Technicalities: Food is Fuel

“Food is fuel.”

Technically, this is correct.

Food, at it’s bare minimum, is what allows us as human beings to function.

That doesn’t mean “food is fuel” is the be all end all.

Because food is fuel… but it is not only fuel.

Food functions beyond giving us energy for our daily activities and happenings.

It goes beyond the nutrients it provides for our bodies to do their magical and miraculous things.

It is more than carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

It goes further than providing for our basic needs.

Food is so much more.

Food gives way to experiencing the world, cultures, and lifestyles.

Food is a language we all speak, a common ground.

Food substitutes a time machine, allowing us to revisit the past in just a bite.

Food brings us together and creates community in the making, eating, and enjoying of it.

Food gives us something to look forward to. To reflect on. To bond over.

Food allows a creative outlet in the ability to experiment.

Food is healing because whether it is a cookie or a salad eating is self-care.

Food creates comfort in it’s familiarity, it’s warmth, it’s pleasantries.

Food is life-sustaining it, giving way to experience it, memories revolving around it, traditions upheld with it.

Food is a way to show our love, care, concern, and compassion whether homemade, store bought or takeout.

Food may be fuel… but it’s importance and abilities go far beyond that.

Food is fuel, but it is not only fuel.

How does food go beyond fuel for you? I’d love to hear what it means to you below!

Blog Signature.jpg

Holiday Chatter

‘Tis the season of gathering around the table.

Maybe it’s the table in your own home, your parents, your in-laws, your friends, a company holiday party, or even at a restaurant... Maybe holidays suck and you choose to celebrate alone at your coffee table. And that’s okay too. No matter where the table, it’s more likely than not that you will be around it for celebration sometime soon. And for many of us, there is going to be some stress that comes with that.

Stress and baggage has a tendency to travel with the holiday season. First and foremost, make sure you are practicing your best self care (more on that coming soon). Then take it one day at a time.

Here are some things to consider and maybe share with those you are spending time with this holiday season and feel could benefit from knowing:

Mind your own plate (And ask that others do as well)

Your plate is your business… and it’s acceptable to ask everyone around you to mind their own plate too. This is easily reversed-don’t compare your plate to that of anyone around you. Your plate is specifically crafted for you. Your wants, your taste, your needs. The what and why and how much is on a plate is the plate owners business alone.

Also, avoid being the food police and don’t accept others policing your food. It’s okay if someone doesn’t want to eat a salad… or dessert… or grandma’s famous yams. It’s also okay if you go back for seconds of absolutely anything and/or everything if that is what they want.

What someone decides to eat and drink any day of the year should should not be up for public debate (if at all)… let’s try to put an emphasis on that during the holiday season.

Things not to talk about around the table (or ever)

  1. Diets and Restriction: Whether you’re following the newest fad, were put on it by a medical provider, or just shooting for a “lifestyle change” don’t talk about your diet, food rules, or any restrictions that you may be implementing, considering or practicing in the future. With 1 in 4 dieters going on to develop an eating disorder the risk of harm is too high to ignore.

    What to talk about instead?: What tv, movies or music you’ve been into lately

  2. Weight and Body Talk: Even when said as a ‘compliment’, talking about others (or your own) weight and body changes or shape can be incredibly damaging. It reinforces that there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ bodies… and that is not true. Bodies are meant to be diverse and that is ok. Body image is hard enough in our society without the comments, even well intentioned, from family and friends.

    What to say instead?: “Hello! How have you been? It is so great to see you!”

  3. Post Meal Shaming: Guilt and shame are common following a meal. It’s not wrong to feel that way-but that probably means you personally need to do work with your relationship with body and food and that’s okay! Just choose to not talk about any poor feelings following a meal or shame anyone else for what/how much/when they choose to eat.

    What to say instead: ‘That meal was absolutely delicious. It was so great to share with you all.”

  4. Exercise Routines: No one needs to earn, burn, ‘prepare for’, or ‘work off’ any food, let alone a holiday dinner. Everyone needs to eat, multiple times a day, every day a year, regardless of movement. Period. If you moved today in a way that felt great to you, CONGRATULATIONS! I’m so happy you’ve found movement that works for you. If you moved today and your motivation was elsewhere, that’s okay too! Either way others don’t need to hear about or feel guilt or shame related to your exercise routine.

    What to talk about instead?: Your favorite thing to do during the holidays.

insteadof.png

Preparing yourself for the holiday celebration

Plan for as much as you can. Think through your holiday plans. Run through uncomfortable scenarios. Know your boundaries and your limits. Stick to them. It’s okay to say no to events you rather not go to that will only leave you feeling drained. Share any boundaries you need to with family and friends to help have the best time possible.

Do not skip breakfast or any meals or normal snacks before the event.

The day before and after make sure you have time set aside for self care (the day of too if you can manage!). If you know these events are hard for you, make sure that you are taking time for yourself. Maybe you plan for a nap between events, ten minutes of meditation, a walk by yourself after dinner, an hour in the middle of the day to just read… whatever you know works for you, if possible to incorporate it, do so!

