Fro-Yo Ain’t Yo Friend!

5 Feb

fraicheyogurt.com

Or is it?

It has come to my attention that you guys seemed to really enjoy my pro/con coffee list. It has also come to my attention that everyone and their uncle loves fro-yo, especially when you have access to the nectar of the (cow) gods on or near your campus like my friends and I do. SO. MANY. TOPPINGS.

I’m sure you’re trembling with anticipation, so without further ado, I present to you a smattering of fun facts about your favorite frozen food.

PRO: Fro-yo has live active cultures in it. This means that there are blobs of bacteria floating around in your sweet treat. Sounds disgusting right? Well, it’s not! This good bacteria combats the bad bacteria in your tummy that makes it so grumpy. It helps improve your digestion! Think of it as a more delicious, more dessert like cousin of DanActive probiotic yogurt.

CON: Low calorie my ass! No, really. It goes straight to your ass. Flavored fro-yo contains buckets of added sugar, so it’s not really as “low calorie” as you think. “But, Jess! What about sugar-free?” … Don’t even get me started on the limitless reasons why artificial sugars are Satan’s spawn.

PRO: Ever wonder what the difference is between frozen yogurt and ice cream? Well, prepare to be enlightened! The main ingredient of frozen yogurt is milk while the main ingredient of ice cream is cream (wait, really?). What’s important here is that whole milk hovers around 4% fat content, while cream is 6-8% fat. So, technically, fro-yo is the healthier choice.

fro-yo vs. ice cream at a glance

PRO: Remember the probiotics I mentioned earlier? They make it so that the unfortunate lactose-intolerants of the world can enjoy this yummy dessert , even in the presence of an extremely good looking date, without sweating bullets about jetting to the toilet less than 30 minutes later.

CON: For some reason completely unbeknown to me, some yogurt manufacturers apparently do something called “heat-treating” to their yogurt. This seems kind of stupid, considering the fact that this heat-treating business zaps yogurt of all of its live active cultures and nutritional benefits, thereby removing anything and everything that makes it yogurt. So, try to find out whether or not your fr0-yo is heat-treated. Because if it is, you are being deceived into consuming a UFO (unidentified food object) completely devoid of all of the awesome pros I have shared with you thus far.

PRO/CON: Like I said before; SO. MANY. TOPPINGS. Would you like to put a cupcake on top of your fro-yo? No problem. How about Reese’s, Cocoa Puffs, and chocolate chips? No problem. Cookie dough? Check. Fruit? Check. Gummy bears, M&M’s, and Oreos? Check, check, and check. If you’re worried about finding the perfect topper to your tower of frozen goodness, fret not. BUT, I’m not going to tell you that it doesn’t totally defeat the purpose of fro-yo as a healthy alternative to ice cream  when you drown it in candies and processed treats.

PRO: It tastes amazing. Duh.

eugenedailynews.com

Basically, after extensive internet exploration on the pros and cons of frozen yogurt, I have come to the conclusion that it is delectable, good in moderation (as every tasty thing in this world seems to be), made to be eaten with as many candy toppings as possible, technically better for you if you forego the candy toppings and choose fruit and granolas instead, and better for you than ice cream.

As I wrap up this post, I can’t help but notice that I am beginning to feel overcome by an intense craving for fro-yo (chocolate yogurt with crushed Oreos and plain mochi is my go-to)… so I apologize if reading this little page of factoids has ignited within you some sort of agonizing need for frozen yogurt. I suggest you march yourself to the nearest fro-yo franchise and satisfy that hankering! ;)

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Cracked Out on Coffee?

2 Feb

I dedicate this post to my roommate and my many coffee-drinking friends, all of whom I adore, and all of  whom inhale coffee at such a rate that they might as well walk around with one of those little hangers that administers it intravenously throughout the day.

Image

starbucks.com

Today, as I sip my mug of Truvia with a dash of some house blend, I bring to you the pros and cons of this popular beverage:

PRO: Coffee promotes the Einstein state of mind! Since it’s got a healthy dose of caffeine, it’s a stimulant, and it can increase information processing, alertness, attentiveness, and wakefulness. What now, Adderall?

CON: Did you accidentally indulge in a late afternoon or evening cup of liquid energy? That’s okay. There is only a four thousand percent chance that you’ll be tossing and turning until 3 am.

PRO: If you are addicted enough to be consuming around 5 cups of coffee a day, the upside is that you may be protecting yourself against the cognitive impairment of Alzheimer’s according to this super interesting mouse study.

