The Gluten Free Debate

Okay, I’m going to talk about this. It annoys the crap out of me that people think a gluten free diet is a weight loss plan. I apologize in advance if this seems like more of a rant than a carefree, semi-informative chat, but people who say they can’t eat gluten when in fact they’ve decided not to eat gluten in hopes that it will magic away their saddlebags really make me want to punch things.

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The Binge Monster

I used to fight with food. Food as an opponent- not as a weapon. (Though a raw brussel sprout to the head would probably hurt a lot.) Cookies for instance. Oh sweet nemesis. Seriously, you can keep your cupcakes, a warm, gooey cakey chocolate chip cookie straight from the oven- just stick a fork in me dammit! In my former food life cookies were forbidden. But I am weak in the face of such deliciousness, and sometimes “I’m not allowed to eat cookies” became, “Mmmmm, coooookies- NO! No I don’t eat cookies! … But I waaaaant them. Maybe just one. Okay two. Okay twelve! NOMNOMNOM!”

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My Favorite Foods: Bulgur Wheat

Quinoa shmeenwah. You probably don’t know this about me, but I tend to gravitate toward the opposite of what the mainstream population is doing. I can’t actually help it; as soon as someone nudges me in one direction I develop an uncontrollable compulsion to run in the other. I don’t know what to say. I am passionate about not doing what you want me to do. Which brings me to quinoa.

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The Portion Size Problem

Bonjour fellow eaters! I’m going to take a minute to gripe about the winter we’re having in Chicago. Snow is one thing, but this whole polar vortex deal is out of control! I went to start my car yesterday morning without a hat on and every hair follicle on my head stood up and tried to run back inside. I read an article by a scientist who spent a year in the Arctic and she said Chicago was colder. Chiberia indeed.

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The Weeknight Meal

I can’t tell you how strange it was for me to start eating dinner. I know that probably sounds bizarre, but seriously the first time I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner I genuinely felt like I was doing something wrong. Like, I’m eating again? This just seems excessive.

Now dinnertime is my favorite meal of the day. That may be because it’s the only one I actually get to eat at home. Breakfast and lunch are eaten at the office. But I like sitting at my table in my apartment with my nice dishes (I collect all kinds of blue & white vintage china). Sometimes I light a candle and try to woo myself. I am a hot date, dammit! Most of the time my dinner is a weird mix of whatever I’ve got laying around, but once in a while I treat myself like a lady and have a nice composed meal. This generally happens right after I’ve gone to the grocery store when I have actual ingredients. Eventually my meals turn into a package of frozen spinach and a Trader Joe’s chicken sausage.

Here’s what I’m eating this week.

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Oats Are Your Friends

Ahh, oats.

I’ve always had a weird weakness for oats. Probably because when I was a kid my mom used to feed us maple & brown sugar Quaker instant oatmeal. That stuff is delicious right? You know why? Because it’s 28% sugar. Yes, 28%! I did the math. And I used a calculator, so I know it’s right.

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Sea Change

Wow, it’s been a while hasn’t it?

The last year has been a tumultuous one for me. I ended a very long term relationship and dealt with all that comes along with living with your ex (oh misery of miseries). I said goodbye to the culinary world and got a proper office job that pays all my bills, and I got my own private little apartment where I can decorate with “girlie shit” and paint three walls purple if I feel like it. (Spoiler: I felt like it.)

Recently I turned 31 and decided it was finally time to address half a lifetime of disordered eating.¬†For fifteen years I survived eating one meal a day in order to keep myself small and over the past year that philosophy simply stopped working – thank you, over 30 metabolism! I was either starving or binging and they were both making me miserable. So I bit the bullet and got myself to a nutritionist. She set me on the path of something called intuitive eating and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Kuz I was mostly¬† like this:

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The idea of eating more food in order to lose weight seemed so backwards to me. I mean eating more to weigh less defies logic, right? My nutritionist explained that by eating the way I was (I’m genuinely embarrassed to admit how many daily calories I was restricting myself to- suffice it to say it was under 1000) I was forcing my body to hoard every calorie that I consumed because it didn’t know when it was going to be fed again. She said the idea was to get my body to trust me to feed it regularly, and if I did that it would start letting go of calories because it knew it would get more later. It was hard to believe, but I was pretty desperate (and who was I to say no to someone who told me to eat more?). So I took a leap of faith.

I think it takes some people a while to adjust to that kind of change in diet, and I was terrified that I would put on weight while my body was adapting to my new eating schedule. But in the next week I must have dropped almost five pounds (which is a lot when you’re barely 5’3″). When I saw my nutritionist again I spent our entire session gushing about how amazing it was and how much I loved my new lifestyle. Honestly I was shocked at how much food normal people have to buy to feed themselves for a week. 21 meals a week! Seriously, that used to be almost a month of eating for me.

Anyway, the point of all this is that I have inadvertently become a clean eater. The idea of intuitive eating is that you don’t deny yourself anything, but you eat mostly what makes your body feel happy. And I have become so in touch with what my body wants that I know when it’s going to yell at me. I also have a pretty persistent case of GERD, so that helps keep me in line too. My body does not, for instance, like Potbelly’s chili. As delicious as it is, it’s simply not worth waking up with your belly/esophagus on fire at 5am.

I’m so amazed at how my life has changed since I’ve started actually eating that I want to share it with the world. I’m actually cooking again! Now I work out to build muscle and be fit; it’s no longer a desperate “I need to be skinny” compulsion. This battle I’ve been fighting with myself for fifteen years is over.

Now let’s eat some damn food.

 

A Snowy Escape

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We all need a little break sometimes, right? Well I need a long break. Seriously, a long extended vacation, preferably somewhere without people. Dogs are acceptable. And sheep. Unfortunately I live in the real world (most of the time), so I had to settle for five days at my parents’ lake house in upper Michigan- with my parents! Who, as far as people go, are pretty good company. Continue reading