The First Agreement

As I have mentioned, I am in the midst of a 40 day challenge. The challenge is to do yoga 6 out of 7 days per week, to attend weekly meetings about personal growth, and to read a book called The Four Agreements. Our first assignment was to read the intro and the first chapter which is called The First Agreement. 

The first agreement is simple, but not easy (I’m learning lately that simple often does NOT equal easy). The first agreement is to “be impeccable with your word”.  It describes “your word” as the power you have to create, express, and communicate, to think, and thereby create events in your life. Essentially, the words you use are your “seeds” that you plant. Some words are turned inward and become thoughts or feelings, and some words are turned outward (conversations with others). If those “seeds” are negative, hateful, gossipy, etc, you are planting seeds that will continue to grow and breed negativity. I have been paying MUCH stronger attention to this since reading this chapter. While I previously did not see myself as a gossipy person, I’ve noticed that I often vent about people, which is essentially the same thing. I am spreading my opinion about others (which may or may not be truth, it’s only my opinion) and I’m planting that seed in other peoples’ minds, which likely affects their opinion as well. Similarly, I regularly use negative self-talk. Typically about my appearance, but I called myself stupid many times this week, which is using “my word” against myself. Your word shapes your reality and if you say/think something enough, it becomes true in your own life. While this concept shouldn’t be mind blowing to me, it kind of is. You never really think or realize how much power you hold until you discover the power behind your thoughts and your word. This. This is going to be my focus for a while. I don’t think the importance can be underestimated:

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love. 

So in the essence of only “using my word for love”, I’m going to ignore the fact that my diet went off the rails last weekend and instead, focus on the fact that I gave myself much needed rest. I came back ready to go on Monday and ate relatively well that day (with the help of my mom and an Ethiopian restaurant. I literally didn’t cook at all). 

Tuesday was a tough day overall, but food-wise I started with a yogurt, a protein bar and an apple. Lunch was this gorgeous kale salad that I ordered from a local shop:

And dinner was one of my favorites. Spaghetti Squash Pie from Paleomg. Link is here:

I ended the night with some delicious wine and dark chocolate.

I’m excited to move on with my week and focus on non-food related goals.

Fajita feelings

So I have absolutely nothing profound to say today. I ate eggs, spinach and avocado for breakfast. See here:

It was at my desk. Lame.

I had a banana for a snack. I ate leftover roasted veggie bowl for lunch. I had half of a kombucha before heading home. Work was fine. Food was fine. Then…. Fajitas.

I had the idea that I wanted to make legit fajitas. Slow cooked beef all day with peppers and onions…. Hand shredded cheese. Fresh chopped tomatoes from the farm… And… Wait for it… Homemade flour tortillas. I’ve never done this before, but the people I know who have (ok the food bloggers I follow) say that once you make them, you’ll never buy them again. And I hate to say it but they were right. It was incredibly easy and would only be made easier if you have a kitchenaid mixer. First you mix the dough which is wheat flour, oil, water, and salt. This step takes 5 minutes without a mixer. Then you divide the dough up, roll it into balls, press it down, and let it sit like this:

Until you are ready to roll them and hear them. I let mine sit for 2 hours just bc of the timing of the evening, but 15 min is plenty. My buddy rolled them out and made them as flat and big as he could then heated them on each side in a cast iron skillet. He tells me the whole rolling and heating process took 20 min. So really a total of 45 min total. Most of which are just waiting. And we made TWELVE delicious (and freezable) homemade tortillas. And they were so. damn. good. 

I was starving so I took a giant bite before remembering to take a picture, but this is me mid-chew:

Honestly they were amazing and turned out so well for our first attempt. The two recipes are below. Try them. ASAP. 

Recipe: Slow Cooker Flank Steak Fajitas

Recipe: Whole-Wheat Tortillas

Winner, winner. Roasted vegetable dinner.

It’s funny/ironic that I wrote the post yesterday about having SUCH a profoundly bad day, and how they really do make you appreciate the good ones. Nothing rings truer right now, as I just had the BEST day juxtaposed next to such an awful one. I honestly don’t think I would have appreciated today as much had yesterday not been as bad because now that I’m looking at it/thinking about it again, it really wasn’t ALL that spectacular, with the exception of about a 15 minute window.

