November 22, 2015



I've been talking a lot to my cousin's wife, Monica, about protein and working out and all things healthy. She's obviously been reading way more about it because she knows so much more than she did last time I saw her in December! It's been fun to learn from her, and it's made me start some of my own research. I've started following websites and blogs that write about health & fitness as well as people on Instagram who share healthy and mostly cruelty-free recipes. Starting a fitness journey is exhilarating and intoxicating but the truth is I hate the way most 'fitness people' eat. It looks so boring most of the time, I'm sorry to say. They eat loads of chicken hahaha. I used to eat chicken (and I loved it!) but since becoming a pescatarian, that's no longer an option. It seems like every day they eat egg whites for breakfast, turkey or chicken with sweet potato for lunch, turkey or chicken with rice and broccoli for dinner. Banana and peanut butter or protein shake or ten almonds for snack. None of these things are bad, but I just need more variety! and cooking is way too fun! I must say, I tried making protein balls for the first time while in Colombia and they were soooo delicious! Mmm... I guess there is some fun to be had and many recipes to try with protein powder and peanut butter ;) Here are some interesting links for you! Hope you enjoy them.

  • This website called "Two Foods" compares foods. It sounds a bit boring, but it's really great to put two fruits side to side and see what the differences in carbohydrates and protein really are. I find it fascinating...
  • How to prevent overeating... it's so hard, especially when you're eating something incredible (like the cheesecake my grandmother made last week) but necessary. I'm tired of feeling so stuffed I need a nap!
  • oh superfoods... how often I look you up and then eat crappy food.
  • I used to love when my mom would make me rice crispy treats! It didn't happen too often, especially since Paris doesn't have Rice Krispies cereal. Here are some good looking crispy rice protein treats because all desserts I make from now on will have protein powder in them ;)
  • some more good looking protein bars: one / two / three
  • if you're brave enough to do seven minutes of squats (last time I did, my legs hurt for the next two days! I also forgot to stretch... ok, so it was my fault. I always forget to stretch) then here's a link to a mini workout you can do today!


November 21, 2015



minimalist view on eating 

Sometimes I forget the delicate, pure taste of simplicity. As any person of my age, I am on the computer more than I'd like to admit, and some of that time is spent on Pinterest and Instagram. I've looked up many, many, many recipes and am very fond of cooking. But it's good to remember how great simple food tastes. 

I keep learning from my "mistakes". In the past few years, I started to take pictures of almost of the meals I made. Especially breakfast. Something simple, something that is supposed to keep me alive became complicated. Work. I assembled meals. And then this utterly stupid thought came to mind and it hit me. "But I can't take a picture of yogurt and honey, it won't make a great picture." Oh, so that's it. A salad with fifteen ingredients, a soup with twenty vegetables, a tart of thirty fruits and flavors... What about just one or two? I try to remind myself sometimes to do less. You're hungry? Just eat a fucking banana, don't turn it into a fancy fruit salad, says a voice in my head.

I remember so clearly this one day at Smith... I finished a small lunch and I was a bit hungry an hour later so I wondered what I could eat that wouldn't be too high in calories and would keep me full for a while... I looked in my fridge and saw a peach yogurt. My first instinct was to ask myself what I could add to it... granola, goji berries, pumpkin seeds... Then I stopped myself and decided to eat it as it was. Something I hadn't done in a while. I'm not even talking about the difference between processed "edible food-like substances" (Michael Pollan) and a homemade risotto. I'm talking about the difference between a turkey-cheese-tomato-basil-bacon-lettuce-mustard sandwich (perfectly good and homemade) and a slice of bread and butter. In essence, what we might call 'boring foods'. The other day, my snack was a slice of bread with salted butter. It was so flavorful and real! My goal is to try to eat more simply more often. I still love going out to restaurants and I still love cooking and coming up with crazy recipes and experimenting but I feel like there's something about simplicity that is so magical. Not to mention the money, calories and time saved.

