Protein-Packed Pina Colada Smoothie

Weather like this (sunny and in the 90’s!!!) makes me wish I was lounging beach-side (preferably on a tropical island) with a pina colada in my hands rather than navigating through NYC streets. But because of my full-time job, internship, and research study, imagining a tropical island is about as close as close as I’ll get to being on one this summer. However, the pina colada part might be more realistic than not. With hot weather like, it’s best to avoid alcohol rather than indulge in it (dehydration much?).

But that doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of tropical drinks. This beachy creation of mine came into being after a pretty hardcore run, when I needed a post-workout treat that would cool me down and replenish me.

And so, drum role please…

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The [Protein-Packed] Pina Colada Smoothie

Makes 1 large smoothie or 2 small smoothies

Ingredients:

6 oz 0% Plain Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani!)

1/2 cup frozen pineapple

1/2 cup frozen mango

1/8 cup water

2 Tbsp coconut flakes (for garnish)

Directions:

Add the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Hint: add water as needed. If you like a creamier smoothie, don’t add as much water.  Garnish the smoothie with coconut flakes and enjoy!

This delicious tropical smoothie packs 18g of protein (that’s the same as 3 eggs!).

 

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Solstice in Times Square: Athleta Mind Over Madness

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(All my fellow Times Square yogis)

Can you believe it’s already summer? Where has the time gone? It feels like I just moved to the city a few weeks ago, not months ago. Ahhh! I kicked off my the first day of my (first!) summer in the Big Apple by taking off of work early and heading to Times Square to do some yoga. In the middle of Times Square. Yep, you read that right. In the middle of the mayhem, part of the hectic, tourist-invaded Times Square. Mind over Madness, right?

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(My sweet new yoga mat from Athleta)

Athleta teamed up with the Times Square Alliance to provide free yoga classes led by master yoga instructors throughout the day, in honor of the first and longest day of summer – the summer solstice. The first 1200 people received a free yoga mat and an Athleta goodie bag (hence me leaving work early). The yoga areas were sectioned off so that tourists couldn’t walk all over us while we were doing our savasanas, but that didn’t stop them from taking pictures – I can only imagine how many random Facebook albums I’m going to be in doing a Warrior pose!

But once the session started, the tourists were forgotten about, and my mind started to take over the madness. During my session, I was lucky enough to have Colleen Saidman Yee and Rodney Yee leading the yoga class. They were great teachers and complemented each other in a very harmonious way. And since we were in the middle of Times Square, their voices had to be projected via jumbo-trons, which almost reminded me of the Hunger Games (don’t ask), but in a good, peaceful, meditative-Hunger Games kind of way. I guess a better way of describing it would be that the sky was telling me to breathe in and out as I flowed through the poses. Still weird? Oh well, you get the drift.

At one point, Colleen said, “You have to be grounded in order to fly,” and this definitely resonated with me. How many times in dance class have I been told to be more grounded? Too many to count. And I feel like, in life, everyone could benefit tremendously from being more grounded.

All in all, it was an amazing experience, leaving me rejuvenated as I battled my way out of Times Square.

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(Mind over Madness)

How did YOU spend the first day of summer? Let me know in the comments below!

I’m BACK!

And so much has happened. These past few months have had their share of ups AND downs, and although there were some things I would have changed, I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way. 

Some of the ups:

I visited my family and friends in Michigan (twice). 

I was matched to the NewYork Presbyterian Hospital Dietetic Internship (!!!), and will be starting that in February. This is one of the most exciting things that has happened to me so far since moving to New York, and I will probably have to spend a whole blog post explaining exactly why, but basically, it puts me one step closer to becoming an R.D.!

The boyfriend came to visit and spent a whole week falling in love with the city with me. 

I finished my first semester of grad school at NYU. 

I started a really cool blogging internship with FiTMAPPED.

…and, like I said, I learned some valuable lessons. All in all, the city is making me grow up. Its making me fight for what I want, which in turn is helping me realize exactly what I want, and how to go about getting that. I’ve learned how to balance everything in my life (the hard way, of course), and that I can’t do everything, but that I have to put 100% into what I do…actually, scratch that…130%, because there’s always going to be someone going after the same things as you – the same goals, the same jobs, the same aspirations – and you know what, they might even be better than you, but hey, if you put in ALL of your effort, and I mean ALL OF IT, then you won’t regret anything. I know this is a jumble of thoughts all smashed together and competing for attention, but I’ll focus more on them later. For now, I’m just glad to be back at this. In some ways, blogging is just as therapeutic as a good yoga class or a sweaty run. 

