On the Horizon

On the Horizon

It’s hard to believe that in about two weeks, I’ll be walking, running, and skipping (maybe? haha!) across Europe. The plan is to start in Iceland, fly across the pond to the UK, and then end the journey in Paris. It’ll be quite a way to celebrate my sister’s upcoming graduation from her undergraduate university!

Hello Pizza Studio!

But what I’m most excited for is her move this fall to Irvine. Yes, she’ll be about 60 min away from me by car, and I could not be more excited. We may not be moving in together right away, but I foresee a bunch of weekend adventures with her, and hopefully we’ll be able to find a place to live together when she gets more settled in!

Pizza Studio, South Los Angeles

In the meantime, work has been keeping me busy, and weekends in lab have become commonplace again. Obviously all that work stirs up an appetite, and pizza has been my carb craving as of late.

I’ve finally been getting on board with the popularity behind the whole make-your-own-pizza trend. First it was Blaze, and now I got around to trying out Pizza Studio.

I could have gotten creative and really asked to make up my own combo—perhaps even have it all on a spicy pizza crust—but one of the ready-made combos, Truffled Mushroom, seemed to sound quite appetizing.

The Truffled Mushroom

This magical combo was composed of a rosemary herb crust, garlic alfredo, freshly grated mozzarella, truffle roasted mushrooms, fresh parmesan, and baby spinach. It came out soooo warm and with the cheese all melty, I had to be incredibly careful when picking up the slices because it was hot to the touch.

All those mushrooms and that cheezzzzzz…

But the taste was all worth it. I’m thinking with all the things planned and events coming up, my carb cravings are only going to get stronger…and I think more pizza places are going to be crossed off my list in the process 😉

What do you crave the most when you are super busy and get super hungry?

The Pizza Studio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hot Weather Shenanigans

Hot Weather Shenanigans

The day after my first double run, I granted myself a rest day and enjoyed the extra hour or so in bed resting my sore head (later on in the week, I had my first migraine, and I’m thinking the trigger might have been the extreme weather change). Surprisingly, my leg muscles felt fine (probably due to the rolling I did!), but my head felt heavy, which I’m assuming was due to spending so much time exerting myself in he heat.

Needless to say, the rest day was absolutely necessary. I went into lab later in the morning, but since E was also in, we decided to head downtown together for some lunch. It was unbearably hot outside though, and the walk from 7th st. all the way to Grand Central Market had us feeling like we were melting. I was even in a tank top and shorts and felt like I was burning!

It was my first time visiting GCM (and I call myself an Angeleno!), and seeing all the foodie shops clustered in one place like that reminded me of a more crowded, packed version of the Tustin Marketplace. We first thought about checking out Eggslut, but the line was so serpentine that we thought it’d be best to try it out some other day. Instead, we opted for meals at two different stalls.

Berlin Currywurst at Grand Central Market

I found my meal of choice at Berlin Currywurst. The last time I had a vegetarian currywurst was ages ago, so I was happy to be able to have it again.

Small space, crowded counter.

My options were limited, but I was able to get a medium spicy tofu kielbasa currywurst plate. It even came with half of a crusty bread roll to mop any of that excess thick tomato-based sauce!

Spent a hot Sunday trying to keep cool at Grand Central Market. It was my first time visiting the place too! Eggslut had a serpentine line, so I hopped on over to Berlin Currywurst, and chowed down on this spicy Tofu Kielbasa Currywurst with a hearty chunk of bread 😋😋

E found a stall selling avocado toast that came out with such beautiful presentation. My side beet salad was nothing in comparison. I’m not even sure why I got it…I had assumed it was part of the meal but then I realized I had to pay extra for it 😛

Why did I get this excuse for a salad?

After lunch, I hurried on home to catch up on sleep and just chill. I also tried another flavor of D’s Naturals Fluffbutter—Brownie Batter! Now I only have one more new-to-me flavor left to try…

Brownie Batter? This flavor from @dsnaturals is more like Brownie BUTTER. The texture was smooth, yet each spoonful was dense. There was a strong cocoa taste that was the defining feature of this flavor. My only complaint—with all of the D’s Naturals Fluffbutters actually—is the oil separation. It’s always so difficult to make the oil mix through evenly, even though I attempt to do so with each jar. The last couple tablespoons at the bottom of each jar are always the driest as a result.

