How This Philly Recipe Blogger Juggles Meal Prep with Grad School
Sarah Schutz is the brains behind recipe blog The Cutting Veg, as well as a PhD student at Penn.
Welcome to Sweat Diaries, Be Well Philly’s look at the time, energy, and money people invest in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle in Philly. For each Sweat Diary, we ask one area resident to spend a week tracking everything they eat, all the exercise they get, and the money they spend on both. Want to submit a Sweat Diary? Email [email protected].
Who I am: Sarah Schutz (@thecuttingveg), 26
Where I live: Rittenhouse
What I do: By day, I am a PhD student in health economics at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. By night, I am the blogger and content creator behind The Cutting Veg, a recipe and lifestyle blog.
What role healthy living plays in my life: Especially in academia, carving out the space for myself to have the time to sleep, eat home-cooked meals, and move my body is what keeps me feeling like a human. Having the balance for my physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing is how I am best able to balance all of the needs I have pulling at me throughout the day.
Health memberships (and what they cost): ClassPass — usually $59, but I am trying the first month for free so I haven’t spent anything yet.
6:45 a.m. — I wake up to the sweet sound that is my alarm clock. I am still trying to get a handle on waking up early so I can get ready to head to campus. I laid out my workout clothes last night, so I mindlessly slip them on, grab my headphones, and head downstairs to my building’s gym (which is “free” in the sense that the price is included in my HOA fees). I love having a gym in my building because it makes it so easy to go to the gym, ESPECIALLY if it’s raining.
7 a.m. — I hop on the treadmill and do a 45-minute run on an incline before jumping off and lifting some weights. I’ve been loving lifting lately and do not know why I haven’t incorporated it into my routine before now.
8:30 a.m. — Head back upstairs to my apartment and make my bed. I always do this right when I come in the door from the gym because it makes my day feel put together. I head into the kitchen and realize I have zero avocados which, for me, just cannot happen. I change shoes, grab my jean jacket, and head out the door.
9 a.m. — My chickpeas (what I call my followers because I hate that word) love my Trader Joe’s reviews and, since Trader Joe’s is 10 minutes down the street from me, I feel I am there almost every day. I walk out with two avocados, one banana, and a can of seltzer ($3.44).
10:30 a.m. — I am finally getting ready to make my coffee and breakfast while answering e-mails and watching the fourth hour of the Today show. I also grind my own coffee beans and make coffee in my French press before blending it with collagen peptides and almond milk creamer to make it frothy. Now, it’s time to eat these two fried eggs with sweet potato fries, avocado, sautéed kale, some sauerkraut, and hot sauce!
11:30 a.m. — Posting time! I always try to post to Instagram twice per day so I set aside 20 to 30 minutes each time so I can draft the post and respond to comments. I post about today’s breakfast while drinking my second cup of coffee.
12 p.m. — Since grad school classes start on Wednesday, I make it my mission to get as much blogging work done as I can this week. Usually, my blogging work consists of responding to e-mails, drafting and shooting posts for IG and the blog, testing recipes, and taking calls. There’s a lot of work behind the scenes that many people do not get to see. Today, I take a call for a brand partnership while also doing the final recipe testing for a tempeh cacciatore. It is DELISH! I also take this time to water all of my plants.
4:30 p.m. — Because I shoot in natural light, my time to create photo content for the blog is limited, especially in the winter. I end up heading to a coffee date at Bluestone Lane with one of my friends I haven’t seen in a while. I am a sucker for a good deal and discovered you receive a $5 credit when you download their app! I get a cold brew and put a ton of oat milk in there (free with credit).
6 p.m. — By the time I get home, I am starving, so I quickly throw a bag of Trader Joe’s cauliflower rice stuffing on the stove. I toss in some kale to wilt and fry two eggs. I eat this quickly because I have a friend from college coming over to catch up over a glass of wine and see my new apartment.
7 p.m. — Friend and wine time!
9:30 p.m. — I end up having the tempeh cacciatore I made earlier for dinner with some spiralized zucchini noodles and kale.
11 p.m. — I snack on my two snack obsessions: rice cakes with peanut butter and sliced bananas, and an Eating Evolved keto cup. I close my laptop and finish answering comments on Instagram.
11:30 p.m. — Lights out!
Daily total: $3.44
6:45 a.m. — Alarm goes off. An e-mail tells me someone is requesting one of the economics journal articles I wrote so they do not have to pay for a subscription. I ignore it. I drink an entire bottle of water before hitting the gym.
7 a.m. — Back down to the gym for more lifting and weights. Woo!
9 a.m. — I end up taking a walk to South Philly and back as my form of meditation for the day. I just love popping in a podcast when I have time and listening to it while taking the sounds of the neighborhood. Today’s selection is a combination of The Daily, Dolly Parton’s America, and Keep It!.
