Get Yourself A Pedicure

Yesterday was the most glorious day up here in Seattle.  Blue, sunny, and warm enough to wear a t-shirt if you were out doing something energetic like leaf-blowing, hiking to a pretty lake, or lugging 30lb tubs of cat litter from your car to the garage.  I wasn’t doing any of those things, but if I had been I’d have been in a t-shirt for sure.  The weather was all the more remarkable because it was November 8th.  NOVEMBER 8th!!!  Last weekend the sun was setting at 6 pm, this week it’s dipping its lights at 4:40.  Suddenly it’s all go to work in the dark and come home from work in the dark.  And it all happened so quickly.  Looking back, the whole year happened quickly, although it sure didn’t feel like it for much of the time.

November a year ago I was just getting ready to embark upon my third cookbook.  On a side note, I made this dish from that book on Friday night when a friend came over for dinner, and boy! did we both have happy mouths afterwards.

This November I have just come off 2 heady months of fantastical road-tripping and shooting.  How’s that for a shifting of gears and focus.

So much has happened in the last 12 months, and it’s a whole new world over at the Brown house and Marmalade HQ – all of it unexpected, and all of it good – but I am definitely having to recalibrate my thinking in order to navigate these new territories I find myself charting.  One of those territories is self-care.  Self-care has taken on a completely new meaning this last year, and it has become a hugely important aspect of my being in the world.

I learned that self-care – which looks different for everyone – is vital to surviving and thriving in this crazy world.  I learned that self-care – a happy, healthy, balanced Carrie – is the best thing that I can offer to the people who are important to me.  When I mention ‘people that are important to me’, I want you to know that includes you.  Yes, YOU.  Even though I know almost none of you personally, I care about your health and well-being.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this blog or creating new *SANE recipes for you.  During the course of what has been an entirely crazy year, it has occurred to me more than a few hundred times that for me to give you what you deserve from my work, I need to be the best Carrie I can be – and that requires self-care.  You don’t deserve a tired, stressed, overwhelmed, and out-of-balance Carrie.  You deserve the best – my whole creative self, my energy, my passion, and yes, my love.  Sorry for the sap but it’s true.  Just keepin’ it real.

So this year I’ve been working on self-care, although admittedly it took a crisis for me to recognize that it was vital to my existence as well as making me more useful to the world.  In addition I learned that being healthy includes so many more things than eating good food and exercising.  Like pedicures.  Pedicures are definitely included in my own personal version of self-care.

It used to be that I equated pedicures with getting color on my toenails, something that I was more than capable of achieving myself and without having to get dressed, pull the car out the garage, drive, be trapped in a chair for an hour with someone who spoke a different language, wait, pay $30, and then drive again.  Yes.  I could definitely paint my own toenails – so much faster, cheaper, and more effectively than having someone else do it.  Nowadays I see pedicures in a whole new light, which is why today I had a pedicure that did not include getting color on my toenails.  Wait.  What??

Pedicures mean a blissful hour out of the house and away from the bajillion things within it clamoring for my attention.  For an hour I sit still and listen to beautiful, soothing music.  My back and neck get a relaxing deep tissue massage while I loll in an oh-so-comfortable leather chair. For 60 magical minutes I experience the healing powers of human touch as my feet and lower legs are massaged, exfoliated, and richly moisturized.  One glorious hour of freedom from all forms of technology.  Heavens to Betsy!  That’s time to think – or not – as the mood takes me.  The rough, gnarly bits that build up on my heels are gently smoothed away.  There’s toenail and cuticle trimming, and swathes of skin-softening moisturizer.  Which all adds up to an hour of peace, quiet, rest, and relaxation – something that is impossible to build into a 2½-minute lick of color to my toenails while sitting crouched on my bathroom floor listening to the *ping, ping, ping* of my cell phone and laptop merrily demanding attention.  Toenail polish aside, when you’re in the house how hard is it to just sit and be for an hour?  How often do you allow yourself to lie on the couch listening to beautiful music after having switched off all forms of electronic gadgetry?  Yep.  One year later and I’m all about the health benefits of getting my tootsies done at a salon.

So I just wanted to stop by and share my new-found take on the magical powers of the humble pedicure.  Pedicures, I have concluded, are sane.  Maybe not all in capitals, given that they are not something one ingests, but definitely sane.  Over the last year I have come to recognize that not only do we need *SANE, we also need sane.  Things like the things in this list.  And pedicures.  Go on, go get yourself one.

Whatever makes you feel good, do more of that.



*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

Tina Kuhnline - Thank you, Carrie. You’re right, we all need some time to do something else. Maybe something girly. I’m happy that you have taken the time to relax and do something other than work (for us).Good for you!

Wren - Great reminder. When it gets cooler I normally skip pedicures with the thought that no one will be seeing my toes until spring when I bring the flip flops and sandals back out. But it is so much more than just color on my toes. My friend and I were discussing today how long it had been since we’d both had a facial. Your blog is a second push in that direction so I’m putting that on my to do list for the coming week. Btw, I had cheesy cauliflower for dinner tonite, with a protein bar and minty chocolate pudding for dessert. Yum! The rest of the family had grilled cheese sandwiches (boo).

