Week in Review: Quality over quantity

… and here we are on Monday again.

When something’s fun, do it again. Or: never change a running system. Or: everybody likes positivity. That’s the somewhat long-winded way my brain chose to say one thing: I’m jumping aboard the Week in Review train again, once more talking [for the most part at least] about the good happenings only.

Thanks to Meg for inventing and hosting this fun little party to start our Mondays on a happy note.

Week in review

During the past week I …

Published a post I’d been meaning to write or a long time. If you didn’t get a chance to read it yet, I’d really be interestedd to hear your thoughts on the topic, whatever they might be.

Baked more Christmas cookies. Actually even the same recipe again and – bad blogger that I am – forgot to take pictures. I’ll make an effort to keep some aside the next time and snap a picture then. For now, I’ll borrow the original recipe creator’s.

Met up with the friend I mentioned the other week for another cooking date. We chose this recipe by Minimalist Baker [yes, also again; I simply trust in their recipes being winners]. No picture because we ate with her husband again and I didn’t feel comfortable enough to whip out my phone around him. Modifications we made were: using frozen pre-chopped kale that we cooked with pepper and vegetable broth so it ended up resembling German-style kale rather than the way Dana suggested. And: using locally grown Japanese sweet potatoes. Now if you’ve been around for a while you might remember me expressing my dislike of this vegetables before. Still true for the orange ones. But Japanese? Wow! Sign me up! Unfortunately, my friend bought them on a recent trip and I won’t be able to buy them around here. If you haven’t tried them yet but can buy them were you are: do it! Coming from a former sweet ‘tater hater here, that’s saying a lot ;).

More than the food, though, I enjoyed spending the afternoon talking and just being around a friend, getting a change of scenery. We already loosely set a new cooking date which I’m already looking forward to.

Had a full-on examination of my health [as in: blood test, cardiogram and, ahem, handing in an urine sample] at my new GP’s office. Oh do I not like having my blood drawn. Sleeping the night leading up to this? I wish! But it was worth it because the results were good, iron and vitamin B12 levels fine, too [these weren’t in the past]. However, my vitamin D levels are not where they should be. Hence getting a prescription.  And as such …

Started taking a vitamin D supplement. As somebody who tries to avoid taking medication whenever possible, this alone didn’t suit me. When I pocked up the prescription drug, however, I noticed it containing gelatin. Not cool. Hence why I put off taking it for a little bit but then finally reminded myself of this: yes, it sucks. But is me being 100 % vegetarian/mostly vegan worth risking my health? I know this is a struggle others might face, too, and think that health always needs to come first. As hard as it is to wrap my head around this: no animal is saved by me not taking these pills and staying in a nutrient deficit.

Spent some time with P.. My sister, her husband and the little one were in town for less than 24 hours so it wasn’t a long visit but seeing my favourite little boy was wonderful still. Even if just for the excitement of finding he can now pronounce my name [it’s a somewhat difficult one even for some adults].

Met another friend at her parents’ house on Saturday night. We went to school together and she’s now living quite a bit further away so we don’t get to see each other often enough. Following a long phone conversation earlier this week already, we still talked for hours while snuggling with her cat, Oskar. Having these friends that – no matter how much time has passed since the previous meet-up and how far they live away – always get you and that you can lead the deepest conversations with is one of the biggest gifts I can imagine having. Long-winded sentence but I think you get what I mean?

While certain things didn’t happen as planned, work wasn’t the most amazing and self-criticism was high again this week, the overall memory is a good one. Especially writing down just the positives, I’m reminded of all the good in life and the warm feeling of happiness I soaked up while once more breaking out of routines I’ve gotten too used to. And as the title suggests, this week was another reminder that quality matters more than quantity: While both the get-togethers with my friends as well as my sister’s stay were way too short, the brightness they brought into my days made them seem like so much more.

Now it’s getting late [Sunday night] so all that’s left to say for me is:

Happy Monday!

Happiness-inducing today: P. being ridiculously cute. Yes, annoying aunt moment again.

 

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Tell me some achievements from your past week!
When do you usually write your Weeks in Review?

