Sunday, July 31, 2011

DAY 212 -- My mom and bread.

Yesterday as we were purchasing groceries, I noticed the people at the cash register in front of us had a loaf of Wonder Bread in their basket.  And I "wondered"... do people actually still buy that kind of bread nowadays?  I didn't even realize it was still on the market.

My mother never allowed us to eat Wonder Bread.  First of all, she didn't approve of the light-weight white flour sliced bread.  You know... the kind you could wad up in your hands to form a big blob of dough to eat.  Then there came a time when some renters ditched out of an apartment my parents had rented out.  It was about a month before they knew for certain the renters were not returning, so my mom and I went in to clean out the stray items left behind in their hasty exit.  In the kitchen cupboards, mom found a loaf of Wonder Bread.  After all that time, it was not even moldy.

Now some might claim that as a testament as to how "wonder"ful the bread was since it lasted so long.  But in reality, it was a testament as to how many chemicals and preservatives were in a loaf of that bread.  That clinched the Wonder Bread Ban at our house.

We didn't suffer too much, mom made terrific homemade bread.  I have fond memories of sitting around the kitchen table, eating mom's freshly made mulit-grain bread with homemade jam.  Mmm. Mmm. Mmm!  Mom developed her own recipe for the multi-grain bread and was often told she ought to market it, but she never did.

Making sandwiches out of homemade bread was a little tougher since it was hard to slice it thin enough, so we had store bought bread too.  But usually not the fluffy white stuff.  

Between seeing the Wonder Bread in the grocery cart and making homemade rye bread yesterday, then trying my hand at homemade raisin bread today, I'm missing my mom.  And wondering if she ever wrote down the recipe for her famous bread.  Sure wish I had the recipe, and definitely wish I had my mom.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

DAY 211 -- Good deal, good bread, and good people.

This morning I bought an Oster bread machine for $15 at a garage sale.  Good deal!

Then this afternoon I made dark rye bread, using a recipe recommended by a reader (thanks Susan!).  It turned out fantastic.  Good bread!

But I hope you don't mind if the remainder of this post is about... Good people!

For back story... last night as my husband drove home from work in our one and only car, he realized the alternator had gone out.  We already had an appointment with our mechanic for this Monday to replace the alternator and hoped it would function until then, but it was not meant to be.  He made it home, and as we discussed the situation, we decided to hurry and drive it to our mechanic's place (two miles away) while there was still some juice left in the battery.

We made it there safely, and parked the car near the mechanic's garage where he works behind his home. We left our key and a note in his dropbox, letting him know we would pick it up on Tuesday if it was ready.  Then we walked home.

Around noon today, the mechanic called.  Our car was ready!  He explained that he saw our car parked by his place last night, and since he knew we only had the one vehicle, he decided to get up extra early this morning and work on it so he could get it back to us.

That's right.  Extra early on a Saturday.  His day off.  Talk about above and beyond the call of duty!  His kindness touched us.

Another good person was at the yard sale this morning, where I bought the bread machine. It was a large sale with multiple people contributing.  While I gathered my purchase, a man holding a small tea tin approached the woman in charge.  He explained that he bought it from her "booth" earlier, had taken it home and discovered something out of the ordinary inside, so he returned to the garage sale.  He asked the woman if the tin belonged to her or if she had been selling it for someone else in the complex.  She told him it had belonged to her sister who had passed away, so technically it was hers.  The man told her, "Then the money inside should be yours too," and pulled out a wad of cash.  Six hundred dollars.  She broke down in tears.

There are such good people in this world and I wanted to share it on my blog.  It doesn't have anything to do with healthy eating, but certainly has to do with the health of our society.  May we all live near such people.  And may we all be such people.

Friday, July 29, 2011

DAY 210 -- Poem: Growth

When I posted about Last Bites Mulligan Stew, a reader commented, "It goes to waste if it goes to waist."  Very well said.  It reminded me of a poem, "Growth," I found in a diet book years ago.  

Then this morning I read a blog post about clutter that, for me, served as a reminder of how my time and life are wasted when I overeat, since overeating clutters my body.  Again, the aforementioned poem came to mind.

Even though I cannot give credit to the author of the poem since I failed to record it those years ago, I feel the need to share the poem...and to hang a copy on my fridge.


