Just Eat

It’s Eating disorder Awareness Week… I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal to most people. “Just eat”… “I wish I had THAT problem” … Two of the most frustrating, rude, cavalier and insensitive phrases I hear whenever ED’s come up. Eating disorders are serious. Serious like addiction. And it’s not because “we” are selfish, vain or conceited. It’s because we have no self love, self worth and no grace. It’s because we feel out of control in life and take it out on our bodies. Because we feel guilt when we take care of ourselves. Eating disorders are not a joke.

(I rewrote the paragraph above a few times changing the “we” to “they” and the “our” to “their” because I’m struggling with whether or not I want to own my own struggles right now. #VigorousHonesty)

Eating disorders come in many forms, restricting, binging, purging, over exercising… these are the symptoms, the whiskey to the alcoholic, the meth to the addict, the abuser to the abused. If you’ve ever known or loved someone who struggled with addiction, you’ve probably thought, “Why can’t they see what their doing to themselves?”

“Why don’t they just stop?”

“Why doesn’t she leave him?”

“She doesn’t love me enough to quit.”

That’s pretty much the same thoughts you might have when you are close to someone with an eating disorder. It’s frustrating. Maybe a little more frustrating because it’s harder to understand. Harder to relate to. I grew up in a home where addiction was talked about often. My dad is over 30 years sober and has worked in treatment for my entire life. My sister has been in rehab a few times, my mom, too. Addiction, recovery, 12 Steps, meetings, amends…. This is all the norm to me. Addiction, we can handle. We have the tools. But about 12 years ago when I was diagnosed as “Anorexic with purging”, none of us had any idea how to deal. My dad was very proactive, he got me help immediately. A therapist, treatment… What I didn’t have was anyone in my life who understood. In a world where everyone was on the Atkin’s Diet, I didn’t fit in. It was really lonely. For me, going to a 12-Step meeting was not useful. I didn’t use. Not like them. For me, not eating served the same purpose, however, I was not offered the same grace. People rolled their eyes, because their addiction was “worse”. Because “all” I had to do was “just eat”. (I am rolling my eyes as I type this!)

I have forgiven everyone who’s ever belittled my disease because I understand that you DON’T understand. I would like to give a little insight though. So maybe you can have more grace with someone who is walking a road you’ve never walked.

I have a friend, a good friend who also has an eating disorder, and she is the only person besides my therapist who “gets it”. The irony is that she over eats and I under eat. (I’m actually in recovery… see here is where it’s hard to compare addiction and ED’s because when an alcoholic drinks, they’re no longer sober. If I have a bad eating day, I’m not off the wagon necessarily. It’s not THAT simple. Hence ED awareness week.) However, if you sit us both down and talk with us, or, hear us talk with each other, it’s the same words, it’s the same feelings. We just have literally opposite reactions. When I am sad, I lose 15 pounds. When she is sad, she gains 15 pounds. I’m not saying like I feel sad today and magically 15 pounds evaporate. I mean like, when I am going through depression, stress, anxiety, etc. I can’t eat. Like physically, I cannot swallow food. I will chew for ages and just can’t swallow. And I and not necessarily even upset about my body during these times. In fact, if I’m in that place, I am not even thinking about my body. I am too absorbed in my misery. Yes throughout my life I have acted out my ED because I have had a “fat” day (a word I avoid). I have also noticed that my “fat days” directly correlate to my emotions. The scale has not changed, but for some reason today I fucking HATE my body. Nothing looks right, nothing feels right. I want to rip off my skin. I literally want to take scissors to my thighs. I want to vacuum the fat from my belly. These are the images I get when I look in the mirror on a “fat day.” Meanwhile my brain is saying, “You’re worthless, you’re weak, you’re not lovable, nobody takes you seriously, you deserve to feel lonely, nobody needs you. You’re too outspoken, you’re too opinionated. You’re not smart enough or pretty enough. You’re just not enough. Oh- except your thighs, those are too much. Jeez, Justine, what’s wrong with you? You’re a shitty anorexic. You ate WAY too much yesterday and LOOK at your ass! You can’t even eat right. You’re so stupid. You need to control yourself. You are an embarrassment.” You see how it’s not actually about my body? My body is the scapegoat. Internally I feel like I can’t fix my uselessness, and all the things wrong with who I am, but, I CAN fix my thighs. So here I am desperately hating myself, and truly needing someone to love me, someone to affirm me. Not my body. ME. and I don’t know how to ask for that. And I sure as hell don’t believe I deserve it. So I am sad. So I can’t eat. And not eating serves a purpose. Not eating ,makes me feel successful subconsciously. Eating literally makes me nauseous, so NOT eating makes me feel better.

Meanwhile my friend who over eats has the SAME thoughts, only her coping skill is to make herself feel better by eating. Because when she is eating it FEELS GOOD. It smells good, and looks good and fills her. It literally fills the emptiness. So she will eat fast food, and thus PROVE to herself, all the things her brain has been chanting. That she isn’t strong enough to lose the weight, that she is worthless, that she’s fat. That she doesn’t “deserve” to be healthy, because if she did deserve it, she could eat like a “normal” person. She “proves” her worthlessness to herself every time she gets on a scale and hasn’t lost any weight. Every time her doctor is disappointed. Every time her nutritionist overwhelms her with lists of food she “can’t” have. It’s overwhelming. And what’s the point anyway, right? She feels like a failure. Maybe she is? Oh, is that a Mc Donald’s? French fries will help. And she’ll try again tomorrow.

