Browsing Tag



Secrets. If you can’t tell the Internet, who can you tell?

November 10, 2017

Therapy looks different for different people. For some, it’s yoga, for others, it’s cigarettes and gossip. It might be an emergency session with a legitimate counselor or a vigorous hike or a bottle of red. For me, it’s these keys. This space. You guys are at all of my therapy sessions. Sometimes I sit down at my computer and I can almost instantly feel the weight of my burdens give way. Like a bra coming off after a 12-hour day, just the thought of being brutally honest about what ails me can be so freeing. But not today. Today, this post is scary and embarrassing, and I feel heavy just sorting through the words that might appear on this screen.

As you know if you follow DSS, I just had my 35th birthday. It was lowkey and sweet, both figuratively and literally. Those who spend any real time with me, know the key to my heart comes baked, frosted and coated in chocolate. My mom got me a necklace, gift card and seven candy bars. My birthday party (an event I share every year with my nephew) didn’t disappoint, as I blew out a candle nestled in a white cupcake topped with decadent whipped frosting, my favorite. My girlfriends from work took me to lunch and passed a superhero bag across the table. Inside, I found my favorite bath salts, a heavenly scented candle and three bars of dark chocolate.

The irony was lost on everyone but me. Because I am in on the secret. And now you will be, too.

While I’ve lightheartedly documented my suspicions here before, I am fairly certain that I have some food addiction issues. It seems so small, right? Inconsequential and petty. Dramatic maybe. It’s silly to assume that a grown woman would be incapable of practicing moderation. That she would compare a simple sweet tooth to true, uncontrollable compulsive behavior. But staring at the bag, with a superhero emblem on the front and my greatest weakness inside, I had to face the fact that none of this is funny or small anymore. Food is my heroin, my whiskey, my cocaine. It is destroying my body and wreaking havoc on my soul.

I often find myself hazy, drunk on additives and refined, racy treats peeled from brightly colored wrappers. I celebrate with chocolate. I mourn with cakes and cookies. I string the hours at my desk together with a licorice rope adorned with syrupy popcorn balls. I fight stress with frozen delicacies, named mint chip and cookie dough. I reward with cocoa-coated almonds and lean into lazy with a bowl of sweet cereal for dinner. I reach to find food in every high and scoop it up in every low.

And I guess most people would argue that it’s normal. Because in our culture, it kind of is. We eat too much, we joke about it, and then we have a salad to make up for it the next day, followed by a cookie that afternoon. It feels like balance and looks like trouble. But that’s the game. It’s a merry-go-round of too much and not enough, and we all have a generous roll of tickets.

From a 30,000-foot view, I’m checking the boxes. I’m doing it right. I work out at least 5 days a week. I pin vegan recipes and shop on Thrive Market. I obsess about curating all of the things my ultra-healthy alter ego is going to need for her ultra-healthy life. But it’s aspirational. All of it. I am planning meals for a person who doesn’t yet exist.

“You look fine!” people say, when I groan about my binges or complain about my weight. But I don’t feel fine.

I’ve been fighting the scale for months now. About two years ago, 11 months after I had Sloppy Joan, I made it back to my pre-baby weight. I was running, going to classes at the gym, tracking my calories. I was making the smart sacrifices you make to get your shit together. And I got there. But then, I got comfortable. And comfortable for me, is sugar and those simple, simple carbs. But it’s not just a little sweet here and a little apple fritter there. It’s disgusting, mindless gluttony.

A lot of people love food. I get it. Clearly I love it, too. But love, as many of us know, can be pretty twisted. It can make you do things you wouldn’t normally do. It can consume you and blind you and make you sick. As so many loved ones pointed out last week, I’m flying toward 40. I don’t want to go into the next chapter of my life flailing and foggy.

I smoked for years (I know, gasp!). I can remember sitting in my garage and having these tough conversations with myself. About how I was killing myself, and paying a lot of money to do it. Every pack was “my last pack” and every Sunday night was the Sunday night before the Monday morning when it all went away. But what I didn’t realize, was that I never gave the substance enough credit. I underestimated everything about those little white bastards. I always thought I was stronger. And, in the end, I was, but it took years and years and countless attempts to find that strength. Because I loved those cigarettes. And only now can I see that love for the twisted lie it was.

But this time, I can call this by name. I can see this cycle as addiction rather than a harmless romantic indulgence. I know that, right now, I have no control in this relationship.

