Why are we ashamed to eat?


Today I went out for brunch with two of my Canadian friends who’ve been working/travelling around Australia (Ana and Christina) and Christina’s mother, who’s been in town visiting her. It was a bit of a farewell brunch for Christina since she’s off travelling and then back home to Canada.

Four ladies and I was the only one to order and eat a full meal.

Now, I realise this may be one of the reasons that I’m feeling fat and unfit and I am focusing on making better choices but dammit, when I’m hungry, I eat. When I order a meal, I eat it and I enjoy it. Every. Single. Bite. I try to choose something off the menu that I know I’ll enjoy because I like to eat. I enjoy good food and good flavours. Love.Them

One ordered an orange juice and a coffee, claiming to have already eaten breakfast. Another ordered a fruit salad and while she finished it and it looked yummy, it was a small fruit salad. Another ordered the same meal I did and left at least half of everything on the plate.

I cleaned the plate. The veggie hash brown? Yum. The spinach and mushrooms were perfect and the poached eggs were, again, PERFECT. I enjoyed every single bite and could have eaten more, but I didn’t.

Honestly, brunch made me sad. Why is it, as women, we’re almost ashamed to have an appetite? Ashamed to enjoy a meal and take pleasure in it. We’re taught that this is a sign of gluttony, that it’s not something to be proud of. People who enjoy their meals that much are stereotypically NOT thin and fit and healthy. And I hate this.

Last week, I caught up with an old school friend who I haven’t seen in over 15 years and she’s painfully thin. I’m sure she’s suffering from anorexia but we didn’t mention the word itself. She’s aware that she’s not healthy and she’s working on changing that but I look at her and I feel sad. She doesn’t see food as pleasure. It’s a way to get herself healthy again but it’s not something to be enjoyed.

I want to be healthy and fit and feel pretty but I also want to savour every bite of food I eat. I want to enjoy the flavours mixing in my mouth. Maybe I’ll always be a little curvaceous because of that but I’d rather that then leaving food on my plate in order to look like I have no appetite.

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Portion distortion


Last night we went to friends of The Boy’s for dinner. Lovely couple – they’re getting married in April so we talked wedding (the girls) and work stuff (the guys). It was casual and laid-back and the food was delicious.

Except.

The portions.

They were massive. The starter was lovely and small – bruschetta (spelling?) with pesto and tomatoes. There were 5 pieces for four of us, so there was one left over. Then dinner itself – a piece of bread, fries, salad, a massive piece of chicken breast and ladles and ladles of creamy mushroom sauce. It was delicious but hardly healthy and was too much for me to eat. I saw the portion that The Boy got and it was even bigger than mine.

Here is where The Boy and I differ.

He finished the meal and then, when they took the plates away, leaned over and remarked how full he was and how it was too much food. But he ate it because he didn’t want to offend them.

I left half of everything on my plate (except the salad) and remarked, as they were clearing the table, that it was delicious but since they had apple pie for dessert, I wanted to leave space. That way, they knew I enjoyed the meal and why I wasn’t finishing it.

There was no way I could have eaten more. We chilled out for a while and then had dessert and this time, I quickly asked for a small portion, without cream. I enjoyed it and it was enough.

I was always brought up with smaller portions and the idea that you ate what was there and if you wanted more, you could always ask for seconds. Most of the time, a normal portion was and still is enough. But I have tons of friends, like these, who have a different idea of a normal portion and whenever I eat with them, I feel stuffed to the brim.

Was I rude? Would you have finished the food you were given, even if it meant you were eating too much?

“The first duty of love is to listen.”


(quote by Paul Tillich)

I love my body. No, I’m learning to love my body. And part of this process is learning to listen to my body. It’s a process. I’m learning what works for me and what my body needs versus what I crave because of habit and expectation and boredom.

The last two days have been tough on my lil’ ole’ body. My stomach has not been happy with me and I’m been bloated and uncomfortable and unhappy. And I’ve been lax on listening to my body. Instead of treating it with love and paying attention to what it was trying to tell me, I ate more food. I heard my stomach aching and I ignored the fact that this was not normal and I ate more food. I convinced myself that I was uncomfortable because I was either hungry or because I’d eaten too much. Or I told myself it was all the crunches I’d been doing. Ignoring the fact that this is not how my body usually feels, I self-diagnosed and hoped it would go away.