Some examples of simplicity: turkey + mustard, bread + salted butter, plain yogurt + honey, banana + peanut butter, celery + peanut butter, apple + peanut butter, rice + ketchup (my own weird thing), pasta + mustard (not for everyone), tomato + salt, rolled oats + maple syrup. Those are some ideas, maybe you have some interesting ones too? I'd love to hear them. 

I've unfollowed most of the food instagram accounts I used to follow, and I've deleted most of my food boards on Pinterest and started over only pinning things I actually think I will likely make. I still love food, and cooking, but it's so much nicer to not think about it all the time, and to just enjoy it without making a fuss over each meal. Today I had plain tempeh with brown rice and ketchup and then for dessert I had leftover rice with a fresh date and a bit of cream. It was boring but it was good and I tasted every flavor. Let's not forget where our food comes from, and to feel grateful for the nourishment it provides. Here's to simplicity!

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November 20, 2015


Valentina's Farm 1

There isn't much I love more than being at the family farm with my animal friends. If you've been following on Instagram, then you have already met Zelda (above) and Scott (below), my two new friends that I love so dearly already. When I am in Colombia, I need to go to the finca weekly. I like to spend two or three days there, though some people in my family just drive up in the morning and stay a few hours and drive back in the evening. Staying longer helps you get away from everything though. No internet, just the farm, and the animals, and the wilderness. Sometimes I shower. 

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Dogs, dogs, dogs. Again, if you follow on Instagram, you've met Sargento (above). He is the most loyal dog I've ever known. I swear, sometimes I think he's a human stuck in a dog's body. Sargento loves attention. He jumps up and sticks his paws on your up-to-then clean sweater and stays there like he wants something. He wants love, I pressume. I think the arrival of Scott made him jealous and left him feeling a bit forgotten at times. I say this because I could FEEL his desperation. Yes, Sargento, I DO LOVE YOU! We all do! 

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At the farm, I am myself. Nothing physical matters – I wear the same things again and again (washing them of course, because soooomehow I tend to get clothes dirty (clue: dogs). I read, I eat, I think, I listen to podcasts until I run out of podcasts to listen to, I dance to music, I play with the dogs, I visit the pig and the hens, I think about planting more and about what it would be like to have a magnificent garden, I lay down on the floor with the dogs (I do that more than you'd think), I write, I sleep. 

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I feel so lucky to have a family farm in Colombia. I wanted to share these pictures with you because they show you my immense love for animals hahaha. Going through my pictures from last month, I realize half are of animals, maybe more. I hope you like looking through these pictures... I just think they are all so adorable and I love being able to share my love for animals and the farm! I mean, just look at those baby ducklings! 

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As you can see, the horse and I share the same hair color. Maybe we go to the same stylist.

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November 18, 2015


Food in Colombia *1

I'm thinking about everything I eat in Colombia. The thing is I don't eat like a Colombian. I usually don't have rice. Ever. I don't eat more than two empanadas (and that was once the whole month I was there) and I the only fried thing I have once a week is the 'hojaldra' that is made at our farm. Colombian food can be very heavy. Fried this, fried that. But I have found things I love over there. Like that aloe vera juice (that I can find basically anywhere but for some reason I love in Colombia). Like the Juan Valdez coffee which is Colombia's version of Starbucks. Like all the green fruit (green mango, green guava) with lemon and salt (yes. This is my favorite thing ever). 

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Those purple 'potatoes' are ullucos and my grandmother's housemaid cooks them into something so delicious and magical. Fruit, fruit, fruit. There's loads of that. A lot of plantain with every meal. And then ceviche. Oh ceviche, how I love ceviche. The colombian version is just as good as the peruvian... but different... BUT JUST AS GOOD. "Queso soya" which is a tofu cheese that blows my mind, and I don't know what I'll do in Paris without it. 

