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Waitress/baker in search of food


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So I have a bit of a dilemma, and I am aware that a significant portion of this post will be me whining so I do hope you suffer my self-pity and find it in you to offer me some advice.


My husband and I opened a bakery in October and are still getting used to our daily habit changes. For the first half of my day I am surrounded by cupcakes, brownies, cookies and the occasional scone. It's our slow season so I've got a lot of time to myself but I can't go anywhere or do anything outside of the building on the off chance we have a customer. We have an oven but no stovetop, and a microwave, as well as a fridge and freezer.


The second part of my day I'm at my restaurant job, which at first glance would be an improvement because at least there's some healthy foods inherently available, but the cuisine we serve is not one that I'm crazy about and I struggle to find meals that the kitchen is willing to make for me and I actually want to eat. (also even with my discount the ticket totals are ridiculous- I quite honestly am not sure why anyone eats our food (but I'm sure glad they do!))


So between both jobs I'm working 14+ hours a day, and I try to

a) get a workout in each morning


B) get 8ish hours of sleep a night (you don't want to see me when I'm tired)


I've been doing yogurt or homemade juice for breakfast, more juice, a cookie, or (very rarely) leftovers for lunch, and whatever I can get at the restaurant or nothing for dinner. Because that's a really sensible & sustainable diet. *sarcasm* I can feel myself running down, but I think I'm at the point where prepping food in any form feels like too much expended energy. So my question is this: what foods can I easily introduce into my diet to start getting ahead of this slump I'm in? I do have a couple evenings off a week I could prep food, I just feel so directionless and bleh that I end up doing pasta and Pinteresting on the couch with my dogs instead.


If you've made it this far, I thank you for hanging in there with me, and any thoughts you have on how to turn this corner I'm facing. 

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Pinterest is a dangerous, dangerous addiction. ;)


I think it depends on what kind of diet you're aiming for - canned meat works well in a pinch, if you want to up your protein intake easily.  

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Honestly I have this thing going where I feel like I 'should' eat mostly fruits and veggies, lean meats and steer clear of starches for the most part. The thing is, I don't feel very well when I try doing that; I get lightheaded, nauseous, almost as if my body burns right through the 'healthy' foods. Some toast with peanut butter helps in those situations, but rice or pasta usually fixes me right up. It's almost as if I 'run' better on a more carb-heavy diet? It's very possible it's more of an addiction thing but I don't have the time or resources to 'detox' through a carb addiction. I'd like to do something with a vegetarian spin to it, but whole foods is really my priority.

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It could be that you need a transition period, or you're not eating enough veggies/lean meats/etc.


I'm going to put this out as a disclaimer first: I'm not a dietitian.  These are my amateur opinions and impressions from reading, personal experience, and some trial and error.


Going back and re-reading your current diet made me cringe a little.  For the amount of work you're doing during the day - just being on your feet and active, you should be eating more; certainly for breakfast, at a minimum.


What is this home made juice?  My first impression is that you're running on easily convertible glucose; a caloric version of high-turnover.  You're constantly active, burning large amounts of calories, so the sugar in the carbs and juice are converted quickly to refuel drained glycogen stores.


Which would account for why you get light-headed and nauseous when you try to switch over to protein and veggies, which don't convert as quickly to glucose.  Basically, your body is in a "low blood sugar" state - which would balance out eventually, once the meat and veggies get digested, but that isn't exactly feasible for your current lifestyle.


Is there a point in your life where you can see yourself having time to tinker with your diet and not risk dropping all the plates you're juggling now?

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When I look objectively at my diet I'm pretty amazed I'm not feeling the effects more than I am. I know I'm going to need to start force feeding myself, otherwise getting to a balanced diet just isn't going to happen.

So funny story about the juice, it actually keeps me feeling full and clear-headed more than something like oatmeal or cereal. I'd love to replace it with fried eggs and toast but I only seem to have enough time to make it, not eat it, which is where the juice has the advantage. I tried green smoothies for a while, thinking the fiber that wasn't removed in the juicing process would make it even more filling and possibly higher calorie. Not so in my experience. I would experience that crash you described, sometimes I was in such a low blood sugar nosedive I'd throw up after eating real foods.

I'm hoping by this October/November I'll be in more of a position to focus on food, by then the bakery should have its feet under it and could support reduced hours at the restaurant. But only if I survive summer tourist season first!

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Have you tried protein powder?  Or "meal replacement" drinks?  


Not necessarily as a transition, but as a viable supplement to what you're eating now?

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A decent breakfast designed for long release of energy could be triple helpful with your situation. It could help you even out your energy supply while keeping you satiated during your early-day exposure to cupcakes. A breakfast very high in protein with a decent amount of fat and fiber could accomplish this. Staying away from fast carbs while also make your more resilient to snacking on other fast carbs (cupcakes). Carb meals leave you feeling empty and suddenly out of energy an hour after eating, driving you to snack some more. If you can develop a strategy that will allow your willpower to coast through your bakery half day, I think the rest might be very easy.


It really does sound like you have some carb addiction that Ive also had past experience with. Its a cycle of insulin resistance and and fast depleted energy. Your body demands energy, your mind thinks carbs, you eat carbs, its gets digested quickly and all at once, your functional body accepts some but is insulin resistant and sends most of it elsewhere (fat cells), your half fed muscles and organs quickly deplete and the carbs are already gone, you get hungry again and the carbs will quickly address that problem, repeat. Like with most addictions, changing the habit is not easy, but once you kick it, things are much better.


Smoothies, juice, or liquid calories of any kind will work against you. They are digested very quickly and will leave you in a crash. Juice in particular is basically sugar-water. For breakfast try a meaty, cheesy, and veggie filled omelete or hash of some sort. Make it big. Scarf down what you can, and bring the leftovers to work. You own the bakery, perhaps you can roast the meat and veggies for the next day in your ovens? Store in a container and micro before throwing into the omelette the next morning. If you must have carbs, try a low glycemic, high fiber source like sweet potatoes (purple, not orange). Eat it with your fats and protein to further lower the glycemic response. Fats, protein, and fiber all will slow the digestion of carbs and will make you less prone to crashing and cupcake snacking.

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-Egg casseroles or muffins can be made ahead of time and reheated in the AM. 

-Try fridge oats instead of the yogurt - I use full fat greek yogurt + milk as my liquid. As long as there's no fresh fruit in them, you can make about 3 days worth in advance (you can add fruit the night before if you want. I like frozen fruit in mine - cheaper and easier.

-Super easy meal prep ideas: grill or bake a bunch of chicken. Marinades can be as simple as lemon juice and olive oil. Bake some potatoes or sweet potatoes. Better yet, cut some potatoes into chunks and put them in a baking dish with other hearty veggies, and lay the marinaded chicken on top - bake till it's all done. Meatballs are easy to make in big batches, freeze well, are versatile, and it's easy to heat up one or two at a time for quick snacking on the go. 

-Frozen, steam-able bags of veggies are a little pricey but can be worth it if you're not into cooking or short on time. You can also get similar bags of rice with few added ingredients (skip sugary or cheesy sauces). Stock your freezer with those at the bakery. If you can bring yourself a chicken breast, steam a bag of veggies, and sprinkle on some lemon pepper or similar spice mix, you've got a very quick and healthy meal in a pinch.

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I see it's nearly 6 weeks since you posted that, tbug - how are you getting on?


I have similar work patterns to you, and I find the following helpful:


Cartons of eggs. Microwave at the bakery (and/or at restaurant), nuke scrambled eggs. Egg keeps me full a pretty long time. Cook it with coconut oil or butter, even longer. Boiled eggs - bring them to the boil, reduce heat, go and get a shower/do a 20 min workout/the laundry etc, come back, flood with cold water, leave for the day if you want, come back, fish out and put back in egg box, keep in fridge and take to work when necessary - easy food.


As someone else suggested, those freezer individual portions of steamfresh veg. if you can keep them at the bakery, even better, you don't have to remember to get them out/worry about them getting soggy! good with scrambled egg ;)


While we're talking ready prepared veg, meet ready prepared salad, or as near as damn as. Not sure if you're in the US or somewhere else, but here in the UK you can buy bags of ready prepared washed and chopped salad. More expensive than preparing it at home, less expensive and tiresome than getting the chefs to make you a salad. add your choice of protein - cheese, (ooh, how about keeping some individual portions of hard cheese in the fridge at the bakery?), meat, eggs, beans or pulses.... 


if ready prepared salad isn't an option or it's useby date makes it no good, then keep a veggie bowl like others keep a fruit bowl, but in your fridge. Cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes, celery, they're all really minimal to prepare.


I know you said you preferred veggie, but tins of tuna - the no-drain ringpull tins especially, tuna are cool for on the go meals.


It might be worth your while checking out cereal or protein bars (I'm not clear which diet you're following so delete as applicable and read the labels) as a grab and go standby.



When you have time to cook - do a big soup, and a big stew. Freeze in individual portions. Rehome at the bakery - et voila, healthy readymeals. Grab one and nuke it at the restaurant - evening meal sorted.


The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually afraid to make one. - Elbert Hubbard

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If you have a crock pot, cook up a weeks worth of food before hand, and take it to work with you...


This is a favorite of mine - http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/recipes/beef/spicy-pineapple-chili/


I can double that, and eat off of it for a work-week and it keeps me full enough that I have no desire to eat more. Sometimes I skip dinner because I'm still too full from lunch.

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