Overall, I thought it had a very sharp cocoa taste, and quite a thick texture. I still have issues with mixing up all the oil thoroughly in the jar—it just has a tendency to pool up on top!

I also managed to order four new The Lion’s Pack cookie dough flavors to try during the week. My favorite of the four I purchased was this “Teddy Dough”.

"Why HELLO there TEDDY DOUGH 🐻 🐻 🍪 🍪!! It's been a while since I placed a @thelionschoice cookie dough order---long enough to get a four pack of flavors I haven't tried yet! Teddy Dough is one of them, and I actually kinda love the more grainy texture this one has in comparison to the stickier consistency the other ones have. But I was expecting some broken teddy grahams to be mixed in...guess they just ground them down 🐻 😧"
Why HELLO there TEDDY DOUGH 🐻 🐻 🍪 🍪!! It’s been a while since I placed a @thelionschoice cookie dough order—long enough to get a four pack of flavors I haven’t tried yet! Teddy Dough is one of them, and I actually kinda love the more grainy texture this one has in comparison to the stickier consistency the other ones have. But I was expecting some broken teddy grahams to be mixed in…guess they just ground them down 🐻 😧

I thought this cookie dough would have crushed teddy graham cookies, but I think they were all finely-ground because the texture of the cookie dough was so smooth. It was like a crumbly sunflower butter jar with a mild cinnamon flavor. I could even detect a taste of honey.

The one I was most surprised by was Red Velvet. I had much higher expectations for this one, but the jar I got had dough that was too sticky, and with a texture that was reminiscent more of cake than cookie dough.

I have to be honest—wasn’t a huge fan of @thelionschoice Red Velvet Cake cookie dough. My batch at least had the consistency of a gooey sponge cake, rather than a thick, paste-like cookie dough which I was expecting. The flavor was quite bland, and the chocolate bits did little to help enhance the flavor profile. Ah well, I have to admit I can’t complain about the quantity I got—my jar was literally full to the brim!

Butterscotch Maple Cookie didn’t come across as a flavor worth remembering. Sure, there were a decent amount of butterscotch chips thrown in, but the flavor base was quite bland.

Butterscotch Maple Cookie: not sure what’s so “cookie” about it!

Finally, there was Cran-Orange. The mix-ins definitely overpowered the cookie dough base with this flavor, and it was definitely the frutiest of the bunch. It even had some white chocolate pieces thrown in so that was a plus!

Honestly, this flavor (and its colors) reminded me of Fall…

Has the weather drastically changed where you live?

Do you get migraines?

Berlin Currywurst Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Carbs, but No Loading

Carbs, but No Loading

I didn’t go out of my way to carbo-load the day before the marathon, but I did eat throughout the day, kept hydrated, and stuck to foods I knew wouldn’t throw me off.

I was sent two vouchers for a free bread item and a drink to use at one of 85C Bakery’s newest locations—in Glendale. Since E and I have been hanging outside of lab together more frequently now, I asked if she wanted to make a day out of it, and she happily agreed.

We met in downtown and then took a bus that stops close to the Galleria. From there, it was a short walk to the bakery.

85c Bakery – Glendale

The inside of the bakery was clean, and the baked goods were organized in a similar way to that of a bakery I visited a while back in Koreatown.

Ah, what to choose??

E and I both got trays and walked through the aisles, seeing what lovely little bread creations we’d come across.

Baked goods

I decided to get a cranberry cream cheese yudane roll, while E got a wild mushroom cheese bread loaf.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Yudane Roll

For my drink, I opted for a hot green milky tea. E ended up going for a cold lemonade. We found seats by the window, and as soon as we had our food and drinks, we settled in.

Hot green milky tea (or rather, water)

My cranberry cream cheese yudane roll had a rough texture on the outside, but this was completely opposite of its interior texture. The roll had a sufficient amount of cream cheese and cranberries (though both of these ingredients tended to separate from one another) and was quite chewy. The milky green tea on the other hand was watered down in my opinion. There was a faint taste of tea, but overall, it just tasted (?) like warm water.

E’s mushroom bread

After our bread/tea break, we walked over to the Galleria and made a round inside the mall. Both of us did end up buying something to add to our wardrobes, but we didn’t spend too much time shopping.

Taking a break before heading back.

We soon walked over to the Americana at Brand right next door, and stopped to sit down and hydrate with some water. As it approached 4pm, I felt like it would be wise to head back and rest up for my race the next day, so we made our way to the bus stop for the ride home.

