Passing Over the Good Stuff

I’m Jewish. So … tonight we celebrate something weird.

First, we celebrate our emancipation from slavery in Egypt.  Not so weird.

Second, we celebrate that time when God decided to kill all of the first born sons of Egypt, sparing all the Jews. To tell us apart, God advises us Hebrews (and Shebrews) to spread blood all over our doors with a lamb shank. Then God goes on a GTA style killing spree, “Passing Over” the first born Jewish boys and killing only the gentiles. How nice.

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Herman’s face when I told him God only spared the Jewish puppies.

Let’s Talk About Food

…Yada yada yada… God is weird, and here we are countless years later commanded to dine on salty eggs, horseradish, and flavorless crackers the size of large plates.  Score one for God in the WTF department.

No matter what we’re commemorating, the story eventually gets lost as culture and tradition (AKA FOOD) take the spotlight.

…At some point God killed all the Egyptian babies and then we spent some years wandering in the dessert. Is it so wrong to suggest that God’s killing spree and the act of eating chocolate matzoh until your stomach explodes are tenuosly connected, at best?

Passover versus Passover

Holidays are a nice time to eat together with family and friends. They can also derail your weight loss efforts, or provide a convenient excuse for days of overeating.  For many, there is the added pressure of relatives who insist you “have a little more.”

Passover, in particular, is not known for the delicious food. Due to the many food restrictions  that apply during this seven day period, we eat many specialized foods that are only available during this time of year. We might even justify eating vast quantities of “Kosher for Passover” desserts even if we don’t normally eat desserts, and even if those desserts don’t taste very good. We’re only human, and the “limited time only” aspect gets us. Every time.

But ultimately, the choice is yours! There are TWO WAYS you can use the word “Passover” at feast tonight.

Option one: Passover the [Insert food item here]

In this case, you want to consume a comestible, but it is across the table. Examples include:

  • “Hey you – Passover the macaroons”
  • “Grandma, could you Passover the salt please?”
  • “Would anyone mind Passing over that flourless dessert?”

Option two: Passing over [insert poor food choice here].

In this case, you pass over a second helping, or even a first helping of a most likely gross tasting Passover dessert. Examples include:

  • “Eh – I’ve already had enough tsimis. I’ll pass over that second helping.”
  • “Oh, thank you. But I’ll pass on the chocolate matzoh.  Look at all this yummy fruit.”

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All of this is just a long-winded way of getting to a few fairly obvious points.

  1. Eventually, everything turns into an excuse to eat food. If you don’t have an excuse to eat more than you should, you will find one.
  2. That’s OK – it’s our human nature to feast. Humans like feasting, and that’s OK. You can let go every once in a while on a holiday. No one gets fat because of one Passover meal.
  3. On the other hand, the choice is yours. If you don’t want to make the hard sacrifices that fitness often requires, that’s fine. But recognize that the choice is yours. Don’t say “oh today’s not a good day to diet – it’s Passover.” You can make good choices at Passover, or you can make bad choices at Passover. No one is holding you down to the chair and force-feeding you lamb shanks. Unless of course, someone is holding you down to the chair and force-feeding you lamb shanks.
  4. You can politely decline. Jewish people want to feed you. But you are in control of what goes in your mouth. It’s nice if you try a little bit of things that people cook, and show some appreciation. But it’s also nice for people to respect your choices. You can politely decline whatever you don’t want to eat, and that won’t make you a heathen. If it offends people, oh well. That’s their problem – unless you make it your problem.

To me, most Passover food tastes as weird as its origin story. So I’d rather not overeat at the Passover table.

I don’t think God likes gluttony, and I don’t think it’s important to him that you overeat. I  believe that God favors those who take steps towards their own self-actualization and happiness.

Is a little overeating on a holiday OK? Sure.
Is a lot of overeating on a holiday OK? Sure.

Everything is OK, provided that you are making the choice that YOU want to make.

As for me? I’ll be “passing over” some things, and taking second second helpings of others.

Happy Feasting.

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For All the H8ers

I’d like to do a quick “real talk” piece.

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For the past 2 years, I have worked immensely hard to undo the amount of weight I managed to put on by being careless with myself and my needs. Recently, I have been able to “normalize” my life for the most part but the first year was hardly an awesome time. I gave up my social life 100%, focusing entirely on my goal. When I wasn’t working, I was working out, planning my meals for the week or getting a healthy nights sleep. I wasn’t going out to eat or for drinks with friends, because that meant taking in calories and wasting valuable workout time which would set me back or delay my progress. For a 27 year old girl, this made me a true lame-ass.

During the course of that lame time, I lost 100 lbs. While I still feel I have a long road ahead of me in terms of toning up and getting in shape, I do commend myself as the loss of general mass is now behind me. I have been committed to working out, trying new exercises and eating right to be the healthiest and fittest version of myself. (Of course, there is now the occasional evening reserved for wine and Chinese food, too.)

Now, I get it, when you look at my before and after pictures (which I will save for another day) you will think: “Wow, she is completely different!” And thats a good thing! Thanks for thinking that! I DO feel completely different: I am mentally and physically improved! Hooray! Right? Yes! BUT! (and there is always a “but-clause” to good things, isn’t there?) I can’t tell you how many people have been throwing madd shade my way in the form of implications and quite obvious accusations that I am a success story because I used some kind of crutch or have developed some kind of eating disorder. Many have asked in an accusing tone: “What did you take or do to lose that? There is NO WAY you did that all THAT FAST through just diet and exercise.”

Now here’s the weird part: I actually did!

I eat when I am hungry, I don’t when I am not. I am thoughtful in what I choose to eat. I developed a healthy relationship with food. We like each other now, and help each other out. I am diligent in being active and challenging/pushing the limits of my body constantly, and therefore, constantly impressed with how strong my body can be if I allow it the opportunity to work for me. YET, in way too many casual chit-chat situations, people have made comments that throw me back to the horrific and awkward days of middle and high school: days I praised the higher powers that be that they were over with: days when peers would make comments, some more pronounced than others, about how I was about to purge my McNuggets. And simply put, purging a ‘nug just ain’t my thing.

I thought in adult life you get past these comments and judgements, but I guess not. I find myself cautiously eating my delightful cobb salad knowing that taking too few bites could lead them to believe I’m anorexic and taking too many bites means I am bulimic and plotting my direct route to the porcelain throne.

This is distressing. We are all adults here.

I remember reading an article about an interview with a Victorias Secret model during the Victorias Secret Fashion show this year. The reporter asked the model what food she is eager to gorge on once the show is over. Insulted, the model pointed out that she doesn’t live by starving herself only to binge eat later when she no longer has to look beautiful for an audience. It was powerful, as the reporter, a beautiful woman herself, probably realized that she also feels the pressure of having to be “on” all the time in her job and how invasive questions about each persons journey to achieve and maintain health and wellness can be pretty negative and, well, judg-ey.

So listen here, folks – here is my story and I am sticking to it: I launched into obesity, just so happened to notice it and ever since have been working my ass off to ensure I never slide into bad habits again. Maybe you feel you are complimenting me when you say I am “too thin” but as a 125 lb, female at 5’6″, I am not in the danger zone and you’re just making me feel weird.

Let’s reel this all in because you are probably now all like, “What the hell is she rambling on and on about?” Here’s the short answer: These comments hurt and they’re just terribly rude. I have far from taken the “easy way out.” And, rather than honor my work, or throw some positive vibes my way, I constantly encounter people who have has just a little too much hater-ade.

Relax everyone! We are all here to support each other and lift each other up – especially us women. Come on, we are better than that!

Lastly, if you do see someone who is actually struggling with an eating disorder, what good do comments do anyway? This is a person who really needs help and support, not comments. Comments is likely what got them to where they are in the first place. Realize that body image issues are real, everyone, even the fittest most beautiful woman in all the land feels self conscious at times. We need to respect each other and ourselves in order to success and promote the success of others.

Be kind everyone,

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Three Ways to Use Reddit for Weightloss

Reddit is confusing and weird. To the uninitiated, Reddit is about as charming as an oil slick. As far as social networks are concerned, my roommate sums it up perfectly as “the cool one.”

In terms of overall troll volume, Reddit puts the collected works of Scandinavian folklore to shame. These purveyors of wanton cruelty possess not only an impressive ability to conjure the most unnecessary opinion humanly possible, but also the baffling desire to share such opinion in matters that don’t concern them.

How to Use Reddit for Good

Because Reddit will greet you with the warm embrace of a massive forest fire, it might not seem like a great place for fitness tips and motivation. But don’t be scared!

The truth is that Reddit is home to some excellent (and highly unique) forums which can serve as wonderful resources on your fitness journey. The following sub-reddits are mostly troll-free, and some have features which I haven’t found elsewhere on the internet.

  1. Progress Pics

    This sub-reddit allows you to view and post progress pictures, but it also has a really cool feature. Look to the right of the page, and you will see buttons where you can click on “Male” or “Female”

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Click the appropriate sex, and the field expands (magically) as follows: unspecified.png

You can search before and after pictures by sex and height, which means that you can easily browse through hundreds of photos of people who approximate your own stats. You can often talk to those people, read about them, and learn what they did to lose weight.

You can also post your own photos to help others. I posted my own photo a little while back, along with a short description of my journey. In response, I received dozens of kind comments, many from people with similar stats as my own thanking me for the inspiration. Some people asked me questions about what I did specifically to lose weight. All questions were summarily ignored! #kidding

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My post on progress pics.

