What I Ate Every-Day-Except-Wednesday

I’ve been thinking and writing about a lot of heavy things lately and I think that’s important. It’s important because it matters and we need to focus more on the things that matter–the uncomfortable conversations around race, class, gender, and more. While I’m passionate about speaking truth, telling my story, and listening to others, I’m also passionate about food and health–both mental and physical. I love Wednesdays because I get to share what I’ve been eating and that’s something to celebrate. I get to see what you are all are feeding your beautiful bodies with and I love, love those glimpses into your lives. Thanks for letting me in, and thanks for celebrating this day with me :)

I love this community and I love good food. Below, you’ll see some meals from the last couple days. I kept it simple with a photo and a description underneath. I’m linking up with Jenn for What I Ate Wednesday, but this is more like a round-up of some stand-out meals from the past week. The past couple days have been heavy on the chocolate with a mix of other carbs–greens, potatoes, oatmeal, bread, banana…what can I say?! I’ve also been loving my all-time favorite nut butter (Earth Balance coconut peanut butter), avocado, and EGGS (always). New-to-me this week was tempeh and I was an instant fan. I was also reunited with a couple faves that I rarely have–shrimp and Quest bars. Have a look for yourself…

 

breakfast

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rolled oats cooked on the stove with cashew milk, cinnamon, pinch of sea salt, and banana slices // topped with coconut peanut butter and hemp seeds

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ezekial toast topped with coconut peanut butter, banana, hemp seeds, and drizzle of local honey // a little leftover tempeh on the side

 

lunch

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salad from Newk’s // greens, cherry tomatoes, shrimp, avocado, some sort of lemon dressing

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wheat tortilla filled with GoVeggie cheese, eggs, and salsa // greens and fresh watermelon on the side

 

dinner

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roasted purple potatoes (coconut oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper), greens, pan fried tempeh (coconut oil and liquid aminos), sauteed onions, and a fried egg — THIS WAS SO GOOD

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roasted white sweet potato, avocado, goat cheese // sauteed kale, spinach, and onions

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CHEESE AND CHOCOLATE FONDUE with ALL THE TOPPINGS (pear, apple, mango, sausage, angel food cake, pretzels, marshmallows, strawberries, french bread) while watching The Bachelorette with a few friends

 

snacks

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little coconut treat I got at the Everman’s checkout // into all the coconut right now

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finally tried the new Quest flavor! YASSSSSS!

desserts

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surprise treat on Father’s Day from a special man friend — some sort of decadant chocolate cake/brownie with chocolate ganache on top and candied pecans on the bottom — so freakin’ tasty

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shared dessert between my friend Dorie, Nathan, and I — a flourless cocoa espresso torte with raspberry sauce — it looked like a log of poop but tasted like pure joy

Those two desserts were shared with good friends and that made them a million times better. I’m really happy here in Pensacola and I’m having the most wonderful time reconnecting with old friends and building both old and new relationships. I am happy. I am overflowing with gratitude for the people in my life and the adventures we go on together, big and small. It is amazing what happens when you show up as you are and let life take it from there. I’ve been paying attention more than I ever have before and I am blown away. I have woken up to what God is doing in my life and I’m trusting Him to carry me through it all.

Today, I’m going kayaking with the special man friend I mentioned above and, later, out to dinner. Yesterday, I met up with an old friend and her boyfriend for lunch, coffee, and dessert. Monday night, I went over to a girlfriend’s house where we made cheese and chocolate fondue and stuffed ourselves silly while getting outraged over The Bachelorette. I spent Father’s Day on the water with my godfather and his wife, Bibi, who love me like their child when my own father isn’t here to do so. These are the things lighting me up. Experiences with other people–that’s what makes life precious. Not the stuff, but the people who we enjoy the stuff with. Relationships are so important and only when we are at peace with ourselves can we really put adequate effort into those relationships. I’ve come so far in my journey of self-love and food peace. Sometimes it’s so refreshing to just recognize where I am and how much work I’ve done. My thoughts are no longer consumed by calories, weight, and various “problems”. A year ago, someone surprising me with an indulgent chocolate cake would’ve made me feel instantly anxious, defensive, and closed off. Now, it brings joy, love, and appreciation. The difference is night and day.

I feel so, so free.

