Savory butternut squash pasta

You know what I’ve been digging lately? Pasta. Growing up, we never really ate pasta. And then in my eating disorder days, pasta had too many carbs for my brain to feel safe with, so I rarely ever ate it. If I did, it had to have a ton of veggies in it so that I felt full with as few pasta noodles at possible (I originally put “pasta” here, haha). So really it was veggies with some noodles. I now realize how sad that is, because pasta is delish. As I found more freedom with food, we still never ate pasta because it wasn’t something I was accustomed to eating. But THEN! THEN we went to Italy and I had the most delicious pasta dishes ever. 😍I didn’t think I liked Italian food, but boy was I wrong! Real Italian food is the best thing ever. We could learn a thing or two from those genius Italians. :-)

 
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So now, as I’m meal planning each week, we pretty much have some sort of pasta dish every week. It’s easy, versatile, and delicious. We’ve been experimenting with different types of sauces and meats, shapes of pasta, and pasta ingredients. Sometimes we have whole wheat pasta, other times white pasta from Italy, and others, Banza pasta. Banza pasta is made from chickpeas, so it’s naturally gluten free. I’ve tried a few gluten free pastas in my days, and they are NOT all created equal. 😳Although Banza’s pasta has a different texture than regular flour pasta, Isaac and I really like it! It’s nice and hearty and holds up well, unlike other mushy GF pastas. I also like that it adds variety to my food intake. We don’t eat a ton of beans, so this easily adds another food group into our weekly intake. And because it’s made with chickpeas, I don’t have to plan a meat in order for it to have protein. Because if you follow me, you know I’m all about having protein, carbs, fat, and fiber at my meals (yay for satisfaction and satiety). It also makes throwing together a quick meal easy when I don’t have a plan for dinner and don’t want to go get additional ingredients.

 
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Banza thinks that most new years resolutions (which I don’t personally do) are too serious, too stressful, and too hard to stick to. And I completely agree. They also think that in order to enhance your health and life, you don’t have to make life worse. I’m gonna argue that if your new “health” behavior is making life more stressful and less enjoyable, then it probably isn’t actually healthy. As a result, their current campaign is #ResolveToEatMorePasta and that is a resolution I can get behind 🤓.

 
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You can technically make this recipe with any pasta you prefer. And serve it with a meat of choice, if you like. We ate this one night with pre-cooked chicken sausage for more flavor and texture. Prep your veggies and bacon (the bacon is key for giving it a savory, smokey flavor 😍) and roast them until fork tender. Meanwhile, soak your cashews in water and boil your pasta. Once the veggies are done, puree them with the softened cashews, nutritional yeast (or cream cheese, if you prefer!), and enough chicken broth to create a smooth sauce. Mix with your cooked and drained pasta, and viola! You’ve got a delicious lunch or dinner that is packed full of nutrition and flavor. I’d love to hear what you think of it when you try it!

 
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Also, this sauce is delicious, so you could totally just add more chicken broth to it to eat as a soup, or you could put it on other carbs like rice or spread on toast. :-)

 
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Savory butternut squash pasta
 

Quick Life Update--I Had My Baby...

Welllll….this is awkward…I haven’t updated you all in awhile regarding my pregnancy. In case you haven’t heard, I had my baby! A month ago 🙈. I meant to give you all an update my last few weeks of pregnancy, but that never happened. And then I went into labor and had my sweet boy and got distracted staring at him all day. So I’m just popping in for a quick life update.

Pregnancy: My last few weeks of pregnancy weren’t fun. I was incredibly uncomfortable (anyone else have pubic symphysis pain? It’s terrible), tired, slightly nauseous, and simply ready to have my son. The week before my due date I thought he was coming because I was having regular contractions every 5 minutes lasting about a minute. Turns out they were braxton hicks. Womp womp. Waiting for Cam to arrive was absolutely excruciating emotionally. I finally decided I wasn’t going to wait around the house to go into labor and started planning things with friends to keep me busy until he decided to come. In fact, I was supposed to watch a friend’s kids the day I went into labor (um, sorry friend for bailing on you! I was a little busy).

 
Quick Life Update--I had my baby
Quick life update--I had my baby
 

Body image those last few weeks: Someone asked me about body image those last few weeks of pregnancy, and to be honest, I LOVED my belly! I know it seems weird, but I just thought it was the cutest thing ever. Yes, I felt big and he was growing daily, but I thought my bump was just so precious. I can totally identify with the fear about getting bigger and bigger, but I knew that at some point my baby would come and I would not continue to grow forever. It’s hard to trust your body knows what it’s doing, but it does—and this applies to everyone, pregnant or not.

