Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Milepost 5 on the Road to Wellness

December and January were tough months for me.  On January 29, 2106, I was weighed at my dietitian’s office. I ended up at 370 lbs. I struggled with dietary choices and keeping up my exercise regimen. Part of it was holiday indulgences. With my weight goal from a total weight loss of 50 lbs by January changed to 50 lbs total weight loss by April, things seemed more possible. My depression was also affecting my choices. Compared to a year ago it was still a marked improvement.

In January 2016, I did not eat as much fruit or vegetables, I also had a tooth pulled and had to lighten my physical excursion to minimal for almost a week. In February and March 2016, I increased my vegetables. I worked my best to add vegetables to every dish. With my daily yogurt, banana, and fruit smoothies I had fruit under wraps. To help with my digestive heath, I added chia seeds and flaxseeds to my smoothies.

I tried several new vegetables, in February 2016 (calabacitas/Mexican zucchini, and piquillo peppers) and in March 2016 (chayote/Latin American squash, and taro leaves). I chose Cuban style yellow rice over Puerto Rican Style. Puerto Rican yellow rice had rice, seasoning and annatto oil. Cuban yellow rice had garlic, onion, peas, and red bell peppers. I was choosing dishes with more vegetable matter than those without.

              Paiche fillet with corn & roasted poblanos

I have limited how much potato chips I eat. In January I made nachos and used pre-made chips instead of making my own. As a holiday gift I received some Omaha steaks. Those probably did not help. I did increase my seafood intake. In December 2015, I had my stocking stuffers (canned octopus, sardines, and oysters), tonnato sauce (tuna, anchovies, lemon juice, olive oil, and capers) with cucumber noodles, and my monthly sushi. In January 2016, I made California roll nachos and had my monthly sushi.

In February 2016, I started making bagels and lox (cold smoked salmon) sandwiches and added shrimp to my family’s 7 layer salad recipe. In March 2016, I made inarizushi with shrimp, avocados, and spicy Japanese mayo. In April 2016, mom, who was visiting, bought some paiche. It is an Amazonian freshwater fish. It is huge, meaty, and delicious. I made several dishes with it.

The end of March 2016 and the beginning of April 2016 were eventful for my health. I had tried to get a more consistent mental health care. I had two choices the county and Lutheran Community Services. The county for the initial mental health evaluations were daily but only a handful a day. They were also first come first serve. With my depression getting up early to get there was difficult. The depression was causing me to experience insomnia. With open ended appointments, I fell victim to procrastination. I do better when told to show up at a specific time and date. I decided to go with Lutheran Community Services.  

   Pan seared paiche with spicy avocado sauce and greens

The end of March 2016, I got my mental health evaluation. I finally got a diagnosis. I suffer from severe depressive disorder and general anxiety disorder. I am getting treatment. I am on a waiting list to see the clinician for pharmaceutical treatment. That is still better than what I had last year with no possibility of that kind of therapy. I have had tons of support from friends and acquaintances about my diagnoses and work to get treatment. I am currently looking to apply for disability in order to get out of my living situation. My depression, anxiety, and insomnia are making my job search difficult. I am not looking into permanent disability, just long enough to get me out of my situation and on the road to mental health.

At the end of 2015, I was encountering localized sourness on the left side of my chest. I had this happen in 2002. It turned out to be gynecomastia. This is the development of breast tissue in men. The first occurrence was due to medicine. I had another mammogram done in April 2016. I was clear of cancer. 1% of all breast cancer cases are men, so if you find a mass or have localized soreness, get it checked. I am very embarrassed by my gynecomastia. My ex was brutal in emasculating me about it. Now instead on being unilateral, it is bilateral, meaning I am no longer one sided. I would rather have my diagnosis than breast cancer.

In January 2016, I had my broken molar removed. I followed the directions to the letter and was able to avoid dry socket. The previous pulled tooth resulted in dry socket. I also had my problem wisdom tooth removed at the end of March 2016. I once again avoided dry socket like I did in January. It was not as painful as I had thought it would be. I think it having a cavity made it easier to remove. My jaw was sore and I had a dull ache for weeks. With my problem teeth removed, I should be doing better with eating. With the two problem teeth gone, I have any possible cavities left to deal with. My dental health is much better.

                         Puerto Rican pastelón de amarillos

I was supposed to see my dietician at the end of March 2016. She is no longer working for the hospital where her office was located when I saw her. I found out the day of the appointment. The hospital somehow did not inform me of the change that occurred two weeks earlier. This made me feel depressed. I backslid and ate three Hershey’s Whatchamacallits. The three candy bars in a sitting made me sick. I no longer can eat like I used to.

At the end of March, I was weighed by my primary care physician. I came in at 363 lbs. I was 13 lbs short of my yearly goal. Still I was able to lose and keep off 37 lbs. My goal weight for April 2017 continues to be 300 lbs. I had my ups and downs. I have had my lapses in following my dietary regimen lately. Overall, I have made to serious long lasting life choices. I am working on getting back to the better choices. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Kitchen Comeback Update 4

January 2016 ended with two Thai dishes. My second attempt at Thai peanut sauce was more successful. Adjustment is still needed, less red curry paste, more soy sauce, and more of the sweetener. The massaman curry was good, but again some adjustment needed there too. That I need to lower the amount of tamarind and lime juice just a tad.