I can learn to
Give away food and
Throw away food
and leave food
It's wasted
If I eat it.
Time is wasted
By being fat
My aliveness is wasted
and I don't want that.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

DAY 209 -- Larabar

I try to avoid packaged or processed foods, but if I'm in a pinch for a snack (especially one that travels well in my purse), I turn to the Larabar, which contains fruit and nuts and that's about it.  They are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, non-GMO, vegan, and kosher.

My favorite is called Cherry Pie.  The ingredients: date, almonds, unsweetened cherries.  Yep. That's it!

Peanut Butter Cookie contains dates, peanuts, and salt.

Cashew Cookie  has cashews and dates.  Nothing else.

Coconut Cream Pie is another favorite of mine and it has a few more ingredients:  dates, unsweetened coconut, almonds, cashews, and extra virgin coconut oil.

They have a large variety of flavors such as banana bread, carrot cake, ginger snap, key lime pie, lemon zest, apple pie, basically made with just fruit and nuts.  Some additional bars come with chocolate chips in them, but I avoid those since the chocolate chips have sugar.  One bar, the Chocolate Coconut Chew has unsweetened cocoa powder and no sugar, so I might give that a try sometime, but I am always leery -- too afraid because of my addictive tendency.  (If it the chocolate tastes tooooo good, then I might not want to stop eating them.)

I usually purchase Larabars at Whole Foods since they often have a sale 10/$10.  Some grocery stores carry them (Winco, Smith's, Wal-Mart) but with very limited selections.  I am told Costco carries them, but I haven't checked on that.

Here's their website if you want to browse through all the flavors and ingredients!  Click: LARABAR.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DAY 208 -- Muffin low.

Yesterday I pulled everything out of the freezer in order to take care of a problem with our ice maker. As I put items back nice and neat, I realized we only have one muffin left.  I like to keep healthy muffins on hand for quick snacks.   (Muffins sweetened with fruit, or minimal amount of honey, molasses, or
pure maple syrup.)

This puts me in a dilemma...I need to make several batches of muffins, but I don't want to heat up the house by using the oven. Maybe we can hang in there for a few more weeks.

Now I can't seem to shake the song: ♩"Do you know the muffin man?"♬

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DAY 207 -- Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

Awhile back, I posted about wanting to find a good recipe for blue cheese dressing (click here).  Well, I realized I never reported that I found one!  Actually, I found two, but my husband and I both preferred the one made with buttermilk.  It's called (somewhat appropriately) "Absolutely the BEST Rich and Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing Ever!" (click here for the recipe).  The other recipe I tried ("Bill's Blue Cheese Dressing) came in as a close second so I will include the recipe (click here) for those who don't care for buttermilk.

(Both recipes are from

Monday, July 25, 2011

DAY 206 -- Weekend health inventory.

Still reflecting on the fun weekend.  I thought I would list the healthy/unhealthy activities.

Unhealthy - lack of sleep Friday night and rising early Saturday morning.

Healthy - breakfast.

Healthy - snacks during trip.

Healthy - conversation and laughter with my niece (she went with me) as I drove to our hometown in Idaho.

Healthy/Unhealthy - luncheon foods at the community fundraiser (salad and fruit was healthy, but the greasy burger... not so much).

Healthy - visit with friends, then with my sister.

Healthy - reconnected with high school buddies.

Unhealthy - meal served at the reunion (store bought potato salad and coleslaw -- I could taste the chemical preservatives in it).

Healthy - laughter as we shared stories and memories.

Healthy - salad at another niece's home (although it was nearly 10:00 p.m. when I ate it).

Unhealthy - driving a country road to my brother's ranch when it was so late, so dark, and I was so tired!  I drove right past the lane to his place and wandered in the boonies before I realized I needed to turn around.  

Healthy - visit with my brother, meeting his new dog (Rottweiler), petting his faithful old dog (Dingo). 

Unhealthy - staying up way too late visiting.

Healthy - waking up to sun coming through the blinds and hearing the irrigation sprinklers in the fields.  There is something so peaceful about my brother's home (which he designed and built himself) against the foothills surrounded by Quaking Aspen trees.

Healthy - a light breakfast while my brother recited Cowboy Poetry.

Healthy - attending church with my sister and niece.

Healthy - lunch at my sister's house.

Healthy - laughter and talking with my niece as I drove home.

Healthy - arriving home safe and sound and hearing about my husband's weekend with our children and grandchildren.

Healthy - a good night's sleep.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

DAY 205 -- High School Reunion

I left early yesterday morning for Idaho to attend a high school reunion.  So much fun!!  It felt like we were picking up where we left off... a group of close friends getting together except without the "baggage" (worrying about what others think, worrying about whether so and so likes know... high school drama).  We sat around laughing and swapping stories of "remember when" until 9:30 last night, when the cold air and the mosquitoes finally forced us to say goodnight.

Now I'm home.  Worn out, yet renewed.

DAY 204 -- No access to Internet

Sorry I didn't post on Saturday (July 23).  I did not have access to the Internet.

Friday, July 22, 2011

DAY 203 -- Papaya Enzyme

There are certain foods that give me almost instant *gas* ... such as white flour products, some processed foods, and eating too much fruit.  When I eat healthy natural foods (and small amounts of fruit) I rarely have that problem, but the minute I eat something made with white flour or with added chemicals, I become, er, *gaseous*

I remember seeing a television interview years ago with Suzanne Somers.  She told the TV host that she couldn't even remember the last time she "tooted," because she ate so healthy. I haven't reached that level yet.  Some days I still manage to consume something that causes problems for me. To combat such a problem, I carry chewable papaya enzyme tablets in my purse. They really help with digestion, and I get almost immediate relief.  

I'm packing for my trip to Idaho (high school reunion) and making sure my purse is stocked with papaya tablets since I have no idea what kinds of foods will be served at the reunion. I don't want to embarrass myself in front of my former school chums!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

DAY 202 -- Crazy week.

Last Friday I drove to Boise, returned on Monday, our son arrived early Tuesday morning to spend this week, and I leave again this weekend for Idaho.  It's been a crazy week, and very difficult to keep up with any healthy routines.  Meal times thrown off.  Exercise time interrupted.  Sleeping patterns disturbed.  And I'm feeling it tonight.  I feel stressed out.

It's a vicious cycle because when I have a busy week it's hard to make time for healthy routines, yet those routines would help keep the stress level down.

Just like the saying goes, "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get."  Tomorrow I need to take time for spiritual, mental, and physical health.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

DAY 201 -- Sunflower Wednesdays

Today we went to Sunflower Market and stocked up on organic fruit and vegetables.  Wednesdays are special at Sunflower because they have double the items on sale.  Their ads go from Wednesday to Wednesday, which means the weekly sales overlap on that day.  

The down side of Sunflower Wednesday is the congestion in the store since people want to take advantage of the double sales, but if we get there in the morning it's not as crowded.

I get a kick out of Sunflower's logo... "Serious food, silly prices."

Here's a link to their site.  (click)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

DAY 200 -- Memories

Our son arrived here this morning after driving all night from California.  We spent the afternoon sorting through some boxes of memorabilia we have stored for him.  It was entertaining to watch him sort, and I added a few items to my "grandma" toy collection.

I pulled out a recipe book that he gave me for Mother's Day when he was seven.  His teacher had the class write down their favorite recipes from memory, then she made copies and put them into booklets for the moms. I treasure it as one of my favorite gifts.  

The recipes almost seem legit until you look close, then you see a cake recipe requiring a gallon of milk stirred into a cake mix; or rice made by adding water, stirring it together, dumping the water out, then cooking just the rice.

Here's my son's recipe entry:


3 cups oatmeal
3 cups water
1 tablespoon water  
2 teaspoons brown sugar

Put oatmeal and water into the pan.  Put pan in the microwave at low for 2 min.  Take out of microwave and put brown sugar on it.  Stir it.  Add milk.

Cute.  I'm going to keep him... and the recipe booklet.

DAY 199 -- Feeling kaput.

Sorry I didn't post on the 18th.  I arrived home yesterday afternoon and have not felt well since.  I'm paying the price for traveling, eating out, and eating processed foods.  My husband tells me my system is like a Ferrari that needs high quality fuel.  I hope I can get my engine revving soon.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

DAY 198 -- Tired

This trip consisted of too many late nights, and too much food.  I head home tomorrow morning.  With as much as I ate this weekend, I will need to walk back to Utah... and push the car.

I would write more, but I can barely keep my eyes open.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

DAY 197 -- Food, family, friends, and fun.

It's the end of a full day.  We celebrated my aunt's 90th birthday. She is an inspiration.  Lively, and fun.  For exercise, she does Yoga, Zumba, and swims.   I hope she continues to live a long, long, time, just like her older siblings.  Her 100-year-old brother claims healthy eating and alfalfa contributed to his longevity.

Here's to healthy eating.

Friday, July 15, 2011

DAY 196 -- Road Trip

I'm taking off on a road trip, driving to Boise.  My aunt turned 90 and I'm attending her birthday party.  (Hubbie couldn't get time off.)

I have the rental car packed, and my healthy snacks loaded in the cooler.  Got my tunes ready too.

I will stay at my best friend's house, which means tons of gabbing, and death to healthy eating by means of enchiladas.  I love, love, love her enchiladas, and I think she plans to make some this weekend while I'm there.  I'll do my best to not gorge on them, but I can make no promises.  Hey, I only visit her place once every couple years, so I'm not going to beat myself up over it.

Even though I am writing this before leaving my place, it won't post until tonight, in case I want to add something.  More than likely though, I will be up late yapping and not change a thing on here!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

DAY 195 -- Our willpower muscle.

Awhile back I mentioned reading a book titled: We Have Met the Enemy: Self-Control in an Age of Excess.  The author, Daniel Akst, wrote that we need to think of willpower as a muscle that becomes stronger when we exercise it.  Each time we use willpower, it adds strength which we can call upon the next time it's needed. But, just like a muscle, willpower weakens by overworking it.  For instance, if we have temptations all around us and have to continually use our willpower, we will eventually become weak and give in.  (This applies to all aspects in life that require willpower, not just food.)  He suggested using strategies to give willpower a rest.  We should rely as little as possible on willpower in the face of temptation.  (Don't count on controlling hunger -- have a plan, or an escape.)

He mentions a woman who used some unique strategies.  When served dessert, she poured salt over half of it so she wouldn't eat that part.  After giving snacks to her kids, she applied slow-drying nail polish so she wouldn't reach into the bag for more.

I think too often I have relied on sheer willpower and turned my nose up to "strategies."  Whenever I did use tactics to stop eating, I felt like I was being weak.   But, after reading his book, I see the wisdom in having a few tricks up my sleeve.

Here's a list of strategies I've come across.  I've tried some of them, but not all.  It's nice to have a selection to choose from to see what works for me, and to devise a plan.

  • Never eat directly from a package; use a bowl or plate.
  • Brush teeth right after meals, to help avoid munching as you clean up the dishes.
  • Keep a buffer of time and space between you and temptations.  (Such as stashing the chips in a far corner of a far closet, so it takes more effort to retrieve them--giving time and distance to rethink having any.)
  • Better yet, don't buy the things you want to avoid.
  • I recall reading about a woman who put her "house" on a diet.  She would not bring anything into the house that she shouldn't eat.  If she really, really, really wanted that candy bar, she had to drive to the store and get it.  (Which combines the previous two strategies.)
  • Drink water before a meal.
  • Only eat at the table.
  • Dish up your meal on a small plate so the serving sizes look bigger.  (This strategy works for my husband, but not for me.  If I serve myself food on a small plate, I think to myself, "I only had a small plate of that... I can have more."  It works far better for me to use a full size plate and arrange my food so it looks like a plateful.)
  • Put your fork down between bites.
  • Sip water between bites.
  • Cover up, or discard leftovers immediately.  (I found placing my napkin over my plate when I'm finished really does help me quit picking at what's left on my plate.)
  • When going out to eat, decide what (and how much) you will eat before you go.  (To avoid giving in to impulses.)
  • At restaurants, ask the server to bring a take-home container along with your meal, then put half of your food in the box right away.  Out of sight.  Out of mind.  
  • Enlist the help of friends or family.  ("Don't let me order the full rack of ribs!")
  • Always leave something on the plate.
  • Before eating, ask yourself aloud, "Do I want to eat, or do I need to eat."
I need to exercise my willpower muscles, but I'm also selecting some strategies for back up. I'm sure you can add to my list of tactics.  What works for you?  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DAY 194 - What is it with me and walking?

I went with my sister-in-law (my brother's widow) to look at some condos and townhouses. She might sell their home since it is a lot of upkeep for one person.

First, I took her to a nice subdivision of townhouses near where I live, and pointed out.  "If you bought here, we could walk to each other's home!"

Then, we drove to another nice community and I pointed out the convenient shopping nearby.  "Wow!  You could walk to the store!"

Later, we returned to the first group of townhouses so she could see inside.  She picked me up at my place and as we drove the short distance to the subdivision, I again pointed out, "It would be so cool if you bought in this area; we would be within walking distance."

She responded, "What is it with you and walking?!  I tell you what, YOU can walk to my place and then we'll take my car and go somewhere."

I laughed.

But it made me think.  Hmmm...what is with me and walking? 

If you look at my exercise page, you will see that I rarely walk for exercise.  And I rarely choose to go out for a leisurely stroll (except at the beach).  So, when I don't walk in this area much, why would I be excited about walking to my sister-in-law's place?

I realized it's because I like walking from point A to point B.  I like walking for transportation. I don't like walking to exercise, but I do like walking to reach a destination.  I park way out in the parking lot and walk to the store.  On days when I drove to the university, I purposely parked at the far end of campus and walked to class.  When on vacation, I enjoy walking to see special sights.

This carries over into hiking too.  I tell my husband I will go hiking with him only if there is something worth hiking to.  A waterfall, lake, scenic overlook.  I don't go hiking just to hike.

So that's why I was excited at the thought of her living nearby.  I would have a place to walk to!  That's what is with me and walking.

Hmm... where to?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

DAY 193 -- A long time favorite recipe.

Years ago I prepared a recipe that I found in a magazine: Chicken-Walnut Saute'.  It was a hit, and continues to be one of our favorites.  (I posted it on my Recipe page.)

Although the recipe asks for walnuts, over the years I have experimented with other nuts too.  I've prepared it with cashews, almonds, and even peanuts.  I prefer the walnuts though.  I think they give a pleasant contrast in flavor.

One nice thing about old age forgetfulness, the recipe seems new and fresh.  My husband came home, saw what I had prepared and acted like it was our first time for the meal.  "Mmm... that looks good, what is it?"

Unsure if he was teasing, I responded, "Uh, Chicken-Walnut Saute'."

"Smells great, I'm sure I'll enjoy it."

"You've had it before," I reminded him.

"I have?"

And he loved it...just like he did all the previous times.  It's still a hit!

Monday, July 11, 2011

DAY 192 -- Eating away at procrastination.

Ask a dog, "How does it feel to slide across sandpaper?" and he will respond, "Ruff."

That was my day today.  Ruff.  Thankfully not rough in all aspects, but it certainly was when it came to eating.  I found myself procrastinating on something I wanted to do.  Am I alone in this?  Do others procrastinate enjoyable tasks or things they want to do?

Anyway, one tool in my procrastination drawer is snacking.  Hmm... maybe I should have a snack before I begin that project.

Then in the middle of the project I get hungry but don't want to take time to fix a meal, so I start snacking while I work.  This leads to the "piece meal" syndrome I wrote about earlier. (Click here .)

Snack.  Procrastinate. Snack again.  Procrastinate.  Snack some more.  Start the project. Piece meal.  Piece meal.  Snack.  Snack.

Ruff day.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

DAY 191 -- Pretend food.

I am stuffed full of "pretend" food.  The grandkids were visiting, and our little granddaughter loves for me to pretend we are eating... just her and grandma.  Her favorite spot is as the top of the stairs that lead to the master bedroom.  She and I sit at the top of the stairs and she serves me by dipping into the air and dishing it up in front of me.  She insists that we use my plastic measuring spoons to eat with.

"What you want Gwamma?"

I name something like soup or applesauce or peas or anything my heart desires.

And apparently my heart desires healthy foods!  Tonight I realized I never ask for any pretend food that I wouldn't eat if it were real.  I had to sit back and ponder on that a moment.  I considered, Why not?  Why not ask for ice cream, or pudding, or cookies?  But I figured I was better off not letting my imagination play with the images of foods I don't eat.

"I want more peaches, sweetheart."

"Okay Gwamma.  Here go."

Saturday, July 9, 2011

DAY 190 -- Natural Peanut Butter

I enjoy natural peanut butter, especially when I find "chunky" style.  There are numerous brands to choose from...most of them quite expensive.  However my favorite brand is affordable, plus tastes like peanuts.  It's strange how so many natural peanut butters all have the same ingredients: peanuts and salt, yet they taste different.  The brand I like is Laura Scudder's -- Nutty (it also comes in smooth).  (I've also had some store brand natural PB that tasted great... like Laura Lynn brand and Kroger's.)

(Be sure to read the label for "natural" peanut butters because some brands sell what they call "natural" but it actually has added sugars.  I know Skippy brand is guilty of that.)

Some people complain because natural peanut butter needs stirred and refrigerated, which then makes it hard to spread.  Simply put it in the microwave for about 20 seconds and it comes out soft again.

We like to take a new jar of peanut butter and dump it into a larger container which makes it easier to stir.  The container we use is microwave safe, so then all we have to do is take it out of the fridge, take the lid off, and let it soften in the microwave for a bit.

The other night my husband and I had a light snack.  He was surprised to see what I chose...a spoonful of peanut butter and a couple small dill pickles.  I love the taste of dill pickles and peanut butter. He thinks I'm nutty.

What quirky combinations of food do you enjoy?

Friday, July 8, 2011

DAY 189 -- Obesity Rate

This morning's newspaper (Deseret News) had a headline: "Utah's obesity rate has nearly doubled."  Apparently the state went from 12% of the population being considered obese, to 23.4%.  That number seems high, yet Utah is one of the least obese states, ranking 6th lowest in the nation (Colorado is the lowest). If they include the figures for those considered overweight, then the percentage jumps to 57.9%.  Wow.  That surprises me because I see so many people actively exercising in this state.  When we moved here from Tennessee, we were amazed at all the people out walking, running, riding bikes.  Tennessee is rated the 4th most obese state.  Strangely, though, I moved from the 4th most obese state to the 6th least obese, yet I gained around 30 pounds after moving here!  Go figure.

Thankfully, since starting My Healthy Eating Challenge, I have lost most of the weight I gained after moving to Utah.  I'm trying to do my part to bring the percentage rate down.  : )

Thursday, July 7, 2011

DAY 188 -- A twist on a burger.

I purchased some ground pork from a farm where they raise natural meats, but I wasn't sure what to make with it.  Then I came across an interesting recipe and decided to give it a try, so I made it for lunch today.

The recipe:  Spiced Pork & Apple Burgers  (click for the link)

It calls for ground pork, spices, and natural applesauce, and turned out quite delicious.

Since we didn't have any burger buns, we just ate the patties with a bit of mustard spread on top.  The recipe suggests mixing maple syrup and spicy brown mustard to use with the burgers but I didn't want the extra sweetener so I just put a couple different mustards on the table.

We'll have it again, and hopefully try it with whole grain buns and toppings next time!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

DAY 187 -- My other blog.

While reading a post on Freezerburned (love her outlook and insights!), I thought of something I wrote on this blog in February (Reading Pig), as well as something I recently posted on my other blog a couple days ago.  That's when it dawned on me...I still haven't shared the link to my other blog!

Titled Reel Focus, the blog contains sporadic posts about my experiences, views, opinions, and thoughts regarding films, filmmaking, and screenwriting.  I recently graduated with a degree in Film and Media Arts; I am an aspiring screenwriter, and dabbling filmmaker.  I try to post once a week on Reel Focus, but often lag behind.

What does all that have to do with healthy eating?  Nothing.  Except for reflecting on being a "reading pig" and being somewhat piggish with keeping blogs to myself.  Thankfully I've not been piggish in my eating.  Whew!

(P.S.  I'm adding a new section on the homepage of My Healthy Eating Challenge to share some of the blogs I follow.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

DAY 186 -- More weight loss.

Stepping on the scale (yesterday) I was pleased to see I lost 3 pounds since the last time I weighed (a month ago), which means I lost the pound I gained the month prior, plus lost an additional two pounds.  (See the chart at the bottom of my page: At the Start.)  Since starting My Healthy Eating Challenge on January 1, I've lost a total of 25.5 pounds and my husband has lost 43 pounds (he doesn't struggle with emotional eating like I do).

Eating tasty foods, not measuring, not counting calories, fat, carbs or portions or points.  This is a way of eating I can continue the rest of my life...which I hope is a long, long time!

Monday, July 4, 2011

DAY 185 -- Foods of America

Today is Independence Day for the United States, and my thoughts are centered on this country.  I have lived in eight states, plus visited all fifty, and although I cannot recall food I ate in every single state, I thought it would be fun today to list some of my memories of food in various states.  (Click on the links for more information.)
  • Alabama -
  • Alaska -  I had reindeer sausage!  
  • Arizona -  I remember traveling through Arizona in July 1986 and the first time we stopped to eat I nearly melted into a puddle the moment I stepped out of the car. 
  • Arkansas -  
  • California -  I learned to use chopsticks; ate my first bagel with cream cheese; and my first spinach salad.  The best BBQ ribs I've ever had in my life was from Flint's Ribs in Oakland.  (GASP!!  I tried to find a link for Flint's Ribs and discovered it is now closed!  SAD!!)  As I've traveled the country I have never, ever, found ribs as tasty as Flint's!
  • Colorado -  I don't recall a certain food, but I want to mention the largest swimming pool I have ever been in...they boast it is the largest hot spring pool in the world.  (Glenwood Springs, CO)
  • Connecticut -  Ate Boston Brown Bread for the first time.  It's a dark brown bread made with molasses and raisins and baked in a can.  I loved it.. but unfortunately I cannot eat it now since it has so much molasses in it.  We also ate "grinders" (submarine sandwiches).
  • Delaware -  
  • Florida -  First time eating Dolphin Fish.  NOT to be mistaken for dolphins, this is a fish also known as Mahi-Mahi.
  • Georgia -  Mmmm... I loved the Cupboard Cafe in Dillard, GA where I ate the most delicious chicken cooked in a raspberry sauce.  At a bed and breakfast on Tybee Island, I had my first crab omelet, and my only time of eating Tur-duck-en (turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken) that the B&B served for Thanksgiving.  And of course, I enjoyed Georgia peaches!  
  • Hawaii -  I tasted Macadamia nuts for the first time.  It's kind of funny because my husband and I were approached by a time-share representative wanting us to sit through an hour long presentation with the compensation of receiving a case of macadamia nuts.  Having never tasted one, I thought the lady was...well, think a case of nuts would entice us to give up a precious hour of vacation time.  Later, when I tasted the luscious macadamia, I kicked myself for passing up the chance to get a free case and even went searching for that lady!!
  • Idaho - My home state.  Of course, I prefer Idaho potatoes over any other.  Whenever I visit Gertie's Pizza in Twin Falls, I wait for the Idaho potato pizza that comes around (it's all-you-can-eat, but they bring variety after variety of pizzas to the tables).  The pizza I mentioned has shredded potato, sour cream, bacon bits, and cheese.  When I used to eat sweets I loved the Idaho Spud candy bar.  The most interesting "Idaho Spud" I've eaten was actually made from ice cream!!!  It was vanilla ice cream, shaped like a potato, coated in a chocolate powder to look like the skin, slit lengthwise, then filled with whip cream (to look like sour cream) and sprinkled with chocolate shavings (like bacon bits).   Click here to see a picture of one.
  • Illinois -  Yummy Chicago-style hot dogs!
  • Indiana -  
  • Iowa -  Hormel Cure 81 Ham.  (My father-in-law used to work for Hormel in Iowa.)
  • Kansas -  
  • Kentucky -  Fantastic dinner theater at Louisville, Kentucky (home of the Kentucky Derby).  Derby Dinner Playhouse.
  • Louisiana -  Fell in love with crawfish while vacationing in New Orleans.  My favorite restaurant there was Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro where I ate Crawfish Ravioli - oh my, words don't even describe the luscious flavor - and enjoyed their Crab and Crawfish Bake (appetizer).  I also had great crawfish pie, but cannot recall the name of the restaurant.
  • Maine - The best lobster!!
  • Maryland -  
  • Massachusetts -  
  • Michigan - Pickled bologna rings!!  
  • Minnesota -  
  • Mississippi -  
  • Missouri -  
  • Montana -  The best steak I've ever eaten.  I day dream of returning there for their Filet Bearnaise at Bradley O's Steakhouse (between Darby and Hamilton).
  • Nebraska -  I recall stopping at a restaurant when traveling with our small children.  They served country food and had waiters wearing cowboy attire.  My son was thrilled to see what he thought were "real live cowboys!"
  • New Hampshire -  
  • New Jersey -  
  • New Mexico -  
  • New York - Ah, I remember having to pull off the interstate in the New York City area because our three year old son had to go pee and refused to go in a cup as we traveled.  Had to find a McDonald's.
  • North Carolina -  Ate at a Zaxby's for the first time.  
  • North Dakota - We ate sandwiches of french bread, cheese, and lunch meats while driving through a desolate area with fascinating landscape and land formations, like something from another planet.  Unique, gorgeous.
  • Ohio - 
  • Oklahoma - Don't remember what I ate, but I saw my first armadillo!
  • Oregon -  Delicious berries.
  • Pennsylvania - Needing to find a place to eat we decided to pull over in Hamburg, PA thinking we would get a hamburger.  Turned out we were wrong.
  • Rhode Island - Mmm... Clam Chowder.
  • South Carolina - Lizard's Thicket (restaurant).  I can't remember what we ate there other than it was country style food.  It was such an interesting name we couldn't resist pulling in there to try it out.
  • South Dakota -  We drove through South Dakota during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  I've never seen so many Harleys in my life.  I don't recall what we ate while in that state, but I can vividly recall the constant roar of motorcycle engines.
  • Tennessee -  Learned to love grits.  Also learned to use the term "covered dish" for socials that I typically called "potlucks" prior to living there.
  • Texas -  First time eating a breakfast taco.  First time eating fajitas with goat meat.
  • Utah -  We've lived here for the past four years.  People joke about Utah being famous for green jell-o with shredded carrots, and funeral potatoes, but we've found some great eats like the Model A Cafe in Mapleton, and Moochies in Salt Lake City.
  • Vermont -  Never ate there.  Drove to Vermont to see the fall leaves, except we made the mistake of waiting until the fall leaves were perfect in Connecticut, not realizing that the Vermont leaves turn sooner, so we saw rolling hills of barren trees.  We were very hungry, but could not eat because we failed to take cash with us...that was back when fast foods did not take credit cards, and you could only use a debit card at your own bank.  By the time we returned to Connecticut (getting lost somewhere along the way) we drove straight to a donut shop and put ourselves into a sugar coma to forget about the ordeal.
  • Virginia -  
  • Washington -  I remember picking wild blackberries with my mom; eating cherries as I sat in the tree, tossing the pits to the ground; and I also remember eating licorice flavored ice cream while living in Walla Walla.  I can't list Walla Walla without mentioning their delicious sweet onions.
  • West Virginia -  
  • Wisconsin -   
  • Wyoming -  
I wish I could remember special foods for all of the states.  Perhaps you can help fill in the blanks.  I'd love to hear about your favorite foods from around the country.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

DAY 184 -- More than halfway.

Wow.  It's already three days into July.  This year is half over!  I've been doing some reflection on the first six months of My Healthy Eating Challenge.  There were times of struggle, but over all, I am happy with my progress.  I did quite well with making healthy choices, but I did have difficulty staying within the parameters of eating only when I was physically hungry.  In other words, I had a tendency to eat when I was upset, sad, or stressed.  But another major player that fought against me was fatigue.

I noticed a couple weeks ago that when I became fatigued, my body seemed to tell me I needed more fuel.  So I ate more than I should (more often, and larger quantities) trying to gain some energy.  It didn't work.  After several days, I finally reached a point where I allowed myself to sleep more than normal, rather than eat more than normal, so now I am back on track and doing well with My Healthy Eating Challenge.  I know it sounds crazy, but I need to remember when I am fatigued, I need more rest, not more fuel.  Who knew?  

Saturday, July 2, 2011

DAY 183 -- Research on diet soda.

I think the first time I heard about diet soda adding to weight gain was while watching the Rosie O'Donnell Show with Richard Simmons as her guest.  After he walked on stage, Rosie commented that he looked like he'd lost weight.  He had lost 15 pounds by making just one change... he eliminated diet soda from his life.

I stopped drinking diet soda years ago when I first realized that artificial sweeteners wreak havoc in my system.  (I posted on that awhile back... click here to review that post.)  Now research backs up what Richard Simmons told the audience that day.  Research reveals that diet sodas do not help promote weight loss, but might actually cause weight gain instead.

Recently a reader shared this article with me:

Diet sodas can make you fat?  Say it isn't so

The following is a CBS news story based on the same research:

New study is wake-up call for diet soda drinkers

Don't worry... if you have a stash of Diet Coke in your house, it's still good for something.  It works great for removing rust, and cleaning corrosion off battery cables.

Friday, July 1, 2011

DAY 182 -- Blast from the past.

This morning I worked out to an old exercise video...and I do mean old, since it's a VHS tape.  It's Jazzercise: The Best Yet! LIVE © 1985.  Remember the 80s exercise fashion?  Tights and leotards accessorized with color-coordinated leg warmers and a belt around the waist.  I never understood the belt around a leotard.  What purpose does that serve?  It's not like you need to hold up your britches!

I have more than thirty exercise videos, not counting the exercise albums and cassette tapes!  Yet, this particular exercise video is one of my favorites.  I have so much fun when I work out to this one, but I don't use it very often... I save it for days when I just can't seem to think of what exercise I feel like doing... those days when I feel a lack of motivation to get moving.  I consider all my other options first, and if none of those get me excited, then I pull Jazzercise: The Best Yet! LIVE out of my arsenal.  For some reason, that tape works magic for me.