Friday, June 24, 2011

The Return of the Smoothie

Green smoothieAs I wrote in my last post, we are finally getting true summer temperatures here in Montana (although today it will only be in the 60s, but sunny -- my favorite kind of weather!  Now that it's super hot, I'm craving cold foods -- specifically, smoothies!

Normally I am a huge fan of all things produce -- I love fruits and vegetables!  Now that I'm pregnant, however, apparently I have turned into a vegetable hater, much to my chagrin.  Most green veggies make me gag at the moment, and it's been hard getting my daily intake of vegetables.

Enter the green smoothie!  I adore smoothies -- not only because they're tasty and super healthy, but because they are an easy way to sneak in veggies.  For those of you who are new to green smoothies, what I mean by that is a smoothie that has a green vegetable blended in, like spinach (my top choice), kale, or even a wheat grass supplement like Amazing Grass (the Amazing Grass Kidz Superfood is my favorite from their line).  If that sounds absolutely disgusting, don't worry -- as long as you don't overload your smoothie with greens, you won't be able to taste a difference.

This morning, I enjoyed my first successful green smoothie of the summer.  It was so delicious!  I've been having a little trouble getting my green smoothies to taste good, but today's was a winner.  Here's what I threw into my blender:

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1/4 skim milk

  • 1/2 cup fat free plain yogurt

  • 1 cup fresh watermelon

  • 1 banana

  • 1/2 T ground flaxseed

  • 1 handful frozen spinach (about 1 cup)

  • stevia (or other sweetener) to taste

  • 1-2 cups ice

What's your favorite smoothie recipe?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Intuitive Imperfection

Summer lightHello, blog friends!  I hope that you are having a wonderful Wednesday!  It is finally sunny and gorgeous here.  While Montana springs are usually moderate and beautiful, this year's spring has been cold, gray, and rainy.  Last week I had to wear a fleece jacket to stay warm outdoors (and, um, indoors).  Crazy!  I'm so glad that the solstice brought summer weather with it.

Unfortunately, pregnancy seems to be preventing me from enjoying my usual summer exploits.  Due to the heat and sun, I don't feel like I can safely hike mountains as I normally would.  Even the farmer's market has been difficult to enjoy because the morning sun seems to make me extremely nauseous.  Yuck.  But I am still enjoying my little growing bean, and have been able to do less intense walks and hikes, as well as taking the pups to the dog park regularly.

It's interesting -- being preggo means that I have to listen even more closely to what my body needs.  For example, at dinner I usually eat a mondo salad, which accounts for almost all of my produce intake for the day.  But now my body does not like having large meals, and so I am learning to modify my ingrained habits (plus, salads now make me gag).  That also means taking a nap when I feel tired (which is often), eating more healthy fats than I'm used to (I have been craving burgers and full fat cheese), and taking things slower (I get out of breath much, much faster).

All that to say -- I think this pregnancy is teaching me really important things about my body and intuition.  Through my years of eating disorder therapy and beyond, that is the one thing that I never felt comfortable with.  I could never give up my control -- I had to exercise a certain amount, and eat certain things in a certain way.  Now I'm having to throw my white-knuckled control out the window -- and even if the results of that are imperfect, that's no bad thing.

Do you like to control things, or are you more intuitive and flexible?  How do you balance the two?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Snapshot Sunday: Father's Day

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="My mom and dad during a visit a couple of years ago, at one of our favorite restaurants."]New Year's Eve [/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="333" caption="The Best Inlaws Ever, at our wedding."]IMG_4947[/caption]

Happy Father's Day to one and all!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I Refuse To Compare and Despair

Be who you areThis  morning, this interesting post from a lovely art blog showed up in my reader -- how to cure yourself of artist's block in one week (hopefully).  Tara, the blogger, listed three culprits behind her current case of artist's block, with the number one reason being "looking at too many other people's work" and number three being "not wanting to produce anything that isn't a 'work of art'" (you've got to click through for number two! ;)).

I can totally, absolutely, 100% relate to this.  It is easy for me to go from looking at and appreciating others' art to comparing my art to what I'm viewing.  That leads to me say, "Hmph, everyone's already doing the same thing as me, and doing it better, so why bother."  Of course that mindset is not helpful for anyone, neither myself nor the people who may one day enjoy my art -- if I put in the time and work now.

And of course in thinking this way I'm forgetting the number one reason why I love making art -- because it heals me.  It makes me come alive. It makes me feel connected to my self, to God, and to other people.  It makes my heart sing.

