Days rushing by

I’m not sure how days go by so quickly – I do keep up with my food collages pretty much daily, but all of a sudden I’ve got a bunch of them that haven’t been posted. When I started these I was involved with a web fitness community where I posted them every day, along with my workouts and a bit of reflection about how the day had gone. Although I still reflect on these as I’m putting them together, I miss the daily semi-public reflection of that time. Perhaps part of my hesitation about posting these daily is that keeping an account of what I eat every day does seem like a very personal process. I’ve been very willing to share it in response to inquiries and interest, and it is helpful in keeping me accountable (knowing it will be public does keep me from going too far beyond healthy eating parameters). But when I post for some time without feedback that these postings are useful to others as well, I get shy.

When I see someone in person who I haven’t seen in a while and the first thing they say is how much they enjoy these food photos, that can sustain my posting confidence for some time. But I’m always glad to hear about how you see all this or if it has any impact on you – or just anything that will remind me that I’m not just posting these for myself. Please do comment here on the blog or over in Facebook or Google+ – I’d love to hear from you and promise to respond!

The Expense of Real Food

A friend sent me a link to a Mark Bittman article,  “Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?” that is worth reading, particularly for those who claim they can’t manage to eat real food because it is so much more expensive than processed food. It may be more “expensive” in terms of your time – it does take more time to slice up my red bell pepper from the farmer’s market, and put together my own salad with the fresh ingredients I have on hand (plus a few canned or bottled ones, like the artichoke hearts I put in my salad, and a few that I have prepared in advance, like my vinegared red onions). But in terms of price, taking time to cook up various whole grains, vegetables, and proteins is LESS expensive than fast food or packages of snack foods.

The Midwestern Contrast

Over dinner last night my photo-taking of food grew into a quite a bit of laughter as the conversation turned to the comparison of the plate of my friend with midwestern eating patterns (lasagna and a very white looking salad) and the other choices at the table (like my arugula beet salad and chicken breast). She’s been watching my photo collages and wishing she ate like that, but it just doesn’t happen easily for her. She requested more easy cooking tips for getting vegetables into her eating, and I promised that once I’m home I will share more of those. So, watch this space!

Eating at the Haven

Getting to Gabriola Island, BC, where I am teaching Guiding the Journey right now, required a sea plane for part of the trip – and a weight limit that left me taking only enough food for the travel day. Only a bit of carrot-raisin manna bread, a poppyseed ginger rye muffin and two protein bars made the cut. So I have been dependent on what is served here at The Haven to nourish me. It’s always interesting to me to see the shifts in my meals when I have fewer choices.

Catching up with Myself

Over the summer I spend many weeks in intense engagement with the outside world through teaching, hosting workshops, and traveling. In between, when I’m home at Skyote Mountain, I catch up with myself. Not that I don’t spend time connecting with myself while I’m away – if I didn’t I would not manage those trips and events very well. But it’s very structured time with myself when I’m away, just because there isn’t much time for it. I’m very disciplined while traveling in terms of doing my workouts first thing in the morning, and spending some quiet reflection time just before bed.

When I’m home, it’s all very unstructured, and the time can get away from me. There are so many loose ends that need tying, and various chores that need doing, and emails to catch up on – not to mention going through mail and reading. It’s easier to miss my workouts when they don’t have to be so carefully scheduled. I’m not ready yet to structure my flexible schedule on days at home, but I am exploring how to make sure my workout time does not get lost in the looseness of the full days.

Keeping Commitments

It’s when life takes twists and turns the routine falls apart that commitments become important. When they are easy to keep, it’s no big deal. When they take serious effort to keep, despite circumstances, commitments that we have made become a reminder that we decided at some point that this was something worth paying attention to and making a priority.

I made a commitment to make these food photo collages every day. When I sit down with the photos of the day’s food and put them together to see what the day’s meals looked like, and arrange them on the page, there is a sense of completion. It becomes a meditation, a time to quiet down and reflect on the day, rather than actively moving through it. I have been writing up a blog and posting the photo the next day. I did my reflection and collage creation Wednesday night, but was not able to post on Thursday or do the collage that night, as my laptop computer is in for repair and setting up temporary computer access for me was a more complex endeavor than we had hoped (thank you, Rene’, for all your efforts on this!), and so here I am late on Friday creating two days’ worth of collages at once. Ah, well, a good exercise to have routines disrupted every once in a while, just to be reminded that I can be adaptable.

