Saturday, December 17, 2011

I don't always eat my vegetables

I have a confession to make...I'm a Master's of Nutrition student, and I don't always eat my vegetables. And, if I'm being totally honest, I don't really like vegetables all that much! That's something I can't really admit openly to my fellow classmates. That's scandalous stuff in the studying-to-be-a-dietitian world!

This realization creates some problems for me...on one hand, the future dietitian (I hate that word! More on that in a future post...) in me knows that I should be loading up on veggies because they're good for me. On the other hand, the intuitive eater in me feels like I should be eating the things that are satisfying and enjoyable to me, not forcing myself to eat something that I find unpleasant.

So what's a girl to do?! Well, I try my best...I look for recipes that are really yummy but that have some veggies in them. I try to make side salads (with baby spinach, but also dried cranberries, almond slivers, and goat cheese to make it more palatable) to have with meals at least a couple times a week. And most of all (and this might seem wrong), I try not to think about it too much. I know myself well enough to know that if I think about it too much, that thinking will turn into obsessing, eating will no long be pleasurable, and I'll be right back in that regimented, dieting mindset I was in years before.

One recipe that has worked for me as a source of a lot of vegetables, but that is also very easy and (most importantly) VERY tasty is a veggie pizza. This has become such a staple in my home that my husband has dubbed it "Blondie Pizza", a nod to the nickname he has called me since we first started dating years ago. Here's the recipe for Blondie Pizza:

Ingredients:
1 Boboli thin crust pizza shell
1/4 c. (or slightly less) olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced into rings
1 bag of baby spinach (or less, depending on how much you want on there)
1 portabella mushroom, sliced (or a package of button mushrooms, sliced)
a few roasted red pepper slivers (as many as you want)
3-4 oz package of goat cheese (I get the pre-crumbled kind because it's easier)

Preheat oven to 425.

Mix the olive oil and minced garlic together. With a basting/pastry brush, spread the garlic olive oil mixture on the pizza shell (some will be left over-- make sure you save it!). Then layer the baby spinach (as much as you want!), the red onion slices, mushroom, red pepper slices, and, finally, the crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle the remaining garlic olive oil over the pizza, and bake at 425 for 20 minutes. I use a pizza pan with holes in it (seen here: http://www.crateandbarrel.com/kitchen-and-food/pizza-pans/16%22-crisper/s488569), but before we had that, I used to place it right on the oven rack, because if it's on a solid pan, it doesn't come out as crispy.


Recipes like Blondie Pizza satisfy both the future dietitian AND the intuitive eater in me-- I get a couple servings of vegetables, and I actually really enjoy it and WANT to eat it! I will forever be in search of these kinds of recipes, because to me, choking down healthy food just for the sake of my health is so not worth it!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My inspiration

Before I go any further in this blog, I think I need to come right out and admit that a lot of my ideas come from a book called Intuitive Eating.
This might sound overly dramatic, but this book pretty much changed my life. I was in a place where I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, and I was obsessing about everything I ate, to the point that my every thought revolved around food and my fear of gaining weight. I consider myself to be an intelligent person, and it truly bothered me that something so trivial could consume me so completely.

So I got help. I saw a nutrition therapist (an MS RD- Master of Science, Registered Dietician...what I'm hoping to be someday!) who encouraged me to let go of the guilty feelings I had associated with eating, eat when I'm hungry, and stop when I'm satisfied. I was cured! And so much happier!

Years later, however, I found myself slipping back into old behaviors, and I stumbled upon Intuitive Eating, a book written by two MS RDs (Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole) that basically expanded upon the same ideology that my nutrition therapist had used years before. I worked through the steps, and found myself in a healthy state of mind once again.

I've recommended this book to friends and family to help them break the cycle of dieting (which DOES NOT WORK!) and free themselves from obsessive thoughts and destructive behaviors around food.

Besides helping me with my own issues, this book is also the inspiration behind my decision to go back to school to become a nutritionist. I want to spread the word about the Intuitive Eating philosophy, and help as many people as possible to free themselves from the destructive diet mentality.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why I'm doing this

Sometimes I feel like screaming when I'm bombarded with all the diet messages in the media. When I hear my friends or co-workers talk about hating their bodies, or starting a new diet, or having a "good" eating day or a "bad" eating day, I just want to grab them and shake them (gently, of course!) and tell them that they don't need to bother with all that crap. I want to assure them that they, too, can truly enjoy food, guilt-free, and reach their natural, healthy body shape and be okay with it. I don't claim to be perfect or to do it right all the time, but through my own struggles I've found a way to make peace with food, and I hope that through sharing my experience, I can help others to achieve this seemingly impossible goal.