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Public Education is Essential to a Good Society

Friday, March 04, 2011

I don't often engage in political discussions here. Not that aren't about food or fitness debate, anyway. This one is a bit off topic, but I am deeply passionate about it.

It's about public education. I'm absolutely appalled by what is happening in Ohio, Wisconsin and other states that are stripping rights and pay from teachers.

This article really enraged me. Lazy teachers? No. Lazy students.
www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/education
/03teacher.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=
1299261759-u6UhSLlhC5q1roVSk7MF9g


I went to public school, and didn't get the best education money could buy. But I read books, did my homework, graduated in the top 10% of my class (for whatever that is worth in my underachieving district), and made a good life for myself. My teachers did their very best to reach problem students who just didn't care. They had the same opportunities as me to learn, but thought it was cool to be a 'C' student. I spent my entire school career being made fun of for getting the gold star, or tripped in the hall for being the nerd. Half of the girls I started 1st grade with either became a teen mom or a high school dropout.

Without a public education and teachers who were brave enough to teach at one of the worst schools in my state, I wouldn't have got an education at all. Gang thugs ruled the hallways. There was an incident almost every month where someone was caught with a knife or gun in the locker.

And that was NOT the teachers fault. The teachers can't make those kids go home and do their homework. That was their parents job. I am all to familiar with the kids who had single moms who barely had time for them. Myself and all of my friends were in a similar situation.

My parents both worked blue collar, full time jobs. My dad worked an assembly line and my mom was a housekeeper for a hotel. They barely saw each other. We spent 1 hour a night together as a family as my mom came home from work, I got home from school, and my dad got up to leave for the night shift at work. We had dinner together, then my dad left for work.

And I was expected to get my homework done before I watched TV or played on the computer. Getting a B on my homework was a discussion about what I could do better. A 'C' was completely unacceptable. Did my parents blame my teacher if I got a bad grade on my essay? No. *I* was responsible.

One of my best friends lived on welfare in a trailer park, raised by a single mom. She graduated high school, college, and is now a very well paid graphic designer in San Francisco. I am a professional computer programmer that has worked for a couple of Fortune 100 companies. We both went to the exact same, lowest ranked, gang ridden, poorest school in the county.

And we have public education, state teachers and our parents to thank for who we are today. Our parents would not have been able to afford private school or charter schools. Tax payer money paid for teachers' modest salaries and our public education.

I want the politicians to cut their own salaries before they even think of cutting a teacher, fire fighter, or police man.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BTVMADS 3/6/2011 9:09AM

    You're my new hero. You should go into union organization and negotiating!!

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VIOLET1019 3/5/2011 7:45PM

    As a teacher in an urban school district, I would like to say thank you for this wonderful blog.

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THINRONNA 3/5/2011 6:06PM

    I am proud of you. Excellent blog.

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FRECKS96 3/5/2011 7:35AM

    emoticon
Thank you!

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DDOORN 3/5/2011 4:30AM

    Couldn't agree MORE with your thoughts!

There are SO many OTHER places where costs could be trimmed and even BENEFIT our country (End the WARS, Support the TROOPS, Bring them HOME!) why do people believe taking away from an investment in our children, our FUTURE...why is THAT the choice we must be forced to make...?

Don

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SEDGEY 3/4/2011 8:08PM

    emoticon

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CATLADY52 3/4/2011 7:26PM

    Amen to that!! I too had to do homework before anything else, and my summers were spent working every day, icluding weekends. My folk ran a summer day place. I got paid minimum wage and was glad I could help out.

My folks didn't have a whole lot, but what we did have was family being first.

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MISSHARTUNG 3/4/2011 4:29PM

    As an educator, I would like to say a simple but sincere THANK YOU!!

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ENKATRALALA 3/4/2011 2:32PM

    I'm running to a meeting so no thoughtful response from me except: RIGHT ON! I love when you do get political because I almost always agree with you. Go flaming liberals!

I went to both public and private school but, honestly, I got the better education at the public schools. Every child should have the ability to have as good a public education I got (in three different inner-city schools). Sadly, budget cuts means that this is an impossibility for a lot of kids.

