Seriously Smitten With…

 

  1. Say what?!
  2. These illustrations about living with anxiety are spot on.  Or at least for me, 1-8,10,11,13,14 are spot on.  Although, I once attempted to drown an ant in iced tea (I just don’t like them!), so I guess I don’t overthink EVERYTHING.
  3. Guess what?!  Imma shock you.  Because I get SO TIRED of the argument that “I’m fat because I eat bread, pasta, muffins, or white rice.  I’m also fat because I eat SUGAR!” Carbs are not the enemy people!  And guess what else?!  SUGAR is just a CARB!
  4. I used to get all my confirmation of my worth, value, and beauty from external validation related to my weight/shape/appearance.  And it’s something we as a society battle with every day, even if it’s subconscious.  But guess what?  Weight is the least important and least interesting thing about you!  And if that’s all you can comment about in conversation, you need a hobby.  It’s time to end the stigma!
  5.  I just started reading this book last week and it’s such a refreshing and little talked about side of eating disorders, the side from the observer.  The first 50 pages or so moved super slow for me, but all of a sudden it came alive!  Not done it yet, but I totally recommend it so far!  Boyfriend probably doesn’t recommend it though… I think he’s probably getting tired of my being curled in a corner at every free moment reading it!
  6. Guys… I put some coffee in my smoothie for the first time, and this came out tasting JUST like a PSL.  NOM.  (Side note: you’re the best judge of what your body needs!  For years, I would rely on recipes and “healthy” recipe creators serving sizes to tell me what is “acceptable” for a meal.  It’s still something that is tough, but I knew when I made this, regardless of what the description said, it was NOT ENOUGH for my body for a meal.  I added toast and almond butter.  I was still hungry for morning snack at 10 am.  AND I’m not trying to gain weight anymore.  You be your own judge of what your body needs!) (Double side note: did you know Starbucks PSLs have only been around since 2003?!  What did they DO before then?!)
  7. I love DIY’s, I just wish materials didn’t cost money!  Either way, I really want to make this for my food photos!
  8. OMG, she’s writing another cookbook! EEEE! 😃😃😃🙌🙌
  9. Okay, bucket list vacation for the States.  Until then, I’ll content myself with picking through this assortment one Canadian city at a time.  I’m not a millionaire… it’ll keep me busy for a while.
  10. So, I ordered this as a three month subscription package almost a month ago, after reading this post.  AND it’s scheduled to arrive TOMORROW!  I’M SO EXCITED!  And I get COFFEE to sample.  And a mug.  And a soaking jar!  EEEE!  I’ll keep you posted on the deliciousness, once I’ve tried them!
  11. ****A bonus, because I just read this and it’s 👌!****

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

 

Seriously Smitten With…

It’s Tuesday again, which means it’s the perfect time to take another 20 minute hiatus from life!  I have a very important meeting in an hour and a half, that’s kind of stressing me out, so I decided to take some time for self care and do my absolute favourite thing:

Go to a cafe, order breakfast and a latte, and blog with you all.

Win.  Always a win.

So let’s check out some of those things I’m seriously smitten with this week:

  1. I resonated with the signs and symptoms of an introvert hangover so much, although for me it is a mix of those and just an increased lack of patience and really high levels of anxiety!  I’ll snap at the simplest things, and will transfer my frustration and guilt and inability to focus on those I love most.  It’s a tough one, because even with those you love the most you still sometimes need a break.  For me, I always feel guilty about it too, because it is easily portrayed as an affront to those around you when you say, “I need to be alone”, and often sounds to people who don’t quite get it like, “I need to be AWAY from YOU!”  It doesn’t mean that.  It just means my battery is drained and needs to be recharged with fresh air and solitude.
  2. I can’t remember what TV show it was that had a scavenger hunt proposal, but ever since I saw it I thought it was the sweetest and most romantic thing.  It shows so much thought and love, going through different places you’ve been together, different things you discovered together, all the memories of all the little things… either that or I’m a cliché romcom fanatic.  This guy had it all right.
  3. There are so many places I want to see, but after following on instagram and snapchat, Michigan has made it onto my list for sure.  (There’s a LIGHTHOUSE, and a giant lake that reminds me of an OCEAN! And delicious looking cafes, food, and coffee. Win.)
  4.  It always mind boggles me when you see Instagram photos of women with “perfect” bodies, and then hear the story behind how it actually looks that way.  This woman is an inspiration, and I am seriously smitten with how the body that has “lived more, given more, and enjoyed more” is given its credit.  Body’s like this are a result of living and loving life, instead of losing and loathing self.
  5. My Goodness… I had to pee when I read this list of Mom texts, and it almost ended very badly for the chair in the cafe I was sitting in quite a few times.  The sad thing is, my mom would totally text a good number of these.
  6. A fantastic podcast interview by Caroline Dooner with Isabel Foxen Duke, a Certified Health Coach and Emotional Eating Activist, fantastic body image and body positive activist, and all around badass in the food, eating disorder, and food psychology realm.  Seriously, one of my favourite emails to read each week, and she makes SO MUCH SENSE! You’ll laugh, you’ll resonate, and you’ll agree, and say, “Man, society is f***ed up!”
  7. I need this shirt. And a large iced vanilla soy latte with it, please and thank you… Oh, and a side of this shirt and this shirt.  And this print.  Okay I’m done.
  8. My next kitchen wishlist item.  Money, money, money… you’re fleeting and easily spent.
  9. Flourless, high protein pancake recipe that I ADORE.  I usually do it as is, with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, OR I make a pumpkin version, with 1/2 a banana, 1/4 cup of pumpkin purée, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  And top with lots of nut butter and blueberries. (SIDE NOTE: there is NOTHING wrong with carbs or flour.  This is just for those times when you want something a bit different, taste or texture wise.  I still love me some good oat flour pancakes, or regular pancakes if they’re dense and hearty too!)
  10. A really cool free summit I’m a part of, that started yesterday (but it’s never too late to join!, all about making peace with food, loving your body, and feeling beautiful inside and out.  It features daily interviews with leading experts in this area, and is a much needed breath of fresh air for anyone struggling with unrealistic expectations, food and/or body image issues.

Happy Tuesday to you all, once again!

Processed with Snapseed.

image source (side note: Seriously, can I PLEASE have her natural handwriting?!  I can’t believe this awesome font is her everyday!)

 

 

Vegetarian (Or Beef) Pepper-less Chili

Oh my goodness, it’s my first recipe post!

 

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Cue the applause, and general sense of euphoria on my little corner of the blogosphere.

Please… don’t let there just be crickets…

Anyone?

Okay, moving on.

So, does anyone else think that it’s really odd that my first recipe post is a chili?

Chili… chilli, Chile, chilly?

Imma spell it chili… because I can.

I think it’s odd.  I mean, I have a major love of oatmeal.  And peanut butter.  And bananas.  And ice cream.

And this recipe contains none of those things.

You thought I was going in another direction didn’t you?  Although an oatmeal chili might just work… as would peanut butter.  I mean we’ve all tasted African Peanut Soup, and that’s kind of an eighth and a pinch of the way there.  Bananas and ice cream I think would be a no go though.