This is Me Showing Up

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

– Pema Chödrön

 

The Friday night after the Charleston shooting, I attended a vigil along with the youth group at my church. I saw the event on Facebook through my mother and felt called to show up, so I proposed the idea to our youth pastors, and we made it happen. Rev. Matthews (pastor from Alabama, I think) gave an incredible sermon and several women from the From Pensacola group spoke as well. The words hit me hard. Being around these beautiful people brought me to my knees. Oh, Lord, how long must this go on? BREAK OUR HEARTS FOR WHAT BREAKS YOURS. There was anger in the words spoken that night. There was frustration, from all sides, understandably. There was also transparency and deep compassion. I tried to see them and they tried to see me–we had to try because of the color of our skin. We had to try, and that breaks my heart. Why it can’t be completely natural is the tragedy. After the vigil, Trina from From Pensacola (Trina, if you’re reading this, it was truly wonderful to meet you) came over to tell us thank you for coming. She was talking to our pastor Hailey and said something along the lines of “we just need to have this conversation, we have to attempt to see past the biases and barriers.” The truth of her words made me want to sob because I hate that the barrier exists and I try to deny that it is there. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and say I SEE YOU, I LOVE YOU, and I want to UNDERSTAND your struggle. I’m sorry I didn’t say that when I had the opportunity. I can never truly know what I do not know and I HATE that, but I understand that hating it does NOTHING. All I can do is listen and be there and love you through it. I am angry and sad and hopeful and impassioned all at the same time. It’s a confusing and vital time for our country.

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I’m currently listening to Brené Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage and it’s inspiring me on a whole new level. I can read all the books and listen to all the podcasts, but until I’m willing to do the work and feel the uncomfortable feelings, it’s all for naught. With that said, I’m challenging myself to go out into the world and let myself be seen. I’m putting my honest writing into the world and I’m speaking my truth in both relationships and in professional settings. Brown talks about how we can only love people as much as we love ourselves. This is both devastating and incredible news. Incredible because we can actually love ourselves! Crazy right?! Devastating because most of aren’t really there yet. It takes work and we’ve become apathetic. We’ve put up defenses because it’s too risky to show up as we are. We must transcend the shame and fear in order to love ourselves and then love others. We have to forgive ourselves and begin our journey of self-love in order to show love and compassion to other people. We cannot show empathy and compassion without vulnerability. We have to be willing to step into other people’s stories and try to understand. That’s what I’m trying to do.

And this is me showing up in the face of the darkness the best way I know how: writing. I’m showing up because I believe I’ve reached the point (as a culture we reached it long ago) where it’s too dangerous to stay silent in my comfortable, privileged world. It’s uncomfortable to admit to myself that I am privileged by the very color of my skin. It threatens to bring guilt and shame but I will not let those feelings come because guilt and shame also bring silence and barriers. I try to live in the truth–the truth that we (all of mankind) are MORE THAN ENOUGH without having to do anything at all. More than enough because we live in a world created by a God who is love and loves us entirely PERIOD. More than enough because we have a Father who died so we could be worthy. Everything else is layers of ego, fear, hatred, guilt, and shame that have been imposed on us through a culture of lack and comparison.

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Bell Hooks said that “language is a place of struggle.” We don’t all share the same languages or cultures. But we do have that one thing in common: we are love and we are enough just because we ARE. So I will speak from that sacred ground, at least trying to engage in an honest conversation.

Racism is nothing new–its roots run deep in this country and its roots run deep in my race in particular. I cannot, cannot ignore my ancestors past. I hate racism and I don’t agree with it and I do everything in my power to avoid it, yet I still can’t seem to escape it. I have to face my bias and recognize my privilege if I have any hope of affecting even a ripple of change. Like many others, the Charleston shooting shook me to my center and broke my spirit. The feeling has lingered and I’m itching to do something. I don’t know what to do and it overwhelms me. So I’m writing. I’m showing up at vigils. I’m having conversations. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself for not really understanding because I can’t relate to the struggle in the black community. We all struggle, but white people just have not had to struggle in that arena. We haven’t felt that particular kind of fear or shame that comes with a society telling you that you are not enough. Sure, society tells us we are not enough every day in a hundred different ways, but not enough because the color of our skin? I haven’t had to face that one. I’ve been scared to show up in that arena because I can’t relate. I’m scared to show up because I’m a young, white upper-middle-class woman. So I’ve been reading books, listening to podcasts, talking, and praying. Now I’m taking another step. Maybe I’m not “qualified” to speak on this subject, but you know what? I don’t care. We have to talk about it. All I can do is continue to educate myself and continue to listen to other people’s stories and realities. I want to hear them, I want to be there with love and compassion and an open heart. I may not understand completely, but I LOVE YOU and I AM HERE. I hear your story and I validate its reality. Please, God, help me know what I cannot ever truly know.

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Beyond just trying to understand and have compassion, I want to act. I feel overwhelmed by my need to do something and I think we live in a culture where we feel like we need to do something huge and public in order to affect change. This is not the case. So I’m trying to let go of the “overwhelmed” feeling and just do my best and keep showing up. Teaching is not a job for me. It’s my calling and it’s what lights me up. I find meaning in it and I want to use my work as way to serve and love and educate (lol, obviously). I love to learn and I believe in the power of education. I want my students to teach ME, I want to know them, and I want to understand. 

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I’ll be teaching in a Title One school come August where the majority of the kids are on free and reduced lunch and 53% of the population is black. I can only continue to try understanding what I’ll never really understand–beyond just race but extending into the arenas of class, gender, and so on. It is always a good idea to educate yourself and be open to other perspectives. Angela Watson did a great podcast titled Speaking out about race, poverty, riots, and our students–it is transcribed in the link and I will quote the most profound parts here:

“I’ve not kept silent because I’m afraid of offending, or because I don’t care. I’ve kept silent because I don’t feel qualified to speak on it. The intersection between my life and issues of race and poverty have been by my choice. I’m white and I grew up middle class, and I don’t ever want to appropriate other people’s experiences which I can never fully understand.

Part of me says, Who am I to claim to have anything of value to say here? But a much bigger part of me is saying, Who are you to keep silent? Who are you to look in the face of such grave and widespread injustice and say nothing?”

If we choose to teach students who live in urban poverty, I believe we have a moral imperative to serve the families in the community with dedication, empathy, compassion, and generosity. Please don’t go teach in the inner city if you don’t have a heart for serving those kids. This is real life, not Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds, and it’s tough work forging relationships with kids whose world you don’t fully understand. I’m speaking from experience here–we have to know what we don’t know and understand our own bias as white people from a different economic class. It’s a real thing–trust me, your kids know your limitations and you should, too. You have to approach your role as teacher in those communities not as a savior, but as a servant. Your goals have to be to love, to connect with, and to educate kids. Work to understand the community and build relationships, and think carefully about what you choose to say and also share on social media and how it might undermine those relationships.

And if you don’t teach kids in poverty, it’s even more important to refrain from passing judgement on these communities because you quite honestly know nothing about them. You have the privilege of being in a safe, upwardly mobile community. You don’t see people in your community dying while in police custody or shot without cause.It’s not even within the realm of possibility in your mind that YOUR son might die unjustly at the hands of the police. You won’t ever know that pain of losing your loved one in that way.”

I am also reading Ruby Payne’s A Framework for Understanding Poverty as a way to understand some of the students I will be teaching. As I’ve said several times and as Angela Watson says, WE HAVE TO KNOW WHAT WE DON’T KNOW and understand our own biases. Above all, we have to be kind, compassionate, and loving. We have to listen. We have to speak up and show up. As a teacher, I am not a savior but a servant. As a human, I am love and loved and so is everyone else.

 

When Food is Literally Medicine

Regular readers may remember my post from a while back about my obsessive eating/exercise patterns. For those who don’t remember/don’t feel like reading old posts, here’s a long story (kinda) short: I lost a bunch of weight through calorie counting and (mostly) running, got a bit obsessive, and started to go down a scary road. I was consumed by my weight and the food I ate. I was obsessed with clean eating and developed fear foods. I felt increased anxiety when I didn’t exercise or “messed up” my healthy eating. I had strict meal times and rules. Fast forward to now: I’ve come a long way with my self-growth; I’m learning to love myself and my body. I’ve read books, listened to podcasts, journaled, taken long walks–I’m doing the things. I’m facing my demons. I’m moving, moving, moving forward. I’m trusting.

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BUT… lately I’ve been experiencing some health problems, both mental and physical, that have thrown me off center. I’ve always had a very sensitive stomach. I have to watch what I eat regardless of what my fitness goals are. But after my obsessive period, I had to MAKE myself loosen up a little. And I think I’ve gone a little off track. I need to cut down on added sugars and anything else that may aggravate my symptoms. I’m considering following low FODMAPs guidelines; but I can’t let myself get too restrictive. There’s a fine line with balance and moderation, and this is going to take focused consciousness and effort. I’ve also been drinking more alcohol than usual since the move (meeting up with old friends, celebrating, etc.) and I need to face the fact that drinking just does not benefit me in any way–it messes with my anxiety and mood and it throws my gut off balance. I have to get comfortable with speaking up when I need to eat a certain way and avoid alcohol. I also suspect that my hypothyroidism is back and have been having some troubling symptoms after eating and exercising. I think it may be related to blood sugar as well… or maybe it’s Adrenal Fatigue? I just don’t know. I have a doctor’s appointment Monday and I’m anxious to figure it out. I miss exercise–it’s vital for my mental health. In order to feel my best mentally, it’s important to be physically healthy. The fatigue, headaches, blurred vision (the list goes on…I’m annoying, sorry…) have been holding me back from that, though.

