Thankful for my eating disorder

This post comes a bit late, but I had to make sure I had enough time to process and think about this topic.

For those who don’t know, I suffered under an eating disorder in middle school all the way leading up to the beginning of high school. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% recovered at this point, but I feel that I have recovered to a point where I am comfortable enough in sharing.

This Thanksgiving, as per usual, I had a lot of things to be thankful about. Thankful for my family and friends, especially those who have stayed constantly supportive of me through thick and thin. Thankful of the amazing education I’ve received. Thankful of a warm home. Thankful of being surrounded by (more than) enough clothes and great nourishing foods.

But something that was new when I counted my blessings this Thanksgiving was my eating disorder.

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Yes, my eating disorder consumed my life. I was constantly thinking of food food food, of the calories, of my weight. My eating disorder made me miserable. I hated going out to eat with my friends because that meant another battle time where I had to avoid the tempting foods. I hated when my mom made a carb-rich meal for dinner. For a girl who since as a baby had a huge appetite, my eating disorder made me hate all these things. I hated these things and instead loved sleeping with my stomach empty, loved seeing my weight go down one by one, loved almost in a sense depriving myself.

So how on earth could I be thankful for my disordered eating?

While I am not thankful of all the deprivations and restrictions I place upon my mind and body, I am thankful for the new perspective. I am thankful for being able to experience and to ultimately understand and sympathize with not only those who underwent/currently going through an eating disorder but also anybody has an unhappy relationship with food or their body.

Growing up, I was that girl everybody envied. I would eat so much (I would literally eat two servings of rice for every meal…) yet all that food would never go into gaining a pound but into gaining an inch. I never understood the deal about gaining weight, never understood why people couldn’t just enjoy stuffing their faces with amazing food.  Anorexia and bulimia which I learned from health class were as distant to me as Christopher Columbus and the Mayflower.

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This is 10 year old Stephanie. As I was tall, I had to wear big sizes but then that meant all my clothes were loose

However, through my eating disorder I understand how stressful and how consuming these things can be. I understand that weight and food can ruin some people’s lives and can cause them to be miserable. Through my eating disorder I have been able to gain a more nuanced perspective on an otherwise heavily stigmatized topic.

In fact, my eating disorder was what propelled me to start this blog with Serena. I discovered how nutritious and nourishing food can be through my recovery. I wanted to share as much as I could about how amazing food was, especially when I came from a period where food made me anxious and fearful.

I want to thank those who have been there to help me in my recovery. This counts my mom, my dad, a handful of friends back home and at school, my prefect at school, Mack from mackmarie, and God. When I felt so insecure about myself and my worth, these people trusted in me, they loved me unconditionally, and gave me so much support and steadfast guidance.

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I have so much love and respect to this girl. My pillar of strength and support and who unfailingly makes me laugh daily

So long story short, yes, I am thankful for my eating disorder and I wouldn’t want to change it in anyway.

If you’re still reading, thank you so much! You’re the best!

Was there anything special/new that you were thankful for this Thanksgiving?

xoxo,

Stephanie

5 Apps You Should Download

Whether you want to admit it or not, we live in world where technology is very much part of our lives.

My mantra with technology is that you are in complete control of it. You have the power to turn on and turn off your phone. You have the power to put your phone hidden away from sight while working. You have the power to spend 10,000+ hours on Instagram and Facebook. On that same note, you have the power to make your phone as a tool rather than as a distraction.

Currently, (as you can probably tell from the sporadic posts over here on Avolicious) I’ve running around like a mad woman. However, some of these iPhone apps keep me sane and healthy when I frankly don’t have time to care about health or sanity when my to-do list is a million miles long.

Here are my top five apps that I can’t get enough of and some that I think are essential

 

1. iNotes//

I use this app so much and I truly appreciate all the improvements Apple has made to the iNote app for every single iOS launch. I use iNotes for my to-do list/schedule as well as my food journal.