I don’t know if my sharing this is helpful. I just thought, in the spirit of the week, maybe I can shine some light on a subject that you just can’t grasp at face value.

I want you all to know that I have been working my recovery, seeing my therapist, and learning to love myself. To change the way I talk to myself. To recognize the red flags and seek help when I start going down the rabbit hole. My recovery really doesn’t have a whole lot to do with food. Food is just the way I show the sickness. As a mom I have been good at maintaining a healthy weight… but masking the real issue. I am in a place where I want recovery, and I understand that just because I am not acting out my ED, does not mean I am cured. I understand that every single day I need to work to make the right choices. Because, magically, when I am doing what is right and healthy for me, I don’t hate myself so much. In fact, I start seeing the good. I have recognized that my decisions directly effect my self worth. And I am worth being happy. I am worth love. I am lovable. And so are you.

Fighting Food Demons

I read this article today on “orthorexia nervosa”. Haven’t heard of it? Neither had I, although I had a sneaking suspicion it was a thing. It’s having an unhealthy (go figure) obsession with eating clean. Generally when someone gets on a health kick, they are trying to be healthy. Evidently the issue here is that this drive towards ultimate health can actually make you UNHEALTHY. Well, that sucks. Particularly if you’re me. Having struggled with eating disorders for many years, resulting in rehab, then outpatient, groups and lots of therapy, I finally found peace with food. However, my “peace” with food has become increasingly “unpeacful”. When I built a healthy relationship with food, I decided I needed to have a better understanding of food. What is it? Where does it come from? What’s in it? What does “processed” mean? How does my body react to certain foods? Answering these questions helped me to not dwell on the calories, however I have noticed that I still feel just as guilty (and judgmental even) when I eat certain foods. And it’s not like a regular person who would not even consider that they have a relationship with food, (because you normies just EAT food.) and maybe feels some guilt when they go to a drive through, or eat ice cream. I feel guilty when I eat a sandwich. I feel self loathing when I eat bread. I hate myself when I eat cheese. And it’s not just that I do have a fear of gaining weight, but in my head I am thinking that I am causing inflammation which will undoubtedly lead to every health problem imaginable. And it will be because I ate a slice of pizza. I will die a miserable death because I had mozzarella sticks. You may be thinking that I am insane… But you may be like me and you maybe literally won’t EVER touch demonic foods that contain gluten, dairy or GMOs. (And I am over here feeling sickeningly jealous of your strength…. *You see, I wouldn’t ever buy these satanic tempestuous treats, but my husband literally won’t live without them. He thinks that no meal is a meal without carbs, in fact he thinks it’s ridiculous when me and my daughter don’t eat sandwiches. He would like to know what will fill us up if we don’t eat bread?*…And lucky if you don’t have have a partner who eats clean as well.)  It doesn’t stop there, I feel like like I am bringing bad karma onto myself for eating certain foods! (namely animal products)

I can compare this overwhelming guilty conscious to religious people. In fact, I believe I am so sensitive to not “doing what’s right” because of my past in churchianity. So if you feel bad because you missed church, or forgot to say your prayers, or whispered a curse word, maybe you feel a fraction of what I feel when I eat food (that you may even consider healthy). I feel like I have to go to confession after eating black bean soup! AND IT’S VEGAN! Why? I read that beans cause inflammation. I start planning a cleanse after eating quinoa. Yeah… quinoa. We all thinks it’s so healthy… but is it? I listen so carefully to my body after eating a food because I have to know how it effects me. I have slight depression when I see a carton of milk. I mean, those poor cows. And the meat isle?!? It’s a graveyard, It’s the dead animal isle. I don’t like it. I feel like I am literally driving the nails into Jesus’s hands when I eat cheese that isn’t organic. And I have nausea even if it is organic because I’m a little grossed out by the concept of cheese. And simultaneously, cheese is my weakness, it’s the equivalent of the shame you may feel watching porn.

OK so you see my insanity. But here’s the deal, I don’t eat perfectly. So far I am healthy, even though I cheat sometimes. I can and do go to restaurants. I will find food that I can/will/want to eat. (Except fast food, but if we are going with the religious comparison, fast food is like a whore house, right?) I generally bring my own food to a BBQ, this isn’t that weird because I don’t eat meat, and it doesn’t bother me. I would like to say that my food standards are reasonable. I felt bad a few weeks ago when a friend asks me to feed her kid lunch and I knew already that he wouldn’t eat what we had. When I asked what he liked to eat, she suggested something like, mach n cheese, buttered noodles, pb&j, chicken nuggets, cereal and oatmeal. I had none of that. Or I and pieces… no butter, no bread, organic funny looking noodles, no milk for cereal, no peanut butter…. I apologized (don’t worry he was fed!), I honestly felt bad, but in reality, it’s not that big of a deal. These things happen, and I don’t think those are necessary foods. I don’t think that makes me extreme, either. I think that maybe my intense feelings on dairy seem extreme, but not buying chicken nuggets, not so much.

You may be wondering what this means for my kiddos? What do they eat? Well, if we go to a birthday party or a bbq, they eat pizza, hot dogs, cake and chips. The only thing I really put my foot down on at a social even is soda. At home my kiddos eat a balanced healthy diet, and I try to buy organic. They get dessert 2-3 times a week. My kids don’t eat as strict of a diet as I do, and that’s ok. I have had to loosen the reigns on that one, I wasn’t always so nonchalant about that.

Am I orthorexic? No, I don’t think so. I think that eating this way has helped improve my health and is better for my family. Do I think it’s a fine line? Yes. Considering my history it’s not weird that I have unhealthy emotions about food, however, it’s pretty awesome that I have not taken my obsession with health to an unhealthy extreme. I will be mindful, and I will continue fighting my food related demons.

