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Before I’m 30 List

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Last year on my birthday it all of a sudden hit me that… “oh my god! I’m going to be 30 in 3 years!!!”  I then felt this overwhelming urge to make a list of things I want to do before I hit the big 3-0!

** The funny thing abut that picture above is that shortly after I made my list of things I wanted to accomplish before I’m 30 I entered my first 10k race (one of the first things on my list) and look what my race number was!!!!! Totally weird but awesome huh?!?!

Call it a Bucket List before 30 if you will…. regardless, it gives me a sense of purpose and gives me some motivation to accomplish some fun goals.  I work well with lists and goals, they are my best friends Lol

So what’s on my list you ask?? Well here ya go…

Before I’m 30 I want to…

1. Run a 10k

2. Run a Half Marathon

3. Run a Marathon

4. Half Triathlon

5. Triathlon

6. Muddy Buddy

7. Learn French

8. Become more fluent in Spanish

9. Learn Guitar

10. Move to California

11. Learn to Break-dance

12. Take a cooking class

13. Take an art class

14. Start dancing again

15. Visit 5 Countries I’ve never been before

16. Take a long road trip and sight-see

 


As you can clearly see, I tend to be overly ambitious.  But my philosophy on these types of lists is, realistically I know I’m not going to be able to do everything on the list.  But I’d rather make a big list of things I want to do to build excitement and do as many things on there as possible, as opposed to only having like 5 things, and feeling like “ehh I’ve got time, there’s no rush…” that just seems boring.

My ultimate goal is to see things in a new light… to view the world differently, as if there were no boundaries!!  I want to push myself out of my comfort zone and see what all I am truly capable of!! :-)

Have you made any Bucket Lists??  Or any 5 or 10 year goals??  If so what are they?


My Story

So this entry has taken me a while to write.  It is a rather intimate and personal entry, but given the content of my blog and my need to both help myself and hopefully help others I want to share.  Also, since it is Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I feel that this is the right time to begin to share my story.

Over time I will break up my story into parts and share more about my struggles and my recovery, since I don’t want this blog post to be too long.  But for now I am going to tell you an abridged version of my story.

I know there are quite a few blogs out there which are based around the same concepts as mine; health, body image etc…  And I know for me when I stumbled across a particular blog back in January (2010) it honestly had a HUGE impact on me.  It was almost like an “ah-ha” moment.  Reading someones own personal story which was just like mine made me feel not quiet so alone.  It gave me comfort to know that its ok to still have these struggles from time to time, that there is no such thing as being “perfectly recovered.”   I guess that’s also part of the whole mindset that goes along with having an Eating Disorder, the constant need for own self perfection and control.   There is only so much one can do, but whats more is how you deal with the struggles.  I can choose to sulk and think I’m doomed for life with this disease or I can choose to accept who I am and use that pain to motivate me to work that much harder and use my own experience as an educational tool to help others.

Ironically my Eating Disorder manifested itself right after I decided to quit dance.  I grew up dancing, starting at the age of 3 with ballet, then I moved over to Jazz, then Modern and stuck with that through my first year of college.  After my first year of college I decided to quit dance.  My life long dream was to dance in New York.  I finally made it to New York for a summer dance intensive in 2002.   Finally! the dream I had, had throughout all my years of dance, there I was! But I was still unhappy.  I began to notice that I was quite different from everyone else there, meaning that everyone else had this drive and passion for dance.  Whereas I did not.  Don’t get me wrong I love dance, but there was a major difference between my love for it and everyone else’s.  I didn’t want to fight my way to the top, I just wanted to dance, perform, and have fun.  So I quit.  Now after years away from that world I can now finally appreciate it and go back and take classes and be in love with it in a whole new way which makes me happy.