The day actually started with me “losing” my car. Ok, that’s overly dramatic. But what actually happened was that my buddy had used it and moved it the evening before (because he was seeing if the breaks were still making that noise – and they weren’t), but then he forgot where he moved it. So, that lead to me spending a solid 15 minutes wandering my neighborhood looking for my long lost car. And in turn, I was 10 minutes late to work. No big deal, I work late all the time, so this just makes up for that. I hopped in my car and headed off to work. At the first stop sign, my car screamed bloody murder. Do I turn around and trade cars with my buddy? Do I drive it to Lewiston? I’M ALREADY LATE. F*ck it. I’m going. So I drove to work with VERY loud (but maybe still safe?) breaks. Not a great start.

Work was the usual. I ate my eggs with beets and kimchi for breakfast. I had my leftover Moroccan chickpea tomato stew for lunch. I still felt ravenous so I grabbed an apple and kombucha for a snack and just generally got through my day. Nothing great, nothing terrible. Which quite honestly, was still so much better than yesterday that I was generally happy. I got out of work and headed to the Eastern Promenade for my FAVORITE weekly routine – picking up my CSA. This week was beautiful. Beets, delicata squash, kale, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and peppers. All really usable, beautiful veggies. If I was smart, I would have taken a picture for this blog.

Me and my loud-ass car finally made our way home for another one of my favorite rituals – walking the pups and dinner prep before heading off to my ULTIMATE ritual – yoga. As I walked in the door, the owner (one of my favorite people) announced: “ALLIE! I have some good news for YOU!” I assumed she just added one of my favorite classes back, but she continued: “You WON the Bring A Friend Competition!!” I’m sorry… the what?? “You brought the most friends this summer so you can pick out ANY product that I sell and your next month is free.”

Now I know this might not seem like a huge deal, but it is for a few reasons:

  1. I didn’t know there was a competition going on. I just love my little studio and wanted to share it with as many people as possible!
  2. I was going to pick out a towel ($20 in value), but Julie proceeded to emphasize that it was ANY item. EVEN the mats. EVEN the “mac daddy mat”, as she put it. I have had the same mat since I started practicing yoga ~3 years ago. Julie kindly pointed out that my yoga mat was thin (and always was quite honestly) but didn’t have the greatest support because it had “seen better days”. So she gave me…. the mac daddy mat…. which costs $130. PLUS my next month free (another $100). HOLY SHIT I NEVER WIN ANYTHING!

So needless to say, I took my yoga class, picked out my mat, and headed home (after she made me take a picture for Facebook… after class… not cool, Julie, but it was literally the least I could do for her). I felt like I was on Cloud 9. I got home around the same time as my buddy, chatted his ear off about all the excitement, finished making my roasted veggie bowl:

and then proceeded on with our usual routine of dinner and a documentary. There’s no recipe for the bowl, but it’s a meal I make at least once a week with whatever veggies I have. This time it was delicata squash, onions, and beets. I roasted them at 425 for 30 minutes with olive oil, salt, and garam masala and then threw kale on top for the last 5 minutes of roasting. I topped it with toasted pumpkin seeds and a homemade lemon tahini dressing.

 As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that the majority of my good day stemmed from keeping some of the rituals that I LOVE alive: picking up my CSA, making dinner, walking the dogs, going to yoga, and watching a documentary with my buddy AFTER we catch up on our days. I was lucky enough to win something yesterday, but even without that, I think it would have been a good day, just because I stayed true to myself and prioritized the things I love. A new yoga mat and a free month of classes were just the delicious icing on the cake :)

Allie and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Dramatic? I think not. Today I felt like I was a character in this book:

If you’ve never heard of this book, I bet you can guess the plot. Essentially it’s about a boy who has the worst day ever. Gum in his hair, suspended from school, ignored by his friends and family. Just crap. Also it was somehow made into a movie starring Steve Carrell?? Come on, Steve. 

ANYWAY, this was the day I had yesterday. I was extremely overwhelmed at work (to the point of sobbing at my desk), my car needed to go into the shop (your car isn’t supposed to make a loud grinding sound when you break, right???), and did I mention the work thing? Not only did I cry at work but I cried the whollllle way home. 

But that’s life, right? It happens. As Alexander said in the book (and maybe the movie? Idk but I’m definitely not watching that): “You just gotta have bad days so you can love the good days even more.” So in an attempt to not turn a bad day into a bad week, I went home, met with a contractor, walked the dogs, went to yoga (day 3 of the challenge!!), then came home and drank lots of water and ate a healthy dinner. 

We made this tomato chickpea stew on top of brown rice and it was seriously awesome:

Mine didn’t look as pretty, but DAMN it was good (and used up the rest of the tomatoes from my CSA)

(That pic is pre-chickpeas and rice)

Despite telling my buddy I was going to drink a bottle of wine, I had no booze and I went to bed early… After my usual gelato ;) which maybe I should get out of the habit of having?? But certainly not today. 

