NIXY72   20,372
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It's just a waiting game, five long weeks to find out what's going on.

Friday, December 23, 2011

I am calm. Really. I guess because right now there is no answer - at least not one that I am privy to. I saw the nose, ears, & throat specialist yesterday. My blood tests all came back without issue - my thyroid is otherwise functioning fine except for this eensy-weensy nodule on it... Right. Change eensy weensy to a a 5.5cm/2 inch enormous lump in my throat. As my doctor puts it, I have l large sized egg sitting on my right thyroid. Lovely.

So the only choice apparently is removal. But the kicker is, is that I have to wait another two weeks before I can have a biopsy to find out if this egg is hatching more than just a metaphorical chicken. It could be hatching a dragon. After the biopsy, three more weeks go by before I can find out the results of the test. Either way, they either have to take out the right hand side of my thyroid and possibly the whole thing. The waiting game, to be blunt, sucks.

Apparently over 30% of women develop thyroid nodules. They surgically remove those over 3.5cm. I've been reading articles on the internet and should really stop. I have had hormone imbalances my entire life and have just gotten them under control in the past year. I'd hate to have to start all over again. Meds and I don't usually get along so hopefully there is something natural that I can take instead if need be.

If anyone has had experience with thyroid removal, please let me know. Otherwise, I will be grateful for any positive energy, well wishes, prayer, or white light that you have to spare.

Five weeks.... hopefully they go by really really fast.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JIBBIE49 1/22/2012 9:25AM


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LAURELINMO 1/7/2012 4:14PM

    Hang in there. I'm a champion worrier so know where you are coming from. I have a friend who had her thyroid removed (both sides) and she is doing great, now 5 years later. Hope it proves to be nothing (and quit reading the internet - we only post about the bad things it could be - no fun posting about a benign lump). emoticon

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DONNAM99 1/7/2012 1:16PM

    Posted the same thing twice. bleep on me. HA HA Stay positive and I am glad that you are getting other opinions. Go with your gut!! Positive thinking can heal more than just the mind!

Comment edited on: 1/7/2012 1:22:41 PM

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JANELAINE3 12/30/2011 9:04AM

    My mother in law had her's removed when she was in her 30s. She said she just takes her thyroid med and never had a problem. I hope that helps. Let us know how you do. I do know what the waiting game is like. I had to play it myself a few years ago. You are smart to focus on positive that is what pulls you through. Bad jokes help too. Let me know how you do, sending you tons of positive thoughts. Take care.

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LAURI39 12/24/2011 6:42AM

I don't have any experience with thyroid issues so I am sorry I can't help you with that at all but please know that you are in my thoughts. The waiting game is awful - I am sorry you are having to go through this. Please know that we are all here for you... emoticon

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CGARR442 12/23/2011 6:48PM

    I have had thyroid issues for the past 8 years. I am currently taking Synthroid and as the years have gone by I have had to have it adjusted numerous times. I also have nodules on mine, two on one side and one on the other. I have had a biopsy and my doctor believes they are nothing (keeping my fingers crossed).
My girlfriend had half of her thyroid removed a few years ago and ended up having cancer. She has had a few adjustments to her medication as well over the years but hasn't had any other problems with it. She wishes they would have just taken the whole thing but other than that she is fine.
I am keeping you in my prayers. I know the waiting is the worst part of all.

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NEWHEARTSTART 12/23/2011 12:41PM

    My ex husband had his thyroid removed over 30 years ago.

Maybe he was just one of the lucky ones but he never had any complications as a result of it other than weight gain.

I know weight gain sucks but before the surgery he was 6 foot 2 inches tall and weighed 140 pounds. He really needed some more weight.

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On A High...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Today is my three month SparkPeople Anniversary - and coincidentally, it is also the day that I am exactly 20 pounds down from my weight when I started this journey. This in itself makes me do a crazy happy dance around the house as I've been trying to lose this weight for the last 5 years very unsuccessfully... in fact, during most of that time I've just continued to gain more or go a few pounds down only to gain it all back.

But now the tides have turned! I am giddy, have far more energy, and - will wonders never cease - I want to jump on my rebounder and dance/bounce to fun, upbeat music! Yes, I want to exercise...Who knew this could happen?

