Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My body the experiment

Do you want to be told how to eat to have energy, feel good and be at a healthy weight?  I do.  And in a way we do know what to do.  We need to eat a balance of fats, protein and carbohydrates.  We know we need to eat more greens and less processed foods.  And I could go on but, that is where you lose people.  Because the immediate question is how.  How do I do those things and keep my mind, my body and my family happy?  And I could give you the scientific reason for eating more leafy greens (eaten in variety leafy greens give you all the amino acids needed to fulfill your protein needs) and that might help some people.  But we don’t have data for how these foods specifically make us feel because we are all different and food acts on your body differently than mine.  So I can’t tell you exactly what to eat.  I can just guide you.

I am experiential learner, so to guide effectively I first must do.   My body the experiment.  For the past five years I have taken January “off” of drinking, eating meat or last year’s fiesta of diets.  This year is a bit different and more inline with my quest for more data.  I am doing a month-long cleanse.  Starting this Thursday with a colon cleanse I will empty my body of toxins, working through my organs and eventually readying my body for life as we know it.  I love that this is month-long cleanse because for me, I need this time to think about what I want from food and to really powerfully start new habits.  A month (specifically the quiet month of January) is a good amount of time to wipe away the old and begin anew.

I am intrigued to see how my body reacts to this intense cleanse.  I did the colon cleanse in August.  It was really interesting, but I didn’t fully feel a long term positive impact.  Possibly because I really needed to do it one to two additional days.  So I am trying again - the whole body.

The more I read about food and nutrition the more credence I give to the power of food to heal or to ail you.  So I will eat well, not drink and cleanse my organs.  I am excited to see what happens.  What do you want from your body this year?  I want to release mine from it’s old story.  I want it to be free.

What are some habits or routines you have built in that support you in the life you want to live?  Take a moment to write them down.  Not for me.  For you.  Because as you might have figured out by now – I believe writing to be rather cathartic.

Take Care.

Monday, December 27, 2010

What is Important to You?

We all live our lives by our own values.  I think it is important to know what those values are thereby living our lives more meaningfully.  For most, values change over time.  I know that by living with my hubbend I now value recycling more.  I know that living in Portland as a mother has made me more aware of the green movement and buying sustainable toys for my son.

I have also turned into somewhat of a locavore.  I have realized that while I value organic foods, I am going to pick a local product over an organic product should I be forced to do so.

Having this recent piano/moving fiasco has made me realize how important music is to my life.  I grew up with music.  The hubbend did not.  And while he has learned to appreciate music and is a super rad dancer, he has no idea about the theory of music. I missed having instruments in my home.  I want those things in my life and for my son.

So.  Back to food nutrition.  It is important to me.  Probably partially due to where we live, but I have developed into a local eating, mostly organic, mostly vegetarian, physically moving woman.  I am not interested in politics (although I know I should be).  I would rather read a book on nutrition and food politics.  I would rather read a book about emotional eating and why there seem to be two “me”s.  The me who eats well and the me who will stop at nothing to get.that.sugar.

What are your values?  Think about it.  It is important. 

Then smile.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Serving Size

I like to finish my plate, don’t you?  I also like feeling satisfied by my meal and some of that comes from the mind - the thought that you finished your plate/meal.

I know now that if I am eating a animal based protein that is a max 4oz serving size and the remainder of my plate is a green/vegetable mix.   I know that and when I am making my own food I create meals that mostly satiate my mind and my body’s needs.  I say mostly because occasionally, in the name of health I create a meal that doesn’t satiate one or both of these needs.  These are the meals that end up with me in the chip cabinet at 10pm.

So my problem primarily occurs when I eat out.  At restaurants.  Because they serve HUGE portions.  Portions I could not possibly eat no matter how hard I try.  And believe me, I try.

Americans value value.  So we eat a lot of cheap foods.  I try not be like this, but still get stuck in the rut when I go to a restaurant and really want to feel the satisfaction of “finishing” my meal.  I can’t.  Or I do and truly feel like shit afterward.  It is really nice having something to take home sometimes so that I can eat it again another day.  But sometime couldn’t a restaurant just serve the proper serving size?

I know, I know the restaurant/food company/FDA’s job isn’t to make us healthy.  But every once in a while I would like to go somewhere and be served good food that satisfied me.   Food that made me feel like I’d had enough.

I don’t ignore my emotional issues, I’m just asking for some assistance.  You’d think the health care system would appreciate someone like me.  I won’t cost them as much.  In the long run people like me, while we might be a pain in the ass, are the ones that will live those healthy lives with less diet-related health concerns.  That is a good thing.  Right?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nutrition Pushing

Last year was the year of the Omega Three Fatty Acid.  A concept most people don’t understand and wouldn’t know how to find one if forced, almost all items last year were changed so that they could be marketed as high in omega3s.  This year the  big companies are pushing Vitamin D and Calcium.  Who knows exactly how these nutrients are decided.  Last year the brussels sprout was the it vegetable; this year it is kale.  Kale is the main ingredient in every new recipe you see touted by companies.  Blueberries were presented as magical because they are high in antioxidants, now it is pomegranate and acai berries.

What will it be next?  Do we really need these labels?  Are they helpful without context?  And what really gets me is if someone eats kale every day then they aren’t getting enough variety in their diet to be healthy.  People need to eat all greens, one of them being kale.  People need antioxidants from a variety of sources.  And yes, we should be eating more greens to get more omega3s in our diet vs. omega 6s, but putting it into grains and other things where it doesn’t belong is not the answer. 

Internal Dialogue

*Warning: not for the faint of heart.  If you don't like swearing or negative talk then just stop reading now.

This is the internal dialogue between the two of me: Skinny Bitch (SB) and Big Fat Cow (BFC).

SB-Dude, you suck.  You are fat, gross and are really ruining my awesomeness.  I look awesome and you are supremely disgusting with your fat hanging out everywhere.
BFC- You just need to chill out.  You are stressing me out.  Why do you have to be such hard work?  It is just food after all.
SB-You are making us a hypocrite!  How could anyone believe I am healthy and eat well if I am big and fat?
BFC- A: your standards are just a wee to high.  We are NOT fat.  However, to answer that question.  People don't expect you to be perfect.  You will be a successful health coach because of your life experience and your unique contributions.
SB-Ya.  My "unique contributions".  What people really want is a happy, sunny person.  Neither of us are that.
BFC- It is true.  But we are real.  We have always valued that, haven't we?
SB- YesYes, but can't you just shove over for a little bit?  You have been in charge for most of my life.  Can't I just lead for a while?  I have only had one year!
BFC-Ya, and what have you done with that year?
SB- A TON!  I eat so much better, I am so aware of what I am putting in my body and have more energy.  I am not depressed anymore (remember depression, fatso?) and am sleeping better.
BFC- Good points, but still.  CHILL OUT!

SB is quiet for a while. 
SB-I want to chill out.
BFC-I want to honor our decisions to eat well and life a balanced happy life.  I like us.
SB-ya.  I need to be alone for a while.  Can we talk later?
BFC-Take Care.  Love you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Review–Catching Fire

One of my nagging concerns about the Nutrition program I am currently enrolled in is that I won’t have enough nutrition information to help people when I graduate.  Being the librarian/ex-librarian/avid reader that I am, I am spending much of my reading time on emotional eating, diet, and science of nutrition books.  I want to read as many books as I can so I can help as many people as I can.  I don’t think I am so unique as to believe that my life experience leaves me isolated.  Why else would Facebook be so popular?  I believe many people like me want to eat a little better, sleep a little better and live a little better.  This is why I believe this school is great and why I can have a career helping people live their best life. 

I recently finished Catching Fire:How Cooking Made Us Human.  This book started out slow.  I thought I would recommend it to raw-foodies, but 75 pages in I thought they would be offended.  I kept reading and found it more and more interesting.  By the end I really thought the author had a lot to say and wanted to engage in a dialogue with people who thoughtfully ate food.  People who thought that the food they ate had meaning every day.

I find myself thinking about this book a lot recently in my life.  Like why we eat cooked meat and what that means about portion size. (Cooking meat gives us more energy from the food so we need a LOT less.)  We also lost our jaw strength and teeth sharpness in the evolution from habilines to homo erectus and so don’t have the ability to chew raw meat.  Or the time really… I have loved learning more of the science behind our food and how the evolution of humans have brought us here.  The ramifications of this evolution we are seeing now in a society that is over-weight and under nourished.

Read this book if you want to know more.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Healthy and Skinny are not the same thing

Now everyone with me say, “DUH”.

Well, recently I have been eating really well.  Almost completely organic, mostly vegetarian, seasonally appropriate and predominantly local foods.  Feeling good about my food choices but for one thing that is “uhhmm” weighing me down.  Yep.  The weight thing is such a problem.  The number.  I didn’t weigh myself for about three years.  It was such a nice time Smile.

That number just kills me though.  I am eating so well, but after a dinner of brown rice, tofu, broccoli and peppers I am up about two pounds.  Now, seemingly my body doesn’t like brown rice (maybe it is the phytic acid), but STILL.  I need to find another whole grain that treats me a little better.  Quinoa is good, but hubbend doesn’t like it.  I shall try kasha, amaranth and millet next.

