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What on Earth Is Ghee?

What on Earth Is Ghee?

What on earth is ghee you ask? Well, it’s clarified butter. Say what? Let me explain. Ghee is made from simmering butter until all the water evaporates and the milk solids settle at the bottom. These milk solids are then removed, leaving pure butter oil, aka ghee, one of my favorite kitchen staples.

unsalted ghee

Why do I love ghee? First of all, it tastes heavenly. Thiiink super concentrated butter flavor. Uhhh…YUM, right? But there are also eight billion other reasons why ghee is so rad. I’ll give you eight of them. Take a look:

  1. Ghee has a super high smoke point. 485 degrees Fahrenheit (!!!), which means it rocks for cooking at high temps. I roast and sauté all my vegetables in ghee, and I love to fry my eggs in it. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried ghee-fried eggs. For real. If you haven’t done it yet, get your act together.
  2. Ghee is not dairy. Yes, it’s made from butter, but it’s not butter per se. Since the milk solids present in regular butter have been removed, ghee is suitable for folks who are intolerant or sensitive to dairy, or for people who are simply trying to cut back.
  3. In addition to being diary-free, ghee is also gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30 approved.
  4. Ghee is high in medium chain fatty acids (so is coconut oil!) which are a remarkable energy source because they are readily utilized by the liver. If stellar energy isn’t enough for you, medium chain fatty acids have also been said to reduce abdominal obesity and fat storage. Fat that helps burn fat? Yes please!
  5. Ghee is incredibly nutrient-rich. It’s packed with vitamins A, D, E, and K. It also contains both Omega-3 and Omega-9 fatty acids.
  6. Ghee contains conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA. This baby deserves its own number because there’s just so much amazingness associated with it. CLA has been said to reduce fat, raise the metabolism, promote muscle growth, strengthen the immune system, and lower triglycerides and cholesterol. CLA is amazing for the gut, which is why it’s such an awesome immunity booster. Your immune system is powered by what’s in your gut! CLA has also shown anti-cancer potential (lung, prostate, and breast cancers); can help prevent heart disease; reduces inflammation; and is great for diabetics because it can improve the movement of glucose into cells, which helps lower insulin levels.
  7. Ghee is a very Sattvic food. Sattvic means “pure essence” in the Ayurvedic tradition. The Sattvic diet is also referred to as the yoga diet! How cool is that? The Sattvic diet is very nourishing and is characterized by foods that promote clarity, happiness, and peace of mind, while also being beneficial to the body.
  8. Taking a tablespoon of ghee in the morning is said to cleanse the body’s organs and dissolve toxic waste in the tissues. I’m all about “cleansing” methods like this. You don’t need to starve yourself to cleanse your body! Click this link for other intriguing Ayurvedic uses of ghee.
  9. Since it does not spoil easily, ghee does not need to be refrigerated. Yay for saving fridge space! Actually, you shouldn’t store ghee in the fridge, especially if you use it often (which you should, duh). When cold ghee is exposed to warm air, water will condense on the ghee, which can cause oxidation. Store your jar of ghee in a dark place. It’ll last a couple of months in your cupboard, or up to a year unopened in the fridge. Mine does not last a couple of months, because I go through it way faster than that!

I seriously (no, seriously) recommend that you do more research on ghee. I definitely plan to! If you have yet to try this delectable fat, go get some pronto! It’s sold at Whole Foods and most other health food stores. If you have tried it, what do you think? Do you love it as much as I do? Know of any other amazing benefits you want to share with me? I’m so curious. Spill!

Differences between the Best Electric Smoker and A Normal One

Differences between the Best Electric Smoker and A Normal One

With the growing innovations in technology, almost everything in our homes are digital. These things include kitchen appliances such as the electrical smoker.

