Inviting Discomfort (& dill pickle kale chips)

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Food can be a pretty all-consuming aspect of our worlds—being preoccupied with food and eating is a safe place to hang out. It’s familiar and predictable, and it never challenges us to be uncomfortable in other ways. At least when we eat, we can control the discomfort, right? And you can’t tell me eating a whole box of cookies isn’t uncomfortable (hello buffet pants!)!  Are there ways other than food we can use to control discomfort? For example, when we put ourselves out there or take a risk, it’s new territory—new and UNCOMFORTABLE territory. It takes us out of that insular and isolating world of our eating disorder and makes us reflect on how we want to show up in the world. If there’s one skill that emotional eating (and yoga) has taught me, it’s how to recognize and tolerate discomfort.Read More »

Body to the rescue! (and SOS Cookie Bars)

Bird's Eye
Question for you: How much time are you spending in your food world or, to rephrase, how much time are you spending thinking about your food?
I’ve had a few larger than I’d like meals this week, and eaten a few things that I react to. It’s easy in those moments, especially when we feel uncomfortable/bloated/full or what-have-you for a prolonged period, to tune out from the body and try to drive the show with our head. We think that if we can cognitively map out a way to course-correct, we’ll land ourselves back in the safe zone. It’s a good idea, at least in theory. But this is the kind of thing that creeps in and before you know it, you’ve become completely preoccupied with the whole food thang and have completely detached from your body in the process. Your thoughts may be a repeat of this track: what you ate, what you should have eaten, what you will eat next, how much you ate, how much you will eat, what you won’t eat–sound familiar?
What if we just LET IT GO? If we are in our head focusing on food, we are not actually in our body tuning in to what it needs. The way forward is laid out for us via the body and we can get back there via a few simple observation prompts: Am I hungry or am I not? What am I feeling and where in my body am I feeling it? What do I need?
Trust me on this: When we allow our body to guide us, we come home again. We choose foods that feel good in our body. We know that we will eat when our body cues us and we don’t have to worry about it. We don’t have to live from meal to meal, already thinking about the next one before we are done the one we are eating! We can trust that when we eat, we will eat what feels good to us and we will eat because our body is telling us it is time to do so. How do we get back there? We breathe our way back into our body. Place a hand on your heart and a hand on your belly. And make the decision to listen and to trust. Your body is wiser than you know!
Cookie Bars
What can I say? Those larger than I’d like meals have mostly been out at restaurants, though I have made some amazing things intermittently–such as these raw walnut cookie bars, which I found over on Ashley’s site Edible Perspective. I was reduced to a pool of bliss on the floor at their satisfying deliciousness. I’ve known for a while that walnuts and honey are a dynamic duo (not to mention the ultimate cure for insomnia, try it!) –but pairing them as such with just a few additional fixings (including cacao nibs, which I added to the original recipe!) made me want to have a thousand sleepless nights just to have an excuse to consume these daily! I made these as a birthday treat for someone, but I think I’ll be re-treating myself to this recipe again very soon indeed! Head on over to Ashley’s site and hit her up for the recipe.

 

The Miracle Question and Beet Miracle Medallions with Almond Cheeze

As was discussed in the previous post, getting back into the driver’s seat with binge behaviour is about changing how we choose to relate to our binges; it’s also about creating a space for things to be different. Here is a simple but really powerful technique to empower yourself in the face of a binge. To employ it, you need to take a few minutes in a safe (non-binge) mindset and space. It’s something I did many times in my own therapy, and only recently did I realize that it’s a therapeutic technique called “The Miracle Question” (or some form thereof)—developed by a chappie named Steve de Shazer. The basic premise of the question is to ask “How would your life look if you didn’t have X problem?” (To read more about its use in a therapeutic setting, go here.) The idea behind this question is to shake up our perspective from what can be an all-consuming preoccupation to a mindset of hope and possibility.

