Gettin’ My Tweet On

By Katie, 7:25 pm

Maybe it’s because my hometown of Baltimore is known as Birdland. (Our major sports mascots are the Orioles and the Ravens.)

Maybe it’s because my husband enjoys sharing with me the difference between a bald eagle and an osprey.

Either way, I’ve decided to dip my toe into the big pool of bird chirpers. Yes, that’s right, I’ve signed up for a Twitter account. I have no idea how to use it, but I’ve signed up for it. :-)

So if you have any interest in following the happenings of Health for the Whole Self and yours truly as I stumble my way through the world of social media, you can click on the Twitter icon on the right-hand side of my homepage. Hopefully I’ll soon get the hang of it and will be tweeting away with ease!

Do you use Twitter? If so, let me know so I can follow you!

Any tips for a Twitter virgin like myself? Tonight I learned what a re-tweet is…baby steps, people! :-)

Makin’ Burgers out of Beans

By Katie, 6:50 am

I love burgers. I love beans. So in my mind it’s only natural to put the two together! :-)

Beans make a great substitute for meat, and not just because they’re chock-full of protein. They also give vegetarian recipes the bulk that they’re occasionally missing; they make you feel full and satisfied in a way that a pile of lone veggies simply doesn’t.

The bean burgers showcased in this post have been making the blog-world rounds, the first one for quite some time. There’s a decent chance that at least some readers have already tried these recipes, in which case they can attest to the fact that they are simple, delicious, and satisfying – perhaps even to the hard-core meat-eater in the bunch. ;-)

In a Jiffy Spelt Burgers

Angela’s In a Jiffy Spelt Burgers, which are made using chickpeas and spelt flour, really are as fast to whip up as the name implies.

I followed her recipe exactly, except that I used extra sunflower seeds and no pumpkin or chia seeds – the sunflower seeds really do make this burger – and I only got 4 large burgers out of it. But let’s face it – Dave and I like big, hearty burgers. :-)


We did these burgers in the oven, which makes them even easier because you don’t have to wait for ideal grilling weather.

Don’t you just want to bite into that?!?

Complete meal. :-)

Vegan Black Bean Burgers

After the success of the chickpea-spelt burgers, I was excited to try Emily’s now-famous recipe for Vegan Black Bean Burgers. She jokes that they end up looking quite similar to giant cookies, and I have to say that I agree! :lol:

That cookie-like appearance comes from the fact that there are whole black beans in the burger, which is definitely what makes this recipe so special…that, and the wonderful mix of spices – cinnamon, cumin, coriander, chili powder, cayenne, salt, pepper, and onion powder – oh my! 8-O

I did these in the oven as well, although you could easily start them in the oven and then finish them on the grill. And I again subbed sunflower seeds for the pumpkin seeds, because it’s what I had on hand.

Unlike the chickpea-spelt burger recipe, with this one I got more burgers than the recipe called for. I ended up with 8 burgers; we had two for dinner, two as leftovers, and I froze the other four.

Hmmmmm cookie burger. ;-)

I really try to have all of my posts have some distinct point or take-away message, but for this one I’m a bit stumped. So I’ll just say this: Bean burgers are delicious, and these two recipes in particular are total gems. If you put them on your menu for next week, I can assure you you won’t be disappointed – nor will the carnivore in your life! :-)

Do you make homemade bean burgers? Do you even like bean burgers in the first place? If so, what’s your favorite type of bean to turn into burger-form?

HWS Feature: Can You Stay For Dinner?

By Katie, 8:26 pm

Hi, folks!

Just a quick post to let you know that Health for the Whole Self is currently featured on Andrea’s amazing blog Can You Stay for Dinner? Her recipes are delicious, her outlook on life is inspiring, and her humor can’t be beat. ;-) I’m honored to be featured on her blog!

So if you want to learn a little bit more about yours truly, check it out! :-)

Without Judgment

By Katie, 6:25 am

When you first start reading about and practicing Intuitive Eating, you hear a lot about honoring your cravings and eating what you want. And I can certainly attest that taking all foods off of the DO NOT EAT list has made a big difference in my relationship with food and eating. But there’s a second part to that rule of thumb, an additional guideline that sometimes gets ignored, perhaps because it is significantly more difficult to accomplish.

