100 Ways to Stock a Kitchen

Over the last few months I’ve been slowly collecting a set of cookbooks I’ve never opened. I always think they look like a great and wonderful idea, until I get home and realize I already have the entire Internet and my own imagination. But over the summer, a friend was getting married and to go with the little mixing bowls she had on her registry I got her this really cute cookbook from Crate & Barrel:

I thought it was so cute (and relevant) that I bought a second one for myself. Then it went on the shelf with all the other rarely opened cookbooks. But the other day I was bored and noticed it, so I opened it up, and in the first chapter, the author goes through all of the ingredients she thinks are absolutely necessary. No respectable cook, she says, should live without these things.

Going through her list, I found some of her must-have ingredients were no brainers. Cumin, duh. Sea salt, duh. Garlic & ginger, double duh. But then other things went from duh to “huh?” They were things that would never occur to me to keep, nor did they seem so vital, useful in enough different ways to warrant having these things constantly on hand. Some examples of the huh items were anchovies, tapenade and seven different kinds of vinegar. That seemed extreme to me until I realized I have four or five already.

So this list of kitchen essentials got me thinking, what are my own kitchen essentials? Are my must-haves totally weird, too? What is my kitchen’s equivalent to “seriously? tapenade?” Once every month or two I will go on a big grocery spree to restock all of the things I use all the time (which inevitably always run out at the same time, right?) and I realized, I definitely have my own list of kitchen ingredients I wouldn’t want to go without. Some get more frequent action than others, but I would be annoyed if I discovered any of these were missing. If you’ve read more than two entries of this blog I seriously doubt the list will feature any surprises.

 Notes:

  • 100 seemed like a lot to me, but then I thought about it and with all the little things like spices and condiments, it’s not really that much.
  • Okay it’s actually more like 103…I forgot some essential essentials and added them in.
  • There are a few things I will always buy organic–spinach and other greens, soy & meat products–and some things I never will, like bananas and avocados, because the part we eat is protected by the thick outer layer and because conventional tastes just as good (or better). Generally I specified if something should be organic on this list, but that is a personal decision depending on how paranoid environmentally-conscious you are and how much money you want to spend.
  • I also included things like English muffins, which I probably haven’t included on the blog before, but I do use at least once a week.
  • There were a couple other things I wanted to include because I use them frequently but only seasonally, like peaches, or that can’t really be kept stocked because they’ll go bad, like salmon.
  • Obviously this list is designed to my particular tastes. If you like a lot of meat or hate spicy things, this will need some tweaking.

The most important thing to note about my list is that there are very few things that are processed, and what is processed is only marginally so. A lot of things I would have bought from a conventional vendor I’ve started trying to make myself (like hummus and salad dressing). I have observed so far in my journey that cooking from scratch and eating as many whole foods as possible is really the best thing to keep me feeling strong and healthy. With the exception of a few additional items: granola bars, one or two organic frozen meals in case of emergency, and an occasional box of crackers, this is pretty much all I keep around. If I keep other things, I’ll eat them. Having a very specific list like this helps curb temptation.

I don’t know if this will be helpful to other people. But even if it isn’t, I think it’s a good idea to take a catalogue of all of the things you use on a regular basis. Making sure they are always on hand will a) make meal preparation way easier b) enable spontaneity in your kitchen goings-on and c) hopefully allow you to avoid opting for takeout because, “we’re out of everything, ugh!” or snacking on unhealthy stuff because, “there’s seriously nothing to eat!”

Personally this has been an important lesson for me to learn, and an on-going challenge to really adhere to. But honestly, organization has been key to my success so far. If I make sure I have everything I’m going to need for the week, and plan ahead a lot of the things I intend to eat, I am a lot less likely to stray from my goals. I will stick to the plan, when there is one. When there isn’t one–anarchy! Chaos! Nobody wins (except maybe saturated fat and the pizza industry). So far, this particular list has been good to me. Sticking to these foods, most of which are fruits, vegetables and nuts & seeds, I feel better physically than I probably ever have before. Even within the list, I use bread crumbs and brown sugar a whole lot less frequently than I use apples and spring mix. The goal of a good grocery trip, a stocked kitchen, and this entire blog is just to enable a lifestyle that is as healthy and nutritious as possible, and to cut out as many possible deterrents as I can from getting where I want to be.

