Thursday, October 27, 2011

How going grocery shopping broke my heart.

What was in my shopping cart yesterday: 7 various spices, whole milk, whole wheat english muffins, mini whole wheat cinnamon bagels, a quart of nonfat plain greek yogurt, kale, 1 honey crisp apple, 2 tango apples, large container of plain old fashioned oatmeal, box of raisins, autumn spice tea, and pistachios

What was in the shopping cart of the person in front of me yesterday: Hawaiian punch soda, doritos, frozen pizzas, sugared gelatin cups, a bag of candy, captain crunch, apple pie, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, heat and serve sausages, giant bag of hash browns and lots and lots of other processed foods.

This was not one of those "go into the store for only one thing and get distracted" trips. This was their bi-weekly (or possibly monthly) shopping trip. They had a ton of stuff.

And not a single fruit or vegetable in any form. Maybe there was some orange juice. And there was the bag of hash browns. But that's it.

No apples, not a single banana, no carrots, no can of green beans, not even a frozen bag of mixed vegetables. Nothing.

It made me so incredibly sad.

That's what they're going to eat for the next 2 weeks?

And it wasn't like these two ladies and their kids were an oddity. I see it all the time.

And it makes me so incredibly sad.

Not counting my spice collection, I had 11 items. They had probably 40. I spent $20 on the food I bought. They spent $160.

They paid with EBT and then scrounged up some dollars and change from their purses.

That made me even sadder because obviously they aren't well off and they had very little to show for all the money they had spent.

They even had to put back a few fruit pies and a 2 liter of soda. But still everything they had left is what I would consider "junk" food.

Now don't get me wrong- it's not like I am all high and mighty over here claiming that I NEVER eat processed foods.

Cuz I do. More than I should. These 20 extra pounds can testify to that.

Yesterday, for instance, I had pizza. But I didn't wash it down with pepsi, a side of cheetos, and a snickers bar.

Yeah, I had pizza. But I also had baby carrots, homemade beef stew with veggies, an apple, milk, and watermelon.

I'm not saying that people who live on processed crap foods are stupid or evil or bad parents.

I don't even think they are ignorant or uneducated about what constitutes a healthy meal.

Every single person I know can look at a bag of chips and a bag of apples and instinctively know which one is better nutritionally.

We all KNOW what healthy is, for the most part.

But I think there are all these myths associated with eating healthily that deter people.

Like that it's expensive. No way. Not if you shop smart. To make the same amount of meals I bet I could have spent 1/2 of what the women in front of me did.

Like that it's normal and that is how everyone eats. In this country it is pretty common. But that isn't saying much. In all of our history as humans, and even just 100 years ago, meals were pretty much home cooked with whole ingredients. There weren't drive-throughs or TV dinners. And even in many other countries in this day and age that is still the case. Our bodies do not thrive on refined flour, sodium, and sugar alone. Sorry.

Like that it doesn't taste good. Lies. Lots of people I know love the taste of watermelon, juicy peaches, and crisp apples. Plenty of people enjoy salsa, guacamole, sweet corn on the cob, marinara, sauteed mushrooms, crunchy baby carrots, baked sweet potato fries, and even fresh baby spinach. We all like some fruits and vegetables and if we tried new or old vegetables, in new ways, more often, I bet we could expand our personal lists of healthy foods we enjoy even further.

Or what about "I don't have time to cook"? Takes 30-40 minutes to bake some chicken breasts and you really don't have to do anything more than sprinkle some seasonings on it and throw it in the oven. Fish like salmon takes even less time. A whopping 10-15 minutes. Steam some cauliflower while you're at it. Boil some whole grain pasta. A bowl of oatmeal or a peanut butter and banana sandwich is done in 5 minutes. You can eat yogurt and grapes and salads straight out of the fridge. You don't have to bake your own bread or prepare elaborate meals if you don't want to.

Processed foods taste good. I get it. They're designed that way.

