Food

Female Food Fixation

   

This one’s for the girls ( and no I have not been listening to Martina McBride), because for females, food can be so confusing. All women want to be able to actually enjoy half the delicious things we posted on Pinterest while being able to wear the outfits we equally drool over, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting this. But most of us girls can be preoccupied with how to have our cake and eat it too - which, in this case, is more attainable than we often make it.

If you're like me, you anticipate that by the time you hit adulthood, say late 20’s or early 30’s (if you can call that adulthood these days) you've learned how eat in order to reach a desired weight, and maintain a balanced diet without raiding the chocolate stash every night. But, being the women that we are, we complicate things.

Some seasons have been easier for me than others when it comes to my “food philosophy”; eating in a way that keeps me where I want to be, both mentally and physically. At times I’ve been very regiment about it. I’ve had my list of do’s and don’t and felt the need to abide by it rigorously and I’ve had my not-so-angelic seasons, staying up late, raiding that chocolate stash, often due to times of being too "angelic" throughout my day to begin with.

Things get confusing when food becomes a fixation. Some of us formulate, sometimes manipulate our diet, with foods we think will effect either our a) comfort or b) physique. By comfort, I’m referring to foods we believe will make us happy, viewing them as awards, while the latter are those we think are ideal, healthy foods. In layman’s terms, a) is “bad” and b) is “good.” Now, maybe I’m the only female who has spent her fair share of time in both modes, but I find many women’s eating habits are driven by a desire to look good or feel good.

Food is just food. While the word “food” is used so loosely, as to now define, what Michael Pollan calls, “edible food-like substances,” please take what I’m saying with a grain of salt. But - food is just food. Food is meant for nourishment, as it is meant for pleasure, kinship, creativity, tradition and some sense of consistency and stability in our lives. I’m not saying we should throw caution to the wind and eat whatever (if you read my blog, you’d know that is not my philosophy whatsoever) we could benefit ourselves to learn about our bodies, by being mindful and sensible, rather than obsessing about every morsel.

While there's always new diet trends or some life-changing celebrity cleanse, as promising as they may seem, none of them have the answer we want. Sometimes we try to transform our habits to a list of do's and don’t’s, in hopes of a dramatic physical transformation. Most women, nowadays, understand “eating healthy” to mean a gluten-free, dairy-free, non-processed virgin-like approach to life. Not that these aren’t good ways of eating, but perfecting it and not allowing some kind give in your diet is not only unattainable, it sucks the life out of food. It sucks the joy out of eating with others and sucks the possibility of reaching a state of health that you will ever feel confident in - because forcing food plans makes us forever fixated on what we should and shouldn’t have, making us rather imprisoned to these ideals. If you are constantly relying on Health newsfeeds or some calorie counting App to navigate how to eat, instead of learning how to understand what you need and crave, you will likely face endless cycles of frustration and obsession.

If there’s one thing I’ve found, the harder I work at it, the less I’m able to maintain it. In other words, the more I try to tame my taste buds or I force rigid plans, the more unlikely I am to be at a weight I’m happy with, or maintain a peace of mind for that matter. A constantly hungry girl is not a happy girl and a unhappy girl isn't always a pretty girl.

 

Slice of Better Vita: Female Food Fixation

Image via My New Roots

This one’s for the girls ( and no I have not been listening to Martina McBride), because for females, food can be so confusing. All women want to be able to actually enjoy half the delicious things we posted on Pinterest while being able to wear the outfits we equally drool over, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting this. But most of us girls can be preoccupied with how to have our cake and eat it too - which, in this case, is more attainable than we often make it. 

If you’re like me, you anticipate that by the time you hit adulthood, say late 20’s or early 30’s (if you can call that adulthood these days) you’ve learned how eat in order to reach a desired weight, and maintain a balanced diet without raiding the chocolate stash every night. But, being the women that we are, we complicate things.

Some seasons have been easier for me than others when it comes to my “food philosophy”; eating in a way that keeps me where I want to be, both mentally and physically. At times I’ve been very regiment about it. I’ve had my list of do’s and don’t and felt the need to abide by it rigorously and I’ve had my not-so-angelic seasons, staying up late, raiding that chocolate stash, often due to times of being too “angelic” throughout my day to begin with. 

