Last year I started trying a variety of new recipes and, in some cases, creating my own.
The one that was the weirdest on paper ended up being the biggest success. I served it at Thanksgiving and again at my parents’ 50th anniversary pre-party at their house for out-of-town friends and family, and once again at a holiday gathering for my office.
Each time people oohed and ahed over the texture and the taste. They inevitably asked for the recipe. I always deferred until everyone who was going to try it, had. Especially children (for whom it was – hands down – a major hit!)
Chocolate Cake with Garbanzo Beans
2 cans of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
3/4 cup of sugar (I used coconut palm sugar, because it feels less refined and supposedly has a lower glycemic hit index)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tbs confectioners sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F (175 degrees C)
- Grease (I used coconut oil) a 9 inch round cake pan)
- Place all of the ingredients (except the confectioners sugar) into a high speed blender and blend until smooth and batter-like.
- Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove cake (check for doneness with a toothpick) and place the pan on a wire cooling rack. The original recipe says let cool for 10 minutes, but I have found that it needs to cool for a lot longer than that to come out unscathed).
- When the bottom of the pan is cool to touch, flip cake out on a cake plate.
- Dust with confectioner’s sugar (and a little cinnamon, assuming you didn’t put it all in the cake – or even if you did, if you like cinnamon).
What I really like about this cake is as follows: there is quite a bit of protein in it, as well as fiber. Additionally, it stays moist for a a really long time. It’s also simple and delicious. Oh yeah, it’s also gluten-free!
So far, I have only served this alone, though I am sure that it would go equally well with ice cream, be it dairy or coconut based.
Whenever I decide to add a little sugar back into my life, this may be the carrier. Something tells me it’s going to make a fine birthday cake.
Nutrition: 229 calories, 8.5 g fat; 36.8 g carbohydrates; 3.2 g fiber; 5.2 g protein.
Before I start pointing fingers, I am just as guilty as everyone else, so if you resemble any of the depictions in this post or if I actually cite you verbatim, don’t be offended. I’ve done it too. What I hope to do, by putting this in writing, is to stop doing it.
Let’s start at the beginning: a few weeks ago, my husband asked me why it is that people celebrate with things that they know are bad for them. In this case, I think this may have been on the eve of my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, which was complete with cake (two cakes, actually, one of which was gluten-free [and gorgeous]), alcohol, bar-be-que and, generally, more food that you can shake a stick at.
However, it could have been in response to the Thanksgiving that most people in the U.S. celebrated just a few weeks before. Or it could have been in response to the literal trough of food that was brought into my office, starting in October, which involved cookies, candy, brownies, cakes, and chocolate. (I rue the day I told my administrator that I am gluten-intolerant, because now she makes gluten-free stuff that I actually feel compelled to eat – which is so totally messed it, it’s hard to go there….)
Regardless of the precipitating event, it’s a good question: why DO we stuff ourselves, not to mention those we love the most, with things that are bad for them? Namely, why in heaven’s name, did sugar become the celebratory drug of choice for most people?
It get’s better.
A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend of mine and she was telling me about the Great Cookie Caper that she engages in every Christmas. Essentially, she loves to bake (which, I admit, I do to) and every year she makes cookies and mails them out to family and delivers them to friends. And I’m not talking the simple sugar cookies that I used to decorate every Christmas with my mom, but serious, gourmet cookies with pistachios, real chocolate, almonds, walnuts, and about 10 lbs – when all is said in done – of pure, unadulterated butter.
And let’s, of course, not forget corresponding 10 – 15 lbs of sugar.
As she was telling me about her upcoming cookie making weekend, she relayed to me how her mother – her own mother – told her not to send them to her. She didn’t want them. She didn’t even want them in the house. Do. Not. Send. Them.
(Ironically, I was thinking something similar, albeit with an odd twist” 1) Thank God I’m gluten-intolerant and 2) I want to bake some cookies! Sick, Kathryn. Sick.)
My friend’s response: tough, that’s just what I do.
A few days ago, my friend (the same one) was telling me that she had made 17 types of cookies. The process had extended to a week, eating up the majority of her vacation time, and it looked like she was going to be spending the last two days of 2012 sending out her wares.
I figure, that’s cool, she loves to make cookies. Go her.
And then she said it: “You know, I never eat that stuff. I don’t like it. I don’t like it in my body. I don’t like the way it makes me feel, but you know what, I’ve been eating it and now I’m like completely…..” She may have said wired, she may have said jittery, she may have said that she was over it. She may have said that she felt better than she ever had in her entire life.
I truly have no idea, because at that point my brain had fitzed out – not because of all of the sugar (I’d been sugar-free for about ten days at that point), but because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
She doesn’t want it. She doesn’t eat it. She doesn’t like the way it makes her feel….
Yet, she gives it to everyone she loves, out of love.
And as I was sitting there pointing my finger at her (covertly of course), not to mention all of the people the people that left bags of homemade almond rocca in in my box at work, I realized that I do it too.
I didn’t make, but I bought, everyone in my office dark chocolate caramels with sea salt or (truth be told) the best damn caramels I’ve ever had in my entire life. When I go to the store, I buy my husband cinnamon buns and ice-cream. I usually don’t do it unless he asks, but sometimes I just do it to “be nice.”
