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Posts tagged ‘eat’

The Invasion

I have been invaded. Or maybe I should say, my kitchen has been invaded. The invaders come in swarms, too numerous to count. They make trails, devour anything tasty, and generally make a nuisance of themselves.

In case you haven’t figured out what they are yet, I’m referring to ants.

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Specifically, honey or sugar ants. These little critters love anything sweet, and seem to smell it from wherever their home is and come after it. Leave an empty but unrinsed bowl of cereal in the counter, and in an hour or two it will be teaming with the little critters. Spill a drop of juice or honey on the counter and fail to wipe it up, and soon there will be a trail of ants going to and fro, the drop itself obscured by their little bodies.

Lately, with my diligence to get the dishes done right after meals and leaving the sink spotless before bed, the tiny ants have not had much motivation to come into my kitchen. However, one night recently I was just too tired. I didn’t shine my sink and I didn’t wash all the dishes. When I walked into the kitchen, they were everywhere. Climbing in and out of dirty bowls by the sink, making trails on the walls and counters, and in general making a royal mess. But I had to get breakfast ready, and I was too hungry to wait until I had cleaned up the kitchen to begin. So I cleared an area near the stove to work on and began, trying to ignore the devastation going on behind me.

I took a package of tofu out of the refrigerator and drained it in the sink. I noticed that an edge piece was loose and decided to have a nibble (I love raw tofu). I have no idea how it got there, but suddenly the flavor of honey ant filled my mouth. If you have never tasted it, you have no idea how awful it is. It’s not the kind of taste that makes you gag, but it is extremely unpleasant, and totally unexpected.

Well, I just lost it. Somehow that taste in my mouth–which doesn’t just rinse out, by the way–was the last straw. I was tired, my husband had yet to come into the kitchen yet (I don’t know if he was up yet–probably, but just hadn’t come out yet), and the kids were already up, and ants were crawling all over me, and I just couldn’t take it. I called him to come help. I knew if the kitchen were cleaned up, the ants would disappear, but I had already started breakfast and couldn’t just stop and clean for 15 minutes. I did take a minute to spray a cleaner on the ants (which has a soap in it, smothering them and killing them instantly). My dear husband came in and washed up the dirty dishes and wiped down the dead ants and any other ones he found wandering around the walls or wherever.

I know I had been tired the night before, but honestly, 10 minutes to right the kitchen would have been much less traumatic than eating an ant the next morning! So lesson learned: Make sure the kitchen is clean the night before; and if I don’t really have the energy to wash the supper dishes, at least rinse anything sweet out of them! And take a minute to wipe the counters!

There is another lesson, however. Sometimes we allow things into our lives that seem harmless, or maybe it’s just a little neglect of duty, such as really taking the time to spend quality time with God. It wasn’t some big rebellion, saying “God, I don’t need You. I can do it on my own.” Just little neglect. But suddenly, life becomes overwhelming and we just can’t take it anymore. Everything is out of control, and we realize that we just can’t do it on our own after all. Then we must cry out to our Heavenly Husband to come help us. He will clean up the sin and the mess, and bring peace and harmony back into our lives.

Oh, that I may not neglect those little things!

Lately I have been on a bit of a health kick. A couple of my friends on Facebook have inspired me. :) Also, I figure I can’t eat too healthy with a baby growing inside of me, so why not? And since juicing is one of the easiest ways to get good nutrition, and since we have a juicer, I’m juicing.

After the morning sickness went away, I suddenly couldn’t eat as much as I had been. If I ate anything solid in the evenings–even a smoothie–I would crawl into bed with a heavy feeling in my stomach and sometimes even a sensation a little like heartburn.

I quickly realized that my body just couldn’t handle food in the evening. At least, not as late as I was eating–and since we were not eating breakfast early, there was no way to get a third meal early enough.

Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem. I maintain my weight much better on two meals than on three. However, I am pregnant, and I don’t want to deprive the baby of calories or nutrition. Granted, the baby is only about 5 inches long right now and doesn’t need a whole lot of calories right now, but I want to make sure I am giving it all the best nutrition possible.

