Life of Sum

Don’t worry, I’m alive!

Hi eve- Oh wait a minute, let me wipe the dust off of my blog so you can read this, ha. Lets try again, hi everyone!

As you can tell, I’ve been pretty MIA lately over here. Between starting a new job, being in my last year of college and trying to figure out exactly what I’m going to do with my life when said last year of college is over.. I’ve been a bit preoccupied.

But have no fear, big things are coming! I am actually in the process of completely rebranding Simply-Sum! Where, hopefully, you’ll be seeing a lot more of me. Once I figure out exactly what I want to come out of this rebrand. The new site will be http://www.summerhendrix.com!

In the meantime, feel free to keep up with my foodie shenanigans on Instagram: @summerhendrixcreates

Simply, Sum.

Advertisements

Finding my version of healthy {ignoring labels, breaking veganism}

 

For all of 2015, my relationship with food and my body was terrible. I’d starve myself, over-work my body, binge and then repeat the cycle. I lost a whopping 25 pounds, from running and consuming a very limited amount of calories. At first, although the method was corrupt, the pounds I was losing needed to be lost. Until I reached the point where I wasn’t losing “bad” fat, but the fat I needed to function properly.

My biggest worry throughout this time was my bingeing problem. I mostly binged on overly-processed, fake, crappy foods. I knew that Oreos and chips were bad, even scary. I also knew bingeing was bad, definitely scary. My behavior of bingeing masked what the real problematic behavior was- starving myself. This fear also masked the real fear- my fear of food.

At one point, I was so afraid of bingeing that I began to pride myself on the days that I’d only consume 900 calories, after burning 300 from running. Little did I actually know that I was bingeing BECAUSE I was hungry. I’d crave processed, fake foods because they were extremely caloric dense, which is what my body wanted. My body needed more.

After completing my first half marathon, I collapsed. I was worn out. More from the last 11 months of living on not much more than yogurt and spinach, than the 13.1 miles I had just ran.

I knew I wasn’t eating enough, I knew I was being too restrictive, I knew that the labels of “good” and “bad” on food were just ridiculous. But I loved being skinny, I loved consuming only “pure” foods. So I began to research “How to eat the most amount of food without gaining weight?”

Ofcourse, there were so many articles on eating 100 calorie packs of cookies, replacing meals with protein bars and eliminating carbs. But I knew I didn’t want to consume processed food-like items either. So I tweaked my searches to “Consuming real food without gaining weight.”

Somehow, I stumbled upon This Girl Audra. She had so many videos on binge eating, starving yourself and dealing with/recovering from a disordered relationship with food and your body. I watched every video on her channel, and it all made sense. She also exposed me to a new-to-me phrase, “plant based eating.”

I did so much research on plant based eating. I felt like I was already halfway there. I didn’t consume processed foods, because they triggered a binge. I didn’t consume much meat or dairy, because they were too sodium and caloric dense. I loved vegetables because they were God made and definitely good for my body.

So, in January of 2016, I just cut out yogurt and eggs and replaced them with potatoes, beans and other real foods. I realized that these real foods brought me ease. I wasn’t afraid of broccoli, or peppers or bananas. This ease also took away the fear of carbs, like bread, rice and pasta. By February, I felt free. I wasn’t afraid to eat. I didn’t feel restricted. I’d eat as many potatoes as my stomach and heart desired. I’d eat a whole can of chickpeas. I’d just eat, and not even think about it. Freedom felt so good. My body was well-fed and well-energized and felt so, so good.

Eating plant-based was definitely the easiest thing I have ever done. I never had to think about it. If I was hungry, I’d eat until I was satisfied. And that was it. I’d eat food that God put on this earth, and not worry about what gross, fake ingredients were in them, because there simply weren’t any in them.

The simplicity of plant based eating brought a much needed break from the anxiety and confusion I had felt for so long while starving myself and being afraid of food. I found joy in creating simple recipes. I was happy and carefree, and it all came from the food freedom I had found.

Until recently.

Throughout the month of July, I found myself bored. I lost my desire to cook, to make eating fun and to even eat, at all. I felt confined by the label of “vegan” or “plant based.” I got tired of hearing “Oh, you can’t have this, theres ____ in it.” I got frustrated. Annoyed even. I began living off of smoothies, because they were the only thing that made me excited. (Because thats healthy, right?)

Then finally, I realized I was feeling emotions I had forgotten existed. Restriction. Hunger. Confusion. Too disciplined. Constantly telling myself, “No, you can’t eat this, it’s bad” brought back so much fear and anxiety.

This realization was bouncing around my brain for days, but I refused to admit that plant-based eating was turning into something bad.