So this guy spurred from my love of peppers.  And chili.  If you remember back to some of my older blog posts, I’ve mentioned several times I’m allergic to peppers.  I found this out in the process of developing an eating disorder, as I underwent an elimination diet to figure out what was causing all my digestive distress.  Cue subsequent I-can’t-eat-anything-because-it’s-too-painful weight loss, and with the weight loss comes the onset of the eating disorder.  Fifteen hops and sixteen jumps later, moving onwards and upwards, I’m in recovery and I’m still allergic to peppers.  One of the things that was pretty staple in my diet before, be it in the the form of fresh bell peppers on a quesadilla, or in chilli powder (chili?), cayenne, paprika, or whatever other dried form you have to impart flavour.  And a key ingredient in one of my great loves… chili.

So the search began.  Is it possible to have a pepper-less chili?  Google!

pepperless

Hint: They all HAVE peppers.  Shocking.

Side note: I have WAY TOO MANY tabs open…

It’s been years.  Literally.  And eventually you give up trying to FIND a recipe, because other than beans, peppers are pretty much a give in with chili.  You content yourself for a while with trying to convince yourself that beef stew is the same thing (it’s not).  Once that gets boring, you live vicariously through others by watching your boyfriend eat a giant bowl of chili topped with sour cream and cheese, and huffing in big nostril-fulls (pleasant imagery…) of that signature scent as if it’s crack.  Eventually, you go a little crazy, and take a bite when no one is looking, and for those 15 seconds it’s in your mouth you’re in euphoric bliss.

And the next 48 hours are digestive hell, condemned to a couch, muttering, “Why?! For the love of oatmeal, WHY DID I DO THAT TO MYSELF?!”

And you don’t do it again… until you do.

What can I say… it’s difficult to be a foodie with food allergies.  And I live life on the culinary catastrophic edge. What a daredevil.

Crickets again and awkward silence?  Moving on…

I happened across a miracle thing though… and don’t ask me why it works but it does.  There’s this ONE curry powder that I seem to be able to eat.  I KNOW right?!  A magical mix that somehow has a big pop of heated flavour that doesn’t debilitate me for days!  This blend… I guess it doesn’t have peppers?  I don’t know because you know they won’t reveal their secrets.  But the blend I’m speaking of is:

Teja Curry powder

For those of you who can’t find this particular gem, I also found a nightshade-free curry powder recipe online, if you suffer from this allergy as well.  I haven’t tried it myself though, so I can’t speak of it’s awesomeness.   If you do try it, let me know how it goes!

And with this discovery, endless bouts of experimentation have occurred over the last few years, with various types of foods that typically involve that insiduous nightshade vegetable.  Attempts to make it, obviously not identical, but as close as I could get.

 

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This chili is a recent development, and is probably my favourite chili I’ve come up with to date.  It is inspired in terms of some of the ingredients by a recipe posted recently on Dishing Up The Dirt, with my own spins and of course, pepper-less twists.

FINALLY, a pepper-less chili!  I hope anyone else suffering from a lack-of-chili-due-to-pepper-allergy deprivation can find hope and healing, as well as solace and satisfaction from this new development!

Hint: Google… THIS chili is pepper-less!

I hope you enjoy trying it out, and let me know how it goes.  And of course, if you do make it, take a picture and be sure to tag me ( @cookiecrumbsandcarrottops ) on Instagram.  I’d love to see your creations!

Vegetarian (Or Beef) Pepper-less Chili

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 15 min prep, 1 hour cook time
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Finally a chili recipe for those people who are allergic to peppers that's still chock full of flavour. Perfect served with a freshly baked warm slice of cornbread.

Inspired by: Dishing up the Dirt

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, diced finely
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic*
  • 1 block of frozen tofu, thawed and crumbled**
  • 2-4 tbsp curry powder (depending on your level of heat desired)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 (12 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (12 oz) can beer (I used pale ale)***
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, kernels removed (for me, this was a scant 2 cups)
  • 1-2 c water/vegetable stock (to thin)- optional
  • Sour cream/greek yogurt, green onions, guacamole, avocado, cilantro, radishes, cheese, or whatever else you want to garnish

Directions

  1. Heat your olive oil in a large soup, or stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add in the onion, and sauté until golden and soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Add in the crumbled tofu and sauté until browned slightly, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the grated ginger and sauté, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about a minute more. Finally, add the curry (start with 2 tbsp if you’re unsure about how much to add), cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and pepper, and sauté, stirring constantly, until fragrant, a further minute.  If the mixture begins to stick too much and burn on the bottom, turn down your heat, and add a couple tablespoons of stock or water.
  3. Next, add in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and black beans, and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the can of beer, and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.  The mixture should thicken up considerably, and become deliciously fragrant.  If it begins to get too thick, turn down heat, or you can add in optional stock/water to reach your desired consistency.  I added about 1 cup of additional liquid.
  5. Once it has simmered, add in the fresh corn kernels, and simmer for a further 5 minutes.  Taste, and adjust seasonings.  I ended up adding a bit more salt when I made it with tofu, but I didn’t with beef.  I also started with 2 tbsp of curry, and after tasting at this point, added close to 2 more tbsp, because I like it to have a decent kick.  But you do you!
  6. Spoon into bowls and top with desired toppings (I used greek yogurt, radishes, and cilantro), and serve with a hunk of delicious cornbread because it’s the best.  And you need them carbs for good energy.  Truth.

*A couple cloves of minced fresh garlic would be delicious in this, or at least 3 or 4 cloves of roasted garlic.  I used granulated because we were out of roasted at the moment, and we are also allergic to fresh garlic.  Go figure.

**To those of you who are unfamiliar with frozen tofu, it’s totally the best way to get a ground beef-like texture to your tofu, as it completely changes and gets crumbly once it’s been frozen.  To do it, drain your tofu and press it a bit to remove excess water, and then stick in a freezer friendly container as a block.  Defrost as you would meat, ideally, over time, but you can also nuke it in the microwave if you’re short on time or forgot to take it out.  Then crumble it with your hands, or pulse a few times in a food processor to get a ground beef like consistency.  Just be sure not to do this too much or you’ll end up with a consistency almost like almond flour… Not entirely bad, but really fine and not as ground beef-like.

If you’d prefer to use ground beef in the place of tofu, sauté a pound of it with your onions in step 1 until browned, and proceed as usual.  I’ve done it both ways and it’s delicious.

***Feel free to use stock instead of beer in the recipe if you’re not a fan of cooking with beer, or the flavour it imparts, but know it will change the end result.  I’ve noticed if I use stock, I often have to use less curry as the heat shines through more.  Play around to find your preference!

Seriously Smitten With…

So I want to write the blog I’d like to read, and in my favourite blogs, there’s always a weekly link love post.  And one of my favourite ones is the one that comes from Shutterbean, as an I Love Lists assortment, as it’s always different, always includes some totally random stuff, and always makes me laugh.

