Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Worst Gets Worse: Mood and Food

(There's a great recipe at the end of this post, so scroll down and don't miss it!)
I woke up in a really bad mood yesterday. I felt bloated, grouchy, and tired. Mid-cycle thing... I am pretty sensitive to hormonal changes. Anyway, I was honestly in a pretty bad mood for most of the day, but I ate my healthy stuff and just went on with life. After lunch, I went out for a walk while my daughter went to preschool. It was cold, overcast, and wet out, but I just did it because *that is what I do.* I walk when my child is in preschool twice a week. No questions asked.

As I was walking, I felt my mood improve a bit. Not a ton, but a bit. I felt less stressed after a good brisk 1.5 miles and came home and relaxed. And then something hit me.

My life is so different now, yet so natural that I hardly notice it. Let me try to explain.
Before: If I woke up in a bad mood, I was really unhappy. I ate a lot of crap food trying to feel better, but all the stupid Little Debbie Cake rolls made me madder because they just didn't taste as good as I wanted them too. So I had to eat the whole box, hoping that maybe the next cake roll would be the one that tasted right. They never did. I'd make something I liked to cheer me up... maybe a pack of hot dogs, some Coke and a bag of crunchy Cheetos. It tasted good but I felt worse. My whole mood was just BLACK. And having all that sugar, salt, fat, and chemicals in my system made me feel even worse. I sat around moping and wondering why my life sucked so much.
Now: If I wake up in a bad mood, I am not really unhappy, just irritable. I make and enjoy my healthy foods, and I drink lots of water. My mind is lighter. My body is more content. And the "bad mood" is really *just* the collective physical symptoms of my female cycle, and nothing more. It does not become depression, or anxiety, or a black cloud over my whole life. I walk, I feel somewhat better. I do not feel like I am in a pit. I am just feeling a bit grouchy, but it does not overtake me.

Make sense? It really is a huge difference. And today I feel much better.

Now I realize that I was just compounding the problem with bad food. Just when you think you cannot possibly be in a worse mood, throw a few candy bars, donuts, and Big Macs into the mix and you will feel even crappier!

Last night I made a dinner that is simple and delicious. It's a recipe I started making about 6 years ago when I was in the throes of the South Beach Diet, trying to make super low carb meals that took very little prep. I'd make this same recipe in the crock pot but instead of tomato sauce and water, I used V8. Yum.

Here's what I made last night, in a skillet on the stovetop. It was amazing. I love it. Hope someone out there enjoys this one!

Cabbage Roll Casserole



Ingredients:
1 lb. extra lean ground beef (I used 96% lean ground round)
1/2 T olive oil, to brown the meat in. If your meat is not extra lean, you can omit the oil and drain the fat
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, minced

Brown all of the above in a large pan. Add seasonings, generously, to taste (use plenty. Don't be shy.): onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, sea salt, dash of cayenne, 1/2 tsp thyme.
Add a good dose of Worcestershire sauce. I think I used about 2T.

Add two 8-oz cans of tomato sauce and half a can of water. Add about 3T ketchup (you could leave this out, and add it at the end if you think it needs it, but I like the flavor). Add about 2 tsp brown sugar (also could probably omit).

While that's simmering for 15 minutes or so, chop up a raw cabbage. I got a relatively small cabbage, maybe 7" across. If you have a big one, don't use the whole thing for this. You want about 4 or 5 cups of cabbage, raw. Chop it in half, core it, then slice it lengthwise and then crosswise about 1" apart so you get 1" squares. Throw that into the pot of beef and cover it. Lower the heat and cook for about 45 min to an hour, until the cabbage is all tender and soft. Stir it every so often and add a little water halfway through... maybe 1/4 cup or so. It should be saucy, but not soupy. Not dry at all. Add water as needed.

This made a huge pan of food, and 1/4 of the pot had just under 250 calories. Amazing. That's the wonder of extra lean ground round. (You may have to figure more calories if you use fattier beef. Ground turkey is good in there, too). It's warming and soothing and comforting, so delicious. I put a little dab of light sour cream on mine. Delicious!



Enjoy your day! It is the only day you have.

26 comments:

Margie M. said...

The recognition of your mood vs. eating bad food is wonderful. That is part of the battle right there. Realizing how we get trapped by those bad habits we've been struggling to reshape into good, positive habits. Congratulations and keep up the good work. Love the recipe, too!

Autumnforest said...