The conversation with my friend (shortly on the heels of that relatively off-the-cuff question from with my husband) was an eye opener. Everyone I know struggles with their weight or their digestion in some way shape or form. No one in my life actually goes out of their way to eat more sugar. Even my husband, who has quite the sweet tooth, is trying to cut back. But there I am, buying sweets. Sweets that I don’t eat. Sweets that, if I could actually eat them without having debilitating stomach pains and a migraine, I wouldn’t even want in the house…. Sound familiar?
Next year, no baking for me, unless of course, I figure out a way to reduce the sugar, or to eliminate it all together. And next time I go tot the store? Let’s just say Michael J is on his own when it comes to sugary treats.
Does that mean no gift-giving?
No, it means learning to celebrate in ways that don’t put other people’s goals and desires at risk or put my own (to be seen as nice or for the simple act of baking) in front of theirs (to be healthy, happy, and sugar-free).
Because after all, I wouldn’t give alcohol to an alcoholic would I?
So, I have been stockpiling rutabaga’s like nobody’s business – gotta love those Winter CSA shares.
After perusing a number of websites for potential uses for rutabaga, I decided to smash a couple of soup recipes together and make my own.
Rutabaga and Celeriac Soup
1 tbs oil (olive or coconut)
1 yellow onion, sliced (or diced)
6 cloves of garlic (peeled and diced)
1 large (or 2 medium) rutabaga (peeled and diced)
1 celeriac root (peeled and diced)
6 – 8 cups of broth (I used vegetable broth because I was in a hurry, but I’m sure homemade chicken broth would work just as well, if not better)
3 bay leaves
1 piece of Kombu
Sea Salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
Paprika (to taste and for decoration)
Parsley (for decoration)
4 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt (optional)
In a large soup pan (or stock pot) sauté the onion and garlic in the oil until translucent. Then add the rutabaga and the celeriac root.
Add enough broth to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a nice simmer. Cook for 20 minutes (or until veggies are tender).
Remove bay leaves.
In small batches, run the soup through a high speed blender (or mash with a potato masher). Put pureed soup back into the pot and then use sea salt and black pepper for seasoning.
Serve in individual bowls (serves 4 to 8), decorate each serving with paprika and fresh parsley. Add a dollop of yogurt (optional).
This year wasn’t great for blogging, but it has been amazing for the tag-line (“Learning to Love and Cherish My Body From the Inside Out”).
And it’s probably fair to say that it wasn’t a great year for the waistline, either; but that’s beside the point. Because I’m not caring about that as much as I did in, well, every year in my entire life up until now.
Last June, I was a wreck. I hated my job. I hated my body. I was tired and grumpy. I was not in a good place.
I started reading all kinds of books about people who had finally kicked their bad relationships with food – people who were in way worse shape than I was (or ever had been) who had learned to trust their bodies, to really tune in, and, eventually, with seemingly little effort, get down to their ideal weight by eating not whatever they wanted, but whatever their bodies wanted.
I had tried this before and I had never quite gotten out of my head.
This year has been more about inner game than counting calories.
I’ve spent way more time learning how to be present, how to actually listen to the inner wisdom of my body, to trust myself, to forgive myself…. To love myself.
It’s getting better, but it’s not perfect. I still have shitty days and, notably, those days are all more poignant because now I have something – something good, something calm, and something serene – with which to compare them. The discrepancies are more real, but the downward spirals are shorter. I still fall off the wagon, but the damage that I inflict on myself (my body) – what one of my coaches refers to as “self-torture” (she doesn’t pull any punches, does she?) – doesn’t last nearly as long. It’s progress.
Do I still look in the mirror and cringe?
Not all that often. Well, at least not anymore…..
However, when it does happens, I look deep into my eyes and realize that there really is something more to me than the numbers on the scale (that I no longer look at), the size of my jeans (which still have the ability – at least for a few moments – to cause tears), or the shape of my now middle aged body.
I’ve also realized that age is just as insidious an opponent as weight. In fact, it’s the age I’m feeling more than the weight these days, even though I appreciate that they are close sisters (and twin topics for another post at a later date).
For the most part, I am grateful that I am alive. I am grateful that I live in this body that – with the exception of a faulty thyroid and an exhausted set of adrenals (but then again, whose fault is that?) – functions pretty darn well given the circumstances.
I’ve surrendered, finally. Mainly because I realized that surrendering is not the same as giving up. It’s not the same as giving in.
It’s about letting go.
It’s about learning to fall in love with the process of being skinny (or at my ideal healthy weight) without getting attached to the outcome.
It’s about putting a ham hock in the split pea soup if my body feels like it. It’s about finally appreciating the fact that my body really doesn’t like sugar. I thought she did, but that was my brain. Because after three weeks on sugar, followed by three days off, it is clear to me what people have always said, but that I didn’t want to believe: Sugar is a drug.
Perhaps my biggest insight of 2012: Sugar makes me crazy; it makes me paranoid; it makes me compulsive; it interferes with my ability to think, to write, and to function. Sugar, now, is in the same category as gluten (which gives me migraines) and alcohol (which can, in amounts of more than a glass or two [and I'm talking wine, not liquor]) leave me down for the count for a matter of days. Sugar won’t kill me – not like the gluten – but it is something not to be toyed with or taken lightly. It’s a drug; period.
It’s about dancing with my body instead of trying to beat her into submission. It’s about drawing her outline on a piece of butcher paper and seeing her, for the first time ever, as a work of art as opposed to a work in progress.
