Mental challenges and the only detox I’ll ever do.

Following my gut feeling aka intuition I decided to change my planned posting schedule yet again. An out-of-schedule week probably just lends itself to this so it’s all good again  (for my order-prefering mind). If you’ve been waiting for the good good links: they’ll be up on Wednesday as I didn’t spend as much time online lately so found myself with only a handful of links by Saturday night. I hope you’re okay with my spontaneous decision [hear hear, Miss Unspontaneous is mixing things up 😉 ]
If you caught my previous post you’ll know the reason for my absence. My paternal grandma left us the previous Saturday and I traveled to the other end of the country to attend her funeral. I won’t write any more about this here as there are no words. Whenever I try to write about this the words sound hollow; not reflecting the feelings behind them.
Initially, I wasn’t going to join the Week in Review this Monday as I assumed traveling most of the week meant hardly any accomplishments. And it’s true in that I don’t really have any visible ones to show. Yet I did see mental improvements that mean just as much or more to me.
So without further ado we’ll dive into an unusual Week in Review. Are mine ever normal, though? I’m glad Meg is forgiving about whichever way I let my thoughts flow.

Week in review

In the past week I …

Worked only three days as we left home on Thursday to attend the funeral.

Published a post about the German attitude towards nudity, why parents are very well off here and our aversion to small talk. Since the feedback was quite well I’m going to share more of these posts in the future.

Got my hair cut. Majorly. I’m still in the confused phase of indecision about whether or not I’m okay with it. 30 centimetres are a LOT. Why did I do this???

Accepted mental challenges I was faced with and noticed that a) my worst case expectations didn’t come true and b) that everything can still be okay. Being thrown off schedule completely when I’ve been living on my own for some time again always provides a little obstacle but this past week proved that everything’s not always as anxiety-provoking as my mind makes it look like beforehand.

Suitcase and shoes

Hardly exercised [which exercised my brain]. Some weeks or for some people this might be fail rather than accomplishment. For me, though, it meant tuning into my intuition on days I spent at home and going with the flow/situation at hand while at my relatives’. Oh, wait, I got serious arm and leg workouts carrying my suitcase up and down many stairs and walking up steep hills ;). Speaking of suitcases …

Unpacked my suitcase the day after my return home. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who tends to procrastinate big time on this!

Talked to strangers on the train journey back once again. – it’s just what I do though I’ve heard this is rather un-German ;).  Sharing a train compartment for [at least initially intended] four hours I figured why not find out a little more about my fellow passengers and take away from the strangeness. Long story short: I wasn’t phased much by the fact they were butchers – hey, I try to not judge you for what you eat – but with the fish baguettes issue [gross] and the man being an annoying know-it-all I may or may not have excused myself to look for an empty seat elsewhere after two hours.

Went on a walk with my grandma’s tenant and aunt’s dog. Major oops regarding the fact we got scolded by a man a little for not carrying those – what’s the proper English term? – dog poop bags with us. This aside I liked getting to know an as of yet unknown person to me a little better. These things are what makes me happy.

Went on a walk with my [maternal] grandma the same night, heading out after 9 PM. Another walk that allowed for a good conversation and strengthening of our bond.

Learned to truly embrace flight mode. Hello, battery-saving amazingness. Embarrassing but true: I hadn’t known how efficient exactly it was but now I’m a huge fan.

Speaking of phones I also took a mini social media detox from Thursday morning to Saturday night. Despite having speedy Wifi at my aunt’s place I just didn’t feel drawn to blogs or any app.

Ate really good potato leek soup prepared by my cousin. It’s worth mentioning because it was some truly good food. Granted, this opinion might have been influenced by the fact coming in after an 11-hour journey makes all kinds of food taste better.

Writing this on Sunday evening I’m looking back at a day of more anxiety and unwelcome feelings than the past few days that I had expected to elicit the latter. Which is both ironic and a lesson in finding that pushing outside our comfort zones can in fact be better than staying within. Probably obvious to some of you yet a necessary reminder for people like me.
Another reminder from the week was noticing how much better I slept and how much less anxiety and restlessness I felt without the constant social media influence. Cora just wrote about the connection between screen time and anxiety which I could relate to before but even more so after this week of my mini social media detox. Throwing myself right into it after I returned not only raised my anxiety but decreased my productivity a lot. Now to regularly schedule social media detox days …
This is – what’s new? – getting lengthy again so I’ll end the post here. Tell me what’s been happening in your lives lately!

Happy Monday!

Happiness-inducing today:  Sunshine. The weather’s been ugly lately and today was – while a little stormy – really nice.

