Fear Isn’t Why You’re Stuck + Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash


“There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask, ‘what if I fall?’. Oh but my darling, what if you fly?”
– Erin Hanson

Every time I read that saying, my body is wrapped in chills, especially my arms and legs. Which is uncomfortable when your leg hair is just starting to grow back from the last time you waxed.

It sort of feels like a thousand needles are pressing aggressively into your legs. It’s also kind of itchy. But I will read that saying again and again and push past the needles and the itch because I love the combination of those words and how they are strung together.

Today I’m talking about fear.

One thing that most of my meal planners have in common before they join the meal plans is that they’re afraid of changing how they eat, even though they know in their heart it’s what needs to happen, and the outcome will make them healthy, happy and free of crappy food habits.

“There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky,and you ask, ‘what if I fall?’. Oh but my darling, what if you fly?”
(chills, again)

Here’s the thing about fear.

We’re stuck with it.

Fear isn’t going anywhere. It’s part of the deal.

It’s built into us just like hunger, just like the desire to have sex, just like the color of our eyes, the shape of our body, our laugh and everything else that makes us who we are.

Upon birth, we were granted fear, just like we were granted death, and happiness, and sorrow.

Fear wants to keep us safe and alive, that’s its job – it’s one of our survival mechanisms.

And I’m willing to bet that it has gotten you out of a dicey situation on more than one occasion.

Fear doesn’t like change because a long, long time ago, change could very well mean death. Today, change might mean losing weight, filing for divorce, moving to a different town, getting healthy or getting out of an emotional or physical rut (probably both).

But fear doesn’t know the difference between good, healthy, positive change and life threatening awful change. For better or for worse, change equals possible non-survival for fear.

So when change is about to take place, or it’s just underway, fear will make a grand entrance in an effort to keep us alive, and as a result, we feel panicky, anxious, doubtful, and even sick.

Sometimes fear’s grip is so tight that we become paralyzed and stop doing whatever it is we’re doing that makes us feel this way.

Sometimes this works to our advantage.
Let’s say you’re walking home and it’s dark and some creeper is walking too close to you and you have a really bad feeling about this dude – listen to your damn fear and get out your mace, pop into a store or start talking to yourself and pretend that you’re bat-shit crazy.

Sometimes this works to our disadvantage.
Let’s say you’re craving a donut and you think about eating an apple instead, and you start to feel panicky about it. In that case, fear has no business showing up and working against your healthy eating efforts, and you need to take the reins and tell fear thanks, but you got this one.

Because fear is built into us, it isn’t something that we can conquer or overcome, or squash, or kill, because it’s not going any damn where.

So instead of making war with fear, making it the enemy, and trying to push past it…

Speak to it. (Hi fear)

Acknowledge it. (I can feel you)

Honor it. (I know you’re just trying to protect me)

Thank it. (Thank you for wanting me to be safe)

Set some rules. (I’m going to lovingly ask you to simmer the fuck down because I’ve got this one and you’re making it really difficult for me to fill in the blank)

And then witness its grip begin to loosen.
Watch it take the back seat.
Watch it keep a gentle eye on you while it fades into the background.

And when fear leaps out of the back seat and rears its head, lean into it and take action, by either getting out of a dangerous situation, or continuing to explore outside of your comfort zone in the quest to reach your goals, even in the presence of it.

“There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask, ‘what if I fall?’. Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” (again – chills)

If you haven’t succeeded at something yet and you’re not moving forward because you’re afraid, know that fear isn’t keeping you stuck.

You’re stuck because you’re telling yourself a story that doesn’t support your success.

It might be masked as fear, but remember, everyone has fear and people who are successful in their endeavors aren’t successful because they’ve cracked the secret code and banished fear from their lives.

They’re successful because the story they tell themselves is in line and supports the outcome of what they want instead of working against them and keeping them stuck in self-defeating circles.

Think about something that you’re currently trying to change or succeed at that you have tried and failed at in the past.
What story are you telling yourself about this?

Are you telling yourself that you WILL ABSO-FUCKIN-LUTELY succeed, no matter what it takes?

  • Do you envision yourself having already succeeded when you go to bed at night, and daydream about it every single day?
  • Do you tell yourself that nothing will get in your way and that you deserve all of the happiness, well-being and peace that will come with this change
  • Do you bust out some tights, leg warmers, and a bright orange leotard and do an awesome fucking cheer for yourself the moment that doubt sets in?

Or do you expect to fail?

  • Do you picture yourself never changing?
  • Do you place blame on people and things for keeping you stuck?
  • Do you beat yourself up and feel defeated if you don’t reach your goal overnight?
  • Do you tell yourself, what’s the point, this hasn’t worked before, why would it work now?
  • Do you look at everyone around you who seems to have what you want and throw yourself an epic pity party, equipped with donuts and spiked hot chocolate?
  • When you picture reaching your goal, do you believe that picture, or do you tell yourself HA! Yeah, THAT will never happen.

