“Masshittda”

“Masshittda” is a word that I have said times too many to count this past month while traveling to Korea. If you haven’t guessed already, the word “Masshitda” (맛있다) means “It’s delicious” in Korean.

I just want to point out, traveling means getting the opportunity to try lots of new (and delicious) food by sacrificing your healthy eating habits once in awhile.

Sorry for the long introduction; I promise this is the last part of the intro. For this trip, I took pictures of the meals that were interesting instead of documenting every single one. However, even though I took out some meals, there are still a lot (read: picture overload). So for your sanity as a reader, I’m going to break this trip up into two posts where each post covers 11 days.

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With all that being said, the start of my trip started with airplane food (cue in the groans and anxiety). Airplane food for me is the worst. You seriously don’t know where it’s from and it just tastes funny, you know? But I do appreciate Korean Airline’s dedication to provide the best food they can. My family has been flying Korean Airline ever since I was six months old, and we never really had a problem with their meals.

Here are one of the meals I had called “Bibimbap” – a mixed vegetable and rice dish with red bean paste on top:

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After mixing all the ingredients in:

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Since it was a 14-hour flight, there were two meals. One which included a very early breakfast where I chose to eat omelette:

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Complimentary guava juice…is that even a question? (the only time I drink something other than water)

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Once we landed in Korea (after a gruesome fourteen hours where my butt ached from sitting down so long), we (whenever I refer to “we”, I mean my family) had a four hour transfer at incheon airport. After having a quick shower at the Korean Airline lounge, I grabbed plain yogurt from the lounge food bar.

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^this is an example of plain yogurt in Korea. This is especially for Serena since she asked me once if there’s yogurt in Korea. Obviously there is.

Next we had a three and half hour flight to Manila. A little background story here. We used to live in the Philippines for four years when I was very little (3-7 years old). As an end of the school year treat, I picked Manila as our mini trip before our actual annual trip to Korea.

So with this trip being designated for nostalgia and all, as soon as we checked in the hotel, we looked for our FAVORITE Italian restaurant, L’opera. We had mushroom risotto, some kind of pasta I forget what, and a zucchini and eggplant pizza. It was an extremely carby lunch, but oh so worth it.

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(Restaurant: L’Opera in Fort Bonifacio)

After walking around the city in order to burn the calories we just ate, my family and I walked for about two and half hours. I seriously think we walked at least five miles. Talk about serious healthy and active travel.

Anyways, at the end of our adventure, we found our way at the market (whadya expect? My family is comprised of foodies so of course we go to the market). While there, my mom and I went on a quest to find durian and some mangoes (like promised in the previous post). Here’s what a typical fruit stall looks like:

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@ Market, Market! in Fort Bonifacio

After checking into our hotel, my mom and I couldn’t wait to try the durian. We had to save the mango for the next day because it wasn’t ripe enough.

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^this is a half of what we bought. My mom and I were initially thinking of eating this today and the other tomorrow. But nope. We ate the whole thing in one sitting – do you see the durian seed from the first half on the far right??

Another confession time. I didn’t like durian before. My mom is a self-confessed durian lover so she would always bring durian into the house. My dad got away with it being the adult he is and never was forced to eat it. I, on the other hand, was forced to. However, I wanted to give durian another chance. And guess what? I loved it. It’s so sweet – a much different sweet than avocado – and so creamy. I loved it so much I regretted the days when it was so available to me yet I didn’t eat it.

After another day in the Philippines, my family boarded the plane to head back to Korea. We were welcomed with a small but heartfelt meal from my whehalmoni (maternal grandmother in Korean)

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The following pictures are in random order. I honestly don’t know where and when I’ve eaten them, all I know is that they’ve been in my stomach :).

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Injulmi and black sesame bingsoo – don’t they look divine?

(Restaurant: 설빙; Sulbing)

 

Bad Farmers – took some time to locate this place with only a few directions and no wifi, but it was so worth it!

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^this is the Avo Cobb salad (I obviously got the avocado salad…)and the beet hummus open face sandwich with acorn squash soup. (One thing off the bucket list!)

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^the lighting isn’t the best, but here are the salads they have. I’m hoping that I can recreate some of these at home.

That’s going to be the end of the first leg of my trip to Korea. Keep posted for next week’s post for the last 11 days! Believe it or not, the meals during the last 11 days are even more “masshittda”!

