Honeymoon Salad

MAUI WOWIE

WE GOT MAUI’D

HERE TODAY, GONE TO MAUI

Now that those are out of my system, I can share today’s recipe with you.  This goes hand in hand with telling you about our honeymoon experience in Maui; a place so gorgeous that a zillion corny dad puns could never taint her stunning beauty.

Nearly every night we were there, we ate by the ocean and saw this:


Doesn’t it not even look real?!  I feel like I had a t-shirt with that on it in the eighties.

In addition to the scenery and the perfect weather and the giant sea turtles at the beach near our hotel; it was so nice to have this dedicated chunk of time where were completely committed to holding nothing back and having the best time humanly possible.

This was such a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you know?  There will be plenty of opportunities in life to deny ourselves, so we chose to put that on hold for ten days.  We’d have a frozen drink of some sort pretty much any time we were sitting down, we repeatedly blew $60 on the overpriced commemorative photo, we took naps every single day, we had dessert after lunch and dinner.  You get the picture.

I tell you all this not to be one of those nauseating internet people who is all I LOVE MY LIFE; rather to prove a point about the salad recipe I am going to give you today.  Even in the midst of a hedonism central I ate this salad, a kale salad, TWICE on our honeymoon.  Two times we went back to Honu Seafood & Pizza and instead of me saying ‘Can you somehow deep fry a jello shot for me?’ I opted for fucking KALE.  That’s how good it is.

The tartness of the lemon dressing, the sweetness of the dates and the pomegranate arils, the crunch of the walnuts, the saltiness of the Pecorino, and (I can’t believe I’m about to say this but it’s true!) the heartiness of the kale; I should not have said I didn’t exercise in Hawaii!  Because this salad was a WORKOUT for my taste buds!

Honeymoon Salad

Ingredients:

Salad
1-2 heads of Kale, washed and chopped (stalks removed)
½ cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup pomegranate arils
¼ cup dates, chopped
½ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese

Dressing
Juice of 1 lemon
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp raw honey
salt and pepper to taste

Yield: Two large servings

Prep Time:  30 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Instructions:

  • To prepare your dressing, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, shallot, honey, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour dressing over kale and massage for 2-3 minutes (more on greens massaging here!), or until the greens get soft and wilt a bit.  Let rest in the fridge for 15 minutes or so.
  • While your kale is resting is a great time to chop your nuts and dates, shred your cheese, and seed your pomegranates.
  • Top kale with walnuts, arils, dates, pecorino, and additional salt and pepper to taste.  Toss well and enjoy!

Notes:

I used this tutorial, which is a super easy method to release the arils from their fruity prison.  Have a happy, love-filled Thanksgiving, you guys!

One Woman’s Wedding is Another Woman’s Goat Milking Competition (or, Living According to What Really Matters to You)

I am a married woman!

Our wedding was gorgeous and special and exceeded every single hope I had for it.  I get to live my life with Jonny, which makes me feel like I have hit the jackpot.  We got to have a beautiful day dedicated to our love surrounded by all of our loved ones, which made me feel like in addition to the jackpot, now we get to have a jackpot celebration party.  THEN – people gave us gifts, which made me feel like WAIT WAIT WAIT!  You guys, we already won!  Why all the presents?! Shouldn’t we be buying YOU presents?!!

Here is a picture that my aunt took that sums up best how the day felt to me: like it was overflowing with a gazillion different kinds of love, with mine and Jonny’s bond as the big fat centerpiece.

Even wedding planning was so much fun!  Nothing like the slow drown in a swamp of stress goo that I had feared (I blame overconsumption of reality television/chick lit/rom coms).  It was totally hectic at certain points, but come on. I was creating a huge and exciting party with the love of my life to celebrate our commitment to each other.  Not exactly harrowing work.

After all the hubbub, I am in a bit of a mourning period post-wedding. No need to look at bridal magazines anymore: my hairstyle has been chosen and done, the ceremony readings have been read, the placecard holders are off in the damn trash somewhere.  THAT SHIP HAS SAILED, the weddingbee message boards whisper to me when I want to visit them.  MOVE ON, MARLA.

The little details aren’t what I miss the most, though (but man, coming up with signature cocktails was so awesome. SIGNATURE COCKTAILS!).  What my little heart is really hungering for is the widespread acceptance by everyone of the wedding as a big huge deal.

In the weeks leading up to the wedding, there were lots of, “Oh, don’t even think about this until after your wedding,” and “Of course you forgot! That’s totally understandable! You’re getting married!”s whenever I’d apologize for not having my shit together in one area or another.

Everyone let me off the hook for everything.  Even if they were silently judging me as they did it for being a bridal fanatic, they didn’t show it… being a highly wedding-focused bride who let other things slide during wedding planning seemed to be accepted by everyone as totally normal.

