Friday, February 24, 2012

Dear Rick Bayless...

Dear Rick Bayless,

You really should make tortilla chips that suck.  Since you currently do not make tortilla chips that suck, namely the thick ones or the thin + crispy ones, there are times in my salty craving weakness where I am so tempted that I chuck the blood work which tells me I am sensitive to corn, and eat one quarter to a third of one of these bags of Satanic carbohydrates.  I do blame you for making such great chips, but I am in counseling and I know better than to blame you for them making their way from the store to my car to my cupboard to my counter to a bowl to my crunchy salt craving lips...and you guessed it, eventually to my hips.

For that I take full responsibility.  Let's just say my husband is lucky he's out of town...corn consequences on day two isn't pretty!

Mr. Bayless, your other products don't suck either.  They totally rock and jazz up my chicken and shrimp recipes pretty much once a week.  We are total fans of yours, including my 9 year old daughter who is aspiring to be a world class chef one day.

Thank you for your time!


Adrienne Graves, Confessions of a 2nd Grade Closet Eater of really yummy Rick Bayless Frontera Chips, Authentic Mexican, Handmade, Taqueria-style, 100% Natural

(No I am not getting an endorsement from Rick Bayless or Frontera Foods, Inc. for writing this blog post.  However, if they do get wind of it and want to send me something for the mention, tell them not to send chips but rather that Jalapeno Cilantro Salsa...the chips make me fat and I. Can. Not. Resist.)

#thedevildidn'tmakemedoit  #ichosetoeatfoodthatisbadforme  #gonnafeelgreattomorrow  #nervouseating  #makinghealthierchoicesoncethebagisgone

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Simpler Way

I'm a purger. 

Not in regard to food.  I never could make myself throw up.  I'm not talking about that kind of purging. 

I'm a binge-er when it comes to food.  You already know this...

But I'm a purger of stuff. 

I have a lot of stuff and when I feel overwhelmed it's easy for me to do away with it because it's just stuff and since having a son pass away, I'm not attached to things, so chucking stuff kind of rocks...because, like I said, it's stuff.

We definitely place value on stuff, but we can't take stuff with us to Heaven.  Even though we can enjoy it here on Earth and it can often serve a purpose, too much stuff can be a trigger for overwhelm.  At least for me. 

So, as the research geek that I am, I usually have stacks of books here and there either on my desk or next to my bed on a few topics.  And all of the research is good and fascinating.  But I've read a boat load of books about health, nutrition, natural foods and healing, allergens, auto-immune diseases, juicing, cleansing, etc, etc.

And it occurred to me yesterday as I looked at the 5 books I had just grabbed from the library that there really isn't enough time in a day or week or even month to, ironically, digest everything in those books...and for the most part, I've read them or something similar already at some point over the last 20ish years.

So I know what they're going to say:

"Eat as closely to the way God made food in the first place."

 It's basic.  It's simple.  It's truth. 

What does that mean?  Instead of apple pie choose apple sauce, but instead of apple sauce, choose an apple.

If we were to eat food the way God made it, mostly raw fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, some fish and lean meats, we'd be really, really, really healthy people.

And when I do eat that way, I feel fantastic.

So, I took every book back to the library.  I purged my book shelf of all the random books there collecting dust that "I'll read one day...", I deleted ALL the food blogs I had bookmarked on my computer, and that's just the beginning.

You see, I think that when we learn we have a food sensitivity or allergy or are needing to scale back because the scale is telling us something, we tend to fight it.  At least I did.  I used to.  I would search the Internet then for recipes of what I could eat.  What are alternatives to chocolate chip cookies or brownies or cakes or other pastries that are: gluten free, egg free, dairy free, low or no refined sugar, low carb, yada, yada, blah, blah.

And the truth is:  When I eat clean, whole foods, I crave clean whole foods.  And, when I eat high fat, sugary recipes I crave those things.

Symbolically purging all those books and blogs out of my life and literally looking up Scriptures that have to do with:  Filling, Satisfaction, Food, Health, Nourishment, Jesus being Living Water...well, let's just say it helps me to get back to simpler things, like allowing God to fill me instead of a pan of carbs.

This simplifying or purging isn't just happening in my way of eating.  I'm de-cluttering my life this Lenten season. 

I need to be free to be me.  And that freedom will continue to come as I get back to a more simple way of living.

Friday, February 17, 2012

In the Midst of it

I love and hate that we can be used to encourage others, in the midst of it.

For example, I don't love how I've allowed myself to eat without thinking more often than not over the last 2 months.  I don't love that the choices I've made about food have even crossed over my food sensitivity and allergy "borders" I had set up for myself.  (Gluten, dairy, eggs, and refined sugars.)  I don't love that I'm down to one pair of jeans, and they aren't the "skinny" ones.

I hate that the very thing my body needs to avoid in order to feel healthy and strong is the very thing it THINKS it wants/needs when I am stressed or stressed, or say, like, stressed or something...

But, even though I don't love being the example of failure, floundering, and picking myself back up again, I know I'm able to encourage others in the midst of it.

Now, I'm not saying any of you are in need of my encouragement, but for the last 2 hours I was on the phone with an old friend that I dearly love.  One I hadn't talked to in at least 3 or 4 years.  The kind of friend you just pick up where you left neediness or wondering if we still love each other just because our lives are on different courses.

You know, a friend.

Anyway, she's in a health crisis, to call it what it is.  And she was told by her doctor a few years back she needed to make some major dietary changes to feel better.

But she didn't and now she feels worse.  She's in the midst of it.

I've studied and experimented on my own body enough over the last 15 - 20 years to know what foods have caused similar symptoms in me.  The times I have chosen to eliminate food culprits from my daily intake I have:  lost weight, gained tons of energy, felt stronger, had mental clarity, lost the aches and pains in my hands and knees, greeted my alarm clock in the morning with a smile rather than an iron fist, and had a positive thought life and outlook.

I'm not saying I'm a doctor or dietitian or nutritionist, so don't misquote me.

I am saying, though, from personal experience, trial and error, and sweat and tears, I know a process of eliminating foods that aren't good for me, and though her food culprits will be different because she's a different person, I can encourage her to find out what her culprits are, to see how she feels, to decide if eating those foods are really worth it or not, both the good foods and feelings and the bad foods and feelings.

The last 2 months were a temporary derailment in my own food and health life.

When I hit "send" on my friends email with the books she was wondering about, websites and helpful tips, I'm doing it all right along with her.

I want to encourage her while she's in the midst of the midst of it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

An All-Time Low




As Em and Ryan and I were driving off into the sunset earlier this afternoon, I pulled Em's visor down so the sun would not be in Ryan's eyes in the back seat.  Unfortunately it didn't help Em.  Having a toddler, centered in the back seat, I like to be able to see him in the rear view mirror so I have it tilted down, with plain view inside the car.  Does that make sense?  As a result, it means I can also look in the rear view mirror to see if I have a booger or whatever, without having to adjust it towards me.

Well, as I was saying, we were driving into the sunset.  

*Don't picture bliss, a warm beach, or the flowing mane on a beautiful horse.  

Picture: a blinding 4 o'clock sun right at eye level, beginning its descent behind the snow covered Rockies, and 3 day-old hair plastered under a hat...with my favorite navigator sunglasses crooked on my nose because they are missing a plastic nose rest...and no make up, unplucked eyebrows, and snow boots without socks.

Let's see, what else?  Oh, the only pair of jeans I have left that currently fit me because I've gained like 10 lbs or something.  And they have intentional rips in the knees, but am also having to wear them because the other favorite pair that did, in fact fit, well, let's just say the butt ripped out of them yesterday.

Are you following along here?

So, as I looked in the rear view mirror to see if the sun was now out of Ryan's eyes (yes, he is forward facing, in the back middle.  Yes, I realize rear facing is a better option.  He's got a 5-pt Britax up to 60 lb seat and I will keep him in it until he's that weight.  I don't really feel like talking about this part right now, though, okay...) I caught a glimpse of my lovely self just as we were about to turn out of the illuminating direct sunlight to head south momentarily.

Em:  I've known for a while, Mom...I didn't want to tell you.
Em:  Yeah, I just didn't know how to break it to you.  It's been there a while...
Em:  So what are you going to do about it?

So there you have it.

I mean, a lot of you reading may even have a mustache, but when you throw in 3 day old hair, a zit I forgot to mention, the eyebrows/fat jeans/parsley in the just reaches an all-time low.

And this the day after I felt so overwhelmed with my to-do list that I ate a quarter of a tray of brownies and had two shots of tequila, which did NOTHING for me, so either age is causing me to be alcohol intolerant or those 10 extra pounds need a third shot to really start relaxing.

I need to go make dinner...and then head up to borrow Jason's shaving cream and razor.

How pretty do you feel today?!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Psych Cycle

So, back to the Prochaska Cycle or whatever it was called. 

I burnt my tongue on a hot chocolate chip last Saturday morning.  When I make pancakes, modifying this recipe from Lexie's Kitchen (I add more baking soda for more fluff and use 1/2 honey, 1/2 agave), I have to add chocolate chips for Em and then chocolate chips, sunflower seeds and shredded coconut for Jason.  I then fancify the remainder of the batter with blueberries and lemon extract, but I feel like I already told you all this?!  Anyway, one of the chips from Jason's pancake stuck to the pan so I went in for it, raising it quickly to my mouth, forgetting, one that I wasn't eating chocolate, and two, that sugar burns flesh when it's hot.  Lesson learned:  only eat chocolate chips out of the freezer...or not at probably the first option.

But really the point is, I wasn't eating chocolate. 

Let me back up a bit. 

Last Friday night Jason and I had a little party with some friends.  We called it, "Everybody's 40 Give or Take a Few Years." 

Yes.  You may use the title for your own 40th-ish birthday celebration.

Anyway, I started making recipes for the party on Tuesday.  This was a big mistake.  Big.  Because what can you make ahead that won't spoil all week?  Honey glazed walnuts with rosemary and cayenne pepper, sprinkled with sea salt.  Walnuts are good for you, but in moderation, clearly, and without the butter and honey.  Let's just say, I ate a lot of them.

And then, the thing that put me over the top was a recipe I found on the back of an All-Purpose Flour Mix box by Gluten Free Pantry for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread.  I modified it for high-altitude baking, added dark cocoa powder, substituted flax "eggs" for eggs, and shortened the bake time because I made them into cupcakes instead of a loaf.  And then I topped them with vanilla butter cream frosting that my dear friend Kim taught me how to make.  SO GOOD AND SO EASY AND SO NOT LOW CARB!

Ummmm.  Let's just say these sent me to the moon and back.  Oh.  My.  Word.  Even my friend who has always made fun of me for healthy eating and who hates squash of any kind enjoyed these little bad boys.

There is a reason I don't bake regularly.  It's the devil.  But I was baking for our party so thankfully others would eventually show up to help me consume the goodness...but not soon enough.

I mean, why do you think I didn't feel like posting my weight last Friday?  Walnuts and chocolate.  14freaking3.

And, I'm allergic to dairy, right?!

We had yummy wine on the menu so this meant I had a cheese platter.  This usually would have been a non-issue, like, "I just don't eat dairy..." but I bought good cheese.  And I made Martha Stewart fancy cheese balls.  And it was all yummy.

So, about that cycle of addiction, namely breaking the cycle and then getting caught up into it again.  Well, I guess we're always in it, spiraling upwards as we go through it time and again, learning as we do.  Anyway, over the last couple months I've been between "Maintenance" and "Preparation."  I'm ready for the "Action" part of my heart to kick in and get back into the groove of things.  My motivation and discipline suck right now.  It's like, "Screw it...I've gained 10 lbs this month.   I know how to lose it..."   

I just haven't cared, or loved myself, to make the right choices and keep the weight off.  And, I made a lot of those poor choices for the wrong reasons and the wrong people.

This is about me being healthy.  Being good to myself.  Trusting that God cares about this just as much as I do.  Breaking the cycle so my kids don't have to jump on the gerbil wheel.  This isn't about anyone else.  As selfish as it sounds, it literally just about me.

I think the partying is all behind me for a while so I can get into a routine again.  At least I don't have anything planned and if anyone invites me somewhere I'll just say no.  I have to, for me.

You see, I wasn't eating chocolate.  I was eating clean 6 days a week and then one day I would loosen up a bit.  But chocolate hadn't been on my "loosen up" list in a while.

Sometimes saying no to others is difficult because we don't want to hurt their feelings or offend them.  But I'm kind of over that.  I've put myself 2nd to others' feelings and "needs" more often than not and this is what has gotten me into this situation.

So, there you go.  If you are easily offended and ask me to do something to which I say "no."  It's not about you.  It's about me.  And it's about time that it's about me.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Go Green

These are some veggies I've been juicing lately.  I couldn't rotate the picture for some reason, which is annoying, I know, but what has stood out to me the most as I've juiced one or two times a day is how colorful the foods are and how great I feel.  For some reason when I eat a salad or a plate full of sauteed veggies, I don't really notice that the colors are so vibrant!  This has GOT to be good for me!

Pretty much if you add lemon, lime, or fresh ginger to any juice recipe, it's a winner!

The veggies pictured previously did not create this smoothie.  I got it from the Juice Lady's recipe for Cherie's Awesome Green Smoothie.  Here is a link to more recipes.

Yes, it's thick.  I'm slowly chugging it as I post...

And just for fun, this is what I'm wearing as I post!  It's a snow day here in Colorado, so that's Em in the background with her friend, suiting up to head back outside for a second round of snow fun!  And me?  Well, several years ago I found that green treasure at the Goodwill Thrift Store.  You know you want one!  I couldn't resist buying it because it was SO retro and out there!  Jason and I shoveled the driveway together earlier today...and this is what I wore...I'm so glad he loves me even though I'm a weirdo!
So, I'm not going to lie.  The smoothie by Cherie Calbom is delicious, but it's thick going down.  Here's the recipe and then I'll share my thoughts:
  • 1 Avocado, peeled and seeded, cut into chunks (I forgot to cut it into chunks)
  • 1 cup raw spinach
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled if not organic, cut into chunks (I used a regular one)
  • juice of one lime (I used 1 Tbsp organic lime juice from my fridge)
  • 1 Tbsp green powder of choice (I used Garden of Life Perfect Food RAW)
  • top with 2-3 tsp ground almonds (I skipped this as I am avoiding nuts right now...)
Then it says, place the top 5 ingredients in a blender and blend well, until smooth.

Let's just say, I put it all in the blender and nothing happened.  I even have a high-powered blender.  I added a little water...this helped...for a little bit.  I added 8oz of water which finally allowed the ingredients to become a smoothie.

So, here's the deal.  It actually tastes good.  It really does.  But.  But.  But.  I had what I think is a brilliant idea, since, really this drink is like trying to chug guacamole...

Add one or two more avocadoes, some fresh cilantro, a tomato and salt, up the green powder to 2 Tbsp and double the lime, then serve with fresh veggies sticks, yummy root chips or corn chips.

Seriously, your kids (or your husband) won't know it's got spinach, cucumber or the green powder in it.  It's like that Deceptively Delicious book by Seinfeld's wife...except taken up a notch.

And, always, always, always eat this wearing your green retro snowsuit from the 70's.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

All is NOT Vanity!

"All is Vanity" by Allan C. Gilbert

I had a revelation a couple weeks back at group counseling.  It was UH-MAZE-ing!  So, here's a little history...once upon a time my mom was a beauty queen and a model.  She fell in love with my dad, got married and had 3 little girls.  The 3 of us girls used to play in her closet, trying on tiaras, donning "Miss So and So" sashes, prancing around in beautiful gowns, waving and smiling, and flipping through the pages of photos and article clippings, dreaming about what it was like to be a real princess, like our mom. 

The funny thing was our mom had stuffed that memorabilia in bottom drawers and in the back of her closet, not because she was ashamed or embarrassed, I don't think, but because though it had been fun and special to be involved in such circles, it didn't define her.

In my mind, however, it was all I wanted to be.  I wanted to be pretty like my mom.  I wanted to wear beautiful gowns and have my hair done all fancy-like.  I was that little girl who dressed up in her mommy's clothes and pretended to be a grown lady.  I used to sit on her bathroom counter while she did her hair and make-up for a date night out with my dad.  My parents were, and are, beautiful people.  But not only on the outside.

Anyway, in junior high I used to look at Teen Magazine.  Bad idea.  Seriously, parents, it's not necessary, there is NO wisdom in it, and if you don't want your kids doing the nasty at an early age, it's best just to avoid it altogether.  It doesn't feed their souls or minds.  There's better "trash" out there, let's just say.  ANYWAY, hello tangent, I used to Eat. It. Up.  And, if you are near 40ish, like yours truly, you may remember the advertisement from John Casablancas for their "Model Search."

I remember it well.

I wanted to be a model.

I asked my dad if I could be a model.

He said no.  He said I would lose my soul.

I remember being disappointed then.  However, in time, even early on, like in high school, I remember being grateful he had said no.  He knew something I didn't.  (Imagine parents knowing more than their kids...)

I would have indeed lost my soul because I didn't know what real beauty was at the time.  I just knew what I thought was pretty...and in my mind it included the approval of others.

Well, fast forward to my group counseling session a few weeks ago and the part where I have never loved myself.

I KNOW God is totally in love with me.  I KNOW He is totally in love with you and I will tell you and everyone in the whole wide world so until I'm blue in the face.

But the part that says, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself," well, I've never loved myself.  I don't believe I haven't been able to truly love others because I haven't loved myself.  I'm pretty good at loving others.  I love a lot of others.  But I bet I've missed out on the extent to which I CAN love others...anyway...

But somewhere in my young heart and mind, way back when I wanted to be a model, I merged the idea of loving myself with vanity...

...and sooooooo, last Fall when I lost the weight that I knew I could lose and finally was able to look in the mirror and say to myself, "Yes.  That's the girl I always knew was under there..."  and I felt pretty and confident and finally liked the me I could see but then sabotaged my weight loss, I realized it was out of fear.

I feared being vain.

For years I had equated who I WAS with who I SAW in the mirror.  And ironically, I had it backwards...and ironically "WAS" and "SAW" is a palindrome.

What I see in the mirror and who I am on the inside and outside are allowed to match.  Yes, Paul tells women that our beauty should not come from our outward appearance, jewelry, hair, yada, yada, but from the inside, from our hearts.  I get that.  But there is nothing wrong with loving ourselves and taking care of ourselves, wearing pretty things, exercising, losing weight, doing things that benefit our bodies so that we can be confident in who we are in Christ, serving Him to the best of our abilities.

Beauty is not evil.  Wanting to feel pretty isn't a crime.

I realize now that the last year of stopping the excuses, rolling up my sleeves, and losing the extra weight to find physically the girl I've always known was there, was my first step towards really loving myself.

And it wasn't in vain and it wasn't to be vain.

I did it to be healthy.  I didn't do it to sit around and stare at myself or think of myself as all that and a bag of chips.

I did it to be free!  And I'm feeling more and more free to finally love me!