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The Tree

Sunday, January 31, 2010

There is a tree. It's bark is gray and its leaves are cool and rustling and thickly clustered. The bark is not smooth, but layered in thick leaf-life segments, lapping over one another from top to bottom and bottom to top. There are three places on the trunk where the bark swirls together and reaches outward; gray whirlpools of wood, forming knotholes which release the inner juices of the tree and attract a variety of crawling and flying life. One of them has been hollowed out by worms and bugs and birds, stopping to refresh themselves on the tasty sap and sometimes tasting each other. The hollow is now a nursery for a litter of tiny, hairless squirrels, cared for by their mother who herself feasts from the fruit of the tree.
Swaying in the heights from a skinny branch she concentrates on that most desired treat, the pecan. She keeps one eye open for the jaybird who dives at her relentlessly when she scampers too near another nursery hidden in the leafy greenness of the tree.
The tree is old. Its roots are huge and knurled, twisting and turning below the earth, then upward again; finally reaching far, far away from the base of the tree; reaching and searching for water and minerals to sustain the life which travels up, up, above the earth, into the air, reaching for the heavens.
In the damp earth among the giant roots, an armadillo has dug her burrow and lies curled, asleep after foraging for grubs and plants with her sniffing snout.
The life in the tree is young, is the present. But the tree itself speaks of years past, years gone. Some good. Some bad. But the past is so strong in the tree that it exists also in the present and can tell of many, many things. Like the tree.
One of the upper branches of the tree grows down and out and up, away from the trunk, bowed like the rocker from a rocking chair. When the tree was young, and this branch low and supple, a small child swung from it. Her tiny hands wrapped around its narrow girth as she bravely lifted her bare feet from the warm earth and swung her legs forward as hard as she dared. Daily she whiled away the hot afternoons under the shade of the small tree. After a while, the branch was too low for her to swing from it. She had outgrown it. But she stopped growing one day and the tree did not.
Now both the woman and the tree are close to a century old. The tree is large and powerful. The woman is small and frail. She sits in its shade. Her hands and feet are knurled and twisted like it's roots; her face rough and uneven like its' bark. In her arms she holds young life, as does the tree. Her grandchild's daughter, the sole member of the nursery. There is a similarity between the women, young and old. It lies in the completely innocent look of the eyes, neither of which see anything but goodness in their view of the world. The child has experienced nothing else. The woman has forgotten all else. Their smiles too, are alike, lopsided and toothless and slightly drooling. They present no defense to the world, but sit protected under the tree. The child can only smile and play, but the old woman, like the tree, can tell of many, many things.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DGILBRIDE1949 2/2/2010 3:47AM


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SERENITYSEL 2/1/2010 10:02PM

    I love the painting.

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JUSTJO66 2/1/2010 8:07AM

    Beautiful anology. You have a talent for descriptive writing...I really enjoyed reading this. Love the picture,too. :o)


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DAISES2 1/31/2010 2:49PM

    this was beautiful emoticon

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CATHY629 1/31/2010 2:41PM

    lovely story karen,have you ever thought to write a book.

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DOXIELADY52 1/31/2010 12:47PM

  As a pagan person your story really touched my heart on so many levels. It is so beautiful! Thank-you for sharing it! emoticon

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BELTONWALKER67 1/31/2010 12:17PM

    A very lovely story. Thank You for sharing with us.

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FISHINGLADY66 1/31/2010 9:35AM

    Beautiful Blog Karen. You are so talented in writing. You really know how to paint a picture and tell a story in words. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face with your writings.

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PJSTIME 1/31/2010 8:02AM

    Wonderful Karen. You are a woman with many talents. THank you. PJ

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CHRYS13 1/31/2010 7:08AM

    Beautiful....I think of my Mom, her wisdom, her love, and her innocence in "the goodness of the world." Sigh...

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GABY1948 1/31/2010 6:49AM

    Beautiful, thanks.

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Lessons from Week 3 of 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

Well, well, who knew that eating sensibly could become a habit at my age?

This 3rd week of the Win in 2010 challenge I'm in was the easiest yet. I'm basically eating the same breakfast every day and happy with it. I don't think about lunch until it's about time for lunch, instead of dwelling on it all morning. It's the biggest meal of my day.

