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.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

DAY 301 -- Renewing my goal

I received a coupon from Rodizio Grill for a free meal (to celebrate my upcoming birthday).  I forgot I had signed up a year ago for their birthday club.

Receiving that coupon, and thinking about what November holds with my birthday and Thanksgiving, I decided I better set another stickK goal to prevent overeating.  I completed (yesterday) four weeks without any money going to the anti-charity of my choice, so I renewed my goal for an additional five weeks.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

DAY 300 -- Spinning wheels.

Ever had a day where you decided to go on strike, ignore the to-do lists, say "to heck" with the demands of responsibilities and obligations?  Ever had a day where you decide you are just going to do whatever you darn well feel like?  That was my day today.  But the problem is... I wrestled with so much guilt that I didn't enjoy my day.  It feels like all I did was spin my wheels.  And I realized that what I "want to do" is not as clearly defined as my lists of what I "have to do."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

DAY 299 -- Focus on what I CAN eat.

During work yesterday, a co-worker learned that I don't eat sweets.  Stunned, he questioned me, "You don't eat sweets? Then what do you eat?"  I answered, "Food.  I eat all kinds of delicious food."

I recited some of the fresh wonderful food choices available consisting of vegetables, grains, fruits, protein...which made me think about the "food pyramids" we see.  Even though "experts" juggle the sections of the pyramid around from time to time, the groups remain basically the same, and refined sugar is either a very tiny portion of it, or not even listed. (Here are a couple examples.)

When we look at the food pyramid, we see numerous kinds of food!  Yet, too often the "world" wants us to focus on what we can't have, or can't do, or can't partake of, making it seem like if we don't partake of something then we are soooo restricted and confined.  But the truth is there are numerous things we can have, can do, and can partake of, we actually have lots of freedom and abundant choices.

The author of the focus-on-the-can't-haves and focus-on-the-don't-haves, is old "what's his no-face."  He presented that attitude to Adam and Eve.  In Genesis 2:16-17 it reads "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it..."  (Kings James version, italics added) 

Then the "serpent" comes along and brings the focus onto the one tree they can't partake of, rather than on every tree that they may freely eat.

Now, I'm not saying that eating sugar is a sin.  I'm not saying those who question what I can eat, or act like I need pitied because I don't partake of sweets, are evil people.  What I'm saying is, I have lots and lots of choices.  I can choose to eat refined sugars if I so desire, but I don't desire that.  I have far more freedom and health by choosing to decline.  No need to make myself miserable by focusing on the one tiny and sometimes non-existant section of the food pyramid I don't partake of...sweets... when there are abundant food choices to take delight in.

Update to previous post...

Whew.  I made it, without being a pig!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

DAY 298 -- My stickK goal.

This Thursday will mark four weeks of my "no overeating" which will complete the goal I set on  I've been successful so far, and have not lost any money to the anti-charity I selected!!!  Hooray!

However... tomorrow is our son-in-law's birthday and we are going out to dinner to celebrate.  He selected Ruby River Steakhouse.  I haven't eaten there in several years, so I got on-line to see look at their menu, and now my mouth is watering!  Gulp.  This could spell trouble.  

Stay tuned.

Monday, October 24, 2011

DAY 297 -- Hot cereal favorites.

I love hot cereal for breakfast.  I grew up on oatmeal, and whole wheat mush.  Now I have a variety of hot cereals on hand.  Oatmeal; oat bran; steel cut oats; Zoom (similar to mom's homemade whole wheat mush); Hodgson's Mill cracked wheat; and Bob's Red Mill 7 Grain Hot Cereal.

Those are some of my favorites, and some of the few "packaged" foods that I eat (since they only contain the grain, no additives or chemicals).  I sweeten them with fruit.  With oatmeal I like sliced banana and walnuts stirred in, with a dash of cinnamon.  With Zoom, I like to add peaches, or pears.  My favorite thing to add to cracked wheat is dried cherries and walnuts.  With the 7 grain hot cereal, I stir in dried currants (that have no sugar added) and pecan pieces.  Mmm. mmm. mmm!