As a Type-A person and someone who has to do a lot of things, be at a lot of places, and remember a gazillion more things, I rely on an hour-by-hour schedule to keep me on track. I usually create this schedule right before I go to bed in preparation for the next day. I can definitely do a separate post about how I create my schedule because there is nothing worse than knowing that you’ve ruined your schedule by getting behind.

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I’ve also shifted away from MyFitnessPal toward using a food journal. One of my main reasons from deleting MyFitnessPal was that the app objectives food. Whether it’s an avocado or a bag of chips, they are both 200 calories. MyFitnessPal also doesn’t account for your feelings – whether you’ve been happy all day surrounded with loving family and friends or that you’ve been discouraged by a series of bad grades or meetings. With the food journal on the other hand, food has become much more personal. Let me know in the comments if you like to see a separate post on this! I could spend days talking about the importance of having an holistic approach to food rather than a caloric one.

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*I meant “You are EATING way too much” at the very bottom*

 

2. Prescription Check by Warby Parker// 

This summer was quite a whirlwind for me in terms of eye sight. My left and right eyes are completely opposites in the sense that my left eye has horrible prescription while my right eye has near perfect vision. I kind of lived with these eyes with the occasional head aches here and there, but I managed to survive.  However, this summer, I got severe migraines, almost three every day.

Upon going to the eye doctor, I realized that my reading glass dosage was way off and that I should get contacts. After learning this summer that taking care of my eyes is super important, I was so excited when I found out Warby Parker’s new app allows an eye doctor to assess your vision and provide an updated glasses prescription.

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It’s literally like you’re talking to an eye doctor! The replies come back very quickly!

Check out this link to see an intro video for the app: https://www.warbyparker.com/prescription-check-app

 

3. Flo/

This is by far one of the best period tracking apps on the app store. When I first started my period, I had really irregular cycles so I needed an app that both logged dates but logged other factors like mood swings, increase in appetite, the hours of sleep I’ve been getting, any headaches and acne appearances. I love how the app looks at your period as a holistic process rather than simply the number of days you have your period.

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4. Minimalist// 

This is great productivity app. It follows the Pomodoro Method (25 min work and 5 min work cycle) and motivates you to stop reaching for your phone.

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Whenever you reach for your phone while in your work session, it vibrates and pauses the timer until you set your phone down again. I recommended this app to Serena during our exam week last spring and she is hooked on it as well!

5. Apple Health App// 

I’ve been using this health app since it first came out. I can never justify myself in buying a FitBit or wearable tracker so I resort to my phone instead. Besides, I have my phone with me pretty much 24/7, so the data on the health app is a pretty accurate representation.

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What are some of your favorite apps?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Small Change, Big Gain

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my Tried & True Wellness Tips over on the blog. The central idea of that post was that while these tips are not life-changing, consistent practice and application of them will produce great results.

To be honest, this has been my mantra ever since I naively lost 40 lbs. in the course of two months and then gained it back again. I realized the importance of sustainable healthy practices, not extreme ones. Here is one of favorite posts that talk about this small change, big gain theme: How small steps (literally) can change your life

So you can imagine my excitement when Elysium Health included my advice in a graphic they created with this same theme! I’ve been perusing their website recently and I love reading their research and mission. They’ve also released an NAD+ supplement called Basis—it’s some really interesting stuff.

I loved the graphic so much that I decided to share it on the blog!

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Aren’t these great tips?

Hope you can use these small tips to create a big gain in your week!

What small change are you going to implement this week?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Thank you for Elysium Health for creating this awesome graphic.

Summer Workout Favorites-dogs included!

