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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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….

Whole Foodie 

If you’re anything like us Whole Foods is basically heaven on Earth…but the problem is when you’re “ballin on a budget” it’s stupid expensive…

I recently discovered their app… it’s free…and extremely addicting

There are tons of really easy, fast, and straight forward recipes/meal inspirations & it shows you what’s on sale at your local store. 

It’s like a free cookbook…so why not?
 

No Meat D1 Athlete

Being a vegetarian and a competitive athlete can seem like an impossible task. We need plenty of protein to keep us fueled for workouts and meat is a typical source for that.

But if you’re like me and have cut that out of your life (or you’re considering it), there are plenty of alternative sources of protein that can keep you full, repair & rebuild tired muscles, and taste good too! I’m gonna give you a quick rundown of the best (& my favorite) sources of vegetarian protein and how to incorporate them into your meals.

  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pistachios and cashews are all high in protein and lower in bad fats. Favor these over others!

-trail mix, chopped up on salads, granola, oatmeal, nut butters

  • Seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds are all great sources of protein and really easy to add into all of your meals

-Sunflower and Pumpkin (because they’re larger): trail mix, salads, oatmeal, granola

-Chia, Hemp, and Flax (because they’re smaller): chia pudding, overnight oatmeal, yogurt and oatmeal toppings, granola, sprinkled on salads or mixed in with salad dressings, toast toppings, sandwich

  • Tofu/Tempeh: both are made from soybeans and are really good swaps for meat in any meat-including dishes

– Salads, sandwiches, sautéed with veggies (yum!), breakfast scrambles, burritos/tacos, pasta sauce, noodle salads, wrapped with veggies and hummus in a tortilla/kale leaf, stir-fried with rice and veggies

TIPS: If you’ve never bought tofu before, you should know you’ll want to cook it before you eat it! (its way to spongy to eat the way they sell it and it has no taste) Sautéing, baking, frying, or baking it in a sauce are yummy ways to prepare it. Tempeh taste good enough to eat without needing a sauce (has a slight nutty taste) but also can be improved by sautéing it with something if you don’t like it straight up. Also tofu and tempeh can be bought pre marinated at plenty of stores if you don’t have time to do it yourself

  • Lentils, Quinoa & Beans: All are yummy and are good for making a big batch one day and storing in the fridge to use throughout the week!

-sautéed with veggies, cold pasta salad, topping on salad, mashed chickpea salad, burrito/tacos, put on top of some brown rice and topped with roasted veggies, stir-fried or sautéed with veggies

  • Protein powder: I use plant-based protein powders

-Smoothies

  • Kale: kale is good source of protein and has TONS of nutritional benefits too (its called the king of greens for a reason)

– salads (duh), sautéed by itself or with other greens, sandwiches, burritos, as a replacement for tortillas in a wrap, smoothies

  • Greek Yogurt

-smoothies, layered with granola and fruit, in overnight oats

I try to incorporate these protein sources in every meal I eat with some carbs and vegetables (because balance is the goal, right?) Here’s some pictures of easy balanced protein-rich meals.

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Top Left: bowl of mexican spiced tempeh, beans, avocado, cilantro, tomatoes, jalapeños, italian dressing all on top of some greens

Top Right: bowl of mexican spiced tempeh, hemp seeds, veggies sautéed in some sesame oil on top of shredded kale

Bottom: greek yogurt topped with nutty granola, blueberries, and pluot slices

Prep is Key.

For as long as we can remember, Weezie’s dad (Uncle Richard to Evan & Ryan) has preached “prep.” Whether it’s days or hours before, he is always prepared to make his life easier when it comes time to cook.

What does this mean exactly? Well, who wants to spend an hour before they sit down to eat cleaning & cutting their chicken, soaking rice, or baking potatoes? Not us! So, we’ve come up with a few things that you can prep for the week. You can store it in either zip-loc bags or plastic containers. We suggest setting aside an hour every Saturday or Sunday. We promise it’s worth it!!

Grilled Chicken

We like to keep it simple here.

1. Clean the chicken breast by cutting off any excess fat (any white part)

2. Soak the breast in a bowl of water for about 5 minutes

3. Once it’s done soaking, rub both sides with olive oil. Season with any of your favorite spices

→Garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, rosemary, lemon juice

→Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, parsley, pepper

4. Grill on one side until the breast is white, and then flip #GrillMarks

Quinoa or Rice

Follow the directions on the bag or box. After it cooks completely, let it cool on the stove before you put it in the container.

Sweet Potatoes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wash 2-3 sweet potatoes with cold water. Prick with a fork 4-5 times along the length of potatoes.

Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour (depending on the size), or until they are soft to the touch.

Hard-Boiled Eggs 

*Great for salads or breakfast on the go!

Fill a pot with water & place eggs in the pot. Make sure that the eggs are covered with about 1 inch of water.

Bring the water (with eggs) to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat & let sit for 15 minutes.

Take out the eggs, run under cold water, & store in the fridge.

These are staples, but you can really prep anything you want. It makes eating well throughout the week so much easier!

#FuelSimply #FuelWell #CWE

Million Dollar Question: What’s for Dinner?

Remember the days when you would come home from school, eat a snack, play in your backyard, and then come in for a nice prepared dinner? And when you were a little bit older, you would text your parents immediately after practice and ask “What’s for dinner?” The #HangryAthlete is so real. Well, this scenario is all too familiar for us (still happens?).

Now, you’re at school, and you realize that you are out to fend for yourself in the *gasp* cafeteria or your apartment kitchen. OK, enough with the dramatics. But really, it can be a little shocking if you’ve never had to prepare dinner for yourself. If you’re a little lost, we’re here to help with a few basic guidelines to create a nutritious and healthy balanced meal.

Key Word= Balance. Make sure you have at least 1 item from each category, and we would say you’re good to go.

1. Protein: salmon, tilapia, chicken, turkey, meat sauce, steak

2. Carb: pasta, rice, potato, quinoa

3. Vegetable: brussels sprouts (favorite), broccoli, kale, asparagus, salad

*At home and no time to roast veggies? Throw together a quick spinach salad

4. Healthy fat: avocado, olive oil, cheese, nuts

Here are a few yummy combos we’ve put together that satisfy those #Hangry moments.

-Grilled salmon, short-grain brown rice, spinach, olive oil, pine nuts

-Chicken breast, broccoli, sweet potato, avocado

-Tilapia, quinoa, brussels sprouts, olive oil

-Pasta, chicken, pesto, tomatoes, side salad

More to come.

#Simple #Goodness #CWE

Crash Course: Poached Eggs

Have you ever looked at an Instagram of a poached egg and wondered HOW do you make that? K cool, us too. After 1/2 a million tries, we think we’ve found a simple & foolproof method:

  1. Crack egg into a small petri dish or measuring cup.
  2. Bring a small pot of water to a rapid boil.
  3. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to medium/low until it is bubbling only slightly.
  4. Use a spoon with holes & stir the water to make a whirlpool.
  5. While the water is still whirling, drop the egg into the pot.
  6. Let it cook for 3-5 minutes.

Simple eating, made easy. #CWE