I've come a looooong way from eating bowl after bowl (in one sitting) of Lucky Charms!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

DAY 296 -- Popeye would be proud.

Image from Wikipedia
Kurt and I got our share of spinach today...and then some.  We had bunch of organic spinach that needed used soon, and even though we were putting it on salads, it was not getting used fast enough.  So for lunch today, I sauteed a big panful of spinach with fresh garlic and mixed it with cooked pasta.  Then I sprinkled it all with olive oil and put seasonings on it.  Delicious!

(It amazes me how a panful of spinach cooks down to what seems like a puny amount!)

As we ate the pasta/spinach dish with our meal, I mentioned that it made me hungry for a spinach-tomato omelet.  That sounded wonderful to Kurt too.

So tonight I sauteed the rest of the spinach along with onion, garlic, and tomato.  Kurt made the omelets filled with the sauteed vegetables, and added some pepper-jack cheese and a bit of cheddar.  (Both cheeses are made from cows NOT treated with hormones.)

They don't make omelets that delicious in any restaurant.  It was heavenly.  And... being repentant from my selfishness... I offered Kurt a big bite of mine, which he happily ate.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

DAY 295 -- Raw Milk

I bought raw milk from a local farm.  The owners invited me to try a sample before purchasing it, so I poured some into a paper cup and drank.  Well... you know those commercials where someone bites into something and they are "transported" to another location?  That's what happened to me.  I tasted that raw milk and instantly felt transported to the kitchen table in Idaho where I sat as a youngster drinking cow's milk ladled from a huge gallon glass jar.  I pictured my mom ladling the cream off the top before dipping the milk out to fill my glass; then placing a sheet of wax paper over the opening of the huge jar before screwing on the lid.

The raw milk I purchased today came in a plastic jug, but in my heart the milk resides in a large glass jar, and I long to sit at a chrome table with formica top.

Friday, October 21, 2011

DAY 294 -- Weird watermelon stain.

Last week my husband put a watermelon in our cart as we shopped.  I questioned him, "Watermelon in October?"  I was a little hesitant to purchase it since it was grown "out of season," but if you read an earlier post (Where did time go?), you can maybe understand why I kept the melon in the cart... I was still holding on to summer.  I really, really struggle with eating fruits and vegetables in their natural growing season.

Well, we brought the watermelon home and my husband removed the rind, and cut the red fruit of the melon into chunks which he placed in our large white Tupperware bowl.  Cutting it up and storing it in Tupperware is typical for us, but this was the first time he put it in the white bowl.

Now the white bowl is stained orange from the watermelon.  Weird!  None of the previous watermelons stained any of our bowls, so why did it stain this one?  And I do mean stained.  I've tried numerous methods of cleaning it... scouring pad, multiple trips through the dishwasher, scrubbing with Bon Ami, scouring with baking soda, and soaking it in bleach.  None of the methods have worked.  It seems dyed.

So then I wonder...  Since this melon is "out of season" could it have added coloring to make it appear red?  It was not organically grown but I didn't worry about that since melons are not as crucial to buy organic.  Maybe I'm paranoid.  Maybe this will help me strive to eat produce in season.

Has anyone else had problems with watermelon staining something, especially leaving an orange stain?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

DAY 293 -- Selfish with food.

I've done well on my goal to not overeat for three weeks now.  I can leave food on my plate, and save food for later, but I'm still selfish with my food.  Today I needed to use up a potato and an onion, so I made hashbrowns with both.  I only ate half of mine and saved the other half on my plate while I visited with my husband.  He reached over and snitched a cube of my potato.  One cube.  And I snarled at him, "HEY!  That's mine!"

Heaven forbid if I have one cube, one morsel, less at my next meal!  Sheesh.

Will food always have such a hold on me?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

DAY 292 -- Gratitude.

