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?

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A Day To Myself, Delicious Desserts, Cultural Foods

Today’s Happy Note: Fun evening with a friend who I haven’t spent enough time with lately!

I woke up this morning and laid in bed for a moment thinking.  I planned on a long run but was hungry for a big breakfast right away.  Then I realized that I wanted to take this one day and make it mine; I was going to relax and do precisely what I wanted when I wanted. I thought about a long run.  I thought about a trip to a museum.  I thought about a picnic in the park.  But after a few moments I smiled and realized I wanted to stay in, read my Oprah magazine, catch up on blogs, nap, and just think/clear my head!  And so I did.  It was really hard to let myself do nothing and I’m proud that I did.

I finally left my room at 6:00 for a workout that I did purely because I wanted to. I did a nice 6 mile run along the river followed by 40 intense minutes of full-body strength training.  I did some new moves today I’ve seen other people doing before; it’s nice to switch things up once in a while, it makes strength training even more fun!

Most of my eats today were boring but I dug into some fresh pineapple and it was pretty much the most amazing thing I’ve had in a long while so I have to share:

Sometimes I don’t like the acidic-tangy taste of pineapple but when a pineapple is perfect, it is so perfect.  Pineapple, mango, berries, and melon are my favorite summer fruits.  What are yours?

I need some new adjectives to describe delicious things.  Any suggestions? And if you’re wondering why the pineapple is a bit pink, it’s because there were also strawberries in the container!

I had the most amazing dessert outing tonight.  Sometimes it’s nice to have just a fancy dessert out; it feels classy but doesn’t rack up a terrible expense.

Pretty teapot.

I gave myself full permission to have whatever I wanted.  I ordered a coconut cream pie with a varlhona chocolate crust and berries.  Normally I am a 100% chocolate person but I was in a coconut mood tonight.  Do you gravitate towards one type of dessert most of the time? I usually avoid fruity desserts because they don’t especially satisfy me.

Look!  It is oozing creamy coconutty deliciousness!

My friend Joy got a delicious chocolate cake (I had a forkful) with a melty center and pistachio ice cream.

It’s funny that I don’t really like pistachios that much.  They’re probably my least favorite nut.  They’re a traditional Persian (Iranian) nut used in a lot of dishes and desserts.  So, being part Persian, I feel as though I should like them.  But I don’t.  I do, however, like this Persian candy made from pistachios called gaz. It also involves rose water and egg whites and general tastiness.  Here’s a picture:

Nom nom nom!  In addition to being Iranian, I’m also part Czech and part Irish.  It’s an interesting hybrid, I guess!  Sometimes I think of myself as a really weird but also interesting fruit hybrid.  Like a pummelo or something.  I don’t know that much about Czech foods or Irish foods, but I am decently familiar with Persian food.  Lots of tasty stews (khoresh), marinated meats, rice dishes (pollo), yogurt, and interesting vegetables and spices.  Growing up, my mom made mast-e-khiar a lot.  It involves plain yogurt, cucumber, mint, dill, raisins, walnuts, onions and other spices, if desired.  Looks like this:

Mast-o-Khiar (Iranian cucumber and mint yougurt)

I would like to learn more about Irish and Czech cooking.  American food, I think, tends towards the boring and bland.  As a kid I was actually obsessed with Indian food.  My other favorite types of food are Thai and real Mexican/Latin American.

Do you identify with a culture or ethnicity?  If so, do you ever cook from that culture?  If not, what are your favorite types of food?  Do you like exploring foods of other cultures or do you stick to a more continental approach?

Therapy Monday

Today’s Happy Note: Wearing one of my favorite shirts that I haven’t worn in forever because I though it didn’t fit!  It’s white with buttons and orange, red, and purple flowers.

Finals Week Health Challenge (Day1):

1. Oddly enough I did not meet my easiest goal today!  But that was my own choosing; I wanted to make it a rest day since I did a lot of running this weekend.  I might do abs before bed, we shall see.

2. Check!  I’ve had a banana, blackberries, frozen berries, dried fruit (in trail mix), spinach, and carrots.  Not bad for finals week!

3. Check!  I find that when I don’t work out, I am never hungry in the evenings.  It’s strange because I think that my evening snackage habit is tied to emotional/stress patterns, but it also is, on some level, rooted in actual hunger.  I still have not found the precise balance between the amount of food and exercise my body needs, but I’m okay with that.  I’ll get there someday.

