Category Archives: books

Reconnect with your Intuition

One of the great books I read while being MIA was ‘Intuitive Eating’

A lot of things became clear while reading this.
I realised that although I was not on a diet in the strict sense of that word, I still was thinking of food in a very black and white way, eating things I thought I should be eating in the amount I thought that was appropriate, letting my mind dictate my eating habits instead of my body.

The bottom line is that I deprived myself, not just from sweets and stuff, but mostly from those (scary little?) carbs. As a result I felt more and more out of control around a lot of food and overate like there would be no tomorrow. Add the stress of moving and examinations to that and you know how a monster gets created.

I knew something had to change but I also thought that I just had to be more strict and have more willpower to eat the healthy things and everything would be fine in the end. Well guess what, the more harsh you get on yourself, the more likely it is that it is not going to work out.

And this is where I thought about ordering that intuitive eating book I read about a couple of times, couldn’t hurt right?

It turns out to be a life saviour!

It might seem paradoxical but as soon as you are truly willing to let yourself eat anything you want, the undeniable urge to eat  everything in your cabinets vanishes. While I’m still in the first phase of intuitive eating and thus still experimenting with that ‘unconditional permission to eat things’ (i.e. eat sweets just to prove to myself that I really can) I notice I haven’t been craving sweets and carbs like I used to and can eat smaller portions of them than I could ever before and feel satisfied while doing it.

I’ll definitely keep you posted about the process!

Love, M.

Take Me Out

Let me sniff flowers

Feed me loads of fruits and veggies

Snack plate with tomato, radishes, broccoli and cucumber dip,
grapes, a peach and melon.

Lamb’s lettuce, raw broccoli with more spinach dip, rashes, melon, carrots and coleslaw with soy nuggets

Show me magic

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern,
go buy this pronto, install yourself in a chair in the back yard with a plate of watermelon and prepare to be swept away into a world were dreams come true.

Love, M.

Let the Games Begin

I finally got my hands on a Hunger Games edition!

I’ve been looking for these series for over a year, but they could not be found anywhere in Belgium. Thank god for the people who decided to make a movie out of it, otherwise I might have never found the book at all.
I finished this book in two days. It where busy days filled with classes and social ‘events’ but I just had to read every spare moment I had!

I can’t wait to see the movie but most of all I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Locating them will be another problem I guess ;).

Now I’m off to study for a while,work on a paper and prepare dinner.
I’m taking another yoga class tonight as yesterday’s noon class was really invigorating and I’ve finally come to the point that I can walk down the stairs and not feel every muscle in my body aching the days after that type of yoga class. I am keeping it low key with an easy flow class though, one ashtanga class a week is plenty for now.

Love, M.

Some Things that made me go: ‘Hooray!’

1. Crazy Fruit Salad Combinations

Pink Lady Apple, Khaki (persimon), kiwi, avocado

2. Yoga Member Card

I am falling in love with yoga all over again, deciding to try yoga classes might just be the best decision I made this year.

3. New Tea Flavours

Caramel flavoured tea

4. Leftover Pasta

Why is it pasta leftovers always taste that much better than the fresh dish??
Cannelloni stuffed with ricotta cheese, carrots, spinach, zucchini and cherry tomatoes, tomato sauce and rosemary on top.

5. Chickpea Discovery

Steamed Chickpeas: more of the vitamins, less of the sodium!

6. Late Birthday Presents

Someone knows how to make my day!

7. Quick snacks that turn out to be pretty

Kefir with chocolate granola, flax seeds and swirls of cinnamon

8. Peanut butter with more peanuts!

93%, it’s the highest percentage I can find around here

9. ‘The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake’

I borrowed (*ahum* stole) it from Daphne, so sad, so good… I can’t stop reading it

10. Chocolate Mousse


Not just any chocolate mousse though, and something special happened to it as well, more about it on this weeks Birthday Cake November entry 😉

11. Favourite Mug Ever

It tells you to ‘Make every day a happy day’
Well, thank you, I’ll try, you have a nice day as well!

Love, M.

Kitchen Sink Salads and new Reads

Somehow the salads made out of all the leftovers lying around in (and around) the fridge always turn out to be the best ones.

Somehow it also seems you can’t remember what exactly went in them when you want to try to make them next time, there always seems one thing or another missing…

that’s why today’s kitchen sink salad got documented for future use: Lamb’s lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrots, some leftover tuna, some mashed mango, vitality mix.

Quinoa on the side

Enough about salads now, let’s talk about something serious 😉 the sis and I went shopping today and she bought a super cute winter coat.

The best moment of the day was (of course) our visit to the book shop.
I couldn’t make a choice between two books and eventually the sis helped me out: she had her eyes on those two books too, so we decided to each by one and swap, so we could read both.

