Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Too Tired to Eat

One problem a majority of MSers have is dealing with fatigue. You cannot fight it. It will win. So I just try to conserve energy. If I'm wiped out, I rest. If I have energy to spare, I do a little bit extra. And this is where food comes into play. If you're going to be preparing veggies for dinner, why not prepare a whole load of them? That's what freezers are for.

My mom attended university as a mature student when I and my brother were teenagers. On weekends she would cook up a storm and then make all sorts of "TV dinners" to go in the freezer. This is before we had a microwave. Actually, a few years ago when my folks had the kitchen redone, mom and dad spent a couple of days cooking up hams, roasts, and tons of veggies. Mom portioned out the meals on plates, then vacuum sealed them and put them in the freezer. They moved the microwave into the family room for the duration and at meal time would take out turkey dinners, complete with gravy and dressing(or roast beef, or ham), from the freezer and nuke 'em.

Depending on the size of your freezer you can prepare any number of meals or parts thereof and always have them for days when you're just not up to cooking.

I'm not as organized as my mom, but I have taken a page from her book. If I'm making mashed potatoes, I make as much as I can fit in the pot and freeze the extras in portion sized baggies. Same with other veggies. And the same goes for meats. Everything gets packaged into meal size portions. Dinner time is a lot easier and less tiring.

I also "exchange" food with a couple of friends. One friend, Lorna, usually cooks up a load of something every weekend. And I am the beneficiary of slices of home made pizza, pea soup, or beef stroganoff. I give Lorna beans, cabbage rolls,stew or home made bread.
We've all experienced or heard of cookie exchanges. It works with meal exchanges, too. If your specialty is beans, why not exchange with someone who makes great spagheti sauce?
One of the best appliances I ever bought was a bread machine. I can make all sorts of seed, whole wheat, and specialty breads. And I'm conserving energy by eliminating the kneading stage. Let the machine do it.

My food processor is another excellent appliance. I can't remember the last time I mashed potatoes. I put 'em in the processor with light cream cheese, rather than butter and milk. And for hummus, it's fantastic. Actually, I freeze ice cube trays of hummus. When it's frozen, I put the dozen cubes in a container in the freezer and can take out a couple at a time (in the morning) for lunch. Just add a few drops of olive oil and it's thawed out in time for lunch.

If I buy English muffins or bagels, I slice them, then stick them in the freezer. Same with the home made bread. Slice it up first, then stick it in the freezer.

As for fresh fruits and veggies, I wash and prep them as soon as I take them home. Carrots sit in a bowl of water in the fridge, grapes and strawberries soaked and washed and in the fridge as well. The tomatoes washed and in their designated resting spot.

If you do all the prep work when you have the energy, food can be ready for you when you don't.

A couple of other tricks up my sleeve include prepping my breakfast and lunch for the next day (I am the queen of containers) while supper is cooking and always having fruit and nuts on hand for a quick energy boost. Oh, yeah, and chocolate.

I am far from the healthiest eater around. I do love greasy stuff and junk food, but if I have a meal all ready to go in the freezer, I am less apt to eat what I shouldn't. And for those days when I get home from work and go straight to bed, I know there's something waiting for me to nuke it when I'm ready to eat.

And sometimes I tell John we're eating out tonight....



Margaret said...

I love reading your blog. You are helping me understand MS and also more about coping with a disability. You sound like a higher-achieving person than most of us who do not have a disability!

(I am a 44 yr. old mother of 2; back in school, working on a clinical counseling masters degree. Yes, psychology is fascinating stuff!)

Shauna said...

Thanks for your comments, Margaret. I appreciate you taking the time to make them.
My educational background is psychology as well, and I agree, it's absolutely fascinating. Actually, I seem to be able to find something interesting in every subject which is why I haven't decided what to be when I grow up.
Woo Hoo!!! to you for going back to school. It's a long road, but well worth it.

steve said...

Food is one of my favourite topics. Many years ago as a somewhat broke (not really-just cheap)university student, my good friend Andrew and I engaged in an undertaking I refer to as "strategic visiting". We always made plans to visit people and friends strategically (and somewhat coeniently0 around their dinner hour. We were always invited to stay for dinner-all of them excellent. This practise was most helpful in helping us save time in food preparation-since we didn't need to!

I occaisionaly carry on this practise today and it still works. Shauna, in order to save time preparing food/dinner/whatever, I highly recommend this practise.

This having been said, Shauna, keep up the good fight, and let us know how the gym preparations are progressing for the next MS bike ride. I will stay larger than life (not really-just getting there)thinking of who I can visit.

Beware of surprise visitors around the dinner hour!