Tag Archives: eating

Comfort and Deprivation {Lent 2022}

27 Mar

We’re about halfway through the Lenten season. I don’t always give up something for Lent (I don’t believe it’s biblically necessary to do so) but I do like how it increases the anticipation of Easter, much like Advent does for Christmas.

Often when someone gives something up for Lent, they use the time or resources they would’ve spent on said thing and focus on God instead. Instead of scrolling social media, they pray. Instead of buying Starbucks, they donate to a charity. Travis and I gave up grains for Lent, which hasn’t really resulted in either a time or money savings (in fact, it has cost more money and taken more time to prepare foods that don’t contain grains).

So what’s the purpose then? Well, not eating grains has prevented me from eating the usual low-hanging fruit of cereal, bagels, quesadillas, toast, mac & cheese. And those first few days were rough, because it felt like I was hungry all the time, but couldn’t just go grab something. I had to slow down and make something to eat. As I reflected on that, I saw how my soul is constantly thirsty, but I often try to appease it by grabbing the easiest thing — another cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a movie, a book, shopping, social media. My real need is to slow down and nourish my soul with God’s word.

After those first few days, we adapted and it wasn’t as big of a struggle to not eat grains. But as the days went by, I noticed how much comfort I usually derive from my food. Not that I was emotionally overeating before, but I never felt deprived. Now I felt deprived, because certain foods that I enjoyed and wanted to eat were off-limits. The feeling of deprivation is the reason why I don’t do diets, but for the period of Lent, I let that feeling remind me that I’m not supposed to feel comfortable and satisfied here on Earth. This world is not my home. I am a sojourner, an exile.

Because we stopped buying bread, tortillas, mac & cheese, etc. during this time, the kids have also been “deprived” of their normal foods (though they do still eat some grains in the form of crackers and stuff). They have done well overall with the difference, but it gave us an opportunity to talk with the girls about the anticipation of heaven, and how we shouldn’t feel completely at home here, because the world does not love Jesus.

I will confess that I haven’t stuck to no grains 100%. There have been a few times when I was so. hungry. (breastfeeding mom here!) that I caved and ate a bowl of oatmeal. It’s also birthday season in our house (all our kids’ birthdays are March, April, and May), and we had Neola’s dedication. So there’s been some cake. But giving up something for Lent is about the heart, not some legalistic requirement. Since it has caused me to reflect on and examine my desires for creature comforts and the lack of deprivation in any area of my life (except sleep!), I would say that it has accomplished its purpose so far.

It has also shown me that while I don’t plan to continue the no-grains thing indefinitely, I do differentiate between grains that are worth eating, and grains that are not. A grain that is worth it for me is a burger bun. Eating a burger without a bun is just soooo not the same. Another would be pizza — I love me some pizza (though the cauliflower crust kind from Costco is great too!). A grain that is not worth it for me is spaghetti, or really any type of pasta. I don’t ever crave pasta, so I don’t feel deprived not eating it.

Only 3 weeks to go until Easter!

A Word on Moderation in Food Fads

13 Aug

These days, it seems like eating healthy is no longer just as simple as eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lowfat dairy. It’s not even as simple as choosing organic. It’s about food that is “sustainably raised”, “raw”, “sprouted”, “free range” and “unpasteurized”. There are supplements like wheat grass and hempseed, drinks like kombucha, and companies like Advocare that have 200 “nutrition” products that will make you feel like a million bucks.

It’s enough to cause a nervous breakdown for someone like me who wants to eat healthy but also doesn’t want to 1) Eat a bunch of foods I’ve never heard of before 2) Stop eating the foods I like and 3) Spend a bajillion dollars doing it. 

It may just be my strong dislike of anything even remotely resembling a bandwagon, but a lot of the food fads going around right now seem like just that – fads. They’ll be replaced by something else in 6 months and in 12 months, they’ll discover that they were wrong, and that food is actually bad for you. 

I’d be fine to just eat my dirty grapes and pasteurized cheese in silence and let the food-trend mayhem occur without my interference, except for one thing. The peddlers of the food-trend mayhem will not accept passivity. You’re either with them, or against them. You’re either eating healthy (like them), or feeding yourself and your family pure poison. It’s amazing we haven’t all died already.

