The Great Unknown

My orientation is complete and my first internship day is Monday. First and foremost, I’m scared. It’s a new experience and I am often worried about what I don’t know. It was worse before the orientation. I now have a list of my tasks and I now know what I can expect going in. So, I’m scared, but I’m more excited now.

I also question if I’m making a terrible mistake. I admit, I felt this way after quitting my job and going back to school. And I continued to feel that way until I made a few friends and got the rhythm of the program (so, about a week into the first semester). Once I got the hang of school again, I fell in love with nutrition and knew this was for me. I can only hope that after the first week of internship, I feel the same way. Of course, it’s food management, and the DPD classes for food management make me less inclined to work in that area. But, I’m keeping an open mind. I may find that actually doing the work is what I love, not learning about it. Maybe I’ll want to run a kitchen. Or maybe not.

I worry that I will fail miserably and let down the people who accepted me into this program. I’ve worked at a few jobs in my time and I know, logically, that I can do it, but I’m still worried that I will fail. I also fear that I will ask too many questions and annoy the preceptors. I do ask a lot of questions because I want to make sure I understand the issue. I suspect this is from programming since I needed to make sure I understood my client’s needs before I spent 20 hours on the wrong thought process.

I have a tendency to focus on one thing at a time–work or family or self. I can’t, during the semester, focus on more than one. Work always wins, followed by family, and I ignore self. Which may be why I gained 10 pounds during the last year of classes–I only had time for food, not exercise or meditation. I really want to use my time better to maintain balance rather than go for the A. I mean, I need to get that A, but an A- is okay. Of course, I do tell myself this at the beginning of every semester and fail miserably. This time I will get it figured out.

Right now, I’m ready to get started and just want to get the waiting over. That’s really the hard part.

Food of the Future!!!

I watched the Challenger disaster in elementary school and it made me too afraid to fly to the stars, which of course meant I would never get to eat the cool space food I saw on TV–shiny packages of nutritionally-packed, scientific food stuff. So, I find it ironic that, in a way, I did get to eat like an astronaut–shiny special, pre-packaged food, engineered to sit on the shelf. Instead of all the nutrients found in bags of dehydrated dinners, though, this Earth-bound space food was often full of sodium, added sugar, and artificial flavors. After years of buying into the processed, low fat, diet food hype, I realized that I wasn’t really eating food, and, as I got further into nutrition, I realized it wasn’t the way I wanted to eat.

As I started out on my new path, my point of view swerved to the notion that all chemicals and space-aged packages are bad and I should only eat what my grandfather grew or raised on his farm. Except, that as I learned more of the science, my nutritional point of view changed again and relaxed a bit.

First, the fallacies of my all chemicals are bad way of thinking:

  1. Everything is a chemical, even water, so chemicals aren’t inherently bad.
  2. Related to #1, a chemical used in a product, like say, a yoga mat, doesn’t mean that it is bad for you. That’s not how it works. Take acetic acid. It’s used as an industrial solvent, in some pesticides, and as part of perfumes and synthetic fibers. All things I wouldn’t want to eat; however, I put acetic acid (aka vinegar) in salad dressing and in sauces all the time. The uses of a chemical doesn’t necessarily define the edibility of it. (Is edibility even a word?)
  3. Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s good. Arsenic is natural. Ricin is natural. I don’t eat them. Natural is often a marketing term not a measure of health.
  4. Trying to live in a perfect way–no chemicals! no toxins!–can lead to a disordered view of food. If the food is not perfect, then you feel guilty and you failed. You are a failure. You have to binge or cleanse or purify which leads to more restrictions. Plus, what will you be able to eat after a while? Water and air? Water is a chemical…

So those are the fallacies when we think that all chemicals are bad. If chemicals are bad, does that mean food from a box is good? No, not necessarily. It depends on what is in that box. The basis of my nutritional perspective is to eat food that is as close to its source as I can. I want to eat an apple rather than an apple snack that contains some apple in it. I want to eat a stir fry I made from scratch with “real” ingredients rather than something that comes in a bag with a sauce. Bottom line, that’s the healthier way to eat–real fruits, real veggies, whole grains, and lean protein sources with YOU controlling what goes in. But I know as a person with a busy life and limited funds it is really hard to make everything from scratch. I’ve developed guidelines for myself to follow when I’m crunched on time or need a economical shortcut.

Look at the ingredient list and read the nutrition panel.

If I need to buy packaged food, I try to find the least processed of all the options. I turn the package over, ignoring claims of “natural,” “organic,” or “healthy part of your diet” found on the front. If the ingredient list looks like a chemistry experiment or is extremely long for no good reason, I put it back on the shelf. If the nutrition label lists a lot of sodium or added sugar, it again goes back. It it’s all that’s there and I really need that item, the I buy. I just don’t buy it often.

Find ways to cut prep time.

I make large batches of food and freeze half for a quick meal later. I also made friends with the slow cooker in the back of my cabinet. But be careful, many slow cooker recipes rely on processed, high-sodium ingredients, which sort of defeats the purpose. Buy pre-cut or frozen veggies to save time. Frozen veggies (without a sauce!) are just as healthy as fresh. Just make sure there is no sauce or added ingredients (e.g. salt/sodium). Canned veggies, while not as good as fresh or frozen because of the higher sodium content, can be rinsed before use to remove a lot of the salt if it fits your budget better.

Find a farmers’ market

My area has a plethora of farmers’ markets, which are a great source for incorporating real food into your diet and buying in season items can cost effective. I get overwhelmed at large markets with a lot of people and prefer to avoid them, but there are some great smaller markets that are easy to enjoy. Or don’t go to a farmers’ market. That’s okay too.

Take it slow

Change is hard and a complete overhaul of how you eat is overwhelming. Make one or two small changes during the week so real food habits are sustainable. Each change makes you that much healthier.

FORGIVE YOURSELF

It’s not about being perfect or omitting everything. Sometimes, you don’t have the time or money. Sometimes, you have to drive 40 miles or walk past scary and unsavory people to get to the store and you just don’t want to do that! That’s okay! It’s about making changes YOU can make and sustain that cut down on the boxes and bags of “astronaut food.” Last night I used instant falafel (horror!) rather than make it from scratch, because I don’t have time and I really like the boxed kind. And it was yummy! And I’m okay with that!

Ants!

I still haven’t found that shawl pattern, but hopefully, the woman who showed it at knit club will be there for Augusts meeting. Or I can just adapt a pattern, which I may do.

The Husband and I had a date night this weekend. Yay! They can be hard to come by with a kid, but fortunately, we have grandma and grandpa nearby so we get them more often than most. Date nights are very important once you have kids to preserve your sanity and remember why you married that crazy person across the table, but our previous date nights/date days have been less than stellar. Usually, we just watch a movie at home or clean and maybe go out to dinner. Thrilling, no?

This time we decided to do things we can’t normally do with the child. Like go eat Vietnamese. I LOVE Vietnamese. OP, not so much–she once fell in love with pho but refuses to believe me. She does seem to like Thai, but only if she’s eating the appetizers or miso soup. Otherwise, how dare we bring her to such a restaurant. Damn picky eater.

After dinner we saw Ant Man, which I think my Avengers-loving daughter would enjoy, but she decided that it is too scary and refuses to see it. Her loss because it was unexpectedly GOOD. Except for the ants. When I was a sweet 4-year-old, my preschool took all the little kids outside for their class photo. They lay out a blanket and sat us all on top. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize that part of the blanket, the part I was on, was on an ant hill. I still remember screaming in the bathroom with my pants off, while the teacher got rid of all the ants. I believe the pants were awesome 1970s striped, bell-bottoms. Since then, I have a problem with ants. I don’t run away screaming, but once I see an ant, I get extremely itchy if I see them until I take a shower. Not hives itchy, but “oh my god there is an ant on my leg! Now it’s on my back! Now it’s back on my leg! My head, it’s on my head!” itchy. I did not expect that reaction when watching Ant Man. The people around me must have thought I was crazy or had fleas with all the itching. Of course, now that I’m talking about it there’s an ant on my knee. No, now it’s on my neck. Argh! My head! I’m done. I need to think of something else…

Small Frustration

I went to the second knitting night at my local library last night. I really enjoyed it, despite Yarnkettle not being able to attend. I think I lost the knitting bug a while ago and this group makes me want it back. So, yay!

