Changed Diet = Changed Energy: Progress Update

1. Diet

So I don’t mean to be sound like one of those health gurus or snobs because I honestly don’t know exactly what I’m doing, I just browse the internet, and the general consensus is that fruits and vegetables is a yes, and fried foods and other greasy foods are a no go.  Staying hydrated is definitely a yes.

So even though I got sick recently, it was weird.  My lungs were still being their weird selves, but I felt strangely calm and I think more energized.  I don’t think it’s a placebo effect, because it wasn’t like I was consciously waiting to feel more different or more energized.  I just came to the realization that the past week, I’ve felt pretty good.

It started with a few talks with my friends who are vegetarians / semi-vegetarians, and I am still in that odd zone where I look at meat and all I remember is that slaughterhouse article I read about, yet I simultaneously don’t mind thaat much eating the meat in front of me, especially if I didn’t order the food or it was already cooked. That is to say, if I had a choice, I would avoid meat like pork and beef, but I uncovered it in my food after the fact, I’d probably still eat it.

Add to the fact that if I craved chips or a snack, I would eat bell peppers, korean-style pickled cucumbers, and pita chips and guac instead of buying doritos or potato chips (my mom recently bought some doritos as well as cheetos… I nibbled a few one night, but wasn’t able to eat much of it because you mentally shift to realizing how artificial and processed it is… still good though in its own way once in awhile).  I’d been sustaining on mostly breakfasts of oatmeal or porridge the past two or three weeks, along with a yogurt, banana, orange, or sliced apples, and as I’m writing this, I just finished one apple and am starting on an orange.

When you are conscious of all the fresh veggies and fruit in your fridge, and you mentally make that your main supply of snacks to go to, it doesn’t become so hard to just grab one out of habit when you’re a bit hungry or thirsty.  And you begin to appreciate how good the food itself is, and thankful for it to nourish your body and thank your body for all it does for you.  I used to be angry at my  body, whether it was physical features or the fact that I had tight shoulder muscles or my boobs were too large, legs too thin, or lungs too weak.  Anyway, it was always something, but now I’m really trying to thank my body more and reward it with healthy nutrients.  I sound like a yoga guru now, but that wasn’t on purpose!  I’m just trying to take control of what I can with what I got :o)

When I see oily food from take out or anything that someone else brings home, I’ll eat a bite cause I’m hungry, but I think my body just kind of rejects the oily and processed food in general now, which I’m glad because I know it’s a good change!  I’m still not much of an oatmeal fanatic, and I would never  buy oatmeal cookies or anything if I had a choice.  But hot, steaming oatmeal with some brown sugar on top, it’s kinda yummy!  It does keep me full too after a bowl of it.  I tried to eat a bowl of toasted almonds… still not particularly my thing.  My mom also made some korean-style salmon, cabbage, and tofu soup, and I ate that over a bit of rice.

2.  Hydration

The other change regarding liquids is that I always keep a bottle of insulated hot water next to me, and if I’m in the kitchen I keep hot tea in my line of view or within arm’s reach so that I can keep sipping it throughout my work.  If I’m upstairs, I keep regular water and a giant bottle of gatorade in my room… basically, fluid options everywhere I go.  My lips are still always gross and cracked, but this is one change I’m very conscious of working on (any suggestions of good lip balms?)

3.   Skincare

Kind of related, but I’m trying to also be more diligent on skincare and getting my routine down.  I mostly grow pimples on my chin, but I haven’t perfected always washing my face twice in the morning and twice at night, esp the SPF protection and toner, moisturizing part… it still feels a bit like a lot of work piled together.  I’m on the hunt for an oil cleanser too, as well as a new mask (I still love the Elizavecca Carbonated Piggy Mask, but I want to try other brands too).

4.  Career – Data Science Coursework

I find data science really interesting, and besides taking a few days off while I was feeling ill, I’m slightly behind but almost finished with my Datacamp track in R, and I’ll get started on the Python one.  I’ve been roaming and have a bunch of sources and sites saved up to keep practicing and getting better.  I do feel proud of myself in this area and the progress I’ve made in two months so far 🙂

For example, now I know how to generate a wordcloud using text mining like the one I have on this blog to the right with my tags!  Super cool.