Ellen - What a great way to reward and pamper yourself. Glad to know you’re taking care of yourself, dear friend! And your pedi sounds like a much fancier version of the ones I get here in GA. I’m envious!
Have an awesome week!!

Gary - I have known about the importance of self-care for a long time now, but my knowledge of it hasn’t kept me from falling out of good habits from time to time.

Most recently, I decided that I must become a better cook for myself (and I wasn’t bad to start with). To me, becoming a better cook means adding to my understanding of what brings flavor and nutrition in meals that I make for myself daily.

It is true that keeping a full pantry is part of being able to make good meals when I get home from work, for dinner and the next day. And as a small, but significant part of being able to do this, I realized I must be better organized and vigilant about keeping a good pantry.

So, having bought three 5-lb organic chickens on sale for $5.00 each, I placed two of them in the freezer. With the other, I made enough stock to load the freezer with 10 one-cup portions, ready to pull out whenever I have a recipe that calls for stock. I also made a meal from some of the stock to which I added some of the chicken and vegetables. How satisfying! And then I made mayonnaise with pure olive oil (avoiding all seed oil) with which I made chicken salad for three meals from the meat used to make the stock.

None of this was difficult. It was a matter of staying organized and reserving a bit of time for cooking outside of that done for meals. Keeping a good pantry and making good meals for myself every day makes me feel good because eating well is an important part of taking care of myself. Being able to make SANE meals the way I like them is key to staying SANE and feeling emotionally and physically good.

Deb sanders - You never fail to bring a tear to my eye. I was just thinking that we hadn’t heard from you lately, and I was worried about you. So, glad to hear you are doing better than ever. Keep on pampering yourself. You are worth it.

Dr Mike Keen - Ditto……nem con……..loadsa love xx

Suzanne - I love this post, Carrie! You have an amazing way of reaching out to people. You are just common sense and no nonsense! I sure love ya and miss ya – we need to get together soon! :)

I Took Another Drive, Or Two

I do like a good drive. Driving is so much more to me than merely getting from A to B. It is my nirvana; the only thing that quiets my brain other than yoga. I can drive for hours and hours on end and experience deep peace and happiness. It’s pretty darn beautiful. I’ll road trip at any given opportunity, and, as the weather around here has been remarkably congenial for September, opportunities have abounded.  I wasn’t going to waste them since I finally managed to lever my body off the couch, and I’ve made it my business to haul my a** over every mountain pass in Washington – or at least the ones within a days drive of my humble abode.

The majority of the passes close when the snow flies, so the race is on to get them all traversed before winter. Heaven forbid that I could let there be a break in the proceedings and do some of them in the Spring. Nope. All before winter. Oh! the joys of being an all-or-nothing kind of gal – I can just picture my therapist shaking his head and rolling his eyes. Update: he did.

A few Sundays back it was the turn of Chinook Pass to surprise and delight me, which required first hopping over Snoqualmie Pass to Ellensburg – I highly recommend taking the 10 instead of the I-90 – veering right over Manastash Ridge to Yakima, and then turning right again to head West over Chinook Pass before ending up at the eastside base of Mount Rainier on Cayuse Pass, followed by Crystal to Greenwater Pass.

The weather was ridiculous.  Join me for a pictorial re-run.

A week later I continued my quest to traverse every Pass in driving distance by heading up Cascade Pass – the route to which involved an awful lot of washboard-y, pothole-y, gravel-y awesomeness. It’s one of those side roads that gets skinnier and skinnier the higher you go, leaving you wondering if you are going to run out of something to drive on before you get to the top, or at least a worthwhile view of something. The end of the “road” did not disappoint. Mid-day sunshine is arguably the worst time to photograph anything, but even so, you get the idea of how stunning the Cascade Mountains are.

Whatever makes you feel good – do more of that.




*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

Suzanne - Thank you for sharing your adventure. You’ve inspired me to grab my camera and venture out into the Autumn air back here in the Northeast. Gorgeous day here for it too. Thank you for waking up in me two things I do love. Nature and photography. To say nothing of my feline children – usually the subjects of my photos.

And thank you for reinforcing something we should all think about today and every day: Whatever makes you feel good, do more of that.

helen - Oh, Washington, I miss you so!!

wren - You have so many talents Carrie! Photography is definitely one of them. My favorite shot was of the river and the water rushing over the stones. Really one of those photos that makes you want to be there. Actually a lot of them were like that.

Funny… “do more of what makes you happy” is also a favorite saying of mine. For me, I get my happiness from dancing (Zumba), teaching fitness classes, gardening, my horses, my family, vacations, scuba diving, etc. and lately from cooking your recipes! This morning I made Cucumber soup. The weather has chilled down considerably here in Texas and I was in the mood for soup.

Ellen - Lovely photos, as always. Makes me realize that I only scratched the surface of how awesome Washington (and Oregon) can be. Enjoy living amidst the beauty – and thanks for sharing with us!

KELLY - Wow! Beautiful photos. Glad I checked your blog today. Has been a day of crappy Oregon rain. This just perks me right up.

