Blast From The Past: The Good, The Bad, The Familiar

Today’s Happy Note: I just scored myself an entire set of Encyclopedia Brittanica encyclopedias.  All A-Z of them.  1957 Edition.  For free.

Let me explain.  The apartment I live in is sort of a relative’s.  Sort of.  This relative has had the apartment in her family for over 60 years.  Her father died last year at 90-something.  He saved everything.  Everything.  This place is a veritable museum.  War rations from WWII?  Check.  1950’s GI Joe toys?  Check.   Yearbooks from various high school’s in Manhattan that no longer exist?  Check.

Entire set of unused encyclopedias?  Check and check.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am aware of this thing they call the Internets.  And I like the Internets a lot.  I really do.  But books have a certain irreplaceable value. I find them soft and cuddly and fun and enlightening.  Especially old books.  I like all historical artifacts, but books are my favorite. I enjoy physically holding a tiny — but important — piece of history.  Important words.  Good thing I work in a library full of old books.

I have no idea where I am storing this set of encyclopedias when I move out but I do know that they are mine.  All mine.  I don’t care if not a single other person born after 1970 has a set of encyclopedias.  Old books are comforting.  Old books cannot hurt me.

What can hurt me?  The present.

Namely, this morning’s spin class.  I met up with Missy at a gym downtown (who knew the express trains ran so fast early in the morning???).  I have only done spin once or twice before and found it incredibly hard.  Today was the same way.  I always think my legs are strong from running, but I find biking especially exhausting.  Maybe it’s a different muscle group.  The funny thing is, it doesn’t make a difference how many times I ride a bike — it’s exhausting every time!  My thighs, quads, and hamstrings just feel drained.  Does spin just take a really long time to get used to, even for someone who is really fit?

Sometimes I do feel seriously hurt by living in the present.  I know it’s good for me, but at the end of the day, if I can escape with a good book or a historical artifact, I will be a very happy girl.  The important thing for me is not to live in the past.  And for the most part, I have a pretty good balance going on.

For example, with food: I try new things sometimes, but the base of my diet follows a clear and distinct pattern based off of what has worked in the past.  This is one of those things that “ain’t broke.”  I don’t rely on familiar foods in a disordered way, I rely on them because I enjoy them and they make me feel good.  What’s not to love?

Lunch: Mixed greens tossed in lemon pepper and EVOO topped with asparagus, broccoli, and salmon burger.

Other things I actively work to change, too.  While I see nothing wrong with my adoration of, say, nineteenth century newspapers, I do actively have to work to change my social life.  There have been periods in the last few years where I have isolated myself from others because I thought that was what “worked” — what made me happy, healthy, and functional.  But you know what?  Being alone all the time does none of those things.  It lowers my self-esteem and makes me think no one wants to play with me.  Over the last few days I’ve spent a lot of time with friends.  Which means I spent a lot of time smiling, laughing, having fun, and chatting about, well, everything.

SIABs work.  Running works.  Dark chocolate works.  Running around in the pouring rain wearing paper-thin flip-flops and sans umbrella?  Doesn’t work.  Writing as an emotional outlet?  Excellent.  Other artistic endeavors?  Not so much.

It’s hard to know when we are limiting ourselves by restricting our pursuits and passions and relationships based on the past.  I think it’s important to continually integrate and try new things.  Like spinning.  Or chocolate coconut topped peanut butter brownies.

New things I want to try this summer: knitting, real outdoor rock climbing, momofuku, getting a mani-pedi, and dating.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to tackle that list.  Right after I prepare the exact same lunch I had today for tomorrow. 🙂

Happy Sleep, Happy Eats, Happy Self

Today’s Happy Note: I just saw the cutest commercial ever.  It was for chiquita bananas and showed a little baby banana traveling to our stores….adorable.

Seeing commercials for things like bananas makes me happy!  Better advertisements for bananas than Lucky Charms and Double Stuf Oreos.

Speaking of produce. Go read this article.  It talks about organic vs. non-organic produce in terms of pesticide contamination.  Holy wow!  Many common produce items contain 47-67 pesticides!  Egads.  I think the best option is local; I get as much produce from the farmer’s market as possible.  After that, I get organic when affordable.  Some organics are priced similarly to conventionals, while others are a bit outrageous (like grapes).  One of the scary things about this article was that it put forward the idea that some pesticides can’t even be scrubbed off of produce — the chemicals actually seep into the entire plant.  Yuck.  As a student constantly on a budget, this is something I worry about.  Do you worry about this? Maybe it’s not worth the worrying.  I do the best  I can.

