Two (Personal) Positives From 10 Weeks At Home

Filed Under: Misc.

Today marks 10 weeks of social distancing for us, and in this post I wanted to briefly talk about a couple of ways our lives have evolved for the better during this time (aside from Winston thinking this is the greatest thing ever).

I think we’re all focused on the negatives of how much this situation sucks, but at least personally a couple of positive things have come from being at home for this long. I’d also love to have you guys share any changes you’ve made during this time that have been for the better.

How our lives have evolved over the weeks

Let me start my acknowledging that Ford and I have it relatively easy compared to some others during this pandemic, and I don’t want to take that for granted or overlook that:

  • We’ve both long worked from home/remotely, so there was no major adjustment required in the way we work
  • We don’t have kids (yet), and I recognize that this situation is even more challenging for those having to work and homeschool their kids
  • We’ve been saving for a rainy day, so we’re lucky to have some money saved so that we don’t have any immediate financial problems

When we first started social distancing we expected it would only last a few weeks, as I think so many people did. Frankly at first we kind of just decided to make the best of it — we started having cocktails almost every night (I enjoyed getting into cocktail making), we stopped working out (since gyms are closed), etc.

But as it has increasingly become clear that this is the new normal (or at least that there will be no full return to the previous normal anytime soon), we’ve changed our approach to things, and I couldn’t be happier about it. There are two primary ways our lives have evolved, both of which I hope are at least semi-permanent.

Ford has basically become a chef

Truth be told, before this all started we didn’t cook anything. Not even eggs. We typically ate in one of three ways:

  • We’d go to restaurants
  • We’d order food for delivery
  • We’d use a local meal delivery service that essentially offers healthy and bland meals that you microwave, including things like chicken breast, salmon, etc., all with very little flavor

While I know that’s a bit ridiculous, the reality is that we were both really busy, and also traveled all the time, so getting into cooking was never a priority. Well, that has completely changed in recent weeks. Unfortunately I’m incredibly uncoordinated, so wouldn’t trust myself in a kitchen in a million years, but Ford has basically become a chef, and he loves it (and I love that he loves it even more).

Tiffany got me an Instant Pot for my birthday back in April, and our lives have been changed ever since. Ford has started cooking — typically two meals per day — and I’ve been blown away by how good the food has been.

From an avocado egg toast…

To sweet potato soup…

To Greek lentil soup with a fried egg…

To spaghetti squash…

He has really been doing it at all. At 5:30AM this morning our Instant Pot beeped, because apparently the chickpeas he was soaking overnight were ready. Spiced chickpeas are on the menu for this afternoon.

Honestly, everything has been so good. I realize there’s probably some room for improvement with presentation (that’s on me), but I wasn’t photographing the above with the intent of posting it (rather I was photographing it for my dad, since we exchange meal pics).

I can’t even begin to say what a game-changer it is to have home cooked meals — they’re healthier, they’re tastier, and they’re cheaper as well. I’m grateful that us being forced to stay home has caused us to finally change our eating habits.

Along those lines, does anyone know an actually healthy cookie recipe, or hell, any other healthy-ish dessert? We’re really craving dessert, but I feel like the “healthy cookie recipes” and other desserts I’m finding online are still too unhealthy, so I’d sure appreciate some creativity there!

I also think it’s probably time to update our credit card strategy, as bonus points on restaurants aren’t nearly as important as bonus points on supermarkets, which represents a reversal for us.

A new approach to being healthy

As anyone who travels frequently can attest to, it’s really tough to stay healthy while on the road. As mentioned above, at first we weren’t working out and were drinking almost every day, but a few weeks ago we decided to make some changes.

I figured if there’s ever a time to try and adopt healthy habits it’s while at home and not traveling.

About 2.5 weeks ago I started intermittent fasting. I don’t actually know why — I had heard about it before but never really considered it, but I figured if there was ever a time to try it, this was it.

