Name: Eden Philippa
Who are you quarantining with during this time? My partner, Adam, and our son aka our dog, Cargo.
1-2 sentences to sum up your life right now: Monopoly Deal
What is one food you’ve been loving lately? Celery
What are 3 non-negotiable grocery items/pantry staples right now? 1.Rice
3. Kombucha – can’t get enough right now!
How and where are you finding inspiration to cook? Any favourite cookbooks/blogs?Inspiration comes and goes. I usually check in with friends to see what they are making and feel inspired by that, or by scrolling through instagram and seeing what the Bon Appetit peeps are cooking.
What is your favourite dish that you’ve made during quarantine? Crispy Tofu + Kimchi Fried Rice https://pinchofyum.com/kimchi-fried-rice
What is one cooking tip that you’ve learned recently? I made blueberry muffins this week and learned that coating berries in a little bit of flour helps them from sinking to the bottom.
What is your favourite restaurant for take-out, if you’ve been ordering? We ordered from Union last week and it was *chefs kiss*. They have a cheesy polenta dish that I’m in love with.
Any new hobbies/favourite books/favourite podcasts? I read Sally Rooney’s Normal People and then right after her other book Conversations with Friends – they were quick reads and I didn’t want either to end!
Can you offer one tip or activity that is keeping you safe/grounded/sane during this time? I’ve been taking a lot of baths and making sure I always have a book on the go. I’ve also been doing Peleton classes over video chat with friends and going on dog walks. Collectively, all these things have helped me feel well-balanced.
Name: Brad Sarak
Profession: Cardiology resident
Who are you quarantining with during this time? My girlfriend Sarah (disclaimer, it’s me) and our dog, Kenji
1-2 sentences to sum up your life right now: My schedule changes from day to day and week to week. Currently, I am at the hospital every other week and weekend while working from home in between. Overall, I am still apprehensive of what is to come, but sparks of hopefulness are making their way through.
What is one food you’ve been loving lately? Bok choy. I’ve been enjoying it steamed, grilled or simply stir fried with olive oil, salt and pepper. Very into hearty greens lately!
What are 3 non-negotiable grocery items/pantry staples right now?1. Cheese (and lots of it)
An honourable mention to beans and legumes, protein powder and nuts (mostly almonds and cashews). I have been eating less and less animal protein and still need to make that sure I am getting enough protein overall.
How and where are you finding inspiration to cook? Any favourite cookbooks/blogs? I have to say, I am most inspired by watching Sarah in the kitchen. She is an intuitive cook who seemingly always creates gourmet meals from limited ingredients. I try to pick up tricks and tips from her along the way and two books that we have been cooking from are Alison Roman’s Dining In and Olive and Gourmando.
What is your favourite dish that you’ve made during quarantine (with recipe)? My favourite dish that I’ve made over the last few months was French onion soup. It was warming, hearty, savoury and most importantly, very cheesy. Recipe can be found at the bottom!
What is one cooking tip that you’ve learned recently? More fresh herbs on everything (and grow them yourself!). I usually do a quick search online to figure out what works best with the food that I am eating – parsley, cilantro, rosemary, thyme and dill are the most common in our kitchen.
What is your favourite restaurant for take-out, if you’ve been ordering? We have not ordered take out very much, but my favourite was definitely Indian food from the Host. We got an assortment of dishes including butter chicken, aloo gobhi, palak paneer and dal makhni with rice and lots of garlic naan. Highly recommended!
Any new hobbies, favourite books or favourite podcasts? For exercise, I have recently started running. which is certainly not my strong suit. However, I’m getting better with each run and it helps me tremendously to clear my mind in the morning before tackling my day. I love bringing Kenji along with me who usually passes out for many hours after we are done. A favourite book to recommend is The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. It is a great reminder to slow down and to consciously pay attention to our surroundings; there is so much we can learn from nature and the trees around us.
Can you offer one tip or activity that is keeping you safe/grounded/sane during this time? I think it is so important to move our bodies every day, and in the morning if at all possible (outside is a bonus). When I’m working from home I try and recreate “usual” work, rest and play hours as best as I can, recognizing that it’s not always possible. Something else that helps me is remembering to feel grateful for my health, family, friends and community. I remind myself frequently that this will eventually pass, and we all just need to do our part.
