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I have eaten the plums . . .

Friday, September 16, 2011

Breakfast this morning was a Greek omelette and two exquisite blue plums. Which called to mind one of my favourite Willilam Carlos Williams poems:

This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

When I see a poplar shimmering in the sunlight, do I enjoy it more because I remember the Monet paintings?

When I eat a sweet and juicy plum, do I enjoy it more because I remember this succulent poem?

Uh, maybe that's too precious: but at least the poem has no calories at all!! And may help me be feel more satisfied with the calories I've eaten!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRACTALMYTH 9/19/2011 5:58PM

    Ahhhhh :D I suppose it will come as no surprise that I had recited the entire poem between the time I clicked on the title to this blog and the time it loaded? Our plum blossom has been falling in drifts of sweetly scented petal 'snow'. Now the baby plums are appearing, and soon the birds and insects will feast. If we are lucky, there will be a satsuma or two for us lowly humans...

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TRYINGHARD1948 9/17/2011 12:39AM

    I'm sure such reflections add to our experience of life. I love William Carlos Williams too.

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IMAGINE_IT 9/16/2011 3:25PM

    What a great poem! emoticon I love plums...especially the 'small purple egg plums' we used to pick right off the trees back in Germany....i can't hardly ever get them here in this area where i live! emoticon Ellen for the poem and the memory of sweet tasting plums...back in the day..when everything seemed so simple..and near perfect! emoticon

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DONNACFIT 9/16/2011 2:48PM

    Yeah for plums!! Loved your blog and poem :) We've pretty well finished a small case of plums here (just the 2 of us!) and now are on to a case of peaches..love love love the fall fruit..
..and the fall beauty emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/16/2011 2:50:47 PM

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CARRAND 9/16/2011 2:11PM

    I love that poem. Thanks for sharing.

I always wondered, though, if the plums were a metaphor for something else. Was Mr. Williams messing around with some sweet young thing, and trying to apologize?

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DBCLARINET 9/16/2011 1:03PM

    Thanks for sharing that poem! It made my day for some reason.

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VALERIEMAHA 9/16/2011 8:38AM

    I LOVE THAT POEM, Ellen! And...It's EXACTLY how I feel when I take the last of some delicious fruit lurking in the frig!

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PHEBESS 9/16/2011 8:36AM

    On the other hand, your plums with the poem are feeding your mind as well as your body - an important aspect of overall health, right? Staving off Alzheimer's and all that. So continue to feed your mind, and your soul. (White hyacinths do that.)

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SALSIFY 9/16/2011 8:15AM

    I like that poem too...

I also like Matthew Macfadyen's voice - so I listen to this version:



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KALIGIRL 9/16/2011 8:12AM

    "so sweet and so cold" and so enjoyed!

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NANCY- 9/16/2011 8:02AM

    Ah the sweet treasures that nature brings us. I'm glad you were able to savor the the plums.It is amazing the flavors that are available to us when we consume our food mindfully.

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Red Cabbage Slaw with Chickpeas

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm experimenting today with a slightly different salad from my usual spinach/arugula/mesclun with crunchy bright veggies and lean protein.

Last night I shredded up half a red cabbage, added a stalk of chopped celery and a cup of grated carrot, stirred in a can of chickpeas (drained, rinsed) with half a cup of Greek yogourt, some caraway seed, paprika and sea salt.

It's packed into a container with a couple of slices of low fat chicken.

Should be a nice change, and there are enough leftovers for tomorrow as well.

(Plus, of course, chopped fruit: peach, kiwi, a few cherries, a tiny clementine and some frozen mixed berries).

Breakfast was a microwave omelette (half eggwhite, half Omega + egg with low fat salsa, arugula and Greek seasoning) and a small fresh pear.

Dinner will be "this week in soup" Asian chicken pho.

Cocktail event will involve a virgin Caesar for me . . . and I'll be staving off munchy temptation in advance with some fat free sugar free yogourt before I go.

Charlie will get a walk (cardio for both of us) when I get home!!

OK, day: bring it on!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PUDLECRAZY 9/16/2011 5:59PM


Thank you for this poem on this day. One of my favorite poets!


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FRACTALMYTH 9/15/2011 4:49PM

    mmmmmmm *note to self* must buy cabbage!

