Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yan' Can Cook!

What an eventful couple of weeks!
My health kick is still in full force, thankfully. In order to maintain my goal, I needed to know how to cook. Wraps and pasta just aren't the best way to get healthy, and they do get old after a while. Noticing my struggle and knowing my horrible eating habits, my good friend Deepa offered me a fun night of cooking lessons!

A couple weeks ago we met up at her house and sat me in the kitchen for an initial pep talk on what we were going to accomplish that night. We were going to chop, cut, broil, steam, and saute veggies. But first, we needed to get our tools. Luckily, the day we chose was also the day of the farmers market! There we found zucchini and squash (which have quickly become my go too veggies, love them!) The problem when Deepa and I get together is that a) we are highly easily to distract, and b) love to shop, therefore we took a minor detour and went to a couple stores including target to get me a steamer basket!

After we got that bit of shopping out of our system, we got down to business. Back at her house she developed the plan of action for our dinner:

-Cook up brown rice
-Steam carrots
-Saute onions, zucchini and squash
-Add tofu
-Roast beets (I had never had beets before!)
-Make mocktails (uh, yumm!)

Throughout the whole cooking adventure, she was explaining what to look for in veggies, different ways to cook them, adding spices, and switching veggies in and out using the template she had set for me. I don't think I had ever learned that much in one night. I am SO thankful for what she taught me. After she declared dinner ready she grabbed a plate and portioned out scoops of our yummy dinner. I felt full, healthy, and felt like I could easily do this at my home!

I got a chance a few nights later where I recreated almost the same dinner to help me retain all of the great info. Yummy!

The skills definitely sunk in, because this past Sunday I decided on making us a big Fall breakfast. I made pumpkin spice french toast, veggie bacon, and sweet potato hash (!!!! so yummy). I think I surprised Carl.

Who know you could teach an old dog new tricks! Hopefully more of my cooking adventures will be posted on here soon.

More news to come!

Friday, October 15, 2010


We are 60% water. I was 60% black tea.

I've never been the caffeine chugging, coffee craving, morning person that most people I know are. Every morning, I would bring/buy a glass of tea and sip on that at work. Come home and have more. My rationale was, "well, it's make with water! Whats the difference?" Turns out, a lot.

Another one of my "Get Healthy 2k10" ideas was to hydrate those cells! This did not mean, drink more tea!
Before Carl went one tour, I was concerned for his hydration health, so out we went to by Nalgene bottles. I used mine for a few days, forgot it at work for a while, and went back to tea. Carl lost his on tour. We fail. Well, now with this health scare/health turn around thing, I've cleaned it out and armed myself with a few helpful things:

1) Neon green Nalgene bottle- yes, the color has nothing to do with health, but it helps me remember to take it with me! It's adorable, and now it is decorated with a Sundials sticker (D'awwww).
2) Britta FIlter- Granted, for the Alkaline diet, it works better with alkalized water (??) but I dont have he money for a $200 filter. Now we just need to get in the habit of filling the Britta up so I don't have painfully watch each water droplet purify while i'm running late for work.
3) Refrigerator accessories!- It's sadly true, but plain water isn't very thrilling. Add a little bit of lemon? FANTASTIC! My fridge is now stocked with lemons and a lemon keeper! It's cute, and allows me to cut up a bunch of lemon, and then grab-n-go in the mornings! Plus, lemon DOES help wake you up. Go citrus!

The first morning after I drank just half of the suggested amount of water, I woke up refreshed and not as lethargic as I have been. I haven't had tea in about 2 weeks, and I have been keeping up on my water intake, already my skin is looking better as well. Double win!

This upcoming week I will be getting together with my good friend Deepa to discuss cooking techniques and recipes! You have no idea how excited I am (she is a great cook too!).

Those servings of fruits and veggies are within my grasp! I feel it!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Initial Stock Up

Rarely have my hands grasped at those colorful pump items commonly known as vegetables. As mentioned in my last post, the fresh produce isle and I are acquaintances at best. It's not that I don't like veggies, it just that 1) i'm picky and 2) I have no idea how to cook. For most people, having either/or of those problems is not detrimental, now having both? Kiiinda' screwed.

My capabilities in the kitchen must involve flour and sugar in order for me to create something close to edible (though, It should be noted I made a small jag into chili last year, so not all hope is lost). My goal upon entering the mounds of produce was to leave with an assortment that would not end up congealing in the bottom of the fridge like most of their previous friends had gone to die. After a tour of the goods, celery, spinach, lemons, avocados, and grapes made it into my basket. Pretty good for a first round. If we are supposed to eat a rainbow, I tackled the bottom half, better then what I have been doing, that must count for something, right?

The first few listed items were quickly snatched, but once it got to the avocados I froze up. Some looked super dark, some pretty green, some super mushy, others rock hard. Ehh....eenie meenie miney moe.. Well, not exactly but it wasn't far off. I looked to other for guidance, recalling some people manhandling them. I ended up choosing the happy medium, i chose right. SCORE!

Do any of you remember the Simpsons episode when Marge and Lisa are at the grocery store and Marge tries a grape to see if the bunch is sweet? I do. I remember Lisa insisting that it is stealing and that her mother needed to pay for the prematurely eaten grape. Every time I pick up a bunch of grapes I recall this episode, and laugh. Then, walk briskly away as I notice people noticing me pausing in front to the red-seedless display with a glazed look.

So far, 3 days into my "Get Healthy 2K10" adventure, I'm feeling fairly optimistic. Only a few cheats (cappuccino this morning, and cheese fries last night, FAIL!) For breakfasts I've been having egg, spinach and cheese wraps. Almonds or 'ants on a log' (!!!!!) for a snack, and a turkey, avocado, hummus wrap for lunch (i'm trying to stay away from bread, being part italian, you can not even imagine my pain). The only problem is that I usually only eat two meals a day. This needs to change. Anyone know of any super easy, idiot proof dinner ideas?

One thing that is already showing signs of progress is drinking loads more water. I am limiting my tea intake to once a week, and i've never been much for sodas, until Carl introduced me to Cheerwine, (can we talking about awesome?!) but those will be limited as well. Just from drinking more water I already feel less 'womp-womp' and more 'wohoo!'.. my vocabulary often fails me, be warned.

Tasks on the to-do list:
-More food ideas
-Wean self off of sugar
-Talk to an herbalist (?)
- Ignore the Cheetos that my Grandmother gave me on my last visit

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I WILL Get Healthy

It is safe to say that the past couple years have challenged me mentally and physically. Death, other family tragedies and sudden change have all tested my ability to continue afloat, and unfortunately these years of stress, poor nutrition and poor choices, have all been put in the spotlight after being diagnosed with a health problem within the past month.

My initial reaction lasted up until a few hours ago honestly- sheer terror. After loosing my Mom 3 years ago to cancer, anything medical related makes me freeze. Granted, it's not a walk in the park for anyone, but the pain my Mom and family went through is still entirely too fresh in my mind.

I was alone when a physicians assistant told me what was going on in my body, and I wanted to run/ deny it. One bad fact and my brain runs rampant with worry. Luckily, I have an amazing support group of people who know my gun-shyness and took it upon themselves to do research and help calm my fears. One act of support lead my boyfriend, Carl, to talking to one of his best friends. At first, I was a little nervous having my private business spread further than just my immediate family and chosen few friends, but I was very lucky that he did. Turns out his friend's lady has had a relatable experience and she wanted to help.

Being super shy, and a somewhat private person, I didn't immediately jump on the opportunity to talk to her. I was still processing my emotions, I didn't even know what questions I would ask her! Today she reached out. We chatted on Facebook for about an hour about her experiences, some resources that she respects, and made it comfortable for me to ask any questions/ air out concerns.

She told me more or less of the following: Get healthy and don't worry. My eyes darted over to the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie batter that was staring at me with an angelic glow from my kitchen- damn.

A few months ago my Dad came down to visit and he then critiqued the condition of my house. The problem in that is that my home is who I am, if you walk into my house you are more or less getting an insight into who I am. It's a very personal space! After he left, I realized that my home, and body, have become an extremely messy situation. I decided it is time to take care of myself. Step one was to clean my house, step two go to the doctor, which is what has lead me here. Already on the "Let's get better!" kick, i took well to some of the ideas that she gave me.

One of these ideas was alkalization. I Googled it and found an article asking "Are you an acidic person?" I immediately thought of those online surveys helping you to determine if you were a romantic or a cat lady. Luckily, the article was far more informative and broke down the aspects of alkalization, and let me tell you, it makes sense! It is all about the Ph of ones body, and food contributes to this. Certain foods have higher Ph levels and if the body becomes over saturated, causing an acidic body, which can cause health problems. Ah ha! Therefore, lower Ph foods/alkalizing foods will lead to a healthier functioning body as well as reducing the acid in the body. Hello, I'm Catie and I have an acidic body.

Not 15 minutes after I said goodbye to my very inspiring friend, I grabbed my purse and ran to the grocery store.

Walking through the doors of Kroger I felt confident, I now hold the key to being able to control the happenings in my body a little more. I felt like I had a secret that no one else knew, food can make you healthy! (Shhh!) Well, the only problem with that is that I have picky-eater tendencies. Very picky. As a child I think I was nothing short of a nightmare with a taste for bread. Dating a vegetarian, i've been slowly trying to let go of these immature taste buds and upgrading for, I dont know... green things?

This past behavior has left some marks. My confidence subsided when I walked to the middle of the veggie department and though, "huh, what do I do now?" Luckily I had armed myself with a list of acceptable fruits and veggies and went from there. I felt highly out of place. I passed by shoppers wondering, are they looking at me? Do they know that i'm a rookie? At the check out one of the ladies asked me what I was making, taking note of all the veggies she was shoving into bags. "Nothing! I'm getting healthy. Today is the initial stock up." "You go girl!"

Feeling less run-over, and more empowered i'm currently drinking a gallon of water with lemon and have an avocado turkey wrap in the makes.

I WILL get healthy, I have to.
I will keep you all updated on my progress and adventures in healthy food.