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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!

Category Archives: food

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.

namaste

zoe

let’s get all high school english paper here and crank out a solid dictionary definition before we go any farther:

endurance
–noun

1. the fact or power of enduring or bearing pain, hardships, etc.
2. the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina: He has amazing physical endurance.
3. lasting quality; duration: His friendships have little endurance.
4. something endured, as a hardship; trial.

endurance and the act of enduring has been on my mind lately.

it was on my mind mid-way through level three of jillian michael’s 30 day shred earlier this morning. as i sunk down into another push-up, a thought occurred to me. some little voice went, “huh, i’m not huffing and puffing like i was two weeks ago.” then it went, “huh, i seem to not be doing the modified version, either. what the hell?”

my endurance is up. across the board. my runs feel stronger, my yoga sessions more solid. while climbing i don’t feel as fatigued as quickly and recovery feels speedy. mountain climbers don’t kick my ass like they used to. am i getting stronger? all signs point to yes. thank you, strength training. you are amazing. i don’t know why i shunned you for so long!

i endured a lot emotionally during the entire month of february. now that the month has officially come to a close, i feel better. k put me into a position where i doubted myself. a lot of these doubts have left me not feeling like i am enough. doubt prompted me to say, “i’m not good enough. i’m not pretty enough. i’m not funny enough. i’m not smart enough.” worst of it, doubt told me i am not worthy enough to eat. that if i was thinner things would be different. i’ve been enduring that voice as best as i can. i know those thoughts are not true.

sometimes, though, it’s difficult to convince yourself you are worth health and happiness so you reach out for the the only thing available to you for instant gratification. which, in this case, is converting back to old, awful habits that bring you nothing but a twisted, unreal sense of happiness. i know i need to eat and i know that not eating is unhealthy, but i’m still finding myself avoiding certain foods and feeling an uncomfortable, familiar sense of panic when confronted with them. example? for lunch i planned on eating a gluten free, brown rice wrap filled with veggies and beans. but when it came time to take out the wrap, i chickened out and stuck to the veggies and beans. it was kind of a downer.

the positive parts about this are i know these feelings of doubt will leave me soon. very soon. most already have. i feel loads better than last week. each day brings a stronger sense of renewed happiness. i credit this shift in attitude to friends and my family. sometimes i forget the support system surrounding me. i also credit this to the fact that i am seeing the situation realistically. this has nothing to do with me.

so on that note, i’m going out for a low-key bike-ride. i’ve got new music on zee old ipod (mumford & sons officially owns my soul, by the way) and i’ll bring along my camera, too. it’s beautiful outside in an almost-spring-but-still-winter kind of way. i can’t wait to show you! i hope you are all having a spectacular tuesday. i’ve got work later tonight but also a chance to see my friends as well. it’s shaping up to be a decent tuesday! (my least favorite day of the week!)

how do you endure? do you rely on yourself, or do you have a support system? have you seen any physical endurance changes? are mountain climbers not kicking your ass anymore, either?! :)!

namaste

zoe

(oh, and here’s a little mumford & sons action for you!)

might be my newest obsession. it’s getting bad. but oh-so-good.

but glee is more than just a show.

glee is taking the plunge and buying the most comfortable things my feet have ever slipped into.

glee is climbing. and seeing these sites (this is from a few weeks back)

glee is baking a cake for people you love (k’s cake…) a triple layer chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and a chocolate peanut butter glaze a la smitten kitchen. (no, it’s not vegan. i was told it tasted like “a reeses cup!”


glee is going out with friends on saturday night. and drinking a beer.


yes. i am that short.

and glee…well, glee is feeling more comfortable in your skin each and every day. it’s a process, but i’m getting there. and i couldn’t be happier.

hope you all had a wonderful weekend. i’m going to cap off this sunday with some more glee. are you surprised :)?

what brings you glee?

namaste

zoe

lesson #1
spontaneous day-time adventures might be one of the best parts about life. especially when they include a trip to the montery bay aquarium! and jellies!


