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My First Sparkpeople Blog Post!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A gripping title, yes?

So: two things to talk about.

1) making soup.
I live next door to my mom. It's a cold day, so I am making a pot of soup for her - for me too. We will gnosh on this for a couple of days. She likes Beef Barley soup. I have a couple of lean steaks, some chicken broth, a big handful of barley, some white wine, some home-made, home-grown tomato sauce, half an onion, some dulse (seaweed - micronutrients!!) & a couple of cloves of garlic simmering in the kitchen. Eventually I will add celery, carrot, peas, more onion, chard, herbs & spices, maybe some olive oil, & whatever else asks to go in the pot. I will nibble and taste as I go. At the end I will add a little hot sauce and a dollop of full-fat plain yoghurt to mine; mom won't want that in hers. It will be tasty, plain food. That's how I cook. So how to track this? How many calories? What's an appropriate portion? (portion will be the issue - I will have a bowl with mom, but will also be nibbling on it all afternoon not to mention what was nibbled while cooking). If I'm gonna lose weight something about this slapdash, spontaneous method will have to change. Any suggestions? Oh, I'm drinking a little glass of the white wine too - or I will be, when I go back in the kitchen where I left the glass...

2) I could spend 6 hours a day on Sparkpeople - how does everyone find time??? Reading blog posts, watching videos, reading articles, posting to my team (HI, TEAM!) - forget television, this website could be all I do when I'm at home. In fact... what do I smell??

OK back now. I spent so much time reading posts that all the liquid cooked out of my soup and I BURNED IT! Mostly salvaged, in another pot, with new liquid (Including my glass of wine!) it's simmering again while the original pot, coated with blackened barley - soaks by the sink.

Back to my question - which includes more than just time to spark - TIME. It's a problem for me. I make a strong effort to sleep at least 7 hours a night. Including commute time my work week is 5 am to about 5 pm Monday - Friday. If I work out weeknights I don't get home till 8. I visit with Mom, come home and feed the cats, & go to bed. Weekends there's laundry, housework, grocery shopping, errands, yard work, etc. which make Saturday and Sunday as busy as weekdays. There are not enough hours, and I (getting older) don't have as much energy as formerly - and I've never been the high-energy type. Thinking differently, changing food priorities and procedures, slows me down and swamps my demanding schedule. So it's a problem.

Anyone have any thoughts?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • STR458
    1852 days ago
    Now, that actually made me want to exercise. Great blog. I used to do water aerobics and usually enjoyed it. Once in awhile I'd get an instructor who I just didn't seem to 'jive' with, whose rhythms where not in sync with my own. I'm about a 1/2 hour drive to the nearest pool but you've made me think I will start going again.
    1942 days ago
    I'm sorry about the burned soup. And I've got to get to work STAT. If you will make this soup again it is well worth it to enter all the ingredients into a "GROUPING" in your nutrition tracker. It will take some time. Take one cup as a baseline. Then you will likely need to estimate a bit, but it will come out close enough. It's worth investing the time. I set up "groupings" for multi-ingredient items I cook often and it is something I use here on Spark People almost every day.

    Best wishes! It's good to see you blog. You write with panache and verve!
    1955 days ago
    Great first blog - thank you! I am a relatively new Sparker (3 months) but have found that the time issue is eventually self-correcting. At first I spent way too much of my day sparking, and then I began to figure out how to deal with that.

