Saturday, August 8, 2009

Getting Back into “the swing of things”

The one thing that fall brings is routine… This summer has been anything but routine. I feel as though I have lost who I am this summer… and I know that a lot of it has to do with my being pregnant (in my 1st trimester). This pregnancy has been the hardest emotionally and physically. I hope that it gets better soon! I know that I should be thankful that I'm not throwing up all the time like a lot of women do… but being nauseous all day every day isn't much better. Luckily I'm starting to feel much better lately.

There are a lot of changes that I want to begin making with-in the next few weeks as we get back into life after summer… I'm going to share them, but mainly to just process for myself. Feel free to stop here if you want, because this is a long blog!

We definitely need to go back to our old ways in our eating habits. I know that processed foods are horrible for anyone, but that's all I've been eating lately. Between the dining hall and just wanting things to be easy, I haven't been making things homemade at all anymore, and I can feel a difference in me, and I have seen a difference in the kids. It's almost like I got "stupid" this summer and completely tuned out all that I had learned for the sake of doing something that's easier… The benefit of that is that I definitely see the benefits of doing things the right way!
So, as we get back into homemade meals with whole foods, we are going to:
1) Start buying beef, sausage, and eggs at the Farmer's market again. I will buy whole chickens at Walmart because they have a brand called Harvestland that is free of hormones, antibiotics, and steroids. They aren't cage free, but they are HALF the price of chickens at the Farmer's market ($1.49 a pound verses $3-$3.50). They also sell frozen chicken breasts in the same brand that I will buy occasionally. Sometimes chicken breasts are just easier. As far as beef goes, the natural beef at HEB is about the same price as the FM beef… so I would rather buy grassfed if it's about the same price anyway. It's definitely a higher quality. The same goes for pork; although, a lot of times we buy sausage at Whole Foods because it's pretty inexpensive and yummy. They stuff their link sausage with things (herbs, spices, cheeses, etc)… and it is like $3.50 for a package (which is more than enough for a meal for our family).
Also, I plan to try to start buying more seafood. We'll see if we can afford it.
2) Start shopping at Whole Foods again, twice a month. Robert and I have decided that the quality of food there is worth driving there twice a month. And, our bank is in Austin anyway, so we go that way every two weeks as it is (this is because Robert loves our bank and refuses to change!). The WF that we shop at has a HUGE selection of bulk items, which I miss! I haven't been there in a long time… Their selection of produce, frozen produce, bulk items, etc is very large… and not too expensive if you search.
Robert will be off every Thursday, so I think that our goal will be to do our grocery shopping on Thursdays. It will definitely help me a lot to have him with me when I shop (especially when the new baby is here!!).
3) Start baking homemade bread, crackers, muffins, etc again. We have been eating way too much refined flour products, and it has affected Karis' digestive system greatly. I believe, also, that it affects emotions and moods (there is a lot of research about that). So, I'm going to focus on whole grains again. Plus, homemade items like these just taste SO much better. I have been buying "whole wheat" bread, and I don't like it that much at all. There is no flavor in it.
4) Eat more fruits and veggies. I tried to eat a salad at each meal in the dining hall, but after a while, the same salad over and over again gets old… so I haven't been eating it as much lately. And, the veggies that they serve are usually canned (not always, though). I plan to stick to the EWG's list of produce to eat organically… we used to buy all organic, but that got too expensive. So, I will focus on the ones that are most heavily sprayed. Something that surprised me the other day is that Walmart is starting to sell some produce organic, and I bought some beautiful organic grapes for $3.50 for 2 pounds (that's $1.25 a pound)! They are very yummy, fresh, and sweet. So, I may hit them up here and there to check out what they have. Ethan and I both love grapes. Usually things like avocadoes, bananas, etc are cheaper there too, and I don't buy those organic. I work in Marble Falls, and there's a Walmart there, so this is something I can get while I'm there, by myself!
My plan to get Karis to eat more is to sneak them into foods, and to make smoothies. She'll eat/drink a smoothie if it's pink. She calls it pink ice cream.
5) I, personally, need to focus on eating more protein. I haven't been doing a good job of this lately, and in pregnancy it is SO important. It can prevent many pregnancy complications including pre-eclampsia. So, I will focus a lot more on this. Some ways I plan to get more protein intake are to eat more eggs (cage free are best!), healthy meats, cottage cheese (has 12g per ½ cup!), cheese in general, yogurt, whole grains, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, etc. Does anyone have any more ideas for more protein intake? This can get tough. As a pregnant women, it's important to eat at least 80g a day. That's a lot of protein.
6) Drink MORE WATER. I have NOT been doing a good job of this… even though it's 105+ degrees outside. I have never been a big water drinker, but I need to really work hard on this. I also need to avoid caffeine more. I had decided at the beginning of this pregnancy that I would drastically lower my caffeine intake, but I haven't been doing a good job. I grew up on sodas and sweet tea… and they serve sweet tea in the dining hall (which is also lots of sugar). I only drink sodas here and there, but I need to cut down on those too. It doesn't make me feel good, but it's just habit (well, and I enjoy them). I think if I can cut down/cut out caffeine, then it will help with breastfeeding when it comes time. Caffeine in breastmilk can be tough for a baby!
7) We will start taking a few supplements again, but not to the extent that we had been. I need to buy a new prenatal because I'm almost out of the ones that I have… plus I wanted to try Super Nutrition Prenatal Blend (I plan to take 3 instead of 6 since I'll be eating well) and Coromega Omega-3. My midwife suggested both of these, and they seem great. I will also start drinking pregnancy tea as this will prepare my body for delivery and is just very nutritious. Karis loves her "gummies," but I'm thinking I will just try the Coromega for her too, and if she doesn't like them, I will go back to the Nordic Naturals fish oil. It would just be easier to give her what I'm taking.
8) Last but not least… I have been eating out a lot lately. I have been in Marble Falls for training and to get things ready for school, and instead of taking a lunch, I eat out. Not only is this expensive, it isn't the healthiest. I try to eat things like Subway, but sometimes I eat really unhealthy foods… this is where my soda intake comes in… If I don't eat fast food, I don't drink sodas. That's the only time I drink soda.