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Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!

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Friday Favourites – 7/24/2015

… and just like that it’s Friday again. I’ll break a record keeping this intro shorter than short and get right into some favourites – ending on a little cheeky fun to embrace our inner teenage girl selves ;).

Not saving the best for last here: My favourite happening from the past seven days was meeting Juli. Anticipation makes everything more worthwhile? Possibly. Because – correct me if I’m wrong, Juli – we’ve been planning/hoping for our meet-up for almost a year already. Yes, Germany might be comparably small but living hundreds of kilometers/miles apart still makes finding a time and place a challenge. Our lucky day came about by Juli attending a work conference in Berlin and my brother conveniently offering me his couch.

Juli and I might not have talked about 1000 [lovely] things but we chatted about this and that, walked a lot around Berlin and got along right from the first minute. It’s almost cliché to say but yes, blogging friendships are truly amazing.

Blogger meet-up_Juli

Also high on top of my list of favourite activities are still – will they ever not feature here? – walks/hikes. Once a country bumpkin, always a country bumpkin. Or lover of nature to use a more positive term. One of my recent travels took me to the Saar [Saarland]. I could never imagine living there –conquering steep hills by bike isn’t exactly my idea of fun 😉 – but whenever around I insist on setting out into the forest for a long walk.

Walk_hike_Saar_2

Which might turn into some kind of adventurous hike if your dad claims to know the route yet misses the right path and you need to make your way through the bushes. Add to this that none of us had packed hiking-compatible footwear. Swearing may or may not have happened. The views more than made up for it, though.

Walk_hike_Saar

On a food favourite note I bought these raw chocolate-covered raisins on one of my last trips to Berlin and all I can say is: oh. My. Goodness. I actually am neither too fond of raisins nor raw chocolate –  aside from exceptions – but these might just convert me. If you have any chance to get your hands on them: what are you waiting for???

Source

Here’s a recent favourite to make you smile. Or giggle. Yes, at times I’m all of 15 years old giggling/swooning over pictures like this – as were all of my friends I forwarded this … Really, though, who wouldn’t have approved of a teacher like that? Aside from the fact that concentration would have flown right out the window …

Thanks to Heather and Clare for remindingus to focus on the happy parts of life and talk about favourites on Fridays!

Happiness-inducing today: Having my sister visit for the weekend. We don’t see each other often enough anymore these days.

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What are your plans for the weekend?

Have you met any other bloggers before?

Do you have any not-gone-as-planned hiking stories to tell? Aside from the lost-in-the-woods one above I have another from a hike through the Dartmoor years ago …

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been too long [traveling and a decision]

Take the title of today’s Thinking out loud and the post itself in a two-fold manner. For once, it’d been way too long since my last trip to Berlin. And on the other hand, I’ve finally made a commitment that took me even longer than packing up my bags to head to the capitol again. I’d better start explaninig  before I’m loosing your attention at this point already. So either way: If you’re not interested in recovery rambles [it’s okay, we can still be friends] I’ll throw in some of the [half a bazillion] pictures I took on my visit to this wonderful city.

Thinking-Out-Loud

 

 Like I mentioned before my recent travels have been much appreciated breaks from my daily grind and also helped me stress less about food. What especially my trip to Berlin did, though, was give me that final push to take a cue from Julia. If you’ve been reading for a while already you’ll have seen the many posts about recovery in my good good links. Every single one of them was further encouragement to work on recovery – yet I still found myself stuck in some state of quasi-recovery. Not delving into it and letting go of all my worries.

Maaay and bits of June 015

During the past years of writing this blog I’ve made huge progress in my recovery that I tend to overlook at times fbut luckily I have people reminding me of it. Yet I’m still far from where I want to be: Living a happy and intuitive life.

Maaay and bits of June 049

What was I or – knowing I’m not the only one here –  are we waiting for? We will never feel 100 per cent sure about anything. No doubts whatsoever. Ready to dive heads-on into the unknown. No, it’s not going to happen. Or maybe one per cent of all humans can – lucky if you’re part of that minority. For the remainder of us it’s really about getting fed up with our situation and wanting to change. And long story short: I want to change things.

houses_Berlin

What was or is, really, still holding me back? Several reasons, actually and I’d be writing a short novel if I was to list all of them. Some are:

The fear of loosing all control. That’s a huge one. Have you ever wondered why those weight loss plans promising to loose x pounds in y weeks sell so well when you could just  loose weight slowly but steadily by eating mindfully? Because they make a promise of control. Weight gain, on the other hand, is not predictable.