F.Y.I

 

Welcome!

I’m  just writing a “welcome” blog now for 2 reasons:

1. A lot of people recently registered to this blog, and since I have no “website building skills”, there is a lot you wouldn’t know about this website unless you’ve been following me for the last year or so.

2. Things have changed recently, and I feel I should address those changes. (Yes, I’m referring to the cult)

HELLO

Hi, My name is Justine and I started blogging because I needed a place to pour out my heart. As a mother, step-mother, wife, health coach and writer, my hands were very full, my time extremely limited, and the ‘vacations” I require in my head to write or read were diminishing. Making a commitment to this blog was a commitment to myself.

You will notice that in the beginning my blogs were centered completely around health and parenting. As I have become more comfortable, I have written more personal and therapeutic posts.

HEALTH and PARENTING

Half of you are here because you are on the road to health, or you’re a parent and *hopefully* felt refreshed by my candor on the struggles with parenting. I have no shame in saying that my pregnancy was a bitch, I hated every minute of it, and think labor is the most disgusting experience of my life. I have no desire to repeat either endeavor, therefore, my tubes are tied. I was blessed with 2 amazing step children, whom, along with my daughter and my husband complete me. They inspired me to get healthy, you see I was “skinny fat”, and over the last few years have made the life style change and commitment to eating whole, real, non-GMO and preferably organic food. This was a huge change for my husband and my step-son and step-daughter (and the in-laws) *See my blog for details: http://healthymama.net/fast-food-fight/ * but it has made a huge difference in our energy, attitudes and certain behavior issues we were having with one of our little rascals.

***I used to be associated with a health company, however it would seem they do not appreciate blogs about their products so I am removing all information pertaining to this company. I apologize, it appears I was not in “compliance” when I posted that my husband and I had no wedding debt thanks to “this company”(…. It’s true, I made $9,000 in a couple months which paid for our wedding.)

THE CULT

The other half of you… actually at this point maybe more than half of you are here because you read one or more of my blogs about the International Church of Christ (ICC)/ International Christian Churches (ICC). I want to start this subject by saying that I never imagined my little blog could cause such a stir. Upon writing the first blog about my past with the ICOC, “Because The Bible Says So” * http://healthymama.net/lets-make-parenting-less-of-a-dictatorship/  * Some feathers were ruffled, but all in all, it was not a big deal, so MONTHS later… maybe a year later, I wrote “So… I Grew Up In A Cult…” * http://healthymama.net/so-i-grew-up-in-a-cult/ * and holy WOW! Facebook blew up (I am friends with a lot of members and former members) I started getting lots of emails and tons of views on this particular post. The emails were (mostly) people saying Thank-You for being the voice of those who were burned so badly by the ICOC. I had no intention or writing another blog on the subject until I was accused of lying, and to back me up, and to gain closure, a few people asked me to share their stories, too.  Although I’m a Pisces (typically a go with the flow kind of person) my moon (emotions) is in Aries, which is code for: I’m a stubborn f*ck. So, being accused of lying only ignited my Aries emotion. The more I was challenged, the more my fire was fueled. After a few weeks of compiling stories and quotes, I posted “Queen of the Damned (Recovering from Cult Life)” *http://healthymama.net/queen-of-the-damned-recovering-from-cult-life/ * and this one has been read over 1,000 times, in less than 5 days. Which is insanity to me, but, I’ll be honest, I get it. Not only was I validating hundreds of people’s pain and suffering, I evidently struck a chord with current members. If someone else had written it, I would have been sharing it all over Facebook and Twitter saying “OMG! Someone gets it! Someone else feels the way I do! See, I’m not crazy!!!”

I want you to know something, I am proud to be the voice of former Kingdom Kids. I wish someone had stepped out a long time ago, because I needed this fellowship to heal. I have decided to take my role a little further. I have started a Facebook page called ICOC Recovery *https://www.facebook.com/icocrecovery * and I encourage you to “like” the page so we can start some healthy dialogue. If you don’t feel comfortable posting publicly, feel free to private message me. I am here for you. I believe it is my calling to be support for people in need (there is that Pisces nature), if you need to tell your story, TELL ME. (I only posted stories that people specifically asked me to publish) If you need help getting out, I will help. If you disagree with me and want to tell me how the ICOC/ICC is the only way to god, go for it. I enjoy a healthy debate.

I have definitely had my character attacked by people in one of these organizations in order to discredit me, and I fully understand. They are scared. Their church is young, made up of young impressionable (sheeple) people, and I know from experience that they don’t want me to shake their young one’s faith with my facts, memories and reasons. It must be scary to see a little fish make such a huge wave, especially when you’re trying to rule the pond.

