Monthly Archives: April 2011

In the Royal mood

On the 29th of April, a beautiful wedding took place…

And, while it was gorgeous, I’m not talking about that wedding in England.

On April 29, 1989, my parents were married!

Happy 22nd anniversary to them!

Fun fact: My parents were married in a small chapel at the University of Kansas. I walk by it a few times a week!

Still, I was in a bit of a Royal mood yesterday — The Kansas City Royals, that is!

I’ve been bugging Dan to go to a Royals game with me for a while now. It just so happened that his dad got some free tickets for a Friday night game with amazing weather!

I didn’t need a jacket even after the sun went down. Amazing, right?

I was extra excited because not only had I never been to a MLB game before, but I’d never been to a major-major professional sport game before! (I’ve been to pro soccer and hockey games, but never football, basketball of baseball.)

We got to our seats shortly after the first pitch was thrown.

Immediately, Dan started quizzing me on baseball rules. He was a baseball stud in high school, whereas I don’t know a pop-up from a home-run. I think I caught on pretty fast…

And, while the game itself was fun, I was a bigger fan of the company.

He’s a given, right? Well, Dan’s dad had a few tickets to spare, so we were able to invite along our friends Mike and Mandy.

We also took a gamble on going to the game and hoping we could find an extra seat for another friend, Abby. Fortunately, it worked out!

The game got going shortly after 7 o’clock. Before heading into the stadium, I snacked on an apple, but I also planned ahead by bringing a new-to-me granola bar.

I don’t know what’s supposed to be special about it. The fiber and protein counts were low, the sugar count was high and the ingredient list was long and foreign.

I still ate it, but I brought up my protein count with a $1 bag of peanuts.

I’ve been to some minor league baseball games before (Lansing Lugnuts, Columbus Clippers and Lincoln Saltdogs) and peanuts are always a necessity. I just love ’em!

Another highlight of the game was watching Alex Gordon play.

We’re both graduates of Lincoln Southeast High School, so I felt the connection.

The game started off slow. Then, the Twins started turning in some runs and things weren’t looking good… But the crowd was on the Royals’ side, so KC rallied to come back for the win!

Celebratory fireworks were totally necessary.

Mandy’s been going to Royals games for her whole life and said this was one of the most exciting! Although they say, “Root, root, root for the home team. If they don’t win it’s a shame…” I’m glad they did pull out a win!

More than anything else, it was just nice to go out and have fun with friends. Goodness knows I won’t be going too crazy tonight — immediately after he gets done with work, Dan and I are hitting the road to Lincoln for tomorrow’s half-marathon! Wheeeeee!

Questions: Have you ever been to a MLB game before (or any professional game)? Do you have a favorite team?

Ok, I kind of lied… My family sang the national anthem at a Detroit Tigers game when I was younger, but I can’t remember a thing, so it doesn’t count in my book.


Thank-you cookies

First of all, thank your to everyone for the sweet comments on my last post.

I could have never put it all out there — or made it through my eating disorder — without the support of family and friends.

Honestly, deciding to write the article and column was a dilemma by itself. Although I am committed to helping, it’s a scary thing to put it all on the line. I only had the strength to go through with it after talking with Dan and my parents and knowing I had their continued support.

I also wanted to thank the Academy designers and editors at The Kansan, who helped me with the final touches.

It was just a whole different feeling walking around campus today, seeing people with the paper and knowing they were reading (or skimming or ignoring) my story.

But, you know, thanking my editors is one thing — showing them that I really mean it is another. And what better way to do that than bring a batch of homemade cookies into the newsroom?

At least it started as a full batch…

Seriously, people gobbled these up faster than I could say, “Yes, they are healthy-ish…”

(Somehow I have a reputation as that girl who cooks healthy. Imagine that.)

I can’t blame them either. These were straight-up some of the best cookies ever. And I know my cookies.

Incredible Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from “Smitten Kitchen.”

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C buttery spread
  • 1 T milled flax-seed + 3 T water
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 3/4 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 3/4 C dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, combine the flax-seed and water. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the sugars and butter. Add in the flax mixture and vanilla. Stir until combined.
  • In another mixing bowl, whisk together the baking soda, flours and sea salt. Stir half of the flour mixture into the sugar mixture until combined. Then add in the second half of the flour mixture. Stir until again combined. Fold in dark chocolate chips.
  • Refrigerate for 20 minutes (optional, but suggested). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or grease. Place tablespoon-sized balls of dough on the baking sheets about two inches apart.
  • Bake in a 300 degree oven (Note: That’s 50 degrees less than most cookie recipes!) for 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned.
  • Allow to cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes, then finish cooling on a rack.

