Conscious Eating… aka wandering mind of crazy

Today I sat down to lunch and turned off my computer monitor and tried to eat without distraction.  It was pretty nearly a disaster.  I am a big believer in an electronics ban while eating with other humans but I  don’t know what to do with myself when I’m eating alone – as in for 2/3 of my meals in a day.  But I’m trying…

This all started on Saturday when I was having an extremely interesting conversation with one of my chef-y friends about diet/moderation/enjoying eating.  To be honest, while I love my Whole30 experience and I respect it a great deal, there is this nagging thought in my head that tells me it is not sustainable for me as a chef and very happy eater to maintain a 100% Whole30 lifestyle. I like eating cleanly, but I don’t want to miss out on experiences that enrich my life.  Talking to this friend really brought that into focus for me.  And yet somehow she also made it seems possible to balance a very clean diet with some really normal lifestyle choices that don’t feel like “cheats.”  I hate that word.  Cheat.  I don’t want to feel like I’m “cheating” because I’m choosing to eat something I enjoy or not making a fuss in a restaurant when I’m out with friends.  I’m not cheating, I’m consciously choosing my food.

After talking about it, I felt really inspired to make three small tweaks to my eating.

  1. Try to eat every meal as much “in the moment” as I can manage.  This means no email distractions or blog reading during lunch.
  2. Indulge in the good things in life – when it is worth it – and appreciate those moments for what they are.
  3. Chew my food!  Sounds obvious but I am the kind of person who wolfs down my food.  Not only is it kind of gross, it means that I’m not always tasting and therefore, enjoying my food.

Now, I stink at all of these.  During breakfast and lunch, I’m playing with my phone, I’m reading emails, I’m doing anything but consciously eating my food.  I’m usually picking up the next fork of food while still chewing the last.  And last, I’ve been missing out on some really amazing food lately because it is too off-plan for my comfort zone.

On Sunday I did two things to really make a point of these.  In the morning, I went to the Farmer’s Market and among many fruits, vegetables and meats, I also bought 2 chocolate croissants.  When I got home, Rob and I put them on real plates, I made myself some tea and we sat at the table and ate them.  It was glorious.  The butter, the chocolate, the flour – OMG!  I really savored it.  For the first time, maybe ever in our marriage, I finished long after Rob.  And here’s the best part.  I got that craving right out of my system by indulging.  Beautiful!

Then for dinner, we met up with my family at this whole in the wall Chinese restaurant.  I ordered the cleanest sounding thing on the menu – mushroom hot pot – but then everyone wanted to share everything and I decided to just go with it.  I ate small amounts of all of it and skipped the rice, but I had plenty of oversweetened fake Chinese food and enough wine to make me warm.  And I had one of the best nights with my family in recent memory!  It was so much fun.  I don’t think I would have had nearly as much fun if I were being a food-curmudgeon.

IMG_4231

So here I am at lunch, trying to do all three parts of my goal and struggling.  My mind wandered.  I picked up my phone three times before remembering not to turn it on. It took me five minutes to figure out how to turn my monitor off so I wasn’t reading emails as they came in.  I started making mental lists.  Ugh.  I need more practice!  Good thing my clean-out-the-fridge salad was good!

lunch

Halloween

Help!  I need inspiration!  We are having a Halloween WOD at my box and everyone is supposed to dress up.  Now I loooove Halloween and I really like making my own costumes, but I need some inspiration.   Of course, I turned to pinterest first but I haven’t found anything that gets me excited.  There are a lot of superhero costumes, which are ok-ish but I want something unique.  Here are my requirements:

  1. I have to be able to do the WOD comfortably.
  2. I have to be immediately recognizable.  One year I went as a volcano and almost no one got it.  All night people were asking me what I was…volcano
  3. I would love if I could incorporate a tutu.
  4. I have to be able to make most of it with my fairly limited sewing/hot-glueing abilities.
  5. It cannot be slutty.  I just can’t get behind the whoring up of Halloween.

So far I’m thinking, raccoon, fox, super or wonder woman, but I’m open to almost anything.  Any ideas?

fox mask wonderwoman

24″ of awesome… that’s what she said

I must have been starving this morning.  Look at all the food I packed for lunch!  Best part?  I ate it all.

lunch 10.22

I’ve been in beast mode this week.  Yesterday at Crossfit, I was in the mood to kick some behind.  I busted my way through the WOD, felt awesome and then decided to tackle a 24″ box jump, for no other reason than I had time.  I really have no idea what possessed me.  Generally, I struggle with the 20″ and regularly miss.  But I felt so strong, I thought I’d go for 24″.  And I made it.  Three times in a row!  Woop woop!

