Healthy and Sane

Finally cooking again + more IE talk

July 16th, 2009 · 20 Comments · Cooking Light, Eating Well, Uncategorized

Yesterday was quite an eventful day on the food and fitness front :) I woke up bright and early to make some real lunch for Adam and me. I was just sick of throwing random stuff together for lunch and then not really being satisfied with them. Also I’m guessing you guys wanted to see some new recipes on here. Well, I have recipes for you! 😀 But before we get there, let’s talk Intuitive Eating for a minute, shall we?

I’m still going through the book and hope that they address all of my questions. I’ve been allowing myself to eat whatever I want (the first stage) in order to free myself from food related guilt. The thing is so far, despite my mouth being satisfied, I can’t get my brain to catch up. I know I’m doing this for a reason, but I can’t help but feel like I’m doing horrible things for my body by allowing consumption of 2 cookies/day.  This is the point of this first stage – breaking the connection between food and guilt.  But… how can you not feel bad about certain foods if you eat them and gain weight and you KNOW they are not doing anything for you nutritionally? And how can you stop thinking about this first stage of unconditional permission to eat anything as a temporary thing? Even if it’s thinking that one day you’ll want to eat less of it, desperately waiting for that day to come before you balloon up? Apparently as long you continue to think of it as temporary (i.e. not really believe that you can have it any day if you want it), then you will continue overeating these foods because you know it will eventually end.  This is supposed to be a freeing experience, to stop the cravings and the “deprivation backlash” (basically bingeing) that inevitably follows. I am SO ready for the next stage! I guess patience is a virtue I do not possess 😉

All right, so this is what I had yesterday… you’re missing a picture of 2 Paradise Bakery cookies. You know what they look like, right? SO good! (But I SO need to stop craving them!)

1/3 c rolled oats, 1/3 c skim milk, 1/3 c water, dried bing cherries, bottom of the jar Barney Butter and apple butter. Yum!


And this is the aforementioned lunch. I used this recipe from the Cooking Light magazine for stir-fried bok choy and lettuce with mushrooms. It was in the Jan/Feb 09 issue in the Chinese New Year section. I bought bok choy at the farmers market the other day and thought this was the perfect celebratory dish to star it. It was very time consuming (took me over an hour to make, something I certainly don’t recommend doing in the morning!) but I was happy to be finally cooking, even if that made me a little late for work. Plus, who doesn’t love a little Chinese food bright and early in the morning? Not you? Oh, ok 😉



We ran out of lettuce in the house, so I omitted it. I also added some massive shrimp to complete this entree (just stir fried them a bit before adding in the bok choy) + served it on the side of brown rice to soak up the sauce. This definitely tasted like authentic Chinese food to me! The mushroom sauce was thick and yummy. De-licious :)


Some snacks…


Yeah, sun-maid. I don’t know about this message… 😕


Am I living up to “Elina”? What do you guys think? Haha 😆


I ate 1/2 of these. Just wanted something fresh to munch on before my run. Speaking of the run, I tried the Boston Nike running group yesterday. Yeah, I don’t know… it was a little bit a waste of my time. It was quite disorganized, and I ended up running with a guy that did not want to push himself as much as I would have if I ran by myself. The loop we ended up doing ended up being only 4.3 miles (I planned on doing 5) so I left him off and ran another 0.7 to finish myself off. I sped up for that last part, but the average speed was still 9:05 minute miles. It was crazy humid, and the run was tough (kind of made me nervous for 13.1 miles – eek!), but I know I could have done better than that. I was hoping to find someone running at my speed that I could befriend and train with for my first half marathon (signed up yesterday, btw – SO excited!!!!!) but that didn’t happen. I hear Lululemon has another running group starting on Thursday nights, so I may check that out. We’ll see.

