Thursday, 29 August 2013


I went to farms2forks at the Esselstyn family farm in upstate New York.  It was wonderful and so uplifting.  I saw this summary that described it so nicely, I don't need to do it myself:

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Zeb's waffles with no sugar!

This is the first time I ate waffles or pancakes without maple syrup and it was great! I made a mini-version of Zeb's waffles from "My Beef with Meat". I used a generous 1/2 cup oats, 1 tsp flax seeds, a few walnuts halves (1/4 oz), some orange zest, and 1/2 banana. I ground the flaxseed and walnuts and some of the oats, combined all the dry ingredients. I blended the banana with 1/2 cup water to make "banana milk". Then combined everything and made two waffles out of them. I topped them with 1/2 large fresh peach. It was delicious!
If you are avoiding the nuts,  you probably wouldn't even notice if you left out the walnuts. I'm so proud of myself for not adding sweetener. I didn't miss it at all! What a surprise!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Never Going Back

Hey Folks!

It's Monday again. I feel like the weeks have been flying by lately. This is the second last Monday of my job and then I will be back to school! With school about to start and unemployment looming, I have had a million things on my mind lately. You know one thing that is definitely NOT on my mind? How many calories I am consuming on a daily basis.

Since it has now been over 2 weeks since I decided to quit calorie-counting cold turkey, I thought I would give everyone an update.

I'll start by saying that life is so much better. I can't even express how freeing it is to not think about numbers when I am eating. I am so much more in tune with my body now than I was before. When I started this whole recovery journey, I knew I needed to eat more, so I increased the calories I was eating, but I still wasn't getting to the route of the problem; denying my hunger and satiety signals. Even though I was arbitrarily increasing the number I was eating, I would try to save a certain amount for later in the day; ignoring internal signals. When it got close to the end of the day and I hadn't eaten enough, I would deny my satiety signals and eat way past fullness. I wasn't listening to my body and I was still living in fear of going over or under my number.

Now, the fear is gone. There is no need for me to "save" calories for later because I am not keeping track. I have been having treats and desserts in the middle of the day, when ordinarily I would have denied myself until the evening when I was sure I would have enough calories left. I am no longer afraid to go out for lunch and get something substantial because as long as I'm satisfying myself, I know I am not going to need to pig out later. I am particularly excited to have lunch with Danielle tomorrow as we currently work right down the street from one another!

Last week, I went out for lunch on a whim and got this huge, delicious bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup. Ordinarily, if I were going out for lunch at work, I would stick to something like a salad with minimal carbs in order to "save up", but this was so much more satisfying and I couldn't have been happier with myself :)

I think the biggest change I have noticed is just a more relaxed approach to food. I don't measure anymore (unless I am baking something) and I even think I am starting to see food differently. Some of my once "forbidden" foods are coming back with a vengeance. My roommate just went to Scotland for a few weeks and she told me to eat whatever food of hers was sitting around so it wouldn't go bad. Well, I couldn't let her cereal go stale...

Even when I started recovering, cereal was an iffy thing for me. It wasn't terribly filling and it was sugary. Even more terrifying than regular cereal? Granola...

Now I have been enjoying it all! On oatmeal, in yogurt, by the handful, it has been my favourite thing lately! I don't know what magical little switch went off in my brain when I quit counting, but it is delicious. I still do find numbers pushing themselves into my brain, but those thoughts are pestering me less and less.

If anyone out there is still struggling with being chained to calorie counts, I am urging you to trust yourself and just quit! One tip that has helped me is to switch up your meals as you stop calorie counting. If you keep eating the exact same thing you were eating before, you will know exactly how many calories are in that "safe" food and you will experience much more anxiety if you eat more than usual. Remember, change is good! I never thought I could give up this habit and now, I'm never going back.

Have a marvelous Monday!