But after two days of not being comfortable, I realised that I had to listen to the most important thing in my life: my body. For goodness’ sake, it was trying to tell me something important and here I was ignoring it!

I thought carefully about the food I’d been eating. I had bought some garlic chili dried peas two days ago as a treat for the Boy while he’s studying and writing a bunch of exams. I love spicy things so I had been munching on them mindlessly. What else was different? I’d been eating a bit more white rice than normal too. The only reason I’m eating the white rice over brown rice is because the Boy has stores and stores of white rice and I’m loathe to buy MORE rice (even it is brown rice) before we work our way through this rice.

But anyway. Those were two new things in my diet in the last few days. So today, I cut both out. I made myself a healthy Quinoa salad for breakfast (quinoa, portabello mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes) and then held off for lunch until 1:30 instead of simply eating at noon because it’s lunchtime.I’m snacking less today (or at least thinking about it) and drinking more water. Being more mindful.

I can’t say I’m feeling perfect but I’m feeling better. I’m not as bloated and my body feels a lot happier. I know that sounds weird but it does.

In the same vein, I gave myself some *me* time last night while the Boy was out at cricket. I slapped on a face mask and treated my face to some rejuvenation. Voila, this is what my *me* time looks like!

There is a cute face under there somewhere ...

It’s not pretty but trust me, my skin is now lovely and smooth. SO worth it!

How do you listen to your body and give yourself some *me* time?

Too many choices


My parents are in town visiting at the moment. Three weeks of one-on-one time. Bliss. Well, not entirely.

Living alone means I’m not used to company all the time. True, I’m going to have to get used to it pretty quickly once the Boy and I move in together (or rather, move to the same frigging country), but at the moment, my space is generally mine. While my folks aren’t staying with me (they’re staying at a hotel around the corner), they’re spending everyday at my place. Every dinner. And today and tomorrow being holidays here (Canada Day and then a floating holiday at work), I have 2 full days with them. I’m enjoying it generally but there are some small things that are beginning to grate.

I’m not used to people disagreeing on my dinner choices. Usually, I pick a recipe and make it. Sometimes I try something new, sometimes it’s an old staple but I don’t usually give a choice. My parents only eat kosher meat, so I’ve been limited lately to fish and vegetarian meals, which is fun at first, but a challenge after a while when my staples are chicken based. So yesterday, they went off and found a kosher butcher and came home with tons of meat.

Great, but my dinner plans tonight were to make Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms. My mother, bless her, decided to give my dad the choice of steak or mushrooms. He obviously wants steak. Then she suggests he have both, which doesn’t work because the mushrooms have cheese. So I’m supposed to make one mushroom without cheese, which changes the entire recipe. Then he says he only wants steak. So I have to make two separate meals. At this stage, I got a tad grumpy and said no, I’m not making two separate meals. We’ll have steak tomorrow night and mushrooms and salad tonight. Suck it up.

I feel like a bit of a bitch at the moment but I’m a little peeved. This is my home and while they’re doing a lot of the grocery shopping while I’m at work, I’m cooking for them and I’m not prepared to make different meals for everyone. Seriously, how do those of you with kids and fussy eaters do it? Notice to the Boy: one meal a night – I’m not giving you a million choices.

This could also be a symptom of needing some space on my part. I’m really not used to conversing and being ‘on’ all the time. So damnit, they’re going to enjoy the Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms (with rice, veggies and cheese) or else!

Taking time and making time pt 1


Wow, what a cryptic title. What on EARTH could I be talking about? Have I found a way to MAKE time?

Well, no. But hear me out.

We live in a world where time is precious. We never have enough and we want everything to happen quicker and sooner and faster and NOW because we don’t have time to waste. Which means we put off things like going to the gym or cooking a big meal when it’s only for ourselves, or dressing well, or looking after ourselves because, well, there are more urgent things to do.

But this is wrong. This is bad.

Because if we don’t take the time for ourselves, if we don’t make the time for ourselves, then we’re really no good for anyone else.  Our work is not productive, our social lives suffer because we have no energy and no zest, and everything else that seems so important suffers. All because we think we have no time.

The thing is that we do have time for ourselves – we just need to find it, and take it. Yes, our days are busy with work, with family, with STUFF, but there are minutes and hours that are there for the taking.