Eat what you want…without judgment.

I bet a lot of you are nodding your heads right now, because you know what it feels like to “give yourself permission” to eat whatever it is that you want, only to feel overwhelming guilt afterward. That’s because – in a way very similar to the notion of pseudo-dietingsaying nothing is off limits and actually living out that principle are two very different things.


But sometimes it can be hard to distinguish between the two. Sometimes we think – we truly believe – we’re not judging ourselves when deep down we still are.  :-?

I’ve definitely found myself caught in the trap of No-I’m-Not-Judging-Myself-Oh-Wait-Yes-I-Am-How-On-Earth-Did-That-Happen??? Here are some of the signs I’ve seen in my life that judgment is present – even when I’m telling myself that it’s not.

Five Signs of (Subconscious) Judgment

1. Guilt

This is probably the most obvious one. If I tell myself that I can eat “full-fat” yogurt or cheese but then feel guilty after doing so, have I really given myself permission? :-?

2. Attempting to Undo the Act

Sometimes after I’ve honored my craving for ice cream or french fries or whatever, I find myself wanting to make sure that my next meal or snack is extra-nutritious to “make up for” my indulgence. But trusting my body means not trying to “undo” the so-called “negatives” in my food intake by restricting my future choices.

3. Ruminating

When I’m being true to my Intuitive Eating principles, I can eat anything I want and then move on with my life. But when judgment is present – even on a subconscious level – I find myself dwelling on my food choices throughout the day. I go over and over what I ate in my head, even hours afterward! :-( That kind of rumination is a sure sign of judgment.

4. Eating Mindlessly

When I am genuinely giving myself permission to eat what I want, when I want it, I have no problem eating mindfully – sitting down at the table, putting the food on a plate or in a bowl, and savoring every bite. But when the back of my mind is filled with judgmental thoughts about the food, my body, my choices, etc., eating mindfully is the last thing I want to do. Instead, I want to eat while watching TV, reading a magazine, or browsing the Internet…as if I’m trying to distract myself from what I am doing. I want to pretend that it’s not happening. If judgment weren’t present, would that feel so necessary? :-|

5. Eating Secretly

This is, perhaps, the reddest red flag that I have. When I’m judging my food choices – or, more accurately, judging myself based on my food choices – I tend to eat differently in private than I do in public. Probably because when I’m judging myself, I assume others are judging me too, and that totally freaks me out. 8-O So I wait until I am alone, and then I see it as “my chance” to eat whatever I want. Again, for me that’s a sure sign that I haven’t give myself genuine permission to honor my food cravings and desires; it’s a sign that it’s time for me to re-evaluate my connection to the basic Intuitive Eating principles.

This brings up another important point. When I say that part of healing myself and my relationship with food is being able to eat what I want without judgment, I’m not just talking about self-judgment. I also needed – and still need – to feel that those around me aren’t judging me either.

And you deserve that, too. That means that if you decide – truly giving yourself permission – to eat ice cream for dinner one night, or skip the reduced fat cheese in favor of the real thing, or whatever it is in your particular situation, you should be able to enjoy your decision in plain view of your spouse or your mom or your children or whomever is around when you’re eating. You shouldn’t have to feel like a common criminal when you’re eating, you know?

Of course, this requires two important steps. 1) Having supportive people in your life, people you can trust. 2) Having an open and honest conversation with said people about your relationship with food and the Intuitive Eating journey you’re embarking on – what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what you need from them, which is, basically, non-judgmental support.

If you’re finding yourself struggling on your Intuitive Eating journey, I encourage you to look inward, to question what’s going on in the deepest parts of yourself. You might find, like I have in the past, that judgment is present – even though you’ve said and thought and truly believed it wasn’t. But recognizing that it is there is the first step in getting rid of it for good. :-)

Have you found that one of the toughest parts of giving yourself permission to eat what you want is doing so without judgment? How do you deal with those judgmental thoughts?

I’m a Nut Job

By Katie, 6:30 am

That’s quite an appropriate post title after my last post about my clumsy exercise mishaps, don’t ya think? ;-) I appreciate all of you sharing your klutzy stories as well – they had me laughing out loud, and I definitely felt a lot better about my own lack of gracefulness!

