Here are some frequently asked questions! Please leave any post-related questions in the comment sections (and subscribe to the comment RSS feed if you’d like to be notified via email when I can answer them).
What kind of camera do you use?
Do you photograph EVERYTHING you eat?
For a long time – three years – I did. But now I don’t!
What’s your food philosophy? Why do you eat so much sugar and melons? Do you count calories?
The main thing I don’t do is label foods as “good” “healthy” “bad” “junk” “clean” etc. Even though calorie counting has helped me lose weight in the past, it reminds me too much of my past obsessive anorexic mindset, so I definitely make a conscious effort to avoid giving power to that number. Now when I read labels my eyes go straight to the ingredient list – I try to stick to words I can recognize and steer clear of too many artificial additives. The key word is “try” – a lot of the time I’m enjoying things filled with chemicals but that is the balance I’ve found that works for me. Then I look for foods low in saturated fat since I have a history of high cholesterol. But mostly, I consume whole foods with a focus on veggies and fruits (organic, whenever possible!) and stick to smaller portions of anything processed. Nothing is off-limits, though. I’ve gotten used to cutting out caffeine and drinking mostly water too. But in general, I don’t follow food rules – eating at certain times (read more about that here), completely cutting out food groups, etc. – the second I tell myself “I can’t” I find myself riddled with guilt and unable to think about anything else, which is not how I want to live. I allow myself to eat whatever I crave, as much of it as I’d like to in that moment, keeping in mind that I like to be hungry for my meals – if I have an upcoming dinner with friends or a special event I will try to “predict” how much will keep me satiated so that I’ll still have an appetite. Eating this way has naturally resulted in the same size I was when I was hard-core dieting – probably because losing weight was not the intention. I really cannot think of foods in terms of their nutritional content right now – which is why I have a disclaimer at the bottom of the page saying this blog should NOT be used for diet or fitness guidelines.
Who are Abe and Julius?
I notice a lot of vegetarian/vegan foods. And then, meat. Huh?
Abe is a vegetarian (has been since he was 12) so for the most part, I eat veggie meals at home and supplement with ready-made meat products. In fact, I have no idea how to cook meat. When I go out, I’m a bit of a carnivore.
What beverages do you drink?
I always have my Sigg or Klean Kanteen water bottle on me (my beverage of choice) and abstain from alcohol and caffeine (except for chocolate) – I used to drink both but have found I no longer “need” either so I’m reluctant to reintroduce them into my diet, though I’m not necessarily opposed to either (more on alcohol/caffeine here). Although I’m a serious diet soda addict, I know how controversial they are and try to satisfy those afternoon cravings with either plain Seltzer (via my trusty Sodastream) or a can of Zevia. After almost every meal, I have a cup of herbal tea or hot water, and at the end of day I’ll sip on a cup of hot cocoa (my go-to recipe is at the bottom of this post though I am also a fan of the Nestle instant kind) or miso soup with kimchi – both of these habits have to do with the rituals I described above as part of my eating disorder recovery.
What size are you/how much do you weigh?
Honestly, this is a question I am choosing not to answer because I remember attaching so much weight (pun intended) to it when I was heavy (another pun!) into my eating disorder. The truth is, I am the same person at a size 0 than I am at a size 14. Everyone is unique and comparing our bodies to one another, or allowing the scale/someone else’s opinion to determine how good/bad we feel about ourselves, is no longer important to me.
I have an eating disorder question. Can I ask you for advice?
Yes – please head over to my body image blog Thick Dumpling Skin for all things relating to eating disorders!
Are you sure you don’t have an eating disorder still? You look very thin.
I personally don’t believe that I can FULLY, 100% recover from my eating disorders. Channeling my food obsession into blogging is a healthier substitution, but as I know from my addictions to candy/cocoa/diet soda, the behavior will always linger. I’ve never claimed to be “healthy” or told people to eat the way I do (read my disclaimers). As for how I look – I’ve heard everything from “You look pregnant” to “You look emaciated” to “You look perfect.” Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, but one should always be conscious when speaking to others about their physical appearance. Are you truly concerned, or is this an issue you’re personally dealing with? I’m in a place where these comments no longer seriously affect me, but I know from experience they can trigger unhealthy behavior. I’m able to rest assured from various doctors and my eating disorders specialist that my physical and mental health are fine, and if they do get shaky, I have a strong team to consult with. For more information about my recovery, read the speech I gave at the 2011 NEDA Conference.
You eat SO MUCH sometimes. How come you don’t gain weight?
I definitely gain weight and have had to balance it out.
Do you have ANY vices?
I’ve got an addictive personality. My therapist used to tell me that the only cure for addiction is replacement; that it won’t just go away. I guess my candy habit is my “vice.” But since I used to binge eat/binge drink/do drugs/smoke cigarettes for years I don’t sweat the sugar addiction too much, even though I’m well-aware of its negative health issues. I’m also pretty into video games and have been known to spend “unhealthy” amounts of time devoted to that. Plus I now write two blogs, so I’m attached to my computer. Again, a lot less harmful than past obsessions.
What do you do for exercise?