I decided I wanted to get in on the action too, so here we are with my new “Seriously Smitten With” series, which assuming I can keep my act together, will be posted every Tuesday.  Here’s some stuff I’m seriously smitten with this week:

  1. This artist makes jewelry inspired by the cities she visits!
  2. I have to question whether some of these fml moments are real, or made up.  Either way, I was almost crying laughing over some of them (especially number ten)!
  3.  My go-to burger recipe, although I use it direct from the cookbook (which is one of my favourite cookbooks ever, just be sure to white-out the calories first (or get someone else to if you know you’ll memorize them/be affected by them instantly) because you don’t need that crap!).  I don’t always make the onions or toppings, but as a base burger, it’s THE BEST!
  4. Diets suck, and we all know it.  We also know that they are not a solution for long term health or weight loss.  But there’s also the growing issue where “getting healthy” is really a diet in disguise… and before you know it, you become less concerned about your health, and more concerned about your body.
  5. Seriously this melted my heart a little bit.  What a genius idea!
  6. I want this spoon.  And knowing me, I should probably get this spoon.  And I’m liking these wedding favors.
  7. I love gold rimmed dinner collections but I hate the fact that you need to hand wash them.  The struggle is real.
  8. I can’t commit to a real tattoo.  Did you know you can make your own temporary ones?!
  9. Whether you’re recovering from an eating disorder, or just trying to make peace with food and your body so you’re not a total nutcase anymore, one of the most important and key things is to start living a non-diet life, and these three points are on point.  In my experience the order to which to approach them is more like 1-3-2, because it’s super hard to tune into your hunger and fullness cues when you have all those judgements from 1 and 3 in the way.
  10. Everyone knows I’m addicted to oatmeal, but there’s a particular combo that I have been MAJORLY crushing on lately.  Usually, I can’t eat the same thing more than a couple times in a week or I get bored, doesn’t matter what snack or what meal.  But I unashamedly had this guy probably 5 or 6 times in the past two weeks, and once it was within 12 hours of each other.  Mind blown.  You can get the combo, which I cannot take credit for here.
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Here was my version yesterday morning, topped with cashews and fresh figs, although my winning topping has been cashews, toasted coconut, and dried cherries.

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Nutritious Noshing: Avocados

Hey there!  It’s been a while.

What have you all been up to, since we last chatted?  Do you have your halloween costumes started yet (or probably more likely, finished)?!

I haven’t done halloween since I was in grade seven.  It’s never been a huge thing for me, even when I was little.  And when I was little it was literally only a huge thing because my Dad would buy me a costume, and I got to pick it every year.  I mean come on, if you could dress up as Pocahontas for a day, wouldn’t you get excited?!

Yeah, the whole candy thing was never the draw.  I’ve never been big on candy, and when I was little I pretty much hated chocolate.  I know, crazy right?!  My love of chocolate has only developed since puberty basically, and even then, my chocolate love is limited (see this post).  But it’s deep and dark and true.

So even when I was little, Halloween night would be the draw.  Often I went trick-or-treating with a good friend and her family, and I super looked forward to it, because we’d go to three times the amount of houses, which meant that I could wear my costume for three times as long!  And I’m from Canada right, so by October 31, it’s kind of chilly at night!  This friend’s mom was one of those wrap-my-kids-in-bubble-wrap types, so she’d always force her kids to wear their puffy coats OVERTOP of their costumes, but I wasn’t her kid!  So being as proud of my costume as I always was, I would refuse adamantly to wear my jacket and cover it up!  She wasn’t my Mom, so her hands were kind of tied.  I’d sit in the back seat of the van, teeth chattering, and she’d try to coax me into wearing my winter jacket, and I’d deny being cold until my cheeks were blue (as opposed to my lips, as I’m pretty sure those were probably already blue…).  I won, every year.  I can be determined when I want to be.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Yeah, so I’d come home with my haul of candy, and my poor mother would set out on the task of going through it and inspecting for tampering.  I was all like, “NOW!” because every kid wants SOME candy on halloween.  And I’d have like two chocolate bars, or something… and that was it.  Seriously.  Maybe, MAYBE, I’d take one or two to school for the next couple of days, but beyond that, the bag of candy went on the bottom shelf of my kitchen cupboard (the one that currently houses my vast array of graters and hand mixer), and it would sit there.  Literally, all year.  We’d go in there the next halloween to put the new bag of candy in, and we’d find the old, full bag pushed to the back.

I think at some point, my parents were all like, “Why don’t we give some of this candy away, or at least not bother to go through all the work of trying to inspect ALL of it for tampering.  I think I was pretty adamant every time about the necessity of keeping it all, and going through every piece.  Even then I was logical.  I mean, I worked hard for that candy!  There was a lot of shivering involved!  Plus, who knew which four candy bars out of the bag of a hundred or more I would want to eat!?  I needed my selection!

Yeah, your choice: logical, or crazy.

Anyways, back to my main point: I haven’t done Halloween for years.  I avoided it like the plague in high school, which is kind of sad now that I look back on it, considering I was on the student council and it was kind of important that we participated in all the school events we put on.  Nevertheless, I always refused to dress up.  The most they ever got out of me was a halfhearted witches hat thrown on strictly during lunch hour and removed the moment the bell rang.

When did the love die?

Probably the moment I realized that I didn’t really enjoy the chocolate enough to shiver for it… or the moment that I started having to pay for my own costume.

Anyways, I had my heart on ignoring it again this year.  Except at my new job, they value that kind of participation once again.  It’s not required to participate, but once I heard that you get a gift certificate just for showing up in costume… I figured maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing (insert winking emoji here).

So yesterday when I went to the city, I set about getting the materials I needed to make my costume.  I agree to participate, but I don’t agree to spend money on a costume.  I mean, do you realize that that money could buy like 2/3 of a cookbook? Or at least 4 or 5 kombucha teas?  Don’t get me started on the PSLs…

Priorities=check.

So I had a strict $15 cap.  And I was doing well, had everything I needed except the last component.  Cue, me walking into Michaels in the afternoon, going to the kids craft section, turning the corner, and…

They’re out of pompoms.

Either everyone has the exact same costume idea as me, or we all found this pin at the same time and were overcome by an intense need to create adorable fuzziness!

Anyways, by this point I was tired, hungry, and just wanted to be done.  So the choice became, spend the money on a whole bunch of little bags of pompoms, or rethink the whole costume after already spending money on the rest of the supplies.

I bit the bullet, spent $25 on tiny bags of pompoms, and bought a half sweet toasted graham cracker soy latte from Starbucks to nurse my sorrows. The struggle was real.

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Speaking of work, I got a huge volume of guacamole for free from work, because the question was literally, “Do you want all of this, or it’s going in the trash?”  And of course it’s an avocado, and not only do I hate wasting food, but I particularly hate wasting GOOD food.  AND, this is like literally the only store-bought guacamole I can eat, as I am allergic to peppers and raw garlic.  Buzzkill.  And looking at the ingredients list, it contains both jalapeños and garlic… I don’t even want to know what they do to it so that I don’t react.  Some things are better left unknown.

So needless to say, I was all like, “Guacamole!  Get in my mouth!”

And 6 months ago, that sentence would never have even crossed my mind.  Progress!

The problem with guacamole is you open the container, and you literally have a maximum 72 hours (if you don’t mind discolouration), but more like 24-48 to eat it.  Unless you have some amazing tips and tricks to keep your guacamole from turning?  If so, TEACH ME YOUR WAYS!

So my week has been full of guacamole, or rather, full of discovering all the things you can do with guacamole.  You know, beyond the tortilla chip route.  Some awesome things I discovered:

Burrito type bowls.  These two were a couple of favourites:

Freekeh Burrito Bowl

Freekeh and black beans, fried together with an egg and sautéed onions, topped with radishes, carrots, spinach, and tomato, greek yogurt, cilantro and guacamole. This one is the overall winner.

Sweet potato burrito bowl

Roasted sweet potato, topped with fried black beans, onions, chard, cheddar cheese, greek yogurt, guacamole, tomato, and cilantro.

