Return of the Mac (and Cheese)

Apr 20…Monday.  I’m in between giving myself credit for sticking to my goal of eating organic and being hard on myself for preparing less and less each week with exactly what I’m going to eat.  Is it because I’ve learned that much that I don’t have to think about it….or because I’m eating the lazy version of meals?  Probably the latter.  I remember this day was a mix of some of the same snacks I’ve had in the past like oatmeal, coffee, granola bars, fruit strip, and left over vegetable soup with shredded chicken.  Once I got home things started to go south a bit.  I started doing that ravenous search through the pantry (which is even more organized than ever before because I got in one of those super-organized crazy modes last week) looking for anything that was organic that didn’t require cooking – exactly what I said I didn’t want to do this week.  I decided to finally try the organic chewy candies (starburst type consistency) I’ve had in there for a couple weeks and was so pleasantly surprised with the taste that I ate almost the whole bag.  I even ripped the bag down the middle which ruined the photo op.  I was also surprised that each individual piece had the organic logo on it which eased my guilt with every one that I ate.  I kept thinking ‘I mean, how bad could these really be for me anyway…they all have the logo on them.’  I also was so lazy that I decided to turn into a college student or a bachelor for 3 minutes.  Mainly because it took 1 min and 30 seconds to heat up a frozen burrito, and then another 1 min and 30 seconds after I had to flip it.  I’ve never eaten a frozen burrito in my life and probably won’t for another 33 years.  Frozen burritos aren’t really my gig.  I don’t even really like beans other than the black beans I can tolerate in some Mexican dishes if buried under sour cream or other fattening-type ingredients.  I bought this little burrito pre-April when I still didn’t know about reading labels so while it’s made with organic ingredients, we know that means it’s less than 70% organic in total.


Apr 21…It was my last evening training with my personal trainer of 5 years.  She will be switching locations and times which unfortunately won’t work with my schedule/location.  I really had no idea how much it actually was making me sad on the inside until today.  The drive to her gym has always been an inconvenience for me, but one I was willing to do because I really liked training with her and we had built a good relationship.  So long story short, after I was done lifting I found myself wanting to go out to eat.  Ah ha!  Emotional eating….you have officially arrived!  You took 21 days to get here, but hello, I’ve seen you before!  I am totally limited on going out to eat with this organic ordeal, so my only real options are either Bare Burger or Northstar.  I went to Northstar.  I ate half a sweet basil burrito with chicken (which comes with chips and salsa), an oatmeal raisin cookie, and a shooting star drink.  Similar to yesterday, I stuck to my organic goal but I was obviously starting to veer a bit from my ideal state of eating at home throughout the week.  By “ideal” I mean “ideal in terms of health” not “ideal in terms of feeding my emotions and instant gratification needs.”  The rest of the day leading up to that was a mixed bag of similar snacks to all the other days this month with lunch consisting of left over shredded chicken and salsa.

Apr 22…Today the calendar held an all day leadership meeting that my boss’ boss hosts a few times a year.  It’s held at a location that’s notorious for their constant replenishing of snacks.  I’m not proud (okay…maybe a little) to say that I have had giant swedish fish there for a mid-morning snack when attending meetings in the past.  A typical non-organic day there could include a muffin for breakfast, various candies for a snack, a buffet lunch that always ends with dessert….like not getting a dessert there is just weird….and then more snacks in the afternoon that are a mix of vegetables or dips or a random fried treat, and then a happy hour with appetizers when the meeting concludes.  I think at 22 days in my head was already in a place that I knew what I needed to do – and that was not scooping tiny pieces of candy into a paper cup with a soup spoon.  I ate oatmeal before I left, I was pleasantly surprised to find they had organic coffee there, I had raspberries and blueberries at mid-morning (which I’m guessing were not organic), chicken + rice + cottage cheese for lunch (totally breaking my no dairy rule) which I assume is not organic either but the healthiest of my options, and then I had an organic granola bar and fruit strip in my pocket for the afternoon.  I headed to Whole Foods immediately following the meeting to stock up for the rest of the week.  So while the day was one worth patting myself on the back for (in my opinion.  Did you read the part where I turned down the desserts and treats?!  They even had pizza at lunch that I didn’t eat!) I was craving macaroni and cheese by the evening.  I’m not going to scare off my male readers by mentioning PMS again as I already dedicated a full blog post to that in past months, but just know that sometimes PMS gives you 2 options in life:  1.  Eat a noodle and be happy with potential regret later or  2. Well, there’s really no #2.  #1 is really your only option for sanity.  So I went on a search for organic mac and cheese (which I knew existed because I tried it once last month) and told myself that as long as it was organic and I ate chicken with it I was willing to let myself slide on the fact that it involved dairy (knowing I had organic milk at home) and that it wasn’t necessarily the healthiest choice in the world.

