This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings

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Paleo 30 Day Experiment Kick Off (sort of)

Okay, I was inspired by the Whole30 program, but I tend to make up my own rules, so let’s see how this goes. I thought about all the changes to my diet this requires, and even though it’s certainly easier than a lot of diets, it’s a lot. Then I thought specifically about giving up alcohol. I can’t lie to you, gang, I really enjoy an adult beverage at the end of the day. Not every day, but probably four nights a week. A glass of wine or a cocktail after the kids are down. Maybe two or three on a weekend. I don’t remember the last time I was really drunk, but. Well, that’s a lie. I remember, but it isn’t something that happens often. Life is too messy for that these days.

So, all of this is to make excuses for not giving up alcohol as part of this experiment, at least not now. Maybe it will skew the entire thing, I don’t know, but when I thought about changing my diet so drastically and giving up alcohol, it felt like two separate projects. As soon as I looked at it that way, it felt like I was setting myself up to fail at both of them. But I have to reevaluate the drinking anyway, so this is what I came up with. I will not drink anything made from something I’m not eating. That means no beer (no great loss, I only drink beer rarely), no spirits distilled from grains (so, like, all of them except tequila), and no mixers that I wouldn’t normally drink. That pretty much leaves wine (and at least red has some health value), hard ciders, and of course, tequila since it’s made from the agave cactus. I guess I could do shots of tequila, but that just doesn’t have that it’s-been-a-long-day-let-me-check-facebook-and-relax kind of vibe. Margaritas would have mixers with sugar. Hard ciders are like 200 calories a serving, but I do enjoy them from time to time and I’m not actually counting calories, right? Well, I guess that just leaves my red wine. I can live with that. I do love a red wine.


I can’t show you dinner, but this was my breakfast omelette. If I’d already been to the grocery, there would be avocado with that!

I’d really like to share a lovely snapshot of my Day One dinner tonight, but I’m afraid I wolfed it down before considering a photograph. It was divine, though. As I told the Facebook folks, if I can pull that off every night, paleo will be a breeze! I sauteed mushrooms, red onion, zucchini, and shrimps in coconut oil, then hit it with a few dashes of Frank’s Red Hot (I really do put that s#$% on everything). I topped it with half an avocado. The old dieting Bird would have budgeted it all out so that I could have a little cheese, parmesan or feta, or maybe even cheddar. I didn’t miss it at all. Just to keep up, breakfast was an omelette with spinach and salsa with Frank’s. There was no real lunch since I was so busy, but I ate a couple handfuls of almonds here and there, some pineapple, and a fistful of sugar snap peas. Oh, and a banana. Probably should have had more water, but I’ll drink a glass before bed.

The next two days will be rough. Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. We’ll have dinner here with his best friend (today is his birthday) and wife, my brother and his girlfriend, Mom and Dad. Mom’s making roast, so I can eat that. I’ll make green beans, corn, and mashed potatoes. I’ll put coconut oil or bacon grease (not stressing about nitrites, yet) on the veggies, but mashed potatoes are off limits. We’ll have cake and ice cream, but I’ll be skipping that. I bought some raspberries, blueberries, and apples so I could make a nice fruit bowl to go with the cake. I’ll just eat that. I’ll be okay. THEN, Sunday is Super Bowl. We’re going to watch the game with another family who care about as much as we do about the game. We haven’t seen them in a while so it will be good to catch up, but gatherings like that mean food. Thankfully, they are very health conscious and aware of my little experiment, so I have support!

I really haven’t done one of these “here’s my life” kind of blog entries in a while and I apologize if I bore you to tears. I just want to document some of this paleo experiment. I have a feeling I will be keeping more of it than I thought when I first read about it. Certainly not all of it. I cannot imagine a whole life without butter, but I also know I don’t need as much as I was eating. And the sugar thing is just crazy. I can already clearly see a difference in my tolerance for sweetness. I ate brownies that Mom brought last night and they were good, don’t misunderstand. I mean, they were brownies! But I was happy with a much smaller piece than I would have been a few weeks ago. I wonder how I’ll feel after a month of none!

