Sunday, September 30, 2012

Feeding Candy to Cows???

You' me!  I'm attaching a link to an article that tells about some farmers now feeding candy to their cattle to fatten them up, because corn is too expensive.  First of all, feeding corn to cattle is NOT good.  But how can they truly believe that candy is a good substitute?  

Stop the insanity!

Link: Farmers Serving Candy to Their Cows

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mmmm... you smell like...

My daughter noticed that she wasn't producing quite enough milk for breastfeeding. It seemed to decrease after she took some over-the-counter allergy medicine. Wanting a natural way to increase the milk, she learned about various supplements and decided to try fenugreek.  However, she was surprised when she read that fenugreek sometimes causes a specific odor to come out in the body's sweat.  It's the middle of summer, and she's training for the Kiss Me Dirty 5K, so sweating is pretty much guaranteed.

She warned her husband, "A side effect of fenugreek is that it might make my sweat smell like maple syrup!"

After a moment, he asked, "And the down-side is......?"

It reminded me of a previous post (click here), who needs perfume?

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Give me this mountain!"

Have you ever had images and phrases come to your mind that seem poetic in nature?  That happened to me in early June and since I didn't know how to write poetry, I settled for prose.  I'm sure I learned poetry-writing in high school, but that knowledge fled years ago.

I feel like I'm about to expose my tender underbelly, since I don't usually write like this, but I feel it's time to share this... (what do I call it?)...poetic prose. Here goes...

“Give me this mountain!” I timidly cry out, growing more confident even as I say it.  Inspired by Caleb (Joshua 14:12), I know that with the Lord’s help I can conquer this mountain—this land of giant appetites—this insurmountable problem of overeating.  I can visualize success.  I can see myself on top of the mountain, planting my banner, pleased and proud; uplifted and made conqueror by the hand of the Lord.

So I begin my journey.

Yesterday it was “Give me this mountain!” and I advanced two steps.  But today I cry, “Remove this mountain!”  For I am no longer advancing at a snail’s pace up the side, I realize I am trapped beneath.  Buried.  One minute I am on the side, and the next minute, with one misstep (was it the popcorn?), I find myself beneath.  Surrounded by darkness, crushed and whimpering.  The mountain is planted squarely on top. 

“Someone call IX-I-I!”  I smirk.  I cannot cry out.  I am smothered, alone.  As I lay beneath the mountain, I ponder.  Where did I go wrong?  Where was my misstep?  How did I get beneath instead of on top?  Was it the Kentucky Fried Chicken?  But it was a better choice than Wendy’s or A&W, wasn’t it?  And I only ate one side of green beans and gave the biscuit to coworker Bill.  Oh!  I should have planned better.  I should have foreseen I would go from one job to another and not have time to eat.  Yes.  That’s it.  I should have planned better.

But wait.  Maybe it was the popcorn.  I wanted the popcorn from Low Book Sales.  I just had to have it.  But then maybe it was eating too much Panda Express followed by too much watermelon followed by…

I sob.  What’ the use? 

I lay very still and cry.  I pray.  “Lord, yesterday I faced the mountain and started to climb.  Today I am beneath.  Why?”

Staring into the darkness, I see clearly. “Give me this mountain” indeed.  I am within.  I built it around and over me, first as a shelter, then as a fa├žade—layer by layer of sediment settling more solid year after year.  My relationship with food covers it, like vegetation that grows on the mountainside, where I graze and gorge in comfort, ignoring what lies beneath.

“Give me this mountain.”  Indeed, the mountain is mine, and it must be removed, not climbed.  With my Savior’s help, I can move the mountain…one shovelful at time.  I must sift through the dirt, examine it, acknowledge or discard it, until I am free.  And then I will stake my banner – on solid, level, ground.

“Remove this mountain.”  So it is that shovel turns to pen, mountain turns to paper.  And I write.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quirky eating habits.

My dad used to recite a little rhyme:

I eat my peas with honey;
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny, 
But it keeps them on my knife!

I've been thinking about quirky eating habits.  Here's some of mine (and I'll probably think of more later).
I polish my grapes.  I eat one at a time, after rubbing it on a paper towel or napkin.

When eating yogurt or applesauce, I insist on using a plastic spoon.

I like cold-cold-cold milk, so even if my husband gets the milk out, pours a glass, and then sets the carton on the counter, I put it back in the fridge for a while before I get some for myself.

We're all strange little fess up...what are your quirky eating habits?

Friday, July 13, 2012

While he was "sleeping..."

While my husband was under anesthesia, having his colonoscopy on Tuesday (see: Health Screenings), I used the waiting time to go for a long walk.  I'm training for the Kiss Me Dirty 5K (see: I must be crazy!) by following a Beginner Training Plan I found on the Internet.  Tuesday I needed to walk 3-5 miles, and since his appointment was during the cooler morning hours, it was an ideal time.

The clinic was located on the east side of the Salt Lake Valley, on the "bench" of the mountains.  I knew there were several businesses around there, and planned to just walk around the parking lots.  However, as I started out, I saw some joggers go past in a partially secluded area.  I decided to follow them.

Lo and behold, they were on a scenic paved path -- The Big Cottonwood Canyon Trail -- made especially for non-motorized traffic (walkers, runners, bicyclists).  What an enchanting discovery, much better than walking around the boring parking lots!

Some of you might remember that I typically don't like walking for exercise.  I like to have someplace to walk to.  (See: What is it with me and walking?)  But I want to do the muddy 5K with my daughter (and a crazy friend from my high school days!), so I'm surrendering to the walking/running regimen.  Discovering this trail made walking a delight, as it led away from the business complex and towards the Big Cotton Wood Canyon.

