Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Figs and Death



So, about the time my mother tried to kill me. . .

We were riding our horses home from the rodeo and cut through the apple orchard growing along the road.  My mom grabbed a couple figs off of this mammoth tree, that grew in the corner of the orchard.  It seemed harmless enough.  We were all plodding along, tired from a full day, racing barrels and chasing pigs.  (Did I mention I grew up in the country?  I'm a small town girl, in every way.)  Then my step sister, who just happened to be sitting behind me on our old palamino pony, decided that she wanted to try a fig.  My mom nosed her horse until she was next to us and just as she reached out her hand to offer the rich purple fruit, her horse bit mine, and my little pony who was more fire than nice took off like a shot.  This may seem harmless enough, but I had begged my mom to keep her horse away.  You see, I knew my horse hated my mom's and that this would end in tragedy.  Luckily it was my hand and not my life. My sweet dad, raced his horse to stop the charging little beast, only to have her come to an abrupt stop and send both of us tumbling over her head.  Not my best moment in horsemanship.  We both sent up a howl of agony, someone twisted a finger, another smashed their head against a rock.  No one ate the offered fig.  We climbed back on the damned pony, more tired and sore than before.  It was many years before I ate an offered fig.

Now, that I have survived my childhood, I find them to be one of my most favorite treats.  I don't eat them often, but when they come in season, I must fill my plate with their delectable goodness.

Today I enjoyed a fig salad.

~recipe

I mixed about two cups of mixed greens with about 2T cherry vinaigrette. (3/4cup cherry balsamic vinegar, 1/4cup olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, blend in a blender.  Store in the refrigerator.)  I chopped up about three figs and mixed them with the lettuce and dressing, then topped with a tablespoon goat cheese, two tablespoons roasted pistachios, and two more chopped figs.  It was heaven.  If you are wondering what to do with those beautiful little fruits, please try this.  You will not regret it.  :)


The Arrival of School.



My baby boy is in kindergarten.


When you have a child, there are a million plans, a million dreams.  You are constantly saying things like,
"oh, well when they walk, then I can. . . "
"when they're weaned, then. . ."
"when they're potty trained, then. . ."
"when they can pick up, then. . ."
"when they can feed themselves, then. . ."

When you become a parent you lose all of the freedoms that you took for granted.  You learn what it's like to drink your coffee cold, how much less enjoyable it is to eat dinner while nursing.  You linger less and hurry more.  You are slapped in the face by all the can'ts that have suddenly taken over your life.  You begin to fantasize about all of the old freedoms you'll get back as your children grow.  It's almost like a giddy, guilty pleasure.
Oh, well I will drink a glass of wine when we go out, and linger over every bite of a two hour dinner, without having to get up fifty times.
Maybe you'll wear heels again.
Maybe you'll go back to work.
Maybe you'll read a book all the way through, rather than in bits and pieces throughout the year.

But, it all hinges on one thing.  Your baby getting older.  That wonderful, strange, pink thing you birthed that looked at you with barely focused eyes and woke you in the night and needed you, with every single ounce of their being.  That baby will grow.  They will need you less, they will focus on you less.  You will find yourself demanding their attention.  They will push from your kisses rather than lean in.  Your baby will find their own identity and they will demand that you see them as a separate being.

And it aches.


For a while, in that midnight haze of nursing, and changing, and feeding, they were a part of you.  Then they grew and while they still need you, they very, very slowly develop into their own little person.

You will find that you are so caught up in this change.  You'll revel in drinking a hot cup of coffee while they look at books beside you.  You'll enjoy pushing them on the swings and playing chase.  You will love the feeling of their hand in yours while you walk down the street.  Little freedoms, that at the time cost you nothing.  You simply enjoyed the growing beauty that you were carefully tending.

Then all at once, they have grown and now it is time to send them away.

They must go to school.  They must learn all of the things that are so very important.  They'll learn about our country, how to read, how to write, how to add, and subtract.  All of the things that you were slowly teaching, now they must sit at a desk and learn with all of the other children.  They are now big.

It feels like the worst sort of wrenching.  As if this life I birthed is being stolen away.  I do not like it, no, I do not like it one bit.

