Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Trying not to be difficult

I have issues. Food issues, health issues, whatever. But they are MY issues. Not my friends issues, not my boss' issues, not the server's at a restaurant's issues. So I try to keep them that way. I try to make come up with my solutions to problems rather than expect someone else to fix everything for me.

That is sometimes a challenge when trying to eat gluten, egg and dairy-free. I'm sure vegetarians/vegans face similar issues. I run with Team in Training. The night before a race, we always have a big dinner ceremony, and because we athletes like to pretend that carb-loading 12 hours before a race is beneficial, its a pasta dinner. Obviously that presents challenges for someone not eating gluten.

I had planned to bring some rice for myself next Friday to our Inspiration Dinner and hope that I could have some of the side dishes. So I asked the LLS staff what was on the menu. Not demanding (or even asking) for any special meal/treatment, just a little help planning ahead.

They sent it on to the caterers and the chef will prepare a meal for me. I didn't expect that, but I definitely appreciate it. In fact, it just made my day!

On a completely unrelated note, we ate at Hard Rock Cafe last night for another TNT dinner and I had a salad (no cheese) and fries. I didn't need the fries, but they were good!

Tonight will be tacos. One of the easier meals to modify for my needs: I made my own seasoning blend (mainly garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne and salt), ground turkey, corn tortillas (crunchy or soft), lettuce, tomatoes, onions, avocado. I don't think we even have any cheese in our house anymore.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Brainstorm - Corn

I'm feeling corny lately - Scott picked up several ears this weekend at Kroger and the creamed corn also caught my eye. Maybe due to a friend mentioning corn casserole last week. Who knows.

Regardless of why, corn chowder sounds good right now and its kind of coolish outside today so a soup would make a good dinner. It'll be another busy night. I want to go by Matthews Bicycles before going home. I'm scoping out road bikes to start training on and cycling is kind of a whole new world for me. I love my Schwinn mountain bike, but I need a road bike for the triathlon (did I mention I officially signed up!?) and whatever comes next.

Back on topic - corn chowder. So I have two cans of creamed corn and some regular corn too. So my plan involves carmelized diced onions and bell pepper, creamed corn, whole kernel corn, green chilis, cilantro, maybe some tomatoes and little bacon for flavor. It sounds good to me. I'll let you know how it turns out.

UPDATE: Firstly, I think I found my bike!! I hope to buy this weekend. Secondly, the corn chowder turned out yummy. Here's what went into it:

1/2 onion, diced
1/2 sweet bell pepper, diced
4 oz can diced green chiles
4 slices bacon (I used the kind that is already cooked)
2 tomatoes, diced
1 15 oz can whole corn corn, drained
1 15 oz can creamed corn
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
mesquite seasoning
salt & pepper to taste

Caramelize onion and bell pepper in a pot. Add bacon, green chiles and tomatoes. Add corn (both cans), coconut milk and seasonings. Stir and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Makes about 4 servings.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My pants are falling off

It’s an inconvenient, but welcome problem. I’m not sure what size the dress slacks (I hate that word) are today, but I know that about three months ago, they were tight and I seldom wore a belt with them because it would cut into my stomach.
Today, I can take them off without unzipping or unbuttoning them and I have the belt on the last (ie smallest) hole and they are still not staying up on my waist. 

The decision to change my diet was not for weight loss. It was for “feel better.” The weight loss has been a bonus. And because it was not to lose weight, I really think I can stick with it for the long haul. I’m not saying I’ll NEVER eat everything I’m avoiding right now again, but bread doesn’t sound good anymore. Neither does most junk food. I just imagine that grease sitting in my stomach and it makes me nauseous. 

I’ve brought my BMI down from 34.7 to 31. According to the charts, I am still obese (which I find ridiculous, but my insurance company doesn’t see photos of me or evidently care what kind of shape I’m actually in, so they still judge me by it), but if I lose 10 more pounds I’ll merely be overweight!  I’d have to lose 35 more pounds to get into the high end of my “normal range.” I’m not sure I really want to do that though. I’d be afraid to lose muscle tone to get down that much.

So I’m going to try to continue to not worry too much about the scale and instead just keep on keeping on eating what is good for my body and enjoying my workouts . I will admit to cursing Tony Horton last night though as I did pull-ups. I’m not sure that cursing my instructor is enjoying it, but Tony would say “that’s a beautiful thing.”  

For the record, I don't know what we're having for dinner tonight. I still have leftover butternut curry sauce with lentils and rice, so probably that, but I also have track practice until 7 pm and I really need to go to the store and get a few things as well so we might get something out and about. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Who knew I could make such a dang good curry sauce?

I had a butternut squash just hanging around the house not doing anything, so I peeled it (which by the way, royally sucks – I’m a little surprised I still have nine fingers….just kidding, I do have 10) and cubed and steamed it. I threw some diced onion in there in the steamer as well. 

Then – and here’s what it gets really fun – I pulled out the Cuisinart I got for Christmas from the boyfriend (Thanks boyfriend!) and I pureed the squashiness and onions. Then I added some cilantro and some hot Madras curry powder, garlic powder (I wanted fresh minced garlic, but it was not in good way) and about half of a 15 oz can of lite coconut milk (so let’s say a cup). I used Trader Joe’s brand, but any old coconut milk would work. Heck, even dairy milk or other substitute would work. 

Then I whirled it around a bit more. That’s it. Curry sauce. And it’s so yummy. Of course it looks like something you would either feed a baby or clean off his behind, but it tastes great. I had some for lunch on a plain baked potato. I made some lentils and brown rice a couple days ago, so I think I will have that with some of this lovely curry squash for dinner. I doubt I’ll convince the kids to have any, so they’ll get to have some vegetarian chili spaghetti. Maybe I’ll mash up some lentils and mix it into their chili for good measure. Wouldn’t want them missing out on any of the lentil super-foodness. (Totally a word). 