The sis got ‘The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake’

I went with ‘When God was a Rabbit’
(I would have bought it just for the cover, so cute) 

Another highlight today: we went for some coffee at ‘ Nosh’, and I ate a bagel for the first time in my life, a peanut butter – banana bagel…  it was pure bliss on a (cute) plate.
Next time I’m in for a breakfast treat, I know where to go.

Love, M.

Ode to my Jellicle Cat

This post is contributed to my tigerkitten, Mona

Poems by T.S. Eliot (‘Old Possum’s Book of Pratical Cats’) 

With cats, some say, one rule is true:

Don’t speak till you are spoken to.
Myself, I do not hold with that
I say, you should ad-dress a cat .

(From: ‘The Ad-dressing of Cats’)

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may thing at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have three different names. 

First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathon, George or Bill Bailey –
All of them sensible everyday names.

There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames :
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter –
But all of them sensible everyday names. 

But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride? 

Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum –
Names that never belong to more than one cat. 

But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that name that you never will guess;
The name that no human reseach can discover –
But the cat himself knows, and will never confess. 

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular name. 

(From: ‘The Naming of Cats’)

 She’s a bit daft and can be quite a handful sometimes, but I do miss her when she’s not around!

Week Two: Mindfulness and the Body

Mindfulness helps us get better at seeing the difference between what’s happening and the stories we tell ourselves about what’s happening, stories that get in the way of direct experience. 

In week two of Sharon Salzberg’s meditation plan the emphasis lies on mindfulness with regard to our own bodies.

Now that we’ve practised to concentrate in the first week, we’re going to try to use that concentration to be mindful and just live in this moment.
Doing the exercises that focus on being aware of your body will also make you more aware of it when you’re not meditating.

In this week the aim is to meditate four times for 20 minutes. The focus isn’t just on breathing any more, but also on sounds that surround us and on our own physical feelings (the emotional feelings will be dealt with in next week’s program).

The different exercises go from a total body scan to a meditation on walking (I haven’t tried that one yet, but it sounds like fun). I really liked the body scan exercise, it made me feel focused and aware of my body.
It made me feel at home in my own body.

Trying to be more aware of small, everyday things can really make a difference. One of the ‘mini-meditations’ mentioned in the book focuses on drinking tea in mindful way.

In my opinion, this kind of meditation is very useful for runners (or people who do other sports for that matter). I’ve noticed some minor soreness in my shin during meditation, because I was so in sync with and focused on my body.
On my next run I remembered feeling that soreness and indeed it was present, hidden behind all the endorphins, but there was certainly a bit of tightness in my shin. I wouldn’t have noticed it if I hadn’t practised meditation but now I was able to deal with it before it could become a real problem (I took it easy, put some ice on the tight spot after running) and a couple of days later the tightness was gone.

Mindfulness for Breakfast, anyone?

I’m trying to be more mindful in everyday life, and I’m particularly trying to eat more mindful: not just wolfing down whatever’s in front of me, but trying to really taste and enjoy it. It’s really hard though, I’ve only succeeded in this a couple of times, most of the time I only think about trying to be mindful after I’ve finished my plate, whoops 😉

Mindfulness isn’t difficult,
we just need to remember to do it.

Next post on this subject will be about the third week of this program, mindfulness and emotions.

Other posts on this subject:
Real Happiness: the Power of Meditation
Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation – Introductory Post
Week One: Concentration

Monday’s Tale

I woke up with a head full of cotton wool…

that, or a small rodent decided to build his nest in my nasal cavities and sinuses while I was asleep.

My tea stash, in combination with the café mocha I had from the coffee machine during American literature, really saved my life today.

Here’s what I ate:

Stove cooked oats with flax seeds and sauté apples with cinnamon sprinkles
I haven’t had sauté apples in ages! Just slice the apples and heat them in a skillet on medium heat with some olive oil, sprinkle with cinnamon. Super yummy as a snack and as an oatmeal topping. Nice and comforty too.

I’m proud to announce that avocado is back in my life!

Dear Avocado,
I don’t know how I’ve done without you all this time, I promise you, from now on, nothing can separate us  ever again!

Lovely grilled sandwich with: mashed avocado and black pepper, slices of tomato and courgette and some hummus.
If you thought melted hummus was great, you should really try the melted hummus and melted avocado combo.

Daphne’s soup for dinner, great to fight off the germs.
It has carrots in it, and tomato, and celery and a lot of other stuff but I forgot, I should ask her… I’ll post the recipe as soon as I’ve asked her !

Here’s what I did:

I went to my Latin linguistics class and had a meet up with my professor after that to talk about my bachelor paper, which will be on Macrobius’ view on Roman Religion (which probably doesn’t sound familiar let alone interesting to you guys, but I’m pretty excited about the research I’m going to do, I can’t wait to get started on it).

