Doritos Flavoured Popcorn

Doritos hold a special place in my heart. They’re like a big hug from all of my senses. Why? Traditionally, 5 times per year my mom, sister, and I all make the trip from my house to Los Angeles (8 hours by car) to spend a week with my grandma. 8-hours is a long time to go without snacks, so of course, snacking was always a must. And car ride snacks are always a big deal. Pre-ED this was a favourite hobby of mine, because, oh my gosh! We got so much yummy food! My personal favorite was donuts and fruit, but my mom’s was (and is) Doritos. It’s just a thing, a normal thing. We’re going on a road trip? Better grab mom a bag of Doritos! Crazy thing is she rarely likes to eat them any other time. And I just so happen to spend a lot of time missing my mom ♥

Recently, I’ve found myself eating a lot of my peanut butter popcorn (which is pretty simple and awesome!), but yesterday I was craving something not sweet for once. Which pretty rarely happens. Somehow I thought of Doritos. Maybe I’m just homesick for summer? Just ready for this quarter to end so I can finally rest? Probably! I know for sure there will be the familiar smell of Doritos on the car ride home.

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So I hit Google and adapted WholeNewMom‘s recipe to be single serve and college kid friendly (aka microwave popcorn!). Sure enough, this was absolutely delicious. Something I am not willing to sacrifice in my afternoon snacks is a protein boost. My PB popcorn gives me that within the peanut butter, and the cheezy nutritional yeast supplies that here! So it passes the meal plan test 😉

Serving Size: 1
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Microwave Time: 2.5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Allergy Information: Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar Free

Ingredients:

  • ~6 cups popped popcorn (I use one whole bag of this brand microwave popcorn)
  • 1 tbsp oil (or nonstick spray)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast*
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions:

  1. (Optional: If you have a coffee grinder/small blender and want to grind the nutrional yeast through cayenne pepper feel free to do so. It will create a fine powder which I often find more enjoyable. This is unneccessary for a delicious treat, though! And fine to omit if you are in a rush, not feeling it, or don’t have this equipment on hand)
  2. Combine all ingredients except for oil and popcorn in a small dish and mix well with small whisk or fork.
  3. Pop popcorn (takes me 2.5 minutes) and pour into large bowl/mixing bowl.
  4. Drizzle with 1/2 tbsp oil or lightly coat with nonstick spray and pour about half of the spice mixture on top. Toss to coat. Repeat with second half.
  5. Devour!

*Nutritional yeast is a non-active yeast that has lots of yummy health benefits! It has a delicious cheesy flavour that lots of vegans (and non-vegans alike) enjoy. I cannot stress enough how magical this stuff is, and I really like the Bragg brand.
**Recipe lightly adapted from WholeNewMom

What are your favourite popcorn flavours? Any requests for new popcorn experiments in the future?

Lots of love xx

Rose

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Let’s Talk Coffee (and Treatment Teams)

Okay, I’ll admit to it. I’m a coffee addict. That’s probably what they find when they do my blood analysis during program – coffee. My father, English born and raised, tried to convert me to drink tea from a young age, but my mother – an American coffee guzzler – was victorious. You caught me. I also drink loads of tea, it’s just not my drink of choice when my eyes first crack open in the morning.So coffee or tea? Yes, e) all of the above! I’m a drink-o-holic. Let’s just be glad I’m not 21?

On a more serious note, the topic I’d like to cover today is treatment teams.

It took me thirteen years of disordered eating to accept therapy. Yes, thirteen. It took me another five to enter into an eating disorder specific program and put together a specific team. That last step? Absolutely crucial to completing the circuit (oh gosh, you can tell what my 11a class was this morning!).

Yes, my therapist throughout my first three and half years of high school was unbelievably special and undeniably helpful! I owe my life to her, and we still keep in touch to this day. In fact, we have plans to meet up again this summer. But, in the end, I had to be transfered to eating disorder specialists. And after a while of course, my whole team had to be adapted to fit the fact I moved five hours away to college.

