Saturday, August 13, 2011
I LOOOOOVE snacks!!! Little meals that are full of flavor, that round out my daily nutritional needs, and that keep my brain and body actually Working!
I thought I would share a few of my faves, all are well under 200 cals. These are extremely simple, let the natural flavors come through and have few ingredients. I like simple!
Apples with Creamy Orange Dip (better and more filling than it sounds!)
1 oz. Neufchatel Cheese (low fat cream cheese)
1/2 Tbs, Orange Marmalade (I use the full sugar kind)
1/2 medium apple (fresh)
Mix together cheese and marmalade (a fork works great!), dip sliced apples.
Basic Nutritional Info: Calories:135, Fat: 6.2g, Protein: 2.2g, Carbs: 17.2g
1 8" flour tortilla
1 Tbs. Honey
Dash of good quality ground cinnamon
Heat small non-stick saute pan (dry-no oil or spray), add tortilla and heat through. It will puff up, don't worry, just flip it over and let the other side get nice and golden.
Mix honey and cinnamon. Cut grilled tortilla into pieces (I do either 4 or 6) and drizzle with honey mix.
Basic Nutritional Info: Calories 130, Fat: 1.5, Protein: 2 g, Carbs 30
1 8" Flour Tortilla
1/4 c. fat free refried beans
1/8 c. shredded low-fat cheddar (I use Sargento mexican blend)
Heat dry non-stick saute pan over med-high heat. Spread beans on tortilla and put into pan. Let warm for 1 minute or so. Sprinkle cheese over and cover, cooking for another minute then remove from heat. Leave covered until cheese melts.
(sometimes I add a tsp of salsa on top or 1/8 chopped avocado depending on my taste and what I need more of that day - these are not included in nutritional info)
Basic Nutritional Info: Calories: 165, Fat: 4.5g, Protein: 9.5 g, Carbs: 22 g
Parmesan Zucchini (this takes a little longer, but well worth it!)
1 very small Zucchini (or summer squash) - about 1 cup, sliced into rounds
1/2 egg white (sometimes I use egg substitute, it works just as well)
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 Cup Panko (regular bread crumbs would probably work too)
ground black pepper, a sprinkle of dried oregano, dash of cayenne pepper
Preheat broiler and spray cookie sheet with spray. Slice squash into rounds. Mix together Parmesan, panko and spices. Put egg white into a shallow plate. Dunk squash rounds into egg white, then press into Parmesan mixture (both sides) Coat WELL with crumb mixture (sometimes I double coat, there is enough to do so). Place on cookie sheet, spray with a little cooking spray and broil for about 3 minutes - Keep An Eye On It! - different ovens will vary in temps!, flip them over and spray again with cooking spray. Broil for a few minutes more. It should come out with a nice crispy coating and a warm, soft inside - HEAVENLY!
Basic Nutritional Info: Calories: 99.4, Fat: 3.2 g, Protein: 6.1 g, Carbs: 12.7 g
Well, I hope you enjoyed that little trip through my snack kitchen *lol!* Feel free to share YOUR favorite snacks!! I'm ALWAYS up for new ones!
ooops! I forgot to say each of these snack recipes serves 1 (you!). You probably figured that out, but just in case.....
Sunday, July 31, 2011
I'm going to make this short and sweet.
There is something wrong with my hip. Really, very, very wrong. I cannot walk very well (I limp badly now) and I am in pretty much constant pain from it no matter what position I put my body in to or how much aspirin I take.
I don't have health insurance, and I don't have $400 for a visit, so I can't see a Dr. about it, so I may not be around too much for a bit. If I am, I will ask for a 'pass' now as I'm not feeling particularly positive.
When I can get this taken care of, I will be right back here with you. Promise.
Friday, July 22, 2011
I just looked at myself in the mirror. OMG!!!!!! YIKES!!!
But wait!!! Don't run away!!! I'm not REALLY scary! Let me explain!!! - it might be a bit involved the way I tell it, but I have a reason! Really!!!!!
So, we're in a drought here in NC. (I always start out sounding so factual, don't I??? lol!)
