Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Progress is My Co-pilot

I’ve turned the corner on the Zoloft withdrawal. Ten days in, the symptoms are occasional and lapping instead of furious and crashing. Before the symptoms subsided, I figured out a bizarre combo through frantic googling to help me function normally on work days: I reduced my caffeine intake from my daily pot of coffee to 1-2 cups and ate fast food for lunch. Somehow, not only did that soothe my raw nerves and reduce the dizziness, I lost 5 pounds without exercise.  
It’s time to return to my proud CSA-shareholding, over caffeinated self. And guess what?  I think I’m finally starting to get cooking. Or, let me put it this way – I can cook a meal without having to run cool water over a burn, find a band-aid while applying pressure, or throw away the equivalent of a half bag of groceries destroyed by another kitchen failure.
My new life as a marginally tolerable cook started with breakfast. I read somewhere that Dr. Oz eats the same breakfast every morning. Something about reducing the hundreds of decisions we are faced with daily to overcome inaction in the face of overwhelm, and overwhelm is pretty much why I went on Zoloft last spring.  I feel no shame in turning to the pharmaceutical industry when I needed a little extra help, but thankfully, my stress has returned to a level that can be managed with sleep, exercise, meditation, and diet.
I certainly haven’t mastered the perfect sleep schedule or even a respectable level of fitness. At most, I meditate for about 12 minutes daily. However, progress is my co-pilot.
Breakfast is now an organic egg cracked over cooked brown rice or quinoa, nuked for a minute then stirred with hot sauce and a squeeze of lemon. Maybe a dab of vegan butter. I started by using precooked rice before learning to make a small pot of rice or quinoa like a big girl at the beginning of my work week. Give me two minutes in the morning, which isn’t always a gimme, and I can eat something that costs less than a dollar and keeps me full for hours. And yes, punching numbers in a microwave counts as cooking, so shut up.
My weight has been steadily ballooning in the last year, which I blame on Zoloft, lack of sleep, and long work hours in front of a laptop. I haven’t been in the mood for another restrictive diet like South Beach to get back into shape. At the mercy of my kids and job, I tend to rebel against anything that really isn’t the boss of me. The answer to my self-defeating food rebellion was to sign up for a weekly box of organic fruits and veggies, straight from a local farm collective.
Instead of focusing on what I can’t eat or figuring out what to cook, the organic veggies already in my fridge are now my default lunch and dinner. If nothing else, I would hate to waste the $25 a week I’m spending on the produce. Not that I never eat restaurant food, especially when working or jamming through a busy day with kids.
And not that I handle stress perfectly without the Zoloft. I will admit I have used the F word with my two rather surprised daughters in the last week, yet hope endures with incremental progress.
For example, last night I realized it was time to do something with the yellow squash from last week’s veggie box. So I gutted them with a spoon, sautéing the guts with quinoa, spaghetti sauce, fresh basil, garlic, and fresh smoked mozzarella. Baking the stuffed squash, sprinkled with parmesan, I had dinner ready in about a half hour. Violet might have refused it and Daisy might have only eaten the stuffing but that meant she ate quinoa and squash guts so who’s complaining. Not me. No effing way.

Really gross food pics, but I'm so stoked I could put them on a t-shirt.

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