Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Diets and Identity Crises

I'm sipping my favorite smoothie from this 21-day EatFatGetThin challenge:  Dr. Hyman's Green Breakfast smoothie.  (Recipe at the end of this post.)  The button on my jeans is unbuttoned as I sit here, which tells you something about how thin I'm getting.

A lot of folks on this challenge are complaining noticing little weight loss.  Granted, Dr. Mark Hyman doesn't promise weight loss, but thin is in the title.  Because I lost only 3 pounds, then gained one back, I decided to measure my waist, hips and thighs this morning.   In 17 days: Waist -1" smaller.  Hips - no change.  Thighs - 1 1/2" smaller.  Truth be told, I am wearing my smallest jeans.  But still, what's with this muffin top?  Another 30, 60, 90 days to take care of that?  I won't bore you with the list of no-no's I'm enduring.   I'm trying to forget they exist, but I did list them last post.

There's no denying that some of the recipes on this plan are delicious.  Most, actually.  I've prepared dozens.  However, I want it known that I do not believe a single word written in EatFatGetThin about prep time.  5 minutes prep for a 10 ingredient smoothie?  So, I am adjusting.  Multiply prep time by 6.  Chill out.  I have finally adjusted to the fact that meals are 60% prep time, 15% eating, and 25% clean-up. 

My fridge is having an identity crisis.  Mexican take-out and pizza boxes and cartons of milk once filled it.   Now frilly green things are spilling out.  And my poor kitchen!  A food processor sits where my coffee machine used to be.  A cutting board sits where my cat's bowls and food used to be.   A blender sits where my stereo speaker used to be.  Two new bottle brushes sit next to the sink.  They clean the bottles I store my homemade nut milk in.   Nut milkEasy!  Soak nuts overnight, blend with plain water, drink within four days.  DIY coconut milk:  Dig pulp out (thought I was going to say out of a coconut?), blend with plain water, keep several days.   If you actually want taste in your milk, pour in unsweetened vanilla and pretend.  Oh, dear. Morning coffee just isn't the same.  Last week I snuck into Starbucks and treated myself to a latte with coconut milk.  My God, the coconut milk Starbucks uses is like drinking pure cotton candy.  I tried valiantly, but I could not choke my $4.75 latte down.  On Easter, I treated myself to a glass of red wine.  Or tried to.  Pure syrup.  Two sips and I was through.  Add taste bud crisis to the list.

The only appreciative participant in all this is my body.  It feels like it's just rolled off the assembly line.  It feels like it is over its own very long identity crisis.  Crap.  I have tons of zip.  I exercise at least an hour a day and don't ache a bit afterwards.  I've even met my indoor cycling goal:  5 minutes cycling standing up x 3 for a total of 15 minutes per workout session.   Maybe...Next week, weather permitting, this babe is going out for the local club's 28 mile bike ride down to Long Island Sound and back.

Weird.  Weird.  Weird.  Happy and clear headed is my new normal.  Even around family.  You know, if you've been following me at all, that I can take my family only in very small doses.  I visited my family at Easter and felt the family love.  Good Lord.  They hadn't changed.  I had Between this PTSD recovery and this diet,  a new leaf has flipped over.  Will the real GowitheFlow please stand up?

Memo to body: I'm sneaking off my diet on Day 19 for my birthday.  What better time to load up on syrup and cotton candy?

Seriously, would you stay on this diet? 

Green Breakfast Smoothie   5 minutes prep time

1 lemon, quartered (washed and unpeeled)  No way am I going to eat a lemon with its rind and seeds, so peeling takes 5 minutes.
1 whole avocado, peeled and pitted
2 stalks celery
2 cups spinach
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 bunch cilantro  I remove stems
1 organic cucumber (washed and unpeeled)  I don't buy organic cukes, so I peel.
1 teaspoon organic extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt
filtered water (as needed for desired consistency)

Blend until smooth.  Nutritional analysis: calories 420, fat 30 grams, saturated fat 5 g, cholesterol - mg, fiber 23 g, protein 12 g, carbohydrate 36 g, sodium 180 mg.

