You will ride in the limo

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No, no, I won’t ride in the limo.

I do not want to be any closer to you than I must be. I will help you make tough decisions, I will write my mother’s obituary in 40 words or less, I will go to the viewing, the service, and even the interment and be pleasant at all of it.

I will not ride in the limo.

To ride in the limo means that I would actually have to sit in the same enclosed space as you, breathe the same air as you, possibly touch you, and definitely smell you.

Simply put, I value not being in jail.  And I would probably be arrested for assault.  And I would owe the funeral home for cleaning the upholstery in the limo.

________

So I took half a day off work yesterday to help with plans for my mother’s funeral.

And, just as I was leaving work, I get a message that the meeting was cancelled by the funeral home.

Okay, whatever.

The meeting was rescheduled for today at 9am.

I was not about to take off another day for this – especially not if it meant sitting in the same room as two of my brothers and my father.

So I get these texts that detail the plans: 2pm visitation, 3pm service, interment, reception

Okay. I can deal with this. Even if I wanted to avoid the whole graveside service thing at any cost, I can deal with it.

And then I get the text:
You will ride with us in limo from the nursing home.

Excuse me?

First, thank you for inviting or asking me.

Second, from the nursing home? Do you mean the funeral home?

Third, um, NO. No, I have other transportation, thanks.  No, I do not want to be trapped in a conveyance with you. No, I do not want to be separated from my children. No, this would not bring me comfort, make things easier on me, or help me or anyone else in any tangible way.

I already told the pastor that I need to be kept AWAY from my birth family. I do not need the opportunity to lash out at these people who would intentionally (and unintentionally) push my buttons, goad me, and keep me from being able to grieve in my own way.  What I need is for my friends to be my human buffer zone, for them to intervene between me and my birth family, and for me to have the least interaction possible with them. Yes, I am an actress, but my performances top out after so long.

I wouldn’t want to make a scene, but I also don’t trust myself to be strong when I am emotionally overwrought.

So, no, thanks, I’ve got my own transportation already. I’m riding with my girls.

Good grief

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Grief comes in many forms: there’s the grief over your spilled coffee when it was the last of the package of Red Velvet coffee from World Market, there’s the grief over the loss of a pet, the grief over the loss of a once-possible future, grief over the end of a relationship, grief over the loss of a loved one, a parent, a friend, a child, a sibling, a grandparent.

I’ve known many of these, and today I am re-experiencing the grief over the loss of my mom.

My mom died in her sleep last night after struggling with pneumonia and problems swallowing and a whole host of other medical problems. She’d been on hospice care for about three weeks after being dismissed from the hospital, so it wasn’t unexpected.

However, it hit me anew today.

I’d already been through a grieving process because my parents had disowned me a few years ago. They had lied to me, sent bill collectors (for their bills, mind) after me, cut me out of all communication, hidden their whereabouts from me, and then… used me. Used me as a way to store their hoarder’s house, used me as a way to deal with all their messes, used me as a permanent address when they didn’t want to give out their nursing home address.

My brother tried to use me as a way to take care of Mom and Dad over the holidays, tried to use me as a responder when they had a health scare, tried to use me as a way to not have to deal with their hoarded stuff.

Last year, my dad asked if he and my mom could come back to live with me.

I had to tell them no.

No, I couldn’t open myself up to that much hurt any more. No, I couldn’t expose myself to the lies, the deceit, the recriminations. No, I just physically and financially couldn’t take care of them any more (I am still paying off their stay in the first nursing home).

And in all this time, I grieved.

I racked myself with guilt for not being the dutiful daughter, for not pursuing them, for not maintaining a relationship with them, for not giving of myself, my time, and my resources to support them. I felt guilty for placing them in a care facility even though it was ultimately their choice. I felt guilty for a number of things. I felt guilty for the angry words I said. I felt guilty for living in their house when they disappeared.

I realize I grieved for the loss of a trusting filial relationship.

