End Anger Snacking

I’m so mad and crunching my way through a bowl of popcorn. Not a small individual size either. A full-sized, this-should-be-enough-for-four-people bowl.

I’m angry and want to destroy.

I want to scream and fight back.

But I can’t — or so I think — so I crunch instead.

When I was getting divorced, feeling betrayed and cheated, I spent many nights alone, watching reruns of The Gilmore Girls, ruminating about how unfairly I was treated, stewing in my righteous anger.

I wanted to call him up, and scream his lies back into his face.

I wanted to take out a full page ad in the Hollywood Reporter about his infidelities.

I wanted to tell his family the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

But I didn’t. That wouldn’t be taking “the high road” as I’d been taught to do my whole life. That wouldn’t be responsible.

So I crunched. And crunched.

This is Anger Snacking.

end-anger-snacking

You know what I’m talking about:

  • Your boss assumes you’ll work overtime, and you end up putting in more hours than humanly possible, only to find out the project doesn’t get off the ground.

(How many Excel spreadsheets am I going to have to color code and format, while I could be leaving work at a reasonable hour and get to yoga for once? — OH! And isn’t this the same idea we worked on last month that got trashed but we’re now redoing it for the third time? Might as well get another bag of potato chips if I’m going to have to be here another two hours.)

  • Your mother-in-law judges your parenting or food choices and makes repeated, small comments that make your blood boil during Thanksgiving, a time you’re supposed to be friendly and thankful.

(Yeah right: SO thankful for this group of emotionally stunted humans and a table filled with food I’d rather not eat. But it’s here, and I can’t say anything, so I’ll overfill my plate and overstuff my belly.)

  • Your insurance agent doesn’t listen to your request, costing you time and money, as they constantly try to talk you into doing something you don’t want to do.

(Yeah, I hired you and you’re neither listening to me nor answering my original question. Give me another bag of chocolate-covered almonds.)

Anger snacking is that common, self-destructive habit of eating our anger. It’s the satisfying destruction of food in our mouths, when what we really want to do is rip someone a new *one.*

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Mainly because it’s not cool to be an angry woman.

Have you ever allowed yourself to be truly angry, especially in front of other people? Have you learned to direct your anger in a healthy, productive way, using your indignation and self-respect to get an important point across?

For women, it feels incredibly unsafe to show our anger.

From infancy, we are taught to be nice, be good, be sweet. Make up with people we didn’t want. While boys are encouraged to be, well, boys.

If we get angry, we’re labeled as difficult, bad, mean, ugly, disagreeable, nasty.

And there’s really nothing worse than being labeled as a “not nice girl.”

Our fear is that no one will like us, and no one will stick up for us, and we’ll be alone.

This is an incredibly unsafe way to live. So we play nice. We stuff our feelings down. We airbrush our emotions. We justify other people’s bad behavior and downplay disrespect.

But here’s the stark truth about anger: strong emotions get stuck in the body if they aren’t worked through and moved out of us physically.

Here’s the real, horrible equation keeping women in a vicious cycle of self-harming food behaviors:

desserts

Trauma is defined as a deeply disturbing or distressing event. Think about it. We are surrounded by trauma that we aren’t allowed to respond to appropriately. Trauma almost invariably involves not being seen, and not being taken into account. Trauma robs us of the feeling that we are in charge of ourselves. It revs up our adrenals, and represses our immune function.

Yes, this “good girl” culture is truly traumatic for women. We are constantly on guard, reading every experience, friend, and colleague for a hint that we might be stepping over a line.

And this stress and trauma keeps emotion – including anger – stuck and frozen in the body.

We lie to ourselves that the anger and frustration don’t matter much. And these lies we tell ourselves are our greatest source of suffering…

But the body registers the stuck anger, feels the discomfort as a kind of “static,” and must release it in some way.

Thus, anger snacking.

In his masterpiece The Body Keeps The Score, Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk explains:

“After trauma the world is experienced with a different nervous system. The survivor’s energy now becomes focused on suppressing inner chaos, at the expense of spontaneous involvement in their life. These attempts to maintain control over unbearable physiological reactions can result in a whole range of physical symptoms, including chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, cravings for overall soothing foods. This explains why it is critical for trauma treatment to engage the entire organism, body, mind, and brain.

“Long after the actual traumatic event has passed, the brain may keep sending signals to the body to escape a threat that no longer exists.”

Rather than risk being a bitch, we drown ourselves in jars of crunchy almond butter, mow through acres of buttery popcorn, and numb out with extra large cartons of hot french fries.

We destroy our angry feelings with these foods, rather than acknowledge how we feel or learn how to address our anger appropriately.

How to be angry without destroying the world.

If you haven’t gotten outwardly angry at another person in a while (think decades for some of us, ladies), you’ll want to start practicing.

It’s good to learn your own capacity for rage, and get out the frustration physically if it’s been bottled up for a long time.

It’s time to reestablish ownership of your body and your mind – for yourself. This means feeling free to know what you know, and feel what you feel, without becoming overwhelmed, enraged, ashamed, or collapsed.

First, go to your bedroom and shut the door. Grab a pillow and beat the crap out of your bed. Really – smash the pillow into the mattress, grunt, and yell. Get it out.

I’ll wait….

Ok, how do you feel? Need some more?

BTW, have you ever taken a self-defense class? A model-mugging program where you’re taught to fight off a simulated attack? Try it.

Especially if you didn’t play contact sports growing up, it can feel really empowering to learn it’s ok to protect yourself physically.

Classes are offered around the US by many great organizations – just search for “self defense classes” in your city:

http://modelmugging.org/

http://femaleawareness.com/

http://www.kravmaga.com/

I also love turning on some loud feminist-friendly rock and dancing. I highly recommend:

Here’s a special 25 song playlist I made on Spotify to shake, rock, stomp, and move out the anger.

You may want to keep this practice in rotation for a while, especially if you’ve been a career Nice Girl for decades.

The next practice is to write a letter to the person you’re angry with. Sit yourself down with paper and pen or a blank document… Don’t write this in an email even if you don’t intend to ever send it. We don’t want any technical gremlins to accidentally send this angry email on your behalf.

It feels good to share exactly what you wish you could have said. It’s a release to get the shit out of your head and onto the paper.

Now throw it away. Or burn it. The ritual burning adds a powerful release.

The almost-last-step is to start practicing, regularly, how to become calm and focused in your body.

I created three guided meditations that can help you get started quickly:

https://alexandrajamieson.leadpages.co/3meditations/

When you are able to step back from a stressful, angry situation and  maintain that calm, centered awareness of your body, your body will need less outside comforting from food.

