Wheat Wars

After my “bender” before Thanksgiving, I figured I’d worked out all my need to break rules and eat junk.  Well, the whole Thanksgiving is a great paleo/primal holiday didn’t end up working out as well as I would have liked.

I ended up at a social function that included food and given the amount of money I was paying to be at the event, there was no way I was turning down the food.  The appetizers and salad were more or less paleo compliant (just leave out the bread), but it was the Alsatian Tarte Flambées (aka French Pizza) that did me in.  Finished off with a pumpkin pie that tasted like it was spiked with amaretto and my night was one big wheat fest.

Now, when I went on my little bender a couple of weeks back, I didn’t suffer too many ill effects other than wondering what my problem was and some icky-ness from a bad combination of food and beer.  This time was a little bit different.  (I warn you now to stop reading if you are uncomfortable with bodily functions or anything of the sort…not that I will be overly graphic, but I still felt a duty to warn.)  I ended up having quite a bit of gas and feeling very out of sorts for a good 24 hours following said event.  While the food was tasty, I now know without a doubt what a wheat binge will bring.  I’m sure there is a critical point of how much wheat tips me over into the bad side effects range, but really, if I wasn’t convinced before not to eat wheat, I think this pretty much seals the deal.

On a better note, my family was pretty helpful is trying to help me remain paleo compliant.  My sister would fix me and my mom a plate of food instead of making us sandwiches, which she was making for everyone else.  There were a couple of times where I had some wheat – namely fresh NY bagels one morning.  I couldn’t pass them up entirely, but I didn’t eat my usual whole bagel with cream cheese.  Just a piece of my sister’s bagel.

I’d really like the rest of my family to move more towards a paleo way of eating, but so far it’s just my mom and I.  I mean carbs like fresh NY bagels are hard to give up on a crisp fall morning.  I’m not going to lie.  However, I know firsthand what wheat will do to me.  The wheat wars will continue I’m sure.  And I’m sure that there will be more times in the future when I’m not as paleo as I want to be.  This is reality.

Changing of the Seasons

Seasons are wonderful things.  It’s one of the things that I missed when I was living in the desert clime of California.  Yes, they have their own version of seasons, but I like the four seasons that you learn about in school.

Lately, though, I’m less of a fan of seasons.  Living in a place that has more snow than anything else along with terrible driving conditions and long hours at work, I understand why people develop seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

I’ve been trying to combat the lack of sunlight in my life with light therapy, but most mornings there isn’t enough time to sit in front of the light before heading out.  When I come home, I don’t want to be messing with my sleep at night, so light therapy, at that point, is out.

I’ve noticed that since the time change, my mood is less cheery and it takes a bit more in the mornings to get going.  Since I interact with people all day long having a good mood is pretty important.

I am also getting less exercise.  Since I leave when it’s dark and get home when it’s dark, I don’t get a chance to get outside for some running or walking, which compounds my lack of sunlight problem.  What’s worse is that as the season gets closer to winter, we get more clouds than sun anyway.

My eating is also out of whack, either from the hibernation instinct or just from the changing availability of produce.  I find myself less interested in food.

Obviously, life is comprised of a bunch of different factors, but thinking about season changes and the things that I like in my life since transitioning to a paleo lifestyle and mindset is interesting.  I definitely want to tweak things about my life to get more balance, feel better, and be happier.

I think that there will be some bigger changes and decisions to make down the pipeline when I wrap things up here with school.  I don’t see myself staying here as there are a lot of downsides and I’m keen to move back to a larger metropolitan area.  Who knew that I am actually more city girl than I’d like to admit?  I blame growing up in New York for spoiling me.

It’s a short week!  Do the happy dance!

Park Time

I need to have time to commune with nature, especially when I’m stressed out.  Being out in nature away from our crazy, technology driven lives is what I need to cope.  I often forget that.  When I’m at home, I know where to go.  I have a few favorite parks that I go to when I need some time away and I need to think.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a park.  I’ve been to the city park here, but when you’re walking with cars and there is a highway that has rushing cars right along one part of the path, it’s not exactly the relaxing respite that I’m looking for.

