It’s birthday week! And if you think I’m not cooking, you’re mistaken. True, I’ll probably refrain from time in the kitchen next weekend during my actual birthday–Saturday if you must know. During the week, though, I’m gearing up for a “practice” personal chef session TODAY! Things are getting real.
The birthday week kickoff would not be complete without an early birthday present, and apparently when you’re a grown-up, home improvement projects qualify as the best gifts. I’m legitimately ecstatic about my new hooks, installed, after 3 Home Depot runs, a disassembled bathroom mirror, and one broken screw, by Steve. As a reward, he also gets to be a photo prop and hold the menu board. Moral of the story: don’t try to drill things into a wall shared with a bathroom mirror and, potentially, plumbing.
I’m also doing some nutrition experiments this week. I had this problem prior to cutting my meat intake also, but I seem to be especially fatigued of late. Not exactly tired like I want to go to sleep every ten minutes, but more like I can actually tell my body is missing something and, as a result, doesn’t want me to engage in strenuous physical or mental activities. So more like I want to take both a morning and afternoon cat nap and am unexplainably irritable. No change in sleep, exercise, hydration, or alcohol consumption patterns have helped significantly. By now, I’ve also learned that the issue is highly resistant to caffeine, so while it may give me an excuse to drink more coffee, I don’t see any change for the better.
After asking around of my female friends and some recollection that immediate female family members had mentioned a similar affliction at some point in the past, I’ve self-diagnosed the possibility of an iron issue. Maybe a shortage, maybe a failure to absorb properly. So, in addition to seeking out make-ahead meals this week, they also have to have plenty of iron and a source of vitamin C, which should help me absorb the iron I am taking in. I think the issue might be the latter, as I check off many iron-rich foods as already being included in my diet.
Oh, and the worst part, the tannins in coffee may inhibit iron absorption! I’ve carefully plotted my revised morning routine to take in breakfast by 8, enjoy a coffee (and maybe a muffin from the batch I prepped over the weekend) around 10, and not touch lunch until at least 2 hours post-coffee. Bottom line is, though, if I can get my energy flowing, I’m totally willing to put some more thought and tweaks into my food “routine” (or lack thereof).
Dinner Plan, July 21 – 25
- Monday: Roast cauliflower, quinoa tabbouleh, hummus
- Tuesday: Spanish tortilla with artichoke and red pepper, fava bean and manchego salad
- Wednesday: Wine glazed lentils and simple fish or scallops (whatever looks good at the seafood shop)
- Thursday: Cheesy Mexican squash and black bean hot dish (my own creation–recipe to follow)
- Friday: Broccoli soup, croutons (gluten!), and beluga lentils…pending birthday activities which someone is being very sneaky about.
In case you’re interested, or have also experienced iron issues (if, indeed, that’s the culprit here), here’s my plan for breakfasts and lunch:
- Breakfast: pre-8 AM; high iron smoothie or oats with pumpkin puree and sunflower seed butter plus berries
- AM snack: COFFEE (hallelujah) with half and half, muffin if hungry
- Lunch: 2 hours post-coffee; one bean or grain iron source (I have several soups in the freezer meeting this criteria), one veg vitamin C source (starting with broc), one fruit (grapes or watermelon), some fat (avocado, olive oil, cheese)
- PM snack: Anything I wasn’t hungry for at lunch (or just more of it), decaf coffee (which still affects iron absorption, so being mindful of the 2 hour window around the coffee and meals)
Today’s trial run of make-ahead meals will be a whirlwind, I’m sure, but the camera is charging as we speak to make sure I capture the good parts on film.