The typical quesadilla:

Black beans, 4 year aged white cheddar!, fried onions, spinach and tomato, topped with greek yogurt and guacamole

Black beans, 4 year aged white cheddar!, fried onions, spinach and tomato, topped with greek yogurt and guacamole

And a new concoction that you seriously must try!! Tuna Salad Guacamole Wraps!  SO DELICIOUS! (at this point my aforementioned browning was starting to become an issue… don’t let it distract you from the AWESOMENESS!)

1/2 can tuna, 1/3 c guacamole, a squirt of lime juice, 1/2 green onion (all parts) cut up finely, and 3-4 cherry tomatoes. Mix it all up well and stuff it in a wrap, taco, or sandwich!

1/2 can tuna, 1/3 c guacamole, a squirt of lime juice, 1/2 green onion (all parts) cut up finely, and 3-4 cherry tomatoes. Mix it all up well and stuff it in a wrap, taco, or sandwich!

And after all of this guacamole eating, you’d think I would be begging for a change. Cue my realization: me + avocado = happy, delicious, love.  No guacamole or avocado hate in the picture for me.  Case in point: I went to Costco and bought a three pack yesterday because I had run out of the free stuff… I don’t learn.

Now, those of you who struggle with an eating disorder know that this kind of love is often forbidden.  It’s kind of like Romeo and Juliet, minus the Montagues, Capulets, poison, and overall death scenario.

Okay, maybe that means it’s not like Romeo and Juliet at all…

Point is, it’s forbidden.  Usually this has something to do with the fat content, and associated caloric content. Let’s get real here (according to the USDA):

1/4 of an average avocado clocks in at 80 calories, 1 g protein,   7.37 g fat,

3.4 g  total dietary fibre, 0.33 g sugar

Yeah, man.  That’s not a heck of a lot of avocado.  And for those of you who can do some math, you notice that that means that 83% of the calories in an avocado come from… FAT!

LET’S ALL RUN AWAY SCREAMING! (I think there’s an emoji for that…there’s probably an app for that too)

But wait, before you navigate away from this page, or chastise me for posting calorie counts and being “triggering”, or swear off avocado for life (this would be SAD!  Please don’t…), hear me out!  I post this info to make a point.

In modern society, we live in a fat phobic environment.  We have sworn off all forms of fat, and condemned them all as being “unhealthy”, “disgusting”, “the cause of disease”, “the cause of obesity”, and basically all the equivalent of drinking a vat of grease that they use to fry McDonalds french fries.  It’s easy to see this information about our friend the avocado, and automatically make it taboo.

But let’s get real: is there not a difference between eating an avocado, and scarfing down a whole family size A&W fries?

Side note:  I don’t actually have anything against french fries, and I do in fact believe they equally hold their place in a balanced diet.  Remember guys, no food rules!  It just helps illustrate my point to use an example that easily comes to mind.  Plus, I’m not actually a fan of french fries (unless they’re sweet potato <3!), taste and texture thing, not ED.  BUT, if you are like the vast majority of people that actually enjoy the things, GO FOR IT!  Seriously, don’t deprive yourself!  Everything in moderation is a healthy way to live and eat!

Let’s jump down a little bit on the nutritional label of an avocado and you’ll see what I mean.  Often times, we get a little stuck after we pass through calories.  Or if you get past calories, you get stuck at fat.  And if you get past fat (good job!), you get stuck at one of the other things you feel afraid of, or feel the need to count: protein, carbs, or sugars.  But guys!  THERE’S ANOTHER PART THAT COMES AFTER SUGARS!

Mind blown, I know.

It looks something like this:

1/4 of an average avocado gives you:

6 mg calcium, 15 mg magnesium, 26 mg phosphorus, 244 mg potassium, 41 mcg folate (B9), 10.6 mcg Vitamin K

Not to mention small amounts of other essential nutrients, and some good fat soluble (AKA you actually need that fat in order to utilize them) vitamins E and A (other fat solubles are D and K).

Point:  Avocado is a boss.

But, this is boring! You say.  What does that even mean?

Like I’ve mentioned before, what works wonders for me when I fear a food or a food group is looking at all the positives of that food (see my post on the goodness in cinnamon rolls– it does actually exist!).  Because there is no food that is completely devoid of good things for your body.  Take those babies that chew on dirt or cement (pica)… sometimes that is caused by nutrient deficiency (namely iron and zinc)!

Side note: I don’t mean it’s good to eat cement or dirt.  Pica is a serious disorder that needs medical attention.  My point is, they can get some nutrients even from these things!

So avocados?  What does all of this number and letter jargon actually mean?

The wonder of avocados:

  1. Monounsaturated Fats: Avocados are the only fruits (yes, it’s a fruit!  It has a pit!) that contain monounsaturated fats, which helps to lower LDL cholesterol levels (in simplified terms, although it’s not that simple, “bad cholesterol” levels.
  2. Fibre: Fibre helps not only to keep you regular, but also feeds all the bacteria present in your large intestine that help you to breakdown and utilize the nutrients found in food.  It also helps you to feel full longer, and helps keep your blood sugar levels in check.  So you know all those recipes that combine bananas, and avocados, and chocolate.  Yeah, it’s a good idea for that whole lack of sugar spike thing… plus it kind of tastes awesome.
  3. Fats:  Again, the fat thing!  Like I said, the fat in avocados is necessary to allow you to absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, present not only in the avocado itself but also in whatever you’re eating with your avocado.  Plus it helps you absorb other nutrients associated with the fat-soluble vitamins like the carotenes and lutein.  Plus, fats are necessary to produce sex hormones, maintain the flexibility of your cell membranes, and synthesize cholesterol (cholesterol is not all bad, it’s necessary too!).
  4. Actual Nutrients Present: Manganese, Iron, Magnesium, Alpha Carotene, Lutein, Potassium, B vitamins, Vitamin E: Manganese is necessary for enzymes to perform properly, allowing the use of  vitamin B1, C, and protein. Iron is important for red blood cell production, and thus energy levels, respiratory system, and circulatory system function. Magnesium is necessary for your heart and muscle health, your nervous system, and your stress levels. Alpha Carotene is helpful for inflammation and is a great antioxidant. Lutein is super important for eye health. Potassium is necessary for cardiovascular health (think lowering blood pressure!), and proper nervous system function. B Vitamins (there are too many!), are essential for so many things, not the least of which is immune function.  Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, and is awesome for skin health!

I could go on and on, because avocados contain over 20 vitamins and minerals. 20!  You could write a book!  Actually, I’m sure that’s been done…

So what’s the take home message?

Stick with the avocado love, calories be damned.  Eat your guacamole, and eat it often.  Slice it, dice it, cube it, and throw some lime juice on it!  Keep it in the fridge, covered tightly with plastic wrap once it’s cut, and with the pit in to prevent some browning.(Once again, if anyone has some avocado preserving tips other than lemon/limes, and keeping the pit in, tell me your ways!).

And when ED tells you it’s bad… when he tells you the numbers, when he says to go run it off afterwards, when he says it’s not what you need, when he tells you it’s too much, when he freaks out about the fat…

Think of your heart that’s pumping because of the potassium and magnesium. Because of the avocado.

Think of your skin that is red and rosy thanks to proper circulation from the iron, and glowing and healthy because of the vitamin E. Because of the avocado.