5.   Treatments/Medications

Of course, remembering to do all my treatments and medications daily.

6.  Gym

Was going every other day for about two weeks… then got sick.  I need to force myself back tomorrow 😦  Abs are made in the kitchen, but they need some help.  Also want to get toned and stronger. No pain no gain.

7. Random – Movies

I’ve been on a Martin Scorsese binge lately.  Signature of him to put in a lot of crime, corruption, profanity, and nudity in his films.  I watched Casino and am watching Taxi Driver today.  I realized that I actually really enjoy mob boss type of movies, which makes sense since I love The Godfather trilogy… no movie can beat that though.   Think it’s the way they talk, it’s so scruffy and pestering and it’s funny, especially Joe Pesci’s roles.

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Healthy Habits: on coding, music, self

On my path to data science:

I’m not really sure why this feeling came over me and helped me decide my commitment to learning data science non-stop for the next two months.

Back when I was in college and started venturing out of all that I knew in piano and music, all I kept hearing was how powerful coding could be and how it could change the world.  The first time I took a website development course, I was completely baffled, stopped dead in my tracks… all these weird symbols and jumble of words, and all of them were supposed to mean something?!  It didn’t look like alien language because it was still in english, and everything was created right there from the keyboards at the tip of my fingertips.  Yet it certainly felt like alien language, and I had never felt stupider.  I struggled to decipher what anything meant, and even when something finally worked, it was with such heavy assistance from my professor that I was left with this feeling that I didn’t understand anything, and dreaded needing to reproduce any part of the work process.

During my gaming class where we had to create games, I was going through a really rough time outside of the classroom and all my creative juices were drained.  It was all I could do just to show up at class and stare at my screen like a vegetable for three hours.  I remember pulling an all-nighter to desperately write code for a simple maze, yet none of the code worked.  Running out of time, to show for the entire night’s worth, I basically copped out by embedding an image of a maze for my character to walk through:  an image. Not an actual maze with walls and boundaries.  The demo for my class the following day was embarrassing, and I felt pretty useless and talentless.

I am an easily stressed individual.  Even though I would sweat bullets and lock myself in the practice room before each performance, at least it was familiar to me.  The nerve-wracking feelings and symptoms were familiar, and all I cared about in the earlier years was to not mess up, forget my piece or stumble on the notes.  Through college, the standard was raised a lot to not just surviving through the piece onstage, but actually learning to enjoy the music then and now with the audience.

Anyway, what I wanted to say is that I learned how to connect deeply and emotionally with listening to the keys and what the music was trying to convey.  In comparison to what I’m trying to accomplish these days, this necessary empathy has always come much more naturally to me.

Now I’m trying to brush up on my life more technically-  practically, what is useful?  Data science.  I feel that I can bring the passionate, committed side of me to pursuing coding, even though the science itself is rather logical, and seems to draw from statistics and other aspects that I always found quite boring.

On the contrary, I am finding this stuff really interesting.  I don’t know if it was because I made the decision to devote myself to learning it bit by bit with a really reliant guide, or that the graphic visualization aspect appeals to my more artsy side.  It also doesn’t hurt that data scientist positions pay pretty well!  I can see a future in this for me, and that feels pretty calming.  I hope this is my calling.  Of course, I will still always have those qualities that piano has taught me:  passion, heart, and definitely discipline.  Habits where you don’t think of it as a choice to stick to it day by day.  You make the choice at the beginning of pursuing this goal, and then day by day it is a necessity.  You breathe it, live it, and only stop to eat, poop, and take short breaks to loosen the mind a bit.

I did feel this sense of accomplishment after a piano performance, especially at a larger, reputable hall like Lincoln Center, yet it still felt like it was so engrained into me to win and do well that I wondered if that took away from some of the satisfaction.  A fraction of it was for my parents, another fraction for the teacher.

But data science is entirely mine.  I made this choice on my own to develop myself further, and it feels oh so good to affirm that I can do (almost) anything if I put my all into it.  One of the to-do lists on my list before I die is to experience that utmost feeling of accomplishment when I get a well-paying job that I know I can grow into.


