The Oaks at Oaji

I have never endured such an intense health experience until I visited the Oaks at Oaji. Located in the cute little town of Oaji, this spa focusses on eating healthy and exercising 24/7 to become that physically and mentally fit person you want to be. The spa features a variety of classes that change every day, from high intensity cardio to relaxing Qi Gong. You are on a 1200 calorie diet yet they supply you with low cal snacks to help get you through the day. And if you don’t feel like exercising, there is a great relaxation area by the pool 🙂

The food was probably my FAVORITE part about the Oaks. I applaud the chefs for making a 75 calorie muffin that tastes delicious! And it’s not easy. Right when I returned home, I tried their blueberry muffin recipe…let’s just say it could have passed at rabbit food. But I’m still trying! Anyways, I bought their cookbook and was thinking, why not do the Oaks challenge? A recipe everyday and then blog about it? I am SO down. I don’t know what I am getting myself into but hopefully it works out…

Here are some lovely pictures of the food we ate!

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Find the ‘Healthy’ in Unhealthy

When you eat out, what is your go to menu item? The salad or the cheesy garlic bread? For me, I would go with the salad…but the whole time I’m chewing those leafy greens, I would be craving that cheesy, butter-soaked garlic bread. So how do you make your favorite comfort food a healthy choice? I will tell you.

Remove the “UN-necessaries”

If I were ordering an omelet, I would say, “Well, what could I remove from this to make it a healthier, more nutritious meal?” Look at the menu description and point out the “UN-necessaries.” Cheese? Don’t need it. Toast? Empty calories. Meat? Go veg for a day. Eggs? Well obviously it’s an omelet, but you could always make those eggs, egg WHITES. Add some veggies? Pile it on! Now look at your omelet and marvel at how much healthier it is. And you can apply this technique to any meal!

Dressing on the side please!

You never know what a restaurant puts in their dressings. Or if they even make them. Order the dressing on the side so you are only ingesting as much dressing as you want instead of eating unnecessary dressing. I’m pretty sure you can eat a salad with half the dressing they give you.

Read your options carefully!

All in all, you just have to go through a menu with a fine-tooth comb. There will be options that seem delicious but think how it will make you feel after you eat them? Too-full. Heavy. Kinda gross. Take those choice out. You obviously want to indulge sometimes; it is very healthy, just indulge intelligently.

Sweet & Sour Veggies

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I was in the weirdest mood the other day. I had the most spontaneous desire to make dinner. Dinner in my house is a pretty big deal; all meals are home-cooked and served at the proper dining hour. Plus, my family loves to eat so you have to make a generous amount of food. Anyways, I came upon this recipe from the vegan cook book “Piece of my Heart” written by Mielle Chenier Cowan Rose and it looked so delish that I just had to go for it. I hope you try making this one at home for your family. Simple, yummy, and flavorful. And it is quite flexible if you want to make your own side dishes or even add your own lil’ flair 🙂 Have fun!

☆ Sweet and Sour Vegetables ☆

Combine in a small bowl to make sauce

1 Tbl miso paste

2 Tbl tamari

2 Tbl rice vinegar

1 ½ Tbl honey

1 Tbl cornstarch

1 Tbl toasted sesame oil

Stir well to dissolve starch and set aside. Note: I slightly tweaked this recipe and used about a tsp. of minced garlic and ginger, and added a ½ tsp. more honey and a few pinches of salt. Gives the sauce a lil’ kick!

Combine in a large pan:

1 Tbl light sesame oil

¼-½ tsp red pepper flakes, to taste

2 lbs mixed vegetables (I used onion, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, & shiitake mushrooms)

Stir fry over medium-high heat for 3-6 minutes until veggies are cooked. Add:

Sauce (above)

Cook 1 minute more, until the veggies are glazed. 

☆ Speckled Rice ☆

In a medium pot:

2 cups water 

Bring water to a boil and then add:

1/2 cup Organic Lake Wild Rice

Cover pot and cook for about 45-50 mins, or when all water is absorbed.

In another medium pot:

2 cups water

Bring water to boil and then add:

1 cup white rice

Cover and cook for about 20 mins.

When both rices are ready, stir both types into a bowl until combined. The wild rice on top of the white should create a speckled effect.

Snacking

Snacking can be dangerous. If you don’t monitor yourself, you can end up eating the WHOLE bag of chips. We use snacking to distract ourselves from tedious activities, giving ourselves an excuse to not continue with our work. Yet that is no way to solve your reluctancy to do something. You are only filling yourself with unnecessary calories that are usually stored as fat in the end. If you really need a break from a long project, go outside and take a walk up a hill or jog around your block. I promise you will feel much better and more motivated to carry on with your work. And if you are in need of a little something to hold you over until the next meal, make a snack that is small but filling enough to settle your stomach. I recommend apples and peanut butter. Cut up an apple, put some peanut butter and honey in a bowl, and dip the apples into the mixture. It is easy, healthy, and a great snack to settle your craving for food. Low-sodium mixed nuts is another fabulous snack to hold your stomach. The mono and poly unsaturated fats in nuts help lower your cholesterol and contain at least one double bond in the fatty acid chain, meaning that they are less-caloric than saturated fats. So the next time you are in need of a mini-meal, DON’T reach for the bag of chips.

Food

Organic skin care routine. Check. Well almost. Even though the bumps faded and the redness was soothed, my acne was still a problem. I began to think about my everyday food consumptions and realized that I could weave in healthier alternatives into my meals without drastically changing my diet. For example, that vegetable that has everyone talking, yet no one can handle eating, KALE. I have a kale salad everyday for lunch and dinner; iceberg lettuce is so last year. The list of benefits from this veggie goes on and on: prevents cancer, contains antioxidants A, C, and K, helps eyesight, and more. Another one of my everyday rituals (which began as my new year’s resolution) is drinking three cups of tea. GREEN tea to be exact. I bring a large, reusable water bottle to school everyday and fill it with decaffeinated green tea. Yes, it can be difficult to find decaffeinated green tea on the shelf of your local grocery store. Usually I mix one bag of regular and one bag of decaffeinated tea just so I don’t run out of the decaf too fast. Tea, green tea especially, is a great, natural source of antioxidants and flushes out the system, helping clear the skin of impurities. My friends have noticed my habits and I am now referred to as “The Healthy One.” But who wouldn’t want to be known as that? I have inspired many of my companions to eat salad rather than candy bars (really, at least four of my friends bring salads to school now) and I hope to inspire more throughout high school.