Think of your ability to reproduce and be a woman, because you have enough fats to produce sex hormones.  Because of the avocado.

Think of how you have energy, because of the iron, calories, and overall nutrient content.  YOU DESERVE TO HAVE ENERGY!  FATS AND FOOD AND CALORIES GIVE YOU ENERGY!  THEY ALLOW YOU TO LIVE YOUR LIFE, NOT JUST ADD MASS TO YOU (THEY MIGHT NOT EVEN ADD MASS UNLESS YOU NEED TO ADD IT!). Because of the avocado.

And as you taste that creamy deliciousness, enjoy it.  Because it’s good.  And that’s good enough.

Some serious avocado link love for you, if you want to hop on my bandwagon!  My top 5 avocado recipe loves written by others:

  1. The best smoothie of life.  Seriously my all time favourite! Banana Peanut Butter Green Smoothie via Pastry Affair.  You’ll have seen this guy a plethora of times on my instagram feed.IMG_5818
  2. Cheesy Sweet and Sour Thai Pomegranate Chicken Enchiladas via Half Baked Harvest.  Phew, that’s a mouthful to say. But it’s an even better mouthful to eat.  My version pictured, made up for the pepper thing by subbing in hoisin for the sweet chilli paste, mixed with some curry powder, and spiralized carrots for the red bell pepper.IMG_5663
  3. Autumn Avocado Toast with Gorgonzola, Pears, and Toasted Walnuts via How Sweet Eats.  Yes, it’s just avocado toast… but the combo is awesome!  That, plus avocado, goat cheese, balsamic, and strawberries.  Just saying.4.

4. Simple Roasted Squash via Deliciously Ella.  The avocado puree is to die for.  Literally.

5. Chocolate Avocado Smoothie via Texanerin.  This really is not a smoothie… it’s a pudding.  And it’s delicious topped with coconut chips, and made using dark chocolate almond milk.  Just saying.IMG_1622

Plus you can follow my Pinterest (in particular my avocado board), for more and constantly updated ideas!

I’m done with the plugging now.  I swear.

And of course, this post made me crave avocado.  So here’s a look at some more avocado love from my lunch I’m currently devouring as I hit publish:

Quinoa mixed with tamari, cherry balsamic, pomegranate arils, and green onions, along with roasted sweet potato, spinach, raspberries, pumpkin seeds, goats feta, and 1/4 of a mashed avocado

Quinoa mixed with tamari, cherry balsamic, hemp seeds, pomegranate arils, and green onions, along with roasted sweet potato, spinach, raspberries, pumpkin seeds, goats feta, and 1/4 of a mashed avocado

Information sources:

My own knowledge!

USDA

Nutrition Stripped

Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Elson M Haas, MD

Minding My Mirrors: Proportion Distortion

So there are a whole slew of things that I’m admittedly terrible at.

1) Any sport. No seriously, pick anything and I am horrendous at it. Perhaps this is due to my high pain avoidance (I avoid things that have the possibility to cause me physical pain. Sports= a cornucopia of ways in which I can experience physical pain). Most of it though I think is because I legitimately have pretty terrible hand eye coordination, which my parents can’t figure out because they both were pretty into sports and had excellent aim. I tried to land something in a trashcan two feet away from me the other day and missed and hit the window. Yes, seriously.

2) Saying, “good enough”. I really struggle with this. Part of it, I’ve realized in the past week particularly, is because I literally have no self-trust or belief in my own abilities to do something correctly. I know, perfectionism, but it does get in the way. Especially when you’re trying to get out of work on time, but still insist on completing every item on the checklist when the world actually wouldn’t end if you missed one of the minor things.

3) Repetition. I hate doing things that require a lot of repetition with very little deviation. I get bored way too easy, cue the distraction and complete unwillingness to actually get the task done. Hence why studying and monotonous rote doesn’t work well, practicing piano never happened (I always played I just never practiced), and also why I literally spend all my time cooking my own food and making every meal different. The idea of having the exact same thing twice in a row or even twice in a few days bores me to tears!

4) Unpacking a Suitcase. So not only am I a last minute packer, which can be a problem of its own, I have this inexplicable inability to unpack a suitcase. Thankfully, dirty laundry is instantly taken out, but other than that I will just systematically take out things item by item as I need them until eventually my suitcase is unpacked.  I think the longest my suitcase has sat on my floor after a trip was 2.5 months.  Yes, really.  And there has really only been one time where my suitcase was instantly unpacked when I arrived home, and that was when I was going through a change-all-your-non-productive ways-and-judge-yourself-on-every-move-you-make-phase.  It was fleeting, and as I said it only happened once.  (Side note:  this is just reminding me how my suitcase is still on my floor from a trip I took last week… perhaps I should deal with that…)

5) Cooking fish. My love of fish is huge, and there are a couple (actually one- basa fillets) that I’ve mastered. But this more so is because I know my oven, and not because I really can cook the fish. Either way I always, ALWAYS get someone to double check because me+salmon=overcooked. And I like my fish just barely cooked, or I find it dry and unpalatable. It’s a work in progress.

6) Folding sheets. It doesn’t matter how many times someone shows me, or how many times I practice, they always end up a crinkled mess. I’ve since given up and just morph them into something between a pancake and a muffin top shape and call it a day. If bed head is considered a legitimate hairstyle, there’s no way my sheets need to be smooth.

I could go on. That’s life. Hopefully one day I’ll marry someone that can barbecue a killer salmon, doesn’t need to play soccer or go for jogs for “fun”, and can fold at least the guest room sheets like a beast. Currently accepting applications.

There are also some things that I’m crazy good at though!

1) Word games. You name it. Crosswords, Boggle, Pick Two (my favorite!), Scrabble… I’m a beast. It actually seems to drive people nuts, to the extent that they don’t want to play with me anymore (other than my Aunt Lucy… her goal is always to beat me!). It’s kind of sad though because I’m not TRYING to win… there are just so many good words right there in front of me!

2) Numbers. Addition, subtraction, algebra. Now I don’t mean that I find these things particularly FUN (although algebra can be a neat game…), and I certainly don’t want you to come up to me with a two trains meeting question because I will run away screaming with my hands in my ears (actually I’ll probably run and trip over something, hence the lack of coordination…). But I’m good with them. Like I can add sums really quickly, and I tend to remember them well. Hence the whole calorie counting thing and anything you can really put into quantities has always gotten me like a magnet.

3) Listening. I’m a killer listener. I prefer to listen really, and I don’t actually do well when it comes to the relation and talking part of a conversation (especially with people my own age… I have no opinion on Nicki Minaj and probably couldn’t even pick her out if you showed me pictures…). But if you need someone to sit and listen to you mull a problem over, or just listen to really anything at all, I’m your girl. I’ll even listen to a conversation about Nikki Minaj with vague interest. Just don’t ask me my opinion. (Side note: my knowledge of Nicki Minaj is so vast that I actually had to look up how to spell her name. I totally spelt it wrong.)