Let me give you an example. The marketing geniuses who came up with retail birthday coupons saw me coming a mile away. The second a voucher for a free frozen yogurt hit my inbox, I started thinking about it. What flavor, what night, what toppings. I obsessed. I mentioned it to Hank everyday, until finally we went, on a night when it wasn’t convenient – because with three kids, it never is – and after a sensible dinner that left me more than full. But that’s what I do. I lust after sugar like Heath Ledger in his knight suit, may he rest in peace. And I tell myself I could stop if I wanted to. I could just let the coupon expire. But I don’t. I can’t.

My relationship with food is one of shame rather than guilt, and it’s important to know the difference. When I eat an entire coffee cake, I instantly feel like I’ve satisfied those triggers firing off in my brain that scream, “Right now! Do this! It’s delicious! You don’t always have this in the house!” And then I immediately wash that down with a tall drink of regret and shame.

Behavioral researchers would make the distinction between shame and guilt in my situation this way: If I were a woman in control who made a bad food choice here and there, that would elicit some guilt. Guilt is temporary and not tethered to the characteristics one associates with their core being. But I’m on the other side of that. I am not a woman who feels in control of her food choices. I feel consumed by urges and addictive patterns, and overall, just riddled with shame about the whole thing. Then I try to swallow and shrug off that shame so that I don’t pass these tendencies down to my girls. Oh my gosh, life is short. It’s just food. I don’t want to feel deprived. But what I really feel, is sick.

They say shame is the worst thing for children, because they connect feelings of shame with feelings of being unlovable. But I’m an adult. I feel loved unconditionally and I feel accepted. I don’t fear being abandoned or found out or rejected based on this addiction. I just feel like shit because of it. I feel like I turned over a huge piece of my self-respect to a chemist who sat in a lab and figured out exactly how to hook me. And I want to think I’m stronger than that. But I’m not. And that concession is where the shame resides.

But you do Whole30s and 14-Day Vegan Challenges and all that stuff. I know, I do. And I stand by the fact that I find these exercises valuable in the war to gain control over my habits. But I also find it troubling that I require such strict parameters around what should be such an intuitive act in order to feel like I’m driving and not along for the ride. I feel like there should be a simpler way.

So what’s a girl to do, huh? When she’s come onto this blog more times than she can count and confessed her shortcomings. When she’s tried so many different diets. When she’s 21 Day Fixed and bootcamped and MyFitness Pal’ed her brains out. When she’s scared the sugar’s stronger. What is she to do then?

Last week, I saw the number on the scale I’d been running from for two years. I know that number does not define me, or my worth. I know that obsessing over that number does nothing for me nor does reacting to it in the way I instinctively want to react to it, particularly with three little chicks watching everything I do and listening to everything I say. I need to see it as the spark for change, rather than the fire that’s going to burn me down.

I choose to try again. I choose to make this Sunday the Sunday before the Monday when it all goes away. Because if 45 things don’t work, maybe the 46th will be the one that sticks. I’ve been reading a lot about mindfulness, transcendental meditation and food addiction. While the salt/fat/sugar trifecta is certainly something to conquer, there’s also a lot of noise and stress and underlying triggers lingering just below the surface, whispering, “Food is comfort.” A little quiet might just help shut down those extra triggers enough to make some progress. So, maybe there’s something there.

It would all just be so much easier if the answers were in the back of the book. If I knew the solve. I have this friend at work and she’s always cold (you know the type). She combats the chilly office climate with a space heater. One she turns on periodically throughout the day and one that, inevitably, pops the circuit. She used to have to chase down a maintenance guy, explain her misstep and then wait for him to go flip the breaker. Until one day, it occurred to her to just follow him, write down which switch he flipped and then take care of it herself when the fuse, inevitably, popped again. Now, she heats her space without fear. “Well, I mean, I know my button,” she’ll say. Having the power to fix things for yourself is such a simple but rich reward in this life. I wish I knew my button.

I have no answers, no plan, no challenge in the works. I don’t know which button is my button. What you’ve read here was a trip to the confessional. An informal declaration. I just needed to come here for a bit of therapy. I needed these keys tonight. But our time is up for now.


