Food- a mended relationship.

img_0528“Me too”- two words that will alter the direction of any correspondence- it’s a detour on a side street out of a blackened ally. It’s the sudden realization that the reality you’re faced with isn’t something unique to you but rather an inclusionary characteristic with a gathering of others that have walked the same path.

Some friendships click right off the bat; you look lovingly at your new gal pal as a husband and wife did on their very first date- intrigued, curious and excited. Some friendships start that way and some take time, trust and “me too’s.

Sure, we had plenty in common from the get-go- our faith,our passion for animals, and our excitement over fitness but I can put my finger on the moment when I truly saw her as someone I would call a best friend. We shared our past experiences with eating disorders. It was a dark hidden place that we both traveled through.

Body image, anorexia, bulimia, diuretics, laxatives and exercise- they’re occasionally touched on in the media- but I’d bet you a dime to a dollar that slim six packs and teensy-weensy waists are highlighted more often.470a43d740f97

My desire to be slim and slender, desirable and acceptable began at a very young age- exposed to disordered eating growing up, having expectations placed on my appearance and clothing size began early and was not intentional to cause harm by the parties involved but it did- our brains are like kitchen sponges at that age- so eager to soak up our environments and the information presented.

In my youth this was demonstrated in my sudden concern in needing to pick my own outfits out for school- I needed my best friend to like my clothing choices. In high school I was exposed to bigger battles, girls already taking laxatives and binging and purging in sophomore year. What a sad site to see a young woman so disappointed in the body God had gloriously crafted. Not appreciating the new womanly curves that develop in puberty. I took the bate, I would do what it took to have the rail slim body of the girls that danced at my ballet studio, that walked the runways I dreamed of gliding down, the women of the magazine spreads draped in luxurious clothing and looking ever so sad.

It began with a gym membership- harmless enough- I ran. I ran from my hurts, my thoughts, my insecurities and myself. Eventually “burning” the calories wasn’t efficient enough, bulimia took its course with some instruction from whom I considered my best friend. It would go on for years- never able to control the amount I ate and feeling so guilty, shameful and unacceptable: after meals I purged. People caught me and I promised I would stop- never wanting to upset an apple cart or cause worry. The solution didn’t come till I was quite a bit older and finally fully aware of the bodily harm I was causing to myself.

It became an on going internal conversation of- you’re ruining your beautiful braceless teeth, your gums, you’re not even ridding yourself of a third of the calories you’ve consumed, and you’re increasing your likelihood for throat cancer as you continually inflame your esophagus- so what’s the point?

Eventually I stopped- if I over ate I sat with that awful stuffed feeling and let myself digest the food- sooner or later I’d learn some self-control.

Now a few years since I’ve grown to appreciate my womanly curves- still desiring a slimmer figure but realizing it isn’t the end of the world if I haven’t reached my fitness goals just yet. I came to realize I likely wasn’t created to be a Ford model and live in LA and that was OK- there were plenty of other fabulous careers to pursue. Lastly I realized- all men don’t necessarily desire skin and bone- they desire the softness and suppleness of a woman. We naturally have about 25% of our weight coming from fat on our bodies while men are at around 15% if at a healthy weight. We’re attracted to men’s bodies because of that- the muscle, the defined shape and the strength- it’s different than our womanly bodies. Men on the other hand- from what I’ve heard are similar in that they’re attracted to what’s different than them- not necessarily needing a 6 pack to feel satisfied with his wife’s physique.

In March a few year’s back I created an online campaign and invited all of my friends to celebrate a month without makeup- 30 days of rejoicing in a women’s natural God-given beauty. This was probably one of my most healthy moments – celebrating my own natural appearance but encouraging others to do the same.

I’m thrilled that I have a friend that’s journeyed this same road- the one that say’s “me too” she’s someone that I can celebrate healthy recipes and eating with- meals abundant in vibrant vegetables, satisfying protein and luscious satiating fats.img_2937

This most recent recipe we created was a real winner, packed with prebiotic fiber from the corn, beans, kale, quinoa and sweet potatoes.

We drizzled a creamy and zesty cilantro dressing upon the layers of Latin inspired ingredients- jalapeno and cayenne dancing upon our tongues while crunchy sweet bell peppers provided relief from the heat.

This is a meal that will satisfy and leave you feeling full with the high amount of fiber, crunchiness of the kale, the vast amount of spices and because of all the vegetables the recipe provides a nutritious punch loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

Quinoa and Kale Latin bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of prewashed and trimmed kale
  • 1 15 oz. can of jalapeno corn
  • 1 15 oz. can of jalapeno black beans
  • 1 bottle of creamy cilantro salad dressing (Stater Bros makes a store brand version)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • ½ cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa and bulgur blend
  • 1 Hass avocado
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 5 ‘ sweet potato
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • ¼ tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Recipe:

  1. Add ½ cup quinoa and bulgur blend to a cup of water and bring to a boil; turn to a simmer for 10 minutes, fluff and let sit.
  2. Wash and chop the sweet potato into 1 in’ cubes, drizzle with olive oil, cayenne pepper and garlic salt. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until softened and crispy.
  3. Drain corn and black beans.
  4. Chop cilantro leaves- removing stems, slice avocado into thin slices, julienne bell pepper and slice the cherry tomatoes.
  5. Assembly: Lay ½ cup of kale into a big bowl, add ½ cup grain blend, ¼ cup beans, ¼ cup corn, ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, a few bell pepper and avocado slices and finish with a drizzle of dressing.
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