-lj

The Holiday Challenge

Wow okay. So despite my early week efforts, the past few days were not my greatest, nutrition-wise. Between Halloween and stress with work, I feel like I ate 100 mini candy bars. Obviously Hopefully that is an exaggeration, but then again, any amount greater than like 5 is too much.

Side Note: Is Trick or Treating not as big of a deal as it was in the 80s and 90s? Because I live in a huge neighborhood and we had maybe 20 kids.

So if Halloween is any indication, the holidays are going to be a formidable challenge. Three really bad days are okay. Three really bad months? Train wreck. Monumentally not okay. So now I have two goals: Prevention and Preparedness. Yes, I am forming a task force of one to combat Holiday Season Malnutrition.

I think the strategy here should be threefold. Each element to the plan is probably obvious, but obvious and easy are not the same thing. If they were, we wouldn’t be here. Everyone knows to eat fruits & vegetables instead of sugar & carbs. The challenge is doing what we’re told.

So, my Obvious Plan for Prevention & Preparedness (the O.P.P. …P.)

1. Exercise! Exercise provides negative calories. Granted, exercise doesn’t combat the actual badness of indulgent food, but it at least combats the most glaring problem: the excess calories. So if I know I am going to be indulging a bit extra one day, I should workout a bit extra that morning. You would think I would have been doing this all along, but it’s time to be a lot more conscious of this strategy now that my healthy living is in peril. Anyway, I’m a lot less inclined to binge when I’m feeling all good from that workout high.

2. New things to try instead. Thanksgiving is probably the biggest holiday in my family. My parents always said it was the only one we were absolutely required to come home for. There is probably some kind of psychological causal linkage there, given that Thanksgiving’s only tradition is the plentiful feast. It is literally an entire national holiday devoted to overeating! And at our Thanksgiving, like probably your’s and everyone else’s, it’s not as if we’re overeating a bunch of raw fruit. At least, at our house it’s all homemade and there are quite a few vegetables, but there’s still a lot of simple carbs and butter.

I already have some ideas in mind for healthy alternatives to some things. And for the things I would really miss, like my mom’s stuffing, I will just have spend some time meditating to the mantra “PortionControl…PortionControl…PortionControl.” Maybe that should actually be it’s own step in this action plan.

So more exercise. Healthy alternatives to traditional holiday foods. And step 3.

3. Mental and Physical (and Digestive) Strength.This is where preparation comes into play. I’m gonna read some Michael Pollan. I’m gonna get back into my old routine. In fact, I’m gonna step up my old routine! I am going to try to do everything I can to live as healthily as possible for the next three weeks. And then the month after that. And then forever and ever until this time next year. To make up for the insane amount of sugar I consumed this past week, I’m going to try hard to avoid it altogether for most of November. I’ve been fairly lax, allowing myself things like frozen yogurt and other, similar seemingly-harmless things lately. But it’s pretty easy to see how with an already lackadaisical (thank you spell check) attitude, a holiday season where we celebrate glutton could really push me over the edge and back into bad patterns. I’ve come way too far to let that happen, and hence, my task force and the Plan.

I’m pretty excited actually. Just like with the exercise, the more in tuned I am to eating healthy, the less likely I am to lose my way. Plus, I think I am more likely to succeed when the challenge seems more cumbersome. “Eat healthy” is too broad, and too subjective. Eat like you’re stranded and living alone on a desserted island? That’s a challenge I’m into.

So now that I have a solid strategy, I am pretty confident that the rest of the holiday season will be less catastrophic than Halloween turned out to be. I am excited, like I said, for all the steps, but I am especially looking forward to seeing what I can do with step 2.

xoxo.

-lj

Regroup…again

Oh my goodness it has been so long. How did that happen? Well, sometimes things just get hectic I guess. And for a little while there I was in the middle of moving and it was my birthday, and so I certainly was in no position to be blogging about healthy living. I may or may not have eaten at least part of a cupcake 5 times in a week…oops! But damn are they delicious. In my defense a couple of the cupcakes I ate were made with Sprite Zero instead of egg and oil, a trick I whole-heartedly recommend. They were outstanding.

So now I’m back. I’m older, I’m living in a house with a nicer kitchen, and I actually have missed paying better attention to my health and in particular, my eating habits. Aside from birthday/moving week (ok maybe that was two weeks) I really haven’t been doing that badly but I was not doing nearly as well as I was when this blog was a regular thing. Over the summer I was still mostly eating produce, but there was a lot more dairy in there, including a brief but intense addiction to frozen yogurt. It seems like there’s a frozen yogurt place in every square mile around here and it was just so nice on a hot day. Possibly the only thing I will like about the weather getting colder is the lessened interest in frozen sugar snacks. 