Until one night while getting ready to go to dinner, wiping away tears of fear from knowing I’d be exposed to so many foods I “couldn’t have.” I finally told myself that enough was enough. I started eating plant based to get rid of these scary, dark feelings. But here they were again, brought by the habit that had set me free in the first place. 

I went to dinner, I set my conscience aside, I left my list of “good and bad foods” at home. I brought nothing more than my firm belief that God made foods were what I needed to be eating. I ordered grilled, wild-caught salmon, with rice pilaf and broccoli.

With every bite, I felt the walls that were confining me by the “vegan” or “plant based” label being blown away. I, once again, felt at ease. Since that night, I’ve been eating what I crave. I haven’t been telling myself “no.” I also haven’t been anxious, or scared.

My conscience is, of course, a bit confused. Because I know when I choose to eat animal products, behind that decision is a life being taken. But, I think the most important aspect to this choice is awareness. If you’re going to choose to eat animal products, you can’t do it mindlessly.  A life is being sacrificed, that is something worth acknowledging.

But, for now I’m doing what puts my mind at ease. I’m taking away the aspects of eating that make it hard, or a chore. I’m doing what makes my body feel right, and taking away things that alter my mental health.

Just like seasons change, as people, we do too. These changes can include our eating habits, what activities make us happy and what makes our bodies feel good. If there’s anything I have learned these past few years, it is to respect my body. Respecting my body helps me to respect my brain, which helps me to respect myself as a whole.

I don’t need a label, I need to be healthy. I need to be my own version of healthy.

Simply, Sum

Change > Regret {Life Lately}

Hi everyone! So much has happened since the last time I posted. Some changes were more expected than others.

Super expected & planned for: I packed up my Tallahassee home and moved into my tiny house on Wednesday! The whole process was very fast paced. Matt and I packed up my third floor apartment and loaded it into a Uhaul all by ourselves. Talk about an intense workout! We drove the four hour route to my new apartment and unpacked all within the same day.image1

Kinda expected: I haven’t wanted to really workout at all since the move. I had to run about a mile and half home from dropping off the Uhaul, but other than that I’ve been more drawn to leisurely walks. My body has been so worn and sore. I’m letting myself rest as much as I need, for now, but I’m also excited to get back into a workout routine.

Kinda expected: Between not wanting to buy groceries before the big move and going to farewell dinners with all of my Tallahassee friends and co-workers, I’ve been eating out more frequently than usual. I’ve wanted to just enjoy my time with the people around me, so I haven’t been beating myself up over it. I’ve been trying to make”wiser” choices while eating out though, still avoiding buttery and fried foods.image3

Not at all expected: My mental and emotional stability have been, well, not stable. I’ve been emotional and really disconnected. Although I knew I’d be emotional moving away from my nieces, this type of emotion has been deep, dark and consuming. After taking some time for myself, I realized that one underlying condition for why I’ve felt so anxious and confused is because of my eating. Telling myself no; telling myself “You can’t have that or this or this”; eating around people and feeling restricted; feeling the urge to eat out rather than cook because cooking isn’t fun anymore.. It’s been hard. Cooking and making healthy eating an enjoyable habit has been a huge part of me for so long, but it has recently turned into a chore. So, I’ve been eating more intuitively. AKA eating turkey sandwiches and wasabi ranch seasoned pea crisps, because telling myself these things are “bad” have made me want them even more. But, this will be a whole separate post, another day.image2

With so much going on, it has been so important for me to focus on myself and what feels right. Rest, fellowship and an at-ease mind have trumped spreading myself too thin, feeling lonely in a group of people and judging myself for not being able to label myself anything other than “human.”


Have you ever experienced a series of big life changes in a short amount of time?

Do you tend to beat yourself up when you get “off track” your normal routine?

Simply, Sum

Grow without being planted.

A few months ago, I received news that one of my good friends from high school was murdered.

A good friend that I hadn’t spoken to since I packed up and moved to Tallahassee. A good friend that was my first homecoming date when I was 14, gave me embraceable hugs that I can still feel to this day and was the definition of “genuine.”

It hit me so hard. Mainly because he’s not the only person or significant position that I left behind to chase my dreams. Dreams of independence, growth, education and opportunity. Dreams that have turned into achievements while in Tallahassee.

Now that I have achieved all of these dreams, Tallahassee has turned into a place that’s also supplied me with a hefty serving of loneliness, a lack of purpose and the urge to go to bed at 7PM because I simply have nothing else to do. If I’m not with my sister, nieces or friends friend, I literally stare at the wall and think about how useless my presence is.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Tallahassee. Moving here, or anywhere away from home, was absolutely necessary for me to grow. Which I have done, and want to continue to do every day for the rest of my life. But I’ve lost the desire to thrive here, I don’t feel as if I can continue to grow, which degrades the gift of life that God has given me.

