Nine Reasons to Love Your Body? (A Response)

I prooomised myself I wasn’t going to blog today. I have too much stuff to do- homework, packing, cleaning, organizing. Not like those things ever end?? I’m looking at a completely insane two weeks coming up, posting might be down during that time anyways. I can feel stress approaching, even though we can attempt to do everything in our power to prevent it from hitting you like a ton of bricks. Anyways, for another time.

Her Campus published an article the other day titled “9 Reasons to Love Your Body.” Articles like this are coming at the perfect time, as hopefully many are aware it’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDA). Her Campus has even started a #LovingMe project, which involves sharing something you love about yourself and posting it on social media. After this Her Campus is going to create a #LovingMe college using our photos! So I clicked onΒ  the “9 Reasons” link, hoping to find some glorious insight into letting go of my insecurities and relating to what I love about myself. And what did I find? I found body parts. I found a list of nine body parts- your eyes, nose, arms, chest, stomach, hips, butt, legs, skin. I get what the article was trying to say, when in each paragraph it details the muscles and the nerves and how these parts of body work and our beneficial to us. “Show yourself some love by appreciating your body’s strength, beauty, and functionality!” Uh, okay. I can love my body because it’s functional, and healthy, and protects me from harm, but I can hardly justify naming various parts of my body and explaining how they work as reasons to love my body. I love my body for so many other reasons than understanding how it functions. My life goes beyond just being able to function- I want to thrive, grow, change, and love the process.

So why do I love my body? Outside of the fact that, you know, it has parts.

  1. Like mentioned- It functions. My body is healthy, has never tried to hurt itself, or fallen victim to serious disease. And I completely understand how serious of a love this is- I am so thankful for my health and am not in the slightest trying to take it for granted.
  2. It tells me when to slow down. Thanks to coffee, carbs, and power naps, college students have the ability to function on minimal rest. Is that good my body? No. It’s systems slow down and all of that functionality loses power. I love my body because it can tell me when enough is enough- I’ll get a lump in my throat, my eye lids drooping at the computer screen, an ache in my lower back. It has it’s ways to encourage me to take breath, and get some rest.
  3. It allows me to set goals. Who hasn’t set a goal related to their body? Run a 5km, run a marathon. Learn to ride a bike, reach the top of the rock wall. Learn to walk again. Learn to swim, or swim competitively. Your body allows you to want to achieve something, and will work with you in order to achieve that! Your body can be a vessel for goals and hopes and dreams, and I love my body for everything it did today that it couldn’t do a year ago.
  4. It lets me be expressive. My body is an art form. Someone once described diving as “words written on air,” and sometimes that’s exactly how it feels. I love my body because it lets me perform. Your body can be your dancers body, your canvas for tattoos, your performance in a race. Your facial expressions and body language express more than an written word ever will.
  5. It can relieve me of my stress. I can go for a three mile run to feel free from the tensions of college life, or I can walk around the block. I love my body because of how it responds to yoga- fulfilled, calm, and satisfied. Even without being active, your body can lift the weight of the world off your shoulders simply from being mindful of your breathing.
  6. I can reinvent myself. Fact: I do not know what I will be after diving. Maybe I will be a runner, a cyclist, a weight lifter. Maybe I’ll do triathlons or CrossFit. Maybe I’ll be a couch potato. Your guess is as good as mine. My body can help me form my identity during the period of my life after being a college athlete. My body allows for change. My body welcomes change.
  7. It lets me try again. I love my body because it heals itself, not leaving evidence enough to make me afraid to try again. I have crashed my bike countless times. I have broken my hand, my face, nearly destroyed my back. I’ve gotten shin splints and pulled muscles. And 100% of the time, my body lets me come back. My body lets me try again.
  8. It lets me explore the world. My body lets me dive, the sole reason I ended up in Iowa. My own two feet have carried through cities all over the world, and side streets of my own hometown. Hiking and backpacking has shown my body that the road may be tough, but maybe the view is worth it. My shoulders have allowed me to paddle canoes down rivers, and hold handstands at countless monuments.
  9. My body loves me back. I take good care of it. I eat healthy, most of the time. I don’t abuse it with drugs or binge on alcohol. I have never been a smoker, I have never trained on a serious injury. I give it ice baths and hot showers and multivitamins and water. And as it turns out, after giving my body a rest day, my body will wake up ready to tackle six hours of training even my brain is reluctant.

