“Why is it that everybody else has it all together
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and I don't?”
A theme I've heard a few different times this past week
A meal shared with a group of friends.
“I look at my days .. and it seems there's never enough time to do it all. My house is a mess, the checkbook hasn't been balanced for a week, there's writing I'd like to finish, and I really miss talking with my husband”
Nearly every head nodded in agreement
“You guys, you're able to do it all. Will somebody let me in on the secret?”
I looked at each of us; strong women in own right. Raising families, navigating careers, volunteering, managing households, pets, aging parents, friendships, healthy living, and everything else in between.
Who says we aren't accomplishing enough?
Midpoint testing for our latest group of fitness/nutrition challengers. Each person shared some of their accomplishments and things they'd like to do differently during the next five weeks. More than a few ended with a sigh
“I wish I was doing as well as everyone else”
I scanned the list of their successes, scribbled hastily on my notepad, and remembered the stats. Everyone is noticeably smaller, and most important changing shape. There's a newfound spring in their step and air joy in their spirit.
The changes they've made with eating habits are non-trivial. Most have given up caffeine and alcohol, are sleeping better, have more energy, and feel stronger.
Who says they aren't making progress?
I think about it often; this era of social media we find ourselves living in. The ability to peer behind the drawn curtain and catch intimate glimpses into the lives of other people, in a way that didn't exist in the not so distant past
Many would argue greatness has come from it all; more friendships, sharing of information, and newfound inspiration. All of which can certainly be argued as being good. Though I've begun to wonder if we ever pause to consider the cost
Especially when it comes to the ease in which these online spaces have given us .. to compare ourselves to others
All of this newfound access offering images of perfect-looking lives .. those that seem far better-lived. The truth is .. so much of what we see and share are curated bits of someone else's days .. with no accompanying back-story .. or comparison against the whole. The snapshot of their best self .. compared in our minds .. against our worst self.
It doesn't take long for unrest to find a permanent residence, somewhere in our spirit.
February is one of my favorite months, a month for celebrating love. I sincerely hope we're extending love and kindness to ourselves as well.
To see the myth for what it really is. To stop the madness of trying to live a share-worthy life. To realize our worth is far greater than the number of likes or online friends the world loves to tally. To step away from the pull of the screens. To breathe deeply and re-find our center. To recommit, prioritize, and focus on what truly matters .. to us
Every woman around the table that evening, beautiful and accomplished in their own right. The world is a better place because she's in it.
Every challenge member in the circle that morning, caring enough about their health to continue on. The willingness to be a little bit better every day.
Who says we aren't keeping it together?
For those who follow The Veggies, this recipe will be familiar. Originally published in February 2013 as part of our Recipes from Around the World Food Swap
Mongolian beef is always a favorite for beef lovers at Chinese restaurants. Here flank steak is cut against the grain, into bite-sized chunks, lightly dusted with arrowroot powder, seared on a cast iron pan, and then covered with a pretty amazing sauce.
The beef turns out tender. The sauce is incredibly versatile. If beef isn't your favorite, chicken can be substituted. It's also delicious brushed on grilled salmon.
ps: To make the meat easier to cut .. put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes beforehand
~ Adapted from Top Secret Recipes
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- ½ tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
- ½ cup soy sauce (or coconut aminos if you're avoiding soy)
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar (or Turbinado sugar)
- ¼ - ½ cup coconut oil
- 1 lb flank steak sliced against the grain into ¼" thick bite-size slices
- ¼ cup cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
- 3-4 large green onions, sliced on the diagonal into one-inch lengths
- Cooked Brown Rice
- Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over med/low heat (** be careful not to let the oil get too hot or it will splatter as you're adding the other ingredients)
- Add the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and water
- Add the brown sugar, whisking until it has dissolved
- Increase the heat to medium and (stirring frequently) allow the sauce to boil for a couple of minutes, or until it has thickened
- Remove from heat
- Slice the flank steak against the grain, into ¼-inch thick bite-size slices (Tilt the blade of your knife at about a forty-five-degree angle to the top of the steak so that you get wider cuts).
- Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef.
- Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes
- As the beef sits, coat your wok with a good layer of coconut oil (no worries if you don't have a wok - a heavy bottom skillet will work too)
- Heat the oil over medium heat until it’s nice and hot, but not smoking
- Add the beef to the wok in batches, and saute for 2 - 3 minutes, or until the beef has just begun to darken around the edges.
- Stir the meat around a bit, allowing it to cook evenly. (The idea here is to give the meat a good amount of surface area - essentially allowing it to sear on each side. Also, don’t worry about thorough cooking because the beef will soon be returning to the heat)
- After each batch, set the meat aside onto a plate.
- Put the wok (or pan) back over the heat and add the seared meat back, allowing it to simmer for a minute. Add the sauce, cook for another minute
- While stirring, add the green onions
- Cook for one more minute, and then remove the beef and onions with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate (Leave the excess sauce behind in the pan)
- Serve with rice