it’s time for me – days 27-30

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It’s not unusual for a wife and mom to care for her family before she cares for herself. Taking care of my boys is my top priority and often that means I don’t have a lot of time or energy for me.

I’m trying to carve out more time for myself because I think it’s important to be the best possible version of me for the sake of my family. I let things slip for so long and I got to a point where it was taking a major toll on my mood.  I want and need to feel better because it’s the only thing that’s fair for my son and everyone else I love.

First thing on the agenda was to get everything that might be ‘wrong’ checked out and fixed. This involved getting a physical and checking my levels, going for an eye exam and treating myself to a much-needed massage. Thankfully my health is excellent with the exception of a Vitamin D deficiency (who doesn’t have that, honestly?) and an odd eye-muscle condition called esophoria. Never heard of it? Me either. I’m just glad to have a reason behind my headaches now, even if it means I need glasses.

The last item on the list may sound frivolous but I injured my shoulders almost four years ago and never got them dealt with. Constantly lifting a 35+ lb. two year old doesn’t help things either. My friend, who works at a massage clinic, has been on me for a while to get it taken care of and coined the affectionate term “action-figure shoulders” to describe them.

Now that I have some long un-answered questions answered and I’m feeling a bit more relaxed, I’m ready to do more ‘me’ things. I’m hoping that involves more time put aside for yoga, pilates, hobbies, friends, and lots of date-nights.

To read more about my Vegetarian Lent Challenge, click here.

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major spring fever

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It’s the end of March in central Virginia and it’s snowing outside.  It was 70 degrees three days ago! The snow isn’t deterring me. I caught spring fever and I’m not letting it go.

Today I’m dreaming of my future herb garden and making preparations. By “preparations” of course I mean finding tons of things I want to have on Pinterest and then sending those ideas to my husband who quickly gives me a good idea of what’s realistic and what’s absolutely not.

Here are a few things that caught my eye today (and check out other ideas on my Pinterest page here):

herb planters

herb markers

herb pots

oh hell yeah!

 

a hint of spring

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spring timeWhat a gorgeous day it was yesterday. This winter seemed much longer and colder than usual. I’m more of a winter person than a summer person because I hate sweating, but even I was getting tired of it. It was nice to have a warm, sunny day to get us outside and stretch our legs.

We took the boy and the dog for a long walk around the neighborhood and stopped at a playground for a while before dinner. Exercise, Vitamin D, oxygen – I didn’t realize how much I missed them.

It was perfection.

The first day

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The first day was pretty uneventful. Like I said, it’s not a huge stretch for me to have a meat-free day. I think it will get more interesting when I’m put in social situations where I’m not in control of what’s being served. And when we go to restaurants since that’s where I tend to give into my cravings the most.

I am going to a work conference on Friday and when I registered for the event I noted my dietary restriction as ‘vegetarian’ which made me feel a little special. I’m anticipating my table-mates to ask me if I’m a vegetarian and if so how long I’ve been one and how I get my protein, etc. I know because I’ve witnessed it happen to other vegetarians numerous times. I wonder if I would get funny looks if I asked someone how long they’ve been eating bacon?

One thing I did notice tonight was my lowered anxiety over preparing dinner. Without even realizing it I had become stressed out about cooking meat filled dishes. You have to plan defrosting time, buy the right cuts, make sure  you cook everything perfectly so you don’t kill someone, use different cutting boards, on and on and on.

nachosThis is what I ate today:

  • dry cereal for breakfast
  • granola mix for snack
  • chick pea and spinach stew over cous cous, pita and grapes for lunch
  • sesame sticks for snack
  • more sesame sticks
  • nachos and charred peppers for dinner
  • a half an orange and two lemon cookies for dessert (Girl Scout cookie season!)
  • a glass of red wine to top off the evening

Not the most balanced diet but I’m easing into it.

To read more about my Vegetarian Lent Challenge, click here.

it starts tomorrow

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challengeMy vegetarian Lent challenge begins tomorrow.

Today I walked over to a public cafeteria to order lunch and while I was there I perused the menu to check out their meatless options. It’s just a simple lunch counter and I wasn’t expecting much. Turns out my only option would have been a grilled cheese sandwich served with potato chips.  Grilled cheese is a delicious option and I would be happy with it on any given day, but I think I would get tired of it rather quickly if that is the only offering. And I doubt it would help my waistline at all. I have some vegetarians in my family and more often than not they end up ordering a grilled cheese sandwich when we go out.  I have noticed that a lot of restaurants have a practice of “carbing up” the vegetarians as an afterthought. However, I have seen some that have actually tried with their meat-free options and I applaud them for that.

I took my measurements tonight – neck, bicep, thigh, waist, hips and weight. Not because I expect to lose any weight, but because I want to see if and how my body might change. It’s a scientific experiment really. Will positive change lead to more positive change? That is my hypothesis.

I’m not going to post my measurements here because I don’t want to obsess over the numbers. Plus, what if nothing ends up changing? That would be pretty embarrassing, wouldn’t it? For fun, I did place them in an envelope to open once my challenge is over. And if there are changes, even better!

It’s time for a change

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contemplatingI’m used to starting out each new year promising big life changes, whether it be for health, mind, home, relationships, etc., only to never fully commit to any of them. Sometimes I start the year strong but I have yet to follow through on anything. And I know I’m not unique that way.  I’ve learned my lesson and have been honest with myself about how I am and didn’t make any false resolutions this New Years. However, I still want to take strides to enrich my life and hope that has a positive effect on my environment and my family. There are so many changes I would like to make but I must start small.

My husband and I have been “flexitarians” for years  – I rarely cooked meat at home and when we did eat meat we usually stuck to chicken or fish (I suppose technically you’d call that a pesce-pollotarian?). Our meat intake increased when I was pregnant and my iron was low which resulted in daily roast beef sandwich cravings.  And for a variety of reasons, it snowballed into cooking more and more meat at home until it became a staple in our diets again. I guess in my mind, as the working mother of a small toddler, I rationalized it as easier because meat becomes your main dish and then you just fill in the plate around it.  However, I’ve noticed a few things since we’ve added meat back into our regular diet. We have gained weight, our daily ailments have increased (dull headaches, sore joints, just general feelings of ‘blah’) and our grocery bill is higher.

Now that’s not to say I blame meat for all of these things – that would be dumb.  I could definitely exercise more, switch out more caffeine for more water and get back into couponing and extreme budgeting as I used to do. But, I do see heavy meat eating/cooking as my personal gateway to a slew of other poor behaviors and habits that have seeped back into my life.

For this reason, I have decided to try to go vegetarian for Lent. Now, some points of clarification:

  1. Although I was christened as such, I do not identify myself as Catholic. I just consider Lent to be a good block of time to measure by. And I’ve always liked the idea of a personal sacrifice with the goal of gaining more insight and self-awareness.
  2.  I am not anti-meat-eating. As an aside, I do think Americans in general consume way too much meat to be considered a balanced diet which contributes to a large amount of health issues and ugly things no one wants to talk about like inhumane treatment of animals to meet demand.
  3. Notice I said I will “try” to go vegetarian. I don’t expect to be perfect and I’m not going to abide by strict vegetarian doctrine, but I will make my best effort to live 40 days meat free. Why? Just to see what happens.

I’m not sure how successful I will be, but I do hope that by being more conscious of my food intake it will influence other choices in my life and will lead to positive effects on my environment and my family.

I hope to document my journey here to keep track of my thoughts and experience and hold myself a little accountable.