Friday, September 27, 2013

Learning and making this a family affair

I've been a bit absent from the blog for the last few weeks, with some good and not so good reasons.  The good reasons are that I've been very busy at work, traveling, and at home (seriously, remember those 23 pints of tomatoes I canned?).  Work has gotten really busy and I am struggling to keep up with some of my responsibilities and deadlines. This is typical though - my work load often oscillates (sorry, sciency word there) so I get periods of heavy work load and periods of lighter work load. Part of the learning curve in this position has been figuring out how to deal with this without losing my mind (completely).  I've also been traveling a bit - I was in GA for a conference earlier this week and will be in NC in a few weeks. Short trips for scientific meetings - this last one was nice, though - held at a winery! We've also been really busy at home, as we celebrated Adi's second birthday this week and have a party with family planned this weekend. On top of that, we're getting ready to start packing (that will start after everyone leaves this weekend!) and we've been thinking about all of the projects at the new house. Busy, busy, busy!

On the other hand, I've also been avoiding writing here because I haven't been very successful over the past two weeks in maintaining the type of diet I want.  I have been calling it experimenting, but what's really happening is that I'm giving in to stress and the sugar dragon. So here are my "confessions":

1. I'm doing really bad at not snacking at night. Really bad. Even though the things I'm eating aren't "bad" (raisins, nuts, etc) they are food without brakes for me. I need to get this under control.

2. I'm calling it experimenting when what I really doing is giving in. I need to call a spade a spade, make my decision and get on with my life. I did not need a latte this morning and it made me feel horrible all morning and most of the afternoon. But I was stressed, so I bought one anyways. And now my stomach is upset and I have had zero appetite.  I had my own bowl of frozen yogurt Wednesday night, too - totally not necessary. I do not need to eat something just because it's a birthday.

3. I'm not eating enough veggies. Must. eat. more. veggies. And not just sweet potatoes. Gotta get this figured out again, too. I think now that fall is here, I need to investigate more soups and stews. Good fall food! And I'm excited that squash is back in season, too. I roasted some last night, and if my stomach wasn't so messed up from that dang latte this morning, I would eat what I have in my fridge for lunch.

Okay, so let's talk about something else now. Fair warning - some of this may be TMI. Adi has been having some issues with eczema - she's had it for awhile. It comes and goes, with very little indication (that I can find) of what causes a flare up. It's not horrible - she certainly isn't as bad as some children - but it gets uncomfortable for her. The ped prescribed a topical steroid, which we use when it gets raised and inflamed and sore, but I try not to use it every day and certainly not anywhere except where needed.  She also has some issues with her bowel movements not being solid (even at 2 years of age) which irritates her and causes diaper rash. I've tried probiotics, which have only helped a little, if at all. Her diet is fairly similar to ours, except that she eats dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt and cream cheese) and gluten (pitas/sandwiches, crackers) on a regular basis. She is pretty good about eating veggies, loves fruit and will usually at least try whatever meat we're eating. She is currently refusing eggs and has never really liked them, so unfortunately, that easy source of fat/protein is out.

What we're considering is taking a few weeks and restricting her intake of dairy, or dairy and gluten. I'm sure it will be tough - this would be a major change in her diet.  Both eczema and loose bowels can be (but are not necessarily) related to inflammation and gut health, and dairy and gluten are both related to inflammation and gut health as well. She has an appointment with her ped this afternoon, so I'll talk to him about it as well. I am not sure of the reception from him - he's an older doctor with fairly traditional views.  I'm sure that the restriction won't hurt her - she certainly is growing well and I have no concerns about her physical or mental development. My biggest concern is that I want her to feel better, and it has been obvious to me that restricting those things in my diet makes me feel better (and I believe Jared feels the same way).  I don't know if that is truly what is causing her issues or not, but I feel better as a mom about restricting her diet than putting steroid cream on her repeatedly.