While it can be found in many homes today, there are still people who opt for conventional way of smoking their food. To find out which you should go for, here are a few elements we will compare to find out which is ideal for you.

smoking meat at home

Time

The conventional smoker needs attention to maintain the temperature and the pressure unless you have all the needed time to tend the process, which will take a long time. Just putting coal and wood alone will take time since you need to keep it burning until the meat is done well.

Looking at the latest electric smoker reviews in 2016 can tell us the main advantages of these machines when compared to a conventional smoker. If you end up buying the best meat smoker, you are bound to find it time saving because it is digital. You only need to set the ideal time in cooking your meat and let it do its job alone. This gives you the chance to do other tasks while you wait for the time set to be over.

Taste

When it comes to taste, people argue about the distinction of the conventional smoker’s effect with the electric one. It is true that conventional smokers have a more distinct and smokier flavor. This is because of the wood or coal used, which adds that distinct flavor of smoked food.

However, with the newest smokers today, you can get the same taste without going through the time-consuming process. Previous users of these smokers claim that by setting the ideal temperature and pressure, the same flavor and tenderness are achieved the same to that of the traditional process.

Safety

The conventional type of smoker incorporates fire and burning coal. If you have children around, you might want to be more careful as they could run into the smoker while playing. If you want a safer machine, you can opt for the best electric smoker on the market. It uses electricity for the smoker to function.

There is no open fire involved but you should still be careful when handling electronics. Follow the instructions and specifications for these kinds of devices to keep it functioning well for a long time.

Maintenance and Storage

For the conventional smoker, you need to have a stock of wood or coal around. If not, you need to get them every time you want to have a smoked dish.

If this is the case, your smoked meals may not happen as often. If you want a machine that you can use anytime, you should buy the best electric smoker. Because it does not need coal or wood, you can just stay at home and cook a delicious meal without going out to buy the needed materials.

Digital smokers come in varied shapes and sizes. Since there are no more wood or coal needed, the smoker is now made more compact, which means you can do the smoking on table tops. As soon as you are finished using it, you can clean it and store it in smaller spaces.

In contrary, conventional smokers come with space for the coal and wood to burn so it is bulky. In storing it, you need a bigger space or you may want to store it away unless it is needed.

It is clear from many electric smoker reviews that it is more convenient to use these machines when compared to the conventional ones. However, finding one won’t be easy. You need to look for a high quality smoking machine that will have all the features that are beneficial your family.

When you are wanting to find the best possible smoker for your needs, you need to prioritize the aspect of safety it offers. Now you can have delicious smoked food anytime you want.

Taking Back My Power

Taking Back My Power

Hi! Wow, this week has started off on a pretty profound note. Yesterday I was followed around from breakfast to dinner by a wonderful guy named Chris James from ABC News Nightline, and I got to meet the fabulous and even-more-gorgeous-in-person Jordan Younger of The Balanced Blonde. We’re going to be featured together in a Nightline segment on orthorexia, which I could not be more thrilled about. This disorder is something I’ve suffered with for a very long time, and I want more than anything to spread awareness about it. It’s my dream to be a voice in the eating disorder community, and to be of support to those who are struggling. So many people know nothing about orthorexia, even some of the people who have it. It breaks my heart that so many “healthy” people in this world are suffering in silence, all the while causing the health they’ve worked so hard for to slowly deteriorate. Ironic, isn’t it?

I will speak more about the segment when I know when it’s going to air, but one thing I want to touch briefly on today is the concept of labels. Jordan wrote about this topic in her most recent blog post, and we talked about it a lot when we met yesterday afternoon. I experienced a disturbing realization in the midst of our heart-to-heart: I am label crazy. Whether that label is vegan, paleo, gluten-free, or even health foodie doesn’t matter. What matters is that I turn labels to define who I am, and that’s not healthy, even if the diet itself is wholesome in its own right. I use labels as a means to restrict. I turn to them to unburden my mind from decision making, to ease the pressure of having too many foods to choose from. I tend to not want that power because, when given it, I don’t trust myself to make the right choices. I put all my trust in a label. I need a label to tell me what I’m allowed to eat and what’s forbidden from passing through my lips. When I do this, it only fuels my eating disorder, because there is no restrictive diet that I am able to do healthily. I may be able to sustain myself for a small time, but eventually I end up in destructive patterns.

