high school just got simpler

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Vacation Of Simple Foods

I spent this past week in South Carolina, vacationing in Myrtle Beach and visiting a relative further down the coast. This picture was the view from my hotel room. Such an awesome beach to wake up to! What made this vacation different from others I've been on is that I had had access to a kitchen everyday. I had the majority of my meals in my hotel room. With the exception of eating at the beach, or dinner out with my family.

For the past few months, I've been training myself to not eat fried foods and to lean off of soda. It's been hard, especially since there is a lot of restaurants where I live. You know my opinion of fast food if you read my previous post. During my vacation, we did eat out a few times (not entirely my choice). If given the option to eat fried or grilled, I chose grilled. Only once this week did I eat fried food, and that was by accident. I ordered a flounder and shrimp dinner, but it didn't say on the menu it was fried. I ended up with a huge plate of fried seafood. My whole dinner was fried.

What I ate from restaurants:

  • Turkey burger
  • Scallops (grilled)
  • Shrimp (grilled)
  • Salads
  • A wrap
  • The ONE fried dinner of shrimp and flounder... Yuck...
  • Sushi
  • A pesto pizza shared with my father
  • Homemade sandwiches
  • Mangoes
  • Bananas
  • Yogurt
During my week on vacation, I managed to only drink soda twice. Once when my family was having dinner while visiting my uncle, and once on the drive home. 

After seeing how easy it is to eat healthy even when traveling, I realized how much easier it would be in everyday life! I know I usually eat fairly healthy, but I've felt so good this past week I plan on continuing this habit. I noticed how terrible I felt when I had that fried shrimp, or soda; not just because I broke my habit, but I physically felt awful. My body almost rejected the fried food, and I had do seriously gulp the soda down. 

Added to my now list of goals: to have a whole food diet. According to Wikipedia, a whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. Whole foods typically do not contain added ingredients, such as salt, carbohydrates, or fat. I'm not "dieting" so to speak (I'm terribly skinny as it is), I just want to limit what I eat to non-processed (ideally organic, but that can be hard to do 100% of the time), and healthy foods all the time. Since I eat with my family, I don't think it's possible to always buy organic, or no-preservative food all the time. My family isn't taking on this habit, I am. 

I hope to be accustomed to a whole food diet by college, but we will see how that goes.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fast Food Is Too Complicated

Yesterday, someone bought me lunch from Taco Bell. It was very thoughtful of them. But when they asked me what I wanted, I had no idea. I rarely eat fast food at all, and I've never even ordered from Taco Bell. I didn't know the menu. So they got me a burrito and a taco. I was pleased. So nice of them to buy me lunch.

I started to think. I don't know fast food menus off the top of my head. It makes sense, since I don't eat fast food a lot. How do people do it? If you eat from restaurants or fast food daily, how to you decide on what to eat? How can you afford paying for it everyday? Where's the common sense? Americans are at a point where they think it is easier to go somewhere, order food, wait for it, pay for it when you get it, and drive back; then to just pay for a week's worth of food at once. I don't want it to seem like I am bashing on the food industry, so bear with me.

Why I don't like fast food:
  • It's unhealthy. I know eating fast food makes me feel bloated and sluggish. I can only imagine what eating it regularly could do to your body.
  • It's rushed. You're rushing one of the most enjoyable parts of your day. Eating a meal should be spent conversing with friends, enjoying the food, and savoring the simple pleasure of eating.
  • It's expensive. If you spend $50-75 (that can be a larger/smaller number. I'm just estimating.) at a grocery store for a week, that's roughly 3 meals a day. But if you spend about $5-6 per meal for fast food, that's over $100 a week. So shopping for food is cheaper in the long run.
  • It's complicated. Instead of buying food at a grocery and planning out basic meals, you'd have to order a burger, get toppings, a side, a drink, sizes for all those things, and the classic: "Do you want fries with that?"
People will always have questions like, "Mike, what if I'm in a hurry?" or "What about school?"