4. Check-ish.  I was pretty hard on myself today, but turned it around by being kinder in the evening.  I visited Operation Beautiful and the notes made me feel a lot better!  I read some of them out loud to myself, so I think that counts as positive self-talk.

Therapy Monday:

Today was the strangest day.  I came in with a lot of things on my mind but as soon as I sat down on the couch (which, by the way, is wonderfully comfortable) I did NOT want to talk about anything.  Let me rephrase — I wanted to talk about things, but not important things.  Does that make sense?  I have never ever felt this way in therapy before.  I actually had a little list of things I wanted to mention: stress eating and strategies to avoid it, my plans for the rest of the month, the financial aid process, the date/boy, some of my friendships.  But as soon as I got there I just entered into this ambivalent state.  And then the ambivalence turned to hostility!

First of all, I always arrive on time.  In fact, I relish the consistency so much that I almost always ring the doorbell at exactly 12:10 for my 12:15 appointment.  This gives my therapist several minutes to let the client before me out and to prepare to see me.  Sometimes she takes a few extra mintues and I really don’t mind at all.  But today she took 15 minutes; we didn’t sit down to talk until 12:30.  I do understand that things come up — she had an emergency phone call, or something of the like — but she also knows how very important the routine and pattern of our schedule is to me.  I found this especially disruptive (although I did occupy myself with a very interesting book while I waited — I am going to borrow it next week and then hopefully do a review).  When we started talking I just felt frazzled from the get-go.  Frazzled and anxious.

The first thing I mentioned was that I was happy that, finally, the client before me is the same person every week.  For most of the semester, there was a different person every week and I did not like that.  Granted, this is a silly thing for me not to like, but no matter.  I told her that I was happy it was the same person now and that I enjoyed having this small moment of consistency; it’s a little thing that makes me happy.  I made it clear, though (or at least I thought I had made it clear), that I would not feel destroyed or distraught if it went back to being a different person.  Basically, it was something I mentioned but didn’t want to talk about.  Maybe this was a mistake on my part and I should have started off talking about something I actually wanted to focus on.  But she spent practically the next 15 minutes telling me that having the same client before me offered an illusion of control.  I disagreed, told her it wasn’t that big of a deal, and made it clear that because it wasn’t a big deal I wanted to move on.

After 15 minutes of this she finally seemed to get the point and said that she respected my wishes as to what I wanted to talk about or not.  Even this annoyed me because I felt like what she said still had an air of “well, ultimately I’m right and I think this is a bigger issue that we should talk about, but whatever.”  Annoying.  Very annoying.

After that I honestly didn’t want to mention anything.  I begrudgingly brought up a few things (like the fact that I am very strongly feeling the desire to be a mother right now — not sure why or what that might mean) but never really got into it after that.  I was very reluctant and resistant.  I feel like this is the first time where issues of process have arisen really strongly for me.  I absolutely see my therapist as a motherly figure and this is both a good thing and a bad thing: I feel very comfortable with her and loved by her, but I also feel the full range of emotions.  Sometimes she makes me angry, sometimes happy.  For the most part, things tend toward the positive, but today just felt weird.  Icky.  Different.  I did not want to listen to any psychobabble or hear any interpretations of what things in my life might mean.  Most of the time, I think it’s quite important to look at what’s going on in my life, what has gone on in my life, how I’m feeling, etc.  But I honestly just wanted a hug today.  I don’t think therapists are supposed to give patients hugs.  But that was what I wanted, I think.

I know I have mentioned the idea of comfort before.  Achieving a sense of comfort has been one of the biggest struggles for me in my recovery and growth; I have been able to change my mindset to a more broadly positive one (i.e, I no longer tell myself “you’re fat, you’re undeserving, you’re stupid”) and I have definitely noticed changes in my understanding of myself and my relationships with others, but I just can’t seem to enter a space of comfort, which is what I am most craving right now.

There are some weeks when I feel extraordinarily comforted during therapy, and there are some weeks when that isn’t something I need.  But today I needed it and didn’t feel it, and I think that is where the frustration was coming from.  I like my therapist very, very much and consider myself lucky to have her, even on days like this, I think.  The process isn’t supposed to be perfect — there are bumps in my relationships with friends, family members, etc., and I have to address those.  Maybe addressing this will make me a better friend or sister or daughter or girlfriend or classmate or whatever.

Hopefully I’ll have some more serious commentary next week.  Although in a way I guess this is serious commentary.  But it’s nice to actually feel like I’m working through things, most of the time at least.