Recap of Last Week: Michigan Comes to New York!

The lack of posts last week can be attributed to the fact that some of my greatest friends from back home came to visit me in the big city. They made a 12-hour trek to get here, and boy am I thankful for that green dragon that got them here. As amazing and exciting as the city is, it is very very easy to feel a little lonely and homesick sometimes. Thankfully, my friends came here before the homesickness settled in too much.

I think one of the biggest worries (for me especially) of moving away is the fear that people will forget about you – that the friendships and relationships you built will dissolve, and you’ll be replaced with someone new. Luckily for me, my friends have smashed that fear and thrown it far, far away – farther than the distance that separates us. Even before I left, my friends threw a surprise graduation/birthday/going-away party for me – a grand feat orchestrated by my boyfriend and two of my wonderful girlfriends. It was

then that I realized that these friendships will continue, they won’t even be paused or slowed down, they’ll push on full-force.

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Yes, we’re goofy…and yes, we’re all wearing I ❤ NY t-shirts. And yes, I miss every single one of them.

So when 3 of those amazing people showed up in New York, I was the happiest girl in New York City. And on a mission to make sure they had the best time in the Big Apple. A great thing about friends visiting you is that you get to act like a tourist and fall in love with the city all over again. We went everywhere, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Union Square, from Times Square to Central Park. And ate so much food – I developed an inverse relationship with my wallet and my waistline – you can guess in which direction.

Some of my favorite grub spots included:

Grey Dog, which had an extensive list of Michigan sandwiches on the menu (more than enough to win us over). This is probably one of my new favorite brunch spots – the service, atmosphere, and foods were all spectacular. I got the Veggie Press, which had spinach, herb goat cheese, roasted artichoke, and roasted red pepper, and a Raspberry Lemonade. Yum!

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Cheesing now that we are one step closer to having food in our bellies…

And yes those are cheesy fries on our table …I never said I had a healthy week, did I?

Crumbs Bake Shop – Where a delicious Cannoli Cupcake was split between Chase and I.

Madman Espresso – We headed over here on a rainy/snowy day for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Pretty good choice, if you ask me.

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A cortado beats a latte any day.  Don’t believe me? Try one and you too will become a believer.

Bagelsmith – After hours of dancing at The Woods in Williamsburg, a night is not complete without a visit to Bagelsmith for their tasty bagels. My favorite? Everything bagel with Sundried tomato cream cheese. My friends agreed….and we came back the next day. That good.

So yes, I ate alot of good food with very good friends. We walked until our legs/feet hurt and had a grand ole’ time. Let’s hope they liked it enough to come back soon!

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week + The Starving Art

NEDAwareness_2013In case you didn’t know, February 24-March 2 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. As the week is coming to an end, I wanted to make sure that the awareness spreads.

The aim of NEDAwareness Week is to increase awareness and education about eating disorders and body image issues for effective recognition, early intervention and direction to care (NEDAwareness.org).

This is something that I am so passionate about and find so important that I want the impact to last greater than one week – I want the awareness to spread, so that anyone with body image issues, disordered eating, and/or eating disorders knows that there are resources out there for them – there are people who are willing to help and there are plenty of people who are going through the same problem – You are not in it aloneYou can get help. You can get better. 

Now, eating disorders are something that I am very passionate about. Growing up in the dance world, disordered eating and eating disorders were always around me. That is not to say every dancer has an eating disorder, or that dance necessarily causes eating disorders, contrary to popular belief, but they are more prevalent among dancers than in the general population. So for my undergraduate honor’s thesis, in an effort to spread the awareness of eating disorders and educate health professionals (including registered dietitians and physicians) and the general public, I enlisted the help of my friend and videographer, Nick, and we created a documentary. I interviewed college dancers who were affected by disordered eating and/or eating disorders, whether personally or through a friend or family member. To gain a professional perspective on the treatment and physiology behind eating disorders, I also interviewed health professionals who treated individuals with eating disorders – medical doctors, pediatricians, registered dietitians, and licensed counselors. The documentary turned out to be much more than I expected – not only do the brave dancers expose their secrets and feelings about eating disorders, but you gain an overall perspective of the role that the dance world, the media, and society play in the development of disordered eating and eating disorders.

So without further ado, I bring to you:

 The Starving Art:

The Prevalence of Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders Among Dancers

I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. For any commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times.

