Saturday, November 29, 2014
I didn't like veggies. Why? Mom overcooked everything to mush and was very limited in the veggies she mushed. She was known to put a spoonful of sugar in the boiled carrots.
What changed? 1. I grew up and discovered steaming.
2. I started ETL and discovered all kinds of salads, micro salad, blended salad, green smoothies.
3. I started roasting many veggies. Yumm.
4. I kept trying different recipes for different veggies and eventually developed a "like" for them.
I read a blog recently where a commenter suggested adding sugar to veggies while lightly cooking so they'd taste better. The commenter must have lived in the states. Most chefs tell us to add salt to bring out the flavor. I'm not sure that's much better. So perhaps we should mix sugar with salt in the salt shaker-- maybe at a 40:60 ratio??? Hmmm. Don't we do something like that already with meat tenderizer? Just leave that by the stove and give a shake for veggie flavorizer.
My younger sister chose the menu, including sides for our traditional Thanksgiving dinner since she had invited 4 friends from Australia who wanted to experience a traditional Thanksgiving meal. After the turkey, the side items were all either high starch content, or high sugar added: sweet potato casserole, brown bread with raisins, crescent rolls, packed fruited jello salad with cool whip, mashed potatoes, gravy. And the SAD green bean casserole. (not sure if it fits here but there WAS sugar in the french fried onion topping and mushroom soup) Her dessert pick was pumpkin crisp.
My addition to the menu was mushroom-onion soup in vegetable broth with my Oats N Eggs N Friends with 3 seeds on top cooked crisp and cut to cracker size, just so I would be able to get some veggies. (mushrooms, onions, spinach, zucchini,carrots).
I added carrots, onions and celery to the gravy and everyone loved the gravy.
I added celery and onions to the dressing and my sister noticed, negatively. What's up with that??
Guess who ate the raw sugar snap peas, celery, carrot, and onion sticks? The Australians and me.
And while this is off the veggie topic, hindsight says I should have reserved a bowl of fruit before adding the jello. That would have been very much ETL: apple, banana, peach, cherries, blueberries, figs, dates, walnuts.
1. Many of us come from a culture where a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down so much, that we expect it to be in everything we think is delicious and equate that with things our body needs (erroneously).
2. Our tastes CAN change.
3. The learned rules CAN change. The Australian friends keep sweet tasting things till the end for what we'd call dessert. Once they start eating sweets, like the fruited jello, they are done with the meal. So they probably wouldn't put apples on a green salad. They never came right out and said it, but I think they secretly called the meal AFTER the mushroom soup and crackers as the dessert course.
4. You can get people to like the weirdest things if you start at a young age. The Australian friends were having withdrawal from Vegemite. The teenagers explained it as a black spread that is extremely salty, fermented yeast product much like our bouillon cubes would taste if you could spread them. It is spread on a sandwich very sparingly, and people who try it and don't like it put it on too thick. Kids love it on their sandwich much like kids in USA like peanut butter and jelly. They go through a time when they don't like it, but usually return to liking it in a few years. (changes in taste buds?? hormones??) And the teenagers were getting homesick for vegemite because they hadn't found it anywhere on their world tour. I asked them if it was like miso paste but they hadn't had anything but miso soup and thought it was very different.
I understand the feeling, because it is very hard to find unadulterated fruits and veggies when I'm away from home, say at a restaurant in town??
5. We are trained by family, social media, friends. We are taught by science. The trick is to understand WHAT to TRAIN those around us to do. and then HOW to get the TRAINING to sink in.
6. You know the old adage, You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink? Most horses like to drink water when they need to, unless something is wrong with it. I don't subscribe to adding sugar to veggies to get the people we're cooking for, including us, to eat it. Aromatic veggies like mushrooms, onions, and garlic, Herbs and spices would be my healthier choice to get people to repeatedly try veggies you've cooked.