Dawn - Love your pictures, looks like a beautiful drive :)

Since I couldn’t find a place to comment on your recipes I thought I’d just comment here :)

Been enjoying going through your recipes. I just love the tomato soup one and tend to just put whatever veggies I want into it and it always seems to turn out tasting very similar :) It’s a terrific way to get in my veggies.

carrie - Thanks makes me super happy, Kelly!

carrie - We love living here, Helen!

The Elephant Left The Building

The other week I owned up to the elephant in the room. Announcing to the world there was a colossal beast crammed into my living room made it magically seem smaller and much more manageable, even though pushing the publish button made me want to crawl under my desk, assume the fetal position, and not poke my head out until Spring. La la la la la.

I needn’t have worried. Once it was out there the flood of virtual support I got from strangers all over the world made me wish I had outed that pesky pachyderm earlier. I hesitated for quite a while before I typed ‘strangers’ in that last sentence because I don’t think of you as strangers at all – I think of you as friends. It’s just that we don’t know each other in person, so stranger seems the most accurate word, although really not the most appropriate. My point is that a whole tanker-load of lovely people the globe over – most of who I have never met – sent emails and comments galore, full of love and support and all good things. You made this thing so much easier. The relief that washed over me for the next several days after I unloaded the burden was immense. THANK YOU.

So many of you have written since, wanting to hear that I am OK, that I am alive, safe, and on my way back. Thank you for asking. I am! As evidenced by my recent writings, weekend road trips gallivanting around the extraordinary Pacific Northwest, the dusting off of my big girl camera, pictures of my feet, and Big Breakfast Adventures galore, the elephant has all but skulked out of the room.

The cure? In my case, an anti-epileptic. A tiny amount of 6-(2,3-dichloro phenyl)-1,2,4 triazine-3, 5 diamine pressed into a little white tablet and swallowed whole every morning. I don’t even need water to get it down. Who knew?

It was like one of those new-fangled light bulbs – you flip the switch and for a few seconds it slowly gets brighter, then shazam! full-on glorious light. Yep, just like that. Almost overnight I was back to being the real Carrie Brown – the passion, the get-up-and-go, the loving of life, the humor, and the energy. I wanted to race out and do all the things that had brought me so much joy in the past – I had the desire to shoot, to write, to cook, to travel, to help and inspire those around me.

For 8 scary, tortuous months I wondered if I would ever feel joy again – because for those 8 months I felt nothing. I was numb and empty and every single day I wanted my life to end. I longed for the sweet relief that death would bring to my tormented conscience. Every day I went into battle to fend off the waves of suicidal thoughts that crashed upon the shores of my mind. Like a hurricane bearing down – unwelcomed and unrelenting – battering me slowly to death, no shelter in sight and nowhere to run to to get out of the storm. Oh how thankful I am for the miracles of modern medicine! After a couple of weeks taking small white pills the suicidal thoughts stopped just as quickly as they had started raining down on me back in January. There were other things, too, that helped while I was in the slowly-getting-brighter phase, but in the end my brain just needed a little dose of chemical to get everything hooked back up again.

I am sure there are those who will criticize and condemn my choice to medicate. I don’t give a damn – because I am not risking my life to keep a handful of anti-pill-poppers quiet. There may be people out there who think that my brain hiccup was caused by my hardcore *SANE diet. Let me assure you that I embarked on my hardcore SANE diet in response to both my adrenal glands and my brain going offline, not the other way around. I can only imagine the additional chaos that would have ensued had I been pumping my body full of edible product instead of real, fresh, whole foods. *SANEity may well have saved my life by not putting additional stress on my system. On the other hand there may be people out there who think all suicidal depression is simply a matter of eating the right foods. If someone would please let me know what food contains 6-(2,3-dichloro phenyl)-1,2,4 triazine-3, 5 diamine – or has the same effect on brain chemistry – I will happily munch on it until the cows come home, because heaven knows my diet was as perfect as it could be during the 8 long months that my brain wanted to kill me. Until such a food shows up I’ll merrily keep taking my little white pill – for the rest of my life if need be – because I DO NOT WANT TO SPEND EVEN ONE. MORE. HOUR. FEELING THE WAY I DID FOR THE FIRST 8 MONTHS OF THIS YEAR. It was just in the nick of time when they suggested an anti-epileptic. I was right at the end of my rope.  Yes I am taking a pill every day, but guess what?  I’M ALIVE.

Depression is extremely complex. Some people are able to control it with diet – I’ve had emails up the ying-yang from people whose depression has lifted since they started a SANE lifestyle. Oh how I wish that was the answer for everyone. An anti-epileptic won’t work for everyone either, although I am grateful beyond words that it is working for me. For 7 months we tried all sorts of other drugs in varying amounts and combinations to try and flip that switch. Regrettably, with depression, it typically comes down to trial and error and whether you can find the right thing in time – before you simply cannot survive the mental and emotional torment for one more minute.

After publishing The Elephant Post I shared the link on my public Facebook page.  It was a few days later and with considerable trepidation that I decided to share the link on my personal page as well. Why trepidation? For reasons that I don’t quite understand it was easy to share it with the world. Sharing it with people who I have a relationship with in real life was immeasurably harder.  I have work colleagues on my Facebook.  Heck, my boss is on my Facebook.  They might see the link in their feed.  They might read the post.  Would it be bad if they knew?  How would they react to it?  Would they treat me differently now?  Would they stay away from me or try to avoid working with me?  Would my company try to terminate me because they imagined I could no longer do my job?  And what about my friends?  Would I lose some?  How many would hit that unfriend button?  Would they stop connecting with me for fear that when they saw me I would be a depressing, gibbering, suicidal wreck that they had no idea how to – and didn’t want to – deal with?