2. Lose it

Lose it is a more general forum, where you can ask questions, post pictures, and discuss a number of fitness and weight loss related topics. You can also participate along with thousands of other people in daily, weekly and monthly challenges, which can be found on the right side of the page:

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I’m not much of a tracker, but if you do track or if you want to try it – this is a great resource. In total, over 339,000 pounds have been lost with the help of the Lose it subreddit!

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3. Veg Recipes and Paleo Recipes

Veg Recipes

Even if you eat meat, veg recipes is an excellent forum to find interesting and delicious vegetarian recipes, which are often quite simple and healthy. With a community of around 37,000 people – there are constantly new recipes to try.

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Ok, so maybe stay away from that last one.

Unlike the previous two  forums, Veg Recipes is NOT specifically for weight loss. But because I’ve found so many wonderful recipes here, it’s definitely worth checking out. Challenge yourself to make a new vegetarian recipe every week! Healthy food does not need to be bland food.

Paleo Recipes

Despite being a smaller community of less than 5,000, Paleo Recipes also has a lot to offer, ranging from breakfasts to snacks and desserts.  Here are just a few examples of what you can find there right now:

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In Sum

The above forums are just a few resources on Reddit that I use regularly and love.  There are so many more out there despite the fact that Reddit is, for the most part, a hell hole.

If you’re new to Reddit, you can avoid trolls, meanies, and negative nancies by starting out with the links above. Then, if you enjoy any particular forum, you can find links to related  sub-reddits on the right hand side of the page.

You can also use Reddit’s search feature to look for key words, but be wary – you might end up in troll territory. Or in a forum with very few users that is rarely updated.

If you have any sub-reddit you love, please do share.

..And remember, don’t feed the trolls!

**UPDATE**: Reddit Trolling has officially gotten so bad, that I just got Reddit trolled while sharing this post on Facebook.

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In any event, he’s right. Just the other day, I spent about four hours in the Reddit black hole after coming across a post about husbands who cheat on their wives. This topic has zero relevance to my life, but in any event – during that four hour period, not a single slice of pizza was consumed. Success.

Happy Redditing :]

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KEFIR!

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jw;ildjas;od;aksd;lk!!! I love Kefir.

I just bought Kefir for the first time in about a million years, and I want to slap myself in the face for every minute of my life that I wasted not drinking it.

For those unfamiliar with Kefir, it’s a fermented drink made with “kefir grains.”  Kefir is full of gut-heathy probiotics, and milk kefir tastes like sour milk in the best possible way.

Fun fact: Traditionally, kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway. The bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed. #AncientEfficiency

Benefits of Milk Kefir:

Ideally, you can make your own Kefir using kefir grains or a starter kit. That, my friends, is some next level shit.  And as a next level person, I plan on trying that soon.

For now, I’ll continue to fulfill my lazy destiny by purchasing this brand (the only brand) at my local grocery store.  Check out all the Live! Active! Cultures!

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This drink has more culture than I do.

Unlike most probiotic foods that I force down my gullet (ahem ahem Kimchi), I actually enjoy Kefir because it tastes awesome and I feel good drinking it.

Drink on!

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Food and Uncertainty

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Ambiguity intolerance is the tendency to perceive uncertain situations as threatening.

It makes sense – the unknown is scary. But some people have a harder time dealing with it than others.  And these people are more likely to suffer anxiety and depression, especially when faced with a particularly difficult stressor.

Uncertainty and Food

I believe that many disordered eaters suffer from ambiguity intolerance.

Have you ever turned to food to flood your brains with feel-good chemicals in order to avoid feelings of panic? Have you ever done this – even though nothing was wrong in that particular moment?

Fostering a Taste for Uncertainty

If you find yourself threatened by the unknown, fostering a healthier relationship with uncertainty might do wonders to decrease your anxiety.

Who knows, you might even develop a taste for uncertainty. This time next year you could be reading this post while wrestling a shark.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Focus on this hour, this minute, and this day. It’s only natural to feel overwhelmed by the whole entire future. Bring yourself into the present by focusing on what you can do right now. I know this is easier said than done. But try.
  2. Do things that scare you. You have to actively do things that scare you. It sucks, but you’ll (most likely) live. Last year, I jumped out of a freaking airplane! It was the worst thing ever.
  3. Improve a skill. Some people feel anxious because they have an overall feeling of never being good enough. But everyone is good at something. Take something you’re good at and get great at it. Your feelings of pride will spill over into every day life. See my post on pursuing your weird hobbies.
  4. Achieve a behavioral goal. Set a small behavioral goal for yourself, and achieve it. Like number three above, the good feelings will spill over into your every day life making you feel less anxious in general. You’ll also see that things aren’t so hard when you take them one step at a time.  Example: I will go to the gym every Tuesday and Thursday for the next two weeks.