Finally, it’s time to start having challenging conversations with people who trigger you:

If you know the person well, be willing to tell the person, face to face, that you’re concerned about your relationship dynamic.

Share your intentions for the conversation, your concerns, how you want to be treated, and your desire for your future relationship or interactions. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it’s one of the greatest skills we can develop as strong humans. Clear communication leads to clean relationships and stronger respect between people.

And join the conversation over at my private Facebook group.

Share Your Insights! We want to hear how you deal with your righteous anger!

10 Anti-Stress Foods For The Holidays (or anytime you feel cray)

10-anti-stress-foods-for-the-holidays-or-anytime-you-feel-cray-1

The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming!

10-anti-stress-foods-for-the-holidays-or-anytime-you-feel-cray-1

 

For some that brings excitement – for others, panic! Those easy celebrations we dream of may feel out of reach, so I wanted to put together a survival list for your next grocery store trip.

With emotions higher than normal, and possible family minefields to negotiate, I want you to have this handy list of 10 foods you can eat that truly help your body and brain feel focused, calmer, and more resilient.

We have to honor how we feel physically, support our bodies so we can move through our emotions in a healthy way, instead of stuffing them down with handfuls of green and red M&Ms.

These 10 foods are good to help calm anxiety, uncertainty, and stress.

  1. Water: stay hydrated. Your brain works better and your nervous system is more calm when you’re hydrated. Anxiety may be a result of your mother-in-law’s visit, and dehydration. Take a break outside and drink a big glass, then go back inside refreshed.
  1. Chamomile Tea: calming for muscle spasms and the entire nervous system, drink all day and before bed.
  1. Sweet Potatoes: the sweet, dense flavor and texture are calming for upset stomach without the blood-sugar destroying effects of refined sweeteners. Roast up a dozen and store the extra in the fridge. Use leftovers for my favorite easy holiday recipe: Sweet Potato Pudding!
  1. Coconut Butter: Like peanut butter, but from coconuts. Sweet, high in healthy fats that are soothing and satiating for the stomach and fuel for the brain, coconut butter and oil are helpful for thyroid and overall hormone production. And let’s be honest: the holidays can be a bit of a hormone roller coaster with the family and the travel and the election! 🙂
  1. Kale, Bok Choy, Collards – ok, any leafy greens: Leafy greens are rich in folate, which helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. Also a good fiber source, which can help keep our digestive system, rocked by stressed, on track.
  1. Pumpkin Seeds: a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which helps promote happiness and relaxation.
  1. Raw Sauerkraut: The secret to improving your mood is to support your gut. Your digestive system houses and produces most of your serotonin (see above), and unhealthy gut flora (produced by stress and too much sugar) can have a detrimental impact your brain health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression. Beneficial bacteria found in naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut have a direct effect on brain chemistry, transmitting mood- and behavior-regulating signals to your brain via your vagus nerve.
  1. Wild Salmon (Omega-3 fats ETP and DHA): Found in wild caught salmon, sardines, and anchovies, or supplement form, such as krill oil, the animal-based fats play a big role in your emotional well-being. One study in Brain Behavior and Immunity showed a dramatic 20 percent reduction in anxiety among medical students taking omega-3.
  1. Dark Chocolate: Ok, who was I kidding with all the greens and salmon. Chocolate is a proven mood elevator. (But still, eat your greens!) There’s a chemical reason for our love of the dark stuff: it’s called anandamide, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression. It’s a derivative of the Sanskrit word “bliss,” and one of the great things about chocolate is that it not only produces this compound, it also contains other chemicals that prolong the “feel-good” aspects of anandamide. Choose an 85% chocolate and kick up your feet with a cup of unsweetened chamomile tea.
  1. Sunshine: SO, it’s not really a food but hear me out. Sunshine both in your eyes and on your skin helps your body produce serotonin, that neurotransmitter associated with a good mood. Low levels of Vitamin D, also boosted by sun exposure, is associated with anxiety. Get outside and try not to wear sunglasses – get the sunlight in your eyes, without directly looking at the sun, for maximum benefit. Oh, and no sun screen. Just for the next few days. Really. It inhibits your ability to produce Vitamin D through your skin, and the few extra wrinkles will be worth it.

SPECIAL INVITATION! 

Join me Thursday night for a special no-cost webinar to support your Holiday mindset and plans!

Holiday Prep: Calm, Joyous, Healthy, Grateful!

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

8:30pm ET/5:30pm PT

Join online: https://zoom.us/j/631330220?pwd=jjLrHZZH57f2bbOKt%2FKesA%3D%3D

   Password: holidayfun

Or Telephone:

   Dial: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll)

   Meeting ID: 631 330 220

   International numbers available: https://zoom.us/zoomconference?m=HMJV9Cxq2XvPA4PJa_itSBBaHW96doM3

This is a no-cost gathering, and I won’t be selling anything – this is just a chance for me to help you with your emotional, nutritional, and mindset goals.

Put the date in your calendar!

Xo,

Alex

Sources:

http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/causes/water-dehydration

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050104112140.htm

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281438.php

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/kc/serotonin-facts-232248

It’s not just Trump: How we talk with girls about their bodies

I Am. How we talk to girls about their bodies.

“Locker room talk” and the old “boys will be boys” attitude creates and sustains rape culture and body shaming to persist. But how we don’t talk with girls about their bodies is also hurting them.

I Am. How we talk to girls about their bodies.

“You’re so pretty!” the speaker announced, looking directly at her. The 16-year old girl blushed, smiled awkwardly, and shrank down into her seat. Sitting 5 rows behind, I could feel her discomfort as half the room turned to look at her.

 

A few months ago, I spoke at an event for teen leaders. Waiting at the back of the room for the first speaker to finish, I watched and listened as he walked down the aisle to hand out papers for the co-ed group to take home. As the 60ish man spoke and walked, he came to the last row of students, handed a stack of papers to the young woman on the aisle, and exclaimed, “You’re so pretty!”

 

Her reaction hit me like a punch in my gut. She shrunk down in her seat and ducked her head down.

 

“Ick,” I quietly said out loud.

 

A minute later, realizing the back row didn’t get enough papers, the speaker returned, handed the same young woman a few more copies, and commented again to her, “You really are so pretty!”

 

The student cringed down in her chair even further, and her friends all turned and whispered something to her. Anyone could see she was hating this unwelcome attention, especially in front of teenage boys.

 

This time my gut was on fire.

 

It brought me right back to when I was 13 years old and waiting for my mom in the lobby of the bank.  A 30ish man walked up, stopped next to me, told me that I was pretty, and asked me out for a coffee.

 

I felt fear, out of my depth, and immediately worried that I had done something to attract this uncomfortable, dangerous-feeling attention.

