dinner

Heading to College this Month? Read This First!

Well, we all know those days are long behind me but I vividly remember the excitement, the nerves, and the weight I gained my freshmen year at VCU. More importantly, I remember feeling super unhealthy because of a sedentary lifestyle, eating everything from a can or a buffet, drinking beer and jungle juice and whatever else we could get our hands on, and not even thinking about working out much less walking to the gym.

Recently I stumbled upon the Instagram healthycampuslifestyle and was amazed that the pics and food choices came from a college “kid”!  I had to know more.

Turns out, Katelyn Barker is a freshmen at Virginia Tech and a Lynchburg, Virginia native (small world, once again I am reminded!).  She is majoring in human nutrition, food, and exercise with the goal of becoming a registered dietician. So she knows her stuff!

 

As a vegan and a dorm dweller, I was curious how Katelyn managed to eat, cook, exercise, etc. Thanks Katelyn for sharing your tips with BEC!

Tell us about eating on campus at Virginia Tech.

I live on campus and although there is one kitchen in my building, I never use it just because it’s a hassle. But there are definitely a lot of healthy options on campus, as well as a nutrition app for all of the dining halls and ways to make things like oatmeal and sweet potatoes in the microwave. I always have oatmeal, it is definitely my go to breakfast food with bananas; rice cakes and peanut butter is another and then I always have a bag of almonds or some other type of nuts. I don’t keep too much in my fridge, but there’s apples, maybe some carrots and hummus, and cashew milk.

You’re vegan, right?  What’s up with that and how do you get enough protein?

Even though I was eating fairly healthy before, veganism definitely ensures that I keep a clean diet which can be really hard on a college campus with all of the temptations. Now I can honestly say I don’t even think about eating any of those foods after being vegan for about three months. To get my protein without meat I try to eat a lot of beans, one of my favorite things to get on campus is a burrito bowl with pinto beans and black beans. Another thing I’ll do is make my own salad at the salad bar with spinach, which surprisingly has a substantial amount of protein, and add chick peas, kidney beans, green peas, and tofu. One thing people aren’t aware of is how much protein is in plant foods, getting protein definitely isn’t something I focus on because I know I’ll get enough as long as I eat enough natural plant foods in a day. Since I do lift I usually drink a vegan protein shake after just to get that extra boost but that’s definitely not necessary to get all the protein you need.

What do you recommend college students do for exercise?

Use the gym! It may be only time in your life you won’t have to pay for a gym membership so take advantage of it! If you don’t like going to the gym find something fun like an intramural sport, you won’t even feel like you’re exercising (you also don’t have to have ever played the sport before). If your school has an app to tell you the nutrition information of certain foods they’re serving definitely take advantage of it. By looking at VT’s app I’ve learned that a lot of the foods are very calorie dense and have a lot of sodium in them… like unnecessarily a lot, so I try to stay away from those foods. Don’t buy unhealthy food to keep in your room, if it’s there you’ll be tempted to eat it! And if you’re really trying to not put on weight, don’t drink too much alcohol. It’s definitely a big thing in college and it’s a fun way to celebrate after a hard week, but it can get the best of people and needs to be moderated. 

 What do you like to do specifically to stay in shape?

Senior year of high school I started lifting weights and found that I really liked it. So now I have a three day plan that I try to follow. I do chest and tris, back and bi, and legs and shoulders. I also am part of the Dance Company here which is a super fun way to do cardio because let’s be honest, most of us don’t like running on the treadmill for hours. I find lifting to be challenging to the mind and body and I’ve seen progress in my body so fast. It might be intimidating to start lifting when you’ve never done it before, especially in college when the weight room is filled with a bunch of buff guys, but I promise they’re all focused on themselves and if you need help with anything most people are more than happy to help you. 

We love your instagram!

I started my Insta mostly to motivate myself to eat healthy on campus and when I went vegan I used it as a tool to keep myself liable. I definitely slipped up a few times while transitioning to veganism, but that’s okay because everyone is different when it comes to switching their diet and it takes time to make that transition official. These slip ups didn’t hold me back, they just made me work harder to change my diet to a vegan one because sometimes your body craves things and its okay to give into those cravings as long as you get right back on track afterwards. Strive to be healthy for yourself and be the best you can be and you’ll be more motivated to stay on track than if you’re trying to look different for someone else. 

