Eat First

Like most of us, I have a routine when I come home from work. I get the mail, open any packages, eat dinner, and then I work on whatever the day demands, most likely this blog.

But I invariably eat before I’ve started anything else. And the reason is simple: I’m hungry. Or so I thought.

Say what you will about thinking on an empty stomach, but the real reason is because when I’m eating, it’s something I do for myself. No one else around me needs to benefit from my eating — it’s the only time of day that I can take time out for myself. I usually don’t do anything else while I eat, and I focus on the food coming into my body and nourishing me.

And so, whatever your routine may be, make sure you take some time for yourself. Whether you’re eating or watching tv or reading a book. Make sure you make time for yourself. Because no one should be able to take that away from you.

Love,

Bailey

Get What You Need

I forgot my breakfast and my lunch at home today.

I also forgot my wallet so buying food was out of the question.

And instead of heaving a deep sigh and cursing my forgetfulness, I thought, “the universe is abundant. It will share its wealth with me.” And then I sprouted wings and flew directly into the sun.

Of course I didn’t do that! What, am I some sort of deity who is immune to self-blame? I was livid with myself. A full day of work ahead of me and I couldn’t even remember to pack a few crackers? What’s wrong with me?

But I was really blessed by the universe. Maybe it’s all the millennials that work with me, but there’s always free food at my office. And I was provided with enough sustenance to make it through the day just on free food alone.

And I can’t speak for you, but sometimes you get what you want. And other, more rarer times, you get what you need. And I know, I know, it’s corny and on such a small scale that it’s almost silly. But I got what I needed on a day that nothing seemed to be going right. And I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

What are you grateful for today?

Chew 

Have you ever had this experience? 

You’re sitting at your desk at the office at lunchtime. You aren’t eating, but your coworker is. You can’t see what he’s/she’s devouring, but it sounds like the most delicious thing in the world because they’re chewing it like it’s their last meal. You can almost hear every tooth grind, every tongue twist. A crunch and then they smack their lips and crunch, crunch, crunch. Slurp. Gulp. LOUD CHEWING. 

Okay, you get it. Now imagine your reaction. What are you feeling? Intense rage? Or just seething annoyance? Or like you’re going to murder that person’s whole family if they don’t put that apple down? 
Well, I know how you feel. I’ve experienced loud chewing before. And it’s annoying, definitely. (I’m not sure how you softly chew, but I guess you can work on it.) 

But have you ever thought about how that person feels? They’re just enjoying their lunch, and you’re not only judging them, you’re basically plotting their death. For eating their lunch. 

Maybe it’s time to look at yourself and ask why you’re so bitter. No, seriously. Why are you letting someone, who is enjoying whatever they’re doing, get in your way? Why is it their problem, and not yours? Why are you letting someone else’s life affect you at all?

Look, I don’t know you. You’re probably a reasonable person. But you need to ask yourself if it’s really worth getting fired up over. As long as it’s not hurting you physically, what’s the problem? 

You need to ask yourself: Are they being inconsiderate of others, or are you being overly sensitive? Go on. Chew on that for awhile. 

What You Know and What You Won’t Admit

You know yourself, right? You know who you are?

I mean, if I asked you what your favorite color is, you would tell me. If I asked you where you’ve been dying to travel, you would tell me. If I asked you what food you could eat for the rest of your life, you would tell me. If I asked you what your guilty pleasure is, you would probably evade the question, and then tell me.

So, why do I see so many people leaving on month long trips to “find” themselves? Why do I see people sweating themselves to death in a hot yoga class trying to “center” themselves? Why do I see so many people asking themselves what their purpose is on earth…on Facebook?

You see, I have a theory. I think that we all know what and who we are. Maybe we haven’t reached our full potential, and maybe we’ll change and mature in a few years. But we all have this caramel, melty core inside that stays the same. And it holds our favorite things, like food and colors, but it also holds all the memories that have made us who we are.

And so, when we’re stuck, when we find ourselves in moments where we’re not sure how to make a decision, or we aren’t sure why we’re alive, we need to know the difference between two things: what we know and what we won’t admit.

Now, what we know is that little caramel, melty core. It melts and moves but it doesn’t change.

And what we won’t admit? Somewhere inside us, deep within the caramel core, is what we need to discover/admit, even though it’s been with us all along. We just have trouble seeing it (because it’s under the caramel). Let’s call it a big walnut, right in the center of the caramel. (Please feel free to substitute any nut you like. Or if you have a nut allergy, choose a different metaphor.)

Here’s an example: let’s say we want to make a big decision. So we complete a bike ride across the Midwest, and we expect there to be a potato chip that looks like Jesus that will give us a sign at the end. And everything will be clear.

But that’s not how it works. Because when you see that potato chip, it just confirms something inside of you that you already knew. Oh, thank you, Jesus. I KNEW I should be a potato farmer! You realize that what you’re looking for is something that you didn’t or couldn’t admit in the first place. You didn’t set out on that trip not knowing what to do. You set out not knowing what to choose.