 

I said “No!” giggled, and looked down with flushed cheeks at my long-sleeved flannel shirt and knee-length cut-offs as I walked towards my mom, wondering, why did he ask me?

 

My mom didn’t see it happen, and I didn’t tell her. I felt ashamed, somehow.

 

About a year later my 22 year-old brother got into a fist fight with a 20ish guy who came up to us, asked how I was doing and chucked me under the chin telling me I “looked fine.”

 

Male attention felt dangerous and troublesome. The “male gaze” isn’t just locker room talk and cat calling. It’s much more damaging than that.

 

Even though I hadn’t “done anything” I felt like I had done something wrong by getting attention and proceeded to wear bulky, long sweatshirts for most of my teen years. The last thing I wanted was more attention.

 

This kind of unwelcome attention feels like theft. It steals our ability to feel like we own our bodies. Even when no physical damage is done, these kind of comments damage the free expression of our beauty and full expression of ourselves.

 

How can we talk to girls about their bodies and the male gaze?

 

This question, and my anger at myself for not telling that male speaker to be more aware of how he made this young woman feel, has been roiling around in my body and brain for months now.

 

When it comes down to it, we live in a culture where many men feel like they have the right to comment on, touch without permission, and abuse women of every age.

 

I’ve asked friends and readers, and posted the query on Facebook and Instagram.

 

The first thing I’ve realized is we shouldn’t talk TO girls and women about their bodies. We should be talking more WITH them. Sharing. Educating about basic biology, not handing down judgments and approval willy-nilly.

 

Here are some of the comments and insights women have shared with me via social media:

 

Terricole: As a therapist I like the idea of figuring out guidelines as opposed to the ALWAYS or NEVER school of thought since we are all just flawed humans trying to do better. When it comes to weight gain or loss I def say no comment is the way to go. My 22-year-old niece just lost quite a bit of weight and her mother (my sister who is and has always been weight obsessed although she is very fit) kept commenting on how great she looked until my niece lost it and said,”Stop looking at my body with that critical eye. Your compliments make me feel exactly as bad as your not so subtle suggestions of how to lose weight when I didn’t ask you. STOP OBJECTIFYING ME MOM PLEASE! ” And when you think about it the flip side of the complement is a criticism and all of it is judgement. I grew up with 3 beautiful older sisters and my mother rarely commented on our looks at all. So although my weight fluctuated no one commented on it Consequently I felt loved the same pretty much all of the time. With my many nieces I would focus on gratitude for their strong healthy bods because not everyone can run, walk or hike etc. Also focusing on positive behavior(that was so kind of you to …) and good intentions is empowering and shows them what you think is important. Modeling a positive relationship to your own body & figuring out your own stuff from your family of origin will help you not hand down toxic stuff. This is really the greatest gift you can give to all of your kids (and yourself too!) ❤️

grace.freshfoodkcI:  I love conversations about bodies that wrap up the whole person. Talk about how their body shape, size, etc. reflects their life and passions. I love how your freckles show in summer-it makes me think of all of our fun park dates or I love how your strong legs could hike up this trail. If women grew up appreciating their body’s ability and strength, we’d have a lot less stress about the rest.

Heartenhealthy As a mom of 2 daughters I think about this A LOT. My 4 year old will ask when she gets dressed up for something or I’ve just finished doing her hair if she looks beautiful and I tell her that she looks beautiful all the time. I want her to understand that she is just as beautiful when she first wakes up in the morning as she is when she is dressed up or does something to change her appearance. I make sure we focus a lot on talking about what her body is capable of and the importance of who we are inside. We talk a lot about what it means to be unique and I tell her that it means everyone is special in their own different way. I feel like we are fighting an uphill battle with the current standard of beauty that we see in mainstream media. Thanks @deliciousalex for posting this question. Conversations like this are important in order to determine what we can do differently to raise our daughters to be confident and to reject the notion that appearance matters most.

Karenmeiercoach Completely agree with @terricole 👌 – modeling a positive relationship with your body is key. I also think it’s important to discuss the importance and beauty of body diversity – that bodies come in all shapes and sizes! 🙏

 

In short, there are a lot of opinions about how we should talk to and with our girls about their bodies. And that’s just the women.

 

To me, one thing is very clear:

 

By commenting (repeatedly) on a woman’s appearance, we risk making her feel more self-conscious, more uncomfortable, and less seen for her whole self.

We make a woman’s worth all about how she looks and her body becomes a commodity. Something to be owned or used.

She becomes a thing, rather than a person.

 

The anger I felt at that older man commenting on the young woman’s looks boils down to this – he wasn’t engaging with her as a whole person, he was, in a few words, patronizingly giving his approval of her, and drawing a lot of uncomfortable attention to her, by reinforcing a patriarchal (Yes, I said it) norm that pretty women are more worthy and deserving of special treatment.

 

Like my 13 year-old self, many teenaged girls don’t appreciate too much attention. Attention and the male gaze are rife with danger for all women:

 

  1. We are taught to crave attention and approval of our appearance, and yet
  2. If we cross some invisible and ever-moving line of seeking too much attention, we risk being labeled a slut, high and mighty, or worse.

 

Attention feels like a dangerous, can’t-win proposition for women, and it begins with these seemingly innocuous comments.

 

I wish I could go back and pull that man aside, tell him the truth – his comments were more damaging than anything – and ask him to refrain from making approving statements about women’s appearance in the future.

 

I would ask him instead to acknowledge women for their hard work, for their accomplishments, for their strength and resilience.

 

The conversation about women’s bodies must change. And we have to start changing it amongst ourselves.

 

Stop buying and investing in the appearance-based celebrity gossip culture that Jennifer Aniston so eloquently spoke out against. Tell young women how strong they are and how their hard work is noticed and appreciated. Have meaningful conversations with them about what they see on television and in magazines, and even on Instagram. Find out how it makes them feel to see models and movie stars be appreciated only for their looks.

 

Once we allow women to be fully seen, we may finally create a culture of true beauty, one that’s safe for every woman to shine in all of her strength.

 

How can we talk with girls and women about our bodies?

 

First, we should be talking more with each other about our bodies.

Not commenting on each other’s bodies, but sharing our experiences and feelings about growing up female.

 

We should talk about celebrity culture and the impact that social media has on our body image and connectedness.

 

Recently Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers was at her gym when she used Snapchat to broadcast a picture of a middle-aged woman using the shower in the locker room. Mathers captioned her Snap, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.”

