And another summer comes to a close…

Oh, hey there!

I hope everyone had a fabulous labor day weekend whether you decided to take it easy or party like a rock star. My weekend was a combo of R&R and a little partayyyin’. I had a cookout at my place yesterday, so Sunday was mostly spent scrubbing the apartment (which is covered in Toby’s hair no matter what I do!) and picking up ingredients for the cookout! I did get to enjoy a scrumptious brunch with some good friends in the morning, and I  squeezed some yoga in there as well which I was quite happy about. I didn’t have high expectation for accomplishing a “workout” this weekend!

So, what I want to discuss next is completely unrelated to Labor Day Weekend, cold brewskies, or barbecues. It is in fact the total opposite. I like to think I am not an opinionated person, but rather I have core values that I try to stay true to. I strive to be open to all opinions, and I do try to ascertain some learning from every individual’s thought process. With that said, I do have one particular area in which I feel as though I am and have been particularly opinionated about for quite some time. This particular conviction of mine is regarding one’s choice to go vegan or vegetarian when recovering from any form of disordered eating or when trying to lose weight.

Now, hold your horses and don’t get all in a huff thinking I am bashing veggie peeps. I love veggies to pieces, and I know PLENTY of vegetarians and some vegans that practice their form of eating for reasons that hold true to THEIR core values. I have dabbled myself in vegetarianism and I will admit that I don’t revolve every meal around meat the way I used to.  My choice to reduce my meat intake has nothing to do with weight loss, but rather it is rooted in environmental and personal health concerns. Also, learning to compose a few meals a week using primarily veggies, grains, and alternative protein sources has been fun!

The reason I bring this topic up is because I have noticed that many people recovering from disordered eating or even those struggling to lose a couple lbs decide to embrace a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. Listen, there are major pros (and cons!) to every diet, but I have always thought that many people use these diets as ways to restrict certain food groups and promote a more socially acceptable form of disordered eating. I have read a handful of books  and I have also watched a few films on the treatment of animals and the environmental damage that factory farming can cause. To be honest, for a while I had a hard time looking at the poor piece of grilled chicken chillin’ on my plate.  With that said,  I have to admit (not proudly) when I dabbled in vegetarianism and veganism it had a lot less to do with the animals than it did with the possibility that one of these diets might shrink the size of my thighs. I had read articles about vegetarianism and veganism helping people lose weight. I mean, it worked for Bill Clinton! Why couldn’t it work for me?

I’ll tell you why. First off, I am not trying to lose weight at this point in my life. On the contrary, I’m instead trying to embrace the bod I got. Second, I personally cannot label any food as “good” or “bad” or “off-limits”. If  I do this, I end up caving and feasting on six gazillion chicken legs and hamburgers. I do believe it is great to go organic when you can, and I also try to buy organic poultry and sustainable seafood.

The reason i write this little spiel though is to tell you that my opinion on  this whole subjected has shifted slightly. I was reading another food (vegan) blog called Choosing Raw. The author admits to recovering from disordered eating, she shares her story, and she has created a whole section on her blog titled Green Recovery. She has collected stories from other individuals who have found that adopting a plant-based diet has enabled them to “recover” from their disordered eating habits. Some of the stories in the Green Recovery section spotlight people who are not strict vegans or vegetarians, but their thought process for embracing a primarily plant-based diet is very interesting to me. These entries countered my original thought process and I do agree that for some, adopting a vegetarian/vegan diet can in fact help them reframe their perhaps skewed view of food and how it affects their body and soul. To each his own, right?  As I stated in the first paragraph, I am open to reformulating my “opinions” if something makes sense to me and some of these articles certainly did. If you are interested in reading  any Green Recovery stories, click here.

Ok, enough of that.

Monday I hosted a cookout at my apartment and I had a fantastic day. I was lucky to be surrounded by so many great friends who generously brought food and fun to the event! Here are some pics..

I made the Panzanella salad created by my momma. You can search for the recipe on the bloggy as I posted it in a previous entry. YUM if I do say so myself.

Dorky preppsters. We didn’t realize we were color coordinated until we took this pic!

Ok, back to the food. My friend Le-La made this potato salad and it was out of this world. She doesn’t use recipes (ya,one of those creative types!) and just whipped this up. All I know is it had truffle oil and chorizo in it (two things I love!) , and I scraped every last bit out of the serving bowl.  De-lic-ious (Julia Child voice!).

Spinach Artichoke Dip (with a healthy twist!)  made by my friend Michelle. I will definitely be making this! There is cottage cheese substituted for the heavier dairy products typically in this crowd pleasing dish. The substitution cut down some of the fat and cals but none of the taste! Genius. Here is the recipe if you would like to take a peak! Secretly Healthy Spinach Dip

The meats were delicious! They were grilled to perfection by my fantastic friend Logo :)

Goodies from NYC brought by another lovely guest! Thanks, Carly!

Not the best pic ,but boy were they tasty! I made these little bites of heaven. Check out the recipe: Oreo cheesecake Cupcakes (adapted from Cate’s World Kitchen)

Better pic! This is what they look like when you turn them over!

 Below: Key Lime Cupcakes made by Le-La!

Some of the crew!

One of these things is not like the others… and he want’s a hot dog bad!

Meet Smooch. He is 125 lbs of pure love.

There you have it! Time to take out the contacts and crawl into bed! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

xo

Swin

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