Health's Angel

Laptop Problems. And…Snow!?

Hi, friends! Once again, it’s been awhile but I wanted to check in and I’m doing so on my phone. You see, my good old Dell laptop has been on the fritz for awhile now and it essentially bit the dust a couple weeks ago.

So unless I want to buy a new battery and power cord, or a new computer altogether (not happening right now), I’m computer-less! And blogging is just kind of a hassle without one.

PS- what would we do without smartphones?

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And there is a picture of what I woke up to this morning. If you know me at all, you’d know that I just about cried.

I have the day off today and I’m planning on doing some food prep later on: black bean burgers and roasting up some kabocha squash, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts to have on hand.

2 Comments »

Silence the Mind

When the weather turns cool, I crave hot yoga. When my mind is racing 1,000 miles a minute, I crave hot yoga.

Both of those were true early yesterday morning. So guess where I ended up?

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I originally planned to hit the gym and run on the treadmill. I’m happy to say that my running is improving and I don’t dread it as much as I used to. But, I’m not at the point with running where I can “zone out.” If I want to zone out and calm my mind, yoga is where it’s at.

Apparently luck was on my side. My favorite instructor at this particular studio just so happened to be teaching the class. The last time I took class with her, she was pregnant and rocking it. She’s soothing but also intense. Yesterday’s class focused on core work. I’m definitely feeling it today! Whoever thinks yoga isn’t a tough workout is sorely mistaken.

I love the relaxation portion of the class just as much as exercise portion. Yesterday, the instructor shut the curtains, kept the music going (she always has an awesome playlist) and we laid there with our eyes closed as she read passages/mantras. When I left class, I truly felt that I did something wonderful for myself/my mind. It’s amazing how calm I felt. I have a couple important things coming up at the end of this week and so I needed some peace of mind before they happen.

quoteyoga(Love this quote)

Now only if I could attend more often. I just can’t justify paying for a yoga studio AND a gym membership. I buy individual classes or five-class passes whenever the mood hits me or I have a little extra cash.

Here are a few other things that I do to relax and help calm my mind:

  • Baking and cooking
  • Taking a walk outside if it’s sunny out (Yes. It must be sunny. Vitamin D!)
  • Laying in the sun
  • Getting lost in a good book (I need new book suggestions…anyone?)
  • Petting my dog
  • Buying flowers for my apartment

flowers

(My favorite color)

What do you do to calm your mind?

24 Comments »

Turning Into a Little Beast

Hey blog friends. Thanks for indulging me in regard to my last post. Things got a little real up in here, but it felt good to write it out. I always appreciate when bloggers keep things real. I’m not going to pretend that I spend my days carelessly skipping through fields of flowers with my only worry being that I won’t have enough almond milk to make my post-workout smoothie.

To me, healthy living is more than just exercise and nutrition. Mental health/wellbeing is important, too. I try to keep as much personal information off the Internet as I can but when you choose to write a public blog, you also choose to sacrifice some privacy. This blog is me- and I want it to be authentic.

With that said…back to the regular old, lighthearted postings. :)

I took an unplanned rest day this morning because I woke up feeling nauseated and oh my gosh…my shoulders. My arms. Ah! So sore.

I’ve recently started incorporating strength training into my workout routine. I’m definitely feeling the effects (ow ow ow) but I’m also excited about it. For years, I’ve stuck to body weight exercises (like planks) and pilates/yoga to work my muscles.

I knew weight training was something I should’ve been doing, but I was always intimidated to venture into that area of my gym. So many machines, so many buff dudes and ladies that could probably snap my arms in half, so many questions about how things work…

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I feel like it’s a little more complicated than that, bro… (via)

A few weeks ago, I approached the personal training desk at my gym to see if I could set up an appointment with a trainer. I wanted to have someone who’s certified and knows their stuff show me the machines. After explaining how I have no extra money to actually pay for sessions, one of the trainers agreed to take me around and give me a free weight training tour/quick session. Sweet.

This was helpful. He gave me a fairly comprehensive rundown and had me hop on the machines to make sure I was doing the exercises properly. At one point, he said: “We’re going to turn you into a little beast!”

funny-tiny-puppy-dog-weights-barbell-spot-me-bro-pics(Via)

Ha. Ha. Doubt it, but that’s fine.

I’m not looking to build a ton of muscle or bulk up. I just want to tone up and get a bit stronger. Strong enough to crank out some pushups without having to fall to my knees, for instance. Yeah, that would be nice.