No big surprise this year, I suppose. And when I got home from work today, I realized the younger of the 2 ash trees my mom brought me from her property on a mountain had suddenly turned all yellow and crispy looking (eeek!- they are really beautiful trees and this one has kind of struggled for 3 years in my front yard - the one in the back is fine, but this one has been frail)
Yep. That's what started it all.
I started calculating back the last time we had rain and came up with "not-in-forever". Then the last time I watered the landscape plants, again "not-in-forever" (shame on me!!!! I know better!!)
Well, that just wouldn't do!!! I waited for it to get about ONE friggin degree cooler (the heat index today was 110), grabbed my beer (shut UP about it! I drank my water! lol!) stepped into my yard shoes, grabbed a broom, and went outside.
Oh, Why a broom??? Well, there is a HUGE garden spider (the ones that make a Z in their web) that I discovered has considered my outdoor faucet a great place to anchor part of her web. I'm not really scared of spiders, but these ones are GIGANTIC, and I'm not putting my hand anywhere NEAR that web! So I kinda 'swept' the web away, as gently as I could, (sometimes I hate that I love nature *grins* ) and turned on the water. (The faucet for the one with the hose and sprinkler attached, of course *grins*)
No worries, I've kinked the hose at the top so it isn't spraying. I get it all into the back yard and let it FLY! It was the friggin Hallelujah choir back there, let me tell you! lol! Those were some THIRSTY plants! (again, shame on me! I know better!) I really had to work to get the sprinkler spike into the ground, but I managed, and stood back and just watched the magic.
As a side note - there is something really very meditative about doing the sprinkler thing. The rhythmic sound of it and the pattern of the water falling, the plants getting glossy and watching the water drip off the leaves and down to their roots, its really rather mesmerizing (I promise, it wasn't the beer, I always get that way when watering. lol! it's true, I do) Anyway, I watched.
So it comes time to move the sprinkler. I kink the hose, pull the spike out of the ground, and move it to the other side of the yard. As a testament to how dry it is, I couldn't get the spike in the ground there. I tried and then tried moving it a bit to this side, no, how about that side, no, okay, how about HERE?? No. Well, I FINALLY got it into the ground, JUST as the damn thing broke off in my hand.
I lost my grip, of course, and the sprinkler head started spraying again, turned fully around and sprayed me right in the chest, all over my face, and RIGHT in my friggin eyes! my legs, my arms, my clothes. hmph. I managed to get control of the damn thing after 1/2 a minute, but I was soaked through in that short time. hmph.
Actually, I laughed. right out loud in my back yard by myself. it was funny!!! (and it was a relief from the heat at the same time, maybe that's why I laughed - it felt good!).
Well NOW what was I going to do? The sprinkler is broken (thankfully wasn't expensive!)
Well, not to be one upped by a situation, I became (say it in a booming voice)
......... Kristine, The Human Sprinkler...........
(accessories not included)
Yep, for an hour and 1/2 I stood, watering my yard(s) with a hose and a sprinkler nozzle that kept spurting in my face, turning back on me, soaking me from head to toe. I didn't care (even in the front yard-HAH!!!!!), it was the kind of fun that you never really get to have once you're past... ummm...... 10????? LOL!!
I can honestly say I am probably cleaner now than I've ever been in my life! and I had a fabulous time!
When I was done, I wrung out the front of my shirt, came in, stripped down, wrung out my shirt again, then wrung out my shorts, lol! hung them over the shower rod, and put on a bathrobe. (It was the quickest thing to grab)
That is when I saw myself in the mirror. I wanted to laugh, but I couldn't because, really, I looked THAT bad! LOL!
the thing is, is that it was fun. real honest fun. No one was here to witness it, well, I hope not anyway! If the neighbors saw, well.... I hope they laughed too.
Whatever you did tonight, I hope it was as much fun as this! Of course I hope you look better after it! LOL!
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Okay, NOW I'm ready to talk about this.
