What I Ate Over Thanksgiving Break

Today marks the end of Thanksgiving day for me. (insert sobbing emoji here)

However, over the course of my 10-day Thanksgiving break, I had lots of good food. One of the perks of being back home is that you get home-cooked meals but you also get to pick and choose what you want to eat.

Thanksgiving Break for me is truly a delicious and sumptuous break.

Warning: picture overload but also A LOT of avocado toasts. I think I almost had an avocado toast every day #noshame

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Surprisingly, while avocado toast, sushi, or more elaborate Korean dishes are on the top of my want-to-eat-while-at-home list, this break, the first thing I wanted was to eat a simple kimbab (Korean version of sushi).

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Of course, my mom made her signature namul (general term for Korean seasoned vegetable dishes). The one on the top is eggplant and the one on the bottom is soybean sprouts. They are SOOO good. I probably devoured half of these containers on my own…

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This is the Korean-American Thanksgiving way. The only “Thanksgiving” items we had were the asparagus, mashed potatoes, ham, and the turkey (which was still in the oven). The majority was Korean dishes. I definitely was not complaining – I missed Korean food too much!

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Before I start with my avocado toasts, can we just take a moment and admire the pure goodness of this avocado? I’m usually the one to use a lot of filters for photos both on the blog and on our Instagram (follow us on @avolicious_blog), but for this picture, I just let the picture do its justice. Ahhh….avocado never ever gets old.

 

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetHere is avocado toast #1. Disappointedly, as my mom and I buy our avocado in bulk from Costco, usually the first avocado is very hard while the last one becomes overly ripe and mushy. So this was the first avocado as apparent by the avocado slices. I usually spread my avocado with a fork, but this avocado was way too hard for that. I used my favorite multi-grain bread from Costco and smoked salmon.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetAvocado toast #2. Again, this avocado was still hard.

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This was the most EPIC avocado toast ever! This was on yesterday where first, I put down a slice of smoked salmon. Then I spread the avocado with a fork. Then I put brie cheese on top of the avocado. Then I sprinkled chia seeds on top. And for the grand finale, I put another slice of smoked salmon. Ugh, it was divine guys, divine.

 

img_3272I shared this on our Instagram earlier this week, but I went to my dad’s workplace as he was continuously boasting about the salad bar at his workplace. So skeptical, I went. However, the obsession is real! There was tofu (that actually tasted good), chicken breast, arugula, spinach, chickpeas, quinoa, sunflower seeds, roasted butternut squash, ugh the list goes on and on. I’m definitely following my dad to work over winter break (what you do for food, you know?)

 

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetThis is gomguk or also called gomtang which is a Korean soup made with various beef parts. However, for the one my mom made above, it was oxtail. I love this dish as the broth has a rich and hearty taste and perfect for eating on chilly fall nights.

 

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetAnother Korean dish … japchae! My mom makes the best one. And to boast, this one doesn’t have the usual beef in it. My mom knew my obsession for mushrooms and she added so many mushrooms it was amazing. They were cooked just right!

 

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetOf course…saving the best for last! This is my most favorite meal at home which is called “Make-your-own- California-roll.” The bad thing about this meal is that you never get full! My mom counted 40 slices of seaweed and my family of three at all of it!

 

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetAnd if you’re curious and nosy (like me), here’s a peek into what a typical grocery shopping cart looks like for my family. You see the eggplants and the soybean sprouts for the namul in the upper left and lower right, respectively. On the upper right is dduk, Korean rice cakes which are sooo good. Underneath it all is a big box which has persimmons.

 

Hope you found my Thanksgiving Break food diary somewhat interesting! If you want me to do one for winter break, let me know!

What was your favorite meal over Thanksgiving?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Changing Your Diet

I am definitely no stranger to changing diets. If you have followed the blog, you’ll know that I experimented with vegetarianism and pescetarianism in middle school. For the past year or so, I’ve cut numerous foods out of my “diet” and substituted them with other foods–and it’s not as hard as you would think!

