Updated Nutritional Labels

This article from Hungry Girl regarding updates to nutritional labels just came my way, and I actually saw the revamped format yesterday on hummus…with a much larger-than-normal, bold-faced font for the caloric numbers.

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I don’t count my calories, let me be clear – for me, that’s a surefire way to get into trouble.  Having had eating disorders once, I have the propensity to micromanage to the hilt when it comes to food.  Nowadays I take the much healthier approach of NOT counting or keeping track.  I DO, however, take note of the nutritional statistics – eating highly caloric foods, even healthy ones (think: avacado, nuts, salmon etc…) can add up on me quickly. So I appreciated being able to see the numbers more clearly without having to search.  

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The other cool thing about the change is that the serving sizes are being updated to a “more realistic” amount, AND the FULL amount (what’s in the package or container) will be listed. Portions can make a massive difference!

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The other major change will be that the added sugar will be more clear – sugar is bad news, period, and too much can cause a whole host of health problems you definitely don’t want. Yay for being able to seeing those details more vividly – the more educated we all can be, the more healthy also!

Hungry Girl Cruise

So I’ve followed Lisa Lilien since she founded Hungry Girl back in the early 2000’s.  Having been through two eating disorders, as a result of PTSD, I was more mindful than ever about what I ate (to get WELL, that is.)  What I loved about Lisa’s blog was that she shared healthier options, but also kept things realistic.  She isn’t a nutritionist, but she likes to eat, she likes to eat on the healthier side of things, and she loves to share what she learns along the way.

I recently read that Hungry Girl is organizing a cruise with Royal Caribbean, aiming at January 2017.  I smiled because I DESPISE cruises.  There, I said it!  I know the many people love them but…I always felt uncomfortable about being confined to a space (albeit a large one!) with the predominant focus being on FOOD.  I mean…I have awesome willpower but let’s be honest…being surrounded by goodies makes it tough to have a good time – you feel this pressure to “be good” when all you see are delicious, not-so-healthy options!

But a cruise run by Hungry Girl?!  Holy smokes, that’s AMAZING!  The concept is one I absolutely love – for people who DO enjoy cruises, this offers them the opportunity to have the best of the islands, the onboard fun, AND healthy selections for their meals.  

All too often I hear people lament after a week-long vacation that they had “too much” and went “overboard” with the food.  Well…if this cruise comes to pass, you will not only have the great vacation you are looking for but you will also come home feeling great about yourself (and not overstuffed!)

Brilliant, Ms. Lilien!

If you want to chime in with feedback, go here.

Him

One year ago a man walked through the door of a coffee shop, brushing the unremitting, though gentle Spring snow from his head – I knew then that something was different, how fitting Mother Nature made a point that the day stand out. 

We had agreed to meet at the long-time urging of a friend (how blessed I am for the persistence!) – she unknowing altered my Life, acquainting me with what (who) would be the most precious gift of all my years.  Just days earlier he accepted a job in another state and would be moving only two weeks later – we’d apparently grown up in the same, relatively small town – how terribly ill-timed it seemed, at yet how fortuitous…

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Six months prior, I’d ended a third abusive relationship with a very ill human being – Narcissistic Personality Disorder and alcoholism at the core of the troubles, though scarcely the whole of them.  I had suffered trauma before, not recognizing my propensity towards codependency, but this was the most severe, triggering layers upon layers of anguish…and adding several more.  I wasn’t launched into a nightmare of eating disorders, as I was ten years prior from the abuse of a then, also alcoholic, boyfriend…but the PTSD came raging back (with a capital C before it, sadly.)

