Browsing Tag



No Fat Talk Tuesday: Natalie’s Story

May 1, 2012

Today’s No Fat Talk Tuesday post comes to us from Natalie, who blogs over at Married Meets Healthy. I am so excited to share Natalie’s story with you all, because she brings a unique perspective to the series. Natalie’s story of learning to love and appreciate her body through her fitness and athletic accomplishments is something I can relate to personally and know many of you will be able to as well. Thanks for sharing, Natalie! – Madison

There wasn’t a single moment I can recall when I started my body image struggles, but a whole slew of them. I was the first to go through a growth spurt out of all my friends. Although I started playing sports at a very young age and was always incredibly active, I always felt bigger. I was taller until about 8th grade and I weighed the same from 4th to 8th grade. For some reason, I always found that in my mind, my friends were skinnier and prettier than me. I remember always wanting to be better, to be more like someone else.

I became more (not completely, but more) comfortable in my skin from about 9th to 11th grade. I found my niche in athletics and was always able to eat what I wanted and keep my athletic, trim build. For some reason, things changed my senior year. I would give away everything in my lunch other than my sandwich or saltine crackers with peanut butter (my favorite!) and fruit. I was in a relationship all throughout high school and again, I didn’t feel good enough. I knew things weren’t good between my boyfriend and me, but I thought if I was skinnier or prettier, things would get better. False. 
I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder, but I definitely had a disordered thinking about food and fitness. Who thinks at 5’3” that 108 pounds is too much? That was me before I went to college. I struggled all throughout college with my weight. Thanks to lots of free soft serve, I put on some pounds. Then, I wouldn’t like myself so I would try and try to lose those pounds and hate the way I looked.
My junior year, my best friend and I started running…A LOT. We actually became best friends through running all the time together. Eventually we decided to sign up for the Bearathon, a half marathon put on by Baylor. This was my first big race and I had no idea whether or not I could do it. I was always a sprinter in high school and picked up running after my senior season of softball ended just to stay in shape. My runs before this were only about 4 miles or so.  I had no idea how to train for long distance and nourish myself at the same time. I ended up dropping quite a bit of weight and although I finally felt comfortable in my skin, my family confronted me about my weight loss. After the race I did gain some much needed weight, but from training so hard, I was so in tune with my body and loved it. 

 My best friend and I completed our first half marathon in under 2 hours! (I’m on the right.)
For the first time, I listened to my body. When I had a craving, I ate it and enjoyed every bite. My then boyfriend, now husband also really helped with my body image as well as my faith. I know that Ben will love me no matter what and he actually often tells me I could “add some meat to my bones.” I also finally grasped the concept of being created in God’s image and was overjoyed!
I struggled again with my weight and body image the year after Ben and I got married. I wanted to enjoy every meal with him and started cooking meals I knew he would love, but were also higher in calories then I usually consumed. I’m sure that my consumption of alcoholic beverages on our two honeymoons didn’t help either, but I definitely enjoyed myself! I started my blog, to find my way back to healthy after we got married. I swear there was “fat talk” going on inside my head every second of the day and it was driving not only me nuts, but Ben as well.
I picked up running again and started training for half marathons. I have now completed 4 and am taking a much needed break. Over the past couple of months I have been doing Bodyrock and this is where I have seen a major difference in my body and my thinking. I feel so strong and I love it! I probably weigh more than my old self would have liked, but I have so much more muscle definition and I love the way I feel. My major break through was going to the doctor a couple of weeks back and seeing the number on the scale without complete horror. I was so excited to run home to Ben and tell him that I didn’t care what it said because all of my old clothes fit and I have never felt better!! It was a slow process, but I have found my way back to feeling comfortable in my skin and I couldn’t be happier!  

Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

April 30, 2012

Hey, all! I hope you all had a happy weekend. Joe and I spent our time up in Minneapolis partaking in bachelor and bachelorette festivities for Joe’s brother, Jason, and his fiancé, Ali. And I solidified my title as worst blogger ever by taking zero pictures of our weekend. Thankfully, someone had the good sense to take a picture this morning at brunch with Ali’s family, or I would have nothing to show you.

Ali has amazing friends. Even though Amber and I felt like the old married women among a group of 21-year-old college girls, a great time was had by all. Special shout-out to Ali’s friend, Kaitlyn, who is about as fun as it gets and is a faithful reader of Espresso and Cream.

Before I left for the weekend, I made a batch of roasted chickpeas to snack on when I want something slightly crunchy and salty. Since chickpeas are packed with protein and low in carbohydrates, they make a great alternative to chips or crackers. The protein also helps to keep you full, which is great for portion control. Now that I’ve seen how easy roasted chickpeas are to make, I think preparing a batch each weekend in preparation for the week ahead is going to become a habit.

And now, because I’m sleep deprived and completely off my writing game, I’m going to leave you with another picture and this killer recipe…

Spiced Roasted Chickpeas
Makes 2 to 3 servings

*1 (14.5-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
*1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
*1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
*1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
*3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

*Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside
*In a small bowl, combine all of the above ingredients. Toss to coat evenly. Spread chickpeas in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until chickpeas are toasted and crispy on the outside. Cool slightly before serving.

Happy Cooking!


Chop, Chop!

April 27, 2012

It must be something in the air, but I got the crazy desire today to cut my hair. And cut I did! I can’t say I thought about it all that much. It was impulsive, to say the least. Ahh!

When all was said and done, I think I cut off somewhere around six inches. I can hardly believe it, but I feel even more ready for summer than ever before.

Happy weekend, all!


Crispy Baked Tofu with Marinara

April 25, 2012

Last week when I posted a picture of the tofu I had in my lunch from dinner the night before, I got a lot of requests for the recipe. Honestly, I haven’t had much success preparing tofu at home in the past. Usually it ends up getting stuck to the skillet or ends up tasting soggy and tasteless. Unless, of course, you cover it in a bunch of browned butter or calorie-dense sauce, but I guess that really negates the benefit of heating tofu for a healthy meal, doesn’t it?

Instead of sticking to what wasn’t working, I mixed things up. After consulting a few online sources, I realized that my main problem with making tofu in the past was that I wasn’t buying the right type of tofu, and even when I was, I had no idea how to prep it for cooking. 
First, the type of tofu you buy is key. For dishes like this one, you’re looking for firm or extra firm tofu that is packed in water. Don’t make the mistake of buying silken tofu, which works great in smoothies and healthy desserts but will not make a tasty addition to this dish.

Second, you need to drain some of the water from the tofu in order for it to become firm and crispy in the oven. To do this, line a dinner plate with a couple paper towels. Place the tofu block atop the paper towels and top with a couple more paper towels. Place another dinner plate atop the tofu, followed by a couple heavy cookbooks for weight. This will help drain some of the water and moisture from the tofu. Allow the tofu to drain for about 20 minutes.

My other complaint about tofu? The taste and texture. Coating the tofu in a spiced cornmeal mixture and baking the triangles in the oven was the perfect remedy to both of my complaints. The cornmeal imparted a slightly nutty, crunchy texture to otherwise soft and mushy tofu, and adding a handful of spices made all the difference in the flavor department. If you’re really a fan of bold flavor, I wouldn’t hesitate to boost the spice level a bit more to suit your tastes.

Do you all eat tofu? If so, what’s your favorite way to eat and prepare it?

Crispy Baked Tofu with Marinara

*1 large block of extra firm tofu
*1/2 cornmeal
*1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon cumin
*1 teaspoon ground mustard
*1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
*1 teaspoon chili powder
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1/2 cup Egg Beaters liquid egg whites or two large eggs, beaten well 
*2/3 cup purchased marinara sauce

*Place two paper towels on a large dinner plate. Place the block of tofu on the paper towels. Top with two additional paper towels and another dinner plate. Put a cookbook atop the dinner plate and allow the water to drain out of the tofu (this will help the tofu crisp up in the oven) for about 20 minutes. Discard paper towels.
*Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray or coat lightly with olive oil. Set aside. 
*Cut tofu lengthwise into two rectangles. Cut each rectangle into two triangles to form four triangles total.
*Place Egg Beaters or eggs in a shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl, combine the cornmeal, graham cracker crumbs, salt, cumin, ground mustard, paprika, chili powder and ground black pepper. Stir until evenly combined.
*Dip each tofu triangle into the egg mixture, followed by the cornmeal mixture, coating evenly with the dry crumbs. Transfer coated tofu to the lined baking sheet. Bake tofu for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through.
*Serve with the marinara sauce. Makes 2 servings

Happy Cooking!


No Fat Talk Tuesday: Chelsy’s Story

April 24, 2012

Today’s No Fat Talk Tuesday post comes to us from Chelsy. She is a longtime Espresso and Cream reader (and recently won the Chobani giveaway), and blogs about food and life over at Mangia. Chelsy brings a unique perspective to the series, having majored in Kinesiology. And in May she will officially be a certified ACE personal trainer. It’s amazing to read her story of how she came to be such a healthy, beautiful and confident woman. Thanks for sharing, Chelsy! – Madison
Ciao lovely readers of Espresso and Cream! I have been following Espresso and Cream since the beginning of time, and when Madison started her No Fat Talk Tuesday pledge I was super excited! I thought that this was the ultimate test for me, to see if I had the strength and courage to tell my story. Before today, not even my best friend or closest relative knew of my story.
I guess they are going to know now. I started to develop issues with my body image around the 7th grade. I attended a private, catholic school, where I was required to wear uniforms and forbidden to even think about wearing a drop of makeup. However, that didn’t stop my friends and I from sneaking our hot pink lip-stick and bombshell red blush. Now, I wasn’t the skinniest girl in the group, but I wasn’t overweight either. I also was really active in school, on drill team, then basketball, and head cheerleader in Jr. High. However, I always felt the need to compare myself to other girls, who were skinnier and had “boyfriends”, and there I was no boyfriend, and 145 pounds! I felt like no one was ever going to love me, beside my parents who told me they loved me every single day. At such a young age, I thought “they have to say that,” and I just wanted to yell at them and say, “then why don’t I have a boyfriend like the other girls.”
Fast forward to the summer before my sophomore year of high school. I was really active all summer, swimming, riding my back, and even running with my younger sister who was an elite athlete. I remember that one day my younger cousin, Tyler, came over and he had lost 15 pounds! He looked great and when I asked him what he was doing, he told me it was this little diet known as the Atkins diet. I was sold. So, I started doing the Atkins diet with him and lost about 20 pounds. When I went back to school after summer every one was baffled about how great I looked and the compliments just kept rolling.
The problem was, after being off carbs for so long, you feel like carbs are off limits for the rest of your life. This was a problem. At the time I was still playing basketball and was a cheerleader, so I needed healthy carbs to keep my energy up. I started skipping lunch, and the next thing I knew I was eating “low-carb” toast with 1/2 cup of peanut butter and “low-carb” ice cream for dinner every night. Then, I started counting calories, and scheduling my meals, avoiding family events, and always making excuses when people would ask me out to lunch by saying things like “oh I already ate,” or “I’m still stuffed from breakfast.” It was as thought I had this little person in the back of my head telling me that if I ate lunch, I was going to gain a pound or two. My eating habits continued like this throughout high school and into my first year of college. By now I had lost at least 10 more pounds and was hovering somewhere between 110-112 pounds. 
 Now, on a girl who is 5’7 you can imagine how thin I looked. My freshmen year of college I started to take a p.e. class, and although I ran every single day, I found it difficult to lift weights, or perform a 1 mile run test for time. I still kept avoiding lunch. What’s worse is that I think my teachers knew that I had an eating disorder, yet none of them approached me. Thank god for my parents and my sister because they approached me and tried to intervene twice. I made excuses for myself every time, saying things like “it’s my body,” and “I look fine.”
Third time was the charm, I was about 100 pounds, and I finally agreed to admit myself to an eating disorder clinic. I went twice and then things took a turn for the worse in my family. I would share this event but it’s too personal. After all was said and done, I took it upon myself to get my act together. I started seeing a nutritionist once per week and stopped exercising every single day. I also started allowing myself to have a dessert every day. I was determined to get healthy all by myself. I did it. It took two years and I did it! I gained close to 30 pounds and my weight fluctuates somewhere between 128 and 130. 
Not only do I look healthy, but I feel healthy, I eat three square meals, a couple of snacks when I am hungry, and because I am a food blogger, I have dessert more than 3 times a week. You know what? I am the happiest that I have ever been in my entire life. I look back on my struggle with anorexia and disordered eating and I think to myself…”I could have died.” Without the love and support of my family, I don’t think I would be alive today. Here is a tid-bit, I majored in Kinesiology and I will be a certified ACE personal trainer at the beginning of May…whoo-hoo! I hope that you will share my story with others and really take it upon your-self to help others who are going through the same thing. It can make a difference in the end. Believe me.
 I’m looking for more women who are willing to share their No Fat Talk story with others! If you’re interested in doing a guest post on No Fat Talk Tuesday, email me ( for more information!