Do you prefer sweet bread items (danishes, sweet rolls) or just go for the 100% sweet stuff (cakes, pies) ?

85°C Bakery Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Seattle Adventures – Part 3

Seattle Adventures – Part 3

Our second full day in Seattle was a busy, fulfilling, and even almost scary!

My friend is a huge Alice in Wonderland/Victorian period fan, and so when we were figuring out what we all wanted to do in Seattle, her day included all things tea and Alice.

So that morning, we got into our “fancier” clothes and took the bus out again to the University District area. It was a cloudy day outside and seemed like it would rain any minute.

We had reservations for 11am high tea at Queen Mary’s Tea Room, and we had twenty minutes to walk to the tea room from the bus stop where we got off. We were making a mad dash, but made in time for our reservation. At first we mistook the tea room’s emporium as our destination, but right across the street was the actual tea room.

The arrows were in a bush…of course we’d look there *rolls eyes*

Inside, there were trinkets and tea EVERYWHERE. Not a space on the wall nor a bare floorboard could be seen. After checking in, we were seated at a table close to the window amongst teddy bears, a stuffed plush corgi, and a giant rabbit. Our hostess came by with a tea menu and asked us what we were celebrating. When we didn’t have an answer for her, she still asked us if wanted to wear tiaras! How could we decline 🙂 ?

So much cute stuff ah!

I didn’t participate in high tea, but in order to have tea, I had to have a “food purchase”, so I got a large green tea macaroon with my pot of french vanilla tea.

Our table // french vanilla tea

My sis and friend went ahead with the high tea, and were given sorbets to start off with to cleanse the palate. Then, the creams came, along with the long awaited tower tray of sweets and savories.

Sorbet // cream // macaroon

By the time the tray came out, I was already finished with my creamy macaroon. My sis and friend took their sweet time getting through the tower, took a bathroom break in between, and even then couldn’t finished! I helped out by eating some of the fruit, and one of the cucumber sandwiches since it wasn’t so appealing to my friend.

Top tray: scones and biscuits, middle: fruit and pea soup (?), bottom: cucumber sandwiches 😮

After a filling and satisfying tea, we walked back to the bus stop, but not before checking out the tea emporium. There were so many cute items from teaspoons to shiny tea pots, but the fact that they were breakable and expensive was not a good mix for having to pack them up and bring them back to another state in one piece.

Instead, we passed on purchasing these items and headed back to downtown. I had a meet-up planned with Brittany in the afternoon, and the girls planned to hang out in the area at a cafe.

Downtown Seattle

Brittany was so thoughtful to bring her car (on board a ferry!) so we could easily drive over to lunch. She gave me a tour along the way, and once we were in Capitol Hill, we parked by a nearby cathedral and walked more into the district.

We had a late lunch at Plum Bistro, a fancy-looking vegan restaurant that had a special happy hour menu.

I decided to get the Reuben & Chips because I just can’t get enough of carbs 😉

I was hoping to order one of the Jamaican-inspired dishes that was featured on their menu online, but during the hour of our visit, only the happy hour menu was available.

One side reminded me of a boat deck and the other a bohemian-themed room.

Still, Brittany and I had a fun conversation while I munched on my Reuben and Chips and she, some colorful tacos and purple taquitos.

Hi Brittany’s food!!

My dish was pretty filling, since underneath the rye bread were seitan strip steaks and bright purple sauerkraut-like cabbage. I didn’t even finish my fries, but I’m pretty sure my stores were refueled enough.

reuben and chips
There was so much cabbage underneath, don’t be fooled!

After our late lunch, we walked around for a bit, including through a park and then in the direction of the Starbucks Roastery. We went inside, and Brittany gave me a quick tour around the first floor. She compared it to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, and I couldn’t agree more. Everything was so golden and warm…even a $1,000 bike positioned near the entrance 😮

Brittany dropped me off back in downtown so I could meet up with my sis and friend once again, but to my surprise, I didn’t find the girls at our planned meeting spot. After sending a nervous text, I found out that my sis was feeling nauseous and that she and my friend were closer to a restaurant close to the movie theater a couple blocks away, since we were planning on seeing the new Alice movie that night.

My sister didn’t actually throw up, but she felt extremely off that evening and we couldn’t figure out why. We decided to call it a day and were able to trade in our movie tickets for a Friday afternoon show. My sis felt better once we walked outside towards the bus stop to take us back to our Airbnb, but she still wanted to rest up so that she could be at her best for our last full day of the trip.

