I Am More Than Food

Strange way to start a post on a food blog, right? I’ll get to that in a minute  :)

We got so much stuff done today! Cleaned the house, washed the car, Nick changed the oil in the car and truck, we ran, we had a good dinner, and a dessert is on the way! Whew!

First, the run. I was not looking forward to it. I mean, it was beautiful today so I wanted to go, but the last few times I’ve been running had been pretty bad with the side stitches. We ended up running for about 27 minutes today, and it wasn’t bad! I still had a few side stitches, but I tried to concentrate on deep, deep breathing to see if they would go away. They did come back a few times, but they didn’t stick around for the entire run, thank goodness! I was running slower than normal, but I think I may need to not worry about speed right now and just run as slow as I need to while working on controlling these stupid side stitches. At least there’s hope!


Dinner turned out really good. Not a meal I would normally want with this nice spring weather, but comforting anyway.


Smoky Shepherd’s Pie – Serves 6-8


  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt, pepper
  • 2 tsp flour


  • 1.5 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup fat free buttermilk
  • .75 oz. smoked cheddar
  1. Peel and dice potatoes and put in pot of cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, heat pan to medium/high heat and add ground beef. Cook until browned, breaking up while cooking.
  3. Add onions and carrots into ground beef mixture. Let cook 5 minutes or until softened.
  4. Add mushrooms to meat mixture and let cook 5 minutes until mushrooms are softened.
  5. Add tomato paste, paprika, W sauce, salt and pepper into the meat mixture. Add in flour and stir until combined.
  6. Warm buttermilk in microwave about 30 seconds.
  7. Mash potatoes with buttermilk and smoked cheddar.
  8. Pour meat mixture into baking dish and top with potatoes.
  9. Sprinkle top with more smoked paprika.
  10. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.

The smoky cheddar in the potatoes was the best part of this dish – so good! And I didn’t need much of the cheese to get that flavor, which is good because it was expensive :)


Forbidden Foods Challenge

What a loaded challenge this turned out to be.

Basically, Vani put us to the challenge of buying what food we just wouldn’t let ourselves have – for whatever reason – and enjoying it in a healthy way. I decided that mine would “officially” be the coconut milk ice cream.

I’ve figured out a few things about myself over this past week, and I’ve decided to be like Vani and bullet-point my way through these  :)

  • I’ve had that ice cream twice since I bought it. I enjoyed it the times I had it, but haven’t had any crazy urges to go grab the pint out of the freezer and just dig in. Does that mean it will always be like that? No, but I’m surprised that nothing like that happened since this is the first time I’ve let myself buy it.
  • Any food can be a “forbidden food” for me – the food itself does not matter. It’s all about my mindset – period.
  • This whole “last day of my WW week” has been throwing me off a bit the past few weeks. I had enough of my weekly points left to enjoy the one serving of cadbury mini eggs and jelly beans, but not the reese’s egg. I’m not that worried about it, but my whole mindset on Saturdays is not good. I did really well until yesterday afternoon and something changed. I still had points left to enjoy the treats later that night, but I started getting into the “it’s the end of my week and my points reset tomorrow so I better use all of them before I lose them”. Then, once I had gone over them by a few with the reese’s egg, that all-or-nothing thinking started to creep in – my mind / belly? was telling me I might as well eat however much I want now since I was already over my “points”, but I didn’t. I’m not always successfull with that, but I’ve been trying to not give in to the all-or-nothing mentality because it’s just not good in any situation.


What do these mean for me?

I honestly don’t know right now.

I need to stop thinking of everything on a “weekly” basis so I don’t have this entitlement day at the end of the week where I convince myself I need to have this or that just because I have the points left and I’m going to “lose” them if I don’t use them that day. Getting away from that ultimately means getting away from WW because it’s based on each week. I don’t know that I’m ready to completely give up WW yet, only because it’s such an ingrained habit that there’s no way I can completely “give it up” in one week.

I’ve still got a lot of thinking to do, but I am so so glad I participated in this challenge. It has made me think more about what I want and need to do to be happy in this area of my life.

So what does the title have to do with this post? I was reading through a Self magazine today and saw this quote that hit me:

I am more than food, I am stronger than a craving, I am more complicated than a habit, and I am more thoughtful than a mindless eater.


Perfect timing for that, huh?  :)

If you’re still reading, thanks! I know this was long, but needed. I feel so much better after doing this challenge – I know I have a lot of work to do in figuring this out, but I think this challenge has definitely pushed me in the right direction.


  1. Brandi, your posts always totally hit home for me… maybe its the WW kinship or something, but i really needed to read that today! Since I’m feeling better, I now feel like I can go nuts and eat anything!

  2. This post REALLY hit home for me!!!!

    I’m so glad you participated in the challenge because you’ve offered a lot of really amazing insights.

  3. Great, productive day you had!!

    Glad you feel better after the challenge!!

  4. What a great reflection! I learned alot through my experience as well. That it is ok to enjoy forbidden foods in moderation :) and not feel guilty about it.

  5. Sounds like it’s a hard habit to break, but you definitely are determined, and that’s good! It takes time, like you said and you’ll do great!

  6. What a great dinner, and great job with the challenge!

  7. brandi, i’m glad the challenge was so meaningful to you! i totally understand what you’re saying about the “use them before you lose them” mentality with the points and then figuring the day’s a lost cause when you’ve gone over. you did an amazing job not giving in to that feeling and eating the whole bag even though you felt like you “might as well.” (though the intuitive eating ladies would say “eat them all if you want them all” because that’s the only way they’ll lose forbidden status completely)

    when you are ready to move away from the ww, i think your instincts will naturally serve you well, but it’s a scary change to make when you’ve had that supportive structure for so long! go at your own pace (with the running, too!) because there’s no rush to leave it behind. little steps are best!

  8. Awesome thoughts, Brandi. I think you are well on your way to being a “normal” eater and I 100% support you along the way.

  9. What a great forbidden food!

    You and I are definitely working through some similar things lately. It was so nice to read this post after a weekend of making some big decisions about my own approach to things. I’m still feeling great about them, but it was a tough thing for me to do. If it’s time to change your approach, I think you’ll know. Going back and reading my thoughts over the last few months really helped me to focus in on things. Thank you for your lovely post.

    You are doing so well, and good job with the running too! :-)

  10. Pingback: Spring Cleaning « Fit for Free

  11. I made this Shepherd’s pie to bring to my mom at work (hospital) last night. I hope she likes it! I added green beans. I (biased) believe it turned out great!! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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