what i ate

So as I’ve shared I’ve generally been pretty proud of my non-craziness in these rather trying time of unemployment.

BUT.

Healthy eating has fallen by the wayside fur realz. Yes, I realize that is ridiculous, given that this worsened basically once I officially got a masters in nutrition and officially became a registered dietitian.

But who doesn’t eat like rubbish when they have no structure to their life? When they can nosh whenever they want because they often don’t have better things to do? This is worsened by the fact that I’m too broke to justify joining a gym. Yes, one can exercise without a gym, but I think there’s something about the structure of incorporating gym visits into one’s life that makes one more prone to healthy eating as well.

So, last Monday I pledged a reset. I went to Trader Joe’s and didn’t get the peanut butter pretzels, the cocoa almonds, the smoked salmon and caper dip, and all the little tasty snackies that have made up FAR too large a portion of my recent diet. I was set up for success because my pal was out of town the previous weekend and ordered me to collect any eggs her chickens laid which turned out to number a whopping 28 (!!! I gave a dozen of them to my cousin and her hubs and the bebe; and another bunch to Malindi). And finally, I decided to be an old school food blogger, and blog everything I ate for awhile.

As a fairly voyeuristic person, I enjoyed the old-school style food blogs that were just like a daily diary. A peek into someone’s life, via what they ate. And this step was also intended to be good for me, since I am aiming to be more mindful about my food choices. So, please enjoy one week of eats.

Monday

BREAKFAST: None. Slept too late. I’ve kept terrible hours with this lack of structure!

LUNCH: 2/3 of an Amy’s frozen meal. A “Mexican”-ish burrito bowl with crumbled up corn tortillas and beans and things. I realized I was over it and stopped eating it after 2/3 (mindfulness!) and instead rounded out the meal with avocado toast (a slice of whole wheat bread, 1/2 a small avocado, and a generous sprinkling of Trader Joe’s all purpose seasoning)

AFTERNOON SNACKS: a kind bar, a 12 oz soy cafe au lait (coffee with a friend, hurray!), and 1/2 a bag of Trader Joe’s kale chips post-grocery shopping (so so crunchy and cheesy and good; but hard to justify the $ very often)

EXERCISE: a five-mile walk (I use mapmyfitness.com to track walk lengths!)

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The fiddleheads have now emerged and they are vair beautiful to see on my walks.

DINNER: Two eggs poached in tomato sauce and cheesy cauliflower rice

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Wanting to be a bit adventurous in my healthy eating, I bought some cauliflower rice at Trader Joe’s. So hot right now! I sauteed a clove of garlic in a teaspoon or so of olive oil and then threw in about two cups of the rice cauliflower. Cooked til golden (ish?) then added an ounce or so of shredded cheddar. Saved half the “rice” for the next day.

I served the “rice” with eggs in the style of shakshuka or eggs in purgatory or whichever culture you choose to attribute this brilliant idea to. Heated up a little more olive oil and added a generous sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes. Then added some organic marinara sauce (just to coat the bottom of the pan). I gently broke in two of my friend’s chickens’ eggs and cooked them in the simmering marinara until the whites were just cooked through. The eggs were DELICIOUS! The cauliflower rice was a bit boring and I don’t totally get the fuss. I saw a food blogger who’d made cauliflower rice Thanksgiving stuffing and I wanted to hug them because I was so sad on their behalf.

PM SNACKS: A billion! Cashews (roasted but unsalted), other 1/2 bag Trader Joe’s kale chips, a pack of Trader Joe’s instant berry flax oatmeal, a spoonful of Peanut Butter and Company honey peanut butter (I got a coupon for a free jar- dietitian perks!)

Tuesday

BREAKFAST: Almond date scone and a low-fat latte at my beloved Guglhupf

I had a job interview (!) and rewarded myself for it going well (not a behavior I necessarily endorse but whatever, small victories) by hitting up Guglhupf.

Imagine my delight when a bloke then bought me a cookie! Like buying a girl a drink except way cooler and non-sketchy! We chatted for a bit, sitting outside. Very pleasant.