That should work as an adequate “thank you,” don’t you think?

Nope?

Well, guess I’ll have to make another batch.

Questions: Do you have a standard “thank you” baked goods? What variety of bake goods would you say you are most comfortable with making?

For me, it depends on the occasion. But, I’d say the majority of my gifts are cookies. That may or may not be related to the fact that cookies are MY favorite baked goods! For that same reason, I’m more comfortable with cookies than any other baked goods.

Happy wedding day to… my parents! They were married on this day 22 years ago!


My article, my story

It’s one thing to bear my past online, but a whole different thing to share my story with the 30,000 people I’m surrounded by every day.

Yet, that’s just what I’m doing.

The whole front page of today’s University Daily Kansan is a story about dealing with eating and psychological disorders. I spent the whole semester researching, interviewing and writing to pull it all together.

That isn’t what scares me. Where it all really hits home is on a page in the center of The Kansan that features my story — pictures and all.

It’s putting some of my lowest, private moments out there into the public. My professors, peers and friends will read it.

Why would I do this? Honestly, I’ve wondered that a few times, but it always comes back to a simple answer. I am doing this to help. I hope that by putting my name and face on a serious issues, more people will be willing to addressing their own disordered eating.

That’s all I ask.

Now, for your reading pleasure, here is my column. (Follow the links above to see the rest of the story.)

It was five in the morning and the dull pain of hunger in my grumbling stomach wouldn’t let me sleep. It didn’t help that my protruding hipbones painfully jutted into the mattress.

Restlessly, I went downstairs. With pride, I avoided the fridge and resisted the temptation to grab one of the carrot sticks I had sliced the day before. The 15 calories weren’t worth it.

Instead, I pulled on my shoes and went to run two miles — or more.

Just as it often did when I turned down invitations to hang out with friends or made up excuses about not being hungry, my anxiety had gotten the best of me — which, I later learned had really gotten the worst of me.

At 5 feet 9 inches tall and about 100 pounds, I was 30 pounds under my healthy weight range. I knew this wasn’t a “good thing.” I also remembered doctors telling me that because of my weight, working out would put my heart at risk.

But, at that pre-dawn moment, all that mattered was getting to run more and eat less. Why should my weight really matter when I looked at my skinny legs and instead saw fat on my thighs?

That was my life just more than one year ago.

It’s still hard for me to pinpoint where my “turn around” was. It could have been when my mom considered taking me out of school.

It could have been when my dad looked at my arms, which were as thin as a broom handle, and said he was worried for my life. Even though I couldn’t see my true self in the mirror, I could see in his eyes he was telling the truth.

But, most likely, it was when I finally began meeting with a therapist who specialized in eating disorders.

By talking with her, as well as meeting with my nutritionist and doctor, I was able to address the excruciating sadness I felt at my cousin’s sudden death the year before. I was able to recognize my anxiety about gaining weight and not being as beautiful as my mom. I was able to heal and I was able to move on…

That’s not to say it was easy. I still have to make decisions about what to eat every single day.

When those feelings of anxiety creep back, I look at the big picture and realize that life is so much better now than when I was both skinny and depressed.

Back then, I lost sight of who I was. Instead of reaching out to my friends and family, I withdrew into myself, shrinking inward just like my body.

It didn’t take long for the depression I felt inside to show on my face. I vividly remember a time I took the bus from the gym to class and caught a glimpse in the mirror of a sullen girl with sunken cheeks. It wasn’t until I did a double take that I realized it was my reflection.

Since committing myself to recovery, I’ve gained so much more than that desperately needed weight. In the past year, I ran three half-marathons. I spent eight weeks studying in Germany. I even got engaged and learned how to really love another person.

I wouldn’t wish my experiences on anyone else, but I am grateful for what I learned. Dealing with both an eating disorder and depression gave me perspective and it gave me a cause. I’ll do whatever it takes to prevent anyone else from going down that same path. Writing this article was just one step in doing that.


Back for biscotti

That’s right. I’m back for more — I just couldn’t stand leaving you all with just one picture in a whole post!

After thinking it through a little bit, I decided it was prime time to give you another recipe I’ve had on file for a few days. Until now, I haven’t had the chance to give it enough respect. I blame it on all this bridal shower and Easter business.

Now it’s time, so brace yourself for yet another take on one of my all-time favorite treats.