 

Have you ever been to Korea before? Or have you travelled to another tasty city?

xoxo, Stephanie

 

Finding Your Workout: My Exercise Journey

I used to hate working out. Eating healthy was enough for me, and I didn’t realize the benefits of exercise until I actually tried it out. I loved gym class at school because of the team sports and the camaraderie, however, when it came the summer, I wouldn’t actually do much to maintain my fitness.

Every summer, I competed in golf tournaments about once a week and I practiced most days for about 2-6 hour. Really the only physical benefit of golf was that it strengthened my legs and kept my heart rate up because of the amount of walking (typically 5 miles) and swinging involved. However, I wasn’t doing much else to strengthen my body. So when my mom joined a gym membership, I decided to come with her to a yoga class. I instantly fell in love with yoga because it was so peaceful yet physically demanding, and the shavasana (lying down) at the end felt amazing. So I continued to attend the yoga classes once a week and carried this out during my school year. But obviously, one hour of yoga a week was not enough.

I started doing Blogilates (pilates) about once a week and doing push ups before going to bed. The next summer, I joined a field hockey camp that met twice a week, and I sprinted my way across the field. When high school started, I involved myself with field hockey. The team met every week day for two hours each. The amount of cardio we had to do was challenging for me. I remember thinking that the  3 mile run around school was a very big deal.

In the winter, I tried out dance, which met three times a week for one and a half hours each. Dance was completely different from field hockey; there wasn’t much cardio involved, but it was more like yoga because of the flexibility involved. During the season, I realized that I it really was not the sport for me. I wasn’t the most graceful or coordinated, so I told myself I would try a different sport the next winter season.

Spring was golf season for me, which was very exciting. I didn’t do much to supplement my exercise other than the mandatory half-hour weight-lifting once a week.

When summer rolled around, I started thinking back to the winter season and decided that I would either joint the swim team or run distance. Ultimately, I decided to run, mainly because of the support that Stephanie (yes, the other half of this blog), who ran cross country, gave me. I started running for 40 minutes, 5 days a week , and I got used to it. Although I dreaded the early morning wake-ups, I felt so accomplished after each run. I knew that I wasn’t the fastest, or even close to fast, but it gave me pride to be pushing myself into a sport that I was hesitant about because of the immense challenge that it presented for me.

So over the course of my journey so far, I’ve learned a couple things:

1.) Try it even if you think you’ll suck at it! Field hockey and running were two sports that I was completely intimidated by because I hated cardio. But when I gave it a try and gave it some time, I ended up enjoying it.

2.) Constantly push yourself. Fear of the greatness of your potential is probably what’s holding you back.

3.) You need a buddy/buddies. If exercise is hard for you, use other people to motivate you, whether that be teammates, friends, or opponents.

What are your experiences with exercise/athletics?

Love,

Serena

Tofu with Teriyaki Sauce

Tofu is one of those comfort foods I enjoy so much. And, there’s an added bonus:it’s healthy. Packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, it’s my go-to substitute for meat.

While pan frying it is a quick and easy preparation, I decided to amp up the flavor with a homemade “teriyaki” sauce. Here’s the recipe…

1.) Start with a block of firm tofu. Drain the tofu, using paper towels to soak up the moisture. Cut into small cubes and pan fry. (I used half a block here)

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2.) Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by heating half a cup of mirin and half a cup of soy sauce in a small pan. Add half a teaspoon of garlic, ginger, and scallion to the mixture when simmering, and incorporate the cooked tofu cubes.


3.) Enjoy!!

This recipe is super easy and I hope you’ll give it a try.

What is your favorite way to make tofu?

Love,

Serena

Healthy Travel 101

Knowing myself, right now, I’ll have grown a food baby from all the good food I’ve been eating in Korea.

HOWEVER, I’m hoping that I don’t go so out of control. So this post is dedicated to those who want to travel the healthy way but at the same time go the #YOLO way. I think it’s really depressing if because of your weight loss regime, or diet, or whatever, that you pass up on the delicious concoctions that are only available at your travel destination. So here are some of my tips for healthy travel.

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1. HYDRATE | This is especially true on the plane. It gets especially dry up there, so make sure to properly hydrate.