Yesterday I was called in to work at the last minute, so I quickly grabbed some celery sticks and a sandwich to take for my lunch.  Later, after eating, I commented to a co-worker, "The bad thing about eating celery is then I'm picking strings out of my teeth the rest of the afternoon."  He responded, "Be grateful you have teeth to pick!"

I laughed, but it was a good reminder...there's something to be grateful for in every situation.

I'm grateful for the food I have to eat.  I have a variety of fresh healthy foods to select from -- that's a tremendous blessing!

I got called in to work again today, and took an apple, walnuts, carrot sticks, and once again... celery.  And gratefully, I remembered to take floss.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DAY 291 -- Where did time go?

October is more than half way out the door and this morning I realized that the summer was so busy we never made it not even once to a Farmer's Market like we had hoped.  Every weekend had something going on.  Crazy.

I feel gypped out of summer.  Usually by this time I have my fall decorations out.  I have very few to display (maybe five things), but I refuse to get them out of the box. 

Every time I walk by pumpkins, squash and winter-type produce, I want to growl.   

I want summer fruits and veggies.  I want the beach.  I want the sun.  I want relaxation.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  I'm not letting go of Summer until Mother Nature knocks me down and pries it from my fingers.

Monday, October 17, 2011

DAY 290 -- My wardrobe.

Last week I only partially heard a comment from my husband, "...need new jeans."  I replied, "Yeah, you do."  And he corrected me, "No.  YOU need new jeans."

He's right.  I do.  I hoped my jeans looked okay since I was wearing a shirt to hide my hiked up pants cinched around my waist.  Apparently they still look too baggy.  (I love that I have such a problem!)  But I don't want to get new clothes until the end of the year.  

In the meantime, I remembered I had a pair of khaki-colored denim pants that I had not worn since the Spring semester of 2008 because they were too tight on me.  I pulled them out of my closet and tried them on.  Woolah! They fit! That sent me on a try-things-on spree and I found a skirt, a dress, and a suit that all fit again.  It's as though I added to my wardrobe!

Still... I look forward to getting rid of baggy clothes in December.  Any guesses what will be on my Christmas wish list?   

Sunday, October 16, 2011

DAY 289 -- Weight report.

For several months I didn't weigh myself.  I was overeating, and really should have weighed, but I neglected it.  So, when I decided to set a contract type goal with, I figured it was time to step on the scale.  Even though I had gained some weight, I was actually surprised and pleased to see the gain was minimal.  I had not weighed since July 4, yet when I weighed on Sep. 30, I had only gained 2.5 pounds.  

Now for the good news... it's been two weeks since I started my contract not to overeat, and I've already lost 4.5 pounds.  That's fantastic!  There is no doubt that eating natural foods is the way to go.  With three months of overeating I only gained 2.5 pounds, and in two weeks of paying attention to actual hunger and fulness, I lost all of that, plus an additional 2 pounds.  Amazing.  

(For those who might be new to this blog... I do not count calories, fat grams, carbs, or portions.  I am trying to let my body tell me when it's time to eat and when it's time to stop, and eat mostly natural, very little processed.)

In years past, I've tried "diets" where I restricted calories or what have you, and would lose about 20 pounds, then gain 30... in a very short amount of time.   So far with My Healthy Eating Challenge, I have struggled often with overeating, yet I've lost 27.5 pounds since January 1.

My husband has lost 53 pounds.  PLUS, he no longer needs medication for blood pressure, cholesterol, thyroid, or diabetes

Healthy eating, and exercise, really does promote good health.  Go figure!  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

DAY 288 -- Borrowing a post.

It amazes me how much my life has changed over the past ten years, but those changes didn't come all at once; and some of the changes just came about naturally as a byproduct of other changes.  I came across a blog post today that nicely sums up how to go about making changes in our lives, and since it is uncopyrighted and the author allows others to re-post, I decided to share it on here.  He says it far better than I can.