Livin la Vida Vegan Day 4 (gray hairs and soybean compost)

September 20, 2017

“Hey girl! How’s that food thing … vegan thing, going?” a friend asked via Facebook messenger.
“Oh my gosh, hi! Good, good. It hasn’t been too bad actually. You just really have to plan” I answered.
“Have you lost weight?”
“I mean, maybe? But I don’t think so. Lol It’s been 3 days, so …”
“So crazy. Good for you tho. And you’re writing about it every day on your blog, right?”
“That’s the goal” I typed.
“Are you worried about losing followers, if they aren’t into the vegan thing?”
“Well, ‘followers’ might be a generous term … but I haven’t really thought about it. I guess I definitely could.”
“I’m sure it will be fine. Good luck! Let me know how much weight you lose. Maybe I’ll try it.”
“Yup, thanks for checking in!”

So, I guess I should start by saying that, if you’re reading this, thank you. Thank you for checking in on our progress and showing interest and hanging in there for as long as you choose to hang in. We here at DSS hope you get a new recipe along the way, at the very least, or get inspired to play around with your food a bit, at the very most. We will return to our irregularly scheduled content on September 30.

If you aren’t reading this, I’m sorry you’re a total turd.

Juuuuust kidding, friends! If you aren’t into this vegan journey, I don’t blame you. It’s not on everybody’s bucket list and certainly extreme by certain standards. I realize a lot of people don’t want to look at their plate as a prescription of any sort, and that’s totally cool. There’s a joy in just enjoying what tastes beautiful to you – butter, goat cheese, tender ribs, warm chocolate chip cookies – oh my gosh, somebody slap me across the face and shake my shoulders right now!

This friend’s questions came the night before I started questioning this whole thing myself. I am exhausted. If my energy level was a gas tank, the needle would be at the level where you start searching for your AAA membership. I could have slept forever this morning. I have zero desire to work out. I’m feeling the opposite of everything I was hoping to feel.

Plus, Hank and I are both up 2 pounds. Isn’t that hilarious? I mean just a freaking riot?

7:30 a.m.
I had the same breakfast shake I had yesterday. It’s pretty much a staple for me. I almost always have the ingredients on hand and surprisingly it gets me through the morning rush. No cinnamon this morning though.

“Mom, I used the rest of your cinnamon,” Spike said, when I came downstairs this morning. “I needed it to make a bowl of cinnamon and sugar for my toast. Put it on the grocery list, I guess, K? From the spices store.”

Yup, yup, I’m on it, Chief.

It’s raining here. Zero juice in the tank, plus a gray, cloudy sky and rain streaks on my office window equals struggle bus. This is best illustrated by the fact I forgot my backpack at home, which had my work laptop. I realized this, of course, standing in the office parking lot under an umbrella. I stood in a puddle and pouted for a solid minute. Because I am a grownup.

If anything, it bought me an extra 15 minutes with Rich. This morning he started getting into his actual switch to the vegan diet. His rules are simple: Eat plants, as close to their natural state as possible, at every meal, every day, all colors, all forms. He avoids most processed foods and goes easy on the sugar. Seems totally manageable.

He wrote about the cleanse that initially brought him to this dietary transition, and how he was so sick, down on the couch feeling like shit. Is that what this is? Is this sluggish state my version of his cleanse? (Oh my gosh, you guys, I’m just like Rich Roll!) I’m just 12 days away from running 13 miles, so let’s hope things pick up here, preferably by the time I step to the starting line.

12:15 p.m.
Lunch was a repeat as well. Quinoa/rice blend, mixed greens, salad topper nut and dried fruit mix and Greek dressing. Plus that bomb ass vegetable hummus with tortilla chips. If it ain’t broke …

Hank called to check in. He took a frozen vegetable bowl I picked up at Costco and a whole cucumber from the garden for lunch.

“A whole cucumber?!”
“I’m really starting to get serious, here,” he said. God love this man.
“Do you feel tired?” I asked.
“Yeah! I didn’t sleep well last night. You’re tired?”
“Yeah, but I slept fine. I’m just so sluggish today.”
“You should really think about altering your diet.” he said.

One problem with my go-to midday meal? Those little black bastards in the quinoa love to settle in between my teeth. I had a black bullseye right in the dead center today heading into a meeting. Thank goodness for brutally honest work friends who grab you and say, “What the hell is in your teeth?” It looked like I ate an army of baby ants for lunch.

5:30 p.m.
Another day, another crazy night. My dear friend Kelly squeezed me in for highlights and a trim tonight, but she needed me to come as soon as I could after work. Hank volunteered to pick up the chicks from the sitter so I could rush home and throw dinner together.