Moving on to today’s nuttiness. While you may think that I appear to be completely sane and mentally sound…

In fact, quite the opposite is true – as demonstrated by my recent trip to the nut house! :lol:

This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Ann’s House of Nuts, which – according to the website – is the #1 privately held trail mix and nut company in the United States, whose global headquarters just happens to be near Baltimore. While their primary business is in supplying their products to grocery stores, wholesale clubs, and the like, they do have a retail outlet center for purchasing products in smaller quantities.

I thoroughly enjoyed perusing the walls, which were covered top-to-bottom with different mixtures of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, spices, and candies – all at ridiculously low prices.

How was I ever going to choose?!?! 8-O

This will help! ;-)

Afterward I tried very hard to get a photo of myself making the international “cuckoo” crazy symbol – in honor of my trip to the nut house – but turns out that because a still photo cannot capture the movement inherent in that symbol, I just look like I’m pointing at myself. Here are my silly attempts.  8-)

Finally, my photographer realized he could blur the photo ever so slightly so as to symbolize movement. I think it worked! :-)

Thank you, photographer!

Ok, enough fun and games – let’s show the LOOT! Here’s what I brought home with me.

Raisins, banana chips, dried nectarines, dried pears, dried apple rings, and dates. (These will make great portable snacks to take to work!)

Pecan meal (I’m thinking it will make a yummy coating for baked chicken and/or fish), raw sunflower seeds, and unsweetened coconut chips.

Two bags of dry roasted peanuts (they were Buy One, Get One Free, so I paid $1 for both bags!!! 8-O ). A good portion of these will be used for an upcoming baking project and/or homemade peanut butter.

Two bags of granola. (Also Buy One, Get One Free, so $1.50 for both bags!)

A big container of curry powder (for $1.19!) and a bag of plantain chips.

Total for all of this – plus two plastic storage containers and some candy that Dave snagged before I took this photo – was only $29 and some change!!! I am still shocked as I write this! 8-O

Getting all of this and more for under $30? Now that’s nutty. ;-)

What’s your favorite nut for snacking? Favorite dried fruit?


Did you do anything nutty this weekend?

Exercise Mishaps

By Katie, 7:16 am

There’s a word for people like me, and it’s this: Klutzy. 8-O

I am, quite simply, not a graceful human being. I trip over my own feet. I’ve been known to accidentally hit people with my umbrella on rainy days. And my mom used to tell me that I walk like a Clydesdale, a fact that I cannot dispute.

And if I’m that clumsy under ordinary circumstances, you can imagine how bad it gets when i’m exercising – when I’m fatiqued or zoned out to my music or thoughts, there’s no brain power left over to try to feign an element of grace. This has led to some unfortunate mishaps, which I thought you all might get a kick out of. ;-)


- A few days ago, in the middle of a 6-mile run, I face planted in the middle of the sidewalk. After hauling my now scraped and bloodied body back up, I immediately turned around to see what I had stumbled over. Nothing, apparently. :roll: Several passersby saw me take the plunge and called out to see if I was ok, which  – apart from my embarrassment – I was.

- Last week I was completing a 4-miler on the treadmill at the YMCA. By mile 3 my face was dripping with sweat (yuck!) so I reached for my handy-dandy towel, which was hanging over the treadmill display. Well, I must have yanked too hard or something, because somehow I simultaneously pulled my stainless steel water bottle off its designated ledge next to the display. It went flying into the air, landed with a hard thunk onto the rotating treadmill, and then flew off the back and into a reclining bike. :oops: My face must have been beet-red as I immediately jumped off the treadmill and saw a hundred eyes staring at me as I retrieved my runaway H2O.

- On a similar note, before I purchased my now-essential iPod armband, I used to sit my MP3 player on the same ledge of the treadmill. I can’t even count how many times my arm got caught on the headphones cord, sending my iPod flying across the room. :-o

- These days I love doing crunches on a stability ball. But let me tell you, the first time I tried to use one, I made a fool of myself! I had no idea how to position my body onto it! :lol: There was a decent amount of rolling and sliding before I figured it out.

So now that I have completely embarrassed myself, please make me feel a little better by sharing your exercise mishaps!


What’s Luck Got To Do With It?

