Thursday, May 26, 2016

CSA Box Week 2: Trying to Sub Produce for Other Foods

This week's CSA box arrived with lots of healthy goodies. I call them "goodies" because I'm trying to psych myself up into eating vegetables instead of potato chips, and fruit instead of sweets. It's been a busy and junky week eating too many of the wrong things, although I did also eat many of the right things, too. It's a mindset, for me. Some days the mindset is for health, and some days the mindset is for crap.

Mindset A: Wow, I can't wait to trim the vegetables and get them roasted for lunch! I feel so much better eating healthy foods, and they're so delicious I don't even miss the junk!

Mindset B: Meh, I don't want fruit, I want a cupcake.

The difference in the mindsets isn't really just what I "want" to eat. It's what I "want" to FEEL. Do I want to feel life? Or do I want to feel numb? That's what it all comes down to. That's what comfort eating has always been about for me. The trick is to push Mindset A as much as possible (fake it til you make it) and tell myself that after I eat my healthy produce, if I still want a cupcake, I can have it. ONE. From a bakery. Not a dozen, not from a Hostess box, not giant sized. And then I will not indulge in that kind of thing again for at least a couple of days. I'd say I am at about 70% Mindset A this week, but the 30% Mindset B gets tiring. That 30% is more than usual, probably just due to hormones and stuff.

The CSA box pushes Mindset A very well! Getting all this local, organic food that was just picked yesterday or today makes me feel happy, and privileged to have it (I know it is a blessing because there was a time I couldn't afford *any* produce, much less organic and local and delivered to my front door). So I treasure it and it becomes the special thing (over the cupcake) and I take good care of it, and make sure none of it goes to waste.

For dinner the other day I used up the last of the first CSA box and the last of the mini fridge produce (yes, my new fridge came!): sloppy joes with steamed mixed greens, roasted carrots, white radishes, and asparagus, and cut up strawberries. It was a great meal!

Here is today's CSA box. It is stacked up so there is more volume than the photo appears to show:

CSA box farmer's market produce

Sugar snap peas
Kohlrabi with greens
Curly kale
Purple asparagus
Bok choy
and lots of strawberries!

I bought some Rubbermaid FreshWorks containers and use them to keep the produce fresh longer. It really works! The berries were put in there unwashed and they stayed fresh and perfect for much longer. Having this produce makes me stop thinking about candy bars and helps me focus on what I can make with all my fresh veggies. Because yes, I still get in a mood sometimes for candy or junk, and yes I even still have some on occasion. But the less often, the better, and this stuff distracts me from the junk.

I am thinking about doing a week (or more) where I only eat local foods from the farmer's market, CSA box and produce stands. I think that would be a fun challenge; I can get pastured meats and dairy, local nuts and produce, local honey and herbs from those places. That would mean no breads or oranges or bananas... nothing out of season, either. I think what I'd miss the most is avocados! But I bet I would enjoy the challenge. I am probably going to try this at some point in June. Maybe you can do it with me!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Underwater Victory

I started this blog way back in August, 2007. At the time I weighed 278 pounds and was just miserable. My health was deteriorating, my mobility was next to nothing, and I was truly feeling like I'd hit rock bottom with my weight. The highest weight I had seen on the scale was 283 pounds, and I knew I was headed straight to 300+ if I did not make some immediate changes. I did make those changes, and although I've been down (to 175 pounds) and back up near 250, I never got close again to my original start weight. And I've maintained my mobility. You'd be surprised, if you haven't experienced it, how incredibly different life is at 280 versus 225. The 50+ pound difference in my weight has resulted in a huge improvement in my quality of life and happiness. I try to remember that, and be thankful, especially on the days I am feeling defeated about the 50 pound regain I am in. But it is not a 100+ pound regain and that, believe it or not, makes all the difference. It keeps me working at this even when I end up "just maintaining" as I am at the moment (at 227 pounds). "Just maintaining" has changed my life in a wonderful way... and if I am honest about it, losing that much weight probably actually saved my life. This is what keeps my from giving up. This is why I am still trying to lose more and maintain lower. Once I am under 200 pounds, I feel like I am in another, better world physically.

