Monday, May 19, 2014

"Life's too short. Eat the damn s'mores skillet"

The other day I received a message that really, really troubled me.

I know that this sounds dramatic following a picture of marshmallows, but just bear with me for 500 words. I'd normally say check out the pictures, the recipe, and go, but this time it's important to me. So spare me 500 words of your time.

A girl messaged me to tell me that she enjoyed reading my posts and recipes (much appreciated feedback -- it really brightens my day when people read my posts), and then proceeded to tell me how jealous she is of how healthy I am, and how she wants to be healthy too.

Sounds innocent. It was. And flattering, and in all ways good. But it also made me do a lot of thinking about what it means to be healthy.

Ever heard of orthorexia? Most people haven't. But according to the DSM, orthorexia is a diagnosable eating disorder, a mental illness, in which concern for eating healthy becomes a life-ruining obsession. If that sounds stupid, silly, or desirable to you, just take a second.

Imagine not being able to go out to dinner with friends on your birthday and locking yourself in your room because you are too afraid of eating at a restaurant with "unhealthy food." Imagine screaming at your family, people who love you and want to take care of you, simply because you're afraid of refined carbs. Imagine being afraid of a food. Literally afraid.

The truth is, being healthy is really important. I believe as much as anyone that it should be your number one priority to take care of your body, give your body nourishing food, and exercise your body daily. But healthy is not measured by the grams of protein you do or don't eat, or the number of miles you can or can't run. Healthy is NOT hiding in a room because you're afraid of full fat salad dressing with chemical additives. For God's sake... it's salad dressing.

So today I'm in the business of shattering illusions. To begin with: the illusion I am "so healthy." Fear of salad dressing doesn't sound healthy to me. Next:  the illusion that eating healthy foods makes you healthy. Healthy is feeling good, whatever that means to you. And if kale and avocado doesn't feel good to you, then you are under no obligation to be "healthy" by anyone else's standards.

Counterintuitively, I am writing a post about health with pictures of marshmallows because eating this magical (and oh... it was magical) s'mores skillet was the healthiest thing I did for myself all week. Healthier than squats, and hiking, and spaghetti squash, and green smoothies combined. With two of my very best friends, I sat down and ate sugar until I felt sick. I didn't feel afraid, or guilty, or ashamed, or undeserving. Treats are not something to earn. I am not a dog. I am just someone who's afraid of salad dressing but is on the road to being healthier. I am learning, and growing, a facing my fears. Marshmallows and all. It's not because I truly enjoy broccoli, but I really am getting healthier.

Whatever that may mean to you, I hope that you are too.

S'mores skillet
Serves: 4
Cook time: 12 minutes

1 cup mini marshmallows (or 8-10 large marshmallows)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 sleeve graham crackers, split into pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Poor chocolate chips into a cast iron skillet or ceramic baking dish
3. Top with marshmallows
4. Bake in oven for 12 minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown

Dip graham crackers in and........ enjoy!

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