It’s nice when our values align with greater society and everyone respects what’s important to us.  Our wedding was tremendously important to me, and much of the society I live in deems weddings as important too; so that was easy.

This got me thinking about one of the most challenging parts of loving myself, which is having the strength live according to what matters to me even when the rest of the world sees it as ridiculous.

I mean, what about when the world doesn’t give us permission?  What if, instead of planning my wedding this year, I’d opted to plan a trip around the world or become a meditation master?  Would people have been all, “Of course you didn’t call me back! You were in the middle of two hours of silence, that’s important!”  Probably not.

I want to be the kind of woman who does the unconventional stuff with the same amount of pride and heart as the ‘normal’ (vom) stuff, no matter what anyone else says, don’t you?  Let’s talk about how we can make that happen.

Don’t apologize or overexplain.  It can take a lot of mental re-training to let it really sink in that it’s okay to live your life according to what actually matters to you.  A good, action-based place to start is to stop acting sheepish and apologetic about your values (even if still feel sheepish and apologetic on the inside).  You don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you care about the things that you do.

Get rid of your own personal pair of judgeypants. As we learn how to honor what really matters to us, let’s give out lots of permission for others to do the same, shall we? Your coworker needs to take a week off to spend quality time with her pet gecko?  Your sister has decided to dabble in mediumship?  AWESOME.  Notice where you scoff at others whose passion and joy is different from yours.  And then try really hard to quit it!

Be really really super patient as you figure it out.  Your parents, your friends, and the media have likely been sending you messages for a very long time about what will make you feel happy and complete.  It can feel like you’re wearing an outfit that doesn’t fit to let it sink in that not everyone cares about making a ton of money or having kids, you know?  All that conditioning can be powerful stuff, so don’t worry if it takes you some time to tease YOU out from all the bullshit.

Don’t give a shit if no one else gives you permission.  Listen, the truth is, there is always going to be someone who thinks that the thing that makes your heart sing is petty and ridiculous.  Fuck ‘em.  They’re not the one who has to live your life as you feel all empty and your soul rots away. It’s nice to get it from the outside world, but don’t go trying to convince anyone to see it your way.  It’s a waste of valuable time you could otherwise spend on goat milking competition practice, you know what I mean?

3 Tips to Feed Your True Hungers

I’ll be back next week for my first blog post as a wife!  For now, I’ve got a guest post from one of my favorite teachers for you – Shelley Chapman.  She’s a stellar writer and teacher who I’ve been privileged to work with and get to know this past year.  She is so passionate about helping women to improve their relationship with food and cooks the most gorgeous food I have ever seen. 

Isn’t it cool that making proper food choices in 2012 is so easy?  I mean all you have to do is turn on the television and that steaming hot Olive Garden lasagna dinner is calling your name. Not to mention it comes with unlimited salad and bread sticks! How could you pass that up? 

If unlimited carbs and roughage isn’t your speed then you can simply join Weight Watchers and they have this really cool point system for the mathematically inclined where you can eat whatever you like as long as it adds up to a five pound weight loss by the end of the week.  Who needs Calculus when weekly addition can add up to loss?

Sounds good, right?

Meh…not so much.

One of the major hurdles for women who struggle with food and body issues is that they make limited food choices.

You see, your food choices aren’t only about the tangible foods that you can digest.  Although one would think that all there is to eat is what’s readily available in the supermarket and area restaurant.  No one told us, that there’s an entire source of nutrition in the form of emotional and spiritual food too!

How often have you experienced the pendulum swing of eating “everything-that-tastes-so-good-yet-is-so-‘bad’”  to consuming green juices and big obnoxious bowls of kale salad?  And then somehow convincing yourself that this is a balanced diet?

It’s okay, you can raise your hand. No one is judging you. As a matter of fact, other women reading this are probably chuckling to themselves and nodding their heads in agreement right now.  We’ve all been there at some point in time.

Do you remember the last time you were hungry?

She was relentless wasn’t she? Hunger is a beast!  Once that hunger rears her head, she demands to be fed and nourished. Hunger will literally disrupt your day…. shit, she will disrupt your life until you deal with her! The challenge with hunger is that if you don’t have the proper nutrition on hand you’ll mistakenly feed her “false food” like indulgences or temporary diets in hopes that she will stop her insistence and settle down. 

So how do you begin to feed all your hungers?

Well that depends on how much of yourself you’re willing to bring to the table. When you only bring a part of yourself to the table, the other parts of you will surely continue to experience a deep hunger.  If you’re anything like a lot of the women I have worked with, then you’re probably busy feeding this or that. Put simply, only one part of you is being fed while the other parts are still starving.  You see, as a women of the 21st century you’re well versed in leaving parts of yourself behind.  In this masculine oriented version of society, you were taught from a young age that some of your “feminine parts” weren’t as important. These included your emotions, intuition, nurturing relationships, curves, etc. Since you weren’t taught to really deal with them, a lot of them are still hungry and they’re using food to get your attention.