 

Not only was the model and radio host making fun of another woman’s body, she was illegally posting a nude photo of a woman without her permission in a body-shaming way. Mathers’ gym, L.A. Fitness, immediately banned her from ever using any of their outlets again, she was fired from her radio job, and is now under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

 

This is a case of woman-on-woman body shaming gone very wrong, but it happens all the time in more subtle ways. Last year, blogger and runner Kathy Sebright shared a story of how two women commented that she had “put on a lot of weight” at a July 4th parade when they thought she couldn’t hear them. Her invisible story of struggling to help her young son and family manage a horrible illness were not visible to the women; they didn’t see her whole story, only her current shape and weight.

 

Just as the speaker felt it appropriate to comment on the young woman’s beauty, bringing her attention she clearly didn’t want, the female model felt it appropriate to negatively comment about the woman’s body at the gym, bringing her attention she clearly didn’t ask for.

 

How can we end this cycle of shaming and hurting? Is banning and firing the answer? I felt the anger and understood the immediate reaction to ban and fire Dani Mathers after her shameful and illegal Snapchat fiasco.

 

But, is this really going to solve the problem?

 

I believe we need to talk with boys and girls, men and women about what happens when we comment on each other’s appearance. We need to share our experiences with each other and with our children so that they feel entitled to respect their own bodies, and so they respect other people’s bodies just the same.

 

What if instead of firing Dani Mathers, her radio station had assigned her to both record a conversation with the woman she photographed and to interview a new woman every week for the next year about a personal body-shaming incident and how it affected the woman?

 

How can we include men in this evolution?

 

And what about men?

 

As the mom of a 9 year-old boy, I’ve worried and struggled with what to say and how to raise him so that he’s a “good man” that respects and stands up for women as well as himself.

 

We look at the progressive sex education books together, learning about anatomy and the differences between men and women, so that he has real knowledge. We call our body parts by their names: penis, vagina, breasts, and vulva, rather than “down there, willy, or nana’s” so that we aren’t making jokes about the human body rather than being factual and easy about it all.

 

We teach him that his body is his own, and no one may touch him without his permission. The same goes with friends and family: every person is in charge of their own body. You respect theirs, and demand that they respect yours.

 

We don’t force him or even ask him to hug family if he doesn’t want to. Why force kids to do something physically that they don’t want to do?

 

I’ve told him it’s nice to comment positively on someone’s clothing, but not on their body. Not because you don’t like how they look, but because people are very sensitive about their bodies and we want people to feel happy in themselves.

 

We’ve come up with “safe words” so that when any kind of physical play becomes too much for him, he can shout “RED!” and we know it’s time to immediately stop tickling or wrestling.

 

By teaching young men to respect their own bodies, as well as everyone else’s, we can raise the new generations not to fall into the same shameful traps.

 

What should I have said to that 60 year old man?

 

I wish I had pulled him aside, out of view of the students, and told him how his comments actually affected this young woman. I would ask him to not draw attention to young women’s appearance, but instead to comment on their strength and intelligence. And I would beg him NOT to go talk with her about it, even to apologize, because, knowing women’s inclination to shoulder all blame, she would probably end up apologizing to him in the end.

 

But I didn’t. I may always regret that.

 

Instead, I took the stage and taught the group about the wisdom of their bodies. I taught them a practice I wish I had learned at a much younger age, but one that any of us can learn to our advantage:

 

I told them how to feel “YES” and “NO” from their own bodies, and I want to teach you how to do this now too:

 

Sit with your eyes closed and place a hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. Take 5 deep, slow, relaxing breaths.

 

Feel and say YES out loud. YES. YES, I want this. YES, this is for me! YES, I know this! YES! YES YES!

 

How did that feel in your body?

 

Now take 5 more deep, slow, relaxing breaths to settle down again.

 

Feel and say NO out loud. NO. NO, I don’t want this. NO, this is not for me. NO, I don’t like that. NO NO NO!

 

How did that feel in your body?

 

I asked how many in the audience could feel a difference between YES and NO in their bodies, and more than half the room raised their hands.

 

This practice, I told them, could be used for choices, small and large, throughout their life. What to eat, what to wear, where to go to college, who to date, how they’re being treated…

 

I shared that, especially for the young women in the room, they were going to need to learn how to tap into this truth in their bodies. Their truth and desires will be squashed again and again by unconscious or uncaring forces in the world.

 

We all need, men and women alike, to practice feeling what our bodies are telling us,  honor and respect ourselves, gather support around us, and continue to speak up for our truth.

 

I don’t have all the answers.

 

But I’m a woman with a fiery interest in helping create a world where every young woman feels like she owns her own body, grows up not fearing her own beauty (and honey, we all glow with a divine inner beauty!), and where all women feel free of shame so they can shine their fire freely.

 

Maybe the best we can do now is share and grow this discussion, talk with each other about how we feel, and share our experiences.

Take Care of YOU First: Real Talk From Hollywood Mom, Jada

As a mother, entrepreneur, (new) wife, and woman-with-her-own-dreams, I often struggle with keeping all the plates spinning…and the thing that normally drops in the day-to-day is my own self-care.

I struggle with being happy when things (and myself) aren’t perfect.

Here’s a recent stream of thought that drove me crazy:

“I should get on that school fundraiser email…I didn’t follow up with that client!…I haven’t been to my trainer in 2 weeks…Those presents need to be wrapped…I haven’t saved enough in my IRA this year…I had some dairy yesterday!…I should take my friend out for her birthday this week…I’m a terrible friend!…I’m the worst at sales…I need to redo my website…”

It’s insane, isn’t it??

Today’s modern woman, and not a few cool dudes, are held back from giving ourselves what we really need by guilt. We love the idea of nourishing our lives and bodies with daily baths and pleasure playdates with our friends, but something keeps us from following through on a regular basis.

It isn’t just that we feel guilty taking care of ourselves:

we feel, deep down, that setting aside time to meet our own needs – even having needs – is a sign of weakness or failure. We see it as a sign of imperfection in a world that demands nothing less than perfection.

Admitting that you need to work on something is acknowledging a failure and that is really, really hard to do.

Today, I want you to watch Jada Pinkett Smith, the actress, singer, and mother, on how she views this mess we are in. Her thoughts really inspired me, and I hope they inspire you, too:

Join my 7-day Playful Pleasure Challenge: you’ll get daily emails to help you devote time and energy to your own pleasure…for the good of everyone!

We start 12/26! http://bit.ly/T7daysofplay

Top 10 Mind + Body Books of 2015

I love books and read a lot…a LOT.
Books inspire, teach, transport, motivate, and heal me.
This year has been especially inspiring, and I wanted to share the top ten books that moved me, made me laugh, educated me, inspired my thinking or behavior…or, in the case of Come As Your Are, all of the above!

Get one, or get them all. Give them as gifts to people you love who are seeking health, inspiration, and fun…give them as gifts to yourself.