In an attempt to get some relaxing out in nature time, I had planned on going on a hike with a friend.  She ended up canceling on me at the last minute and I was torn between going by myself and not going at all.  In the end, I ended up venturing out on my own.  I got a good hour of time wandering around trails.  I got there early enough that I didn’t start running into people until I was back at the parking lot.

Now that I remembered that I need some outdoor alone time, I’m thinking that I’m going to start checking out all the parks in the area when I have some free time on my hands.  Definitely a better idea than turning on some online television and turning into a brainless zombie.

Another Thing To Not Do On A Sunday

Put your fingers in the way of a knife while “harvesting” your brussels sprouts off the stalk.  Thank goodness that I had that knife sharpened in the recent past.  A nice clean cut.  I really need to get my game back on track and get myself more level.  I’m thinking it’s time for a walk to work out all the kinks in my brain.  First, some eats.

Things Not To Do On A Sunday Morning

Happy Standard Time!  (I’m not really that excited since I’m always aggravated every year that the “extra hour” somehow slips away from me and takes with it another hour or two.)

The weather is gorgeous here today.  After a few days of bitterly cold overnights with highs barely in the 50s, we’re going to see somewhere close to 60 today before the day is out.  So they say.  I can feel that it’s warmer already this morning, though.  The sun is bright and warm and the sky blue.  Makes me happy.  Planning on a walk with a friend later today.  Before that point, I need to get my apartment cleaned and get my a/c out of my window and then my neighbor’s as well (we’re doing a swap), cook for the week, write a paper for tomorrow (groan), and hopefully get some photos up on Funny Eater.  I would also like to get some reading in, but that seems unlikely.  The weekend is too short.

Anyway, I went to my beloved Farmer’s Market yesterday (see all my finds here) to find vendors missing (I don’t blame them, it was hovering around the freezing mark for a good few hours in the morning) and people shifted around.  What’s worse is that my vegetable go to people are gone now for the winter.  Whatever will I do?!  Back to the grocery store and co-op I suppose, but the variety is never as good or as tasty.  And, as much as I love California, I prefer not to be eating food that has traveled a million miles to get to me.  (More like a few thousand, but it’s all the same after a point.)

So this morning, I actually headed off to the grocery store.  I don’t yet need produce, but I need to stock up on water (sadly, I can’t drink the tap water in this town) and other things that I can’t readily buy at the co-op.  I did stop by the co-op as well as I was salivating yesterday over two recipes (here and here)and hoping to cook them up today.  Without wild boar (which I swear I’ve seen before at the grocery store), I think I’ll only get to one.  Actually half of one, since my eyes bugged out at the price of skirt steak.  To its credit, it is grass fed.

I usually know better than to go to the grocery store on a Sunday morning, I made that mistake before, but I think I was delusional from the time change and headed off anyway to find the parking lot packed with cars and people in shopping cart jams in the narrow aisles.  So I learned some things this morning.

    1. Never go grocery shopping on a Sunday morning unless you enjoy crowded aisles, having to make sure that you aren’t being run over by other people’s carts, and standing in long checkout lines (I actually shouldn’t complain since I got lucky today and was out within half an hour including shopping time).
    2. Furthermore, do not go grocery shopping on a Sunday morning when you haven’t eaten a hearty breakfast.  Not only are you delusional, you might find yourself buying just about everything that looks good in sight.  Yes, I bought things that weren’t on my grocery list today.  I reined myself in a bit, but even that was a monumental effort in my unfed state.
    3. Do not go grocery shopping at an unfamiliar grocery store especially on a Sunday morning.  I have a preference for a particular location of a local grocery store chain and thinking that I should stop being stubborn and start shopping at the closer location, I headed there.  Big mistake.  Not only did they not have what I needed, I had a hard time figuring out where those things were.  Add all the crazy Sunday morning shoppers and you have one aggravated person, me.
    4. Do not wake up late if you have things to do.  In my head, the idea of sleeping in seems lovely and luxurious, but I inevitably find every time I let myself sleep in, that I’m actually more aggravated that it’s already halfway through the morning.  It also means that if I had woken up as early as I had originally planned, the grocery store might not have been bursting at the seams.  
Really, the moral of today’s story is that grocery shopping on a Sunday morning is an unnecessary stressful event.  Next weekend, I plan on having a wonderfully luxurious Sunday morning that is not spent grocery shopping, but enjoying my morning with a good cup of coffee and wonderfully tasty fresh cooked breakfast and a jaunt outdoors.  I’ll probably have to wear a good number of layers to go out, but no matter.  I have a much deeper appreciation for the outdoors now that I spend most of my time inside and far away from windows.

