Almost Wordless Vacation Recap

So I haven’t been on the computer in a week, and it honestly felt so freeing to just forgo technology (well, besides my phone and iPod) and just enjoy a few days of fun with my family. I also had an extra day away because I had to go up to my college town for some job training for my weather anchor position at the school’s TV station. I’m actually starting to get pumped up for school to start in just a week–well, maybe not school but having my own apartment and being on TV.

Anyways, here’s my mostly wordless vacation recap of my trip to Estes Park, CO with some words at the end about my intuitive eating/exercise experiment!

The cheese-free individual-size hummus pizza at Poppy’s…I devoured it all!

The view of Fall River from the condo.

Tanning by the pool.

Noodles in the deep end of the pool.

A mini Stanley Steamer model (steam-powered car) in the EP Museum.

Spicy sweet and sour tofu & veggies at Thai Kitchen…super spicy, but so good!

Sissy time!

The view from our hike around Lily Lake.

Tall iced soy skinny mocha enjoyed by the Big Thompson River.

Some awesomely bright flowers!

First time trying the Coconut Bliss brand of coconut milk ice cream–verdict = so good, even for the insanely high price ($6/pint). I had some chocolate hazelnut ‘ice cream’ topped with fresh raspberries.

The coolest owl cookie jar!

This really cool, super-vintage looking church just outside EP. It was even cooler inside!

The Big Thompson river.

First time trying vegan sushi! I had the sweet potato rolls filled with Japanese sweet potato, avocado and cucumber. And I loved the pickled ginger on the side.

Me and my sister down by the river.

I think I honestly kicked some serious ass on my self-imposed intuitive eating and exercise challenge. I didn’t record any of my meals or exercise in the calorie counting app I have since last Tuesday and I didn’t freak out (too much) about my macro balance. I feel like I ate more than I usually do, which I know is still probably not enough, but it was definitely a start. I feel like my meals out were pretty balanced–the first night, I had a small vegan pizza covered in veggies; the second night I had a Sunshine veggie burger (without the bun) topped with fresh guacamole; the third night I had sweet and sour tofu and veggies with a little brown rice on the side; and the last night I had a strawberry, spinach and walnut salad with balsamic and some vegan sushi. I honestly loved all the dinners that I had and didn’t have too much of a problem finding something healthy and vegan at the restaurants we went to. I challenged myself to try the Coconut Bliss brand of coconut milk ice cream despite it being higher in calories and saturated fat than my tried-and-true brand. I skipped my usual cardio circuits but was not a couch potato–I played tennis with my dad for an hour one day, walked around town a lot, went on a hike and did some swimming in the condo’s pool. I felt a little more comfortable in my skin than I usually do at home, despite wearing just a swimsuit a lot of the time. I tried a lot of new-to-me things, had some old favorites (veggie straws, baby carrots and PB Puffins, say what?!) and didn’t try to think too much about the food. Overall, the 5 days I spent intuitively eating were some of the best days I’ve had in awhile, and I want to try to keep eating the same way. Now that I’m home, I have more access to veggies, protein, etc. but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep eating more adequately and enjoying my food. And while I’m excited to go back to my regular exercise, I realize that a few days with less intense workouts won’t kill me. So I’m going to try to live every day like I did on my vacation–without the pool time, of course 😉

Do you eat intuitively or plan out your meals? Have you ever had vegan or vegetarian sushi?

Raw Survey and Letting Go

Another survey, I know! If this was a tweet, I’d be saying #sorryimnotsorry. So yeah, I like surveys and they’re easy to do. But I’ve also got a more serious discussion in this post too, so look for that! This survey is all about raw foods, because I’m interested in raw foodism and I love experimenting with raw dessert recipes.

Favorite nut?

Oh man, this is a super hard question! I love so many nuts/seeds. But my fave nut at the moment is definitely cashews. I can’t believe I used to hate them, now I eat them in some form almost every day. They make amazing raw dips and spreads (like my spicy nacho cheez and mascarpone ‘cream’) and can be incorporated in all kinds of raw desserts.

Favorite fruit and veggie?

Another hard one. I’ll just go with what I’m loving most right now–mango and kale. I actually dominated an entire mango the other day at one time, no shame. Now I really want to make some kind of raw massaged mango kale salad!

How good does this look?!

What raw food have you never liked?