Read them and put their wisdom into action…

top 10 image

Rising Strong by Brene Brown

Meeting Brene Brown, and handing her a copy of my book, was a HUGE highlight of my year. Her book Daring Greatly was my bible when I was struggling with my divorce and “coming out as no longer vegan.”

Rising Strong is the next step after you dare greatly to be yourself…
…it’s about how to rise after you fail. Because you will fail.

This quote from the book says it all:

“The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness–even our wholeheartedness–actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls.”

This book shows the psychology and practice of what it takes to be authentic, and to overcome the inevitable shame and self-criticism that comes with rising above your old habits.

Recommended for: those on the verge of more leadership, for women on the journey of self-acceptance, those who desire new relationship dynamics, those who seek bravery to be more authentic. Order your copy here: 

Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski

I believe being happy in your body requires that you feel comfortable with your sexuality. Sexual health, expression, and desire are very taboo subjects and rarely talked about when it comes to body confidence and health…

…until now.

Emily Nagoski’s book, Come As You Are is one of the best books I’ve read on sexual health. From the psychology of what “puts the breaks on desire and libido” to the physical anatomy of how our bodies work, and how we can love them more, this book makes the science easy to understand.

Recommended for: women and men who desire more comfort with their own sexuality, want to improve their sexual relationship with themselves or a partner, or those who want to boost their libido without pills. Order your copy here:

Woman On Fire by Amy Jo Goddard

If you’ve read Come As You Are or you’re just ready for a deeper, more vibrant, and more sexually empowered life, this book is for you.

Amy Jo Goddard shares a more personal and spiritual approach to sexuality, how to get back in touch with desire, and how to heal past shame and trauma that may be in the way of enjoying your body.

This book walks you through how to find your erotic truth, and how to feel confident and empowered about your truth as a sexual person.

Recommended for: women looking for permission to explore their sexuality anew, for those looking for a guide in exploring new ways to enjoy sex, those who desire to build and activate their desire. Order Woman On Fire here:

 

Untame Yourself: Reconnect to the Lost Art, Power and Freedom of Being a Woman by Elizabeth Dialtountame

Shame, self-judgment, non-existent boundaries, low self-esteem…this is the torture of the modern woman.

Elizabeth Dialto, personal trainer turned women’s self-empowerment and Wild Soul Movement coach, explores and untangle the ties that bind us to a life we don’t love.

This book offers: spiritual evidence for self-care and “selfishness,” short and efficient exercises for feeling aligned and in love with your body, the low down on becoming discerning rather than judgmental.

Recommended for: Women who want to feel strong and fall in love with their bodies, women who want to learn to trust their instincts and create foundational rituals for juicy self-care. Order Untame Yourself here:

 

Simple Green Smoothies: 100+ Recipes to Lose Weight, Gain Energy And Feel Great In Your Body by Jen Hansard and Jadah Sellner51tlsfZ1G-L

I’ve been drinking “green and protein smoothies” for years…and never felt the need to buy a book of recipes because – come on – who needs more than a banana and some spinach? Oh, how limited was my thinking!

My dear friends Jen and Jadah invite you into a sane and tasty approach to health that will inspire and energize you to get in the kitchen and blend up some magic. The Simple Green Smoothies’ lifestyle doesn’t involve counting calories or eliminating an entire food group. Instead, it encourages you to make one simple change: drink one green smoothie a day.

Simple Green Smoothies includes a 10-day green smoothie kick-start to welcome you into the plant-powered lifestyle, with shopping lists included. Follow it up with 100+ delicious recipes that address everything from weight loss to glowing skin to kid-friendly options.

Recommended for: anyone ready to eat 15% cleaner, who doesn’t love cooking, or just wants to use their new blender a lot… Order Simple Green Smoothies here:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo51H8x07Fd7L

Despite years of trying to “downsize,” organize and de-clutter, I’ve always had piles of papers and masses of t-shirts that end up like a tangled mess of gluten-free spaghetti.

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, and I’ve found a new way to choose what stays in my life from people to books, to kitchen ware, to underwear…

does it bring me joy.

Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to picking away at piles forever…Marie’s KonMari Method, with its easier-to-implement-than-I-imagined category system, leads to lasting results…

…and way more stuff being donated or thrown out than ever.

My closet is now a sweet place of calm. My book shelves make me happy. My bathroom cabinets are easy to navigate.

Recommended for: the pack rat, the daughter of the hoarder, the new couple that just moved in together or are about to move, the downsizer, the peace seeker. Order The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up here:

Pleasurable Weight Loss by Jena LaFlamme

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This book can be boiled down to one main, beautiful, revolutionary idea:
taking the “guilty” out of pleasure.

Bringing “intuitive eating” to a new level, Jena, a dear friend of mine, has highlighted the purpose and value of pleasure as it relates to our whole lives, proper metabolism, digestion, and more…

As with many of my favorite books this year, Jena connects the psychological issues of body image and sexuality with food choices and behaviors. Filled with no-stress practices for savoring life and food, her examples will help you access your body’s wisdom.

Recommended for: the woman who has tried every diet under the sun and is ready to finally enjoy her body and life NOW. Order Pleasurable Weight Loss here:

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

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In this techno-democratic world where everyone with a smartphone can be judge and jury, public shaming has reached a fever pitch.

When I came out as “no longer vegan” I felt the virtual mob jeering at and demonizing me through Facebook and Twitter. More and more people who make mistakes in full view of the cyber-tribe go through the public shaming ringer.

This book examines some high-profile cases of public shaming and asks: what are we doing with our voices? Why are we mercilessly searching for and dancing around people’s faults? Are we using shame as a form of social control in a new way?

Hilarious and deeply considered, this book is a powerful trip into the public cyber-psyche, and makes you think about what part you want to play on this public stage.

Recommended for: anyone who has been publicly shamed (read: everyone), anyone with a social media account or platform. Order So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed here:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

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I LOVE Amy Poehler. I cried when her show Parks & Recreation ended, and I jumped for joy when her first book Yes Please hit the shelves. Well in my case, hit my ears – I listened to her read the book on audio [get her book FREE here on Audible.com!!], which I highly recommend!

With her warm humor, Amy shows us the show behind the show business curtain – how female comediennes are taking their place in the spotlight, and how she rose to fame with a “rising tides lift all boats” kind of attitude.

With chapters like “Treat Your Career LIke a Bad Boyfriend” and her Plastic Surgery Haiku, Amy will make you laugh as much as she will make you think about how women’s bodies are viewed as part of their talent.

