Maple Alps

Health

Teaching or Blogging?

Ask Amanda, Blog, HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps2 Comments
Ask Amanda: Teaching or Blogging? | www.maplealps.com

 

Question: Do you want to keep teaching or is your goal to make your blog a full time job?

 

Well, at this time, I definitely don’t see me making blogging a full-time thing. I do love teaching. I’ve always wanted to teach, so as much of a headache as it is sometimes, it really is a dream come true to be able to do so now. 


Because of my husband’s work as a pastor, however, we are prone to move around every few years. In fact, if you’ve been following along on Instagram and if you subscribe to the Good Intentions Guide, you know that we recently made a transition. I have started a new position in this fall teaching middle school math, which really excites me since I do love math!


If in the case there is no school where we move, I would definitely consider switching to blogging full-time if I could or had to. Blogging is a really fun and a great creative outlet for me and I enjoy it (which is probably why I go through the effort to keep Maple Alps running during the school year). If the opportunity arose to blog full-time, I would seriously consider it, though I wouldn’t want my fun hobby to become stressful because of the pressure to make an income... 


I have actually recently begun to extend Maple Alps. Maple and Math will be a branch of Maple Alps launching completely very soon aimed towards intentional teachers!

One thing I try to live by in my life is always making sure that everything I do glorifies God. Whether that be teaching children or serving my blog audience, I want Him to be glorified first and foremost!



 

 

 

8 Things I've Learned as a Vegetarian

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time now. Over the years, I’ve had many people ask me about it and just the other day, I sat down and wrote out a few things I’ve learned from my experience. It’s so natural for me as I view it as a lifestyle rather than a dietary restriction. It has become second nature to me, and I feel better and more intentional with my food choices. Vegetarian is the only title I exclusively “subscribe” to when asked about my diet, though we mostly eat completely plant based at home.

There are a few things I’ve learned over the years, and I’m going to share 7 of them with you today!

This post contains affiliate links

8 Things I've Learned as a Vegetarian | www.maplealps.com

Cravings Change, and so do taste bud preferences. This has definitely been true for me. Tastes and even certain smells (like meat cooking) that used to be so good to me now make me feel ill. I remember a time when I thought I could never go completely vegetarian, and I was totally wrong. Now, I can’t imagine going back.



One can still be an unhealthy vegetarian! I know a lot of people who are vegetarian who are unhealthy. I also know a lot of people who don’t understand that it really is possible to be healthy as a vegetarian. Crazy, right? Even as a vegetarian, it’s important to eat your daily servings of vegetables, fruits, and grains! Getting the nutrition one needs is important. Substitute meat products are oftentimes even less healthy than the actual stuff, so I’m careful about them and limit the amount of processed foods I consume. I’ve caught myself from time to time not eating as healthy as I could be, even as a vegetarian! Making sure I plan meals ahead helps reduce the amount of processed and unhealthy food we consume!

 
meal planning guide | www.maplealps.com



B12 is important. There are a few supplements to consider when going vegetarian. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak. Vitamin B12 is necessary for us to function properly, and yet it is hard to get on a vegetarian diet (and especially on a vegan diet).  Finding vegetarian supplements (I use this B12 from Amazon) and buying fortified nutritional yeast flakes to add to food help with B12 levels. A few other supplements I’ve needed as a vegetarian have been iron and vitamin D.



Protein is actually pretty easy to get enough of. Besides finding out that protein is easy to get, I found out that so many people became concerned with my protein levels once becoming vegetarian. It turns out, however, that protein is not the main concern when going vegetarian after all! I mean, of course cows get protein somewhere, right? It is indeed possible to get plenty of protein on a vegetarian diet. Some examples of some high protein foods are edamame, beans, dark leafy greens, and my favourite, tofu. By the way, my doctor of many years has never once asked me if I get enough protein and she knows I’m a vegetarian. She doesn’t seem too concerned.



Reading Food Labels is Key! It’s interesting what foods we may assume are vegetarian are indeed not! Reading food labels ensures food really is animal-product free or vegetarian-friendly. Barbeque chips, marshmallows, and even some vitamin capsules are just three examples of snacks that are not usually vegetarian-friendly. Ideally, one should be eating foods with no labels at all (fresh produce, bulk grains, etc.).



It is not that weird after all. When I first went vegetarian years ago, there were so many people who thought it was the strangest thing. Nowadays, there are a lot of people who choose to go vegetarian, either for health or ethical reasons. It is much easier to live and eat out and enjoy lots of different foods now. I enjoy food more because experimenting with foods is enthralling and fun! I’ve met so many new people who have taught me how to enjoy life as a vegetarian.



Being a vegetarian has made me more mindful. Instead of just being okay with everything I eat, once I decided to be vegetarian, I became more mindful of what I was putting in my body. I want to make sure that my food nourishes me, not just fills my stomach. Of course, you don’t need to be vegetarian to be mindful of your consumption habits, but it has helped me on the course of healthier living.