4) Looking in the Mirror. No, I’m not vain. Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t spend hours in front of a mirror, primping and preening, and I don’t actually seek out mirrors to check myself out. But I know how to use one really well. And by really well, I mean something like this:

Oh look, a mirror/reflective surface that I happen to pass by. Just a quick glance. Hmmm, wow, my thighs are really big. Yep, they’re at least an inch wider than last week. Soon they’ll touch, and then I’ll want to die. Never mind my chipmunk cheeks. You can’t even see my cheekbones anymore. I wish my hair would grow out faster so that I can cover them up before this weight gain phase is over. And my ribs… ha, well you can’t even tell I have those. Yep, I’m a cross between a chipmunk, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, and a marshmallow. Ha, remember that episode of Arthur where he gets a really puffy green jacket that makes him look like the Michelin Man? Yep, I’m like that… but I don’t need a jacket.

Yep that’s my thought process, or something remarkably similar, usually actually ending with the Arthur memory. Did anyone else see that one?

So unsurprisingly, this pretty much makes me feel like crap, makes me anxious, and kills any positivity I might have been experiencing. So needless to say, I don’t specifically SEEK out mirrors to make myself feel shitty. I just seem to have a laser ability to find them, or at least, when I happen to notice my reflection in something, I can’t help but stop and look, just to double check that I haven’t ballooned up like a blimp. Except that while I might not be exactly Mr. Puffy (I’ll stop with the Arthur references, I promise), I always seem to find something that appears bigger than the “last time”, even if the last time was earlier that day or (more usual) a few days ago.

Mirrors are tricky. When I first entered residential treatment, a few days after I arrived they decided to do a little experiment where they covered all the reflective surfaces and taped over all the mirrors in the house for two weeks. We couldn’t see ourselves for two weeks, and some odd things happened. At this point I was in the honeymoon phase of recovery where I truly believed everything would eventually be fixed by gaining weight and it would be like a temporary thing that I could totally be rid of once I completed my prescription of poundage. So I didn’t really have this crazy urge to look at myself in a mirror. I didn’t find a roll of tape and sneak into the bathroom, peel off an inch section to body check by standing in the sink and re-tape it so no one would know the difference. And I didn’t find myself suddenly lifting the semi opaque kettle at odd angles to try and decipher some sort of image in its barely-there sheen. (All things I saw/heard about other people I was with doing). In a weird sense, I felt liberated. I felt calmer. And while it probably was the start of my bend over, head between the legs thigh checking, in other ways it made me freer than I had been in a long time.

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Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles

Here are the things we tend to forget about mirrors:

1) Distortion. Yes, the ED brain comes often with some body dysmorphia. It’s like, if we were sitting in the living room and I pointed to the rocking chair and tried to tell you that that plain as day chair in the corner wasn’t actually there. It’s all in your mind. Crazy and hard to believe, right? It’s hard to not believe in something that’s staring you in the face. However, there is also mirror distortion. Mirrors reflect light, that’s all they do. So if there’s a divot, or a crack, or an uneven surface, the image reflected back to your eyes is not going to be accurate. Think of a funhouse with its wonky mirrors and associated distortions.

2) Fear amplifies things. Think of something you’re afraid of. Perhaps it’s spiders. Now, if you’re afraid of spiders and you see a spider on the wall, to the unaffected friend sitting next to you it’s nothing more than a tiny common household pest, but to you…man you could swear that thing was the size of a tarantula! Or at least half as big as your hand… it doesn’t matter! It was HUGE! Fear makes things seem bigger than they are… it’s a self-preservation thing, a survival tactic. So if you look in the mirror, and you fear seeing fat on yourself, guess what you’ll see? Or at least, guess what will look more prominent than it actually is?

3) They’re not a measure of health, or of worth. Cue the violin solo and the inspirational I have a dream speech. You are worth more than what you see in the mirror. A mirror doesn’t show you how your heart is functioning, how your brain neurons are firing, or how well your liver is detoxifying your body. And the size of your body is not an indicator of much. Some people are genetically larger. They have bigger bones, they carry their weight in different places, they have a higher natural set point. Does this make them unhealthy? No. Does it make them fat? No. I sound like a recording, a psychotherapist, and a hypocrite all rolled into one. How does someone who is clearly so affected by her reflection feel she has the right to tell us not to be affected by what we see?

I don’t.

It’s a work in progress.

Anyways, the point is, mirrors don’t help much. Sure, they can tell you if you have a mascara spider or spinach in your teeth, or if that red hat really doesn’t go at all with that blue jacket, but beyond that they’re kind of toxic.

And cue my brainwave of last week.

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The Hall of Mirrors again at the Palace of Versailles… for once these mirror shots are bringing back positive memories… but I still judge what I’m seeing even now.

I like naming things, often alliteratively. See there’s Fear Food Friday, and Survivor Sunday, TBH Tuesday (that’s a new one I just thought of… will have to explore that more). So I figure that Monday has to have something too, right? Because Monday kind of gets the short end of the stick… for many it’s just kind of a crappy day. It’s the start of the workweek, it has a lack of good late night TV, and it reminds you of the homework you didn’t get done on the weekend that was due. Oops.

Anyways, Mondays suck. And I’m not all into the whole Man Crush Monday shenanigans, and while Mugcake Monday holds promise, it is a little bit of a drag if I either felt like having the mugcake on a Tuesday, or simply didn’t feel like one on the Monday… and Muffintop Monday sounds delicious but can be taken in too many more destructive ways…

Distracted.

So Monday! Let’s throw some self-compassion, or at least take a stab at it, into a crappy day. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

Mirror-less Monday.

Yep.

One day a week where you don’t look in a mirror, and you avoid all reflective surfaces. Psshaw, sound easy? You’d be surprised…

So I came up with this cockamamie idea on Sunday, and being the type of person I am, I thought hmmm let’s try this, and decided the next day I would dive into it.

I don’t wear makeup. I think I stopped during my hospitalization 3 years ago and just never started again. Once you see how much nicer your skin health is without it, it’s hard to go back to foundation-induced pimple-land. So I mean, aside from spinach in my teeth or out-of-place cowlicks, my actual NEED for a mirror is quite minimal. But hey, we already determined that bed head is a legitimate look now. I can just elect for the grunge look and fake it till I make it.

I’m kind of lucky in the sense that my house has a general lack of reflective surfaces. We’re not that decorative, so it’s not like we have these little knickknacks with mini mirrors or a lot of silver decorations everywhere. And I’ve found that if you actually leave the exterior of your windows dirty, you don’t see your reflection near as much… logically this means that it’s a wonderful idea to never climb on a ladder outside to wash your windows. I have just been unconsciously planning ahead for this project!

So basically I’m faced with three-ish overt mirrors that I regularly come into contact with: my bedroom, my bathroom, and the door leading outside. I’m not someone who spends time really in my bedroom, so my contact there is minimal- getting up in the morning and going to bed. It also tends to be one that hates me often, as you tend to get dressed in your room and thusly can see that much more of yourself.

Note to self: Take a note from treatment facility for next week and at least make a board or something you can place in front of the mirror the night before when going to bed. Then you don’t have the instant, I’m-not-thinking-straight-because-it’s-5-am slip up when you first get out of bed, and have forgotten today’s goal…

But I digress…

The most frequent one I come into contact with is the bathroom, because I’m almost never in the other bedrooms, and let’s face it: nature calls more than once a day. So the practicality of this one is a little different, as I can’t just cover up a common bathroom mirror that everyone else uses. The most effective strategy seems to be leaving the lights off when I’m in there, as it has no windows, and we only have a tiny nightlight that really only spreads enough to see where you’re going and give you a vague outline of your shape in the mirror with no specifics. So technically, assuming you remember not to turn on the light that one should be easy enough.