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My kitchen must-have and acknowledging food privileges

Bloggers, raise your hand if you’ve been in a writing rut lately. Well, that’s been me these days and I’m not enjoying it. Some weeks thoughts and ideas are flowing through my brain faster than I can grab a pen – or access my phone – to write them down and others nothing goes. Ironically, just when I had mentally decided to give in and simply do some random Thinking out loud, one of the points I initially noted got my mind churning again. So I’ll reserve that one for another day but share some other randomness today to avoid falling out of the blogging loop completely.  Let’s get going!

Tell me: how do you – especially those of you in the US – prepare your tea? Or more specifically: how do you heat the water needed for it? A little birdy told me electric kettles aren’t really popular which stumped me because I’d never used anything else. Until now because – cue the tragical music – my kettle just quit its services [read: it broke]. On Sunday of all possible times obviously = no chance to get a new one right then and there .  Thrifty as I am I wasn’t ready to invest in a new one yet so have been relying on cooking water on the stove. I won’t lie in saying it first felt – okay, still feels – like a huge inconvience. But at that it also made me appreciate the daily convience I’m blessed to have every single day; hardly ever acknowledging the whole of it. If it’s between me and you, though, I do feel so priviled every time I just have a glass of tap water without worrying about germs and simply looking at the fact it’s so readily available to me.

Another thing in my kitchen I couldn’t don’t want to live without? Hands down my dishwasher. While I do a few dishes by hand if I want to reuse them again that day, just putting everything into the dishwasher at the end of the day and waking up to clean and dried dishes is amazing. A privilege I’m thankful for every single day.

Speaking of privilege: I stumbled upon this article the other day. It’s about the British chef Ruby Tandoh pointing out that the healthy lifestyle many people – particularly those striving for high protein intake and low-carb – live these days simply isn’t affordable for some. Now I know there are many posts out there sharing great advice on how to eat healthy on a budget and it’s definitely not impossible [but might require more time, knowledge and careful planning than some people have or can bring up]. I encourage you to read the full post to see the points Tandoh makes, though. What I agree with and have noticed myself is – through my own experience as somebody eating lots of fruit and vegetables – that fresh produce can easily make up a good chunk of your grocery bills. For families with multiple children – like Tandoh’s and many of those living on the brink of or in poverty – getting adequate amounts of food in on a budget doesn’t allow for such luxuries. So shaming any foods (think potatoes, white rice, grains in general) is plain wrong and I wish society as a whole did less of it [if at all]. We’re all just trying our best in this world and don’t all have the same chances. Just some food for thought.

Just like the privilege to buy almond butter. Thanks to Jen for the advice of keeping the unopened jar upside down for a day – it makes stirring so much easier. No huge oil spillage like on past occasions here and just a few clumps to smoothen out. Easy.

Something more light-hearted on my currently very heavy/deeper thought-filled mind is seeing my sister and P. again on the weekend. It’s been a few [too many] weeks since the previous time and will be my first time babysitting P. all by myself. I won’t lie in saying I’m a little nervous [and hoping for no necessary diaper changes in those few hours ;)]. Coming up for you on the weekend: more good good links!

For once not turning this into an endlessly wordy post – you’ve had a lot of these coming from me lately – I’ll end this here. Happy Thursday! We’re –this- close to the weekend!

Happiness-inducing today:  My current book and an unexpected smile.

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Share your thoughts on any or all of the above points with me!

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Compelled to compare?

Instagram. Facebook. The blog world. It’s everywhere: Comparison. Not a new phenomenon but one that I feel has been heightened to unknown expansion through social media these past years. And to be honest? It’s making me sad. Because you know introductions aren’t my favourites I decided to give you a glimpse into my brain in today’s or better yet: explain how this post came about. It was when being out and about with my mum and once more noticed how little she cares about what others do. Eat. Wear. And that’s when I decided to put my rambling thinking cap on. Or thinking beanie if you’re living in the same climate as our sweet host Amanda where spring hasn’t sprung yet.

Thinking-Out-Loud

To make the Just the other day, I saw a girl on Instagram asking her followers about sugar. Or more specifically: if the recommended daily intake of it included fruit because she was worrying about her daily huge smoothies. What makes me sad isn’t the mere fact we tend to get fussed about sugar. Or the whole carb scare in general. It’s the fact that these days, there doesn’t seem to be any aspect of life left where we don’t feel constantly compelled to compare ourselves to others. Food. Appearance. Workouts. Jobs. I could go on.