Back in the day (about 12 years ago or so), I was innocently cleaning the house, singing to the Indigo Girls "Swamp Ophelia" cd. I was dusting a side table, to be exact, when all of a sudden, my eyesight got blurry and went dim. Everything in my body went absolutely cold. My heart started beating super fast, I felt an immediate sense danger, all of my limbs got tingly and numb, I started shaking all over, sweating and I suddenly started crying. I thought I must be having a heart attack, or that there was a blood clot in my brain, or something was going terribly wrong that was going to be fatal at any second.
I completely freaked out and called my roommate at work, told her what was happening, and begged her to come home and take me to the hospital because I knew I couldn't drive in that state. In the 30 minutes it took the poor darling to manically drive home, I had calmed down somewhat, but was still shaking like a friggin leaf, could barely stand, and I was utterly exhausted, but amped up to the max at the same time. I was still sobbing (probably hysterically) when she got home and I was still scared out of my wits that I was about to die.
At the time, I didn't know that THAT was a panic attack. I had never had one before. I had never really even heard of them. I don't know what caused it. It just happened out of nowhere. (We never did go to the hospital. She was a miracle in calming me. She still is)
I had several more that day/evening and several each day after that. They lasted for anywhere from 15 minutes to about 45 minutes of a constant panic-state, leaving me so exhausted I usually had to sleep immediately after each one. I was in a constant state of paranoia. It was absolutely debilitating. My whole nervous system was completely fried within a couple of days, and I knew it, but I couldn't stop it from happening, which only made it worse.
I became completely phobic about leaving the house or being in public, I became afraid to eat (yes, food scared me), EVERYTHING scared me. being alone scared me, being with other people scared me, sleeping scared me, noises scared me, the vastness of the sky scared me, I was honestly convinced that the ground would suddenly open up under me, so I was scared of the ground too... there was no end to the every day fear and paranoia I was experiencing and the new things my mind would come up with to immobilize me. After a couple of weeks with no change, My mom came to visit me (at the insistence of my roommate-what more could she do living with someone like that???), and that did help provide some comfort, but didn't stop the very real feeling (no-matter-how-ridiculous), out-of-nowhere, unfounded fear and thoughts I was experiencing.
As a more holistic type of person, and with my roommate's and my mom's encouragement, we immediately decided to try some different therapies to deal with this. I began taking homeopathic remedies for panic, had a holistic practitioner come to my house once a week for hour long massages with reiki, and started seeing a therapist. I wrote in my journal, meditated, and prayed a LOT. These steps helped a GREAT deal. Hey, I was at least able to go to work without feeling scared out of my wits or suddenly starting to cry in the middle of work! You have NO idea how horrible that part of it was, my boss was an ANGEL (as turns out, I learned later, he was on meds for panic attacks at that time, maybe that is why he understood).
After a year or so of working with it this way, with some success, it still wasn't enough. I was still having a few panic attacks, but for the most part, I was simply anxious and depressed most of the time. I dropped weight down to the point where my ribs were showing, as I was still very weary of food, I was afraid i was trying to starve myself to death, my eyes and cheeks were sunken in, but I couldn't seem to help it. I had many thoughts of suicide but they scared me too much to do it (thankfully), I was still crying almost daily, for no reason other than I was excruciatingly sad, but with no 'valid' reason for it.
My roommate convinced me I had to try something more. (she is also an ANGEL) So, I bit the bullet and talked to my therapist abut medication. (as a natural-type of person, 'happy pills' were NOT something I wanted, but what else was I going to do????? living like this was not LIVING in any sense of the word.)
I went to the doctor and he prescribed Paxil.
That helped IMMENSELY!!!!! It only took a couple of days for me to start feeling actually NORMAL again. *WHEW!!!!!* what a relief that was! No crazy crying, it was okay to leave the house for short trips, food became okay again, work felt like a place I belonged again, etc.
I have been on Paxil (the same dosage I started on-the lowest one available) since then, and have been absolutely dedicated to taking it, and thankful beyond measure for it.
What happened - I took a job that doesn't have health insurance. When I had to refill my prescription, it cost me $438 to go to the doctor for the visit and blood work and I got a 90 day refill of Paxil. OUCH!!!! I don't make a lot of money, I am single, and that cost hurt like a bitch! So I started taking my meds every other day to make them last longer, so i could save up for the next visit/refill. I was doing fine on that schedule.
