?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Staying healthy, active, fed.

Another non-school related post from me.  How is everyone holding up?  I thought it might be fun to exchange ideas on how to stay healthy--be it trips to the gym, bike rides, or eating healthy meals while on a tight budget and short time.  Anyone have any good suggestions/solutions/recipes to share?  I know that for most of us, time and money are of the essence, so I'm always looking for ideas to get in good meals and exercise while on the go.

Comments

( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
gileonnen
Oct. 18th, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC)
More of a question than a suggestion: is it worthwhile getting a flu shot?
circumfession
Oct. 18th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
I don't know. I hate needles, so I'd say no...but that's just me being an irresponsible baby :)

I do absolutely need to get the chicken pox vaccine. I've never had the chicken pox, and I've heard that it can be devastating if you get it as an adult. Still...I'm terrified of needles, and may need someone to corner and physically walk me down to the health center before I can bring myself to do this.

Edited at 2008-10-18 10:05 pm (UTC)
negcap
Oct. 19th, 2008 04:35 am (UTC)
Ditto on the chicken pox. Maybe we should make a pact.
circumfession
Oct. 19th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
we probably should.
(wow...you've never had the chicken pox vaccine? *grins* you're lucky that you don't teach grade school!)
kello24841
Oct. 18th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC)
If you can get it for free, yes. You don't want to be in bed sick for a week while your work gets piled higher and higher. My alma mater had a week every year when you could go to the student union and get shots for free. It was quite a popular event. You should check if your school does that.
My mom gets the vaccines free from work. It freaked me out the first time she said "flu shot time!" and pulled a needle out of the fridge and stuck it in my arm before I even knew what was going on.
circumfession
Oct. 18th, 2008 10:17 pm (UTC)
I need someone to do that to me. It's probably the only that I'd get ANY shot.

(great. I'm like a dog: I have to be tricked into going to the vet, and restrained while I'm getting a shot.)
kello24841
Oct. 18th, 2008 10:40 pm (UTC)
Haha, but if you're lucky you get a treat afterwards!
circumfession
Oct. 19th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
mmmm....dog treats! (actually, there's a stand at the farmer's market that sells organic, homemade dog treats. They look so delicious that I've considered snagging a sample for my nonexistent dog).

Go figure. It's southern california.
perihelia
Oct. 18th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
Well, I've been thinking of joining a gym, but, honestly, just walking everywhere in NYC has started to make me more fit. I've lost a number of pounds, which is good, since I had gained some during the stress of applications.

In terms of a tight budget and eating, honestly cooking from scratch is probably the best way to go. If you can go vegetarian, at least at home, that probably makes it even easier to save money. Meat's expensive-ish to buy at the grocery, but the meat-based entrées at restaurants are sometimes not very different in price to the vegetable ones. That said, it depends, of course.

I have a ton of easy, yummy recipes. Here's one:
Easy Vegetarian Pasta (from allrecipes.com)
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Ready In: 35 Minutes
Yields: 8 servings
"Tangy balsamic vinegar tossed with pasta and vegetables make this vegetarian pasta tantalize your taste buds!"
INGREDIENTS:
1 (16 ounce) package uncooked spaghetti
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
3 large tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
DIRECTIONS:
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the garlic until lightly browned. Mix in the tomatoes, onion, yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper, zucchini, and mushrooms. Cook and stir until tender.
3. Mix the balsamic vinegar into the skillet. Toss with the cooked spaghetti, and sprinkle with feta cheese to serve.

I also recently acquired the Vegetarian Times Fast and Easy cookbook (http://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-Times-Fast-Easy-Minutes/dp/0470085525/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224366939&sr=8-1), but have yet to really use it. You can make all the recipes in it in under 45 minutes.

If you want, saunders, I can send along some more recipes... :)
circumfession
Oct. 18th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
I'm looking forward to the replies.

Food:
I always come home starving, so I look for things that I can prepare in 10 minutes or less...and have enough leftovers to take as my lunch the next day. A few favorites:

(meal ideas)
-marinated chuck/round steak. (they're thin, so they cook fast...relatively lean...and usually between $3-$5 a lb). I leave them in a ziplock bag with some sherry, soy sauce, balsm. vinegar, herbs (rosemary and thyme works work), sweetener (honey or maple syrup), and garlic the night before to marinate). They cook in about 3 minutes on the stovetop...and a one-lb serving gives me just enough food for a good meal, and leftovers to put in a steak sandwich (w/ sourdough and blue cheese!) for the next day.

