Thursday, October 25, 2007

Food experiences gone astray

I am ready to let the virtual world know about my pregnancy. I am happy to exclaim that I am 14 weeks along and so excited for this baby. I am not excited about one thing lately: food. Food aversions and constant nausea have led me to experience food in a completely new and different way. I don't think I like this way.

I appreciate my body's signals telling me I need food. I have found these signals to be drastically different from non pregnant hunger. I go from full and nauseous to panic hungry/borderline blacking out nauseous. Every hour or two, my body sends this alarm and I take warning. Happens even at night while I am sleeping. I will dream about ordering room service or sorting through options in a pantry. Maybe my brain thinks I need a suggestion as to why I am feeling so dizzy while half asleep?

Here's a compilation of foods I have found I need to keep at my bed side, in my purse, or on my side table at work:

Black licorice
Sunchips (original only)
Brie (no worries listeria-fearing folks, only pasteurized consumed)
Cape Cod potato chips
Taco Bell Nachos Supreme (no meat)
Sour Patch Kids candy
Cinnamon Raisin mini bagels
Soy milk (original flavor only)
Smooth peanut butter
very salty French fries with LOTS of ketchup

These craved foods are funny to me because I would abhor most in my non pregnant state. For example, I am a die hard mayo fan and usually can't even smell ketchup. I have gone through 3 bottles of Heinz at my house already. I am resigned to trusting my body's cues and enjoy the new tastes.

As the first trimester comes to a close, I wonder if I will want a protein again. I also hope that the nausea lifts soon so I can resume my exploration of food relationships. I will raise my glass of soy milk to that one. Cheers!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Food While Food Tastes Yucky

The last few weeks I have been experiencing food in a different queasy kind of way. Instead of yearning for taste and excitment, I yearn for bland, simple, and little food.

To help with my queasiness, I searched for real ginger ale. I could not believe how hard it was to find. After many unsuccessful grocery shopping experiences, I finally found this one.

Grown Up Soda Extra Dry Ginger Ale hits the spot. It is not too sweet and the real ginger helps the queasiness stay away for few minutes. Goes great with pickles too.

Friday, July 27, 2007

You GOTTA Try This

I thought the best part of the pizza was the stuff on top. Wrong. I found this pizza crust at Deep Roots Market in Greensboro and whipped up a pizza with sauce, cheese, and oregano from my garden.

I have found most whole wheat pizza crusts to be better suited as door stoppers so I was not expecting much out of this one. Not only did it exceed my expectations, eating this crust became an experience. Crunchy and crumbly on the outside with chewy on the inside. Amazing flavors that made me take my time with each bite.

Usually I could care less about the crust (of course, no toppings!) yet I found the crust to be the best. I can't wait to get this product again.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Confessions of a Dietitian

Many of my esteemed nutrition colleagues stamp the food police approval on calorie free food. There appears to be a group consensus among many that choosing the lowest calorie choice is ALWAYS the best choice. Further, this group effect tends to bring out a feeling of moral failure when one does not choose the lowest calorie choice.

I don't know what god they are worshiping yet my God invented food to keep us alive AND taste good. I believe food, real food, is better than these totally manipulated and perverse human inventions poorly described as food.

Today I am proud to admit my vow to NOT eat diet food. Further, I admit to eating the following foods that may get my nutrition practicing license revoked:

1. Whole milk
2. Butter
3. When I want a soda, I only drink regular NOT diet.
4. When I want French fries, I get them...even when surrounded by a table of dietitians.
5. When I want something sweet or salty, I choose the real thing instead of 100 calorie packs.

Those who do not know me may be wondering if I am able to fit through door ways. I have maintained a BMI of 20 for about 10 years. Respecting hunger and satiety cues allows me to consume what my body is suggesting while maintaining the weight my body desires for homeostasis.

I wonder what would happen if more trusted their bodies and ate what their body needed instead of trying to trick it with manipulated fake food.

I encourage you to eat real food that is less processed and less manipulated. Respect hunger and satiety and your body will love you back.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Good changes need time for grievences too

All changes, even the most longed for, must have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. ~Anatole France

My friend Ruth Hannah posted this quote on her blog and I sat with it for some time. The poignant and moving words speak volumes on why any change is tough, even the ones we want so much for our own good. In order to move forward, we must grieve the behaviors or life we are leaving behind.