I’ve been feeling a little discouraged by the health issues since they’ve been an ongoing thing for the past couple years. It’s frustrating as hell. “STUPID BODY WHY DO YOU HATE ME” is a thought that has come up a time or two but I’m choosing to stay positive and tell those kinds of thoughts to back. the. fuck. off. But seriously, thoughts are thoughts–nothing more. I have the power to prove them wrong, change them, and see them for what they are. My body is a beautiful vessel that has been beaten down over the years by anxiety, negative self-talk, and food sensitivities. Letting those things own me instead of owning them is when I start getting closed off and down. But the negative self-talk and my diet CAN be fixed. Screaming at myself won’t help anything. And the anxiety and mood stuff? They can be managed. But it takes WORK.

The only solution is love. Positive transformation is painful because you have to face the darkness in order to reach the light. I will feed my body with real foods that nourish it and keep it running smoothly. I will speak words of love into my soul and heal it from the inside out. I have to continue the hard work of facing my “baggage” and getting to the core of myself. It’s a life-long journey, for all of us. And it’s the only choice I have if I want to live a full and present life.

I have a hard time with change. Transition has always been a struggle for me. And I’m currently in a HUGE transition time after graduating, moving, and soon, starting my career. I need to be self-aware and extra cognizant of taking care of myself and processing emotions. Writing has always been a really helpful and therapeutic tool for me. Case in point, I had no idea these words were going to come up. This post was just supposed to be about “getting back on the healthy train” and eating better to help aid in some health issues.

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And now I’m all into transition and self-love. It’s amazing what writing can reveal. Thank you for reading and allowing me to use this space as a place to be honest and authentic. It helps me more than you know and the support I’ve received online is so comforting. I hope this didn’t come off as a list of complaints. I honestly just needed to get it out and this is my outlet.

With all that said, here are some meals/snacks from yesterday! This is the beginning of “getting back on track”, mentally and physically:

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breakfast: rolled oats cooked in cashew milk, some greek yogurt, banana, and coconut peanut butter. 

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lunch: Wasa crackers with avocado and strawberries. 

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snackage: handfuls of dry roasted edamame, fresh, juicy melon, and a couple spoonfuls of nut butter.

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dinner: brown rice + raw almond butter (don’t knock it til ya try it) with california blend veggies on top! (grilled chicken added later–I’m working as a small group leader for a church mission camp this week and threw some of their food into my tupp…just came prepared as I didn’t know what they would be having!)

Well, that’s it! I had some Kashi GoLean cereal later after getting home around 10 pm, but by that point, I was totally past the point of remembering to take pictures, haha. Good day of eats though and felt pretty “on” all day! It was an amazing night as I *officially* re-joined the church I grew up in! I’m also really enjoying working with the youth’s mission camp and am excited to stay involved beyond this week. They do mission work during the day, fun stuff in the afternoon, worship + small groups (I’m a small group leader) in the evening, and games at night! And they sleep at the church all week (I opted out of that part…) Great kids and a great program. I love that they are STAYING local and doing mission work HERE–sometimes we forget that we don’t have to travel far to serve others. Sometimes the people who need our love the most are right in front of us. <3

Can anyone relate to the health issues I’m experiencing? If so, do you have any tips/meal ideas that align with a low FODMAPs diet? Or just any insight into what might be happening with my body? I’m seeing a doctor Monday but it’s comforting to know when other people have experienced similar things.

Love y’all.

(Linking up to Jenn for WIAW!)

Reality Check

Happy Saturday, friends!

Tell-me-what-is-it-you-plan

 

SERIOUSLY…

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one WILD and PRECIOUS life?

Sometimes I need a reality check. For the LOVE of God, we are all going to die. Why does that have to be scary? It’s not scary. It’s our greatest teacher. It teaches us to be present. It teaches us to find meaning in every single moment. Maybe instead of going through our days numb, anxious, and hurried, we should remember that little fact that we try to ignore with every fiber of our being. It’s not morbid. It’s beautiful.

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So what do you plan to do?

I plan on Loving. I plan on PAYING ATTENTION. I plan on being blown away by the beauty. I plan on reading about it, traveling to see it, stopping in my tracks to appreciate it, and maybe just writing about it.

I plan on saying no to the things that don’t light my soul on fire and saying YES YES YES to experiences with the people I love–no matter how enticing holing up in my apartment on the couch may seem.