I was rendered nonfunctional, incapable of leaving my apartment, save to go to my (outrageously supportive!) parents’ house to weep, seemingly ad infinitum.  I slept on their living room couch for weeks, afraid and unable to be alone. Trauma therapy (EMDR), talk therapy, medication, podcasts, hypnosis, meditation, chakra balancing, Cranial Sacral work, Brainspotting, somatic release, blog scouring….I did ALL of it.  I did everything I possibly could to regain some vestige of strength and stability, but there was one bit of edification the EMDR would provide that would change everything…  

As I worked through painful, teary sessions, the fog began to lift from my eyes.  Though my loved ones insisted this wasn’t a pattern, I knew I had some part to play, and was desperate to discover the nature of it, no matter what the mirror reflected back.  Over time I began to see a woman with a devoted heart, a boundless spirit, an interminable will, who painted herself with appalling falsities and misplaced intolerance.  I realized that not only had I woven…and believed!…countless lies about myself…but I had actually never thought I deserved better.  The moment I accepted that I DID, my World was turned upside-down (for, rest assured, the better.)

I made a point to make a vision board – one into which I poured countless hours, both physically and emotionally.  Had I not infused each part with my spirit, I am not certain I would have come out to this path – the explicit nature of my intentions, and the reality which I breathed into each one, made (I believe) all the difference – it is in this way we practice “Magic.”  I read all the written words aloud as 2014 melted away, with a voice as strong as I could muster.  At 12:01, my heart beat more clearly and resolutely than it had in a long time –  whatever the shift that occurred was one I felt within, and without.

The next two months had their share of distress and lachryma…points at which I needed to work within moments (a day at a time, hour to hour, still feeling insurmountable.)  But on the 1st of March, the Stars connivance collided in a rush of Springtime snow, and a smile I was certain I’d known before…  Yes, and coffee too!

What they say about true love...about immediate knowing…it IS true.  It was as if a prior Life rekindled and flashed a thousand embraces in my mind.

The soul knows before the rest of us, often…  It knows despite the urging of the mind, or heart.  I’d learned over time to over-justify, to make excuses for others, to drown out my “gut feeling” in effort to make another person happy, or to keep the peace…but it always knew rightly.  Upon reflection I could enumerate at length how infinitely more acute my gut actually is than any fiction my brain could devise, or reason my heart urge I pursue.

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Every so often, all this time later, I feel as if I need to blink my eyes open…pinch myself…in effort to affirm I am indeed in conscious waking. His companionship is so much a gift that I’d not change a moment of my past – no matter which part – as I believe it gave me what I needed not only to find him, but to appreciate all that he is, as well as to appreciate myself.

I always believed that there is a reason in everything – for me personally, the notion has proved a beacon in the Night when the World seemed unusually cruel.  I believed that I could learn, and gain something positive, from my suffering…not least of which was some illumination, or enlightenment.  I do not believe we must suffer needlessly, only that whatever I have known within my own Life has given me strength and clearer vision.  So too have I recognized that my heart is capable of loving to oblivion, not only others, but for once in my Life, also myself.

I am blessed to have a companion who not only cherishes and respects me, but one who sincerely values who I am, and all I have known.  One of my greatest fears was that I would, yet again, be abandoned, threatened, cast aside as a stranger by the person I poured my soul into…  But when I met the Love of my Life, the fear began to subside…  

Not only do I feel loved, I know I am loved… He makes the effort always to let me know that I am neither alone, nor that I ever need be. He communicates with me honestly, and tells me with the utmost sincerity that “everything will be okay” when the pain creeps back in.  When you are in abusive relationships, you spend more time in “flight or fright” mode to the point you begin to think it is “normal.”  The desperate need for some reassurance, constancy or support is never fulfilled but somehow we push on…   

There are so many people who suffer at the hands of those incapable of loving us in return, but we needn’t remain there.  We do have a choice, and it is okay to reach out for the help we need to regain our strength and self-confidence.  

Codependency is common to Empaths, but we do not HAVE to be bound to the fate of fixing, helping, and losing ourselves…and our Lives.  It is possible to break the cycle, to learn to love ourselves, to learn to set boundaries…

True love exists, make no mistake.  It can paint the World with vibrancy you’d never believe existed, and extinguish all the shadows of your past.  The first step is loving yourself, above all, and believing that you deserve the best.  Once you believe it utterly, your World will change, blooming like am infinite blossom in the morning sun.

EatPops!

I think this is a wonderful idea… 

I DESPISE drinking my calories.  