7. While we CAN learn new healthier habits and actually find them very tasty, it is easy to yearn for our old ways. My sister and I are both proof of this. We both seek out healthy fruits and veggies to varying degrees and we both have our moments when we want something from the wasteland of our SAD that we loved when we were growing up. My sister mainly chose mashed potatoes and hot dogs when she was little. She continues to request mashed potatoes. Mom continues to eat hot dogs, though she cooks them in the microwave now.
8. I find it interesting that Mom has lived to be 89 with an amazing lack of veggies, and high intake of hot dogs and a daily fast food fish sandwich for lunch. However she does have diabetes and high blood pressure now.
9. It is amazing that our brains even function and that I still remember my name. Can't remember where I put my keys, though. And mom and I have difficulty coming up with the word we want to say. Soon that won't be a problem because I won't remember what I want to say, so a single word will no longer present a problem.
Oats N Eggs N Friends recipe:
Monday, November 24, 2014
Puppies4ME, a spark-friend posted a blog a couple of days ago:
It was a motivational poster:
(The Harder the Struggle, the More Glorious the Triumph)
I was vane enough to think she had posted that just for me, because this journey has started to feel like a hard struggle. So I replied to the post:
The harder you struggle, the more you need to relax and look for an easier way to do it that brings you joy.
Does anyone remember those chinese finger traps or handcuffs? It was a kind of braided tube that you put over the tips of your fingers. If you pulled or struggled, you couldn't get out of them. But if you relaxed and worked slowly, pushed your fingers together (which seemed counter-intuitive,) off they came.
Want to see what they looked like?
Here's a link. The man showing the Finger Puzzle relates it to life struggles. I thought it might be appropriate for the discussion here, especially for anyone struggling.
First from Star Trek:
And now from Simplified Health: youtu.be/PSnw-PHLUxY
When I was a kid the philosophy behind the finger trap puzzle escaped me, but the triumph WAS glorious when I figured out how to escape.
I've grown up in Florida where we are always mindful of the rip currents at the beach. If you get caught in one, the natural inclination is to swim hard, against the current, toward the beach and shallow water. But you will never make it. You need to swim cross current to calmer water, then go in to the beach. Check out this video. I love the line, "It's not going to take you to England. It's just going to take you out past the sand bar." youtu.be/rnz3Z39n4Mo
Martha Beck wrote Easy Does It marthabeck.com/2013/06/easy-does-it/
This blog is what has made me sit down and wonder if there was an easier way to do whatever was so hard at the moment. And I am so happy to report that there always was an easier way.
Today, I was stressed over everything that needed to be done to prepare for a dinner party tonight. My helper was called away. Instead of focusing on how hard the day was going to be. I sat down with some Christmas music playing (Alamabama's Christmas album). I read My Darling Vegan's blog. She was listing 5 things she was thankful for while I was listening to "Thanks for the Blessings."
So after I surprised myself with a long list of things I was thankful for, my brain did a jump over to this hard way/easy way quandary. I said, "What do YOU want me to know today?"
And as I listened, I knew 2 things:
1. Eat more fruits & vegetables. Dr. Fuhrman's plan has been a blessing for me for 2 years. Lost a lot of weight and it was easy for me. But now something else is going on. My doctor is not sure what it is. But I have gained weight, 25 pounds in the last year. And I find myself stressing over it, and I know cortisol creeps in with stress. One line in his book says, "You will lose weight if you eat more vegetables." He also says you will be healthier, and that is my real goal.
So what is the easy way here, for me? Quit stressing. Eat more vegetables.
2. Make your physical activity fun.
I have learned that I am more active when I plan activities I find fun. My workouts in the pool were fun right up until the weather turned cold. The water was warm, but I felt like an ice cube. So I could check out the gym in town with the indoor pool for the winter. Or I could put on the Zumba DVD indoors.
A new Spark Friend has the icon for a team, Dance to Get Skinny and Healthy Again-Zumba. I noticed that on her page this morning and remembered how much fun I had doing water zumba class. That was so much fun I bought the DVDs for home but haven't done much with them.
So my plan is fruit & veggies first, and zumba if it's too cold for the pool.
And I hate to be negative, but I'm not getting on the scale for a while.
What are you struggling with today? Chances are the problem won't take you to England.