Some of that guilt stuff was just a mess, just something I didn’t really need to take on to myself because they could have made different decisions, too. They could have told me that they wanted to move back into their house and take care of themselves and send me back to my own house. They didn’t. Instead, they lied and conspired and treated me as a contemptible outcast – until they needed something. I was a tissue – to be used and discarded – and maybe used again if there were no other likely tissues when the need arose.

I have lived with that guilt, that resentment over the situation, and the grief for the loss of my parents for years.

And now, today, I have good, clean grief. It’s honest grief. My mom died, and I grieve her loss.

But it’s odd because I’ve already been in the grieving process so long that it’s not hitting me like a sledgehammer. It’s not knocking me out and incapacitating me.  Instead, it’s just stealing in and quietly mugging me, draining me of energy here and there, sporadically making me exhausted.

Oh, I had my ugly cry this morning. I cried and sobbed and snot ran down my face. Then I got over it. I got up, started breathing again, and finished out my yoga practice and went home and got my kids ready for school and got dressed for work and showed up on time and did my job. Yes, I took a nap over lunch when it snuck up on me, but otherwise, it’s not this overpowering darkness today.

Perhaps it helps that, in reality as well as in my mind, she died last night. It wasn’t today. There was nothing I could have do. There is nothing I can do. So there is no reason to get overly worked up over it.

It also wasn’t sudden. She’d been on hospice care.

We also weren’t close any more. She’d done more than distance herself from me over the past few years.

I think the saddest parts are when I think back to how close we were. When I think about how she helped take care of my daughters as infants, when I think of the phone conversations, how she helped me go to college, to Europe, to get my braces done, how I took care of her after her heart attacks or stroke, when we were best buddies, those are the times when I feel the loss.

But in the end, we weren’t. We weren’t best buddies. We were distant acquaintances. She knew nothing of my life and I nothing of hers.

I’m not going to kid myself and think her death will have no impact on me, but I think I may now be over the messy, guilt-ridden grief. I may now know how clean good grief feels.

Insanely productive

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I’ve been insanely productive today – and pretty much all this week. I’m not really sure what’s bringing it about, but I’d like to think it was the adherence to eating clean. I’d add working out, but I intentionally ditched the gym this morning to laze about and drink coffee and eat a leisurely breakfast and read tucked up in a warm blanket before starting my day.

I think it’s that my survival instincts have realized that I need to kick it in gear if I want to keep my job. There has just been so much that I let pile up in this work-related depressive funk when my boss got removed. Looking at it from the other side, it was the same sort of mindset I fell into when I was going through my divorce. The bare minimum got done, but no big projects could be accomplished, and I drowned under extra tasks.

Whatever the cause, the result has been awesome. I’ve enjoyed getting my work life back together and clearing out the gunk.

The best part is that when I am on top of my job, I feel like it’s a good occupation for me to have, like work is a good fit. Perhaps a lot of my general distaste for my job in the past few months has originated from knowing that I wasn’t doing it to its fullest.

As a side note, I’m looking into other ways to augment my income. I’m going to need to do something if I want to be able to afford any extravagances this year, and I’ve got this thing called a wedding coming up in six months.

Finances have been weighing on my mind this week as I get ready to write over thousands of dollars in property taxes and school taxes. The problem is that, while I saved to pay for them and can afford them, it will drain my cash cushion. Granted, I didn’t have a cushion at all this time last year and wound up waiting until the middle of the summer to finish paying my taxes. So I don’t really know what I’m whining about. I’m in a better place financially than I’ve been in years, but I wish I was doing even better – and that would have meant scrimping on Christmas, which I didn’t do. So, okay, I get to live with my decisions and make the best ones moving forward that I can with the information I have at the time.

And I suppose that’s all we can ever really do.

Pulling Through

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This morning was one of those days when I had to pull myself through.

My first alarm went off, and I figured out not only how to shut it off, but how to completely disable it without waking up. I spent the next half of an hour in a grumpy slumber, trying to convince myself that I really wanted to follow through with my promise to myself to cycle on Wednesday mornings. And then my second alarm went off. And I snoozed it.