I am so thrilled that this morning I went to assist my parents with some yoga and then my 77 year old mother and I traded on and off practicing with my pixie hoop! (for those of you not "in the know" it's an adult sized, weighted, hula hoop.) My mom can do 40 turns in a row... Wow!! But what shocked me, the girl who a few months ago could hardly do 10 rotations hit an all time high of -- are you ready? -- 210 hoop rotations!! TWO HUNDRED AND TEN!

My world is changing.

My body is changing.


And today, I admitted openly that I've been trying to lose weight. I mean, my boyfriend knew, as did our house-mate. So did my mother and a few of my friends. But I finally took the plunge and posted the following comment on my very public Facebook page: "Michelle is officially down 20 pounds. Woot!" That's it. Seven little words. And what followed was close to an avalanche of congratulations. Come on people, it's just 20 pounds... It's not like I found the cure for cancer... but really, I've come to realize how BIG this is and how CHALLENGING it is to accomplish! And I was even more proud to tell them that I did it through SparkPeople, and did it the old fashioned way by eating well and moving instead of doing some silly fad diet or costly miracle shake.

Less than 24 hours on facebook, my tiny little comment has received 56 "likes" and 22 comments. And I cannot tell you how much that support means to me. I'm overwhelmed.

Five of these people followed my referral link and are now members of Spark. WOW! And on top of it, I won a Spread the Spark award today. Just icing on the cake, I tell you...

I still have a long way to go but the first milestone has been not only passed but has been vaulted over. I have about 50 more pounds to go until I reach my goal. But it's not just a pipe dream anymore... right now, I know it's just a matter of time before I celebrate again and let everyone know that I did it! Because, in a way, I already have. I'm here, active, and living the Spark every day. I have over 70 SparkFriends now and a community I can come to for fun, for support and for life. Thank you to all of you who have made this place and especially my journey so far, so incredible.

I believe in you all. You're all amazing stars!

Happy holiday wishes to you all, may you achieve and surpass every one of your dreams.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRACEYROCK 12/21/2011 10:38AM

    That is awesome! Congratulations emoticon

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BLACKROSE_222 12/20/2011 9:50AM

    Congrats! And I'm so glad you are spreading the spark! Woo hoo!!!

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LAURI39 12/20/2011 8:45AM

    Congratulations Michelle!!! What a great blog - So uplifting and inspirational! Your joy and warmth come shining through.
WOOHOO to 20 down!!!!!!!!
emoticon emoticon

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MOUSEOPOTOMUS1 12/19/2011 7:42PM

    Wow!! Your awesome!! I am so excited for you and your 20lbs forever gone!! I cant wait to do the happy dance on my first 20, the last 7 are dragging but I am not quitting!! Your an inspirations and a wonderful person to know and I cant wait to see were we end up!!

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FRANCIE11827 12/19/2011 4:02PM

    WEEEEHOOO! Congradulations! emoticon

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YDAVIS23 12/19/2011 3:43PM

    Wow! Congratulations! You are an inspiration!

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Keeping the Cookies at Bay and Trying To Stay Calm

Sunday, December 11, 2011

There are days that I admit that I worry about things I have no control over. There are days that I wish I could just sit back and let life unfold and roll with the punches. I already live a high stress life but am trying day by day to work toward something better. I love my job but... I love my bf but... I love my family but... I love myself but... there is - always - a but. The reasons behind them constantly change. What matters though is getting through the day with as positive an attitude as possible and trying to find happiness and strength for the future.

Sometimes, though we are not strong enough. Some turn to alcohol, some to cigarettes, some to drugs, some to other, more harmful methods of coping. And most of us here, we turn, or have turned, to food. Six plus years of impossibly high levels stress made me seek comfort. Comfort turned out to manifest in 70 extra pounds which, of course, made my job harder, my health worse, my relationship more strained, my self confidence fall, and the guilt impossible. So when all came to a head, I took the hard road, and set off to make a difference. I've tried so many times and failed. I know how to succeed... I'd done it once before. But the hard road is exactly that. Hard. So much easier to give in, give up or simply be apathetic. But I knew that things wouldn't get better by themselves.

