5 thoughts and our go-to smoked salmon recipe
1. Just like breathing gets off, eating can get off.
You know sometimes when you feel like your breathing is off? Not in a panic attack way, but it’s like you’ve become overly conscious of your breath and then it’s like, “how do I do this again? How do I inhale and exhale normally?” If we can get off on something as intuitive as breathing, the same thing is going to happen with eating when you’re an intuitive eater. Sometimes we end up overly full or overly hungry. It isn’t cause for alarm or something we need to pathologize. It’s just a side effect of being human. Our body will find it’s flow again shortly. Hang tight.
2. Being happy for other people
This section is about one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard lately. As I’m raising my girls, one thing I’m intentional about is calling out beauty that has nothing to do with the physical body. I tell my girls they are beautiful, because they are, like any child is, but I also call their actions beautiful. For instance, if someone does something kind (i.e. like, thinking of a way to “make it better” after slapping their sister across the face or picking a flower and bringing it to me) I’ll say, “that’s a really beautiful way to act.” My hope is this help my girls (and me!) more broadly define beauty. Thinking of it more than merely a descriptor of the particular ideal at the moment.
In doing the above, it’s also made me more conscious of when I come across beauty. Recently I was listening to Jordan Peterson being interviewed on a podcast. In the episode, Peterson was talking about being happy for other people. He said: “Happiness is so rare, why wouldn’t you share in on that and celebrate for others.” Being happy for other people is a beautiful thing. Friends of ours did IVF to have their first kiddo, then got surprise pregnant with their second very quickly after having their first. This couple loves a good story and are excellent storytellers and their birth of their second kid was completely insane and hilarious in the best of ways and I went to bed the night after hearing it so happy for them. Happiness is rare. It’s a beautiful thing to get to celebrate for others. I can’t find the exact clip of Jordan Peterson talking about it, but it was so moving. I think it was in this podcast somewhere. He was in tears and if you know anything about Jordan Peterson you know his last couple years have been completely heart-breaking and difficult.
3. Use all available resources on appearance.
In Brené Brown’s famous talk on Listening to Shame, she presented research on what women need to do to conform to female norms in American: be nice, thin, modest, and use all available resources on appearance. That last one, along with the pursuit of thinness, disturb me the most: use all available resources on appearance. I find that expectation so ridiculous and I actively reject it. Modesty and kindness are inline with my values, so I don’t reject those. I was raised by a mother who valued intelligence, nature, and art over ever expecting me to look a certain way. I have zero memories, literally zero, of my mom ever being disappointed in my appearance. I have super fine hair and while it could be something I hate, I have memories of my mom calling it, “angel hair.” Now Jojo has “angel hair” and I hope she grows to like it (or it to be a neutral thing) as I raise her to appreciate everything about her (appearance and character traits alike) because it is of her.
The other day I saw a photo of myself and was disappointed, so the stream of thoughts in my head went: “why am I disappointed? I don’t look how I thought I’d look as a mom. Okay, what were you thinking you would look like?” And the image that came to mind was a thin-framed, gaunt woman on the Tuscan countryside.*
That look is not something that is rooted in reality for me and my body. Sometimes I forget that I want to look like me! I like me! I like who I am! There is a difference between my reflection in a photo and who I am as a person. When we look at photos, we should be looking for ourselves. I want to capture confidence and fun in photos and that can be captured with any body size. However, if you are in a larger body it may take you a bit longer to see the confidence and fun, because fat bodies are not appreciated in our culture like thin bodies are.
I like portrayals of motherhood that are rooted in reality. If you read this blog, you like that too. Why try to erase the marks and fat on a body that show it carried life inside of it? Where is the softness, fleshiness and sagginess that I have reflected in that photo of the mom in the ad? A la Jennifer Gardner in 13 Going On 30, I want to see me reflected back to me. I tell my girls all the time, “don’t pinch/bite mommy’s soft and squishy bits.” Because 9 times out of 10 those are the parts of me that get grabbed by them and I want to call attention to those parts of me and normalize them rather than pretend they aren’t there.
Another way to take this conversation is to think: What is being optimized here? Am I okay optimizing appearance, or do I want something else to be optimized? I’d rather have a breakfast where we all sit down, than spend 15 minutes doing my hair. I’d rather optimize time spent together, than time spent on my appearance. I’d rather optimize nervous system regulation (i.e. getting a massage), than having my hair look a particular way (i.e. getting hair cut/colored). I’d rather optimize my health (i.e. consistently move in a way that’s pleasant to my body), than achieving a level of thinness (i.e. trying to become smaller). With each choice we make, something is being optimized. Are you okay with what you are choosing to optimize? Similarly, in the latest Best of Both World’s episode, the creator of YNAB was on and he was saying their family could never stick to the grocery store budget and after a decade they realized the budget isn’t what needed to be optimized here, rather getting in and out of the store without a child melting down was what needed to be optimized. So they upped their grocery budget to accommodate this.