Summer is the time for working out (and of course cooking)! Even though summer is very unfortunately coming to a close in a few weeks, I thought I would share with everyone my favorite ways to exercise this season. (pilates, yoga, running)

1.) Pilates, specifically Blogilates

My recent obsession has been working out in my room. I roll out my yoga mat, open the windows to let the sunshine flow in, and do pilates to Cassey Ho’s Blogilates videos. They’re so challenging, but Cassey’s positive and bubbly attitude keeps me motivated. Also, I’ve definitely seen results-I’ve been working out to one video in particular. Two months ago, I was only able to get through half of the video, but now, completing the entire exercise sequence is becoming easier and easier!

2.) Yoga

Usually, I end up doing one yoga video as a warm up, and then a Blogilates video. Here’s an amazing link to a list of great (free) yoga videos on Youtube! Alternatively, I take an hour yoga class at the gym, because the group setting can by really enjoyable. I’ve also recently discovered an awesome form of yoga called doga (dogs+yoga). Essentially, you and your dog practice various yoga poses together, and it’s a wonderful way for you and your canine companion to bond and stretch out! Even though I don’t have a dog, I definitely want to try this, it seems so fun!

3.) Running

Last summer, I ran every morning for a couple weeks, and in the end, I was constantly sore and developed a minor injury. So, this summer, I’ve definitely been listening to my body and running when I want to (and not just to follow a daily ritual). I definitely enjoy running with company, but since many of my friends don’t like running, I’ve tried Facetiming them while running. Needless to say, my attempt at Facetiming failed because I could hardly talk while running without having to stop to catch my breath. However, taking dogs out to run with you is a great way to both get exercise and motivate yourself to go on a run. Plus, your dog won’t expect you to talk back to him/her, your dog is just the perfect companion for a run.

Here’s an infographic from Puppyspot on exercising with your dog:

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So, next time you workout, try it with your dog! It definitely makes working out fun and rewarding.

What are your summer workout favorites?

Love,

Serena

How to Drink More Water!

From a young age, I always struggled to drink the recommended amount of water. I’m not sure if this is just me, but for some reason, I drink liquids very slowly-I physically cannot chug anything-small sips for some are like big gulps to me. So, I always viewed drinking water as a chore and never found any motivation to hydrate. But, my breakthrough moment was when I went backpacking last summer. Everyday, I carried two 32 oz. Nalgene bottles full of water, and ended up drinking all of it! Even though this could have been due to my thirst after so much physical exertion, it felt like I wasn’t drinking a significant amount of water, just two bottles a day. So, this leads me to my number one tip to hydrating actively….

1.) Use a 32 oz. reusable water bottle. My 32 oz. Nalgene bottle is very special to me-wherever I go, my Nalgene travels with me! The size of the bottle tricks me into drinking more water than I feel like I am consuming, but drinking the full bottle is equivalent to drinking two plastic bottles of water (what I used to drink from). As an added bonus, reusable bottles last forever (the one I use was actually my parents’ from when they were in college!), so you’ll save money and the Earth’s precious resources 😀

2.) Bring your bottle everywhere. As I said before, my bottle travels with me at all times. It’s presence reminds me to be constantly sipping. There have been multiple times where I have been in awkward social situations, and drinking water helped me look preoccupied and skip over any awkward silences.

3.) Use a bottle that is aesthetically pleasing. Having a good-looking bottle makes it appealing to look at, drink from, and carry around. I decorated my Nalgene completely with stickers of things that mean a lot to me- national parks, my high school, farmers markets, healthy food, my religion…but I also know plenty of people who go for a plain bottle. Stephanie is obsessed with her Hydroflask-it would definitely be worth purchasing if you enjoy ice cold or hot beverages.

So, those are the three tips I swear by to motivate me to drink more water. Let me know what you do to drink more water!

Love,

Serena

Cooking is my therapy

To me, summer means the time for cooking, the time to explore all of my culinary ambitions that have accumulated throughout the school year.

So, everyday, I cook dinner for my family, and there are always a couple of essentials (ingredients, kitchen tools, etc.) and things I keep in mind.