I've been a part of SparkPeople (officially) for years. But never did anything more than read the articles. Obviously that didn't make me more motivated, though it did educate me immensely. Three months ago, I actually started using the tools provided here. And in those three months, despite even higher stress levels, a month of business travel, and a backlog of work, I've lost 16 pounds.

This week, I gained three back.

This week, I had an ultrasound of a large egg-sized mass around/in/on my thyroid. An egg-sized mass that I didn't know existed until I dropped those 16 pounds. Which of course is a bittersweet paradox: it's good that I lost the 16 pounds to realize that I have the mass so something can be done about it (hopefully so) but bad that the mass actually exists. They couldn't tell much from the ultrasound so I am waiting for a referral from my doctor to have a biopsy done. I know there is no sense in worrying about something I can't do anything about right now but it's so hard not to seek some sort of comfort or fill the fear with food. It's illogical, I know. I know that food won't make it better. I know that all I can do is stay positive and wait for the unknown to be known so I can deal with it better then. But for all the logic, the hard work, and the knowledge, I ended up falling down the rabbit hole again and having an affair... with a tin of my mother's christmas cookies.

Yes, it's not the end of the world. I am three pounds heavier from butter cookies and facing a medical situation that may be as simple as removing a benign mass or fighting a more challenging battle. I had a weak few days where I let go of control and let my fear, emotions and old habits get the better of me. But honestly, the control I do have right now is still powerful. It is changing what I can - what's right in front of me. I have to let go of the stress and fear and not try to eat everything in sight when I'm just seeking to feel "full" but not am hungry. In the immortal words of Dorothy Fields, "Nothing's impossible, I have found; for when my chin is on the ground. I pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again."

Should you have any good wishes, positive energy, white light, prayers, etc, to spare, please feel free to send them my way. Having support helps with the unknown fear that taunts me... And it just may also help keep the cookies at bay.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PRAIRIECROCUS 12/15/2011 2:13AM

    You don't WANT those cookies, because they will only do bad things,
for you ! Why don't you just wrap them up, and donate them to an
organization, that would be happy, to have them on hand, especially
this time of year ! Any " non-essential " food is just going to be stored,
as fat, unless you do a lot of exercise, to burn it off !
All the best, with your food battles, this Festive Season !
We ALL need to keep our guard up !
best of Luck !

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NIXY72 12/14/2011 5:09PM

    Thank you all so much for your comments, support, and good energy/prayers! You have no idea how much it is appreciated.

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BLACKROSE_222 12/12/2011 12:24PM

    Sending that positive energy your way, honey. Like you said, wait and see. HUGS.

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FLYFROG 12/12/2011 10:03AM

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers. You will get through this. If it helps, keep posting... I've always found lots of support here at spark.

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SJKENT1 12/12/2011 9:41AM

    I had my thyroid removed 11 years ago. Good thing that you lost the weight so that it showed up. Good thing that you lost that weight, because you are on your way to a healthier life and with the thyroid mass discovery, even more of a healthier life when it is dealt with. May God hold you in His loving arms. Peace, peace...

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NEW-CAZ 12/12/2011 2:42AM

    You'll be in my thoughts and prayers hun. It awful when you find a medical problem but at least it's being investigated and treated that's the positive.
In the mean time just take time to kind to yourself and ditch the cookies, one or two maybe but then resolve to eat fruit in it's place next time around.
Just focus on healthy eating and keeping moving and the weight WILL come off. emoticon

take care emoticon

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LEASTMAN2 12/11/2011 9:36PM

    I am praying for you. Don't be to hard on yourself. You will get through this with the support of your friends. Try to be good to yourself while you wait and think about all the other difficult things you have already come through. The things that helped you then will help you now and your strengths that helped you in the past will help you now.

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CRYSTALLEAH 12/11/2011 9:33PM

  Thinking of you my dear friend during what I am sure is an unnerving time. Praying that you find a way to deal with this stress in a healthy manner and that everything turns out to be just fine.

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CGARR442 12/11/2011 7:58PM

    I am saying my prayers for you and hoping the results end up as nothing. I am happy you lost the 16 pounds and were able to see that something wasn't right.
You are right you did fall a little ways down the rabbit hole but you didn't hit the bottom. You can get beyond this and learn something from it. You didn't give up!!!!
Worry does make us do some things we don't normally do we just have to learn different ways to cope with it.
Take care of yourself!

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CMFARRELL36 12/11/2011 6:38PM

    Thinking of you!

My thoughts are partly centred around "cold turkey".
You've done this bit before - let's do it again, but this time with friends and support, here.
Can you keep some of this eating at bay - even just come onto SP here, and vent. Even if no-one replies immediately, at least you've put off taking a bite of that food.
Now get a glass of water - be posh, take the time to tart it up with some lemon or lime juice, some ice, some slices of chilled cucumber (then it has to sit and infuse).
I keep a box of wedged fresh lemons and limes in the freezer, ready to add a wedge to a glass of water at any time. That makes a long drink of fizzy water quite upbeat.
Or be rabid and just take a glass of water and get it down your neck, pdq. Then you have to wait 10 or 15 minutes or so, till your system gets over the hit!

After 15 - 20 minutes, are you still actually hungry?
With me, the answer is usually "no".
Apparently our body frequently suggests to you that you might be hungry when in fact your body is actually thirsty.
I am slowly learning this duplicity!

If you *are* hungry, but it's not meal time yet - this is where a bag of carrot sticks in the fridge comes in handy! And/or a box of already peeled and wedged clementines/satsumas/whatever.
omething that's ready for you to dip into, as a fairly low impact but a fairly highly satisfying snack.

And, there's usually someone here - or email one of us direct, to keep you away from the cookies - or at least the whole packet!

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CAROLJEAN64 12/11/2011 4:02PM

    I am sending the light of the universe your direction.

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ECONLADY 12/11/2011 3:55PM

    I think you are on the path to figuring out why the cookies I have power. Keep going!

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ADJQUILTER 12/11/2011 2:33PM

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers also. It sounds like you have a good idea about what motivates you. You will get through this medical issue, and you will lose the weight you want. You are becoming the best person that you can possibly be. Don't let anything or anyone tell you anything different. emoticon emoticon

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REROSE1975 12/11/2011 2:21PM

    You'll be in my thoughts and prayers. Whatever may come, you can handle it.

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Is My Body Learning?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Last week I was in Mexico capturing a destination wedding at an all-inclusive resort (for those of you who don't know, I am a wedding photographer). I was also at a resort three weeks ago for another wedding in Jamaica and will be at one next week in the Dominican Republic. For those of you who have travelled, I'm sure you know that all-inclusives can be anyone's nemesis: buffets that are pretty much open 24/7, a number of bars within reach, and just in case you can't squash that late night pang and are too lazy to leave the room, there's always room service.

In Jamaica, I was very careful with my food choices. I obviously didn't want to undo all the good that I had done over the previous month since I joined SparkPeople, and I spent a fair amount of time carefully tracking the food (and drink) that I did partake in. I lost track at the end due to a very busy schedule but then picked up the tracking as soon as I got home again. Coming home to cool weather from the heat and the humidity of the tropics always forces my body to carry a fair (or not so fair, really) amount of water-weight but luckily that disappeared over the next few days. I am not naive enough to think that I will actually lose weight while I'm away (I do have a penchant for trying new foods and spoiling myself a bit), but I do hope that I will be able to recover quickly from any weight -- water or otherwise -- that I do put on during that time.

This past Saturday, I arrived back from Mexico having not tracked my food for pretty much the entire week. It wasn't for a lack of trying at the beginning, but the food served at the buffet at the resort didn't fit into most of the options on the food tracker (a lot of traditional Mexican fare that I honestly had no idea what the ingredients were) so it got to be a bit frustrating and I gave up tracking for the week. I did however notice that when I didn't make the wisest choices on food, I was eating substantially smaller portions and when there was fresh food that was appetizing, I consumed a bit more.

Is my body learning?

Upon my arrival home, I stepped on the scale and only weighed 4 pounds over when I left. Those 4 pounds have pretty much disappeared over the last 3 days so I know that it was really only residual water weight that my body is now letting go of. So in essence, I didn't really gain anything while I was gone which truly is a remarkable feat for me.

