Monday, January 23, 2012

Balance and Some Thoughts

These past few months, I've been learning more about how to accept life and it's balance.  At age 17, I used my emotional logic to make the decision to not ingest any animal products. I thought it was wonderful that I could be healthy and not have to harm any animals in the process (I was also, most of the time, soy- and wheat-free to avoid the health disasters, as well as the unintentional murder from combines).  Although, it turns out, I could not be healthy while avoiding animal foods.  The food I was eating wasn't working for me, yet I ignored it, because I honestly felt that one could be healthy abstaining from animal foods.  

I read a quote that really struck me, and was a major part of pushing me towards the idea of eating animals again(and wouldn't you know, I can't find it again! I read so many books about paleo/primal eating, I've forgotten which it was in.).  It was a quote about how eating meat was an "adult knowledge".  As a young adult going through the process of "growing up", I've learned it's not just about "getting older".  I noticed that people talk to me differently than when I was a kid, others around you get older, and perhaps sicker, and you tend to experience loss more than as a child.  My parents never used to talk to me about serious family issues, and now they do.  Other family members used to hide their emotions from me, and I would view them as a sort of super hero, whereas as an adult, I've seen my grandmother cry more than I ever did my entire childhood.  As you grow up, you see that life is a balance. There is bad for the good, and there is death for the life.  

This past week, I lost my grandfather.  I take comfort in the fact that I come from him, so he will always be a part of me, yet it isn't the same.  The child in me yearns for the years past when he was healthy. His decline happened so rapidly, due to alcohol mostly, I feel that in my teen years, I didn't appreciate him as much as I did as a child, as I did as an adult now, watching him fade away.  I was almost angry and upset with him when I was a teen because of his alcohol abuse, and it makes me sad now, but there's nothing I can do to change how it was.  Although, perhaps I was so upset because I knew that if he kept drinking that way, he would only get sicker, and it would eventually take him?

Being an adult is strange because you have never been an adult before.  Being an adult means you accept life for what it is.  You cannot be nourished if something else does not die.  Even something as "simple" as a plant,  seems to cry out when it is being cut.  You, yourself, cannot live forever. Your parents will not live forever.  There will come a time when everyone you love will not be here any longer.  But isn't that what makes life so special, and so precious?  The life of an animal is indeed precious, but doesn't it become even more so when it's being used to nourish a family?  After all, is a lioness thinking about the loss of a gazelle family, or the fact that if she doesn't catch one, her family might not survive? Death isn't pretty, but it is a part of our lives. 

On the eve of my grandfather's passing, I was alone, outside, sitting by a bed of rocks in my own thoughts.  My family was together, but I was very upset and wanted to be alone so I could think.  I was having trouble focusing, due to my emotional instabilities, and so I began stacking cairns.  The rock bed was more of a pebble bed, and trying to balance the teeny rocks really helped me focus. As I stacked, I had to be very careful to not make it topple over. It was interesting because although the rocks weren't necessarily all flat, they still stacked together and would stay until I(accidentally) knocked them down.  I thought about life's balances; what goes up must come back down, as well as the other black-and-whites: life, death, good bad.  It was comforting to build them and sort of focus my thoughts together, I really enjoyed it. I built about 5 stacks before I felt better and went inside to be with my family again.  

Nobody ever said that growing up would be easy, but I never thought it would be so profound.  I've experienced loss before,  but being an adult and losing my grandfather was very different than my other losses.  When I lost my maternal grandmother at age 17, it didn't really hit me until I was older.  Now, I think back on that time and scold myself that I didn't do more to be close to her, or that I hardly cried when she died.  It upset me, but I didn't feel the full effect of her death until I became an adult. 

Maybe it's when you get older and start feeling the effects of age that you being to realize the balances of life.  While death is inevitable, there are ways to live that make the journey there not as painful.  My poor grandparents were in a lot of pain up until their deaths, mostly due to illnesses that can be prevented. It hurts to say that, but it is the truth.  Most cases of diabetes can be avoided through diet, and it certainly isn't incredibly difficult to not be an alcoholic.  And while it is very sad for me to have lost them this way, it is a motivator for me to live a healthy life.  I don't want my children and  grandchildren to watch me suffer when I'm older. I want to live a long, fulfilling life.  My mother says she doesn't want to live to be 90 and not be able to see, or hear, or do anything on her own, but it doesn't have to be that way.  There are people who are well and able into their 90s. There are people who's bodies don't break down at 60 and get worse as the years pass.  My best friend's grandfather was diagnosed with cancer before my grandfather was and now his cancer is getting smaller, whereas my grandfather's took him.  What is the difference? Her grandfather lives his life eating mostly whole and healthy foods.  My grandfather drank excess amounts of alcohol each day, whereas hers didn't and doesn't.  

There are ways to live a long and healthy life, and it takes the balance of life to help it happen.  It takes growing up to realize these truths, then to utilize them.  My life's mission is to create a healthy life, and to have healthy children, and to keep them healthy.  I'm so relieved to have realized this adult knowledge of life, and now knowing how to use these nourishing food traditions to help me realize my dream.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Feeling Light

Last night, after work, I went to Whole Foods to pick up some dinner.  I got two hamburger patties that looked good and also got a pound of bacon.  But when I got home, I just didn't feel hungry.  I asked my  honey how hungry he was and that I wasn't at all too hungry. He agreed he wasn't that hungry either! I still cooked up the bacon, just to have, and we just sipped on water all night long.

It feels good to fast, especially when your body really wants it.  I had a little bit of coffee this morning with Xyla and cream as I was very tired this morning. It definitely was one of those mornings where you just want to stay in bed forever.  I almost get mad when I have to get out of bed because it's so cold on the other side of the blanket! Winter hasn't been the same since our little bathroom space heater broke, that thing was a life-saver during the cold mornings! It even had a timer on it, so I could walk into the bathroom and it would be on already.

Tonight, my mama is taking my best friend (also my maid of honor!) and I to dinner! We're going to Aqui! Yum! Can't wait :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Whole Foods Trip

After a long morning at work, I still had a few errands to run on my lunch.  I only get a little over an hour for lunch, so my time is pretty precious to me.  I had to get some conditioner, thank you cards, and some water. I parked between Whole Foods and the drug store and dashed into CVS to get some conditioner and cards.  The line was very long and the cashier wasn't moving as quickly as I'd hoped.  By the time I got to Whole Foods, I was getting a little hangry. I scooted to the meat counter and when the guy asked if I needed help, I replied: "I need some bacon, STAT!" and got some deliciously peppered bacon. Mmmm!

I've been needing to purchase lard to season my new cast iron pan that I got for the holidays (yee!), so I asked the meat counter guy if they sold lard.  He didn't think so, but said there was a big pile of pork trimmings on the table next to him and he could give me the fat if I knew how to render it.  He wrapped it up for me, no charge, and I had in my hands two pounds of pork fat.

Also, in their coupon book for the month, there was a coupon for $1 off Organic Valley cheese! So I got a block of raw cheese! Was going to try it with my lunch, but I ran out of time to use it on what I was going to (eggs); and just had brussels sprouts and bacon instead.  Packed up some more bacon for a snack at work :)

Going hiking again this Saturday! Very excited! If it's raining, we're just going to stay in and do Ab Ripper X from P90X.  We're also going to watch Memoirs of a Geisha! I just finished the book the other day--it was very beautiful! Excited to watch the movie (again!). 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Say "Cheese"

I made it to Thursday! Today is my last day until Monday that I have to work both of my jobs.  After today, I just have to wake up early tomorrow, work for five and a half hours, then I'm good for the weekend.

So far, my weekly goal of less grains-more bacon has been successful! It feels really good.  I've been substituting more dairy for the lack of grains, mostly to go easier on myself during the transition.

On Monday, for lunch I brought home some Baja Fresh for us--Chicken Tortilla soup for me (sans tortillas) and my hunny, plus a chicken Caesar salad for me as well. The salad wasn't that good though; there was a severe lack of dressing. For dinner we had leftover beef and bacon stew that my hunny had made over the weekend.  He made enough for three meals each for us! It was awesome!  With the stew, I made some chicken wings from Whole Foods, to bulk up the meal a little bit.

Tuesday, my hunny was feeling sick from his cold so he wasn't hungry. I had some of the leftover chicken from my salad with peppers and onions, cooked in butter with seasonings topped with eggs.  Such an easy meal, but it was delicious.  For dinner, hunny was finally hungry and I went to Quizno's because we had gift cards.  He wanted a sandwich and I got a Cobb salad (bacon!), with a cup of broccoli cheese soup. I figured the broccoli cheese was the less of the evils compared to chicken noodle and chili.  The meal was very satisfying!  I enjoyed the soup, although I felt there could have been more broccoli in it, and the salad was very good too.  I had forgotten to say ''no blue cheese'' for the salad, because I forgot that Cobb salads have that (I only recently became a fan of Cobb Salads); but I did remember to not get blue cheese dressing!

