By the end of this summer, I was the thinnest and also the unhealthiest I have been in a long long time. There. I said it: yes, thinner and unhealthier! To most people, this might seem like a ridiculous paradox. Thin is what everyone (who isn’t and many who are) seems to not only strive for, but equate with good health.
I know that most women would absolutely love to be told that they look skinny or even thinner but I think what irritates me is that I didn’t look great; I just looked thinner! There were lines on my face that weren’t visible before this recent unhealthy weight loss and dark circles under my eyes that also weren’t there before.
It astounds me that, in our culture, the idea of being thin (or even thinner, because I thought I was thin enough to begin with!) is regarded so highly.
Honestly it felt sort of fraudulent to enjoy getting complements: just “you look great!” which is nice, but still…I knew that I had not been eating optimally. I certainly did way less physical exercise and spent so little time on my yoga mat that my body was hurting and stiff and sore. I also felt much less than optimal health because I had let my meditation practice largely lapse. And yet, wow, as a yoga teacher people do stare at your body as part of paying attention to you and the complements poured in because as a society we have been brainwashed into thinking thinner is better.
I am curious about this.
This summer I undertook a crazy work commitment voluntarily and, when the summer started, I had lost a couple pounds in a healthy way due to my own spring cleanse, (clean whole foods and no processed foods or sugar and little dairy and no animal protein; I am Not a grain or gluten-free adherent).
(Hit me up next spring for a chance to do the spring into spring cleanse with me! Ha ha you might lose weight!)
My job this summer was on the Cape, a 2 hour plus drive twice a week; it didn’t allow me time to cook and putter in the kitchen and, being neurotic about what I put into my body, there is very little “on the road” food I want to eat. (How much trail mix can I eat when it’s hot and humid out?) And, it required me to sit for 12 hours at a time starting at 5:30 am which left little or no time for my yoga practice or other exercise. So I consumed copious cups of coffee (a big Shout-Out to 141 Natural Market’s organic cold-brewed iced coffee!) and also succumbed to sugar, which I had almost completely eliminated from my personal menu.
What is the take-away with this? What is my point? Don’t judge a book by its cover. Thin people aren’t necessarily healthier people! I have to admit that I miss the complements and I miss the looseness of my jeans, but I’m back to healthy sitting in meditation and grateful for the time I have to play in my kitchen and create foods I want more of.
So here is one of my creations, easy, delicious:
Black Bean and Shrimp Quesadillas
(Shrimp can be eliminated for those who are vegan or not into eating it.)
I can of organic black beans
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled
1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro (more or less to taste; I like a ton!)
Juice of one lime (or more)
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 T cumin seeds *
Sharp Vermont cheddar, shredded (Mexican cojillo cheese would be even better but hard to find!)
Tortillas of your choice (about 3 large or 4 smaller)
2 T grapeseed oil (or any really)
Optional : chopped onion
If you don’t have cumin seeds, you can use 1 ½ t cumin powder and add to mixture after it’s cooked; less authentic Mexican taste but fine nonetheless)
Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the chopped garlic and cumin seeds and chopped onion; once fragrant, (about 4 minutes) add the black beans and the shrimp and cook until shrimp appear done (only between 5-10 minutes).
Then sprinkle in the chopped cilantro and mix well. Pile into tortillas and sprinkle cheese on top and then press 2nd tortilla on top. In a dry skillet, cook each quesadilla until cheese melts and keep warm (on a 200 ° oven) while the others cook. Serve with Herdez green salsa or any salsa of your choice.