Dinner has been reasonable and I even told Joe I didn't want him to make popcorn last night.

I have had a few urges to eat after dinner, but guzzled down more ice water and ignored the urge to eat and it went away.

I go to bed happy each night, knowing I'll have a small gift when I get on the scale next morning.

So three weeks and the good habits are settling in; staying on plan is not as hard and the rewards are wonderful. I'm down almost 8 lbs for the year and 1.5 " smaller in my waist.
Most of all, I'm feeling good!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DGILBRIDE1949 1/25/2010 9:25PM

    Way to go!

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JUSTJO66 1/23/2010 10:19AM

    emoticon You are smokin'........ 1.5 inches in the waist that is awesome. Sometimes those scales can be fickle...but those inches don't lie. You are doing a great job. 8lbs. WOW!! Keep it up....

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BELTONWALKER67 1/23/2010 9:31AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonYou are doing a fantastic job!

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CHRYS13 1/23/2010 8:36AM

    Congratulations! Your enthusiasm is evident!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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  Great Job Karen! Congratulations!!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SERENITYSEL 1/22/2010 11:26PM

    Good for you. I've found out a lot of things also, Sharon

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GOALIEGRANDMA3 1/22/2010 4:28PM

    You are doing better then I . I still have to have snacks at night.

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JORETTAH 1/22/2010 3:52PM

    emoticon You are such an inspiration to me. Thanks for being here.

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GABY1948 1/22/2010 9:42AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticonI know how you feel...I have done the same...even my trip to ds's and I never veered. For me it was the dreaded doctor's appt! I share you happy feeling, Karen!

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FISHINGLADY66 1/22/2010 9:33AM

    Developing good habits gives you more incentive to keep the streaks going and makes for a happier and healthier you . What a emoticon job your doing. emoticon

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PJSTIME 1/22/2010 8:45AM

    I do think it gets easier as we start seeing how much better we feel and the plus of seeing the scale go down. PJ

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ALPOPLUP 1/22/2010 7:33AM

    congrats and good luck

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Lessons from Week 2 of 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

This week I really "got" the fact that I can eat one of those small, 1 oz bags of chips and be happy! I used to sit the giant, family sized bag next to me and munch away at it while I ate my sandwich. I cannot even imagine how many calories, fat and sodium I used to consume at those times.

Also, I realized that I have not eaten any added sugar since January first! Sugar-free gum and/or a strong menthol cough drop goes in my mouth the MINUTE I have finished my allotted food!

I always think, I'll have some chocolate a little later, but once I get the gum or menthol drop in me, I never go back for that sweet stuff. It's like a miracle, lol.

AND, I have eaten everything Joe has cooked, but I have stuck with ONE SERVING which I measured.

I haven't felt deprived at all and the weight is coming off. That is a great emotional reward, but also my body is telling me it's feeling so much better eating these sensible meals.

Who knew "sensible" would turn out to be so "satisfying" and "sensational"!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINNAR 1/16/2010 2:47PM

    You are doing a fantastic job. I need to practice your habit of eating just one premeasured serving. I have a bad habit of allowing myself to have that "little bit more" which really adds up when one needs to lose.

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PJSTIME 1/16/2010 11:04AM

    Oh your doing a great job. Thats such a treat when someone cooks for us. Keep it up. PJ

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FISHINGLADY66 1/15/2010 8:52PM

    Great Job. emoticon, Yes we can. I'm so proud of you. Keep it up. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SERENITYSEL 1/15/2010 5:40PM

    You go girl!!! Congratulations. Sharon

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DGILBRIDE1949 1/15/2010 4:27PM

    Good Job! emoticon

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  Awesome! Sounds like you have had a great week! Keep up the great job Karen, I"m really proud of you pretty lady!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GOALIEGRANDMA3 1/15/2010 9:56AM

    Karen, I had an individual bag of Thunder Chips ( kettle potato chips) last night myself. It was 140 calories, and 10 g of fat. I was slight on the fats in y balance sheet, and had enough calories and carbs to do the chips.