Things get confusing when food becomes a fixation. Some of us formulate, sometimes manipulate our diet, with foods we think will effect either our a) comfort or b) physique. By comfort, I’m referring to foods we believe will make us happy, viewing them as awards, while the latter are those we think are ideal, healthy foods. In layman’s terms, a) is “bad” and b) is “good.” Now, maybe I’m the only female who has spent her fair share of time in both modes, but I find many women’s eating habits are driven by a desire to look good or feel good.

Food is just food. While the word “food” is used so loosely, as to now define, what Michael Pollan calls, “edible food-like substances,” please take what I’m saying with a grain of salt. But - food is just food. Food is meant for nourishment, as it is meant for pleasure, kinship, creativity, tradition and some sense of consistency and stability in our lives. I’m not saying we should throw caution to the wind and eat whatever (if you read my blog, you’d know that is not my philosophy whatsoever) we could benefit ourselves to learn about our bodies, by being mindful and sensible, rather than obsessing about every morsel. 

While there’s always new diet trends or some life-changing celebrity cleanse, as promising as they may seem, none of them have the answer we want. Sometimes we try to transform our habits to a list of do’s and don’t’s, in hopes of a dramatic physical transformation. Most women, nowadays, understand “eating healthy” to mean a gluten-free, dairy-free, non-processed virgin-like approach to life. Not that these aren’t good ways of eating, but perfecting it and not allowing some kind give in your diet is not only unattainable, it sucks the life out of food. It sucks the joy out of eating with others and sucks the possibility of reaching a state of health that you will ever feel confident in - because forcing food plans makes us forever fixated on what we should and shouldn’t have, making us rather imprisoned to these ideals. If you are constantly relying on Health newsfeeds or some calorie counting App to navigate how to eat, instead of learning how to understand what you need and crave, you will likely face endless cycles of frustration and obsession.

If there’s one thing I’ve found, the harder I work at it, the less I’m able to maintain it. In other words, the more I try to tame my taste buds or I force rigid plans, the more unlikely I am to be at a weight I’m happy with, or maintain a peace of mind for that matter. A constantly hungry girl is not a happy girl and a unhappy girl isn’t always a pretty girl. 

The Monster Diet

America should call it's diet The Monster Diet. Through our 200 some years of existing as a Nation we've established some very interesting habits towards food, that have set certain trends that are very much, let's say, "American". While some countries daily diets include tea-time, lingering lunches or savory breakfasts at cafes most Americans average diet probably looks quite different. Breakfast is coffee and a granola bar if you're lucky, lunch is a salad and if you haven't raided the candy aisle before dinner, you last meal of the day (if you're being honest) is probably bigger that all the rest of the day combined. For some reason we've taken on this novel notion that being ferociously hungry through most of our day is how we are suppose to function. That or we are so driven in work, school or chasing kids all day as a Mom that we just "forget" to eat. But really how do you "forget" to eat? It's like forgetting you need to use the bathroom. Unless you work for Channel Five News or work under some crazy dealines like for UPS, I don't think many of us can forget that our stomachs are growling at us. But staying on a steady Monster diet - subsisting on a cycle of hunger and large meals, then more hunger and large meals - does more than just wreak havoc on your waistline.

Going through most days hungry or always eating past the point of comfort makes us on edge, and unpleasant. You can tell that many American's eat this way just by how startling it is when you meet a pleasant smile in public. Not only does not eating make us grouches, but we tend to not always make the best decisions when we're pushing past the point of hunger. We're hasty, we're pushy, we're scatter-brained and a bit of a mess.

What you eat can have the same effect. We all know at this point how we're suppose to and why. But did it ever cross you're mind that what you ate could be making you cranky? Particularly women. Hate to single us out here but if you're anything like me and you eat too much, or allow you diet to be healthy doses of Frappaccino's and chocolate, well you just not going to feel to hot - no pun intended. To top it off women tend to crave sugar, while guys crave protein. (So this idea that women have a harder time then men losing weight is just a fib we like to feed ourselves.)

