February Favorites | Food, Fitness & Mental Health Must-Have’s
They say time flies when you’re wasting away over midterms. Iced coffee is running through my veins, I haven’t felt sunlight in days and the entire Einstein Bros. Bagels staff knows me on a first name basis. Yikes. But you know what gets me through the tough times? Falling back on all my favorite foods, workouts and mental health practices. And that’s what we’re going to chat about today: my February Favorites! These must-have’s have all played a major role in my health and fitness journey this past month. And maybe they’ll up your game in March too!
So you know what that means.
Get in fam, we’re going shopping.
Traditional Kimchi Unpasteurized, Trader Joes
($4.49) (Clear, red jar) (20 cals // 5C, 0F, 0P)
I’m always trying to learn more about gut health, as well as find new ways to better my own! Kimchi, a staple side dish in Korean cuisine, is made from fermented vegetables, such as napa cabbage, scallions, garlic and onion. I choose to eat it regularly for its celebrated wealth of antioxidants and probiotics. Now, research still needs to be done on probiotics and their supposed dietary sources, but anecdotally, I have seen improvement in my digestive health since adopting kimchi into my diet. This Trader Joe’s brand isn’t as pungent or spicy as the kimchi straight out of a Korean market, which I prefer. Sneak it into your next omelet, rice bowl or quesadilla. OR you can just take a few bites straight from the jar on a nightly basis. Like me!
Boneless & Skinless Sardines in Water, Trader Joes
($2) (Baby blue tin) (130 cals // 0C, 8F, 15P)
Looking for a new source of protein that isn’t chicken breast or chalky supplement powder? Sardines, you guys – they’re amazing. This month I added them to my Trader Joes grocery list, and they’ve proved great for quick meals at home. I just mix it with mustard, avocado or paleo mayonnaise and wha-lah. Either spread them atop a piece of sourdough toast or mix them into a salad. This brand is clean, has a long shelf life and is cheap. It’s 15 grams of protein with little to no effort.
Bear Next Generation Barbell Sponge
($22.95 for Amazon Primer Users)
Definitely not a necessity, but a nice supplement. While I don't use a barbell pad for compound lifts (and it certainly won’t give you any gym rat cred), I’ve found it to be helpful for weighted hip thrusts. If you're placing a heavy barbell onto your pelvis, it's essential to keep the hipbones safe. You could just pile a bunch of bulky mats onto your lap, but this pad provides a more "graceful" experience. You’ll notice a huge difference in support and therefore feel more comfortable adding on weight. I always carry this along if I’m working out at a community gym or focusing on isolated, accessory work!
(As low as $3 on Amazon)
A lacrosse ball is like a foam roller, but worse :) If my shoulders, traps or back are aching/tight post-workout, this ball helps target those smaller trigger points that a roller can’t reach. I pick a wall at my gym, place the ball behind me, lean back (while staying in control) and slowly roll out my muscles. It’ll hurt in the moment, but the release and restored mobility afterwards is heavenly. It’s great for promoting flexibility, preventing injuries as well as releasing tension from sitting at a desk all day. Plus it’s light – easy to keep at work or on the go.
The 52 Lists Project: A Year of Weekly Journaling
($13.96 for Amazon Prime Users, Seen in Anthropologie)
Shout out to my best friend Pips for this Christmas gift - I’ve loved using my 52 Lists Project! Fostering mental health doesn’t always need to be a serious, long task. It can be quick and fun too. With this book, you’ll create a list every week in response to a journal prompt (ie: What songs would be on the soundtrack of your life? What are the top ten places you want to travel to?) It’s a casual way to learn more about yourself. And the more self-aware you can be, the better life decisions you can make that truly align with your long term goals.
Have you tried any of these products before? Are these monthly favorites posts something you’d like to keep seeing? Let me know via message or the comments section!
Until then, I’ll be in the library studying Anatomy & Physiology like [THIS].
Have a happy week!
NOTE: I did my best to track down prices, but they may be slightly different in your area!