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    • Calling all Compulsive Eaters

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    •  10/28/2010 8:32:20 AM
    • "Freedom from obsession (or compulsive eating) is not about something you do; it's about knowing who you are."


      I recently read the New York Bestseller (thanks to Oprah) called "WOMEN, FOOD AND GOD" by Geneen Roth.

      It is a fantastic book that delves into the reason why women are so obsessed with food.  She talks candidly about her own food demons, and discusses the stories of different women that have come to her counseling sessions.  I am not obese and I never have been; yet I can relate to so many of the stories in the book.  Not as much in a physical way, but in a truly emotional way.  I watch The Biggest Loser and I feel like I can totally relate to each contestant.  I feel like I have been battling my weight for almost 20 years.  But NO MORE!  It is no longer a more war zone.  No more euphoria of starting a new 'fail-proof-plan' more disappointment of the scale.  No more more Mondays (oh you know the Mondays I'm talking about....we always want to start fresh on Mondays:).


      This change has NOT come from my scale (in fact I bet I haven't even lost a pound).  It hasn't come from a reached goal or a dress size.  My change has come (and is still continuing) from realizing who I am and understanding my relationship with food.


      I am not a psychologist, and I have not professional credentials (does Accountant count?).  But I am a women who has sought to have a good relationship with food.  A relationship that is true, and honest, and good, and wholesome.  A relationship that leaves me feeling edified rather than down trodden.  I have just barely begun this relationship, but I think I am at least headed down the right street.

      I would say that this 'proper' relationship with food has begun for several reasons;


      • A deep desire to have it
      • A lot of reading...a lot.  Women, Food and God was tremendously helpful although I don't agree with all of her Eating Guidelines (see below)
      • An INTENSE study of nutrition and the affects of food on the body, mind, and spirit
      • A strong, healthy, loving relationship with my Creator - this is HUGE HUGE HUGE
      • An awareness of myself and the absolute necessity of loving who I am
      • Yoga - it's not a cliche - there is something power about connecting our body and our spirit together
      • A little quiet time everyday - call in meditation, prayer, or envisioning - but just a few minutes everyday to focus the thoughts and images in the brain can be very healing and powerful
      • A determination to no longer judge myself (or the people around me) - a piece of cheesecake will no longer send me the wrath of my own judgments


      I am in a good place TODAY.  This is my goal.  I don't always achieve it.  There are some days when I let the old voices in, but each day I want to at least WANT to be in a good place.


      Our relationship with food is so complicated.  Unlike other addictions that we can try to completely forsake (alcohol, drugs, etc), we still need to eat!  Food will always be a part of our lives.  So we need to slowly evaluate the many different roles we allow food to have in our life - comforter, nourisher, cheerleader, companion, distracter, filler etc, etc.   The key to understanding is in awareness.  "Awareness and compulsion can't co-exist." Geneen Roth


      The author of Women, Food and God points out that HOW we eat is just as important as WHAT we eat.  If we are standing in the kitchen where no one can see us, if we are hiding wrappers as if we didn't consume, if we are taking licks bites and tastes instead of sitting down to an actual meal, if we resent ourselves after a meal ......all of these are clues into how we feel about ourselves and our right to eat.  She offers these Eating Guidelines:


      1. Eat when you are hungry. (Truly hungry, body hungry not mind hungry) -do you even know what this feels like?

      2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car. -this was surprisingly hard for me for breakfast and lunch.

      3.Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspaper, books, intense or anxiety producing conversation and music.

      4. Eat only what your body wants. (Big difference from what your MIND wants!)

      5. Eat until you are satisfied. (This is different than full).

      6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.

      7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.


      Overall these are a great start for the compulsive eater.  I tried to follow these guidelines for a few weeks.  I did gain weight.  I was a lot more relaxed and calm, having freed myself from so many restrictions.  But my body felt gross.  By energy levels went down.  My clarity of mind was waning.  WHY?


      My biggest problem came from Guideline #4.  Eat what your body wants.  Well all I wanted was sugar.  In fact Geneen mentions that her first 3 weeks eating this way all she ate was chocolate chip cookies (all 3 meals a day).  When I have sugar, my body wants body, not just my mind.  That is the power of this powdery white substance.  I know it, and the people that manufacture it know it.  Sugar is in almost everything these days (except whole foods).


      That said, I think the key to #4 is first having a very solid knowledge of nutrition.  Understanding the damaging effects of processed foods, dairy, etc.  If all you have ever eaten in your life is french fries (this is true, I saw someone on Freaky Eaters that only are fries her whole life) then that is all you know.  Then when it comes time to ask yourself what you really want to eat, the answer is going to be french fries.  If you never have the pleasure of feeling fantastic after only eating fruits and vegetables for one day, then your body will never know that it wants to feel that way.