Here’s what I propose: Go ahead and talk about the health benefits of whatever new thing you’re into. But don’t trash everything else that people have been eating for decades as absolutely horrible for you and wonder why anyone would eat that. You know why “we” eat that? Because we don’t want to spend $10 on 1 oz of cheese. Because I’d rather take my chances with non-organic grapes than not be able to afford them at all. Because I don’t want to spend 50% of my income on food. 

My angry tirade is actually a cover for feeling insecure and overwhelmed at thinking that I’m feeding my family crap by letting them eat regular whole wheat bread (NOT sprouted grain or ezekiel bread!!!) and Kemps milk and coffee creamer (not from a local farm!!!). Oh and I buy Foster Farms or Gold ‘n’ Plump chicken – we’re all going to DIE!!!!

Obviously, I exaggerate. But after reading some of the blogs and articles I do about healthy eating, that’s seriously how I feel. 

BUT IS IT TRUE?!?!?!

That’s the question I always come back to. Is all of this true? It’s really hard to know what to believe when many of the supposed “sources” of these “facts” are quite obviously writing from a huge bias. They are writing about what they themselves eat, and of course, it’s the best thing since juicing. And then there’s the fact that even medical professionals don’t always agree on this stuff.

Bringing faith into the picture, I know that if I tried to start eating all of the fads, it would be a reaction out of fear and not faith. It’s like with the Christian life – sure, you can serve in the Children’s Ministry at church, sing on the worship team, have people over for dinner every night, host a missionary family, volunteer at the local food shelter, and knit afghans for the pregnancy center. But are you called to? Just because other people are doing 1 or more of those things, does that mean you should do them all? No, it doesn’t. God leads everyone to do with their life what He calls them to do.

“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” (1 Corinthians 7:17)

I believe that God has called me to a live of moderation. And that applies to what I eat. It may be that in time, I’ll come around to see that some of the foods that are trendy right now really are valuable, and start incorporating them into my diet. It may be that I’ll start buying more organic produce. But it’s just as likely that I’ll continue in my moderately healthy ways and buy traditional foods, like all-purpose flour and Wheat Thins. 

Because while I do believe that our bodies are gifts from God and we are called to be good stewards of them, for me it ends up being unhealthy in other ways to spend more time than I currently am thinking about what I’m eating. When I concentrate on it so much, it becomes an idol. And Jesus did say, “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” (Luke 12:23) I’ve finally gotten back to my pre-pregnancy eating habits (and weight) and I’m feeling good. 

I would be amiss, however, to not mention that God has created some people to truly, deeply and passionately care about what they eat. And I do believe that you can be passionate about food without it being an idol. I just ask that they be passionate without condemning the choices of the rest of us. 😉

14 Months Later…

4 Jun

Emma will be 14 months this Saturday and I am just now getting the motivation to really resume the healthy lifestyle I had pre-pregnancy. Even though I trained for and ran a 15k, I have done really nothing at all in the toning department. My core grew stronger through running but it is still pretty weak and squishy.

Likewise, my eating habits used to be fairly buttoned up, but ever since pregnancy, they’ve been looser. For example, I used to hardly ever order value meals at fast food restaurants, but now I barely think twice. Bleh.

So.

I do best with some kind of plan to follow, and want to do more toning than cardio, so I decided to follow the Bikini Body Plan from Tone It Up. I will only be doing 1 workout a day (sometimes they list more than that) and they will be short enough to fit in during one of Emma’s naps. I’ll most likely take 2 rest days a week. But I’m excited about it! I am not into hardcore strength stuff, so I like that their strength routines aren’t anything too crazy, but still get results.

As far as eating goes, I know that if I go too crazy with calorie counting or cutting out carbs or anything, I get obsessed. So I’m just going to focus on:

  1. Eating whole, nutritional foods – which includes switching out Coffeemate creamer for half & half
  2. Limiting alcohol to 1-2 drinks a week, and coffee to 2 cups a day
  3. Drinking at least 32 oz of water a day from my Nalgene, plus water at meals

I want to just start small with the things I know need tweaking, and once those become a habit again, go from there. Too much change at once = FAIL. My family has a reunion on the 4th of July so even though I know this is really a lifestyle change, I’m using that as inspiration to stick with it for the next month.