I want to share what I’ve learned about the most traditional treatment teams (what I originally had), to what I have now, which is custom fit to myself almost a year later.

kaiser-ontario-illuminated-sign-full-packageMy health insurance provider, throughout the entirety of me needing therapy at least, has been Kaiser. I cannot say I have the kindest things to say about how they treat their mental health providers, but ultimately they have some gems within their care. When you are a high-risk case like me you do (sometimes) get the attention you need, but other than that Kaiser clearly lacks the ability to provide adequate mental health care for its patients. Which is, quite frankly put, ridiculous. But that’s a whole different post that’s bound to come later on.

Anyways, my team originally consisted of the prescribed: 1 eating disorder specialist, 1 dietitian, 1 family therapist, 1 psychiatrist, and 1 general practitioner. Except, I was seventeen, so my family therapist was my adolescent therapist, my eating disorder specialist was the head of both the adult and adolescent IOP programs because, I, uh, scared everyone else (my personality, not my weight), and my GP was a pediatrician. And not only did it have to change in five months for my move to college, but it would have to be different again on breaks when I was finally eighteen!

The Eating Disorder Specialist – My, this sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Well, her job was to keep me on track, challenge my behaviors, and push ED out! Did I find her aggravating, frustrating, and emotion-provoking? Yes. Did I find ED gone? No. Did I find her particularly helpful?  Well, yes, in that she is the gateway to the rest of the team, as she is director of the program. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a delightful lady, and nice to chat with for an hour once per week, but overall she brought me down a lot. She encouraged me to focus on the parts of me that were just about my ED, and not a lot about the rest of me.

The Dietitian – You can tell I like this one, she gets a name! Ayn. Yes, a first name is all I need for this doctor, and she’s awesome. She single-handedly held me together through my first quarter of college from five hours away via video calls. Now, not everyone has this experience with their dietitians by any means! And my original dietitian back when I was thirteen (later post on that) was technically part of the adolescent ED team and was still super toxic. They are out there, and dietitians are dangerous territory. But when you find the good ones, they are gold.

The Family Therapist – Haha, Mondays are the worst, right? WRONG! Now end every Monday with a thirty minute awkward car ride sat in the back seat two feet from your sulking little sister who would much rather be playing with her friends, your dad who’s tired after working all day, and your mom who’s just trying to fight through Monday night traffic. Now spend an hour processing the past week with your family. Repeat car ride home except now everyone is H-U-N-G-R-Y (ironic, right?). Somehow, these sessions were never helpful for me, haha. (Note: my mom found these sessions very helpful. My father, sister, and especially I, did  not.)

The Psychiatrist – Okay, so he’s a pretty chill guy. He’s technically not supposed to see me anymore because I’m over eighteen but we work really well together and I’m such a complicated case it’s easier on everyone to just pretend I’m under eighteen still. Psychiatrists aren’t the solution for everyone, but oh god did medication make a world of difference for me! More on this in another post.

The General Practitioner – I find these just annoying in general. But I always have, ever since I was old enough to go in and be like, “this is what’s wrong, can I have this to fix it?”. Doctors are used to kids coming in and saying, “this is what hurts, how do I fix it?”. Nobody who’s spent five million years in school wants to be told the answer to a question, especially by a five year old, so I imagine I’m probably more annoying to them than they are to me, but still… But they do the weekly vitals and weigh-in.

So where are we now, 11 months after entering treatment?

Now I see a nurse weekly at the health center here on campus for weekly vitals and weigh-ins. Still?! Still. *eye roll* STILL. But, yes, it’s actually really important because I live by myself so no one is here to monitor me if I were to stop eating. This is supposed to be twenty minutes, but usually ends up taking an hour, then with walking to and from the health center, an hour and a half.

I Skype with my dietitian weekly after my weigh-ins to discuss my exercise, vitals, and stability. It’s about a 30 minute appointment from any location.

I go downtown via bus connection to see in-person an eating disorder specialist therapist weekly. It’s about an hour commute round trip, and a 60 minute appointment.

I no longer see a family therapist and I see my psychiatrist via phone call or when I’m home on breaks.

In total this adds up to four hours. That’s as much as a four unit class requires of lecture time, but I have in terms of sheer hours worth of appointments.

“Yeah, but that doesn’t include the eight hours of homework!” (2hrs of homework for every 1hr in class).

