Tag Archives: protein

A little hermitage never hurt anyone

10 Oct



I inhaled the entire ‘Gilmore Girls’ series once it hit Netflix. There is a scene from the season 2 episode “There’s the Rub,” in which Rory’s boyfriend, Dean, wants to hang out Friday night, but Rory wants to be alone. “Actually, I was thinking of pulling kind of a hermit thing tonight,” she tells him. He doesn’t get it, so she tries to explain: “I almost never get the house all to myself and I thought with my mom gone, I can finally do my laundry exactly the way I like it…and watch TV and eat the Indian food that I love but my mom hates the smell of and go to bed early.”

I think Rory is onto something. I think being a hermit now and then is likely beneficial. Yet every time a day or evening alone is on the agenda, I get anxious. I have card-making, Halloween costume, and protein-amped cooking ambitions that, if realized, would require many hours at home, by myself, cozy in a fuzzy white bathrobe and potentially neglecting to shower. But instead, fear of being alone launches furious planning of human interactions. You know, the whole FoMO vibe sets in, and I can’t accept that my personality leans toward the ‘homebody’ variety.

I’m not saying you should avoid people. Friendship is absolutely critical to survival, and is not to be neglected. But sometimes people are busy, and you simply cannot engineer social gatherings. Other times you are over-exhausted, or are avoiding housework, or want to start a project, or enjoy a hobby. These are times when you shouldn’t feel guilty for deciding to take a homebody day.

img_0167I was inspired by the monastic lifestyle and impact after my latest read, Thomas Cahill’s “How the Irish Saved Civilization.” The monks maintained a quiet, relatively secluded existence, and yet they were culture builders. Most importantly, when the Roman Empire finally crumbled in the 5th century AD and Europe’s Greco-Roman heritage faced extinction at the hands of invading barbarians, the Irish monks preserved and copied ancient texts. In his piece What We Owe The Monks, Thomas E. Woods Jr. attributes agricultural developments throughout Europe, such as the corn industry in Sweden, cheese making in Parma, and salmon fisheries in Ireland, to said monks. During the Medieval Era, the Cistercian monks made remarkable strides in technological advancement. Committed to living “remote from the habitation of man,” their monasteries essentially became independently run factories. They used the newly invented waterwheel to power wheat milling, flour sieving, and olive crushing, and also to provide running water for cooking, washing, bathing, and sewage disposal.

That was an extreme example, I know! Being a monk was actually quite a rigorous practice, and probably did not involve many days spent comfortably at home. But, when we sit at home now and then, sans social media, we are experiencing the modern day equivalent of being “remote from the habitation of man.” And if and when we can find contentment in being quiet, in being disconnected, in building our own lives and thinking our own thoughts, are we not more at peace?

If you’ve at all bought into my anti-FoMO pep talk here, I think you’ll enjoy a leisurely Saturday morning sipping coffee and preparing these protein pancakes. We’re talking  30 grams of protein!!



15 g Optimum Nutrition double rich chocolate chocolate whey protein powder (or whatever brand of chocolate protein powder you have)

1/3 cup rolled oats img_1352

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. cocoa powder

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 banana, mashed

1 egg white

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup 1% milk

Dash of Splenda (or to taste)


2 Tbs. powdered peanut butter (I use ‘PB2 with premium chocolate’)


In a medium sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients (protein powder, oats, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder). Add in yogurt, banana, egg white, vanilla, milk. Sweeten with Splenda, tasting until desired amount of sweetness is reached. Heat and apply cooking spray to a shallow, flat-bottomed pan (skillet, frying pan, whatever you have available). Spoon the batter into the pan, forming smaller pancakes to make flipping easier.

Meanwhile, combine powdered peanut butter with 1-2 Tbs. water. Spoon over cooked pancakes, and zap combination in microwave for 30 sec-1 min. If you’re craving a slightly more decadent taste, drizzle those protein-juiced lovelies with honey. Enjoy!

CALORIES: 370 (340 without honey; 295 without peanut butter or honey)



Why Rhi Rhi is wrong about Work, work, work

19 Aug

I, like Rihanna, am addicted to being productive. Her lyrics suggest she’s in it for the output (cash money), whereas I’m more in it for the thrill. Check-marking ‘to do’ list items makes me giddy. I should consider a flashier addiction, say dirt biking or surfing. Even corn hole might be better. Instead, I remain bound to mundane task completion. Does my posture of busyness actually make me more productive? Does my brain function as well when I’m constantly rehearsing the items I have yet to finish? Or am I in fact preventing creative thought, and avoiding, well, living?

The failure of my notebook organization confirms that the checklist, hyper-organized mindset is not sustainable. I want each notebook to have a specific, undeviating purpose. Nevertheless, my lab notebook is sprinkled with sketches and grocery list add ons. My prayer journal includes workout routines, a pitch for why processed foods aren’t so bad, and a Matlab tutorial. As much as I would like to neatly focus different categories of my life, it can’t be done. Thoughts and ideas get interrupted. I am distraction-prone. Perhaps, like my notebooks, my brain needs diversions, and space to wander. Last October, journalist Bethany McLean confessed in a Linkedin article: “I am not productive. In fact, some times I waste entire days…I read things that have nothing to do with my work. I day dream. A lot.”

It’s true. Some days, being productive is impossible. Some days you’re just trying to figure out what to do next, and other days the task at hand is too large, too scary, or too full of unknowns. Yet instead of worrying about wasting time or being permanently stymied, what if we rested? What if we were OK with loose ends and unfolded laundry? My, and America’s, “culture of busy” is soul-damaging. “[People are] busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.” said Tim Kreider in his 2012 NY Times article, The Busy Trap

When I was a kid, I had a silly idea that whenever I got bored, twirling around in circles would keep me entertained. Now, I’m spinning in circles and afraid to stop. If I can’t come to terms with doing less, or nothing at all, I’m defining myself based on my output, which is absurd. Recognizing this tendency is a good first step.

Call it ironic, but today’s recipe will actually fuel your productivity, hehe. It’s two varieties of a simple protein smoothie, perfect for before, during, or after an intense workout.



15 g Optimum Nutrition double rich chocolate chocolate whey protein powder (or whatever brand of chocolate protein powder you have)

1/2 banana

1/2-1 Tbs. cocoa powder

3-4 ice cubes

1/2-1 cup water

1/2 cup 1% milk

dash of salt

dash of vanilla





15 g Optimum Nutrition vanilla ice cream whey protein powder

1 peach, skinned and sliced

3-4 ice cubes

1/2-1 cup water

1/2 cup 1% milk

1/2 cup 1% milk

dash cinnamon

dash salt


DIRECTIONS: For both smoothies types, place all ingredients in blender. Blend until combined. Place in freezer for 15-30 min. if desire colder smoothie.