Monday, 12 August 2013

Love-Filled Weekend


So, I didn't post about it yesterday, but I had a fantastic weekend. I went camping with my old roommate, her girlfriend and a bunch of their friends. We went to a gay campground that they had been to before and it was a lot of fun. We definitely weren't "roughing it", they had a pool, store and flush toilets that were pretty close by. It was more like glamping ;)

The site is advertised as LGBT friendly, and they have camping fields, a bar and restaurant, as well as cottage and trailer areas where people can set up more permanent dwellings to come back to year after year. Our group was in the "Dike Fields" and "Gay Man's Land" was on the other side of the property. I don't know if those are the official names, but that's what everyone called them! I was the "token straight girl" in the group, but all the girls were so welcoming, they didn't make me feel like I was different.

Pretty much everyone had cooler hair than me.

I had such a fun time. I didn't even worry about what I was eating, or how little exercise I was getting. I ate hot dogs, cinnamon toast crunch, marshmallows, oreos and all of the meals that we cooked together. Toasted marshmallows could be my favourite food, but I only get them a few times a year so I may have gone a little overboard...

I roasted those babies 2 at a time

Note: I barely took any photos because I was too focused on having fun, but hopefully my words can paint a good enough picture!

I am normally the kind of person who needs to be doing something "productive" or I feel like a failure, but I was totally happy to chill out this weekend. I sat around reading, went for walks with the girls to explore the park, played games and sat by the fire. We even went to a killer drag show that was going on at the on-site bar on the Saturday night. There really is nothing like watching men in drag belting out my favourite show tunes :)

Oh yeah, this happened...

Our group always seemed to have a killer fire going, so we invited the girls one site over to join us for most of the weekend. I got to meet some really interesting ladies and we had some great talks. There is nothing like talking to people who can give you another perspective on the world.

I also got the opportunity this weekend to be in the minority. As a straight, white, middle class girl, I tend to blend in nicely, that is a fact. However, this weekend there were times when I wondered if people were looking at me and labeling me as the "straight girl". They probably weren't; it was a very loving, accepting environment. Even if they had been looking at me, it wouldn't have bothered me, but I jokingly said to my friend that everyone could tell I wasn't "gay enough" to be there. She said that that was how she felt all the time, and most of the other girls agreed. They said that when they were out and about with their significant others or even alone, they felt that they were being judged because they were lesbians, and that upsets me. It reminds me that even in this day and age, true equality still doesn't exist.

I have always considered myself a queer ally; I really see no difference between gay/straight/trans/bisexual/intersex/asexual people. I think that there has been a lot of progress in LGBT acceptance in the last decade, but we still have SO far to go.

Western society has made more improvements than places like Russia and the middle east, where extremely violent hate crimes are still being committed towards homosexuals (the situation in Russia with the Olympics breaks my heart), but there are still so many problems. Many US states still have not yet legalized same-sex marriage, negative gay stereotypes are still prevalent and kids are still being harassed in schools because of their sexual orientations.

I still hear words like "fag", "dike", "lesbo", "gay" and "homo" being used in a derogatory context. I recently had to call out one of my roommate's friends for calling someone a fag in our house. In response to my scolding, he explained that he didn't mean "gay", he meant "stupid" (CLEARLY, he was missing the point). It just goes to show that some people are either very uneducated about these issues, or very prejudiced. I also repeatedly hear things like, "Of course I support same-sex marriage... but I'm not gay!" It's as though people are desperate to show that they support something that is "different", but being "different" themselves would be a horrible fate. Why would it matter if someone thought you were gay? Would that make you any less of a person?

Even in places where homophobia is decreasing, transphobia is still extremely prevalent. It is largely socially unacceptable to say anything derogatory about homosexuals, but for some reason many people think it is alright to ostracize transgendered people and openly refer to them as "trannies", "he-shes" or "she-males" (just watch a primetime sitcom and you will see). There is a big difference between sex, gender and sexuality and no way of identifying oneself is any less legitimate than another.

I could preach for hours about this topic, but I don't think this is the right forum. Today, I just wanted to express my sadness about the hateful, anti-gay things that are still going on all over the world, and also my hope that things will start to change soon. What the LGBT community needs most is love, acceptance and support for their rights to marry, express themselves and live their lives free from discrimination and violence.

If you got to the end of this post, thank you so much for reading!

Have a terrific Tuesday!!