On the bright side, I have been eating quite a bit healthier here in Minnesota than I was in Colorado. My love for spinach has returned (after disappearing during pregnancy) so I’ve been having big salads for lunch. Dinners are usually a lean meat, vegetable and grain, or a vegetarian dish with lots of veggies!

Where I’ve Been + Where I’m Going

9 Jan

Where I’ve Been

At the beginning of last year, I set the goal of writing down one thing each day that I was thankful for. Well, after March 11, I failed. Miserably.

But all is not lost, because I did spend the year learning how to be thankful when life is hard. Becoming a mom has challenged me in more ways than anything ever has – even more than getting married. It has forced me to let go of my to-do list and agenda daily. It has changed my identity. It has changed how I spend my free time (what’s free time again?). It changed my marriage. It changed my career. It changed my home.

I’ve discovered, though, that no matter how much in my life changes, or what season I’m going through, whether things are easy or hard, whether I’m satisfied or discontent, giving God thanks is always the path to joy. Because in giving thanks, I accept the life God has given me and deem it Good.

I admit, it is HARD to give thanks when you want to yell and scream and kick against the circumstances God has allowed. When you want to send the meal of your life back to the kitchen and order something else. But because we Christians have the promise of eternity with God, and a purpose for things that is bigger than this visible world, we can be thankful for ALL THINGS.

Where I’m Going

I thought that making one goal for the year would increase my odds of actually achieving it. But I proved that theory wrong last year. So for 2014, I’m aiming a bit lower with ‘areas of focus.’ Ha. Mostly the New Year just coincides with me finally deciding to get my act together and stop making excuses. So without further adieu, here are my 4 ‘areas of focus’ for 2014 (in order of importance):

1) Spend time with God daily. God is the most important aspect of my life. If I can make time for anything else, I can make time for Him. It doesn’t have to be sitting down and reading the Bible, though that’s usually what it looks like. It could be listening to a sermon while running, just praying for an extended amount of time, soaking in worship music on the way to work, etc. Just something that gets me engaging with God and reminding my soul of truth every day.

2) Eat healthy foods. Over the past year or so, I have found myself regularly eating things that before getting pregnant, I would have only eaten once in a blue moon. I’ve also been slacking on eating the healthy stuff. So what this ‘area of focus’ entails is:

  • Include a fruit or vegetable with every meal and snack.
  • Drink wine only one day a week.
  • Eat only one sweet a day, if any.

3) Exercise. I say that this is one of my passions, but looking at my tracking in MapMyRun, you would never know it! I’ve been thinking recently about the reasons why I haven’t gotten back in the groove, and my ‘reasons’ are pathetic. If I can find time to go to Target 3 times a week, I can find time to work out! So no more excuses. I just need to do it. Already this week, I’ve gone on my first run since Thanksgiving, my first swim since May 2012 and done an 8-minute Tabata workout that made me sore. Man, I am so out of shape. But fortunately, I just enjoy being active, even if it’s a pale comparison to my pre-pregnancy fitness.

4) Stick to a budget. God has blessed Travis and I with abundance, and until Emma, we were a DINK (Dual Income No Kids) family, so while we’ve had a budget for the past couple of years, I don’t think we’ve actually stuck to it. Ever. However, since I’ll probably no longer be working when we move, and we plan to have more kids in the next several years, we will need to learn how to! I also feel convicted that we aren’t being the best stewards of God’s money by not knowing more about where all our money goes.

Our main problem with sticking to a budget is that even though we are fairly practical in what we buy, we make a lot of purchases that aren’t planned for. They’re usually paid for out of what we call the ‘slop’ in our budget (a.k.a. the money we’ve budgeted for other things that we didn’t use this month, but might need next month). So we will definitely need to learn delayed gratification.

On a similar note, we’ve recently decided that I am going to take over handling our finances, paying bills, etc. (GULP) since I’m the one who spends most of our money. I’m toying with the idea of going back to using envelopes of cash (Dave Ramsey style). Best part of this is that I am now in control of the (nonexistent) Gun Fund. 😉

So there you have it!

A genetically mutated potato.

27 Sep

This morning, nothing we had at home sounded good for lunch so I planned to make a repeat trip to Jason’s Deli for the Best Lunch Ever. I was planning to order a whole bowl of the broccoli cheddar soup, instead of just a cup like I had last time, but as I was looking at the menu, the Spud Au Broc stood out to me.

 

The combination of my two current loves – the best broccoli cheddar soup in the world and a potato. Naturally, I got the full size potato because I’m pregnant and was starving.

Well, the potato was so monstrous that I’m convinced it was genetically mutated:

No worries though. I took it down.

I’ve been paying for it a bit since lunchtime with a very uncomfortable stomach (whether from eating too much or eating cheese, I’m not sure) but it was worth it.

My only complaint? That I burnt my tongue since I couldn’t wait for it to cool off before digging in.

And bonus points: there’s my veggies for the day. 😉 Never mind the calorie count of that bad boy. Ahem, 1,510.

 

 

Worth noting.

13 Aug

Even though I’m really enjoying my relaxing weekends, it really doesn’t bode well for the blog. I mean, you guys don’t want to hear about how much I didn’t do every single post. But here are a couple of things that are {somewhat} notable:

1) Watched the entire first season of Downton Abbey. I had heard how awesome this show was from fellow bloggers and friends so when I saw it in Redbox, I snagged it. And I really enjoyed it. Now I’m scheming on how to watch Season 2.

2) Watched Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime. It is one of my absolute favorite shows of all time. And I am so thankful that it’s on during the summer when Bones and NCIS aren’t. I don’t know how I would survive the summer without at least one weekly show that I die for.

 

3) Veered from my cleaner eating habits. I ate Taco Bell for dinner Friday, Chinese for dinner Saturday and McDonald’s for lunch Sunday. But enough’s enough. Back on the horse today.

4) I went on my first bike ride since the beginning of marathon training. Travis and I got caught in a downpour and hid under a tree. At first, it was an adventure. Then, when the tree got saturated and stopped protecting us, it was just kind of irritating. But it was fun to ride home through all the puddles!

5) Got really sad watching the men’s Olympic marathon. (Spoiler alert) Ryan Hall seems like a such a great, down-to-earth guy and I really respect the way he involves God in his training, so seeing him have to drop out so soon was really sad. It’s also sad that Abdi Abdirahman had to drop out, but I know less about him so it didn’t affect me as much. But YAY MEB KEFLEZIGHI!!! I was SO excited to see that he came back from being in something like 10th place to being 4th. I told Travis that if the course had been longer, I think Meb would’ve been able to come in 3rd. But alas, no medals for Americans in the marathon this year.

6) I got ambitious yesterday and deep-cleaned my bathroom. Even though I really dislike cleaning, I love things being clean. If I ever have extra income burning a hole in my pocket, I would consider hiring a maid. (And I’ve already suggested to Travis that when we try to sell our house, we have a cleaning service come clean the house for me.)

And that’s all that’s worth telling you about!

I realized last week that I haven’t posted my thoughts on my new Garmin yet so stay tuned for that sometime soon…

Cleaning It Up…

6 Aug

Since I’ve cut back quite a bit on my activity levels (hello 4 rest days last week!) and I have a Labor Day weekend on the lake in Minnesota looming, I’ve decided that I need to clean up my eating habits a bit. Any runner knows that it’s a little too easy to justify eating a cookie here, some chocolate there, because “Hey, I just ran xx miles.” Well, I no longer have that excuse. (Though I did run a full 6.75 miles last week.)

There’s a reason why I said I’m cleaning up my eating “a bit.” I don’t know about you but when I read about a “clean diet” that includes protein brownies, or look at eating plans that specify every piece of food that can pass your lips, I get overwhelmed. I don’t want to have to figure out how to make my brownies healthy with brown rice flour, agave nectar and greek yogurt. I don’t want to weigh and measure every thing I eat. (Some people do, and more power to them.) For me, food freedom is where I’m happiest. I’m a big fan of Intuitive Eating, if you can’t tell.

So the main thing I’ve done to clean my eating habits up is to be mindful of what I eat. No eating food just because it’s there and it’s free. I can get into a habit at work of eating whatever someone brings in – donuts, cookies, cake, etc. – just because it’s available. But I want everything I eat to be intentional chosen – it should be either nutritious and filling, or amazingly delicious.

Balanced with that, I’m also focusing on getting the majority (like 95%) of my daily calories from actual good-for-me food. I’m not specifically focused on cutting out sugar, refined flour, saturated fat, sodium or what have you. I just want to get more bang for my buck.

The main result of these two ideas taken together has been a severe decrease in my consumption of ice cream, cookies, chocolate, wine, etc. And I’m down a couple of pounds. Maybe it’s because my appetite has decreased from not working out as much, or maybe this whole ‘clean eating’ thing actually works (note the sarcasm), but I’m not complaining.

Do you “eat clean”? What does it look like for you?

Five for Friday

20 Apr

1. I ran 7.88 miles last night after work, which I haven’t done in a long time. Despite it threatening to rain and the wind blowing me around, it was actually a pretty good run. I averaged a pace of 10:46, which I’m pretty excited about.

And right now is my favorite time of the year to run because of all the beautiful flowers. Especially the lilacs. They’re at their peak:

I’m pretty impressed that my phone took that picture.

I’m willing to bet that the Russian Olive trees are out in full force up in Boulder too, which has me contemplating a run around my 9 mile loop again tomorrow.

2. My parents are flying to Mexico tomorrow and conveniently, they have a layover in Denver! So Travis and I will trek out to the airport early tomorrow morning (like 7 am!) to have breakfast with them. It’ll totally be worth it though. Maybe I can convince them to squeeze me in their carry-on and take me to Mexico too? Work has been incredibly busy this week so I am feeling very in need of a vacation.

3. On my run last night, I discovered the secret to making gels easier to eat: heat them up in your pocket. When the gel is warm, it’s a lot more liquid-y and less gel-y so it’s easier to eat. I think this will be my strategy for future runs – store a gel in a pocket until I use it, then replace it with another gel until I need that one. (And a big THANK YOU to Lisa for hosting a giveaway that gave me lots great, free running fuel!)

I received my package from Lisa last Saturday, which was perfect timing because I was out of fuel and had forgotten to go to the store. I packed a Chocolate Cherry and a Chocolate gel.

4. I think I may have solved my blister problem by using different socks and slathering on the Body Glide. We’ll see how things go tomorrow on my 10-miler!

5. I tried out a new frozen yogurt shop on Wednesday with some friends from church. It’s called Zinga! and I really enjoyed it.

They had fewer flavors than Yogurtland but every flavor I tried was delicious. I loaded up my bowl with Raspberry, Cake Batter, Cherry Amaretto, and Mocha Latte, and loaded on the toppings.

Flavored wafers = score.

M&M’s = fail.

The M&M’s got all hard from the frozen yogurt, which made they really crunchy. I will not make that mistake again.

That’s all I got.

Have a great weekend!

Getting Gas, Eating Mexican

18 Apr

Despite what you may think from the title of this post, getting gas and eating Mexican were two separate incidents. Which I will relay now…

Last night, Travis and I went out to eat at El Tapatio to celebrate the fact that he is 95% certain he’s going to graduate next month. He defended his Masters report yesterday in front of 3 professors and it went really well – which was a huge answer to prayer! Driving to work today, I realized that I even felt like a weight had been lifted – I can’t even imagine how great Travis feels! It’s been a long, hard spring for him but the end is in sight!

Even though Mexican is my least favorite food to eat at a restaurant, El Tapatio has many options that aren’t smothered in cheese (which is surprisingly hard to come by in most Mexican joints). I had the breakfast platter that included eggs and sausage. It was spicy, but delicious.

…………………..

