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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!

Monthly Archives: July 2010

first off, i’m sending a million thank yous, hugs, and love to ilana, jackie, sara, and natasha for your heart warming comments on my last post. i teared up while i read them. i appreciate the time you took to write them and the fact that you wrote them at all. my gratitude runs deep.

yesterday i planned to make it a good day. yesterday i completed a great HILT work out. yesterday i went shopping in downtown san francisco with one of my best friends from high school. yesterday i practiced positive affirmations. but mainly yesterday kicked butt because yesterday i ate at a restaurant for the first time. a vegan mainly raw restaurant (!!). talk about face melting good food! i stared at the menu for way too long trying to

but besides the food, the ambiance of the place which, by the way, is called cafe gratitude, bowled me over. it was bright. it was open. it felt like someone was hugging me the entire time. weird, i know. i was just too happy to be there. all of their plates are affirmations. so a raw pizza might be called “i am AMAZING” or a juice might be called “i am WHOLE.” so you order by saying an affirmation out loud. what a concept!

my waitress, though not necessarily on the speedy side, treated me not like a customer but like a person. she explained cafe gratitude’s purpose (all about spreading the love folks!) and offered me help in picking out a dish (i eventually settled on the yo so mucho bowl. steamed quinoa, shredded kale, guacamole, salsa fresca and a side of spicy nacho “cheese” sauce. after lunch i really went for it and ordered a slice of their raw cacao hazelnut mouse pie. a la mode. with free caramel sauce. oh yeah. it WAS that good.). she even asked me their “question of the day”: what was beautiful about me? a restaurant with a question of the day? BRILLIANT.

the best part about my cafe gratitude experience? the abounding river boardgame. oh yes, this place plops on each table cards from their very own board game. some are personal cards you read just for yourself. others are conversational pieces, such as “name three things you like about the person sitting across from you” and so on. i read several which struck a chord with me. like “i am a divine being” or “i am worthy of all good things”. all of these statements the card instructs you to read out loud three times and contemplate. though i did not read them out loud, i did contemplate them. and i realized this:

some where along my life’s path i decided acknowledging my good traits was an entirely bad thing to do. admitting i was beautiful or smart or remotely talented was some how taboo. i much preferred drowning in my own self-pity. i thought by rejecting my good traits and fooling myself into believing i was good at nothing i would avoid wearing the label of “narcissistic”. the only thing i got out of that belief though was pure unhappiness. i’m slowly seeing now that maybe all of these compliments i receive from everyone do hold a shred of truth. maybe i am beautiful. maybe i am smart. maybe i am a good friend, sister, daughter, niece and person. maybe.

i never accept compliments (another habit i learned from my mother). if i do, i am no longer modest. sure, i smile and show my appreciation but internally a voice goes off: “are they fucking serious? what a liar.” or i dismiss the compliments altogether by shrugging and saying “oh thanks, but (insert reason why i am not x,y, and z). i never allow myself to believe these comments to be at all truthful. once, only a few months ago, as i waited to cross the street, two boys idled at a red light. the one in the passenger seat held a mega-phone out an open window (why? no clue. boys will be boys.). he looked at me, dressed in work out clothes and sporting the giant cyst that choose to appear on my face on my birthday, and shouted into the mega phone: “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!” then the light changed and they drove off.

did i believe him? of course not. in fact, i thought he was making fun of me. and i found it incredibly sad that i thought he was kidding, then and now. i find i turn the compliments i receive into sarcasm. no one can possibly believe i am all these amazing things, can they? apparently they do. only i am the sole non-believer.

if you make yourself unavailable to love, love will never come. it will keep trying to beat down your ridiculous fortress but eventually, it will give up all together and simply stage a sit in until you lower the bridge over that moat and allow it to come in. you are always worthy of good things. you are always, always, always worthy of good things. because you are you. and you are amazing. no one else is like you, after all.

funny how one little cafe can open your eyes. i am so grateful for being here. i am so grateful for this life. now i need to start being grateful for myself.

what are you grateful for?



happy fourth of july kidlettes! hope the day is filled with sunshine, good food, and good vibes where ever you are.

a year ago i celebrated the 4th on a different continent. i think none of us in the group really cared about america’s day of independence. i don’t even remember what we did. i do remember drinking beer, though. lots and lots of beer.

but i digress. as i usually do. the topic i would like to discuss has nothing to do with the 4th of july. it has a lot to do with yet another revelation. let me start by saying whenever i encounter a problem in my life, i tackle it head on. and i mean tackle it. otherwise, the problem just sits in the pit of my stomach and acts as a producer of anxiety. the anxiety, at least in most cases, affects my sleep schedule, my appetite, my happiness and just generally my overall mood. sound familiar?

i bet! i also bet you know how miserable it can be to just sit on a problem and let it tear you apart. so that’s why i face my issues head on. i will literally sit and think (and think and think) until i start to see a solution on the horizon. for the majority of my problems, this helps a significant amount. i try hard to never find ways around my issues, either. i accept blame where ever blame needs to be accepted. i am 100% honest with myself — even if it hurts to hear. but that’s what i think the truth is for. the truth assists you in discovering the heart of the matter. it humbles. it remains steadfast in all situations. truth is a tool when used correctly.

and last night, i used the truth tool to my advantage. i pried open a memory box long-ago rusted shut. i brushed away the cobwebs and wandered backwards on my life’s path, truth in hand.

i often discuss my issues with eating and body-consciousness. like the majority of people, my struggles with body-consciousness began in my late childhood. i can honestly pin point the moment i started to associate the word “shame” with “my body”. in the fifth grade our P.E teacher weighed us for the physical fitness tests. i stepped on the white face of the scale and watched the number inch up, up, up before holding firmly at black shapes reading eighty. i peered down at the two-digit number for a long moment, etching it into my mind before my teacher ushered me off the platform. a sinking feeling grew in the pit of my stomach and my eyebrows knit together in unease. eighty? a few feet away a group of my friends circled together and as i approached them, their eyes betrayed the question waiting for me on the tips of their tongues.

“how much do you weigh?” one of them asked as i squeezed myself into the circle.
“eighty,” i said before adding quickly, “is that normal?”
“don’t worry,” someone else said. “chelsea weighs eighty-three!”
we all giggled in the mean-spirited way only girls can. for the moment i felt pacified, though the uncomfortable feeling still ached dully.

the uncomfortable feeling continues to ache dully. it pounded painfully in middle school, where i cried buckets over my “fat” appearance. it throbbed when i gained weight in high school. it nearly tore me in half when i gained more weight in college. the need to shed my skin and become a different person has always been there. but i never noticed how i really handled my body issues until last night.

before i dive into my revelation, let me preface by saying i love food. i have always loved food. i grew up in a family obsessed with food. my dad was a chef. my aunt and uncle own a produce company. family restaurants have come and gone. everyone knows how to cook. food brings us together.

last night, while i thought about this, i discovered the dark side of my family’s (and subsequently mine) food fixation. i come from a family of over eaters. we want to taste everything and, sometimes, we over taste everything. my family eats late night snacks they don’t need. my mom bashes her appearance multiple times a day (this was the foundation of my body image and self esteem. from my mother i have learned i will never ever EVER lament the state of my physical appearance in front of my children (if i ever have any)). no WONDER i developed an unhealthy relationship with food and my body. last night, as i retraced the steps of my past, i used my truth tool to see things i never might have otherwise.

i realized that, while growing up, i always ate more then my friends. always. i remember feeling hungry more often then not whenever i slept at friend’s houses and was always embarrassed to eat more food. apparently feeling judged for eating a lot has been an issue for me since my childhood.

while thinking back last night i remembered moments in middle school and high school where i went back for seconds and thirds and sometimes fourths while my friends ate only their firsts, if that at all. i was good at eating.

as i aged my parents relaxed their food rules. suddenly, i could eat dessert if i wanted to on a week night. so i did. i ate late. i ate huge portions. though i never did it too often, i still did it. cut to freshman year of college. i am utterly unhappy in school. i hate my environment. i hate that i have almost no friends. i hate my body more than i ever have. i hate my life, basically. so what did i do to console myself? i ate. i ate and ate and ate and ate. i ate until i tipped the scales at my highest weight ever. how did i feel? MISERABLE.

my struggles with overeating have always existed. the intensity of the struggle depends on one thing: my happiness. i turn to food for comfort and always have. i am not sure why i did not see this before last night. whenever i am stressed or bored, i eat. and i ALWAYS HAVE. i see this pattern in my parents. i see it in my aunts and uncles. i see it in my brother. food is a form of entertainment, a distraction from the real issue.

why do i over eat now? because i do not love myself. i do not (yet) fully appreciate the person i am. i over eat now because i restrict myself from eating a regular, healthy diet daily. i over eat because i feel unworthy (of friendships, relationships, happiness, and self-love). i over eat because i am lonely (let’s not even start on this topic). i over eat because food provides temporary comfort before making me feel like a failure. i over eat because i know it’s something i can do well. and i eat in secret because i am ashamed of my hunger.

can you believe that? ashamed of my own hunger? so what, i require more food to fuel my body? SO. WHAT. i feel like our society looks down upon those with an appetite and applauds those who do not eat a lot. or this is the thought i am projecting onto our society. regardless, my secret eating is most definitely powered by shame. i am ashamed of my body. i am ashamed of my hunger.

but that hunger makes me happy at the same time. it makes me happy to go to bed with a rumbling stomach. it makes me happy to know that today, i only ate a sandwich, an apple, a plum, two carrots, some hummus, a bit of roasted broccoli and a super small sweet potato (and a lot of those vegan brownies i just made (recipe soon) though i am in no way proud or happy about that. but hey — at least i didn’t eat the whole pan in one sitting. step up!) mostly though, it scares me that my hunger can make me both happy and ashamed at the same time.

last night’s yoga session broke my soul. i cried and cried and eventually had to pause the video to blow my nose. neesha, the yoga instructor, kept saying these little comments that were exactly what i needed to hear. they had so, so much to do with how i was feeling. mainly neesha stressed that we are not alone in our problems, that we are human and it is okay to not achieve perfection, a concept i find myself frequently battling. if you are feeling stressed or depressed in any way, i seriously recommend this flow.

so where do i go from here with all this new found knowledge? truthfully, i am not sure. i am not sure how to doctor the conflicts. but i know i am one step closer to wholeness. i feel it in my bones. this is so not going to be an easy recovery but i am fully committed to it. living each day in the shadow of food and body anxiety is not worth it. there is so much more to life then the size of your hips.



what a whirlwind week!

but first: seriously, when did it suddenly become july?

okay, back to it.

i am finally home! i am glad to be back but i for sure miss candace. it was awesome to spend those four days with her in san diego! it flew by. for reaaaals. what did we do? i got to go to the beach! i got to bake a vegan birthday cake! i kicked it around tourist-y old town! i hung out with friends! i went to dave and busters (ridiculous)! a lot of fun times were had.

the best thing though? i got to talk to candace about my food and body issues. one night i felt the urge to share it with her and proceeded to unloaded all of my secrets. however, to my surprise, candace replied she already knew. although i thought i kept my negative, destructive habits tucked safely in the shadows, turns out they were right out in the open the entire time. candace knows how much i struggle but simply has no idea what to say or how to help me. despite all that, she did what any amazing, fantastic, best friend would do: she offered me her ear whenever i felt the need to talk.

it felt incredibly reliving to share all of these thoughts face to face with another person. i’ve know i can depend on candace for emotional support. i’m really not sure why i thought this issue would be any different.

candace’s birthday was on tuesday. for birthday’s, i usually always bake them their favorite cake from scratch. candace wanted a rainbow cake with cream cheese frosting. and, continuing to better her resume for best-friend-of-the-year-award, she requested it be vegan so everyone could eat it (her girlfriend cannot eat dairy too!).

and so, the vegan rainbow cake with vegan cream cheese icing was born! unfortunately, i am unable to post a picture of the finished product because of it’s…questionable content? 😉 i will tell you lots of colored frosting was made and piped (i love piping. it’s basically the most fun thing to do. ever.). happy birthday candace was on the top. with a 21.

how’d it taste? pretty good! the frosting was killer. the cake? it was good, but i think it could of been better. everyone else liked it though.

speaking of cake, remember that italian rum cake i mentioned? well here’s that.

this was apparently very good. i would not know because it was so decidedly un-vegan 😉 it was fun to make, too! everything was made from scratch, including the pastry creams, whipped cream and cake.

before i slip onto the couch to watch my newest documentary (who killed the electric car?), i will share one more thing: i did not work out for three days in a row. yup. three whole days passed without one formal, structured work out. how did i feel? slightly anxious. did i watch what i ate more carefully? kind of. did i try to relaxed and forget my “rules”? yes. i ate french fries thankyouverymuch. AND i ate late. trying not to focus on my body consciousness. revelation: the less i think about it, the happier i am. phfttt. took me long enough, right?

regardless, outside of a little walking and one 20 minute yoga flow (my friend is so ridiculously into yoga so of cooourse we had a little session :)) i did not work out. i will not lie: i felt weird not moving. it was nice, but it’s become such a part of my life it just felt weird not to be active for at least an hour a day. this morning i woke up and did a quick 20 minute yogadownload(.com!) morning flow and then went on a quick 4-mile run, the last mile of which was done by sprinting for 30 seconds, walking for 60 seconds, repeat. it felt good to move and i felt stronger in my sprints. i could hold the intensity for a longer period of time and i felt faster. improvements? i’m thinkin’ so!

have a good one kidlettes. i promise a more focused post tomorrow.