Tag: life

Do you have a love affair with food? Me too. Here’s what to do.

Let’s just start here: I love food.

I started religiously watching the Food Network channel on TV when I was in middle school. I have no idea how or why, because no one else in my family was into it. Rachel Ray was my after-school go-to girl. I learned how to make one of my first recipes around then too when my neighbor taught me how to make guacamole.

I was never a picky eater, not even when I was younger. At dinnertime my sister would shove her vegetables onto my plate when Mom wasn’t looking. Peas? Greenbeans? All Mine.

Do you have that one food you can’t ever get enough of? Mine has always been pasta. Plain pasta, Alfredo pasta, Mac ‘n Cheese, I don’t discriminate. As a child on spaghetti night I would sneak into the kitchen and shove handfuls of leftover pasta into my mouth over the stove. When I went through a bout of depression in college, plain pasta with butter is pretty much all I would eat. Now I could probably still crush a half a box by myself in one sitting, although I admit I haven’t tried.

When people making me dinner ask, “what do you like?” My answer is always, “I eat pretty much everything,” and it’s true.  Except raw celery…gross.

Food SHOULD be something you love. It’s an integral part of living, and making it is fun, creative and a loving gesture for those you cook for.  There’s nothing like a dish coming out exactly how you wanted it to. I’m pretty sure heaven is something pretty close to a perfect bowl of Shrimp Scampi and a glass of wine.

But here’s the kicker… It can’t be the only thing you love. If you’re living your life just to make it to lunch or dinner or a glass of wine at night, and not enjoying what is in-between, you may have a problem. I get it, because I’ve been there. Lunch break at Chick-fil-a is the only time you take a break and get to talk to your co-workers. Evening meal on the couch is the only time you get to unwind and not have to be “doing” anything productive.

When you only enjoy life during meals, your brain gets the idea that food = happiness, love, socialization, relaxing, etc. And when you need a little more of that good stuff in your life, your brain says. “I’m smart, I know what to do, let’s eat more!”

I don’t subscribe to the notion that food is just fuel for your body. I love cooking and eating and it is part of the reason I started this blog. But you do need to listen to what you REALLY need. Is it a new job? More frequent breaks to go outside? More time with your friends? Whether or not taco night is involved, make sure that you have lots of other things in your life that are filling you up – emotionally and spiritually. You may find that that second brownie isn’t going to do it for you.

Love,

Stephanie

 

Started From the Bottom, Now We Here: my story, health and gratitude

Maybe it’s some rainy day introspection, or some mercury retrograde vibes, or the fact that I am confined to the couch today “resting.” Being sick this week has been a poignant reminder of why I made many decisions these last four or five years. Granted I can’t fully compare surgeries and hospital stays to a three-day virus, but the feelings are strangely similar. It’s a reminder that I take my health for granted on days that it is good. I never want to go to work or the gym, until I am unable to.

For those of you that haven’t heard my story, in 2012 I ended up in the hospital with a diseased appendix, and was having surgery to remove it the next day. It had been failing me for weeks or months, and I mostly ignored the symptoms, pressing on through my new job and life in Maryland. Unfortunately, there were two more surgeries after that one, a result of some complications. Scar tissue, abscesses, a blocked intestine, and infections close to spreading to my blood had me in the hospital for weeks. I narrowly missed all of this happening a few months before I got my new job, when I didn’t have any health insurance. I still don’t know how I got so lucky. I eventually came out the other side, only missing one organ and in a few thousand dollars in debt instead of tens of thousands.

After I recovered, I started taking my health much more seriously. I read piles of books and countless blogs, went vegan, and started what is now ETM Health. While I am no longer vegan, I do still follow a mostly whole food diet, low in sugar and processed foods. I met my now husband in 2014 and he taught me a lot about exercise, running and strength training. In July of 2017 I graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition as a Certified Health Coach, after a one year program. All of these things have become such a big part of my life now that I don’t think of them much anymore.

But today, as I’m forced to not move much without spurring a coughing fit, I’m taking a few books off my shelf. These were with me at the beginning and I’m excited to crack them open again. I’m going to nurse myself back to health, and use this week of a reminder of why I do what I do.

I wanted to share this with you all, and hopefully spur you to reflect on your health today. Take a moment to be grateful for it, and think about how you can show your gratitude this weekend through some healthy choices. Go for a walk or run, make some good food with your loved ones, and take a break.

With love,

Stephanie

P.S. These are the book titles if you want to check them out:

Fight Back with Food, from Reader’s Digest

All is Well, by Louise Hay and Mona Lisa Schulz

Complete Guide to Natural Home Remedies from National Geographic

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