A picture list of complex carbs (sweet potato, whole grain bread, oats) and simple carbs (soda, donuts, white bread, cereal) is shown.

The not-so-sweet truth about sugar: Healthy habits at Hart House

This week, I dropped into the Healthy Habits program that runs every Monday in the Hart House Reading Room from 12 to 1 p.m. Healthy Habits is a laid-back discussion about nutrition and tips for eating well and is led by a holistic nutritionist.

What I really liked about the event was that it was informal and thereby unintimidating. We all sat in the corner of the Reading Room on the couches and, in essence, had a chat. The topic varies week to week and you’re welcome to attend just one session or as many as you like, whenever you can. This past Monday, we talked about sugar – very timely if you ask me, given that Monday was also Halloween.

The word "sugar" is spelled out using table sugar.
Source: healthbubbles.com

Fueling my commuter student day

I lived on residence for my first three years at U of T and now that I’m living off-campus I face a real nutritional challenge. I used to pop into my residence repeatedly throughout the day, which gave me the chance to make some food and sit down to eat. Needless to say, these days that’s not exactly feasible.

It’s been a learning curve, but I’ve managed to identify some strategies for success when it comes to feeding myself as a new commuter student. I was doing a terrible job of it initially and learned my lesson the hard way when I fell ill and enjoyed a throbbing headache for three whole days. If you take anything away from this post, try to remember that while it can be challenging, time-consuming and expensive to stay on top of healthy eating sometimes – it’s worth the work. You might save an hour or two by cutting corners or cutting meals but you’ll lose much more than that when you’re feeling unwell later on.

Veggies are shown with a text overlay which reads "Those who think they have no time for healthy eating, will sooner or later have to find time for illness."
Source: natural-healing-retreats.com

My Dates with Myself

I’m think I am an introvert, I probably always have been. I try not to shy away from it anymore because I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. Also, I think a lot of people misunderstand what introversion means. It can mean “a shy person” but I like to think that the psychological definition of introversion is much more relevant: 

“a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings

This makes a lot more sense to me; I’m not a quite person because I have nothing to say or I’m scared to say it but more so because I’m taking everyone’s inputs in and assessing my own thoughts first. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t need to have other people around in order to feel happy, energized or active. I’m perfectly content spending a weekend with myself, just going about daily life and reading a book or two (or 10). I like listening to my music and staring into space (or simply staring into space). 

View of Huron Street from Sid Smith Lounge
Chilling in the Sid Smith Lounge and “people-watching” (a fancy term for staring into space)

The Rocky Road to Healthy Eating

This summer, I was enrolled in full-time classes. I would be on campus several days a week from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.. As a commuter, unwilling to burden myself with more heavy things to carry, I bought pasta every day for lunch. By September, I had twelve dollars left in my bank account.

It hadn’t taken me long into first-year to realize that I often had to choose between healthy eating and cheap eating. Loaded with extracurriculars, my days spanned twelve hours; I would subsist off snacks, water, or cave in and buy a sandwich or pasta. When I first discovered food trucks, I had been delighted — finally, a filling meal for under five dollars! But I soon realized that each poutine — however cheap, hearty, and delicious — made my body feel bloated and uncomfortable for hours afterwards.

Food trucks outside Sidney Smith Hall

Reconnecting at the Hart House $5 Lunch

Between classes, Orientation week, and illness, I hadn’t gotten a chance to hang out with my best friend Julie for weeks. Our lunch dates kept getting postponed, so I was pleasantly surprised when I mentioned going to the $5 Hart House lunch yesterday and her schedule lined up.

We met outside the Great Hall just after 1 p.m., and although the lunch was set to end at 2 p.m., there was still a large line-up of students and plenty of food. Both of us took the vegetarian option — Greek salad, pita, rice, and a wonderful main of baked eggplant and lentils — although the lemon-oregano chicken sounded delicious as well. The three-course meal felt so refreshing, particularly since healthy inexpensive food is so difficult to find on campus. It left me full, but not at all bloated or uncomfortable as food truck lunches usually do.

Plate of vegetarian lunch

7 Days of Summer

September brings out all sorts of feels in the student body. If you’re like me, just the anticipation of the first week of September takes out way more energy than when I’m actually living it. The only thing that can take my mind off of the anxiety/excitement is trying to enjoy my last week of freedom.

Ah, August. You’re the Sunday night of summer; I hate that you’re here but at least I can use you to do the fun, summer things I promised myself I would do this time around. Let’s take a look at how I spent my last full week of August, shall we?