It’s almost Thanksgiving and…a lot’s already gone on this year. Let’s just say it’s been a doozy of a fall–saving it all for a later post. Anyhow, I thought I’d quickly share some of my favorite fitness, diet, food science, and miscellaneous interests that have been propelling me through this CRAZY quarter (and season, in general). I absolutely know that they’ll be of benefit to you too.
- Travis Scott. Astroworld. You have NO idea how magical this album is. No. Idea. I fell head-over-heels the instant I discovered it on Spotify. By far it is Travis Scott’s best musical work. Every song connects to each other but also exudes their own unique qualities, beat changes, mystery guests, and lyrical themes. There are those songs that praise doing drugs (“STARGAZING”) and “it” (“NC-17”, for instance…no surprise there, huh), but don’t let those turn you away. Many of the songs address more compelling themes such as forbidden love (“COFFEE BEAN”) and maintaining a down-to-earth mindset regardless of fame and fortune (“STOP TRYING TO BE GOD”). Regardless, their beats are fantastic and they never fail to motivate me before and through any workout. I believe there’s also a clean version on Spotify, but honestly…I prefer the explicit version.
- Plyometrics. Even better than HIIT! That says a LOT given that I am a HIIT fiend. Just as a quick definition, plyometrics is a form of exercise that heavily focuses on improving one’s power, agility, and muscle functionality that often involves many moves where you’re jumping up and down in the air or suddenly bursting into intensive movement from the ground. On the other hand, HIIT focalizes more on burning out your muscles rather than swelling them up. Unlike plyometrics, HIIT generally involves shorter intervals of extremely exhausting training (each interval a minute or less) whereas the latter allows for longer intervals.
- Progress photos. We all have our fitness goals, so I’ve been keeping myself extra accountable ensuring that I maintain my physique more precisely, given that I can easily get caught up in my stressful life and lose or gain too much weight, neither of which are healthy. In general, I prefer to maintain a 3-5 pound range rather than anything more on both extremes. However, I mainly monitor how I feel and how well I fit my clothes, so as long as there aren’t any drastic changes in my body, I feel more than content with myself.
- Overnight oats. And I went for practically time periods that felt like years without eating oatmeal. The irony. As of now, I’ve found that overnight oats have been such a savior when it comes to the limited time I have to cook and eat! I can just quickly create my oatmeal bowl the night before, bring it with me on-the-go, or finish it with toppings if I do have extra time–but I always make sure to include a healthy source of protein and fats (protein comes from protein powder or vital wheat gluten for thickness, as for the fats it’s generally seeds or nuts from granola)! Either way, this has been a staple of mine that I’ll be using more often. Oats, I’m so sorry I neglected you. I’ll never commit such a crime again, I promise.
- Vegan apple crisps. And the unhealthy kind. The ones loaded with brown sugar, coconut oil, and white gluten-laden all-purpose flour. Funny I say unhealthy, because the original recipe I followed was this gluten free whole grain apple crisp that I had to modify for budgeting purposes. Anyhow, I’ve been addicted to the combination of a sugary, crispy, and crunchy crumble with soft aromatic apples underneath. I thought chocolate cake and ice cream were the best desserts out there–I don’t know if it’s fall fever getting to me, but man, apple crisps have currently won my heart. I plan on re-making a vegan apple crisp for my family’s Thanksgiving feast!
- Soylent protein shakes. In general, I am not the biggest advocate for meal replacement product like bars or shakes. However, one of my friends in my food science department is a Soylent ambassador and gave me a few bottles to try out! The chocolate protein shake is my personal favorite, but there are also vanilla, strawberry, and chai flavors! Each bottle contains a level of every single vitamin and mineral along with twenty grams of protein, making them an adequate source of many nutrients and protein that you can obtain in a meal. While I wouldn’t have these Soylent shakes every single day, they are great every now and then if I have classes and cannot be bothered to bring tupperware of pungently-smelling food.