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LUNCH: leftover cauliflower rice, last 1/3 of that Amy’s frozen Mexican casserole meal from the previous day. Add, unpictured, 1/2 a bag of Trader Joe’s kale chips and an oatmeal pack

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EXERCISE: 4.3 miles of walking to various locales

DINNER: I had my sister over and made whole wheat pasta with artichoke walnut parsley lemon sauce, plus shrimp scampi.

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Here is the pasta recipe. It’s incredible. I made it once with the toasted breadcrumbs and it was (obviously) awesome but I can vouch that it is still really good without bothering with them (I already had a lotttt of pans going so I needed a break).

For the shrimp scampi I just sauteed a clove of garlic in some olive oil, threw in some thawed frozen shrimp to cook really quickly, and finished it with lemon juice and lots of chopped parsley.

PM SNACK: 1/3 of that large and delicious Linzer cookie from the dude (my sister ate the rest, at my request!), the other 1/2 bag of those Trader Joe’s kale chips, and a few spoonfuls of that honey peanut butter

Wednesday

BRUNCH: Two fried eggs from my friend’s chickens, avocado toast with Trader Joe’s all purpose seasoning

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Flowy egg yolk. It’s hard to even describe how incredible the eggs from my friend’s hens are. The yolk is like rich flavorful incredible cream. I just fill myself with vitality when I eat this.

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AFTERNOON SNACK: most of a bag of kettle corn (!) and a 12 oz soy cafe au lait

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I cannot endorse this Pop Secret Sweet ‘n Crunchy kettle corn because it’s much more in the fatty sugary dessert category than the wholesome whole grain snack category. But my damn sister turned me on to it and it is highly delicious. I had a much-needed wake up call when I actually looked at the nutrition information on it. I’d gotten into the habit of eating most of a whole bag, because I live alone and leftover popcorn is not a thing. I need to just not buy this any more, or only make it when I’m entertaining guests!

EXERCISE: 6.1 mile walk

Look at this freaking Japanese maple just looking gorgeous.

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DINNER: leftover pasta from the previous night (probably a cup or so of pasta, plus sauce), a Yoplait, and two wasa crackers with Chobani dip (<< I like this savory Chobani dip a lot but find it overpriced most of the time. But Food Lion was getting rid of it- probably low demand!- so it was on an excellent sale)

EVENING SNACK: three or four more Wasa crackers with that same Chobani dip, some raw walnuts, and a sugar free pudding (not something I think is the healthiest in the world but I was jonesing for something sweet)

Thursday

BREAKFAST: Odwalla protein shake

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This is SO packed full of sugar and I generally don’t go for soy protein isolate. Probably won’t get this again. But it’s sometimes just necessary to have a convenience option.

I was running out the door to arrive to my cousin’s house by 8am to watch this heavenly little creature.

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He is getting SO BIG! And having solids now- introducing him has been so fun! That being said, he had some issues that required giving him prunes, and the prunes were FRIGHTENINGLY effective, and the fallout from that was… devastating, honestly. Good grief, kid. Anyway, that’s his second outfit of the day. But he is ridiculously cute.

LUNCH: the last ~3/4 c leftover pasta with artichoke sauce, and ~3 oz leftover shrimp scampi (yes I know it’s gross to have leftover seafood but whatever). That was rounded out with avocado toast (you’ve seen it many times now!), and a bunch of walnuts.

AFTERNOON SNACK: more of that honey peanut butter, a sugar free pudding

EXERCISE: a 5.1 mile walk. Please admire this majestic tree.

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DINNER: 1/2 of this Trader Joe’s kale, butternut squash, and parmesan pizza (pictured below). Plus an unpictured salad from a Trader Joe’s mix which contained: spinach, craisins, bleu cheese, candied pecans, and raspberry dressing

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PM SNACK: a sugar free pudding, one of my roommate’s coconut chews (like a miniature hippie mounds bar), and a Kind bar

^^ These snacks were eaten while enjoying Amy Schumer’s new special on Netflix. Anyone under 35 will find it HILARIOUS. Mom, you would hate it and find it offensive.