Thankfully she felt better the next morning, and we were able to continue the adventures without interruption 🙂

Plum Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beverliz in Beverly

Beverliz in Beverly

Last weekend was a CRAZY one in lab. Both Saturday and Sunday were packed, and by the time I got home, I could literally feel the bones of my heels. Needless to say, any and all carbs were necessary.

I made it a priority to head out as soon as I finished up in lab Saturday morning—straight to Beverly Hills. Actually, I traveled to the same area I visited a couple months back for the new Panera Bread opening. I was back yet again for another sandwich & salad kind of place, except Beverliz Cafe offered even more dishes for a late lunch.

 Beverliz Cafe
Beverliz Cafe

Despite it being scorching hot outside, it was at least bright and beautiful. I chose a seat near the window to enjoy the beauty outdoors, while still keeping cool inside. Funny thing was, the A/C wasn’t working, and a small fan was supposed to “cool off” the entire cafe. Go figure.

 Inside the cafe!
Inside the cafe!

There was a wide array of dishes to choose from the menu, but my eyes gravitated toward the Kabob Plate, which came with a thin, large piece of wheat lavash, brown rice, hummus, charbroiled vegetables, and greek salad.


Everything was served on a long, oval plate—packed with rice and salad on the sides, and an abundance of charboiled vegetables. There was hummus underneath all of this too, not to worry 😉

 Um, what portion control> ;)
Um, what portion control? 😉

I found the rice to be extremely filling, but perhaps that was due to the volume of vegetables I engulfed prior to attacking the rice. The burnt-to-a-crisp onion was my favorite part, even though it was probably chock full of free radicals 😛

Because the air conditioner wasn’t working, I started to feel warm and uncomfortable as I made my way through this dish. By the time I finished, I felt like I had been soaking in a sauna, and knew that it was time to head out for some place cooler in temperature and sweeter in taste. Next stop—gelato!

Have you ever dined in a restaurant that served good food, but had maintenance issues?

Beverliz Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday Ethiopian Buffet

Sunday Ethiopian Buffet

After running strong on Sunday morning, and diving head first into sweets the day before, I wasn’t sure what I wanted for my late lunch. I ended up deciding on Ethiopian, considering that it had been a long while since my last encounter with injera 🙂

Sunday afternoon in Little Ethiopia.

Plus, it gave me an excuse to finally set foot in Little Ethiopia—where there are Ethiopian restaurants literally rubbing shoulders with one another. I’m not sure how they ALL survive, but I’m glad they do 😀

Rahel VEGAN Ethiopian Cuisine!!

Rahel Vegan Ethiopian Cuisine was my stop for the day. It was refreshing to see that, even though Ethiopian cuisine is very vegetarian friendly, there was an entire restaurant devoted to serving just the vegan options of the cuisine.

Interior decor

The restaurant was split up into two seating areas, but most people were seated in the larger room where a tall window brought in lots of sunlight.

Menu cover.

As a single diner, I thought it was best to help myself to the lunch buffet offered between 11am-3pm each day, rather than figure out something from the menu.

Buffet at the far end of the room.

The buffet was split up into a cold and hot section, and the injera rolls were kept inside a large basket. The cold food bar had mixed salad, beets (my love!), cut-up injera with spices, and dressing.

Cold food section

I wanted to load up on all the side dishes, so I helped myself to one injera roll for every plate I ended up getting.


Plate #1 was a masterpiece. Since I was sitting in the center of the room, it was hard not to draw attention to myself due to my phone picture-taking, but it’s all part of the food blogger duty 😉

Plate #1 : Injera, cut-up injera with spices, cabbage + carots, spiced cabbage, spicy lentils, kale

The spongy texture of the injera—perfect for absorbing all of the spices from the lentil stew and nutrient-dense veggies!

Sponginess of injera.

Seconds and thirds (and an unpictured fourth) were necessary for the full buffet experience. I left Rahel feeling stuffed, but since I was only a 20 minute walk away from the Grove, I put my full belly to work.

Seconds and thirds, cause it’s mandatory.

Carbs on a Sunday = a fun day 🙂 .

Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vacation in a Sandwich

Vacation in a Sandwich

With the summer winding down (slowly, but it is…), I was beyond ecstatic when my sister was able to find the time to visit me for a few days. She has to go back to school in a few weeks, after helping my parents with their move out-of-state, and so even though I needed a weekend getaway, she surely needed one too!