When I look at his face, I see my baby, I see the boy wonder in his eyes, I see his tender heart.  I want to protect all of those things that I have been nurturing since he came to this world.

Rather I have relinquished him to another.  Someone else is teaching him and tending him and demanding that he figure it out for himself.

Other children are either being kind or they are not.  There is nothing I can do.  I cannot run interference.  I have to let him learn about who he is, when mommy is not around.

I get to watch as he grows, but not all of the moments are spent with me.  He will enjoy accomplishing tasks, and I will hear of them from his daily recants or reports from his teacher.  Little things that I have so jealously guarded are now being recited to me.

I do have more freedom.  It's just my three year old and myself.  Yes, it is easier.  Yes, I can get more done.  But, there's this empty spot in our day.  I go back to find out what's taking Judah so long, only to remember he's at school.  When we cross the street I reach for his hand, but it isn't there.  He is sitting in  a classroom looking aptly at his teacher, memorizing colors and letters.  He's playing with new friends and running.  He's smelling new paper and freshly sharpened pencils and he is associating them with the newness of school, the crisp air of fall.

He is finding his way.  My sweet precious boy is growing up.

I jealously want to guard him from this.  I want to take him to Neverland.  I want him to brandish his sword and believe that he can fly.  I want him to laugh without thought.  I want him to be exactly who he is right now.

I want to freeze these moments.  They simply fly by, too fast.

My first born, my son, is in kindergarten.

I know that he needs this.  I know that this is right.  It simply aches to watch them grow.

I no longer care for the freedoms.  I would simply hold tight a little longer.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Judah's Lunch
Good Morning!  I hope everyone is surviving back to school this week or enjoying their last days of freedom before chaos strikes.


For Judah's first day of school lunch, he had turkey, cheese, two hard boiled eggs, a pickle, cherry greek yogurt, raspberries, and for his snacktime a lara bar.


Snacktime
My snack this morning, half an apple, fresh raspberries, and a tablespoon of raw almond butter.


My baby girl
This little lady and I are getting used to lots of alone time together.  Everything feels off without Judah around.

Blessings to each of you in this new season and your pursuit of the best possible health, life, and joy!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Grace

I cling desperate to the throne of grace.

Grace.  It is the aroma of love and acceptance when you feel outcast.

It is despite our feelings. 

It is everything we do not deserve and it cannot be earned.

It simply is.

It is reflective of a parents love and yet so much more.

It does not fail and loves regardless.

Grace breathes healing where there is brokenness.

It takes what is worthless and makes it worthy.

It finds beauty in ugliness.

Grace it is a free gift.

It has to be accepted.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Good Morning. Muffin Recipe.



A few of the glorious things about waking up at 4:30AM.

Lying in bed until 5:00AM to see if there is any chance that you are going back to sleep.

nope.

Write a blog on why diets suck.

Send parents a list of places they can use a senior discount.  Point out that they are eligible for senior discounts.

Lie in bed wondering if you should exercise.

Get up and go on a 3.5 mile run.

Dry brush.  Remember you have a sunburn and that it was a bad idea to dry brush.

Shower, dress, put on lotion and makeup and deodorant, straighten hair.

Feel outrageously accomplished!

Go in the kitchen and create an awesome gluten free strawberry muffin recipe.

Here you go.  The benefits of my early rising.

2 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup vanilla coconut milk
1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
4 dates
either 1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries or 1 cup dark chocolate chips

bake at 350 for 30 min.

I mixed the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum.
Blend the flaxseeds for about 15 seconds.  Throw in the dates and blend for just a second, you want some texture in them.  I have a vitamin which makes this super easy.  If your blender can't handle the dates just chop them up.
I mix the coconut oil with the coconut sugar, then mix in the applesauce.
Add flax, dates, coconut oil, coconut sugar, and applesauce to dry mixture.
Mix eggs, coconut milk, and vanilla, then add to the rest of the ingredients until everything is well combined.
Add your strawberries, chocolate, or whatever mix in you feel like.

Bake and enjoy.




Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cotton Candy and Kids



"Mom?!  Is this cotton candy good for my body?"

"Nope."