Work is actually the easiest place to avoid seeing my reflection because there are literally almost no reflective surfaces, other than in one section that I very rarely have to be in. The only real cincher here is the bathroom. Obviously, it has no nightlight, and leaving the lights off is not an option unless I leave the door open. Obviously, that’s a no go (I’m sure the other employees appreciate my conclusion on this one too). I think that one is just going to take a bit more practice.

The side view mirrors in the car… another one that you just have to try to remember. I can see all kinds of bad things happening if I tried to cover those guys. And because I’m not allowed to exercise at this point, various external reflective surfaces are at a minimal because I’m not going out for a jog or a walk. Check and check.

So it’s a work in progress, but I think it shows promise. And I invite others to join me, regardless of sex, age, condition, constitution… we all could use a break from the scrutiny of the silver eye. Screw Man-crush Monday, Meatless Monday (because I just like chicken, okay!), and Mimosa Monday… actually wait, that last one could be delicious.

And just because I can, I’m going to end this by sharing a recipe I’m currently crushing on at snack time.

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One bowl wonder!

Because little, round cookies don’t need a mirror either to embrace their cute chubby perfection.

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Mid delicious creation…

So if you love the wonder that is peanut butter, love one bowl dishes, don’t feel like turning on your oven, or just need to remind yourself what deliciousness is…

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Second batch I made- drizzled with peanut butter chips instead of dark chocolate chips, because peanut butter.

Try these no bake peanut butter chocolate drizzle cookies.

Tada!  Original batch I made.  Chocolate and peanut butter heaven :)

Tada! Original batch I made. Chocolate and peanut butter heaven 🙂

Now. No really. Right now.

Chit Chatting over Breakfast

Hi there, I’m Tiffany!

Just another wannabe food blogger here, navigating the realms of htmls, upload links, a lack of professional photography training, a lack of professional culinary training, and a lack of technical know how and savvy.

No seriously, my technical skills are extremely limited… you should have seen when I finally bought my iPhone how long it took me to compose a 3 sentence text message because I kept hitting all the wrong letters with my apparently spastic thumbs.  It wasn’t pretty… (insert randoM capit.als and punCtuation into every other wor.d here)

So this will be a bit of an adventure to say the least, and it won’t necessarily be pretty, but hopefully it will be amusing, exciting, and delicious (which is better than pretty, right?)

I could go into a long rant about who I am, and get all metaphorical.  I could say I’m misunderstood (who isn’t?), that I had a difficult childhood (but so does everyone, and it doesn’t mean it wasn’t still full of love and good times), and that I’m just trying to find myself (I think myself might be lost in the peanut butter aisle of the grocery store…), but I don’t think that my past is really that important for you to know.  If you’re interested in knowing, drop me a line and I’ll come lie on your couch and you can ask me how everything makes me feel.

Did I mention I’m sarcastic?  Get used to it…

I’ll give you the short and sweet though because if we’re going to start a relationship, I think you need to be able to at least picture a bit of me.  I’m a twenty something female, from Canada (and no, I don’t live in an igloo, I *gasp* hate maple syrup, and if you asked me what team won the Stanley Cup last year, I couldn’t tell you… go ahead get out your pitchforks eh!).  I’m the eternal perfectionist, which works really well in a lot of situations, and is my achilles heel in a lot of others, who was always the top student, identified herself by being the academic nerd, and who has kept her posse of friends and family close but small.

I’m an average day job worker by day, and batman by night… catwoman?  Superwoman?  Is there a super woman?  If you haven’t guessed I’m not into sci-fi, comics, or any games that you play on a computer or xbox (hello that would require technical savvy!).  No, my alterego is actually a closet, or maybe not so closet foodie whose FAVORITE (the capitals are intentional here, and very important) past time is being in the kitchen trying new things.  I’m the most relaxed, most invigorated, and most alive when I have a spatula in one hand, an ingredient in the other, and my eyes glued to a recipe book, food blog, or food gawker.  My dream is to eventually do some cooking training, and open up my own restaurant/cafe/bistro that has a similar focus to this blog.  Healthy, wholesome food, with a bit of good old “indulgence” thrown in, with no food rules, no exercise rules, and a lot of numminess…

Sound familiar?  Have you seen it before (insert name of almost everyone whose recipes appear on pinterest or food gawker here)?

Here’s the catch.

I have an eating disorder.

Yep, a good old fashioned, I’m terrified of food, anorexic eating disorder.

Seem weird since I’m actually the most alive, and most at peace when creating things in my kitchen?  Yeah, I haven’t figured it out either…

See here’s the thing… you give me any recipe and I will dive in head first.  The smells, the tastes, the flavors, the herbs, the creative process… it’s better than crack.  Not that I’ve tried crack, so I have no reference point here.  But I’d imagine that it would be better (or at least better for you!)… The tricky part comes to eating it.  See I love to eat it… but I’m too scared to. A lot of the time.  Or if I do eat it, it is only no big deal if I can go on my treadmill for 6 hours to make up for it.

Yep, that’s the diagnosis.  Restrictive anorexia with an obsessive overexercise component.

So I’ve gone through the process.  I was hospitalized (yes it was that bad) 3 years ago, and stayed there for a good 3+ months until I weight restored.  Then I went into outpatient treatment, for a month before entering a residential treatment centre for another 3+ months.  And I don’t regret a moment of it.  Any of it.  I learned so much about myself, my disorder, my likes, my dislikes, and met some amazing people (professionals, and just other patients) that have impacted my life in more ways than I can say.  I went into outpatient for almost another year before taking a semester in Paris, France to study language.

I don’t regret that either…

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But here’s the thing.  I never recovered.  Through all that I never did… I still hated myself, my body, had a denial complex in which I was still totally obsessed with exercise and eating “healthy” 98% of the time.  Yes I ate finally… I just had to exercise it to maintain weight/lose it.  So going to France, while wonderful, was the start of the breakdown for me.

I had to sit.  In a chair.  And study.  For hours. And there was no formalized exercise.  For someone who taught herself how to knit standing up because she’s too afraid to sit down because that will burn less and somehow more fat will end up on your ass that way (eating disorder goggles?) this was the worst thing possible.  With a lack of a weigh scale, and a lack of exercise, the food restriction came back, and started the course to relapse.

I’m human.  I’m imperfect.

So now… over a year later I’m at my bottom again.  But I’m not in the hospital!!  And I’m trying this new like, recover for me thing, where I try in an outpatient type setting to regain the weight, and recover.  It’s a process, and I’m just starting it.

I found this totally amazing person when I first started this recovery process years ago, who showed me how to love food again.  And I’m so lucky because now, she’s helping me recover.  I feel like I won the lottery.  No seriously, no sarcasm here.  Because here’s what I want in my recovered life:

  1. No food rules.  None.  If I want pizza today and a burger tomorrow, I refuse to be confined to have a salad for lunch to balance it out.  Because seriously, a week from now, I’ll probably have two salads in one day because I love vegetables and that is what I’ll want to eat THEN.
  2. No weighing or measuring food.  Eventually, no portion sizes.  Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full.  If that’s 2 chicken breasts, lovely!  If that’s a half of one, who cares?!  There is no rule (Side note: This is not possible in the beginning stages of recovery.  I’m not delusional…eventual goals are listed here 🙂 )
  3. Exercise does not equal food.  Calories in does not equal calories out.  I want to exercise and do the things I love, and not have it have a correlation with what I eat in any way shape or form.  I want to be healthy and strong.
  4. Try everything.  Anything!  Go out for dinner.  Be with friends.  Have a day where your PVR is more friendly than your gym shoes.  And be okay with that.
  5. A day is not a day without peanut butter, in ample amounts.  True story.
  6. End your day with something sweet.  Because it makes you happy, because it tastes amazing.  And because it’s okay.

