My longest lasting rocky, fascinating, intense relationship has been with FOOD.
Food has always been a touchy subject for me. I have used food as a crutch to get through some of the toughest times of my life. I have used food to celebrate some of the greatest moments of my life. I can honestly say that I have probably always had an unhealthy relationship with food. I have spent more time living to eat than eating to live.
From a young age, food has always played a major roll in my life. As most families do, I’m sure, we used food as the center piece of any occasion. Holidays were always an over indulgence. I still dream about a big glorious Italian Christmas Eve Feast of 7 Fishes. When my friends from back home post their pictures on social media of these extravagant meals – my mouth literally starts to water. I can smell the frying fish, shrimp, and smelts. I can taste the fish salad and the bread…..oh that amazingly fresh Italian bread. Food does this to me – it evokes great memories of my past. Holy cow…..I would actually give anything to be around that happy table with all the traditional fixings. I am sure I can recall almost every major holiday with an appropriate corresponding meal!
Food has also been a focal point of some darker times in my life. When I was dealings with stressful issues like having divorced parents – food helped me to cope. But not just a snack – more like a roll of cookie dough. No seriously, like the whole roll. Sometimes a huge steaming bowl of pasta with lots of butter and grated parmesan cheese helped me get over failing an important exam. Countless pints of Ben and Jerry’s have gotten me through many, many breakups and heart aches.
One thing that this journey has made me come to realize is that food does not have to be the enemy. You can have a healthy relationship with food and not feel guilty about what you eat. I have learned that it is important to remove food from the center of attention and place that emphasis on something else – family, friends, and accomplishments for example. When I am feeling stressed, sad, or miserable – I choose to go for a run or walk. When I get home from said activity…I feel much better. By exercising instead of eating, I don’t feel the guilt I had that is associated with eating a
couple ALL the Oreos. I also take comfort in knowing that I did something more valuable with my time than just eat my emotions away!!
I thought that I would show you what a typical week of meals looks like for me and offer you a recipe that I have really been enjoying lately!
I will be honest – when I find something that I like and it tastes good and it is a good option – I will eat it everyday. In that spirit, my breakfast is the same 5 days a week and I typically have the same lunch for long stretches of times. At home, I prepare about 99% of our meals – so that means that they are healthier than they were before. I control what goes in but I don’t control the portions people are eating. I can only control what I put in my mouth. Every Sunday – while we are gathering laundry to wash and watching the political news shows and soon football, we make a weekly dinner menu and grocery list. This really helps make the week nights go smoothly and keeps me on track with my healthier dinner options. I am sticking to a low carb life style – however I do eat some carbs. I LOVE carbs!! Now, I try to eat healthier ones and make better decisions.
Since having my surgery and living with my sleeve (I fondly refer to it as Sleevie Wonder!) not only am I limited to what size portions I can eat but, I have to be sure to make those portions count. I am going to get more bang for my buck with protein. As a result, we eat a lot of chicken, pork, fish and some steak. “Sides” as my hubby calls them are mostly veggies and some starches. I have not gone back to eating a lot of rice or potato. I do enjoy some roasted sweet potato every now and then.
Here are some of the meals I have eaten this week with a description of each. I also included where I picked up these products. Please note that myself nor my blog is sponsored by any of the following products – I just really like them!
- My nightly snack has consistently been 2 tablespoons of PB Fit – which is a powdered peanut butter. You mix it with a couple of tablespoons of water and it is delish. I like the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor. I am thrilled to say that I bought the PB Fit at my local Hannaford in Machias. I seriously buy a jar almost every time I go there because I’m scared they will stop carrying it!! I accompany the PB Fit with a half of a Quest Protein bar. I really like both the cookie dough and the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie variety. I can only finish half of a Quest bar and find that to be a satisfying portion. I picked up these protein bars by the box (yes…I love them!) at the Vitamin Shoppe in Bangor. You can also order them on Amazon!
- My lunch this week has consisted of package of Starkist tuna in the spicy buffalo flavor. I will be honest…I wasn’t jazzed about trying tuna in a package, but it is really good and it doesn’t need any mayo. I can not finish an entire package – I am eating about half. These packages can be found in the canned meat section of your local grocery store. There is really a lot of variety in flavors. I have some greens with the tuna – either spinach or fancy field greens. I love croutons – mostly for the crunch. I found a great alternative in Moon Cheese. It’s like dehydrated cheese. It’s funky but good! This product has been all over some Instagram accounts that I follow. I was ready to order some directly from the company’s web site. However, I was pumped to find them right at the Machias Rite Aid. I am working on a whole post about stores trying to be more healthy living friendly. But, as a sneak peek – Rite Aid has a whole section of healthy choices right by it’s registers!! I also have a cracker thin by Doctor Krackers – I like the Klassic 3 Seed. I can only eat half of this large fiber packed cracker. I purchased these beauties at a Hannaford in Bangor. My after school snack is a homemade protein cookie. I use this recipe – but add some pumpkin pie spice!
- This might have been the best meal of the week!! I brought home 10 hard shelled lobsters from Eastport and we had a great lobster feed for lunch. My mom painstakingly picked all the bodies and we had enough for many lobster rolls for dinner. I opted out of the traditional grilled hot dog roll and had mine on a bed of greens. I had a couple Moon Cheese nuggets and some homemade pickles. I weighed my lobster salad – which was made with just a taste of full on mayo – I like it dry anyway. I had almost 3 ounces on my plate. When I was full – there was probably more than an ounce and a half left of salad and some greens!
- For dinner on Wednesday night I made a lightened up version of a turkey pot pie. I made it with left over smoked turkey legs, lots of veggies, and 98% fat free cream of chicken soup. The crust was a roll of Pillsbury reduced fat croissants. I thought it was really good and it was hubby approved!!
- Holy cow…my weekly indulgence was insane!! We went to the Blue Hill Fair and everyone had all the amazing fair food. I packed my own lunch. I decided that I should have little something special and I did not regret it one bit! I chose the frozen chocolate dipped banana! I could only eat about half and felt totally satisfied. I have a little bit of chocolate every week to satisfy my sweet tooth…this definitely hit the spot!
- Breakfast for me has consistently been a protein shake for the last 9 months. I have one Monday through Friday and I feel like it’s a great way to start my day. It is easy and if you find the right product, the shake can be very tasty!! I have been a fan of Syntrax Nectar Protein Powder since I started this journey in April 2015. In fact, I wish they would sponsor me!! My protein shake is a scoop of the Chocolate Truffle protein powder (Vitamin Shoppe but can also order off of Amazon), a cup of FairLife skim milk (Machias Hannaford), a healthy teaspoon of fat free Greek vanilla yogurt, 2 teaspoons of Benifiber, a squirt of Maxwell House Coffee Syrup concentrate (not pictured), and because it’s seasonal – a drop of sugar free Torani Pumpkin Spice syrup (impulsive Amazon click and ship buy!) and a dash of pumpkin spice. I change up the extras in this shake from time to time. Over the summer I was doing a lot of fresh fruit like raspberries and blueberries. I find that this shake keep me full and satisfied until lunch time. It’s a nice way to start my day.
Going forward, I will provide more specific views and examples of foods that I’m eating and not eating and what works and doesn’t for some sleeved people. I has taken me a really long time to be OK with food as a friend – our relationship has moved from “it’s complicated” to “happily ever after.” It’s funny – before surgery I thought that once I had the sleeve food would be a non-issue. I keep reminding myself that I only had surgery on my stomach NOT my brain. It’s so mental!! Making good and healthy choices is making me a better person every day!