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DDOORN 9/15/2011 3:06PM

    DW has a great recipe for red cabbage & apples...love chickpeas though...bet that's a keeper!


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KALIGIRL 9/15/2011 8:43AM

    Food sounds 'heavenly' - love red cabbage!

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PUDLECRAZY 9/15/2011 6:22AM

    That sounds yummy!

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TRYINGHARD1948 9/14/2011 4:47PM

    A wonderfully tasty and healthy day, enjoy.

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IMAGINE_IT 9/14/2011 2:12PM

    Please let us know how the Red Cabbage salad tastes..i have been adding shredded cabbage to my daily salad...for an extra crunch..and i like it a lot!
One of the things i need to learn is to 'experiment' more....i tend to stay with the same ol' same ol' way too long!
Your menu for this week sounds delicious!! emoticon Enjoy! emoticon

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_LINDA 9/14/2011 1:17PM

    Sounds awesome! You sure add a lot of ingredients in a salad! I like them that way too, the more the merrier, and the crunchier the better! Enjoy!!

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NANCY- 9/14/2011 8:43AM

    You are doing awesome. You show us all how to shine.
Keep Sparking!!!!

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PHEBESS 9/14/2011 7:36AM

    I'm so impressed with your planning! And this morning, as I was driving to work, I realized we're in the third week of school and I'm still not Beck-ing yet! Gotta get myself in gear!

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GROEDER 9/14/2011 7:28AM

    That sounds like a great menu and a healthy plan. Way to go!!!
I got hungry, just reading about your selections. LOL

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Burning Calories

Sunday, September 11, 2011

When I'm motoring at level 8 on the elliptical cross trainer, at my current weight of 137-138 pounds, it takes me a full minute of sweaty effort to burn just 14-15 calories.

That means:

One minute of all-out exercise is what it takes to use up the calories in four sweet cherries.

It's just over two minutes to burn 1 serving of fat free sugar free yogourt.

Four minutes to dispatch a serving of low calorie hot chocolate. Or two slices of low fat chicken.

Just over five minutes to equal the calories in a medium apple.

A moderate 10 piece serving of potato chips, say 200 calories? That would be over thirteen minutes of continuous hard work! But would I stop at 200 calories worth, once I'd started?? As if. Not remotely likely.

If nothing else, time at the gym is time when I'm not eating. But even better, watching the calorie burn on the cross trainer at the gym helps me think all day long about not putting food mindlessly into my mouth.

To stick with what I've pre-tracked.

Because: I just can't ever exercise enough to begin to burn off the quantity of calories in the type and volume of foods I'd (still) like to eat.

And if I eat "those" foods (potato chips, full fat ice cream, chicken pot pie with double crust and gravy, full fat cheesy macaroni, french fries, all of that) there's no hope of getting the nutrients I need within the calorie range I'm able to permit myself: the protein, carbs, good fats, minerals, vitamins my body really craves. And really needs for optimum health.

Hunger is not an emergency. Hunger is a great indicator that I'm really going to enjoy my next meal! When I'm hungry, I don't stand in front of the fridge asking myself what I "feel" like eating. Because the hungrier I am, the better my pre-planned carrots and tomatoes and spinach and radishes actually taste!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 9/14/2011 1:20PM

    It sounds like you have it all worked out scientifically. I only burn 267 calories for an hour's worth of sweating it on the elliptical, pretty measly and it does make you think about how any of those treats are really worth the effort or not.

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NEWKAREN43 9/13/2011 11:15PM

    So...I figure at my weight, which is 80 pounds over yours, (yikes) I burn 16 calories per minute...and I'm trying to reconcile the fact that 45 minutes on the elliptical I burn 700+ calories and that's not making a difference in my weight. I'm stuck, I've been stuck for months...+2, -3, +4, -2, -2, +5, -3...and I do ST a couple of times per week...I SO desperately want to lose another 30 pounds off my ~220 pound frame (I'm 6' tall so...I can carry a lot, and lose a lot before anyone even can tell)...but I am stuck. This is the first I've said that since I posted a blog about being stuck some months ago...oh, I need to break this plateau so badly...I know it will happen but I also know that it's just a little discouraging sometimes to be stuck and not know what to do...So...I appreciate your reminder and perspective...

