Friday, October 31, 2014
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Chris made dinner (which he has been doing because he is a GREAT partner to have and is taking some of the cooking responsibilities off my shoulders so I can focus a little more on my dissertation). We had no plan, no recipes, just a bunch of food we had in the fridge. You know, food from that general grocery list I laid out a few days ago. I wanted to explain HOW we use that food to make delicious dinners withOUT any muss, fuss, or stress!
I am a big believer in filling my house with a variety of veggies and a standard group of proteins and fats... and the meals will come easily!
He made us turkey burgers, which I ate on a bed of romaine, and a really lovely soup from the random veggies we had in the house - butternut squash, a bag of parsnips, a bag of carrots (he also used some carrot greens we had from last week), onions, leeks, and mushrooms! It made a really thick and filling soup - not planned ahead. He peels and cubed the squash, did some basic chopping of the other veggies, boiled them up in stock, spiced it up, let it simmer for a while to really build the flavor, then blended it up till it was creamy!
We worked on getting the basics of making a soup down some years ago - layering the flavors, spicing it how we like it, getting the right consistency with either stock or coconut milk and a hand blender.
Now, we both kind of feel like magicians who can take some cold veg out of the fridge and cook them down into a filling, tasty soup that warms you up on a cool fall night :)
This kind of meal making is so easy - doesn't need anything specific, really just a carby vegetable (like squash or sweet potato or carrot) that will blend up nicely and whatever other flavors you like. I felt treated because of the unique flavor (never had parsnips in our soups before) and it was so simple!
I will often make a sweet potato soup with coconut milk and give it some Thai spices, then add mushrooms and onions after I've blended the sweet potato/milk mixture for a different feel.
Another easy type of soup we make is leafy greens and meat in broth (not blended up and creamy) - Chris likes kale greens and sausage or some variation thereof.
The possibilities are endless - all we rely on is a REALLY good grocery shop that stocks our fridge and our imaginations.
We eat insanely healthy and we eat a lot of the same foods over and over... but somehow, it's never boring. I only rarely get a craving to go OUT for something special (like Indian food - chicken saag or tikka masala... because sometimes the effort put into a great recipe by an amazing cook is so worth it!!!) because we get a great variety of flavors and textures and types of foods in our daily meals (even thought we really do seem to buy the same stuff every single week... seasonal variety in vegetables keeps things interesting!).
Okay.. enough blathering about how we cook. Just wanted to give some insight into the type of meals we can make from the list I gave you before.
Everything else is going pretty much as normal... the calm before the storm, as I said (maybe the storm won't be so bad, though ;) ). I am going for tons of walks lately, the weather has been great. I am also back to doing some serious at home strength training and yoga. I've been rewarding myself for working on my dissertation with some crappy reality TV during which I will spend an hour stretching and strengthening my body.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
Friday, October 24, 2014
But that's the norm for me, hm? No biggie, I am learning to accept that this is just how life rolls.
Weight is still at 122 (woo!) - I have been eating really clean and feeling really healthy. Now THAT is one thing I CAN control :)
But I wanted to share some pictures from my hike this weekend (a mix of my friend's pictures who has a REALLY good camera, and some from my dinky point and shoot):
|Lightly falling snow made it kind of fairy-tale like :)|
|The ever majestic Koda!|
|Me on the top of a rock feature that SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME 2 years ago.... easy as pie now!|
|Near the summit|
|Not so majestic Koda ;)|
|REWARDS! We weren't supposed to have ANY views... we felt blessed!|
Thursday, October 23, 2014
I hope I helped and didn't sound like a rambling lunatic. My philosophy is simplicity and nutrition that tastes good. And what tastes good to me NOW took years of training my taste buds, because I sure as hell did not eat like this 5 or 10 years ago... I would have thought current me is crazy :)
It's a long road of exploring what works for you.
And I am weighing in at 122 right now - at my low end - so I love the way I eat :D
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
Saturday, I went to my uncle's 25th anniversary - an Italian feast. You know, food, food, and more food! I ate a serving of fried calamari because I LOVE it, some antipasto, and only about 1/4 of my meal (roast chicken ... I couldn't really eat it because it was INSANELY salty). I also had less than 1/2 a normal piece of cake. It was delicious, but I knew I had already indulged in the calamari.
I had eaten really well prior to this event, and if I was still a calorie tracker, I would guesstimate (and I was always spot on with my calorie measurements when I had to guess and look them up later!) that I only ate a little over normal on Saturday!