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JSPEED4 3/4/2011 2:18PM

    In most states, public education teachers are paid the same as a chemist in that state is paid. Not bad. The problem is as you mentioned: the students. And that problem can be solved over a few years with good Principles and community support.

All of the money in the world--given to Administration, or for books that could be shared instead of trashed each year, or for a computer for each child, or for buildings that go way beyond simply comfortable--won't change the fact that many children are not fed properly--even some wealthy kids--or that many families are not realizing facts about responsible citizenry. No amount of money given to administrators and fancy architecture will help children who are misunderstood because of their home dialect, or their mis-understanding of the place of schooling in their lives.

Schools should equip students with skills, a basic knowledge base, and some pertinent practice with stuff like team sports on the playground at recess, tax law, business law, family law, managing your own small-claims court suit--these are the things the judges insist that we all should know, while the judges take a recess to study-up on the very laws they insist that we all know!
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A Rant: Learn to Cook!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Today's blog is going to be a bit of a rant.

There's couple of phrases that has been raising my shackles lately. They are the number of people who say, "I don't have time to cook" or, "It's too expensive to cook at home."

Hogwash. Bullcrap.

If it was a priority, they'd do it.

There are some people to whom this may be harder than others. Single moms with 3 part time jobs are understandably stretched beyond belief. I'm talking about young, relatively affluent 'yuppie' types.

10 years ago, I didn't know how to cook anything but ramen noodles and scrambled eggs. My reasons were rather silly. I work in IT, which is known for long hours. I said that I 'didn't have time' and 'eating out is less expensive'. Both were complete crap. They were excuses.

I'm also going to admit something else embarrassing. I thought that if I learned to cook, I would somehow be setting back the feminist movement. My friends and I laughed about not being able to cook as some kind of badge of pride.

Stupid. And insecure.

I have a career, I am a feminist, and I can cook. I've grown up.

A friend of mine recently said she doesn't cook because cookware is so expensive. I'm looking at her iPhone that she paid $300, and pays $130 every month for a data plan. I could have bought her a starter line of professional cookware and knives for that.

Buying high grade cookware is not like buying the cheap knife at the supermarket. With a little care, it should be a one time investment that will last forever. I bought All-Clad stainless steel cookware and Wusthof knives when I was badly in debt. I put aside money for it, saved a little out of my checks until I had enough. I've had them almost 9 years now, and they are still good as new. They have paid for themselves, and then some.

I lost weight and got out of debt. A good deal of credit to this is from learning to cook. Eating at home is certainly less expensive than dining out. Even when buying organic vegetables and meat, I spent a whole lot less than dining out with friends. Most of those savings probably came from drinking a lot less alcohol. At home, I'd prepare a nice meal with grass fed steak, potatoes, roast veggies, and a glass of wine. All for about $13. I could make a plate of spaghetti and side salad for about $2. Make it $3.50 if I added a glass of wine. There's no restaurant where I could get the same quality for that price.

Watching Rachael Ray's "30 Minute Meals" on the Food Network changed my life. I learned how to prepare meals fast within 45 minutes (I'm a little slower than Rachael). 30-45 minutes is about the same as takeout or sit in dining. It is certainly doable with a full time 8-10 hour a day job. It just takes a little planning ahead.

Do I still dine out? Sure. It is a social event with friends or my fiance. But it is not a daily event like it used to be.

I am and always will be a highly independent lady. I am a feminist, and I am not ashamed of the word. Maybe in the old days "Cooking is the way to a man's heart", but these days it goes both ways. I can cook, and my fiance can cook. It sure is nice being able to trade and share the cooking responsibility with our busy lives.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 3/6/2011 3:14AM

    I am with you on this one. I will say though that that is what is different between here and there. The cheapest way to go here would be fast food and there is not much fast food here and what is here is expensive...if we ever go to Burger King (which is rare) we pay about the equivalent of 50 USD. There really isn't nearly as much packaged or processed food either so you kind of have to cook...people here are less overweight than they are in the US. I have been surprised to see that people even make bread at home. They may not be adventurous cooks here or even the best cooks here but they are cooking at home ...the life style has really helped me to keep the weight off!

I think it is kind of sad when people don't want to cook for themselves.