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KALIGIRL 9/13/2011 9:04AM

    Hunger as an indicator...
Love it!

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BRIGHTSPARK7 9/13/2011 1:37AM

    Great to check back in and find your blog, Ellen. On my to do list: Phone the gym and get the schedule for yoga classes. Your enthusiasm for going to the gym inspires me! PLus I gained a couple of pounds from my vacation. Had a wonderful time and glad to be back!

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NANCY- 9/12/2011 10:34AM

    Fuel our Body.
That's what athletes do. What do we need to sustain us.
I love the question "what do I feel like eating?"... if I "feel" like eating, it is not hunger . Most likely I am only thirsty and drink water or make a cup of herbal tea.
This is a wonderful blog ... lots of "food for thought". There is nothing like re-framing our thoughts.

Thank you so much for sharing your pho with me. It was delicious and brought a smile to my face.

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DBCLARINET 9/12/2011 7:16AM

    You know, now that you mention it, it's been a while since I stood in the kitchen and wondered what I "felt like" eating. That only happens if I'm eating when I'm not actually hungry.

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TRYINGHARD1948 9/12/2011 3:15AM

    And how many hours do I have to exercise for if my son-in-law makes a cheesecake and it would be most ungracious to refuse a small slice, or even a medium slice. Hmmm, I'm sweating just thinking about it.

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TBANMAN 9/11/2011 11:55PM

    A great reminder of just how much things "cost."

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DDOORN 9/11/2011 9:36PM

    What a great re-framing of hunger as a "friend" not "foe!"


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PUDLECRAZY 9/11/2011 8:11PM

    Amen! And that pho is a great example of just how good things can taste and not fall into the high calorie/empty calorie category.

Enjoy the gym!

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NEWKAREN43 9/11/2011 8:08PM

    As I sit here, totally soaking, sweaty from my last 25 minutes on the elliptical trainer, THIS is exactly what I needed to read! Thank you for the blog...and the perspective! Karen

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MOBYCARP 9/11/2011 7:52PM


My goal is 175. At one point, I gained weight to 205 while getting stronger and more fit, other than the fat I was adding.

Joined SparkPeople, and the weight is coming off so fast it's almost spooky. I'm eating a lot fewer calories, but possibly more protein. emoticon

You can't out-train a crappy diet.

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TRAVELGRRL 9/11/2011 6:56PM

    I needed to hear this! Thanks for the reminder!

Hunger is NOT an emergency. If I don't know what I want to eat, then I'm not really hungry.

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/11/2011 6:32PM

    I'm with you... knowing what I'm NOT burning or how long it takes to burn even a single cookie is great motivation. After races? They offer fresh fruit as well as the baked stuff, thank goodness! And thanks for stopping by my race blog!

emoticon emoticon

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This Week in Soup: Asian Chicken Vegetable Pho

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Found in the freezer:

half a bag of shelled edamame
a full bag of mixed Asian stir fry vegetables
three boneless skinless chicken breasts

Found in the fridge:

grated carrot
snow peas
red bell pepper
half a bottle of President's Choice Memories of Szechwan
soy sauce

And in the cupboard:

whole grain spaghetti noodles
2 large cartons of chicken broth
Chinese five spice
dehydrated garlic
red chili pepper
low fat peanut butter

I heated the chicken stock to boiling with about 3 tbsp soya sauce, the PC Szechwan (diluted with water to get every drop out of the bottle) and the spices, and added three stalks of the celery, chopped, while I was defrosting the chicken breasts: diced those and added to the boiling stock with the noodles, broken into 1 inch lengths (used about the amount I'd make for 2 servings of spaghetti . . . maybe a bundle an inch in diameter or so). Simmered till the chicken was done, the celery tender. Stirred in the grated carrot, about a cupful. (Rinsed out the bag with water and put that in the pot too . . . ).

Added the frozen edamame and mixed Asian vegetables (love those tiny corn cobs!). And then half a red pepper, diced, and about 10 snow peas, sliced. Brought it just back to the boil.

Mixed about 3 tbsp of peanut butter with boiling water and stirred it in: creamy, peanutty!! But the veggies were still bright and crunchy . And my soup pot is full again!

