The Answer is Always Now – Day 7

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One week ago, I woke up with the realization that I had gotten into some lazy eating habits, and it needed to change.  When?  Now.  

That evening, I sat down in front of my computer and decided that for one week, I would share every food choice I made – good or bad.  And overall, it’s been pretty good.  So here’s the last day of that week:  Day 7.

As per usual, breakfast:

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This probably looks familiar, except this banana wasn’t quite as pretty as the ones earlier in the week.  The Quinoa Oatmeal is still pretty rockin’.

Lunch was good today.  When I had dinner with the rents last night, Mom sent me home some vegetarian chili she had made.  It was chock full of beans and zucchini, and it was quite, quite yummy.  She also gave me a piece of cornbread to go with it.

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I went to the cafeteria to microwave the chili, and as soon as I got back to my desk, I heard from the other side of the cubical wall “What smells so good?”  Yep, that’s my lunch!

Now, as you’ve probably realized over the past few days, I typically have some type of snack mid-afternoon.  Today, I really didn’t get hungry.  I had an apple ready to go if I need it, but it is currently residing in my refrigerator.  Hmmm….this might explain why I was so hungry for dinner…

I stopped at Krieger’s Market on my way home from work to pick up a couple of things – I wanted a good steak (they always have grass-fed Ohio beef) and since it looked so good, I got some Swiss Chard as well.

I had sweet potatoes and onions at home, so I picked up some carrots as well, and roasted them all together with some garlic cloves.

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With that, I sauteed the Swiss Chard with garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, and cooked the strip steak on the grill pan on the oven.  It’s a bit warmer today than it has been, but I just did not want to go outside to grill!  I seasoned the steak with olive oil, salt and pepper, and got it a perfect medium rare.  If there’s one thing I can do, it’s cook a steak.  (If I do say so myself!)

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Short version of the rest of my night – I ate, I took a bath, I ran the dishwasher, I blogged.  Done!  One week of total food sharing.

So what, if anything, have I learned this week?  A few things:

  • Don’t be lazy.  It doesn’t take that much more time and energy to have good, real food.  Take the pizza place off speed dial.
  • I am not the kind of person who can have “just a little bit” of junk food, then go right back to healthy eating.  If I have one 16 oz Pepsi, I’ll want a whole 2-liter (although my recurring Pepsi addition is probably worthy of it’s own post).  If I eat a candy bar at work because I’m starving in the afternoon and didn’t plan well enough to have a good snack, I’ll go home and order pizza for dinner that night, then want a greasy cafeteria egg sandwich in the morning.
  • I sleep better when I eat good food.  I don’t think I really realized this before, but just after New Year’s (after the holiday season and my bad eating habits) I was having a hard time falling asleep, or I’d fall asleep, but wake up in the middle of the night and be up for hours. This week?  I fell asleep quickly, slept soundly and woke up refreshed – every night.
  • I don’t want to eat crappy food!  I really, truly believe in eating real, minimally processed local food whenever possible.  But if I really believe that, I have to live it.  I’m not quite where I would like to be, but I’m getting there.

So there you go.  A worthwhile week of food – now I just have to keep it going!

The Answer is Always Now – Day 5

Wow, this week is going fast!  Welcome to day 5 of my food recap.  Let’s get started, shall we?

Breakfast:  This is looking familiar.  Quinoa oatmeal and fruit – grapes this time.

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Because the building I work in is freezing cold all day, I went for coffee with breakfast – for the warmth as much as the caffeine.

Thanks for the coffee, sis!  It's tasty.

Thanks for the coffee, sis! It’s tasty.

After coffee, I switched to water until lunch.  Lunch was also planned for temperature today – a sweet potato and leftover steamed broccoli.  It was surprisingly pretty… and warm.  Warm was good.

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Mid-afternoon, I started to get a bit peckish, so I went for the trusty banana.

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That kept me until I got home.  Since I still had pizza dough, I couldn’t resist another pizza tonight.  I sauteed some kale, then topped the pizza dough with olive oil, roasted garlic, kale, mozzarella cheese, crushed red pepper flakes and fresh basil.  The kale that poked up through the cheese got crispy, like kale chips, and made a nice contrast to the gooey cheese – yum!

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And that’s it for tonight, folks!  No nighttime snack needed – just a big glass of water and catching up on some TV for a bit.  See you tomorrow!

The Answer is Always Now – Day 4

20150113_185655 (2)Welcome to Day 4 of my self-imposed quest to make better food choices!  So far, I’m doing pretty well – as I should be. I know how to find and cook good, minimally processed food, I just need to do it!

Today’s breakfast looks strikingly similar to yesterday’sQuinoa Oatmeal, a banana, and hot tea.  It’s fricking cold in Northeast Ohio right now, and when the temperature drops like that, I want a hot breakfast.  Making up a big batch of this oatmeal means that I have a great alternative to a cafeteria breakfast sandwich with very little effort.

All the swag might be a little misleading, but I don't work at UPS.  I do have a great source for cool UPS stuff, however.

All the swag might be a little misleading, but I don’t work at UPS. I do have a great source for cool UPS stuff, however.

Remember the apple from yesterday that didn’t get eaten?  It made a lovely snack around 11 o’clock.  I was in a meeting at my usual lunchtime, so a before-lunch snack was a must.  Otherwise I get hangry – and that’s not good for anyone!