Similarly, weight loss is cheered on by society and the media while weight gain is by far not [considered] glamorous. This needs to change. If you’re [probably severely so] underweight there’s nothing happy or admirable about that and weight gain is indeed something to encourage – and celebrate.

Old habits die hard. Counting, Measuring. Stressing about exercise or lack thereof. It’s not easy to break the cycle.

The belief that I’m that rare unicorn.  [This post is already getting too long so click over there for an in-depth explanation].

Maaay and bits of June 065

I know what skinny feels like and I don’t want to experience any of this anymore. I’m craving freedom. Happiness. Just living life and not planning 384550 things ahead to make sure I know what I’ll be doing/eating/how and when I’ll be exercising. Just typing it all out exhausts me and again: I’m sure others can relate.

Maaay and bits of June 070

If you’ve made it this far in today’s post: thanks for reading! My intention was to be open, maybe encourage others in the same situation and make myself accountable. Inspired by Julia, Alexa and many others I’m currently working my way up to intuitive eating along the lines of Minnie Maud. I’m not expecting this to be easy – is recovery ever? – but worth it. There’s too much proof of this to stay stuck any longer. Amanda is another huge inspiration – even if she didn’t formally follow Minnie Maud she’s been encouraging me to let go of control – and also travel! – about a million times before.

Maaay and bits of June 037

Oh and to end this on a non-recovery note: If you haven’t been to Berlin before you absolutely need to go. Whenever I visit this city it amazes me anew each time. There’s so much to see, do and explore that I’ve come to the solution I need to move there one day. Now that’s some good recovery motivation, don’t you think?! [and there I failed at truly ending on a non-recovery note …]

 

Happiness-inducing today:  Riding my bike back home from the store, up a small hill and all of the sudden being flashed by bright warm sunlight. It made me smile. Big time.
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No questions today but just your thoughts, questions, experiences – whatever. Or just share what has been making you happy lately.

 

Bowl-ing in Berlin again – the intuitive way

It’s time to talk about food again! But before we get to The pictures I feel like I should open up more again. As long-time readers will know I’m in recovery from an eating disorder and have been for far too long already. While I’ve made noticable progress since starting my blog these past months have shown me how much I still need to work on reestablishing a healthy relationship with food. It’s only become that much more apparent in my current situation. Traveling has proven to help once before and it did again this time. That realisation alone is huge for me because it was leaving my routine that scared [and still scares] me the most. Yet it’s true that growth occurs outside our comfort zones. And it can be delicious growth as today’s What I ate Wednesday will [at least partially because we know I never manage to take pictures of every meal and snack I eat] show. Thanks to Jenn as well the Vegan Wednesday team for coming up with awesome parties catering every blogger’s food curiosity.

WIAW_new2015

Breakfast went unpictured and not as planned. The reason? My train was leaving at shortly past 8 AM with a 45 minute drive to the station. Safe to say that being the polar opposite of a morning person I wasn’t keen on getting up even earlier than I already had to rush down breakfast. The solution? Trusty old Tupperware. While not really meal-prepping I’ve been pre-cooking brown rice to have on hand for quick meals lately. So short-grain brown rice with shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas and fresh parsley it was. Only it wasn’t a timely breakfast. Thanks [or not] to a major soccer game taking place in Berlin that day – and me obviously being completely unaware … – the train was more than crowded. Long story short: I spent 1 1/2 hours standing and NOT eating.

Tupper lunch_wheatberries_stir-fry[No picture of my actual breakfast but it was similar to this recent lunch]

Luckily, everything was forgotten when I arrived at my aunt’s appartment. And here’s where relaxation set in out of the blue again. Unexpectedly, my aunt and her boyfriend hadn’t had breakfast yet, either, so invited me to join them. Previously: anxiety!  This time, I ate my prepped meal plus some of their spread, too. Because that’s what intuitive [read: normal] eating includes. For somebody like me used to control just about every morsel the change was incredibly freeing. I’ll admit I still roughly track my calories in my head – it’s not as easy to give up as macros – throughout the day. However, by far not as strictly as in previous years.

Whenever I take a trip and leave my daily grind, though, I’ve noticed myself naturally becoming more intuitive in the way I eat [hence the title]. Whatever is the reason for this, I’m embracing it because regaining an intuitive way of living is my ultimate recovery goal.

