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Friday, January 31, 2014

I took a silly quiz today in the Azure thread that said, among other things, that I viewed my body as a temple and take care of it. And I realize that while I suppose in some part I do view my body as something to take care of, when it comes to food, I'm doing a less than ideal job these days. Oh, calorie wise if anything I'm under eating (bad, I know, but stress is killing my stomach) and I'm remembering to eat fruits and veggies when I can, and trying to get enough protein (probably failing at that, too, but trying).... where I'm failing is that I'm eating far too many processed foods.

I confess I'm really struggling with food, in general. Specifically, I am having a harder time remembering to eat lunch, finding the time/energy to actually do something about it when I remember it, and when I do actually preparing and eating something healthy.

For those of you who don't know me well, I have always had a hard time remembering to eat, especially breakfast and lunch, because the normal cues of when to eat are... unreliable. (I wish this at least translated into weight loss, but sadly, the opposite has been my experience because I'm killing my metabolism). Stress is making this worse, in part because it's making food very unappealing and in part because I have so many other things on my mind that even when I think "hey, it's noon, I should probably eat" the next thing I know it's 2 pm and i'm still working.

Um, like happened today.

It's also making it worse because I just don't have time to spend much time prepping food. Please don't tell me it's just a matter of priorities--my #1 priority right now is graduating, and I'm struggling just to eat, exercise, at least be active on Azure, and you know things like sleep as it is. I know from past experience that if it's not simple and quick to cook, it just won't happen. I'll keep putting it off (easy to do since I'm not hungry and work is always pressing) until my blood sugar has dropped to the point I'm barely functional or I cave and grab what ever is easy. I bet you didn't think a handful of pistachios, some fruit, and potato chips could make a lunch (not what I had today, but I've had lunches like that in the past).

It was easier over the summer and into the fall because I ate a lot of salads--all I had to do was dump the pre-cut/measured ingredients into a bowl, apply dressing of choice, and take to my desk (yes, I know, eating at my desk is bad. Not eating is worse, so I chose to eat at my desk). But with this cold weather, I want hot food... and too often that means canned soups, mozzarella chicken on ramen noodles (very tasty, but not particularly healthy) or something with eggs. Sometimes I make quesedillas with corn tortillas and sauteed mushrooms (not sure that really counts as healthy either, since it's a lot of cheese, but it's tasty and quick).

I am not a particularly good cook, though I can cook basic things if I have a clear recipe (I stink at cooking vegetables, though--which I'm mostly okay with since I prefer most veggies raw anyway). I have no patience for it, for one thing (I do best with things I can walk away from. I even walk away from cooking up eggs and browning chicken). We also have a very small "apartment sized" fridge/freezer, which means space is a major issue... otherwise I'd just batch cook and then eat that all week.

My husband has a ton of food allergies, which also complicate things, though less so for lunch as he doesn't eat it--but we can't have bananas and most fish/seafood (other than canned tuna) in the apartment. Carrots are really, really hard for me to work with, because he's so allergic to them, and tomatoes are almost as hard unless canned ones will work (or I can use them whole, like cherry tomatoes). I can't stand unsweetened yogurt, sour cream, mangoes, and avocados. I also have stressed-out-stomach issues which means I'm pretty much limited to eating easy on the stomach, simple foods--chicken and eggs work well, as do carbohydrates. I have a low spice tolerance on a good day, but right now all spice and acidic foods (like tomato sauces) are pretty much out. I've never mastered the art of cooking rice, I'm afraid (and I can't talk my husband, who cooks our dinners, into buying a rice cooker because our kitchen is small and space is already an issue).

I am not sure what to do but I'm hoping I can figure out something--even a couple of quick, moderately healthy meals. Obviously, I'm okay with dairy, wheat etc. I have herbs. I like most vegetables and a lot of fruit, though I tend to just eat them rather than use them as ingredients in meals. I love soups, but the only soup recipes I really have take hours to cook and can feed an army.... and my husband can't eat them (they can't even be modified to the point he can eat them.) We don't have stock, and no way to store it if I made it (I really, really hate the small fridge. It's the thing I like least about this apartment! Especially the very small freezer). I like eggs but I don't know what to do with them except scramble, poach, fry, or occasionally hard boil them. I do eat left overs when we have them, but lately we just haven't been making things that resulted in left overs.

I feel like I'm being one of those people who is trying to fail (you know the type... the type that always has an objection no matter what you suggest) but I just feel... stuck. I've already thought of most of the obvious suggestions, but still end up eating fried egg sandwiches or canned soup. I'm not a naturally very negative person--I try really hard not to get trapped on the "can'ts" and to focus on the "cans." I'm just having a hard time finding very many "cans" that are quick, easy, warm, AND healthy.
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  • 4CYNDI
    **HUGS** I'm not sure how I can help, but I wish I could do more for you. I can understand your frustration and desperation. Hang in there. It will all be over soon. This is the last push to finish your schooling.

    I was going to say don't stress it but that isn't going to help at this point. I will put my thinking capon to help figure out things you CAN eat that are easy prep.
    2730 days ago
    Everyone has given you great ideas, the mason jar idea that Kal suggested is a great method. I tend to struggle with similar issues and for that reason I try to meal plan before going to the grocery store because nothing is more frustrating when I do get the idea to cook, I find I don't have the ingredients
    2734 days ago
    I will eat salad anytime but I understand the need for something hot too. If you buy a rotisserie chicken you can make several meals with it. You can eat it on salad, make a quick soup with it, toss it with some pasta (and veggies if you like) and olive oil or Italian dressing, or make a chicken rice casserole. One thing I do with brown rice is HEB has boil in the bag rice. I use it a lot for casseroles and it works great. You just bring a pot of water to a boil drop a bag in and 10 minutes later the rice it ready. I hope this helps a little. emoticon
    2734 days ago
  • TEKRU1
    emoticon Now you have something else to do with all of your spare time - read the helpful advice I see here! Your situation is hard, and you have lots of support in Azure - we're here to help you through this last semester, then things will start to even out.
    2734 days ago
    Zanna, I love Jane's idea about giving us list of things you and your sweetie CAN have and let us go from there with suggestions so that we don't frustrate you more with things you can't have.

    Right off the cuff I want to suggest mason jar meals/salads that you prepare on Sunday and will be no brainers. The same for some overnight oats/porridge if you can have it.

    You are going to need to reset your metabolism so to speak.

    And, I am going to ask you to use a timer and set it to go off and remind you to eat.

    Get us that list girl! emoticon
    2734 days ago
    Use those corn tortillas and put on black beans and just a little cheese and chicken. Smoothies and add in whey protein or greek yogurt (the flavor won't come through with enough fruits). Take whole wheat pasta and saute the mushrooms and drizzle olive oil and grate some parmesan, then take more mushrooms (saute extra), and take the leftover pasta (I'm not kidding) and stir both into scrambled eggs or make a frittata and you can cut it in wedges and reheat for 4 meals. Buy Amy's soups or other low sodium soups. Frozen brown rice from trader joes (take it out of the box because the box takes up freezer space, but the pouches don't. Quinoa is easy - mix cooked quinoa with tuna and... red peppers? Are they a no-no?

    Probably you're gaining the weight in part because your body thinks it's starving itself and in part due to the stress.

    OH!!! Garden Lites - both the souffles and especially the veggie muffins - again - I know, freezer space, but just get rid of the packaging and the individual things are tiny. They are LOADED with veggies and taste amazing.

    You probably need more healthy fats to sustain you for longer - try dipping bread in olive oil with salt and pepper (or whatever spices you like) sprinkled on it, or even with parmesan grated on it.
    2735 days ago
  • EILEEN828
    I almost hate to suggest it since I know how busy you are, but perhaps it might be an idea to try. I was thinking that if you tried listing your favorite meals and then preplanned a weeks menu ( or even a month) then you could focus your grocery list and then condense what you have on hand. If you find yourself repeating meals like salads, then try pre-prepping, like chopping veggies, etc. Those could swing towards soups too. I use cartons of low sodium chicken broth, veggies and meats and pasta, spices as a good way to use up bits and pieces and heat till the pasta or lentils are cooked. Try meals where leftovers can be used for lunch the next day, or even another meal of it, like roasting a whole chicken. Try a new magazine for ideas like vegetarian cooking, etc. My rice tip is to follow package instructions and make sure to get rice to a hard boil before turning down to simmer with lid on. No peeking until time's up because that will ruin the steam process. Here's to getting unstuck! emoticon
    2735 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8634484
    Easy rice recipe.

    1 measure of long grain rice
    2 measures of water

    Put all in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
    Put on saucepan lid and simmer for 8 minutes
    After the 8 minutes, turn out the heat, but leave the pan, with the lid on, in the same spot for a further 8 minutes.
    Serve. Rice should be cooked, soft and fluffy.
    2735 days ago
    UGH! You have so many challenges going on, Zanna. I understand the school thing. Perhaps "practicing" maintenance is going to be your focus right now? Let me know if I can help in any way.
    2735 days ago
    My neighbor cooks regular rice in the microwave. if you'd like message me and I'll ask her how long and on what temps and give you the info.
    2735 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12024980
    emoticon If I am busy I forget to eat, but if I am bored I find it hard not to eat.

    Simple lunch idea - cook some pasta, drain it, add some tuna (to taste) and Philadephia (or equivalent creamy cheese). Stir. Eat.

    I hope you find lots of ideas.

    2735 days ago
    Zanna - I hear your frustration, emoticon you have a lot going on and a lot of different challenges -your husband's allergies/ fridge size/time/ stress and so on. To look at it from another angle - make a list of what you guys CAN eat/like emoticon and then ask everyone for ideas. You may be amazed at what ideas you get.
    I am going to look up my recipe for "perfect rice" that is in one of my go-to cookbooks - it is so easy and has worked every time for me.
    BTW a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit is a perfectly acceptable lunch or breakfast. I often have something like that for breakfast. It is important that you eat regularly as if you get too hungry you don't make the best food choice and often crave carbohydrates - lots of them. That type of hunger is insatiable in my experience.

    Link for rice

    2736 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/31/2014 8:18:25 PM
  • JRIMM4
    Don't be so hard on yourself! I find that if I try to do things in the perfect or ideal way, I simply fail. While some of the things you've listed may not be super healthy, you're getting healthy stuff in and thats more than many people I know can say. I keep (small) containers of veggies to add to salads in the fridge, and buy lettuce mix. Usually a sliced pepper, chopped broccoli, cucumber, whatever. Makes the salads easy to put together and take with me. Sometimes my lunch consists of a protein (cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, whatever), a grain (granola bar, popcorn, crackers, whatever) and an apple or other piece of fruit. Maybe not the best but I feel like I have my bases covered. I find that I have a hard time getting in enough protein and carbs and I keep a sliced apple and a granola bar in my backpack for those times I realize I didn't eat. Good luck with your challenges, I think you already have the tools its just a matter of tweaking them to work with your body and schedule.

    2736 days ago
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