"Oh.  I guess I don't want it."  

"You may have it sweetheart, just don't eat it all.  Sweets are okay sometimes."

Teaching your children how to enjoy treats is not easy.

Some parents are much better at this than I.  If there is candy within a 100ft radius, I will sniff it out, and eat every bite.  I do not have a grid for when to stop.  I always want to believe that I will stop tomorrow, but that is a lie.  I love treats and sweets too much, I think that I will always desperately crave them.  And yes, I am eyeing your dessert, please don't ask if I'd like a bite, I will eat it all.

I am a health nut who longs to put only the best things in her body and craves snickers like a crack addict.  Many out there talk about when the desire for sweets subsides, and it does, but for some of us it is really just lurking out of sight.  You never know when, after my day of eggs, avocados, nuts, and countless tons of veggies you'll come home to find me face down in an empty ice cream container.  It's a sneaky bugger.

And I am the person who is supposed to teach her kids about self control.  Me.  It's like a bad joke.  Or tell them not to eat sweets.  When in actuality I want to say, "Yes, cotton candy is hell on your body, but who cares, lets see who can finish their bag first."  I don't do that, I think it, I want to say it, but I just stand there, sharing as much truth as a normal, sane, adult would and let them make their own decisions.

Sometimes they choose to go for the treat and other days they reach for a banana instead.  It's not because I am a great role model.  I'm not, but I do try really, really hard to teach them to make healthy, unemotional choices.  I do my best to do the same.

No, I will not ever be a parent with a candy drawer.  I won't have a candy dish, and if there is ice cream in the freezer, it's only because I haven't found it yet.

I wish that I was wildly controlled.  That I didn't stare too long at the candy next to the check out counter.  That when my son says, "hey mom, we should get ice cream" I wouldn't hesitate before saying no.

I don't always say no.  I just try very hard to say no a few times a week.  I love junk food.  It seems painfully unfair that it should wreak such wretched havoc on my body.  I know it is doing the same to my children and that makes me want to push harder, to be stronger.  

I never want my daughter to think we don't eat certain foods because they will make us fat.  That has never been and will never be the reason.  We are not afraid or concerned with fat.  We are very aware of loving and treating our bodies with value and respect.  We believe that food is medicine and if you want to be healthy, look young, and feel good you need to be careful what you consume.  

While I'd rather be racing you through a banana split, I'm going to sit here, eat my carrots, and try and find as many ways as possible to make vegetables more appealing.  Maybe sneak a hunk of dark chocolate now and then.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Gluten Free Fried Fish.



Fried fish.  Right?  It's just so good.

Quick recipe for you.

1 lb cod
rinse.
2 eggs, whisked.
dip cod.

Mix 1 cup almond flour with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried parsley, spread out over a plate.

Lay your cod on the flour and using a fork cover and pat both sides of the fish until the flour mixture is pressed and coated completely over it.

Heat about 1/2 cup coconut oil in a frying pan.

When it is hot put your breaded cod in.

Right?  Simple.

Sizzle, sizzle.

Flip.

Don't burn it.  It cooks fast.  Maybe 1-2 minutes per side.

If you like it well done: after you have fried it, bake it in the oven at 350 for about fifteen minutes.

Serve with something yummy.  Tonight we had it with homemade mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, and salad.

When we eat mashed potatoes, I don't add any butter to the veggies.  We use the potatoes kind of like a dip.  It's happy and good.

Life tip.  Don't diet.  Fill your plate at every meal with loads of veggies and salad.





Sunday, August 11, 2013

Loving every day.



Falling in love.

Before I met my husband I would daydream of the wonderful things we would do together, what our life would look like.  Sipping mojitos at the beach, staring into one another's eyes over a candle light dinner, someone to tie the Christmas tree to the top of the car, holding hands down the street, making a mad dash in the rain and laughing hysterically when we're soaking wet.

Love doesn't really happen like that, and yet it does.  In bits and pieces throughout a lifetime together.  We have had momentary blips of movie perfect romance.  Yet our life is made up of the day to day.  The frustrations of a broken dishwasher, bills to pay, jobs to work, kids to care for.  Our conversations are not unending.  They are not amazing.  There are moments that we could talk for hours, lost in our own little world of togetherness, and others with nothing more than a small recant of the day before returning to our own devices.

