Let’s Chat: Rambles on Paleo & Umbrellas

Oh, hey there! How are you? Haven’t talked to you in awhile. How’s the family? And your job?

Willy Wonka Tell me more

Yeah so I haven’t written in awhile, mostly because I haven’t found anything really worth writing about.

Actually, that’s a lie. I have a couple drafts of things I would love to post, but I’m not really sure about sharing them with the interwebs.

So now that I’ve lied to you and told you I’m keeping secrets from you, let’s continue to chat like those two old friends catching up at the coffee shop who speak loudly and have no discretion for what the general population of said coffee shop wants to know about their lives.

Or the overly zealous female talking about her work frustrations or juicy conversations with friends or whatever with her male counterpart on the already cramped train where there is no escape. He usually just gives one word responses in between her breaths (that don’t come frequently and don’t last long) to make it seem like he’s paying attention and actually cares. Luckily for him, he’s gotten really good at tuning her out and pretending he cares because he cares about her as a person. Aww, what a guy. Unfortunately, the rest of us don’t care and cannot drown her out as easily, so we are left to hear every little detail.

But I digress.

So it’s May now. We had a monsoon blow through New York yesterday; I thought April was supposed to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. But I realized a few things yesterday because of the rain…

First, I am not prepared at all for the rain. The one pair of boots I own are almost 2 years old and I found out yesterday that they have holes somewhere. So, um, needless to say my feet were absolutely soaked by the time I got home last night. Disappointing. And uncomfortable.

Also, I don’t own anything that resembles a rain coat. I have my winter coat and light spring coats, but nothing to keep me dry. Yes, I have an umbrella, but here in New York City you find out real quick that you can’t simply rely on umbrellas. The wind changes direction every time you turn a corner in the city and I swear it purposely blows up from the ground just to turn your umbrella inside out, losing the battle completely.

Broken umbrellas are a common sighting here. Now, I don’t condone littering, but it’s kind of comically sad seeing them strewn on the ground on or after rainy days. They obviously weren’t able to hold on through the storm and have been abandoned because they no longer serve their purpose.

I mean, if you Google or look through Flickr for ‘broken umbrellas’, you’ll see what I mean by the pathetic nature of said broken and useless umbrellas. Some are just a tad broken, but broken nonetheless. Others, however, are so mangled and disfigured, it makes one wonder whether a lion escaped from the zoo and went on a killing spree.

Broken umbrella

And then there are the people who are determined to stay at least a tiny bit dry, even though their umbrellas have been overcome by the elements. Even if one or more of the spokes are broken. Even if the extension part of the handle no longer works. These people are manually holding the umbrella open because, dammit, they will not accept defeat! They will do whatever it takes to keep at least their forehead untainted by the rain. Granted, who wants to go in a bodega or to a street cart and pay $10 for a poorly made umbrella that almost seems designed to break under the smallest gust of wind?

Another thing is that it’s such a pain walking down a narrow sidewalk while people walking in the opposite direction also have their umbrellas open. It’s kind of like playing chicken; one of us has to either raise our umbrella or close it a little bit in order for us both to fit through. But I don’t want to close it and risk getting soaked. And it doesn’t seem like they’re going to close it either. Then I start to raise my umbrella, thinking I’m going to be the considerate one…but then I notice them doing the same…so then we both kind of lower them. Quick, we’re getting really close!

It usually ends up working out, but sometimes the umbrellas get caught on either the other’s umbrella or a tree, and water flies everywhere, usually on both parties. It’s kind of like that embarrassing “dance” when people awkwardly can’t pick a side when walking by each other under normal circumstances.

Bottom line: I need to find some rain gear, like, ASAP.

Another reason I haven’t written in awhile is because I feel like I’m failing majorly with the whole eating Paleo thing. I made a dish or two using a cookbook I bought, but that’s been about it. I have been eating more health-consciously [scout’s honor!] since I wrote that last post, choosing salads over sandwiches, burgers, pasta, etc. I don’t think I’ve had pasta in quite awhile. Great, now I want tortellini with Alfredo sauce, broccoli, and sun-dried tomatoes. Mouth is watering. I’m full-on drooling now.

I’ve been eating more fruit, purposely buying it from a small veggie store nearby so that I have them to snack on instead of chips or cookies or the like. I have, however, been kind of bad with chocolate since Easter was 2 weeks ago and that silly Bunny spoiled Tom and I with Cadbury Creme Eggs and hollow chocolate bunnies. The thing with me and chocolate is that, if it’s in the house, you best believe I will eat it.

Matilda Chocolate Cake

>>Oh, side note, I wanted to try the Carrot Cake M&Ms but I totally missed out! I didn’t realize they were limited edition for Easter, so I never picked any up because my thinking was, “I have a feeling we will be getting some candy from Mr. Easter Bunny, so I can wait.” Well, I’ve waited and heard people raving about how delicious they are. Come to find out everywhere is now sold out, and people are selling them on Amazon for $15 a bag! Like, what?! Preposterous. So anyways, let’s hope they decide to make them a permanent flavor because they were so popular. Otherwise, I’ll have to wait until next Easter.<<

I talked to one of my co-workers a few weeks back when I decided Paleo was a good idea and she said her husband does it; she found that eating 80% Paleo is totally fine and that a slow-cooker is your best friend with this diet. Part of my problem with eating Paleo is that it’s about 70% preparation and 30% self-control. Also, sometimes the lack of calories and sugar has given me problems in terms of feelings that I’ll pass out, so sometimes I just need something quick and sweet to boost my sugar levels.