So here are the things that I’ve been working with and that will be kept moving forward in 2013:
- Get up every morning and have a cup of lemon water.
- Write a morning journal entry setting my intention for the day (and bookending that with a similar entry every night).
- Do some form of physical activity (including going for a walk outside for at least 15 minutes) everyday.
- Eat what my body wants to eat and feed my mind what it really wants – which are ideas and other forms of stimulation than food.
- Listen to my cravings; greet them, if you will, and understand that they (like my emotions) are trying to tell my something about myself.
- Experience my emotions; witness them and then let them go.
- Only eat things that I absolutely love.
- Slow down (this is still one that I struggle with, but there are signs of improvement).
- Be in touch with my body; when something’s no longer working (whether it’s food or exercise or pleasure), do something else.
- Quiet my mind at least once a day.
- Do yoga.
- Drink more water.
- Breathe – consciously and with intention.
- Acknowledge the things around me that can’t be seen.
- Learn to connect without food; even if that means reaching out to someone who I think may have better things to do than to keep me from feeling lonely.
- Mix things up – on all levels, as often as possible; experience the unexpected.
- Embody my own vision of love, which means being both expansive and forgiving.
- Practice gratitude.
- And, the most difficult and important obligation of all: to love myself, regardless.
These are not New Year’s resolutions – destined to be forgotten before Valentine’s Day. These are the steps that I’ve been incorporating into my life on a daily basis already. (So, you can see why I haven’t had all that much time for the blog.) These twenty – plus a few others that I have probably forgotten about – are the things that I’ve tried that are currently working for me. They may stop working at any moment – and if they do, it’s up to me to change that. But they also may not stop working – and if they don’t (stop, that is) it’s also up to me to keep doing them, for better or worse, in sickness and in health…. Even if I’m teaching and exhausted.
Next year, I come first. I am my number one priority. Come hell or high water I am putting my own mask on first. Selfish?
Maybe, but not really.
Because if I can take care of myself, I can take care of others. And spare those around me from the nightmare that was my emotional life last March and, let’s face it, every month between then and June. If I love myself first and foremost, I will be able to love others fully and without reservation.
A friend recently reminded me that Westerners like to cite the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. However, they/we/I rarely appreciate the flip side of that: Do unto yourself as you would do unto others.
As I let those words sink in, I realized (not for the first time) that I would never abuse or neglect someone else the way I have abused and neglected myself over the years. That – more than anything else – has been the hardest lesson to learn and the one, if truly embodied, will undoubtedly make the biggest difference not only to my body, but to my entire being.
So, that said, what are my New Year’s Resolutions (ones that hopefully will not be forgotten by Valentine’s Day)?
- Take better care of myself (and all that entails).
- Blog more.
- Write a book (I’m thinking a cookbook for starters).
- Be happier more of the time.
Happy New Year.
In keeping with the recent chronicling of the contents of our Winter CSA, Michael and I were faced with a dilemma: Shin steak?
Unlike previous years, where we just did veggies (and on occasion wild flowers), this year we did the omnivore option, which means that every week we also get some combination of organic grass fed beef or chicken, locally made sausage, cage free eggs, honey, or, on the weeks Michael’s out of town, Shitaki mushrooms.
Not realizing that shin steak is one of the toughest cuts of beef there is, I assumed that we could just grill it. Wrong!
Luckily, I did a little investigation before hand and we ended with with this recipe from British Chef, Jamie Oliver.
It was very British, very hearty, and super filling. And it really did melt in your mouth. But it was also very un-British in the sense that it was tasty, flavorful, and a little on the spicy side.
I followed the recipe pretty much word for word, though I added a couple extra cloves of garlic (which is per normal for me) and omitted the mushrooms (which is per normal for Michael). I used garbanzo/fava bean flour in order to keep it gluten free.
We also didn’t have a bottle of Chianti on hand, so we went for the cheapest ($8.00) bottle of red we could find.
Michael pointed out the recipe calls for 2/3 a bottle, probably with the assumption that you’ll still have two glasses left over for dinner. Well, maybe with a different bottle of wine that might work, but with this one not so much.
So if you find yourself with a pound or more of shin steak, knock yourself out. Though I’m sure it would work just as well with regular old stew meat.
I had an epiphany the other day, one that I think is worth sharing, because there was someone there with me, who had a similar insight.
Setting: Burke Williams Day Spa in Santa Monica, CA.
Activity: Getting a facial.
The attendant, whose name was Laura was asking me a slew of questions as she did wonderful things to my face. (It was sort of like drinking a water after a particularly long drought. I didn’t realize how dry my skin was until I gave it something to drink).
She started off by asking about what kind of moisturizer I use.
Simple: I don’t.
That didn’t phase her.
I frowned beneath her talented hands: I don’t do anything for my face. I wash it in the shower, without any sort of cleanser, and that’s about it.
She paused and asked, “How old are you?”
I told her.
“Wow,” she said, and proceeded to tell me all of the reasons that a woman my age, especially one who isn’t living in beautiful southern California should be taking care of her skin. At least to the point of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing.
As she went on and on and on, I realized something.
I had always coded facials and skin care products as optional, as luxurious, as uber-expensive, and overly feminine. I had always believed that women who took care of their skin (using product after product) were vain and, let’s be honest, shallow. (I realize that these are some of the stereotypes that I used to hold about skinny women as well, but that’s another post). I had essentially coded facials and skin care as not me.