Eventually, I dragged my carcass out of bed and to the gym, running a few minutes late, but still hitting the warm-up phase of the class. I had a piss-poor attitude about the cold, about the idea of sweating, and about cycling.

Then about 20 minutes in, I actually started to enjoy myself. And a few seconds later, I started counting down the time until I could reasonably leave. I had promised myself 30 minutes. I got 35. On my way out, I did a weight check, and I was continuing my downward trend, so that was smile-worthy.

When I got home, it was as though I was struggling through molasses to get myself put together for the day. I was sweaty, I needed coffee and breakfast, and I was trying to help my fourth grader finish the rest of her math homework – without having her cry.

I was only five minutes late to work – or so. No one was beating down the door to get to me, so I counted it as a win.

Probably the best thing that happened all morning was a great conversation with my bestie while I was insanely productive at work.

I stole a couple of minutes to type up my monthly menu – my attempt to get on top of grocery spending, ensure reduced food spoilage, intelligently use resources, and plan healthy meals for my entire family that DO NOT require me cooking a separate meal for me and for them. We are on day 3 of the menu, and the first two nights went better than expected. Of course my kids knew I was systematically trying to poison them, but they gave in and ate… reluctantly.

Monday was pork tenderloin, butternut squash, and broccoli. Fortunately, it made enough that I have lunches for me covered for the week. Last night was turkey “steak,” Asian-inspired cabbage slaw, shredded carrots, and cucumber slices. Tonight should be oven-baked chicken with bacon-wrapped asparagus bundles. Thursday nights are my nights to rebel against cooking, so I put “Breakfast for Dinner” on the menu, hoping someone will step up and do the honors. Or the horrors.

The really good part about today was how my body felt. I felt energetic, and my stomach wasn’t bloated or rumbly. Last night I caved and made these “no added sugar” cookies. It was almost cheating because they contained bananas, applesauce, cranberries, and chocolate chips. You want to talk sugar? But at least it didn’t call for a cup of sugar or honey or any other added sweetener. Anyhow, I kind of went crazy eating these wonderful warm gooey bits of heaven, and I probably need to (a) not make them again unless I have people with whom to share them (b) reduce the recipe to have fewer cookies. But, oh, they were good, and my body didn’t rebel against them. In fact, it was quiet and calm and allowed a friendly weigh-in this morning.

The weather has changed. It went from warm and sunny to gray and ominous. The weather wasn’t supposed to deteriorate until tomorrow, but it’s here. Just in time for a work meeting that everyone knows will have BAD NEWS. We just don’t know how bad… yet.  And that’s killing my tenuous resolve to go to the gym tonight.

Hopefully I can pull through and make it to yoga. I need it after the workout I’ve given my knee today.

Test results!

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Wow! That was fast! Only yesterday I went to have my blood drawn for allergy tests. Today I get the call that they came back NEGATIVE. That is reason for rejoicing because I do NOT have food allergies!

On the other hand, what is happening to my body? Why am I experiencing reactions to certain foods?

What is the next step?

The reason I’m asking is that I seriously think some foods are BAD for my body, but I want to be able to prove it scientifically rather than circumstantially.

I want to know I am not just making this up.

However, I can continue to eat clean and take care of my body doing what I know is effective. It just is a letdown that I have no proof to show anyone that certain foods are my nemesis.

On that note, I am down nearly five pounds since the weirdly explosive, pain-filled day. That’s still up from where I was before I indulged in the evil cake of doom, but it’s approaching what I consider my “starting weight.” I hope to get back there this week.

Here’s my current theory about what I should do:

  • Reduce sugar consumption – that means reducing fruit intake. And I love me some fruit.
  • Increase water intake – and not just coffee *pout* – but actual water.
  • Continue to work on lifting/muscle-building exercises – my theory is that building muscle early on might not affect weight now, but should pay dividends later.
  • Continue to do targeted cardio – cycling, eliptical, things that work my legs – I really would like to reduce the real estate of my back side.
  • Continue to do yoga – the flexibility and mental health benefits of yoga are my payoffs.
  • Continue to “eat clean.” – I’m currently not plugged into any particular regimen, but I think I’m going to stick mostly to the Whole30 with some allowances for alcohol, butter, and some chemical-saturated water flavorings (which I’ve been avoiding, but might use to encourage myself to actually drink enough water.)
  • Buy some gas-relief medication such as Gas-X or Beano to help manage the symptoms of intestinal distress.

On the realistic side, the part wherein I admit to my human failings, I went to the gym this morning to catch the barbell class, but the regular teacher wasn’t there. I put away all the equipment I’d gotten out and decided to go do my own thing instead. I did the elliptical for a five minute warm-up, did legs, shoulders, chest, back, and arms, and I found a “new” machine that works calves. I really pressed myself to increase weight and do reps until my muscles tired. I only spent 35 minutes working out instead of 45, but I think I covered my bases. I just feel a little guilty about not going to a class where I didn’t know the instructor. At least I didn’t go home!

Day 2 Progress

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It’s sad but good to say that on only the second day, I feel 100% better.

Yesterday I was still miserable. I felt fevered, sore, lethargic, and basically sick through and through. I left work “early” – which is on-time – got fuel and actually felt hungry. I allowed myself a packet of sunflower seeds from the gas station.

I got home on a mission – go to bed. First, I knew I was running basically dehydrated, but the idea of water left me (literally) cold. So instead I made a “green” smoothie, though mine turned out a really awful puce color. Banana, apple, spinach, a couple raspberries, a couple blackberries, and almond milk.

And then bed.

I crashed from 5-7, and it was one of the best decisions of 2015.

I awoke to an empty house and went to make dinner: ground beef, grilled onions, cabbage, and celery. I settled down with a cup of hot tea and a good book about the time everyone got back. I was still feeling pretty punk, so I ate on the sofa in approved “Mommy is sick” formation.

We opened some leftover Christmas presents (yes, it’s the middle of January, and we still had a stack of presents – mostly books – left to open) and then scooted everyone off to their respective beds by 8:30. Snuggled under the heating blanket, we watched the rest of our movie and collapsed into slumber by 10pm.

And then this morning? Oh my goodness! This morning, I felt like myself again! I was energetic! I was excited about making breakfast for people! I was ready to go to work! Granted, I did skip my yoga class for extra shut-eye, but I rationalized it that the sleep was what my body needed MOST.

And today I have felt capable. I have felt able to be on my game and do what needs doing. I have been cheerful and responsive and quick-thinking. I have been motivated and a problem-solver.

This is the me I expect to see, not the person who steals a nap over lunch, not the person who hibernates at her desk, hiding from work.

I’ve got to see this through and see what happens. I am (again) keeping a food journal, but this time I’ve added a new column – Body Check – to it to see how my body is feeling at any given time in response to food and drink.

Now my next goal is to convince myself to start drinking straight water again. I fell off the bandwagon with that one when simply drinking water made me cold inside. I started helping myself out by making pitchers of that lime-infused water again, and the bonus is that my older daughter also was cheerfully drinking from that.

(I’ve gotta brag – I’ve almost entirely eliminated sodas, sweet tea, sugary drinks, and juices from my kids’ daily diet. Yes, if we are at a restaurant or going out to eat, they usually choose sodas, but I’m not purchasing them for the house, and we’re not making pitchers of sweet tea. Milk, water, and hot tea – with the occasional hot chocolate – are the most common beverages for the girls now, and I have no problem with that at all!)

Must Have Testing

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Ouch. Looking at my last post just lets me know how far off the reservation I strayed in the past five months.

Today, I am writing from a place of being in pain, in physical discomfort, as I try to figure out what I did to poison myself. Yes, poison. Something I ingested has brought me pain, inflammation, lethargy, fatigue, gas, bloating, and possibly even this low-grade fever I can’t knock.

