Changes

Why all the changes?

Chopped all the hair, stopped working at the gym, vegetarianism, no alcohol….

Um…wait, what?!

That’s right. I stopped drinking. Permanently.

But having a cocktail or two is fun! Drinking responsibly is no big deal. Having a glass of wine with dinner doesn’t make you an alcoholic. There’s no harm in having a drink or two with friends! Ugh. It’s summer. The kids are home – drinking is a survival mechanism.  It’s been a long day, I DESERVE a drink, damn it. Nothing tastes so good as a cold beer after mowing the lawn. There’s just something about the smell of grass and the taste of a good, cold ale. 

I don’t know if I am an alcoholic. I know that it’s really easy for me after one drink to have five. Or ten. I guess in my mind, when I think of an alcoholic, I think of a stumbling drunk who has to go to the bar everyday. In my early 20s I was a binge drinker. Get trashed, wake up with cotton mouth and a belly full of shame. I ended up in the hospital once, broken blood vessels in my eyes from having vomited so hard it felt like I had hacked up my toenails. But that’s just part of being a twenty something, right? I never had a problem not drinking for long stretches. It has never been a compulsory thing in that way. As an introverted person, alcohol is convenient for putting on the mask of “shiny, happy, and fake-extroverted”. But, does that make me an alcoholic? A cursory Google search offers many definitions and parameters under that term.

Alcohol is a depressant. So if you are already someone who battles with depression? Yeah, alcohol is really not your friend. If you have an addictive/impulsive personality AND deal with depression? It’s definitely not a winning combo long-term. I used alcohol as a tool to deal with depression, to numb out, and to deal with uncomfortable situations. What I have really come to realize is that it’s not serving me. It doesn’t make me healthier. It adds to the grocery bill. I don’t feel good about myself when I drink. So why continue to partake?

I downloaded an app called NOMO. As in no more. It has encouragement, a counter clock tracking days of sobriety and chips you earn at milestones. Strongly rooted in AA, I have found it very helpful.

I still don’t know if I’m an alcoholic. I know that it is not a good thing for me, or for my goals. Evolution is necessary if what I’m doing is no longer productive.

The haircuts are optional.

Food Adventuring

A question I got was “So, what are you going to actually EAT if you go vegetarian?”

All of the things. You know, except for things with a face. In cattle country (aka Texas), it seems like going vegetarian is just crazy. Seriously, though – there are SO many whole food, plant-based items to eat – that are truly delicious.

My breakfast this morning was a yummy chocolate banana smoothie!
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Dear daughter had a banana, pineapple, strawberry, and mango smoothie with flaxseed and soymilk. It’s the first smoothie that she’s actually finished all gone! (She’s a soy milk convert!)

I was turned on to Dr. Greger from his appearance in the documentary films Forks over Knives and What the Health. (Check them out if you haven’t!) He also has a fabulous app for plant based diets to ensure you hit all your markers for a complete veggie diet. Super helpful!

A little light reading while dear daughter was in gymnastics. Uplifting title, no?!

I will say I’m about halfway through the book and enthralled. There is SO much info about food that I thought I knew. Love learning new (and healthy) information! The book is broken down into chapters by category: How not to die from Heart Disease, How not to Die from Diabetes, etc. Then they go into why each of the categories of food are recommended, then the how to. I think that’s the key for most of us, myself included. It’s great to read all this info, but then what do you do with that knowledge? Practical application is key!

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Part of dinner last night! Cucumber, tomato, avocado salad, garlic toast (no butter), Spanish rice. We also had chickpea barbecue sandwiches. They aren’t pictured because 1. they were ugly, and 2. no one liked them.

I think that’s the thing that I love about food and cooking: there’s always another meal to try again. There’s so many flavors to experiment with and food combinations with which to fall in love. Who cares if you don’t like one particular dish? It’s okay!

The one thing that I do find challenging is to feel like the meal is “complete”. The food pyramid/my plate influence runs deep. It’s definitely a shift to looking at veggies as the main meal instead of a side dish.

Are you a vegetarian? Flexitarian? Vegan? What do you love about veggies? Do you feel better by eating plant-based foods?