But then I realized something. And it seems so simple that it’s almost too embarrassing to write, but here it goes.
The skin is the largest organ in the body. It protects me from the environment. It is literally the layer that keeps out the toxins and filters the internal toxins out through sweat, etc. My skin is part of my body.
My entire life, up until that moment, my idea of loving my body – or at the very least, taking care of it – was limited to diet and exercise. Everything else, including skin care, was optional. Read: unimportant.
Laying on the table with steam blowing on my face and a near scalding towel around my neck, I recoded skin care and body care and since then, I have integrated a new routine into my self-care.
Now, skin care products are still expensive, but it’s amazing how much better I feel now that I am loving that part of my body as well. Not only is my skin softer and more supple, I feel ridiculously loved and cosseted.
And now that I am totally and completely addicted to skin care, I have to ask myself: Was it the skin care itself that I wasn’t willing to accept into my life, or was it the feelings that the skin care provided?
For the last several months, I have been working with a phenomenal women’s coach, Tara Marino. I have worked with a lot of people in the past and I must admit that she is one of the best and – if you’re a woman and you’re interested in living a more elegant life – you should definitely check her out at her website, Elegant Femme.
One of the things that Tara does so well is help you set daily rituals; in fact, she calls them your “Daily Requirements.” Some of these requirements tap into your spiritual side, some of them tap into your intellectual side, whereas others tap into your more sensual or more physical side.
I’ve been very good about all of them – which tells you something about how good Tara is if you’ve ever heard me rail about not being able to ritualize my routines – all of them, that is, except one.
The one that I’m having the most trouble with is to eat raw chocolate at least once a day.
Wow, Tara’s a real slave driver, isn’t she?
Okay, so what’s up with me not eating raw chocolate, especially when I’ve been given permission to do so? Heck, not only permission, but a strongly, yet elegantly worded recommendation?
- I don’t live in California (yet), so I actually don’t have easy access to raw chocolate unless I make it.
- I am really sensitive to sugar, so even though raw chocolate is raw, I’m a little leery about desserts with sugar – even agave – in them, to the degree that it could potentially be a slippery slope.
- I actually have a hard time indulging myself this way when it comes to food.
Okay, so yesterday, I was going to all of my favorite food blogs, looking for gluten-free recipes for Thanksgiving (these include two mostly raw food blogs Rawmazing and PurelyTwins (used to be Pure2Raw), both of whom I’ve called out before).
Well, as it turns out, PurelyTwins has a recipe – a very simple and delicious recipe – for Sugar Free Chocolate Thin Mints that are made primarily out of hemp powder and coconut oil. Not only are hemp and coconut oil an important part of my diet already, they also reduce hunger and promote thyroid health. And, more importantly – they’re sugar free!
So, I tried these last night and I must say, Daily Requirements, Here I Come.
The entire process took about 10 minutes (and that was the first time through the recipe). These are going to become a (daily) staple.
p.s. It is worth noting that mine were a little “hempy,” but I think that’s a matter of the hemp powder I used. I have a another brand which is a little more mellow. As they note in the video, each protein powder is different, so it’s worth some experimentation.
A friend of mine just sent an email requesting my Beet and Carrot Slaw recipe. I immediately went to the blog to send her a link. After searching for about ten minutes, I realized that I talk about this all the time, but I had yet to choke up the recipe.
This recipe is so easy and so delicious. And even my husband, who has never been much of a beet eater, goes through periods where he eats this everyday. It’s also gorgeous and would be a welcome, uh, cleansing addition to any Thanksgiving meal. Next time I make it – which will probably be in a couple of days since I just added it to my own Thanksgiving menu – I’ll be sure to take a picture!
Beet and Carrot Slaw
Equal numbers of beets and carrots, peeled and grated finely (or run through a processor); I usually do about 4 medium to large or 6 small. It depends on how much you want to make.
1/2 bunch of parsley, cleaned and minced.
2 tablespoons (more or less) of extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon AND 1 lime
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon of cumin
1) Add all of the ingredients except the spice in a large metal bowl and toss well.
2) Then sprinkle the spices while continuing to toss (to avoid clumping).
3) Adjust seasoning and oil to taste.
Now, my winter farm share is not all about the squash, the rutabaga and the celeriac. It’s also about the kale. Kale, without a doubt, is one of my favorite foods. And also buried in there are leeks (as well as brussels, carrots, garlic, lettuce, and beets). My favorite kale recipe – at least for this year – is also quite simple and is excellent any time of day (including breakfast).
KJ’s Easy Kale Recipe (2012)
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil (or Olive)
1 (or 2) leeks, cleaned and sliced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
cumin, to taste
1 stalk of kale (ours comes on a stalk, but basically a bunch), washed, chopped, stems removed
The juice of a half a lemon
- In a wok or frying pan, saute the leeks and the garlic in the oil.
- Add cumin and stir for about a minute
- Toss in the kale, continue to stir
- Add the salt and top it off with the lemon juice
I like my kale to still have some shape to it, but it’s a matter of taste. Once you start cooking, it really should only take a few minutes from start to finish. I always cut everything up first to make sure that nothing gets overcooked.
