All summer long, salad sat at the center of my eating patterns. I mean, you can pretty much throw anything in a salad, after all, and it works. It’s nutritious and tastes great.
Summer did not involve a whole lot of effort going into cooking anything, except for pasta, grains, and the occasional veggie burger.
Then, snow and ice arrived, and it seemed that my whole palate changed.
When I came in from outside, all bundled up and still cold, the thought of making a salad made me shiver. I just wanted to warm up.
The greens began to wither in the fridge as my food thoughts ranged to all things warm, like the vegan meatloaf I wrote about here – the perfect winter comfort fix.
Chili quickly became a go-to meal. Vegan mac and cheese became an imperative. Lasagne became compelling.
Comforting, filling food took center stage. I wanted stuff I could cook ahead, too, since all I wanted to do at the close of the shockingly short daylight hours was curl up in a blanket.
That whole shorter day thing turned out to be problematic in other ways, too. Along with the snow and ice, it quickly became harder to make myself get out there for my runs. After breaking my shoulder a couple of years ago, I found myself very reluctant to run in the dark, and it’s pretty hard to find time during the day.
So I was into this winter mode of operation – slowing down and filling up – just long enough to notice how it makes me feel different. I don’t like it, either.
I’ve been feeling kind of sluggish and full and sleepy and uncomfortable and like being a couch potato. This is not my style.
Worse, this whole winter thing is just barely getting started. We’ve got months to go.
As I sat and listened to an acquaintance the other day discussing his two heart attacks, diabetes, and various hospitalizations, it occurred to me that I need to be proactive about my unhealthy winter stagnation and feeding tendencies.
The first thing I did was bring salad back. I need my salads. I missed my salads. Comfort food is great in small doses, but salad has to be the main dish for me.
I also did a reset on my hydration, which I realized had become reduced to pretty much anything warm – coffee, tea. I’m back to drinking water in more summerish quantities.
Running is more problematic. I am an outside runner – that is how I get zen. Nevertheless, I may have to resort to using the local indoor track if it’s too frickin’ cold or messy or dark out. This is hard for me to do.
On the weekends, I can make my outdoor runs work – or at least walks or hikes, which is fine if that’s all I manage. The point is to keep moving all through the winter.
I’d like to remain on the move at least five days a week, even if it’s shorter distances than I’m used to.
Since my running is hampered, I can give more love to core and strength exercises. Something to shoot for anyway. Maybe even break down and return to yoga.
Given my current couch potato frame of mind, this is actually a pretty challenging agenda. It’s so important, though, for my physical as well as my mental/emotional well-being.
Wish me luck. Brrrr.