There! I said it.  

Yes, people often scoff when I say that…  Maybe it’s because they are so beholden to those end-all-be-all detox shakes they are having, or maybe the word “calorie” is what nudges them off the edge…  Whatever the case may be I will say it a thousand times…I despise drinking my calories.

Hate is a strong word – I rarely use it, if at all – so I’m using “despise” instead.  It’s a vehement despise, though!

As I have gotten older, I simply have to watch what I eat in order to maintain a certain level of fitness performance, athleticism, health, emotional well-being, and…weight.  Gone are the days that I can drink my hot chocolates with whipped cream, smoothies with my breakfast, and ingurgitate bags of steamed rice along with a glass of juice.  The flat-out reality of it is that I’ve needed to reduce my caloric intake over the years, as well as tweak my fitness routine – if I don’t, that’s okay, but I will gain weight, and will get very depressed.  I know myself that well.

Smoothies were something I’d enjoy often growing up – there was nothing more delicious than fresh, ripe fruit, blended with some ice, maybe some yogurt or milk.  Before training, after…whenever!  

I don’t count my calories – let me be clear on that.  Having had two severe eating disorders in the past (anorexia and exercise bulimia), the propensity to get dangerously rigid is already there.  With that kind of propensity, I need to be more lax in this department.  

That said, I am aware of what I eat, and could very likely give you the broad strokes of what I had in a day – I never stuff my face mindlessly, but if I feel like a snack, I have it – I’m clean 95% of the time.

So I saw this snazzy brand – founded back in 2014, and I just love the idea.  EatPops came about because a law student, Sophie Milrom, couldn’t manage to find healthy snacks while studying feverishly in school.  She recognized that fresh juice was prohibitively high-priced, making it a tougher trend to follow for many people interested in cleaner eating and juicing.  She also discovered that freezing juices not only lowered prices to make such conceptions accessible…but also that it extended the shelf life.

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What do I love this idea?  Because I DESPISE drinking my calories!  For someone like me, these are ALSO a fabulous option because…I get to CHEW.  I like the sensation of munching on something – I feel more satisfied when I EAT than when I DRINK…so pops is a perfect option!  From 45 to 100 calories for one, you aren’t going to break the bank with these. ❤

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I don’t have any retailers near me, but you can purchase these guys online…  Shipping is up to $15 (these are frozen treats!) but it is awesome to have the option!

More of what I love to eat…!

Thankful For My Other Half

I could enumerate – at great length! – there reasons I cherish the love of my Life…  

This one image comprises several reasons in one, actually! – as I have eluded to in many pasts posts, I eat to live, not the other way around. Thankfully eating disorders are well in the past, but any of us who have been there must make efforts every day to stay strong, and healthy.  Muscles need fuel and nutrients!

Finding someone who is supportive of you, your needs, your desires, and your quirks is a blessing beyond words.  He checks to make sure I have snacks before any lengthy road trip or travel.  He makes wherever we go out to eat that I can get something I am, legitimately happy with… He’s so incredibly good with me, and it never goes unnoticed.

I came home from Ninjutsu the other day and he had bought me lunch.  The kind of lunch I would have bought myself.  Not just what was convenient, not nothing at all… He surprised me with clean, healthy food…and I was so very thankful. ❤ 

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Freedom To Make Healthy Choices

My hunnie and I went out the other day for lunch, which is something at one time in my Life I could not do.  As a result of PTSD I developed two severe eating disorders about a decade ago – anorexia and exercise bulimia.  The prospect of eating away from home was not only daunting, it was debilitating – it would trigger panic attacks, tears, and crippling anxiety.  

Fast forward ten years, through treatment, learning, growing…and the will to survive…I am able to be “human” again. I am incredibly specific about what I eat – in part it is just the nutrition I choose to have as part of my Lifestyle.  And in part it is due to allergies…so I feel less badly about that part! *LOL*  But I am not bound to fear in such a way that I can’t go out for coffee, or dinner, or take a road trip.  The ability to do those things is a HUGE deal when you know what it’s like to be beholden to disease.  At that time, it was seemingly impossible.

