I am in a great mood. Why? Because social health, that’s why. My friends are great and I love when I see them.
This week was my good friend Brian’s birthday. His awesome partner pulled together a little surprise party for him and asked me to make him a vegan, gluten free, healthy-ish cake. “SURE!” I said. “Of course!”
As I have mentioned in other forms of social media (Facebook, Instagram), Brian has been working with Super Strength Health for awhile now and he has been positively CRUSHING it with his results. A year ago he regularly drank almost a fifth of whiskey in a night, smoked at least a pack a day, and didn’t care what he ate. Now he runs a 6 minute mile, is aware of what he puts in his body, and is seeing his abs come in. He is working out most days, eating green smoothies and salads and his attitude is significantly more stoked. He credits Super Strength Health with this, which is about the biggest honor I could ask for.
I wanted to mark these stellar accomplishments with the most awesome cake I could think of. Then I found this:
This recipe was positively fantastic. It was on the healthier side (beets! avocados! hand milled flours! No refined sugar!) and was moist, fudgey and decadent. A lot of the time I make things that I think taste A-mazing, and others find them to be more health flavored, but that was not the case with this cake. It was 100% party approved!
After filling my belly with both a huge slice of this cake and a giant vat of salad, I joined in on a party wide-game of basketball. I was BAD people, very bad. And it was so, so fun. I found myself saying “Night time hangouts! So fun! I’d like to do this more often!” We shall see if that proclamation comes true. Like I said in my links list last week, it takes a damn special thing to get me out of the house post 7:00PM.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIANNNNN!
Yeah, I am including in interview with myself on my Sunday Links List, because YOLO, you know? I am a total Fit and Feminist fangirl, and I love that Caitlin took time out of her busy schedule to interview me. This interview discusses health coaching, my eating disorder recovery, veganism, weight lifting, etc. (You know-the usual!) Check it out!
When I was 13 years old I asked my mom for 75 cents to take the bus and she called me a “never ending money vacuum”. This is one of my most prominent memories of adolescence, and is a perfect metaphor for my entire relationship with money, which is to say I don’t actually want very much in the scheme of things, but I have a deep rooted belief that it is too much to ask for. HELLO! That’s a vulnerable thing to admit in a light and funny Sunday links list.
So, I have been doing some affirmation work around money (I am worth what I ask for, I am worth what I ask for) and also trying to let money flow in and out a little more freely. (My car’s breaks have squeaked for oh, I dunno, three years or so. This morning I woke up and decided I am going to pay to fix them). I have been letting those who are close to me know about the work I am doing around money and my friend Kelly sent me this article in response. DAMN, money stuff is intense. Just reading this made me tear up, made me afraid, gave me hope. Definitely worth checking out.
In case you didn’t know, when you are vegan anyone and everyone suddenly wants to know where you get your protein. It’s a part of the diet I have learned to live with (A flippant answer like “I get it from all the dirt I eat!” always works) but this article is actually an excellent, articulate, sources-sited piece that comprehensively explains why vegans are not dying from lack of Protein. An excellent resource!
This mix included some old favorite artists, some stuff I have never heard, and about 1000% fist pumping excitement. Listen and smile.
I am excited to tell you about this day of food, mostly because of my brunch. I have an ongoing, ever-present brunch date with one of my closest friends on Sundays, and I managed to document it this week for the first time ever.
But first, my smoothie: This baby is made of romaine lettuce, avocado, banana, cucumber, and raspberry. It is topped with Tasty Makes granola, because texture- it rules. A sprinkle of granola makes me feel a litttttttle less like I eat baby food on a daily basis. COOL.
After this I went to the gym and busted out five heavy sets of five back squats and a quick Tabata sprint. Do you do Tabatas? I absolutely love them, and I love the way doing them has changed the way I work out and my body. I used to run for probably an hour a day and never felt like I was looking any more toned or lean. Lifting heavy + four of the worst minutes of cardio possible changed everything.
Post Workout I had an almond milk and Vega Sport shake followed by this food at Grease Box (An All-gluten free diner!) This meal was green juice, avocado toast, salad, sauteed collard greens with gratuitous amounts of coffee and hot sauce. YUM.
Can we talk about the importance of social health? I live with my partner and also with some super tight homies, but beyond that, I work so much that my social health is often the first thing to go. If you’re having an event past 7PM, pretty much no matter how much I want to go to it, I am going to be too tired. HOW SAD IS THAT? Also, how often does that keep me from seeing my friends? Answer: a lot. And that is some bullshit, because my friends happen to be some of the most real, reflective and cool people I know. Things like this Sunday brunch date help keep me in check. Both my friend and I have super busy lives, so each week we skip the small talk and dive right in to the real deep down stuff that is happening in our lives. Basically, when I’m done I feel like I’ve had a therapy session, and that’s just about the free-est coolest and most fun way to do it. BRUNCH DATES FOR LIFE.