By the time I got home (after a shower at the gym) it was nearly 9pm, so dinner was quick, but still crazy awesome 😀 I followed this recipe from the Eating Well magazine for tijuana tortas. We used a french baguette form Panera (Adam refuses to eat whole wheat :( ), omitted the onions, and sliced the avocado instead of mashing it. The result? So simple and flavorful. I discovered recently that Adam is a HUGE black beans fan. He was practically moaning while eating this, and said he could become a vegetarian if he could eat this every day. I liked it a lot but for me the avocado was the star. I love avocado!!


Messy but yummy


I wanted chocolate for dessert and grabbed a healthier chocolatey treat:


Unfortunately this kind of overstuffed me. Damn. Why do I keep doing this to myself? This is like the 3rd day in a row that I went to bed in pain. Ugh. Apparently the sensible thing would have been just taking a few bites of it and putting it away. The “finish your plate mentality” needs to stop. Like asap. Of course I’ll keep you posted on my progress :) Does anyone else feels like they have to finish their plate? How often do you realize it wasn’t a wise decision after all? Happens to me more often than I’d like it to be, but I am determined to get better.

Happy Thursday! The weekend is just around the corner 😀

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20 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - sister inna

    that chinese food for breakfast comment reminded me of how freshman year at school one of my roommates used to boil dehydrated mushrooms first thing in the morning for whatever she was planning on having later on in the day… and it was awful smelling… (that was a mouthful)… anyway chinese food in the morning is NOT my idea of awesome 😉 but for lunch that looks amazing.
    i know what you mean about the clean your plate mentality, i’ve been battling with this as well. i think it’s b/c we were raised thinking of food as a commodity? Derek is the same way, so i get no help from his end either…

  • #2 - Julie

    Maybe instead of having a kashi bar when you are craving chocolate, have a square of dark or milk chocolate or a handful of chocolate chips. I keep a chcolate bar in my fridge and some carbob chips in my frezzer for this reason!

  • #3 - Shannon (The Daily Balance)

    I totally understand what you mean about the “cleaning your plate” mentality. It’s like I don’t even think about it! I need to focus more on this, too 😉

    It’s all a process, huh? At least we’re going in the right direction 😉

  • #4 - Daria (Summer of the CSAs)

    Yep, I totally have that clean your plate mentality, coupled with a “must eat fast so I can get to dessert” mentality. Bad combo! It really is just a matter of patience, I suppose – changing longstanding behaviors takes time!

  • #5 - Dish Gal

    2 things — 1) Paradise Bakery cookies = best cookies in Boston!! I’m so glad someone else appreciates them !

    2) I saw that recipe for the tijuana torta in eating well last summer and have always wanted to try it..thanks for reminding me, it looks awesome!!

  • #6 - Elina

    Innz, haha – I totally was boiling dehydrated mushrooms yesterday in the morning. It does kind of stink :) Btw, great observation on the food being a commodity for us growing up. You’d think our bodies would realize by now that there is more than plenty to go around at this point!

    Julie, I think that’s a great idea! Actually as I was lying in bed in semi-pain last night, I totally thought about the fact that a few dark chocolate squares would have done the job. I used to do that but somehow got out of the routine and started going for much more substantial snacks. Thanks for reminding me. It’s a much better ritual, especially given that dark chocolate has lots of antioxidants 😀

    Dish Gal – yeah for Paradise Bakery cookies. I’m SURE they put crack in them! 😉 Have you had them recently? They used to have Girardhelli choc chips and now use Nestle. I’m wondering if it was a cost thing. Clearly it hasn’t stopped me from consuming them though :) I may have had enough, finally. We’ll see. Definitely don’t want any today! That’s progress 😀 Oh and you’re welcome about reminding you of this recipe. I started this blog for this reason exactly – to point people to yummy healthy recipes that I try. It kind of evolved from there (clearly!), but it’s nice to be reminded of the fact that my readers do like to see meal and snack ideas, so I can’t eat boring stuff :)

