Pictures are my iPhone’s account of my recent produce mission
A few months ago I decided to sign up with a local food co-op that delivers produce called The Produce Box. There are various in my area, but this company delivers to a number of my neighbors and my BFF is a long-time, very satisfied customer.
Why did I join and take the produce challenge? I am a Pescatarian (eat vegetarian most of the time and will eat fish from time to time) and did not want to become one of those folks who eats Tofurky, Tofu, frozen veggie stuff and EVERYTHING pasta. Nothing against anyone that does this, but as I travel and climb everywhere comes the responsibility of taking care of myself. I am a Director of Strategic Development at work; in fact, my co-worker tells me I belong in the 70s because I am a ‘dreamer’. And she is right. So I put my strategic hat on and started thinking…what can I do to force myself to ingest at about 90% of pure solid nutrients in my body? I came up with the idea of joining The Produce Box because for about $18-24, I get delivered to my doorstep a box full of locally grown produce and fruits. Then I plan my grocery shopping around the contents of the box.
Taking this challenge on has changed my life, and here is a summary of some of the many benefits I have reaped from going produce crazy.
Lose Lots of Weight – After my divorce years ago, I went from tiny crazy skinny to kind of chunky, but very happy. I climb, hike, workout, and never on the couch but always on the go. Annual PEs are perfect. So why lose weight back to that tiny crazy skinny, but unhappy chick? Well, in the mission to only get solid nutrients in my body, I have lost to date 26 pounds. I am not dieting, or on any fad diet like Paleo, just eating lots of veggies, lots of fruits and very little overly processed or prepared food. I try to prepare everything from scratch. Imagine a box full of produce and cooking around it. I am sometimes so full that I no longer have the room for Starbucks scones, frozen ‘healthy’ lunches, and such. And with that I see it this way…by ingesting natural and wholesome foods, my body is slowly re-adjusting itself to where it wants to be, whatever that is. At the moment, I am 26 pounds lighter than just a few months ago and I know it will plateau, and when it does, that means to me that is where my body wants to be.
Save Lots More Moolah – I used to run by Starbucks every morning and get a Grande Toffee Nut Soy Latte and cranberry scone or pumpkin loaf. That alone cost me about $210 per month. Then I also would get Lean Cuisines and such for each day, which cost me about $40 to 50 per month. Then I also would snack on various fat free and low fat goodies like baked chips, ‘natural’ cookies, and such. That cost me about $200 per month. I also would get micro-brew beer, which cost me about $36 per month. After that, eating out, and other items, I lost count at about $500 to $600 per month, Good Lord! Now, on average I pay $20 per week for my produce box. I then supplement my produce delivery with quinoa, wheat rice, bags of raw beans, nuts, other fruits, and veggies on sale, Greek yogurt (or sometimes I just make my own), and such. When I started this mission, I bought ingredients and natural foods (bags of different kinds of whole beans, quinoa, etc.) in bulk and have not replenished that inventory yet. Thus, with this new effort I am taking on, my current spending including The Produce Box delivery, I spend about $300 per month, at least ½ of what I used to spend!
Make Lots of Smarter Food Choices – Well as of recent, I try to be home a few weeks, then I travel for a few days or week for work (plus destination climb). So the test was what do I do when I travel? Just feeling stronger, energized, and healthy has motivated me to make smarter choices. When I travel for work, I pick a hotel that is cost efficient, but has a tiny fridge. When I land, I hit the grocery store and I buy a bucket of Greek yogurt (only about $3.00), raspberries or blue berries (immune booster + require no cutting, just wash and throw in). I make my granola, so I just bring a sandwich bag of this to add. I bring my camping foldable bowl and that is what I eat for breakfast. I also buy a bag of apples and grapes (cause I love them both!) and make it a goal to finish my entire fruit inventory by the end of my trip. For lunch, I either try to eat Sushi or go to the local Whole Foods and build my own salad. Or go to a Jason’s deli or Panera and get a hearty salad. For dinners, I pick places that have grilled or blackened fish choices and good veggie side choices. For instance, I recently took a client out and I ate 6 oz. grilled tuna, accompanied with sautéed spinach, and steamed broccoli. Why even go through the trouble? It forces me to plan and think about what I eat and strategize how I am going to accomplish that. Also, after a few weeks of filling my body with nutrients, I don’t want to follow with a week full of filling my body with junk. When I travel, I need the nutrients, especially immune boosting foods even MORE. I also drink a ton more water and well limit the beer to hardly any and if I need some alcohol fix, I now go to my roots and drink Spanish red wine.
Get Lots of Energy – One of the various reasons I even started this challenge was I have a friend who eats very little meat, if any. And for a year she has had low energy and vitamin B deficiencies. As a destination climber and just work traveler, I found that I needed to give attention to my body, because I too was starting to feel worn out all the time. Now, I have lots more energy and can sustain long travel and climbing days without feeling like I was just hit by a Mack truck. I do have my days that I just need to sleep in or rest because I am always on the go, but I don’t feel ragged all the time anymore. I have a pretty strict and time condensed climbing training workout and have surprisingly gotten so much stronger than I ever have been and I attribute a big part of this to what I put in my body.
Open my tummy to new things – The Produce Box has opened my eyes and tummy to new veggies. All kinds of goodies and as someone who loves to cook, I come up with all kinds of recipes to make my veggie journey a yummy one. In the last few months, I have eaten so many different kinds of veggies than I have in my life or at least if feels that way! Doing this has opened up my mind to explore not just every and any veggie, but to look at what I get nutrient wise out of every veggie and fruit choice I injest. Which ones have protein, which ones are immune boosters, and such.
Improve Lots on Climbing – I injured my finger last fall (not even climbing) and it put me out almost a year from climbing anything difficult. Well I decided to use the gym to train vs. to attempt to crush. And my BFF took on that challenge with me. We closely research every and any workout, we dissect skills needed for any climbing move or terrain and try to figure out how to simulate that in the gym, we tried to focus on both local and power endurance, and so on and so on. We construct our workouts in advance so that when we arrive at the gym, we have a set workout for every session. We give ourselves about 2 hours to jam pack a workout in. I feel that helps us focus and plus my BFF is a mom of 3 boys, so efficiency with time is critical for her. At first, we could hardly get even through a workout without feeling exhausted and to be honest, we struggled to even finish it. Now, we are fitter than ever and much smarter climbers. And with the weight loss, happy body, and rejuvenated energy levels, I maximize my 2 climbing workouts per week. Overall, I am a much stronger, efficient, and smarter climber today than before I was injured, and I attribute much of it to my insanity produce mission (haha).
This post is not about telling everyone to take on the produce challenge like I have. But rather to inspire everyone through my story that any effort, big or small to love your body makes a difference in the long term. I admit, it takes time, energy and effort, but well worth it. Always check in with your doctor anytime you plan on changing eating habits. I ran my idea with my primary care physician, and of course he was all for it, but also checked in with me every so many weeks to make sure I was ok.
At the end of the day, you make your journey what you want it to be. Mine is travel, climb all kinds of terrain all over the world, hike, and explore outdoors. In order to achieve my Climbingjourney dreams and goals, I realized I needed a happy and healthy body and soul. I had to take a step back and reflect on how nice I was being to the vessel that makes my Climbingjourney possible. Hope this inspires everyone like it has me!
Lastly, giving a shout out to The Produce Box (www.theproducebox.com), the awesome produce co-op group that helps me achieve my healthy body goals possible!