One thing I do not drink is dairy milk-I’m slightly lactose intolerant (my entire family on my mom’s side is lactose intolerant!) so during the summer, when I went on a backpacking trip with an organization,  I thought it would just be easier to tell them that I was dairy free. As a result, they packed me lots of dairy free cheese, and I found no difference from dairy cheese at all! A week after the backpacking trip, I decided to avoid dairy all together. I realized that it was very easy to substitute foods I could not eat for ones that I could. After all, I already didn’t drink dairy milk, so avoiding other forms of dairy was a natural next step. And my decision was also because the week following my trip, I had eaten 2-3 pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream all by myself. Although the ice cream was amazing, my body did not feel great afterwards (passing gas, feeling bloated, etc.). Avoiding ice cream was actually not as difficult as I had thought because I learned to substitute the dairy ice cream with vegan ones like So Delicious. Still, the vegan ice cream took a toll on my health, and after avoiding ice cream for a month, I found myself not even craving ice cream at all! Oh, what the power of avoidance can do!!

Another food-bagels. Now, I wasn’t as obsessed with bagels as I was with ice cream, but whenever there were bagels available, I would never pass up the opportunity. So, in the beginning of this year, I started to avoid bagels, subconsciously, after hearing about how bagels were the equivalent of 5 pieces of white bread because of the overwhelmingly high carbohydrate content (which results in high blood sugar levels). After months of not eating a bagel, I finally had half of an everything bagel during finals week, as a sort of reward. I remembered how much I used to love the savory taste of the everything bagels, and when I tried it…it was completely not what I remembered. The bagel didn’t taste exceptionally good or satisfying, it just filled me up. So, avoiding bagels made it not taste as appealing, and this experience furthered my avoidance of bagels.

A month ago, I became pescetarian (not eating meat except for fish) again, as a result of conversation with a friend whom I did not know was vegan. The result was similar to the bagel experiment. At first, it was a bit difficult to not be eating juicy, savory baked chicken wings, but as I went longer and longer without meat, when I tried a small piece for Thanksgiving, it was nothing special.

So in conclusion…

1.) Once I made those choices, I found that it was easier to eat healthy because I would avoid foods that were not “allowed” in that diet, and find healthy substitutes. For example, when I decided to reduce my dairy intake, I could not eat supermarket cookies, chocolate, or ice cream. But out of my desperation for those junk foods (especially the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream), I quickly found substitutes. I made healthy vegan cookies, chocolate bliss balls, and nice cream very frequently. It’s often difficult to make a big change in one’s diet because it feels restricting and depressing. However, I found that restricting myself helped me find better options for the unhealthy foods that I loved.

2.) After avoiding the unhealthy foods, I developed an indifference towards their tastes, and healthier foods became much more flavorful. I know…weird right?!

What is one food you are trying to avoid?

Love,

Serena

 

 

This Thanksgiving, LOVE and THANK your body

Happy Thanksgiving!

To be honest, I love Thanksgiving more than Christmas. After going to school away from home and spending the majority of the time somewhere NOT home, Thanksgiving has become a whole new holiday for me. Don’t get me wrong, I was always thankful for my family, my parents, my friends, however, I didn’t know how thankful I was from them until I left home. I definitely took them for granted.

In the same sense, I want to take the time and shift our focus to our body. On this blog, Serena and I talk a lot about improving your body. We talk about how to eat cleaner and healthier so you can have a body full of vigor. We talk about how to have self-control so you don’t gain weight. We talk about how to lose weight (in the healthy way of course). We share recipes that are uber healthy in order to make your body better. We talk a lot about progress and things that will happen in the future.

In the midst of all this, not only on our blog but around us as well with the media and peer pressure, we are pushed to think that we need to be better. However, let us all take at least a day to be thankful of where our body is now.

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Instead of bashing your legs, thank them for being strong during your run, thank them for being tough while you did squats in the gym. Instead of wishing you had a flatter stomach, thank them for powerful to do those multiple crunches, sit ups, bicycles, and planks. Instead of bashing your arms, thank them for being able to carry those heavy groceries, thank them for being able to hug your loved ones. Instead of criticizing your body for being so fat or for being so thin, be grateful that you have a functioning body that lets you move and be free. Be grateful that your body, fat or thin, is healthy enough that you can go along your day with no restrictions.

We definitely take our vital and vigorous bodies for granted. Some people don’t have this ability. Some people can barely walk and have to use a wheelchair. Some people may be able to walk, but have poor knees that they can’t run or do squats. Some people may not have the stomach to even eat the amazing (and sometimes naughty) foods we eat because they have such sensitive stomachs. Some people may not be able to carry their children or grandchildren because their arms too weak. Some people may have debilitating bodies and may just wish to have a complete and functioning body.

