Viva Crystal!

I just finish reading Crystal Renn’s wonderful autobiography, Hungry, and feel the pressing urge to tell everyone else in the world to go out and buy it NOW!!!


Not only is she unearthly gorgeous and ridiculously sexy, but Miss Renn is spirited, bold, and very, very brave. The book is written in a down-to-earth, approachable but intelligent manner – reading the supermodel’s work is like going out to coffee with a bright, engaging friend.

Her story goes something like this: discovered at age 14, she was told to lose 10 inches off her hips in order to model. Naturally, she developed a crushing eating disorder by the time she was 16, weighing about 95 pounds at 5’9”. She continued to model without success, until one fateful day, when everything changed…

Renn’s story is a modern fairy tale with a much healthier central message. Only when she respected herself and her body did she become a successful (now plus-size) model. She’s been all over the world, on the covers of magazines, and on television sets nationwide (Oprah!). She is a beacon of hope, an example to women across the world.

Whether anorexia is a foreign concept to you or you have battled an eating disorder for most of your life, I beg you to read this book. Women everywhere (and, hey, why not men, too?) need to hear her story so we can begin to change the world, starting with how we treat ourselves.

<3’s

Gabriella

July 20, 2010. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Pomp and Circumstance

Good morning!

I write this now as an official high school graduate... Ack! It’s a beautiful and terrifying thing, and it still hasn’t sunken in quite yet. Even after the hugs and kisses and the victory cigars and the shiny new diplomas, I think the magnitude of this event is still lost on me. We’ll give it a few more weeks, I suppose 😉

And just because I couldn’t NOT show some pictures from the big day…

Decorated cap, strewn with various baubles and ribbons, plus an un-pictured half veil!

Me and la famiglia

Me enjoying victory cigars with some kid 😉

Important Note: As a health nut (and a health blogger, for goshhsakes!), I obviously DO NOT smoke on a regular basis… But I wasn’t about to pass up the hysterical photo opps on graduation day that one cigar offered!

And while I’ve essentially been living off of raw produce and protein shakes (nothing for me at parties but raw produce and no time for anything but protein shakes when I stop at home between events!), I have a couple of foodie shots and even a few reviews that need posting:

Review #1: “Chreese”

This powder sold at health food stores (I found it at the trusty old Whole Foods, where else?) is a vegan alternative to cheese to be used for All-American classics like grilled cheese or mac’n’cheese, sans animal products. It’s quite salty, but once diluted with water (or vegan “milk” of choice) and spread out over (whole wheat, of course!) pasta, etc., I thought it was quite good! Though I’m, as I’ve said, not a fan of making vegan cuisine that simply mimics animal products like burgers or wings without any additional creativity or innovation, there are some times you’ve got a craving for childhood comfort foods that contained those things and you’ve just got to recreate it!

Review #2: Naked Coconut Water

Now, maybe this is just the ED speaking, but I’ve never much liked drinking my calories. They add up really fast without giving you the same sense of satiety that solids can. But, over time, I’ve begun to realize that liquid calories have their place, too. Take the example of coconut water. Why waste my time on water with CALORIES? was my first reaction… But then I did some reading. Naked’s boxed variety will cost you 60 calories (again, I shouldn’t be counting, but, come on!), but you’ll get tons of potassium, some calcium, and plenty of natural electrolytes that your body needs to replenish itself. Plus, as a coconut FREAK, I absolutely loved the taste! It’s very light and faintly aromatic, but I love raw coconut and really liked this boxed version as well.

It was delicious paired with some avocado toast:

Review #3: Earth Balance Agave-Sweetened Peanut Butter

I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS STUFF! Holy Mole, I could just eat it out of the jar all day and be happy! I’m a nut butter addict, and this crunchy, lightly sweet variety is perfection in a jar. I spread it over organic brown rice cakes the other day and was in heaven 😉

An exclusive peek INSIDE the nutty goodness 😉

Well, that’s all for now! And, yes, I still have not posted sushi pics… Will do veeeerry soon!

<3’s

Gabriella

June 14, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Model Vegan???

Forgive me if it sounds like bragging, but I just had to gush about the compliment my latest nutritionist gave me! Meeting with her yesterday at the (bleck!) doctor’s office, she claimed she would use me as an example, because I was “one of her best vegan clients… A model vegan”!!!