No one had any idea from my public behavior that anything was wrong.  Whenever I spent time with people I was the outwardly happy, bubbling, driven, oh-so-positive Carrie that they’ve always known.  They just never knew the heroic effort that went into that behavior.  So why tell them?  Why change their perception?  Why rock the boat and risk relationships?  My boss hired me in the middle of this tumultuous episode and when I asked him why he hired me he said, “Your personality, your confidence in yourself, that you are a demonstrated leader in your arena, what a great fit you would be with the team, and how you presented yourself.”  My inner turmoil was completely inconspicuous.

So why would I share something that had the capacity to change every area of my life, and not necessarily for the better?  Should I post it to my personal page but hide it from my boss and other people at work?  Why was it important that I share something so difficult?  Because the weight of keeping it to myself was becoming impossible to carry any longer; and – more importantly – because I realized that despite what others may think or do as a result of reading the post, it is what it is.  It is my reality, my truth, and therefore not something that should be hidden away in the depths of the closet, never to be spoken of.  It’s been the major part of my life for the last 8 months and  I felt that to keep it from people was not being honest.  Heaven knows I have the inner strength to deal with whatever fallout that might come my way.  If I could get through the last 8 months, I could deal with a few negative reactions without crawling off into a corner under a pile of shame and anxiety.

So I shared it on my personal page.  The results were fascinating.

Stay tuned for the next installment!


*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

Debbie Huewe - Thank you for the update Carrie. I am so happy that you found some relief from that little white pill.

Susan - It is such a relief to know you’ve found the answer to your illness/dilemma. If you have to take meds to help yourself so be it. Anyone who would criticize you for helping yourself has their own set of problems.
Best of everything to you.

Lori Pellnitz - So glad you are feeling better Carrie! Things wouldn’t be the same without you!

David - What great news Carrie. Love your attitude. Liz and I love cooking your sane recipes. Love the Ice-cream! You rock. So glad you decided to stay with us and got the help you needed.

Theresa - You will help so many with your revelations. So glad you found a solution to your pain. We love you even though we do not know you!

Andrea - Thanks Carrie for always keeping it real. The sane / paleo Eco-sphere is so filled with obsessive and all consuming thought and action; deviate and you’re a failure.

You are the 99% that includes most of the rest of us. You are real …Real is menopause… Real is mistakes… Real is depression or arthritis or unemployment. Real is REAL. And real is why I appreciate you so very much…

Andrea in Portland, OREGON

Linda - Carrie, So glad you’re feeling better! The brain is an organ that can be ill just as a kidney or liver can. Not sure why society doesn’t fully comprehend that yet. Thank you for sharing your story. In doing so , you may never know who you helped , but I’m sure more than one soul out here in cyberland was touched by your courage. Be well and happy,

Emily - Carrie, Yay for the little white pill. It gave you back to yourself and back to us, too. Thank you, LWP

Sheila - Carrie, I just learned about SANE from my doctor who recommended that I read The Calorie Myth. I am diabetic and at high risk for heart disease. We are hoping that a change in diet will allow my body to heal naturally and allow me to come off some of my medications.
I currently take a little white pill too (although a different one). It will be fine with me if I have to continue to take it as it helps me cope with anxiety and depression. There is no shame in admitting that we need medical help.
Keep up the good work; I can’t wait to try some of your yummy sounding recipes!
Sheila – a new fan!

Francesca - so glad for you, welcome back :)

Heather - Carrie, I am very lucky in that I have no idea what torments you have been going through but I am just so glad that little white pill was the key to the exit door. And long may that door stay shut behind you. It’s good to know that you have a great support network, whether that be from the person next door or the person on the other side of the world hidden behind their keyboard. We all have our own elephants … but not eveyone has the courage to boot them out that door. And let’s face it, those elephants are damned great big critters and most people’s doors are sorta people sized … so that takes a lot of doing. Good eccentric workout though :D Good on ya girl. Sending love from blighty xx

Claire - Hi Carrie, love this post, and so happy you’re coming out the other side. I too suffer from depression and am going through (again) the trial and error stage. The current meds stopped working, so I do what I’ve always done – sought the help of a medical professional. Things are rocky, but I’m trying to be ‘gentle’ with myself. Like you, on the outside I’m sociable, confident and very capable – but my brain is trying to kill me!! But just for today, the next few hours and sometimes just the next few moments, it won’t succeed. xx

JULIA - Hi Carrie, I have learnt in the last year how healing it is to share my problems, not only for me but also for those listening/reading. We are constantly comparing our insides with other peoples outsides and feeling desperately inept as a result.
I am grateful for your honesty x

Lisa - You go girl!!!

Leanda Kayess - Wow! How amazingly strong you are to have worked your way to this result whilst battling such torment each day! And a new job to boot! Hats off to you, Carrie Brown. You are amazing!

Kara - I’m so happy to read you’ve found the right meds to help you! You are an inspiration and your honesty and willingness to share your full story is refreshing. Thank you for sharing!

Ellen Garrard - Yay Carrie! You are brave and sooooo strong. Thanks for sharing. Hugs to you, beautiful friend!!

Katy Alexander - I’m so happy for you Carrie. I never realised you were going through so much pain this last year. I’m so glad you’ve got such wonderful friends and advisors helping you, but I also think you are much stronger than you realise.
Keep on truckin’,

Deidre - Amen and Amen! Congrats Carrie! Praise God you found a medicine that balanced things out!

Wren Stewart Tidwell - Carrie,
I just found out about you and your fabulous recipes today. I got Jonathan’s book a few days ago and I am so hooked! I think he’s genius. As a fitness instructor, every day I am in front of people who are trying to get healthy and lose weight. I think I might have found the secret they are all looking for and I am going to share it with every one of them!

Regarding your medication, it is OKAY. My brother is a lifelong epileptic and thank goodness that his medication keeps his seizures in check. It’s made a world of difference in his life and now he’s a successful business man who owns his own business. I’ve been thru many seizures with him as we were growing up.

I can also relate to your thoughts on dying. I was on pain medication and tons of other junk such as anti-depressants, before and after my back surgery years ago and I hated myself. I hated my life. I hated that I was bed ridden and I felt like such a burden to my family. I remember very vividly wanting to die and get it all over with. I really didn’t think I’d live much longer at the time. Thankfully exercise and the right surgeon got me out of that deep dark pit (along with prayer and Beth Moore).

Bless you! I am thankful for you and your recipes. I may not ever eat anything else but them ever again. So you might need to add more so I don’t get bored. haha!

Sylvia - Welcome back! So happy you hung in there Carrie! If a little white pill helps to keep that elephant away, then so be it and tell anyone who criticises you for taking it to “blow it out their ear”!.

Belinda - Thank you for being an example of courage to live with the honesty to state your challenges publicly. Your bravery elevates our human experience into to light of day where we can transcend any sense of shame and judgment so often experienced by those who struggle with mood disorders. Shine on!

Mallory - Carrie, I just love how brave you are to share everything you have been through while being in the sane spotlight. You inspire me and I am so happy you are feeling better. I listen to you every week and continue to admire you the more you share.

The Big Breakfast Adventure | Fiddlehead / Volterra / Fins / Saw Mill

While I was missing from here the last many months – and I still feel awful about having abandoned you – you would be forgiven for thinking that maybe I was missing from everywhere.  This is not entirely the case.  Although a very large portion of my weekends were spent holed up with my furry friends, quite a few Big Breakfast Adventures were embarked upon.  The commitment and accountability to others got me out of the house – which given the state of my brain had to be a good thing.  Afterwards, though, I felt entirely unable to write about them.  Sadly, a lot of the details have faded in the time that has passed between the devouring and now, but I still wanted to share all the fabulous *SANE food and the delightful people who I enjoyed it with.  I know many of you just love seeing where my breakfasting adventures take me and what *SANE goodness I get to eat.

Bea joined me at Fiddlehead Fine Foods in West Seattle, where they rustled up this delicious scramble with a bunch of greenery on the side, served up in their adorable dining room.  A hugely popular place for a weekend breakfast – the lines were snaking out the door well before they opened – but be warned: Nothing on the regular menu is *SANE or can be made so.  Believe me I tried.  I would have gone hungry if they hadn’t had this scramble scribbled on the Specials Board.  Alas, I no longer remember what was in it but I think it had something to do with sausage and spinach.  And cheese.  I am sure there was cheese involved.
My gracious and lovely friend, Sahara, met me at Volterra in Ballard for some truly taste-bud-tantalizing scrambles.  Sahara plumped for the Wild Mushroom Scramble – locally harvested wild mushrooms, eggs, Fontina, arugula and white truffle oil, served with Volterra hash browns which she substituted for fruit.  I wanted that too, but after I managed to coax my mind away from the whole wild mushroom thing, plumped for the Bacon, Provolone, Avocado, and Green Onion Scramble – Zoe’s bacon, imported Provolone, avocado and green onions, served with Volterra hash browns which they lovingly switched out for me with a green salad.  And oh! what a salad.  Exciting greens!  Fennel!  I cannot remember what else!  But let me tell you what a fantastic pile of green goodness that was.

We spent an inordinate amount of time oohing and ahhing over our respective plates of *SANE grub while in the grip of a fascinating conversation about Bi-Polar II and other assorted brain hiccups, before heading off to wander around the Ballard Farmers Market.  Always a delight.  It was a brilliantly sunny day and there was altogether too much fabulous farminess going on that I made Sahara stop me every time I went for my wallet.  Except when we got to the Firefly Kitchens Ruby Red Kraut and Yin Yang Carrots.  Oh my.

Then there was the wonderful breakfast at Fins Bistro in Issaquah hanging out with a beautiful lady by the name of Kari, who brought me flowers and generally spoiled me rotten.   I had no idea there was such a gorgeous brunch spot in that part of town.  We relaxed outside on the patio in the dazzling early June sunshine and chatted up a storm while Kari shared her *SANE story.  What a delightful way to spend the first few hours of a Sunday!  We could have sat there for many more hours enjoying each other’s company, had the line for breakfast not been growing at such a pace.

The food was fantastic and I do have to confess, when I was surfing the interwebs deciding where to meet it was the menu with the trout and eggs that caused my search to come to a screeching halt.  In all my years of Big Breakfast Adventuring around Seattle – both pre- and post- SANE – I have never seen trout on the menu.  And holy smokes does this girl love herself a nice piece of fish for breakfast.  The trout when it was delivered did not disappoint.  Add to that a couple of poached eggs and an exciting heap of greens and I had one happy mouth.  Kari chose one of their scrambles – with a salad on the side – and declared it delicious.

It is so rewarding to hear that JB and I have in some small way helped people on their road to health.  You’re an inspiration, Kari!

Later in June I had the absolute pleasure of dining with Tiffany – an incredible woman with 6 children, who volunteers at a local Youth Center helping troubled teens to turn their lives around.  I don’t know where she finds the time or the energy for it all!  As if that wasn’t enough I learned that Tiffany suffered a stroke in her thirties and has clawed her way back to health.  What an incredible story.

We arranged to breakfast at the Saw Mill Cafe in Mill Creek – a wildly popular family diner with long waits and happy servers.  It easily won first place in my list of almost-impossible-to-find restaurants.  I drove up and down the street I don’t know how many times before I gave in, parked the car, and finally located it on foot.  Just not on the street that it’s address is.  Weirdness.

Serving large portions of typical diner nosh I was a little concerned about their ability to make substitutions for us *SANE gals, but I needn’t have feared.  I opted for the California Omelet – crispy bacon, diced tomatoes, green onions & Tillamook cheddar cheese, topped with sour cream & sliced avocado, and served with their own naturally sweet salsa.  They happily produced a simple green salad in place of all those usual suspects of hash browns, toast and pancakes.  Tiffany enjoyed the Joe’s – a café specialty of seasoned ground beef with scrambled eggs, fresh spinach, mushrooms, onions & Swiss topped with parmesan.  We were certainly full by the time we were done.  Another successful *SANE eating adventure.

Just before we were ready to head out Tiffany scared me silly by asking me to autograph the *SANE apron that her mother had given her as a birthday gift.  I was terrified I would mess it up with that wretched Sharpie and ruin her new favorite cooking attire.  I am thrilled to report that we all survived intact.

So what are you waiting for?  Grab a friend and head out for your own *SANE Big Breakfast Adventure – there’s lots of delicious SANE food out there just waiting for you to go gobble it up!

Whatever makes you feel good – do more of that.



*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

Emily - It sounds like lots of fun. What is volterra hash? Is there a recipe?

Sahara - Oooo my Gooodness, Iremember that wild mushroom scramble, makes my mouth water just at the mention of it. It was so so good!

carrie - Hey Emily – we didn’t eat the Volterra Hash because we assumed it was some variant of potatoes :-) We had fruit and green salad instead.

Tiffany Crain - I love the Big Breakfast Adventures write ups! You will be laughing to know that I only wore the apron YESTERDAY! I have been afraid to “ruin” it, too. But, it is my favorite APRON. So, I had to change my clothes after messing them up in the kitchen, and my friend is like wear the SANE apron! Maybe you should just sell them that way!

I want to check out Volterra in Ballard. What a great description of the quisine! You have a talent for sure. :)

carrie - Hi Tiffany – I so enjoyed our Big Breakfast Adventure! You are one inspiring woman. Enjoy that apron!

The Slippery Slope

This will be a short missive – at least, that is my intent as I sit here tip-tapping out the first line.  I wanted to pop in for a minute or two and tell you about my week.  Not because I think it particularly interesting, but rather because I hope it may, at some point, help you out.

There’s never a dull moment around here.  As I type, Penelope is lying between the monitor and the keyboard, purring like a freight train, with her head wedged under the top edge of said keyboard.  Florence is licking photographs to my right.  This week, especially, has not been dull.  It’s been a very stressful week involving a lot of nausea, two ginormous mis-understandings with people I care deeply about, a migraine, the death of a friend, the unfortunate aftermath of drinking coffee on an empty stomach, nearly ending up in a ditch after skidding around a bend in the rain, and being late for my boss’ all-day Leadership Meeting.  And there was me thinking that things only come in threes.  But wait!  There’s more! I went ahead and made it all a whole lot worse.

By Tuesday lunchtime I was so stressed that my two-day headache escalated into a migraine.  After lying in the dark under my desk at the office for 2 hours – desperately trying and mostly failing to rid myself of it – I attended a business dinner, and when presented with a small slice of baguette I didn’t have the strength of mind to resist.  It all went down hill from there.  One slice became, oh I’d say about 6 more, and then later a pot of chocolate mousse slid down my throat.  Just the mousse you understand.

By Wednesday afternoon I was desperate for more sugar and while buying cables at Best Buy I ate a whole bag of Swedish Fish in 7 minutes.  That sudden flash flood of sugar made my brain light up like a heroin addict’s.  So Wednesday night I ate a loaf of bread.  Safeway, I loathe you for baking that French bread every day at 4 pm.  And 6 pm.  I’d describe it but that would make you all want to go buy your own.

Thursday, despite my heroic and successful efforts to avoid *inSANEity at an all-day meeting, I swung by Safeway on the way home to pick up another loaf of bread.  And ate it.

Friday I ate more bread and then, at the movies, downed a whole bag of Sour Patch Kids, although I did manage to make them last 22 minutes.  Pre-bed snack when I got home?  More bread.

And so here we are on Saturday morning and I am feeling quite horrid: physically, mentally, and emotionally.  UGH.  My brain feels foggy, my body is sluggish, my guts are a mess, I’m emotional, and throw in a large dose of lethargy to boot.

What started as a response to stress exploded into a physiological response for more and more sugar – because even though the stress subsided Thursday evening, my brain was by then hell-bent on keeping the supply of its drug of choice flowing into my veins.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because I know you have these moments too.  You are not alone.  Life happens.  Emotional and stress-induced eating is real and once you start – even with one bite – it can put you teetering on the edge of one very slippery slope.  For me, with my recently healed hormones and metabolism the effects of this weeks inSANEity on my weight have been negligible, but I am acutely aware that if I don’t stop feeding these stress-induced cravings for sugar, slowly but surely I will clog my system and the fat will start to build up again.  Because that’s how our bodies work.

I have often mentioned that since my transformation I can eat a treat every once in a while without any issues whatsoever.  I now know I need to clarify that by saying I can eat a treat every once in a while as long as I don’t do it when I’m stressed – as long as I don’t do it out of some deep emotional pull.  And that’s where being aware of what is driving your desire to eat *inSANEly becomes all important.

So as I sit here this Saturday morning I am focusing on eating proteins and fats to help turn off the physical cravings I reignited.  Mentally I am internalizing the fact that my actions were the result of stress.  Acknowledging the reason for stepping on the slope makes it a lot easier for me to not slip away from the *SANEity.  Because eating *inSANEly intensifies rather than reduces the problem by creating physiological stress in addition to the emotional.  Not only that but it typically creates a mass of miserable feelings of failure and self-loathing for being weak-willed or lazy or whatever other crazy lies we tell ourselves about the whole sorry saga.

Don’t let stress woo you into putting your foot on top of that slippery slope.  You are worth so much more.

With that I’m off to create some delicious egg casserole thingy to take with me on tomorrow’s Sunday Road Trip so I won’t feel compelled to grab some hideous edible product at the gas station when I roar in to fill up with fuel.

What makes you feel good – do more of that.


*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

Minta - And I spent a hunk of Friday with you and had no idea! That’ll teach me to forget to ask, ‘and how are you, Carrie?’….

Teresa - I can fully understand that response to stress. I am sorry you had to go through all that after just getting out of that bad depression. Glad you’re getting back on track. I’ve also had an unusually rough and heartbreaking week as I had to let my dog go. But it was the merciful thing as she was 16 and losing function in her hind legs and in pain. My response was to go buy fast food every time I was out. Fortunately, I haven’t had much of an appetite so most of it will be discarded. I was in the hospital a month ago and now have physical therapy coming which helps motivate me to do the exercises before their next visit. But it took a bit today to get out of that black hole and get going. I know I will have more of these as I miss my best buddy. I find driving soothing and will need to grab my camera again and find some nice scenic places to go as you do.

aubrey - Thank you for sharing. Definitly can relate. All will balance out promise xxx.<3

carrie - Teresa – I am so very sorry to hear about your loss. In my experience the grief never goes away entirely, but you adapt and learn to move forward despite the pain. I am glad that you, like me, find comfort in driving. Do more of that!

Kathy - I’m there with you this week, Carrie. It’s been a couple of weeks of HUGE stress, and the sugar/bread combo reared its ugly head for me too. Tomorrow is a new day, and I have all Sane and healthy items in my pantry and fridge at the ready. Now if I’m only able to control my emotions and eat up the Sane foods instead of stopping by the donut shop…that’s my current goal.

carrie - That’s a great goal, Kathy, and you know what? YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Dieanna - Thanks so much for sharing that with us Carrie! I know we have all been there with the sugar high……for various reasons. We all need to find ways to handle our stress and realize that we DO have control over our stress induced eating. You help so much with your honesty and posts. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’re one of a kind!!

Beth - “Slip happens” as they say. It’s reassuring to hear that you have these moments…err… sometimes longer…just like me. Thank you for sharing. I’ll will definitely remember your words of wisdom as a reminder to find other ways to cope with stress than my go-to comfort sugar/starches. Here’s to the start of a brand new week ahead. Enjoy your road trip tomorrow!

Dr Mike Keen - I have been a fellow traveler over the last couple of life-stressful weeks, my need for bread, especially, has hugely intensified. This need is, unusually unrequited by almonds, avocado, NSVs and the like. This demonstrates to me that the memory trace of my inSANEity that was lying dormant in my supposed SANE brain, is hugely powerful and potentially derailling in even the most SANEloyal of followers! The take home message……….????…….NONE of us are Teflon coated, we all may respond to hardwired primal urges, life is chaotic even in the most pragmatic of individuals, thus to effect long term, sustainable lifetime changes we must accept that our human frailties will occasionally overpower our ‘iron wills’ and that beating ourselves up over these lapses is not the adaptive option. Use them as opportunities, not threats, embrace the SANEity that we have incorporated into our lives, for without it our lives would be far less energised!