10:30 a.m. — Home and time to whip up breakfast. I decide to make two slices of sesame Ezekiel bread, mashed avocado with lime and salt, a hard-boiled egg grated on a microplane, homemade pickled onions, dill, arugula, and everything bagel seasoning. I cannot reiterate how grating a hard-boiled egg changes the game. It makes the flavors so much more delicious. I eat this with my usual coffee and post to Instagram.
12 p.m. — One of the people in my cohort texts me to remind me we have our first day of class tomorrow for the spring semester. I realize I forgot to do the readings and figure out a time to fit those in.
12:30 p.m. — I usually try to get a recipe on my blog once a week. Usually on a Monday or Tuesday, I will sit down and type the recipe, draft all the social media posts, and schedule. In the midst of doing all of this, I take another brand call while snacking on some plain Icelandic skyr, frozen blueberries, Brazil nuts, and chia seeds.
3:30 p.m. — I change out of my gym clothes into jeans and a sweater before heading out the door.
4:30 p.m. — The research arm of my graduate department is hosting a belated holiday party. I arrive on time (I blame my German heritage for this) and grab a glass of red wine before meeting up with my friends. There is a fondue station so I grab some melted cheese, pears, and roasted asparagus. I also have a grilled cheese because I love cheese even though cheese doesn’t love me. Sigh.
7:30 p.m. — I arrive home and realize that I still have yet to read those papers. I quickly pull them up on my computer and draft some notes.
9:30 p.m. — I post to Instagram while eating the rest of the tempeh cacciatore with zucchini noodles along with some yogurt on the side.
11 p.m. — I have to wash my hair so I scrub my head using a scalp exfoliator that is my new favorite thing, along with the usual shampoo/conditioner. I slip into my pajamas, eat another keto cup, and answer some more comments before lights out at midnight.
Daily total: $0
6:45 a.m. — BIG FIRST DAY ENERGY. I am up and heading to a boxing class at Rumble I booked on Classpass. I’ve loved Rumble ever since I first tried it in NYC a couple of years ago and am stoked it has come to Philly. Plus, their locker room products smell heavenly. I rent gloves because I forgot mine at my parents’ house ($3).
8:30 a.m. — I get home, rinse off, and change into “school clothes” while listening to the Today show. I remember I have to shoot a grocery store product review video for my IGTV series that airs every Friday. I shove two veggie burgers from different brands into my oven and quickly film the review. Good thing I only need one take!
9 a.m. — I collect food to take with me for a full day of class. I pack one of the cooked veggie burger on top of a green salad with mustard and hot sauce, yogurt with frozen blueberries, sliced almonds, and chia seeds, a lemon RXBAR, and some cold brew mixed with almond milk creamer.
9:40 a.m. — I can take Septa or the bus to school, but I actually prefer to walk! It is not too cold today and I love getting to listen to a podcast or two while also getting some movement in. I also draft my IG post for the morning while walking to school.
10:30 a.m. — My department office is stocked with tea so I make myself some green tea in my traveling mug before heading down to the lecture hall. I am TA’ing two classes this semester, and the professor asks me to sit in on both lectures for today.
12 p.m. — I head to my office to have lunch in between classes. I share my office with six other graduate students, but no one is here today so I can eat in peace. I eat the veggie burger salad while calling my mom, posting to Instagram, and answering the backlog of e-mails from my blog. I also find a rotten avocado in the bottom of my backpack. I knew I should have cleaned it beforehand!
1:30 p.m. — I meet with my fellow TA and we sit in on the second section of class.
3 p.m. — Class ends and I rush across Locust Walk to get to the class I almost forgot we had today. It is a three-hour seminar, but our professor gives us a break halfway to stretch and check for extra food upstairs. I eat my RXBAR along with an orange I find from a lunchtime lecture.
6 p.m. — Seminar ends and I walk home. When I get there, I make one of my favorite smoothies. It consists of frozen persimmons, frozen zucchini, cottage cheese, avocado, vanilla collagen protein, maca powder, and oat milk. It makes a smoothie so thick, it is like eating soft serve. I top it with granola and chia seeds and eat it while calling one of my college friends.
8 p.m. — I register for one of the classes I want to take only to realize there is an assignment due on Friday during class. This week is just not my week.
9:30 p.m. — I put on a face mask and start to read through the papers. Eventually, I have some pasta with kale pesto hummus, zucchini noodles, white beans, arugula, grilled halloumi cheese, and sundried tomatoes. I use chickpea pasta for a little extra protein. I sip on some tea and eat my usual rice cakes with peanut butter and sliced bananas before heading to bed.
Daily total: $3
6:45 a.m. — I wake up after getting up several times throughout the night. I’m normally a pretty good sleeper, but this morning, I was totally off. My muscles kind of hurt, so I decide to do a yoga video on YouTube from Yoga with Adriene. She has the best routines, and I don’t even have to leave my apartment.
