Sunday, January 08, 2012

The New Challenge

Ok, holidays are over, houseguests are gone, and there are no disruptions in the foreseeable future.  It's time to get back to normal.  Ah, normal, I missed you so much...

I'm sure everyone is curious how my vacation from my food vacation went.  Well, it was pretty crap-tastic, in all senses of the word.  I was fine for two or three weeks, enjoying grilled meat and a wee bit of sweet stuff, and lifting better at the gym again, and then I got sick.  One of the nastiest colds ever.  And of course since it was Christmas and I had piles of stuff to do, I couldn't afford my usual cold "cure" which consists of pho, hot baths, lying around the house doing nothing for 2 days, and sleep.  Oh no, I was making presents, running errands, getting stuff together, working (for the client who gave me the virus in the first place, so I didn't even have an excuse to get out of that) decorating the house, baking, etc.  So of course my cold lasted longer than it should have, and somehow involved so much snot that I felt nauseous all the time because of it running down into my stomach.  The only way I could feel halfway decent was to eat rather a lot of starch.  Which somehow turned into bread.  And then I felt gross in a different, more bloaty way.  Anyway, I'm better now, and eating better, and this week I've been back at the gym and have a new workout routine that I am thoroughly amused by.  Of course I have some bloat, and some actual flab, to lose.  But what fun is the new year without a bit of extra challenge?

I'm definitely going back to a low-food-reward diet, but with a few modifications.  The first is more vegetables - after watching this video I'm very inspired and could definitely have more veg in my life.  I'm not as big as that woman so I'm thinking 9 cups a day is excessive for me.  I think any more than 6 cups a day would jeopardize my overall caloric intake, so I figure that's a good amount to shoot for.  Say one cup in the morning, either in vegetable omelette form or in a smoothie, 2-3 cups in a salad at lunch (simple olive oil & lemon juice or apple cider vinegar dressing), a cup raw for snacks in the afternoon and 2 cups with dinner, either gently sauteed, steamed, or in stew.  I like the amount of offal I was eating before so I'm going to keep up with that, but I think I need some extra omega-3's so I'm going to up the seafood by shifting my basic lunch from stew to salad topped with canned fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines).  The trick is finding those without soy oil!  So that's going to be my basic diet - omelette, smoothie, salad, raw veggie sticks, stew.

Not so hard, right? But wait! Because extra-extra challenge is even MORE fun, we have the husband (let's call him Stirling) wanting to get HIS diet better too, but he doesn't want to make his food less tasty.  For the record, he wants to be basically lower-carb Primal.  So that's fine, but we also have a child (let's call her Rowan) who has an entirely different set of dietary needs - she's six, and while I have no concerns about her health or her food intake at the moment, if she started eating less, we could start to see some growth problems.  She has approximately 0% body fat, muscle tone that most people would kill for, and burns a lot of energy doing things like this.  So she needs food that's nourishing, healthy, AND super-tasty, so she'll actually eat it.  I'm also trying to cut back her wheat intake, just on the grounds that I don't think it's the best way to grow little bodies, given the gut-health issues associated with it.  I don't, however, want to reduce her overall carbohydrate or starch intake, since those are excellent delivery vehicles for the fat and protein she needs and provide her with a lot of readily accessible energy for her bouncings.

My challenge, therefore, is to devise weekly meal plans that deliver what each person wants and needs, without me spending hours in the kitchen each day. (To be clear, if we won the lottery, I would spend hours in the kitchen by choice and hire someone else to do laundry, cleaning, driving, errands and so on - but the reality is, I have other things I need to do besides cook.)  I'm not exactly sure how possible this is.

For this week, my plan is to prep (today, after I get finished procrastinating by blogging) a bunch of veggies.  I'm going to pre-cook what I think I'll need for 3-4 breakfasts for me and Stirling (he can have veggie omelettes too, they're nice and Primal) so I can just scoop them out of a container in the fridge onto a partially cooked omelette and stuff it under the broiler.  I'll have one container of seasoned veg and one of plain.  I'll cut up all the raw-snacky vegetables for snacks for all of us, and have dips for Rowan and Stirling.  I'll probably also cut up a mixture of veg for preparing in a variety of ways (steaming, roasting, in soup or stew) to use throughout the week, since veggie-chopping is what takes most of the time in meal prep.

I also need to make some jerky for Stirling and Rowan.  I'm going to make myself a nice big tub of Stew-o-Blandness and figure out ways to make dinners in which I can partake so the Stew-o-Blandness goes further.  This week is all about the experiments, so I'll post back with what works and what doesn't.  Even if you don't have divergent dietary needs going on in your house, I might find stuff that makes healthy meals a bit more streamlined generally.

Gotta go chop now, but coming up is a post on my actual goals for the new year.  Unsurprisingly, they involve some physical activity.


Blogger Underground For Tea said...

Thanks for inspiring me, I'm trying my own low reward challenge for this week. Made a giant batch of soup with chicken thighs, collard greens, spinach, beets, and tripe. Boiled up a bunch of eggs for snacks. Will be drinking "bullet-proof coffee" (coffee with coconut oil) in the mornings.

6:27 PM  

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