Today was the last day of classes before finals…my last day of class in the states for a while because next semester, I’ll be studying abroad in Rome! I’m beyond excited, though I do not want to use this excitement of mine to totally forget about the Christmas season (my favorite!) and my birthday. But after having a bagel sandwich for dinner tonight, to say I’m looking forward to Italian food would be an understatement 🙂
My mom and sister visited me last weekend for a fun-filled, girls only, holiday-shopping extravaganza. Going to school in a bustling city makes it pretty convenient to all gather at my place 🙂 It’s free lodging for them so, naturally, they didn’t hesitate when I put that little impromptu visit on the calendar. Anyways, what I was getting to (I think I’ve inherited my mother’s ability to make stories last really long…love ya mom!) is that my mom brought me lots of food and home-cooked meals to eat throughout the week. One of them was the fixin’s for a refreshing, tropical-inspired salad. Exhibit A…
In the mix: Italian lettuce mix (any kind will do!), grilled chicken marinated in Lawry’s Lemon Pepper marinade, red grapes, pineapple, blueberries, 1/2 banana, and some maple-glazed pecans. As my “dressing,” I layed a lil’ Lemon Pepper marinade over the top. Hey, no one told me I couldn’t. DELISH! It kind of made me forget that the windchills will be in the negatives next week. (When weather.com tells me a certain day is going to be “windy” in Chicago, I brace for hurricane-like conditions.) Take my tropical-inspired chicken salad, Chicago temps! In yo face.
(Sidenote: See those Salt & Pepper shakers? The Pillsbury Dough-Girl/Boy? My roommate and I are mildly obsessed with them. They may be popping up in a few of my pictures…)
In other news, it’s time to talk about my milk discovery. I was dog-tired today (I think because I got too much sleep last night and I’m not used to it!), so I decided to treat myself to a mint mocha at our school coffee shop. Upon ordering, the barista told me that they were out of skim milk. I had a minor freak-out. She told me all that was left was 2%, whole milk, and soymilk, and on a whim, I went with soy milk (can you believe I hadn’t tried it before?! I mean…have I been living on a different planet?). Thinking I would hate it, I took my first sip. Oh EM gee. Silky, smooth, just the perfect amount of sweetness. Skim-milk, it’s hard to tell you this, but I’ve moved on…. From now on, I may just be getting soymilk in my lattes and mochas…
-Soy milk contains only veggie proteins. Studies have been done that show veggie proteins cause less loss of calcium through the kidneys…let’s here it for strong bones!
-It also has isoflavones; each cup contains about 20 mg of isoflavones. Cow’s milk does not contain these, but they are important because they work to reduce your cholesterol, are antioxidants (so they protect our cells and DNA from those nasty free radicals in the body), may help protect against breast and prostate cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and may even help ease menopause symptoms. Okay, maybe you all aren’t going through menopause yet, but do you see my point?
Even if you don’t want to switch completely over to soy milk (it is a little bit more pricey), consider adding it in every now and then. Maybe try a soy milk latte one day instead or your usual skim/1%/2%, and see how you like it! Go from there. I am so glad the coffee shop was out of skim milk! The old, debbie-downer me would have just left and went to the other coffee shop to get my skim-milk mint mocha…but now, I am completely re-inspired to try new things. I know I can’t win ’em all, but man…this was a sweet discovery!
Tell me: What milk do you prefer – skim, 1%, 2%, whole, soy? What’s your absolute favorite way to incorporate milk into your diet? I think we could all use some suggestions for putting more calcium into our bodies!