Anticipation

I’ve always been afraid of it. I don’t really know why. Frequently maligned and mocked things can come across as scary. It was with great trepidation I even gathered the courage to…

put it in my grocery cart.

But I did it.


Steeling myself as I reached for what I assumed was gelatinous goo, I set it on the counter to open the packaging. The label said “extra firm” but I could hear the sloshing of liquid inside. Frustratingly, the label offered no window with which to peek.

“Deep breath,” I told myself.

Gently peeling back the label, I was greeted with nothing more than a simple white rectangular prism sitting in its own nice little pool of water. No mold, no worms, no other disgusting materials of which nightmares are made. Just a rectangle of white.

I poked at it with my finger, curiosity overcoming my trepidation. “Hmm, it IS firm,” I thought, and proceeded to follow the directions for my breakfast scramble.

The white rectangle stared silently as the other vegetation warmed itself by the fire.


I crumbled it in, added garlic and tuneric, cooked and stirred. “It really resembles scrambled eggs,” I told the kids who really couldn’t care less.


Bottom line: It really DOES take on the flavors it is cooked in. With a bit of salsa and in a tortilla, it could easily be a delicious breakfast taco. Ahhh, the possibilities are endless. Like most scary things, the anticipation was far worse than the thing itself.

One thing I did learn through this recipe is that I’m not a huge fan of turmeric. I don’t mind it in tea, but in my scramble it wasn’t my fave…..but I’m excited to experiment more!

What is your favorite way to make tofu? Were you ever scared to try it? Tell me and share your favorite recipes!

via Daily Prompt: Impression

Veggietales

I’m not a big fan of sticking a toe in the water. With most things, I’m a jump right in kind of gal. Over the years I’ve played around with various levels of vegetarianism, and was for a solid year shortly after high school. (Going to Mexico and seeing open air meat markets the summer after reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle really clinched it.)

Through my fitness journey, countless documentaries, Michael Pollan-type books and a love of cooking, I’ve played with the idea of once again returning to a whole foods plant-based diet. When I look at my dogs – and know the connection to them that we have – it’s not hard to make the leap that other animals have a similar capacity.

In addition to being animal-lover, a proponent of reducing our carbon footprint, embracing a plant based lifestyle can help us not only live longer, but thrive while doing so. I have long been skeptical of eliminating entire food groups, demonizing carbs etc. I will always come back to one question: Can what I am doing now be sustained when I am 90?  I definitely hope to still be eating my veggies and telling tales at 90!

I have found some great resources that will ensure vitamins and minerals needed will be obtained, such as this great app Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen:

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The other major factor(s) to consider are my minions and hubby. My husband is a meat eater. We both found our text exchange hilarious!

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My poor husband! (Luckily for him, deployment is on the horizon so he can eat whatever he wants.) What I adore about him (among many things) is his willingness to be supportive and try new things, even if it scares him. (And yep, adopting a veggie diet will be an adjustment for sure!)

My first experiment got the thumbs up from everyone, however! I tweaked a banana bread recipe and made it vegan and it ROCKED! Couldn’t even tell the difference!

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Super picky son said that it tasted different but I think he was pulling my leg because he totally ate it. Stinker! The kids are very low-meat eaters anyway, so it’s not a hard sell for them. It’s mostly the grown ups that have a learning curve to navigate.

Finally, with the pre-diabetes diagnosis last year, and struggling with depression – refocusing on diet and exercise seems like a step in the right direction!

 

 

Friend

With a prompt like “friend“, writing about it could take many directions. Having previously contemplated adult friendships, this time I immediately thought of our dogs.

Doggie Friends

These 3 have changed our lives in so many ways. I am forever grateful for Hannah’s insistence that we needed a pet. Then both kids’ persistence that they needed a dog that would bond more with them, and finally rounding out the trio with a dog that “would be a perfect fit for our family”. Our canine expert, Haley couldn’t have been more right. I cannot imagine our life without these three. As insane as it sounds – they are our 4-legged children. (Yes, they are dogs – they are simply my kids from another mother.)

That face!

I mean, who can resist that face?!