Wish me luck.


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“Too much of a good thing” or “Time keeps on ticking, ticking…”

I just read a friend’s Facebook status that got me thinking. She posted, in part, “It’s been the loveliest of holiday seasons, but I’m excessed out. Welcoming January and austerity in all things.” Hadn’t thought of it until then, but that’s exactly how I feel.

raw-veggie-and-hummus1If you’ve read anything I’ve written in the last few months you know that I adore the holidays. From Halloween right through to Epiphany, I just love it all. The anticipation of November, the chaos and parties of December, even this last week of the year that feels a little like limbo. I love it. I’m really excited about New Year’s Eve and the fun we’ll have with neighbors tomorrow night. But something about my friend’s status knocked me out. I AM ready for some austerity. I am craving simplicity in lots of ways. I want simple foods like toast and raw veggies. I want to drink water, maybe juices. I want to wear nothing but pajamas or jeans and sneakers for a week straight. I want to go to church and worship with predictable, liturgical services.

I wonder why we do this. Is it a human thing, or something our modern culture has taken to the next level? We don’t have to feast to increase our fat reserves while the food is plentiful, before the long bleak winter. I have had such a wonderful Christmas season, but I’m ready for there not to be any cookies or chocolates on my kitchen counter. I’m ready to have simple meals that clean up quickly and let me just sit with the kids. School will resume for me soon enough, too, and I’ll be missing that mental down time.

Competitive Hat Stackers Party, complete with trash talking

Competitive Hat Stackers Party, complete with trash talking

Not that we haven’t enjoyed some simple pleasures over the last few weeks. There have been lots of board games played. The grown ups watched all of the first season of “House of Cards.” (I highly recommend it! Kevin Spacey is phenomenally bad!) I’ve experimented with cooking some of the venison from my husband’s successful hunt back in November. Several mornings I got to actually sleep in without getting up just because a kid was awake. I scraped a few things off our plates this season so we wouldn’t be too stressed, and it worked, but it’s still, well, excessive. Despite our best efforts, the kids haven’t slept quite as much as they should. Meals have been irregular, and usually consist of at least 50% cookies. The house is a wreck, every room strewn with leftover bits of wrapping paper and ribbon. There are shrink wrapped boxes of science experiments and LEGO kits, shirt boxes with tissue paper still inside, and the tree is dropping needles on top of it all. Christmas just seems tired.

This is why I have to live where there are seasons. I was so excited for this season and now I’m excited for it to be over. I will enjoy winter for a bit longer, hoping for more snow with each weather forecast, and then I’ll be done with that, and ready for spring. I’ll watch for green shoots and blooms and enjoy having the windows open, then I’ll hate putting the air conditioner on but will revel in taking the kids to the pool each day of the heat. I’ll be SO ready for fall to arrive and the kids to go back to school. I NEED this constant change and turnover. I can’t say why, but I do. I need lots of external stimuli to give me constant feedback on the progression of time. And looking back over the past, particularly since my children were born, knowing what season it was has helped me place so many memories on the timeline. I can remember that Girlie was just about two when she said that funny thing that one time when everyone laughed because it was really cold out, lots of snow. And Middle Bird was just about three when he got so dirty that one time and dirtied up everything because he wearing shorts, but long sleeves, so it must have been spring, not far from his late March birthday.

Time and it’s passage is becoming a recurring theme for me, huh?



No rice, no pasta, just cabbage

Really.  Now, I know I’m not the first person you’re going to want to take weight loss advice from.  It’s not like I’ve got any huge success under my belt.  What is huge under my belt is my belly not success.  But I have a couple tips for you.

