Classic “Cheesecake” Parfait Recipe

Recipes

Hey guys! Sorry it’s been quite a while since my last post. Summer’s been flying by so quickly I can’t seem to catch it.  With the blink of an eye, school is just over 3 weeks away now…

On a side note, I’ve just finished my internship at a sensory science research center in Singapore called MMR. It’s been really eye-opening, especially about opening my eyes to the realities of working… let me just say it’s not as cool as it seems. But I’ll save that for another post!

Thankfully, summer has also given me time to try out many new recipes of my own and also experiment in the kitchen. And with the immense sweet tooth that I have, it’s not a surprise that I’ve been trying to find ways to put just a slightly healthier spin on the delectable, indulgent, and almost sinful desserts.

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All the ingredients for the filling!

One of my all time favorite desserts of all-time is a classic cheesecake. Creamy, cheesy, smooth, with an equally delicious and crunchy base makes for the best experience. Ughhhh, thinking about this right now is making me drool.

 

The one downside is, though, that cheesecake is possibly on the other side of the spectrum in terms of how good it is for you. Loads of sugar, cheese, milk, butter, cream — yeah, let’s just say too much of it is not that good for you. That’s why I wanted to try my hand at putting a healthier spin on it (and also easier to make!)

 

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Toasted Oats 🙂

For the base, I knew I needed something that was both crumbly and crunchy but also tasty and also slightly buttery. That’s why I decided to use granola and crush it up to get that cookie like consistency, and adding some melted coconut oil helped it stay moist and delicious.

Next, came the hardest part, the filling. How are you supposed to maintain the creamy and smooth texture, cheesy yet sweet flavor, without all the loaded fats? Tofu came to mind. Tofu is basically a soybean-based thing that comes in different textures. Silken tofu, which is normally used in soups, is very creamy and delicious (in my opinion). The texture is also quite similar to that of a very delicate cheesecake. Though the tofu taste is not that strong, I had to use something to mask the soybean taste. I knew that greek yoghurt and instant vanilla pudding mix tastes really close to cheesecake. Paired together, this filling results in a light, fluffy, “cheesecake” mixture.

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“Cheesecake” Filling

To add a touch of color and flavor (and to keep this classic!), I made a strawberry jam-like topping. It’s really simple (I literally threw a few frozen strawberries in a pan and reduced it with some cornstarch and natural sweetener) it really adds to the flavor and makes the dessert come full circle.

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Look at the color…..

I’ll admit that this is not exactly like cheesecake (nothing beats the real thing), but it is a great alternative when you are craving something sweet. It also makes for really cute and easy desserts for bringing to dinner/lunch parties or gatherings!

 

Layered 'Cheesecake' Parfait

  • Servings: 6 cheesecake trifles/pots
  • Difficulty: easy/medium
  • Print

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Ingredients

Filling

  • 100g silken tofu
  • ¾ cup Greek yoghurt
  • 2 heaped teaspoon instant cheesecake pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Base

  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Strawberry Topping

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple/agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees Celcius (375 degrees Fahrenheit)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tofu, Greek yoghurt, instant pudding mix, and vanilla extract. Cover with cling wrap and set aside in fridge to chill.
  3. Next, combine the ¾ cup rolled oats, 2 tablespoons honey, and dash of cinnamon in a bowl. Mix it so that the honey in equally distributed around the rolled oats. Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, or until oats are toasted.
  4. Meanwhile, place 1 cup frozen strawberries in a pan over medium heat, and use spatula to break it up (until it is a bit jam like). Stir in the maple/agave syrup, 1 to 2 tablespoons depending on how sweet you like it to be. Add in the 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken it up. Simmer for a few minutes till the sauce is slightly thick and “jam” like.
  5. Take it off the heat, then mix in the chia seeds, and let it cool.
  6. Once you have taken your oats out of the oven, pulse the oats in a food processor until it resembles coarse crumbs. Combine 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of honey in a small bowl. Pour this mixture over the toasted oats and spread thoroughly. Bake in the oven for another 5-10 minutes at 165 degrees (375 degrees Fahrenheit) until toasted.
  7. Once everything is cool and you are ready to serve (and eat!), start layering. You can do this however you like, but I like to start with a base of the granola “cookie” crumbs, filling, then more crumbs, then more filling, then add the strawberries on the top.
  8. Eat immediately! This doesn’t taste exactly like the decadent cheesecake, but it comes very close when you want something sweet, silky, and creamy, and helps quell those cravings from time to time. It’s also really cute for serving at a dinner party/gathering.

Nutritional Info:

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Hope you enjoy!