I felt so awesome that when I got home, I decided to run on the treadmill.  I was going to only run for 20 minutes, but I decided to keep on trekking for 30.  What is going on?  I’m so full of energy.  This morning it was the same thing.  I couldn’t be stopped at Crossfit.  Well, that’s not entirely true… I was stopped by my two left feet.  The very first warmup thing we did was run 200 yds.  Just out of the door, I tripped and completely wiped out.  What a klutz.  Scraped up my knee and palm.  What a dope!  I can’t tell if it’s my flesh or my pride that hurts.

hands

So what makes some days completely awesome, fitness-wise, and other days make you feel like you would have been better off staying in bed?  I have no idea but I hope this feeling sticks around for a little while.

And here’s a picture of the awesome pumpkins they’re selling at our grocery store.  Aren’t they pretty?  I’m so happy that it’s Fall.

pumpkins

This Body

I caught myself staring in the mirror today.  I’m not even ashamed to admit it.  I was looking over the newly forming muscles on my body.  I was flexing and relaxing my abs and marveling at the changing shadows.  I poked and prodded different lumps to test them for developing hardness.  I liked what I saw.  It is a work in progress.

I am proud of my body.  I am a strong woman.  I maybe should point out that I will never have long lean legs or a perfectly flat stomach.  Stores label my body “curvy” or “large” but that only tells part of the story.  When I was young, I was taller and much stronger than most of my girlfriends.  I developed early and it took even longer for society to get inside my head and tell me that my body wasn’t perfect.  I actually remember the very day where it first occurred to me that my body wasn’t what the magazines said was good.  I was at the pool, goofing around with some friends.  A boy looked over at me and said something like, “Wow!  You have big ankles!”  Up until that very minute, I had always thought of my ankles as being perfectly sized to support the rest of my body, meaning I didn’t ever think about my ankles at all.  This body was strong enough to make me out-swim almost any competitor and strong enough to win the occasional arm wrestling match against my brothers.  So no, my ankles weren’t big, they were proportionate.  But at that moment, I looked down at them, looked at my friend’s ankles and realized, maybe they were a little big.  And it hurt because somehow my big ankles made me less attractive.  What a silly thing to care about!

It wasn’t until college when I stopped swimming regularly that weight became a little more confusing.  When I don’t exercise, I seem to gain pudge quickly.  Sometimes I eat healthfully.  Sometimes I let my sugar dragons get the best of me.  But then I will get sick and tired of my clothes getting tight and I jump into a exercise routine, be it running, training for a triathlon, starting up Crossfit or the time I exercised for 100 days in a row (and liked it).  When I start exercising regularly, the most amazing thing happens.  I stop caring about my weight and start appreciating what my body can do for me.  This body can run for miles.  This body can swim fast.  This body can do 50 pushups in a row.  This body can do a 3 1/2 minute plank.  This body feels strong.  And these ankles hold this body up.

Making our house a home…

Fact #1 for today:  Leftover ribs do not make a good lunch at work.  That is all.

My re-entry in “normal eating” has been so much harder than I thought it would be.  As soon as I eat anything remotely non-Whole30, I go into serious binge mode.  I’ve bee re-introducing some sweet things into my life, just not white sugar.  For example, I made a chocolate pie.  The only sweeteners are dates.  And still, I found myself eyeing it up every time I opened the fridge. I literally had some after breakfast and then again after lunch.  I would have had another piece after dinner, but I told myself to get it under control.  Now here’s the thing:  it really isn’t all that good.  I mean it’s ok, but it’s not at all worth obsessing over.  And yet, I want it all the time.  Or anything sweet.  If I have a few raisins, I want more raisins.  Clearly I cannot be trusted around sugar.  What a sad day. 😦  Just imagine if I had thought I could reintroduce real sugar!

After my reactions to sugar, I’m petrified to try grains and milk because I love these even more than sugar.  I literally don’t trust myself to eat in a controlled way.  I am realizing what a horribly unhealthy relationship I have with food.

