Check-in Wednesday

Check-in Wednesday

Giving up soda is one of the goals I have set for myself this year. Diet Coke in particular is my poison of choice and that’s no exaggeration. Diet Coke is poison. I know it’s full of chemicals, and I know I shouldn’t drink it, but I really like it. I also like regular soda but the fact that Diet Coke doesn’t have any calories has allowed me to justify my consumption. I have cut way back on the amount of soda I drink. I don’t keep it in the house and I stick to water when out at a restaurant but I still sneak the occasional sip from my husband’s glass, and if a meal comes with a soda I will indulge in a little Coca-Cola dosing.

I really want to give it up altogether as I don’t want soda to be a part of my life anymore. There are several reasons, the first of which I’ve already mentioned. I also have Diego to think about. He is blissfully not addicted to soda. He has tried it, and guess what? He loved it. Who wouldn’t? Sugar is a drug. The sip or two he’s had weigh heavily on my mind and I cannot expect him to not want any as he gets older. I am sure he will soon get wise to the fact that while he’s sipping water or milk we are indulging in what many would consider sweet nectar of the gods. These gods are no doubt addicted to sugar. In order to instill healthy habits in my son I have to model them.

Another reason to give up soda is my weight. I want to weigh less and in order to do so I have to make some serious changes. Permanent changes. It’s funny how hard it is to lose weight but how easy it is to fall back on the bad habits that expanded my rear in the first place. Surprisingly, it’s not vanity that motivates me to lose weight. I mean, it is an incentive but my main motivator is my health. Now is the time to take steps to ensure I have a healthy old age. Of course, there are no guarantees but surely giving myself an advantage by reducing my risk can’t hurt.

Obviously, I don’t think that having the occasional soda is a bad thing. I don’t plan to cut it out of my life completely or for good, but for right now I need to commit to changing my eating habits. It’s so easy to say it and write it. Actually sticking to it is hard. Hopefully, but putting myself out there I will hold myself accountable. A good friend of mine is a good support in this quest as she has been soda free for over a year with great results. It’s always great to see somebody make changes that change their lives. It gives me hope that I can do it, too.

So what other options does that leave us with?

Water! This beverage gets overlooked by a lot of people because it’s boring and has no taste. I actually love water and find it very refreshing. You can flavor it with fruit. Just cut it up and drop it into your pitcher. Remember to thoroughly wash your fruits, especially lemons. Flavored sparkling water is good, too. I used to love to freeze raspberry flavored sparkling water until slushy and eating it with a spoon.

Smoothies. Fresh or frozen fruits with a splash of milk or orange juice can make a great beverage that is also a meal. Last night I made a strawberry banana smoothie that was so delicious it was hard to believe it didn’t have any added sugar. Fruit is sweet enough on it’s own.

Tea sweetened with honey or raw sugar is another great option. I have been moving towards using natural, unrefined sweeteners as opposed to refined sugars or sugar substitutes.

Green Juice- similar to smoothies except it’s a vegetable base. I recently made one with spinach, green apples (cored but unpeeled), stawberries and ginger. I also added a little bit of water to the blender and a few ice cubes. I liked the taste but my cheap blended didn’t puree to the smooth consistency I would have preferred. Regardless, Diego and I enjoyed it and I felt good about it.

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Check-in Wednesday

Okay, so it’s practically Sunday but I am still going to do this check-in since it’s related to one of my goals this year. I wanted to share a week’s worth of toddler dinners but I didn’t get around to taking a picture every night. It is difficult when a gremlin is demanding food to do anything but feed it. I don’t if it’s past midnight…

Here are five dinners that Diego either scarfed down or picked at. I don’t believe in forcing him to eat. I let him explore and taste on his own. I encourage him to give it a try but if he doesn’t want to eat, that’s fine. I won’t prepare something else because as I think I’ve mentioned before I don’t want to give him the impression that I am his personal chef. Another thing I do not believe in is forcing him to finish his food. I think this creates a negative relationship with food and I recently read somewhere that children who were forced to clear their plates have higher chances of becoming obese as adults because they are taught to eat beyond satiation. 

Deconsrtructed fajitas: flank steak, tortilla triangles, avocado wedges, shredded cheese and tomato. 

French toast with Maple syrup, greek yogurt, strawberries and animal crackers (these were by request, haha)

Shredded pork with white rice. There were some veggies in there…

I didn’t manage to take a picture of Diego’s plate but this is basically what he ate. Homemade vegetarian spring roll and chicken with snow peas. 

Pasta shells with broccoli and Alfredo sauce. 

Check-in Wednesday on a Thursday

So this post was supposed to go up last night but Tumblr wouldn’t let me create any new posts. I tried several times until I came to accept that this might end up going up on Friday.

Anyway, that’s not a big deal. This post isn’t anything that won’t keep for another day.

The past week has been kind of crappy for me. I’ve had a lot of anxiety and a couple of panic attacks. I haven’t had a panic attack since June 2012, so it had been a while since I had befallen such an indignity. I can’t say for sure what has brought this on but I think it might be partly hormonal. In any case, I feel better and hopeful that this will be but a small hiccup. I have considered returning to therapy but medication still remains a last resort. I don’t deal with anxiety everyday and this attack seems to be on the out.

