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Let Them Eat Cake

To my lovlies, 

It is time for me to do some soul-searching. I have decided to start fresh. The past few weeks have been challenging for me, and they have opened my eyes and my heart to a future worth striving for. 

It all started last Tuesday in my nutritionist’s office. We spoke lightly to each other, and I acted rather carefree. I often put up this façade, although inside I am cringing. I worried about what the scale would show. Would I be down? Up? Typically, I cram a lot of watery food into my stomach before visiting her, so that the scale will go up. I wear pants and a baggy t-shirt, trying to “put on” a little weight. You see, I have not been the weight she wishes me to be all year

I hopped on the scale, and her smile vanished. She told me I had lost two pounds since the last time she saw me. I was surprised, and not surprised, at the same time. I really had been trying to eat more, but it had not worked. Well, she was clearly upset. I was not perturbed. She told me that I needed to step up my game. 

Usually, I take this as an incentive to eat a little more, gain two pounds, and be rid of her distress. She has never really been a stickler. In truth, I sort of enjoy knowing when I drop weight, as I allow myself to eat more of what I am truly craving. I start eating a little more…then I get frightened and revert to eating unnecessary amounts of fruit. 

I acted really happy with my mom that day, hoping she would not ask about my weight. I know that she gets very worried when I weight drops. She is an amazingly caring mother, and only want me healthy. Well, my nutritionist, let’s just call her Aubergine, spilled the beans. She e-mailed my mom the morning after our appointment. 

While putting on my vegan mascara at the mirror, I heard my mom take a sharp intake of breath. She was at the kitchen table at her computer, where she often is responding to e-mail and checking out the latest in Yahoo! news. I panicked. I called to her, hoping against hope that she had read some terrible story about another crash or another this or another that. The answer was exactly what I feared. Why didn’t you tell me? 

That morning, we had an appointment with my endocrinologist, a tall skinny woman who I am rather self-conscious around. She saw me in tears, and asked what was wrong. My mom answered curtly, saying that we had just found some unfortunate news about my weight. The Endocrinologist checked her chart and told us I was the same weight as I had been the last time she checked. This made my mother tense, and she said she would rather not talk about it. The E pressed on, showing us my growth curve, and telling us I was perfectly healthy at this weight. I was frightened, angry, and disgusted. Obviously, I was a perfectly healthy weight. I was not about to gain 5 f****ing unnecessary pounds

I saw my therapist the next day and vented my anger to her. I said I had checked my BMI and it was normal. I told her that multiple pediatricians had also said that my weight was fine earlier in the year. I was tired of this silly weight range implemented since my first hospital. I said I just wanted to eat everything I want and exercise when I want. 

I said the same thing to my psychiatrist the next day. Both seemed to be on my side. 

I took my case to my mom. I said I wanted a second opinion. She said she could understand where I was coming from. She ended up sending an e-mail to my nutritionist, my pediatrician, my therapist, and my psychiatrist.

In the end, of course, everyone sided with Aubergine. Because she is an eating disorder specialist. 

I have been freaking out for the past few days: angry, guiltly, frightened about what the future holds and tormented by the lies and circumstances that led me to this moment. 

I had to take anti-anxiety meds for the two nights before my appt. with Aubergine, since I was so upset. 

Well, my appointment came. In went my mom, to talk to Aubergine first. When I came in, she basically said I needed to gain the weight for my emotional health. I am not buying it. I countered her argument with my own. 

I told her that I want to eat everything: all the vegan foods my heart desires. I want to eat vegan chocolate cake and cashew cheese and nut butters and lasagna. But I also want to exercise and feel good about myself. 

Whatever the scale reads when I am doing this, that is my healthy weight. 

I went on a run for an hour this morning…for the first time in a few weeks. It felt good. It felt great. I felt free. 

It is time to take back my life. I will still be followed by a team of healthcare practitioners, but I will also be fueling myself in the ways my body wants. 

Numbers are for calorie-counting, weight-obsessed eating disorder patients. I strive to leave this arena.

Once and for all.

Because, hey, who doesn’t want cake?  

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Still Alive

Hello world! 

I am so sorry about my posting hiatus. I am currently enrolled in a summer French class at Georgetown University, and it consumes much of my time. I will post very soon ❤

Life has been very difficult on this end. Back to weight gain (noooo), because I slipped up a bit this year. This time, though, I am doing it right. Healthy exercise and a whole lotta food. Yippee! 

Thank you to all my readers. You may be just a handful, but you are a batch of splendid, magnificent, inspirational people. 

