Who doesn’t love to hear a guest say, “that was a perfect meal”? But, how many times have you heard that from one guest, only to have another say “that meal was meh.” This happens all the time because food is personal. Some like spicy, some not so much. Some like steak, some not so much. So to preserve our inner peace, we have to lose this idea that we and our food must be perfect. Perfection, like beauty, rests in the eye of the beholder. And, there are some downsides to chasing it:
- Creating anything without flaw or defect (if it’s even possible) takes more time, doing and redoing. Most people don’t recognize perfection making those redos a waste of valuable energy and resources.
- It’s a “breeding ground for my way or the highway thinking which is a death knell for diversity of thought, opinion, and perspective.” It reduces playfulness and willingness to take risk. Even worse, it can leave people feeling inferior and unappreciated.
- It will make you sick: perfectionists are at greater risk for depression, high blood pressure, anxiety.
So let’s do our very best, treat everyone with unrelenting kindness, accept good enough, and rejoice that tomorrow is…another meal!
As I gear myself to head “back to school” with the local college students, I am reminded of the importance of my work, which includes counseling for students with nutritional issues. A great majority of my clients are students who battle with body image struggles, the majority of which began in childhood. The lifelong effects of dieting at such young ages have been detrimental to their mental & physical health. When I first began my career as a registered dietitian, I never imagined I would view dieting as a negative. As aspiring dietitians, we were taught that fat is always equivalent to poor health & the final goal was a “healthy” bodyweight, which really was code for thin. Luckily, scientific research & clinical experience has proved us wrong. There are many different body types that are considered healthy & many of those don’t fall under the standards of what society considers “skinny.” As a responsible clinician I feel it is my duty to educate others about the importance of healthy living that does not involve any form of dieting. That is why this op-ed was so profound for me. Christy Harrison I a registered dietitian whose practice focuses on helping clients recover from disordered eating. I strongly encourage you to read these op-eds written by Harrison in response to the release of Kurbo, a kids “dieting” app released by Weight Watchers.
Why you should never give your kids this app
It’s the way we were born eating
Just a few takeaways:
“As a registered dietitian who specializes in helping people recover from disordered eating, I strongly recommend that parents keep this new tool — and any weight-loss program — away from their children.
Our society is unfair and cruel to people who are in larger bodies, so I can empathize with parents who might believe their child needs to lose weight, and with any child who wants to. Unfortunately, attempts to shrink a child’s body are likely to be both ineffective and harmful to physical and mental health.
Over the last 60 years, numerous studies have shown that among people who lose weight, more than 90 percent gain it back over the long run. For example, a 2000 study [CW: weight-stigmatizing language and numbers used] of adults 20 to 45 found that less than 5 percent lost weight and kept it off long term. And a 2015 study [CW] of more than 176,000 higher-weight people age 20 and older found that 95 percent to 98 percent of those who lost weight gained back all of it (or more) within five years. A 2007 review [CW] of the scientific evidence found that most people likely gained back more.”
1 large fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
(15 oz) can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
3 celery stalks, very thinly sliced
½ c fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 T fresh lemon juice
4 T olive oil
½ c grated parmesan
1. Toss together fennel, chickpeas, celery, parsley, lemon juice & olive oil.
2. Season with s&p to taste, chill.
3. Before serving sprinkle with grated parmesan.
I’m a big fan of The 5 Chairs (and Louise Evans). The second chair is self-doubt (the hedgehog), and so this article caught my eye: what to do when you doubt yourself as a leader. As leaders, we’re all human and we all suffer from self-doubt from time to time. It’s what you do in those situations that matters most. The article offers some tips for managing this common feeling:
Breakdowns can lead to breakthroughs. Sometimes you need to get to a low point to make the adjustments you need to move to the next level in your personal development.
Ride the Wave. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling anxious. Self-doubt is natural, common, and often a sign of humility. Probe what you’re feeling. When am I doubtful? Who am I with when I feel it most? In what situations?
Share with someone you trust. Sharing allows you to process out loud and to hear outside perspective.
If you can’t change a situation, you have to change yourself. Practice focus and discipline in your work and try to do at least one thing every day to fuel your sense of accomplishment. Over time, it will boost your self-confidence.
- Share your intent up-front
- Pause to consider the impact of your messages – look for cues that you may have been misunderstood and talk about it
- If your impact was not as intended, don’t over-explain your intent, start empathizing. “I can see how my message came across that way.”
- Remember this: we read emails and texts in a tone of voice, and imagining the other party’s facial expression. These assumptions can be very wrong. Don’t let them carry you away.
- Alternative tools are great, but….keep your “pick up the phone” radar turned on and listen to it!