I fancy myself a pretty good cook and I am definitely a soup lover. That said, can you believe that I have never – had never, as of yesterday – made my own chicken broth?
And now that I have, I fear it’s like getting your first Mac – there is no going back. Though I must admit that it was a little disconcerting putting a whole chicken (or a fryer, I believe they’re called) into a pot of soon-to-be-boiling water.
That said, I made chicken broth. It was a bit of a hassle, but it really added a nice dimension to my soups. I started off with a couple of recipes on-line and then turned it into one of my own.
KJ’s Homemade Chicken Broth
1 fryer (all the inner bits cleaned out if he/she didn’t come that way)
7 to 10 cups of water
3 leeks, cleaned and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
Sea Salt and Black Pepper, to taste.
- Wash the chicken, inside out.
- Put said chicken into a large soup pot (and try to ignore how much it feels like an infant resting in your hand).
- Put in 7 to 10 cups, enough to cover the chicken.
- Bring water to boil, then let simmer for 1 hour.
- Pull the chicken out and let cool (the meat should be well over 169 degrees at this point – more like 200, but it can’t hurt to check for safety).
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the water.
- Remove the skin from the chicken and the meat from the bones. Put the skin and the bones back into the pot and put the meat in the fridge for snacks, lunches, salads, etc.).
- Bring the broth-to-be back up to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 3 to 4 hours.
- Pull all of the solids out of the broth; easiest to use a slotted spoon and then pour through a sieve.
- Store broth in Ball jars in the fridge. (A film of fat will form on the broth as it cools; you just skim that off before using).
I’ll be the first to admit that is seems like a lot of work for broth – but, boy, did it ever make my soup delicious, giving it a rich undertone that I’ve never been able to get with prepared broth.
Besides that, it made the house smell great and I have lunches for four days in the left over meat (or, most likely, my husband will as I’ll be busy eating the soup).
I am in experimentation mode, trying to determine what soup – if any – we’re going to have at Thanksgiving. Soup has always been my thing and having soup at a big meal is one way to make sure that I don’t overeat.
This one, which appeared in the November 2011 edition of Cooking Light, is definitely a contender!
Indian Spiced Roasted Squash Soup
1 cup chopped yellow onion
8 ounces carrot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (1-pound) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 (8-ounce) acorn squash (or whatever you happen to have on hand)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups of water
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon of ground red pepper (cayenne)
14 ounces of chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
6 tablespoons of Greek Yogurt
6 teaspoons honey
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- Arrange the first five ingredients on a jelly roll (or a roaster pan). Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper. Toss. Roast at 500 degrees for 30 minutes or until tender, turning once. Cool for 10 minutes. Peel acorn squash; discard skin.
- Combine vegetable mixture, 2 cups of water, curry powder. garam masala, and red pepper in a food processor (or high speed blender); pulse to desired consistency. Scrape mixture into large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in broth; bring to boil. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and stir in salt.
- Combine honey and yogurt, stirring well. Serve with soup
Calories (more or less, since I used real chicken broth instead of the canned fat free version they originally called for): 143, Fat: 3.1 g, Protein: 4.8 g, Carbohydrate: 27g, Fiber: 4.4 g.
Notes: Make sure you cook it for that 10 minutes to thicken it up, or if you’re pressed for time, use less broth.
All summer long, I have been eating this deliciously simple cauliflower and carrot soup. It’s pretty (a beautiful warm yellow), it’s tasty, it’s light, and it works as lunch with a couple slices of gluten free toast, it works with dinner, and it works as a snack.
The only problem is that it’s not that substantial – and where I live, it’s getting dark early and it’s getting cold. And when it’s dark and cold, I want something that’s really going to stick.
The original recipe is courtesy of Body Ecology. Or at least that’s where the idea came from, it’s been so long that I can’t remember what the actual recipe called for (a trait that I fear I picked up from my Grandmother Lively). Regardless, here’s how I make it:
Carrot Cauliflower Soup
2 cups of onion, chopped
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 tablespoons (or more) of dried Tarragon
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
2 or 3 cups of carrots (depending on how big the cauliflower is)
A.Vogle Trocomare Organic Spicy Seasoning
In a large soup pan, saute the onions and the tarragon until onions are translucent. Add the cauliflower and the carrots. Add enough water to cover the veggies, bring to a boil and then simmer until veggies are tender (which tends to be about 20-30 minutes).
Blend up the entire mixture in a high speed blender (you’ll have to do that in batches).
Return entire mixture to pot, then season to taste.
I like the Vogle seasoning salt, but I’ve also used curry or cumin when I didn’t have enough. It might take more than you think, but start small and just keep tasting it. You can always add more later, at the table.
Because I was trying to make the soup more substantial (and I had a ton of stuff from the CSA that was just going to go to waste if I didn’t do something quick), I decided to start adding stuff, namely 1 rutabaga, peeled and cubed and 1/2 celeriac bulb, peeled and cubed.
It was delicious – really stellar and super filling. This is definitely going to be my new normal, at least until spring rolls around!
Indeed, it was so filling that I was able to drop the gluten-free toast at lunch and still be completely satisfied.
I know that you’re not supposed to waste food, but I admit that last year I let several squash go bad. For months, I’d glance over at the literal mountain on the counter and then let my eyes slide away, until, eventually, the hard walls of the butternut, acorn, and buttercup would dissolve in the pile of goo. (I’m not an idiot – I actually did manage to do something with the delicata. Something that often involved a little touch of coconut oil, black pepper, cumin, and a broiler – but I digress).
