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Friday, March 12, 2010

WOO, Spring Break 20-10!!!

...was spent in Yardley... but I am a-ok with that.

I took this week as a time to reflect on all that has gone on between the last time I was home, in December.  It seems as though the more things change, the more they stay the same.  For instance, several months ago I rediscovered the art of intuitive eating.  Yes, the art.  I found myself much more relaxed and less anxious when I was forbidden to exercise, thus I ate more of what appealed to me-- oh, the irony in it all.  I find myself working towards the same goals as I had been.

In efforts to reestablish the 'love' aspect of my love/hate relationship with cooking, I've decided to document various recipes, or in my case- kitchen experiments, every week. I must challenge myself more as I grow quite bored with monotonous, mundane and safe meals. As I strive for more intuitive and mindful eating, I believe the most crucial action is to listen to my stomach and taste buds. I must ask, 'What do I savor? What am I in the mood for at this very moment?' And, in turn, I must answer truthfully and abide to the cravings.

There were several recipes I challenged myself with this week.  Saturday night, my dad and I were feeling spicy and decided to express it in the kitchen, through the beautiful art of cooking.  I must mention the anomalous relationship my father and I share with food, at least in comparison to the one with my mother.  Some of the most memorable moments of my life include learning from my dad's passion and skills in the kitchen.  His multicultural acceptance, stemmed from travels abroad, are reflected through food.  For example, he cooks the most delicious and authentic (at least I think so) paella and Cuban bread.  I've always admired and taken interest in his artistic abilities, and thus have made great attempts to bond over our shared passion for cooking.  He and I share a similar interest in succulent ingredients, piquant spices and mellow cheeses :P.  In fact, we always joke about creating our own Food Network show.  My dad is most definitely my 'go-to' person when I'm in need of anything food-related advice.  In any case, this past weekend I put on my chef's hat and embraced the kitchen, with more confidence than usual.

Warning: none of the following pictures were taken by me.

Et voila. 
My "masterpiece" included a quesadilla stuffed with beans, roasted vegetables, jalapeños, a salsa verde, sprinkle of a 4-cheese Mexican blend baked in the oven and topped with my father's (phenomenal) guacamole recipe and salsa.

Though Saturday's meal was quite satisfying, Sunday brought new cravings... Italian to be precise.  Italian food is one of great fear and difficulty for me, though I won't detail the specifics.  Nonetheless, with my sidekick by my side, I felt invincible and ready to face my fears. 
This recipe included: 
sauteed onion and garlic in a tad of olive oil, spinach, white wine (not so full-bodied), diced tomatoes, various Italian herbs to taste, whole wheat spaghetti and grated Romano cheese for topping. 
And I actually savored each and every bite.  'Who woulda' thought?!'

The confidence augmented as my faith in food, and my father, also increased.  I didn't gain 10 (exaggeration and dichotomous thinking?!) pounds overnight.  On the contrary, I woke up still satisfied but anxious for the next day's challenge.  Due to the lack of peanut butter consumption this week, my taste buds screamed for the entice salty sweetness.  On the car ride home from a family session, the light bulb in my head beamed and I conjured a quick, 10 minute Thai recipe.
The 'peanut sauce' included a mixture of creamy almond butter, water, soy sauce, dabs of sesame oil & hot sauce and a drop of fresh lime juice and smothered steamed vegetables inside of lettuce wraps.

I have always been more of a baker, perhaps because of my strong attraction to dulcet foods.  Today I embark on a new cookie recipe with great hopes and expectations, as I experiment with white chocolate chips (Side note: I've never, ever been a white chocolate fan).
We'll see how they turn out...

Although I am excited to display a variety of ethnic, flavorful recipes, I continue to have no desire to post my daily meals.  This blog has always been a venue and means of escape from the daily, and many times overwhelming, activity I endure.  When no one else understands the minuscule triumphs and tribulations I face, I know I can find immediate comfort at the keyboard (both the computer and piano)-- writing never lets me down.  It's a form of personal freedom as it frees me from the mass identity I get lost in everyday.  Writing has been the most consistent and beneficial therapy throughout the recovery process, thus far.  Therefore, only the most sincere and raw thoughts spill from thoughts through the fingertips and onto the screen, and meals are not included. 

What's more, my mother and I went shopping and I tried clothes on, 'modeled' the outfits in front of full length mirrors (my arch nemesis) and mom, and bought several new outfits with contentment and satisfaction. Whoa.  To elaborate on a somewhat comparable topic, I have given great thought to the controversy that surrounds weights and numbers.  Though weight tends to be synonymous with recovery, it is not the be-all-end-all. Many times, friends and family (those without eating disorders) evaluate my progress in simulation with the numbers, and quite frankly, there is much more to recovery. Thoughts, feelings, moods and behaviors all work together with the execution of coping skills and strategies; Yet, the intangible measures are so abstruse, that they often go ignored by others.  The most difficult challenge I am currently faced with is acceptance and balance, as I am often trouble by thoughts of bad body image and the anticipation of continued weight gain.  I must remember to trust my body, remain consistent with the meal plan I have been given by trustworthy professionals and disregard triggering statements and actions of others.  My body knows the weight it's meant to be at, and though it fluctuates, I must trust the process and stay truthful to myself, the caloric intake I need (right now) and the flavors I crave. 

This spring break has been wonderful thus far, but I still have plenty to internalize, rationalize and write about. 