  • #7 - Annabel

    Elina — I am going to be honest with you: I have not done the research so my opinion only comes from the science of my personal experience, but I believe that I.E. in a load of B-S. I will explain why (much more delicately than I have here) in a post either this weekend or next week. I guess my main point is that intuitive eating is a great idea, but it would only work in a state of nature where we were still hunter gatherers without access to processed foods (which can actually be ADDICTIVE). But that’s just one point of many. Sorry to be ranting, i guess the only thing worth saying was “I’m sorry Elina!” I want you to be free of guilt, of course, when you eat. And I want you to eat what you want and be happy. So I am sending positive thoughts your way and hope we can BOTH figure this thing out. 😀
    Oh and can I just say that PARADISE bakery is..well..PARADISE?!

  • #8 - Kelly

    I definitely used to have the clean your plate mentality, especially when I was doing weight watchers. My feeling was I was entitled those points so damn if I wasn’t going to eat all of them. Intuitive Eating taught me to be a lot more in tune with my body and listen to how I’m feeling. I have an iced latte sitting in front of me and I’m guessing even though it’s only half gone it’s going to get tossed because I’m feeling full and not so into it anymore.

    I think the first stage is the hardest of Intuitive Eating. I think what you’ll find is that you eat a lot of those forbidden foods at first and then you get so sick of them because you know you can have them whenever you want. I think once the guilt goes away (or gets a little lessened) there’s less of an urge to eat everything.

  • #9 - K

    I didn’t know raisin boxes had little messages on them! Very interesting :)

    Panera’s baguettes are so good! I love them all!! Sorry you’re still in the ‘clean your plate’ mentality – fortunately I was never told that so I haven’t had to deal with that problem. I hope you find a solution :)

  • #10 - Eve

    It looks like you had a fabulous eating day! I agree that IE is not right for everybody. Sometimes you have to tell yourself “no I can’t have it.” Since there are temptations around us all the time, it’s so hard to live intuitively all the time. I always like the standard – “i can have it tomorrow” rule.

  • #11 - Jenny

    Thanks for sharing your journeys through IE. I will say that it is def a place I want to get to, and I will! Please keep sharing your thoughts, etc. You are doing great!

    That torta recipe sounds great, thanks for linking to it!!


  • #12 - Elina

    Annabel – I understand what you’re saying, and I definitely still have my reservations but at the same time the book does point to real cases of people that have been cured of food related guilt and were able to maintain their “normal weight” (again, I don’t really know what that is and if I would be happy at mine). It also provides science behind why our bodies are triggered to binge if deprived, and provides some related studies that were done. I think there is definitely something said about that. The women that wrote it are nutritionists, so they definitely don’t promote eating crap all day and feeling good about it, but they’ve been proven over and over again that intuitive eating is the only way their clients have been able to lose and maitain their weight for good. I don’t know if it’s for me, but I’m willing to give it a go. I suggest you read the book and maybe see whether you see some truth in their message or if you still thing it’s all BS 😉

    Kelly, I think my clean your plate mentality came originally from my childhood (as my sister very smartly pointed out :) ) and more recently, as an adult, has contined due to calorie counting. It’s exactly how you said it – if I input it into my calculation, I am definitely eating it! I like that you’ve gone through this journey and found it healthy for you. I’m looking forward to getting past the first stage (I can’t believe I’m saying it after just writing this post) but I think I’m actually getting there! :)

    K, yeah – every little raisin box has a message. Sometimes they are cute and inspirational and other times I think they ran out of things to say 😆

    Eve, I think the message of IE is that you need to really believe that “you can always have it tomorrow,” and that’s exactly what it comes down to. If tomorrow comes and you don’t want it, it’s all good, but if tomorrow comes and you’re still craving it and keep telling yourself that “you can have it tomorrow” and do this over and over again, then your body will feel deprived. Makes sense to me :)