Okay, now off to think about making applesauce out of the 30 pounds of apples we got last weekend (although at the rate we've been eating them, I'm pretty sure there isn't 30 pounds any more!).
Adi loved picking apples!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday update

Look at all of those tomatoes! I have two large boxes (seriously - paper box sized boxes) that are (were) each about half full of tomatoes. They came from a friend's garden, and they had already picked enough for their canning and there were still a TON of tomatoes left!
So this is what my afternoon looked like - peeling tomatoes, dicing, and canning! And yes, we had more tomatoes than cans, so tonight I bought more cans and will finish the rest tomorrow!
Anyways, on to my weekly wrap up. My weigh in was successful with another pound lost! Down to 138.4 - easily the lowest I've been in a LONG time! So exciting!
What else has been going on? We tried a new recipe this week, Paleo Chicken Piccata. I totally forgot to take a photo of it, but it was very tasty and we both like it as much as our previous piccata recipe, if not better. (Note to self: take photos of food!)
My heel has been doing okay. I've been trying to massage it daily and definitely stretching after I run. I ran this morning with some friends and we did 4.85 miles (!) and oh. my. gosh. Running with a  stroller (and Adi!) makes running without SO much easier. We chatted and ran our normal 4 min run/1 min walk intervals and we got to the end and I could have just kept going. This amazes me every time I run. I finish and think "Who is this person?" Clearly, this is not ME. This is some other person taking control of my thoughts - some one who LIKES running?!?! It's crazy, really. A year ago, I couldn't keep up with these same runners on a 3 mile run.
Oh, and fun thing to note: I had dairy last night and I'm not a total wreck today. Yay! Adi and I shared some ice cream (well, it was a Frosty, so not real ice cream) and it didn't wreck my digestive tract or make me feel badly. This doesn't mean that I'm going to add it back in on a daily basis, but it's nice to know that I can have some now and again and not be a mess afterwards.  At some point, I'm going to try some gluten, but not ready to do that yet, especially when I'm losing!
from here

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Stress, running, and other important things

Or at least things I think are important...

So yeah. Stress. We're buying a house, which is stressful. Added to that, I have two work trips in the next four weeks, Adi's 2nd birthday party to plan/throw (which is small, but still important!), several grants to write and submit, and normal work stuff to deal with as well. This semester is turning out to be a lot more hectic than I had originally planned, but I guess it usually ends up being that way! I am doing my best to not turn to food when I'm stressed. Most days, that's been fairly successful. Once or twice, though, I have been tempted by a bit of something here or there. This has definitely been (and will continue to be) a challenge.

I've also run into a small snag with running (haha, no pun intended). After my run last weekend, my right heel started hurting. It's sore when I stand on it, as if I have a bruise right on the bottom of my heel. Not so comfy. I talked with a friend of mine who's an athletic trainer and runner (and yogi, and generally intelligent person about these things) and she suggested some stretches and massages (with a tennis ball) to loosen up the muscles/tendons in the area. Likely, it's that my Achilles is tight. In and of itself, that's not ideal, but more importantly, that can lead to plantar fasciitis. So obviously, I'm increasing my stretching and improving my routine after running. I'm also trying to incorporate some of those stretches into my every day movement.  My heel is doing better, but I haven't run since Monday (yesterday was REALLY hot and about 100% humidity - too much for me, as I'm not acclimated to that anymore!).  I'm planning on a run tomorrow, so we'll see how it feels after that.

Other important things:

I'm craving pumpkin. I love fall, and pumpkin is such a good fall food. I'm thinking I may need to try one of these recipes:
(and yes, most of these aren't Whole30, but are Paleo. I'm totally cool with that. I just want me some pumpkin!)

I see a lot of canning in my near future. A co-worker offered me a TON of tomatoes; I just have to help him pick them. So tomorrow afternoon, I'll be picking tomatoes. Apparently there are a LOT (he thinks there's about half a bushel - that's 4 GALLONS of tomatoes). So, I'll be dicing and cooking and canning this weekend, I do believe! My plan is to make our own diced tomatoes and some tomato sauce.  The tomato sauce should be pretty straight forward, I'm thinking either Spicy Tomato Basil Sauce or this Meat Sauce. Or maybe some of both?

(from here)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Weekend update

Okay, so it's not really still the weekend, but to say that this weekend was busy would be an understatement. Saturday went something like this: running and a photo shoot with an adorable little boy and his mama (see pics here!) in the morning, riding lesson in the afternoon followed by some mama-Adi time and crashing pretty hard after dinner. Sunday was even busier: church, come home early to drop Adi off at home for the sitter, run back to church (both Jared and I had meetings that went until 2), pick Adi up and take her to a play date so that Jared and I could go look at some houses, back to get Adi and have dinner with the friends that were watching her, home, and CRASH. Whew! I need a weekend from my weekend!
I made this amazing salad Saturday for lunch. I was HUNGRY. Lots of good stuff on there!
The good news is that I'm down a little more - the scale read 139.4 (- 0.5) lb on Saturday morning. AND, I ran 25 minutes without stopping as part of my C25K! Bella rocked it with me:
We haven't made any new recipes in the last week or so, but we have one or two planned for this week that I'm excited for. We're starting to think about adapting old recipes that we like for our new way of eating. Making things "wholer," if you will. :) Lots of tinkering and playing around with recipes in our future!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

But don't you miss...