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KARRYB1 3/2/2011 4:39PM

    Being in the food service business I know how inexpensive it is to cook at home, over eating out. And the benefits of freshness and putting in your own seasoning and making it your own recipe far out way the cookie cutter dishes and highly salted high fat choices in the restaurants.
With just a little food network watching anyone can learn to cook a few basic delicious meals in no time. emoticon

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ENKATRALALA 3/2/2011 1:18PM

    I couldn't agree with this MORE. It's not hard to cook healthy, delicious meals. And it doesn't have to take a long time, either. I don't think I've spent more than 20 minutes cooking each dinner this week (except for Sunday when I caramelized onions - that takes a bit longer) and we've had some wonderful food.

I'm a proud feminist and I cook. I just make my husband do the dishes. ;)

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SEDGEY 3/2/2011 12:55PM

    As to the financial aspect of it, the more you cook at home, the less time you need to spend at work earning money to pay for restaurant meals and processed foods. Even that $4 box of cereal has more than half of its costs associated with marketing, packaging and transport. 50 cents worth of oatmeal will fill two bellies and takes just a few minutes in the morning.

Great rant! :)

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VHALKYRIE 3/2/2011 12:15PM

    DDOORN: Agreed! We are made of what we eat, after all!

PETUNIAPIG: I'm with you! Lately I've been disgruntled after eating out, thinking I could make better for less money! I've told the SO I'm never living in an apartment without a dishwasher ever again!

ARCHIMEDESII: I agree cooking is harder for some, especially those who never grew up with parents who cooked, or taught them to cook. All too common for my generation, unfortunately. I made some rather horrific attempts myself. I tell my fiance that I'm a good cook now because I had all those years to practice on myself! I still struggle with baking.

LADYIRISH317: Yes!! You can make it YOUR way!

MIAMI_LILLY: Having a bit of food poisoning phobia myself, that is certainly a good point! I know how my food has been prepared. That's so awesome you are including your children in the meal preparation! I think it is really important, and is setting them up for a great future! They are learning to be self sufficient with meal preparation. Who knows! Many of today's celebrity chefs have fond memories of learning to cook with their parents!

ELIZABETH_SKY: I think a lot of the excuses comes from not knowing where to start. I know that was the case for me. When you don't know how to make anything, it all seems overwhelming. That is such a great approach, to think of it as a way to improve ourselves a little at a time. Once I felt comfortable using a knife and following a few recipes, it became much easier to start to think of meal planning without a guide. I first started to learn watching Food Network and the recipe plan at eDiets.com. The Spark Menu Planner is also an awesome start for beginners.

Comment edited on: 3/2/2011 12:17:29 PM

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ELIZABETH_SKY 3/2/2011 10:32AM

    I agree. Yet - the people I've known tend to fall closer to the 'single mom with three kids' type, so I'm fairly forgiving. Learning to cook does take time. Most people can spare that time, but it's frustrating to add yet another thing to the endless to-do list - American parents today, for example, spend both significantly more time at work and taking care of their kids than in previous generations. And their parents usually didn't teach them to cook. So they're starting out with a handicap and have less of an opportunity to deal with it than people have ever had. And that's without even considering the whole two-career family problem.

That said, I really do agree...I think all those of us who are imperfect should be working constantly to do a little better for ourselves. I really like the idea of picking up one new good habit a month (such as, this month make a proper meal each weekend day or designate a particular day to try out new recipes, etc.) This makes it a smaller burden to overcome, and eventually those habits make it easier to make even bigger changes.

Sorry I'm going on a bit, but this is an interesting topic :)

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MIAMI_LILLY 3/2/2011 10:26AM

    Teaching me how to cook was the greatest gift my mom gave me, by far. Not only is it so much cheaper, but healthier, and I don't have to worry if some chef is sneezing mucus into my dish, or washing his hands after using the bathroom (getting shigella at a mediterranean restuarant still haunts me 10 years later). And my kids aren't picky eaters because they help in the kitchen too. Too many people out there use lack of time and knowledge as an excuse, and it's sad.

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LADYIRISH317 3/2/2011 10:13AM

    Totally agree! Not to mention, cooking is creative and FUN.