I want to make it clear here that I don’t believe in god, but I don’t consider myself a soul-less heathen. My heart is good, and I know it can be hard for Christians to see good in someone who doesn’t believe same way, it’s OK. I won’t lose sleep if you condemn me to hell. Just bear in mind, I know The Bible (as my best friend said, “You give her a book, she’ll read it!”) and YOU can’t condemn me to anywhere, Jesus said. If you are curious to know my personal spiritual views, click here * http://healthymama.net/the-god-thing/ * I also want to make it clear that I am an LGBT advocate, and I do not tolerate racism, sexism, bigotry or hate.  I believe in love, and I hope for everyone to find their other half, regardless of race, color or sex. Love is love, and it is beautiful. For more on this, read “Stop! Hating is bad” * http://healthymama.net/stop-hating-is-bad/ *

I hope this has cleared things up, and I am working on making some sort of an archive for all 60-ish blogs, and to make this website easier to navigate. If any of you happen to be tech savvy, I would love some help 😉

****If you are reading this because you have had a similar experience, have history with the ICOC/ICC, or you need help leaving, I am going to post some resources here for you. Free to email me at isahealthymama@yahoo.com or find my “recovery page” on facebook www.facebook.com/icocrecovery Here are a few blogs and websites from people who have left the ICOC/ICC and have shared their experiences and knowledge:

http://www.reveal.org/ <— This page has the truth about the ICOC.
http://www.spiritualpornography.com/ <— Don’t worry, it’s totally appropriate, she named it Spiritual Pornography because that’s what Kip McKean called it when you read anything negative about the church. They post information it might be harder to find, such as Kip’s (supposed) resignation, and letters written to the church.

http://henrykriete.com/ <— Here you can read what REALLY happened with Henry Kriete and his family.
http://ministeriolatino.blogspot.com/ <—- Here you can read a blog from a former member of Kip’s current church (City of Angels International Church of Christ). He has written actually experiences between himself and Kip, AND other “leaders”. A very interesting read. He came across my blog and actually recognized someone I had written about (I kept it confidential).
http://www.tolc.org/ <—- Here you can read Henry Kriete’s letter and other letters written to the church. You can also click “debate” and you will be transferred to http://forums.delphiforums.com/n/main.asp?webtag=ICCdiscussion&nav=start&prettyurl=%2FICCdiscussion%2Fstart where you can interact with current and former members.

 

The Passion and Pain Will Keep Me Alive

Dancing with her lovey

I am a mother, I am also a step mother. I am incredibly passionate, which is both a blessing and a curse. My opinions and feelings on things are very big! I react instantly and and explosively. So imagine being a work at home mom. I do not “go to work” and a lot of people seem to think this means that I have free time, I don’t. I have almost no free time. My life quite literally revolves around the kids, from the moment I wake up in the morning to the time I go to sleep at night. So that does not leave much room for me to be passionate about things, while, my passion may hinder me on occasion, I wouldn’t give it up. When I stop giving 100%, and learning and changing, it means I don’t care, my light will be snuffed, and that is when depression sets in.

“I can understand how the edges are rough And they cut you like the tiny slithers of glass And you feel too much And you don’t know how long you’re gonna last” -Pink

 

Depression is a scary place to be. If you have never been depressed, it’s the darkest, coldest, loneliest place you can imagine, and it follows you everywhere. It’s impossible to describe to anyone, and and it’s unfair to everyone around you, everyone who wants to help but can’t. You’re numb, nothing touches you, food doesn’t taste the same, your friends and family don’t mean what they once did. You’d rather be alone, even though you hate being lonely. It’s a scary place where you’re confronted by your demons, and you don’t have the energy to fight. I have struggled with depression since I was in middle school. I was medicated and had a therapist from the time I was 11 until I was 19, and at that point I was no longer insured, so I took what I had learned in the 8 years of therapy, the 3 months of rehab and the weeks of outpatient, and I was ok sometimes, other times, I wasn’t. I got myself into horrible situations, terrible relationships, and at times I felt it would be easier to die than deal with my problems.

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My pregnancy was one of the darkest times in my life. I did not want to be pregnant, I was terrified, lonely and angry. And nobody wanted to hear me. Nobody wanted to know the truth, the truth that I was forced to live with. The hormones took me over and held me down, I was sick EVERY SINGLE DAY. I hoped I wouldn’t wake up as I fell asleep every night. Who do you talk to when everyone is so happy, and can’t possibly understand how far you’ve gone into the deep sea of depression. Especially when my daughter’s father’s family did not “believe” in depression and therapy. They did not acknowledge my misery, or anything else that wasn’t picture perfect. I could go on and on about my horrible pregnancy and depression, but that’s actually not the point. My point is, every time I started getting pulled under the surface, I had nothing to feel passionate about. I had nothing to fight for.

“I won’t let you make the great escape, I’m never gonna watch you checkin out of this place I’m not gonna lose you Cause the passion and pain Are gonna keep you alive someday.” -Pink

Passion. Passion is not only something to fight for, but, more importantly, it’s something to LIVE for. I am not ashamed of my passion, and I understand that not everyone will see it, not everyone will understand why the heck after my daughter was born, and she gave me life, I became obsessed with cloth diapering. I researched it, and it gave me something to do, something to right my little corner of the world. I breast fed my daughter until she was almost 2! That was another thing I fought for because I had not only friends who did not understand, and were negative, but family that that blatantly disagreed with my decision. Honestly, having people disagree only reinforced me, it pushed me to find studies proving why breast is best. No one ever thought I would potty train my daughter when she was only 14 months old, but, guess what, it was another thing to look forward to, to work for, another thing to be excited about! Over the past 4 years, many things have made it to my passion list, not all of them have stuck. One thing did stick, and is ever evolving. My passion for health.

Health was right up my ally, after nursing and all of the research I did, it was only a matter of time before I caught the bug. I am so glad I did! I have never been healthier, and I believe in this. I believe so much, that yes, it’s worth it to fight for. You’d think food would not be a fight (see my blog “(Fast) Food Fight”), apparently it is. It never was an issue until I became a step mom and started introducing real food to my family. I have not yet been here for a year, so this is all very new to my fiance and my step children. It’s a foreign concept to my future in-laws. It’s really hard for people to respect these choices when they can’t understand them. And harder still when they don’t want to.

To set the record straight, while health is my passion, the decision to eat real food was not mine alone. When I first moved in I shopped for my food at my store, and he shopped for their food at his store. He made the decision to try what me and Jo ate, he started reading labels, he jumped on board with me. For some reason there seems to be a misunderstanding there. James has a mind of his own, and he also has an open mind. Those are two things that I love about him. He is totally willing to try to understand why things are important to me, in doing so, he decided to stop eating fast food on his lunch breaks, and totally stand beside me when we made our house fast food free.

I mentioned that passion can hinder me… it does, in this case especially because people seem to think I’m judging, when I’m not. Yes I have convictions, yes my feelings are strong, and yes, I will fight for them. I do expect to be respected, particularly if you are someone who would like to be involved in our lives. We need support from the people who are close to us. Raising children that have been through trauma makes it that much more important for us all to be united, and for stability in their lives. I have only been here since March (2012), and I am doing the best I can. These kids are my life, I have nothing besides my family, most of my friends are busy with their lives, and have moved on, just as I have. You don’t have to understand, but I think it would be easier if you were on the same page.

I tend to push people away when my passion gets the best of me. It’s never my intention, but things get miscommunicated, and misunderstood, like I said some think I’m judging, others are jealous that I am blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home, and the ability to fully live what I believe is right. Others are afraid I will force my lifestyle on them. That’s not my pan. While I believe this way of eating can save your life, but it’s up to you to make this decision, just like I did not force JAmes to eat my way. He chose this. Now we do have kids, and we decided to do what we believe is right for them, and its been slow going, and I do not do it perfectly, but that is the beauty of this type of change, we can take baby steps. As parents, their nutrition is our responsibility. We are doing our best.

As I type this I can’t stop thinking about how this resembles a religious fight. I remember being  young and in church (a cult), and how hard my parents worked to do what they felt was right when it came to “The God Thing”. People thought I was so weird, and my church as so creepy. I hated that I was never allowed to go places with my friends, and I was the only one of my friends that was not allowed to date. My parents stuck to what they believed, and it did save me from a lot of dangerous  situations. I did not like it at the time, and I do have a lot of bitterness with the church, and all religion, for that matter, but I do appreciate the integrity that was instilled in me. I have always been a terrible liar, annoying at times, but considering I am the kind of person that can’t live a lie because lies fester in my soul and ruin me… It’s forced me to be honest, and stick up for myself. I don’t tell my kids that if they eat cinnamon toast crunch they will die, I just say, we don’t eat things like that because it’s not good for you. So I ope my kids won’t grow up and rebel, and hate me for never buying marshmellows, although I’m sure in a few years, they will eat what they want. My plan is to keep healthy foods at home, and for now, to keep feeding them real food, until they are older, and going out with friends, having sleep overs, and thinking fast food is a food group. Ideally, they will grow up, and still have a taste for salad, and I will know I did my part.

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****I have written many blogs that explain why nutrition is so important to me and my family. I have a facebook page where I post the things we eat, recipes, ask advice, share my blogs… my blog is open to anyone who wants to take the time to understand, before they judge. My facebook page is also open to anyone. I know some of you avid readers only do so in order to gossip, I knew that when I started this website. I want to be clear here, everything I say here I would not hesitate to say to anyone, particularly the people I write about. I do not hide my feelings, and I’m not passive aggressive. I encourage you to not take what I say out of context. for those of you with questions that you don’t feel comfortable asking, you can click on “Health and Fitness, and you will find all of my blogs that explain how we eat, and why.****

 

 

 

Taste testing and scheduling

Today I went to Vons, it’s rare for me, I almost always shop at Trader Joe’s. Today since I was babysitting I thought I would take the kids out for a walk, and I had a list of things I wanted to try, and hoped I could find at Vons. Turns out, Vons does not carry chia seeds, but they do have dates! Trader Joe’s did not have dates, but they do have chia seeds. I already have coconut oil and dried fruit (from Trader Joe’s, of course). So I won’t be making chia seed energy bars tonight, hopefully I will make it to the store tomorrow. I did find kale chips, carrot chips and apple chips. I bought a bag of each. I would suggest making your own because the quantity is just not worth the price. Kale chips tasted kind of like potato chips, the carrot chips were just gross, and I have not tried the apple chips yet. I also bought prunes. I am not a huge fan of prunes, but something you will learn about me, I don’t necessarily ingest foods because I like it, or enjoy it. I look at the benefits and if I don’t hate the taste, I’ll go ahead and eat it. I did not buy them for me though, my daughter was having trouble using the bathroom a few weeks ago, and I thought, maybe this will help to avoid that problem. I don’t know if it was my master manipulation skills, or if the kids actually enjoy prunes, but they loved them! I had to take them away out of concern for their little systems!

I also saw a bottle of acai berry juice. I have never tried it before and was in a taste testing mood. Acai berries are supposed to be high in antioxidants and omega fatty acids. This bottle claimed that one serving is equal to 4 servings of fruits and vegetables. Couldn’t hurt, right? I never bought into the rage of acai a few years back, but I know it is commonly used in weight loss products. I had an 8 ounce glass this afternoon as a pick me up, and it did it’s job, I am ready for my workout. To be fair any healthy snack probably would have done the trick. If I notice any changes this week I will be sure to write about it!

The last few weeks have been really tough. I have been so off. My workout schedule, my cleaning schedule, my eating schedule, and clearly my blogging schedule. I am trying to get back on track. I cannot even explain how crazy I feel inside when I am not successfully executing all of my parenting goals. Yes, the kids are fed, homework is done, we have had some play time, and they are bathed… but when I have not been able to do all of the laundry, and when the floors have not been mopped I feel like I must be slacking off. Even though I know I’m not I’m still just as exhausted at the end of the day as I was when I was doing all of the cleaning and working out 5 days a week. I may have to stop doing something, but I have no idea what I can give up. For now I am shifting responsibilities around and trying not to expect so much of myself. Today I mopped the floors, deep cleaned the bathroom and put away laundry. I made a huge pot of quinoa and added a cup of pureed spinach, and boiled a bunch of eggs. I also took the kids out for a walk, played outside and was babysitting a one year old all day. Today was a success, but it is far from over. I have to cram for my Personal Fitness Trainer exam!!!

Parenting and health: Uphill battles

There is no winning… I have been used to the dirty looks for a long time. As a breast feeding mom I had a lot of negativity thrown my way. People were uncomfortable that I publicly breastfed, I had people… family, even tell me that breastfeeding is not healthier than formula. No offense to any formula feeding parents, but that’s bull. Not to say there is anything wrong with formula, it’s fine… it’s just the second best nutrition for a child. I chose, because I was blessed with the ability to breastfeed, not all parents have the option, and it is a huge commitment. As if becoming a parent isn’t enough of a commitment, right? I even had my daughters pediatrician tell me she would have mental issues because she was not getting enough iron. (Upon research I found that the iron in breast milk is easier absorbed than formula, solid food, or iron supplements!) She was never underweight, she is bright as the sun, she was speaking sentences before she was a year old, I never once worried that she was not getting proper nutrition. My daughter just would not eat food. I’m not kidding, all she wanted was boob. I had a child who was potty trained when she was 14 months old, but would gag and throw up if she ate solid food. She did not start eating solids until she was 19 months old, which is when we weaned.

P!nk breastfeeding on the set of a music video
P!nk breastfeeding on the set of a music video

Having survived breastfeeding, I was relieved to think the ridicule regarding my daughters diet was over. Ha! Far from it! When you begin feeding your kids solid food it is a whole different ball game. All of a sudden there are parents who feed their kids gerber, organic, juice, soda, alcohol, hot cheetos (that was me…), you name it, and every other parent has an opinion. So personally I try to stick as close to organic and plant based as possible. After reading ingredients I can’t help but to feel guilt over the food I have given my kids, yes, hot cheetos (chemical crap), crap granola bars (just as unhealthy as candy bars, just not as tasty), top ramen (MSG, salt, chemicals)… I still do give her some of this stuff. Not daily, but occasionally, I try to have easy HEALTHY food available so I don’t offer crap. Sometimes I feel like they need to have some crap so they don’t get obsessed, deprived and start hoarding (living in recovery from an eating disorder and being treated with all kinds of food related disorders and growing up in a cult, I am very aware of the effects of forcing a belief.) I have another approach, I am trying to train their taste buds to love healthy food. I add salad into several meals a week, and even the boy doesn’t complain anymore!!! Snacks are usually carrots, cucumbers, apples, and occasionally crap. For now balance works for me, and I really hope just as they love their fruits and veggies, they will lose interest in the other things. Now that I have explained this and you all understand my thought process with feeding my kids, I have to endure the never ending judgments of parents. The parents who give me looks when I won’t allow my kids to drink soda, (no, not even diet,), or juice (which inevitably is not juice, but liquid sugar and chemicals that tastes like fruit) or milk (my kids do drink almond milk, but we keep dairy out of the house besides occasional organic treats). Or the questions I get when I do allow something obviously unhealthy. Here’s the deal. I am trying. I research food, I read labels, I sneak veggies in, I do a lot. I’ll let you in on a little secret, my 8 and 5 year old’s get hot lunch. Am I happy about it? No, I’m really not, I won’t even let them tell me what they eat at school, however, making lunches everyday is one more thing to add to this endless list I have going, and less food we have to buy. I hope I can get to the point where buying and preparing lunch for the kids is not a pain, for now it really is. Luckily, their schools have salad bars and avoid processed junk.

I am so sick of judgments! What do we know? So what you feed your kids hamburger helper, mac n cheese and T.V. dinners. That’s up to you. So what if I don’t give my kids milk… does that effect you? We all have different parenting styles, just like we all have different faiths. I’m not Christian, do I have faith? YES! Does it clash with your religion? No… well it shouldn’t, but inevitably someone is going to have a problem because they think I’m not going to heaven. OK, sure according to some standards, and my own knowledge of The Bible, no I’m not, but do I judge you for giving your kids liquid crack? (I’m sure the fact that my eminent afterlife in the fiery pits of hell is worse than the fact that you are willingly giving your kids diabetes.) We are all parents, humans for that matter… Let’s make an effort to support each other. I need support. Parenting is hard enough without all of this negativity.

drinking their Isagenix shakes!
drinking their Isagenix shakes!

Food = Fat… I mean FUEL.

