I am a label reader. I want to know what’s in the food we buy. We try to buy food using four of Michael Pollan’s rules:
- Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. “When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can’t pronounce, ask yourself, “What are those things doing there?”
- Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.
- Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
- Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot. “There are exceptions — honey — but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren’t food.”
While we often miss on the five ingredient rule, we do look for ingredients we can pronounce and know, for whole grains, and for natural sugar or sweetness (anything with high-fructose corn syrup will be immediately rejected). We do buy processed foods that meet these rules. Locally-produced will almost always win over national brands if the price isn’t too outrageous, and almost all the produce we eat is grown on Kaua’i or in Hawaii, with exceptions mainly things like apples, stone fruit, and berries. About 20% of what we buy is organic, but we don’t go out of our way to shop at natural food or health food stores for organics. Costco carries many organic products at good prices, and other organic items we often find at Big Save or Safeway. I don’t think organic is healthier or more nutritious, but it is cleaner in my opinion.
As we get ready to enter August we have very little meat left in the freezer: two 12-ounce packages of ground beef, two pork chops, two quart bags of meat sauce for pasta, one package of chicken thighs, and a half-pound package of roasted chicken breast. We’re now down to just one meal with meat per week going forward. This week it will be grilled teriyaki chicken thighs along with zaru soba, and we’ll continue this way until it’s all gone, hopefully by the end of September.
We had some very good and tasty meals last week. Vegetarian lasagna was not to be found, and the ingredients to make our own were costly, but we found organic sweet corn ravioli at Costco and it made a surprisingly good substitution along with a little bit of pesto.
Sunday: Spaghetti with meat sauce; roasted zucchini
Monday: Plant-based chick’n sandwiches; watermelon
Tuesday: Sweet corn ravioli with pesto; roasted asparagus
Wednesday: Sweet & sour pork with steamed rice
Thursday: Spicy black bean bake with Fritos; sliced cucumber
Friday: Cheese board
Saturday: Mini Margherita pizzas
Our dessert this past week has been an olive oil lemon cake. Very yummy, and a small piece is more than enough. We have a couple more days of it left and then I’m going to make a cherry baked oatmeal.
On the menu for next week’s dinner meals are:
- Spaghetti pasta salad
- Guadalajara quesadillas
- Cheesy white bean-tomato bake
- Panzanella with beans and feta
- Mini pizzas
- Cheese board
- Grilled teriyaki chicken with zaru soba
Getting up to the park to walk this week was very hit or miss because of the weather. We took Sunday off, but walked the perimeter on Monday. Tuesday was our Big Shop and we put in nearly two hours of shopping (including pushing a heavy cart) – it was exhausting. Wednesday it rained most of the day and I decided not to risk getting wet but Brett went up to the park and walked the paths. He did get a little wet and had to take cover a couple of times, so I was glad I stayed home. We got in a full perimeter walk on Thursday although it started to pour again just as we got to the car so we timed that perfectly. Friday was a total washout, but Saturday the rain cleared in the afternoon and we got in a full perimeter walk, or at least until the last eight minutes or so when the rain started falling again (and we got soaked). We still found a total of 17 lost balls last week, something of a miracle since we thought we had cleaned them out last week.
One of the things we have enjoyed most about our walks are the other walkers we have met and become friends with over time. Sadly, many do not not come to the park any more for a variety of reasons, although we keep in touch through Instagram and Facebook. We sadly said goodby this past week to a walker we have become very fond of, an 80-year-old retired judge (we know his name, but always called him The Judge or Your Honor). He was recently diagnosed with a rapidly progressing neurological condition, and will be moving back to the mainland to be closer to family and better medical facilities. He will be as greatly missed as much as the others have been. We continue to meet new people, but the ones we met during the pandemic when we were new to the park will always be special to us.
8 thoughts on “Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (7/18 – 7/24)”
I’m inspired by your vegetarian options.
Thanks Debbie – we are enjoying eating vegetarian and both Brett and I feel much peppier these days. I am having loads of fun as well discovering and trying new recipes.
Really wanted to try the sweet corn ravioli with pesto (I make a lot of pesto), but our Costco doesn’t carry it. In fact, they don’t carry any of the products you’ve mentioned that I’d love to try. Disappointing.
And that is Costco in a nutshell – so many local variations. I read about what others are finding, or see things in the monthly magazine, but they never show up here. However, if you’re looking for case loads of Spam, or 10 varieties of cup noodles, this is your location!
The corn ravioli were surprisingly good. Brett had not wanted to get them, but I said yes, and he really liked them. They were good with pesto too – we thought a tomato-based sauce would overwhelm, but maybe we’ll try it next time.
You have so much energy for meal planning and cooking…I admire it. I find myself having bursts of cooking energy and then days of not wanting to cook at all. The summer heat makes it worse. But I know I don’t eat well when I don’t cook, so I’m forcing myself to do so more this week. (Also not great on the waistline to just “nosh”.)
Before we left to travel, I told Brett that I would no longer be cooking. We saw how well that worked: we gained a lot of weight! So, back to cooking regular meals for me, but it’s been enjoyable just cooking for the two of us with no special diets, no complaints, lower cost, etc. Brett eat *everything* I fix, so I’m having fun again looking for recipes, plus we feel loads better these days than we did when we were just noshing.
” Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food” is so hilarious!! I sometimes ask myself if I need to go back to college and become a chemist to understand what certain foods are. The food industry is doing a number on us, doesn’t it?
I enjoy cooking but I don’t like to spend much time in the kitchen, so I keep the list of ingredients short and stick to simple dishes. I’m glad you are finding the joy of cooking, it is satisfying to eat what you have created as your own personal chef 😃
I try to cook simple dishes, and always feel sorry for Brett on the evenings when I try something more complicated since he has the evening dishwashing duty. I also don’t like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, but I do like preparing my own food and knowing what’s in it.
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