Thursday 29 September 2016

Achieving Balance

Well, this month is almost over. Hot damn did that fly by! I'm almost not ready to be done yet, as much as I want cake..
I raised well over my goal, I "broke" a time or two. I craved, bargained, and eventually got over my intense craving for cream cheese icing. I created new, fantastic habits ("ugh, you mean you're going to keep eating tofu after this?!" - ever the supportive boyfriend, Jake). I hopefully encouraged good changes in a few people, or atleast made putting your health & well being first in their minds. But what did I receive the most from this month? I learned the art of Balance. Beautiful, freeing, sweet balance.
This meal sounded so much better in my head, but as it turns out, there IS such a thing as too much curry paste. ;)

Something I obviously haven't shared with many is that I have struggled with disordered eating since I was 13. Struggled hard. Sometimes it has won, sometimes I have won. There has been a constant voice in my head telling me how food is the enemy, that I need to limit what I'm eating because I haven't exercised for a while. That even though I enjoyed the fuck out of that burger, I need to obsess and feel guilty about it for the next day or so - while attempting to "balance" out the calories that dirty burger had by depriving myself the next day. That feeling "full" is wrong, and should be avoided. Somewhere down the line in puberty, food became enemy #1 in my psyche. Poor food, what did it ever do to deserve such villainizing!? It's a very real, very constant struggle. One that I have long battled and attempted numerous times to find the magic switch to make it go away, not realizing it isn't that easy. To be very honest, when I told my mom I was doing this month long challenge, she was incredibly supportive.. Until I told her it was centered around food. She was not all that keen about me doing anything that included the word "challenge" with food and me, because she is very aware of how quickly that could become restrictive and toxic. And she wasn't wrong. Her concerns were very warranted, because it not only crossed my mind; in fact, the idea of restricting myself for an entire month for a healthy, charitable purpose.. Excited me. 

However, to my own bewilderment, I surprised myself. As I ate healthier and cleaner, it wasn't the restricting that excited me, it was how good I felt. Amazing even. Food is making me feel good?! Since when did that happen. I didn't want to restrict myself anymore because eating all of this nutritious, good food was making me feel vibrant, and energetic, passionate! And happy. The often glaring, abrasive, loud voice became smaller and smaller. She was replaced with a voice that loved me, that loved the healthy habits she was seeing replacing ones that had enveloped me for too long. She encouraged me, kept that good feeling going, patted me on the back and told me "it's okay, don't beat yourself up; you'll do better next week" when I ate terribly in Vegas. She's the one who replaced the thought of "you need to go for a run to burn off those calories from yesterday" with "remember how great you felt after that run last week?! Remember how your anxiety went away?? Let's do that again" 

This is a very personal post for me to write. I've written and deleted something like this about 10x in the span of this blog. I have wanted to share it, but sharing your very personal secret in this space is hard. It's something I hold dear to me, because it's a vulnerability I haven't wanted to allow others to know about. In telling my story, I've now ensured it no longer has a hold on me; I'm free. The thing with a secret is when you figure out that you're stronger than it is, it no longer has a hold on you. I am not sitting here on my high horse thinking I'm "cured"; but damn it, I've come farther this month than I have in years, and for that I am fucking proud. 

And so, this month has allowed me to finally find & actively pursue the balance in 80/20, with no guilty feelings left over. In eating healthy, nutritious, clean and green foods 80% of the time, you give room for and enjoy the" dirty", fun, delicious 20% of treating yo self - the ice cream dates, the big fat cinnamon buns; the juicy burger & a beer on a Friday night. It's okay to indulge, in fact it's healthy. The balance in knowing that being active because it's good for my body (& is basically free therapy), and knowing that when I "eat the rainbow" and spend time in the kitchen whipping up fun, healthy filling meals, it allows me to fully enjoy the treats that would have left me wracked with feelings of self hatred, insecurity and feeling like a failure for being human

This challenge has changed me. Never will I take my own health for granted. Never will I let my friends and family take their health for granted - quite simply I love them too much to let them. And never will I talk to myself in any other tone but one of love, as though I would my very best friend. 

And with the wrapping of this month, I implore you to do a few things for yourself:    

1. Make an appointment with your doctor. Get a full blood panel, smear (or cough and squeeze boys ;) ), and make sure everything is in tip top condition. Your body does a lot for you, you owe it this. 
2. Be kind to yourself. There is enough outside in this world to tear you down, the voice inside your head needent be one more. 
3. Make some healthy changes yourself. It takes 21 days to make a habit. Replace one you've been meaning to with something beneficial. 

As always, thank you for reading, and allowing my voice to be heard.


Friday 9 September 2016

Week 2, how do you do?

Well it’s officially week 2 of 4 into my September Challenge. I am already almost at my month’s end goal, and I no longer want to kill someone over the sight of a chocolate bar – or put it in my mouth with the wrapper on just to imagine eating it... Not that I did that when my super supportive boyfriend brought home a kit kat or anything... This brings me to my first point of what I’ve learned from this challenge: sugar withdrawals are reeeeal and there is added sugar in damn near everything! I have a sweet tooth for sure, but I naively figured that since I’m not a candy addict or a junk food fanatic, my sugar cravings would be minimal. False. On day 3 they came in fast and furious, and I wanted everything. White sheet cake, chocolate, candy, pop, cream cheese frosting, everything. Even slushies, which I haven’t had the slightest interest in for probably 10 years now looked AMAZING. Jake had a Dr. Pepper in the car on our way somewhere (like I said, either super supportive or just Mr. Miyagi-ing me to be stronger than my willpower generally is), and I literally just sniffed it to get my fix. Thankfully I didn’t get raging sugar headaches like you hear can happen – thank GOD – so I was just crabby. Or if you ask Jake, really crabby. But by about day 6 they were gone. I mean I’m not going to lie to you, I still want cream cheese frosting on top of a big fat cinnamon bun, but I can wait until October 1st now. Or vegan hack a healthy version to satisfy me. I feel as though it’s been half wanting what you can’t have, half detoxing some crud out of my system. Regardless I survived, as did my boyfriend. 
Now that I've survived the detox period? I feel fantastic !! So much energy, and overall just feel light and healthy. Honestly, it's a fucking awesome feeling and I know going forward that processed food is going to be a minimal staple in this house. The way I feel without it is just too good to give up.