 Let’s distinguish your hungers, shall we?

1.      If hunger is not the issue, then food is not the answer. No amount of kale salad nor Weight Watcher approved chocolate chip cookies can truly fill you if your spirit is not #WellFed.  If your instinct is to reach for your change purse and run to the snack machine when your day is out of whack then it’s time to do a hunger check and determine whether or not your belly needs grub or your self needs a hug.

2.      Your cravings are vital to your emotional wellness. That intense burning desire that you have to devour that chocolate cake is a really good thing! Seriously! Your cravings can teach you a lot about your underlying emotional needs.  The key here is to not resist the temptation but to explore it. Mind you this isn’t a “free for all”, the term explore is not the same as eat!

3.      Become your body’s best friend.  When you are your own best friend, you naturally make “food” choices that are nourishing and nurturing.  BFFs know how to be #WellFed and when hungers arise, they make it a point to feed themselves the loving and affectionate “food” that their body craves. 

Earlier this year, I had the honor of consulting with Marla to create The Body Food Freedom Formula.  A revolutionary digital program that I created to help women lose the weight and gain their lives by being their own best friend. Not only does the BFF Formula help you get in touch with your true hungers, it also helps you discover which foods to feed your body, your emotional wellness and your overall life. 

You know that it’s time to start living a #WellFed life, click here and try the 1st module free or buy and dive into the entire program now!

 

Shelley Chapman is the creator of The Body Food Freedom Formula and EatRelateLove, a website that helps women live #WellFed lives by featuring delicious recipes, emotional wellness articles and wellness events.  She resides in Brooklyn, NY and can be found basking in yum when she’s not cooking, writing or speaking about wellness.

Self Care and the Menstrual Cycle

While I’m staring at the Hawaiian sunset and my new husband, some of the smartest ladies on the internet have agreed to share their brilliance with you.  Today’s post comes from the amazing Jo Macdonald , a woman whose work surrounding the menstrual cycle is so going to make it so we all stop calling our periods ‘the curse’ and get our heads on straight surrounding living according to our natural rhythms and cycles.  Thank you so much, Jo!

Self-care and the menstrual cycle – I’m willing to take a small bet (nothing huge, I’m not willing to strip off naked and run through my neighbourhood for you, after all we only just met!) that the first thing that popped into your head was dealing with PMS and finding ways to make it easier to cope with that dreaded ‘time of the month’. Am I right? After all this is what most women think of when anyone mentions menstruation. And while it is hugely important to find ways to help PMS the self-care process starts way before that.

It starts with the cycle itself.

If I asked you what day of your menstrual cycle you are on today would you know? Could you take a guess? Do you know how long your cycle is and whether you are regular or not? Don’t worry, few women know the answer to all of these questions because we’ve never been told that it’s important. That knowing our menstrual cycle intimately is the ultimate self-care practice. That knowing where we are in our cycle can change our lives. And how do we know where we are in our cycles. By charting, baby. It’s the new in-thing, everyone’s at it…or at least they will be if I have my way.

Most of us only hear about charting our menstrual cycle if we are trying to get pregnant and need to know when we are at our most fertile time but there is soooo much more excitingness to it. For example, did you know that:

  • We women are cyclical beings with natural highs & lows each month, forming a repetitive rhythm. As we rediscover our own cycle, and identify our own rhythm, we build a deeper understanding of ourselves and can use this to live our best lives.
  • Once we discover when our natural high is (usually around ovulation) we can use this time to be more productive and creative, whilst during our lows (e.g. menstruation) we can slow down and nurture ourselves. By rocking our natural rhythm and not suppressing it we can live a healthier, happier, more rewarding life.
  • Charting our cycle enables us to spot when things are not working well:  excessive pain, bleeding between periods, etc. Being more aware of your own health is hugely empowering and can mean that serious illnesses are spotted more quickly enabling speedier diagnosis and treatment – all big pluses in my book. ♥
  • Charting your cycle can also bring a deep sense of peace and acceptance with yourself as a woman as you begin to understand your body’s needs and learn to reconnect your mind with your body. It can also help to lessen, and even eliminate, PMS symptoms.
  • Charting your cycle can improve your parenting, fitness regime, work life and, yes, even your sex life – WooHoo!

How cool is all that? And it’s available to every woman and comes free with your own body! All you need to do is start paying more attention to your menstrual cycle, right now, today. Are you willing to give yourself the ultimate self-care gift today?

You can grab a copy of my popular Ebook ‘Rock Your Rhythms – the easy guide to charting your menstrual cycle’ for half-price by entering the special code LOVEMYPERIOD here.

