Thursday, 2 July 2015

Pantry Challenge – day 23 & a couple of surprinsgly good realisations

Hey, all! It’s been a few days. Almost a week, actually, & I’ve not really had much to say, if anything. It’s been too hot to do much – at least for me – & I found out last night that even my brother, who loves the heat, could do with a little less of it. So that tells you that it really is too hot & isn’t just in my head.

The heat & I have never been friends. I like to be comfortable, yes, but if I have to choose between being too hot or too cold, I choose the cold every time. I’ve always been that way for as long as I can remember, & Mom confirms this. Heat, I am not a fan of you.

This goes for my food, too. Every so often, I have an urge to torture myself & have food that’s a bit spicier than I like, but it’s worth it. There’s something wonderful about the tastes if something’s not too hot for the flavours to come through, & I do like my food to be flavourful. There’s a great difference, though, between having things spicy just for the sake of the heat than having things full of flavour to add that special something to a dish.

One of my Mom’s friends has a very bland diet. Yesterday Mom made two lasagnes for this friend because she likes Mom’s lasagne. Mom’s a really good cook, and she adds flavour without going overboard on it. With the exception of her occasional batch of chilli or spaghetti sauce, her food is never too spicy. Dad & Allen (my brother) like things on the spicier side, & so they can always add stuff if they like. Mom’s food, though, they do like.

Mom comes from a family of good cooks, and one thing that she taught me that’s key in cooking is to taste what you’re making as you go. That way you – the cook – know how things are & whether anything needs to be added to it before it’s done. I do that as well, & I know that it makes a huge difference.

This friend of Mom’s, who’s paying Mom for those two lasagnes, has very few spices in her cupboard. She also doesn’t taste her food as she cooks it, and she’s obsessed with having absolutely no fat if at all possible in her diet. Well, that’s not good. A diet shouldn’t be a full on fat fest, but it should also not go the other way & lack any kind of fat. Fat helps to add flavour to things, and it also helps with cooking, to help make things moist & just a little bit better.

Now I’m saying that you have to use lard or butter or any other kind of animal-sourced fat if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, but there are other ways to get this stuff into your diet so that your cooking is good and so that you want to eat the food you have. Vegetable oils are great, for example.

This post was not meant to be about adding fat to a diet or anything like that, & I’ve changed my own eating a lot. This summer in the heat, I’ve been eating a lot more fruit. I discovered some canned fruit in my pantry, & a dear friend gave me three jars of apple sauce that she made. So I’m looking forward to having those once the jar of apple sauce I  have in the fridge is done. My fresh fruit comes first, as well, but the fruit that I have in the cupboard is going to be good in a few ideas that I have, especially the cans of Mandarin orange slices. They’ll go well with bananas, methinks.

I found an old thing of iced tea powder, & so I used that up to make a pitcher of iced tea. It’s not finished yet, but it’s great to have it in the fridge. I don’t like making iced tea from actual tea, although I do want to try it with chai. I have a recipe for homemade iced tea using tea bags that I am going to try with some chocolate chai tea bags I bought at the beginning of the year.

So, what’s the surprisingly good realisations? Well! Read on, & all shall be revealed. haha

On Sunday, I went to put on one of my favourite skirts, which had been snug a few weeks ago. On that morning, though, it wasn’t! I didn’t have to suck in my gut to wear it, & the same thing with my denim knee-length skirt on Tuesday. I’m shrinking! I know that eating less & sweating a lot more are key factors in this, as well as not having junk food. I’m just not spending money the same way anymore, & that’s making a huge difference in my waistline. I had a feeling that would happen, but to see actual concrete proof of this, well, now – that just hit me more than anything else probably could.

I’ve not yet weighed myself, but I will on Saturday morning, which is when I usually weigh myself. I’ve not weighed myself for a few weeks, but I will this Saturday. I don’t know if it’ll be a huge weight loss – I’m not expecting it to be – but I know that something will have come off, & every little bit of weight that I lose is better than nothing & brings me that much closer to my weight goal.

Weight loss is not the end-all-be-all of health & fitness, & it’s not, by far, the only measure of health improvement or the like. It is quite telling, though, & is an important tool in gauging how things are going, as is clothing size and fitness level and health. I don’t focus on weight loss like some people do, & it’s not the key factor to me, but it is important, and so I include it.

I do admit that there is something wonderful about seeing the numbers drop & to be able to say that I’ve lost weight. It’s a measurable goal, and sometimes we all need those in order to know how far we’ve come & how we’re doing. The key is to not obsess over weight and to make it the all important thing in life. That’s no way to live, & there’s a lot more to life than that.

It was freeing when I came to see this years ago, & it was amazing when it hit me that not having a lot of money can be quite freeing, too. I’m not saying that I like being poor or that I like being on a lower income. In fact, I’m so thankful that my income’s slowly increasing again. It’s just that, not having the money to spend on all sorts of extra stuff that I need & getting away from that has been so very good for me. I still have to be careful to not overspend if I ever get a bit of extra money, but not having extra money has, surprisingly, released me from having the urge to spend just because I have money. I hope that that carries on with me, but I have a feeling it won’t. Having learnt to do without, though, I hope that I can carry on the discipline with me, & I have four people to whom I’m accountable for my spending. That’s great, too.

Some people view being accountable to others as a real drag, & it can be. I’ve been in situations where it’s been such a burden to have to keep myself accountable to people, but in this case, I’m glad that I have these four people to help me out in this way, and it’s great to know that they care enough to do this for me. It certainly doesn’t free me from having to do whatever I need to do to be responsible, & it is ultimately up to me to watch what I spend & how I spend & to not spend unless I truly need to at this time. Being accountable to these four other women by no means makes me any less accountable to God or to myself. Rather, it does make me feel more free because, if the urge to spend needlessly comes my way, I can honestly say that I can’t do it because I’d be letting those four, as well as myself, down. I can refuse to do that because I know that I’d have to report to those people about it, & I don’t want to have to admit defeat or failure in any way. It’s easy enough to lie to myself or to justify something to myself, even if I know deep down that it went against what I’m trying to do. Having to do the same to someone else, though, just doesn’t work.

So it’s great to have these four wonderful friends help me out by asking me every so often how I’m doing with my spending.

The two realisations, in case I didn’t share them here clear enough in my ramblings, are that, because of my current way of spending, I am losing weight and eating a lot healthier overall & that being accountable to these four good friends is a very good & helpful thing.

The first one, yes, also has to do with my change in eating overall, & it’s well past due for me to make these changes. Back in April, the doctor told me that my thyroid was a bit on the hypothyroid side, & so he told me to make some changes & to have two more blood tests to see if the dietary changes help at all. The first one was in May, & I hadn’t heard from him about that. So I assume that either things were the same or had improved a wee bit. The next blood test will be in October. So we’ll see if the changes have made a good enough difference. If I don’t hear back from him after the next blood test, then I know that what I’ve been doing has made a good difference. Losing weight was part of it, & that’s happening right now.

I’m looking forward to the return of cooler weather so that I can once again start to spend more time outside. I will go out in the earlier part of the day if, like this morning, it’s cool & wonderful for me. The breeze was so sweet to feel!

Well, that’s the post for today. I hope that you enjoyed reading it! Smile

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