Monday, December 31, 2012

Roasted Beet Salad with Truffle Oil and Q and A with Dr. Sal

Roasted Beet Salad with Truffle Oil
I love my friend Sally. When I told her I would be featuring her along side this recipe in December she said in typical Sally fashion "A perfect post in 'tis the season to overeat and indulge and then sit in shame during what I call "Boring January". I'm glad to give you this post in December, although I do realize it is New Years Eve and lifestyle changes will likely begin tomorrow. Even though this salad is healthy it's also very festive and just a little bit decadent with the truffle oil, so a natural choice for this time of year it is.
Roasted beet salad with truffle oil came to be when Sally sent me an SOS food text in the produce isle (there is reason she doesn’t write a food blog, ha!). She was staring at some beets in the store she wanted to buy, but didn't know what to do with them. She also specifically asked for a way to cook them so that they did not taste like dirt. I offered this recipe, which she loved and the rest is history. Then, she gave me the Myers Briggs (a personality test) and we talked about my results for three days. Did I mention Sally was a psychologist? She is, so that Myers Briggs thing isn't as weird as you initially thought. I also asked her a bunch of questions that us bloggers are always wanting to know, and then a few more about body image since we talk food here and her line of work. Sally obliged, so you are welcome in advance for her expert and free feedback. (Sally also asked me some questions...see my answers here!)
This is Dr. Sal. 
1) People who write blogs in general have an interest in "getting more followers" or receiving lots of comments/feedback about the content they post. We host giveaways and ask people to tweet about us so that more people read our stuff. They want more, more, more. On a psychological level, why do you think this is so important to most people? What do you think they are really after, since obviously, the quest for more is never quite quenched?
 Sally: A great question! Technology has changed our lives in so many ways, but your question helps me see that it also is just another avenue for us to do the same thing over and over again - the quest for more never quite quenched. But, to answer your question, I fall back on a phrase I coined recently - VMV. Value, Meaning and Validation.
 Each and every one of us wants to feel valuable, meaningful others and in this world...and we look for ways to validate ourselves in these areas. We try to fill this space in us that is never quite full, like there is a hole at the bottom where last week's gains seep out. I think this definitely challenges our never being content in the moment, remaining much less aware and thankful.
 I was given a great description once when dealing with my perfectionism (I am a Recovering Perfectionist)...many times it is harder to go with my gut, trust myself and the process of doing my best without comparing myself to another person. We can always turn to the right and someone is doing better than we are - better marriage, better body, better readership numbers on blogs, better attitude. And we can always turn to the left and see someone doing no as well as we are...meaning we are the person on their right. It is perpetual - there are always ways we can
grow, change, get more, but we can distract ourselves by looking at others instead of ditching the nasty practice of comparison.
I try to answer, "Then what...". If I get 1000 followers, then what? There is always more to get, have, obtain. But there is loss in the process too. When I am focusing on other people, I am less aware of what I do have, what I really want, how I really feel...and I lose when I trying to get more (e.g. I lose out on a great conversation with my husband because I need to make one more post this week, or I lose a chance to rest, I was too busy to talk to a friend, I snapped at my child for interrupting me as I write and try to be present at the same time, etc.).
 The short answer is that I think it is part of our human nature. And that making peace with "enough" is hard but rewarding.
Roasted Beet Salad with Truffle Oil
 2) Food and weight. What is a healthy way to think about it? And how important is the quest for "being healthy"? Does being healthy on the inside affect our mental health?
 Sally: I love being able to enjoy what is available, but know that enjoyment can turn into need and habit. (e.g. I need a sweet after lunch instead of just having one when I really want one...much less a good one. Nothing (for me) goes down as well as a great pizza and a glass of good red wine. But I choose not to have that every single night.
 I think we have relationships with food - and most fall in the category of "eat to live" or "live to eat". One way that psychology and food meet are when I “eat my feelings”. Whether it is feeling irritable, sad, blue or insecure, food can cover up some of those things we feel that we don’t want to feel. There is a reality to the term “comfort foods” - our brains respond in ways that might change how we are feeling, but we all know there is a down side to consuming a bag of Doritos while nursing feelings of failure or hopelessness. The original feeling remains, and then is topped with feelings of shame.
 I also think food plays a part in how we think about ourselves. Let's say I have Thankles (thick ankles), wider hips, a stubborn muffin top, small breasts, etc. something that is a part of my genetic makeup that I cannot change. When I try to change this characteristic, I am working against something that won't change.
 I definitely think there are ways to treat a body with kindness and respect - accepting it for what it is. That is so kind to do to your body. But just because I have a genetic makeup that gives me a big butt, doesn't mean that I need to accept it with resignation - I can work on it, include it as a "trouble spot" in my work outs, but enjoy my roundness because that is me.
 My answer is that being healthy is a delicate balance. If I remove all things that bring me joy where food is concerned, say NO chocolate, NO desserts, NO bread, etc. Then I might have a flatter stomach but I have turned off a part of me that is open to enjoying something I like, an my strictness might show up in different ways, like obsession with weight and/or calories, jealousy, uptightness or irritability. Often, strict adherence can breed shame and perfectionism. Balance and control are challenging, and for some (e.g. addicts) removing a food or substance is necessary for a balanced and controlled life.
Being healthy on the inside effects our mental health. In a concrete way, our brains and body function on what we eat. Something can be good going down, but the rest of the day is shot - my mood, my energy level, my diet. That is why health is a lifestyle, that can include treats on a regular, small basis...rather than it being a lifestyle of indulgence and always saying "yes" to food.
 3) Is it true that in your line of work the goal is to subtly get the person to answer his or her own questions to what they are asking?
 Sally: Yes and no. I think some therapists are like that - and I don't like the subtle style. It feels a tad sneaky and doesn't help people trust their if the therapist "knows" something or knows what is best. My belief is that my clients hold the keys to their own success and that I am only a guide along the way. To me, when I don’t let a client answer their own hard questions, I undercut their growth.
People get stronger when they solve problems for themselves, which is usually a trial and error process...which means they will make mistakes. When we own our words, our actions, our true thoughts and feelings, we grow in responsibility, self-respect, confidence and ability...usually in areas where this growth was really needed. But change is hard - and we often pull from other people so we don't have to go through the more uncomfortable parts of what it means to be responsible for what we decide and how we act.
So, just like the example you gave of my calling you about could have made me the recipe. But I got more out of 1) calling you, 2) admitting my need for help, 3) pursuing something I wanted to do, 4) accepting ideas and guidance from you 4) doing the work myself and 5) feeling accomplished in the results.
 4) What is the purpose of your Legacy website? Do you like to write?
 Sally: I do a few things on my website. The name of my business is Legacy because I believe that we all leave a legacy, whether we want to or not. We are important. We impact the lives of people around us.
In my work I am often given the honor and responsibility of people sharing themselves with me in the process of learning their own value, beauty and strength. This is an absolute delight in my work. It is also why, when I am asked about what I do...I don’t really like being asked how I can sit and listen to people’s problems all day (one example of how therapy is misunderstood). So, even if someone chooses not to work with me as a psychologist in therapy or consultation, I provide information for them that they might be able to use in finding a therapist or understanding why psychology is an important part of being human, of leaving a vibrant legacy.
 One of the things I like focus on is making psychology accessible in a personal way. “Psychology” and “therapy” are words that often scare people because there is a stigma attached to them. Many people think there is something wrong with them if they need to call someone for help, or they think they are crazy, or they think if they start therapy there will never get out. I like my website to show the many ways psychology is normal and how it shows up in our every day lives.
I do a lot of work with clients online and over the phone - which is newer to the field of psychology. This allows for therapy to move beyond the more traditional office setting. I also work as a consultant to small business and teams in my “The ME in TEAM” program. This consulting highlights how each individual on a team (e.g. husband/wife, parent/child, friends, family members, coworkers, etc) is critical to making the team function well. One thing I cannot get enough of is helping people see how great they are. It is astounding to me how many people are not able to put words to their personal strengths, abilities, style, preferences. Without this information, we are prone to look to the right or left (see above) to help the outside world define who we are.
I love to write...and I love to read. I write on my website and also co-author a blog on female friendship (with a good friend!). Some of my favorite topics to write on are emotions, “shoulding”, personality and personal effectiveness.
 5) What are the qualities of a good psychologist or therapist?
 Sally: In no special order:
 * Honesty. This can be hard because a lot of uncomfortable situations happen in therapy. It is hard to say something that someone doesn’t want to hear, it is hard to go to painful places in people’s lives. But really, this is like sneaking food on a diet. If I go to therapy to hear what feels good or go without being honest about who I really am, I am only cheating myself out of growth. But I am also accepting what that stunted growth means - it might mean I remain depressed, I remain insecure, I suffer with anxiety, I continue to eat my feelings, I battle thoughts that I am worthless, etc. A therapist being honest with me does not mean I have to agree with what a therapist says, it means I get to interact in a safe environment with someone who respects me enough to tell me the truth about how they see me and experience me.
 * Not doing the work for the client.
 * Being willing to feel awkward or frustrated and not fix someone’s problems. This is a feeling most people are familiar with, it is often the basis for unsolicited advice.
 * Being okay with silence.
 * Being willing to ask hard questions.
 * Good personal boundaries.
 * Being willing to say I don't know.
 * Being willing to say when therapy isn't working or that another therapist would be better with

Want to read more of what Dr. Sal has to say? Visit her over on her blog, Legacy Assessment, Counseling and Consulting.  

Sally, thanks for answering such deep questions with such thoughtfulness and a little bit of spunk. Spunk is my favorite part about Dr. Sal.

Roasted Beet Salad with Truffle Oil

You can't really tell, but there are bigger chunks of goat cheese at the bottom of the bowl, and when tossed it slightly melts into the still warm beets coating them a bit which makes for excellent eating but not so great pictures.

This salad is not an exact science. I'll give you the recipe just like I gave it to Sally.

Roasted Beet Salad with Truffle Oil

Baby Arugula
Roasted Beets (1-2 beets per person depending on how big they are. I like lots of beets)
Truffle oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Red wine vinegar
Goat cheese

Roast and skin beets according to the directions provided by the link. Place still warm beets cut into hefty chunks in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Crumble goat cheese on top and left it melt a bit into the beets by tossing it. Scatter arugula over the top of the beets and drizzle with truffle oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss and taste. Add more oil, vinegar or salt and pepper to taste.

I like more beets to arugula in this recipe. I shoot for a ratio of 2/3 beets to 1/3 arugula.


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  2. "I get 1000 followers and then what?"

    Oh the wisdom therein.

    I love you both. Thank you for being yourselves so I might see more clearly.

    Happy New Year!