It went pretty well this week. I didn’t entirely stick to the plan, but it felt much better to have ideas and recommit to this meal planning thing now that we’re a little more settled after baby. Plus, I love thinking about food… imagine that!
Wednesday: Roast chicken and vegetables with pesto gravy. Homegrown tomatoes and beets, store-bought potatoes and onions, chicken from down the road, sauce made from pan drippings and homemade/homegrown pesto.
Thursday: Impromptu get-together with my sister at my parent’s house. We collaborated and made a tuna noodle thing and homegrown roast summer squash and eggplant.
Friday: Chicken tacos made from leftover chicken cooked up in homemade/grown salsa, served with homegrown broccoli salad, refried beans, and corn chips.
Saturday: No picture- had a little dinner party with Jeff’s sisters and they brought food! So delicious- it was lasagna and an apple crisp. Yummy. While it was a total treat (who doesn’t love lasagna and apple crisp?!), there was something interesting that spawned from that meal. The whole next day (Sunday), I felt like I couldn’t tell when I was hungry or full. I found myself feeling "munchy" most of the day, and having to ask myself questions like- Am I hungry? Am I bored? I just ate, why am I thinking about what to snack on? Anyway, Jeff seemed to notice a difference in himself, too, and we started thinking… Our friend was talking to us about how she was able to figure out what was wrong with her family’s diet (milk and gluten allergies) by abstaining from certain things for a month, then adding them back in one at a time. She said most people don’t know how crappy they feel, but once they strip the bad stuff out, then they’re able to see when something is off. Well, I know that’s true. I now know that most delivery pizzas do not agree with me- whether it’s the high gluten content or the crappy ingredients and loads of grease, I don’t know. But I never remember noticing it when I didn’t eat as well. Also, when Vera has too much sugar (and I mean like a piece of cake with frosting or something at a party, she can handle pies and more naturally sweetened things much better) it affects her negatively. Her appetite for normal things is spoiled- for a couple of days after she’ll ask me for many more sweet/floury things and turn her nose up at normal meals. She also tends to be more irritable. Then, after a couple of days she’s back to her old self, eating what we do and having her normal moods.
Anyway. I think this comes down to sugar and refined flours, etc. I read somewhere that those things can do all of that- affecting mood, cravings, even your ability to tell when you’re sated. It’s not that we don’t have these things in our diets to some degree- but it’s clear that we’ve been able to strip them out to the point where we can feel the difference when we ate a meal full of them. So, I’m determined to continue working on keeping our grains soaked/fermented (gotta start up with sourdough again!), and keeping our sugar intake very limited and mostly nutritive (honey, maple syrup, raw sugar, etc.). I knew this all before, but it just really hit us again this past weekend. I think I can have fun working to find a way to make a sprouted grain pasta, or a perfect sourdough pita bread, etc. This is a really good realization to have, especially because I was feeling less motivated about that stuff.
Sunday: Bean and squash soup. Yay crock pot! I love my crock pot on days when we’re gone. Coming home to nourishing food that you didn’t have to think about… so nice! Anyway, this was made with chicken stock made from the chicken (3 different meals from that small bird, and we’ve still got leftovers), homegrown summer squash, jalapeños, garlic, tomatoes. Store bought onions, cilantro, black/pinto beans (although all were local, I think, except maybe the pinto beans). Spices. Turned out to be a really good soup.
Monday: Food storage day… we caved and Jeff bought burgers from this retro drive-inn down the street. They are a treat sometimes. We just were so done with dealing with food on that day, plus we had no stove space anyway. The irony of eating take out on a food storage day is not lost on me, but I am pleased that we stored a good amount of food- certainly enough to feed us many times this winter. I did resist the oh-so-yummy fries (undoubtedly fried in partially-hydrogenated toxic yuck, which I’m trying to avoid more strictly these days) and replaced it with homegrown peppers, zucchini, and tomato slices. I also included a little pile of homemade/homegrown sauerkraut for a probiotic boost.
And some of our work that day:
A total of 33 quarts of beans from our 2 raised beds this summer. That’s not including the ones we made into dilly beans, and the loads that we ate fresh. I’m so amazed! Also next to that is some experimental roasted eggplant/pepper/tomato spread. I’m thinking it’ll be awesome on a grilled sandwich or something…
Tuesday: Salmon cakes (canned salmon, bread crumbs, egg, salt & pepper, parsley) topped with homemade mayo/pesto sauce, served with homegrown tomato slices, and homemade/grown coleslaw. One of my favorite meals, whether it be made with salmon or tuna.
Now, having committed to a mostly local diet, I have decided to make an exception for the occasional meal including fish. Salmon, in particular, is a really nutritious food- high in protein, calcium, Vitamin D, B12, B6, etc., and of course all of those lovely omega-3s. We get wild canned salmon- wild because it’s much lower in contaminants than farmed salmon (which is important to me, especially with little developing brains in this house), and canned because it’s a good cheap option. Now, I’m concerned with the sustainability end of it all, even though I’ve read that people say the salmon is not being over-fished. I don’t believe that, because they are always determining that stuff in light of certain levels of decline. According to my calculations, any level of decline is unsustainable… but anyway. I guess I don’t have a great answer for why I make the exception. I suppose it’s a combination of realizing that my food choices are not going to actually save the world (I just do it really because I think it’s the right thing to do and tends to be better for us), and also that I want to my family to eat good food and have what they need to stay healthy in a really toxic world. Sort of the same reason I might buy us some spinach in the middle of winter, or some avocado for Asa when he starts to eat solid food- that kind of thing. It’s an exception, I know that. Maybe someday I’ll have this all figured out…
Note #1: part of the reason I want to include what’s homegrown/made is that I want to track my progress and see how our meals might change throughout the year. Also to see what else I might be able to reliably grow each year rather than buy (eg. we’ve always bought potatoes and onions, but I’m hoping that’ll change this year with our harvest)
Note #2: Not specifically about food, but now that I’m 7 weeks postpartum, I’m starting to think about getting back into shape. I didn’t weigh myself at all through pregnancy, so I have no idea how much I gained in the end. I just ate well and exercised as I could. I had to weigh myself at an appointment at about 1-2 weeks postpartum (even though I hadn’t planned on looking at a scale until around now). I weighed myself this morning and am down 4 pounds from that. Anyway, I won’t be mentioning those numbers (unfortunately those numbers seem to have more of an effect on me than I’d like), but I’m interested to see how my body responds to just eating this way and exercising when I can. For the record, my diet consists of about 50-60% of calories from fat- most of that being saturated (butter, coconut oil, animal fat, whole raw milk)… I believe it’s recommended to stick to about 20-30%, and to really limit saturated fat. I’ve just got different information. Otherwise I eat mostly whole, organic foods. I’m not planning on restricting calories at all. As for exercise, I am active every day, but usually that just means I’m doing general housework/garden work, and I hop on the elliptical once a week or so (I’m trying to carve out more time for it, though), and I take walks. Also worth mentioning is I’m not one of those women who bounces right back after pregnancy. I didn’t lose my baby weight with Vera until after she started eating solid food regularly at 9 months. She was a good 18 months before I really felt back to what I feel was a good weight for me. Nursing doesn’t always do it for everyone. But I also wasn’t eating quite as good as I do now. Anyway, I suppose I’m just interested in how much of a process it’ll be to get "back". Obviously every body is different, but I’m curious about how my body responds to no restriction of calories and a high-fat diet after having a baby. I was eating that way before I got pregnant, and was very stable weight-wise and in really good shape, but I have no idea how it will work in terms of weight loss. Interesting tidbit- Jeff eats this way too, and he’s always wishing he would gain weight. My theory? I’ll get back in shape naturally with minimal effort, although I have no idea how quickly. My theory just challenges common knowledge about weight-loss and nutrition, so I thought it might be relevant. Are people interested in my sharing about this?