commentary

Alive in the Age of Worry

I’m getting tired of WIAW so I’m staging a protest. Peaceful protest. Not that I don’t want to see all your beautiful eats, but I’m just bored posting mine. How’s that for honesty?

Instead, let’s talk about music. I mentioned before that with the ups and downs of life, I turn to music. I know this isn’t an anomaly, but even though I tend to be very athletic on the surface, deep down I’m pretty darn artistic and I appreciate music on a whole other level. A song can make or break my day. It can make me cry on the spot. If a song I love comes on while I’m driving I’ll turn up the volume as loud as it will go and open the sunroof and windows, until it feels like I’m in a movie.

This song has been on repeat lately. Please listen to it. After keeping up with all of your lives I know that 99% of you can relate.

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Close your eyes and clone yourself
Build your heart an army
To defend your innocence
While you do everything wrong

Don’t be scared to walk alone
Don’t be scared to like it
There’s no time that you must be home
So sleep where darkness falls

Alive in the age of worry
Smile in the age of worry
Go wild in the age of worry
And say, “Worry, why should I care?”

Know your fight is not with them
Yours is with your time here
Dream your dreams but don’t pretend
Make friends with what you are

Give your heart then change your mind
You’re allowed to do it
‘Cause God knows it’s been done to you
And somehow you got through it

Alive in the age of worry
Rage in the age of worry
Sing out in the age of worry
And say, “Worry, why should I care?”

Rage in the age of worry
Act your age in the age of worry
And say, “Worry, get out of here!”

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Which part of this song resonates with you the most?
Don’t be scared to walk alone. Don’t be scared to like it.
For as long as I can remember I was afraid to be by myself. I didn’t have a chance to get to know myself because I kept being propelled forward – the next grade in school, the next internship, the next job, the next weekend, the next plan. Today I’m living day to day. There are no weekends, there are no 9-5s, there are no Sunday night blues waiting for Monday morning to come. Every day I wake up, excited (seriously!), to get to know myself a little bit better. So even when it peeks its head into my life, as it always does, I love saying worry, why should I care, worry, get out of here.
Give your heart and change your mind – you’re allowed to do it
Not every life decision is final, and just because you change your mind doesn’t mean you failed. Wow do I think this notion isn’t promoted enough these days. I still have to put on 16 shirts before I know what I’m going to wear out – so how am I supposed to know my life plan today, my “identity” today? Aside from having no idea where my road is taking me, I know I’m being shaped by my everyday experiences. The Polish woman who I stop to help with her bags down the escalator at the train station, only to be trapped in a crazy ten-minute conversation with how she can see Jesus by the colors in the clouds. The barista at Starbucks who asked if I wanted to dance. The unexpected text from an old friend with no expectation, other than a little love.  I love bonding with people,especially strangers. I’m giving my heart to my everyday experiences. I’m not trying to mold myself based on my job, my family, my relationship status, my looks, my religion, or any of that. I’m surrendering myself to those silly little moments and they are what I go to bed thinking about every night. It’s such a light way to live.
Know your fight is not with them
I came into this world alone and I’ll leave it alone. So my loyalty first and foremost needs to be myself. It’s not selfish. It took me awhile to realize this. It’s just the opposite – when I wake up each day ready to serve myself, I find myself acting in a more compassionate, empathetic, and friendly way. I’m kinder. Kindness is underrated.
Thoughts?
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Fit Tip Tuesday: What Is Clean Eating?

I’m so excited to participate in the new Fit Tip Tuesday link-up! Thanks Lisa for hosting!

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My tip for the day is figuring out what clean eating means to you.

I recently read an article in Health magazine simply titled, “What is clean eating?”  So many people have declared that they have the secret to clean eating. I’ve heard it all:

  • Clean eating means eating only raw foods
  • Clean eating means eating only organic products
  • Clean eating means eliminating all sugar, dairy, simple carbohydrates, coffee and alcohol from your diet

Here’s the problem with these “rules”: they’re all so different, they all claim to be the change that will make you fit, and they all are nearly impossible to follow.

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In the Health article, registered dietitian Cynthia Sass discusses how diet trends have changed over the past few decades. Remember the 80s (neither do I, 90s baby whaddup) when everyone thought the trick was to eat no fat? People literally made themselves sick inhaling bags of fat-free potato chips, holding on to a tiny shred of glee that they had finally “figured it out.” Can you imagine a life without avocados, cashews, or mozzarella? That doesn’t sound like a world I want to live in.

Needless to say, I’ve jumped on Cynthia’s bandwagon and think her tips are worth a read.

First up? Eat whole foods

When you’re scrambling for breakfast, instead of eating a banana nut muffin, eat a banana and some nuts.

There are always going to be times when all I want is a banana nut muffin, and I’ll be damned if I don’t get one in my belly ASAP. But for the most part, our bodies are happy when we feed it things that it can recognize. When you eat foods that only have one ingredient you can sleep easily knowing that you gave your body a food from the earth that hasn’t been stripped of its nutrients or modified to taste more addicting.

Secondly: Let the ingredients guide you

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. If you want to be healthy, you have to read the ingredients. If you’re following step one, there isn’t even an ingredient list to read. But if you are cracking open a bag of your favorite snack, flip it over and give the ingredients list a check. No one should say “crackers are bad”. It’s all about what your crackers are made of. For example, you can turn over a Wasa cracker label and see that is has less than 5 ingredients, all pronounceable. So how does it make sense to say “No crackers!” and make a blanket statement that is taking away a product that can be a beautiful vehicle for other healthy foods such as cheese, avocado, peanut butter, hummus, etc.

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I’ve found that most blanket statements about food groups can be discredited with a simple look at an ingredient list. So many companies are creating products that are made with fewer ingredients because there is a market for it, so always keep an eye out for them.