      I do believe that part of the secret in having a good relationship with food and learning the powers of good nutrition.  The other secret is to try to always stay in a state of self-awareness.  We often eat to get rid of this state - all some people want is numbness, not awareness.  Then just start being aware of your numbness.  Ask why....a lot.  Why am I eating when I am not hungry?  Why am I feeling so crappy after lunch?  Why am I eating what I now know makes me feel crappy?  Not with more judgment....just with curiosity...with intention to learn...with hopes of improvement...but not with judgment.


      I don't have all the answers, but I have enough to keep asking questions.  To keep learning, and to keep hoping.  Never lose hope.  There is wisdom in growth and change.  Goals have a large role in growth and change.  You CAN love yourself and at the same time have visions of improvement!

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    • Gnocchi and Kale Surprise

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    •  2/27/2014 9:45:21 PM

      Gnocchi (pronounced Nyo-key) are delicious little dumplings made predominately with potato and flour.  They can be purchased dried, frozen, or fresh in vacuum sealed packages.  I found the whole wheat Gnocchi (which are a little trickier to find) at World Market.  I absolutely loved this recipe and ate if for lunch and dinner 3 days in a row.  Unfortunately, there was so much leftover because my husband and kids were not big fans.  I was schocked!  They said they just didn't like the texture of the Gnocchi (which I loved).  So for this reason I call it Gnocchi and Kale 'Surprise" - surprise becuase of how surprised I was at the flavor but also surprised that my kids hated it!


      1 TBS olive oil

      1 16oz package of gnocchi (preferably whole wheat)

      1 onion (I really like the sweet onion in this)

      4 cloves of garlic, minced

      4 TBS of water

      1 LARGE bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped (can also use chard or spinach)

      2 tomatoes, chopped - or one 15oz can of diced tomatoes, drained

      1 15oz can of white beans, drained

      salt and pepper to taste

      fresh chopped basil and Paremsan cheese if desired


      Heat 1 TBS of oil in a large skillet on medium heat.  Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often,  until plumped and starting to brown.  About 6 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl.

      Add the onion to the pan and cook until soft, about 7 minutes.  Then add the garlic, water and kale.  Cook until the kale has started to wilt, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes, beans, salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer and then add te gnocchi.  Serve immediately, topped with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese (optional).

      • I tried this the other night and it is now on the menu!!! Love this easy, light recipe and its perfect for summer. I decided to add some chopped kalamata olives too since I had them. So yummy!
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    • Super easy Vegetarian meals

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    •  10/13/2010 8:56:54 PM

      I was watching the Biggest Loser last night when Bob Harper (the very handsome trainer) told some of the

      contestantsthat he was going to take them to his house for a meal and show them how he eats....cut to commercial.....

      Immediately my kids turned to me and asked, "Do you think that he will announce that he is a Vegan?"

      I said, "Probably not, there are sponsors that help to pay for the show and they might not let him actually say that."

      Well, lo and behold, right after the commercial break he tells all the contestants that he eats a vegan diet and then

      proceeded to show them the beautiful vegan meal that they were going to have (lots of veggies and whole grains).

      It WAS SO COOL!  I know that it might seems silly, but it was really awesome for me to see someone in the national spotlight

      emphasizing a healthy lifestyle.  I have 4 kids who all watch the show and think that Bob is pretty cool.  It was neat for them to

      see that someone else (a "normal" someone) eats the way that we do.  Huge, HUGE shout out to Bob Harper.

      Anyway this post is for anyone that thinks that maybe they would like to just dabble in a vegan lifestyle.  Two very easy

      mealswith regular ingredients and loads of flavor.  They are also both very "kid-friendly".

      The first meal is a simple combination of quesadillas and french fries - just a healthier version!


      Bean and Avocado Quesadilla


      2 onions, sliced and sauteed over low heat until carmelized

      8 oz of mushrooms sliced and sauteed

      1 avocado, mashed

      1 can of refried beans

      shredded cheese (preferably vegan)

      10 tortillas (preferably whole wheat)


      Here's what I did to assemble them -

      On one tortilla 1 spread a thin layer of the avocado, on the other tortilla I spread the refried beans and then topped

      it with the sauteed mushrooms, onions and cheese.  Put the 2 together, lightly brush the outside with Earth Balance

      butter and lightly fry on each side until golden brown. The kids loved them!