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So this Thanksgiving, STOP bashing on your body. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. Thank you body for being so energetic, so lively, so vigorous and strong that it can accompany you on those long runs, on those hard workout days, or just life in general.

Happy Thanksgiving and have safe travels to and from home!

xoxo,

Stephanie

Black Friday Wishlist

I normally don’t talk about shopping or fashion on the blog, however, I do believe that workout clothes play a huge impact in exercise. First off, workout clothes that fit right and flatter you are always great motivation factors to go workout. Also, having leggings that ride down or sports bras that don’t give that much great coverage makes the workout an unpleasant experience.

Here below is my Wishlist for Black Friday. Read: Wish. I’m not going to lie, workout clothes are expensive, but a girl can dream, right?

NIKE

I think Nike has been upping their game in recent years. Their workout clothes look very sophisticated that they are a close match to lululemon (which I will talk about later). Personally, I have a Nike outlet 30 minutes away from me so I get most of my Nike gear at the outlet store. I have never bought a full price Nike item. Thus, the items listed down here are items that I have EITHER gotten years previous at Nike outlet stores and love OR would love to get my hands on.

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Air Zoom Odyssey 2 (currently on sale!)
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Air Zoom Structure 20 Shield 
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Air Zoom Pegasus 33

These three shoes are the running shoes that I’ve run in. I don’t have any bad things to say about them. I’ll be talking about running shoes more in depth (about what to look for depending on what runner you are and so forth) this Friday. So keep posted! And as a plus, the Air Zoom Odyssey is currently on sale!

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Nike Power Legendary

I LOVE the Nike Legendary leggings. They are as good or if not better than lululemon’s leggings. It’s hard to describe why they are so good, but they just are. They are uber stretchy but at the same time, they compress you in. They mold to your legs and when you run around, there is NO restrictions but complete freedom and flexibility. Trust me. They are legendary, as the name says.

Nike Power Epic Lux

These epic lux tights are also AMAZING. They are a different feel than the Legendary ones but equally as worthy of being obsessed over.

 

LULULEMON

Lululemon is the other brand that I have heart eyeballs about. They are definitely pricier than Nike but also they barely ever go on sale. You really have to look at the “We Made Too Much” page (aka their sale page) for discounted pieces.Thus, I only have a few select lululemon pieces in my wardrobe. Just note that the sizing in lulu runs extremely small. I tend to have to go at least two or even three sizes up.

In regards to Black Friday however, I do know that they might not have a Black Friday sale per se, but they are going to have a lot of marked down pieces. The lululemon store near me is opening at midnight for Black Friday. I’m definitely going!

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Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Crew

I really, really want this long sleeve. It looks so nice on the girls on my cross country team. When I went to the store, the shirt was actually thinner than I thought it would be. It was so thin I couldn’t justify paying $78 for it. Still, I want it!

 

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Wunder Under Pant III

Here is the much hyped about lululemons leggings. The hype is real though. I absolutely adore my lulu leggings. I have one from about two years ago and still wear them to death (Serena knows). My lulu leggings have become my good luck leggings so I wear them to all my finals. But I also wear these leggings daily (so much that it’s kind of embarassing…)

 

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Define Jacket (sale!)

Here is a lulu item that is on sale. I actually have a very similar one in black and I love it! It’s not super thick but also not super thin so it’s perfect to layer on during runs or on brisk fall days. Also, it’s tight in a good way that it compresses you in. (Just note that while this jacket is on sale [$118 –> $89], it’s on FINAL sale)

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Scuba Hoodie III (sale!!)

 

I think the Scuba Hoodie is another classic lulu item. I have an older version and use it to death during the winter. It’s super thick but also compresses you in so it’s really warm. I love using it for runs outside during the winter or a long study session.

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe Black Friday shopping!

What is your favorite workout clothes store?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Thanksgiving No-No’s

Thanksgiving is in a few days but it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice healthy eating and all the progress you’ve made to spend quality time with friends and family. You can do both — eat relatively healthy and catch up with family. Make this Thanksgiving a Thanksgiving where you do NOT have to unbutton your pants.