After spending Friday night at my apartment, we left around 9AM the next morning for San Diego! It was my first time driving for more than an hour since moving to LA, and my first time in a Zipcar! The ride took us a total of 3 hours (traaaaafiiiiic…), but we were able to keep ourselves occupied and in a road trippin’ mood by playing music all the way there. 

We got into San Diego around 12pm, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Both my sister and I had one thing on our minds: torpasta

 Devine Pastabilities (best sandwich shop) in San Diego.
Devine Pastabilities in San Diego.

The restaurant is actually Devine Pastabilities, but they are extremely well-known for their unique pasta-stuffed sandwiches. I actually learned about their miraculous existence while watching Mystery Diners once.

 Can't wait to order!
Can’t wait to order!

And now, my sister and I were here, sitting in a booth and beyond belief that we were starting off our mini-vacation right with a carb-o-licious lunch. Our surroundings only helped to set the mood 😛

 The fun pizza-parlor style interior.
The fun pizza-parlor style interior.

The employees wore this shirt, and photographs like these were hung all over the walls.

 We were among like-minded individuals...
We were among like-minded individuals…

My sis and I are usually quick to order, but we had to take our time when it came to picking up the right torpasta. I eventually ended up getting Dayna’s Vegan Special, and my sister got the Creamy Pesto and Sundried Tomato. We surprisingly didn’t have to wait too long for our 6″ subs to arrive at our table in vertical stands. 

Dayna's Vegan Special - meatless meatballs, sauteed garlic, spinach, bell peppers, and onions with marinara penne pasta.
Dayna’s Vegan Special – meatless meatballs, sauteed garlic, spinach, bell peppers, and onions with marinara penne pasta.

But my sister’s was a sight to behold. All that creamy goodness made me second guess my choice…

Pesto and sundried tomato in alfredo over bow-tie…

Compared to the pasta overflow of my sister’s torpasta, mine was perfectly stuffed. It had just enough pasta and veggies, and I counted four total meatless meatballs.

After scooping through all the pasta, eating the hollowed-out bread was the treasured final step.

 Hollowed-out bread roll.
Hollowed-out bread roll.

It was surprisingly soft and chewy, perhaps from holding in all that warm, saucy pasta.

My sister and I left with bellies full, and immediately fell into a sleepy spell from the combining effect of the long drive and carb-loaded meal! As soon as we got to our hotel for the night, we crashed for an afternoon nap before heading out to the BEACH! 🙂

Have you ever experienced the glory that is a pasta-filled sandwich?

Click to add a blog post for Devine Pastabilities on Zomato

Milo & Olive: Pizza for One Please

Milo & Olive: Pizza for One Please

Since I had plans on being in Santa Monica for my long run over the weekend, I thought it would be ideal to grab lunch nearby after my 12 mile taper run. I was in the mood for a personal pizza, and so I took a bus from Ocean Ave. that was headed in the east direction of Wilshire. I was set to dine at Milo & Olive for my post-workout lunch.

The small, gray establishment was not hard for me to miss, since I have paid a couple visits to the the Vitamin Shoppe nearby. There were already groups of folks waiting outside and inside the tiny cube of a restaurant.

Waiting near the counter // Patrons at the bar.

I had my name added to the waitlist, but I don’t think I had to wait as long as some others. Since I was dining alone, I was able to get a table relatively quickly (within 15 minutes). I was taken behind the baked goods counter, and given a table by a large window. I also had a great view of the hustle & bustle of the restaurant in front of me.


I love the way the paintings were arranged on the walls, but I was fixated on this one in particular:

 Old people---so cute!
Old people—so cute!

I also couldn’t help but admire the high ceiling paneled with wood.


There were lots of pizzas to choose from, but after confirming if the Quattro Formaggi was suitable for vegetarians, I ordered that…


…and sipped on some water from this fancy-looking jar while I waited for my warm pizza pie to arrive. The waiter “warned” me it would be at least fifteen minutes, but I understood…perfection can’t be rushed 😉

When the pizza did arrive, it garnered stares from the tables around me. It demanded attention, as made obvious by its bubbling cheese, glistening green kale, and aroma of calabrian chili oil.

Quattro Formaggi with sautéed kale and calabrian chili oil

The pizza looked bigger than a “normal” personal pizza at first, but it was actually just the crust that looked puffy and large. The center of the pizza was quite thin, and it was almost as if it was just a circle of melted cheese. The underlying crust was barely visible.