Saturday, 10 August 2013

Awesome chili

This chili was inspired by Chef AJ's Red Lentil Chili, but in the end I think I only had a few overlapping ingredients, ha.  Well I didn't have red lentils, and I had a bunch of wonderful veggies I wanted to cook up it went.  I did like her spices though and followed them pretty closely.  Here's my version, and as usual, the amounts and even the ingredients don't matter too much, use whatever you like or have on hand.

1 lb of beans.  I used 1/2 lb pinto, and 1/2 lb lentils (half green, half brown).
2 15-oz cans of tomatoes
1 large onion
1small bulb of garlic or 1/2 large
a bunch of your favorite veggies:  I used eggplant, carrots, zucchini, and a giant red bell pepper.
Something sweet:  1 large beet (or 2 medium) or a sweet potato or some mango or some pineapple, or some dates or some maple syrup (take your pick or picks)
spices and herbs:   I had some fresh parsley, sage, chives and rosemary
1.5 Tbsp salt-free chili powder or to taste
2 tsp smoked paprika (smoked is key)
1/2 tsp chipotle powder (also gives a smokey flavor)
more chipotle if you like it hot, and some crushed red pepper if you like it hot (I don't really).
2 Tbsp apple basalmic or apple cider vinegar (more if you want).
I forgot scallions but that sounds pretty good as a topping if you want it.

cook up the beans in a large pot (soaked overnight, or do a quick soak:  boil then sit for an hour) or open up a few cans of beans.
prep the veggies:   cut them up, peel as desired.    I cooked the beets separately because I wanted to blend them.  the rest I put in a large pan with 1 cup water, covered in foil, baked at 375 for 1 hour.  don't bother cutting the garlic, just put the bulb in (see picture).

When this was done, I blended the beets and one cat of tomatoes and the garlic.  For the garlic, cut off the bottom, and then sqeeze out the garlic--super easy!  I took the rosemary out and poured the veggies into the bean pot.  I added the beet/tomato/garlic puree and the other spices and herbs.   It was delicious before adding the spices so I knew it was going to be good.  

Here is a bowl served up with lunch.  Someone else got a brat so everyone was happy.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Latest Obsessions

Hey All!

It's Friday! It's the end of a good week and the start of an even better weekend. I am going camping with some friends and I'm super excited. My friend who is organizing it is calling it "Gay Camping" because of the 10-15 people going, I am the only straight one. I told my friend I would work on my "lesbian lingo" so that I would blend in. Haha. The LGBT community has so much of their own slang, that sometimes when I am around them I have no idea what they're talking about! Chapstick or lipstick? ;)

Anyway, as a fun end to the week, I thought I would just list some of the things that I have been obsessed with lately and call it a day. Sound good?


A former fear food and something I only started buying at the beginning of this summer, nuts have quickly become one of my favourite snacks. My favourites?

In-shell peanuts...

These are fun to break open and somehow the nut just tastes better when you have to work for it ;)

And hickory smoked almonds...

Mmm... so smokey, so crunchy...

Extra matcha green tea lattes with SF vanilla instead of classic syrup

I was too excited to snap a pic before I started drinking it, so here you go.

This is my favoruite treat from Starbucks. I get extra matcha for the "oomph" it adds and the vanilla syrup is so much better than classic. Try it!

These pitas

These are one of my favourite things to take to work. They have 10 grams of protein in them and a whole bunch of fibre too, so they are really filling. I like the protein content because even if I don't end up having a super high protein filling, they still satisfy me. They are also great toasted with cream cheese!

Kettle bell exercises

I have been loving adding kettle bells to my workout lately; swings and dead lift high pulls are my favourite.

I have been using my roommate's kettle bell at home, but I think I want to invest in one or two of my own soon. I think I will get one that's 25 lbs or heavier; it would be great for adding weight to squats at home :)


I first fell in love with guava on a trip to Cuba years ago and again in Asia last year, but they are hard to find in Canada. However, I jut found boxes of them at Freshco, so I will be taking full advantage!

I know they aren't local, but they're just so good!

All the fruit actually...

It's not just guava; I've been a fruit fiend lately :)

Especially the seasonal kind!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!


What have you been obsessed with lately?

Do you have exciting weekend plans?