Vegetables are tasty AND pretty! I love experimenting with different vegetable combinations to make delicious meals! And I love the color that is added to my plate. because of them! If I have a meal that has too many brown tones, I immediately start to miss my fresh veggies - I can’t go without them!


Are you a vegetarian? What have you learned about it?


 
vegan pantry | www.maplealps.com
 

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Health, TravelAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

Traveling is an amazing thing. Seeing the world and experiencing different cultures and landscapes and places can be a good way to shake things up a little. Of course, when we shake things up a little too much, our body sometimes suffers as well. There is nothing worse for me than getting sick on a trip, or right after one. Here are a few things I do to keep myself as healthy as possible, even through the stress of traveling.

This post contains affiliate links

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling | www.maplealps.com
 

Eat As Close to Your Normal Healthy Diet as Possible

Don’t go from eating smoothies and kale salads to cheese fondue for breakfast every day for a week. I mean, you could, but your body might try to rebel and the results may not be pretty. I may or may not be speaking from experience. ;-) It won’t always be possible to eat your exact normal diet, but try.

 

Get Enough Sleep

It is definitely hard to get enough sleep during the holiday season or traveling. Friends and family may be in town, and parties are happening left and right. Do your best to get as much sleep as you can. I find that even a weekend of too little sleep leaves me feeling pretty awful and makes for a very long week. If you are traveling to a different time zone, you can use a small amount melatonin to help get you out of jet lag quicker. Note that melatonin is not a long term fix for sleep problems.

 
 

Choose Healthy Alternatives

While packing your own snacks is a health and money saver, when traveling for longer periods of time, it is often necessary that you stop for sustenance. Try to plan ahead by creating a meal plan for your vacation. The best thing for your wallet is finding a local grocery store to stock up on healthy foods and even meals. Of course, not everyone stays in facilities that allow you to cook your own meals, so thankfully, many fast food places and restaurants (and even grocery stores!) have started offering healthy options on their menus that you can take advantage of as well.

 

Drink Water

Water is so important! Staying hydrated will help keep you healthy! I pack my own water bottle and fill it up whenever there is an opportunity to so that I don’t have to buy giant, heavy, and often expensive, packs of water. Seriously, having to pay $4+ for a bottle of water is not fun when you are thirsty. I have actually experienced not even getting free water on a 6+ hour plane ride, so don’t assume you’ll get some on flights sometimes. If you do take a water bottle on a flight in you carry on, be sure it’s empty before you go through security. Yikes. By the way, you will also want to keep your skin hydrated with all the stress of travel.

 

MOVE!

If you regularly exercise (which you should be!), don’t let your habits go completely out of the window when you travel. If you’re staying in a hotel, there is a chance they have a fitness area where you can set aside some time to exercise. If not, Youtube is full of at home workouts that require no equipment and that cane be done in 20 minutes or less! Phone apps too. Walking will also help keep you active - especially when you have to sit for hours during the traveling process in trains, planes, and other automobiles. Just make sure you pack some good sneakers and gear!

 

Be Prepared

Be prepared for whatever conditions you will be facing. If you’re going to be having fun in the sun, make sure you pack a water bottle and sunscreen and a hat! Pack warm clothing for chilly weather. Borrow from hosts if you need to, by the way. We went to Canada and couldn’t pack our snow gear in our suitcases, so we borrowed from some cousins! Bring some immunity boosting vitamins and stuff to keep you clean. Pack a small first aid kit with some basic needs. You get the idea. Being prepared will help you stay healthy - or help you when you aren’t as successful.

 
 

What are some of the ways you stay healthy while traveling? Any other tips?


 
travel maple alps
 

How To Cook [Garbanzo] Beans

Recipes, HealthAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

I love the versatility of garbanzo beans (also known as chick peas)! You can put them in a salad, roast them in the oven to make a quick snack, have them in a bowl or even crush them to make a spread or burgers. Beans of any sort are great to keep in the pantry, and if you are trying to save money on groceries, a fantastic way to do that is to buy beans dry! They keep a long time, and they are easy to prepare and freeze if you want to keep them on hand. Plus, if you have concerns about the sodium content in canned beans, dried is the way to go! Canned or not, you definitely need beans in your diet, so I decided to do a quick "how to" post to help you out. 

How To Cook [Garbanzo] Beans | www.maplealps.com

This how-to really applies to any bean and there are several ways to cook them. 

Step One: Sort
Check your beans for any broken fellows or other debris or stones you may find in a dry bag of beans. You will want to get all of that out.

Step Two: Rinse
Pretty self-explanatory.