(The following is from the site: Zen Habits)

How I Changed My Life, In Four Lines

‘What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.’ ~C. S. Lewis
Post written by Leo Babauta.
Changing your life can seem an incredibly tough and complicated thing, especially if you’ve failed a great number of times (like I did), found it too hard, and resigned yourself to not changing.
But I found a way to change.
And I’m not any better than anyone else, not more disciplined, not more motivated. I just learned a few simple principles that changed my life.
I’ve written about them many times, but realized they’re spread out all over the site.
Here is how I changed my life, in a nutshell.
tl;dr The four lines you’re looking for are at the bottom.

How I Started Running

In 2005 I was sedentary, and couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to make exercise a regular habit. At the end of 2006, not only was I running very regularly, I finished my first marathon. These days I can run a half marathon race at the drop of a hat, have run several marathons.
How did I do it? I started with just 10 minutes of running a day. I focused not on how hard it was, but how much I enjoyed the movement and the outdoors. I increased slowly, until I could run 15 minutes, then 20, and later a couple hours. I was grateful for every run I was able to take.
I got healthier, fitter, slimmer, happier.

How I Started Eating Healthier

In 2005 I was overweight, and addicted to junk food. I ate fast food, chips and cookies, fried meats, anything fatty or sweet or salty … and I had no idea how to change. Today, I am 70 lbs. lighter, I eat almost all whole, real foods (almost nothing processed), I eat a sweet treat now and then but am happier eating healthy food.
How did I change? I started with small changes like drinking more water, eating more fruits and veggies, cooking at home more and preparing my lunches for work. One at a time. I gradually improved my diet, eventually cleared my fridge and pantry of junk, and stopped going to fast food places. I found healthy foods I really loved. I was grateful for every delicious healthy meal I ate.
I felt better about myself, trimmed down, and feel great every single day.

How I Got Out of Debt

In 2005, I was way over my head in debt — it was so bad, I had creditors calling me, and I would ignore my phone calls. I struggled to make it paycheck to paycheck, and sometimes didn’t even make it — I had to borrow money from friends and family. It was one of the most stressful times of my life. At the end of 2007, I celebrated with my wife Eva when we paid off our last debt and were free!
How did I do it? I started one little change at a time: I started cutting back on expenses a little, saving a little at a time, paying off the little debts and then the bigger debts, found some breathing room, and saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I gradually changed my financial habits and got into better shape. I was grateful for every debt paid off, every dollar saved, every inch of breathing room.
I’m debt free and will never go back. It’s the most liberating thing ever.

And On and On

I was planning on writing the same capsules for how I decluttered and simplified my possessesions, how I started focusing and accomplishing more, how I turned my passion into a living, and so on … but the truth is, the story starts to repeat itself.
I used the same principles, over and over. More on that in the nutshell below.

And Then I Gave Up Goals

About two years ago, I started to give up goals. Just as an experiment.
It turns out, I could still accomplish the same kinds of things, but I just didn’t plan it out. Instead, I just followed the same principles (more on those below). They still work, even without goals.
People say I can give up goals because I’ve already accomplished a lot … but the truth is, I can give up goals because I have learned a few things that work, and realized they work with or without goals. And if you follow these things, you can change your life, with or without goals.

The Nutshell Principles

So what are the principles that changed my life, repeatedly?
If you read the brief stories above, you already know:
1. Start very small.
2. Do only one change at a time.
3. Be present and enjoy the activity (don’t focus on results).
4. Be grateful for every step you take.
In programming, this is called an algorithm. It’s a series of steps that you can apply to make any change, no matter what your situation.
It works. This is the Zen Habits method, the Change Your Life App, in four lines. I hope it helps.

Friday, October 14, 2011

DAY 287 -- Answering questions.

When I posted about my 10-year anniversary abstaining from sweets (Sunday, Oct. 9), a reader asked some questions.  I thought others might be interested the my responses, so I hope she doesn't mind that I am using a separate post to answer her questions.