Haakon Superfoods and Juice Review 

Eating Out

Haakon Café is a Scandinavian Superfoods and Juice Cafe in SG, serving up a variety of food from acai to salad and grain bowls. They cater to various dietary needs, supplying low carb, vegan, or paleo-friendly dishes.

According to their website, their mission is to “help everyone be empowered, strong and properly nourished through serving unique, incredibly delicious & healthy food while providing a warm and welcome environment to enjoy it in.”

I’ve personally eaten here multiple times before, but they since then they’ve revamped their menu to include many new dishes. So on a casual Saturday night after a run, me and my sister decided to try it out.

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At first look, Haakon café at Somerset 313 (the branch we went to) has a very inviting look, with a very rustic and slightly hipster vibe, with wooden tables paired with green plants.

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First glance at the menu provided a splendid array of options from us to choose from: smoothies, Smoothie bowls, Specialty bowls, Salads and Zoodles, All day brunch, and even a Norwegian speciality “Smorrebrod”. Everything looked and sounded quite delicious, but but unfortunately, we were only 2 people.

Me and my sister each settled for one main and one smoothie bowl.

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Cacao Bliss Bowl ($7.90, $12.90) is a superfood bowl with a base chia seed pudding, paired with a creamy blend of Banana, Acai, and pure cacao, and topped seasonal fruits, granola, almonds and cashews, and cacao nibs.

The small size came in a cup, and it was very  aesthetically pleasing and dare I say instagram-worthy. However it was a bit hard to mix in the fruits (because of the cup size) and I had to eat most of the fruits off the top first. The taste of the Acai was spot on, very much like a rich chocolate gelato. However, the consistency could do with a bit of improvement; while most of it was quite creamy, there were still some icy chunks that needed additional blending. The chia seed pudding at the bottom yields for a different texture and creates a unique pairing. Nevertheless, I devoured this entire cup quite easily!

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Haakon’s Bibimbap ($10.90) is a brown rice bowl topped with curry yoghurt cauliflower, pickled radish and pumpkin, shredded carrots, onsen egg, mushroom medley, coleslaw, and furikake. A vegetarian dish, this bowl packed a real punch. Each component of the dish was packed with lots of flavor, and it had an even more unique taste when mixed together. The contrast of textures of creamy and crunchy complemented each other well. If you like the taste of pickled vegetables (slightly sweet, slightly sour, quite refreshing), this dish is one to try.

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The Salmon Poké Bowl ($15.90) is a brown rice bowl topped with Salmon Sashimi, Mentaiko Mayo, fish roe, Avocado, Onsen egg, shredded carrots, mango, sage dressing, and furikake. The serving size of the salmon was pretty generous, with big cubes of fresh salmon sashimi. The interesting addition of a mango cubes added a slightly sweet flavor profile to the bowl. Overall, quite delicious, but slightly hard to distinguish from other Poke bowls out there.

Overall, Haakon Café is a great place to eat for health-conscious individuals looking for a variety of foods to try. Though on the slightly pricier side, it really does change the way you look at ‘healthy food’ – it can be delicious too!

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Price per pax: $10-20

Locations: 

313 Somerset: 313 Orchard Road, #B2-14

Holland Village: Raffles @ Holland V, 118 Hollands Ave, #01-03

One Raffles Place: 1 Raffles Place, #01-11/12

One KM Shopping Centre: 11 Tanjong Katong, #02-K3, Singapore 437157

Website: https://www.haakon.com.sg/ 

 

Healthy Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe

Recipes

This pancake recipe is so easy, healthy and fluffy (what more could you want?) I’ve made pancakes many times and this recipe never fails to make the best traditional pancakes. It’s so good, you won’t even notice it’s healthy!

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My ideal Saturday morning consists of waking up late, watching some TV or Youtube Videos in bed, then getting up to prepare a BOMB breakfast! Unfortunately during the school year, that doesn’t really happen, especially being busy with so many activities, classes, and mounds of school work. Thankfully, summer break means no more of all of that, and my ideal Saturday morning could actually become reality!

For me, breakfast is the most important and arguably the BEST meal of the day. Firstly, breakfast foods are the best foods (you can have sweet, savory, or anything in between!) and it also keeps me fueled for the rest of the day. I don’t know about you, but without a good, hearty breakfast, my brain and body won’t function correctly for the rest of the day.

That’s why I LOVE having pancakes for breakfast, especially on the weekends! Not only are they super fluffy and delicious, they are also customizable to any preference, and not to mention gives me an excuse to eat more sweet stuff 🙂

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Pancakes in the pan!