What did I notice when I became pescatarian my second week in Colombia? Colombians eat meat. Lots and lots of meat and chicken. Sometimes it was a struggle to find vegetarian options. But we found some great vegetarian restaurants and stores in Cali! Slowly, they are becoming more popular. 

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So yes... here are some pictures of food from my time in Colombia last month. Some from parties (ahem, people don't eat cookie monster cupcakes every day... right?), some from restaurants, some from the farm. I'll be back next month and will try to remember to take even more pictures. Oh, I forgot to say... Colombian food isn't always very photogenic ;)

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November 14, 2015


lately on instagram Valentina D10 IMG_1879 IMG_1257 Bits P 10 Valentina Paris Bored 2

No words can describe the sadness and heartbreak over yesterday's shootings in Paris. I was up until so late following the news and speaking to friends. I am not at home in Paris. I am safe in Barcelona. Friends and family still in Paris are alive and safe. Thanks for the concern... Much love. Big hugs to everyone.

November 10, 2015


Colombia Octubre VCD 1

I got back to Paris on the 30th of October. I spent one glorious month in Colombia, as you may have seen on my instagram (I know it's just pictures of dogs, yes yes). I had been planning on a surprise visit to see my mom since May... Maaaaay people! It's a long time to keep a secret. Except it really wasn't a secret. Literally every person I met in Paris and Ireland was told, but who was going to tell my family in Colombia? So my mom (and everyone else in my family!) was very surprised. Pleasantly so (phew). She said it's the best gift I've ever given her. So that's good ;) 

My friend Kady (the only blond one in these pictures) also joined us for a few weeks. She loved Colombia – my family, the farm, the dancing, the avocado... I hope my other friends will follow in her steps and come to Colombia too. Everyone I ever invite ends up loving it! 

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(My aunt and her three sons on her birthday – yay technology for keeping us all together even when we are apart! And the cake above is hilarious, right? She is super into technology so they made a computer cake haha!)

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We went to the farm – la finca – a few times and traveled to Quimbaya, Salento and the Santa Rosa hot springs one weekend. We discovered an amazing restaurant in Filandia called Helena Adentro where we ate two nights in a row. It was that good. Delicious eggplant with caramelized onions and goat cheese, coconut drinks... mmmm. More on them in another post. 

Going to the farm was fantastic. It always is, this is not news. But this time I felt more attached to it than ever before. I do think I know why. 


I adopted Scott and Zelda... did you see them on my instagram? Here they are. My beautiful little creatures. You can read the story on the instagram picture. They feel mine. They are mine, even though they are at the farm, a few thousand miles away from me. I love them already so much. 


I read a phenomenal book by Jo Robinson, Eating on the Wild Side. I learned so much and have been using the information often since then. I highly recommend it! Furthermore, it's made me so excited about gardening and farming. Our farm has so much potential, and now I'm making plans to start planting more! Right now we have lettuce, tomatoes, beans, sweet peppers, corn, peas, cilantro, oregano, spinach, onion, and leeks. I have so many more ideas... 


I started listening to all iTunes U lessons in which Michael Pollan does some talking. An obsession maybe. I feel a need to learn about agriculture and food policy. The lecture in which Michael talks to the founder of Whole Foods was incredibly interesting. All the lectures made me think about food, where it comes from, how to appreciate it, what to do about it. I have more love for plants and animals, and so more love for the farm. All this ties back to that post in which I talked about becoming a pescatarian if you'd like to give it a read

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Look at that happy girl in the picture below hahaha. That's Kady!

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It's only been 10 days but it feels like I left forever ago! Cannot wait to go back. I loved being there for a whole month because I was able to do so many little things that are important to me – like join my mom's gym for the month! I always feel better after going to the gym... I am also working on making a list of all the organic, vegetarian, vegan, local shops and restaurants in Cali... It's hard to find, but not impossible! 

More on Colombia food and more on the farm later this week! 

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