Here are some tips for Thanksgiving: what to watch out for and what to do.

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1. DON’T STARVE

While people think it’s a smart idea to starve or eat barely anything before the Thanksgiving dinner, by not eating anything, you’re making your blood sugar levels really low. And when your blood sugar levels drop, you lose the ability to control what you eat. Not only do you lose control but you crave calorie-laden foods. This means that when you get to the Thanksgiving dinner you’re going to eat everything and anything in sight. So, do yourself a favor and eat a balanced and light breakfast and lunch.

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2.GET ACTIVE

Not only does getting some exercise burn off those calories you’re going to be eating, but in addition, exercise balances out your hormones, so you don’t get crazy cravings from your hormones. Balance out your body both internally and externally with exercise.

An additional tip: do your exercise with your family member. Either go out on a walk with the whole gang around the neighborhood, catch up while going on an easy run, hit some tennis balls, or go out to the golf course.

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3.EAT SLOWLY

Instead of gulping down your food (because you’re ravenous from not eating all day …), savor your food and set down your fork between each bite. Make sure to actually use Thanksgiving dinner to catch up with your family and friends. One way to do this is to pick a slow eater in the table and make sure you finish around the same time or even slower than them! Trust me, the slow eating will not only help with the social aspect of Thanksgiving, but the weight aspect of Thanksgiving.

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4.SAY NO TO THE TURKEY SKIN

Yes, yes, I know, the turkey skin is the best part of the turkey. However, that thin sliver is worth a lot of calories and fat (not the good kind). Do yourself a favor and eat the turkey meat NOT the turkey skin.

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Or tea…

5.DRINK LOTS OF WATER

Drinking lots of water will help you differentiate between thirst and hunger but also help you feel full faster. While apple cider is tempting, try to stick with water throughout the meal and sip on it often in between bites. Drinking water will also help with the bloating the morning after the Thanksgiving dinner.

 

 

Regardless of all these tips, make sure your FIRST priority is to spend quality time with friends and family. Get into those spontaneous laughter and snuggly hugs. And of course, officially ring in the holiday season!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?

xoxo,

Stephanie

How to Eat WITHOUT Tracking Calories + Update!

Hey! So Serena and I have been pretty quiet around here. Fall Finals week happened and this school year has been academically hard for the both of us, so we definitely needed all the time we could to study.

Regardless, I wanted to talk on the blog today about a topic that’s very close and dear to my heart. I started my weightloss journey in the spring of my eighth grade year. I used the MyFitnessPal app from the introduction of my friend who said that she was using the app to eat healthy. I definitely do not blame her for introducing me to this app as I feel as I would have found this app sooner or later. MyFitnessPal along with other calorie counting apps are on the top charts for the Health & Fitness category in the App Store.

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With MyFitnessPal, I restricted myself to 1,200 Calories daily, lost 15 pounds in 2 months, got myself insecure about my body image, and yo-yo diet. It has been a vicious cycle.

Currently right now, I am not the slimmest I’ve ever been. And whenever I think I’m fat or when I try on some of my old clothes and they don’t fit right or don’t fit at all, I am tempted to be insane and restrict my calories again.

However, I know in my gut that this is wrong. Tracking calories is not only unnatural but so miserable. You can never eat foods that you want to eat — you purposefully look for salads, for the least “fattening” food. Eating out is a disaster for you rather than a chance to celebrate with your closed ones. Instead of having fun with your friends, you look to your phone and chug away the foods you ate. And if you ate “too much” you blame yourself. This. Is. Not. Normal.

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Even now, back home for break, I’m super tempted to download MyFitnessPal. However, I promised Serena and promised my parents that I wouldn’t go down that scary and gloomy path.

So … for whoever has that MyFitnessPal app in your life, let’s fix this. You can eat without tracking calories. Personally, it’s really a matter of PORTION CONTROL. You can eat actually the worst quality foods and still stay slim. So really, quantity is key. What is easy for me is to just get ONE serving. NO second’s.

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Before, I would have been against eating those fried foods at the top left. But you know what? If it’s good portion and moderation, then it’s PERFECTLY FINE.

So even though I’m all about quality, for the sake of this post and to ditch the calorie tracking apps, just eat ONE serving and that’s it. You can do it.

How do you control your appetite?

xoxo,

Stephanie