I came across an image with a quote the other day that made me laugh and yet it also got me thinking. It said:
How to get a Beach Body:
Check and make sure that you have a body.
Go to the freaking beach.
For some, just the thought of these three words; bathing suit season, can bring on anxiety that is enough to push them to try crazy diets and fads in order to reach their ideal “beach body.” I am here to tell you there is literally one and only one way to get a beach body and the answer is the above quote: check and make sure you have a body and then get yourself to the beach!
I remember once seeing in a magazine an article that basically took the best feature of a handful of celebrities and pieced them together to make the perfect body. This flawless inhuman concoction consisted of Gwen Stefani’s abs, Jennifer Aniston’s legs, Scarlett Johansen’s nose, and so on. The morphing of all of these single features into one actually turned out to be pretty hideous and somewhat robot like.
When it comes to our bodies and in particular, stripping down into our swimsuits, we often spend more time noticing the pieces of us that we wish were different and less time on the parts of us that we love. We look longingly at our girlfriend’s toned legs and think, If only I had legs like that. Or we cover up our midsections until we are just about to dip into the water because God forbid everyone knows we didn’t do all those sit ups we had set out to do before slipping this suit on. It was Marilyn Monroe that once said, “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” When was the last time that you embraced yourself exactly as you are, right now; not in a month, not when you lose ten pounds. Right now. Exactly as you are. When is the last time you slipped into a bathing suit and felt no need to apologize for any piece of you? If you can’t remember that time, what are you waiting for?
I cannot lie, there are still days that I struggle with this concept but not nearly in the way that I once did. I used to live in the world of I will love my body when_____. I had so many different things to fill in the blank with and they all had to do with changing my body. And by changing my body, I mean becoming that morphed being of perfect features. Then, and only then, would this body get any love. And each time summer rolled around, the swimsuit came out, and the love never came. The pieces of me that I wanted to change never became good enough, perfect enough, no matter what I did.
This cycle continued for so long until I finally got fed up. I guess I just woke up one day and realized it wasn’t my body that needed to change, it was my perspective. All this time I was looking at my body as individual and disconnected pieces and not once seeing that it was all one. I never once stepped back to see the whole picture or to appreciate the home in which I resided. I was seeing what I wished for and not what I had.
When my perspective shifted, for the first time in my life, my body became the temple that I had always heard the priests talk about in church as a child. It became what it could do and how strong it was versus what it looked like. I came to notice the things that I had once loathed about my body just didn’t seem worth exhausting myself over anymore. Sure there were days that my confidence was not to be found, but those days passed. My life was no longer consumed by the ideals I once pursued. I was free from the constant criticism and the endless and fruitless journey to find the perfect “beach body,” if you will.
All those years, had I just known how easy it was to get a “beach body” things would’ve been so different. I wasted so much time and energy trying to perfect what already was a masterpiece. And here, all along, all I had to do was make sure that I had a body, which I do, and then get this beautiful body to the beach, which I will. It just doesn’t get any easier, not one bit.
All right, it’s time to take it down south since we are talking about bathing suit season. If you have ever had what is often referred to as Texas Caviar or Cowboy Caviar, then you know this recipe is a keeper. This chunky 3 Bean Cowboy Caviar is literally the caviar of them all. It is packed with veggies and spices and can be used as so much more than just a chip dip.
When I made this dip, I ate off of it for a week and had it as a side dish with dinner, on top of a salad, over eggs, wrapped in Romaine leaves and so on. The possibilities really are endless. You can adjust the spice level easily by adding the seeds or veins of the jalapeños or leaving them out. Add a bit at a time so you don’t overdo it. Also, you can adjust the amount of crushed red pepper. I snuck in some zucchini to add even more veggies and no one seemed to notice! I am a sucker for cilantro so I actually added a bit more than the recipe called for, but that is what I started out with and it was still very tasty. Serve this up at your next get together and you will not go home with an empty bowl. Enjoy!
And if you are looking for some more summer salads and dips to tide you over this season, check out these 10 Simple Summer Salads!
- 2 jalapeño peppers diced (seeds and veins separated)
- 1 small zucchini diced
- 1 cup corn
- 5 Roma tomatoes diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper diced
- 2-3 garlic loves minced
- 2 ripe avocado
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can pinto beans
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 1/4 cup plus 1 T red wine vinegar
- 2 T olive oil
- 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2/3 cup chopped cilantro
Dice and cut vegetables accordingly and combine in a large bowl.
Add garlic, vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, crushed pepper, and cilantro and stir to combine. (If you want an extra kick to yours, add some of the seeds/veins of the jalapeños that you separated in when dicing. If not, discard them.)
Gently add and stir in the beans.
Cube both of the avocados and stir in if you plan to eat this within the next several hours. If not, add about 30 minutes before serving.
Add sea salt and crushed pepper to taste.
Chill for about 30 minutes before serving.
This recipe is so versatile. Use it as a dip for tortilla chips, add it to tacos or a lettuce wrap, eat it plain as a salad or even over some greens, or spoon some over eggs. So many options!
Feel free to also add a tsp of cumin as well to the mix if you'd like!