For chocolate, I drink Krogers dutch cocoa sugar/fat free and 1/8th cup of slivered almonds which I have tossed into a container with cocoa and splenda. I just mixe them up ahead of time and measure my 1/8 cup. Sometmes, whole almonds, eat 15 at a time in the cocoa splenda mixture.


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BELTONWALKER67 1/15/2010 9:18AM

    Good Job! emoticon

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GABY1948 1/15/2010 9:17AM

    Awesome revelation! Thanks for sharing! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NANCY- 1/15/2010 9:01AM


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Thursday, January 14, 2010

I spent most of yesterday looking at two senior living communities near me, trying to find a place for my mother.

The first place was 25 min. away and sort of like an apartment building with elevators. I spoke with two of the residents there and they told me about some of the activities provided. I was pleased.

But the 2nd place I visited is the Jewel in the Crown! A beautiful place with 1-story duplex apartments spread out over beautifully landscaped gated grounds. They have a pool, hot tub, exercise room, library, computer room, communal dining room and really lovely apartments.

I'm ready to move in myself, but I'm not old enough, lol. I met some of the ladies who live there and they are a bunch of spunky, active, fun-loving oldsters. All really great. They have Bingo night and Bible Study morning. Social lunches twice a week and pot-luck suppers often. They provide 4 rides a month to Wal-Mart or HEB - our largest grocery store. There is a program so she can get 6 cab rides a month, or 3 round trip cab rides a month, free.

So now I must learn to wade through the web of State and Federal laws, rules and regs. My mother gets housing assistance and I have to speak with them. Help her meet some requirements to be able to live in this place.

Lots of work ahead, but I'm pretty amazed at the wonderful Senior communities available out there, no matter what your income. It makes the thought of getting really old much more fun!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SERENITYSEL 1/14/2010 8:22PM

    That's great! Hope she qualifies. I have 2 more years and I will be moving into a Senior Apartment complex, which I fell in love with. I could move now, but I don't qualify since I am working full time, but once my Medicare kicks in, I'll be moving.

I wish her and you luck and I will keep you both in my prayers. Sharon

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FISHINGLADY66 1/14/2010 4:19PM

    You have been really busy. You are such a sweet heart doing all this for your mother. Sounds like a wonderful place to live and be close to your daughter. I wish you the best in getting everything worked out and set up for her. God Bless you for all you do.

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--KREN 1/14/2010 11:25AM

    I forgot to add, I was so impressed with the place, I put myself on the volunteer list. So I'll be helping prepare for and clean up after parties, and I'm toying with the idea of offering to tutor people in using the computer, if anyone is interested. No telling what I'll end up doing there! Karen

Comment edited on: 1/14/2010 4:39:01 PM

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ROSILEIGH 1/14/2010 10:54AM

    We don't have anything like that here,the local authority does have a sheltered housing complex were elderly people have their own apartment and there is a warden on call at all times.they do have the use of a communal lounge,bingo nights and concerts etc.The only problem is there is quite a long waiting list to get in.The second place you mentioned Karen sounds great just like being on holiday.

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GOALIEGRANDMA3 1/14/2010 10:26AM

    That's the kind of place I want to go to also. I most assuredly do not want to live with my children and be troublesome to them and have them resent me, etc.

Is your mom still active enough to be able to enjoy those things? Will you be able to do some with her from time to time as a guest?

Best of luck to you Karen in working out all the details.

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SOPHIEMAE2007 1/14/2010 9:58AM

    My mom and aunt looked at a place that sounds like that. They offered independent living, assisted living, and the skilled nursing care. The apartments were really nice and it was fairly reasonable in cost. They decided against it, because it was too far from family. It wouldn't have been too far for me, but my mom felt that no one wouldn't come out to visit. They ended up finding something a lot closer, which is only independent senior living. They are nice apartments and they do have game night and holiday parties, etc. Both my mom and aunt have lived there for the last 4-5 yrs and really enjoy it. Hope things work out for you and your mom.

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JUSTJO66 1/14/2010 8:46AM


It sounds like you have your work cut out for you. Being the only child without any siblings to help out or help make decisions must be hard. ( I am so grateful to have my 2 sisters to help out with my Mom--younger sister lives next door). But you will get through this... as my mother likes to say "all things come to pass".