Anxiety will always be a part of my life but I have learned to deal with it and have become proficient. I’ve kept up my daily routine and to be honest, Diego keeps me too distracted to worry about the possibility of another panic attack.

The first time I ever experienced an anxiety attack was in 2009, I was pretty much useless for an entire week. I couldn’t eat, sleep or even go to work. It was terrible and when I think of that period in my life I am amazed at how far I’ve come. I let fear rule my life. I was convinced I was dying and the panic attacks that send my heart rate flying have landed me in the emergency room twice. My primary care physician wrote me a prescription for a beta blocker (to prevent tachycardia) and Xanax. I didn’t take either medication because a) side effects scare me more than my symptoms and b) I wanted to try therapy first. He referred me to a psychologist that I didn’t make time to see for about a year. By then I was managing to go to work and not much more. I planned my life around my anxiety. There were a lot of things that I could no longer do. I dropped out of school, a decision I was already toying with but my anxiety pushed me into. The demands of my program were already too much with a full time job. I was at a point in my life where I knew that staying the course would result in my failing the courses I was enrolled in. Things I once enjoyed became fraught with danger. I was mostly able to hide my symptoms from everybody but my husband. He was the one person who saw me at my very worst.

I got a little better then I changed jobs. My anxiety came back in full force and brought reinforcements. I didn’t understand. I loved my new job, everybody was lovely and I had a friend who already worked there. I did not understand why I was having such a hard time. One day I had such bad anxiety that I felt faint, and looked so ill that I was sent home. My friend drove me and the whole way home I played up my “sickness”. I felt like a fraud.

On another occasion I had such a bad panic attack that I called my husband at work and begged him to pick me up from work as I did not feel like I could drive. He took me straight to the doctor. The next day, as I felt the walls closing in and my anxiety threatening to take over my life I made my first appointment with my therapist. I can’t remember how long I saw her for but my life got infinitely better because I did. I still felt a little anxious from time to time but I was going out more, less afraid.

Things just kept getting better and better from then on. My anxiety is always trying to creep back in, especially when I am going someplace new, or when I am about to see a lot of people, such as a wedding etc. I love talking and socializing but the beginning is always daunting for me.

Anyway, the reason I am sharing this here is because I feel like anxiety and panic disorders need to be discussed more openly. It’s not a shameful thing. It doesn’t make you weak or stupid. These are all things I had believed about myself even though I knew better. I don’t see anything wrong with medication either. It makes lots of people’s lives better. Quality of life is important. At this point in my life I do not feel that I needed but if at some point I do then I will take it.

Now that I am a mother my anxiety is something that I don’t want to pass onto Diego, now that’s not so say that he won’t develop it later on but right now I don’t want to project it onto him. I want him to feel safe and secure. I need to be a consistent source of tranquility and peace. I know I will have setbacks, that’s life but I am choosing how to handle this. I have my husband on my team, and I am open about my struggles.

So, because I’ve felt a little off this week I have been guilty of some very lazy cooking! We’ve had frozen pizza, chicken nuggets and lots of pasta this week. Not my best effort but I have managed to keep it mostly home made and have added veggies wherever I can. I can’t remember every meal I’ve made this week but they’ve been yummy.

Tomorrow I will hopefully go do the grocery shopping I’ve been putting off as I don’t need much but we are just about out of bread and that’s a staple I can’t do without. We also need produce.

I haven’t managed to exercise much this week beyond a couple of walks and some yoga I started doing. We’ve had a little bit of rain that I can blame for not getting out there and walking. Next week will be better.  

Check-in Wednesday

This past Sunday was a busy one for us. We have started to develop a little routine of sorts that starts with breakfast at a diner. I love breakfast and I especially love when somebody else makes it. After breakfast we went to the Parkland Farmers’ Market. This market was much larger, and better than the one we went to the weekend before. There was a large variety of vendors and the produce selection was really good. 

Not all produce is locally grown or organic, so it’s important to read labels carefully. Something about an outdoor market feels very magical and I absolutely loved shopping for fruits and veggies this way. I didn’t buy much but I bought enough to cook with for the week. 

After the market we headed to Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach for an auto show. We had an okay time. Diego was fussy because he wanted to walk around unencumbered and therefore protested every time we tried to direct his trajectory. We have reached the willful infant stage and what a difficult stage it is. He cries and whines incessantly if he doesn’t get his way. 

My husband is averse to his crying, especially in public. He feels it’s embarrassing. I do not share his sentiments. I am not embarrassed. It’s normal! The important thing is to consistently correct the behavior. I don’t let him do as he wishes just because I don’t want to hear him cry. Let him cry. I quietly explained to him that if he wasn’t going to cooperate I would have to carry him, which I did. I later put him back in his stroller. He wasn’t happy but he needs to learn what’s appropriate and what is not. As much as it sucks to have him make a scene I need to set limits. 