Stay well, 

Amelia

2

Movin’ On Up

Yesterday I met with my nutritionist. I told her that I had been struggling a little with my intake, and she responded by weighing me. She said that my restriction was reflected on the scale. I am not sure how much I believe that, seeing as I weigh myself almost daily at home (sometimes more than once daily…), but, I have decided things have to change. 

I have decided to let go of the scale and eat in tune with my own body. No more measuring cups, sad looks at the quinoa while munching on grapes, and shoving almond butter towards the back of the fridge. I have been in recovery three years, and it is not going to get any easier. Unfortunately, to remove myself from the grips of my ED, I will have to face some obstacles. Namely, myself. My stubbornness. My absolute self-loathing. My need for attention and care. 

My ED came into my life and the lives of my loved ones for a reason. I now need to learn new ways to cope with daily stresses and mishaps. I need to take responsibility for my life and stop pretending that I am still an underweight thirteen year old, requiring the undivided attention of my parents. I am almost seventeen years old, I have a life worth living, and I need to take what has been given to me. I am part of this planet, and I watch as it weeps. Too long have I wept needlessly for the number on the scale. It is time to dry my tears and learn how I can provide aid to those who suffer. Elephants, apes, monkeys, strays, pandas, lions…forests. I may have been raised in a comfortable home in a small suburb of Virginia, but I am not completely ignorant of the terrors of the world. Humans killing humans. Humans killing animals. Humans killing plants. Humans destroying everything in their wake. I want…I need to help. 

Without my eating disorder, I may never have opened my eyes. I wanted to be an actress in the spotlight for the longest time. I wanted boys to swoon over me as I walked the red carpet and accepted my first oscar. I wanted my body on magazines and my voice on TV. With the onset of my eating disorder, those dreams began to dissolve. Why would I want my body pinpointed by the media, sabotaged by those who disliked my curves? Why would I be picked for a role, with my hideousness? I turned instead to forensic psychology, enjoying books about serial killers and the criminal mind. 

Last summer, I entered a treatment program called Mirasol, located in Tucson, Arizona. It changed my life. The holistic approach to food made me aspire to health, rather than thinness. They experimented with taking me off of dairy products, due to my IBS. I have not had dairy since. I left with hopes to become vegetarian. My nutritionist urged my to ponder over this question for a year before I made my final decision, fearing that the abstinence from meat was simply a coverup for my eating disorder. In the end, I became vegan. And I will never turn back

I have loved my eating disorder for too long. It has left me helpless and frightened, careless and greedy. It has served its purpose, and now it is time for me to take over.

For months I have pored over countless vegan recipes, yearning to taste raw brownies and vegan pizza. I have denied myself these pleasures, sticking to veggies, fruit, some grains, some fats, and beans. I have flirted with cooking, but I use no oil, no sugar…My mother told me the other day that she would never become vegan, as it is too boring. I have made the impression on her that veganism is boring. NOT SO!  

I have eaten bags of grapes, raspberries, and blackberries in one sitting. This morning, I am planning to roast a kombucha squash and dip it some nut butter for snack later. I am going to eat what I want when I am hungry, and exercise as much as my little heart wishes. No more checking the scale, realizing that I am underweight, and sitting on my haunches, waiting for the weight to be high enough to move my body.

No more scales. It will be painful. But what is the alternative? Living my life in my parents’ house, crying over every ounce put into my mouth. I will probably be forced to endure more hospital stays, feeding tubes, and ensures (which are most definitely NOT vegan). Give me coconut bacon and date truffles. Give me cashew cheese and green monsters. Roasted kombucha squash with almond butter? Sure. Olives and hummus? Why not? 

I hate my body. I really do. But, I will work on loving it. I am stepping up my game, movin’ on up in the recovery world. I am shedding my coat of tears and donning a smile (and some sunglasses to lessen the sun shining my way, before I go blind). 

Here we go. 

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I am…

So, this morning I decided to go for a run. Let’s just say it did not go as planned…

I set my alarm for 6:45 last night, aiming to get out of the house by 7:00, hoping to have the “sweet” summer heat running at my heels. Instead, I looked at my phone, and found it to be 7:26. Bummer. Note to self: look at the day the alarm is set before putting all your faith in it. 

I grabbed a little water and started out the door, only to realize how painfully hot it was. I discovered that I was weak without food in my stomach. I felt weighed down and unhealthy, running in the heat, over hills, passing cars. After the last big hill, I felt as though I were about to cry. I stopped. I looked at my running app, and realized I had only run 3.6 miles. It took me about 34 minutes. I was disappointed that I had stopped, recognizing that eerie sense of failure coming over me. I pushed the dark thoughts away, and congratulated myself silently for running at least a 5k. 

