Monthly Archives: June 2011

Girl Crush: Kara “Starbuck” Thrace

I thought I’d take some time to talk about a fictional character that I’ve found myself drawn towards today. Kara Thrace, or Starbuck, from the new Battlestar Galactica series is one seriously kick-ass woman. No, she’s not perfect, and she’s sure as hell not much of a role model in a lot of ways, but she’s real, and she reminds me of myself in a lot of ways.

Starbuck opens the series running the halls of Galactica, greeting people as she runs by.  And that’s pretty much how she spends the first two seasons: in constant motion.  When she’s stuck in the brig for assaulting a superior officer, she’s doing pushups, and when she has some stuff to get over, she’s in the gym.  She may not take great care of what goes into her body but she definitely cares about what she gets out.  She’s what I would call a “real” woman, because her body is functional.  She’s not any of this to look hot, but I think that comes along with it.  Part of it is the strength she projects.  She knows she could beat the crap out you, and that’s hot.

And she probably could beat the crap out of you.  That’s what she does.  If she has a problem, she beats the crap out of it.  Sure, that gets her into trouble when she has problems that can’t be solved by beating the crap out of something or someone, but it’s a very honest way to approach life.  Really, the only person with whom she has trouble being honest is herself.  And, while that’s a pretty serious flaw, it’s one that I relate to on an almost eerie level.

So yeah, I dig Starbuck’s style, and I definitely dig her body.  And what I wouldn’t give for the chance to beat the crap out of some of my ex-boyfriends in a boxing ring.

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What If the Rest of the World Has the Eating Disorder?

This article came to my attention while reading The Gloss this morning. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. On one hand, yes, some of the “signs” are slightly ridiculous; however, some are just signs of a person who enjoys caring for his or her health. What if the big scare over “orthorexia” lately is actually a sign that the rest of the world has developed a disordered relationship with food and eating?

Full disclosure time: I have struggled with restrictive-type eating disorder in the past, and I’m also diagnosed OCD about food.

But who says it’s healthy to always socialize in a way that requires eating or drinking?  Who says it’s healthy that a friend takes it personally when you don’t want to eat what she’s prepared without regard for the foods you prefer to eat?  And, no, I don’t have a wheat allergy or Celiac disease, but I know that I feel better when I avoid gluten, so I will frequently order off the gluten-free menu at a restaurant.  It also helps me avoid MSG, which causes my migraines.  It really is the easiest way to deal with a food preference in an impersonal way.  Yes, to a close friend, I would explain that it’s a preference, but a preference that I’ve made for a well-thought-out reason.  It doesn’t mean I “don’t eat anything normal;” it just means that I value my body enough to put quality food into it.  You wouldn’t make a roast beef for a vegan friend and I don’t think you should make spaghetti marinara for a low-carb friend.

And that’s another thing.  Why is it that “eating normally” has to mean “eating crap,” even “occasionally?”  It used to be that “occasionally” or “special treat” meant foods that were so dear they were only eaten on holidays.  Christmas pudding was a special thing because sweeteners were hard to come by and difficult to afford.  Now that we can all afford sugar and corn syrup, we eat it every day.  That’s not normal.  And we constantly feel the need to indulge in “treats” or “comfort food,” rather than having other ways to reward ourselves.  Isn’t that a disordered relationship with food?  How come nobody gets on the case of the person who wants to drown a breakup in ice cream, but they holler “eating disorder” at the person who doesn’t want to join in?

Now, the exercise thing.  Yes, I go to the gym during vacations, if it’s available.  If it’s not, I’ll often go running outside or do some yoga in my room.  If I’m taking a particularly active vacation, then I don’t feel the need to also workout, but I don’t do well “just relaxing.”  Exercise is relaxing to me.  And, as an animal, I’m made to move about and play, so I don’t consider it odd that I don’t want to lounge around all day not doing anything.  And some hotels I go to have really nice gyms.  In fact, when I take a personal day from work, one of my favorite things is to go out and have a nice, long run, followed by lots of stretching, and maybe some yoga after that.  I love having the time to exercise.  But when I don’t have that kind of time, yes, I do get up at an hour that some might consider “ungodly” (6 a.m.) to exercise before work.  If I have an early flight, I’ll make sure to add an extra run the day before because a day of sitting still during air travel will drive me up the freaking walls.