When I first realized I was falling out of love with Tallahassee, I kept hush-hushing the thoughts of moving somewhere else because the opportunities I have here are simply amazing. A job that pays great, an internship that could blast off my future career. But then I reminded myself that opportunities are everywhere, because they aren’t given to you, they are worked for. And if I continue to just focus on the opportunities Tallahassee has given me, when I leave the office at the end of the day, I’m still not going to have anyone to share these triumphs with.

As you can guess, I’ve been working pretty diligently to create my own opportunities outside of Tallahassee and praying that this crazy idea to relocate would slip through the cracks of my fingers if it wasn’t Gods will. But as of July 31, 2016, I will be turning in the keys to my little Tallahassee apartment to pursue growth, opportunity and love in Lakeland, Florida, for the next 10 months or so.

Here’s to a new beginning, in a not-so-new place. Here’s to creating my own opportunities. Here’s to continuing to grow, without being planted in one place.Here’s to creating a life of fulfillment. Here’s to making use of the strengths God has given me.

Here’s to you, Tyler Macklin.

Simply, Sum.

My Favorite Tally Eats + Hangs!

Growing up, Tallahassee was the place to be. From ages 8 to 13, I spent every summer in Tallahassee with my sister and her little family. I always knew that as soon as I got the chance, I’d be packing up my bags to start a life there.

A month after graduating high school, that’s exactly what I did.

One apartment, two jobs, three years and too many memories to count, Tallahassee has been the most prominent component in helping me find out who I am, what I love and what my purpose in the world is.

All of these little pieces of me that have come together have taken place at local coffee shops, restaurants and parks. If you find yourself in the area, I definitely suggest giving these places a try!


Restaurants/Cafes:

Sweet Pea Cafe: Definitely #1 on my “Best of Tallahassee” list. This cozy, locally owned, organic restaurant has an all vegan menu! Whether you’re sitting indoors or outside, when you look around you’ll see a diverse group of people. College students, middle aged businesses men/women, older adults and even pups all love this place! I recommend their Falawesome with sweet potato fries. Yummmmm!

sweetpea

Bagel Market & Bistro: Another restaurant that I love so dearly! I frequently have them cater lunch at the law firm I work at, or swing by for a bagel and coffee on the weekends. My favorite part of the whole bistro is the book stand by the front entrance, full of magazines and books to browse over while you wait for your order or sit down to sip you coffee. My recommendation: Veggie Melt or a blueberry muffin! My bosses recommendation: the Southern Parfait!

The Bada Bean: My boyfriends all time favorite! We haven’t been here in quite some time because it’s pretty far from my apartment, but it’s honestly worth the drive. I suggest going early because it seems every other person in Tallahassee agrees it’s the place to be on the weekends for breakfast! My boyfriend gets the cinnamon roll pancakes every time, but I suggest the Skinny Dom!

Canopy Road Cafe: This place hits close to home for me. In my hometown, my parents and I went to the Eagle Lake Diner every single Saturday, Canopy Road gives me the same feeling as the Diner. The atmosphere is cozy, service is always amazing and the food is to DIE for! This was also the first restaurant that Bowden experienced as a weeee little puppy. My favorite is their Breakfast Quesadilla or the Vegan Breakfast Skillet. My sister raves about their Fat Elvis pancakes!

There are many, many other restaurants/cafes I adore, including: Red Eye Coffee, Uptown Cafe, Northside Pies, Cooshs, Food Glorious Food, Bella Bella, Midtown Caboose, MoMo’s Pizza, Hopkins Eatery.

Parks/Outdoors:

Winthrop Park: I’m honestly not sure how I stumbled across this park, but I’m so glad I did. It has tennis courts, little league baseball fields, a playground and a few fields of just open space. During the school year, it’s usually full of little league baseball teams, soccer games and (I think) even flag football. Matt utilized their batting cages, while B and I utilized the large open fields that are past the tennis courts to run around. This is a hidden treasure, for sure.

IMG_5316.JPG

Maclay Gardens: Probably the most popular or well-known park in Tallahassee. There’s a small entrance fee to get in, but there’s so much to do! There’s a lake where you can go for a swim, kayak or canoe, a garden that you can leisurely walk through or utilize for cute pictures (no pets in this section though, boo) and a trail that takes you through the woods!

Tom Brown Park: The park of all parks, the motherload of things to do outside! Tom Brown has baseball fields, football fields, tennis courts, racquet ball courts, soccer fields, dirt bike hills, hiking trails, a playground, Frisbee golf, a lake, plenty of empty open fields, and my favorite, the dog park. You can find B and I here every Sunday playing with the other Tally pups!

Tallahassee Museum: People of all ages will love the Tallahassee Museum! It is definitely not your typical museum, having most of it as an outside setting and animals at every corner! I’m not sure who loves this place more, my nieces or myself. There are animals, exhibits, a playground, a small cafe and even a zip line course!

St. George Island: Believe it or not, about an hour and a half out of Tallahassee, you can access my all time favorite beach. St. George Island is a secluded beach that offers miles of white sand and (as the website explains) “uncongested natural beauty.” I think there’s only one beach shop, maybe two restaurants and  one gas station. It’s a small little town, but it sure is a gem.

Although these are my favorite places to go in Tallahassee, there are also MANY other attractions, including: Cascades Park, Lake Ella, Tekesta Park, Miccosukee Greenway, Alligator Point, and St. Marks Wildlife Refuge.


Are there more local restaurants or chain restaurants in your current town?

Are you a “regular” at any places in your town?

Simply, Sum

Life of a seeking intern: feeling burntout?

The last few months have been filled with searching for internships.

AKA the last few months have been filled with finding companies that promote growth, community and innovative thinking. Companies that don’t think the “creative ones” aren’t useful because they don’t succeed at math. Companies that work for the good. Companies that treat every person that is an internal and external member as someone who possess strengths, that are worth recognizing.

Am I being picky? Ofcourse. These are the companies I idolize. The people that are going to be molding me into a professional, teaching me how to thrive in a cut-throat industry. I want them to care about me, just as much as I care about their brand.
(Hi hiring manager. See, I love you)

I’m sure most of you can relate. But, there are a few tricks that have helped me to refresh, find the energy to open up another Word document and spill my heart into ANOTHER cover letter. Hope these suggestions help you get out of that slump!


  • Disconnect! Turn off your computer, close out of your social media apps, put your phone on silent, turn off the TV. Staring at a computer, phone or TV is draining, especially when you’re searching for something. Give your mind, and eyes, a break.
  • Go outside! Lace up some tennis shoes and head outside (no electronic devices allowed). Whether it be for a short run, a long walk or a park play date with your pup. Let yourself get some fresh air and soak up a bit of vitamin D. Also get those endorphin’s pumping!
  • Create a schedule! I highly doubt applying for internships  is the only thing you’re doing with your time. For me, I have to fit this into my assignments for my classes, blog and full-time job. Rather than working on my applications when they come to mind (all the time), I have a schedule of the times and days I allow myself to work on them. Right now my schedule is Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:30AM -12:30PM and any afternoon from 7:00PM-8:00PM. This schedule helps me to get my applications together in a timely manner, rather than dragging out the creating process, as well!
  • Remind yourself of your worth! It’s hard exposing yourself to total strangers and hoping they find you appealing. Especially when you’re in the position of having your strengths, education and personality judged. But don’t let the lack of responses, or even rejections, make you forget your worth. God has already equipped you with the skills and passion that are going to put you where you need to be. If what you bring to the table isn’t a good match for a certain organization or company, you’re not meant to be there anyways.

 

Whats your favorite way to disconnect and veg out?

Are you currently seeking an internship? How’s that going?

Simply, Sum

Embrace the Strange {WIAW}

The only two people in my life that admire my plant based eating  and are intrigued enough to talk to me about it are my parents. Considering they are 61 year old country folk, this is shocking!

First things first: 8oz of Kombucha on an empty stomach. Always.

We’ll talk for hours about plant based nutrients and recipes. I love answering their questions and hearing their thoughts on eating, and thinking, in a way that goes against the grain of today’s norms.

img_6139

Breakfast: Black bean pasta tossed in red pepper hummus. Spinach + dried tomatoes.

“You’re strange. You eat strange. You think strange. You act strange. Your life is strange. But that’s okay because it’s only strange to us that are living a life that’s just normal”

Lunch: BBQ cauliflower wings + baked fries

Sometimes “strange” is not eating animal products, choosing to ride a bike instead of driving a car, reading the newspaper instead of watching television or sleeping with the lights on at night.

Afternoon Snack: Mini smoothie, made with acai, strawberries, blueberries, banana & spinach

Not everyone has the same perception of what is strange, or what is normal. So embrace your strange, because quite frankly, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

Dinner: Not pictured zucchini fritters + corn on the cob, which this cutie got to finish for me

Might as well be strange.. and happy!


What habits do you have that people consider “strange”?

Anybody else crave unusual things for breakfast sometimes?

Simply, Sum!