RUTHXG   44,804
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Salt & me

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This week our Living the Good Life challenge in the 5% Challenge teams is to refrain from adding salt at the table at each meal. It's a good challenge, as so many foods are prepared with large amounts of salt already, & so many people in our society & our time have high blood pressure.

However, it happens that I have rather LOW blood pressure. Most of the time that's great. Occasionally when I'm exercising in the heat, though, I get faint & dizzy because of low electrolytes, & eating something salty makes me feel better immediately.

I don't keep salty snacks in the house, & I go out to eat only rarely. I cook with salt but am careful not to overdo it, & I eat lots of potassium-rich foods to balance my moderate sodium. This week I've been eating up some cauliflower left over from a potluck; it was cooked by a church friend, & she added NO salt. I do sprinkle a little table salt & lemon pepper on it before I eat it--much more palatable that way.

So Starfish friends, forgive me if I don't earn maximum LTGL points this week. I'm one of the few people who need to keep sodium levels more or less where they are now. I think I'll be fine without table salt for two meals most days, but I'm going to keep using it on that cauliflower. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANSHE 6/27/2011 2:16PM

    That's totally understandable, sometimes wish i had that problem... :)

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CZARINA_TV 6/26/2011 10:03AM

    Good for you!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 6/25/2011 5:23PM

    No problem !! You do what is right for you! I have to say I am a little envious!

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BABY_GIRL69 6/25/2011 4:03PM

    I need to keep away from salt but I do need some. I rarely every add salt to my foods anymore. Last year, I would always add it now I try to do better with other seasonings.

God bless & thanks for the blog!


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CAT609 6/25/2011 3:24PM

    I agree with you. Some people do need some sodium. Good idea for those who need less though. emoticon

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First self-thanks

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Our 5% Challenge assignment this week is a little awkward: giving ourselves a daily Sparkgoodie & thanking ourselves for something good we are doing for health. I've never done that before! But it's sweet. It makes me aware of how I am choosing to care for myself & how great that is.

So, in the vein of my previous blog post, & because I just came back from Morse Market, where I got a cauliflower to include in the red lentil-cauliflower-coconut curry I'm making for tonight's potluck:

I am grateful to myself for regularly buying, preparing, & eating food that is satisfying, wholesome, & delicious. For browsing recipes & trying new ones. For browsing food options at the market. For buying a partial CSA share in the summer. For mining possibilities among foods of many cultures. For establishing eating patterns that allow me to lose weight without feeling deprived.

This is a BIG achievement in a society that regularly makes itself sick with food. Thank you to me!

(The corresponding Sparkgoodie is bowls of colorful spices. Yay!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTEMPLE 6/27/2011 3:24AM

    Great Ruthie! Catching up with blogs!

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CZARINA_TV 6/21/2011 9:58AM

    Good for you Ruth!

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SHANSHE 6/20/2011 1:58PM

    AWESOMENESS! What a GREAT challenge!

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KAREN_NY 6/18/2011 10:23PM


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KARENE10 6/18/2011 7:28PM


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JECKIE 6/18/2011 5:11PM

    That dish sounds lovely! Have you posted the recipe?

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CARLYG8 6/18/2011 4:48PM

    mmmm... I want to come and eat at your house!!!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 6/18/2011 2:17PM

    Great job!!

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Recipe recommendation & huzzah for good food!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Black Bean, Mushroom, & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers!!! You MUST try it!

I just fixed it tonight & found it SO delicious. Completely vegan, very good fiber, solid protein. You do use three different pans, which makes it seem a little complicated, but really it's quite simple. (BEATLETOT, is this the recipe you make?) Not only does it taste good, but the textures make it very mouth-satisfying.

Lately I have been reminded again & again that losing weight doesn't require eating tasteless, dry food. We can improve our fitness & slim down while INCREASING our pleasure in eating. Isn't that wonderful?

It does require thinking more about food, what combines well, nutritional content, what's seasonal, which foods should be bought organic because of pesticide loads, what tastes good, what's affordable . . . And it requires cooking from scratch, which has its own intense pleasures! Yay for home-cooked food!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CZARINA_TV 6/18/2011 9:10AM

    That sounds yummy. I'd like to cook more, but I've never gotten beyond "like" into action, you know?

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SHANSHE 6/17/2011 2:22PM

    it SOUNDS deliious!

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RUTHXG 6/16/2011 11:31PM

    I actually made mine with GREEN peppers, because the red ones I had on hand were miniatures. It's the kind of recipe you can play with & substitute in various ways. Hope you all like it!

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KAREN_NY 6/16/2011 2:52PM

    Yummmm! Thanks for sharing!
(Adding to list of weekend cooking....)