For those of you not familiar, the idea is that you only eat over an eight hour period every day, and then “fast” (only drinking water) for the other 16 hours. I’m surprised to be saying this, but this is probably my favorite diet I’ve ever been on:

  • At first it was hard to go 16 hours without eating, but at this point I’m used to it; we’re breaking our “fast” in about an hour and I am feeling very hungry at this point, but not uncomfortably so
  • It has really simplified my life, since previously I’d walk by the pantry every half hour to take a look, while now I don’t even bother during the 16 hours where I’m not eating
  • It has stopped me from drinking, since I can’t drink anything other than water outside my eight hour eating period
  • It’s easier than other diets in the sense that there are no real restrictions on what you can eat, though I’ve naturally found myself being less hungry and eating healthier

I’ve combined that with running at 5:30AM most mornings, and so far have lost about five pounds (which probably covers weight gain from the first several weeks of no exercise and drinking), and more importantly I feel good. It’s something I could see doing long-term while at home, though it’s much trickier when traveling.

To be clear, I’m not trying to sell some fitness pyramid scheme here, and I’m not even saying other people should do this. Rather I just want to share my experience, that I’m happy with the results, and in particular feel that this is sustainable, which isn’t the case for most types of diets.

Bottom line

Life is hard for a lot of people right now, and I don’t want to minimize that. Rather I wanted to share a couple of positive things that have come out of being forced to be home for this long.

Home cooked meals are basically the best thing ever, and I’ve been enjoying intermittent fasting. It was tough to get out of the habit of eating unhealthy and drinking every day, but now that I’ve done that, I’m happy with the results.

I’d love to hear any positive ways your lives have changed as a result of being home, because I think we often don’t take enough time to appreciate positives that can come from a negative situation.

Comments
  1. Ah I’m sure you would get the hang of things in a kitchen at some point. Doesn’t have to be nearly as complicated as it’s made out to be.

    Personally? I’m so over cooking as I live alone and do all the cooking and cleaning myself. A lot of meals are more arranging things on plates than actually cooking anything, tbh. I’ve gotten lazy.

    Do you think your perspective on eating outside your home will change, in terms of quality and execution of menu items? My appreciation of certain foods has grown immensely as I can’t get them at home due to lack of availability of ingredients.

    As for “healthy” desserts, this all depends on what you mean by healthy and expect at a dessert. Fruit with mascarpone and dark chocolate is simple and I’d serve as a dessert if appropriately arranged. Something stereotypical and light is angel food cake. Sorbets are a good choice. Most things can be made into something less guilt-ridden but still dessert-worthy. Portion size is a key factor in this. I am of the opinion that taking shortcuts with sweeteners isn’t a great option here because flavour is compromised. To each their own on that though.

    Or, a piece of cheese and bit of Sauternes or port are a great way to end a meal. Or strong coffee with orange (or any) liqueur with a small biscuit/cookie.

  2. for me the biggest positive to working at home full time has been the extra hour of sleep every night and no commute

  3. Healthy Chocolate mousse/pudding option:
    – a large avocado or two small ones
    – 2 teaspoons cocoa powder (carob powder if you want to be REALLY healthy)
    – 2-3 teaspoons of maple syrup
    – olive oil
    – optional pink salt if you want a salted chocolate kind of taste

    Blend the above in one of those small food processors and enjoy.

  4. @Lucky. Can’t wait to tell my wife that the new cocktail glasses she bought last week…..exactly the same type what you featured here :-)))

  5. Enjoyed this article Lucky! I too am making the best of it while at home, with intermittent fasting and a healthier diet.

    Here is a great tasting and very healthy “cookie” recipe – https://bit.ly/3bPeQlH

  6. as Vishal noted, we have made some desserts by using avocado as the ‘fatty’ component.
    You may look for recipes for ‘vegan avocado fudge recipe’.

  7. Now that you have the Instant Pot maybe an air fryer is in your future. I use it a lot more than my Instant Pot. From your pictures I’d say my cooking is a lot more basic. I have been doing a lot more Mexican than usual (tacos, burritos, and the like). Air fried paprika chicken is also a favorite.

    I am 65, retired and live alone, so social distancing probably may came easier than to many, Where I live there is no food delivery, and most pickup/drive-thru is a good half hour away, Finances are not a problem (also saved for the rainy day and retirement) and I am now actually spending less than usual.

    Don’t get me wrong. While this has not been a HUGE adjustment I am ready for something other than the grocery run every two weeks or so, and sticking at home. Some outside food, and visits to friends and family, would be nice.

    Do you see the home cooking continuing in the future, or will it eventually be back to old habits.