Jo Macdonald is a menstrual cycle educator, author of ‘Note to Self: The Secret to becoming your own  Best Friend’, workshop facilitator and women’s circle leader. Discover more about her and her work at www.jomacdonald.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Why You Need to Take it Easy

We’re MARRIED and off to Maui on our honeymoon – YES!  I want to focus all of my attention on enjoying my new husband and each and every tropical cocktail, so while I am gone I’ll keep Your Full Plate from getting.. empty with guest and greatest hits posts.  Today’s post was from last winter and seemed timely considering that my major plans for the next two weeks are napping on a beach and hugging a dolphin.  Love you, see you in November!

Last week I read a beautiful blog post by Goddess Leonie called Things I Learned After the Worst Year of my Life.  One line in particular stuck with me like crazy:

Be gentle with yourself. Make it your default centre. “How can I be more easy on myself right now? What’s the easiest route?”

Those words were such a gift to me!  Today I want to pass this gift along to you.  Especially during this crazy assed time of year, when keeping your shit even kind of together is a giant accomplishment.  I want to give you permission, busy women, to do things in the easiest, gentlest way in all areas of your life

But isn’t the Easy Way for Wusses?

The path of least resistance has an undeserved baaad reputation.  I blame our masculine-energy dominated society.  Remember, masculine energy loves crushing obstacles in its highly focused path to a goal.  That is all well and good, but if you don’t balance this with some good old fashioned feminine flow, you will wind up one cranky bitch.

Now please note!  I am not saying that hard work is bad.  Hard work is awesome!  It is incredibly satisfying to throw yourself whole hog into the things that matter to you.

Instead, I’m saying that the thought “The whole blood, sweat, and tears thing is what it takes to make my life great” is just that – a thought.  If you’re walking around feeling fried beyond belief, you are living proof that this thought is not always true.  The path of naps, hugs, and support can be admirable and productive, too, you know.

I’m also not saying that you shouldn’t challenge yourself, and strive for growth.  Human beings are naturally geared towards expansion, and always desire more.  Without that, I’d be scratching this blog on a wall in my cave.

Instead, just consider that loving yourself better, and giving yourself a frigging BREAK once in awhile is a growth experience too.

How You Might be Making Things Harder than You Need To

Below are my suggestions for how to find some currents in your life to push you along, rather than swimming upstream like mad and ending up as an exhausted shell of a personfish.

Before I give you this list, please know that I’m learning how to live this right along with you.  Two nights ago, I was totally exhausted and could not get this post out even though I was willing myself to do it.  Jonny pointed out to me the irony of forcing myself to write a blog about being easy on oneself.  Oy vey!

Let’s keep working on it, okay?  Here are some of the ways I’ve identified where you might be ignoring the big fat sign that says EASY GENTLE ROAD RIGHT THIS WAY!

Exercise your right to say no, lovingly and graciously.  Handing out resentment-filled yeses like crazy is the exact opposite of taking it easy.  Expending a load of energy to cover up that you’re doing something you don’t want to be doing is really draining. If you haven’t developed the self love to be motivated by that yet, keep this in mind:  anything given resentfully does not feel good for the receiver either.

Use sick and vacation time, if it’s available at your job.  We are a bunch of fucking sickos with this in America.  Most of us would feel more shame in telling a boss, “I took a few days to rest” than in telling them that “I dragged my dying self to work with a fever and diarrhea”.  Seriously, take a moment and think about how twisted that is.

Redefine the values you feel proud of exhibiting based on what you actually, um, value.    It is okay to hold self-loving acts in the same esteem as acts that help everyone else, to consider emotional work as important as work that you do for money.  I know that your brain will fight you on this at first, but it will get easier with practice.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.  I know that some of you, upon asking for what you want and actually getting it, immediately start feeling guilty rather than receiving joyfully.  I am the queen of this.  I’m always all, “Oh are you SURE? Really, because you don’t have to.  Truly, just forget it if you want to, it was a dumb idea anyway.”  Cut the crap!  You deserve to get what you want.

Assess what you can do comfortably without going insane.  Label that as “enough” and then let it go!  Bonus points if you can take it one step further and label it as “perfect”.

Are you addicted to the hard stuff?  What are some ways you can make life easier for yourself, and treat yourself more gently?  If you don’t want to, why?  Comment away, I want to hear your thoughts on this!

 

Oven Fried Green Beans

I have found that healthy eating falls into one of two categories:

1. Foods that are pure fuel that do all sorts of good things for your body;

or

2. Lighter, less gut-busting versions of foods that would normally make you feel like you’re going to explode out of your pants.

Today’s recipe is totally the latter.  It’s not going to make you feel like you can lift a car or blind people with the glowiness of your skin or anything, but it provides a crunchy satisfaction that you’d normally only find at a TGI Fridays-esque restaurant.  Without you having to run to the toilet or change into yoga pants!