When Jacob is ill, Hippo is right there comforting him. Whitney does the same with Hannah. Buck’s nightly routine is to snuggle in close for scratches and love. They all love Eric.

Dogs are tangible evidence of unconditional love. What a miracle they are because we surely don’t deserve their devotion. What a perfect example of grace.

Irony

The daily post prompts of the last three days; Adrift, Unmoored, and Descend all succinctly describe my inner thoughts as of late. Perhaps depressed, anxious and floundering would be more accurate.

Continually vacillating between feeling justified and completely ridiculous by any real world standard; in my head it’s a panicked loop of: upcoming deployment, two great – but challenging – kiddos, single parenting for a year, sell the house, move to an apartment (but how will the dogs adjust?), get out of debt, don’t let the kids see you sad, exercise, eat right, self-care, walk the dogs, cook from scratch, feel crappy for not being grateful and wanting for things that don’t really matter (but matter to me), have a drink, get back on the wagon, mop the floor, keep the house clean because God forbid someone see the real you and how you live, don’t be so hard on the kids, those kids need more discipline, I’m doing it all wrong, I want to exercise, but my body hurts, my feet ache and my shoulders are numb again, feel guilty for not doing any and all of the above. Repeat at full volume and ever-increasing speed.

The other voice tells me to shut up and just “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” and it will be fine. You’re overreacting and overanalyzing. Maybe I am. Or maybe I’m clawing and scratching to get off the mental merry-go-round.

I’m grieving the loss of relationships. I feel like I’m being a bad person and completely relieved at the same time. I don’t want to hurt them. I don’t want a relationship with them and I feel like crap for thinking it out loud. They are not entirely to blame, and neither am I. It’s a dysfunctional pattern that’s gone on for so long it seems normal. I chose to step away for self preservation, only now I feel like I’m drowning in the consequence of it. Do I mend fences just to keep the so-called peace or forge ahead into uncharted territory? Feeling scared, sad, liberated, relieved, guilty, nauseous, uncertain, etc.

So where to from here?

I have absolutely no idea. I’m trying to take all this one task at a time and get through to the next thing. It’s raining here and has me feeling a bit melancholy. I’d like to take a nap, but I will walk the dogs.

Dogs make everything better. And snapchat silliness. Such as this:

Dogs and humor for me. What about you? What helps your anxious and or depressed heart and mind get through to a more even keel?

It’s Not Forever…

In 2009-2010, we were nearly debt free. We were so close. We were working our Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover, we attended Financial Peace; the 9-week class held at our church. We were doing it!

Then we got complacent. “Eh, we got this. We’ve come so far, and we’ll never let it get like that again…,” we told ourselves. “We can handle just this little bit.” Then a little bit became a little more, and then became a lot.

“You can wander into debt, but you can’t wander out.” – Dave Ramsey

We are back at aggressively attacking a giant hole with a decent-sized shovel. This time, however, we are not stopping short of the finish line, wandering around and only doing it with a half effort.

In the process of budgeting and looking at places to trim and downsize, our cars – while not extravagant –  represent a couple of good-sized chunks of our overall debt. We made the decision to sell one and get a reliable beater to drive. Like selling the house to rent for a while, it seems like such a step backward, even though it fits our overall plan and is moving us in the right direction over the long term. I know all of this in my head. My gut, though? In my gut it really sucks. It’s saying out loud that we made mistakes.

It’s shame-filled, yucky, and it makes me angry.

Hi. My name is Lori. I like stuff. It’s really fun getting the new car. It’s really fun getting the shiny thing, instragramming it, and reveling in the newness of it. I don’t like that I like shiny and new and clean and pretty. It’s so superficial. It’s just stuff.

You know what’s not fun? Buying a beater that is filthy, but mechanically sound.

Otherwise known as being an adult.

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Meet Big Bertha. She’s not bad to look at, she’s mechanically good, just needs a little TLC. The interior on the other hand is DISGUSTING and needs a LOT of elbow grease!

 

I have to remind myself that this is temporary. This is a season and is not going to last forever. It’s living like no one else, so later we can live like no one else – without the debt! Delayed gratification.

It’s weird.

It will be worth it.

via Daily Prompt: Temporary