What can you do to make your journey easier?
OK! The main course is in the crock pot. A mess of veggies are in the refrigerator: kale, beets, squash, cauliflower. Nothing else is important.
And right now, it's 80 degrees. Guess where I'm going!!
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I stumbled upon this site, or was led here. The concept seems to have really grabbed me because I see a simple technique to visualize goal, progress, and to decide what might need more attention or better planning, etc.
I also think the Circles of Progress could take the place of resolution making. Now, I don't subscribe to making resolutions on New Year's Eve. I do keep a jar where I put little strips of paper that give a date and short description of milestones. Then I traditionally read those slips on New Year's Eve. The older I get, the more I realize I have forgotten that those milestones even happen.
So I see those little milestone slips as post-it notes on the inner circle. For me, the forgetter, that would become a visual reminder of progress, if I hung it on the back of my door.
And the SP goal board has become my daily reminder of where I'm heading.
So that has been my outer circle, the goals I'm working on to move into the TA DA inner circle. Actually physically moving the slip to the inner circle will be a bit of positive reinforcement that I have come to realize I need.
Hmm. Over 65 with a lifetime of doling out the positive reinforcement to my students, and I find I need a little "gold star" or pat on the back treatment.
Check out the link if any of this seems to fit you.
I'm off to make my Circles of Progress Board. I plan to hang it up, maybe on the back of the bathroom door?? We'll see.
PS If you made a Circles of Progress Board with a coach or significant other, you might like to check out the interview questions to ask each other here:
Monday, September 22, 2014
Yes, I'll admit I'm a child of the sixties, but I think the attitude of speaking up for what is right is in my genes. My great great grandfather's statue helping a runaway slave cross the Niagara river comes to mind. And my great aunt sat down and fired off old-fashioned stamped letters everytime she found something remarkable about a food product, whether on the positive side or negative. She received lots of coupons for doing that. I still marvel at that happening during the depression.
So the family traditions seem to continue with me.
You know, we have convenience stores connected to gas stations here. Probably all over the US. Inside you can pick up the basics of things you might need to save you a trip to the big grocery store, if you are willing to pay a little more. The cost of gasoline currently makes these convenient shopping trips even more desirable.
So if you are hungry, some of those stores ONLY have soda, chips, candy, ice cream, cake, or cookies, greasy pizza or hot dogs. To my mind this makes the real cost extreme.
But I am finding more and more convenience stores have wraps, yogurt, fresh fruit like bananas, apples and more.
I even found juice with no sugar added, hard boiled eggs and raw nuts at one Seven/Eleven 35 miles from home. I had gone down there for a PET Scan and it was after lunch when I got out of the cancer center. I made a big deal about finding the fresh banana, raw cashews, and hard boiled eggs that I put down on the 7/11 counter. And I let them know how important those healthy choices were for my continued health.
AND I make it a point to stop back in there everytime I pass that way now. I never know when my comments make it to a manager's ears, or even how much control they have over what they sell, but I DO believe that we can become instruments of change. All of Sparkdom can make it happen!! Social media is very powerful these days.
I make it a point to speak to grocery personnel about the things that are important to me. There's a cashier at Publix who spotted me as a healthy eater not long ago. I think the almond butter and sprouted grain English muffins gave me away. He shared his favorite ways to eat those items, as did I, while he rang up my purchases. Now, I look for him each trip. And we always compare notes on my purchases. It's become a game for me to see if I can surprise him with something he doesn't know about. That's getting to be next to impossible. I guess I have nothing left to teach him!! I expect to see him in a managerial position as Publix moves to take over Whole Foods.
Last night on the internet, I discovered that my Walmart had Goat Milk, NOT POWDERED, but in the fresh milk case. And when I went there, I saw the cartons but couldn't reach them on the top shelf in the back. A manager saw my predicament. He got them down for me. I asked if they usually had the goat milk. When he said yes, I thanked him and shook his hand. I should have hugged him. I have been trying to get Goat milk for 3 months. My mother gave me goat milk when I was young with allergies to all things dairy. I wanted to make my own goat cheese and see if inflammation would go away. So I think that manager will remember that at least one customer found goat milk to be important.