Because I mean, it’s lovely to eat salads and quinoa but sometimes you just want to eat something crunchy and breaded with your hands, right?

I’m having one of those times right now.  We are getting married in 17 days so I am currently feeling kind of over my head with last minute preparations.  Beyond happy, too, because I am so excited to be marrying Jonny, but over my head nonetheless.  As I have told you about recently, in the past an occasion this emotional would have made me eat everything in sight.  But between some heavy duty self love and recipes like these Oven Fried Green Beans that allow veggies to dress up as fun food, I am just fine.

PS I’ll be on blogging hiatus to give the last stages of wedding prep and our honeymoon my full attention, but please keep my blog warm while I’m gone!  I’ll have guest posts from some amazing women that I’m very excited to share with you.

PPS Also, because of the experience with our Shave the Date and my snaggletooth that got people physically sick, we were recently flown out to LA to be guests on The Jeff Probst show to talk about snarking!  I’ll post the air date as soon as I get it, but in the meantime, check out the interview on BlogHer I did about it.

PPPS Since I’ve already told you that trying on bridal gowns involved heavy-duty nipple-flashing, I also feel comfortable telling you that in the name of bridal beauty I am currently sporting 1)two full armpit bushes that I have to let grow out so I can get them waxed right before the wedding and 2)a trial spray tan that I got in hopes of radiating beauty but instead I am just… Magda.

Crunchy Oven-Fried Green Beans

Ingredients:

1 lb green beans, cleaned, trimmed, and thoroughly dried
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
½ tsp pepper, plus more to taste
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp Old Bay Seasoning
pinch of cayenne pepper
juice and zest of 1 lemon

Yield:  2 big servings

Prep Time:  20 minutes

Cook Time:  30 minutes

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and lightly grease a baking sheet.
  • In a medium bowl, combine breadcrumbs, all seasonings, lemon zest and juice.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk eggs.
  • One by one, dip each green bean in egg, shake off any excess, coat well with green bean mixture, then place breaded green beans on prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes, turning gently once, until browned and crispy.

Why You Can’t Stop Eating

I had my first binge my freshman year of college.  I label it as the first because it was the first time I ever found that I wanted to stop eating, and I just absolutely could not.

That day, I started a pattern that stayed with me for years:  I ate a little bit over my daily calorie allotment and then it was like a switch had been flipped in me and I ate and ate and ate until I went to bed that night.  I can’t swear to it but I’m pretty it started with Vanilla Power Bars that my parents had bought me from Costco over winter break.  Also a heavy indication that I wasn’t in my right mind, because Vanilla Power Bars taste like sweet erasers.  But I digress.  I felt ashamed, guilty, and sick.

This coincided with my first diet.  I am so convinced that diets create way more problems than they solve!  Prior to that first time, I was overweight and always a food-lover who definitely over ate and used food to cope with my emotions. Once I added dieting to the mix, I knew what I was supposed to be eating – I just couldn’t stick to it.  I quickly became one of those people who orders a salad or other ‘virtuous’ food in front of other people but then eats herself sick in private.

I struggled with this for years, a struggle that included wildly fluctuating weight… ‘I can’t wear what I bought last month’, ‘I gained eleven pounds this weekend’-type fluctuations.  I avoided the people who had been so gung ho and wide-eyed and “OH WOW YOU LOOK SO GREAT!” about my initial weight loss.  I felt too embarrassed imagining them looking at my gained-it-all-back-plus body and wondering what happened.

I tried everything I could think of to get better.  I spent several years in a twelve step program.  I went to lots of therapy. I read every single book I could find on the topic of compulsive overeating.  I cut out certain foods, I added in certain foods, I ate in only measured amounts, I intentionally ate as much as I wanted.

It all helped, in its own way.  But at the same time, none of it helped.  What I mean is, I never had that lightbulb moment of “Oh WAIT!  This is what emotional wound I needed to heal/memory I needed to stop repressing!  Now I am one of those people who can eat a few bites of dessert and stop!”

Instead, I discovered that my own personal recovery was slow.  One area at a time, I uncovered un-self-loving ways I’d been behaving and relating that, as I changed them, helped me to develop into the kind of woman who does not eat an entire cake in one sitting, and who can fit into the same pair of jeans for four years.  It was also way more complicated than the weight loss industry would have had me believe – in their brief nods to compulsive overeating in diet books, where they claimed that if I’d just call a friend or write in a journal that I’d suddenly be the kind of person who can eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full.  So simple!

There’s other stuff that helped too, like realizing that being restrictive drives me insane, that I am totally fascinated and in love with food (I mean, HELLO) and that’s really okay, and that people are way too busy thinking about their own insecurities to give a shit how thin or not thin I am.