Friday:

BRUNCH: a whole wheat English muffin with 1/2 a small avocado and a small pear

AFTERNOON SNACK: walnuts, and a chocolate walnut scone and iced coffee with soy milk when I met my girlfriend at Johnnys for some late afternoon gabbing

EXERCISE: An hour and a half of Zumba! I was so excited to spot this sign in town- I can justify $ on a drop in class if it’s just three dollars! We ended up having a small class because (obviously I was oblivious to this) UNC was playing a basketballs.

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After Zumba I felt kind of weird (my body is unaccustomed to exercise that late at night). I knew I was hungry, so I hit up the taco truck.

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DINNER: I ended up eating 3/4 of a large pupusa (left) with double curtido (a tangy cabbage slaw that’s delicious and I always want more); and a sope (right) which is a corn tortilla topped with rice, beans, lettuce, tomato, queso fresco

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It wasn’t exactly like I just sat down and ate those, though. It was more like I ate half the sope, then my sister and her boyf came to hang while I stared at the food and felt lightheaded and nauseated. Then I politely asked them to leave since I sort of felt like I was going to die. Then I lied in bed for several hours, but didn’t actually sleep. Then I realized I was starving and ate the rest (the other half of the sope and 3/4 of the pupusa)

Saturday

BREAKFAST: this incredible kefir

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I got this at the farmer’s market. GOSH it is incredible. I still felt vaguely hungover, despite not having had a drop of alcohol, and I really think the ginger and probiotics in this were good for me.

LUNCH: two packs of Special K pastry crisps (told you, my stomach was still unhappy). Again, not something I recommend, but it is true that sometimes simple carbohydrates are tolerated by a stomach that’s otherwise just not feeling it. Plus they were on sale.

AFTERNOON SNACK: the last 1/4 of the previous night’s pupusa with the remaining curtido, a small pear, and a slice of that kale pizza

EXERCISE: several walks, totaling 4.3 miles. Plus I babysat in the afternoon and played outside with the kiddos, which was a lot of fun!

DINNER: the last three pieces of the kale pizza, a smoothie with 1 banana, a few handfuls of spinach, ~1 cup almond milk, and 2/3 of a scoop of protein powder

PM SNACK: Tonight Dough ice cream. YEAH COME AT ME. It’s really good. I am capable of eating ice cream in moderation, unlike many other desserts (maybe because Ben and Jerrys is so expensive?) so it’s one of the few desserts I allow in my house from time to time. Plus out of sight out of mind, right?

Sunday

BREAKFAST: Nada. Slept late- was grateful to get a good night’s sleep after my post-Zumba poor Friday sleeping

LUNCH: Lobster tots (!) Tater tots, lobster chunks, pico, crema

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There was a food truck rodeo (magical phrase, right?!) by campus and the most popular truck by far was Cousins Maine Lobster which was apparently on Shark Tank or summat.

My friends are the woooooorst and told me they’d meet me there at noon. I arrived at ten til noon and snagged a good spot in the lobster line. My ridiculously late friends showed up in two sets at 12:45 and 12:53, respectively. I got the tots to share but since everyone was late I then spent quite awhile just roaming around looking forlorn holding lobster.

I didn’t eat that lobster roll- I got it for Kyle and Shaylen because I was sweet and kind enough to take their lobster truck order by text. Truthfully, it’s now a little awkward because it was hella expensive but they maybe kind of forgot to pay me back? Whatever.

The food truck rodeo was magical because for some reason there were a bunch of service dogs in training.

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(in no way, at any point, was “Do Not Pet” enforced)

EXERCISE: walking from home to the aforementioned food truck rodeo, then strolling around the arboretum with my franz, then walking back home. 5.3 miles or so.

Colton was in town and it was semi-nice to catch up. He wanted to take an engagement picture at the arboretum. This picture is so so classic us.

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AFTERNOON SNACK: We stopped at Yogurt Pump, a Chapel Hill institution, and I got a cone of cookie butter froyo (!!!!). Also got an iced coffee.

