May is Women's Health Month, and as it quickly approaches, I have found myself reflecting more on my intended career path and the importance of caring for myself. Although my time as an educational leadership consultant has been truly life-changing and more than I ever could have asked for, I am very much looking forward to my matriculation into medical school in 2018. However, until then, I have the privilege of serving the Fraternity for a second year as an ELC!
This upcoming year, I want to prioritize my health, and I encourage you to do the same.
- Exercise. In my time as a based consultant at the Colorado School of Mines, I have embraced the Colorado lifestyle! The beautiful weather and multitude of outdoor activities left me no excuse not to. My based ELC partner and I have enjoyed hiking, swimming, and enjoying the sunshine as much as possible. Working out in the gym can get tiresome after a while, so I have enjoyed switching it up!
- Wear sunscreen! have on occasion forgotten to protect my skin while enjoying the beautiful Rocky Mountains and suffered the consequences. Fun fact: You experience a 4 percent increase in UV exposure for every 1,000 feet you climb in elevation. That means in Denver, I get about 24 percent more sun than when I am at home!
- Regular doctor visits. Find a doctor who suits your needs. Get annual physicals from both your primary care physician as well as your women's health professional. The latter can also assess your risk for breast cancer and uterine/cervical cancer, and give advice on reproductive health and safe practices!
- Healthy eating. Although this is probably the biggest struggle on this list for me personally, I have challenged myself to eat more healthful fruits and vegetables and fewer processed simple carbohydrates. This is especially difficult when I am travelling! I am looking forward to spending the summer as an ELC summer staff member in Indianapolis, where I can seek out local foods at the farmer's market (a summer favorite in Indy!) and try new restaurants with healthful options.
As this school year winds down and I reflect on my experiences, I am amazed at the progress I have made professionally and personally. I am incredibly grateful to return next year as a second-year consultant and hope to continue this progress and growth—including my newfound health goals! What have you committed to lately to improve your health?
While a healthy and active lifestyle is incredibly important to me, as a full-time traveling consultant it is often necessary to make exceptions. When a chapter asks me if I would like to taste the best doughnuts in town, I find it difficult to say no. Thus I have approached this year with an "everything in moderation" attitude—making sure to sneak in my fruits and veggies in between the burgers and cupcakes. Heading into my last month and a half of life as an ELC, I have decided to look back on some of my favorite foods along the way.
The five eateries listed below are just a small representation of my awesome dining experiences this year. If you are ever within a 50-mile radius of any of these locations, they are sure worth the trip.
- Ferdinand's Ice Cream Shoppe, Pullman, Washington (Alpha Sigma Chapter) Eats: Blackberry Ripple. This ice cream joint is hands down the best in the area. Students at Washington State University churn their world-renowned Cougar Gold cheese at this same creamery, and neither the cheese nor the ice cream leave anything to be desired. Don't let the mile and a half long line stop you from going in. The blackberry ripple, a vanilla base with swirls of blackberries, will melt in your mouth and make you forget the wait.
- The Soup Spoon, Rochester, New York (Theta Lambda Chapter) Eats: Mee Katang. Just a few miles from the University of Rochester campus is College Town, an area with your typical array of student-friendly takeout. Tucked between Chipotle and Jimmy John's is Cambodian comfort cuisine. Try the mee katang, wide rice noodles tossed with veggies, egg, and your choice of meat or tofu. It will knock your socks off.
- Distrito, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Beta Eta Chapter) Eats: Super Nachos. If you're a fan of cheesy Spanish cuisine, you should stop by Distrito. Every dish in this Spanish-style restaurant is loaded with crema. I recommend the super nachos—they're super delicious. Mixed cheese, red peppers, black beans, chilies, and chicken make this dish a sure winner. An added bonus: there's a hollowed-out VW bug in the back just big enough to seat two and an order of these nachos.
- Black Dog, Champaign, Illinois (Delta Chapter) Eats: Pulled Pork Sandwich. Being a West Coast gal, I have had limited experience with BBQ. Who knew my favorite BBQ eats so far would come from the middle of rural Illinois? Black Dog's pulled pork sandwich, coleslaw, and assorted sauces are enough to make any Southern Californian consider moving out east.
- Atticus Bookstore/Cafe, New Haven, Connecticut (Epsilon Tau Chapter) Eats: Organic English Breakfast Tea. There is nothing quite like a warm cup of tea when the weather is gloomy. At Atticus, you have the pleasure of pouring tea from your own personal teapot while taking in the comforting scent of books. In the era of Starbucks and Kindles, this is a nice reminder to slow it down and smell the roses, or whatever floral tea you prefer.
What's your favorite dish to eat? Share with us in the comments below!