                             Thai chicken massaman curry

In the beginning of February 2016, I made Tortilla Española, again. This time I used a smaller frying pan and half of the recipe. This worked out wonderfully. It looked and held together the way it was supposed to. I ate it with piquillo peppers, chorizo Español, and salchichon (Spanish salami). I had bought manchego cheese and Serrano ham, but I ate them the night before. I have been eating bagel and lox sandwiches with cream cheese onions, and capers in February and March of 2016.

                                          Tortilla Española

My work to increase the amount of vegetables in my food continues. I worked with calabacitas (Mexican zucchini) in February 2016. In March 2016, I made chayote squash and taro leaves. The calabacitas were great and the taro leaves were amazing. I do need to adjust the amount of lemon juice on the coconut milk braised taro leaves. The chayote was made into a great hash. The recipe called for eggs. I removed the eggs since this was a dinner side dish. The hash had chayote squash, recaito, tomatoes sauce and some seasoning. With my inarizushi I made a cucumber namasu salad using the Veggetti device.

                                        Indian saag paneer

In February 2016, I made two spinach dishes; Indian Saag Paneer (Indian curried spinach with paneer cheese) and a Greek inspired spinach egg bake (spinach, garlic, onion, feta cheese and eggs). The Saag Paneer could have used a bit more heat. I made a variation of my Grandma Mac’s 7 Layer Salad. I made serrano pepper coleslaw and added vegetables to much to what I made. I chose the Cuban style yellow rice over the Puerto Rican version, because the Puerto Rican had rice, seasoning, and annatto oil. The Cuban style yellow rice included peas, onions and red bell peppers.

Enchiladas Suizas

                                    Calabacitas ralladas

I made Hawaiian chicken teriyaki in March 2016. I over compensated with the amount of soy sauce. Using the juice from canned pineapple and lowering the amount of honey worked very well. The drinking pineapple juice I used the first time was too dang sweet. I also paired this dish with the coconut milk braised taro leaves. Uwajimaya in Beaverton and H-Mart in Tigard are becoming great resources of Asian and Polynesian ingredients.

Rick's tacos with serrano coleslaw

I discovered a variation of the enchiladas Suizas, I have yet to do. That is adding sour cream or crema Mexicana to the salsa verde. I will try that next time. I am remaking dishes I forgot to take pictures of. Enchiladas Suizas was the first. The next was Cuban mojo marinated pork shoulder. I think the roast was slightly overcooked on the second go around. I also did a better pairing with the sides. I made Cuban style yellow rice and Puerto Rican chayote hash. I also did not remake the sauce. I used the discarded marinade, the roast pan drippings and cornstarch.

Inarizushi special

Cucumber namasu salad

I worked to recreate my Grandma Mac’s hamburger hash. That was a fun experience trying into to make something from memory, actually my mom’s memory as well as my own. It was a great exercise in cooking. I also made another pot of beans this time using a ham hock. I prefer the smoked pork shank, more meat less salt and less fat. That is just my preference. I tried a variation of the serrano coleslaw. I removed the dry mustard and caraway seeds. I added the juice of half of a lime. It turned out to have the right balance of heat, sour, and sweet.

                          Grandma Mac's hamburger hash

With saag paneer, inarizushi, Thai massaman curry, enchiladas Suizas, and the bagel and lox sandwich, I am making things I crave instead of going to a restaurant, deli, café, or diner. These are dishes I missed and wanted again. Some of them are still works in progress, others I have perfected like my tacos, chili con carne, and others.

Cuban mojo marinated pork roast

                      Cuban mojo marinated pork roast sliced

January 2016

Rice noodles in Thai peanut sauce, ham and mashed potatoes, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and Thai chicken massaman curry with jasmine rice.

Cuban style yellow rice

                                 Puerto Rican chayote hash

February 2016

Tortilla Española (Spanish tortilla) with Spanish chorizo, piquillo peppers, and salchichón (Spanish salami), cream cheese and lox bagel sandwiches with onions and capers, Saag Paneer (curried spinach with Paneer cheese) with basmati rice, enchiladas Suizas with calabacitas ralladas (shredded Mexican zucchini), shrimp salad (shrimp, avocados, spicy sushi mayo), crunchy tacos with homemade taco meat and serrano coleslaw, beef and bean burritos with homemade meat filling, spinach egg bake (spinach, onions, garlic, egg and feta cheese), 11 layer salad, ground turkey tacos with serrano coleslaw, beef and bean burritos, pork chops with rice and coleslaw, pork loin roast with coleslaw, peas and corn, and beans with ham hocks.

                                             Cuban mojo sauce
March 2016

Cream cheese and lox bagel sandwiches with onions and capers, turkey cheese bratwursts with mashed potatoes, Hawaiian chicken teriyaki with coconut milk braised taro leaves, chorizo and eggs with corn tortillas, inarizushi special (fried tofu pockets stuffed with sushi rice and topped with salad shrimp, avocados spicy Japanese mayonnaise, and sesame seeds) with cucumber namasu salad, hamburger hash, cucumber noodles with tonnato sauce, bean and cheese burritos, Cuban mojo marinated pork roast with mojo sauce, Cuban style yellow rice, Puerto Rican chayote hash, ground turkey tacos with serrano lime coleslaw, beans with ham hocks, eggs with hash browns, chili con carne and shoyu chicken with jasmine rice.