Recommended for: anyone who loves to laugh while being inspired to take a big risk creatively or in their career. Get Yes Please on Audible.com (for free!) or here:

Women, Food, And Desire by Alexandra Jamieson

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What can I say…this book is my heart and soul, and comprises the hours of work, coaching, and teaching I’ve loved serving over the last 15 years. The reviews from readers are amazing, and Goop.com listed it as a top Winter Non-Fiction read.

If you’re ready to change your relationship with food, and your relationship with your body, this book is for you.

BTW, if you like my voice, you can get the book for free HERE on Audible.com! 

Recommended for: the woman who seeks to love and reclaim her body and desires, and the man who loves her.

Amy Schumer: How Women Take Compliments

I love Amy Schumer:
she is bold, hilarious, smart, and points out the messed up ways culture keeps women crazy
with double standards on sexual politics and body image.

One of my favorite sketches from her show, Inside Amy Schumer, puts a spotlight on how
women keep themselves down by not knowing how to take a compliment.

Please to enjoy:

Did you get your 3 free guided meditations to help you through any stressful time?
Download them here:

http://alexandrajamieson.com/3-guided-meditations-for-women-on-the-verge/

xo,

alexsign

Write your self-compassion manifesto

How to Write Your Self-compassion Manifesto

There’s a big problem we need to address before you take your next trip down the self-help aisle…

even though we want to like ourselves more…
even when we believe ‘self-compassion’ is the best way to finally enjoy our bodies for good…
even though we have a feeling that beating ourselves up isn’t helping us like food and sex any more…

…we have been trained to be self-critical on such a base level, that we are brainwashed.

We believe, underneath all the positive affirmations and mantras, if we stop beating ourselves up, we will get lazy, complacent, and that we’ll never advance, improve, drop the pounds, or “get better.”

We hang on to our self-criticism. It’s like we are in an abusive relationship with ourselves.

Our sub-conscious thought is that we still have to restrict and deprive ourselves, muscle through, strain, and toil to find happiness and achievement.

I had the honor to coach a woman I truly respect and admire recently…

I’ll call her Janice.

We got on the phone, her in LA, me in Brooklyn, and talked about her desires to create a work-life balance that really honored her mission to run a great company, while at the same time preserving precious time with her daughter and creative time for her own passion projects.

Janice was also struggling with mind chatter that went like this:
I’m in this high-powered role, making good money, but I feel like people are looking at my body because I have a good 15 pounds to lose, and I’m not as young as I used to be, and all these young female execs are hungry and hotter than me, and my sex-life is on the rocks even though I WANT my sex life to be what it used to be, and WHY do they order cookies for every meeting, when am I going to get the trainer with all these meetings on my schedule, and can I get home in time to make a healthy dinner for my daughter and not get distracted by work email so I can actually BE THERE for her childhood?!!! I need to stop eating so much…I wish I had a cocktail right now…

She had come to me to try to end the destructive cycle of if I work harder and put more restrictions on myself then I’ll finally be happy and good enough to deserve pleasure…

My insights for Janice were totally counter to what she thought she needed:

Beating yourself up, restricting your pleasure in life, is like throwing yourself into a cage match with wild animals: your mind and biochemical responses are so stressed that your body is essentially trying to escape the stress by escaping YOURSELF, which is impossible, or to fix the stressed body through suppressing it, which is self-destructive, or you end up avoiding the feelings with food, or other counter-productive actions.

Self-compassion, honey. That’s what you need in this transformation process.

“I hear ’self-compassion,’ but I really believe that if I relax into acting that way, I’ll lose control, gain even more weight, lose my drive, and become a total slug.” Janice was on the edge of a breakthrough…

But here’s the truth:
beating yourself up will never get you a loving, happy relationship with your body…

Beating yourself up blinds you from seeing the truth behind your cravings, and keeps you in a war with what your body is telling you.

Janice confused self-indulgence with self-compassion.

Self-indulgence is what we do to numb our emotional pain and stress, rather than see, feel, and complete the cycle of stress through self-care. (This is where emotional eating, emotional shopping, and other habits come into play)

Self-compassion is taking a deep breath, stepping back, taking the judgment out of your situation, and being patient with yourself through the process of healing and taking a break to align your desires with your life. It gives you the peace you need to choose a new way to manage and honor your cravings.

I gave her an assignment, and I want you to do this too:

Write Your Self-Compassion Manifesto

How to Write Your Self-compassion Manifesto

1. Get comfy with a cup of tea, and preferably a kitten and a cup of tea. (kitten optional)

2. Write an honest description of the situation you’re beating yourself up about. You could be lecturing yourself about work and career path, ranting in your mind about your weight and eating habits, or condemning yourself for your sexual desires and body image. Or all of the above! Include the mental chatter and “bitch brain” criticism word for word…

3. Now write the name of a dear loved-one at the top of the page.

4. Get another fresh page, and imagine this person, who you love so much, and that they are describing this same problem to you. S/he has come to you for help, and you are listening with a full, empathic heart. You give her your best, loving advice. Write what you would tell her as if you were in your best, calm, strongest place. Tell her what she needs to hear.

5. Reread what you wrote to her. This is for you.

Self-compassion is a habit.

It’s a series of actions and awareness practices that helps you to relax (thereby calming your mind and biochemistry), get clear (which helps you define your vision, desires, and mission), and most importantly…
…self-compassion is a tool that helps you enjoy more moments in your body, ever day of your life.

Once you write your self-compassion manifesto, I want to hear from you below in the comments!

Where can you have more compassion for yourself?
What did you feel shift as you wrote and re-read what you said to your “best friend?”
How do you view self-compassion differently now?

 

Inspiration from: Come As You Are, Emily Nagoski, Ph.D., Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, Kristin Neff

 

Have a friend who would LOVE a way to honor her body and her cravings? Share the “What to do when you have a craving” chart! Just copy this link and email it to her… http://bit.ly/cravechart

Building A Better Female Leader: Alex’s Talk from Inbound, Boston 9/15

STEPPING INTO STRONGER FEMALE LEADERSHIP

BY ALEXANDRA JAMIESON

Thanks. I was just telling everyone that I totally scrapped my talk, and this is the only slide that I’m going to be using. Yes! I like that I … I think of myself as the nice, juicy filling in between Brené Brown and Amy Schumer. While I’m going to be energetically speaking to the women in the audience, I am also speaking to and for the men in the audience. I love men. I have my man in the audience. Bob, my fiancé is here.

I want to talk about why women in leadership as an idea is important. What the problems are for more of us getting into leadership. How we can honor the feminine. I’m going to take you through some exercises, so you might want to put your stuff down. It’ll only take a minute for us to get to that point, but you’re going to be standing up, I warn you.

