Inaugurating Ourselves for a Healthy Lifestyle

Inaugurating Ourselves for a Healthy Lifestyle

Whether we were happy  or disappointed by the results of this year’s election, today, January 20th, marks the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States.

I’m not going to talk about politics here, but on the subject of inauguration, I want to talk about inaugurating ourselves for a healthy lifestyle.

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An inauguration is defined as:

  1. The beginning or introduction of a system, policy or period.
  2. The formal admission of someone to office.
  3. A ceremony to mark the beginning of something.

Now, I want to focus on definitions 1 and 3. Let’s make today a day the beginning to mark the start of our healthy lifestyle (if we haven’t yet) and for those who have already accepted a healthy life, let’s just reaffirm it with an oath!

This is a fun twist on the Presidential Oath:

I, [insert your own name] do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of [insert your name] and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend [insert your name]

When I see it, we are like the presidents of our own bodies. We should be preserving, protecting, and defending our bodies to the best of our abilities. We should nourish it was nutritiously rich foods (note: didn’t use the word healthy here). We should move our bodies to give it the flexibility and range of motion it so needs and desires. We should give our bodies rest.

So as the rest of the nation and the country awaits the inauguration of Donald Trump, let’s inaugurate ourselves for our healthy lifestyle!

Have you been inaugurated?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Stop Moralizing Your Food Choices

Stop Moralizing Your Food Choices

“Oh, that food is really healthy and good for you.”

“That food is really bad and fattening, don’t eat that if you don’t want to be fat.”

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Having white rice … oh no!

I’m sure we’ve either heard something similar to this or we’ve thought them ourselves.

Today, I want to talk about on no longer moralizing your food choices.

It’s so easy when we’re at the grocery store with the labels and packaging to identity what is “healthy” and what is not. In the past, anything that was fat-free was “healthy” (despite the fact that the substitute for fat that companies used are processed and the best either), later this turned into “carb-free” or “low-carb” (and this trend still lives in as carbs are thought to be the devil and turned against to) and now, it seems like the trend is “protein-everything.”

However, I’m here to tell you that our kale salads, avocado toasts, green smoothies are not healthy, but as a Washington Post article puts it, they are nutritious.

As someone who’s lost a significant amount of weight by running track while limiting myself to 1,200 Calories, I know that at the time, I justified my low calorie consumption because everything I was eating was “healthy.” I didn’t eat any sweets, cakes, “fattening” foods, I just ate a lot of greens, and heaven forbid, a carb ONE meal a day. I thought healthy = slim. But it’s not.

After losing 20 lbs. in a course of three months, my parents, my friends, the parents of my friends, and people I barely knew were asking me if I was sick. While I thought I looked great at slimmer, they obviously saw the truth. My face did not look as radiant and glowing, my hair was falling out, my hands and feet were always cold despite the fact that it was summer. However, none of these were my apparent then when I went to get my yearly checkup. My doctor advised me to take a blood test to see if all the nutrients I needed were there. When the results came back, I was lacking in a lot of nutrients.

As I looked at those results, I realized that my 1,200 Calories diet with no sweets, no processed foods, no fattening foods was not healthy.

I think Merriam-Webster’s definition(s) are perfect.

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No where in the definition does it talk about diet. It does not talk about how many greens you should be eating a day. It simply says that we are free from disease or pain and that healthy things are beneficial to one’s physical, mental, or emotional state.

I think that part is key. While losing weight, yes, physically I may have looked great, I was not physically well as apparent by the blood test results. I was not mentally nor emotionally sound either. Food dictated my life and I was exceedingly insecure about my body and my food choices. I was a good or bad person depending on how much food I ate and if my foods were good or bad.

So I’m here to STOP. Being healthy, having a lifestyle that is beneficial to your physical, mental, or emotional state can still mean that you can have processed foods, can have your McDonalds, have your sweets, as long as they are for your well-being.

If you balance your “good” foods and “bad” foods and balance your exercise frequency while at the same time, taking the time to meditate and check in with your soul (I do this by journaling), choose the middle and you’ll be “healthy.”

