A Post From The UK

Today’s Happy Note: Receiving lots of fun things in the mail today, including a sweet stack of magazines from my aunt and uncle!

No, I’m not in the UK.  But I did receive some post from the UK!

The highlight was a special letter from my special friend Sarah. Sarah and I decided to do a little writing exchange about a month back.  We both wrote about our favorite summer memories and then mailed them to each other.  It was the most fun I’ve had in a while; there is something so joyful about writing a letter, knowing someone is writing one to you too.  I loved reading Sarah’s piece — she wrote about childhood trips to a seashore.  I had vacations to Northern Michigan exactly like that!  Crazy to think that two girls, living on different continents, can have such beautiful, shared experiences.  Makes me think that people across the world have more in common than we think, sometimes.

Look how pretty her letter and card are:

It’s Royal Mail!

Thank you Sarah for such a delightful activity!

Workout: Today marks the beginning of marathon training — I am creating a day by day plan for the next 14 weeks, based largely off of this plan from Runner’s World.  I’ll let you know more about the plan as I work through it.  Mondays are actually going to be rest/cross-train days (depending on how I feel).  Obviously, I wasn’t too tired today. I did my usual two mile walk, thirty minutes of yoga, and kickboxing (boxing?) class. I love punching things.  So much.

Tomorrow should be six miles.   Excited!

Today’s Eats:

Frozen blueberries with cereal (kashi H2H) and Ronnybrook Farm milk: heavenly breakfast simplicity.

Lunch: giant salad with refried beans and hummus as a dressing.  More blueberries (fresh this time).

Afternoon snack (also had a few spoonfuls of PB and a chunk of cheese before dinner because I waited too long to start cooking and was super hungry).

An egg (sunny side-up!), a veggie sautee (avocado squash and purple pepper) along with baked eggplant with cheese. Random but yummy.  I love dinners like this, with a few different components that work together really well.

Protein ice cream: milk, chocolate-peanut-caramel protein powder, lots of ice, topped with chocolate and maple PB.   I have been craving chocolate a lot lately.  I blame my screwed up hormones.

Good news: my INR is finally high enough! I will have to get it tested weekly or monthly from now on to make sure it stays high enough (i.e., that my blood is thin enough).  I am kind of afraid I look like an IV drug user right now, so it will be nice not to have IVs so often!  Although I do have two more this week.  Awesome.

Goodnight friends.  Tell me about your weekend!

A Thing About Cravings.

Today’s Happy Note: Well, you might say that I am msot definitely caught up on my sleep….

I went to bed at eleven last night, planning to get up at 7:45 for a run and be at work by 10.  When my alarm went off, I decided to sleep in until 8:30…okay, no problem, I would still get to work on time.  8:45 rolled around and I dragged myself into the kitchen for a pretty awesome smoothie (Silk vanilla soy milk, 1/2 scoop chocolate/peanut/caramel protein powder,loads of ice, and half a banana.  All topped with Kashi heart to heart and some crunchy PB).

And then I went to my room to check email and promptly feel back asleep…until 2:00.

I have not done that since high school!  I would wake up every hour or two and think, okay, it’s time to get up now, but it was like I was in a stupor.  It was the deepest exhaustion I have felt in a long while.  So I basically slept for 15 hours.  I know I am still “sick” on the inside, so I guess it kind of makes sense, given that I have been doing a lot in the last week or so.

I made lunch when I woke up and did work on the computer (for the other job) for a few hours.

I had a mild freakout at lunchtime, when I realized that all I wanted was oats.  Carbs?  At lunchtime?  Never!!!!!!  But.  I wanted the damn oatmeal, with a fresh peach, cinnamon raisin PB, and melty dark chocolate.  This lunch proved to me how important it is to eat what I want: my body knows what it needs.  Oatmeal at lunchtime is not going to make me fat. I know this.

I might lose the weight a little bit faster if I ate salads for every meal, but I can guarantee that I would be a pretty miserable human being. 🙂

Lunch dessert (what, you don’t have lunch dessert?!?!):

Coconut popsicle and baby dark chocolate truffle.  This was eaten so late, I never had an afternoon snack.

I finally left the house around four.  At first, my brain went in to extreme mode and thought “geez Caronae, you have already been so lazy and immobile and gluttonous (that one’s not even true!) today that you should just stay in.  Just make yourself more miserable, you don’t deserve to go out for a walk or get to the gym.”  This is utterly ridiculous.  Does anyone else do this?  I hate my all or nothing mindset.