Being in a hurry is one thing, I can understand that. Fast food might be a reasonable choice then. I suggest taking more time in your day to eat at home. If you must eat out, then go for it. But by all means, make a smart decision. Get a chicken sandwich, or a salad. Not only are they healthier than burgers, but sometimes even cheaper. Don't form a habit of eating out.

In high school, I know I struggled to eat simply. Most days I caved and got the main dish, fries, and drink. I thought it was simpler to go with the flow of eating what was provided than to think about my meal beforehand. 

In college, it can be different. You'll have much more selection and freedom. Go for wraps, salads, and sandwiches rather than burgers, pizza, and junk food. Most colleges have dorms with kitchens. Make use of it. Make your meals at your dorm instead of eating out. 

To sum up my rant, eating at home and buying from a grocery store is simpler, easier, and inexpensive compared to eating out. You'll be much happier and your body will thank you. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

100 Thing Challenge

College is fast approaching, and a lot of people are talking about what they're taking to college. I hear mostly the same things: bedding, clothes, computer, furniture, and TV. I also hear about is the vast amount of things people will bring. It seems that my friends plan on bringing everything they own. But I have a different idea.

I plan on bringing only 100 personal items to college.

I read about this concept in a book by Dave Bruno, The 100 Thing Challenge. It's a fantastic book. The goal of this is to reduce the amount of clutter you have, and to see what you actually use and love. (Edit- I'd like to give a big thank you to Dave Bruno personally for reading my blog and retweeting this to all his followers. He has done me a huge favor by doing so.)

What isn't included:
  • Books
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Things that aren't personally yours, like dishes, an air conditioning unit, fridge, or TV.
  • Tools
  • Collections count as one item
I am excited to give this a try. Since I'm going to college soon, I'll be able to use this to guide what I take to college. That way I will truly see how well I can live with only 100 things. Then I will limit my entire life, and not just what I bring to college.

What is included:
  • Personal items
It's up to you to decide what's personal and what isn't. Usually you'd include shirts, pants, and clothing all as individual items. There is no judge, no competition, and no wrong answer to this. 

How to start:
  • Inventory: Write down everything you choose. That way you can see how close to 100 you are.
  • Make a must keep pile. This is for things like a phone, keys, your Olympic Gold Medal, and clothing. Mark those separately, so you know not to forget them in the list.
  • Mark all the maybe items. If you get over 100, remove items from this list first. These are items you are borderlined about. Maybe it's that home run derby ball, or the shirt you got for Christmas.
  • Get rid of the rest. It's all right if this last step takes longer than the others. If you really think you might need these other items then put them in a box. Put that box in storage, and if you need to use it, you can.
  • If 100 is too easy, try a lower number. How about 95? If you're really daring, try 75, or  50.
My list so far:
  1. Laptop
  2. Phone
  3. Camera
  4. Climbing shoes
  5. harness
  6. chalk bag
  7. Bible
  8. printer
  9. bedding
  10. backpack
  11. sunglasses
  12. Sanuks
  13. running shoes
  14. running shoes
  15. hiking shoes
  16. flip flops
  17. black dress shoes
  18. brown/black reversible belt
  19. cloth casual belt
  20. gyro forearm exerciser
  21. door frame pull up bar
  22. yoga mat
  23. coffee maker
I still have to go through my clothing. That will be the hardest part.

I might choose to list the coffee maker and printer as non-personal since my roommate might use them as well. I chose to list my laptop as one item, but I'm including it in the collection with its charger, mouse, mouse pad, and webcam. Same with my phone. It and its charger are one item.

Things I'm not counting (so far):
  • Furniture
  • school supplies
Once I know my full list, it will be posted.

Try the 100 thing challenge. Remember, you're the boss of this. You decide what counts and what doesn't. Write to me in the comments section on your progress, or message me in the contact section in the sidebar.