That said, a woman showed me a shawl pattern and I am DYING to make it. It was gorgeous and I’m pretty sure I have enough yarn in the stash. Unfortunately, I can’t find it. So I’m putting it out there and maybe one of you know what it is.

She called it a butterfly shawl but it had no butterflies on it. Maybe the shape is called butterfly? Anyway, it had two colors, but wasn’t striped. It had a shape sort of like this:

(image from Artesian on Ravelry)

but the yarnovers were stockinette stitch and in the second color. More similar to

(image from Triangle Shawl by Patons on Ravelry)

but that’s the wrong shape.

Anyone have any idea what I’m talking about? Help!

Camping!

I’m sitting on the couch, tired but seaming a sweater-ish thing I’m working on. Is it a bolero? I don’t know. All I know is OP took one look at it the other day and decided she wanted it. Why is it kids want your finished products? Of course, if it looks like crap on me it’s hers.

We spent the weekend camping in our new tent. We purchased a Sylvan Sport camper over the winter and took it out in May with friends. We finally got it out again this weekend just the three of us. Actually, this is the first time we ever camped as just the three of us. And we all survived. I call that a win.

I am in love with our camper. It is just so fun and easy. We like a more basic camping experience with no kitchen sinks or TV, so it works for us. But there must be bathrooms. There must always be bathrooms. I will not squat in the woods.

We had a downpour on Friday night and because the tent is on a platform and not directly on the ground, we did not get wet. It was glorious!

We chose not to cook this trip and went to local restaurants in order to test out what we had and what we needed, without the stress of cooking and holding food at appropriate temperatures. I missed cooking, but we kept realizing things we needed for next time that I think it would have been too much to deal with. Definitely cooking next time. Hopefully there will be a next time soon.

It was an awesome experience, but not the greatest of camping trips. It was so hot. Like deepest level of non-Dante hell hot. We went into the local town and that seemed to be a mistake. Then, I took OP to the playground on Sunday which was, again, a mistake due to the oppressive heat that melted the skin off your face. But there were s’mores and that’s the most important thing to a 5-year-old.

Testing the camper when we bought it. In winter. When it was 30-something degrees out.

Testing the camper when we bought it. In winter. When it was 30-something degrees out.

Ommmmmm…

I tried a new meditation app today, “Stop, Breathe, and Think.” My therapist recommended I try meditation to help with my compulsive eating issues. I tried a couple apps before and they were good, but this is more robust. There are many free themed meditations and you can do a self-led meditation if you want. I think. As I said, I just started it today. 

I should note, I am a meditation newbie. Meditewbie? So, if you actually can meditate while standing on a lilypad on one hand holding a cup of water like Nia from Ninjago, then this may not be for you. But maybe it is. What do I know. Meditewbie.

I did the first meditation this morning and had some trouble because I had an ASTHMA attack. Seriously?? I don’t have asthma, but apparently I do. I was focusing on my breathing and it was not going well. But I did feel better after the kindness meditation. I even felt kinder for most of the morning. Well, maybe an hour, but still.

Sunday Movies

Much of Sunday was spent watching movies. We started with The Monuments Men. It was a really fun movie. The acting was great and the story was interesting. The violence was a bit over the top, but not horribly so.

The second movie, sadly, did not live up to the first, although I did not expect it to do so. We watched Transformers: Age of Extinction. I know what you are thinking. Why would I expect that movie to be any good? I didn’t. I saw the first three and while the first was fun, they became progressively worse. I went into it thinking it would follow the trend of its predecessors. 

For the first half of the movie, I was wrong. It actually started off well. Then, they introduced the transformers and they were comic relief. Why must this movie series try to design the autobots for 4 year olds? Then there was a relentless chase scene remeniscent of the second Matrix movie. That is to say it was about 40 minutes too long. Chase scenes should be more like a fine wine than a cheep beer. They should be…um…I don’t know, but they shouldn’t drag. 

Finally, there was the daughter. She almost started off like a three dimensional character. Then, in true Transformers movie tradition, she was demoted to annoying girl who was pointless and a screaming lump. Drove me nuts. I kept hoping that maybe her character would be killed off or frozen until the end. 

So, go rent The Monuments Men. See Transformers: Age of Extinction but only when it’s free on TV.