Anyway, about a week after I started this blog, I wrote a post about "The Humiliation of Being Obese." In it, I wrote:

[There was] the time I went to the museum and thought about going on a submarine tour and then saw a large metal plate with a hole in it and a big sign: "You MUST be able to get through this hole unassisted to go on the tour." Um, No. I am NOT going to go in front of everyone and try to squish myself through that hole. (Got anything I can grease it with?) Better to realize it then, than to pay for the tour and try to get on the submarine and get stuck in the entry hole, I guess.

Well, guess what? Last week I chaperoned a field trip with my daughter's class. Imagine my surprise when the leaders brought us as a group to that VERY hole and told us we would be taking the kids on that submarine tour! I almost had a flashback about it to the time when my kids wanted to go on that tour years ago and I KNEW I would not fit in that hole, no way, no how, so I had to make up some excuse and distract them to some other exhibits. This time, though, I was the chaperone! If I didn't go, the kids didn't go. And this was in front of dozens of other kids and chaperones and teachers, all waiting for their turn on the submarine tour. This time, I looked at that hole and I knew I would fit. Not only did I easily fit through the hole, but when we went down into the narrow halls and stair wells of the submarine itself, I did not have to squeeze. I did not have to turn sideways and hope my gut didn't knock something over. I fit JUST FINE. And THAT was such a victory to me. I know if I was 20 pounds heavier it would have been a really tight fit. Thirty pounds and there is no way I could have done it. But at 227? It was fine! I fit without embarrassment and we had a great time together.

THAT is what the past 8 years of blogging and working on my weight and health has done for me. I may not have stayed at goal, but I did not go back to hell, either. I can do so much more. Heck, at 278 pounds I could barely walk a block! Now, I was able to walk for miles on this field trip without issue. Oh I was sore, really sore for a couple of days. I hurt a lot after walking what I am guessing was around 8 miles a day, plus lots of stairs. But I did it, I took pain medicine and I am okay. Life is SO much better now than it would have been had I never made the effort and changed my life: starting moving more, stopped binge eating, got a grip on food obsession and compulsive eating, and made my life *not about the food.* There is still work to be done, but I am confident things will only get better.

If you are stuck and miserable, please try. Yes, I know you've tried a million times. But try again. Don't give up. I had done every diet under the sun before it finally "stuck" and the weight started coming off for good. You never know which *try* will be the one that works. So keep trying, because your life can be so much better... and you don't even have to hit your goal, or be skinny, to have that better life. Twenty, thirty, or fifty pounds will make such a difference that you won't believe it. So try. Try because freedom from the food is the best gift you can ever give yourself! And you're worth it.

Friday, May 20, 2016

CSA Box 1: White Radish Pot Roast

This week my first CSA box arrived, filled with fresh, local, organic produce! It was like Christmas as I looked in the box to see what they brought. This week's haul:

bundles of asparagus
a bag filled with mixed baby greens
two large containers heaped full of strawberries
several young red onions
fresh garlic bulbs
big stalks of rhubarb
and a bunch of long, white radishes

I was really pleased with the variety, especially so early in the year! I wasn't quite sure what to do with the radishes; I'm not a huge fan of raw radishes, although I'll eat some in a salad if they're mild. But aren't they pretty?

long white radishes

 I thought back to when I made a low carb Hearty Beef Stew with Radishes and how tasty it was. The radishes were soft and mild and took the place of higher carb white potatoes. So I decided to try them in a pot roast for dinner tonight! I also used some of the onions and garlic from the CSA box in this recipe.

Low Carb White Radish Pot Roast

I started with a grass fed beef chuck roast (choose the best size for your family) which I seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme, Mrs. Dash, onion powder and garlic powder. I put this in the crock pot with 2-3 cups of beef broth and turned it on high for about 3 hours.

