Thursday, January 24, 2008

Difficult week

This week has been a difficult week for my diet. Last week I didn't go to the farmers market due to the weather and some other projects going on but I had my meals planned out and had everything I needed on hand. Since Tuesday I have found myself drained of energy as I drive home, feel so worn out but unable to fall asleep weather early or late, woken up the next morning more tired than I was the night before and that just makes for a miserable morning. Not to mention that I have had to be to work early 2 days and eat out 3 times and that threw off an already difficult schedule. So I have not eaten very much local or organic food and in my sleep deprived state I found it very hard to even keep eating healthy. I think that in the future I will need to have some frozen meals on hand to keep me from eating out when I feel like it rather than just when it is absolutely necessary. I also think that I have some sort of mental block against my cooking/freezing abilities which keeps me from craving my own home froze meals when I'm stressed; that's when I seem to want to eat out. I will post our food logs when the week is over.

Today I also got some mixed news about K. The Dr. called to say that her blood work looked fine but that because she was still failing to thrive and was having poor wt gain that we should visit a nutritionist to do some calorie counts and look closer at her diet. If that doesn't work than its time to see the specialists. Ks wt gain problem is at odds with my obesity and quest to eat lean. Its so hard for me to see her size as a problem when my sister and I were both extremely small, low wt babies and kids. I find myself wishing I had her problem. But I also try very not to project any negatives on her and her eating habits. I don't want to push food on her all the time or pressure her to do anything that she is not already inclined to do for fear of doing some harm or instilling habits in her that will not be helpful in the future. If I give her the idea that she has to eat a lot now, when she is skinny, she may carry that into her adult life, when there is not a wt problem, and that would not serve her well. I would rather teach her to eat at meal times if she is hungry.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weather Report

Last week we came off of the warmer, spring-like break in the winter weather and were hit with snow and ice all Thursday 4-6in. Friday morning things were still frozen and the intersections difficult but by afternoon the roads had cleared and were fine. Saturday was up to the 40s and but cloudy and just felt dreary. Last night temperatures dropped and it has remained in the teens though with the winds it feels like 0. It should warm up overnight and for the rest of the week we are expecting sunshine and little precipitation with high temperatures in the 30s.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Local Food in my Pantry and Dish #1

In preperation for my participation in PTF's 100 FOOT Challange I decided to take stock of what local food I have in my pantry. Most of this would be stuff that I canned this summer or have gotten recently at the Leesburg Year Round Farmers Market. I have:
  • Pork Chops from Baker
  • Ground Beef patties from Mill Road
  • Chicken from Fields of Athenry
  • Strawberry Jam with fruit from Great Country Farms, home canned
  • Strawberry Jam with fruit from Great Country Farms, home froze
  • Creamed Corn entierly from Great Country Farms, home canned
  • Corn entierly from Great Country Farms, home canned
  • Apple Sauce with fruit entierly from Great Country Farms, home canned
  • Frozen blueberries, strawberries, peaches, and black raspberries from entierly from Great Country Farms, frozen
  • Bean soups with local stock and vegetables, frozen

Its not much but its a start and until it starts to thaw out here Im going to be heavily reliant on food I can purchase at the farmers market or other local producer. My biggest challange is going to be sourcing the spices, condiments and basic pantry items when the run out; all the things that I have taken for granted up. I buy most everything I can in organic form but still reach for the convenience item if an organic althernative is not redily available.

The good news is that I had my first local dish last night with out even realizing it. I sauted a cut of pork tenderloin I bought from one of the local farmers market regulars and did a rasberry port and balsamic vinigar reduction for the sauce. The port came from a near by vinyard, the vinager from a local business and the whole raspberries from this summers crop. It was quite delicious. I'm looking forward to grilling some local burgers and pulling out some of my soup and corn.

Found a path to follow

It may seem odd, but the more I look at my life, the more I wish I was living another. Its not that I want to be skinny and fit and popular (Don't get me wrong, I do want those things) but more that I want to be living the life that my parents lived when I was growing up. I want grow my own garden, hang my clothes out to dry, I want to raise my own animals...I want to have the energy and freedom to things on my own and be at least a little self sufficient. I feel trapped in my modern role and unable to make peace with my ideals. I enjoy my work and the flashy, glamorous proximity to the heartbeat of the nation but for every yearning to make a difference on a national scale I am hit with an equal if not more powerful yearning to take off into the country and do my own thing. I desire to walk in the path of Jeanne Tetrault, author of Country Women, and homestead with confidence. I want K to experience the joy of munching on green tomatoes, digging funny looking carrots, eating raspberries off the bush, sunflowers towering over her head and having fond memories of bee hives and the pay off of hard work.