Honestly (and obviously), it takes so much longer to prepare a Paleo meal. So she said using a slow-cooker has been a God-send; she just decides what she wants to make, prepares everything the night before, throws everything in the crockpot in the morning before work, and when she comes home, it’s nearly ready! Plus, you can make a few nights’ worth of food using a crockpot, whereas some meals take so much time and work just to prepare enough for 2 people.

So I’ve been working on not putting myself down on doing poorly on this mission of eating healthfully because I’ve been improving my eating habits in general. And I’ve been using the workout room here at the school at least 3 times each week for the past month, so that’s great! I bumped my Fitbit step goal up to 12,000 steps per day and have been consistently surpassing that daily. Overall, good things happening.

Okay I think I’ve blabbed enough. Until next time, ciao!

Going Paleo

I’m going Paleo. And I’m terrified.

I’ve already cut down on dairy because it gives me stomach and intestinal pain. If I do consume something with cheese or milk, I usually take a lactase pill to control it a bit.

I tried to go gluten-free out of sheer curiosity last year, but I barely lasted a week.

I mean, I love me some bread. And pizza. And Oreos.

I could go on and on about things that I like to eat. And of course none of them are considered Paleo. At least not the ones sold in most stores.Paleo diet, not Paleo diet

But this “diet” has been suggested to me by people I know, as well as others whose stories I have only read online. And they seem pretty convincing to me.

The main reason for introducing this change to my lifestyle is for health reasons. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease about a year and a half ago. Before the diagnosis was official, I had 2 major flare-ups during the two years prior to that. You can read my blog post about it, but basically, in order to maintain remission, I’m on meds for the rest of my life. So far, so good; I haven’t had a flare-up since my diagnosis in October 2012.

However, prescription costs add up. I’ve had to switch insurance plans (and therefore meds) 3 times due to moving downstate and enrolling in and graduating from graduate school. Monthly co-pays for my meds have ranged from really cheap (as in paying $1 when I was on Medicaid upstate) to now paying over $100 with Empire Bluecross Blueshield. Thanks a lot, Obamacare!

Plus, it’s a real pain in the ass having to take multiple pills multiple times per day. I was originally taking 6 pills twice per day with my first set of meds. When I went to the doctor near campus in NYC, he suggested I try another kind, in which I would only have to take 3 pills twice per day. Heck yes! Well, now on this new plan, my insurance won’t cover that medication, so I’m back to taking more pills – three pills, three times per day.So many colorful pills! Looks like candy!

At this point, I’ve been taking so many darn pills for so long that it has just become routine. But that’s not to say I wouldn’t love it if I could simply get through the rest of my life without being a pill-head. One less thing to worry about.

Back in 2011, my now-fiancé Tom was the first person who told me about this Caveman/Neanderthal/Paleo Diet. He was convinced that it was a great idea; it’s based on what cavemen and women used to eat, so obviously it’s natural and healthy. Sure enough, he lost weight. But I think it’s mainly because he was sleeping during the day, working in his basement apartment at night, and mostly only consuming foods very high in fat like nuts. Oh, and cups upon cups of coffee. He didn’t stick with it very long as there were some, ahem, crappy side effects and he started looking very sickly.

Since then, it has become a popular diet. Many people partake in this and other “fad” diets to lose weight or to reap the health benefits. But still others do it just to say they are partaking in X, Y, and Z. Like I said, I’m more in it for the health benefits; losing weight and maintaining it would just be a bonus. I’ve got a wedding dress to fit into!

Personally, I think I’ve gotten too lazy and have started taking my health for granted now that I have it back (with the exception of those dang pills). So I’m making a commitment to start introducing Paleo meals and guidelines into my diet. I’m not going to just dive all-in all at once because I find that this is more difficult to stick with than making small efforts here and there. I would hope that in the near future I can be mostly Paleo. And maybe pill-free?

I’ve started looking into recipes, cookbooks, blogs, etc. on all things Paleo. One blog that I’ve come to love is called Against all Grain by Danielle Walker. Her story is similar to but even worse than mine – she dealt with crazy abdominal pain, lost tons of weight, and had multiple blood transfusions and iron infusions, before she was finally diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (which is similar to Crohn’s).Against All Grain - Danielle Walker

She changed to a Paleo-style diet and has seen remarkable results. She posts Paleo recipes, has her own Paleo cookbooks, reviews of others’ books, and even writes about her struggles with not eating those comfort foods we all know and love. Definitely relatable and inspiring. And so dang gorgeous!

So the first step would be to pick out some Paleo meals to replace my typical ones, get the ingredients, and try this thing out! Suggestions, personal accounts (successes and failures), or favorite Paleo recipes would be greatly accepted and appreciated!