Dinner was tacos with kale and Beyond Meat Meatless Crumbles, plus home made heirloom tomato salsa, corn chips, and a bunch of carrots and peanut butter. This is no different from most days of life, because I’m on a taco kick lately, and I don’t expect it to go anywhere anytime soon.
Tell me about your life, your food, and your favorite taco recipe!
Q: I feel like I think about food nearly 100% of the time that I’m awake. If I’m not eating, I think about what I will eat next and when I will eat it. I have a history of minor eating disorders and have overcome them, but the obsessive thinking about food has not gone away. Does it ever?
A: First and foremost, generally, if you are eating enough, you will not be obsessing about when the next time you get to eat is. I don’t just mean enough volume, I don’t just mean enough vegetables. I mean enough calories, vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, and carbohydrate. “Enough” is going to be different for everyone, but if you find your mind obsessing about food, I would bet my left arm it is because you are not eating enough. Could be in one of those categories, could be in all.
I say this with a lot of love and understanding. In the past, (and not only when I considered myself to be super eating disordered!) I have been very particular about what, when, and how much I “could” eat. Every time I ate outside of my plan I was furious with myself. I had made the rules, and when I broke them, I failed. The problem was, my rules weren’t reasonable in every circumstance. So where did they come from?
I think there are a lot of ideas about eating floating around out there. Some people insist three meals are best. Some people swear by six small meals. Carbohydrates are the devil. You need meat for protein. Chicken and steamed vegetables are just about the only acceptable meal, and if you are 100% satisfied with your body, you can have a sweet potato.
None of that works for me, because my body demands more than a template of non-specific, non-individualized rules. On average I eat medium meals for breakfast and lunch, have smaller snacks between lunch and dinner, eat a sizable dinner, and have a snack before bed. That’s eating six times a day, with all of the actual meals being more calories than those six-small-meals-a-day people suggest. I eat this way because when I’m only eating 300 calories at a time, I feel unsatisfied. I eat this way because if I eat too much at once, my stomach rebels (#IBS-problems) and if I feel overfull it triggers negative thought patterns (#kicking-the-ED’s-ass-but-still-remembering-problems) I eat this way because I exercise a lot, which makes me hungry, and when I am genuinely hungry, it is no longer in my nature to ignore it.
Holy shit, do most people seem to think the way that I eat is wrong. And guess what? I have tried to change this way of eating multiple times as a result. “You eat a snack before bed?!” I can practically hear women’s magazines saying. “Blasphemy! The quickest way to pack on pounds!” I have tried to eliminate snacking. I have added protein into my diet, with the goal of getting a gram for every pound of my body. I have tried to subtract protein almost entirely (80-10-10 failure in the houuuuuuuse) I have limited my carbs, I have felt fearful of fat, etc. etc. etc.
It took me a long time to accept that every single time I try to do these things I find my brain returning, again and again and again, to what I am going to eat and when. Food, food, food, food, food. All I can think about is food.
That is incredibly boring! I am a person with lots of hobbies and interests outside of meals, and I bet you are too. It is irresponsible to myself to erase that stuff in the name of restrictions that don’t work for me.
When I say all this, I don’t mean go eat McDonald’s just in the name of not restricting. I think that there is a real and insidious addictive quality to a lot of bullshit foods, and in most cases, abstaining from them is worth the effort. (High fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils are stupid and confusing to your body, its better to not invite them in). BUT. Beyond that, sate your hunger! Your hunger might be for food, it might be for mental stimulation, for connection, for creativity, etc. It is your duty to find out what you’re hungry for and go for it.
What if you tried this challenge:
You notice that you are obsessing about food, so you ask yourself if you are hungry. If the answer is yes, try eating a food that is both healthy for your body and exciting for your mind. If the answer is yes and you don’t want to eat, ask yourself why. Who told you that eating when you are hungry is wrong? Why do you believe it?
If you are obsessing over food and you ask yourself if you are hungry and the answer is truly and deeply a resounding no, well that’s worth exploring too. Oftentimes when I find my brain wandering over to food when I’m not hungry, it’s because something is up in my life that I feel uncomfortable thinking about or dealing with. Maybe I am insecure about my writing or I’m frustrated about some aspect of a friendship. It is much much easier for me to obsess over when I’ll eat the perfect dinner than to face the reality that my writing is very personal and on the Internet for anyone and everyone to read, or that I might be outgrowing some aspects of particular relationships. Maybe I have done something that I am ashamed of, and the anxiety around it is making me want a snack. That is really and truly a thing, especially for people who have had issues with food in the past. When we are obsessing over food when not actually hungry it is a barometer that indicates something else is up. Luckily, with a little extra awareness, you can turn that into an alarm that will make it so that you have to deal with your actual issues. I consider this more of a blessing than a curse.
Remember: You are completely worthy of nourishment.
I encourage you to eat enough calories, vitamins, minerals, fat, protein, and carbs, and also to address issues that may lead your mind toward food when you don’t actually want or need it. Once these things are taken care of, you will have more brain space to focus on other things. I promise!
Illustration by Karen Martinez