I was a professional vegan for quite a long time. Towards the beginning of my professional vegan-ism, which by the way, was the right choice. My body needed it. It healed me. It was fantastic. Then at the beginning of this adventure into food and healing, I met this guy … I picked him up in a bar, I’ll be honest. We fell in love, and we ended up making a movie together called Super Size Me. Did anybody see Super Size Me? Okay.

I was the vegan chef girlfriend in the background rolling her eyes as my then boyfriend ate nothing but McDonald’s for a month, and got very very sick. That movie allowed us … It was like lightening in a bottle. We went on Oprah. We went to the Oscars. It was fantastic. I became professionally vegan, and wrote 3 vegan cook books, and had this brand as a vegan expert. Work great for me in my mid 20s. Then I got to my mid 30s.

I don’t know if anybody told you this, but your body changes as you get older. I was also going through a divorce from said co-creator of Super Size Me. Had a little boy. A lot of stress. My body started to fall apart again. So this diet that had helped me in my mid 20s was now not working so well. My hormones were a disaster. I was exhausted, I was anemic, and I started craving meat. Yay! (laughs) Yes. We’ll have bacon later.

In marketing, I believe they call what happened next a “Shit Show.” Where I had to thank God for Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly. t was literally my bible as I was going through this struggle, trying to come to terms with the fact that I was now secretly eating meat, and hocking my 3 vegan cook books. What I began to realize was that what I was hiding was a lot of food shame and body shame, that what I needed as a human being had changed, and that didn’t make me a bad person. I had to learn to listen to my body. This is where this whole next 8 minutes is going.

When we listen to our bodies, whether you’re male or female, or somewhere in between, or outside of, it doesn’t matter. Your body is what makes you you. When I talk about women in leadership, we have to address the weird gorilla elephant in the room. We’re talking about physical and chemical differences. Yes, the female body is what makes female leadership different, and sometimes complicated. We have to learn how to honor that, and listen to it.

I’m going to ask you all to stand up. As I talk with you, I want you all to do what I call the “Wonder Woman Pose.” The reason why we’re doing this … It works for men and for women. You just want your chest a little bit out, and your head a little bit raised. We’re going to do this for about 2 minutes. Why we’re doing this is because this is actually raising your testosterone. For women, that’s especially powerful. There’s a whole Ted Talk on this. I did not invent this, but I use it and I share it, with women especially.

When we’re in a leadership role, or trying to step into leadership, we have trouble with the balance between competence and confidence. We’re very competent. We know what we’re talking about. We’re smart, we’re skilled, we have tools, we have experience, but we don’t feel confident enough to interrupt. To say our opinion. To lead the charge. I recommend doing this “Wonder Woman” “Super Hero” pose, for a couple of minute before every meeting, before every tough conversation.

Skip directly to chapter 8 in my book, Women, Food, and Desire to talk more about this. It also helps with the female libido. Which I also believe is a very powerful aspect of being a female leader. It’s really acknowledging and honoring all aspects of who you are. All right, we’ve just hit 2 minutes. Perfect. Sit down. I wish I could do a spit test and show you all, and test your testosterone levels, and show you how powerful that was. Do that before you have your next meeting, before you have your next big conversation. You’re going to stand up again in a minute, so don’t get your notes out.

What was challenging for me changing my brand in full view of the world, saying, “Hey guys, I’m no longer vegan.” and watching half of my newsletter list unsubscribe, and having thousands of people flame me online. Lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of negative comments. Death threats, because I was now eating meat to help heal my physical imbalances.

It’s very challenging for us to be authentic when, as women, our number 1 secret shame, as Brené Brown pointed out yesterday, is body and appearance shame. This helps up ameliorate that a little bit. But how do we begin to actually listen to our bodies, and feel that authenticity, as Bruno was so beautifully pointing out. How do we listen? How do we be authentic? How do you hear this inside what’s going on, when we women, one of our strengths is also our Achilles heel?

We’re so good at figuring out what everybody else needs. We are psychic … Well, we think we’re psychic. Sometimes we are, and sometimes we’re just mind reading and going crazy places, but we read the energy of a room so well. We know what other people need before they know it themselves, but all of that gets in the way of us hearing our own truth. I want to take you through another exercise. Go ahead and stand up again.

We’re going a little bit more saucy. I want you to put your hands on your hips. We’re just going to do a little figure 8 with your hips. This is just loosening up this part of your body. I know, you guys are having to turn sideways. I appreciate you playing al- It’s okay. You’re doing great. Looks good. We tend to hold a lot of tension right here. We suck it in, we don’t want anything flapping over the side of anywhere. But there’s so much happening in here, especially in the female body. It’s your digestive system. It’s your emotional brain. Your gut brain has as many neurotransmitters as the brain in your head does.

When we are tight there, when we have this scourge of digestive issues … IBS, gluten intolerance, leaky gut … We have so much stress here, we need to start loosening this part of our body up, and stop hating and holding in our physical self so much. Helping to loosen up that physical shame that Brené Brown was talking about, it really takes getting into your body. All right, go ahead and sit down again. Thank you for playing along.

How can we consistently check in with ourselves, check in with our bodies? Listening to our cravings might actually be one avenue into it. That’s what I go into further into this … Again, Women, Food, and Desire, it’s the book, it’s in the book store, go get it, it’s awesome. There you go. Listening to our bodies is actually done by listening to your cravings. What does your body want?

Brené talks about this again in her new book, Rising Strong. I feel like I’m hocking her book more than I am mine. That’s okay. She talks about learning to sit with your emotions. Sit with your physical self. As a way of being authentic. How do you do that? How do you sit with and listen to … I’ve tried meditation. Believe me, I’m not that good at it. Sitting in silence just makes me crazy, but I can listen to what my body is asking for. That’s why I take people through a lot of physical exercises, and I talk about play and pleasure a lot.

We humans learn when we play. When we take the judgement out of it, it’s about having fun and being engaged, and seeing what happens next. It’s like one big improv class. When you can be physically in your body, and listen to yourself, loosen up your gut a bit, and really hear what your physical self is saying. A gut feeling about someone, nervous knots about something, butterflies in your stomach. That’s all information. That’s all ways that your body is talking to you. Again, the feminine in leadership has been downplayed. Emotion in leadership, listening to yourself, which is your body, has been downplayed and set aside.

I think that it’s time that we start listening more to that, and honoring our cravings, and following our desires. Even if it’s for chocolate. Even if it’s for the mocha frappa-latta-chino at 3:00 every day. Whatever it is that you want, get curious. Ask, “What is my body wanting right now? Am I having an emotion? Am I nervous?” There seems to be no place for that in business, in marketing. But marketing is about story, right? It’s about authenticity. We have to be able to do that for ourselves first, if we’re going to be able to do that for the company, or the product that we represent.