After I stepped away from that world I moved onto a few other trial and errors as a major.  I tried photography, that was just too much work and I was way behind where everyone else was with all the art classes, I felt so lost!!  A few months into this new semester at college I grew into a deep depression and decided the best thing for me to do at that time was to move home and take some time off to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  So I moved home and back into my moms house.  I got a job at a gym as well as a serving position at a coffee bar/cafe at night.  Over that next year I spiraled downward very quickly.  I got sucked into the party scene that comes with working at bar/restaurants.  I had no idea who I really was at the time so of course I followed what everyone else was doing just for the need to feel accepted.   Even though I had lots of so called “friends” I ultimately felt very alone, and the further I went into my disease.  It’s difficult to truly explain just how isolated one can get while deep into the disease.  But like any other addiction, the deeper and lower one gets with the depression and obsessive acts the bigger the blinders become.  You stop caring or noticing the people around you, and the more you become focused on “getting your next fix” or “perfecting yourself”.  I say “perfecting yourself” in quotes because often the major misconception of eating disorders is that it is all about vanity.  It soooo is not.  Granted yes part of it is, but that is not the overall driving force that gets you to the disease part.  It ultimately has to do with control.  It all begins when something in your life is out of balance and the person feels like they have no control over their life, or that something isn’t good enough.  Or if they have suffered from physical, sexual or verbal abuse as a child making them feel as though they are not good enough or that they are worthless.  This ends up making the person feel that the only way for them to regain any control is by what they put in or don’t put into their own body.  You have the control with what you do or do not eat.  The same can go with any addiction.  All of this has now grown to my major fascination with psychology and addiction (another passion of mine along with nutrition).

Moving onto the present time.  Stemming from all of this has of course led to me having to re-learn how to love myself and the body I was born with.  I have been recovered now from the depths of my eating disorder for quite some time thankfully.  But the “evil thoughts” aka negative self image bashing that goes on in my head, are still around.   For the most part I am able to keep them quiet, but I am only capable of so much and every so often, like when I am tired, or had a bad day or something to that effect they creep up on me and they can be oh so relentless.

That’s the thing with the disease of an eating disorder.  With all other addictions, you can step away from the thing that harms you; alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping etc…. but an eating disorder you can’t really abstain from food…. you need food to live!! So that makes it just that much harder to fully recover.  The thoughts and obsession will forever be there.  It’s needing to get to that point of learning how to accept yourself and how to manage your thoughts about how you view food.  For me, as I stated before, I still struggle.  I consider myself midway recovered.  For a while I thought I was fully recovered, but realized I was more in denial.  I slipped back a bit about a year ago when I had a rude awakening about where I really truly was in my recovery.  So for the past year I have been doing a really deep internal look into myself and have been trying new healing methods to get myself to a point of full acceptance.

It is really brutal work, but in order to get to where I want to be, which is happy with myself, like really TRULY happy.  I know that I need to do some hard work before I can get to that point and STAY at the point.

What I am doing now, is lots of honest journaling, this blog, changing my diet (which is HARD!!!) by eating whole foods which nourish my body and provide it with lots of amazing nutrients that do wonderful things for every single part of me – especially the brain!.  I also do a lot of positive self talk.   And the hardest thing of all, is getting myself to take these steps S-L-O-W-L-Y.  I had gotten myself so accustomed to jumping head first into things and thinking I had to do them all at full blast and perfectly (that would be the competitive part of the disease) that I’d totally brainwashed myself.  In order to get something to really stick and become a habit, I need to take it slow.  So while I love to exercise and I know it’s good for me and keeps me level, I am making myself do things one step at a time.  Right now I am focusing on my diet, because ultimately, that is the key that is going to keep my body and mind strong.  The rest will just fall into place after that.

I recently had an epiphany – in order to achieve happiness with myself I have to treat it right.  It’s like being in a relationship, if you want a positive outcome with your partner you have to put into it what you want out of it.  Meaning, if you treat your partner like crap or skimp on loving them then the relationship will soon fall apart.  The same goes for you and you.  If you want yourself to be happy and strong you need to feed it right and treat it right, otherwise you will get sick, become unhappy and fall apart.

So that is my story in a nutshell.  Thank you for reading and allowing me to share with you some very personal intimate stuff.  I truly hope that with my story, and future stories, that I can help some other people out there who may be struggling themselves.   There is hope out there, and you CAN do it.

If anyone is in need of talking please do not hesitate to contact me and share your own struggles, story or concerns.  Elw.brown@gmail.com or if you need professional help please contact the National Eating Disorders Association for hotlines or information.

Tattoo on my left foot of the National Eating Disorders Association recovery symbol. Surrounded by butterfly's to symbolize "stomping out my eating disorder and being set free"


Mission Possible – California Bound

My theme song these days:

I have had this long life dream of ending up in California.  I have always felt that I was really supposed to have been born there.  Everything about my personality and interests are oh so California.

In any case, I made the decision this week that this would be the year I made the big move.  I set an official date of September 1st to set “sail” for the sunny beaches of California!!! annnnnd then I preceded to get sick Lol  I’m thinking that I got sick because my body finally let go of all the stress it’s been holding in of living in this area.   That’s my theory and I’m stickin to it! hahah

Anyway, I am so beyond ecstatic about this news.  I plan to do a whole road trip over there and the theme of this road trip is going to be checking out all of the famous vegan/raw restaurants and sites along the way!!! How cool is that going to be!?!?