Little reminders…

So lately I’ve been feeling pretty good about how I have been taking care of myself. This weekend was a little reminder of how important it is to keep balance and not have a black and white mentality. I love that I’m not restricting anymore, but sometimes I forget that it can feel just as bad, if not worse, when I go off the deep end. Now to be fair, this weekend was a weekend spent with friends. On Saturday night, these friends were gracious enough to cook for us. That meant I had very little control of what we ate. Sunday, we went to a football game and tailgated. Well I had more control of what we brought in that case, I certainly could’ve handled both situations slightly better and I can’t pretend that I’m a victim of my circumstances.

Here is how the weekend went down. First, I did not work out on Saturday morning because I was hungover. I feel like this is really what catapulted the entire weekend into a tailspin. I know that I do better and feel better when I work out in the morning. And of course the hangover just compounded matters. I went to breakfast with my buddy, and it started off OK. I ordered what I thought was eggs and vegetables, but it ended up being covered in cheese. I attempted to avoid the cheese to the best of my ability. We did not plan ahead for lunchtime, so I ended up eating leftover noodles from the evening before. Not a great start. At our friends house, we drank too much wine as usual, but overall I wouldn’t have felt bad about dinner had I been better about my portions. I had two slices of bread which I only slightly regret because it was really realllllly good bread. Unfortunately I also had mashed potatoes and a very large chicken breast. I ate salad, but I would’ve been better off if I had made that the star of my meal, along with the chicken. Our friend also very kindly made us dessert, which were blonde brownies with ice cream, which I gladly had two of. I passed out on the couch, fat and happy, and if that had been where it ended, I wouldn’t have considered the weekend a loss. However, as I said the next day was spent watching football and tailgating. During this time…I ate one breakfast taco, a piece of steak, potato salad, sesame sticks, potato chips, Banana bread, more wine, and Swedish fish. 

And then of course I went home and ate pizza before bed, even though I considered ordering a salad which would have made me feel much better today. Overall I’m not beating myself up over this weekend, but I do want to use it as a reminder that things can get escalated very quickly when I am not conscious of my decisions. I also want to remember how I felt this morning. No energy, bloated, and just overall less happy than I have felt when I took good care of myself. At the VERY least, I should have prioritized working out.

Luckily, I used that as motivation to do well today, especially since today is day one of my yoga challenge which I am extremely excited for. I had oatmeal with almond butter and bananas for breakfast, homemade gazpacho for lunch, and homemade potato, leek, and cabbage soup for dinner. I did my yoga and went to bed early, in hopes of starting fresh tomorrow. The soup was honestly awesome. You can find the recipe here:

And my picture doesn’t do it justice:

That legit looks like swamp water. The beautiful thing about life is you do get the chance to start over every single day. I hope in time my habits will be more consistent so I don’t feel the need to restart as frequently. 

Most importantly, here’s to day one of he challenge!!!

With a little help from my friends…

I feel that the power of connection cannot be underestimated. None of us can get through this life alone, and although I am a bit of a home body and appreciate my “me” time, I’m constantly reminded that family, friendship, and overall human connection makes life infinitely better. Over the past few days, I had an amazing dinner with my father, a motivating and comforting conversation with my mom, a fun and playful game night with my buddy, and a beautiful and giggly yoga class with a friend. There’s no doubt in my mind that these connections significantly improve my overall quality of life, and while “me time” should be protected, time to connect should be protected as well. We all have enough time when we zone out, whether it’s while we drive, watch tv, or scroll through facebook. Being connected brings us back to the here and now and is what life is really all about. This rambling is really neither here nor there, but I think it’s important. 

That being said, after the tough week I had, I’d love a weekend to myself, but instead we’ve got dinner plans with family tonight and a full weekend with friends. So I’m going to take good care of myself today, get lots of rest tonight, and then be ready to embrace the weekend. 

To take care of myself, I always start with nutrition and movement. This meant eggs, smoked salmon, avocado and kale for breakfast this morning. 

Snacks were an apple and a pear. Lunch was a roasted vegetable bowl (kale, delicata squash, chickpeas, and beets from last night). 

Dinner with my buddy’s brother was a littttttle too fun. And while I actually ate very well (mostly just veggies and a little rice), I did drink a bit more than intended. I’m still going to count it as a win because I didn’t eat everything in sight, despite being tipsy. I didn’t get a pic of most of what I ate, but here is my buddy’s beautiful ramen bowl:

Cheers to the weekend!

Cultivating patienceĀ 

I am not a patient person. Once I set my mind to something, I need to get it done as soon as possible. I believe this is also the reason why I have struggled with meditation. In meditation, there is nothing to accomplish and no goal. It is mindfully waiting in silence, and it is honestly hard for me to get through.  That is one of the main reasons why I have started guided meditation, where there is a person who walks you through the meditation rather than sitting in silence. There is one meditation in particular that I return to on a nearly daily basis, and I thought I would share the words today, because I went back to them in my own mind A lot throughout the day today to get myself through what felt like a very difficult time.  The 7 mantras are as follows:

1. I make plans but I try to stay open for the surprises that life has in store for me

2. I cultivate patience and by doing so I also cultivate self-confidence

3. I welcome the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and I do not let myself be guided by fear

4. I love myself unconditionally because it is essential for my happiness. 

5: Im going to drink water, eat fruits and vegetables, walk, take the stairs, and exercise. Today I am giving love to my body

6. I give everywhere I go, even if it is just a smile or giving my full attention. Listening is the best gift I can give

7. I try to be impeccable with my word and to only spread positivity. It is counterproductive to my happiness speak against myself or others

What I love about this meditation is that all of the seven mantras resonate with me differently on different days. Today, the one that resonated the strongest with me was the one about patience. Often times, my impatience is with myself and achieving my goals. Whether it be professionally, in my personal life, or with my body. It took me a while to see the connection between patience and self-confidence. But when I actually put this into practice, it is clear that when my mind is patient, my mind is calm, and I am significantly more confident and less rushed and frantic. You really can’t be frantic and confident at the same time.

Today, I practiced patience with others at a daylong work meeting. I also practiced patience at home with my best buddy who is going through a difficult time. Instead of the inpatient “Toughlove” model, I’ve decided to just wait it out And allow him to work out his stress in his own time, rather than forcing things to move forward or change. I have to say, it did make my mind more calm. And in the end I believe it gave him the time and space to work things out on his own terms and not on my terms (which sadly I have to say was not easy for me ). By the end of the day, things felt back to normal with him. So maybe there is something to this whole patience thing.

While that doesn’t have a lot to do with food or this blog, I do believe that I could continue to practice patience with myself and my body. It is not going to change overnight after a few weeks of eating well and exercising. But I am right where I am supposed to be. So on that note, my day was pretty regular as it relates to food. I had yogurt with frozen berries and almonds for breakfast, an apple as a snack, smoked salmon with avocado and kale for lunch, a pear in the afternoon, and a roasted vegetable bowl for supper. I also did my 75 minute hot yoga class. Per usual, I had gelato for dessert, but it was a bit bigger this time, as I allowed my buddy to make it for me while we played cribbage and talked. He even shaved some dark chocolate over the top. šŸ˜

While today wasn’t perfect, in relation to food or otherwise, I really do feel good about where I am at and the pace I am moving forward. Even if it’s not lightning speed.

Run. It. Out.

Holy shit. I like running again! Like REALLY like it. I will say, there has always been something magical about fall time running. Now I know it’s not officially fall yet, but tell that to the leaves that were crunching under my feet this morning . 

Yesterday was tough. Like kick you when you’re down kind of tough. And while I did end my day with one scoop of sorbet and a square of dark chocolate, I really am proud of the fact that I didn’t open up  a bottle of wine and drown my sorrows. Instead, I had my small dessert, and went to bed at 9:30 PM in hopes of a new start the next day. Unfortunately my new roommate woke me up when he got home at 1:30 AM, and I couldn’t fall back asleep until 3:30 AM. Needless to say when my alarm went off at 5:30 this morning I almost threw it across the room. But I knew I wasn’t going to go back to sleep anyway, so I hauled my ass out of bed, and hit the pavementx I ran 3.5 relatively fast miles by myself, and then took the pup for another 1.5 miles. There is something magical about being out and about in the city while most are still asleep and the sun hasn’t risen yet. By the time I was running with Roo, all my anxiety and anger that I had woken up with had vanished and I was able to run and play in the park with her without another thought in my mind except being present in that moment. So yeah, I think I love running again.

After my run, I went into work and had this gorgeous creation:

Yep. There was very little almond butter left in the jar so I made oatmeal on top of it and it was the perfect post-run breakfast. I ate leftover salmon, cauliflower and broccoli for lunch and then… Dinner. Sorry for the picture overload, but this was dinner:

That’s a beet vodka mule, a falafel Greek salad, and a gorgeous sunset. All while chatting for a few hours with my old man. It was honestly just what the doctor ordered and the perfect way to cap off the day. I was going to go out and grab one more drink with my buddy, but that didn’t quite happen, so I ended up snuggling the pups on the couch and having a much needed early bedtime. 

I’m learning that there are healthy, balanced ways to turn a bad week on its head, and it’s not necessarily found in the bottle of a wine bottle or pint of ice cream ;)

If the dress *barely* fits… wear it?

Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I ask myself how I got here. How someone who honestly does care so much about taking care of herself, could put on 20 pounds and “let herself go”. But I think that was part of the whole issue. I had to let part of myself go in order to “start over” and figure out who I was going to be. And my body took a back seat. I fed myself foods that don’t make me or my body happy. I continued exercising, but I chose workouts that didn’t nourish me mentally. I half heartedly trained for a marathon… And it made me hate running for a while. Running! The exercise that previously was used as a way to clear my head and was a part of my almost daily routine. And now here I am. That’s how I got here. Standing in front of this mirror in tears because this dress used to be so loose I had to belt it. And now, it is snug and barely fit over my hips as I yanked it on this morning and you can see where it pulls (please excuse the bathroom selfie):

So I debated…. Do I wear it even though it is a constant reminder that I’m not the same size that I used to be? Or do I throw it onto the bed like so many of my discarded outfits lately, and put on something loose and flowy to hide what I am right now. Do you know what? As hard as it was and is today to wear this, I’m choosing to at least try to celebrate my new hips, my bigger booty, and my soft tummy. Because they all have served a purpose for me over the past year. They may not serve a purpose anymore, and they may go away (truthfully I hope they do), but I refuse to hate my body as it is right now. I’ve been doing that for too long now and it’s only making matters worse. So I’m wearing it and hoping it doesn’t rip today ;) 

I moved on with my day and had eggs, Kim chi (good for gut health) and a half of an avocado for breakfast . I had a disappointing pear that I only ate half of as a snack. Lunch was leftover soup (still SO good). And dinner was supposed tobe quinoa  spaghetti with lentil bolognese, but I wasn’t feeling it so I got fish (Arctic char), mashed cauliflower, and roasted broccoli. I intended to run and do you today, but I missed he entire workout due to unforeseen circumstances. The only real win was that I didn’t go to the store and buy wine to drown my sorrows. I forgot to take pics, but you know what fish looks like ;) Recipe for mashed cauliflower is here, I just added garlic powder:

She taketh away

One thing I’ve noticed about my food mentality is that I have a propensity for eliminating certain foods/food groups when I feel like I’ve lost control. Sometimes it’s no dairy, or no sugar, or no meat, or no carbs (this one never lasts). I’m always taking things away from myself because I feel like I have no self control unless there is a hard and fast rule. 

Well some advice I’ve always given my patients who gripe that I “never let them eat anything”, is that maybe it’s time to stop focusing on what you need to remove to your diet and focus on what you need to add. For example, if you ADD a green salad before every meal and you ADD 2 liters of water per day, chances are you’ll be less hungry and less likely to binge on the unhealthy stuff. 

Unfortunately, I don’t always take my own advice. But I’m going to try to this time. I’ve got a 40 day yoga challenge coming up next week and I really want to fuel my body to feel my best for it. I already eat boat loads of vegetables… So adding more is probably unrealistic. But water, water is hit or miss. And I’ll need all of the water I can get if I’m doing sweaty yoga nearly every day for 40 days. So starting today, my goal is 3 liters of water daily and to continue to move my body in some way. Every. Single. Day. No eliminating, no restricting. I ALSO used to love being more creative and trying new recipes in the kitchen. Another thing I haven’t done in a while. So I’m going to add more of that and start getting back to using this blog to track recipes!

So, despite sleeping through my alarm and getting up at 6:30 when I need to leave at 6:45, I still managed to have this for breakfast with black coffee, thanks to my buddy who got up and cooked for me:

It’s kale  and eggs and a few leftover potatoes and it kept me very full all morning, especially since I was trying to drink 1400ml of after before lunch.

Lunch was another salad that luckily I had thrown together last night (but had to eat with a spoon bc I forgot a fork) and some kombucha.

No snacks today as I wasn’t super hungry. I did an hour of yoga, went home to make this delicious Thai carrot and sweet potato soup adapted by Cookie and Kate:

Recipe found here:

Theoretically it looks like this:

So we will pretend that’s actually what it looked like. I had a scoop of gelato that my buddy brought me and I couldn’t say no to at the end of the night sand was in bed by 10. I ended up with 2.5 liters of water for the day. Here’s to healthy additions :)