No longer is a food healthy or unhealthy by its appearance and nutrient content. A food is unhealthy or healthy according to how it can benefit your physical, emotional and mental state. If you’re craving that food and crush that craving, and do that multiple times, that’s not great for your mental state. If you keep on comparing your body to someone else’s and go on an extreme diet, that’s bad for your physically and mentally.

So stop moralizing your food choices. Eat what you want, when you want them, in moderation. As simply as that.

Are you a victim of moralizing food?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

 

3 Overnight Oats Recipes

3 Overnight Oats Recipes

Whenever I have a really late night spent doing homework, I know I won’t be able to sit down and enjoy a long breakfast in the morning because I’ll likely wake up late. My solution used to be to make a really simple breakfast that morning to eat in the car, like an almond butter banana sandwich. But that still took too much time in the mornings. So, my solution this year has been to make overnight oats!

Most of the time, I’ll make chocolate banana oats. I love the banana chocolate combination so much!

Ingredients:

2/3 cup rolled oats

2/3 cup almond milk

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 banana mashed

1 tsp sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.)

1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all of the ingredients in a mason jar or Tupperware and leave in the fridge overnight. The oats will soak in the almond milk, making them soft. In the morning, you can grab it and go, or you can heat it up too. Also, you can add additional toppings. Some of my favorites include  pomegranate seeds, dark chocolate, almond shavings, and blueberries.

  


Sometimes I even mix in chia seed pudding (3/4 cup almond milk with 1/4 cup chia seeds 1 tsp vanilla and sweetener of choice.

When I don’t have banana or cocoa powder at home, I  make vanilla overnight oats.

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Here I layered chia seed pudding, chocolate banana overnight oats, strawberries, vanilla overnight oats, and blueberries.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup almond milk

2/3 cup rolled oats

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp apple sauce

Procedure:

Same as above! I add applesauce to bind the oats, but they’re optional. I also add cinnamon because it’s a nutrient-packed super food! It’s filled with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, vitamins, minerals, and so much more. Even 1 tsp can have positive impacts on your body!

Finally, chocolate peanut butter overnight oats.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup rolled oats

2/3 cup almond milk

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp peanut butter

1 tsp sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.)

1 tsp cinnamon

Procedure:

Again, same as above, so easy!!

Overnight oats are my GO-TO breakfast. They’re fast, simple, and nutritious, and they give me something to look forward to in the morning!

What is your favorite flavor of overnight oats??

Love,

Serena

What I Ate Over Winter Break

What I Ate Over Winter Break

It’s been a tradition now that after every break, I do a post about what I ate over break. While some other blogs talk about what people did, my break (and my life actually…) is defined by the food I eat.

Of course as you usual, there will be a food overload!

For the first four days of winter break, I drove up to NYC with a couple of close friends to celebrate Serena’s birthday! We hung around the city for a while and then had dinner at Hangawi, a Korean vegetarian restaurant.

The restaurant was darkly lit and you had to take off your shoes to get in. There was a deep pit that you put your legs underneath the table. The atmosphere of the restaurant and the service was great!

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LOL…my friends in the bottom of the picture leaning over so they don’t get in the picture.

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The foods were vegetarian so it was mostly bibimbap or any bowl with mixed ingredients. My friends ordered the hot-pot bibimbap while I ordered the gluten-free zen noodles. They were sooo good!

 

After the dinner, we went to a Korean bakery and had a walnut banana butter bread (or something like that – I feel like these days, restaurants put so many names to ONE thing..)

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After that night, my parents, who drove up to NYC, and I spent two more days in NYC. The next night, my parents took me out to a celebratory dinner for completing turkey term (the term in between Thanksgiving and winter break) successfully. We went to a Korean restaurant (of course) called Gaonnuri.  The special thing about it was that it’s on the 39th floor so you could see all of NYC while eating Korean food. Can anything beat that?

The restaurant was a lot more modern than Hangawi, but nevertheless, a great environment to eat it.

It was so nice to be sitting at the restaurant, with winter break just starting, with my parents, and outside of the freezing cold (I think those days, like December 15-18th were one of the COLDEST and WINDIEST days I’ve ever experienced!)

