Vegan pre-race dinner.

Image

Mushrooms, quinoa, kale.

My second 5K race is tomorrow. I am not as rested or as prepared as I’d like to be, but I’ll give it a go anyway. The forecast for tomorrow morning is clear and 10º C, so I am not at all concerned about the running conditions. My health is another story. To soothe some of my symptoms, I opted for a vegan meal tonight: slow-cooker teriyaki portobello mushrooms on a bed of quinoa and baked kale chips. So far, my stomach is calm, and I am grateful.

Avoid, embrace meal planning: success!

Standard

I am sold on this meal-planning gig. Not only did I successfully make three meals last week — counting last night in last week because one of the meals was postponed — but I brought snacks to work every single day.

I did not, however, manage to get my tea-making system set up at work yet. I plan to this week.

The verdict on the recipes: the meatloaf was great, as usual. The Indonesian peanut butter chicken did not have enough flavor but I think that is because I used regular-sized drumsticks instead of drumettes. Note to self and to you if you are also making this recipe: drumettes are key. The Indian curry was pretty good but, again, did not have enough flavor. I felt like it should be sweeter. FunkyPlaid suggested raisins and I think he’s onto something.

Quinoa was the real winner this week. It is significantly easier to cook than rice, and I prefer the taste.

The big loser this week? Hard-boiled eggs. I ate just two of the seven I cooked. Day three those eggs looked at me and I looked at those eggs and there was just no way. I guess I don’t like them as much as I thought I did.

My next big hurdle is eating leftovers without a microwave to reheat them. It is a weird thing to be lazy about, I know, but I really, really miss my microwave. It was perfect for reheating small portions. And thawing things sans microwave is a real pain in the ass, so freezing leftovers is the equivalent of a death sentence in our house. I have perfectly good homemade spaghetti sauce in the freezer right now. (Thanks, StillTasty, for confirming its untouchable goodness.)

Eventually I will remember to take photos of food while I make it!

Avoid, embrace meal planning.

Standard

As mentioned in my previous post, I am attempting to exhaustion-proof my kitchen by planning meals out in advance and stocking up on healthy snacks and lunches. I have been resistant to meal-planning because I avoid creating additional structure around my diet so I can act like I still have a little freedom despite the gluten-free stuff. This makes the topic a good candidate for my next “Avoid, Embrace”. So here we go …

There are two main issues to address. The first is that while I often want to cook dinner I am also often rushed and/or exhausted. That also impacts my lunchtime and snacking habits; if I am pressed for time and have nothing on hand, I’ll either not eat (and then gobble too much for dinner later) or eat something unhealthy that I can find on the go.

Yesterday I created a meal plan for the week in Evernote so I can access it on my iPhone while I am at the store. I wrote down the evenings we will be at home together around dinnertime — only three this week — and then paged through some cookbooks for inspiration. I decided on:

I chose Monday’s and Saturday’s meals because I hadn’t tried the recipes before and I adore my slow-cooker. Also, on Saturday night we need something quick to eat before we head out to our friend’s party, so this will be all ready to go when FunkyPlaid gets home from work. Friday’s meal is an old stand-by, my mom’s recipe for meatloaf that is an occasional indulgence of ours.

After adding the ingredients for the week’s meals to my grocery list, I then added some items for my healthy snacks and lunches this week: carrots, grapes, bananas, almonds, eggs (to hard-boil), hummus, yogurt, Pamela’s gluten-free bread mix, and curry kale chips. This last snack blew my mind a little bit. I had eaten kale chips before, but not ones that made me want to make my own.

Last night, I hard-boiled some eggs and made a loaf of bread. I also packed my lunch before going to bed, a trick I had known since I was old enough to pack a lunch, but had somehow forgotten along the way, causing every morning to be a sad little rumble around the kitchen, opening and shutting cupboards ineffectually, leaving with a protein bar in my hand that is somehow magically supposed to turn into two meals.

Some progress has been made. The next step is to kill my Starbucks habit, because I have been pretending that a green tea latte counts as breakfast. Tomorrow I will bring my tea set to work!

Celiac Awareness Month

Standard

In March 2008, I stopped eating gluten for medical reasons, and (with a few transgressions) haven’t looked back. OK, I’ve looked back in anger — like the play, not the Oasis song — but for the most part, I am very grateful to have had such a straightforward and relatively easy way to address my myriad health problems.

May is Celiac Awareness Month, so here are some related links. I won’t proselytize, I promise. If I didn’t have to give up gluten, I wouldn’t have, believe me. I miss croissants and wake up from intricate croissant-eating dreams. Often.

I meant to post this a week ago, but then classes began again, and Lord of Ultima happened, and the month is already two weeks over. Oops. Also another thing that happened is potential accidental glutenation, which isn’t really a word but describes well enough that you know what I mean. Takeout food is tough for me now. I like to pretend it isn’t because it is fast and requires no effort on my part and also it tastes good. But there are so many places for gluten to hide, and my (few) efforts communicating over the phone with restaurants before ordering haven’t inspired much confidence.

So what I really need to do is exhaustion-proof my kitchen. I sense another Avoid, Embrace coming on …

Resetting my health goals and tracking.

Standard

Good afternoon, readers. It has been a long time since my last self-portrait. I have been so thoroughly brain-focused lately as I finish up the semester that I just needed a little bit of something tangible, a note to myself that non-brain parts of me exist.

As soon as I started thinking about that, I started thinking about how much I miss enjoying the non-brain parts of me, like the sweet moment where my body stops fighting the exertion process. I miss that space right before the endorphins hit, where everything and nothing feels, just feels, all at once.

Then I realized how long it had been since I felt that all-at-once space.
Continue reading

birthday gift

Standard

After most of a year of debating the exact method in which I would get in shape I was no closer to choosing one, let alone sticking with it. I had sampled a few different options and discarded most of them as impractical, prohibitively expensive, or both. All I could decide on was the fact that I hate the popular usage of “regime” for “regimen”.

Last summer, after a friend mentioned Jillian Michaels’ “30-Day Shred” workout DVD, I read some reviews, mostly favorable, and decided to buy it. I managed to stumble my way through the first level a few times, following the modified exercises for beginners, and thought it wasn’t bad. Then my illness interrupted my routine, as was the case for much of 2009, and the DVD and hand-weights went untouched for the rest of the year.

While I skipped the jumping-jacks, time marched on. I felt lumpier and weaker than ever. During our Portland vacation, I went on a 5-mile hike with moderate elevation and thought I was going to die. A friend and I talked about running, but I did not see myself as a runner. My trainers were ancient, purchased long ago on deep discount during another fit of athleticism while I still had my bicycle. I tried a few times to go running but winded myself almost immediately and, dejected, walked around the block a few times before returning home.

I could not tell you why Monday the 28th was any different. Perhaps I was finally fed up with hearing myself make excuses and then feel sorry for myself. Perhaps I was simply too tired of spending so much time thinking about it. Whatever the case, I got home from work, ate a banana, read email for a few minutes, and then I went into the living room and flailed awkwardly for a while. Calories were burned. Epithets were hurled. Push-ups, even “modified for beginners”, were barely pushed up.

Heady with my sweat-soaked achievement, I decided that the next day I would go running. The Couch to 5k program had intrigued me when I first heard about it, so much so that I promised myself I would do it if I ever got back in shape. But I was tired of waiting for that, and the program is for beginning runners. So I downloaded the nifty C25k iPhone app and set my alarm for 6:00 the next morning.

Surprising myself, I didn’t hit snooze. I staggered out of bed, ate a bowl of cereal, and stared at RSS feeds for about twenty minutes. Then I donned my sad old trainers and what passes for “exercise clothing” in my closet and went running. Well, heavy walking with brief flurries of jogging. And I have done so six times now. The second week was less painful, thanks to new trainers, but was far from easy. Good thing I am stubborn, and also newly addicted to endorphins.

For someone who doesn’t see herself as a runner, it is strange to be excited about running. I am far less excited about flailing with Jillian Michaels, but I am doing that on the off-days for lower-impact cardio and strength training. And I still can’t do more than a few push-ups, but changing that is my next fitness goal.

The last week of C25k begins on my birthday. All I want is to wake up on my birthday and run 5k. Wish me luck!