I went back to the Vegan for Everybody cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen again. This time Shiitake Ramen. Hank might be a fungi, but he isn’t much for mushrooms, so I was a little nervous about this one. (I know, let’s just move on.)

All was sizzling and poppin’ along until I got to step 4. Simmer for 1 hour. FUUUUUQQQQ!! Who do these test kitchen people think I am that I have an hour to let dinner just hang out on the stove? I turned the burner down to low heat, put a lid on the pot and left Hank a voicemail: “The ramen needs to simmer for an hour … I’m so sorry … please finish it up … I’m so sorry … I won’t be home late … sorry.” That shit better be good, I thought, grabbing my favorite crackers and a pouch of Justin’s angel spread on my way out the door.

The great thing about having your best friend do your hair is that you get an hour and a half to download each other on everything. The kids, work, your foolish dietary pursuits. There are just a handful of scenarios that can sabotage a night like this, and they include but are not limited to, the discovery of a patch of gray hairs and having your stray eyebrow locks ripped from your face like a hundred foot-long carrots from a late summer garden. Coincidentally both of those things happened tonight.

I came home and Hank had the girls up in the tub (a saint, he is) so I started piling the components of the ramen into a bowl. Anything that simmers for 60 minutes on my stove better have unicorns and diamonds in it. It didn’t. The taste was … earthy. Almost nothing. I think the ramen could be dressed up with the right recipe, but this wasn’t it.

“I think I might have put too much miso in,” Hank said.
“What is miso, anyway?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I think it’s compost. Like, soybean compost. It’s aged a year.”

We went down to inspect the label. It had blue ridge mountain well water listed on the label. It smelled a bit like compost … it looked a lot like compost … And the worst part is, I went looking for this. I sought it out. At three different stores. I don’t know what I’m doing to us anymore.


A whole lotta Whole30 fun

February 3, 2017

That’s a wrap on Whole30 round No. 4!

It always feels bittersweet at the end of these little resets. Like, I’m so relieved I don’t have to carry emergency food in my purse and cook ALL OF THE THINGS, but also so concerned about what happens when I drop the reins and give myself some food freedom again. You have the best of intentions to ease in, go 90/10, but then one evening you wake up delirious face down in a plate of Texas Roadhouse cheese fries with ranch up to your elbows. It gets away from ya that fast.

Every time I do a Whole30, I get the same two comments/questions: 1) I don’t think I could do that, and 2) So, then what?

Let’s address these.

I don’t think I could do that.
Yes you could. You really could. People get their panties in a pinch over hearing the word “no” so many times consecutively, but simply put, the Whole30 guidelines specify you must eat real food for 30 days. This means no sugar, no alcohol, no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no carrageenan, sulfites or MSG, no corn and no processed crap. It means you’re going to be gettin down on a lot of eggs, meat, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, fruits and veggies. This is not a tragedy, folks. It’s really just doing what you should always do, which should be easy but isn’t at all because, it turns out, “food” in our country is in kind of a sad state.

The secret, I’ve found, is in the cooking. And let’s just say it, it is so much freaking cooking. If you can’t use a food processor or chop produce like a boss, you will not survive. If you don’t like meal planning, you will not survive. If you don’t like doing dishes, you will survive (it just blows). It’s kind of like having a newborn; You live on a 2-hour cycle. You prep the breakfast, eat the breakfast, clean up the breakfast, prep the lunch, eat the lunch, clean up the lunch, prep the dinner, eat the dinner, clean up the dinner. Go to bed, start over. The first time we did a Whole30, I took some epic missteps in regard to meal choices. Ones that haunt me to this day. I remember one night I just threw a pan with a pile of shit on it in the middle of the table, cried and told Hank not to eat it because I was pretty sure it was poison. It was a little Pinterest lie called “pizza with cauliflower crust” if memory serves.

But now, four rounds in, I’ve developed quite a repertoire. I can do things with a bag of almond meal, carton of eggs and pound of bananas that would make you– I don’t know where I was going with that … Anyway, this time, I checked the official Whole30 Cookbook out of the library. It was legit. Its pages were packed with game changers like Crispy Spicy Turkey over Cauli Rice and the like. We kicked things off on January 3 with the Curry Turkey Meatballs with Roasted Potatoes, Cauliflower and Kale, and we ended on February 1 with the same dinner. When you find something that works, hold onto it and serve it up as many times as you can for sanity’s sake.

The funny thing is, the food is really good. After your taste buds are revived from the 11-month waterboarding they’ve been served by sodium- and sugar-drenched deliciousness, a meager strawberry suddenly dances on your reinvigorated tongue. Roasted vegetables are inviting. Cashews are silky. It’s amazing what real food can do when you take all the crap away and just let it do it’s natural thang.

For whatever reason, I didn’t detox quite as hard this time around. In the past, it felt like I had the flu. I’d be exhausted, pale, sweaty and down with a throbbing headache for much of the first week. Am I pregnant? I thought. Maybe mono? Oh, no, that’s just me coming off sugar. Although, in my body’s defense, I’m pretty sure my consumption rivals that of the rats they use to test whether candy or heroine is more addictive. It’s up there. So my withdrawals might be magnified a bit. This time, however, I think my body was begging for the cleanse so hard it decided not to put up much a fight.

The benefits are the same, but a little different, every time we do this. This time, it was the sleep. I was like a bear in the Smokies. It was so good, I almost always got 8 hours. I’d get horizontal and my body just automatically signed off for the night. It was a beautiful thing. I felt clear-headed and alert and loved the sustained energy.

Another bonus, Hank and I discovered the best fruit flavor combination on earth. Stuff a red grape into the cavity of a red raspberry and just put my thank you card in the mail. I’ve often wondered if it’s really that good, or just that good because fruit is the equivalent of Ben & Jerry’s when you aren’t having sugar, but I think it’s really truly that good.

But that’s not to say it was all roses and smooth BMs. Here are three of my favorite journal entries from the journey …

Day 13 (Clearly in the anger phase)
I want to scream. I am doing all of this planning and cooking and shit and I asked my husband to do one thing – set out chicken breasts to thaw – and I get home, get all the shit chopped up and guess what? Frozen freaking chicken boobs. One thing! One thing!

(Sorry Hank.)

Day 18
I vomited in the sink. My body put up a stop sign to sweet potato, egg and avocado. There can be no more.

Day 19
We went to Matt’s to watch the playoff games. I thought I was prepared. I made Nom Nom Paleo wings and banana-coconut “cookies” and whipped coconut cream with strawberries. But it was no match for the smell of queso and enchiladas. Damn him! Damn him. We held strong though. This is a bitch.

So, then what?
Well, I’ll be the last person to tell you I have harnessed the true power of Whole30. I followed the blog Kale and Cigarettes throughout our journey, as the writer and his wife were going through their first round. He wrote a lot about the anger that comes with not necessarily knowing the end game. As in, what if I bought all these weird ingredients and cooked my ass off every day and turned down beautiful, glistening donuts for nothing? What if nothing changes? What if I don’t change? What if I just go back to my old ways and learn nothing? I brought this up to Hank the other night as we were driving back from a wedding.

“I feel so good,” I said.
“But, I feel like we need to figure out the long game here.”
“Like, I love the short-term benefits, but what changes am I really making based off the reset?”
“I need to find a way to carry some of the momentum over.”

I mean, the truth is I eat on autopilot. Like gross autopilot.

Mindful eating is a thing. A very real, very useful thing. And I can’t do it. I can’t. I recently sat in on a video shoot on the topic, and I tell ya, it made so much sense in theory. In between takes, I told the instructor, “I mean, I eat on autopilot. Or at least, I’m distracted. I’d assume that’s the same thing. I’m so concentrated on making dinner, and then the walls my girls are coloring on as I’m chopping, frying and roasting, and then on getting their plates made, and then on what they’re not eating and then on disciplining at the table and then on clearing it all and then starting the dishes, and then bath time. In the noise of that process, sometimes I can’t even remember if I ate, let alone gave much thought to how I was doing it.” He just nodded. Because I am not unique in this struggle and all I had to do was shut up, listen to everything he said, and observe a brief moment of gratitude before my meals.

It doesn’t help that things like chocolate-covered almonds with sea salt and long Johns just seem to jump from counters, cabinets and kids plates into my welcoming mouth hole. It’s that 30 seconds. The initial smell and sight. If I can get through that 30 seconds, I’m good. Think about how brief a taste of something is. Some things, not many, are worth it. There’s this new place in town everyone’s talking about that makes ice cream sandwiches with fresh-baked donuts for buns. I’m thinkin’ that’s worth it.