      Maple Sweet Potato Fries


      4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 'fries'

      1/3 cup olive oil

      1/3 cup maple syrup

      1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper

      1 TBS sea salt

      1 tsp pepper

      2 tsp of cinnamon


      Mix all of the ingredients into a large bowl making sure to try and 'coat' the fries evenly.

      Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (just to make clean up easier) and spread out

      the fries (I actually used 2 cookie sheets for extra room).  Bake at 425 F for about 15 minutes

      and then carefully turn the fries over and bake for about 15 minutes longer. 

      Serve immediately - your kids will LOVE them!



      Simple Veggie Dinner that even my husband didn't complain about!

      Corn on the Cob

      Steamed Broccoli

      Baked potato topped with sauteed mushrooms and


      Creamed Kale (from Dr. Jeol Fuhrman)


      2 pounds of Kale

      1/2 cup raw cashews

      1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk

      2 tablespoons onion flakes (optional)

      Remove the thick stems from the kale and discard.

      Place kale leaves in a large steamer pot. Steam 10-20 minutes, until soft.

      Meanwhile, place remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

      Place kale in colander and press with a dish towl to remove some of the excess water.

      In a bowl, coarsely chop and mix kale with the cream sauce.





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    • "She was a Vegetarian......"

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    •  1/5/2011 1:59:10 PM
    • "Distress caused by social stress - often the result of upsetting others because of unusual habits, opinions, or appearances."  The Pleasure Trap


      I clearly remember being infuriated as I read through the China Study for the first time. Was it true that animal products were causing disease?  Was it true that the foods we were eating was causing cancer?  If the answer was yes, which I slowly began to believe that it was, then I felt the strong need to "educate" as many people as I could.  I went around telling as many people as I could that the foods we were eating were killing us and that they just HAD to read this book I just finished.  I was shocked and amazed and then a little hurt that people around me weren't driving to their local bookstore to learn what I had just learned.


      That was 2 years ago.


      My convictions today are just as strong, if not stronger, than they were two years ago...but my approach to social settings has changed.  I am learning that not everyone cares about the things I care about, and not everyone seeks the privilege of having me "educate" them.  I have learned that for many different reasons some people feel threatened or defensive when I share my thoughts on food.  Perhaps it is my feminine judgment that it not so thinly veiled, or my all-to-willingness-to-share personality that rubs them the wrong way.  Perhaps they feel that since meat has lost its status in my eyes, that they, being meat-eaters, have also lost their status in my eyes as well.


      I am just barely on the cusp of learning a very valuable lesson:   That what I EAT is far less important than how I make people FEEL!


      This has not always been the case for me.  There was a time when I felt like I had to re-learn everything that I believed about food.  I craved more education and I sought out company with people that I could discuss my questions and concerns.  I enjoyed conversation with like-minded people (and actually still do) and found a new world of Vegans, Vegetarians and Nutritarians.  It was exciting and invigorating to find so many other people that shared my new found beliefs about health and nutrition.  It is very easy to believe something when you surround yourself with like-minded individuals/books/doctors/websites!


      But something interesting happens as we move in one sometimes feels like we are moving further away from another direction.  And if that is where all my loved ones are (proverbially), then am I sure I am moving in the right direction?


      I have come to 2 conclusions.  First; I now know for certain that the way I have chosen to eat is the right direction for me!  However, I have also learned that there is plenty I can do to bridge any perceived "gaps" between me and the people I care about.  By being sensitive to the people around me, there are things that I can say and do to ensure my closeness to them.  Rather than implying that I have got all the answers, phrases like "this seems to be working for me" or "this way of eating might not be for everyone, but I sure feel great right now" allow room for lots of different lifestyles.   By reading body language and social cues I know when I can share my passion for whole foods or when I need to thoughtfully change the subject to one where they can sense my respect for them. I know that I can act with perfect integrity (to my beliefs) but also suggest that my integrity is imperfect and still a work-in-progress (which it is).


      I have come to believe that at the end of the day relationships are more important than anything else.  I don't want to be known for what I eat, but for how I make people feel.  I would rather  quietly eat a hamburger at a neighbors BBQ than boldly declare, "Oh, you didn't know I am a vegetarian?"  I am NOT saying that we need to sacrifice our personal beliefs for the benefit of fitting in.  There are certain values that I would NEVER give into no matter what the situation.  What I am saying is that I am now willing to loosen the reigns a little if it meant strengthening an important relationship. I do believe that humans are more important than animals (yes I actually believe that).  I believe that humility can be gentler than conviction.  I believe I will have far greater influence when my main objection is not to be heard but simply to love.


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