Pancakes and Banana Pancakes

I love breakfast food in general, but especially pancakes. They are one of my favorite comfort foods. The issue is that the nutritional value of pancakes isn’t stellar, especially when they’re covered in butter and syrup.

BUT I’m never going to cut a food that I love out of my diet, so instead I focus on a way to make it healthier. When we restrict ourselves from the things we love, it can lead to overcompensating with something else or a binging episode.

Here’s what I did to satisfy my comfort food craving while still keeping things relatively healthy…

I made two pancakes- one banana-based version and one higher carb (but still healthy) version made with almond flour.

Pancake #1 – Banana Pancake

Ingredients

(Makes 1 large/2 medium/4 small pancakes)

1 mashed banana
1 egg
1 egg white
1/2 tsp baking powder

Directions

Heat a pan to medium-high heat. Whisk eggs together, and then add to mashed banana and mix well. Add baking powder and mix well. Spray the pan with non-stick spray (I like coconut oil spray), then add batter. You can make the pancakes as small or as large as you like, but smaller is much easier to flip. Cook until browned on each side.

mashed-banana

banana-pancake

Pancake #2 – Whole wheat flour Pancake

Ingredients

(Makes 1 large/2 medium/4 small pancakes)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
3/4 cup water

Directions

Heat a pan to medium-high heat. Mix flour and baking powder. Whisk egg separately, then add to flour mixture and whisk together. Whisk in water. Spray the heated pan with non-stick spray and add batter. Cook 1-2mins each side. Enjoy!

pancale

 

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Can it be exercise if I’m not sweating?

Can we call something “exercise” if we don’t show physical signs of stress while we do it (sweating, panting, etc.)?

YES. Exercise is any sort of physical effort that improves health and fitness, with or without sweat.

A perfect example of this type of exercise is walking. Walking one of my all-time favorite ways to get in some low-impact exercise that also helps me de-stress. This may be a bit of a surprise to hear from a high intensity, sweat-loving fitness freak like me, but let me explain.

I’m not sure when it started, but at some point walking became the go-to activity when I need to catch up with my girlfriends. There is something therapeutic about walking and talking with an old friend. I even read an article recently that said therapists are starting to conduct sessions over walks because the rhythmic exercise of walking can be conducive to the process of self-discovery.

Walking is obviously great for health reasons as well. It’s a low-impact, low-intensity form of cardio. It won’t build much muscle, but it’s a great way to add extra movement to your day and burn some calories in the process. If you have a desk job like me, you might be unpleasantly surprised by the amount of time you spend in your chair. Getting yourself up for a midday walk is a great way to break up that inactivity. And if you can’t find someone to walk with you can listen to a podcast, an audio-book, or some of your favorite music.

Even if you can only squeeze in a walk for 20 minutes, when you get back you will feel refreshed and ready to be productive!

walk-pic

 

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Money and Happiness

I had an upsetting conversation with one of my good friends the other day. She used to work in NYC at a investment bank, and now she’s a full-time MBA student at a school in Boston. I hadn’t seen her in awhile because her banking job took over her life (+100 hours/week). When I did see her, she was exhausted and could never enjoy her time outside of the office because she was glued to her Blackberry.

I get it. Money is important if you want to live comfortably…but how much do we really need to be happy? And is it worth giving up our lives in the pursuit of a bigger paycheck?

Having worked for a couple of big Wall Street banks, I know a thing or two about working your life away for a paycheck. After a few years I realized that I was spending 95% of my waking hours at work, and I was missing out on all the things that used to make me happy:  time with my husband and family, my social life, exercise, traveling, cooking, etc. What was the point of making a lot of money if I didn’t even have time to enjoy it?

I read an article the other day about the “happiness benchmark”. It referenced a study done in 2010 by psychologist Daniel Kahneman and economist Angus Deaton, which found that a person’s happiness stops improving after a certain income threshold. The national average is $75k, but it differs by state based on cost-of-living (see chart below).

happiness-benchmark

People will inevitably vary from these averages, but the idea is worth thinking about. What is your happiness benchmark? Can you afford the things that make you happy with a lower paycheck? If so, maybe it’s time to leave that miserable job that works you to the bone and take a risk doing something you’ve always wanted to try.

Do you agree with the idea behind this study, or do you think it’s missing some crucial points?

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