Cliff note version:  the whole box went into my stomach, chicken was nowhere to be found on my dish, I was extremely bloated, my upper arms turned red and splotchy shortly following.

There may have been a subtle ‘told ya so’ look from Chris at some point in this evening as well.


mac and cheese

Apr 23…I had my first dermatologist appointment ever scheduled today for my red arms.  Let’s talk about this red arm situation for a minute.  I started this month by researching what is causing my upper arms to get red.  I’ve received several notes from friends saying to exfoliate because it’s dry skin, or to try a variety of non-toxic products, I have an infographic of essential oils that are supposed to help, etc.  But I was most intrigued to find online that it can be caused from a sensitivity to casein, which is a protein found in milk.  I’ve shared this info in past blog posts.  So I’ve been successful in eliminating 80-90% of dairy from my diet in the last 23 days.  The day I had an organic milkshake = red arms.  Yesterday when I had mac and cheese = red arms.  So I’m pretty convinced that dairy (or maybe gluten?  ugh…I don’t know?) is playing some role in how my arms look.  But, I woke up today and my arms looked almost perfect.  What the h – e – double hockey sticks?!  So last night they were so red that it looked like I was clearly having a reaction of sorts, and then I took a tylenol PM and went to bed, and then woke up with nearly perfect looking arms?  So of course my theory is that either 1.  tylenol PM has magic healing properties or 2.  it’s just like when you decide to chop your hair off and the day you make an appointment at the salon is the best hair day you’ve ever had.  In any case, I made my way to the dermatologist and told her that having both a masters degree and an iPad clearly qualified me for self-diagnosis….and then I told her of my theory (not the one on the hair appointments, but on the dairy part) and I felt semi-sophisticated as I used words like “casein” as I took off my new professional looking trench coat.  She informed me very quickly that “according to their literature, this is not caused from dietary reasons.”  I started to tell her about the milkshake day or the mac and cheese day but when she repeated herself I just let the story fade.  So here’s my struggle – I left there with a bag full of creams to put on my arms.  One I can use daily which sounded fine (and I knew I would be leaving there with lotions of some sort, and I kind of hoped I would), and then there were 2 other samples – one I’m supposed to buy over the counter and the other I’m supposed to call in some sort of mail order prescription.  I think it’s the mail order one she said to only use 2 or 3 times a week and not for a prolonged period of time because it can eventually harm my skin in ways that it burns it (or something?) and could cause stretch marks and other issues.  For all my “crunchy friends” or Ava Anderson consultant friends….I know you’re dying a little on the inside with this story.  After researching eating organic for 23 days (I often read articles online at night to keep me motivated on my goals or to learn more) I have read that any sort of skin irritation that presents itself is a signal that your body has a food sensitivity or toxin or something wrong on the inside which is showing externally.  So do I just never eat another piece of cheese, or do I burn my arms off with these lotions?  She did confirm that it was keratosis pilaris which was what I always thought it was – which she said is genetic.  Anyway, Chris said it best because he witnessed my arms post-milkshake/mac and cheese.  He says he believes that it is genetic but believes there are foods that are irritating it so if it can be controlled by diet that’s great.  I said I’d try the daily lotion as I’m not anti-modern medicine or prescription by any means, but I’m not trying to burn my arms off.  Oh yeah, she said “you may want to wear a glove when you put one of these on because if you have a cut on your hand it will sting.”  So….that’s that.  I’m tired of talking about my arms and I’m sure you’re tired of reading about them.

On a different note, all the days in January and February that I blogged about feeling the unexplainable “blah” almost everyday…..well, I’ve only felt that way 2 times in the last 23 days.  Both were the days after I ate out.

Here’s to officially 1 week left to go….