Smoothie as workout indicator

You can usually tell when I’ve done a serious resistance training or interval training workout by the smoothie that shows up on my daily photo collage. There are the odd days when I just can’t manage a smoothie afterwards and make do with the best substitute I can for an easily absorbed food with 2:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio (I did this a few days last week during the workshop intensity). But my post-workout nutrition of choice is a smoothie. I tend to use whey protein with fruit and either almond milk or coconut milk (not the creamy kind in cans – it’s available in the refrigerated section or the milk alternatives section – I usually get So Delicious). So you can see that Thursday I got back to my workouts after Monday-Wednesday off (though I did go for a walk through the Skyote Mountain land with my husband Rene’ on Wednesday).

I have those days, too

In case you thought I eat beautifully and perfectly all the time, Saturday evening will prove you wrong. I even hesitated putting up the photo for Saturday, though I did take photos of most of it. Not sure how I got so off track, but I ended up eating a medley of things that added up to too much. I did manage to measure what I was eating, though – I maintained that much consciousness. And got right back on track Sunday morning. This can be embarrassing to put out there in pictures for all the world to see – but I’ve had a lot of questions lately about whether there are things I eat that DON’T go into these photos. I want to assure you that everything DOES go into the photos, even when it’s not an eating event I’m proud of. The only time I “fudge” is that I do sometimes use a past photo of something I eat a lot of – how many photos of carrots do I need to take, after all? So if you see a carrot, or one of my homemade banana oat protein bars, it may or may not be the one I ate that day. Rest assured that it is the same size and very close to the same amount as I actually ate that day! And know that I will not show you false pretty pictures of food that does not match what I really ate.

The choices we make about food

Just read Scott Tousignant’s blog, discussing his very reasoned and moderate approach to food choices. Definitely worth reading and thinking about! I gave a response expanding on my own thoughts about belief and values driven food choices (as opposed to fear driven nutrition), and thought I’d include it here:

I just want to point out a piece that I think is worth considering in our choices about what to buy, and that’s the health of the planet as well as my own body. When I look for grass-fed or organic dairy products, I am attempting to support farming practices that make for reasonable and healthy lives for the creatures whose milk I’ll be consuming, and for sustainability. So GMO is very high on my list of what to avoid, not just because I don’t think it’s good for me, but because I think the consequences of doing that are devastating for the planet. And although I am not completely vegetarian, I do care that the animal products I eat do not come from animals who were not cared for in a humane way.

You are right on when you say this is belief and values driven, I’m just suggesting that we look at our larger scale beliefs and values in making these decisions, not just the ones about the health of our own bodies.

Thanks again for bringing these issues up and encouraging everyone to look at them clearly and consciously!

I’ve been posting my daily food collages here as well as on Facebook, and got a question over on FB about why I am doing this. My friend Bill asked: “How does this help you? To take pictures of everything you eat I mean??? A curious mind wants to know.”

And my answer was: I started doing it as an accountability tool. Knowing I would take a photo of what I eat keeps me from mindlessly grabbing something and gobbling it down before I think about whether it’s a good choice or a reasonable amount. My food choices are generally very healthy, but I can easily eat more nuts and dried fruit than my body knows what to do with, or an extra piece or two of bread with nut butter or cheese or … you get the picture. This helps me make very conscious choices about what and how much I am eating. I’m delighted to discover that it is helping other people as well, by giving a visual aid for what healthy eating can look like, and some new inspiration about food combinations.

With that said, here are the past week or so of my daily food collages, several of which were during my long drive with my husband Rene’ up to Oregon and back and eating at the Faerieworlds festival in Eugene.

More Food Collages

I’ve been posting my daily food collages on FaceBook, and have received quite a bit of positive response, but have hesitated to put them here. My fear is that I could easily turn this blog into a food-oriented adventure, and much as I enjoy food adventures, it’s just one small part of what I think about and how I want to interact with the world. I must admit, though, it is one I enjoy very much! I have a grand time cooking up healthy, supportive, nurturing food for folks who attend workshops and gatherings at Skyote (our place in the Santa Cruz mountains). I’m always pleased and somewhat amazed by the excitement. I have been doing my photo collages daily without missing a day. For now, I will indeed post these daily, so that those who are not on FaceBook have an opportunity to see them. Here is this past week: