For those of you not living in the brain-injured world, let me dish you out a big ol’ scoop of TBI reality. TBI life is hog-wild, bonanza-style, off-the-wall, gone-bananas… craaaaaazy. Yea. It’s like that. Therefore, in the past 18 months, I have learned that the more I can simplify our day to day existence, the better of the two of us will be. Millions of people all over the world have been moving towards minimalism in the recent decades, and I can think of no better place to embrace this way of life than two people co-existing with TBI.
Patrick and I are hoping to eventually downsize our lives to create even more simplicity, but this week we took a small step towards simplification, specifically having to do with our meals. We have been trying, and at times succeeding at eating healthy, whole, nutritious foods together. But then it always seems that TBI life, with all its many demands, derails us off our track.
This is what our so called “meal planning” has looked like for months. I would stock up on plenty of plant-based foods, with intentions of making luscious recipes. But just about every day we’d be out of the house for most of it, driving to therapy & doctor’s appointments, running errands, or going to gigs. Sometimes we’d prepare a meal ahead of time and bring it with us, but usually we wouldn’t have time to do that either. We were always just chasing our tails, running here and there. We’d come home exhausted and ravenous, and dive into some junk food while I’d end up cooking. We’d eat late and eat too much. Or worse, we’d just stop and eat at Wawa, or at a restaurant.
We were spending WAY too much money that we simply don’t have eating out. All in all, we couldn’t seem to get and stay on a good healthy track, and we were going broke. Sadly, food had just become a hassle. And for an italian girl with a heart that loves to cook, this really was a tragedy of epic proportions.
SOOOO… this week I decided to try something new. Yesterday, I took 3 hours out of the afternoon and I prepared 14 lunches and 14 dinners. All of them gluten free, made from whole foods, and totally yummy!!! It was exhausting… but very satisfying to know that I was doing something that was going to benefit us throughout the whole week!
We’re talking GF breaded chicken with quinoa and broccoli…..
Sweet Potato Mash, GF mac & cheese, and organic applesauce….
And of course… we have my favorite… Zucchini Pizza Boats!! (mmmm yes).
For lunch I made a variety of amazing salads for us. I mixed up the lettuce to keep things interesting. I made spinach salad with fresh berries, raspberry glazed almonds and goat cheese, italian salad with romaine, locatelli cheese, roasted red pepper and olives…. kale salad with dried cherries and pine nuts… and a veggie power salad with just about everything veggie I had in the kitchen leftover!!! I felt quite a sensation of pride looking at my nicely stocked fridge, looking over what I had accomplished!
So you’re probably wondering… how’s it been going? Well, it’s only Tuesday and our lives have been 100% more sane in just two days than they were prior. We wake up and eat a smoothie made with whole superfood raw powdered greens, and then begin our day of therapy. By the time lunch rolls around, all we have to do is reach in for a pre-made salad, add dressing and it’s go-time! Today we went to the boardwalk and ate lunch there. We had an extra hour to spend together enjoying the weather, instead of spending it cooking and then cleaning up the kitchen! I may have even made some homemade trail mix to boot 🙂
We came home from therapy today ( Patrick kicked major boo-tay btw) and instead of staring into the fridge starving… we pulled out our pre-made zucchini pizza boats, popped them in the oven and in 10 minutes we had a completely scrumptious meal. I was so inspired by the way it felt to eat so healthy that I used that stored up energy to make us some homemade chocolate/banana ice cream 🙂
This thursday Patrick is having tissue-expanion surgery. It is the first step in a 2 month process of reconstructing his head, after his emergency craniotomy was performed a few days post-injury. We are staying in a hotel tomorrow night. I’ll be there Thursday night as well while he stays in the hospital to recover. In the past we would’ve easily spent $75 on food because we’d have probably got dinner tomorrow night, breakfast in the morning, I’d have bought dinner tomorrow night, breakfast in the morning and we may have eaten a meal out on the way home. But thanks to our trusty cooler and tupperware meals, we won’t spend a dime or ruin our diet.
Its SO important for a brain-injured person to eat a diet that will support brain healing. And it’s equally as important for caregivers too!!! So I am suped. And as I watched Patrick gobbling up his pizza boats tonight, I have to say that I don’t think he has any complaints either. There are many perks to dating an Italian girl. But her fabuloso in the kitchen? Well… that’s just magnifico!:)