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When I was in treatment for my eating disorder it was hammered into my brain that it is healthy to eat 6 times a day. Try telling THAT to an anorexic! I thought these people had lost their minds!!! I had trouble eating at all, and here I am basically being force fed. If we did not eat we were threatened with hospitalization, and being tube fed. If you are hospitalized you cannot work off your food, and you are bored. Nobody wanted that… but at the expense of eating 6 times a day… It was scary. That might sound so silly to you, but for me this was one of the scariest things I would do. In my mind, food = fat. I had spent a very long time restricting and and brainwashing myself that if I did not eat I would be skinny, and finally love myself. I have been on a life long quest to love myself and for years I thought if I was skinny enough I would. It didn’t work. I had been hating myself for so long, no pant size could change that. I put conditions on myself that to this day make me cringe. I am scared that one day my daughter will feel the way I did (and sometimes do.) I’m watching her play right now and thinking that I never want her to be obsessed with body checks. In fact, I never want her to know what body checks are. (For those of you who do not know about body checking, it’s when you see how many fingers you can fit into the waist of your pants or measuring your wrists with your fingers, I used to start with my forefinger and thumb, then my middle finger, my ring finger and my pinkie, then work my way up my arm until my fingers could not touch anymore. I also body checked my legs, fitting my hands around my thighs, and looking in the mirror to make sure my thighs did not touch. I would touch my hips to make sure they stuck out at all times, and anytime I passed a mirror I would sneak a peak to make sure my tummy was flat. Body checking is a way to reinforce your illness. I still catch myself from time to time.)

I did eventually make some sort of “peace” with eating. Eventually I came to a healthy view of food. It is still hard for me to eat, but I look at food as fuel now. I understand that food = energy and, energy burns fat!!! Yes, I still don’t like fat, yes I still want to like the way I look in the mirror, but I have made healthy changes. First of all, I want to be healthy for my kids. That means eating responsibly. I know, it sounds silly, but for me, restricting IS addicting, and without proper fuel I cannot parent. I get cranky and impatient. It is simple to say, not an easy thing to do. If I am having a “fat day” (Fun fact the “f word” is not allowed in our house… not the f*ck word… lol although that is an adult word, that is not used frequently and has been replace with “frog” usually. You should hear me when I am upset “frogging frog!”) I do not want food. I immediately go back to my illness and I am afraid to eat. I have to reason with my eating disorder. It is not easy to reason with an eating disorder. My eating disorder is mean, she tells me how ugly and fat and useless I am. She points out my flaws, my stretch marks, my microscopic, yet sagging boobs, my enormous rib cage that just does not fit with my body, my teeth, my acne, my stomach, my thighs…. She reminds me, she waits until I am feeling just a hint of insecurity and floods my mind with all of my physical flaws, and then starts on my personality, I’m too honest, I lose friends, My temper is too quick, and explosive, I can’t even control it sometimes. I forgive people who have hurt me, even after they won’t admit what they have done… am I that lonely? I attack people verbally for disagreeing with me. I am impatient and insecure. Some days I wonder how to get out of bed with this list of negativity. There is ONE thing that is stronger than that entire list. My kiddos. They are MY reason. The reason I listen to my brain, the brain that tells me that food is fuel not fat, that I need fuel for them, and that beauty resonates from the inside out.

Do I eat 6 times a day? Nope. I do, however, eat. I chose food that is going to benefit me, and, as my fiance pointed out last night, “You don’t eat anything because you love it.” I don’t really, I am not a food person. I could happily live on pills that had the right calories given the opportunity. I try to eat things I like. What do I love? Moments. Time with my kids and my fiance. I can’t have those if I am not getting proper nutrition.

Easy Healthy Food

We all run into this problem, your kids are hungry, or you are hungry, you’re busy and don’t feel like making food, I mean, what do you make?? There is a Mc Donald’s down the street, a can of spaghetti o’s in the counter, and you just want to stop your rumbling tummy, or the whining kiddos. What do you do? Well, it’s only $1.00 for a double cheese burger, and if you went to the store it would take so long, and what would you make, anyway? Or you just grab the can opener…

I don’t do either of those things, and yes I do spend time in the kitchen. Healthy eating is a commitment,  but it does not have to be difficult for every meal. (For those of you who know me personally, you now I do not enjoy cooking, but my kids are worth it, and, you know what, so am I.) I choose a day, usually Sunday, and I get all the ingredients together for the week, and I prepare them. I puree the veggies I will be sneaking into the food, I cook up and season the veggie sausage that I put on nachos and pasta, I cook up the soyrizo I put in tacos or nachos, I slice bananas, I soak shrimp in curry, I make guacamole for tacos, nachos or snacks, and I make a box or quinoa (with black beans and a veggie puree.) for the nachos,  tacos, burritos, curry, and my easy lunches. I have a lot of tupperware, and I just put everything in the fridge (I freeze the purees and bananas, though because I like putting them in smoothies.) If you are a meat eater, I would cook chicken, or pork chops to add to food as well.

It it so worth it to get everything started, because all of a sudden, it’s lunch time, what do you choose? My favorite midday food is a bowl or quinoa and black beans with melted (soy) cheese and guacamole and a tomato (the purple ones from Trader Joe’s with some pepper are awesome!) Sometimes I will add a tortilla, and salsa. It takes 5 minutes to prepare.

Tacos are quick, tortillas, quinoa with back beans, shrimp (just add some pepper and lime) or soyrizo, cut up some cabbage or lettuce, I love jalapinos, so I add that. And salsa!!

You can very easily make your own chips with raw tortillas, or use coconut oil to make your won chips, just brush with oil and pop in the oven. If it’s a really lazy day, I love the flax seed veggie chips from Trader Joe’s. You can dip your chips in guacamole, I use all fresh ingredients, tomatoes, lots of limes, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, basil (my FAVORITE herb!!!) cayanne pepper, black pepper, and avacados, of course. Acacados have healthy fat, so no guilt! I love to top nachos with guacamole!