    Spark is pretty much what you need it to be when you need it to be that way. (Now for a moment of kicking and screaming...) and it seems to me that baby-stepping into taking responsibility for myself ( tantrum alert) viz wanting to be more healthy,(remember, keep breathing - nice, deep breaths) is a major part of the whole deal. I think this can be particularly difficult (but not impossible) for really good cooks who treasure cooking for precious people that they love dearly.
    Good Luck, hang in there, and if you ride your bike at night, wear white. % )
    1956 days ago
    Pam's suggestion for entering the soup ingredients in a recipe is an excellent way to get a good idea of the nutrient and caloric breakdown per serving. You can also use the 'Group' feature on your food tracking page. I have often done that for dishes I regularly make that contain multiple ingredients. (I find the recipe maker wonderful and irritating at the same time because there doesn't seem to be a way to edit the recipe. Each time I've tried the programming creates a new version of it, so I prefer the Group option for easier editing.) It's time consuming to do but, once accomplished, a great tool. Take a deep breath and try to not feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options and material on this SP website. Because your time is committed so heavily to work I would suggest being very selective about your interaction with teams and individuals on SP. It can spiral out of control very quickly. You will gradually hone your usage according to your needs. When I first started here I read all the articles and watched all the videos (because I'm compulsive that way) but quickly realized the fitness stuff didn't interest me--I wrote a blog 'No, Thank You, Jane Fonda' about my feelings on that topic, so rarely do I spend time looking at any of that. (There is neurological evidence that running and steady state exercise of ANY kind actually shortens life by reducing the length of telomeres.) I've settled on walking and gardening as my main forms of exercise and refuse to get caught up in the gym and equipment scams. About a month into SP I read a book that got me started on the low carb way of eating which is antithetical to the low fat/high carb mindset here at SP, so that eliminated any desire I have to read the recipes or nutritional articles. Low carbers are completely marginalized and ignored by the 'powers that be' on Sparkpeople but we do have our own teams and support groups. Now, I spend my time here interacting with my two teams --Wheat Belly for sharing good info (one of the low carb teams) and Eclectic Readers for a social outlet because that seems to be the best fit for me in regard to personality/interests. Once you get all your foods entered into your food tracker using the 'Favorites' and the 'Groups' or 'Recipes' keeping track of your nutritional intake becomes much easier and less time consuming. There are many respected sources that say if you're eating low carb you don't need to track caloric intake...but they are all written by slender men, never by post menopausal women with 100+ pounds to lose so I take them with a grain of salt and continue to believe that it's necessary for me to keep my calories below 1500 a day if I want to see slow, consistent weight loss I tracked religiously every morsel of food I consumed for several months. When I find my weight loss stalling, everything is already in place and it's a simple matter to get strict with tracking again. (Which I need to do, NOW.) Your soup sounds delicious. Sorry you burned it. From a low carber's perspective it was a good thing to eliminate the barley.

    Yours Truly,
    Polly Anna
    1956 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/14/2013 2:23:48 PM
    Your soup sounds marvelous! I make lots of bone-broth soups. That makes it easy to pull out a bit and convert it to whatever other sort of soup I've a notion for. Not that the broths always make it that far! LOL

    I second the other comment about the Recipe Calculator. I use it all the time. You just have to be more exacting in your measurements if you want accurate nutritional data. No "eyeballing"! Of course you won't get precise details, because I absolutely cannot cook without some amount of "a bit of that" and "a pinch of this"... but hopefully those tiny amounts don't affect the posted values much. Then, if you've correctly listed the amount of servings, you'll know exactly what's going on your daily tallies. Indispensable, IMO. Right up there with the Nutrition Tracker overall.

    You may have to spend some TIME (o no!) manually entering the ingredients you use. I've got a list of "favorites" several pages long. I don't necessarily trust the values others enter, so I always just "enter a food not listed" on my own. That seems to work the best. Then, when I go to the Recipe Calculator, I filter my search by "foods you've entered manually" or to the little drop-down listbox of favorites. Then I know I'm as close as I can get. The only remaining issue is getting the serving size right, which is an ongoing challenge to me!

    I've "shared" most of the recipes I've entered...I believe they all start with "Exotec's" something-or-other. I don't know if you can search by that or not. You could look if you're interested. I cook pretty simple and basic things too. I don't have much affinity for spicy (ie, hot) flavorings. I also cook with wine, and I love sauces although I'm not so good at those as the basics.

    I can't offer much advice on the subject of time. Consolation, yea! I have the same trouble. At least I'm retired...but that hardly is much of an excuse when I'm on here one way or another for 6+ hours a day. Not always on SP, but quite a lot of it here nevertheless. Good luck stretching your hours!

    And how lucky a mom, to have a good cook looking out for her! yum
    1956 days ago
    Looking forward to your second blog! This one was wonderful to read - and made me laugh. The soup (pre-burning) sounds delicious...and I always cook with wine (in the dish and in my hand)
    1956 days ago
    take all the items you have and put them in a recipe here on SP. that will give you an approximate number of calories for what you are making and then you can add that receipe to your food tracker. Figure out approximately how much is a serving and then it will be back of your tracker. If you make changes next time, just adjust for that.
    there is a tracker for the white win which will show the calories for that also

    if you need help, send me a sp mail and I can talk you through this better


    I am also making soup. vegetable beef but making the stock today and then tomorrow will add all the veggies to it
    1956 days ago
  • GINGER5-9
    Sorry you burnt the soup! Enjoyed your post and I agree there never seems to be enough time in a day!
    1956 days ago
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