I try to take a 20-30 minute walk with my dog at least once a day.
What podcasts do you listen to?
Here are some of my favorites – and they’re all free to download. Just do a search on itunes or through google. I also host my own podcast and would love your support with a subscribe, review, and/or rating!
▪ Food Podcasts: The Splendid Table, KCRW’s Good Food, Our Hen House (Vegan/Animal Rights), Food is the New Rock, One Part Podcast, America’s Test Kitchen
▪ Show Biz/Entertainment Podcasts: WTF with Marc Maron, Eyeline, KCRW’s The Treatment, Off Camera, Here’s the Thing, The Employee of the Month Show, Sound and Fury: The Angry Asian Podcast
▪ “Girl Talk” Podcasts: The Shepod, The Because Show, JV Club with Janet Varney
▪ Lifestyle/Spiritual: Open Sky Fitness, Dear Sugar Radio, The Lively Show, WANTcast
▪ General: NPR: Fresh Air, This American Life, Mystery Show, Reply All
How do I become an actor?
Sometimes I get asked this question by people who have never performed in their life before. So my first bit of advice is to make sure that you absolutely love acting, because it’s an extremely difficult profession and only those who have complete passion for it will persevere. There are plenty of opportunities to discover this – student films, local plays, readings….but everyone’s journey is different and there is no “one right way.” If you’d like to read more about how I got my start or my career philosophies, check out these very thorough interviews or my past posts about acting. A great resource for both professionals and those starting out is “The Everything Acting Podcast” (which I ‘ve been a guest correspondent for) and “The Inside Acting Podcast.” Take a listen – they answer a lot of basic questions and explore the actor’s journey in a truthful and practical manner.
I have a shoot next week where I need to be in a bathing suit. What can I do to look my best, in the healthiest way possible?
In the past, I’ve fasted, dieted, and over-exercised before a shoot where I’ve got to be in something tight or skimpy (which is always). But you know what? My body looks pretty much the same now, without all that mental and physical stress. Changing my diet too drastically would make me gas-y, and who wants to be that way on set with a bunch of strangers? I’d probably focus on whole foods and work out a little more to help with my energy levels, and make sure I talked to the director/costume designer about finding an outfit/blocking that we’re all comfortable with. And if all else fails, stand up straight and suck in.
What should I eat the day after I’ve “overindulged?”
I try to honor my cravings and appetite every single day. Usually, the day after a lot of food – especially rich and sugar-y ones – leaves me feeling “hungover” and I tend to naturally crave simple meals and smaller portions, like I would if I was sick. That may mean having to treat my diet like “sick days” and making a conscious effort to honor my hunger levels, even when I’m eating out with others. The most important thing is to watch what I’m saying to myself – especially anything that would result in feelings of guilt or negativity. I blogged about this subject here and here.
You get a lot of free stuff! How? Do you ever pay for anything?
One of the unexpected treats about being both an actor and a blogger is all the SWAG and free food/restaurants to review. As of December 2009, The FTC requires all bloggers to disclose when they are given something at no cost. This is why I will always write when things are complimentary, but I don’t always mention when I pay for things myself or treat others to meals, as I find it can be annoying talking about $$$. Back in the day, I used to reach out to companies, but have now developed relationships with them and various PR agencies, so everything you see is offered to me. And yes, I still give my honest opinion. I blogged more about this subject here.
I wrote you a comment and now I don’t see it, or I wrote you a comment and you told me to read this FAQ.
All comments are moderated by a third party (someone who isn’t me) so it may have gone to my spam filter, in which case they’ll fish it out at a later time. Or, if you wrote something negative or irrelevant, my human comment filters have deleted it. In the past I’ve addressed not-so-nice comments but I now choose to ignore anything that isn’t helpful or productive. One of the worst days of my life – the day I found out my father had complications in the hospital (he has since passed away) I received a negative comment. Acting and life are filled with enough negativity and I don’t need to hear more of it. The truth is, this blog is a very time-consuming hobby, and I don’t have room for anything that requires justifying my life to people who don’t get it. It also is not a place for mediating controversy. Bottom line is, it’s my blog and I get to decide what’s on it – and if you have a problem with that, you don’t have to read!!!
Do you plan on having kids?
No – I talk more about my journey with infertility and decision not to have children here.
Why do you eat so many melons? And where do you get your spoon?
Yes, a melon a day keeps the binge brain away! The melon habit actually developed when I started blogging. At first I was self conscious, but I’ve come to embrace it. I’m sure one of these days I’ll O.D. on cantaloupe and honeydew, but for now, it feels like home to me. As one of my readers so thoughtfully pointed out, it’s my way of “ordered eating.” As for my special spoons, I got them on my honeymoon registry over a decade ago – the good news is they’re still online, the bad news you can’t purchase them individually.
You’re always so happy. Don’t you have problems?
Of course! I am actually, by nature, a rather pessimistic person and this blog has helped me become an optimist by forcing me to focus on the positive. I have problems, issues, difficulties, and stress all the time – which I do sometimes share – but for the most part, that stuff is private. This is a food blog, after all!