When I first step into the kitchen, I always venture into the fridge to figure out what it is that I want to cook. My dinners typically consist of some kind of soup, starch (usually rice), and two main/side dishes: veggies and protein or sometimes more veggies. So, I’ll make the rice first in a rice cooker (takes about an hour) so that the rice will be finished when I’m finished cooking.

Then, with the veggies and/or protein that I’ve selected for the meal, I search for recipes. My go-to resources have been The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen, New York Times Cooking, and Food and Wine. If there’s a recipe that I love, I’ll remember it and make slight modifications to ingredients if necessary. I love going to the farmer’s market and buying exotic vegetables so that I can try out recipes on my family!

My favorite recipes have been these caramelized broccoli “steaks” (so soft and delicious!), brocollini, veggie gratin (minus the cheese, I used nutritional yeast instead), and mashed potatoes with root vegetables.

I find that searching for new recipes every night actually helps me be more adventurous in the kitchen. Now, I’m less intimidated by baking vegetables instead of stir frying, broiling instead of baking, and using a variety of spices.

By the time I’m done with my main dishes, the rice is ready. I simply heat up the soup that my dad makes every weekend for the week, and dinner is done! Cooking every night is the most therapeutic part of the day for me, and I can’t wait to try more cooking techniques for the rest of the summer! I’m thinking of experimenting with more beans and grains.

What are YOU cooking??

Love,

Serena

 

How small steps (literally) can change your life

In this fast-paced world of instant access, it’s perfectly normal that we want change fast. Changes such as losing weight, eating healthier, and being more active. Things I talk about here in avolicious a lot.

We’ve all heard the phrase “Take a leap of faith.” Well actually don’t. I was to be honest tempted to title this post as “Don’t take that leap of faith”

Let me explain.

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Just like taking the stairs. One step at a time.

I took a huge leap of faith, a leap that looking back I realize was completely uneducated and made in blindness. That leap was in the faith that I would become skinner. I don’t what got into that eighth-grade self me. Looking through the pictures now, I was perfectly fine! But at that moment, I felt large. I felt big. I felt like I was that “fat friend” amidst my friend group. Nobody pressured me or treated me differently to lose weight. In fact, it was completely my decision.

I can’t completely say that I regret this decision, as this leap let me become so passionate about proper nutrition and fervent on redefining what “healthy” means to me (which you can read here).  However, if I was given the choice and go back in time, I would choose not to go through this arduous journey.

This leap of faith made me restrict myself to consuming a mere 1,200 calories and running an average of 3 miles daily in the scorching sun. Roughly calculating it, I probably lived off of 500-800 calories. In a matter of 3 months, I lost 20 pounds. But most importantly and significantly, I lost my self-esteem and self-confidence which still affects me today.

Yes, that big leap of faith allowed me to get quick results FAST. I was so proud and pleased with my appearance. I was able to fit into those skinny jeans, no problem. I had a thigh gap. I had a flat stomach. I finally looked like those girls on Instagram.

But I was completely miserable. My day was dictated merely on numbers – the number on the scale, the number of calories I ate that MyFitnessPal app told me, the number of miles I ran that day, the number on the size tag of my clothes. These numbers consumed my life and let me tell you, I felt so powerless. I was in such control of my eating, yet I felt so out of control in my life (it’s a hard feeling to describe but I’m sure a lot of those who’ve gone through ED or experiencing one right now can attest to this).

But fast-forward two years now, I am a much better relationship with food now. I don’t necessarily think that I am fully recovered. I still have a long way to go.

But I have made progress.

And through my experience, I can say that I’ve had successful progress when I took small steps.

Small and baby steps.

Give you an example? I’ve been straying away a bit from running these days. I used to love running the past, but these days I dread just thinking of the mileage and the prospect of running. Instead, I’ve been doing so much walking.

I’m a Type A gal so I love keeping track of things. I’ve been recently logging my steps into the Health app on my iPhone. I’ve been average 10,000+ steps daily!