I didn’t pack a lunch today, but our cafeteria has a pretty good salad bar, so I headed there as soon as my meeting was done.  Mixed greens, spinach, tomatoes, cumcumbers, celery, chickpeas, cheese and chicken – plus a couple hard boiled eggs – kept me going for the rest of the workday.

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My sister came over after work tonight, so I got to cook for someone besides myself, which I don’t often get to do during the week.  It’s a good excuse to make something a little bit fancy.

Now, too much takeout pizza has been part of my food issues lately, but homemade pizza is a totally different story.  Water, Flour, Salt, Yeast by Ken Forkish has the best pizza dough recipe I’ve ever made, but it does involve some planning since it has to rise overnight.  I started the dough yesterday, separated it into balls this morning, and had it ready to go when I got home from work.

I had put some frozen caramelized onions in the fridge to thaw when I started the dough last night.  Today, I chopped up some leftover chicken, broke out the burrata cheese I found at the grocery store, and viola!  Beautiful, tasty pizza.

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A little fresh basil and some red pepper flakes sprinkled on top – yum!  Warm, satisfying and delicious.

For a little dessert, I broke out my chocolate bar collection. I like to keep a number of different dark chocolate bars, and here’s why:  If I only have one chocolate bar, I will likely eat the whole thing.  Because I can.  If I have  8 – 10 chocolate bars, there is absolutely no way I can eat them all, so I can just have a few squares and put it back in the cupboard. Crazy?  Maybe.  But for me, it works.  (Also, keep in mind that I’m not talking about stuff like Snicker’s bars.  If I have a Snicker’s bar, not only will I eat the whole thing, but I’ll want three more. I’m talking good quality dark chocolate only – otherwise this system doesn’t work.)

Here are some of the chocolate bar varieties I got out for my sister and I to sample for dessert.

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A few squares of chocolate-y goodness later, we were set.  Happy tummies, warm couch, funny YouTube videos (once you watch one, it’s really easy to go down that rabbit hole).

And that’s it!  Four days down, and I’m feeling good about my food choices.  I’m still eating the things that I love, but I’m opting for real, non-processed versions.  Most importantly, I’m planning my meals, which keep me from getting caught in the “must have food now” trap that leads to bad choices.  Here’s to another day of good eating!

 

The Answer is Always Now – Day 3

Day 3, the first non-weekend day of posting all my eats, can be summed up in two words:

Better Choices.

I ate pretty well today.  More importantly, I’m happy and I feel good!  Let’s start with breakfast:  I promised you pictures of oatmeal at my desk, so here you go:

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Bam.

This isn’t just oatmeal.  This is Quinoa Oatmeal from the Thug Kitchen cookbook.  Oddly, although I don’t like plain oatmeal, this is really good without anything added to it.  The quinoa gives it an almost nutty taste that I quite enjoy.  Also, an orange.  I ate breakfast around 8ish, and this kept me good and full until 11:30.

11:30 is my typical lunchtime at work.  If you read yesterday’s post, you won’t be surprised that lunch was leftover burrito fixin’s.  Chicken and brown rice in one container to be zapped in the cafeteria microwave, and cold items (tomatoes, avocado, cheese and sour cream) in another.  This wasn’t the best picture, but I assure you it was just as tasty today as it was yesterday!

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I promise, there are veggies under the cheese!

Around 2 o’clock, I started to get a little bit hungry.  Fortunately, I had planned ahead today,and I had an apple and a banana with me.  (Does anybody else sing that Gwen Stefani song in their head every time they have to spell banana?  B-a-n-a-n-a-s…Nope, just me then.  Ok…)

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I ate the banana, but wasn’t hungry enough for both.  Don’t worry, apple.  Your day will come… Mwwwhhhhhaaaaaa!!!! (That was my evil laugh, if that was unclear.)

Monday’s are dinner with Mom days (when Dad’s bowling league is in session) and today, I was fortunate enough to have dinner with my Mom and my sister.  We went to a restaurant called Delanie’s in Tallmadge.  They have a new, very good menu – if you’re in the area, check it out!

I had a pan-seared salmon, asparagus and a baked potato.  I love salmon, and this was cooked perfectly.  Again, not my best pictures today, but yummy food.

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So that this point, you’re thinking “Not bad”, right?  And those were, overall, pretty good choices.  Real food, most of which I prepared myself.  I didn’t go get the Pepsi that I really wanted mid-afternoon (yay me!), which I’m actually pretty proud of.  So I’m okay with the choice that I made next.

About a half hour ago, I wanted a snack.  So, instead of demolishing a pint of Ben & Jerry’s like I’ve done in the past, I found this in the freezer:

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Recently, a Market District Giant Eagle store opened near me.  They carry a pretty good selection of local foods, including ice cream from Mitchell’s in Cleveland.  Here’s why I’m okay with this choice:

  • I didn’t eat the whole container, just a few spoonfuls
  • There are only a few ingredients, all of which I recognize and can pronounce (the first three are milk, cream, and strawberries)

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It comes down to this:  I don’t want to be on a diet. I want to find a way to eat things like ice cream and still be healthy and feel good.  And I think this is a good start.  Thanks and see you tomorrow!

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