What better pin-spiration topic for January than health?! None of my resolutions this year were particularly health-focused, but I always have the desire for a healthier lifestyle in the back of my mind. Or, I think about it while I’m eating pizza. I’m getting ready for a charitable bike ride in June (I did it last year, too!) and am getting increasingly concerned with my longevity. Whether it’s skin care or an improved diet, here are some pins inspiring me this month.
It hit me the other day when I was checking out at Trader Joe’s that I eat like a five-year-old. I always have mini pizza bites and Morningstar buffalo wings in my freezer, and regularly eat a bowl of plain rice, polenta, or cereal for dinner. I drink apple juice out of boxes marketed for schoolchildren, and my favorite lunch is grilled cheese and tomato soup.
It’s weird because sometimes I feel like I come off as someone who’s all about organic food, loves to try new vegetables, and shops at farmer’s markets. All of these things are mostly true–but I also realized I’ve gotten to the point where I’m realistic about how and what I eat. Like when I make a salad at work–a year ago I would have loaded it up with a little bit of everything, and then ended up picking around certain things. I like the idea of tomatoes, but I’m not one to pop cherry tomatoes for a snack. And I’m probably only going to want one slice of cucumber. AND I’ll probably avoid that hard-boiled egg.
This mentality of having an internal discussion about what I’m actually going to eat has translated to grocery shopping. You know those cardboard cartons of soup? I’m not gonna finish that before it expires. I’ll probably heat up one bowl, and then forget about it in the back of the fridge. Bagged lettuce? No way am I going to eat all that before it starts turning brown and squelchy. (Wow, for a food writer, these descriptions are on freaking point.)
I deeply believe that life is all about balance. Sure, I’ll have Kraft mac & cheese for dinner every once in a while, but I also eat a banana for breakfast everyday. I ate a donut yesterday, but I also spent 45 minutes in a cycling class. So even though, @TraderJoesCashier, the only things in my shopping basket the other day were cookie butter, Gouda cheese, avocados, yogurt, and fruit leather, I PROMISE you I bought a salad for lunch every day this week.
I am obsessed with cauliflower. I love vegetables in general, and never really ate cauliflower growing up–unless it was served steamed (read: bland AF) at a relative’s house. Cauliflower turned my life around when I went on this clean eating challenge after coming home from my booze-filled second year of college. One of the meals was roasted cauliflower with lentils, and man oh man, that was life changing. Cauliflower takes on a whole new personality when you toss it in olive oil, S+P and garlic and pop it in the oven for 40 minutes–smoky, caramelized, and nutty flavor develops in this incredibly bland vegetable. Now, I’ll regularly roast an entire head of cauliflower and just eat the whole thing for dinner.
The other great thing about this veggie (besides being super healthy) is how versatile it is. I know people who are gluten-free that turn cauliflower into pizza crust and breadsticks, and I’m a die-hard fan of cauliflower soup. My go-to non-recipe is to puree roasted cauliflower with vegetable stock, sautéed garlic and onion, and a spoonful of milk for a ridiculously creamy concoction. Check out more of my fave recipes on Pinterest.
For anyone who follows my Instagram, it’s pretty obvious that I’m a major foodie. I love finding amazing restaurants in NYC, and experimenting on my own in the kitchen. I’ve been working at food publications for the past year, and as a result have been surrounded by food constantly. Nachos, dessert lasagna, margaritas–you name it.
I’ve always had very positive body image–something I’ve never taken for granted. I’m comfortable in my own skin and have definitely learned to embrace my body (and my health) as I’ve gotten older. As a millenial in a society where everyone and their mother is on a juice cleanse or “tea-tox,” I regularly eat pasta for dinner and drink 1% milk. When I lived in Amsterdam, my French fry intake went up, and I put on a few pounds. When I started my new job this semester, I had a longer walk to the train and started skipping lunch because my new building doesn’t have a rad cafeteria–so I lost a few pounds. None of this was intentional, it’s just the way things happened.
I’ve been passionate about food my whole life. I did so many school projects about organic food and GMOs, writing letters to my town paper asking my community to shop at local farms instead of big-box grocery stores. I no longer eat meat, and though I indulge in junk food on occasion, I make a conscious effort to eat healthy on a student budget. There are well-balanced days when I’ll have eggs or a smoothie bowl for breakfast, soup for lunch, and roasted veggies for dinner. Other days, I’ll only eat popcorn and diet Coke.
I’m a firm believer in enjoying everything in moderation. I will never cut out carbs from my diet–but I also will never eat pizza every single day. Instead of totally sacrificing something I love (i.e. pizza) and permanently replacing it with something healthy (i.e. cauliflower crust + nutritional yeast topped “pizza”), I’d rather have it less often. And in all honesty, I live in NYC so it’s not realistic to swear off bagels & pizza.
Being surrounded by food in the workplace is definitely a challenge. Just today, a coffee brand’s PR reps brought us a platter of bagels, pastries, and fruit, as well as rich & creamy iced lattes. Fortunately, I knew they were coming, so I didn’t eat breakfast at home and had half a bagel, half a pastry, and lots of fruit at the office. Other days, there will just be tons of snack food and candy, and it’s hard not to graze.
Another consequence of ever-present food is that I no longer crave anything. This same thing happened when I worked in a grocery store back in high school…the food you love becomes just an object. You see so much of it everyday that it doesn’t always feel as special. Because of this, I’ve been making more of an effort to cook at home, especially to make sure I have at least one balanced meal a day.
This post was inspired by Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere and Kim Kardashian.