high-speed blender, I would recommend soaking overnight. Otherwise, 30mins to an hour in boiling hot water should work just fine.

lentil curry + crispy tofu

This is honestly one of the most fusion meals I’ve created…but it is so so good. The curry almost feels thai, yet also indian, with lentils which remind me of dal bhat, and then crispy tofu takes us back to thai again. All around its a solid meal filled with acres of plant based protein.

Sautéed green veggies for the side.

This recipe was adapted from Anett Velsberg’s peanut lentil curry.

Ingredients:

– LENTIL CURRY –

2 tbsp coconut oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced

2 carrots sliced

1-2 potatoes diced

1 tsp smashed coriander seeds

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 cup red lentils

2 cups water + 1 tbsp veggie stock concentrate*

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime

– TOFU –

1 tbsp olive oil

1 pack of extra firm tofu

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp tamari

In a large pot, heat the oil and add the garlic, ginger, and spices. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the spices, are fragrant. Add the vegetables, lentils, stock and crushed tomatoes. Stir and place the lid on. Cook on a low heat for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

While the curry is cooking, preheat oven to 400°F. Next, wrap a towel around the tofu and press under something heavy for 5-10mins. Dice into medium-sized cubes and toss with olive oil, nutritional yeast, and tamari. Spread evenly onto a lined baking tray and bake for 15-20mins until desired crispiness is reached

Add the coconut milk and mix well. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then top with lime juice and crispy tofu. Serve with rice, steamed or sautéed  green veggies, and flatbreads. Enjoy!

*This veggies stock concentrate has a lot of flavor and salt, so I definitely would recommend using it. But if you can’t find it or don’t want to use it then use normal veggie broth (instead of all the water) and add some extra salt.

clear skin + updated skincare routine

Processed with VSCO with b5 presetSkin, its super important and actually the largest organ in our body, yet it can be oh so easily be forgotten about…well at least until trouble is spotted. I’ve had my fair share of skin problems, granted I never had a serious acne condition, but from high school until last year I dealt with patches of acne on my face, neck, back, chest, and sometimes even my arms. At the times I thought it would never go away and I definitely stressed over it when I couldn’t hide it. But alas, my mother was right and eventually, it would clear up. I attribute it clearing up to a few things…

stressing less. This was a big one for me. The times when my acne is the worst is when I am under a lot of stress. And yeah, it’s not super easy to just quit stressing. (As an avid worrier, I would know. ) But I do think that reducing my stress has been key to my skin clearing up. This year my acne has been almost no existent and I think part of that is because I have been taking steps to reduce stress. Like, not procrastinating on studying + assignments, spending more time outdoors, and having solid ways to manage my depression and anxiety.

more water. This one should be pretty obvious, everyone I know who promotes health, promotes drinking more water. It is honestly one of the simplest things you can do for your skin. I’ve always kind of liked drinking water, I find it super satisfying, but if that isn’t the case for you, then find ways to make it more enjoyable. Try adding lemon slices or other fruits, or make little goals to have so much done by lunch, or even try drinking it with a straw. Honestly just find something that works and get that water in!

a more balanced diet. Eating healthy is one thing, but also eating a well-rounded diet is crucial. I spent all of high school eating super healthy all day and then eating tons of “unhealthy” foods at night, because I neglected to satisfy my cravings during the day. For example, this morning instead of just drinking a green smoothie for breakfast, I also had two eggs with vegan parmesan cheese. And at lunch I had a buddha bowl but then also had vegan yogurt for dessert and a chai latte and a fig bar for a snack. I still eat healthy, but I avoid restricting myself. I’ll probably eat a big dinner tonight and have dessert after and that is OK. So yeah, I eat more, but I try to keep it pretty healthy and balanced.

simplified natural skincare routine. For the past 4 years I’ve exclusively used dr. bronner’s rose castile soap as my face wash and I’ve found it to work super well for my very sensitive skin. (Oddly specific, but the rose is the only one scent that I’ve found to keep my skin clear + clean.) And then beyond that things have changed recently but I try to keep my skincare routine super simple + natural.

So then you ask…Emily, what exactly do you do? Continue reading

Aug-Jan: where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to

Wow, it has been a bit since I’ve last posted here. August 3, 2017. Let’s see, where does one even begin? In September I moved to a pretty bomb apartment with my childhood best friend. We have sweeping views of Bellingham Bay and it’s a short walk to school. The late summer was filled with lots of last minute hikes, bouldering sessions on the beach, and many haphazard adventures. In the fall, I fell in love with biking again. I pushed the limits of my little racing bike, taking it on muddy trail rides and splashing it through countless puddles around town. But fall wasn’t just all biking, I started to recognize the importance of my Bellingham family. I spent countless evenings having family dinners with my brother and our close friends. And most importantly, in October we welcomed Luna into the clan. She immediately stole everyone’s hearts, despite being a holy terror sometimes.

