Mind, Body, Soul and the Need for Nourishment

Today begins a short series on nourishment for writers. It will be presented in four parts. I hope all who read it will add their own tips and opinions, encouragement and problems.

My morning starts like yours — I awaken, turn over, decide to get up instead of allowing myself to go back to sleep. Stumble into robe. Pet cat. Make coffee. Turn on weather channel. Retrieve coffee. (So far you’re with me, right?) Here is where our habits diverge (unless you’re a morning exercise person — in which case we’ll get to my whine about wanting to be like you — but please keep reading). You may jump in the shower. You may eat breakfast. You may have children to corral and school to prepare for, etc. Me? I take my coffee to the sofa and open the computer. One to one-point-five hours later I look up. Herein lies my personal problem, and the reason I am attempting to discuss nourishment with you — because I start out every day with a deficit.            IMG_1835 Caprese Salad, tomatoes and basil from my pocket-patch, 2012.

The Affects of and Need for Food:

As I said, one to one-point-five hours later I look up. Hungry.

Starving. Okay, hungry — but angry at myself because I know I need to eat. My brain doesn’t quickly go to the ‘must have food’ thing when I get up. It jumps right into work. (This may or may not be my own writing, but one form of work or other, nonetheless.)

Besides being hungry, and angry, I’m also fighting weight gain. This happens to most writers I know. Unless you are an exercise freak AND a writer (a rare combo) the best thing you can do is eat to kick-start your metabolism, eat frequent small meals to keep your brain on track and your blood-sugar level, and yes, it prevents hunger. I know this. I know this the way I know the feel of my fingers on a keyboard. The keyboard it is more important to touch first thing in the morning than preparing oatmeal. I just don’t pay any attention first thing in the morning.

This failing has other repercussions, like throwing my food schedule off for the day. I eat breakfast at ten, I don’t want lunch when the crew is heading out at 11:30. At 2:30 I’m famished, but I have a meeting. At 4:30 pm I’m ready for dinner. If I don’t eat anything between dinner and bedtime, I can’t sleep.

Etc., etc., etc.

A couple weeks back I attended a conference. All the meals were provided. The food was good. Not great, but better than decent. Almost all of the meals were buffet-style. Some choices. I watched the vegetarians make healthy choices. I ate it all. Even dessert. First, I was hungry. But mostly I was so thrilled because I didn’t have to think about food, didn’t have to decide, shop, prep, cook, or clean. I was in heaven.

Which brings me to all of the other things about being a being that requires food to survive — the process. Sometimes I envy the birds who eat from my feeders; or the hawks sitting on the light posts at sunset waiting for rodents to wander into the dusky light; they do not make big food decisions. They encounter little need for variety, I think. (Can you hear one hawk saying to another, “I’m so tired of chicken and fish — let’s go have a burger,” or “the brown bunnies are so much tastier than the gray ones,”?)

Me? I have recipe books, online recipes stored in the cloud, magazine pages saved over multiple years, three separate areas on Pinterest and three grocery stores full of in and/or out-of-season produce, meat, boxed, ready-to-eat, frozen, dried, staples, organic . . . food. All in the name of variety. And I barely ever ‘use’ a recipe. Just look at the pictures. I know how to cook. But I have to decide. What. To. Eat. Which begs the question, what to make? Little explosions of frustration pop inside my head, like those caps you throw at the sidewalk, just thinking about it.

Does this happen to you?

On the other hand, I bake bread. I love to bake bread. I make great soup. There is hardly anything I love more than putting the seasonings into my homemade vegie soup, a dash of sesame oil, a dribble of tamari, some left-over red wine (yes, I have leftovers, sometimes) and a handful of barley for bulk. Yum! But first you have to get me into the kitchen.

Here is my proposal — I’m really trying — to set an alarm for four o’clock every afternoon. To begin dinner preparation then. Literally, to stop whatever I am doing and go make the meal I have planned.

That’s right. Planned. I will make a menu plan. Three to four days worth (maybe I can keep from changing my mind for that long), and shop for those meals in advance (not send my husband to the store for some critical ingredient I forgot to buy) and eat a well-balanced meal at home, neither too early nor too late. And make enough for leftovers.

Which I will have for breakfast — as soon as I’ve finished my first cup of coffee. Before I start work. No later than 8:30 am.

How about you? Any ideas for me? Or camaraderie? Let’s help each other, eh?

To A Healthier Us!

Deni

Pinterest Boards: Di-et, The Natural Pantry, Baked Goodies, Just Chocolate, Just Dessert, and one more I think — come see!

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4 thoughts on “Mind, Body, Soul and the Need for Nourishment

  1. I have been considering reaching out to other Work-at-homers and writers – wondering about taking turns once a month – hosting a group . . . providing space and foodage. Not conversation, just working. Interested? (Not it always takes me a while to actually make something like this happen because it means moving my piles)

    I also have found a good rhythm for weekdays. I get everyone functional and in their respective locations – then I accomplish something. I always eat at least by the time I am walking my son to school – no food = bad. Then I have a rotation. Some mornings I take a 3-5 mile walk. Other mornings I go to the copy room and spend and hour volunteering. In both cases, I get home and not only is everyone in the right place, fed and happy, but I am also fed and off on the right foot. Then I am all set to write. Twice a week I go to a public place (usually with another writer). Three times a week I go home and type in solace.

    Patterns, rituals, reliability, and taking care of myself along with everyone else has made all the difference.

    My next step is to break in my fancy recorder. I want to walk and get good at getting my thoughts out at the same time . . . two birds eh?

    Of course, this makes it sound like I am a well-oiled machine – but really I am just on the verge of function. It is new and messy, but getting better as the pattern repeats.

    • Carrie — It is good to know I am not the only one who struggles with this. And yes, I knew that. Hence the post.

      As it happens, I have the space and the opening to become an active part of your ‘during the weekday’ group. And if you’d like a hand with organizing, I’d be happy to brainstorm that path and help you get it in motion.

      Your 3-to-5 mile walks are a great inspiration!

      Thanks for chiming in!

      Deni

  2. We mostly do this for dinner: http://www.thefresh20.com/. I know how to cook, I have plenty of recipes, my gym is across the street from the grocery store, etc., etc.–but I don’t want to have to come up with it every single day. The Fresh 20 dinners I can put together in 30-60 minutes, and I don’t have to figure anything out.

    Breakfast is easier for me to remember because I’m usually hungry when I get up, and I’m willing to eat anything: the traditional breakfast foods when we’ve got ’em, leftover dinner if we don’t. Lunch I eat soup or “salad”: chopped-up anything with dressing. The consequences–fatigue and loss of concentration–are such that I’m motivated to go ahead and find something to eat even when I’m not at-that-second hungry.

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