This meant that my ways of eating pizza with a fork would not be appropriate here, and I had to treat it as a handheld meal like a normal person would 😛

The pizza itself was quite filling, even though I didn’t demolish it entirely (I left a bulk of the crusts on my plate, mostly eating the slice up until the border where the cheese ended). I was contemplating a cupcake for dessert, but decided that it would be in my best interest to head back home and rest up study for an exam the next day. There would be next weekend after all, and I did have some gelatin-free gummies waiting for me in the meantime to get me though an afternoon and evening of studying!

Do you like eating the pizza crust? Plain or with a dip/sauce? I used to dip leftover pizza crust in ketchup when I was younger! Otherwise, it was just too dry for me.

Milo & Olive on Urbanspoon

Finding My Balance, Trusting My Body

Finding My Balance, Trusting My Body

It’s been a while since I really discussed the progress from my disordered eating days. When I started this blog two years ago, I was at a turning point with my relationship with food, and was leaving some of the darkest days of my life. As a result of that, I wanted this “new” blog to be a space that held content relating to the better and happier things that were burgeoning at the time. I still wanted to talk about (the happy aspects) of food, but I also wanted to shift the focus onto a new hobby (running), and also use the space to describe my developing career in science.

But sometimes it’s okay to get a little personal. To go back and reflect. To share your progress, missteps, frustrations, and successes with others, because that’s what blogging and social media are there for at the end of the day. My goal with this post is to show that the “battle” with an eating disorder doesn’t just end. It is a process that requires reestablishing, convincing, conquering, and loving, among other things. The intensity can decrease as one steps more and more into recovery, but traces do and will always remain. After a certain point, it’s more about management than it is about cure.

When I got serious about running at the start of 2013, I was also reexamining my relationship with food: I had stopped limiting myself in regards to fat grams, allowed myself to consume more calories on special occasions/days of “strenuous” physical exertion, and even though I was still counting, I gave myself a newer, higher number that I thought would match the output of my newfound love running.

2013 and 2014 were overall some of the greatest years in my life so far. I was a lot happier in comparison to my first years as an undergrad…definitely. I was certainly in a better place, but in the back of my mind, I knew that I still wasn’t at the place with food and fitness that I thought I was. I believed I was in a healthier place because I wasn’t as strict on myself as in the past, but the restraints I did still have—though not too restrictive—were still at odds with what my body currently wanted and needed.

As I bumped up my mileage to the point where I could run 13 miles as my longest run, I maintained my daily intake at the same newer/higher level that I allowed myself when I first started my running journey. But when I realized that other issues were arising, I had to reevaluate the situation.

Let’s be frank. My periods had ceased for the most part—if not downright amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea was all too real. I was also still experiencing fatigue, food obsessions, and waking up some mornings around 3 or 4AM with intense hunger pangs. I think it was difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact that the “new number” was now “getting old”, and that my ever-increasing physical activity required me to consume a number higher than what I thought. Perhaps because it was all happening quickly—and in the midst of other life changes like getting into grad school—is what caused me to push aside the seriousness of the matter.

I think it was also hard for me to accept the fact that I needed to consume more because I thought that on the days I did not keep track of calories (usually long run days, or at least once every 1-2 weeks), I was able to eat enough to make up for my weekly running output. Obviously things were still not adding up, since I still felt tired at points throughout the week, and even after eating the amount I thought I needed for the day, there were times I still felt ravenous.

Still, I continued to push these occurrences aside because I felt good for the most part. I gave myself days when I could treat myself for not only my physical feats, but for “eating well” over a set period of time, so why mull over it any more than necessary?

When I made the decision to train for a marathon, there was a part of me that became concerned with the 13+ miles not because of the time spent on the road and the physical pain that I might have to endure, but rather if I would have enough energy for the journey based on my current consumption levels.

I understood that I would have to take another look at my body, and a new “new number” could not be avoided any longer—no matter how much I despised change. Being a budding scientist though, I needed cold, hard data to convince myself that shooting for an even higher caloric intake would be okay. My body was in a deficit already, based on symptoms like those mentioned previously, so getting a professional’s opinion seemed like the way to get that real push I needed.