I get frustrated when I feel like I am working so hard at this and I am still not rewarded.  (Rewarded now, that is.)  Which definitely points out one of my problems with food.  It might have altered a bit, but the fact that I think I should get a gold star for eating well tells me something is still off.  Intellectually you may know that eating well will keep you healthier in the long run and eating locally/organically is good for the environment, but is that truly what keeps you going?  Not me.  I want to eat well enough so that my body stays strong for as long as possible, but I feel like my reward should be something like, “And now, Brooke, after all that hard work, you shall be rewarded with the loss of the sugar craving.  You will now enjoy the foods you eat that sustain you and will not feel disappointed at the end of the meal because it was “so healthy” and there wasn’t a sweet reward.”

Is that too much to ask?  I guess so. <sigh>

So I am down two pounds today.  Two more to go until I am normal again.  And still I wait.  And work.  And hope some day for that reward.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Then again

Once again the rules have changed and I am slightly behind in figuring it out.  I am not the most intuitive person so I am not surprised just glad that it finally sunk in.

What am I talking about?  The vague references aren’t clear?  It might be my lack of clarity which explains my lack of ability to clearly elucidate my thoughts.

I am sitting here sweating because I have had coffee which my body evidently doesn’t need.  Lemme go get a glass of cool water and I’ll be back.

OK.  Will henceforth start spilling it~ I have been eating too many carbs!  What?  How did that happen?  Well, after spending one year eschewing them as a way to maintain weight, this fall I started adding root vegetables and whole grains meaningfully into my diet.  Why you ask?  Well, this summer I didn’t have enough umph during my Olympic Triathlon and part of that was due to not enough carbohydrates in my diet.  Because complex carbs are good for endurance athletes.  The fiber slows down the absorption giving your body energy over time. 

So, what is the deal now?  Well, I am not training for a triathlon right now.  I work out, but just not as hard or for as long.  I don’t need all those carbs in my diet to keep my body keeping on.  I need to back off a bit.  Cause the belly is bugging me. 

In the spring I can come back to this, but I need for find my balance for now.  For winter.  Which is different than spring when I am training for running.  Which is different than summer when I am actively training and competing.  Which is different than fall.  Wow, this stuff isn’t easy.  And everyone is different. 

The body is amazing and complex, isn’t it?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thank you, turkey

So I just want to thank the turkey officially for all it has given us.  From Thanksgiving Day’s meat, to 3 subsequent TG meals, multiple sandwiches and the broth made from the carcass.
turkey broth
Thank you, turkey, I appreciate all you have given us and will continue to do so in the form of most awesome broth for the coming winter season.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I need a project.  Something meaningful.  I think Christmas decorating will be fun, but I don’t think that will be enough.  With the advent of January I will begin my month-long cleanse.  This year's iteration will contain a whole body cleanse… different than years past projects in that I mostly removed items from my diet.  Or last year when I tested out various diets.  This year has been one big long experiment in diet and eating and to end the year I need something to end it meaningfully.  Winter isn’t the time for intense tri training so that can’t be it either.  See, I have rather thought it through.
The thing that seems fitting is introspection.  But how is that a project?  At a time of year lent to parties, consumption of treats/alcohol,  and gift giving/receiving, how do I spend it introspecting without coming out feeling like I’ve missed out on the joy of the season?
So, my project.  Something calming, warming, honoring of the season of fires, hibernating,  yet filled with holiday cheer.  I love a challenge Smile.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chicken guilt

When I first started cooking I learned to make chicken.  And when my mom would come to visit we would head to Costco to get their individually wrapped chicken breasts.  Et voila, Brooke had what she needed to make whatever chicken dish she could find.

I love my chicken cashew salad recipe.  It is so great, easy, and great as leftovers.  I have made it for at least 6 years and chances are that I’ve made it for you. 

When I lost weight last year I found the easiest way to maintain it (and lose it initially) was a diet low in starchy carbs, high in protein.  This is not a diet that can (or should) be maintained for a long time as we do not need this much protein in our diets.  About six months ago, once I was finally confident that I would maintain my weight loss, I began working on eating less protein and adding more complex carbohydrates in my diet. <tangent> I should mention that I have added in more mono and polyunsaturated fats into my diet… They fill you up and give your brain something to live on.  If I hear “fats make you fat” one more time I might scream!! </tangent>   I also had my long standing sugar problem to work on.  This fall, I realized that all those sugary vegetables could totally help those cravings.  How exciting!

So now I find myself eating very little (meat-based) protein and feeling happier because I am bingeing less on those sugary foods. 

When I went to Costco Monday to stock up for Thanksgiving I bought some chicken out of habit.  it had been on my Costco list for over a month and I just hadn’t missed it in the freezer.  It is crazy though because ever since I put it in the car I realized that I didn’t want it, I didn’t need that much chicken any more and fully bought it because I used to.  I even feel some guilt knowing it is in my freezer right now.  These days when I make my cashew chicken salad I usually make it with turkey.  Local, organic, turkey.  A turkey or chicken that lived a decent life.  Because I am not going to stop eating protein all together.  I don’t find that morally I feel that need.  But I do have enough knowledge now to want to eat things that have lived a good life and I want to put things in my body that are going to enhance my experience of living.

What am I thankful for?  The knowledge that I’ve acquired to know that I am filling my body up with good foods, treated humanely and filling myself up with goodness as well.  I am going to go make my Thanksgiving turkey now that has been brining over night.  I am going to dance a little and talk nicely to it as I do.  It could only do good right?  If mood contributes to who you are it can certainly contribute to what happens when you eat.

Take Care and have a GREAT Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My green limit

I was wandering around the Capitol yesterday looking for a place to eat a yummy lunch.  I search on my brookeberry for "organic restaurant" and "vegan cafe" just to see what I could find.  I found one that looked good and went off on a walk to the restaurant.  On the way  I found "Green Cafe" and walked in.  It looked very environmentally friendly, yummy, but when I got the line to order I realized it was a little too green for me.  No coffee on this cold blustery day.  And while I really like to make good healthy choices for the food I eat I found my limit.  I wanted coffee, I wanted the option of desert and I wanted to pick and choose from more than three salad options.

I need balance in the foods I eat because when I eat "too healthy" it causes the inevitable backlash (binge) and the resultant guilt.  So I look for balance in my meals and try to get some variety that will keep my interested and satiated.  So I can enjoy that yummy pecan pie when I see it.  Food can't be the enemy because that makes me my own enemy.  And I don't want that for myself.  Anymore.

So, a potentially new food rule for me: If the restaurant is sooo healthy that they won't even serve coffee, it is probably too healthy for me.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fat books

I actually walked away from a fat book today.  For the first time I didn't resonate.  So, I put it down, put it in the book return slot and sent it back.

I usually love reading about emotional eating.  I feel good reading about people who have problems with eating or their size and then in typical light fiction fashion work through it and are happy.  Or, I read the nonfiction variety about how and why people eat and different ways to think about food. 

I recently read a book where the protagonist talked about binge eating.  Not all fat people binge eat or even have eating issues and not all thin people eat well.  In fact most people don't eat well at all.   My main eating issues come from hiding and binge eating.  I know exactly what I should be eating, but "want" the other foods.  You know, the ones that everyone else eats.  I hide the bad food that I eat so that no one knows why I am chubby.  I eat it so that no one can look at me and know my weakness.  It is interesting that being fat is something that you can't hide.  So many other addictions can be hidden fully from society/friends/family.  Eating badly can be hidden - you can portray all the healthiness you want from your vegetarian/organic/whatever diet, but the resultant habits show up very clearly on your body whether it is bad skin, weight in places you don't want it or in lack of muscle tone.

I used to resent all the skinny bitches out there.  Now I don't.  I realize they are no better off than me.  They have their issues - issues that don't always show on the outside. 

I associate with binge eaters even though I am no longer fat.  I associate with people who try to eat to feel better.  I associate with the lonely stay at home moms who yearn for a community and a place to feel accepted for their choices.

Think about what you hide.  Think about what you want from your life.  Now try to bridge the gap between the two.  How can you make it happen?  How can you make what you want from your life into what you have dreamed?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Week Two of a Dairy/Egg free life

I was sick last week so I was quiet about this.  I didn’t think I noticed much at first, but aside from the weird grossness I feel from eating fried foods last night I think I feel better without the dairy/eggs in my life.  I feel a little lighter and cleaner.  Oddly, last week I was mostly vegan as a consequence of eating dairy free.  I had tuna once, but mostly ate veggies, soups and squashes (as befits the season).  I think it was easier without hubbend home so I didn’t eat out much – just ate simpler.

I am going to try to go without magnesium this week to see if it is really helpful, but aside from missing eggs for breakfast it isn’t really hard to go without.  Although eating outside the home is fairly challenging as well.

I’ll keep thinking about it.  Next week I’ll be traveling so I will have eggs, but it might be hard to tell why I am feeling good, bad or ugly and if it is related to eggs or just travel.