I'm not sure if this is something I've really written much about yet.  Art-making has been a revelation for me.  No other activity has allowed me to lose myself so completely, yet in so healthy a way, as making art.  What's more, making art has freed me from the hold that bulimia had on me.  As you know, I've been fighting against a binge/purge compulsion for the past year or more (prior to which I was still fighting the same urge, but more restrictive with my food and more excessive with my exercise).  Nothing has been able to help me climb out of the whole that compulsion was burying me in -- not Overeaters Anonymous, not prayer, not a diet/exercise program, not blogging, not hooping, and certainly not writing (writing, in fact, triggered even more of this compulsive behavior).

Then I decided to take one of Suzi Blu's online art classes.  And . . . my inner world exploded.  I began the course tentatively, but then discovered that I actually could make nice looking things . . . and then I couldn't get enough.  I threw myself into making art with reckless abandon.  I finally discovered what flow means to hoopers, something I'd heard so much about but had never truly experienced.  What's more, I found that when making art, all eating disordered thoughts fled.  I had absolutely no desire to binge.  It was nothing short of amazing, a gift from God.

So when I start telling myself "Why bother?" or getting down on myself because my art is not fine art or "real art" (whatever that means), I'm robbing myself of this miraculous gift.  I'm putting the chains back on.  I'm retreating from life rather than living it.

And I compare myself in other areas of life, too.  I bemoan my blog's traffic, wanting it to be much higher but never seeming able to get it there.  I think "Why bother?" when I read my favorite authors' books, and decide I shouldn't write because everyone else is so much better.  I compare my level of faith, my communication skills, my dogs' naughtiness, my pregnancy eating habits -- and that's all without even mentioning physical comparison, a thought-demon which seems to prey on every women in the western world.

Enough is enough.  If I look, it's so easy to recognize how harmful comparison is.  So I'm done.  I'm sick of it.  When I compare, the only thing that happens is that I give in to despair -- and usually throw myself right back into the clutches of disordered eating again.  No more.

No more comparing.  No more sizing each other up.  Who's with me?

(A side note on commenting — I’ve changed the security settings because I was getting a massive amount of spam comments.  If you have trouble commenting with the current settings, please email me at escagnel04 (at) yahoo (dot) com and let me know what’s not working for you.  Thanks!)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Finds

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="My latest creation, inspired by my own peanut & the soon-to-be-born daughter of a fellow church member."]You are a gift[/caption]

I think the aspect of the internet that I love the most is that it allows me to learn about so many things that I might not have otherwise.  Right now I'm thinking mostly about Sixty Feet, an amazing organization that I just learned about this morning.  But I can also chalk learning how to hoop and how to make mixed media portraits up to the power of the interwebs.  It's such an amazing tool (or it can be)!  And of course, without the internet I would not have met the many faraway people I now call friends.  What a gift!

Here are some of my favorite internet-alicious finds from the week.  Also, check out my Beautiful Bloggery tab for some more excellent reading.




Shameless Self-Promotion

What are your favorite reads from the week, online or otherwise?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My [Latest] Source of Blogging Distraction

Last time it was art.  This time, it's this:


. . . and this:


and this!


That's right . . . we're pregnant!  (Is that how people say it these days?) ;)  Anyhoo, I found out a few weeks ago, which is when I stopped blogging because I couldn't think of anything else to write!  Today we had our first doctor's appointment with our first ultrasound (wow!), and so now I feel ready to tell the world -- so I am!

It's quite funny how I discovered the pregnancy.  I was whining on Twitter about how I felt nauseous and tired, and Barb of HoopPretty said she felt the same.  I joked that maybe she was pregnant . . . and then thought maybe I should take a pregnancy test myself.   (By the way -- Barb is not pregnant.  I think.  ;))

So . . . that's that!  Now that I'm not bursting with the news, I will get on with blogging as usual.  Of course I'll be writing some about the pregnancy (and resulting human being), but about the usual topics as well.  Not to fear -- I am not planning on turning into a mommy blogger!  I still have loads to say on health, faith, creativity, and the like.  And, uh, my strange new food revulsions.  :)

In case you are wondering, this is a surprise baby, but a very welcome one.  After anorexia ravaged my body, my reproductive system was unpredictable at best.  I went for nearly four years without having a period.  Even after it finally came back last year, we were told not to expect much in terms of having biological children.  So this baby is totally a miracle baby for us.  I have been reading the Biblical stories Hannah and Sarah often since I found out the news, empathizing with these barren women's joy for the first time instead of their sorrow.

All that to say that we feel very, very blessed.  :D