So now, like I said, I’m ready to get back into it. And like I said, I don’t need to make changes as drastic as I needed when I was first starting out and eating pizza multiple times a week (although I do still miss that!). Weight-wise I’ve been maintaining fairly well. I still don’t know my starting weight but I estimate that I’ve been fluctuating between thirty-five and forty pounds off since the Olympics. (I’m still mad at myself for not making an Olympics post to talk about how it prompted a huge increase in my own physical activity. Maybe it will still happen in the future.)

Thirty-five pounds is great but it is not close to enough. And I’ve decided since it is often hard to get back into things, I’m going to get into it the same way I did last time, with a cleanse. This one is a little different, and a little shorter. It starts out with three days of “pre-detox” where I eat, essentially, exactly how I should be eating all the time. Lean protein and produce and not much else. Maybe some nuts and seeds. I’m on day three of that and I start the actual detox in the morning. To be honest I am a little bit worried because cutting off sugar and gluten is already giving me a headache and the actual detox hasn’t even begun. On the other hand, the new detox plan (it’s from Whole Living just like the last one) has a lot of great new recipes I am excited to try. Tomorrow I’ll be making pineapple-avocado gazpacho. Sounds amazing.

So that’s it, that’s the whole post. I just wanted to re-break the ice and get to talking about these things again. Ideally I want to start posting much more often, this is my first step!

Regroup

It’s probably not super surprising to learn that I have not been feeling very motivated the past few weeks. Summertime is so fun and feels  carefree, and I’m very easily distracted. For a while I was on vacation and then I got back to the inevitable post-vacation blues (and the intense allergy attack that always greets my return to the Midwest). So I was lax in my dietary restrictions. I kept telling myself I wanted to get back to eating clean and avoiding foods that aren’t cleansing, and then I’d say, no, it’s okay, I’ll start tomorrow for sure. I don’t know if I was really bad compared to other people, but last week was certainly my least healthy week in months. This past weekend I was finally feeling like I was tired of not trying so hard, and I’m sure my less than great eating wasn’t helping my sinus situation. However, I had a lot of social obligations this weekend, which made it a really great weekend until Sunday morning came around and all the carbs, saturated fats and alcohol sugars really made themselves known. Honestly, I was worried my motivation was gone forever.

Today I woke up feeling the most congested I thus far. My voice was hoarse and my head was heavy. But, today instead of letting myself drown in comfort food and self-pity over not feeling good, I took some meds and decided to get it together.

First, I cleaned our whole house. I worked on areas that are nearly perpetually cluttered or grimy that we usually overlook. It helped so much. It’s hard for me to feel like keeping my body clean when the place where it spends 80% of the time is dirty. But now, the floors are shiny and the table tops are cleared and I finally feel that energy I’ve been missing the last three weeks or so. I was still so energized after the cleaning was done that I went to the gym, even though I hadn’t planned on it for today.

This new inspiration for clean living also meant eating well at every meal. For breakfast, I didn’t have enough fruit to make juice or a smoothie, so I ate half an avocado that was about to go bad. Maybe not the most conventional breakfast choice but it’s better than pancakes. For lunch I went to the market to pick up some things, and while I was there I grabbed a Greek wrap, which is literally a Greek salad wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla. I supplemented it with some hummus for protein. For dinner, I decided to make an effort for the first time in probably a week. Dinner was roasted broccolini with garlic, quinoa and cherries.

Roasted Broccolini with Garlic Quinoa (and some cherries)

The quinoa was a recipe I made up on the spot. I’ve talked about quinoa before, but I’m always trying to find new ways to make it interesting.

Garlic Quinoa

Servings: 3-4

  • 1/2 cup Dry Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Low Sodium Vegetable Broth (I use Trader Joe’s Organic)
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 TBL Onion, diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Garlic quinoa, after the liquid evaporates

Add everything to a small saucepan. Set stove to high heat, bring liquid to a fast boil. Stir. Reduce heat to low-medium/simmer, cover the saucepan, let it simmer until all the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally (takes 15-20 minutes). I recommend watching it after 15 or 16 minutes because if it cooks too long some of the quinoa will stick to the bottom. I think stirring will also help with that.