Then LATER AFTERNOON SNACK: my friend Steph and I had an awesome date night of drinks followed by Beauty and the Beast! We hit up B Side and I got a cocktail involving gin and lime and grapefruit that got me real stupid. We also split their Caprese special, which was fried green tomatoes (!!!!!) and fresh mozzarella

I enjoyed Beauty and the Beast a lot. I mean duh.

DINNER/EVENING SNACK: a serving of Trader Joe’s frozen sweet potato fries with some Chobani dip, two special K pastry crisps

Reflections on a week of eating:

  • I am a snack monster. But I already knew that. Trying to make healthier snack choices (pears, moderate servings of plain unsalted nuts) rather than unhealthier snack choices (like all the crap I’d been eating- peanut butter pretzels, imitation crab dip, fake fiber enriched things that jack up my stomach anyway, sugar-coated nuts that I just inhale, etc.)
  • I freaking love avocado. This is inherited from my mother.
  • I still eat out too much. It’s one of my favorite ways to socialize with friends, but I am too broke to justify it this much (though some of my friends were nice enough to treat me to some of the outings mentioned in this post, because my friends are really good human beings and some of them have real grown up jobs, unlike myself). Anyway, I genuinely enjoy preparing meals for friends at home and I need to get better about doing that.
  • You can’t fault my activity level. But it would probably behoove me to add some more strength training.
  • I definitely could not eat this much food and maintain my weight if I did NOT have that activity level. Whenever I get a full time job (dear God let it be soon) I’m going to have to watch the calories.
  • I would probably be less nosh-y if I ate more protein. I’m certainly not deficient in it, but I also probably get too many of my calories from carbs and (really) fat. That being said, the Mediterranean diet is highly validated for chronic disease prevention, and it’s fairly high in (healthy, monounsaturated) fat and carbs and low in meat.
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we all need a tribe

I recently attended a talent show birthday party. It was EXCELLENT.

First of all, Shel Silverstein was there.

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Well fine, someone in a mascara beard reciting Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout and playing the guitar, but it was still amazing.

This was the second annual year of Impressa the Chessa- a talent show birthday party celebrating Chessa, a roommate’s-friend-turned-my-friend. Chessa is a musician and is friends with many other talented musicians, so there was a lot of that. Beautiful songs and instrumentals.

But, there was also a lot of total ridiculousness.

For example, a home movie of three-year-old Nicole doing a dance to the opening number from Gypsy.

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(Why yes, there is a beer prominently displayed in the foreground of that picture. Talent shows should always have supportive audiences, and my goodness, the audience really validated the performers thanks to all the alcohol consumed. I actually didn’t drink anything- was driving home- and still found the crowd to be the perfect mix of rowdy, easily amazed, and joyful)

There was also a sushi rolling competition (all the talents had a three-minute limit so these guys were under the gun, which was pretty hilarious)

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Also:

  • Two people who memorized the words to the Free Willy song (and one of them literally taught herself to play the keyboard just to play the chords to that song) and then displayed a lite brite Orca as their grand finale
  • A couple: he is an electronic producer and made a mix that sampled the sounds of crickets and cicadas from their backyard; she has trained as an Irish dancer and created this fascinating mixture of Irish dance, hip hop dance, and being a cricket
  • A science show, featuring liquid nitrogen!
  • A juggler who was good but not perfect (made a few perfectly understandable flubs) and then everyone was like WHOO BOY when he started juggling a machete in the rotation
  • A demonstration of a homemade geography game
  • A folk song performance with mandatory audience participation that involved me wearing a sign around my neck that said “Baby Fox #10”

My talent was this stellar red wine chocolate cake from Smitten Kitchen. I ended up pooling talents with a girl named Steph. Though she is an awesome musician and her new album came out, for some reason she elected to do fire starting (!) with a flint (!) for her talent, which was also awesome. So she lit the fire and then we used it to light the candle and placed it upon the cake. That cake is EXCELLENT, and handy if you are a lightweight like I am and tend to have half-empty bottles of wine floating around the house.

I also, when revealing the cake, quoted Julia Child, who said “A party without cake is just a meeting.”