This is definitely not true for everybody with an eating disorder (just look at all these inspiring Green Recovery stories!), but I know now that it’s integral to my personal recovery process to not label my diet. Like I said, it doesn’t matter what the label is. I’ll end up taking it too far by overly restricting within the confines of an already limited diet. Take veganism, for example. Back when I called myself vegan, I was not doing the vegan diet justice. I was eating the same foods every day, and not consuming nearly enough variety to cover all my bases. It is possible to get enough protein on a vegan diet, but I was not. It is possible to be vegan and get adequate calcium, but I was not. It is possible to be vegan and be radiantly healthy, but alas, I was not.

Recently I’ve been calling myself paleo. You see? I’m a label whore. I simply swapped one label for another. After I my most recent stint with veganism ended, there was a short time when I ate “all foods” (in quotes because my idea of “all foods” is still rather narrow) in moderation, but that came to a screeching halt when I found out I have adrenal fatigue. I immediately started researching the best diet for adrenal health, and discovered that the paleo diet is touted to be most beneficial for my problems. Yay, a label! I was on that game like white on rice. Get me back to that warm, safe, cozy place where I don’t have to make any decisions for myself. Give me a “yes” list and a “no” list and I’ll rock it.

I realized yesterday that it would only be a matter of time before the paleo diet would fail me. Or rather, before I would fail the paleo diet. (That’s what happened with veganism.) Let’s be honest, there are only so many meals of meat and vegetables that I can tolerate. I have not been doing paleo correctly, because I am not comfortable eating the amount of meat and fat that most paleo eaters sustain themselves on. This is why labeling can be so detrimental to an orthorexic; we take an already restrictive diet and restrict it even more. We find more foods to become afraid of. I ate lunch at Cafe Gratitude yesterday with Chris from Nightline, and I felt dirty for eating brown rice and quinoa. I used to eat brown rice and quinoa all the time when I was vegan, but now that I’ve been calling myself paleo, they’ve become fear foods. It’s time to abolish this fear around particular food groups. With all the truly unhealthy food that exists in modern time, it is absolutely absurd that I would be afraid to eat quinoa. This is what labeling does to me. It creates unnecessary fear, which only exacerbates my orthorexia.

My eating disorder is more clear to me now than ever before. I understand that having no restrictions scares me because it puts all the power back in my hands. It doesn’t give me excuses to deny food I’m petrified of eating. It opens up so many possibilities to be “right” or “wrong” with what I eat. Well, I’m taking my power back. If I’m ever going to recover from my orthorexia, which I am now solidly determined to do, I’m going to need that power, because it’s that power that will allow me to listen to my body and honor what it truly wants. My orthorexia has detached me from my body’s wants and needs; it has removed me from my intuition. Intuition is so important when it comes to eating. Do not dissociate from it. Intuitive inclinations should be listened to and respected.

I’m always going to have a propensity toward healthy eating. That’s simply how I am. I’m passionate about health and nutrition. Allergy-friendly baking has also become a huge passion of mine lately. I find working with alternative ingredients to be fun and challenging. I don’t have to give that up simply because I’m allowing myself to eat gluten again. Life doesn’t have to be about this or that, all or none, one or the other. I can eat a little bit of gluten and still bake gluten-free treats. I can use eggs in my baking but also enjoy making raw vegan goodies. I can eat a vegan lunch and a paleo dinner in the same day. I can be an overall healthy person but still eat some popcorn and candy at a movie theater if I want to. I don’t need a label to tell me how to eat. All I need is my intuition.

