Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 24--Another Update from Erica!

After Erica's "hat trick" day in the kitchen, she really got inspired to do more.  Over the past two weeks, she's actually been the one doing most of the recipe planning. And as work picks up for me, I could not appreciate it more.  So here's another post from her, updating how she's doing with the "water only" commitment, and some of her latest kitchen triumphs:
Giving up coffee was only supposed to be an experiment.  I told myself after 60 days I'd be right back on it.  But lately I'm wondering if I really want to go back to caffeine?  I function just as well without it.  I'm consciously trying to get more sleep, which is better for me.  So I changed my mind and decided to only go back on decaf.  
Now, though, I'm considering staying the course for the long haul.  Maybe having coffee (decaf) reserved as a weekend treat instead of the status quo.  This would mean I don't go back to those sugary flavored creamers on a daily basis, either.  It's funny how changing your habits changes your way of thinking.  
I've been more active in the kitchen.  Before Val's first challenge, when we were trying to eat healthy and rotating variants of the same old boring recipe, I mentally checked out of the process.  It wasn't fair of me; we're supposed to be a team.  So I definitely owe the household some cooking.  And I'm really enjoying it. 
I made another batch of muffins, banana this time, and shared with people!  I also discovered a love for the Indian spice garam masala.  A recipe required it so I picked some up, and now I can be caught sniffing the jar when no one's looking.  The recipe was for chicken tikka masala, which required an overnight marinade.  (The only thing I did differently was swap in milk instead of cream.)  It was delicious, and this week we're repeating the recipe with veggies swapped in for the chicken. 
 Chicken tikka masala, broccoli, and basmati rice

The reason for the repeat (other than how good it is!) is because I had to buy plain yogurt for the marinade, and the only quantity I could find was a big tub of it.  So, to make sure it didn't go to waste, the goal was to find clean eating recipes that called for yogurt.  I scheduled a vegetarian repeat of the above, and also used yogurt to make a spinach pesto sauce
 Spinach pesto, tossed with whole wheat linguine and mushrooms

We're starting to develop the habit for creating a weekly meal plan ahead of time, and building the grocery list around that.  We're saving money as a result. 
And yes, we pay for the monetary savings with more time spent in the kitchen.  But this is not "chore" food.  This is fun and engaging.  We spend time together while doing it.  We come home and look at the recipe board and get excited about what's on deck for that night.  Because most of the time, it's gonna be deeeelicious.
Moving forward, there are two ideas I'm excited to try: 
One, I'm about to run out of instant oatmeal.  It's been my staple breakfast for years, and while I've lost weight on it, I realize that it's still a processed food and I'm not controlling how much sugar (or salt) goes into it.  So this weekend, I'm going to buy some raw oatmeal in bulk and try some clean eating oatmeal recipes.  My goal is to cook a batch of it over the weekend and then keep it in the fridge, flavoring as I go. 
And two, I am going to stop taking vitamin supplements.  I'm lucky in that I don't have other pill regimens, but I've been popping multivitamins for years, taking for granted that it's good for me, never really questioning whether I should.  You can never have too much of a good thing, right?  Well, it turns out you certainly can overdose on vitamins.  Also, vitamins are more complex than just swallowing them, sometimes requiring other pieces of the puzzle (like fat-soluble vitamins).  And the best place to find that correct mixture is in clean food. 
Besides, those multivitamins have "recommended doses" right?  But supplements are not regulated by any governing body!  I'm basically trusting that the little pill I'm taking, which some strangers made in a pharma factory, will give me what the package claims.  
So if most of our dietary needs can be found in the foods we eat, provided we're eating the right ones, it makes taking multivitamins seem unnecessary.  Since I learned that I can quit caffeine, maybe I should break this habit too.
ETA: We had the vegetarian version of the tikka misala tonight, and it was amazing!   ~Valerie

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