 

What’s your preferred way to strength train?

Favorite machine at the gym? I need more ideas!

8 Comments »

Self-Doubt in Your Twenties

Today’s “twenty somethings” are quite the phenomenon. Media outlets and the like just love poking at and dissecting young adults in their twenties like some bizarre organisms under a microscope.

Whenever I come across yet another article online about twenty somethings, I roll my eyes. At this point, I think I’ve heard it all.

With that said, I came across this article the other day and it actually resonated with me. It hits on thoughts I’ve been having lately. I wanted to share it- and comment on its points.

So. Five lies that twenty somethings need to stop believing.

(Source)

1. I’m The Only One Struggling

This one stems from the old comparison trap, which I admittedly struggle with from time to time. I think anyone at any age is susceptible to this.

I’m proud to say that I’ve filled my life with a lot of friends who are hard-working and driven. Some are in graduate school, some are traveling the world, some have moved and started promising careers.

Then I look inward. What do I see? Well, I’m still living in the city that I was born and raised in. The city that I’ve been vowing to move away from for oh…probably a good five years now? I’ve had bad luck with jobs and have essentially been jumping from one dead-end job to the next since I’ve graduated. I have my moments when I feel down and I think about what all of my friends are doing, and become envious. But, I have to say, those moments are happening less and less these days. Life is not a competition.

mayorI’ve been here so long that I should be running things by now.

You know what else has helped with this one? Deleting my personal Facebook two years ago. Facebook is perfect for anyone who wants to participate in a little self-loathing and masochism. I guess other forms of social media (and even blogs) can contribute to this, too. The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it also bums me out a lot of the time. Knowing when to disconnect is key.

2. I Should Be Successful by Now! Like Right Now!

I think this plays on the millennial stereotype of instant gratification. I like to think that I have a realistic approach to this one. I know that it’s going to take time and hard work to get to where I want to be. It’s just easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed along the way. One step at a time. Even though I make comments about how I’m “so old,” I know that 24 is actually quite young in the adult world.

3. Life is Not Turning Out Like it Was Supposed To

catsMy friend showed me this. No idea where it’s from but, gotta love it.

This is something that I’ve learned to let go of. I used to say things like, “I never pictured my life turning out this way.” and “I never thought that I’d be this lost/confused/etc.”

When I was in middle school and even high school, I thought that by 24, I would have a solid job and solid romantic relationship. And… oh hey, here I am and I’m nowhere near having either of those. But that’s okay. I’ve learned to let go of those old thoughts and predictions. I feel grateful that I’m still here on this earth to keep pursuing these things. The future is so unpredictable.

4. I Don’t Have What it Takes

I double-majored in Communication and English Writing/Journalism in college. Since graduating, there have been times where I’ve regretted what I chose to study. I should have done something more concrete, more stable, I thought. Like business. Or something in the sciences. But I know myself, and I know I would have hated either of those. I loved both of my majors; I took a lot of interesting courses and had some incredible professors. I initially wanted to go into broadcast journalism but decided that it was not for me.

I feared that I wouldn’t stand out among the thousands of other English majors out there when it came time to apply for all these random jobs. But that’s not for me to decide. I’m not going to let unfounded self-doubt take over.

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I love my alma mater. #nofilter

5. I am a Failure

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.”

…And oh have I been trying. Just about everything. And will continue to do so.

 

Thoughts?

Do you struggle with any of these “lies”?

14 Comments »

Coconut Craze

I just wanted to drop in on this Saturday morning to praise my latest obsession.

zico1Coconut water!

It’s no secret that my flavor scent/flavor is coconut. I’ve mentioned this no less than 100 times. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m loving this stuff lately.

My favorites include Vita Coco’s plain coconut water and Zico’s plain and chocolate (!) waters.

So, what’s all the fuss about coconut water? From Zico’s website:

  • Packed with potassium: As much potassium as a banana
  • 5 electrolytes: Sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorous
  • The ultimate hydration drink: Supports hydration
  • Natural: Coconut water has been used as an intravenous fluid and, in this way, saved lives during World War II in the South Pacific.

I remember reading somewhere about how coconut water was used as an IV drip during WWII in some extreme cases. Interesting!

Of course, I’m always wary of marketing ploys and hype when it comes to food/drink products. Personally, I don’t believe it’s a replacement for good old H20 (still my number one drink choice) but if you’re looking for something fun to drink, and you’re a coconut fanatic like me, this is a nice change-up. Besides, it was recently on sale at my local grocery store so…why not?

