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yoga & my crock pot

One of the things I learned in Weight Watchers was to pre-plan and prepare meals ahead of time. Now, while I always admired people who were organized enough to do that, it wasn’t something that I ever actually tried to do very often for myself. I was always too busy. Oh, sometimes I’d go through a phase but it never lasted beyond a week. But during the time that I was loosing that burdensome 60 pounds, it became an essential tool, and it worked very well. I was working 1/2 days and I had the afternoons to browse cook books and decide what I wanted to make. I would make big crock pots of stew or soup  I would get two suppers for us plus 5 lunches for me out of each crock-pot creation. Luckily, I am happy to eat the same thing several days in a row.  My crock pot soups were a staple in our diet. My weight loss journey, like my balance journey was moving forward, sometimes going gangbusters and sometimes wobbling a bit, but staying strong throughout – relying on new habits and tools – like crock pot chili and my new yoga practice.

If you’ll indulge me, I can relate this to my yoga practice.  Yes, I can! I think of this phase as being in Warrior II. Feet firmly rooted, legs strong. Arms long and reaching, chest open – powerful and grounded. Stable and steady. Knowing there was someplace to move forward towards. Moving forwards towards Warrior I. Hips square off to the front foot. Arms reach overhead. I’m a little wobbly at first, but soon begin to settle down and feel strong again. Relying on the strength of my core and my legs. Knowing that they were there for me because I had built the habit of my morning practice. Like the habit of pre-planning my meals, I could rely on that.

Then my 1/2 days ended and my job reverted to full-time. Okay – I knew that this was happening. I knew which day it was happening on. But somehow, I didn’t plan for it. The first day, Kelly and I looked at each other and said “what’s for supper?” Aaak! There was nothing pre-planned. So we had soup and sandwiches. And again the next day. And the next. We started to look at each other in panic every morning and I would say, “just take something out of the freezer and we’ll figure it out tonight.” I gained 8 of my lost discarded pounds back in what felt like over night. Because not pre-planning means more than settling for a hurried dinner, it means that when I walk through the door at the end of the day, I can’t rely on knowing that a nutritious, point-friendly meal is only minutes away. So I start to snack while I figure out what I’m going to cook for supper. That’s a meal-worth of snacking while I’m making dinner. It also means I don’t have lunches planned for the week. And that means dashing around in the morning, getting stressed because I don’t know what I’m taking for lunch. Making me late and grumpy.

Yes, something was seriously out of balance in the meal department. It took me until this morning to figure out what it was. So, this morning, I stood in my nightgown in my sun-filled kitchen and started chopping vegetables. I filled my crock pot with whatever I could find in my fridge and cupboards and I made a chili. This will be 2 suppers and 5 lunches for the week plus some for the freezer. Later today I will look in the freezer and decide what I need from the store to make another meal that will do for 3 more suppers for the week. I put the knife down and stand in mountain pose for a moment, feeling balance flood through me. Feeling okay for the week ahead.

Warrior III –  my standing leg is rooted deep into the earth as place my hands on my hips, lean forward and lift my back leg straight out from the hip, my flexed foot reaching through the heel. My hands stretch out to the sides, then forward. I am a plane, flying. I tip and wobble. I touch the wall for balance, I touch my toe back down for balance. I try again. How long can I hold the pose each time? I practice and keep trying. I know that I will eventually hold it strong and true. I have the tools. I have prepared for this moment. My heel reaches strong to the back – to the past. My standing leg is strongly rooted into the ground – into the present. My hands reach forward to the future.

Today’s chili happens to be vegan:
black beans (1 can)
diced tomatoes (2 cans)
chopped carrots (approx. 2 cups)
1 medium chopped zucchini
1 double handful chopped mushrooms
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
4  “use-today-or-throw-away” tomatoes found in the back of the fridge
2 T chili powder (I like my chili mild)

Put everything into a 15-quart crock pot. Cook on low most of the day. Don’t make it too liquidy because the vegetables will cook down and make their own juice. You can pretty much throw in whatever vegetables you have in the fridge – especially ones that need to get used up quickly (like my tomatoes). Serve with rice. If fact, do like I do and make a big pot of rice and store it in the fridge – reheating portions as needed during the week.

Enjoy!

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