-couscous w/ lentils (everything can be found at TJ's): Couscous cooks in about 10 minutes from start to finish, and the lentil makes this a bit more filling (and healthy!). In a small saucepan, I put 2/3C water or broth with herbs (thyme, oregano, or mint works well), a splash of sherry and vinegar, and diced vegetables (onions and garlic, and whatever needs to be used). I'm also a fan of adding oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, oil and all Bring it to a boil, turn off the heat and add 1/2 C of couscous. Leave alone for 5 minutes, than add an 8-ounce bag of pre-cooked lentils (TJ's, on the self in the same isle as the pasta), cheese, and whatever protein is avaliable (I use up leftover sausages and chicken this way). It makes for at least 3-4 generous servings, and is equally yummy when it's cold--good for days when I don't have access to a microwave.

(snacks/breakfast)
-hard fruit (persimmons!) and turkey jerky (courtesy of TJ's again) get me through the day. This is a bit pricy, but I also like the cookies from risingdough.com (I buy 48 and keep most of them in the freezer).

-I don't have a blender (or the time to clean one), but I blend plain kefir (a liquid-y yoghurt) with juice. I pour about 1/2 C of juice (cherry or pomegranate works well) into the 4-cup bottle (you'll need to pour a bit out first), and shake it up for a cheap, easy smoothie that doesn't require a blender. I prefer it "lightly sweetened" this way, but you might want to add honey or sugar.

-I find old-fashioned, steel-cut oatmeal to be really filling, especially to get through a long class. It takes longer to cook (at least 10 minutes), but the results are well worth it, and it tastes nothing like the bland quacker stuff.

-For anyone with a crock-pot, barley is good for you and easy to make: I toss 1/2 C of barley with 2-3 C of water (amount depends on how long you let it cook--experiment), and 2 tbps of honey. It's ready for me the next morning as a hot breakfast. (I do detest cleaning out the crockpot). I like it with nutmeg and cinnamon. on top, and a bit of milk poured in before serving.

***
Exercise: I don't have a t.v., but I do have a weakness for "good eats" (food network) and several bravo shows that I'm ashamed to name. I talk myself into going to the gym 5 days a week...largely to watch the shows from the treadmill. I also lift, and the results take consistency to sustain...so I try to get in a session at least twice a week.

My apartment is on campus, about 3/4 of a mile away from my classes, the library, and TJ's...so I probably get 4-5 miles of exercise every day just walking around. The mild weather is also conductive to outside activities (though I utterly hate it--anyone want to trade?)

Has anyone had luck joining a club/intermural sport or regular exercise/dance/whatnot class? I try to fence at least once a week, but it's slightly awkward being the only person who isn't an undergrad. I overheard several of my fellow fencing complaining about their "professor" (actually a T.A)...who turned out to be a English grad student that I know.
perihelia
Oct. 18th, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC)
i do make a lot of couscous. i've been thinking of getting a rice cooker because you can make things other grains in it, as well. i had a friend who used to make the rice overnight.

i really like to do the leftover thing, too. i cook a bunch of something and then enjoy the leftovers for a while afterwards. i also like transforming my leftovers like you do with making a steak sandwich the second time around.

it is perhaps important to note, though, that i do enjoy a lot of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, as well as rice and beans, which are easy and nutritious.

i've been thinking of splitting a community-supported agriculture (http://www.justfood.org/csa/locations/) share with someone next season. there are some CSAs in brooklyn that have a sliding scale pay plan based on how much money you make. for example, for the CSA near me, a season's share (22-23 weeks) of vegetables for a low-income household would cost $300. if i split this share in half with someone, i could get fresh vegetables weekly for under $7. seems pretty cheap to me.
circumfession
Oct. 19th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC)
That sounds really awesome--I'd say go for it! The beautiful about getting food from a co-op is that it forces you to explore new foods, since you never know what you're gonna get (though it will always be fresh).

The co-ops near me are really expensive (over $30 a week). If it was reasonably, I would have sprung for it as well. As it is, most of my grocery fund goes to the farmer's market.
negcap
Oct. 19th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC)
CSA rocks. I did it for the first time this semester, and it is not only cheap and tasty, but it forces me to cook. I get too guilty looking at the poor veggies that will die if I don't cook them.
circumfession
Oct. 19th, 2008 05:32 am (UTC)
haha...that's a prime motivation for me as well! (though sometimes, I simply pop them into my mouth, raw, or grab a tub of hummus...and learn the hard way that those REALLY weren't meant to be eaten raw).
(Anonymous)
Oct. 18th, 2008 11:43 pm (UTC)
Wow--I am so impressed with everyone's cooking/exercising abilities! My dinner tonight: half a can of Campbell's split pea soup and peanut butter (straight from the jar, since I have no more bread). I am in the dorms, though, and so I get 5 real meals a week at the cafeteria. Weekends, however, are a different story.