The result is a sort of orange-ish color quinoa that is very fragrant (and delicious!). I’ll probably mess around with other spices in the future, maybe red pepper flakes or paprika.

Along with the quinoa, I roasted some broccolini and garlic in 1.5 tablespoons of oil. Set oven at 400, roast for 20 minutes, stirring once in the middle. I tried not to get it too well done because I wanted it to maintain all its nutrients.

I’ve only recently started considering broccolini. I grabbed it at the grocery last week because it looked good, so I decided to do some research. It turns out, there are a lot of rumors about our new friend, broccolini. It is for sure a hybrid. The child of broccoli. But I guess it is the soap opera star of the vegetable world because nobody seems to know for sure who his daddy is. One site I read said he was a mix of broccoli and kale, which excited me because I am always looking to increase my leafy green intake. Another site said it’s broccoli and asparagus. A third site then said it is a cross between regular broccoli and Chinese broccoli, which appears to be a different kale-like green leafy vegetable in the cabbage family. I’ve essentially decided it doesn’t really matter because either way, it is crazy healthy, and that’s the goal! My entire life is one big Cold War against iron deficiency, and broccolini is an awesome iron-rich weapon for my stockpile.  But this is off-topic!

So the entire day was a success, which I needed! Today was the kind of day I should be having every day, and as a result I feel the best I’ve felt in a week, if not longer. I realize eating so lightly every day might not be realistic, but hopefully my inspiration is back for good, and I can keep thinking of ways to make clean eating enjoyable, rather than seeming like a burden the way it has of late. So, hopefully this is a real turnaround moment, and this renewed positive attitude sticks around!

-lj

Resistance Band Workouts

Ever since my horrible experience with the personal trainer, I have been looking into different ways to work on strengthening. Even though the trainer was awful, I like circuit training with the weight machines fine. Still, I thought I would “shop around”. In the past, when I have been in really great shape, it’s been largely due to group fitness. In college, I went to yoga classes four times a week, plus three or four cardio workouts (at different times). Sometimes I would also go to Pilates class, which I really loved. At the second generation of my strong physical fitness, I went to a class that was essentially a cardio core class, that combined strength-training into an aerobic workout. That class made a lot of use of rubber resistance bands. I really loved that class as well.

This time around, when I started out three months ago I was in (probably) the worst shape of my life, as I have written about before. I had to consider realistic possibilities for working out. I practiced yoga as a spiritual exercise as much as a physical one, and while that is important, I am not really in the same place right now–not to mention I seriously doubt the lunchtime yoga class at my big chain gym focuses on cleansing the spirit. As for Pilates, quite frankly I am insecure about my size and ability still and am not sure I am ready to surround myself with 40 girls with the dancer’s physique, which is how I imagine Pilates class will look…even if I also know it isn’t.

So when I was looking for alternative strength training, I asked a friend about it who used to make her living as a personal trainer. (I would have pulled her out of retirement but 200 miles and a serious hip injury make it futile.) Anyway, I asked her what she thought I should do and she suggested resistance bands, which reminded me of the third type of fitness class I really loved. So I did some web-searching, and furniture drawer-searching, and found a pretty thorough list of both new and old exercises to do with resistance bands.

The bands are great because they allow you to use your own muscles as resistance. This obviously objective website points out that with free weights a lot of the resistance is gravity, but with the bands, things are more fluid. You can move them in more directions and do more things with them.

I’ve been using the bands for several weeks now and I still think they are great. After my walk or cardio workout at the gym, I pick several of the exercises below and do three 15 rep sets of them, using as many different poses as will fill up a 43 minute episode of Law and Order on Netflix. Or sometimes I will just do all of the exercises listed below and skip the cardio. I should probably have more of a routine but currently I do whatever fits my mood (and guilt counts as a mood).

