Trigger Warning: This post contains specific calorie numbers, so if that information is unhealthy for your recovery journey, please skip this post. However, I do believe if you stick around, the conclusions with be very empowering.
What I Eat in a Day! (To watch this as a video, click below!)
Hey friends! As you know, I just am getting back from an amazing respite in Ohio with my family and my special gentleman, Steven!
And when my family is together, like all social gatherings, food is always a central, and important part! Whether it’s going out to dinner, serving a cheese plate and finger food for a cocktail hour, or simply everyone just grabbing food out of the fridge for a patch-together lunch, food is a central part of life! In addition to fueling our bodies (and being delicious), food is also social – it’s bonding, it’s intimate, it’s FUN, and it’s a connection to culture and home.
And on Saturday afternoon over lunch, as my family was all together, laughing over leftover pizza and my mom’s famous chili, my mother looked over to me and said, “Care, I think it’s just amazing how you’ve learned how to take care of yourself and give your body what it needs to be healthy.”
You see, my past battle with anorexia aside, food has been my saving grace in my Ulcerative Colitis. After battling a severe UC flare in 2010, resulting in me on bed rest for 11 months, where none of the medications were working and I was faced with two choices: A) Surgery to remove a portion of my intestines, resulting in a J-Bag for the rest of my life. Or, B) going on a biologic megadrug, much like chemo, that turns off your immune system, which I would have to get administered intravenously every few weeks for the rest of my life.
So…safe to say, the options were pretty bleak.
Well, back at the onset of this flare, my naturopath — shoutout Dr. Bill! — suggested that I try this radical therapeutic diet, “The Specific Carbohydrate Diet,” which is for people with Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease and, surprisingly, autism.
But I had been resistant to trying because, as a young woman in recovery from severe anorexia, I did NOT want to introduce a RESTRICTIVE diet into my life. I had made a promise to myself that I would never restrict again. There was no way in H-E-double hockey sticks I would be doing that again.
But after 10 months of agonizing pain and bedrest, out of options and out of hope, I asked my gastroenterologist, “Before I have to choose option A or option B, can you give me just a couple weeks to try this radical therapeutic diet.“ He reluctantly agreed.
And friends, by the grace of God, it worked, and within about 10 days, my symptoms were nearly gone, and my body was beginning to heal and rebuild after nearly a year of distress. And I have been in remission for nearly 12 years now – symptom and medication free. I had been taking 12 pills a day of asacol — and now, I am completely off all meds! It is a God-send!
But the diet…is tough. It all has to do with the molecular structure of food, but as the name suggests, it only permits specific carbohydrates, namely: simple carbohydrates. So in other words, no grain, dairy, gluten, soy, sugar, potatoes, corn and most legumes.
I know, right? But, as you see from my Wednesday recipe posts, and my trove of over 200 recipes on my recipe index page, I have certainly learned how to make the foods I CAN eat, not only delicious, but new, exciting, and beautiful!
Now — one final note before we get to the “meat” — no pun intended — of this post…I want to just share something, that — I was actually super surprised to learn.
I don’t count my calories. Ever. After nearly succumbing to anorexia, one of my recovery promises to myself is that I would never count calories again. Nor do I weigh myself. Heck, I don’t even own a scale, OR a full-length mirror! (Cover photo is at Steven’s place.)
However, for the purposes of this post, I calculated the calories of what I eat in day, as I knew many would be asking, along with the recipes — which I will be linking. And friends, when I tell you I nearly fell off my chair when I saw the number.
You see, when you’re in an eating disorder, numbers are everything. You know the caloric value of absolutely everything, down to a single grape. And girls have their “safe” number that they feel “comfortable” with — aka — the number they know will keep them from gaining weight.
And there was just this, truly paralyzing fear of eating a “healthy” amount of calories in a day. We’re talking — becoming absolutely unhinged. The thought of eating 2000 calories a day…I would have rather had Captain Hook tell me to walk the plank….seriously. I thought it would instantly make me a whale. A slob. It was so gross, it made my skin crawl.
Friends. I can sit here today, and say that on a normal day, I eat 2,591 calories.
Two thousand, five hundred, ninety one calories.
And the reason I chose to share that — because I went back and forth about sharing “numbers” on this post, because they are so hyper-triggering to ED-warriors, is to show that YOU CAN EAT A LOT OF FOOD AND STILL BE A HEALTHY, SLIM PERSON.
The body is overwhelmingly efficient at processing calories. And when you’re not starving it — aka, it’s not in starvation mode and holding onto every calorie you give it — it burns like a wood-fire oven!
I would like to note that I do run for a hour 5 days a week, which makes my caloric needs particularly higher.
2,591…that’s nearly 2,600 calories.
And the breakdown of my calories is even more fascinating…and also the complete nightmare of my former “ED” self — 45% of those calories ARE FROM FAT!!
And you know what? I love it.