Today, though, I want to share with you what emotional hot buttons I uncovered over time, in case you’re stuck in the same starve-binge cycle I was.  You’ve got your own unique journey and your own shit to wade through, but I’m hoping that this will give you some food for thought in exploring the whole “It’s not what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you” thing.

You are out of touch with your body

I think that the number of American women with overeating issues is a symptom of all of us trying to make it work in our very masculine-energy society, a society that devalues the sensual, feeling power of feminine in favor of the thinking, goal-oriented masculine.

The working world in our country is especially masculine energy (even in female-dominated industries), and so many of us spend all frigging day in it.  We hide our feelings in the name of ‘professionalism’.  We trap ourselves in in sensory-deprived environments trapped inside gray walls with flourescent lighting – UGH.  We constrict our bodies in uptight, uncomfortable clothes that hide our femininity.

Compulsive overeating might be your body screaming and begging to be honored and attended to.  For so many of us, we’ve gotten so out of tune with our bodies, and out of practice with giving our bodies the pleasure they crave.

Food is one of the only sensual pleasures that you regularly allow yourself.  It makes so much sense that you would go positively apeshit on it.

As an easy start, what small thing can you do today to get out of your mind and into your body?

You are an overgiver

You take on everyone’s problems like it’s your job to fix them.  You are the first person that your people call when they need someone, but when it comes to receiving you feel awkward and guilty and like you don’t deserve it.  You say yes when what you really want to do is say no.  You call to see how people are doing when you know they’re going through a rough time, you take the time to write every asshole on your Facebook feed a personal happy birthday message.  You smile and say, “Sure, no problem!  I can do it!” whenever something extra needs doing at work.

If I’m describing you, and you also can’t seem to stop eating, really think about it – with your energy so constantly flowing out of you, it is no wonder that you can’t ever seem to get ‘full’.

I can imagine that this is a reason that so many women struggle with overeating after their children are born.  It’s one of the most extreme states of giving to another that I can think of.  It’s no wonder that it creates a feeling of endless hunger.  I’d never want mothers of babies to stop doing what they do – but this is a new lens to view ‘baby weight’ through.

In my experience, breaking away from overgiving is one of the hardest behaviors to change – I’m actually working on an e-book about it to help make the process easier.  We ‘nice girls’ have built up such an identity around always being the one who is there for everyone. It feels like stepping off a cliff into a cavern of unloveable-ness to think of how we might relate to people without being that “You’re the best!” person who can always be depended upon no matter what the degree of inconvenience caused.

I will say this, though – it is the most important change that I made, and the area that is very frequently to blame when I feel myself backsliding into binge land.

As an easy start, in what small way can you give to yourself today?  This will get your energies a bit more back in balance, even if you’re not ready to slow down on giving to others yet.

It’s easier to focus on food than life, and you’re playing small

When it comes down to it, overeating is like any other addiction.  At the core of addiction is a desire to create numbness and distraction from pain.

I bet that for you,  overeating was (at some point) a coping mechanism; a source of comfort.  The problem is that eventually the pain of such self-destructive behavior becomes worse than the pain you are trying to escape.

The binge/starve/weight obsession cycle is also a very convenient way to play it small in life, to allow yourself to be reduced down to nothing by an obsession with something that means fuck all in the long run.  I’m not going to quote that Marianne Williamson quote because everyone does about how we’re more afraid of success than we are of failure but WE SO ARE.  There’s no time or energy left to change the world when your brain is being eaten alive by calorie consumption and cookie shame, right?

Please don’t be hard on yourself about it – I think society wants women to play small.  If we allow ourselves to be defined by bullshit, we never realize the powers of our own vaginas and take over the fucking world.

As an easy start, experiment with not distracting yourself in any way when you feel pain.  Brainstorm about what you’d want to give to the world if your weight and food were a non-issue.

I hope this has inspired you to take the time to figure out where your own personal bottomless pit comes from.  I know that years of trying and failing may have made you feel differently, but I promise you, you can do this and you are so worth it.

Escarole and Beans from Heaven

I am finding some surprising answers to the questions on my mind these days.

Such as, what trends in diet and weight loss are really popular right now?

SURPRISE!

By communicating with ones’ body via hostile quote on Pinterest!

And..why am I receiving a phone call at 10:30 on a Saturday night from a man asking to make an appointment for help with his prostate?

SURPRISE!

Because some male sexual health clinic in Colorado has posted my cell phone number in their ‘Contact Us’’ section.  I’d like to give them a call and demand that they fix it, but I would just be yelling at myself.

And how is this dish so creamy and decadent when all that’s in it are a few boring ingredients?

SURPRISE!  

Because of bean sweat.

I’m know, I’m sorry.  The phrase ‘bean sweat’ is so weird, me and that angry lady who is banishing her fat using social media and the caps lock key could both work on expressing ourselves more gracefully.

