Friday, July 18, 2014

Food Friday #002 & Health PSA

Today I made a Strawberry-Peach-Pomegranate smoothie!

All Natural Strawberry Peach Pomegranate Smoothie

All Natural Strawberry Peach Pomegranate SmoothieFor this smoothie, I used:
  • 10 strawberries (cut in half)
  • 3/4 nectarine
  • 1 cup Pomegranate Juice
  • 3 ice cubes
I started off with all of the strawberries and 1/2 of a nectarine, as well as the pomegranate juice. After blending this all together on a Magic Bullet, it was still a little sour, so I added in another 1/4 of a nectarine to even it out. I then blended in ice to thicken and cool the smoothie, and the result was a remarkably resplendent refreshment. I like my smoothies super thick (you can see the straw standing up by itself!) so I did not use a lot of pomegranate juice. Feel free to vary the amount you use, but remember it's easier to add more to make it less thick than to take out juice to thicken it.

All Natural Strawberry Peach Pomegranate Smoothie

Another reason I wanted to share this with you is to also bring attention to a food related health issue. After my stay at the hospital (which I still have yet to write an in-depth post about), I became a lot more aware of my eating habits. As they say, the first step to solving a problem is recognizing there is one in the first place, and adding to my long list of self-diagnosed illnesses, I have the need to address a binge eating problem.

Binge eating disorder, simply put, is to frequently consume large amounts of food regardless of hunger levels or nutrition needs. What makes it different from bulimia nervosa, another common eating disorder, is the lack of purging. However, this often leaves the binge eater feeling bloated, gross, and unhappy, which is exactly what happened to me. When they took my weight at the hospital, I realized that I had gained 20 pounds this year, which is way more than a person of my size should be gaining. At home, I don't have a scale, so I don't obsess over my weight at all, but I could still feel the effects of unhealthy eating. I was more tired, less focused, and (it may sound silly, but) it was harder to bend sideways because a newly formed layer of flub now sat around my waist. I knew that what was happening was unhealthy, but I dismissed it because I was in denial.

I had been eating, just constantly eating, anything from chips to ice cream to pizza to chocolate. My eating schedule was completely out of whack; I'd often skip breakfast, eat lunch at 3pm, then dinner at 7pm, and just snack for the rest of the night until I went to sleep. On top of it all, my mother always cooks traditional Chinese food in large servings, and everyone is expected to eat it all in order to not waste food, almost like forced binge eating. This was alright as a child, when I had an insanely fast metabolism and everyone asked me if I was anorexic (another reason, perhaps, that I started eating so much junk food, to prove that I was not. Do not ever tease anyone about any eating disorder, it can only cause more problems!) but now as my general health was deteriorating, the sheer amount of food I consumed finally caught up to my metabolism and BOOM. Not good.

The moment I realized that the binge eating was a problem was more like two moments. The first was when I was sitting in bed, eating my third ice cream cone of the day, when it occurred to me that I really wasn't hungry, just bored. I was really full and uncomfortable, and I wasn't enjoying the ice cream at all, which is really sad because normally I love ice cream. The second was when my mom started yelling at me again, and I automatically headed to the garage for a pack of cheddar and sour cream Ruffles. I barricaded myself in my room, and as I was eating, I identified the cause of a lot of the binge eating as stress. Whenever I felt under pressure, I would eat as a form of comfort, and over time, this became a habit.

Since then, I've tried a lot to control the binging, but it's hard, because unlike other addictions, food is a necessity of life, so there's no avoiding it. At first, I "tried" a diet, meaning I told myself that I would simply quit cold turkey eating any junk food, but as you can imagine, that didn't work at all. However, outside of mealtimes or snacktimes, I try to eat less, and eat healthier. I've talked to my mom about it, and she says it's ok if I eat smaller meals now because I'm pretty much done growing and I'm at a good height.

Extra Mint Gum Costco Mega PackI also consciously tell myself that a craving is just that – a craving. It is not necessary, and it will pass. Sometimes I trick myself, replacing cravings with healthier foods. For example, instead of drinking a soda, I made a smoothie. It tastes just as good, if not better, and it has more vitamins and nutrients that my body actually needs. For dinner, instead of eating a whole pizza, I limited myself to just two slices (which is almost half a pizza, but at least it's progress). Right now, I still feel a bit more than full, but instead of munching on chips for the rest of the evening, I'll chew a stick of gum, which my mom bought for me in a Costco mega pack. Hopefully, with some exercise and time, my eating and metabolism can balance out, but in the end, it's not a number, it's what feels good to inside that counts.

Hopefully this was a helpful and informative post. If you have any comments on this subject or any other smoothie recipes you think I should try, let me know down below! ◊

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