How do I love thee, Blue Apron? Let me count the ways!

I’ve been cooking a lot over the past few months, thanks to Blue Apron. I’ve never really been a “cook”. I’ve sometimes considered myself a baker, at different stages in my life when I was into baking (I’m not right now), but I’ve never been into cooking. I’ve always been more of a, buy a rotisserie chicken for the week, maybe throw some salads together, heat up a can of soup, call for Chinese or pizza, kind of girl.

When I was at my sister’s for Christmas, I partaked (partook?) of her Blue Apron meals. They arrived weekly in a box containing exactly the ingredients needed for each meal, no more, no less. They came with recipes. They were tasty, and totally cost-effective (about $10 per serving). And they were pretty easy to prepare.

In March I finally gave in to the sis’s nudging, and signed up. And I’ve gotta say, it has changed my life. I order delivery far less; I waste far less food (no more buying veggies with all the best intentions, and then not feeling like eating any of them); I spend less on groceries; and I’m eating REAL FOOD. And I’ve actually reached a point where I enjoy the cooking experience.

My very first meal! Seared cod with roasted potatoes and dates. Took just over an hour to prep and cook. Loved the pickled scallions on the salad, and was surprised to learn that I actually like chopped nuts in a salad. Sadly the date sauce wasn’t as good when reheated.

That last part took awhile, until the sis helped me realize it was really the cleanup that I hated. I’d avoid cleanup, ’cause that’s what I do, and then I wouldn’t have anything clean with which to cook the next meal. On the sis’s advice, I threw away my “but the dishwasher must be completely full before I can run it!” mentality, and now I run it every night that I cook (i.e. 3x/week instead of 2x/month). Now I always have clean materials to work with, and I go to bed most nights with an empty sink, which is surprisingly relaxing when I first enter the kitchen in the morning.

Cod Stew. So so yummy!
Pizza Bianca, which was really just pizza dough brushed with olive oil and salted. I ate the whole thing, it was so good!

And possibly the best part is that I’m losing weight. These aren’t low-fat meals. I don’t skimp on the oil or the cheese or the carbs. The meals are just healthier than I’ve ever eaten before–real food cooked from scratch, with all their nutrients still intact, and far fewer preservatives. And each serving is totally satisfying–in nearly three months, I can count on one hand the number of meals where I went back and ate the second serving instead of saving it for the next day’s lunch (and it was usually because I didn’t think it would reheat well, like the quesadillas). Some meals are even so filling I divide them into three servings (the Italian pork pizza, for instance). I almost never snack at night anymore. There’s just no need.

Oh! And how could I almost forget–they’re delicious! I mean, sure, some of them make me go “eh”, and I am so not a fan of slaw of any kind (I always throw the mayo and sour cream away and figure out something else to do), but most of them are yummy, and some of them are OMG SO DELICIOUS I COULD DIE RIGHT NOW!

So yes. Bottom line, I love Blue Apron. It has changed my life in all good ways, and it’s nice to know that even as I approach the big 5-0, this old dog can still learn new tricks.

The state of me, which is, I’m now large enough to be a state

So the hill didn’t work out so great. I made it about 100 yards before my knee protested quite loudly, and I haven’t had the guts to try again since.

Me getting a tattoo in January. There is no excuse for how much weight I've gained. :-(
Me getting a tattoo in January. There is no excuse for how much weight I’ve gained. 🙁
Eating healthy on my own hasn’t been working either, though, so last week I rejoined Lindora, the SoCal weight-loss program that has worked for me quite well in the past. It was $600 I wasn’t planning on spending at the time, but I’d reached maximum disgust with myself and didn’t stop to think about the consequences–I just drove myself to the clinic and walked in the door.

The consequences came later, of course. For one, I’d signed up right before a conference in Chicago. The Lindora rep and I decided the best time to officially start the program would be the Monday after I get back, since starting while in a hotel would just be setting me up for failure. (Whew!) That $600 price tag was another yikes, so I sold some Apple stock to help pay for it.

And then the scariest part was stepping on the scale. Holy bejeezus, that was horrible. I’m up to a horrifying, revolting, what-the-fuck L.A. high of 242 pounds, a mere FIFTEEN POUNDS LESS THAN MY LIFE-TIME HIGHEST OF 257!

So. That happened. And now I almost can’t wait for next Monday to come so I can get started on resetting my brain, because even that horrible, terrible number hasn’t been enough to stop me from eating the ice cream and donuts, and even sitting in the most uncomfortable chair ever last week at a restaurant that obviously doesn’t cater to large-assed customers, wasn’t enough to stop me from ordering dessert. I need the full-stop, no-compromises regimen that Lindora provides, and I really can’t wait.

I don’t want to be this uncomfortable in my own skin anymore.

Getting out of survival mode

A close friend of mine died in January, shortly after the holidays. I was the one who found her on her couch, two days after she’d passed, and I’ve pretty much been in survival mode since then. For me, survival mode means ice cream and donuts, rarely leaving my couch except for work, watching TV episodes that I’ve already seen and therefore already know what happens, and knitting and crocheting like my life depends on it.

So here I am, two months later. My weight is the highest it’s been since I moved to L.A. almost 15 years ago, which has led to my knee issues and heel spurs flaring up and causing much pain whenever I’m standing, much less walking. My right arm, particularly the elbow, is in almost constant pain from the relentless knitting and crocheting, making it difficult to type, to brush my hair, to hold my camera, and to play pool. My whole body feels out of control, and the pain makes me not want to move at all, completing a very ugly circle.

I’m trying to shake loose and bounce myself out of this survival mode that’s more like a “self-destruct mode”. This morning I finally went to my knee doctor for my overdue orthovisc shot–only two and a half months late. Next week I’m seeing an elbow doctor. And tomorrow I’m going to try to walk down the hill for the first time since before Christmas.

Changing my eating habits is of course proving to be way harder. Despite probiotics and some new med my doc put me on to control cravings, I have been unable to stay away from any of my customary sabotage foods–particularly sugar, but also pizza, chinese food, pasta, etc. My sis and sis-in-law suggest The Whole 30, which seems crazy hard to me, but my colleague said 14Four is similar, but half the time, so theoretically easier. However, it also costs, which The Whole 30 doesn’t. So, do I fork over the cash to try to help myself? So far, I’m undecided. I think I’ll see how the hill works out first.