My mind is just so blown by today’s dish that I can’t think straight!  A couple of months ago, I was searching for escarole recipes.  I saw this one on allrecipes and read about how everyone is loving it, drooling over it, filling up swimming pools with it and tossing their children in; and I thought, What could the fuss be about?  It’s some canned beans! Some boring greens! Big whoop!

I am telling you right now – THIS MEAL IS NO BULLSHIT.  The next time you have nothing in the fridge to cook for dinner, stop on your way home for a can of beans, and onion, and a head of greens (I like escarole best, but spinach or chard work equally well).  Give yourself a half hour and miraculously, you’ve got a hearty, oddly-creamy-with-no-cream dish that would satisfy even the most passionate meat lover you know.

Now all you have to do is stop thinking of the words ‘bean sweat’.  I sure can’t.  Maybe I can tell bean sweat to leave my head using a furious note in a pretty color.  I’ll use Pinterest to send it.

Escarole and Beans from Heaven

Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large head escarole, chopped with white ribs removed
1 large white onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less, depending upon your taste)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 16 oz. can cannellini or Great Northern beans, undrained
salt and pepper to taste
Grated Pecorino cheese or Vegan Parmesan Cheese, for garnish

Yield: 2 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Instructions:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Toss in escarole, turning to coat with oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir occassionally and cook about 5 minutes, or until tender.
  • In a separate pan, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Stir in garlic and onions and sautee until soft and just starting to brown. Pour in beans with juices, turn heat to low, and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the mixture looks very creamy.  If it starts to look a bit dry, add a bit of water (1/4 cup or so at a time) and stir – it will thicken back up.
  • Stir in your cooked escarole and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Serve over grain of your choice – brown rice and polenta are especially good, but I’ve also heard that’s excellent over bread.
  • Sprinkle with grated cheese before serving.

Getting Past Thinking Everyone has it Better than You AKA Compare and Despair

Last Sunday, Jonny and I got up early to ride our bikes on one of our favorite routes, twice around Roosevelt Island.  It was warm but not sticky and breezy but not windy – a perfectly gorgeous morning.

On our ride we passed a few other people out on the Island, either fishing or sitting by the water drinking coffee.

As we rode past them, I felt envious.  I thought, Oh, look at them, they’re already up so early and enjoying their Sunday.  These people really have it together.  I never have it together!

Do you do this too?  Do you take part in the insanity of thinking that everyone else has it better than you?  A mindfuck so ridiculous that it makes you… envy people out early enjoying their Sunday that you’re only observing because you are, um, out early enjoying your Sunday?

Why We Compare

In many ways, this whole compare-and-despair behavior is just a manifestation of that totally unsatisfying-yet-keeps-us-growing part of being a human being – that we always want more.

And I mean, believing that someone else has it better than us is more palatable than coming face to face with the inevitable struggle of life.  Telling yourself that someone else has it so EASY means that you wouldn’t have to deal with pain and challenges no matter what, you’re just unlucky.

I love the internet, but man oh man is it a breeding ground for feelings of inadequacy. There is just no way it’s healthy to spend hours a day observing the deeply edited existence of others.

How could you not go into a comparison fit when you’re looking at a picture of some acquaintance of yours sitting around with a bunch of people with cool swoopy hair, and they’re all laughing hysterically, above a caption that says something nauseating like “I LOVE MY LIFE”?  And just to add insult to injury, thanks to Instagram these people are all in frigging SEPIA TONE, jacking them up at least two levels on the good looking scale.

There was significantly less focus on mental health and self help in our grandmothers’ generation.  I bet that part of the reason why is because it was just not as necessary, given their lack of access to pictures of skanks they went to high school with happily frolicking on the beach with their children.

How to Deal

Let’s get you away from this bullshit and back to appreciating your life, shall we?

Focus on the areas where you are a superstar genius.  No one ever has it together in every aspect of life at one time. Happy people just know how to keep themselves focused on where they are superstars, and not get too freaked out by the areas that challenge them.

I think that is actually a lot of what we see in the social media world – it’s not that people are lying about how good they have it, it’s that we’re only seeing one teeny tiny side to the story.  Your acquaintance with the laughing sepia-toned swoopy-haired friends… she really does have great friends.  However, a more in-depth caption for her picture would say “I LOVE MY LIFE… BUT MY BOYFRIEND HAS ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION”.

I guarantee you’ve got some areas where you are on top of the world, where other people would KILL to have the talents/luck/skills that you do.  Maybe you have no job, but a wonderful relationship.  Maybe you’re single, but you’ve got lots of close girlfriends who adore you.  Maybe you have no friends, but you smell fantastic.