Because those calories have given me my period back — I menstruate regularly. I love my body — I have a womanly shape with curves. I fill out my jeans. I’m not cold all the time. I have a social life, I have a boyfriend, I have fun creating meals for me and Steven, I enjoy going out to brunch with friends. BEING HEALTHY HAS GIVEN ME THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LIFE.
Let me repeat: LIFE WITHOUT ED IS BEAUTIFUL.
So – This post went in a totally different direction to where I initially thought it would, given the new information about my calories, but I thought that was just really important to share. Because honestly, if I knew “back then”…in my eating disorder…that someone could EAT the amount of food I do, and LOOK the way I look (aka…a slim, healthy young woman)…I think I would have made a huge difference.
If I would have known I didn’t have to starve myself on egg whites, apple skins and canned tuna to be slim, and that the body is capable of processing a robust and abundant diet…I can only imagine the help that would have been to know, and the impact that would have made on my willingness to truly adopt recovery.
So — ok, NOW…onto WHAT I EAT IN A DAY! ((And I have made a video diary of this, which is available on my Instagram (@beauty.beyond.bones) and Tik Tok! (@beauty.beyond.bones)))
I would say that this is my favorite meal of the day, but then I love EVERY meal. I think I just look forward to this one every day when I wake up.
But I always have a package of pumpkin seeds every morning before I go running. These Harvest Roast pumpkin seeds are OUT OF THIS WORLD delicious (not sponsored) — Sea Salt is my favorite, but the chili lime and the roasted garlic flavors are also delicious too! (Get them here).
After my run, I am THIRSTY and ready for breakfast! So I have 2 scrambled eggs with about 1 cup of curly kale — yes, WHOLE EGGS scrambled in a slug of olive oil! — and on the side, I cut up a large carrot and half an avocado (my favorite food in the world).
This breakfast totals in at 692 calories. And I’m attaching the macros below.
That will keep me full for quite some time. (You will notice, I don’t snack. That goes back to my brief battle with binge eating in my early days of recovery.) So I will shower, and work!
Around lunch time — 12-1ish, it’s time for….
Lunch! Another favorite! My Cajun Shrimp and Avocado Salad! (Recipe linked Here!)
This salad….I’m telling you I DREAM about this salad. I’m not kidding I freaking LOVE IT so much. If you look up the definition for a “not-whimpy-salad” in the dictionary, there will be a photo of this next to it.
It’s got MASSAGED kale…with olive oil…which is important, because by massaging it, it breaks down the fibers and makes it less bitter. It’s got a boatload of cajun shrimp, it’s got half an avocado, carrots, tomatoes, red pepper. And then it’s got a homemade champagne vinaigrette dressing. My mouth is literally watering typing this!
And it’s HUGE! I eat it in a serving bowl, as you can see.
The total calories for this salad are: 978 calories, with 62 grams of fat and 51 grams of protein!
I’m tellin’ ya — if you think you don’t like salad, just give this bad boy a shot. It’ll have you singing a different tune!
Safe to say, this keeps me full for a long time. So I go back to work, and around 7:30 at night, I make….
Dinner varies. Sometimes it’s fish and vegetables. Sometimes is cauliflower rice with salmon. Sometimes it’s scallops and zucchini pasta.
But sometimes….like tonight…it was BANANA ICE CREAM. (recipe here)
And friends, THIS is the stuff of dreams too! Frozen bananas, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple and mango all blended together with almond milk, cinnamon and stevia…to form this GORGEOUS SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM. But then…the cut-de-gras is the ALMOND BUTTER.
For the last 1/2 of the ice cream, I pile on about 1/4 cup of almond butter.
Yes, you read that correctly. One fourth a cup. I like to think this is what keeps my rump round. hahhaha Sorry guys!
And yes — the ice cream is as delicious as it looks.
The total calories for this meal are 921 calories, with 33 grams of fat and 23 grams of protein.
After that, I am so full and happy. I put on my “comfy pants” and get ready for bed/watch Netflix! (I mean, who am I kidding…working from home, I’m in comfy pants all day!)
Anywho….that’s my “What I Eat in a Day!” I saw a “WIEIAD” video on YouTube last week, and thought it would be fun to join the trend, and hey — I learned something really fascinating in the process!
And the totals? Drumroll please….
Those numbers are life. Those numbers are joy. Those numbers are freedom.
So, thanks for walking through my day with me. It is my prayer that, by seeing the amount of food I process in a day, it will give my ED-warriors peace of mind to know that, their body’s “GOT THIS!” Food is fuel, and nothing to be afraid of!
And it is ALSO my prayer, that if any of my readers are suffering with IBD issues, that they see that a “culinarily full” life is possible on this therapeutic diet, despite its strict guidelines. (And no, I haven’t cheated once). If you’d like more information on the Specific Carb Diet, you can get the book, “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” — which outlines the diet in-depth by clicking here.
God bless, and happy eating!
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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