Friday, April 6, 2012

New Leaf

Dear Diary,
If you had asked me yesterday how I'm doing, the answer might not have been pleasant, but I slept for ten hours last night and I'm feeling much better. The amazing recuperative powers of sleep.

Beyond Brussels Sprouts: Eating The Leaves 
I'm in the home stretch of spring semester and I'm just trying to hold on. I'm fairly certain they're trying to do me in. From the very beginning, I've said my goal is simply to still be standing at the end of each semester. Funny, how it's almost come down to that. If I can just stay upright, I think I might be able to pull this off.

I'm convinced this new way of eating and of looking at food is the biggest factor in being able to make it through these courses. It doesn't matter how capable or determined we are, when our bodies are also trying to cope with consistently bad food choices, all of our energy reserves go into trying to digest food and there's precious little energy left for anything else. I've had my moments, transitioning from processed foodstuff to eating real food. It was really hard getting started, but the choices are easier now. Between juicing and eating whole foods, I'm feeling so good. I think I can actually make it.  

I'm not going to be writing any page-turners here in the next several weeks, I may not even keep up with my daily check-ins over at The Constant In-Between, but I'm still here, juicing away. I went to my garden this morning and picked kale and  giant Brussels sprout leaves to add to my juice. I planted these veggies late last fall. They made it through the winter nicely and I now have a garden filled with beautiful greens. I'm so psyched about harvesting things from my own garden to juice. I'll be planting more soon to keep this going.

Talk again soon.

Happy juicing,

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Keepin' It Real

Dear Diary,
It's me, Becky.  You remember me, right?  The weird one from Minnesota who writes the really long, rambling entries, wondering about the meaning of life and trying to find it in her food.  Yeah, me.  I'm back.  Sort of.

I have been back and forth with the raw thing, more back than forth recently.  But just the "raw" part.  I am still doing 80/20 with the whole, unprocessed, lots of veggies part of the deal.  That's easy peasy now. Raw is harder.

The thing with food is, it's not just food.  It's fuel.  It's nourishment.  And it's social (hello, barbecue season!), emotional (who hasn't cried into a tub of Ben & Jerry's?) and it's comforting (think of all those casseroles - ahem, hot dishes! - after a funeral).  It seems this food stuff should be pretty cut and dried.  Eat what's healthy.  Don't eat what's not.  End of story.  If only.

I would be lying if I didn't admit to having many days where I want to go back to my old "healthy" way of eating.  That good old Clif bar, apple and copious coffee way of eating.  It was so much easier back then:  think of food as fuel only.  Take the other stuff (enjoyment, pleasure, thinking, planning, preparing) out of the equation and, wow, problem solved.

Right.  If only it were that easy.  If only I truly believed that were healthy eating.  A healthy example for my daughters.  Tempting though it may be, I can't do that.  I know it's not the answer.  But I have to admit, I have started to get a little sick of all the hard work, the obsessing about food.  And I was really fed up with my stomach hurting all the time.  So I put away the books, listened to my gut (literally) and my common sense, and this is what's working for me now: more whole grains, greek yogurt at breakfast, lots of veggies but not entirely (or even mostly) raw.

I don't know if it's the yogurt.  The grains.  Probiotics.  Some sort of combining/miscombining.  Maybe it was too much too soon.  Or maybe my system just can't handle all that raw produce.  I don't know.  And, to tell you the truth, I just don't really care right now.  The weather seems to have officially turned to Spring. I'm running 20-plus miles a week.  I'm out and about and living in the world.  And it feels good.  I've learned so much about food (REAL food), that making good choices is second nature now.  And a day in which I make "bad" choices doesn't fill me with guilt and regret but just feels like, okay, that's enough, I don't like the way my body is functioning right now so I just don't want to do this again.  Even on vacation.  So that's a good sign.

I still struggle with the perfectionist in me.  The competitive drive in me that wants to do this RIGHT.  BEST.  The old all-or-nothing.  But I seem to be better and better at ignoring that voice in my head and listening to my gut.  At least when it comes to food.  And it feels good.

One of my nutrition inspirations here in St. Paul, someone who's read every book, who was a vegetarian back when I was living on bagels and Bud Light, posted on Facebook recently something that sounded vaguely like this: "The vegan pasta dish I made the family for dinner tonight was so awful we decided to dump it, and we all went to DQ for blizzards and hotdogs."  Talk about keeping it real - you've gotta love that!  Every time that obnoxious Perfectionist voice in me rears its ugly head, I think of that fabulous woman laughing her ass off at the failed dinner and then enjoying every last spoonful of that blizzard.  And that image makes me so happy.

So, in the vein of keeping it real, here's my all new BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS recipe (per your request).

In the food processor throw:

1 pear, chopped
1/4 c pecans
1/4 c prunes
1/4 c raw oat flakes (or oatmeal, as I usually call it, just not cooked)
dash (or two or three) of cinnamon

Hit CHOP button a few times until it's all mixed around and looks like raw granola.  Eat it with almond milk - or greek yogurt, as I do...and enjoy!  (BTW, feel free to do apple and raisins or any other combo here.  Eat what you like).

Nice chatting with you,