In my Internet wanderings I have come across many sites. I have read countless 100 mile blogs and organic movement pages and while I agree with and take something from each of them nothing has struck a cord quite like Path to Freedom (PTF)and their 100 FOOT challenge. "The challenge is simple. Beginning as soon as you can, prepare a meal at least once a week with only homegrown vegetables, fruit, herbs, eggs, dairy products or meat, using as few store bought ingredients as possible." Since I currently live in an apartment where are rather restrictive about the visible space (my patio) this challenge may impossible. However, their guidelines have some slack that fit my situation. "A meal must be comprised of food grown on your property or garden plot (literally or figuratively within “100 feet” of your front or back door). If non-homegrown ingredients are needed, then we suggest following these modified locavore guidelines: If not from BACKYARD, then Locally produced (PTF’s addition). If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic. If not ORGANIC, then Family farm. If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business. If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade." I had a strawberry pot of herbs last year that I hope to resurrect and I also wanted to do another pot of something to supplement what I get from our CSA and local producers at the Farmers market. And now I think that I have found a source of inspiration.

The good folks at PTF are living their own solution and are so successful. But more importantly they started with taking a step, or as they say,a step backward toward creating a better life for themselves. One step became two, two became three and three became many. Even as I find myself in despair, torn between two parts of myself this gives me comfort that others have found a path and that there may be one for me to where ever I am going.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


What do I hope to accomplish? Given that this is the beginning of the new year it is a natural time to reevaluate what hasn't been working over the past year and set some new goals for the new year. Although my weight is the first thing that I would like to change about myself this has not made it directly into my goals. What I hope to do is change other aspects of my life which will indirectly but cumulatively help me burn more calories, free up time and money, get out more, and get unhealthy concerns off my mind so that next year I will be ready to tackle my weight more directly.

A few months ago when I took a look at my work performance, behavior and appearance I realized that I had to get rid of my old ratty day planner binder and go for something a little less poor college undergrad and a little more multi-tasking professional. It just so happened that I would be running out of weekly planner pages at the end of the year and they were running a sale to give you $-off of a binder/planner/book combo. So with my new black leather binder I purchased a years worth of daily planner pages and an organization self-help CD designed by Julie Morgenstern. Over the last month I have used her CD to help me refine my goals and learn to focus on what had to be done.

My biggest problem with organization stems from K. I want to be responsive and attentive to her but as a single mom there is only one of me and some things have to get done in what little time I have at home and sometimes that outranks time with K. Not that I'm ignoring her but my attention has to be on something else even when I'm with her. So by setting long term goals, short term goals, defining activity areas where I need to focus, and listing tasks to complete those activities I hope to determine what is really important and what is just busy work that I do because I feel I have to do something when I have some time but that doesn't really accomplish anything.

I have initially divided up my goals into categories like Work, Family, Home, Knowledge, Self, and Financial. My Work actives are almost on autopilot since all I have to do is keep up on the daily tasks and remember to update my resume. My Family and Home activities are going to take much more conscious action. It involves setting and maintaining behaviors that will make our interactions much more meaningful, and also bring some order and sanity to our household schedule (or lack there of). I subdivided Knowledge into 3 sub-sections: Work-related, Formal Education, and Personal Interests. I have no problem exploring my personal interests but they often are more fun than the formal educational activities that I have to do to complete my degree. My main activities there centers on setting myself up for success my making the Formal Education a priority when I am home. This includes putting off my personal reading until after homework is done and reducing my Internet activity to school related until I feel ahead of the class. Obviously my family goals are necessary to support this effort.

I resisted setting any concrete activities for my Self, partly because I didn't want to start of the year failing at my most important goal and partly because of what I described at the start of this post. To start with I need to find a primary physician, want to keep my room and bathroom orderly and clean and make some (read at least 1) scheduled time for exercise. Finally, I put down that I want to spend time stretching with K.

I have done yoga on an off since I graduated from High School but I have never been extremely consistent in my practice. I decided that I want to teach K how to do some of the calming moves to help her deal with her frustration and that I probably need them as much as she does. Besides, stretching is a good first step to prep me for more activity and eventually more targeted exercise. So I told K that I was going to do some yoga and got her to help me to clear her toys off the floor. Then I showed her cat/cow--my back was aching so this was the only stretch I could think of that had a name she could remember, a pose that she could try and something that would work on my back. A few days later I added downward dog to the short routine. She can do the cat part and then giggles as I try to get her into down dog and she gets ticklish and collapses in a somersault. Since then she has repeatedly asked me to do "cat-dog" with her and is getting better at cow. She even sat through a video podcast of YOGAmazing so I could look for another pose to teach them and commented on the poses she knew. So far so good. I hope to keep this up this month.

Now that I have just finished writing that I didn't set any typical fitness or eating resolutions here is my two exceptions: make a weekly meal plan and go for 10 minute walks during lunch, regardless of weather or location.