Nursery: My mom helped me organize the nursery several weeks before Cam came and I absolutely love it! We ended up buying a cute gold floor lamp to guy behind the rocker, but that was once Cam came and I don’t have a picture of it (how lazy am I?! I could just go take another picture 😂). It’s definitely my favorite room in the house…which is a good thing since I’m spending so much time in there nursing.

 
Quick life update--I had my baby
Quick life update--I had my baby
Quick life update--I had my baby
 

Labor: I had Camden at 1:52 pm Wednesday, October 31st (Halloween). I woke up that morning at 4:30 with contractions, but figured they were the braxton hicks I had been experiencing the last week or so. They continued to get stronger, but were inconsistent so I reached out to my doula letting her know that I thought I might really be in labor. I took a bath (and watched part of the Greatest Showman—it was my plan for distraction!) and afterwards texted my doula letting her know they were getting stronger and that I thought she should head my way because I thought they were going to be more than I could handle in an hour or so. I had an OB appointment that day, so I went in earlier (around 9:45 am) with my husband and when they checked me I was at a 4 and 80% effaced. Isaac and I headed home to meet my doula and labor at home. My doula was INCREDIBLE at helping reduce the pain and coaching me in letting my body labor and work Camden down. We headed to the hospital around 12:50 (time FLEW by) and when we got there I was at an 8 and contractions were coming about every 2.5 minutes apart. Once we got there, it was ALL a blur and honestly, fairly traumatic. Things just escalated quickly and Cam wasn’t in a good position, so it was all a little stressful and chaotic to say the least. But Cam came out perfectly healthy at 1:52 (yes, about 30 minutes later!!) and he was able to stay in the room with us the entire time.

 
Quick life update--I had my baby
Quick life update--I had my baby
 

Breastfeeding: Thankfully, I’ve had no major issues with breastfeeding and Cam is growing like a CHAMP! At his 4 week appointment, he had gained 2.5 pounds, so I think my milk must be straight cream 😉. And boy oh boy am I hungry all the time! Like I have never experienced an appetite like this. We’ll finish a meal and all I can think is: “I’m not full yet.” It’s like I never stop thinking about food! Thankfully, our church brought us a lot of meals and my mom stocked our freezer with a bunch of meals and snacks. Homegirl can put away a LOT of food right now. :-)

So yep, Camden is now four weeks old and Isaac and I are LOVING being his parents. He is just the sweetest baby. I was so hesitant about being a mom, and now I realize he is the best gift. It’s not always easy, and this healing body of mine can be a little frustrating at times, but it is definitely worth it.

 
I had my baby
Quick life update, I had my baby
 
I had my baby
I had my baby

How are YOU guys? Fill me in on what’s going on in your life! Anything you want me to talk about?—motherhood, intuitive eating, eating disorder recovery?

Thoughts on Overeating on Thanksgiving

Dreading Thanksgiving tomorrow? I can relate. Maybe family dynamics are difficult and bring pain. Maybe you have no family to celebrate with tomorrow (I am so so sorry if this is your circumstance). Maybe you’re afraid of how to navigate conversations around food and body. Maybe you’re terrified about all of the food that’s going to be available. Or maybe you’re already dreading the shame and guilt you foresee yourself experiencing. For me, Thanksgiving (and any food gathering) brought on so much anxiety, shame, and guilt.

I remember one Thanksgiving in particular that we spent with my sister’s in-laws. The morning of, I bathed the day in prayer, asking the Lord to give me discipline around the food that was going to be there. I asked him to help me focus on the people and conversations instead of the food available. I begged him to help me put food in the “proper” place and to eat until comfortably full instead of stuffed. And don’t get me wrong, these are not wrong prayers; in fact, I think they are wonderful in the right context. But I fundamentally misunderstood something—my overeating in these occasions was not due to a lack of love for the Lord or lack of discipline. My overeating in these occasions was simply due to the fact I WAS HUNGRY. I would feel so much spiritual shame and guilt about eating high caloric foods, desserts, and overall too much. What I didn't realize was that my body was hungry and wanted food and therefore drove me to eat too much on occasions like these. Food was an idol, but not because I loved it more than God. Food was an idol because I restricted it and made the size of my body the most important thing in my life.

 
Thoughts on overeating on thanksgiving
 

So I want to encourage you about tomorrow. If you have been manipulating your food intake, reducing portion sizes, exercises solely for caloric burn, OR if you’re a normal eater, you may end up overeating tomorrow. And that’s OKAY. In fact, if you’ve been underfeeding, it might actually be a good thing (getting out of calorie deficit is absolutely essential for eating disorder recovery). Realize that it’s not some moral flaw. It might be because you’ve been undereating. Or restricting. Or simply because you love a certain food or were enjoying time with family. Give yourself permission to eat tomorrow, and to possibly eat until you’re uncomfortable. And then move on and continue to feed your body regularly and enough. It might just impact your experience next time.