I am thinking I will do a whole body/organ cleanse in January this year.  That or the whole life nutrition 28 day cleanse which is for the gluten-free people in your life.  Who wants to join me?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Letting Go

For most of my life I have wanted more.  To be better.  I accept that I have limitations, that I am not a super human, but I think that I should be a better yogi, a better mother, a better person.  I think I should at least try.

And if I accept things as they are it is like giving up.

Now it has changed a bit.  I feel that letting go gives me space for more in my life.  More peace, more opportunities (to teach yoga instead of solely try to be the best practitioner)

Now I feel like letting go is a releasing.  A peace-ing.


And… breathe.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What makes you happy

I finished reading a book that made me happy this morning.  Thus combining two things that make me happy: reading and quiet early mornings.  This book was written by a slow food adapter who gave serenity to every eating experience in the book.

I thought about what makes me happy this week, asking friends and FBers alike.  I thought myself for a while that it would be reading.  Often I answer that question with “reading a good book in a hammock”.  And while this definitely ranks way up there in my list of favorite things to do, the thing that makes me happy, the thing I do for me is yoga.





Yoga makes me happy.  I took teacher training about five years ago.  I thought I would teach and then I became afraid.  Not of teaching, but of missing out on my own practice.  Now.  I have even less time to myself and for myself and that concern remains.


But.  It might be time.


I think it is.


But will they come?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies

I am not much of a baker.  Mostly because I have a problem with portion control.  I do love my sweets though – cookies specifically.  Usually my favorite cookie has walnuts, chocolate chips and oatmeal in it.  Poor hubs so wishes that he could have a white flour, sugar, butter and chocolate chip cookie, but alas, those days are gone.
I am a great lover of pumpkin though and recently when I’ve wanted to make cookies I try to think in my head what ingredients are the ones calling to me.  And as the fall, root vegetable and warming season is upon us the pumpkin called to me today.  There were pumpkin oatmeal cookies, but those seemed like they were trying too hard.  (Although I might try them out later.)

Here are the cookies.  Super yummy and soft.  Enjoy!

Am reading “The School of Essential Ingredients” right now. Next time I make cookies I will replace even more of the egg and will probably take a message from the narrator’s school and add the sugar in later… and allow more air into the wet ingredients by slowing down my blending.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Finally. Binding my cookies.

About a year ago I found out that I had some problems digesting dairy and eggs.  Honestly, I ignored the eggs, but concentrated on removing dairy from my diet as that resonated with me as having caused me digestive distress.  However, as I was in experimentation mode at the time I went about trying to replace the eggs in my baking.  I tried tofu, mashed bananas and a few others (didn’t try the egg replacer stuff as it didn’t seem like a healthy thing to do).  None of them worked.  I gave up.
About 1 month ago someone said something to me that jolted me in the recognition that perhaps eggs could be causing me more subtle problems.  And shortly afterwards realized I felt horribly during a run.  What had I eaten right beforehand?  eggs.  Uh oh.
So here I am after 14 months of diet experimentation and I am starting anew with something that I should have done a while ago.  I am going to remove all eggs and dairy from my diet for two weeks.  Every ounce.  Not a speck.  Let’s see how that goes.
Wow.  Was that a tangent.  What I meant to say was, “Today I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and replaced one of the eggs with flax seeds.”  Really exciting for me cause it totally worked.  A friend mentioned chia seeds to me as a great egg replacer and upon looking chia seeds in my handy Whole Foods Encyclopedia I found that flax seeds could work as well.  (Not quite as well, so I am going to get some chia seeds soon.)  I am going to try to replace both the eggs in my cookies next time.  I am pretty excited right now because I am having no distress from eating the cookies.  The chips were non dairy so I am feeling happy having made yummy cookies.  yay!
*  On a side note, hubbend and I are starting a new thing where he asks me about a nutrition concept and I research it and explain it to him.  I’ll get back to you on that.  Yesterday was lecithin.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Food Labeling, Pt 2

Hubbend thought it was weird that as a future Health Counselor I would have have written last Friday's post on food labeling.  So let me clarify.  I don't have a problem with food labeling per se, I just feel like it is potentially another place where we can get advertised to and taken advantage of.  If the large food corporations, who we know are not developing food for our health but to make themselves more money, are the ones blasting us with information on corn sugar then we might eventually believe that is healthy because it is so pervasive. 

I also feel some concern that we would limit our food options based on these labels and our perceptions as to what healthy is based on another person's food choices.  I shouldn't be vegan because another person says it is healthy.  I should be vegan because it morally, physically, and emotionally aligns with my eating preferences.

And who is this "we" I am referencing?  Well, mostly it is not the people I know who are generally thoughtful about the food they eat and are well informed individuals with access to information.  I am mostly worried about those of us who aren't.  Because I get confused sometimes trying to discern what is fact and what is advertisement.  And the field of nutrition is an ever changing nebulous science. 

I just think we should be cautious and take care.  Of our bodies.  Our health.  Our life.

Friday, October 22, 2010

When did we stop eating food?

I am a little suspicious of all the labels that have recently begun to cover all of our food.  Why do we need to label our food so much?  Why are we raw, vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian (is that really a vegetarian then), sugar free, fat free, gluten free, dairy free, high omega 3 fatty acids, low cholesterol, high antioxidant food consumers?  Most of us don't even know what a lot of this means and even if we do then we don't necessarily know why they are important.

When did we stop eating food and start spending our time labeling what we ate.  Can't we just eat food that tastes good any more?  To quote the oft quoted Michael Pollen: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants".  Is it a wonder that people are confused?  That I really don't like to eat because I am worried about what type of food I am eating all the time?  I like information more than/as much as the next guy, but it seems a little like another form of advertising.  I don't watch commercials on tv, but I think they have infiltrated my food.

I just finished my 90% raw vegetarian green smoothie OR, what my dad has been calling it for the past twenty years, my juice drink.

Enjoy your eating experience today.  I will try to as well.  We'll meet back up here tomorrow and discuss.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


We spend so much time bitching about horrible Oregon summers that we forget about what Oregon does best.  FALL.  I love the colors of fall.  It is my favorite season.  I love the crisp air, the beautiful leaves and the grounding you feel from the blue skies, wet earth, and increased dark.  I find it ironic then that I woke up yesterday morning feeling a lack of color in my life.  I ended up feeling blue.  A little sad. 

Perhaps it is cyclical.  The leaves are falling, the dead of winter approaching and people are leaving right now.  Friends and family are taking on new adventures and exciting life changes.  I am left here.  So.  I feel blue.  A little empty.  Perhaps that is part of the season.  A grounding and awaking of what happens in life.  People go and in the spring the rains return, life comes forth from the earth and I will start on new adventures.  Maybe by then I will have clients and will be able to help them live a life of adventure and live it with vitality and wellness.  Perhaps the grounding I need this winter is to spend it healing me.  Then when the springs come I will be able to give to others.

Right now I am loving the cats playing on my lap.  Talk about primary food!

Today I am looking forward to a run in this beautiful weather.  And while I am out in this day I can enjoy the falling leaves, the wondrous colors and the possibilities life may yet have in store.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I play a few roles in my life: woman, mother, wife, daughter, student, and friend.  I have a hard time balancing them.  Am wondering if right now, what is stopping me is the fear of adding another - working woman - and failing at it.  I am already a failure at it, but starting again when I already feel like I barely get the other things done competetently.  Maybe a part of my brain stops me from trying.  Maybe part of me knows that adding something else in and failing would be too much for me.  And it isn't like I am doing any of my roles very well right now.  I frankly kinda suck. 

I feel like so much is wrong right now with my life.  Sure, everything is fine, but it is held on by a string.  Maybe I need the opposite - a total life overhaul - I don't know, but it can't be just adding one more thing.  That won't work.  There isn't that much of me left.  It is like that point where you pull and pull at silly putty where everything is finefinefine... OH! it broke.  Toooo far. 

Tooo far. 

Something needs to change.  Maybe that something is me.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

me and my nerds

So I think I have been going about it the wrong way.  I just listened to a lesson on feeding your family and the key to feeding your family is not to force them, but to show them the way.  Now I thought I was doing this, but my hubbend's and my view on nutrition is drastically different.  And if modeling was effective then my son would like kale a lot more than the mac n cheese/chicken nuggets/fried rice options my hubbend presents to him 1-2 times a week. Because he totally eats whatever J eats.  He automatically hates my food (no matter how much J acts out loving the food at dinner) and loves what they eat together.  I have less of a problem with J's food as he is an adult male who chooses his own path, as my son who will soon go to school and will have to make healthy decisions for himself.  Well - this scares me.  Because school food is sooooo gross.  And the paternal side of the family has eating/digestive issues that could totally be diet managed.  But they don't care to.  and I can't control it.  BUT I want to.  BUT I CAN'T.

All I can control is myself and that barely.  I think I am the last person who should be in charge of someone elses nutrition.  Weird that this is what I choose as my next career.  Probably will be successful because I will work with people who want to make a change in their diet/nutrition/lifestyle vs the people I live with.  They are content. 

