Hello, My Name Is Dannielle, And I Am A Fried Ice Cream Addict.

 I'm not gonna say the word "cooking."
Instead just look at this picture.
Every morning for an hour I sit in a donut shop and write my blog, and I watch people line up around the block to get donuts and muffins and bagels with their coffee.
When people eat donuts and muffins and bagels for breakfast and pizza for lunch and burgers and french fries for dinner, basically they just want more.
I have been learning, or should I say re-learning, how to eat like a normal person.
Because over New Year's vacation I really got addicted to bad food.
And I do mean "bad."
This is me in December 2015. 
Doesn't that picture just say it all?
Yes, I did let go. And it was good.
Really good.

When I came back, of course - nothing fit.
A fact I tried to deny until I had to go to the doctor and they forced me on the scale. Which left me wailing -
After lots of difficult thinking, I realized that "a diet" was never going to work. Even though objectively I was fat.
It's basic biology and marketing as well: The more you tell me I can't have something, the more I am going to want it.
So I tried a different approach. These are the basic elements:
  • Tell yourself it's about health, not weight.
  • Do one thing a week that's better than what you did before.
  • Try not to use your car so much.
  • Use the principle of ADDING instead of SUBTRACTING, as in you're adding healthy foods to your diet instead of taking all the good ones away.
  • SUBSTITUTE creamy healthy things (like squash) for creamy unhealthy things (like ice cream).
  • Let yourself eat healthy fats. This means olive oil and avocados. I could live forever on avocados.
  • Make the foods you like. It's not hard.
  • Understand that processed food is complete poison and rots your body from the inside out.
  • Throw the goddamn scale out the window and get new clothes.
  • Don't look at what other people look like.
  • Document your progress each week.
Here's one of the first things I decided to do: Drink green tea every day.
It has so many health benefits I can live with the fact that it tastes awful. (I just hold my nose and bottoms up.)
Here's an artistic view of lettuce, which I learned to love chopping. It's an act of caring to come home and find it in the fridge, ready for salad dressing.
Here is an admittedly disgusting looking picture of the salad dressing I make at home now. Someone told me how to do it and I improvised.
True, it's very oily - grilled artichokes in oil plus sundried tomatoes in oil plus olive oil plus mayonnaise plus dijon mustard plus red wine vinegar.
But I freaking love it and I put it on everything.
Here's something I learned about eating better. 
For one thing, it's a hell of a lot of fun to make things that taste good and are good for you.
For another, when you make mostly vegetables with some form of oil or cheese, the cost of your diet goes way down.
This is the salad dressing above plus a can of chickpeas plus an avocado, which I had last night for dinner. Total cost: $2.50, probably.
After nine weeks of this journey it's starting to feel natural to me to do the type of thing I resisted my entire life - to care for myself through food.
I think there have been so many ideologies and fears getting in my way, that I truly couldn't see the benefit. 
  • Feminism said, if you waste your time cooking, you'll never be a CEO.
  • Psychology said, if you cook for yourself then mom is never going to cook for you again.
  • Fast food, restaurants and grocery stores said, you'll never make food as good as we can manufacture.
  • Family culture said, the food your grandmothers made is always going to be unparalleled.
  • Religion said, everything you make has to be a kugel.
  • Popular media said, you aren't good enough unless you're Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, and Guy Fieri...with the finesse of Julia Child.
But like everything else "they" tell you - guess what? It all turned out to be bogus.
In eating and in life, it's always better to ignore the noise.
All opinions my own. Photos/video by me, except: Resentful mom image by Anne Taintor - check out all her fun stuff here. Donut display photo by Roman lakoubtchik via Flickr (Creative Commons). Puppy photo by Travis Johnson (Creative Commons).