Ok, let’s talk about something else, anything else, besides food.  Distraction…

Two very exciting things began this weekend:

1. We started a small painting project in our living room.  I wanted to paint the entry hall a darker shade because currently it is a very light gray.  With two dogs and two not-very-careful adults, the walls look terrible.  I’m hoping a darker shade will mask some of that.  I picked the color for the hall but we’ll do it next weekend when we have more time.  Rob had the brilliant idea of painting one part of the wall as a chalkboard.  That’s the part we did last night.  I love it!  Here it is in progress:

hallway in process

2. We finally bought a grown up camera.  I spent all day yesterday (while my poor hubby painted) playing with it and I can officially say I do not have a clue what I’m doing!  The pictures appear to be coming out magnificently but I am so out of my element.  There are TONS of buttons and modes.  I came up with a good analogy.  In your car, you can adjust the volume – that’s like a point and shoot camera.  Or you can start messing around with the base and treble and all that junk – that’s the DSLR camera.  If you know what you’re doing, you can make amazing things happen, but if you are totally clueless like me, then you don’t even know what you’ve messed with until it is seriously out of whack.  Maybe I should take a class or something….

nikon

I did it! I ate some chocolate!

So the title says it all really.  I’ve been thinking about chocolate for probably at least 15 days and I decided, I’m gonna have some.  my Whole30 is over, that’s what I’ve been missing most, so let’s go for it.  I have some really nice chocolate that has been waiting for me since the International Food Show.

chocolate

Doesn’t it look fancy?  Almost none of the words are in English.  That must be a good sign.  So I had some – perhaps half an ounce or so – and I ate it slowly to pay attention to how it tasted and to see if my taste buds have changed.  I will always be a guinea pig in the name of this blog.

Well, here’s the thing.  It tasted …. like chocolate.  And it was good, but it wasn’t great.  It certainly wasn’t worth obsessively thinking about for more than two weeks.  Just like that, my desire for chocolate just dried up.  Very curious….

Whole 30, Days 29 and 30

Here I am at the end.  I had my doubts about these 30 days but at some point it just became obvious that I would complete the 30 days.  The real question is what I will do after today.  I’m pretty excited to stick with it because I really have liked the results so far.  The only time that I might not is when I eat out.  I’ve been super disappointed at the limited options I’ve had when I go out to eat.  And even the limited choices as to where I can go.  So my plan is 100% Whole30 at home (except maybe a piece of chocolate tomorrow to celebrate!) and then Whole30-ish when I go out.  So maybe eating bacon, even if I don’t know if it was cured with sugar.  And maybe not making a fuss if something is cooked with alcohol, like the red wine mushrooms that I could have put on my burger on Sunday and didn’t.  So basically, I’ll be about 80% compliant by my estimates.  And I’m pretty happy about that.  I’ve proven to myself that I can do it, so why not keep it up?

Yesterday I was off.  I get so excited about having Mondays off but by the time Rob comes home from work, I’m usually a grouchy mess.  Why?  I really don’t know but I think it has something to do with the fact that I’m bored and I leave only my most crappy chores for the day off.  Yuck!

I started the morning with a very good Crossfit workout.  I’m making improvements already.  They’re small, but they are real.  I was the last one to finish.  Everyone was cheering for me, which did help push me, but sort of embarrassed me too.  I hate being last.  I’m determined to get better/faster/stronger just so I don’t stand out.  I was still Jell-O-legged when I got home and could barely speak to Rob.  I promptly put myself to bed and managed to sleep until almost 11 am.  I then woke up, ran a few errands and picked Rob up for lunch.  We almost always eat together on my Mondays off, but I should have skipped it, knowing I had better food at home.  We ate at La Madeleine and I had planned on getting the rosemary chicken, but once again was clueless about what to do about veggies.  There are only so many dry (lame) salads one can eat in a weekend.  Yet, here I was eating my third one of the weekend.  I really didn’t put that together until just now.  No wonder I was in a bad mood!

Dinner was much better.  We had some chili rubbed salmon with pineapple salsa and broccoli soup.  I used frozen broccoli because I wanted to get it out of my freezer, but I can tell you, it was not good.  I never noticed before, but frozen broccoli sucks.  So the soup was a little lame, but the rest of it balanced out.

This morning, I had another kick-ass Crossfit workout.  Again, I was last to finish, but by a smaller margin.  My legs nearly refused to cooperate but I buckled down and did it.  And I was proud.  Last week I couldn’t do the 20″ box jumps and today I did all of them that were prescribed.  I only missed once and miraculously I managed to not scrape myself up.  Success!

I didn’t have a hardboiled egg for breakfast.  Can you believe it?  I had some leftover lamb meatballs and an apple.

breakfast on tuesday

For lunch I had the last (thankfully – I’m sick of them) of the meatballs with some sundried tomato dip that I made (cauliflower, sundried tomatoes, tahini and garlic oil).  I also decided to choke down some more of the broccoli soup before deciding it wasn’t worth it.   I would have taken a picture, but I forgot my phone.  Ugh!  I feel like I’m missing a limb.

