Thursday, March 31, 2011

DAY 90 -- Shrinking into my clothes!

This morning as I was changing into my exercise clothes, I happened to look in the mirror and thought I looked small enough to wear a particular dress again...a dress I haven't worn for over two years.  So, I marched into the closet, took the dress, slipped it over my head, and over my hips and fanny, and ...  IT FIT!!!  What a good feeling!  Happy dance time!

I wore it today, just because... I CAN!  :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

DAY 89 -- Paying attention to hunger/fullness.

Lately I've noticed that I easily neglect paying attention to hunger/fullness.  (Especially fullness.)  My husband and I enjoy talking during our meals.  Our table sits at a window, with a view, and mealtime is a favorite time for us.  We open the blinds, sit at the table, and linger over our meal as we catch up on the day.  Sounds lovely, doesn't it?  However, I find that before I realize what's going on, I have cleaned my plate without checking in with my stomach to see if it's full yet.  

It's not that I eat huge quantities beyond full.  I don't gorge like I used to.  In fact, we dish up our food at the stove or counter, and I'm careful not to load my plate heavy.  But...I want to be more aware of my "full" signals and when I am caught up in talking, I am not paying attention to what my body tells me.  

Not sure how to solve the dilemma since I don't want to go into "silent" mode during mealtime, but somehow I need to remember to talk less and listen my husband and to my stomach!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

DAY 88 -- Thoughts on eating local.

I attended a class on eating local foods, meaning...eating foods that are grown or raised within a 100 mile radius.  I agreed with the concept of eating local, and my husband and I already started purchasing local meats even before attending this class, but I'm not sure I am ready to go that route 100%.  There are benefits to eating that way: 

  • it supports local farmers/ranchers
  • it cuts down on shipping which uses less fuel
  • the foods are usually tasty and fresh
  • it can help build a strong community
There are two aspects I struggle with:
  • I don't want to support a product that is not quality.  For instance, I tried some honey that was from a local bee-keeper and it was awful.  It doesn't even melt in hot liquid, but balls up in a clump.  So if I have to purchase honey from outside the state to get quality, I will!
  • I am still struggling with the "eat produce in season" concept.  I know it is a healthy route to take, but I don't know if I am ready to have limitations on what salad greens are available in the winter, etc.  I think I might get tired of eating winter vegetables.
During the class, however, the instructor brought a tossed salad made from local fresh in-season greens, and it was delicious.  So I am willing to check out the resources she provided, and do my best to find products I will be happy with.  It will be like a scavenger hunt!  And I hope to learn more about the people and community where we live.

Monday, March 28, 2011

DAY 87 -- The great cheese cover-up.

First of all, let me state that I love cheese.  I used to always include extra cheese in any recipe that called for the wonderful dairy product.  If the recipe suggested 1/2 cup of cheese, I went for 3/4 or 1 cup!  When I first began My Healthy Eating Challenge, I was sure I would miss the quantity of cheese I was used to having, but that has not been the case.  In fact, I realize now that cheese actually covers up the taste of the food too much, so when I do have cheese (usually just a couple times a week--if that--and usually a white imported cheese now, rather than orangey cheddar) I prefer a very small amount as to enhance the flavor, rather than cover it up.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

DAY 86 -- Weighing the "cost."

Friday, when I was with my niece, she told me about a friend of hers who said, "I can't afford to eat healthy."  To which my niece replied, "You can't afford NOT to eat healthy!"

Eating healthy prevents many illnesses and diseases.  Health is too important to ignore.

When my husband and I started buying organic foods and avoiding processed foods, we expected our grocery bill to increase, but it has not.  It balances out.  Sure, we spend more on some grocery items now, but we are not buying processed snacks and junk, plus we are not eating out as much.  I've also been pleasantly surprised that we usually find organic produce on sale for LESS than what the regular produce sells for.

So, over the past few months we have not noticed a change in our budget, but we've certainly noticed a change in our health!  Worth every cent.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

DAY 85 -- Food for thought.

Here's a quote to chew on!

Don't dig your grave with your own knife and fork.  ~English Proverb

Friday, March 25, 2011

DAY 84 -- Birds of a feather.

I spent the day with the niece I've mentioned in previous posts.  We went to several religious classes together, plus spent time gabbing.  I enjoy being with her because she eats in a similar fashion.  She's not addicted to sugar, but she avoids it because she learned that her body does not handle it well.  She's also into health and nutrition; and has studied it for twenty years.

It's pleasant to be with someone who does not ridicule, or judge the way I eat...someone who doesn't mind sitting in comfortable chairs and sharing healthy snacks (homemade not-so-sweet muffins, vegetable sticks, almonds, fruit) rather than hit the fast food joint.  Some people feel uncomfortable around me because they want to "pig out" and they feel like they can't do that if I am around.  (I've had people tell me this--that's how I know.)

Sometimes the hardest part about eating healthy is being the "odd person out," so I thoroughly enjoyed female gab time with someone who "gets me."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

DAY 83 -- Another delicious recipe.

Today for lunch I fixed a delicious meal of tossed salad, rice, and Almond Chicken Dijon.  I posted the link to the recipe on my Recipe Page.  The recipe for the chicken was quick and easy, which is a big plus in my book.  I like easy!

For a special treat on the salad, I opened some fresh organic pea pods that I bought on sale, and popped the peas onto the salad.

Mmm.  Mmm.  Mmm.  I love eating this way!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

DAY 82 -- Reflecting on regrets.

(Earlier today I added a note to yesterday's post and then kept thinking I had already posted for today!)

I've been reflecting on the difference in my life the last 9 1/2 years of recovery (from sugar addiction).  The difference between night and day, I am a different person than I was back then.  I rejoice in the change and feel very times I feel a sadness that it took me 45 years before I actually started to live!  I look back and think about how I could have been a better mother if I had not been in a sugar stupor.  My kids grew up with a mother that was tired, sick, and depressed most of the time.  A mother that was morbidly obese and wouldn't let anyone take a picture of her.  I wish I could have raised them without the addiction ruling my life.

And sometimes I'm sad for such a big chunk of my life being gone before I woke up.  Since going off sugar I have lived a full life, accomplished many goals (including graduating from college with a bachelor degree) and I am so much happier and productive.  But I'm also at the age where things are starting to slow down and I don't have as many years to reach super long term goals.

I wish I could help others -- especially young adults -- recognize sugar addiction, and have the courage to change so they could be their best selves now and not have to wait for so many years and have so many regrets.  I wish I could give others hope!

It's interesting that in reading some of my old journals, I actually wrote numerous times that I was addicted to sugar, but I never did anything about it!  I guess I just never made the connection that as a sugar addict, I needed to treat myself like an addict or alcoholic and STOP!  I am grateful that when I was finally able to face the sobering truth about my addiction, that the Lord granted me the strength to deal with it.  With His help, I can do hard things.   

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

DAY 81 -- Making jam.

Today my niece (the one who is a health guru to me...that I mentioned in a previous post) came to my place and we made strawberry freezer jam using very little sugar.  We tried three different recipes.  One batch used 3/4 cup of 100% apple juice, one batch used 1/2 cup of 100% white grape/raspberry juice concentrate, and one batch used 1/2 cup of honey.  Each batch made nearly 6 pints of what little bit of added "sweet" is divided by that amount.  Not too bad when compared to most jam recipes that call for 3-4 cups of sugar!!

The last batch I mentioned...the one with 1/2 cup honey...was an interesting recipe I found on-line for Balsamic vinegar/strawberry jam.  Sounds strange, but it's delicious!  I think it will be my favorite.

I also bought a couple kinds of organic bread for us to try out... so tonight my husband and I will need to have a bread and jam tasting session!  =D  (I'm sure he won't mind!)

NOTE:   I want to clarify that jam...even my homemade low sugar high in sugar content because of the fruit and juice concentrate, etc., so I use it very sparingly.  As a sugar addict, I don't want to have anything sweet on a regular basis or it makes me want more and more and more.  For that reason, I limit my jam use and have it only about once a week (if that) and I use it in place of a fruit serving.  For instance, normally for breakfast I have some protein (maybe an egg or cottage cheese), and grain (maybe wheat cereal, oatmeal, or whole grain toast) and a small piece of fruit (half a banana, half of a grapefruit, a small amount of peaches in natural juice, for instance).  So, if I decide to add jam, I might just have an egg, a piece of toast, and jam.  No additional fruit for that meal.  Again...this is because of my addiction, not because of calories or portions or whatever.  I don't want sweets to rule my life again like it did years ago.

Monday, March 21, 2011

DAY 80 -- Salad, and olive oil.

Mmmm... tossed salad topped with cherry balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and blue cheese crumbles.  So tasty!

There was a time when I did not care for olive oil and could not understand people who said they loved it.  Then I stayed in Italy for five weeks and learned that good olive oil tastes wonderful.   (The stuff I purchased in the past, even though expensive, was not good!)  Now I go to a place that specializes in imported olive oils, where they let people sample them before purchasing.  I have found several I really like!  The price is reasonable, especially considering we actually USE the oil instead of paying a chunk of money for stuff that I could not bring myself to use because I didn't like the taste of anything I put it in!  My previous pricey purchases of supposedly good olive oil usually ended up in the garbage.

Now our bottles of olive oil sit out on the counter because they get used multiple times a day!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

DAY 79 -- Yummy muffins

Last week I made some more muffins to put in the freezer.  I like to make a variety, then freeze them to have on hand for quick snacks, or to add to a meal.

Tonight I pulled out one of the "Apple Pecan Muffins with Currants" to have for a snack.  So delicious.  I made it less sweet than what the recipe called for.  It said to use 1/4 cup of maple syrup, but I used a couple tablespoons.

I posted the recipe on the Recipe page.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

DAY 78 -- STILL a work in progress!

This blog seems to keep evolving.  Today I read through all the entries to this point.  I added some labels, added some pictures (although most of my early entries still do not have pics), and created links whenever I referred to a previous post or another page.

I am also a work in progress.  Striving to make improvements to become a better person...spiritally, socially, mentally, physically.  Eating healthy definitely helps in all those aspects!  

Friday, March 18, 2011

DAY 77 -- Project full steam ahead.

I'm doing better today.  I think the project I am working on will come together after all.  Whew.

Now, with renewed hope in that department, I feel a surge of renewed energy in other areas.  Had a wonderful, healthy lunch of tossed salad with two kinds of  lettuce (leafy green and Romaine) as well as fresh spinach topped with tomato, carrots, and radishes (all organic) with organic olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I also had organic rice medley and some salmon.  Oh and part of an apple.

Now, back to my project!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

DAY 76 -- Tough one.

I had a post all ready, but decided not to use it.  Now it's way past my bedtime and I'm too tired to write a different post.  It's been a tough day with a major project not turning out at all.  Hope tomorrow brings solutions.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

DAY 75 -- Was it the grease?

I'm feeling kind of "puny" today...ever since eating lunch.  I went to lunch with a couple friends and they chose a place that serves only waffles and fries.  Didn't want the sweet waffles so I had the fries.  I've been feeling "blech" ever since.  I wonder if it was the grease from the fries.  It reminds me of the movie REMO WILLIAMS where he was so used to eating good healthy food that when he splurged and ate a burger he got sick.  The fries were delicious...but not worth feeling yucky the rest of the day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

DAY 74 -- Produce in season.

A couple days ago someone mentioned eating fruits and vegetables in the proper growing season.  So far I have not adopted that practice completely, but I hope to.  There are some things I don't buy out of season such as grapes, and melons, but other produce I enjoy all year long such as tomatoes.  Right now I think the tomatoes I've purchased are imported from Mexico (organic).  Will I reach a point where I simply go without certain foods because they are not in season or not grown locally?  Time will tell.

Monday, March 14, 2011

DAY 73 -- Mashed Potatoes

I'm feeling guilty today...why?...because I never prepared homemade mashed potatoes for my kids when they were growing up!  hahaha  I have no idea why.  I guess I always thought they took too long or were too much bother.  We had dehydrated potatoes called Potato Pearls.  They were like the Cadillac of instant potatoes, but certainly not like mashed potatoes from real potatoes.

Now, since we are eating mostly natural foods, I use organic fresh potatoes to make mashed potatoes.  Oh my...what a difference!  So very tasty!

Soooo...I sent an email to each of my kids today, apologizing for never serving mashed potatoes from real potatoes when they grew up.  They were deprived!  LOL

My daughter told me later that she was confused when she read that I wanted to apologize.  She thought, "What?  What did mom do?"  Then when she read about the potatoes, she cracked up.  My son jokingly said he already sought counseling for his "real" mashed potato deprivation and has moved on.   :D

Sunday, March 13, 2011

DAY 72 -- Crackers

When it comes to crackers, sometimes it is harder to find a healthy choice.  My two favorite crackers, though, are Ry-Krisp (the seasoned ones), and Triscuits.  Both have very few ingredients and whole grain. They are one of the few "processed" or packaged foods that I still eat.  (Years ago I tried making my own rye crackers but they did not turn out...too thick and hard as rocks!)

Ry-Krisp has whole rye, corn bran, sunflower oil, salt, and caraway.   

Triscuits have whole grain soft white winter wheat, soybean oil, and salt.

Most crackers have a bunch of ingredients that I can't even pronounce, and even have added sugars, so to me, these two crackers are a healthy choice.

I don't snack as much as I used to (snacking only when I am real hungry and it is still awhile until mealtime) but when I do have a snack, I enjoy a couple of either Ry-Krisp, or Triscuits, a small piece of imported white cheese, and a little bit of fruit.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

DAY 71 -- Restaurant food.

Tonight we went out to dinner with a group of friends.  I did "ok"... I probably ate a little more than I should, but I didn't eat as much as I used to, so I am happy with that at least.  And I have leftovers for tomorrow!  :)

After dinner we went to one couple's home and played games.  The hostess repeatedly apologized for not having any snacks for us.  For crying out loud...we had just eaten and everyone was full!  We get so accustomed to eating, eating, eating, even when there is no need.  Tradition.

Friday, March 11, 2011

DAY 70 -- A Quote

I think this sums up what I've learned since I began this challenge in January:

"You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients." ~ Julia Child.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

DAY 69 -- The Think Tank

I know this doesn't have anything to do with healthy eating, but I thought I would share something...

Whenever I need ideas, I like to either take a long hot shower or soak in the tub.  It's my Think Tank.  To capture the ideas that come, I use a wet-erase marker to write on the tiles (in an area where the water doesn't hit the writing).  I keep the marker near the tub so it will be there when I need it.  Afterwards, I use paper and pen to write down the notes, then I erase the marker using a wet cloth.   I can always tell how successful my Think Tank excursion is by the amount of notes scribbled on the tiles!

One time I was writing a story and used the Think Tank to brainstorm different ways one of the characters would accidentally kill a man.  I realized my notes might look incriminating if someone else saw them.... knife? gun?  sharp object?  I've warned my husband that if I ever forget to erase my notes, don't think they are meant for him!  hahahaha

Which reminds me...I better go erase the tiles...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DAY 68 -- Back by popular demand!

My husband loved the squash we had last week and asked if we could please have it again today.  I was more than happy to prepare it again since he was the one to peel, seed, and cube the squash!  (And because it's also my favorite squash recipe now!)  So tonight's supper consisted of broiled mahi mahi, steamed asparagus, and the butternut squash with onions and toasted pecans (see recipe page).  He's lost about 25 pounds since January 1, and his favorite saying at mealtime seems to be (and meant with much sarcasm), "I sure hate having to sacrifice to eat this way!"  ;)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

DAY 67 -- Beware of eating "piece meal."

At times I end up eating "piece meal" and end up eating more than I should.  Eating piece meal can also be considered "grazing."  I fell into this problem during lunch today.  I was very excited about something and anxious to write to someone about the news, but it was also lunch time and I was hungry.  So I quickly grabbed something I could eat at the desk while I typed.  Of course (and this is always the pattern with me when I do this) I did not feel full or satisfied from the "quick bite" so I searched for something else to eat, then later something else again.  I did not want to take the time to prepare a meal and sit down.  Yet... I know from experience that I am far more satisfied when I sit at the table and have my meal in one sitting.  I eat less and feel more satisfied.

Thankfully I don't fall into eating piece meal too frequently, but I wish I was disciplined enough to stop it altogether!

Monday, March 7, 2011

DAY 66 -- Italian pizza

Went to lunch with a couple friends today.  I didn't overeat...but I did have Italian style pizza.  For pizza it is pretty healthy, made with olive oil and very little cheese...a white cheese, not waxy cheddar.  I love the pizza crust of Italian pizza--wood fired..and thin.  My friends had gelato, but I passed on that (of course).  The only thing that might not have been very healthy for my pizza is the flour for the crust.  I am not sure if it was white flour or whole grain.  But as I mentioned, the crust is real thin and I didn't eat the whole thing!

In Italy they serve you an entire pizza, but with such few toppings and such thin crust, it's easy to eat the whole thing.  Today I refrained and saved half for my husband to take to lunch tomorrow.  He's one happy puppy over that.  He's like me... since visiting Italy last year, he does not care for the American version of pizza anymore.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

DAY 65 -- A different squash!

Awhile back I posted...a squash is a squash...but today I finally had a squash that didn't taste like all the other squashes.  Spaghetti squash.  It was my first time eating this type, and I mixed the "spaghetti" part with fresh parmesan cheese, mozzarella, and diced tomato.  I also sprinkled with salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley.  It was pretty tasty.  I think the flavor of the other kinds of squashes is still my favorite though.  (Mmm... I'm still daydreaming about the squash a made with onions and roasted pecans.)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

DAY 64 -- The three stages of my jeans.

At the beginning of the year, when I started this challenge, my jeans were very tight.  I knew if I didn't stop eating processed foods, and kept eating like a pig, I would have to buy new jeans.  Then after eating healthy for a while, the jeans fit nice again.  Now, they are too baggy and I have to wear a belt cinched around the waist.  Tight.  Fitting right.  Baggy.  That's the three stages of my jeans since January.  I decided I would postpone buying a smaller size until this fall.  After's nearly spring.  If I can just keep them from falling down in the meantime while I wait for warmer weather and capris.

Friday, March 4, 2011

DAY 63 -- Deer in headlights day.

Do you ever have those kind of days?  Where you have so much you need to do, have to do, want to do, that you are overwhelmed and can't get out of your own tracks?  That's me, so far today.  

It felt great when my office was set in order, but part of that process brought about lists upon lists upon lists of things to-do, things to take-care of, etc.  

Today I feel overwhelmed by it all.

So, I said a prayer, pulled myself up by the bootstraps (actually, my slippers, since I hadn't even dressed yet), and did what my sister says works for her.  I got dressed and put on some lipstick.  That's her advice.  Putting on lipstick made me want to go a bit further, so I put on some eyeliner and mascara too.  I even put on earrings.

Amazing what a boost that gave me.  I now have some steaks defrosting for tonight's supper, and a load of laundry going.  That's progress!  :)  

Next I'll add some music--the kind that makes me want to dance--and get crackin' on those lists!  

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Today I feel the need to stress that I am not preaching that everyone must give up sugar.  I gave up sugar because of my addiction to sweets.  There are some people who handle sugar just fine--they can take it or leave it.  Truthfully, though, I have not personally met many people who fit in that category.

When I hear someone say, "I could never give up sugar, or I could never give up caffeine, or I could never give up (fill in the blank)" I hear an addict talking.

My journey to recovery began with one day at a time.  Initially I told myself, "Just for today I can go without sugar and sweets," and when I made it through that day, then the next day I told myself the same thing, "Just for today..."  Then, after it was out of my system, I no longer craved it.  In fact, I have mentioned in a previous post that I try to listen to what my body needs and never once--ever--has my body told me it needed a cookie or candy.  It has, however, told me at times that I need some fruit.

This is my journey to healthy eating now, trying to make the healthiest choices for me every day.  Others need to find out for themselves what they need for good health and then be brave enough to follow through.  In overcoming addiction, I hope that I can help others by sharing my success and showing it is possible.

As for healthy eating, if the things I mention in my posts ring true for you, then consider following the same challenge I gave myself, or adjust it to your particular needs.  I'm not here to preach "give up sugar or die!" I'm here to talk about my quest for better health.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

DAY 61 -- Squash recipe.

Tonight I tried a new recipe for butternut squash.  When I grew up, squash was served in one way... baked with butter and brown sugar.  I'm not sure why anyone ever decided to add sugar to squash since it is sweet all by itself.  I like it with just butter and salt and pepper, but I wanted to try something new.

First of all, it took me a little bit of time to find a recipe that didn't include sugar or syrup!  Then I found one that looked wonderful, and when I made it tonight, it was a hit.  My husband and I enjoyed every bite.  It was like that scene on "What About Bob" where every bite brought out moaning...mmmm mmmm mmmm.

My squash was smaller than what the recipe called for, which worked great since it's just the two of us...I reduced the recipe size in proportion.  The amount of pecans and butter seems a bit much when I first looked at the recipe, but then I saw that it served 8.  I forgot to salt and pepper it like the recipe said, but I never missed it.

This recipe is definitely a keeper in my book!  (I  put the link to the recipe on my Recipe page. )

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DAY 60 -- Weighing in but measuring health.

This morning I stepped on the scale and learned I lost another three pounds.  I'm pleased with that, and wonder what weight my body will settle into as a healthy weight.  See my page "At the Start" for a listing of my weigh-ins (every couple weeks or so).

That said, I want to stress that My Healthy Eating Challenge is not about weight or size or shape, but rather about making healthy choices in eating (and exercise) so that my body can adjust itself to where my body deems itself healthy.  Not the media, not my peers.  I hope to lose the weight I gained over the last couple years (when I began eating on the run and neglecting reading labels, etc.) but mainly I want to give my body a chance to regulate itself.  I want to listen to my body's signals for hunger and fulness; listen to my body's signals for what exercises (if any) I need for that day; listen to my body's nutritional needs (do I feel like I need more/less protein today?  more/less fat?  more/less complex carb?)

When I post on my "At the Start" page, I purposely did not put my weight.  One reason for that is because I have always weighed more than what I look.  Even when I was young and thin, my body weighed more than how I looked.  So to list my weight would not give an accurate measure of "health."  Nor would listing my size.  I don't want to get caught up in weight and size according to experts or peers, I want to reach a weight and size that MY body determines.

If I do everything I can to give my body a chance for health, then that's quite an accomplishment.  And in the meantime, I will post my weight loss in hopes that others will see that we don't have to follow insanity and extremes (counting points, counting carbs, counting fat, counting portions) to lose weight.