Blueberries

After strolling around on a flea market, sharing a pint of blueberries [served up in a bowl] and chatting we set out to have lunch. Inspired by somebody on Instagram I’d taken notice of a new restaurant that had opened up just a few weeks ago. The Bowl – as the name suggests – serves clean [I don’t like to associate this term with food but it’s their self-description] vegan food exclusively in bowls. No sugar, gluten or any other nasties. Just delicious real food.

Needless to say I was in from the very first moment. I wish they provided their full menu online because the descriptions of every item sound too good to be true. Picking a bowl*proved to be way more difficult than expected because trust me you’d have wanted to order everything, too! How could you not with items like cashew cheese – covered Brussels sprouts, beet carpaccio or pink kimchi?

Clearly, going to Berlin means breaking out the bowls for me.

The Bowl Berlin_Mexican bowl

Ultimately, I reminded myself I could come back again and chose the Mexican Bowl Just a funny recovery note: I dismissed one bowl right away because it sounded like it was lacking carbs.Not too long ago that exactly would have made me pick it. These days? No way. Even not working out I know I need my grains for energy and – despite not counting macros – they are packed with wonderfully satisfying carbs.  My bowl containing a brown/wild rice blend, Mexican beans, grilled corn on the cob, guacamole, homemade tomato cilantro salsa, some kind of unknown dip [delicious!].  As well as a side of [refined sugar-free] ketchup and mixed greens with a creamy avocado dressing.

The Bowl Berlin_Mexican Bowl_close-up

No dinner picture because we just kept having random bits and bites – including an impromtu tomato soup [another meal from eaten from  a bowl], crackers, chocolate and fruit – throughout the evening due to our fairly late lunch. Instead, I’m offering you my aunt’s choice at the restaurant: the Falafel Bowl. Beet falafel, cashew cheese sauce, raw tabbouleh, turmeric chickpeas with miso hummus, fried eggplant and carrots as well as the complementary mixed greens.

[Snacks escaped the camera again, too, but be assured there were plenty. ]

The Bowl Berlin_Falafel bowl

All in all, this short trip enhanced my happiness level to the max and got me excited for recovery. Which sounds a little ridiculous typed out but oh well. I’ve already written half a novel of a WIAW post here so if you’re curious to hear more recovery rambles be back tomorrow.

Happy [What I ate] Wednesday!

Happiness-inducing today: Spotting an article by a friend of mine currently interning at a huge national news agency in our local newspaper. Even if it wasn’t me I’m super excited about seeing his name in print.
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What’s your favourite bowl [as in: combination of ingredients in a bowl]?
Do you consider yourself an intuitive eater?

WIAW: On the road again

… or actually: on the -train- again. The previously mentioned weekend meet-up with my mum didn’t happen but we got a chance on Saturday. Given I left at 8 AM and didn’t return until 9.45 PM packing food and eating out was inevitable.  So for today’s What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday what a day of traveling with food looks like for me

A lack of kabocha has my deviate from  my usual favourite and back on the oatmeal train [pun not intended] for breakfast again. Rolled oats cooked with water, soy milk,  peanut flour, zucchini and – necessary – salt. Topped with popped amaranth and coconut flour ‘crumbles’. I missed the almond butter. I’m not above using empty soy yogurt containers as oatmeal carriages. In fact, I consider it perfectly reasonable recycling. Only they are big enough for my servings. Oats in a jar are no option because nut butters come in glass jars over here and I don’t feel like lugging one of those around. Hello, weight lifting.

Oats_for the train

Snacks included two cinnamon chickpea protein bars. Slightly smushed after waiting in my handbag so you’ll get the pretty picture. While my favourite way to eat these is cold straight from the fridge they are delicious even Unpictured snacks were apples, a cookie, … I always crave fruit even more than on regular days when traveling. Maybe it’s drinking less – in an effort to avoid using the toilet on the train. If you’ve ever been on a train you’ll know why …

Protein Bars 1

After some – successful (!) – shoe shopping my stomach and mind were calling for a proper sit-down meal. When in Hamburg we usually like to seek out one of our favourite smaller restaurants in the Schanzenviertel. But with a limited time window and shopping downtown we went for another go-to closer by. Cha cha is one of my favourite chain restaurants – only topped by Dolores. I ordered Thai fried rice with vegetables,  sesame soy sauce and cashews. The serving was very generous [the picture doesn’t do it justice] so I didn’t manage to finish it. Especially because my mum needed some help with her dish … Only not really but that’s what she gets for eating out with me.

Eating out_cha cha_September 2014

My Mum got their Yellow Curry Noodles with Pineapple and Seitan. The pasta wasn’t vegan but I ate around it picking out the best part: obviously the coconut milk-drenched seitan. Luckily for both of us, our dishes weren’t overly spicy like some food at Cha Cha can be. Remind me to finally prepare seitan at home because this was good.