By Katie, 6:13 am

We all know that person who just seems to have all the luck. He’s the one who’s always yelling “Bingo” after only five numbers have been called. She’s the one who insists on sticking around for the post-race raffle – even though there are 5,000 participants – because she won a four-course dinner at the last one and a spa-weekend at the one before that. :roll:

Recently my mom shared with someone that I graduated with my master’s in the middle of May and began a new job on June 1. The person responded with something like, “That Katie, she sure is a lucky young woman. Things always just seem to fall into place for her.”

I gotta be honest…I sort of resent that comment. :-x

Yes, the circumstances surrounding my new job are pretty fortunate. While completing my graduate school internship, I sat in on a meeting with the Executive Director of a very influential foundation in the area. Right as I was preparing for graduation, a job opened up at his organization; he happened to remember me from the meeting, and called to ask if I’d like to interview for the position. Two weeks later I had the job.


I came across this quote from the old Roman philosopher Seneca, and I think it articulates my feelings pretty clearly: Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

So yes, to a certain extent I was simply in the right place at the right time. But that’s not the whole story. Because many months earlier I had worked hard to secure an internship that would plug me in to the appropriate network. For ten months I worked my tail off at that internship in order to learn as much as I could while making a good impression on everyone I met. And I had been a stellar student and employee while in graduate school, so my references could honestly offer solid recommendations.

I am not trying to gloat here, honestly. Rather, I’m trying to say that while I was “lucky” to get the opportunity I did, I had also spent years preparing for it, though at the time I had no idea what it would be.

Sure, there are lots of things that can be chalked up merely to chance. We all know people who are blessed beyond belief even though they don’t seem to have worked for it. But that doesn’t mean we should just stop working; all that hard work is the preparation for some unknown opportunity down the road.

You just never know what the future holds – when your boss will notice all those extra hours you’ve been putting in, when the scale will budge after an inexplicable plateau, or when that publisher will stumble across your blog. But rest assured that when it happens, it will be because of a lot more than just a little luck. ;-)

What do you think? Are some people just luckier than others? Do you think there’s a connection between what we often label as “luck” and hard work/preparation?

Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps

By Katie, 6:08 am

Have you ever decided to cook a recipe solely because it gave you an excuse to buy a particular ingredient?

Because the only reason I decided to make these Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps was so that I’d have a legitimate reason to purchase five-spice powder. :roll:

You see, while I may love buying new, fun ingredients, my wallet disagrees. So when a recipe calls for an ingredient I don’t imagine using often, I usually just omit it. Unless it appears to be a key ingredient; then I give myself full permission to fork over the dough. Unfortunately – for my budget at least – this often means I’m on the prowl for recipes that require the purchasing of something fun and unique. ;-)

So I added these wraps to the weekly menu and picked up a small bag of five-spice powder. And let me tell you, it made the dish. If you’re not familiar (I wasn’t), five-spice powder is a combination of cinnamon, cloves, ground fennel seeds, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns. The idea is that it encompasses the five main elements or flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and pungent.

To make these Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps, I first cooked some instant brown rice and set it aside. Then I cooked the ground turkey and fresh ginger. Once the turkey was cooked through, I added the rice plus some bell pepper, water chestnuts, chicken broth, the five-spice powder, hoisin sauce (an ingredient I purchased some time ago under the same circumstances as the five-spice powder), and salt.

And that was it, really!  I brought the entire portion to the dinner table, where Dave and I assembled our lettuce wraps by topping the turkey mixture with shredded carrots, cilantro, and chives.

We used Boston lettuce because the leaves are the most “cup-like,” but it was still quite messy because our lettuce leaves weren’t all that big. If and when I make this again, I’ll use the biggest lettuce leaves I can find!

Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps
Recipe from Eating Well
Serves 4

1/2 cup instant brown rice (dry)
2 tsp sesame or olive oil
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp five-spice powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 heads Boston lettuce (preferably with very large leaves)
1/2 cup chopped herbs, such as cilantro and chives
1 large carrot, grated

1. Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add ground turkey and ginger; cook until turkey is cooked through (about 8 minutes), breaking it up with a wooden spoon.

3. Stir in the cooked rice, bell pepper, water chestnuts, chicken broth, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder, and salt. Cook until heated through, about another 2 minutes.

4. Serve by spooning portions of the turkey mixture into the lettuce “cups,” topping with herbs and shredded carrot.

Have you ever used a recipe as an excuse to buy an ingredient that your budget normally wouldn’t allow?


