Friday, June 30, 2017

Online Order Frustration: My Review of Thrive Market

In my effort to move to an anti-inflammation lifestyle and anti-inflammation diet, I am trying to locate stores near me and online who sell organic and healthy groceries. Thrive Market is an online retailer that sells organic grocery items at a wholesale price, with an annual membership ($59.95, at the time of this post). It’s like an online Costco for organic food! I am really hoping that Amazon will come up with something like this now that they have purchased Whole Foods.

I have a Whole Foods 12 miles away from me, but it’s in a very congested area that I like to avoid. Years ago, I used to drive through that area daily to go to school and later on to one of my jobs, but the traffic has gotten insane over the last 15 years or so and the mere thought of driving through there gives me a headache. Also, the last few times I shopped at Whole Foods, people reached over me like I wasn’t there and took the food I was trying to pick up! It happened multiple times and I am not a slow shopper. Such a sharp contrast to where I shop where people move their carts over for people to pass and will move over to let people reach things when they say “excuse me” (Whole Foods customers don’t speak).

In order to avoid the traffic and annoying people, would a cheapo accountant like me pay $59.95 a year (which is like $5 a month)? Sure! So, I signed up for Thrive Market right away and placed my first order. I bought some coconut oil, almond flour, organic vinegar, nuts, cleaning products, and feminine care products. I was so impressed with their offerings that I added items to my shopping list for next time: organic peanut butter, organic vanilla extract, deodorant, etc. They even have a category called Whole30 Picks where I found a number of items I wanted to try! I was so excited about this new service!  

After so much anticipation, I received my order the other day and guess what?

A huge FAIL!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

My Anti-Inflammation Start

As I declared last time, I wanted to start living an anti-inflammation lifestyle, starting with my eating habits. I went through a few of those books and websites I mentioned and I am not sure if I want to start with a detox or elimination in the first phase of my diet change. It makes a lot of sense; to cut out common food allergens and then add them back to see if they are the cause of a food allergy or sensitivity. 

While I research that further, I plan to track what I eat as I make the changes that follow. [Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or any kind of health professional so anything written here is probably wrong and should not be taken as medical advice of any kind. I am just an out-of-work accountant trying to get healthy and talking about it here.]
  • Tracking my weekly menu and daily food choices
    • I already plan my weekly menu in a regular bound notebook. There, I also keep track of the groceries I need to use up for the week (great for remembering to use up produce). 
    • I will start tracking my daily meals and snacks in another smaller journal I can carry around with me. There are some great apps available for phones, but I like flipping through notebooks. I plan to review it at the end of the day and end of the week to make notes for the following week. 
  • Eating organic or pastured eggs, and organic and/or grass-fed lean meats instead of farmed 
    • I already eat lean meats like lean beef and chicken/turkey. I have a food sensitivity to pork so I avoid it. I also avoid processed meat like spam and deli meats (although I used to love them when I was younger). 
    • I have added the word “organic” next to these items in my Out of Milk shopping list app (eggs, beef, chicken/turkey) and am happy with the organic eggs and chicken I bought this week.
    • I plan to look in my local circulars for deals/availability of organic meats and to try other markets 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Let’s Go on an Anti-Inflammation Journey

So, last time I told you guys that I am dealing with chronic pain and wanted to start living an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. According to all the research out there, inflammation causes a lot of health issues and many things we use and eat daily create an inflammatory response in the body (a “flight or fright” stress response). I made a few of the easier changes years ago that I have stuck with such as changing out most of my hair and beauty products, throwing out all my BPA plastic food storage containers, avoiding coffee, and limiting alcohol. While I have been able to sustain these changes, I haven’t been as strict as I would want to with the food I eat. It is seriously difficult to maintain a super-clean diet while working long hours. You will always opt for convenience – takeout and processed foods.

I have been hearing from my doctors and reading books and websites that eating an anti-inflammation diet and reducing stress is the way to go. [Disclaimer: What my doctors say is for me only and not for you to follow. I am not a doctor or any kind of health professional so anything written here is probably wrong and should not be taken as medical advice of any kind. I am just an out-of-work accountant trying to get healthy and talking about it here.]

OK, that’s great. I know it would help me improve my health, but how do I implement an anti-inflammation diet? I have so many questions about it. It also doesn't help that many of the resources online contradict each other. So, which one is right (or right for me)? 

“Eggs are bad because they are a common food allergen!” “Eggs are good because they are a source of inflammation-fighting omega-3s!” What?! Which is it??

Can you really have a smoothie for breakfast and stay full until lunch? 

What do I do if the other people I live with don’t want to eat this way? I am not cooking 2 dinners every day.

How do I do this without spending a whole day on Sunday meal-prepping? My back can’t handle standing there chopping veggies for 5 hours straight. 

Do I really need to try weird-to-me things like protein powder and kefir? What will they do to my digestive system? I am not in the mood for experiments. 

Again, so many questions. 
And so much resistance (from me). 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Hello, It’s Me Again!

Hello again! Sorry I stopped posting right in the middle of the home organization series.

It’s quite ironic – here I am trying to motivate you, my readers, to organize your kitchen and I lost my own motivation! I wasn’t feeling the topic anymore. I sustained an injury, which triggered an existing chronic injury and boom! I was in a ton of pain! Writing about organizing was the last thing I wanted to do. I physically couldn’t move stuff around and photograph it. Even without pictures, all I needed to do was to fine-tune the posts which were pretty much done. But, of course, I stubbornly wanted nothing to do with it!

I will post them eventually though, just for the sake of closure.

I haven’t cooked anything creative in a while since it’s easier to make basic staples when you are not feeling your best. My awesome husband helped me by food shopping and aided me in making our dinners while I was in pain. I was eventually able to do more things by myself again and I finally made something more involved for dinner last night – ground turkey kima with pasta.

Something I have been considering for a while is cooking with ingredients that decrease inflammation. I throw them in occasionally (like the turmeric roasted squash the other night). That’s what’s going on in my life right now, so I really want to write about it. As an accountant and not a health or nutrition professional, I will just be talking about what I'm trying for myself. It will help keep me accountable. Hopefully, you, my readers, will have some great tips for me, as well.

As for the CPA Exam, I want to re-take it, but it just changed again. I will wait to see what people think about it. I am not sure I'm ready for it. I have been trying to stay current with accounting changes by attending webinars, but am not ready for intensive studying. Not yet, anyway.

That’s it for now; I just wanted to post a quick update. I hope you have all been well! 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

My Kitchen Organization Series – We Need to Declutter First!

Kitchen Organization Series

The first step to organizing your kitchen is to declutter. Decluttering consists of going through your possessions and getting rid of anything that is no longer useful or wanted. It makes sense to declutter before organizing; otherwise, you will waste your time trying to fit things into your kitchen you really don’t need at the expense of things you actually want to use more often.

Don't you find that the less items you own, the better you take care of those few items? This is because you take pride in them. I remember as a child, I would have only 2 pairs of shoes at a time (one pair of regular everyday tennis shoes and one pair of formal shoes for church and school assemblies). I took such extremely good care of this one pair of white tennis shoes, that my friends thought I always had new sneakers! In the same concept, I now have a few pans of each type that I love using and I hand wash them so they stay as good as new.

In her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Marie Kondo says to take EVERYTHING out to get the full shock of seeing all your stuff out at once. You will realize that you have too much stuff and you shouldn’t feel bad getting rid of it. If just the THOUGHT of ALL your kitchen stuff out frustrates and overwhelms you, here is my suggestion: Take everything out of the drawers and cabinets IN CATEGORIES!