Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Ever since I took a nutrition class in college (it was a topic that interested me, & at my school it counted toward the lab science requirement!), I have tried to eat healthy food . . . & to stay relatively low on the food chain too, after I read Frances Moore Lappe's Diet for a Small Planet in the mid-1970s. In recent years, though, since I remarried, we have increasingly relied on prepared foods (from Trader Joe's, so they're reasonably nutritious) & restaurant meals. I work full time, have a long commute, AND do freelance work some nights & weekends for extra money (my husband is unemployed). And in recent months, while I was dealing with the stress of this situation, my weight went up--& with it a profound discouragement.
But God is good! A breakthrough in mid-February has
* simplified my busy life a bit
* improved our finances (already!)
* given me lots of satisfaction (I love cooking from scratch)
* improved my fiber & protein
* filled me with hope
* AND started the scale numbers on a good, sustainable downward trend.
The three core principles of my regimen are (1) cooking large batches on weekends, (2) using dried legumes (beans/split peas/lentils) with veggies & spices to create extremely nutritious & economical entrees, & (3) cooking an organic chicken every week or two, freezing parts of it, & using this meat & broth as needed to supplement the legumes. Here is a blog entry where I laid out the plan; subsequent blog posts are reports on my eating adventures & include some excellent recipes:
An aside on organic free-range chicken: I know it's expensive, but it's less so than it used to be. And it's SO tender & delicious--you can taste the difference!--& you don't have to feel guilty about factory farming while you eat it. The mouth satisfaction is enormous.
I continue to cull SparkPeople articles and Sparkrecipes to get new ideas--it helps to have a sense of constant possibility. I track my eating, of course, & my daily protein & fiber tallies are up (both were a bit low with my former eating habits). I'm feeling really great, not getting sleepy at my desk in the afternoons. Even though my freelance income this month is going to be a bit low, I was able to pay a chunk toward one of our credit cards yesterday & will pay more later this month. So my personal eating program is providing benefits in many important dimensions . . . even spiritually, as I have a renewed sense of God's guidance & care for us.
In Mark 8, Jesus tells his followers to feed the crowd of 5,000+ people who have followed them into the boonies to hear Jesus preach. "How much food do you have?" he asks. "Go and see." His followers come back reporting that they've been able to locate just five measly loaves of bread & two fishes--but Jesus starts serving this food & there ends up being plenty for everyone & 12 baskets left over.
It's an old, familiar story, but it has gained new resonance for me in these days. I've found my way into a new abundance.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
I've lost 4.8 pounds in 3 weeks. Pretty good for me! (I don't usually go down more than a pound a week.)
So far I am indeed being a model PT patient, doing all my stretches as prescribed. And I think I'm already feeling a difference in my arm!
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Yesterday I took the day off because I had two health-related appointments: my first meeting with a physical therapist to address my shoulder & elbow issues related to the fall on ice (which happened two months ago tomorrow) & one with a surgeon to check up on a weird little problem (which turns out to be no big deal, as I thought--maybe a side effect from my insomnia medication).
The physical therapist was excellent--she took a lot of time to check out my arm & figure out what is wrong. It's all muscle, she says--no ligaments involved, for which I'm very thankful. She gave me five exercises to stretch my elbow & shoulder muscles, & I can tell they are spot on.
Can you imagine lying on your bed, holding a measly 1-lb peanut butter plastic jar in your left hand, letting your arm hang out off the edge of the bed with inner elbow up--& finding it so painful that you have to put down the peanut butter & do the stretch without it? The PT had told me to try it with a 1-lb weight but, of course, to do it without if there was real pain. Clearly I'll have to work up to that pound! I am determined to be a model PT patient & do my full set of exercises three times a day as ordered, so that my poor arm can recover.
Next week I have PT appointments on Monday & Thursday mornings before work. Those days I'll rest from other exercise.
I am in a mini-plateau weightwise, though most days I have stayed within my calorie range. But I haven't gotten all the way up to daily exercise yet; I'm hoping that as exercise increases (I'm looking forward to running now that we are actually approaching spring!) my weight will come down some more.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
I went to the other contra dancing group last night, & it was fantastic! It was a good-sized group--maybe 30 toward the end, & I was told there are sometimes as many as 60. Turns out that a friend from my church goes regularly, & another friend who tried it out with me really liked it & intends to return. So this is definitely going to be one of my regular types of cardio exercise.
It is HAPPY DANCING--I spend the WHOLE session with a silly grin plastered across my face. I can't wait to introduce my husband to it.
If you're interested in trying it out, here's a link to find dances in your area:
And on another topic, below is a Sparkrecipes link for a slow cooker stew that I tried out on Sunday. It says the recipe makes just 4 servings, but I'm going to get more like 6 servings from it. Extremely yummy & nutritious. You could make it more cheaply, too, by taking the breast meat from a whole chicken rather than buying skinless/boneless breast (but it's hard to carve breast pieces off an uncooked chicken). Twelve ounces (as this recipe calls for) seems to amount to about 3/4 of the whole breast of a chicken.
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