Your mother is very fortunate to have a daughter like you to help her.

When you posted yesterday you where off the computer... I thought you "might" be getting some rest... dosen't sound like it. :o)

Try to relax a little today.......we "need" you here, too. :o)

Jo emoticon

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  Great news! Glad you had a good day, they both sound like pretty great places, much luck to you Karen, your mom is one lucky lady!


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--KREN 1/14/2010 8:27AM

    One of the ladies I met at this place, a 75 yr. old youngster, was wearing a tee shirt that said "I'm grinning because you've finally driven me nuts". Maybe she was referring to the paperwork, lol. Karen

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CT-FL-SNOWBIRD 1/14/2010 8:25AM

    This is exciting news! Your Mother is lucky to have someone who cares so much about the QUALITY of her life! I hope everything works out for her and that the paper work doesn't drive you over the brink, as it would me.


Comment edited on: 1/14/2010 8:30:59 AM

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PJSTIME 1/14/2010 7:54AM

    I'm glad you were able to find something you liked and hope the paperwork wont' be too much of a nightmare. At least you have someplace in mind now thats a great start. Have a great day. PJ

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GABY1948 1/14/2010 7:00AM

    Karen this is wonderful news. I do feel sorry for you in all the work you have ahead of you. Any time I have worked with State or Federal people when my mother was still alive I got a headache! My prayers to you and your mother!


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--KREN 1/14/2010 6:54AM

    My Mother is 87 and way past working. She's also legally blind. Actually, she gets pretty good housing assistance now, so I'm optimistic! Karen

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FITKAT2010 1/14/2010 6:53AM

    Make certain you read everything twice. The costs? Here in Boise they start at $2800 per month. I hope yours is much cheaper or your mom may have to work.

The place sounds wonderful!

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

I'm not a person who likes breakfast. I don't really care for most "breakfast foods" either. Like everyone else, I've read and listened to much advice from everywhere that says we SHOULD definitely eat breakfast.

Still, it always seemed to me to be rather silly to make myself eat when I'm not hungry as there are very few times in my day when I DON"T want food, lol.

Recently, I found some information that makes the case for breakfast so much more than anything I've heard before. I'm convinced.


This is a link to a short video from Dr. Oz, who consistently makes more sense than all the other "celebrity" health gurus I've heard. In it he talks about the GHRELIN HORMONE, how and when it is produced in our body and what it does in reference to hunger and certain fat storage, especially BELLY FAT.


This link is a more detailed scientific article on the same subject. These two links give you a pretty good idea of what your body does when it wakes up in the morning and how it affects your health and weight.

My breakfast of choice is Yoplait Lite Yogurt with 2 tablespoons of cold-milled ground flaxseed. I now know it's important for my body to do it's work during the day.

I hope this re-enforces your habit of eating breakfast, if you have one, or motivates you to eat breakfast from now on, if you haven't been.

Our body is so intricate and works so hard to function they way it is meant to. It asks very little from us, really, considering all it does for us, even through decades of neglect. The least we can do is help it out as much as we can. The reward is pretty awesome.


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  Thank you very much for posting all this great information Karen, it's funny we seem to know this but still ignore it, very glad to be reminded and learn something new as well.

I will have to make a better effort at this, and this certainly helped to illustrate why.

emoticon emoticon

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JUSTJO66 1/11/2010 9:10AM

    Great information, Karen. I've always known it was a good idea to eat breakfast but like so many others the thought of eating in the morning turned my stomach. Because of my diabetes I usually try to keep my carbs low at meals. I've found a EAS Edge shake with 110 calories and 4 grams carb that really helps in the mornings if I just can't get it down...keeps me full, too. I also like to microwave 2 eggs with any kind of veggie and maybe a little cheese or I use the One Minute Flax Muffin recipe on this site. It's good.. low carb. and good for me. :o).

