If You Give a Toddler a Cookie…

14 Nov

My toddler is on a vegetable strike. At one time she would gladly gnaw on roasted Brussels sprouts, sauteed spinach, baked sweet potato fries, and other veggies of every shape and size. Don’t mistake me, she’s been on this strike for quite a while, but I keep reminding her that she loved broccoli when she was little. She says she used to eat it when she was very little, but now she eats pizza.

At least she’s got good taste.

Anyway, I try to add vegetables in whenever I can to foods she WILL eat. She actually cooks with me a lot, so I am not hiding them. But somehow zucchini pancakes (we like the Smitten Kitchen version) are a million times easier for her to consider eating than even carmelized carrots. She knows there are veggies in there, but she doesn’t care.

I also try to cut the sugar in most recipes (although the pancakes above don’t need any adjustment) because we cooked with very little sugar and salt for her first year or so of eating. After that, most regular recipes are kind of overwhelmingly sweet or salty, so we are super careful. Trust me, she got candy at Halloween and has carefully picked a piece every day since, so I am not denying her. ūüėČ

Anyway, when your toddler refuses dinner and asks for a cookie instead, you start thinking creatively. I actually made a version of these a few months ago when we were watching my best friends’ daughter, but today’s batch was even better. I am the type of cook who tosses in a little of this and a little of that, so the amounts aren’t an exact science, but the results should still be delicious.

I asked her if she wanted banana cookies, and she was excited. Then I asked if she wanted banana or “green banana” cookies, and she went running through the house squealing about green cookies. What can I say? Colored food is a hit!

What is fun about these is that they are really green. The photos don’t do them justice. They would be right at home at an Oscar the Grouch birthday party or on a Saint Patrick’s Day buffet. But despite all the spinach in them, they really taste like a light banana oatmeal cookie! I tried to pack as much flavor and nutrition into these as possible, but don’t stress. If you don’t have the seeds I list, just add a little more oatmeal.

Elisa’s Banana Oatmeal Green Cookies

  • 2 very ripe bananas (ok if frozen)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen spinach (if using fresh, use approx. 2 cups)
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 to 4 tbsp brown sugar (I used 2)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 melted butter or oil
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts (seeds)
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (you could use stone ground whole wheat flour but I would probably use some white flour in place of some whole wheat)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
Totally yummy and totally green!

Totally yummy and totally green!

In a blender or food processor, blend spinach, banana, yogurt, and milk until a thick smoothie consistency is formed. Add to a large bowl and whisk in eggs, vanilla, butter, and sugar. Add oatmeal and seeds and blend well with a spoon. Add salt, baking powder and soda, and flour. Mix well. Should be about the same thickness as pancake batter.

Spoon onto a baking sheet (we use a medium scoop and parchment paper, but a teaspoon and clean baking sheet will be just fine) and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

These cookies are soft and chewy, with lovely body because of the seeds. My daughter had FOUR, dunked in milk, four dinner. I wasn’t complaining. ūüôā

Happy Toddler and Happy Mommy!


Multigrain Oat Waffles

29 Aug

Waffles are a weekend staple at our house. ¬†We make all kinds of different varieties, always trying to add a little extra nutrition for our picky eater. ¬†Zucchini and carrot waffles are on heavy rotation here. Last week’s peanut butter waffles were gobbled up. This morning I couldn’t find a recipe I liked on Pinterest, so I decided to make one of my own.

I didn’t even start with a base recipe… I have just made so many waffles lately that I just sort of winged it. ¬†I think they were pretty perfect!

Lelisa's Gluten Free Multigrain Oat Waffles

Elisa’s Multigrain Oat Waffles¬†

  • 1 1/4 c oat flour or ground rolled oats
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup total of seeds and grains (I used a mixture of hulled hemp hearts, chia seeds, flax meal, and steel cut oats)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar or honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp melted butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt or strained yogurt
  • 3/4 cup milk or milk alternative

Mix everything together well. You can’t over mix because there is no gluten to make for a heavy waffle! Pour into a hot waffle iron and bake according to manufacturer instructions. The batter is thick because of the seeds and Greek yogurt. Makes approx. 10 delicious, nutritious, fluffy, regular sized waffles.

Kale Carrot Applesauce Spice Muffins

6 Apr

My daughter turned a year old yesterday.

I’m not really sure how it happened.

She had my Lemon, Brown Sugar, and Olive Oil Cupcakes frosted with whipped cream for her birthday cake, with fresh berries.  And oh my did she love it!