Grief is unavoidable. We can try and run from it yet it will always be there waiting. Preparing for this grief when desiring behavior or life change can help one successfully move forward.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Go to SLEEP Ed!

You are gathered with a group of your friends having a great time. In the mix of people is a person you are hoping will turn into more than a friend. The conversations are great and there is a lot of laughter. The energy is positive and uplifting.

The door bell rings. Someone yells, "Pizza's here!"

Everyone: Yeah! Except you: Groan.

Enter stage left: a sweaty meat head looking sports coach complete with whistle makes a bee line for you. Immediately, he barks orders to you. He stands, hands on hips, inches from your face and yells, "You are such a good for nothing! You will not eat any of this pizza! Eating this pizza will make you more of the trash you already are! It will make the person over there despise you!" You wipe the coach's spit off your brow.

No one else acknowledges the coach. No one else seems to have one either. Everyone else is continuing the relaxed chatter and laughter while enjoying the pizza. You take a deep breath in. You slowly let it out. Do you choose nourishment? Clearly, your stomach is requesting the food. Or, do you listen to your personal food coach? His name is Ed.

Who hired him anyway?

Ed is the eating disorder. Ed is the love/hate relationship with food control. He promises strength and security with following his demands. Yet, it also seems like you can never do enough to please him.

Most people I know with an eating disorder would pay millions to fire Ed. They would do anything to quiet their mind and enjoy food again.

In my work with clients with Ed in their life, many speak of a few moments a day when he appears to be absent or at least a little late. This peaceful time is often with the first meal of the day. I believe Ed is NOT a morning person. I suppose he spends so much energy torturing people throughout the evening and even in dreams that he cannot wake up on time.

My clients and I often plan for this tardiness. We plan enjoyable balanced breakfasts that will help fuel their brain to argue against Ed the rest of the day. If it wasn't for the sustainable meal, many would not get enough energy to pump their heart each day. I am so thankful for the many Eds that sleep in each day. This respite seems to allow many of my clients the time needed to gather all their strength and ammo to fight back.

Last night I went to see the Avett Brothers in Raleigh, a cool punk blue grass band of brothers. Wow, the energy felt from the stage! Prior to playing the song, Go to Sleep, one of the brothers discussed the song as letting go of a harmful part of you that you do not like anymore. Once I heard the explained lyrics combined with the energy, I thought of those affected by Ed. Here's part of the lyrics:

Lay back, lay back, go to sleep my man
Wipe the blood from you face and your hands
Forgive yourself if you think that you can
Go to sleep, go to sleep my man

I encourage those of you with Ed yelling in your face yell back: Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep! Maybe drop him a sedative or two. Go back to bed, Ed. You are not welcome here anymore.

Thank you Avett Brothers for the inspiration. Here's a clip of them singing this song back in May. Enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Annoying words heard on the street

Did you know shoulders are the new body part?

Since when? Haven't I always had shoulders? Am I evolutionarily advanced? I wonder what the next new body part will be...knees, toes, knuckles? I can't wait to find out.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Finding Freedom in Balance

The Joy Project just sent new images to my Myspace page's bulletin. The one below is my favorite. Thank you Joy Project!

I like to imagine a world with more energetic motivation for good by putting all these heavy worries to rest:

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Airborne remotes and projectile shoes: Watching TV with me

Watching TV with me can be a scary event. I often throw things plus you may hear an f-bomb or two. Common experiences include:

"What!?!? What the f*#$??? (Husband quickly ducks missing airborne remote and projectile shoe.) I wanna kick their a&&es and punch them in the face! How dare they tell us not to trust our bodies. Give me a f*&%$ing piece of paper...I am going to write them a letter."

These outbursts stem from commercials lurking for their prey: the vulnerable woman's psyche. They all seem to have a few common themes:

1.) We all need to lose weight. I realize our country is experiencing an obesity epidemic and half of the country is overweight or obese. What they fail to realize is half of the country is not overweight or obese. Maybe the diet industry does realize this yet they would miss out on profits. Very sneaky to try and convince otherwise intelligent women their bodies are not OK.