At this point in our marriage, every story has been told one thousand times, our kisses are common, our love is quiet.  

We are coexisting.  We don't have a lot of magical, knock your socks off moments.

Our love is steadfast.

We laugh and we talk.  We make dinner and go on walks.  We play frisbee.  We cuddle on the couch and work near one another.  

I remember when I watched other's marriages in this stage and I wondered if they loved each other.  

When the sparks and fire are gone, what's left?  I have found it is a slow and steady burning.  The coals are hot, but the flames are dormant.  

It may seem as if I am making our marriage sound old and worn out.  Yet it is so far from that.  It simply isn't the exciting, heady arousal of new love.    

We have fallen into a rhythm of love.  We know each other, like a favorite sweater that fits perfectly.  We drink our marriage like a well aged wine, slow, lingering, tasting each sip, and savoring the complexities of merging flavors. 

I tend to be the one in the relationship that needs more reassurance.  I want things to be picture perfect, always.  We fight and I wonder if we've lost the love.  We don't talk beyond good morning and good night and I worry we are falling out of sync.  

I get in my head.  And that is the worst place you can go.  You see, your mind will lie to you and play tricks on your heart and emotions.  We could go days with nothing more than a quick kiss on the way out the door and my husband will be perfectly happy.  He never frets about our marriage.  He is in it hook, line, and sinker.  I'm the one wondering when it's going to end.  A heart stretched tense by watching others walk out the door, keeps me from getting too comfortable in any relationship setting.  

It has taken me too long to realize I am the one putting pressure on this to be perfect.  To be movie scene awesome at every turn.  And when it's not, I'm cueing the departure music in my head.  

Because my head is a dangerous place to go.  It turns tricks and breaks apart what I love most.  

Marriage is a beautiful and mighty union.  It holds and teaches, strengthens and grows.  It is also a choice.  Each day you choose to prefer, to love, to give, to nurture, to sacrifice, to enjoy this life side by side.  It will take chunks out of your dreams, the illusion of a life together.  Until you realize that in its imperfection, its boring day to day, there is astounding beauty.  There is strength like iron, gut wrenching joy, peace, mercy, a grace you didn't realize you deserved or were capable of giving.

Don't let go, if you wake up and look at your spouse, remembering the person you fell in love with and wondering where they went.  Don't feel discouraged when the weight of life crushes and grows you.  Each day you choose to walk hand in hand, to not falter when the other falls, to not give up when they look away, to not judge when they lose hope, to love fully without worry of return.

Love.

It is the beautiful irony of time, holding two together, while everything desperately tries to tear them apart.




                                                                                                 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Amazing Spaghetti Sauce.



Desperate for an awesome, easy, healthy dinner that will thrill everyone in your family?  Kid's included?
I am happy to announce that this is not just wishful thinking.  

First, this is my mom's spaghetti.  Not my mother in law's.   My amazing mother in law is the only one with the true Italian touch, and Uncle Jim, and Auntie Sue, and Lori.  It also wouldn't be called spaghetti.  It would be roni's or gravy or cavatellis.  When I'm looking for comfort food, however, I want something from my Californian childhood




.
It amazes me that my kids will eat this with zucchini noodles.  Since I have yet to order a spiralizer, I simply use my vegetable peeler.  It works great.  

~Recipe

1 red bell pepper
1 small yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes 
1 can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
8oz water
3teaspoons salt
3teaspoons garlic powder
1teaspoon cracked pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
handful of fresh Italian parsley

Chop.  Mince the garlic, yellow onion, bell pepper, and parsley.  

In a larger pan, sauté the garlic, bell pepper, and onion in 2T olive oil, on high heat, for about two minutes until veggies are just starting to get tender. 
Mix in the ground beef, stir to incorporate.  Lower heat to medium/high and cook beef until there is no pink, about 5-7 minutes.
Add salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and garlic.
Then add canned tomatoes, sauce, paste, and water.  Let everything boil on medium/low for about five minutes.  Throw in your parsley.  Mix together.