Trust me, it takes me more than eight hours per week to stay on recovery, of hard work all by myself without professionals. That’s why teams exist. That’s why residential programs exist.IMG_20160218_141530

So how the heck does coffee relate to any of this? Come on Rose, I needed caffeine! Well, I’m tapping this out sat in my favorite local coffee shop. The one I visit every time I have therapy and sit and relax at. Usually I study, but today I’m taking some self-care time and a moment to blog. It’s about a 5 minute stroll from my therapist’s office and a 5 minute brisk walk from the bus stop, so I come here after class to eat lunch and kill three hours before my appointment.

The question then becomes, do I find my team excessive here at college? No, not if I’m honest about it. I really do the accountability of my weight and vitals checked weekly. I do need help meal planning. I definitely need therapy on the weekly. We’ll just have to see how it changes once I get back home for summer!

Speaking of which, most of my semester friends should almost be done by now. I’m on the quarter system, so I’ve got a while to go. But I’m proud of you guys, keep going you’re almost done!!

What does your team look like? Do you find them helpful?

Peanut Butter Blender Pancakes (And a complaint about complaining)

I have had so many requests for these pancakes it’s unreal! I predict this will be one of my most popular recipes. Because, come on, who doesn’t love pancakes?

Plus, this counts as lunch. Or dinner. Or breakfast. Hell yes, it’s a meal! I had it for lunch today, and in fact, I have it for dinner all the time.

Alright, so who here is guilty of complaining? *raises hand* Please don’t let me be the only one! I complain. All. The. Time. And I’ve noticed it’s really negative of me. Not only does it bring those around me down and create a negative space to be in, but it brings me down as well. I think to myself “oh, it’ll get it off my chest if everyone knows about my problems”, but in reality, I’m just no fun.

This isn’t to say complaining doesn’t have it’s time and place. Bottling all of your discomforts and tragedies inside is fake and not your truth, so there’s a balance to find. Having said that,  I’d like to be a genuinely positive person who defaults to a happy outlook on life. I realize this is a lot to ask of a person diagnosed with chronic depression, bipolar disorder, anorexia nervosa, chronic pain, etc. But I’m here to say it’s possible. Why? Because I believe it is! (That’s positive, right?)

So starting this morning I tried a new exercise I found after I googled “How to be more positive” where every time I want to complain I say (out loud when possible) two positive things I’m grateful for instead!

For example, instead of complaining to my friend “I don’t want to go to class at 8am in the morning, I’m exhausted. Plus, it’s programming of all things, UGH”. I said, “I am grateful that with the DRC’s help I have priority registration, which allows me to take my hardest classes at early times of the day when I function best. I am grateful to have the opportunity to pursue a challenging degree which will serve me well later in life with good skills for my major”. Needless to say, without context my friend was very confused, as this was how I greeted her when she answered the phone instead of “hello” like a normal person. Thankfully, she rolled with it and didn’t hang up on me!

After such a challenging class though, I did reward myself to some DELICIOUS pancakes!

Serves: 1

Time: 20 minutesBlender

Ingredients:

– 1c GF rolled oats
– 1c water
– 1 ripe banana*
– 2tbsp peanut flour**
– 1tsp baking powder
– 1/2tsp vanilla
– 1/4tsp cinnamon
– pinch salt
– Mix-ins: cocoa nibs, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, fruit, etc.
– Optional Toppings: maple syrup, nut butter, fruit, chocolate, nuts, etc.

Directions:

  1. Put rolled oats in the blender and
    blend until a medium-fine flour forms.Raw Pancakes
  2. Add all the rest of the ingredients through mix-ins. (It will be very liquidy at this point, but the oats will absorb water as it stands in the next step.)
  3. Mix-in additional ingredients, stir and let rest while you preheat a pan on medium heat.
  4. When water sizzles on the pan and the batter has thickened, spray pan with non-stick spray and start making pancakes 3-4in in diameter. Should make 10 pancakes. I have a 10in x 10in skillet and I fit 5 pancakes on in two batches in a die shape.

*I used 1 large banana, but I often use 1.5 medium bananas and freeze the other half.
**I use peanut flour as a thickening agent. Feel free to substitute with other thickeners, PB2, etc. Or use regular nut butter and see how that works!