Tales of Sleep

I’m not exactly your star blogger…I’m pretty sure that I’ve talked about sleep constantly on here and I’m often AWOL.  Such is life I suppose.  I still sometimes delude myself with visions of being a good blogger and keeping up with blogs that I like and commenting and connecting.  I think I should just be honest with myself and realize this is how it’s going to be.

Moving on to the real topic.  You might already be sleeping by now if you follow this blog in any sort of half hearted fashion.

Sleep.  It’s necessary, important, and the bane of my existence.  I can’t seem to get enough (I blame school and dumb hospital schedules) or I can’t seem to get good quality sleep (I blame my type A personality, which probably got me to where I am…talk about vicious circle).

Well, this past week was no exception.  I usually tend to get a sort of subpar sleep that’s enough to get through life, but this past week was not good.  Running around on 4 hours or less of sleep each night, you think I would have been tired enough to pass out after a day or two of that nonsense.  Apparently not.

Finally, last night I was able to get into bed early (8 PM – I know talk about a lame Friday night.  I’m definitely getting old) and slept pretty decently (by my standards) until 7 AM.  I wish I could tell you that I feel amazing this morning, but really, I feel okay versus blah.  I’ll take it.  It’s an improvement.

So, why am I telling you personal stories of sleep?  Because, I think that sleep is affected by a lot of factors.  Factors that we don’t always take into consideration.

Why was my already not so great sleep even worse this week?  Well, I have some ideas about that.

    1. food – I have not exactly been eating on a schedule or eating regularly.  I got back from my hiatus late enough on Sunday that I didn’t have time to cook for the week.  Scrambling to cook while trying to get used to a new schedule and new environment is not exactly the way to nourish yourself.  It’s more like anti-nourishment.  Plus, I’m missing some of my food storage containers, so I’m hoping I can remedy that today.
    2. caffeine – I have been drinking a cup of coffee in the mornings for the last couple of weeks, which isn’t my idea of a good time, but was necessary.  I’m sensitive to caffeine, which I know very well, but given the circumstances of needing to be alert and not getting enough sleep, I was pounding the coffee.  It’s going to be a caffeine wean week this week if I can get everything straightened out this weekend for next week.
    3. change of pace – I’m on a new service (sorry, hospital lingo…maybe new  department makes more sense) with new people as of Halloween, so it’s back to square one and figuring out how things operate and how to get along with new people.  Getting used to a new environment often gives me some background anxiety (add that to caffeine and you can see why this is bad) and then subsequently, I’m a little irritated until I start feeling a little more comfortable.
    4. messy apartment – I prefer organized and clean, but not enough hours in the day (I know not a good excuse) means that often my apartment is not as neat and clean as I want it to be.  Clutter and messiness is not relaxing.  Remedying that one today.
    5. unresolved feelings – Sometimes the whole maintaining a professional persona can be exhausting and when you find yourself short on time, you might not remember to go back and process those feelings.  For me that means, I stress out in my sleep or have weird dreams.
There you have it, my morning ramblings on sleep.  Now, off to fix all these things (well most of them).  Farmer’s market first!  Check back later on Funny Eater for market finds of this week.