Let’s End the Food Fight

v haldeman photography

Hello! I’m Robin, Health Coach and Chef of Skip the Box. Do you dread making dinner for your family, wondering if anyone will eat anything? Or perhaps you wonder if your eating habits are screwing with your child’s views on food. Maybe tired of feeling tired every afternoon? If you’re looking try a different way, let’s talk.

I’m NOT in Charge of the Universe

Life: Quit coming at me!!

It has been an interesting week full of bumps, bruises, and a car accident. A chat with a friend this morning reminded me that I’m not in charge of the universe – and that is probably a good thing. And maybe starting to sing Christmas music would help. :)

I’m going to keep showing up — and that will always be enough!

How is your week going? Let me know in the comments below.

Motivation to Get Off Your A** and Do a Little Something Today

Ever have a day where you wake up feeling tired, achy, and immediately think “Like heck anything is going to get done today”?

I had one of those this morning.  I woke up and my head hurt, my joints ached, and I felt a little congested (I’m thinking partly due to a busy week and partly due to some food choices yesterday that didn’t serve me so well). When I heard my son get up, I knew I’d have to pull myself out of bed. However, I was pretty sure the day would turn out to be a bummer – I didn’t feel motivated to try and do much of anything.

Fast forward an hour and I was feeling quite a bit better. What changed? I did a little something.

For me, it was a few minutes of exercise (thank you to Erin Stutland and Shrink Session for a 5 minute short workout). I convinced myself to just do a few minutes and then I didn’t have to do anything else if I didn’t feel like it. And you know what? A few minutes in my head felt a little more clear, my mood improved, and I felt a bit of motivation to get my butt moving into the day, all from acknowledging where I started the day and just doing a little something.

Where might doing a little something (anything!) help you? Leave a comment below and let me know what gets you moving.

“There” is an Illusion

I’m excited to share my first YouTube Video: The Illusion of “There”:

There will never be a “perfect” weight to reach that will make your life easy, the job that will always make you feel happy, or a time when all laundry will be folded and you’ll never have to fold any again (until you’re dead, I suppose).

There is no “there” — it’s only an illusion. Living for “there” will make you miss out on the present.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment!

New Group Coaching Course: Cravings and Emotional Eating

I remember past Octobers, excited that Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas were coming up yet also terrified. How was I going to handle the excess of food? No joke — I’d sweat and plan and plan some more about what I’d eat at an upcoming event so I could have a “good day,” and it somehow never worked out. I’d give in to some treat that looked tasty or start feeling uncomfortable in a large group of people and then start to snack. I’d feel such a sense of “must have more!!!!!!” that by the time the day would be over, I’d be stuffed, feeling sick, fat, ashamed, and like a will-power weakling. I don’t know how many times I vowed “Tomorrow I will start a diet!” If I could go back to my younger self on one of those days, I’d give her a hug and throw out the idea: “Hey, today doesn’t have to be like this. Would you like to try something different?”

Imagine ending 2015 feeling healthy, happy, and rested, enjoying gatherings and treating yourself well. What would it be like to start 2016 without feeling like you need to go on a diet right now? If cravings and/or emotional eating are sucking your energy, I invite you to join me for an upcoming group course: Oh Sh** – They’ve Struck Again: Cravings and Emotional EatingLet’s end 2015 with a “now that’s how we do a year!” and high five!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Hope you have a truly awesome day. :)

When the Bottom is All You Can See — A Ladder

It has been estimated that by the age of 67, a woman has spent about a year of her life thinking about weight and diet.

The calculations work out to 21 minutes a day, or almost 2.5 hours a week. Wow. Imagine what you could do with an extra 2 hours each week (nap, anyone?).

However, I think this daily average is way low, at least for me. I spent a decade struggling with disordered eating, five of those years with bulimia. I’m 33 now. I bet I’ve spent over a year already. And I’m so done with wasting that time.

I recently read an article about a woman’s experience witnessing her sister’s struggles with eating disorders, as well as her own challenges (My Sister is Dying). It is a heartbreaking, haunting, and somehow beautiful piece. When I read it, I felt it. I understood much of the pain, sorrow, loneliness, and helplessness.

Struggles with food are about so much but yet not really about food. They can suck you in to the point you don’t think you can ever climb out. The pit seems bottomless and so very, very lonely. And asking for help? Where do you even start, that is if you’re even ready? Maybe that is even harder than the day-to-day struggles.

Grace, beauty, and healing are possible – this I will never doubt.

Make no mistake that it will be a cakewalk with rainbows, unicorns, and butterflies. It may be harder than anything you’ve ever known. However, it also has the possibility of way more beauty than you’ve ever known.

For those who are in the depths of the struggle with disordered eating and aching for a different way, something new to try, I will be offering a group coaching opportunity beginning in October. There will be a teen session and an adult session; meetings will be virtual (with the possibility of in-person meetings depending on the location of participants).

If you or someone you know is interested, I invite you to join me. Please contact me with any questions. Holding space with you.

Avocado Banana Chocolate Mousse (Vegan & Food Allergy-Friendly!)

I came across an avocado chocolate mousse recipe on Food52 and couldn’t pass up giving it a try. It didn’t contain any of my son’s allergens (peanuts, dairy, and/or eggs) and I’ve had really good luck with recipes from Food52, so I figured at the very least it would turn out to be decent.