Lower the temp to lo, so that it barely simmers and leave it alone.  :)

After a few hours, you can skim off any fat.

I like to make this in the morning and leave it just barely simmering all day long.  It's an easy meal for Eric to put together when he's home with the kids.

The sauce is great with pasta.
However, we have found that our whole family loves it over zucchini noodles.  With this recipe, I will usually shred about 6 zucchinis.  If you aren't used to raw zucchini noodles with a hot sauce, you should know that they will sweat and your plate or bowl will get a little soupy.  












Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Choosing to Not Give Up.


Does it ever amaze you at how easy it is to feel less than?  How quickly worthlessness can wrap itself around your neck, until you are gasping for air, and your vision begins to fade to black?

My emotions and well being are so closely tied to food.  I have to carefully protect myself from the foods my body craves.  This weekend I enjoyed a little too freely and it has taken me until today to get back on track.  This can feel so discouraging.  I found myself wanting to massively limit all food.  To cleanse, to reset.  It seems the easy response.  However, having struggled with eating disorders in the past and wanting to protect myself, from any in the future.  I need to remember the importance of being okay with myself.  I thought I would share a few techniques for getting back to a healthy lifestyle if you find yourself wandering off course.

-Drink water.

-Eat fresh.

-Start your day with breakfast.  Some do better with eggs, I like to stick with fresh fruit.

-Don't skip any meals.  If you feel as if you have eaten too much, maybe cut back on snacks, but eat your three main meals.

-Watch your self talk.  You are not a failure simply because you indulged in garlic fries at the concert.  Okay and a milkshake with fries after.  (hmmmmm.)   Next time simply plan better.

-Don't jump on a diet simply because you made some bad choices.  May I just say I was researching diets last night and thinking about it still this morning.  As nice as it would be to do a quick cleanse, the results are never healthy or sustainable.

-Do NOT fast.  It's the quickest way to binge.  You can and need to eat at least three meals a day.  It's healthy.  It's good.  It's loving.  Take care of yourself you are worth it.

A healthy lifestyle takes practice and determination.  Each time you feel like you lost it, remember you are that much closer to achieving your goals.

Sticking with a healthy lifestyle isn't the easiest thing.  It is definitely one of the hardest things for me.  But, giving up isn't an option.  I may not be as good at it as most, but I have a history to overcome.  Each meal, each choice, takes me closer to my goals.

I'm not giving up and I hope you don't either.


Easy Tossed Salad -recipe

2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup chopped carrots
3/4 cup chopped sugar snap peas
2 vine ripened tomatoes chopped
a handful of kalmata olives
handful of green olives
two tablespoons of fresh chopped basil

Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
blend in blender

Drizzle about 1/4 cup of dressing over salad and toss.  Enjoy.



Monday, August 5, 2013

UNPLUGGED. A Life Without Media.


Survival Guide.

Cue the crazy, oh my gosh! are we really making it through, horror type music.

Survival Music.

Today is day five of no TV.  No TV.  Do you know how hard that is?  It’s hard.  My children are going through detox.  I’m going through detox.  I’m writing this in shaking pain under the counter.

I think it will end.  The yearning to just veg out in front of the box.  Or clean my house in peace.  Or do anything in peace.  Shower without anyone running in crying, or screaming that they pee’d on the floor and wondering how that’s going to look in 5 minutes when I get out of the shower.  Then trying to track down the pee smell with a nose that can no longer smell it, because it just exists in my house.  I swear my house smells like pee.  I hate pee.  My children are so far beyond the stage of potty training.  I think it’s time to throw all of our furnishings out and just start over.  It’s like a car that’s been in an accident, it doesn’t matter how ‘fixed’ it is, it still has been in an accident.  My furniture, beds, oh the couch have been in 5 million and one ‘accidents’.  The moment we get something new, someone will inevitably pee on it.

Oh God, is TV really that bad?

Yes. It. Is.

Whew.  Okay.  Just trying to remember.


You see, somehow I managed to make little addicts out of my children.  I didn’t mean to.  It just sort of happened in the loneliness of the seasons and the small respite that would turn into daily respite, then hourly, and so on until it dominated every moment of our lives until nothing was as fun as sitting at home watching Curious George go to the zoo.  The actual zoo, not fun.  George’s trip to the zoo, awesome.