I'd guess the calorie count is well under 300 for a generous 1.5 cup serving, and there's gotta be a reasonable hit of protein from the chicken, edamame and the peanut butter.

That'll be my supper soup this week. Tried an "advance" bowlful after the gym for a late lunch and I like it!! Yeah!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 9/14/2011 1:22PM

    Wow! You sure have the knack of putting things together in a very yummy way!

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PUDLECRAZY 9/11/2011 4:35PM

    Oh, that sounds delicious!!!!

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DBCLARINET 9/11/2011 4:21PM

    Mmmm, sounds tasty! What a list of veggies!

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DDOORN 9/11/2011 1:23PM

    Sounds delish! Love big batch cooking and the time that it saves!


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NANCY- 9/11/2011 10:25AM

    Yum!!! May I come to your house?

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PHEBESS 9/10/2011 11:31PM

    Wow that sounds delicious!

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Walking Charlie into the Fall . . . .

Thursday, September 08, 2011

DS has gone back to school after a first degree and a year at home saving money while waiting tables. We miss him: and so does Charlie!

Charlie and DS are exceptionally fond of each other, and they've been enjoying very long walks and swims in the lake pretty much daily since spring. Nothing substitutes for that, but I've been trying my best to fill the gap.

Although I got to the gym three times over the long weekend, since then I've been dealing with an excruciating eye infection which has made any kind of vigorous exercise too jarring. So . . . Charlie and I have been taking mild ambles around the block and through the park after work. No substitute for the "real hike and swim thing" . . . but Charlie appreciates it, and it's keeping me moving while I wait to heal.

The wild geese are beginning their practice V-flights; the goldenrod and wild purple asters are in bloom; and there are isolated branches of maple beginning to turn red. Fall is a wonderful time of the year . . . and with the thought of cross country skiing to come, plus my fabulous 10,000 lux light box for sunshine deprivation, I'm not dreading winter quite as much as I have done in the past!

So: Charlie and I are walking into the Fall. Tails wagging.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 9/14/2011 1:28PM

    That is awful about the eye infection :(( Its nice you can at least get out and enjoy the change of seasons! We are on the same time line -all you describe is happening here too! I do love the fall colors, but dread the coming long, dark, and very cold winter. Facing north and never getting any sun ever makes it especially tough. Maybe I need one of those fancy lights too!

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SLENDERELLA61 9/10/2011 8:56PM

    Hope your eyes heal completely and fast. Maybe they are already okay? I was late coming to this blog. Hope you and Charley continue to enjoy the walks and scenery. You did a beautiful job with the description. Thanks.

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DONNACFIT 9/9/2011 11:36PM

    Love your blog..hope your eye heals up quick!!

I love all the seasons..I`m such an outdoors person!! I too enjoy all the seasonal wild flowers and wild animal and birds :)
Love the fall colors and the new begining of `back to school` even if I don`t go to school..we can all keep on learning...

keep on Sparkin` emoticon

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CARRAND 9/9/2011 2:04PM

    Fall is my favorite season. Enjoy your walks with Charlie!

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NANCY- 9/9/2011 8:47AM

    Yikes hope your eye heals soon.
What a wonderful soothing way to keep you both moving. I love your attitude.Crisp autumn days are a welcome break from summer's heat.
You reminded me of my "Happy " light.
Wishing you a speedy recover.

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KALIGIRL 9/9/2011 8:43AM

    What a wonderful way to heal...

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DDOORN 9/9/2011 8:26AM

    Sounds like good company...but UGH! to the eye business...! Beaming healing thoughts your way!

Gotta hit the Silver Comet trail for my morning constitutional...! :-)


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PUDLECRAZY 9/8/2011 8:59PM

    On, no - an eye infection? I hope that clears up quickly.

There is nothing like having a dog for company on a walk and I'm sure Charlie loves your company as well as your DS's company.

I really need to try one of those light boxes this winter.... it would be wonderful to not suffer from SAD, or at least knock it back a little.

Fall is wonderful, and I have been enjoying the cooling trend after the blasted hot summer. There is already the special aroma of fall in the air.

Enjoy those walks and wag those tails!


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PHEBESS 9/8/2011 8:20PM

    I prefer spring, which feels like a beginning - fall always feels like an ending.

And I hope the eye infection clears up quickly!!!!

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