No matter how many times we do this and no matter how many times it’s happened before, it always amazes me how some people just have to salt your game. If you aren’t drinking, aren’t having dessert, aren’t giving yourself a pass, people just can’t stand not commenting on it. The pressure is so ridiculous. And then you feel like you have to justify what you’re buying, eating and using to make your own body go. If I’m shoving something down your pie hole against your will, please feel free to engage me. Otherwise …

So, here we are.

I haven’t really answered the second question because I guess the answer is I can’t really answer it. I guess what comes next is my best effort. Every time I adjust my diet and become more food aware, I learn something. I learn what my body feels like when I feed it shit, and what it feels like when I’m a clean machine.

We’re done for now and I lost a little bit of weight, got a lot of great sleep and found some great new recipes. But, of course, I’ll spend the next week analyzing how I could have done better. I could have exercised more, I could have relaxed on the dried fruit. But perfection is so boring.

If you ever try a Whole30, here are a few you don’t want to miss …

Slow Cooker Korean Grass Fed Short Ribs from Nom Nom Paleo

I had a friend who spoke of these ribs and I didn’t listen. Then, one day I did. And I hated myself for all the opportunities I’d missed with these succulent little suckers throughout the years. About 15 minutes of prep and 7-9 hours in a slowcooker stand between you and a full mouthgasm.

Gluten, Grain, and Garbage Free Chick-fil-A Nuggets from The Domestic Man

Saved me with the chicks.

Plantain Tortillas from Eat Your Beets

OK, SWYPO is a very real threat with Whole30. These were my regular appointment with my trousers. I love these tortillas as buns for a bison burger, as shells for carnitas and, when things get really hairy, with almond butter and sliced strawberries.

*Honorable mention to everything in the Whole30 Cookbook


Whole30 No. 3

February 17, 2016

This post is just … oh, you know … a few weeks past when I wanted to put it out there. I guess that’s the nice thing about “working” for yourself. I totally flaked on that deadline and, oop! Look at that … still employed.

On February 3, Hank and I called it good on our third Whole30. With bellies full of buttery nuts, toot-triggering vegetables and sticky, dried fruits, we recorded our wins and began our steep descent back to all the decadence we’d gone without for a month. Hank sailed through, about 6 pounds down. I said farewell to 4. We felt good. We felt in control. We felt lighter.


Then came February 4. We’ve discussed this before. Intentions. Specifically, how intentions melt in the presence of a warm homemade chocolate chip cookie. And who can blame those intentions, huh? It’s not just a cookie, it’s kryptonite; with butter and sugar and molten cocoa kisses. The negotiations started early after this round. First, I was going to be compliant during the weekdays and then let myself have treats on the weekends. Then I was going to try to be compliant but also track calories again. Then I was going to eat all of the Girl Scout cookies. And that’s where I’m at today.

Despite the epic fail following our purge, it’s never for nothing. Each time we do it, I think I learn something new about my relationship with food and how my body reacts to it. This January I confirmed my suspicions about sugar and how it pops my pimples, wrecks my dreams and hurts my guts. Knowing is half the battle and ditching dessert is the other.

During our run, I started a list. You know you’re Whole30 when …

  • A dried apricot tastes like a freaking elephant ear from the county fair
  • You know all the compliant Larabar flavors by heart
  • Said Larabar becomes a 3 o’clock ritual not to be tampered with
  • You combine almond butter, bananas and eggs 50+ ways, always expecting it to taste like a cookie. Never does
  • You have to go to the ladies room … no, like right now
  • Macadamia nuts become “worth the financial splurge”
  • You go through 2 cartons of Costco eggs in 6 days
  • You manipulate plantains into chips, cakes, tortillas and airplanes
  • You feel compelled to smash that cupcake in your friend’s face
  • You use “wine is just made of grapes” as a bargaining chip
  • The words “reset” “detox” and “clean” find their way into most conversations
  • Your abdomen feels like you put a gas hose in your mouth
  • You spend enormous amount of energy analyzing whether you have tiger blood
  • You’re really into Sex With Your Pants On
    You know what Sex With Your Pants On means
And I discovered some new recipes that made this the easiest – dare I say most enjoyable – Whole30 yet.

Whole30 Happy Muffins from Sole Searching Mama


Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin from Taste and Tell


Plantain Tortillas from eat your beets (Served iwth carnita meat)


Chicken Parma-Paleo from Predominantly Paleo

I could have had more success, sure. I hit the dried fruit pretty hard. I drank a lot of fruit juice and made a lot of smoothies. I discovered the beauty of banana waffles with coconut butter on top. But you know, it’s all a lesson learned and another step on a journey to dietary peace.