But after yesterday’s indulgences (way too much pizza – thanks Grandpa! – and cake), I thought it would be good to have something quite healthy for breakfast. ¬†Well, sort of healthy. ¬†Healthy-ish?

You see, she’s been on a bread kick. ¬†She loves anything baked. ¬†Takes after me, I suppose. She used to be the kid who would sit down and plow through a plate of sauteed spinach or kale, no problem. ¬†But lately… ¬†She’s getting into the toddler years (she started walking in earnest 5 weeks ago) and starting some toddler pickiness.

So this morning I made eggs.  And served them with avocado.  And berries (which she scarfed; kiddo loves her fruit too!).  And these.

Oh my.  These.

They are nothing short of delicious. ¬†You must know I like “healthy” (and don’t need things to be quite sweet). ¬†But even if you are a little less ready to try “healthy” food, do give these muffins a try. ¬†They really are extremely tasty, and have a lot of great nutrients inside!


Kale Carrot Applesauce Spice Muffins

Adapted heavily from 365 Days of Kale

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raw kale
  • 1 large carrot (you could really even use two)
  • 1/2 cup plain (full-fat) European-style or Greek yogurt (more protein this way!)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar or honey
  • 2 tbsp good oil (I used olive)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (honestly you could probably use all whole wheat but I didn’t want them heavy)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

In the food processor, finely chop kale and carrot.  I added the yogurt and applesauce and just blended the whole thing up together until it was all the texture of applesauce.

Put Kale mixture in a large bowl and add the rest of the wet ingredients (egg, sugar/honey, oil, and extracts).  Mix well.

In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flours, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices).

Carefully mix the dry and wet ingredients until just combined. Scoop into lined muffin cups. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a light touch on the top of the muffin meets resistance.  Makes about 16 regular-sized muffins.

These don’t have a lot of fat in them, so they WILL stick to the liners. ¬†It’s ok – they’re still delicious. ūüėČ


Oh yes, and the obligatory birthday cake shot. <3!Image

Carrot Zucchini Breakfast Bread

4 Dec

For the last couple of days I’ve really wanted carrot zucchini bread.¬† Not just one or the other.¬† Both.¬† Zucchini are out of season, of course, so I thought I was out of luck.¬† Until I went to the Farmer’s Market today and saw some lovely zucchini just sitting there, three for $2…¬† I nabbed them!¬† And then I looked for a recipe.

But the recipes out there are so sweet.¬† They have a ratio of 1:1 sugar to veggies, and a cup or more of oil, which is just flat-out not healthy for me right now (especially since I really wanted this bread as a mid-morning snack).¬† What’s a girl to do but come up with her own? ūüėČ

This is a seriously simple recipe.¬† Add everything except the flour and baking powder to a bowl and stir well before mixing that in too, pour into bread pans, bake, enjoy.¬† It’s a not-too-sweet and not-too-healthy breakfast bread (no cakes or doorstops here!) with tons of flavor from spices and a kick of almond extract, a little extra protein, and a 5:1 ratio of veggies to sugar.¬† Seriously, it hits the spot!

Carrot Zucchini Bread

Elisa’s Carrot Zucchini Breakfast Bread

  • 1 1/4 cups shredded and drained zucchini
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used grapeseed because we happened to have it around, but olive oil would be excellent, and any oil you like will do)
  • 2/3 cup almond meal or ground almonds
  • dash salt
  • dash ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup white flour

Like I said, this is a dead easy recipe.¬† Add all the ingredients except the flour and baking powder, stir until well mixed, add the flour and baking powder all at once and just stir until the flour is incorporated (don’t overmix!).¬† I divided it between two greased and floured loaf pans because I didn’t know how much it would rise, and baked them at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.¬† It didn’t rise too much though (it barely doubled), so you can very likely have great success with just a single loaf pan, but you’ll probably need to bake this for upwards of an hour and fifteen minutes (as you might see from the photo, the bread I made tonight is slightly wet still – that’s what happens with so much vegetation in the batter!).¬† The bread is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.¬† You could, of course, make this into a dozen muffins; adjust time accordingly.

This bread is soft, tender, flavorful, and not overpowered by sugar or fat like so many zucchini bread recipes are.¬† I’m totally smitten!!!