But healthy food tastes good too.

Balance it out.

They could save a lot of money on groceries and insurance and medical bills. They could add years to their life...

Every time I go to the store there is someone in line who is buying nothing but crap. I so badly want to flip over their carts and scream "FOLLOW ME! I will lead you to the produce aisle!" Because clearly they missed it.

I especially hate when they've got children with them. Adults get to make all the decisions about how money is spent. Kids get no say.

Is there a polite way to tell a total stranger "OH MY GOD you are killing your family!! DO NOT BUY THAT!!"?

I didn't think so.

So if you are standing in line behind a girl buying kale and quinoa and she is quietly weeping as the person in front of her buys Pepsi and popsicles?

Don't worry,

That is just me.

And sometimes the way people choose to feed themselves and their families just makes me so sad.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tofu troubles. Also I suck at budgeting.

I woke up this morning suuuuper nauseous. Then I went back to sleep.

The last thing I ate was tofu. Consequently my brain has associated tofu with that lovely Oh-my-God-I'm-gonna-hurl feeling.

Tofu will not be touching these lips for quite awhile.

I had to throw the rest of it away.

So when I woke up I had the furthest thing from tofu possible.

Pizza! From Costco. Yummmm.

I got to work and snacked on 1/3 bag of baby carrots. CUZ I AM ALL HEALTHY.

Eventually that wasn't cutting it though and I remembered I had some left over beef stew in the fridge.


I made this a few days ago. Classic beef stew with some stew meat, celery, carrots and potatoes. With a few twists. I decided I wanted to try turnips. My only prior experience with turnips was playing Harvest Moon games and growing and selling those guys like crazy. I had never actually tasted them.

So I chopped 'em up like taters and just threw 'em in the crock pot with the rest of the stuff. The verdict? They took on the flavor of the soup well, similar to the way the potatoes did. However I could definitely tell the difference. Taters have a "mealy" texture whereas the cooked turnips were similar to the smooth stewed carrots. Another happy difference? Turnips have like 1/3 of the calories that potatoes do. I didn't even know that until today. If I had I probably would have forgone the potatoes entirely. I think I am a fan.

I also stirred in some leftover pumpkin sauce I had made for pasta. Thickened up the stock nicely with no real change to the flavor.

After work I made a trip to the grocery store.

I mentioned I am trying to budget better, especially in the grocery department. My goal this week was to spend $25 or less.

I started out well. Spent $1 on salad greens earlier in the week.

And then... today. *Ahem* I went to the store for two things.

But while I was there I realized I needed a few spices. (A few = seven.) So... that was $20. But now I can create delicious things with caraway, fennel, allspice, cardamom, red pepper flakes, cinnamon and smoked paprika! But not at all at once.. I think.

So those two things I went for? Skim milk and bagels. But I got like 10 other things. Plus the "few" spices. And I didn't get skim milk, I got whole milk. And the bagels were really expensive. But they were PERFECT. Whole wheat, cinnamon flavored, and 100 calories each.

So the total for the week so far is $40. Oooopsy daisy!

I tried a honey crisp apple though! I usually buy gala because they are cheap. Also through a very scientific process I have discerned my favorite kind of apple is the "reddish-yellow" kind. Honey crisps happen to be reddish-yellow and I think the flavor is similar to the gala. Except... better. Both sweeter and tarter at the same time, and with a crisper texture. It's like the gala on steroids that pump up deliciousness.

Problem? I just don't think I love apples that much. The honey crisp was good, I admit. But I still rather would have been having pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, a pear, a kiwi, grapes, blueberries... or pretty much any other fruit that is not an apple.

But I was starving as I left the store so I scarfed that baby. And then I busted open that milk and drank it straight from the jug. LIKE AN ANIMAL.

Actually no, if I was drinking milk like an animal I would have drank it from some fleshy boob jugs.

That was awkward.

So then I ate pizza.

And I drank this.

Delicious! One of those "extras" at the grocery store today. Only it doesn't really taste like pumpkin. It tastes like... eggnog. Weird, right?

Finished the night with two wedges of 2011's last watermelon.

On a totally unrelated note, I now know what WiFi does when I turn my back!

That's my boy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday (Tuesday)

Today I decided to try amping up the protein in an attempt to keep the hunger monster at bay. (It didn't work that well by the way. At the moment? Hardcore craving a quesadilla. Or 3.)

Kicked off the morning with a scramble.

Eggs, ham, tofu, and broccoli.

Why tofu with eggs and ham? Added protein for minimal calories and to get a greater variety of micronutrients in.

Also on the menu? This amazing tea.

Buy this!

Then it was off to work. Booooo. And at 11 am a snack to refuel.

Frozen strawberries, almond milk, vanilla, sweetener, tofu.

Definitely tasted the tofu in this so I'll have to try something different next time.

I read something online- tips about how to lose weight. A suggestion was "replace one meal with a salad". So I'm trying that.

Baby greens with a hummus dressing. (Hummus thinned with water) Topped with roasted brussel sprouts, carrots and baked falafel patties. I find that I like salad a lot more when it's mixed with some cooked elements. Tons of raw veggies just isn't my thing I guess.

I snacked on a handful of frozen grapes, a slice of watermelon and an ear of corn.

Dinner was something new to me!

Baked tofu with bbq sauce, green beans and "fried" brown rice. I didn't dig the tofu much. Much rather would have had chicken. Ha.

Also? There is a recipe online for baking brown rice and it is THE BEST brown rice I have EVER made/tasted/nommed upon. Make it this way. It will kick your old way's butt majorly.

Also also? The turkey bacon at Trader Joe's is thick cut and amazingly delicious. So much better than the regular name brands I have tried. Unfortunately, it comes at a price. A hefty one.

I spent the night doing a little exercising, roasting a pumpkin, and making pumpkin syrup/pumpkin cream cheese spread. I'm passing the syrup along to my dad who wanted "pumpkin spice" coffee but the spread is miiineee all miiiineee! I will possibly share it with my husband. Possibly.

I cannot wait to pick up some bagels at the store to accompany the deliciousness.

Now? I'm off to chill with this sweet little guy.

Love. <3

Friday, October 21, 2011

Life Goals

So our car is running, but it's really on it's last leg. We need a new car. We've needed a new car for awhile.

That means we really need to start saving money.

We realized that about a week ago.

Today I went to the store. 3 stores actually. (Hmmm. That seems like a problem.)

At one of those stores I spent $10 on various water flavoring packets and a random pack of sparkling diet cranberry juice.

That sort of defeats the purpose of me not buying diet sodas anymore to save money.

Especially when those random cranberry juices cost fifty cents a can.

What was I even thinking?!

Well, lesson learned.


I'm going to work out a budget. And I'm going to stick to that budget.


I'll let you know how it goes.

In other news I am slightly more on track with my eating than I was a week or two ago.

And my elliptical machine came yesterday and I did actually use it. So now I've just got to keep the momentum going. I gotta elliptical it up!

So hopefully soon I will be a skinny lady with a fat wallet and a four door fully functional vehicle.

Ahhhh yeeahhhh.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

If only I were a rabbit.

I wish this looked amazingly delicious to me.

But unfortunately, it doesn't.

Gag me with the fork.

Take that same base and turn it into any of these however? Yum.

The chinese chicken with it's crunchy fried toppings, nuts, glazed chicken and sesame seeds.

The cobb with it's grilled chicken, crunchy bacon, tender egg yolk and creamy blue cheese.

Greek salad with soft feta cheese, salty olives and hearty chickpeas.

And the taco salad. Cheddar cheese and flavorful ground meat, sometimes tortilla chips, sometimes spicy ranch dressing.

I pretend to like lettuce but really I don't think I do.

I like it buried amongst strong flavors.

Particularly cream, fat, and fried crunch.

I wish I was a girl who loved raw veggies.

But I so am not.

It's a serious problem, according to my scale.

I wish somebody would invent a lettuce that tasted like potato chips.

That would be awesome.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I bought an elliptical machine! YAY!

By far the least painful work out I can imagine so now I might actually get out of my rut and lose the last half of this excess weight.

I DO need to force myself to find time to try out different strength moves and develop something that works for me.

And tonight meal planning is definitely on the agenda.

I'm excited to be back in the game!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Seven Things

Things that have happened since the last time I wrote.

1) I baked a pumpkin pie from a pumpkin. I even made the crust from scratch. The pie was amazing, my husband was very impressed, and I feel so accomplished for having faced my squashy pie fears.


2) I made a loaf of honey wheat bread and it tastes pretty good. This is the first time I have ever made a loaf of "sandwich"-style bread. I'm excited that now I know I can make my own bread at home with a handful of ingredients for a fraction of the cost of purchasing bread from the store. GO me.


3) My 2 year wedding anniversary was on Tuesday. I tackled more firsts in order to make a special dinner for my husband. First, I cooked a steak... not on the BBQ. I pan fried a new york in butter until it was crusty on the outside and juicy on the inside. A very nice and yummy treat. I ALSO pan seared scallops. I love scallops but mine (cooked in garlic, butter, oil, salt, pepper) were too bland for my tastes. I'm in the market for some sauces.


4) Summer has been angry and persistent this year. It has been 90s, 90s, 90s well past the usual point of cooling down. However that all changed yesterday. I woke up to the sound of very heavy rain and knew that fall had finally arrived. I celebrated by thrifting some much-needed cold weather clothes. 2 pairs of black boots (one flat, one heeled), a long navy skirt, a pair of jeans, 3 sweaters, and a gray thermal top. I am still hunting for a black coat, another pair of pants, a long gray skirt, a few long sleeve cardigans, and hopefully a sweatshirt or two. I also would not complain if I managed to find some super-thick black tights and cozy socks at Target soon.


(Similar to my purchases. Courtesy of polyvore.)

5) WiFi was still coughing a lot so we called the vet. They tested him for parasites, which they thought might be interfering with his ability to digest the antibiotics. He tested positive so now we are treating him for Giardia. He is still on a general antibiotic and another more specialized medicine geared towards clearing up any last bits of the pneumonia. He has shown a tiny progression as far as the distemper. As soon as I saw it I started giving him vitamin A and vitamin C to hopefully slow down the virus/boost his immune system. Otherwise he is a happy puppy, a terror to our toes, and recently at war with his own shadow and a random pile of firewood in our living room. Tomorrow is the last day of his Giardia medicine so I have to give him a bath and scrub/wash every surface in our house. Fun.

6) On Sunday we were surprised by the fact that our car wouldn't start. Super lame. It's not the battery itself but rather some other component involved. We can get it to start with a jump but it dies again within a few hours. My uncle cleaned the posts and tightened the connecting wires but still there is a problem. So he is supposed to come look at it soon. In the meantime my mom has been letting us use her car. Thank goodness for mothers.

7) I am getting fatter. I have not been eating well amongst all of this stress, but I want to change that. I downloaded an app today that has strength training routines and videos of how to perform each exercise. I'm going to try it out soon, as my mind has been craving exercise. I took a small step towards better eating last night as well. I cooked up chicken breast four ways. One I baked then shredded and mixed with a bit of bbq sauce and hot sauce. Another I sauteed in a tiny bit of oil and then poured a bit of spicy/sweet peanut sauce over. A third I sauteed plain in garlic and onion. Lastly I baked up some healthy-fied breaded chicken tenders. I am happy because all of these preparations can be used in a variety of ways. In wraps, on sandwiches, to top a salad, with pasta or rice, etc, etc. YAY being prepared AND having a variety.

Seven is such a weird number to end on, but that about sums it up folks.