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Easy and good baked veggies

This makes 1-2 meals.  Put 1/4 cup lentils in the bottom of a baking dish.  Cut up whatever veggies you have that seem like they would be good. Today I used onion, beet, and kohlrabi.  Tomorrow I'll do those plus eggplant.   Add 1 cup water.  

Top with foil.  Bake at 375 for 1 hour 15 minutes (including oven heating up).   Let cool.  stir, serve or save for tomorrow.  

If you have beans already cooked, you can forget the lentils and add the beans afterwards.  I also cook up greens and onions, and have those on the side.

Red sauce (ketchup? barbecue?)

I've experimented with making my own ketchup and barbeque sauce. Of course, store bought is fine as long as it's used as a condiment. I just prefer lower salt and sugar in mine. Anyway I decided I like a sort of combination of the two. Here are the ingredients I used today:

That's salt-free mustard, fire-roasted tomatoes, garlic powder, chipotle powder, onion powder, apple-balsamic vinegar and a baked beet on the right! The beet adds sweetness and a little thickness when blended up. If you want a different sweetener, you can use maple syrup or dates, whatever you wish. The Chipotle adds a smoky flavor but I have to be careful not to add too much because it's hot. Another thing I thought of after snapping the picture smoked paprika, which I also added. I blended this all up, then froze in an ice cube tray!

Then put the cubes in a ziplock bag and back in the freezer. Now I have individual servings whenever I want. They thaw quickly in the microwave. Here's today's lunch with the red sauce as a dipper for my potato fries.

Negative Much?

"This ass isn't getting any smaller."

"I'm cutting out chocolate."

"I went for ice cream last night and I feel so guilty."

"My body gains weight so easily."

"I'm too fat to do yoga."

"I'm so proud of myself, I haven't had any chocolate this week, I hope I don't fall off the wagon."

"I just keep getting fatter."


What do all of these phrases have in common?

Aside from being disordered and negative, they are also things that I hear all the time. Every day I hear things like this being said like they mean nothing at all. Men, women, old, young, everyone does it. It seems like there is a trend to use this kind of negative talk to cover up deeper insecurities.

Even though they are (usually) not meant to be serious, these negative phrases stay with you, and eventually you start to believe they are true.

I am a huge believer in the power of positive thinking. I believe that changing your attitude can change your life and that keeping a negative attitude will keep you in a vicious cycle of self-hatred. I know because I have lived it first-hand.

I have made myself believe things just from saying them enough. For example, as my body has filled out, the inevitable arrival of cellulite on my thighs has been becoming more apparent. In my darker times, I have looked at these dimples countless times and told myself that they are disgusting and that I have to get rid of them. The more I obsessed over them, the worse they looked to me.

It was only when I actively repelled those thoughts that the cellulite started to look less visible. I would say things like, "everyone has a few dimples on their thighs" or "my legs look so much stronger and healthier than before". Just like you can train yourself to hate yourself with what you say, you can train yourself for self-love.

I urge all of you to fight against this kind of negativity. Encourage positive thinking in yourself and those around you. If you think or say self-deprecating things, they will start to become true because beauty is all about perception. Tell yourself that you are perfect the way you are and no one will be able to tell you otherwise.


Do you hear those around you saying negative things on a daily basis?

How do you stay positive?

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Zeb's Waffles

Now that the E2X Captain's Challenge is over, I had my Zeb's waffles from "My Beef with Meat" and I wasn't disappointed! Here is a picture of our waffle iron from the 1950s!
I was worried it wouldn't be up to the task because it doesn't have a modern day non-stick surface. Well, it turns out the 1950s no-stick surface works just as good. It's probably iron for all I know.  But the real reason these turned out is because this baby gets really hot! Here is one of the waffles:
I made a half-recipe which made 3 waffles and I ate them all!  (yes I am a pig, yes I am the only plant-strong person in the house). Another thing that thrills me is that this is the first time I didn't OD (overdose) on maple syrup with waffles or pancakes. I had this clever idea to heat up frozen sour cherries and blueberries in the microwave until nice and hot. They release a lot of juice and taste mighty fine too. I added 1 Tbsp of maple syrup and it made a nice fruit topping, enough for all three waffles. I was most pleased.  
Now I have an even better idea for next time using a recipe from Ann Esselstyn (not posted, just word of mouth--it's just banana, oats, water and cinnamon).  I'll post that whenever I make it.   