Anytime my family would go to Sam's Club when I was a kid, we always knew we could forget about lunch. My parent's had this great idea that we could "fill up" on samples mid-day, call it lunch and save the extra bucks. (I don't quite think it to be abuse since my parents were blessed with feeding 6 hungry mouths at every meal - My poor folks). By 3 o'clock I would always ask for lunch, in which my Dad would reply  "But you just ate."  This often left me as the whiny "high-maintenance" individual in the family (which I still am teased for being from time to time.) Through the years I've tried so many different approaches to lose my extra weight. Believe it or not went into high school about 3, pushing 4 sizes bigger than I am now. But I found what worked for me was - drum roll please - eating when I was hungry. What a novel idea! Which in all honesty is more often then not. This means a few small healthy meals throughout my day.

None of us want to be ruled by food, but when we just ignore that our body's need substance we're not really doing the body good. There's got to come a point where you take responsibility and take time to understand how your body functions best. How could our country be so obsessed with food, be such infrequent eaters and still manage to top as the Nation with the highest rate of obesity? We often don't eat when we should and what we should. Moderation in all things is key. But I think most monsters are foreign to moderation.

You Can Have It All... (In Due Time)

Food is a force of life, a source of energy that keeps us going. But being the human beings we are, we easily can confuse food to being our source instead of a source. Sometime we just don't know when to stop. It's why buffets will never go out of business here in Florida. We are ravenous creatures whose eyes are a great deal larger than our stomaches. But it's not abnormal to deal with this unsatiable appetite. We all deal with this at one point or another - at least if you're human.  Liz Lemon from 30 Rock, is that type of woman, that relatable human being (at least to me.) One whose blunt, unapologetic and unfilitered thought process and impulses can probably relate to most of us. (Sorry : I know 30 Rock may be a dated example, but I don’t watch much tv except for a recent fixation about a certain chemistry teacher turned meth producer, that may have the best health-related materials, at least for now.)

I think Liz Lemon relates to food the way most of us are afraid to admit we do on a weekly basis (particulary women - sorry girls, just being honest)...
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Brb_2-Y7FUA
“I CAN HAVE IT ALL!” Some of us eat like it’s our last meal, with no tomorrow in sight. I’ve done it, and particularly struggled with this when I’ve put too much food off limits (like major food groups.) If your trying to be too angelic everyday (ex. low-fat foods, substance-lacking salads, sugar-free fat-free froyo), your cravings will likely turn you into a 'lil devil. Certainly it explains some of our mood-swings. But this all or nothing mentality, in relation to our diets, seems to be a common eb and flow ( or a rather vicious cycle.)

Granted we deal with this “I want it all” idea, with nearly every aspect of life. How often are we completely content in the moment? Especially when we've got our eyes on something that we can't have or that's limited.   But just like you learn to budget your money, organize your time, and allot some relaxing or entertainment in your week, you must “budget” your eating patterns. Or you will forever find yourself in such situations...

So how do you control this ferocious voice inside you that says, “I can have it all!” and be satisfied?

1. Eat Breakfast - You all hear it all the time. But this will truly make a world of difference to your day.

2. Avoid Eating late - Unless you're wake up call isn't until 2pm everyday, avoid 2am Taco Bell runs. ( And one effects the other. of course if you eat too much at night you’re not going to feel like eating first thing in the morning.)

3. Cut Your Portions Way Down - Leave meals feeling satisfied rather than full.

4. Eat about 5 Small Meals Instead of 3 Big Onse -  But don’t think captain crunch, pizza, and big macs 5 times a day, but whole, clean foods.

                                                        Here’s an example of one day:

                                                       Breakfast - Oatmeal w berries, almonds w a dollop of greek yogurt

                                                       Snack - handful of sunflower seeds and an apple

                                                       Lunch - Grilled chicken, roasted broccoli & squash w olives

                                                       Snack - Carrots and hummus

                                                       Dinner - Sauteed Fish with green beans, quinoa & avacado

5. Cheat Meal/Day - Now I know I've said before I don't like the idea of "cheating" but really it's another way of "budgeting" or allowing indulgences while staying on track. So one meal (or one day) a week let yourself eat whatever you’re craving. This is all apart of the Clean and Lean philosophy, that I've been applying & sharing with you. It works!

Just a little patience and you can eventually have it all. Eventually....

 

 

 

 

 

Life isn't fair... Or is it?