Here are some pictures I snapped with my iPhone.

Heading East on the paved trail.

Um.  No worries...not tempted.

Nearing the end of my walk.

Suspended bridge leading to the business complex.

I must say, I had a much better time that morning than my husband.  But we plan to return and walk the trail together.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Simple pleasures in eating.

"Learning the simple things that please us make for an artful life." ~Julia Cameron

I used this quote on my other blog (Reel Focus) and then considered how it applies to healthy eating.  When I eat mindfully, I find bursts of flavor in simple foods.
  1. Crisp, juicy cherries
  2. Succulent celery
  3. Fresh raspberries
  4. Sweet ripe watermelon
  5. Fresh peas in the pod
  6. Steamed broccoli
  7. Steamed, crisp, asparagus
  8. Garden tomatoes
  9. Crunchy jicama, bursting with juice
  10. Plain yogurt with chunks of fresh pineapple and walnut pieces
What simple foods please you?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A down side to eating healthy.

There is a down side to eating healthy... I miss the "one stop" shopping.  I used to go to a large supermarket for most of my groceries and household items.

Now I go to Utah Natural Meat for meat and eggs; Sunflower Market for produce, vitamins and herbal supplements; Tony Caputos has the best olive oil, vinegars, and cheese; plus we joined Costco for some of their organic produce and organic canned goods.  Then to top it off, I still need to make a trip to yet a different store for most of our non-grocery items.

It takes some creative maneuvering and planning to make sure I don't waste gas by running hither and yon in my errands.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Health Screenings

Today my husband had a routine health screening: the dreaded colonoscopy.  (You're going to stick what up where??)

Although we exercise and eat healthy, it's important to have health screenings, and I'm glad my husband did not put up a fuss about going in.  He has a history of colon cancer in his family, so he might have inherited the tendency towards that disease; and because of that history, he needs a colonoscopy every three years.  He says, "My parents aren't alive, so I can't slap them."

After the procedure, the doctor came into the recovery room and told Kurt, "You are one of the healthiest eaters I know.  If anyone ever tries to tell you different, you have them see me because I have proof." (Ahem, and I like to take credit for preparing healthy foods.)

Kurt was also praised on his weight loss.  Most important, he has no sign of any cancer and a clean bill of health.

I couldn't find an image for colonoscopy.
Aren't you glad?  We don't need to see
that, right?
Hopefully our healthy lifestyle will keep us around for many, many years, but health screenings give us peace of mind and a chance for early detection if something is amiss.

For more information on what health screenings are recommended according to age and gender, here's a link for the Mayo Clinic:
Health Screening Guidelines

Monday, July 9, 2012

Remember two things.

Yesterday I felt blah, accompanied by the desire to munch.  Then I came across this quote:

"I tell my retreat students that they need to remember two things: to eat what they want when they're hungry and to feel what they feel when they're not."  ~ Geneen Roth

I decided to figure out what I was really feeling, since it was not true hunger.  

Thankfully I am married to my best friend, so I went to Kurt and asked him to be my sounding board.  It turned out I had a grab bag of different emotions all disguised into a lump of blah.  As I dug down to figure out what I was really feeling, I pulled out:

  • jealousy (someone who used to be heavier than me has lost weight and is now skinnier)
  • pride (since the above mentioned person "cheated" by using drastic measures rather than good healthy choices, I must be better than her, right?)
  • low self-worth (comparing myself to others)
  • need for approval and validation
  • discouragement (not attaining some goals I had set)
  • boredom (didn't feel like doing much)

After talking things over, I felt much better, and the desire to eat disappeared.  I didn't feel like eating again until this morning after exercising.

I am wondering though (and hoping someone can give me feedback on this)...I understand that I am supposed to allow myself to feel my feelings rather than stuff them down, but what do I do with those feelings once I acknowledge them?  For instance, if I feel angry, should I do something to get rid of that anger (meditation, write my angry feelings and then shred it, punch a pillow until I feel better), or do I just recognize the anger and then move on or ignore it?  What do I do with the feelings I feel?

Any input on that?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The old reliable.

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had a chance to plan out some menus.  I do so much better preparing meals when I have a plan.  (See: Making a menu plan.)

Tonight I couldn't think of what to fix for supper, so I pulled out the old reliable... sauteed veggies with whole wheat pasta, drizzled with olive oil.  I use whatever veggies I have on hand and this time it was zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and chopped Kalamata olives, sprinkled with sea salt and white pepper.

Successful meal.  I wish everything I whipped together at the last minute would turn out so great!

Friday, July 6, 2012

I must be crazy!

Oh my goodness.  I must be crazy.  I'm actually considering running a 5K with my daughter.  Not just any 5K, but a "Kiss Me Dirty" race... an obstacle course mud run. The actual race looks like a hoot, but  the thought of training to run makes me cringe. I'm usually an indoor aerobic exerciser, not a runner.  Gulp.  But dang the muddy obstacle course really appeals to me! If I can do this, it will be a great "Mudder" and Daughter experience!  (We're also going to round up other crazies to join us.)

Check out the website:  Kiss Me Dirty

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red, White, and Blue

It's Independence Day.  I thought it would be fun to think of foods I like in the colors of the U.S. Flag:

Red grapes
Red potatoes

Banana (peeled)
Chicken breast
Pears (peeled)
Popped corn
White corn

BLUE: (Very under-represented in the food groups!)
Blue organic tortilla chips

 Blue cheese dressing (okay, I stretching it here...can I count that?)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Can't believe it's not real ice cream!