Wouldn't that be nice?  To just be content.  at peace.  love myself and where I was at?  But that is the essence of me.  I want more.  I want to do a Half-Ironman.  I want to eat better (more responsibly).  I want to be a good person.  I want to have a healthy social life.  I want more.  I always have.  I honestly I think that is ok.  That is who I am.  Those who love me do so knowing that about me.  And I love them for knowing that.

I love you.

And I really do hug well.  You'd be amazed how good a Brooke hug can be.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I need a way to have some food in the car (non perishable) so that when I find myself at the gym lacking energy I can eat this thing and work out harder.  Despite the opinion of the 70 year old man who yesterday complimented my workout as "The best he had seen in this club in years" (A club where the average age is 50 :).  I am not feeling I am working out to my full potential.  I have felt lacking in energy and running has been downright HARD.  My mom commented that I hadn't eaten much on Sunday and it made me think.  I probably hadn't eaten enough to run well.  Then I thought over the past year and how I have gotten used to being a little hungry (or rather, not full), but that with the increased duration, intensity and frequency of my workouts I might not actually be consuming enough calories to work out harder.  I have started removing some coffee from my diet as that is adding to my dehydration - often I think I am tired and I really just need a big glass of water.  So, water, check.

And for food energy I am going to add more whole grains into my diet and ignore the growth of my belly until I figure out the balance.  But that brings me back to my original point.  What often happens is that in all my running around I end up hungry and thirsty and at the gym.  I would love it if I would remember the granola bars or something like that, but I probably need something non-perishable.  A energy bar?  My electrolyte powder?  Any ideas?

Monday, October 4, 2010


Am I the only one that thinks of parenthood as work?  I don't think so, it just seems like I am the only one who talks about it.  That makes sense in a way.  I have always been the voice of pessismism or reason (depending on your perspective).  The public voice (the voice everyone portrays on FB, at group outings, to their groups of people) is one of happiness and how wonderful their children are.  Sometimes I feel like I am the only who who truly needs to communicate when I feel the opposite is true.  My son is a pain in the ass.  He back talks constantly, has massive attitude (high school level) and whines to the point of whinging by the end of most days.  He is also beautiful, articulate, soooo scary intelligent, and oddly adult-like in his ability to know what you are talking about even when you can't say it.

But is that what I think about most days?  Nope.  Most days I live in the muck, the shit (sometimes literally) and piss of being a parent.  Parenting isn't fun.  It isn't nice.  It's a job.  A job with ridiculously long hours and little pay.  A job where at the annual review you get told you need to spend less time talking to other people (or you will get head-butted) and more time playing legos.  A job so tiring that at the end of each day I can barely talk.

Which means life sucks most days.  Is it worth it?  That is debatable.  Will I endure?  That I will.  Not always for me.  But for my husband and son and mother.  Because they love me.  support me.  and know what I am talking about.  right now.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I completed my first health history Tuesday night.  I was concerned and excited about doing it, but was so glad I did it.  I learned quite a bit about myself as well as a whole ton about someone else.

What did I learn (or was reminded of)?
- I am shy about asking highly personal data (even though most of this is highly personal)
- Most people love to talk about themselves
- Listening well is hard, but rewarding
- Apparently I have a soothing phone voice (could have used that in other potential careers?)
- This job is going to rock
- My own life experience, while quite unique, can lead me to the same place as others
- It is fun learning/meeting new people
- I'll stop here - this list is starting to get inane

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I just finished reading a great book by Isabel Allende (who I love) about Haiti and Louisiana in the late 1700 and early 1800s.  Slavery of course was a main theme in the book as the characters were mostly slaves, free blacks and slave owners.  That isn't the point of this post though.

What I find interesting is when they mention the fact that slaves would wear their babies on their back and breastfeed their children, keeping them attached to them for the first 3-6 months until they were cared for by an older women on the plantation.  Meanwhile the white people would birth a baby and it would almost immediately be taken away to a slave who would breastfeed it.  If the the baby wouldn't take the milk then it would be given a rice or amaranth grain milk.

And this separation between mother and child of the upper classes continued through the revolution, the 1800s and 1900s until the 50s or 60s when the La Leche League and other groups of mothers got together and changed it. 

Now what is in vogue?  Attachment parenting, increased preference given to breastfeeding and if that doesn't work, a grain-based formula... How interesting that we are now living in a time that is trying to get back to what was natural in the 16, 17 and 1800s!  From locavores to urban farming to attachment parenting we are trying to simplify our lives and stop being so detached from the cycle of life.

Good for us, but what has taken us so long?

Friday, September 24, 2010


So I find myself in the same place I was one and a half years ago - looking for a new yoga instructor.  It is a bit frustrating, really, because I am drawn to strong personalities and those are not easy to find.  I need my yoga instructors to be dynamic, adventurous and fun.  I have loved my two instructors dearly and can't imagine finding replacements.  Searching around I actually found a few classes that look promising at yoga pearl, but the classes are at 4 or 4:30.  What, do only working people go there?  Or just SAHMs who have nannies?  I don't know, but that is frustrating.

I was beginning to think that maybe it was time to move on, but what could I do?  I really enjoy triathlons and other races, but they don't give me the calming, centering, grounding, yet exploring experience I love.  Pilates seems like a step back.  Soccer just doesn't seem right anymore. Until Mason's team needs a coach, that is.

Where are the other adventure yogis out there?  And what are they doing?

Because thinking about giving it up makes me sad.  I'm just not done with it yet.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nuts about

Nuts of course, so you can surely imagine how much I like my almond flour.  I do! I am already excited about making my almond flour pancakes again this weekend, but will try to sub coconut milk for the heavy cream (my lactose enzyme is lacking).  I eat nuts most days, so when I forgot to soak my chickpeas for the chickpea, kale and tomato salad last night I was at a loss for a moment until I thought of adding walnuts.  Et, voilà !  I made a new recipe.  All on my ownsome.  I am super excited.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!  Oh, and it is good for lunch the next day too.  Oh, and it is warm so it is super yummy for winter too.

Here is the original since it rocks too:
And the nutty one:

Put the joy in

I spent the weekend with my parents and on the drive from the airport my mom told me about a friend of hers who she is a little concerned about.  It seems that she lost some weight on WW two years ago and is so concentrated on maintaining that weight loss that she obsesses about food.  This makes it hard to eat around her sometimes for all her rules.  Two years is a long time to be obsessed.  And I really don't want that to be me.  And this sounds a bit like me now.

Dinner has long been a battle around here.  My son hates my dinners.  Why?  Because they are healthy.  And for a while now I've felt like that battle isn't worth it.  Will he be malnourished if I give in a little bit?  Probably not.  Look at my husband.  He didn't grow up with good food models and he seems to be just fine.  I'm the fucked up one.

I've lost the joy in making food and sometimes recently even I think the food tastes too healthy.  And this shouldn't be its primary function.  It should provide nourishment, yes.  But eating dinner together should be a positive shared experience.  I think I need to put the joy back into the food.  Make it primarily yummy and have healthy be the secondary function.

I read recently that the mood you are in impacts the speed of digestion.  Sadness slows it down.  I don't want to be sad while I eat.  I want to put the joy back in.  Balance, as ever, is key.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This month in being a woman

Being a woman has its distinct advantages. However, the disadvantages come in a monthly package. Monthly I deal with emotional spikes and consequential eating issues. This month there is a new twist - I have increased acid in my esophogus causing almost constant heartburn. YAY! I never had heartburn pre-pregnancy, but my short-waistedness and firery child inside made it a 5 month joy of popping crystallized ginger and tums. Now it is back. Yay! Luckily I found some deglycyrrizinated licorice root extract (dgl) and it has helped a ton.

That leads to my second issue the month. Overeating. Weirdly there is a variant to the norm of shoveling sweets down my throat at night. This month I am just overeating. Nuts. Weird. Back away from the nuts, Brooke.

I wonder what next month will bring?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

When in Doubt

Throw a chutney at it! This is quickly becoming our family joke after spending the weekend jarring and Saturday night's Salsa Festival. We sure know how to have fun, don't we?

Fresh veggies to start with become:

Two kinds of salsa and peach chutney ready for winter!

I am so excited that I am making foods now that will taste great outside of their season. The blueberry jam was a hit so now we moved on. Not sure what is next. Ideas?

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Beginnings

For the past year I have been experimenting. I have spent my time concentrating on health and nutrition. I have sought out new ways of eating; ways of eating that satisfied my body and mind. Today I registered at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, a program I learned about a year ago from a friend from high school. At the end of the twelve month program I will be a certified health and wellness coach and will be on my way towards a new career. A career that aligns well with my current interests and a lifetime of finding ways for my eating habits to support my interest in healthy movement.

I played soccer for 25 years, have been a yogi for 10 and a triathlete for three. I have worked out regularly for the past 15 years and have always worked hard to do things that were good for my body. But, I was always embarrased that my body on the outside didn't match how it felt to me on the inside. I started doing cleanses 10 years ago to help clean out my vital organs and eventually began Weight Watchers. I spent 8 years trying different diets (I gained the WW weight back after achieving Lifetime status - I think I still have the key somewhere :).

After losing weight last year I spent so much time reading about nutrition and different ways of eating. I began to feel that I had something to contribute in the field and started this blog and eventually the recipe wiki. When I heard about the IIN I loved that they say that there is no one diet that is right for everyone. That really stuck with me and over this past year I have spent time looking at various diets and the benefits they might have. And that my past experience isn't a waste, it was the path I needed to be on to find out what worked for me. This research will now serve me well as I begin a new chapter in my life.

I don't know exactly what I'll do once I finish the program. Perhaps I will look at sports nutrition, nutrition for yogis, nutrition for children. Who knows? But how exciting!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Food from a Younger Land

I started reading this book "Food from a Younger Land" last night that I think is really interesting. It includes pieces that supposed to be printed in a book called "America Eats" in 1940. It details recipes and therefore cultural regional food interests in the time. I started reading it because I thought I could look at how different how eating has become over the past century. However, once I started reading it I started thinking about Thanksgiving. This year I will host Thanksgiving for the first time. For the previous 34 years I have probably spent 32 of them in my parents home or with my close family.

Big things are afoot in the family Johnson so we will be home this year. I started planning my meal and thinking about tradition. How food is passed on and is part of our rich cultural heritage. And how I probably won't make anything exactly like my family made it.

Isn't that strange? I am making a traditional meal for my family and won't bring any traditions along with it. But then think - we live in a society that presses us to "get over our" childhoods. The things our parents did to us to cause our issues and please get on some drugs.

When did the past become something to get over? I think I'll have to do something in that case. Perhaps it pumpkin pie for my Papaw (I was thinking about pecan instead) or weirdly foiled chocolate turkeys for my mom :). Or maybe, I'll continue my mom's tradition of making something brand new and throwing it in there for fun!

I am all for starting new traditions with my family. But they have to come from somewhere if they are going to have any meaning.

Friday, August 27, 2010


You probably don't want to know about my poop, so I won't share that, but thought I'd mention I am on day four of a colon cleanse. First day fully sans food. Just been feeling grumpy, tired and getting indigestion.

The last thing I ate? Corn. :)

What did I dream about last night? Twinkies. Corn, right? :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


so as a long time diet pepsi drinker I have enjoyed it for varied reasons. The fizzy feeling on your teeth (that makes you think they are cleaner for it, but is actually killing your enamel), the flavor (of course), and the caffeine. I have quit a few times since birthing my son as it seems there is a correlation between um... post-partum... issues... down there and dp. So, I've quit. And then I start again cause I just like it so much and really, it doesn't seem like something one should have to quit.

After a recent trip to california with the family I decided my consumption was up too much, so I thought I'd quit. Not quit in a never gone do it again kinda way, just quit in a "lets see how we can moderate consumption" kinda way.

Since August 3 I have had dp 3 times. Twice, it has made me ill. Today I actually threw it away (gasp!). Weird... Something I have drank for twenty years NOW makes me ill? My body sure is getting sensitive. Or maybe the fact that I am healthier than I have been in my entire life means there is less leniency for variance from the norm. Or maybe I'm just getting old.

I used to have a stomach of steel. I used to eat Mass Confusion at Denver Diner as fourth meal at 3am and trip on lightly afterwards.

In the past year I have disovered: dairy makes my stomach upset, I don't handle carbs well in the afternoon and if I eat greasy/fried foods and then lay down I get indigestion. Oh, and dp can make my stomach woozy.

Guess it was a good thing I enjoyed the crap food when I could. Cause I can't now.

Monday, August 23, 2010

endurance, pt 3a

I was running today thinking about a job. Thinking about getting a job immediately makes me think, "Oh god, it's sooooo boring. What if/when I hate it? Can I quit? What is the point of this? OK, so I WON'T get a job." Pretty quick progression really.

But today, as I'm running I am thinking about how juvenile that that is. How that is very much the way I felt about running, biking, Olympic triathlons, staying at home with a child and cooking. All things I now enjoy. All things that I have found through age, maturity and persistence. It reminds me once again that I might have had a super strong leg in soccer, but now I something that takes more than running after a soccer ball. I have endurance and strength of mind.

I don't sound like that person anymore who used to say everything was too hard, too long, too boring. I have grown up a bit in these last four years and perhaps that applies to working as well. Perhaps. It might (probably will) still be boring. But now I have the longevity to deal with it. The patience to understand that I am working towards a larger goal. And that this goal is important to the me I am becoming.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

soooo tired

I had no idea I was getting more sleep. I had no idea how great it felt. Until now that I haven't slept well in 3-4 days and I feel like I am dragging again. No energy is one thing, but my brain doesn't function and all I feel like doing is laying down and watching tv or reading (although the book can't be too hard or I just lose interest).

Guess I need to go get more sleep stuff. Guess I need it. Guess who doesn't want to?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Food Rules, Take Two

1-Food should be eaten at a table and/or with someone else. Preferably both.
2-Never consume the food at coffee shops - just the coffee
3-Food should not be eaten after 8pm (ish)
4- Ingredients should only contain real food (not something made on the new jersey turnpike)
5-Whenever you have to choose between sugar and fat - choose fat
6-Limit consumption of sugar and carbs together (unless you want to feel puffy)
7-Food should not be consumed in a car (see rule 1)
8- Eat 5-9 veggies a day (OK, some can be fruit)
9-Eat as much variety as possible (need to refine this a bit)

That's it for now...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Happy Anniversary

to me. One year of being thin or thin-ish or whatever I am. But it has been a year. I've spent this year concentrating on my health - trying to eat well, exercise well, and be well mentally. It has been hard work sometimes and rewarding other times. What I've learned this year is that health can be as hard or easy as you make it. To sometimes let go and just be. What I am wondering now is that I've spent a year concentrating on this one thing - is it time to move on? With this anniversary and some other changes (my yoga teacher is leaving me, preschool starting up again) my husband suggested I shift my priorities elsewhere. Like a job - uggh, but it makes me wonder. Is my year of health over?

I have achieved a lot. 25 weight loss maintained. household eating overhaul. olympic triathlon. balancing pincha mayurasana.

Happy Anniversary.

And my next goal is: ????

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I'm kinda

pissed. Because in my entire life when I have I ever wanted to go running? Let me answer that for you. NEVER! But now, that I want to, crave it, something that gives me peace - I can't - or shouldn't at least. My hip hurts. It aches. It gets worse when I exercise. What is the one thing that gives me a semblence of sanity? Exercise.

I'm tired of it hurting. I haven't run in a week. Have only worked out once. Now I feel like a big, fat, sluggish fatball of goo. So Saturday I'm going running. And the first three-four miles will feel ok. And then after that I will "feel" my hip. And then the next day it will ache and hurt and then I'll be pissed all over again.

I might be whining because at 35 this is my biggest injury. Well, longest recurring. And that says a lot from a soccer player of 20 years. A soccer player of 20 years whose hip hurts because I did yoga yesterday. Yoga. (I snorted as I said that cause I'm kinda pissed.)

and on. and on.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Riding the Wave

I am so obsessed with food right now. It feels like a wave - I ride it as it grows and grows and then roars and crashes. All I can do is ride it out and hope that I don't get sucked under the water. Ride it out and keep making the best eating choices I can. Ride it out until this obviously female cyclical thing cycles back to a managable level. Hope I don't crash under the weight of tears and preschoolers and responsibilities and the massive number of fast food restaurants that loom. (that last one won't happen)

Huh. Even I seem to have some inviolable food rules that I can't EVER break.

Friday, July 9, 2010


*I am so overwhelmed about sweeteners right now. *

Having grown up in a chubby family in the 80s we all drank (umm, still drink) Diet Pepsi. Aspartame being the sweetener of choice. Cuz you know sugar will make you fat. So will fat, of course, so in the nineties it was a sugar free, fat free explosion.

So now I research and research and research. I still don't have an answer. I thought agave sounded good, but it still is processed and just recently saw an article that it has more fructose than HFCS. Oh jeez. So there is sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, HFCS, molasses, honey, agave and maple syrup. They are all sugar. What is a girl to use?

I have replaced aspartame in my coffee thinking that at least less processed is better. Most doctors say that stevia is best, but I don't know a single person who actually likes that stuff. Nutrition is such a baby science, if a science at all, and it can't give me the answers I seek. I know I shouldn't eat much sugar, but is it best just to stick with the source? Sugar, less processed, minimally used, but sugar? I think so. for now. Wow, this 90s girl has come far.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Words used to describe my life as an athlete: quick, fast, aggressive, confident, strong
Words NEVER used to describe me: enduring, mental fortitude, stamina

It made sense to me in a way when I started doing spring triathlons 3 years ago. They were short distance events. I have always loved swimming and the others were short enough distances that I knew I could do it. It attracted my athletic side that had languished since quitting soccer three years before. I did one my first year (9 months post partum) and then two more the next summer. I even finished in the top ten that third one. So why the Olympic length? I had no design to run far, it seemed to boring, and I really didn't think I could swim that far. It was something out there like a carrot - something I couldn't do - except I don't really accept that and kept it in my mind this whole time.

Last fall I decided to start running further. And here I am three years after my first triathlon (with a one year break), having tripled my running distance, about to compete in my first Olympic Triathlon. Is it a big deal? To me, yes. To all those triathletes out there that run Ironmans, absolutely not. So, I will run my race to the best of my ability and not worry about all them. With that in mind I made a list of "Things I love about triathlons."

Swim-the absolute silence (with earplugs in) and concentration on all your muscles working together to move with grace
Bike-the 33mph I can get to going down a hill
Run- the kick I have at the end of a course

Wish me luck. I'm gonna need it!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I'm spending a lot of time with myself recently. Whether running or biking with music or swimming without any noise at all I have a lot of time with my thoughts. And with my upcoming Olympic Triathlon looming I am thinking a lot about whether I really have it in me to complete this thing.

What I've come to is that is all about recovery. I climb a hill, how long does it take to recover my spend and breath so that I can continue. I run a distance at a quicker speed to shorten my times and then run some more. It reminds me of the soccer years. How running quickly after the ball was important, but almost more so was the ability to recover, get back up the field to force the offsides and keep control of the game. So how well I do on this tri is really about how quickly I can recover my breath and center to go on to the next event.

And then... it makes me think about life. Because what is life if it not about recovery? How can you hold onto your heart when it has been broken? How do you get through that truly painful day when you just don't think you can make it? I have had plenty of those days. And the days get better the quicker you can recover from the pain, the heartache, the unrelenting voice of a toddler.

I wonder if I can be like the desert flower that once it has it's heart scooped out can live on the water that fills it up every morning. Root inside my decrepit parts, find myself and live each day out. Recover. And live again the next.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


So I ate a very yummy orange poppyseed piece of cake today. I was at the grocery store and thought I deserved it. It was very good. I had just come from a bike ride so I probably did, right? But what is deserving? And do I deserve a treat EVERY time I exercise? That seems a dangerous proposition. I am training for a triathlon so I am exercising every day. I have read that some people eat treats only on the weekend or S-days. I generally eat a treat if a really good one is presented to me. But really, I don't need treats that often. They just make me high and oh-so-very low. Not to mention the fact that I might be sabotaging my good eating habits by continuously adding sweets to my eating regimen.

Did I deserve a treat today? No. I was just hungry after working out for three hours. I had a treat yesterday. I didn't need one today. But mindlessness gets in the way. And singlemindedness towards the goal of one "deserved treat that looks super yummy and I can't get my mind off of it so I must eat it".

Should get back to my book now. I think it has good stuff. Nothing mind blowing. Just seems to be the right language, the right cadence and enough common background to be just what I need right now. Me, Food and God. We'll see.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

things I learned today

I rode twenty five miles today on my bike for test three of olympic triathlon can I actually do it without dieing test. It was furthest I'd ever gone. I stopped three times to call my family, confirm my son's haircut appointment (it sucked, does anyone have a good one?) and to breathe onetime before a 500ft climb. I feel rather less succes after this test than the others. However, I did learn a few things:

-While going down a hill at 32 miles an hour is awesome, going up that hill takes three times as long and is twice as hard. Kinda not worth it.
-There is some measure of patience learned from having lived 35 years that makes biking for 2 hours ok. Not really fun, but OK.
-Passing someone (no matter their age) is supremely awesome.
-Last but not least, if you don't want to have an epidural during delivery just ride a bike for twenty five miles. That will absolutely numb your vaginal sufficient for the smooth delivery.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A bit more on that

My son came in this morning after having gone the snacks cabinet and eaten a whole package of graham crackers. He had one yesterday as a snack and apparently had been thinking of them since then. He had already eaten breakfast. Sound familiar? wow. The book I was (put it down for a bit to stop being angry) mentioned that kids are chubby earlier now because these tendencies are showing up earlier.


Do your kids do this too?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Is it just that

I am supposed to be chubby?

This book I'm reading at first pissed me off. The description of the food industry's "highly palatable" foods - foods created softer, and designed with the intention of making us eat more, not well. I was angry. I know it is my responsbility, but shouldn't the food industry care that they are making us fat? Bigger portions sizes so we feel like we are getting a deal. Knowing that most people overeat when presented with more food? Where does the responsibility lie?

But then I read - more and more people are chubby, but only some are conditioned to overeat. I am one of them. I think about food wayyyyy too much. It makes me mad. resentful. but I do. I have tried hard to maintain my weight and generally it is ok, but sometimes I feel like I spend way to much time thinking about food, when the next meal will come or when I next get to have a cookie. I spend so much time making, buying, cooking good and healthy meals. But all I want to do is eat crap. I don't because then I'll feel bad and won't get to run and do the things that I love I can do. But it kind of goes back to the beginning. Why am I one of those people that have been sucked into the "give em bigger portions and they will eat more" group? My parents aren't that way, my husband isn't that way. Seems like it is neither genetics or environment.

Does someone else have the answer? I don't think so. While nutritionism is a new science and considered "soft" by those that consider it at all food science is definitely a science. The ability for companies to test out food and combine them with chemical flavors that are sure to arouse our interest. Nutritionism can't compete with that. Not when you have to fight brussel sprouts against "Flamin Hot Cheetos" and large corporations who have the time and money to spend on research.

So what do I do? Today I just try to eat well. Fight the good fight. (and yes, it is a fight)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Note to Self

When biking for the first time in 2 years don't pick a ride that includes riding to the top of a mountain (albeit a small one) and then riding the sw hills. It doesn't really make up for the fun of riding down Terwilliger (although it was close).

On the plus side I am totally ready to do another triathlon this year. I biked (badly) and then ran 3.1 miles at just over 8 minute miles (my usual pace). My legs felt like rubber so I assumed I was running so much slower than I was. What a pleasant surprise after the unfun bike ride.

Two lovely things to share about the bike ride. Tryon Park path is rad on a bike. There is also this super cool secret park-like area in sw portland that I probably can't find again that was totally lovely and if I could find it again I would totally want to live there. That is one of the many reasons why I prefer sw portland to the eastside. Yep, I do prefer the westside. I know that makes me unhip, uncool, unwhatever, but good things happen on the westside with our windy roads and hilly terrain.

Oh, and I should mention that I think I've found the perfect pre-workout food. I have long been searching for the food that can sustain me during a longer workout. It must include grains, protein and a bit of sugar (liking the banana form in this recipe). So, this is it - the Peanut Butter Performance Pancake: Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Love that it is a pancake too. Everything is better with pancakes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Almond-Honey Power Bar

Since the peanut bar I make doesn't excite the boys I think I'll try this one next: Almond-Honey Power Bar

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sugar, Fat, Salt

I assumed (as a sugar craver) that heavy people are sugary eaters and thin ones like salt. I've learned that this isnt' quite true, but now I am ready a book where sugar, salt and fat are all considered problem areas. I don't think that way of salt and fat. Is that because I don't have a problem stopping eating salt and fat?

Really, the problem is the inability to stop thinking about food and eating it after you are "no longer feeling hunger". Why do I think about food when I am not hungry? That is strange to me now that I am full (having eaten dinner and 4 cookies) and that is strange to me when I have stuffed myself. Because I am different than some of thse people that are overweight and talk about foods they LOVE. Eating experiences associated with great memories and descriptive words about texture. I don't feel that way about food. I think of it as fuel. BUT THEN. I eat cookies. when I am not hungry. because I am not satsified. with something.

but what? I'd say I'm still sad, but I'm not. So what?

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I've spent the past eight months focusing on nutrition, eating well and balancing my eating so that I can maintain my weight. It has been challenging, interesting and incredibly frustrating. I feel now that I need to go back to an old enemy and look at it again. I think it is time to look at overeating, why it happens and how I can manage it. At this point I have figured out how to maintain a weight I am happy with, but certain behaviors within that eating still bother me in the lack of control I feel. So, I am reading "The End of Overeating" by David Kessler. It looks interesting. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Today he woke up a new boy. Asked nicely, didn't whine, didn't cry, didn't take things rudely or hit me. We played, we made waffles together, took a walk and now he is napping.


Bonus - haven't had to read a volcano book in two days. Actually got to read a plot-driven picture book!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Seriously, dude, are you really going to be that big of a dick on the one day of the year you are supposed to be nice to me because I am your mother? Seriously? I obviously built up some expections about having a nice day that were unrealistic, but really, it shouldn't be that hard to just not be a TOTAL ASSHOLE.

Go to bed. And get up a better person.
Then I can be a better person because I don't spend my time hating my son.
Yep, hating. And boy does that suck.
I don't want to hate anymore. I thought I was done. I thought I was done being around people who treat me badly and don't respect me.

Monday, May 3, 2010

state of the mama address

So, this mama is tired. The thing is that my son seems to prefer having two parents around equally. He thrived last week with so much dad AND mom time. I thrived having indepedence and knowing that I contributed to the world. The dad? Not sure his career could handle it. The house? Well that was just disgusting. I just spent all morning cleaning. Hence the tired. Hence the son who prefers having his dad around cuz he plays more.


