Category Archives: Health

The Real Actual Diet

“You’ve gotta eat your vegetables.”

Everybody has heard and known this since they were a toddler. For those of us who were lucky enough to have parents who cared, we’ve had broccoli and spinach and peas stuffed down our throat since young. Our parents deviously slipped carrots guised under some cheesy sauce, or cunningly cut up onions especially fine so that we won’t be able to pick them out.

This is why it may seem so strange to you that for the last three or so years, I’ve been hearing the complete opposite: “You’ve gotta eat your dessert and junk food.”

Because, you see, refusing to indulge in a while is a health problem, too. So is insisting on eating only “organic, whole foods” and nothing else. They’re both a mental health problem.

Now don’t go and smugly tell me you never have cravings. That you never want something sinful and sweet, or that you never occasionally dream of sinking your teeth into a nice, greasy piece of fried chicken or french fry. Because we all know that it’s total and complete bullshit.

I’d never been overly concerned about healthy eating, even during my worst eating disordered years. During my depths of starvation, all I cared about was the calories, and I practically subsisted on nibbles of carrot sticks, chocolate, cookies, muffins, and black coffee. Because I was severely deficit in calories, all I craved was sugar and caffeine.

Once I decided to “recover”, however, I sunk into yet another disorder: the obsession to eat healthy. Sounds virtuous, doesn’t it? Don’t let that deceive you.

At that time I claimed that I was trying to take care of myself now, that I was willing to “recover”, therefore I needed all the nutrition I can get— Bull-freakin-shit. That was just an excuse to be able to restrict, to be able to hold on to that form of control I was afraid to let go.

What am I saying here? I’m not trying to force McNuggets down everybody’s throat and advertise a reform for fast food and frozen entrees— this is our body and we have the responsibility to take care of it— but we need to give our bodies more credit.

I believe our bodies are wonderful, miraculous creations intricately woven by the hands of God, and that they can take care of themselves better than our own minds. The problem is when we try to control and analyze every milligram of vitamins, every ounce of fat, protein, fiber, etc. that enters our mouth, as if our bodies can be supervised and monitored like machines.

Let’s take protein, for example. I think I might have lacked in the protein department a bit because the last few days, I’ve been craving a good, meaty burger. And guess what? I listened to my body and got myself a burger:

kay, I’ll admit: in true fashion, I went totally overboard and ate 3 Carl’s Jr burgers and 3 Burger King Whoppers over the last 5 days. I was feeling icky by the 4th burger, but I still forced myself to eat it because I didn’t want to waste money. I’m all burgered-out now.

But! That also proves yet another thing: if you listen to your body, you won’t ever go overboard. I remember I used to be worried that once I let a bite of “junk food” touch my lips, then I’ll “lose it” and start craving nothing but junk food. Well, that is simply not true. After I satisfied my burger craving, all I felt was satisfaction. And I could live without burgers for a while now. 😉

Another craving I strangely had today: Fried stuff. So I picked some criss-cut fries from Carl’s Jr:
Greasy. Crunchy. Hot. Salty. It was heaven.
Do I want to eat deep-fried stuff again now? Not really. I’ve satisfied my craving, and I probably won’t be wanting any fried stuff until my next craving.

Next up: sugar. I already mentioned before that I don’t really have a sweet tooth. But I noticed that on days when I’m really needing an extra boost of energy, I get my sweet tooth back:
I’ve long since finished this packet of Newman Own’s Organics Ginger-O’s, but you see my point (It’s awesome by the way, much better than chocolate Oreos).

Or I might suck on one or two of these Korean milk caramels:
My point is, there is no food on this Earth that is bad for you. Every food, even the “junk food” that we try to avoid, is nourishment and sustenance for our bodies and our minds. It only becomes truly bad when we abuse them.

Every food is allowed and every food is necessary, but in natural moderation. Notice I added the word “natural”, because that’s the kind of diet I want to have— the diet that is not ruled by numbers and data, but guided by the amazing, natural body that God gave me.

