I Know The Secret To Skinny.

A few weeks ago I found myself doing a much needed clean-out of my closet. Naturally, I came across pieces that I hadn’t worn in a very long time, which usually means that’s it’s time to throw them in the donation pile. But instead I found myself holding onto them, debating what I should do.

In that moment I realized something particularly profound. That giving away these clothes meant letting go of something that I no longer am, skinny.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not delusional. I am well aware that I am what society would consider “thin”. This is my natural build and one that I suspect some people torture themselves to have. The skinny that I am referring to is the frail, rail-like skinny that I used to be. The bone-popping, thigh-gap skinny that I wore proudly. The skinny that was hungry and overworked.

A long time ago I heard my idol Oprah Winfrey say something that ended up sticking with me for years. It was something along the lines of “never buy bigger jeans, keep working to fit into your old ones”. While I respect Oprah in many domains, weight-loss and body image isn’t one of them. If I knew then what I know now, I never would have listened. But of course hindsight is 20/20.

Nevertheless, I listened and I did everything in my power to fit into those jeans. In the process I discovered the secret to skinny. Spoiler alert: it’s not worth it.

This secret would end up taking over my life for more years than I wish to tell. Being skinny was my first priority. I masked my attempts in the face of “health” but inside I knew what I was doing. And here’s exactly what I did:

I ate a lot of salads. 

I worked out every single day. On most days it was a mix of cardio and weights and on “rest days” I walked/ran on a steep incline on the treadmill.

Diet coke was my best friend.

Calories were meant to be counted.

If I was drinking, I either ate less or worked out more and these “drinks” usually consisted of shots…lots of shots.

I looked at my body in the mirror, a lot.

Binge days would happen that usually started with a hangover, followed by a jumbo-sized bag of PB m&ms with a side order of guilt.

And here’s how I felt:

exhausted-hungry Exhausted. My body was literally crying out for rest. By-products of this negligence still remain to this day i.e. chronic leg and back pain.

Hungry. Food was on my mind all.the.time

Guilty. I actually felt ashamed if I skipped a workout or binged.

Frustrated. I felt like no matter what I did I could never look how I wanted to look. 

I had discovered the secret to skinny, but I lost all the joy in my life. 

My habits today are far removed from that girl who ran endless miles and ate rabbit food for sustenance. They changed because I wanted them to. Because once I figured out the secret to skinny, I realized it wasn’t worth it. I valued living my life over planning it.

How I came to these conclusions is a post for another day and quite honestly is still an ongoing process. For the most part I now eat when and what I want and move my body when and how it wants to but not surprisingly some of my clothes no longer fit. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a moment where I thought of dear old Oprah’s saying and considered doing what I had to to get back in those jeans.

I knew I had what it took to look skinny in my skinny jeans. I’d done it once, I could do it again. But while I definitely looked skinny, it was the furthest thing from how I felt.

I may have paused for a second to think about my decision but ultimately I knew those clothes belonged in the donation pile. I wasn’t turning back. Instead, I made the choice to accept myself, exactly as I am. Someone who is smart, driven, successful and beautiful. Someone who loves to walk and hike and fuel my body with veggies and wine. Sometimes more wine than veggies, and sometimes those veggies are french fries. Most of the time they’re not.

Giving away those clothes was the final straw in letting go of all of the negative habits that had previously taken over my life. It meant choosing to live each day as my happiest self instead of my skinniest self. Discovering that these two concepts are not intertwined is the greatest gift I ever could have received.

I now know the secret to happy and trust me folks, it looks nothing like skinny.

IMG_7836 No questions, just your thoughts.

Gluten-Free Cherry Crumble

Sometimes I get nervous to tell people I’m a blogger. It’s not that I’m ashamed of it, trust me I am not, it’s more that I find myself in situations that completely contradict the fact that I am a HEALTHY food blogger. Don’t get me wrong, health is a priority of mine and I make a descent attempt at it, but I’m human and occasionally find myself eating cupcakes for dinner or drinking wine from the bottle #classy.