I realized that I learned a few lessons: 

1. Set my alarm correctly

2. Bring water. I was way too thirsty!

3. Eat something. I went out on an empty stomach. I might try Lacey‘s idea of a date dipped in some nut butter. Sounds like just enough nourishment to get me through another 25 minutes. 

There were some negative thoughts floating about my head as I headed home, walking slowly with fatigue. Fat, ugly, flabby, gross. The usual. I decided to push them away and just say: I am. I am. I am. No judgement paired along with those two words. Just me. 

I am Amelia Claire Katz. I may not be tall. I may not be skinny. I may not be the best runner in the world. But, I am me. What else can anyone expect? What else can I expect? I am not a model. I am not a triathlete. But I am. 

I feel like this sounds corny…but, heck, if it gets me closer to reality, then it works for me. I have spent a very long time trapped inside my head. My own voice has been drowned out by the tormenting screams of my Eating Disorder. Actually, I suppose my ED has more of a whispery voice, but whispers can be as piercing as shouts. 

I am only me, and I will work up to hour-long morning runs in the morning. If I can do them at night, I can do them in the morning! 

I do have one goal crossed off the list though…run a 5k. Looks like I have already accomplished that 🙂 Next up? Run 10k. 

Off to take a shower now…washing off all the feelings of failure and negativity, and rubbing in lavender-scented thoughts of rejuvenation. (I actually despise the scent of lavender, but, I paid my parents paid ten dollars for the bottle…)

Has anybody else ever had a less-than-satisfactory run? What feelings, if any, came along with it? How did you cope? 

Have a beautiful day, 

Love, 

Amelia

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I am *SHOCKED*

This will be just a quickie-post. Maybe. I may get a little heated, but, please, bear with me! 

So, I was looking for an almond milk recipe this morning, as I have been dying to use my new medjool dates. I happened upon none other than Angela’s recipe from Oh She Glows. I wanted to post a comment, asking some questions and thanking Angela for her recipe. I was looking at some of the previous comments above mine, and discovered something that angered me. Actually, I laughed when I read this comment. It was absurd. It was rude. I felt a pang of sadness for Angela. She may not know me, but I absolutely love her blog, and appreciate her so very much. Her story is such an inspiration to me, and I credit her with making veganism so accessible to those who may have found it too difficult, or too foreign. She brings fabulously healthy and wonderful recipes to the table, with minimal hassle. Kudos to Angela Liddon, vegan connoisseur. 

Here are some highlights lowlights from the comment (scratch that, here’s the whole thing): 

“Hey, I have an even better idea than buying a nut milk bag, soaking almonds, pureeing them, etc., etc., etc. Buy some almonds. Eat them. Drink a glass of water. Cheaper and easier and just as healthy (if not healthier) than this blonde excuse for a recipe. Most calories here are from fat. Think about it. Almonds are almost all fat. The only other ingredient is water (zero fat and calories last time I checked). Also where does the writer get the idea that the body cannot digest regular almonds and that they’re easier to digest soaked? We evolved over millennia to digest nuts, seeds, raw meat, etc. Then as hominids became agrarian, our bodies continued to evolve to digest–guess what–WHEAT AND DAIRY! That’s right, our bodies are actually designed to digest food. It’s one of our primary missions in life (the others being to be born, to procreate and to die). Make almond milk if you have time and money to burn. But in the name of all that is holy, try including some fact-based and science-based information in these blogs and posts. Looks yummy? Looks like dog vomit. Also why is it that people who want to eat a healthier, more natural diet like our ancestors did need high power blenders with lawn mower motors to process their food?”

I am going to validate this person, rather than attack them (using my DBT skills here…). I see that they are struggling to grasp the entire concept of veganism. Okay, that is understandable. Most of us did not grow up in a household where almond milk and dehydrators and vitamix blenders were on hand at all times. I am not sure I had ever heard of veganism before this year (although, my sister has been vegetarian for many years)! But, the harshness, the utter disrespect shown to Angela here is uncalled for. “…this blonde excuse for a recipe”–I am appalled. “Looks like dog vomit”–infuriating. 

The blog world, as I see it, is not a place to make snarky remarks and lash out at concepts that you may not agree with. The internet has become a scary place. I thought cyber-bullying was for immature children and some hateful teens and young adults. Perhaps I need to think again. Opening my eyes, I see that there is hate even on blogs like Angela’s. She spreads a message of peace, recovery, and kindness. Yet, she received a bitter comment that must have hurt her. 