8 a.m. — I get changed and walk over to the bank to deposit a check. I also stop by Target because I need some band aids and have zero. I am very grateful the Targets in Center City are micro so I do not spend all my money ($2.49).
9 a.m. — I get home and start reading through the journal articles for Friday’s class. By the end of the day today, I have to write five pages about how the papers I’m reading might influence my research. I’m hoping the professor does not grade us too harshly.
10:30 a.m. — Breakfast time! I decide on the ambitious plan of making savory oatmeal with kale, shiitake mushrooms, and a soft-boiled egg, along with my usual blended collagen coffee. On the days that I do not have class, I love taking the time to make breakfast. I drizzle some soy sauce and sesame oil over the oats and eat while posting to Instagram.
12 p.m. — I start writing my response paper. Sometime later, I decide to go for a walk to help get in some fresh air.
2 p.m. — I get an e-mail from a brand asking for the content that is due today. I have the blog and Instagram posts drafted, but I take some time to edit the final recipe photos and send them over. Now, back to writing my paper.
3 p.m. — I get an e-mail saying I have four packages in my building’s mail room. I am so happy that my mail room doesn’t hate me for receiving so many packages, especially because many of these are food and could potentially go bad. I bring them upstairs and am so excited to have been sent some kimchi and sauerkraut from my favorite place in DC, among other miscellaneous items. I record stories of my unboxing before putting everything away.
3:30 p.m. — I decide to use the kimchi to make some kimchi fried rice for dinner. I have all of the ingredients and have not made it in in quite some time. I boil the rice and prep all the veggies.
4:30 p.m. — I’ve completed the dish, and quickly shoot it in that “golden hour” light. I pack up the fried rice in some Tupperware to have for later.
5:30 p.m. — I am three pages into my response paper when I decide to grab something to eat. I’ve always kind of eaten at weird hours, I recognize, but it works for me so I go with it. I bake some cauliflower gnocchi and have it with two fried eggs, shredded Brussels sprouts, hummus, and hot sauce.
9 p.m. — Response paper is DONE! I am so relieved. I hop into the shower before warming up my kimchi fried rice from earlier alongside a scrambled egg and some avocado. I post to Instagram and then edit the IGTV review for tomorrow.
10:30 p.m. — I start listening to Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill before bed.
Daily total: $2.49
6:30 a.m. — I wake up a little earlier than usual to make sure I get a full workout in before heading to class. I do a long run on the treadmill before lifting some weights. I am definitely a sweatball and need to jump into the shower before getting ready.
8:30 a.m. — I decide to make myself a matcha latte instead of my usual coffee this morning. I recently invested in a counter top hot water dispenser, which makes making coffee and tea so easy. I whisk in some matcha powder, then pour it into a mason jar over ice and add oat milk. I seal it and throw it into my backpack.
9 a.m. — I walk to class. The temperature dipped overnight, and it is so cold outside. I make a pit stop at my office to print out my five-page response paper before heading to my three-hour seminar.
12 p.m. — The professor takes a break because the marketing department brought in Friday lunch. I’m not really in the mood for pizza, so I load up on a green salad upon realizing I forgot to pack breakfast.
1:30 p.m. — I make it back to my apartment and realize I am so hungry. I have some curried yellow split pea soup in the freezer so I eat that alongside a scrambled egg and some spinach while doing a late post to Instagram.
3 p.m. — I catch up on all of the e-mails I missed since yesterday. I get hungry again after, so I make some almond butter filled medjool dates. I drizzle them with chocolate and sprinkle some flaky sea salt on them. They legit taste like a Snickers bar! I photograph the finished product and eat two before sticking the rest in my freezer.
6 p.m. — A friend from college asks if I want to grab dinner and catch up. Of course I say yes! We stop at American Eagle so I can return a sweatshirt before heading to Stock. I order the mushroom broth pho with tofu and add extra chili and bean sprouts ($11). It is perfect on a cold day like today.
8 p.m. — I post my review on IGTV and respond to comments and DMs. I get a lot of these and I try to take the time to catch up and respond. Interacting with people from all over the world is my favorite part of this job. I have made some of my closest friends through blogging and often think about how lucky I am to be a part of this space.
10 p.m. — I’ve been craving popcorn nonstop all day, so I pour some kernels into a glass bowl and cover it with a Tupperware lid in the microwave. I pour melted ghee over top and sprinkle with sea salt. On the side, I have a mug of hot chocolate that is blended with adaptogenic mushrooms I received from a brand. I swear it doesn’t taste like mushrooms! I continue on with my audiobook while texting with some friends from college who live in NYC.
11:30 p.m. — I jump in the shower and put on my pajamas. It’s been a long week and I am ready to catch up on some sleep over this weekend.
Daily total: $11
Money spent: $19.93
Workouts completed: Five
Meals made at home: 13