Cut a medium onion in large pieces and place in a bowl. Add several cloves of peeled garlic, 1-2 stalks of celery cut in pieces, and 5 or 6 peeled carrots cut into chunks. Then trim the ends off the radishes, wash them, cut them into chunks and add to the bowl.

white radishes for pot roast

Add the vegetables to the crock pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook for another 2 hours until veggies are tender.

low carb pot roast with potato substitute

I drained off the broth, removed the fat from the top, and made the defatted broth into a tasty gravy by adding salt and pepper and thickening it with cornstarch. The kids used the gravy over their mashed potatoes.

I also cut up some of the strawberries from the CSA box to serve with dinner.

low carb white radish pot roast

This dinner was so delicious. The meat was tender and flavorful. The radishes tasted a lot like potatoes. I think I even prefer them to potatoes! I'm sure you could substitute red radishes in this dish. They tasted great in the stew recipe I linked to above so they should work here as well.

You can read more about the nutrition of radishes and other ways to cook them here: Eat Your Veggies: Radishes! I used to make them often as hash browns. There are a few reasons you may want to try substituting radishes for white potatoes, such as having a lower Glycemic Index and a lower carb count; a cup of boiled white potatoes contains 32 grams of carbs, while a cup of boiled radishes only has 5 grams. You also save calories by eating cooked radishes (only 25 calories per cup) versus boiled white potatoes (136 calories per cup).

Feeling good and looking forward to eating those greens from the CSA box over the weekend! Each box will be a new adventure and I am happy to be enjoying more local produce again. I hope you are finding your way to your local farmer's market or produce stand. Try something new!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Better Thoughts

After my rant the other day, I felt so much better and able to focus on what I needed to do. That's one thing I love about blogging: it's not just a way to vent, but it's a way to cope (without eating) and get my thoughts in order. No more negativity rumbling around in my head... it's all out there on (virtual) paper, leaving room for the productive, positive thinking I so need right now!

The mini fridge is moved to the dining room and stocked (well, in a very miniature way) with healthier foods. Tonight's dinner will be chili made from grass fed beef, canned tomatoes, and fresh celery, onions, garlic, and beans. I'll do my thing where I don't add the beans until the very end, but take a portion out for me to have beanless (lower carb) chili which I will add more veggies to, like I do with my taco soup. My family is opposed to zucchini, carrots and mushrooms in their chili so I cook those separately and add them to my portion at the end. So delicious!

The mini fridge has a small ice compartment too, so I am back to making some protein shakes for breakfast or lunch. We also have some hard boiled eggs and string cheese, nuts, and fresh fruit for snacks. I feel so much better already. Just those few days of junk reminded me of how lousy it feels to be stuck in a cycle of eating sugar and carbs, craving more, having low energy, waking up tired, craving more... I no longer want that to be my life. I even woke up one night with reflux! I haven't had that problem in SO long, but it was enough to remind me of the misery I used to live in daily, sleeping propped up on pillows every night and waking up choking on my own acid reflux. Yuck! It makes me so thankful that I was able to escape that 280+ pound nightmare, for good.

It's going to be a super busy week, but I am especially looking forward to my first CSA box arriving! It might be a challenge with no big fridge, but that's just more incentive to get those healthy veggies used and eaten before they spoil. It's going to be a great day, hope it is for you too!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Long Rant

Stuff is happening this week, and I have gone back and forth for days between eating well and eating crappy. I've been eating less than healthy out of convenience, for comfort, and out of sheer laziness for the past few days and I am really feeling it in my body and mind. I'm feel very tired and get frustrated more easily on a processed food, higher carb diet and that has been *very* apparent this week. Regardless of what my weight is doing (staying the same), the way I feel is enough to make me stop in my tracks and make a u-turn, right now.

Primary events of my life right now, some happy and some not, but all contributing to the eating change:

Dear friend being diagnosed with cancer and scheduled for surgery next week.
Injured dog requiring care and attention daily.
Wonderful son bringing home his new girlfriend to meet the family and spend time with us.
Sick child for a couple of days (better now).
Meetings and prep for chaperoning a big overnight field trip with my daughter's class.
End of year dance recitals (love these! But there is a big time investment for a few weeks in May and June).
Helping my son shop for his first house (proud of him, he has worked hard for this. His older brother bought a condo earlier this year!)

My refrigerator died overnight, right after a big shopping trip where I bought lots of perishables like a large, lean sirloin roast, chicken sausages, ground turkey, milk, light dairy products, and my favorite splurge, fresh trout fillets. All warm and ruined by morning, when I discovered the problem by finding cold water instead of ice in the ice trays. Lots of trips up and down flights of stairs taking spoiled food out, lots of moving what was salvageable from the freezer to the chest freezer downstairs, lots of cleaning up melted, runny messes. I thought I was fine doing this but ended up with a painful knee and limping for 2 days. It's better now (brace, ice, rest and anti-inflammatories).

For the first 2 days we basically ate 2 meals a day out. That might not be a bad thing, generally speaking, because I could have gotten salads or protein and veggies. I chose cheap, because I knew we'd be eating out more often and had just lost a lot of $$$ in groceries. A burger and diet soda, or a cheap breakfast special (eggs, sausage, and a waffle). I also chose comfort (a cinnamon roll, a cookie with coffee). At a carnival I had a hot dog and a few bites of cotton candy. Poor choices because I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and frankly didn't care about nutrition in the moment. I care now, because I am waking up with a headache every day and have no energy and a lower frustration level for dealing with things.

I went shopping and found a new fridge that will fit in our smallish fridge space and it will be delivered in about a week and a half. When I realized how long it would take to get here, I knew I couldn't keep on with the eating out ($$$) and eating processed (health). So my task for today is to get the mini-fridge moved upstairs into the kitchen and get it stocked with small portions of healthy foods. Cooking is totally doable from the mini-fridge with some planning; I just have to cook smaller amounts (no room for leftovers in the fridge) and thaw meat from the freezer in the microwave on the day I cook it instead of thawing in the fridge overnight. We'll have fewer choices but it'll be okay.

Did any of you see the Extreme Weight Loss show this week where the trainer attempted to eat the client's unhealthy diet for a day? He had not eaten fast food in years, so after he ate greasy breakfast sandwiches and hash browns for breakfast and more salty, greasy food for lunch, he felt so sick he was vomiting and had to stop eating and rest for the day. He felt like he had a hangover the next day. He totally lost all energy and felt slow and depressed eating like that. Well, that's pretty much how I've felt with the choices I've made this week. I hate it so I'm not going to do that anymore.

I do this alot, I know. I see the pattern, I see how over the years I can go for weeks or months eating healthy and then something stressful or bothersome, exciting or scary, happens and I fly back into the old habits of eating what is easy, fast, and familiar (the stuff I used to eat before I lost weight). That's not a great thing, but at least I see it and turn it around before I start gaining a lot of weight. I can totally see why people who used to have such bad food habits and then change and lose a lot of weight, usually slip back into old habits and regain it all. It's soooo easy to let that happen! That's part of why I love blogging: it gives me a place to rant about what I am going through and SEE what excuses I have made and where it is going to lead me. Thank you for being the sounding board and being so supportive as I keep working to do better, and be better!

My first CSA box will arrive before my fridge will. I am going to be proactive and make SURE there is room in the mini fridge for some of it, and I am already planning recipes for meals the day the box arrives and the days after. I have a pretty good idea what is in season locally right now because I see it at the produce stands: asparagus, lots of greens, spring onions, strawberries. I don't know what else will be coming but I'm going to be ready to use that produce for healthy meals. Until then, I will use frozen meats and veggies and fill the mini fridge wisely.

Thanks again for listening! I feel better already.