I’ve made different variations of pancakes many times but had failed to nail the perfect traditional buttermilk pancake. After looking through hundreds of different recipes online, I decided to take some of the best tips and tricks and make my own variation. They turned out perfect~~

For me, the best pancakes are golden-brown, fluffy, subtly sweet, crispy on the edges, tender in the middle – being stackable is also a plus! I realised that baking powder and baking soda could really add to the fluffiness of the pancake. In addition, I also decided to make my own buttermilk (using milk + vinegar) to get that perfect traditional buttermilk flavor, and it worked perfectly!!

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Making my own ‘buttermilk’!

 

I also saw a tip online that mentioned adding applesauce to the pancake batter, which has no sugar but adds sweetness, and it didn’t fail. I also decided to add in 1-2 tablespoons of agave syrup to get additional sweetness to shine through (I have a big sweet tooth!) These pancakes were just right in sweetness and left my sugar cravings satisfied!

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One important part of ‘healthifying’ these pancakes was to substitute regular flour with whole wheat flour. Because whole wheat flour is a lot denser and heavier than normal flour, I was afraid that completely replacing all the flour would change the texture and taste a lot. I resorted to half all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour, which was the perfect compromise – the pancakes retained the fluffy texture while having the extra benefits of wholegrain!

 

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These pancakes were just TOO GOOD, and let’s just say I was quite proud of myself 🙂 My entire family loved it too! It was the perfect way to spend a lazy (and much-needed) Saturday morning.

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Yes, that’s ice cream AND caramel syrup in the background 🙂

 

Tips:

  • The pancake batter will be quite thick, but don’t worry – it’s the key to producing fluffy pancakes!
  • You can use this pancake recipe as a base and add any toppings/flavor variations you want! Let your imagination run wild : )
  • For the buttermilk, try to use actual milk (not plant-based milk, it won’t react to create the reaction needed to thicken the milk – it’s chemistry ), and try to use 2% fat or above, as it will retain more of the traditional buttermilk flavor
  • If the pancake batter is too thick, spoon it into the pan and spread it out using a spoon or spatula to the desire shape.
  • Use a half-half combination of white + whole wheat flour or 100% white whole wheat flour (100% whole wheat flour will possibly be too dense!)

 

Hope you guys enjoy!

 

Healthy Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

  • Servings: 15 regular sized pancakes
  • Difficulty: easy/medium
  • Print

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup white flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup and a dash of milk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of white vinegar/lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup (or honey or maple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Directions

  1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon powder in a bowl and whisk until incorporated
  2. Put white vinegar in the milk, and wait for 5 minutes
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, applesauce, vanilla extract, agave syrup, and whisk together
  4. Slowly whisk in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Batter should be quite thick, but if too thick (doesn’t fall off the spoon), add a bit more milk/water
  5. Heat a pan, wait until hot, then spray with non-stick cooking spray
  6. Make pancakes! Spoon the batter into the pan, using a spatula to spread it out (if it’s too hard). When bubbles start to form, flip the pancakes.
  7. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy! I love my pancakes drenched in maple syrup, with some fresh strawberries, and maybe a scoop of ice cream too 🙂

Nutritional Info:

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Top 8 Summer Running Gear 2018

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Sun’s out, guns out! Ok not really (I don’t have any guns), but summer means time to WORK. There a saying that goes, “Cross country champions are made in the summer”, and I definitely second that. Though I’ve only seriously run cross country for 3 years now, there’s no doubt that my summer has largely defined my cross country season.

But let’s get things straight. Willingly dragging myself out of the comfort of my air-conditioned home into the summer heat is in NO WAY easy. I’ll admit that sometimes, I have to put quite a bit of effort into convincing myself to go out on that run. Not only is running in the summer heat tedious and tiring, it’s also quite draining to your body.

That’s why it’s important for me to have running gear that help both motivative me to run and keep me healthy and injury free throughout the summer miles. Today I’ll be sharing my Top 8 Summer Running Gear Items of 2018! So in no particular order, here it goes:

Image result for brooks ghost 10 womenBrooks Ghost 10

Hands down one of the greatest running shoes EVER. A solid neutral running shoe, it’s great for running on roads and pavements (most of Singapore’s routes) and is very cushioning, providing ample support for those long runs. Don’t be fooled by it’s size – it’s actually super light, and for me personally, light enough to even do some up-tempo workouts in. I would say the only downside is that it’s quite pricey (depends on when/where you buy it, but mine was around $200 SGD) but I would say that it’s a really great investment. (Brooks Ghost 10, Brooks)

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 Women's Running ShoeNike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 

