Saturday, October 20, 2012
There is a most excellent reason for that. I'm on this medication for intracranial hypertension called Diamox and the side effects are too much for one heart to bear. Ya got your tinglin' in yer hands, feet, lips, head an' neck. Ya got yer metallic taste where e'erthin' taste funny. Ya got your fatigue, confusion, and e'er thirty minnits peein'. But best of all ya got yer unholy diarrhea, yer nausea an' yer utter lack of appetite.
Note that these are all side effects on top of the as-yet-undiminished symptoms. Anyway, haven't been eating much lately. To be fair I am eating four times a day, because I take it four times a day and I wish to cushion my tender digestive system. But today, for example, I had two sticks of string cheese. For dinner I had two more.
I can't defend this as a healthy diet, nor as an interesting one. I have had mad dreams of rosewater and devonshire cream- actually, at this point I am taking in so little, and using so much energy, that I'm straight up dreaming about candy. Feh.
Anyway, can't let you go without a recipe, and this one has been very dear to my heart lately. This one is from my dad- maybe the only recipe of his worth handing down!
Two cups ice
Water to cover
Find the biggest cup you can. Think 32 oz or bigger.
Pour in two cups ice.
Cover with tap water.
Okay, so that was a little joke- haha-not-really. But here is the only real recipe I've been using lately.
A pat of butter
1/2 cup salsa
3/4 cup refried beans
Melt pat of butter in pan on stove at medium heat.
Break eggs, put them in.
Immediately top with salsa.
While that's cooking, microwave refried beans(with a cover, may God save your soul.)
I like these served in a bowl, so I just microwave the beans in the bowl, then when the eggs and salsa are done, plop them on top. You will know when the eggs are done when the egg white on the top of the yolk has turned white. Well, that's how I like 'em- I like my yolks runny.
Delicious! And not too much work! In fact these are all I've had to eat today. Excuse me, I need to back to fighting the good fight against exhaustion and malnutrition.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Anyway, thank goodness I came to my senses. One of the reasons I chose to do Paleo-ish was that I knew that including all whole fruits and vegetables would really increase the variety in my diet- one of the things I got sick of with Atkins was the unvarying mouthfeel, almost always the smoothness of fat and protein and the occasional crunch of lettuce or nuts. Not to mention the health benefits!
I'm not one of these people who wants to replicate grain or sugar-based recipes with Paleo ingredients. I'm not opposed to trying "Paleo" waffles once in a while*, but in my mind, it's better to focus on whole foods and not "faking it". Plus, the sheer amount of honey and maple syrup used is pretty ridiculous.
* Although those do look incredibly tasty!
Anyway, aside from that caveat, I do enjoy finding new ways to enjoy some of the things from my old life. Something had been nagging at me for a while, and I finally realized- it was a silly infomercial I saw years ago:
Now, I don't appreciate the fat-shaming or the mention of "superfoods", and this totally belongs on Unclutterer's Unitasker Wednesday, but I think it's a great idea! A food processor would work just as well- it's too bad mine just died. But I love bananas, and there are so many things you could add in:
- Coconut milk/shredded coconut
- Peanut butter
- Other nut butters or meal- hazelnut would be awesome, but so would macadamia nut, almond, cashew...
Here's a simple recipe if you want to try it out.
Doesn't it seem like a blast? I'm going to give it a try and report back!
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Originally I was going to make this a chicken veggie stew, but it didn't really need the chicken- plus I was hungry. (I am the best chef ever!) So I roasted a chicken thigh, with bone and skin on, and all I ended up adding to the soup was the schmaltz. (Chicken fat, for goys.)
I love this stew because it turned out perfect, because it's lovely and warm and perfect for fall, and because it's easy to alter to one's taste- e.g., add chicken, use bacon fat, veganize it, whatever you want. The only "problem" I had with this was that it's really just begging for a hunk of fresh homemade bread to go with, and that's just not happening right now.