So I decided to do something completely out of the mold for me – I called the doctor and conferred with my insurance and got set up for an appointment to possibly be followed by food allergy testing. I simply cannot tolerate this pain and discomfort any more.

Now, if I’m eating clean, if I’m taking care of myself and NOT eating inflammatory foods, I actually feel pretty great.

Last night, I re-committed to it. I promised myself no cheating, no “just-a-bite” of anything, no weakness. This is my battle, and I must fight it daily. Because the alternative is pain.

I will conquer this. It’s only willpower, so I just have to *want* it. And I want not being in pain.

On 1-15-15, I committed to it.

I just want to eat clean, track how I feel now, and wait and see until I get results from any allergy testing I have done.

Good Food and Wacky, Wacky Machines

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I’ll get to the machines, but first: PICTURES OF FOOD! 

 Breakfast looked like this: two eggs, a banana, and a handful of blueberries. The coffee mug is, in fact, full of coffee. The LAST cup of caffeinated coffee in the house.

Two eggs, a banana, and blueberries

Two eggs, a banana, and blueberries

Then I was hungry on the way to the gym, so I had some mixed nuts – almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pecans, and maybe hazelnuts.

Emerald Energy Smoothie from Lifetime Cafe

Emerald Energy Smoothie from Lifetime Cafe

It was Try-It Tuesday, so they offered $1 off the price of the smoothies. Since I figured it was smart to refuel right after working out, I didn’t mind trying something new. This was super-yummy. The weird thing was that I got completely full on half the glass. I just drank water afterwards and stowed the rest in the fridge for a snack later.

When I got home, I had a handful of banana chips while I made lunch: reheated baked chicken breast, fresh green cabbage cooked in coconut oil with sea salt and crushed red pepper, and a slice of sweet potato.

Half chicken breast, cabbage cooked in coconut oil, and a slice of sweet potato

Half chicken breast, cabbage cooked in coconut oil with crushed red pepper, and a slice of sweet potato

Dessert was watermelon, but this time I monitored my intake so that I didn’t overindulge or just simply eat too much. I’ll confess I also wound up eating another slice of sweet potato the same size because no one else was going to, and it was super-yum.

Today was also weigh-in day. Yes, actually. Yes, yes, I know I weighed in yesterday, but Tuesday is the magical day for the 90DC.

Now, I had planned to go to yoga this morning, but Everything Conspired Against It. To the point that I got in the car, was about to pull out of the housing development, looked at the time, and realized that there was no way I would be on time to my yoga class. 

Eventually, after two more abortive attempts to leave to go to the gym, I got there (wearing shoes!). I decided to “Lift All the Things,” which is what my friend Amie calls weight training. Today I worked my chest and back, taking the advice to set the weights to something I couldn’t lift many times. I actually surprised myself with how heavy I needed to set the weights to make myself strain a bit. I thought I would have lost most of my strength and tone from not doing much over the past month, but I was able set the weights at or above where I’d had them before.

After lifting, I went to weigh in, and the numbers shocked me.

Either my body is super-responsive to slight changes in diet and exercise inside of a 24 hour period (which is entirely possible knowing my history for being able to gain and shed weight), or the computers are calibrated differently at the two different Lifetime Fitness Gyms I went to, which is equally possible.

So, the results were Total Body Weight 153 lbs (down 3.3 lbs) and Percentage Body Fat of 19.2% (down 3.6, which is a 15.78% change). Yeah, I don’t get it either.

All I can think is that I need to just keep up the good fight, keep plugging away doing what I know to be good for me, and add in anything that sounds like a good idea.

I’m really not looking forward to a shift in the opposite direction.

I am looking forward to getting back to my home gym and weighing consistently there because then I won’t have any of the worries that it’s the machine and not me making the change.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that being a transformation winner at the national level could win $10,000 plus a free membership for a year. I mean, not that I’m motivated by money or anything, but… well, there are probably some people who are investing a lot of time and money into this just to net that win. But it would still be cool, ya know?

Weigh-In

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Did the weigh-in today for the 90 Day Challenge (90DC). Today is full of numbers, plans, and theories.

It was both better and worse than I’d expected. 

Let’s start with the worse: My weight was 156.3 

Yikes.

Admittedly, last year I would have jumped for joy to be at 156. This year, I had a taste of being under 140, if only for a couple of days. It was a heady experience. One I’d like to repeat sooner rather than later.

My lean body mass is 120.6 

O-kay. I guess that means that I could conceivably reduce my overall weight by reducing the amount of water 88.6 lbs (any bloating or inflammation or just excess water retention) but that it would not be particularly reasonable for me to expect to get much below 135 total body weight.

My body fat is 35.7 lbs

That’s good news because that is something I can target and reduce with strength training, menu control, and exercise.  It gives me a good target for transformation.

My percentage body fat is 22.8%

That’s the number that’s going to be crucial for the transformation challenge. Looking at the body fat weight and the percentage body fat, my goal needs to be to transform about 16 lbs fat into something else – muscle, etc. That would be a 45% transformation, bringing my percentage body fat to 12.54%.  I don’t know how realistic that is for me, so I think I should aim for 16% as my happy goal, or 25.05 lbs fat, unless my math is fuzzy.

So ideally, my twin goals are to reduce total body weight and cut my total body fat by one third.

The path right now looks like trying to figure out which zone I should aim for when working out to burn fat instead of sugar, to pay attention to incorporating good Omega 3 fats, and to increase muscle with strength training and increased time under tension.

And then the “MyPlan” part of the program recommended this:

  • Focus on getting ample protein at every meal
  • Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables for every meal
  • If not used to preparing food, use more pre-packaged foods (frozen or pre-cut veggies, etc.) for convenience
  • Stop eating when satisfied or approximately 80% full
  • Choose only main dishes with fewer than 5 ingredients
  • Consume at least a half-plate full of colorful vegetables, every day
  • Eat protein every 3-5 hours while awake, depending on hunger
  • Emphasize healthy fats to help control training-induced inflammation
  • Drink at least 3 liters of water per day (about 100oz)
  • Limit caffeine to 1 cup of coffee per day
  • Limit alcohol to fewer than 3 drinks per week
  • Take specific supplements determined by your metabolic chemistry (lab work)

I had to put the blasphemy in bold. Limit my coffee? Are you people FREAKING NUTS? I was so totally on board with the whole thing until then. But this plan attacked my coffee. It’s the one thing that keeps me from drinking soda.

Protein? Check.

Non-starchy vegetables? No problem.

Stop eating sooner? Yeah, I need to work on that, especially after a night like tonight when I ate WAY too much watermelon. I am now the bloated gaseous queen of noxiousness. Too much watermelon = BAD.

Simple main dishes? Dude, my middle name is Simple.

Colorful veggies and protein? Didn’t we already address those? Check and check.

Healthy fats? Going to work on more Omega 3s.

Water? Eh, I have a love/hate relationship with water. Every now and then I hate drinking water; the rest of the time I love it. There are some times when I can guarantee I’ll drink the requisite amount of water – in the hot tub, in the bath tub, in the car on the way home, and apparently late night blogging.

Coffee limit? Grumble grumble grumble. I’m going to see about that. I think I can do this without giving up that vice.

Alcohol limit? No problem, really. I enjoy drinking, but I am going to go Whole30, and that takes out alcohol anyway.

Supplements? Well, I’d need to do those tests. That gets pricey. I’m not sure I’m going to put the money aside for that this time. 

So basically it’s got good ideas.  

And I really started my plan today. I tricked out my breakfast with eggs, El Salvadoran coleslaw, picante sauce, blueberries, and coffee – 250-300 calories. Morning snack was a Granny Smith apple and coffee – 100-150 calories. Lunch was a Market Salad from Chick-Fil-A and coffee – 200 calories. Post-work-out snack was a protein bar – 170 calories. Dinner was eggs, cabbage, cauliflower – 250 calories, and watermelon – yikes calories.  I think I did okay, probably staying in the realm of 1500 calories for the day.

 

At Odds With Myself

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I feel at odds with myself lately.

Last night, it was awful. I didn’t feel like the right size in my own head. The ground felt uneven, curved and broken. I felt like the parts of myself were strung together on a piece of Scotch tape.

This was after a weekend of slight craziness. It was as though nothing was the way it was supposed to be, and yet everything that was supposed to happen actually did – it just didn’t match up to my feelings of expectation. We went to the beach on Galveston island, but it was overcast and therefore cold.

Lately I just don’t tolerate cold very well. I don’t like being cold. I don’t like strong air conditioning. I have taken to eating outside at restaurants, drinking hot coffee, or just craving hot food to keep me feeling warm inside. I mentioned this to a friend last night, and since he works in an ER and has some medical knowledge, he immediately thought of medical reasons, asking if I was anemic.

Anemic? 

I shouldn’t think so. I mean, don’t I tend to eat a variety of healthy foods anyway? So then I looked up the iron-rich foods that should be good for anemia, and I realized that I had almost systematically eliminated most of them from my diet.

The People Who Want Your Blood Recommend You Eat This Stuff – Vampire’s Guide to Iron-Rich Blood

Basically, the only foods I had recently been consuming that were high in iron were eggs, chicken and figs, and, to a more sporadic degree spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, strawberries, and watermelon. The animal sources of iron are more easily absorbed than the plant sources, the “heme” iron versus the “non-heme” iron, and combining the two increases the absorption rate for “non-heme” iron. Lastly, if you eat anything with Vitamin C, it increases the iron absorption rate.

So now it gives me some ammunition for menu-planning. It’s not enough to just eat foods on a list, but I need to really plan around specific nutrients and their interactions together.

Oh, and the part I left out is that if you have caffeine or calcium rich foods in conjunction with your iron, you block your iron absorption. This was the least happy news of all to a coffee junkie.

As a matter of fact, I felt that was a personal insult.

I guess I’ll live.

Then I got worried looking at the list of foods because I have been eating a lot of cabbage lately as an inexpensive vegetable of choice that holds up well in the refrigerator over several days. Some vegetables are overly tempermental and need to be used immediately; cabbage is one that you can cut a hunk of it off to eat, wrap the rest up for a few days and then come back to it.

So I did a little digging just now and found a pro-cabbage propaganda page that made me happy:

Crazy Cabbage Lovers’ Page of Rationalizing Their Brassica-Inspired Lust

Okay. So I wasn’t completely bonkers crazy for eating cabbage. Neither am I the Witch of The Nutrition Psychos for wanting more variety in my vegetable choices. Because it looks like not only do you need to plan intelligently, but you need to hit a broad spectrum to get the nutrition you need. And apparently, when I’ve been craving certain foods back in my diet (sweet potatoes), there’s a good reason.

But it looks like there are some “Super Foods” that I need to continue to have as staples:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Salmon

And I need to introduce Kale. Because kale is the new kick-ass vegetable on the block. 

Now, it’s pretty easy to plan a healthy breakfast that hits the major groups because all I need to do is pre-make little breakfast frittatas in muffin pans with eggs and either spinach or broccoli.

More later. I’ve gotta run.

****Later****

Okay, so breakfast frittatas are easy, because you can make a dozen of them Monday morning and have them to quickly warm up the rest of the week. Pair that with a slice of pre-cooked sweet potato and some berries, and voila! Breakfast!

Lunches are more difficult for me. I need to either have a plan and make ahead several lunches or just make extra at dinner the night before and plan to take the rest as lunch the next day.

And dinners are just plain work. It’s different when I haven’t been running all day, but when I have, the last thing I want to do is spend an hour in the kitchen. I just flat out don’t have the time to do it, nor do I want the clean-up afterwards.  

I suppose I’ll spend the next few months exploring hits and misses with my meals, and I really want to invest some time in planning nutrient-based meals.