Recovery Update: Struggling AND Making Progress?!

Hellooo there everybody! So. I know that a while ago I wrote a post telling you all about fear foods and overcoming the last few bits of my issues with food. Recently I have wanted to write a follow up, and I haven’t really been able to focus on any other posts but this one. Which means I am now writing it for you. Then I can get typing some other things for you as well.

It was very hard for me to admit that mentally I still struggle sometimes- because I genuinely love food, and love moving my body, and try to aim for balance. However, maybe 30-50% of the time I am not where I want to be, and I am not in a very balanced place. But I’m working on it. A lot has happened in the few months since that first post I wrote on the subject of fear foods, and I think that I’ve realised I have more to work on than I thought. So this is my update, which I’ve been planning to do for a long time but didn’t quite have the courage to, and so shall have to bullet pointed because I have way too much to tell you all…

The GOOD Stuff

  • Began attending counselling again, and a support group to help me finally tackle the mental aspects of ED. This has been a HUGE help, and having other people around me who get it, and who can help, is a great comfort.
  • Some fear foods I have tackled: sugar-free flavoured iced coffee, subway sandwiches, foods with refined sugar in them, pizza at a restaurant, a cinnamon bun, enchiladas made at home with some cheese on top (the cheese was the bit I was scared of), home-cooked pasta, hot chocolate, protein bars, food cooked by someone else….
  • Some of the above foods I have since been eating on a regular basis, some of them I discovered I didn’t actually like after having them a few times, or will only be eating very rarely if I truly fancy them because they weren’t as good as I imagined (hot chocolate, cinnamon bun). Some I discovered actually made me feel ill. These foods I made sure to try at least three times to check it was the food, then accepted it just didn’t agree with me (this was the protein bar, which I became scared of due to their still being an “unhealthy health food”. However, I’ve tried a few different brands and found some I do like- such as protein cookies- which I will buy again. Not as a health food, but just as a packaged cookie that I want to eat).
  • I began to try and scale hunger, and spot emotional hunger and eat according to the first. I also began eating what I fancied- well, trying to, things take time- and not trying to choose the “better” option.
  • Disrupted routines have taught me I could be a bit more flexible. Going home for Easter meant working with my family’s schedules too, and not doing my own thing all the time. It’s helped me see that maybe I could move my gym trips around a bit, or wait a bit longer to eat, or eat out sometimes. I won’t lie, these still aren’t things I relish putting into practice, but I know I can do them if I feel the need to.
  • I tried to do a “lean bulk”- it didn’t turn out so well. BUT! I learnt I can eat more than I thought, and that having done so my performance in the gym really went up. This upping portions was something that was still a tiny bit scary until then. As a result of doing so I upped my weights, I had more energy, I wasn’t thinking of food as much (when I began recovering weight-wise these things also happened, and so I took these as a good sign). And then I pushed it a bit too far and decide to stop with actively bulking, as you’ll soon see. I just wasn’t ready for it, and having tried it, I don’t think actively bulking is something I’m even interested in right now.

 

Annnnd the stuff that hasn’t gone so great (but which I now know I need to work on)…

Continue reading “Recovery Update: Struggling AND Making Progress?!”

Raspberry, Pear & Chocolate Overnight Oats

IMG_20170421_091924_883I tend to go through phases with breakfasts. The porridge phase (okay, that one never ends), the pancake phase, the eggs on toast phase, the shredded wheat phase…and the overnight oats phase. This is one of my favourite variations on overnight oats. You’ll find plenty of recipes for them under the food section of the blog, though the combination of sweet pear, bitter dark chocolate (we’re using cacao, though if you really like things much sweeter you can either add maple syrup, or use a cocoa powder / hot chocolate mix instead), and juicy, sharp raspberries is amazing. Any overnight oats recipe is ideal for mornings when you know you’ll be in a rush, and short on time to make something. Continue reading “Raspberry, Pear & Chocolate Overnight Oats”

Lemon & Raspberry Pancakes with Cashew Butter & Yoghurt “Cream”

IMG_20170419_074354_424-2I feel like lemon and raspberry is a classic combination. It’s one of my favourites. So obviously I wanted to showcase this in pancake form- and top it all off with a creamy, sweet, nutty cashew butter and Greek yoghurt cream.

I used coconut flour, as I was given this a while ago, never used it- and it goes out of date later this year. However, feel free to use plain or self raising flour, but you will need to reduce the milk by a couple of tbsp. (as coconut flour is richer in fibre, and so apparently  requires more liquid to form a batter). If I didn’t have the coconut flour I would be using self-raising flour, as I don’t see the point in going out to buy expensive ingredients that you’re only going to use for one recipe. Don’t feel the need to go out and buy it specifically for this is what I’m saying, though if you feel you’d experiment with it a bit more regularly than I do, then go for it- I hear that it’s great in baking.

Hope you enjoy the recipe!