FRENCH ONION SOUP RECIPE
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
5-6 medium size onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups beef/mushroom broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1 small baguette, cut into 1/2-in slices
2 cups grated Gruyère
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano
1. In a large soup pot, melt the butter and add oil, garlic, onions, salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook uncovered on medium, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized. As they start to brown, stir frequently, scraping the fond from the bottom of the pot.
2. Add the wine and raise the heat to high. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape any fond from the bottom of the pot, until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.
3. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
4. Next add the broth, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook covered, for at least 45 minutes or until it tastes right to you.
5. Preheat the oven and bake the baguette slices until crisp and golden at the edges. Set aside.
6. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on a baking sheet and divide the hot soup among them. Top each with 1 or 2 baguette slices and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère and then Parmigiano. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
7. Alternatively, if using regular soup bowls, top each toast slice with some cheese and return to broiler to melt. Divide the soup among bowls and top each with the cheese toasts.
NAME (S): Jake & Danielle Goldberg
PROFESSION (S): Jake is an Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of NIKUFarms.com. Danielle is a Product Manager, currently on maternity leave.
WHO ARE YOU QUARANTINED WITH DURING THIS TIME? It’s the two of us, and our 3 month old baby!
1-2 SENTENCES TO SUM UP YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW: Baby’s room is both his room and Jake’s office, so we do a bit of room charades throughout the day. Make coffee and sit on the porch, go into the baby’s room to work, baby goes for a walk with mom, make lunch, play with the baby, do some cleaning, make dinner, put the baby to sleep, read, and repeat!
WHAT IS ONE FOOD YOU’VE BEEN LOVING LATELY? We are obsessed with homemade hummus. Whenever Jake makes a new batch we snack on it all day every day until it’s done.
WHAT ARE 3 NON-NEGOTIABLE GROCERY ITEMS RIGHT NOW?
- Dried chickpeas
HOW AND WHERE ARE YOU FINDING INSPIRATION TO COOK? We’ve been watching a lot more episodes of Bon Appetite’s Youtube Channel and getting inspiration from there. Jake’s been trying some recipes from the cookbook “Ottolenghi Simple”, but many times we don’t have all the ingredients we need to make most of the recipes since it’s hard getting some items during this time.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DISH THAT YOU’VE MADE DURING QUARANTINE? BBQ’d Honey Garlic Flank Steak. Jake owns nikufarms.com so we get regular deliveries to our home of pasture raised meat and we don’t have to worry about meat items going out of stock at the grocery store. One of his partner farms also sells honey, so we know that we’ll have mostly everything we need to make this.
Jake marinates the flank steak for 24 hours in: ⅓ cup of honey (NIKU Farms) 1 cup of soy sauce 4 cloves of crushed and chopped garlic. Then it goes on our charcoal BBQ until it reaches 140 degrees (we are firm believers in cooking meat with a thermometer, so meat comes out right every time). We slice the meat thinly and then it either goes on salad, mashed potatoes, a sandwich, hummus, or just on its own.
WHAT IS ONE COOKING TIP THAT YOU’VE LEARNED RECENTLY? When baking, your eggs should be at room temperature. Apparently this helps the eggs mix more evenly and the batter rise more evenly!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT FOR TAKE-OUT, IF YOU’VE BEEN ORDERING? Surprisingly we’ve only ordered in once since socially isolating. It was pizza from Pizza Nova, and interestingly, once we ate it we realized that eating out might be overrated.
ANY NEW HOBBIES/FAVOURITE BOOKS/FAVOURITE PODCASTS? Danielle has gotten into baking desserts (who hasn’t?) and painting. We’re also really into the Gabriel Alon book series by Daniel Silva about an Israeli secret agent. Book series are great because you’ll have a long supply of books you can read next. There are 20 books in this series!
CAN YOU OFFER ONE TIP OR ACTIVITY THAT IS KEEPING YOU GROUNDED AND SANE DURING THIS TIME? Get outside at least once a day even when it’s still so cold outside. For us this means even just enjoying a glass of wine on the front porch at the end of the day.
