Finding Fulfillment in Eating Healthy

Why is it whenever I see a recipe for something “healthy,” I immediately think “tasteless, boring, yuk?” And it’s not that I don’t eat healthy and don’t enjoy most of it. It’s just this predisposed belief makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up whenever I hear things like “whole wheat,” “whole grain,” or how about “low-fat.” Ewwww, a chill just went down my spine.

Still, eating healthy isn’t a choice as you get older, it’s got to be a life style. The alternative would be a regiment of prescription medications, continual doctor visits, obesity, and probably a long list of ailments just waiting to put you 6 feet under. I have been painfully aware of this for years because I’ve watched as my parents have let themselves go and have become slaves to their ailiing bodies and forced into a sedentary life because they neither have the energy or ability to get around like they used to. I do not want this to happen to me or Hubby.

For these reasons I have been making life-style changes for years that have kept us fairly healthy, very active, and pretty fit. I cannot say I could run a marathon, or around the block for that matter, but I do exercise, walk regularly, and make sure I am not sitting on the couch eating bon bons more than is reasonable. Hubby is far more disciplined when it comes to the workout, so he might be able to run around the block, but then what would that really prove. What’s important here is that we are healthy and able to maintain the life we currently enjoy throughout the next 30 or so years.

One thing that works a bit in our disfavor is that I really love to cook. And when I say I love to cook, I’m not saying that I like making dinner every night. No, I like to get in the kitchen, try new recipes, work with unique ingredients, duplicate meals that intrigue us when we go out, and really go all out when I make anything. Not many people know this, but when I was contemplating what to study after high school and planning my college schedule, the one career that I truly wanted was in culinary arts. Well, choices I made and paths that I followed did not allow this to be. I moved out on my own and needed to work full-time which left no time for taking classes in culinary arts.

Looking back, however, I realize that I never gave up on this dream. Not that I took cooking classes or anything, but from the day I moved out on my own, one of my favorite things to do has been to cook and I taught myself as best I could. I had a cookbook collection of more than 100 books that I accumulated and studied over and now I can honestly say that one of the most fulfilling aspects of my life is cooking for my family. I cannot imagine that cooking in a restaurant for strangers would be more fulfilling. How could it? My family means more to me than anything and being able to share with them something that I truly love and have them appreciate it — well, it don’t get much better than that.

This aging thing though has been putting a bit of a damper on my cooking. So many recipes, so little time. Well not really. What the problem is, is there are so many recipes that threaten to make us fat, and I want to make them all. Yes, everything in moderation and yes, sometimes I even have to break down and make something — dare I say it — healthy. Ewwww, there goes that chill again. But in order to maintain a healthy life we need to live a healthy life and that includes eating healthy.

One healthy ingredient that I don’t mind using (especially in cookies) is oatmeal. So when I saw a recipe for a refrigerator oatmeal for quick breakfasts, I knew that one day it would end up in my arsenal. Just a few weeks ago I finally played around with the recipe a bit and found that I really liked it. It was easy to make, easy to eat, and very tasty. If you’d like to check out how to make this, I posted the recipe on Simply Grateful Cooking

I have noticed that in the past couple of years when I find a recipe I want to try, I look at alternatives to some of the not-so-healthy ingredients of some of them. This way, even if the recipe might not start out the healthiest, I can make it healthier by changing it up a little. Actually though, just by eliminating eating out, eating processed food, and keeping junk food to a minimum, our health levels have improved drastically, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Just Call Me Lefty

You don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone.

Ain’t that the truth.

This morning while making one of the many trips I take into our basement everyday, I fell.  How it happened, I have no idea.  What happened, I couldn’t tell you.

One minute I was at the top of the stairs balancing a case of pickling vinegar in one hand and a big box store case of Ziploc freezer bags in the other, trying to flip on the light switch, the next I’m at the bottom of the stairs.  What happened in between is a blur.  I remember trying to stop myself from falling, hitting the stairs with my back, and pain radiating from my right hand up my arm, but I don’t remember taking a step.

As I lay at the bottom of the stairs, I quickly took an inventory of my body.  Although my back was a little sore from the initial hit, it was only my hand that really hurt me.  It was actually on the stairs above me when I realized it was hurting.  The best I can determine is I must have tried to stop myself from falling with my right hand.  That was holding the box of freezer bags and they were at the bottom of the stairs.   The vinegar, which I was holding in my left hand was above me on the stairs.  I don’t think I even let it go while I was falling.

The first thing I did after getting my bearings back was to move my wrist.  Some pain, but not enough to worry about a break.  Next I moved my fingers, one at a time.  Starting at the pinky, no pain; ring finger, no pain; middle finger, no pain; index finger, moderate pain; thumb, pain.  Then I looked at my hand, it was swelling up real nice.  The wrist was already nearly double my other one and the thumb portion of my palm was throbbing and blowing up like a balloon.  Great!  Just what I need, a sprained thumb.

I sat there for a few more minutes, pulled my cell phone out of my pocket and stopped.  Should I call anyone?  It wasn’t like I was really hurt.  I could walk, I didn’t think anything was broken, and it was only 8:00 in the morning and Hubby would probably still be asleep at work (those 24 hour shifts don’t mean he’s up for all 24 hours). Still, the fall had scared me. Grace was at work, Zeb was upstairs sound asleep and wouldn’t hear me if I called, and Bell wouldn’t be much comfort unless I was sitting on the floor to play.  I dialed.

As I knew would happen, Hubby did not pick up, but I left a message.  Pulling myself to my feet, I walked back up the stairs, not remembering why I had been going down there in the first place.  I sat down on the couch and looked closer at my hand.  The veins in my wrist were swelling up real nice now and the throbbing pain was like a racing heartbeat.  I walked to the kitchen, grabbed a towel, filled it with ice, and went back to the couch.  Even putting the soft, cold towel gently on my hand caused pain to radiate up my arm.  Still, I could move my fingers with minimal pain and twist my wrist with minimal pain.  The only thing I couldn’t do was touch the thumb portion of the palm of my hand or make a fist without making the throbbing worse.

Hubby called as I sat there contemplating if this was anything to be concerned about.  Hubby asked all the typical questions, “How did you fall?”  “What were you doing?”  “Does anything else hurt?”  “Can you move your wrist, fingers, hand?”  From my answers he decided it wasn’t that serious and told me to keep ice on it for a while and then wrap it.

For the past four hours I have iced my thumb, wrapped it, unwrapped it, iced it some more, and then wrapped it again.  It hurts but is not even close to the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.  What is frustrating is I can’t use my right hand to lift anything, hold anything, or type.  I can use three of my fingers on my right hand to type, but with the bandage, every other letter comes out wrong. Worse yet, I can’t hold a pen, silverware, or the mouse to my computer.

Isn’t it amazing how even the littlest injury can throw a wrench into seemingly easy tasks.  There are so many things taken for granted every day, our health for one, and until something happens to shatter the illusion that everything is always going to be okay, we don’t give it a second thought.

Today’s fall could have been a whole lot worse.  I am grateful that my hand is the only casualty today.  What I am more grateful for however is that this little accident rocked my world and has me rethinking my priorities and what is truly important. Hubby is always telling me without our health, we don’t have anything.  All the money in the world means nothing if you’re not well enough to enjoy it.  For all the supposed problems we might have looming in our lives at the moment, none of them seem all that pressing today.

My fall today scared me.  Obviously falling down a flight of stairs is scary for anyone, but as I get older, every bump and bruise causes me to re-evaluate what I do and how I do it.  Practically every time I head down the stairs to the basement I have something in my hands, more often than not though I have a lot of things in them.  I grab as much as I can in order to cut down the amount of times I have to go up and down those stairs.  Is it really worth it?  Today I’d have to say, “NO.”  I need to slow it down.  Not everything is about being as efficient as I can, especially if it means possibly really hurting myself next time.

There will be no baking today, no journaling, no scrubbing toilets, no vacuuming, and definitely no more trips down the basement stairs.  Hubby called and told Zeb to take care of me until Grace gets home from work and Grace texted me and told me if she finds out I tried peeling potatoes for dinner, she’s going to smack me.  Zeb heated some pizza up for me for lunch and checks every 30 minutes or so to make sure I’m feeling okay.  Gotta love ’em.

Everything happens for a reason and the reasons are clear why a minor fall was a necessary happening in my life today, and for this I am, regardless of the pain in my hand — Simply Grateful.