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 6/16/2011 2:08PM

    that does sound good! I'm way more likely to try something if someone I trust has already tried! Thank you!

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JECKIE 6/16/2011 9:01AM

    That sounds SO good! I'll have to try them.

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BEATLETOT 6/16/2011 8:54AM

    No, it's not. But now I can't find the one I used. I thought for sure I rated it. Or at least saved it. Geez!

I haven't cooked it in a long while, because neither I nor my husband have been cooking anything even remotely complicated this year, since we have a 23-year-old boy in our house who swallows everything without seeming to taste it. It's not rewarding to spend hours cooking something only to see it gone in 10 minutes. We (and by we, I mean he) make things that can easily be done in large quantities: chili, spaghetti sauce, stir-fries... We even stopped casseroles, because he'll eat the entire pan in one sitting. He's leaving soon, so we'll be able to start cooking "nice" things again soon. I love him, and I'll miss him like crazy, but I don't feel guilty admitting I'm looking forward to more variety in my meals!

But this one looks super-good, and through today, at least, red bell peppers are on sale at Giant, so if you have one in your area, now's a good time to make them!

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SGILBER6 6/16/2011 7:24AM

    I love planning out meals and cooking healthy ones. It's the best when you can make something even better than you'd get at a restaurant but even cheaper! My bf would love this recipe, I'll have to try it soon!

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KALISWALKER 6/15/2011 11:38PM

    I love my home cooking and yours sounds terrific. I am going to read the recipe now.

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CARLYG8 6/15/2011 10:56PM

    yummy! I am making these for dinner tomorrow night. Thanks for the recommendation!!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Yesterday being Pentecost, we were asked to wear red to church (that's the liturgical color for the day). The weather was cool & springy, so I wore a red turtleneck, a casual black jacket, & a red-gold-black print skirt over black tights. The skirt is short, above the knees, though not as short as a mini per our definition in the late 1960s (just to the fingertips). While putting it on I wondered whether at my age I should wear it--I'll be turning 57 in a few weeks.

I don't have super-strict clothes rules related to age, but I like to steer away from clothes that would make me look as if I'm denying my age & worshiping youthfulness. I also steer away from stodginess, though. I decided this skirt didn't fall into either extreme.

After the service one of my friends (a woman who is maybe 15 years younger) called out a compliment on my legs! She said I should show them more often. She herself always wears very loose clothes that aren't a bit revealing, so it wasn't a case of "you look good because you look like me." That felt good!

Most of my clothes, even the size 10s, are fitting me better this year than last year. But summer clothes, especially sleeveless ones, remind me that I do need to get all the way to my goal weight. It's nice to have encouragement along the way!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTEMPLE 6/15/2011 6:32AM

    Compliment from a woman double value!

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SHANSHE 6/15/2011 5:42AM

    I am so glad to hear that you dress "young", i hate it when people wear old people clothes just because they are older...:)

Love that you got a compliment as well... keep showing them legs!

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CZARINA_TV 6/14/2011 9:44AM

    I love getting genuine compliments like that! Good for you! Not many people have put in the work to have nice legs in their 50s...

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AMYLONGHORN 6/14/2011 9:22AM

    We celebrate Pentecost by wearing red at my church, too! And we have a big ol' potluck...this year we did a potluck brunch and it was really fun (and I tried not to overdo it...)! Look at you showing off your legs...WORK IT! You have been working HARD and it is showing! Woo hoo!!!

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SGILBER6 6/14/2011 7:33AM

    Congrats on your non-scale victory!! Gotta love getting comments on looking great. It's great motivation!

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BEATLETOT 6/14/2011 3:00AM

    Yeah, your outfit did sound HOT! But also appropriate for a 56-year-old woman. I'm glad that your hard work is being noticed!

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KAREN_NY 6/13/2011 8:43PM

    emoticon emoticon (where's the wolf whistle icon?) heehee - carry that encouragement with you! You're beautiful inside & out. :)

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 6/13/2011 4:33PM

    That's awesome - always nice to hear a genuine compliment! Glad you're feeling better in your skin AND clothes.

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MTULLY 6/13/2011 4:05PM

    Your outfit sounds wonderful, and the compliment was well deserved. It is amazing how a few simple words can brighten one's day. What a thoughtful friend! I hope you have great plans for your upcoming birthday. You deserve a special celebration!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Such a great day

Thursday, June 09, 2011

It was HOT in Chicago today--went up to 95 F! I did extra exercise this a.m. to make up somewhat for missing the two previous days. Felt so good to get really sweaty & tired.

It was a work-from-home day because I have a regular therapy appointment every Wed. afternoon, & it's much closer to home than to my workplace. I made some good progress on my current editing project before & after the appointment.