Easy: Spray large microwave bowl or cup with Pam: Combine 1/4 cup flax meal; 1 tsp. baking powder, 2 packets splenda, 1 tsp olive oil (may omit for fewer calories); 1 tsp. cinammon. Mix in one egg and 1 tsp. water if omitted oil. Microwave 45 seconds. Top with low fat cream cheese or jam/ or any other topping. Great. :o)

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ANGELPEAS 1/10/2010 10:03PM

    HI Karen,
I have breakfast every morning of Kashi with crasins, walnuts and flaxmeal and it keeps me going for most of the morning. I sometimes have a piece of fruit mid morning. If I don't get lunch at what is a normal time for me, I am not starving by the time I do get to eat. I did not always eat breakfast but when I weighed in at 227 lbs and started losing the weight I had to change the eating habits that got me there. Now I weigh 167 and
hope to get back down to 145.

So try to eat something each morning, you will eventually want to eat breakfast.

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GABY1948 1/10/2010 9:10PM

    I do eat breakfast, but I eat it late because like you I don't want it early. I will check out the links though. When I do have my breakfast at about 10-11am I have Kashi-Go Lean with yogurt and cinnamon on it.
Thanks for sharing these links, Karen.

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FISHINGLADY66 1/10/2010 8:50PM

    Patty I just love the Steel Cut Oatmeal.

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PJSTIME 1/10/2010 8:02PM

    The breakfast I have almost every day of the week is Steel Cut Oatmeal,1 T of honey and soe raisins and sometimes almonds mixed in. I really love this for breakfast and feel like it is really healthy. To save time, I make 4 servings at a time and put the 3 extras in the refrigerator then all I have to do is warm it up in the microwave. I add the raisins each morning not when I make it. This was the first time I had internet today so am running a little late:( PJ

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SERENITYSEL 1/10/2010 7:05PM

    This is exactly what I read in the book Belly Fat to Belly Flat that I blogged about in the past.

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CT-FL-SNOWBIRD 1/10/2010 5:57PM

    I'm another one of those people who doesn't eat breakfast. I just have 2 cups of coffee and that's all, till noon. I saw this Dr. Oz show, on Friday, but I'm glad to have the video and the more technical info to refer to. I had a cup of homemade veggie soup this morning!

emoticon emoticon


Comment edited on: 1/10/2010 5:59:37 PM

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EMMABE1 1/10/2010 5:46PM

    It is necessary to eat breakfast - the previous posts have gone into the reasons well - but I also agree that, provided you eat it really doesn't matter what type of healthy food you eat. Dietitians normally recommend that the 3 main meals of the day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) should be approximately the same calorie value!!

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FISHINGLADY66 1/10/2010 5:33PM

    This is a difficult one for me. When I eat Breakfast I get really hungry all day. I started eating breakfast when I joined WW because they said to eat breakfast every day, but I have to make it very small. Sometimes I just have a glass of milk and a fruit. I know it gets your metabolism started.

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GOALIEGRANDMA3 1/10/2010 2:04PM

    I LOVE breakfast more than any other meal.

To each his own.

I think it is ok to eat nonconventional foods for breakfast....just follow the nutrition guidelines.

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AMBUDMAN 1/10/2010 1:18PM

    I was one who could go all day and only eat one meal. Well that was fine till I hit 55 and then I started putting the weight around my middle. When I started eating three meals a day and a small nutritious snack in between I lost weight. My husband made the comment if he ate as much as me he would be fat.

My husband had a mini stroke the end of September and every medical person he spoke to asked him if he had breakfast and he told them he only eats one meal a day. I guess what they said to him made him think because he now eats 3 meals a day and has lost a little weight and feels much better.

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AMACUBA 1/10/2010 10:41AM

  Hi Karen,

Another thing to consider, as far as breakfast foods, is that for a great part of the people of the world, there isn't 'breakfast food' per se. They don't eat foods especially for breakfast--they just eat food. So if you were in Thailand for example, you would find yourself eating things like miso soup with vegetables, and perhaps some sort of grilled meat.

So you don't need to eat breakfast food...just eat a healthy breakfast!

And yes, you SHOULD eat breakfast, for another reason too:

You've just fasted for probably about 12 hours. So if you skip breakfast, and don't eat until lunch, you're expecting your body to run on empty--like really empty--for an additional 5 or 6 hours. Can a car run for 18 hours without gas?

I'm thinking too that your being so hungry throughout the rest of the day when you don't eat breakfast may be your body trying to make up for the missed calories/fuel.

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