Question for You: Reader’s Opinion

On a run last weekend, while questioning why I put lungs through the same old torture over and over, I had two light bulb moments, probably brought on a delirious, oxygen deprived brain grasping wildly for something to think about other than the unfortunate state of my chaffing thighs. Sorry, just bein’ real, ya’ll. First, I realized that I don’t engage my readers as much as I’d like to. I know you all come from different experiences, backgrounds, and ages, which means you all have unique perspectives. I want to take advantage of that, which is where light bulb numero dos comes into play.

Here’s how this will work. If it seems helpful and people are interested in discussing, by means of the comment section below, every Friday, I want to pose a question for all my readers, and friends of my readers, and friends of friends of my readers. It will usually be a question that doesn’t have a right or wrong answer, one that’s up for debate.

bigspringThis week’s question:

“How should we (as friends, relatives, parents, co-workers, teachers, etc) reach out to someone who is grieving? Or should we even reach out?”

Grief is a messy, heavy topic. I’m sure you all can come up with a plethora of causes for grief – disease, loss, broken relationships, mental illness, trauma, infertility, and divorce to name a few. I grieve in a different way than you do, and you grieve differently than your neighbor, or your mom, or your stepsister. You get the point. We’re all touched by it in different ways, but no matter the differences, we can all agree on one thing, it’s painful. We don’t have to hurt alone though. We shouldn’t hurt alone. My question for you then, is how can we lovingly support people who are grieving.20160316_185238I thought about it for a little while, working through some scenarios, and I realized that sometimes my best intentions for loving a grieving a friend come across as insensitive. Going up to a friend in a public place, and asking how they’re doing, might not always be the best way to show I care. They might be having a normal day, and my comment opens up a wound. Maybe a personal card or email, which they can open in the safety of their own home, is a better option. What if you see someone grieving, and you want to let you know you’re thinking about them, but you don’t know them very well. How can you support them without being too intrusive. But those are just a few of my own thoughts. I want to hear from you.

sunsetGuiding questions…

How should we reach out to someone who’s grieving?

Depending on the situation, what are some phrases that should never be said? I know for me, phrases like, “I understand how you feel,” when I know the person has never experienced what I’m going through, are frustrating.

What are some words of encouragement that should be voiced? Is there something that really comforted you when you were grieving? “I love you” and “I’m here for you” are two I think aren’t pretentious or insensitive. 

How can we be consistently supportive without being stifling?

If you’ve never commented before, don’t be shy. I LOVE reading your comments. I want to hear from you. Also, if you have discussion questions you would like me to post, share them with me via email or in the comments section.

WIAW #18: Bachelorette Party Weekend

Last weekend was filled with goodness. It was a personal celebration of being DONE with first semester finals and kicking off the new semester, and it was my oldest sister’s bachelorette party!

Linking up with Arman and Jenn.

WIAW+tag

The whole bridal party went to Lancaster for the weekend. The weather was dicey driving, but we made it there safely.

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The hotel we stayed at was beautiful. It was a remodeled factory, and there were exposed pipes and beams in the bedrooms. The whole atmosphere was cozy and rustic.

thecorkfactory

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Green tea smoothie and a veggie bowl with rice, a veggie burger, pickled onions, and other delicious, belly satisfying things.

veggiebowl-1This was mix of rice, beans, pico de gallo, and scrambled eggs… so yummy.mexicanfoodShopping at Park City: My eyes bulged a little when we walked into Lush. Have you ever been there? They sell natural cosmetics and beauty products. The eye bulge was from all the pretty things (like these soaps) but also from the prices…homemade is the way to go friends.

shoppingI dragged my sister into Yankee Candle to sniff candles. Good times.

sniffingcandlesLook look. Christmas kitty pants.

christmaspantsBaked oatmeal with almond milk and ginger tea. Nom.

bakedoatmealMy belly was full, and my heart was full. My wallet is a little empty though. Let’s not talk about it. Those ladies, (my two sisters and the rest of my sister’s bridesmaids) are golden. They’re genuine, and wise, and hilarious. Such a good trip.

Happy Wednesday, ya’ll.

 

Four Ingredient Chocolate Chia Pudding (vegan option)

Hello friends.

Where are my chocolate lovers? Oh Oh meee. *wildly raises hand* Chocolate is kind of my thing. I don’t discriminate unless it’s milk or white “chocolate.” <- Not my favorites as you tell by the air quotes. Wait, I take that back. There’s one exception. White chocolate is yummy in white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies.

img_0747Potato, potahto. I’m not here to debate which type of chocolate is best. I’ll save that for another time. Let’s talk Chocolate Chia Pudding, shall we?

img_0752This pudding is…

slightly sweet

rich

satisfying

…and like most of the recipes you’ll find here, it’s easy to make.