Last night I had some of that aforementioned chili (no spag for me) with corn tostada shells before I headed to a triathlon clinic. I’m pumped about doing a tri now. I’m planning my first in August, and I’m still a little nervous – I’d be crazy to not be – but I can totally do it. I could go out and do the run and swim portions now (distance-wise), so I need to work on the biking, transitions and open-water between now and then. But I can so do that! 

Maybe I should focus on getting through this next half marathon first though. I have 2.5 weeks until the race and I would like to get one more long run in. I did get 8 miles in last Friday, but with the thunderstorm during part of it, I felt a little off. I’m shooting for a long run on Sunday morning.

1 butternut squash, peeled & cubed
½ onion, diced
Cilantro (optional)
1 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt to taste

Steam the squash & onion until tender. Puree in a food processor. Add cilantro, spices and coconut milk. Pulse until well blended. Eat. Eat with other stuff. Like rice, or veggies, or potatoes, or lentils, etc. Or just drink it out of the food processor with a straw. Whatever. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Challenge: Accepted and Conquered

I'm back in Indianapolis. Back at work. I made it through the long weekend of traveling and crying. I'm still not out of the crying woods, but back home nonetheless.

I took more snacks than I needed with me on the road trip, but I think the preparation helped. It was also helpful that both hotels had refrigerators. On the way down to OKC we stopped at Panera. I could have gotten a salad there, but I already had my black bean and rice concoction that I ate instead. I also had that for dinner that day. Each day I had my Shakeology for breakfast - made with the vanilla almond milk I took with me. Thankfully the catered meal provided at the funeral was friendly to me. It probably did have butter in it, but that's not too bad - roast beef with carrots, green beans, salad (no dressing) and Yukon gold mashed potatoes. I had leftovers of the same for dinner at my aunt's house.

Breakfast on Saturday was at a restaurant that touts itself as being open to substitutions and sharing dishes - Huzzah! (I strongly recommend First Watch.) I had a potato, bacon, tomato and avocado skillet (with the eggs on the side for my cousin's son) with a bowl of fruit. I had carrots with hummus and fritos with salsa for lunch. Dinner was taquitos at a Mexican restaurant in the small town where we stayed Saturday night. Yesterday I had cereal with blueberries for breakfast and a Luna bar with clementines for a snack (or maybe that was the other way around).

Unfortunately by the time we made it home at 3 pm yesterday I was feeling extremely fatigued. Its a familiar feeling - a symptom of either my autoimmune or the medication (hard to tell which sometimes), but my limbs were incredibly heavy. I had Qdoba, then passed out on the couch for a couple hours.

Thankfully I feel much better today. However, I've decided to make today a Shakeology cleanse day. As I told the family at breakfast on Saturday - I had more red meat in the two days we were in OKC than I have had in weeks. To which my cousin's husband responded, "Welcome to Oklahoma City!" So today it'll be three shakes with fruit and nuts for snacks. I'll eat something "clean" for dinner - probably curried lentils with butternut squash sauce.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A new challenge

I've been following new dietary restrictions for about three months now. It hasn't been as hard as I thought it might be, but tomorrow I will be facing a new challenge in this new part of my life.

Tomorrow I leave home. Obviously I leave home all the time, but just for the day. Unfortunately on Monday evening my mom's only brother, my uncle John, died suddenly. Tomorrow we will be driving to Oklahoma for the funeral, returning on Sunday (12 hour drive each way). Finding a decent meal on the road at fast food restaurants, convenience stores and hotel continental breakfasts will be tough. I walked through a c-store last week and walked back out empty handed. I'm not saying I can't find something to fill up on, but its hard to find fruits and vegetables, rather than just meat and fries.

I feel bad because I'm afraid I'm going to be filling up the car with my stuff, but I'm going to be bringing my blender so I can make shakes, a bag of food and a small cooler for almond milk and the lunch I've made for myself - rice with black beans, roasted corn, salsa and cilantro. I also picked up some cooked chicken at the Marsh salad bar as well.

Then of course, once we arrive in Oklahoma we will probably be eating at several restaurants so I'll work through that as well. I know I'll be just fine, but the first time for any experience like this is always a little scary.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

How lazy I've been...

Lazy as a blogger, but otherwise not lazy! I've actually been very busy. I've held two fundraising events for Team in Training and planning a third for next week. I've been doing P90X, running and of course carefully planning meals.

For the past three weeks I've been posting my meals on a nutrition group Facebook page. The smart thing to do would have been to post here at the same time. Oops.

So here's a quick rundown of some of the meals I've made:

Honey-mustard chicken & steamed broccoli
Grilled tamari-marinated tilapia with ginger rice & bok choy
Garlic veggie stirfry
Grilled steak with sauteed spinach and baked potato
Black bean, red pepper and quinoa salad with salsa verde
Grilled vegetable kebobs with rice noodles
Thai red curry stirfry with brown rice
Roasted turkey with hummus and bell peppers

Right now I have italian vegetable soup simmering on the stove (bell pepper, onion, celery, carrots, white beans, tomatoes, garlic, beef stock and herbs).

I'm not sure what's on tap for this week, but we're well-stocked so I shouldn't have any trouble. This isn't an official plan, but some ideas include:
Pork chops with sweet potato and apple
Thai chili-lime stirfy
Tilapia with salsa verde & rice
Italian sausage & pasta

I'm trying to reduce the amount of meat we eat. Not cut it out completely, but reduce the frequency of which we eat it. Hopefully that can help offset the cost of eating better quality, less process foods.