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ARCHIMEDESII 3/2/2011 10:09AM

    Personally, I LOVE to cook !! I find cooking relaxing. But you know, my parents taught me how to cook at an early age. I was 9 when I started learning to kneed dough or make a decent pasta sauce. Cooking was an important part of my family's social life. We bonded in the kitchen. We bonded over the food we prepared.

I always felt bad for folks who never learned to cook. It made me wonder how they related to their family. I know this is cliche, but food was love in my family. still is.

My cousin can't cook. Her idea of cooking is open can, place contents into bowl, microwave, eat. That's why I bought her a crock pot for Christmas. I figure that the easiest way to learn to cook is to start using a crock pot. Nothing is easier than using a crock pot. So, I figured that buying her one would help her learn to cook so that she could save money !!!

I can't tell you how much money she spends on eating out. And mind you, she uses coupons all the time. Still, it strikes me she'd save significantly more money if she'd start cooking her own meals. And like you said, it really isn't difficult to cook.

Of course, some people do need extra help. I did know someone who could burn water. Some people just don't have the knack. Which is why I love cook books ! A friend once asked me why I had so many cookbooks when I already know how to cook. I told them it was because there were soooo many recipes that I wanted to try !!

Great blog !!

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PETUNIAPIG 3/2/2011 9:50AM

    I couldn't have said it better myself!!

And even when I do dine out nowadays my hubby & I are usually saying we could've done it better/cheaper ourselves at home. My only pain is I'm constantly doing dishes!
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DDOORN 3/2/2011 9:17AM

    "It's too expensive to cook at home." ...? That's a new one on ME! :-)

The savings to our budget and benefits to our health when we cook at home? Priceless!

Don

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The End of Overeating Review

Monday, February 28, 2011

I am a compulsive overeater. It's not an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia. It's more similar to a drug addiction like cocaine.

I have come a long way in being able to manage it. I've lost 30 lbs and have maintained it pretty stably for about 7 years. However, I have struggled with the last 10-15. I've lost and regained that additional 10 for about 7 years, also.

I was in LA for a working vacation last week, and boy did I struggle. When I am in my home environment, I can control what I eat pretty well. Learning to cook is the reason why I lost 30 pounds, and how I have maintained it. Getting out of the kitchen and into the horrific world of American restaurants for every meal sent it all into a tailspin. I was reminded how I became 40 pounds overweight.

It is much easier to find healthy food choices in California than Georgia. In Georgia, I avoid the food scene altogether for the most part, with a few exceptions. It is near impossible to find a healthy food option. Everything is breaded and deep fried - even the vegetables. Portion sizes are 4 times the size they should be.

In California, this is somewhat easier to manage. There are numerous places that serve 'California fresh' food. Lots of avocados, fish, vegetables and fruit. I passed by a fruit truck on the highway and bought a big box of strawberries that were naturally sweet.

While the food balance was better in LA, there was still too much. I ordered eggs benedict for breakfast. It came with two muffin halves and two eggs with hollandaise. Nothing bad here, except it was two portions. The whole plate was most likely 600-800 calories. When I make eggs benedict at home, I use one muffin half, and one poached egg. A perfect 300-400 calorie breakfast.

Even knowing this, I still ate the whole plate. I have plate cleaning disorder. If you put it in front of me, I will eat it. All of it. Whether I am hungry or not.

We didn't have a fridge at our hotel, so take out box was not possible. I spent the rest of my trip trying to find lunches and dinners that were single portion only. This was impossible...except at fine dining establishments, or fast food. High end restaurants served highly delicious food, in exactly right sized portions. I ate lunch at these restaurants, as the lunch menu is more reasonably priced than dinner.

Boy did I wish we got a suite with a kitchenette. I ended up buying fruit and breakfast pastries from a local grocery store to offset the cost/calories of breakfast. I found a Japanese bento box restaurant for lunch, and a fish grill. While more economical than the fancy restaurant, I was still dismayed that McDonald's was the cheapest option for a 'dining out only' menu.

It struck me as what's very wrong with American food culture. There I was in California, known for the healthiest people and freshest food in the country. Not everyone who lives there is a movie star, though, and the cheapest food is still McDonald's. It made me angry.

At the airport on the way home, the book "The End of Overeating" by David A. Kessler caught my eye. Dr. Kessler made quite a few enemies taking on the tobacco industry as the FDA commissioner for both Presidents George HW Bush and Bill Clinton. He seems to be targeting America's food industry next.