Cheesy Greek Quinoa Bake

Who doesn’t love melted cheese? And everyone knows someone who is obsessed with quinoa (guilty). Mix in a boat load of veggies and you have yourself a perfect week day dinner that involves minimal prep. It also allows a ton of flexibility! Perhaps a quinoa or pasta bake will be my first attempt a completely original recipe. I wish I could give proper credit for this one, however I just have a screen shot from my phone as record of this find. It was weeks ago, and I just got around to trying it out. I also completely revamped the quantities of each ingredient, so if you are over or under on anything it honestly won’t make a difference (I posted approximately what I used).

What else is new you ask? Can you tell by the difference in image quality? I FINALLY got around to buying a new digital camera! While not photo savy enough for a DSLR, I did enough research on point-and-shoots to pick out a Canon PowerShot SX510 HS. It captures photos like a champ, with such clear picture and 30x zoom. Between this blog, Nationals next week, and insane summer that involves multiple states, countries, and a trip across the Pacific Ocean, the need was there.

Cheesy Greek Quinoa Bake:

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 4 oz feta cheese (one small container)
  • 1.5 cups reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1.5 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • salad dressing, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste

Prepare quinoa as directed, while chopping and dicing the spinach and tomatoes (I’m kicking myself for forgetting to pick up mushrooms, they would have been perfect). Combine the feta cheese, skim milk, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and salad dressing in a food processor. News flash- I don’t own a food processor. I used my trusty Magic Bullet and it worked like a charm!

The original recipe doesn’t have any type of salad dressing, but it calls for artichokes in oil which is not really my thing. I figured by adding a dollop of my favorite dressing I’d get some extra flavor and a little of the called for oil!

Add the veggies to the quinoa and mix well. Pour the feta sauce over top, then mix in onion powder, salt, and pepper.Combine thoroughly. You could probably use actual onions, but personally I think the taste of raw onions over power everything. If I had time I would think about dicing one and frying it, but I wasn’t too concerned.

Transfer quinoa mixture to an oven safe casserole dish, spreading it out flat. Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese, and bake at 400F for about 16 minutes (until the cheese has thoroughly melted).

As expected, it makes for fantastic leftovers! While I haven’t tried it packed for lunch yet, I’m sure it would do just as well thrown in your bag with a cold pack. Greek super foods for the win!

Iowa Czech

February has been a complete and utter blur, anyone else feel like it’s gone by in the blink of an eye? This weekend I got an opportunity to spend a couple hours in Cedar Rapids, only a few miles up the road by far enough that we needed a reason to do (that reason was Dick’s Sporting Goods-perhaps my first outfit post is coming soon? Is it still an outfit post if I just talk about leggings?). First we stopped at Smugglers Wharf, which was UNBELIEVABLY good food! David and I took forever deciding what to order which turned out to be not that big of a deal, because everything we got was so fantastic. We ordered mahi-mahi sliders, shrimp tacos, and po boy sandwiches. Ugh I’m carving it now just thinking about it.

Smugglers Wharf was in an area of Cedar Rapids called “Czech Square.” Right by the Czech and Slovak Museum and Art Gallery, the area was full of parks and restaurant and antique stores, one of which we ended up popping into! My apologizes for the lack of photos, as I didn’t think to start snapping some till we were checking out. The owners as it turns out were American, but had lived in Czech Republic for many years! The stories they could tell us about some of the artifacts where very neat, and they also carried some beautiful pottery where I scored two beautiful mugs for cheap!

What I Actually Bought This Weekend:

What I Wish I Bought This Weekend:

The Day We Won Gold (Again)

Today was way too emotional of a day to be stressed about my microeconomics exam tonight (which still may or may not get postponed due to weather?? Come on snow!) Like the rest of Canada, I sat and held my breath and watched and waiting and prayed and felt every high and low of the CAN-USA Gold medal women’s hockey game. Unlike the rest of Canada, I was not actually in Canada, which made for a PRETTY AWKWARD DAY.

11am CT, puck drops. Where am I? I am at practice. There are 450 televisions in the building and the four I can see are NOT playing hockey. WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT LEBRON WHEN THE GOLD MEDAL GAME IS ON?!

12pm, half jog to locker room and immediately check the score on my phone. Zero to zero, with equal shots on goal. Take the fastest shower of my entire life and head to the team room to catch a bit of the game before class. The first thing I see when I turn on the tv? USA’s first goal… (which prompted “Turn it off! You’re bad luck!” from my sister…) I sit there panting and yelling at the television while we run through a 5 on 4 and a 5 on 3 power play. 12:39pm, am severely late for class because I couldn’t leave.

