So, this was the card I pulled yesterday...the freedom card...and I got to thinking about a time in my life when my freedom was taken away. When my days were filled with locked doors and people watching my every move.
And oddly enough, that was a time in my life I felt freer than I had in a while. I was locked away from the problems which faced me in the outside world. I didn't have to think about the job I had grown to despise. I didn't have to face my romantic relationship, which was crumbling in front of my eyes. I didn't have to deal with the strained relations with my parents. I could just focus on me...one of the first real steps to my healing.
Where is this magical place you may ask? Well, it certainly wasn't an all expense paid vacation to an exotic island....but to a day program at a eating disorders rehabilitation facility.
Hi, I'm Brooke and I'm a recovering anorexic/exercise bulimic. And yes, I went to rehab.
This is something I've not shared to many people. In fact, my parents and brother have no clue (hi family!). Guess they do now 😉 But part of me experiencing freedom is by getting it all out in the open. Releasing this secret I've carried around which has become more than cumbersome. And healing to me means shedding the cloak of lies I've carried around in order to be more free, and help others in the process.
I've struggled with this eating disorder since I was 17 years old...I went to rehab at 32....and still have days where those thoughts consume me something terrible (I'm 36 now). I've dealt with this struggle over half of my life. I've gained weight, lost weight, gained it all back, binge ate, starved, took pills, exercised myself into oblivion, and everything in between. I couldn't see a life past all of that, even as I looked ahead to my 40s and beyond.
Boy, has chronic fatigue taught me a lot. And filled me with a lot of regret for the health I had back then. I took my health for granted. I took my physical abilities for granted. I abused myself. And it's now I've been paying for the repercussions. But, I see it's all for my purpose....for me moving into greater freedom in my life, no matter if I'm behind a locked door or out in the great wide open.
What purpose is this? To teach people self love. To teach movement with ease and breath behind the movement. To teach people how to cook nourishing and fun foods which fuel their body. To appreciate the body you have at this moment. To recognize thoughts are simply that...thoughts. And as Louise Hay says, "A thought can always be changed." To release the behaviors which punish, abuse, and harass our own bodies. To move from a place of self love and away from self hate. To share my story and work with you to show you have another choice. You have another chance. You can choose again.
After all, you're always one choice away from a completely different life. Choose love. Choose to live fearlessly. Choose to believe in your power. Choose freedom. You are worth it.
Ps. If you want to see my daily angel cards, catch me on Instagram @brooke_langford_
So, it's no secret I love autumn. In fact, as autumn rolls around and the leaves begin to fall, it brings up another love of mine: college football. I mean, I think it was probably one of the first sports I understood. I love so many things about the game--sunshine on my face, bundling up in warm clothing, the strategy of the game, seeing rising before they get to the NFL, cheering/jeering/roaring in a group of 60,000 plus, and tailgating.
Ah, tailgating is just a huge part of the whole football game day experience--the deciding on the menu, prepping for it the night before, getting up early to get out to your spot, grilling out, playing cornhole, tossing the football, catching up with friends, listening to music...it's just a jovial time.
When I was a young child, my family and I tailgated for Wake Forest football games. I loved it. We'd come up with some yummy food, set out our chairs, and proceed to people watch/play/take in the game day atmosphere. I thought everyone did that. I was wrong.
When I was in college, we didn't tailgate. Even when my parents came to visit for games, we just walked to the stadium. It wasn't really a big deal back then to me. I didn't dress up or do anything special for the games. I just showed up. Sadly, I felt I'd just outgrown my love for the family tailgate.
It was when I moved to South Carolina and saw the SEC and its style of tailgating which opened my eyes. Now THAT was nothing like I'd ever seen before. People dressed up and went all out. It was a true event. Unlike just being something I did on an afternoon in college, this was a whole day/night affair.
But, these days, I've not been tailgating much due to my team not being super close and my chronic fatigue syndrome. However, just because I'm not out there under a tent tossing a beanbag, I still enjoy having the game day experience in my living room. And the only thing better than tailgating with a group of people to cheer your team onto victory is a group of people getting together to share game day FOOD! Tonight is no exception--it's Championship Week in college football with huge implications for the upcoming playoffs. And I can't wait. I'm prepping pizza for this event....won't you join me?
So, my life has been forever changed by Simple Mills (@simplemills). Since 2014, when I went dairy free, soy free, and gluten free, I've tried a lot of gluten free pizza crusts. And they've all been....interesting...full of fillers, preservatives, and refined grains. While there have been some happy surprises (ever tried a quinoa pizza crust? So goooood!), I kinda thought pizza was in my past. Until now. This company uses real ingredients, simple ingredients, and was so darn easy to make. I even substituted flax eggs for regular eggs and it worked beautifully. I'll be adding their mixes into my regular food rotation for sure!!
Since my dough issue has been resolved, my attention turned to another important pizza component--the toppings!!
I have been obsessed with Brussel sprouts lately. So, I wanted to create a pizza to highlight them. In fact, I used the recipe I cooked on turkey day as my topping. A combination of caramelized onions, roasted Brussel sprouts, and tart cranberries made this a quite delectable experiment.
I made this pizza into one huge flatbread, instead of the two flatbreads the box suggested. I just cut these into squares to serve. Plate them up, sit down, and grab the remote. You've got some eating (and cheering) to do......touchdown!!!! ?
Click here for printable recipe: Roasted Brussel Sprout Flatbread
If you'd have told me six months ago I'd be eating salad greens like spinach and kale, I'd have told you no way. In fact, the only way I'd have them is if they were buried in pizza sauce or baked in a vegan lasagna. The more hidden those greens in particular were, the better it was to me.
But now, I'm embracing eating these greens in their full form....especially if it's in a warm salad. I didn't even know a warm salad was even possible. Guess all those years of iceberg lettuce with cold, limp veggies scarred me for quite a few years. I had seen a few warm salads on some of the blogs I adore, so I thought I'd give it my own spin. The combo of warm and cold together creates such a unique texture and flavor, that these salads (and its many variations) have become part of my daily routine.
The base of this salad is a good two handfuls of 50/50 mix of spinach and baby greens. While the topping changes almost daily, here's the one I've been enjoying the past couple of days.
Its a mixture of 1/4 cup green peas, 6 green beans, 1 cup roasted butternut squash (leftover from my food prep day Monday morning), 1 piece of turkey bacon, Himalayan sea salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence to flavor. Before I began to eat, I sprinkled about 1/2 tsp of hemp seeds on top for a nutty crunch. And then I dug in.
Bacon, Brooke?? I thought you didn't eat meat??
I do sometimes, as a condiment. So yes, I added a piece of turkey bacon. It's totally optional, in fact, it's one of the first times I've cooked with meat in a while---and its the only meat I've eaten for over a month. I just love the combo of the salty-ness of the bacon and the creaminess of the butternut squash and peas. Even before I became a foodie, when I was just a kiddie, I loved peas and bacon together (it was the only veggie I'd eat back then). So, my grown up version is a little homage to my childhood. And I did go back to eating meatless after the making of this salad. So, still loving my mostly plant based lifestyle, no worries there!
I'd love to hear what food combos you've been loving....maybe they'll end up as inspiration for one of my salad creations! Enjoy!
Printable Recipe: Warm Squash Salad With Peas