Recipe weirdness and overcoming health obstacles

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I’ve had an odd couple of weeks. I won’t go into gory details, but work has been more annoying and stressful than usual. I really feel sometimes like I’m fighting a losing battle for the cause of rational thinking.¬†Which is why I’m trying to focus on building this meal plan service and create lots of recipes that people will love. And I’m making some headway…more on that shortly.

First, I wanted to talk about my experience with the stress I’ve been dealing with, how it affected my health and my epiphany about feeling better.

Someone who reads this may say, “Duh, obviously.” But hopefully you’ll realize that when you’re inside a situation, sometimes it’s more difficult to take a step back and come up with a solution.

You may remember that a few weeks ago when I started my October Challenge I wasn’t feeling well. I wasn’t sure what was going on. The first week I had an upset stomach and it prevented me from exercising. I thought maybe it was from something I ate, or the exercise itself. But I sensed it was different.

Last week, I was still having a hard time exercising. My stomach was better, but I had aches and pains all over. I felt really tired, and I started to wonder if I was instead having a flare-up from my chronic condition.

Then one morning, after a particularly horrible few days at work and going to bed with a massive migraine, I woke up. I didn’t feel great. But it was less than 70 degrees outside so I decided to hop on my road bike. I just took a short ride, maybe 25 minutes. But I felt a million times better when I got back, my thinking was clearer and I was able to face another workday that I was dreading.

Moral of the story: stress can do a lot of damage. Managing that stress through exercise, meditation, or whatever else works for you can be a lifesaver (I know—DUH. But I figured if I needed a little reminder, maybe someone else does too).

The recipe that isn’t

As part of my meal plan business that’s in the works, I’m trying to find simple, but unique ways to combine ingredients. After coming home from my bike ride, I needed to re-fuel and wanted something quick, so I threw some random stuff together. I didn’t measure (I usually don’t) and I didn’t photograph it (because it looked so weird that you probably wouldn’t want to try it), but here’s what I did anyway in case you’re feeling adventurous:

  • Brown rice pasta
  • Coconut milk (from a carton)
  • Cashew cheese (store-bought; it was kind of like a cheese spread that was just alright by itself)
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg
  • Sliced hearts of palm
  • Pumpkin seeds (I probably should have left those out)

What I ended up with was kind of a creamy pumpkin-soupy type sauce with some pasta. I don’t know that either the hearts of palm or the pumpkin seeds added or took away from anything. But they were there and it seemed like the thing to do at the time. And I ate the whole thing so it must not have been that bad. I’ll probably revisit this and do some modification before I call it an official “recipe.”

Meal planning

After trying a few different ways to build a questionnaire that will help me customize a meal plan, I finally settled on a format I like. I had a few people test it out for me and the feedback has been good about the user-friendliness and comprehensiveness. It even gives me feedback about how long it takes to complete (an average of 21 minutes).

The minute I see the answers, the wheels start turning and I get some ideas. Of course, I have been creating and customizing recipes for myself for at least two decades, so I have some practice.

My first client is a good friend of mine. In exchange for her feedback I’ll be providing the service for free. And since she lives in town, I’ll probably go grocery shopping with her, too and maybe we’ll even cook a few recipes together.

My offer still stands for those who want to take advantage of my testing period. I will give you three customized recipes at no charge (1 breakfast and 2 lunch/dinners) in return for evaluating the service and possibly providing a testimonial. This will be open to a limited number of people. Once I’m officially open for business if you’d like to get a full meal plan, I’ll give you a discount.


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