The book is quite different then most diet or self help guides. It goes into the behavioral science behind overeating. He said he started off intending to write the book about nutrition and macro nutrients, but ended up finding himself in brain chemistry and behavioral science instead.

There's quite a few things in there that resonated with me. American food is designed to be highly addictive. The main components of American food is sugar, salt and fat. All of these components when fed to laboratory rats, in exactly the right ratios, rated just below cocaine use in its addictive qualities.

The most popular chains in America - Applebee's, Chili's, McDonalds - have food laboratories designed to make food crack. It doesn't really taste that good, but you can't stop eating it anyway. Sugar, salt, and fat. Even the bun at McDonald's has sugar in it. You don't notice it, but it's part of the formula that makes your brain crave it.

One of the passages that stuck most with me was a Japanese businessman who said American food isn't satisfying. You have to eat more of it than Japanese food. From my travels, I agree with him. I never gained weight after visiting Asia or Europe.

In college, I had a roommate from Texas. She said her favorite food was her mother's Frito pie. When I visited Spain, a classic Spanish comfort food is paella. Paella is often made in American 'fine dining' establishments. But it is a pauper food. Highly nutritious, low cost, and popping with flavors.

Frito pie is classic American 'cuisine' excess. It is a monstrosity, but geez. Is it ever tasty. You can't eat just a bite.

That is what's wrong with American food. It is engineered to make you eat lots. The food industry as a whole makes more money if you eat more food. Nutrition and your well being are not their motivators.

I went to the grocery store after I got home and filled my fridge with fresh vegetables and fruit. I won't be eating out for at least a couple of weeks as I detox from all the sugar, salt and fat.

"The End of Overeating" is a great book. I highly recommend it. It is up to us to change American food culture and tell the food industry we want right sized portions, and nutritious food.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 3/6/2011 3:27AM

    That book sounds very interesting. I think I would like it. I have to say that when I moved out of the US one of the things I had to get used to was appropriately sized portions at restaurants! The food was just the right size for a meal with no left overs. How crazy is it that I felt like it was not enough food!?! I felt gypped! We are so accustomed to getting huge portions in the US that it is just wrong. Why do we feel like in order to get our moneys worth we have to be stuffed after a meal at a restaurant and have leftovers? Somehow I don't see that changing though.

Thank you for the review!

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VHALKYRIE 3/2/2011 10:29AM

    PETUNIAPIG: I haven't read Mindless Eating (yet!) but End of Overeating does offer some solutions. Dr. Kessler treats overeating much like a drug addiction, and the solution is similar to treating any other addiction. Unlike alcohol or drugs, we can't stop eating, so we have to 'rewire' our brains.

This is much the way I broke my "Snickers" addiction. He describes exactly the way I did it, but it was long before he wrote this book! I used to buy those "fun sized" bags at the supermarket. I wouldn't eat just one, of course. I just had to eliminate it. I stopped buying those bags. I still had snickers cravings, but I had to get off the couch and walk to the convenience store. Just mentioning a Snickers bar made me crave it. Because it was less accessible, I started craving it less and less. Eventually, I just stopped going to the convenience store. I haven't had a Snickers bar in almost 7 years. Even writing about a Snickers bar now, I don't want one. I see them at the supermarket isle, and I don't want or crave it obsessively like I used to.

Awareness is also important, as you say. Knowing why I can't stop eating those Olive Garden breadsticks, even though there are better tasting breads, makes me not want to have them. I used to go to Olive Garden for soup, salad, and breadsticks thinking it was a healthy lunch. Except I'd eat so many breadsticks it negated any benefit. I'd rather go to the corner French bakery and buy a croissant with butter and jam, and soup du jour.

Comment edited on: 3/2/2011 10:52:09 AM

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PETUNIAPIG 3/2/2011 10:19AM

    Thanks very much for this review! I've been meaning to read this book for some time now as another SparkFriend also had enjoyed it. I'll have to check out 'Mindless Eating' too.

I must agree with the food addiction. I fight it constantly!