Step Three: Soak
Now, soaking is optional actually! The thing about soaking is that it will cut your actual cooking time down (Saving you on gas/electricity - whatever your stove runs on), and it will also make beans less of a "musical fruit," as it helps break down some of the indigestible sugars that cause flatulence. The easiest way to soak beans is overnight. Just make sure water is about 2-3 inches above them and sleep the night away. Waiting is easier then. You can also do a quick soak by putting them in a pot with water, bringing it to a boil, and then taking them off the heat and let them soak for an hour.

How To Cook Garbanzo Beans | www.maplealps.com
How To Cook Garbanzo Beans | www.maplealps.com

Step Four: Cook
Again, make sure there is 2-3 inches of water covering your beans and bring the pot to a boil - slowly though. Bring the pot to a simmer, and stir occasionally, scraping off any foam that on the surface (you won't get too much with garbanzos). You will know your beans are done when they are tender (you can mash or poke them with a fork - or eat one like I tend to do....hehe)

Those weirdly shrivelled things do come out plump and juicy - as long as you don't overcook them. 

Now, I did mention you could cook them in several different ways. Some other ways I know of (let me know how you cook beans in the comments!) are:

  • in a pot in the oven

  • in a slow cooker (my favourite method - I just turn it on before work and I have cooked beans when I get home for dinner!)

  • in a pressure cooker

How To Cook Garbanzo Beans | www.maplealps.com

Step Five: Store
Beans will stay good in the refrigerator for several days, but I like to keep them in the freezer for easy and quick access. They will stay several months in the freezer. I suppose you could can them as well, but I personally like the freedom with how many I want to use with the freezing method. I don't always use an entire jars worth.

Yay! You are now ready to save time (with some planning, of course) and money!

 

How do you cook your beans? What do you cook with them?


 

Easy Ways to Cut Down on Refined Sugar

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

I have a definite sweet tooth. I didn’t always have one, and actually, as much of a sweet tooth I have, I prefer savory things. I do, however, go through periods where it seems I can’t get enough sweetness into my mouth. It’s a strange thing. Or is it? After reading up about refined sugar, I found the obvious: that too much can be really detrimental to our health!




I also found that sugar can be found in many of the products we buy in the grocery store. I had no idea about that until I took a no sugar challenge, where not even trace amounts of added sugar were allowed. I was reading every single label on every single product in the grocery store and found that there is a lot of unnecessary sugar out there!




Now, I’m not against a sugary treat every now and again, but I think it is important to limit how much sugar we put into our bodies! Your mother always told you that too much of a good thing is not good. And she was right.

Easy Ways to Cut Down on Refined Sugar | www.maplealps.com




Cut down on sugary drinks

This is pretty straight forward. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Beware of bottled juices though - some hide large amounts of sugar that are not naturally occuring. Try some of the following if you think you absolutely cannot handle plain water:


Infused water

If you can’t stand the taste of water (I personally love it), feel free to infuse it with fresh fruit, vegetables, or herbs. Not only does it spice up your water, it makes it look extra pretty too! You can easily do this by adding them to your water pitcher or glass, or even buying a fancy one that is made to infuse (check this one out from Amazon).

Herbal Tea

I love having some herbal tea in the morning or before bed. It’s hot, so it’s more comforting to drink than water, but contains zero sugar when you don’t sweeten it!




Make your own food staples

There is a lot of refined sugar hidden in a lot of staples you buy in the store, like bread and granola and even sauces in a jar. You can even find extra amounts of sugar in canned foods (like canned fruit) that are unnecessary. By making your own, or cutting your own, you can avoid these ingredients and choose exactly what goes into your food.


vegan pantry maple alps




Cut Out Sugary Desserts

Many desserts are just calorie dense and provide few nutrients. If you need something sweet after you eat, try to have a bit of fruit or splurge and have a small piece of dark chocolate.



Eat full, whole-food meals

By eating full, whole-food meals, you can generally reduce the temptation to snack in between. Especially the sweet kind. Personally, my parents never really allowed me to eat between meals growing up, so this isn’t hard for me, but I know it can be a challenge.



Replace Sugary Condiments

Many condiments such as ketchup and BBQ sauce are filled with sugar. One tablespoon of ketchup, for example, may have up to 4 grams of sugar in it! Use some low sugar options to substitute for condiments. There are plenty of options, including different fresh or dried herbs and spices and homemade sauces.



Beware of Processed Snacks

Watch out for foods that are marketed as healthy. Things such as granola bars and protein bars and dried fruit can contain large amounts of sugar - sometimes even more than a chocolate bar. You can make your own trail mixes that don’t contain extra sugar, or make your own crackers to add to soups!



Read Labels

Did you know there are at least 56 names for sugar?! Check your labels for sneaky sugars hiding out in the ingredients list. Watch for anything ending in “-ose.” Here are some common names you should look out for: High-fructose corn syrup, Cane sugar or juice, Maltose, Dextrose, Invert sugar, Rice syrup, and Molasses Caramel.