Because I’m definitely not trying to pretend I was above all of this and able to completely blind out any and all advice and discussion on social media I’ll give a personal example: What I ate Wednesday. At the beginning of my recovery I’d read through other people’s WIAWs for hours. Always comparing what they ate to myself.  Guess what that meant? If nobody else* was eating [insert amount of] chocolate, too, I felt guilty. Not normal. If I had carbs at every meal but others didn’t … you guessed it: guilt. Not normal? No. What wasn’t normal was a) my need to compare and b) the guilt I felt about following my cravings.

* 1. I obviously didn’t read every single WIAW post so maybe somebody did after all? 2. If I had simply looked around myself I’d have seen plenty of family members and friends eating whole chocolate bars on the regular. Reminder: the blog world only shows a tiny part of the world’s population.

Lindt chocolate

We seek approval for ‘doing things right’. Is it okay to eat xx pieces of chocolate a day? Doesthat dress look okay on me or should I rather wear something more loosely fitting to conceal my ‘trouble areas’? Is it okay to take more than one rest day? Whew, okay, thanks …. wait … are you sure? Really?

Have we truly become this insecure in our own decisions? Where has intuition [not just related to food] gone? Can we not make any of these decision all by ourselves anymore? I agree it’s helpful to get some guidance and advice here and there – we all get by with a little help from our friends after all. But it has become increasinly popular to trust others more than our own gut. Having the whole world with all its knowledge, advice and others to compare ourselves to in every aspect of life is a questionable blessing.

Source

We probably can’t/don’t want to pull ourselves out of all kinds of social media involvent. But the next time you’re considering a rest day don’t look for advice in others. Check in with yourself: what would feel good for you at this very moment? The next time you want that cupcake? Eat it if you crave it. Nobody else eats or exercises for you – why should they have the power to make these decisions for you?

Source

… and with that I’m stepping aside and opening up the stage for you to speak your mind!

Happiness-inducing today: Another sunny day.

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Good good links #29

Sunshine! Balmy 55 degrees. Need I say more about the effect the weather had on my mood? Spring is so close! Can you smell and hear [birds!] yet where you are?

Good good links

Enough of the weather talk, though, because that’s not what you came here for, so we’ll end the talking and let some of my favourite reads from this week speak for themselves. I’m off to meet a friend I haven’t seen in months and hope you’ll have an awesome Sunday – at best with great weather. As always I’m curious to hear you opinion on my picks if you read them or any others you enjoyed.

Good good [food for thought]

1,200 Calories by Sophia Herbst via HuffPost Food

The shocking truth behind the “magical” number. A longer read but well worth your time.

In the Media: Health Trends via Healthy Helper

A round-up of the latest health fads and scientific takes on them.

Can you eat too much fat? via the Real Life RD

In short: no, you can’t. Not a dietitian myself I’ll leave the full explanation to amazing Robyn.

Good good [advice and inspiration]

When I grow up … via Olives ‘n’ Wine

What do you want to achieve in life?

Quiz Time! How Much Does Music Affect You? [Study Says Pharrell Does Not Make Everyone Happy After All] via The Great Fitness Experiment

What does the way you utilize music say about you as a person? An interesting science-backed find.

A happiness trick via A Cup of Jo

Simple but great idea.

Health and food

Life Lessons: On Packing a Lunch via Hummusapien

Great ideas for quick and easy  meals, lunchbox essentials [cute boxes are a necessity!] and snacks.

Guide to Produce: 12 Storage Rules To Make Fruits + Veggies Last Longer via Henry Happened

What to store where to make the most of your Farmers’ Market – or grocery store – haul.

10 Meat-Free Protein Sources That Are Totally Underrated via Greatist

Beans, peas, nut butters or seitan – good answers to the “but where do you get your protein?” question.

25 Ways to Sneak in More Exercise Every Day via One Green Planet

Sitting all day neither makes us happy nor fit. Here’s how to get moving a little more in all kinds of situations.

Good good [things to make you smile]

Dad Illustrates The Hilarious Things He’s Said to His Kids via My Modern Met

Just how cute is this?!

55 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts Guaranteed to Make Your Day via Greatist

Because we can all use a laugh or two – or 55 times a few – more a day.