This morning, on my way to work, I had to stop and get gas. While I probably would’ve stopped anyway (even though I was running late because I took time to hot-glue the insole of my nude heels that are falling apart), Travis had specifically requested that I stop if the gas light came on. Which it did. He claims that it’s bad to drive your car until the gas light comes on because your fuel pump ends up sucking up into the engine all the crud at the bottom of your tank that’s naturally in gasoline.

This is one of the most irritating bits of information I’ve heard in a while. In my opinion, that’s the whole point of a gas light: to tell you when you need to get gas. In fact, getting gas before the light comes on seems like overkill when you live in a big city and there are gas stations on every corner. It’s so much easier to just wait until the handy little reminder flashes its little warning light at you that you’re going to be abandoned on the side of the road and carrying a red plastic gas can that you just bought in one of the 20 gas stations in a 2-mile radius if you don’t stop and get gas relatively soon. (Why yes, I have experienced that exact situation I just described – 3 times.)

I’m clearly not a model car owner. I do absolutely nothing to keep my car running other than filling it up with gas – and apparently, I’ve been doing even that small thing incorrectly by waiting so long to fill the tank that my engine suck up contaminants and clogs itself.

Whether or not this tidbit is true (this site says yes, this site says no), no one will ever know.

What do you think? Do you wait until your gas light comes on, or do you run your tank dry?

The Blessing of a Broken Routine

7 Apr

Vacations are great. It’s actually been proven that simply planning a vacation makes you happier. I can vouch for that. During the past 2-3 weeks of being crazy busy at work, knowing that I was going to have 3 days off was like a ray of sunshine through clouds of gloom. And now that that trip is over, I’m looking forward to our Alaska trip where I’ll run my first full marathon.

But something about vacations has always bothered me: the break from routine. You may think that sounds ridiculous but for me, a person who values routine, having many days in a row without my usual routine makes me feel naked and unproductive. It also makes me worry that my routine must not be that important to me, if one little vacation makes me throw it out the window. The result is that I come back from vacations feeling like, for however many days I was gone, I wasn’t really living my life. I was living someone else’s life, a life in an alternate universe.

I can hear some of you saying, “That’s the sign of a good vacation.”

And now, I’d have to agree. I was thinking about this while we were down in Evansville, how feeling so separated from normal life bothers me. And then I realized: the break from reality is God’s blessing. True, I come home from vacation feeling like I was someone else for a while, but that reinvigorates and refreshes me for my everyday life. It makes me even more excited for my routine, more thankful for my own bed, more loving to my pooches, more grateful for my house. Without the break from reality that a vacation provides, I wouldn’t feel that new life instilled in the “same old.”

So now, I’m looking at the break from routine as a good thing… and trying to keep that positive perspective when I look at what happens to my eating habits on vacation.

Over the course of doing my Food Log for Lent, I have experienced many of the “diet downfalls” that normally trip me up: group meals, vacations, baby or bridal showers, date night, post-long run food fests. It has been very interesting to me to see how my body naturally regulates itself so that higher calories days (or weeks) are balanced out with lower ones.

On our recent trip to Evansville, I kept up my food log as much as I could (though I’m pretty sure I missed a mini Twix bar or two). And looking back on what I ate and drank, I was interested to see that 20% of my calories were EMPTY. Meaning they were in the form of chocolate (not dark), alcohol (white wine), and soda (Mountain Dew), and provided no nutritional value (there were other things consumed that weren’t the epitome of health but they had some nutritional value). I compared that to a “normal” week of eating and found that my empty calories then were only 8% of my total calories. Sure, the numbers aren’t a night and day difference but when I look at days where I ate 700 calories of pure sugar, it’s not hard to see why I feel sluggish and blob-like on vacation.

You know what they say, Knowledge is power. It’s been helpful for me to see the truth of my eating habits, even when they’re not pretty. And even though at first, I was surprised at how much I ate (which ended up being a higher-calorie week than average anyway), I’m now surprised that the times when I feel like I’ve eaten “so much food” and have “gained 5 lbs” really aren’t that big of a deal calorie-wise in the end anyway (it’s still a big deal glorifying-God-wise). And because I can relax over “the damage that has been done,” I can focus on what really matters: finding my satisfaction and joy in God alone.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a little more chocolate than usual while I’m on vacation.