NAME: Peter Grant
PROFESSION: Corporate Communications
WHO ARE YOU QUARANTINED WITH DURING THIS TIME? My partner Henrik
1-2 SENTENCES TO SUM UP YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW: Adjusting to this new normal of working from home and meeting friends virtually, or at a distance, has been challenging. Compared to many of my colleagues and friends with children, however, I have not faced the same level of challenges, and am grateful to have a secure job, supportive partner, and great home to quarantine in.
WHAT IS ONE FOOD YOU’VE BEEN LOVING LATELY? Spinach! I’ve tried to move away from sugary cereals in the morning and have started making my own juices and shakes. Plus, it’s perfect for summery salads to toast the great spring weather we’ve been having in Vancouver.
WHAT ARE 3 NON-NEGOTIABLE GROCERY ITEMS RIGHT NOW?
1.Spelt bread for pick-me-up toast snacks (with avocado or egg)
2. Pineapple chunks (addicted)
3. Lots and lots of wine!
HOW AND WHERE ARE YOU FINDING INSPIRATION TO COOK? We have been using cookbooks from some of our favourite local restaurants to try our hand at their signature dishes that we can’t wait to get back to.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DISH THAT YOU’VE MADE DURING QUARANTINE? Galas, Greens & Gorgonzolas Salad – amazing to serve with a fresh fish!
WHAT IS ONE COOKING TIP THAT YOU’VE LEARNED RECENTLY? Don’t be shy with butter!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT FOR TAKE-OUT, IF YOU’VE BEEN ORDERING? La Quercia or Blue Water Cafe
ANY NEW HOBBIES/FAVOURITE BOOKS/FAVOURITE PODCASTS? I just finished A Gentleman in Moscow, and would highly recommend as a great escapist read right now.
CAN YOU OFFER ONE TIP OF ACTIVITY THAT IS KEEPING YOU GROUNDED AND SANE? I’m using the extra time in the morning from not having to get dressed up and go into the office to go for a 30-minute run. The popular routes are still relatively quiet at this time, and it gives me a boost to motivate me through the morning. I try to sit outside as much as possible, when the weather permits, for taking conference calls, and am finding myself feeling much more calm at the end of the day as a result. Plus, blocking my calendar for a lunch break is key, to keep some boundaries between work and life throughout the day.
NAME: Stephanie Tartick (@get.your.phyll)
PROFESSION: Accountant/ Nutritionist
WHO ARE YOU QUARANTINED WITH DURING THIS TIME? My dog and I moved back in with my parents for a little bit so we could make use of their backyard!
1-2 SENTENCES TO SUM UP YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW: Slow, introspective, different. Really trying not to fight the slow pace of life right now. Leaning into it and trying to approach everything with love.
WHAT IS ONE FOOD YOU’VE BEEN LOVING LATELY? Coconut! Coconut butter, coconut oil, coconut flour, coconut aminos, coconut flakes, coconut milk. You can use it in sweet and savoury preparations, which makes it so versatile. My favourite dish to use it in is shrimp red curry!
WHAT ARE 3 NON-NEGOTIABLE GROCERY ITEMS/PANTRY STAPLES RIGHT NOW?
1. Organic Sweet Potatoes- they last a really long time and can be baked, roasted, or mashed. They are also high in Vitamin A!
2. White Basmati Rice- rice is hard to find right now, and for good reason. Its a pretty easily digestible carbohydrate and a little goes a long way.
3. Broccoli- broccoli can also last for a long time in the fridge. A reason I love it so much is because there is barely any waste with broccoli. If you peel and blanch the stems, they are a great addition to any soup or salad!
