Thursday, November 10, 2011

DIY Food Adventure: Dinner

DIY Food Adventure

The challenge has officially ended, but many of us are continuing to eat home-cooked meals.  It has created a positive feedback loop where making your own food:

  • feels gratifying, giving you a sense of accomplishment for your precious time and effort,
  • makes you feel good on the inside with normalized digestion,
  • has a positive emotional response: you feel good and don't have the blood sugar highs and lows that make you cranky and short-tempered,
  • improves your performance at the gym and in your daily life because you are fueling yourself with quality nutrition and feel energized.

I look forward to continuing this challenge and feel so appreciative for the boost to get my nutrition on a healthy track, especially for my pregnancy--the most important time in my life to be eating healthy!

Week 32 of 40

So now my belly is so huge people keep asking if I am due at any moment.  However, I still have over a month and a half to go!  I have gained quite a bit of weight, over 35#s already, but my midwife doesn't mind and it seems to be almost all in the belly--I have quite a basketball of baby!

The interesting thing about the weight gain is that I am not eating any differently and if anything I have been pretty good with fewer weekend treats.  When I do have them, I splurge on an ice cream dessert, steamers with whip cream and light flavor at the coffee shop, corn chips, french fries when I eat out, and Chipotle burrito bowls with a bit of rice.  Not too awful and much fewer and farther between than in the past.  I'm still staying strong with my gluten-free diet and it isn't all that hard--eating food that makes you feel good is a really great motivator.

My meals are home-cooked still, usually starting with bone broth and fruit, then eggs and fruit, cheese and pepperoni or chicken (maybe with grain-free biscuits) and fruit, and meat and veg at night often with a dessert of fruit.  Yeah, it's a lot of fruit, but I vary it up with bananas, grapefruit, grapes, figs, pears, and apples.  And hey, I'll take fruit over sugar and processed crap any day.  I usually have 4 meals if I am up early and with the time change I have been up early lately.  My body is just part ready to be up and part sick of trying to find a comfortable sleeping position where my legs don't go numb or have shooting pain when I move--doesn't happen all the time, but it isn't fun when it does.  Leg cramps when sleeping and numbness when standing for a long time is about the only uncomfortable pregnancy "symptom" I've had to deal with regularly--not too bad!

But my pregnancy is going fabulously for me.  I feel great and absolutely LOVE the experience of having my little one moving around inside my belly.  He is adorable already and sometimes I just stay up in the middle of the night feeling him hiccup or squirm back and forth, contorting my belly in such funny shapes.  I love to just sit with my belly out on the couch after dinner and watch him kick and bring knees/hands/elbows/buns across my belly.  Last night I had both cats curled up on my legs and squeezed in close against my warm belly.  It was so cute to have all my little ones sharing my lap :)

Home-cooked Dinners

Dinner is the one weekday meal my husband and I share, so it means a lot to me to have something nourishing and satisfying late in the day.  Our go-tos for protein have been:

  • Meaty veggie-laden tomato sauce using jarred tomatoes (no more cans for me due to BPA concerns) and slow cooking a big batch with grassfed beef, zucchini, and mushrooms for at least 4hrs on Low

For carb, I make dinner my veggie meal.  Usually I'll have cut veggies like yellow peppers, baby carrots, and cucumbers.  They are terrific scoops for tomato sauce and little boats for carnitas.  Meats are also great wrapped in steamed collards (just trim out the woody part of the stem, keeping the leaf intact as much as possible, and steam for less than a minute until pliable).  They are durable, tasty wraps that trump lettuce for wrap-ability.  I sometimes switch out the veggies with corn chips when I am feeling naughty but that saltiness usually makes me guzzle water all night, so I am up even more often.  No es bueno.

For another change, I'll roast/broil up some delicata squash into chips--just thinly slice, toss in oil, and eat seeds and all (thanks to my friends Sonny and Jill for starting the delicata squash craze!).  My husband enjoys salsa, roasted cauliflower, and acorn squash more than I do, so he subs those for the cut veggies that aren't his favorite.  We also have steamed artichokes on occasion, which we both love: just trim, season with salt, pepper, and olive oil and steam above an inch of water, lemon juice and garlic cloves for 45min or until the outer leaves fall off with the lightest touch.  Serve with or without melted grassed butter.  Yum!

And I often have a dessert of cut figs--such a delicious new favorite!  I cannot believe I just had my first raw figs this year--wish I had found this delight earlier :)  And another new dessert treat: celery with almond butter.  I have been craving fat a bit more lately, so this is a satisfying splurge.

I know I could be all crazy and change up the meal plan more often, but really I love what I am eating and haven't tired of it yet.  It is nourishing and homemade and just makes me feel SO much better than any meal I have out at a restaurant that I instantly regret that night with crappy sleep and the next day with a carb hangover.  Real food makes a noticeable difference and will help me thrive instead of just survive the last weeks of my pregnancy :)