It’s Okay To Struggle

I want to be as honest as I can – I struggle. More often than I would like to admit sometimes. I don’t know why but when my life isn’t going the way I envision it or I am piled with stress from every direction, I can’t help but feel a fog come over me. As many of you may know that I used to deal with eating issues, I can gladly say I have that under control completely. I never let my negative feelings interfere with how or what I choose to eat. However, I am one to struggle with overwhelming anxiety and sometimes depressing thoughts…

Today I was sitting in my room and really thought to myself, “my life has no purpose”. I started crying after that because the immense feelings of rejection and loneliness hit me like a bag of cats. Emotional much? Yes. Because I am naturally an introvert, it is so easy for me to spend the entire day by myself without a problem. But when it becomes day after day, I can’t help but feel empty. Now, don’t get me wrong- I become a total extrovert when I am finally around my friends or a group of people, but with a lot of emotional self-image issues I have been dealing with lately, I haven’t even had the motivation to reach out to others.

I do see the problem here- I’m too comfortable being alone. And this is something that I have to change. There is nothing wrong with spending some time with yourself, but there comes a point you have to balance it out, let loose, and be around those that bring you joy.

I have made goals for myself to hang out with my friends at least every other day this week and to even talk to random strangers every day. Sometimes even the smallest conversations with others can make the biggest difference in the course of the day.

I wiped my tears. I will stop feeling sorry for myself. I will not let my negative self-image hold me back from being the REAL me. Because I realize that the more I surround myself with genuine people that make me laugh, all the other stuff becomes quiet. And I can breathe again. My life does indeed have purpose. God does have a plan for me even if I cannot see it yet. I will have faith ❤

“Comfort zones are great places to be, but nothing ever grows there.”

Fuel YOUR Fitness

Do you like lifting heavy things? How about running til your feet hurt? Or how about a spontaneous hike with your friends? All of these wonderful ways of moving your body require something very essential: FUEL.

It isn’t uncommon that I see athletes under-fueling themselves and wondering why they aren’t making the progress they want as fast. That’s because our bodies run primarily on glycogen! And where does that come from exactly? CARBOHYDRATES. And since carbohydrates are the fastest form of energy, they are essential for every living thing. Our brains alone need at LEAST 130g of carbs a day! So can you imagine how much you actually need if you are trying to lift 200 lbs or run to China and back?….A LOT.

When the body doesn’t have enough glycogen stores in the muscles and the liver, the body then turns to fat stores instead.And when there are not enough fat stores, protein from muscles are used as energy which is NOT healthy as it can lead to heart problems and even death. While using up fat stores may seem ideal for an overweight individual to lose weight, I would never recommend a super low-carb diet to anyone. It all comes down to the types of foods you are choosing to fuel your body with. Growing, healthy young adults need not to compare their needs to someone of that context as their needs are going to be different.

For me personally, I like to get my early morning workout in before breakfast or sometime in the morning. I never train fasted because I have found that my energy is way more sustained throughout my workout if I at least have a small snack beforehand.

These are some easy pre-workout snack ideas that I enjoy:

  • 2 rice cake with peanut butter/jelly
  • GoMacro vegan bars, Larabars, RX bars, really any little energy bar 😉
  • 1 slice whole wheat toast with nut butter + banana
  • Dates with nut butter (can you see a trend here, haha, i’m nutty)
  • Protein smoothie with frozen banana, scoop of plant-based protein powder, cinnamon, ground flaxseed, maca powder, and sometimes cacao powder!
  • My almond butter chocolate chip energy balls
  • A few slices of cold cinnamon baked sweet potato that I usually bake the night before and stick in the fridge (aka perfection)
  • Coconut water
  • Cereal + fruit+ almond milk + MRM vegan cinnamon bun protein (right now I am loving Kashi cinnamon crumble cereal, Kashi dark chocolate karma wheat biscuits, Peanut butter puffins, and the ever so classic Cheerios!)


Really think about combing a good source of carbohydrates before with a little fat/protein to keep you from having a blood sugar crash mid workout. Having something small like in the list above 30-45 minutes before a workout is just enough time for it to digest a little to power you through!

And of course after, follow the same guidelines of eating a good quality source of carbohydrates with protein for muscle synthesis and a little fat. Personally, I love having a big breakfast to start my day and to keep my energy lasting so I don’t have the “afternoon slump”.

I have learned something about myself over the years of trail and error and that is to not ever compare your needs to someone else’s. Some people can do a fasted workout no problem, however, from what I have researched- the stress hormone, cortisol, is the highest in the morning. Eating in the morning helps lower cortisol levels which can help some who have hormonal imbalances. I strongly believe that healthy hormones play a huge role in the overall well-being of the body and I will do all it takes to keep it that way.

So tell me,

How do YOU fuel your fitness?

I Don’t Need A Label

I’m just going to jump right into this because it’s something I have been wanting to get off my chest. As most of you know I made the change to a completely vegan lifestyle in September 2016. You can read about that here. While I feel like this was exactly what I wanted to do for my body and for animals, I am trying to decide if this is exactly what I need to do right now….

Having recovered from a restrictive eating disorder, I know I am in a place now where I would never put that stress on my body ever again. However, I will admit that sometimes I do still feel restricted from certain things if it’s not 100% vegan. I think back to my life before I went vegan, before my eating disorder, heck even before puberty when I was completely carefree about everything. I want that again. Not saying I have been cutting back on my intake because I actually got myself to gain some weight being vegan, but I did it in ways that was a lot harder to do than if I had eaten some animal products.

I still truly believe a plant-based diet is one of the healthiest ways to live, but I do not want to feel like I have to live up to a certain standard just so I can label myself as “vegan”. Food should not have that much control over anyone…. its just food.

I was nervous about posting this out of fear of judgement from other vegans, but I really don’t care anymore. I do not need a label. I don’t need to live under anyone else’s standards either. If I get judgement from my choice, that doesn’t make you a better person. I just want to be happy. Completely happy. And as a college student it’s sometimes really hard to find a 100% vegan option when out with friends or at a social event. In that case I don’t want to be the only one left hungry and missing out on fun times because I couldn’t eat something that wasn’t completely vegan.

You have to do what is right for you. Doesn’t matter if you choose to be vegan, paleo, gluten free, whatever… we are all still human and food shouldn’t be super stressed out about. I will decide what is right for me. That being said, if something I eat has a little dairy or egg in it, it’s okay. No one should care so much what I choose to do anyways. I still don’t want to eat meat and that’s a personal decision of mine.

Shout out to Jen’s video for inspiring me to speak out ❤ She says it perfectly.

Afterthought, I would one day love to post videos of me talking instead of just blog posts but I find myself so camera awkward that I don’t think I could handle it hahah. But if anyone has any thoughts I am all ears!

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Balls

I just posted the recipe on my Instagram page (@lil.emmy97) this week! I obviously had to make it official and put it on my blog so I never forget it 🙂 

I enjoy having these right before a early morning workout because I’m usually not really hungry first thing in the morning. These are also great after a workout because it has a nice balance of carbs, protein, and healthy fats! With the ground flaxseed, chia seeds, and almonds- these suckers are full of both omega 3’s and 6’s which are both important for a healthy diet. 

Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 60g rolled oats
  • 1 scoop vega vanilla protein & greens protein powder
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed 
  • 1 T. chia seeds
  • 3 T. blue agave syrup 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1-2 T. Enjoy life foods dark chocolate chips 
  • Just a little bit of water to loosen- but not too much or else you will lose the thickness!

Just mix all ingredients together in a bowl and form into 15 balls!

My whole family and I loved them so this recipe will for sure be continuously used 😉

What is your favorite little snack?

Vegan Banana Date Bread

The last time I made my vegan pumpkin bread, I received a suggestion from my dad. He thought it would be yummy to add some chopped dates to the bread for extra sweetness. So I found myself bored out of my mind the other day as the weather was gloomy and cold. No motivation to study Chem anymore so naturally I started procrastibaking. But this series of procrastibaking turned into something very productive because this recipe rocked my fuzzy socks off!

I was originally planning to bake the same pumpkin bread as last time but we had a lot of ripe bananas that had to be used so I tried modifying the recipe. Instread of using pumpkin, I subbed extra banana for extra natural sweetness. Keeping my dad’s request in mind, threw in those dates 🙂

Recipe:

  • 1 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 1/2 T. ground flaxseed
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 oz. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 T. agave or maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of ground ginger
  • about 3/4 cup chopped pitted dates

First, mix ground flax into a large bowl and add 4 Tbsp. water and let sit for 5 minutes. Then add mashed banana, applesauce, agave and whisk.

Next, add baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and 1/2 cup water and whisk again.

In another bowl, combine the oat flour, oats and almond meal. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until fully combined. Then throw in the chopped dates and stir.

Pour into a parchment lined loaf pan and bake at 375 F for about 40 minutes and a toothpick comes out clean in the center.

Allow to cool in pan for at least 20 minutes before cutting. Keeps for up to a week in the fridge!

This bread is lightly sweetened because it contains no refined sugar, if you like things really sweet you can try adding any sweetener you would like but I don’t think it needed it!

