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My new meal plan




Okay, today was the last straw.


I have decided to start fending for myself at dinnertime. Carl just isn't looking out for my interests.

Our arrangement is, Carl does the grocery shopping on Sunday after work, and makes dinner most days. I'm a very inconsistent cook, and he's picky. He feels it's not a "real" meal without meat, and our budget is such that we're on the "poor folks' diet" of starches and canned veggies. By contrast, I'm a total omnivore, and was raised with a very healthy appreciation for fresh vegetables.  And I'm type 2 diabetic with high cholesterol.
And lately, my blood pressure is medium, when it was always low enough to do the Limbo.

I need to have lots of fiber, whole grains, limited meats and limited sweets.

Falling short in the "limited sweets" area is entirely my fault. I have an addiction to Klondike bars that isn't about to go away anytime soon -- though I generally just buy one at a time at the convenience store, rather than a multi-pack that will be gone within 24 hours.

The other stuff, though -- I've tried every which way I can to explain to my excessively skinny, pack-a-day smoker husband who goes through a gallon and a half of whole milk per week and could eat hamburger meat at every meal, what kinds of food I need to be eating (and not eating).

He just doesn't get it.

I endure "Budget Gourmet" meals, which we get 10 for $10 at the grocery store, because my job is miles away from restaurants and stores. Even with those, some options are healthier than others. I ask him, "Please get tomato-based items -- things where the food in the illustration is RED.  Not white. Nothing with the words 'creamy' or 'Alfredo.'  Please." Currently in the freezer at work is the remainder of my week's ration: Pasta and shrimp alfredo, creamy rigatoni and chicken alfredo florentine. And a bag of salad mix and some low-fat swiss cheese slices. I'll get by for lunch. I always do.

But dinner is another story. Carl is off Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We have a fully-stocked fridge, freezer and cabinets. It's not that difficult to put together something that's passingly healthy for me. But I come home, and what does he serve? Hamburger meat and instant white rice, cooked together. Usually he throws in a can of stewed tomatoes, and that was what I thought we were having. But not tonight.  Just hamburger meat and rice.

"We have no stewed tomatoes," he said.

"Yes, we do!" I said, going over to the cabinet, reaching for the can I knew was there.

"No, it's not the right kind," he said. "It has to be the kind with onions and green peppers in it."

Okie-dokie. I'm not prepared to eat an entire can of stewed tomatoes by myself. I add Worcestershire sauce to the brown & white repast on my plate, and can practically feel the sodium burning through my system. I can't stand salty, "hot" foods. I always need something cool to balance it.

Cool. As in cucumber.

Carl won't touch cucumbers (or most vegetables), but a co-worker has had a bumper crop this year and as luck would have it, I brought home a huge cucumber yesterday. I cut it in half, peeled it and mixed it with olive oil, red wine vinegar and ground flax seed, which I keep in the freezer.  I washed it down with a glass of OJ.

At least Carl's getting to where he understands portion sizes -- somewhat. He no longer heaps my plate with whatever he's serving (especially when it's meat and starch). He still protests "You gotta eat!" but I've convinced him about portions by pointedly spooning half of what he serves me back into the pan.

I suspect Carl's being a little passive-aggressive with me this week, because the electric bill was too high for him to pay all at once, and he believes this is my fault because I turn the thermostat down lower than he thinks necessary. I think 79 or 80 degrees at  night is reasonable. But that's just me. So the message is, we can't afford "fancy" food. We're poor. I get it.

But I'm not going to sacrifice my health. There's too much at stake. My high cholesterol kept me from getting a discount on my health insurance premiums at work this year. As did his smoking (spousal use counts, even if the spouse isn't covered on your plan, which Carl isn't).

I have to come up with another plan, and I think I'll just grab something for myself on the way home from work each day. It might just be a bag of carrots, but at least it will be MY bag of carrots (or sushi -- OMG, sushi! I haven't had sushi since 2010!), and it won't interfere with Carl's enjoyment of his 73% lean ground chuck.

Yeah, I'm tired and pissed off.  Snark, snark, snark.

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