I have been reading the book Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting and Got a Life by Kelsey Miller. If you have every had any issues with food or disordered eating in your life, this is a must read. While I consider my eating to be balanced and in moderation these days, reading Kelsey’s book brings me back to crazy issues I had and some that still will try to show up today.
One thing I know to be true and that is that there is actually a thing of being too healthy and eating too healthily. And basically this just means that if your eating patterns control you or if your social life is altered based on your “healthy” eating, then it is probably time to take a step back and really evaluate things.
As I was reading Kelsey’s book the other day, she wrote something that was so spot on I had to highlight it, underline it, and had I not been reading a digital copy, I probably would have torn the page out. It was something I wanted to remind myself never to go back to again–there was a time that this was my life, 500%.
In certain phases of my life, food was either Good or Bad. And if I ate from the Good list, then everything was peachy keen. But if I ate from the Bad list of foods, then whoa, Nelly, things were not looking so good. I couldn’t help but laugh since I related so much to Kelsey’s words, and to the fact that the recipe I was planning on sharing had none other than Kale this week.
Kale was the good and righteous superhero of the produce section. Whether sautéed, steamed or raw, eating kale made me a Very Good Person. If not quite Gwyneth Paltrow, I was at least behaving Gwyn-ish. While filled with those saintly greens, I could walk to work with my head held high.
I can honestly say, I adhered to such insane thinking for so long. But it was so true. If I abided by such saintly rules then I was happy with myself, but if I did not, things were not so good at all. There was guilt or confessions of how “bad” I was and what not.
Kelsey’s work is in intuitive eating and throwing out every notion that there are Good Foods and Bad Foods and truly listening to your body. Not so easy when for years you have hardwired yourself to think of foods in these two categories.
One of the things I always like to reiterate here is that while I share healthy and clean recipes as that is my passion, it is not my end all be all. That is not balance. That is not living. At least it isn’t to me.
While french fries were on Kelsey’s top of the Bad List of foods, pancakes used to be my major no-nos. They were Bad, Evil, you name it. If I went to a restaurant for brunch and really wanted the pancakes, it was such a battle of the mind. First off, they were bad. So if I wanted them, then I was going to have to pay. Second of all, did I mention they were evil??? Most likely refined, processed white flour, zero nutritional value and smothered in butter and syrup—wait, is that pancake syrup or real maple??? (yes, all of these things went on in my mind.)
So what is the shift? Well, when you remove all foods from the preconceived lists, then a whole new world opens up. When our mind tells us that nothing is off limits, then we don’t feel the same pressure and panic around food choices and we don’t associate food with guilt or feeling. When we start listening to what we really want and/or what our bodies are really craving, then food and emotion begin to separate.
There is one big thing all of this comes with though. When we separate food and emotion that means we actually have to feel emotion. What are you gonna do when you don’t use food to feed a bad day or some lousy news? You’re going to feel it. All of it. In all of it’s rawness. And that can be the toughest part of it all.
As with Kelsey’s story, it is quite the process. It’s a learning curve. It’s throwing out all of the things that we believed for so long. It’s letting go of the feeling that if we don’t make the healthiest choice at all times, then we are doomed.
So start today possibly by letting go of the “Good foods” and the “Bad foods” as the rulers of your life and choices. It will take some time to get used to and it will take a little leap of faith, but if you live by the rules, then life will never be any fun. So throw them all out!
Like I said, I thought it was funny that I was sharing a kale salad today. I will say I am not a big fan of kale, raw kale at least. Recently a restaurant in town opened and served this amazing roasted kale salad that became the talk of the town. I have had it several times and it is well worth it. Big enough to share with the entire table or you can have it as a meal.
The salad has shrimp in it but the day I was working on this recipe I had no shrimp around so feel free to add some! Roasted kale is honestly where it’s at. I will never be one to say kale chips are the bomb, because they really aren’t. But crispy roasted kale is pretty darn tasty and in this salad, it’s so good.
There are two ways you can do this salad. You can chop all of your veggies on your own. If you are pressed for time, there are several chopped kale/brussels sprout mixes pre-packaged in the salad area of the produce section. Sometimes we all need a shortcut! Add the jalapeño at your own risk. If you don’t like things too spicy, just use a green chile. The dressing doesn’t make a lot, but you really only need a little drizzle, I promise!
- 3 c chopped kale
- 1 1/2 c shaved Brussels Sprouts
- 1 jalapeño sliced thin
- 4 mini sweet peppers sliced thin
- 1/2 c chopped radicchio or red cabbage
- Juice of 1 small lime
- 1 T sesame oil or olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 T pure honey
- 1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/2 T rice vinegar
- 1 inch piece of ginger freshly grated
- 1-2 T water to thin
- Sea Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss kale, brussels sprouts and radicchio (or cabbage) with about 1/2-1 T olive oil.
- Line on parchment lined baking sheet.
- Place in oven and heat for about 12-15 minutes until desired golden browned edges of kale. (I like mine crispy so I leave it in even longer)
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the dressing except for the water. whisk until combined. Add in water to desired thickness and sea salt and pepper to taste.
- After removing baking sheet from oven, toss kale mixture with mini peppers and jalapeños.
- Drizzle desired amount of dressing and toss. Add more as desired.
- Enjoy while still warm!