Friday, April 23, 2010

(Bad) Eating Begins the Night Before

I binge ate last night for the first time in a while. And as I am dealing with the consequences today - I'm heavier, feeling guilty, and sleepy - I started thinking about how/why it happened. I realized it started the night before. Wednesday night I drank too much. So, Thursday morning I was groggy and didn't feel like making breakfast. So, I waited until I met a friend for coffee and ate a breakfast sandwich there. That in itself is fine. Later, little dude only ate half his sandwich and since we were out and about and I was hungry I ate the other half. Still, this should be OK, but I already knew I was in trouble as I had planned to make pizza that night. Chard pizza with ricotta cheese, but pizza nonetheless. At this point I knew that I would probably gain a little weight due to all these carb-filled meals. But again, that would probably have been ok.

So now it is evening. I have eaten more than my fair share of pizza, start drinking and realize I am home alone. So what do I do? I EAT MORE. Why? Well, from what I can recall I thought, "I am going to weigh more tomorrow anyway I might as well eat what I want". Problem is, we don't even have good snack foods at home so I couldn't eat what I want I just ate what was there.

So, I go to bed and wake at 4 am thinking about my crappy eating, my bloated stomach and start dreading the earlyearly day making myself feel guilty adding to my food stupor with a dose of tired mama.

What a trip. I pinhole the problem truly on the moment I decided that I should just eat whatever cuz it doesn't matter. It always matters. I would still be high today, but not as high and I wouldn't feel as bad and I wouldn't have to pay for yesterday for quite as long. And perhaps, just perhaps I wouldn't feel like punishing myself so much.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I need to be more childish

In the last few days I've noticed my son getting really excited for corn. We saw corn at the grocery store and he really wanted me to spell corn for him. It is crazy. It has been 9 months since he ate corn? And he is SOOOO excited to eat corn again. It made me realize that I should appreciate things like corn in my life.

So, here are my simple pleasures or corn-list if you will:
-Balancing a handstand for longer than 15 seconds
-Balancing elbow stand for as long as I feel like being there
-Listening to my son's crazy laugh
-Hearing my hubbend laugh (it is rare, but awesome)
-Sitting in the sun reading a really good book
-Reading a really good book
-A wonderful evening with a friend when we truly engage in dialogue
-Large raucous family gatherings
-Playing rummikub with my parents
-12 minute conversations with mamaw

There are more. I just need to appreciate my simple pleasures more often I think. Take a lesson from the son. And just laugh like crazy.

Oh, and yes I know the title should be "child-like", but I liked my title better :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

What kind of parent are you?

I just spent some time biking around our circle with my neighborhood kids and my son. The older kid wanted to know how fast he was going and my road bike told him - 11mph. Not bad for an eight year old. I had fun for that half hour. I enjoy hanging out with the kids biking, getting dirty or kicking a ball. Which leads me to my question. What kind of parent are you?

I have always been a sport player. Consequently, never really liked watching sports. Still don't. Sadly, I don't really play sports anymore, but I seem to be the parent who gets out there and plays with my kid. I am the one who lets him get dirty. Lets being the operative word. I am the parent who pulls the neighbor kids down the street and the parent who swims rather than watches their kid swim.

There is no judgment from me either way, but really it is about how I have always felt different from other women. I am not a woman who sits and watches sports. I am tough and play with the guys. I had forgotten that until recently. I watch most women be moms. They are those women I didn't understand in high school and college and now... The women who watch. I am a woman who does things and am happy in that doing.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I wasted my depression on my 20s

I was depressed throughout my 20s. People didn't say that though. I was known as the pessimistic one in my group. I preferred to think of it as realistic. We differed in that opinion.
My friends and family didn't understand, but I read books and saw pieces of me in there.

Through a series of counselors, an awesome husband, a cool kid, a masters degree, and some medication I found my way to some sort of happiness. But that doesn't mean I am not sad. I live my life every day. Working towards happiness.

I find myself viewing the depressed moms in the books I read as sympathetic characters of what I could have been. Why did I waste depression on my twenties when I had to get up every day and go to work? It would have been so much cooler to lay in bed all day in my moomoo while I forced my 6 year old to an early adulthood by looking after me. Why did I waste it on friend who were transient, unfaithful and generally lacking in inspirational ability?

I should have put it off til now. What a waste. Now I have to plan better for the rest of my thirties and forties. I should make better use of them. Right?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

my eating mantra

working up something to print out and put all around the house, in my purse, my pockets, etc.

Something like:

I will feel as good as I eat. Be strong and present to the food my body needs.
Stop. Now Eat Mindfully.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Respectfully, Shove it

My body seems to be trying to reset itself to a higher set point. You know, when you go to the scale and it goes to the exact same number (which in itself is a little psycho). But you see, I don't like that new, higher set point. So, body, respectfully- SHOVE it. I am going to have to take over it seems until you can learn to behave again.


I love to help people. I keep thinking that I should be able to find a job where I can help people. Doesn't sound hard, right? So, I stopped planning fun events and started libraryness. That could work, but then... it didn't. Now I am trying to help older people get things done they can't, but that doesn't seem to be working either. So... how do I make money while helping people?

I find that happens with people in my life too. I want to contribute to them. Make a unique contribution. And when they don't want to be contributed to I just lose interest.

So. I love to help people. I love talking to people. I really want people to be good to themselves. Health counselor is sounding better and better.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Something Calming on this radically windy day

I have to say, there is is something calming about fasting. I recommend it. Take the food away from the picture. Just remove it. You have yourself. Your body. Your spirit.

Take the food away and the truth lies there. Just waiting.

Dreading Nighttime

I've always been more of a morning person than a nighttime person. I wake up having energy and a calmness knowing what I will do that day. Nighttime I am tired and recently it has been worse. Recently, I have hit late afternoon with no energy to get outside in the rain yet knowing that if I don't I will sit inside and do nothing nothing nothing until I have to go to bed. It becomes a game of how do I kill the time. Odd, considering that should be the time to hang out with the hubbend sans kid and relax. The problem is all that time to think about all the hours when I can't/shouldn't eat and how to not do so. It builds up. What else to think about? I get bored watching tv and I can't fall asleep at 9 so I think about food. How annoying. How UNrelaxing.

During the day I can think about other things, make plans, talk to people when I get itchy and foody, but at night it just feels like a vast wasteland of time. Time when I can't eat. Maybe I need a food sponsor. One I can whenever I feel like eating. I suppose that is what friends are for, but there is only so much time I can talk about food/eating without feeling an idiot. Hence the blog. Apparently it is not quite enough.

I think I'll just wait for the weather to improve and then I can sit outside in my hammock, reading. Oh, I'd forgotten about my hammock! There is some peace. Some hope. yes... that loosens that tight (green/ball-shaped) knot in my stomach. The thing in my throat is still there, but that I can deal with.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fast Run Time

I dropped my mile minute time by 1 minute. Woohoo!

My Food Rules (in process)

I'm no Michael Pollan, but I've come up with a few food rules of my own. I think I'll keep editing this list as appropriate. (it is currently up on my frig)

- Sugar is sugar no matter what it is called. Eat it, don't eat it, but don't kid yourself.
- If you have a craving eat EXACTLY that and nothing more.
- Make good food that tastes good. Ignore their grumblings. Being a good model is the best thing you can do.
- Eat breakfast EVERY day. Even if it is small.
- Try to build a lot of Yes foods around you. Saying no to foods often wears you down. If you have to say no to foods so much that you are eating foods that don't make you happy then change your environment.
-If it is after 8pm and you are eating it isn't because you are hungry. Think about what is really going on and try to satisfy that through something other than food.

I've got one ruminating about the amount you eat, but it is not quite there yet.

What are yours?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

BadBad Mom

I have been so proud of my son recently. He read every left page to my right page on "Go Dog Go". Yep, he's three. Yep, I am proud. He is a great kid. He is also extremely annoying. He doesn't stop talking and has no regard for anyone else. Especially the mother who spends all her time with him. Especially the mother who can't get hired for a job and is feeling extremely poor and therefore feels like she can't ever get away from him. This mom who has always been very active. This mom feels really bad about it sometimes, but that is all i want. Some time away. Some time when I can just be me. And then there is that. Who am I? Oh God. I don't want to get into that right now.

It is so tiring sometimes just being here.


I don't think people read this blog for the recipes, but I just made the meal in a muffin recipe and it was pretty gross. so. don't. :) Have realized how much I like vegan baking, but sometimes you can't replace flavor when it doesn't have it to begin with.

On the other hand I found a site called dani spies and am making a recipe - broccoli, beans and squash - and I'm excited about it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I read... a book I need to read:
"...the reasons we don't fully understand, those of us who are compulsive eaters choose food. Not because of its taste. Not because of its texture or its color. We want quantity, volume, bulk. We need it - a lot of it - to go unconscious. To wipe out what's going on. The unconsciousness is what's important, not the food."

Wow. When I hear that I feel so sad that I spend my life wishing for unconsciousness. That is not living.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

everything or nothing

back and forth.
everything or nothing.
way too many sweets or none at all.