  8. Do you have any allergies/restrictions, or general preferences? I’m sure my wife has a few dessert tricks up her sleeve.

  9. Hey Ben,

    First and foremost it’s awesome to see you taking your health more seriously as we get older. I’m sure turning 30 has it cross your mind as well. It’s great your running but do you and Ford do any weight training or have any equipment at your house?

    Second, in regard to making sweet treats with less sugar look up a guy on YouTube called “Joe Duff – The Diet Chef” . His videos are less than 4 minutes most of the time and he uses Swerve almost every time which is a sugar replacement. A lot of the videos also will say keto because these sweets are also low in carb , think less than 10g per carbs per serving. Even if your not into keto which is totally fine he has some great 1 minute cookie, cake and brownie recipes you can make in a coffee mug.

    Also it’s great your doing IF. There’s a lot of diverse opinions about it but if you think about it everyone does it we all BREAK-FAST every morning it’s just a bigger spacing of time. I have to say though, doing this really makes me curious how your life specifically will be different using IF since there’s times when you’d basically be skipping whole meal services.

    Do some light reading on keto, in no way am I a health expert but I can tell you that it’s common sense that on a keto diet your eating higher caloric dense foods primarily from healthy fat which is 9 calories per gram. Protein and carbs only have 4 calories per gram which is why people often feel temporarily satiated after eating a big plate of pasta but are really hungry later. By eating higher fat food (think avacado, macadamia nuts, and eggs are my staple) you stay fuller longer and the works perfectly for the fasting lifestyle your working after.

    I find having a green shake with Ava so and then just eggs and bacon in the morning can keep me full for half the day.

    I think the best think about fasting is you realize the unhealthy relationship we have with food. We eat as a reaction to so many emotions and even to pass the time. But when your no longer hungry because your satiated and you don’t spend a lot of time cooking or eating you get a lot of time in your life back. Literally try a green shake with one avocado and then have just two in eggs and two pieces of uncured bacon and you’ll be full til the afternoon then just a snack like nuts and one more meal before your fast ends and your done eating for the day yet you’ve still consumed more macronutrients than the average American diet.

    I’m really proud of you taking control of your health, look into the basics of macronutrients. More important than your daily calories is your daily macros and if you start to figure those out over your lifetime you can start to dial in what makes you feel the best.

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all the health videos an different exercise videos I’ve watched it’s that our heart is an individualized math problem and it takes different things to find our best settings. Good on you for starting the journey. Cheers.

  10. This may sound shallow, but as someone who hates cooking, being quarantined with someone who enjoys cooking (and is good at it) is the luckiest thing I can imagine. My friends in NYC who are alone or with roommates are still ordering via seamless and that is not something I’d want to be doing during this… Eating well (and healthy) and going for long hikes/walks has made this very doable.

  11. Healthy desserts – I eat one of these baked oatmeal cups literally every day and because it’s sweetened with fruit and applesauce, it fulfills my sweet tooth without any of the guilt:
    https://www.eatingbirdfood.com/blueberry-baked-oatmeal-cups/

    I make these so often that I’ve tried practically every flavor combination you can dream of…this week it’s cherry walnut as my mix-ins.

    I always omit the maple syrup entirely but obviously you can add all or some of that back in to make it feel more like dessert. Do banana, peanut butter, chocolate chip if you’re feeling particularly indulgent.

  12. Sourdough bread!

    I know it’s a cliché, but getting it right is really addictive. There’s no sugar added, so it is a somewhat healthier treat.

    Last night my partner asked me to please stop sending pictures of my loaves to our friends because I’m turning into “that guy”.

  13. What’s your 8 hour food window? Mine is 12-8pm as I find it way too hard to skip dinner.

  14. Shop at farmer’s markets to get local fruit.
    Baked apples and pears – stuff cored centers with chopped nuts, brown sugar and spices
    Right now we’re eating a lot of roasted rhubarb with strawberries and serve with greek yogurt – made in the instapot!
    Chia seed pudding made with coconut milk, serve with mango or other fruit – super easy and can be eaten for breakfast too
    Splurge on good chocolate (bean to bar) or find a good chocolatier and buy a couple of truffles and eat one a night
    Rice pudding – also a decent option – can be made with non-dairy milks

    You can reduce the amount of sugar in most baked goods without impacting the quality. I make brownies and reduce the sugar by half and no one can tell. I also use good chocolate, which helps.