PRO/CON: Despite its widely known addictive qualities, the FDA recognizes caffeine as a ‘safe’ drug. This means that zombified coffee consumers can tremble over their textbooks or in their cubicles with the comfort of knowing that there is not technically anything wrong with them — it’s just the caffeine doing its business.

CON: If your heart skips a beat, you might want to blame your coffee machine. Coffee consumption can cause cardiac arrhythmias (aka stupid fast or irregular heartbeats).

PRO: Because the chemical structure of caffeine is similar to that of theophylline, drinking a cup of coffee can help to alleviate asthma symptoms by opening up the bronchial airways. So if you’re allergic to your girlfriend’s cats…

CON: Caffeine makes you pee more, which can in turn make you dehydrated, if you aren’t drinking the recommended 27 glasses of water per day. But I’m sure you are.

CON: If you live in the 1600’s or frequent the great outdoors, then you’ve probably boiled coffee old Imageschool style. That’s totally cool and all, if you don’t mind high cholesterol (boiled coffee elevates blood total and LDL cholesterol because the unfiltered grounds contain the compounds cafestol and kahweol).

PRO: I know you’ve been worrying ceaselessly about developing kidney stones, but if you drink coffee on the regs, fret no more. More coffee means more pee which means a bad host environment for the crystallization of calcium oxalate which means no kidney stones for you.

CON: Drinking 4 cups a day are we? Better start upping your calcium intake. These fine Swedes discovered that consuming that amount of coffee each day can moderately increase risk of osteoporosis. That means your bones become porous and develop the superpower of being able to snap like a twig under little to no stress. Isn’t that awesome?

PRO: Fact! There is a direct positive relationship between coffee consumption and the ability to survive college. If you don’t believe me, don’t question my authority. Question any coffee drinking college student in the history of forever and they will tell you that it is so.

In conclusion: Coffee does not kill people. What does not kill you makes you stronger. Therefore, coffee makes you stronger. Well, unless you make the pot stronger, in which case it’s not really doing you many favors (except maybe saving you and your mice from Alzheimer’s).

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Attitude is Altitude

21 Mar

This was the most moving video I have seen in quite some time. If after 4 minutes and 11 seconds I was inspired, I can only imagine the amazing impact that Nick has on audiences across the world when he holds events. Now this is a man who really makes you grateful for what you have.

Nick has a point. There are way too many people in the world who think they aren’t good enough — that they aren’t worth anything. I’ve been there and done that, and let me tell you that while it’s no walk in the park, I learned one thing pretty fast: you are the only reason you think you aren’t good enough. And before you’re like, “that’s not news,” hear me out. This isn’t a “you’re your own worst enemy” spiel, but rather a “stop blaming everyone and their mom and get over yourself” spiel. I hate to break it to you, but the greatest disservice you can do to yourself as a human being is call yourself a victim. Sure, I’ve been through hell and back in a lot of ways, and plenty of you have too, but we’re stronger than that.

If you’re unhappy with yourself or your life, try taking responsibility for it instead of chalking it up to a laundry list of “poor me’s.” Maybe you have been hurt by someone you thought you could trust. Maybe you have been through something traumatic. Maybe you have watched someone you love suffer at the hand of another person, or worse, an illness. But by using those things as an excuse to call yourself victim, you are letting them get the better of you. If you ask me, your haters and your obstacles shouldn’t be getting so much as a nod from you. If you’re going to make them a part of your life at all, don’t use them as crutches. Use them as stepping stones and rise.

Brain Soup

20 Mar

Okay, I’ll be honest with you guys — I’m not feeling particularly witty today, and this is perhaps due to the fact that I spent upwards of 3 hours trying to figure out how to work a Twitter account this morning. In case you’re wondering, it definitely wasn’t worth all the effort. I haven’t got half a clue what to write about so I decided to find something that would make you laugh in lieu of my own dry humor which seems to be lacking tonight. Besides that, I feel kinda guilty for having gone AWOL for the past week… but in my defense it was finals week and I was busy making a last stitch effort to convince my teachers that I’m smarter than I act. Now it’s finally spring break, and while I’d like to act like I’m way too busy to be blogging this week, the truth of the matter is that my parents just moved to a new hometown in which I have no friends. That coupled with the fact that I can’t seem to drive in the snow (or in any weather, for that matter, according to my friends and family) without having to call AAA has left me grounded to the house with no excuse whatsoever to abandon my blog.