During this time, I joined Spark and began paying attention to what I ate, started getting some exercise, and started feeling pretty positive about life in general.
After a while, I realized I was taking my meds only once a week (mostly because I forgot to take them since I didn't have that wonky feeling to remind me every morning)
A couple of weeks ago a took one as a 'precautionary' measure, ya know, just to keep the brain levels even, and within 30 or so minutes, I felt completely foggy. Like everything was a slow kind of dream. I couldn't concentrate very well and just felt 'out of it'. I quickly realized the meds caused that.
It occurred to me, for the first time in 12 years, that I might not need them anymore.
As of today, I haven't taken any medication at all for about a month, and I am THRILLED about it! I still have a few left in the bottle and it is okay with me if I need them, or even need to refill it. I'm not against it, I just don't seem to need it.
My friends and I (who are not health care practitioners, mind you), feel that a LOT of the change is due to proper nutrition and stress-reducing exercise. I know that sounds corny, but hey, look at me now! lol!
as I said before, it is just fine with me if, for some reason, I end up needing to take meds again. I will say, though, I am SOOOO happy to NOT have to take anything at this time. I still have some anxious moments, but I know how to work through them.
Life takes a lot of balancing, and there are lots of options for how to best balance each life. I believe that my journey here on Spark has done SOOO much more for me than simply help me shed a few pounds. It has changed me. Inside and out. Mentally, physically, and spiritually.
I am certainly healthier, certainly more confident, and certainly stronger than I EVER thought I would be.
Why am I telling you this whole long, drawn out story???? Well, because I hope it will help. Someone, somewhere, right now, is dealing with a struggle that might be like mine. And their path to feeling well might be different, but its nice to know that there ARE happy endings.
Also, because I want to emphasize (for the GAZILLIONTH time) the best thing I've learned on Spark, and that is:
-------- One Change Effects Everything In You. --------
You might not see it right now, but you just wait, till it sneaks up behind you and gives you a great big hug!
Thank you for listening to my story. My very best to you!
(I had to edit it since I still have no sense of time. lol! I started with 9 years, but it has actually been about 12 years)
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Hey, friends! Thanks for stopping in. I have a TON of things on my mind. but I'm feeling kinda quiet today.
I know, I know, that is a shock!!!! (even to me!!) LOL!
first of all, THANK YOU!!!!! My birthday has been wonderful! I am looking SOOOOO forward to this coming year! :)
second of all, I didn't weigh myself for a couple of weeks, and I lost 4 pounds when I wasn't looking, or really even trying! Some of that, I know is due to just keeping on doing what I'm doing with Spark (YOU keep going too!!!!) and getting a LOT more exercise. Some of that is also probably due to being sick for a few days and simply SOOO not hungry - food, except in smaller bits, has equaled a big"NO Thank you!" for a couple of days, so, don't get too excited. lol! Now I'm rushing to catch back up so my metabolism works properly! (not eating = slow metabolism!) - (and you have no idea the amount of left over icecream cake I've had today!!) LOL! (for the record - 3 servings - very sensible servings, but still THREE! LOL!) - now there aren't any more left overs, and life can resume as normal - LMAO! AND it was really fun to have it! What a treat!!!
thirdly, my girls (my ABSOLUTELY wonderful best friends, loves of My life and saving grace for me in every way) have suggested I talk on spark about my struggles and successes with the issue of depression. I will be doing that soon, but not quite yet. I'm saying it now to hold myself accountable for doing it.
Well, my "profound"-ness doesn't seem to want to rear it's crazy head (for once, LOL!!!!), so I will leave you with a song I've been listening to:
Sit back,chill out for a few minutes, and get a little groove on :)
fourthly (is that even a word???), LOL! Go back to what you were doing! Have FUN! Dance a little! (hey, I provided the music!), Hug someone, tell your kid/spouse/mother/local street person that you love them for no reason at all, make a beautiful night out of what you have been given.
with appreciation - Kristine
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