Eating out_cha cha_September 2014_2

Dinner was an eat-all-the-food affair – I returned home ready to chew my arm off. Kabocha – found in Hamburg and yes; I buy and travel with heavy squash if I spot the elusive variety. Living in no-mans-country no-[kabocha] squash-country isn’t easy.
Steamed as usual and with the added coconut oil this was all I could have asked for after a long day of traveling. I’ve yet to come to a final result on its added satiating powers but it’s delicious either way.

Breakfast_kabocha

Happiness-inducing today: The chatterbug but very kind and helpful owner of the small health food store in the town I work.

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What do typical days on the road/ train look like for you food-wise?

How do you transport oats [to work or when traveling]?

The Sometimes – Always – Never Edition

Just a warning in advance: my mind has been all over the place lately and not in the cute scatterbrained way, either. Or maybe more like: simultaneously wishing time passed faster and wishing I could turn it back. Confusing much?! Today luckily is the right time and place for thinking out loud about whatever so I’ll share some random tidbits that would have appeared in past Thursday posts if they hadn’t been put on the back burner by some more serious thoughts I had. Luckily, Amanda is inviting any kind of thoughts – and today’s are randomness at its best.

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. Sometimes I forget how hard to understand humor can be when you’re not a native speaker. Just one example from yesterday: We all agree fruit flies are a plague, right? Because the situation has gotten almost unbearable in our kitchen I jokingly told my roommate we’d have to stop eating produce all the way if we wanted to get rid of the little beasts. She’s originally from Ecuador and while her German is pretty good she didn’t catch my drift and had a completely serious face when replying that, well, it really wasn’t possible. I promise I didn’t laugh – it’s cute.

2. Never will I do everything the same way everybody else does. In this case, though, I feel my makeshift-steaming basket was a pretty good idea. Because a) my kitchen is crowded enough already and b) I’m cheap. I need to save money where I can to keep up my supply of almond butter.

steaming_broccoli

3. Just like I will always try to eat produce on its last legs unless it’s not edible anymore. And apparently I’m not alone there when it comes to broccoli… Or any produce. Campaigns like this one make me happy.

4  Not always but still a repeat offender in my Thursday posts is the mention of train travels. Last Tuesday happened to be one of those days again. And while I honestly would have enjoyed many other activities more I’ll admit I liked the forced unplugging. Because no, there was no option of charging my phone this time. Having one is still the lucky exception over here. Cautiously looked at my phone very sparingly only and can proudly say the battery was almost 70 per cent charged by the time I got home. I was just a smidgen proud of myself ;).

5. The time I didn’t spend looking at my phone gave me the chance to immerse myself into one of the books from the library. I recently saw the number of books I’m currently hoarding having at home. I will never stop laughing at myself there. Unless I spent every minute  of the next weeks with my nose hidden behind a book I wouldn’t be able to finish all of them before they’re due.

Random_end of July 018[for the non-Germans: this is the first book of the Dark Witch trilogy]

Sorry to any Nora Roberts fans out there but to say it with Shania Twain – does anybody remember that song?!: That don’t impress me much.* I still read a fair chunk of the book because I had no other option at hand. Somehow I’d expected it to be a regular love story but it there was too much of a fantasy character to it. I also didn’t find the story to make sense at times so this is a thumbs down from me.

* just like wrong grammar doesn’t impress me much

6. Sometimes I have a trend of picking up books that don’t lure me in from the library – lately being one oft those times. Can’t Chris Cleave please publish a new novel STAT?!

7. Whether you’re in a funk, bored or in need of ways to procrastinate the answer will always be: BuzzFeed. Apparently, this is where I’m supposed to spend a year abroad.

Well, I’ll keep it in mind as a closer second option because you already know my plans.

8. … and whichever mood you’re in: Disney has the right sound for that.

It feels odd posting this potpourri of randomness after the past weeks’ posts. But as – stealing this term from a blend – it’s a brain fudge day over here it was the best thing to do. Sometimes you’ve just got to trust there will always be an idea floating around so the Thinking out loud party never ends.

Happy Thursday!

Happiness inducing today: Planning a game night with my neighbours.

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 Tell me a sometimes – always – never from your life!

Have you read any good books lately? I’m not into crime or science fiction but after I’ve recently only found good more serious non-fiction I wouldn’t mind a fun but not too dumb summer read so share your recommendations!

Which of the Disney songs do you [need to] listen to right now?