“fish are friends, not food!”

i found nemo! and dori. can you :)?

another lesson? i still love penguins. i do not like penguins in boxed in environments 😦

lesson #2
i really love being vegan. especially when i can make things like this.
“meat”loaf! more like lentil, cannelli bean, onion and spices loaf!
pre-baked

post-baked

on-plate

with these guys…

roasted famer’s market leeks! a new-to-me food. and oh-so-good.

by the way…the non-vegan boy? loved every bite of this stuff πŸ™‚

oh, the recipe? well okay!

what you need
1/3 cup dry lentils (yields one cup cooked)
1/2 cannelli beans (mine were canned)
1/3 cup millet flour (i’m sure any flour would work well)
1/2 onion (i used yellow, i doubt it matters what kind you use!)
1 T tomato paste
1 t cumin
1 t red chili powder

what you need to do
preheat oven to 350
cook lentil in about 2.5 cups water with 2 bay leaves until all liquid is absorbed or until ready
chop onion, drain beans, and add everything to food processor or blender
add cooked lentils to food processor/blender
pulse a few times so the texture remains chunky
put into greased pan
bake for about 50 minutes to an hour, or until ready

plate and serve!

lesson #3
who knew it was possible to fill a costco sized almond butter jar up with juice? not this girl!

in this bad boy is two carrots, two swiss chard leaves, celery, cucumber and looove. so delicious, so nutritious!

lesson #4
giving up sugar was the best decision i ever made for my body and mind. especially when i can eat things like this instead!

avocado-banana-chocolate pudding topped with the non dairy queen’s coconut cream and a square of unsweetened baker’s chocolate!
(pudding: half an avocado, half a nanner, a T of dark chocolate poweder…coconut cream: 3 T raw coconut flour mixed with 6 T unsweetened almond milk and sweetener of your choice. SO. ADDICTED.)

sweetened with a new-to-me sweetener!

lesson #5
going without warmed lemon water in the morning definitely does not help my digestive track. the two days i forwent drinking it, i didn’t “go”. lemon juice helps jump-start your digestive fire by waking up the digestive juices! necessary for people like me who have bathroom issues from time to time!

lesson #6
the most important lesson of all: life is sweet when you let it be.

have you learned any lessons recently?

namaste

zoe

(points for anyone who can correctly identify the movie the title of this post came from!)

but seriously. lately, my kitchen has been pumpin’ out some seriously bitchin’ foods.

take, for example, coconut butter!

quite possibly the easiest thing in the world to make. take unsweetened, flaked coconut (i used bob’s red mill brand but who really cares) and process in a food processor until smooth and creamy and oh-so-delicious.

other oh-so-deliciously bitchin’ food?

the yo soy mucho bowl, a la cafe gratitude! k and i cooked it up a few nights ago. in that (cafe gratitude bowl!) is wild black rice (our modification!), shredded romaine, delicious guacamole, and salsa fresca. all homemade, all awesome. the cashew nacho cheese comes straight from ashley of edible perspective. girl knows what she’s doing! this was a huge hit (four friends joined us for dinner!)

another huge hit? (am i annoying you yet?)

spicy swiss chard wrap! served alongside some mary’s herb crackers & hummus (duh)

the innards

wild black rice (a new favorite) and sprouted quinoa mixed with left-over cashew cheese and hot sauce, diced red onion, julianned orange bell pepper, and some avocado slices. peeeeerfection at its finest.

more perfection? (yes, i am entertaining myself) today’s lunch!

roasted carrots with roasted cauliflower and a delicious cheesy (vegan cheese, of course) quesadilla on the side…

you bet i smothered that in hot sauce. although i love daiya, i don’t think it quite likes my stomach…

but know what did like my stomach?

this pretty pink smoothie! made with frozen mango chunks and frozen organic raspberries. and water. topped with unsweetened coconut flakes and puffins! i found puffins on sale (like serious sale) and totally swooped up two boxes. score!

i’m having so much fun in my kitchen again. some foods still make me anxious (hellooo pizza, pasta, and bread!) BUT guess what? i eat rice. yeah, i said it — I EAT RICE! not white because i hate it (always have, nothing new) but brown, black, wild — throw it at me.

