I have been thinking a lot about my mom lately because of some struggles I am going through, but also because of different YouTube videos I have seen on parenting lately. The videos on parenting reminded me just how much we did not get along when I was a kid. She just didn’t understand me and my husband can now sympathize with her 🙂 The only person who really understood me when I was a kid was my dad and I always thought I was just like him. I even look exactly like his sister, my aunt. As I became an adult I realized I had more of my mom in me than I knew.
My mom and I started waking up to the problem with health and food about the same time. She became vegan and lessened her sugar intake considerably at the same time I dove head first into juicing and a detox diet. I loved being able to share this part of my life with her, because, even though we didn’t see things exactly the same we were headed in the same direction. I always hear people ask questions about how to deal with their family and I feel so blessed because I was able to share my obsession with health with my mom.
Now, five years later, we are both dealing with different struggles relating to healthy eating. Even though our struggles are different I still feel so connected with her. I have again been going through depression and I have moved past the dark days, so I feel more comfortable sharing, but I am not going to share everything just yet. My depression is always made worse through my thoughts on body image. Body image never causes the depression, but compounds the darkness.
When I was a kid I was always heavier than everyone around me, but I was so competitive I never thought to cut back on how much I was eating. People would praise my sister about eating so much and I wanted to be praised too so I ate a lot. As I went through my preteen and teen years my mom was always the beautiful, thin mom. She was the one wearing very short shorts to pick us up from school and going to a Christian school, we were not allowed to wear shorts any shorter than three inches above the knee 🙂 My mom also helped me to go on diets in high school. I remember drinking slim fast and eating packaged fruit cups and salad for a month. Then eating this raw food called pulse, which was actually very healthy. Then doing the South Beach Diet. She is a fitness instructor so I would wake up at 4:00 in the morning and go to the gym before school and she would go to the aerobics class with me. I never could lose the weight and I never was as skinny. I felt I would never be able to look like her, I would never be thin enough.
Then I found juicing and I did it! I reached the “goal” and kept going, because, of course I still wasn’t thin enough. I also got a new job, moved closer into the city and started a master’s degree. Suddenly my stress levels skyrocketed and my weight started coming back on no matter how much raw food and juice cleanses I did. I remember complaining to my mom and she said the best thing she could have said and I remember it all the time now. She said “Maybe your body wants to be that weight, maybe that’s what your body needs.” Of course I vehemently answered “I won’t accept that, I can’t accept that!” and forgot all about the comment.
Through my last depression I realized I have some issues with perfectionism, which would surprise anyone who knew me as a child. But what spiraled my depression is not feeling like I was enough. I wasn’t good enough as a teacher, as a wife, I wasn’t thin enough, I wasn’t healthy enough. I didn’t feel like I was enough. I have since learned that I am enough and I don’t have to be perfect and what my mom said to me, about five years ago now is stuck in my head, just like she is saying “you are enough and your body is smart, listen.”
I have realized that skinny doesn’t mean healthy. Even though I am not super thin, I have one of the healthiest bodies I know. I am learning that thin doesn’t mean much and there are so many bodies and so many sizes and shapes. Everyone is different and everyone is beautiful. Thin is not healthy and fat is not unhealthy. My mom is struggling with some health issues and right now she is water fasting. Not to lose weight, she is beautiful and smart and focused, and she wants to be healthy. There are so many things in our lives that we do to ourselves and we don’t realize how much it is hurting us and sooner or later our bodies let us know.
Mom, thank you for teaching me. Thank you for telling me that I am enough. I know you don’t remember some of the things you said that have stuck with me, but you helped to make me the person I am today. I am so excited to keep learning with you through this journey of life!
I am still here, just not too much on the blog 🙂 My time is taken up with teaching 17 first graders to read, write, understand math, compost, and build and plant a garden. You know, things that take only a little bit of time.
This year has already been filled with ups and downs and a lot of life lessons. Hopefully I will get to write a post about some of those lessons. I have already dealt with some mild depression and through that depression I have felt burnt out at my job and just kind of burnt out on life in general. But I don’t like giving up and I am a fighter so with all the studying of health and health related topics that I am obsessed with I made some “rules” for myself. I try to go to bed at 8:00 pm and get up around 4:30 am to pray, meditate, and move. I also have a little schedule that I try to follow as closely as possible so I get things done, which helps me do some things for myself. I am also reading a great book that is teaching me more about resilience.
I realized recently that I lost my motivation to be creative, which is one reason I have not written in this space much. I felt like I had no time to myself or to do things I enjoy, but now that I have scheduled in reading and writing I feel more free and creative. I still feel like I have the same amount of time, but my mind is being freed to be creative again.
Right now I have been enjoying a plant based, mostly raw vegan lifestyle. I really love my fruit and I do not like the idea of restricting the calories that I eat. This is not to say I don’t go out to restaurants, which I absolutely love to do and I also enjoy french fries on many occasions. At home eating raw foods is my diet/lifestyle of choice though. Since I am eating lots of salads and my husband is eating them with me, I am experimenting with different dressings. My husband is a picky salad eater and when I make a dressing he really likes he says, “Make this one again! Write it down!” This recipe happened to be one of those so I wrote it down and now I will share it with you, because I really like it too.
Spring Roll Salad Dressing
3 small cloves garlic
3 green onions
2 limes, juiced
2 tsp yellow miso
4 TBS almond butter
4 TBS Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or any other soy sauce)
1 small thumb of ginger
Couple drops stevia to taste or 1 small date
Salt to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. I like to eat this dressing on zucchini noodles with red, yellow, and orange bell peppers and a little chopped lettuce. You could make any salad you felt like eating. Enjoy!