My First Medium Post: Food and Happiness

The day has come

Two days ago, I finally received my invitation to write on Medium.

A friend of mine had told me about this new writing platform several months ago, and ever since then, I have been striving towards being able to write for them.

Yesterday, I posted my very first entry titled, “Food and Happiness, How our food choices affect our mind and body”

Below is the full text. I hope that you all enjoy this read!

Link: “Food and Happiness”

Growing up as a kid, I’ve always had a hearty appetite. I come from a Filipino ethnic background, which played a significant role in my eating habits. The Filipino food culture revolves around two main food groups: Protein and Carbohydrates (and to be more specific: Meat and Rice)

My parents raised me to never be picky. I always finished the food that was put on my plate and was immediately encouraged to take second servings afterwards. Unfortunately, this transformed into a habit that has translated into my early adulthood, up to present day.

As a runner, the nutrients that I consume are detrimental towards my performance. The food choices I make before and after a race, or even just a light workout, is a tremendous factor in the results that I both see and feel in my body.

Humans, and animals alike, need specific nutrients to fuel their daily activities. A lion’s diet is completely different from that of a squirrel. In turn, a long distance runner’s diet is completely different from that of a competitive bodybuilder’s.

The similarity, however, lies within the affects that these diets have on us.

You may have heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.”

Well, it’s true.

We are a product of the food that we consume. Our body and mind reacts a certain way to these nutrients . When you eat things that are unhealthy, your performance is going to dwindle and your level of happiness is going to decline. This is a constant struggle for me.

You would naturally assume that someone who exercises frequently is also a relatively healthy eater.

This is not true.

For a lot of people, running or exercising frequently is motivated by their food choices. For example, when I binge on a large dinner consisting primarily of carbohydrates such as rice or pasta, I know that I need to run an excessive amount of miles the next day in order to counterbalance. However, the root of the problem stems from the predisposition that I think I can eat whatever I want because I run so much.

This is a distorted mindset.

It’s a constant struggle for me between the foods that I want to eat and the foods that I should eat. Sometimes after a run, I just want to eat everything, but the kitchen sink. Whenever that happens though, I just end up feeling worse about myself and having the urge to make up for it the next day. There’s no balance. And in life, balance is the key to happiness.

We (especially me) need to keep that in mind for the next time we decide to go on an eating rampage. In the long run, what we eat affects how we feel, both in the mind and the body.

By: Lindsey Lazarte

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Saying goodbye to alcohol

As you may have already noticed (if you read multiple blog entries of mine), there are two things that I often write about which generally go hand in hand for me. These two things are:

  1. My love for running
  2. My love for food

Which do I love more? I couldn’t tell you. Let’s just say that when it comes to these things, I like to have my cake and eat it too (both figuratively and literally speaking)

I fight an endless battle between how much I eat and in turn, how much I then have to run or exercise to compensate for my overindulgence.

If you refer back to two of my past blog entries titled, “A pie of pizza and 10 miles to go” and “A sleeve of thin mints and 13 miles of satisfaction” you may see a pattern when it comes to my eating and exercising habits.

Disclaimer: I do not have an eating and/or mental disorder.

We’re all human and we all get those pesky cravings for a certain not-so-healthy food from time to time; some, more than others. Naturally, we sometimes slip and give into temptation and go for that extra-gooey chocolate cake that we see in the bakery window. It just calls out our name.

Personally, when it calls out my name, I come running with open arms. You could even say sprinting.

Nonetheless, I consciously make note that I have to burn off those calories right away

The weird thing is, you’d think that a person who is as into fitness and running as I am would have a strict diet to match.

That is ABSOLUTELY not the case. And I’m not just saying for me. I’m saying this on behalf of a majority of runners and fitness-enthusiasts who I know personally.

