Trust your gut [even if it has IBS;) ]

Growing up I was always told to worry about what I can control, and I don’t think that six words have ever had such a permanent impact on who I am as a person today. Realizing that certain aspects of your life are completely out of your control can seriously alleviate frustrations, and knowing that I cant control everything in my life has kept me sane as a student-athlete. Im a textbook control freak, so I pretty much have to remind myself on a daily basis that not everything is going to be ideal or fall under Evan’s definition of just right, and that’s okay.

Change“…One of those words that doesn’t evoke feelings until it REALLY evokes feelings. I always told myself I wasn’t someone who necessarily minded change, but I now have come to the realization that no one likes change. Its a big, scary word no matter your age or gender.

Those who know me well know that I am not an outwardly emotional person…at all (something I inherited from my dad). I tend to keep my feelings in, mostly because I have never been one to seek attention. Because of that, I would rather hide emotion than profess it. On top of that, I’m also one of those people that was blessed with the nervous habit of laughing (something I inherited from my mom). So when situations get tense, 9 times out of 10 I am preoccupied biting the inside of my mouth in an attempt to conceal a grin. It’s great.

Control. Change. Emotion. 

These three words have had an overwhelming presence in my life lately. I came to the realization that I felt like a hamster running on a wheel. It sounds humorous, but I have yet to endure something more frustrating than exerting endless amounts of effort and time towards something with no results in return. Similar to the hamster that runs in circles, I felt like I was getting no where – just running through the motions. For a Type-A personality like myself, complacency is essentially a nightmare. I realized that there was much in my situation that was seemingly out of my control, but I also had the ability to take the reigns and make changes. As a result, I decided to transfer to Claremont Mckenna College. This is where change gets tied in….there’s pretty much nothing more life-changing than a big move, especially when you’re halfway through college. The word “change” used to be nothing more than what I would stick into parking meters. Now the word literally gives me chills. For the first time in awhile I have felt overwhelming emotion, emotion I cannot really keep inside. I tell the people I love about my life adjustment and tears immediately burst.  I have gone through hard times before, but  I truly do not think that anything has hit me in quite the same way as this has.

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It’s a bittersweet journey, a freakish combination of fear and excitement. I have reprioritized my life in the biggest way possible. The hardest part to swallow was the realization that at one point my heart was on the lacrosse field, and now I have found other passions. If there’s one thing I have learned from this whole unraveling of events, its that your gut is usually right. I had this overwhelming instinctual feeling, and once I took a step in the right (but scary) direction…everything else seemed to fall into place. It’s incredibly hard knowing that I wont be a part of my best friends’ daily lives anymore, but as the cliche goes “distance means so little when friendship means so much.” I’m thankful I have amazing people in my life that supported me through this bumpy ride, and it’s my soulmates here in Eugene that have made this decision so hard for me.

As this all becomes my reality, I become more and more excited for my new journey….can’t wait to carry #CWE to a new place 🙂

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xoxo,

Evan

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Barz

A definitive ranking of bars…because if your days begin at 5:30 AM like ours do…granola bars become their own food group…

Before Practice…

  1. GoMacroScreen Shot 2016-02-23 at 2.04.26 PM.pngThese are my #1 go-to…vegan and gluten free which means I wont be bloated for practice…always a plus. They also are not too heavy which is nice before 6AM conditioning. I have not had a flavor I did not like, however, if you like bars that have overwhelming flavor you might not be overwhelmed by these. The flavor is not over the top, a plus for me, but if you’re used to Fiber One, Nature Valley bars or something like that these might not be your thang.
  2. RxBar

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The only bad thing about these bars is they aren’t really available in stores. With multiple threats from my dad to cancel my Amazon account, I order these on special occasions. I have ordered the variety pack, but this flavor was my favorite. The others were good, however, I don’t really enjoy large amounts of chocolate in a bar, and the others are largely chocolate based. I just cant seem to get that down before the sun is even up.
3. Quest

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These are no secret because they are pretty amazing. My favorite flavors are cookie dough, cookies n’ cream, and s’mores. The secret to these is warming them up for about 12 seconds (I have it down to a science), seriously try it. They are freakishly low in sugar and carbs, but don’t taste like it at all. Some 7/11s sell these..which is pretty awesome.

4. Perfect Bars

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Produced in the best place ever, San Diego ;)….these are bars come in vegan forms but are all gluten free. These are super flavorful..the only downside is they are pretty filling. I ate one once before we ran Autzen Stadium and the entire time I was holding down throw up….That being said, I usually will eat half of one before practice and be full/energized the entire time. I have tried nearly all the flavors, and I have literally loved every single one..but when shopping for them make sure you look in the fridge section!

As a snack…

1, 2, 3: GoMacro, RxBars and Perfect Bars are my top favorites to just snack on as well…

4. Lara Bars

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So. Many. Flavors. So. Little. Ingredients. Seriously…its amazing theres like twenty flavors made each from no more than five ingredients. My favorite and go-to is the chocolate chip cookie dough or the blueberry muffin. Thee cookie dough one tastes like dessert, and sometimes is my dessert lol.