The grand finale was… multidisciplinary performance art. There was a recording of these talented young women playing the recorder and singing a song about jellyfish. There was Enya, and Destiny’s Child. There was paper mache. It was EPIC.

jellies!

As you might have inferred by now, I had a LOT of fun.

And, earlier in the day, I was contemplating not going. I think sometimes we get so caught up in our own hype. Yes, some people get too caught up in their own positive hype (the Kanyes of the world). But some of us (maybe particularly women? Or particularly introverts?) tell a story to ourselves and the world, a story like, “Agh, I’m so socially awkward”, and then we start to buy it. And we go, “Ugh, I can’t imagine going to a party mostly consisting of my roommate’s friends and show up on my own and make small talk and get tongue-tied” and then we miss out on experiences rather than risk that.

Fellow introverts, I am a party survivor and can confirm it was fun. I ended up running into a friend who I hadn’t seen since my planetarium days, who was so nice to see! I had a long chat with one of Alli’s friends- with whom I’ve always had great conversations and who I’ve tended to forget about!- about her cool new social work job. I even welcomed an uncomfortable person who was new in town and tried to make him feel welcome!

Also, not to brag or anything, but I was having a pretty incredible hair day. I had some Forever 21 store credit and got this coconut oil sea salt spray stuff and I’m still learning how to best utilize it but I had really hot beachy waves this particular evening.

Now, further discussion about being alone:

I have been alone a LOT recently. And I have had a LOT of time to fill recently. I have no interest in ranting about my job search. Ew. But I have been contemplating the state of my mental health in this phase of life, and I have to say… I’m proud of myself! In past liminal phases of my life, I’ve been, well… cuckoo. Depressed. Angry. Tense. Melodramatic. Binge eating-y <- need an adjective for that. And right now I’m not.

The weather, as previously stated, has been gorgeous, so I’ve made many a visit to the beautiful parks and gardens and so on in my vicinity.

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But honestly, the main thing pulling me through is HAVING A TRIBE!

I think of past phases in my life as being characterized by profound loneliness. I think it really kicked off in college, when for whatever reason I didn’t make the kinds of connections that so many other people do. Maybe it was the fact that I was in overflow student housing away from campus my freshman year and I didn’t get to do that initial bonding? Maybe it was the character of my rather dispersed urban school? Maybe it was the ascendency of the smart phone which meant that everyone was too busy making plans with people virtually to spontaneously interact with the real life breathing humans in their immediate vicinity? I remember feeling like something was horribly wrong with me. I was reading through an old journal and found an entry from right after I went and visited bestie (shoutout to Lydia) in Western Massachusetts. It said “Oh my God, I’m likeable! I am capable of interacting with other people! It’s my school! It’s not me!” But back in Boston, I spent a lot of lonely days wandering around the town, earbuds in, feeling like an outsider looking at all the people who were doing life properly. Incidentally, this was probably a contributing factor for the horrifically unhealthy eating habits I developed around that time. Calorie counting and meal planning and calorie-burning activities helped fill my empty, empty hours and were probably also an attempt at punishing myself. To be clear, I was headed for a showdown with my relationship with food before college- again, from reading old diary entries, I’m taken right back to an age where I was so filled with dissatisfaction with my body and disappointment and anger with myself for not making it beautiful like it ought to be. But, if that dissatisfaction (and genetics, and American culture, and blah blah blah) loaded the gun, the lonely college years may’ve pulled the trigger.

I felt like I got the college experience I wish I’d had in the first year after I graduated, when I did an Americorps year. I made really strong connections (some of which still persist today!) and had a built in group (including a boyfriend). Our time with kiddos was stressful and we really relied on each other for support. There were weekly potlucks!

But, when that year was done, I went to a rather stressful job at a food bank. Then I had a really disorganized time when I was a part-time student taking prerequisites for graduate school and cobbling together random and inconsistent income sources. The Americorps group had spread out all over the country. I still had the boyfriend, but our relationship was having growing pains.

And mentally (and physically), I was a MESS.