Guaranteed to make you grin:

A video that showcases my immature sense of humor…

Not hilarious, but holy shit!

A cat that likes to do things the hard way

Now that’s a man who can hold his liquor!

Shapeshifting Kitty?

Toxic Trouble

15 Mar

This morning, for whatever reason, I woke up with Britney Spears’ song “Toxic” stuck in my head. Yeah, talk about a nightmare. Did you know that at 29 years of age, she’s finally debuting her “most upbeat and mature album yet” on March 29th? Hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen.

On a heavier note, Spears’ song inspired me to tackle the issue of toxic relationships as today’s blog topic. I hope that this post serves as an inspiration to those of you who find yourselves lost. And if you’re at your wits end with a friend who complains about their relationship but refuses to leave it despite your support and encouragement, I hope that this post might give you clarity as well. And I don’t want to sound like an Eeyore, so I’m going to keep my attitude light for the sake of everyone’s mood. Hope you don’t mind!

So let’s start with defining and identifying characteristics of a toxic relationship. Basically, a toxic relationship is a relationship in which behaviors on the part of the toxic partner are emotionally (and sometimes phsyically) damaging to their partner. I’ve decided that there are five toxic types. Let’s get to know them:

“Independent” Ian

Ian is an independent toxic controller. He disguises his controlling behavior by asserting his independence — “You can’t control me.” Ian keeps his partner feeling insecure by rarely keeping his commitments and being essentially non-dependable. He will promise to call and not follow through. He avoids making commitments  and concrete plans, and when his partner asks for a commitment or expresses her feelings about his behavior, he accuses her of being controlling. Ian is a toxic individual because he makes his partner feel unsafe and insecure within the relationship; his unpredictable habits make her feel like she isn’t a priority. Anxiety over Ian’s behavior causes her to constantly try to “earn” his commitment, an effort that can be  very emotionally draining.

Beth the Belittler

Beth belittles and depreciates her partner by making fun of him when he tries to express his opinions, beliefs, and values, often teasing him about how stupid they are. When he asks her to stop, she will often respond with something like, “chill out, I’m just kidding,” or “can’t you take a joke?” which makes him feel as though he is overreacting. Beth also has no quams about doing this to her partner in public. Beth is toxic because when she belittles and depreciates her partner, she leads him to believe that he can’t make good decisions and that his opinions are wrong or stupid. Sometimes, Beth will even go so far as to make her partner believe that he is “lucky” to be with her, because nobody else would want him.

Bad Temper Trevor

Trevor controls his partner using intimidation. He has an often unpredictable “hair-trigger” temper that makes his partner walk on eggshells around him because she never knows what is going to set him off next. She has given up on trying to disagree with Trevor because he gets so angry. Sometimes he gets so angry that he yells, punches walls, throws things, breaks things, or hurts her. Trevor keeps this side of himself hidden from the outside world, and others often see him as a friendly, nice, likeable person. When his partner confronts him about the inappropriateness of his temper, he frequently blames his outburst on her — somehow it’s her fault that he yells and screams. In doing this, Trevor disowns responsibility for his own behavior and successfully prevents his partner from feeling that she can discuss problems with him openly.

Paranoid Pam

Pam gets jealous over her partner easily. In the beginning of their relationship, he appreciated her jealousy and even felt flattered by it. Over time, however, Pam’s jealousy got out of hand — she became more and more suspicious. She often accuses her partner of cheating on her and fabricates scenarios that lead her to such a conclusion. She becomes outraged when he interacts with any other women on any level — even when he gets a text from his good friend who has a boyfriend. Pam is so paranoid and controlling that her partner is forced to cut ties with meaningful friends for reasons that are not valid.

Deflecting David

Sometimes, David’s partner tries to express that she’s hurt, angry, or upset over something that he did. But when she tries to tell him how she’s feeling, she somehow ends up comforting him and helping him cope with his own unhappiness, hurt, or anger. David manages to deflect ownership and turn his partner into the culprit instead. He breaks down, sometimes to tears, and accuses his partner of making him feel badly. Unfortunately, she gets so caught up in comforting him that no one ends up comforting her. His behavior is harmful because by avoiding validating her feelings, David neglects his partner’s needs by manipulating her to feel guilty. Conflict aside, David often controls his partner by making her believe that she is “lucky” to be with him because no one else would love her, and sometimes he might even be verbally abusive to get his point across.

