Happy Friday everyone! Friday is hands-down my favorite day of the week because it means I have an entire weekend stretching out ahead of me with SO many possibilities. It typically NEVER ends up quite that perfect, even when I try, but it’s the unknown of what’s ahead and no work that gets me excited. Well excited except about cooking…
Lately I’ve been dreading cooking, which is typically one of my favorite activities, but lately its been like a chore for me, so I’ve been taking the path of least resistance with my recipes. This week I’m going to share a recipe for slow-cooker lasagna that is gluten free, dairy free, and fills every nook and cranny of personal need for comfort food when I’m dealing with keeping ED quiet. It takes less than 15 minutes to throw together, and greets you as you walk in the door after work with smells of warmth and tastiness! I also want to share part of my journey on this post, so if you’re only here for the recipe…start scrolling. If you’re here to join me on my journey then read on!
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My typical schedule with my recovery is to meet every other week with my dietitian and every week with my therapist (shout out to the BEST team on the planet helping me heal!!). I also go to the chiropractor twice a month, so sometimes my schedule is a little crazy to say the least. Since I meet with my therapist every week, it gives me ample opportunity to think through and work-out stumbling blocks in my journey and then talk about them. This week was a game-changer for me! I’m super excited to say that I’m in the next phase of my journey. What does this mean? It means I’ve graduated from being a puppet who’s strings were being controlled by ED and am now just ME! This is a moment I never thought I’d have. So if you’re reading this and not this far, have faith…it IS possible!!
Anyway, as I sat on that couch, she told me that this next phase is going to be less about hearing my voice over ED and more about working on steps I still feel we need to address to progress my recovery. I had already put a lot of thought into this, so I knew going in what I wanted to start working on without even knowing I had ‘graduated’ to the next part of the journey.
As far back as I can remember I have ALWAYS wanted to be skinny. Ironically this started even when I was in the 5th percentile of weight as a child. While kid-Amber was seeing something distorted in the mirror, my pediatrician had my mom putting little dishes of cereal and snacks around the house to help me gain weight. Its pretty messed-up that I saw myself that way even as a child, but now as an adult I realize how truly pervasive ED was in my life. As soon as I was old enough, I started wearing makeup to attempt to hide behind what I thought made me prettier. It was an easy step for me because my mother was a makeup artist a good portion of my life. I followed directly in her footsteps with carefully plucking my eyebrows, applying blush and eye shadow, and always, always using foundation! For years, through teenage acne, adult acne, multiple events that gave ED more and more of a voice, I would dutifully apply that makeup and look in the mirror and tell myself, “okay we’re doing diet ‘xyz’ this week and it’s going to work this time”. I had allowed myself to be brainwashed by ED to think that I needed to be skinnier, and that if I learned enough about makeup I would feel differently about me. (Total disclaimer here: there is NOTHING wrong with wearing makeup and I still often do, but for most of my life I used it as a blankie to make me feel safer so don’t take me wrong-no glam-shaming here!) It was a long-running joke what diet I would be on any given week. Now, looking back it simply makes me realize how desperately I was searching for an answer I wouldn’t find until I learned to let go and get better (see that post here).
When I started this recovery journey I thought that once ED’s voice was no longer near-constant that I would somehow magically have overcome this ingrained desire to lose weight and be thinner. That somehow, when I look in the mirror I would see me as perfect however I am, but the truth about being recovered (which I’m not yet) is that no human ever looks in the mirror and thinks they’re perfect. They simply don’t. Its not about seeing myself as flawless, but rather accepting that the imperfections don’t matter. So as I sat on that couch this Wednesday we talked about me wanting to be able to view myself without the constant desire to be thinner. My therapist asked me what it was about losing weight that I felt would give me something I don’t have. I, of course, had a whole arsenal of rationalizations, but I also owned that those reasons were mostly my inability to give up a goal I’d held most of my life! It was an excuse to be unfair to myself.
At the end of the day I want to be thin, and while its okay to want to be healthy or even to want to be at a healthy weight, for someone with ED clawing desperately to regain his place as my most hateful adviser, I truly need to learn how to look past that deep desire to be thinner. Right now I can’t even desire to be a healthy weight without giving ED a handhold he doesn’t deserve. I need to learn how to have thoughts conducive to being whole rather than putting so much value on a size. That is a tall order!
That is the goal with this next phase. To own myself and remove that default setting of feeling I need to be thinner. When I tackle that, and I will tackle that, it will be easier to not feel guilt with certain foods, to stop calling things junk food or unhealthy, and simply listen to my body tell me what it needs and when. There is one other thing, that combined with my therapy, has truly changed my ability to feel comfortable more and more as me. I haven’t ever mentioned it in this blog because, while its a huge part of my life these days, I never wanted anyone to think I was simply plugging something I sell, but then I realized that its okay to share something that has given me back a piece of happiness. So, as I mentioned, for decades I couldn’t exist without my makeup. I even have my license as a cosmetologist and did hair and makeup for photoshoots for a time. But no matter how many skills I gained, no matter how many tricks of the trade I applied to myself, I just never felt enough. I understand this was ED I was hearing, but I wanted so badly to feel confident in my skin that I have tried every.single.trend. They work to mask whatever imperfection haunted me, but then I still wasn’t me. So how did I get to this place I am now with being comfortable with literally no makeup and rocking this journey? Well it started with an acquaintance who was the wife of a former mentor at a CPA firm I worked at. She was this quiet person who had reached-out to me when she started selling a skincare called Rodan + Fields. Now, those that know me know I am a no bull-shitter kind of person, and I’m skeptical as hell, so I was having NONE of it when she asked me to buy her skincare. She touched back with me a few times over the next year or so, with me always politely refusing and at one point even considering unfriending her! About a year and a half into her business I happened to see a pic she had posted of her hiking with her two young boys and her husband. She looked absolutely stunning and I had to know what makeup she had on. Turns out she was 100% barefaced; no makeup, no mascara. My mind was simply blown, and I finally was willing to talk about the skincare. Fast forward to now, my using the products for 4 months, and also deciding to have my own business partnership with the brand, and I have never felt better about my face. Okay, so this REALLY isn’t a plug for R+F, I promise. The reason I am telling you all of this is because finding something that gave me confidence in something I had always felt so insecure about helped me be able to realize that I was SO MUCH MORE than ED and what he told me I was!
No foundation, only eye shadow & mascara!
So most of you might be reading this and thinking I’m totally loony toons right now! That’s okay, I’m not. But taking ownership of a business, and believing in myself to be able to make it successful, and seeing that it could allow me to roll out of bed 5 minutes before needing to leave and look like I do in this picture…well for me that was like giving me the Eiffel tower because it was just as big and amazing! By the way, that pic is unfiltered, and I’m only wearing a little mascara and eye shadow. (Yep the skincare is THAT good…and that is a plug 😉)
I want to tell others about it because it has helped change my life for all the best reasons. And, yeah, it has been a support system for me when I was going through some really serious valleys in therapy and given me some extra spending money along the way.
Guys, find your woobie (as my husband calls it), pop that pacifier out of your mouth, put the blankie away, and find YOUR ‘thing’ that will help you get through it! I am fortunate that I have an incredible family and friend support system, but even with them, I really needed something that was MINE, that I could own and grow to help remind me that ED isn’t me and I’m not ED. So now, I don’t feel like smeagol, I feel like Beyonce!
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Slow-Cooker Lasagna

