Bok Choy Joy

This is the first time I’ve cooked and eaten Bok choy. The vegetable was part of the CSA box I bought for this week’s dinners.

I used one head of Bok choy and could’ve used 2 heads. The recipe is tasty and I will feature it in a coming blog entry in the future.

With a ton of tasty vegetables on offer year-round I say: ditch the meat. Produce sold in-season is cheaper.

Colorful veggies are happy food. Feel-good greens can give you benefits instead of reaching for vitamins.

A lot of people take vitamins and that is their choice. I stopped taking supplements years ago.

In my estimation I think the decision comes down to what each of us as an individual needs to nourish our bodies.

Which might be different from the advice an expert peddles to the masses.

However I do adhere to some guidelines and I’ll talk about these guidelines in the future.

Caprese Salad

The Caprese salad above I had for dinner one night.

You’re not supposed to eat cheese. I read somewhere that the production of cheese contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

I don’t have cheese often and it’s because having a lot of cheese can elevate your LDL–the bad cholesterol in your body.

I would like to publish a cookbook one day. It wouldn’t be a vegan cookbook.

There are ethical reasons for being a vegan.

Whatever eating plan a person adheres I stand by my life motto: No Judgments.

In one way I have done something differently: I rarely eat chicken and fish anymore. I usually have scallops for seafood and often shrimp.

More often than not I cook vegetables for dinner.

Simply reducing your reliance on food like meat that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions will go a long way in promoting self-health and the health of the planet.

I’m not going to sit around judging what people do though.

I have no desire to be an eco-cop policing people or an enviro-vigilante.

Human beings are doing the best we can with what we were given.

Even the buzzword “plant-based” should be enough of a change to make.

The blog entry coming up features another vegetable dinner that I used CSA box produce to cook.

This Week’s Food

For $12.99 I bought the tomatoes in the box below:

For $29.99 I bought a CSA box of organic vegetables as follows:

Jalapeno Peppers

Orange Carrots

Red Beets

Roma Tomatoes

Russian Banana Fingerling Potatoes

Sweet Onions

Baby Green Bok Choy

Italian Eggplant

I used the CSA box food plus bought heads of Boston lettuce to make a salad for dinner to start off the week.

The Bok choy I’ll have for lunch on Tuesday.

Photos are to follow of the meals I created with the food.

2020 SNAP Challenge

In 2018 and 2019 the Beyond Hunger organization hosted SNAP challenges.

A person who was well-off was challenged to use the customary SNAP benefit to buy food for one week.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is commonly called by its former name: food stamps.

The most recent challenge allocated participants to use $31.22 per person per week for 7 days total.

That comes out to about $4.46 per person per day.

Some rules apply:

The food cannot be bought at big box retailer like Costco or Sam’s Club.

You can use your own condiments and spices.

In most regards other than these two rules you must make do on $31.22 as one person for 7 days.

I’m not going to be able to meet this standard for a number of reasons:

First I have groceries ordered from FreshDirect which doesn’t accept SNAP benefits for payment.

Second the standard is impossible to live up to when you want to eat healthful food.

As it is for my lunch at my job I spend about $5.00 per day on food from a deli counter at a market.

This food is often a half-pound of beet salad or a Sicilian tomato-and-0nion salad or a container of soup.

The point is that people in America are going hungry.

I order 2 $5 donations–$10 total–with my groceries order so that the NY Common Pantry can give 4 pantry meals each to two people.

I have been “buying” this donation with my groceries since the start of June.

FreshDirect employees package the food and help deliver the boxes to people in need in New York City.

This as a humanitarian response to the food insecurity individuals started to face during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As a modified version of the SNAP challenge I’m going to photograph and document in the blog how I spent $29.99–$30 dollars in effect–on food this week.

The fact is–regardless of anyone’s political persuasion–we cannot continue to rob Americans living in poverty of their right to have enough money to buy food.

That people go hungry is a crime.

Again–giving every American a Universal Basic Income of $1,000 per month–would go a long way in terms of food justice.

Andrew Yang–who dropped out of the Democratic race for president–was my choice because his policy platform included a Universal Basic Income.

August Salad Days

My goal is to return to having a salad for lunch at least three days and ideally four days a week.

In the heat a salad can’t be beat as a great no-cook choice for lunch or dinner.

The key to liking your leafy greens is to toss in a ton of extras for texture.

A salad chock full of crunch tastes better too.

I buy Boston lettuce.

Salad toppings:

diced onions

diced carrots

blueberries or raspberries

chickpeas

olives

cashews (you can use walnuts or almonds)

Other extras:

peppers

avocado

feta cheese

hard-boiled egg slices

mushrooms

corn

My preferred dressing is olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

When it’s hot you should turn on the air conditioner if you have one.

It can be hard to get the motivation to cook or to compose a salad when you’re living indoors.

It can be hard to exercise or to do a lot of things when your joy has tanked.

My take is that it might help to use the “if/then” technique.

Link an activity to the time of day you’re going to do it as in:

If it’s 2:00 on a Sunday I’ll exercise. If it’s noon on a day I’m off I’ll make a salad.

Years ago I used to show up to the gym regular like clockwork between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. every Sunday without fail.

Of course this might be harder to accomplish when you have no energy.

Anxiety and depression have been on the rise in the time of the pandemic.

This is no joke. That’s why cutting yourself a break is warranted.

