Cabbage for dinner?!?!?

December 27, 2009

I have a confession…

I’ve been getting really bored as a vegetarian, and hence eating things that are vegetarian, but aren’t necessarily great for you. 

Exhibit A: mom’s homemade biscuits with butter and honey.
Exhibit B: the box formerly known as wheat thins
Exhibit C: Brie cheese – lots of it.

When I started this challenge on Black Friday, it was just about cutting out meat just to see how it made me feel. Less than one week is left in the challenge and, despite getting a little bored, I can honestly say that I will continue as a vegetarian into the foreseeable future.  I feel amazing, more energetic, happier, and “cleaner” .  Before my surgery, my running times were improving, I was sleeping better and I even lost 5 lbs!  So now that I know vegetarianism has had a positive impact on my life, I can’t help but wonder – what else can I do to improve? 

My answer: cut out the processed crap, (white flour, refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and all of those lovely names at the back of the package that you really do need to take an advanced chemistry course to understand) and focus on eating whole foods.

So my next challenge is to focus on eating naturally and more holistically.  Unfortunately, I am completely uncreative and I need some ideas to prevent me from eating brown rice with broccoli every night.  I asked a friend about the best cook books out there and I was lead to Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson.  While ordering the book, I got stuck on  http://www.101cookbooks.com and couldn’t help but to stay there for 2 hours awhile.  I think I’m a little obsessed.

So after spending 2 hours on this website during the wee morning hours, I think it is safe to say that I got some great ideas for my veggies. I have had this head of cabbage in my fridge for a good week now and I just had no clue what to do!  I bought it at the farmers market because I know that red cabbage is amazing for your body and packed full with vitamin C, calcium, and flavinoids.  Some studies even suggest that eating red cabbage may reduce the risk of breast cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer. 

Great, but how the heck to you cook it?!?!?!?!

With some ideas from 101 cookbooks, and some of my own interpretations/changes ( I didn’t have all of the ingredients) I turned my farmers market cabbage into this amazing warm red cabbage salad with toasted walnuts and feta cheese.

YUM!!!!  I can’t wait for my cook book to come in the mail!!!

After dinner, I was feeling super ancy.  I am still less than a week post-op and can’t exercise or “strain” myself.  My solution:  Instead of laying on the couch feeling sorry for myself and watching Law and Order SVU, I walked on the treadmill for an hour and felt sorry for myself while watching Law and Order SVU.

 I really need a light at the end of the tunnel. Does anyone have a good California/Oregon trail race they can suggest to me for February?  What about a good spring backpacking trip or hike? It will really give me something to look forward to when I am cleared to run again!

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Three days ago, I went under the knife. 

After years and years of childhood (and adulthood) ear infections, the bones of hearing in my left ear (in my case the incus and the stapes bone) became so heavily degraded they were no longer functional.  Consequently, the hearing in my left ear has been pretty crappy for the last, oh, 15 years .  So after quite a few consultation appointments, a vacation day for skiing, and an early morning conference call (8 am with no breakfast or coffee), I was admitted into the hospital to undergo my ossicular chain reconstruction surgery at 10am on Wednesday.

The doctor told me to save 5 days for recovery.  I secretly scoffed at this…COME ON, it’s an EAR.  Just this tiny little thing on the left side of my head.  How bad could it hurt?  I was even kind of put off by having to be anesthetized for the whole procedure. Again, COME ON! I’m seriously hard core, I climb mountains, ski down big hills , and I’m a distance runner. I’m tough, could surgery on my tiny little ear really hurt that bad?

Yes.

After waking up from the surgery I vaguely remember my doctor stopping by to tell me that things inside my ear looked “interesting” and that he cleared out all the scar tissue and replaced not one, but two of my bones with prosthetics. After he left, the nurse asked about my pain level and I literally said this:

“I climb up mountains, and run marathons and I’m in pain.  That means I must really be in pain”  She shot something into my IV and the world got warm and fuzzy. 

When I got home, I had to put something into my stomach so I could take my antibiotics and pain pills.  I started off with a saltine cracker and was met with serious discomfort.  This was the beginning my education on how much you actually activate your middle ear on a daily basis.  Chewing hurts, swallowing hurts (partially from being intubated during surgery), burping, sneezing, yawning, everything hurts my ear. Turns out those two little babies on the side of your head do just about everything.

With chewing out of the question, my parents offered me some soup from the pantry.  I really, really didn’t want to  break my vegetarian stint with something that came out of a can.  The next few hours were a little hazy for me, but when I woke up my dad presented me with 5 types of Amy’s organic soups!  http://www.amys.com/products/category_view.php?prod_category=14. It was only December 23rd, but it was an early mini Christmas.  Since it was the most liquidy (good new word?) I opted for the butternut squash soup.  I didn’t take a picture because I was literally 1 hour home from the hospital and a little bit loopy.

A few days later (after I was cleared to eat dairy)I had the Organic Chunky Vegetable Soup with a dollop of greek yogurt.  I always hear that yogurt is great if you are on antibiotics because it replaces the “good bacteria” that antibiotics wipe out with the “bad bacteria”. 

I’m really thankful for Amy’s products for these reasons:

-If you are too tired/sick/busy to make your own food they provide a healthy option with very little fuss.  I was already a significant burden on my parents and they didn’t have to bother with cooking up my tofu, or making some type of soup with vegetable stock from scratch.

-You don’t have to go to the end of the world to find it.  I think my dad went to Safeway….http://www.amys.com/buy/store_list.php

– Even in my post surgical stupor, I could read and understand every word on the label without a degree in chemistry.

-Finally, and most importantly, they are PACKED full of flavor. Over the last two days I tasted the butternut squash, chunky tomato bisque, alphabet soup, and chunky vegetable soup. Each one was tasty, rich in flavor and texutre, and left me feeling warm and full.  Sometimes if it’s good for you it tastes like cardboard – not the case with Amy’s.

I’m up and about now, but things have been slow going.  Still on pain pills, so I’m not able to drive or stay awake longer than 4 hours.  Still pretty dizzy and my equilibrium is off, so I’m not able to be up for long.  My whole ear is still packed with whatever they packed it with after the surgery and I’m almost completely deaf in my left ear. 

Faithful readers, I’m really getting stir crazy. I can’t bend over, strain myself, lift anything, for two more weeks.  All I want to do is go to yoga or go for a run.  Also, the sweets in the house are calling my name….When the pain pills kick in I’m munching on baklava, wheat thins, white bread rolls with butter and caramel corn….which is bad for me (need more soup!!!).

I feel so lazy. Actually the choice word I used via text today was “lard ass”

So to keep me out of the Christmas sweet loot, I’ve been sleeping, reading cook books, doing the Christmas “thing” with the fam, and catching up on my episodes of Law and Order SVU. My big accomplishment yesterday was taking a shower and washing my hair.  Have you ever washed your hair without getting your ear wet?  check out my sexy bandage.  You know you want me.

 I wanted to publicly thank those friends who have been sending encouraging text messages (sometimes prompted by my whiney text messages).  Special thanks to Jamie who came over to my house on Christmas Day just to sit and visit with me and gave me a great cook book recommendation.

Now that I’m up, but still somewhat house ridden, I promise to be a better blogger!