So let's get to it!
3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, coined
1 red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 oz mushrooms, minced. (I used an "earthy and exotic mix" starring crimini, shittake and oyster mushrooms, some of which I had never encountered before. Manager's Specials are a great way to meet new foods!)
A hunk of butter (oh, all right, 2 or 3 Tbsp. I used butter because I was really going for the comfort food feel- olive oil or coconut oil would work just as well.)
1 sweet potato, roasted, skin removed
Chicken broth to cover (Obviously you can sub vegetable broth here.)
Pan drippings from one roast chicken thigh (optional)
1 Tbsp Frank's Red Hot
2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425. Roast sweet potato(skin on), and if you choose, a chicken thigh, for 45 minutes to an hour. In separate pans, preferably. This will give you time to do all the veggie chopping.
I sauteed the rest of the veggies on medium high in the butter(in a huge pan!) for a few minutes- just long enough to get that nutty butter smell and start wringing flavor molecules out of the savories. (You may prefer to sautee part of the veggies at a time- that is certainly a respectable choice. The way I did it, it wound up more like sweating the veggies. I'm no great sauteer.) I kept stirring it and flipping it and generally not letting any one bit sit on the bottom too long.
Dump sauteed veggies into a pot and put in enough broth to not quite cover. Everything should be wet, but veggies should be peeking up at you still. Turn that to a boil, give it a good stir, and turn it back down to a simmer.
Add thyme and hot sauce.
When the sweet potato comes out of the oven, de-skin it, mash it and stick it in the pot. If you're using the chicken drippings, dump those in when the chicken thigh is done. Stir well!
Add salt and pepper. Allow stew to simmer for an hour, covered.
Serve, and laugh at the chilly weather outside!
Monday, October 8, 2012
So for dinner tonight I had broccoli with cheese, a chicken patty, a baked sweet potato and an apple- which stuffed me. But I spent most of the day pretty hungry(out running around doing things on a breakfast of grapes and clementines) so I guess it evens out. My favorite phrase is "Happy fat belly!", which refers to that perfect state of fullness, where you just feel utterly content. I'm pretty close to that now!
It's a little strange for me, but I find myself leaning away from fatty meats and cheese towards raw and lean vegan recipes. I'd say I'm eating at least one vegan meal a day(although my meals typically look more like snacks- for example, dinner last night was an apple with peanut butter.) I'm not sure how great it is for my belly, since I tend to have a hard time with raw plant foods, but I'm just taking it bit by bit.
I also joined my old gym today, which is a really fantastic place- great facilities, two pools(one with a waterslide, whee!) The people are super nice too. And I have to say that having access to a steam room and jacuzzi will make my winter!
Although I'm still feeling good about my diet, today and yesterday were kind of tough physically. I went to the river with my dog on Saturday, which was pretty strenuous for a girl out of condition. But the worst part could have happened to anyone of any condition- my sandal broke right after we started hiking, and my feet wound up pretty sore from wearing my water shoes. That made my walking less pleasant. (Just another reason to join the gym- it gives me a lot of options for exercise!)
Anyway, I'm still chugging along!
Sunday, October 7, 2012
So, let's tally up the good so far:
I'm sleeping better.
I have more energy.
I am eating less- I feel genuinely hungry before most meals. In a good way.
I'm eating a much bigger variety of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.
I have completely cut high fructose corn syrup, as well as other added sugars, completely out.
I have cut out grains.*
* I have been tested for gluten intolerance, and I essentially came out a gluten-lovin' chick. I cut these out not because I think they are bad for me, but because they tend to come with a lot of extra processing and sugars and crud. Also because I'm doing a low-moderate carb diet here. If/when I add them back in, it'll probably involve a lot of planning.
