Sweet salty and refreshing

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Did I mention that I had begun writing about my experience in anorexia? Well, reflecting back each memory, meditating on it, and writing it down have so far been incredibly therapeutic and beneficial to me. Especially since I am taking a step back to view each section of my ED struggle as part of a larger and broader context, I found myself…viewing things in a different perception, with deeper insight.

I don’t need to reiterate how awful and abhorrent eating disorder is. Anyone who takes a look at my sallow complexion, my jutting cheekbones, and my thinning, flat hair can tell how undesirable this disease is. And have you ever met a happy anorexic? That two words are an oxymoron in itself. Most likely you wouldn’t even really notice an anorexic person (unless she/he is really painfully emaciated) because she/he would have withdrawn herself from all social circles. You never almost see a smiling anorexic unless 1) She’s smiling for the camera, “say cheese~” or 2) She met her calorie restriction goals for the day. Hell, it was only until recently as I laughed out loud with my friends that it hit me that I had not laughed that freely for years. Strike that – I had not laughed for years, period.

Yes, anorexia is definitely loathsome, unattractive, and abominable. But you know what? If given the chance to change things, I would still opt to leave things the way they are now.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re starting into the screen, jaw dropped in aghast, thinking, Oh, no, poor her has finally lost it, all those excessive amount of eggs must have finally made her loony! But hear me out.

I believe nothing is coincidental. Everything happens for a reason, everything is under God’s control, and that there are many things which we humans with our third-dimension minds cannot ever understand in God’s grander scheme of plan. So yes, I do believe there is a reason why God let me go through all the struggles and pain of an eating disorder. For despite all the unpleasant consequences of it, it has also brought me tons of blessings. In a way, my eating disorder is a blessing in disguise. Let me just list out a few things I gained from ED:

I have gotten closer to God. I have realized how utterly weak and helpless I am without Him, and how much I need Him.
My relationship with my parents have gotten so much closer and intimate. I love them more than ever, and they understand and empathize me more.
I realized how incredibly loved and blessed I am. All the care and concern and love showered on me by my friends and family, their constant encouragements and comforts have touched me so much that I have totally changed the way I view my relationships.
I am unable to judge and look down on others now. I used to be arrogant and judgmental, but after realizing my own weaknesses and inabilities, I am no longer able to judge other for their own flaws and imperfections.
I have discovered the absolute importance of health. You can have an IQ of Einstein, but if you don’t have a healthy body to effectively use your brain and knowledge, what’s the use? God gave me responsibility over this body, and I tend to treat it well and make full use of its potential!
I used to be the most self-absorbed bitch. Okay, I can still be pretty selfish, but I am starting to care and commiserate with others more. In fact, I now have a life mission: to be healed completely from this mental disorder, and so be able to help many other people who went through similar struggles as me.

These are just a few of the many blessings I have received from my eating disorder. Yes, even with the worst situation, you can always find a few positive things out of it. You know why I love foods with the sweet and salty combination? Because if it’s just all sweet, it becomes sickening and saccharine after the first few bites, and if it’s just all salty, well, it’s just unbearable. But combine the two together, and you’ve got yourself the perfect blend…something interesting, something adventurous, something different, something satisfying. Same so with life.

I’m going all preachy again, but just wanted to suggest to you that no matter how bad your situation seems to be right now, as long as you are willing to search with a positive mind, you can always discover the silver lining in the stormy cloud. Remember that saying, What doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger? So true.

Right. Have I bored you to tears yet? On to the lighter and tastier part of this post…The eats!

I’m so excited to share today’s lunch with you, because it’s the first time I cooked a meal with beans! I have always been wanting to give beans a try, given that it’s a nutrition powerhouse with complex carbohydrates and great protein. Plus, it’s dirt cheap! But for the most messed up reason, I was also quite reluctant because 1) ED thinks it’s too starchy and calorie-dense and 2) I felt pretty sure I would be disappointed with it. I’ve never been a bean-lover, so what makes me think I’ll like them now?

But for the sake of variety, and because I’ve been noticing in blogs how many people seem to enjoy beans, I bit back my hesitation and bought a small bag of dried black beans. I soaked them overnight and started brainstorming.

I didn’t want the familiar, usual bean dishes like black bean soup or bean salads. I wanted something a tad bit different, something that…well, spelled my name all over it. So of course I started playing around with ideas of breakfast…sweet…salty…By the next morning (today), I came up with: Black bean and Pumpkin Pancakes with Coconut.

I cooked the soaked overnight beans until tender, seasoned them with salt, then pureed half a cup of the cooked black beans with half a cup of pumpkin, some vanilla and cinnamon into a thick, creamy consistency. Then I added about a couple tablespoonfuls of whole beans to the puree, just for a mix of texture. I divided the mixture into two and rolled them into balls:

Then I flattened them into pancakes, and pan-fried them over a hot skillet until crispy on the outside. For the grand finale, a generous drizzle of maple syrup and showers of coconut snow:

Does that look amazing or what? The interplay of fragrances from the pumpkin, the cinnamon, the black beans, the syrup and the coconut…Oh glorious beans, how could I ever have doubted your brilliance? I am really liking beans now. I still have a lot of leftovers left though. Anyone have any suggestions on how to prepare them?

These pancakes were both sweet and savory and I loved the hidden crunch of the whole beans amidst the creamy pumpkin/black bean puree. The coconut added a whole new tropical depth to the dish.

Actually, these are not your average pancakes. There are no fluffiness or lightness in these cakes; in fact they are really dense and rich. Maybe more like a burger, but I’m calling them pancakes because that sounds more appealing to me. Hey, I created it, I name it. And I want them to be pancakes. So there.

I munched messily on my pancakes with a crunchy, refreshing side of carrots, cucumbers, and celery with a dollop of homemade ketchup:

Now, a couple of you asked why my cheese pancakes for afternoon snack were green. Well, they’ve always been green, but I guess you couldn’t see that because the exterior crust is nicely browned. But the batter is really green, because it’s flavored with pandan. Pandan is some sort of very frangrant plant used to flavor a lot of Southeast Asian dishes. Add that to your list of foods to try.

So here’s today’s afternoon snack:

And just to show you how the insides are green:

You can’t really taste the pandan that clearly, but I just love the fact that these pancakes are green. Green makes everything cooler. And these pancakes are certainly oh-so-cool.

Yay, long post finished. I enjoy writing each of my posts, but hope you have as much pleasure reading them as I do from writing them! And here’s today’s question of the day: Have you ever had something really bad happen to you, but later in reflection discover that there were some good to it too?