Sashimi. Um, yuck. I used to like fish before I became vegan, but even then I thought raw fish sounded nasty. I never wanted to risk getting sick, so I never tried it.

Favorite raw dessert?

Either raw brownies or raw cheesecake. Both are really easy and fun to make but I want to try a store-bought or restaurant version some day!

Raw key lime cheezcake, made with cashews.

What raw food do you eat most often?

Definitely fruits and veggies. I actually prefer most veggies in their natural, aka uncooked and raw form, they just taste so much better that way. A lot of people don’t like raw kale, but I’m obsessed with it. Just squirt a little lemon juice on it, sprinkle some nooch on it and you’re good to go!

What raw food do you want to try?

Raw protein powders. I would love to add a protein punch to my raw desserts and I just think the raw powders might taste even better and more real than the vegan powders I currently love.

What is your favorite raw food discovery?

Cacao nibs. I was intrigued by them when I saw them on someone’s blog and then I decided  to order some. They make a great (but less sweet) sub for chocolate chips and they’ve got a cool texture.

An (almost) totally raw breakfast, featuring banana softserve and cacao nibs.

Onto the “letting go” part of my title. As I said in my last post, I’m going on vacation soon. As much as I love getting away from the daily grind, vacations can be so hard, especially for my eating and exercise habits. I’m realizing that I won’t be able to do my daily 45-60 minute workouts for a few days and we’ll be eating out for dinner every night and I’m kinda freaking out. But really, why can’t I enjoy myself for 5 days and balance my normal healthy eating with some meals out (that’ll still be fairly healthy) and just working out by hitting the outdoor pool and walking around the town and hiking in the mountains. I think I’ll live, and probably have more fun. So for at least the days I’m on vacation, I want to skip adding up my meals and workouts in the calorie tracking app I use and not flip out if I can’t be as balanced as I am at home. I think I can still be really healthy–it’s not like I’m going to start eating junk because it doesn’t make me feel good–and the few days I’m away might make all the difference in the changes I’m trying to make to fight my ED. I like knowing the numbers and the macros, but really, they’re not the be-all end-all. I want to try moving towards intuitive eating, instead of restriction and counting.

What raw food do you eat most often? How do you balance vacations and your health?

Friday Faves (August 3)

Long time, no Friday Faves post, huh? I guess I’ve just been a little too busy these last couple of weeks, with my birthday, finishing up my internship and planning things for the upcoming school year. I’m still pretty busy these next few weeks–in fact, when you’re reading this, I’m probably up in FoCo setting up my apartment for the fall!–but I really wanted to get in a Friday Faves post.

Favorite Milestone: Finishing my first internship

Sorry about the lame screenshot of the video!

When I started my internship at one of the local TV stations back in late May, I had no idea what I was in for. And, well, it was both a lot more and a lot less than what I was expecting, but I’m so glad I did it (and that I’m done on Saturday, woooo!) Now I know that being a reporter (and even anchor) is less than glamorous, but it is incredibly exciting. Unlike most office jobs, being in TV news brings new stories and new challenges every single day. Some days were crazy, others were slow-paced and almost boring. I wrote a million stories, practiced live standups (where the reporter is on the scene and reporting about the events going on, like in the above photo), tried my hand at some editing and video shooting and answered more phone calls than I would have liked to. I talked and joked around with all the reporters and photographers, stalked and admired the anchors and cussed at my supervisor under my breath. Yeah, not everything about the internship was ideal. But I learned more in just 11 weeks than I have so far in my journalism classes over the past 2 years. And now I know that I am crazy enough to want to continue in this business 😉

Favorite Vegan Re-creation: Tempeh “Crab” Cakes

Crumbly and messy, but so so good!

I honestly can’t remember ever having crab cakes in my former omnivorous life. I used to be a huge fan of seafood, but I always went for the shrimp, scallops and white fish. This vegan rehash of the classic crab cake is probably not much like the real thing, but I really liked it. Best of all, it’s pretty simple and healthier than the original.

Tempeh “Crab” Cakes (vegan)

1/4 block tempeh

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used leftover cooked multigrain pizza dough and grated it)

handful broccoli slaw, shredded carrots, chopped celery or green onions

1 to 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (I didn’t really measure it out, just tasted it!)

