Food and I have an interesting dynamic.
Suffice it to say that, when I was a little girl, I had a very confusing time figuring out the role food played in my life. It was both equally forbidden and encouraged; good and bad. If I was eating, I was embarrassed, but it still felt good, somehow.
As I grew up, the relationship was another one of those “bad boyfriend” situations. Relationships, as we all know, aren’t bad in general, but if you get a bad one, it’s BAD. Like, life-altering bad. I loved to eat, but had nobody to tell me NOT to eat food…. so I went crazypants. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, generally.
Recently, our little family went to have our numbers tested for our annual physicals. We found that we weren’t doing very well on certain measures, and were told that it was time to cut back on the noms, and to continue with our exercise programs that we’d been on for a good while.
Shock! Awe! What?! These recipes by Paula Deen(Diabetes Queen!) and Julia Child(bless her, but she utilizes more butter and fats than PD) weren’t creating the beacon of physical health of which the mirror displayed?! (Kidding, obviously.) I had, since I moved out on my own, used cooking as a way to relax, to create, and to warm my soul. It was also an excellent tool in rewarding and surprising my sweet husband when I thought he deserved it. Cupcakes, lasagna, chocolate pie and every other homemade confection you can imagine were our comfort, along with the bloated fullness we felt after consuming such delights.
But….. now what? At first, I went through a little mini-depression. No cupcakes? No lasagna? But I was working out! I was working my ass off, actually, and…. no weight was coming off. (Weird, right?) Wrong-o.
Instead of being upset for too long, I decided to issue myself an ultimatum: learn to cook with the good stuff. Before we could even go to the store to tackle our new diet, I decided to do my own Foodie kitchen challenge. I looked in the cupboard and the fridge for only healthy foods, pulling out things that looked appetizing, and that had decent nutrition facts on the label. I chopped onions and garlic, and sauteed them in a little olive oil. I found our bottle of Brown County Wine from Indiana, which was deliciously sweet, and added a good couple of splashes. Then some tomatoes and a bit of tomato sauce, and sprinkled with Italian spices. After simmering, the sauce sang! What a perfect compliment to some simply Panko-breaded and baked chicken cutlets and whole wheat pasta. And I didn’t forget the hefty serving of broccoli on the side! Who knew?! This whole healthy cooking think might not be so bad after all.
Our first trip to the grocery store the next day was a doozie, to say the least. My sweetie and I went down each aisle, looking very closely at the nutrition labels, poring over each canned good and package. We could not BELIEVE the crap that was in things we never thought to look at! For example, a little tidbit: did you know that canned black beans have RIDICULOUS amounts of sodium, whereas the dried ones in the bag have almost none? Also, organics tend to have WAY less salt than their Walmart-brand counterparts. Yes, you pay more for organics, but you’ll pay with your health, too!
By the time our cart was full, I looked down at our loot, and felt something I hadn’t felt at the grocery store in a long time; I felt *proud*. The cart o’ health looked colorful, fresh, and delicious. Greek yogurt, frozen fish, TONS of bagged fresh and frozen fruits and veggies, low-fat organic milk, and plenty of canned organics made me feel like we were going down the right path for the first time since we’d been married.
Weird thing? Red meat hasn’t been a part of our meals at home at all in the last week. And the only meaty dishes I’ve cooked have been chicken and fish. Red meat was such a HUGE part of our repertoire before that it seemed to be something I’d never be able to give up, but as time passes, my desire for it does, too.
Weirder thing? The last two days have been vegetarian days without intention. Greek yogurt provides TONS of protein, oatmeal provides whole grains, and my Boca Burgers and broccoli dinners are so delish that I haven’t noticed my lack of moo and cluck in my meals. My water-only rule (unless we eat out, in which I allow myself a Diet Coke) has made me feel like my face is glowing, too!
Wish us luck, world. I can’t pretend that my infertility isn’t one of my main drives to eat a more healthy, holistic diet…. And I’m excited to explore the other side of this leaf we’ve turned over.
Oh, and a shout out to my awesome husband, who, after tackling this diet and exercise program head on, has already lost 6 pounds. Woo hoo!