Dinner was a bit hodge-podgey.  We grilled some chicken drums and basted them with cherry barbeque sauce.  I love that the sauce burned just a little so it was less sweet and more real barbeque flavored.  I also made some green curry cauliflower with grape tomatoes.  Although it didn’t “go” with the chicken, it was a fine dinner.  And I had a salad.  I just wanted some more vegetables, if ya know what I mean.

curried cauliflower

curried cauliflower

tuesday dinner sunday salad

Whole30, Days 27 and 28

Last weekend.  I’m so sick of eating out.  Did I just say that?!?  I’ve never even let such blasphemous words enter my brain before now.  What has Whole30 done to me?!?

So what did I eat these past few days?  Friday night we had come chicken drums.  I put them in a marinade before I left for work.  It was an easy lemon zest-Aleppo pepper-chopped garlic-olive oil marinade.  It really took 1 minute to put together and tasted exactly 1000% better than anything you can buy in a bottle.  Rob grilled them and they came out just beautiful.  We also had an almost-ratatouille.  We had all the ingredients in our refrigerator for ratatouille but when I cut into the eggplant, it didn’t look so hot, so I skipped in.

ratatouille in progress

ratatouille in progress

dinner on friday

On Saturday, I had to work an event for my job called Taste of Bethesda.  It’s a street fair where all the local restaurants have a table and sell samples of their food.  It was busy and hot and I worked my tail off.  I skipped my planned run because I knew I’d be standing all day.  Before I left the house I had some eggs.  I topped them with the leftover ratatouille and some lamb marquez.  Yummy!

breakfast on saturday

At the event, I took a spin around and there was next to nothing I could eat and the lines were ridiculous.  I settled on a place that gave a “burrito bowl.”  It was fairly sad after I eliminated the things I couldn’t eat: chicken, salsa, broccoli, shredded carrots and celery.  At least I wasn’t starving anymore.  I should have packed a lunch but I couldn’t see a good way to do that with this kind of event.  Oh well!  I didn’t starve and I didn’t break Whole30, so I guess it was a success.

Biggest batch of paella I have ever seen!

Biggest batch of paella I have ever seen!

A view of the crowds at Taste of Bethesda

A view of the crowds at Taste of Bethesda

Sad, but compliant, lunch

Sad, but compliant, lunch

When I got home, I was tired and worn out from repeating myself 1000 times, so we decided to go out.  We settled on sushi.  I brought my own coconut aminos and planned on eating sashimi.  It wasn’t the worst meal I’ve had out, but it was a little disappointing.  I hadn’t really planned out the vegetable portion of my meal as well as I had the protein portion.  I ended up ordering an avocado salad without dressing.  They felt bad for me so they made a salad (lettuce and cukes) to go with my dry-ass salad.  I also had a beautiful plate of mixed sashimi.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.  You could really taste the fish without all the rice in the way.  Dare I say it?  That might be something I continue to order.  I just need to figure out how to get enough veggies on the plate.  I guess we could take it to go and I could eat veggies at home.  Or we could buy fish at Wegmans (they have sushi grade there) and make it all at home.  It’s be cheaper.  God, you must think I’m such a cheapskate!  I’m not, I promise.  Also, I didn’t take any pictures because with all my ordering woes, I forgot.  Bad blogger!

On Sunday morning I ate a quick breakfast and then drove to visit a friend that lives just outside of Gettysburg.  I meant to take a picture of us with her adorable little boy, but we talked so much, I completely forgot!  She is one of my few close friends that has kids, so I was able to indulge my baby obsession by talking to her about all the details I wanted (and didn’t want) to know.  It was awesome!  I’m totally baby-crazy and too embarrassed to admit it to my unmarried, childless friends.

We went out to lunch, and I know this is going to shock you, but Gettysburg is not one of the culinary capitals of the world.  That’s not entirely fair.  We went to a perfectly nice café that was surprisingly empty (I’m chalking it up to the fact that they weren’t showing any football) and I had a very sad lunch of bunless burger and lame salad.  It’s my own damn fault for having picky tastes…

Luckily, I was once again full and compliant, so I didn’t worry too much about it.  I had already rolled out a batch of lamb meatballs for dinner, so I knew things would get better from there.  The meatballs were paired with roasted blue hubbard squash.  That is my favorite of the winter squashes!  I wish I had taken a picture before I roasted it because it is the most interesting gray-clue color and totally warty ugliness that winter squashes should be.  the cooked pictures looked a little sad, so I have kindly left them off for you.  Instead, here is a picture of my salad.

sunday salad