Sunday, however, was a whole different ball game. A long, rugged hike in the Adirondacks (mileage estimates vary, as it is not a blazed trail, but anywhere from 11-13 miles is a good guess) with friends :) The weather was actually very beautiful - not very cold, lots of pretty sunshine AND snow flurries. Yes, sun and snow at the same time!!
It was an unforgettable hike, really lovely:
Saturday, October 18, 2014
It's all changed - full of color, full of brightness, everything cleaned and fresh.
And so it has made me think of my dad MORE, because the physical reminders aren't really as evident anymore. I don't see ghosts of my past everywhere I look.
And, for some sick reason, I read back through my blog through those months where it all happened. When I found my dad in this house, gone, and my world fell completely apart. And where I found strength in myself, endless love from family and friends, and a totally new understanding of how gorgeous this life is.
This post, from just over two years ago, sums it up nicely: For Life and those are not feelings I want to forget (I cannot always feel them so strongly, that would be incredibly distracting and I need to do some mundane life stuff sometimes, too!!).
I was asking myself, what is the point? My dad died. He wasn't here anymore, he couldn't hear or see or do or feel here anymore. What was the point of it all??
And I still feel strongly, that just being is the point.
We get to BE here! And it's beautiful.
And two years later, I also feel just as strongly as before about keeping this physical body of mine healthy so that I can be here as long and as fully as possible.
That is the heart of this blog. It is the reminder I need. I hope it helps someone else.
I was devastated to the point of numbness two years ago. It passed. I healed. I still cry for him, for the lack of him. But life has gone on and I am lucky to be a witness and a participant in all that this is.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Thursday, October 16, 2014
So. I absolutely, 100% adore Jennifer Lawrence. I am not a huge celebrity follower, but I have my favorites - people I think are absolutely talented, gorgeous, quirky and interesting (Jennifer Lawrence and Jared Leto, really! Hahaha, don't judge me.)
I have been reading a few news articles where Jennifer Lawrence is bashing gluten-free diets as the "new cool eating disorder." And where she is against dieting. She is quoted as saying "I think that people are built the way that they're built" and "There's that Kate Moss quote that's like 'Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels' and... I can name a lot of things that taste better than skinny feels: bread, potatoes... a Philly cheesesteak and fries." And she is LAUDED for eating spaghetti and meatballs for breakfast and a cheesesteak before some awards show.
Well... that's all realllllllllllly easy to say and do when you look how SHE looks. Even when she is slightly "heavier," she is drop dead gorgeous and the perfect American ideal - men and women drool over her, want to be her, want her. She poses almost naked for magazines and in movies, completely unself-conscious. Which, again, is really easy to do when you look like her.
I still love her, think she is awesome and funny and, yes, beautiful. But I think she does not get to be on a high horse about people who diet or choose to be gluten free (for their health or their weight or for whatever reason they want to).
Would she be against eliminating more carbs if she was 50 pounds overweight? Would she be against eliminating gluten if gluten gave her awful acne and cysts on her face? Would she have eaten a cheesesteak before the awards show if it made her look 4-5 months pregnant in her slinky skin tight dress?
It's always been hard for me to hear women with idealized, Hollywood-approved bodies claim that we should all love our bodies exactly how they are, stop dieting, stop trying to change them.
And I know she has faced more body bashing than usual for young starlets - she is NOT stick skinny and refuses to GET stick skinny, which I applaud! But even when she weighs a few pounds more than usual and an agent says something unkind about her needing to lose weight, she still is not in the same position as those of us who have been or are obese.
No one gets to say others have an eating disorder because of the way they eat when they don't know THEM personally or their struggles or how food affects them. Especially when you are a Hollywood starlet.
I don't know - her comments rubbed me the wrong way, I think, BECAUSE I have looked up to her. I loved her strong, athletic body in the Hunger Games (exactly how Katniss should have looked - she was a hunter in the book who ate enough and was super active - not a starving waif). She is curvy and strong and looks extremely healthy. But she doesn't get to tout body positivity at any size, when she is THAT size! She doesn't get to tell us that we should be eating pasta and cheesesteaks and whatever else because SHE does - if I ate the meals she says she eats, I'd be 20 pounds heavier in about a month. I'd feel less energetic, less healthy, and would be more self-conscious about my body - it certainly wouldn't be a body that would pose naked on a magazine (it isn't that way NOW!).
I think her comments would rub me wrong even if I didn't love her. There is a weird feeling I get when people who look like models tell us dieting is stupid, or watching what we eat, or choosing not to eat a certain type of food, etc, is wrong. She should walk a mile in 20 year old Jeanette's shoes and THEN tell me that she would eat pasta for breakfast still.
