Gluten-free protein pancakes

One of the main goals of my blog is to inspire and support those recovering from eating disorders. Obviously, food is a huge part of recovery, and I know it can be really challenging to give your body the nutrition it needs. I want to give attention to all aspects of recovery-spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical-so I think I’ll start posting some recipes! And who doesn’t love a delicious new recipe?

Image

These pancakes are great. They’re packed with protein, gluten free, and you can top them with anything you’d like-maple syrup, honey, peanut butter, almond butter, blueberries, bananas, etc. Give them a try!

Image

If physical diseases were treated like mental illness…

If physical diseases were treated like mental illness…

Image

Ok, maybe this picture is slightly exaggerated, but its point still holds true: people just don’t take mental illness seriously. Diagnoses of eating disorders, OCD, anxiety disorder, depression, etc. are met with ridiculous accusations of guilt, shame, and comments just like in the picture above. This topic really gets me fired up, and one of the main reasons I am pursuing an education in psychology is so that I can put an end to the misguided, misinformed stigma that engrosses mental illness and its sufferers. I’ve done some research on the biology behind eating disorders, and here is some of what I’ve found.

First of all, anorexia, bulimia, and BED are not new diseases. Many people hold on to the false notion that eating disorders are a result of our current weight-obsessed culture, but the truth is that documentation of eating disorders dates all the way back to the 12th and 13th centuries. Initial medical reports refer to a “wasting disease of nervous origins,” and it is believed that well known historical figures such as Mary Queen of Scots, Catherine of Siena, and famous composer, George Frideric Handel, suffered from various eating disorders. In 1873, the term anorexia nervosa was established, and the disease became recognized as a legitimate medical condition. 

So what’s the point of all that? Well, if anorexia isn’t a new thing, but in fact something that occurred in times long before runway models, magazines, and barbie dolls, how can one simply attribute eating disorders to cultural ideals?

To say that society is responsible for eating disorders is an illogical, uneducated fallacy.

I’m not denying the damaging effects of society’s obsession with thinness. I think it’s an important issue, and one that I am also very passionate about. But how is it that millions of young people grow up exposed to the same media, magazines, and models, yet only 5% are affected by eating disorders? How can two sisters grow up in the same environment, yet only one develops anorexia? To blame society “perpetuates the myth that eating disorders are a choice, that they are not that serious, and that if sufferers weren’t so vain, they wouldn’t suffer. Eating disorders are real illnesses that kill up to one in five chronic sufferers. The sooner we can remove the focus on the media, the sooner we can put our energies towards developing more effective treatments” (Carrie Arnold).

Modern culture isn’t the only eating-disorder-scapegoat. Many (I’d say the majority) of psychiatrists and clinicians claim that eating disorders stem from traumatizing events in a person’s life such as sexual abuse, death, or dysfunctional family life. Dr. Hilde Bruch was a psychologist in the 1930’s who referred to patients as “individuals who misuse the eating function in their efforts to solve or camouflage the problems of living that to them otherwise appear insoluble.” This idea that eating disorders are a coping mechanism to satisfy a need for control has stuck to professional discussions and treatment plans for nearly a century, and it has had a detrimental effect on patients.

Obviously, one cannot ignore a patient’s history of stress and emotions. A great deal of healing has to take place when recovering from an eating disorder, and dealing with past trauma is part of that healing. But it is enormously frustrating to see therapists attempting to “talk” a patient out of their illness or determine the “root” in order to break them of their disease.

In my own recovery, I had a therapist and a nutritionist who spent session after session trying to find the cause of my eating disorder. I was questioned endlessly about possible “roots”; were my parents too controlling? was I afraid of growing up? why did I need to control my weight?

Blah. blah. blah. Do you really think that I starved myself because I was bitter towards my parents? Would I choose to lose my hair and freeze all the time because I was afraid of growing up? Would I risk osteoporosis and heart problems because I wanted to control something?

Do one in five sufferers choose to die rather than face the supposed “cause” of their sickness?

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine sent me a video of Joyce Meyer. This friend is in recovery from anorexia and bulimia that she has struggled with for almost six years, and what Meyer said infuriated both of us: “In some private, affluent schools, this anorexia thing is an absolute epidemic because many of these children come from very affluent families, who instead of taking time to love their children and investing in their lives, they buy them everything they want.”

And up goes my blood pressure.

It’s absurd. I have the most wonderful parents on earth. I’ve never considered them to be controlling. I’ve never been abused in any way. I was never bullied. My mom never dieted or discussed weight or calories in our home. Yet…I was anorexic.