And I have this new meal plan thing that this totally awesome person gave me… one where I eat six times a day.  And here’s the reality… It kind of sucks for the anxiety.  I feel like I can see the weight all over me, and I’m trying to avoid the mirror because I can gain 5 lbs in 5 minutes (seriously I see it… eating disorder goggles).  And not to mention, I can’t exercise right now… like at all.  That’s kind of heaven because I’m no longer in physical pain every two seconds, but awful for the eating disordered brain.  But it kind of rocks in every other way.  I’m going to be honest here.  I am bouncy.  Like happy.  Like insanely happy.  Like I don’t need to yell at my dog for looking at me the wrong way any more (true story), and that diet coke I lived off of… I feel like I drank like 3 of them and I haven’t had any.  Long story short:  I have energy.  And I’m not like striving to make every single meal absolutely perfect… well, I still try :), but I’m okay if it’s not because I’m actually going to eat again in three hours and eat something I like (as opposed to, well I can’t eat again for 12 hours) so I don’t feel this huge sense of deprivation and like I screwed everything up because I’ll never be able to eat those pancakes again.  Seriously.  Every meal I had was like the last supper for me.  Everything felt like it was the last time I was going to allow myself to eat it.

Which brings me to my breakfast today!!  I finally got here!  Remember how I said short and sweet… yeah, not so much.  But you try and sum like 3 or 4 years of your life up… I think I did pretty well!

What was on your plate this morning?

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Pancakes were on mine.  Yep.  Specifically, these pancakes.  And let me tell you, the last time I ate pancakes… probably 2 years ago.  No joke.  Sometime before I went to France. I was pancake overdue.

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And the best part?  Blender pancakes. Single Serving Blender Pancakes. Here’s the thing about me and pancakes.  I’m not addicted to them.  I don’t want leftovers.  They’re one of those things that I could eat like once every month and be satisfied.  Now this on the other hand…  I have eaten a slightly modified version of this almost every day for 2 years.  Is it because I was scared to try other things… yes, but mostly because it is the most delicious thing of life… other than yesterday’s breakfast, which is now a serious contender too for best thing of life…

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Yes, that is a whole two tbsp of peanut butter, and some chocolate cream cheese… but I digress.  Back to the pancakes.

Growing up I never really ate pancakes.  I had them on occasion, and usually special occasions like holidays when I went to my grandma’s house.  She made these amazing cottage cheese pancakes… which I of course topped with syrup (when I was little I liked it… I can’t understand why), and a mountain of more cottage cheese.

So when I do make pancakes, I’m kind of still a novice.  In my whole life of pancake making, I think I’ve done it less than 10 times.  So a blender pancake, throwing all the ingredients in a blender is up my alley.  How can you screw it up?  Unless you forget the little rubber liner at the bottom of the blender… This has happened before.

I have kitchen malfunctions.  Like my quiche the other day… You know when you blind bake a pastry crust with dried beans to weight it… there’s a reason they say to line the crust with parchment paper.  I have no photos (I wish I did, because it was quite funny), but suffice it to say that although I managed to scrape out probably 95% of the beans, we had some crunchy surprises when eating.  No harm no foul, we’re still alive!

I’m distracted.

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So I never really thought about how scary pancakes can be… I mean you get past the ingredients fairly easily, but then the cooking process.  I mean she says spray your pan every time in between batches.  That means you use oil and a lot more than I’m used to.  But then I had to think about how if I didn’t do it, it would probably result in what happens 95% of the time when I try to make pancakes:

  1. I stand there like an idiot looking at it with confusion.  How many bubbles should there be before you try to flip it?  Is that sturdy enough to flip?
  2. I decide to flip.
  3. Pancake is drier than the sahara on the bottom, and is stuck to pan.
  4. Pancake turns into crumbles and literally 12 pieces that I have to chisel off.  AKA gross and no longer pancakes.
  5. Pan starts smoking.  I start swearing.  Pan goes in sink.  Out comes the oatmeal.

Pancakes and I have a love hate relationship.  It was time to make a change.

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So I sprayed my pan.  Between every pancake… big achievement!  And They flipped and came out beautiful! Side note:  I bought this spray from whole foods- St Francis Herb Farm coconut oil and butter ghee- because I will not use Pam or those artificial sprays.  Seriously recommend!  Coats so well on anything, and gives a little coconut taste 🙂

Now my palate is a little different.  My favourite topping is yogurt.  But dietician’s challenge was to try it with some peanut butter and granola.  Granola and peanut butter on pancakes?  Two of my favorite things, but I’ve never thought to put them on pancakes..IMG_5652

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It was pretty delicious.  Going into my repertoire for sure.  But I had to go classic too.  Except I realized afterwards that my yogurt topping is specific (who knew?!)  It’s always lemon flavoured!  Does anyone else have specific flavour combos for things?  Like some things just taste better with specific flavours!  Rice Crispies with peach yogurt, Bran flakes with vanilla, pancakes with lemon… coffee flavoured yogurt with anything because it is DELICIOUS!

So I went in the fridge all happy only to become incredibly sad and realize we had no lemon yogurt, because I haven’t eaten lemon yogurt since the last time I had pancakes because the lemon yogurt has twice the fat of the regular, and ED doesn’t like the numbers with that at all.  It’s a work in progress.

So I had to branch out… peach mango.  It was surprisingly good.  Not lemon, but decent.  And this granola thing… liking the texture!  It’s been a while since I had granola too.

And then I had raspberries.  It’s summer and the produce is amazing right now!   Got to take advantage.  Although the meal plan said nothing about fruit, so I sat with the bowl of raspberries for like 30 minutes trying to decide if I was being a pig by eating it.  Thankfully awesome people tend to answer texts at ungodly hours (I’m a morning person!) and tell you it’s okay to eat the fruit.

Like I said, work in progress.  And a journey.  A journey I invite you to take with me.

What will this blog look like?

  1.  Well for starters, not every post will be this long.  It’s an intro, deal with it.
  2. Fear Food Fridays- get ready for a section on fear foods.  We had that in the residential centre.  We always dreaded Fridays because we knew the foods would be particularly difficult.  I don’t know what this will look like exactly but stay tuned.
  3. Recipes.  Lots of them.  Hopefully eventually some of my own, but also a lot of my favorites from other places.
  4. Nutrient/Ingredient Day.  Some day a week (I have to figure out a cool name first :P) will focus on a specific ingredient or nutrient and why it’s good for you.  Focus on the health, not on the fear.
  5. Other stuff.  This is not just a recovery blog.  It’s a celebrate life blog.  Celebrate moderation, happiness, things that bring joy and fun.  Books I love, places to see, things to do… all important in a healthy lifestyle.
  6. We’ll see!  I’m new at this!

So there you have it.  I hope your breakfast was as delicious as mine… and now that I’ve killed 3 hours writing this, I have to go and make a snack.  Happy Nibbling!