I decided to wait until my first semester was over in order to schedule metabolic testing. Call it an excuse if you’d like, but I thought it was the perfect time to get it done: right at the start of the new year, and right before hitting the heavy miles of marathon training. I was also mentally prepared, with my mind free from thoughts of school or lab for the time being. I was ready to hear the results, take a step back to reflect on them, and create a new plan that would make my body happy and put my mind at ease.

I ordered the resting expenditure and exercise expenditure tests, and found both experiences to not be as fun as I thought 😛 . For the resting expenditure test, I was instructed to lie down flat and still for about ten minutes. After that, I was hooked up to an oxygen mask contraption and was given a nose plug. Having to breathe with only my mouth through a dry tube did not exactly aid me when I had to go back into a resting state for another ten minutes, but I managed to get through the test without hating it entirely.

The exercise expenditure test was another story. Since I was getting evaluated for my expenditure while running, the technician had me do a warm-up on the treadmill. Now, if we could have done it outdoors, no problem, but a treadmill?! It seems like the longer and more frequently I run outside, the stronger my hate for the treadmill grows…but, it had to be done.

Before getting on the treads of monotony, I had to get my skinfold measurements. Seven areas (subscapular, tricep, mid-axillary, pectoral, lliac, abdominal, thigh) are usually measured, and then summed up to get a value that estimates body fat percentage.

Once I was warmed-up, and after a quick trip to the restroom, the technician started me off at a 12 min/mile pace. Every three minutes, he ramped up the pace until I was running an 8:34 min/mile as my “strong effort”. After cooling down, I was given a towel to wipe the drool coming out of my mouth once the oxygen mask tube was pulled out (so true, so embarrassing), and then waited for my results.

We first went over my resting expenditure results, which listed my VO2 at rest, respiratory exchange ratio, and resting metabolic rate. Based on all of this, I was also given a breakdown of my substrate utilization (what percentage of carbs vs. fat I use at rest).

The exercise expenditure results were calculated and graphed in an interesting way:


Not only was my caloric expenditure while running at different speeds calculated, but also the percentage of carbs and fat that I was utilizing. It pretty much summarized that the faster I ran and the more effort I exerted, the more carbs I used. At a 7 mph pace, I was running on 100% carbs.

I was also given a breakdown of my heart rate, VO2, and RER numbers while running at these different speeds.


As well as estimated expenditure values at low/medium/high efforts.


I was glad that the technician took the time to sit down with me afterwards to go over my results and answer any questions I had. He was able to conclude from my results that my RER was pretty low (most likely due to the years of not eating enough—even now, in more recent times, when I thought I was eating enough), and that my body fat percentage was veering on the low side of the ‘athlete range’. He added that this could be a good or bad thing based on one’s goals, and of course gender, but then went on to mention some studies that were done that showed the amount of calories consumed over time vs. amount of fat in one’s diet influences a woman’s “cycle regularity”.

Even though it was a lot of information to take in and consider, we were able to get back to concrete numbers. He recommended that I increase my caloric intake to build more lean muscle mass (obviously), but emphasized taking in those extra calories as fat and proteins (over carbs), based on the goals I had for my body and in running.

I would say that both expenditure tests (which cost me $200) were well worth the price, which I found to be on the low side compared to a lot of other metabolic testing centers I looked into. I got what I wanted—the cold, hard data. Now I just have to use it.

This experience really drove the point home that the body is a dynamic machine, and that based on what you have it go through or what you want it to become, its requirements will change. Everyone is built differently, and figuring out what the best things for your body are at a certain time is, in a way, a never-ending experiment.

Taking on this new, things-are-dynamic attitude is the next big step in my recovery process. Understanding that these numbers are not strict rules, but rather guidelines, is something I will also have to continuously remind myself going forward.

Of course, I predict that there will be days I doubt what my body really needs. Accepting that there will be days I can’t get in my recommended protein, or that I ingest “too many carbs”, is all part of the process too. As long as my goals are pure—to build more lean muscle and to eat enough for my activity levels in order to get to a desirable weight that promotes healthy “processes” and an efficient engine for running—and as long as I at least try, there is nothing more I can do but trust that my body will find its balance at any given time.

If you’ve ever had an eating disorder or disordered eating habits, do you find it difficult to talk about the current status of your recovery progress?

Have you ever been metabolically tested?

A Pre-Spring Break Reflection

A Pre-Spring Break Reflection

I can finally breathe out a huge sigh…winter quarter is officially over!