Have you ever used five-spice powder? Can you suggest other ways that I can use it? Because now I have a lot left over! 8-O

Warm It Up

By Katie, 7:54 am

Before I get into today’s topic, let me say that I am amazed and inspired by the passion many of you expressed through your comments on my last post about “wearing disordered eating on your sleeve.” If you haven’t yet checked out the conversation (or contributed!) I encourage you to do so; many people shared some very insightful views!

But let’s proceed to the topic at hand…

While we may fantasize about having an unlimited time frame for exercise, the reality for most of us is that our workouts are usually squeezed in somewhere between our jobs, relationships, children, home responsibilities, and hobbies. Working out is merely one in a long list of commitments and activities.

So it’s not surprising that many people take a “get-in-and-get-out” approach, skimping on the parts that seem like luxuries rather than necessities…parts like warming up. I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of this. :oops:


I’ve been twirling around my thoughts on the importance of warming up ever since Dave sent me this New York Times article on the subject. It’s worth a full read if you’re interested in the topic, but let me give you a quick summary:

While warming up is important in theory – the idea being that muscles contract more efficiently once they’ve already been contracting – there’s little quality research indicating that it actually improves performance. One exercise researcher is quoted in the article as saying, “It is not known whether warming up is of benefit, of potential harm, or having no effect on an individual’s performance.”

And even if we agree that warming up is helpful, there’s really no consensus on what kind or how much is necessary. Some athletes warm up for 10 minutes, others for 50. Some do very light exercises, others do intense ones. The article’s author writes that most athletes – and also us regular, moderate exercisers – base our warm-ups (or lack thereof) “more on trial and error than on science.”

I’m not a scientist or a researcher, so all I can speak from is my personal experience. When I go for a run, my warm-up generally consists of 5 minutes or so of brisk walking or easy jogging. Some days it might take me a little longer to find my “groove,” so I just go at a comfortable pace until I feel ready to speed it up or push it more.

I will say that on those very busy days when I try to maximize my time by jumping full-force into my run, I’m usually miserable. :-( The first few minutes feel so difficult that it’s discouraging. My muscles just don’t feel ready.

Science or no science, I’ve found that doing a short, light warm-up helps me to set the tone for a good workout. So I try to make it happen as often as possible, even when my tiny exercise window is crammed in between earning a salary, maintaining an inhabitable living space, being a wife/daughter/sister/friend, and – of course – blogging. :-)

Do you warm up before exercise? Why or why not? What does your warm-up routine consist of?

Wearing Disordered Eating On Your Sleeve

By Katie, 7:51 am

It deeply pains me to say this, but I think it needs to be put out there. When I was at my darkest place with emotional overeating, I wished that I were anorexic. I literally remember thinking, “If only I dealt with my stress by shunning food instead of gorging on it.” :-(

Where on earth would I have gotten the idea that starving myself was the better option, that it was more acceptable or legitimate, that it was, dare I say, cool? Oh, that’s right…

I don’t think I’m over-exaggerating when I say that our society glamorizes eating disorders – particularly anorexia – in much the same way it romanticizes drinking and smoking. And yet when I first saw these t-shirts, I was still shocked. 8-O And deeply saddened.

You can read more about the first shirt here and the second shirt here. I believe they have both been pulled from the shelves at this point, due to the (justified) outcries they stirred. And yet why on earth were they even designed in the first place???

I am outraged when I see things like this. :-x  But my anger is not directed at any particular company or designer because I believe that the issue is much more complex than that. I am angry at our entire culture, which too often idolizes thinness above all else. I am angry at the entire media industry, which continues to prioritize images of waif-like women. I am angry at every consumer who supports these images and ideas by continuing to buy the magazines and the clothes, which means that I am angry at myself. I am angry that I am not doing more to fight this system, even though the very notion of doing so sounds so huge and impossible that I am immediately discouraged. :-?

But I will continue to do my important, albeit small, part. I will continue to speak out – in conversations and on this blog. I will encourage others to express their outrage as well, in useful and productive ways. And hopefully someday I will enlist my children to continue the work through the next generation.

What’s your reaction to the above t-shirts? What do you think can be done to challenge these kinds of messages?

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