Blueberry and Almond Biscotti

Ingredients:

  •    3/4 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C almonds, chopped
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1/4 C dried blueberries
  • 2 T milled flax seeds + 6 T water
  • 1 t vanilla

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, beat together milled flax seeds and water. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together flours, almonds, baking powder and sugars. Whisk together ingredients whole-wheat flour through chocolate chips in large mixing bowl.
  • Stir the vanilla into the flax-seed mixture.
  • Hollow a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the flax-seed mixture and gently stir to combine. Mixture will be crumbly — may need to use hands to knead into dough.
  • Form into two rectangles on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Remove from oven and slice rectangles into long, thin slices. Rearrange on cookie sheet and bake for another 20 minutes.
  • Remove an allow to cool thoroughly on a cookie sheet before storing. That way, they keep their crunch!

I think part of the reason I love biscotti so much is because I don’t feel guilty about having it with a cup of coffee in the morning…

A smoothie in the afternoon…

Or just by itself!

Wasn’t that worth the wait?

Questions: Have you made biscotti before? Have you had biscotti before?


Mix it up

So, I took an unanticipated break from blogging yesterday.

The morning started off right on track with a delicious breakfast.

Consumed: Overnight oats with vanilla Greek yogurt, 1/4 C oats and a little unsweetened almond milk to thin it out. Topped the night before with frozen berries and in the morning with a spoonful of peanut butter.

Then things got crazy.

For a little more background, the big, mysterious project I’ve been working on for the whole semester is actually a feature article for The Kansan. Yesterday, my professor said it is ready to run, so I met with designers, photographers and editors to pull things all together.

Somewhere along the way, I had lunch of a Clif Bar, apple and ton of carrots. It was definitely one of those on-the-go kinds of meals.

By the afternoon, everything was looking great, so I was able to go home. Then, when I was talking with Dan, we realized we were both a little stir-crazy. Impulsively, we decided to go to Kansas City for dinner.

The only problem was that it was so impulsive that I forgot my camera at home. I’m so mad I did, too, because we had an incredible dinner at the Yard House. After dinner, we were both feeling like we didn’t want the night to end, so we bought tickets to see Water for Elephants — which didn’t start until after 10.

We ate up some time by going to Cabela’s, getting a treat at Russell Stover and simply enjoying the night.

Around my normal bedtime, we finally sat down to watch the movie. Verdict? It was fantastic! I read the book and it’s one of my favorites, so I was worried the movie wouldn’t do it justice. To my delight, it really was great. Reese Witherspoon nailed the role, the cinematography was breathtaking and the costumes were down-right enviable.

Basically, it was well-worth staying out until 1 o’clock for.

Today’s going to be another hectic day with final touches on my article before it runs tomorrow. You can bet all the details will come soon!

In the meantime, here’s something to do.

Ready to mix up your running routine, especially since the weather is nice enough to be outside? Try out a few of these options…

Fartlek: Not only is it fun to say, but I think it’s fun to do! Unlike intervals, fartleks are really free-form run where you alternate between jogs/reduced pace runs and sprints. When I’m running around my neighborhood, one of my favorite ways to do this is to sprint from one mailbox to the next, then jog for a few mailboxes and repeat it all over.

Intervals: Similar to fartleks, for intervals you alternate between faster-pace and slower-pace runs. The difference is that intervals are more structured. For example, run hard for one minute, recover for five minutes and repeat.

Negative-Split: I’m very goal oriented, so this is one of my favorite types of workouts. Generally it consists of an out-and-back run where you try to clock a faster time on the way back than on the way out. For example, before going to Kansas City yesterday, I had a little bit of downtime, so I went out for a short negative-split run. On a .6 mile trail, I ran out in 5:45 and on the way back, I pushed the pace and ran the same distance in 4:38.

Question: Do you have a favorite mix-it-up running workout?


Nickel and diming

What’s with all this dreary weather?

Seriously. There is a river running through my yard.

At least all the rain is turning everything green!

The rain put a damper on my morning plans. Rather than working out or going to the story, I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at home. It was rough.

Consumed: 1/3 C oats cooked with 2/3 C water. Topped with dried mixed berries, vanilla almond granola and a spoonful of peanut butter.

I love taking those few extra seconds to artfully arrange the toppings and make it look pretty — but it doesn’t last long. I stir it all up before eating!

Aren’t you happy I don’t just post those pictures every day?

After breakfast, I spent sometime working on homework and various chores around the house, but I ended up getting stir crazy. I decided to throw caution to the wind and go to the grocery store even though it was pouring.

Even though I’m only going home for one day this weekend, I have a semi-cleaning out mentality. Only the basics from the store!

That brings me to what I think is an interesting subject: grocery shopping and healthy eating.

One thing that never fails to surprise me is how impressed people are with healthy eating. I have to spend time convincing them that the food I eat doesn’t just taste good — it’s straight up delicious. The key is just choosing foods that are both nutritious and worth craving. I mean, who want’s to eat healthy when it’s all rice cakes?

