I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have any trouble keeping up with my son's family (including my 6 year old granddaughter) over my Thanksgiving visit last week. This is a distinct difference from previous visits, when my excess weight, general inactivity and resulting lack of fitness kept me breathless, sweaty and sore, and lagging behind in general. I did try over the past year to up my physical activity, and while I never managed to develop a regular (or even very frequent) workout habit, I did get out and move around more. This included the first two weeks of October when I tried to do without my car, relying on shank's mare, buses and taxies to get places. And when I do drive, I park much farther from the store's doors than I ever used to, just to get the extra walking in.
Anyway, as I said earlier, my daughter-in-law's cooking is absolutely fabulous in every way, and she's got her family on a mostly-vegan (except for her daughter) diet now, with occasional juice fasts. I have no objection to joining right in and the deliciousness certainly makes that easy. I'm inspired to eat a LOT more fresh vegetables and fruits, cut back on the carbs (SOME--I will NEVER be anti-carb), and just eat less in general. And quit eating at 8 p.m. - that's a biggie for me. I do fine with sensible breakfast and lunch, and even dinner. I just need to stay out of the kitchen after 8 p.m.
Another thing I've drifted way far away from in the past year is planning a week's worth of meals ahead of time. I sat down this afternoon and did that for this coming week. First I did a full inventory of all the food and condiments, herbs and spices, that I already have. I just looked for recipes that sounded fairly easy and good, and didn't worry about whether I had the ingredients on hand. As it turned out, the only thing I lack from the menu I made was parsley! I need lots of salad goodies, and to replace my dairy stuff, so I still need to hit the store.
Tonight I made Moroccan Pumpkin Soup, from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, by Claudia Roden. This is a big, gorgeous book full of mouth-watering recipes and I've barely scratched the surface. For this recipe, I substituted some roasted acorn squash I had in the freezer for the pumpkin. I had some tortillas left over so I heated up a za'atar mix (lots of thyme and sesame seeds, with a dash of sumac) in a small amount of olive oil in my cast-iron skillet, then browned a couple of tortillas in it. The combination of soup and flatbread was really good, and I'm glad there's enough left over to repeat the dinner tomorrow night. (I didn't take a picture; neither my food presentation skills nor my photography is good enough to make food look very appetizing.)
I have a fasting blood draw tomorrow. I'm feeling a bit pessimistic about it, but we'll see. Perhaps I *did* reduce the carbs and cholesterol, and increase my physical activity enough over the past 6 months to improve my numbers. In any case, I'm going to be working hard to do a more concentrated and methodic job of that going forward.