That's my rant. Just had to get it off my chest :)
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Monday, October 13, 2014
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Friday, October 10, 2014
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Monday, October 6, 2014
Friday, October 3, 2014
The topic? How my body shape and size has changed, and how I've dealt with it.
Well, my weight is a big one. Before going paleo and getting real about ditching processed foods and empty carbs, I was still pursuing health and fitness in my own way, but I couldn't seem to break a plateau that was driving me crazy. I had dropped from almost 200 pounds to 135-140 pounds doing a general calorie in-calorie out formula (with little regard to food type or quality - I was still eating processed foods). I felt generally healthy, healthier than before, but I still looked a little pudgy and couldn't seem to get to that next level that I had always dreamed of (I am a big admirer of strong, athletic body types).
Even if you don't eat Paleo or Grain-Free, I do recommend ditching as much of the empty carbs, processed foods, chemicals, antibiotics, preservative, white flours, white sugars, etc as possible. And when you do? Fill up those holes in your diet with more veggies than you think possible, beautiful fruit, lots of lovely protein, nuts, seeds, coconut oils, olive oils, avocados, etc.
Other members of No Grains, No Gains:
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
(Brace yourself for a rambling rant of my crazy brain... but these are typically the thoughts that swirl around in there when I think about these issues!)
If you read here often enough, you know I preach a general motto of "processed/chemical/etc foods cause inflammation and inflammation causes disease" around these parts.
This morning I was reading an article about the link between obesity and cancer risks (from your predisposition to GET cancer to your ability to recover from it):
The article can be summed up in these quotes I pulled from it if you don't want to read the whole thing (but I recommend that you do!);
"the encompassing explanation seems to be that obesity triggers changes in how the body operates, which can cause harmful cell growth and cell division. Many of these changes may be linked to inflammation. In general, inflammation occurs when your body is reacting to something out of the norm -- say a virus or a splinter in your foot. Obesity seems to cause chronic inflammation, which in turn may promote cancer development."
"Obesity can affect a cancer patient's outcome from diagnosis to remission. Obesity-related pain or unbalanced hormone levels may distract patients from the early warning signs of some cancers. Fatty tissue can also make it difficult for doctors to see tumors on imaging scans. And a late diagnosis often means a lower chance for survival. The relationship between cancer and obesity also matters after diagnosis. Cancer treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy, may be hindered by a patient's size. If the patient needs surgery, studies show excess fat puts them at a higher risk of complications, infections and death."
While, of course, we all want to look good and every human has a little (to a lot!) vanity in them, these values I preach are NOT about vanity. They are about your life and your health and your longevity.
You can see from my weekend that I do not eat PERFECTLY, I don't know that I ever will (but I know some people and read some blogs of people who do - it is something to aspire towards!). But I eat really, really, really well and moderately most of the time. Even when I have some wine or eat a pancake for breakfast on a vacation, I still eat lots of veggies, drink lots of water, get tons of exercise. It is important to always take care of myself... this isn't a game I am playing here, this is my one and only life I get to have on this earth (well, likely my one and only ... I won't say anything is impossible, but I do doubt reincarnation ;) )
I was 200 pounds years ago - I was on that path, I didn't care if my life was shortened. What changed? I am not sure. I think I grew up and realized that I loved it here. This crazy, scary, beautiful world. I didn't want to leave it early.
I might leave it early - accidents, crazy diseases, who knows? But if I do, as I lay there dying, I don't want to look back on the years and know that I could have prevented it. No regrets, right?
I posted this article because cancer scares me. And I imagine it scares you. CANCER. Damn. It took my mother when I was 10. That fact alone scares me and saddens me beyond belief.
I think about the future sometimes when I make choices that are hard for me (the choice NOT to eat the pizza, the choice to wake up early and go for a long walk, the choice to down a few liters of water instead of drinking with friends, the choice to spend my weekend hiking instead of cozy in bed with my cat and a book, etc). I think about the fact that I want to see and do and live and be here as long as possible. And if that means not indulging the child in me who wants comfort and pleasure and distraction and to be numb to the scary things in the world, so be it. It's better that way anyway, since it is the joy AND the pain that makes this life really awesome.
Why did I say all this?
To those people who maybe need to get real with themselves.
Losing weight, getting fit, being healthy - it might seem like a fad or a game or something OTHER people want you to do or to be. But it is for YOU and your life and your family.
I did not succeed in weight loss when it was all about vanity and all about fitting in.
I succeeded when I focused on doing the things that would keep me here the longest (and keep me here in GOOD CONDITION!).
That's my rant. Slow day at work. Scary article. Crazy brain :)
Take care of yourselves today and all days <3