Q: Do you refrain just from sweets, or from sugar in other products like catsup and spaghetti sauce?

A: When I initially began my sugarholic recovery, I stopped eating sweets such as candy bars, pastries, sodas, and obvious treats.  As for other products, I carefully read the labels and if the sweetener was one of the first four ingredients, I didn't eat it.  If it was fifth or beyond on the list of the ingredients, then I went ahead and ate it.  I had a difficult time finding catsup that was low in sugar, but finally found one that was satisfactory to me (however, I can no longer find that brand).  Currently, because of "My Healthy Eating Challenge" I try to avoid all foods that have added sweeteners since I try to eat natural, fresh foods and very little packaged or processed foods.  (It's hard to find packaged foods that don't have sweetener added!)  I watch labels and purchase tomato sauce and tomato paste that does not contain sweetener.  Hunts used to make a spaghetti sauce that did not contain added sugars, but I can no longer find it so I make my own sauce.

By the way... I learned once again how important it is to read labels.  I attended a meeting last night where someone brought gluten-free pretzels.  I tried a few, and they were delicious. Then I read the label.  You guessed it... sugar was added.  I never suspected to look because typically pretzels are a safe bet!

Q: Do you end up having to do a lot of cooking to avoid added sugars?

A: I do make a lot of things from scratch, but I find quick and easy recipes, including recipes for the crockpot.  A few recipes I enjoy are listed on the Recipe Page of this blog.

Earlier in the year I posted a blog entry giving examples of what I eat for various meals.  You can check it out on this link:  Sample Meal Ideas

Q: Do you use natural sweets like maple syrup and evaporated cane juice, all-fruit jam, and stevia?

A: Because I am addicted to "sweet" I use very little sweetener in anything; however, when I do need something sweetened I use pure maple syrup (100% maple syrup), pure honey, or molasses.  I mostly use fruit for sweetening, either fresh fruit or canned fruit (canned in its own juice).  For instance I make muffins using recipes that call for very little sweetener (about 2 tablespoons of honey or molasses for the entire batch), and have added fruit, such as mashed bananas, to help "sweeten" them.

I sometimes use all-fruit jam, but I carefully read the labels because many of the so-called all fruit jams use fruit syrup rather than fruit juice.  I avoid the ones with fruit syrup.  

I don't use stevia, and someone suggested I try agave, but after reading various studies about agave, I avoid that too.

Once sugar was out of my system, I found natural foods to taste delicious.  I don't feel the need or desire to sweeten most foods.  As an example, I use plain yogurt, add chunks of fruit and some broken walnuts, and to me that tastes delicious.  If someone used to eating sugar tasted my yogurt treat, it would not taste good to them because their taste buds are used to sweet.

Q: Do you use artificial sweeteners?

A: No.  Artificial sweeteners are just as they are labeled: artificial.  I try to get my foods in a natural form.  But my main reason for avoiding artificial sweeteners is because they are still addicting to me, and make me crave sweets.  Plus they do unhealthy things to my body such as give me headaches, and make my heart race.  To read more about the reasons I avoid fake sugars, check out my blog post titled Avoiding Artificial Sweeteners.

I know it might seem difficult or overwhelming or maybe even boring to give up sweets, but it is one of the best things I've ever done.  If I could go back in time and change only one thing in my life, I would go back to my childhood and send the sugars packing.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

DAY 286 -- Homemade taco seasoning.

I made tacos and used homemade taco seasoning for the first time.  My daughter recommended the recipe to me, so now I will pass it on to you.  Here's the link:  Taco Seasoning

When I first bit into my taco I thought the flavor was a little mild, but after a few bites I realized it was quite flavorful and just the right amount of spiciness for me.  My husband agreed.

It seemed like a fairly healthy meal.  Organic refried beans, natural ground beef from a local farm, organic vegetables (lettuce, onion, tomato) and taco shells made from organic corn.