Here are the exercises I currently do, using this band:

Go Fit Brand Resistance Band (came in a set of three)
Standing
  1. Bicep curl: stand with middle of band under feet, hold end of band in each hand, curl arms up
  2. Tricep Extensions: put one end of band under left foot, hold other end in right hand, face arm toward ceiling (inner arm next to ear) extend arm up at elbow
  3. Shoulder raise: band under left foot (with ~8 inches out to the side bc i’m short) other end’s handle in left hand, put other foot out in front of you, bend upper body at 45 degree angle, keep back straight. Raise arm straight out until arm/shoulder are in straight line and parallel with floor
  4. Shoulder drop: band under left foot (with ~8 inches out to the side bc i’m short) other end’s handle in left hand, put other foot out in front of you, bend upper body at 45 degree angle, keep back straight. Hold arm out to side, parallel to floor. Lower arm.
  5. Cross-body Twist: one end of band under left foot, other end in right hand, start in semi-crouched position (knees bent) with core facing ~10 o’clock, rise and straighten, bringing arm across the torso and ending up over head.
  6. Standing Row: stand with middle of band under left foot. step right foot back a step. Bend upper body at 45 degree angle with back straight. Hold band w one handle in each hand, pull band up and back in rowing motion, squeezing shoulder blades together
  7. Squat: Two options: 1. Middle of band under feet, handles in hands, hold so hands are near clavicles, shoulder level, with elbows out, then squat. 2. Same start, but start standing with arms at sides, then pull in bicep curl up as squatting down.
  8. Butterfly Press: Hold arms at 90 degree angles at shoulder level, parallel to floor. Hold band at the middle, wrapping excess around wrists until the band is tight, move arms in until they touch, slowly move back to starting position
  9. Front Kick: Stand with feet hip-width apart, foot band around feet; open legs to point of tension. Step on one end of handled tube with left foot; grip other end behind back with both hands, palms up, elbows forward. Bend right knee and raise leg, thigh parallel to floor. Extend right leg slowly as you press arms overhead (as shown). Return to start.
  10. Back Kick: Stand with feet staggered, left foot in front of right, foot band around feet. Place center of handled tube under left foot and grasp handle in each hand, knuckles up. Lift right foot about 6 inches off floor behind you, knee slightly bent, toes down. Lean forward as you extend right leg straight back and curl arms toward chest
  11. Side Leg Lift: Tie resistance band into a circle and place it around both of your ankles before lifting one leg at a time out as far as you can against the band. Use the wall/the back of a chair/some other furniture piece for balance if necessary. 
  12. There should be some lunges listed here but they hurt my bad foot so much I cannot include them! 

Mat

  1. Pelvic Push: Lie flat on back, with band flush against hips, hands at sides holding either end. Keeping hands/band ends pressed into mat at sides, slowly raise hips toward ceiling. Slowly come back down.
  2. Leg Lower: Start with back on mat, legs facing ceiling at 90 degrees to body. Wrap band around feet, criss-cross ends in front, hold handles one in each hand at sides (near hips), slowly lower legs to ground (not quite resting heels on floor) raise back up.
  3. Tricep Push Up: Start in modified (girl-pose) push up position. Wrap band around back, with one end under each hand. Raise body with arms (do a push up), then lower back down.
  4. Chest Press: Lie on back with band under chest, one handle with each arm. Alternating between arms, raise arm up toward ceiling.
  5. Side Leg Lift: Lie on one side, legs one on top of other. Place top foot in band handle (or tie band around foot). Either place the other handle around the bottom foot or place the band under bottom heel (if you are short like me and using the whole band is not enough resistance). Lift leg as far as possible. Lower and repeat.
As I said I really enjoy the resistance band exercises. I’m probably to a point now where I could keep up with an hour of Pilates, but for the most part I enjoy the bands and will keep going with them. In fact, although I did want to give a much needed exercise update, I mostly wrote this entry so I could have an easy to access place for my band routine.
If anyone has any other exercises they like to do with resistance bands (or any other great strength training alternatives!) I’d love to hear them!

A Healthy Social Life

I don’t know what it is about our culture, or at least my own personal life, that so much of our social interaction is based around calorie consumption. But almost every interaction I have with people revolves around eating or drinking (or both). It makes sense. People are busy, they work all day, have other obligations, eating and socializing is a way to multi-task. Plus it gives everyone something to do.

I’m a very social person. As an extravert, I get a little stir-crazy if I spend too much time by myself. At first, I was passing on invitations, laying low and just using avoidance as the best option. But that doesn’t work for me AT ALL because being alone stresses me out and stress eating is one of the reasons I am here in the first place! Thus, I find myself in restaurants searching menus for diet-friendly things to eat quite frequently. I have found thus far it is often a difficult task, but not unmanageable.