1/2 tsp garlic salt

2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise (Veganaise or Nayonnaise)

1 tsp mustard

Chop or grate tempeh into small pieces and place in a bowl. Mix in veggies, Old Bay, garlic salt, half of the bread crumbs and 1 tbsp of the vegan mayo. Pack together with hands until mixture can mostly stick together. Form into 3 or 4 small patties and roll in the remaining bread crumbs. In a small pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or a little olive oil, cook patties for 3-5 minutes per side, or until slightly crispy and golden brown. In a bowl, mix the remaining vegan mayo, mustard and a little Old Bay until combined. Serve tempeh cakes topped with the vegan remoulade. Serves 1.

Favorite Thing I’m Looking Forward To: Estes Park

So gorgeous, even on a cloudy day!

A yearly trip to Estes Park, CO in the summer has been a family tradition since I was at least 10 or so…so we’ve been doing it for 10 years now! I love the gorgeous scenery and hiking trails that nearby Rocky Mountain National Park have to offer, the condo-side pool surrounded by giant mountains, quirky cool boutiques and great restaurants (with some vegan options). What’s not to love? I’m going there next week, so I may or may not have some posts lined up for the days I’ll be gone. But I’ll for sure have a recap post!

Favorite Thing I’m Doing Today: Setting up my apartment

I still want this for my place…

In just a few weeks, I’ll be living on my own for the first time ever. Okay, yes, I’ve been technically living on my own for the past two years at college, but both years were spent in the dorms, meaning not a lot of freedom and minimal cooking opportunities. But now I have an apartment of my own (it’s a one bedroom) and I’m beyond excited to move in and start living independently. Well, for the most part since I’ll still be coming home on breaks and once or twice a month, and still relying on my parents financially. But it’s still exciting for me! I can’t wait to actually cook for myself every day, figure out the transportation thing (I’ll have a car, but I still will probably take the bus sometimes), go grocery shopping on my own and maybe even go on mini road trips on the weekends. Oh, and I can’t wait to start decorating the apartment too!

What are you looking forward to in the next week or so? What do you think about apartment living?

My Story: Part 2

In part 1, I left off with my first day in recovery from anorexia. Part 2 is my recovery journey up til today!

 

From March until mid-May, my parents were pretty much the only ones in charge of my eating. I had a few checkup appointments to make sure my weight wasn’t slipping drastically. Those first couple of months were so hard for me, physically and emotionally. For the first several weeks, I was uncomfortably full after every meal and snack. I had never had to eat portions that large, especially not during the depths of my ED. I don’t know the exact number of calories I was eating during my early recovery, but it was a far cry from the maybe 500-600 I had had a month or two prior. My parents were pretty good at enforcing the eating rules–if I refused to eat something at dinner, they would sit there with me until I ate a sufficient amount. They didn’t push me way too far out of my comfort zone by making me eat really high-calorie things; they tried to work with me to find things I’d like, but they couldn’t be clearly disordered choices, and I had to eat enough of them to meet my needs. However, I can remember several times that I sneakily slipped some food into the trash when they weren’t looking–and they never noticed. I actually did this quite a lot over the first several months of my recovery, and I regret that I did that, but it happened. I was still struggling a lot with the disordered thoughts, and still occasionally had outbursts concerning my food and my body.

Summer 2009. Working on recovery.

A week or so before school got out in May, I started seeing a dietician. I really hated her from the very beginning, and looking back, she didn’t help me very much. See, I knew a lot about nutrition, I had just taken it to the extreme–I didn’t need someone who was mostly specialized in helping people with diabetes telling me that I needed to get in a certain number of servings of grains or whatever. She just basically gave me the same rough meal plan every time I saw her, and she got super-pissed when I dropped a few pounds a couple of times. That just made me feel like crap, because I was honestly trying to eat more–it’s just that when you’ve been eating so little and suddenly you start eating a lot more, your metabolism speeds up like crazy and you can lose weight even when you’re eating a lot. At the end of the summer, I stopped seeing her for good.

In June, I was scheduled to go on a mission trip with my church’s other high schoolers to San Francisco. I was so excited, but my mom said if I didn’t keep my weight up, I couldn’t go. That really made me push harder and resolve to eat more. I ended up being able to go, and I can honestly say it was an amazing experience. Okay, so I was still only making “safe” food choices and I know I probably did not eat enough on the trip because I didn’t feel comfortable with a lot of the food, but I didn’t use the trip as an excuse to purposely restrict and try to lose weight, and I’m proud of myself for that. Working with impoverished people in the Bay Area (specifically little kids) taught me that others have it so much worse than I do, and I should be thankful for what I have.