On my next visit, I'm going to find another staff member to thank for the goat milk, but also to request normal pasteurization as opposed to that dead unltra pasteurized product.
So, what are your current healthy food passions? Don't underestimate your power as consumer. After all, your purchases told "them" that you wanted highly processed, nutrient poor food (food is questionnable), with lots of salt, sugar and fats, whether you're buying groceries or a meal at a restaurant.
If that's NOT what you want for you and your family, be sure to make it known that you don't. Make it known what you DO want, why, and THANK THEM WHEN THEY DO HAVE IT!! We'll all be healthier for it.
Seem to be an impossible task?
I'm reminded of the story of the man walking along the beach, picking up starfish that had washed up in a storm, and throwing them back in. When he was ridiculed for undertaking a futile, thankless job, he replied, "Well, I saved that one."
Sooo, let me be the one to thank you for your efforts!! NOW!!
If you have any ideas about how we might bring about change in our healthy food supply, share below!!
Well, I'm off to make my own goat cheese. I know I can find goat cheese ready made. I guess I like the idea that I am keeping alive a tradition. I wonder how many people in the US know how to make cheese?
By the way . . . Are you aware of Kale Krunch? A chip like product made by dehydrating kale after soaking it in a vegetable sauce. 100% food, no additives.
Whole Foods has them on sale for less than half of what I pay for them at my local health food store.
And the last time I went to the store in N. Tampa, I attended a free workshop that taught me about all the healthy food in the store. I left with 20 THAT'S IT fruit bars. Each bar had one apple and one serving of another fruit like cherries, apricots, pear, etc. and THAT's IT!!! NO flour, chemicals, sugar, sweetener. Just fruit. THAT's IT!! And they are absolutely delicious.
I froze one yesterday. Yumm!!
Here's to your adventure into healthy eating.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
1. We're not doing my 6 mo. PET scan, partly because my counts are so good, but also because Medicare only allows 3 during your lifetime. Since I just joined the Medicare ranks in November, we're reserving future PET scans for when we somehow think the cancer might have returned a 3rd time.
2. I'm switching from monthly to bimonthly appointments (every 2 months??) to check for blood markers and flush my port.
3. Mom is going to administer the B12 shot monthly so I can skip every other month to the oncologist. WooHoo!!
I have gained 29 pounds since Thanksgiving. Not exactly a plateau, but it felt like an express elevator to the mountaintop, and I couldn't find the right button to push to make it go back down to ground floor.
It was every discouraging. But when I went for my 6 month check up in March, I had my SP weight, fitness, and nutrition tracker reports with me. Luckily my doctor had my bloodwork report. In 6 months, T4 (thyroid marker) had zoomed up from 1.4 to 10.75. Normal range is 1 - 4.
I had switched pharmacies in November when I started Medicare. My doctor thought I had received generic medication from an iffy batch of meds. Evidently it's common enough, but I certainly wish it hadn't happened to me.
The great news is that I've been on actual Sinthroid (NOT generic) for 6 weeks. After a month my T4 was down to 2.9. And now, after 6 weeks, I'm finally seeing my weight start to go back down. 192 on Friday, 188 on Sunday, and 186 today. And again, I've not done anything differently with my diet, sleep, or fitness. Well, maybe a little since it IS warmer and I can stay in the pool a little longer. Made it for 45 minutes tonight with water temp of 84.
Since last November, I felt I was climbing up a vertical wall, scared I'd never get down to that lovely valley again. When this weird weight gain began I weighed 163, and my doctor said at my Sept. appointment that he thought 155 was a reasonable goal. (I'll be happy to get back down to 163.)
I don't know how many things are out there that can sabotage all of our best efforts to eat in a healthy way, and also to get up and move, but I'm very glad my doctor discovered what was going on with me!! Don't give up. Keep records of that you eat and how much you move, and chart your weight. Discuss your plan with your physician if you don't think things are going like you expected. Ask questions. Expect help.
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