There are generally two types of meal companions: those who help you cheat and those you help you stay on course. Generally, I think which kind of helper you are dining with depends on what that person’s goals are for him or herself, and what kind of relationship he or she has with you. For instance, I have friends who don’t pay any particular attention to what they eat, and/or have zero nutritional knowledge, and those people generally say things like, “it’s just cheese, you need to get your protein in from somewhere!” or “you really need to give yourself a break once in a while.” Neither of those statements are necessarily untrue, but cheese is not the healthiest (or most efficient) protein choice and I give myself plenty of breaks, I’m not looking for an extra!

The other friends are great. “The grilled salmon looks like it would be pretty good, and I bet it’s fairly low-calorie.” Those are the helpers I like to go out with. Unfortunately, even with those friends around, there is still that pesky laminated card stock of gluttony staring up at me at any restaurant, teasing me with all the foods I want to eat instead of the pickled beet salad. Usually, though, if I’m with the helper friend, the helper will help talk me down. Or (and admittedly this is not the healthiest tactic) I will feel bad about myself for cheating when the person I’m with is really pulling for me. I don’t want to be a disappointment! Nothing like a little neuroses to keep me in check. (Isn’t that the point of this blog, anyway??)

There is a third kind of friend, and that is one that I struggle with for different reasons. That friend is the one who is also dieting, but is on a much more conventional (less strict) diet plan. For instance, last week, a friend made me dinner. I’ll start by saying it was so delicious! And much more nutritious than if we had gone out for Mexican like we used to. But this friend is trying to lose five, maybe ten pounds, if she even has a goal weight at all. And, her weight loss is basically superfluous because I’m sure she already was in a target BMI category. Although, I will never look down on someone for trying to be healthier, so her brand new interest in physical health is great! But I got to her house, and she was so excited she was making a beautiful, very healthy meal for us. Except the very healthy meal was spaghetti. And certainly if this was me six months ago, it would have been the healthiest thing I ate that week. And, I really loved it! But pasta is supposed to be off limits. So is parmesean cheese. So it’s difficult because this is a diet-friendly meal by all accounts, and it is great to have someone who is also working on changing her lifestyle, but I have to make more extreme changes. And how do you say, “thank you so much for being healthy with me but it’s not healthy enough?”

So how do we deal? I’ve started gathering techniques.

  1. I try to look for the healthiest option on the meal that isn’t just going to make me sad. For instance, I’d rather eat a salad, even if it has say, cheese and boiled egg on it, over some depressed, soggy steamed frozen vegetables (that have been marked up 500% from the bulk grocer). But I still definitely stick to as little dressing as possible! And make sure it has more nutrients than an iceberg wedge, too.
  2. I guess this should have been number one, but try to go to places that actually encourage healthy living. I live in Indianapolis, which has not historically been known for its physical fitness, but there are tons of restaurants that specifically market eating fresh, local and healthy. So, if I can pick one of those places to go, we go there.
  3. The to-go box. The to-go box has a downside, which is that there is another unhealthy meal later. But, eating half the meal on Monday night and half of it a couple of days later at least gives your body a chance to balance that small portion of restaurant food with all the green, clean superfoods you are eating in between.
  4. Plan for the meal. If you know where you are going ahead of time, and you can anticipate how much cheating will be involved, it makes it a lot easier to make up the difference. If you know you are going some place where it’s nearly impossible to eat a meal up to super-diet standards, maybe you should plan on that being a cheat meal for the week. If you think you can find something relatively healthy, maybe just have a smoothie and some mixed greens earlier in the day.
  5. DO SOMETHING ELSE!! I have started suggesting to my friends that we catch up by going for walks. Why not burn calories instead of adding on extra? Or, I don’t know why it isn’t more acceptable to just sit and visit. Growing up, my mom and her old lady relatives used to do this all the time. There didn’t need to be a precursor or a crutch like sharing a meal, we could just share each other’s company instead.

But, since I know five is not particularly realistic, I try really hard to follow advice 1-4. Try. Sometimes I institute four retroactively, and decide while I’m eating that that better be a cheat meal. It’s hard, though. I never want to be that girl that says, “oh no, thanks, I’m on a diet.” That girl is boring and uptight.

Except of course usually that girl isn’t making up for 2 decades (on and off) of eating whatever the hell she wants, and thus that girl doesn’t actually NEED to “diet” for health reasons.

Sadly, this girl does. So I am constantly learning to manage my social life in terms of healthy living.

Oops, this was a long one. xo

-lj