This is why making a salad when you can’t cook is perfectly fine.

I find that holding myself accountable to my readers enables me to practice what I preach.

The choir keeps me going.

Living Lively

Haile Thomas is the 19-year old author and motivational speaker of this book.

Per her Amazon sales page:

At 16 she was the youngest to graduate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. 

Her empowering guide offers 80 recipes plus exercise pages you can write in to activate your power.

She talks about 7 Points of Power:

Wellness

World perspective

Media and societal influences

Thoughts and mindset

Education

Relationships

Creativity and community

In keeping with the 8 Dimensions of Wellness on the homepage of this blog Haile Thomas breaks down Wellness into:

Spiritual wellness

Emotional / mental wellness

Physical wellness

Intellectual wellness

Environmental wellness

Social wellness

Financial wellness

I’m a 55-year old Generation X woman who is not in the target market for this Generation Z author’s book.

Yet I’ve bought this book which was just released this week in the market.

I’m keen to see whether the recipes feature healthful snacks that can replace chips and pretzels.

In my own life the only snack I’ve been having lately is a jar of Petit Pot chocolate pudding twice a week.

I’ve fallen down on eating fruit though I’ve been having a banana. And I have organic cherries that are in season right now.

When I make a salad I mix in blueberries or raspberries with olives chick peas carrots and cashews.

I’m not a big fan of fruit.

Yet I try my best to have 2 servings of fruit every day. An organic navel orange for breakfast. And a different serving of fruit for a snack in the afternoon.

I’m excited to start reading Living Lively. My take is that reading it could benefit individuals of all ages and stages of life.

Summering in Place

The COVID-19 outbreak is still in effect.

New York State has gone from having the highest number of cases to having the lowest number of infections as of today.

Where I live in Brooklyn people walk outdoors with open faces not covered with a mask or bandanna.

I walk far far away from these yahoos to get where I’m going.

It’s going on four months that everything shut down around here. We are now in Stage 3 of our reopening.

In this time I have achieved my goal using the Changeology 90-day action plan. My new goal is to cook my own dinners 5x per week.

I would like to talk in the next blog entry about imposing a structure on daily activity and automating a weekly routine.

Has anyone else found like I did that during the pandemic when you’re indoors you have whole chunks of time with nothing to do?

I would like to talk in the next blog entry too about what I’ve learned living through this pandemic.

More Ways to Get Energy

Today more than ever it’s imperative that we take care of ourselves.

Engaging in protest could drain us of energy. We don’t have time to wait to see progress. Today everyone’s tired of being told to wait. It takes a lot of physical stamina to march in the streets.

On the radio this week the disc jockey told listeners to take care of ourselves.

Each of us is possessed with a power bigger than our pain.

Yet sometimes the pain we feel–whether about injustice or our own illness or other things–can be overwhelming.

What do I think about how to take care of ourselves?

It comes down to conserving our energy for the tasks that are essential. Letting everything else slide.

I wrote in here recently about how to get energy. A Real Simple issue titled Find Your Balance has an article on The New Rules of Eating for Energy:

Eat protein for breakfast.

People who have a high-protein meal of about 30 grams first thing in the morning with low glycemic load food had the highest energy level.

Drink plenty of water.

I wrote about this in my last blog entry on getting energy.

Fatigue sets in when you get dehydrated.

Have a healthful snack during the day that has fiber protein and healthy fat.

This could be a handful of almonds or cashews or walnuts.

Eat more calories earlier in the day.

You have a food circadian rhythm. Having a moderate-sized meal for breakfast and lunch and a small meal for dinner could be the way to go.

Nix sugar as a source of energy.

After the initial blood-sugar spike you’ll be left drained.

Dine with friends.

As per the Real Simple energy article:

Social interaction has been shown to help people manage stress pain and sadness all of which are drains on energy.

There is a cookbook titled Protest Kitchen.

If I remember it caters to vegan recipes. You might be able to check it out of the library where you live. It’s available from the library system in Brooklyn NY.

Changing Habits

My epiphany with food and exercise occurred when I moved into a new apartment nine years ago.

In the 1q90s my weekly menu consisted of Velveeta mac-and-cheese (marginally OK when I added broccoli to it), hot dogs, hamburgers, frozen TV dinners and other cheap crap.

Not surprisingly I was 20 pounds overweight. That was my typical diet for too long. I kid you not I used to eat unhealthful food every week for years and years.

This hungry woman used to “treat” herself to Hungry Man TV dinners all the time.

So I can tell you that my story is living proof that it’s possible to change your exercise and eating habits at any point in your life.

I was 46 when I first started to lift weights and eat organic food.

I’m 55 now and feel better than ever.

I tell you this story to give readers hope.

I’ll end here with this:

Our lives are going to be too long not too short to put off doing what gives us joy and makes us feel good.

We should not have to live one minute longer in pain than we absolutely need to.

As a therapist once said: “Suffering for the sake of suffering is bullshit.”

The point is not that you have to be skinny or have six-pack abs.

The exclamation point is that feeling good feels so much better than being out of shape.

Good food as said can put you in a good mood.

I’m going to talk in the next blog entry about slowing down and focusing on the present moment.

A new documentary about Michael Jordan–the Last Dance–talks about 3 tactics he employed to win championships.

I’ll talk about them here because they can assist us in real life.