Tagfood

Grocery Game

I play a game to see how quickly I can scan, bag and pay for my items when I am checking myself out.

When I pay at a cashier, I play the game of trying to keep up with the cashier. I try to get items into the bags as fast as they can scan them and send them along.

There are some places which are terribly designed for a single person to scan and bag. Other places where there is no room for bagging whether you’re scanning or not.

Aldi has the right idea where they don’t bag at all and stick your items back into a different shopping cart. They have a long shelf area along the front of the store where customers can bag their items if they wish. It gets people through the lines quickly and the bottleneck becomes at the bagging area. But if you’re run in for a few items, it gets you in and out quicker than any other store.

Mindful Eating

My relationship with food is changing. I’ve always had a good relationship with it. I love food. I love to try new things and I love to eat. I always have.

I still struggle with not wanting to eat everything in sight. But since I started paying attention to what and when I eat, my relationship with food has improved.

When I have a set number of containers of food I can eat everyday on the plan I’m on, it helps me think through my choices. Do I want to blow all my carbs early in the day? Is that sandwich worth it?

What about proteins? Where do I want to spread them out? How will I ever fit that many vegetables into my day? And the fruit! What about those fruits?!

I’ve been at this for about a month and I’m far more mindful about what I eat. And I’m more appreciative of that food.

After dinner and my workout, I was hungry and looked at what I had left for the day. I had half a container of healthy fat (the blue container of cheese) and three proteins (the red/pink container with yogurt). My snack for the night was one red container of greek yogurt, 12 slices of lunch meat and a few small cubes of cheese.

Beachbody Containers for food

Before I started this plan, I would have reached for ice cream or more of the enchiladas we had for dinner. I would have eaten more than I needed to feel full. I would have eaten until I was emotionally fully. Not physically full.

Feeling full and being done is something I struggle with. In my head, I need to clean my plate every time with every meal. It doesn’t matter if I’m eating at home or out at a restaurant with a 3-meal portion of food. I need to make it disappear.

It’s a behavior I am fighting and this is helping. Being mindful of what and how much I am eating helps. I have a structure for food. And tonight, as I laid in bed reading, I enjoyed every single slice of that ham and turkey and I savored each little bite of cheese.

I’m seeing the changes in my body an I’m really happy with it. I’m down 20-25 pounds. I can’t tell for sure because when you’re as fat as I am, despite ordering a scale online that supports a weight larger than yours, it still disagrees with itself. It varies 3-5 pounds even when I step on it twice in a row.

But the difference is clear to me. The number is not as important to me as the inches I’ve lost around my waist. Nor as important as my wife being able to reach her arms farther around me when we hug. Or when my shirts fit better and I look better in them.

It’s still a very, very long journey but I’ve made that first step and I’m not dead yet.

The Fresh 20

Inspired by Conor McClure’s post about the Whole 30, I am sharing what my wife and I are doing.

In an ongoing quest to eat like adults, we tried Blue Apron. The food was good and fresh. The meals were delicious and we’ve saved many of the recipes we prepared.

But eventually we stopped making the food. While they ship everything you need (short of salt and pepper) in the box, there is a lot of chopping and slicing.

The meals were delicious but rarely had enough leftover for lunches the next day. This is the second part of the healthy eating struggle.

Because of this, paired with issues retrieving packages at the condo we rent, we gave up on them. This is not a failing of them. But a failing in ourselves.

We both work full-time. We’d rather collapse on the couch and not cook for hours in the kitchen. But we also don’t want to order pizza every night either.

Enter The Fresh 20

The Fresh 20 is built around a week of meals where you shop for 20 ingredients (which they say can take about 20 minutes). The meals are listed with easy-to-follow recipes. Each of the week’s meals has a list of ingredients with portions listed. Though the very best part is the shopping list they offer.

Last night, we went to the grocery store and found all 20 ingredients. And we don’t shop at a fancy grocery store. We often struggle to find certain common herbs. But we routinely find everything we need with little effort. These aren’t gourmet ingredients we’d have to shop around to find.

There is minimal prep work, usually chopping or marinating. This is all spelled out for the five meals on the sheet with the meals listed so there are no surprises.

We use the Classic menu and I’ve been very happy with the variety of meals each week. There are also gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy-free and kosher meal plans. They also have plans for lunch and single people.

We have been doing this for about three weeks and every meal has been great. Their recipes feed a family of four, which is perfect for the two of us. This gives us dinner and lunch the next day.

Three months of The Fresh 20 will only run you $18. The annual plan is $54. Once you sign up, you’ll not only have access to a new meal plan every week, you’ll also be able to see their entire archive of meal plans. We are eating a plan from early June this week.

To be clear, they do not send you any food. They make simple, easy to follow (and shop for) meal plans. While it’s not easier than ordering pizza, it’s cheaper and more satisfying. I highly recommend trying it out. You can sign up for a free meal plan on their website. And when you fall in love with it, I know you’ll sign up and eat like a healthier adult.

Turning the corner

I know my hard work has paid off. I went to the grocery store tonight. I went to pick up a few items for a couple different recipes my wife and I intended to make before the next pay check came in. For dinner, we decided to pick up something cheap and simple since we were tired and didn’t have the ingredients we needed for the meal we had planned last week.

I went to the frozen food section and relished the thought of some delicious meal I used to live on nearly exclusively. I wanted to visit my old friend Marie Calendar. We had so many good times in the past. I was curious what the Hungry Man was up to chilling in the freezer section. I was even curious what the good people of Stouffer’s might have cooked up for me. They all do such good work and I had enjoyed many of their meals in the past.

But when I got there, my old friends had changed. No longer did their meals look irresistible and delicious as they had. No longer was I salivating at the thought of opening that package, popping it into the microwave, waiting a few minutes and having a hot, cooked meal ready to eat. I thought my old friends had abandoned me now that I had come back to them, even if it was just for a one-night stand.

Then I realized, it was not they who had changed, but it was me. I had changed. I have changed. I am no longer a slave to the microwave and to the plastic-wrapped delicacies. I am a changed man. I looked upon those glossy covers not with anticipation but with disdain.

How did I once salivate over these pictures? How did these foods once seem to appealing to me? They looked processed and bland. They were dull. It took me forever to make a choice. I eventually decided on pasta of some sort. I don’t even remember what it was. It was ok. Nothing like the memories I had of such cuisine. It was a meal but there was no joy in it.

It was at that point I realized what a changed man I had become. I look forward to making dinner or at least helping out at night. I love the smell of fresh herbs and cooking with real ingredients. I like to know where my food comes from and what it looks like before it turns into dinner.

Last night, I made a Chicken Tamale Casserole with help from my wife, including her finding of the recipe which she stashed in an ever-growing Evernote notebook which is up to 242 recipes.

Often times when I am in the middle of a long road it is hard to see changes until they smack you in the face. Tonight was one of those times. I thought it would be easy to select something quick for dinner but it turned out to be much harder than I suspected.

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