I’m not saying that emotional and environmental factors aren’t important in eating disorder diagnosis and recovery, but I am saying that it’s time to change the way we look at and talk about mental illness. It’s time to stop blaming society, blaming families, and blaming the patients themselves. You wouldn’t tell someone with cancer that they just need to try harder. You wouldn’t tell someone with diabetes that their disease is a result of something their parents did wrong. Why should someone with a legitimate, biological, genetic disorder of the brain be treated any differently?

Stream of Consciousness

Hello and happy Sunday! I hope you all are enjoying your weekend. Here’s another “streams of consciousness” post for you:

1. Notice anything different? If you’re on a computer, you can see that I completely changed my blog! It took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out, and I’m still not sure that I like it. So if you come back in a week and it looks completely different, don’t be surprised.

2. Christmas break comes to a close tomorrow. It’s back to school for me. Yep. Yay.

3. This week I bought plane tickets to visit my best friend!!! I’ll be leaving in a couple weeks to spend a wonderful weekend in Florida with Stephanie! It was supposed to be a surprise, but I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and I accidentally told her. Oops.

Image

4. New Year’s resolutions are in full swing right now. We start selling way fewer muffins at the coffee shop and go through skim milk like there’s no tomorrow. Fitness inspiration is all over the internet, and every. square. inch. of the gym is crowded with people who waited until January 1st to get healthy. Yes, it’s aggravating. But the New Year is a great time to start fresh and set goals. Just make sure that your goals are realistic, and something that you’ll be able to stick to throughout the whole year, not just the first few weeks of January. What are your resolutions for 2014?

5. Speaking of fitness, here’s a great resource for your 2014 goals! Blogilates is a really great way to get in shape, especially if you’re new to the world of working out. Go check out Cassey Ho at blogilates.com and sign up to get her free January workout calendar and weekly emails!

Image

6. I read this article a few days ago and thought is was really good. It’s also relevant to a lot of people’s New Year’s goals.

Image

7. Waiting. I’m really bad at waiting. I’m a big planner, and not knowing where I’ll be or what I’m doing tomorrow is hard for me, much less not knowing anything about a year from now. I wish I knew where I was going to school and where I’ll be living next fall, but I must learn to wait.

college-photo_1389.
Covenant College!!!

8. Well, that’s enough random thought for one day. I am going to go enjoy my school/work-free Sunday!

Great things are coming…

arnold-glasow-quotes_15106-1

This has shown itself true in my life lately. I’ve had so many thoughts and ideas and visions for ministry…and now I’m seeing them actually happen! The Lord is taking No One Like You and doing more than I ever dreamed. I’m learning to thing BIG, to step out in faith, and to trust the God who makes big things happen. Please join with me in prayer for wisdom and direction. Pray that grace and healing would pour out upon the eating disorder community and that we would see chains being broken and hearts being renewed.

Stay tuned, more details are soon to come 🙂 

I’d Rather Be Me

il_fullxfull-267008322

A wise, old wizard once said that the happiest man on earth would be able to look into the Mirror of Erised [a mirror that shows you your dreams and desires], and see himself exactly how he is.

That quote was brought to mind this morning, when a friend of mine asked me the question, “if you could be anyone, who would you be?” I thought for a few minutes, and then answered, “myself.”

My answer surprised me. Just a few months ago I could have thought of a hundred people I would rather be than myself. But now, I can honestly say that I like being me. No, my life isn’t perfect. There are things I wish I could change, as well as things that I am in the process of changing. But I can pretty confidently say that no matter how glamorous things look on the outside, no one else’s life is perfect either. Everyone has their own set of doubts, insecurities, and issues. So why would I waste time longing to simply switch problems with someone else?

God has given me everything that I need to be content. He made me for such a time as this. I can either waste time wishing I was wearing someone else’s shoes, or I can walk as far as possible in the shoes I’ve been blessed with.

Paul wrote this to the Church in Philippi: “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”

Paul’s secret? “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

There it is. There’s the reason why, without even realizing it, my perspective shifted from one of envy and discontentment, to one of gratitude and fulfillment. I stopped looking for solutions in my circumstances and abilities and gifts, and started looking for it in Christ. Christ alone.

And contentment doesn’t equal complacency. In fact, it is quite the opposite! When you are truly content with who you are, you have the self-respect and motivation to reach for greatness in every area of life. Contentment wipes away jealousy, rivalry, insecurity, and hatred; freeing up space in your heart and mind to grow spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

I am who I am. Who He made me to be. To wish I was someone else is to waste the unique time and abilities He has given me. I was made by the same God who created and gave life to all of heaven and earth…I will not disrespect His handiwork.