To be honest, I’ve only had this shoe for a little over a week now, but let me tell you, I’m in LOVE. I don’t know the exact science behind all the features of the shoe, but what I do know is that it makes me feel light and fast. The shoe has a super smooth ride, especially great for uptempo/speedier workouts. Not to mention it’s also very fashionable, which is a plus! (Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35, Nike) 

Nathan “The Hipster” Running Belt

Yes, I wear a ‘fanny pack’ when I run. But hear me out, this is one of my most used, most versatile running essentials of all time. It’s essentially a super soft and stretch running belt that fits snugly across your waist (not too loose, not too tight), and contains multiple pockets for you to hide your stuff in. What I love about this belt especially compared to others is that it is sized to fit different body types/shapes, not like other belts which are usually too loose for me and swing around when I run. With this belt, I can bring my phone around for music and some cash/my MRT card! (The Hipster Waist Belt with Pockets, Nathan) 

Forerunner® 35

Garmin Forerunner 35

Though GPS watches are not a necessity, they are definitely a novelty and an awesome item to have. There are many running watches out there, but the one I use is the Garmin Forerunner 35. It’s cheaper compared to the other Garmin watches, yet still has great functionalities such as wrist-based heart rate, GPS (tracks distance, pace, intervals), steps and activity tracking, and even gives you notifications when connected to your phone. What I love especially about this watch is that it’s very lightweight and has a slim fit, which is great for a smaller wrist like mine. The color is also a plus : ) (Forerunner 35, Garmin) 

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Nuun Electrolyte Tablets

During the summer (especially in sunny singapore where I live), I sweat. A lot. That’s why it’s important to take electrolyte tablets to make sure you stay hydrated and maintain optimal fluid balance. Electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, and bicarbonate, and are essential to normal functioning of the human body. When you sweat, you lose a lot of these electrolytes, so it’s important to replenish them, and the easiest and tastiest way is through electrolyte tablets. I use these Nuun Electrolyte Tablets which you put into water, and they fizz up, resulting in a sports drink without all the added sugars. My favorite flavors are tropical and lemon+lime!  (Electrolyte tablets, Nuun) 

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Balega Socks

Socks don’t seem like something important, but trust me, when you start getting those painful blisters all over your feet and have to run with them, it is complete SH*T (pardon my language). But honestly, running with blisters in one of the worst things for me. That’s why I think good socks are really important. One of my favorites are socks from the company Balega. They wick away sweat, help me avoid painful blisters, and most important, are SUPER comfortable. It’s literally like running on a cloud. My favorites are from the “hidden comfort” line; these socks are super thin, no-show, yet super comfy. (Hidden running socks, Balega) 

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Wireless Earphones

Music is a MUST in running, especially when lugging those lonely miles in the summer. I prefer wireless earphones, because they make listening to music hassle-free on the go. The ones I am (or were, at least, I just lost them a few days ago 😦 ) using is the JBL Reflect Mini 2, which are sweat-proof wireless sport in-ear earphones. TBH, I bought these because they were on a major sale (50% off!) but they turned out amazing. Super lightweight, stays in your ear, and has really good sound quality, these are a quality investment to make. (JBL Reflect Mini 2, JBL)

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Trigger Ball/Roller

All runners know that recovery is crucial, and a huge part of this is to loosen up your tight muscles after a run/workout. I try to roll out everyday, or at least after every workout.  One item that I’ve found to be super effective is a spiky trigger ball (not really sure what brand, got it from my physio). This trigger ball is basically a spiky plastic ball a little bigger than a tennis ball, and what you do is use it to roll out your tight/sore muscles (you can find lots of videos on how to do this online). Admittedly, it’s quiteeee painful, but you’ll thank me the next day when your workout goes 100x better than it would’ve if you didn’t roll out.

 

So that’s my top 8 summer running essentials! I haven’t included everything I use (that would take wayy too long) but these are my favorite 🙂 What are your summer running essentials? Comment below!

Happy running, and peace out!

 

Chocolate Protein Fluff Recipe!

Recipes

Delicious, nutritious, filling, and the best breakfast/snack/dessert to beat the heat!

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How was your week? Hope that it was sweet and not too stressful. I’ve just started my summer break a few days ago, and these few days have not been productive at allll – mostly spent in bed almost the entire day binge watching Youtube Videos, going out occasionally for some good food or a short run.

Feeling kind of guilty for being so unproductive, but also a much needed break from school!

Been also trying to start experimenting with more food in the kitchen and developing some new and original recipes for you guys! Being in the kitchen feels like a second home to me, I feel so comfortable and content 🙂

One of the first simple recipes that I feel that is good enough to share with you guys (a milestone achievement, if I may say,) is this Chocolate Protein Fluff! It’s packed with the ideal amount of protein and carbs for the perfect post-run or post-workout snack. So delicious, creamy, and soo ideal for this HOT summer heat!