IMG_0758.JPGIt makes a mean make ahead breakfast, but it could be dessert if you dressed it up with chocolate chips and whipped cream. After I took pics, I ate it as a post-lunch dessert. That’s a thing. The options are endless really.

IMG_0757.JPGChocolate Chia Pudding

Time: 15 minutes                           Servings: 6-8                              Level: Easy Peasy

Ingredients:

1 cup chia seeds

1 bar of dark chocolate*

3 cups unsweetened almond milk

2-3 T honey (optional)**

Directions:

  1. Pour the almond milk into a microwave safe bowl. Break up the chocolate and add it to the milk. If you’re using the honey, add it to the milk and chocolate. Microwave the mixture for thirty seconds. Take it out, stir, and heat for another 20-30 seconds.
  2. The chocolate shouldn’t be totally melted yet. Scoop out the chocolate chunks and about a cup of the almond milk into a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add the blended chocolate to the almond milk and stir well. Add the chia seeds and stir well. It should thicken very quickly because the almond milk is warm. If it is too think, add more almond milk to get it to your desired consistency.
  4. Keep it in the refrigerator. Enjoy! It’s a great breakfast, snack, or dessert option.

Notes:

*Strict vegans: most dark chocolates over 70% are vegan, but check to be safe.

**I didn’t add honey to my batch. It wasn’t very sweet at all, so if you’re looking for a more desserty pudding, add in the honey. A vegan option would be maple syrup or agave nectar.

IMG_0760.JPGThe pudding is full of iron from the dark chocolate and omega three fatty acids and fiber from the chia seeds. Chia seeds are so cool. They look like tiny baby jelly fish, but they’re actually ridiculously nutritious seeds. Hmm, I’m not sure how appetizing that sounds. Forget the jelly fish part.

If you get a chance to make this, share on Instagram and tag @nutrition.on.a.mission.blog

Week in Review: A Word a Day

Hello all.

How did this past week treat you? I’m guessing many of you went back to work, school, or some type of normal routine. Me too. It was hard.

Many thanks to the wonderful Meg for hosting Week in Review. Guess who didn’t take a single picture of food, running things, etc last week. Me. Oh well, words work too. I’ll try to create a mental image for you.

Week-In-Review-Button-FinalSunday: Ease

Church was in the morning, and the rest of the day I just felt at ease. I had a slow, chilly run in the afternoon and did some quality couch sitting with the parents. I think we watched a movie or something.

Monday: Productive

I broke out a paper and pen and wrote down my list for the day. It’s almost euphoric to check off all the little chores. I did laundry, finished up a few school assignments, created a recipe for the blog, organized my dresser and closet, and got a workout in. Lists. Productivity. Success.

Tuesday: Adjustment

Back to school. Back to waking up early…adjusting to the old schedule.

Wednesday: Awareness

“Holy cannoli finals are on Friday.” <- Me, when I became aware that it was in fact Wednesday, and I had two more days to study for my first two finals. I got my butt in gear and started studying for my AP Biology Test and Intro to Psych Final. Also, the obligatory Wednesday grocery shopping expedition took place because I was aware that we were in desperate need of more bananas. Heaven forbid I go a day without bananas.

Thursday: Unsettled

I felt overwhelmed for a few different reasons. Not my favorite day of the week. On the bright side though, I took my unsettled self for a run, which made me feel better. I also started a new book, which made me feel even betterer. (nope, not a typo)

Friday: Befuddled

We had a two hour delay, and our school schedule was strange. At the end of the day, I was feeling pretty tired. I left school in a befuddled fog.

Saturday: Recharged

I met up with Beth for a long run in the wee hours of the morning, and then the two of us joined Liv for breakfast. Shout out to Beth for running 8 miles in 18 degree weather with no gloves. She never ceases to amaze me. These ladies are encouraging, and funny, and genuine. I felt recharged after spending time with them.

It’s a new week y’all, might as well dive in.


So tell me…

What word describes a day from last week?

How are you feeling on this Monday? 

WIAW #17: I’m growing a thing in my pantry + Lazy day eats

Happy Wednesday!

I’ve missed sharing a day of food. It’s always nice to reflect on how our eating patterns change based on seasons, cravings, activity levels, and lots of other things. I’ve noticed a shift to preferring more savory foods and adding more protein to meals, probably because my workouts have been harder and runs have been longer. It’s working for me right now.

Linking up with Arman for WIAW.

WIAW+tag

In other news, I jumped on the kombucha train and started a batch on Monday…that’s the thing I’m growing in my pantry, my baby scoby. Hopefully, it’ll be ready next week. I’ll keep you updated. This weird jelly thing is going to do great things. GREAT things.

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just a girl and her scoby

Bread is such a perfect food. It’s so satisfying and golden, crunchy warm. <- That makes very little grammatical sense, but we’ll role with it.  A three egg spinach omelet, two pieces of sprouted grain toast + coconut oil, and chai tea to start my day. Not too shabby.

eggsandtoast

Lunch was a plantain fried in coconut oil with seitan, broccoli, cauliflower, and salsa.

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I’m always munchy in the afternoon. An apple and these vegan chocolate banana muffins were a good solution to afternoon tummy rumbles. Honestly though, this was a comfort food kind of day. It was cold and rainy outside, the last day of Christmas break, and I spent a lot of time curled up on the couch watching Netflix.

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This was such a delicious meal. I cooked sweet potatoes in a pan with broccoli, black beans, and broccoli. Yum. Topped with avo, of course.

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The parents watched more Netflix with me while I nibbled on almonds and chocolate. It was a super relaxing, restful day before school started again.

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Nourish yourself, not just with food but by growing healthy relationships, moving your body mindfully, and taking care of your mental health. Indulge in some quiet time this week. Read a good book. Talk to a special someone.

Hope you all have a super week. I’ll just be hanging out by my pantry cheering on my gelatinous, scooooby friend. Gross, Vangie. 

Toodles ❤


So tell me…

What food “season” are you in right now?

Have you ever tried to brew your own kombucha?

What’s your favorite cozy, comfort food to eat on a dreary day? 

 

Food + Running: What I’ve Learned

This week marks the third week of half marathon training! Sorry, five weeks from now these updates will probably be super annoying. Ehh, maybe they’re already annoying. I’M JUST SO EXCITED.

I never thought running could teach me so much about nutrition and maintaining a healthy relationship with food, but it has. As always, remember I’m just a random teen from PA sharing my thoughts. Always consult a professional if you have nutrition or exercise related questions. 

Eat Enough: Running is super energy intensive. Even as it gets easier when we get stronger, you’re still burning calories while you run. It’s very hard to be a successful, happy runner if you’re not eating enough.

img_0712Carbs Aren’t Bad: There is a reason why over 60% of daily calories should come from carbohydrates. We need them. Our bodies break down glucose (from foods like potatoes, grains, fruit, veggies, etc) during cellular respiration and make ATP -> acronym that stands for a complicated scientific word that means energy. We use ATP to do everything, including running. Plus, carbs taste like hugs.

heartpotatoTreat Yourself…In Moderation: Everyone should treat themselves, not just runners, but I include this because training can get intense. We get too wrapped up in worrying about how weight affects pace, wanting to PR, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah. The truth is that unless you’re an elite/professional runner, it doesn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things.

IMG_0717.JPGBonking is Preventable: I’ve only seriously bonked twice in 4 years of running. Both experiences were nutrition related. Once was during a 10 mile training run, and I hadn’t brought any carby snacks with me. Also I hadn’t had a big enough, carb rich lunch. The second time was during a summer half, and I had paced myself wrong and was dehydrated. I’m not saying I’ll never bonk again, but fueling properly definitely helps!

Running Suppresses Appetite: This one is frustrating. Especially during the summer, you finish a hot run and feel like you’re on the verge of barfing and food is the last thing on your mind. It’s still crucial to get nutrients into your body. Smoothies, toast, or a piece of fruit are always good options. (Low fiber, low fat smoothies will be gentler on the tummy)

img_0721Don’t Focus on Calories Burned: This goes for any type of exercise. Run because you want to be a better, stronger runner. Run because it makes you feel happy. Run because you want to meet new people at your local running club. But please, for pete’s sake, stop looking at your runs as calories burned. It takes away so much joy. If you hate running, DON’T RUN. There are a billion other ways to move your body.

Whole, Nutritious Foods = Better Runs: Treat yourself? Absolutely. Treat yourself all day every day? Ehh, not so much. Our bodies recover more quickly, fight off pathogens, and feel more energetic when our diet includes more plant-based, nutrient rich foods.

img_0724Fiber Pre-Run is risky: I love running super much, but it’s not always (read: rarely) glamorous. It’s a poop story, okay. You knew it was coming.