Good good [food]

Banana Honey Roasted Peanut Butter via The Smart Kitchen

Bananas, honey, peanut butter – a simple but amazing combination.

Double Chocolate Chip Granola Bars via Katalyst Health

We’re talking double chocolate plus peanut butter action here – sold.

The Breakfast Brownie via Yeah, Imma Eat That

Anything chocolatey for breakfast gets me – and don’t you agree with Kylie that these are attractive?!

White Chocolate Cranberry Protein Bars via Apple of my Eye

Never mind that I don’t even like cranberries – these look like perfection in bar form.

The Best Delicious Desserts Made Healthier from Around the Web via Greatist

Who says desserts can’t be nutritious?

Mango Salsa via Glow Kitchen

I’m a huge salsa fiend but have never made my own – this one looks well worthy trying.

 

Happiness inducing today: Sunshine!

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What were some of your favourite posts from the week?

Can you feel spring coming closer wherever you are in the world already, too?

 

Good good links #20

Happy Sunday everyone!

What is the weather like in your neck of the woods? Hopefully not too cold. If it is, though, what better excuse could there be for a nice day inside snuggling up on the sofa with a good book – or some great online reads. If I felt proud of myself for keeping up my Good good links for ten weeks already then sticking with it for 20 (!) consecutive weeks deserves a little happy dance on my part. Same goes for the great posts I happened upon this week or every week, really. All of you never fail to amaze me with thought-provoking and inspiring posts – keep it up in 2014!

Orchid_

 

Good good [food for thought]

Breaking the mold via Peachy Palate

Eat according to your cravings not any kind of dietary label.

Living intentionally via the Real Life RD

Awesome perspective. Listen to what feels right for you instead of doing what you feel you ‘should’.

Want More Self-Love? Eliminate This Word From Your Vocabulary via Mind  Body Green

Another great reminder to ditch the ‘should do’s’ and external expectations in life.

What goes through my head when having a YOLO Meal via fiterazzi

Going with your cravings isn’t cheating but treating yourself well.

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

365 days of good memories via Running with Spoons

A resolution worth sticking with for happiness in every day.

to save & spend via Build Your Bliss

Keeping your budget in check during the new year to “bring home the [tempeh] bacon”.

Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions via Kenzie Life

All of these are awesome and especially picking a word for the year. What would be yours?

Words That Should Never be Used to Describe Food via Snack Therapy

Great post at just the right time. Stop the guilt-free and cheat food madness – just enjoy.

It’s Easier To Add Than Subtract via Kath eats

Making healthy changes by adding good habits instead of cutting out little ‘vices’ [using that word loosely here as none of these shoud be seen as awful].

The Ultimate Guide to Eating Healthier in 2014 via Greatist

Partnering up with others, not depriving yourself and understanding emotional eating for a healthier year.

10 Inspirational Quotes For 2014 via Women’s Health Mag

Wise words to live by in the new year.

12 Outdated Items Every Twentysomething Should Own via BuzzFeed

Warms my heart and yes to everything!

24 Invaluable Skills To Learn For Free Online This Year via BuzzFeed

Learn how to use Photoshop, create animated GIFs or knit: here’s to picking up new skills in 2014.

Good good [things to make you smile]

Which Disney Prince Is Your True Love? via BuzzFeed

True Disney fans will understand the importance of knowing the answer.

Flowchart helps you justify breaking your New Year’s resolution to stop being a fat ass. via HappyPlace

For those days when all you really want to do is catch up on Netflix instead of working out.

Good good [food]

Gluten-free Nooch Muffins via Cotter Crunch

Noochy and nice – savoury muffins with a strange but good spin. Did I mention there are raw Fig Patties, too?

Raw Cashewgurt via Green Kitchen Stories

Creamy raw vegan ‘yogurt’ – so intruiging!

Honey Balsamic Roasted Veggies via Fit Foodie Finds

A simple and delicious way to dress up vegetables.

21 Healthy One Ingredient Diet Snack Ideas via One Ingredient Chef

Because snacking is always in style.

White Bean Chili via My Whole Food Life

A great chili to eat whether it’s chilly or not.

 

Happiness inducing today: Receiving a belated Christmas card by a friend.

 

Do you often do things because you feel you ‘should’ though you don’t want to?

What were some favourites you found this week? Feel free to share the links!