Whoever that person was, I just hope that they have learned to be more tolerant of others. They obviously have strong opinions, but sharing them with such blatant rudeness only fosters animosity. The comments below this person’s had some equally harsh words to share. 

All in all, this was really a discouraging finding. But, I will not let it bring me down any further. Again, much love for Angela and all those vegans and animal-lovers making a difference out there. 

Have a fantastic day! 

 

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JULY

Well hey there fellas. Guess what? It’s July. That month that comes before August and after June? Yeah. It’s here. And I am in Virginia. At my house, with my family. This may seem an ordinary enough situation, but for me, it is a feat. For the past two years, I have been in hospitals in July (the first summer, 2010, I was in a hospital during the month of August). But, here I am, sitting at my kitchen table, just finished with lunch. A vegan lunch at that. I did not have to be spoon fed like a stubborn baby, and my head is a safe distance from the wall. Oh, and I am also super excited about experimenting in the kitchen this week. I went to Mom’s Organic Market (mylove♥) and bought my first kombucha squash and some sweet potatoes. I am debating whether or not to roast the kombucha or steam it. Any ideas? I have been seeing some yummy roasted squash with almond butter ideas as I weave my way through the blogosphere, so that might just be what I try. We shall see, we shall see.

On another note, I have entered the world of cars. I am working towards my permit (um, way too many signs to memorize, thank you very much), and I have been practicing around town with my mom. Watch out kids, I’m a-coming! More like, watch out fast drivers, there’s a dove in the street and I am stopping until he flies away! All the birds in my neighborhood have seemingly become dare-devils; they soar right across my bath, about to land under my left wheel. They are kamikaze birds! 😥

Yesterday, I went on a jog in the rain with a splitting bellyache. But y’know what? I made it. One full hour of jogging! I was pretty proud of myself. I am working towards being more active, although keeping my weight up is a challenge. I am still a little shaky on my sea legs when it comes to the grain department. I typically munch on fruits and veggies too much, leaving me feeling kind of ill. Any ideas on how to cut back? Those grapes…man, they just call my name! “Eat me, Amelia…we are so sweet and delicious and watery!” They are just so round and cute…but in my belly they become all icky and squirmy. My life. 

I tried some kelp noodles. They were bitter. Does anybody have any ideas in the realm of wonder-sauces to make these little noodles taste…well, more noodle-y? It would be much appreciated! 

How are you enjoying the summer? I’d love to hear from you! 

Have a fabulous, fun-filled day 🙂 Watch out for adrenaline-junkie birds. 

Aside
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Hey there! Do you ever have one of those moments when you are sipping at your smoothie…and then suddenly you sadly realize you are just sucking up air. *Sadness*

I made a green smoothie yesterday with orange pepper, roma tomato, spinach, lemon juice, and ginger…it was super spicy, but I did not plan to stop drinking it. I left half of it in the fridge overnight, and finished the rest after lunch…it actually tasted much better after being left in the fridge; who knew? I am hoping to make more greenies, expanding my horizons with fruits and veggies. I usually end up realizing that the chunk of ginger I put in was a little…um…too big. I love spicy foods, but ginger can be just plain painful. 

Last night, I wanted to please my (wonderful, amazing, funny, sweet) mommy with dinner. I made “pizza!” For the crust, I used a variation of the Fitchen’s cauliflower pizza crust (http://thefitchen.com/2013/04/25/crispy-cauliflower-crust-pizza-gluten-free-vegan-and-dairy-free/#content). Instead of the almond flour (whoops, I wrote flower…), I used a mix of ground buckwheat groats and red lentils (both ground into flour in my nutribullet. I omitted the nutritional yeast, partly because I forgot to add it…

As a topping, I used Angela’s high-protein oil-free basil pesto (http://ohsheglows.com/2011/08/04/high-protein-oil-free-basil-pesto/), which is seriously one of the best things I have ever tasted. Ever. My mom approved 🙂 

I think maybe some almond-nooch parm would have completed the meal, but I had it with some tomatoes (meaning, I ate two fat tomatoes on the side because I love them so very much). 

As I was falling asleep, I was thinking of making some protein-power balls, aka truffles. I tried a date for the first time yesterday, and I am planning to use them whenever I can. Stevia is okay, I suppose, but sometimes it makes things sickly sweet. I think, next time I make almond milk, I am definitely putting in a date and some vanilla! Yum. 

Have a fabulous day, 

Amelia ❤