No workout today!  I read a post on Fitnessista the other day where she mentioned she woke up tired and skipped a morning workout.  So simple (and obvious –duh Caronae) but so brilliant!  I often drag myself out of bed in the morning to get a workout in before the rest of the day takes over.  Today I opted for the sleep.

Early morning wokrout pros:

  • It’s over and done with
  • Energizes me for the rest of my day
  • Cool outside, not too humid
  • Leaves time in the evening to relax
  • I can’t put it off

Late afternoon/evening workout pros:

  • Sleeping in a bit
  • Leisurely breakfast/morning
  • Less likely to be late for work
  • Makes me tired for bed

In my mind, morning workouts work better for me.  The only problem is that I need an inordinate amount of sleep.  It’s taken me a while to come to terms with this.  I’m not one of these 6-7 hours a night people.  I need 8-9 hours if I am going to be functional and energetic during my day.  I’ve been doing well going to bed early, but sometimes I want to be out with my friends.  I think this is something I’ll have to play by ear; some mornings are going to be more inviting than others.

Lots of happy eats today!

Dinner: exactly what I was craving.  Vanilla Almond Butter and raspberry jam with a side of apple slices.  Disordered eating fact: I have a secret fear of eating fruit (as opposed to vegetables) with dinner.  Fruit has more calories and more sugar, obviously, but it is also perfectly good for you.  And I had plenty of veggies with lunch.  Tonight I was really craving an apple so I went for it!  Perfect little side dish.

Notice the little G&B?  Green and Black’s 70% is my go-to dark chocolate.  Never fails.  Creamy but also deeply chocolaty.

Mental Health Note: No therapy this week (L on vacation)!  Makes me a little nervous.  I’ll probably do some journaling tonight, maybe a little bit of stream of consciousness type of stuff.  I need to at least get some thoughts out; sometimes in therapy I just spew and spew and spew.  I’ll miss L’s insights and kindnesses this week.  But that just means I’ll have to come up with my own!  Here’s to being kind to myself!

Super Saturday Adventures: Swim Sandwich And Seafood Throwdown

Today’s Happy Note: Watching a TV show about giant river fish right now!  I love fish.  Fascinating creatures!  Other animal loves: all birds (especially cardinals), elephants, unicorns, and dinosaurs.  Which are so totally real.

Mental Health Note #1: It’s been a spectacular, head-clearing Saturday!  I love that about summer: Saturday is time for me to do what I want, to be free all day from work and school.  Sometimes I spend it with friends.  Other times I’m content by myself.  I like to do things that I want to do; things that will make me happy; try new things.   Saturday — and all the fun opportunity it holds — is not something that I will ever let depression take away from me!

The morning began with an awesome, “new”  workout.  New in the sense that, while I have done plenty of running and swimming, I’ve never done a real “brick” workout.  Actually, I like to call this a sandwich workout: I wanted to do a long(ish) run and I also wanted to swim (it was terribly hot).  I planned out a fun route to an NYSC with a pool.  I ran 6 miles there (the gym is 4 miles away but I threw in extra bits), swam for 30 minutes, then ran the 4 miles back.  I actually ran the way there wearing my swimsuit under my shirt and shorts.  I carried a small running backpack with my cap, googles, emergency cash, phone, keys, and clean undergarments in it.  It was easy peasy to hop in the pool when I arrived, and I just dried off with the towels there afterwards, put my clothes back on and headed back out the door.  There you have it.  A Run-Swim-Run Sandwich.

After speed showering and inhaling a mango-vanilla-peach smoothie, it was time for an Adventure!  In case you didn’t read yesterday’s post, I have changed Adventure Fridays to Adventure Saturdays for timing purposes.

The Adventure involved the Union Square Greenmarket.  And food.  And cooking:  A Seafood Throwdown! Sounds random, but it also sounded fun and I’m so glad I went.  CENYC and NAMA put together a competition between chefs from Colors and artists from SPURSE (a very random, very strange, spacey arts collective).  The goal of the event was to promote sustainable, local, aware seafood consumption.  We often fret about where our tomatoes come from, but we don’t know so much about our seafood.  The event was literally a throwdown style format — like Bobby Flay, just less formal.  There were even food network judges (although I had NO idea who they were — anyone recognize them from the pictures???).

The Secret Seafood is…Black Sea Bass!

