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Health not through determination, but irritation

November 21, 2014

I’m getting really tired of bad news at the dentist every single time I go in (always “one more little cavity”, “two more”). And this is even after upping my game: brushing, daily flossing, giving up sodas (for other reasons).

Well, dammit.

So now it’s time to learn to like coffee without sugar or honey. I’m already happy with unsweetened tea, hot or not. This shouldn’t be too hard*.

The running, now. That’s not an irritation thing, but it’s made me healthy as hell. I feel good, feel strong. I sleep well. (Okay, always have), and I eat better. Anxiety is under control. I’m not losing weight, but I talked somewhere before about how my body had reconstituted – firmer everything, seemingly less fat. I find I don’t care as much about losing weight, until maybe in a year or two when I get more serious about ultra/marathons. I’ll be interested to see how long it takes before I get sick again, even with a cold. It’s been nearly a year now.

To bring it all together: the dental hygienist was talking to me yesterday about running, and the gym. Just me speaking here, but: I have to FORCE myself to go to the gym. I only need the mildest of pushes to get out and run, even on a training plan. Fitness has worked out far, far better (and far longer) for me ever since I found something I love, something I obsess about.

Finally, on the Why. Simplest: I run long distances because I always wanted to, but didn’t know I wanted to, and didn’t know I could. Now I know that I want to, and I’ve proven that I can. And so, it’s the adventure, the independence, the accomplishment, the zen state, the time for audiobooks and music and my own thoughts. It’s wonderful.

That is all,
Jen

*Oh hey look, unsweet coffee is actually pretty good, if it’s pretty good coffee. That was easy.

Sean’s Perfect Coddled Eggs

November 15, 2014

Sean makes excellent coddled eggs.  And “coddled” just means “soft boiled”…the perfect coddled egg has cooked whites, yolks still runny but thick. To make good coddled eggs, here’s what you do:

  1. Buy Jumbo eggs (not large).
  2. Put an inch of water in a saucepan, add a steamer basket (if you have one).
  3. Lid, boil.
  4. Put as many eggs in as you need in the pot. (They won’t cool the steam, that’s the advantage over boiling.)
  5. Lid, boil for 6.5 minutes.
  6. Take them out, put in ice bath for 30seconds.
  7. Take them out, peel and server on buttered toast with salt and pepper.

How to eat them? Well, peel the egg, put it on the toast and cut it in half. Add salt and pepper. As you do this, watch the yolk soak into the bread. Eat along with hot tea. Be amazed.

A perfect BOILED egg is 12 minutes.

Sean reflects

November 12, 2014

Sean talks about memories of food the way some people talk about lost lovers.

“Oh my god” salad

November 10, 2014

Today’s “oh my god” salad:

  • 1/2 bag romaine lettuce, pre-cut and pre-washed
  • 1/3 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
  • 1 T dried cherries
  • 1T nuts (almonds or cashews are best)
  • 1-2T cheese (cheddar or goat is great)
  • vinagrette to taste, preferably made by Sean

Mix. Stuff your face. Have some bread or soup or something, if you want. Become thrilled with your lunch.

-Jen

No-packaged foods September (postmortem)

September 30, 2014

Last year in September, we had Sugar Awareness Week around our house. I figured a rough guide of how much added sugars is okay in a day (about 4 servings was my figure), made up a chart of choices, and tried it out.

…we’re not looking to make their lives miserable or tedious; we want to educate them about sugar and get them eating healthier, in a way that’s easy to understand and sustain.

That went really well, and had a good overall effect on the kids’ food education.IMG_2175.JPG

This year, sincerely coincidentally, I got concerned about our eating habits again. This time (what with my all my running, and reading about “vegetarian, plant-based meals”), it’s about packaged foods. I drink way too much diet soda. The boys revel in packaged chips, candies, cookies, hot dogs, and more. Crunchy hippie food seems better, in general: fewer preservatives, less weird stuff (like odd emulsifiers and artificial or high fructose sweeteners), and so on.

So I proposed…er, actually, I mandated No-packaged foods September. Not the catchiest title, but I’m a DBA, not a PR machine. For the last month, we’ve been avoiding almost all packaged foods, just as one might avoid a political argument at work.  By “packaged foods”, I don’t mean anything that comes from a store…we’re not self-sustaining farmers, here. But we basically only bought ingredients. Things like milk, bread, eggs, flour, butter, cheese, that sort of thing. Even peanut butter was okay, as we get the kind that has this ingredient list: “Peanuts, salt”.  And of course chocolate. I’m not making the kids go completely without chocolate.

Oh yeah, I tried the kids on shredded wheat cereal, because “Ingredients: Wheat.” That went over okay, but they quickly switched back to other breakfast foods.  The school has a “no nut” policy, which makes things a little difficult (no PB&J!)…so I tried them on sunflower seed butter, and they love that.  Oh yeah, and we’ve all become sort of addicted to home mixed trail mix. My favorite is a good mix of almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cherries, and dried California apricots. Eric can even bring no-nut trail mix to school (sunflower and pumpkin seeds, dried cherries, and chocolate chips). He loves it.

We didn’t go 100%…we made the occasional exception (like the weekend trip to Top Pot Doughnuts), and certain things were unreasonable. E.g., “Yes, we can make crackers. No, I don’t have time to make crackers today, after working and shopping and cooking three meals and cleaning up and making bread…I’ll buy the freaking crackers.”  Again, we’re trying to make a change, not to be completely inflexible. We did make our own meals, bread, pasta, soups, desserts, etc etc.  It’s been kind of a delicious month. But then, it usually is around here.

