Tuesday, May 22, 2012
I was bored so I found something to do. I started working through the "52 Small Changes" book (or whatever it was called). And just to keep up with myself, I started blogging about it but I got bored with that too and I quit. I was still going through *some* of the suggestions (just not blogging about it). Some were useful. Some were common sense. Some were incredibly insane for my life (and were promptly discarded). Some of the "changes" were things I was already doing.
Then in April, my Mom had a heart attack. She was out of the hospital less than 24 hrs before she was back in with pneumonia. One week and one day after the heart attack she was finally released and living with me. That's where life got interesting.
I've never been big on salt. I've never been a big meat eater either (was vegetarian for 3 years) so cholesterol was something I never worried much about. However, when you have a 2 gram limit on sodium - and it's someone you love that you are responsible for - cooking gets a bit challenging. I never realized sodium (no, Mom - not salt - SODIUM) is in so many things. (Mom is still scratching her head about why on earth they put salt in milk.) So I've spent the last month trying to figure out how to feed Mom within these limits. I've found recipes for low sodium spaghetti sauce, low sodium enchilada sauce (1st time I've ever made my own Enchilada Sauce), etc. And I've learned that not all chili powders are created equal. (Gebhardts's has no salt but the Publix brand does!)
Mom went home this past Sunday after spending 4 weeks at my house. During that time I lost 4 pounds and got into some clothes I haven't worn in a couple of years. How did that happen?
I think it was the fact that I was responsible for taking care of someone and I took that seriously. As a side effect, I was taken care of as well. (A sad commentary on how important I am to myself otherwise.)
We ate a lot of baked tilapia (put it in a baking dish and coat lightly with olive oil on both sides, sprinkle liberally with Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and let it sit 2-3 more minutes. I was doing this in a Breville toaster oven to keep from heating up the kitchen), grilled chicken, crock pot chicken, salads with tuna (watch out for the sodium there though), grilled turkey burgers, etc. The baked tilapia was great with some pineapple-mango salsa (recipe available if you want it), and we had avocados quite often with the salads. No dressing - too much sodium. But I did drizzle olive oil and a balsamic glaze over them. Of course I ended up scouring grocery stores for no salt added tomatoes, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes (never did find the "no salt added crushed tomatoes" though) and reading all of the labels to find the lowest sodium bread, the lowest sodium turkey bacon, etc.
Now that Mom's gone back home (and I hope she does okay but I promised her she could come back if it turned out to be more than she was ready for), I'm trying to keep up my good habits. I'm not really that concerned about the sodium and the cholesterol so much - I'm more concerned about the big picture and what it means. WHY is it important to take good care of my mom but let myself forage through cookies and crackers for dinner (or fill up on candy from my boss's office and skip dinner entirely)? WHY is it not important to take care of myself (see blog from May 2007 about helping the child succeed)? Why will I not make sure I have a decent dinner and lunch?
I think that maybe the most meaningful "change" I could make would be the one I've been making for the last month - to eat real food - to treat it like it's an important issue - because it is and because I am.