Above right: a seafood paella and sea bass ceviche with strawberry-cucumber salsa from Colors.

Okay, so I’m not showing you all the dishes from the SPURSE team because…well, some of them were a little kooky.  I’m all for holistic living, but these people were a little much.  The guy who talked about them struck me as straight up crazy.  No other way to put it.  He said things like “we try to incorporate the idea of the air and the sea and where they meet into our idea of cooking…and it’s not cooking it’s art.”  They believed in using the entire fish in their cooking.  In theory, I agree with this.  In practice, I don’t: they made a soup out of blood and a stew out of mushrooms and the fish’s tongues, cheeks, and eyes…yeah.  I just wasn’t into it.  I must say, however, that their simpler dishes — like poached sea bass with roasted potatoes and ceviche with fresh sweet peas — seemed great.

Judges judging.  And the winner is….

Okay, so I don’t actually know.  I was near the front and getting really tired from standing in the sun and wanted others to see, so I left to do my greenmarket shopping.  I looked on the website but it didn’t say the winner.  My vote would go to Colors for simplicity, elegance, presentation, and some degree of normalcy.  If this were based entirely on creativity, on the other hand, I might be rooting for SPURSE.

It was really fun to watch the chefs collect local ingredients from the farmers, prepare and cook their dishes, and present and explain them. It was just a fun — if ridiculously hot — event.  It made me feel like I was on food network or something!

The day didn’t end there though; I would have liked to just relax, but had to do some work stuff (GRRRRR MTA bus system) that took forever.  And I meant to do laundry but didn’t.  Crap.

There were loads of fun eats to keep me going through such a busy day!  I was in and out constantly from 8 to 6!  I probably walked another 3 or 4 miles in addition to the workout described above…

Fueled myself with good eats of course!

Greenmarket nibbles!

Plenty of cereal with pb and chocolate (my favorite post-long run snack!).

I knew I wanted loads of veg and some solid protein for dinner.  But for some reason, this just made me feel sick.  Sometimes when I have a lot of veggie servings at once, this happens.  Also, it’s just so hot.  Even warm food wasn’t a good idea.  I’ve been having smoothies for dinner every night for a reason, apparently.

Mental Health Note #2: Adventures are good for me.  Good for all of me.   They make me happy and give me something to focus on and look forward to — sometimes, depression makes me retreat inward.  This tends to make things worse.  Going out and seeing new people and fun things and just exploring the world takes me outside of myself for a little while.  Yes, I come home in the evening and still feel a bit lonely.  Sometimes I long to meet someone on an Adventure.  Like my soul mate might also be having an Adventure too.  But my time will come.  I know that.  For now, I just need to make myself happy.  That’s all I can really do!

Blogdentity

Today’s Happy Note: Evening walks!  I forgot how lovely it can be outside in the early evening in summer.  Dusky sun rays, lavender skies, warm-cool temperatures.  What’s not to like?

Hello, hello, hello!

Other than the fact that I think I just had some spoiled milk this has been a very happy day!  I just felt…happy.  Sometimes that happens.  It’s nice to know, during the down times, that I am capable of just feeling good for no reason at all.  I’ve been doing some breathing meditations for a few minutes at a time over the last few days.   Instantly calming — especially after getting some minorly bad news today (not the end of the world, but a genuine short-term problem).

When things like this happen, I know very clearly that I want to be a lawyer.  Anything that strikes me as even a little bit unjust deeply upsets me.  I think law could help me direct this frustration into a positive, clear anger towards making things right.

Had an awesome early-AM workout!  I took the boot camp class at my gym and holy mackerel.  Wow.  It was only 50 minutes but it was insane!!!  We did a quick warm-up that involved cardio (running, butt kicks, jumping jacks) and strength (lots of push-ups and squats).  I’ve never done strength in a warm-up but I enjoyed it; I felt like it prepared me better.  Then we did some ridiculous circuits.  It was things that seemed easy, but weren’t, because they involved lots of different muscle groups.  Some of the moves were simultaneous plyo-strength.  At one point the instructor asked me “if this was the hardest thing I’d ever done.”  I hope this was because it was my first time at the class and not because I was a weakling!  I am more used to endurance training than super speedy stuff like that.  Followed up the class with 15 minutes on the stepmill because I had some time to kill.

Weekly treat breakfast: toasted bagel with melty pb.

