For months, I've been dreaming of an apple spice cake that has the same rich flavor and texture of a moist carrot cake but with the floral sweetness of apples. I searched high and low for such a cake recipe, but came up short. I tweaked and combined a few carrot cake and apple cake recipes, and the result is this incredible, crave-worthy cake that's a favorite in our family. It even has less sugar than every other recipe I've found and is also delicious without the caramel drizzle or ice cream.
"Your cake was amazing, so juicy," my friend said. "I took a bite and was mind blown."
Yes, this IS a mind-blowingly good cake and I make it every chance I get. You should too!
For many people who practice intuitive eating, joyful movement and gentle nutrition are the intuitive eating principles that we have the most difficult time with.
At least for me, exercise has been a sore spot for most of my life. I swam competitively starting at age seven until I was 17 and most of my weekends were spent at swim meets. In high school, I was on the swim and water polo team which meant I was in the water or at the gym from 5:30 am until 7:30 am and again from 2 pm until 5 pm. If we had a game, I didn't get home until 8 pm. I was exhausted and ravenous all the time--I couldn't physically eat enough calories in a day to sustain myself and my teachers forbade me from eating during class. The week before homecoming, I lost so much weight, my strapless dress wouldn't stay on. And I still vividly remember the guilt I felt (from my parents and teammates) when I chose to call in sick from one game during a tournament so I could attend my close friend's birthday party.
In senior year of high school, I quit the team because my body and my mind had simply had enough. And since then, I've had a complicated relationship with exercise. For most of college, I didn't "exercise" much at all unless it was a Zumba or Hip Hop Class and walking around the Santa Cruz Mountains for class. After college, I continued to brew in diet culture, using exercise as a form of punishment and means for weight loss. That lasted until I got pregnant with my son and didn't have the energy to move in the first trimester.
Fast forward a couple of years, I discovered intuitive eating and the anti-diet, Health at Every Size movement in September 2018. I was able to quickly and easy adapt almost all of the principles immediately, except for the joyful movement bit. Because I had been forced for so long to exercise to the point of exhaustion and use exercise as tool for weight loss, even the slightest sore muscle from working out triggered me. My muscles had PTSD. And that took almost two years to heal.
I still feel uneasy when I feel tight glutes or thighs from slightly overexerting myself, even if it is from moving happily. But what has helped me the most with this intuitive eating principle is redefining what exercise and movement mean to me in addition to defining my health and fitness goals that have nothing to do with weight loss. I'm done with the days of running on a treadmill or forcing myself to do push-ups and sit-ups for the sole purpose of burning calories. There are many non-weight loss benefits to exercise, but the one that resonates with me the most is being able to play with my kids for as long as possible, be strong enough to continue to pick them up and have enough endurance to run around with them. With those goals in mind, these are my expressions of joyful movement, the types of physical activities that truly make me happy and don't feel like exercise at all:
Last year, after doing a bunch of fun stuff with our son that many people discouraged us from doing, I decided to start a series called “Take Your Baby” that debunks commonly held misconceptions about what activities parents shouldn't do and places parents shouldn’t go with their babies. I firmly believe that parents shouldn't feel forced to relinquish their interests and passions when we have babies, because giving up parts of your identity can only lead to resentment. Instead, parents should try to find ways to introduce their baby to their world as much as possible.
My last article, Take Your Baby: European Dining, focused on Michelin-starred restaurants, afternoon tea in London and the Parisian Grand Tasting. This time, I want to talk about music festivals, like Coachella and Bottlerock Napa.
With many of these music festivals rescheduled for the fall, there is still time for parents with tickets to decide whether or not to take their little ones.
I've been obsessed with polenta lately. It takes just minutes to make and comes out so creamy and delicious. Plus, it's fun to experiment with sweet and savory toppings, like this breakfast version with parmesan, crispy bacon crumble and a fried egg.