Now before you you get your panties in a bunch, these situations occur in a much lower ratio compared to the past. There’s a reason I didn’t start a healthy food blog in college. Unless oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies count as health food…Thankfully you’re now more likely to find me stuffing my face with a bowl of zoodles than KD. However, this past weekend, this was not the case.

Gluten-Free Cherry Crumble // thehealthymaven.com #glutenfree #vegan It started on Thursday after C and I opted to eat in the Eaton Centre Mall food court instead of eating the fresh trout, sweet potatoes and asparagus I had waiting at home. I just wasn’t in the mood for cooking. Fast forward to Friday when we ordered a small tapas plate as appetizers at The Spoke Club and our entree was ice cream.

After feeling completely sloth-like, we opted to go hiking outside Toronto on Saturday, which then resulted in feeling worthy of burgers and fries at 4:00 PM. And since our eating schedule was entirely thrown off, the logical thing to do was to order 4 cupcakes, 1 brownie and 1 cookie from a bakery in Burlington to bring home for a late night dinner. Granted they were gluten-free and vegan so I suppose that makes them marginally healthy.

Gluten-Free Cherry Crumble 2 After sleeping in until 11:00 AM on Sunday I then woke up and made this Gluten-Free Cherry Crumble for breakfast/brunch. Thank goodness I didn’t have ice cream in the house otherwise I’m 90% certain I would have been kicked out of the healthy food blogger club. In my delirious sugar-coma state I managed to convince myself that the time I spent pitting cherries was the equivalent of a workout and therefore counteracted all of the sweets.

So if someone had asked me what I did for a living on Sunday I might have had to make something up. In hindsight I probably could have swapped in some veggies or at least eaten a carrot or two but YOLO. I can’t promise you that I didn’t eat this crumble for breakfast on Monday but I did follow it up with a complete overhaul of the produce section at the grocery store so I’m feeling slightly less shameful now.

Gluten-Free Cherry Crumble

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Serving Size: 6

Gluten-Free Cherry Crumble

Ingredients

  • 5 cups chopped, pitted cherries
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar*
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • For Crumble Topping:
  • 1 cup gluten-free oat flour**
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar*
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup cold coconut oil***

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl combine cherries, coconut palm sugar and cornstarch.
  3. Add to a large baking dish (I used a 10 inch cast iron skillet)
  4. In a separate bowl combine oat flour, rolled oats, coconut palm sugar, cinnamon and sea salt.
  5. Add in coconut oil and using hands combine to form a crumbly "pea-like" consistency.
  6. Sprinkle crumble on top of cherries, coating the entire top.
  7. Bake for 45 mins or until top has browned slightly.
  8. Serve warm. I highly suggest a la mode ;)

Notes

*Can use brown sugar in place of coconut palm sugar. **Make oat flour by grinding up rolled oats in a blender or food processor. ***I place mine in fridge for 5 mins to harden.

http://www.thehealthymaven.com/2014/07/gluten-free-cherry-crumble.html

Gluten-Free Cherry Crumble // thehealthymaven.com #glutenfree #vegan Bloggers, do you tell people that you’re a blogger? How do you find balance between cupcakes and kale?

Where To Stay, Go and Eat in Jackson Hole, WY + Grand Teton National Park

In case you missed it, check out last week’s post recapping part 1 of my 2 week vacation out West with Where To Stay, Go and Eat in Park City, Utah!

After an incredible week in Park City, my family and I packed up the rental car and headed up to Jackson, Wyoming en route to Grand Teton National Park. We actually split the journey and spent a night in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Can’t say I ever thought I’d find myself in Idaho, but I’m glad I could cross that one off the bucket list!

Grand Teton National Park We only stopped through Jackson before heading to The Grand Tetons but I was immediately in love. Luckily, I knew we would be returning there after our couple of days in Yellowstone (which I’ll be recapping next week) so I had that to look forward to.