Pack snacks if you think you may need them. If you are unsure that any food will be there for you to enjoy (whether it’s because of personal preference, allergy, or another medical necessity) it’s okay to pack your own food.

If you want to enjoy something or a family member is insisting on you trying it and you just can’t eat it in the moment, ask for some to go.

Not sure how things are going to go? Do what is best for you, have an escape plan, and if you need to leave early, then leave early. There is nothing wrong with that.

selfcare.png

As much as possible, enjoy the food. Embrace the company. Focus on the experience.

Blog Signature.jpg

Done Being Mr. Nice Guy

I debated sharing this for a while… This is a personal story that I find connects with food, nutrition, and body image (among many other things)… I’m hoping it will ring true with some So that we can find community and connection in the discomfort. Also, I hope to give others permission to do what I should have done in my situation… and have intention to do so going forward.

I know many of us have been there… When someone we know, maybe even love, makes those well meaning, but entirely inappropriate questions, comments or concerns.

Lately, it seems like they’ve been raining down around me.

Before I dive in, I want to acknowledge my privilege… the comments, questions or false concerns have likely not been as mean-hearted or vengeful as those made on larger bodies, persons of color, disabled bodies or gender non- conforming… I am a straight, white, thin, able-bodied female… and still it seems that my body, the way it looks, how I choose to use it and move it seems to be up for debate. It’s not. And it shouldn’t be for any person.

For me, as of late, I am absolutely unsettled when someone asks or comments or “hints” at babies, I literally want to scream out in fury. Because honestly, unless you are my husband, it’s none of your business and my body is made for so much more than just having children.

I usually try to be nice about it and it goes something like this:

As they coo over my nieces, they turn to me, “So when is it your turn?”

“We’re focusing on our careers and time together right now, also have you seen my corg-babe.” Hinting that there’s definitely other things we can talk about outside of my “need” to bare children.

“BUT WHEN?” not getting it, they cry.

“Ask me again in a few years.” I try to divert and end the conversation.

“ BUT WHAT IF A BUMP HAPPENS?” they pry.

“We’re taking measures to make sure that doesn’t happen.” I feel forced into oversharing.

“BUT WHAT IF THEY DON’T WORK?” they ask, as if they may mess with my birth control methods themselves.

“I guess we’ll have to evaluate that if it happens.” I say hoping I can now escape, because what kind of question was that really?

Fortunately, I have not struggled with infertility, but there are hundreds of thousands of women and couples who do and my heart goes out to them, because this kind of interrogation is not just unnecessary, unwelcome and uncomfortable as it is for anyone who doesn’t want to talk about it, but for them it likely becomes hurtful and harmful too. And here’s the thing: I am not and should not be obligated to be nice about these inappropriate comments and inquiries. Are they well intentioned? Probably. But while I believe they should not even be asked, they definitely shouldn’t continue after they are shut down, as it really is not anyones business unless my husband or I choose to share this information with you. This is not up for conversation. So I am done being “nice”.

And you should be too.

Maybe the unwelcome comments for you are not about having children. Maybe it’s your weight, your appearance, your relationship status, the food you eat, your religion or beliefs, the way you move your body, the way you choose to raise your kids… Most of the time they try to say it comes from a good, well meaning place and that may be true, but for me, in many of these situations, it comes from a very selfish place.

Sometimes it’s the good ole’ “I did it this way so you should too”

Others it’s a “Your body/choices/beliefs make me uncomfortable so you should change” insanity

And occasionally it’s just plain, rude nosiness.

In any of these cases, well meaning or not, you have a right to tell others that these topics are off limits. You have the right to protect yourself.

And you can say it any way you want. Tell them that it is not their business or is not up for discussion. Tell them you don’t want to talk about it or completely ignore the question. Maybe you choose to just walk away or you can totally lecture them on how hurtful/wrong/unnecessary it is to bring up such things. You can continue to be nice if you have the patience… But you are in no way obligated to be.

Shut the comments down in any way that works for you, but we don’t have to be nice about it if being nice isn’t working anymore.

Blog Signature.jpg

If you don’t take a picture of your food, would it taste just as good?

“Pictures or it Didn’t Happen”

I read this phrase recently and was both outraged and inspired all in the same moment.

I get it. We live in a privileged time where we can literally (and simultaneously feel compelled to) document every single thing that happens to us (or at least the good stuff).

As someone who enjoys documenting my life, but also strives to be present, it doesn’t sit well with me that if I don’t snap a photo to document my experiences that they may be considered irrelevant. Even when I’ve totally been the person to take a picture of everything.

So of course, I took on this phrase as a personal challenge. Now I didn’t stop taking photos cold turkey (I’m not a monster-of course, I’ll never stop taking or sharing photos of my dog with you) but I am trying my best to limit how much energy I put into getting the perfect picture - or pictures things that I just won’t care about in a month, a year, 10 years - and how easy it is to be become enveloped by my phone when I should be immersed in the good time to be had. And this past weekend was a good time. But according to the above, much of it may not have happened.

