October 24, 2011

4th Meal - - Why The Bad Rep?

Whoever said that the day should revolve around 3 meals was not someone that I would probably get along with. I eat all day, every day. Well, I guess it would be more accurate to say that I snack around my meals all day, everyday. I wake up hungry, and  I normally go to sleep dreaming about what I can eat the next day.

One of my favorite meals of the day is what a popular Taco Bell commercial calls "4th Meal". I haven't eaten Taco Bell in over 3 years, but I do like where they're going. Dinner is sometimes not enough for the night, and sometime between 8 and 10 pm I tend to get a little craving for either something sweet, salty, or both.

Tonight I went to the gym after dinner and did 3.5 miles on the elliptical and 30 minutes lifting weights and doing ab exercises. Obviously, I needed more nourishment when I got home. I've heard that milk is a good recovery food, so I chose non-fat milk, Trader Joe's Honey Nut O's, and fresh raspberries. Raspberries are also meant to be a great recovery food. Plus they're delicious!

I do understand that "4th Meal" gets a bad reputation because many people probably choose to eat potato chips, entire bags of M&Ms, or indulge in 2 or 3 servings of mac n' cheese before bedtime. These late-night foods are ok occasionally (I can't be a hypocrite), but not a good habit to get into, especially if you are watching TV or going straight to sleep after. Your body's metabolism naturally slows down at night when you are relaxing, and these foods are doing you no favors.

There are benefits to eating snacks after dinner, though. For example, if you are not hungry when you go to sleep, you are less likely to wake up hungry and therefore more likely to eat reasonable portions throughout the next day. Basically, the more often you eat, the higher your overall metabolism stays, helping you lose weight (or maintain your healthy body weight) more easily.

Here are my Top 5 Choices for Late-Night Healthy Snacking: 
All of these options offer nutrition and taste without giving you energy, so you won't have trouble sleeping.

1. Cereal with Milk and Berries - The milk helps induce sleep, and the berries are packed with anti-oxidants. It's light and has a good balance of nutritional properties.

2. Oatmeal with Melted Chocolate and Banana - This is great if you want something sweet. Melt a small piece of chocolate into hot oatmeal, and chop a banana into pieces for a perfect pre-sleep snack that will keep you full and satisfies into the next morning.

3. Wheat Crackers and Low-Fat Cheese - Perfect if you want something salty. The wheat promotes healthy digestion, and the calcium in the cheese promotes done strength. Win-win!

4. Veggies and Hummus - If you don't want to eat something warm, veggies are a low-calorie snack that can incorporate a large variety of flavors and textures to keep you snacking all night, guilt-free! Dip them in some hummus for extra flavor without the fat that dips like ranch dressing bring. I recommend Trader Joe's Eggplant Hummus or Trader Joe's Tomato & Basil Hummus.

5. Wheat Toast with Raspberry Jam and Nutella - This is for the hungrier-than-just-a-small-snack late-night eater. The toast is a great way to fill up, and the sweetness of the Jam and Nutella is unbelievably satisfying. Plus, you are getting some fruit from the jam and some calcium from the Nutella. Delish!

I hope this gave you some good ideas, and I hope you think before judging the "4th Meal" next time you brush your teeth at 9pm just to keep from eating more. (We all do that!...right?)

What's your favorite late-night healthy snack? Your favorite late-night guilty indulgence?



October 20, 2011

To Blog or Not To Blog -- Not Even a Question!

So, since I'm still really new to the world of blogging, I constantly find myself asking "Why am I doing this?" I also just recently started a twitter page to complement the blog (@NotYetAMommy), and it makes me think the same thing.

Don't get me wrong, no one is forcing me to keep a blog or twitter page, and I am thoroughly enjoying the whole experience, but I can't help but wonder why blogging has become such a phenomenon.

I realize that the main thing that pulled me into blogging was that I LOVED reading other people's blogs. I work at a PR firm that sometimes does promotions through bloggers, and I would find myself engrossed in their posts - learning about their lives and seeing their pictures and experiencing the amazing food and fashion adventures that they had. My first main inspiration was Sweettoothrunner.com where I felt like I was reading about someone I had known for years. No one that I had actually met knew was so into exercising and so into sweets like I was. Then I found more similar blogs. And more. And I knew I wanted to join the community.