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour mixed with 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 6tbsp almond milk
  • Zest and juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1 large handful frozen raspberries
  • 50g Greek yoghurt
  • 1tbsp smooth cashew butter
  • 1.5tsp maple syrup

Method

  • Mix together the coconut flour, cinnamon and baking powder, with the egg, milk, 1/2tsp maple syrup, and lemon zest.
  • Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray and bring up to a medium heat. Add the batter a little at a time to form pancakes. Onto each pancake crumble some frozen raspberry, then flip and cook the other side.
  • Plate up. Beat together the Greek yoghurt and cashew butter. Top the pancakes with the mixture, some frozen raspberries, and the remaining maple syrup.

Raspberry-Apple Cashew Butter Pancakes

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Lately I have been fancying pancakes. When I was little we made pancakes pretty much every weekend- Scotch drop scones are actually what we made. My mum was often the one who made them with us, and as that’s the pancake recipe she prefers, my brother and I grew up feeling these were proper pancakes. They’re small, fluffy, and much more “stackable” than crepes. These remind me a lot of those pancake-driven mornings.

This was the first time ever that I’ve ever used the flour in a recipe, and I actually quite like it (I’ve used the Seven Hills one here). There’s a subtle coconut-y taste and texture. Not as fluffy as regular pancakes, but really delicious. If you want mega-fluffy pancakes then I’d say use self-raising flour and omit 2-3tbsp of the milk (coconut flour has a higher fibre content, which mean you need more milk to form a batter).

This is a really satisfying breakfast, and the apple adds the height that guarantees a decent stack. The cashew butter is amazing when it melts into them. My top tip is this: stack them, adding cashew butter, then microwave for up to 1 minute. If you’re anything like me, then you’re quite slow at making pancakes and the first has gone stone-cold by the time the last is ready, so the microwave is your best friend. I also highly recommend adding a dollop of thick Greek yoghurt, or even a scoop of ice-cream if you’re pushing the boat out. Continue reading “Raspberry-Apple Cashew Butter Pancakes”

Veggie & Bean Chilli (no quorn!)

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If you’re looking for a veggie packed, delicious comfort food style dish, then this is for you. I’ve posted a quorn chilli on the blog before, but I personally prefer chilli made up of beans and veggies on their own.

The chilli you see in the picture is actually my mum’s recipe, which I occasionally let her cook for me, and the same one that I cook when I’m at uni. Mum had to adapt to cooking vegetable chilli when I went off of meat, and I’ve got to say: she’s adapted well. This version of the chilli is suitable for vegans, veggies, omnivores, and any carnivores wanting a change. Ideal sides are rice, bulgur wheat, potato wedges/jackets, wraps, guacamole, sour cream, quorn meatballs, chicken chunks, or canned tuna…so many endless possibilities. Even if you aren’t veggie and want to ease yourself into simply trying more veggie meals, you can. I’m pescetarian, and love this with bulgur wheat, avocado, and either quorn or tuna.

The basic idea behind this chilli is that whatever veggies we have go on in there. I’ve used courgette, celery, various different beans, olives, peppers, onions, spinach, tomatoes…anything you need to use up, whack it in there. In the recipe below we used only one can of kidney beans as that’s what happened to be in the cupboard, but feel free to mix up the beans, or add in two cans. Also, in my house (excluding my dad) we love spicy food. Which meant we added in a lot of chilli flakes- hot ones. If you aren’t a spice fan, then simply decrease the amount of chilli you add in. This is a completely adjustable recipe.

Continue reading “Veggie & Bean Chilli (no quorn!)”

‘Girl Up’ by Laura Bates: Review

1491131746351It was a toss-up between this, and ‘Everyday Sexism’. This won. And although this is Bates’s second book, I’m glad I’ve had this as my first experience of her work. I mean, it opens with a recommendation from Emma Watson. What more do you need to be sold on this?

If you follow me on IG then you may remember an instastories of this book, and that I felt it should be read in high schools across the nation- it was that good. ‘Girl Up’ is a book aimed at girls, of an age quite a bit younger than me (to be honest though, it filled in parts of my sex education that STILL  had gaps in) -but I don’t think it would harm many boys to read it either. I think that its a really good idea to set reading for our teens when sex education begins. Just two books a year. Maybe only for one year, to get them started on looking into stuff they need to know. One book aimed at boys, one aimed at girls. And here’s the thing: both sexes read both books. Because the more we feel the opposite sex “get us” the easier it is to talk about sex, eradicate sexism, and basically make life a hell of a lot easier. Sexism is a focal point of this book, and sexism affects both sexes- historically, more so women (heads up: there’s a handy little snippet on why its called “feminism” if feminism is all about equality).

