Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 29 update

I'm counting down the days until Friday, also known as the day I resume sprinkling cheese on things and make myself some date-sweetened brownies. I don't even care if I can't use normal sweeteners, as long as I can have baked goods again.

Yes, the Whole30 is almost over! This is Day 29. I wish I had more exciting things to update you about, but other than my pants feeling a bit looser and maybe being a smidge faster at swimming, I'm pretty much at the same place I was on Day 16. Part of me wishes I could weigh in at the end of the month to give you some "real" results, but then I remind myself this is my life, not a weight-loss reality show.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A simple weight-training goal

I really wanted to make 2013 the year I get back into weight training—well, I say "back" into. The only times I was ever seriously weight training were in 1990, when I was on the Northwestern swim team, and in 2002, when I faithfully followed a triathlon-related program.

Yep, once every decade of my adult life sounds about right.

Anyway, I've been looking for a training program online, something that focuses on heavy weights and good technique, and something with a schedule that would tell me exactly what to do two or three days a week. I haven't found anything free that I like yet, but I did find some interesting advice:
"If you can't perform 10 perfect push-ups or a single bodyweight chin-up, set up your training so you can achieve those goals."
That sounds pretty reasonable to me, and better yet, it sounds like something I can handle on my own. Right now I can do three perfect push-ups (M.H. says "more like 2½") and not-even-remotely-close-to-any chin-ups. Betcha I can improve on that.

Friday, January 25, 2013

This is a job for Google

I found an egg-free Paleo brownie recipe that Dex could eat, so I made a batch for him tonight, along with another batch of the kind with eggs for Mik. I also made a decision: I need to figure out how to make brownies sweetened with bananas or applesauce or dates ASAP. Otherwise it's going to be one long, sad year of never getting to lick the beater.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hippie hair care

The fourth (?) and final name of my blog is TheBombDotMom, but I've kind of been falling down on my duty to tell you about things that are, indeed, TheBombDotMom. I'm going to fix that right now.

Here's something that everyone should try, even if they aren't in the process of turning into a crazy hippie tree-hugging earth mama who considers organic apples to be a junk food (oh, hi!):

Stop buying conditioner, and instead spray your hair with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water.

Am I telling you this because your conditioner is loaded with toxic chemicals that are absorbed through your scalp and mess up your hormones and give you cancer? Is it because the companies that make it are sexist and evil and destroying the oceans? (Actually, I have no idea. Probably?)

No, I'm telling you because it just works so doggone well for me. I spray the vinegar mixture all over my hair, particularly the ends, after I've showered and comb it through. (My hair smells like vinegar for an hour or so while it dries, but I'm usually sitting alone in my home office and no one is the wiser.) When it's nearly dry, I run a brush through it, and—I exaggerate not—my hair cascades to my shoulders in untangled pools of silky-soft waves.

I think you could use any kind of water and vinegar, but if you want to be fancy like me you could try distilled water and/or apple cider vinegar. I've also heard lemon juice works in place of vinegar, and would have the added benefit of smelling better.

Just try it and see what happens. Money-back guarantee: If you're not satisfied, you can use the same mixture to clean your bathroom sink.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Filling the lunchbox

My new attempt at a Paleo lunchbox food was brownies; I know that doesn't sound like a healthy replacement for a sandwich, but the ingredients are basically the same as for the scones or for any other Paleo baked good: ground nuts, coconut oil, eggs, honey, vanilla, salt, baking soda. These just have cocoa powder as well and are baked in a brownie pan. I think they're actually healthier than the scones, because they have more eggs in them and less honey.

In a moment of clearer thinking about the leftover scones, I spread peanut butter and jelly between two of them, and Mik ate it happily. (Actually, very happily. He hadn't had peanut butter or jelly in months.) It's not Paleo, but it's not the worst food ever. I think the crucial thing for him is avoiding grains and vegetable oils—and as long as he at least cuts back on legumes and dairy and sugar, he'll be fine.

And have I ever written about what I mean by Mik being "fine"? A year ago at this time, he was a chubby kid, and getting chubbier all the time despite swimming five days a week. He had this thing where if he didn't eat every few hours, his mood got downright angry. He was also plagued by a lot of stomach trouble, which I finally figured out was an ulcer, and I thank God I did, because it spurred trying him on this diet. Things are totally different for him now. He's healthy and happy and slim and strong—and on his way to being downright ripped at the age of 12.

Can you imagine how I feel about this? M.H. and I are thrilled to be slimmer ourselves, but watching your KID go from unhealthy to healthy…well, I took a shower after typing the ellipsis and still can't think how to express it adequately.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The problems of abundance

Mik had a swim meet last weekend about an hour away—a good test to see if it's possible to survive on Whole30 snacks for eight hours at a time. ("Possible to survive," sheesh. Americans.) We packed hard-boiled eggs, apples, baby carrots, cold turkey sausage, nut and date bars, and sliced cucumbers. It was literally everything we had in the house that we could think to bring, and it sounds like a feast or a picnic when I list it all out like that, but it still felt kind of paltry in practice. All snack, no substance.

For Mik, we also brought cheese and a couple of the grain-free scones I've been putting in his lunchbox all year. But guess what? He hated the scones. He could barely choke them down, and did so only because I wouldn't let him buy anything from the concession stand until he'd eaten what we brought. He claims he's "tired" of scones—but foods you are simply tired of don't bring you nearly to tears, and I shudder to imagine how many weeks I've been making the stupid things only to have him trade or throw them away. He said he liked them! DOES HE NOT KNOW HOW TAXING IT IS FOR ME TO COOK CONSTANTLY? Argh. American children.

My goal for the day is to figure out something he actually does like that can be used as the new sandwich replacement. I'm just sad about the leftover scones in the freezer that can now be eaten by NO ONE in this house.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 16 update

Here's the new stuff I've noticed in the past week or so of doing the Whole30:
9. I don't get groggy anymore. I don't even feel sleepy at night, but I can still fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.
10. I feel significantly skinnier. My new favorite pose in yoga is "anything that lets me admire my slender waist in the mirrors." (I'm not allowed to weigh myself, but I'm still allowed to be frightfully vain.)
11. I am sooooo tired of following the rules. I know it's a slippery slope, but all I want to do is bake some fake bread. I'd make it out of nut flour and sweeten it with fruit and everything.
M.H. recently described his Whole30 experience as "Fourteen days of torment, punctuated by delicious meals." That about sums it up. It's not that we don't like what we're eating, it's just that it's a ton of work and our brains are in a constant state of tantrum because they don't have their freeeeedom. Or their suuuuuugar. Or their cheeeeeeeeeese.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The cheese fantasy

It's Day 14 of the Whole30, and my brain has moved on from sugar fantasies to cheese fantasies (which I will spare you), so I guess that's progress.

Oops, I just changed my mind about sparing you. The cheese fantasy is that I cut myself a big chunk and eat it because it's good.

Frankly, my brain doesn't have to be all that sneaky in its attempts to get cheese back into my life, because I'm still undecided on the issue. I know some kinds of dairy are better than others, but I'm really not certain whether I should be eating it at all. My plan is to follow up the Whole30 with a few weeks of experimenting, to see if adding a little butter and cream and maybe cheese to the mix causes any problems or makes me feel like I'm gaining weight.

In the meantime, I bought a big jar of ghee, which is butter with the dairy proteins removed. How brilliant is that?

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I made it all of ten days without sugar in any form before my brain started trying to knock me off the wagon (it was a really good try, frighteningly). It cooked up this charming little scene:

My family and I all wake up on the morning of a holiday—or maybe just the weekend of someone's birthday—and have a breakfast of tea, bacon, and grain-free scones sweetened with maple syrup. The sun is streaming in through the windows, the kitchen is sparkling clean (plus we got some little ruffly curtains for it that are fluttering in the breeze), and everyone is abnormally vibrant. We all sit around the table, and I take off the yellow apron I also do not actually own, and we cheerfully have piles of bacon but just two scones each, appreciating them for the rare and special treat that they are.

See? my brain said. That would be perfectly healthy and really lovely. And it couldn't happen without your Good Friend sugar!

I hope 355 more days will cure me of such fantasies, but right now I am weak and the above scenario is getting penciled in for January 1, 2014.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Can open, worms everywhere

It is crazy the treasures I'm finding in my file cabinets. I'd almost forgotten that I used to live in an age when people handwrote letters to one another. Thank goodness that age stretched into my four years of college, because some of those are just priceless.

A related age was the short period of time when people wrote long, letter-like emails to one another and then printed them out for safekeeping. I'm grateful to have found a bunch of those related to the years when my children were babies and toddlers.

The bad news is that I'm finding almost nothing to throw away, as I had hoped. It seems I'd done this culling before at some point, and now I'm left with almost all memorabilia (some of it filed under "Old Utilities"). I guess the best I can do would be to organize the stuff a little better and then find a happier home for it than my filing cabinets.

Well, the best I could do would be to create a gorgeous five-volume set of memory books out of it to pass down to future generations, but even then I would probably be kidding myself that future generations or anyone but myself cares about my college friends' reactions to my engagement. Still, I could probably start something like that for each of the kids, I guess…

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Plenty of pep in my pounce

I'm not sure what changed overnight, but today:
8. I started feeling downright peppy.
It's a good day to pounce on my next 15-minutes-at-a-time project, which is going to be cleaning out my filing cabinets. I have four file drawers in my office that have become stuffed over the years, mostly with no regard to any actual filing system. M.H. took over all the household management six years ago, and he has his own set of (maintained and highly organized) files that are actually important, and I can't remember the last time we needed something out of mine.

Oh, and I've also been tossing school pictures and other memorabilia into the drawers, so in addition to trashing and filing, there's also a good deal of curating to be done. Which, sigh, is probably going to lead me right into the dreaded photo organization project.

The worst part of this type of thing is not the amount of work involved, but all the decisions that have to be made. If someone would just tell me once and for all what to do with all this stuff, I'd be more than happy to do it. You know?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 6 progress report

It's Day Six of the Whole30, and I feel compelled to give you an update. Here's what I've noticed happening to me, in chronological order, so far.
  1. I stopped feeling like crap from the sugar hangover.
  2. I started inventing new dishes for every meal.
  3. I got desperately sick of cooking.
  4. I became okay with cooking again.
  5. I noticed my stomach looking flatter.
  6. I started sleeping more soundly and stopped getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
  7. I started having the urge to photograph my absolutely gorgeous meals to share with you all (but the desire to eat them while they were hot was stronger).
This morning I sat in the hot tub for a few minutes after swimming. Then I got up to go and nearly blacked out on the pool deck. I don't know if eating better is lowering my (already low) blood pressure or what, but that sure hadn't happened for a while. I think I'll stick my arm in the next blood-pressure cuff I run across and see what's what.

I'm eating a bit differently on this Whole30 than I have in the past. I'm strictly observing the rule about not eating Paleo "breads" and Paleo "desserts." I'm also cutting way back on the amount of fruit and nuts I eat (to almost none), which is much easier to do that now that I have an arsenal of meals at my disposal that are basically nothing but meat and vegetables. And speaking of meat, I'm also trying to eat a bit less of that in order to focus on the vegetables, and making sure to eat some kind of vegetable for breakfast every day. Which, once you get over the slight weirdness, is yum.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

And now back to my regularly scheduled suffering

I have probably two or three more days of "suffering" for 15 minutes and my address book will be dealt with. The final step will be to decide whether to toss the physical one entirely, which would be kind of heart-wrenching even though it will soon be no use to me at all. I guess I'm attached to it because I've had it since we first got married, and it has a cute dachshund on the front. I suppose I could tear out the relatively few pages that are written on and give it to someone else, but I'm not sure I know anyone who wants a used, slightly-thinner-than-usual address book.

So far I like this resolution, but it's not as simple as it sounds. There are rules. First of all, once I start a project, I have to keep going on it until it's finished. Otherwise I would get bored and be working on twelve things at once and never finish any of them. And they have to be large-ish projects that I wouldn't otherwise do. No deciding that "write thank-you notes" or "clean the bathrooms" qualifies. I have to suffer for 15 minutes a day in ADDITION to my regular suffering.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I enlisted Mik to help me make dinner tonight, and he did so with his thumb and index finger, making small, possibly involuntary, whimpering noises the whole time. And that was for tasks like "peel and slice cucumber" and "stir ground beef as it cooks." It could be a very long while before he graduates to "mix raw meat and eggs together with your bare hands."

Deep down, though, I feel the same way he does about cooking. It's tedious (unless I'm inventing), messy, and frequently gross. And it takes FOR-EV-ER. We've eaten pretty well for a couple of days because I've had the time and the will to make it happen, but I'm afraid the will is short-lived. And it doesn't much matter what I feel like doing, because another workalanche is coming in 3…2…

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The honeymoon period

This is Day Two of no sugar and Day One of the Whole30, and let me just say, you gotta love the honeymoon period. We're all gung-ho about being healthy again, we've got a fridge full of vegetables and a freezer full of meat, and there hasn't been any reason to eat anywhere but right here. We discussed the fact that we have a couple of out-of-town swim meets coming up, and we were like, "We'll just bring a cooler full of good food! We'll eat only in restaurants that serve steak and salad! We'll just fast if there's nothing available!"

And maybe we will at that.

I know I keep saying I'm done making New Year's resolutions, but I do have one more tiny one. I'm not going to weigh myself in 2013. I'm not really a scale-obsesser to begin with, but I want to make sure I focus on cooking and eating right for the sake of my health and just forget about my weight entirely. And it probably goes without saying, but I'm also not going to keep track of how many miles I run or walk or swim. Trust me, that way madness lies.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

One more resolution, made in the traditional manner

Ugh. Just  because I don't drink doesn't mean I can't wake up miserable and full of regrets and resolve to never, ever, ever, EVER do that to myself again. While I lay in bed this morning tossing and turning and regretting on way too little sleep, I came up with a teeny, tiny new resolution:

NO MORE SUGAR OF ANY KIND UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. At least in 2013. Maybe after that I can resume eating it in moderation. But probably not. Sadly, that works only if no one puts it in front of me, and someone always does.