i’m proud of myself. i’m striving to create a happy, healthy, balanced environment in which to live in. and it feels amazing. some days it’s difficult to beat down the negative voice in my head and i compensate by over eating or under eating. and, sometimes, the grumble in my stomach ignites a feeling of happiness. on days i feel anxious skipping a meal or working out past the point of exhaustion sound like solid ways to deal. sigh. i’m working on it. it’s an incredibly odd thought, really, to want so desperately to be healthy in mind and body yet want, at the same, time to cling desperately to unhealthy habits.

this year i need to focus on one thing and one thing only: to let my negativity go. i know the happy, whole person i can be without this awful negativity constantly in the back of my mind. i need to find the happiness in myself. i’ll get there, with a lot of patience and determination and self compassion, that much i know.

i wish you a wonderful start to your week as this lovely weekend draws to a close. well, not for me actually! somehow i managed to get saturday, sunday, AND monday off! tomorrow i will enjoy a climbing session with k and my friend joe. i’m excited. are you interested in rock climbing? ever wanted to do it? ever done it?! regardless, keep your eyes out for a post about climbing soon!

have a magnificent monday!

namaste

zoe

today, when i woke up, i felt this ridiculously strong need to be outside. i was all laced up and ready to embark on a lovely walk/run but then opened the door only to greet my arch nemisis: RAIN. well, guess who didn’t let the dreaded rain stop her? me πŸ™‚

i threw out an extra layer (aka my rain coat!) and started my walk! i know one thing about myself: i hate rain. but not today! i actually smiled just about the entire time. i loved the feeling of cold air in my lungs. plus since it was raining no one else was out. there were very few cars on the road and everything was so pretty and still and quiet. seeing the positive in the grey today set the tone for my day.

after my walk (which ended with a one minute sprint because i forgot it was street cleaning and a 45 dollar ticket didn’t sound too appealing) i did a 30 minute flow with chaz, one of my most favorite online yoga teachers (yogamazing podcast! seriously, check them out!) then i showered up and headed off to work for five hours.

nothing. exciting.

the exciting part? dinner, of course! i had one thing in mind: gena’s polenta stacks! i love polenta. it’s delicious. my dad makes it from time to time and it reminds me of my childhood. however, my dad also makes it with cream and cheese, two things i don’t eat. gena’s version turned out delicious and brought me back. ah, childhood nostalgia. talk about comfort food. i changed it up a little bit because i didn’t have yams on hand so i skipped that part (next time, definitely adding yams!) and instead of roasted red peppers i added raw red peppers to the beans because, again, that’s all i had on hand. but check it out…looks tasty, no?

(in the background is the rest of the sauteed greens!)

dessert was a melted square of unsweetened baker’s chocolate. i add a bit of agave (maybe about a half a teaspoon). it’s so delicious! i love the richness of it. honestly, life without sugar so far has been relatively easy. except for this little temptation…

peanut butter cookies! (not vegan, though easily made so!)

i made these for a friend and co-worker who switched shifts with me when she really did not want to (i don’t blame her — i switched her an open (4:30 AM) for a close!) and this is how i thank people!

what you need
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup peanut flour (trader joes!)
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 cup sugar (i used vegan cane sugar. it’s all i have on hand right now!)
1 egg (sub a flax or chia egg to make vegan!)
1/2 cup butter (i used earth balance! one stick :))
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

what you need to do
1. preheat oven to 375
2. combine all dry ingredients except sugar
3. combine all wet ingredients
4. add dry to wet
5. grease a baking sheet or just lay down foil
6. roll dough into little balls and create hatch marks with a fork. so you’ll be pressing the ball flat!
7. bake for 12-15 minutes
8. remove from oven and immediately place hershey’s kiss in the middle
9. allow to cool on a wire rack

i was told these were really delicious!

i’ve also realized i’ve forgot to mention i’ve been on a bit of a mini-detox. i’ve removed sugar, wheat, dairy, (most) soy, and salt from my life for a second. i’ve also started taking probiotics and a vitamin D(3) supplement. here’s my spread of detox and health related items:

i’m hoping the probiotics will help with my digestion (so far, so good!) and i’m hoping the digestive enzymes will help with my bloating as well as just aid in digestion! the detox tea is pretty tasty, too!