After the matter, I realized one moment when I faltered that really wouldn’t matter next week… I stopped to take a picture of our meatballs from Mimi’s Blue Meatballs in Indy. Don’t get me wrong, they were presented beautifully, they tasted great, and we’ll definitely go back again… but I had no intention to make a post with that photo. I certainly am not going to print that picture off and frame it or include it in a photo album to cherish for years to come. It will be uploaded to the cloud and never thought of again. And those meatballs didn’t taste any better because I documented them.

food.png

Earlier that day, I was surrounded by family telling stories of yore with no pictures to aid. And I just sat there thinking how much better our stories would be, our experiences would be, our life would be if we weren’t so determined to document it all by photograph and video and posting on social media as soon as possible… and sometimes missing the moment entirely.

Our food will taste just as good

Our experiences will be just as (if not more) enriching

Our life will be just as fulfilling

Even if we choose not to snapshot every single moment

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-pictures. My living space is filled with photographs documenting beautiful memories. I love living vicariously through other’s photos. I have a blog and social media and enjoy sharing photos with others. But I also have hundreds of shots on my computer that are just taking up space.

So I’m working towards choosing to be in the moments worth keeping first… and take a photo after the memory’s made. I think it’s part of the journey to live more wholeheartedly. I think this is part of finding freedom, including food freedom.

Are you with me?

Blog Signature.jpg

Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

Lone Weekend

My husband recently was selected to be one of NASM Master Instructors-which means occasionally he'll be away on weekends for this job.  He loves teaching others, so I'm super proud of him and excited for this new venture, but this means that I will have some occasional weekends throughout the year all to myself.

And I absolutely love that.

Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and love spending time with him. But sometimes you need downtime to do you. To watch movies and TV he would rather not and eat food that you want without question and fully indulge in self care and sleep diagonally on the bed because you can.

I also love the idea that I may be able to tag along on some of these adventures, so it's a win-win.

This past weekend was the first, and I had big plans. I was going to organize and clean and relax and be productive and eat Turkish food and take a bath and watch the princess bride and read like twenty books and be in bed by 9 p.m. And of course it didn't go exactly as planned but I got some quality alone time in.

He left early Saturday and my plan for the afternoon was to work on some business related things, once I got all caught up it was time for some R & R.

I had previously started The Bold Type (a freeform tv show that I had very low expectations of) and ended up loving it, so I caught up on the current season.

It's apparently inspired by women of cosmo and is about three badass ladies who are chasing their dreams at a fashion magazine. Also, in one of their latest episodes Tess Holliday (Cool Kid Body Positive Activist and Plus Size Model) makes a guest appearance as they work the whole episode on an issue centered around real bodies! Okay. Enough about that. But I do recommend watching if you're looking for a tv show during the summer lull, new episodes are currently premiering of season 2 on Tuesdays (the following day on Hulu).

IMG_0184.JPG

I chowed down on leftover copy cat penne rosa and was in bed before nine finishing up Hunger by Roxane Gay. It was a successful first night. I slept diagonally and my dog only woke me up twice, and I slept in until 8:30 on Sunday which is crazy late for me!

IMG_0211.JPG

After waking up, I decided to organize my (previously designated) craft desk that now is also used for work from home matters (or I want to... if I can keep the crafts off of it). I'm really loving how it's shaping up! A little work and then I tried to spend Sunday how Matt and I do when we're together... relatively unplugged and it was the perfect day for it! 

IMG_0200.JPG

We spent so much of the day outdoors, laying on our picnic blanket, doing some fun reading, barking at the neighbors dogs and children (this last one was more Miya than me). The weather was so perfect for this, 81 and sunny, not a rain cloud in sight! So I soaked it up. I'm hoping for more summer days like this to come.

IMG_0207.jpg

Now I know I said I was going to get Turkish food and usually when Matt's out of town I go for the restaurants he hesitates to visit with me... But a burger, fries and shake sounded so good so I went with my gut. Also, Five Guys does a PB&J milkshake that rocks my socks. 

Afterwards I watched She's Having a Baby. (A movie Matt most definitely would not have enjoyed.) I have a thing for 80s films, throw in the fact that it was written and directed by John Hughes and starred Kevin Bacon and I was all in. I tried to watch this movie without any other distractions-which I realized I rarely do anymore-and actually really enjoyed it. Matt's not too impressed with older movies so I really need to make it a point to get them in when he's not around!

After the movie I talked to Matt for a bit. His flight had been cancelled, so I had the bed to myself for another night. I started to get ready for bed and was tired so I fell asleep right around 9. Mondays are tough and to be honest my dog did not allow us to sleep very well, so today was mostly all the tasks I put off (cleaning, cooking, and napping). 

All in all, a weekend alone can do a world of good! We are looking forward to having Matt back! What are some things you did this past weekend that you enjoyed?