3 Easy Ketogenic Diet Ideas!

While being stuck at home is not exactly the most entertaining thing, it does mean that I get full control over what I eat everyday. I’ve decided to take this time to embark on a new journey – the ketogenic diet!

Usually I eat breakfast and lunch at the office, so my options were limited (albeit delicious food). By switching to a high fat, low carb diet, your body switches over to ketosis, where it burns fat for energy instead of carbs. It’s been around three weeks since I’ve started, and I have lost about five pounds. It could very well be water weight at this stage, but my body feels lighter and way less bloated, even through my super hormonal and wild period cycle. Anyways, I thought I would document and share some of my menu during this keto-quarantine lifestyle. A lot of the dishes have been quite easy to put together, and most of it takes very little time by using either a single pan or an air fryer.

Deconstructed Bacon, Egg & Cheese

Scramble some eggs with some mozzarella, green onions and a splash of water (makes it fluffier!), and air fry some bacon until crisp (I go for 7 minutes on 320F). Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top and you have a satiating breakfast sandwich without the carbs. Pair with some creamy avocados or a breakfast sausage for a perfectly indulgent brunch party.

Seafood Party

Season some descaled salmon with garlic salt, pepper, cayenne, and massage in some olive oil. Pop it in the air fryer with some lemon slices perched on top, and while the machine is cooking away, saute some shrimp with minced garlic, chives, and a spoonful of coconut milk. The garlic and the cayenne cuts away from the fattiness that you might taste. Top with some parsley and voila!

Coconut Cream Chicken & Broccoli

Defrost some chicken thigh and season with salt and pepper. Chop up some garlic and a little bit of onion and fry them on a pan with some olive or avocado oil. When those vegetables are nicely sauteed and fragrant, add the chicken and broccoli and cover with coconut oil (and a splash of heavy cream if you wish). Stir until the sauce thickens and there you have a very short and simple lunch/dinner ready.

Every week I try to experiment with something new that I can adopt to this diet. I’ve also found some great cereal/dessert/snacks that are available online – maybe I’ll share them in a future post!

5 Ways I’m Tackling My Coronavirus Slump

Oh what a time it has been. Just when we all thought that 2020 was going to be the best year yet, a global pandemic has taken over and affected the lives of millions of people around the world. Although the halfway point to the end of 2020 is almost in sight and the weather is becoming warmer and milder by the hour here in New York, I’m living in one of the epicenters of the disease and anxiety is lingering in the breezy air.

This situation should of course be viewed from a holistic point of view, with so many front-line workers sacrificing themselves for the public health and governments struggling to juggle the health of its citizens and the economy. However, I have to admit that there are personal struggles that I have faced because of the lock-down period as have many others, I’m sure. While everyone has rekindled their relationship with Netflix, hand sanitizer, and surgical masks, my fiance and I have officially decided to postpone our August 2020 wedding to 2021. We want to emphasize and honor the importance of social distancing, and even if a social gatherings like a wedding were legally allowed in the U.S., I doubt everyone will feel 100% safe by that point in time.

This major decision on top of the mundane routine of working from home week after week (talk about those back to back Zoom calls!) has really taken a toll on my mental well-being. On some days, I lose motivation to do everything, sinking in the couch and binging on episodes of TV shows that I’m not even that interested in. I think what makes this slump worse is that as you look forward to the end of this disaster, you realize that by the time it’s over, you will probably have wasted a precious year of your life doing nothing at home.

Away, negative thoughts! To charge my days with positivity and happiness, I’ve come up with some ways to cope with this Coronavirus slump.

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Air Fryer: Cheesy Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers

I recently purchased an air fryer after months of consideration – and I love it! The cooking time for pretty much anything is cut significantly without sacrificing the taste. The ingredients are below:

  • 5-6 Mini Bell Peppers, cut in half and membranes/seeds removed
  • 1 cup of Ricotta cheese (I used skim)
  • 2-3 strips of bacon
  • 1/2 cup of Shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese (half for filling and half for topper)
  • cilantro for garnish
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A Belated Year In Review – 2019

It’s been a minute.

I want to make writing and journaling a habit and not come back here just to do year end reflections, so maybe that’ll be a resolution for 2020.

2019 was a truly momentous year for me. It entailed a lot of major life events:

  1. I got engaged!
  2. I got a new job!
  3. I moved in with my fiance!
  4. We adopted a dog!
  5. We got legally married!

Phew! It seems like a even just thinking about it now. All happy milestones, albeit with new challenges presenting themselves from all directions. Getting engaged means months of painstaking wedding planning, a new job required hours or preparation for interviews (and discretely going to interviews while still at a full-time job), moving into a new place is just hard, period. And getting a dog is like getting a new family member (a baby that never grows up at that), so you can imagine how tough the first few weeks were with our beagle, Coco.