The month draws to a close. I will keep on pushing the non packaged foods. But I’ll also let the kids pick out some cereal for tomorrow, and Kraft mac n cheese. They’ve missed some things, and that’s okay.

-J

Things I’d like to remind myself:

How to Save Their Marriage

September 24, 2014

Spoilers: This is not directed at my friends and family, because we already went through this and came out healthy. Sean and I are fine. This is for several sets of friends having bad times. (Weirdly, it never rains relationship trouble, but it pours.)

We hate to see friends and family unhappy. We hate it when people split up, whether that’s a friendship or a relationship or a full on marriage. It’s hard on everyone, because things get awkward and weird and everything changes, and the people involved are unhappy. It’s most especially hard on kids, if kids there are. (Talk to me about this sometime; I’m a child of divorce, divorced myself, married to a divorced man who is a child of divorce, and so on it goes.)  Divorce is HARD.

When I was separating from my first husband – we had been a sort of romantic dream team for those around us, apparently…deeply in love, never arguing, building a life and dreams – no one could understand why. Many friends and family members tried to support our marriage. Things couldn’t be THAT bad, could they? Surely you can work on this? Surely if you try, go to counseling, do something, things will get better?  Have you read this book? How about that one? What does HE think? We’re here to help you with your marriage!

Dearest family and friends of those touched by divorce: Stop it. Stop supporting the marriage.

You quite frankly don’t know enough about the marriage to support it. You don’t know the counseling we may have been to, because for whatever reason I don’t feel like outlining my every counseling session, and what happened in them, with you. You don’t know the sexual problems we might have had for years, because we don’t really talk about that stuff, and I don’t want to make you uncomfortable or shame my partner or myself. You don’t know about the long, long months of miscommunication, of trying yet again, of feeling the hurt or the shame or the misery or the anger. You. Don’t. Know.

Where do you draw the line? Should we get more counseling if he hits me? After all, maybe things will get better. Should we work on things if he hasn’t touched me in years, hasn’t acted like a partner in forever and a half? Is there a book I can read to make HIM understand that calling me a worthless cow isn’t supportable for a long-term relationship?*

So, stop it. Your best bet here is to support the person you love. Be open. Talk through what they want to talk about, paying more attention to what they say, what they ask, than the things you want to tell them. Stop shaming a man for leaving to want a better life. (Feel free to shame him if he doesn’t take responsibility for his kids.) Stop shaming a woman for leaving to want a better life. (Feel free to shame her if, kids, etc.)  Stop SHAMING them. They’re ashamed enough already, because they know divorce is hard, and it hurts others too. I know, I do. I know.

I have so much more to say. So much more I want you to know. But those are really the important parts. Stop trying to save the marriage. It’s not your damn job, and you have no idea if it SHOULD be saved. Support your friend/loved one, because he or she is in a tough, tough time.

Comments are open.

-Jen

 

*None of these are real life examples of me or of mine. This is on purpose. My divorce, and his, and hers, and theirs and the other ones, aren’t your business to save.

Running on hippie food

September 15, 2014

2014-09-15 10.00.13Yesterday I ate waffles and cheeseburgers. Today I’m eating oatmeal with flaxseed meal, dried fruit, nuts and pumpkin seeds; snacking a bit on edamame; and washing it down with mint tea and chia Kombucha. I tell you this because I want you to know I’m well-rounded (no pun intended there). I want to assure you that I’m not a 100% crunchy hippie that’s going to try to make you eat carob and rub hemp on your eyelids (or whatever). Or if I do, we can at least go get an Oreo milkshake after.

You see, I read books and get excited about things. I read a book several months ago, and got so excited about running that I’ve been suiting up no less than twice a week (usually 3-4 times) since then, even through my France vacation.  I just now finished reading Eat and Run, by ultrarunner Scott Jurek. So now I’m excited again about vegetarian, plant-based meals*.

But I’m a bacon cheeseburger kind of girl, at least part of the time. I’m a waffles and eggs, pizza and beer, by-gum steak and chicken kind of girl. I imagine, though, that I can totally do that part time. After all, I don’t eat bacon at EVERY meal.  What’s more, I’ve gotten here gradually – “here” being a place quite a long way away from my childhood, where you were lucky to get me to eat a carrot. Where one could quite easily list the kinds of things I would eat on a notecard. (“Cereal, bread, pizza, hamburger, fries, potatoes…”)

I’m quite serious when I say I really enjoy good food now. We can make a salad that’d knock your knickers off. We’ve got mushroom risotto that people pine after. Sean’s (can be) veggie curry…well, it’s not decent to speak of in mixed company. It’s that good.

So I’m gradually moving from a place of eating out of boxes, to one where fresh stuff is, like, GOOD. I eat it and feel good. I’m sure part of that comes from small amounts of Vitamin Smug (“Well done, Me…we’ve really eaten the old health food now!”), but some of that feeling is real, too.  The strategy is – get this – to mostly eat things I already like. Crazy, right? Thus, the oatmeal and fruit and nuts. I fucking love that shit, it’s so very very good.

Edamame? No, I’ve never really eaten it. But I figure I’ll try it, add it to the repertoire if it doesn’t suck. And so far, it seems to not suck.

Next up: Cooking a few things from our own recipes, from Scott’s book, and from the Meat Free Monday cookbook…vegetarian stuff like

  • Refried beans (oh yum)
  • Guacamole (oh crap, so yum)
  • Veggie chili (OH MY GOSH)
  • Tomato soup (I’m about to weep joyous tears)
  • Roast squash (….no words…)

and so on and on.

I guess I’m just going to focus on the good stuff, is all.

-J

 

*I’m making that distinction because Scott’s recipes don’t include dairy or eggs.

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