Finished Stack Top

Do you make a habit of complaining? Or do you consider yourself to be a positive person? Let me know in the comments below!

Do I Calorie Count? And Calorie Counting in Recovery

This is one of the questions I get asked most often by members of the recovery community on Instagram, Tumblr, and even in my support groups. “You still count calories?!”

Yes, I do. But let me tell you a secret that ED doesn’t want me to tell you: I wish I didn’t.

Do I think people should in recovery? No. I pretty firmly believe you shouldn’t, unless it’s prescribed by your treatment team, like it is for me.

I have consistently struggled with providing accurate nutrition for my body my entire life, despite being overweight, and then obese, preceding my anorexia. I was raised in an extremely disordered family, my mother being a binge eater and my father mostly absent.  My mother forced me on diets – to compensate for her own overeating – from a very young age (think pre-school and up) to prevent me from gaining weight like her. Of course, this only backfired and in turn caused me to gain weight.

I realize there are infinitely different stories out there, and as part of that there are bound to be many that mimic mine. But the point here is I was never raised with a normal eating pattern that taught me what a good caloric intake is. In fact, for years and years, a “normal” day looked like no more than 1200 for me. Yes, we religiously weighed and measured our foods. Well, to be exact, I did, and my parents supported my doing so under the cover of “dieting”. Others would try to keep up with me, managing it for maybe a week or so, but I have been tracking my food intake and exercise precisely since 2011.

Normally, upon entering the treatment program my parents chose to place me in last summer (they refused to send me to residential) they would take over my food, but because of the history there they were asked to continue tracking my food in MyFitnessPal on their own. Since I was almost eighteen, I was given say in my treatment plan, and I insisted (admittedly entirely ED driven) that I needed to stay involved. So I never missed a day of logging, of analyzing macros, and of course torturing myself over the details of what “massive” increases were occurring.

Naturally, this led to much internal struggling throughout the course of my “recovery”. I put this in quote marks because it was false and faked. A simple facade in order to fool my parents and team. They said I needed to gain x amount of weight in this amount of time, go to so much therapy per week, and I could go to college in the fall. So I did, and so I went. Of course, with this, relapse was inevitable. But…

I was still counting calories. So, my dietitian could see my relapse in progress. She was able to catch me each time before it was in full spiral. I share my MFP logs with her each week. So in short, my dietitian firmly believes she would have lost me completely within a few weeks, probably week one, if it weren’t for my calorie logs. Make of that what you will.

This cycle has happened once or twice per quarter consistently, and I have not been able to maintain within my prescribed healthy weight range, though I am well within the healthy BMI. Do I consider this recovered? No way. Do I consider this recovery? I am working on it. I am definitely making progress!

It also allows me to be more flexible with my meal plan. I can eat larger snacks and smaller meals in order to fit in my meal plan, etc. I can eat a wide variety of foods and feel ‘safe’. I realize that is very disordered, another drawback of allowing myself to stay in such bad ED behaviors.

The biggest drawback to this whole charade is the obsession. This drives my OCD up the walls. I cannot go more than literally twenty minutes without checking MFP to make sure something hasn’t changed, plan out my next snack, alter a meal ahead of time, adjust something, plan out the next day, calculate a new recipe (even ones I’d never make!), etc. This happens while I’m walking to class, talking on the phone, sadly even while I’m in lecture.

I can tell you one thing for certain. If I didn’t count calories there is no way I would still be here at college, I would have full out relapsed by now. I would second guess everything and always choose small quantities of low calorie options. I would not trust myself, with my own personal history haunting my every decision. I feel too alone here to do this, and still too alone even with my parent’s ‘supervision’. But, I’m in this quasi-recovery state while calorie counting as well. It’s quite the dilemma.

My therapist strongly disagrees with it, but she’s new around here. She thinks it’s making my anxiety, depression, and OCD too awful to be worth it. My dietitian won’t do without it, she insists I keep tracking until I can get support and supervision. My general doctor wouldn’t know the first thing to have an opinion on the subject.

Do you still count calories? What does you treatment team suggest? Do they all agree? Let me know in the comments below!