Perfectly Imperfect, Beautifully Flawed

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I just want to take this opportunity to post about an issue near and dear to my heart. This past week (2/23-3/1) was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. I have known many people affected by this disease over the years in one form or another. It is the mental illness with the highest mortality rate.  About 1,000 women die each year from ED due to malnutrition, heart attack and suicide. One thing to keep in mind is that an eating disorder is not about weighing 75  lbs and looking like you just got out of a concentration camp. Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes and it’s more about the disordered thought processes than what a person looks like. The DSM V (The diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Eating Disorders) made some changes recently to clarify diagnoses. You can read about all of the changes here.

In college, while I was on my own path of healing, I got involved in the National Eating Disorder Awareness Committee, which raised awareness about eating disorders. Our main goal was to bring programming to campus each year for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, but we always tried to promote positive messages about loving yourself as you are. Our inspiration came from Operation Beautiful, which is a blog that got its start with the idea of posting post- its in public places with positive messages encouraging everyone to love themselves. It’s a great sight to visit if you ever need a pick me up. I even had the privilege of hearing the founder, Caitlin Boyle speak one year on campus.

“You are not perfection, but you are beautifully flawed.”-Simply Kat was one of the speakers at the first NEDA week I attended during college. This quote stuck with me and was later written on my mirror in college as a reminder every morning when I did not like what I saw.

See the entire video of her spoken word- Beautifully Human below:

Eating disorders have many causes:

Dieting to look better
Major life transitions like puberty, entering high school or college or major losses or trauma
Family problems
Social difficulties like teasing, bullying or ridicule
Fear of failure or a need to be perfect (often related to dieting)
Traumatic events like sexual and physical abuse
Other psychiatric illnesses like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder
Personality traits like low self-esteem, difficulty with change, fear of feeling out of control

If you or someone you know might have an ED, please get help and visit http://eatingdisorder.org/ or http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

I could probably write forever about this topic and I probably should have been more proactive and posted something each day this past week. Better late than never I suppose.

Remember, if you aim for perfection you will fall short every time. Focus on learning to love yourself how you were made and know that you are perfectly imperfect and beautifully flawed. Spread the love today and tell someone they are beautiful inside and out!

“I would rather be what God made chose to make me than the most glorious creature I could think of. For to have been made, thought about, born in God’s thought and then made by God is the dearest, grandest, most precious thing in all thinking.” -Jerry Bridges

Beautifully yours,

Cara

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Divinely Delicious and Nutritious

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Wow so I just realized this is the second chocolate post in a row.  Oh well, you can never have too much chocolate.

This post is a bit overdue. A friend from high school now works for Divine Chocolate and sent me a box of samples a few months ago and I still have some left. Talk about a sweet job! Divine is a company I totally believe in (and no they did not pay me to write this post). They are fair trade and claim to be the only fair trade chocolate company owned by its farmers. You may know the brand by their beautiful labels with the Adinkra symbols which come from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa and are used for decoration or special occasions. Each has a  meaning based on traditional wisdom and values.

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I have become quite a chocolate connoisseur over the years and my taste buds have grown to crave darker and darker chocolate. I think Divine does a great job at creating velvety, smooth and creamy chocolate even at the darkest varieties. (Unlike some brands of chocolate that tend to become dry when there is a higher percentage of cacao and less cocoa butter). I talked briefly in my last post about the benefits of chocolate, but in case you missed it: the flavonoids (a type of antioxidant) in dark chocolate have been shown to decrease blood pressure, LDL or “bad cholesterol”, decrease insulin resistance, and increase HDL or “good” cholesterol.  Sorry having another nerd moment. I love this kind of creative outlet, but I can’t seem to do it without adding in the science sometimes.

Anyways I’ll wrap this up…(no pun intended)

To Summarize: chocolate is good, dark chocolate is better, fair trade dark chocolate is best.

If you are interested in learning more about slave labor in the products you buy, check out: http://slaveryfootprint.org/ to see how many slaves work for you based on your current lifestyle.

Divinely Yours,

Cara

This Valentine’s Day, Don’t Forget to Love Yourself!

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Chocolate is probably the best part about Valentine’s Day. I picked up some yummy nonpareils from Bomboy’s Home Made Candy in Havre de Grace! I love supporting local businesses and treating myself to chocolate almost daily is one way that I love myself. Remember to enjoy some heart healthy flavonols in dark chocolate today.

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I saw this on the mirror at Johnny Rad’s last week when I was there for happy hour and it was such a great reminder. I had some dark times in college when I felt like a slave as the mirror pretty much determined my mood and happiness each day.

There is so much pressure today through the media to be thin. I feel like all of us, men and women have had some sort of unhealthy thoughts surrounding food or our bodies and it’s important to fight against them. Remember that beauty starts on the inside and radiates out!

For more positivity about inner beauty, check out my friend Carin’s blog post here

I’ll close today with one of my all time favorite quotes.

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

-Dr. Seuss

Snow Day= Soup Day

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Hello Charm City Magic readers,

It has been a long time since our paths have crossed. I’m writing to you today from the snowy town of Glen Arm. The best thing about snowdays is that it forces me to slow down my life and embrace my hobbies. Today is a first for me in my blogging career: uploading an orginal recipe! I make up recipes all the time, but the problem is having the time to write them down or remembering to take a picture.

In the process of posting my original recipes, I will be following my mantra of no measuring. I’ll try to give approximations as best I can. It’s always how I’ve cooked, so why start measuring now?! I believe this method really shows cooking the way it should be: as an art form. Like any good art, the recipe starts with some sort of inspiration or craving (mine has been ethnic food these days). Then you add a bunch of random ingredients together (kind of like throwing paint a la Jackson Pollock), and you are not exactly sure how it will all turn out. Any artistic  journey is full of doubt, but in the end it is a beautiful  piece of art or in my case, a yummy dish! And you can always make modifiactions as needed until your work of art is exactly how you want it. I never measure spices and just adjust them after many rounds of taste testing.

Today was a great day to clean out the fridge and use up a bunch of veggies before they went bad. This may not be the most authentic Thai dish, but it has all of the flavor elements of Thai cuisine and was extremely practical so feel free to make changes with whatever ingredients you might have such as chicken or other vegetables.

Here is what I did–just try your best to follow my sporadic cooking style.

Prepare 1 cup of uncooked rice according to the package. Set aside

Saute in ~ 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil:

1 head of chopped broccoli (crowns only), 1/4 head cabbage shredded, 1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed, 1 can of diced tomatoes (can sub tomato paste or sauce and add extra liquid as needed), and 1 red bell pepper chopped.

Add 1/2 box of College Inn Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Broth (you can use plain chicken broth and add chile powder, coriander, red pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, minced onion, or any other thai spices you desire).

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Add in some water for extra liquid and dilute the spices and salt

Stir in ~3 tbsp minced garlic

Add 1 dash of low sodium soy sauce

At the end: Add in 1 can full fat coconut milk and the rice.

(RD nerd alert: although coconut is full of saturated fat, it is made up of about 50% medium chain triglycerides, which are absorbed differently and do not contribute to heart disease, as previously thought. I love that the science of nutrition is always changing!)

This entire recipe only took about 30 minutes. I’m all about making one pot meals that are quick, easy and healthy. And leftovers are always a good thing to pack for lunch for the rest of the week.

What are some of your favorite snow day recipes?