Sip smoothie like fine wine. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Can a Diehard Microwaver Ever Fall in Love with Her Stove?

A foodie I will never be.  I have never lived to eat.  I eat to live.  Period.

What I have found these first five days of the 21-day Eat Fat Get Thin Challenge is that cooking from scratch is a time trasher, a kitchen counter trasher, a sink trasher.  Is this what people put up with when they cook every meal?   Don't tell, but I've snuck in one restaurant meal a day.  Cooking is expensive!  Has to be organic.  Organic.  Organic.  OrgANIC.  Go out, or cook organic?  Not both.  Too expensive.  But I must go out for breakfast.  It's my only regular socializing! ....I could nurse one cup of coffee with my own coconut creamer.  That would be cheaper.  Downgrade to nursing it at the counter instead of a table.  I worry the staff will resent me, even though I go so early in the morning there are plenty of empty tables.  Hello?  16 more days. 

This is tough.  I wonder if I can actually fall in love with using my kitchen?  I shouldn't even be taking this time out to write a post.  I should be cooking.  So far, I've put a new food processor and a food dehydrator into service.  Thrown out useless old gadgets and food that wasn't good for me.  Seen decade old clutter disappear from every horizontal surface inside and on top of cabinets.  Followed the program to a tee.   I've produced meals of 75% vegetables and 25% protein.  Exercised a half hour a day.  Meditated a half hour daily.  Checked in with the coaches of this 21-day challenge.  Well...I have had two 'sugar' slips.  A mug of cider the first day.  Next day, a glass of wine when I watched the Super Tuesday primary returns.

My big break came on Day 3 when I discovered a dish I learned to cook from Judy ( )  met every criteria for this diet. Oh, Joy!   Kraut Brot, (without the brot (bread)) is yummy and allowed.  So this was my St. Patrick's Day meal.  Cabbage and beef.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Judy.

So many no's!   No dairy, no sugar, no grains, no beans, no alcohol, no high sugar fruits, no high-starch vegetables, no processed food, no take-out.  No calorie counting, either.  My scale has shifted downward three pounds.  Despite the butter, olive oil, seeds, nuts, nut butters, nut milks, coconut milk, avocadoes, eggs, meat.  Maybe it's the endless preparation.  In any case, if I wasn't in love with two words, my intimacy with the local organic market would swiftly revert to intimacy of all things take-out.  My allegiance hangs on two words:   

Factory  reset    THIS is my new organizing principle.

Factory reset.  For my insides.  Make it like any damage never happened.  OMG.  When I saw these words in Dr. Hyman's book, I knew I had to try this plan.  This is exactly what I'm doing with my PTSD recovery.  Making it like the past never happened.   Yes, of course the past still happens, but the injury from the past needn't remain. 

Allegedly this particular diet detoxes and nourishes the body enough to reset it to optimal settings.  Reverses and prevents further damage, if one keeps cooking, which I better get back to.  So glad to have snuck in some blog time with you all!  Bye for now, and happy cooking!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Fitness, Future, Fat and Fire Hydrants

I'm missing you guys.  Missing catching up with you.  Isn't this spring weather incredible?  I've worked like crazy this winter cleaning out my basement.  It's almost picture worthy.   And, I'm getting these old knees and legs into working order these days, just in time for spring.  Bicycling every other day in front of the talking heads on CNN.    Total workout time now is 30 minutes; I'm working up to one hour.   First time, two weeks ago, I could pedal standing for 30 seconds before my legs and butt started screaming.  Now I can pedal standing up for 2 1/2 minutes, before collapsing back on the seat.  Before I can tackle the hills around here, I have to pedaling standing up for 5 minutes straight.  Wouldn't you know, my pants are getter tighter.  It's like my new muscles are pushing my fat further out.

For that little issue, I have signed up for a 21-day challenge diet plan, starting this Monday.  The "Eat Fat Get Thin" plan, from a book of the same title, by Dr. Mark Hyman.  According to him, fat is O.K.  Certain kinds anyway. Today, I'm cleaning out my refrigerator and cupboards of what's not allowed - vegetable oils, alcohol, dairy, grains, beans, anything with gluten or high fructose corn syrup.   Can't drink any wine.  Which is O.K., because I gave that up three weeks ago.  It's kind of overwhelming, this plan, for someone who doesn't like to cook.  But I want to try.  I'll feel healthier.  The 21-day challenge group has its own Facebook page - for all 1,000 of us. 