In class- USA scores again. I am paying zero attention to Juvenile Delinquency, and am instead checking Twitter, tweeting, refreshing game stats, and texting (Sorry prof) My sister lets me know we scored, and now there’s only two minutes left. At this point I’m not even taking notes and. I. am. panicking. I don’t know what addiction feels like (wait yes I do coffee) but I need to find a tv RIGHT NOW. The game stats finally load a second before my sister texts me again- and the Canadian have tied the game

I AUDIBLY GASP and put my hand over my mouth IN CLASS. The person next to me wants to smack me, I can tell. I feel like crying and screaming and jumping up and down and the game is going into overtime and AM I THE ONLY ONE THE ROOM THAT CARES?! (probably). The game is going into overtime AND WHAT AM I DOING IN LECTURE.

It gets worse. After a quick pop quiz we get out three minutes early, and my mother lets me know overtime has started. All of Canada is at a standstill, and I am RUNNING across campus. Full on Ugg boots, winter jacket, massive backpack, SPRINTING from the chem building the ped mall where I know Buffalo Wild Wings has a million television sets and by god this game better be on half of them. I make it- ON TIME, and lets picture the scene for a moment here- I am panting, standing by myself, by the doors, and have dumped my backpack, jacket, and my sweater onto a bench. Someone asks if I want anything and I just shake my head and point at the game.

As I’m watching a commercial, I see out of the corner of my eye the game still being played on a different tv and I turn to see the faces of DEVASTATED Americans and at that moment I knew we won. They replay the 8:10 OT goal and I throw my arms in the air like a touch down and start CRYING (little tears, not bawling or anything!). Let me remind you I am STANDING BY MYSELF.

Was it worth it? 100%. May I avoid that Buffalo Wild Wings for a while? Probably. I managed to catch a bit of the medal ceremony while stopping at home to pick up my laptop and I cried again, and walked back to the pool where I was late for practice (blamed the game and everyone understood). I even got “#WeAreNOTWinter” text from the boyfriend.

Who is betting I can keep it together for the men’s CAN-USA game tomorrow? Not me. Who is thinking I should lock myself in my apartment and not be seen in public? DEFINITELY me.

 

 

Updates for My Foodies

Like I’ve mentioned in a couple previous posts, I’ve been trying to do a better job of menu planning for the week. I need to figure out what I’m going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner EVERY DAY or I will come home and eat toast and oatmeal till I want to explode (oh, if only I kidding…) Admittedly, I have been been doing pretty well with the whole on-the-go plan-ahead meals thing, except for this week :( This week I felt tired, and sluggish, and failed to plan my dinners after my planned breakfasts and lunches. To be honest I can hardly remember what I ate this week during the evenings- that can’t be a good sign of a good meal! So what exactly have I been eating exactly you ask? Here’s what I’ve been picking and choosing from, and creating!

Breakfasts On the Go

  • Banana berry bread (obviously)
  • Dried fruit, trail mix, and mixed nuts
  • Thermos of tea or coffee
  • Smoothies (from my pre-made baggies!)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Apples, bananas
  • Luna bars, Cliff bars, or Lara bars
  • Oatmeal (although I haven’t tried overnight oats yet- thoughts?)

Lunches (with photos!)

  • English muffins with hummus, turkey, and spinach or squash and zucchini slices
  • Pitas with any and all of the above
  • Salads in Tupperwares
  • Apples, bananas
  • Luna bars, Cliff bars, or Lara bars
  • String cheese

I’ve been making an effort to make an assortment of sandwiches using pitas and english muffins. I haven’t bought a loaf of bread in weeks. I’m not trying to cut carbs (I love carbs too much for that), it’s just I find the convenience of having sliced bread around the apartment hard to deal with. Instead of coming home and cooking something healthy, it’s so easy to make another PB&J or two, but when I buy english muffins they come in nice little packs or six for the weeks lunches!

Shoutout to my friend Lindsay (who I know reads lauren elyse CAN) for the Hudson’s Bay Thermos for Christmas…that was the best! It keep coffee hot all day if I pre-heat it!

Also a shoutout to my mother who got me this Eddie Bauer bag, it’s completely durable and is the perfect size to fit in my backpack and hold my daily food.

Yes, it may be a toiletries bag judging by the little mirror (and what my mother uses hers for), but the way I see it is it’s useful for checking to see if I have blueberry in my teeth after my 8:30 am class!

Dinner

  • Pork with green beans and soy sauce
  • Bagged salad mixes (convenient veggies to the max)
  • Whole grain pasta with ground turkey
  • Thawed harvest vegetable soup
  • Chicken breast and rice with salsa

As you can see, my dinners have been a little boring maybe? I’ll make a goal of posting a recipe that does not involve baking within the next two weeks…I already have date night lined up to make my absolute FAVORITE shrimp linguine dish!