  15. You can and should simply treat yourself to a “unhealthy” dessert a couple of times a week. If you’re otherwise eating healthy and exercising, that should have little to no impact on your fitness goals (unless you’re training for a body building competition and need your body fat at 4%), and great benefits on your mental health and happiness :). Plus, “healthy” dessert are usually terribly frustrating because they just taste… healthy hah.

  16. I’ve started eating my mom’s dessert of choice, and I think its amazing(with a slight adjustment period):
    Wash some grapes(about 30, and pat dry between two paper towels.(you could also use blueberries, or probably frozen peas)
    Put them in a dry bowl.
    Top with 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder. (I highly recommend Hershey special dark cocoa, its so much better than the regular stuff)
    Garnish with some chopped nuts, or even some dark chocolate chips.

    It takes a little bit of time to get used to the cocoa, I was hacking for the first couple of nights, but it tastes really good and is quite healthy.

  17. My dad has been following a mostly Paleo diet for over a year now and loves these cookies, with some modifications: https://meaningfuleats.com/almond-flour-chocolate-chip-cookies-grain-free/

    Instead of butter, he uses Nutiva Organic Shortening from Amazon (which is a red palm and coconut oil blend), coconut sugar instead of brown sugar and dark chocolate chips. He likes the almond flour from Costco since it has a smoother texture. He does lightly flatten the top of each cookie dough ball before baking.

  18. Just make sure Winston doesn’t latch onto any avocado; it’s highly toxic for dogs ( as is onion, garlic, macadamia)…and most toxic of all …anything sweetened with xylitol.
    He’s a very sweet and cute dog…

  19. You should always see the positive side of any challenge we face in life. This pandemic is not different. Although it is a very difficult time we found ways to bond even closer as a family. We go for long walks around the lakes, bike rides, play in the yard with the kids but also got way better in cooking. I use my outside grill all the time but we decided to improve our cooking skills. We always eat very healthy but now tried new things. One challenge is that we always go to Italy in the summer and this year we had to cancel it. Thus, we decided to bring Italy home at least on the food side. I bought a manual pasta maker and it has been a great fun activity to make homemade pasta as a family. We have a pizza oven so we have perfected our Neapolitan pizza at home. We then saw a post on FB from our favorite bed and breakfast in Sicily. I sent the owner a message on how much we missed her and her family and that my kids missed her amazing pistachio cake that she baked every morning for breakfast. Well, she kindly sent me the recipe and we just baked it last weekend. It was amazing!!!!

    BTW, I work in the food business. The trend to eat healthier and more at home is here to stay. People realized during this pandemic that if you are healthy and in good shape you will probably beat this virus. Also, it is cheaper and much healthier to eat at home. People will also want to have transparency on where their food is coming from so I expect more and more families that used to eat a lot out will continue to cook more at home.

  20. If you/Ford are liking cooking, I highly recommend the Thomas Keller Masterclass series. There are 3 seasons, and they are great. He really dives into the fundamentals and techniques of classic French cuisine and you learn a ton in a relatively short amount of time.

  21. This a great site for healthy desserts. Easy recipes. Highly recommend the faux cookie dough scooped with pretzels (maybe you have some airplane bags lying around) or graham crackers. http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/

    PS – Welcome to the Instant Pot world! It’s the best. Have Ford join the FB group for good recipe ideas.

  22. If you don’t mind some Chinese style dessert
    1.Wash 0.5 kg green beans
    2.Add enough water,maximum heat until boiling
    3.Medium heat,cook until the beans are rotten(maybe hours but you don’t need to take care it)
    4.Add sugar,wait until it cool down
    5.Put in the refrigerator. Eat anytime you want
    @Ford :Want to catch a man’s heart take care of his stomach.

  23. I think we have all adjusted our lives to a greater or lesser degree whether it be financial, social, or lifestyle. I had personally worked 50% of the time at home and 50% of the time somewhere where I needed to be that wasn’t necessarily in the same place. Of course that portion has largely been cut out at the moment but may resume during to summer in part. I am ex military ex Boy Scout so I am like a cat, I always land on my feet. On my side of the equation, this has been a net improvement personally. I have enjoyed the flexibility and extra time plus the reduced hassle of doing a number of things.