Some other things that I really want to start doing/going back to are:
1) Cloth diapering… I had decided this summer that I was tired of washing/folding diapers, so I stopped using them. I had to give myself a break. I struggle with the desire to use them because they are a lot more work, but Robert definitely prefers cloth over disposable… so if he is here to help me wash and fold, then I am willing to use them again. I'm still trying to decide if I want the added work of cloth diapering the new baby… we'll see. If Robert made that decision we would use only cloth diapers. It really does save a ton of money to use cloth, and they are so much better on the environment.
2) Getting the kids out of the house more… and watching less tv. Of course, it has been way too hot this summer to go outside and do things. Every time I step outside, I get nauseous. It is SO hot. I can't wait till fall. Here, it never gets very cold, but anything is better than 105+ degree weather. I can't wait.
Robert and I plan to take the kids camping twice this fall, we are going to Rockport in a few weeks (it's on the coast… my grandparents live there), we plan to take them to the zoo, and several day trips to different places. We will also do things like hike through the park (the camp is inside a county park with an awesome hiking trail) and have picnic lunches often.
3) Doing activities with Karis again. I bought a workbook for her because she has been watching me prepare for my classes, and she SO wants to try to do that kind of "big kid" school work. I know she seems young for it, but it's something that she really wants to do, so I want to give her that opportunity. I will also just do hands on activities with her, and paint, play with play dough, etc. I wrote a while back about a curriculum that I found online for preschoolers that is free (ABCJesusLovesMe), and I will be following that as well. I plan to have her help me with cooking and baking more as well, as she REALLY likes that. She has also been wanting to help with cleaning! I like that!
4) We're going to pick and choose the products that we buy naturally. We prefer natural laundry detergent (ECOS), dish detergent (BioKleen or ECOVER), etc because those products go straight into the ground or our septic tank. But for now, we just can't afford natural "personal care" products, except maybe toothpaste because we can buy it cheap at Sam's. We have so much to buy/pay for this semester that we are going to be on a tight budget… much like summer (a little less tight than summer). So, we're just going to do the best that we can.

Anyway… this seems like a lot of changes. It's really just going back to the things that I/we used to do, so it's not a bunch of new stuff. It's just hard to get back into since I've neglected all of these things this summer.
I'm starting to feel better physically, so I think it will begin to get easier and easier to get back to my old ways!


Katie said...

Hi Courtney! Just wanted to say I understand exactly where you are right now... :) I think I've been in the same place this summer. We are going to get back on the wagon this fall once we're back in Austin. I feel sooo much better when I eat the way I'm supposed to eat. Anyway - we should definitely try to meet sometime. I could meet you at Whole Foods. :) I have enjoyed getting to know you via your blog and FB and I think we'd have a lot to talk about!

McCoys said...

Hi Courtney!
I'm with you on the whole fall thing! I can't wait, because it deffinetly establishes a routine! Jason and I have been following your two week meal plans and love them! It's nice to be prepared and planned, and you save alot of money this way. I have been making bread, and crackers, and just eating and cooking alot healthier! You are awsome! Can't wait to see your new little one. I hope you are beginning to feel healthy and wonderful! Have fun on your camping trip! Angie