Speaking of other healthy habits on self-development, I have also made the commitment to building my body and pushing it at the gym as often as I can.  I felt this way around fall, but as it got colder and more factors made it difficult, my clarity in pursuing the goal began to fade and I got discouraged.  I have to decide to pick myself back up and keep trying to train and reach for the best version of myself as I can, mentally and physically, according to my own terms.

Gotta hit my target weight of 105 lbs, and eat healthier, stay away from processed foods, and CONSISTENCY IS KEY.  DEDICATION.  DRIVE.

Gym every other day.  If I don’t wake up feeling dead or something serious and there’s no real reason, I have to go to the gym by default.

Gotta get those ABS OF STEEL.  Slow and steady, like the turtle.

Hungry??  Don’t grab the chicken nuggets.  Grab the bell pepper and hummus.  At the grocery store and staring at yummy processed fat?  NO.  Do not even purchase it.

Also talked a bit with vegetarian / semi- vegetarian friends… I feel like lately I’ve had conflicting feelings when I think about or see meat.  I kind of crave it…but also feel a bit repulsed?

Attempting to Make a Korean Dinner Pt. 5

I followed this recipe to make buldak, aka fire chicken!  It’s a popular dish that I’ve seen on Youtube mukbangs and also on some select menus at korean restaurants.  It’s always piqued my interest, and I wondered what it tasted like, especially with a combination of mozzarella cheese on top. Turns out, it tastes amazing.  I followed Maangchi’s recipe here:

https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/buldak

28208336_10156246513673960_898021416_oFirst of all, the sauce that Maangchi gives is DELICIOUS:  sweet, tangy, spicy.  Also very simple to whip up, although very messy particularly with the vivid bright red color. It also took a long time to control the cooking and baking of the chicken, especially since I had to use what was in my fridge, which was chicken drumsticks instead of 1-inch breast.  I’d say I spent total around 50 minutes in the pan and also in the mini oven.  I also added a bit more water to let it simmer longer, but it could have used a bit more time actually.

In addition, I found mini rice cakes and went ahead and boiled that and threw it in there on top after rinsing in cold water.  Lastly, topped it all off with a generous heap of mozzarella cheese to toast and melt.  The combo is very interesting and surprisingly delicious!   I’d def crave this dish again!  There’s a few more drumsticks marinating in the fridge as I just couldn’t fit anymore into the pan.  This yields 8 drumsticks, and we ate it over plain white rice.  My family enjoyed it very much!  Maangchi is great.

Tomorrow, Korean green onion and seafood pancake time.  My mom also wants me to make Japchae again.  I may also attempt to make korean fried chicken, and red bean buns too next week since my mom loves those.  We’ll see.


P.S.  I was disappointed because my friends are all out in NYC and Jersey City celebrating their birthday, and I couldn’t join, partially because it’s too much walking and cold, and it’s also snowing.  But, as I’ve had to learn many times over, you gotta try to make the best of what you have through your disappointment and try to still do what you can.  It still turned out not a bad Saturday, and I still feel like I can go to bed having accomplished something productive and new.

Attempting to Make A Korean Dinner Pt. 4

We are almost nearing the end of Korea Week!

Today I made Bibimbap, which apparently means Mixed (Bibim) Rice (bap)!

28275312_10156243886508960_1054264151_oBefore and After Pics:

Again, I followed Maangchi’s recipe, and altered the ingredients a bit according to what I had left in my fridge.  I used:

-1 Cucumber

-1 Large Carrot

-12 oz. beansprouts

-8 oz. spinach

-1/2 a portion of enoki mushrooms

-whatever of the red bell pepper I had left from the previous day for japchae

-green onions for garnish

-gochujang (red pepper paste)

-1 portion of steak (marinated first with sesame oil, garlic, sesame seeds, and honey)

I’m very proud of how it turned out!  I attempted to fry the bottom of each serving of rice before serving and topped it off with a fried egg as well.  I think the process is simple enough, just a lot of chopping, mincing, and prepping.  It simultaneously makes me appreciate the food I’ve eaten at the Korean restaurants before, admiring it as a dish I had no idea how it happened before, to making it in my kitchen, but not being as excited by it anymore now that I understand the process.  Never thought the day would come… but I think I’m actually ready to leave Korean cuisine and won’t be super hyped by the idea of going to a Korean restaurant from now on.