Anyway, I feel like I'm ready for more physically. (Slow more!) I'm applying for financial assistance with the YMCA and the JCC, both gyms I know very well and both gyms I enjoy. (And they both have swimming pools, a big thing for me!) I just feel like more vigorous exercise would suit me pretty well, physically and mentally, although I know that it's gonna be tough.
Yesterday I took my dog to the river, which was amazing and very strenuous. I had a big bag of picnic stuff, towels and water, and in the other hand I was managing my 65 lb, excited dog, so it was pretty demanding for my arms and shoulders- not to mention that my long-suffering sandals broke about a quarter-mile in to my roughly 2 mile hike. Thank goodness I brought my water shoes! But we had a blast, I got some sun and today I had a pleasant soreness in all my major muscle groups. I don't mind a little soreness- it just means that I'm doing things!
Friday, October 5, 2012
I've been very lucky when it comes to meeting this stigma head on. Although my family disapproves of fat, my mom, when trying to get me to slim down, encouraged me to enjoy movement and food. I really appreciate especially that she never mentioned my weight as a child, but only tried to step in when I was nearly an adult and when I gained 100 lb in a year, clearly because of depression. She also explicitly told me that I was beautiful the way I was and I didn't need to try to meet others' expectations, some really healthy advice!
What's more, in my social circles, there's not a lot of negative body talk. We celebrate our own and each other's bodies, we make food together and run races together and don't cotton to the self-hatred that seems so common in other groups. That's a real gift.
I also have had less public comment on my body than some other fatties have had on theirs. (I hesitate to think about the online discussion on Janie Martinez's gold bikini. She is amazing!) I don't know why, but I suspect that it's largely because I'm just lucky- I live in a pretty progressive city. I wonder if it might also be due to my attitude, although that's dangerous speculation- I do tend to flaunt my fat, wearing bright colors, sleeveless or strapless tops and other clothing reserved for skinny women. I guess it could go either way- I could be avoiding public comment because the people who would want to comment would give me up as a bad job, or I'm extra lucky because noncompliant fatties might draw more comment, to force them to comply.
The worst I've had is when I was living in downtown Richmond, out for a jog with Andy. We were crossing Belvidere, and some dude from the backseat of a car yelled, "Run, fat bitch!" I completely ignored him- it's my first instinct- but it hit me like a sledgehammer, how vicious and violent it was. No one should be subject to that. I was especially angry because fatties can't win for losing- if we're out in the world, not working out, we're lazy, and if we are working out, we're disgusting.
To get myself in the gym, I told myself that I may be the fattest, slowest person in there- but maybe I'm making it safe for someone else to come in. Maybe someone else will see me there and think, "Well, if she feels safe in there, it must be okay for me too." And to be fair, not one person has ever said a cruel or demeaning thing to me in the gym. And I've spent a LOT of time in the gym! (Unless you count the trainers(ALL the trainers) who assumed that my goal was to lose weight, not to build muscle. But I'll give them a pass.)
Anyway, today I wanted to draw your attention to this post about concern trolling at the Great Fitness Experiment. Charlotte has really helped reaffirm my faith in fitness, separate from weight loss- she struggled with an eating disorder, and her blog really reflects a commitment to mental health as well as physical. I really appreciate her discussion about folks who comment on others' bodies with the excuse, "But I'm worried for your health!" First of all, I think it is never appropriate to discuss someone else's body in public, not mine, not yours, not Hillary Clinton's, not Arnold Schwarzenegger's. If you know someone well, someone who is losing or gaining weight fast, there might(MIGHT) be a case for pulling them aside and saying, "Is something going on? Are you okay?" But to make extrapolations from observations of body size is hateful in this culture.
In other news, the sweet potato fries were mushy but a hit! Also, I've walked two miles since starting this post. (With only a few detours to other sites!)