I think as marketers, as sales people, it’s our responsibility to be solid in ourselves, and honor what it is that we need, so that we can honestly come to someone and say, “This is what I believe. This is what I want. Do you want to engage with me about this?” And they believe you when you’ve done that work … When you’ve done that inquiry. You’re way more attractive and interesting to be with and talk with, and develop a relationship with when you have that confidence … When you have that play and sass in your energy. People respond to it. I’m so glad to have had a chance to talk with you all. Thank you so much.

Want to eat less sugar? Science says: make life sweeter [Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Biscuit Recipe]

Gluten-free sweet potato biscuits

Gluten-free sweet potato biscuits

This weekend was so sweet…

…I met a new ginger kitten our family will (finger’s crossed) adopt next weekend…

(pictures to come!!)

…we hosted 3 other families for brunch, our favorite meal to prepare and share…

(brand new Sweet Potato Biscuit Recipe below)

make life sweeter - healthy brunch recipes

…my son and I went roller skating in the park…

…and I discovered this awesome science story on NPR, which proves that the happier you are, the sweeter foods taste.

Here’s the basic science:

When you’re happy because something good happens, food with a slightly sour or bitter flavor taste better.

When you’re unhappy, “healthier” foods (maybe slightly bitter greens, other healthy vegetables, milder tasting foods) are more unappealing, as sweeter, fattier foods remain pleasurable.

Your taste buds and tongue contain a high number of serotonin receptors. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, “is linked with happiness and mood.”

So when we feel stressed or disappointed and crave ice cream, don’t blame your willpower, your neurotransmitters and taste buds are partially to blame as well.

This is why brunch is a happy tradition in our home.

Every month we invite as many people as can fit in our Brooklyn apartment, cook up a storm, and enjoy a 3+ hour meal with good friends, conversation, and good food.

The sweetness of the meal is in the people, not just in the food.

Making every meal, not just big brunches or holiday dinners, sweet is a high priority for me.

I would rather get up early so that breakfast can be relaxed, sitting at the table with my family,

than rushed and eaten on the run.

It just doesn’t feel good.

Life can be stressful enough – make each meal sweeter:

  • fresh flowers
  • real cloth napkins
  • candles lit, even at breakfast
  • nice music
  • cleaned off table
  • no computer or cell phone present

When you take the time to make each meal an experience, a joyful occasion, it tastes better.

Some of my clients or Cravings Cleanse + Mindset Makeover (Next CCMM starts 10/7/15!!) members struggle with taking the time to eat their meals in a calm, pretty way. But it’s worth it. Your digestion, metabolism, and yes, your taste buds change when you are in a relaxed, joyful state of being.

Gluten-free Sweet Potato Biscuits

Makes 12-14

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (for a gorgeous golden color!)
  • 2 tablespoons natural cane sugar (original recipe called for 4!! So not necessary with sweet potatoes…)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter or frozen coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup cooked, peeled, mashed sweet potato, cooled

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Biscuits

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine milk, apple cider, and apple cider vinegar; set aside.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cayenne, turmeric, sugar, and salt. Whisk until blended and set aside.
  5. Cut in butter or coconut oil until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  6. In a separate mixing bowl combine egg, milk mixture, and sweet potato, stirring well until mixed. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not over mix, or you’ll lose the nice fluffy texture.
  7. Scoop 1/4 cups of dough onto the prepared pan, about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.
  9. Serve warm with honey. MMMMMmmmm….

2 Body Myths That Keep You From Feeling Free In Your Body

“I want to feel free.”

You’ve told me this again and again, in podcast questions, comments, conversations…

This desire, this craving, for freedom is very real, very powerful, and very human.

To be free means:

  • not under the control or power of another
  • able to act as one wishes
  • no longer confined or imprisoned
  • released and relaxed

We crave Freedom-

When we women finally feel free in our bodies,

our power, confidence, and abilities grow.

We can move mountains, write manifestos, and create movements.

In short, we can change the world.

But there are 2 old myths that are keeping us from that state of freedom we crave.

And once we see them, question them, they dissolve and we are free from them:

Myth #1: When you “get your body back” you’ll be able to be happy

Myth #2: You lost something valuable when you lost your virginity

These two myths have kept us afraid in and of our bodies, and chained to old ways of thinking, rather than free.

Myth #1:  

There’s no need to “get your body back.” You have a body and never lost it.

You may have had kids, survived physical trauma, grown older and wiser, and so your body has changed, but you never lost your body. She’s still with you.

When you’re in a constant state of body-hate and body-shame, your current body feels your hatred, and feels the stress.  This results in disrupted hormones, lower libido, high cortisol, and lower metabolism.

In short, this myth of a “lost body” is keeping us stuck in our current state, and makes it very hard to heal our biology in order to get back to a place of good energy, balanced hormones, and, well, freedom.

There are ways of living, what I call “heart habits” in my book Women, Food, And Desire, that help you feel into your body, appreciate “her,” and trust her messages (AKA intuition/cravings)…

Nature walks, dancing, yoga, roller skating, or any kind of joyful movement can help you appreciate your body as you move into your next phase of well-being.

Joyful movement is any way of moving that feels fun, loosens up your joints, uses your muscles, raises your heart rate…and fills your soul and heart with appreciation for your body.

This “lost body” myth overlaps with another older, more insidious myth that effects us women in deep ways.

Myth #2: 

The fear of “losing our virginity.”

You may not have thought about this idea for a long time, but remember back to what it was like as a young woman?

I remember in high school when my girlfriends and I were as worried about weight gain as we were about “losing our virginity.”

Who would be first? Who would be last?

Who were the other girls we knew who had already “lost it?”

“Losing your virginity” is an old, yet powerful idea that is keeping us women afraid of our bodies. Again, you didn’t “lose it” – you had sex or made love for the first time.

But we were/are still afraid of the stigma attached to sex, and our desires for it.

Losing your virginity means as little about your value as a person as the number on the scale…

Yet these two things are used by society, friends, family, and our own brains to brand us as “good” or “bad.”

Since sex was so loaded with danger, food became “safe sex.” Food become the safest way to indulge in our need for pleasure, when what we really desire is good clean physical intimacy.

In order for us women to feel ownership, agency, love, and true self-worth,

we must become aware of these myths, notice when they pop up in our relationship with ourselves and other women, and notice how they effect our self-esteem.

It’s not some thing that has to define who you are, it’s just sex.

Or weight.

Or food.

Or pleasure.

When we women finally see sex and food for what they really are, we can appreciate them both for what they are, and not define ourselves by them.

When we stop judging and defining ourselves by our food and our pleasures,

we can truly be free.

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