I wake up at 6:30am when the weather is actually bearable and take a 30-40 minute power walk. This gets me to about 4,000 steps. Later in the evening, I take a 60-75 minute walk with my parents after dinner. This second walk allows me to get up to 10,000-12,000 steps.

And the best part? I get to enjoy being active. I sincerely do get excited about the prospect of walking in the morning and after dinner. While yes, walking necessarily may not burn as much calories, I am able to do it more consistently and with a glad heart.

And to be honest, all I’m going for is to develop a sustainable, maintainable, and happy lifestyle. Nothing too extreme – on both sides of the spectrum. Doing things that I enjoy, eating things that I enjoy, and most importantly, enjoying the body that I was born with.

So I challenge you: instead of making your goal to go to the gym for an hour everyday, or go cold turkey tomorrow, pick ONE change and stick with it.

Have you tried taking baby steps?

xoxo,

Stephanie

My Top Five Tips on Keeping your Skin Healthy

I don’t want to come off as bragging, but I have to admit that I have been blessed with great skin. Serena always asks me about my skincare routine, but to be honest, it’s too simple that I don’t think it will help.

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My entire skincare products! A mere five, it’s very simple and low maintenance.

Both my parents never had major acne breakouts – when I look back at their old high school/college photos, their faces look clear (or maybe it looks clear because the photos are not as good quality as today’s haha).

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My skin despite the dry and not-so-great quality air in airplanes. Read below for my tips on how to keep clear and glowing skin!

However, my mom continually reminds me to not take my clear and healthy skin for granted. She told me that if there is one regret she has with her skin, it’s that she took her healthy and clear teenage skin for granted and now the slacking is showing up. I definitely know what she’s talking about – nowadays, my skin occasionally breaks out and doesn’t have that glow as it used to.

Here are some of my basic (yet always important to hear again) tips for skin care!

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I’ve been drinking so much water that all my reusable bottles are in the dishwasher! So a plastic bottle would have to do for today.

ONE// Drink water – and lots of it.

If you search “water” in the search bar of Avolicious, you’ll find so many photos where both Serena and I talk about the importance of drinking water. Drinking water has so many benefits and is such a quick and easy way to instantly feel and look better!

Our skin is an organ too! A large one in fact. So we need to supply our skin with water so that our skin cells can function properly and at its best.

Unfortunately, water reaches our other organs first before it reaches our skin, so that’s why you have to drink so much water! So go drink up!

TIP: keep multiple reusable bottles (my favorites are Hydroflasks!) in the fridge and take one out to bring around the house or when you go outside. Continually be sipping. It’s going to be hard the first few weeks where you’ll be running to the loo constantly, but once your body adjusts, you’ll be going to the bathroom less!

 

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I use these two as my lotion. I first apply the rose-petal toner and then as it dries out, I apply the Korean lotion. Secret: the Korean lotion is actually a baby lotion; my mom and I have been using baby lotion for around three years now!

TWO// Over-moisturize

This is one of my other biggest tips. I tend to over-moisturize (if that even is a word) my face. I make sure my skin is really moist and dewy. This ensures that my skin is both moist and hydrated from the inside (from drinking water) and the outside!

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My FAVORITE face cleanser for a strong 4-5 years now. It literally thoroughly cleans your face haha! I usually get this cleanser from either Whole Foods or order it on Amazon Prime if its urgent.

THREE// Wash your face regularly

For the 16 years I’ve been living, I have always, always, without a single day missing, washed my face right after wake up. It’s a habit that my mom has drilled into me since I was young. Before I go downstairs to eat breakfast, I always wash my face. While yes, you’ve only been sleeping, those 8 hours (or less or more), the oils, impurities and other things that are on your pillow and bed have appeared on your face. You want to wash them away!!! I usually wash my face right after I wake up and right before I go to sleep. If I wash my face in the middle of the day, it’s because I came right after a workout.

Make sure to wash your face especially if you’ve been sweating a lot. Your sweat can clog up your pores and not allow your skin to breathe enough and get the air it needs.

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I apply the sunscreen on the left when I know I’m going to be outside for a long time. The one on the right is a mix of a lotion and sunscreen. I use the Aveeno either in the winter or when I’m going to be outside for very little (such as being in the car).

FOUR// Apply sunscreen

I know, I know. This is one of my least parts also. But it’s so important. Make sure to apply sunscreen both in the summer and winter. To be frank, I would rather be tan, but my mom is constantly reminding me that I’ll thank her later when I don’t have wrinkles (or even worse skin cancer) from not applying enough sunscreen.

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FIVE// Nourish

You become what you eat is so true when it comes to skin. You probably know that when you eat very oily or fatty foods, your skin is bound to break out. After a bowl of instant ramen, our faces get bloated. Our skins are a clear indicator of the quality of our diets. Make sure to get lots of nutrients – veggies, fruits, healthy fats, and whole grains. Of course, you can indulge yourself, but in order to have that radiant skin (without the help of make up of course), you need to eat right.

Do you have any skin care tips that you would like to share?

xoxo

Stephanie

What are you hungry for? It might not be food

I have a lot of things that I’m not especially proud about. However, there is particularly one big problem that I want to fix because it’s bad for both my physical and mental health.

This big problem is my stress-eating.

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Literally me…no joke 

Especially during the final season, my eating habits just crumble. I gravitate towards sweet, oily, savory foods that I know should only be eaten as indulgences, but soon become regulars. It’s a vicious cycle – I surrender to stress eat, then when I come back home for break, I get mad at myself for stress eating from all the weight I gained. And then I try to lose some of the weight while I’m back home, but because I get so easily stressed, I easily gain all that weight back.

However, I realized that when I was stress-eating, I was stress-eating because I was trying to cope with my stress. But I was trying to cope with my stress by eating – and eating too much and eating not well. Other people cope with stress and challenging emotions in different ways. Some through drinking, some through exercising (I wish right?), some through getting cranky and venting their anger at their friends, some through shopping (aka retail therapy). It just happens to me that I cope with stress through food.

It might be because I had so much control over food when I had my eating disorder. During those (miserable and dark) days, I religiously counted every morsel and calories. 1,200 calories to be exact. I exercised every day or else I felt guilty. And when I mean exercise, it was mostly running and cardio as I was worried I would “bulk up.” I had so much control over my food and my exercise.

But once I realized that I couldn’t live like this through a number of events and close family and friends, I suddenly lost all that control. I ate so much. I gained back the weight I lost and then some more. I continually kept on eating because I had restricted my body for so long.

So maybe it’s because of this history and background that when I undergo stress or unwelcome feelings, when I feel like I’ve lost control of my day and my life, I continue to lose control by eating.

But this is bad. And I’m not proud of it.

These days, as I’m studying for SATs (as that is the high school life haha), my mind often times wander and starts craving food. But I stop myself and think:

“Stephanie, what do you really want?”

“I want food.”

“Are you sure? But you’re not hungry…”

“I just want something else to do. Something else other than studying. I’m getting so bored just studying so I want to do something else. And that something else is food.”

That’s the key. It’s not that I want to eat because I’m hungry. I want to eat because currently, at the present, I don’t want to do the thing I’m doing. I want to go away from it. I want to take a little breather, a little break, go away from studying. But guess what? As soon as I’m done eating, studying is going to be still there.

Or sometimes, I want to eat because I’m tired. So when I really need to sleep and relax, I want to eat.

While I haven’t figured out the magical key to stop stress eating, I’ve realized that it’s so important to LISTEN to your body. It takes lots of practice. But when your mind wants to eat, wants to do _____, stop and ask yourself: what do you really want right now?

Your body is your temple. If you don’t listen and respect it, nobody else will.

So what are you hungry for? Comfort? A place to hide? Something enjoyable?