Ice cream? Pasta? Bread? Milk? Cheese? Beer? Well yes. And no, too.

This is something that almost always comes up in a conversation with friends and family about what I'm eating these days. It's an honest and well-meaning question, so I answer as honest and truly as I can. Yes and no. There are days when I think "A beer would be nice" and there are days when dang it, I just have a beer (or an Angry Orchard hard cider, which I recently discovered is gluten free, yay!).  But honestly, I don't feel deprived. At this point, this is a choice I am making - what to eat and how to eat it. Since finishing up my Whole30, I have had a bit of chocolate (a chocolate covered banana and a square of Jared's dark chocolate with sea salt, yum) and a hard cider. Nothing else in my control has been off of the program. I'm sure that some of the times we've eaten out, there's been some added sugar, or sulfates or other additives that aren't Whole30 approved. But overall, for the last 45+ days, I have stuck to the program.  I am sure that at some point, I will eat some cheese. Tonight, I ate a bit of Adi's strawberry ice cream (probably about three bites, total - she wasn't very interested in sharing. ;) ). But that was a choice and not one I felt I had no control over. A few days ago, I went out with colleagues to celebrate a funded grant and had a hard cider. I don't feel guilty, because these are choices. And I'm in control - I can have one drink. I can have three bites of ice cream. I can have one square of chocolate. And then the next day, I can eat healthily and make good choices.

THAT is why my answer is complicated. So yes, I do miss things sometimes. And when I miss them enough, or there's a good enough reason for me to make a choice to say yes, I have them. But I don't need bread every day. I don't need milk everyday. I certainly don't need ice cream or chocolate or alcohol every day. And I'm happy living this way. :)

Oh, hello 130's...

Haven't seen you, in, oh, 10 YEARS. Holy cow. Got on the scale this morning and may have squealed just a little bit (no lie, Jared came running into the bedroom).  What was looking back at me? 139.8 lb. Yeah, I know it's close to 140. Like, really close.  But seriously, I haven't seen the 130's since college, and I graduated in 2003...  So how did this happen? Well, I did lose some weight during vacation (1 lb gone, yay!) which was huge mentally and probably due, in no small part, to the fact that I ran almost every day we were there.  I've been running here, too (more on that in a minute), prepping for a 5K in October. And I did get on the scale right after my morning run, but that's when I weigh in each week, so I don't think the loss is ALL water weight. But honestly, I'm just so much more motivated to keep going. Because I can do this!

So about my running... I had been running on my own, but when I started to struggle to find the time during the day, I decided that it was going to have to happen right after work/before dinner. Which meant I would have Adi with me. Our stroller is not a true jogging stroller; it's a Baby Jogger City Mini, which is fabulous for folding up easily, being light, and going normal places but jogging with it was tough. The wheels are small and hard plastic, not rubber, which means a lot of added resistance. When we got back to CT, I borrowed a friend's BOB to try for a run, and holy cow. Amazeballs. Seriously. I think I would have started running with Adi a lot earlier if I had a BOB. But these are freakishly expensive and I'm way too cheap to buy one new. So what's a girl to do but hit up craigslist? And low and behold, a BOB Revolution for sale in North Haven, just about an hour from us. And guess who went to West Haven yesterday to watch football with family? Oh right, us. Do you see where this is going? I've got a brand new jogging stroller that I'm just itching to get out and run with. Tomorrow will be her maiden voyage, as long as it doesn't rain!

Some random yummy food shots:
Lunch one day this week: Jared pan fried some chicken in bacon drippings (yummy), finished heating in the microwave at work, with some broccoli/cauliflower and a fruit salad of cantaloupe and coconut flakes.
This is what breakfast looks like most mornings: eggs (fried or scrambled) with veggies and maybe a banana. These veggies were broccoli, green beans and onions - supposedly a stir fry mix. They weren't my favorite because the onions turned out to be really strong. The idea was good, but this particular mix wasn't great. I've also been having sugar snap peas, green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower, depending on what bag of frozenness I pull out of the freezer. :)