Shhh…Listen to This

Listening to your body isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially if you’ve spent a lifetime becoming quite skilled at not listening to your body.

And, when I finally do listen, I’m starting to get the message that my body is a maybe a bit pissed off. My teeth are clenched more than seems normal. My shoulders are, how you say, the opposite of relaxed, my digestive system gets upset on a pretty regular basis, my skin is broken out in little red bumps on my cheeks and I have a deep frown line (or two) on my forehead. I think it’s pretty safe to say that now may be a really good time to start listening to what my body is trying to tell me.

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How did this avoidance of my body’s signals begin? Well, I remember growing up feeling that the only comfort from my chaotic family life was food. Lots and lots of food (with a big can of coke and big bag of BBQ chips being my fave snack). And that was the start of my love of emotional eating and my war against my (ever expanding) body. I also remember my mother never being happy with herself and always being on some kind of diet or weight watchers eating plan and looking at herself in the mirror and frowning a lot. Since my out of control eating was already affecting my weight as a young child, I followed closely in her footsteps. I started to ping pong back and forth between emotional eating and compulsive dieting until my relationship with food became one big, long, frustrating struggle that lasted decades.

I’ve been on countless diets, far too many to list. I’ve been anorexic, bulimic, binged eaten until I was 30 pounds overweight. I’ve obsessed about my body’s shape and what and when and how much I was going to eat for years. And I’m getting weary of this. I don’t want to live my entire life classifying every single piece of food that passes my lips as “good” or “bad”. I don’t want to dine on lettuce when what I’m really craving is a slice of hot, delicious, mushroom pizza that I won’t let myself have. I don’t want my body to be my enemy and I don’t want some stranger who wrote a random diet book dictating what I put in it anymore.

What I do want is to actually listen to what my body wants. I want to eat food that I’m craving, even if it is cheesy mushroom pizza or a rich, dark chocolate bar. I don’t want to eat a ton of lettuce every day, only because it’s good for me. It’s not good for me if I’m resentful eating it. And, more than anything, I want to finally learn how to make peace with my body.

This is my motivation for my experiment with intuitive eating. Learning how to trust myself and listen to my internal cues and finally be able to sink into myself. A pretty radical concept in the ever changing world of Paleo, South Beach, low carb, high fat, low fat, “Eat like a French person” world.

So, here we go…

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Earth Day Green Smoothie

It’s Earth Day!

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Wondering how can we help heal our sweet little blue planet today (and every day)?

Here are a few ideas:

  • eat less (or no) meat
  • walk, don’t drive
  • turn the lights out
  • compost
  • recycle
  • fix broken things instead of throwing them out
  • shop less
  • hug/plant a tree

And, in honor of Earth Day, here is a recipe for a healthy, springy, green smoothie to sip on while contemplating how to be kinder and gentler towards mother nature…

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Honeydew Mint Green Smoothie

5 leaves romaine lettuce or 2 handfuls of spinach
1 handful chopped honeydew or cantaloupe (approximately 1/4–1/2 cup)
1/2 banana
5 leaves fresh mint
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1 cup ice

Add lettuce, melon, banana, mint, coconut milk and water to the blender. Then add the ice and continue to blend until smooth.

Healthy. Vegan. Earth Friendly.

It’s easy to be green.

Things of Nature

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Many times it is the things of nature that are the most healing, especially the very accessible and the very simple ones. The medicines of nature are powerful and straightforward: a ladybug on the green rind of a watermelon, a rainbow in a glass shard in the street, a shooting star, even a flower. – Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves

Intuitive Eating Step by Step

Intuitive Eating Principles from intuitiveeating.com

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality. Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.
  2. Honor Your Hunger. Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.
  3. Make Peace with Food. Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.
  4. Challenge the Food Police. Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating under 1000 calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created . The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.
  5. Respect Your Fullness. Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what is your current fullness level?
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor. The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence–the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had “enough”.
  7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food. Find ways to comfort , nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.
  8. Respect Your Body. Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally as futile (and uncomfortable) to have the same expectation with body size. But mostly, respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape.
  9. Exercise–Feel the Difference. Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm. If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it’s usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time.
  10. Honor Your Health–Gentle Nutrition. Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.

intuitiveeating.com

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Until next time xo

Learning to Love Quinoa

Quinoa has been the superfood du jour for what feels like a few years now and still, I struggle with it. I want to love it. I want to eat it on a regular basis but I find it a little…well, boring. Like hippie food. It tastes like what people with no make up and long hair who don’t believe in deodorant and don’t shave their armpits would eat. Sigh.

So this weekend I decided to make a concerted effort to try to get my taste buds excited by quinoa. I was going to transform quinoa in my mind from hippie food to a foodie’s delight. Did I succeed? Well, After a bit of taste testing and playing with ingredients, yep, I do believe I did.

This quinoa side dish tastes so delicious that you might not have visions of back-to-nature, hippie communes while chowing down on it and you may not even care how good it is for you…

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Healthy, Happy (but not Hippie) Quinoa Salad

  • 4 cups organic red quinoa
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 package Salt Spring goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and olive oil dressing to taste

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Definitely not Hippie Food