In reality, we always have the equipment and knowledge to make our lives what we want it to be. We’re just afraid to admit things, sometimes. We’re afraid that we’re making the wrong decision. But my point is that you can’t make a wrong decision because your nutty and caramel center is always there to guide you. You just have to marry those flavors together to get what you want instead of isolating what you know and what you want to “find out” (which is really just what you won’t admit to yourself).

So, trust yourself and ask what you know and what you can’t admit when you’re trying to make a decision. Swallow your pride, and be one with your sweet, hard core.

Taste Life

Author’s Note: Still without my computer, but I am hoping to chug along and pretend everything is normal! Sounds like your life too? Then welcome!

Have you ever been so thirsty that you don’t even care what you’re drinking? Like, this prune juice is seriously slaking my thirst. At that moment, at that level of thirst, the liquid does not even have a taste. You only experience it as a sensation, the chill, the slipperiness down your throat, the shock as the cold finds its way into your warm stomach. And so you drink more because if you could taste it, you might balk at downing it so quickly.

It’s the same with a meal. Have you ever been so excited to go out to your favorite restaurant that when you order your favorite dish you end up inhaling it? And don’t get me started about fitting in food breaks so that you can get back to the 5 bajillion other things you have to do before you can sleep soundly at night, shoveling in crackers and shakes to keep your energy level high but chewing at a minimum.

If this sounds familiar, I’d like to remind you to stay present and to make sure you are tasting your life, every crumb. You need to promise yourself that you will stop woofing down the minutes at work just so that you can get to Friday night. Quit racing home only to sit on the couch. Say no to looking forward to the next year when you haven’t even started this one yet. You’re cheating yourself by not appreciating what you have on your plate right now.

So, slurp, chug, gulp, nibble, suckle, sip, lick, chomp, inhale, and eat your life. But taste every single morsel and minute. Be present and be at peace. Because your next meal is not guaranteed.

4 Things I’ve Learned from Food Allergies

First of all, how do you like the new digs??? My amazing friend, Emy Christodoulou designed it, and I have to say, I’m incredibly pleased. Thank you, Emy!!! Looks like a legit blog, doesn’t it???

Speaking of noticing things, I’m noticing some great changes in my body. The last time you heard from me, at least from an allergy standpoint, I was talking about my lactose intolerance. However, after two trips to the doctor’s and two trips to my local pharmacist, we discovered that I possibly have yet another food allergy. We’re not sure what I am actually allergic to yet. It’s sort of like expecting an incredibly painful food baby. We hope it’s soy, (instead of a boy) but as long as I am healthy, it doesn’t matter. Right now, I’m eliminating any irritating possibilities with a food allergy diet. It basically means nothing but rice, protein, fruits, and vegetables. In a few weeks, I’ll reintroduce potentially inflaming foods until I figure out who the winner is.

In the meantime, I’m really enjoying the effects of this diet, and I’m learning things about my body that I never knew before. Join me as we count them down, and who knows? Maybe you’ll discover something about yourself, too.

4. You Don’t Need Caffeine

Okay, so caffeine was an absolute staple for me in college. I had to have it, and I had to have it several times a day. In tea, in soda, in iced tea, in Red Bull, do you have an IV of that? But on this diet, I’ve had to say goodbye to all of that. Yup. No straight shot to the heart when I wake up and none when I’m really feeling the effects in the middle of the work day. But do you know what is weird? I haven’t felt like I have needed it. Sure, I get sleepy. But I feel more alert overall. I feel good. So, I’m starting to think that maybe caffeine is a little overrated. (I know that’s a hard truth to swallow.)

3. Healthy Foods Can Taste Good

I know, I didn’t believe it, either. Until I had some amazing gluten-free waffles. Then I had some great oatmeal with lactose-free milk. Did you notice that everything I’m eating has the word “free” after it? Because that is how I feel: free. I’m not sure if I have new adult taste buds, but I am glad to have this new lease on life. When you eat right, you feel right.

2. You Can Feel Emotionally Better

Although I post a lot about positive messages that I encounter on this blog, I’m a little bit of a downer in real life. I’m tired most of the time, and I have trouble seeing the brighter side of things. But somehow, yes, a change in my diet has also helped me with this. As I’ve said, I feel more alert, but I am also feeling more whole. Sure, I get stressed and frustrated. But I feel less weighed down, which is a great thing when you are trying to be positive.

1. You Have More Will-Power Than You Realize

Have you ever been told that you need to cut things out of your diet? Do you remember how you didn’t do that at all? Well, you will not believe how fast you stop eating something when you realize how horrible it makes you feel. Take my obsession with cheese. I would have a pet cow if I could, if that would mean I could have fresh cheese all the time. But I had to give that all up. And I feel like I am not even missing anything. (Well, most of the time.)

So, what can you cut out to feel better about yourself? I won’t say it is easy, but I will say it is worth it. Of course, I’ll eat all of my favorite food once these few weeks are up. But I might be a little bit more mindful of what goes into this mouth of mine.