I don't understand how people keep a candy bar around for a week nibbling just a bite. I don't even like candy bars, but there is no way that would happen. So, when I decide I need a sweet I keep on eating until I am overfull. What angers me is when I can't find what I actually want (peanut butter chocolate chip cookie) and keep eating around that until I am just full and gross and... gross.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Parenting is a bit like Dieting

We are having a weekend of setting down some rules as things have gotten a bit lax around here. That sentence was about my son, but it also applies to my diet. Beta has been developing some bad habits (talking back, hitting the keyboard, and other will-related activities) and while it is easier for a while to let that little ball of will rule the house it ends up backfiring. So now we have to tighten the belt and have some days/times of crying and whining so that he stops these bad habits. This is good for the long run - not so much for the short term.

How does this apply to the diet? Well, simple. It is really easy to eat whatever you want whenever it is available. Is that the healthiest way to eat? No. So, I have developed some bad habits that I need to restart. It will take a few days of whining and crying (on my part) to stop these bad (drinking too much, snacking late at night) habits and tighten that waistline. Not only do I dislike the poochy stomach, I dislike the whoosy feeling I get from too much sugar. I also really dislike waking up in the morning still full cuz I carbed up the night before. This sets up a bad cycle for the day. (no breakfast and then snacksnacksnack)

I think habits lay on top of each other. Start a good foundation and then lay those supporting habits on top and keep going. Over time I hope that I will have built in so many good habits that the bad ones will be minimal and so intermittent that they are just ok indulgences in an otherwise stellar diet.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Workout vs Diet

I am reminded that the workout and the diet actually serve different functions. The workout gives you strength, flexibility, endurance and a longer lasting physical happiness. The diet provides sustenance, energy and gives you the ability to live in your body. The workout cannot overcome the diet, however.

I have long been the person who worked out and then did some self destructive activity immediately following it. Yes, it is healthier to workout and be a little larger than skinny and never workout, but self destructive is not healthy either.

I think I need to separate the two mindfully. I need to workout for what it makes my body feel and able to do. I need to eat well because it tastes good, is a social experience (or so says Michael Pollen) and because it gives me the energy to live my life.

That shouldn't be so hard, should it?

Monday, March 8, 2010


I've recently returned from vacation where I learned something interesting about my eating. I spent the early part of the week with my parents. This was fine as my mom knows (pretty much) what I eat and respects it. She even told a saleswoman that I have worked hard on my body. I think she meant it to be a compliment... :). ANYWAY. She would ask me what I wanted and this was fine, even dropped another pound I think before the big bikini unveiling. So, I arrive in Phoenix and what happens? I have absolutely no say in what I can eat for breakfast and then find it really hard to find healthy foods for lunch and dinner. And then, guess what happens? I gave up. Just ate the food brought to me and felt increasingly gross. One reason was I never knew when I was going to get another meal brought to me and I didn't want to miss the opportunity for the free food. Another was that it is really hard to eat well when constantly presented with huge plates of food filled with carbscarbscarbs.

Wonderfully, I'm not being hard on myself. I am just back home and buckling down to my regular diet and will lose the weight. But back to what I learned.

I really became a better eater and able to maintain this body I now claim when I gained control of my diet. I know what I eat and how it is comprised and I even know what it is that makes me go astray. I was so frustrated to not be in control of my diet. It made me feel like there was nothing I could do to be good to myself and feeding myself mindfully.

And what is interesting is that I feel so much better now that I am home and in control. I don't even mind that I was hungry this morning b/c I knew that I would feed myself soon and I would feed myself well. I am looking forward to this week of abstemious eating and giving my body back to myself.

Side note - not all people are like me. Surprise, surprise. The hubbend finally began to eat better when he gave away control of his food and just began to eat what I served him. That too I find interesting.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”

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Everyone has stories that make up who they are. Stories they may or may not tell others, but most definitely tell themselves. Some are broad - about your upbringing. Others are more specific - they explain why you behave a certain way in certain circumstances.

I have stories about moving a lot as a kid (no, my dad wasn't in the army). I have stories about my mom not eating food in front of me. I also have stories about friends, friends that fucked me over so bad that I'm a bit fucked up about friends.

But here's the thing. These stories are only pieces of me. It seems that when someone has a problem they look outside themselves and blame others. Often, they attribute the problems to some fundamental characteristic of that other person. Often they attribute their own responsibilities to something outside themselves or their control.

So, my story about moving a lot. I started out a shy kid. I have always loved to read, play soccer and play the piano. These aren't necessarily things that made me outgoing. So, we moved a lot and I stayed shy. It manifests itself differently these days. I am still shy, but probably most people don't know that. It looks awkward and trust me, I feel awkward. But, true to my upbringing I try my best to be polite and kind. I can be catty, but that is another story :).

Story two - I don't actually recall my mom eating with us. She was always serving us great, healthy food and I know she sat down and I know she ate, but I just didn't see it. I began at a very early age to hide the "bad foods" that I ate. I would hear someone come down the stairs and I would take my cookies and run. Of course, when my dad asked why all the cookies were gone I guiltily denied it. I didn't know until years later that my mom was doing the same thing.

Is it my mom's fault I have eating issues? Nope. Well, maybe it was, but it is mine now. I just can't stop thinking about those cookies in the pantry. And as much as I want to have a smooth calm life, mine is destined differently.

OK. The last one. It kind of relates to the first in a way, but in the teens and twenties I really got fucked over by friends. Not once, not twice, but three times were people (I mean women) horrendous friends in an increasingly almost evil manner. I've actually been semi-stalked by a woman. How creepy is that? So, it might not surprise you to find out I have friend issues.

Except - wait a second. These stories are beginning to sound old. Hubbend and I moved to Oregon, started clean, hunkered down for a few years and stuck to ourselves. But in the past few years we have started to come out of our shells, make friends and surround ourselves solely with good people. Good friends. I made a list earlier this week of people I truly care about expecting it to have three people on it. It was WAYYYYY longer than that.

So, not to get too Landmark-y on you, I think I need to stand in the clearing and declare my stories dead. I am a good friend and I no longer need to stand behind an old story. I have lost a lot of weight and no longer need to apologize for my size. I have lived in Oregon longer than I have anywhere in my entire life and I now feel I belong.

Goodbye old stories. Hello new ones. And thank you for being in my life. And thank you for leaving my past out of it. Oh, and if you want to be on my list, please let me know, I'd love to add you to it. Chances are though, you probably already are.

New/Old Word

So my husband said I need to stop using the word fat. Well, pondering that for about half a second gets me to the answer. I don't actually think I'm fat. Well, I have fat, but am not FAT. Fat is just a substitute for... bad, guilty, angry, disappointed. An inarticulate way of dealing with the emotion, but it is an emotion nonetheless. Usually I feel fat because I've done/eaten something and I'm angry/guilty at my self and disappointed in my body for not cutting me some fucking slack. Cause I work hard, people. I work out a TON, I mostly eat really well and even stopped fucking drinking for the most part. So, can't it just let me have some popcorn once in a while? Jeez.

I used to get so mad at those skinny chicks who would eat whatever they want and then complain. But as we've gotten older it has (and I remember thinking this would happen when I was the 20-something "bigger" chick) it all kind of blends together. Mostly, we are all about the same size. And mostly, we all complain about some bit of body or the other.

I think I need a support group where we can talk about food/food issues, but not one of those crazy Overeaters Anonymous places cause I don't have a disease. So I can be surrounded by people who actually want to DO something about how they eat and treat their bodies, not just bitch about it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

5 Minutes of Skinny

Are my 5 minutes (or six months) of skinny up? Was that my big hurrah? Cause I am not skinny any more. At least I don't think so. I look fine, don't get me wrong, but I am bigger and with that bigger makes me fear the even biggerer. What happened? Well, I think when you first lose weight you have an urgency and a willingness to do whatever you need to do to keep it off. You go a little hungry, skip meals occasionally, etc to make sure. Then you start loosening up on what you can eat. Then you start thinking that one cookie/cupcake/whatever if fine to eat. And don't get me wrong, it is fine, but when you make that decision over time it adds up- in pounds.

The thing is that I feel terribly disappointed. In myself. I LOVED being skinny. It was pretty cool when the people at the stores start looking at me and assumed I wanted dressing on the side, cause that is what skinny people do. I love that every time I grab a size of clothing I have to go back to grab the smaller size. Mostly though, I love that I don't have to buy clothes solely because they fit - I get to now make choices on clothes that I really like. That takes some getting used to. I don't want to go back to chubby/solid/sturdy Brooke. I want to be skinny Brooke.

Well, if that is true then what do I have to do? I need to be willing to be a little hungry, skip some meals and make sacrifices. Oh yes, sacrifices again. Hmmm. So, how do I do it healthfully? Because that is honestly part of the problem. I started concentrating on eating better, more healthful food (like the vegan banana bread I made yesterday) and not on the volume of food. Vegan banana bread is still bread. AND - I forgot about my 7-9 fruits/veggies rule I had in the fall.

I think I'll start there (again). I hope I can do it. I don't want to be disappointed in my body my whole life. I want to get back to loving it for it's strength, flexibility, (and perhaps rocking a bathing suit?) ;.

** 1/2 hour later - - And I think one thing that is really bugging me is how isolated I feel about this. I don't feel like I can talk about it. That bugs. So hopefully this blog will help. That is the point after all...