A Monday Misadventure

On Monday when I arrived home from work, I decided that I wanted to make something good for dinner.  We had been eating delicious leftovers all weekend (plus a picnic lunch of PB&Js on Saturday when the weather was so beautiful it would have been a crime not to enjoy it), and I wanted to take advantage of the extra time I had on the day my husband would be getting home a little later. It’s important to note that my expectations for ‘a good cooked dinner’ are pretty low.  This particular day, these were the desires that were the foundation for my cooking: no frozen meals, no pasta or salad (what we had been eating all weekend), and no meat (per my hubby’s Lenten fast).

            So, of course, here’s what I found – a frozen spinach mushroom pizza, a bag of frozen veggies, fresh lettuce, various pasta noodles, chicken-potato soup, tuna, a box of couscous, a can of tangerines, and two containers of chicken stock (one of which that had gone bad).  Hmm…I could only work with the last three ingredients, and I wasn’t even sure chicken stock was okay during a meat fast.  I pulled out the couscous and tangerines and set them on the counter.  It was about this time I began to realize that my desires for dinner were not going to ‘pan’ out (and, yes, I did use that cooking pun on purpose!).

            Now, there’s a chance that some of you reading this have the perfect recipe for tangerine couscous, possibly cooked in chicken stock.  I’m not that creative or skilled when it comes to preparing food.  While I’m trying to be open to ‘winging it’ more, what I really like is a simple recipe with realistic ingredients.  Since the dinner prep was looking bleak, I instead channeled my productive energy into washing the dishes.  It was about then that my hubby called, and I must confess that I was a bit snippy.  I was annoyed at the lack of food to work with and the budget which, at times, keeps our kitchen feeling so empty.

            Not knowing my underlying guidelines that originally propelled me into this misadventure, he offered what was the obvious solution – the frozen pizza.  My frustration grew as I tried to explain to this clueless guy I live with why it’s crazy to not have anything to eat in our home!  The only fresh vegetable was lettuce – just lettuce!  We might as well have been consuming overly processed and packaged cookies and pop for the ridiculous unhealthiness in which we were living!!

            As you may have already guessed, we had the pizza for dinner.  It was delicious.  I apologized for speaking unkindly to my sweet, understanding best friend who sometimes gets the brunt of my negative moments.  And I realized that maybe my feelings were rooted in something deeper than the food, in something inside of me that makes me feel inadequate in my cooking abilities, something that maybe connects to my longing to be better than I am in this area.

            Did I mention how tasty that frozen pizza was?   

The Healthy/Happy Changes List

After posting about the start of my wellness journey, I thought it might be helpful to simply list out the lifestyle changes we have implemented (or are in the process of trying to implement!) in an effort to be happier, healthier people. Some of them may seem insignificantly small to you, while others may appear impossibly difficult. As I wrote last time, please remember to be patient and kind with yourself wherever you are on this path (even if you’re just looking at it for now and trying to decide whether you want to walk on it)!
Some of what I will list took a lot of research and discussion; others were ‘no-brainers.’ Some we stay true to easily; others may ebb and flow in terms of how well we stick to them. A lot of this process simply involves these decisions becoming automatic as we continue to make them over and over (especially concerning what we buy and/or eat). We have also learned that some changes really only apply to one of us, which may be the case for you if you are creating these changes in a household with different people.
Here we go!
1. Eliminated high fructose corn syrup
2. Eating smaller portions
3. Choosing snacks more carefully
4. Drinking pop only as a rare treat and instead drinking more water and 100% juice
5. Drinking vitamin-rich smoothies (we buy Bolthouse)
6. Consuming kefir and greek yogurt for probiotic health (good job, hubbie…I’m not there yet)
7. Buying and eating more fruits and veggies
8. Purchased a water filter (we use a container you put in the fridge, not the kind that attaches to the faucet).
9. Choosing whole grain products (and trying to avoid bleached, white flour)
10. Choosing products with lower sugar content
11. Switched to organic milk
12. Learned about the ‘dirty dozen’ and decided to only buy this produce if organic
13. Increased fiber intake (if you like cereal for breakfast, this is an easy place to find high-fiber options)
14. Switched to organic, cage-free eggs
15. Started a garden
16. Discovered ewg.org to help us shop smarter (thank you, EWG!!)
17. Began switching some of our hygiene products (some of these include deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body soap, & hand soap; some are bought, others are simple DIYs)
18. Started using more natural cleaning methods (say hello to vinegar, baking soda, and lemons!)
19. Replaced some cleaning products with Dr. Bronner’s castile soap
20. Changed many light bulbs (we received free CFLs through our energy provider, but eventually I’d prefer LEDs)
21. We unplug electronics when not in use (this and some of the following are more an efficiency issue, but smaller bills contribute to our happiness!)
22. Winterizing the house for colder months (this year, it’s been about 4 or 5 months!)
23. Purchased and use a programmable thermostat (we have it at 67 when we’re home and 62 for away/sleeping – we make it warmer for guests!)
24. Running an air humidifier regularly
25. Using a humidifier at night (great Christmas gift we received)
I hope to be able to add using all-natural lip balm and essential oils soon…but, as always, one small step at a time! What are some of the changes that you have made?!