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I try and look for bars that have some decent amount of protein, low sugar, and obviously good taste. Before practice I might have some overnight oats or pb & banana toast…but bars are usually the easiest thing to roll out of bed and grab.

 

 

A tribute to my war with my intestines… * actually a rant*

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To begin…I want to flashback to high school…for those of you who did not know “high school Evan.” My diet consisted primarily of bean & cheese burritos, flamin’ hot cheetos, slurpees, sour patch kids, cinnamon sugar bagels, and coffee. I was 5’9 and approximately 125 pounds (see pic above), all because of my insane metabolism I inherited from both parents,  so counting caloric, sugar, and carb intake was never something that crossed my mind. Because of this, I consumed anything and everything I wanted whenever I wanted and life was pretty easy (I am not in any way bragging about this, it all came back to haunt me). I never thought twice about what I ate, and I brushed off my parents when they told me, “you are what you eat.” Additionally, throughout high school, I would get migraines that would last for about two days, but they were bad enough to keep me from sporting events and school. We never really found a solution to this problem, medicine never really worked, so we ended up assuming I had to suck it up because it was likely just stress related.

*Because I know my mom is going to read this, I would like to give her credit…she prepared my entire family a home cooked dinner every night…without fail. So to say my diet was completely garbage would be a lie, but…it was pretty awful.*

Summer between senior year of high school and freshman year of college was really when my intestines began hating me in all the worst ways. Every time I ate i would experience excruciating stomach pains, to the point where I thought I was going to vomit or pass out. My mom, in typical mother-fashion, immediately calls the doctor (ily mom). We went into a pediatrician, who sent me to a gastroenterologist, who rushed me into a endoscopy. Nothing quite like having a camera shoved down your throat. We discovered that my stomach was completely filled with green bile (super attractive). My doctor attributed this to IBS.  I left the doctor nodding my head while he told me ( I was still slightly drugged)that I had “IBS.” The catch was, I was literally half-conscious, and had zero idea what IBS was. I remember thinking “Honestly….what even is a bowel?,” I was never a biology person. Prior to this, I was rarely in the doctor’s office, and my inexperience lead me to ask literally zero questions. Nice Evan.

So at this point I felt like S.O.L. I had some weird, unattractive stomach condition, and I was leaving for college in less than a month. Not only am I beginning college…but I am also beginning Division One athletics…SOOOO far from ideal. My doctor prescribed me to take three medicines. My mom is going to kill me after this post, but I am just going to say it, I had NO idea what any of these pills did, and of course I did not ask. Also, I had to take them at the weirdest times….like “thirty minutes before each meal.” That might be practical for an elementary school student who has both a school nurse and two parents monitoring the medicine intake. However, a college freshman and D1 athlete who wakes up at 5AM for lifting, then goes to tutoring, attends (most) classes, returns for practice, then heads back for more tutoring, and finally returns home at 8 PM every weeknight WILL NOT remember to take a pill in the morning, before each meal, followed by another pill twice each day.

Safe to say I did not solve many (any) of my intestinal troubles freshman year. I returned home for the summer, and immediately saw a new doctor. She took me off of every pill I was on *PTL*, advised me to take a fiber supplement, and suggested that I try the FODMAP diet. (if you’re interested I love this blog about low FODMAPS: http://www.katescarlata.com/ )

This is longer than I expected….but to cut to the chase…I have finally gotten a better grasp on my life. I eliminated gluten, dairy, most processed foods, and some high FODMAP foods from my diet completely. I did not change my diet for the purposes of losing weight, a common misconception, but because it was time to make a lifestyle change so that I could live without a bloated, cramping, painfully annoying digestive system.

Turns out that changing my diet actually was a blessing in disguise. I have developed a passion for food and healthy cooking, something I probably would not have ever gotten into (peep at the blog). I probably suffer a minor migraine every two months, a SIGNIFICANT decrease from high school *bless up*. I enjoy reading about IBS and watching Netflix documentaries about our messed up food industry, nerdyAF but whatever.

*if you care: there’s some relatively new research explaining how consumption of processed foods can wear down your stomach lining and lead to IBS…regretting all those flamin’ hot cheetos.*

At the end of the day, I really, truly, honestly do not miss anything I gave up. I have developed new favorite treats and snacks, trust me, life went on for me. It can be socially uncomfortable to explain to a large, confused crowd why you cannot eat pizza with them (there are judgers), and being so active has definitely added struggles to developing a balanced diet for myself. Also, since going gluten-free has become so trendy, people assume I do not eat it to lose weight or something (false)…I just have been constantly learning to not care what people think they know about what I eat. But in the long run, for me, it is all worth it…and as this is the basis for the entire blog…I thought I would share 🙂

I hope this wasn’t too weird….

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If only it was as easy to write a paper for Global Ethics as it was to write this rant….

Spicy Chili and Cornbread

This chili was perfect now that the weather has started cooling down in Berkeley. I made it using black beans, kidney beans, and Trader Joe’s Soyrizo. The soyrizo already has a spicy kick to it, so I didn’t need to spice it much on my own, but if you made this with meat (I think ground turkey would be a good substitute!) that isn’t already spiced, you would want to add some extra flavor when you cook the meat. My only regret was that I bought but forgot to include sweet potato in the chili, although it was still really good without it!   

Spicy Soyrizo Chili

-1 can kidney beans, 1/2 can black beans

-1.5 packages of TJ’s Soyrizo (this is ~2.25 lbs, so if your subbing with meat aim for that)

-1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes

-3/4 cup veggie broth (or chicken if thats your thing)

-1 large sweet potato, cubed ~1/2 in thick

-1/2 sweet onion, chopped

-3 garlic cloves, crushed

-1.5 tsp tumeric

-2 tsp dried oregano
heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat, then add in soyrizo, mashing it so it becomes small crumbled pieces. Let that cook until it starts to become fragrant, about 2 minutes, then movie it aside and make room to saute the onion. When the onion becomes translucent, mix it in with the soyrizo, and push that aside to cook the sweet potato. I would give the sweet potato about 4-5 minutes to cook, but I never got to this step so that’s just my guess. Occasionally stir the soyrizo and onion so that it doesn’t become stuck to the bottom of the pot. When the sweet potato cubes have cooked add tumeric & crushed garlic and stir with everything else in the pot. Then add the oregano, tomatoes, beans, and broth. Stir the pot and heat to a low simmer. Let the chili cook covered for 30 minutes (stir occasionally). Taste it and adjust the spices however you need after this time. Simmer for a little bit longer if you added spices, but if you didn’t it should be ready to eat! Enjoy with a side of cornbread (because chili + cornbread = 💕)  

Cornbread recipe:

3/4 cup cornmeal

1 1/2 cups almond milk

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 egg

1/2 tbs baking soda

1/3 cup cane sugar

1/2 tsp pink sea salt

1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the milk and cornmeal and let it sit for five minutes. Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. After 5, combine the cornmeal mixture, with your dry ingredient mixture. Add the egg and olive oil. Combine. Pour this into a greased loaf pan or muffin pan or souffle dishes if you’re like me and that’s all you got. Bake for 30-35 minutes. 

Healthier Late Night Bite

This has been my favorite desert lately when I’m craving something sweet but dont want to indulge on junk food. This is simply just greek yogurt mixed with a spoonful of Vega Vanilla protein powder and some homemade cinnamon spice granola on top. The protein powder thickens up the greek yogurt, and depending on how much you add, can even turn this into a cookie dough texture! I really reccomend Vega protein powder because the taste is really sweet and vanilla-y but isnt made with a bunch of sugar. I would think this woukd work just as well with any other protein powder too (or flavor)!  

This tasted like vanilla-cinnamon cookie dough, and the granola gave it a yummy crunch! 

 

Just more pumpkin 

  
Homemade pumpkin spice granola — amazing 

Melted 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1tpsp vanilla extract, & 1/2 cup pumpkin purée 

In a bowl I threw together oats, 3 tbsp coconut sugar, cinnamon, almonds, raisins, pistachios, quinoa, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cashews, pumpkin seeds cinnamon, nutmeg, and cacao nibs. Literally everything I had in my pantry I added into a bowl (I wish I had measurements but it was incredibly random) 

Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and mix. 

Flatten out on a baking sheet and bake until crispy (approx 35 minutes). The chunkier it is on the try the chunkier it will come out 

Sprinkle some more coconut sugar and cinnamon on top 

Amazing on toast, oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothie bowls. The pumpkin isn’t too over powering either 🙂 

Vegan Enchilada Bake with Tempeh

In preparation for a busy week of lacrosse and school, I made this enchilada bake earlier this week. I loosely followed a recipe from online, but made my own adaptations and it was a total success (especially as leftovers!). Tempeh is a really good source of vegan/vegetarian protein that can be substituted in for meat in plenty of recipes.

Ingredients:

-1 package of 3 grain Tempeh (from Trader Joes), crumbled or finely chopped

-2 cups chopped kale leaves

-1 can of black beans

-2/3 cup of corn kernels, (I defrosted frozen ones)

-1/2 small sweet onion, diced

-1 red bell pepper, chopped

-salsa (I used Trader Joes authentica), probably 1/2 cup

– 1/3 cup of cashews, soaked in water for 30 minutes

-1/4 tsp each of garlic powder and chili powder

-enchilada sauce (I used Trader Joe’s brand here too)

STEPS:

combine chopped kale, onion, tempeh, corn and the beans in a bowl. Then mix (i used my nutribullet to do this) chopped red bell pepper, salsa, spices, and cashews (minus the soaking water) to form a sauce. Taste the sauce to make sure it has the right ratio of salsa and spices, then mix it in to the bowl of veggies, beans and tempeh. Once thats all combined, you can put it in a baking dish (pictured below, on the left). Then spread your enchilada sauce over the top of everything. (Right)

IMG_8234IMG_8232Bake this at 350º for about 20 minutes.

Enjoy !

TIP: this also tasted really good as a dip with tortilla chips

🙂