*Shout out to our Whole30 facebook group and the awesome support and recipes. You gals are so strong and inspirational.

Tune in Today

Tonight, I’m cleaning out my pantry

January 4, 2016

Tune in today to see if she can … prep for a dietary turnaround. 

It’s the night before my third round (fourth attempt) of Whole30 and I gotta say, I love this time in a cleanse. When the food is prepped and the week of recipes is planned and I don’t quite want to rip the heads off of everyone around me yet. It’s a beautiful time of optimism and lofty aspirations and dreams of white t-shirts and stretchy skinny jeans. But, with the impending denial that any incredibly restrictive scenario brings, comes a bit of lashing out. For me, that lashing out comes with an impressive caloric tally and a healthy dose of remorse and humiliation.


Here, in no particular order, are my confessions on my Whole30 Eve:

  • I ate a ginormous bowl of Lucky Charms in a shameless attempt to polish off my non-compliant cashew milk. “Don’t look at me,” I told my husband, as I sorted through sugary horseshoes in an embarrassing sea of purple milk.


  • While cleaning out the pantry, I found a box of chocolate graham crackers that expired in July 2012. Where do these things live for all those years? Like, I look in there … typically daily. And I haven’t noticed them hanging out, just, expiring. Where were those chocolate graham crackers hiding?
  • In the psychological battle between eating the holiday candy and throwing it in the garbage where it belongs, I opted for eating, on average, 5 haystacks and 7 peanut clusters every day for the last 5 days. Kind of gross, right? Also hid the rest for a post-Whole30 treat. (This is what they call “setting yourself up for future failure.”)


  • I came down with an insane cold-type thing on New Year’s Eve. I lost my voice, which stopped coming from the general area of my glands which were so sore and swollen I thought you could visibly see their abnormal heft. I had the spins and just a severe case of the “blechs”. None of these afflictions could stop me from cramming in a buffet of bad choices (mostly dairy) as the ball dropped, Arby’s and a sausage roll on Saturday and ruebens today. These were accompanied, of course, by the aforementioned haystacks and clusters, a fact that could be attributed to my slow recovery.
  • I watched in awe as my lovely husband, who is going to accompany me about 90% percent of the time on this particular Whole30 journey, cleared an entire bag of jalepeno kettle chips in 48 hours LIKE A BOSS.

OK, I think we’re all good here. You good? I’m good. Let’s do this Whole30 thing!

Until next time … 





Might as well face it, you’re addicted to food

October 19, 2015

This is a post about control.

And, more accurately, the fact I don’t have any.

On Friday, my college roommates came to town for a lovely little visit. These girls are family to me and I always want to make sure their tummies are full and the gentle, jolly tingle of a perfect booze buzz is constant. I went to Costco Friday morning and got plenty of goodies for dinner, dessert, apple cider sangria (the best recipe for a fall get together) and breakfast Saturday morning. Some of Hank’s family was stopping by, so I figured it was enough of a crowd to justify Costco portions.


After the last chicken flew the coop Saturday afternoon, I was left facing a few certainties: 1) I really adore those girls, and 2) I had a shit ton of food left over. Of course the salted chocolate-covered caramels and spinach and artichoke dip with parmesan are finding spots to settle in and leave lardy sediments in my thighs, but the bigger concern is the devil temptress known as the Costco cinnamon butter crumb coffee cake.

Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 9.18.13 PM

I want you to, just for a moment, imagine your round cake pan. Mentally pull it from your cabinet. Can you picture it? Now I want you to visualize baking 3 cakes in that pan, piecing them together, topping each cake with balls of butter and sugar, and then pulling up a seat to watch me eat them. All of the cakes. Just me. Every last sinful crumb. That is what happened between the hours of 9:30 am Saturday and 8 pm Sunday night.

I impregnated myself – one forkfull at a time – with a baby made of enriched flour, real butter and refined sugars. Self sabotage is the father and, sadly, it has many, many siblings; all the result of the same pitiful practice. Did you ever see that Sex and the City with Miranda and the chocolate cake? If it had been Sex and the Land of the Super-sized Midwestern American Diet, that would have accurately represented the catastrophe at my crib this weekend.

I think this confirms my suspicion that I am a food addict.

I turned to the top authority on the topic. The Internet. And here is what I found.