2.) Shame on you if you are not dieting. I wish the advertisers would consider the research: shaming those who need to lose weight has been proven to be ineffective. Instead, it is damaging and promotes over eating. Oh wait. Eating more would make women buy more diet products. These diet industry folks are smarter than the credit I give them.

3.) Do not trust your body because it is lying to you. Many diet focused commercials lead us to believe hunger is similar to the calm before a tornado. You are asking for trouble if you choose to sit on a porch swing sipping iced tea in the calm before the tornado. Commercial messages teach us responding to hunger patiently and calmly will lead to a never ending binge ruining all the effort put into the day's diet thus rendering us plump victims of our own desires. One currently on my sh@! list demonstrating my point:

This commercial paints a dreadful picture of a woman's fate during the night: predetermined bad luck as demonstrated by the black cat crossing her path to the kitchen as well as her victimization by her biological hunger or cravings. Allowing a person to connect with the physical craving for a food would clearly ruin everything, according to Special K. They seem to point out how we should be fearful of what is hiding from us in the kitchen since it is eagerly awaiting our arrival.

I stopped believing in things like the Boogie Man when I was nine. Imaginary creatures are not waiting to pounce on us at night and this includes food. We, as humans, do not need to fear food. Nor, do we need to fear our hunger. Franklin Roosevelt's famous quote, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" seems to hit home the point I am trying to make. The more a woman fears hunger or food, the more fearful it becomes. I believe the diet industry plays with and exploits this fear to pay for their yachts and Ferrari's.

Our bodies were designed to let us know when we need fuel. This may happen at normal meal times or it may happen at 9:13 pm. Do not judge this. Listen to it. Give it what it needs. When the hunger is gone, you will know you have fueled appropriately.

Any commercials bug you? Any send you mixed messages pointing out your food weaknesses in order to sell their product? Vent here: your remote control and shoe will thank you.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

I Feel the Power of the Pen!

I admit it. I am a junkie. I just cannot stop and I am not ashamed to finally admit: I am addicted to writing letters to the editor.

I feel passionate about healing food relationships as well as reconnecting the mind-body-food connections. I work tirelessly from my soul to help those who live life disconnected to their body's accurate food fuel tracker. My clients spend many hours trying to undo their feed-like-dieting wired mind.

I think it is understandable then when I blow up after reading, seeing, or otherwise experiencing pro-diet ads including commercials, commentaries, and stories. Since I am limited to spread my message to those who voluntarily walk through my office door, I have found the power of the pen as a means to vent my disgruntled and anti-diet zealot message.

I feel overwhelmed at times by the saturated diet obsessed media. I probably write a letter to the editor to someone every week. Of course, January and the start of summer push dieting more...I write one per day then.

I realize most of my letters were destined for a trash bin. They were not flashy nor did they promise 24-hour weight loss. I got over it as I found the letter writing therapeutically helped me to release my built up tension fighting main stream culture and society.

I am grateful to note that one of my letters to the editor will finally be published. I feel so heard and finally little less misunderstood!

The letter will be in May 2007's Marie Claire magazine. In case you do not get a chance to pick it up, here it is:

A woman once told me each of her diets ended with 3 emotional blows: she became a failure, a quitter, and she was still fat. Thank you for the enlightening interview with Susie Orbach and sharing her view of a diet's physical and mental damage to women. I think it is unfortunate the diet industry disconnected a woman's trust in herself and love for her natural shape. My hope is to see more empowering articles like this one and less that shame a woman into starvation and self punishment.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Be comfortable in your genes…and jeans.

[Note: This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Those who know me well, know that I am an anti-diet zealot so you are not surprised by this post. Please read the following message from your local RD that I submitted to the N&R...I hope you get something out of it whether it is for you or someone you know. Cheers!]

Everyday we see and hear messages dictating what size we should be. Countless people punish themselves when their body types do not fit into the thin ideal. Many of us hold on to a pair of "skinny jeans" in hopes they will fit someday. Part of the shameful self punishment includes unhealthy fad diets or even starvation to try to meet society's skinny standards. These diets promise failure and usually more weight instability. Instead of continuing the cycle this week, celebrate National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Here are a few ways to be a part of the festivities:

• Realize much of your body type is determined by genes passed on from your parents. Stop putting your body down because it may not mimic the thin ideal. Realize we are diverse creatures and thus we are diverse in size.