I believe the remaining to-do lists that I will most likely target next will be some version of Korean pancake, as well as the Korean Fried Chicken.  Since starting this cooking journey for Korean food, I’ve used up most of my bottle of sesame oil and at least 2 bunches of garlic lol!   In the future at some point, I’ll try making cold spicy noodles as well as the pine nut porridge.  Perhaps I should redeem myself in the eggplant and potato banchans as well…

Trying to foodventure my way through the tastes of each culture is pretty fun, and I have ready guinea pigs at home to try them out 😀

Stay tuned for next week as we enter Japan, and I attempt to make dishes like Chicken Katsu and Tamagoyaki!  I think after that, it’ll be soul food or Indian cuisine.  Not a huge fan of Mediterranean, but my dad likes it and it’s quite healthy so I may try some falafel wraps or something like that.

Although I have not been successful today in finishing all the tasks I wanted to do, the bibimbap still leaves me with a deep satisfaction since it was always a really colorful and delicious dish that caught my eye on the menus at restaurants… and especially since I was really hungry heh.  It makes me happy to make my parents eat healthy dishes hehehe.  Lots of veggies, all tasty.

Attempting to Make A Korean Dinner Pt. 3

My chopping and mincing skills are getting better I noticed! Regardless, I roughly followed Maangchi’s recipe for japchae and it still took me a long ass time to prep everything.  I had to utilize 1 pot, 2 pans, 2 chopping boards, and prep 9 different components of veggies for my japchae cause I’m greedy.  It was fun though, and the result was quite delicious! My parents seemed to genuinely enjoy it which made me happy ^_^

Yields 4-5 generous servings

Ingredients:

(All medium heat unless otherwise specified)

-1/2 bunch of enoki mushrooms (20-30 sec. cooking time)

-1/3 lb beansprouts (20 min. boiled with cover on –> idk why so long but Maangchi said so)

– 1 egg, yolk + white separated (matchsticks)

-5 green onions (2-inch chopped, 40 sec. cooking time)

-1 generous handfuls of baby spinach (30 sec. blanched)

-1/2 cucumber (matchsticks, 20 sec. cooking time)

-1/2 onion (fat matchsticks, 2 min. cooking time)

-1 red bell pepper (matchsticks, 20-30 sec. cooking time)

-1 carrot (matchsticks, 30 sec. cooking time)

-1.5 cloves raw garlic, 1.5 cooked garlic

-16-20 shrimp, deveined (1 min. cooking time maybe, or whenever color has turned orange immediately)

-1/2 lb. japchae (boiled for 8 min, taste test)

-adjust soy sauce and sesame oil, roughly 2-2.5 tbsp each, 1 tbsp sugar

-sprinkle roasted sesame seeds on top


Other mini accomplishments for today:  Used up my spoons on folding laundry and cooking.  Tomorrow will be gym, data science, cooking bibimbap, wash hair.  Hopefully I won’t run out!

Attempting to Make A Korean Dinner Pt. 2

I’m very happy with the dishes I whipped up today for my family!  It was much faster since I only focused on 3 dishes, and we ate it with shin ramen.  I think the thing about Korean food that makes me happy is how colorful and playful it is with the variety of each small dish.  I made:

-Steamed Egg with green onion

-Pickled Cucumber <– honestly could devour a giant bowl by myself

-Beef Pancakes

I’m only going to follow Maangchi’s Youtube recipes from now on… hers seem to work better.

I’m not really a fan of grating, shaving, or frying things because it’s annoying, so I try to avoid those.  But today I tried coating my beef slices with flour and egg before pan frying it, and it was quite successful in my opinion!  My parents enjoyed it, and you can tell it’s good when most of it’s finished by the end of the meal.  I did remember to take a quick picture… here’s me with my game face on and my lucky Harry Potter shirt on, and then the actual dishes, topped with leftover bean sprout banchan from the day before:

27939794_10156231878993960_449260070_n

28081171_10156231878928960_1009116257_o.jpg

Notes to self:  need to do the steps more carefully for the beef pancakes, and coat with more flour so there’s a clearer egg casing on the outside, also try to slice the steak thinner.


Tomorrow’s Banchan Attempts:

-Potato Redemption

-Eggplant with a different recipe

-Seafood / veggie pancake