Finished Lasagna!

  Ingredients:

 Gluten Free Lasagna

14 oz extra firm Tofu, drained and pressed of excess liquid

Dried Italian Seasonings, 1 Tbsp.

Mushrooms, 8 oz diced or sliced

Green Bell Pepper, diced

Red Bell pepper, diced

Sweet Onion, diced

Daiya (or other DF brand) Mozzarella shreds, about 1 package

Meatless crumbles, 1 pkg.

Garlic Powder, 1 1/2 tsp

Onion Powder, 1 1/2 tsp

Jar of Pasta Sauce of choice, I used the Whole Foods brand this time

Veggie Stock, approx. 4 Cups

Salt & Pepper to taste

*NOTE: I used Penne because it was what I had on-hand, but GF lasagna noodles would be better if you have them…pasta is pasta after all!*

Directions:

Tofu Ricotta
  1. 1. To make the Tofu “ricotta”, add prepared tofu to a large bowl and using a fork, mash into a cheese-like consistency. Add in the Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, and 1/2 Tbsp of the Italian seasonings and combine. Set aside.
2. In another large bowl, combine the remaining Italian Seasoning, mushrooms, both peppers, onion, meatless crumbles, and the pasta sauce and gently fold to combine. Set aside.
Meat & Veggie mixture
3. To assemble lasagna in slow-cooker (I use the OnePot), first spread a small amount of the meat and veggie mixture in the bottom, then layer with pasta then part of the tofu ricotta, and finally some of the Mozzarella.

4. Repeat the layers until you use all the remaining meat and ‘ricotta’. Save back just a sprinkle of the mozzarella for the top. 5. Carefully pour in the carton of Veggie Stock (you may need a little less with lasagna noodles), then sprinkle last bit of cheese and little dash of Italian seasonings on the top.
6. Cover with the glass slow-cooker lid and set for approximately 10-12 hours. My OnePot automatically handles the temp based on how long of a time I set it for. If you’re using a CrockPot, you will want to most likely use the LOW setting for this long of a duration.
7. Serve with some GF garlic bread or a side salad for a complete meal full of veggies and comfort!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Amber

For those of you who ARE interested in hearing more about Rodan + Fields skincare and how I have built a support system with it as well as a business, feel free to contact me at one of the following:
email- ambergirl1229@gmail.com
website to purchase – www.amber81.myrandf.com