Curry is delicious, I have been doing it the lazy way, Trader Joe’s has really good jars of curry, I soak shrimp until we are ready for food, and add tofu, and heat it up on the stove, add seasonings and pour it over quinoa or brown rice.

(I swear Trader Joe’s does not pay me!) Trader Joe’s also has really yummy ravioli in the refrigerated section. Personally, I could live on the butternut squash ravioli, and the lobster ravioli. The ravioli takes about 4 minutes, and a sauce is quick, I still use animal friendly butter, and garlic, basil, and rosemary… and I always add spice, a jalapeno, or cayanne. You can add sage to the butternut squash, and (shhhh don’t tell… a little brown sugar) I also put shrimp in the lobster sauce.

Pasta is so easy! You can choose the noodles you like, brown rice, wheat, spaghetti squash, you name it, and I add the fake meat sausage which I already seasoned, and purred carrot or red bell pepper to the sauce.

Don’t forget smoothies! I love giving the kiddos a smoothies with a meal. I add frozen fruits and veggie puree, maybe some almond milk. I love flax seed meal, and sometimes nuts, or dark chocolate chips. I also have a shake that I drink every day, and I add the powder to the kids shake.

I also buy lots of nuts and make my own trail mix, it’s the easiest snack. And snack time for kids is a piece of cake, I have lots of fruits and veggies, I just cut them up and up bowls out with various dips.

I know it is a challenge to make a healthy easy food, but I promise it is possible. Let me know if you have preferences, I can help you find a system that works for you! I have a friend who is breast feeding and is looking for easy meals that are wheat, soy, nut and dairy free, because her son has allergies. I am feeling for her her, and hoping she can find alternatives. If you have any ideas, please post them to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/isahealthymama or comment here!!!

The way it was, and the way it is now

A couple years ago I lived on fast food, I refused to go to the grocery store and I hated cooking. I also smoked a pack a day. I am ashamed to admit that while I was pregnant my food group consisted of Taco Bell, Del Taco, and Carl’s Jr. I quit smoking the week I found out I was pregnant (more because I was too nauseated to even think of a cigarette) but I had every intention of smoking the minute I left the hospital. I had no intention of breast feeding, either. Thinking back, I was so self destructive. No wonder I was depressed!

It was not until my daughter, Jo was born that I began making healthier choices, I think at that point my baby was real, up until then it was just this parasite sucking the life out of me. I made the decision to breast feed, even though I had no milk (milk production is strongly influenced by your mindset, the more you look at, love and connect with your baby, the more milk you will produce. And I think since my mindset was so far from parenting my breasts had no idea that they had a job to do.) Luckily after weeks of pain and sleepless nights, she finally latched. That experience is the one I look back at and think, wow, something was finally bigger than me. I had been so self centered my entire life, and this little person changed everything.

When Jo was about 14 months old I gave up fast food. I started going to the grocery store and slowly making healthier and healthier choices. By 19 months I had not spent a night away from her. I literally had no life, and that is when I started getting restless. Coincidentally this is when I weaned her, I’m sure that had a lot to do with the sudden loneliness that took me over. This is when I had to throw myself into another project, Project Me. I am still perfecting it.

The biggest change I made was cutting out meat. I am a pescatarian, I started out as one, actually, but if I have learned anything about healthy habits I know that they evolve. And my diet has continued to get cleaner and cleaner. A pescatarian does eat fish and sea food, but no other meat, no cow, pig, bird etc. And I do still eat eggs (Cage free!). Why did I give up meat? At first because I noticed that I made healthier choices when meat was not involved. Because, let’s face it, I may have given up fast food, but the temptation for a jalapeno burger and fries from Carl’s Jr was still there. You can easily gain weight when you make a change like I did if you do not add guidelines. Example: If you stop eating meat and switch to cheese pizza from Toppers instead of pepperoni… That is not any healthier, so if you make a change, be sure to incorporate it further than simply, I’m not eating that food anymore, commit to making your meals healthier.

Like I said, at first I gave up meat to encourage better choices. That is when I began watching documentaries. Food Inc. and Food Matters and more recently Hungry For Change. Now i have moral issues with eating meat. However, my kids do eat meat (grass fed, cage free, free range, no hormones added yadayadayada). And they don’t eat meat often. I still give them meat because I want them to make their own choices when they are old enough, for now I feel that it would be unfair to force a meatless diet on them because then they will never be able to choose for themselves, and unlike religion, if I took meat away now, their bodies would never be able to process meat. After research I found that green veggies are full of protein, calcium, fiber, vitamin c, folic acid… The list goes on. So I limit meat, and cut out dairy. The trick is getting kiddos to eat green food!

It has taken years, and I’m sure more changes will come, I can see my diet shifting slightly every few months, maybe I will switch to a plant based diet, for now, I focus on buying fresh fruits and veggies, and avoiding packaged foods. I work out 5 days a week, usually I run 2-3 miles and I do yoga or Pilates to work my core. Personally, I need my workout time because it is the only real “Me Time”. I encourage you to find some YOU time. While nourishing your body, and your children will go a long way, giving yourself that gift of time allotted just for you, doing something you want to do, especially if it is a physical activity will make the biggest difference!!

*I mention religion because it is another moral decision, and while I won’t choose their faith, they will always have a chance to make that choice
**I understand, however that MANY parents take meat out of the house, and I support that choice!! I also support families who do eat meat, I just ask that you know where your food is coming from
***I was inspired to write about my diet after reading my friends blog (http://rachaeljordanpages.blogspot.com/2012/07/child-autonomy-im-vegan-but-my-toddler.html?spref=fb) You should check her out, especially if you are vegan!

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