"Writing eases my suffering... writing is my way of reaffirming my own existence."-- Gao Xingjian  

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  1. I have never believed that recovery is about a certain weight. Numbers are so triggering. And numbers do not define health. Our vitality and happiness defines our health. Congrats on intuitive eating, finding awesome clothes, and cooking amazing food. Those are enormous steps. You must be seriously proud of yourself. I know I am so proud of you!
    Keep savoring the flavors of life (not just of food)!

  2. recovery is a confusing thing. Obviously, numbers are important because you absolutely must be at a healthy weight to be healthy, but at the same time the mental part is hte hardest part to overcoem. Sure, we can all eat more to gain, but changing our way of thinking is a lot more complex... I am so glad you are realizing the joy of simply eating a good meal with someone you love- that is such an important part of life. I am really glad that you are feeling positive and that you choose to write as an outlet- you are a fantastic writer!!

  3. Recovery is most definitely more than the number on a scale or the number on an article of clothing. Anyone can restore their weight in a jiffy, but the healing of the mind (where the Eating Disorder is center and manifested) takes time to heal! it is a really difficult journey and it is frustrating when whether you are doing well or not is ALWAYS determined by the scale.
    Numbers aren't everything. Numbers should be nothing! But it is also extremely important to be at a healthy weight so your brain functions properly (that way you can think straight and recover more smoothly!)
    I'm kind of just going with the flow of things...

    But I think you are a wonderful writer, your words flow and I enjoy reading your blog :)

    I noticed at the beginning of your post you mentioned that you felt more carefree when you WEREN'T allowed to exercise. If that is what you were saying, then I SO AGREE WITH YOU.
    I felt like I could eat more variety and have more fun with my food when my nutritionist did not allow me to exercise.... it is so weird isn't it??

    Have a good day, love

  4. i too have a desire for cooking, learning, tasting and including new ingredients and MEETING the demands of food my body desires. whether spicy, italian, savory, or bland, i try to base my meals around the taste i want. i think it is more satisfying and makes food more enjoyable because it is what i WANT, not a repitition of what i force myself to have- if that makes sense.

    keep it up! you have a good attitude. recovery is all over the place but hopefully it will balance out for us all one day, as i am still haunted daily with the anticipation of weight gain. the mind is a controlling and powerful thing. changing the anticipation thoughts to acceptance because you accept recovery in itself may help!

  5. This was a great post :) Recovery is so much more than the concrete numbers. Intuitive eating, enjoying meals, shopping and indulging in oneself, being creative -- those are all wonderful signs of recovery :)

  6. What a great, reflective post. I'm glad you allowed yourself to enjoy your spring break, and that you feel you have more of a handle on intuitive eating. Those quesadillas look way too good to pass up!

  7. I fell in love with cooking through my recovery as well. When I first started eating more normally again, my food was horribly boring and plain. Figuring that if I had to gain weight I might as well enjoyed it, I started to get more creative in the kitchen and I'm really glad I did; it's made eating a lot more enjoyable and less guilt-ridden.

  8. such a great post honey. recovery is a hard process but as long as you are able to go through the different stages with a rational mind, you will go so far. especially with the intuitive eating; it's been a hard thing for me, coming and going as it pleases, but as long as you realize what it is and how to do it, you can get back to it and accomplish it 100%!

  9. It is so great to read about the transformation that you have experienced. I find it so inspiring, especially since the intuitive eating is definitely something I still struggle with. There is nothing more difficult or courageous than struggling but picking yourself back up again. Congratulations!

  10. what a deep post! thanks for sharing with us!
    and thx for finding my blog, have a wonderful nite :)

  11. Great post. I struggled with intuitive eating in the past. It led to binging for me. I'm scared to try it again because of that. I'm very inspired by your bravery and determination in your recovery. You're a strong woman. Keep smiling!

  12. I totally agree with you about the not posting every single thing that I eat. blogging is a haven, why bring the anxiety of meals into it?

    I hope you continue to do well! Have a wonderful spring break.

  13. intuitive eating is def an art. you are so inspiring, my dear! this post made me smile :)

  14. It's so inspiring to see you feeling better about your outlook on life!
    You truly are inspiring, thank you.

  15. wow! I think it's wonderful you tried so many new recipes and they all sound amazing!

  16. hey Rebecca!
    thanks so much for the comment on my blog.

    Recovery is SO hard to's definitely not all about being "weight restored." For me, I guess it is all's the little things like taking a glance in the mirror without a negative thought popping into my head or constantly comparing myself to others.

    Have a great spring break :)

  17. I feel like my family no longer takes my psychological issues as seriously now that I am at a healthier weight. It's pretty discouraging. I'm glad your spring break went well ! I love that quote at the bottom. -Kylee

  18. So glad you were able to enjoy cooking and eating with your dad. Food really is something that's meant to be shared with the people we love. It's hard to do that when all the disordered thoughts are telling you not to enjoy food at all. The dinners look delicious :)

  19. I love all the recipes you made!! Esp that quesadilla! You sound like your feeling great, which is so uplifting to read. I hope you keep on kicking butt with the intuitive eating:)

  20. Great job with the challenges, way to go girl! So proud...

    Stay strong and keep fighting:)

    xxx Julia (Taste of Living)

  21. I really agree that trusting your body to tell you what it needs is a key to recovery. For me, I spent so much time controlling and then losing control that I never really listened to my body. So of course it seemed unpredictable and scary but lately I've been realizing that trusting my body to tell me and really listening to it, is the easiest plan there is! At some point you don't have to plan or give too much thought to food at all. And that's a great feeling. You are doing wonderfully! The meals sounded delicious too!