Yes, there are people who try to mask a legitimate eating disorder with the guise of “healthy eating.”  I should know; I was one of them.  But I now eat a balanced diet, plenty of calories, some treats, and I exercise enough that I enjoy it without feeling obligated.  I maintain a healthy weight and plenty of muscle tone.  So I resent being treated like I’m still whatever-rexic for not wanting to eat chocolate cake when I’m not hungry just because I happen to be friends with the person who offered it.


Let’s Go Streaking!

No, not running about without any clothes on. Inspired by Ag’s running blog, I’m considering starting a streak on July 1st. Mine won’t be a running streak or a general exercise streak, but I’m thinking of starting a yoga streak.

See, I started yoga in high school at the tender age of 14. I had B.K.S. Iyengar’s book for guidance. The pictures in it are really great, and years later when I took my first class with a teacher, she was impressed at how well I knew the postures.

Now, as a more experienced yogini, I realize that classes with a certified teacher are really important, so I definitely recommend that to any beginner in yoga. I especially like Iyengar and Ansuara for beginners, as they stress proper alignment and form in the postures.

Anyway, I’ve fallen out of my yoga practice as I’ve started doing more vigorous exercise, but I think I could find the time to do at least a few rounds of Surya Namaskara each day. So, starting Friday, I’m going to start a yoga streak, where I do at least 5 rounds of Surya A and a closing Savasana, and try to do my entire home practice sequence, which is based loosely on the fundamentals of Ashtanga yoga.

Anyone else want to start a personal challenge streak in July?


Sunday Recipe: Another Smoothie

Well, I’m done with my detox and ready to move back into my normal mindful eating, watching my calories and nutrients to make sure I’m eating enough of the right stuff. So I celebrated with this yummy smoothie.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie

6-oz. container of whole milk yogurt
1 small frozen banana
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds
1 scoop vanilla whey protein
2 Tbsp. smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup water
30g spinach

Blend everything together in the blender. I put things in the blender jar in the order I listed them. Also, I couldn’t taste my vanilla protein powder at all, so this would be an excellent smoothie to make with unflavored protein. And I’m sure almond or cashew butter would work instead of peanuts if you want to avoid them for some reason.  Seriously, though, this was like a milkshake.  Maybe I could have used a little less water to make it thicker, but I didn’t want to tax my poor, crappy blender.


Friday Five: Five Things I Love About My Body

Inspired by Melicious at The Clothes Make the Girl, who got the idea from Weightless, I’ve decided to make a list of five things I love about my body as I finish up my post-conference detox and kick off a new week to start being more mindful of what I eat. Stay tuned next week when I confess my personal girl crush of the moment.

So here are my five things I love about my body:

1.) My hair.  My hair is dark, dark brown, just barely not black.  I even love my grey hairs, which are springing up as a pure-white streak through my bangs on one side and back in the main part of my hair from there.  Very cool.  And it’s thick, shiny, and mostly-straight, naturally.  I love my hair.

2.) My dark eyes.  I love that I don’t have gentle eyes.  They’re dark and deep and so am I.

3.) Full lips.  Most of the women in my family have thin lips, but mine are full and sensual.

4.) My butt.  Cellulite notwithstanding, I have a very cute butt.  It used to be all flat and not-there, but years of yoga, running, and weight-training have given it volume and definition.  Which sounds like a mascara commercial, but I’m still talking about my rear end.

5.) My killer runner’s calves.  I can identify myself in photos by my calves when I’m wearing a skirt.  They’re rock-hard and bulge-y and awesome and I get stuck in skinny jeans even though I’m a size 4 because my calves are too big.  I want to start a company that makes “skinny jeans for strong legs” so I can wear a pair of jeans that look skinny and sexy but don’t require assistance to remove.

So what’s your list?


