I’ve had a rough few months.
Not in a bad way. In a good way. But the past few months have not been easy. I’ve felt really lost a lot of the time. I keep coming to this blog wondering what I’m doing. What do I have to say?
What do I have to say.
I started this blog about six years ago, with the idea of learning to cook and sharing the amazing recipes I was sure I would be making. And along the way, I got MS. Which really changes the shape of a person’s life. About a year and a half ago, I started to work out in earnest. To be fair, I don’t know if I had a specific reason. Just the idea that I knew I should be working out, and we’d spent some cash on a stationary bike.
Earlier this year, I though to myself, I should make this blog about MS. But lemme tell you something — that is both challenging and slightly depressing. MS is not fun. It challenges a person every day in every way. But it also makes you look at things from a completely different perspective.
Would I be biking nearly 170 miles a week if it weren’t for MS? Maybe. But probably not.
Would I have an addiction to green smoothies? Um… I’m going to guess no.
Would I constantly be trying to push the boundaries of my dietary restrictions in the best possible way, and make things that normally sound dismal delicious? Absolutely not. I mean, I think we all start to get healthier as we age — recovery isn’t as quick, and we learn that taking care of this body we were given really does help lead a more fulfilling life. But I think the extremities of the consequences I deal with really helped clarify my life.
I really don’t like absolutes, so when I try something new, I think of it in an 80/20 capacity. I’ll be good 80% of the time, and take my chances 20% of the time. Over the past few years, I’ve found this approach works best for me. I think everyone responds to boundaries differently — some of us might like the all or nothing approach. But all that all or nothing accomplishes for me is a truly terrible attitude and massive resentment and unhappiness. That isn’t to say that over time I haven’t found certain things are better at 100% (green smoothies are an example — a day without a smoothie means feeling much more lethargic and foggy, having lower energy and waking up in gripping stiffness and pain the next day — all of which I’m sure, sound amazing). But across the whole spectrum, 80/20 has become my go-to.
And as I struggle each day to make the best decisions I can (I succeed sometimes, but I also fail … a lot) I thought maybe it might be something I could share here.
I have meds on Friday, which means I’m tired this week. And the heat and humidity of July are not my friends. When I woke up this morning, after about ten hours of sleep, my entire torso ached every time I inhaled. My legs were unbelievably stiff, and my left knee hurt. I mean, hurt. Which I find so depressing, because it means I won’t have a good ride on my bike, if I ride my bike at all. And that, in turn, means that my “Move” circle on my watch might not get completed. Highly unsatisfactory.
I knew John had a long conference today (we are still adjusting to him working from home – finding routines and rhythm). I tried to make my bullet point list for today — things I wanted to accomplish. I was going over to a barn near my house that does therapeutic riding with disabled children with my mother, but otherwise, nothing on the agenda. I’d done some grocery shopping yesterday, so I figured I’d make something yummy.
I did a slight variation of a black bean & citrus salad that I first made years ago (from Iowa Girl Eats). Let me tell you something ~ making a recipe when you are infinitely more comfortable in the kitchen is so much more fun than freaking out about measurements and ingredients every five seconds. This recipe *could* be healthier (I used Israeli cous cous cooked in chicken bouillon instead of quinoa and water) but it’s still a pretty good one. It’s definitely a recipe that makes me feel both healthy and happy.
What I used:
1 1/2 cups pink grapefruit segments
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 ears of fresh corn (cut off the cobb raw)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dry Israeli Cous Cous
1 1/4 cup chicken bouillon
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup EVOO
2 tsp Cumin
Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Combine cous cous and bouillon in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cover and allow cous cous to absorb liquid — about six- eight minutes. Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally so the cous cous doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the pearls are inflated, transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temp.
2. Combine grapefruit, beans, corn, cilantro and cranberries in a medium to large mixing bowl. I fold together with a spatula so that the grapefruit doesn’t break down too much.
3. In a separate bowl, squeeze lime juice and combine with EVOO, cumin and salt and pepper. Whisk together.
4. When cous cous has cooled, combine with other ingredients, pour vinaigrette over and continue to mix until well combined.
5. It’s delicious. Trust me.
I’m heading down to the gym now ~ I’ll probably do some burpees and squats (depending on my knee) and then about 20 miles on the bike (again, knee dependent). I’m hoping to get back to a regular yoga practice soon — my muscles are feeling tight from all the cardio and strength work outs. Hubs and I have sweet potato noodles to make for dinner tonight (Wegmans = the best).
I’m already on my third bottle of water, so if I focus, I could probably get four in today (which may help with the soreness and stiffness).