Lunch dessert.  Always a necessity.  I can’t get over these dried hibiscuses.  So cute.  Like little…vegan pink octopuses…

I had a really good sammy for lunch but forgot to take a picture because  I was walking.  A multi-grain wrap with hummus, white cheddar, and an egg, toasted on the stove.

Other delish sammy combos: AB and apple and spinach, salami and gouda and mayonnaise (I know, not the healthiest — but it’s a childhood fave!), salami and egg and cheese, turkey and loads of veggies.  Your favorite sammy combos?

Farmer’s market loot!  Asparagus, apples, yogurt drink, milk (spoiled culprit!).

Unfortunately, my dinner smoothie-salad (it’s a new term I’ve coined for dinner-sized smoothies that involve veggies.  Which is pretty much all my smoothies, but whatever) involved the bad milk.  Hopefully I survive.  If I don’t blog tomorrow tonight, call my mom, okay?

New chocolate find!  WF dark chocolate with coconut flakes!  Shhh, don’t tell Evan.  I need it all for myself.  This was splendid.  I wouldn’t really call it dark, it’s pretty sweet, especially with the coconut.  But that’s not to say that it isn’t working.  Quite the contrary!  This was crunchy, flaky, smooth, melty.  Basically, choclate bar perfection.

Coconut, why have we been separated for so long?  I hated coconut as a kid.  Among other things: almonds, walnuts, plain oatmeal,  dark chocolate (the horror!), tofu, grapefruit, mushrooms, and peppers.  I think I’ve stopped liking new foods in the last few years.  Guess my taste bud development is winding down.  Just goes to show you how long we grow and develop for!  I’m 20 years old!  What foods did you hate as a kid but savor now?

Okay.  Serious question.  Is it weird that I blog intensely about both mental and physical health? I sort of had a mini moment of panic this afternoon when I started thinking about my blog friends.  It feels like people are either mind-focused or body-focused.  Neither of which is a bad thing!  I find those blogs fun, informative, and focused.  And then I feel too unfocused.  Does it confuse you that I bounce between green monsters and therapy Monday, or long runs and moments of anxiety? Sometimes it confuses me, and I’m the one blogging about it!  I think that both types of health are so important, but sometimes I wonder if I’m trying to cover too much ground.  I need to figure out my blogdentity…Honestly, what do you guys  think?

Happy Friday my friends!

Long Run Tips And Eats

Today’s Happy Note: Writing in my journal.  It has a drawing of a vegetable patch  on the cover, with a rooster and flowering plants in the background.  I love it.

Busy day!  Long run, farmer’s market, loads of writing, acquired a plant for my windowsill (!), a few work emails, chatting with family on phone, eating fun dinner, reading, lounging, snuggling.  Perfect things for a mellow Saturday!

Long run: I *think* I ran somewhere between 13 and 14 miles.  I ran for 138 minutes and roughly mapped it out at mapmyrun.com, which is useful but by no means perfectly accurate.  I actually don’t miss my dysfunctional garmin.  I find it kind of freeing to run based on feeling alone.

Caronae’s Long Run Tips:

  • Bring water and a snack — invest in a waist pack or a camel bak (I have this one from amphipod –works perfectly).  If possible, plan your route so you  will run by a few water fountains or public bathrooms so that you can refill or make a pit stop.
  • Don’t be afraid to stop and stretch or walk for a minute or two if you need to.  The heat and humidity right now make long runs that much harder and sometimes just a quick break helps you recharge during the middle of a tough run.
  • It can be fun to pick a destination and run there.  For example, I love planning long runs so that I end up at the farmer’s market and can buy myself a tasty treat.  Just make sure you have a way to get back, or make it a round trip.
  • Make sure you carry a cellphone, keys, ID, and any other important items in a zippered pocket.  Another trick for keys is tying them into your shoe laces.
  • Consume plenty of potassium and magnesium on the day of your run, before and after.  Your body needs these nutrients to replenish lost electrolytes.  They help prevent cramping.
  • Don’t worry about anyone else.  If a long run is 5 miles for you right now, that’s fine.  Build up slowly.  Add a mile or two every week, or every other week if you need more time to adjust.  Eight miles is an accomplishment for anyone.  Before you know it you’ll be able to do a half-marathon.  Just don’t set out to run a half-marathon if the farthest you’ve ever done is 4 miles.
  • The key to long-runs is listening to your body.  Your legs and chest and lungs and muscles and hips will tell you things.  Your legs might say “slow down” or “walk for a minute” or “faster turnover, please!”  Listen.