Rewind a good 3 years. It was my first “real” long run I had ever done, and I decided to run 8 miles. I started running, my dad was biking along side of me, and five miles in I really had to poop. But, the run was a loop, and we were in the middle of nowhere. If you’ve ever experienced runner’s trots, you feel my pain. If you haven’t, Google it and be enlightened. I told dad he needed to bike home and get the car, or I would literally poop in a field. He biked off, but by the time he got home and brought the car, I was about a 1/2 mile from home. I was too darn stubborn to cut my first long run short by a few minutes, so I waddled home. Thankfully, my digestive system is used to long runs now, and I’ve learned that lots of fiber pre-run is a gamble…lesson learned. 


So tell me…

What has running taught you?

Have you ever had to learn the hard way when running?

 

 

 

I’m Back + Reflections on 2016

Oh helloo. Long time no see.

That little break was just what I needed. My heart is thankful for the rest and the festivities that took place over the Christmas weekend. Lots of things happened while I was away. I became an auntie for the third time, watched my big brother graduate from college, celebrated Christmas with the whole family, and started training for my half marathon in March.

babyniece.png
baby snuggles ❤

It has been a busy time, but I’m overwhelmed by all the blessings. Okay, get ready for a sappy reflection on 2016. For real though, the unintentional (on my part), intentional (on God’s part), focus of this year has been growth and change, which has been uncomfortable for me, but let’s be real, growth is rarely super comfortable.

Rather than focusing on resolutions, I want to look back on what this year has taught me. If resolutions are your thing, go for it, but for me, I’ve realized that A) I don’t stick to them and B) It’s just me trying to plan stuff when really I have no idea what a new year will hold. 

Change is meant to jostle you.

It will shake things up. Old things that were important to you will become less important and new things will take their place. I don’t want to stay stagnant, so why would I try to fight change.

The future doesn’t rest in my hands.

I wrote a whole post about this, but yikes, this year kept reminding me of this. My plans for the future have been redirected, which first made me angry, then anxious, then fearful, but I’m finally learning to rest in knowing that our Father has a perfect plan.

Running is equally hard and rewarding.

This year started with zero miles a week. Then by March, I joined my high school’s track team and ran every day. I learned that I love running, but I’m not the competitive type. In June, I ran a very sloooow, very frustrating half marathon. It’s been bumpy, but I always come back to running as my favorite way to sweat.

running

Physical and academic challenges balance each other.

Volunteering at Dickinson Farm over the summer and running are different from class work during the school year, but each is rewarding and tiring in a different way.

Say YES and NO.

I usually go through periods when I take on too many responsibilities and commitments, and then I’m tense and overbooked. That’s followed by a pendulum shift to saying no to everything and becoming a social hermit. Neither is healthy.

Food is just food.

It’s meant to nourish and sustain. Treat your body well by feeding it well, but beyond that, food is just food. Don’t focus too heavily on calories, numbers, and macros.

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cooookies

Humans need other humans.

There is an unhealthy emphasis on individualism. We’re told that all we need is ourselves. This. Makes. Me. Angry. We need mentors, healthy friendships, connections with people who share our passions and convictions. Community is vital for a healthy self.

christmaswithsisters
my two lovely sissys

I’m thankful for all the hard lessons and blessings that this year brought, and I am super excited for this coming year.

winterbreak

A massive thank you to the dedicated readers and supporters of Nutrition on a Mission. I love you all so much ❤

See you all in 2017!


So tell me…

What was a highlight of 2016 for you? 

Tell me one thing you learned in 2016? 

 

Time for a Blogging Break

Hello friends.

I’ll be taking a short hiatus from blogging over the next week or so. These past few weeks have been tiring. I was sick last week, so physically I’m trying to get better. Half marathon training starts next week, and I am really excited for the structured workouts. But first, I need to make sure my body is healed completely before pushing too hard.

School has been busy. I am incredibly blessed to have such passionate, caring teachers, but any student will tell you this is a stressful time of year. Also, the semester is ending soon. Whaaat? They’re not kidding when they say senior year flies. Also, on Monday, I got a disappointing decision from one of my top colleges. I let myself be sad for a little bit, but ultimately, I’m at peace with it.

I’ve just been cranky and mopey lately. My parents have seen the worst of it (sorry mom and dad), and my current self is not one I’m happy with. I don’t want this to be a pity party post, but I do want to be honest with you. Also, through all of this, I am constantly reminded of God’s goodness. He is so patient, so forgiving.

