Aaaand we’re back.

In Uncategorized on 03/22/2010 by evinthecity

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Honestly, I don’t have any excuses except that I’ve been enjoying senior year while it lasts before venturing out into the real world (i.e leaving the city, living at home and working full time). My spring break was this past week, and it absolutely did not go as planned, but it was nice to be home and relax before I start commuting back to CT two days a week to work and then back to the city for classes.

I was supposed to go to Greece with my school, Steinhardt, to do a climate change project over my break, but our flight was cancelled on the Sunday we aimed to leave due to bad weather. All the international flights turned out to be cancelled and the earliest time that Delta could fly my group of 40 out was Tuesday with a layover in Amsterdam, meaning we’d get there on Tuesday night and our first full day would be Wednesday. I was in the international terminal and as each flight was successively cancelled, people started freaking out. The smart ones rushed down to the baggage claim to be the first in line to grab their bags and head home for the night while waiting to rebook their flight. We, on the other hand, had to wait for the professors to try negotiating with our travel agent to get a flight for 40 students rebooked within 24 hours – and we were not so lucky.

On top of this, Delta lost my bag. So the gist of the situation was as follows:

-Drive BACK to CT after spending money to get there and come back to JFK two days later (WITHOUT LUGGAGE) to do it all over again.

-Have an extra long travel time with a layover in Amsterdam.

-Cram in 8 days worth of research (already a tight schedule) into 5.

-Hope my luggage turns up while living off the clothes on my back.

-Fly to the city on Sunday night and cram in a hefty paper about the 5 day experience over the next week

This predicament made something in me, like, shut off.

In the past, I would grin and bear it in situations like this. I’m a textbook perfectionist – if I don’t make a good impression on my professors and peers and deliver A+ work with an A+ attitude, I feel like I’ve failed. Throughout college, I’ve purposely taken the hardest classes and really worked at my studies; I’ve interned since Sophomore year and haven’t allowed myself to be a normal college student because I felt like it was “wasteful.” Choosing not to go to Greece was the most difficult decision I’ve made yet at NYU – but I didn’t just do it to evade the chaos that my last spring break at NYU would become. I also did it out of a subconscious desire to just BE for a week – no agendas, no work schedules, no papers to write about the experience. My summer and winter breaks have always been consumed by internships; my spring break has usually been taken over by paper writing or traveling. It’s not that I wanted to go and get schwasty on a beach somewhere, but for once in my young adult life I feel the urge to do absolutely nothing before I rush from graduation to working. Of course, I spent time on the phone with the professors to make sure that my GPA wouldn’t be affected by choosing not to travel, and although I feel guilty and a little bit ashamed for not going, I believe to my core that it was the right decision.

This craving for relaxation is a huge deal for me. The biggest indication was when, 1 month ago, I just stopped running. Now, this is coming from a girl who’s logged at least 30 miles a week since high school. When I got back to school from President’s Weekend at home, I started to suit up for a long run in the cold. As I went to grab my headband and my iPod, I caught a look at myself in the mirror.

I looked…tired and tight. Tight is the best word I can use to describe my general disposition and expression. I had to go running because I eat this much (too much) and need a forum for sorting out my thoughts (too many) and finding my zen without accumulating a beer gut (homegirl likes her drinks!). My mind has been on this single track for years, especially since college started, and I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. I realized then and there that the activity I used to love had become a chore; my legs didn’t crave 30 miles a week like they used to. Contrarily, they felt tired and creaky. I felt like this knot in my general psyche loosened, and I took off my sneakers, threw on some spandex, grabbed my yoga mat and set off for Yoga To The People.

…And I haven’t looked back.

I’ll go for one run on the weekends now just to offset the beer and sort out my thoughts from the week, but yoga has been SO therapeutic for me. It satisfies me in the same way that running used to, and it’s a challenge! I didn’t realize how parts of your body can be so out of shape while others can be completely fit. Yoga, at least for me, is the tangible evidence that I need to slow down for now and find new ways to feed my body and soul. I generally feel lighter, calmer and more at peace than I have in years.

It’s also changed my eats.

My favorite breakfast: 1/2 c oatmeal cooked with a d’anjou pear and refrigerated overnight, topped with vanilla, sugar, chunky peanut butter and cinnamon the next day and eaten cold.

Changes made: 2% greek yogurt instead of fat free. It’s a lot more delicious; you don’t need to use a ton.

Ina Garten’s French Apple Tart. This is positively wonderful and simple alongside vanilla ice cream.

Changes made: absolutely nothing. Sugary, buttery goodness is just as good for you as broccoli in moderation.

A typical dinner: a quick saute of a carrot, a parsnip, half a red pepper, canned diced tomatoes, sweet balsamic vinegar, chopped onion, garlic, cremini mushrooms, red pepper flakes and herbes de provence. Topped with pecorino romano cheese.

Changes made: a liberal drizzle of good olive oil over the top right before serving. I prefer when possible to use extra virgin olive oil as a finishing ingredient rather than one for cooking; it’s the only way to reap the benefits of all the good properties in it.

Whole roasted mackerel stuffed with thyme, lemon and garlic slices and parsley. Served alongside sauteed spinach with shallots and cremini mushrooms.

I love roasting whole fish – it’s a lot easier than one would think, and it’s a fun way to eat. You really know where your meal comes from when it’s prepared like this, and nothing is wasted (lots of fish parts are wasted at the supermarket because fillets are usually the most highly demanded item at the fish counter).

All you need is a whole fish that’s big enough to feed one person (usually 3/4 lb – 1 lb is ideal). Have the fishmonger gut and clean it for you. When you get home, give the fish another quick rinse and pat it dry inside and out. All you need is a foil lined baking sheet and a rack that fits into it – arrange them like so.

Stuff it with anything you desire – limes, chiles and cilantro? Go crazy! I chose the ingredients mentioned above: a few sprigs of fresh thyme, garlic and lemon slices and fresh italian parsley. Make sure that you SEASON the inside of the fish too, because it’ll make everything taste better!

Drizzle it in olive oil and roast at 400 degrees. My rule of thumb is 10 minutes for every inch of thickness; a 3/4 lb whole fish usually takes between 12 and 15 minutes. When you take it out, let it sit for up to five minutes. It just tastes better when you do.

Simple food like this embodies the state of mind I’ve been in. Pure ingredients, uncomplicated preparation, but really satisfying flavors. Like many of the bloggers whose blogs I read (Heather and Gracie especially), I’ve also been trying to incorporate more fat into my diet for several reasons (I’ll get to discussing them soon), and I’ve already seen amazing results. The key for health, fitness and general wellness is moderation in everything, and it’s something that I’ve known for a while, but for the first time I’m actually teaching myself to do, rather than safely settling into the austere.

What a post!! And there’s more to come.

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