Eating Clean

Salad with radish, carrot, avocado, and ginger-sesame vinaigrette

There is so much debate about what “clean” eating really is, but I think we can agree on one thing: If you want to look and feel your best, you have to pay attention to what you eat. Personally, I prefer to focus on fresh, local vegetables, ethically-sourced proteins, like pastured eggs, meat, poultry, and sustainable seafood, and my favorite fats.

My number one favorite fat is ghee from pastured cows. That’s clarified butter that’s cooked a little extra to give it a nutty, caramel-y flavor that is awesome. It’s bright yellow from all the nutrients in it, and it’s filled with high-quality fatty acids because the cows are fed their natural diet of what they can find on a pasture.

This week, I’m detoxing from the conference I had the week before. I ate donuts every morning with our coffee break, and went out for beer and burgers most nights. We even had fried chicken and waffles

one day. Delicious, but I could see the effects on my body. Not only had I gained a couple pounds, but I looked softer, a little puffy. My body was not happy with me.

So this week’s “detox” is an avoidance of particularly inflammatory foods and embracing reasonable portions of good-quality foods, focusing on healing smoothies, fresh veggies, protein from lean chicken, and fresh salmon and tuna, and fat from ghee, avocado, coconut, and olive oil.

It’s actually very loosely based on Gwyneth Paltrow’s detox program that she posted on her website Goop, albeit more substantial. I have green tea in the mornings, a smoothie in the mid-morning, raw sauerkraut at noon, a substantial meal of veggies, protein, and a carb source around 1 or 2, a snack of fruit and macadamia nuts, and a light dinner, usually soup or a salad. Since I’m avoiding dairy and eggs just for this week (other than ghee, which has the dairy proteins removed, and my whey protein), dinner is almost completely vegan unless I cook in ghee.

Yeah, I’m eating a lot less this way than I usually do, but I find that after a period of time where I don’t watch my diet, my body becomes accustomed to getting too much food and my own natural hunger cues are out-of-whack.  This is especially true when sugar is involved.  The food is spartan (haha), but still delicious and fresh and I feel great, not deprived.

I’ll break the elimination diet after tomorrow, but I’ll still be focusing on proteins, good fat, and lots of veggies.  And I’m definitely going to add more smoothies and blended veggie soups to my meal rotation!

And, ultimately, eating clean is more about listening to your body and recognizing when it doesn’t like something.  I know my body doesn’t like a lot of nuts and feels better when I don’t eat gluten, but I’m okay with a fair amount of carbohydrate (I’m thin and active) and organic dairy.

This post is part of Primal Cave at Primal Toad.


On Feeling Strong

 

During the conference last week, I had a dream. In that dream, I was in high school and I had broken up with my popular boyfriend in order to date someone more rebellious. Pretty standard high-school-show stuff. It’s a dream, right?  Here’s where it gets interesting.

Seems my jilted boyfriend didn’t like that some loser had his girl and decided to wait outside one day and attack the new guy.  Beat him with a baseball bat.  Really screwed him up.  Kinda scary.

Then, the dream rewound.

And this time, I knew what was going to happen, and when he took the first swing at my new guy, I jumped in and caught the bat.  He kept trying to pull it away, but I held on.  And then I wrenched it away from him.  And told the [expletive expletive] to get the [expletive] out of here.

Go me.

This was a really cool dream for so many reasons, but the main one was that, for years, whenever I got in a physical altercation in a dream, I always lost.  I was completely ineffectual and could not so much as push someone away.  It made nightmares really, really scary because I always knew that once the dream started going bad, there was nothing I could do about it.

Then, I started lifting.  Since starting lifting, I’ve found that I feel strong, and this strength carries over.  It has nothing to do with physical strength because physical strength counts for nothing in a dream.  It’s all in your head.

And it reminds me of how my best periods of taking care of myself and eating properly are when I’m also doing activities like lifting and martial arts, which make me feel strong.  Yeah, you get good muscle tone and maybe an aerobic workout and it’s all very healthy for you.  But that’s not why I do this.  I do it to train my head to realize that I am a strong person.

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