This mini break will hopefully give me some extra time to spend reading, baking, and finding rest in doing things that make my heart happy. No worries though. I’ll be back. I want to push out some recipes for you all and also a few thoughtful posts. This feels so disjointed and choppy, my apologies. It’s just the current state of my brain, lots of thought hopping happening. Yikes. That’s a mouthful.

Anyhow…

Eat some good food this week. Take a long walk. Cuddle with your favorite book. Soak up a little Christmas cheer if you’re feeling Scrooge-ish.

Merry Christmas, lovely people ❤

 

Currently…December Edition

Hi you. How was your weekend? For real though, I want to know. Let me know in the comments. Mine was okay. I worked on Saturday, and then spent the rest of the day researching jobs for public health majors…fascinating, I know. For real though, it was exciting. There are so many opportunities, including things like involvement in the Peace Corp, which has been on my mind lately. Then, Sunday was church in the morning and homework all afternoon.

Some of my favorite lovely bloggers (like Polyglot JotRunning with Spoons, and Katalyst Health), do “Currently” posts. I really like them; they’re a nice way to catch up. Let’s catch up, shall we?

Currently eating…a little of this, a little of that. Eats have been weird lately. Oddly enough, smoothie and yogurt bowls have made a comeback. Who’d a thunk this girl would insist on hot oatmeal during the summer and cold smoothies during the winter. *shrugs* 

Currently reading…Leaving Time by Jodi PicoultAll of her writing is awesome, but I’m especially enjoying this one. (Update: I just finished it, and the ending is weird. You should still read it though because the writing is beautiful.) 

jodiepicoult.pngCurrently wishing…for Christmas break. I am r e a d y.

Currently feeling…overwhelmed. The end of the first semester is quickly approaching, and finals are on the horizon. I’ll have to say goodbye to some wonderful classes. It’s bittersweet. Sixth period AP World History will be sorely missed. It’s filled with nerdy, passionate, human-loving people. Oh and my teacher, she is just incredible. Incredible.

Currently waiting…for half marathon training to start! Ooh and for college decisions. I hear back from Boston University sometime this week.

Currently needing…one of those long, meaningful conversions that make you think but also answer some questions.

Currently wearing…PJs and fluffy socks, the attire that 90% of my posts are drafted in.

Currently listening to…this lovely classical piece. So calming.

Currently loving…this verse from Proverbs. I’ve been conflicted about changing my major and thinking that maybe Nutrition and Dietetics isn’t the best one for me, right now at least. It’s difficult to uproot my plans and trust that I’ll be led in the right direction, but my plans aren’t important. The Father has a perfect one, and it’s so much more wonderful than any I could ever dream up.

proverbs1921.jpg

Currently procrastinating…filling out scholarship applications. I know. I know. Free money. They’re such a pain in the butt though. Blah.

Consider yourself up to date. Now tell me…(look I even rhymed for you)

What are you currently feeling?

What are you currently needing?

What are you currently reading? 

 

WIAW #16: Favorite Links of the Moment

Wednesday is here y’all. You know what that means…fooood. Also, I have some super posts that you need to read this week. Many thanks to Arman for hosting WIAW this week.WIAW+tag

 

Life/Health:

Every Day Has Clouds via You are Safe With Me

Life is Messy: Food Ruts, Food Guilt and Where is My Time? via My Littletablespoon

What’s Your Crutch? via Erin’s Inside Job

Move in a Way That Feels Good via The Real Life RD

Can Your Mental Health Impact Your Physical Health? This Study Might Be The Answer via Mind Body Green

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Smoothie Bowl: banana, spinach, blueberries, vegan yogurt, puffed wheat

Plant-Based Recipes:

Creamy Tomato Risotto via Everyday Plantbased

Peppermint and Mocha Bread {GF + DF} via Katalyst Health

Flourless Almond Butter Sandwich Cookies via In It 4 the Long Run

The 4 Avocado Hacks You Never Knew You Needed via Mind Body Green

sandwhich
oops can’t remember what was in this 🙂 

News/World Happenings:

Army Halts Construction of DAPL – For Now via Mother Jones

(Unpictured) After school snack munching included an apple and rice cakes.

Running + Fitness:

TNF Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Race Recap via Eat Run Pavement

26 Lessons from My First Marathon via The Bucket List Tummy

zoodles
Zoodles: seitan, pasta sauce, broccoli 

Funnies:

16 Moments That Will Satisfy Every Perfectionist via Buzzfeed

17 Easy Steps to Get You Through a Rough Day via Buzzfeed

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Recycled pic: lots more chocolate + blueberries

Happy reading.


So tell me…

Favorite link from those listed above.

Something super you ate this week.

A link I didn’t list that need to read.