Monday, November 12, 2012

getting a grip, getting it together.

when i'm able to see things clearly, i can recognize that the past six months have been a bit of a whirlwind... and i can be a little more forgiving with myself for not staying on top of the things that i want to stay on top – at least to the degree that i want to stay on top of them (ie: housework, cooking, hobbies etc).

but then there's another part of me that seriously wonders why i can't have a perfectly clean house, dinner on the table every evening, a beautifully stocked refrigerator and time to do things for myself to-boot.

then there's also the part of me that feels overwhelmed defeated before i even attempt to pull it together. for example: grocery shopping, cooking, eating. you know the expression know better, do better? sometimes i feel like it's know better, feel paralyzed. here's the thing – i'm pretty interested in nutrition so i feel like i've got the "know" part pretty down. but lately i've realized that it's overwhelming me instead of empowering me.

i know that we eat well. quality is really important to me, we buy organic produce, grassfed beef blah blah blah. we're not eating spaghetti-o's and ding dongs. but i feel like i'm drowning sometimes because i know our diets are too grain-heavy (and i'm not even soaking/dehydrating/sprouting them!) and that we don't eat as much produce as i know we should. more white flour is consumed at this house than should be (ie: none) and oils that i know are shitty (canola and safflower, i'm talking to you) still weasel their way into my kitchen even though i wouldn't buy them by the bottle. sigh. it gets overwhelming, you know? like, i know what to do – um, eat a real food diet – but i feel like i just cannot make it happen to the degree i know i should. i mean, we're doing alright. we're not buying junk, we do eat real food. but still, i fret over it.

i think what i'm trying to say is what i know we should be eating and what we're actually eating aren't matching up quite as i'd like. i'm not so deluded that i can't see what's right with this picture... but i guess i'm just trying to come to terms with finding the space where i can exist peacefully: feed my family and feel good about it and not worry or feel guilty if taco tuesday is complete with (organic!) white flour tortillas.

i love reading about health and nutrition but i need to work on being okay with the fact that i'm not juicing greens everyday or that – despite headlines – we eat rice quite a bit. or that i'm not routinely fermenting and sprouting stuff on my kitchen counter. that dinner on the table is dinner on the table, even if a jar or can was opened to make it happen. (see below!)

so yeah. i'm getting a grip. and getting it together. for the first time in a while i feel like i've hit a little stride where i can actually (hopefully?) sustain it, too.

i'm trying to get serious about meal planning. you know, figuring out what we'll eat for the week then going to the grocery store and buying the items necessary to do so. revolutionary, i know. but seriously, the past six months have been filled with way too many unprepared-for trips to whole foods where i fill a cart, pay out the nose for it, get home, put it away and then lament that there's nothing to eat. it actually makes me feel so shitty just thinking about it – the wasted food, the wasted money.

last week i planned and shopped for our meals and i'm not the only one who thought it ruled. um, not having the what-do-you-feel-like-having-for-dinner conversation at 5 o'clock every night? so nice. the energy in the entire household is affected – for the better.

i think i'm also going to adopt a housework-schedule, too. a fact's a fact: i am more relaxed and happy when my house is clean and organized. my threshold for clutter and disarray is admittedly quite low. i mean, this stuff has to get done but it's so easy – for me at least – to not do a little something if i can't do everything (yeah, read above).

my hope is that i can free up a little time to do the million other things i want to do – like redesign my blog. um, post on my blog! get crafty, take pictures. all the stuff that gets shelved day after day to make room for the stuff that has to get done.

balance exists, i know it does. and if i can make my way to this space a little more, i'll share some things that are helping me find it along the way.

for now, i'll leave you with our new favorite crockpot recipe for chicken. it's so easy that even calling it a recipe is a stretch. it's entirely possible that i'm the last human to make this discovery but i'm quite happy to have made it!

put a couple (2-4) boneless skinless breasts of chicken in the crockpot, cover it with trader joe's salsa verde (2-3 jars, depending on the size of your crockpot and the amount of chicken used) and turn that mofo on. when it's done, shred it and make tacos. it's so delish. and it's even better the next day so use it in a salad, make a sandwich or have leftover tacos.


kandice said...

i cannot believe how thoroughly i relate to this post. no joke, i'm a little in awe (and part of me is, admittedly, a little happy i'm not the only one with these - seemingly exact - issues).

*big, deep breath

& thank you for sharing, too!

small + friendly said...

I so feel you! We eat the same way, and you know what? It's WAY better than most US families and its a start. I hope to someday have a kitchen devoid of boxes and cans but I'm not there yet and I've decided that's okay. We can't be perfect at everything all at once, then what would we have to look forward to? You rock, wishing you a wonderful week!

Tamara said...

i feel like this too! as a working mom with a husband who is often at work until 7pm (or really after bedtime), my son and I eat from cans and boxes more than i would like, but i temper that guilt by buying organic and whole foods as much as possible. i can't obsess about every meal, but i do try to keep the big picture tipped in favor of the fresh, local, and chemical free. I think we are still doing much better than the average family, and as small + friendly said, we can't be prefect at everything all at once! the fact that you are thinking about it goes a long way!

jessica said...

good post mama!

Bridget said...

ummm, we always used canned beans. shit!

so, that recipe looks sooo up my alley. i have been cooking my chicken in the crockpot for a few months now -- even if it's not a 'crockpot' meal but just a means to get my chicken cooked without having to handle raw slimy chicken. it's like revolutionized my life. i plan to blog about it. that's how big! hahaha.

finally. i can be the saaaame way, girl. preach it. steve's always like, "if you are STRESSING about the way you/we eat, though, then isn't that even worse then eating it? now you're eating the food you don't think you should be, and stressing about it... and studies have found that stress causes blah blah blah blah blah..." you get it. enjoy that piece of white bread with butter from time to time.

loved this post.

Jen said...

Wow I could have written that post myself! Love to read your stuff! We do our very best to eat organic and whole foods, then I go and read online that Barbara cereals are made with GMO corn and I feel like it's impossible to keep up. It's really hard to do everything "right". When B was born I felt so guilty that we ate *gasp!* frozen vegetables for the first time since I was in college and the term "graze night" was an actual dinner. It felt like we lived off of peanut butter and homemade hummus and anything we could dip in it. Letting go of the idea of perfection (or something even remotely close to it) has been HARD and I am still constantly working on it. I am like you with my very low threshold for clutter so I feel overwhelemed quite often. Meal planning has helped out A LOT and I use a DIY frame with glass to write down the dinners for the week. Daddy got used to our "Graze" nights so we generally still do that once a week and eat left overs from other nights.

That recipe is going on the menu for next week! Can't wait!

I don't know you, but I think you're awesome, if that's any consolation. ;)

sara said...

so sweet... thank you for the kind words... sounds like we're on the same page!!

Alicia said...

I pretty much could have written the first few paragraphs of this post.
What has helped us is getting used to 2 things
1) repetition. We might have to eat the same thing 2 nights in a row, and maybe even for lunches, too.
2) boringness. Rice and beans boringness. (Of course it's quinoa and chickpeas, but you get the idea.)
I found that meal planning overall has been a huge help for us but it also made me feel like every night needed to be *special* and it doesn't.
We, too, struggle with the white-food demons. Produce is just a lot more labor intensive. I tell myself that it's a process because it is.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They resonated with me today.