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This protein fluff is made with:

Ripe Bananas (frozen)

Some type of liquid (water, milk etc. – I used hazelnut milk, my current fav)

Ice

Protein Powder (I used Quest Chocolate Milkshake flavour – bought on Redmart!)

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That’s all! Literally takes 4 ingredients and less than 5 minutes to make. All you need is a food processor/powerful blender. For me, they’re a great post gym snack, coming in at around 130 calories per serving.

If you end up baking this, tag me on instagram @a.runners.fuel ; I would LOVE to see your creations!

Peace out!

Chocolate Protein Fluff

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients

1/2 a large banana (frozen)

a dash of hazelnut milk, or any milk/liquid of your preference

~10 ice cubes

1/2 scoop Quest Chocolate Milkshake Protein Powder (or any of your own choice!)

Directions

  1. Blend the ice cubes in food processor until fine consistency
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend, adding milk as needed. You may need to scrape off the sides a few times and reblend, just be patient!
  3. Decorate! I topped mine with frozen strawberries, bananas, and chia seeds.

Nutritional Info:

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Purpose.

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Me eating a fake piece of bread. I thought it was real. It’s not.

So, this won’t be an ‘intro to me!’ post, you can find that under the ‘about me’ section of this blog.

Rather, I wanted to talk about my purpose. Why did I suddenly decide to start this blog, and what do I want you (and me) to get out of it?

Well, it’s simple.

Around 4 years ago, when I was around 7th grade, I decided that I was suddenly too fat and wanted to lose weight. Badly. I had been quite a chubby kid basically all my life (I absolutely ADORED food), but I didn’t really care what others thought of it. That was until I got to middle school.

Suddenly, the social pressures and expectations hit me hard. I remember the last straw was when I came in last in the mandatory timed kilometer for the 4th time in a row in my ENTIRE PE Block ( I think I ran a 6:45?) I was super embarrassed. No one probably cared, but to me, it was one of the most humiliating moments of my life.

From then on, I vowed to myself that I would become healthy and fit and pretty. I was already quite an active kid (surprisingly), participating in sports from soccer to swimming, but from then on, I started to add running into my daily regimen. Almost every day, I would go to the gym and run on the treadmill. At first, I ran painfully slow (I think 7km per hour??) for 10 minutes, and I would be completely out of breath. Slowly but surely, though, I managed to build that up to 15, 20, 30, then even 40 minutes at a 10km per hour pace after less than 6 months.

While all this was happening, I also started to restrict what I ate. At first, it was just cutting down on simple things, like trying to stop ordering soft drinks when I went out, or reducing my full bowl of rice to 1/2.

I guess you could call by ‘diet’ successful, at least momentarily. Exercising more intensely + eating less did show its results – I got fitter, I ran faster, I felt prettier. And I was ecstatic. But, the more I progressed, the more intense I got. I upped my cardio and restricting my eating, up to the point where it was clearly getting unhealthy. Eating and exercising were constantly in my head, and I couldn’t shake it off. It almost became an obsession, and this was started to affect my mood and my health.

Thankfully, with the help of my family and God grace, I realised that what I had intended to become ‘healthy’ was actually becoming very unhealthy and consuming my life. When this realisation hit me, I knew I needed to change my mindset. As a growing teenager and now quite a serious runner, I had to properly fuel my body and my mind. I slowly started to not restrict my eating, instead focusing on eating “whole foods” most of the time but also allowing myself to eat intuitively – which means cake + ice cream + cookies + fries (more than) a times a week 🙂

By eating more wholesome foods and also being mindful of my exercise, I was able to become stronger and healthier in mind and in body. Though as a high school varsity runner I sometimes still have thoughts to restrict my diet (which is needed sometimes), I try to find a balance between health and happiness.

That’s why I started my food instagram (@a.runners.fuel) a few months ago, to share some delicious yet nutritious meals and hopefully inspire people to eat healthy on their own too. But I found that instagram was a bit restricting (let’s just say it’s very based on looks), and I wanted to create something alongside it that is more authentic, real, and where I can write a lot more 🙂   I wanted to start a food blog, to share my passion about food, running and fitness to students and student-athletes worldwide through nourishing recipes for the body and the soul. To give my advice and tips for people trying to find that delicate balance between food and health. To write about my life, my experiences as a student and a student-athlete. To share a bit of my life with you.

Hopefully, you all will be willingly to share a bit of your time with me.

Peace out and God bless!

Christina