what health means to me.

the word health has a weird meaning in our culture, especially when it’s related to food. apparently most people see “health” food as lean cuisines, low fat yogurt cups and fiber one bars. or they see “healthy” people as those who drink green juice, eat quinoa on the regular and exercise every day. people seem to have an all or nothing attitude towards eating and health–good and bad food, good and bad days. if you’re going to have the occasional cookie, there’s no point in even trying to get more active and eat a little cleaner, right?

i knew basically nothing about food or nutrition until after college. i had always eaten what i wanted, when i wanted. since i had gone from being a competitive dancer to essentially never exercising, i carried some extra pounds and sometimes wished i were thinner, but it wasn’t on the forefront of my mind. i never thought about what it meant to put something in your body–i honestly felt like when i over ate, if i brushed my teeth and drank some water, the food was erased. afterward i moved on with my life. i didn’t see that the body is a whole system, completely connected. in some ways this attitude was an example of ignorance as bliss–i never thought about calories, or restricting, or having to get a workout in; but is was also a slippery slope into poor health.

college, amiright?

college, amiright?

i first became aware of food as an integral factor in overall health after my grandmother passed away and my parents got a kick in the butt and started trying to get in better shape. high blood pressure runs in my family, and as they faced their 60s my parents made some life changes triggered by their need to reduce sodium intake and get more active. although we ate pretty balanced and wholesome meals while i was growing up, it was during this time my parents became truly mindful eaters and introduced me to the concept. my mom found a passion for the local food movement and got involved through our church, while my dad explored his love of cooking and experimenting with growing food at home.

their change in attitude towards food inspired me first to start exercising and join weight watchers. and then i began to scour the internet for nutritional information (this is how i first found the healthy living blog world). the more i learned, the more i became convinced that what you put in your body is one of the most important decisions a person can make.

the conclusion i’ve come to is that for me, health is being in tune with what your body and mind truly need and desire. most of the time for me that means good, simple, substantial food, lots of water and regular light exercise–yoga, walking and a little strength training or ellipticaling (it’s a word!). but it also means birthday cake, wine and beer, greasy burgers and frozen pizza. it means marathoning west wing alone on the couch. or staying up late laughing your ass off with a friend. it can also mean training for a marathon, devoting yourself to crossfit or working your butt off at zumba. healthy is when your body and mind truly feel good and function in sync. food and exercise, too much or too little of either, can mean so many things to us–loaded with emotion and being used to obscure our true fears and insecurities, it can be hard to gain clarity between need and want.

game day, three years later.

game day again, three years later.

so pay attention; chose food that makes your body feel good. move the way that your body wants to move. to me, that’s true health.

halloweenie!

it’s so strange to me that after thinking about my costume for a few weeks and making plans for saturday night, i stepped out of the cab downtown and was shocked and so excited to see everyone in costumes. i guess i forgot that it wasn’t just my friends and i dressing up!

khaleesi, kitty cat and rosie the riveter.

khaleesi, kitty cat and rosie the riveter.

and yes my friend on the right (who was wearing heels) was so much taller than me that she had to do some significant squatting to get in the picture.

a guy who works in my office ia in a band and we went to go see them play, and it was awesome! i love being about to sing and dance all night with a few beers in hand.

sunday brought bloodys and deep life talks, plus a heavy dose of napping. and today was spent on the couch watching west wing and recovering.

it’s officially birthday week and the celebration got started with my first gift arriving in the mail–a coat from my sister that was perfect for the fall temperatures this weekend.

my room is messy.

my room is messy.

it looks like i have a pretty chill week coming up–definitely necessary after the crazy business i’ve been living though since the semester started, and a great way to enjoy my last week of age 24!

the basics.

So now that you know all about my quarter life crisis, who am I?

shameless shopping selfie.

shameless shopping selfie.

Name: Alice (obviously?)

Age: 24.9

Profession: grad student/receptionist/worker bee/future librarian.

Hobbies: eating delicious food, reading non-fiction books, watching tv, doing yoga, drinking good beer and wine, walking everywhere.

Loves: laughing, learning, walking, talking about pretty much anything, but especially digestive/holistic health and history, Netflix, pizza, hot yoga, running, getting to know new people, true crime stories, and fresh sheets on a well made bed.

Hometown: a bit of a long story—I was born in Nashville, Tennessee, but my family moved (back) to Ann Arbor, Michigan when I was just a few months old. I grew up in Ann Arbor; then moved to Madison, Wisconsin for college (Go Badgers!) and now I’m in Milwaukee for graduate school. Lately I’ve been dreaming about moving out to Washington DC, but leaving the Midwest seems scary and weird.

Relationship statues: very single at the moment.

Family unit: Mom, Dad and older sister Elizabeth, plus her husband Matt.

mom and dad on their wedding day.

mom and dad on their wedding day.

My parents are both librarians who still live in my childhood home in Ann Arbor, and my sister and brother in law are currently living in Charleston, South Carolina—she’s an engineer and he’s an officer in the Navy. I’m pretty independent from my family; I only talk to my parents or my sister every few weeks, but I love them dearly and I’m so grateful that they are always there when I need them.

with my big sis, although she hates when i call her that.

with my big sis, although she hates when i call her that. ignorance is bliss…

Fun facts: I’m short and loud and  a little weird. I’m an introvert, but a very friendly one. I sing to myself when I’m doing homework. I’m a picky/selective eater. I love country music. I like an organized workspace. I have a weakness for red haired men. I’m an over planner. And I have a lot of thoughts!

a holiday party last year..this is not my normal attire.

a holiday party last year…this is not my normal attire.