I should definitely try those recipes--especially the veggie pasta and kefir smoothie ideas. Probably better than canned soup :)

As for exercise on the go, I feel like taking the stairs whenever possible helps. Also, I like to take roundabout ways to class--walking is relaxing and a good way for me to get my thoughts together after I read. I just wish I were talented enough to be able to read as I worked out on an elliptical machine. THAT would save time.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 18th, 2008 11:44 pm (UTC)
That was dottiemeister, by the way. I think I might have deleted my LJ account, but I still like to lurk on these fabulous communities!
circumfession
Oct. 19th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
yay! I'm glad to see that you're still around :) How has your program been treating you?

you know,I used to make fun of cafeteria meals when I was an undergrad, but I really do miss them. At the very least, I miss the convenience of not having to think about what to pack/buy for lunch.

(and you bet that they'd be better than canned soup!). Do you have access to a kitchen in the dorms?
(Anonymous)
Oct. 19th, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
I'm having a very good time. I love my cohort and my classes, and I'm (finally) getting used to the pace.

My dorm does have communal kitchens, but we don't have communal cookware, so I would need to buy it/store it myself. I didn't think I would use pots and pans often enough to justify the expense/hassle of keeping pans in my room, so I end up buying microwavable food. At least the cafeteria food is pretty good--there isn't much of a selection, but the meals are usually pretty healthy. Plus they have local fruits and veggies, which is great.

How are you liking your program? What classes are you taking?

-dottiemeister
circumfession
Oct. 20th, 2008 04:19 am (UTC)
"How are you liking your program? What classes are you taking?"

*grins* if you're curious, would you mind emailing me? auryane@gmail.com (conversely, I addressed this in the top page of my journal. Friends-only, but you're friended. [btw, I think your account is still active, though perhaps your password has gone the same way as my paypal account: into the great abyss]. Sorry for the cryptic response, I promise that it's not unwarranted)

***
If there's a "Tuesday Morning" near you, they often carry good, but heavily discounted cookware. And TJ's, of course, is the king of microwaveable food (I've been living on their boxes of pad thai for lunch). Let me know if you find any favorites. I'm always looking for new lunch options (and lazy dinner options).

dottiemeister
Oct. 20th, 2008 05:45 am (UTC)
Huh--you were right. I still have my account--I just had to resurrect it. I guess I had considered deleting it, ended up not being able to log in, and then forgot whether I still had it or not. (This is why I don't do computer-y things.)

Thanks for the tip about TJs. I'll have to pick some up the next time I decide to get food from a real store instead of CVS pharmacy. :) As for my own personal favorites, I like Lean Cuisine (as long as there's a sale) or Annie's Organic Mac and Cheese.

I'll be sure to check out your journal, since I can actually do that, apparently. :)
circumfession
Oct. 20th, 2008 08:21 am (UTC)
you've been living off the the CVS? oh God, poor you! (at least they have a decent chocolate section, I think?)

TJ's is wonderful. I do enjoy cooking, and it's a great source for frozen products. But if you can't or rarely cook, they also offer a lot of choices (and lots of yummy snack food. If you have a sweet tooth, they're a dangerous place!). i haven't really solved my lunch or afternoon snack delimna,s so I've been living off of their dried fruits (easier to transport than, say, a bag of apples). I love Annie's! Their bunny crackers are really yummy as well. Have you tried Lean Pockets? I like their whole grain versions, particularly the supreme pizza (correction: I feel less guilty eating the whole grain versions). They're not that great for you, but they're cheap (and often cheaper on sale), and makes for a decent snack.

Oh yes--if you're into dips and have access to a fridge, I like to keep hummus and pita bread around. It makes a good dip for vegetables as well...and wards off the midnight munchies.

(see why I need to visit the gym regularly?)
perihelia
Oct. 21st, 2008 12:45 am (UTC)
glad to hear all is going well with you in boston!

i just visited a friend who's at harvard law a few weeks ago when we had some jewish holidays off. i really loved the atmosphere in cambridge and in boston in general. new york's much, much bigger, although i do like it (i think). :D
saunders
Oct. 21st, 2008 02:32 am (UTC)
I second the TJs suggestion. They obviously thought out eating for one or two, rather than a family of four. They also have frozen mini pizzas (four in a pack) which are great for lunch or a quick dinner. 10 minutes in the oven, and you can make as few or as many as you want.
rokikurama
Oct. 18th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
I did join a gym, but I've found myself getting enough energy from navigating the almost 20 degree grade hill that separates me from the local grocery store. (that said, I'm trying to get to the gym for the sheer stress-relief factor; I'll let ya'll know how that goes) I wanted to join a soccer/football team to meet some people outside my program and also give a more definite focus to working out, but they all seem to be coed here. I like coed teams in theory, but in practice... never really worked out for me. Even the lgbt teams are mixed.

