Monday, April 15, 2013

Simplicity is Delicious

In just a few weeks I will return to full-time employment and then the balancing act will truly begin. I have some major work projects coming up this summer that will keep me busy. Add to that a 13 year old active in band and wanting to do "cool" stuff this summer, a toddler with boundless energy and an infant and I think I will have plenty to fill up my summer. Oh yes, just imagine all the laundry and housework 3 kids "bless" you with on a daily basis. Sam is a huge help, but he is starting college in May and will be working full time.

This introvert mama is slightly stressing. My family fills my life with joy and my works engages my mind and challenges me, but there is that other part of myself that desperately needs to be fulfilled: the me part. I need time to read. Time to think. Time to knit. Time for a quiet walk alone. Time to interact with my husband or small groups of friends. When I neglect the "me" part of me I turn into a stressed out ball of unpleasantness. I'm a better mother/wife/friend/employee when my whole self happy and healthy.

Healthy. That is a big part of my satisfaction in life. Any mama will tell you that post-baby is a difficult time for the body. Less sleep, hormonal changes, weight gain... or if there isn't weight gain clothing still fits differently for awhile. I'm wanting to get back to losing weight (especially since I am caring around an extra 30 pounds right now), but my approach is drastically different.

Losing weight last year was hard. I weighed everything... calculated calories...exercised... quit baking... I was consumed with losing weight. I lost weight in a healthy manner, but I was overly focused on calories. Since investigating factory farming, genetically modified foods, and agribusiness in general I find that my health goals have drastically changed. I want health and not thin.

While I would love to fit into my clothes or -- better yet -- have my clothes become far too big to wear, I'm more interested in being kind to my body and the world. My diet has switched to vegetarian for the past 60 days and I can honestly say that it isn't as difficult as I thought it would be. Hope is also vegetarian now and so I'm doing my best to make sure we do this vegetarian thing the right way. In high school I was vegetarian and that meant living on mountain dew, mac'n'cheese, and canned green beans. Not cool. Hope and I have discussed ensuring we get plenty of protein and as a result Hope has discovered that she likes cheese "fancier" than Colby-Jack, a penchant for edamame, almonds, pistachios, blackbeans, and quinoa. We're only doing soy products once a week and I try to get the non-GMO tofu only.  Sam and Atticus still eat meat at work and school, but we have purchased no meat products in the past 60 days and my grocery bill is slimming down. We've switched from 2% milk to whole milk from a local dairy and we are trying to get as much food as possible organic and/or local.  This is really difficult because of cost of organic foods, but between the local CSA and the approach of farmer's market season I think we'll do okay.

I'm sure you can tell by the rambling nature of this post that I've a lot on my mind and I'm juggling too many things: work, marriage, kids, housework, time for myself, health, and trying to live more kindly.  Do you know how I am fulfilling all of these goals in some capacity at once?

Dinner. I'm cooking one or two "real meals" a week (aka casseroles and such) the rest of the time it is a simple pasta or rice dish with loads of vegetables. My favorite meal is the one above: cheese, crusty bread, boiled eggs, local honey or homemade jam, and then veggies. Not pictured are the strawberries for dessert.  Follow up with a delicious cup of coffee and I'm happy. It takes next to no time to assemble, the kids have fun trying different things, there are hardly any dirty dishes, it is healthy and balanced and I have time for some knitting while I drink my coffee and the baby is happy. No hour spent in the kitchen cooking and then cleaning.

Simplicity is so delicious. I expect more spring/summer meals like the one above and I look forward to it.


Melissa Hozey said...

That plate of food does look delicious!

frugalmaven said...

Amanda you have hit on one of my favorite meals(kinda). Kenny and I refer to it as an SCA meal cause that is what I had when I was in the SCA(remember your crazy aunt then?) It is bread, cheese, and fresh fruit. I just about lived on it while in Florida last week. So easy and filling and great in warm weather. You are right. Simplicity is delicious.