This is the thing: in Britain we have a pretty horrific attitude to sex. Sex education is on the same level as talking about haemorrhoids and bowel movements. Which is completely and utterly wrong. The less educated people are the less fun, and the more dangerous/disguising/confusing/embarrassing, sex seems. The more sex is something to be ashamed of, the more likely people are to turn to porn as education. This is in no way a good idea. Mainly because porn does create ideas of “how sex should be”- ideas which are dangerous, disgusting, confusing and embarrassing. Nearly all porn videos make sex into something that degrades instead of empowering women. In a real relationship all parties having sex should feel respected and should be enjoying it. Continue reading “‘Girl Up’ by Laura Bates: Review”

March Goals Evaluation 2017

I have NO IDEA where March went. However, I feel that I’ve made a lot of progress this month in terms of goals. You may remember that I decided to make a couple of goals a focus each month, to make them more manageable during the final few months of my time at uni. This doesn’t mean that I am “dropping” any goals, it simply means that I’m appreciating that I have 12 months in a year, and that gives me space to pick and choose. That plan made this month a hell of a lot easier.

FOCUS GOALS OF THE MONTH:

Self

(This is where I am rolling all of these into one: Relax; Be more adventurous/ accept fear & uncertainty; Enjoy; Expand my mind and enrich my life)

  • So, I watched 3 documentaries, listened to 4 podcasts, read 3 books, saw 1 Shakespeare play, tried 1 new fear food, and watched/ listened to (wait for it) a whopping 29 TED Talks. I am LOVING TED Talks. I watch one while I eat breakfast each morning, and I am learning so much from them.
  • I established more of an evening routine, which has been helping me sleep much better so far
  • I attended 2 workshops at the place I attend counselling for sorting out the last few ED issues I’m experiencing, plus my actual sessions (4 of them). I feel like I am making real headway with this. I only tried one fear food this month, but I’ve also realised that I need to address some scary eating situations (e.g. spontaneity). More on this though when I update you on my “final bits of mental recovery progress”. I will say though: I feel at a place where I am getting pretty comfortable around food and my body.
  • I tried a new gym class, and also accepted that I didn’t have time for the 1 hour 30 workouts I was doing- so I’ve shortened the workouts and been experimenting with new moves. For me this was both a massive act of self-love- appreciating I have better things to do- and also challenging a fear of my health and fitness backsliding if I shortened all of my workouts (hint: it didn’t. In fact, it improved).
  • Still gratitude-listing every morning, but journaling in general has been a massive part of my month. Its something I’ve fallen back in love with. Myself and my journal go get coffee and just…write.
  • Also, been much more creative this month, and so I feel my creative writing efforts have been on point.
  • Took the time to actually sit down and watch one of my favourite films: Spirited Away. Small thing, but I usually put off watching films in order to do work.

STATUS: Some things I wanted to do I simply didn’t get chance, such as a solo cinema trip, watching GOT season 6, and experimenting with clothes. These are things I really fancy ticking off next month. I also want to eat some more fear foods; as it was a busy month I didn’t have room to deal with the anxiety. As I’m on holiday for Easter I have a bit more breathing space. Finally: answering my bloody phone. I love alone-time, but I also love my friends. Though I do make the effort to see them in person, I am a legend when it comes to not replying to texts/messenger/fb/WhatsApp. I just hate doing it. I’m going to make the effort to try and check messages once a day, though I can’t promise I will, because I really do hate texting.

Expand my blog and IG

  • Didn’t manage to find any blogging events taking place nearby to book into-  #disappointing. Let me know if you know of any food/fitness blogging events in Yorkshire/Newcastle.
  • Created a massive planning document to keep track of posts and when they need to be done by, to aid me in continuing to post during essay time.
  • I’ve been posting to Campus Society! I’m working on replying to comments more often, but you can now find me on there!
  • Updated my ‘About’ page, and I’m considering doing an updated “50 facts” post now
  • I gained 14 new followers on WordPress- thank you and welcome aboard newbies! Comments went up, which is wonderful because I LOVE  chatting to you when I get chance to sit down and read comments. Likes and views went down slightly but I haven’t had much time to post this month so I’m assuming this explains it. It’ll be this way until I finish my essays and complete my third year. Which, in exchange for a degree, I can deal with.

STATUS: Going swimmingly.

Start to establish my career path

  • Applied for another few jobs: I have an interview for my DREAM JOB in mid-April, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed, keeping schtum on where it is at present, and  suddenly, much as I want a job doing something I LOVE, I’m also okay with moving home and getting a non-life-fulfilling job whilst applying for one that fits that description. I’ll take it as it comes, because right now my priority is completing my degree.
  • I did create a brainstorm, and then a flow chart (this is so me), of all of my options. And it made me feel like I had my shit together, and also let me work out a couple of alternative plans.
  • Attended a “creative careers” day that my uni throws every year, and got a lot of helpful advice and tips.

STATUS: Keeping an eye out for jobs, but waiting until after my interview to commit to anything major.

 

MINOR GOALS OF THE MONTH:

Travel more often & explore

Continue reading “March Goals Evaluation 2017”