———

Maybe some of you have met Ian, Beth, Pam, David, or Trevor. Maybe you’ve met all of them — although I hope not. It’s important to note that we all experience our partners behaving in some of these ways occasionally. The difference between whether or not it is typical or toxic lies in the frequency of these behaviors: if you find any of these habits to be the norm, then you are dealing with a toxic personality. Also, it’s not uncommon for an extremely toxic person to possess traits of all five of these characters.

If you’ve never been in a toxic relationship, you probably have a lot of trouble understanding why someone would stay in one. You might be the friend who gets frustrated because you cannot for the life of yourself figure out why your friend won’t just leave already. You might be fed up with their complaining or their apparent blindness. While it’s understandable that you would feel that way, I encourage you to consider the emotional damage that a toxic personality can inflict on someone. Often, people who find themselves stuck in an unhealthy relationship have been broken down to the point where they are only a shadow of the person they were prior to the relationship. They have been made to feel worthless, invaluable, stupid, selfish, insecure and unloveable. Their toxic partner has gotten inside their head, and they are terrified that if they leave, they will never find someone who loves them again. Their self-esteem is so low, and their image of themselves is so distorted, that they genuinely believe that they don’t deserve better.

So, what can you do to help? Remind them, persistently, that they deserve better. Remind them who they were before this relationship, and remind them that people (including you) will still love them when they end it. And above all, be patient, because it will take time and effort to bring them back. I know that usually when someone is in an emotional deadlock with a toxic person, what their friends and family have to say will likely fall on deaf ears. So even if you stop trying to get through to them, at the very least make sure that they know that when they are ready to take that step, they have a support system waiting for them.


Happy belated Pi Day (:

Does it Really?

13 Mar

We’re all familiar with the phrase “my life sucks.” I know I’ve said it, and you probably have too. We all have bad days, and sometimes it feels like things couldn’t get any worse. But it seems to me that we often forget how privileged and lucky we really are. So before you casually announce that your life sucks, think about:

  • The 105,000 people who have died today.
  • The 1 billion undernourished people in the world right now.
  • The 18,000 people who have died of hunger today.
  • The 1.3 billion people in the world who don’t have access to safe drinking water.
  • The 2.2 million deaths of children under the age of 5 this year.
  • The 30.6 million people currently infected with HIV.
  • The 1.5 million people that have died from cancer this year.
  • The 210,000 suicides that have occurred this year.
  • The 43% of the world population that lives without basic sanitation.
  • The 12% of the world population that can’t read this blog post.
  • The 88% of the people in the world that don’t have a computer.
  • The fact that if you have a fridge for your food, a closet for your clothes, a bed to sleep in and a roof over your head, you are richer than 75% of the world population.

Does it really?

Appreciate what you have.

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Ditch the Double Double

9 Mar

Not to brag or anything, but a few weeks ago I made the best discovery ever. Most of you make your way to my blog thanks to Facebook, which means that most of you are my college-aged friends living off of the infamous “student budget.” Personally, I have eating habits a five year old could only fantasize about. I devour chocolate at an alarming rate, eat Oreos for dinner, and can down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting. The good news is that my body is kind enough to keep my thighs and tummy in check with a decent metabolism, but the bad news is that there are some seriously dangerous side effects that result from eating habits like mine. Believe it or not, Ramen is about as good for you as a bucket of salt for dinner (yum) and while it’s so much cheaper and easier, fast food presents the same problems.

I’m in college too. I get why you don’t cook. To research a recipe that sounds good, write down the ingredients, check whether you have said ingredients, fetch the remainders from the grocery store, and cook dinner would require lifting too many fingers. Not to mention the fact that for us, hunger sets in pretty quickly when we walk in the front door after a long day of work, and we don’t have the patience for all that crap. But behold…

Pork Tenderloin DinnerA solution! Weeks ago, I discovered the most amazing website called My Fridge Food. Why is it amazing? Because it compiles a list of quick, easy recipes that use food you already have! All you have to do is fill out the elaborate checklist of products (they include literally everything edible) and click “search for recipes.” Then, their database gives you a list of recipes to choose from. For each recipe, it tells you how many of the ingredients you have, what you’re missing (whether it’s an optional, mandatory, or nice to have ingredient), and how long it will take to make. You can also browse by category: appetizers, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, dinners for two (ooh la la), desserts, and snacks! If you’re in a rush or just too starving to wait, you can browse by cook time too. I made a delicious tilapia with balsamic dressing in five minutes. So instead of making a bee line for a box of Cheez-Its or a Hot Pocket, make an account with My Fridge Food and have something healthier to eat!

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