I’ve been enjoying a small cup of the chocolate coconut water before/after my workouts as of late. It’s like chocolate milk, but more delicious.

As I do with every product that I buy, I read the ingredients on the bottle and noticed one funky-sounding one: carrageenan. Apparently this is used as a thickener.

After reading what Dr. Andrew Weil had to say about carrageenan, I don’t think it’s something that I’d want to regularly consume. With that said, I consider Zico’s chocolate coconut water to be more of one-and-awhile treat rather than a diet staple, so I’m not too worried.

 

What are your thoughts on coconut water?

Favorite type of drink? I’m all about plain water. I also have a cup of green tea every morning.

22 Comments »

July Fun

Thanks for all the comments on my vitamin post. I promised I would update all of you as to how I’m feeling. Verdict: good. Who knows if it’s a placebo effect or not, but I do feel slightly more energized. Also, my nails are in much better shape than they were. I don’t think I mentioned this before, but for the past few months my nails were noticeably brittle. They would barely grow before breaking off. Now, they’re longer and much stronger, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

I just wanted to pop in and share what’s been happenin’ with me lately.

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Summer is my favorite time of year, so I’ve been getting out and enjoying nature while it’s at its best. One afternoon, my brother took my Mom and me on a nice hike at a park close to my parents house. My brother made a great guide; I like to refer to him as “Bear Grylls.” He’s outdoorsy to the extreme. No pictures of the actual hike. Fun fact: I never have my phone with me when I’m exercising. I use it as my time to disconnect.

This picture was taken from my Instagram, which I’ve been really into lately. I used to think Instagram was stupid, honestly. But it’s grown on me! Lets be friends on it.

Also…I love obnoxiously bright workout clothes. Obviously.

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I snapped this picture before a Saturday morning spin class. Do you think I like the color blue?

I’ve been loving spin classes at my gym lately. The instructor I had that morning was a younger (probably my age), cute and funny girl. Plus, she had a great playlist which always makes a spin class that much better. I got very excited when M83 started playing. Love them.

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I met two friends for brunch (which ended up being lunch for me) that same Saturday. I was able to convince them to check out Eden, a newer restaurant in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Eden is extremely vegan and vegetarian friendly and their menu is chock-full of clean eats. I started my meal with a green juice: kale, celery, spinach, cucumber and lemon. I don’t have a juicer at home so I love to get juices like these when I can.

4I already had breakfast that morning so I was in the mood for lunch food. In this weather, I crave crisp, cool salads on a daily basis, and that’s what I went with. Mixed greens, roasted carrots and beets and goat cheese with a simple dressing of I believe olive oil, lemon and apple cider vinegar. There may have been nuts or seeds on this, too? Something like that. Clearly I have a great memory. Simple, but delicious. I definitely want to visit Eden again and try one of their main dinner courses; they have some really creative entrees.

Also, one of my friends who I went with…love her, but she is not what I’d call adventurous when it comes to food. She was hesitant to try Eden. She ordered a veggie omelet with some kind of smoothie and ate every last bite and loved it! Our other friend got waffles that looked incredible, also.

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I love a good salad just like I love homemade baked goods. The baking bug bit me the other night…so this happened. I had plans to make dinner with a friend and I took charge of bringing over dessert.

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M&M cookies are always a good choice. This is my go-to recipe, always. And now I wish I had these all over again.

I’ve got some fun things coming up. My birthday is next week and the week after that, I’ll be road-tripping down to Charleston, South Carolina to visit one of my good friends. I can’t wait. Beach time, boat time and jet-skis are calling my name.

Have a great weekend!

22 Comments »

On Taking Vitamins

Today, I’d like to talk about supplements.

I grew up taking a vitamin every morning. Does anyone else remember Flintstones chewable vitamins?

Flintstone-Vitamin-Can-adult-take-flintstone-vitamin(via)

Somewhere down the line, this habit stopped. I mentioned a couple posts ago that I’ve struggled with disordered eating in the past. It was at its worst during my sophomore year of college. Besides losing too much weight, I started to lose my hair and my nails became very brittle.

When I was “recovering” (I use this term very loosely. I was never diagnosed with a full-fledged eating disorder.), I jumped back on the vitamin bandwagon. This time, I turned to prenatal vitamins.

No, I was not trying to get pregnant. And I’m still not…thank you very much. But I did some research and discovered that prenatals packed more of a punch than traditional multivitamins, especially when it came to hair and nail growth. My doctor gave me the go-ahead, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try them out. The brand I chose is pictured below. I found them at my local drugstore.

Rainbow_Light_Prenatal_Multivitamin_30_Ct(via)

After I starting taking a prenatal once a day, I started noticing positive differences in my hair, nails and overall health. Of course, it helped that I was beginning to eat more as well. But I don’t think I could have improved as much as I did without some substantial supplemental help.

The only negative? These were literally horse pills. So tough to swallow.

Once I got back up to a healthy weight for my height, I gradually stopped taking prenatals. Eventually, I went back to not supplementing at all.

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve transitioned to a plant-based diet, with some seafood thrown in every once and awhile. I like this change and I see myself sticking with this kind of diet for a long time.

The only negative thing I’ve noticed is a lack of energy.

To give you a bit more about my health history, I was diagnosed with mononucleosis in May 2011. I know mono is fairly common, but it affects everyone differently. Mono made me the sickest I have ever been in my life. Let me just add that if mono is the worst illness I’ve gotten thus far, I’ve been very lucky.

But, it was extremely unpleasant for me. It literally knocked me on my behind for months. I could hardly eat, did nothing but sleep and could barely talk or breathe at one point because my throat almost closed up due to swelling. Steroids worked miracles with that one.

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(This was right before the worst of the mono. I wore those sunglasses the entire evening because my eyes were swollen. At the time, I thought I randomly developed allergies. Nope! Apparently that was a mono symptom.)

Ever since I had that bad bout of mono, I vehemently believe that my health has not been the same.

I remember years ago that working out used to give me energy. Now, working out just makes me tired. And to be honest with you all, it makes me feel like a fake healthy living blogger. There, I said it. I still work out, but I’m not going to pretend that it makes me feel so energized and full of life. I do feel good right afterwards- endorphins! But then I just get sleepy.

For the past two years, I’ve noticed that if I push myself hard with workouts for multiple days or weeks at a time, I get completely burned out. My body starts to feel heavy and tired as though I’m getting sick again.

I could go on about this, but I’m going to focus back on supplementing. So…I’m not sure whether my lack of energy is just due to that nasty EB virus setting up shop in my body, my diet change, or a mix of both.

I am by no means a nutrition expert, but I’m thinking that I may be lacking in some crucial vitamins- perhaps vitamin D and B vitamins.

I purchased some Vitafusion MultiVites (gummy ones!) yesterday. I’m going to see if these make a difference.

multivites

I know that most vegetarians/vegans, and even those who don’t follow a plant-based diet, use dietary supplements of some kind. I think I’ve been in the minority for NOT supplementing for the past few years.

I’ll be sure to update on how I’m feeling.

What are your thoughts on vitamins/dietary supplements?

Any theories as to what may be causing my chronic fatigue? Nutrition friends, feel free to chime in!

21 Comments »

Who’s This Chick?

Hi! Remember me?

sz

No? It’s okay. I don’t blame you.

I think we can all deduce by now that I am going to be a once-in-awhile, whenever I feel like it, kind of blogger.

Trust me, I still read blogs. I may not always comment, but I do read. Now, with the help of Bloglovin. Which I’m not really a fan of. Does anyone else have problems with their feed updating?

For those of you who care (haha), here are a few updates about my “healthy living” life.

Fitness

I’m going to honest with y’all. I fell off the workout wagon for a couple of months. I have a laundry list of excuses for this one…but I think that overall, I was just bored. I was only making it to the gym once a week (if that) and my workouts were lackluster.

What motivated me to get going again?

marathonbanner-001The 2013 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon.

No, I did not run. But I worked all weekend. The Marathon has an incredible staff and the company that I work for was fortunate enough to help them with the event. I took the above picture at…I don’t know, 4:30 a.m.?

I could go on forever about Marathon weekend. If I were a better blogger, I would’ve dedicated an entire post to the Marathon alone. To make a long story short, it was a crazy-fun experience that I’ll never forget. I got to give one of my best friends a big hug as she crossed the finish line. This was her second year running the full marathon, and I was so proud of her!

finishline

Just being a spectator (posted up at the finish line, nonetheless) lit a fire under my butt and since then, I’ve been getting into a better groove with my workouts. I’m no marathoner, but lately I’ve been enjoying jogging/walking outside (weather permitting) and spinning classes at my gym.