Here's another wonderful banana treat, so simple... and with healthy ingredients too:

Banana Walnut Ice Cream

2 frozen ripe bananas
1/3 cup vanilla soy, hemp, or almond milk (I use unsweetened almond milk, and usually have to add a bit more to help it mix properly).
2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts

Blend all the ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth and creamy.
(Note: freeze ripe bananas at least 24 hours in advance.  To freeze, peel, cut into thirds, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.)

(From Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, M.D., p. 283)

The first time I tried this recipe I was absolutely stunned, and thrilled!  It had the same consistency and flavor of real ice cream.  (But keep in mind that I haven't had ice cream for over 10 1/2 years!)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Banana treat.

Here's a simple banana treat:

            1. take a banana (peeled, of course)
            2. roll it in toasted wheat germ
            3. chill
            4. eat
(Also delicious frozen.  Or you can eat it right away without chilling...which I tend to do.)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Plastics and BPA

Awhile back, we switched to glass containers to hold leftovers for my husband's lunch. He didn't mind the extra weight of the containers... until he started riding a bicycle to work with a pack on his back.  Now he prefers the light-weight plastic containers again (who wouldn't?).

I worried a bit about BPA, but then I came across this quote about recycling codes:

"Four, five, one and two...
All the rest are bad for you."

I went through our plastic food storage containers and breathed a sigh of relief.  They have a code of five.

Glass is preferable, but I don't worry (quite as much) about the plastic containers killing him off any time soon; now, if I could just rest easy while he pedals to work!  (I ask him to text me every day to let me know he arrived safely: not "smished.")

(For more information on the codes and recycling, click here.)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Plenty of water.

I was reminded (in something I read) about drinking enough water... the recommended 64 ounces a day.  Even though I assumed I was getting enough water, I decided to measure out what I typically drink.  I filled a glass with the amount I drink when I first get up in the morning, and poured it into a 2 quart pitcher.  Then I filled the glass again for the amount I drink at breakfast, at lunch, at dinner, and before bed (a smaller amount).

It filled the pitcher to the 2 quart mark... and that doesn't count the extra water I drink after exercising or at other times I feel thirsty.

I was excited to realize I drink plenty of water!  Hooray!  I've been patting myself on the back all day.  It's a good feeling to know I'm doing at least one thing right!  haha

Friday, June 29, 2012

Delicious Recipe

My husband is not a fan of Brussels sprouts, but the first time I prepared this, he told me, "This is a must-have-again!"  So don't let that ingredient scare you off.

Cannellini with Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Sausage

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 20 minutes with cooked or canned beans

3 Tbs. olive oil [I think I used 2 Tbs the last time I made it, and it was plenty.]
8 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed [I used “natural” ground Italian sausage, without growth hormones, etc.]
2 Tbs. minced garlic
Red chile flakes, to taste
Salt and black pepper
1 pound Brussels sprouts, shredded in a food process or roughly chopped [I found that we  prefer it roughly chopped]
½ cup white wine or water [I used chicken bouillon]
2 cups cooked or canned cannelloni [white kidney] beans, drained [I think white northern beans would also taste great]

1. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When it’s hot, crumble the sausage into the pan and cook, stirring occasionally to break the meat into relatively small bits, until browned, 5 to 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and chile flakes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook and stir for another minute or so.

2. Add the Brussels sprouts and wine [water or bouillon] to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until the sprouts are tender but still a bit crunchy, 5 to 10 minutes.

3.  Add the beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are heated through, just a minute or two.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Serve over cooked grains (rice, bulgur, cracked wheat), or toasted bread.

(From The Food Matters Cookbook, p. 394)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tired vs. hungry

Yesterday I almost fell for the trap of mistaking tiredness for hunger.  I kept dragging around the house and thinking I needed more fuel, which I was determined I would not give in to.  Thankfully, I remembered what I learned last year (see post: "More than halfway." )... when fatigued, I probably need more rest, not more fuel. Considering that I spent a very long day at the election polls on Tuesday, it made sense that I needed more rest on Wednesday. So I took a long nap and woke up feeling so much better.

I made it through another day of making healthy food choices, and listening to my hunger/fulness signals.  One day at a time.  I can do this.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I recently posted about some of the things that contributed to my downfall (see: Going up or down?) and I thought of something else that I should add...

I tried to fix something that wasn't broke.  To me, healthy eating means avoiding processed foods and not overeating.  But earlier in the year I read the book Eat to Live, which leans towards a vegetarian diet, and touts eating lots and lots of vegetables and fruits, as well as moderate amounts of legumes and grains (and now and then a little tiny bit of animal protein if one wants).   Oh, and no salt.  It sounded like a good plan and we tried it out for awhile, but it didn't fit us.  We quickly grew bored with vegetable meals.  Although I tried numerous recipes, I had difficulty finding delicious salt-free, meatless meals to prepare.  

The big stumbling block during that trial period was the "eat as much as you want" mindset.  Sure, that might work while eating vegetables, but for an overeater, that mindset is dangerous.  It messes with the hunger/fulness signals, thus it was hard to turn the "eat as much as you want" dial off when eating other foods, like grains and beans.  Worse, when we stopped following the plan, and processed foods crept back into our lives, the "eat as much as you want" seemed to be firmly fixed, whereas the hunger/fulness meter was broken.

Also, as a recovering sugarholic, the "eat as much as you want" of vegetables and fruit was dangerous... I ended up with too much sugar in my system from the fruit, which contributed to fatigue and fuzzy mind.  