I just wrote and deleted and rewrote and redeleted various bits about how I was a mess, but there’s but so much I want to/should share on this public blog.

Let me just say this: the thing that pulled me out of that mental mess was getting help, outside of myself white-knuckling it (<- not an approach I recommend). The way that help happened was through my TRIBE. My sister, because she is a really good person and also because I was fairly horrible to be around because of all my issues, said, “Yes hello here is the number for a shrink. She is accepting new patients and expecting your call. Go see her; she will help you.” I don’t think I had the wherewithal or motivation to do that research myself and will be forever grateful to my sister for making that connection for me.

I learned a LOT the year-ish I was in therapy, and trying to summarize it would be silly. But the nice thing about therapy, which I do want to state, is that you carry it around with you after it has ended. You have a new language and a new way of expressing things (and it’s hilarious, you can immediately recognize that someone else has been in therapy by the way they speak. Listen to Jillian Michaels’ podcast, for example!) And, there are some lessons that you learn that seem particularly relevant at certain points in time. And right now, the thing keep saying to myself is, “You are not alone and don’t have to do everything alone. It’s important to utilize a support system.” Thank God!

So, I’ve been calling my mom. I’ve been babysitting my cousin’s little baby nugget on a weekly basis. I’ve been trying to connect with friends I haven’t seen in awhile, from past jobs and neighborhoods. I helped a friend move and appreciated the combination of socialization and strength training. I’m cultivating newer friendships. I’m sending spontaneous texts for folks to come join me to sit outside on a warm night. I’m exploring the idea of phone dates, even though it’s not my usual style (and I had a great chat with a graduate school friend who’s rocking life in DC!) I shadowed an RD at UNC’s eating disorders center to get a look at another specialty- making a connection and building skills/knowledge. I’m doing long, silly text conversations with my aunt. I’ve been scheduling roommate dates. I’ve been saying yes to more social opportunities. Also, I asked my hot exterminator to have a margarita with me in the backyard when I was his last client of the day 😉

Many things, not just friendship, have made this gap in my life more doable. For example, I don’t want to discount the antidepressant I take every morning! I was someone who benefited enormously from therapy and also reached a point where my neurotransmitters were preventing me from making progress and a small dose of medication was the right choice for me, and I’m grateful to have it and will evangelize about Zoloft to anyone who’s interested.

Also, I’m very grateful to the local public library for having a wonderful selection- right now I’m reading The Emperor of All Maladies. I have a cat who’s stoked to see me when I come home which is really astonishingly good for my mental health. I live in a state with a temperate climate, allowing me to get outside and get my endorphins on most days, without having to spend money on a gym or some such thing. I have my cousin’s HBO password 🙂

But, a tribe. A tribe is great. If you feel very very wrapped up your own mind and like you can’t escape a cycle of your own destructive thoughts (<- this is called rumination and I learned all about it in therapy!), just try calling someone. Or texting someone. Or emailing someone. Or chatting with someone at the grocery store. You don’t have to spew about your mental anguish, you just have to connect with someone.

I promise, that for me, though it started with just texting someone a “How are you?”, that helped. Talking about a funny cat video. Quoting a stupid movie. Analyzing red carpet looks. Stupid little conversations really can break a cycle. When I connected with someone, it made the nasty thoughts in my head less huge. And then I was more capable of having the really deep intense conversations because I had built connections.

Since that’s apparently the topic of the day, some other resources, that I’ve found helpful for mental health:

  • Book: Drinking, A Love Story. I bought this trying to understand a family member with a history of alcoholism. But then I read it and, go figure, it made me understand myself more. If you are someone who hates being home alone with your own thoughts, this is a good one, whatever your poison may be, alcohol or otherwise. Also, every time I reread it, it makes me think of a new person and helps me build some understanding for them. I think the whole literature of addiction is useful even if you are not an addict. First of all, you probably know someone who is (it’s real common!) And, the kinds of skills people use in recovery (giving proper apologies, learning coping skills, SUPPORT SYSTEMS!) are useful to allllll of us.
  • Book: Life Without Ed. Shadowing with an eating disorder dietitian made me want to reread this. My state of mind was very different this time reading it than the first time I did. I.e., the first time I read it my therapist had recommended it to use to attack my own disordered eating habits. The second time I read it, last week, it was from a place of being recovered (an amazing miracle I was never totally sure was possible til it actually happened). The purpose this time was to access a perspective of potential patients.
    This book is a memoir and workbook from a woman who’s recovered from anorexia. Some people may find her (and her therapist’s) approach to disordered eating helpful: she externalized her eating disorder as a separate person (named Ed, short for Eating Disorder; thus, the title of the book). She talks about analyzing the criticisms and suggestions from “Ed” (like “you’re the fattest person in this room!” “skip a meal!” “binge eat and you’ll feel better!”, etc.) and learning to disagree with and disobey those thoughts. That approach didn’t resonate with me when I was struggling with eating, but maybe it would resonate with some of yall?
    Aside from “Ed”, something I like about this book is that it discusses behaviors that don’t necessarily have to do with eating but still indicate disordered thoughts related to food and body image (something I feel a lot of people likely have, even if they don’t have a formally diagnosed eating disorder).
    For example, she has an anecdote about being a completely different person in the mirror from one day to the next. Linked to this, she talks about the value of (at least temporarily) ceding certain powers away from yourself to give yourself a chance to recover. She quit weighing herself and gave her doctor and medical professionals the power to decide whether her weight was appropriate, whether she needed to gain or lose, and whether her weight was healthy. She knew she couldn’t trust herself or her perception of the mirror to decide whether or not she was at an appropriate weight.
    My question, for you to think to yourself- are there any behaviors or viewpoints you think would be better outsourced to someone you trust and/or love instead of yourself right now? Can you take a break from being preoccupied by your appearance and just let someone you love assure you that it’s fine and you can take a break from the mirror? Can you take a break from deciding what to eat and make an appointment with a registered dietitian to get a meal plan from him/her?  Use your tribe!
  • Book: The Gift of Fear. I am soooooo not a fan of self help books but this book really isn’t. Unless by “self help” you mean “something that actually gives you skills and confidence in your own abilities”, rather than the usual dumb lists of platitudes. The whole thesis of this book is that our subconscious mind has years of evolution that have contributed to its savvy about people and situations and whether they are safe or unsafe. Or, if you don’t like the idea of evolutionary psychology, that our “gut instincts” and “gut reactions” are actually smart. I feel like particularly as women we are told to override our instincts in order to “be nice” and this book really combats that. It’s hard to really describe, but you can get an intro to the author in this interview from Lenny. I particularly recommend this book for women.
  • Website: You can find a therapist/counselor/psychologist/psychiatrist at Psychology Today. My old shrink recommended this as a resource [note that I and everyone in my family says “shrink”. Not at all using it to demean the profession- honestly, in part I find it helpful to lump together all the previously mentioned professions under the heading “shrink”. FYI, the person I saw was an LPC!]. There are all kinds of mental health experts listed here, and you can read descriptions about their counseling styles/specialties. Something I’ve found helpful is looking up who’s in-network in your insurance and then cross referencing those names with Psychology Today. Just please, please don’t be discouraged if you get bad vibes your first appointment with someone. It’s okay to hop around til you find someone you better click with! That being said, it’s helpful getting some preliminary details from this site since obviously if you need therapy you want to connect with someone good for you ASAP.
  • For students: dude, take advantage of student health! Your appointments there are probably free- get a physical! If you are experiencing mental health struggles, get counseling! If you’re having issues with food, see an RD! These resources are usually available at larger schools and usually free to students. Get them while you can!

Hope you have all enjoyed these deep thoughts 🙂 If anyone is in need of a tribe member, shoot me an email at leleinthesky@gmail.com ! I don’t have a job right now! I can converse with you!

life lately

After I passed the RD exam I felt a little bit sorry for myself to be single and have no one special who cared that much about it.

So the next day, after a job interview (ultimately unsuccessful, alas) in Durham, I bribed Colton to have brunch with me to celebrate. As in, I was like “Please have brunch with me so I feel special. I’ll pay.”

