Saturday, December 31, 2011

DAY 365 -- From a child's view.

Just when I feel good about slimming down and clearing out the closet, I receive a drawing from my three-year-old granddaughter.  Here's her image of grandma....

I love it!  The only thing "stick figure-ish" on me are my arms and legs.  hahahaha  Of course, my daughter gave this to me with the disclaimer, "Don't be offended.  She draws every body like a blob."  

What a treasure.  It makes me smile!   Since it's the end of the year with My Healthy Eating Challenge, I think I will declare this my "after" picture.  

Here's to good health, accepting our bodies no matter what shape, and to living a long long time to enjoy the grandchildren!  Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 30, 2011

DAY 364 -- Reflecting

As the end of the year approaches, I find myself reflecting on this blog and the things I learned with My Healthy Eating Challenge.  When I started the challenge, I was in the mindset that I needed to eat healthier with more natural foods and less packaged, processed foods.  I am convinced that eating like this is the way for me to go, and I plan to continue. However, during the year I came face to face with the realization that overeating is a huge problem for me.  Eating healthy foods is only a small part of my battle; overeating is a major Goliath in my life.

Throughout the year as I struggled with overeating, I sought answers through prayer.  Help and strength came as often as I called out, but answers as to why I overeat came slower and piece by piece until finally a few weeks ago as I brushed my teeth, contemplating, the revelation filled my soul; and I stood there, looking at myself in the mirror, recognizing the truthful knowledge as both exhilaratingly freeing, yet painfully illuminating.

I wish I could report that knowledge was power and that receiving my answer released me from the jaws of food addiction.  Aha!  I know why you are here, dragon, and now you have no power.  Be gone!  But no. The answer opened a path that I must follow and I know it will not be easy.  In fact, it's been an even harder struggle lately to eat within the confines of hunger and fulness.

My apologies that this sounds vague, but what I am experiencing right now is deeply personal and I don't feel ready to share, as of yet.  But I will tell you that it will be a journey of self-discovery...finding out who I really am...what my core personality really is (before life events changed me).  It will be a journey to build my self-worth and to learn to like, or rather, love myself.

So it is, that I stand at the beginning of another year and another journey, and I wonder what to do with this blog.  Here are some ideas I've entertained...
  • continue this blog (focusing in healthy eating)
  • continue this blog, but with the focus on overeating
  • change the direction of this blog to be about different aspects of personal health... healthy eating, healthy attitudes, healthy habits...
  • end the blog with the end of the year
  • (I considered starting a blog to chronicle my journey in building self-worth, but it feels too personal...yet, I can't help but wonder if it might help others struggling with similar issues.)
I would greatly appreciate input from readers! I will continue blogging in some form or another, but whatever direction I take, it will not be with daily posts since I hope to spend some more time with another blog of mine: Reel Focus.  It's been sorely neglected.

In the meantime, I have a fun post ready for tomorrow to end my count of 365 days, and then I will start a new year and possibly a new direction.  I hope you will give feedback, and stay tuned!

(I recently learned that some readers have had problems trying to comment, for some glitch in blogger or something.  You can contact me through email:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

DAY 363 -- New Year and old temptations.

We're not over the holiday hurdles yet... New Year's Eve (and even New Year's Day), for many of us, offers traditional food temptations.  Snacking at New Year's Eve parties and feasting on New Year's Day.

New Age (website) suggests resisting temptations by picturing or imagining a pleasant activity that does not involve food, such as lounging at the beach, or recalling a favorite scene from a movie.  Here's the link if you want to read more about that:  Halt Cravings with this Mental Image.

Zen Habits also gives suggestions for fighting the urge to indulge during the holidays.  Read about it: 12 Tips for Beating the Social Overeating Habit.

Maybe with some helpful hints, some planning, and strategies I can say hello to the new year and goodbye to the old temptations.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

DAY 362 -- It's closet day!

Today was the day... we cleaned out our closet and got rid of the clothes we won't wear. My husband's selection of donation items was the most dramatic since he's slimmed down so much!  There were piles of nice sweaters that hang on him now, and stacks of shrunk-out-of slacks.  He kept two of his favorite sweaters, which our daughter will tailor for him.  (She's one handy gal when it comes to sewing!)

My pile of donations was not as big as I thought it would be.  Last year at this time, if I had donated stuff that didn't fit (too tight) I would have been left with very little.  But now I can fit into all my clothes again!  Hooray!  (I did weed out a few things that I no longer wanted though.)  And I cleaned out some costume jewelry that I found in a forgotten box. (Wow... I used to wear the gaudiest earrings!)

I feel grateful and amazed.  As my husband's stack of too-large clothes kept growing taller, I thought, "All this from a man who skeptically announced he would try my plan of healthy eating for one month and if he didn't see any results he would stop."

Go figure... a healthy eating plan that didn't require counting calories, portions, carbs, fat grams... yet led to weight loss and a leaner closet.  This really works.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

DAY 361 -- Back on track.

Today was much better.  I was productive, and I ate healthy foods, paying attention to hunger and fulness.
It feels good to be back on track.


DAY 360 -- Movie marathon.

Spent the day (Monday) swallowed up in movies.  I haven't had such a lazy day in a loooong time.  Unfortunately, sitting on my hind-end all day for a movie marathon, and feeding my face, was not a healthy choice.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

DAY 359 -- Christmas Day

I had a wonderful day of family, and food.  Too much food.  Way too much food.

Good thing Santa gave me a new exercise DVD and tennies!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

DAY 358 -- Our traditional Christmas foods.

It's Christmas Eve.  All the stockings are hung by the chimney (with care, of course!).  The first Christmas time after I stopped eating sweets, it was difficult to know what to put in my stocking.  I put my family's favorite candy and chocolates in theirs, but for my stocking I resorted to my favorite nuts (almonds) and some fruit leather made of 100% fruit, and told "Santa" to fill it with lots of little gifts since I had been such a good girl!  :)

Thankfully, Christmas meals for our family traditions are somewhat healthy.

On Christmas Eve we have what we call our Nazareth Supper.  We eat a simple meal and reflect on how Mary and Joseph might have lived before leaving Nazareth to travel to Bethlehem.  We eat by candlelight and use wooden bowls.  (This year, at World Market, I found the cutest little wooden bowls for the grandkids!!) The meal consists of smoked salmon, dried beef, cheese, a loaf of bread (that we tear with our hands), fruit, olives, and sometimes nuts. We drink 100% grape juice (I need mine watered down).  After our Nazareth supper, our family used to act out the nativity, and I look forward to grandkids reaching an age to start the tradition again.

My husband usually prepares Christmas breakfast and the menu changes according to what we feel like having.  This year, since our daughter, son-in-law, and little ones are spending the night with us, we plan to make (multigrain) Mickey Mouse pancakes for the grandkids.

On Christmas Day our supper consists of "Roast Beast." I will rub the roast (hormone free, grass fed from a local farm) with horseradish, salt and pepper, and cook it with organic vegetables: carrots, small red potatoes, and pearl onions.  We usually have green beans cooked with slivered almonds, and sometimes fruit gelatin salad made with Knox unflavored gelatin, and sweetened with fruit juice.  This year I plan to prepare some whipped cream topping for the gelatin, using a small amount of pure maple syrup to sweeten the cream (thanks for the suggestion Lynn!).

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

DAY 357 -- Extra workout.

I did aerobics in the morning, then went for the groceries we need for Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas breakfast, and our traditional Christmas meal.  Plus I had just a couple gifts I still needed to purchase.

Shopping gave me some exercise with walking throughout the store, pushing a shopping cart, and I like to park far away from the store so that gives me extra walking time.  Then when I arrived home, I had the privilege of carrying everything up all the flights of stairs to our condo, which required several trips.  Bonus workout!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

DAY 356 -- Sharing an article

One of my nieces shared an interesting article with me... Dopamine: why "just one bite" doesn't work.

The article explains the situation I referenced in my post "Special Occasions" ... how allowing treats on special occasions opens up a can of trouble for an addict.

Food addiction is tough.  One has to eat.  I can avoid sweets, but how can I avoid food?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

DAY 355 -- Prescription for long living.

Okay, maybe you've figured out by now that I enjoy the Reader's Digest.   I have some more health tips from the current issue.  [The headings in bold are from the article, followed by my summary, paraphrasing, and personal input.]

How to Live to Be 100

1.  Stop smoking.  This greatly reduces the risk of heart attack four years after stopping.  And the risk of lung cancer falls significantly after ten years of being smoke free.    

2.  Exercise daily.  The article suggest 30 minutes of activity, even if it's broken down into three ten minute segments.

3.  Eat five servings of produce daily.  

4.  Get screened.  Make sure we get the screenings recommended for our age bracket.

5.  Get plenty of sleep.  See?  It's a good thing I chose sleep last night, rather than posting!!  (Whew, I'm off the hook.)

6.  Ask your doctor about low-dose aspirin.  They recommend not starting on your own, since there are risks with aspirin.

7.  Know your blood pressure.  It's recommended to keep blood pressure under 120/80.

8.  Stay connected.  Having connection with friends and family helps us live longer.  So, I extended my life today by going out to dinner and a movie with my husband and close friends!

9.  Cut back on saturated fat.  (It causes bad cholesterol...LDL.)

10.  Get help for depression.  Sometimes we don't realize that ongoing bad moods can effect our physical health and shorten our life span.

11.  Manage stress.  I was surprised to read that "uncontrolled stress is more destructive to your health than being 30 pounds overweight."

12.  Have a higher purpose.  "By giving back, you give to yourself."

That's the Reader's Digest prescription for living to 100.

Here's my 101-year-old uncle's secret to longevity: 

  • Keep the bowels moving! 
  • Drink plenty of water. 
  • Eat lots of vegetables. 
  • Eat alfalfa. 
  • And lots of watermelon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DAY 354 -- Sleep!

It's been a long and busy day.  Now I wonder... sleep...or write in my blog...sleep...or write in my blog. Sleep wins!

Monday, December 19, 2011

DAY 353 -- Desire diary

This is from the December 2011 Reader's Digest:

"The next time you get a craving, ask yourself if you're stressed, sad, or bored.  If so, you may be eating to fill an emotional void.  Keep a "desire diary" for a week or more, and note your mood whenever you're hit by an irresistible urge to chow down.  If stress is your trigger, exercise more to relieve the pressure.  If loneliness drives you to the Doritos bag, call someone. Remember that true hunger is easy to satisfy; any food will do.  Emotional hunger, on the other hand often manifests itself in desires for specific things like ice cream and fast food."  

I added italics to the part that I keep "chewing" on.  First of all, "true hunger is easy to satisfy; any food will do."  That's probably true, to a point, for me; however, if I allow true hunger to go too long (what I call "beyond hungry") I become extremely picky because nothing sounds good to me, even though I feel like I'm starving.  A friend of mine experiences similar reactions when she's overly hungry.  We're both hypoglycemic, so I wonder if that has something to do with it.

I've struggled for years with emotional eating, and I've heard of keeping a food or eating diary before, but for some reason reading the suggestion of a "desire diary" struck me: I need to do that.  I'm not sure I will learn anything more about whether I'm stressed, sad, bored, or lonely, but I think the desire diary will at least help me stop before eating and acknowledge what I'm really feeling and hopefully recognize it's not true hunger.  Plus, I think it will be interesting to determine what specific things I crave for various emotions.  I don't think I've ever made that connection before...if I'm craving something specific it might be a manifestation of emotional hunger.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

DAY 352 -- Christmas clothing.

At a party, December  2006
December 18, 2011

 I have a few Christmas shirts and sweaters that I like to wear during December.  Last year I could not fit into some of my favorites.  In fact, it helped motivate me to start eating healthier... thus I started My Healthy Eating Challenge.

Now here it is a year later, and I can fit into my favorite Christmas outfit!  I wore it to church today, then had my husband take a picture (shown on the right) to share with you.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

DAY 351 -- Spaghetti!

I felt swamped with tasks, so I asked my husband if he had any ideas for supper.  He answered, "Spaghetti!"  And he quickly began fixing the meal.  

Spaghetti has been a favorite of his to prepare, but it's been awhile.  He went to the pantry and returned with a quizzical look on his face.  "Don't we have any cans of spaghetti sauce?"  I reminded him that we got rid of all that earlier in the year, now when we want sauce (rather than olive oil drizzled over the noodles) I make it from scratch.  He assured me he could figure it out.

I stepped into the kitchen later to see him hard at work, with a cookbook open... not to the recipe I use.  Oh well.  I watched him glance at the recipe, grab a bottle of garlic salt and dump a very generous amount into the sauce.  No measuring.  Back to the cookbook, he gets the black pepper and dumps, and dumps, and dumps.  He used enough pepper to choke a horse!  I bit my tongue and retreated out of the kitchen.  I decided it was best not to see my food prepared.  

Later, when dinner was announced, I took a small taste of the sauce before putting it on my pasta.  It was... delicious!  Now, I wonder if he can repeat his magic potion, because I want more!

Friday, December 16, 2011

DAY 350 -- "Special Occasions"

Whenever the holidays roll around, it seems like I'm frequently asked, "You don't have sweets even for special occasions?"  Usually I go into my spiel, "I'm an addict.  You wouldn't want an alcoholic to have a drink for Christmas would you?"

Because of the recurring question, I've been thinking about "special occasions" and how for me, that would be a dangerous determining factor.  First of all, there are lots of typical "special occasions"... birthdays, anniversaries, wedding receptions, funerals.  How would one ever overcome an addiction if they kept imbibing for every "special occasion?"  But the real danger would be this... If I told myself I could have sweets on "special occasions" every day would have a reason to celebrate.  Remembered to use a loofah on those callouses?  I deserve a cookie.  It's Friday? I made it through the week?  Time for a treat.

That, my friends, was a mindset that led me to obesity and ill health.  Trust me, I tried doing the "have dessert only for special occasions" gig.  It didn't work for me.  I even tried the "just have a little piece or a taste."  That didn't work either.  I didn't want a little piece.  I wanted the whole cake.  I didn't want a cookie.  I wanted the whole bag.

I recognized my addiction and drew the line in the sand, which stays ... even during special occasions.  And that works for me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

DAY 349 -- Sushi

You've heard the saying, "The problem with eating Chinese food... after an hour you're hungry again" ... well, the problem with eating sushi is that after a minute you're hungry again.  My husband loves sushi.  My opinion: "meh." Not yucky, but not something that enticed me.  I could not understand the attraction to sushi, and I certainly couldn't understand anyone being able to make a meal out of it!  To me, sushi is an appetizer.

Recently, a friend recommended a great place for sushi, so I told my husband I would give it another try.  This time I actually enjoyed the items I ate, which moved it from the "meh" stage to "pretty tasty." Now I can understand better why people like it.  But I still don't see how you make a meal out of it.  By the time we left the restaurant and walked to the car, I was hungry again.  So I came home and ate some fruit.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

DAY 348 -- Baggy bottoms begone!

Last weekend I finally bought new jeans!  YAY!  I have a hard time finding pants that fit my body shape, so whenever I buy jeans, they are the same brand and style and I know exactly which store carries them... I buy them from the VF outlet.  They had a sale on jeans over the weekend which was all the invitation I needed.  I bought two pairs.  Feels great not having my pants cinched around my waist.

(Previous posts regarding my baggy jeans  ... The three stages of my jeans, and My wardrobe.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

DAY 347 -- Thinking outside the box.

My sister told me about a card she sent her daughter.  The picture on the front showed a group of cats sitting around a large conference table -- a business meeting with cats.  On the center of the table was a litter box, but there were a couple "piles" on the table.  The head cat questioned, "Alright... who's been thinking outside the box?"

Ok... sometimes I forget to think outside the box.  I get my routines going and that's the way it is.  For instance, I usually drink filtered water from our fridge, which comes out chilled. That's great in the summer, but in the winter I don't feel like drinking cold water first thing in the morning.  I kept trying to remember to set a glass of filtered water on the counter before going to bed so it would be room temperature when I got up.

Then one morning, when I realized I had once again forgotten to set a glass of water out, I happened to see the faucet at the sink.  DUH.  I filled my glass with tap water, not too hot and not too cold.  Just right.  Sheesh.  Why did it take me so long to think outside the box?

Perhaps because for a long time I avoided drinking tap water, due to the taste.  (We've lived in some areas with nasty tasting water.)  And I also avoided it because I thought tap water was not healthy.  I think my attitude changed when I started reading reports a few years ago about some bottled water actually being water from a tap.  And recently, an article (titled Big Gulp)  in the August 2011 Reader's Digest listed some brands of tap water:

Alaska Premium Glacier
Glaceau Smartwater
Nestle Pure Life 

While in Italy, I drank water pouring from beautiful stone fountains, so I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to finally catch finally see the kitchen faucet as a source of drinking water!  Of course filtered water is my preference, but I have no qualms about drinking from our tap, especially since it tastes good.

So, yeah, I've been thinking outside the box, but I promise...I didn't leave a mess!

Monday, December 12, 2011

DAY 346 -- "We need to stop meeting this way."

We traveled to Idaho to attend a funeral for an 86 year old aunt.  This is the third aunt I've lost this year, and the fourth family funeral.  It's wonderful to see family but...we need to stop meeting like this!  

I wish I could report that I ate healthy, and paid attention to when I was full.  But no... I succumbed to the delicious homemade rolls.  And the funeral potatoes seemed extra tasty. And I couldn't stop at the fried chicken drumstick, I had to sample the ham too.  And another homemade roll.  

You get the picture.

Gee... I can't imagine why I feel so tired and bloated...(read dripping with sarcasm).

Sunday, December 11, 2011

DAY 345 -- A smarter way?

Lately I've seen ads for a special make-your-own soda contraption.  Yesterday I was in a kitchen-gadget store to purchase a new can opener and they were offering samples of homemade soda (which I declined).  Then this morning I noticed yet another ad for the item.  It made me wonder what the attraction is... does it taste better than store bought or something?  So I took a closer look at the ad, which touted, "A smarter way to enjoy soda."

"No lugging" (with a picture of someone stooped over several large soda bottles) [yet the contraption weighs nearly 7 pounds]
"No storage" (bottles of soda lined up) [no mention of storing the bottles of flavoring - over 50 offered]
"No empties" (empty bottles in a trash can)  [hmmm... this appeals to me]

"No empties to recycle or throw away."  It made me think:  couldn't we say that about most meals made from scratch?  When we eat more fresh natural foods, and consume less packaged, processed junk, it really cuts down on the amount of trash.

I don't know if "turning water into soda in seconds" is "a smarter way to enjoy soda," but I do know it is not a smart (or healthy) way to enjoy water.  Nevertheless, I'm all for the idea of less trash.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

DAY 344 -- Warning! Not for weak stomachs.

I checked a book out of the library titled The Secret Lives of Hoarders, written by Matt Paxton, one of the organized cleaning experts on A&E's "Hoarders."  I wanted to read it partly out of sheer curiosity, but also because I know someone suspected to be a hoarder (I'll call her Helga) and I wanted to understand her.

Ugh.  If you ever want to kill your appetite, read this book!  *shudder*  The following excerpt made me gag.  Warning:  do not read if you have a squeamish stomach.

     "... She guessed that her refrigerator hadn't been opened in sixteen years--there was too much clutter stacked up in front of it.  As soon as we cracked it open, two of my workers started vomiting.
     "The bins and drawers were full of dark liquid and two inches of green black muck that had once been lettuce.  We found black eggs, which at first we thought were carved stone eggs.  The food was so moldy that it had all grown together into one gnarly mess"  (p. 26, italics added).

Oh. my. goodness.

Paxton mentions that most hoarders (especially in advanced stages) are obese because they live on junk food due to the inability to access their kitchens for cooking.  Thankfully, that is not the case for Helga... yet.  She still cooks, and actually prepares beautiful, fairly healthy, meals.  (But good luck finding a clean plate or a place to sit.)

And now, after reading the book, I am worried about Helga's future.  The author states that hoarding becomes increasingly worse until the person seeks help.  Helga used to be somewhat meticulous in housekeeping and organization.  I loved visiting her home. But over the past twenty years I've seen her house swell with clutter and stuff she cannot part with. When I travel to her town, I can no longer spend the night at her place since the spare bedrooms are filled to the brim.  If this continues, what will her health and living conditions be like in another twenty years?

At this point Helga doesn't recognize the severity of the problem, and gets angry if anyone broaches the subject.  It's like that for any addiction.  We have to reach a point of wanting change before we can start a path to better health.

DAY 343 -- Big sigh.

I missed a day... again.  Yesterday (Friday) was rough and that's all I've got to say about that.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

DAY 342 -- Shopping is no treat.

I dislike shopping.  Every now and then I get in the mood to shop for clothing or shoes, but that is rare.  And as for grocery shopping, I consider it a chore on my to-do list. Lately I've noticed that if I need to get groceries I find myself dreading the task so much that it sours my mood for the entire day.

Yesterday was no exception.  Our fridge and cupboards looked like they belonged to Old Mother Hubbard.  It was my husband's day off and he had some errands to run.  I was very tempted to have him get the groceries while he was out and about (and he would have done it) but I decided not to dump that on him.  Using a trendy phrase which basically means quit whining, I gave a giant sigh and grumbled, "Okay.  I'll put on my big girl panties and get the chore done."

Throughout the morning as I contemplated my distaste for grocery shopping, I wondered why it seems worse over the past years. I couldn't recall having such strong dread of it years ago. Finally I realized... it's because I used to reward myself with a treat at every store!  If I went to three different stores, I got three different goodies (candy bar, donut, giant cookie). If I stopped for gas, I bought a treat there too.

I wondered if I needed to find some type of healthy treat to "reward" myself for my grocery shopping now.  Perhaps some raw nuts, dried fruit, or a Larabar?  But I decided it was best not to use food for rewards.  Just knuckle down and tackle the task.

After getting the groceries, my husband asked, "Well, did you put on your big panties?"

I laughed,  "That's big girl panties.  Not big panties.  There's a difference!"

And thankfully, because I stopped treating myself to sweet rewards years ago, those big girl panties are not as big as they used to be.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DAY 341 -- Coupons

An additional bonus for eating healthy: clipping coupons doesn't take as long.  All I need are the ones for toiletries and cleaning supplies.  I can toss the numerous coupons for packaged foods: cereals, soups, lunch meat, cookies, crackers, chips, candy, ice cream...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

DAY 340 -- Salad dressings.

I eat a salad almost every day, but sometimes when I feel chilled and can't seem to get warm, the thought of eating a cold salad does not appeal to me.  However, I noticed that when I do eat a salad, my body wants a creamy dressing, like homemade blue cheese, rather than my usual oil and vinegar.  At first this puzzled me... if I'm cold, wouldn't it make more sense to want the vinegar and oil which is kept at room temperature, rather than blue cheese served cold from the fridge?  Then I realized that with colder weather my body probably needs more fat in the diet.  Since I strive to listen to my body's needs, I oblige. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

DAY 339 -- Tomatoes.

Today as I sliced a tomato to put on my salad, I got hungry for a tomato sandwich... then I took a taste.  Blah.  
I miss garden fresh tomatoes!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

DAY 338 -- Food for the soul.

Tonight I am filled with wonderful thoughts of Christmas.  We went by train to downtown Salt Lake City where we attended a Christmas Devotional listening to wonderful talks about the meaning of Christmas, a short video about the Savior's birth, and uplifting music sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I feel refreshed and refocused.

It's interesting that on the way to the devotional I thought about some yummy pasta leftovers I was going to eat later when we got back home.  We had the pasta last night from a restaurant and it seems like whenever I get it, I want to eat, eat, eat, way past full. But after the devotional, I no longer felt drawn to eat that pasta.  In fact, I told my husband he can have my share to take in his lunch tomorrow.

Refreshed.  Refocused.  And recommitted to eating healthy.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

DAY 337 -- Rewiring the brain.

I keep thinking of what I learned on Biggest Loser several weeks ago... about how we can rewire our brain over a period of weeks or months, but our brain quickly reverts back to its old ways when we stop our healthy habits.  (Post: Obesity and the Brain.)  Maybe that's why Thanksgiving seems to set off a period of overeating that lasts until New Year's.

It's so easy to think, "Overeating this once isn't going to hurt me in the long run."  HA!  I need to wake up to that lie.

I do take courage in the fact that I recognize what's going on and I'm trying to get a grip.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

DAY 336 -- The pothole in the road.

I remember a friend telling a story or analogy about how a person goes down a road and falls in a pothole.  Then the next day she goes down the same road and falls in the same pothole. The next day, the same thing.  Then finally learning from the past she goes down the same road but goes around the pothole.  But how much better to avoid that road in the first place.

I probably messed that story all up, but that's what's on my mind.  It's like the phrase, "You keep doing what you're doing and you'll keep getting what you're getting."  

I'm tired of falling in the same pothole when it comes to overeating.  I wish I could find a consistent way around it.  Better, yet, I wish I could find a completely different road.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

DAY 335 -- Thwarted plans.

Today was a Christmas luncheon for my husband's work.  It was held at a steak house where they serve buckets of peanuts and fluffy white flour rolls before the meal comes to the table. We thought the luncheon started at 11:00 with the food being served at 11:30ish.  Because of other commitments, we were not able to arrive until around 11:30, so in my mind I thought it was perfect timing.... we would arrive in time for the food and I would not be tempted to fill up on peanuts (and I told myself to stay away from the white flour rolls).

BUT... we arrived at the restaurant and learned we were early.  Turned out the function didn't start until around 12:00 with the food coming to the tables at 12:30.  So there we were, sitting at a table with peanuts right in front of my face.  Plus I was really hungry.  I thought we would be eating earlier, so I avoided a mid-morning snack.

Peanuts called out to me, and I succumbed... but managed to avoid the rolls.  Nevertheless, I still ate too much by the time the meal was over.

I guess it balanced out though, because I ended up dashing off to a meeting tonight without any supper.  My lunch held me over all this time.  It's nearly midnight and I'm still not hungry.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DAY 334 - Flaxseed

I take two tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day, one in the morning and one at night, with a glass of water. I've done this for years because I read an article about how it is healthy for a woman to do that; however, it's been so long I can no longer remember the reasoning behind it.  But I do it anyway.  

Typically, I get ground organic flaxseed from a health food store, but I've had a vacuum sealed bag of whole flaxseed on my shelf for a few years.  I never bothered with it until recently because I didn't have a grinder.  I kept thinking I would get the grain grinder that attaches to my Kitchenaid mixer, but it never seemed a priority purchase.  In the meantime, we bought a small hand grinder to use in an emergency.

Well, sometime last month as I was leaving for work, I mentioned to my husband that if he wanted some entertainment he could grind some of the whole flaxseed with that little grinder... just enough to fill the small container I use for ground seed.  Being the kind and caring man that he is, I came home to freshly ground flaxseed.

Last night I used the last of it and needed to grind more, so this morning I pulled out the grinder and started to grind.  And grind.  And grind.  I was rapidly getting a sore arm and only had a teeny tiny pile of the ground seed to show for it!!  At this point my husband told me it had taken him forty minutes to grind the previous batch.  Forty minutes!  Oh my goodness that's true love!  

"Are you kidding me?"  I asked.
"There's gotta be a better way!"

With that, I pulled out our blender, dumped in some seed and hit the button labeled Grind. Woolah.  I had a batch of flaxseed ground to perfection in a few blinks of the eye.  You should have seen the look of disbelief and disgust on his face! 

I grinned.  "Honest... honey, I never even thought of using the blender until now!"

They say that necessity is the mother of all invention... well... I think laziness plays a large part too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

DAY 333 -- Well cared for.

Image from Wikipedia
Today, with my job, I drove a 1992 Mercedes Roadster. When I was handed the keys I wondered if the car would be a piece of junk since it was older and going to auction, but I was wrong.  The car was beautiful, inside and out.  Whoever owned that car took great care of it. And I'm telling ya...what a suhweeeet ride! It was such a joy to drive I found myself wishing for a big pocketful of change to purchase that baby.

I've mentioned how my husband says I'm a Ferrari in need of special fuel...well driving that older Mercedes and feeling the joy of handing a quality well cared for machine, made me reflect on how the human body also defies age when treated with healthy respect.  We are children of God.  We are of great worth, quality.  If we make sure our bodies and minds are well cared for, we can enjoy a much sweeter ride through our life.

Monday, November 28, 2011

DAY 332 -- The taste of homemade.

For lunch on Saturday I grabbed a can of organic soup off our pantry shelf.  Thinking we needed "quick" options for some meals, we stocked up on a few canned organic soups, being careful to select the ones without added sweeteners.  They are "okay" in a pinch, but I realized as I slurped a spoonful on Saturday, they leave a lot to be desired when it comes to flavor. After a few bites, I pushed the bowl away.

My husband questioned, "Saving that for your mulligan?"

"No way.  It's not worthy."

Taking the bowl, he sampled the soup, then with a shudder, he pushed the bowl back towards me.

The taste of homemade called to us after that experience, so for our evening supper I prepared a pot of Lentil-Vegetable Soup.  (See Recipe Page.)

Then for breakfast Sunday morning, Kurt mentioned he was hungry for waffles.  Thinking I didn't have enough time to prepare waffles from scratch (we were getting ready for church), I grabbed the whole wheat Insta-Bake.  (It's supposedly healthy as far as baking mixes go, but looking at the label I am doubting that.)  The waffles seemed heavy with an unsatisfying flavor.  We longed for the taste of homemade...again.

So... this morning I whipped up some waffles using a favorite recipe and we feasted on the yummy light flavor of "Annette's Oatmeal Waffles."  (See Recipe Page.)

(For toppings on our waffles we use a small amount of pure maple syrup, or all fruit jam, or fresh fruit.  Pure, 100% maple syrup doesn't trigger cravings for me, but I use it very sparingly, and very infrequently.)

I know some people who rarely cook from scratch (some rarely eat at home, period) but ever since I started eating healthy foods, I realize my mouth rejoices in the taste of homemade.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

DAY 331 -- Acknowledging sadness.

I miss my daddy.  His birthday was this past week (he would have been 99), and tomorrow marks eleven years since he passed away.  I've tried to keep a grip on my feelings, but today I realized I need to acknowledge the sadness I feel inside.  I am sometimes too good at burying my feelings.  So I've allowed myself to cry today.   

I'll be all right.  I just don't feel like blogging right now, especially about healthy eating, since I'm caught in a cycle of overeating.  Between trying to stuff down my feelings, and having Thanksgiving this week, I've turned to food way too much.  

DAY 330 -- A day that got away.

Yesterday (Saturday) was day 330, but the day got away from me.

Friday, November 25, 2011

DAY 329 -- Hold the sugar please!

My husband I went to lunch earlier this month at a locally owned restaurant (not a chain).  When we were finished with our meal, the waitress came to our table and plopped down two desserts, "We're having a special of free carrot cake with your order!"  We explained (kindly) that we did not want the free dessert; please remove it from the table and give it to someone else.  She felt bad and apologized for not asking us first, vowing to remember to ask others in the future.

We didn't mean for her to feel bad.  We could have just left the dessert on our table and not said anything about it, but we knew the dessert would be tossed if we did that.  This way, she was able to take them away, right then, knowing they were untouched by us.

Then last weekend I attended a large event for women (Time Out for Women).  I was with my sister-in-law, two of her daughters, and another niece.  When we entered the convention center on Saturday morning, they were handing out chocolate truffles.  Three of the five of us declined due to 1) diabetes; 2) severe sensitivity to sugar; and 3) sugar addiction.  I wondered what percentage of the 5,000 women in attendance were unable to accept the free chocolate, or perhaps should not have taken it but could not withstand the temptation.

I was thinking... it sure would be nice, in both scenarios, if we were offered the option of free fruit!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

DAY 328 -- Grateful for healthy foods.

In honor of Thanksgiving, here's some healthy foods I am grateful for:

Navy beans
Italian olive oils
Idaho potatoes

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

DAY 327 -- Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone has a wonderful day filled with the love of family and friends.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DAY 326 -- Pie Recipe

I typically schedule my post for later in the day, but today I felt like I should share a recipe for pie, in case anyone wanted to try one made without refined sugar for their Thanksgiving feast. I made this pie last year to take to a family gathering.  It turned out delicious.  

This recipe can also be used without a pie crust, for an Apple Crisp.  I'm also including an alternative topping which I believe contains no gluten.

Apple or Pear Pie

4 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples or pears
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 to 2 1/2 Tbs. tapioca (or 1 to 1 1/4 Tbs. cornstarch) (or 4 Tbs. flour)
2 Tbs. vegetable shortening, vegetable oil, or lard
1/2 to 3/4 cup unsweetened 100% pineapple juice concentrate (or unsweetened apple juice concentrate).  
One 9-inch pie shell of your choice (for the bottom crust) 
Topping for pie (recipe below)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, stir together fruit, cinnamon, tapioca (cornstarch or flour), shortening, and concentrate; allow mixture to sit for 10 minutes.  Pour mixture into pie shell and add topping (recipe below).
3. Bake 1 hour or until topping or crust is golden.
4. Remove pie from oven.  Cool on a wire rack.  Serve warm or cold.  To store, place cooled pie uncovered in refrigerator or place in an airtight container and freeze.

3/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup oat flour
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, almonds, or other nut of choice
2 Tbs. sesame seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
3 Tbs. vegetable oil  

1. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together all ingredients.
2. Spoon topping over any pie or fruit mixture and smooth topping by hand.

Yield: Enough topping for one crisp or one 9-inch pie

Need a topping that is gluten-free?  I've not tried this recipe, but it is in the same cookbook so it might be tasty too.

1 unsalted rice cake, crumbled
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon white-rice flour
1/4 cup roasted sunflower or roasted sesame seeds (optional)
Scant 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon allspice

1. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together all ingredients with a fork.
2.  Spoon topping over any pie or fruit mixture and smooth topping by hand.

Bake according to directions.

(Recipes are from The "I Can't Believe This Has No Sugar" Cookbook by Deborah E. Buhr, 1990)

Monday, November 21, 2011

DAY 325 -- Food Co-ops

A fun way to get inexpensive produce is by joining a food co-op.  We did that initially when we began My Healthy Eating Challenge.  We purchased our produce through Bountiful Baskets. For $15 we received a basketful of produce, 50% veggies, 50% fruit.  For organic produce it was $25.

We'd place the order on-line on a Monday (that was the order date for this area) and pick it up at the assigned location on Saturday morning.  It was like Christmas, since we never knew what we would receive.  Sometimes we received produce that we were not used to eating, which was a good way to try new recipes!

We no longer buy our produce through Bountiful Baskets because we decided to go with the organic produce and felt like we got more bang for our buck by shopping sales.   However, for those who live in areas where it is difficult to find good prices for organic produce, you might want to try it... and for those you don't prefer organic, it's a great deal!

They sometimes offer other food items too, such as artisan bread.

Here's the link:  Bountiful Baskets.  (If there is not one in your area, you can check around for other food co-ops.)  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

DAY 324 -- Some foods are a pain in the head.

Yesterday a friend suffered from a migraine...again.  She gets them frequently, and I've already preached the sermon, "Get off the caffeine, sugar, and especially artificial sweeteners!"  So I said nothing.

But it reminded me of something I needed to add to "My Story" on this blog.  I posted a list on that page of all the changes I've experienced since I stopped eating refined sugar, but forgot (until today) to include that I rarely get headaches now.  I used to get frequent headaches (several times a week), some of which were severe to the point of vomiting.   

Now, when I do get a rare headache, I can usually link it to something I've eaten.  I no longer eat at Pei Wei restaurant because each time I ate there (three times) I ended up with a headache.  Also, because my body is sensitive to sugar, I don't eat fruit on an empty stomach or I can count on a headache as the result.  I eat fruit with a meal; or for a snack, I include nuts, cheese, or plain yogurt.

Now and then I get a headache from something I've not eaten enough of: protein. Thankfully, I can usually feel that type of headache coming on and avoid the problem by eating some cottage cheese.  If I don't catch it in time, then I take some medication along with a boiled egg.  

I know I'm judging by my own experiences, but I am of the strong opinion that most severe headaches are linked to diet.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

DAY 323 -- No post.

I had a great weekend (so far) but I'm running on very little sleep and very few ideas.  So this is it for today's post.  Sorry.

Friday, November 18, 2011

DAY 322 -- Trying a new recipe.

As I planned my meals for the week, I came across a recipe for Crab Meat Clam Chowder.  It was a basic New England style clam chowder that included crab meat, and sure sounded delicious to me!  So I got the necessary ingredients and made the chowder today for lunch.

First of all, it was so easy to make I wondered why I rarely make chowder!

While it simmered, I sent an email to my husband, telling him how he can look forward to a tasty chowder when he gets home.  (I won't be home this evening, thus I prepared it for my lunch, but he will have it for supper.)  However, after I ate a bowlful (alright, alright... I had two bowls full... but they were shallow bowls) I sent him another message telling him the chowder was down right nasty and not to worry about it, I will take care of it so that he won't have to suffer through eating it.

Somehow, he didn't believe me!  *innocent grin*

If you don't believe me either, you might want to try it out.  I posted the recipe on my Recipe Page.  Click Here.

(Note:  I selected a can of minced clams that contained only chopped sea clams, clam juice, salt and wild clams.  I got it from the health/natural food store.  The canned clams at most grocery stores had way too many additives for my preference.  I purchased crab meat from the deli at Sunflower Market.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

DAY 321 -- Still thinking about...

I am still chuckling over a couple of the Dumb Diets I wrote about in an earlier post (click here).

  • The Tapeworm Diet, where the dieter purposely ingests a tapeworm.  From the list of "Dumb Diets," this was one I had heard about before... my husband has actually removed tapeworms from people.  I think a better version of this diet would be for people to come sit at our dinner table and listen to his stories of tapeworm removals -- it will kill their appetite.
  • The Cotton Ball Diet, where people consume cotton balls before eating a meal.  This diet gives a whole new meaning to the term "cottonmouth!"  And I'm wondering, could we consider the Cotton Ball Dieter to be "self-absorbed?"   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

DAY 320 -- Sweet & Spicy

Cold weather often calls for warm drinks, and that's something I've missed since most warm drinks (like cocoa) need sweetened.  (I am not a coffee drinker.) When I first began my sugarholic recovery, I tried different ways to sweeten herbal teas... concentrated 100% fruit juice, all-fruit jam... but nothing tasted good to me.  Maybe it's because I am not a big fan of hot teas in the first place; about the only herbal tea I liked was peppermint, but I preferred it iced.

I have to admit that in my search for an unsweetened warm drink, I developed a taste for warm milk, which is great before bedtime, since it helps me get to sleep.

Then last year, for some reason, an herbal tea caught my eye: Good Earth Caffeine Free Original Sweet & Spicy Herbal Tea.  It contains no sugar, caffeine, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.  I gave it a try, and absolutely love it--hot or iced!!!  It needs no sweetener, since it is naturally sweet and flavorful.   

Ingredients for the caffeine-free Sweet & Spicy: Red Rooibos, Chicory Root, Rosehips, cinnamon, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Papaya, Chamomile, Panax Ginseng Leaves, Anise Seed, Dandelion Root, Ginger Root, Orange Oil, Orange Peel.  (For those who want the caffeine, they also offer a version that contains black tea as well as the aforementioned ingredients.) 

It does have a strong cinnamon taste but reminds me of the cinnamon lollipops I used to make with my kids.  Now when I am in the mood for a warm drink, I finally have something delicious to turn to.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

DAY 319 -- Servings of fruit and vegetables.

I find dietary guidelines confusing.  Some guidelines suggest five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  If I eat five servings of fruit, am I done for the day... no need for veggies? And what amount counts as a serving?

Out of curiosity, I looked up the dietary exchange listed for the Mayo Clinic .  Their list shows a serving size for an apple is 1 apple... but then it clarifies that with "small (2 inches across)" and should be  4 ounces.  We have what I would consider small apples, so I weighed them. Each one weighed over 7 ounces.  So if I eat one of our apples, I'm actually getting nearly two servings of fruit.

A serving of banana is 1 "extra small" (4 oz, including the peel).  I weighed our only remaining banana.  (Note to self: get bananas.) It's 5.5 ounces, and it's a lot smaller than the ones we usually purchase.

The list shows 1/2 pear is a serving.  So if I eat the whole pear, I'm getting two servings.

Why am I posting about this?  I don't know.  

Personally, I don't weigh and measure food, or worry about portions.  I guess I had this on my mind because I overheard someone say it is difficult to get 5 servings of fruit and veggies into a day.  But looking at the recommended serving sizes, if I eat one apple, one pear, and one banana, I've already eaten approximately 5 servings of fruit, and haven't even counted any servings of vegetables yet. 

Which brings me back to the question... if I've eaten 5 servings of fruit, do I forgo vegetables for the day?  Of course not.  When I read Food Matters (by Mark Bittman) he said that as long as our diet does not consist of junk food, then we will get the nutrition we need.  I like that.

I try to eat balanced, and include a variety of foods from a variety of food groups.  I wondered why the government feels the need to give guidelines and recommendations to get people caught up in how many servings of what... why not just let people use common sense?  But then I remembered yesterday's post about Dumb Diets and realized that some people are a few senses short of common.

Monday, November 14, 2011

DAY 318 -- "Dumb Diets"

Looking through a Reader's Digest* I came across an article Dumbocracy which included a list of "Dumb Diets."  I had to do a double take and read it several times.  Were people really dumb enough to try these diets?  Wow.  Here's the list, and descriptions, of the "Dumb Diets":

  • Sleeping Beauty Diet.  If you aren't awake, you can't eat, right?  Advocates sedate themselves and sleep for days.
  • The Tapeworm Diet.  Take one orally, or, according to, "travel to a part of the world where beef tapeworms are endemic" and infect yourself that way.
  • The Cotton Ball Diet.  Begin each meal with an appetizer of cotton balls.  The balls will fill you up so that you won't want to eat as much.
  • The Baby Food Diet.  Babies weigh next to nothing, so it makes sense to duplicate their diet, right? In this case, replace your meals with pureed peas, fruit, carrots, chicken, whatever.  Just make sure it comes in those little jars.
  • Fletcherizing.  Horace "The Great Masticator" Fletcher preached chewing each mouthful exactly 32 times until the food was "purified" and then spitting out what remained.  This way you get the nutrients with fewer calories.

I am dumbfounded.  Do these diets really seem more appealing (to some people) than eating nutritious healthy foods?   AAAAAaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!  Stop the insanity!

*June/July 2011, p. 119.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

DAY 317 -- Start today.

The best time to plant an oak tree was 25 years go.
   The second best time is today.  ~ James Carville

This can apply to any good or healthy habit we wish we had started long ago. Better to start today than not start at all.  


Saturday, November 12, 2011

DAY 316 -- "New" dishes.

We took a bunch of stuff to Deseret Industries (thrift store) today and decided to go inside to purchase a couple extra forks for every day use.  (It seems like some of my forks have grown legs and wandered off.)  After sifting through the flatware and finding what I needed, I began to snoop around the store.  I found some nice Pfaltzgraff plates in a simple design (Ocean Breeze) that I liked.  They typically retail for $13.00 a plate, but at the thrift store they were only $1.00 each. We bought four.  We also purchased 4 dinner plates (retail of $7.99) and 4 bowls (retail of $9.99) all for 75 cents each.

When we moved from Tennessee to Utah over four years ago, I got rid of most of our everyday dishes with the plan to buy an inexpensive set when we got settled.  I never did.  We just used some hard plastic dishes my son gave to us (he won them during his Project Graduation).  (I have some real nice dishes which we use for holidays and family meals, but we needed something for everyday use.)

Isn't that the way it works?  Go in the store for two forks and come out with a set of dishes?

Tonight as I loaded our "new to us" dishes into the dishwasher, I realized they are larger than the plates we are used to.  We will need to be careful with that when it comes to meal times, to prevent overfilling our plates and mentally thinking that's the amount we typically eat.

Friday, November 11, 2011

DAY 315 -- 24 Hour Supermarkets

Today I went to a large grocery store to get a few items.  I usually purchase groceries from a smaller market, so when I stepped into the superstore and walked past the aisles upon aisles of packaged foods, I couldn't help but wonder what the energy cost is for housing such selections. Supermarkets are huge.  If we sized down the selections of processed goods, it would save land space, and energy.  I'm not saying we should get rid of all processed foods, just provide minimal selections.  Do we really need an aisle devoted entirely (both sides) to breakfast cereals?  

And while we're at it, how about closing the store at night? Turn out a few lights, save some energy.

Sizing down the store would save some of my personal energy too.  I feel like I walked 40 acres to find three things.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

DAY 314 -- Make ahead day.

Perhaps the brisk weather played a part, but this morning I was in the mood to cook up some grains to freeze in individual servings.  I got out the rice cooker and prepared a large batch of organic "Harvest Medley" (rice medley).  After it was done, I prepared brown rice in the cooker, then prepared barley by baking it in the oven.

It felt good to get the freezer re-stocked with rice and barley ready to eat.  Hopefully the make-ahead-bug will catch me again soon.  I still need to restock on healthy muffins.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

DAY 313 -- Obesity and the brain.

Last night on Biggest Loser, a doctor from Johns Hopkins (Dr. Linden) shared some information with the contestants.  He's a brain scientist studying how the brain experiences pleasure from food.  It was an interesting segment.  Here are the things Dr. Linden shared:

  • A lean person does not crave food as much as an obese person (no surprise there) but the lean person gets a greater pleasure response in the brain when eating.  An obese person ends up eating far more in order to get the same amount of pleasure response in the brain.  Dr. Linden suggests that obese people don't necessarily overeat because of wanting more food, but because they are less satisfied when they eat.
  • Stress hormones go right to the brain and cause cravings (especially for comfort foods).  He recommended exercise, meditation, and playful recreation to reduce stress.
  • Be mindful when eating.  Sit at the table and give full concentration to the experience of eating.  (Don't eat while distracted, like in front of the TV.)
  • We can "rewire" our brains to enjoy healthier foods and healthier eating habits.  It can take weeks... or months.  However, our brains will quickly revert to the old "wiring" when we eat poorly.  So, for instance, if a person decides to live it up on vacation and strays from the healthier diet, the brain quickly re-wires or reverts back to the old habits.
Obesity and the brain.  Mind over platter.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DAY 312 -- Ignore the plate.

I recently watched a movie (You Again) where a male character wore a blindfold while eating his meals, explaining that the method helped him listen to his body's signals to tell him when he was full.  He told his family that when people can see what's on their plate, they don't think they are full until the plate is empty.

There is truth to his method.  A study revealed that subjects who dined while blindfolded ate 22% less food and yet their feelings of fullness were identical to when they consumed a larger meal without the blindfold (Obesity: A Research Journal).

I need to ignore the clock, and ignore the plate.  I am striving to listen to my body's signals, especially when it comes to hunger and fulness. It makes sense that it would be easier if I couldn't see my plate, but I don't think I'm ready to wear a blindfold while eating!

Monday, November 7, 2011

DAY 311 -- Ignore the clock.

This morning as I exercised I glanced often at a digital clock across the room from me.  I was doing an aerobic dance routine that takes about 45 minutes, and each time I glanced at the clock I found myself thinking of how much longer, "I've only been at this 10 minutes, 35 more to go."  I realized it was making me feel tired!  So, I danced over to the clock and covered it up.  I felt instantly better and had a really good workout when I ignored the clock and simply enjoyed the movements.

Sometimes we need to ignore the time.  It's so easy to get caught up in typical "times" such as "It's time to eat lunch," rather than letting our bodies tell us when it's time to eat.  And if we wake up before our alarm goes off, it's easy to think, "It's not time to get up!" and then roll over to sleep some more, rather than listen when our body urging us to rise and shine.

Today is my 55th birthday and I am ignoring that clock too.  I don't feel 55, and I don't want to act 55.  (Not sure how a 55-year old is supposed to act anyway.)

I'm hoping that with healthy eating, and exercising, I can continue ignoring the age clock for a long, long time.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

DAY 310 -- Still not ready to be a locavore.

My husband asked if I thought I could become a locavore (someone who eats only foods grown locally).  I posted about that earlier in the year (click here).

Although I can definitely see the benefits of supporting local farms, I cannot (yet) see myself at that point exclusively.  I mentioned in my other post that I would feel limited in the vegetables I could eat in the winter, but there are many fruits I enjoy that are not grown in Utah during any growing season, like oranges, bananas, kiwi, pineapple.  I love variety.

So, I try to support the local farmers as much as possible, but I'm still not ready to become a true locavore.

DAY 309 -- Fall back.

It's that time of year to "fall back" with the clocks, so last night I had an extra hour of sleep. However, even though I was gaining an hour, somehow I lost time and failed to post.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

DAY 308 -- Bread to die for.

I've been turned on to "Dave's Killer Bread" which we buy at Costco.  It's made with organic ingredients.  My favorite (that I've tried so far) is the 21 Whole Grains.  Dave says, "OK, I could've called it 16 Grains and 5 Seeds Bread, but nobody really liked that name, so I called it 21 Whole Grains instead."

Dave Dahl, creator of the wholesome bread, is a transformed ex-con, with an interesting story which I read out of curiosity wondering... "Hmm... ex-con..."killer bread"... what did he serve time for?"  (Whew... it was not for murder.)

When I went on his website, I discovered there is a wide variety of his bread available.  I've only tried two.  I need to find out where I can get some of the others, like his "Rockin' Rye."

Killer Bread.  It's to die for.  Tasty and healthy bread with whole grains and organic ingredients, I like his motto:  "Just say no to bread on drugs!"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

DAY 307 -- Feed a cold?

Yesterday by the end of the day my throat was real sore, and today I felt hungrier than ever.  Is this my bodies natural way to deal with germs..."Feed a cold?"  It's hard for me to tell if I am overeating or if my body really needs the extra fuel/protein/nutrients or whatever.

One thing I do know, however, is that I did not get enough sleep last night to help combat this, so I'm going to bed now.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

DAY 306 -- Vitamins

I take vitamin and herb supplements, but I've been wondering about them lately.  I've read different reports that state vitamins are unnecessary if a person is eating healthy because the vitamins come from the foods.  I've also read that since the soil is depleted by overproduction of crops, our vegetables and fruits do not have the nutrition they should.

I would love input (comments) on things you've learned or experienced concerning the vitamin debate.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

DAY 305 -- Clarification

Just for clarification...

I've mentioned a few times that my husband and I save money on our grocery budget by eating healthy.  However, we spent more than usual the first month we started.  I'm not certain why the first month was more costly but I suspect it was because we cleared our cupboards of so much packaged food and junk, and then needed to restock our pantry with healthy items.

So when you initially start to eat healthy and feel a pinch in the pocketbook, hang in there.

Monday, October 31, 2011

DAY 304 -- Random thoughts.

Since today is Halloween I guess my mind has been on the weird food questions.

  • Who was the first person hungry enough to fight through the pinchers and shell of the crab?
  • Who was the crazy person who, knowing that people die from eating the highly poisonous Puffer Fish, decided, "Well... maybe if we prepare it reeeeaaaal careful, we can pass it off as a delicacy!"

Image from Wikipedia

  • According to the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing one of the ways to heal hemorrhoids and relieve pain is to peel a potato, cut it into small cone-shaped pieces and use it as a suppository.  Oookkaayy.  Who was the first person to discover that?  Who reached such a point of desperation that they shoved a piece of potato up there?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

DAY 303 -- Food and the environment.

When my husband and I first began My Healthy Eating Challenge, and started buying meat from a local farm, we talked about consuming less meat to help balance out the cost of the more expensive meat.  However, I recently realized that I cut the recipes in half since we were eating less, but I was not reducing the amount of meat.  If a recipe called for a pound of ground beef, and I was making half the recipe, I used a half pound of ground beef.  Since our grocery budget never took a hit from buying the more expensive foods, I never gave it much thought that we were technically using the same amount of meat as before.  

Recently we talked about this and decided, to promote even better health, we should cut back on the consumption of meat as we had first decided. In other words, when a recipe calls for one pound of beef and I am cutting the entire recipe in half, as well as cutting the amount of meat in half, then I should only use 1/4 pound of meat. (I know... sad that it took most of the year before realizing this!)

About the time we decided to reduce our consumption of meat, I read a book titled Food Matters by Mark Bittman.  [This is not linked (to my knowledge) to the documentary by the same name.]  In the book the author does a fantastic job of explaining how overconsumption affects our environment.  I feel a little dense because although I knew eating less animal protein would be healthy for us to do, I never took into consideration how eating less meat can actually help the environment!!  I did not realize "global livestock production is responsible for about one-fifth of all greenhouse gases--more than transportation."

I found his book fascinating and easy to understand, since he does a good job of using examples to help the reader visualize the results of various studies.  Here's a section that really hit me:

"Even the most conscientious agriculture has some environmental impact, and though much food production yields greenhouse gases, raising livestock has a much higher potential for global warming than crop farming.  For example: To produce one calorie of corn takes 2.2 calories of fossil fuel.  For beef the number is 40: it requires 40 calories to produce one calorie of beef protein.

In other words, if you grow corn and eat it, you expend 2.2 calories of energy in order to eat one of protein.  But if you process that corn, and feed it to a steer, and take into account all the other needs that steer has through its lifetime--land use, chemical fertilizers (largely petroleum-based), pesticides, machinery, transport, drugs, water, and so on--you're responsible for 40 calories of energy to get the same calorie of protein.  ...

Another way to put it is that eating a typical family-of-four steak dinner is the rough equivalent, energy-wise, of driving around in an SUV for three hours while leaving all the lights on at home. ... If we each ate the equivalent of three fewer cheeseburgers a week, we'd cancel out the effects of all the SUVs in the country.  Not bad."

The author suggests that we cut back on eating animal protein and get our protein from plant-based sources.  "Spinach has more than twice as much protein per calorie as a cheeseburger."  He started what he calls "sane eating" to do his part to help the environment, but the added bonus was weight loss and saving money on groceries. (Same for my husband and me!)  His way of eating is very much like how my husband and I have been eating except for the consumption of animal proteins.  Now, after reading his book, we are more determined to improve in that aspect.  The author does not advocate counting calories, fat grams, carbs, or portions.  (Gee... sound familiar??)

Sane eating by his definition means: eat less meat and junk food, eat more vegetables and whole grains.  It's as simple as that.

Eat sane.  Lose weight.  Save the Planet.

(Quotes and phrases from the book Food Matters by Mark Bittman are written in bold and/or italics.)