So... I am back to My Healthy Eating Challenge.

Now, if I can just fix that blasted hunger/fulness meter!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Poll Food

Worked at the local election poll from 6AM to 8:30PM.  I had to take enough food for my meals and snacks throughout the day.  I worried (a little) that other workers would bring bags of chips to share, and that I would cave in and nosh for hours. Thankfully, that was not the case.  I wasn't enticed by the few snacks offered.

I even passed up on the small sandwiches that someone brought in for us.  They were made with little white flour rolls, and filled with processed lunch meat.  They looked delicious, and I briefly considered eating one, since they're small.  But then I nipped that thought in the bud.

I'm glad no one brought chips, though, because I'm not so sure I could have held strong faced with that temptation.

✓ Eating healthy got my vote today.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Back to the dailies.

In filmmaking, "dailies" refer to unedited film footage (usually of the previous day's shoot) quickly put together for the director and select crew to view each day while making a motion picture.  This helps them assess how the acting performances and scenes are progressing.

Last year I posted on here almost daily, and I can't help but wonder if that helped me be more successful in healthy eating.  I want to return to daily posting and see if it helps me.  Similar to film "dailies," these posts might seem like unedited first drafts.  I have so many writing projects going (my screenplays and my blog Reel Focus), I feel like I can't take much time to polish these posts. But like film "dailies," I hope reviewing my day will help me assess my performance and progression.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Going up or down?

When it comes to reaching goals, or making progress, I remind myself:  It doesn't matter where you are on the ladder, it only matters which direction you are going.

Well, I've been going down for several months.  I'm really struggling.  I'm still avoiding sugar and sweets, but I'm still overeating (big time), and processed foods have crept back into my life.  At first it was a little here and there, but recently I took an inventory of what I was eating and realized I was consuming far more processed foods than I thought!

As I've contemplated the stumbling blocks, I've identified several things that aided my downfall.  Hmmm... interesting that most of them started last fall.  Fall.  Downfall.

My husband (starting last October) gets home later than he used to.  He started riding his bicycle and taking public transportation, which is a healthy thing to do, but for our eating habits, it wreaks havoc.  Four nights out of the week he is not here when it's "supper time."  I get busy and don't like to stop what I'm doing to fix a meal when it's just me here to eat, so I grab something quick when I'm hungry and then go back to what I was doing.  Sometimes it's hard to figure out what to fix that he can still enjoy later (either when he gets home, or in his lunch the next day).  

Raw cacao fail!  Raw unsweetened cacao, if I understand right, is unprocessed cacao beans.  When it's processed and refined, it's then cocoa.  I've read different reports, so I don't know for sure, all I know is that we had read how having a small amount of raw (unsweetened) cacao was great for energy and brain food.  We decided to give it a try.  Every morning, for a couple months, I mixed some raw cacao into my almond milk.  Over a period of time I realized I was suffering major depression!!  It was similar to the type of depression I had when I used to consume sugar.  I couldn't figure it out.  There seemed to be no reason for such ongoing deep blue funks.  

So I prayed about it and the thought came to my mind, it's the cacao.  HUH?  I didn't think cacao was bad for's raw and unsweetened!  Wondering if I missed something, I did some more research...especially searching for information from sources that were not promoting the product.  (Of good report, like I wrote in this post: "Think on these things.") I was stunned by the side affects it can cause, and depression was a major one.  I stopped using cacao and the depression lifted. Hooray! But, those months of depression added to my overeating problem...eating to feel better, which of course never works.

[Just for information, perhaps too much information...constipation was another cacao side effect.  I didn't suffer from that, but my husband did.  I asked him when the trouble started and he told me, "Sometime in October." Hmm... just as I suspected since that's when we started with the cacao.  I told him what I had read about cacao. He stopped taking it (mid-January by that point)... and this is going to be gross... but it had caused such a blockage that he had to do a cleanse and when it came out, it was like a dark cacao dam turned loose, as though a couple months worth of cacao had sat undigested in his intestines, clogging things up.  He was greatly relieved (pun intended) to get that out of his system.]

Facing my demons.  Ever since learning the source of my overeating, I've been on a downward spiral.  I wrote about that in December (see Day 364 - Reflecting) and it continues to be a problem.  It's hard to battle the demons, and easy to stuff my feelings. 

And so it is that I find myself heading down the ladder instead of up.  But I recognize the direction I'm going and I want to stop the descent.  I want to climb again.

It feels good to type this.  I realize it would help me if I post regularly, even if it's not every day.  I know I can get encouragement and support from you.

And as I learned from Susan (a reader and fellow blogger) I shout, "NEW DAY!"  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


After baking muffins (see post: Baking in the Cool Days), I had some left over pumpkin puree, so I decided to try a recipe for a pumpkin smoothie.  It included orange juice, and frozen banana, and sounded delicious.  Big fail!  Oh my goodness, I took a sip, gagged, walked to the kitchen sink and spit it out.

Gee, for some strange reason my husband refused to sample the glass-full I had poured for him!

I thought I was over the fiasco, but today as I bit into a pumpkin-raisin muffin, the flavor brought back the horrid memory of the smoothie.  It might be awhile before I can enjoy anything pumpkin flavored.  Agh.

Friday, May 25, 2012

New blender.

Today I wanted to make more muffins but realized, Oh yeah.  We're out of flour.  Yesterday's baking depleted what little bit of flour I had.  I didn't want to make a trip to the store (ugh) so I figured I might have to wait until tomorrow to bake.  Then my brilliant (although typically absent) mind kicked in.

Use the new blender!