HOW AND WHERE ARE YOU FINDING INSPIRATION TO COOK? I find most of my inspiration at the grocery store. I let the fresh, in season, fruits and vegetables guide what I am going to make/ eat. That being said, one of my favourite websites for inspiration is Nom Nom Paleo!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DISH THAT YOU’VE MADE DURING QUARANTINE? My favourite dish i’ve made are my Double Chocolate Tahini Marshmallow Cookies! You can find the recipe over on my Instagram @get.your.phyll
WHAT IS ONE COOKING TIP THAT YOU’VE LEARNED RECENTLY? Its easy to forget about the environment during a pandemic. One of my favourite cooking tips is to save all your vegetable scraps in a bag in the freezer and when its full, use it to make a veggie stock! This helps with limiting food waste and its delish!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT FOR TAKE-OUT, IF YOU’VE BEEN ORDERING? Fresh is my go-to during COVID and not during COVID. I am obsessed with the goddess bowl, and literally cant order anything else! Always get extra Taberu Rayu sauce!
ANY NEW HOBBIES/FAVOURITE BOOKS/FAVOURITE PODCASTS? I have been reading A Mind Of Your Own by Kelly Brogan. She’s a holistic psychologist who believes that that the best way out of our pain is through it. My favourite podcasts are Ben Greenfield, To Be Magnetic and The Life Stylist Podcast.
CAN YOU OFFER ONE TOP OF ACTIVITY THAT IS KEEPING YOU GROUNDED AND SANE DURING THIS TIME? My best advice is to keep some sort of routine. If you woke up every day and meditated before COVID, try to wake up and meditate every day during COVID. Keeping some sort of consistency during times like these is extremely important as it makes you feel like your life is somewhat in your control. Another thing I try to do every day, is plant my bare feet on the ground outside for 20 minutes. I find my body and mind completely let go when I do this- and it’s free!
NAMES: Kelly Graham and Jeff Sowa
PROFESSIONS: Kelly is an Urban Planner and Jeff is a Project Manager
WHO ARE YOU QUARANTINED WITH DURING THIS TIME? Each other!
1-2 SENTENCES TO SUM UP YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW: We have settled into a quarantine routine. Both of us are working from home, and in our free time we are enjoying cooking, exercising, going for long walks in the neighbourhood, and of course watching Netflix!
WHAT IS ONE FOOD YOU’VE BEEN LOVING LATELY? Avocado. I (Kelly) often buy avocado, but sometimes I get busy and forget about them and they get overripe! Now that I am home all the time, I can eat them when they are perfectly ripe! I love mashed avocado on rice cakes.
WHAT ARE 3 NON-NEGOTIABLE GROCERY ITEMS/PANTRY STAPLES RIGHT NOW?
HOW AND WHERE ARE YOU FINDING THE INSPIRATION TO COOK? I have enjoyed spending time flipping through the cookbooks we have and finding a new idea. I am excited that we are entering the season of fresh fruit and vegetables, because I have a great book called Home-Grown Harvest.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DISH THAT YOU’VE MADE DURING QUARANTINE? I was running out of groceries, so I made this ‘kitchen sink’ vegetarian curry (see recipe and photos below).
WHAT IS ONE COOKING TIP THAT YOU’VE LEARNED RECENTLY? Jeff made bread for the first time since he was a kid! Jeff’s mom is a baker, so he baked a lot with her when he was young, but he decided to do it himself. We got his mom on video call to coach us through it!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT FOR TAKE-OUT, IF YOU’VE BEEN ORDERING? We have been trying to order from a number of places in our neighbourhood. Her Fathers Cider on Harbord has a delicious brunch!
ANY NEW HOBBIES/FAVOURITE BOOKS/FAVOURITE PODCASTS? I’ve gotten back into the routine of yoga and jogging, and I am really enjoying both!
CAN YOU OFFER ONE TIP OR ACTIVITY THAT IS KEEPING OU GROUNDED AND SANE DURING THIS TIME? In the first week I was mostly staying inside, and going a little crazy. Since then, I’ve been trying to get outside at least once a day and occasionally meeting up with friends who live nearby for socially-distant walks. Its a nice way to check in with people and remember the ‘normal times’!