Thursday, October 4, 2012
I love salads, I find them really easy and delicious, although I like including things other people might consider unusual. For example, I use a LOT of fresh herbs- check out the recipe:
(all ingredients fresh)
2 cups spinach
1 cup kale
1 cup basil
1 cup cilantro
1 cup oregano
1 avocado, sliced
1 tomato, diced
1 cucumber, diced
I like to tear my salads into little bits- I find it very frustrating when you have to attack your salad with a fork and knife. It's just ripe for flinging dressing into your face!
For a dressing I just use 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 or 3 parts olive oil, typically mixed in a mug. I frequently add salt, pepper, dried oregano and thyme, or other dried herbs. It all depends on my mood. Tonight will be a salt-free dinner, however, since my friend doesn't do salt.
Hmmm, I might toast some fennel seeds and add them to the dressing. I think it'll be a nice addition in the fall weather! What do you think?
I spent the rest of the day in bed, too uncomfortable to read, surf the net, or do things around the house. I most missed my daily walk, but even sitting up in bed was really taxing. I decided to skip dinner, since I just wasn't hungry enough to make the effort worthwhile. Usually I'd say skipping meals is a no-no, but in this case I feel like it was the right choice.
It's really frustrating for me to be this incapacitated. Although I've had enough medical problems that some people have written me off as a hypochondriac, one of the best discoveries of my adult life was how much I enjoyed being able to work and move- to go for runs and clean the house and live my life. As a teenager, I wasn't so appreciative of that, but being knocked down and having my chest sat on by depression, fibromyalgia and other problems really brought out how good it was to be healthy and to make the most of that.
Anyway, I'm calling my neurologist back and asking for medication- he emphasized weight loss, which is a solid treatment for me in this particular case, but there is no reason I should be experiencing this much pain while I'm losing weight. I know he wouldn't treat a thin person in this way- Dances With Fat has a great take on this- and while I feel pretty sure that I can lose the weight and keep it off, I don't think it's unfair to ask for the medication that will help me now.
This is a terrible food blog- I only wrote to talk about not eating! But soon we'll be back to our normal programming: I'm making dinner for a friend tonight. More on that later!
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
So one of the things that I blew a chunk of change on a couple years ago that was completely worth it was my treadmill desk setup.
I spent about $700 on the treadmill- I wanted one that could take the pounding all day- and $500 on a TrekDesk. Although I love the TrekDesk- the large surface is really awesome- if I had it to do over again I might have gone with making my own.
The way a treadmill desk works is that you set up your computer on the desk, and thus you can walk while you work(or procrastinate!). I thought it might be tough to manage typing or mousing or what have you while I walked, but other people gave great reviews, so I figured it couldn't hurt to try it.
I started out walking at 0.6 miles per hour, which was about as slow as my treadmill would go! But as I got used to it I increased the speed and eventually found my level between 1.6 and 2 miles a hour- that's while I'm typing or otherwise interacting. I do watch movies and TV shows too, and then I can go up to 3 miles per hour.
Obviously I'm not walking very fast. A lot of people have given me the crazy look, wondering why it's even worth it. The answer is that I tend to spend a LOT of my free time on the computer, and sitting so much makes me very fidgety and cranky. Of course, it's also terrible for my health. So I got the treadmill desk less to capital-E Exercise than to stave off the fidgetiness and to help burn some excess energy. Actually, I find that it helps me concentrate much better- I guess that's the ADD at work! But other people report the same thing, so who knows?
Although I didn't lose any weight(it wasn't a goal), I gained a lot of muscle. I remember wearing shorts for the first time in the spring and realized that I'd gotten muscles on my knees- I didn't even know knees HAD muscles! I gained this confidence, too, in my body- I knew that I could walk and just keep walking indefinitely. I knew that I could walk a marathon(albeit very slowly!). This was something I hadn't had in the past, a faith in my body's ability physically.
I also started sleeping a lot better and feeling more energetic. I just felt so much better when I walked!