vegan sugar cookies

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…

Let’s rewind to one of my favorite lessons of childhood, shall we? It’s something we all learned during that stage of life when our verbal filters were not so…filtery yet. When we didn’t think twice about loudly exclaiming that someone is overweight, that Sally’s lunch is stinky, or Bobby’s shoes are ugly. When it was second nature to call our brother “butthead” for no good reason (or in some cases, like mine, for very valid reasons), or tell our sister that her finger-painting looks like poop. When my brother and I were in these filter-formative years, my mother engrained in us the phrase most mothers attempt to engrain in their children:

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

As children, the not-so-friendly remarks that slid off our tongues usually (unless you were a real bully) fell between the lines of offensive at worst and laughably innocent at best. As adults we are much smarter. We have broader vocabularies. We know what it feels like to be put down. We know what’s nice and what’s not nice to say to another person, which words will sting and scar, which words will embarrass and demean. That’s why it’s so awful when adults act like children. We are not children. We should know when to keep our negative remarks to ourselves.

At what point in our lives do we begin to forget (or neglect) what our mothers taught us? That if we don’t have much good to say, then it’s best to say nothing? This is one of the most valuable and underrated lessons we learn in our entire lives. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. I call BS on that one. Hateful words do hurt, and they hurt badly. You know what they don’t do? Absolutely anything positive. They are completely unnecessary, which is why speaking no words at all is better than spewing hate.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I post a ton of food photos. What you may or may not know is that for a time, I was fully vegan. I gained a lot of vegan followers during that time. Since starting this new blog, I changed my old Instagram name and deleted all my past photos. They promoted my old blog, and I want everything to now promote Of Mouth and Mind. I am no longer vegan, and though I have huge respect for the vegan community, I am not ashamed to no longer be vegan. It’s my personal decision and I stand by it.

Yesterday I posted a photo of a meal I made with organic grass-fed ground beef. I soon received this comment from a vegan: #meatisnothealthy. I went through a few emotions (and a few potential responses) before writing back to him, then ultimately decided to take the high road and respond respectfully. He came back with a long comment about how my health issues are not an excuse to not be vegan, how veganism is the only hope for the planet, and how I should not tag my pictures with the hashtag healthy if they have meat in them. He later deleted this little Insta-essay, but even so, this man is the perfect example of why we should not speak unless we have something kind or constructive to say.

Did his comments turn me vegan again? Of course they didn’t. Did he think they would? I highly doubt it. His words did nothing but hurt me. Do not get me wrong; I love the vegan community. I highly respect their passion, their commitment to their passion, and their good intent. With that said, it’s vegans like this that give the whole lot of them a bad name. It’s remarks like his that drive omnivores further away from veganism, rather than draw them toward it. By advocating veganism in such a negative manner, it works directly against the vegan movement. If a person has nothing nice to say, he or she should do us all a favor and not say anything at all.

Jordan Younger of The Balanced Blonde relates all too well to what I’m talking about here, and so does Carrie Forrest of Carrie on Living. When they recently came out as no longer being vegan, they received a slew of hateful comments. I read some of these comments when they were still fresh, and since I had recently made the same decision that Jordan and Carrie had made, I could easily feel their pain. What makes it all the more saddening is that with a little more compassion from others, their pain could have been made so much less. The hurtful comments they received served no purpose other than to make them feel badly about their choices. Vegans should promote their beliefs in a positive light on their own pages instead of negatively promote them on other people’s pages. All that does is spread hate, and veganism is supposed to be about compassion. (Side note: What I’m saying in this post goes for anyone with an opinion, not merely vegans. I’m specifically talking about veganism because of its relevance to my life.)