*Update*
It has been 2 1/2 months since we unplugged our children.  Yes, there is a nice orchestra playing, a slight swell of pride in my chest.  I’m sorry, but do you know how hard it is to become a media free family?!  I feel as if I’m on the other side of detox and I am so outrageously thankful we made it with all our body parts and most of our sanity intact.

If you happen to stumble upon this, you should not think I judge you if your kids watch a million hours of television a day or one.  There are seasons in life where that feels necessary.  We have had times in our lives of massive media consumption, but there was that voice in my heart, in my mind, telling me it had to stop.  It HAD to STOP!!  I was compelled and desperate enough to go through the full month process.

It was not easy.  There were times that I sent them to their rooms to play with their toys because I was going crazy with our constant interaction.  I desperately needed a break from them as much as they needed to live without stimulation.

My heart feels overwhelmed with what we’ve learned.  With the process this has taken us through.  I am outrageously grateful.



We bought stories and children’s music on cd.  They will push the coffee table up against the tv so it’s a good distance from the couch, they put on Jake and the Neverland Pirate’s music and they do these fabulous dances, while we watch, clap, and praise them.  When my children are quiet and I go to find them, it has become more common to find them sitting next to one another reading a book than getting in to trouble.

Our entire family has become more connected and engaged.  My children are happier and more obedient.  Turning off the television, the ipads, the leap pads, and taking away the cell phones has made our lives abundantly more fulfilled and beautiful.

We now watch 1-2 movies a month, as a family, on the couch, with a bucket of homemade popcorn and tea, cuddled together.  Movies have become an event, not a daily occurrence.

My house is much less clean.  Much LESS clean.  There is a constant trail from one place of play to another.  Life seems a bit more chaotic.  There is a greater need to get out and DO things.  We adventure more.  I’m a little more tired, but a lot more happy.

There are pros and cons to all things in life.  For our family the pros of becoming media free far out weigh the cons.

I wish you luck in your own journey, your own beliefs and convictions.  If you read this I hope you feel inspired and not condemned.  As mom’s, as parents, we are doing the best we can.  I believe that looks different in every season.  Good luck to you in whichever season you find yourself.





Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Good Nights Sleep

"MAMA!  CAN YOU COME CUDDLE ME?"

I stumble blindly through the dark room, down the hall, banging toes and elbows into various obstructions that magically appear in my path come night.

I fall into the twin bed shoved perilously close to the top bunk, somewhere between cracks and blankets, bodies find my warmth and cling.  They cuddle in, put their faces on my face, their heads on my shoulder.  My arm will fall asleep.  My back will ache.  I will be elbowed or kicked.  I will wake at one point to drag myself back to the comfort of my own bed.  Where I will snuggle in to the warmth of my husband.  Until once more my dreams are broken by, "MOM!"

We will repeat variations of this scenario through the night and for all the nights going forward until we don't.  I won't notice it ending.  I may mention that I slept all night without my kids waking me.  Without a little body tumbling in to my bed, to squeeze between my husband and me.  I'll tell someone how great I feel getting a full nights rest.  I'll brag about how big my kids are now that they don't need me as often.  They're getting so big, I feel so relaxed, how grateful I am for sleep.  The monsters will have become less real, the need for my protection will wan.   It will be so subtle.  I won't notice what I'm missing.  I'll realize how good it feels to get a little of my freedom back.

I won't notice until they're grown and I will wonder where all of the time went.  How could it have passed so fast.  It's hard to treasure the pain that comes with the joyful innocence.  The loss, of being 100% depended on, to no longer being needed.

When you give birth, you lose who you were, in one huge, sweeping, cataclysmic birthing of another life.  There is blood and agony, flowers, tears, joy, and then the shocking emptying of all you knew before.  Then so very, very, very slowly you get yourself back.  It comes in waves, in milestones, in teetering steps, in whole nights of sleep.  Each bit of yourself, of your former freedoms, is like an old friend.  The sacrifice, is watching the life you birthed become fully capable.  It is a beautiful heartbreak.