    On the wife’s side it has been much more disruptive. As a UA FA and purser, she is facing the real and somewhat expected possibility of no longer being employed at UA and in the travel industry as a whole. She has been flying almost exclusively international routes, which of course are largely non existent, she speaks 7 languages which gives her an edge because UA can find loopholes to keep her employed based on that skill set. She only has about 9 years in seniority so she would normally likely be bumped in most situations. We will spend the next 5 months or so evaluating the next course of action. She has a BA in Communications and Psychology so she can most likely transition into another career and only being in her early 30s has a long road ahead. We have decided to save as much of her income until that runs out in October (if she is ultimately let go from UA) or finds another work situation. No kids involved so we can buckle down. Our best mindset in this is that things happen for a reason and perhaps this will be just the trigger for the change that may have occurred at some point in the near future anyways. She had expressed the desire not to be an FA for her entire career so changing jobs is not an emotional one as much as the circumstances are. It was interesting at the beginning she had to quarantine for 14 days alone when she returned from work and went down. Living with my parents and dropping of food and supplies to the house while I waited to return was interesting. So we’ll see.

  24. My two personal positives coming out of the other side of this are that I invested in a 4K HD TV and spent a lot of time streaming excellent content, mostly documentaries. The other is that cleaned out the attic and garage and have pretty much embraced a more minimalist lifestyle approach. Ten garbage pickup weeks later, this place is definitely downsized. Probably would have never happened without all the time off from work and travel.

    Congratulations to you and Ford on your new healthier lifestyle!

  25. For dessert you should make “nice” cream. Freeze a banana, then throw a little milk (any kind) and some PB2 powder (to give it flavor) in a blender. Tastes just like ice cream and is pretty low in calories.

  26. “Along those lines, does anyone know an actually healthy cookie recipe, or hell, any other healthy-ish dessert?”

    I suggest you refer to the famed United Polaris cookbook for inspiration.
    Currently on sale at the United online store.

  27. It’s awful for the restaurant business, but I don’t eat out in a real restaurant much. Too many people have no idea how to prepare food in the modern world. Cooking is not rocket science. I’m sure you could do it too, Lucky. I know my way around a kitchen with budget items. For health purposes, I had to do a special medical diet and I discovered I loved raw almonds and raisins when I have to do it. (simple sweet snack!) I completely forget about it any other time.

  28. I had been going into the office daily but stopped a couple of weeks ago since I had work I could do from home. Unlike others, I’m losing weight because:

    1. I never fry anything at home
    2. I rarely drink unless I’m out, so I’ve had 2 alcoholic drinks in the last 8 weeks
    3. Portion Sizes. When I make a sandwich it is much smaller and has less fattening toppings (no bacon, mayo, cheese). Also I might get a handful of chips instead of getting a ton of fries.

    So far lost 6 lbs. Another 5-8 would be great. During my 20s/30s/40s I largely ate out everyday for lunch (usually fast food) and often ate out for dinner as well. Eating more at home is an easy way to lose weight for me w/o substantially changing my diet.

    I do miss sitting at a restaurant, people watching and slowly sipping a beer. Hopefully those days will come back (safely) in the near future.

  29. I recommend watermelon gazpacho and fruit salad. Both easy to make, keep for several days and taste just at tasty if not better the next day.

  30. @tuotuo

    I believe you mean Mung Beans, not Green Bean which is a direct translation from Chinese.
    The Bean Spouts often found in Chinese stir fry / Thai Pad Tai is the sprout of Mung Bean.

    What you mean “green bean” actually is this

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mung_bean

    Green Bean in English means a vegetable, by no means the same thing as the Chinese “green bean” used to make desert.

    This is Green Bean
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_bean

    I do agree with you that the Sweet Soup made by Mung Beans is a great treat, especially for Summer with the refrigerated version. However please use proper English names before you give the information.

    I would suggest you to do a bit of google translate from Chinese to English to find the Proper Names for what you mean in Chinese, so not to mislead and not to inadvertently make Chinese looks bad.

  31. 17 month IF here-never felt better. I clean fast with Black Coffee and water only. I started it right after reading Delay Don’t Deny. It’s so easy for the long term. Not a diet but a way of life. Fasting is perfect for long travel days when there’s only junk around. And then we indulge the next day when we reach our destination. Glad you are enjoying it!

  32. Super simple and tasty raw-vegan banana bread:

    1 cup walnuts
    1 cup pecans
    2 cups oats
    4 stoneless dates
    1 ripe banana

    Mix all the ingredients in a food processor, and lay the contents on a baking tray.

    That’s it, no need to cook and really delicious.
    Can be kept in the fridge or frozen to keep for longer.

    (Never thought this is a tip I’d be giving at OMAAT.)

  33. Here’s a “healthy” dessert for a German-American: Rote Grütze! Basically, it’s like a fruit pudding, and it has very little sugar. Definitely serve it with cream – it just takes a couple of tablespoons per serving. There are plenty of recipes online, such as https://www.internationaldessertsblog.com/german-rote-grutze-red-berry-dessert-with-cream/. (My German grandmother used to make this a lot, sometimes even using the fruit pulp left over from making jelly from the blackberries she picked herself (with grandkids’ help) by the side of the road. That’s the ultimate in frugality. But you can use regular fruit.)

    Fruit salad is another relatively healthy dessert. The key ingredients are oranges, bananas, apples, a tablespoon or two of fresh lemon juice, and a few spoons of sugar. Cut the fruit into small pieces (leave the skin on the apples), add any other fruit you like (berries, grapes, pears, peaches, literally anything), let it sit for an hour for the flavors to meld, and prepare to become addicted. (Sometimes I toss in some nuts. Pomegranate seeds are also nice.)

  34. Make shashuka for breakfast or brunch.

    2 peppers – red, orange, yellow whatever
    1 onion
    1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (or cut up your own)
    spices are tpically chili, paprika, corianfer, salt, peer
    herbs add parsley, cilantro and or mint
    cook on stop then crack 6 eggs on top, put a lid and let simmer till desired doneness

  35. I’m embarrassed to say this but I’m loving this quarantine thing. It gives me an excuse as to why I don’t go out there and see what’s going on in the world. I’m a true homebody, so other than not being able to help my mom with housework and seeing my friends for girls’ night out every month or so, not much has changed. I only ever go to 3-4 different stores/restaurants anyway. I’m a lousy cook and I hate cooking, but like many others here, I’m now a cook, its my no. 1 priority in the day now, I’m trying out all these new recipes and most of it is pretty good. I’m now an expert at bread baking. Everything in the house is spotless (it always is anyways) and we’ll have the garden ready to go quicker than any other time. It could stay like this forever and I’d be fine.
    @Dina LaPoint: shakshuka is on the menu this week. I was going to make it last week but I didn’t have any feta. Most recipes I see call for crumbled feta.

  36. Great article, Lucky! I have always admired your ability to find the positive aspect of any situation (except perhaps for travel on TAAG Angola where the only positives may have been successful takeoffs and landings).

    My wife and I have been traveling internationally with our daughter since she was 4 months old (she’s now 11), and when the quarantine was imposed in our state it warranted the cancellation of several upcoming trips. I’m an avid cook and make meals from scratch 6 out of 7 days a week. To feed our insatiable hunger for travel at a time when it is simply not prudent, there’s a new ritual in our home: Every Sunday I sit down with my daughter, armed with a globe and a computer. She closes her eyes while I spin the globe six different times. Wherever her finger touches (on land of course) dictates which six cuisines we will research and emulate over the next six days. No country may be repeated so in the event of a repeat we simply pick the next country alphabetically. Yemen posed a challenge but the toughest by far was North Korea (We fudged the result and opted for South Korea). Not sure what to do when we run out of countries. Start over, I suppose.

    Thanks for always being the voice and the face of wanderlust in our family! It’s likely because of you that my daughter’s life goal is to fly for Air France (last year they allowed her to stay in the cockpit for our landing in Paris which was life changing!)

  37. I started fasting two years ago. I only do it twice weekly and go 20 hours (that’s the max before starvation and your body starts metabolizing muscle). Other days I go about 12 hours never eating past 8pm. Mostly, I have not drastically changed diet but have developed a much smaller appetite. I lost 25 lbs the first 6 months and have maintained it. I still drink alcohol but again never past 8. Day drinking is actually healthier.