My family ordered a pajeon (a vegetable pancake), my mom ordered bibimbap, I ordered galbi-gim, and my dad ordered some combination of fish and soup. But they were delicious! It was so nice to have two nights in a row eating Korean food after three weeks away from it!

The galbi-gim (left) was so good that I was commenting about its texture, richness, and flavor upon every bite. My parents got so annoyed that my mom promised me she would make her famous galbi-gim when we got back home.

We also had dessert. It was a combination of three ice cream flavors: black sesame, green tea, and caramel. They were oh. my. goodness. This was a whole new level of ice cream. Apparently, the head chef at this restaurant makes the ice cream from scratch. But either way, the ice cream was insanely delicious. My parents and I licked that dessert plate clean despite the cold weather outside.

Who wouldn’t want to eat delicious Korean food while observing the NYC skyline? Look at that view..

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After a couple of days in NYC, my family drove back home. Of course, by home, that means California roll (aren’t you guys sick of my obsession for make-your-own California roll? I’ve probably featured it in every one of my what I eat in a day over break posts.

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I mean so much goodness in my meal…ya know?

I also followed my dad to work before the Christmas season. I have a hard time working at home since my mom and I talk a lot to each other and we always have fun impromptu plans to go outside. Thus, I went to work with my dad for a couple of days just to get some work done. But let me tell you, this might have been one of my best decisions as his workplace has the BEST salad bar.

And then one more…because on the 23rd (the last day I went to my dad’s work) it was a half day, so my dad (and I) could technically have left and eat lunch at home. However, I wanted to make as much use for the salad bar so I got a to-go.

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My family also ate out a bit. We’ve been going to a peking duck place. I’ve never really LOVED LOVED this place, but for some reason, after I left for home, I started craving eating at this place. So we go every time and every time, I leave the restaurant full and satisfied. No other better feeling, right?

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Sorry about those hands at the top of the picture.

My family and I also met up with Serena’s family. It was a great way to catch up and rewind WITHOUT having the stress of school. I got a vegetarian meal. It was a cauliflower steak with I believe dahl (tell me if this is wrong) and some greens on the side.

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My mom also cooked some of my favorite Korean side dishes. I loved the side dishes so much the table looked like (aka had the same food) this for a solid three days.

img_4704And last but not least, on my last day home, my mom and I went out for a lunch-date at Le Pain Quotiden. It was sad (as it was my last day) but also great (because I had such a fun time with my mom).

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Exact same picture from our instagram (@avolicious_blog)

So that sums up my break! Hope you enjoyed getting a sneak peak at my eating habits!

What did you eat over the holiday season?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Winter Workout Plan

Winter Workout Plan

I originally wrote this post for the health and nutrition club I do at school. But I decided that the post could work for the blog as well. So after a few revisions and edits (as some points were only pertinent to my school), here is my suggested winter workout plan. They can all be done at the gym – so it really goes well with my post the other day about how to stay active during the winter!

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In the winter, it’s easy to make excuses to not workout, especially when you have no coach, personal trainer, gym program, or workout buddy. However, adhering to a plan helps us mentally stick to the plan. So hopefully this plan will help you become/stay fit or help you keep up with your New Resolution to be more active!

My tip is to start off slow and easy and then build off. Start with one day and then two and then three. I have two plans to share with you all – one for those who are moderate exercisers and one for those who are dedicated and committed to working out.

Moderate exercisers | This plan’s full goal is to be able to workout three times outside of house, each workout an hour long.

    • Workout THREE DAYS a week — ideally, you don’t want them to be three in a row that you  don’t do anything for four days. Schedule your workouts so that your rest period is no more than two days.
    • There is no “perfect” workout, but ideally you want to work your whole body. Whether that’s by doing a full workout every day or by targeting a different body area each day, that’s up to you.
    • For both of these workouts, work up from doing one day and then build up from there.