Monday, 5 August 2013

The Best Kind of Breakup

Unlike many young women my age, I have never been in a long-term relationship, so I have never had to go through a break-up with a person who has been a part of my life for a long time. However, I can imagine that if you are in an abusive relationship, breaking up could be incredibly difficult and freeing at the same time.

I recently went through a break-up, but it wasn't with a man. Ladies and gentlemen, I have officially broken up with calorie counting.

This may not seem like a big deal to some people. However, I have been counting calories every day for close to 10 years, so doing away with it completely was one the the most terrifying and satisfying things I have done in a long time.

Now, I have been trying to give it up for a long time. Since I started my recovery last November, I have been telling myself that I need to give up calorie counting. However, I feared that as soon as I stopped keeping track of everything I ate, I would just eat everything in sight and balloon to an unimaginable size. So, I kept counting, telling myself that I would do it until I gradually got my intake up to a normal level and then I would stop.

That was my excuse. "I'm still counting so that I can make sure I eat enough." Well, I was not being honest with myself (Sam gives some great insight into this topic in this post) and it was not working for me. I thought that since I was eating more than I had in the past, I was healing my relationship with food. But the fact is, I had no idea what a proper intake should be, and all I was doing was encouraging myself NOT to listen to my body.

I was also overcome with guilt all the time. If I went over my set level, I felt like I had eaten too much. If I was below it, I would worry that I was starving myself, so I would eat at night even when I wasn't hungry and I would go to bed over-full and still feeling guilty. Then I would have binges, and to compensate I would lower my calorie intake for a few days, and then (BIG SURPRISE!) I would binge again!

I have even tried to quit counting before, but those numbers have become so engrained in my head over the past 10 years that I would always end up counting subconsciously; I was never truly free.

I don't know what lightbulb went off in my head this past week, but I decided I was just going to start eating differently, to see food in a whole new light. I realized that I would never get up to a proper intake if I were tracking calories because I would just question the number and wonder if it was too much.

From now on, my body makes the decisions, and that is final. I have already noticed a difference in my energy levels, my happiness and my satiety.

Right now, I am starting to eat larger meals instead of grazing constantly. Before, I was afraid to eat too much in one sitting because I didn't want to blow my calories, but then I would just pick at things for the next few hours until I had eaten what I would have in the previous meal had I not restricted.

Yesterday, I even had dessert in the middle of the afternoon, which would have never happened with my calorie-counting ways. With counting, I never would have had something like that early in the day because I would be trying to save my calories for later... only to eat even more sweets at night because I felt deprived and hungry.

I can't even tell you how freeing it is to not measure anything or keep track of what I am putting on my plate. Now, I will eat a handful of almonds, not a handful of 17 almonds. I will eat a small bowl of greek yogurt, not a 1/2 cup of greek yogurt. It is not until I take a step back from my old habits that I see how restrictive and disordered they were... even in "recovery".

The other day, I threw together this little snack plate with no regard for how caloric or balanced it was and it felt awesome.

As part of breakfast yesterday, I threw together a yogurt bowl with zero measurements and whatever toppings I wanted.

That is greek yogurt and fruit topped with PB and cherry vanilla jam. Even when I was doing well with challenging myself, jam was a fear food. I saw it as unnecessary, too sugary and empty calories. Actually, jam is delicious and it is completely necessary!

Even my salads used to be very controlled and measured, so for my first salad sans calorie counting, I threw the most delicious, nutrient-dense things I could find into a bowl and ate it all up. There is miso salmon, guac, hummus, olives and goat cheese in there and it was the most satisfying salad I have ever eaten!

If anyone out there is struggling with giving up calorie counting, I urge you to just take the plunge and quit cold turkey! Easing out of it doesn't work, or at least it didn't for me. The only way to do it is to give it up completely and push numbers out of your head as soon as they creep in. It is not easy, but it is so worth it.

I don't know why it took me so long, but I am finally ready to nourish my body on its own terms. I am number-free; that means numbers on the scale AND numbers on a nutrition label, and I have never felt better :)

Have a good one loves! xoxo

What are your views on counting calories?

