Tag Archives: diet

So Many Wagons to Catch…

child dinner plate tray vegetarian

Wee healthy dinner portion with almond milk

I’ve gotten better at self-discipline over the years, but often it just seems too grown-up.

A summer mentality extended itself into my October, and I’ve been less than perfect when it comes to diet, exercise, limiting social media and dedication to my freelance career.

The thing about being pretty on top of stuff for a lengthy period of time is that you really notice when you fall off the wagon. It’s worse when you fall off two or three.

Not that I’d take anything back. Oh no. The season has been great, and full of real-world experience and people. But now we’re about to enter the Long Dark, and I’m sensing that it’s time to regroup before the holidays slam into us all.

First things first: Dinner. Iris and I were home last night, so I made sweet potato whole grain patties with guacamole and spaghetti squash with tomato, green pepper, zucchini and summer squash. We had dutifully eaten our apples and oatmeal earlier in the day, and I even managed to work in some gentle yoga. So I’m doing alright.

We’ve talked about getting back in the saddle, on the wagon, whatever, here before. A tidier diet is the way I often begin the process. This time around it’s going to take a little more effort. Muscle tone apparently disappears rather quickly.  But, it’s happened before, let’s hope it will happen again!

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Two Against One

father toddler daughter cake face

“Caaaaaaake” -Iris

My little family eats pretty well, and I don’t hesitate to take credit for that. We’ve drifted from the chicken McNuggets and greasy ground beef of 2005 to the leafy greens and local fruits of 2014, despite mac-n-cheese and ice cream pit stops along the way.

I feel like I retain decent control over Iris’ diet, and that helps me stay on track when the work is piling up and the hours are flying by. What example would I set by eating SpaghettiOs while pushing black beans and quinoa into her face? Still, I reeeeeeally love SpaghettiOs, and sometimes, we all give in to the siren song of those beautiful refined carbs.

The trouble now is that Iris is becoming more and more aware of how much junk food is out there, and how her chubby cheeks and big eyes are the perfect tools to help obtain it. I never planned to isolate her completely; I realize that wouldn’t work, and only make what she was missing that much more alluring. What I don’t want is for junk food to be part of the routine – an expected treat.

Of course, the world works against me. We give plasma twice a week, and the playroom attendants (whom we adore) keep suckers in one of their drawers. Last week, Iris found out about them, and now asks for one every time we pick her up. The husband and I are still in talks about how to approach this. Let’s just say Iris has a champion in her daddy, who harbors great affection for white sugar and food dye.

So, last night, I took back a little of that control. This lentil rice loaf satisfied a craving we’ve had for a while, and was the perfect excuse to make some roasted root veggies. We consider this comfort food, and it makes for great leftovers. Please don’t mistake me for an animal fat hater… I eat an egg everyday, and live for my husband’s homemade creamy pasta sauces. But sometimes, it’s good to ease up, especially when there’s half a DQ Oreo Blizzard in the freezer.

Now, do we think I can counter my babe’s habit of waking up asking for cake each morning? Didn’t think so.

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The Turncoat Body

Benedict Arnold color portrait paintingI’ve always thought of myself as a healthy person, fortunate in a body compliant with my physical ideals.

That same body, to whom I’ve been very kind in recent years, recently turned on me in two separate ways. While neither situation is serious or permanent, both were nevertheless a glitch in my normally steady health.

First was the slightly elevated cholesterol at the end of January. I was incredulous. How does a dairy-sensitive pescetarian get high cholesterol? Despite the fact that my HDL (good) cholesterol was excellent, that darn LDL (bad) cholesterol apparently enjoyed some winter egg and cream cheese indulgence (I may have cooked one too many batches of creamy white chili). I’m now slightly haunted by what my cholesterol must have measured 10 years ago… Genetics and comfort food are powerful, my friends.

My doctor (who, I must tell you, is endlessly wonderful regarding my health anxiety) says my age, low cardiac risk and good HDL actually counter the small elevation quite well, and I have no cause for alarm. Diet, exercise, a redraw in six months. Calm restored.

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Clean Eating… Round #762

carrot puree soup cup tableIn order to be successful at eating a clean diet, one must be prepared for obstacles, failure and renewed attempts to get back on the wagon.

By clean I don’t mean vegetarian, raw, gluten free, paleo or any other diet focused on the restriction of food groups or components of found-in-nature edibles. I simply mean eating meals made from ingredients that exist on their own, like fresh produce, real meat, unprocessed grain, nuts and seeds, untainted seafood, beans and legumes and yes, even dairy, and not including a great deal of refined salts, fats, sugars, hormones or preservatives. I mean cooking and eating at home, and not relying too heavily on boxed, bagged or canned ingredients. I mean what people did back before the industrial revolution.