Our old blender went on the fritz a couple months ago, so we replaced it with a Blendtec.  As we debated the purchase (pricey, even on sale at Costco), the deciding factor was that the Blendtec can also grind grains (wheat, rice, barley...) into flour...even into fine pastry flour if I desire.  I've needed a grain grinder for a long time; we have lots of wheat stored but no decent way to grind it.  Our old blender could crack wheat, or roughly grind flaxseed, but could not handle grinding anything into flour.  I planned on getting a grinder attachment for my Kitchenaid (at the tune of $150) but kept putting it off.

So, with the reasoning that the Blendtec can blend plus grind (and even make hot soup!), we forked over the dough.

Today was the maiden voyage for grinding wheat into flour and it worked great!  I made three batches of muffins.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Baking in the Cool Days

The weather forecast indicates cooler temperatures the next couple days, so I decided to catch up on baking.  We stocked up on homemade healthy muffins in February (see post), but we're already completely out, and I don't want a dilemma like last summer (see Muffin Low)... not wanting the oven to add heat to the house.

So bring on the cool days!

Friday, May 18, 2012

From a "Woman in the Rough"

A friend wrote a  poem that gave me such a, well...belly laugh, I wanted to share it, and she graciously agreed.  Kelly is from my hometown, and we went to high school together.  I was a year older (okay, maybe two), but we really got to know each other in Drill Team and Drama. (Hooo boy... the stories we could tell!)

She has such a fun and sassy writing style and recently started her own blog.  Check it out at this link: Woman in the Rough.

Here's "Epiphany" by Kelly Farley

I looked in the mirror after a shower today,
And the thing that I saw took my breath right away.
Buck naked I stood taking inventory
Of the horrible scene…..Let me tell you the story.
Crow’s feet and wrinkles lined my eyes and my lips,
Cellulite spread on my thighs and my hips.
Breasts to my navel and gut to my knees,
My arms, if extended, would swing in the breeze.
Dimples are cute when they’re placed on the face,
But on fanny and knees make them quite a disgrace!
An axe handle wide is my orange-peeled butt,
And my face, with no neck, looks like Jabba the Hut.
There are corns on my toes and gray on my head,
The reflection I saw made me wish myself  dead.
I couldn’t believe all the skin that was sagging,
I thought, “If I walk, my butt would be dragging!”
I straightened by shoulders and squared up my chin,
Rolled up my stomach; it’s time to begin.
No more junk food to eat; I’ll eat veggies and fruit,
Good bye, Ol’ Fatty….I’ll give you the boot!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Veggie Wash

Last week a local grocery store had their fuji apples on sale for 97 cents a pound.  Although I usually select organic produce, I went ahead and purchased a bunch of the apples.  Thanks to one of my nieces, I learned about the all natural "Veggie Wash" and I use it on non-organic produce.  It's made with organic citrus and natural ingredients, and according to the package, "safely removes waxes, chemicals, and soil."

I still prefer purchasing organic, but when a sale price is too good to resist, I think washing the produce (not just rinsing) is a good alternative.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Breakfast

When our kids were small they used to serve me breakfast in bed for Mother's Day. Now, even with the children gone, my husband continues to spoil me in such a manner.  This morning he prepared a crab omelet with cheese and tomato.  On the side, he served a variety of fresh fruit (banana, pineapple, cantaloupe, and grapes) which he arranged in an attractive display.  *sigh*

When I serve food, it is plopped on a plate, like, "Here ya go.  Eat up."  But whenever he serves food, it's arranged in such a fashion I have to feast my eyes (and pause to snap a picture) before feasting my belly.

Here's the delightful meal he brought to me:

Thank you honey!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Caution: a diaper clad bottom sat here.

I read an article Where the Germs Are that cautioned against various locations for nasty microbes.  Among the warnings for doorknobs, bathroom faucets, and dishrags, was a warning about the shopping cart.  

Ever since stores started supplying sanitizing wipes for shopping carts, I've been fairly consistent with wiping down the handle where grimy hands gripped.  I've mainly taken that precaution to prevent catching a cold, or a flu bug.  But I never considered other vicious germs lurking elsewhere on the cart.

An investigation found E. coli on more than 70 percent of shopping carts.  One culprit is leaky meat.  "And babies put their bottoms where you put your broccoli."  

The author suggests, "If you eat it raw, don't place it in the top part of a shopping cart."

Yikes!  I used to place the more delicate fruits and veggies in the "seat" to protect them.  Now I put them in the main section of the cart to protect myself.

(Reader's Digest, Where the Germs Are, October 2011)

E. coli
Wikipedia Commons:
Rocky Mountain laboratories, NIAID, NIH

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hungry enough to eat...

I keep thinking about a quote I saw in a magazine:  If you aren't hungry enough to eat an apple, you aren't hungry!

When I was a child, my mom used to tire of my hunger whining.

"I'm huuuungry."
"Would you like an apple?"
"Would you like a banana?"
"Would you like... (insert any healthy food)?"
"Then you must not be very hungry."

I was hungry for junk, which in reality translates to not being hungry.

Now I'm all grown up (and trying not to grow out) and realize I still struggle with distinguishing between junk hunger and real hunger, but because I enjoy healthy foods I can't test my hunger with an apple.  I would eat an apple whether truly hungry or not!  In fact, I couldn't think of any food to substitute in the quote, so I decided on this qualifier:

If I'm not hungry enough to eat at the table, I'm not hungry.

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Think on these things..."

When I read scripture, I try to think of how it might apply to me or to my situations. Recently, I prayed for help in eating healthy (as I often do) and then opened the Bible.  I read Philippians 4:8 (King James version).  "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."   

In the past, whenever I read that verse, I applied it to what I might be viewing, reading, or participating in; but this time, because of healthy eating on my mind, I saw it in a different light.  Here are some of my thoughts:

...whatsoever things are true ... Truth is something that endures forever.  If something is true now, it will be true tomorrow.  It doesn't change.  This tells me to avoid fad diets, and eat the foods that have been and always will be healthy: fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains...

...whatsoever things are honest  ... I need to be honest with myself (was that really the best food choice available?).  Be honest about hunger and fulness (am I truly hungry, or do I just want to eat?). Be accountable and honest.  

...whatsoever things are just  ...  There are consequences - just consequences - to actions, good or bad.  When I eat healthy, I can expect better health, more energy, a clear mind, and better moods. When I eat poorly, I can expect weight gain, fatigue, fuzzy mind, and diminished health.  Eating like a pig will bring consequences, and they are just.  Eating healthy brings consequences, and they are just too!

...whatsoever things are pure ... Eat as wholesome and natural as I can.  The fewer hands that have handled my food, and the less processed, the better.

...whatsoever things are lovely ... Make meals attractive.  Eat a variety of foods and rejoice in their colors, flavors, textures, and beauty.   

...whatsoever things are of good report ... Every day, it seems, there are new reports on diet research and health, often with contradicting ideas.  I need to carefully consider the source (who funded the research) and their agenda.  Some researchers report "good" numbers for weight loss, but it doesn't mean it's a healthy method of losing weight.

...if there be any virtue ... (Virtue: a standard of right; beneficial quality or power of a thing; strength or courage; commendable qualtiy or trait; capacity to act.)  Select foods that give my body benefit, power, or strength.  I have the capacity to act on good choices.  I can act (make healthy choices) rather than be acted upon (blame circumstances).

...if there be any praise ... Acknowledge my successes.  Be grateful and praise God for the healthy foods available.  Thank God for His Divine help and support.  Tell others.

...think on these things ... Think on the positive and good. Think about making healthy choices.  Envision good health and a clear mind.  Avoid negative thoughts.  Don't let thoughts dwell on foods that are unhealthy. Think on the true, honest, pure, good report, just, virtue, and praise.  Think how they apply to healthy eating and rejoice!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Healthy bundle of joy.

Our newest grandbaby arrived into the world Tuesday morning, April 3.  She seems perfect in every way, and I marvel at the miracle...not only the miracle of life, but the miracle of how so many babies can arrive in such perfect condition when so very many things can (and do) go wrong.  What a blessing to have a healthy little bundle added to our family.

I'd write more, but I need to go kiss some soft little newborn cheeks, and play with her brother and sister.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stop being efficient.

Years ago I talked with a therapist and expressed how I tried to be efficient with my daily tasks.  I told him how I dove-tailed many chores, and even kept a basket at the stairway to collect items that needed to go up the next time I went.

"Stop being efficient, " he told me.


"You could use a few extra trips up the stairs."


But he was right.  And I thought of him yesterday as I did laundry -- making a trip up the stairs after each load, and back down the stairs with the next.

Often the least efficient way for chores (and transportation) is the most efficient for our health.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Yesterday the grandkids were visiting and our grandson got into a little mischief that resulted in him being bathed while his clothes were tossed in the washer.  After his bath we realized he needed a change of clothes to wear while waiting for his to wash and dry.

I went to our storage room and dug through a few old clothes that my kids used to wear when they were little.  I kept a few of their items (well, too many actually) that seemed special. Matching Hawaiian outfits were among them.  When my husband served aboard the USS Henry M. Jackson (submarine), they pulled into Hawaii for a brief stop, and he brought home matching outfits for me and the kids... shorts and shirt for our son, and muumuus for our daughter and me.

As the grandkids ran around in the vintage Hawaiian attire, I reflected on muumuus. Remember when larger women often had to resort to wearing muumuus?   That was back in the day when plus size women had very limited choices in clothing.  I'm so thankful that designers nowadays create attractive clothing for larger women.  I haven't worn plus sizes for years, but still, I'm grateful that those who need them have attractive selections, and don't need to wear a muumuu unless they are decked out for a luau... or have nothing else to wear because their clothes are washing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kummerspeck: grief bacon.

According to the Reader's Digest, I have kummerspeck.  It's the German word for "excess weight gained from emotional overeating.  Literally, grief bacon."

Someone who attends funerals just for the food is a pesamenteiro (Portuguese).  Well, at least I'm not one of those... yet.

As for my grief bacon, I will try to do better by zeg.  (Georgian: "the day after tomorrow.")

Reader's Digest, April 2012, p. 83

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Advice taken.

Several weeks ago, a friend of mine asked her Facebook friends what they suggested to help get rid of her headaches.  She was suffering from frequent severe headaches, especially after heavy exertion in exercise.  Doctors were unable to diagnose a reason, so she turned to her friends.  She received many suggestions, and I almost didn't post anything, since most of my friends don't like to hear what I have to say about health and nutrition, but I decided "what the heck" and told her that I got rid of my severe headaches by eliminating sugar and artificial sweeteners.

Recently she told me that she had decided to take my suggestion, and was surprised (and pleased) how quickly her body responded to the change... no more headaches!

I felt pleased that she had the courage to eliminate sweets, but mostly I was pleased that she found relief from the pain!

Monday, March 5, 2012

"Extra" food.

I'm not talking extra helpings, I'm talking about the food served while working as an "Extra" last week, for an ABC family movie titled "The Mistle-Tones." (With Tia Mowry, and Tori Spelling.)