   If you want a full workout every day…

  • The formula is: cardio + strength training = full body workout
  • Cardio: 30 minutes In terms of cardio, running is the simplest and easiest choice. You can either run outside on campus or run on the treadmill in the gym. Or you can bike, go on the elliptical, or even go on a power walk.
      • If you want to do a full workout every day…

 

  • Strength Training: 20 minutes | For strength training (upper body + lower body). So think about either body weight (push ups, body weight squats, crunches, burpees) or with weights. Tell me in the comments if you want me to share some strength training exercises if you are lost for what to do. 

 

  • Stretch: 10 minutes | Stretching truly is important, especially after a workout. Stretching keeps your muscles flexible, strong, and healthy.

 

 

If you want to do a targeted workout every day …

  • The formula is: cardio + strength training on one specific body part = targeted workout
  • Cardio: 30 minutes | In terms of cardio, running is the simplest and easiest choice. You can either run outside on campus or run on the treadmill in the gym. Or you can bike, go on the elliptical, or even go on a power walk.

 

  • Strength Training: 20 minutes | You’ve heard of “leg day,” “arm day.” For 20 minutes, just do workouts that target one body part. 

 

  • Stretch: 10 minutes | Stretching truly is important, especially after a workout. Stretching keeps your muscles flexible, strong, and healthy.

 

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Intense exercise  | This plan’s full goal is to be able to workout 4-6 times outside of house, each workout an hour long.

  • WORKOUT 4-6 days a week | For this plan, start with four days and then work yourself up to 6. Remember, this is all about maintaining a sustainable lifestyle. If you can’t workout for 6 days. Then no biggie. It’s all about consistency so if you can workout 5 days a week consistently, then that’s great. And remember, life is life, so sometimes with events popping up, you may not be able to workout as much as you would have liked for one week. And that’s completely fine.
  • The workout is the same as the one for the moderate exercise section. The intense aspect is that you are doing it more frequently

 

Hopefully this post will help you be active during the winter months and beyond! Let’s make 2017 the fittest and healthiest year yet!

What’s your favorite workout?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

Stephanie’s New Year Resolutions

Stephanie’s New Year Resolutions

Today, after sharing how to set New Year’s Resolutions that actually work, I wanted to share my New Year’s Resolutions with y’all.

I did post my New Year’s Resolutions last year, however, looking back now, I think they were far too spread out in categories and too ambitious that I barely achieved any of them. However, never one to be discouraged, I’m sharing my New Year’s Resolutions – which I’ve condensed to THREE! My mantra for 2017 is to be healthy and happy!

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ONE // Be a physically and mentally healthier person (read: this is very vague, but as explained on yesterday’s post, I’m going to be giving the details below)

Physically:

  • Until spring break 2017:
    • Continue exercising (ideally 5x a week)
    • Fit comfortably back into my old clothes
    • Lose 2-3 pounds per month (losing ½ pound per week)
      • I like to set my deadlines to academic breaks as I am away at home for the academic year and only get to come home during breaks so it’s a nice physical divide
  • Until summer break 2017:
    • Exercise 4-5x a week – obviously with summer camps and summer trips, it’s hard to exercise as often as during school where there are rigid schedules and times
    • Work on maintaining weight the record weight beginning of summer and check on weight every week
  • Until the start of the school year (fall 2017) and for the rest of the school year:
    • Continue maintaining weight à as you don’t have a weighing scale at school, take a picture of yourself every other week
    • Exercise 6x a week (I’ll probably be doing cross country, if I hopefully don’t get an injury…. so running 6x a week is a given)

TWO// To be truly happy

  • To journal everyday | I’ve found the benefits of journaling truly transforming. I am a worry-wart and a pessimist by heart, so I need to rant my feelings somewhere such as with a journal and pen or else I can be very mean and scary!
    • Until spring break:
      • Journal twice a week
    • Until summer break:
      • Journal four times a week
    • During the summer:
      • Journal everyday
    • After school starts until the end of the year:
      • Journal five-six times a week
  • I think every week (either Saturday night or Sunday night) to end the night by listing out 5 things I am grateful for during that week. I think in this day and age, it’s easy to get caught up and forget about how blessed and spoiled we are. And sometimes, all we see on media are the indulgences and luxuries of others so we tend to complain instead of being thankful for we have right now.
    • No specific deadline – I should be able to be grateful for at least 5 things every week

THREE// Invest more time into Avolicious

 Of course, saving the best for last! I started this blog as a way to share my passion for healthy eating, exercise, and writing, but I definitely have to admit that I fell out due to school. However, I WILL NOT MAKE THAT EXCUSE for 2017. I will make a concrete time out of my schedule to dedicate to Avolicious. Thank you to all who have been following and supporting us – it means the world!

  • Until spring break:
    • Post twice a week
    • Post on Instagram three times a week
    • Read and comment on other blogs for 10 minutes per week
  • Until summer break:
    • Post two-three times a week
    • Post on Instagram three times a week
    • Read and comment on other blogs for 15 minutes per week
  • During summer break:
    • Post 4-5 times a week
    • Post on Instagram daily (along w/ Insta stories)
    • Read and comment on other blogs for 25 minutes per week
    • Try a different social media platform (Facebook, Twitter)
  • Start of the school year until the end of the year:
    • Post two-three times a week
    • Post on Instagram three-four times a week
    • Read and comment on other blogs for 15 minutes per week

I wanted to make this year’s New Year Resolutions short and sweet but also meaningful to me. I’m trying to stop comparing and judging myself to others and instead, go at my own pace and do the things I love.

Good luck in 2017!

What are your New Year Resolutions for 2017?

xoxo,

Stephanie

NYC Current Favorites

NYC Current Favorites

New York City has so many amazing food destinations and every time I go, I always plan the trip around the food! Yeah, just being the foodie that I am 🙂

SO here are the destinations that I’ve recently visited and recommend!

1.) Bibble and Sip


You’ve probably seen pictures on Instagram of creamy matcha lattes and giant oozing cream puffs. This place is definitely definitely worth the hype.


I had a matcha cream puff, earl grey cream puff, and a bite of the brûlée egg tart. They cream puffs were so good that we had to take one home, along with a black sesame croissant. The matcha cream puff was my favorite! The cream had just the right amount of matcha flavor and it wasn’t too sweet. The outside puff part was crispy and match-y. And then there’s the price. At $3.50 a cream puff, the cost is insanely cheap, especially for a super popular NYC cafe. This is the place that I recommend everyone take a trip to! It’s right in between Time Square and Columbus Square, so it is very conveniently located if you want to visit all the major touristy areas.


Next time I come, I’m definitely ordering a Lavender Latte. I hear it’s amazing as well!

2.) Hangawi


Hangawi is a Korean restaurant that serves only vegetarian food, and I had been eyeing this restaurant for a while because of its outstanding reviews on Yelp and Zagat. So for my birthday recently, I finally got to try the food here with my friends and it was so yummy 🙂 And while the food is not completely authentic Korean, it still tastes super good. Even my friends completely adverse to vegetarian food enjoyed the dishes.


I had a tofu stone bowl rice with sesame leaves, which was savory and delicious. I loved the flavorful tofu scramble, over the hot bed of rice.

3.) Beyond Sushi

   This sushi joint serves vegan and vegetarian sushi, and I tried the spicy mango roll and the mighty mushroom roll. The mushroom was by far my favorite, and it could be just because of my obsession with mushrooms, but mushrooms in sushi?! Mmm it was delicious! I love meaty vegetables 🙂

4.) By Chloe

You’ve probably also heard of this vegetarian/vegan restaurant that serves amazing meatless burgers. (You probably notice by now that I love going to vegetarian/vegan eateries)

This place is great. And really aesthetically pleasing-I went to the one near Flatiron.

First of all, the fridge is IDEAL. There’s chia puddings, fruit, plenty of kombucha, juice, and other goodies.

Then the actual food. I ordered a classic burger and it was so savory and tasted so much more satisfying than a regular veggie burger! The patty- a TEMPEH-LENTIL-CHIA-WALNUT PATTY- tasted so much like meat it was amazing 😍definitely looking forward to going again soon!!

Yes that’s the same picture from our Instagram 🙂

Now that I’ve shared my current NYC favorites, what are your’s? Recommendations in the comments will be much appreciated 🙂

Love,

Serena