Sunday, November 29, 2009

Back to normal-ish

Ahhhh, we're getting back to normal-ish finally.  I would consider my in-laws' visit a success.  We have leftovers for probably a good month or so.  My husband will try to repackage and freeze so we get a little space back in our fridge.  I am eager to get back to making vegetarian meals.  I think he is comforted to know that all that frozen meat means that he will safely avoid vegetarianism for a while longer.

He has been amazingly good about the transition, though.  He was helpful as we shopped for food the week before Thanksgiving and tried to look for vegetarian options that he thought we might like.

I went crazy cleaning today for several hours after everyone left.  I figured it was good to go with the momentum.  Used towels and sheets have been washed, the odds and ends have been picked up, the bathrooms were thoroughly cleaned, the kitchen was cleaned... I love a clean house and it feels great to know that it's 90% picked up post-guests already.

I prepared a pumpkin apple smoothie for breakfast tomorrow, took a relaxing detox bath, and am hopeful that I'll have the energy to wake up in the morning and exercise.  Life is definitely cheerier right now!  Let's hope that work is just as kind to me this week to make it a full success!  But now, off to sleep.  After all, that is yet another key to living a good, healthy, happy life!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Two important realizations

I had two important realizations today.

One, was that my "oven aversion" is most likely due to WHAT is normally prepared in a kitchen much more than a more generalized hatred of cooking.  Honestly and truly, I have handling any food that used to be an animal.  Why I never took that thought far enough to think that maybe I should do without the meat until today, I'll never know.  As I've tried to eat less meat and even attempted fewer cooked meals, I discovered that the issue was not actually a far-reaching hatred of cooking.  I don't hate cooking or un-cooking things that don't involve meat.

The other big lightbulb moment happened soon after eating meat. (My in-laws are here for the extended weekend, so I didn't worry about trying to be vegetarian for those 5 days.  I started that shift maybe 2 weeks beforehand, so I wasn't prepared to make that announcement yet.)  Anyway, I had a little turkey and ham on Thanksgiving night and my body promptly begged for sleep.  This afternoon, I had meat again and my body is doing the same thing.  I am actually about to put the laptop down and initiate my spidey in-law sense so I can slip in a nap.  (In other words, the infamous "mmmph, no you didn't wake me, I was watching TV" line.)  Meat = sleep to my body.  I feel sluggish.  Whereas yesterday, I manage a fully vegetarian day because they were busy and didn't hover too much.  About this time yesterday, they were all crashed out asleep from a meat coma, and I was quietly walking around and getting stuff done without making them feel like unwelcome house guests. 

So anyway, a purposeful jump off the wagon for a few days has further solidified my belief that my meat-eating days are fleeting.  Now to fix some hot tea and sleep off this blech.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey day recap

Well I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving.  I enjoyed ours.  I ate a traditional Thanksgiving, but I think it strengthened my belief in the direction I'm going.  I liked the taste of all the food, but I didn't enjoy how I felt afterward.  I made a gorgeous and delicious salad, and I ate a healthy portion of it.  Just a few slices of the turkey/ham combined.  Seeing an entire decapitated bird and the chopped spine of a pig, though, was depressing.  That is a spine people!  Here's where that birdie's head used to be!  Sad.

But I dove into the salad-- mixed baby greens, extra baby spinach, sliced apples, carrots, pears, and dried cranberries.  A homemade (by me!) balsamic vinaigrette.  It was so yummy!  I had more of it for lunch today. Then there were the sweet potatoes and peas, too.  Healthier options, yay.

I think from today on will be a little easier.  I have lots of produce and some vegetarian leftovers from earlier in the week.  You can't argue with somebody about trying to eat up the oldest leftovers first!  The other stuff will still be there later (for all of them to eat).

They're back now, though, so I better run!  Hope everybody's Thanksgiving was lovely.  Enjoy the rest of the long, relaxing weekend.  We all have so much to be thankful for!  I hope to sneak away for another post about all that I'm grateful for soon.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Accomplishments and blessings

So sometimes when the going gets tough and things seem discouraging, the best antidote is to count your accomplishments and your blessings.  Today is a good day for me to do that.  (Today is still Friday to me since I just wrapped up some work!)

I was able to focus and get a little free time of my own to catch things up at work.  I tend to jump in and help others when they need it and sacrifice my own ability to do it all.  I caught a few precious moments today to work on the pile of "to-do's" at work.

I finally balanced our October budget.  Not exactly on time, but because we've gotten used to following the spending guidelines of our budget, it's just a formality.  Tally up the amount spent on each category and whatever is left over goes to pay off debt.  We did well with that goal last month and put a dent in the debt.

I usually pass out on Fridays because the week has completely exhausted me.  Tonight, I got home and changed, but kept myself going to avoid this spiral into unconsciousness.  It worked!  The budget is a long and tedious process of double and triple checking things, and I stayed up to power through the whole thing.  Tomorrow, I have a goal of setting up November's budget and balancing it to-date.

I got good test results back from both of my annual doctor visits.  I'm healthy!  I'm doing what I need to do to stay that way.  This is an awesome thing!

My husband is going to stay up with the load of towels that's in the dryer so we'll have warm, fresh towels in the morning.

I had a more cheerful attitude at work.  I'm regaining my determination to keep my attitude within MY control and not allow others to bring it down.

I got to eat several vegetarian meals this week, and have switched to soy milk.  I really do not miss meat so far!

I caught up with my bestest friend.  It doesn't happen nearly enough because we're both so busy, but it's nothing but warm fuzzies when we get the opportunity.  She is one of my favorite blessings!

See, life is pretty darn good after all!  Now it's bedtime for me.  Night night with a smile in my heart!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Feeling overwhelmed

Sometimes it gets hard to balance everything.  I have too much on my plate right now at work, too much in preparation for hosting Thanksgiving, too much in simplifying the clutter in our house, too much to get our financial house in order, too much in getting my body into shape (for me this means that exercise is an enjoyable part of my day not what makes new things ache), and too much to shift our eating habits in a healthier direction. 

The positive is that my husband and I are both making strides toward a better life for ourselves.  We also are like-minded on this-- a better life doesn't equate having more money or more stuff, like the typical meaning.  A better life is very holistic and rounded.

The hard part is that 1/2 my time should be allocated in about 8 different things right now, and I don't have 4 wholes to offer.  I only have one.  So many things will improve, but at a snail's pace compared to what I want to see.  It's not necessarily spreading us too thin, but the progress will be baby steps in many areas.

We could go full steam ahead and blow through one aspect, neglecting all others.  The problem I see with this is twofold.  First, you are leaving other important aspects of your life behind, causing an imbalance.  You throw yourself into your work at the sacrifice to your family and your health.  That's not ok.  Second, to maintain any progress or momentum you have made, you will ultimately have to reach a point where you maintain all aspects simultaneously or you will always be neglecting part of your life, staying imbalanced.  In real life, you have to juggle all areas, so you might as well work on that equilibrium state from the get-go if all areas need work anyway.

Things that are overwhelming can still be exciting.  I am excited about these changes, but it is daunting.  We have a long, probably steep, road ahead of us.  That's ok, though.  I'm up for the challenge.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A case of the blahs

I'm having a case of the blahs this week.  I did so well the past 3 weeks and feel myself teetering on the edge of the wagon this week.  I have chosen more sleep over working out every morning so far.  I have not made the best food choices for myself.  I was in two situations already this week where meat sauce lasagna was put before me, and I went ahead and ate it.  A salad floated right past me during our "power work lunch" today, and I just passed it along.  It just seemed to take too much effort at that point to add it to the plate after I'd served up everything else.

I had decided that I was going to be kind to myself and just do the best that I could.  Especially before the new year, I was going to be pretty lenient with myself.  I know that I'll eat turkey on Thanksgiving, I know that I'll have to eat some kind of animal at the annual Christmas party, I know that I'll have to eat more turkey or ham or something for Christmas dinner...  I have not delved deep enough into this transformation to make announcements and request accommodations yet.  Plus, I knew that it would be nearly impossible to maintain the schedule I set for myself to workout early, go to bed early, eat at a reasonable time, etc when we had out-of-town family staying with us for the holidays.  As somebody who loves my sleep, I know that the friction builds up fast when you come in jet-lagged and get woken up by a bright and early routine going on just outside your door.

I had decided, though, that despite all of that I would do the best that I could for myself.  I considered doing easy workouts in our bedroom without TV instructors or noisy weight and resistance machines.  I figured that I'd get a small slice of the turkey and load up on the greener options.  I decided I would allow myself the holiday sweets, BUT would think first if it was something that I really loved and was craving as part of the holiday tradition OR if I just wanted a sugary taste in my mouth.  I still had not decided how to balance the fridge situation.  A very not-open-minded brother-in-law or a worried mother spies a green veggie concoction that I call "breakfast" or a dinner without meat taking up the whole plate will draw weeks of relentless conversations or criticisms (depending on the person).  "My brother married a loony tune granola flake."  "Are you trying to be anorexic?"  Eesh, it stresses me out already.

Anyway, returning to the here and now...  I had NOT planned to fizzle out so soon after starting or to not maintain my plan up to the point that the family flooded the home.  I have just felt blah, though.  Most of my coworkers have been sick in the past couple weeks.  I was proud of myself for being healthy enough that my body resisted it, so the kind decision would be to decide that I must be feeling blah because my body it staving off the attack of this nasty bug.  I have been stretching the bedtime a little as we try to prepare bit-by-bit for the guests, so maybe I truly need the sleep.

No matter what the reason is, though, I still want to keep the momentum.  If anybody has found me, please share any insight you might have.  How do you get past the blahs?  How do you keep the momentum going?  How do you handle the not understanding critical people in your life as you transition away from a traditional eating style?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Vegan dinner

I'm alone for dinner tonight, so I did the one thing I can do well in the kitchen-- improvise.  I hate cooking and I am not all that good at it.  I negotiated my way out of being the cook when my husband and I got married even.

So anyway, I had a failed attempt at making Ani Phyo's raw oatmeal raisin cookies sitting in an airtight glass container.  It wouldn't clump together into a cookie shape.  I figured it would be a good filling for an acorn squash, so I bought one earlier in the week.  I figured now would be a good time to try it.  So I cooked the acorn squash according to the directions on the sticker.  It suggested a dried food medley in brandy or wine and gently heated.  Since I thought some of the problem with my cookie mix might be that the oatmeal was a little stale, I figured a little wine in the pan wasn't a bad idea.  This worked well because we opened a so-so wine last night and decided it wasn't all that great.  Time to use it for a better purpose!

Ok, so I gently heated the wine and cookie mixture and added in several strong shakes of cinnamon and a little nutmeg and stirred it all up.  Spoon it into the two squash halves and enjoy!

Since I also bought a plantain when I got the acorn squash, I figured this was a good time to try it.  I love fried plantain, but I myself have never fried one before.  So I winged it.  To be honest, I don't think I've ever fried anything before in my life.  I don't really eat fried foods.  I got our small frying pan and added a little canola oil into the bottom, just enough to coat it.  I heated it on a lower setting because I sure didn't want to get burned by a splatter or start a kitchen fire.  I added my sliced plantains and watched.

I knew they were supposed to come out a delicious brown color, but I had no luck in getting them there.  When I first flipped them (fyi, I'm also spatula-flipping challenged), they turned out neon yellow.  I got out our splatter guard and turned up the heat a little more.  I let the other side get a little darker and flipped again.  In the effort to brown them evenly, many of them got burned.  Many more burned on one side and stayed neon yellow with just brownish areas on the other side.

Anybody with plantain suggestions, please let me know!  Even though I didn't get to eat the whole plantain, I was overall very happy with my results.  Plus it's great to know the whole meal is vegan!  Go me!

Healthy wreck

So all week my husband was begging me to agree that we could have a "wreck" for dinner.  A few things to explain here before I proceed:
1) I am trying to gently transition us from being full omnivores into being vegetarians (lacto-ovo is ok), then proceeding into the vegan territory afterward.  Probably never 100% since my in-laws eat meat like it's their job.  And I may never convince my husband to do without milk and cheese.  You couldn't pry a glass of milk out of his cold dead hands.  But I'm all about being gentle on us and doing it for our health, and your happiness is one aspect of your health.
2) A "wreck" is a food dish my husband discovered on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives one night.  Not exactly the place to find healthy fare.  It's basically a lot of scrambled egg and anything else you can find mixed into one dish.

So anyway, I finally agree that we can fix a wreck for dinner as long as the add-ins are all veggies.  He pouts a little while because he doesn't like broccoli or spinach, both of which became the star add-ins to this concoction, but he got over it.  We fix it and I begin to sense something.  I am finding the eggs really gross.  I figure it's just because there are 4 eggs in this sucker and it just seems unhealthy due to the volume.  Once it is done cooking and I dish it onto the plates, though, I see the bottom of the skillet.  It's caked with that nasty film that develops when you cook eggs and I feel a little nauseated looking at it.

As the evening progresses, I begin to develop a theory-- in being more conscious and thoughtful about what I eat, I am naturally turning away from my taste for animal protein. I've never been a huge egg eater, but I would enjoy scrambled eggs with cheese and certain omelets.  This time, however, I didn't really like the taste or even the smell of the scrambled eggs.  We usually top it off with grated cheese, and I've always been a huge cheese eater.  This time, though, the combo of the eggs with the cheese wasn't tasty to me either, except in the bites where I barely got any cheese.  My tastes definitely are changing.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A little introduction

Hello! I'm on a quest to live healthier and happier. I've successfully focused on this goal for about 3 weeks now, and decided it would be nice to have a venue to share the process. For me, the general purpose is all about healthiness and happiness, but for me, being healthy also means not being too strict with myself. So on some days, feeling healthy and happy could be all about spending time catching up on the news and other women's lives on my Google Reader, or it could be about catching up on sleep. Exercise and food are also prime candidates of course.

I have always wanted to be healthy. Actually my personal motto involves health and happiness. My definitions are broad because you have to make your body, mind, soul, spirit, relationships, etc healthy and happy in my view. I feel like I slacked off on my pursuit in the last couple years. Life got in the way and I became overwhelmed. Certainly overwhelmed by work, life circumstances, and a truly mess house (brought on by sharing the living space with my brand new husband!).

This passion for health has been reignited in me recently, though, and I want to pursue it wholeheartedly. I was blessed with a petite body, but I know that age and life can change even the smallest of frames into something out of control if you don't do your part to protect it. This is why health is my goal, not a weight, not a size. I am happy with my weight and size, and I plan to stay that way. Happy reading, and welcome!

I'm a social person, so if you find me, please link and comment to your heart's content!