The recipes are great, though I find I only occasionally have the energy to assemble ingredients and cook things. Ditto on the left-overs, but you can't leave them too long :-( My mashed sweet potatoes went bad on me in just a week's time. I really can't survive without fruit, so that's been my big expenditure on the food front lately. It's just criminal how much places charge for it. If you live in a warmer place (looking at you, circumfession) and share my fixation, making frozen fruit salads can be a yummy, easy fruit fix. Get some fresh fruit (I recommend berries and oranges), cut it up, and mix with decent canned fruit (usually things like peach slices in syrup are best). Pour all the fruit and fruit syrup together and then pour in a citrus-based soda, like wink, and freeze it in small bowls (or one large bowl if that works better for your space).
circumfession
Oct. 20th, 2008 08:24 am (UTC)
Thanks for the recipe! You still have to post the mashed sweet potato recipe. I'll probably eat it before the week's out...I love thanksgiving food. I'll swap you that for my meatball recipe, which also freezes well.


Man, you don't want to see my haul from the farmer's market yesterday. Pineapple guavas...persimmons...3 kinds of pluots, peaches, 2 kinds of grapes, figs, strawberries...not to mention the cheese and bread :P


Edited at 2008-10-20 08:24 am (UTC)
rymanes
Oct. 19th, 2008 01:23 am (UTC)
The Dedalus diet
I end up biking ~1hr/day (by necessity), and I'm going to the rock gym in town, which is more than enough exercise for me. As for quick food: I keep a jar of peanut butter in my locker on campus for convenient calories. My diet now consists pretty much of that, kashi golean crunch cereal, whey protein, and beer.

So maybe this is what not to do? :)
circumfession
Oct. 19th, 2008 02:14 am (UTC)
Re: The Dedalus diet
If I didn't know any better, I would suspect that you're exaggerating about your "diet" (or the lack of it).

What about the occasional burrito?

(though considering that you live in one of the most food-friend city in the US, you have no excuse! you have all the access to cheap, yummy food that the rest of us would envy).

us = me, at least.
rymanes
Oct. 19th, 2008 06:13 am (UTC)
Re: The Dedalus diet
I am definitely guilty of the occasional burrito... $4.45 delicious monstrosity.....
circumfession
Oct. 19th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)
Re: The Dedalus diet
go ahead, flaunt it in my face.

We have...ummm...Starbucks and in-and-out-burgers.
perihelia
Oct. 19th, 2008 04:21 pm (UTC)
Re: The Dedalus diet
um, yeah, beer has been a frequent source of calories in my diet, too. nyc is a little... distracting sometimes in that regard. oops. :-\
e_k_p
Oct. 20th, 2008 05:20 am (UTC)
So, this might be a familiar staple for everyone, but I just discovered the BEST chip dip possibly ever, and it's so easy to make. Blend cream cheese and salsa in a 2 to 3 ratio, then sprinkle shredded cheese on top and melt for a few seconds in the microwave. I heat up a small dish of refried beans and have a great 3pm snack - dairy, protein, vegetables (kind of - haha), so you're all set!

I also make a no-boil lasagna where you just layer pasta sauce and lasagna noodles in a big pan, with cottage cheese in each layer and things like tomatoes or frozen broccoli in between the layers, too. Pop it in the oven for 45 minutes at 375-400 degrees and the noodles and frozen veggies all cook right there in the oven. This can last for 6 meals or so as leftovers, and is even yummier reheated!

I'm all about the comfort food, as you can tell :) But I figure as long as I'm doing the 3000 stairs on campus every day and walking home a few times a week (2 miles or so) I'm doing pretty well! It's really great to see everyone doing such amazing cooking - I wish I was that talented! It's amazing for me if I can boil water. After a disastrous falafel incident earlier this semester when I was trying to impress my friends, I've given up on complicated cooking for the moment - haha! Glad to hear everyone's doing well.
perihelia
Oct. 21st, 2008 12:47 am (UTC)
oh, in terms of cooking, i really wish i were cooking more than i actually am. i usually get around to cooking maybe once a week right now, trying to make enough to live on for the rest of the dinners in the week. i hope that once i'm a bit less stressed with school i'll fit in a bit more time to cook.

couscous is a life-saver, though. it's so quick and cheap to make. :)
circumfession
Oct. 21st, 2008 01:22 am (UTC)
the freezer is my buddy. I like to make huge batches of things like meatballs and crab cake...which can be easily adapted into other dishes (meatball sandwiches, spaghetti and meatballs, meatball soup, etc)...put them into snack size ziplock bags, and toss 'em in the freezer. Same with roast bell peppers. I buy a boxful (the not quite so fresh boxes for $3), pick through them, and use the oven broiler. They freeze well, and will usually last several months.

Seconding the couscous.
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )