Category Archives: healthy lifestyles

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

The farmers’ market is BACK and I’m so excited! This past weekend, I did a mini-haul and stocked up on produce for the week, including sweet potatoes. I’m normally not a fan of sweet foods as part of a meal (unless it’s breakfast or dessert) but I decided to be adventurous and try it out…not to mention sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins, potassium, and dietary fiber!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Since I usually don’t eat baked potatoes, I figured I probably wouldn’t eat baked sweet potatoes either. I decided to make sweet potato fries since it would last for a few days and they would be more “fun” to eat haha.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 sweet potatoes
  • diced garlic (optional)
  • salt and pepper (optional)

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Scrub and rinse your sweet potatoes.
  3. Slice them into french fry slices, or in wedges if you prefer!
  4. Line a baking tray with oil and spread your fries evenly across the pan.IMG_7405.JPG
  5. Sprinkle any seasonings you want to add extra flavor–less is more in this case!
  6. Pop them into the oven for 30 minutes and you’re done!

Now you have a healthy alternative to greasy french fries with this recipe! Enjoy 🙂

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DIY Toothpaste & Deodorant (Same Recipe Base!)

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Hey everyone 🙂 A loooong time ago, I wanted to write a review comparing different kinds of deodorant since I wanted to eventually move away from the ones that are filled with aluminum compounds, parabens, triclosan (FDA labeled this as a pesticide) propylene glycol (also known as “non-toxic” anti-freeze, guys!!), and more, many of which can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions, and have potential links to cancer… Not to scare you guys away from reading, but it’s important to be informed what you put on your body, especially since deodorants get absorbed through your skin and goes into your system! There are a whole bunch of lymph nodes that reside in the vicinity of your underarms, and can become inflamed and swollen from the toxic additives that are in your deodorant.

I’ve been following many zero waste vloggers and bloggers, and quite a few of them have switched to more natural, zero waste alternatives for deodorant, such as making their own! The tubes that your deodorant and toothpaste are packaged in are often made from plastic that can’t be recycled, so if you want to make a more conscious decision to produce less waste, you can consider making your own deodorant and toothpaste! I’ve just made my first mini-batch of both deodorant and toothpaste, and wanted to share my experience with you.

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Ingredients:

  • baking soda
  • coconut oil
  • essential oils (for scent) – the brand I use is Calily
  • Stevia (for toothpaste)

Steps:

  1. Mix 1 part baking soda, 1 part coconut oil into a container. **I had done 1/2 cup of each, but I would recommend using less coconut oil since it just sits at the top and doesn’t mix very well!**
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  2. Add an appropriate amount of essential oil (the scent of your choice) to the baking soda/coconut oil mix.
  3. Since I was making both toothpaste and deodorant, I separated them into two containers since I wanted different scents for each.
  4. I added peppermint essential oil into the toothpaste mix, and tea tree oil into the deodorant mix. **I put in about 6 drops in each set, but if you want to add more or less, that’s up to you! I’m not a fan of mixing scents, but if you’re adventurous, go for it ;)**
  5. (So I didn’t have Stevia…BUT I highly recommend you invest in some for your toothpaste)

When I tried using my toothpaste sans Stevia, I have to admit, my mouth just felt really greasy from the coconut oil, and salty from that strong baking soda flavor! If you can handle that overwhelming taste, then there’s no need to get Stevia, but I am going to hold off on using my mix for brushing my teeth until I get some… 🙂

For the deodorant, many bloggers have mentioned that your body will take some time to detox and get used to not having chemicals block your sweat glands from producing sweat, so I’m being patient and waiting for the magic to happen! It’s important to mention that sweat should not smell bad; it is the bacteria that would cause an unpleasant odor, so make sure you wash your underarms thoroughly and pat dry after you shower, before you put on the deodorant! Another important tip is if you’re going to transition to your own DIY deodorant, it’s best to do it during the fall going into winter, or in the spring before the summer, that way it’s still cool enough that you won’t produce much sweat, and your body gets enough time to adjust!

There are some people who say that baking soda can be really irritating for their skin, but so far I’ve been okay (maybe it’s the coconut oil that protects my skin!)

Be sure to create only small batches since there’s really no sure-fire way of keeping out random bacteria from creeping into your products, and you don’t want to create a whole vat of this mix only for it to be unusable–coconut oil ain’t cheap, y’all!

Hope you all enjoyed reading 🙂

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Recipe: 4-Ingredient Lentil Stew

Happy spring, everyone! It’s been a while since I posted a recipe… my apologies! I haven’t experimented with any new recipes lately so there wasn’t much to update you on, but here’s another quick and simple soupy recipe (can you tell I LOVE soup and stews yet?)

This tomato-based lentil stew is surprisingly filling and tastes pretty good, and I love how you can customize the flavor to your liking.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 cups of lentils (this will give you about 4 meals worth, depending how large your portions are!)
  • 1/2 can (or 12oz) of pasta sauce **I would definitely recommend you use fresh tomatoes and mash it up so it’s a richer flavor, but pasta sauce works just as well**
  • 1 medium onion
  • 5-6 white mushrooms

Steps:

  1. Sift through your dried lentils to make sure there are no rocks!
  2. Rinse your lentils, and then soak them overnight.
  3. The following day, pour your lentils and about 1 cup of water into a pot and wait for it to boil.
  4. Rinse and dice your onion and mushrooms into fine pieces.
  5. After the water has boiled, add your onion, mushrooms, and pasta sauce into the pot and lower the fire.
  6. For seasonings, I used paprika, oregano, garlic salt, seasoning salt, cumin, and red pepper flakes. You can customize to taste so you get enough salt or spice in your stew.
  7. Let it simmer for about half an hour, and it’ll be ready to eat!

5 Quick Tips to Declutter Your Home

 

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I was kept pretty busy back at home cleaning up my house since my family is moving, and I wanted to share five quick tips for decluttering your abode. 🙂

  1. Work on one room or space at a time. You’ll get overwhelmed if you try to tackle the entire floor of your home at once, especially if you have years of clutter that has built up over the years.
  2. Have a ton of large plastic bags ready. Focus on three types of garbage bags: one for regular trash, one for recycling (separate the plastic/glass/metal from the paper), and one for donations.
  3. When you go through your items, organize them based on a common theme! I came home for winter break to help my family move, and I had over 20 years of clutter to sort through (imagine my shock of the endless amount of items I was looking at). We had items such as stuffed animals, arts and crafts, kids’ toys, etc. I organized them into categories such as these, and for the items that were good enough to be donated, I set them aside.
  4. If you’re in a time crunch and need to clear your home quickly, Craigslist is going to be your best friend. Within days, and sometimes hours, I was able to donate bags of assorted items to people who [I hope!] will put them to good use for their families.
    • if you do have the time, you can definitely list items for sale on Craigslist or eBay, but since we needed to move things out FAST, listing them for free was the most efficient way to go!
  5. When you go through your clothes, look at each item and decide if it’s something that “sparks joy”, as the KonMari Method describes. I really like this article that describes the importance of joy when going through your closet and picking out the clothes that bring you joy. The article describes how there are different ways to bring joy, and that the initial joy in purchasing the item can wear off and it is okay to let it go.

If you haven’t seen, used, or thought about the item you happen upon while you’re decluttering your home, chances are, you don’t need it! That’s the best advice I can offer you after going through three floors and one basement’s worth of stuff x_x

What are your methods of decluttering your home?

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New Year, New You: Featuring SHINE TEXT

As we enter the new year, we’re leaving behind negative energy and things that made us feel not so great in 2016. Many cultures consider the new year as a fresh start and a clean slate, and many people like to set New Year’s resolutions and try to stick to them for as long as possible. I for one was never really successful with setting New Year goals (heh) because it didn’t feel very organic and natural. However, behavior change experts believe that the best time to introduce new habits and behaviors is during rites of passages or holidays, and the New Year is the perfect time! Have you set some goals for yourself this year?

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I came across a Huffington Post article that featured a texting app called Shine Text which sends you a daily text reminder to increase happiness and productivity throughout your day. It’s free of charge if you have an unlimited text messaging plan, and you can customize the themes of messages you’d like to the following options:

  • joy & presence (I’m currently trying this one out!)
  • health
  • confidence
  • productivity
  • creativity

When you want to switch it up, all you have to do is text back “REAL” and you can change which theme of messages you’d like to receive. I love that they personalize it by using my name, and I love  how the text is sent in the morning to set a positive tone for the rest of my day 🙂

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My first text from Shine Text: I renamed their number to “Shine Text” (with a sun!) so I always know to look forward to their messages 🙂

We could all use a confidence boost every once in a while, and a CNN article featured Shine Text, saying that this text messaging service “addresses negative thought patterns” especially when our minds are idle. It may not be accurate for all females, but it also mentions that many women struggle with confidence, and that this can be an effective means to tackle this issue and help women achieve their goals and be more self-assured of their abilities and what they want to do in their workplaces and in their lives.

If you know of anyone who could use a little bit of positivity in the morning, or if you’d like to test it out, GO FOR IT! I’m really looking forward to evaluating how I view my days ahead the more I use Shine Text.

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy new year, and best wishes for sticking to any resolutions and goals you may have set for yourselves!

Recipe: Simple Salads

As some of you know from my latest public health blog post,  I was super stoked about having a farmers’ market just ten minutes from my apartment here in Baltimore! My roommate and I went a little bit on the later side, and there were great options to choose from that I think I’ll go back earlier in the future!

When we got back to our apartment with my < $20 purchase (yes, all this in the photo was less than $20!!), I was famished and ready to eat, and since I had bought two bags of mixed greens, you can say I was in the mood for some salad! I dug up the cauliflower and cucumbers in my fridge and got to work.

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So proud of my farmer’s market haul on Sunday!

“Ingredients” (do people say ingredients when it comes to prepping a meal that doesn’t need to be cooked?)

  • mixed greens
  • tomatoes (apparently, I bought Green Zebra tomatoes, how cool is that name?!)
  • kale
  • cauliflower
  • cucumber
  • dressing (I used balsamic vinegar and oil, but I’m definitely more of a fan of Italian or French dressing hehe)

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There aren’t really any steps to this besides washing and cutting up whatever veggies you decided to use, and then pouring on as much dressing as your heart desires. I definitely felt super healthy after eating that! You can definitely change up your salad ingredients by adding protein or croutons to give it some extra textures and flavors 🙂 Enjoy eating healthy!

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Supporting Farmers’ Markets

Baltimore locals know where it’s at when it comes to supporting Maryland’s entrepreneurs and farmers by going to farmers’ markets! You are not only getting the freshest ingredients there is, but you are helping the environment by buying locally. Check out my latest public health blog post about supporting farmers’ markets near you 🙂

Source: Supporting Farmers’ Markets

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