Fresh Food

Just about the only fresh thing around here these days is snow and beer. 

Twelve-hour shifts that are really more like 13 hours... lack of sleep, desire to see friends, meet people, get outside to enjoy the rock, the snow, the sun and the beautiful, incredible crazy landscapes of Lander.

I do not want to be home cooking period. I don't want to commit to the time and effort it takes. But I do know that I need to take care of myself to stay healthy, strong, and alive in spirit.

Use time then. To my advantage. And commit to not having to be perfect.

So… here goes... a few tricks to eating and cooking- as a single woman who works night shifts and loves getting out… and who wants to keep body, mind and spirit healthy.

#1- DON'T make eating out a daily habit. That is a recipe for weight gain and poor health. I cannot stress enough how important it is to cook your own food. I cook my own food to take care of myself in the most basic way- my health. When I cook my own food I eat the result, simple as that. Eating out means I have no idea who cooked my food, what ingredients and oils they use, how fresh those ingredients are, what pots they use, and how they even feel about cooking what they are serving.

#2- DON'T buy or eat packaged food, quick dinners, cereals, frozen pizzas… they are expensive and full of junk. Processed food is not real food. Eat real food. Simple.

#3- DON'T drink soda to keep awake through the night… or to get through anything for that matter. Tea, coffee, or chocolate milk are better choices if the desperation is so great that you are ready to sell your soul to the devil and go for the coke. DON'T DO IT. Soda will eat away at your bones and make them brittle. You will be the future patient with osteoporosis, diabetes and obesity.

#4- DON'T be afraid of breads and flat breads. They do serve a purpose. Bread has been around for a few thousand years- there is a reason it has lived for so long. Real, whole grain bread and flat breads taste amazing and are incredibly nourishing.

#5- DO go for quality when eating out. Lander Bar burgers. Fresh meat slaughtered just a few miles from here. Cooked by friends, and served by friends. Local business, local food. Good stuff.

#6- DO use baby-salads. I started buying baby spinach, kale, arugula. Just because I can take a bunch of it and shove it into pretty much any sandwich I make for the night shift or the crag: hummus, chicken, cheese… on whole-wheat bread- with butter. Done.

#7- DO use a crock pot. Yes. I never thought I'd be using one. But, courtesy of Matt Saunders, a fellow nurse and climber…I now own one. And so I use it. Put Farro, lentils, chicken stock… and let it cook as I go somewhere. Or white beans and barley… chick peas with brown rice… chicken with vegetables for chicken stock… pretty much anything I want to turn into... soup.

#8- DO use a cast iron skillet. I heats fast, and cooks fast. I sautée pretty much all vegetables (except tomatoes) in it, in order to add that umpf… a good coating of oil, salt and raw heat that gives veggies their incredible taste. Use the cast iron to quickly turn onions a golden color, sear carrots and potatoes, leeks and kale… and garlic of course. And eggs, tortillas…

#9- DO stay away from candy, sweets and dessert- especially when working through the night. Sugar will not only make me and you fat, it will make me- and you- sick. There is no place for white refined sugar in a solid daily diet- sugar is for celebrating. For special times. Not for every day.

#10- DO buy "easy" vegetables. That way you will be more likely to actually eat them, instead of letting them rot away in the fridge. Radishes, carrots, peppers, cilantro, parsley… those are all vegetables that I can grab and toss into pretty much anything. A sandwich, rice an beans, a soup… or my purse. For the road.

#11- Eat little. Better to be hungry than full. Hungry and alert beats full and sleepy.


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