    Jenny, I’m glad that my journey is helpful to others. I’m happy to share it with you all 😀

  • #13 - Jenny

    i know the anxiety of eating something and feeling as though it’s has no nutritional benefits — but i think a healthy relationship with food is so beyond a physical level! I am a firm believer that you can’t have a healthy body without a healthy mind — and the only way to have a healthy mind is allowing yourself to enjoy things just because they straight up taste good! we can’t expect everything we eat to benefit us in some way — thats far too stressful! i’m glad you are able to incorporate some good ol’ fashion TASTY foods in to your life :)

  • #14 - ttfn300

    oh my gosh i am totally a finish everything on my plate kinda gal. as well as an eat quick kinda gal. working on it!!

    you got me thinking about ie in terms of cooking… is it supposed to change the way you cook? like i know a serving of pasta is 2oz. and i do things ahead of time. so i’m still kinda portion controlling… i don’t know if there’s a question in there or more just a comment!

    ps- how’s your hip?

  • #15 - katie

    have been a happy lurker for a while–thanks for such a great blog!
    my problem with intuitive eating isn’t that it’s in itself difficult, but that my body type (if i eat intuitively) is not socially desirable. i’ve never been overweight in a clinical sense, but my bmi seems to be at the high end of the normal range if i eat as i like–and i feel plump and podgy there. to maintain a bmi at the lower end of normal (which isn’t skinny but, for my body, slim-ish) does seem to require more effort than i’d like in terms of calories counting, running, gym going, food blog reading, etc! i think that for most women the two don’t go together very easily–at least after your late teens, it’s hard to be both slim and not quite heavily concerned about how to get there.

  • #16 - Alison

    It’s funny…I used to be so good at not finishing my plate. My parents used to compliment me if I ate half of my plate at a restaurant – even when I liked the food. Now I usually end up finishing things (although I always split or third portions at a restaurant).

    I’d love not to feel any guilt about food. But I think it’s somewhat inevitable for any girl who focuses a lot on healthy eating.

  • #17 - Lara (Thinspired)

    I want Chinese food early in the morning! Me! Me! 😉

    I completely understand everything you are saying here. I definitely suffer from clean-plate syndrome. That is why calorie counting always worked–I just counted up what I was putting on my plate and then I knew I could eat the whole thing! Ugh. The transition is so hard. You’re doing great. Just keep pushing through it.

  • #18 - Elina

    Jenny, sounds like you have a really great relationship with food. That’s great! :)

    Ttfn300, I think it’s ok to cook the way you have been, but I think the point is to listen to “honor your hunger” as they say. That means that even though you measure 20z of pasta, you should make sure you really want to eat the full 2oz, but also that if you’re still hungry after eating 2oz of pasta (which is a standard serving) then you should be ok to eat some more or another snack. You shouldn’t feel like you’re out of control or something for wanting to eat more than a serving’s worth, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for being truly hungry. I thin that’s all :) My hip is ok today… it’s been weird lately for sure. Trying to sabotage me, I think. Not gonna happen! 😉

    Katie – thanks for coming out of the lurking shell 😉 I think it’s very interesting that people that have figured out their “normal weight” have commented that it’s higher than where we’d like it to be. When you don’t care about what you eat, do you still experience any food related guilt? Because if you do, then you may still be overeating at other times because your body thinks you’ll stop supplying it that certain food soon enough. I wish I could meet you all and talk about all this. :)

    Alison, it sounds like you figured out that a whole portion is too much for you and now split it right away, so it’s understandable why you’d eat the whole thing. I think “finishing your plate” syndrome is only harmful when you eat beyond the normal level of fullness over and over again, just for the sake of finishing the plate. I think you’re good 😉

    Lara, haha – I totally was thinking of you when I was typing that. 😆 And yes, I think it’s the calorie counting in one form or another that has engraved this “finish your plate” mentality in all of us. Listening to your hunger cues seems like a better idea for sure!

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