Our meals were catered and we were given large portions of cooked vegetables, as well as salad.  We also had some pasta one day, and rice another day, with a small amount of meat each time.

As I reflected on this, I realized it's an economical way to feed a crowd: lots of veggies to fill up on, a portion of grain/starch, and a small amount of meat.  (Basically the way I eat at home!)  They didn't serve us "cheap" burgers from a fast food dollar menu.  Seems to debunk the theory of those who claim it's cheaper to feed their family junk.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hmmm...I see!

I've been having a bit of eye strain, and since my eyeglasses are old, I made a trip to the optometrist to get a new prescription.  I was stunned when he told me the problem... my eyesight has improved, so my eyes are straining with glasses too strong for them.


I've been wearing glasses since I was in the third grade, and each time I purchased new frames, it was always with stronger prescription lenses than the ones before.  (Thank goodness for modern lightweight, thin, plastic lenses because mine would look like coke bottle bottoms if I had to use the old time "glass" glasses.)  As my near-sightedness increased over the years, sometimes the change was slight, but it was always for the worse, and never the better.

So I find it interesting that after a year of eating healthier and striving to avoid processed foods, my eyesight improved.  Coincidence?  Maybe, but... I clearly see another reason to keep eating healthy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Stocking up on muffins and bread.

Finally!  We are stocked up on muffins and bread.  Clear back in July, I posted about being low on muffins (click here).  Can you believe it's taken me this long to finally restock?  Sheesh!  

My husband and I decided to use Sunday afternoons (for the past few weeks) to bake.  Yesterday we declared ourselves done... for now.  Baking goes so much faster with my Number One Flunky!  (See previous post.)

I added more recipes to my "Recipe" page.  I wish I knew of a way to categorize the recipes on there, or a way to "link" this blog post to specific recipes, but as far as I know, the only way to access them is to scroll down through the page.   I think there are 4 muffin recipes and a couple bread recipes posted on there now, as well as other yummy dishes.  (Click Here.)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Greedy heart.

"Making the food have less fat or fewer calories is not going to make my heart less greedy for food."  ~Gwen Shamblin, author of Weigh Down Diet.

Monday, February 6, 2012

"Sugar, ah, honey honey."

Saturday we had fast food take-out: Kentucky Fried Chicken.  (Okay... I am not saying it was a healthy choice, but some days just don't come out as perfect as we'd like.)  Included with our chicken was a packet labeled: Honey Sauce.

Honey Sauce?  What in the world?  So I picked up the packet to read the contents.


Hmmm... honey sauce with only 7% honey. Hmmm... since it's the fourth ingredient listed, that means almost 93% of the "honey" sauce is made up of two kinds of corn syrup and sugar!

Since when do we need to add corn syrups, sugar, fructose, and molasses to honey?  When did honey become not sweet enough on its own?  Sad.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A perfectly "crumby" substitute!!

I prepared some oven baked chicken, and the recipe called for "dry bread crumbs."  I pulled out a container of bread crumbs I've had on the shelf for ages.  The crumbs inside seemed stale (no surprise since the date on the can was 2006).

What to do.  What to do.

I thought maybe I would make crumbs from a slice of bread and put them on a baking sheet and let the oven dry them for a bit, and hoped it wouldn't take very long.  Then, as I was reaching for the bread, I had an idea!

I put some Triscuit crackers in the blender and turned them into crumbs.  It worked great since the crackers were already "dry" and crunchy.  Saved the extra time that making dried crumbs from fresh bread would have required.  Plus...the chicken turned out very tasty!  I think I preferred the flavor over ordinary crumbs.

What a fabulous "crumby" idea!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Top Cities for Staying Young

According to Real Age, I live in an area ranked #2 for "real age" youthfulness!  Check it out... are you living in an area known for good health or staying young?

25 Best Cities for Staying Young

Hopefully you are not living in one of the following areas... 

25 Top Cities for Aging Too Fast.  (Good thing I don't live in the Knoxville area anymore!)

Of course, we can make healthy choices no matter where we live.  It's just fun to see the ranking.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Cage-free" eggs.

We like to buy our eggs from a local farm, where the chickens have free run of a field and a nice big (red) chicken coop.  They can come and go from the coop as often as their little chicken hearts desire.  Their eggs are pricey, but oh so wonderful.  We can tell the difference in taste, texture, and color of the egg yolks from the farm compared to typical eggs in the grocery store.

The disadvantage to buying eggs from the local farm is the lack of convenience.  The "store" where they sell their eggs, milk, and meat, has limited hours.  We recently ran out of eggs, but could not get to the farm during their "open" hours, so we settled for cage-free eggs from the market.  The term "cage-free" can be misleading.  The chickens might not be kept in so-called "cages" but might still have very crowded, small areas, to live (exist) in, with cement under them rather than dirt or even grass.

Still, in a pinch, we reach for the cage-free eggs and hope for the best.  In the meantime, I calendared an outing this week to the farm where I can see with my own eyes the chickens roaming the field and celebrating their chickenhood.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Interesting interview.

I watched an episode of The Story Trek where the host, Todd, interviewed a woman who told how she used to be severely depressed, unmotivated, in her sweats all day.  Then she started to exercise, plus eliminated sugar and white bread from her diet.  She lost 50 pounds and feels fantastic...energetic and happy.

She's a stay-at-home mom, but has a home-based business on the side (get this!) baking unique cookies!  She said she bakes by "smell"and "texture" and has friends and neighbors sample the recipes to make sure they taste good.