Food is often one aspect that falls by the wayside when time is crunched. It seems easier to order in or buy convenience foods instead of eating well. But food is fuel and with crappy fuel, you have less energy and all that jazz. There are tons of ways of making time work for you when it comes to food:

  • Invest in a slow-cooker. I have a new one being christened today and I love it. I throw in the ingredients in the morning while I’m getting ready for work, program it to cook all day and dinner is ready when I get home. No effort required – no thought at the end of a long day. And the bonus is that I’ve got enough cooked for a few meals – bringing me to point #2
  • Cook in bulk and freeze ready-made meals. These are SO much better than the ones you buy at the grocery store and tons cheaper too. You control the ingredients and the sodium and the chemicals so they’re so healthy. Cook a big meal and then freeze separate portions so they’re easy to grab from the freezer when you have no food in the pantry or time to prepare a new meal.
  • Separate food into ziploc bags when you first put them away. Things like veggies you plan to use for salads or meals or snacks. It may take a little more time than simply stashing them away, but it makes it super easy to grab on the go – for lunches or snacks or whatnot. It takes away the thought and effort when you’re in a rush. It also means you’re less likely to eat an entire bag of chips in one sitting and ignore your dinner – it takes more effort to keep getting up for another little ziploc bag of snacks!
  • Menu plan and shop mindfully. Again, putting in a little more effort at the beginning saves time down the track. If you sit down before you grocery shop and plan your meals for the week (it doesn’t need to be a hard-and-fast every item plan), it can save you time and money at the store and mean that you’re less likely to wander aimlessly and throw out food at the end of the week. I’ll admit that I don’t follow this all the time, but I notice when I don’t. For example, this week, I planned my slow-cooker meal tonight, which will last for lunch and possibly dinner tomorrow night. I’m out Wednesday and Thursday night so no meals then. I have some tuna for tuna salad for lunches and then I bought some stewing meat for another slow cooker meal for Friday night.  Not expensive and not time-consuming at all.
  • Buy frozen veggies and use them liberally. Frozen veggies are not the devil’s invention but rather, an amazing time saver! Frozen chopped onions, chopped spinach, mixed veggies – they all make life easier.  Again, this is simply about not trying to re-invent the wheel – if you have the time to buy fresh, great, but if not, it’s super easy to throw some veggies in with some chicken strips and sauce and voila, you have a stirfry.

Some simple hints and tips that can make life easier and show you that time is there for the taking when it comes to easy meals. I hear too many people say that they have Kraft Dinner in their pantry because it takes too long to make a good meal and it’s only for one person and it’s expensive. It’s really not any of those things!

A dilemma


I got my quarterly hair cut and colour yesterday (looking sharp!) and I love it. Short, curly and reddish-brown. Easy to maintain generally and cute. But I have a dilemma.

See, my hairdresser gives me great cut and nice colour but I don’t like her. I mean, I like the result, but she’s a little, well, boring. She’s all for sticking with what works – you know, find a cut and colour that suits you and stick to it ’til death or old-age forces you to hit the blue rinse.

I’m not like that. I did stick to long hair for a LONG time but when I’m ready for a change, I tend to prefer a hairdresser I can go to and say “CHANGE” and let them work their magic. This last chop happened in September with my old hairdresser and I loved it. My new hairdresser has been maintaining it but is loathe to change anything. But the cut is so good! How can I walk away from someone who cuts my curly hair so well?

And the other thing is that she’s super NICE. The kind of nice where you don’t say anything bad about anyone ever. And I’m nice but not that nice. I have opinions and I like to express them (nicely :P) but she makes me feel like a bitch.

But the cut is so good! What to do, what to do?

In other news, I survived my workout on Monday. Joe the Trainer went easy on me, which was good because I got winded a lot easier. I’m feeling almost back to normal and I’m planning on hitting the gym again tonight and see how the running goes. I may only aim for 2 miles just to see how I feel. I’m actually kinda excited to get back to it – you’d think I’d taken a month off or something!

We have a potluck lunch at work today for a colleague who’s off at the end of the week for her first baby. I made a yummy broccolli and cashew salad and I’m hoping it goes down well. It’s got broccolli, crunchy ramen noodles, cashews, raisins, sunflower seeds with a mayo/onion/red wine vinegar dressing. Everyone tends to make super unhealthy stuff so I may end up sticking with my salad!