The Big Cook

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One of the things I’ve struggled with most is finding time to cook and eat home cooked meals.  I’ve tried to find books or websites to give me long term meal plans but I haven’t found any.  So I gathered a bunch of slow cooker meals and created a master shopping list from them.  I went to Costco, spent $600 on supplies, then prepped food for 2 hours.  I haven’t needed to eat at a restaurant for 2 weeks and my freezer is full.

If anyone has a tip on “healthier” slow cooker/quickly prepared meals I’m game.  I love what I’ve done but it is a LOT of meat!  Haha.  Anyway, I thought I’d share it here so others can benefit 🙂

You’ll find the “Master Shopping List” at the bottom.  I omitted some common household items like Salt and Pepper from the shopping list. 

Here is a link to the document on Drop Box

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ldi03qb3jzhtn7q/Crock%20Pot%20Recipes.docx

Happy cooking!

Kombucha Hangover

I don’t know what Kombucha is.  Or at least I didn’t.  But I went in to a Planet Organic looking for something to eat that would make me feel healthy, and I ended up buying a raw organic drink called “Synergy” which has Black Chia in it and is a Kombucha drink.  I also bought a bag of organic apples (which were delicious).

I enjoyed the drink – it came in a 480ml bottle, and serving size was 240ml.  It is pretty low-cal so I felt I could drink the whole bottle.

I finished it and started feeling… drunk.  I knew enough about Kombucha to know it’s alcoholic, but less than 1%, and this is sold in a grocery store so I figured it must be less than 0,5%…  It wouldn’t make sense to me that I’d be drunk.

Anyway after some brief internet research I decided I must be feeling a “healing crisis” (source).  I have no doubt that my body is “toxic” as I’ve never done a cleanse or detoxified before.

This morning I woke up with a terrible headache, and I’ve been extremely emotional all day.

Has anyone else experienced this?  What should I do?  I wouldn’t mind detoxing with Kombucha but I cannot take these side effects for any length of time.  I realize I should cut my dose significantly if I continue, but I wanted to see if anyone else has had a similar experience.

Do we crave failure?

Today I feel like in most areas of my goals I am failing.  Partly I am cheating, at least I am making excuses to cheat.  And the more I read and learn about a healthy lifestyle the more I abhor the times that I cheat.

I have heard people theorize that we cheat (in diets or other areas) because in some way we are addicted to the guilt of it.  Possibly on some level we enjoy the act of repentance.  Possibly because there are self esteem issues and we self sabotage because of a  feeling of being undeserving.

I don’t know much about it (I think it’s an Oprah thing), but a mantra has been floating across my facebook feed the last week – “I am imperfect, and I am enough” (source) – and I really like the idea of this as a mantra.  Perhaps taking on this as a mantra will help break the cycle of self sabotage and guilt “addiction”.  If I can remind myself that it is OK to be imperfect, that regardless of my imperfections I am enough and I have value, then maybe I will stop feeling compelled to self sabotage.

I also have been thinking a lot more about eating better, cleaner.  I’m going to leave some guidelines for myself below.

– Cut out processed foods (in an effort to decrease sugar and salt)

– I don’t really drink very much alcohol but I could drink red wine as a substitute for the beer/whiskey I might drink otherwise.

-Incorporate good fats into meals – avocados, nuts, coconut oil, olive oil – less butter and meat

 

Living Intentionally

Since my last post a month ago I’ve been thinking a lot about living intentionally. Essentially, there are two ways to experience life.  Life can happen to you, or you can live your life.

I find it so easy to slide into the routine of letting life happen to me.  I go through my day meeting the minimum requirements of my obligations, mostly feeling lethargic, exhausted, and to some extent apathetic.  I tend to fill every spare moment with noise, whether that noise is music or a podcast in my ear or a pointless game at my fingertips.  The things I’m doing are not my first choice, but they are there, they are easy, and they happen.  It tends to make me feel bulldozed.

I’m at my happiest when I am doing life.  When I am actively making choices about how I spend my time.  In order to do life, you need to embrace the moment. It’s okay to sit in silence, or simply listen to the ambient noise of your environment.  It’s okay not to have your hands  and mind occupied by the latest app.  When I am doing life all of a sudden it feels like I have time to exercise and to try new foods and to make meal plans and to save money.

Another way I’ve been trying to look at “doing life” is living intentionally.  When I have spare time it’s easy to spend it doing nothing, reading reddit for another half hour, answering emails, or browsing the app store.  I find it’s much harder to look at that time as an opportunity that can help you reach your long term goals.

This week I realized, while I feel like I’m busier than is appropriate for anyone to be, I have lots of times like this during my week, times that are otherwise lost to my smart phone.  This week I decided to spend that time walking.  Taking slow, small steps towards active living and better health.  The walks were wonderful.  I bumped my daily steps average from 8k to 13k in just 4 days.

Such a small mind shift has made this week feel more meaningful.

So for the first goal I set a month ago: “Exercise daily (even the small stuff counts)” – I think I can do this goal.  I think I’ve set into motion the steps needed to make this a lifestyle.

I still have to work towards the second goal – I have been eating better: more home-cooked meals, and more vegetarian meals, but I haven’t been brave enough to dip in to the raw vegan stuff.  I just really like the idea of cutting back on meat and processed carbs for one or two meals a day.  Baby steps.

What do you do to live intentionally?

Keeping lifestyle constant through transition is one of the hardest things.

One pattern I’ve noticed over the years is that it is extremely hard to keep up with healthy lifestyle choices when I go through a transition period in my life.

Sometimes I count on the transition as motivation – if I can just make it to the end of school, I will work out and get fit all summer / if I can just make it through the summer I will work out and get fit while I’m at school… I’ve been on both ends, starting off a new chapter with the best of intentions each time.

I’m at a new chapter in my life yet again.  This time I’ve been doing it right.  I’ve been watching my eating, exercising lots, and even losing weight.  Now I’m at another transition.  This time I’m graduating school, moving on from academia for the foreseeable future, and I’m not sure how to incorporate fitness/healthy living into my new routine.  I know that I have to, but I don’t know what that looks like.

So looking forward, I have to remember: fitness right now is a top priority, and there are no excuses for not keeping it up.

Here’s the plan so far:

  • Bike to work at least 3 times per week!  Make exercise part of the commute.  Soon enough it will be routine requiring almost no will power.  My only concern is I’ll be really hungry after the 25km ride (one way) and it’s really hard not to over eat when I’m really hungry!  It also means being intentional about meals and planning ahead for grocery shopping.  Any tips for meal planning?
  • Swim at least once a week!  If I can make time for a 2 hour swim each week and get 5km in the water, I would feel great about that.  I love to swim, and I really want to keep my “in-water” fitness up.
  • Start a strength training program by May 13 (my 24th birthday!).  I’m not sure what this means yet, but maybe I can hit up a core class at my gym, or maybe I’ll get into a weight-lifting schedule, or maybe I’ll do P90X or sign up for Cross Fit or something.  I don’t know yet (suggestions?). But I have to have started by my birthday.

What are your strategies for sticking to the program when your life/routine changes?

I need your input: Healthy snacks!

Hey Fitness peeps!

These last few weeks have taught me that I am failing when it comes to snacking.  So what are some things you keep on hand for when you’re feeling peckish?  How do you deal with the impulse to snack?  How do you indulge without feeling guilty?  When you do indulge how do you deal with the guilt?

Taking the bad weeks in stride, and staying on target.

Lately, things have been rough in my fitness regime.  7 of the last 10 days I’ve been over my calorie goal (1000 cal. deficit), many of those days by a lot of calories, the worst being 1300 over.

Unsurprisingly, I have not lost any more weight.  I have not enjoyed any new “added bonuses”.  My workouts have been fewer and less intense.  And in general my life feels more and more out of control.

My workouts have dwindled – I skipped Monday and Wednesday despite having time to exercise.  I told myself I would get ahead on the school work that I’ve been neglecting. That didn’t even happen.

My nutrition has been terrible.  In my “effort” to work on my school work I’ve been mindlessly snacking.  This week we had chips and candy in the house.  After yesterday we did not have chips and candy in the house anymore. I wish I could say they went in the trash.  But I’m going to avoid buying junk food moving forward.  For some reason I don’t always realize it that when I buy junk food it means I’m going to eat it.

I feel like I hit rock bottom yesterday, eating way too much junk and not exercising, but I had an epiphany moment in the evening.  I had a rehearsal for my choir concert coming up this Friday and we practiced with the University Orchestra for the first time. The sound of the strings overcame my mind and the noise and just put me at peace.

Leaving rehearsal I thought about how frustrated I am with the last two weeks health wise and realized that it’s okay.  I’m not going to be able to be perfect all the time.  But I can catch myself when I stumble, and that’s all it is – these last two weeks were a stumble.

I can make today better than yesterday, and make tomorrow better than today.

Traditionally I’ve found setbacks to be extremely difficult – in 2010, the first time I tried calorie counting, I weighed in at 240, lost about 6 lbs, plateaued for a while, and then gave  up. I’ve repeated that same cycle many times in the last 3 years.

This time I’m taking my little failure with a grain of salt, and I’m going to get right back on track.  This morning I swam 4km and I think I’m poised for a good nutritious food day.

How do you stay motivated after a disappointing week or two?