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2. Have healthy snacks close at hand | Pack KIND bars, fruit, or any of these healthy snacks with you. Better safe than sorry!

3. Don’t think that you have to finish the whole thing | Yes, I know it’s manners and we’ve been taught as children to not leave anything on our plate, but don’t think like you have to finish that massive pasta bowl or whatever. Remember: restaurants usually do not serve proper portions but much larger portions. Make sure to listen to your body and STOP when you’re full.

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4. Share the good (indulgence food) | Similar to the previous point, if you want to order that dessert on the menu, don’t think you have to finish it all by yourself. Share it with someone at the table. Twice the joy, half the calories.

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5. Stretch everyday. | Flexibility is just as important than other fitness skills. And stretching is super easy to do on your hotel bed or while in your plane seat. Stretch, stretch, stretch.

6. Walk lots. | Take the long route (walking), walk up the stairs if you can. As a runner, I don’t think I’ll be able to run in Korea (insert sobbing emoji) nevertheless, make sure to just MOVE a lot.

 

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY: Have fun!!!

What are some your healthy travel tips?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Runners Workout

Like I promised last week, here is the workouts for my fav people: RUNNERS!!! Only runners know the true love and bliss one gets after finishing an awesome workout or race.

Before I get into the plan, I want to say that I am just an intermediate runner who is training for XC right now. If you are a more heavy runner, you might want to add on a few more miles to my plan and similarly, if you are running newbie: first, welcome, and second, take off a few miles.

This plan is what my XC coach prescribed for our team. I’ll definitely be doing a check-in post later on in the post to update you guys on exactly what I’ve been doing.

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JUNE | This month should be dedicated to building a stronger running base. That usually means for any level runner to increase your mileage. Make sure to focus on your form and find a comfortable running pace.

  • Run 5 days a week: 30-40 minutes x 4 days and a long run of about 60 minutes once per week
    • These runs should be EASY, but you can pick up the pace every once in awhile if you feel like it

 

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JULY | This month is where you start your training – adding in intervals. These workouts should be challenging but consistency is key. If you can run super fast one day, but if you can’t keep that up for the following days, then that’s no use.

  • Run 5 days a week:
    • Run 40-50 minutes x 3 days (increasing your mileage now)
    • Interval/tempo workout x 1 day (these workouts will be listed right below)
    • One long run for around 70 minutes
  • Interval workout suggestions (if you don’t have a track then you can run hard for a certain amount of time and then take a slow jogging recovery of about equal time/half the distance)
    • 8x400m (80-90s)
    • 4x1000m (4:00-4:30)
    • 6x600m (1:50-2:10)
    • 5x800m (3:00-3:20)

 

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AUGUST | This month we are adding everything – mileage and hills.

  • Run 6 days a week:
    • Run 40-50 minute EASY runs x 3 days
    • Interval/tempo workout x 1 day (same as the ones from July)
    • One long run for up to 80 minutes
    • One hill/stair workout (warm-up, cool down, about 25 minutes of hill/stair repeats)
      • Obviously, this is designated specifically for XC, so don’t feel like you have to do this hill addition if you don’t feel like it. Instead, run the sixth day doing either a short easy run, long run, or interval/tempo workout

 

CONDITIONING | As much as building up a cardio base is important, building up strength is important too. Try doing a few (3-4) workouts each day and try to build up to 3×10 reps for each.

  • Pushups
  • Planks (front, side)
  • Forward lunges
  • Reverse lunges
  • Sideways lunges
  • Jump squats
  • Step-ups
  • Ab exercise of your choice (head to my winter training to get a sense of some ab workouts or the non-runners ab workout)
  • Burpees (ugh….)
  • Squats holding a weight

 

Extra pointers:

  • Make sure to get good running shoes | I cannot stress enough, please
  • HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE! | As runners, we lose a lot of water from sweating , so make sure you’re sipping water constantly throughout the day
  • A good app to track your running: Map My Run

 

Runners are you ready? Get set, go!

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

P.S.: If you have any questions about the workouts, PLEASE ask down below. I will try to get back to you ASAP.

My Experience with College Dining Halls

Since I am at a sleep away summer camp on a college campus, I have been able to experience eating at a college dining hall. Lucky for me, the college that I am staying at (Georgia Tech) has an excellent dining hall with a lot of vegetarian, gluten free, and vegan options.

