"You're niwang. You're even scrawnier than I saw you last."
This is what my brother said to me just this evening over Taco Bell. This is what everyone in my family says whenever they see me after n weeks or months, but all the same, I'm dreading my brother's report home. Sometimes I feel like my status as oldest sibling doesn't really count because I'm a girl, and the only girl at that.
But let's not get into that.
Martin (who just moved to this address) and I've made a pact since his discharge that whenever we eat out, we'll eat healthy. He wants to lose weight, and I want to gain, but I want to gain on good food.
I've actually wanted to do this for some time, but my problem is that I'm also stingy. Up until this point, whenever I went to the grocery, my desire to save money would almost always win over my desire to eat healthy. This is how I've been able to put up with the same toast and palaman for breakfast and pasta, premade sauce, and canned tuna for dinner every day for months on end. (Lunch is whatever looks healthiest and, if possible, the least oily at the office canteen.)
I justified this awful diet to naysayers by pointing out that whenever Martin and I go out on weekends, we splurge on restaurants, books, and movies. When I account for these "luxuries," the groceries that get me through the rest of the week, my monthly rent, my phone bill, and my commuting fares, I have about a tenth of my salary left over. That's pretty decent. I don't want to cut into my savings by buying stuff I can do without.
The thing is, staying in a hospital for nearly a week, even if you're not actually the patient, can get you thinking, 'I need to change something so that I don't end up back here again.' I can't do without proper nutrition. Plus I felt kind of guilty, because if I weren't 20 pounds underweight, I could have given Martin some blood, and we wouldn't have had to hit up our friends to donate instead. If I weren't underweight, I could give blood, period.
Also, I did an article at around this time last year on studies that showed how underweight people are actually more prone to early deaths than even the overweight and the so-called obese, that even heavy folks tend to have healthier hearts than the unnecessarily skinny.
So I'll admit here and now that I need to be more creative with my food, for my sake and I guess for my mother and grandmothers' sanity. There has to be some way to eat both well and cheaply. (Also low- or no-cook, because all I have is a toaster oven and microwave, and leftovers have to keep well. Clearly there is much Googling to be done.)
Wish me luck, and send in your recipes.