- Sweet and salty CLIF bars. Just like anyone else, I am such a sucker for variances in tastes. Sweet and salty, sweet and sour, spicy and salty, and so much more. Any one-note products cause taste fatigue, so most products should have a combination of the different tastes. CLIF’s collection of sweet and salty bars have really hit the nail on the head with most of their flavors! There are so many I love, but my personal favorite has to be their chocolate bar!
- Pumpkin oat cakes. Say I don’t want to eat a bowl of sludgy oatmeal. That hasn’t often been the case for me, but when it does hit me, I love whipping up this pumpkin oat cake, which is basically the exact same recipe with baking powder, apple cider vinegar, and less water. Adding less liquid enables the batter to dry out the product more so that it has a solidified structure. As a result, you achieve a mug cake that you can eat whole or slice up into mini flat cakes!
- Protein granola. If you sneak onto my Instagram feed, you will come across a LOT of recent posts that include granola. You’ll generally find me sprinkling it on top of oats, eating bowls and bowls of granola, or snacking straight out of the bag. My favorites have been this basic power granola loaded with seeds, CLIF Bar’s white chocolate macadamia nut granola, and of course, the Trader Joe’s peanut butter protein granola! They all taste so delicious yet contain incredibly wholesome ingredients. It’s unbelievable!
- Baguette bread. Specifically, when toasted in the oven.Is there really anything else that needs to be said? Oh yeah, and I always eat the whole baguette. Duh.
- Vegan Ben & Jerry’s. Just like anyone else, I can polish off a pint of ice cream effortlessly. It’s most likely because it’s a semisolid or a frozen liquid product, but anyhow, dairy free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream never disappoints me and I always end up with an empty pint. Their fudge brownie and peanut butter cookie flavor have won my heart over, but I have taste-tested their other flavors when out and about. I’m still in the process of tasting the rest of their dairy free pints to their entirety and I love every part of the journey.
- Enlightened’s dairy free ice cream line. Low calorie ice creams have seriously taken their notches by milestones! I thought that Halo Top reigned supreme in the low calorie ice cream world, but Enlightened has started off with a seriously powerful strike. Their cinnamon bun flavor is magnificent–sweet, aromatic, creamy, and everything I love in a cinnamon roll. My nearest Sprouts carries all their dairy free ice creams, so I might exit the doors with the rest of their flavors next time I visit.
- Taste-testing. Hey, all chefs have to do it!
- Cooking with friends. Seriously, cooking solo may be peaceful, but honestly, cooking with other awesome people just elevate the experience that much more. Who doesn’t want an extra laugh?
- Mystifying chemical reactions. Even the ones that look pretty disgusting. Science is really fascinating! #imanerd
- Active note-taking. Most students passively note-take, meaning they just write everything word-by-word without completely processing the information. It is a lot more taxing to paraphrase or summarize the content you need to remember in your own articulations, but trust me when I say that you will integrate the information a lot more when you take the time to think about different words and sentences to record. Do the same with flashcards, charts, presentations, and any other study tools you use aside from paper notes!
- Instagram’s music feature. You can tell I am obsessed. Not only that, I’m seriously so proud of my taste in music that I constantly love playing my favorites throughout my Instagram stories!
- Drawing. Revisiting my inner artist has been wonderful for healing a lot of my emotional incidents because I have a free creative outlet for myself. Listening to music while doing so accelerates my creative juices more, but I end up singing while drawing.
- Club events. Best excuse EVER to get out of the house wearing a nice dress, meeting my friends, and enjoying some good food. Simply being more active in your extra curriculars flourishes my social circle and brings another sense of purpose for me. Nothing fulfills me more than leaving a positive mark in other people’s lives. Partaking in plenty of clubs and programs is a great way to do so!
- Bandanas. Originally, my blue bandana was strictly for Halloween. Even though I haven’t worn it too often outside, I love wearing it in the house whenever I’m cooking or cleaning to maintain the hair out of my face. Wouldn’t say that makes me “domesticated” because I genuinely despise that term, but I definitely feel like I’ve dominated my apartment more as a resident. To me, that’s very empowering.
What have your latest favorites been?