I was souped to hear this from her, because not only did I get (and still get) a lot of crap from my friends, family, and even other medical professionals about going vegan, but I am also perfectionistic and wondering if I’m really following the best plan I can. Granted of course I’m not perfect, and everything is always a work in progress, but I am at least really, really glad to hear that a nutrition professional claims I am doing a really good job, especially with the daunting task of not only following a healthful vegan diet but following any healthful diet at all and eating regularly to fuel my body and maintain a steady, healthy metabolic balance within. It’s honestly really, really nice to get that encouragement… And also maybe because I can say “I told you so!” to all the nonbelievers! 😉

Cheesy as it may be, I want to thank those around me who have made it possible for me to get to this point in recovery (you know who you are!), and I also want to thank that little part in me that rebelled against the eating disorder and helped me move off a path of daily self-destruction. I may not have found peace with my body yet, but I can at least acknowledge that self-starvation will not get me to where I want to be (i.e. alive and happy in college vs. dead in a hospital cot). And for an added boost, I plan on reading this book by one of my all-time heroines, the beautiful Crystal Renn (You tell me in which shot she looks better, 5’9″ 98 pounds, or a normal, healthy size 12!):

Now, on to some vegan munchies (model or not, you decide, I guess! I’m not confident or vain enough to say they are!):

Organic corn chips, Boca crumbles, rice "cheese", topped with yummy Newman's own organic salsa

Yet another outlet for my salsa obsession: vegan taco salad! Organic corn chips, Boca crumbles, fresh lettuce, over a whole wheat tortilla

Brown rice topped with curried tofu, cauliflower, broccoli, and green peas

Italian vegan mania! Spinach gnocchi (a rich potato-based pasta and fear food!) in a broccoli broth

I may or may not have raved about these before: the protein-PACKED, delicious Field Roast vegan sausages

Now for some vegan snacks

My equivalent of Popeye's spinach: soy-free vegan protein for big MuScLeS!

Protein shake + sunflower seeds = ultimate post-workout snack!

Dessert challenges? They are made magically easier by dairy-free treats from Newman’s Own organics! Check out these scrumptious treats:

Great with some Yogi tea ❤

Thank you, Paul Newman! Dairy-free fig newtons!

Thanks for dropping in, guys! And, just as a last wise note from my beloved Yogi teas:

“We are physical beings having a spiritual experience.”

“The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment.”

<3’s

Gabriella

May 28, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

The Breakfast Challenge

Saturday morning I woke up, threw on some yoga pants and a t-shirt, and pedaled over to my boyfriend’s, who had the adorable idea of having a special vegan brunch 🙂

Only very recently have I found the courage to tell him about my ED, trying especially hard to keep the ED apart from my own personality, in my own efforts to weed the ED out of my identity (which it should not be a part of!). My therapist was the first to suggest this, and at first I greeted her idea with… lukewarm enthusiasm, to put it lightly. But I also know that I am very reserved when it comes to my personal life (especially where my ED is concerned), and that I am somewhat obsessively independent, and reaching out for help or support can be a good thing. In fact, it is the only thing that has helped me get so far in my recovery.

So, I told him. It suddenly seemed very organic and natural, and it just really seemed like it needed to be said. For better or for worse, this has been a huge part of my life (though, again, I am trying hard to stress that this does not mean it is a huge part of me!), and it needs to be put out there between us, or it will keep growing and morphing and festering and things will get worse instead of better. I was in a bad place one day, and he asked me what was wrong, and I just told him. I finally told the truth and just stopped lying or covering up my real problems. It was such a terrifying, liberating experience.

I was nervous even as I biked over. We had decided to make vegan pancakes, and my bag was full of fresh fruit and soymilk (haha). Luckily I had found an easy recipe for 5 Minute Vegan Pancakes, so it required minimal ingredients and effort 😉

I reflected as we put together ingredients and stirred the batter… “I have not had pancakes in probably three years, minimum,” I said out loud.

“Well, you’re having them now!” And it was true– I was! Isn’t it funny how sometimes after denying ourselves for so long, we begin to feel guilty about enjoying common pleasures? And it’s true– I actually thought to myself, “Isn’t this too good to be true? Can I really have pancakes and not gain 20 pounds in 5 minutes???” Even though I knew the nutritionals, even though I’ve seen more nutritionists and specialists and read more books and magazines on food and diet than anyone would care to know, I was still afraid. It’s really sad, actually, how this slow restriction becomes a form of self-punishment. I had to bring myself back to a time when I was 6 years old:

I stirred the batter, just like I did when I used to help my mother in the kitchen on Sunday mornings.

