I can’t live without…

I have now lost a substantial amount of weight. I am closing in on 60 lbs. So it is noticeable. Naturally in our superficial and fat obsessed society I am asked quite often about what I eat. Yesterday I saw some people I haven’t seen in a few months. One was very interested and said she would give it a try. A coworker overheard and started asking me questions, too. She then said that she can’t live without potato chips. She has to have them everyday; they are her favorite. Another coworker has told me in the past that she could never eat like I do because she needs meat everyday. She said she is a carnivore. A third has told me she needs protein because when she eats carbs she gets very hungry and craves carbs.

I am not quite sure what it is about our society or our nature that prompts us to see someone getting a result we want and then immediately dismiss whatever that person is doing as not feasible for whatever reason. It could be that we are just constantly searching for a magic bullet. Or that we secretly wish we can still eat all the junk foods we want and will all of a sudden start getting healthier and losing weight.

I was thinking about this kind of reaction recently. I am now at the point where Round Table Pizza commercials make me feel sick to my stomach. I used to love their pizza! But now I just feel queasy and gross at the thought of eating cheese, pepperoni, bacon, or any of the other greasy stuff on there.

That brings me to my next thought: Would you rather feel like you can’t live without cheese or bacon or burgers or fried chicken or whatever it is that you currently feel addicted to? Or would it be better to stop eating those foods, switch to whole, plant foods, and get past the addiction? I know a few people who have quit cigarettes. While the quitting process is never easy, everyone knows that cigarettes are very harmful and that quitting is the right choice. So how is diet different?

I think truly the hardest part of switching to WFPBNO (whole food, plant based, no oil) is the convenience factor. There are just so many foods out there that are so easy to heat’n’eat or just eat straight that are simply horrible for our health. I work inside a grocery store so all day long I see the foods that are profitable. These are not health foods! And most people do not buy a cart full of fruits and vegetables.

We are literally addicted to foods that are killing us. I am so glad that I was able to break out of that cycle! I cannot live without my greens, beans, fruits, potatoes, and other healthy foods. And I very much prefer my life this way!

What can you not live without? What are your favorite foods? What makes you feel the healthiest?

Advertisements

I’m thinking of breaking up with WW

I have been going to Weight Watchers on and off for probably about a decade. I love the connection with other members and the special team members who truly care about the health and well being of the members. I am so grateful for those wonderful people who I am able to talk to about all of the emotional and mental struggles that go along with the radical changes that weight loss requires.

All that said, though, I am thoroughly displeased with the new program. Weight Watchers used to have a whole section on their website dedicated to the science behind their program. I just checked the website, though, and cannot find anything like that all with the new program.

This program was just released in the last few weeks. Along with that the whole website and mobile app were redesigned. The new focus is on protein as a holy grail type of nutrient. Foods with high protein content have had their points values reduced while foods with saturated fats and added sugars have increased – according to my leaders. I tested the new system recently and the foods that have helped me lose over 50 lbs. so far (now over 55!) barely fit into my daily points target! I could not imagine trying to lose weight with the new program while also eating healthfully!

In defense of WW, they do still have their Simply Filling plan. That plan allows unlimited food from a specific list (most fruits and veggies, all whole grains, fat free dairy, lean meats, eggs, and two teaspoons of oil per day along with a few selected processed grain products like whole wheat pasta and light bread) until satiety is reached. I love the idea of intuitive eating and always encourage other members to give this plan a try. I tell everyone in the meetings that I follow a modified version of this program – no meat, dairy, eggs, or oils. Since I am consistently losing weight I know some people are interested in how and I love to push whole plant foods! Veggies, potatoes, grains, fruits, it all helps!

With the new points structure, though, I am truly worried about the health of all the members. One lady was counting out the points of her breakfast. She used Trader Joe’s 98% fat free ham and three slices were 0 points. She was so happy because she likes ham and it is helping her lose weight and all that nonsense. Of course, losing a few pounds over the course of a week does not mean much in the grand scheme of things. It could be fat, it could be water, it could be muscle, it could be fecal matter. It only matters when weight is steadily and consistently lower.