RECIPE FOR KELLY + JEFF’S ‘KITCHEN SINK’ VEGETARIAN CURRY
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 (0.5 ) onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 hot green chili ,chopped (such as serrano, jalapeno) or use mild chili or omit
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) cinnamon
- 1/3 tsp (0.33 tsp) cayenne or to taste
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) grouond sage
- 1 red bell pepper ,chopped or sliced
- handful of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small zucchini, sliced
- 1 sweet potato, cubed
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 3/4 tsp (0.75 tsp) salt
- 1 can chickpeas
- 13.5 oz can coconut milk
- 1 cups (250 ml) water ,depends on curry consistency preference
- 1 cup frozen peas
- lemon/lime juice , cilantro, pepper flakes for garnish
- Press saute on the Instant Pot and add coconut oil. Add onion, garlic, chili, ginger and a good pinch of salt. Cook for 3 to 4 mins until translucent. Deglaze with waterh if needed. (See notes for saucepan)
- Add the spices and mix in.
- Add the bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, and sweet potato and mix in. Drain the chickpeas and add to the pot. Add salt, coconut milk and water and give it a good mix to pick up any stuck bits.
- Cancel saute, Close the lid to sealing. Pressure cook at high pressure for 5 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally then open the lid.
- 5. Turn back on sautés mode to evaporate some of the liquid. When it reaches the desired consistency, turn off instant pot and stir in frozen peas.
- 6. Garnish with lemon, pepper flakes, remaining coconut milk and cilantro and serve over rice or grains.
- Serve with rice.
NAME: Deborah Fulsang
PROFESSION: Content Marketing Specialist
WHO ARE YOU QUARANTINED WITH DURING THIS TIME? My family: husband and my two kids—our daughter is 15, our son is 18.
1-2 SENTENCES TO SUM UP YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW: The days are slow and quiet yet the anxiety that lies just beneath the surface makes things feel jittery, too. We work. We clean. We cook. We take the dog for a walk. And another walk. The kids sleep, work, read, play piano and lose themselves in Youtube. They’re finishing up their school years, but sadly I believe they’re feeling more disappointed than proud of their achievements unfortunately. And we keep planning the next dinners—the evening meal has become our outing. It’s through the food that we venture to Italy. Maybe Jerusalem. A Montreal bistro.
WHAT IS ONE FOOD YOU’VE BEEN LOVING LATELY? I cannot lie: it’s been a bit of a carb fest lately. Pasta, homemade bread, warm-from-the-oven cookies, whipped-cream topped layer cakes…
WHAT ARE 3 NON-NEGOTIABLE GROCERY ITEMS/PANTRY STAPLES RIGHT NOW?
HOW AND WHERE ARE YOU FINDING INSPIRATION TO COOK? We’ve been diving into our collection of cookbooks for inspiration these days. It’s Ottolenghi, Donna Hay, Smitten Kitchen, all the time. Plus recipes from our Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver, Lucy Waverman and Bonnie Stern cookbooks. And of course, lots of inspiration from Bon App and NYTCooking. This past week we had Donna Hay’s pork-veal-and-fennel meatballs in homemade tomato sauce. Another night, we made her crispy-skinned fish with cauliflower purée, Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen’s snap-pea slaw with miso dressing along with barbecued chicken, and a recipe from Bon Appetit that was delicious—it was a spatchcocked chicken that had marinated with copious rounds of red onion and vegetables and then roasted. And right now, I have challah dough rising, thanks to a recipe from my Gourmet cookbook.
Wait, is wine a pantry staple?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DISH THAT YOU’VE MADE DURING QUARANTINE? I think it’s been that spaghetti with pork-veal-and-fennel meatballs from Donna Hay mentioned above. It’s a pretty classic meatball recipe but the addition of fennel seeds and lemon zest make for a really rich and complex flavour profile. And then the simple comfort of pasta with really, really good and simple tomato sauce. With a sprinkling of fresh grated parmesan and a nice crusty baguette, it was a pretty amazing and thoroughly satisfying meal.
WHAT IS ONE COOKING TIP THAT YOU’VE LEARNED RECENTLY? It’s all about planning. Like everything in life. I guess it’s more a reminder that if you plan well and shop efficiently, your pantry can then easily tackle many day’s worth of delicious meals—and please a discerning group of foodies.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT FOR TAKE-OUT, IF YOU’VE BEEN ORDERING? Sukothai, for its fantastic curries.