• Do not regard your food choices as degrees of moral failures. Food can be enjoyable and that is okay. Like body shapes, food should not be regarded as good and bad.

• Be good to your body. Allow yourself to eat when you feel hunger. Stop when your hunger goes away. Do not judge your hunger as a dishonorable signal from your brain. Trust yourself and do not try to trick it. You are receiving it because your body needs the fuel.

• Participate in movements that are fun for you. Do not feel like you have to exercise on the hamster wheel of treadmills or machines (unless you enjoy them). Instead, find activities and clubs that allow you to move your body in a way that is fun and healthy not punishment.

It is normal to struggle with accepting your natural shape. We live in a world where it is tough to escape this pressure. Support each other by recognizing the beauty among the differences. Support yourself by donating your "skinny jeans" to a charity clothing drive. Those jeans are really not your genes. Find some jeans that fit and, therefore, demonstrate the beauty of the genes only you can call your own.

Monday, February 5, 2007

My Second Food YOUtopia Experience

I am driving through Arizona's desert during a business trip. While my colleagues chatter about the day's excitement, I find myself finally able to retreat with the new Shins album. I have been saving this music for a good moment for this first listen. I place the buds in my ears. It drowns out their chatter so I feel as I am totally alone at last.

I look out the window and my eyes notice the different landscape. The cacti and tumbleweeds appear to have an inverse relationship with the Tumbleweed smoothie I am drinking.

It bursts with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, sugar, soy milk, and cream. With each sip, I feel the seeds from the berries; it lets me know this drink is fresh and was prepared just for me.

The Shins fill my head with the nourishment it needs while the smoothie does the same for the rest of me. This fuel allows my eyes to take in the landscape.

The landscape changes as I notice 3 colorful hot air balloons lifting into the sky. I watch them float and wonder what they are able to see from their direction. The birds fly by through my personal movie. The birds seem to be mocking two larger flying creatures: two hang gliders float among them.

I wonder how I can be so lucky to be able to enjoy this moment. I feel so small among all of this creation and movement.

I am saturated by the sounds in my ears, the sun's warmth on my face, the taste of the cool berries, and my eyes bounce hoping to absorb all of this. I realize I will never be on this road again. I will never be in this city again. I will never be in this moment again. I say to myself: enjoy it and be grateful.

The sun starts to set as I see a dune buggie drive by. Will I experience any other joys today?

Through the music, I hear my smoothie's straw slurp noise. It lets me know this food utopia is about to end. The sun sets just as we arrive to our destination.

I will never be back and that is okay. I will remember it and that makes me smile. I am grateful my food fuel allowed me to experience and connect with my soul and the earth.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Food and Youtopia: How It All Began

It is the first unofficial day of Spring one day in March 2005. The season has changed as evidenced by the sun, high in the sky, feeling so warm and perfect on my face. It is also the first day I want to drive with the windows down.

I finished work early today. To celebrate the rest of the afternoon to myself, I drive to Coldstone Creamery in Friendly Center. The annoying teenagers working behind the counter do not annoy me today with their obnoxious greeting. The sun's warmth shields me from annoying people today.

I order a Love It Cake Batter with Cookie Dough. I take my order and walk out the door. I get into my car and as it starts, I hear a song that makes me just feel so grateful and optimistic.

Luckily, I manage to hit every red light on the short drive home. This allows me to finally taste the unbaked goodness. Each time I take a taste, my body surges with happiness and childhood memories of sneaking swipes in the bowl of the cake batter.

As I get closer to home, eating the amazing ice cream, feeling the warm sun on my skin met with the perfect breeze and harmonious sounds, I wonder if this moment can be any better. I am contemplating this and notice something out of the corner of my eye:

I see a little blond-headed boy moving in my direction on the sidewalk. He is riding a unicycle. He sees me see him. He waves.

The sun, the sounds, the sights stayed connected through savoring the taste. I call this sequence of events a food utopia. Everything during these moments felt perfect and the moment could not and would not have occurred if I worried about how many calories I would need to burn off for this Love It from Coldstone. It would not have been complete if I chose a dinky 60 calorie fat free sugar free yogurt. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the food. You will have a food utopia too. This way to zen.
Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr