Life Hacks for Chronic Fatigue: Grocery Shopping

Green Bean Delivery copyWhen hypothyroidism hit me hard over five years ago, grocery shopping was a chore. The day I just wanted to sit on the floor where I was in the store and call Chaz to come get me was the day I knew he would need to take over this task. I didn’t ask him to take over the grocery shopping. I told him, “You need to do the grocery shopping. I can’t do it anymore.”

I was eventually able to recover enough to do the grocery shopping again. Then, I got into a local CSA (community supported agriculture) in Louisville and discovered the joy of picking up local produce, eggs, and meat without navigating a large store. Sometimes the line was long by the time I got to the pickup, but it was nice not dragging a cart through a crowd.

When Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome started messing with me, I had to change things again. I discovered Green Bean Delivery in Edible Ohio magazine a while back and finally took the plunge last year when everything was going crazy in my body and trips to the grocery store were wearing me down more than they should.

From my various experiences, the following will make grocery shopping easier depending on your level of fatigue.

  1. Organize your list if you can still manage going to the store yourself. What does this mean? If you use the principle of economy of motion I mentioned in my last post on laundry, your list will be divided into sections and you’ll be able to create a list of items in the order that you pass them in the store. I always start with produce and I visualize the layout so I am not doubling back on myself. Then I do proteins, which is a relatively small part of my list. Then the pre-packaged items. This is also a small part and some of the items are on my way to proteins, so I go through the aisles for those on my way to the back. I avoid going in the aisles as much as possible but sometimes I eat all the pickles and need more.
  2. Have your spouse/significant other do the grocery shopping (if possible). Make sure you give them a legible list that includes sizes and quantities otherwise you will be fielding calls and/or texts while they are at that store.
  3. Join a CSA. Payment for the season is generally made up front so you are spending a large chunk of money on groceries at one time. Many CSAs will also include the opportunity to buy things like free-range local eggs, local dairy, local honey, local meat, etc. either when you do your upfront order for the season or on a week by week basis. Some places will have everything ready for you and you just pick it up. Other places will have everything laid out and you go through and pick out what you’re supposed to have for the week.
  4. Get a delivery service. Green Bean Delivery has been a life saver for me. I can change out what produce I get every week from the list available (usually 95% of it is organic) which is great for the produce I am reacting to. I can add eggs, milk, cheese, meat, seafood, local gf baked goods, and other pre-packed items each week as I need them. This saves me from being in the grocery store for long periods of time. If I need to go, I’m normally in there fifteen minutes at most. I know there are some stores that will do delivery or you can place an order and it will be ready for you to pick up.

Green Bean Delivery

Earth Day 2014

The new view from our patio.

The new view from our patio.

I always like to do an Earth Day post every year to share what I’ve changed in the last year and what new thing I want to adopt in the coming year. This year is different because there is a big impact on my immediate living area that I shared on Chocolate Wasteland a few weeks back. (read it and come back)

Construction 2While we can do so many things to reduce our waste and carbon footprints, the continued industrial and residential growth is a reminder of something bigger that we cannot control on our own. I still have no idea what will be built in that area behind us, but it stretches up the length of our apartment complex. It’s not just one small area. It’s acres of land that is being leveled. Acres of land that once contained nothing but trees.

Construction 3

I know change is necessary, but I have a deep well of sadness for all the trees lost in my own “backyard”.

Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie/Milkshake

Strawberry Kiwi SmoothieEven though I can have dairy again I still don’t like milk.

Unless I’m baking with it or making hot chocolate with it.

Call me crazy, but I don’t ever remember being forced to drink milk as a child except for one time when I was being babysat with a friend by her grandparents. They were also forcing me to eat a sandwich heavy dressed with mayo. That was not a good day.

With my continued dislike of milk in mind, I am still making smoothies and milkshakes with dairy-free milk.

I started making this Strawberry Kiwi smoothie last summer when I had a lot of strawberries and kiwis in my grocery delivery. It was easy to prep both for freezing to use later. Two weeks ago, I used up the last of my frozen kiwis and strawberries then wondered, why haven’t I shared this with you?

Oh, right. I’ve been writing.

Well now you get this just in time for the strawberries and kiwis showing up in the market. You can use frozen strawberries from the frozen food section, but if you have the time to do it, I recommend buying fresh and freezing them yourself. When they are in season the prices go down, which makes it cheaper than buying a package of frozen berries. I normally buy my berries when they are on sale, making them even cheaper.

If this is your first experience with one of my smoothie recipes, I do not make them for meal replacements. I do not use protein powders or other things you might find in a meal replacement smoothie/shake. I try to keep them limited to just what you will find in your pantry and refrigerator because I see them as a quick snack rather than a meal. I prefer to chew my food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

If you don’t like hemp seeds or are allergic, just use your favorite dairy-free milk. Or regular milk if you swing that way. The maca root powder can be omitted, but I find that it gives the hemp milk a milky-er feel.

Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie/Milkshake – serves 1

1 cup filtered water

1 tablespoon hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds)

2 teaspoons maca root powder

4-5 frozen strawberries

5-6 slices frozen kiwi

1 tablespoon nut butter of choice (optional, or use a tiny amount of Sunbutter or tahini if allergic to peanuts or nuts)

1 tablespoon raw local honey (or other sweetener of choice)

Add water, hemp hearts, and maca root powder and blend until milky. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.