This morning’s long run ended at the farmer’s market.  One of my most favorite places in the city is the Union Square market on Saturdays.  Busy but in a pleasant sort of way.  I’ve become an expert at weaving in and out of crowds of yuppies wielding Whole Foods bags and reusable tea cups.

I really wanted to bring my camera, but it doesn’t fit in the aforementioned amphipod.  Sad face.  I had a lovely brunch in the Union Square park of Ronnybrook chocolate milk, sumac tea, and a blueberry- cranberry scone from a place called Hudson Valley Farmhouse.  Admittedly, it wasn’t really a scone.  It was light and airy and more muffin-y. But whatever it was, it was amazing.  I might just have to make this a weekly engagement.

Other purchases: Ronnybrook skim milk, mixed baby lettuces, sugar snap peas (fresh local sugar snap peas are indescribably delectable), and a fuschia!  I have a plant for my room now! I am so excited.  I named her Fanny Fuschia and I am going to take such good care of her this summer.  Pictures to come, I promise.  My next plant is going to be a set of herb seedlings.

Long run eats!

This is the boldest color I’ve ever achieved in a smoothie.  I like it!

Dinner might win the random award but if that’s the case then it also deserves a random-but-tasty award.  Sometimes I think random dinners are the best.  This was a wrap filled with a mixture of the following: smashed Dr. Praeger’s tex-mex veggie burger, 1 egg, and white cheddar cheese.  I mixed it all together and microwaved it.  I came out like a souffle.  A tasty tasty souffle meant to be eaten in a wrap alongside a sautee of mushroom, asparagus, and sugar snap peas (with olive oil and poppy seed dressing).  See, I told you it was random.

Okay.  Confession time.  Now that Stephanie mentioned the whole asparagus-urine issue, I feel like it’s my turn to come out of the closet.  Asparagus makes my pee smell.  Very very much.  I know this doesn’t happen to everyone, so I’m just curious: if you feel comfortable answering, I have to know.  When you eat asparagus, does it make your pee smell like asparagus?

Wow, that was incredibly unappetizing.  And yet my dessert was too good not to share!

Sometimes I bring my own fro-yo toppings.  That way I can have exactly what I want in the quantity I want for free.  It’s a win-win situation.  This is semi-sweet chocolate chips, TJ’s PB and A mix, and TJ’s chocolate covered cherries (meh, too sweet).

Eaten in the park with a side of Jhumpa Lahiri.

My legs often cramp up in the evening after a long run so I went for a two-ish mile stroll and then settled into some very tight, but relaxing, pigeon poses.

After writing last night’s post, I realized that I was feeling very anxious, and this was stemming from two sources: feeling upset about therapy (I’ve been thinking about it all week) and feeling lonely (thanks everyone for your soothing comments!).  I decided I could do a few small things to alleviate both of these problems!

I have one friend in the city right now and I asked her if she wanted to do something tomorrow and she actually mentioned there was a music festival she wanted to go to.  Score.  Then, another friend called tonight and said she doesn’t have plans for Memorial Day either, so we’re going to go to CP!  I’m much happier now!  Friends make the world go round.

I also decided that I needed to do a free-write letter to my therapist; not one that I’ll actually send, but just as a way to get my thoughts out.  I’m really happy with what I came up with and I think I’ll read it to her next week and see if she can help me feel comfortable in therapy again.

How do you like to spend your Saturdays in summer?

Therapy Thoughts, Sluggish Running, BYOV

Today’s Happy Note: Blogging from the NYPL.  How did I not know this place was beautiful.  In general, I adore libraries.  I have always been drawn to their calm, quiet, but also quirky and smart nature.

That said, the fact that I’m blogging from here means no internet at the apartment yet…but I do have a very nice new colleague who is coming to help me tomorrow!  If that doesn’t work, I might cry. 😦

Onto healthier things!

I have always considered hobbies and passions a major part of a healthy lifestyle.  For many people, hobbies keep them active (dancing, walking, swimming, playing with friends).  My favorite active hobbies are climbing trees (although I’m afraid I’ll get in trouble if I do that in city parks), swimming, walking with friends, and exploring new places in any way possible.  I think yoga, strength, and running are more passions for me.  Whatever.  What I wanted to say is that I have other hobbies too!  Writing, drawing, taking pictures, blogging, planting things, baking, collecting bird pins, studying birds and trees, and READING.  Seeing as I’m in a library right now, I’m going to talk about that last one.