Anyway, it’s hard. I fail miserably more often than I’d like to admit. In addition to this list of shortcomings, I enjoy going out to eat with my parents, who are very generous in taking me out. The thing is, most family restaurants don’t make it easy to eat cleanly. This means obstacles, inevitable failure and an eventual round of “try again.”

For example, last week, we went out twice while my husband was working over time. Obstacles. While I did order smelt and sweet potatoes, they were deep fried. Macaroni was eaten covered in thick cheese sauce and mayonnaise. Canned tuna and sugary applesauce were rounded off with chocolate pudding and syrupy fruit cocktail. It was delicious, and my gut paid for the fun over the following weekend. Failure, coupled with a bonus consequence. Lucky me.

Last night, I made that renewed attempt. Carrot puree soup, bulger with lentils and veggies and hummus were on the menu, and I made it all myself. It certainly wasn’t the most sumptuous meal, but it tasted good and filled us up. Tonight we’re having salmon and maybe quinoa with grapes. Baby steps.

As I’ve been telling my dear mother (who is on a quest to lower a few numbers): It’s never too late to change your diet or improve your health. Baby steps.

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Paleolithic Bodies and Modern Culture

story of the human body book coverThink what you will about Terry Gross, but you gotta admit she has some great guests (when they’re still alive).

On Monday, I heard a large part of Ms. Gross’ conversation with Daniel Lieberman, a Harvard professor of evolutionary biology. I love it when science comes in and obliterates, balances and teaches. Things I heard made me feel good about my diet choices, and revisit some of my opinions on the art of eating.

In a nutshell, Professor Lieberman emphasized the fact that our bodies are evolved to hoard energy, navigate the planet and make babies. We are not evolved to eat large quantities of fat and sugar, nor are we evolved to be healthy for decades on end. We are too obsessed with being squeaky clean. Further, the solutions to our modern health problems are not as easy as a trendy diet.

Listen to the whole thing if you have time. Read the highlights at the very least. It never hurts to think a little on the habits that we observe everyday.

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Roughin’ It

food fiber roughage

As a diet nerd, I pride myself on stellar digestion.

Prepare yourself to join my husband in declaring that you know more than is perhaps necessary about the phenomenon that is my healthy bowels.

While I’m not of the caliber of Mary Roach when it comes to knowing about the workings of human intake and output, I do consider myself well aware of how they operate, and, more importantly, what affects them. Over the past three years, as I’ve moved from meat eater to vegetarian to pescetarian, I’ve also changed my habits regarding the things I do eat. Namely, getting a wide variety of whole grains, reducing dairy intake, cutting sugar and salt and processed foods and trying to eat local/organic/sustainable.

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Processing: For Ideas, not Food

colorful cereal rings in milk

I’m thinking about my diet. Aspects of simply wanting to eat cleanly, now that I have a good handle on limiting animal products and upping roughage, are still swirling after my fleshy quandary last week.

Can I just say, for the record, that I am maddened and saddened by what I see in people’s carts in the checkout line? Let me be clear: I fully understand the need to observe a budget. I also do not think that people are stupid just because their cart is loaded with soda, cheese crackers, colorful cereals and canned vegetables.

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Flat Butts and Joint Settling

princess leia and jabba the hut star wars

I need a health check.

(I may not look like Jabba, but I’m getting a sense of that flabby, I’ve been sitting too much feeling.)

As I’ve mentioned before, work is picking up, and that’s an excellent thing.

But. There’s the butt. It’s sitting – a lot.

While I feel like I bounced back pretty quickly after Iris was born, I’m still not quite where I was before I got pregnant, and I have some pants I really want to wear again.

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Soapbox: Healthful Reminders Part 1 of 3

vintage print of little girl on soap box with kittenI’ve eaten more desserts in the past few months than I have in the past several years combined. I’m allowing myself this indulgence while I’m pregnant… consolation for the little (and gladly suffered) physical discomforts my dear daughter is causing.

But here at week 34, my season is quickly drawing to a close. In six weeks (okay, maybe eight or 12) I’ll probably start thinking about getting my body back to it’s pre-pregnancy shape and range of motion.

I felt like I needed a little refresher and motivation, and so revisited something I wrote just over a year ago. Originally part of a health plan I was working on with my mom, it’s been polished a bit to share with you here:

This really isn’t “health nut” stuff – it should be common sense. It needs to be the way we think about food.
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