I recently bought a jar of wheat grass from Whole Foods, and sometimes I would mix that in with a glass of juice, but I don’t want to buy juice all the time, since those juices aren’t really all that good for you. Not that 100% juice is bad, but I like variety, too.

Then I thought of juicing. I bought a 5 lb bag of organic carrots at Whole Foods and juiced them. This I could mix with the wheat grass, and it was very satisfying. I also started mixing in Melaleuca’s fiber with this juice (adding extra water), and I found this very tasty and good for my digestion, too.

Sometimes I juice other things with the carrots. Last night I juiced carrots, kale, and apples, all organic. And I took pictures. My kids were helping me.

Organic Carrots, Red Kale, and Apples

I had made kale chips with half a bunch of red kale, so I used the rest for this batch of juice, I had almost 5 pounds of carrots, because I had used 3 or 4 in recipes during the week. And the 3 apples that had been on sale the last time I went to Whole Foods.

So I washed them and started juicing. As soon as he saw the juicer, Manny wanted to come watch. He likes to nibble  the carrot fiber as it comes out of the juicer.

He was trying to help, but the carrots were too hard for him to push down. He put some of them in, though.

After juicing most of the carrots and all the kale, I started on the apples. Since apples are much softer than carrots, he was able to do it all by himself.

When it was all done, I let Manny and Gislaine have a little bit of the apple juice (it had 2 or 3 carrots in it, since juicing a carrot with the slender end up last leaves less unjuiced food than a chunk of apple), and then I mixed the juices together. I added the extra water and fiber to mine, left one for my husband, and froze the rest. Here is the result (before adding fiber to mine):

So now when I feel a little bit of hunger in the evening, I mix up a liquid drink. Since my husband drank one, there are a total of 4 servings per week for me. I mixed fiber with one, and drank it down. I stored the extra ones in the freezer. I get one out the night before I want to drink it. On days that I don’t drink one of these juices, I will add a bit of whatever reconstituted frozen juice I have in the fridge (right now I think it’s apple raspberry) to my fiber drink and throw in some wheat grass. With the kale in this, I don’t think I really need the wheat grass with my organic juice.

So that’s what I do for supper most nights. It digests very quickly, so there is nothing to make my stomach upset when I crawl into bed, and tastes delicious. Granted, there are some evenings when lunch was light and I’m hungry early; then I’ll eat a little something. And I’m sure in the last trimester I will be very hungry and will need more calories than I do now. But for now, I’m content that I am giving my baby the best nutrition I can while still listening to my body.

This post is participating in the Modest Monday link-up on The Modest Mom blog.

If you are familiar with the Flylady, you are probably familiar with the phrase, “You can do anything for 15 minutes.” Obviously, there are limits to that. I mean, unless you’re single, you probably can’t–and wouldn’t want to–limit your shopping to 15 minutes per store. But the idea is that if you don’t think you can do something, or simply don’t want to, you can make yourself do it for 15 minutes.

That’s how it was with me this evening. I had an orthodontist appointment in the late morning, but it’s an hour’s drive away and my husband needed to go somewhere else, so he dropped me off half an hour early. So we ate breakfast, packed a lunch for my son, and didn’t clean anything before we left. I ate lunch after the appointment (before the soreness set in) and took the train & bus back home–about a two-hour trip. It was 3:00 pm when we got home. And I was tired.

So instead of tackling the dishes and the laundry and such things, I sat down in a recliner and tried to nap. When my son decided to join me (but wouldn’t sit still), I put in a nice video for him to watch, turned the volume way down, and went to bed.

I got out of bed a little before 5:00, and was feeling rather groggy. Morning sickness had been mostly nil all day, and I still didn’t notice any, but I was tired and sluggish. Then my husband got home about 10 minutes later, and brought a whole bunch of fruit that he had gotten either free or cheap on the way home. I ate one of the oranges, feeling that I needed to eat something, and almost instantly my tummy began to complain. I moved away and sat down, hoping the feeling would go away like it sometimes did, but it just got worse. So I browsed facebook and tried to ignore my stomach for an hour or so, until I just couldn’t ignore it anymore.

I’ll spare you what happened next, but once I did what I needed to do and was feeling better, I ate a granola bar and decided that happy tummy or no (I was still not feeling 100%), I needed to do some shopping or we wouldn’t be able to eat cooked cereal in the morning (I’m hoping it will be gentle on my sore teeth–the orthodontist really tightened things up this time). So off I went to the store around 7:30.