Therapy was helpful & encouraging--toward the end we discussed my debt & how discouraged I am about it. (I recently had to pay my lawyer a retainer that was reduced but still came to nearly the amount I had managed to pay off on credit cards in the past year! It went onto a card because I have no savings--they were depleted during my years of living with a deadbeat.) My therapist was very reassuring. She's right--I just need to make a plan & stick to it. It will probably involve being stricter with myself about discretionary spending. I'm already pretty frugal, but I'll have to become more so for a time.

Afterward I headed for the greenhouse & spent some discretionary $$! I really needed herbs & flowers for the back porch, plus replacements for a few houseplants that had bitten the dust. Taking care of plants is part of my self-care that I had been mostly neglecting. Basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, dill, lemon verbena, lavender, sage, mint . . . mmmmm . . .

Later, back home, after getting more work done I made yogurt, which I had also neglected lately, & ate some supper, after which I tracked & discovered that I was still under 1200 calories, yay! I decided to complete my requirements by snacking on a slice of w/w bread with 1 T. natural peanut butter + banana slices. So yummy & satisfied my sweet tooth without added sugar.

(Day by day this week I have been avoiding sugary foods. I do still eat sweetened cereal in the mornings, but otherwise when I get the urge I keep telling myself, "Just today I can make it without sugar." I'm not committing myself to a long-term sugar-free plan, because my emotions really rebel at the sense of deprivation--but one day at a time I can cut way back.)

I went to pick up my share of the CSA box (I'm splitting three ways with a couple of guys from church). Strawberries, lettuce, mint, chard, yum! And arugula . . . not so yum (bitter!). I found a Sparkrecipe that I'll probably try this weekend to make good use of it, though.

I spent the evening out on the porch arranging the herbs & flowers/greenery in boxes & pots. It's such a meditative physical activity, really good for my soul. And I finally took the time to figure out how to use "worm juice" (liquid produced by our building's vermicomposting)--it's a great fertilizer once you water it down, 1 part juice to 20 parts water. My plants should be very happy with it. The porch is now looking bright & inviting.

Finally, I did a much-needed cleaning of the greenhouse window in my kitchen before setting new & old houseplants on its shelves.

I definitely got in some strength training today with the carrying/lifting of plants & soil bags. So tomorrow will be a rest day. There is lightning/thunder outside & our temps are supposed to drop 30 degrees tonight! I'm glad we're reverting to spring weather for a while; winter was SO longgggg this year, & spring was practically nonexistent.

It's a good day when I have a chance to talk through some problems, achieve some good intellectual work, & also do some physical work--not just exercising but working with food & gardening. So satisfying!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAREN_NY 6/10/2011 2:56PM

    Sounds like it was a beautiful day! Breathe deeply in that porch garden - fabulous!

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MTULLY 6/9/2011 2:24PM

    Sounds like summer has arrived in Chicago, and you are taking full advantage of the good weather. Good for you! I am impressed with how much you packed into your day, and I especially appreciated your sharing your strategy about how to limit sugar. I think I can follow your plan on that - it makes sense to me!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 6/9/2011 11:54AM

    Sounds wonderful and relaxing! I'm glad you got to enjoy it even on such a HOT day. emoticon

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CZARINA_TV 6/9/2011 10:43AM

    You're doing such a good job taking care of yourself! I wish you didn't have all that crap to plow through, but at least you're getting through it all...

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BEATLETOT 6/9/2011 8:24AM

    What a wonderful day! I'm glad you got to have such a relaxing time!

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KRISTA64 6/9/2011 7:00AM

    Hi Ruth! Im not a big fan of arugula but it was REALLY good in this salad...enjoy!

Israeli Couscous Salad

1 cup Israeli couscous
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch arugula, washed and coarsely chopped
1 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata or Taggiasca olives
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup minced celery
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper

1.Bring 1 1/4 cups lightly salted water up to a boil. Add couscous, stir and reduce heat to medium. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until all liquid has absorbed. Scrape couscous into a strainer and rinse under cold water to cool. Place into a bowl and toss with olive oil to coat. Add arugula, olives, onion, celery, lemon juice and feta and toss. Season to taste and chill until ready to serve.
2.Couscous can be prepared up to 8 hours in advance.

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CTEMPLE 6/9/2011 3:25AM

    It's so difficult when money is tight to pay lawyers fees but better go through it without much rebellion. It has to be done, it's part of the process.

We are delighted with a cool winter in our subtropics and today I made the most of it and wore wool and long boots, it only happens two or 3 times a year here so very grateful for release from the heat and humidity.

I just planted new chives and italian parsley, basil still hanging in there in the cooler weather.

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SHANSHE 6/9/2011 1:29AM

    WOW! Sounds like such a wonderful day Ruth, I feel relaxed and peaceful just reading about it!

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