Hobbies keep me healthy because they keep me sane.  No amount of running or working out or eating delicious healthy things can be perfect.  They help keep me sane, calm, and focused, but I need other things that aren’t as explicitly related to my health.  Things that are pure fun.  I think words and pages and lyricism is fun.  So I’m going to do a little feature for the summer called “Caronae’s Shelf.” Every week, I’ll tell you what’s on my metaphorical shelf!  I would love to hear what you guys are reading too.  We can have a mini virtual book club!  Sometimes I might share thoughts, sometimes not.  If you don’t like books, I’d love to ehar about anything else you like to do that keeps you happy, healthy, and sane!

Week of 05/23:

1. Women, Food, and God (by Geneen Roth): Interesting.  I recommend it.  It isn’t necessarily the most straightforward book (there is no precise plan of action), but that’s kind of the point.  I feel like I absorbed a lot of things that made me question my relationship with food and God, and that’s definitely a good thing.  I believe in questioning ourselves and our beliefs.  It helps us grow.

Source

2. 50 Ways To Soothe Yourself Without Food (by Susan Albers)

My response to this just turned into my Therapy Thoughts for the week…

So far this has been really wonderful.  It is geared toward emotional and stress eaters, which I sometimes am, but the tips and discussions are helpful to anyone who is often anxious and unsettled.  I had no idea, but as I was reading,  I realized I have virtually no ways of soothing myself .  I didn’t realize that other people did!  I want to talk to my therapist about this.  I think part of the problem yesterday (I ended up sobbing and feeling unresolved and angry) was that I felt overwhelmed going into the session, and as I began feeling and talking about (reluctantly) some painful things, I had no way of soothing myself.  Isn’t that a beautiful word?  Just the sound “soothing” makes me feel calmer.  I think that going forward, therapy will be easier if I actively work to soother myself when I start feeling or talking about difficult things.  I actually am glad that yesterday seemed to go so badly and that I borrowed this book from my therapist because it led me to this realization.  My therapist has always told me to “be” with my feelings and I always felt like “well, I am!”  But it was never comfortable.  Then she would tell me not to judge myself and to just relax, but it never clicked.  Now it’s clicked and it feels so liberating.  I was always wildly upset when feeling painful things, which, since that was most of the time (both in therapy and in my life), meant that I was often deeply uncomfortable and unsettled.  Sometimes just focusing on my breathing or holding my baby duck Leland or naming different things that I sense around me (“I see pollen on those yellow flowers”, “I feel how soft my sheets are on the bare skin of my back”) makes me feel soothed and calmer.  When I feel calmer, I can deal with things and, eventually, be okay talking about them.  This sounds so simple but it has, apparently, taken me over a year of therapy (eight months with my current therapist) to figure it out!

The biggest thing I got out of yesterday was how upset I feel when I feel lonely.  That’s the place where the upset-ness was coming from.  It brings me back to feeling like no one wants to play with me, and that is one of the worst feelings in the world.  People do want to play with me though!  My friends, my sister, my new co-workers at the non-profit (who I really like, by the way), blog friends.  There are plenty of people to play with.  I know this, and when I do find myself alone, I need not worry so much.  People do like me.

3. Unaccustomed Earth (by Jhumpa Lahiri): excited about this; haven’t read any good short stories or fiction in a while.

That’s this week’s edition of  “Caronae’s Shelf”.  What’s on your shelf?

I did another simple five miler this morning.  This time with ten minutes of abs thrown into the middle (done in some very itchy grass in CP that was in need of some serious mowing).  I felt sluggish again.  It wasn’t painful, but it was slow and groggy.  I don’t know why I feel this way on my runs lately.  I’ll probably run again tomorrow and then do something else on Friday.  I need the running blues to go away.  I like running!

Eats hodgepodge:

I have been craving ice and frozen fruit so badly this week.  I cannot stop.  I had sorbet and frozen mango for dinner last night and about two more servings of frozen fruit (berries and mango) with breakfast today.  I seriously crave it.  Like, when I think about ice, I begin to salivate like other people would over cookies.  I want to chew the ice and the frozen fruit.  And yes, I know it’s bad for my teeth.  I asked my dad what this might mean (I suspected it represents some sort of nutrient deficiency) and he said that a lot of women with iron-deficient based pica crave ice to chew on.  I think maybe I should get my blood tested.  Has this happened to any of you? I have not had a lot of red meat at all lately.  Usually I have it once a week.  I told my dad that I eat my weight in spinach and other iron-rich dark green leafy veggies daily and he told me something interesting: many times, plant-based iron is barely absorbed by our bodies or not absorbed at all.  This is very scary and I did not know that at all!  He is an extremely good doctor who is not biased against vegetarians or vegans at all.  Have you guys ever heard this?  Do you get your iron levels checked?