When I got home at 8:30, I was feeling better, but I was also tired and didn’t want to face the kitchen. My husband had been very busy with things related to our house, so he wasn’t able to clean up–at least he had fed Manny while I was feeling so sick, so I didn’t feel it right to complain. But I didn’t want to clean up either. It looked like about a half hour of work to get the kitchen in order.

Then I remembered the Flylady and her favorite saying: “You can do anything for 15 minutes.” Yes, I told myself, I can clean the kitchen for 15 minutes. I’ll set a timer, and whatever is left when it goes off can wait until morning. After all, if we’re just having cooked cereal with nuts and fruit, there won’t be a lot of dishes after breakfast, so adding in a few from the day before won’t be a problem. And having some clean counters and a cleared-off stove will make breakfast so much less stressful.

So I put a cup of water in the microwave, set a timer for 15 minutes, and got busy. When the water was hot, I added a tea bag and left it to steep while I worked (I like to steep my tea a long time).

In 10 minutes, I was well over half way done. I stopped washing and rinsing  to clear and wipe the counters and stove, then washed a few more. When the timer went off, I took and extra 15 seconds to rinse the soapy silverware, and then took a look around. All that was left was my pressure cooker and a frying pan, neither of which I will need first thing in the morning. Everything else was done and the counters cleared and wiped.

And my reward? A nice cup of raspberry zinger tea. Mmmm!

I decided yesterday that I would fast today. And I did. I drank water, but ate nothing.

There were several reasons for this. First, fasting strengthens the will. Second, it clears the mind. I wanted to have some time to really focus on God’s Word, and besides, it’s a good idea to fast once in a while.

But just because I was fasting, I realized that I couldn’t get out of every responsibility I had that day. I served breakfast to my daughter (thankfully, it was leftover frozen pancakes and waffles, so I didn’t have to actually cook). I made beds, picked up things that were laying around, cleaned the hen house and collected the eggs, etc. I showered and minded the children for a while. When my husband came back from the gym around noon, he took the kids to the playground for an hour or so, and I prepared lunch for them. Then I left home, telling my husband I didn’t know when I would be back.

The first thing I did was to go to a nature park. It has a couple miles of trails with benches scattered along some of them. It is shady and cool with all the trees, so it was the perfect place to be alone in nature with God–the best I can find in this area, anyway.

I had brought my Bible, my iPod (for its Bible program), a devotional-like book that I’m reading, a notebook, and my prayer journal. I spent some time praying, reading, and in Bible study. I was probably there a couple of hours–I didn’t keep track of time. It was a real blessing–away from the computer, away from the demands of the home, alone with God.

When I finished, I went shopping. Yes, even though it was late afternoon and I hadn’t eaten anything all day, I went shopping. They say you should never shop on an empty stomach, but I did it anyway. And I realized that the practice of saying no to food throughout the day as I worked in the kitchen today had strengthened my will to the point that I was able to say no not only to buying something to eat right there, but to also not buy unnecessary items. I guess that the habit of only buying what’s on my list unless I know for sure that we will need it within the next week paid off. That, and having a budget. (If you don’t have a budget, you should!)

But there was a side benefit to this experience. I learned a little something about the power of the will. As I was walking through the bulk section, buying lentils and cashews and such, I noticed a bin of what I think were probably miniature chocolate chip cookies. I say probably, because I didn’t look at them long enough to be sure. I knew that if I studied them or debated about them, I would be tempted to buy them. So instead I turned away and focused on writing the bin number on the tag for the bag of lentils.

As I went through the store, each time I was tempted to buy some snack-like item to eat, I would turn away quickly and focus on what I needed to get for the family for the week. I had resolved to fast the entire day, and I didn’t want to have the regret of eating something near the end. This resolve helped me stay focused on my goal and the task at hand.

And at this moment, it is a little after 9:00 pm, and I still haven’t eaten anything. I have drunk plenty of water, and shortly I will go to bed. I have succeeded in my goal!

But the principle I learned today will be valuable in the future. To resist temptation, I must refuse to ponder on it. If I am tempted to spend time on the computer when I really should be folding laundry and fixing lunch, I need to resist the temptation and go start on the laundry.

So many times in the past, when I was tempted to do something that I shouldn’t do, I would think about it, dwell on how much I wanted to do it, and before I knew it, I was doing it. Now I know that if I resist the first temptation, the second one will be weaker and weaker until the devil will have to come up with another temptation altogether, because that one will have lost its appeal.

But through it all, I know that I cannot do this without God. Sure, there are times I can resist temptation on my own, to a point. But the Christian life isn’t about just not falling into sin. It’s not just about keeping the commandments. The rich young ruler did that. And he still had a nameless longing that he didn’t know how to fill. The Christian life is about putting God in first place in my life and developing a relationship with Him. As I do that, He will empower me to make the right choices. And I will be motivated to do the right things, not just because I have to or because they are the right things to do, but because I love God.

Oh Lord, You know how weak I am. Please take my will, refine and ennoble it, and give it back to me. Give me a tender heart, open to the voice of Your Holy Spirit. Help me to be so sensitive to Your voice that the lightest whisper of Jesus will move my soul. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I was listening to Revive our Hearts yesterday, and the speaker quoted from the book The Life of Helen Keller. After describing the scene where Anne Sullivan taught Helen to eat like a civilized creature (if you’ve seen either of the “Miracle Worker” movies, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about; if not, either watch one or read the book!), Anne goes on to say something very profound:

I saw clearly that it was useless to try to teach Helen language or anything else until she learned to obey me. I thought about it a great deal, and the more I think, the more certain I am that obedience is the gateway through which knowledge, yes, and love, too, enter the mind of the child.

I don’t know how to improve on that, so I’ll just recommend that you read it again, 2 or 3 times, and let its meaning really sink in.

Yesterday I had a battle with Manny. Not near as big as Anne had with Helen, but it was something. Lately he has not wanted to eat any cereal except the chocolate-covered “Koala Crisps” (which are gluten-free and actually have nothing he is allergic to in them, which is why I buy them and give them to him occasionally). Trying to get him to eat anything else for supper is a battle. So last night I decided to try something different.

When I offered him the food, I told him clearly that he had a choice to make. He could either choose to eat cheerfully, or he could stand in the corner. He hates standing in the corner, by the way. But he chose not to eat, so by default he chose the corner. I put him there and worked nearby, watching him closely. If he turned around and looked at me, I would remind him to put his nose in the corner. Of course this made him cry again, but I persisted. I started him out at 2 minutes, then offered to let him eat. When he said no, I went 2 1/2 minutes. Then 3 minutes. Then 3 1/2. Each time I offered him the food, showing it to him, and letting him choose between eating and the corner. He tried to interject other options, like “nigh nigh” (going to bed), but I would not allow those options.

I am not sure how long it took, but we were up to 5 minutes between choices, and finally he chose to eat. He said, “Eat, eat,” so I put him in his chair, poured hemp milk on the puffed millet that I had coated with carob powder, and offered him the spoon. He ate the whole thing cheerfully, and was delighted to get some grapes afterwards!

Not only was this a great victory, but Daddy noticed later that evening that he was more compliant and less demanding. I think I have hit on something here.

The truth is, I have been very neglecting of my child training lately. But I have also neglected my walk with the Lord. In the past few weeks, I have been going through a period of revival, which always results in reformation if it is genuine. And this week the Lord convicted me that it was time to start working on my child training. I have been praying for wisdom, because Manny has some serious issues, and he’s too young to reason with, and I let some things get too far. But thanks to this victory yesterday, I am beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

But it’s a very long tunnel! At least, it feels like it! But God is my guide, and I know I will win as long as I remain with Him.

At least, that’s what I think Manny would say if he could talk. I found a recipe for Sweet Potato Pancakes the other day and made them for my son this morning. At first he didn’t want to try them. He’s not used to eating anything that looks like things he never eats… that doesn’t make sense. Let me try again. He’s only used to eating beans mixed with cereal, with either fruits or veggies. So at first he refused them. But I poked a bit in his mouth and he decided he liked them! He ate 4 for breakfast and almost 5 for lunch! I decided to snap some pictures:

As you can see, they seem to be disappearing! Oh, and yes, he does use his sisters old bibs. At least they have green on them! [Ducking and running for cover]

Just thought you would like to see that!