But I got out anyways!  I walked to the gym and lifted for about 45 minutes, then took a class called Sports Conditioning.  It was really fun and a great workout!  Not quite as good as my beloved kixkboxing, but still awesome.  We did lots  of cardio/strength mixtures, with jumping, abs, and running thrown in.

I was happy that I got out of the house (apartment) and did something.  No effort to move is ever too small.

I did some house tasks before dinner.  We started here…

And ended here:

Yes, that is the biggest pile of sauteed rainbow chard (and spinach!) man has ever seen.  I ate about half of what I cooked.  It was pretty spectacular.  Topped with two sunny-side up eggs (I love love love runny yolks) and bell pepper strips.  With a peach on the side!

This dinner was pure love.  I was craving some fresh veg and protein.  The chard and the eggs were from the farmer’s market.  Can’t wait to go restock my veggies (and chocolate milk of course) tomorrow!

Funny thing about dark leafy greens: as we all know, our greens are good for us.  They are rich in Vitamin K and I actually really enjoy them; cooked, raw, in omelets, stir-fries, smoothies, salads, wraps.  But.  Vitamin K interferes with the coagulation coefficient of the blood thinners I have to take (namely, the Coumadin).  In the past, Coumadin patients were advised to totally avoid greens and other veggies rich in Vitamin K.  But then, people like me, for whom that would not be possible, came around.  Okay, so maybe it’s not that simple, but you get the point.

The solution?  I can either eat no dark leafy greens at all or eat lots.  I chose the latter. 🙂  That way, it will still interfere with the drug, but they can simply give me a higher dose consistently.  My dosage is still creeping up; we’ll see how high I have to go.  I am not giving up my chard, bok choy, spinach, collards, arugula, etc.  Never!

I made a giant batch of iced tea and have already had two huge classes.  I use chamomile tea bags, a packet of stevia, and a few teaspoons of honey.  Summer perfection.

Dessert was of course consumed:

Raspberry chobani with Godiva raspberry dark chocolate and a tablespoon of Justin’s chocolate almond butter.  There are no words.  This was like a decadent ice cream sundae.  I’m in love.

Another thing I have learned about cravings: if I don’t eat what I want for dessert, I will end up overeating/emotional eating afterwards.  So I ate this “big dessert”, but now I know I won’t be raiding the cupboard in an hour or two!  So simple.

I hope everyone is having a most wonderful week.

Here’s to hoping that my 15 hours of sleep last night means I am wide awake tomorrow!

Goodnight!

In A Day’s Eats

Today’s Happy Note: I was feeling a lot of anxiety last night and sent my therapist a rant email and she sent me back a very soothing message.  She really is a major comfort.  It’s pretty sweet that she is there for me even on the weekend.

Thank you everyone for your kind, insightful comments yesterday. One thing that a lot of people pointed out was that I am still me, regardless of my size.  Additionally, most people on the beach are not looking at me at all!  They have better things to do than pay attention to the minutiae of my body. And in fact I have better things to do than pay attention to the minutiae of my body!

I feel like I have been lazy today.  The weird thing is that I can’t decide if this is actually true.  I mean, I did stuff, I just feel like it wasn’t enough stuff. I feel like Sundays should be devoted to getting-things-done.  I didn’t even workout (although I did walk maybe two or so miles).  Meh.  I guess maybe some Sundays are meant for total relaxation, perhaps?  What do you prefer — crazy busy Sundays that prepare you for the week ahead or lazy Sundays?

I did manage to pick myself up off the couch for a quick Adventure to the farmer’s market and the Cathedral. Fresh local peaches from the farmer’s market in summer are truly heavenly.  They might be my favorite food, ever.  I can’t even eat store bought ones anymore.  Other finds: crunchy cucumbers, rainbow chard, pea shoots, and mixed lettuces.

Started the day with a giant, real NY bagel (seven grain) with walnut raisin cream cheese (which, by the way, is cream cheese perfection).   I feel like bagels are a traditional NY Sunday brunch, so how could I say no?  I went with the family.  I am not a big bread person, but I really like a good bagel once a week or so.  And the cream cheese is wonderful because it’s so full of fat and keeps me full for hours.  I had this around eleven and didn’t even begin to think about eating again until after four.

My late afternoon snack was a SIAB made with vanilla soy milk, a splash of kefir, vanilla hemp/whey protein powder, lots of ice, frozen blueberries and frozen cherries.  Toppings: kashi heart to  heart cereal and Justin’s maple almond butter.

I also had a tiny bowl of cereal afterwards to satisfy my  giant cereal craving.

At some point between this and dinner I had a tiny handful of nuts and a piece of chocolate.

Dinner=meat. Dear meat, I love you.  I will never, ever leave you.