I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that in about three more months, my years as an undergraduate will come to a close. It’s terrifying, and exciting, to think that I will receive another diploma (I’m including my high school diploma here) that will certify my education in all most things related to cell biology. But I am no where near calling myself an expert…I still feel as though I have so much more things to learn in my field of study in order to make meaningful contributions in the future.

Replenished my electrolytes with my coconut water samples with a side of Micro studying.
Replenished myself with electrolytes thanks to Zico coconut water samples from the Lucky Run, which helped with Microbiology cramming studying. Two words (about the coconut water, not the studying): surprisingly sweet!

That’s why I’m applying to graduate programs right away, but for the “gap year” I will have until Fall 2014, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing. Should I start looking for an actual paying job in industry? Should I get part-time work and continue my current internship as a volunteer? I’m asking myself these, and other pressing questions, as well as waiting for some answers on some other temporary things I’ve applied to.

The lentil bolani was the most filling and satisfying of the bunch since it was packed with protein from the lentils! Had lots of fun eating this and walking back to work at the same time :P!
The lentil bolani was the most filling and satisfying of the bunch since it was packed with protein from the lentils! Had lots of fun eating this and walking back to work at the same time :P!

And even though it’s practical to look ahead, I want to be okay with just doing nothing for spring break. I don’t need to go to my internship, I have a week off from my advising job…it’s like everyone is telling me to just chill, and I just need to tell myself that!

The spinach bolani has to be my favorite. It's chock full of spinach, and the spices and flavors just make it so delectable!
The spinach bolani has to be my favorite. It’s chock full of spinach, and the spices and flavors just make it so delectable!

It’ll be my last spring break as an undergrad, so the least I can do is nothing, right? By nothing, I mean:

  • Running as many miles my body feels up to at whatever time during the day.
  • Hitting up all the ZUMBA classes my gym has to offer—including ones in the middle of the day that my school schedule prevented me from attending.
  • Watching random TV shows, and being okay with feeling “lazy”.
  • Checking out, and reading all the copies of Runner’s World my library has to offer.
  • Come up with more blog posts :)!
  • Napping plenty of times during the day.

Okay, so I guess I didn’t mean nothing in the literal sense, but all the things I have “planned” have little to do with academics/school life as possible.

And as a girl whose main focus is school pretty much every single day, I’m going to make myself be okay with this.

Potato Bolani: had the heartiest filling of the bunch!
My Bolani quest continues! Had this Potato Bolani for lunch two Mondays ago. I feel it had the heartiest filling of the bunch!

My reason for mentioning my dire need for an actual spring break stems from an anxiety-ridden spring break I had last year. I was coming to terms with my food issues, and had to make some decisions about “cutting off” some things that were fueling my anxiety even more. I’ll leave it at that since it involves other people, but needless to say, it was a rough time.

Favorite Quest Bar flavor ever? I think so...
I am IN LOVE with this Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor of Quest Bar. Favorite Quest Bar flavor ever? I think so…

So this spring break will be different. I’m going to make myself have fun, and just go with whatever I feel like doing. It’ll pretty much just be me and my mom for the majority of the week since my Dad will be away on business and my sis will be off in Chicago for a school music ensemble event, so I will have plenty of “me” time whether I like it or not.

Having the same bar microwaved for about 20 seconds may make it look deformed, but it tasted just like a warm chocolate chip cookie! Added with some kefir and granola, it makes a delicious and filling breakfast!
Having the same bar microwaved for about 20 seconds may make it look deformed, but it tasted just like a warm chocolate chip cookie! Added with some kefir and granola, it makes a delicious and filling breakfast!

But my weekends coming up will definitely be eventful. This weekend, my Dad and I are volunteering again at a FIRST Robotics Regional (can’t believe it’s been three years since I was a participant myself!) and then the weekend following, I have another race (10k!) which I am hoping to place in…since the registration in my age group is lacking (haha, default wins are the best!). Afterwards, we plan to meet my cousin in Berkeley and attend an event which I may post about later (given that pictures are taken ;)!).

Skinny Cow Caramel Mochaccino...eh, okay :/
One of my study breaks included this Limited Edition Skinny Cow Caramel Mochaccino sundae cup for dessert. It was not a favorite of mine…glad it’s limited edition ;P

Fortunately, the forecast seems to be bright and sunny for the next week, so I will have no excuse not to get any runs in. But like I said before, I’m not putting any pressure on myself. I’m going to give this break the break it actually deserves ;)!

How did you spend time on your spring break(s)?

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