Thanks Katelyn for the awesome tips and beautiful pictures of your healthy food!  Follow her here at @healthycampuslifestyle.

Share this post with anyone heading off to college in a few months!

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Simple DELICIOUS Summer Side Dish

So simple in fact, you don’t need a recipe.

And just in time for your July 4th weekend festivities!

Who doesn’t love a caprese salad?  Am I right?  Super ripe, sweet, LOCAL summer tomatoes with slices of salty mozzarella and ribbons of crisp, fresh basil.  Splash on some good olive oil, maybe some balsamic and BOOM.

I LOVE THIS.

But when serving a crowd (which I do more in the summer when everyone can spread out outside) I like to serve up a chopped caprese with a twist. I add bread to put a little panzanella spin on the salad and spinach so it packs even more of a nutritional punch. Pine nuts give added crunch and texture-which to me is what takes a salad from boring to bright and something people will go back for seconds and thirds!

There is no need to measure, just add what you like in whatever amount. Here’s what you need:

  • Local cherry tomatoes, the more color variation the better. Slice in half.
  • Fresh buffalo mozzarella or burrata cheese. I will be using creamy burrata because it is INSANE. Tear into bitesize pieces.
  • Basil leaves. Either tear into pieces or slice into ribbons.
  • Organic spinach. Same as with the basil, tear or slice for easy eating.
  • Toasted pine nuts or any sort of nut you like.
  • Local, fresh bread from Lorraine’s if you live in Lynchburg or any other clean, whole wheat bread torn into bitesize pieces. Toss with olive oil and toast until lightly browned in the oven.

Put all of your ingredients into a large bowl and drizzle with GOOD, fruity olive oil and a little balsamic if you like. Dash generously with salt and pepper and serve immediately!

Voila!

Happy holiday weekend y’all!

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Fit Vine Wine – A Review

photo:fitvinewine

I love wine.  I am no expert, but I love wine.  Did I mention I love wine?  However, I hate consuming all the sugar that comes with it and I hate feeling blah and foggy and ravenous the day after having a little too much wine.  Red or white. Doesn’t matter, I always get the same ugghhhh feeling the next morning (hello mid thirties!).

So leave it to me to scope out Fit Vine Wine.  Guys, it’s awesome.  AGAIN, I AM NOT A WINE EXPERT. But I know what tastes good.  I have ordered two cases so far.  I get six Sauvignon Blanc and six Cabernet.  I think they are both delicious.

A little about the company direct from their website:

How Did FitVine Come About?
FitVine Wine was born when three friends discovered that they could make amazing wines that also fit their active lifestyles. Our team is always on the go, whether we’re doing CrossFit, cycling, running, skiing, paddle boarding, or just enjoying the outdoors. We set about combining our love for wine and fitness with an ethic for sustainability. Our proprietary process delivers high-quality great tasting wine with less sugar, calories and carbohydrates.

Our Fermentation Process
To create wines that are both clean and rich in flavor and mouthfeel, we put our wines thorough malolactic fermentation and perform dry fermentation with no residual sugar levels. In doing this, per 5oz glass, both the Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc have 90 calories & 3g of carbohydrates at 13.4% alcohol. The Cabernet & Pinot Noir have 95 calories & 3.4g of carbohydrates at 13.9% alcohol. The remaining sugar is that which is naturally found in the alcohol which is less than 1.5g per liter.  Furthermore our fermentation process is extended 10-15 days in order to optimize pH levels. Our proprietary process allows us to extract more color and tannins. Finally we filter all of our wines with both diatomaceous earth and micron pads.
Our wines contain sulfites at less than 35 ppm (parts per million). Additionally, at primary fermentation, the SO2 (sulfur dioxide) content is kept at a low level.

