This blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 5 seconds. If not, visit:
www.dessertswithbenefits.com

About

This blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in a few seconds. If not, click here:
www.dessertswithbenefits.com


Jessica's Dream:  to become a Registered Dietician and open up a healthy bakery!


I forgot to shave my stache!


Juuust kidding!


Random Info...
I've done the Polar Dip 4x (the pics are of my first!)



<< This is my African Grey parrot, Silvee
<< My Yellow-Collared Macaw, Emee
<< And my sister's dog, Jax

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1992-2010:


     I was born and raised in a quiet, homey neighborhood in Calgary, Alberta (Canada).  Like most kids, I ate whatever I pleased.  I used to eat boxes and boxes of Snickers bars, Costco-sized bags of Cadbury's chocolate Easter eggs, and enough candy to fill dozens of those Halloween trick-or-treat pumpkin head baskets.  But when I was about to turn eight, my father got a job offer and we moved to the United States.





     << At age ten, this was the meaning of Christmas to me: chocolate Turtles, a large chocolate Kinder Surprise, and Spongebob  (hah, I was a kid!)

     Middle school was the pinnacle of my candy addiction.  I was known as the "Hershey Girl," the "Sourpatch Girl," and even just the plain old, "girl with candy."  (I went through candy phases)








     Hershey, Godiva, Lindt . . . milk chocolate, white chocolate, Belgian chocolate etc, they were all my favorite!  So much in fact, that I associated the word, "mall," not with shopping, but with the wonderful Lindt store.  I could live in that place (back then and today.  Don't get me wrong, I still have a serious passion for chocolate!)






     Jumping forward to my sophomore year in high school, I was still plagued with my addiction to sweets.  I remember grabbing three chocolate bars on my way out the door every day to school.  One for breakfast, one during break, and one on the bus ride home  (I am still amazed that I never gained weight considering my poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, nevertheless, I was "skinny-fat").

     If I ran out of Hershey bars or forgot to bring them, I would drop by the vending machine and get "fruit" snacks.  When my blood sugar dropped, I would buy some Doritos.  I needed $20 a week to fund my vending machine visits, and another $20 to support my hefty lunches.  After every meal I felt gross, sick--too much sugar, unhealthy fats and preservatives--but for some reason I continued to eat the unhealthy foods I had always eaten.







     When I became a junior, I got a job at Auntie Anne's (the pretzel shop).  In just three months, I had gained twelve pounds!  One day, I finally got sick of spending thirty minutes every morning trying to find an outfit, not to look pretty, just one that would fit properly.



     And what was the answer to my rapid weight gain?  Oh, just buy those 100-calorie Oreo packages and stop eating those pretzels dunked in butter every time they began to look dry.




    That didn't fly.  << The pic is me eating a whole box of the real Oreos!  The artificial sweeteners, the processed flour, the ingredients ending in "ate," etc . . . they just made me want more (read the nutrition page for more info on "the dangerous three")

     Processed foods controlled me.  I would choose them any day over my favorite fruits like grapes, pineapple and bananas.  My sugar addiction turned me into a person that I didn't want to be:  an emotional rollercoaster with crazy cravings, lethargic and sick all the time.  I didn't want food to get in the way of who I can and should be.  I just wanted to be healthy!


     In my senior year of high school, I went vegetarian in that attempt.  In certain aspects, my diet was healthy, but overall my meals were not balanced.  I ate bread, fruits and veggies all day--I didn't do research on how to do veg the right way! Without knowing what harm I was doing to my body, I later went vegan.  I loved how it was a challenge, and it was fun learning about foods that I had never heard of before, like tempeh and alfafa.




     Soon, though, my meals became monotonous.  I got bored of the same "safe" vegan meals every day.  So, I sat in the cooking/baking section of Barnes & Noble for hours at a time to find some good cookbooks.  I came across Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and bought it right away.  I probably made half of the recipes in the book!  I loved the recipes and all, but I found that whenever I ate them I would get the same feeling I had always gotten:  sugar-rushes and sugar-crashes, always wanting to eat the entire batch, and getting hungry again within minutes.  I had always hated those feelings, and now I understand why I felt it.  It was all of the excess, refined and added sugar, processed all-purpose flour, and the "vegan margarine"  (the 3 things your tongue loves, and your abs hate).  Even though those cookies were vegan, they were certainly not healthy.

     During the summer before college, I quit veganism altogether because I found out I wasn't doing it the healthy way, and being healthy was the reason I went vegan in the first place!  When I went to college, I gave up the vegan-cookie baking because baking (as a whole) was not a passion of mine yet, nor was I ever successful at it  (I never followed the directions.  I put whatever ingredient closest to me into the mixing bowl, not knowing that baking requires a precise order).  Baking was just something to do when I wanted cookies, or, "vegan" cookies.  Two months into my first year of college, I felt some serious baking withdrawal symptoms.  I found myself looking at FoodGawker almost every day for good recipes to bake the moment I stepped into the door of my home!

     I had come across dozens of blogs claiming that their baked goods were healthy.  I realized that maybe that was what I needed:  less processed foods and more natural foods.  But when I looked at those recipes, I asked, "Why is there so much sugar in this cookie recipe?" or, "Why is there a cup of butter if this is claiming to be 'healthy?'"  Whole wheat flour doesn't automatically make a recipe healthy, it's all about the batter as a whole.  That was when I realized that I wanted to bake using only healthy ingredients.  Then I realized I wanted to eat only healthy foods.  I wanted to be healthy for real.  First I switched from white Wonder Bread to 100% whole grain bread, then chocolate milk to plain, skim milk, then Welch's "fruit" snacks to real fruit, etc . . . and was it hard?  No, it was actually very easy!  Then I wondered what else I could improve.  This epiphany snowballed into me going on a balanced, whole food diet that was packed with vitamins and minerals to make up for all the years without those essential nutrients--no more added sugars, no unnecessarily long ingredient labels and no more butter . . . more fruits, more whole foods and more avocado!

     I mean, I was always a little grossed out when I saw the Pop Tarts ingredient list filling up half the package.  And after I learned about partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats, and other food additives, I was really turned off to Pop Tarts and those Oreos I ate in that picture above.  I couldn't believe that for 18 years I had been shoving all this garbage into my body.



Dec. 2010:






     This whole food diet isn't even a diet, it has become my permanent lifestyle, and it is everything I have been looking for.


<< that's a bowl of fruit
(no chocolate bars anywhere in sight!)








Jan. 2011-now:


     Healthy.  It's what I strive for.  I minimize processed foods to a complete minimum/none at all.  I eat whole foods, limit sugar, and try to get tons of fruits and vegetables.  To see what I keep in my pantry, go to the Dormroom Pantry Staples page.  Since I have gone on this whole food "diet," I feel like every aspect of my life has gotten better--I have constant energy levels, I am fuller for longer (so no more grazing from my cravings!) and I feel like I manage my stress very well now.  Despite living around other students who get the flu and catch every cold they come across, I haven't gotten sick once, even with these close quarters, even with their constant sneezing!  Getting sick is the last thing anyone, especially a student, needs.


     Along with healthier eating, my goal to exercise every day.  As a student it may seem impractical, but I found that if my goal was to go to the gym three times a week, I would put it off to do something else, like clean my room, study or bake.  I realized that there are 24 hours in a day, you have to choose how to use it.  An hour-long bike ride, jog, Muscle Pump or Boot Camp class takes the same amount of time (or even less) as it does to lazily watch a show on TV.  There are even super intense, 12-minute workouts that can surely fit into a busy day.  Even as a full-time student, there are hours out of my week where I can take a break and spend some time at the gym.  One hour from your schedule is not a big deal.  Plus, exercise gives a sense of accomplishment, motivation and strength (physically and mentally), and it's a good break between homework assignments or different tasks.  Going to the gym is part of my daily routine now, so it's not a big deal if I miss a few days, whereas if I only exercised a couple times a week, it would matter to miss those crucial days.


     Through healthy eating and varied exercises (cardio + strength training) I have finally rid myself of that "skinny-fat" look I had just one year ago, and I actually have some muscle!


*flexes muscles*

     Remember when I said I stopped veganism the summer before college?  I found out I wasn't doing veg the healthy way by meeting with a Registered Dietician, something I would recommend everyone to do.  The R.D. took my body weight and BMI, and gave me a list of suggested foods to eat for a balanced diet... a great, long list of delicious varied foods, a list that didn't describe my three-month-long, bread, fruits and veggies vegan diet!

     The next summer, I went back to the R.D. for updates.  I had come a long way in just one year--I was eating a healthy and balanced diet full of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and protein, I maintained an exercise routine that included both cardio and strength-training, and just started to live a normal, active lifestyle!  The R.D. took my body weight and BMI once more, and came back with the results.  I had gained eleven pounds...

     ...

     of lean muscle!  And lost two pounds of fat.  Hah, did I scare you?  ;)  That's pretty good for one year, right?  And, one year in college!  Ever since I started living this active lifestyle, my daily calorie requirement has nearly doubled.  Back in high school, I used to gain weight by eating 1,500 calories a day.  Now, I need about 3,000 just to maintain!  I feel like one of the guys, constantly eating and food always on the mind  (to see a typical "day in the life" of eats for me, check out the FAQ page)

     Eating healthy, along with taking care of the body, mind and soul, takes a lot of time, care and effort, but it is 100% worth it.  My new lifestyle has made me strive to be a better human being;  it allowed me to respect myself and the world and people around me.  My new lifestyle is all about balance, in both food and my mood!  Getting muddled in life's obstacles, tearing yourself down with those "screw it" moments, and giving in to crazy, emotional cravings does not describe balance, but rather, the unbalanced lifestyle I chose to live just a short while ago.  After January 2011, my life has truly changed, and all for the better.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Photo Credits: Vanessa S.

38 comments:

  1. I came across your blog as I browsed around on foodgawker. I absolutely love this! I am a college student too and I love to bake. Unfortunately I don't have a kitchen at school so I bake when I go home and I always take out half the sugar and find alternatives to using oil and butter [I am looking to try applesauce now that I have tried using yogurt a few times!]. I have my own baking blog as well but it isn't as professional and amazing as yours. I always envisioned my blog to be something like yours and I will look to yours for inspiration [if you don't mind].

    Keep it up! I agree with the struggle to eat healthy in college dorms and exercise and I try to get healthy snacks too. I love to shop at Trader Joe's because they have a much wider array of healthy options for an affordable price. I love their trail mix to eat as a snack [as well as lots and lots of fruit].

    Anyways, thank you for doing this!! I will definitely visit whenever I think of baking but can't find a healthy recipe alternative. Keep up the fantastic work!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi! I just discovered your blog and I absolutely love it!! I enjoyed reading about your journey to healthy living (mine's similar) and I can't wait to hear & see more from your blog :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Jessica,

    Love your blog at chockohlawtay.blogspot.com! We were wondering if we can feature it on our Knapkins. In July, we launched a new network to showcase the most delicious dishes created by a community of passionate foodies and food bloggers. Come by and play a game of 'food duel', or take a look at our top dishes of the week and get inspired with new recipe ideas. Once you submit your foodblog, we will automatically add photos from your new blog entries and notify you once its ready. You can submit your foodblog www.Knapkins.com/signup/blogger

    Have a scrumptious day,

    Christine & The Knapkins Team

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love your recipes :)
    It's really cool to hear success stories about people around my age. A lot of people my age could care less about good nutrition and living healthily. By the way name is also Jessica and my dream is similar to yours. It's to become a nutritional counselor and own natural bakery/cafe!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey HealthierHappierJeffie, I guess we are virtual twins then! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I sound like the rest of these folks indeed! Found your blog and wholeheartedly agree with everything you say and believe - it is like I am saying it myself!

    I appreciate your blog bc I normally get frustrated with having to go through attempt after attempt and never quite getting it right!

    Perhaps we can learn together!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Jessica! I just found your blog and I really like it! I too want to become a Registered Dietitian, and have an enourmous sweet tooth!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Okay, I'm not sure if you have seen me around commenting on your blog (love it so much!). I can't keep my eyes off your creations and its amazing that I have the same dreams as you do, though my parents pretend to not to know. I believe that you can achieve what you want to-- you're so talented!You're an inspiration to me and I mean all I've said!
    -- Qi Ting
    PS: Any suggestions to make healthier frangipane? Been trying for ages but I keep failing (too dry!)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Qi Ting- Thank you so much, I appreciate every single one of your comments :) As for the frangipane, I've never tried it but I looked at a bunch of recipes. Maybe you can replace the butter with a few tablespoons of coconut oil and the rest with regular liquid oil and some additional applesauce. You can try using large slices of moist fruits (like peaches) to add moisture. Hope this helps!
    -Jess

    ReplyDelete
  10. I found your blog today looking for a healthy pound cake for my husband. I am going to try your lemon pound cake without the icing. Any chance you know the caloric value of a specific serving size? I can probably figure it out calculating all the ingredients but if you know.....makes it easy for me!!!
    Thanks!! Kathy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy- 1/8 of the recipe is the serving size (1 slice if you make the large loaf). Without the icing, 1 serving/slice has 246 calories, 5.9g fat, 40.5g carbs, 4.25g fiber, 7.5g protein.

      -Jess

      Delete
  11. Hello Jessica! Just want to say how inspiring your blog is:) I recently started on an anti-candida diet and your recipes using stevia are just perfect!! And I also want to proclaim my love for bodyrock.tv as well..really comes in useful for those busy college days!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello! I would like to say your blog was recommended to me by a good friend who posted your protein peanut butter balls to me. I'm a Physical Fitness Management major. Recently went vegetarian after a taking a nutrition course this semester. All your recipes are fantastic and your story is very heartwarming and encouraging. You are a great fit role model. Keep it up :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey, I have a question about your protein powders...what brand do you use? I have never tried them before and don't know where to start....LOVE your blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Deb!

      My first protein powder was Optimum Nutrition's vanilla and chocolate:
      http://www.amazon.com/Optimum-Nutrition-Standard-Double-Chocolate/dp/B000QSNYGI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333914320&sr=8-1

      I now use Jay Robb's powders because they use stevia instead of fake sugars:
      http://www.amazon.com/Jay-Robb-Enterprises-Vanilla-Isolate/dp/B0001OP0RS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1333914374&sr=8-3

      Both are delicious, but I think the winner is Optimum Nutrition's natural protein powder (it's super creamy, sweet and satisfying!). I recommend this to try first:
      http://www.amazon.com/Optimum-Nutrition-Standard-Natural-Vanilla/dp/B000GIURM2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333914313&sr=8-1

      Hope you like it!

      -Jess

      Delete
  14. since there is no ask box that i could see - I vaguely recall you saying somewhere that you have some recipes you really want to tackle/make healthy...I also vaguely recall you wanting to make fruit curd healthy.

    well i saw a website that has a vegan recipe and maybe you can use that as a starting point?
    http://havecakewilltravel.com/2012/04/09/tartsy-fartsy/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you are talking about my Recipe Wishlist:
      http://chockohlawtay.blogspot.com/p/recipe-wishlist.html

      And thank you so much, that recipe looks like a winner! Now I can finally make lemon curd and maybe even a lemon meringue pie? Who knows... ;)

      Delete
  15. I just read through your story, and I love it! So inspirational :) I started on my personal weight loss journey (my highest weight was 230lbs) just over a year ago. I began by purely working out and eating the "diet" foods you can buy in the store - the ones with all the chemicals and fake ingredients. But a few months into it, I realized that exercise alone wasn't doing enough, and that I had to change my eating habits too. Now, 13 months after the first day I started working out on a 3-day-per-week basis, I not only now workout 5-6 days per week, but I eat almost completely 'clean' and healthy! And my god, do I feel incredible! Physically, I've lost 60lbs of fat total, and have gained plenty of muscle and strength all over. Mentally, I'm so much happier & confident, and I have a ton of energy too! I'm glad I came across your blog (I too have a MAJOR sweet tooth!). I look forward to trying out your amazing recipes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, that's amazing! And a BIG congratulations on your weight loss, I think THAT is the inspiration here. Fat is the hardest thing to lose, and it's great that you've gained muscle (another challenging task)!

      I hope you find a recipe you like! Tell me how it goes :)

      -Jess

      Delete
  16. wow- I feel like it could have been me writing this! Our views are so similar and you even used the word 'balance' which is exactly how I live my life. I found you via Foodgawker, but now i will be checking back! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jo! I'm glad someone out there feels the same way. Hope to see you soon :)
      -Jess

      Delete
  17. What a great story, Jessica! You were smart to change your eating habits in the first place and to keep on looking for solutions. Not many people take the initiative at such a young age, I'm sure you're already a great role model for LOTS of teens (and adults) out there looking for a healthier lifestyle. Thank you for sharing! - Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow. What a great and inspiring story! Subscribing today. I look forward to reading more healthy recipes and tips. Keep up the great work!

    - Nic

    ReplyDelete
  19. This blog is amazing Jessica. After reading your 'About Me' I'm even more psyched to see a naturopath and get on my way eating smarter. I think I can relate to everything you say about going vegan the right way. That's what I want to do. BE HEALTHY! I went veggo to be healthy and vegan to get stricter but I still love to get into those sugary baked-treats from all the cute blogs. i wonder how many others are doing the same thing too.

    ReplyDelete
  20. You're wonderfully creative and a diligent experimenter! I absolutely love your recipes, photography and blog design. And the nutrition labels, of course ;)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love your blog, Jessica! I wish I'd found it sooner--I, too, did vege the 'wrong' way, but unlike you, I haven't tried to back to it and do it right--maybe it's worth finding an RD :) all the best in school! looks like you've found a perfect career path for your passion :D

    ReplyDelete
  22. Has anyone ever told you that you look a bit like Vanessa Hudgens? (thats a compliment btw (: your gorgeous)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No I've never heard that! But thanks :)

      Delete
  23. Wow, I don't know how I haven't come across your blog earlier!! I just stumbled upon it through foodgawker (your orange almond cake, in particular) and I absolutely love it! I, too, am a food crazy (healthy food crazy) gal who loves to bake with simple natural ingredients. We have some similar ideals which are refreshing to see on another blog! Anyways, I'm now a subscriber. :) keep up the great work and I can't wait to make that cake!!
    - Alex

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Alex! I've been to your blog quite a few times, I really liked your post about the health benefits of orange peels... how fitting for the Whole Orange Almond Cake, right??
      Can't wait to see more of your posts :)

      Delete
    2. I was thinking the same thing! I love the idea of throwing the whole orange in a recipe! Don't know why I didn't think of that before! haha. Thanks! ;) stay tuned, I plan on making your orange almond cake soon!

      Delete
  24. are you my long lost twin? i too want to become an RD and start my own bakery!

    ReplyDelete
  25. super cute "about me" page!!! :) the polar dip is amazing!!! wow. (And thanks for submitting all your yummies to findingvegan. love seeing them in the queue!) :)
    ~ kathy healthy-happy-life.com & findingvegan.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. You and your blog are inspiring, so I nominated you for an award! http://wp.me/p18CG9-FU (I love all of your sweet and healthy recipes; they make me drool every time!)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Jessica,
    After recently making the miraculous discovery of your heavenly blog, I've been hooked on it day after day. It's so amazing. The photos are mouthwatering, the posts are entertaining to read, and the layout is very pretty. What I really want to do is MAKE YOUR RECIPES!
    BUT I can't seem to find things like quinoa flour, brown rice flour, butter extract etc. in Taiwan (where I live) :'( I've already dragged my mom back and forth between numerous stores and markets, but no good :[. Being a high school freshman, I can't really afford shipping fee if I were to shop on Amazon either.
    So sad. So so so sad.
    Can you help me? A suggestion, maybe?
    so desperate, i am.
    -Renee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Renee,

      I'm so sorry you are having trouble finding these ingredients. Unfortunately, products vary from country to country. My suggestion would be to shop at online stores, order items in bulk (a larger amount usually comes cheaper), and order in one large order to avoid excessive shipping costs. I don't know much about shipping costs for other countries, but for me, these are my favorite online shopping websites right now:

      amazon.com
      iherb.com
      nuts.com

      You can also google how to make certain ingredients at home, such as quinoa flour and brown rice flour. Butter extract is not a necessity, however if you want that traditional butter taste like typical unhealthy baked goods, I think it is definitely worth searching for.

      Also, you can try meeting with grocery store owners near you to start selling certain products. I know my sister filled out a form at Whole Foods to start selling Amande yogurt and some other foods and they did. Anyways, I hope you find the perfect solution in Taiwan :)

      -Jessica

      Delete
    2. Thank you for replying so *very* considerately! I'll be embarking on my journey to healthy baking!

      Delete
  28. Thank you for replying so *very* considerately! I'll be embarking on my journey to healthy baking!

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...