So are you ready? Take a pen and paper and explore the following: If by some miracle you could wake up tomorrow and be free from binge eating, what would be different about your life? What would be better? Take some time to visualize a day in that life, from how you feel when you wake up in the morning to how you spend your evenings. Write it out in as much detail as possible. How are you feeling in these moments? Light? Joyful? Attractive? A sense of peace or calm? Sexy? Energetic? Feel these things in your body as you close your eyes. Breathe into these feelings. Take a few moments to breathe into this life and connect with these sensations: this is your life without the binges.

We can also take this question to the pre-binge moment, when you have the choice to go down binge- road or not: “If by some miracle, I could magically bypass this binge, what does that look like? Where are you? What do you choose to do instead? Would you be in your favourite pair of PJs cuddled up on your couch with a good book? Would you be doing some stretches or deep breathing on your yoga mat? Having a phone call with a good friend? Taking a bubble bath? How does THAT feel? Do you feel empowered? Nurtured? Visualize in as much detail your ideal binge bypass scenario, the one that feels loving and safe and nurturing.

At first it might be really difficult to visualize how life might feel without bingeing, but these questions help us to conceive that it’s possible. To even just consider an alternative plants a seed in your mind that there could be another way—a different outcome, a different reality. If you can spend time in the feeling created by this visualization for just five minutes a day, you can call it back to mind when that binge seems inevitable and insurmountable, and you will remember that you have a choice. The more often we experience feeling good in our bodies, the harder it is to disconnect and go to that self-destructive place. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel that way. What matters is that you know that you CAN feel that way, that IT IS possible and that the CHOICE rests with you! When we pave the way mentally then, the next time a binge beckons, we might consider bypassing the binge and going straight for the self-nurturing good stuff.

Photo courtesy of Yamuna Flaherty
Photo courtesy of Yamuna Flaherty (www.encounteringthedivine.tumblr.com)

Did someone say good stuff? I have been blissing out on some amazing food lately, and no exception was this recipe—a perfect addition to a tapas-style meal with some good friends. AND, almond cheeze is a wonder in and of itself in that there are so many delicious by-products that occur from making it. It’s a truly delicious process (and be warned, it is a process!) from start to finish!

Almond Cheeze

  • 2 cups almonds
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp herbamare or sea salt
  • ½ tsp of garlic powder
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup water
  • 3-4 probiotic capsules
  • Garnish- Parsley, wedge of lemon

Soak almonds in water overnight. Blend in a high powered blender and strain through a nut bag or cheese cloth, leaving some moisture in the almonds. Set the “milk” aside for another use (Delicious Byproduct #1). Add the remaining ingredients to the pulverized almonds with the exception of the probiotic capsules. Blend again and squeeze out the excess moisture (if using as a spread, you will want it a bit moist). For a crumbly feta, squeeze as much moisture out as possible! (Delicious Byproduct #2 – this will be a thick cream, delicious served over steam veggies or yam wedges). Break open the probiotic capsules and mix the contents into your cheeze. Place in a glass jar to begin the culturing process. Allow to sit in a warm dark place for 24 hours. When done, squeeze out any excess moisture using a cheese cloth or nut bag and store in the fridge (for spread consistency). For feta consistency, bake for 30-45 min at 350 until top is cracked and edges have browned. Serve as a spread on crackers, crumbled into salads, as a dip, in wraps or sandwiches, etc. or serve it up all fancy on marinated raw beet slices (proceed as follows).

Beet Medallions

  • 2 medium beets
  • ¼ cup balsamic
  • ½ cup flax or olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced

Combine everything but the beets in a shallow baking dish. Wash the beets thoroughly and slice thinly using a mandolin or sharp knife. Place in the marinade and marinate for 6 or more hours. To serve, spread a nice thick slather of almond cheese on top of each medallion, garnish with parsley and a squeeze of lemon and serve on a nice plate to wow your guests.