We didn’t stay as long as we might have but we were there for a while. I like exposing Diego to different environments and just because he’s cranky doesn’t mean we can’t be out and about. I don’t think it’s a good idea to simply give up and go home at the first sign of trouble. If he were older and actually interested in the event then yes, leaving would be a good punishment for naughty behavior, haha. 

We were home by around 1:30pm, just in time for Diego to take his nap. All three of us snoozed until about 3:30pm. 

In the days since the auto show I have contemplated getting a safety harness for Diego for whenever we are in a crowded place. I used to think ill of these but now I feel differently. I’ve read really negative things from people who consider these abominations that reduce kids to pets. Well, kids are much like dogs! I say this in the best way possible. Diego doesn’t listen to me when it doesn’t suit him. 

I found a little cute backpack one from Skip Hop. I’m really considering it. I read some parents say that the solution is to pay attention to your child rather than restrain them. Well, I do pay attention to Diego and this leash isn’t a means to ignoring him. It’s a way for me to control him while we are out. 

I’ve been reading everyday now that Diego is sleeping through the night consistently. It feels very luxurious. Of course, as one thing passes another emerges. 

I’ve been cooking dinner every night. We had broccoli cheese soup on Sunday, stuffed peppers on Monday and tonight we had burrito bowls like the ones from Chipotle. All very delicious and home made. 

Check-in Wednesday

We started off the week with Diego finally being one hundred percent congestion free. No more runny nose and no more cough! It has made for happier days and nights. 

Our Sunday paper was missing the circular for our grocery store so I went in blind on Monday morning when I went to do our shopping. There were a few things we absolutely needed, like bananas, veggies, and bread, but by and large I didn’t have anything specific in mind. I was planning on purchasing some meats but only ones that were on sale or that I had a coupon for. I decided that our menu would have to be assembled as I shopped. I know this can be dangerous! In order to safeguard ourselves from junk food impulse buys Diego and I had breakfast just before heading out s little before 8am. 

Now let me just say how much of a fan I am of early morning shopping. The store is pretty much empty, employees are still fresh and cheerful, and they are likely to be in stock of discounted meats. I was able to buy a pack of cubed steaks for around $1 and I’ll get two meals out of that. That’s pretty good in my book. 

Whenever I shop for the week I obviously don’t always need much since I already have stuff in the freezer and pantry. On Monday I made pasta bolognese. This fed us for two days. 

On Tuesday I made guacamole again since avocados were still on special. My husband and I both had late lunches so we found that sharing a bowl of guac with chips was sufficient enough and so I didn’t cook anything else. Diego had some banana and a little bit of left over pasta from the night before. 

I cooked the cubed steak tonight. Tomorrow, I’m making whole grain macaroni and cheese with a sneaky butternut squash in the sauce. I might also add broccoli. That will be our meatless meal for the week. 

I have some pork for friday but I haven’t decided how to cook it. I also have a bag of kale, Romaine lettuce, and tomatoes. I’ll whip something up with those. 

We might end up going out for dinner on Saturday or staying home and having sandwiches. 

So far, I’ve stuck to the meal planning but I think that’s pretty much the only goal I’ve worked on so far. I have been reading a lot but finding time to read is hard because by the time I can relax and read I’m also tired. So I haven’t read as much as I would like but I’m reading every night. 

I’m on the hunt for a jogging stroller but I’m hesitant to pay so much for one. The good ones are rather expensive. I’ve tried looking for a used on on Craigslist but there are some dirty looking ones that I wouldn’t want even if there were free!

Here are a few pictures from the week so far:

Check-in Wednesday

It’s Wednesday and it’s time to review which goals I’ve worked on this past week. I have been doing a good job cooking every night but I haven’t stuck to the pre-planned menu. I am perfectly fine with this as my goal was to simply cook dinner every night not to stick to the planned meals. 

Yesterday I made sautéed beef with onions, cilantro rice and guacamole. It was a big hit with my husband. 

For the guacamole I used two small Haas avocados, some diced onion, chopped cilantro, salt, pepper, cumin and a the juice of one small lime. One of the things I like about guacamole is that you can modify the recipe to suit your taste. You can add things such as chilli powder, jalapeños, or tomatoes for a different flavor. You can also make it as chunky as you like. I like my guacamole to be a mixture of creamy and chunky which is why I reserve some of the ingredients and add them in one I’ve mashed up the rest to my liking. 

Tonight I made stir fried beef (I used the rest of the package of beef I used yesterday) with broccoli and served it over penne pasta. 

Going into the kitchen with a plan is so much better than staring at my open fridge and pantry hoping that inspiration will strike me. Now that I have a few recipe ideas already planned for I feel confident rather than stressed out when it comes to figuring out what we are going to eat. 

Planning dinners has already proven to be a great time saving method. It’s also been a great help at getting organized this week. I have been feeling very industrious these past few days. It’s almost as if I am trying to harness the power of the new year. Today I took down our Christmas tree and decorations. The house looks and feels very bare. It always makes me a little sad to put it all away until next year.