That being said, let me show you a dish that I think has a pretty good balance in both nutrition and indulgence. Again, I hate numbers, but I’ll say leaving about 20% for a bit of leeway won’t do you no harm in the least.

Kabocha-Grits with Sautéed Vegetables, Grilled Hotdog, and Soft-Boiled Egg

Kabocha Grits:

ol
ive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, diced
1/3 cup dry corn grits
chicken broth
1/4 cup kabocha puree
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Sauteed Vegetables:

olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 zucchini, chopped
2-3 shitake mushrooms, chopped
squeeze lime juice
drizzle balsamic vinegar

Additional Ingredients:

1 link hotdog
1 large egg
feta cheese, crumbled
black pepper

For the grits, cook garlic and onion in olive oil until soft. Stir in the grits, and pour in chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and let simmer, stirring constantly. Stir in kabocha, and cook until thick. Add more liquid if necessary. Remove from heat, stir in cottage cheese and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

For the vegetables, just sautee all the vegetables together in a pan. Drizzle in vinegar and squeeze in lime juice to taste. Don’t go overboard!

Meanwhile, split and grill the hotdog in your trusty George Foreman. Soft-boil an egg (about 4-5 minutes). Peel the skin.

Once everything is done, ladle the grits onto a dish, toss the vegetables over. Place the egg and hotdog on top. Sprinkle with feta cheese, and grate fresh ground pepper over.
Hee hee hee, I know some of you are gonna groan and moan about that vulgar hotdog tainting the whole dish, but I like hotdogs! They are a cheap source of protein, and how can you not like these pink processed mystery meat?
But honestly, hotdogs taste so much better grilled like this. I love Mr. GF! I took a bite off the end before plating it, though. This was one huge fat hotdog. Compare it to the “large” egg!
And I really, really don’t get people who leave out the yolks to be “healthy”. The yolk is actually the most nutritious part! And that myth about eggs causing high cholesterol? It was proven wrong!! Just goes about to say how much you can trust these scientists…
And another more important reason why you should eat the whole egg: It’s freaking yummy! 🙂
How about that? I didn’t even plan out the nutritional facts of this dish, and it turned out pretty well-balanced, in my opinion.
I hope I didn’t offend anyone with this post. I apologize if I have come a bit too strong, but I felt it necessary to point out that disordered eating and obsessive behaviors can come in all forms, even under the thin guise of healthy eating.

Again, I’m not implying that you should toss your Greek yogurt and forget about buying organic— if you can afford it, that’s great— but you shouldn’t let that control you in any way. Ultimately, food is just food—sustenance to help you enjoy your life. It would be just too sad and ironical if food was what robbed you from real peace and joy in life.

Question of the day: What are you craving right now? Be it donuts or celery sticks, just say the truth! 😉

Running Again

I’ve started to run again lately. Today, I completed 2 whole miles without stopping. And I feel like I’d just accomplished a marathon.

I took up running when I was a freshman in high school. This was totally out of the character for me. I used to have the heaviest, laziest ass in the sense that it was always sitting on a chair or bed, refusing to budge. I whined when my parents dragged me out for a walk, and whizzed like I was having a heart attack when my P.E teacher forced us to run a lap. I, a straight A student, got my first C in P.E. Who gets a freaking C in P.E?

But because the people who ran along the streets in their running gear and their serious, concentrated expressions looked so darn cool, I decided to start running, too. Building up my non-existent stamina was tough at first. I was so proud of myself when I completed my first mile without a single break. From then onwards, I slowly increased my mileage until I was running up to 7 miles per day.

Unfortunately, my running turned into an obsession when my eating disorder started inching its way into my life. Suddenly, running was a pain, a chore, a battle. All I cared about was whether I ran xx miles a day, so that I burned the same amount of calories. If I ran just a bit less, I fell into a horrible mood for the rest of the day. I felt like the one less mile that I did not manage to do would come to haunt me in blobs of fat congealing on my stomach. Because I ran one less mile, I was a failure, a big fat walrus, a weakling. On that day, I would sharply restrict my food intake.

Each day, the moment I woke up, the first thought I had was: I’ve got to run, got to run, got to run. I have to hurry up and be done with that xx mile before it’s too late, before the whole day gets messed up.

I didn’t care for the process of running, the enjoyment of the wind rushing by my ears, the melodious momentum of my feet thudding lightly on the ground, or the flush on my cheeks from the rush of endorphins. All I cared about was finishing the run…until the next day when I had to start all over again.

It was a tiring way to live. Every single day was a never-ending, thankless race, where in truth, I received nothing. I received no joy, just a temporary relief to my anxieties. I received no health benefits, just aching muscles and shin-splints. I received nothing. In fact, it also sucked me away from a lot of social activities because I would rather run than hang out with my friends.

One day, I just stopped cold turkey. I was sick of running. I was sick of getting up every morning worrying about running. And I simply had no more energy to run. My eating disorder had already consumed me by then.

It’s been 3 years since I’ve run. And I’m forming a whole new relationship with running again, from the bottom up. I’m slowly rebuilding my stamina, and feeling the newly-built muscles perform. As I run, I’m not thinking about how I need to finish xx miles. I’m enjoying each and every single moment of the process of running: the air, my heartbeat, the slow swinging of my arms, the rhythm of my breathing, the people who smile at me as I pass by.

Now that, is why God gave us legs and arms, our bodies. Not to use them to over-exercise and work our ass off like a machine, but to enjoy each natural movement of our bodies, to take the responsibility of treasuring and respecting them as our own vessels. Exercising is not about burning calories, but to strengthen and preserve our bodies so we can contribute however much we can to this world.

Dang, that was long. Guess I’m still on a high from my run, lol. And of course, after a run like that I oughta replenish myself. It has been a long while since I had my “mix-it-up” bowl, but check out this new version of it:

Roasted Kabocha with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese and Almond-Red Pepper Sauce

The base: 2 cups pre-roasted kabocha cubes

The mix-ins: 1/2 large onion, 3 large shitake mushrooms, bunch of steamed kale

The topping: 1/4 cup goat cheese and Almond-Red Pepper sauce (recipe below)

Almond-Red Pepper Sauce (in estimates)

2 roasted red bell pepper, drained
2 spoonfuls almond butter
1 scoop of roasted almonds
1 clove minced garlic
drizzle of maple syrup
squeeze of lemon juice
splash of chicken broth
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Just grind everything up into a food processor. Taste and test until it is to your liking.

Now to make this bowl, just caramelize the onions in a skillet with some oil, toss in the mushrooms, let them cook together until nice and soft and fragrant, then toss in the kabocha and kale. Season with salt and pepper.

Then pile it up into a dish, drizzle the sauce all over, sprinkle on the goat cheese. Yum-o! (Damn Rachel Ray)

Honestly, maybe it was because I was hungry from my run, but this dish was out-of-the-world good. Seriously.

Hark the angels singing!

Kabocha, goat cheese, almond butter, caramelized onions. All my favorite in one dish!

All the flavors worked really well together. And the contrasts of textures! Freaking amazing.
Now this
dish, I never wanted to see the end…

Here’s another good news for today: My parents are arriving tomorrow afternoon from their mission trip!!!

If you look back to my previous post way back, you would remember that I promised my parents that I would gain 5 lbs while they were gone. Guess what?

I gained that 5 lbs, and MORE!! Bonus pounds, baby! Me thinks I deserve a special prize for this. Maybe a diamond white gold necklace. Or more suitably, every single kind of kitchen gadget I can find. Hm, gotta start browsing online!

Question of the day: Do you think you have a good relationship with exercise? What is your favorite part about exercising?