  38. Hi Ben — At the end of the day, for nearly every diet (including intermittent fasting), it is all about Calories In/Calories Out. For example, I have been on the Nutrisystem diet since early October. For men, it is a 1500 calorie diet a day and you eat 6 times a day. They also provide most of the food you eat each month (22 of 30 days). So instead of bunching up your calorie allocation in an 8 hour period, you can spread it out over the course of the day. Nutrisystem is all about portion control and calorie counting. I was skeptical about it for a very long time but finally bit the bullet and I’ve lost 6 inches around my waist with another 3-4 to go — and my seasonal dawn biking starts later this week (when temps get above 60 at Dawn) so I am exciting to watch the rest of the weight drop off by August. Ultimately, it is about finding something that works for you — which it appears that you have — with the bonus of Ford — so keep it up! Congratulations!

  39. Next step to eating healthy? Get rid of your Microwave, or at least start using it to store wax paper, saran wrap, etc., in.

  40. Let me start by saying – do you have any idea how lucky you are (pun not intended)? A husband who likes cooking???

    Anyway, up until 20 mins ago I was convinced I was convinced that thanks to my Instant Pot, I was fast becoming a domestic goddess – my lunch convinced me otherwise.

    As to sweet things that are healthy, I make the muffins below but make the following changes to the recipe:
    (1) Instead of fresh blueberries I used frozen raspberries
    (2) I cook them in the oven instead of instant pot (I actually like the muffin top)
    (3) Also I leave out the coconut oil and use 3 eggs. I would like to tell you that this is because I am an expert cook, but it is actually because well cooking is not really my thing and I skipped that line in the recipe. Bizarrely they tasted ok. Lastly for the sweetener I use “monk fruit”. I had never heard of it until a few weeks ago.

    https://www.ditchthecarbs.com/instant-pot-blueberry-muffins/

    Full disclosure I have coeliac disease and according to one of my friends I can not be trusted when it comes to saying things like muffins are nice. I do think these are.

    Lastly this is my favourite recipe site. Love the rendang (takes a while to prepare). I have coeliac disease and find their recipes really easy to modify. https://www.pressurecookrecipes.com/instant-pot-beef-rendang/

    BTW the person who mentioned Shakshuka above is correct – it is awesome and easy to make (although I did once set off the smoke detectors).

  41. This is an inspiring post – thank you! One thing that is also fun is watching cooking shows, like Gordon Ramsey, on the Art of Cooking; a beautiful lifelong hobby
    cheers!

  42. Paleo Running Momma’s blog has an awesome skillet chocolate chip cookie recipe I love. I replace all the sugars with unsweetened applesauce (I think it’s a half cup if I remember correctly). I don’t have a cast iron skillet so I cook it about 20-25 minutes in a baking dish (I use corningware). I like a more done crust, so less time if you want it chewier. I also have used half or 3/4 of the chocolate chips listed and it is still excellent and full of chocolate. You can also just mix the ingredients with a whisk if you don’t have a mixer. It just takes a few minutes longer.

  43. It’s great that you’re cooking and running, those are both things that have helped me through this period. I always cooked intermittently, but now I’m doing it for basically all of my meals and I feel like I’ve finally gotten into a groove with a fully stocked pantry that will make it easier to continue this habit as things move back to normal. I feel much more satisfied with what I eat now than before when I was ordering a lot of takeout, although I do miss eating in restaurants.

    As for running, I’m not sure why you say you can’t do it when you travel. Maybe it can’t be at the same time every day, but I try to run whenever I travel and find it’s a great way to get to know a new place/city. It kind of combines site-seeing with exercise, and I often scout places that might look cool to check out later in the trip. I also find it’s a great way to fight jet lag.

  44. Been intermittent fasting for many years. All I want in the morning is a cup of black coffee, and I’ve adjusted to burning fat until mid-day — no hunger pangs, no donut cravings.

    My 8 hour window runs 1PM-9PM, and definitely includes cocktail hour and wine with dinner. IF refers only to hours of consumption, not restricting alcohol, which in moderation actually contributes to heart health.

  45. I enjoyed the update, but I’m disappointed your dad doesn’t call you Benny in his texts.

  46. Take a one step Angel food cake mix. Add a 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple. Bake according to the to the package instructions. I prefer this angel food cake to the original. I normally serve with fresh fruit and a little whipping cream.

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