Archive for the 'Eating Right' Category

Love is What I Got.

stop-hating-your-bodyToday’s the day! I’m back to my pre-baby weight (again) and done “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” to quote Albert Einstein. 

Why is this time different? For starters, I’ve taken a radical* approach:

I’m self-motivating with love. By being kind to myself. By not beating myself up. For the first time EVER. 

I was motivated by negative feelings during my life on a diet. Being motivated by ill feelings I had for myself and my predicament lead to decades of yo-yo dieting. Hating your body as a motivation is very short-term. What’s more, when you’re fueled by negativity, you are more likely to self sabotage and beat yourself up when you have a “bad” day. You never feel worthy. It’s no wonder the weight always returns. The workouts wane. The cycle continues.

Then I gave love a try.

And I got real. I convinced myself I was worth loving at any weight, any health, any age. I realized getting real and finding love was the ONLY way I was going to endure yet another attempt at getting healthy. Big picture? Love is the only thing that will make my goals worth maintaining into the future. Because if you reach a goal by constantly being vengeful and hateful toward yourself, what are you left with? What is going to motivate you to maintain your goals? More berating? Exactly. So love it is.

And I embraced the fact that I’m a proud owner of a body that:

-Will never look like something out of a newsstand magazine without major surgery (or Photoshop!). And made total peace with that. Studies have repeatedly shown that plastic surgery does not make people happier overall, anyway, so F that noise. And besides, as one of our generation’s greatest wordsmith once said, “silicone parts are made for toys.” 

-Has borne two beautiful, healthy children, with a body to prove it, and I’m grateful. And damn, I have some incredible kids.

-That just is what it is because, genes. And the aging process. And gravity. That’s not some stark reality, that’s a gift – living is. Not to mention, my body’s inherent characteristics are not flaws. Besides, they have nothing to do with my actual character. I choose to love this body and use this love to motivate me to improve it in realistic, healthy ways. I am GOING TO BE HERE FOR A LONG TIME, YO!

So that’s it. Love. When I’m tempted to dig into myself, I just remember that nothing I can personally do will ever, ever, ever change my DNA and that what I’m dealing with is a 36-year-old, living body that’s been through a lot and will get through a lot more to come – and that’s amazing. There is no shame in that. Hell, that’s worth celebrating. I carry around the proof of life – a good life full of love, even at my darkest times – and that motivates me every day now.

That said, this whole loving-your-body thing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. All that self-love in the world is in vain if there are haters taking us down – think about that. It’s no accident that I’m powered by love. I surround myself with positive people and things by design. If you are constantly bombarded by things that trigger negative feelings about your body – be it from a partner, family member or friend, even (especially?) the media –  you will be up for an additional challenge to achieving your goals. Plus, that’s kind of crappy – jerks trolling your life, bringing you down, you know? So in addition to loving yourself first, if you have haters in your life, poof, be gone!  I mean, come on. F those haters.

Till the next goal!

*Loving oneself should not be radical, but because we’re socialized to hate our bodies and pick on others’ bodies, particularly women, I’m calling for a radical change in the body-talk, body-relationship narrative. Won’t you join me?


And now, some relevant motivational quotes from the web! 

Love-Your-Body loveyourbody quotes-body-01-bloom-600x411 love-your-body-17 LovingYourBody1 PLPT Love Note 122112 Love-your-body-quote Quotation-Harry-Papas-life-good-love-self-diet-understanding-inspirational-Meetville-Quotes-218569 b6cd86f3aff37e94285420acc3d8e382 stop-hating-your-body



213406_7960Ollie and I went grocery shopping the other day. Just him and me. I told him he could pick out some things. Not “treats” for being good or just because – I wanted him to be part of the process of finding food for the week.

He wanted yogurt. I got him Dannon Oikos, one strawberry pack, one blueberry pack, which have about the fewest sugars of all the options I found (holler at me if you know of a lower one that does not use artificial sweeteners). He’s had a cup with every meal since we got them. He is a fiend. He scrapes the container for the very last bit. You know the milk mustache? I’ve been wiping off a yogurt ‘stach since yesterday. Immediate reaction: This brings my child so much joy and I’m a total jerk for not regularly buying yogurt. It’s JUST YOGURT.