Well you can find this without having to eat food. You can find comfort by hugging a close family or friend and telling them your current mood and thoughts. Need a place to hide? I find that a lot of times when I’m in this situation, I like to listen to my favorite music and take an hour long nap. Just to take a break and a breather from life. Something enjoyable? Go watch some YouTube videos, go hang out with friends, go do what you actually enjoy!

What are you hungry for?

xoxo,

Stephanie

“Ita daki mas” – summer in Japan

I have always been skeptical of the old adage that travel is the best learning experience. However, after traveling to Japan for a two-week cultural immersion program, I have become a firm believer that travel is indeed the best learning experience.

Get ready for a photo overload, especially of food since I’m a foodie 🙂
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On the flight to Japan. Despite all the bad news of United recently, this 14 hour trip actually went pretty well. I had so many cups of green tea during the flight which I oh-so regretted later.

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My first breakfast in Japan – guys they have green tea granola. Let’s just say that I was obsessed.

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Visiting the aquarium – the jellyfish were so cool!

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The Big Buddha – little did I know when taking this trip that I would be in for a long hike in the nearby mountains.

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The hike was only half as bad as its length because aren’t these hydrangeas beautiful? These flowers were peppered all throughout the hike. Apparently, they are called the June flower in Japan.

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After a long and tiring hike, and an even tiring hour-long wait for the restaurant, we ate udon. Oh. my. goodness. The wait was definitely worth it because the udon was so good. There was also tempura and the chefs just made it right in front of you. Warm tempura is always the best.

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To cool ourselves off after the long hike, we got green tea and sweet potato ice cream. I know, the combination sounds weird, but guys, it was so good!

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Here is Takoyaki. It’s a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special moulded pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion. It was delicious, but very hot! I could have watched the chefs making takoyaki all day long, it was such carefully methodical process.

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Apparently this is a hit-or-miss not only with foreigners but with local Japanese. It’s something called natto. It is fermented soybeans that can be eaten by mixing it with rice. I actually enjoyed the taste which my host family was very impressed by as only a few Japanese people actually enjoy it! Of course, as a foodie, as long as it’s healthy and relatively tasty, I’m always good 🙂

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On one of the nights, my host, my host sister and their cousin met up and ate out for dinner at a Hawaiian restaurant. It was so much fun hanging out with them – so much laughing and fun while with these three. The pancakes for dessert were equally as good, although we all regretted eating them because we became so full afterwards.

It wasn’t the healthiest option, but these days, I’m all about balance and moderation and that being mentally healthy is as equally as important as being physically healthy.

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My host introduced these to me, but apparently, these chocolates help reduce how much fat and sugar you absorb. My host and I both being foodies, ate a few of these chocolates just for good measure!

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Japan was just beautiful. Here are a few non-food pictures that are so beautiful.

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One of my favorite dinners while in Japan.

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I’ve always heard that you never know the taste of matcha unless you try it yourself. So I tried to try matcha as many times as I could. It’s definitely not as sweet as the matcha we taste at Starbucks or in the States. It’s a much more bitter taste but somehow has some charm to it. I actually brought home a matcha kit so I could continue making it at home! Once I’ve mastered it a bit, I’ll write up a post for those interested!

Japan was in short, such an amazing trip. I can’t wait to go back there someday!

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After two weeks in Japan, I took a two hour flight to Korea and stayed there for a week. My parents were already in Korea at that time so I met up with them at Incheon airport. After a quick week of meeting up with old childhood friends and family, we left Korea and finally headed back to home sweet home!

 

P.S.: In nod to the title of the post, “ita taki mas” is what Japanese people say before they start their meal. It’s kind of like saying “Thank you for this meal, I will eat it gladly!” I loved saying this every time before I ate because literally every time I ate something, it looked and was super delicious!

P.S.: If my host and her family or any of her friends are reading this, thank you for letting me have such a memorable trip!