I did some groceries, tried to decipher my notes from the linguistics class (why do I always seem to write in some secret code?!)

After lunch we had our first class of American Literature, the previous years we only had English literature, and I must say it’s quite fatiguing to listen to an American accent when you’re used to taking notes to a British accent (okay, we had a semi-Irish lad once too, now that was hard work!).

One striking thing in this class was when the professor was talking about the establishment of a literary tradition and he said :
‘It’s usually small things that drive history’ ( something with beaver hats and why North America got discovered, I’m not going to bore you with the details ;)).

So from now on, I’m going to let the small things count as well, if small things can make history, they can just as well make my day, right?

My body is craving some yoga and a good night sleep,
so that’s what I’m going to give it.

Love, M.

Week One : Concentration

‘Breathing and the art of starting over again’

Week One of Salzberg’s meditation program focuses on concentration. Concentration is all about calming and focusing your attention, this will make you feel re-energised.

Being concentrated is going to help you to be mindful and is going to combat the ‘foggy’ feeling of everyday life with all its worries and external distractions.

Fussy everyday life

The exercises of the first week focus primarily on breathing.
In this first week the aim is to meditate 3 times a week for 20 minutes.
It sounds a bit hard, 20 minutes seem like an eternity if you put it like this  but the book also says you can start with 10 minutes and built it up from there on if you’re a bit intimidated by it.

20 minutes seemed impossible for me as well, so I started my first session with 15 minutes, as these went by surprisingly quick I decided to try 20 from then onwards.

A bit of focus puts things into another perspective 

It’s not trying to focus for as long as possible that’s important, but learning to let things go without judging them. This will show you that you have the ability to start over and it will make you less harsh on yourself.

For my own meditations I mainly focused on the first exercise the book mentions. You just have to sit (or lie) down in an easy position and focus on your breathing. Inevitably you will start to think about other stuff and at that moment you just have to realize you’re not focused any more, without connoting the action (don’t be mad, don’t feel like a failure, or if it’s a happy thought, don’t try to hold on to it) just accept you’re thinking about something else, let that thought drift away and try to focus on your breathing again.

Personally, I think it’s useful to write down some notes (I took notes in my diary), just write down which exercise you tried, for how long you did it and a few key words that show how you felt. Some of the key words I used this week : focused, worried, sleepy (I wrote down sleepy a lot ;)), contented, relaxed.

‘Success in meditation isn’t measured by what happens to us, but with how we deal with things that happen.’

Side note: I read this book in Dutch so my use of terms can be a bit vague, as can the quotes be, cause I translated them into English.

Next post on this subject will be about the second week of the program, mindfulness and the body.

Other posts on this subject:
Real Happiness: the Power of Meditation
Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation – Introductory Post

Friday Randomness

A post with all the random things I can’t seem to cram in other posts but still would like to share with you

Random Thought 1

Today I realized that there aren’t really a lot of pictures of me hanging around on the blog ( just a few vague ones) and I thought you guys might want to be able to put a face to the voice that’s trying to force you to eat oatmeal every day 😉

So here it goes:

This, my friends, is what your host looks like after a week of college, 6 hours of sleep and wearing no make-up (so sorry for those purple bags under my eyes)

Look at this sweater!! It’s my favourite sweater, it’s cute and it’s easy and just perfect! I’m a six-year-old deep inside, no doubt about it

Random thought 2

We have to read this book on philosophy for my Latin Literature class, and I’ve really been dreading to start to read it.
I’ve had some bad experiences with previous philosophy classes I’ve taken: either the teachers were total asses who thought the sun revolved around them or they were like reanimated corpses that weren’t able to make it even a tiny bit interesting.
I was really surprised that I actually liked the book when I started reading it.

Pierre Hadot’s ‘Philosophy as a Way of Life’ if anyone’s interested.
Don’t mind the chestnuts, I was too lazy to put them some places else so I just left them where they were 😉

Random thought 3

I might have found the ideal salad combination, I’ve been eating it every night for a week now and I will be eating it until I can’t even stand the smell of lamb’s lettuce any more 😉
(this is were the lamb’s lettuce for those Green Monsters has been coming from btw)

Lamb’s lettuce, tomato, zucchini and pieces of tangerine with some pepper and oregano on top 

Some crackers with sesame seeds topped with aubergine salsa

Quote of the day

You can’t be happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes

From: ‘Delirium’ by Lauren Oliver

Song of the day

I’ve had this song stuck in my head for 3 days now, so pretty

That’s enough random stuff for one post I guess, don’t want to overwhelm you guys too much with my weird line of thought

Love, M.