ANY NEW HOBBIES/FAVOURITE BOOKS/FAVOURITE PODCASTS? Trying to get into a regular at-home yoga routine rather unsuccessfully, but also returning to meditation thanks to Headspace.
CAN YOU OFFER ONE TIP OR ACTIVITY THAT IS KEEPING YOU GROUNDED AND SANE DURING THIS TIME? Find an escape through the pages of well-written novels.
NAME: Jackie Silver
PROFESSION: Registered Dietitian
WHO ARE YOU QUARANTINED WITH DURING THIS TIME? My parents and my sister.
1-2 SENTENCES TO SUM UP YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW: I recently finished the MHSc Nutrition Communications program at Ryerson University and so I am new to the field of dietetics. I’m taking a mindful eating training course online and another course on starting your own online business – basically I’m taking this time to focus on professional development.
WHAT IS ONE FOOD YOU’VE BEEN LOVING LATELY? Lentil curry!
WHAT ARE 3 NON-NEGOTIABLE GROCERY ITEMS RIGHT NOW?
- Dried lentils
- Greek yogurt
HOW AND WHERE ARE YOU FINDING INSPIRATION TO COOK?
Lately I’ve been making (and modifying) a lot of recipes from Minimalist Baker. Or if there is something I’m in the mood to make, I’ll do a google search and pick a recipe. Other blogs that I love are FitFoodieFinds, Half Baked Harvest, Pinch of Yum, and Ambitious Kitchen.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DISH THAT YOU’VE MADE DURING QUARANTINE?
This Healthified Funfetti Granola, which can be found on my Instagram
WHAT IS ONE COOKING TIPE THAT YOU’VE LEARNED RECENTLY?
That if you use a hand mixer to mix instant coffee, hot water, and sugar then it turns into this magical whipped coffee!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT FOR TAKE-OUT, IF YOU’VE BEEN ORDERING?
Slice n’ Bites for pizza but I’ve barely been ordering for take-out.
ANY NEW HOBBIES/FAVOURITE BOOKS/FAVOURITE PODCASTS? I recently started making my own stretch cord bracelets which is a fun outlet for me to be creative with colours and designs. Other self-care activities that have been keeping me sane during quarantine include: cooking, baking, 10 minutes of daily meditation, a gratitude journal, and exercise (been loving the Peloton app lately). I recently read the book “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini which I loved. A podcast that I’ve been listening to regularly is the “Skimm This” podcast by The Skimm. Each episode is just 10 minutes and they break down the latest news in plain language; it helps me stay on top of what’s going on in the world.
CAN YOU OFFER ONE TIP OR ACTIVITY THAT IS KEEPING YOU GROUNDED AND SANE DURING THIS TIME? Daily meditation – I’ve been making this a priority and it really helps ground me in the moment and sets me up for the day. I’ve also found it helpful to remind myself that this is temporary and to just take things one day at a time.
Hi friends! As it is officially the end of my reading week from school, I thought it would be a perfect time to write a little post about student life, and how to stay healthy as a student.
We all know that student life is unique and comes with it its own set of pressures, extra financial burden, stress and particular scheduling. All of which can make it difficult to eat well, stay active and generally just feel our best. For those of you who don’t know, I started a full-time school program last year (to study more nutrition!) and it has been both great and very challenging! Although this is my third degree, it has been 8 years since I’ve been in school and I completely forgot what it felt like to be a student. When I started school again in 2018, I found it quite difficult to maintain my regular health habits and routine, and as a result I was not feeling the best. Of course, this is all compounded by also working full-time, but this is also the reality for many students!
Now that I’ve adjusted a bit, I thought I would provide tips to help fellow students stay healthy while studying and generally while pursing any academic endeavour! I am providing these tips both as a Nutritionist and as a student myself who is experiencing the day-to-day of student life!
HEALTH TIPS FOR STUDENTS
1. The Multi-Tasking Workout
We all know moving our bodies and being active is good for us, but this last year I truly realized what a difference it made for my mental health. Finding movement and working out almost every day has been the biggest help while studying. It is an immediate stress-relief and I find it completely wakes me up when I feel mentally drained. Something that I’ve been doing is multitasking while I workout- this means that I read a book or read over notes while walking on a treadmill or on a stationary bike. If I am going for a run outside, I may also listen to a podcast or audio book on the topic that I am studying. Not only am I getting a good sweat in, but I also find that this helps me focus on what I am reading, and I actually retain the information better! If this is not your thing- I generally encourage you find the time to find movement in your day-to-day. Also remember that any movement is better than no movement. Try to walk as much as possible, and even a 15-20 minute home video does the trick! I have been loving Yoga with Adrienne and Barre3 Online.
2. Meal Prep
Another lifesaver for me has been meal prepping. I try to make 1-2 larger batches of something to have for the week. My go-tos are curry, veggie stew, chili, a pasta dish, lasagna or veggie sheppards pie. I also make ‘comfort food’, and generally just food that I crave. For me, nothing is better than having a comforting meal ready for me at the end of a long day when I am stressed and tired.
3. Stock the Pantry with Brain Food!
Studying uses a lot of energy! I am always more hungry when I am studying. My tip here is to keep food in the pantry that can be used to make nourishing meals and quick snacks. Food that is full of good healthy fat and complex carbohydrate can help fuel your brain, help with focus and generally just keep you satiated to limit any distraction you may feel due to hunger. Here are some ideas of foods to keep in your pantry:
– Oatmeal – I add a dollop of peanut butter and/or yoghurt, a tbsp of ground flax and a chopped banana and I am good to go!
– Canned soup – I like Amy’s, which has a little more sodium that I would like, but a good option in a pinch when you haven’t cooked!
– Rice cakes – A great snack with peanut butter and banana (see below)
– Peanut butter – I slather peanut butter on rice cakes, banana, apples, add to my oatmeal, or make a piece of toast. Easy and filling!
– Seaweed snacks – A great snack when you are not particularly hungry but want to munch or crunch on something salty. Full of minerals, and very satisfying for me!
– Pop corn – My favourite snack of all time. I go through a lot of popcorn during exam time!
– Corn chips and salsa – Another favourite snack!
– Veggie chips – I like these dipped in hummus, or guacamole for a filling snack, or even part of a meal.
– Canned beans – A must for me to add to salads, or to make into a quick bean dip to enjoy with rice cakes, corn chips or sliced veggies. I generally keep hummus in the fridge too!
– Mixed nuts/seeds – A perfect snack when studying. I will have a handful with a piece of fruit or a handful of berries and I find it the perfect snack!
Although sleep is a very obvious thing, I think it is worth mentioning. This year, I also truly realized the value of sleep. I used to consider myself someone that does not need a lot of sleep. I would often get a few hours a night and feel completely fine, but now that my mental and physical load is much more- I REALLY need my sleep. Sleep has helped to decrease my naturally high anxiety levels that easily get worse when I am studying. It is also important for general cognitive functioning, memory and retaining information. After all that hard studying, sleeping well can really help to solidify and keep the information in your brain! Generally, you can handle more when you are creating a good foundation for yourself, and sleep definitely helps with this. To help me improve my sleep habits ( because they are truly not the best!), I try to have a bedtime routine of some sort. I take a hot shower or bath, use lavender essential oil on my pillow, make a sleepy time tea, sometimes take CBD or a magnesium supplement, and try to relax a bit before bed.
5. Engage in Activities you Enjoy
This has actually been another huge non-negotiable for me. It seems silly to take time for yourself when you have so much going on, but for me it helps me stay motivated and decreases the chance of burn out. Although I enjoy school, it is strenuous and I don’t find it particularly fulfilling at all times. To stay motivated, I have to find joy in my day-to-day, and spend time doing activities that fill my cup. This includes activities such as going on long walks with my dog, spending quality time with friends, my boyfriend and family, cooking a nice meal, watching a show or movie, taking a weekend trip, working on a creative project, reading for fun, taking a class like pottery, trying to do some art of some sort (even though I am not good at it!), and working out/taking a workout class. These activities leave me feeling mentally, emotionally and physically ready to tackle both school and work with more gusto!
Thank you for reading this post! I would love to know how you all find balance in your life, and stay healthy when things are super crazy. I find, a little bit goes a long way. Any more tips are highly appreciated and you can always e-mail me, or send me a DM on Instagram!
Today I asked my friend Fran Allen to provide her best tips for making food taste great. Fran is a fellow Holistic Nutritionist and amazing cook. Her vibrant food photos on Instagram always inspire me to cook, and although her meals look gourmet they include quite simple ingredients.
I asked Fran to break down how she flavours her meals and turns a plate of simple ingredients into something delicious. I believe that when we learn the basics of seasoning and flavour, we can turn even the most (seemingly) mundane meals into something super tasty. So, with that, here is Fran!!!
Flavour Hacks with Fran Allen, CNP
Clients ask me all the time, how I make my food look and taste so good. I come up with a lot of my meals on the fly and use what I have around but stick to these rules to make sure every dish tastes balanced and flavourful. Here are my four flavour hacks to add more flavour and interest in your home cooking!
If you feel that your food tastes bland, or like ‘nothing’, chances are it needs more salt.
Adding a pinch of salt to salads and cooking grains does wonders for making foods taste more intense and flavourful. I always keep a few different varieties on hand
Sea Salt: I use this most commonly for salting cooking water when cooking grains, pasta or blanching vegetables. This is a stronger, saltier flavour than grey or pink salt
Pink Salt: I use this for more delicate dishes like salads, and dressings. This helps give a delicate flavour without overpowering.
Flakey Salt: These flakes are great for adding a big salty flavour and crunch to dishes, these are called finishing salts and are to be used at the very end of cooking or right before eating! These are perfect for topping chocolate cookies, roasted vegetables and avocado.
Other great ways to add salt to dishes are through salty foods like seaweed, olives, capers and hard cheeses like parmesan. These all add amazing depth of flavour and help to support the other ingredients in your dish.
If you feel like your meal kind of just hits one note and feels kind of heavy, adding a sour element helps to lighten and brighten your dish. Think about adding a squeeze of fresh lemon onto a plate of steamed vegetables to give them an instant lift! I always like to have several options to add some tangy sour flavour to a dish
Citrus: Adding lemon, lime or even grapefruit to a dish helps to brighten any meal. I find these work well at bringing fresh flavour to cooked vegetables and grains. Make sure to add the zest to add deeper flavour.
Vinegar: Vinegar is great for roasting vegetables, making dressings, and adding a tartness to rich soups and sauces. I love having apple cider, red wine and balsamic vinegar on hand.
Pickles: An easy way to add interest to a salad or grain bowl is to throw in some pickles! I love adding kimchi, kraut or full-sour pickles to my meals. They add a funky, sour flavour and also help to improve digestion!
In order to have a fully balanced dish, you need a tiny bit of sweetness. It may not be the most forward flavour but it will your dish sing! These flavours work so well to keep you palate in balance and help to ease sugar or dessert craving later on. A subtle sweetness makes a meal feel more complete.
Sweet Vegetables: Squash or sweet potato help add great flavour and work well with greens like kale, arugula and watercress to balance their strong flavours.
Sweeteners: Honey, maple syrup and agave add caramelization to veggies and help to balance spicy flavours in curries and dressings.
Fruits: Apples, pears, pomegranates, dried fruits like raisins, dates and apricots and interest to grains and salads. I love adding shaved apples to morning oats or pomegranate seeds to a quinoa salad. They add a burst of sweet, tart, juicy flavour.
Almost everything tastes better with a good drizzle of nice olive oil. Fat has an amazing ability to actually improve our perception of flavours and add a richness to dishes. Fat coats our mouths, allowing flavours to concentrate and last longer. Fat is also an important nutrient to help improve satiety and keep us feeling full and satisfied by a dish.
Nuts and seeds: Things like walnuts, tahini and peanut butter add rich flavour and creamy texture to dishes.
Oils: Coconut, sesame, chili, and olive oil all add a delicate flavour to dishes and help to enhance the overall flavours of stir-frys, stews and curries.
Butter and Ghee: These add a rich, salty flavour to dishes and are great for adding crisp texture to roasted foods like veggies and meats.
Coconut milk and yogurt are great for adding to soups, stews and curries to add depth and richness, they also help to dissipate heat for more sensitive palates.