There are times when little arms cling to me, when eyes close in sleep on rosy cheeks, when I whisper a hopeful prayer, to never forget, never let go of these moments.  That the timeless scatterings of memories will hold close and bury themselves in my heart, for always.

Because one day, I won't be called to cuddle.  And I will weep for the times I hold, right now, in my hand.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

YOU can STOP a BINGE.

Stop that BINGE!



You will hear from countless sources that you can stop a binge by changing your thoughts, identifying your emotions, busying yourself, but for those of us in the cycle, we know that stopping a binge is much more difficult.  First, I will tell you that you can stop a binge, even if you're in the middle of it, even if you're at the beginning of it. You can stop it.  You can, because you are powerful.  You are not subject to food.  You are a beautiful, vital person with value and worth.  Because of such, you need to know that you are worth enjoying what you eat.  You are worth the weight on your tongue, the taste in your mouth.  Chocolate is not a demon.  It is not an evil monster that will destroy you.  It can be enjoyed, pleasured, felt.  When you eat the bag, there is not any savoring or enjoyment.  The hard chocolate that you chewed through, tasted like plastic, it didn't melt or drip down your throat.  You are worth that feeling.

If you want to know the secret to stopping a binge, it is that you need to understand how you will approach your next binge.  It's understanding how food affects you and creating weapons or tools for how you will demolish the need to eat until you can't feel.

You stop a binge, before it even starts.

Drink water.  Drink and drink and drink and drink and drink your water.  I cannot stress this enough.  If you tend to overeat, if you don't know when you're full, if you tend to binge, you need more water.  It will help you feel full and satisfied, long before you would normally stop eating.

Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.  When you approach any meal or snack, make sure you have something fresh on your plate.  Put some of your favorite things next to some carrot sticks.  Eat some veggies, eat your treat, then eat the rest of the vegetables.  It helps you to get the taste out of your mouth and the fiber fills your stomach.

Go in to each day knowing your worth.  Just because you struggle with food issues doesn't mean you deserve to struggle with food.  You have value.  You are important.  You deserve to enjoy every meal, every bite, every day.  You are worth a life without fear of the next binge.  Don't worry about if you binge.  You aren't worthless, stupid, ugly, fat, or a monster.  Those are lies.  You can live without bingeing, but as much as you have to let go of fear, you have to let go of the negative self talk.  If you binged and you want to tell yourself how you'll do better next time, how you won't let this happen again, how if you were stronger, better, etc you would never have let it go so far.  Just stop.  If you are caught in the cycle of binge eating, realize that you have to do something different.  Instead of telling yourself you won't do it again, acknowledge that it will probably happen again.  Every time you lose it and turn to food, remember you are that much closer to freedom.  Instead of thinking of how fat and ugly you feel - look in the mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful, you are strong, and you are free.  Let that flood through you, while your stomach feels as fat as a tick and you think you are going to explode.  You are valuable.  You are important.  You are getting through this.  You will not get stuck here.  You will make it.  But, in the middle of it, you are okay.  You are not defined by overeating.  It does not rule you.

Get rid of all the junk food in the house.  Everything that gets you started on a binge.  Just empty it out. Even if you have kids or a husband that loves those foods.  They probably shouldn't be eating them anyway.  Load up on the fresh stuff.  Make healthy eating a part of your family and your life.  Everyone wants to be healthier, make it your goal and mission to impart healthy habits to your family.

Exercise!!!  Go on walks.  Go on runs.  Work out at a gym.  Practice yoga in your living room.  Feel your body get stronger.  Breathe deep.  You are releasing healthy endorphins that will help you,  the next time rummaging through the cabinets feels inevitable. 


Journal, write out how you feel.  Make it a habit to start your day listing the things that you are grateful for.  Talk about what's bothering you.  Find a constructive way to process through your thoughts.

I tend to overeat when I am bored and overwhelmed.  When there is so much I need to do, that I can't see a clear way of how to tackle it.  Lists tend to exacerbate that feeling.  I make a goal each day of what I want to accomplish.  Instead of cleaning the whole house from top to bottom.  I shoot for just cleaning out one closet, wiping down the walls in the hall, I go small and then feel the pride and accomplishment of finishing a minor chore.