We are house-sitting for my parents this month while they embark on an RV adventure, so it’s actually been divine timing as they have roughly 600x the kitchen space that we do, and for this month I’ve quickly learned that food prep is key to success. Making salad bowls or glory bowls (basically a salad with some kind of grain as well) three days at a time has been not only fun, it’s been massive for making the difference to avoid the dreaded:  “ugh, what do I eat today!?” I’m going to Vegas next weekend,so carbo loading on breads to fill me up isn’t exactly preferable when I’ll be donning a bikini for 3 days straight. This means pre-cutting veggies, hard boiling eggs and washing all of the fruits have been my savior. Not to mention, I friggin just love food prepping. I’m an absolute tornado when I’m in the midst of it, but afterwards I feel beyond accomplished and ready to tackle the week, without being hungry.

Just look at that gorgeous organization of color! Just. Look. At. It. 

I have pin pointed a couple die hard favorite items that I've had every day, as well as a little trick for ridding your body of crap - literally & figuratively. But mostly literally. 

First, what I love. Little Creek Dressing, I have been putting that shit on everything. Once I found out it had no added sugar (PHEW) it has become my staple. One thing to learn when you're not eating processed foods is that fat is NOT BAD. Healthy, good fats help keep you satisfied, and they are required for your body to function. So when you look at the label and go "oh shit ! 75 calories per tablespoon?!" Remember that those are HEALTHY fats and your body loves them. As will your taste buds. Cut it in half with lemon juice and it's just a god damn flavour party in your mouth. 

Second thing I love? Sautéed tofu. Jake thinks I am nuts and refuses to try it (so far, muahaha) but it is really delicious. Sauté it with braggs and garlic and I can't get enough. 

Now, on to my tip for the week. Healhy fiber is your friend, right? Right. Well, fiber is only your friend when you have enough water involved for it to do its job. To help it sweep it's way out so to speak. Otherwise fiber is your gut's worst enemy - tmi? Oh well, #everybodypoops. And when I haven't pooped in a few days, it comes out in a real shitty attitude ;). I have been taking a liquid magnesium, calcium and vitamin d supplement before bed, and before I have my coffee in the morning I have a glass of warm water & real lemon - let me TELL YA, hallelujah !! You will never need a laxative again in your life if you include these two procedures in your day to day. Thank me later.  

Friday 2 September 2016

Last step is acceptance.

For the month of September, I am embarking on a journey that is 100% in the name of bringing awareness and funds to cervical cancer research through the BC Cancer Foundation. I’m embarking on a month long healthy living challenge, including going vegetarian for the month, as well as ramping up my exercise & eliminating processed foods and sugar – unless it’s from a fruit. Myself & an amazing group of ladies are using our voices & social media presence to bring attention to a very worthy cause - go us! #GirlPower, right? There’s more to this, and I urge you to check out my campaign page to hear about all the details, and to pledge a donation if you feel so inclined. Check it out, here Thus far, it has been fun to be creative and avoid the easy option of meat. Keeping my protein levels up has been a bit more difficult, but that just means that more experimenting in the kitchen is called for: my favorite hobby. A challenge like this can’t be too hard when I’ll clearly be reaping the rewards of my hard work, right?

Well, mostly. If you have been following me for a while, you know that I like healthy eating, healthy baking and just health in general. However, there is a girl who lives inside of me, she’s a bit more, curvaceous, shall we say. And she, LOVES shit food. Fucking loves it. Cake in the office? Well, you know who’s starting the train on grabbing a slice or two. Donuts? Forget about it, half the time I’ve eaten two before I even realize what’s happened. Jake ordered poutine, and I ordered a side salad? As if I’m not going to steal a fry or 10. So, while this challenge is rewarding and I feel fantastic, those cravings are still very much there. Very, very much so. The poor girl, I rarely let her eat what she wants and have brain-washed her to think Zoodles are just as good as white pasta, if not tastier. They’re not, we both know it and it’s a serious source of contention for her. Let’s call her, Bitter Betty. 

So last night, I’m looking for something sweet. Something a bit more substantial than a banana or some strawberries, but also didn’t want to veer into the easy choice of toast with cinnamon & earth balance. So I’m rummaging through my pantry and this bag, lights up in the corner of my eye. It has a sunshine on the bag, and it’s looking hella fine. Like, just begging me to take a walk on the wild side and indulge. 

What were the contents of the bag?

God damn Prunes. Yep, the fruit that makes you shit. The fruit that every grandmother keeps in juice form in the fridge. The juice my mother fed me as little infant because I couldn’t manage to poop properly, which led to the infamous McDonalds diaper blow-out of 1990. How the hell they got into my house, in a COSTCO sized bag no less, I have no idea. But before I knew it, I was eating one. And it was satisfying! And then I ate another. And another. 4 down, and my sugar craving was gone, I was satisfied, and speechless.

So, the transition is now complete. I go to sleep at 9:30, I lecture my friends on the importance of health & wellness, I mutter at teenagers and judge their poor outfit choices while I’m driving, and now I eat prunes as a desert like snack. It’s been joked about in the past, and now it is absolutely official: I am Brianne Elizabeth Lutz, the world’s youngest (and childless) grandmother. Nice to meet ya.