Your success has nothing to do with conquering your fear – which is a good thing because fear can’t be conquered. Your success has everything to do with the story you tell yourself, because ultimately, we become our stories.

So if you’ve tried and failed and you’re scared to try again, make the decision to change your story.

Choose a story of success and overcoming obstacles, and being a badass, and not quitting even though every tiny cell in your body feels like giving up.

Even if you don’t believe it at first and you’re sick with fear, keep telling yourself your new story.

Write it down, recite it often, day dream, do a goddamn cheer.


Keep telling yourself this story over and over again until you blissfully reach your goals, prove yourself right, and have zero reason not to believe it.

“There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask, ‘what if I fall?’. Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” (hello needles)

I won’t let you fall.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Author: Molly Patrick


  • Acorn squash 1 - 3 // see note at the bottom


  • 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa 240g
  • ½ cup onion 60g, diced
  • 1 ½ cups mushrooms 100g, diced
  • 1 cup celery 80g, diced
  • ½ cup cabbage 20g, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • A few turns cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup walnuts 55g, chopped and lightly toasted


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C), cut your squash in half (don’t try to cut through the stem, cut on one side of it), and scoop out the seeds.
  • Place the squash in a baking dish with the cut side face down, and add enough water to fill the baking dish by 1/4 of an inch. If using an 8x8 inch baking dish, that’s about 1 cup of water.
  • Loosely cover with foil and bake until totally soft, about 35 minutes. You want the skin to be soft as well because you can eat the skin.
  • Set aside the squash for now.
  • If you already have quinoa made, bonus. If not, you will need to cook 1/2 cup (90g) for this recipe. To do that, add the 1/2 cup of quinoa to 1 cup of water in a small pot, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, stir and cover with a lid. Gently simmer for about 15 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft and fluffy.
  • When the quinoa is done cooking, place it into a large mixing bowl and set aside for now.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat until the skillet is hot, about a minute. Add the onions and cook for 7 minutes, stirring often and adding just a splash of water as they start to stick. You want the onions to turn nice and brown, this will bring out the sweetness of the onions and give the overall dish a nice deep flavor. Add a splash of water each time you notice them sticking to the pan.
  • Add the mushrooms, celery, cabbage, salt, and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the veggie mixture and the lightly toasted walnuts to the quinoa and stir together.
  • Take each of the cooked squash halves and fill them with the quinoa mixture. Press the mixture down so that you can fit as much of the quinoa mixture in each half as possible.
  • Devour! Or share with friends at your holiday party 🙂


The filling will make enough for about 6 acorn squash halves (so 3 whole acorn squash).
The filling is tasty enough to eat on its own so if you don’t need / want to make that many squash, save the leftover filling and heat it up and eat it by itself for another meal.












I hope that you have a happy week. May it be filled with nurturing yourself – especially the parts you’ve never thought to nurture.

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Our Sweary Saturday Love Letters are written by our ex-boozer, ex-smoker, plant-loving co-founder, Molly Patrick.


  1. Linda on October 11, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    I made this recipe last week; it is delicious! My daughter is allergic to mushrooms. Do you have a suggestion that could replace them with something else? I’m not sure what other veggie would provide the same taste/texture.

    Thank you!

    • Clean Food Dirty Girl on October 12, 2016 at 4:58 am

      Hi Linda, either zucchini or eggplant would work well as a mushroom substitute. Tofu marinated in a bit of soy sauce would also work. Hope this helps! – Meghann, Team Dirty Girl.

  2. Tasha on December 25, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    This looks delicious, but I am puzzled by the quinoa quantity. The ingredients list says 1 and a half cups, but in the recipe it says to use 1/2 cup. Can you clarify? Thanks!

    • Molly Patrick on December 25, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      Hi Tasha,
      You need 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa.
      To make that amount, you need to cook 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa.
      Quinoa triples in size.
      The directions to cook the quinoa is in the recipe instructions.

  3. gina on October 28, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    5 stars
    the stuffing is amazing!!!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on October 29, 2018 at 7:23 am

      So glad you love it, Gina. Thanks for sharing. ~Karen

  4. Lisa Polster on January 19, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    5 stars
    Made this today, my 1st try at a whole food plant based recipe, trying real hard to eat healthier. This is completely delicious! Yummy!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on January 20, 2020 at 10:44 am

      You picked a delicious first whole food plant based recipe, Lisa! Thanks for stopping back to share! Besides our free recipes on the blog, we also have a free #Trial meal plan test drive of our classroom (which is pretty amazing) with five nights of plant based recipes. #Trial doesn’t expire – so if you request it and just aren’t ready to tackle a full meal plan yet, you can come back when you are. And, requesting #Trial does not automatically convert over to a paying subscription, so there is no risk to request it. The link to request is over here (look for Unlock Access on the grey ribbon). ~Karen

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