Well, there is a pretty good reason.

I take issue with the marketing of yogurt as a healthy, wholesome  low-fat snack packed with fruit, calcium and probiotics. Talk about a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Your average fruit yogurt has as much if not more sugar in it than a candy bar (I’m talking 30+ grams of sugar – yikes!). I wouldn’t give my kids candy as a midday snack or a side to a meal.  That’s basically what we’re talking about.

Not trying to make yogurt out to be a sort of pariah of the food pyramid. Like candy or ice cream, it’s fine as a once-in-awhile treat or snack. Personally, I buy plain Greek yogurt and use it as a sour cream sub. It is great in dips, on tacos, etc. You can also make your own flavors using plain yogurt and adding in  fresh fruit and spices, and have control over the amount of sweeteners you use.

There is something novel (not to mention convenient), I suppose, about a single-serve, ready-to-eat cup of yogurt, and that’s why it’s so popular – and that’s why my son is obsessed with it. I just hope people will heed  the facts. As for me, for  30+ sugars, I will take a Snickers bar, please.

Bye, Bye Baby Weight

When I first started this blog, I hadn’t zeroed in on children’s music quite yet. I was a longtime writer and new mom just looking for an outlet to discuss, well, everything under the sun (and “son,” hehe). I posted here and there about meal planning, baby food and family nutrition. Oh yeah, and a little lamenting about my struggle to lose my baby weight.

It wasn’t until last August that my husband and I initiated a lifestyle that matched the values I discussed so much back then. I’m happy to say six months to almost the day, I am 40 pounds lighter. The time breezed by, but I learned so much (and am excited about what I have yet to discover). The loss was slow and steady, so I’ve cherished every pound that’s vanished, every new notch on my belt and every minute I can run on the treadmill. Running. I know. Crazy!

We’re cooking a lot of really amazing dishes. The fridge is full of fresh produce to the point that I broke my vegetable drawer the other day (oops!). Cocoa roast almonds take up the cupboard space where boxes of Raisinettes used to reside (though they never lasted very long). I have something called flaxseed meal in my baking supplies now and it rocks my world. The highlight of my weekend was using it to make a “muffin in a minute” and it’s a top breakfast request from Ollie.

I’m sure it’s suspicious – annoying, even – when people ask me how hard it was and about all the sacrifices I’ve had to make, when I tell them with honesty that after the initial week of junk food detox, it’s been incredibly easy and actually very exciting to cook with new foods and recipes. I have not had a sugar crash in forever. I don’t get headaches. I am not winded walking up stairs. I can run with (and after) my child with ease. I have not been either ravenously hungry or sickeningly full in six months. I’ve found healthy ways to cope with the bad days and there are WAY fewer bad days now. I’d be lying if I said it was difficult.

Phew! Thank you for letting me get that off my chest. Maybe it will mean another lost pound! 🙂

OK, back to rockin’ out!

Ice, Ice Baby: Pica, Anemia and Me

I’ve seen a few shows lately featuring women who eat chalk. “It’s like candy” “I love the texture” “it soothes me” – these are some of the sentiments of chalk-eaters. Seems really odd, right?

The condition of craving and consuming non-foods like chalk, dirt, ice, clay, etc., is called pica and I partially know this because I had it.

I started craving ice very late in my pregnancy – I think it was in December, my final month. December in Chicago. Who craves ice in the winter?

I’d read all the books and was aware of pica, but it didn’t dawn on me that maybe my insatiable craving for ice was pica. I wasn’t eating paint or dirt. My thinking was, it’s ice. It’s frozen water. Water is healthy.

The texture and feeling of ice in my mouth was so soothing, I didn’t want to stop. I was a junkie. I found my favorite gas stations and fast food places for ice (I remember Thorntons was pretty legit). I even got the guy down at the Dunkin Donuts in my office building to give me cups of ice for some odd change. I learned how to thaw out my freezer ice to the perfect texture, too. Sure, it was a little manic, and I’d be a liar if I said eyebrows weren’t raised, but no one got hurt. I mean, your body does so much freaky shit during pregnancy, craving ice seemed pretty vanilla. What’s more, what person in their right mind is going to argue with a preggo as big as a house if she wants to crunch on a cup of ice?