I am home for only 6 days in between trips this time. Yesterday, I plugged in my breakfast as usual into the tracker and then set out on my day. But I didn't keep tracking online as I usually do at the end of each meal... I waited until this morning to reflect on my food choices yesterday and was surprised to find that I was right within my limit on not only my calories but on my protein/fat/carb count as well! So I'm curious... if I actually eat what my body wants this week, will I be over or under my allotted intake levels?

So I'm going to be running an experiment on myself for the remainder of this week... I will be tracking my food only the day after I consume it so I don't have an idea where I stand throughout the day and how many more calories I "have left" to consume in a given day. I'm curious to see if over the last two months of strictly calculating my food, if my body is actually beginning to understand and crave what it needs instead of just what it wants. It would be very nice to, one day, not need the food tracking tool any longer and trust in my body to make the smart choices. So let's see what happens! I have 3 days left before I leave again -- hopefully too small a time to do any major damage in this experiment -- but also hopefully long enough to see if I am actually integrating all of the knowledge and practice that I've accumulated so far.

What do you think? If you gave up on your food tracker for a few days, would you fare well or would old habits take hold?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRACEYROCK 11/23/2011 5:44AM

    Right now I find it very helpful to track because I'm still learning how many calories some of my choices have. I had no idea that my snack of graham crackers and peanut butter is 300 calories. I will change that snack! So no, not ready to give it up, but I think it's a great experiment for you. And congrats on the no weight gain. It must be a relief to feel secure enough in your food choices to not stress ever time you travel that you will gain weight.

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CGARR442 11/22/2011 6:58PM

    I would fair okay but I wouldn't want to go completely without tracking for any length of time. Unfortunately, it has become my security blanket and I get nervous about gaining weight if I don't have some kind of total going inside my head. I have been tracking for over 3 years now so it isn't something that I find to be a nuisance it is just something I do.
Good luck with your experiment I hope it works for you.
Great job with your food choices it sounds like you did a god job.

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BLACKROSE_222 11/22/2011 1:46PM

    I like to think I could do it - and I think it is fantastic that you are noticing these non scale victories and changes! Great work!

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Do Lower Calories actually equal healthier food?... (An Adventure at the Grocery Store)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

I am an avid cook, perhaps even an aspiring chef. So when I moved into my home six years ago, my boyfriend was kind enough to one day surprise me by building me a pantry in my kitchen so I could keep my kitchen stocked and at the ready for whatever inspiration may hit.
(please forgive my incredibly messy cookbook shelf!)

I am a farmer's market shopper and buy many of my bulk/dry items at Costco so I very rarely stock up at the Grocery Store. In fact, I make it there usually only once every 4-6 months which means that I have not been back since I began my SparkPeople journey. This week, I realized my pantry was missing a lot of staples that I use so I decided yesterday to make a list from my regular favourites as well as from consulting my favourite low-fat-cookbook-girls and restock. (The girls: Ontario born and fabulous fun food mavens - Janet & Greta Podleski
- sorry Chef Meg, I haven't bought the SparkPeople cookbook yet but will hopefully be checking it out soon!)

Oh Lord. The grocery store.

How many brands of brown beans can there be?? And what a phenomenal difference in nutritional information! My staple is usually the no-name maple brown beans. They have less calories and less sodium than the other "name brands" but upon closer inspection their list of ingredients includes such wonderful generic items as "spices", "artificial flavour" and "caramel colour". Heinz brand (which I ended up purchasing) is definitely higher in numbers on the nutritional label but offers specific spices like "mustard flour" and "onion powder" and contain "natural flavours".

I personally hate artificial anything so would tend to opt for a higher calorie option instead of consuming "non-natural foods", but how many people take the time to look or even read past the calorie count? There is no longer a quick trip to the grocery store for any of us who are trying to solve the puzzle of making the right choices...

So what do you look at when you choose your food? Do you always choose the lower calorie/sodium option? Or do you choose the foods with the most all-natural ingredients? Does lower calories actually equal healthier food?