For me, rice pudding has always been one of the most comforting foods. My mom used to make a huge pot of it growing up when our milk was on the verge of spoiling. Since we've been at home and the weather has been cold, I've been turning to more comforting dishes. That was my inspiration for this custardy oatmeal pudding that's creamy, perfectly sweet and has way more protein than regular oatmeal, making it a more filling option for breakfast than regular rice pudding or a bowl of oatmeal.
With cases of coronavirus on the rise in Los Angeles, Mayor Garcetti issued a "safer at home" mandate this week that non-essential businesses will be closed, events cancelled and restaurants will switch to takeout and delivery only.
Many small businesses and event workers (wedding planners, photographers, etc.) are taking a huge hit financially from events being cancelled and postponed.
Here's how to support Los Angeles' local businesses:
As an extrovert who feels tortured being at home, the last couple of weeks have been almost unbearable emotionally and mentally. The things that normally fill my cup--being around my friends and family, going out to events or other activities with people and having a fulfilling, productive day at work--have all been taken away. When birthday parties, weddings and music festivals are cancelled, how can we find happiness? It's so hard to focus on the good when all that seems to be left right now is fear, anxiety, sickness and death. These are the things that are making me feel even a little happy right now in the midst of all the terribleness going on in the world.
It's been about two years that I've committed to curating a completely slow fashion wardrobe and I'm really proud of the progress I've made. This year alone, I only bought three new clothing items, two of them being non-maternity underwear from Kohl's and the other being pajamas for Griffin from Target because we took him there to pick out pajamas and new sheets to help with the transition into our new house.
Other than that, almost everything we've bought has been secondhand. From books and toys to furniture and clothes, these are the best websites I've found for secondhand shopping.
*that have nothing to do with saving money.
Growing up, there was a huge stigma in my family and culture about shopping at the thrift store and buying anything secondhand. If you didn't buy something new, it was because you couldn't afford it and people from my culture (and I'm sure others, as well) take great pride in demonstrating their financial prosperity.
When I went away to college in Santa Cruz, I was introduced to the "hippie" lifestyle and had a plethora of secondhand and vintage stores to choose from. At the time, I was not yet educated about the harms of the fashion industry to the environment and human lives--shopping at the thrift stores was just the cool thing to do and helped me fit in with my classmates.
Over the last decade, the detrimental impact of the fashion industry has become clearer, especially with documentaries like The True Cost and the rise of the slow fashion movement. As Maya Angelou said, "When you know better, you do better." There really is no excuse nowadays to continue feeding the fast fashion machine and causing irrevocable damage to the earth and our fellow human beings. Here are the 7 reasons why I shop secondhand that have nothing to do with saving money.
Every January, millions of people vow to make weight loss, exercise or health a priority for the upcoming year. Gym membership rates soar, diet talk fills the break room. Until last year, I was one of those people who obsessed over my weight or what new diet I was on. My past New Year’s Resolutions usually involved some sort of weight loss goal.
Since discovered Intuitive Eating and the Health at Every Size movement (and the freedom and joy associated with it), I’ve been able to spend the time and energy previously devoted to losing weight on endeavors that truly fulfill me.
For 2019, my goals were to heal my relationship with food and my body, reduce my single-use plastic waste, find a weekly activity to do with my son, only buy clothing from conscious clothing brands or secondhand shops, apply to a master’s program, finish the Marketing Certification on HubSpot Academy and start planning a trip to Machu Picchu. I was able to accomplish all but two of those items plus we added another member to our family and bought a house (one of my 40 Before 40 Goals).
To celebrate this amazing year, I wanted to share 10 of my favorite non-weight loss related New Year’s Resolutions. They’re all SMART goals, meaning they’re Specific, Actionable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based. Most resolutions fail because they are too vague, too overwhelming or too impersonal. When you set a goal to, for example, plan your dream trip, make sure you decide beforehand what your dream trip is. You should have also saved up enough funds to be able to start booking a flight and hotel rooms. If this isn’t attainable just yet, pick a different resolution!
Hopefully this list will inspire you appreciate your body for all it enables you to do rather than trying to change it.