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There’s a gluten free fridge with cookies, muffins, and bread. There even is a Silk dispenser with vanilla and chocolate soy milk.

IMG_2526My typical breakfast is made up of oatmeal (with honey and soy milk), some fruit (pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, banana) and a boiled egg. Sometimes I will add in some potatoes. The breakfast at this dining hall is actually very similar to what I eat during the school year. Unfortunately, there’s no almond butter because they only serve nut-free foods, but coming here, I was pleasantly surprised by the many options!

As for lunch and dinner, the dining hall offers a variety of vegetables, but also a fair share of fries and pizza. Below is a couple of meals I’ve eaten.

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On the left plate, I have carrots, orzo-rice, cauliflower, and spaghetti squash with beans. On the right, there are peas, fish (likely flounder), potatoes, and yellow squash. This was the day that I understood the “freshmen 15”! The food was absolutely amazing.
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On the left: raw tofu, broccoli, roasted carrots. Center: corn with beans, and fish (likely flounder). On the right: veggie wrap with spinach cream.
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On the left: corn, wild rice, peas, fried tofu with onions and carrots. On the right: grilled cheese (which had a very fake-tasting, yellow cheese…but what can you expect, its a college cafeteria:))
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Not only does this dining hall offer VEGAN desserts, but they also list calorie counts and nutrition facts! I’m impressed.

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I also have been running regularly in the mornings. Of course, I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t pack a plethora of healthy snacks! After a run, I usually eat some dried fruit and nuts to refuel.

What are your experiences with college dining halls? Share in the comments 🙂

Love,

Serena

Non-Runners Workout

In my Avolicious Summer Fitness plan I posted a few days ago, I mentioned that because I am a runner, I don’t really have an all inclusive workout or training plan for everyone. However, I thought it might be a good idea to share the workouts I did since then, just to give you a sense.

Obviously, this isn’t me telling you to follow what I’m doing. Everybody has different circumstances and different skill levels, that one workout will not and should not fit the bill for anyone. My workouts will be heavily geared towards distance runners, but at the same time, I am an “intermediate” runner, so for those hard-core runners out there, this might be too little, while for runners who have just started, this might be too much. I’ll have a separate post for runners next week.

However, for those non-runners out there, don’t worry! This post is dedicated for you guys. I have on the second half of this post my recommendation. Note: the word “recommendation.” I personally haven’t done these workouts in this schedule and order so use your own discretion. Make sure to listen to your body and stop when you need to stop. Around Saturday of last week, my calves hurt whenever I walked, so I took an easier run that day. I’ll mention this again, but whatever you’re doing, if you’re enjoying it and you’re breaking out a sweat, that’s all you need.

For reference, I’m a teenage girl around 5’5’’ who isn’t the skinniest or fattest, but would definitely say I have so more skin than I would like (Freshman 15 anyone???). I did run distance track in the winter, however, after having a hiatus with running due to crew, I’ve been having a bit of struggle on getting back to my usual mile splits. Thus, I’ve been working slowly up to my splits from winter track.

With all that being said, here are the workouts I did from Thursday, June 2nd to Saturday, June 4th. I have no time to workout on Sunday and Monday because I’ll be on a 14 hour flight to Korea. However, I’ll upload a blog post soon about how to travel healthy while still enjoy the trip.

Thursday, June 2nd | 4.5 mile run + 250x jump ropes

Friday, June 3rd | 6 mile run – just a quick note: after this long run, my calves hurt for the rest of the day and throughout Saturday morning. So instead of ignoring that and wanting to run longer, I decided to take it easier on Saturday

Saturday, June 4th | 30 minute run + 10 minute ab workout (same one from the winter)
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General Workouts for Non-Runners  (recommendation)| I know that a lot of people have a designated day – i.e. arm day, leg day, back day, butt day – so I’ll lay out the schedule similarly. Again, I haven’t personally done these workouts in this schedule, but have just done the workouts themselves. So if it’s too hard for you to do these workouts in this schedule and order, tailor it to your skill base. REMEMBER: this is just a rough plan.

 

MONDAY AB DAY |

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TUESDAY LEG DAY | choose one of out these; maybe switch it up every week!