Then, of course, there is the issue of eating ham at all. The World Health Organization classified processed meats in the same category of carcinogens as cigarettes. This means that every single slice of ham, bacon, or turkey is causing DNA damage that can lead to cancer if the body is not successfully able to reverse the damage before it grows new, mutated cells. Our bodies fight as hard as they can, but when we eat these foods everyday, several times a day, we are tipping the balance to favor the cancer cells.

Having foods like this cost so little in terms of points values creates a false sense of value. They are tasty. They are low in points. We should eat more foods like these. WW has created a system in which it is essentially “free” to eat foods known to be carcinogenic. I tested my oatmeal once and the one bowl of just oats was 13 points! This is crazy.

I think I’m going to give it a few more weeks before I make my decision. I love my friends and the support I get when I am facing a truly challenging situation. I love the staff members who make the meetings. Each of them offers a beautiful piece of the mosaic that is my support team. But the focus on protein – specifically animal protein – is truly sickening in every sense of the word.

Have you ever gone to Weight Watchers? What do you think of protein intake? Do you have a special support network who help you with your struggles? Let’s talk in the comments!

 

Are you a vegetarian or an omnivore? And what is the difference between those endings?

As you probably know by now, I am following the McDougall Program. If you haven’t heard of this, please go check it out. I’ll wait.

One thing I noticed when looking at this is that people call themselves omnivores often and occasionally carnivores. Yet people following a plant-based diet are referred to as vegetarian and extremists are vegans. And Dr. McDougall calls himself a starchivore.

It got me thinking, what is the difference between -ivore and -itarian?

Turns out there’s a big difference. Anything that eats the foods it has evolved to eat and is nutritionally dependent on has the suffix -ivore while -itarian denotes a conscious choice. Cats like lions and tigers are carnivores. They are dependent on specific nutrients they can only get through a diet of meats, organs, bones, and connective tissues.

Dogs are a little more versatile. Foxes eat apples, berries, and other fruits along with eggs, insects, and small animals. They are true omnivores. They get nutrition they need from both animal and plant foods.

Humans are primates. We are specifically part of the Great Ape category. Which begs the question of what Great Apes eat. While there are some animal foods, gorillas eat mostly plant foods. If they can grow as big and strong as they do eating fruits, shoots, and barks with some ants and their larvae in for good measure, why do we insist that we need to eat as much meat as we do? And should we even really eat meat?

As I have previously discussed, meat is not healthy for humans to eat. Neither are eggs or dairy for that matter. So are we truly omnivores as many like to call themselves? And are those who choose to eat only plant foods vegetarians (or worse, vegans)? Or are we actually herbivores – or even starchivores – and those who choose to eat meat are omnitarians?

I’ll be honest, though. I like the ring of starchitarian. I think it just sounds nice. And maybe that’s what I am since I focus my diet on cooked whole starch foods like grains, potatoes, and hard skinned squashes. Maybe the true herbivores are the raw vegans who eat fruits and veggies predominantly.

How do you define your eating patterns? Has this changed how you describe yourself? Let’s talk!

A beautiful storm

We went north for the weekend. My grandma lives in Mendocino County which is a few hours north of San Francisco. Yesterday after work we drove up. The rain and fog were intense, but at least we drove slow enough that I didn’t get car sick.
My grandma has no idea what kind of diet I’m following. She did bake some russet and sweet potatoes for us, but was totally at a loss for a “complete” meal. She pulled out salad stuff with blue cheese dressing! When I asked for frozen veggies she got a pack that was so freezer burnt I am not sure they were good to eat.
But the point is that she tried. She made the effort to feed me what I could eat. That was very nice.
Today we walked to the end of the road. I remember when that distance was so far for me. I remember when I couldn’t go that far and how great it felt the first time I did. Today it was like nothing.
We met a beautiful horse. I called to it and he came right up to us with his face over the fence. He was very sweet. He even touched noses with the dog!
When it was time to leave the rain was intense. It hailed while I dashed out to the truck!
Living in California has shaped how I see rain. Even though it was heavy and cold, it was so beautiful to see how green everything was and how full the waterways were. The last time we were at my grandma’s the creek was almost dry. Now it is several feet higher.
I loved everything about our weekend in wine country. And I love how easy this lifestyle is making the rest of my life.

Communion not consumption is the reason for the feast

A member in my Weight Watchers meeting said that recently. What a wonderful perspective!

This year I went for a 5k walk with several other WW members. It was chilly, but a gorgeous way to start the day. The sky was still multi-colored from the sunrise and the full moon was still out. The air was so clear that as we walked along the beach we had the most amazing view of San Francisco. And we donated food to the local food bank!

This afternoon we are going to a friend’s house. He is making turkey and ham. His mom may or may not make mac’n’cheese. I’m sure there will also be a lot of alcohol. So I am bringing mashed sweet potatoes, balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts, homemade dinner rolls, and fresh cranberry sauce. That way there is plenty for us to eat, too!

We are leaving soon, but first I am waiting while my very first impossible pie bakes. I only just heard of these this week. If it turns out well I will share the recipe. No photos of cooking today, but I will take one of my plate to share the beauty of a starchy Thanksgiving feast.

I hope everyone is spending time with loved ones and enjoying life today!

image

My new persona

In the past week I have been called inspiring, brave, and a role model. I am quite taken aback by this because in all honesty I’m just talking out loud (or here) about my experiences. A fellow Weight Watchers member remarked that I did a drastic diet change. I started talking to him about why and what the true motivation behind this life-altering dietary path was. It was amazing to have such positive feedback from just telling my story.

What’s funny about that is that I love success stories. I love reading or hearing about how someone else lost weight, what they were thinking, how they changed their diet and activity, and how it changed how they see themselves. There is another Weight Watcher I am still star-struck by. He lost over 100 lbs and is a fantastic individual. I love that he friended me on Facebook and still get excited when he wants to talk to me at meetings. I see myself dealing with so many of the same challenges that face him every day. So why would I not think anyone might see me in the same way?

One thing I do is show how vulnerable I am. I talk openly about my feelings, my weaknesses, and when I’m struggling. I also like to share what is helping and working well. I think, though, it’s seeing someone overcome some kind of adversity that makes that person seem more inspiring. And in that way, I am happy to continue sharing the hard parts along this journey. 🙂

I am noticing, though, that my reaction is changing. Since I started following Dr. McDougall’s recommendations I am eating a lot more carbohydrate than I used to which is giving me a TON of energy. I don’t think that was enough emphasis. I have A TON of energy!!! These days I am waking up on my own usually between 530 and 6 am. I don’t usually get up, but I have some quiet time to read while the hubs sleeps a little more. Then around 7 I get up and take Sammy for his morning stroll. If M is around and has time he comes, too. It’s not too far, just around the outside of two city blocks that includes a slight incline/decline depending on direction. But it’s about 1500 steps and 20 minutes of nice movement. Then I do my regular workday stuff. At work I sit at a desk in a highly visible workspace so I don’t have much freedom in terms of office workouts. However, the building is nice a big so several times a day I take a lap. If there are a lot of people in my path I zigzag through the aisles adding more steps along the way. I find that I actually need to do this since sitting for too long is causing discomfort in my legs. What?! Yes. Amazing, right?! When I get home I am usually pretty antsy since I sit in a decent amount of traffic. I change my clothes quickly and M and Sammy and I head out. In the evenings we go for a much longer walk, often about twice as the usual two-block walk, sometimes more. Recently we went up the hills a few blocks from us. Each time we go I get stronger and can take more incline, which is great! Most days I walk between 6000 and 8000 steps. Some days, usually my off days, we do much more. Yesterday we did over 13,000 including a trip to the store. Today, my feet are sore, but I still have energy!

I am trying to figure out how to walk without hurting myself, though. I am currently wearing some shoes that were designed as walking shoes. However, I am reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (I don’t think there’s a relation to the Dr.) which talks specifically about the biomechanics involved in moving forward. The book is specifically about running, obviously, but has made me aware of my foot strike and shoe issues. I have been reading about how to strengthen my feet so that they can support me in motion without causing me to limp for a day or so afterward. Eventually I hope to run in the style described in the book. Having less weight will help, but having the right form is better.

A year ago I would not have believed it if someone told me that I would want to start running. I have always hated running. The only game that uses running I ever liked was tennis and I haven’t played that since the summer before 5th grade! In middle and high school I was never able to run a full mile. I could run and walk together, but my best time was still about 15 minutes. No records broken here! Yet, I feel something in me when we go into the woods yearning to just take off like a wild spirit. I also feel it as we walk around the lake or along the beach. It’s something in the wind. Reading this book has given me hope that I may be able to learn a technique that will allow me to start running in a way that won’t cause permanent damage and will let me go far enough to feel that freedom I long for.

I am starting to feel it when I walk. Especially in the woods. I told M yesterday that I am starting to feel peace in my heart. It is like a small lake, surrounded by mountains, with crystal blue water and a mirror-like smoothness. Not a single ripple across the whole surface. It is simply beautiful. When I told my mom about the inner lake she asked me if I understand what she always meant when she told me to “let it go.” I said I was starting to get it. She said that was the best news I’ve ever told her in my 33 years of life. It was a great conversation.

I know a lot of the changes have to do with the antidepressant I am taking. I don’t know if I will ever not need to take it. But that’s okay. It is simply one more tool I am using to live the life I want. A lot of it has to do with the foods I’m eating as well. Having so much extra energy in my body has literally caused me to want to get up and go for a walk when no amount of guilt or rationale worked. I honestly WANT to get up and go for another walk! It’s amazing! The diet has cause physiological changes that are affecting my mental and emotional state. The interconnectedness is astounding. And who knew something as simple as boiled potatoes and sprouted whole wheat bread would have such a far-reaching effect on my whole life?

I am adjusting to this new part of me as well as I can. It is surreal to receive such positive feedback from so many people. It is also a little strange to feel so happy and motivated! After so many years of wanting to stay in bed all day I kind of love getting out of the house. I do worry about a relapse so I try to just take it one day at a time. I rarely make advanced plans, just in case. But on a whim I am finding myself up for just about anything! And I love it!

A beautiful day

I went for a walk today with my husband M and our dog Sammy. We went to a park near our house and walked along the Sunset Trail for maybe an hour and a half. There were a few times when my lungs lost their air (I have asthma that is brought on by physical exertion) but I was able to do some breathing exercises and did not need my inhaler. Sammy lost patience when I started taking baby steps on inclines so M took him and I caught up. It was a great walk though.

image

On our way out I felt like my legs were jelly. I definitely got a good workout on this walk! It felt so nice outside. The weather was perfect with a gentle breeze and lots of shade.

image

We talked about how I am changing since I have been the McDougall guidelines. One major change I have noticed in myself is that I want to go for walks like this. When I get home from work I want to walk the dog and have a few minutes of conversation with M before we zone out to the TV. I have even been walking Sammy in the morning most days. It’s not a huge amount of exercise, but it’s way more then what I was doing. And it feels great!

image

M told me that he is looking forward to not smoking cigarettes anymore. He has a doctor appointment this month and will be getting a prescription to help him quit. I cannot wait for him to be able to go a day without a cigarette. I am so happy he wants to regain his health, too.

image

All in all, it was a wonderful day. Tonight we might go out to dinner. We don’t do many dates or spend the whole day together like this so it is great to get to connect like this. I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend, too! Enjoy the gorgeous weather!

What do I eat?

I am so thrilled with my recent weight loss. I know the first few weeks and the first few pounds are the easiest to lose, though. My original plan was to try the McDougall program for a month to see how it goes. That was my original plan with a few different plans. 🙂 I like to give them a shot! This time is different, though. I am on a lot more medication than usual and I am sitting at a desk a lot more than usual. In the past I took very few medications regularly besides an allergy pill or ibuprofen for pain management. Now I am taking an insulin sensitizer, a hormone to help with my imbalance, an anti-depressant many of which cause weight gain, and the allergy pill. I am a little overwhelmed by the medication! I finally had to get an organizer so I knew if I took my pills everyday or not! Sitting at the desk is a direct result of my promotion back in March. I love my company and the new job! But I do miss having a higher workspace that I could spend time standing at. With all of these changes I must say that I am absolutely blown away that I have lost so much so easily since switching to this program.

So the next question is what am I actually eating everyday that is causing such easy weight loss? Well, let me tell you! I like to steam or roast whole potatoes to bring with me everywhere. I put them in a gallon sized bag and eat them plain or add a little garlic powder and salt and dip in ketchup. If I have larger potatoes I cut them into a bowl and top with salt and ketchup or make another topping. Last night I bought some beautiful mushrooms that I sliced and cooked with an onion, some garlic, a splash of red wine, a spoonful of tomato paste, chili powder, smoked paprika, and a splash of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. I cooked it down into a delicious reduction and spooned it onto some leftover potatoes. It was so good! I eat a lot of potatoes. I also love sweet potatoes. I sometimes chop them and roast the pieces. Other times I bake them whole and eat them with my hands. Sometimes I add a little cinnamon and salt. I know it sounds like an odd combination, but the sweetness of the potato mixed with the spiciness of the cinnamon really pops against the salt. It is such a tasty combo! I also season winter squashes that way. I eat a lot of sweet potatoes, too, but definitely more regular potatoes. I love the purple ones but Yukon Gold is my favorite variety.

I also am a big fan of snacks. I love salty, crunchy foods that satisfy a munchiness inside. I love pickles for this but try not to eat too many since that is a lot of salt. I also recently found a variety of rice cakes that use brown rice and salt only. They actually taste great to me! They are very messy to eat. But they make noshing while commuting home much more pleasant than having a rumbly in my tumbly. I hate being so hungry when I get home that my tummy hurts, which is easy to have happen since I don’t get home until around 8 pm most days.

I eat a lot of rice, too. My local grocery store has a selection of portioned, microwavable whole grain rices. I have had the regular brown, brown Jasmine, and Forbidden Black. All three were delicious! I don’t even add anything to them. I just eat them and they taste great! Sometimes I cook my own, but lately I have been eating potatoes as my starch of choice. I do thoroughly enjoy barley, as well. If it’s for breakfast I mix in some cinnamon and maple syrup for a warm and hearty start to my day. I also enjoy beans quite a bit. The other day I made a mash out of garbanzo beans with some garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, liquid aminos, lemon juice, and a touch of salt. I was very tasty. I topped it with broccoli slaw and mixed it all up. I also love to make my own pinto beans and then refried beans. I used to use a little oil for the refry, but now I just use enough cooking liquid or water to heat everything up then cook it down to the consistency I love – thick! I have made some white bean dishes as well with some liquid smoke added to the mix for a distinctly bacony aroma. They turn out so tasty!

Occasionally I eat a banana or other fruit, though I have a lot of issues with fresh fruit so I never eat too much. Sometimes we order pizza for dinner. I get some veggies with no cheese. I also make my own pizzas by filling the cornmeal crusts I love with whatever sounds good at the time. Yesterday I decided to get a loaf of bread and some hummus. I ate all the bread including some sweet potato sandwiches. I don’t eat bread everyday, though. But I am still tweaking my diet to get the most out of my digestion. Sometimes it feels like everything is going through too fast and I’m not getting any nutrients. So I decided to eat some bread to let some extra nutrition get absorbed. We also eat pasta occasionally. It’s something my husband M will eat also without a fuss. He always says he doesn’t like cooked tomatoes but the last batch of sauce I made he raved about it, so he can’t be that picky! Mushroom, spinach, onion sauce!

Basically, for now, I am eating whatever sounds good. I am actively working to limit the amounts of fats that I eat. Very few nuts or seeds, hardly any oils, no fats as condiments. I like how I feel when I get most of my nutrition from potatoes or sweet potatoes, both of which will fully support humans! M recently joked about buying a potato farm in Washington state. Sounds good to me!

I would like to add some polenta to my meals. I made it a few times in the past and it is simply amazing when made at home. I want to make a big batch and let it cool then cut into squares or strips and bake for a lovely crunch. That could be dipped into red sauce or topped with refried beans and salsa. Yum! I also started a sourdough starter last night. I am not eating that much bread these days but starters last a long time and it’s a great thing to do myself. I am also interested in trying millet. I have never had that grain on it’s own before. I’m not sure, though. 🙂 Sometimes it’s better to stick with what I’m comfortable with.

So that’s what I eat. If I’m feeling up for the bulk I add some veggies in also. But not too many. I’m not eating anywhere near my daily recommended calorie goal right now so I’m comfortable with more starches. As my weight loss slows I’ll be ready to add more veggies into the mix. I love broccoli, green beans, carrots, parsnips, salads, kale, and many more. It will be easy to add those in. But I’m going to listen to my body and how I feel.

A huge part of what I’m doing is working on healing my relationship with food. If I am hungry, I eat. If I am craving something, I eat it – as long as it fits my health goals. I am not restricting anything that is not actively contributing to my ill-health. This is so freeing! Especially after so many years of following one Diet after another. I am feeling great physically. I have so much energy every day and my mood has dramatically improved! My skin is getting way better, too. I have eczema on my hands that causes them to get rough like sand paper before splitting open and bleeding from dryness. The past few days I have noticed that they are smooth even without applying lotion several times per day. The rough spot near where my wedding ring hits (when my hands are okay enough to actually wear it) is getting better, too. The insane redness and itching have gone way down. I also feel like my face is clearing up. That is trickier, though, since my hormones are so out of whack that I have to take a medicine to help balance them. So that could be causing some of the clearing. In any case, I feel better with a clearer complexion. I feel better with this program. I love coming home and having the energy to walk the dog or do a workout! I feel so good!

Braids, sweat, and tears

This past weekend I went to a music festival in Grass Valley, CA to braid hair with a friend of mine. I have never been to a festival quite like this before. It was celebrating music from all over the world and it was amazing! I even got to indulge in some delicious Caribbean/Jamaican style vegan food. I say indulge because fried gingered plantains were definitely a treat! I have been on such a low fat diet since I started this blog that I ate less than what I would have eaten in years past and still felt a little sick from the oil. But it was so worth it! 🙂

I am not used to so much heat either. Both Saturday and Sunday I was thirsty enough to drink over a gallon of water. Saturday I ate a whole jar of mini dill pickles! I stayed true to myself and ate the gold and sweet potatoes I brought with me for most of my food. I felt in control and prepared, both of which I often don’t feel. It is great to see myself and my health as a priority worth planning for.

While the festival was not as busy as I had hoped in terms of what I was offering, it was still a lot of fun to get out there. I was also able to bring home a few very unique items that I cannot get anywhere else. And I made a few new friends while getting to reconnect with an old one. We shared some sweetly sentimental moments that had both of us in tears. But in the happiest way possible! These all made going out into that heat more than worth it.

I had to be back at work Monday due to an unanticipated staffing change. I had been planning on going to my mom’s Sunday night and then Weight Watchers in the morning. That wasn’t going to happen, though, so I had to improvise. Surprisingly, it is hard to find an early week meeting in my area. But I still had to go get my dog from my mom’s house so I found one on the way our to her on Tuesday morning. I wasn’t expecting too much from my weigh in. Eating a whole jar of pickles puts a lot of salt in the system! Also, I tend to be sensitive to environmental stressors like excess heat! Plus I had all those delicious plantains. So I was prepared to see a gain. But I actually lost over 3 lbs!!! That means in the two weeks that I have been following Dr. McDougall’s plan I have lost 8.8 lbs. That’s a lot!!! I am so excited by that! I must say that this is by far the easiest “diet” I’ve ever done. I get to eat as much as I am hungry for of foods I love. And I never have to be hungry, except at work when I don’t have time to get a snack. 🙂 But that’s more a scheduling thing than a diet thing.

I am still struggling with my mom, though. Yesterday we were at her house for a bit. I brought some brown rice cakes, a banana, and a microwavable package of black rice (if you haven’t had it, it is so good!). I ate all the rice cakes that were left and the rice. I was still hungry. My mom started listing things that she thought I could eat. I am not eating any of them. She then tried to justify why she thought I should eat them. I told her to Google “dr mcdougall maximum weight loss” to see what I am doing. I doubt she will. I wish she would because it is important to me that she knows why I say no to the things she is eating. It is an easy way for her to support me. But I am not holding my breath. I love my mom dearly and I know she loves me, too. She does not understand how to support me in the way I need to be supported, though. So I will take what I can get and make sure I keep prioritizing myself and celebrating my fantastic progress toward health. I think tonight calls for fresh strawberries!

Snacking and packing

I have found that since I am focusing my diet mostly on starches I am eating way more often than I used to. Three meals a day does not work at all anymore. I now eat for most of my 45 – 55 minute drive to work. Just a bite or two every few minutes. Then at work I’m okay until around 12 or 1 at which point I find myself famished! Usually I have some roasted sweet potatoes or baby potatoes. Today I don’t have any so I got a snack tray of sugar snap peas, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes. I trashed the ranch dressing and honestly don’t even miss it. Yay for that progress! It helps to have a snack since my lunch break is still almost two hours away. Planning for snacks that are whole foods (not flour-based), not fruits, vegan (no cheese or meats), and very low fat is a lot harder than I expected. But snacks are actually a necessary part of my day.

This weekend I am heading to a music festival to do some fancy hair braiding with a friend. This will be the first time I’m not going to be home at some point in the day to prepare meals for the next day. I am a little nervous about it. I am planning on bringing a bunch of cooked potatoes of varying sizes along with some chunked and roasted sweet potatoes. I am truly worried about bringing enough food. I definitely did not expect to eat as often as I find myself eating on this kind of program. I also have applesauce squeeze pouches that are great if I feel like my blood sugar is a little low. I think between the starches and simple sugars of the applesauce along with some blanched green beans and roasted broccoli and cauliflower should be sufficient. I am going to be working long days so I know I’ll need the food to make it through.

So tonight I’m going to wash and chop the potatoes and sweet potatoes. I will cook them tomorrow. I also got other veggies that I can steam and roast. Tonight’s dinner will be a simple one of fast split pea soup with rice (can you see a pattern in my tastes?). I already soaked AND steamed the peas and the rice will be done cooking when I get home. I really like programmable appliances! I will make sure all the dishes and laundry are done before I go to bed tonight, too. So much work! I hope it’s all worth it, both in terms of how I feel after the weekend and how profitable it is. I’m mostly just hoping for enough money to pay for a class at my local Junior College this fall. I’m thinking of making another career change so this would be the first class toward that training. I’ll talk more about that as it unfolds. For now, I’m just going to work on making sure I have everything I need to snack and pack!