I wish I could report that my spices are organic too, but that will come slowly as I replace the ones I already have.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

DAY 285 -- Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Even though this has nothing to do with healthy eating, I wanted to share it anyway.

Today I went for my yearly mammogram appointment.  I typically try to avoid having a mammogram done in October.  Why?  Because October is the month for Breast Cancer Awareness and it seems like the waiting room is full of magazines containing articles about breast cancer.  The last time I had a mammogram in October, I sat reading cancer articles that put the scare in me.  Then, to top it off, they saw a “spot” on my mammogram image and I ended up having a biopsy.  I told myself over and over that everything would be fine, but the horror stories I had read in the waiting room kept marching through my mind.   AAAAaaaargh.

The biopsy revealed fibrous tissue.  All was well.  And from then on I made sure to schedule my screenings for a month other than October… until now.  I could not get in during September so it rolled around to the dreaded month.  I decided I could handle it, and took my own reading material.

Turns out that I had no reason to worry.  The Women’s Center I go to now (we’ve moved since my biopsy) is so efficient I did not have time to read anything.  

Walked in, given a gown, put on the gown, got squished, got dressed, and left.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

DAY 284 -- Passing the pizza.

We attended a meeting tonight where they served pizza to those in attendance.  I passed on having any because I wasn't hungry.  There was a time when it wouldn't have mattered whether I was already full or not, I would have eaten at least one slice (and probably more) because I love pizza.  

I'm very pleased that I held strong, but I'm afraid to pat myself on the back, because then my hands aren't free to catch my fall.  I know I need to be on guard continually.

Monday, October 10, 2011

DAY 283 -- Oregano to the rescue.

Some friends invited us to their place for dinner last night, and she was serving a favorite recipe... lasagna.  In the past, I loved her lasagna and usually had heaping servings for seconds and thirds.   So, I felt a little nervous about going there last night.  Would I be able to stick to my not overeating goal?  Or would her lasagna do me in?

She had the food set out to serve buffet style at her counter, and I carefully took a small portion of lasagna. When I bit into it, I was greatly relieved... she had gone heavy on the oregano which (in my opinion) ruined the flavor.  Hooray!!  I did not even eat all of the small portion I took, let alone desire any more.  

(I am not a fan of dried oregano.  Whenever I use it, I put in less than half of what the recipe suggests.  I DO like fresh oregano though!)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

DAY 282 -- Anniversary of sugarholic recovery

Today marks 10 YEARS of Sugar Addiction Recovery for me.  Giving up refined sugar was one of the best things I've ever done.  I've had some people tell me, "Well, I am toooo addicted.  I could never stop eating sweets."  Those people assume that I must not have been very addicted if I was able to give it up... they have no idea the hellish addiction I had.

How did I do it?  How did I give it up?  With Divine help in taking one step at a time, one day at a time, until those one days accumulated into ten years.

To better understand my before and after, here's an excerpt from the "My Story" page on this blog...

MY SUGARHOLIC STORY:  When people find out I abstain from sugary foods, they usually say, "I could never live like that."  They don't understand... I was not living before giving up sweets.  I was existing, but certainly not living.  I existed in a world of mood swings, depression, fatigue, sickness, anger, and self-loathing.  I had dreams, but no oomph to follow them.

I reached a point where I was desperate.  I wanted to be well!  I wanted good health!  I made appointments with my gynecologist (were my hormones out of whack?); an allergist (were allergies making me sick?); and an internal medicine doctor.  Surely someone would have answers.  In the meantime, I poured my heart out in prayer.  This was nothing new, but perhaps I was finally in the right frame of mind to understand the answer: sugar addiction.  Just as surely as someone could be addicted to alcohol, I was addicted to sugar.  I realized that addiction runs in my family.  Alcohol.  Drugs.  Sugar was my drug of choice.  I realized that just as an alcoholic needs to avoid alcohol at all times (one should not tell an alcoholic, "It's your birthday, go ahead and have a drink!") I needed to avoid sugary foods, even on special occasions.

When this realization hit me, I stopped cold turkey.  It was October 9, 2001.  I went through about a week of withdrawals...and then...the cravings ceased, and I emerged into a whole new world!  I felt alive.  Really alive!  

I am a different person.  Here are some things that changed for me:
  • Nearly every day of the week is a good day for me.  I used to have maybe one good day out of a week.  A good day for me is when I am productive and accomplish tasks.
  • More energy!  Sure, I still get tired, but it is because I have been on the go all day long.
  • No heartburn.  Before going off sugar, I used to have frequent heartburn.  I kept Tums in my purse, next to my bed, in the medicine cabinet.   Now I don't need them.  
  • Better sleep patterns.  I go to bed early and arise early.  (I never dreamed I was actually a morning person!!)  I used to go to bed exhausted, have insomnia, and never feel awake even after arising.  I slept in any chance I could get and the only thing that motivated me to get out of bed was the thought of something yummy to eat.  Sugary cereals.  Donuts.  I used to have a sweatshirt that read: "Start every day with a smile and a donut...the smile is optional."
  • No need for anti-depressants!  Prior to discovering my sugar addiction, I went on anti-depressants (off and on) always thinking they would help me feel better.  They did not.  Since avoiding sugars, I have never once felt the need for medication--and what's more, I feel mentally better than I ever did during the times I used anti-depressants.
  • Fewer skin tags.  I used to have lots of skin tags all over my neck.  Most of them disappeared when I stopped eating sweets!
  • Easier to donate blood.  When I was full of sugar, if I donated blood I became very light-headed and dizzy.  They would have to put ice packs around my neck and have me recline with my feet up for a long period of time until I could finally leave the blood mobile.  It was embarrassing, so I rarely donated.  Now, they take my blood, I hop up, grab a bottle of water and free T-shirt, and I'm out the door.
  • Courage to do hard things.  Now when faced with a challenge I think to myself, "The Lord helped me quit eating sugar, He can help me accomplish (insert any difficult task) too.  

Freedom from addiction tastes far better than any sweet.  I don't want to enter that bondage--the prison of sugar addiction--again.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

DAY 281 -- Cucumber ideas?

One of my nieces gave me four humongous cucumbers from her garden today.  I told her there was no way we could consume them before they go bad, but she insisted I take them anyway and told me, "If they go bad, just throw them away and don't tell me!"

She's had such a crop of cucumbers and admitted that it's hard to know what to do with them. Zucchini, for instance, can go in salads, stir fry, breads, muffins... but what can you do with cucumbers?  Salad, raw cucumber spears, sliced and marinated with onion and vinegar, pickles (but these are way too big for that). That's about all we could think of.  

Does anyone have suggestions or recipes that might help me use these cucumbers?

By the way... I've used cucumber slices on puffy eyes and it really does help to refresh and take the puffiness out! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

DAY 280 -- At least one thing went right.

To quote a favorite children's book...

"It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day... "  

At least one thing went right: I did not succumb to overeating.   

Thursday, October 6, 2011

DAY 279 -- My overeating goal.

Okay, a week ago I started a goal with that I would not overeat for four weeks.  If I am successful, and don't lose money each week, I will set up another goal beyond that.  This four weeks is a testing period for me.

Overeating to me means... eating when I'm not physically hungry (feeding my heart or head instead of my stomach), and eating beyond the point of comfortably full.

I want to report that I made it through this past week without overeating!!  Hooray!  No money going to anti-charity this week!  HA!  Take that!  Mwahaha.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

DAY 278 -- Recipe link.

I wanted to share the recipe for the meal I made ahead of time yesterday.  I found the recipe on  Here's the link:  Chicken With White Beans and Tomatoes

The recipe calls for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, but I used boneless skinless chicken breasts.  And it called for cannellini beans.  I didn't know what a cannellini bean was, but I found some at Sunflower Market and learned it's a white kidney bean.  I didn't know such a thing existed!

As I tossed the ingredients together, it looked colorful, appetizing, and healthy.  Turned out quite tasty too.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

DAY 277 -- Eating healthy takes some planning.

I knew I would be gone almost all day today, with only a tiny window of time for supper, so I got up a little early this morning and prepared a meal, then exercised while it baked.  The house smelled delicious in the wee hours of the morning.  Then I put the meal in the fridge so all I needed to do was pull it out and heat a portion to quickly eat before taking off again.  My husband did the same when he got home too.

I'm not always so "with it" to plan ahead like that, but it was worth the effort.

Monday, October 3, 2011

DAY 276 -- "Are you sure this is sanitary?"

Think the voice of Tantor from Disney's Tarzan, "Are you sure this [water] is sanitary?  It looks questionable to me!'

Today I had the opportunity to help transport cars from some auto dealerships to where they will be auctioned.  I was called at the last minute, and unsure if they stop for lunch, I grabbed some almonds, a few Triscuit crackers, and planned to bring some dried fruit but decided to quickly grab a Larabar instead.  I am sooo glad I did.  Here's why...

At one dealership, I was handed the keys to a Ford Expedition that had been traded in.  I opened the door to the vehicle and about fell over.  It was absolutely filthy grimy gross dirty.  I dutifully climbed in and sat as best as I could on the broken seat, looking around at all the trash and debris, trying hard to ignore the stench.  As luck would have it, the broken seat would not move forward making it difficult for me to reach the pedals.

I hopped out and explained the dilemma.  They relieved me of the dump and gave me the keys to an Oldsmobile Alero.  Whew.  But that car was only a notch above the filthiness of the Expedition.  Do people act like pigs in these cars?  Do they not even want their personal items... like the used ceramic coffee cup left in the seat, or their clothing, or stereo remote?  Sheesh!

Well, after driving the mobile trash can to the car auction, my stomach was rumbling.  (I'm surprised the filth and skanky air freshner dangling from the mirror did not squelch my appetite.)  I realized by that point that no one stops to eat; I was grateful I brought some snacks.  Then came the dilemma... I reached for my hand sanitizer in the outer pocket of my purse and could not find it.  Apparently it dropped out somewhere.

I DID NOT want to reach into my bag of almonds or crackers after being in those awful pig pens, so it was with much relief that I pulled out my Larabar, and carefully kept my hands on the wrapper as I ate it.

I get to transport vehicles again tomorrow.  This time I'm taking a bottle of sanitizer that fastens to my purse!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

DAY 275 -- Escaping the Lobster trap!

Last night we went to dinner at Red Lobster with a group of friends.  Before leaving our place, I slipped into a room and prayed for help.  I knew the only way I could make it through the meal without overeating was if I had Divine assistance.

First of all, I worried about the cheesy biscuits.  I absolutely love, love, love their cheesy biscuits, and I've never been able to go to Red Lobster without having a full meal of those melt-in-your mouth delights even before devouring an entree and any accompanying sides dishes. 

When we pulled up to the restaurant, my heart sank.  It was Endless Shrimp time.  I felt like all odds were stacking against me... willing me to succumb and break my stickK contract. Silent prayers raced through my mind.  Heaven help me.

And Heaven did.  I ate one -- count it, one - biscuit.  Ooooo how I wanted more more more. But I held tight.  I ate my salad, and part of my Talapia (yes, I even avoided the Endless Shrimp!), then brought my leftovers home.  

Thank Heaven.  I did...and still do.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

DAY 274 --

❝ I constantly walk into a room and I don't remember why.  But for some reason, I think there's going to be a clue in the fridge.❞  
~ Caroline Rhea

That quote enters my mind each time I find myself in front of the refrigerator, staring at the my visual reminder (the bow) and wondering, "Why am I here?  I'm not even hungry!"  

It amazes me how often I encounter this situation, and painfully reminds me of the ingrained habit of turning to food for answers.