Eating binge

“We looked for you with your food Wednesday,” the woman quietly said, sitting down beside me.
“What!? I left the salad in the kitchen,” I protested.
That I had, but betwixt one thing and another, they was still there in the refrigerator waiting to be eaten. Resolved that I would eat them, I took them home and prepared a green salad for supper. Over the next few days I had a eggs frittata and salsa served on a bed of salad greens for breakfast, talapia with raspberry vinaigrette and lettuce for lunch, a large fresh salad with my spaghetti supper and a sandwich with a huge wedge of lettuce for a late night snack.
It was good timing to eat such a well-balanced diet – I had entered my most stressful time of the year. And when I am stressed I head for the kitchen. During those stressful few weeks I made a double batch of buttermilk cornbread – twice. I cut the bread into serving sizes and put them in the freezer. I also made spicy molasses cookies, chocolate chip cookies, pancakes and waffles for meals on the run and I used up the last of the applesauce and some weary apples in an applesauce cake. I love to bake, and I love to eat. To be sure I did not eat all of it, I took cookies to work, the applesauce cake to a group dinner and stuck the rest in the freezer.
The day after I finished the last of the salads, the weeks of stress culminated in one major day of delays, unreturned phone calls and surprise additions to my workload.
I really needed to reduce my stress. It was time to balance and ensure I had foods from all the food groups. First some whole grains, fiber, dairy and protein. I bought a tortilla wrapped around some beef, beans, sour cream, cheese and tomatoes. Plus, I ordered a strawberry/mango slushy for its fruit.
To balance all that fruit I picked up a biscuit and honey for the carbs. Having eaten so nutritiously, I rewarded myself for enduring the stress and ordered some curly fries. The orange/vanilla shake was not a reward … it was another check mark under the fruit and dairy food groups.
Almost back to work, my car veered off the street for a berry muffin topped with a crumb topping to ensure I had the healthy benefits of the alpha omegas found in nuts.
Satisfied that overall, I had eaten a balanced diet during my week of stress, and feeling much calmer after my drive around town, I returned to work. Much, much later that day my daughter called. She even had the decency to ask, “Did I wake you?”
“No, you didn’t wake me. I have been on hyper-drive the last couple of weeks with this big project, so I am still up.”
She settled into catching up on the news while I worked on another facet of my last-minute workload. During a pause I mentioned the misplaced salad greens and having made sure I ate a balanced diet during the height of my stress.
As I chatted, I remembered the buttermilk cornbread in the freezer with its whole grains and fiber. As she talked, I thawed it out in the microwave, sliced it in half, toasted it and savored its flavor and crunch.
She stopped in the middle of a story to ask, “Are you eating?”
“Sure, it’s hearty, cornbread. It’s good for me and I need it after eating all those greens.”
She laughed and chatted a bit before declaring she needed to go to bed.
I don’t know what her rush was all about, I had enough energy to read another chapter or two in my book and peruse the late night choices on the idiot box before I finally drifted off to sleep counting the days left to the end of my annual spring project.