Maree - Hello Carrie, Yes, I think a lot of us can identify with your situation. When a migraine is coming on I crave carbohydrate. It can be anything I find in the house, but sugar it must be!

It must be the phase of the moon or something because I also have been feeling less than bright and bubbly this last week. It’s a lot to do with my 93 year old demented mother who should be resting with the angels but medical science insists on keeping her alive! There is little I can do but frustration is the name of the game!

So, having got that off my chest, I feel like leaving my family behind and sailing off into the blue – away from the utter sameness and responsibility that no one can shoulder but me. Sound familiar? I do love my gorgeous Burmese. In all this, his play and his utter loyalty and company keeps me going. Love to you Maree.

Sylvia - Hi Carrie

I’ve been on that slippery-slope for about 9 months now and I feel very fat, heavy, bloated, disgusted ….. the list goes on.

Reading your post has given me some motivation to get back on track a.s.a.p. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Dawn Randall - Hugs from Ohio, Carrie. Our battle really is “One Day at a Time” so much more than we sometimes remember. Amazing what a difference one day can make (in either direction). Love your last line….I needed that reminder! Thanks for sharing real life with us and for sharing yourself. Here’s hoping for a no-headache week!

Susan - Carrie, I feel your pain. Been there, done that. One small thing, don’t forget to forgive yourself. You’re human and fallible just like the rest of us. Isn’t it nice to know you aren’t alone?
Thanks for sharing and hang in there!

Meghann - Thank you so much for sharing. You ARE helping in so many ways. Stress is so huge in this whole management scheme. I was doing so so very well and then my husband’s job evaporated. Your mind makes things so much harder for yourself. While we were never ever actually in true hardship I have still gained back over 40 pounds in the past 1.5 years. You are not alone Carrie and I thank you for opening my eyes. I can see I am not alone either. Hope your new week goes better. Hugs!

Leslie - so glad you wrote this! I had the same problem while at a 3 day seminar last weekend, only it started with small pieces of baked goods at the seminar. It escalated to Dairy Queen, and big soft, salty, bread Wetzels pretzels (2 per day) once I started sliding. I would definitely have gone for the swedish fish and gummy bears if they were somewhat convenient to my hotel! What is it about bread and sugar? Glad to know I’m not alone in that slippery slope. Many people don’t understand the addictive quality of sugar.

Suzanne - It still amazes me how much we all have in common. Sugar and carbs are my drug of choice. In as much as I try to work at being sane, life does seem to present an emotional roller coaster. And – heaven forbid – something happens to one of my four legged-children (cats), that is the worst. But they (the cats) are also what keeps me going in the worst of times! Thoughts and virtual hugs to all of you!

Mary Lou - Carrie, Have you heard of Tapping Solutions. A brother and sister both have a book. I have both of them. Just google it. Their names are Jessica and Nick Ortner. You can watch a bunch of videos. It is a miracle.

Sherry - Thanks for the honesty. It is good to know I am not the only one! I’ve had a similarly bad 4 day streak and boy do I ever feel bad as a result. I’ve slid doff the slope for now and don’t want to return.

Emily - Thank you for sharing your slippery slope. Yes, we have all been there, sliding our way down into a pit. Stress, just like alcoholism, NEVER goes away. It may be dormant, but is just there, outside lurking, waiting, eagerly, for our weakness. Then it flares up on its hind legs and takes over our life….again. “Feed me, feed me,” says the stress, “feed me sugar, feed me grains.” I don’t have any answers, but perhaps knowing that i am not alone helps. You help me, and all of us Carrie, by sharing your story. So let us all hang on to each other and push through this together. Namaste.

Julie - Thank you *always* for your brave vulnerability (Brene Brown would be proud! :) You DO help *so* many of us by sharing these 100% human reality checks that we ALL go through. It’s awesomely compassionate of you to share & connect with us, reminding us that we are not alone and all amazing- simply for being :) You rock, Carrie!

Colleen - It’s amazing how things show up in one’s life just when needed. I have lost 22 pounds and 12% body fat eating S.A.N.E. over the last 5 months and have really healed myself. But on Friday night it all started with 9 screaming little girls at a Battle Blast birthday party, a slice of pizza and a piece of chocolate cake. I thought just a bite….that turned into Cheetohs, wine, more cake, a hot dog, potato chips and cooked over the course of the weekend. I never eat like that — even before I cleaned up my act. It was as if I lost my mind. I have been very stressed over the ill health of my other child and I think I just lost it. So I agree that a treat is dangerous when we are emotionally stressed or depressed. On Monday I bravely got on the scale and I had gained 2 pounds. Not the end of the world. I’m eating S.A.N.E. and drinking lots of water and am almost back to normal. No worries, I know how to get there now.

carrie - THANK YOU for sharing, Colleen! It’s great to know we are not alone in our struggles and that we are totally in control of getting things back on track. Kudos to you!