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zoe & the beatles

just a twenty-something vegan navigating healthy, positive living with a little help from her friends john, paul, ringo & george!

it’s come to my attention that some readers didn’t realize i moved! i haven’t stopped blogging! oh no my friends, quite the opposite!

check it out!


any english major or english enthusiasts knows the mention of spring in a piece of writing means a rebirth. today happens to mark the first day of spring or, the first day of rebirth.

right now, i am certain of one thing: i am unhappy.

okay, i am certain of a few things.
i am unhappy. all right — accepted.
i am certain the healthy living blog-o-sphere no longer works as a healthy motivator for me. rather, it’s working against me, triggering major, major issues. accepted.
those three stretch marks? real. not fake. accepted.
the thing i am most certain of? things need to change. for real. accepted.

so i am starting over. overhauling, if you will. and i would love it if you’d join me :)!

well, i am thinking a few things.

i’m thinking spicy veggie nachos should be eaten every day.

i’m thinking steam burns hurt. really, really badly.

i’m thinking about how amazing and beautiful this book i finished today is.

i’m feeling more things than i am thinking, though.

i’m feeling accomplished for being binge free for three days in a row and proud for catching myself at the beginning of one this morning.

because, you see my loves, this morning i woke up late. like, 11:00 am late. who am i?

i woke up feeling sad.
i woke up feeling anxious.

i’m feeling guilty for cutting my 90 minute yoga session short. the negative chatter in my mind was too distracting to finish the last forty or so minutes of movement. i caved to the negative.

i’m feeling heartbroken, because i allowed myself yesterday to acknowledge just how heartbroken i really am (about k…)

i’m feeling doubtful, of myself, my purpose.

i’m feeling incredibly uncomfortable in my skin.

i want to be this girl again:

this girl is happy. she is balanced. she is in love with life and its endless possibilities. and she’s in love with herself. she weighs less (truthful things i don’t feel like thinking or feeling about right now).

and, you know, i should be happy. yesterday went pretty well. i climbed my first v3 rated bouldering route. i basically decided the cute boy at the rock wall definitely thinks i’m cute. i’ve been feeding myself well and listening to my body. i’ve been moving in ways i like, not in ways i think i am “supposed” to be moving in. i’m moving through life right now but doing so feeling kind of empty.

earlier i talked to my mom. about everything. she told me something i can’t quiet shake out of my head: “you’re not thinking, you’re feeling.”

she couldn’t be more right.

i am feeling alone. i am feeling “fat”. i am feeling empty. i am feeling unworthy. i am feeling doubt. i am feeling sad. i am feeling so much i am forgetting to think.

about how loved i truly am.
about how much support i have.
about how worthy i am of life, love, happiness, and all the good bits and pieces in between.
i’m feeling so much i am forgetting to focus on what i have as opposed to what i don’t have.
i’m forgetting my body is an amazing thing, not something i should feel so miserable about.
i’m not thinking about all the possibilities life has for me right at this very moment.
i’m just not thinking.

right now, though? well, it’s a wonderful time to start thinking and forget feeling for a moment. the best way to do that? spend a night on the dance floor with your friends and some dubstep. have a safe saint patricks!

what are you feeling instead of thinking?



i’m not working out today.

it’s raining outside. jillian michaels couldn’t motivate my ass if she tried. my yoga mat feels farther away than it actually is. and my bed has me held captive since waking up over an hour ago. don’t try and rescue me. i can handle myself 😉

honestly though, i’m not working out today. something about typing that out three times makes it more real. last week i managed to fit movement of some kind into each of the seven days. the week before i did the same thing.

two days ago, as it rained outside, i sat inside with a friend. the rain came into our conversation and we both agreed how dreary it was, how unmotivating. i told her recently, motivating myself to work out has been really difficult, that all i really want to do is stay in bed and sleep all day. to which she replied: “well, you work out a lot. it’s okay to take a break you know.”

it’s okay to take a break? wait, excuse me? what? it’s okay? to take a break?

it’s okay to take a break!