I also felt like I had something to add to the blog world. I tend to be an introverted person, keeping most of my thoughts and observations to myself (with the exception of my boyfriend who pretty much knows my life better than I do). I felt like blogging could be a good way to express some of my thoughts, and maybe other people would find them as fascinating as I found theirs. Since I am in a unique time of my life with school ending in 2 months and the real world basically knocking on my door, the timing seemed perfect. 

I feel that some people would (I say would because pretty much no one I actually know in real life knows that I do this) say that it's narcissistic. They would ask "Why do you think people care about what you're doing with your life?" or "So what that you're not yet a mom?", but I think that the world of blogging has taught me that every single person's opinion and life story can and should be valued. We shouldn't rely on Google or CNN or professors to tell us what's important and what works in life. We've all had experiences, and I don't think that there is anything wrong with wanting to share them.

I'm sure, as fellow bloggers, you often get people asking why you do it. It's not going to make you a huge fortune and most likely won't bring you fame. But it does give you a way to "meet" people that you would never get to otherwise. It gives you a way to see different perspectives and share ideas, challenges, and successes with people who have similar goals and interests. Plus, obviously, the amount of recipes I now have access to is unreal. My always-hungry stomach really appreciates the time I spend looking through blogs.

So far, the response I've gotten as I've tried to nestle a spot for myself in the blog world has been incredible. I've gotten such great feedback and encouragement. I still have a long way to go, but I have enjoyed every second. 

What's your favorite part of having a blog?


PS: I know the picture I chose may seem kinda random for this post. However, I saw it as a good way to represent what I think about bloggers. On some level, we all have something in common just in the fact that we all keep online diaries of our outfits, our meals, or just our thoughts, and we feel comfortable sharing that information with the universe. AKA, we are all the "umbrellas". However, each blog is slightly different, just like each umbrella is of a slightly different shade or height. Ok, maybe I had too much red wine with dinner, but I hope you can see what I'm saying.

October 14, 2011

Inspired, Healthy, and Happy

In my experience, being healthy helps promote happiness, and being happy helps promote health. I like being healthy. I like being happy. So, when I find things that make me both healthy and happy, I LOVE them. Here are three of those things:

1. Swimming in the Ocean

There is nothing more soothing for the mind and the body than a dip in a cold ocean on a warm day. The rhythmic ebb and flow of the waves relaxes your bones so much that you won't even realize that you are burning calories as you swim. The salt water is great for your skin, and the sun gives you a beautiful tan. Sounds like a win, win, win to me!

2. Berries, Yogurt, and Granola

This is my favorite food combination by far. The health benefits are unbelievable - yogurt helps digestion and has calcium for strong bones, berries have antioxidants and anti-aging properties, granola (if you buy the right kind - I suggest one with flax seeds) provides carbs and sugar for energy. The combination is sweet from the berries and tangy from the yogurt. There is a great contrast of smooth and crunchy. In essence, it is the perfect breakfast or snack that is as healthy for your body as it is delicious for your taste buds. Yum!

 3. Going Out Dancing 


I'm sure plenty of people would disagree with me, but I think going out is healthy. Being social is good for the spirit and stimulating for the mind. My favorite thing to do when I go out is dance. A lot. So, I figure I'm burning calories, indulging my soul, and having fun at the same time.  Also, if you stick to minimum late night eating and avoid sugary, calorie-laden drinks, going out can sometimes be even healthier than staying home, watching a movie, and pigging out on junk food. Score!

If I could wake up one day and go for a swim in the ocean, go home and have a snack of yogurt, berries, and granola, and then go out dancing all night, I would have pretty much the happiest and healthiest day I could imagine. If I could have my family and boyfriend with me, I would be even happier, and therefore even healthier. 

What's your favorite happy and healthy activity or snack?


October 11, 2011

Battle of the Sex(es)

I'm currently taking a class called Gender and Communication. As a Communication Major, I actually prefer classes like Media Literacy, Communication in Small Groups, or Non-Verbal Communication. Sometimes, however, I end up in a class like Gender and Communication that I find a little, well, hard to believe.
So far, we have learned some pretty obvious and factual stuff. Like, for example, the fact that women are typically earning less money than men, and that men more often than women choose violence as a way to solve their problems. However, we have also been told that men only like to talk to big audiences because they feel a need to show power and don't see the value in one-on-one dialogue. Our class was also told that women, on the other hand, are unable to solve any problem without first discussing all of their emotions and analyzing each of the possible ideas with a one-on-one conversation.

