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

Halloween, Harry Potter, and Me

Right off the bat, let me just say that I’ve never been a huge fan of Halloween. I’m not particularly fond of dressing up or anything of the spooky and scary variety, but I will tell you: I LOVE candy and all things magical/fantastical. That’s why, for the past couple years, including this year I’ve been professing my love for Harry Potter on Halloween. I’ve been a fan of the Harry Potter series for a very long time and it doesn’t hurt that U of T is basically an architectural twin of the magical universe.

For Halloween, I recommend watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets because it is one of the most classic, spooky films in the series (before the darker and scarier themes are set in the later films). In celebration of Halloween and all things spooky (including those remaining midterms), here’s the rundown on the two most Hogwarts-like buildings on campus. Whether you choose to visit for studying or dreaming about Hogwarts is your choice, but personally, I usually choose the latter. Also, because I mentioned that I love candy (love it, I really do), these buildings are rated on a scale of being most like Hogwarts to least like Hogwarts:

Picture of chocolate frog, wizard trading card, and box
(Source: shop.wbstudiotour.co.uk)

1 Chocolate Frog=not like Hogwarts at all and just reminds you of doing school work (bleh)

5 Chocolate Frogs=just like being at Hogwarts so much so that you’ve wondered where your wand has gone (yay)

 

 

 

 

Finding Fitness at U of T (Without Joining a Single Organized Sport)

When I entered university, I was determined to take advantage of all the physical fitness resources available and undo the drastic drop in athleticism that had occurred during my teenage years. In grade six, I had found joy in doing laps at the U of T Athletic Centre pool every weekend. However, when puberty hit, and sports teams became increasingly ‘exclusive’, I grew self-conscious and made every effort to skip out on gym. Throughout high school, I only voluntarily participated in two sports: fencing (a one week long U of T summer camp) and archery.

Girl practicing archery

Hart House exterior

Getting Some Good Reminders at Mindfest 2016

Taking care of your mental health can be a bit of a chore if that’s not something you’re already mindful (ha ha) of. To be honest, taking care of your health in general can sometimes be a chore. I think it’s hard to self-discipline yourself when you don’t feel the immediate consequences of your actions. It just doesn’t feel like not sleeping well or not eating healthy is going to affect you right. now. and so it’s easier to just give in sometimes.

So it’s nice to have reminders every once in a while to keep yourself on track, especially during times when things are going relatively well and you think you don’t actually need those reminders.

This past Wednesday was Mindfest, a “festival to create awareness and gain appreciation for mental health.” I had missed out on Mindfest last year (check out Madelin’s blog from last year if you missed out as well), and so I was glad I had a chance to go this year.

Hart House, U of T
Most of the day events and presentations were hosted at Hart House.

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

Art is my Salvation: Hart House Art Tour

photograph of jellyfish suspended in a tank glowing a fluorescent pink against a purplish blue backdrop
This week has been like swimming through a tank full of jellyfish 🙁

This week has been a tough week for me. A lot has happened and a lot still remains to be going on. The majority of it has simply been personal, but sometimes personal obstacles are the ones that seem the most difficult. And in my opinion, rightly so, because to me personal battles are actually opportunities to grow in disguise.

In times of personal struggles, I have found that creativity and art are two things that ground me. Writing in a journal for instance, or even doodling in sketch pad. But sometimes inspiration to be creative doesn’t come easily when faced with a mountain that needs to be overcome. In these times, I enjoy finding inspiration in the more traditional way: that is surrounding myself with art. And what better way to do this than by taking advantage of Hart House’s free monthly Art Tour?

Beating School Stress this Week…Kapow!

For those of you taking Summer courses, you know ALL TOO WELL how quickly the course materials go by and before you know it finals are here (…then again, it feels like that during the Fall/Winter courses but y’all know what I mean!). One of my favourite things to do on-campus is to hit the gym, stressed or not.

The Start of a Great Journey!

Picture of yours truly with my archaeological finding!
Oh, the excitement of our first discovery at the Drawsko site in Poland! Credit: Danielle Donnelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey there! My name is Meimei and I’m excited to join this AWESOME group of Life @ U of T bloggers for the upcoming school year. I am SUPER EXCITED to blog about our awesome university and events that take place on-campus! And of course share my experiences at U of T with you!  Yay! As this is my first blog post of the year, a brief introduction is in order! You can learn more about me and my fellow bloggers if you click on the Crew tab – go ahead, you won’t regret it!