Yesterday, I went to Whole Foods to pick up some food with the last of our food cash that I had to spend. I got half a pound of peppered bacon, half a pound of stew meat, half dozen eggs, and......something I hadn't had since I was a junior in high school.......Babybel cheeses!!
I ate two right away in the car on my way home! (Okay, I was very hungry, having not had breakfast and it was already 1:00!) Eating these is a nice treat, it's been a long time; I didn't even enjoy cheese for the past few years. Hell, I didn't even consider dairy a food  group for a long time because of veg*n propaganda.  Now, here I am, drinking cream in my coffee and eating Babybel cheese.  I really had wanted to get some raw cheese, but it was more expensive, and didn't want to splurge.  I brought one Babybel to work today to tide me over until lunchy.  

For lunch yesterday, I cooked up the bacon in a pan with a teeny pad of butter.  I cut up the stew meat into smaller pieces and threw them in the pan when the bacon was close to being done.  Then added in a mix of peppers and onions and a few sprinkles of my hunny's seasoning salt.  Then I fried up a few eggs and threw them over the peppers and meat when that was finished.  That filled me up until dinner, although I did have a few roasted/salted pecans at work; can't resist pecans! Oh, also had another Babybel as well.

We weren't terribly hungry for dinner, but hunny heated up the leftover chicken wings from the other day along with the rest of the bacon I had bought.  He got the bacon nice and crispy (and I dipped it in a tiny amount of maple syrup...), it was great.  

Not sure yet what we'll do for lunch today, or dinner for that matter.  At least I get paid tonight, so we'll have more money to work with for dinner.  I do know one thing, though--It's going to have bacon in it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Starting Small

Alright, so I've had my fun.  It's time to get serious.

Once upon a time, I had self-discipline.  Once, for ten days, I drank nothing but pure, fresh-squeezed orange juice.  I was at a restaurant with my ex-at-the-time one day, a fancy restaurant in L.A., and all I ordered was fresh-squeezed orange juice. He got an awesome-looking house-made veggie pattie that was enormous. It came with french fries.  I drank my tall glass and was content, because I knew it would help me lose weight (or so I thought, based on the musings of my favorite raw-food guru at the time; guess what, I didn't lose any weight!).

When I lived at home with my parents, I made my own food.  I woke up each morning to get to school at 7:30, so that I would jog.  I took jogging and Math that semester (and aced Math! surprisingly!).  I ate salmon patties on lettuce with onions and peppers, drank cocoa shakes made with sesame butter, ate my greens and exotic fruits, and decorated my room how I pleased. I was as happy as I could be.  I even got a tattoo on my wrist to seal the deal.  I told myself that self-harm was over.  I felt no need for it.  Then, slowly, I began to add in foods and habits that I had been terrified of. 

Yesterday, I ate a large-sized Quizno's sandwich. And was still hungry afterwards!  Only slightly ridiculous :) Today, I haven't had anything to eat.  I had three packets of Emergen-C, because I am still fighting off a mild cold that I developed.  There was a time when ''sick me'' wouldn't have dared touch a sandwich while fighting a cold.  There was a time when I didn't touch bread at all!

It is now 2012 and I feel like I have failed my body.  I don't know how much weight I've gained since coming off of raw vegan back in 2010. I can't believe it's been so long since then.  Every day was a treat, every meal a special occasion because "oh, it's been so long since I've eaten this!" and then it became hard to live without those foods: "oh how can I make it through the day without a Psycho donut???"

Today is the first week of 2012 and my mini-goal for the week is to nix the grains.  I can eat well and fine without any grains.  I love "Atkin's-style" burgers!  It's just that lately, I've been enjoying the bread too much :)

To elaborate on my goal a bit--nix the grains, eat more bacon.  I think bacon would be a great food to eat if I was eating bread, and all of the burgers I eat this week will have bacon on them to ''make-up'' for the bread.

I had forgotton that my fiance and I are going out with my folks tonight to The Outback.  I'm incredibly excited because I haven't eaten there in 5 years.  I will do my best to not get TOO excited and to eat within my goals. How pathetic would that be? The first day of my goals and I blow it :)

I'm very excited that I'm setting goals, it feels very good! This is gonna be my year!