I had a seven hour meeting this afternoon/evening.  No joke.  Seven hours of presentations and materials and dialogue.  It was important stuff though!

I wasn’t sure what food would be served so I BYOV — brought my own veggies!  This was a good idea as there wasn’t much produce.  I feel better when I eat plenty of fresh produce and I don’t feel weird bringing my own at this point.  That giant container of carrot and asparagus lasted me through lunch and dinner!

Snack was this bar and half a small chocolate chip cookie.

They actually had really high quality pizza for dinner with fresh, yummy sauce.  Yes, I hate tomatoes.  And yes, I like pizza sauce (and ketchup).  Do not ask me why.  I was hangry and had another slice.

I might have more frozen fruit and/or a brownie for dessert.

Because I don’t have Internet at the apartment and, well, I mostly have to do work at work, I haven’t been reading or commenting very much.  I promise I still love you all and will catch up as soon as the Internet is fixed!

I miss you all already!  What’s happening in your life?


Mothers, Banana Maple Chia French Toast, Women’s Bodies

Today’s Happy Note: Going to the Cathedral and listening to the organ in honor of my mother!

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! I love you more than I could ever say.  You are strong, beautiful, caring, and dedicated.  I hope that one day I might be a fraction of the mother you have been to me.

Speaking of mother’s day, go say congrats to Heather and her new little HEABlet!

There aren’t a lot of things that I claim to know in this ever-changing world. But I do know this: I will be a mother some day.  I know it more than I know almost anything else about myself.  I don’t know where my career will go, where I will live, who I’ll be with, or even some of the more nuanced details of myself: but I know that I have to be a mother.  It’s sort of strange how strongly I feel this.  Does anyone else feel this way?

Exercise: I had a short and sweet five mile run this evening.  Although I felt good, the weather did not seem to agree with my mood.  It was seriously blustery!  I was running north along the Hudson River and was a little bit afraid that the wind would blow me into the water!  I also did 20 minutes of yoga, making up my own poses and doing some core stuff along the way.  I love doing balancing flows.  Today I did  a lot with airplane, standing splits, half-moon, dancer’s, hand to foot, extended hand to foot (leg out to the side), and headstand.  Balancing poses seem to reorient me and calm me down.

Eats: Eats were actually pretty fun today! Don’t expect anything too thrilling for the rest of the week though.  I’ll be working my way through my “pantry” (a very disorganized plastic bin) which has a lot of random stuff in it.  Although random food supplies seem to bring out my creative culinary side (exhibit A: tonight’s dinner).  Anyways, breakfast today was extra special!  I love weekend brunches — they are my favorite meal of the week to make and eat.

Banana maple chia french toast!

1 tsp coconut oil

2 slices whole wheat cinnamon bread (or other variety)

1 egg white

1 tsp cinnamon (divided in two parts)

splash vanilla soy milk (or other milk of choice)

3/4 C vanilla greek yogurt

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 banana, thinly sliced

Heat coconut oil in a pan on medium-high heat.  Prepare toast “bath” (egg white, half of cinnamon, and milk).  Coat both sides of each slice in the mixture and cook in pan (about 5-6 minutes).  Meanwhile, mix yogurt, maple syrup, more cinnamon, chia, and banana.  When french toast is cooked through, plate and top with yogurt mixture!

Purely, simply delicious.  The maple syrup really takes the plain old vanilla yogurt up a notch in terms of flavor and the chia seeds give it a nice texture.

Other eats included a vanilla peach smoothie (vanilla soy milk, frozen peaches, vanilla whey protein powder):

Topped with almond butter and pomegranat chobani.  For some reason, now that I am obsessed with SIABs, I cannot stand to eat my smoothies without toppings anymore!

Dinner was also fun.  It was basically a casserole with layers of sauteed asparagus and mushroom, macaroni and cheese, more asparagus and mushroom, fresh spinach, and fried eggs.