Of all of the places we visited on our trip, Jackson and Grand Teton National Park were my absolute favourite. I have never seen such majestic mountains, such a fun and cultured city or experienced such an escape from reality like I did there. If you have a chance to visit Wyoming, do NOT skip Jackson or The Grand Tetons. I hope my pictures below will give you a sense as to why.

where to stay in grand-tetons Jackson Lake Lodge. We spent 2 nights in the park and this is where we stayed. I HIGHLY recommend staying here. The rooms were not super fancy but I don’t think anywhere in the park could compete with the view that we had. You need to book well in advance and be sure to request a room with a view. Watching the sunset over The Grand Tetons with a glass of wine in my hand and by family all around me is a site I will never forget.

Jackson Lake Lodge

where to go in grand-tetons As you might expect, we mostly hiked but how could you not when you’re surrounding by such glorious sights, sounds and smells? We did manage to get on the water though.

String Lake Trail. This trail was much quieter and off the beaten path compared to the more popular Jenny Lake Trails. This was one of my favourite hikes from the trip. Beautiful scenery and lots of wildlife. I could have done without the mosquitos though.

IMG_7836 Snake River Scenic Float. They don’t allow white water rafting in the park, so we opted for the scenic float option which essentially means sitting in a giant blow up tube and floating down the Snake River. I recommend going early in the morning or in the evening so you can see the wildlife. We got lucky and saw a mama and baby moose right on the river. Actually the baby was stuck and it was really sad. I’m still hoping the mama moose got her to safety! If you’re going in the morning, make sure to dress warm!

IMG_7892 Jenny Lake Trail up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Some of the most spectacular views I have ever seen. This trail is busy (for good reason) but most people opt to take the boat across Jenny Lake rather than hiking around it, so we avoided most of the crowds. It starts to get super busy around Hidden Falls (where the boat drops people off) and this continues up to Inspiration Point. Despite the congestion, the falls and inspiration point are not to be missed. I was completely blown away.

Inspiration Point Signal Mountain Drive. People recommended we do this but I thought it was pretty “meh”. Then again we did this last so by this point we had already set our standards for look-outs pretty high. It was basically a 10 minute drive up to the top of Signal Mountain were you get a view over the valley below the Tetons. BUT this site was not an entire let-down because as we were driving down WE SAW A BEAR. This picture was a team effort and if I didn’t think I’d be eaten alive I would have jumped out of the car and cuddled him. So cute!

bear

where to eat in grand-tetons Once again we mainly ate breakfast in our room (so.much.oatmeal) and PB sammies for lunch. Dinner we ate out.

Pioneer Grill at Jackson Lake Lodge. As you can imagine, you are pretty limited in where you can eat in a National Park. Our lodge had 3 restaurants, a grill, a bar and a fancy resto. The first night we tried out the grill and it wasn’t anything to write home about. Then again you can’t be expecting gourmet food in the middle of nowhere so I really don’t blame them. My taco salad did the trick though.

Pioneer Grill Leek’s Marina & Pizzeria. Remember how I just said how “you are pretty limited in where you can eat in a National Park”? Well apparently this is not true of gluten-free pizza. I almost cried tears of joy when after a 7 mile hike we discovered this little gem. I ordered the Pesto Pizza with artichokes on gluten-free crust and I might go as far as to say this is one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

Leeks marina We arrived in Jackson again after driving down from Yellowstone. We only had an afternoon, evening and the next morning before we flew home so we tried to pack in as much as we could. Naturally after a whole lot of hiking we spent the majority of our time eating. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

where to stay in jackson The Wort Hotel. I was obsessed with this place. We stayed in the cowgirl suite and you had no doubts it was the right suite thanks to cowgirl (borderline pornographic cowgirl) pictures everywhere. At the same time it still managed to be classy and I certainly wasn’t complaining about the King sized four-post bed I had to myself.

Wort Hotel

where to go in jackson Jackson Hole Farmer’s Market. We happened to have good timing and arrived our first time in Jackson to experience the farmer’s market that takes place in the town square. You know how I feel about farmer’s markets so obviously I loved it.