Somehow my doctor aunt got wind of this and said I might be iron deficient. I brushed it off. Like, how does craving ice have anything to do with iron deficiency? Seemed totally unrelated. This was part of my defense. The other was entitlement. I guess I was thinking I was due really soon and my pregnancy has been pretty uneventful, why can’t I just satisfy this one harmless craving? I feel really stupid now even trying to defend my ignorance. I mean, I had all of the tools to add it up, not to mention by 8 months, I was seeing my OB weekly. And it’s not like I didn’t care. I was very cautious during my pregnancy. But I guess I was just being a shithead.

Turns out, I was iron deficient. Anemic, in fact. According to the Mayo Clinic, “ice has a new and better taste to some people who are iron deficient.” I take the blame for not being in tune with my body.

I found out about my anemia after I gave birth. I almost fainted in the recovery room. My complexion was so ashen, my freckles (of which I have many) had all but faded. This made worse by people commenting on how bad I looked. I had a total of two blood transfusions. I started on an iron pill after I came home from the hospital. Now I try to eat iron-rich foods like beans, eggs, whole-grain bread and nuts. All I know is next time I’m knocked up, I’ll commit myself to more steak and eggs. Far tastier than ice.

Om Nom Nom Nom: Meal Planning and Stuff

Rules blow and menu planning seems forced. I hate diets because I don’t like being told what/how much to eat. But if I’m honest, my family desperately needed to meal plan, so I made a fun, not-too-strict din-din routine we can live with. So far, this is the first week I remembered Meatless Mondays (after about three fails). I usually have turkey sausage for breakfast and that has been really hard to break on Monday mornings when my head’s still super foggy from the weekend (excuses, excuses!).

Let me just say Taco Tuesday is the bomb, Pizza Friday coming in at a close second. But we really, really need to work on Wild Card Wednesday. That’s our time to be creative and try something new. We’ve kind of been sucking at that. Do you meal plan? What is your favorite foodie night?

Foodie Friday: Phony Fiber, Vapid Veggies

Remember you kind of secretly knew miniature chocolate chip cookie cereal was not an acceptable breakfast, but begged your mom for a box of Cookie Crisp anyway? For my sisters and me, it was a Saturday morning treat.

Remember slurping up Chef Boyardee Beefaroni so obnoxiously that it left you with a brownish-red sauce mustache? And were you shocked the first time you saw and tasted actual pasta bolognese? Or maybe you are like me and although you can spot authentic food, you still find comfort in canned slop on occasion.

I admit to eating and enjoying junk food sometimes. But even at a young age, I knew the difference between actual food and junk food. And we always had a variety of homemade dinners and fresh fruit and veggies in the house.

As a newish mom, I am really having a hard time with corporations trying to slip vitamins, nutrients and fiber into junk food, though, thinking they are going to win points with parents.

If you’re a parent and  you think it’s OK not to offer veggies to your child anymore b/c the Chef is now putting a serving in their faux canned pasta, you’re wrong.

If you think you don’t need to serve your kids fresh fruits and whole grains because Kellogg is adding fiber to their sugary cereals, think again.

I’d like to give parents more credit than to believe they think it’s OK to use processed foods to supplement fiber/vegetable intake.

And for the parents like me that KNOW you can’t plop a dish of Beefaroni down in front of your kids and expect that to sustain them, don’t you feel a little insulted? Do we appear so lazy and ignorant that marketing people are going there?! And about the kids – is it wrong to teach them that veggies can taste good and shouldn’t be frowned upon?

If you’re truly struggling to get your child to eat real food, consider getting creative with food like this lady.

As always, I encourage everyone to vote with their forks, question the  marketing hype and for goodness sakes, give your kids (and yourselves) a little more credit!

Something Borrowed: Food Revolution Campaign

Chef Jamie Oliver is doing something awesome for our kids and I caught some of his TV show the other day to see for myself. He’s single-handedly teaching kids and schools how to make food exciting, healthy, affordable and fun by using REAL ingredients.

If you care about the health of our children and the food they eat, take 30 seconds to sign this petition now.

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