8 Symptoms of Food Addiction
(from Authority Nutrition)

1 Cravings despite being full. (yes.) 
2 Eat much more than you intended to. (A Costco-sized coffee cake.)
3 Eat until feeling excessively “stuffed”. (lol and yes, I wear stretchy pants on purpose.) 
4 Feel guilty afterwards, but do it again soon. (Hate myself. … Don’t waste that!) 
5 Making up excuses in your head. (The girls were in town.) 
6 Repeated failures at setting rules for yourself. (On Monday, I go paleo. No, Whole30. No, just sugar free.)
7 Hiding your consumption from others. (For sure waited until I was alone with the cake to take it to pound town.)
8 Unable to quit despite physical problems. (I consider a flat tire a physical problem.)


So, here I am. A belly full of regret, a tough Monday morning weigh in waiting for me and a half a container full of salted caramels promising failure all week long. What’s a girl to do? Start over, I suppose.

The number of times I’ve sat and dwelled on this depressing reality is gross. I feel like I’m stuck in a divine sugary quick sand. I get my torso out a tiny bit only to fall in almost to my chin by close of binging business Sunday night.

Admittedly, week days are my come to Jesus reset. Oily fish, leafy greens, flax … they all make the starting lineup on days I have to dress up and be a big girl. But from the time I walk out of the office and declare the weekend “in progress,” I’m hammering the fries, condiments and any and everything that stands still long enough to get doused in chocolate.


I’d say I just need a good strategy and then I’d change my ways. I’d give up my rich, sticky mistress and clean up my ways (and my inflammation). But I would be lying. You see, there’s always a reason to eat the good stuff. Someone brings in bagels for a brainstorm. The folks in your carpool beg for Starbucks. Your kindergartener gets straight “E”s on her report card and wants to celebrate with frozen yogurt. You burn dinner and have to call an audible. And just when you think you’ve come to the end of your excuses, the holidays come along and knock you on your plump ass into a baby pool filled with corn casserole and cheese trays and all of the pies. It’s like the 6th day for the Hungry Caterpillar every damn day for two solid months.

If you have any secrets to success, as always, you can send them my way. In the meantime, if you have a Costco membership, you gotta check out that coffee cake, man. Take it somewhere you can share or somewhere you can hide. Either way, no judgement. But it’s damn good.




What the scale said in February

March 2, 2015

Since the first time I stepped on to see my 3-digit starting point after Sloppy Joan (also known as the slap-out-of-denial dose of shame they prescribe at the postpartum checkup), I’ve had a daunting number hanging over my head. Now, something to keep in mind here, I’m not shooting for the supermodel-slim stars. I have my eyes on a prize that puts me simply within my “healthy” weight range and by and large, a bullseye for my BMI. And I know that being well is more than a number; it’s the way your denim doesn’t dig into your flat tire and the extra 30 minutes you can tack onto the family bike ride. Now that we have those pleasantries out of the way …

The scale says:
Down –  24 pounds
To Go – 23 pounds

This is a dance I’ve done before. I’ve done it three times, to be exact, and the partner is always the same. It’s a two-faced counterpart that consists of both an uber health-conscious chia-eater and a fried food/sugar addict who goes to bed with the first cookie she sees.I admire women who keep their weight down through each trimester and quickly bounce back to their beautiful selves. I equally admire those who fight like hell to lose every pint of Chubby Hubby, basket of fried pickles and bag of Cheetos, because they know what they did and they know their sentence is a year – or however long it takes – of awkward sweat, suffocating guilt and tough choices to get it off. So, obviously, I am a card-carrying member of the latter, and I’m only halfway out of the woods.
I feel less pressure to drop my extra l-bs as quickly this go-around. First of all, red carpet season is over (thank goodness), and second, we aren’t planning on more babies. I always felt like it was a race against my maternal clock to shed the weight before the next tenant checked into my uterus. This time, I know it’s a lifelong investment.
The plan. The progress.*
Whole30 – Completed February 5 (100%)
Kayla Itsines 12-week Bikini Body – On Week 6 (50%)
Join a gym – Officially members and finding a stride(3%)
Clean eating – Oy. (2.1%)
Half Marathon – Need to train to start training in July (1%)
Hike – Planning phase (2%)
Yoga – Every Sunday (10%)
Slim & Sassy essential oil – Skeptical, but it’s in the mail (5%)

*These percentages are based on complete bullshit because I don’t know how to do math or quantify something like “joining a gym”.