(i guess i need to write things out more than once to reaffirm them for myself…)

her words kind of hit me hard. i never take breaks. i never sit on the couch all day and watch tv. i never spend all morning, all afternoon, all day in bed. recently, however, it seems like that’s all my body is up to doing. i’ve been sleeping a lot more than usual. a lot. i’ve been waking up two hours past the time i’ve been waking up at for the past two years. i never want to leave my bed. it doesn’t matter how many hours of sleep i get i still feel sluggish through out the entire day, exercise or no exercise. i’m not drinking coffee so i know it’s not that. but i know something’s off. i’m not cooking. i’m not writing. it’s a chore to eat anything as my appetite barely exists. my mind and body are so worn down.

maybe a rest day will help. maybe listening to my body’s cues (for once) for rest will reinvigorate me. who told me i needed to work out every day anyway? whose “healthy” advice replaced my own? i’m not going to lie — it’s going to take some effort to quell the anxiety over not moving. it’s going to take effort to rest. hah! what a sentence.

regardless, i’m fucking tired. so excuse me, if you will, i’ve got a day long date with my bed until i have to tie on my green apron at four and barista till close. which is at 11. i’m off at 11:30 pm. hmmm…maybe starbucks has a hand in my depleted energy levels…

when was the last time you stayed in bed all day?



the other day, gena, of choosing raw, wrote a post in which she quotes a friend of hers bemoaning the fact that he could mess up something as “simple” as being healthy. “mess up” essentially refers to anything that might sabotage your road to a healthier life style.

supposedly, we all know eating a family size bag of chips isn’t “healthy”. we all know eating a half dozen oreos in front of the tv at ten at night isn’t “healthy”. neither is washing down a big mac with a soda. or overindulging at the buffet.

“healthy” means eating all your vegetables. and then some. “healthy” is working out at least a half hour every day. “healthy” is passing on dessert. “healthy” is fitting into your skinny jeans, your bikinis, your short-shorts.

…but why?

i use quotation marks because health is personal. health is objective. we all have our own opinions on health and what it should look like, what it should be like. regardless, health is supposed to be simple but, as gena so eloquently underlined, it’s not. at least for a lot of people it’s not. health and healthy living can be challenging. and i want to know why. why do we feel guilt, shame, and embarrassment about our bodies and about our food choices? why do we tell the waitress “i’m going to but i really shouldn’t…” when she asks if we want fries. why shouldn’t we? because it’s not “healthy”? according to who?

as a society i feel as if our attitude towards health is a jumble of opinions. i constantly feel pulled in opposing directions: low carb! high carb! no carb! but wait, there’s low fat, high fat, no sugar, no fruit, all fruit, vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian. there’s run, don’t run, yogayogayoga, no! lift weights!, embrace the treadmill, shun the treadmill.

where does it end?

where do our real opinions about health begin and our informed opinions of health end? or do they consistently clash against one another?

to me, healthy is eating balanced meals. health is eating that fucking cookie if you want it. it’s feeling happy and content with life a good chunk of the time. health includes a normal amount of exercise that feels right, not forced. most importantly, to me, health is self-love.

i know what health to me looks like. hell, i know what it feels like. yet, i’m not sure i’m living up to my personal standards of health. in fact, i’m sure i’m “messing up” health. the past year and a half has been a complete health overhaul. i went pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, eating only carrots-hummus-broccoli-crackers-tarian. i went no running, running thiry minutes, running forty-five minutes, running over an hour and working out more later that night. i went gluten free, sugar free, apple free, carb free. basically, i ended up everywhere but healthy.

now, i can chant “health, health, health” all day but “blow it” anyway. i can declare i am going to eat balanced breakfasts, lunches, and dinners but do nothing of the sort and instead find myself hoarding a jar of almond butter or peering into my fridge for something else to eat on top of my dinner, something i never did even when i was “unhealthy”. clearly, there’s an issue. clearly, i can talk all this talk but never seem to walk the fucking walk. clearly, my dear readers, i am failing at this whole health business.