I plan on stepping outside of my own little self-constructed world I’ve built up all these years. We all have them.

I’m letting go of the limiting beliefs and preconceived notions.

When things don’t go the way that little world desires, I plan on letting it all pass through me to make way for more love and more light. I want to keep my heart OPEN.

This is not my world. This is not even my life, really. I just have the privilege of enjoying it.

We are on a planet. Spinning around in space. There have been millions before us. There will be millions after us.

I will let that sink in. I will step outside my door, and I will not be afraid.

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Currently: June 2015

Hello y’all! So, I haven’t blogged in almost two weeks. While I’m tempted to beat myself up and chastise myself for letting this space fall by the wayside, I know that is not productive and totally dumb, yo. You know, as I’m typing, the familiar ease and comfort of writing is flowing back to me and it feels damn good. It’s like coming home–every time.

So why haven’t I blogged in two weeks? Because in the last two weeks, I’ve picked up my life and moved it 400 miles away. I’m a Florida guuurl again! That requires a lot more time and energy than I imagined…so much so that I honestly just have not had the energy to start this post. Ah, I MISS BLOGGING. I MISS ALL OF IT. With that said… Hello again :)

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Moving = bruises. everywhere.

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A sweet friend and I taking selfies in the Gulf.

A lot has gone down in the past couple weeks. A lot of emotions and a lot of moving, moving, moving–in every way.

Speaking of MOVING, I submitted a piece for Unbound Process on the theme of “movement” last month and they published it on May 27! It’s called “Finding Meaning in the Ebb and Flow” and I should probably be re-reading my own words every day as they are FOREVER APPLICABLE. I hope y’all check it out!

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I’m mostly unpacked and finally am starting to feel a LITTLE bit more settled in my new place. It’s my first time truly living alone as an adult and it’s completely terrifying/exhilarating. Best part? No pants ever. I do what I WANT, man. That honestly has been so much more of an advantage than I thought. It also means that I have to take a little bit more control of my time and manage it well. I can’t just sit pant-less on the couch eating off a plate on my stomach watching a recorded episode of The Bachelorette for hours (no, this has neeeeeever happened, I promise…….)

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I’ve been gone for so long that I don’t really know where to start… I figured since it’s a new month, I’m going to do a little “currently” list to wax poetic on my current state of mind!

Current book: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore for my book club at church. We meet tonight to discuss the first one hundred pages. It’s hilarious, well-written, and thought provoking. I also just finished The Marriage Plot and highly, highly recommend it.

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Attending a family friend’s high school graduation. Books required.

Current music: My fierce ladies playlist on Spotify. And Glass Animals after seeing them Monday night in New Orleans.

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Current guilty pleasure: The Bachelorette and “Want To Want Me” by Jason Derulo. That song jams hard.

Current drink: La Croix, a shit ton of water, and Green Tea Kombucha Yogi tea. Oh, and too much beer…

Current food: A lot of eating out lately as I’ve been meeting up with a bunch of old friends! I’ve been grocery shopping a couple times, mostly to just stock up on basics like eggs, milk, bananas, sweet potatoes, etc. Meals have been simple and sweet; oatmeal, avocado toast, quinoa pasta, all the veggies, sweet potatoes with toppings (what’s new…) I’m going to get more adventurous when I feel more settled!

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Current obsession: Coconut water. It’s been hitting the spot in Florida heat. I adore all things coconut so that doesn’t hurt either.

Current need: Realignment. While I’m happy, I’m also a mix of other things–like anxious and overwhelmed. I’m a little run-down and over-stimulated by all the new experiences, socializing, and transistioning. I’m trying to return to my center and find some peace. I need to return to surrender and trust over and over again. I CAN DO HARD THINGS.

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Current want: Some more teaching appropriate clothes! I need some cute, simple dresses and a couple new pairs of trousers. TROUSERS–how adulty. And a new Fitbit after losing mine a couple months back (during a drunken night…how apropos).

Current triumph: Depositing two checks and unpacking the last couple boxes today. Baby steps, right?……… OH and making it through boot camp tonight. After hearing great things from my friend Melissa, I joined the YMCA downtown and I’m super pumped about it.

Current procrastination: Sweeping and mopping my floors. It’s bad, y’all. I am disgusting. Help.

Current indulgence: Coooookies of the chocolate chip variety, eating out with friends, and all the beer.

Current excitement: I have IB (program in my school) training for my job all day Thursday and Friday! I’m super excited to meet all the other teachers and start planning.

Current mood: Can I just say all the feelings? All the feelings. What else is new.

Current link: This instagram account. “Book reviews with strangers on the subway.” Enough said.

Linking up to Amanda! :)