And in case you're curious, here are the findings on the brown beans:

No Name Beans Made with Real Maple Syrup
per 1/2 cup serving
Total Calories: 145
Total Fat 0.5g
Saturated Fat 0.1g
Sodium 365mg
Total Carbohydrate 28.5g
Dietary Fiber 5.5g
Sugars 10.5g
Protein 6.5g

Ingredients: White Beans, Water, Sugar, Dextrose, Maple Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Spices, Artificial Flavour, Caramel Colour


Heinz Maple Style Beans with Pure Quebec Maple Syrup
per 1/2 cup serving
Total Calories: 160
Total Fat 0.5g
Saturated Fat 0g
Sodium 420mg
Total Carbohydrate 31g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars 12g
Protein 8g

Ingredients: White Beans, Water, Sugar, Dextrose, Maple Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Natural Flavours, Mustard Flour, Onion Powder

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CGARR442 11/3/2011 6:49PM

    I am guilty of shopping for the lowest calories instead of actually taking the time to make sure which one is actually healthier for me. I also shoot for the cheapest I can find. One thing in my favor is that I do a lot of my cooking from scratch so I shop for the basics and then "doctor" them to my family's taste.

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FEELINGGREAT38 11/3/2011 3:00PM

    Good research :) As someone who is Diabetic Type 2 and Gluten-Intolerant I understand how hard it is to navigate the grocery store. Unfortunately, being on foodstamps and disability, I don't have the ability to choose mostly only natural foods. I have to buy what I can afford in the grocery store. But it is very challenging to find gluten-free foods AND Diabetic-friendly foods in one package. I learned to call the phone number on the packages and get my information straight from the manufacturer. They seem to enjoy giving out the information and sometimes can point me in the safest direction if their product won't suit my dietary needs. But I am noticing that a lot of wheat-free, gluten-free foods I buy are healthier then their gluten-laden counterparts. And also most are lower in sugars, though not necessrily carbohydrates.
I think you shelf looks well-used :) Does anyone really keep things superneat if they actually use them? He did a great job on the pantry from what the picture shows. :) Have a great day!!

BTW, make meals ahead of time on a day you have a few hours and freeze them. Then they are still from scratch, but you can easily heat them up.

Comment edited on: 11/3/2011 3:03:30 PM

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NIXY72 11/3/2011 1:53PM

    I agree SweetOctober, there is so much in our foods that are unnecessary. Would that I had the time or energy to make everything from scratch... and many things I actually take the time do. But I eat beans perhaps once every few months (I am actually allergic to most legumes) so it doesn't bother me as much as it would be something that I eat every day.

Sometimes you have to make the best of a given situation and sooo many people out there don't have the time or energy to make things from scratch. My question then still holds... when you HAVE to purchase ready-made or canned goods and CAN'T make it from scratch, what is the deciding factor? Ingredients? Calories? Sodium? ...

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SWEET_OCTOBER 11/3/2011 1:29PM

    It gets on my nerves and frustrates me to tears (oh well not actual tears, I'm exagerating a bit, for the sake of making my point LOL) when I see sugar, dextrose, modified corn starch and other things like this listed on the ingredient list when there's really no place for them! In a can of beans?? I buy my beans and legumes dry and cook them myself, but I sometimes look at the ingredient lists just to remind myself why :))

I love your pic, so warm and spells 'cozy kitchen'!

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MAIGAHANE 11/3/2011 11:02AM

    I'm slowly working into the habit of looking at all of these things (calories, fiber, etc as well as artificial/natural ingredients). It's hard to balance the need for healthier on the nutritional chart against the need for actual food. Still figuring this one out too, though I would probably agree with you on this and get the Heinz

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NIXY72 11/3/2011 10:52AM

    Thanks Nell... it's not just about the beans. The same can go for any canned soup, produce, juice, etc. I work a 70+ hour work week so unfortunately don't always have the option to make things from scratch. Cooking them myself would always be the better option but most of the time it's far from possible.

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NELLJONES 11/3/2011 10:48AM

    There are many ways to cook dried beans and flavor them up yourself, just about all from pantry staples. And it's healthy and CHEAP! Once you eat your own, you'll never eat a can of beans again.

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BLACKROSE_222 11/3/2011 10:47AM

    Hmmm... very interesting point. I know when I shop and when my husband shops, we do look at different things. He is all about the calories, where I tend to be on the nutritional value - so fiber, sodium, vitamins, fat, etc. But I don't think either of us pay attention to ingredients as much as we should.

Thanks for sharing!

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