Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The M-Word

It’s almost Thanksgiving!! So in case I don’t get to post tomorrow, Happy Thanksgiving everybody! I am flying to State College tonight, which I expect will be quite a shock--although the weather down here did get pretty chilly this past weekend. And all this is if my flights even make it to Pennsylvania, because the snow and yuck up there make things iffy.

But none of that (except wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving) is why I wanted to post today. Nope, I wanted to post because I went to the doctor yesterday to follow up after he did some bloodwork and gave me the progesterone. As usual, I got weighed (and I know I’m still gaining pretty quickly, despite the fact that I haven’t bought new clothes in months). Then he ordered a thyroid test. And then mentioned the m-word (“maintain”).

Up until that it was just a subtle hint that “you’re too fat now,” but when he actually mentioned getting control over food...maybe it’s just me, but I heard “you’re too fat now, so you’re not allowed to eat unrestrictedly anymore.”

Maybe “maintain where we are” means keep doing the same thing, but if it means restricting food, well, fuck that. I can think of a bunch of reasons why not.
  • A lot of this is water. This amount of gain would be impossible otherwise.
  • BMI is fucked up. Excuse my language today. But statistically, I currently have the longest life expectancy. How again to we define “healthy”?
  • I’m growing. I grew about 1/4” since the last time I went in--which was slightly less than three weeks ago. Growing requires energy and I would like to keep doing it.
  • I’m also going through a sort of delayed puberty. Which also required a ton of energy, and like the growth, I would like it to continue, thank you very much.
  • My periods haven’t come back by themselves. Yes, I did the hormone challenge, and yes, I got a period. But it wasn’t completely mine. There is a reason my body hasn’t started cycling yet, and that is because it is still repairing and still trying to trust me. I have spent likely 8 years abusing my body, and four months is not enough to gain its trust back. And I do not want to take drugs to induce a period. It defeats the purpose of having one in the first place. I will know when my body is healthy enough to have children.
  • Average recovery time is 18 months. I am starting number 5. And after everything my body has been through, I think my recovery will be one of the longer ones.
  • Oh yeah, I’m recovering from a restrictive eating disorder. In which case restriction does not help. If you’ve ever had an eating disorder, you know it’s with you for life. Eating disorders don’t very well let you restrict “just a little.” It’s an addiction. It’s like giving an alcoholic a fridge full of drinks (a la Flight) and telling them not to get “too drunk.” Yes, I’ve gained a lot of weight, but that doesn’t make me automatically “better.” People die from this, OK. Perfectly good, intelligent, kind, and caring people. I read most of Jeremy Gillitzer’s blog yesterday and today, and it was eerie. Eerie reading a dead person’s blog, eerie knowing that his condition, my condition, killed him three years ago. Eerie to recognize bits of myself in the entries. And horrifying, to watch someone, even someone you don’t know, dying. To watch them watch themselves dying and just waiting for the end. It’s horrifying and I will not be one of those people. I like the alternative better.

I believe in this approach. I believe in the set point theory. I believe in unrestricted eating for life. I do not believe that fat people don’t deserve to eat. I wanted to break my TV when I saw the commercial for the Thanksgiving edition of Biggest Loser. (And now having a debate with myself whether or not watching The Voice live is worth it.) What is wrong with people?

I understand that I’m in a teeny tiny minority here. I don’t even know if anyone who reads this will believe. That’s OK. You don’t have to believe. You don’t even have to support me. I only ask that you let me do this in peace.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My 4-Month Anniversary!!

OK. Short update.

First and foremost, today was my four-month anniversary of starting MinnieMaud! Which means I have a heck of a long way to go still but these past four months are really something I’d like to not have to repeat again’s hoping I never will!

Also, I’m taking some time off from riding to be totally sedentary, since I never was at the beginning. It’s been a week now and I really miss it...but I still go visit Sydney every day, and I really think my body deserves this chance.

And last of all...sorry, guys. Girl stuff here. I took a 10-day progesterone challenge worked! So I now have the first not-totally-fake period of my life. I was happy for like 5 minutes and then I was ready for it to be over. Still, it’s a good sign, it means my estrogen is at least somewhat normal, for the first time in my life.

And I have been correspondingly ravenous! I haven’t counted calories for about two weeks,’s a lot. Like way over minimums. Chocolate and peanut butter and occasionally really cheesy stuff. (Saturday for breakfast was a whole package of Chips Ahoy, a package of Pillsbury ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookie dough, and a bag of popcorn...and lunch was 12 cinnamon-sugar donuts.) So...yeah, I think I can pass this off on a combination of hormones and huge energy deficits haha.