There are reasons why people such as Gena Hamshaw of Choosing Raw, and Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows, are selling cookbooks to both vegans and non-vegans across America, why their blogs have followers of all dietary preferences. I may not be vegan, but I can’t wait to make some of the recipes in Gena’s book! (And Angela’s book, once I purchase it!) Would I have bought it if the pages were filled with anti-omnivore commentary? Definitely not. By being such an openhearted and accepting person, Gena is opening the gates for a multitude of omnivores to connect with veganism. Gena and Angela are no less passionate than any other vegan, but these women don’t shame others for their personal choices. They promote their beliefs without putting the rest of us down. If all vegans were this way, there wouldn’t be nearly as wide of a gap between omnivores and herbivores. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

I don’t believe the man who commented on my photo is a bad person. I believe he’s a passionate person. I just wish he had the sense to use that passion in veganism’s favor, to not attack when unprovoked, to keep quiet when he has nothing nice to say. I know Carrie felt my pain when she saw the rude comment on my Instagram photo. The sweet comment she left me afterward filled my heart with so much warmth. Little remarks of kindness can have just as big of an impact as little remarks of hate, but the impact is one of positivity.

There are plenty of plant-based foodies who still follow me on Instagram even though I’m no longer vegan, such as Terri Green of The Banana Chronicles, Karissa Bowers of Vegan A La Mode, Andrew Olson of One Ingredient Chef, and the previously mentioned Gena Hamshaw of Choosing Raw. Our diets are no longer aligned, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any overlap. That doesn’t mean we can’t respect one another for living our lives the way we each see fit. That doesn’t mean we can’t still get along, or remain dear friends. It’s vegans like these extraordinary, inspiring, and overwhelmingly compassionate individuals who keep me connected to the vegan world, a world that has such incredible potential to spread love.

Let us not perpetuate a war that need not exist at all, and let us all remember (and I mean all of us–vegan or not) what our mothers taught us as children: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Competing with Your Former Self

Competing with Your Former Self

I think Teddy Roosevelt was such an inspiring leader. I frequently think of his quotes when I find myself caught in a comparison trap. They’re splashed all over Pinterest, and that’s because most of them are so true. Like, so true. Everyone can relate to them.

With my adrenal fatigue, I’ve cut back a lot on exercise. Even before finding out about my adrenals, I was already cutting back, but now I’m really giving myself a break. This past week I took yoga four times, and it felt so good. Why did I never realize this before? I found a teacher whose class I’m pretty much obsessed with. After taking it, I feel so peaceful and alive. He teaches six mornings a week, and I’m so excited to be doing something new with my body.

Yoga has never been a constant in my life; it’s always been a sporadic form of exercise for me. I have a history of abusing cardio. I love a good heart-pumping cardio session (I even got certified in Spinning because I love it so much!), but our relationship is definitely not all healthy. Even though I love cardio and always have, part of it always feels forced. Always. I’m very all-or-none. It’s extremely difficult for me to take an indoor cycling class and tell myself, “Just do what you can today.” Usually I tell myself, “Come on, push harder! Don’t waste the workout! You can do better than this!”

love yoga

It’s perfectly fine to give yourself healthy motivation; I have nothing against that. Setting mindful goals or aiming to beat a personal record can be fun and challenging. With that said, when having a competitive mindset becomes detrimental to your emotional health, when it becomes a flat-out bully and forces you to push your body too hard, then it’s no longer healthy; it’s a problem. I’ve had this mindset for most of my life. Not with others, but with myself. I can’t use a heart rate monitor because if I do, every time I exercise I’ll feel pressured to burn more calories than I did at my last workout. I can’t weigh myself because I’ll want to see a lower number on the scale every time. (I gave up the scale for good on Easter of this year!)

I don’t even need to see numbers to be competitive with myself. I’ll judge my workouts based on time spent, sweat expelled, and rate of perceived exertion. There is nothing that can stop me from pestering myself to be better than I used to be, from berating myself for being “lazier” or “weaker” than I was a day, a week, several months, or even a year prior. Physically, it has felt great to cut back on the cardio lately. Mentally, it has been difficult. I think back to when I used to kill an hour on the Stairmaster every morning, or when I used to take an indoor cycling class five days a week, or when I used to do cardio and a full weight routine every morning, and I’ll get down on myself.

For someone who “loves” to exercise so much, the love has quite a dark side, doesn’t it? Competing with yourself can be just as dangerous as competing with others. It completely steals your joy. I really do love physical activity, but that love gets dampened by my tendency to go to extremes. I’m on a self-love mission now. I’m not only cutting back on exercise to help heal my adrenals; I’m cutting back to help heal my mind and soul, to set myself up for a more sustainable way of life.

This is why I’m swapping my beloved indoor cycling classes for yoga sessions. There is no competition with myself when I do yoga. Yes, I have a goal to get stronger, to get more flexible, to be able to hold more difficult poses one day, but there is no saying to myself, “You did better last time.” There is no telling myself to pedal faster or increase the resistance. In yoga, I let my body be. I do what I can. It feels so liberating, so freeing, so overall fantastic.

Change is inevitable. Our bodies do not stay the same. I may only be twenty-three, but I can no longer sustain my wellbeing on the amount of cardio I did four years ago. Actually, I think my history of abusing my body is partly to blame for my adrenal fatigue today. Over the years I’ve stressed myself both physically and mentally, and I just can’t take it anymore. I can’t do what I used to, and you want to know something? I don’t want to. That part is key; I don’t even want to. I don’t want to label my days as “good” or “bad” based on how hard I exercise. I don’t want to value my self-worth on how many calories I expel. I don’t want to feel like I have to eat less because I skipped a workout. That’s not healthy, and I want to be healthy. So even though I’m still plagued by these thoughts, I know they will fade as I ignore them. They’re already fading. I know that in the long-run, cutting myself some slack is going to be the best thing for my health.

Negatively comparing your current self to your former self will only rob you of joy. If you’re going to do it, make sure it’s in a positive light. I’m still going to take the occasional indoor cycling class. Like I said, I truly love Spinning. But from now on, whenever I take a class (and this includes yoga), I’m going to do it because I want to, not because I feel like I have to. My new favorite yoga teacher taught a class on Saturday morning that I could have easily gone to. That morning I caught myself thinking, “You went Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Why can’t you go today? You should go. You didn’t exercise at all yesterday.” But I didn’t go. I don’t want to take any joy out of my newfound love for yoga by forcing myself to go on days I’m not feelin’ it. Maybe one day I will want to do it every single day. Maybe I won’t. Either way, that’s okay, as long as I listen to my body.

spinning

I hope you listen to yours. Don’t feel like you can’t take a break because you never “used” to take breaks. Don’t be afraid to let go of something that no longer serves you, or has never served you. We can be our own best friend or our own worst enemy. Be your own best friend. Be intuitive, be compassionate, and be gentle. Let go. Do not be competitive. Comparison is the thief of joy.

Daily Struggles

Daily Struggles

Guys, I’m a little ashamed at my lack of responsibility when it comes to reasonable spending. Lately I’ve been paying four dollars a day on an eight-ounce latte. That’s fifty cents an ounce. I don’t know if I should be more embarrassed for paying four dollars for this tiny drink, or if Groundworks should be more embarrassed for charging that much. (I’m going to go with me, the careless consumer.) But, gah! It’s the damn hemp milk. They charge an extra seventy-five cents for it. If only there were a way for us (the health foodie society) to convince coffee shops to charge less for milk alternatives. You know, as a positive movement to discourage conventional dairy consumption. I realize this will likely never happen, but a girl can dream.