Thanks for the recipe. I really have come to believe that until we note how good we feel from making the right decisions, those changes won't stick. So, you're doing the right thing. I used to think only "Jeez, I hate waking up at 6:30 and jumping right into exercise--it's sheer agony" but a half hour into it, I feel so amazing and invincible and that feeling lasts all day. My mind too note of--a few minutes of agony to get the rush of good hormones that make me feel great during exercise and I feel great all day. That great feeling makes me want to make better decisions because I just worked my butt off. It's a self fulfilling prophecy. If I instead focused on just how miserable doing the exercise is every morning, I'd not only quit doing it, but I wouldn't realize that 1 hour of exertion means 23 hours of feeling great--what a payoff! Better than the taste of sugar for a fast payoff.

Dutch said...

I love anything with cabbage. Thanks for the recipe. It looks delicious.

Leslie said...

That is my kind of food. I use cabbage in everything. Will definitely try. And way to just gut through the bad mood.

Bethany said...

Ooh, yum, I'm gonna have to try that recipe tonight! It sounds scrumptious! I haven't commented in a while, but I always read. You are doing terrific! I'm so happy for all the positive changes you're making.
Bethany

NewMe said...

I definitely must try that recipe!

Personally, I'm feeling blue right now and trying to understand why. At least it has nothing to do with junk food--it's practically non-existant in my world. I just don't like November...

You're doing great Lyn. I'm so happy for you!

What a Splurge said...

Walking is a great mood lifter. Today in my area was a jacket sleeves tied around the waist kind of day. Pretty nice for November.

karen@fitnessjourney said...

What a great change of attitude you've had.

Jenn said...

Note to self: Pick up beef and cabbage! Looks soooo good!

Can totally see you doing a food/recipe blog WHEN you hit your goal weight.

So happy for your continued success!

Jordan E said...

I just came across your blog. Congratulations and thanks for sharing about your journey. . . also thanks for the recipes!! I am now wanting to try the Split Pea Soup you've posted! :)

Paula Rodriguez said...

My mother used to make a dish very similar to yours as a kid. It was one of my favorites and I've forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder.

Will definitely make it very soon.

rachel said...

Tonight I talked myself out of ordering a pizza by talking myself through the emotions of it. It was pretty deep... Thanks for the Aha moment. :)

kelly said...

Interesting...I literally had my hand on a tube of Pringles today and put them back. Baby steps. That recipe looks fatastic!

outdoor.mom said...

that looks really good! thanks for sharing. i came from Pauls blog. I love what you had to say!

Foodie Girl said...

Great recipe! I love, love, love cabbage!

antgirl said...

You have been busy! How lovely to read of your transformation in habits. Although, I was drooling at *Cheetos*.

The recipe sounds yummy. I'm going to have to give that a go. :)

~ChubbyMommy said...

Yum...i'm really going to have to try this recipe! Thank you for posting it!

Vickie said...

I identify totally with this post. I would drop into a well that was SO deep and SO painful that the woulda-shoulda-couldas and the poor me's and the despair of it all - would flood me, sink me, drag me down under.

One day, for me, would roll into the next day and the next.

My female stuff double whammied me. The junk that I ate would set off GI trouble, migraines and impact my asthma HUGELY. All that compounded to make everything SO much worse.

I personally needed to be on meds (not saying that anyone else does or doesn't, just saying that I DID).

For myself I think of this as finding some new kind of maturity. Like I didn't learn impulse control or how to cope or something important - when I should have as a child/teenager. And I think this is true for a lot of us.

When we are raised by disfunctional people - we are a weird mix of not being able to do somethings and being too responsible in others. Like we were forced into adulthood too early on somethings and kept stunted/dependent/undeveloped in other ways.

allthingsjuice said...

I made a similar venison cabbage soup recipe in the crockpot this weekend! Tis the season...

Cynthia said...

I have a similar crockpot recipe... uses up a small cabbage, has canned stewed tomatoes, plus tomato paste and adds a little barley. So good!

Though I can't stop with only one clove of garlic, LOL!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh I made this last night and I love love LOVE it. I added some black beans and a dolop of mashed taters and yummy. Thanks for the recipe, Im enjoying it for lunch as I type this.

Anonymous said...

I salute you. I'm fighting the battle to I'm 42yo 255lbs 5'1 diabetic and just had knee surgery so I really need to lose the weight I glad I can up on your blog

Keep up the work and good luck

Anonymous said...

Thank you I was looking for something low carb and this was great. (Cut out the sugar added some good balsamic vinegar for that depth of flavour)
Emily

Wencked said...

I am so looking forward to making this tonight. I love cabbage!

Kristy said...

Thank you for the recipe, it was very well received in our house.

Jenn @ Cooking Aweigh the Pounds said...

Hi Lyn,
I commented before on this recipe, but wanted to do so again. I made it again a couple of days ago and it is so deliciously comforting! (And ridiculously low calorie for the amount of food that you get!) I stuffed myself silly with 2 servings and was still below my calorie allotment for the day. Thanks for sharing your recipes! I think I might have to make this again already! :)