This year, I was determined not to let that happen. I mean, isn’t there one dietary theory (more than one, actually) that says that you should be eating with the seasons? In my ongoing quest for health – particularly thyroid health – I decided to go for it. And, so far, I’ve been amazed.
My first attempt was just to bake some acorn squash and delicata. Well, I forgot about it and overcooked it – the delicata was literally black! At least on the outside! On the inside, it was like pudding.
Because I’m good friends with a number of health coaches who are always touting the importance of enjoying your food with all of your senses (and, heck, the busiest post on the blog is about Never Eating While Standing), I am embarrassed to say that I ate the entire thing standing at the counter.
Because even though the outside was ruined, the inside was like pudding. It was unbelievably good. Hence my new fascination with squash.
Last week, I started with a simple mash.
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
4 carrots, scrubbed and sliced
1 parsnip, scrubbed and sliced
1 rutabaga, peeled and cubed
1/2 celeriac, peeled and cubed (did you know that celeriac is 122 days in the ground?! Now every time I see one, I think: wow, that’s like, one trimester!)
I tossed all of these in a little olive oil and roasted them until tender.
I then tossed the whole thing in the high speed blender and viola! It was perfect.
Creamy, sweet and super easy.
Notably, I didn’t season it. Why?
- It was good plain (or with a little touch of coconut oil).
- If I wanted a dessert, all it needed was a little cinnamon and may (only if I was feeling particularly decadent) a drop or two of maple syrup.
- If I wanted a side (or a savory, as the Brits would call it), all it needed was a bit of sea salt and dash of cumin.
So if you’re sitting on a pile of squash, don’t despair or feel the guilt of tossing it. Just get a little creative and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
I continue my new found relationship with my calorie counter and my scale.
Yesterday: another 45 minutes of cardio before breakfast and coming in about 800 calories below my allotted daily budget.
This morning, I got up, peed and then stepped on the scale: down .4 pounds.
A traitorous feeling of joy leapt through me.
And then I thought: Wait a minute. If the 1.8 pound weigh gain was not you, then this is not you either. You don’t get to discount the bad and claim the good (though, as a social psychologist, I know that’s how most people hang).
So, I looked down at the number, stepped off the scale and put it into my calorie tracker, to the following notification: You’ll reach your goal of losing 28.2 lbs. on Dec 11, 2012.
One can only hope.
So yesterday I decided that the game was up.
I was going to re-establish a relationship with my scale (a daily one that requires at least a single moment of one-on-one time) and with my handy dandy calorie counter (LoseIt).
Mainly, I decided to do this to establish a little accountability.
What I didn’t expect to find was compassion.
Calorie counting, day one: without changing a lot about the way I eat, I rang in at right about 1600 calores. The big difference though was that I actually did about 45 minutes of cardio for the first time in weeks (this put me at about 800 calories below my budget for losing a pound a week).
I got up this morning and stepped on the scale.
Up. And not a little up, but a lot up. Up 1.8 pounds to be exact.
Normally I would have been really upset; and ironically I wasn’t as upset as I was yesterday.
Instead, I was amused – if not a little resigned.
Obviously, I did nothing in a 24 hour period that should have caused that big of a weight gain (even if it is just water). So, that was obviously her – my body, doing her own thing.
I didn’t get mad; I didn’t burst into tears.
In fact, I smiled indulgently (if not a little maniacally).
There was something freeing about that unexplained and unexpected weight gain. I simply logged it, noticed the spike, and read the notification. “You gained 1.8 pounds. You’ll reach your goal of losing 28.2 lbs. on Dec 11, 2012.” Though December 11, 2012 may seem like a long time for someone who went from a size 4 to a size 10 in less than three months, what I really thought was: Promise?
I’m curious (if not a little apprehensive what tomorrow will bring) and this way, by facing it instead of merely crying about it and pretending it’s not happening, I’ll know. And I’ll have plenty of data for my endocrinologist for the next time he asks how everything is going.
For years I have been listening to people talk about intuitive eating and the dangers of calorie counting.
I’ve tried it before and I’ve just finished trying it, again. Both times were an abysmal failure.
I just had to step on a scale for the first time in a year (because of some not routine medical tests) and for the first time in nearly five [years] I am once again, overweight. I am now bigger than I was before all of this started. I am now bigger than the first time when I met my husband – the time that I told him that I was really going to transform my body before I hit 40.
I was 36. I am now 42.
The experiment failed.
I’m not saying that intuitive eating doesn’t work – but it doesn’t work for me.
Maybe it’s the stress. Maybe it’s the whacked out thyroid. Maybe it’s the overactive immune system. Maybe I was just fooling myself when I thought that I knew what my body wanted, when it was hungry, etc. Who knows?
Regardless, I do know one thing – I’m allowing it to affect every aspect of my life, from my work to my relationships. All of the cognitive therapy that I’ve been doing so that I can love my body from the inside out? Well, despite the immense talent of my coach, it folds in the face of the illuminated number on a silver scale. It folds in the face of the double digit clothing that I can barely fit into. It folds every time that someone touches any part of my body that roils underneath the slightest bit of pressure.
So, intuitive or not, it’s time for a little accountability.