Here’s how these are going to work. I’m going to report tell how the previous week went and how I met that week’s goals. Then I’ll share my latest weigh-in and post the next week’s goals.

So here’s how my week went:

Sunday: I think I kind of got off to a bad start. I went out to eat at a Thai buffet and ate too much. Got my first dessert in, also, a delicious coconut milk creation with bits of something yummy in it. Didn’t really exercise either.

Monday: I must have really eaten too much yesterday! I wasn’t hungry until almost 9:00 this morning. Usually breakfast is at 8:00. So I didn’t eat until I was hungry. For lunch I hauled out some pizza crust that I had frozen like over half a year ago… it was whole wheat, but made like pie crust, so probably had too much fat in it. I think I ate too much, but I was trying to use it up. It sure was good, though! I got my exercises in late in the day, but I got them in!

Tuesday: Something I have learned is that I must have at least one meal that has a good strong protein source. For me, this could be a soy souffle with a whole grain (quinoa, millet, buckwheat, for example) for breakfast, or split pea & barley soup for lunch. At least, I need to do that if I am going to only eat two meals a day. Otherwise by suppertime, I’ve got this craving for something, and then I end up eating too much.

That’s what happened today. Breakfast was sweet potatoes and tofu, which on the surface sounds filling, and it was, but the sweet potatoes digest too quickly, and the tofu isn’t as great a protein source as, say, eggs would be. It’s very simple and digests quickly. Fine. But not when lunch is pasta. I ate a handful of walnuts with lunch to try to add in some extra protein, since, thanks to not-buying-so-we-don’t-have-to-take-it-with-us, we have no veggie meats or TVP or anything like that to add to a pasta meal–and beans don’t generally go so well with spaghetti!

So by supper time, I was starving. And ate. Too much. Nuff said. Oh, and it rained so I couldn’t get out for a walk. Bummer.

Wednesday: I got up late this morning (because hubby slept at the new house and the kids slept in too!), so I had a bit of a later-than-normal breakfast. Since it was so late, and since the soymilk in the fridge was 6 days old, I had cold cereal (mostly home-made granola) with juice on it. I haven’t done that in years. I added some nuts to increase the protein and fat content, but it wasn’t that filling of a breakfast! So learning my lesson from the day before, I made a pot of lentils, curry flavored, and served them over steamed brown rice. And I ate heartily. No need for supper today!

Oh, and I did get my exercises in today. Sure, only one set, not two, but it was late, so at least I did it.

Thursday: I definitely got my exercises yesterday! Cleaning the house and hauling heavy appliances made me sore by the next morning, so yes I made it. Read more about that day here. I got my second dessert in today, some coconut custard concoction the lady who made lunch for us cooked up. It was good, but I already have an idea of how to make a vegan version that will taste even better (and actually be healthy enough to eat for breakfast), so watch for that in the near future.

Friday: I’m just too tired and sore today to do anything! At least I only got two meals today. :)

Saturday: Today I had a teeny bit for supper (what my daughter didn’t eat of her supper), but I’m glad I did, because I stayed up late packing, and would have probably eaten more later if I hadn’t had a bit for supper. Didn’t get any real exercise in, per se, but I did pack a bunch.

Sunday morning weigh-in: Well, no matter how I figured it, I couldn’t get the scales to say less than 141. Which means I lost nothing this week. But actually I think I went up because of Sunday, so I did lose, just you can’t tell. I’m going to have to do better than that if I’m going to make my goals!

I probably won’t be able to post anything next Sunday, because I’m going to be at camp meeting. So I’m doing a 2-week goal. I want to lose 3 pounds in the next two weeks. We’re going to be at the new house, and I’m going to be walking up and down the hill or up and down the stairs for 20-30 minutes every day (depending on whether it’s raining or not), so that ought to do something! Plus I don’t have a car anymore, so I won’t be able to go eat out, which will keep me from overeating.

Please let me know if you’re joining in the challenge, share your plans and goals, and we’ll encourage each other! See you back in two weeks or less!