i know i can be positive if i try. it also helps to just simply talk. i’ve learned that, for me, it works best to share with someone close the issues i am working through. i cannot do this alone (personally, i don’t think anyone can go through any struggle alone. the emotional weight of emotional situations is so heavy). tonight i spent a good twenty minutes talking to candace about the things swirling through my head. i cried a lot but it felt good to get things off my chest. i journal but journaling only goes so far. the pages never talk back, after all. sometime sharing is the best thing a person can do to inch closer to feeling whole again.

i’m not giving up on myself. yes, i am uncomfortable and yes, i am fighting the own voice in my head, but i refuse to listen to it. truth: i am five pounds away from where i started my weight loss journey. another truth: i don’t look like i did when i started this journey. the final, and most important truth: i know whatever weight i am at will not affect my happiness. maybe it will temporarily but these issues are emotional, not physical. i was miserable at 115 and i am miserable now. in order to be truly happy, i need to heal on the inside. only then will my outsides be able to fully shine.

baby steps every day.

well it’s about that time to start winding down my night. it’s almost friday and i happen to have saturday AND sunday off this weekend. one more almost five hour shift and i’m free. oh, and k comes home tomorrow after a week long absence! he’s been rock climbing down in southern california at joshua tree (am i jealous? why yes, yes i am.) and has done so sans celluar phone. so we’ve had no contact. it’s healthy, i know, but i miss the damn boy!

here’s to a happy, healthy tomorrow.

namaste

zoe

(oh, p.s: i cut and colored my hair! added some blonde in. i used to be SUPER blonde when i was little. i missed it πŸ™‚

i’m pretty stoked about it :))

lately i’ve been putting more of an effort into creating in the kitchen. i love it so much but i’m usually so hungry and impatient by the time i need to start cooking dinner i either opt for something quick (and therefore too boring to present to you all) or i go out (blaming this on k :)).

the other day, however, i buckled down and decided to make curry, a food i love with all my heart and soul and usually only eat when eating out.

k came over and we picked out a recipe and got to cooking! thank you my cozy kitchen for the basis and inspiration for our first attempt at curry!

we basically stuck to the recipe but subbed the potatoes for tofu and added peas and spinach for more veggie bulk! k is not a vegan/vegetarian but he is also not a very picky eater and loves all the vegan and vegetarian foods i’ve introduced to him thus far. sounds like a winner, no? πŸ˜‰

anywho, it turned out just all right. i wouldn’t say it was as flavorful as curries we’ve tried in our favorite indian and thai restaurants. but it was good! and nicely spicy. spicy foods = absolutelymyfavorite. if anything can be made spicy, i usually will make it spicy πŸ™‚

left oveeeerrrrsss! i know it looks kind of gross, but it’s pretty tasty! especially after chilling out in the fridge for a second. all the flavors meld together well πŸ™‚

in the past if things did not turn out exactly as i wanted them to, i usually deemed it a failure and wound myself up in negative thoughts. however, now that i am practicing self-compassion and patience, i can call this a great first attempt at curry. nothing comes easily without practice. plus, i think i need to invest some money in good curry. any suggestions???

in addition to the curry, i finally got around my laziness (something i am seriously working on) and sprouted quinoa!!! talk about easiest sprouting experience ever. all i did was soak the quinoa in water over night, woke up, drained it, and allowed it to further drain in a collander all day covered with a clean cloth. did it sprout? hells yes! just look at those yummy sprouted seeds…

i’m trying to spend more time in the kitchen, yes, but i am trying to spend more time un-cooking in my kitchen. raw food fascinates me. i love every aspect of it, from the preparation to the taste, to the ingredients. it has opened my eyes to a completely new form of food preparation as well as a new form of living and eating. though i know i cannot go raw over night, i plan in 2011 to make a pretty big conversion over to the raw side. i do need to allow my stomach time to adjust though!

regardless, i am so excited and so inspired! a friend just let me borrow raw food, real world by matthew kenney and sarma melngailis. i sprouted the quinoa specifically for a recipe in there! i’ll let you know about it soon, promise πŸ™‚ also, i just ordered another book by matthew kenney and one by ani phyo. so excited! this dehydrator has definitely motivated me! be on the look out for more recipes for sure!

last night i threw together this little tostada…

brown rice tortilla topped with half an avocado, chick peas mashed with hot sauce (nandos!), spinach, sprouted quinoa, and a quarter of a yellow bell pepper which, to me, looks like the sun! which made me super happy. the yellow and orange peppers were on sale (97 cents EACH!) so i stocked up. i forgot how sweet yellow bell peppers were!

this was my first experience with sprouted quinoa. i can tell you it does taste different — it tastes sprouted! crunchy and good. i ate this alongside some roasted brussel sprouts.

one thing i’ve noticed is this: i do not require as much food as i used to. i do not work out like i used to (meaning, i don’t run 6-7 miles EVERY DAY) so my body requires less food. it’s a nice realization and i’m recognizing when to stop eating and understanding the concept of being satisfied as opposed to stuffed. baby steps!

it’s a nice sunny day (though absolutely fucking freezing) and i just completed an hour of core yoga (a la yogadownload.com). i haven’t done this flow in a while and it was challenging. definitely broke a sweat and got my heart rate pumping! about twenty minutes in the negative voice in my head started saying things like “this is too hard, i can’t do this”. but i forced myself to recognize my own strength and you know what? it was challenging, yes, but i felt empowered and strong and refused to let my negative voice dominate my flow. i ended the hour feeling awake in my core as well as in my being.

i love yoga for this very reason. it makes me feel alive and capable and humble all at the same time. and guess what? i can officially hold crow! and i got into full boat pose today (though i was shaking the entire time). i am most definitely deepening my yoga abilities. although i weighed less in past months, i was never able to do these things. my strength and endurance has improved ten-fold despite my weight gain. again, just another reason supporting the fact that weight doesn’t determine your overall health.

oh, and i just remembered i never showed you my new yoga mat!

this is one substantial mat! it’s heavy and thiiiick. i kind of love it dearly πŸ™‚

but i’ve got to go! work in an hour — and my first review! can you believe i’ve been working for starbucks for six months already? i can’t!

enjoy your monday!

namaste

zoe

twas the night before christmas and all through the house, nothing was stirring…but zoe was in the kitchen. and no one was surprised.

really though, how else did you think i’d be spending my christmas eve evening? unfortunately i am not with my family at the moment. i volunteered to work on christmas (why starbucks needs to be open on christmas kind of astounds me. we’re open every day of the year. seriously.) because i live so close to home and i go home a lot and i know a lot of other people don’t so. plus we get paid time and a half i’m down ;). plus i’m off at 11:30 so i can still go home. tomorrow will be the first christmas i am not waking up at home. what a concept! i feel so…adult. gah, where is timing going!?!

so, to pass the family-less time, i cooked up some foods in the kitchen. some red food, specifically…

ever tried red quinoa? neither had i! so i bought some at trader joe’s the other day (on a trip originally planned for christmas shopping. FAIL.). and cooked some up for dinner tonight! wondering what the difference between red and white quinoa is? i was, too. the answer? nothing, really. red is a bit crunchier and chewier. but equally as delicious.

along with this red quinoa, i threw together this pretty red vinaigrette…

RED RASPBERRY VINAIGRETTE
(inspired by cafe gratitude!)

what you need
1/2 C raspberries (mine were frozen. i warmed for 30 seconds in the micro.)
1/3 C balsamic vinegar
2 T olive oil
2 t basil
1 t oregano
1 t garlic (or to taste!)
2 t lemon juice
1 t agave
crank salt and pepper

what you need to do
through everything into a food processor or blender and let blend for a few minutes. allow it to sit for about ten minutes for the flavors to meld.

i drizzled a bit of this over that red quinoa that i mixed with roasted brussel sprouts!

paired this with a simple salad of romanie, sauteed zuchini, and garlic dressed with hummus. because hummus can be anything you want it to be.

oh, and sprinkled with chia seeds. because i’m trying to eat more seeds. i forget about them. i have hemp, chia, and flax seeds just kind of chillin’ in my pantry. i cannot ignore them any longer. because they taste good and are oh-so-good for you.

because i’m clearly on a red kick, i also did this…

okay so what we’re not allowed to paint our nails at work? it’s christmas. and i wanted to. shhhh, just don’t tell my boss πŸ˜‰
so i’ve got some cookie recipes coming your way soon, too. gonna tweek them a bit but the test run went well. i cooked three types of cookies for my co-workers for christmas last night. one came out stellar, another really well, and the third was good but not what i hoped them to be. so be prepared. cause it’s about to get tasty up in heeeerrreee.

and, before i go, one more thought. today i woke up and weighed myself again. you’d think i’d of learned by now, right? i thought that too. i tried all day not to think about it. in fact, i managed to shrug it off half way through the way. i reminded myself i was still beautiful, healthy, strong and capable. i reminded myself nothing important about me changed.

but i ate one of my cookies. okay, so i ate four. or five. point is, i ate them. immediately after consuming them i was run over by the guilt truck. okay, it was more like i was plowed into by the guilt truck. i learned long ago to have this association with guilt and food. it was the culture i was brought up in, unfortunately. sometimes i am incredibly good at turning off that guilt, because there’s absolutely no need for it. food should never be regretted, only enjoyed. the guilt used to send me into mini-panic attacks which forced me to work out until i felt like passing out or throwing up. but i don’t do that anymore. i am slowly learning to disassociate with guilt entirely and just simply be.

today, however, i failed. miserably. in the last hour of work i found myself drifting around unhappily, awash in the negative thoughts occupying my mind. i silently cursed at myself for indulging, especially because i told myself i wasn’t going to. i was going to be a good little girl and skip the desserts. phft. lame.

so i came home depressed. i laced up my running shoes partly out of guilt today. i admit it. but once i started my run, i realized it was just what i needed. i zoned out completely and just flew. seriously, my pace was amazing today. i surprised myself.

which lead me to this realization: yes, i weigh more than i have in a while. and yes, part of it is winter weight gain. but the majority of it is new muscle. and healthy weight i needed to put back on in order for my body to function properly. the number on the scale and the appearance i grew attached to was impossible for me to keep. it was not a happy place for my body to be.

know what else i’ve noticed? i am stronger than i used to be. my endurance is up on my runs, in my flows (i can just about hold full boat pose!), on the wall. i am healthy. and so what if i ate a few cookies? i’m still healthy. and a few cookies isn’t going to change that. or kill me.

it doesn’t matter what my weight is, especially if i feel as strong as i do. it’s about how i feel inside, not how i look on the outside. i just need to remember that when i start to feel blue. how do i feel now? fine, thanks. i talked myself out of my sour mood with positive thoughts and dancing. and cooking.

what pulls you out of a funk? have any realizations lately?

anywho, i’ve got presents to wrap and more things to cook and a yoga flow to go through before bed. have a wonderful christmas, loves! and if you don’t celebrate, enjoy all the empty streets. it’s pretty awesome, actually πŸ™‚ or come visit me at work!

namaste

zoe

beatles song of the day: ob-la-di, ob-la-da. (the white album)
why? because life goes on. even if you ate that cookie. ❀

recent realization: i eat way, way too many nuts. and what happens when you eat way, way too many nuts? well, nuts are harder for the body to digest. so you get bloating (check). you get constipation (hah. check. for sure). you get an uncomfortable fullness (check). you get gas (check). you get indigestion (check). and you get an incredibly slow digestive time (aaaand check!).

with all these things in check (pun intended. why yes, i am a dork!), it’s no wonder i’ve been experiencing a lot of tummy issues. “they say” to eat one handful of nuts per day, two maximum. i’m preeetty sure i’ve overdone it in the past few months. why? because i love nut-butters. a lot. and because i am new to raw foods and nuts help replace things like meat and faux-meats like tofu and tempeh. i am in no way a raw foodie. i just love the way raw food makes me feel (save for all the nutty nut business.)

so i’m finally taking the cue from my body and cutting back on nuts. when i finish off my (costco) sized jaw of maranatha almond butter, i am not buying any more. ditto with the trader joe’s peanut butter (which i really don’t eat…i’ve noticed i am not the biggest peanut butter fan anymore! almond butter stole the show!) and with trader joe’s sunflower seed butter (sad day!). i will also be cutting back on the amount of nut-based raw desserts i consume (le sigh. cafe gratitude.).

additionally, i am cutting chocolate out of my diet — yet again. i felt so awesome for the month i stayed away from it. no crazy emotional mood swings, no break outs, no uncontrolable cravings for sweets. clearly chocolate (and sugar, for that matter) effects me negatively. additionally, sugar feeds into my body’s ability to develop yeast infections at the drop of a hat (tmi? sorry.). i’m pretty sure it’s a genetic thing so processed sugars need to be at a minimum in my life. when i avoided sweets (and dairy!) the instances of these infections dropped. i can always tell when i consume too much sugar because my body responds accordingly.

you might think i am being controlling and over-sensitive. yes, i am. and with good cause. because i don’t feel well. i feel bloated a lot. constipated a lot. uncomfortable a lot. i’m just a lot of things i don’t ever really remember being in the past. so i’m ready to listen to my body fully and see if i get somewhere. will i forever stay away from nuts? hells no! i love nuts. i think i need to incorporate more seeds into my diet in addition to nuts. and i am going to experiment with soaking my nuts and seeing if that aids in digestion.

i have a weird stomach and always have. i’m really ready to figure out what it doesn’t like and what it jives with. hello goal for 2011!

what have you noticed works well for you? anyone else have issues with nuts?

have a wonderful sunday! it’s raining over here. meh. looks like a treadmill run is in my future!

namaste

zoe

after months of forcing my body to eat a certain way, move a certain way, and, essentially, live a certain way, i feel like i am relearning it. i am relearning what it agrees with and what it loathes. i am, you know, actually listening to it and not ignoring all the cues it sends me.

and, lately, i’ve noticed a lot of things.

like how i need to focus on taking the time to chew my food or i swallow without chewing thoroughly and end up uncomfortably bloated and gassy with a killer stomach ache.

or how i need to eat a dense, warm breakfast to stay energized for the first half of my day because if i don’t, i am prone to eating too much in one sitting during the later half of my day.

or that i have a really small mouth and taking big bits overwhelms me and i end up not chewing thoroughly or really tasting my food.

or how sometimes, i really do just want to eat sweets all day. and that this is okay. because sometimes, all i really want all day is vegetables.

or that going to bed hungry is not okay. i am still struggling with my weird eating “rules”. eating late scares me shitless. but i am recognizing just how bad it is to go to bed with a growling, in near-pain-from-hunger-knots type of stomach. i am hungry for a reason.

or how sleep is legitmately important because without it, i tend to make poor food choices.

or how well my body processes fish. sushi, my long lost lover, i am so happy to be reaquinted with you again.

or that i love, love, love raw vegetables but my stomach disagrees. it much prefers them cooked slightly. otherwise my body winds up constipated (tmi? my bad.) and bloated.

or how i need to limit my apple intake because the acid always leaves my stomach hurting a little and the fiber leaves me feeling too full and uncomfortable.

or that i really do love running, just not every day. and that yes, i can function just fine working out 6 days a week and working out three days a week.

or that i’m getting damn good at throwing together something delicious!

(VEGAN) PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CAROB CHIP CUPCAKES with PEANUT BUTTER CINNAMON FROSTING

what you need
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup peanut flour (trader joes!)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 t + 1/4 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup agave (or to taste)
1 T vanilla
1/2 cup carob chips (or however many you like. truth: i just dumped some in :))
1 t apple cider vinegar

what you need to do
preheat over to 350
line or grease a muffin tin
mix all dry ingredients together in one bowl. set aside.
mix all wet ingredients (except the carob chips and the apple cider vinegar) together in another bowl.
slowly add the dry to the wet.
stir until combined.
stir in carob chips.
drop in apple cider vinegar and stir no more than seven times. the acid is reacting with the baking soda and over mixing can make it not fluffy!
pour into muffin tin.
bake for 15-20 minutes.
remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for a few minutes before removing from pan and placing on a wire cooling rack.

for the frosting
what you need
1/2 cup peanut butter flour
1/4 cup + two T water (or more depending on personal consistency preferences!)
1-2 T maple syrup (or to taste!)
pinch or two or three of cinnamon (or to taste!)

what you need to do
stir everything together in a bowl with a whisk until well combined and at the appropriate consistency for you!

to quote my friend: “these are my favorite thing you’ve ever made.” aw, shucks.

what have you learned about your body when you really take the time to listen? what have you learned about yourself?

namaste

zoe

beatles song of the day: come together (abbey road)

(gonna start doing this every post! i’ve been literally craving this song lately!)