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Dollars for Doctors

Here’s something a little different for today, courtesy of my lady pal Tami (who shared it yesterday on her Facebook wall).

It’s a website called Dollars for Docs.

Premise: Dollars for Docs is a search tool. It allows you to see how much $$ your doctor received from pharmaceutical and medical device companies during the period from August 2013 – December 2014.

As an aside: I have no problem with anyone receiving money from anyone. But knowledge is power.

Why I’m Sharing

This isn’t a fitness resource, per se. But as a right-wing hippie and arm-chair conspiracy theorist, I’m feeling obliged to relate this to current issues with our health care system  and general fitness.

A few (un)pleasant reminders:

  • Our fundamental assumptions about health and nutrition affect our habits (and those of future generations)
  • Our habits affect our fitness and health
  • Our culture and health care system affect our fundamental assumptions
  • Our culture and health care system are driven by forces other than a pure desire for good health

I’m not saying: your doctor is corrupt.

I am saying: that many doctors are driven by all the wrong incentives. Which isn’t necessarily their fault – because the whole system is driven by some bad incentives. (Incidentally – here is proof that bribing doctors works.)

Help Yourself

I don’t know about you, but I take the things my doctor tells me with a grain of salt. It’s not that I don’t respect their medical degree – it’s more that:

  • I’m not 100% confident that their medical degree represents the most up to date knowledge
  • I’m not 100% confident that their biases (conscious and unconscious) don’t interfere with their choices and recommendations
  • I’m not 100% confident that seeing me for 5 minutes gives them as much insight as my personal intuitions do

When it comes to surgery – I’ll take the doctor’s recommendation over my own.

But in a time when many doctors:

  • are out of shape themselves;
  • don’t sleep enough; AND
  • are a little too quick with the prescription pad

..I’ll be damned if I’ll take their general lifestyle advice without a healthy dose of skepticism.

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Life and….Cauliflower Fried Rice

I want to apologize for not being around lately. I’ve been super busy with family gatherings, work out/training, work… life in general!

Around 9:30 last night, I said to my husband, “I haven’t sat down yet and it’s almost time for bed.” That is mentally draining for me. I need some time to decompress or else I get anxious and impatient. Definitely the opposite of my usual bubbly self.

I didn’t get to meal prep this weekend (so sad) but Serge and I did accomplish one thing that’s been tearing at my soul: Spring cleaning!

We got rid of so much crap. I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders and even though the scale hasn’t moved down, I feel like I’ve dropped a ton of weight by getting rid of “things”.

Thanks for listening to my mini rant. I’ll get to the good stuff now.

My Mama and I go nuts over cauliflower, especially when they are so crispy right out of the oven! My Grandma recently nailed the whole cauliflower pizza thing (thanks Grandma for keeping the pizza dream alive!)…So you could say that cauliflower is sort of a big deal. I mean how can it not be a big deal? You can make rice, pizza, mashed “potato”, buffalo cauliflower bites, etc… etc…

So, making cauliflower rice isn’t hard. It’s just time consuming and you need to clean all the gadgets and stuff you use to make the rice. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Thanks to Green Giant and Target for making my life so much easier.

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Image taken from Green Giant (click link to see product info)

The only thing I got to make in advance this week was chicken cutlets… easy enough… fry them or bake them and you’re set.

People at work have been eating Chinese food this week and Serge ate Chinese food this weekend. It’s haunting me. I made cauliflower fried rice and thinly sliced a chicken cutlet on top.

I’m sure if you search the web you’ll find tons of recipes but I had zero patience and energy to do my research so I took my chances and did my own thing. Came out pretty awesome. Only problem is, I don’t have measurements for you.

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So heavenly looking… like it could almost be hash browns… mmm hash browns and eggs…  you’re welcome. another idea for ya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Bag of cauliflower rice
  • diced veggies (I used onions, garlic, mushrooms and scallions)
  • One egg
  • Protein of choice (I used chicken cutlets… you can do shrimp, tofu, beef, pork etc)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • EVOO
  • Soy Sauce
  • Optional *Hot sauce/ red pepper flakes

Directions:

  • Heat EVOO on skillet
  • Sautee veggies of choice
  • Cook cauliflower rice as directed on bag while veggies are cooking
  • Dump “rice” onto skillet
  • Add seasonings to taste
  • When cauliflower is cooked (I like mine extra crispy), crack an egg on top and mix all together
  • Add protein of choice

Yummy yummy yummy! This is my lunch for the next two days. I get to eat mock Chinese food without the extra calories and carbs and bathroom attacks (was that TMI? well, I don’t care… I know you all suffer from stomach issues after Chinese. WE ALL DO!)

 

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