Shop till ya drop around town. We checked out 90% of the stores in Jackson but I had a field day in Vom Fass which is a European specialty olive oils and vinegars store with a location in Jackson. We left with an excessive amount of oils and vinegars.

where to eat in jackson Lotus Cafe. Go here. Seriously. After almost 2 weeks of peanut butter sammies, I could not have been more excited to come across a healthy cafe whose entire menu can be made gluten-free and vegan. I opted for the Kimchi Soup with tempeh and it was amazing and packed full of veggies. I kind of want to move in there.

Lotus Cafe Snake River Grill. The truffle fries were to die for as were most of our meals. I made a mistake ordering the salmon when I should have ordered the trout which was local. The salmon was good, just lacking in flavour. The side of mashed potatoes and succotash was fabulous though!

Snake River Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream. Get the huckleberry ice cream. Thank me later.

JH Roasters. Stopped in here for breakfast before heading out to the airport. Their granola was amazing and I appreciated that they offered greek yogurt. Also an iced coffee never tasted better. Plus they had almond milk, win!

JH Roasters I highly recommend making a visit to Jackson Hole and The Grand Tetons at some point in your lifetime. I know with certainty that I will be back!

Coming up next week is my recap of Yellowstone National Park. Even I’m having a hard time believing my pictures are real…

Have you ever been to Jackson Hole or The Grand Tetons? What’s your most memorable vacation?

Coffee-Rubbed Strip Steak

I debated whether I should post this recipe for two reasons. 1) I’m not a huge fan of the pictures. Photographing steak is hard! 2) I’m not certain how you guys feel about red meat. Some people think red meat is unhealthy and some people preach ALL THE RED MEAT. Personally, I enjoy it but that hasn’t always been the case.

I didn’t touch red meat between the ages of 8 and 21. 13 years steak-free. In fact my incredibly-sharp memory remembers that last piece of red meat I ate before I gave it up, a Wendy’s burger. I ate it in the car driving from Montreal to Toronto. Then I got car sick and it totally killed all red meat for me.

Coffee Rubbed Strip Steak // thehealthymaven.com Then again, I was never a huge red meat lover to begin with so it wasn’t difficult to not eat it. In fact the only reason I started eating it again was because my sister told me that no boy would ever want to date a girl who ordered fish in a steak restaurant. Even though I may have started eating it again for all the wrong reasons, I’m happy I did because a good piece of steak is hard to compete with.

The problem is that now I have expensive taste. I will only eat the good stuff but my budget doesn’t allow for the good stuff all that often. It is definitely an indulgence in my house or I’m out to dinner with my parents and they are paying for it ;)

Coffee-Rubbed Strip Steak 2 Because I can’t afford to buy good quality steak all that often, I tend to save it for special occasions or when we’re having guests. I realize that I end up spending more when I only buy red meat when guests are coming, but this dish in particular is one that impresses and well, I care about that stuff.

People have superbly high expectations of your cooking skills when you’re a food blogger. So it’s always good to go with this dish which seems difficult but is actually very easy. It’s also great for those of you who are intimidated by meat, just like myself. Or ya know…if you’re looking for a little extra caffeine boost!

Coffee-Rubbed Strip Steak

Rating: 51

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 2

Coffee-Rubbed Strip Steak

Ingredients

  • 2 NY Strip Steaks (around .5lb each)
  • 1 T ground coffee
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix all rub ingredients together.
  2. Cut off fat from steaks, if desired.
  3. Using hands, rub steaks being sure to coat both sides.
  4. Cover and place in fridge for at least 1 hour.
  5. For Medium steak:
  6. Heat grill to high heat (can use a stove top grill pan or outdoor grill)
  7. Grill each side for 3 minutes.
  8. Cook less for more rare or longer for more well-done.
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Coffee-Rubbed Strip Steak // thehealthymaven.com Red meat, yay or nay? Do you have a meal you save to impress guests?