This year I lost a lot of my conditioning, so walking two or three miles a day on the treadmill is my main form of exercise as I start building back up. I'm not going to lie, the first walk after 18 months of not walking was a toughie! But it really started to build back up fast- it is amazing feeling my body get back into shape.
This week I'm introducing some other forms of exercise back into my plan. Walking is a great foundation of health, but it won't take me all the places I want to go. I really dig Mark Sisson's fitness pyramid; I think that'll be my blueprint for now. My fitness goals- that's another story for another time!
There are a ton of great videos about treadmill desks on Youtube- I was especially pleased to find one by my favorite vloggers, the Vlog Brothers! Check it out!
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
2 lb ground beef
1 lb turkey
2 cans pinto beans(rinsed)
2 cans kidney beans(rinsed)
2 sweet peppers
8 oz mushrooms
3 celery stalks
1 tsp bacon grease
Marrow from two beef bones
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Roast marrow bones for 20 minutes.
Sautee mushrooms in bacon grease.
Chop veggies and mushrooms and puree.
Mix meat, bone marrow, beans and pureed veggies in crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours.
If you want to spice your chili, 1 Tbsp cumin and 1 Tbsp cayenne should be a good start. I also ended up adding a can of tomato paste yesterday, for the heck of it, but this chili doesn't really need it. I love chili because it is an awesome place to play with different proportions of meat, beans and veggies, as well as try new things- like liver, heart, or tongue.
How do you like your chili?
Monday, October 1, 2012
The most "successful" diet was Atkins. I lost 70 pounds in three months and kept it off for ten years. (That puts me in the 5% of dieters that manage permanent weight loss, you'll note. And 70 lbs took me from "morbidly obese" to just plain "obese". It would take another 70 lbs to take me to "normal" BMI.) The trouble with Atkins was that I was miserable the entire time, irritable, cranky, craving and sick. I quit the diet because I started craving Twinkies. I hate Twinkies. I think they are foul.
Other diets I've tried, for various reasons: low fat, vegetarian, vegan, Weight Watchers, Atkins again and just plain calorie restriction. Vegan made me sick- I started having major digestive problems. Vegetarian didn't change anything health or weightwise. Calorie restriction left me hungry ALL. THE. TIME. I'm not saying hunger doesn't have a place in a healthy diet- but being hungry all the time is bad for the soul, because you start plotting to eat people! None of these budged my weight, which after the successful Atkins ranged between 225 and 235 very consistently.
Other things that didn't change my weight: cooking at home. eating out all the time. running 5 and 10Ks. weightlifting. walking between four and eight hours a day. lying in bed all day, every day.
Recently I gained 60 lbs in three months. I was very emotional about this weight gain, because I didn't understand it- I began gaining weight after stepping up my activity and starting to eat better. It turned out it was due to a medication I was taking.
Potentially due to the weight gain, I also developed severe headaches due to increased intracranial hypertension- that is, the pressure from spinal fluid began building up in my skull. That's why I'm trying to lose weight now- well, that and I'm pretty sure my body doesn't like being this weight. I expect that if I lose weight, I will probably lose it pretty quickly, as I did before. But who knows? I was pretty content at that weight, and I could learn to be content at this weight as well.
In any case, I applied what I learned about my body and nutrition to create my own diet, focusing on meat, beans, whole fruits and veggies, fermented dairy and nuts and seeds. It's pretty Paleoesque for the time being, although I do drink diet sodas and eat Splenda. I'm not relying solely on those, though- I do drink a lot of water and avoid sweets for the most part. I tried to cross losing weight and feeling healthy, and for now I'm pretty satisfied with the mix. I feel much, much better eating whole foods, and that's more important than weight loss. I'm also back to walking two or three miles a day, trying to build up the conditioning I lost earlier this year. I'll add in weightlifting and other exercise in the near future.
It's been nine days since I began on Saturday September 22nd, 2012, and I'm aiming to keep to this lifestyle till New Year's- then I will re-evaluate. But I'm feeling good!