How did you free yourself from numbers?

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Where Have I Been??

Ummm... Hi!

So, you may have noticed that I haven't blogged for a whole month. I would love to give you some excellent reason for why I dropped off the face of the Earth, but in truth, I just didn't feel like blogging. I have been working hard, I have been having fun, I have been over-tired, I have been wasting time, having not enough time, I have been happy, I have been sad, I have felt great in my own skin and not wanted to go out because I didn't feel good enough.

But the fact is, I really missed blogging and I missed my blog friends! So, since it would be impossible and long-winded to catch you up on everything that has happened in the last month, I will just show you some select snapshots that I took. I have felt good and bad, and I have even had a couple of important breakthroughs that I will share in separate posts. Anyway, here it is, [a very small sample of] my life in pictures for July.

What better time than Marvelous Monday?

I got another lovely gift from a homeowner at one of my site inspections; fresh cherries from his tree!

I did not do this with my hands... ;)

I have been doing more sprouting at home. Somehow, food tastes better when you grow it yourself. Just like I'm sure kids must be more tolerable when you can appreciate the fact that you pushed them out of your own vagina.

This happened...

Those were my last pair of well-fitting jeans too :( That means it will be time for jeans shopping come fall, which is the most terrifying experience I can think of at the moment.

I did, however, have a major victory in the clothing department when I bought these:

Yes, those are hot pink, denim, high-waisted shorts and I bought them and they fit like a dream!
I have actually had a lot of consignment store luck lately in the form of a dress, a sweater, another pair of [fitted, non-stretchy] pants and these bangin' booties!

Another ED victory? This...

I had a lunch date with a friend and I got a killer wrap that would have been terrifying in the past. If I ever got a wrap or sandwich, it could only have one fatty/substantial topping on it. But this baby; it had chicken, it had nuts, it had sauce, and it was delicious. It was also on a non-whole wheat wrap, which would have been a sure reason not to eat it in the past. However, that day, I just enjoyed my refined carbs and moved on :)

Speaking of refined carbs...

My roommates are a little obsessed with baking...

And I'm a little obsessed with decorating (and eating) what they bake :)

Too bad a hate lemon meringue pie...

We also have a bit of a house obsession with watermelon. Though, I'm not complaining...

And, I made myself a personal pizza for dinner for the first time in a bajillion years.

Yes, it's fairly healthy pizza, but there is more cheese underneath the toppings and that carby crust was pure bliss!

In other news... Who doesn't love a good prank?

I drove past this sign one day with I was working and I couldn't resist stopping for a picture. And just in case you were wondering, I stayed the hell away from that corner on July 15...

And since I am a genius prankster too...

My roommate was lucky enough to open his window to this one day...

He was scarred for life. I'm pure evil ;)

Which is maybe why Karma bit me in the butt and did this to my car:

But luckily Karma was pretty nice to me because I ended up getting this fixed in 10 minutes, it was free of charge AND... I got a lollypop while I waited ;)

The only thing that would have made it better would be if I were relaxing with this book and a mug of tea :)

I have had plenty of interesting experiences over the past month, including an emergency first aid course where I learned how to do infant CPR on these creepy-looking robot babies.

In all seriousness, I hope I never have to give CPR to a baby.

Another new experience? I finally tried the two new Quest bars that everyone has been going apeshit over!! And yes, they are totally worthy of any apeshitery they may have caused.

A few days ago, I had a Bollywood movie night with some of my friends that I went to India with and I managed to find some of our favourite snacks that we used to eat when we were over there! It was a very exciting moment. Hide&Seeks are like little, crunchy chocolate chip cookies and Masala Munch is basically crunchy Cheetos with spicy masala powder instead of cheese. These snacks made me so nostalgic!

And finally that brings us to this weekend, which is a long weekend in Canada. I went to my parents house for a couple of days to relax a bit. 

It turns out that in the time since I last saw her, Abby as grown a lot, and she has also developed a drinking problem...

Sometimes you just need a good long weekend to catch up on some reading (aka travel planning)...

Watch a sunset or two...

And sit by a fire with the people you love...

Have a Marvelous Monday everyone!!