As you can see, anything can be topped with peanut butter for good measure 😉

 

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Mugcake

Before becoming vegan, I used to eat a lot of those protein packed mugcakes for snacks. But I thought, how could I still make a satisfying mugcake without the whey protein and egg? Actually a lot simpler than you think! I don’t even remember how I came up with this delicious treat but it sure did come out perfectly!

mugcake

You don’t need eggs to make a fluffy mugcake. All you need is a moist substance like mashed banana, ground flaxseed, pumpkin… in this case I used applesauce! Made this mugcake really soft and added a little sweetness too ❤

Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup (50g) oat flour + 2 Tbsp. oats
  • 3 oz. unsweetened applesauce
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • enough almond milk to make a batter (about 3 oz.)
  • *optional: sweetener of choice (I used english toffee liquid stevia)

First, mix together the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Then stir in the wet and mix until well combined. Microwave about one minute until cooked through. Microwave times will vary depending on the size of the bowl. Sometimes, I have to cook a little longer but I actually don’t mind a little mushiness in the middle (preference). Make sure you don’t cook for too long or else it could dry out and you’ll just be sad. I love to top with some kind of nut butter and fruit! You could also add in dates, ground flaxseed, or other mix-ins to the batter and it would still come out nice.

Delicious little snack to have before bed or for a small breakfast! Like eating a pancake in a bowl 😉

If you give it a try, lemme know what you think!

(sorry not sorry for the picture quality, the only one I have haha)

Weekly Recap: Being More Mindful

Is it just me or has this year completely flown by? I mean it’s November now but just last week it was 80 degrees… Definitely took me by surprise when I woke up this morning to 40 degree chills. Just wanted to share my completely mindful, intuitive, stress-free weekend with you all! If you know me well enough you would know I am the biggest planner… but sometimes it’s good to not plan but just go with the flow. You never know what kind of stuff you’ll find yourself doing!

My friend, Jenny and I tried a hot yoga class for the first time. I don’t normally sweat, like EVER, but sweet Jesus, there was sweat droplets flying off! Never have I ever been this drenched, even Jenny who is a runner said this was the most she sweat. The class wasn’t too difficult itself as far as the poses because I am overall pretty flexible… but because it was over 100 degrees I’d say that changes things.

After yoga (and a much needed shower), we found a park. Then we had a picnic on it and talked about life for a while because we just deep like that 😉

Please applaud my dearest friend’s parking. She tried.

But apparently if you do this so often, you get letters from fellow humans from the back of a condom package….

Twas a really relaxing Saturday. Not stressing about finals or even tomorrow’s troubles. Just being present and enjoying the day.

On Sunday, I was visited by my parents. Cannot emphasize enough how blessed I am to have them. They literally make my day anytime they come because family means everything to me. Oh, and they buy me food which is a perk 🙂

I usually have a hard time with last minute things but I got together with a group of people and went bowling to celebrate the end of America on Election Day. We had no class sometimes you just gotta make the best out of a rainy day. Fun fact: I was better at bowling when I was 10.

Overall, I am getting better at trusting life’s curve balls and making the most of tough situations. It helps when I laugh at myself but sometimes it isn’t enough. I laugh, I cry because I am not perfect and not every day will be. I think one of the most interesting things about life is that we all have inner demons but all of it can be forgotten when you surround yourself with the ones that make you feel good.

 

Who in your life are YOU thankful for?

Have you tried hot yoga before?

When Exercise Is Not Healthy

If you have been following me for a while, you might be familiar with my story. While I like to consider myself fully recovered- I recently had to take a second look at that.

For the longest time, I have maintained a weight that is not healthy enough for me. I may look like your average runner or a petite built girl but I really do not believe this is where my body functions best. You see, we all have a genetic set point. This is where our bodies like to be, they function the best, and hormones are regulated normally.

I am not there- and haven’t been since I was 13. I became comfortable but doesn’t mean it is okay to continue living my life under my body’s set point. That’s not a true recovery and if I kept that up, I may never have a chance to have kids.

What’s worse? I turned to exercise.

It made me feel good. Powerful. It gave me a hobby and a passion…. but at what point does this become an obsession in disguise?

When you start thinking about it all day. When you feel anxious for not going that day. You use it as a way to maintain your shape. When you can’t concentrate on anything else because you just feel like moving. Fear, fear,fear. It’s not okay. And I admit to all of these. And that’s why I stopped.

No lifting weights. This may not seem like an “intense” exercise like cardio but it still places a lot of stress on the body. Positive stress some may say, but not for someone with a restrictive history and who’s body is not functioning the way it should be. Too much stress of any kind and not having enough fat on your body is totally not okay for a woman. I was waking up most mornings at 5 am and training fasted. I still was feeding my body, just not enough.

If this is a game, I’m done playing.