First, a newly discovered fabulous tip.  It’s cabbage.  Cole slaw, actually. Well, not actual cole slaw with the sweet dressing and stuff.  But the cole slaw mix you can buy in the produce section.  Sliced cabbage and carrots, in a bag.  Seriously.  It’s a life saver.  Zero points.  That’s right, zero points.  Since one tiny little serving of rice or pasta has 4 or 5 points, this is infinitely fewer.  I like to saute veggies like onions, bell peppers, celery, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, whatever, throw a cup of rice in and then matching spices.  Sometimes I add chicken or edamame for protein.  With rice, I tend to use soy sauce, sometimes a dash or two of Frank’s Hot Sauce.  With pasta, just garlic or more tomatoes.  Then I like a little feta or maybe parmesan cheese.  Both cheeses offer a big bang of flavor for just a couple WW points.

Second, forget what you’ve heard about the smaller plate business!  I know, I know, smaller plate means smaller portions, trick yourself into thinking you’ve had a bigger meal.  I say fill a BIG bowl full of zero point veggies and eat until you really feel like you’ve had a meal.  Now, THIS is where the first tip really pays off.  I chopped sauteed half an onion and five large mushrooms, then browned one crumbled turkey sausage link, added half a red bell pepper and one zucchini, and two cups of cole slaw mix.  Covered and let the cabbage, zucchini, and pepper just get heated through, but keep their crunch.  Tossed in a couple of halved grape tomatoes.  Top with one ounce of parmesan.  It takes a big old pasta bowl to contain that meal.  It’s delicious, and it’s SEVEN points.  That’s right SEVEN WW points.

I meant to take a picture, but the battery on my camera needs charging and I was too hungry to wait.  You’ll have to take my word for it that it was as pretty as it was delicious.

Now, on another completely unrelated note, Baby Bird, who turned three in February, seems to have finally given up his nighttime obsession with the Binky.  This is night four, and while he still needs some convincing each night at bedtime, he sleeps well all night long without it.  Unfortunately, we’ve still made no progress with the potty training thing.

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Monday, Monday

So, I had my Monday morning, and as usual, it was a non-event.  I played on the computer a while, then put my wellies on and headed to Aldi’s.  We were out of milk and juice.  Then I went on to the preschool to pick up the youngest.  That’s it.  Big deal.  Weekend over until next week.

And then I made it home and got NOTHING done that I should have on a Monday!  I didn’t do any laundry, I didn’t clean any toilets.  I barely got the dishwasher emptied and the breakfast dishes loaded up!  Instead, I wrangled with my old netbook to get an Open Office database resent to my instructor.  He couldn’t open the one I originally submitted, so he asked for another.  No, it turns out it was NOT something I did, but some issue with Open Office, and there was a problem with about 30% of the class.  Whatever.  He asked us to send it in the form of screenshots.  Unfortunately you can only submit one file per email through the course email service.  So, screenshots in a Word doc.  Took way too long, but I guess I learned some stuff.  Make a pot of coffee.

Then it’s off to pick the big kids up from school.  Bring home an extra kid for another neighborhood family who needs a favor.  Chaos in my kitchen.  Lip from the Girlie Bird, homework supervised.  Now it’s almost 4:30 and I don’t know what to make for dinner.  I know I’m unlikely to get anything BUT dinner done.

Just changed another poopy diaper.  Noticing my grimace, Baby Bird says, “Mommy, be happy!”  Can’t miss the opportunity to apply a little maternal guilt, right?  “Pooping in the potty would make me really happy, Baby.”  Now, we’ve had this conversation before and once he replied in his best toddler chirp, “Well, maybe somebody will poop in the potty for you.”  This time, however, he just quietly bowed his head and said, “I will, Mommy.”  Guilt trip complete.

Now I’ll make dinner, force everyone to scrub their butts and their teeth, encourage reading at bedtime, complain about wet towels and where they are left, clean up the mess, sing lullabies, and sit down to look at the assignment for the week.