Makes 1½ cup
½ c dry white wine
2 T shallot, finely chopped
⅓ c heavy cream
¼ t salt
⅛ t white pepper
1 c unsalted butter, sliced, chilled
fresh lemon juice
2 strip bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled
½ c heirloom cherry tomatoes, quartered
1. Combine wine & shallots in sauté pan. Bring to boil, reduce, simmer until syrup consistency.
2. Add heavy cream, reduce to sauce consistency, about ½ volume started with.
3. Medium low heat, slowly add butter pieces, whipping constantly.
4. Season to taste with salt, pepper & lemon juice. Add bacon & tomatoes. Serve warm.
Summer is officially here, which means the farmer’s market is flourishing. Every year I marvel at the bounty of color-yellow & green squash, bright purple eggplants & rosy red tomatoes, just to name a few. My Saturday morning farmers market visits often resemble a kid in a candy store & by mid-week, I realized my fridge is still overflowing with fresh produce. A baker at heart, I found the perfect way to utilize the extra zucchini I have on hand. This particular recipe I discovered years ago, it is the perfect combination of zucchini & chocolate (ironically the creator of this recipe has a blog titled just that, Chocolate & Zucchini).
115 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature or ¼ cup olive or canola oil plus ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
240 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour
60 grams (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
150 grams (3/4 cup) unrefined blond cane sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons strong cooled coffee (optional)
3 large eggs or 4 egg whites and one large egg
350 grams (2 cups) unpeeled grated zucchini, from about 1 1/2 medium zucchini
160 grams (5 2/3 oz) good-quality bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
Confectioner’s sugar (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a 25-cm (10-inch) round springform pan or a 22-cm (8 1/2-inch) square pan.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. In the bowl of a mixer (or by hand in a large mixing bowl), beat the sugar and butter until fluffy.
4. Add the vanilla, coffee, and eggs, mixing well between each addition.
5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, chocolate chips, and about a third of the flour mixture, making sure the zucchini strands are well coated and not clumping too much.
6. Add the rest of the flour mixture into the egg batter. Mix until just combined; the batter will be thick.
7. Fold the zucchini mixture into the batter, and blend with a spatula without overmixing.
8. Pour into the prepared cake pan, and level the surface.
9. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the pan to loosen, and unclasp the sides of the pan.
10. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar or a chocolate glaze if desired.
Makes 1 cup
1 small watermelon
½ c cider vinegar
1 c sugar
1 cinnamon stick
¼ t fennel seeds
½ t salt
raw bacon slices, cut in ½
1. With vegetable peeler, remove green peel of baby watermelon, cut off white rind, reserve melon for other use.
2. Cut enough white rind into ½”x½”x2″ sticks to make 2 cups.
3. In medium saucepan combine rind, cider vinegar, sugar, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds & salt. Simmer on medium 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool.
4. Pack into mason jar & refrigerate. Will keep 3 months, refrigerated.
For Yummy Hors D’oeuvres:
5. Wrap a piece of pickle in bacon, secure with toothpick.
7. Bake in preheated 425°F oven for 15 minutes (give or take).
What? Niksen is Dutch for “nothing,” and it appears in this article, The Case for Doing Nothing. Being busy gets confused with being important and it’s causing us all issues, some of them major like burnout (especially for millennials), anxiety disorders, and stress-related diseases.
Daydreaming — an inevitable effect of idleness — literally makes us more creative, better at problem-solving…more productive.
Tips to help you stop and be:
- Make time for doing nothing, and do it with purpose
- Be unapologetic that you are doing…nothing
- Sitting still might be uncomfortable at first, practice
- Create the right place – devices out of reach, a perching spot you like (at home, at work, in a park…)
Get busy niksening.
When I first read this Washington Post Wellness article, I admit I scoffed at the very notion of “non-physical exercise.” The author poses the question “could non-physical exercise or “exertion of daily living” offer the same benefits as regular physical exercise?” The current CDC recommendation is 60 minutes a day of physical activity), which sounds daunting to someone who does not enjoy exercise in any form.
Most of us are familiar with the benefits of exercise-lower risk of cancer, coronary heart disease, depression, & obesity to name a few. While I personally find exercise enjoyable, I understand there are many who find exercise punishing. For my clients that do not enjoy any type of physical exercise, we work on finding nontraditional activities that will get their body moving.
Options for non-physical exercise in a nutshell:
- Move more (think of a fidgety second grader)
- Sit less (Americans spend an average of over 40 percent of their working days in a chair)
- Engage in home maintenance activities (housework that involves labor such as making beds, carrying laundry up the stairs, gardening, etc.).
- Schedule walking meetings at work, move trash cans away from your chair, take the stairs.
For more details on non-physical activity, I highly encourage you to read this article. Bottom line, exercise lover or hater, we all benefit from more movement in our day.