Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nourishing Traditions

At Momzoo's suggestion, I picked up a copy of the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

 I had read two of Michael Pollan's books (The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food) and thoroughly enjoyed them.

When I first started reading, some of the assertions seemed a bit "out there" for me.  Everyone knows that saturated fat is bad for you, right?  And of course eggs have a lot of cholesterol and aren't great for you, why would I think otherwise?

But as I read on I found my notions of the past slipping away as Fallon started to make more and more sense.  Even though I'm on WW (again for the umpteenth time), I've started to incorporate key points from the book into my diet.  Wouldn't you know it, I've actually started to lose weight.  I've been eating butter, drinking whole, non-homogenized milk, and having whole yogurt as a treat.  The last one's quite a big deal because I hate yogurt.  But once I discovered Greek yogurt and raw honey, I was hooked.

In my state, it's illegal to buy raw milk.  I still haven't decided what I'm going to do about that.  It is technically legal to be part of a CSA, buy a portion of a cow, then get milk that is technically yours.  Either way, I've been making sure that our milk comes from pastured cows, and that it's not ultrapasteurized.

In March, *B* and I will be getting half of a cow.  I forget that living in a semi-rural county, there are still people who raise their own cows and sell them by themselves.  I was talking to my mom about sustainable food and meat in particular.  There is a place down the road that prides itself on grass fed meat.  For a cow, it was $3.50 a pound, and that was pre-slaughter weight.  My mom mentioned it to people she works with, and a woman said she raises cows at her house and sells them for $1.80 a pound.  This cow is most likely no different than the other - no hormones or antibiotics, grass-fed, in a relatively small herd.  So my mom will get half and we will get the other half.  The cow will be butchered less than a mile from our house by the family of someone who I grew up with.  How much more sustainable can we get?

We're looking forward to putting our garden in this year.  We were very optimistic as we've had 60 degree weather last week.  I woke up today with a two hour school delay - it snowed over an inch last night.  So it looks like the garden is put off for just a little while longer.  If I'm lucky, and I can keep the cats out, I can start some of the earliest seeds inside here shortly.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Effects of Hormones

I've been on hiatus for quite a while now.  Before *B* and I got married, I decided I'd stop taking hormonal contraceptives because I really hated how they made me feel, and I was certain they contributed to my anxiety.  What I was not aware of was that discontinuing the use of the Pill can contribute significantly to depression.

For the last month and a half or so, I've not been myself.  While I haven't really cried all that much, I had serious doubts about myself and my abilities to lead a productive life, very dark thoughts about life in general, and concerns even for my marriage.  I felt like no one liked me.  I couldn't do anything right.  I was wasting my life.  I was old.  I would never make anything out of my life.  I'd never make enough money be able to go anywhere -- ever.  I couldn't feel affection, and I was snapping at people all over the place.  I ended up doing a lot of research on the Pill and found out a lot of withdrawal symptoms and symptoms of simply being on it that really scared me.

*B* was more than gracious, compassionate, and sympathetic to what was going on.  He understood that I was not snapping at him because I was upset with him, it was that I was pushing to the breaking point given everything else that was going on, and more specifically, things I couldn't control.  I track my moods with a website called MoodScope, which I started just before the wedding.  I hit my all time low about two weeks ago.

I think that I'm finally back on an even keel.  My body is back to producing its own hormones and my moods seemed to have evened out and lightened up.  I don't hate my kids at school anymore.  I'm not as paranoid as I was.  I actually look forward to the future now.

It was a really scary time in my life that opened my eyes to how careless I had been with my health when I went on BC at 18, and how lucky I am to have made it out the other side relatively unscathed. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Anticipation on Groundhog's Day

I cannot wait for Spring to get here.  I am so over this Winter thing.  I am constantly cold and often wet up to my ankles.  At our house, we have electric heat.  Even with it turned down to 55 degrees, we have electric bills above $200.  We really can't/won't afford to have higher heating bills, so we freeze there.  At school, the building is generally kept at about 65 degrees.  It's warmer than at home, but still so very cold.

Please, please, please come quick Spring!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Good Food Takes Time

I'm generally pretty limited in the time I have at home.  I get home about 4:15, and I go to bed before 9, with no time of my own before work to speak of.  In the roughly five hours I do have at home, I make/help make and eat dinner, clean up the house, deal with household bills, relax, and usually watch a movie with *B* or run to the market.  More recently, I've taken up tutoring again, and *B* started another class toward his masters, so we have even less time per day.

The loss of time due to these new activities pale in comparison to the amount of time it takes to make dinner these days.  Since we decided to eat more healthfully, it takes a full hour longer to prepare a meal.  Though I will say, our meals are far more gourmet than ever before.  Just some of our menu for this week: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Green Lentil and Couscous Salad, Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Roasted Parsnips with Pears and Hazelnuts, English Pea and Ricotta Tart, and many, many others.

The upside is that these recipes generally make 6-8 servings.  We have about 5 servings (after a meal for two and leftovers for *B*'s lunch the next day) that make it into either the refrigerator or the freezer.  As I type, we have at least four containers of chicken soup, three of broccoli and cheddar soup, and five of the butternut squash soup.  I'll have some leftover green beans with walnuts for dinner today, given that *B* will be off at class all night.

So we've learned that while it may take a fair amount of time to make these wholesome, nutritious foods to begin with, we end up with tons of more healthful fast foods when we're running short on time later.