Both of these are sometimes true, but I find it slightly ridiculous to assume that, with over 6 billion people in the world, there is almost anything that ALL males have in common or that ALL females have in common - well, besides one thing. While "sex" is biological (you either have a penis or you don't), "gender" is socially and culturally constructed (how you choose to use that piece of, um, equipment and what it defines about you). My class was taught that some cultures value men that are strong and violent, while others value men that are smart and sensitive. Even this is a huge exaggeration to me, because I think that each individual person values different things in men, women, and people in general. 

What I do find interesting, however, is how couples handle the balance between "feminine" and "masculine" traits. In my (albeit extremely humble) opinion, the most successful couples in this modern age are the ones where both partners have some traits that are typical of the other sex. In other words, a couple where the man is overly masculine and the woman is overly feminine is probably not too successful because the man will always be dominant which will probably cause the woman to be resentful.This would lead to either big fights and a break-up or a relationship that did not have a very deep, emotional connection with mutual respect. Rather, couples where the woman has some independence and decision-making power and the man is able to show some vulnerability and emotion are (in my experience) much more likely to last for the long-term. 
I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with a girly-girl or a man that is strong or extremely powerful. However, people in relationships need to be able to empathize with each other and be more of a cohesive team than a set of two completely opposite people. I think that if each person in the couple has a good balance of responsibility and confidence while still being nurturing and vulnerable, the pair is much more likely to be able to adapt to whatever speed bumps might come their way and live a happy life together. They can each protect, inspire, support, and encourage each other through any situation, letting them excel as individuals and grow closer as a couple.

Do you agree? What do you think it takes for a couple to work long-term?


October 7, 2011

Birthday Booze and Celebratory Cupcakes!!

Someone once told me that calories don't count on your birthday. I've lived by this philosophy ever since, and I decided for this last birthday so eat and drink exactly what I felt like during all the celebrations.

Unfortunately, my body is not used to it and found subtle ways of convincing me to return to my standard diet of turkey sandwiches, salads, lentils, vegetables, oatmeal, cereal, and lots of yogurt with LOTS of berries and granola. I do love all my healthy food and daily exercise, but I had a lot of fun indulging in all my birthday treats as well.

Here's a little glimpse into some of what my taste buds got to experience in the last week or so:

Baby CrushCakes Cupcakes at work

First legal drink!
White Choco Chip Banana Cream Cupcake
Some Little Minis
Tiny Jack Daniels in Chocolate!
Ghirardelli Sundaes
Bread, Cheese, and Cucumber Salad at the airport

Raspberry Vinegar and Lime Olive Oil... UNBELIEVABLY GOOD!!

... I'm thinking I need to cool it on the cupcakes for a while. Next weekend I'm going to a wine and cupcake pairing/tasting place, so if I can resist until then that would probably be good.

Like I always say, it's really about balance. While in San Francisco eating and drinking to my heart's content, I was also walking all around, riding a bike through the city, and dancing around whenever I found an appopriate time to do so. At least I was burning some calories while consuming all of this yumminess, right? :)

October 5, 2011

From The Other Side of 21

I can’t believe my birthday is over! I had the most amazing, perfect time ever. So many people had said that turning 21 was going to be anti-climactic, but I would wholeheartedly disagree with that. I ate and drank and explored through San Francisco, and had the best night downtown in Santa Barbara. I have over 150 pictures and will put some up here soon.
I guess I don’t feel very different to how I felt being 20, but I do feel the sense of freedom I expected. I feel excited and ready to explore lots of things I never got to in the past. I suppose with my actual birthday being over, however, I have to get back to the real world. I’m back at work and back at school already.
What I feel like doing most right now, however, is snuggling up on the couch with some hot tea. It’s pouring outside which makes it very difficult for me to focus on anything but the sound of the rain. I love winter. I like big coats, high boots, fuzzy socks, warm drinks, cuddly movie days, and Starbucks holiday cups. I’ll be in NYC for Christmas and New Years Eve this year, and I can’t wait for that!
Since the point of my blog is that I’m “Not Yet A Mommy”, it’s interesting for me to document my progression as I get older and learn more about the world and my place in it. I think I’m finding it more and more important to be true to yourself in order to be happy. For example, I chose San Francisco instead of the typical Vegas for my 21st because I knew that it was more of my kind of place and I had an absolutely perfect time. I didn’t listen to everyone who told me to “make sure I was blacked-out by 10pm” in order to have fun. I remember everything about my birthday night, and I had a complete blast. Everything was exactly the way I wanted, which hardly ever happens!!
What’s your favorite part of winter? What have you learned as you’ve grown up?