Golden Gate Bridge!

This awesome huge cross we saw on a hike (San Fran was very cloudy when we went).

Right after I got back from the mission trip, my family flew out to Wisconsin to visit my grandparents, and then soon after that we had our yearly trip to Estes Park and then I went to yearbook camp. So it was a crazy busy summer! My eating was pretty good in Estes Park–I was surprisingly mostly okay with eating out for dinner every night–and also at yearbook camp, since I was just there for the day and had most of my meals at home. Wisconsin was, well, a different story, kind of. My dad’s side of my family are all really big into red meat and stuff, and even though I wasn’t veg at the time, I still hated red meat and any milk that isn’t skim and that was a lot of what we had there. We ended up going to the store and getting a bunch of stuff I like, but I still felt like my choices were being judged by everyone. Luckily, when we stayed with my mom’s parents, they were way more understanding of my healthy food preferences, because my grandpa has had heart problems and now eats really healthy. It was a fun trip, but exhausting for my ED.

At the pool in Estes Park.

 My senior year started, and I also started seeing a therapist. The first few sessions, I didn’t talk much, and I almost always ended the session in tears. But as the months went on, I opened up more and tried to share my feelings and struggles. I also made a lot of strides with my eating. I had a “partial” every other day, which basically meant no class, so every other day after my 3rd period class, I’d drive home for lunch and the rest of the day. I could have used that as an opportunity to restrict, because no one was at home, but I didn’t. I kept eating a substantial amount. I’m not quite sure where my weight was at that time, but I’m thinking it was around my original 85 pounds. I was fairly comfortable at that weight…but my “goal weight”, as determined by my therapist, was 90 pounds. That was (and still is, somewhat) such a scary weight for me, because I had literally NEVER been over 85 pounds. But I’m a naturally petite girl, so I think the 90 pound goal weight was taking that into account. And really, it’s only 5 pounds over my original weight, but the number was so scary to me. Okay, I know that 90 pounds is technically underweight for my height, but that was the weight my doctor and therapist suggested. Maybe it was meant as just a starting point, but unfortunately, I have held tight to that number throughout my recovery.

My favorite senior picture 😀

 

September 2009. Getting ready for talent show my high school put on every year. My senior year, I was in 5 acts!

 

Also, I had NEVER gotten my period…ever! Not even before my anorexia. I think it has to do somewhat with being a late bloomer, and then when my intake was restricted, I had no chance to start my period. So my therapist started pushing my parents into making me take birth control to jump-start my periods, and build up my bone strength. I was so dead set against this, basically because I was terrified of the weight gain I’ve heard goes along with taking it. So I didn’t start taking it until January 2010.

Everything was going pretty well–until Thanksgiving of 2009. My grandpa on my dad’s side came to visit, and he brought along his “girlfriend”. This already made us kinda uncomfortable, because his wife (my grandma) had passed away in 2007, and we all still really missed her. She was such a beautiful, compassionate, intelligent woman and no one could ever replace her in our hearts. But he brought this new woman just the same, and we tried to make the best of it. However, little did we know that she, um, likes to speak her mind…particularly when it comes to eating and bodies. Two of the things I was most uncomfortable about. She made several comments regarding people’s sizes and then one night after we had a nice dinner out, she said that we had all eaten so much and we should weigh ourselves to make sure we hadn’t gained. This comment really set me and my mom off. When we got home, I cried so hard and I was also screaming because I was so mad at her. My mom was also really mad but was trying to get me to calm down. But everyone had already heard everything, so they basically knew I had an eating disorder. I definitely did not want to tell them, especially her, but there was nothing I could do. The damage had been done. I felt even worse, because my dad was blaming me for upsetting them, but I think everyone was just upset and angry and confused.

Being crazy on New Years Eve.

 

Christmas and New Year’s came and went. I started taking birth control towards the end of January, at the prompting of my therapist and parents. At first, I wasn’t too thrilled to be taking it. I mean, I’d gone the full 17 and half years of my life without getting my period once! But once I got used to it, it wasn’t too bad. My periods were always on schedule, without too much pain or anything. They became routine and normal for the most part. When we went to Phoenix (my hometown!) for spring break, I unexpectedly got it (and for the next two weeks following!) but we assumed that was because I had attempted to skip it. I know that a lot of people disagree about using BC to jump-start periods, but I think it was a good thing for me, simply because I was so far behind in getting my period. If I hadn’t gone on it, I might have never gotten my period. I’m not sure if it helps with restoring bone density, but I plan on continuing to take it until I experience problems with it.