What I Want to Teach My Son (If I Have One)

2 Nov

I just witnessed a most disgusting display of juvenile chauvinism at lunchtime in the quad. ¬†Discussions like the one I overheard should never be part of a mutually respectful environment such as a college campus, but so often are. ¬†These discussions lead to a male sense of entitlement that, in turn, leads grown men to believe that their paternalistic view of the world is what’s best for women in general.

Allow me to elaborate.

A young college student, I hesitate to call him a “young man” because it implies manners and respect that he has not yet achieved, was discussing his girlfriend with a friend of his. ¬†Talking about how she was always down, depressed. ¬†How her job prospects were slim. ¬†How she didn’t care to ask his dad for help. ¬†“It’s just calling on a contact!” he argued. ¬†“You know, they say that guys are the more immature of the species, and I guess in some ways we are, since we make more immature jokes at older ages. ¬†But women? ¬†They’re such children when it comes to stuff like this…”

He went on. “You know, there’s a reason why things have turned out the way they did. ¬†I mean, can you imagine if we had a woman president and she was on her period? ¬†And other countries just wouldn’t talk to us if they were on their periods too? ¬†I mean, obviously, there’s a reason why men are in power, right? ¬†There’s a natural order to things. ¬†If it was supposed to be the other way, we’d be the ones without the power.”

To his friend’s credit, he answered, “Well, does that mean that black people were obviously supposed to be slaves, since that’s how THAT turned out for such a long time?”

The misogynist¬†laughed. ¬†“I don’t know man, I guess that’s true, but women… ¬†They’re just a species of their own. ¬†They make no sense. ¬†They’re just totally irrational.”

Their conversation continued. ¬†I seethed. ¬†How, in this day and age, could a young person say such a completely irrational, insensitive, illogical, and chauvinistic statement? ¬†Aren’t today’s students meant to be enlightened? ¬†Public education is supposed to widen your worldview. ¬†Is it possible that this student had missed the very point? ¬†At the college where I work, by the way, women are the majority; not in every major, and we’re still making progress in the STEM majors. ¬†But I would have thought that outside of the 1950s or 60s, such ideas would have been limited to backwoods country types with very little education (my apologies to anyone who lives in the country).

I was silent until I got up, finished with my lunch. ¬†I couldn’t take it anymore. ¬†I turned around and faced the child. ¬†A jock with a muscle shirt on, he looked like the very definition of everything I don’t want my future son to be. ¬†“If your mother heard what you said about women and presidents,” I said, quietly, but startling him just the same, “she would be most disappointed.” ¬†I walked away. ¬†I wanted to tell him about all the women we have serving in high office around the world, and all the women who managed to get over their “periods” and get some excellent work done. ¬†Eleanor Roosevelt. ¬†Margaret Thatcher. ¬†Sally Ride. ¬†Madame Curie. ¬†Mother Teresa. ¬†Benazir Bhutto. ¬†For God’s sakes, the last two Secretaries of State – the¬†very people who talk to other countries on a daily basis as the representatives of our country – had two X chromosomes.

I’m certain that he’s now rationalized to his friend that I proved his point; women are crazy. ¬†Or something. ¬†But maybe, just maybe, I got through to him. ¬†Perhaps. ¬†If only it were that easy in every instance.

At any rate, this got me thinking. ¬†As you may know, I’m expecting. ¬†I find out in under three weeks whether we’re having a boy or a girl. ¬†At this point, everyone’s been saying girl, but I know my husband has a (small) preference for a boy. ¬†Either way, I’m thrilled. ¬†But I started thinking hard about what I want to teach my son, if I were to have one (now or in the future), about the differences between men and women. ¬†Such as:

  • Women are just as smart and capable as men. ¬†There is no physiological reason that women’s brains would not function as well as men’s. ¬†In fact, studies have shown that women generally have better capacity for memory and multitasking. ¬†Want to see this in action? ¬†Go ask any mother.
  • Women are very much capable of higher-level thought and study. ¬†Often, lack of opportunity is confused with lack of achievement. ¬†But women can and have broken the glass ceiling for hundreds of years in the fields of science and math; whether or not we know their names is another matter. ¬†Anyone know about¬†Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin? ¬†She discovered that the sun is made up of hydrogen, and that hydrogen and helium are the most abundant elements in the universe. ¬† Before women had the right to vote in this country. ¬†And before she, an English woman, could officially be awarded a degree at Cambridge (they didn’t give degrees to women until 1948).
  • Women might not be as physically strong as men, overall (that is, they can’t bench press as much). ¬†However, their bodies are made with reproduction in mind. ¬†Physically, someone with both X and Y chromosomes (biologically male) cannot get pregnant. ¬†No, the movie¬†Junior¬†couldn’t possibly happen in real life. ¬†Anyone who has studied any part of the science of reproduction can tell you that this is a pretty incredible feat, and that women’s bodies are well-equipped for the task. ¬†Anyone who has gone through natural childbirth can tell you that there is very likely no greater pain that can be survived; and it takes an awful lot of strength to do that.
  • EVERYONE has specific reasons why they might do things (apply for/not apply for a job, be friends with someone in particular, act a certain way in a relationship). ¬†These reasons are built on both nature and nurture – personality and environment – and our ideas about what is right and wrong are formed through our experiences. ¬†Therefore, just because something makes perfect sense to you doesn’t mean it makes perfect sense to someone else. ¬†Therefore, we have to do our very best to treat everyone’s decisions with respect.
  • On that note, women’s hormones do sometimes affect how they feel. ¬†Contrary to popular belief, SO DO MEN’S. ¬†There is a vast psychological arena studying things like responses to hormonal and pheremonal stimuli and decision making. ¬†Generally speaking, large decisions are not affected. ¬†So whether a country would “not talk to us” or, as has been argued, bomb another country, based on a single woman’s hormones, is not something that could ever be tested. ¬†But if it were, we would inevitably find that a woman has no more chance of making an irrational decision on that sort of scale based on hormonal changes than a man does.
  • Mutual respect should be the number one priority of anyone, man or woman. ¬†I believe that this extends to respecting one’s wishes, beliefs, religious or political affiliations, and right to control one’s own destiny. ¬†In case anyone’s wondering, joking about a woman’s lack of judgement when she’s hormonal, or her inability to make a decision, or her education, or her sexuality, or her weight¬†are disrespectful. ¬†Likewise joking about how men “always think with their reproductive organs,” or how they can’t have a fulfilling emotional relationship, or how they are too sensitive, are¬†disrespectful too.

I hope that my calling upon his mother helped me to get through to that particular young person. ¬†Perhaps he can, in time, call himself a man. ¬†Maybe when he learns respect for¬†everyone – and doesn’t make such illogical statements. ¬†But even if I didn’t, I hope that I can teach my future son that viewpoints such as these are not only uncalled-for, they’re flat wrong.

Butternut Squash Pizza

21 Oct


I know it’s been a long, long, LONG time since I posted.¬† Especially a recipe.¬† Last year I went through a bunch of digestive issues that ultimately resulted in my finding out that I’m extremely sensitive to xanthan and guar gum and lots of other nasty additives in so much of our food system (but not gluten, despite what I thought for a while).¬† Then my hubby and I went on vacation, which was awesome.¬† And then I had so much work (with my business) that I was doing nothing but work and sleep.¬† And then…

Well, then, my friends, I found out I was pregnant. ūüėČ

It was just a week after my last big event for several months, a day or two before our unprecedented heat streak in Southern California…¬† And three days after I started feeling flu-like symptoms (in my defense, my coworkers at my day job had all had the flu the week before).¬† It was 5 am.¬† And of course I woke my husband up (sorry honey!). And then?¬† Well, then I pretty much slept for three months.

I couldn’t go in our kitchen – the mere whiff of the sink or the trash can (even if it were freshly changed) or the fridge made me gag.¬† And it was extremely hot (like, minimum high 90s) for weeks on end.¬† We have no air conditioner at home, so my only relief was going to work!

Anyway, it’s just been since I hit the second trimester that I’ve really started cooking again.¬† I can look at (some) raw meat without wanting to lose it.¬† And I can stand in the kitchen without being a mess.¬† It helps that it’s cooler (it was lovely and rainy today!).¬† Because, of course, it’s fall.

And I can’t let a perfectly good fall go by without making something with butternut squash.

Like pizza.

Why not?

I started planning this out in my head last weekend, but it was warm again for most of this week, and we were busy (my business is in full swing again for the next month). So it got put on hold.  But I was thrilled to try it tonight.

Oh BOY was it worth the wait!¬† This pizza has all the elements of a beautiful Fall meal in one easy package…¬† And it’s so, so incredible tasting…¬† I’d been dreaming about this pizza from the moment I conceptualized it, and it lived up to every single expectation!

Elisa’s Butternut Squash Pizza

  • 1 medium (approx. 10″) homemade pizza crust, par-baked
  • 1 1/2 tsp butter
  • 4-8 leaves of fresh sage, chiffonade
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • flesh of 1/2 medium cooked butternut squash (approx. 1 1/4 cups, smashed)
  • 1 tsp corn starch (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 uncooked Italian sausage links (we love Trader Joes’ Sweet Chicken Italian)
  • approx. 1 cup greens (we used spinach because it’s what we had on-hand but kale or other winter greens would be lovely here)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 5-6 oz grated mozzarella cheese
  • fresh ground black pepper and salt

This recipe takes a little prep (but nothing like my past dabbles into butternut squash!).¬† It’s easier if you can finish all the prep work first and then assemble. So here goes:

In a small pan over medium heat, cook butter and sage together until butter is almost browned and sage is fried crisp.¬† Add garlic and cook for another minute or so (but don’t let the butter get black).¬† Mash the browned butter together with the butternut squash, crushing the garlic and sage so that they incorporate well throughout.¬† Add a few grinds of black pepper (I used approx. 1/4 tsp but you might find that you like more). If your squash is very watery, you might need to add some starch as a thickener.

Caramelize your onions; try to get them soft and brown but not crisp or burnt.¬† The best way to do this is actually to throw them in a small baking dish with a bit of fat (butter or oil, just enough to keep them from sticking to the pan) and some salt and let them bake, covered, while the butternut squash roasts.¬† This can be done in a crock pot or stove top too, of course! ūüėČ

Wilt your spinach or other greens with a tiny bit of oil in a pan.¬† We don’t want to add too much extra oil to this dish, since we already have the butter, but you will need to add the oil to keep it from sticking.

Now, assemble.

Spread the squash mixture in a thin layer on the crust.  Add onions over the top.  Top with dollops of sausage and wilted greens.  Spread parmesan and mozzarella cheese over the top of the whole pizza and bake at 450 degrees for 15-17 minutes.  Devour.

Fall has never tasted so good. ūüėČ

Why I (Still) Love Skechers Shape Ups

18 May

Look, people, simmer down… ¬†I’m so over all the brouhaha this week about Skechers Shape Ups. ¬†They lied!¬† Everyone who bought them was duped! ¬†They look silly!

Everyone’s up in arms over the the fine slapped onto the Skechers company by the FTC regarding their (admittedly ridiculous) advertising claims that the shoes would do everything from improving posture to magically kickstarting your metabolism into melting those nasty pounds away.

And – shocker! – they used Kim Kardashian to lie for them!

Look, people, if anyone thinks there’s truth in advertising… ¬†Well, let’s just say I have some oceanfront property to sell you in Nebraska. ¬†It’s got a fabulous private beach too.

Come on, people… ¬†I’m a size 16. ¬†Even when I work out consistently and watch every single thing that I eat, and lose a grand total of three inches… ¬†I’m still a size 16. ¬†It happens. ¬†My body is happy there. ¬†The last time I was at the doctor for a physical, she said I was quite healthy, thank you very much.

The point is that anyone who is my size and shape who thought that they were going to get to look like Kim Kardashian just because they bought a pair of shoes is not only gullible but stupid.  There is no magic pill for weight loss.  Let me reiterate this: no magic pill.

Would it be nice if every company that sold a product did so completely without embellishing?  Of course it would.  In my own business I am completely above board and up front.  I make it a point of pride to do so.  Most small business owners are the same.  But when it comes to big corporations, I kind of figure that someone, somewhere, is probably lying.

That’s how you make the big bucks, people.

It’s also why I don’t ever plan to go multinational corporation with my company.

But getting back to my point…

Oh yes.  Why I (still) love my Skechers Shape Ups.

Because I totally do.

I own four pairs right now. ¬†I’ve worn holes in three others. ¬†I wear them for long work days, schlepping wedding supplies. ¬†I wore them on vacation – walked upwards of 50 miles in them – and adore them.

Yup. ¬†I bought Skechers Shape Ups. ¬†More than once. ¬†I’ll continue to buy them too, despite the advertising, um, miscues.

Because that funny little rounded back on the shoes? ¬†It’s done a lot for me. ¬†And made my walking a heck of a lot better.

You see, when I was ten years old, I stepped in a gopher hole during PE at school. ¬†I didn’t know it at the time, but I broke my ankle. ¬†I also apparently aggravated some already-relatively-loose tendons. ¬†I stayed off my foot for a week or two, thinking it was sprained (yup, thanks mom for NOT taking me to the doctor to get that ankle checked out!). ¬†And then went on my merry 10-year-old-tomboy way. ¬†Back to volleyball practice. ¬†And soccer at lunch. ¬†And running around the playground like a hooligan.

And every few months I’d step on that ankle in just the right way. ¬†And it would give way. ¬†Wrench to the left or right, painfully rolling, twisting, and tearing. ¬†It would swell to bowling-ball size. ¬†I’d ice it, elevate it, stay off it. ¬†Or limp around like an idiot in heels, trying to make sure my job got done (oh yes, I recall very well the day of the Yo Yo Ma concert downtown when I didn’t bring any flats with me and had to limp around for three hours straight). ¬†I’d deal with that for almost twenty years before a doctor (finally!!!!) sent me to physical therapy for it.

I went diligently for months, learning to balance on a balance ball, building up my strength in the ankle. ¬†It’s just a bad tendon, they think, but every time it twists, it gets weaker. ¬†Still, there are things I can do. ¬†Exercises. ¬†It helps. ¬†I still do them. ¬†But the thing is, the tendons can’t really be strengthened. ¬†Only babied. ¬†Eventually they figure I’ll have to get surgery to fuse together the bones.

Let’s just say that’s not a good option for me.

I have to admit that I probably would not have tried the Skechers Shape Ups had a friend not told me that her mother’s doctor recommended them for ankle stability. ¬†I’d seen the commercials. ¬†I thought they were stupid (I still do). ¬†They actually turned me¬†off buying the shoes which… ¬†I’ll stop short of saying, “the shoes that have changed my life,” but they’ve come close.

I remember thinking, “How the heck can a pair of shoes improve your stability?” and also, “Ugh, now I’ll look like all those stupid people who wanted a tight butt from the commercials…” but I went to my local Big 5 and tried them on.

And they felt… ¬†Very strange.

I’m a toe walker by nature. ¬†It’s part of the reason my ankles were unstable (probably the biggest reason, actually). ¬†So to have these (big, heavy) heels on these shoes felt… Unnatural.

But I tried them.  I consciously walked heel-first in them.  Rock-step, rock-step.  It felt kind of nice.  Awkward.  But nice.  I was sure I looked like a clown with big strange shoes on my feet.  But hey, I could feel my ankle engaging with every step.

So I bought them.

A day or two later they didn’t feel so awkward. ¬†I learned how to walk properly in them. ¬†Because my heel was making contact with the ground first – subconsciously, once I figured out how to use them – I had very little chance of twisting my ankle.

Do I still? ¬†Of course. ¬†I’m a klutz.

But it’s rare that I’m just walking, in my Shape Ups, around the house or the office or the block, and stumble for no reason. ¬†I used to do that a lot. ¬†I’d just be walking, on a perfectly flat surface, and – BOOM! – I’d twist my ankle horribly and be in pain for a week or more. ¬†Now, if my ankle wrenches, it’s because I was running, or I didn’t see an uneven patch of ground, or I wasn’t in my Shape Ups. ¬†Because I still walk toes-first in my other flats. ¬†I’ve tried to train myself but it’s my natural way to walk. ¬†Which is why I like that it feels very strange in Shape Ups, which forces me to walk the way other people do – heels first.

These shoes are good for me.

And about all the claims of how they’d make you lose weight? ¬†Meh. ¬†They’re about as founded as the late-night infomercials that claim to have the latest fat busting exercise machine that you only have to use for five! minutes! a day! ¬†I do actually feel like there are certain muscles that are more toned since I started wearing them – and I can definitely feel said muscles at the end of a long day wearing my shoes – but there’s not really a good measurement for that. ¬†And since I’m pretty much always going to be a size 16, I’m not too worried about it.

I’m just really happy these shoes exist.

So everyone who’s been badmouthing Skechers and Shape Ups wearers, can you please lay off?!? ¬†Not everyone who bought them was duped by the company. ¬†Not everyone who bought them actually bought into the claims that they’d make you drop a zillion dress sizes in a week. ¬†And some people actually really find them to be good shoes. ¬†Gimmicks aside. ¬†These shoes actually made a difference in my life. ¬†Not the one they claimed to make. ¬†But a difference nonetheless. ¬†I plan to wear them for a really, really long time. ¬†I hope they keep making those funny-looking shoes forever. ¬†Because I love them. ¬†Still.

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