Unfortunately, these foods sometimes cost just a little bit more money. There’re worth it, especially when you know what you like. For example…

  • Mushrooms: Baby Bella mushrooms are about $.50 more per pint than the white button variety. But they taste so much better! Those 50 cents are definitely worth it to me.
  • Bread: Freshly made bakery bread is undeniably more delicious than prepackaged types. What’s more, packaged bread is loaded with preserving chemicals. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it!
  • Peanut Butter: The same concept applies to peanut butter. There continue to be more and more natural varieties that are made with just peanuts and salt. Really, that’s all you need for tasty peanut butter.
  • Apples: I’m pretty picky about my apples. I’d gladly spend $1 more per pound of Pink Ladies than for mealy ones. Pink Ladies (and the occasional Braeburn) or bust!

In the grand scheme of things, isn’t health worth a few extra nickels and dimes?

Naturally, it stopped raining after I was back from the grocery store. (Read: After lugging my bags through the rain.) At least it let me get out for an awesome four-mile run!

By the time I got back, however, I was ravenous. RAVENOUS.

Consumed: Smoothie with ~1 C unsweetened almond milk, one banana, ice cubes, a scoop of chocolate protein powder and a pinch of xanthan gum. Topped with Kashi cereal (<< something I’m willing to pay extra for!) and a combo cookie. There was also an unpictured orange.

I couldn’t stand to look at homework any longer, so I started a new book called “The Romanov Bride.” It was interesting, but I couldn’t focus on that either — I just had to take a nap!

After waking up, fueled with an extra bowl of cereal and then went back into the rainy weather to meet my professor. My big project is so close to being done! When I got back home, I worked on edits while it was fresh on my mind.

Then it was dinner time!

Consumed: Salad with Romaine, chickpeas, cottage cheese and carrots. Dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Plus and egg sandwich on whole-wheat with goat cheese.

Love it.

Now, I’m debating what to have for dessert. Chocolate creates so many more options!

Questions: Are there grocery items you’re willing to spend more on? Are you picky about any types of food, i.e. apples?


Hoppy Easter!

Apparently the Easter Bunny got lost on the way to my apartment this morning.

No big deal. Rather than tearing through an Easter basket, my sister and I put a little more time into looking f-i-i-i-ne.

Can we just zoom in on those shoes?

Oh, yeah.

Neither of us minded spending a little extra time outside. It was such a nice day!

Before too long, my parents picked us up to go to lunch. It was the darndest thing, by the Easter Bunny accidentally took our treats to their hotel!

Milk chocolate for Marian…

And white chocolate for me.

It’s tradition.

Then we made it down to the historic Eldridge in downtown Lawrence for a big ol’ buffet.

I usually have a little stigma against buffets — I just feel like it promotes gorging. But, this was a treat.

Plus, the Easter Bunny said it was okay.

So many choices. I just didn’t know where to start!

Eventually, I made my selections.

Consumed: Goat cheese and roasted red pepper scrambled eggs, asparagus spears, fresh fruit, French toast with pecans and more fresh fruit, gnocchi with pesto.

So much to love on that plate! I especially liked the French toast, which is saying something, because I’m not usually a fan.

It just wasn’t as eggy as some other kinds I’ve had — and nothing beats fresh fruit.

Naturally, I went back for a (smaller) plate of seconds.

Consumed: More gnocchi, fresh fruit and Portobello risotto.

I was pretty full, but there was definitely room in my stomach for dessert. It wasn’t just any dessert either…

Oh, YEAH.

Seriously, the cake was so big that it made me think of the classic scene in Matilda when the little boy is forced to eat a whole cake.


I avoided a re-enactment of that scene by splitting the slice with my mom and sister.

Pure bliss. I missed chocolate so!

Even though it was nice to see the Easter Bunny, the real treat was getting to see KU’s (awesome) basketball coach, Bill Self.

I promise we didn’t harass him! He’s just a nice guy!

Before my family had to head by north to Nebraska, we took time to go by the cemetery where my grandparents are buried. I was an am very fortunately to have amazing, hard-working, inspiring grandparents.

After that, my family had to hit the road, so I took advantage of free time by working out on the elliptical. Unfortunately, Dan had to work until mid-afternoon, so I was on my own for a while. When he finished up, we went straight over to his parents’ home for dinner.

Because of the busy morning with my family and Dan’s work, we weren’t able to go to church, which was disappointing for me. Fortunately, Dan’s parents had a video of an Easter sermon that we were able to watch together and spend some time reflecting on. It’s just so incredible to think of the sacrifices that Jesus made for us.

Every day is a blessing.

Questions: If you recognize Easter, how did you celebrate? Were you close with your grandparents?