Our Grapes
We are very picky when selecting our grapes. We choose only the highest quality grapes from small farmers who focus on quality, not quantity. Our story doesn’t include fancy chateaus or barrels hewed from the limbs of majestic oaks. We’re OK with that and we think you will be too. Because the most important part of any story is what you take away from it and at FitVine, we took away residual sugars, excessive sulfites and needless additives. Just great tasting wine with fewer calories and carbs. If you’re trying to be more conscious about what you’re putting into your body and looking for a wine that champions your active lifestyle – drink clean. Drink FitVine – end of story.

What Does All This Mean
It means that we take the extra time and effort to create wines that are clean and you can take comfort in knowing exactly what you are and are not putting in your body. This is the way that wine is meant to be made: without all the additives, sugars, and impurities that can wreak havoc on our bodies. And the results are in that our wines can have all the flavor, mouthfeel and alcohol as “regular wine”.  We have received high marks from customers and reviewers, whom are thrilled to have discovered FitVine Wine.

I have only ordered through the website which is easy BUT it is an inconvenience to have to sign for it upon arrival (hello, sleeping 9 month old baby, three dogs and the doorbell).  Some Whole Foods Markets are starting to carry FVW so if you’re close to one that does, go get a bottle case and try it for yourself.  Check here to see if they are at your local store.  (Central VA peeps, they have FVW at WF in Charlottesville and RVA!)

photo:fitvinewine

If you don’t believe me, read the reviews.  There are HUNDREDS of them and nearly all positive.  That is what had me order it first, well that and the idea of less sugar, chemicals, and crap in my vino.

They have free shipping when you order a case so it’s sort of a no brainer.  You can mix and match which is great too. They give you a 60 day money back guarantee (that you won’t need) but if that helps some of you pull the trigger, so be it.

Let me know what you think! Cheers to the summer of no hangovers!

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More Pantry Staples

Is everyone’s biggest complaint, while gazing into a packed fridge and pantry, “I have nothing to eat” or is it just me?  I may have just returned from the grocery store, decide there is nothing to eat and promptly order take out. Whaaaat?  No!  We can do better than that guys! I have found that by keeping these few items in my pantry, I can quickly whip something up that’s healthy and delicious. I just have to do it!

Avocados– I know, I know.  I scream the avocado benefits from the rooftops but eat one a day and you notice a difference in your skin and hair, you feel fuller faster, and not to mention they are SO GOOD!  Eat it plain with sea salt, throw in some organic salsa to make a fast guacamole, mash into avocado toast or mix half an avo with half a sweet potato for a double super food punch.

 

 

Sweet Potatoes– Speaking of…my husband got me on a sweet potato kick.  They are so good and easy to use.  Throw them in the oven and bake a few at a time so you can eat them throughout the week. Cut them into strips and make crispy baked oven fries (our favorite). Slice them thin and use them for Sweet Potato Toast!

 

 

Brown Rice PastaThis is my personal favorite pasta to use.  I order it on amazon.  It’s organic, wheat free, gluten free and the perfect white pasta swap.  Sometimes I just top it with EVOO, parmesan and crushed red pepper.  During the hot summer months I use fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and ripped basil. Use your favorite, no sugar added jarred sauce if you prefer. Nearly instant gratification.

 

Dave’s Killer Bread Thin Sliced– Y’all.  You know it’s a win if my husband is requesting more loaves. This bread has it all.  It’s good for you, it tastes SO fantastic toasted or not, and the toppings are endless.  We love crunchy Barney Butter on top of ours.  Local, organic jam. Local honey. Avocado. Poached egg. Grass fed butter.  WHATEVER.

 

Beans– Ok I know this doesn’t sound very glamorous.  But we actually eat a lot of beans for a number of reasons.  They are quick, tasty, and and can stay in the pantry until you’re ready to use them.  I take a can of white northern beans and simmer on low with a chopped garlic glove, EVOO and a sprig of rosemary.  It isn’t fancy but it is a tasty side dish served alongside anything.  Grind a can in your Vitamix and make a white bean puree or white bean hummus.  Add them to soups and stews.  Black beans are perfect to mash and make a puree for tacos, toss with corn and cilantro for a quick side, or throw in to some chicken stock with veggies and make an easy black bean soup.

Super simple (you know me!) but keeping your pantry stocked with a few of these essentials means a healthy, quick meal is only minutes away.  What am I missing?  What else do you keep stocked?

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