So anyway, that’s what’s up with me. Busy weekend coming up so I might not post for a little while, but until then happy eating! :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: Fiber One 90 Calorie Lemon Bar

I hinted a while ago that I had a couple of free Fiber One lemon bars on the way in the mail, and finally, they arrived! These are something that I normally wouldn’t buy for myself because I just don’t like lemon things (the exception being Quest’s Lemon Cream Pie bar and the occasional lemon pound cake). So this was a good opportunity.

It’s exactly the same as the other 90 calorie brownies, except this time it smells like lemon cake or cookies...I feel like there’s such a thing as lemon sugar cookies and that this smells like them, but I really have no idea. If they don’t exist, I just invented them.

Wow, that’s definitely sour. They didn’t waste time trying to make the lemon any less lemony. It starts out OK, and then it all hits you in a rush like, BAM! The icing is really the only sweet note, and it only does so much to mitigate the acidity. Even the things inside that appear to be white chocolate, and do to some extent have that vibe, emit a sour taste.

In terms of texture, it’s good. Like the other bars in this line, it’s sort of cakey and fairly moist, though less so than a homemade brownie; it’s closer to cake than brownies (at least the way I bake them). It’s not particularly dense, but then again it’s only 90 calories to that’s to be expected. The white chocolate-looking chips are crunchy and have a melt-in-your mouth feel that’s just pretty cool.

Needless to say, this was my least favorite 90 calorie “brownie,” and I’m glad I didn’t have to buy it in the first place. But if you’re a fan of lemon-flavored desserts, this is probably right up your alley. It’s not a bad product by any means, it’s just the wrong product for me.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Review: Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownie and Cinnamon Coffee Cake

** I wrote this review a while ago, so I have to admit that my preferences are now toward real brownies and cookies...sorry, Fiber One. **

I recently started wondering about our perception of desserts. There are so many prepackaged cookies, brownies, etc. in the “Cookies” aisle at the grocery store, and then there are the Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies and Cookies and what have you in the same aisle as granola bars. So a brownie isn’t a brownie if it’s a Fiber One brownie? It’s good for you then? I’m a bit skeptical, but then again I do feel less guilty buying Fiber One than a pack of Oreos. And they taste good, too.

After my first experience with the 90 Calorie Chocolate Chip Cookies, I went back for more. This time I bought the original, the actual brownie. Fiber One’s website is telling me to “satisfy [my] chocolate and fudge craving with a delicious 90 Calorie Brownie,” so...I think I will!

Like the cookie, it’s small and obviously not as dense or moist as a homemade brownie. But it’s comparable to your average store-bought brownie, if a little less fudgy. I tastes like chocolate, it has chocolate chips in it, what’s not to like? It’s not a super-sweet chocolate but it’s chocolate nonetheless, and it’s soft and chewy and yes, if you’re craving a brownie but want to be “healthier,” it’s a fine option.

Now, Fiber One also just recently released two new flavors of 90 Calorie Brownies: Cinnamon Coffee Cake and Lemon Bars. You know there’s no way I’m buying the lemon ones (that doesn’t mean I don’t have a free one coming in the mail!), but I did have a coupon for a box of Fiber One products at Kroger, so I took advantage and snagged some 90 Calorie Coffee Cake.

Same story, same size, same texture, blah blah blah. Except the moment you unwrap this one it’s amazing how much it smells like coffee cake. Now I haven’t had coffee cake in ages, but for me this was basically the real thing, without the moistness and all the crumbles on top. No, it’s not really a “cake” texture, but the taste is pretty exact here. Like a coffee cake brownie. Now why haven’t I come across any recipes like that on Pinterest?

So, for once the chocolate didn’t win! Not that the brownie was bad, it was just nothing special and pretty much what I expected given only 90 calories to work with. The coffee cake, however, is definitely a success. I think I’d buy a box of those over the brownies or cookies any day.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Eating Disorder Saved My Life

I’ve come to the conclusion that even the so-called non-eating-disordered population has disordered eating. Then again, it’s really hard to tell because so much of the population is in denial about the fact that, yes, they have an eating disorder.

Which got me thinking...for me, personally, the only way I’ve found out that we live in a disordered society is to almost kill myself and then make the decision to recover. Which sort of gives me little hope for the majority of the population. Not only is the remission rate for eating disorders very low, but...they are contagious. Disordered eating is contagious; the proliferation of the diet industry is proof of that. Yes, there is a genetic component, but something must trigger the disorder, and getting through life in today’s society without meeting a trigger is virtually impossible.

The alarming part is that it’s only getting worse. It scares me that the majority of people will never experience this, will continue advocating dieting during pregnancy, dieting during childhood, dieting until and to death. Did it occur to no one (besides the researchers who looked at children born during the Dutch Hunger Winter) that calorie restriction during pregnancy produces a child prone to hoard every last calorie in preparation for starvation? And that hammering that child’s metabolism into the ground as soon as it enters grade school is not going to fix the problem?

In a way, I am so glad I have this eating disorder. If not, I would probably been deluded by mainstream society’s fear of fats and carbs and salt and meat and fast food and cheese and milk and butter and oil and probably next fruits and vegetables. I would think skipping breakfast was normal (notice normal, rather than the norm--because it almost could be a norm). I would not let myself eat chocolate or sugar and then wonder why I lost control at a birthday party, or wonder why I was so strict with my intake and yet still gaining weight.

But in a way it is so hard. So hard to watch people not eat breakfast, eat an apple for dinner. It is so hard to feel like I’m forcing food on people. So many in recovery have trouble eating more than others. Well, I do too, but for me it’s different. I feel so sad watching them eat less and not knowing that they could have so much more out of life.

Food is not the enemy, but the diet industry does not make its money by saying that. We are listening to people who make their living by getting us to lose and regain the same 10 or 20 or 30 pounds over and over again.

A lifetime of restriction is not worth it. Especially not a lifetime shortened because of restriction. I just wish it didn’t take a near-death experience for so many people to realize that.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review: NoGii Paleo Nuts About Berries

It seems like forever ago that I won all those bars from NoGii, but I guess it wasn’t really...but still too long ago for me to still have half of them left! I’ve been trying to work my way through the remainder of my untried protein bars, it’s a long process, but I’m getting there. Next up is the NoGii Paleo Nuts About Berries bar.

Now I could rail on for a whole entire blog post about just what I think about eating paleo...but that’s a whole other story and I’m sure some of you reading are paleoing your hearts out, so we’ll stop here and get back to the review. It’s amazing how much this looks like the ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple Cranberry Almond bar. It smells similar too, although I can’t distinguish a particular berry, I suppose it generically smells like “berries.” I’d venture a guess that I’m smelling cranberries, since they were also in the ZonePerfect bar.

Honestly, I couldn’t tell much difference between the two. Other than that this one is paleo, of course. It’s very fruity and almost a shock how tart it is. I’m not really a fan of tart things, I like sweet much better, but I realize that not many people have this enormous sweet tooth.... That said, it’s not like I was forcing it down, but when the ingredients list says “dried unsweetened tart cherries” they really mean it. Come to think of it, is there such thing as a sweetened tart cherry? I feel like that would just equate to a...well, a cherry.

Sorry, off track again. The main component of this bar is the pasty fruit gunk holding everything together. Sorry, that didn’t sound appetizing at all. Maybe “gunk” is the wrong word. It’s sort of sticky, sort of not, gummy, and crunchy because the nuts mixed in. It’s not a crispy crunch like a lot of nutrition bars, it’s more like the crunch you get with, um, nuts. Well, it is called Nuts About Berries....

So, sorry if I haven’t really given you anything you couldn’t have gleaned from the packaging. It wasn’t something I would have picked up on my own, and it’s still not. It’s not offensive, just not my thing. If you’re into dried cranberries and such, go for it.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Review: Atkins Advantedge Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar

I got a bunch of free Atkins bars a while ago, and yes, I’ve had them for an embarrassingly long time. But there’s no time like the present to eat a protein bar, which is why I grabbed the Chocolate Peanut Butter protein bar on my way out the door one morning.

It looks average, but the minute it comes out of the wrapper it smells like peanut butter. Granted, not peanut butter straight from the jar...but sweet peanut butter that reminds me of candy. Which, really, is just as good.

The smell translates pretty directly into the taste. It’s almost like a peanut butter and fluff mixture, which is amazing for me since two of my favorite foods are peanut butter and marshmallows. No, it’s not as intense as a candy bar, but it’s close. The whole time I was going nuts trying to remember exactly what it reminded me of--because I swear I’ve eaten something that tasted almost exactly like this. Some sore of candy, like one of those nougat-Reese’s or something. I don’t know, I don’t care, I only care that this is a well-done peanut butter protein bar!

The texture is also agreeable--soft, but still chewy with a little resistance. It’s not going to take very long to finish, but it still has some substance to it. The chopped peanuts inside add some variety. Overall, it’s sort of like a nougat-and-nut-filled candy bar.

Taste: 8--like peanut butter candy.
Texture: chewy and only a bit more resistant than nougat.
Eat Again? Yes.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Review: PowerBar Triple Threat S'mores

Everybody loves s’mores. And since I can’t exactly light a fire in my apartment and toast marshmallows, I have to figure out other ways to eat them. Add a coupon for PowerBars and the Triple Threat S’mores bar sounds like a great idea.

I like to think those lumps are marshmallows, but after finishing this bar I can’t say for sure. For sure they’re white and the bar has a marshmallow taste, but there’s also a nut-like crunch and I can’t tell which comes from which. The problem with marshmallows is they get eaten texturally because they’re so soft and squishy.

There’s also a lot of sweet graham stuff going on, and the milk chocolate coating adds the finishing touch. There’s not even much of a protein undertone. Basically the only thing that’s missing here (besides the melted chocolate and gooiness of the marshmallow) is the texture. It’s mainly chewy, although it contains crisps and, like I said earlier, I can feel nuts. So it’s obviously not quite the same as a true graham cracker.

I really enjoyed this texture, so combined with the best approximation of s’mores in a protein bar so far, that makes this one a definitely repeat. Along with the other Triple Threat bar I tried, this one is worth buying.

Taste: 9--definite graham, chocolate, and marshmallow taste.
Texture: 8.5--not the same as a s’more, but still enjoyable. The crisps and chewy base provide nice contrast.
Eat Again? Yes.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Review: Special K Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Meal Bar

The Special K protein meal bars bring back memories of when I first tried “recovery” almost two years ago. They were what I ate when I started having breakfast again. I had two flavors: strawberry and chocolate peanut butter. And now I find myself trying the chocolate peanut butter one again for the sake of blogging.

It smells a lot like sweet peanut butter mixed with milk chocolate. Which is always a good sign, because you never know what you’re getting with protein bars that claim to taste like peanut butter.

The smell is deceptive. Sure the peanut butter is there, but it’s not strong at all. The chocolate is the most prevalent taste, but being the coating it doesn’t last as long as all the other stuff. The result is that this bar gets a little bland after a couple of chews. All that’s left is the crispies, and being “healthified” crispies, they have a bit of a bitter taste. Or maybe that’s the protein. Either way, the parting impression isn’t one of peanut butter or chocolate.

On the plus side, I like the texture. The crispiness is denser than a Rice Krispies Treat, so it’s not way too easy to blow through. I could imagine getting a little tired if you rushed through, but on the whole it’s a good mix between the two. The chocolate coating gives it a melty quality, but that is also the first thing to disappear.

Overall, there are much better peanut butter bars out there. I enjoyed the strawberry protein bar a lot more, so if I want another Special K fix I think I’ll stick with another flavor.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What it FEELS Like

Sorry for not updating the blog much lately, but I’ve been experiencing life. Granted, a lot of tough life. It sucked. I lost interest in food, meaning I only made it over my minimum by a couple hundred calories most days. I didn’t sleep very well. I cried a lot. Actually I think I’ve cried every day since last Monday. I cried myself into a comatose sleep on my couch at 8 o’clock Friday night, and I have not gone to sleep before 11 for over a year now.

I’ve been getting home late, long after dark. I threw myself into helping at the barn to avoid being alone in my apartment with nothing but my own thoughts. Of course the upshot of all of this is that I had a huge EH attack this past weekend. Thank goodness Halloween candy went on sale! Gosh, being upset takes a lot of energy!

But this time was different, like something broke inside of me. I just didn’t care. I just don’t have the energy to care anymore. There are so many more important things in my brain right now. There is no room for food, heck there’s almost no room for an appetite. I cannot remember ever feeling this way before.

And I can’t really describe it because I can’t even remember feeling before. I have not cried like this, ever. Period. It feels so good.

This is grief, for everything and everyone I’ve lost and will lose, those who were dying with me and now I’m not but they’re gone, forever. For the time I lost, the time during which I could not express the feelings I did not know I had, when I could not reciprocate friendship and compassion and love. I never said “I love you” because I could not comprehend that.

So much of it I’ve lost without a choice, lost it to death and ED and inaction. And I am finding it almost unbearable to just sit by and watch more of it go, without doing everything I can to hold on, because now it matters so much to me, these newly discovered feelings.

I am connecting with others’ hurts and troubles. I used to say “that sucks,” it was actually one of my favorite sayings--but it translated into, “that sucks for you,” which is a subtle yet important distinction. And that was as far as my empathy stretched. I’ve never felt the pain in someone else’s face before. This is all new to me.

I am connecting with myself, I can’t just say “fine” when someone asks how I am without some part of me giving away that “fine” is not the answer. Whereas before I would be able to convince myself I was fine. I could convince myself I was anything--angry, sad, happy, scared--anything I wanted because I never really knew what those things were. What they felt like.

And now I do. Yes, I am hurting, but at least now I can feel it.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Review: Recharge Peanuts + Caramel Bar

A while back I got a free sample pack of Recharge bars that included one of each of their flavors: Chocolate + Caramel, Peanuts + Caramel, and Raspberry + Apple. You can guess which one I reached for second.

The Peanuts + Caramel bar is described as “Dry roasted peanuts with rich, creamy caramel wrapped in a blanket of milk chocolate.” Like the chocolate/caramel one, it’s rather small, but what can you expect for something coming in at only 100 calories?

Not exactly what they advertise, but it’s close. The caramel layer is, unfortunately, really thin. Thin enough that I can’t really see how they could fit the peanuts on the top of it, which is probably why the peanuts were mixed into the base instead. My main point is that the caramel isn’t prominent enough to have that gooey-chewy awesome texture of a thick caramel sauce, nor to give the bar an obvious caramel taste (save once or twice) beyond, it’s sweeter than just plain peanuts.

Most of the flavor comes from the base, which I’m not sure if I like or not. It’s very, very salty, but also cloyingly sweet. It’s like some weird candied peanut flavor with something gone wrong in there. And the aftertaste sticks around--not sour, but again, just...weird. The peanuts, when you get them, do give it a nutty flavor--for a second, and then that base just takes over again.

The coating smells like good milk chocolate, but like the other ingredients it’s hard to taste against the base. It’s all an afterthought. On the plus side, I love the texture. It’s chewy and soft and it gets stuck in your teeth for a while--which I suppose could be annoying, but I like it. It’s sort of like a less sticky version of melted taffy.

But would I buy it? Probably not. The taste was just too weird for words and I’m still not even sure I liked it. Plus I would need like four of these just for a snack!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: Lenny & Larry's All Natural Muscle Brownie Cookies & Cream

OK, so a lot of companies seem to see value in making protein-infused desserts. Especially brownies. I’m not sure why brownies got chosen, except maybe that they’re the closest thing to a protein bar, it’s just funny when there are all these protein bars flavored chocolate fudge brownie or something similar, to find protein brownies flavored cookies & cream.

This is Lenny & Larry’s All Natural Muscle Brownie, in Cookies & Cream flavor.Yeah, maybe it’s weird, but I felt like I should give it a try. The other weird thing is having there be two servings in one package, even though it’s still one brownie. I know exactly what they’re doing, it’s what the entire food industry does, but it’s still annoying.

However. That does not detract from the quality of the product, which is, to say the least, very good. First off, it smells exactly like a fudgey brownie. I’m guessing the little white chunks are supposed to stand in for the “cream” in cookie & cream. The only thing that gave me pause before taking the first bite is that it is really, really hard to break a chunk off.

Funny enough, that translates into a texture that is like fudge with a little more resistance. Like frozen fudge. Well, not frozen, but very very cold and solid fudge. Basically, it’s perfect. Those little white things are actually crunchy, like the cookie part of an Oreo, which just adds to the overall cookies & cream theme. There’s a bit of grit, especially in the afterfeel, as well as creaminess as it breaks down in your mouth.

The taste is a close match. It could almost pass fudge, if not for the slight aftertaste. You know the kind--that bitter “Hey, haha, there was protein in there!” aftertaste. That said, it’s easy to overlook in light of the almost exact imitation of chocolate. I certainly can’t say it tastes like cookies & cream, but I really don’t even care because it was just so good!

I feel like there’s a slight mislabeling here in that I’d liken it to fudge rather than a brownie, but other than that it’s a keeper. Of course it is, since I love fudge! Now I’m curious about the other flavors, too.

Taste: 10--I’m going to overlook the slight aftertaste in light of the perfect fudge imitation.
Texture: 10--Like more solid fudge, with Oreo cookie crisp texture to break things up.
Eat Again? Yes!