(*If you naturally end up in a very thin body and have a very thin frame…I’m not saying there is anything wrong with your body. I’m just saying we should all be looking for ourselves in photos and not looking for someone else.)
4. Living life vs figuring life out
I don’t prescribe to ideas of enlightenment/self-actualization this side of Heaven or this endless pursuit of self-help therapy. But I do want to use therapy to a level that it helps me live a better life (process trauma and hurts, etc.). Self-help psychology is wonderful and healing and yay, but while reading Midnight Library it said, “You don’t have to figure out life, you just have to live it.” And that really struck me as good and true for a lot of things. In line with that, I was reading Brain Pickings and there was a quote that said, “You cannot think simultaneously about listening to the waves and whether you are enjoying listening to the waves.” As an overthinker, these quotes gave me something to think about. Now I get to overthink overthinking lol :)
5. Body Image Study: embodiment is more important than body esteem.
I prescribe to the Body Image journal and I read an article recently on what contributes more to life satisfaction: embodiment or body esteem.
- the way individuals inhabit their body.
- attunement to inner states
- your experience of living in your body
- the overall experience of embodiment relates to experiences on five continuous dimensions:
- body connection and comfort
- agency and functionality
- experience and expression of desire
- engagement in attuned self-care practices
- resistance to self-objectification
body esteem =
- evaluation of appearance or weight
The study found that positive embodiment is more important than body esteem for life satisfaction. To cultivate embodiment, implementing any of the above 5 can be helpful. For resistance to self-objectification, if anyone reduces themselves or their child to a body size…I nearly always say something. Usually it’s a simple, “good thing our worth isn’t determined by our body size.” Engagement in attuned self-care practices would be finding practices you can engage in consistently that rejuvenate your nervous system. Experience and expression of desire would be not fearing your appetite for food and, additionally, having conversations with your spouse around sexual desires (what is and isn’t pleasurable). And finally, I’ll group the last two together, for achieving agency and empowerment, the study cited physical activity (that of course respects the limits of the body) as an avenue to embody those.
And the last thing I’ll note here, twice the study described it problematic for one to view their body as a deficient object. Viewing a body as simply something that doesn’t measure up. Something that is deficient. I’d never heard the body described that way, but I think a deficient object is how many view their body. Heading towards embodiment is a better direction.
Our go-to smoked salmon recipe
We got a Traeger awhile ago and have been making smoked salmon ever since. Lately I’ll have smoked salmon bagels with greek salad and it’s so much briny goodness.
A month ago Sitka Salmon Shares reached out to me telling me about there fish, caught by local Sitka fisherman. Growing up my parent’s took us on a cruise through the inland passage in Alaska. We got to go see the salmon swimming up the locks (still one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen). My dad is a fisher, loves the sport of it, and at one of the ports there were fisherman so we stopped and watched and one of them hooked a salmon so we watched him fight it for a while to get it in. Then once he did he tenderly took the hook our and released it. I remember my dad’s excitement, like Dwight when the fire department comes, at the respect for the fish and love for the sport of fishing. So, all that to say, when Sitka Salmon Shares reached out about their fish boxes I was interested. This isn’t a sponsored mention, but I do have an affiliate code for $25 off their CSF Premium Share using code, EatThatFish. Code is valid through July 31st. Each box will contain 4-5 pounds of seasonal, wild Alaska seafood from our collective of fishermen.. The share is projected to have albacore tuna, Bairdi crab, coho salmon, Dungeness crab, halibut, king salmon, Pacific cod, sablefish (black cod) and sockeye salmon. A shellfish-free option is also available if there are allergy concerns. These are the projected species, it may change as Sitka Salmon Shares work closely with biologists to maintain future generations. In addition, they work with the season to provide each species at the peak of their quality.
Yield: this recipe works with any size salmon, just wait to take it off smoker until internal temp reaches 145F
coarse kosher salt
Generously salt your salmon using . Place in fridge for 6 hours or over night. The next day, rinse your salmon under water. Place back in the fridge for 6 hours, so it gets "tacky" (this let's the smoked flavor stick to the salmon). Place your smoker on 180F. Smoke salmon until internal temperature reaches 145F. We've used a variety of different salmon sizes and to reach internal temp of 145F it takes 4-6 hours. Mix together 1 part brown sugar and 1 part maple syrup. Twice, during the last 2 hours of cooking, brush/spoon on your brown sugar-maple syrup mixture.
Here’s the recipe in photo form:
Salt. Let sit in fridge.
Rinse off. Let sit in fridge.
Smoke + glaze.