You wouldn’t think that a person of my size could take down an entire pie of pizza by herself in just one sitting, but you better believe it. I have quite the appetite. May I add, I stand at a mere 5’0 feet tall, weighing in at 108 pounds. It’s quite a remarkable feat for someone so tiny

Now, the reason why I am blogging today about this particular topic is because of a different type of over-indulgence which seems to also be common amongst runners and fitness-enthusiasts.

What is that, you might ask?

Alcohol.

Have you ever noticed how much beer is served after an event like a marathon, half-marathon, mud run, heck, even a 5K?

Beer is the perfect carb to refuel with after burning hundreds of calories from running a race.

For some people, the post-race beer may be their favorite part.

But here’s the catch:

Often times, we often overestimate how many calories we actually burned and tend to overindulge in food as well as alcohol. We feel like we owe it to ourselves, to our bodies, after putting it through such hard work.

That’s a big no-no.

So, last night, I had a few more beers than I would have liked to consume. To give you an exact number: It’s 4. And that’s 4 more than I should have had because I’m telling you, I felt awful afterwards.

If you have not already noticed, I am currently training for two races at the end of April; The CGI Unite Half-Marathon at Rutgers followed by the Big Sur International Marathon exactly one week later.

As I get deeper into my training, I’ve really tried to limit the amount of alcohol that I consume. Of course, it’s a bit difficult when you’re in your 20’s, live in New York City, and have friends that always want to drink on the weekends.

Last night, I hit my limit.

This morning, I went straight to the gym before work and ran a quick 4 miles on the treadmill due to the guilt that was overcoming me after those 4 beers. During that run, I made a pact with myself. Once April 1st hits, I am abstaining from consuming any alcoholic beverages until after the Big Sur Marathon is completed. This won’t be easy, but I know that it will pay off in the end.

In closing: A while back, I was deeply impacted by an article published in Women’s Health which hit pretty close to home for me (click the below link if you are interested in reading)

Exercise and Alcohol

To summarize the article, it discussed the irony of how runners and fitness junkies also tend to be the heaviest drinkers.

Moral of the story: When a craving calls, sometimes it’s better to not pick up the phone.

Queen of carbs

It’s 8AM and I’m making pasta again (for lunch that is). What else is new? As you become more familiar with my blog and my writing style, you’ll begin to notice that my most impulsive moments to write is when I’m cooking or eating. Aside from running and writing, the other big love in my life is food.

A lot of people have their own personal reasons for exercise. Some people do it to increase their quality of life, some people do it to lose or maintain weight, and some people do it purely because they love it.

For me, I run because of all of those things. But my most important reason: I LOVE TO EAT.

Living in New York City in your young-twenties is very overwhelming. There are millions of people to meet, places to go, and things to eat. The options are endless.

Of course, living in New York City also comes with a big price tag.

I wouldn’t say I’m struggling, but I’m definitely on a pretty slim budget. I enjoy going out with friends, but the costs add up.

From the time I’ve been here since December 1st, the one thing that struck me the most was how hard my bank account was hit…by food. A girl’s gotta eat, right?

And on the off chance that I actually go grocery shopping instead of going out to a restaurant, I usually stick to the staples: Pasta, oatmeal, granola bars, bread, etc. Or in broader terms, carbs, carbs, and more carbs.

It’s not shocking that I eat a lot pasta. I’m a runner. Carbs are my friend. Carbs are also my enemy.

I read numerous articles on what a runner’s diet should be. Really, the key is to have everything in moderation. As usual, this applies to most areas in life.

The thing is, after you exercise or go for a nice long run, you give yourself this permission to eat pretty much whatever you want. May I repeat, everything in moderation though.

So what I’m trying to say is that when it comes to eating, you just have to be realistic. Do you need that extra brownie? Should you really eat an entire box of pizza? Think about it. You may have burned away 700 or some-odd calories, but what is a plate of cheese fries going to do to refuel you?

This is something I need to work on for myself. It’ll probably come to me again during my pasta time (which is my favorite time)