Lifestyle

Why Sprouted Grains Are Healthier

Why sprouted grains are healthierI’ve adjusted my diet the last few weeks, mainly to get a hold of my sugar problem, but also to lose a couple of pounds I put on over the holidays in preparation for summer! One of they key adjustments I made was cutting out all sugar, aside from fruit, and also eating foods that have a low glycemic index (i.e. foods that have minimal impact on your blood sugar – better for your metabolism & ultimately your health). The no sugar thing has been SO tough…that can literally be a blog post all on it’s own! Good news is, it gets better after the first week.

The other major change I made was the types of grains I’m eating. I am still eating grains – for one thing, I can’t live without SOME carbs in my diet, but I also strongly believe in the notion of moderation. I don’t think cutting anything completely out of your diet (outside of sweets & bad fats) is a good thing. However, I’ve been focusing on eating more sprouted grains. I know, you have questions…keep reading!what are sprouted grains?We’re all mostly familiar with whole grains, which are seeds that still have their protective husk because they haven’t been germinated yet. When enough time passes and the seed is ready to grow, whole grains will sprout. Once they sprout, they’re in the early stages of the growth process, and don’t contain the enzymes that were holding back the growth process.  Once whole grains sprout, the vitamins, minerals and proteins from the grain become more available & easier for our bodies to process. The carb content of the grain also decreases, amount of fiber increases (almost 3X) and gluten levels are lower.
Some of the sprouted grains I’ve been eating:

Other options I haven’t tried yet include buckwheat, spelt, amaranth, & anything made with a nut flour.

It’s been challenging cutting out things like pita bread (which I love so very much), but other than that, I actually really like how these things taste. Like anything whole wheat, I feel fuller longer, and I don’t get that crash where I’m ravenously hungry in an hour or two. I figure, if I like how it tastes and it has some added health benefits, why not eat it? I’m excited to explore things like buckwheat pancakes & maybe start baking with almond flour. I’ll start experimenting and share some recipes soon!

PS – If you’re also on a health kick, here are some snacks to stock up on!Health benefits of sprouted grains

Monday Mindfulness

Monday Mindfulness

Life has been a whirlwind lately (when is it not?!). The last week Leo was out of town, so I had plenty of alone time to reconnect with myself and get my life in order. That means lots of gym time, attempting to cook (as I’m trying to eat better – I’ll share more on that later this week!) – hanging with friends and curling up in bed at 9pm on a Friday to watch Harry Potter…yes, that actually happened. I will say there were many cocktails had the night before that resulted in this Harry Potter marathon. It was just what I needed.

Outside of the usual craziness, I’ve been experiencing something lately that I think comes with the late twenties…re-evaluating friendships. I’ve recently talked about how many of my friends are in different life stages, which is to be expected at age 29. However, one thing I did not expect was for some friendships to fizzle out. It’s a weird phenomenon – I realized that there were select people in my life that simply weren’t being good friends. I’m still not sure if these people recently changed, or if I’m just realizing something that’s been there all along. Either way, it’s been a challenging but enlightening experience. As I closed doors, new ones opened. The moment I made it a priority to branch out & meet new people, I did, and in the most hilarious ways (i.e. Lyft line- ha!). It’s been a long time since I’ve opened myself up to someone new. I struggled with it at first, but I found I’m learning more about myself throughout this process in addition to learning more about what I value & expect out of a friendship. It’s funny how life works sometimes.

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Our Modern Minimalist Bathroom

Our Modern Minimalist Bathroom

My life has been so consumed with home renovations – between picking out paint colors & tile, to dealing with various stuff that comes with owning a house (roof leaks, broken porch lights – it never ends!!). That said, it makes me all the more excited to share when we actually FINISH something! This time around, it’s our master bath…potentially my favorite makeover thus far.

Our master bath is the room that got the biggest facelift in our house. Previously, it was small, crammed, dark, and even worse…had a single vanity! That wasn’t going to fly. We wanted to open it up and make it a brighter space – this involved some serious construction like moving the door, knocking down storage areas that were embedded in the ceiling, building a completely new shower. The things that come up while your remodeling you can sometimes NEVER expect. Lots of improvising and flexibility is needed…along with the million decisions you have to make (which is what makes it all so stressful). Regardless, it’s so worth it in the end. You quickly forget about those late nights you spent debating between paint colors (the winner was Calm by Benjamin Moore)!

Now…let’s start with a quick snapshot of the before & after, so you know what kind of changes I’m talking!

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Eyebrow Threading in Chicago: Where to Go

Eyebrow Threading in Chicago: Where to Go

Since I can remember, my brows have been out of control. There was a point where I had an eyebrow…that’s right, eyebrow singular. Let’s just say ages 11-14 were my rough years. The photos I have from this period are frightening…to put things into perspective, my eyebrows were the least of my worries. I didn’t know how to manage my curly hair, I had a mustache (this was pre-waxing days), there was a lot going on.

I didn’t attempt cleaning up my eyebrows until 7th grade, and it was LONG overdue. They still were insanely thick, but at least I split them into two caterpillars vs. one. Baby steps. By freshman year of high school, I had discovered the miracle of eyebrow threading. I don’t know why I didn’t consider waxing initially, perhaps because waxing would not have done the job? I can’t recall, but either way, threading was the best discovery I ever made. In fact, I still do it to this day.

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An Affordable Modern Barn Door

An Affordable Modern Barn Door

From the moment we moved into our house back in November, we knew that we needed to get some sort of door for our guest bedroom. Even though there’s a flight of stairs separating the bedroom from the main floor, we wanted people to at least feel like they have SOME privacy when they stay with us. At the entrance of the stairway, we have a massive opening that’s much larger than the standard doorway. That said, getting a normal door was out the window. Leo then had the brilliant idea of putting a barn door there – we had enough space on the right side to allow for a sliding door. It was the perfect solution!

We fell in love with the modern doors at Rustica, but couldn’t get ourselves to pull the trigger on a $2K+ door (we needed a custom size and that drastically increased the price). The other option was getting one at Home Depot or Lowe’s, but they didn’t have that modern look we were hoping for or the color palette we had in mind. Both Leo and I wanted a rustic look but with a modern edge, otherwise it wouldn’t mesh with the rest of the house. This one we found on Etsy couldn’t be more perfect, and they nailed the color too! We wanted a grey distressed color that would make our floor & walls pop (& goes really well with our sputnik light). You can shop the hardware & barn door we bought here – custom made barn door, Etsy | barn door hardware, Home Depot.

PS – remember the dresser in our hallway from my DIY post? It’s looking even better now with the hallway additions!

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My Spring Bucket List

My Spring Bucket List

It’s so refreshing to be out and about the last few weeks. I’m officially out of hibernation! I even left the house without a jacket on a couple of days last week. I find it so liberating to not have to match a jacket with my outfit (#firstworldproblems)! Bottom line is, I love spring because it means warmer weather is on the way. Here in Chicago, it’s the time of year when you actually start seeing other humans that live in the city. Where were these people all winter? Likely hiding under blankets on their sofas like everyone else.

I like to put together a “bucket list” for each season (except I realized that I didn’t do one for winter, probably because the last thing I want to do is leave my house when it’s 15 degrees out – haha). Here’s what I have on my list this spring!

PS – this pic is from summer 2 years ago – I forgot how short my hair was!

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Monday Mindfulness

Monday Mindfulness

I can’t believe it’s already April! I’ve been in good spirits the last few days because we had a weekend of beautiful weather here, after two weeks of nonstop rain. It’s amazing how much weather can impact your mood and outlook. The gloomy days were really getting to me, and I found myself being negative and just not motivated. I knew it was happening, and I felt like I couldn’t get myself out of that funk. I’m glad I got a taste of warmer weather…I’m starting to feel like myself again!

The last month or two, I’ve tried to become more mindful of my emotions, and what triggers both negative & positive emotions for me. I know for a fact that the weather was one thing that was bringing me down. Knowing this was happening, I tried to do more of what makes me happy. Working out, cooking, spending time friends & family. I realized that something as small as hearing an old song that brought me back to a happy place could change my day. I know it sounds trivial, but it’s so true!

I’m also trying to focus on giving off positive vibes and surrounding myself with those who do the same. I realized how important it is be around people that make me happy. Now that I’m older & wiser, it’s much easier for me to identify unhealthy relationships in my life. I’m consciously spending more time around those who make me a better person, and also (for the first time in a long time) letting new people in. Here are a few articles around the web that inspired me the last month –

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My Favorite Things to Buy at Trader Joe’s

My Favorite Things to Buy at Trader Joe’s

I’ll be the first admit that I legit like grocery shopping. Is that weird? I don’t get to cook everyday, but I love going to the grocery store on the weekends to stock up on my go-to snacks and whatever recipes I’m making that week (really it’s “recipe”, singular, but I shoot for the stars). I also enjoy hunting for new stuff to try, and Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite places to do this. They’re always introducing new items to the mix – I’m like a child in a candy store when I shop their “new in” section. That and the section where they have the samples. I love samples.

I’ve been a Trader Joe’s shopper ever since I graduated college, which feels like forever ago (because it is). They’ve been popping up everywhere in the city which is amazing. Rumor has it, they’ll be opening on in Wicker Park soon – heyoooo. Cannot wait. Since I’m a long time T Joe’s shopper, there are specific things I always buy from there, on top of the experimental purchases I throw in the mix. Below are my favorite things to buy from Trader Joe’s (all of these items are Trader Joe’s exclusives). I’ve linked to the items that aren’t pictured so you can easily find them!

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How to Clean White Sneakers

How to Clean White Sneakers

Wearing: ASOS jeans, Lacoste sneakers, Larsson & Jennings watch, vintage jacket

I’m sure you’ve noticed, but I’m a BIG fan of white sneakers. Basically, I don’t know what I’d do without them. I wear them when I feel like being comfy (which let’s be honest – that’s most days) – and I love that depending on the outfit, I still feel stylish rocking them. The only issue with white sneakers is that they only look good when they’re crisp and clean. Scuffed up, dirty sneakers are not a thing…yeah, I know, wouldn’t it make our lives easier if they were? I’ve got a few hacks to make my sneaks look brand spankin’ new, or at least close enough. Here are three things I regularly do to clean my white sneakers (and keep in mind that sneaks don’t last forever, so if you’re past the 2 year mark, you prob need to pull the trigger on a new pair):

PS – If you’re on the market for new sneakers, check out my roundup of favs!

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Healthy Snacks to Stock Up On

Healthy Snacks to Stock Up On

Confession – I LOVE snacking. I love food in general, but snacking is one of my guilty pleasures. Sometimes (well, most times), I just want to munch on a little somthin’ somthin’. Depending on what I have at arm’s length, it can be a bad situation. Knowing I have this habit of hitting up my pantry every few hours, I try to keep only healthy snacks in the house. That way, even though I feel a tad guilty about snacking, I’m comforted by the fact that I’m at least putting healthy stuff into my body. These are the healthy snacks I resort to on the reg –

Siggi’s Yogurt: I’ve tried most yogurt brands, and Siggi’s is by FAR my favorite – I even like it better than Fage (sorry, Leo). My favorite is the plain one, but I’ve tried most of their flavors and there isn’t one I don’t like. Their yogurts have less sugar than most brands on the market, and significantly more protein (even when compared to Greek yogurts). Their plain yogurt is 0% fat, and it’s still as creamy as ever. I typically eat it with honey and fresh blueberries, sometimes adding some cereal or granola for a little crunch.

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