It did not disappoint! With a few small tweaks, it has now become one of the favorite desserts at my house. It is rich, smooth, and chocolaty, with a hint of banana in the background (and no, it does not taste like avocados). My son has asked for it every day for a week, and my stepdaughter declared it “Awesome!!!” after nearly licking her bowl clean. I’d call that a success. :)

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Avocado Banana Chocolate Mousse
Serves 2-4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 30+ minutes (can be eaten right after making but it’s even better cold)
Adapted from food52.com

6 oz (or about 1 heaping cup) chocolate chips or broken chocolate pieces (I used the allergy-friendly Enjoy Life Mega Chunks; you could use regular semi-sweet, milk, or dark chocolate chips/chunks if no allergies/intolerances)
1/4 cup milk (almond, coconut, soy, rice, cow — whatever you like; I used almondmilk)
1 t vanilla
2 avocados
1 ripe banana
Small pinch of salt (~1/8 t)
Maple syrup, honey, or agave to taste (I used ~2 T maple syrup)

1. Heat chocolate with milk in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted.

2. In a food processor or blender, combine the chocolate/milk mixture with the remaining ingredients except the sweetener. Blend until smooth.

3. Check; add sweetener of choice to taste and blend until smooth again.

4. Divide into bowls and chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge if you can wait that long. While it is best cold, it is still awesome right after being made (and that is when it is typically eaten at my house). So if you can’t wait, it will be okay. :)

What the F*** Should I Eat?

To say food can be a personal issue is an understatement. Besides its basic function of fueling our bodies, food can be used as a way of celebrating, a means of showing love, or a way of numbing pain, among others. Diets are a dime a dozen, each providing support for why it is the one to follow with ways to prove it. We hear from food activists and lobbyists, as well as about “Big Food” versus locally-grown and organic. Add to that messy situation food sensitivities, allergies, and intolerances. What the f*** should anyone eat? But the basic need for food remains — everyone has to eat to live. So, what do we do?

There is a lot I don’t know. I do know it’s not my place to tell someone else what is right for them. Life can be a complicated and complex journey, and I certainly don’t know all of the ins and outs of the lives of others. Heck – some of the time I’m lost in my own! While do I think some foods are more healthful than others, I don’t know if there is a “one size fits all” diet out there. And even if someone is eating all of the “right” and healthy foods but for the wrong reasons (yeah, I’ve been there), the negative energy that may accompany each meal probably isn’t a good thing.

In my own journey, I’ve slowly been shifting the way I eat to a more whole food, plant-based diet. Am I a vegan? No, but I lean that way. Do I always eat whole, unprocessed foods? No, not 100% of the time, though I try to do so as much as possible. Do I always buy organic, local, etc.? No, though when it is feasible I do. If I had to describe my diet, I would say it is one of moderation (or at least that is what I aim for!).

I’ve found that I don’t do well when I try to cut something out entirely (no sugar today = wait, all I want right now is a cookie and I will feel like a bear until I get one!!). However, I know that I feel more vibrant, awake, and alive when I eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and as I’ve become more aware around what I eat and how I feel, I find myself tending towards things that serve me inside and out.

I recently read a post that resonated with me by Luke Jones on Health Room about why he eats a whole food, plant-based diet. I also appreciate many of the things Lisa Leake shares on 100 Days of Real Food. There are so many other wonderful resources out there, and I think having access to so much info is great. What may speak to me may not speak to you and vice versa. And at the end of the day, I think many of the resources have a very similar underlying message about making changes to improve the health of each one of us as well as our planet – just slightly different routes to get there. :)

On that note, I’ll leave you with the link to an awesome dish I recently made: Quinoa with Carmelized Butternut Squash and Roasted Brussels Sprouts. It is vegetarian as written; if you want to go vegan, skip the cheese and butter (add more EVOO).

Dessert Tonight: Almond Butter Brownies

While getting dinner ready for my kiddos tonight, I really felt like having dessert too. I didn’t have anything already made and wanted something I could make quickly. Bingo – almond butter brownies from foodbabe.com. The batter is easy to throw together with ingredients I typically have on hand, as well as avoids the no-no items on my son’s allergy list (peanuts, dairy, and eggs). So, it is a winner in my house frequently.

The picture doesn’t do the brownies justice but it is what I could get before they were devoured. Yes – we ate them straight out of the pan while they were still warm. :)

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Happy Wednesday!


Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowls

Thai chicken quinoa bowls: one tasty lunch or dinner. My husband is not a huge quinoa fan and he liked the recipe, which tells me it is really good. And it’s quite quick to make — bonus!

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Notes: Since my son is allergic to peanuts and eggs, I substituted almonds and almond butter for the peanuts and peanut butter, respectively, and skipped the egg. I used water instead of chicken broth since I didn’t have any on hand and also added two thinly sliced bell peppers along with the coleslaw mix (to use up some older peppers in my fridge). If you don’t have edamame handy, peas would be a great substitute.

Resolutions, Kale, and Spaghetti Squash

I can’t remember the last time I really made New Year’s resolutions; I was never very good at sticking to any I did make and got discouraged easily. I’m usually way more successful when taking baby steps throughout the year. It’s funny — I used to scoff at baby steps and think only leaps would do until I realized I was rarely (if ever) successful at making any significant and sustained changes through leap attempts. :)

I recently read some tips for resolutions on foodbabe.com and appreciated what Vani the Food Babe had to say. If you’re looking to make some changes in 2014 and want to try something different, perhaps one of her suggestions will resonate with you: http://foodbabe.com/2014/01/08/resolutions/

While I don’t have any specific resolutions for 2014, I am always looking to try new and eat more vegetables. And coming into this year, this remains true. If you’re looking for new ideas, here are two dishes I recently made that I will definitely make again:

Kale and Apple Salad with Walnuts and Blue Cheese
Spaghetti Squash with Maple Syrup and Shallots

Happy Wednesday!