Orthorexia

As I’ve mentioned before, I have adrenal fatigue and thyroid problems, neither of which are made better by caffeine. I go back and forth between avoiding caffeine like the plague, and having it every single day. Obviously, I am in the latter phase at the moment. Since reintroducing all food groups back into my diet, I’ve been allowing myself this daily indulgence of a yummy latte. It’s all part of my move to abolish fear. I don’t want to be scared of coffee, even though I know it isn’t healthy for my adrenals. This might sound stupid, like I’m purposely exacerbating the dire state of my adrenal health, but in all honesty, my orthorexia is more important to me at the moment. I thoroughly enjoy my mid-morning hemp milk latte, and I’m at the point in my eating disorder recovery where I truly believe that the stress associated with fearing certain foods is worse for my health than actually eating said foods. My doctor told me he’s fine with me having one cup of organic coffee a day, so I’m going to let myself enjoy that luxury.

I won’t lie, though. I’ve been feeling guilty for drinking caffeine again, as if I suddenly no longer care about my health. I’ve been feeling this way about a lot of foods. My daily struggles have definitely increased since I’ve let go of all food restrictions. You would think that “allowing” myself all food groups again would make eating easier, but it has actually made it much harder for me. My short time on the paleo diet gave birth to a fear of grains, and now I can’t eat them without thinking to myself, “Wow Laura, are you trying to create inflammation?!” I also have a fear of dairy, which I’m trying to get over. We all know dairy isn’t good for us (I think that’s pretty well-established across the board), but even so, I don’t want to fear it. I want to be able to consume it in small amounts without making myself feel guilty.

Orthorexia is a tricky thing, because it seems that no matter what I eat, there is guilt involved. If it’s unhealthy, then I scold myself for not adhering to my dietary morals. If I choose to eat something “healthy” in lieu of what I’m really craving, then I berate myself for not just enjoying whatever it was I truly wanted. That’s one of my biggest struggles: not enjoying food. My orthorexia likes every meal to be mouthwatering. If it’s not finger-lickin’ delicious, then I feel ashamed for “wasting” calories, even if the meal was healthy. So what if a meal is both healthy and delicious? Obviously this is what I aim for with every meal, though oftentimes this, too, will lead to guilt. I’ll tell myself I ate too much of it, that my serving was twice the size a normal person would have eaten. With my mind alone, I will make myself feel sick, bloated, and fat.

Having all these food groups available to me has given me so much opportunity to choose the “wrong” thing. I constant second-guess my food choices, and am bombarded by my own health knowledge. It seems that nobody in the health food world eats everything these days. It feels to me as if those who eat grains don’t eat meat, those who eat meat don’t eat grains, nobody eats dairy, and those who don’t eat any of the aforementioned are the epitome of self-control. I realize this is not entirely true, that there are plenty of people who enjoy bits of everything and still consider themselves to be health foodies. However, as a person struggling with orthorexia, it’s extremely hard to not feel guilty for consuming what others are so successfully shunning. My orthorexia fixates on all the saintly eaters out there and mercilessly compares me to every one of them. It spits lines at me such as, “So and so would never eat what you just ate!” and, “You used to have her self-control.”

I struggle daily with all of this, but I am proud to say that I have not been obeying my eating disorder’s demands to straighten up. Every night it tells me to eat less tomorrow, to not eat any dairy tomorrow, to have a smaller breakfast tomorrow, to not snack between mealtimes tomorrow, to not eat dinner so late tomorrow. The list goes on. Tomorrow always holds the promise of more self-control, of the chance to slip back into the hands of my eating disorder. But I have not slipped back, nor do I want to. As hard as recovery is right now, I know that it will serve me well in the long run. My daily struggles will make me stronger. Their effects on me will lessen in time. I want all my ED recovery soldiers out there to know that you are not alone in this, that I’m struggling right here beside you, and that we can overcome our eating disorders together. Your daily struggles are proof of the positive changes you’re making to eradicate your ED. If you feel uncomfortable, sit with it. Do not fall back into your eating disorder as a way to gain comfort. Sitting with discomfort will train you in breaking free from your ED. Every time your eating disorder tells you to do something (or tells you not to do something), and you ignore it, you’re one step closer to freedom. Feel your daily struggles. Get through them. No emotion is permanent.