I've been thinking a lot lately about food and its connection with guilt and body shaming and self-loathing and control and feelings of wrongness.
Nice and light, right? ;)
It seems like almost every woman I have spoken to lately has some form of these things floating around in their existence: it breaks my heart, but it makes me so happy that folks are willing to share this stuff with me. This stuff can be super tough, and NOT speaking it can be more harmful than feeling it in the first place. (It helps to process through it, no?)
Here's what always comes up. ALWAYS.
"I could be doing better."
"I have ____ pounds to lose."
"I'm eating all the right things and I can't lose any weight."
"x-y-z food is SO bad./ I was so bad./ It was a bad eating weekend./ Vacation was great but I ate too much."
No matter if the woman I'm talking to is 15 or 85, the hang-ups and guilt and insecurity around food and body image are the same. Also, our grad class has a reunion coming up, so that's making things fun/stressful/anxiety-riddled for many.
SO MUCH PRESSURE, YOU GUYS.
We have to stop.
I know it's not as simple as just suddenly learning to be okay in your body and do nice things for it like take it for walks and workouts and feed it nourishing things, but man alive, on the way to learning to be okay, we have GOT to cut ourselves some slack. And not needing to be right. Or controlling. Or obsessive. This is a journey that demands some mad flexibility, yo; otherwise, you'll drive yourself crazy.
Beating yourself up about your food choices is going to make it more and more difficult every time you have to choose what to eat, because the guilt and fear becomes conditioned into the decision-making process. Stressing too much about where you're going to find the most perfectly balanced meal is going to contribute way more negative health effects to your body than positive ones. And calling yourself a cow is totally and entirely not cool -- unless you love cows and wish to be one (I think they're awesome).
Whatever you choose to identify with in your body - your energy, your size, your curviness, your skinny arms, whatever - endeavor to identify with it as good thing. ie. I AM A GIRL WITH A BIG BOOTY. I LOVE MY BIG BOOTY.
Practicing being nice to yourself and cutting yourself some slack for things like indulgent vacations (necessary) and busy weeks (unavoidable) is an ongoing process, just like the practice of working physical activity into your day or cooking for yourself. And as you practice being nice to you - moving, breathing, sleeping, spending time with good people, learning new things, being intentional about your food choices - why not try a new recipe? Consider it a gift for your cells. (Happy Friday, cells!!! xoxoxoxo!)
So, with that in mind: let's make dinner by combining some of my favorite words:
A couple of conjunctions in the title, 20 minutes of prep and cooking, and dinner is donesies. Save time by prepping brown rice or quinoa in advance, scooping out a portion and warming up when you're ready to eat.
I think my favorite part of this yumminess was the sauce. The addition of cashews at the end is also pretty darn essential: crunch is basically its own food group, and in the spirit of making your whole person happy, give it a little texture. (Fun fact: texture makes meals feel more satisfying. Hurray!)
A bowl like this is a great balance of macronutrients, and a cool template to work from if you're building your own meal-in-a-bowl dinners: to look at it, it's about 50% green veggies (bok choy), 10% other veggies (ginger, garlic), 20% grains (rice, buckwheat) and 20% plant-based protein (tofu, cashews). Consider the sauce bonus (unless you'd like to lump the marmalade in with the 'other produce' category).
Okay. Cool. So, dinner is sorted out. You're being nice to your person. I'm so glad.
P.S. Want the ingredients delivered right to your door? Check out PlateJoy. They've got this on their menu! They also took this photo. So rad. :)
- 1 tsp fresh ginger
- 1/2 head bok choy
- 2 tsp orange marmalade
- 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp buckwheat flour
- 1 tbsp light-tasting olive oil
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 8oz super firm cubed tofu
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp cashews
- 1 cup pre-cooked brown rice
- Peel ginger and slice into thin strips.
- Remove thick stem from bok choy and slice remaining stems and leaves into 1” pieces.
- Whisk together marmalade, soy sauce, buckwheat flour, and 2 tbsp water in small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat wok over high heat. Add oil, then garlic and ginger. Stir-fry 2 minutes.
- Add tofu and chili pepper flakes; stir-fry 3 minutes, or until tofu cubes are browned.
- Add bok choy, and stir-fry 2 minutes, or until bok choy starts to soften.
- In the meantime, heat a small skillet over medium heat and toast cashews 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Stir in marmalade mixture, and cook 2 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Top with cashews and serve.