My only question - from reading these books did they give a solution? Was it to just avoid these places? Or perhaps just being aware of our addiction and the ploys of the food industry? I gotta admit that I tend to avoid places like Applebees now just because I know their food is junk, so maybe part of it is 'awareness'.

Sometimes I wonder if there shouldn't be a 'rehab' place to cure our addictions just like there are for drugs...


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ARCHIMEDESII 2/28/2011 3:12PM

    When I was in Italy, I ate foods which some members would consider forbidden !! Gawd, I had the most wonderful Fettucini alfredo and yes, it was real alfredo with the most amazing... parmagiano reggiano cheese.
Was it high calorie ? you betcha ! Was the portion reasonable ? Yup ! Was that something I ate every day ? Nope, although I wish I did. LOL !!!

Italians (like the French or Spanish or Greeks) don't eat gut busting portions like Americans do. Americans have this fixation with getting the most bang for their buck. As a result, we get people clearing plates that could feed 2-3 people. Europeans eat smaller portions of really good quality food.

Everyone talks about the French Paradox. Why can they eat all that pate and not get fat ? One, small portions. Two, they walk everywhere. Americans really need to learn how to eat like Europeans. The problem with Europe is that too many of them are starting to eat like Americans.

You'll enjoy Mindless Eating. It was a great book. I finished it in a weekend, that's how good it was.

see ya


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VHALKYRIE 2/28/2011 3:01PM

    ARCHIMEDESII: Thanks for the book recommendations! It really has been an eye opener, for sure. I kept thinking about how everything he wrote made so much sense. I've had trouble putting my finger on what exactly the difference is between American food excess and traditional European / Asian simple elegance. Dr. Kessler finally pointed me at what it is. Take for example a traditional buttery French croissant. At first glance, it should have all the characteristics of a 'bad food'. It is incredibly buttery and delicious. When I have one croissant, I savor it, think how wonderful it tastes, but I don't reach for another one. It tasted buttery, delicious, great, and I'm satisfied. Now compare it with those bread sticks at Olive Garden. I am certain that I've had better tasting bread before, but those bread sticks are insane. I eat one, and I want more and more and more. I would say that a proper French croissant is better tasting, but I want to eat more Olive Garden bread sticks. After reading this book, now I understand why.

Comment edited on: 2/28/2011 3:06:22 PM

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ARCHIMEDESII 2/28/2011 12:19PM

    The End of Overeating was a marvelous book ! If you're looking for another really good book, try Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink. Reading that book was just as eye opening as reading the End of Overeating. Do you know that there are/were study groups that determined certain types of music could induce people eat or buy more ??? Oh yeah, ever since reading that book, I am more mindful of my surroundings when I am out eating.

It's like the Marion Nestle book called What to Eat. In that, she said that grocery stores put all the "enticing" items at eye level. Ever notice that when you walk down the cereal aisle, all the sugary cereals are where the kids can see them ? All the healthy stuff is up on the top shelves ! Well, that's all about marketing. The food industry is going its best to get people to buy more product and in Mindless Eating, you'll find out how they do it.



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VHALKYRIE 2/28/2011 11:54AM

    DASHAKAY: Definitely get a cooler! I ended up getting fresh fruit and breakfast pastries that didn't need to be refrigerated. We ate a number of breakfast/lunches/dinner at the Whole Foods buffet. It wasn't as inexpensive as eating meals prepared myself, but we got much better quality, balanced food than we could have paid for at Applebee's.

MISSLAURA1: Agree with you! I did not eat any fast food meals. I was trying to emphasize that very point. McDonald's is cheap, but it is not worth the real cost! I do not understand why people won't blink at paying $300 for an iPhone, but they won't buy a decent kitchen knife or cooking pan. They balk at how expensive a $0.30 apple is, but will buy an apple pie from McD's for $1. It's all marketing, and it was very successful.

Comment edited on: 2/28/2011 11:56:54 AM

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MISSLAURA1 2/28/2011 11:36AM

    I love this book. It is an eye-opener and now I want to read it again. I watched two "food" movies this weekend--Supersize Me and Food Inc.
One thing that struck me in your blog is that you mentioned several times "MacDonalds is still the cheapest food." Yes, MacDonalds is cheap. It will always be the cheapest, but there is no reason to eat there. The food is awful.