Sometimes weaker areas are just weak because you’ve chosen to focus your time and energy in other areas… which is totally fine!  Keep your vision squarely focused on what is awesome about your situation.  I bet that over time you’ll find yourself energized to channel that awesomeness into other areas of your life, too.

Make the most of your jealousy.  Turn that crap into some jealousy lemonade.  Envy can be a massive energy- and soul-sucker; but there’s another side to it – it beautifully illustrates what your heart is yearning for with just enough pissiness to give you the zippity pow to get the job done.

This is not very classy, but I would not have this blog if I hadn’t been so seethingly jealous upon discovering healthy living bloggers who made a full-time living taking pictures of their breakfast.

I was so pissed off!  How the hell were these girls making money writing about their sneakers while I was slaving away at a job I hated?  I envied, I whined, I lamented the general intelligence of our culture for consuming this garbage.  And then I started by own blog.

Let your envy carry a message of “This person is showing me where I want to improve and change” rather than “This person is showing me where I am a colossal failure as a human being.”

Compare yourself to you, and that’s it!  Someone very wise once told me “You can’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides”.

With your own life, you know all the gross ins and outs, from the diarrhea you had last night to this morning when you gave your hairdresser a hug when she was just trying to remove your smock.  There is no way you can contrast that your very real human experience and complex emotions with the surface level, curated existence that someone else shows you.

And the cold, hard truth is that some people really DO have a leg up on you, and they were born into money or genius intellect or with a really nice rack.  Comparing yourself to them is useless!

I’ll tell you what’s not useless, though – comparing your current state to where you’ve been.  You’ve been there with yourself every step of the way, you know intimately what battles you’ve fought and challenges you’ve overcome.  Maybe compared to your friend who got a promotion this year, it doesn’t look like you’ve done much; but you know that because you dealt with a family member’s illness that just getting up and going to work every day was a huge victory.  See what I mean?

The Moral of the Story

Don’t you worry, everyone feels like shit about something!  Your life is messy and precious, and to comparing it to someone else’s sepia-toned constructed display wastes valuable energy you could spend on living it better.

P.S.  Also, you never know who just had diarrhea last night.
P.P.S.  I LOVE MY LIFE.

Watermelon, Cucumber, and Basil Salad

Am I the only one that is feeling hot and bothered lately?  It is a zillion degrees outside, our wedding is now less than two months away, and life just feels like its zooming along at breakneck speed.

I’ve found some nice ways to cool my everloving jets, though.  Like taking a shower or bath.  It doesn’t matter what time of day it is or what else is going on – it is like a reset button.  If you really only have thirty seconds, a quick face-washing works well too.

Or clearing clutter.  I’m not talking about a massive gutting of every drawer, I’m talking a quick ten-minute sweep to get things looking orderly.  I’ve found that when I’m not looking at a hot mess, it miraculously makes my brain feel like less of a hot mess.

Also, making a list!  For me, writing it all down always takes an amorphous blob of overwhelm and turns it into a realistic assessment of what needs doing.

My absolute favorite way to chill the fuck out, though, is to eat today’s Watermelon, Cucumber, and Basil salad.  Here’s the thing – watermelon and cucumber are natural coolants.  The Slurpees of Mother Nature, if you will.  They’re so full of water that they hydrate the body beautifully.

In terms of flavors, they are meant to be BFFs – cucumber backs up watermelon with its crunch, watermelon returns the favor with its sweetness.  The balsamic vinegar, basil, feta, and cashews complement everything perfectly; but then again, don’t they always?

It is way more filling than you’d ever expect.  We ate this for dinner last week and I had visions of digging into other leftovers after I was done, but it’s a complete, refreshing meal that involves zero oven use.  The amounts can absolutely be adjusted to taste; I don’t want to tell you how to live your life.

Watermelon, Cucumber, and Basil Salad

Ingredients:

Salad
3-4 cups of watermelon, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
2-3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and cut into whatever size chunks you’d like
2-3 oz. crumbled goat or sheep’s milk feta
2 generous handfuls of basil, chopped
2 tbsp. raw cashews, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Dressing
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Yield:  2 hearty servings

Prep Time:  20 minutes

Cook Time:  0 minutes

Instructions:

  • To prepare dressing, begin by vigorously whisking the balsamic vinegar and slowly drizzling in olive oil.
  • Watermelon is pretty delicate, so rather than an aggressive toss of the salad (har har), lay out the watermelon and cucumber on a large plate and sprinkle with the basil.
  • Save the nuts, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste for immediately before serving – the nuts and cheese so they retain their texture, and the seasoning because it will make the veggies release their water.
  • Once you’ve served the salad onto individual plates, drizzle with dressing and add extra basil and salt and pepper to taste.
HEY YOU!
I'm Marla Hamilton, and this is my blog. I write it because I want to make it very easy for you to feel healthy and great about yourself.Read more about me here.
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