Spring break 2010. With my sissy by a hot tub.

 

My favorite picture I took on the trip. This makes me want to move back there.

 My senior year was winding down fast. Before I knew it, it was my senior luncheon. Around this time, I had started to restrict a little bit again. I thought it wasn’t noticeable, but apparently I dropped a little bit of weight and my parents started getting more strict about my eating again. It made me feel like I was a little kid again–here I was, a few months away from being a legal adult and going away to college, and my mom and dad were making sure I was eating plenty. I think it motivated me to keep going with my recovery–I didn’t want to be treated like a baby who had to constantly be monitored. I also stopped seeing my therapist around this time, because she wasn’t really helping me progress anymore. In fact, my parents thought she was giving up on helping me!

 

Class of 2010 baby!

 

Graduation came and went, and my summer started. It was fun, but mostly uneventful. We went to Estes Park as usual, and my mom and I drove up to the college I was going to go to in the fall for a freshman preview. Towards the end of the summer, I started getting pretty anxious. I was worried about what I’d be eating, how I’d get along with my roommate, how hard classes would be, etc. I knew it would be so so hard leaving home for the first time, but I was pretty ready for it.

Can you spot me (haha)?

A lot of my worries were for nothing, though, which was good. While I didn’t really like the dining hall food, I’d found other options–sushi and frozen vegan burritos from a mini convenience-type store in the dining hall near me and getting groceries to prepare in my room every time I’d go home for the weekend. I still got to see my parents every other weekend when I’d go home. I made a few friends in classes and in my hall. Classes weren’t ridiculously hard. But…I did not get along AT ALL with my roommate. At first, we’d go to the dining hall together, but over time, I realized what a toxic person she was. I wasn’t vegetarian at the time, so she acted like she was superior because she was. She would make fun of me for my healthy choices (despite being veg, she mostly ate junk food). She was constantly in the room, but she would rarely talk to me, she was always on her computer. She went to bed super-late (like 1 am) even though she had morning classes, but would sleep in til noon on weekends so I couldn’t turn on the lights or anything. She was just an overall anti-social person who had awful hygiene habits. I really began to dread going back to my room, because chances are, she was in there. My roommate experience really kind of soured my freshman year of college, but luckily I had my family and friends to support me. I went out to eat with one of my new friends a lot, and we really bonded, plus I became more comfortable eating out with people I didn’t know really well. So overall, my freshman year was pretty good.

Despite my roommate issues, I was still usually pretty happy.

However, sophomore year so far has been so much better! I’m now in a single suite, and loving it! I love having a bathroom I only have to share with two other girls, and having a room all to myself. I can do whatever I want in here–sing out loud, take a nap, workout and even dance to Lady Gaga 😉 I do have to deal with a floor of loud freshman, but it’s not as bad as last year at all. I wish I had a car so I could be more independent and not have to rely on my parents to buy me groceries, and I feel a little weird for being one of the few upperclassmen still in the dorms, but the dorm I’m in is so nice–it’s like a hotel.

Recovery-wise, I have struggled a little bit more than I did last year. Without constant supervision, I’ve found it all too easy to slip back a little into restriction. It’s nowhere near what it was during the height of my anorexia, but it still isn’t good. I still have a long list of fear foods, but I’m gradually expanding my “safe” foods list. I’ve found that going vegetarian/mostly vegan has helped me discover and love new foods I’d probably never try if I was still eating meat. But I’ve found that I’ve been relying a lot on the groceries my parents buy. There’s nothing wrong with that, because I’m eating way better than most college kids and I’m pretty well-stocked, but the fact that I’m sort of scared to eat dining hall food (besides the salad bar) isn’t good. I’m working on trying to eat there more so I can face my fears of all the “fattening” food there. I know they have healthier choices, I just have to take a leap and check them out.

Happy and health(ier) in 2011.

So that’s my story, in a (big) nutshell. I’m so appreciative of the comments you’ve all left, and while I wouldn’t wish an eating disorder on anyone, I’m glad so many of you can relate. It makes me feel less weird 😉