Wow.  I know that I, personally, would not risk baking cookies (or any other sweets), especially on a regular basis.  It's such a habit for me to taste what I'm preparing that it would totally stress me out to bake cookies...being on guard every moment against absent-minded sampling.  When asked to provide cookies or dessert for a party or function, I respond with, "I will gladly purchase something from the store or bakery!"

I'm amazed she is able to refrain from sampling her cookie creations, and hope she has continued success both in her business and in her abstinence from sugar.  I wish I could meet her... a kindred sugarholic in recovery.

Here is a link to watch the inteview:  The Story Trek.  The title of the episode is "Yesterday I was in jail"... which is the first story told in this particular episode.  To view her story, go to about 17:30 minutes into the show (you can move the time bar to that point).

I enjoy The Story Trek.  The concept is that everyone has a story.  They go to random areas around the country, to random homes, and knock on doors.  The first person who answers and agrees to be on television, gets interviewed.  Such interesting stories emerge, such as the woman who recovered from depression by giving up sugar...but bakes cookies on the side!  :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Do we have large waists and small minds?

My husband needed slacks so we went to a department store.  As we shopped, we bumped into a couple we know.  They were amazed at Kurt's thinness.

The guy asked Kurt, "What size waist do you wear now?"
Kurt: "38."
Guy: "Be sure to call me when you start wearing a 36."
Kurt: "Why?"
Guy: "So I can shoot myself."
ME: "Why on earth would you shoot yourself if Kurt starts wearing a 36?"
Guy: "Because then he would be smaller than I am... I wear a 38."

I had to bite my tongue at that point because I wanted so badly to point out that if his pants were a size 38, then that was his hip size, not his waist, since his pants were worn way down low, with his bulging belly hanging over the "waist" of his slacks.  

The encounter made me think about a previous post (see: The Fat Standard).  Why do we do that?  Why do we fall into comparing ourselves to others, and perhaps thinking as long as we are smaller than so-and-so, then we are okay?  I admit... I've caught myself in that mindset on occasion.

Let's celebrate the success of others, and only compare ourselves to ourselves.  How am I doing now compared to a month ago...a year ago...yesterday? 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Homemade Tomato Soup

I haven't found a canned tomato soup without added sweetener. Even the canned organic soups have organic sugar or syrups added.  Organic or not, I don't want the added sugar!!

So... I finally decided to just make my own.  Not sure why it took me so long to reach that conclusion... perhaps I fell for the myth that tomato soup required sweetener, since I could not find any without.

I pulled out my trusty cookbook and laughed out loud when the recipe for tomato soup called for (get this) canned tomato soup.  Uhhh...what't the point of homemade soup using the canned stuff?  I shook my head and shut the book.

I got on-line and checked several recipes, but I lacked some of the ingredients for them.

I decided to just 'wing it' and use a combination of ideas from the recipes I browsed.  Here's what I did:

I chopped up some onion and a clove of garlic, then sauteed them in olive oil.  Next I added 1 can of organic diced tomato and 1 cup of chicken bouillon.  Then some salt, pepper, and a dash of dried thyme. (I did not want to make a large batch since I wasn't sure if it would taste good... so I measured by guess and by golly to make enough for two servings.) 

I let those ingredients simmer for about 20 minutes, then pureed it in the blender.  Just for kicks and giggles, I added a spoonful of sour cream while it blended (next time, though, I will use some regular cream).

It turned out delicious!  Now I hope I can duplicate it the next time I'm hankering for tomato soup!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Over the New Year holiday, we traveled to Idaho to see some friends.  Wanting something healthy for lunch while on the road, we figured our best choice would be a Subway sandwich, so we waited until we were hungry and started watching the signs indicating the fast food choices at each exit.  We passed exit after exit without a sign for Subway, getting hungrier by the minute.  Finally we decided we would take the next exit and just do the best we could with whatever food choices were available.

Well, amid the few fast food establishments, I saw a Good Earth health food store and suggested they might have a deli, so we stopped there.  We didn't find a deli inside, but they had some pre-made wraps in their refrigerator section.  We each chose a spinach wrap with turkey and cranberry, which we ate in the car before continuing our drive.  Maybe it's a good thing we were isolated in the car, because it sounded like a scene from What About Bob as we moaned in pleasure over our food.  Mmmm mmm mmm.  Mmm.  Mmm.

The wrap tasted far better than any Subway sandwich, and the bonus:  it was made with free-range turkey, and organic veggies.  It opened our eyes to the option of "fast food" at health food stores, so the last couple weeks while out running errands we've headed to Whole Foods for healthy, made to order, sandwiches at their deli.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'm back!

After nearly 2 weeks of not posting, I'm finally back.  Did you read all the posts I wrote in my head during that time?  No?  :)  

I needed a little break after posting nearly daily for a year, and although I hope to post regularly, I don't plan on daily entries.

So what's on my mind today?  Whippersnapper trash.  Yep.  Whippersnapper trash.  We live in a condo complex, and I noticed there seems to be a trend, lately, of overflowing trash in the two cans provided for our building.  When we first moved in, there didn't seem to be as much trash as is generated now, in fact sometimes one of the cans would be nearly empty when trash day rolled around.

I pointed this out to my husband and wondered why the cans seem overly full now, and we decided it's the whippersnappers in the building that eat junk food.  It creates more waste (and waist, I might add).

That was one of the things I noticed early last year when we started eating healthier... we didn't need to empty our kitchen trash as often.

Hmmm... maybe it's not just whippersnappers that generate trash, since plenty of adults eat junk food too... maybe I need to call it Junk Eater's Junk.