Tag: food

35 Days of the Fruit and Vegetables Challenge

My recent trip has reminded me that sugar is the big challenge. While traveling I let myself splurge a lot. It wasn’t downing boxes of cookies or gallons of ice cream or anything out of control like that. But, it was eating sugar filled pieces of cake and ultra rich desserts with most of my meals.

Now, I am stuck with the results. Not only did I add a few pounds, but I’m going through the steps of withdrawal again and recognizing how easy it would be to slide back into a sugar filled, processed food reality and destroy all that I’ve worked for.

Sugar withdrawal means being tired, feeling hot flashes, being worn, and getting grumpy and frustrated, needing to just hide away for a bit to recover. It means craving, wanting ice cream or chocolate or whatever sweet option there is. I’m trying to come down with frozen fruits with yogurt and such, but it is what it is and I’ll need to struggle through for a bit again. Maybe someday I will learn, not eat the sugary stuff, and not put myself through this again.

34 Days and Counting

I’m not quite sure about what to say today other than yesterday and today were a bit weak.

Yesterday, I was still on the road with my work field trip. We started with fruit smoothies, a good start for the day. I had a bison wrap for lunch, unusual and tasty. It had veggies, but not a whole lot. Dinner was bison burgers with potato salad and fruit. I opted to believe that the potato salad was made with red and not white potatoes and went ahead for it. I think all total I probably had 4 or cups of fruits and veggies. I had dessert with dinner that was way too much sugar, but a good splurge.

Today started with fruit and yogurt. Lunch was pizza and salad. Dinner was a vegetarian plate at the local Mexican restaurant. All good and probably worth about four cups of veggies again.

Tomorrow, I get back on track. I think I’m going to head to the garden in the morning and see what is all ready. Then it will be time to make some food for the week. It will be good and I’ll be awake again. These past few days and too much sugar has made me sleepy.

Starting Month Two

I don’t think I quite got my full six cups of fruits and veggies in today, but I wasn’t horribly deficient. It was a rough start with a breakfast of bacon and eggs with the only thing available that had any plant product in it being blueberry muffins which I avoided because I was fairly certain there would be more sugary options in the day and being that I don’t normally eat cane sugar I didn’t want to overwhelm my system.

I did, a bit later in the day, decide to splurge on the snacks being passed around the bus. I took a banana to get some fruit in my system, but also took one of those chewy granola bars with the chocolate chips. I figured, heck I’m on a field trip, why not? Well, the answer to why not is that those things are sweeter than all heck and not really worth it.

Lunch was catered by the Sioux Chef, so quite tasty and with a nice mix of wild turkey, wild rice, and some veggies, along with chips and bean dip, and cookies, I think made with sunflower seeds and maple syrup for dessert.

Dinner tonight was catered at the hotel with a really nice chicken dish and basic vegetable sides, beans, carrots, and potatoes. I opted to not push my allergies with the potatoes, but I did take the risk with the dessert, a chocolate mousse. I can feel my stomach and head just slightly rebelling, but I ‘ll be back on track soon. Apparently tomorrow we start with breakfast at the health food store and we all get smoothies. Hopefully, that will help.

I did well with my water intake today though.

1 Month In

Excellent! I have succeeded in making it through the first month of the challenge. I only missed a few days of writing. I’ve met my goal of 6-9 cups of vegetables and fruits most days and I’ve successfully added in increasing my water intake. I’ve not done so hot with the addition of not eating out, but I’m okay with that. It may come as I can continue to improve my overall diet and health.

Yesterday, I was questioning how successful I would be with my goals while on this work trip visiting and learning about Dakota communities in Minnesota. Day one has been filled with fabulous diet choices. I started the day at home with a bit extra in my breakfast smoothie– greens, carrots, apple, rhubarb, and papaya for a total of about four cups of fruits and veggies. I wanted to pack it in at breakfast in case there weren’t many other options later in the day.

I was happily surprised with a homemade lunch that included a traditional Dakota corn soup. I think it is called Wohnapi. We also had a wild rice dish with vegetables and a cucumber salad. Then for dinner was a Mexican buffet, so plenty of beans and other vegetables there. Afterwards we had another event with snacks including raw fruits and vegetables. I didn’t measure things, but I think I may have hit nine cups again today! I wonder what tomorrow might bring?

29 Days In

I did well today. I think I was actually over 7 cups of fruits and vegetables today, though I admit I didn’t measure the peas and other snacks as I picked them from the garden this afternoon.

The big plus today was having leftovers from yesterday to have for lunch, some walleye and mixed vegetables that I’d stir-fried yesterday. It was just one of those things that I could throw together without a recipe and with a whole lot of hope. I like to do that, to say to myself “hmm.. this looks good. This looks good too. I wonder what they’d be like together?” and just throw things together and see what happens. It’s almost always a good thing.

Though it does bring back a memory of being a camp counselor back in the 90’s. Some of my campers and I were in a cabin and the campers decided to make me a cake. They were young teenagers, so I wasn’t too afraid of them taking over the kitchen. They had a couple girls keep watch over me while the rest made my surprise dessert. I think we tried to eat it, but ultimately showed it to the camp director, offered that it could be used as a doorstop, then threw it out. It was a great deal of fun. However, they’d somehow managed to make a cake that must have weighed over 5 lbs! But, generally throwing things together results in much tastier surprises.

Tonight I roasted some chicken with some freshly picked squash and a onion. It was also delicious. And, there’s enough left for another two or three meals if I add another vegetable side. So, I don’t need to cook at all tomorrow. After that I have some work travel and will be fed. So, no more cooking until the weekend. If I can find fruits and vegetables on my work trip, I will do great. There’s my challenge for the week. But, for now I will simply celebrate the day and be thankful that there’s plenty of good healthy food ready for tomorrow.

The 28th Day of the Challenge

I’m feeling good. 6 cups of fruits and vegetables is becoming something I can do. More accurately, at least 1.5 cups at a meal is what I can do. That’s the way I’ve been looking at it. I’m eating about 1.5 cups most days at breakfast, then at least 2-3 cups with lunch and dinner. Those amounts somehow seem more reasonable than thinking about eating 6-9 cups a day. I suppose it’s simply the act of breaking things down to make them manageable. In any case, it seems to work.

I need to drink some more water yet today. I didn’t keep a good count, but I think I’m between 6 and 8 glasses. I can feel just a little headache coming. So, it’s time to drink more.

I had a good weekend. I think my diet changes are improving my overall mood and energy. Yesterday was the fair and the art show. Today, I cleaned, did laundry, caught up on dishes, cooked a few meals for lunches this week, froze a couple pounds of beans, took the dog to the park, basically just did a lot. That’s been hard lately. It’s been too easy to find excuses and just spend time lazing in bed watching Netflix and napping. I am proud of myself for starting to regain my energy and hopeful that I am on a good path.

27 Days

Well, I spent a good chunk of my day at an art show and followed that with another county fair. Neither of these places offered a lot of healthy options for eating. The thing I noticed though was that my diet changes in the last few years and the challenge got me to look for the healthy options and not just go mindlessly to the deep fried cheese curds and kettle corn.

At the art show I found a pretty tasty bacon-chicken ranch wrap with lettuce and tomato. So, I wasn’t completely vegetable deficient there. At the fair I opted to just keep walking. There just weren’t appealing options that had much nutritional value. I wound up getting pizza later.

So, I didn’t quite hit my six cups today. I think I was between 3 and 4. I did, however, get quite a bit of outdoor time and plenty of water. So, some things were good and healthy, some not so much. Still, I feel good. Right now I feel sleepy too. So good night to all!

Day 26 of the Fruit and Veggie Challenge

Can we count buttered popcorn as a vegetable? No, I suppose there are far too many who read this and would say it is a starch. Ah well, it was on okay movie and probably worth the splurge. Though, I must say that it is disturbing how much violence there is these days in movies marketed to children. I went to see the Lion King tonight. All the previews of other movies before the main show and of course the Lion King itself, well there doesn’t seem to be a children’s movie these days without a war. How do we expect anything other than violence from our children when we continually feed them messages that violence is okay?

Well, today I drank plenty of water. I didn’t do horribly eating fruits and vegetables with my berries and banana dish for breakfast and a nice salad with my lunch. But, I didn’t reach my 6-9 cups. Unless, of course, folks want to be forgiving and call popcorn a vegetable. Then I topped out over 9 cups!

The 24th Day

I got myself to enter my food into my food journal. That’s the victory for today. I wanted to just forget about it. It just didn’t interest me today. But, I did it and I looked at my history of results briefly. I’m doing pretty good eating the way I should.

There are some things that aren’t great yet. I could use more iron and still less sugar. I was thinking just now that it would be interesting to look at my eating habits from a few years ago and how my nutrition has changed. I took some of my typical foods from three or more years ago and created a fake day on my food tracker. I started with some frosted mini-wheats for breakfast, Jimmy John’s for lunch, and spaghetti with marina sauce for dinner. I then looked at sugars, carbs, and overall calories in comparison to my average today.

Calories were about 200-300 higher than what I would have on high calorie day today, up to 700 higher than some days. Back then a day like the one I described would give me about 340 grams of carbohydrates and 150 of sugar.

Now, I’m usually below 200 grams of carbohydrates. Sugars generally stay between 50 and 100 though I can definitely get below 50 grams sometimes.

That’s something really powerful for me to see. I made a major change in my life and have stuck with it. I can only imagine how obese and unhealthy I would be if I hadn’t taken that leap. Instead, my health has gotten much better and while I could still lose a few pounds I just hit the overweight category and am no longer medically considered obese. I can actually look at myself in the mirror and say “doing pretty good.”

I ate out today. I had a California burger with some sweet potato fries and orange pop. That’s not a particularly healthy meal at all, but I still feel okay about it. Most of the time I am eating right. I am building my body, getting my fruits and veggies. I look back at what I used to eat and so much came out of a box or bag or can. It wasn’t real. I feel good about being able to recognize my food as food.

That’s what I would encourage others to do too. Care for your body like it is precious because it is. Feed yourself the best, real food and treat yourself gently.

Days 22 and 23

Okay, so I forgot to write yesterday or at least I forgot until about 10 pm when I was laying in bed and wanting to sleep so I skipped it. It was only the second day that I missed writing since I’ve started this challenge, so I think I can cut myself a break. Besides, I ate pretty well and I drank a lot of water.

This afternoon I noticed something. I noticed that I was happy. I’ve not been really happy all that much in a while. I was at work today and had a bunch of meetings, all about projects that my office is likely to be a part of in the next two years and structural changes and such. Often in recent months this stuff has left me feeling drained with little energy to move forward because I’ve been looking for work back home in Wisconsin and not feeling connected or at home here. Yesterday, I got the notice that I didn’t get a second interview for a job I’d wanted. Strangely, I think I felt a little relief. I won’t have to move again or to start over again. I’ve lived in at least 20 different houses in my adult life. It’s nice not packing and unpacking.

Strange how sometimes disappointment isn’t all bad. Add to that drinking at least an additional 40 or so ounces of water and I wasn’t so dehydrated. I had a little more energy and that gave me some joy today.

So, today I kept drinking my water, along with a little Himalayan salt as recommended by a friend who’s a nurse practitioner and had a cranberry supplement to help my system a bit too. I did well getting in my veggies and fruits. I did also get some not so good for me foods, but it wasn’t bad. I feel good about it.