i think i’ve allowed too many outside opinions about health to influence and re-shape my own. our bodies are smart cookies. they send us cues we often ignore. and my body is different than your body and the body of the nutritionist writing an article on health for cosmo and it is different than the body of the pin-thin girl in the drive through at work who orders a venti white mocha and a sausage sandwich everyday. i am so tired of not owning and accepting my body for what it is. i feel all mixed up and confused now. do i want to be vegan? or do i want to be vegan to avoid certain foods? do i want to be sugar free? or do i want to be sugar free because i don’t trust myself around foods with sugar? do i want to work out every day? or do i work out because i’m “supposed” to?

the other day candace said something to me that struck a chord. it was something along the lines of “zoe, you’re really healthy. you are probably the healthiest person i know. but you should do things you want to do, not things you think you’re “supposed” to do.”

and you know, i think she’s right. in fact, i know she’s right. i think i need to take a step back and re-evaluate why i do the things i do. there should be no “good” and “bad” foods. there should be no reason i binge and restrict. there should be no “right” way to exercise. there should only be “i enjoy this” and “i don’t enjoy this.” you know what i enjoy? being healthy for meon my own terms.

right now my relationship with health needs to be addressed. it needs to be mended. there are some serious gaps and they’re only continuing to grow. and as a woman on a mission for self-love, i think this is a really big step in the right direction. baby-steps are key here, though. i’m too much of a go big or go home type of gal and so far that’s only ever back fired for me. patience and more patience are key here. and deep breaths. lots of them.

so here’s to rediscovering and redefining personal health — one little baby step at a time.

what do you think — are we so health crazy that we’ve lost touch with the true meaning of health? is there a true meaning of health? and what does health look like to you anyway?let me know!



i’ve made a few decisions.

one was to not follow through on the challenge i alluded to yesterday. because yesterday happened and it happened in a way i am not proud of. the challenge will have to wait.

the second decision i’ve made is to stop writing about all the negativity i’m grappling with. i know i constantly push for honesty, but i fear i’m only constantly whining and i really doubt anyone wants to listen much to all that noise anymore. this blog and the blog-o-sphere aren’t my counselors, after all. i guess some thoughts should just stay in my head, you know?

so, the third decision i guess, is to focus on less downer things.

like a new favorite blog

she’s hilarious and i love her eating and fitness tips.

which leads me to decision number four…cutting down my carb intake (i.e: bananas, carrots, apples, dates…high sugar carbs. veggies i will eat endlessly :)!) and upping my fat and protein intake. i need to figure out how to best eat for my body and right now, i’m stuck in a food rut. not a food groove. my mood is all over the place and i’ve read about mass amounts of carbs with high sugar affecting moods. since i already know i am super sensitive to sugar sugar, i figure this experiment won’t hurt. additionally, i’m not exercising in a way that requires mass amounts of carbs. i needed the carbs when i ran incessantly but i don’t run more than 2 times a week. and i’m not going to lie: my fat intake recently comes only from unsweetened chocolate, some tahini, coconut, the occasional avocado, a splash or two of olive oil, and flax seed. the problem: too much saturated fat, not enough poly and mono unsaturated fats. i know (natural) saturated fats are necessary, but i think i’ve over done them.

in fact, i think i’ve over done chocolate. so decision number five is cutting out chocolate. again. i felt really great without it for those two months i went without it. the caffeine in chocolate affects me.

as does the caffeine in coffee. it makes me feel like a crazy person. so i’m done with coffee for the moment. decision six.

decision seven? incorporating HIIT into my exercise routine. i’m not going to lie: i’m trying to lose weight. and i’m trying to do it naturally and healthfully. so far i’m failing. truth: i love HIIT anyway so i don’t think this will be a hard transition.

eight: more yoga. i need to destress.

nine: do something special on sundays. like recap or something? i don’t know. currently i feel as if the purpose of this blog is up in the air. i’m trying to nail down what i’d like it to focus on. stayed tuned for that one.

and decision ten. maybe the most important. it’s a challenge. and i’m going to propose it to you, too. the challenge? try and do something every day i am intimidated by or scared of. remember those lines i’ve drawn around myself? they need to go away. fingers crossed my scared of/intimidated by act of courage actually happens. no points deducted from awesomeness if you don’t succeed.

and that’s that. ten decisions. let’s see if they stick.

have a great sunday.

any decisions you’ve made lately?



before i dive into my latest rambling, i want to first acknowledge the horrific events occuring in japan. my positive thoughts go out to all the people affected. events like these make me feel badly for ever complaining. i know everyone has her own problems, but sometimes i feel shallow and stupid for worrying about what i worry about. my heart goes out to all the victims. i hope the healing process can begin soon…

(and on another side note, thank you all so much for your sweet, sweet comments. there were so thoughtful and heartfelt and i really appreciate them!)

i have never been a very independent person. i am shy, quick to over analyze, and grow anxious very, very fast in certain situations. i am hesitant to try new things alone and usually end up dragging a friend with me.

now, however, i see just how utterly important it is to erase the lines i’ve drawn around myself. two days ago, i had a breakthrough. and yesterday? i had a revelation.

breakthrough: thursday afternoon, i went climbing…alone. the only people i climb with are k and our mutual friend, joe. clearly k never lets me know when he climbs and joe never remembers (or chooses not to) inform me of his own climbing schedule so i generally get left out. i wallowed for a bit and grew anxious over the thought of rarely climbing again but then it hit me: i have myself. if people i considered friends suddenly want to leave me out of their lives, so be it. i have myself and i have legs that can take me to the wall. i have a voice to ask people for a belay. i have the ability to climb alone. so i did. and guess what? it was a blast! i almost chickened out, too. i’m so glad i didn’t! i cannot tell you the confidence i felt after climbing solo yesterday. i felt empowered and so capable.

revelation: i am the only person standing in the way of experiencing life. by doling out excuse after excuse, i am essentially denying myself opportunities — for fun, for growth, for learning. by sticking to the main road instead of carving out a new trail in a new direction, i am only deepening the grooves of paths i’ve walked a million and a half times. where’s the excitement in that? where’s the adventure? i’m so sick of not trying things i want to try simply because i am scared.

confidence comes from testing yourself. confidence comes from pushing past your comfort zones and truly discovering what you are capable of.

each day i’ve been trying to push past my comfort zone. i’ve been trying to listen to my inner voice and ignore the negative voice i tend to listen to more often. two days ago i went climbing alone. yesterday, i experienced a pretty powerful revelation. today? well…

today, i quit an hour long yoga podcast twenty minutes from the end. why? because i realized i hate baptise power yoga. because i realized the thought it of produced anxiety in my chest. because i realized i only pushed myself through it purely for a work out, not for a reconnection of mind and body. because when david farmer said “be true to you” i realized i wasn’t. so i stopped. i never stop a work out.ever. as a person attempting to calm my compulsive exercising habit, i think i just did myself a huge favor: i just acted out of self-love.

oh, and let me just reassure you — that was not easy. i am feeling an intense need to supplement with more activity. i’m judging. i’m uncomfortable.

yet…isn’t that what the road to self-love is?

aren’t we supposed to feel uncomfortable? isn’t that what moving past comfort zones is? i think so, and i intend to keep on keepin’ on. tomorrow? well, i have a special challenge for myself. i’m excited and nervous and feeling silly for even calling it a challenge. we all start somewhere though, right? i’ll show you tomorrow.

as for the rest of the day…it’s a bit sunny outside. i want to go out on a walk (originally planned pre-quitting yoga. not supplementing, promise!) to clear my mind and enjoy the patches of blue sky. it’s been nice recently, too…

hope you all have a wonderful saturday!

what have you done recently that’s “outside of your comfort zone”? what do you want to do if you haven’t? and what’s keeping you from doing it?!



this post comes in response to a post by one of my favorite bloggers: medicinal marzipan. today mara wrote this beautiful piece on self-love. i am not truly writing in response, but rather i am writing in reflection. here it goes.

one of the biggest and most important aspects of my life is happiness. i strive to achieve happiness through self-love, a topic i feel like i talk about a lot. so far though, the road to self-love has seemed less like a road and more like a round-a-bout. it seems to come in cycles. cycles i’m sure a lot of you can relate to.

my initial first step towards self-love started the moment i got off the plane from south africa almost two years ago. i was nineteen and filled with a new sense of self, of environment, of life. i felt empowered, capable, and, for one of the first times in my life, border-line beautiful (i never fully let myself believe i was beautiful during this time). something inside switched on and my perspective on the world and me in it started to shift. i returned how with a new sense of purpose and immediately surrounded myself with healthier options. i started running. i met new, down-to-earth people. i became vegetarian. i got really involved in the kitchen. i was happy.

then the slightly winding path to self-love took a sharp, crooked left and steered me into a darker direction. i wandered away from self-love and happiness. whatever newly unearthed sense of being still oozing in my chest just withered away. anxiety replaced it. depression. anger. negativity. suddenly, the person i was almost willing to accept turned into the one person i despised. the one person i could not please. the one person i did not want to be.

i took another sharp turn in another crooked direction and wound myself deeper into a hole. running four days a week became seven days a week. with added in late-night secret work outs to combat the secret binge from earlier in the night. the skipping lunch every other day turned into skipping lunch almost every day and sometimes a complete dinner, too. portions shrunk. as did my waist. but so did my happiness.

the comments of “you look great!” morphed into “you look really, really thin, zoe.” i liked the second of the two comments the best. i secretly prized those comments and didn’t believe them at the same time. because me? really, really thin? obviously they did not see the pouch i obsessed over every-single-second-of-the-day. obviously they didn’t see the muffin top, the hips, the thighs, the butt, the every-little-thing. i only just recently realized (seriously) these thin comments were not complimentary but only said out of concern.

an incredibly close friend of mine shared with me a few months ago a thought she had around this time last year, when i was sunk in the middle of my self-induced misery: “i saw you at a party one night and thought you were going to break.”

i didn’t realize how awful i was being to myself. not even when my period disappeared. not even when i cried all the time. not even when my knees hurt constantly and walking became painful. not even when i was tired and sore almost every hour of the day. not when i couldn’t focus on conversations because i couldn’t focus period. not even when i stopped eating nourishing meals. not even when i compared girl after girl after girl to myself. not even when i preferred skipping social events in favor of eating and exercising till i fell asleep.

the wickedly twisted road on which i wandered took a turn for the brighter side over the summer. something in me clicked again and i saw through a new lens. i saw my unhappiness for what it was. and it was ruining my life, my sanity. i found something in myself to start the long climb upward.

i embraced yoga. i reconstructed my vegan diet and actually started eating. i loosened up food “rules” and quit exercising in secret. in fact, i quit the gym altogether. running and i broke up for two long, months. i started conversations with my mom, my friends, a counselor, and the healing process began.

something new turned on here. something i want to call self-love. around the time of my birthday i accepted myself for who i was, inside and out. i was beautiful, one-hundred-percent beautiful, never border-line anything. everything looked and felt brighter. i felt lighter, in mood, body, and spirit. i truly felt like i was almost there, that just a little farther up the road and i’d finally run into self-love. well, that feeling faded the day after i turned 21.

a lot of things started to happen. i gained weight. my body started changing. i based my self-worth on the attention and affection of those around me and ended up losing the one person i based the most of my self-worth on. i felt like i lost control and the happiness around the corner appeared farther and farther away. now, i realize that i am caught in a cycle. and i’m back at square one again. i’m embarrassed, scared, and upset.

i am back to under eating, bingeing, compulsively exercising. i am back to obsessing, fretting, doubting. almost every day i think back to how i felt around the time of my birthday: beautiful, settled, comfortable, happy. every day i want that feeling back.

i know i can’t get it back without self-love. i can’t feel all those things until i accept myself and all the little intricacies that make me up.

mara sums it up spectacularly:

The difference between loving yourself and not loving yourself is not in the things that you do it is in the way that you feel when you are doing them. It means being honest and brave, and not spiraling into a pit of self-hatred when you don’t like what you see or how you feel. It means reassessing, doing what is best, and being very, very sweet to yourself when you are scared. It means proving to your body that you are capable of providing a safe and healthy environment to grow and flourish. It means melting away the shame that you’ve developed over the years about yours size. It means going to bat for yourself, the way you would for someone that you love.

i know i can be honest. and i know i can be brave. i know i can not spiral into a pit of self-hatred when i don’t like what i see or how i feel. the truth is, i just don’t want to let go. loosening my grip feels like losing control yet i know it is the right thing to do. i know in my heart it’s the right thing to do. this cycle is hellish. and it’s taking its toll on me at the moment.

the last time i went to cafe gratitude, i found a pendant at the table i was seated at. a lovely silver leaf with red streaks.

the back held a surprise for me. engraved in the silver are three words: with the current.

how brilliantly accurate. and how wonderfully timed for this message to fall into my lap. i need to stop forcing against the current, as it brings me farther from happiness and creates unnecessary unhappiness and strife in my life.

i need to trust in my self.

i need to trust that the confusion and uncertainty i feel now will eventually bring me peace of mind.

i need to believe i am experiencing what i am experiencing for a reason.

i need to remember that it takes some work to make it work, it takes some good to make it hurt, and it takes some bad for satisfaction.

most of all, i need to start loving myself and just let it be

once i do that, once i flow with the current instead of against it, well…i think self-love will be inevitable. and that path to beauty? it starts now.

here’s to health, happiness, and wholeness. truly.



when i am stressed out or feeling emotionally drained, i do a few things.


work out (sweat it out, yo)
do yoga (a lot. like. alotalot)
write (like…constantly)
live in my kitchen (bakecookbakecook)
talk to friends (always a catharsis)
and i also
listen to music

a TON of music. when i am bumming in bluestown i will always blast music. sometimes it’s happy, sometimes it’s sad, sometimes it’s bittersweet. but it’s always there. music comforts my soul like no other. i love music with beautiful lyrics i can attach myself to (it’s the writer in me) and music with sounds that provide comfort. or at least fit my mood.

lately, music has started and ended my day. it’s been hard to be without it, i’m not going lie. i’m still struggling to find my balance and my center but music has eased the situation. particularly new music.

i’ve been playing mumford & sons sigh no more basically on repeat every day.

i bought more music by the strokes because i effing love the strokes…

and they just so happen to be really sexy ;)…

i only have is this it? and room on fire. both kind of rule my soul currently.

talk about soul ruling…the shins have been all over my little soul. mainly wincing the night away

just about every day this album comes on. i run to it, i cook to it, i dance to it, i do everything to it. i have no idea why it took me so long to embrace the shins but i am so glad i did. no lie, this is one of my best itunes purchases to date.

i go back to old favorites, too, for comfort. usually it comes in the form of this man:

i’ve been listening to mr.a-z (jason mraz!) since high school and his music never, ever fails to match whatever mood i am in and never fails to sooth me. lovelovelove.

additionally, i’ve been listening to florence + the machine, metric (a lot of metric), animal collective, booka shade, and, of course, the beatles! i don’t get by without my four best friends, obviously! (and, really randomly, i’ve been waking up with bad romance in my head every day for a solid week. needless to say i purchased it from itunes. it’s still stuck in my head though.)

i’ve basically been a music junkie for the past three or so weeks. and this junkie needs a new fix.

what do you listen to when you’re down? when you’re up? when you’re in the middle or in any space in between? this girls gotta get some new music!

(if you were wondering, i listen to everything (honestly) save for country (which makes my ears bleed). and, actually, most rap and hip hop i avoid unless it’s like atmosphere and more poetry-slam-y. regardless, this list doesn’t show you how much i adore classic rock, electronica (DUB.STEP!!!!!), motown (seriously love here.), and blues. i love anything that can make me move or make me feel. throw it at meee!)



it’s been an emotional week. particularly this weekend. but today…welll…

toady i ate a whole bag of baby carrots.
today i think i sped up my turning orange process.
today i drank a double soy latte because you know what? i really like coffee, damn it.
today i climbed for three hours. and beasted through new routes!
today i introduced myself to new people.
today i struck up conversations with acquaintances.
today i shared perspective changing conversations.
today i saw k.
today i cried.
today i laughed.
today i felt comfortable in my skin.
today i went from doubting myself to believing in myself.
today i decided to dedicate my time to making myself happy as opposed to making others happy.
today i let go.

today i decided every little thing is gonna be all right. because it is.

today i remembered just how worth it i really am.

what did you do today?