This is a multigrain wrap stuffed with home made meatballs (from farmer’s market ground beef), jarlsberg cheese, and baked yellow squash.  I made my meatballs with EVOO, salt, lemon pepper, garlic, and dried basil.  I had lots of cukes and carrots on the side.

At this point in my life, I know that eating meat (of all varieties — red, poultry, seafood) is the right choice for me.  I physically feel so much better with it in my life.  I have more energy, stay fuller longer, and I feel healthier on the inside too.  I try to eat red meat once or twice a week, along with a few servings of fish/chicken/turkey/shrimp, etc.  I know that some people may have trouble digesting meat or they just don’t like it or it does not work for them in some way, and I absolutely respect that.  But I crave and need protein.  And not just any protein: meat protein. And if I have learned anything about my relationship with food in the last few years, it’s that denying what my body wants is asking for trouble.

Phew, glad I got that out.  After dinner I had two spoonfuls of Maranatha dark chocolate peanut spread before making my real dessert.

Coconut peanut butter protein ice cream!  Topped with dark chocolate.

So pillowy.  I also had a Godiva dark chocolate truffle.

I won’t continue posting all my meals for long. It’s just something that I think I need to do for myself for a few days. I am getting used to “closing the kitchen” after a small-ish dessert, and not mindlessly munching my way through the evening.  I am hoping this will become a habit!  There are so many other things I like to do in the evening instead, especially reading.  There is never enough time for all the books I want to read, sadly.

I am a little nervous about working again full time this week.  I have lots to do, but hopefully I will give myself a break if need be.  I also need to make sure I get enough sleep.  Goodnight friends!

Adventures In Carb Lovin’ And Clean Eats

Today’s Happy Note: Got my blood work back and everything is roughly normal!  My iron and blood cell levels are all a bit low but that is to be expected at this point.  Nothing that requires hospitalization=a good thing.  I kept having nightmares last night that I had to go in and get a blood transfusion.

They are still doing tests to figure out what I actually have.  Probably some sort of creepy bacteria.  Yuck yuck yuck.

But wait.  There is more good news.  I can now eat things besides bread and plain noodles!

Exhibit A:

That, my friends, is melted dark chocolate.  Which may or may not have been on the list of approved foods.  But screw it.

Exhibit B:

Scone.  It had a weird texture (a bit dry) but a great flavor.  Tomorrow, I might venture into muffin territory.

Exhibit C:

This is pasta with a little EVOO and a lotta salt.  An inappropriate amount of salt.  And basil.  I’m supposed to be consuming salt like it’s my job, don’t hate.

Other things on the safe food list: bagels, toast, gatorade, vitamin water, dry cereal, and rice.  I can’t actually remember the last time I had a vegetable, which is scary.  I have been eating little bits of frozen fruit here and there.

I want meat.  Bad.  I want some ribs and some fish and some chicken.  And eggs.  And meatballs.  And cheese.  And hummus and sandwiches and peanut butter and waffles and tofu.  And protein ice cream and smoothies.  Not all at once though.  That would be weird.

I actually have no interest in dairy right now.  To be honest, I am a little grossed out by the idea of it.  I know it is hard to digest and supposedly mucus-producing; normally I don’t have a problem with 1-2 servings a day, but I think I’m going to skip out on it for a little while.  I read that sometimes even after a bad GI issue like this clears up, people can’t eat dairy products.

I have felt simultaneously very alienated from and intimate with my body these past few days.  A strange feeling.  I trust in my body and love it’s ability to recover but it is scary to think how sensitive we are; one tiny strand of bacteria can knock us out for days, or even kill us.  I already know how “dirty” the American food system is, but this just made me even more afraid.  How do I know that my lettuce in a bag from California never encountered bacteria, or that my milk is completely clean?

I guess we don’t really know.  Part of me wants to say “that’s why we should choose local, seasonal, and organic.”  Okay, but I already do that.  Literally half of the stuff in my fridge right now is from the farmer’s market.  In fact, I have a suspicion that that might be where the contaminated food came from.  I always wash my produce, but I suppose I could be better at it.  The frustrating thing is that there aren’t many answers here.  Short of growing everything I eat, it’s impossible to ensure my diet is perfectly clean.

I am honestly a bit afraid of food right now.  I hope this doesn’t persist; I like food too much to be afraid of it!

But what can we do?  How do we keep a food supply clean when we don’t know where most of it is coming from?  How do we ensure that bacteria or diseases don’t have a chance to enter our tummies?

Yoga, Summer Foods, New Friends!

Today’s Happy Note: Weekly Trader Joe’s visit. 🙂  I always find new fun treats at TJ’s.  It’s my favorite.  Bonus: super cute checkout boy who randomly grew up in a small town near the small town where I grew up!

No post yesterday because  of emergency work business.  Gah.  One of the downsides of having two jobs means that I’m kind of always “on call.”  If it’s not emails from patrons at my office, it’s phone calls with students from the other job or paperwork or photocopies.  I had a lot of trouble getting up early to workout this week.  I feel like maybe it was a hormonal thing — normally I can drag myself out of bed around 7 but this week I even slept through my alarm a few times, or turned it off altogether.  This rarely happens.  My guess is hormones or stress.  I have had plenty of me time so I know that can’t be the issue…

Workouts!  Yesterday I did a 4 mile walk, 10 minutes with my new kettleball, and 20 minutes yoga in the park.  Today about 2 miles walking and an hour yoga class with my favorite teacher.

I have not wanted to run much lately, probably because of the humidity.  I already sweat a lot (related to my PCOS) and intense humidity makes that even worse.  Hopefully I can maybe do a nice short run and swim tomorrow and I might have a surprise for you on Sunday!  You’ll have to wait and see. 🙂

Fun eats!

Yogurt and frozen fruit go so nicely together in summer.  I am loving frozen berries, cherries, and mango chunks.

Those are beans.  Not poop.

Cookie Friday a la Tina!  This had vanilla, macadamia, and coconut.  Twas very tasty, although I’m sort of feeling a little overloaded on carbs (I just had fruit and two bowls of cereal for dinner).  Sugar coma.  Meh.

Tomorrow I am going to have a spectacular adventure!  That might mean two adventures in one weekend if my Sunday Surprise Adventure turns out as well!  Wow.  That’s a lot of Adventuring.  Maybe I’ll meet my adventure soulmate.  Or just a new friend.  I think it’s really important to make and cultivate new friendships.  I can’t be close to every individual I meet, but a few new rewarding friendships never hurt anybody.

1.  What’s your favorite summer food? I am loving the frozen fruit, coconut, cold milk/yogurt, crunchy carrots, fresh spinach/other leafy greens, and sorbet!

2. Do you make new friends easily?  Do you have a lot of friends or just a few? I like to have a decent amount of friends but too many people at once will overwhelm me.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  What Adventures do you have planned?

Super Saturday Adventures: Swim Sandwich And Seafood Throwdown

Today’s Happy Note: Watching a TV show about giant river fish right now!  I love fish.  Fascinating creatures!  Other animal loves: all birds (especially cardinals), elephants, unicorns, and dinosaurs.  Which are so totally real.

Mental Health Note #1: It’s been a spectacular, head-clearing Saturday!  I love that about summer: Saturday is time for me to do what I want, to be free all day from work and school.  Sometimes I spend it with friends.  Other times I’m content by myself.  I like to do things that I want to do; things that will make me happy; try new things.   Saturday — and all the fun opportunity it holds — is not something that I will ever let depression take away from me!

The morning began with an awesome, “new”  workout.  New in the sense that, while I have done plenty of running and swimming, I’ve never done a real “brick” workout.  Actually, I like to call this a sandwich workout: I wanted to do a long(ish) run and I also wanted to swim (it was terribly hot).  I planned out a fun route to an NYSC with a pool.  I ran 6 miles there (the gym is 4 miles away but I threw in extra bits), swam for 30 minutes, then ran the 4 miles back.  I actually ran the way there wearing my swimsuit under my shirt and shorts.  I carried a small running backpack with my cap, googles, emergency cash, phone, keys, and clean undergarments in it.  It was easy peasy to hop in the pool when I arrived, and I just dried off with the towels there afterwards, put my clothes back on and headed back out the door.  There you have it.  A Run-Swim-Run Sandwich.

After speed showering and inhaling a mango-vanilla-peach smoothie, it was time for an Adventure!  In case you didn’t read yesterday’s post, I have changed Adventure Fridays to Adventure Saturdays for timing purposes.

The Adventure involved the Union Square Greenmarket.  And food.  And cooking:  A Seafood Throwdown! Sounds random, but it also sounded fun and I’m so glad I went.  CENYC and NAMA put together a competition between chefs from Colors and artists from SPURSE (a very random, very strange, spacey arts collective).  The goal of the event was to promote sustainable, local, aware seafood consumption.  We often fret about where our tomatoes come from, but we don’t know so much about our seafood.  The event was literally a throwdown style format — like Bobby Flay, just less formal.  There were even food network judges (although I had NO idea who they were — anyone recognize them from the pictures???).

The Secret Seafood is…Black Sea Bass!

Above right: a seafood paella and sea bass ceviche with strawberry-cucumber salsa from Colors.

Okay, so I’m not showing you all the dishes from the SPURSE team because…well, some of them were a little kooky.  I’m all for holistic living, but these people were a little much.  The guy who talked about them struck me as straight up crazy.  No other way to put it.  He said things like “we try to incorporate the idea of the air and the sea and where they meet into our idea of cooking…and it’s not cooking it’s art.”  They believed in using the entire fish in their cooking.  In theory, I agree with this.  In practice, I don’t: they made a soup out of blood and a stew out of mushrooms and the fish’s tongues, cheeks, and eyes…yeah.  I just wasn’t into it.  I must say, however, that their simpler dishes — like poached sea bass with roasted potatoes and ceviche with fresh sweet peas — seemed great.

Judges judging.  And the winner is….

Okay, so I don’t actually know.  I was near the front and getting really tired from standing in the sun and wanted others to see, so I left to do my greenmarket shopping.  I looked on the website but it didn’t say the winner.  My vote would go to Colors for simplicity, elegance, presentation, and some degree of normalcy.  If this were based entirely on creativity, on the other hand, I might be rooting for SPURSE.

It was really fun to watch the chefs collect local ingredients from the farmers, prepare and cook their dishes, and present and explain them. It was just a fun — if ridiculously hot — event.  It made me feel like I was on food network or something!

The day didn’t end there though; I would have liked to just relax, but had to do some work stuff (GRRRRR MTA bus system) that took forever.  And I meant to do laundry but didn’t.  Crap.

There were loads of fun eats to keep me going through such a busy day!  I was in and out constantly from 8 to 6!  I probably walked another 3 or 4 miles in addition to the workout described above…

Fueled myself with good eats of course!

Greenmarket nibbles!

Plenty of cereal with pb and chocolate (my favorite post-long run snack!).

I knew I wanted loads of veg and some solid protein for dinner.  But for some reason, this just made me feel sick.  Sometimes when I have a lot of veggie servings at once, this happens.  Also, it’s just so hot.  Even warm food wasn’t a good idea.  I’ve been having smoothies for dinner every night for a reason, apparently.

Mental Health Note #2: Adventures are good for me.  Good for all of me.   They make me happy and give me something to focus on and look forward to — sometimes, depression makes me retreat inward.  This tends to make things worse.  Going out and seeing new people and fun things and just exploring the world takes me outside of myself for a little while.  Yes, I come home in the evening and still feel a bit lonely.  Sometimes I long to meet someone on an Adventure.  Like my soul mate might also be having an Adventure too.  But my time will come.  I know that.  For now, I just need to make myself happy.  That’s all I can really do!

Highlights!

Today’s Happy Note: The air! Have you considered how wonderful it is recently?  Warm, cool, thick, light, scented, fresh, breezy.  It can be very relaxing and soothing.

Thanks for some well thought-out and compassionate comments yesterday!  As I read them and thought more about my blogdentity, I realized that I truly enjoy blogging about both emotional and physical well-being; my problem lies in the organization of it all!  So, going forward, I intend on doing some housekeeping and make posts more organized — I might have categories or sections or something.  It’s more for myself because I don’t want to feel all over the place!  As for content, I like what I write about.  No point changing that!

Writing is great fun for me.  I know that it will be a big part of my future.  Not sure how yet, but, to let you in on my deepest secret: I do plan on putting together a book of poetry and prose, hopefully within the next year.  There, I said it.  I would love to have a first book out before I graduate.

My camera is not transferring my pictures, sadly.  I think maybe my memory card is full?  There are just over 3000 pictures on it.  Anybody know about these things?  Do I need a new card?

So no photos 😦

Highlights!

-Kashi Honey Sunshine: why, why, why was I so afraid to try this cereal?  I have always hated pillow shaped cereals so I never tried it.  That was a terrible decision on my part because these are most excellent; very honey-flavored.  In other cereal news: WF Peanut Butter Pows taste exactly like Reese’s Puffs cereal!

-Yoga with my cousin tonight!  Perfect relaxing Friday workout.

-Got important things done at both jobs.

-Union Square in the evening.

-Triple chocolate cookie for Cookie Friday and a chocolate peanut Mr. Softee cone.  It was one of those days.

-Relaxing with my Erica Jong book (if you can call her writing “relaxing”).

-Fun plans for tomorrow (it’s gonna be an Adventure Saturday — I think my Fridays are now too busy for Adventures!)

See you tomorrow, hopefully with some pretty pictures and epic tales!

Night night.

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