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ENKATRALALA 2/28/2011 11:11AM

    Traveling is so frustrating! I'm dreading a conference I have to go to that's in a rural area. NOTHING will be healthy there. We're talking macaroni salad and meat slathered in fatty sauces. I might just drag a cooler of healthy food up there.

There's something very wrong with our society, definitely. I'll have to read "The End of Overeating." Just as soon as I've finished "Intuitive Eating." Thanks for the review and the thoughts.

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End of Personal Challenge?

Monday, February 14, 2011

My month long personal goals may become a '2 week' challenge. I wanted to eat vegetarian meals for breakfast and lunch, end reserve meat dishes for dinner. I also wanted to increase my fitness hours to 1 hour a day.

Unfortunately, I experienced a minor pulled muscle that halted my efforts for 1 hour of exercise a day. I forgot I had a trip to LA planned for next week, so my meal planning is likely to be off.

My trip to LA is a 'working' vacation, so I will try to use the pool fitness facility. It may be possible to continue my meal plan for meatless breakfast and lunch. I will try my best. Usually disruptions in my schedules ends up altering my weight loss progress, so odds are not looking good.

Today's plan:
Breakfast (veg): Yogurt, banana, mango puree topped with cereal.
Lunch (veg): Hummus with carrots, celery, bell pepper and crackers.
Dinner (flex): For tonight's Valentine's meal, we are eating in. I'm making top sirloin steaks topped with restaurant style blue cheese butter, homemade chophouse salad lightly coated with creamed blue cheese dressing, and savory wild rice.

Snack: Chopped smoked salmon mixed with cream cheese and crackers.

Exercise: Too much to do today. 15 minutes on the elliptical will have to suffice.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MNCYCLIST 2/14/2011 9:04AM

    Life does have a way of getting in the way but if we take a long-term view and focus on changing our lifestyle it helps a lot. Hope you have a great week, and hang in there--you can do this!

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Day 10: Feb Challenge, and Chicken Thai Curry Soup

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm finding the hour of exercise hard to do. If I would just get up earlier in the morning, it would be fine. So, tomorrow, I quit rolling around bed half snoozing and get to the gym.

The tight muscle in my leg is loosening up. Not quite 100% but getting there. Sure wish I knew what I did!

We had leftover roast chicken. We eat roast chicken about once a week, and I usually make the leftovers into something else. I was tired of making chicken noodle soup with it. So, I turned it into a trumped up chicken and rice soup - Chicken Thai Curry Soup! My fiance absolutely loved it. He told me to save the recipe, and he wants it again.

If you're interested, here is the recipe: shortcutmenus.com/2011/02/chicken-th
ai-curry-soup/


As you know, I started a new blog (the ShortcutMenus.com link above). I've been experimenting with 'home restaurant' creations. I never went to culinary school, I just watch a lot of Food Network. My favorite is Iron Chef - both American and Japanese. Maybe it's silly, but I try to plate my food like they do. You know what? I do think it makes a difference. I find that I eat my food slower, and enjoy it more. I enjoy the comments like, "Wow, this looks fancy" or "This is better than a restaurant!" We both work long hours, and there is something inviting about food that looks and tastes good. And the beauty is, many recipes really don't take a lot of time to make or present. Especially if you do the bulk of the prep ahead on a weekend when you have time. Then you just grab stuff out of bowls and toss it in a pot.

Still loving the vegetarian breakfast/lunch, and flexitarian dinner. Dinner tends to be my heaviest meal, so vegetarian breakfast and lunch are keeping my calorie and carb/fat/protein totals perfectly in line. I can almost literally see the fat melting off. The scale lied this morning and said I 'gained' a pound, but I know for certain that the pooch in my tummy has shrunk!

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Today's breakdown:

Breakfast (veg): Blended banana, mango, and yogurt. Topped with cereal.
Lunch (veg): Rice and black beans with cheddar and salsa. Side salad with light dressing.
Dinner (flex): Caribbean jerk pork tenderloin with mango chutney, roast potatoes, and steamed green beans.

Fitness: 30 minutes elliptical. Still nursing my pulled muscle, so going light.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TIGERJANE 2/10/2011 11:07PM

    your meals always sound so yummy! Hope your legs is doing better tomorrow :)

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