NEDA’s campaign this year is that Everybody knows somebody who has been affected (NEDAwareness.org).  So if you know someone who struggles with body image issues, disordered eating, and/or eating disorders, please please please refer to the resources I have listed below. Eating disorders are a very sensitive topic and need to be approached in such a way – remember eating disorders are not lifestyle choices, they are diseases.

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The National Eating Disorder Association has information and resources available on their website and helpline:

www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

NEDA Helpline: 800 931-2237

Please show respect when commenting.

 

 

Kale, Pear, & Chia Smoothie: Superfoods Unite!

After a weekend of crappy eating (eg. bagels two nights in a row?! Who am I???), I craved, no I NEEDED something clean. Clean and green. Something light, refreshing, and healthy for breakfast…something like a kale smoothie perhaps? Yep, you guessed right…that is exactly what I had in mind. I have been on quite the kale kick lately (for example, my Lemony Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Shrimp & Quinoa dish the other night). And honestly, that’s nothing to be ashamed of…the two bagels this weekend, however…now that is something I should be worried about. Nonetheless, my bagel-consuming weekend led me to this smoothie in the end, so I can’t be too upset.

Kale, Pear, & Chia Smoothie:

Makes 1 nutritious smoothie

1 heaping cup of frozen kale

1/2 banana, sliced

1/2 pear, chopped

6 oz non-fat Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp Chia seeds

2 Tbsp water

1 tsp honey

Combine the ingredients in a blender and blend until you get a creamy, smooth consistency. It’s that easy!

A few tips:

  1. Put the yogurt and banana in first – that way the blender doesn’t freak out when you throw in the frozen kale.
  2. If you have fresh (not frozen kale), use a frozen banana. No frozen banana? No problem! Just use a couple of ice cubes and omit the water.
  3. If this isn’t sweet enough for you, add more honey. Or omit the honey if you’re looking for a sugar-free option. The choice is yours.

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So there you have it, folks – my first kale smoothie! And hopefully you’ll be brave enough to try it too.

What are your favorite green smoothie recipes?

Recap of Last Week: Valentine’s Day + IKEA trips

Last week was a whirlwind of a week, and it seemed to flash by in what seemed like a day. Earlier in the week, I received a nice Valentinesque-surprise from my best friend. P1030711

Leave it to your friends to know what you want most even when you don’t know it yourself.

And then when Valentine’s Day rolled around, I received a few surprises from my valentine. First a care package (to cure my home-sick heart)…

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Complete with Kalamazoo essentials like Waterstreet coffee and Chocolatea tea, kitchen staples like soymilk, spices, oatmeal, flaxseed, wild rice, bulgur, and most importantly….CHOCOLATE. Yes, I received chocolate from two of my favorite people…there’s a reason they rank so high on that list (their amazing personalities of course…but sending me chocolate doesn’t hurt!).
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And roses! Yes, even from Michigan, my boyfriend makes sure to brighten my day with beautiful, red roses. Mind you, this is our first Valentine’s Day apart since we have been dating, and yet I still felt special and unbelievably loved.

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Accompanying a love (and chocolate) filled Valentine’s Day, was a journey to IKEA.

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And I don’t mean a one-trip, happy-go-lucky journey…

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No, going to IKEA to buy any kind of real furniture is an investment. Involving both your time and money…and every ounce of energy that you possess. 500 Days of Summer tricked us all (including me) when they showed that oh-so cute scene of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel frolicking through IKEA. Here’s the reality: there are two types of people who shop at IKEA: dedicated parents/adults who know what they’re doing/what they’re looking for/where their kids are at all times…and me, the young, lost puppy who seems to be wandering around aimlessly in circles throughout the store. Eventually, I found the bedroom section, after which the selection process began…and let me tell you, after sleeping on a deflated mattress for almost a week, any bed seemed comfortable. Luckily for me, I had an employee guide me through the steps of buying a bed…I’m certain that if I had it my way, I would have walked away with one of the display mattresses and called it good. But yes, for your information, if you are buying a bed for the first time, there’s more to it than that. And then on top of that, you have to worry about getting it home. The reality of living in New York is that transporting large furniture (like beds) is like a business of its own, with way too much paperwork and fees for me to handle. But I did it, I found a bed, and after another trip, bought it and had it delivered to my apartment.

I rode the water taxi home, something that I believe is a reward for making it out of IKEA in one piece.

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Bye IKEA!
P1030762Hello, Statue of Liberty!

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And the next day, I took what was delivered to me in boxes, and assembled a bed.

All by myself.

I think it’s safe to say I’m proud of myself.

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