It’s been 10 days without it and here’s what I has happened: NOTHING. I have been eating WAY more, resting WAY more, and actually concentrating on things in my life that do matter. At first, my anxiety sky rocketed and I had some shitty days… but after the first week I started to feel okay. My body didn’t blow up. I didn’t gain a bunch of weight despite eating as much as I have. As much as it’s hard to admit this, my mind and body are actually kind of enjoying this break. It’s nice to not stress about getting up and rushing through my workout before class, not being on my specific time schedule, being more mindful about the things I do throughout the day, nourishing my body with all the food, and reminding myself that change may be hard, but in the end it will be so worth it.

I want to love my body. I want to accept that it is going to change a lot throughout my lifetime but that’s normal. I will accept that people may notice me bigger but why the hell should that matter? They have no room to judge for all that I have put my body through. The people in my life that truly matter are the ones that see beyond my physical appearance and love me for who I am.

This article I read the other night was completely eye-opening and motivates me to keep doing what I am doing: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brave-girl-eating/201008/shes-not-skinny-is-she

Another great read that I think ANYONE will eating issues, body image issues, exercise addiction, so on… should read this:

https://www.edinstitute.org/paper/2013/2/26/exercise-ii-insidious-activity

It is a longer read but so informational and something I wish I took more serious before. There are also several other articles on this site that are tremendously true and helpful for those recovering.

Your health is not a joke. Take it serious and be okay with asking for help.

Always feel free to email me ❤

emlove814@gmail.com

 

 

Afraid Of The Unknown

Fear. It’s an  unsatisfying emotion caused by believing that something bad will happen. We as humans are able to tell when there is a threat, whether that be internal or external. But why are certain things more fearful to some  while others may deem no threat at all?

Me, being the totally Type A, plan-it-all-out, perfectionist struggle with fearing the unknown. There are many aspects of my life that I cannot simply write down in stone and plan out. I have no flippin idea where my life will be in 5 years, in 1 year, and not even in 6 months from now. Because change is inevitable and what my life has shown me so far is that things don’t always go according to plan. So, knowing this, why do I stress myself out over the little things?

I don’t know why. I think the wires in my brain got crossed somehow before I was born and I naturally tend to overthink every little thing…. And I need to work on that. I need to continue to work on practicing more of the things I preach to others. Because it can be so easy to give advice and fail to include yourself…..

Besides my future, I will admit that I am afraid of failure. In so many parts of my life that I could go on for longer than I want to make this post….

But what would I do if I wasn’t so afraid?

Well, for starters I would probably be the most stress-free person you would meet. I would  be way more spontaneous. I wouldn’t settle for anything less than what makes me happy. When I compare how I am doing now than to a year ago, I have made tremendous progress. However, little setbacks like to creep in if I am not careful. But that’s okay. It is OKAY to have “mental funks” as long as you can recognize them and respond in the best way possible.

I don’t want to fear anymore. I want to be fearless and conquer all the things I hold back from myself. Because life shouldn’t be lived worrying about things out of your control. It should be spent cherishing every breathing moment because every second of the day is very precious. I don’t want to take my health for granted. There are so many people out there who have it worse. I want to be more spontaneous in my actions every single day and not freak the hell out if something changes. There is a reason why things happen the way they do even if we don’t always have the answers why.

I will always be a person that values structure and a schedule, but there comes a point where I have to learn to balance it and give myself grace some days. Totally wing it and go with the flow of things. Some of my best memories are the ones that weren’t planned.

Here’s to leaving my comfort zone.

So tell me,

Are you a planner or a go-with-the-flow person?

What is your favorite way to de-stress?

 

 

Link Love 10/23/16

Hey guys! Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend! I realize it’s been quite a long time since I did a Link Love so I figures why the hell not?! These are just some articles I have read this week that I hope you all enjoy. ❤

Mental/Physical Health:

We Are Too Hard On Ourselves – The Real Life RD

Robyn is one of my favorite bloggers. So full of life and really makes me think deeply about certain topics.

A Healthy Mindset During A Workout – Blissful Lyss

Alyssa is a great friend of mine who has such powerful insight  

I Stopped Doing Cardio And This Happened – Maddy Moon

All of Maddy’s posts are amazing. She is truly a wise and beautiful woman who has helped so many people. This is a great post for those with cardio addiction.

Noms:

Salted Caramel Coconut Balls – The Almond Eater

I admit to having the biggest sweet tooth so these sound fricken delicious

Leftover Pumpkin Pie Casserole  – Oh She Glows

This is SUCH a good idea! I think I may try it…. if there is any pie left

Turmeric Peanut Butter Chickpea Curry – Vegan Richa

Peanut butter? Count me in.

Fun Reads:

22 Pictures That Will Bring You Back 90’s Nostalgia

Oh man, everything about this takes me back to the simpler times in life ❤

33 DIY Christmas Gift Ideas for Friends and Family

Can’t decide on a gift? This is for all you crafty people out there 😉