My PTSD recovery is really going well.  I'm up to Marathon Mile Marker 10.  That's my self measurement.  As it happens, I've been at it 10 weeks, so by mid-summer, I will be compulsion free.

Now that I have some real recovery miles under my belt, I can describe what my state of mind used to be while on PTSD. 

Jangled nerves, always.  No other reality, except when 1) I drank, or 2) I was on anti-depression meds.  Side effects were unpalatable for both.

A lot of you can probably relate to this; that is, if you have a phobia.  Then you know, that one terribly horrible experience with, say, a shaky plane ride, will make similar encounters something you avoid.   That's Post Traumatic Stress at work.   But what I'm learning, is that it doesn't even need to be a stressor that you yourself experienced.   You could be picking up on someone else's stress.  Do you know, that babies born to women in and around the World Trade Towers on 9/11 were born with the same traumatized nervous system that their unlucky mothers developed in response to such horror?  I knew that babies of mamma addicts have to go through withdrawal, but I didn't know fetuses can't help but carry the stress condition of their mother.  Makes sense.  However, it's not a PTSD sentence for the little babe.  If the mother truly loves and bonds with her rattled child, all will be soothed. 

If she can't, and the trauma is chronic, it's like the baby is trapped in a home with the alarm clock going off, the doorbell ringing, the telephone ringing, and the fire hydrant in the kitchen shaking from water pressure, bursting unpredictably and drowning all she cherishes when it does. 

So a little baby in such a home, grew up and became me.  I got used to mayhem.  When I moved to NYC, I fit right in, because doesn't that describe life in the Big Apple?  I was one scrappy gal, but it was very, very tiring.  At last , love beckoned, and I moved out to the country with my husband.  Here, I felt peaceful inside for the first time.  Fast forward to now.  I mean, now until this January and PTSD counseling.  Now,  when I'm out socializing,  the fire hydrant isn't shaking, ready to erupt, inside me.  It isn't even there. True, the doorbell, telephone and the alarm clock are ringing, but this is why I'm at mile 10, not 26.   By the end of this I will have the wherewithal to see who's at the door - maybe answer, maybe not - then check caller ID on the telephone - maybe answer, maybe not - and finally throw that damn alarm clock against the wall with the force it deserves.

So good to share. Happy Spring, and do write a comment, please!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Intolerable Distress of Togetherness

Greta Garbo.  She was my hero.  I went to every movie of hers at the old movie theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when I was 20.   That woman could suffer with class, and I wanted her class.

Both she and I could relate to that intolerable distress of too much togetherness.  Me?  There was never a time when I didn't feel crowded in my crazy family.  Now, at my age, I especially savor my alone time.  Separate rooms.  Separate houses.  I cannot imagine ever living with someone again.  Too much stress.   I'd be of a mind to kick even God out, if God came in and started rearranging my furniture.

There is only one condition of togetherness that I find palatable. 

Treasure the weirdness in me and you.  Plus, you keep your weirdness on your side, and I'll keep mine on my side.  

Deal?  In the spirit of sharing, I'm going to share one weird thing a day.  O.K. Maybe not every day.  Every week.  Today, my former devotion to Greta Garbo.   She was a hermit, but such a classy and beautiful one.  I wonder what her reason was for wanting to be alone?  I imagined she felt the same intolerable distress of togetherness that I felt.

I see the same thing in our government today.  Nobody gets along any better than my family did.   Donald reminds me of my mother.   The sort who commands "Get to your knees!"  Jebb was clueless, like my Dad.  Hilary is slippery.  Rubio is just trying, trying, trying.  Makes me wonder if all of them were traumatized as kids.   That being said, whenever I get to wondering why the folks we elected, or are about to elect, are so weird, I have to stop.   I can't claim the moral high ground here.  Not when I have turned out so weird myself.