Sunday, January 30, 2011


I've never been one for New Year's resolutions, mostly because I get tired/lazy/bored of my original idea and it is kind of a lot of work. My friend Kristi makes yearly "intentions" instead of resolutions. She writes her intentions down and sticks them on her fridge, so that she is mindful of them throughout the year. She said she has almost always accomplished most of her intentions since starting this process a few years ago.

I've been thinking about intentions for my year. I've been reading the book Women, Food, and God, and the author, Geneen Roth speaks a lot about intention as it comes to eating. Her book offers tips to eat mindfully, through eating what your body really wants when you are hungry, paying attention to the food and savoring it, and then stopping when you are full. This requires patience, curiosity, and thoughtfulness, since it is work to ask your body what it really wants and to be aware of when you are satisfied.

Geneen also talks about living purposefully, feeling all of your emotions fully, and fully occupying every inch of space you take up on this earth. I've been thinking about what that might look like.

Lately I've been feeling like sometimes I live life on autopilot. I think my intention for this year will be to live with more intention. I see this playing out in a variety of ways:

1) My body needs proper fuel. I've been thinking a lot about how foods make my body feel on the starch free diet. I know that starch makes me feel heavy, bloated, weighed down, groggy, itchy, and nauseated. However, I've been interpreting starch free as many nuts, meats, eggs, and dairy. My produce intake has been seriously lacking. For starters, I want to be intentional about eating more produce, trying new recipes especially for veggies, and trying new fruits and veggies that I haven't eaten before or haven't really liked in the past.

To help in this effort, I've been meeting with girlfriends every other Sunday to share recipes and plan out some dinner ideas. I'm also considering incorporating raw recipes into my diet a few times a week, mostly because every time I eat at Thrive, a raw restaurant in Seattle, I feel awesome. The problem is I've never cooked raw before and don't really know much about it, so I'll have to do some research and experimentation. I think more fruits and veggies is a good place to start.

2) My body needs exercise. I thought about which exercise my body enjoys the most and I really like high impact cardio, hot yoga, and the occasional weight lifting class. Therefore, I purchased a ten class package for my local hot yoga studio, have been hitting up weight lifting, step, and spinning classes at my gym, and have a goal to do at least one race (5k or more) per month from February to August. I have always wanted to be a better runner and I think having a competitive run each month will help keep me focused and motivated.

3) I need to work on fully experiencing my emotions. I have known I use food as therapy ever since my parents divorced when I was 17. That year I quit all of my after school activities. Instead, I would come home after school, camp out in front of the tv, and eat. Coincidentally, this is also when my struggle with weight first reared its ugly head. Until I figure out how to feel my emotions without blocking that emption through food, tv, shopping, drinking etc, I am not living a full life. I am also prone to weight cycling. Allowing myself to experience emotions for what they are is going to take a ton of effort and patience and is so much easier said than done, but it is something I realized I have to do if I want to experience my life to the fullest.

4) I need to be aware of my tendency to over-consume. This ties in so much to not fully feeling emotions. Basically, I shop too much and eat too much, usually when I am stressed/sad/annoyed/bored/wanting to prolong feeling good. I know that the excess shopping and excess eating stems from wanting some sort of rush, and I always think it will make me feel happy. These habits are toxic though. They're wreaking havoc on my wallet and my waistline. I'm saving for a new car and it's the first time I've really had to save for a big purchase. It is a good exercise in questioning if I really should be spending money, and I'm hoping this newfound awareness will be applied to multiple areas of my life.

Well, that's all I have for now. Here's hoping for a great 2011!

ps- apparently I'm not the only one with this idea. Read this blog for even more great ideas about eating with intention:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

beating the winter blahs

Right around mid January I start itching for the tropics. Visions of turquoise waters and white sandy beaches fill my mind (and are usually the background on my mac). I daydream about the feel of the warm sun on my skin and squiggling my toes in the sand.

This is probably because January in Seattle is about as far from the tropics as you can get. It's wet, drippy, cloudy, and windy. Every once in a while though, we get a few days of bright sunshine in mid January. It's the kind of sun that makes me long for summer. I roll down the windows of my crappy Nissan as far as I can stand, crank the heat up, and imagine the heat from my heater is actually from the sun. For a few minutes, it's pure bliss.

Here's a few recipes inspired by the tropics. Hopefully they'll warm you up on a particularly nasty winter day.

Blackberry coconut smoothie:
Blend 1 cup frozen blackberries, 1/2 cup nonfat milk, 1/4 cup unsweetened kefir, 2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder sweetened with stevia (I like Aria women's protein), 2 tablespoons flaked unsweetened coconut, 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract, and 2-3 packets of stevia or erythritol sweetener to taste (I like Truvia or Organic Zero). Paper umbrella optional.

African peanut soup:
This is modified from a recipe from my friend's copy of Vegetarian Times.
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large red bell peppers, chopped
2 large green bell peppers, chopped
4 medium cloves of garlic, mashed
2 tablespoons canola oil
One 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes with juice, chopped coarsely
2 boxes of Pacific branch mushroom broth
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2/3 cup creamy unsweetened peanut butter
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
Zest of 1 lime

In a large soup pot, saute the onion, bell peppers and garlic until the onions start to brown. Add the tomatoes with juice, mushroom broth, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 40 minutes. Stir in the peanut butter and mix until soup is creamy. Add the coconut milk, ginger, cilantro, and lime zest, and stir until combined. Heat to a simmer and serve.

Tropical Chicken:
Drizzle a baking dish with a small amount of olive oil. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium bowl, beat 2 eggs. Add 2 teaspoons coconut aminos, 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger, 1 dash of garlic powder, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
In a separate medium bowl, combine 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut and 1/4 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped.
Dip 8 chicken cutlets in the egg mixture, then in the coconut mixture, and place in the pan. Pour any remaining egg mixture over the chicken in the dish, and top with any remaining coconut mixture. Drizzle the juice of one fresh lime over the top and bake about 20 minutes, until the coconut starts to brown and the chicken is cooked through.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

oh, we jingled all right!

Here's the long overdue update to the Jingle Bell Run!

When I woke up the morning of the run, it wasn't just raining. It was POURING. It was the kind of stereotypical Seattle rain that non-Seattleites think happens all the time (it doesn't), where five minutes outside will leave you looking like you took a shower with your clothes on. Not to mention it was freaking cold and windy. Brrrr!

And yet, it was Jingle Bell day, and I had a team to lead.

Five of my fabulous friends joined team AS Kicker and there was no way I was going to wimp out on them because of some measly rain (and wind). No way, Jose. So I woke up at the crack of dawn, pulled on my red and green striped socks, red fleece, sequined Santa hat, and snowflake gloves. I tied jingle bells to my sneakers, and I headed out for one wet run.

I so wasn't kidding about the socks...

I gathered my team, and we headed out into the elements. There were people running in garbage bag ponchos, ski outfits, elf costumes, and every red/green combo imaginable. I even saw a group of girls dressed up with glowing snowflakes on their backs. Talk about feeling the Christmas spirit!

If you look really carefully, you can see the blue glow of snowflake girl.

Despite the rain, my wonderful friends and I all successfully completed the 5k and also managed to raise almost 500 bucks! (And then we promptly headed indoors for hot coffee and brunch.) All together, team AS Kicker raised $460 for arthritis research.

I am so grateful to be surrounded by amazing friends and family who have supported me in my efforts to combat AS. 

Thanks to all of you for reading my blog, for your kind words of encouragement, and for your support!

Happy (belated) holidays from team AS Kicker! :)