He was ecstatic.

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A fancier, funner celebration- with the seester! Malindi was kind enough to treat me to celebratory afternoon tea at the Carolina Inn!

I loved my polka dotted teacup so much.

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It was the perfect occasion! Pretty place to sit, lovely service (kind and relaxed and attentive without being hover-y) and yummy food!

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In the savory department, we got cucumber sandwiches, tiny little pimiento cheese biscuits, and little roast beef and asparagus toasties (I think? This was a few weeks ago so my memory is not perfect, hahaha).

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In the sweet department, mini red velvet cupcakes, mini key lime pies, and pistachio macarons

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Not pictured: chocolate covered strawberries on the top tier 😍

And of course there was the tea itself. I got a coconutty rooibos which was SO good!

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And the absolute highlight- these uhhhhhhmaaaaaaaazing miniature scones. Oh my goodness they were warm and light and crumbly and tender and delightful. They came in two lavors: plain, and cranberry-almond.

And we got homemade lemon curd, devonshire cream, and apricot jam on the side.

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I could have eaten 10,000 of these.

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It was suuuuuuch a treat! We were actually meant to go to tea for a birthday celebration for me (in October… but then there was a hurricane and various other dramas). But it felt more special celebrating my professional success than the day I just happened to be born 😀

Speaking of being born, here’s some pics of my favorite baby. He started eating solids LIKE A LITTLE BOSS!

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Hello yes I love bouncing too.

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Something not so fun- we had a rather dramatic water outage in Chapel Hill/Carrboro. Something happened with water being overfluoridated (?!) and also a water main break and it resulted in this situation:

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Driving to Durham to pick up a water stash because it was all quickly snapped up in CH.

It was rather unfortunate timing since I’d invited several friends over for dinner the night the water shortage began. Thank God I’d prepped a lot of the food in advance so that was less of an issue… but the bathroom situation was frustrating since we literally couldn’t flush the toilets and had to just dump in buckets of water… and then wash our hands with water bottles! Anyway, it was an adventure.

As usual, was too busy having fun with friends to take any pictures of the actual gathering (an impromptu celebration, once again, for me passing the RD exam. I have a lot of friends in the general health care field- an MD, an NP, a girl in social work school etc.- and they all understand the joys of licensing exams).

But the theme was breakfast for dinner and I made:

  • fruit salad
  • coconut blueberry baked oatmeal
  • this strata with bread, eggs (from my friend Steph’s chickens), brie, and roasted veggies

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There was also, of course, lots of wine.

Having wine corks around created a party for Lola Belle.

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By the next day I was kind of over not being able to flush a toilet so I went and hung out with the boys (Colton and Pranish) in Durham. We all ended up getting more brunch (hurray!) with another friend in Cary at the incredible La Farm. I got scrambled eggs with avocado and goat cheese and a cafe au lait. Here is Colton doing… something.

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A few days later, I had yet another celebratory dinner with my friends Dan and Bethany and their adorable little T, whose hand is in this picture- can you see it? She’s three now and HILARIOUS. Definitely a threenager prone to fits of sudden rage, but also articulate and hilarious.

It was gorgeous out so they grilled.

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Once Colton passed the RD exam, a theme having been established, we got brunch again. This time at Rise, where I got a King Cake donut. Excellent!

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As for the rest of the time, I’ve been maniacally applying for jobs and, for sanity, taking gazillions of long walks. Thank goodness for this good weather! Well, it’s a sign that our planet is horribly ill, so actually no. But the warmth has meant that I have a virtually limitless source of exercise for free, which is very very good for both my mental health and (frighteningly limited) budget.

I’ve been going to the UNC arboretum on basically a daily basis. The gardeners there are amazing- as one thing fades, another thing starts to bloom. Right now we’re having the ascent of the azaleas as we say goodbye to the magnolias.

The magnolias were amazing though!

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So many different varieties!

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What is the name of this flower, please? It is so sweet!

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Many many colors

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How is everyone’s life lately?