Thursday, 9 August 2012

The true price of organic broccoli

Although we are avid gardeners, we also pay for a plot through a local CSA (community supported agriculture, that's fancy-talk for someone else grows vegetables so I can enjoy fresh garden yummies). We have the reassurance that our produce is being grown organically and locally, and we enjoy the variety of veggies that we get, and are happy to get new produce that we would not normally buy or grow for ourselves.   Like getting a secret ingredient from Iron Chef: And today's ingredient is....KALE! À LA CUISINE!! At which point, Iron Chef Ukraine says: I cook in cream-dill sauce, tak?
As it turns out, you make kale chips.  Which are not in any sauce, nor are they rigid enough to dip in a cream-dill sauce.  Fortunately, Sashimi loved them and pretty much inhaled an entire bunch of kale in its dried chippy form.

A staple veg in our house has always been broccoli. We love steamed broccoli, a little on the crunchy side, dipped in a mix of sambal oelek and soya sauce.  Our kids love the little trees, too, only they don't do sambal oelek.  Yet.

I have never grown my own broccoli.  Wait.  That's a lie.  Our first garden had some broccoli in it.  It looked fantastic, but when we steamed it, it tasted like hot.  Like eating a hot flower.  Not at all like broccoli.  Since then, we have enjoyed garden broccoli only from our CSA.
Getting fresh broccoli is always a treat for the boys.  As soon as we got home from picking up our veg last week, I washed up the broccoli, chopped it up, steamed it, and served it.  While the boys munched on broccoli, I heated up some other leftovers (rice and ribs).  Sashimi devoured his helping, iBean used hers to paint the table with whatever condiment she could reach, and Keesadilla thoughtfully enjoyed each morsel. 
Then he saw something he had never seen before.

K: Mommy?  What is this?

I looked at what he had on his finger.  It was curled on itself, it had many little leg nubbins, and it was yellowy.  I knew it was a worm.  A cooked worm. Well, steamed. From his broccoli bowl.  The last thing I wanted was for him to know that there was a worm in his broccoli.  The kid actually likes vegetables, and I did not want to scar him for life.  Acting with super lightening quick speed, I took the worm away from him, threw it in the garbage, and said: It's just a piece of a leaf.  Don't worry about it.

K: Mommy, it was round.  And it was bumpy.
M: Sometimes leaves are round and bumpy.
K: But Mommy, I saw two little round things on it.  It looked like eyes.
M: Oh?  Are you sure?
K: Yeah.   I think it was a caterpiller.
M: Yeaaaaahhhhhh.  I think it was, too.  But it's gone, now.  Don't worry, you didn't eat it.

Keesadilla kept meticulously eating his broccoli, then he stopped.

K: Mommy, there's another caterpillar in my bowl.
M: What? No.....

I went to investigate.  Yup.  There it was.  Another tiny worm.  Dead. Death by soya sauce.  I grabbed it and launched it into the sink.

Sashimi: TWO catperpillars?  Mommy!  I ate all my broccoli already.  What if I ate a caterpillar?
M: Sashimi, I looked through your broccoli.  There were no worms in it.
S: WORMS? Are you SURE? What if I ate one?
M: You didn't eat one. And even if you did, some people eat worms and bugs because it's part of their culture. It's not a big deal. Here, have some rice.

Even though in my mind, I am screaming with gross-outness from the whole thing.  EWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!! But must maintain composure so as to not frighten the offspring.  I smile, they smile.  Right? Right.

I handed the kids each a bowl of rice.  Sashimi dug right in.  iBean used the rice to create some sort of collage on her condiment art. Keesadilla just stared at his bowl, as still as the dead worm he nearly ate.

K: Mommy, I think I don't feel very good right now.

M: Ok.  You can go watch some TV.

So the lesson of the day is that when you go organic, you sometimes get a little bonus protein. As long as you don't yak it up.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Insanity: CHECK!

I have completed the Insanity program
As in I've done 63 days (not 60, like they advertise: 9 weeks = 63 days) of gruelling, sweat-inducing, profanity-shouting, vomit-producing, work-til-you-drop workouts. 
And I am DAMN proud of myself.
I used to be an active person in my before-kids days.  As a kid and teen, I was a dancer, so I had those awesome dancer legs. When I met Tony, I used to work out 5 days a week, doing cardio and weight training. 
Then I got pregnant with Sashimi, started feasting on Hot Rods and Bounty candy bars and avoiding all things fit-related.  It's not that I didn't want to be in shape.  It's just that I was so sick, I was eating anything that would make me feel well enough to function.  Then after I had the baby, I had a really hard time getting back into any type of exercise regimen: breastfeeding and pacing the hallway at all hours of the night with my non-sleeping baby were my main forms of physical activity, followed by melting breastpumps, reaching under the crib to find lost soothers, and using my foot to push the gas pedal in the car to get more coffee.
Then I had another baby, then a miscarriage, then a scary pregnancy and a preterm delivery, followed by a bout of hyperthyroidism.  I lost all of my baby weight and was nearly 10 lbs lighter than before I ever had kids.  That meant I was in great shape, right?
It meant that I had somehow 10 lbs of muscle mass that once graced my body thanks to the, you know, exercise I used to do had been lost thanks to the, you know, six years of sloth and gluttony.
And how do I know that?
Because 64 days ago, I did the Insanity Fit Test and discovered that despite my slender body, I was really not in shape.  Actually, I was the antithesis of in shape.  I was in flab.  Or in floom.  Or out of the box.  It was really bad. After each of those workouts for the first week, I had to recover on the floor in a puddle of my own sweat for a good 15 minutes before I could actually get my arms to pull my limp body up the stairs so that I could pass out on my bed.  And each day, every stinkin' muscle was yelling at me.  But I persevered. I was not trying to lose weight, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, that I could get back into shape, and that I could enjoy exercise again.
After a month, I began to notice that I actually gained energy from doing the workouts.  Don't get me wrong, they were still gruelling.  But they also gave me a buzz like an extra cup of joe.  Too bad I usually did my workouts at night after the kids were in bed and I was wired until past midnight.  And that's where the Fifty Shades trilogy came in handy...
On the last day of the program, you repeat the same Fit Test that you do on the first day, and compare your results to see how you have improved.  You actually do the test every two weeks to track your progess.  There are eight exercises, and you try to do as many reps as you can in one minute. I did not record my results on the first day because I was so exhausted that I couldn't count and workout at the same time. Or use a pencil in between exercises. But I did record the other tests. The left column is day 14, the right is the last day.


And just to note, I disctinctly remember that on day 1, I did ZERO switch kicks.  As in none.  To go from 0 to 140 is, well, crazy.  That means I did 140 kicks in one minute.  Over two per second.  I am a MACHINE.  Besides giving me energy, I have gained 4 lbs of pure muscle, mostly in my legs, I am sure.  Yes, I am heavier now than before I started, but I don't care.  Did I mention that I am a MACHINE?!

Also, I did not think to take a before picture of myself.  I really wish I would have, because I would have loved to send in the before and afters to Beach Body and receive an Insanity T-shirt.  But I definitely took some after pictures:
These babies can do 33 push-up jacks in a minute.  Real ones, not the girl ones.

My dancer calves are back! 
These are the abs that bore three children.

And there you have it.  The program rocks.  It gives results. And it is sort of addicting.  Like I am sort of sad that it's over and I may just start all over again.  Oh...THAT's why it's called Insanity...