After suffering some rather egregious setbacks with my life-changing move to Denver (or at least the greater Denver area) I found myself living in an apartment that was … livable. I’m sharing a bathroom with several other guys–which hasn’t turned out as inconvenient as I feared it might–but I’ve learned to live with a lot of filth that’s out of my control. The worst part is the kitchen, which is infested with lots of little ants in and around the sink. On top of that, the stove and oven are located on one side of the kitchen with the washer and dryer on the other side … and maybe a couple of feet clearance between those two sides. Between the bugs, grime, and cramped accommodations I’ve been apprehensive about leaving any fresh food in the kitchen or even spending time in there preparing meals. So what am I doing? Starving? Eating out a lot? No … just changing how I do things.
The last time I lived on my own–almost four years ago at this point–I never cooked with a microwave. When I did acquire one from a coworker who was moving out of the country, it was solely for the purpose of making popcorn. I tried those old school stovetop Jiffy Pop things a couple of times and detested the experience. It also came in handy for leftovers. Still, I never made microwave meals.
Now that’s almost all I’m doing. You know those Amy’s frozen meals that are basically the vegetarian (damn near vegan) answer to Hungry Man? Yeah, that’s pretty much all I’m eating for dinners these days. At about $4 a pop they’re not exactly cheap, but in terms of balancing cost, nutrition, and ease they’re about the best option available. To add to the veggieness, I’m drinking (low sodium) V8 with those dinners. For lunches I was having nutritional bars; after some reading I’d decided on a supply of Think Thin bars. And to start my day? Since I was iffy on even leaving cereal in the cupboards, I’m instead having Carnation breakfasts, made with almond milk.
So, how is this working out? Probably not well. I’ve crunched the numbers and my caloric intake has to be hovering around 1,000–which is not good (I’ve read that even if you’re not terribly active, consuming less than 1,200 is a bad idea.) I’m trying to think of ways to boost that without adding too much to my sodium or sugar intake (but damn, if you take out those parameters it’s an easy way to boost calories, isn’t it?) Although I’ve yet to feel any real negative side effects of this new way of eating, it may be due to my frequent failures to adhere to it. I am, after all, trying to meet new people and that means going out a lot and having meals which I’m sure don’t fit into whatever nutritious plan I had in mind. Even that’s been altered, though, as I’ve been experiencing a new awareness of my eyes being bigger than my stomach, and meals that I previously could have downed without flinching now leave me feeling sick.
One of the more peculiar side effects was that the bar for lunch just wasn’t cutting it, and I found myself craving something by mid-afternoon. I ended up doing something I’d never been inclined to do before: I made a salad!
I just went to the supermarket and picked up some vegetables that made sense to me: romaine lettuce (I’ve eaten iceberg all my life!), radishes, red onion, cucumbers, tomatoes, a red pepper, some leftover provolone cheese I was amazed was still good, and drizzled a little olive oil on there for good measure (not much, I learned from my cooking days that a little olive oil goes a long way.) It worked surprisingly well! I mean, a made a small tub of this salad and shoved it in the fridge to eat from for the remainder of the week, so it wasn’t exactly fresh towards the end (but neither was it spoiled, you vegetable snobs.) I probably had too much in that salad, though.
Once that one was done, I decided to try something along the lines of the Greek salads I’d seen around and got some baby spinach, low fat feta cheese, canned artichoke hearts, and carrots. Sadly, I didn’t have a peeler or a grater so I just had to chop up the carrots.
That salad is nearing its end, and today I went shopping again. This time I picked up kale, avocado, and tempeh.
I think I have a problem. But I’m not sure which it is: that I’m actually enjoying a variety of salads (I mean, I own an “Everything Tastes Better with Bacon!” shirt) or that I’m running out of ideas for salads?