I also treated myself to a five class pass at my favorite hot yoga studio, for variety. Plus…I’m really feelin’ vinyasa these days. Sweating buckets never felt so good.

Food

dinner1Shrimp, peppers, spinach, peanuts and quinoa in teriyaki sauce. Eaten with the company of my computer and an oversized t-shirt. #singlegirlproblems

Well…I can call myself an official pescatarian.

I stopped eating meat (except fish) about five/six months ago and haven’t looked back.

Maybe I’ll write a post behind my reasoning for this but overall, I just feel better without it. I was never a big meat-eater to begin with, and it started to gradually fade out of my diet over the past year without me even trying.

One of our interns at work mentioned that she doesn’t eat meat either. My co-worker chimed in and said that she tried going vegetarian for a month, but couldn’t do it. She said she craved burgers and whatnot. The intern and I agreed that if you have to force yourself away from meat, then you probably shouldn’t be a vegetarian.

I don’t crave meat. I prefer a plant-based diet, but it’s not for everyone.

This post is getting lengthy so I’ll end it here. More life updates to come. Hopefully…

cakes

P.S.- My job involves lots of pretty cakes. No wonder my pants are tight.

21 Comments »

Rapunzel Wannabe

In August of 2011, I had a temporary moment of insanity and chopped 9 inches off my hair.

shorthair

GAH!

I think I was itching for a change. A “new me” if you will. Well, I liked this “new me” for about a week. It didn’t take long before I started looking at old pictures of myself and missing my longer locks. I’ve been trying to grow my hair back ever since.

august2012 This is me about a year later, August 2012. I guess that’s pretty good growth for a year, but it doesn’t seem like it to me. See, right now my hair doesn’t look any longer than it did in that picture. And it’s March 2013. Does anyone else find that their hair hits a certain length and just does not seem to grow past it?

On the plus side, my hair has grown back much healthier. I went through a disordered eating phase (I supposed that’s what I’d call it) during my sophomore/junior years of college and subsequently lost almost half of my hair. I’ve always had thick, naturally curly hair and I used to consider it a pain when I was younger because it was so hard to control. Going through that bout of hair loss made me appreciate having thick hair in the first place. It probably would’ve been/looked a lot worse if I didn’t have so much of it to spare.

hsOld picture alert. That’s me towards the end of high school when I was 17. My goal is to get my hair to look like that again. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, huh?

I probably sound really dramatic about my hair right now, but oh well. Losing some of it a few years back was a real wake up call. Initially I thought that it was caused by stress or some other condition, until my doctor told me that my weight was too low and I needed to gain. It was then that I realized that my diet needed help.

Thinking back to that time in my life makes me sad. Not only was I not eating enough calories in general, I was eating virtually NO protein. And that’s what hair is made of, after all. Now I try to incorporate protein into almost every meal. It’s still a struggle for me, though. I don’t eat as much meat anymore and I won’t go near protein powders. I avoid processed protein as much as I can. Nothing against anyone who uses protein powders, but they’re not my cup of tea.

I’ve heard people rave about biotin supplements for hair growth. I’m not interested in taking biotin because I hear that it breaks you out, and I have acne-prone skin. I’d rather not deal with that. I took prenatal vitamins for awhile after my bout of hair loss and they did seem to help some, but I’m not sure if they’re necessary for me anymore since my diet is much better now.

 

Any hair growth tips for me? I feel like there are so many “old wives tale”-type tips out there and it’s hard to know which are legit.

Do you prefer your hair long or short?

25 Comments »

A Few Links

Hi, everyone-

My brain is mush. There’s a lot going on at work, and I haven’t had much energy to blog. Lately, the moment that I get home, change into my sweats, and park myself on the couch = done for the night. I hope that in the next few weeks I’ll be able to get a better handle on things in my professional AND personal life…and knock my stress level down a bit.

Just dropping in with a quick little PSA. I would love it if you’d vote for my friend Gabby to become Ross Park Mall’s Style Setter fashion blogger! Click her name to check out her blog. Trust me when I say…she knows what’s up when it comes to fashion.

Click here to vote!

Thanks to a co-worker, I’m starting to dig the whole Instagram thing now. Check me out at @missangelae.

Also, because of the impending demise of Google Reader- I’ve switched over to Bloglovin’. So far, so good! Here’s my link:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

We’ll talk soon! Until then…

wine

10 Comments »

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