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Passionate About Life

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If I am being completely honest, spring quarter was a hard one for me. I left behind familiarity and friends to seek out something I was passionate about. Environmental studies is not offered at Walla Walla University and overall I was feeling a little trapped. I couldn’t live off campus, I wasn’t able to drive 5 min to see the sea, and I was hours away from home. And I really wish that I could have my friends and still attend the university that was best suited for me. But I couldn’t, so I moved to Bellingham to attend Western Washington University.

The adjustment period was a bit rough, if you know me at all, then you would know I’m quite introverted. So introverted that I scored the highest on a test I had to do in a health class. So making friends proved to be challenging and not having my study buddies around made things worse. But I’ve managed and now I am here, done with spring qtr.

I was flipping through my bullet journal on Saturday evening and came across a page of quotes from April of last year. The one that stuck out to me the most said…

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”

It’s a quote by Roald Dahl. And it was a simple reminder to run full speed ahead at the things I’m passionate about. It reminded me that I haven’t done any community service or volunteer work in almost a year and that I miss it dearly. It made me realize that I shouldn’t hold back my passion for creating and that I should embrace it. And most importantly it reminded me to run towards a major in environmental studies wholeheartedly. I’ve been holding back, sulking, and getting lost in it all. But sometimes we just need a gentle to reminder to focus on a few things and do them well in life.

So this week, I encourage you to be an enthusiast about your life.  Find your passions in life and seek them out wholeheartedly.

Weekend Links 6/2/17

 

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Oyster Dome Hike 6/1/17

 

It is finally June! I can’t believe summer is just around the corner, I just have to make it through my first finals week at Western. This weekend I am hoping the weather clears up a bit so I can go paddle boarding on Lake Whatcom, but if it doesn’t I’ll probably end up at a coffee shop drinking tea and hitting the books.

8 life tips from graduation speeches to commemorate grad season

A simple olive oil cake, perfect to go with fresh summer strawberries.

These dogs are so cute!

Something funny to lighten up your weekend.

My takeaway, from my Intro to Women’s and Gender Studies, beautifully illustrated.

I’m obsessed with this youtube channel, beautiful healthy food for days.

Greyhounds…I can’t even. So cute.

Also, I think orange tabby cats are the cutest. Always have, always will.

The US sliding backwards on climate change, not what I wanted to hear this week as a student in an environmental studies program.

One person can’t stop climate change, but collectively reducing our impact on the environment can…here are a few ways to stop climate change.

A little reminder for your weekend.

Have a good weekend everybody!

 

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding | A Note on Sugar

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It has been said that sugar is the cigarettes of our generation and honestly I didn’t really realize how addictive it was until I tried to stop eating it. And this is even after I’d given up most refined sugars. I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but I’ve always preferred more natural sugars. I’ve had several birthdays during my childhood where I had half a watermelon as my cake, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t consume my fair share of sugar. I often load up on lots of “natural sugars”, like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, dates, honey, coconut sugar… And even those are unhealthy if consumed regularly. So in the spirit of health, I’ve decided to share one of my favorite sugarless recipes that can still qualify as a dessert.

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

  • 1 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 water
  • 6-9 tb chia seeds*
  • 1 lemon zested
  • frozen or fresh berries

Blend the coconut milk and water until smooth. Pour out into a container and mix in the chia seeds and lemon zest. Pour into storage jars and leave in the fridge until the chia seeds have soaked up all the liquid and expanded. Top with fresh or frozen berries.

*depending on how thick or thin you like your pudding

Acai Bowl

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Acai Bowls are one of those standard hip health food things, but they can be really expensive if you buy them at a smoothie bar. Making them at home is less expensive and allows to you make them customizable to your own taste and preferences. It’s taken me many packets of pureed acai to get to this point, but I think I have finally figured out the perfect acai bowl recipe.

If you can’t afford the acai puree, just leave it out. I’m sure that if you had the right combination of blueberries and strawberries, you could totally fake the color and nobody on Instagram would know that you are a poor college student.

Ingredients

1 packet of acai puree (Sambazon is my favorite brand)

1.5 frozen bananas

1/2 frozen strawberries

1/4-1/2 of apple or orange juice and a little small of water

toppings: chopped fruit, buckwheat groats, coconut flakes, chia seeds, granola, flax seed meal… are just a few of my favorites.

Defrost the acai puree under hot water and pour into the blender. Chop up the frozen bananas and add in, along with the strawberries. Start with a small amount of juice and water and blend using the tamper. If your blender is struggling add more liquid. My advice is to start small with the liquid because once you add too much you can’t really take it back. When it is fully blended, transfer into a bowl, and place in the freezer while you get your toppings ready. Then decorate if you so please, otherwise just toss it on and enjoy!

Let me know if you have a favorite acai bowl recipe.

 

April Favorites

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I can’t believe it’s May already! Last month was crazy. Between adjusting to my new life in Bellingham and starting my first quarter at Western Washington University, April just seemed to fly by.

First up on my list of favorites, is the ring pictured above. After living here for a couple of weeks, I noticed that a lot of people were wearing layers of lots of really cool rings. So when I stumbled upon this one at the farmers market, I knew I couldn’t leave it behind.  Continue reading