So here is my request to you all out there.  Any awesome places you know along the way from here to California let me know!!  I have not picked a route yet, but I do know that I want to hit up Graceland and New Orleans.  Ironically both of those are so not known for their vegan fare, but you never know.  There are some places that you wouldn’t ever expect to be vegan friendly which in fact are!

So please to all of you out there who may read but never comment, please share your suggestions!  I can’t wait to document my trip to you all and share with you all of my vegan/raw experiences!  I honestly think that the best road trips are those that are focused on finding the best food in each state you hit.  My older brother and his now wife did that a few years ago, however they did an all BBQ trip, clearly I will not be going that route Lol but same basic idea.

Thank you in advance for all of your wonderful suggestions!! :-)

MY NEWEST TOY!

Well not really a toy, but my newest most prized possession!!

MY JUICER!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s a Waring Health Juice Extractor and it is faaaaaaaabulous.  You have no idea just how excited I was to finally be able to get one and start juicing!!!

When I was in India this past summer I fell totally head over heels in love with drinking fresh juices everyday.  So many wonderful combination’s of juices and all so fresh and tasty!! (only got sick once and it was after drinking a mango smoothie from a 5 star restaurant! Lol).

Anyway, I’ve been reading Crazy, Sexy, Diet by Kris Carr and she talks a lot about the amazing benefits of Green Juices.  So I’ve been playing around a bit with those, I haven’t quite yet found my favorite combo yet, but I can assure you, in the near future you can fully expect to be bombarded by juicing recipes once I get the hang of it all.

 

Happy Juicing!

 

Belated New Years Resolution List

I know this is a tad late, however seeing as how I only just recently got re-acquainted with updated technology (aka my new computer) I feel as though I am allowed my belated posting on New Years Resolutions.

With that said, let me just say that this is my first year ever for making an actual NYR list.  In past years I’ve half heartily made lists in my head, but never really committed to it.  But this year I decided I wanted to change that and make a meaningful list.  One that was not filled with “lose 15 pounds” or other typical resolutions that everyone seems to make.   Instead I made a list of inward changes that I wanted to make for myself.  To, if you will, become re-acquainted with myself and to grow even more.

Sorry for the bad lighting! (I really need a better camera, *hint hint* *nod nod* *wink wink*)

This past year was a major year for me, LOTS of big changes.  So with entering into a new phase in my life, I decided that my goal for this year would be to really step outside my comfort zone and push myself to grab hold of life!! That sounds so cliche, but I really do mean it! Lol

So far I have seemed to be a bit resistant to making these changes.  But like with most big changes I recognize that yes, they do in fact take time.  As I have mentioned before, patience is definitely NOT my strong suite.  I should add that one to my list too Lol.  In any case, part of that has been my new job and having my schedule flip flop back and forth which has made getting into a good routine difficult to do.  But I am finally on my set schedule (THANK GOD!) so I am hoping that this will make a big difference.

I at first wasn’t sure if I wanted to post this kind of blog, as it doesn’t seem like it would be all that interesting.  But then I thought that it very well may give someone else some motivation as well as hold me accountable! haha only mildly selfish eh??

So here is to starting a new year, starting fresh, and making honest and non superficial changes!  CHEERS!!

What have your resolutions been in the past?  Have you stuck to them? What are yours for this year? and how do you plan to stick to them?

A Few Wishes and Amazing Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Goodness!

So I have been doing some “wishing upon a star” lately….. no one star in particular really… just wishing in general.  I have soooo many wishes these days.  Most of which have to do with time moving just a smidge faster so that I can magically be exactly where I am wanting to be.  Also, my life long dream to become famous is becoming stronger and stronger… why? I don’t know but if anyone has any connections give me a hollah!!

Life in general and what the future holds has been on my mind a lot lately, and when I say a lot I mean like ALL THE TIME!  By no means is this a bad thing, I just wish I had more answers to it all.  Lots of open ended questions:  Where am I going with my life?  When will I find “The One”?  Should I go to Grad school?  How am I going to get to California?  How long is it going to take until I finally can reach my ultimate goal?   ………and the questions continue, but I won’t bore you with my laundry list of “when’s”  but you get my drift right?

In particular, after having been single for the past ohh…. almost three years now, I am ready to get back into the dating field.  Not to mention the fact that after my 27th birthday this past year, I started getting that “settle down” itch which totally freaked me out!! So needless to say I would very much love to find my prince charming soon! Lol

Cinderella is my all time favorite Disney movie.... does that mean anything?? Lol

So with all of that “woe is me” yammering I just did, I shall share with you the amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies I whipped up to settle my nerves and mind this weekend.  I tend to hit up the kitchen when my mind is all a flutter, I find it soothes me, calms me down, I become “Zen” :-)

Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Chloe Coscarelli

2 1/4  All purpose flour

1 tsp Baking soda

1 Tbsp Ener-g egg replacer

3/4 tsp Salt

3/4 tsp Cinnamon

1 cup Earth Balance Butter

3/4 cup Vegan Sugar

3/4 cup Brown Sugar

1/4 cup Water

1 Tbsp Vanilla

1 cup Chocolate Chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

1.) In a medium bowl whisk together the: flour, baking soda, egg replacer, salt, and cinnamon

2.) In a stand mixer (or can use hand mixer):

- Beat the butter for 30 seconds

- Slowly add the sugars in a stream while mixing

3.) In a small bowl mix the water and vanilla together

4.) Once the butter and sugar is mixed, add the water/vanilla mixture while still mixing the butter and sugar

5.) Put stand mixer on “stir” or if using hand mixer put on “low” and add in the flour mixture a 1/2 cup at a time.  Make sure that after each addition of flour the mix gets fully incorporated.

6.) Add in the chocolate chips and lightly mix (not too much! but just enough for the chips to get mixed in)

7.)  Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, scoop dough onto cookie sheet leaving enough room for them to spread.

8.) Using the palm of your hand, flatten the dough a little bit so they look nice and round

9.)  Bake for 12-18 minutes (depends on how you like your cookies)

- for super chewy doughy cookies bake for 12, for super crispy bake for 18.  – for medium texture use your judgement from 13 to 17 minutes

So I leave you with this one last question…

 

My "Ah-ha" moment with raw whole foods vs. processed foods

So lately I have been trying to become more in tune with my body in terms of nutrition, and feeding my body with whole foods and superfoods which nourish and heal the body in amazing ways! I have become so fascinated and perhaps nerdily (yes I just made up that word, roll with it) excited about the amazing ability’s that food has if used in the correct ways.  The way that we are supposed to be using food.

I will do another post on my favorite superfoods soon, so stay tuned for that!

So it was perhaps about two months ago.  I started having some digestive problems, and overall was just feeling very run down.  Granted there was also a fair amount of stress going on in my life due to the whole job hunting thing, and I was not doing a very good job of eating very well.   So I decided to do a bit of an experiment on myself of eating only whole foods, and primarily raw, to see what effects it would have on my body and mind.

What I discovered was this:

When I ate lots of processed foods, sugar, coffee etc… I was tired all the time, bloated, crashed in the middle of the day and just felt overall gross and depressed.

However when I ate whole clean foods, everything from scratch, nothing processed, I felt alive! I felt healthy, non bloated, eager to work out, happy, and overall extremely productive, which in turn also leads me to being on track health wise.

In writing that it seems like a big obvious DUH!!!  Especially since I wrote an entry a while ago about doing that exact type of experiment.  But I, like everyone else, sometimes need a good re-jump start or refresher, if you will.  Yes, I too will sometimes lose my way with healthy eating.  But it’s always good to remember that tough times will  not last forever, and healthy eating is a great way to pull yourself out of a funk.

Back to what I was saying, when you eat whole foods it forces you to eat at a slower pace.  Whereas processed foods are just that… so overly processed that there are no fibers in there to hold it together.  In other words, those types of foods break down quite quickly in your mouth therefore you end up eating faster and larger quantities.

So, all of this is to say that I am slowly but surely making the solid (no pun intended) transition to whole foods, and further away from overly processed vegan “faux meats” no matter how delicious and convenient they may be!  It not only makes me feel amazing, but it also makes me happy because I get to cook a lot more! which I love to do, and making all kinds of different and exciting meals and recipes!

Coming up soon:

My latest food obsession – POMEGRANATE!!

And a few recipes I’ve whipped up… though I have to admit, I’m so bad at taking pictures of my food while cooking.  I just get so wrapped up in the cooking I only realize after wards that I’ve totally forgotten to document the process and the final out come! ooppssss :-/  I think part of that issue though is that I don’t have a great camera with which to make nice looking photos, or nice cookware… I’m ohhh what some might call a bit of a perfectionist and only like the best!!  Lol

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