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WEDNESDAY ARM DAY |

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THURSDAY CARDIO DAY |

  • 30 minutes of some form of cardio (jump rope, jogging, elliptical, bike)

 

FRIDAY BUTT DAY |

SATURDAY CHOOSE WHATEVER YOU WANT DAY |

  • The only rule: make sure your workout is AT LEAST 30 minutes

 

SUNDAY REST DAY | **hands-up emoji sign

 

Are you up for the challenge? Tell me what you think!

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

Lettuce Wraps and Leftovers

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Now that I’m finally on summer break, I have been cooking every meal for my family. So, I’ve been able to experiment with a lot of different recipes and ways to use leftovers. It’s safe to say that my parents can’t live without meat, so I’ve been challenging them to be more adventurous with their veggies. Last night, I made this lettuce wrap “bar” complete with Romaine hearts, chickpeas, carrots, red bell pepper, and oyster mushrooms. Also, (not shown here), I used a tiny bit of tartar sauce to amp up the flavors. To appease my parents, I did sear some salmon that I seasoned with only salt and pepper. It turned out perfect, no need to season it any more. Also in the picture was soup that my dad made in bulk on the weekend, some leftover turkey, and leftover brown rice.

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Green tea ice cream mochi. So good!!

Since my mom and I went on a Trader Joe’s run earlier that day, we purchased a lot of frozen desserts, and of course, I had to have some of them after dinner!

 

We did have some leftovers after the dinner-salmon, bell peppers, carrots, and chickpeas. I simply incorporated these ingredients into my meals the next day.

 

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My breakfast omelet had bell peppers and carrots. Then, for lunch, I made a salad with a green medley (arugula, spinach, kale, romaine) with yellow bell pepper, the leftover chickpeas, and the leftover salmon. I also drizzled some Miso-Ginger Dressing (also leftover from a while ago :))

What are your favorite lettuce wrap ingredients? Lmk in the comments 🙂

With Love,

Serena

Get Fit: Avolicious Summer Fitness Plan

Seasons for me are not dictated by the actual solar system, but by the academic year, so June 20th for me is nothing but a day. Which means … summer is here!

Serena and I officially got out of school yesterday and have three FULL months before we head into our sophomore year.

Having gained the infamous Freshman 15 (actually more like Freshman 20 for me), I am definitely motivated to lose some weight. However, I’ve learned that it’s much more rewarding and a happier mindset if I focus on health rather than a number on the scale. Therefore, the focus of this fitness plan is for us to see how much stronger our muscles feel, how much energy we get from eating nutrient-dense foods, and the confidence we have for ourselves without having the number on the scale or on the clothes tag dictate it.

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Unlike my winter break fitness routine, I wanted to get readers involved as well! I will be sharing (or more like I will be stealing from Serena) recipe suggestions, workout routines, and healthy habits that will be easy to incorporate into yours and my lifestyle.

The Rules

  • Despite the name, this should be a lifestyle change. Change your whole attitude about life and make the new habits you’ll be creating reasonable enough that you’ll be able to sustain it even after the summer season.
  • Drink lots and lots of water. A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in water.
  • Pick on exercise to do everyday. As I am a runner and training for XC – I know already… – my workouts may be too much cardio for some readers. As that will be the case, I will soon post about the workouts I will specifically be doing, but also strength and conditioning workouts I know my friends have raved about. And maybe along the way, I’ll discover a love for strength workouts as well (as that is also my goal for the summer, and as a Type-A person, I need my goals accomplished 🙂 )
  • Do all the exercises listed under “Everyday Exercises” each day in addition to your selected workout
  • Practice intuitive eating. Eat when hungry, stop when full. Easier said than done.

 

The Off-Limits List

  • No heavily processed, sugar laden foods (read: white breads, fried foods, candy, soda, sugary drinks)
    • Now I know that baked goods and ice cream will fit under this category. However, Serena and I love ice cream and baked goods too much, I will let this slide. Nevertheless, all of these things should be in moderation!

 

Everyday Exercises

  • 30 crunches each day | If you are already doing an ab-focused workout for the day, you can skip this.
  • 60 second regular plank, 60 second side plank on each side (3×60 second planks in total)
  • Stretch on your bed before you go to sleep

In short, if you remember to make healthy meal choices, sweat at least once a day, and stay focused, you’ll be right on track.

 

I’ll be checking up on you guys to make sure you’re following this plan!

Are you ready?

xoxo,
Stephanie