Some moments through the year…

January: I started off 2019 in Korea, after our vacation in Phuket, Thailand. Here’s a shot of a gloriously spicy Korean snack just days before my departure.

February: I got a new tattoo in early February. Here’s a shot from our Valentine’s day dinner at Ilili.

March: We took a trip to Morocco, which was one of the best trips I have ever been on so far. The bustling markets, amazing scenery of the Atlas mountains, and the seemingly infinite Sahara (plus the camel rides!) were absolutely surreal. See travelogue below:

We also made a stop in Madrid, which was my first time in Spain. We spent a lot of time walking around and catching late night dinners.

When I came back from this trip, I suffered from a major kidney stone attack. I showed up to work in the morning and felt a sudden sharp pain on my left side. I had experienced these pains on a milder level before, so at first I thought it was a cramp. BUT the pain became more and more acute to a point where I had to resort to taking short breaths alone in a bathroom stall with my shirt off from the cold sweats I was getting. I ended up excusing myself from work and running (actually slowly stumbling) over to the urgent care, where I was told that they saw traces of blood in my urine and that I had a kidney stone. The pain didn’t fade away for a while even after I got a pain reliever shot through my muscle (the IV painkiller didn’t work because I was too dehydrated for the doctor to locate my vein and administer the meds properly). From there I had to go through a long series of doctor’s visits and CT scans to make sure this wasn’t going to happen again. I’ve been told that the pain of labor is similar in intensity as a kidney stone… so I am terrified)

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Flipping through 2018

Happy new year!

I cannot believe that another year is over and gone. It seemed to stretch out forever, filled with adventures abroad and new hobbies. Now that I’m back in New York City and done unpacking, I thought it would be fun to look through the pictures I took in 2018 and reflect on the last year (instead of falling into an Instagram vortex like I often do).

JANUARY

Weird to be in New York and not Korea over new year’s.

Started my first real audit engagement.

Took a stab at learning how to play the ukulele, got hooked!

Went to Benihana’s for the first time.

Tried a trampoline workout (“TrampoLEAN”), surprisingly tiring.

Went to see Kinky Boots, listened to the official soundtrack for two weeks after.

FEBRUARY

A very lovely Valentine’s dinner at Naoki Takahashi. They let us choose our own shot glasses.

A ski trip to Hunter Mountain! Funny because we went back to Tannersville, which I had visited just the previous month. It was good opportunity to repurchase the candles that I loved.

MARCH

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A Midwest Thanksgiving

 

Can you believe 2018 is coming to an end in less than two months? This year, I got to spend Thanksgiving with my sister at her home in South Bend, Indiana. But before lazying around in bed, we met up in Chicago to spend a night there. My trip to Chicago was a pretty spontaneous decision, swiftly executed by two sisters browsing plane tickets in the middle of the night.

I left Newark airport on early Wednesday morning. On the flight over to Chicago, I had a pretty serious anxiety attack, where I was sweating profusely and panicking from not being able to hear through my ringing ears and headaches. I stumbled over to the airplane bathroom where I was able to take a breather and recover a little bit, but that was the first time I had ever experienced something like that, and it was truly traumatic. I got off the plane and met my sister waiting for me – but not before getting a cup of coffee!

We took the subway from the O’Hare airport into the city, where we stopped to have some breakfast/brunch at Cochon Volant Brasserie. It’s located on the main floor of a hotel, and it had a homey atmosphere and coffee refills. My sister ordered eggs benedict, and I got a gruyere omelet. The prices were very reasonable, and we were able to sit down and catch up for a long time.

Keep the coffee refills coming!—–

Afterwards, we walked over to the Christkindlmarket (yes, what a mouthful in just one word!). It’s an outdoor market in the Chicago Loop that is, I guess, the equivalent of the holiday markets that open up in Bryant Park and Union Square every year in New York.

 

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Summer in Asia – Beijing & Seoul

What is a summer without at least one trip back to Asia? Living a 14-hour flight away from home, these long and tiring trips are nevertheless the highlight of my summers. Last year, I spent a long summer in Korea after graduation, with an amazing trip to Jeju Island. (A recap here:)

 

Unfortunately, I could only go back for a short two weeks (vacation days are limited when you’re not a student anymore…), but it was still great to see the family. My parents moved into a new apartment that they recently renovated themselves, so it was nice to see how they decorated the place.


Tidbits from my first few days in Korea – grocery shopping, grabbing a bite after a morning yoga class…

Also stopped by a Mr. Pizza to fulfill that junk food craving I only get in Korea.

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I also went through the annual chop-off & balayage! I went back to the salon that I visited last year and got my hair colored by the stylist I met through Instagram. The hair studio has a lovely vintage aesthetic and their service is an A+.

I opted for a navy ash, to minimize brassiness as my hair starts to grow and fade.  I love having bright colors in my hair again!

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