I licked the bowl, just like I did when I was 6 and didn’t know what a calorie was. And enjoyed it.

I smiled as the batter hit the pan and sizzled.

I laughed when I tried to flip my disobedient pancakes.

I ate. First the safe fruits, savored the tart grapefruit and the tangy kiwi and the sweet banana slices. Then one bite of a golden pancake. Then another. With a drizzle of maple syrup, no less.

He may or may not have urged me to take the first bite on purpose. He may or may not have told me to take the last bite on purpose. And he may or may not have been lying when he claimed he was full and left the last bits for me to finish. But it is OK. I’m still here. I didn’t gain 20 pounds. I ate pancakes for breakfast and didn’t explode or turn into a hippopotamus.

Perhaps the most challenging part of these victories is maintaining them. Even though I probably only took in 100 or so extra calories at breakfast, I couldn’t help but struggle with the urge to restrict later. Anyone come across that problem? It’s like, “Great, I did it!… Now let’s go back to square one.” It’s so hard not to skip lunch, skip snacks, not make up for things at dinner and so forth. It’s a challenge every day to convince myself that I am not a better person because of all the restricting I managed. I choose instead to focus on the victories and not the failures. I am bigger than my eating disorder. I am not a number on the scale, or a dress size. I am a person, for chrissakes! It’s time I start treating myself like one.

My body is a temple, not a slave

— A beloved, borrowed affirmation

<3’s

Gabriella

PS: As for the pancakes? Delicious! Non-vegan boyfriend even claims they are better than milk ‘n’ egg hotcakes 😉 In other words, go make them now!!!

April 25, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Mid-Morning Musings

“Anorexic”
By Eavon Boland

Flesh is heretic.
My body is a witch.
I am burning it.

Yes I am torching
her curves and paps and wiles.
They scorch in my self denials.

How she meshed my head
in the half-truths
of her fevers

till I renounced
milk and honey
and the taste of lunch.

I vomited
her hungers.
Now the bitch is burning.

I am starved and curveless.
I am skin and bone.
She has learned her lesson.

Thin as a rib
I turn in sleep.
My dreams probe

a claustrophobia
a sensuous enclosure.
How warm it was and wide

once by a warm drum,
once by the song of his breath
and in his sleeping side.

Only a little more,
only a few more days
sinless, foodless,

I will slip
back into him again
as if I had never been away.

Caged so
I will grow
angular and holy

past pain,
keeping his heart
such company

as will make me forget
in a small space
the fall

into forked dark,
into python needs
heaving to hips and breasts
and lips and heat
and sweat and fat and greed.

After an early run and a cup (or two!) or green tea, I’m in a very contemplative mood. That, and being on school vacation gives me (for better or for worse) more time to ponder over things.

It’s so amazing how we start so pure and gentle. Gentle to others, gentle to ourselves. What 3 year old do you know complains about the fat on their stomach or the shape of their thighs? They accept and they love themselves wholly, and do not even think to question or complain about what they have been given. My 4 year old cousin couldn’t give a damn about her looks, and I can tell you for a fact that I spent many of my early years running around partially or completely naked without so much as a sliver of shame or self-consciousness.

How can someone who is beautiful and HEALTHY be attacked for being fat? What is wrong here???

So my question to you is this: how does it happen? One of my favorite teachers was also one of the only people brave enough to confront me when I first started dropping an alarming amount of weight. She said to me, “Sometimes we lose something in ourselves, this sense of self-worth, of pride in what we are.” She had watched a niece struggle with anorexia, too. What do we lose, and how? Why can we not simply accept ourselves as we are? Why do we wage this constant battle against our own selves?

Why must we feed off the minute imperfections of others… Even if those others are SUPERMODELS??? What are the consequences of such behavior?

I’m not talking just about people with eating disorders. I’m talking about people everywhere. It seems no one, especially females, like themselves anymore! Is this so much to ask? Is it possible for me to ever look in the mirror and say, “Yep, that’s me! And I am 100% happy with that.”? Has our sense of self-worth just been eliminated culturally? And is there any hope that it can return?

How can this be acceptable?

This is not skinny vs. fat.

This is not pretty vs. ugly.

This is a matter, quite literally, of life and death. We are starving ourselves physically, spiritually, and emotionally as a society. What is wrong here?

And how do we stop it?

<3’s

Gabriella

April 22, 2010. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.