Think Big Picture

Don’t just think about the way a food tastes. Think about what it’s really doing to your body. While there is a huge debate about GMOs, high fructose corn syrup and growth hormones, my simple thought is this: even if it’s not going to kill me, why would I want to put something like that into my body? If I can avoid it, shouldn’t I? Don’t get me wrong, I eat foods containing GMOs and HFCS without even knowing it (and sometimes knowing it). But when I’m grocery shopping, these are things I try to avoid.

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Do-It-Yourself

There are always going to be things you can’t replace.  When I want Cheetos, I want Cheetos. However, most of the time there are little homemade tricks to satisfy your cravings. For example, when I want spinach dip I make my own and replace half the sour cream with Greek yogurt. That way, I’m not only cutting back on fat but also upping the protein so I’m satisfied with a smaller amount.  All it takes is a little imagination and time set aside to discover that you can make healthy, whole foods taste comparable to many of the processed foods that you crave from time to time.

Listen to your Body

This is a huge one. There is no rule book for what your body wants to eat.  Gluten isn’t bad for everyone, and neither is dairy or nuts. While some people might have sensitivities or allergies to these products, that doesn’t mean that everyone else should rule them out. We’re all different.

With that being said, don’t wait for a diagnosis to change the way you eat. If you eat a whole wheat sandwich for lunch and suddenly feel bloated, you may have to watch how much gluten you consume. That doesn’t mean swear off all bread and pasta, but maybe have half a sandwich instead and see how you feel. When I was in high school I used to bake multiple times a week, often sampling tons of dough and not holding back once they were done.  Now, if I try to eat that much sugar, I wake up the next morning with a pit in my stomach that’s hard to shake for the rest of the day. There’s no diagnosis necessary, I’ve just realized that I can’t eat sugar in the same amounts that I used to. I became friends with my body, listened to what it said, and made a small change.

In my opinion, the biggest tip is to listen to your body. If you pay attention to it, you’ll know exactly what to eat, when to eat it, when to stop, and when to splurge. Isn’t that what healthy living is all about?

Question:

  • What does clean eating mean to you?

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Taken from “What Is Clean Eating” by Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD

thoughtcatalog overdose

I’m taking a break from food and exercise today and posting a quick commentary on something that’s been on my mind. I’m sure a lot of people can relate.

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When I first started reading Buzzfeed and ThoughtCatalog articles, I thought they were extremely thought-provoking. First, they gave me this warm and fuzzy feeling of community, reminding me that the terrifying Alice-in-Wonderland falling-down-a-hole feelings that constantly swirl around my brain are “normal.” I mean, if people can write article after article with “10 Things You Should be Doing in Your 20s” and “15 Signs You’re in a Quarter Life Crisis” and people follow up with thousands of comments and demand more, I’m obviously not alone. That’s a great feeling that combats the loneliness that comes with graduating and moving into adult life. Secondly, some of the tips are great! “Get to know yourself,” “Get a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” “Stop having unreal expectations about what love is supposed to be like”… I began taking mental notes of all these ideas that seemed to make so much sense.

But finally, and what has stuck with me the most about these posts, is that it’s all just too much.

My brain is overflowing with information, advice, and quirky sayings about surviving and thriving in your twenties. I finish the workweek, face the weekend, and suddenly I’m wondering if how I’m enjoying my free time is enough.

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I’m not staying out until 5 am dancing on tables like no one’s watching. I’m not planning my wedding. I’m not planning a trip to one of the 800 places you must see before you die and I’m definitely not working towards the endless checklists of things that I have to do in my 20s before “real life” approaches and I’m “locked down.” This whole “If not now, then when?” mentality is great in theory, but it consumes every free moment of my life, moments when simply getting hot chocolate with an old friend seem like perfectly acceptable ways to spend my time.

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How is what I’m doing now not real life?  This idea that I’m paying my dues until my real potential can be fulfilled is not only frustrating but completely goes against what I think the premise of these articles is. Today, I am an intern and a waitress. That’s my real life. Of course I have goals for the future and I don’t plan on staying where I am forever, but the person I am and the life I live is fine. In fact it’s a dishonor to myself to say that it’s “fine”. My life doesn’t deserve an adjective. If I wake up tomorrow and I get a full time, well paying job downtown, then that will my life. But it won’t mean that I’ve finally arrived and that then I’d somehow be more worthy of putting my life on display.

We can never just do anything anymore. We have to make sure others know what we’re doing, whether it’s through Instagram or Facebook, or even FourSquare. I don’t need to know where you went to dinner last night…I just don’t. But that’s the world we live in. And it perpetuates this need to show everyone else how well we’re living our lives. It perpetuates this fear of missing out on life because we’re constantly bombarded with people’s highlight reel and compare it to our own intimate storyline. Even though we know better, we’re forced to constantly compare and wonder if we’re living our lives right.

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We’re constantly told, “Life is wasted on the young” and warned that when we’re old and frail we’ll regret those times that we didn’t hop on a plane to New York City for the weekend just because we could. But I think the real waste is that we’re too busy worrying that we’re not living right. I’m tired of the cynicism and the inadequacy. How many seconds, minutes, hours, days do we spend worrying, trying to improve ourselves, trying to work towards the future, trying to live the life social media tells us is fulfilling. It’s exhausting. It brings on so much unnecessary anxiety. And finally, it makes us overlook the small things that actually make life great: the family dinner that you plan with a group of friends, the conversation you strike up with a stranger on the bus, when you run a 5k dressed up as your favorite Disney character, or when you have a spontaneous solo dance party because “Shake It” by Metro Station comes on the radio. It’s all so beautiful and so random. I just don’t want to drown in virtual expectations and forget how special these small moments are.