Below is a little diatribe I wrote after reading a certain article in Oprah magazine this month.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Women and Their Bodies: Why Real Health is Beautiful

In my monthly reading of Oprah magazine this weekend, I came across an article that disturbed me.  I felt unsettled as soon as I began reading, and quickly realized why: the entire premise of the article is that women’s bodies necessitate correction in order to be beautiful, particularly as we age.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some super ultra-feminist who rages against makeup or push-up bras or anti-wrinkle cream.  Women deserve to feel beautiful, but that begs the question: to what extent?  Where is the boundary between natural beauty and technological beauty?  Furthermore, what about the idea that beauty is on the inside?  Most women’s magazines seem to push this fact, but they also relentlessly remind us that we need our abs to look this way or that we need this new haircut.  I think that this particular article, which talks about the “fantastic possibilities” that will emerge in the field of women’s beauty and style in the next decade, reimagines the female body and places it in an unattainable context.  This strikes me as dangerous because, through a pervasive focus on correcting the outside’s of our bodies, I worry that we ignore the insides.  And I am not just referring to the fluffy “I’m a smart, beautiful, kind woman with a good personality” stuff.  Our insides are serious markers of our true health.  By masking this more and more, I worry that we are distancing ourselves from the natural frameworks our bodies have established to maintain our own health.

The article I refer to is entitled “Stop Grays With a Pill, Melt Fat With a Laser: And 12 Other Fantastic Possibilities that might be fully realized by 2020”.  It can be read online here.

Basically, the article profiles some slightly disturbing “health” innovations.  And by profiles I mean “obsesses over”.  From a magazine as empowering and insightful as Oprah, I would have expected a much more two-sided portrayal of things.  For example, one of the items I found most upsetting was entitled “A Slimmer Waistline, Trimmer Hips — No Surgery Necessary!”  It described a device that works like an ultrasound to break up fat in any desired area.   Once the fat has been broken up the body flushes it out naturally.  It can remove 2-3 inches from the waistline.  As mentioned earlier, I find this problematic for two primary reasons.  First of all, why can’t we leave the female body alone?  I find it quite distressful that, as technology becomes more and more developed, we insist on applying it to our bodies.  Isn’t this somewhat invasive?  I would like to think that there is still one personal, sanctified space in this world — my own body.  Do I really need to take a pill ensuring that I never get grey hair?  Or use at-home laser treatments to remove the “unwanted” hairs from every part of my body?  One of the innovations mentioned refers to a sort of improved botox whereby or own blood and proteins are used to fill in wrinkles.  Really?  I think women in their natural state are gorgeous.  Granted, I may think otherwise when I’m sixty, but nonetheless, I hope that I would have the courage to realize the beauty in my health, intelligence, and ability to move and dance and play.  I think these things are beautiful; not artificial mechanisms whereby we bizarrely rearrange the body in the hopes of making it more appealing to who?

The second reason I find these innovations problematic is as follows: let’s imagine a hypothetical woman who has employed these innovations.  She has no love handles, a wrinkle-free face, thick hair, perfectly white teeth, and firm skin.  Regardless of whether or not we might think of her as “beautiful”, there are dangerous health implications.  What about exercise and healthy eating and meditation?  All of these healthful practices can be thrown away when we correct the external body with such a fine-toothed comb.  I am not saying that every woman who chooses to use these technologies will let her health go to the wayside, but I do worry that such inventions could mask real dangers.  For example, many sedentary woman could become relatively thin by removing several inches of fat from their stomach, hips and thighs.  But this does not mean that their hearts are any healthier or that their lungs or any stronger or that their bones are not withering away inside.  Ultimately, I think these new conceptions of beauty create a risky divide between internal and external dimensions of health and beauty.  I think that the internal and external dimensions are intertwined — and are meant to be so.  When I lift weights, I tone my arms and stomach. But I also help keep my bones dense and build confidence and self-esteem.  I think it is morally incorrect to create a separation here.

My own mother, who is in her fifties, is vibrant, radiant, powerful, and compassionate.   She hikes, gardens, bird-watches, plays word games, kayaks, skis, works, and loves.  To me, this is beautiful.  The (few) wrinkles around her eyes are signs of a lovely journey, not signs of an ugly body.  When will we learn to appreciate this?  I only hope that we can see the beauty in the natural female body before we have gone too far down this dangerous path of reconstruction.

So, Oprah, I am highly disappointed in you here.  While I applaud you and the health innovators who are coming up with ways to make us truly healthier — like finding ways of increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables among people in impoverished communities — I do not think that these devices, mechanisms, and ideas constitute true health.  I hope you will forgive me when I say that I found this article unpleasant, upsetting, and an offense to healthy, beautiful women everywhere.

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