When you leave Starbucks, to find the $4 triple Americano you waited 15 minutes for only has two shots, life isn't fair. When a boyfriend, who you paid for more on gas and meals than you wish to recall, doesn't offer to help when your tire blows only 10 minutes from his house, life isn't fair. When a tornado wipes out your hometown, blows down your house and sucks up your belongings, life isn't fair. In such instances it is perfectly understandable that one would find life to be unfair.

However, when you skip lunch then consume 6 slices of pizza for dinner only to feel sick and bloated, life is fair. When you go to the fitting room and discover the 16-year-old-cheerleader's figure you thought you had is only a figment of your imagination (since you haven't done a jumping jack since high school,) life is fair. When you realize your nightly bowl of Hagen Daz is the contributing factor to your extra 10 lbs, while your kid brother scarfs down half a pan of brownies without gaining an ounce, guess what?  Life is fair.

That is how I've come to view it.

It's often the case that when we eat what we know we shouldn't and gain weight, somehow "life just isn't fair."  One acts as if they're cursed because they can't maintain their runner's waist line, as well as their bachelor habit of chips and dip for dinner. It's funny how we love certain foods but hate our bodies after eating such foods. Within moments we are trapped, thinking a chocolate cookie (or several) is necessary (because just one is never necessary.) And whether you'll admit it or not, you feel it's unfair how these "necessary" foods make you feel. So why do we tell ourselves we can still indulge without restraint? Why is life so unfair?

When I went to Burlington High, I remember sitting in the back of Mr. Costa's history class with a friend. Weekly we would gripe and moan about a gorgeous cheerleader in class who, without fail, would chow down on Cheez-its and Sour Patch Kids just after lunch.  "You know though, those cheerleaders practice for about 2 hours every day." She just had to remind me. Nonetheless it would bug me to no end that this tiny, big-eyed brunette would eat and  eat and remain effortlessly tiny. I would eat, with a workout consisting of no more than preparing for voice lessons or  monologues from "Sense and Sensibility" after school, (side note: Yes, I was that chunky music theater girl in high school) while remaining unsatisfied with how I felt and looked. The stack of fitness magazines in my room made no difference either, no matter how many times I flipped through them. Once the rubber met the road though and I began making healthy decisions, I've learned, in all fairness, your outcome is a clear reflection of your choices and priorities in life. The task of loosing extra weight or breaking seemingly harmless habits can be daunting. But you can spend time pitying yourself or change it. In all fairness, everyone has the choice to change.

DSC_4509
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Berry Peach Crisp (recipe coming soon)

Yoga Party!

Okay, it was more like Yogi-Foodie Party! Last Saturday my sister and I made a night of yoga and food for our friends. So many of them have been asking and wanting to try yoga for awhile. I admit I'm not really the girly-themed-partying-type, but when my sister mentioned a "Yoga Party" I was all in.

I wish I could take credit for this brilliant idea but it was all my sister's. That would be the gorgeous one cutting the pizza,who also made the pizza. She figured we'd sneak in a night of yoga before I head to NYC to train with Tara Stiles. Just one more week and I'll be at Strala Yoga training with Tara and Mike! It will be a month-long intensive, learning alongside other health activists and inspiring yoga instructors in the city. I couldn't have dreamed up such an opportunity. God seriously knows me better than I know myself.

As Tara says,  it was "time to make the yoga."

We did some balancing...

A little downward-dogging (our dog, Roxie, got her tail in their too)....

and some other crazy-fun stuff .

We got our "yoga on" for about an hour and a half. So after our cool-down we were energized and hungry. The rest of the night was full of food, talking and laughing. We served a menu of whole food recipes, snacks and other ideas from my favorite bloggers, who are all experts at celebrating food and life. The girls left with full tummies and great ideas for better eating (and Vita.)

tasting menu

margarita pizza

dough from Sprouted Kitchen

~

3 kinds of hummus

Chickpea, Spinach & Kalamata Olive

served with Wasa crackers and veggies

from 101Cookbooks

~

sweet-potatoe fries

from the Crosby Kitchen

~

bananas in chocolate blankets

from (never home) maker

~

oaty chocolate chip cookies

from David Lebovitz

snacks

dry roasted wasabi edamame

lara bars

~

beverages

iced green tea

with lemon and limes

starbucks' coffee

with cream and raw sugar

The night was lots of fun ...

Load of food...

Everyone was feeling good ( and hungry ) after the yoga.