When I go out, I will always ask for what I want – I’m not embarrassed to do that anymore either, nor to eat with another person around.  And honestly, as I have mentioned in other posts, I am always met with the sincere desire to give me what I want.  Not every restaurant will have something simple, but it doesn’t hurt to ask…and no one is offended if you do!

We went to a casual restaurant, known for its shellfish and seafood – yay for me! 🙂  But I was in the mood for some dimple protein and, fortunately, they had exactly what I was hoping for!

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What I really loved about what they brought me was the portion – oftentimes I notice places either go way too heavy-handed, or on the skimpy side…the latter situation being the one I’m less fond of (who isn’t!?) But I do prefer that they go easy, so that I am not encouraged to stuff myself beyond what I really need at that time – overeating is really easy to do because you are paying for that food…and there it is, right?!

Right!  

So I LOVED that they portioned the food so well – it wasn’t too much, and it wasn’t too little.  I really enjoyed it, and felt great about the choices. It’s a gift to be free of the anxieties that can plague someone struggling with body dysmorphia or EDs – it isn’t easy to fully understand without having been there, but so many illnesses are similar in the addictive behaviors they are rooted in.  Breaking that cycle and finding a way to honor and respect yourself and your experiences is so important.  Giving yourself the gift of freedom is like giving yourself a new Life – you can take baby steps if you need to, but don’t be afraid to ask for what makes you comfortable, or stays in tune with your goals – you ARE allowed.

Healthy Is A Lifestyle

Healthy is  Lifestyle. Period.

I was feeling really bummed the other day – we ladies can be “puffy” without forewarning, and I was just having one of those days!  

Maybe it was too much salt, maybe it wasn’t enough water…  Maybe it’s just that I was beholden to the tides of being a woman!  I’m 37, so things have changed!

I was also “taking it easy,” and took extra days off from my HIIT cardio sprints to baby a shin splint, so I was admittedly playing the mental “I-haven’t-done-enough” game.

Whatever the case may have been, I wasn’t feeling great.  I’ve been through eating disorders in the past (not of my own volition, but from PTSD and the causes of it), so I know body dysmorphia intimately.  

Fortunately, I will never go back to that place – EVER – and I proactively make sure of it each day by exercising, taking a break if my body needs it, eating (more than!) enough…  But it is something you carry with you, and it is a proactive battle you face every day – whether you have been through a trauma or not, health is a daily effort.  Taking care of ourselves should always be a number one priority!

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Anyway…  There I was feeling like the Staypuft Marshmallow Man…

On my way to the treadmill, two ladies stopped me to ask about “being fit.”  What is my routine, what do I eat, how to I maintain it…? I was so touched, and frankly honoredit means a great deal to me to touch others, and to know that they might be inspired to do something wonderful for themselves because of the work I put in.  (Honestly, that is the biggest gift of all for me! ❤ ) 

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The way I put it…and the way I have always viewed it…is that being fit is a Lifestyle.  

It isn’t about a fab diet or exercise-of-the-moment.  

Being healthy is a consistent, daily practice of “little things” that keep us on track, and in a “maintenance phase” (as opposed to the well known trying-to-catch-up mode too many people face today.)

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Eating clean, exercising, being around those who support you, and taking time to care for YOU is a Lifestyle.  It is the combination of a whole ton of positives that add up to a happy and healthy whole.

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You may have days where you aren’t as “ON” – you lag through your workout, you eat something you aren’t pleased about later.  No big deal!  You don’t have to be superwoman or superman EVERY day – the idea is that you are taking steps to stay healthy…not run after it!

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Even if you don’t feel like it, hop on the bike for a few minutes.  Walk on the treadmill for 15…  Choose a healthy, balanced meal even though something is taunting you because it smells good (it usually smells better than it tastes!)  If you take the “whole” approach, things fall into place.  When you are consistent, blips aren’t going to derail you – you will already be in a really healthy place!

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For more pix of my fitness and fuel, here are links to my Facebook albums, and Instagram: