Category Archives: Living Simply
Since Operation Love Handle, I’ve been continuously asked: What do you eat?
That’s a great question. What do I eat?
Not meat, for starters. And, fish only when I eat out.
I’ve limited my dairy, too.
I know what you’re thinking: What’s left?
I know that’s what you’re thinking because I previously thought too. When you grow up on the Standard American Diet, you are use to meat being the star of the show. Meat is what dinner is cooked around. Heck, meat dictates your wine choice.
Two years ago I started reading vegetarian and vegan blogs and thought the women who wrote them were slightly extreme and little delusional. Although their food looked good, I didn’t believe it tasted good. However, I saw one commonality in these women: (besides having food blogs) they looked great. Sure, they exercised, but they glowed in their pictures. I couldn’t help to think their diet may have had something to do with it.
After a year of my new diet and exercising, I believe it’s true. I believe their diet (and mine) helps you to feel and look great.
I love what I eat. I don’t have cheat days or “bad foods”; I eat second and third helpings and have dessert twice a day. I am always full and feel energized and nourished.
My diet may look boring, but like any change, it just took some time to get used to. I started by changing my breakfast, then my dinner, then my lunches. It was slow and I waited to make another change when I was ready. I still have junk food from time to time but usually have a stomach ache or other poor physical reaction after eating junk that deters the next purchase of a bag of Oreos. (But not always. I bought Oreos last week). 🙂
So, all this talk about food. What do I eat?
Breakfast: Usually cereal. I enjoyed Special K with Berries, or Oatmeal Squares. I’d eat an entire bowl and be famished in an hour.
Snack: Always crackers. Always. Wheat Thins, or Pita crackers (from Trader Joe’s) usually with hummus or just plain. I’d eat about a 1/2 cup and be hungry again before lunch.
Lunch: A turkey/ham/salami sandwich, maybe some fruit, a cookie/dessert. Probably more crackers. Or, leftovers from a previous dinner. My lunch would hold me for a few hours.
Snack: Sometimes fruit. Usually crackers.
Dinner: Enchiladas, Pasta, Tacos, Mac & Cheese, Hamburgers, Tuna Melts, and Quesadillas.
Dessert: Cookies, Brownies, Cakes, Pies, or Ice Cream
Beverages: Wine, Beer, Gin & Tonics, Margaritas, Coffee, Water, Lemonade, Iced Tea, Mochas, and Frappacinos.
Breakfast: Overnight Oatmeal (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Did I say how much I love this?) or 2 slices of Sprouted Multi Grain toast with natural peanut butter (now I make this at home!) and a drizzle of honey. I usually make one cup of Oatmeal. I know. One Cup Of Oatmeal. It’s a lot of Oatmeal. But, if I give myself enough time in the morning and I eat the entire cup and I’m full for hours and I feel fabulous. Toast normally by itself isn’t as much of a powerhouse, but my bread has 5 grams of protein + 5-7 grams of protein from the natural peanut butter.
Snack: Fruit and/or almonds. Sometimes Banana Bread or Muffins.
Lunch: Leftovers from the dinner or Beans, Greens, and Grains. Definitely not the most exciting lunch, but the most filling. I have been eating this for over a year for lunch (not everyday but many days a week) and I have tons of energy and feel great when I eat it. Sometimes I’ll have Mediterranean Salad Shakers.
Snack: Almost never needed. More almonds/ or fruit
Dinner: Maple Baked Lentils With Sweet Potato, Quick and Easy Tomato Mushroom Pasta, Portobello and Poblano Fajitas, Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Miso Sauce, Twenty Minute Four Bean Vegetarian Chilli, Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Miso Dressing, Macaroni & Peas, Balsamic Kale Salad with Apple and Pear, Tofu Dippers, Roasted Chickpea Tacos, Cranberry Orange Lentil Quinoa Loaf.
I still regularly eat my go-to easy convenience meals – all of which lack nutrition – Nachos, Quesadillas, or Annie’s Mac & Cheese. I have revised how I eat these junk food dinners – I always pair them with a large helping of roasted vegetables, and make the Nachos and Quesadillas loaded with black beans and little cheese.
Dessert: Cookies, Brownies, Cakes, Pies. Not much has changed here. Sometimes I’ll try a vegan recipe, but usually stick to my old favorites.
Beverages: Wine, Beer, Gin & Tonics, Margaritas, Mineral Water, Water, Jasmine Green Tea, Herbal Tea, Iced Tea and occasionally coffee.
I love my current diet. I am by no means a expert, but my diet works for me. I love the way I look, but most importantly, the way I feel. I’ve never been this healthy, either. I’ve been careful to get the nutrients meat provides and maintaining a balanced diet. I’ve worked with my physician to ensure I am getting everything I need in my diet. It’s a diet I never thought I would have, but I now can’t imagine eating any other way.
What are some of your favorite (non-meat) health foods?
**Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist and have no medical training. I am sharing what has worked for me. Please consult a medical professional before making any changes to your diet. **
Today I am 28 years old. 🙂 Here are 28 things I learned in this past year.
- I love going to plays. I saw two plays (Good People and The Brother’s Size) this year, and I was moved to tears by both. I can’t wait to see the next one!
- I enjoy TV shows that have one word titles; “Revenge”, “Deception”, “Nashville”, “Survivor”, “Scandal”, “Chicago Fire”… oh wait. Never mind.
- You can teach an old dog new tricks.
- I hate living in a messy bedroom and a messy house. (Also: I hate all the clutter and stuff I have. I am in the process of getting rid of many things. DVDs and old Coach purses, anyone?)
- I like driving with my windows down.
- I need to do yoga weekly. With or without a studio.
- I shouldn’t wait until I make more money to start saving money. I am learning to make better (small) financial choices daily.
- I did find an exercise that I love.
- Meditation only helps with stress if you practice it daily. Meditation doesn’t help when you’re remarkably stressed or upset.
- Being honest and telling the truth continues to be the best and most challenging decision I’ve ever made in my life.
- Eating well daily and consistently keeping active will help you lose (and keep off) weight.
- I like thriller novels. (Just like my grandma).
- Being single is really fantastic. I have embraced my singleness this year (after the dramatic failure of an attempted relationship) and I am much, much happier single.
- I was born a leader. And I become a better leader everyday.
- Making time for myself has a paramount affect on my happiness spectrum.
- I actually do like going out. As a self-proclaimed home-body, I have found friends whom like doing what I like to do – happy hours! (and other things). I love it.
- Acts of kindness from strangers are some of the best experiences you’ll ever have.
- While making friends can be challenging, once you find them, they bless your life in more ways then you could ever imagine.
- San Diego is one of the best places to live. (My sister was right).
- Doing the right thing and treating others with respect doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have conflict in your life. In fact, there is no protection at all. Sometimes, you do the right thing and get burned. Don’t be deferred. Do the right thing.
- Although I value the opinions of those who I care most about, their opinions are just that – opinions. I am the person who has to live with my daily choices and life. My opinion is the only one that matters.
- Having a nephew is great. Having a niece and a nephew is really fantastic.
- Tahn LOVES a routine.
- The difference a year makes. I am in such a better place then I was a year ago. And a year before that. Aging is awesome!
- I need to learn how to speak slower. For real.
- Non-judging is key to my happiness.
- Kitchen appliances, although they take up space, can be very useful for healthy cooking. (A food processor and blender are on the top of the list, not far down is a rice cooker). (Also: I am my father’s child).
- My mom and dad really, truly love me with all of their hearts. (It’s not that I didn’t know this, but this year I was overwhelmed by their love for me on many occasions. I went home a few weeks before Thanksgiving and the one thing I took away from that weekend was that my parents just love me. It is one of the best feelings in the world).
Unbeknownst to me, I’ve been losing my time. My self.
At the start of my First Summer in San Diego, I had two goals:
1. Have fun.
2. Make money.
And I did. Lots. Of both. I took a second job at my beloved Bar Method Studio, and jumped from weekend to weekend – working, entertaining (beloved) visitors,
attending very wonderful friends’ weddings,
attending AWESOME sporting events,
and meeting real life race horses up close and personal.
My summer? It was fantastic. My only regret? Not learning to surf.
But here’s the thing: from working two jobs, never having a day off, and continuous fun, I somehow lost a sense of me. I lost the time I used to spent doing things I liked – things I needed – to be a happy person.
I stopped writing. And blogging.
I got involved in a messy, toxic relationship – one I’m still dealing with the residual pain and nonsense.
I stopped walking Tahn. This summer? From my busy lifestyle, and my very physical full-time job, and the Bar Method, I got in the best shape of my life. My dog? Gained weight. Gained 12 pounds.
I lost time for myself.
It wasn’t until the excitement of the Summer passed, and leaving my second job did I realize how unhappy I was.
It wasn’t until I took my days off – to cook, to clean, to read, to walk Tahn, to sleep, did I realize how unbalanced my life had become.
It wasn’t until recently – almost 3 months after the CrazyFunSummer did I have the urge to write – to blog.
I’ve been reading a few books – books on how to simplify your life, your thoughts, your self. Recently, I read this from one of my absolute favs, Anne Lamott.
I hope you click over and read the fantastic article. But, if not, here is a quote, summing up what I’ve been working towards/thinking about/ attempting lately:
“I’ve heard it said that every day you need half an hour of quiet time for yourself, or your Self, unless you’re incredibly busy and stressed, in which case you need an hour. I promise you, it is there. Fight tooth and nail to find time, to make it. It is our true wealth, this moment, this hour, this day”. – Anne Lamott in Sunset Magazine
Recently, I turned 27. I had one of the best birthdays I’ve had in my twenties. In San Diego, I had a dinner with close friends – a night of laughing, listening and unconditional love. Last weekend, I traveled to the Bay Area and had an incredible family dinner and birthday cake made my brother and S2. My family came together over this superb meal, and I felt completely loved.
As my brother and S2 remind me every year, I am 27 years-old, starting my 28th year of life. (Right?! Just when you become okay with your age, you gain another year!)
- Learn how to surf.
- Read 28 books.
- Save 10% of my monthly paycheck.
- Do 10 real push-ups.
- Listen to live music at least once a month.
- Start a garden in my backyard.
- Take Tahn to the beach twice a month (except when it’s closed for the summer).
- Create scrapbooks of all the cards from my grandma.
- Find a yoga studio in the San Diego area that teaches Yin Yoga; attend class twice a month.
- Go to a roller derby match.
- Visit 3 museums in San Diego.
- Enter two writing contests.
- Write a letter a week.
- Hold a plank for 60 seconds.
- Walk Tahn 5 days a week.
- Become CPR certified.
- Hike once a month.
- Bake an Angel Food Cake from scratch.
- Help my mom learn to use her iPod.
- Clear out all the boxes of stuff from my dad’s house.
- Play in the beach with Buddy.
- Learn to French Braid my hair.
- Find a volunteer job that I really love.
- Host a brunch.
- Join a wine club.
- Start collecting wall art.
- Watch a foreign film.
- Stop using paper towels.
Because these freaking Love Handles won’t go away on their own
This is not a “weight loss” post. This isn’t a post about how I think I’m fat, or that I need to lose weight.
I’m not fat. Actually, I’m not even overweight. According to the last time I saw the doctor, I am perfectly within my “healthy” weight range.
And frankly, I really have no clue how much I weigh on a day to day basis. I have never used my weight as a measure of my self worth, happiness, or beauty.
I usually use the way my jeans fit as my “weight” measure.
And unfortunately, I recently had to buy two new pairs of jeans – because none of my other jeans currently fit.
Let’s for a moment, talk numbers. Pounds, really. Like I really care, but since 2008 I’ve put on roughly 5lbs a year – so you guessed it – I’ve put on just over 15lbs in 3 years.
5lbs a year or 15lbs in three years isn’t anything to cry about. It’s not that big of a deal. It’s kinda of a big deal that my jeans won’t fit, but again, not tears-in-the-dressing-room worthy.
But here’s the thing
These 15lbs? These Love Handles? They don’t represent anything good. Sure, they are extra weight I don’t need on my body, blah, blah, blah. But honestly? That’s not why I want to get rid of them.
These Love Handles have nothing to do with Love. They should be call Sad Handles or Loneliness Handles – because that is what they really are. My Love Handles represent the hardship and the struggles I’ve worked through in the past three years. They represent my struggle to meet friends, my dissatisfaction with my job, my lack of courage to try new things and meet new people.
These 15lbs are pounds of unhealthy thoughts, lack of joy, bad self mantras. They represent me floating through my life waiting for something better; a better job, a better apartment, more friends. They represent all the things I did not like about my life.
It’s time to shed these pounds – these thoughts – from my life. It’s time to add productive, fun activities and people who radiate joy and want to live a full life. It’s time to spend less time in bars trying to “meet people” and more time on the beach trying to relax and revitalize myself. It’s time to go back to me, who I am, and discover to be the best person I can be.
And these 15lbs? These Love Handles? They don’t belong in my new life. I’ll leave them behind. I will release each pound, slowly, consciously, with intent. I will not lose them – because if I lose them they can easily come back. I will release them from my life forever. When each pound is gone, I will let go of a painful memory, a sad thought, or an obstacle in my life.
My changes are very simple:
- Exercise more and stop eating when I’m full.
- Incorporate daily mantras of positivity and peace.
- Try new fun (beach related!!!) activities and be open to all people.
I’ve already gone to the gym most days after work these past two weeks and it’s been a great change. I’ve worked on stop eating the second I’m full – something I use to be great at but overtime I started overeating and it’s become a habit. I’ve worked on having an intent of a good day, a good hour, and a good minute. I’ve put myself out there a few time to meet new people – and so far I’ve yet to be disappointed.
I know these pounds of sadness will leave me sooner than later – it may even take a year to be gone of them for good (I lose and gain weight really slowly) – but that’s okay.
Again, Operation Love Handle isn’t about losing weight – it’s about changing my life, mind and body.
Will you join me?
A couple of weeks ago, my brother gave me a Sunset magazine article on Zero Waste. He knows that I care about the environment and I try my best not to do further harm to the planet.
So, he thought I would like this article on this woman named Bea Johnson. Bea and her family live a life of “Zero Waste” and literally throw handfuls of trash away each year.
Handfuls of trash. Each. Year.
I throw away handfuls of trash each day.
The article sited a bunch of tips – no paper towels, no disposable napkins or tissues. Bea uses glass jars and fills them with items she buys in bulk from her local health food store. She uses mesh bags when she goes to the Farmer’s Market to put her produce in. Bea and her family have a small wardrobe, where she only buys clothes from a second hand store.
The article made me feel terrible about my lifestyle.
I love recycling. I recycle as much as I can. I will literally take things out of the trash and put them in the recycling bins.
But, I have never thought about reducing what I buy – so I don’t have as much to recycle or throw away.
In order to live Be Simpler – the title of Bea’s business, I have decided to make some life changes. In order to live a life like Bea, you have to have two things.
- An initial investment of money. (To buy all the glass jars, mess bags, water bottles, etc).
- An initial investment of time. (To figure out where you can eliminate waste, and how).
Well, I don’t have very much extra money to invest. I have set aside $20 a month to buy these products. But, as a single woman who has complete control over her free time, I do have some time to invest.
My first step to living more simply? Getting a new water bottle. After a lot of research (see, I told you that you need time…), I learned that Klean Kanteen is the best of the best in the refillable water bottle in the water bottle world. (I previously had a metal water bottle, but it always had a metallic aftertaste…) I did a bunch of price comparisons, and I learned that the Co-Op near my home sold them the cheapest – cheaper than online or at other stores.
So, today, I bought myself a new water bottle. It’s pink. I really like pink.
This is replacing my old wattle bottle. My BPA-containing plastic water bottle. The water bottle I used everyday, but that is made out of the evil plastic and is slowly seeping hazardous chemicals into my body everyday. (Or, so they say…)
I’m pretty excited about this new path. I am pretty excited about reducing my waste and helping the environment.
And, I am particularly excited about shopping for all my new stuff. (Wait. Isn’t that the opposite of this whole thing? Shoot. It’s gonna be a looooong process).