Some do best when they don't weigh themselves.  If this is how you feel or if you are aware that you have an unhealthy obsession with the number on the scale, it is probably best to get rid of it.  Just smash it to bits.  If weighing yourself sets your emotions for the day, realize you are not valued by a number or your weight.  Who you are, is more valuable and more beautiful than a number could ever tell you.

Vitamin D.  I need massive doses of vitamin D, every day.  I take 5000mg a day and when we lived in a more overcast area, I needed 10,000mg.  Monitor your body and always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.  I just know that I need more vitamin D than most and it dramatically effects the way I think and feel.

You can stop a binge.  You can and will make it through this season of your life, BUT more than that you can enjoy this time in your life.  You don't have to be afraid of a binge.  You don't have to live in fear.  It's okay if you binge.  It's okay if you struggle.  You are not defined by binge eating.  Take yourself out of the equation.  Learn to love you.  It is the best and most important thing I can tell you.  Love yourself and talk nice.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Living with Food.



We all have a relationship with food.

Regardless of whether you could label yourself with an eating disorder, if food makes you anxious, if you feel guilt when you eat, if food brings you pleasure, if you diet, if it's a way to show you care, you have a relationship with food.  We all eat and live with varying degrees of satisfaction, pleasure, guilt, or shame for what we've put in our bodies.

In overcoming eating issues, I have had to learn to accept food.  You cannot abstain from food as you would alcohol or cigarettes.  Food is not something to be worked off.  It is fuel for your mind, for your muscles, for your soul.  My body, especially my mind, is incredibly sensitive to what I eat.  If I consume gluten or processed foods, it sends instant messages telling me I need more.  It doesn't matter how long I have abstained from those foods, eating just one bite sends my mind into hyper drive and I will make myself sick before I stop eating the oreos.  Because I know this, I am responsible to do my best to eat the foods that fuel my body, without making me desperate for more.  


I choose to eat mostly raw, fresh foods.  I am not a big meat eater, because I don't have any desire for it.  I fuel myself with fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  I cannot diet.  Dieting has always been an excuse for me to binge.  When I come to a meal, I do my best to be grateful that I can enjoy healthy foods and I settle myself in a place to enjoy each bite.  Food is both nourishment and pleasure.  If you are eating with guilt and shame you aren't enjoying anything you put in your mouth.  I can't tell you how often I would sit in front of the computer reading health blogs, while shoveling a pint of ice cream in my face.  I didn't taste the treat, felt sick when I was done, and more than a little guilty.  Now when I choose ice cream, I like to make it myself, with young coconuts and agave nectar.  Then, I sit with my family and eat out of the bowl, interacting with them and enjoying my treat.

I have been starting the last few days with a big cup of coffee, my favorite thing, and fresh fruit until noon.  I try to drink a cup of hot water with lemon before my coffee, but that doesn't always happen.  I have been drinking lots of water throughout the day.  The other day I spent the whole day out with different friends.  I was not in control of my food choices, so I did the best I could.  Even eating mostly fruits and veggies, by the end of the day, the processed foods I had consumed had my mind imagining all of the other things I could eat.  "Well, I already had chips, a little ice cream won't hurt. . . "  

Knowing this to be something I have to work through I brushed my teeth, drank some water, and bugged my husband until he connected with me and helped keep my mind off the monster in my head.  

I don't like to say that I will never eat certain foods, or label my style of eating.  A few of the hardest things when learning to eat well are being okay if you mess up and not allowing that to mean you fell of the wagon, because you aren't in a wagon in the first place.  I'm not a raw foodist, vegan, paleo, etc, etc.  I'm just trying to be healthy.  There are times I need a treat.  There are times that I will indulge.  Eating and connecting are beautiful parts of life.  They should neither fill you with shame, regret, or fear.  They should be enjoyed and embraced.  

I hope to encourage everyone out there, whether they have ever had issues with food, have felt uncomfortable in their bodies, or not known when to stop; what true freedom with food looks like.  It's more yeses than noes, more pleasure than pain.  

We all have to live with food, let's enjoy it.