If I can’t be truly in touch with my body then I at least need to know what’s going on so that I am not just sitting around weighting (every pun, intended. Do you believe that that was actually a Freudian slip? It was – really) to find the right combination of seaweed, protein, whole grains that just so happen to be gluten-free, etc., that is going to unlock all of the nutritional and weight loss secrets of the universe.
In other words, I am going to revert back to calories in/calories out.
Now, I can hear the groan from my friends – at least a thousand of whom are graduates from one of the best schools of integrative nutrition in the country. But I know that all calories are not equal, so you don’t have to worry that I think that a 800+ calorie bomb from McDonald’s will have the same nutritional value as 2 of my green smoothies (even without all of the cruciferous vegetables that contain goitrogens that suppress thyroid function). But at least this way I will know – that I’ll know that it’s not something that I’m just fooling myself about. I remember the autumn that I gained 10 pounds eating “healthy cookies….” Could it be?
Because if it really is me – then maybe I can learn to do something else. But if it isn’t me (and it really is her, my body who is suffering under the unmitigated stress of my life) then, maybe, I can learn to forgive myself and my body and allow myself to connect not only with her – but also emotionally, mentally, and physically with those other people in my life who really don’t seem to mind if I weigh 140 or 170 pounds.
Seriously, as I even write the number, tears come to my eyes and the thought, unbidden, how could this have happened to me? How did I let it happen?
If I had a dollar for every time that I’ve radically changed the way I eat….
It’s been a rough few months on the body-love front. I have no idea what I weigh, but very few things in my closet actually fit.
A couple of things are going on:
My thyroid crashed (again).
I’m not doing the things I need to do to take care of myself (meaning less yoga, less hooping).
I’m not getting enough sleep.
I’m not getting enough exercise (see above).
And I’m not loving myself in any way shape or form – sorry coach!
The one thing that I was doing, however, was eating cleanly. In fact, it’s not a exaggeration to say that this is the cleanest that I’ve eaten, ever. I had hoped that would be enough.
Yet I keep getting bigger and bigger and more recently PMS is now pre-, present-, and post-. Bloating, mood swings, and boobs from hell. Two days ago, the cloth of my blouse was nearly unbearable; the poor things hurt to the touch – which also cuts down on any desire intimacy or closeness of any form.
I had a call with a holistic health care person and he mentioned something about food and thyroid suppression and, more importantly, the foods that suppress the thyroid – the number one culprits being sweet potatoes (yams), brussel sprouts, raw spinach, raw kale, turnips, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. You might not know this, but 90% of everything that I eat (other than hemp and other forms of protein powders) is comprised of yams, brussel sprouts, raw spinach, raw kale, turnips, cauliflower, and broccoli.
You know, it never ceases to amaze me how the body becomes addicted to the very things that are bad for it.
Last night, I had my last meal: brussels, broccoli, carrot and cauliflower soup, and a little mini-green smoothie with spinach and kale. Before I began, I just looked at it, letting the anticipation build. Then I enjoyed every single solitary bite. I swear, you would have thought I was eating cheesecake! I even lit candles.
Somehow this latest dietary transition seems more difficult than previous ones, and I’m not sure why. There are obviously straightforward substitutions. Collards or chard for kale, green beans for broccoli, asparagus for brussel sprouts, and romaine and red leaf lettuce for spinach. And I’m sure that I can find a nice butternut squash soup recipe to replace my carrot and cauliflower, but it’s not going to be the same.
I keep reminding myself, food is food. It’s not for pleasure. It doesn’t matter that you’re being asked to give up your favorite foods, yet again. Because, when I think about it, this last batch of favorites became favorites when the last batch went away.
So what can you eat when you want to help nourish your thyroid? Well, the list is short and there’s nothing on it that’s particularly appealing. But appealing or not, it’s what I’ve got and I’m sure that however unappealing it may seem, I will learn to love again.
Because, to paraphrase Tony Robbins, nothing tastes as good as feeling good feels.
Stay tuned for thyroid nourishing recipes (sans sweet potatoes (yams), brussel sprouts, raw spinach, raw kale, turnips, cauliflower, broccoli, etc). Wish me luck!
(…well, actually it’s about three months too soon, given where I live, but it is what it is.)
It’s been 80 degrees the last three days and that really means no more living in layers. It’s time to set the sweaters, the fleece, the long sleeved shirts, the tights, the wool socks, and, yes, even the jeans aaide and to move on to lighter and brighter options.
With some trepidation, I pulled out my spring/summer clothes (summer in my neck of the woods rarely surpasses 70, mind you) and started trying things on. Unfortunately, and was as suspected, there were more things in the “discard” pile (or the “maybe in a few weeks” pile) than there were in the “eligible candidates for office wear” pile.
Even the casual pants and shorts were too tight here or pulled funny there. (Though, in the moment, there was nothing funny about it.)
I pulled out my Prana shorts that I bought two years ago in Santa Monica (the ones that, at the time, were too big and my then partner, now husband, would tease me for walking around about to drop my britches).
They barely fit.
Skirts that were loose fit, but only with a bulge that seemed to only be highlighted in t-shirts or tops that looked like (but probably hadn’t) been shrunk in the wash.
I knew that my body wasn’t the same as she had been the year that I bought most of those clothes – you know, the one where I went on fasts and cleanses like they were going out of style. 10 days of limeade here, followed by a liver detox cleanse, followed by no sugar (no matter what the form).
I knew that my body wasn’t the same even as she was right before my thyroid crashed the year before last or even as was five months ago before said thyroid had crashed yet again. And I can honestly say that I would be okay with that, if only I had clothes that fit instead of clothes that made me look a walking kielbasa.
As I stood in the mirror, I could literally feel my state starting to crumble – to take that first and all too familiar step down the slippery slope of hell (that would be self-judgment, self-hatred, self-disgust, self-pity…you get the picture). But then I just decided: enough is enough.
This is where you are, right now.
If you don’t have clothes that fit, go get some.
If you happen to see a bag of chocolate somewhere today, just keep walking. It has nothing to do with you and it will not make you feel better nor will it make your clothes fit better.
I reminded myself that just last night I had looked in that same mirror, naked, and was struck by how sexy I looked with my curves and womanly proportions.
I remember joking, in a loving way (as opposed to the self-deprecating way that I had done in the past), that if I had been born a hundred years earlier, I would have been a goddess and that all of those women whose bodies that I covet would have been looking at me with awe and admiration.
What’s a little time travel between a woman and her body? What’s a little social construction of reality among friends.
My clothes don’t fit. Period.
Yes, part of me is saddened by that.
Yes, part of me is annoyed.
Yes, part of me wished that I had faced this sooner so that I wouldn’t feel so up against the wall right before I have to go stand in a room in front of 40 20-somethings twice a day, three times a week.
But for the most part, I’m actually okay with it. I’m not thrilled, but I am okay.
Because regardless of the size, I’m still the same woman I was 24 hours ago.
Heck, I’m the same woman I was 2 years ago who walked down the streets of Santa Monica in a pair of size 2 jeans.
Just as I am the same woman I was when I was 16 and weighed 232.5 pounds.
I may have learned a lot more, I may have grown as a person, but the essence, the beauty, and the creativity is the same.
And all of me would do well to remember that.
A few weeks ago, I realized that whatever changes I had made in my diet (namely the introduction of yams, peanut butter, caffeinated black tea, and rice protein powder). Unfortunately I have found the culprit.
I think I knew it already, but I just wasn’t ready to admit it.
It was the peanut butter.
Each time I added it back in (even at a tablespoon a day), the symptoms would come back: gassy, bloated, uncomfortable, with cravings (for more than a tablespoon of the same) out the wazoo.
As I railed, “How could this be happening?! Other people eat peanut butter and they’re find, etc.”
And then I remember saying, “I wish I could just develop an allergy to peanut butter – then it would be just like it is with gluten. Nothing could tempt me to eat gluten…..”
Well, it’s not as bad as it is with gluten, but I haven’t been tempted either so I guess I got what I asked for. Maybe I’ve finally gotten a hold of that manifestation thing after all.
I think maybe next time I’ll ask for money!
All this time, I thought that it was my body that liked the hula hooping….
That may have been the case initially, but this morning it was definitely the other way around.
Whenever I wake up these days, I ask myself: What would you like to do today? Or, to be more verbatim about it, “What do we want to do today?”
Today, the first answer that surfaced was, “Cardio!”
I mean, I remember not too long ago telling Michael J that my goal for the year was to avoid traditional cardio at all costs – just to see what happens. But then I took a deep breath and thought, “Why not?” And, believe it or not, my body actually perked up! I instantly felt more awake, more excited, more up! (Or to quote an earlier post: turned in, tapped in, turned on).
Oh yeah, doing cardio requires changing clothes.
It also means putting on shoes.
All of a sudden a little voice pops up, “What a hassle. Are we really going to do this?” And the whining continues as I look for said shoes, first on the main floor, then on the first floor, and then on the third floor. The litany of complaints continue as I remember that I forgot to grab my actual work out clothes while I was there (“What a waste of time. I thought we weren’t going to do this anymore? What if this makes your leg all sticky again? Cardio means sweating; you realize that don’t you? Do you even remember the last time you’ve sweated while exercising, which means there goes yet another 30 minutes gone while you have to get undressed, shower, get dressed again. Oh yeah, and when do we have time to do laundry? We need to be working on the book.”)
Seriously, it was like a broken record. And I realized, with a bit of a laugh, that was the mind – in action. Because the body likes to sweat and could care less about things like laundry, the book, or whatever else that the mind brought up. Well, with the exception of the non-sticky leg, so we (the three of us) compromised and did about an hour of cardio and 20 minutes of yoga. And you know what, it felt awesome.
So, what does this mean going forward? It may mean a little more cardio or it may not (but it probably will). It means being more in touch with what I really want to do – about what will serve me – without getting into the rut of what I think I want or, even worse, what I think I need. It does not mean, however, that I am going to return to my crazy cardio/punishing ways. But it may get added back in, with balance.
So instead of rotating between hooping and yoga and (recently) samba, it looks like there is another contender. And it makes sense, if you think about it. Because even though I’m having a great time sculpting the core and lengthening the muscles, that’s no reason – none whatsoever – to not love on the heart, the lungs, and all of the other systems that keep me alive without any thought or effort on my part whatsoever.
Of course, my mind immediately flew into scarcity – but if you start doing cardio, when are you going to hula hoop? What’s going to happen to your yoga practice?
There’s more than an hour in a day and more than one day in a week…. I’m sure we’ll find the time, and be better off for it.