Category Archives: weight control

Real Food

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It is officially the weekend! Hope that most of you are also having time off

from work. I do feel bad for those who are weekend ‘warriors’ or have to

go into a job, while others are off. It all balances out, I suppose. My oldest

daughter is one who works weekends, gets a couple of weekdays off, along

with my son. Both are busy parents and partners with someone who is the

one who is home over the weekend. While during the week, I may keep a

healthy eating balanced ‘diet,’ on weekends; I enjoy ‘splurges!’

My friend and I walked to Dairy Point, to get our ‘end of summer’ meal

there. Mine is a hot dog with onions, pickles, relish and mustard, fried

mushrooms with ranch dressing to add more calories and dip into and

a sundae. This place roasts nuts, they have what they call, “The Nut

House,” as part of their business. This will let you in on why I get so

excited to go there, (remember that I like butter pecan ice cream?)

I usually ask for their hard ice cream in the butter pecan flavor, a big

dose of hot caramel, real whipped cream, a cherry on top with roasted

salty pecans added over the top. This was my meal. No apologies, to

the ones who don’t eat animal by-products nor the ones who are possibly

dieting…

 

I love this quote that is attributed sometimes (accidentally) to George

Carlin, the comedian. It is actually taken from the book, “The Vision of

Buddhism: The Space Under the Tree” by Roger J. Corless:

 

“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to

satisfy your hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.”

 

In order to ‘redeem myself’ and make myself not feel too guilty about my

innocent ‘splurge,’ I am going to let you in on some healthy and yummy

foods to snack and enjoy over the weekend!

 

Here are some appetizing and delicious natural food products that can be

purchased in your local grocery store or Trader Joe’s may have another

equivalent, more fresh choices available, too.

1. Sabra.  Have you tried this brand yet?

I love the Classic Guacamole with healthy fat, fiber and Vitamin C.

 

2. Wholly Classic Mild (or you may try a spicier blend) of Salsa.

I like blue corn chips to dip into this and feel the tomatoes and

flavors are almost as good as homemade salsa. In this healthy

snack, there are only 10 calories in the salsa, but keep in mind

the word:  moderation when it comes to the chips!

 

3. Triscuit’s have a great line called, “Hint of Salt,” which makes

this a good one to add a slice of low sodium cheese or peanut

butter to make it complete.

 

4. Here’s another cheese to try on those Triscuits, woven crackers:

Kerrygold Reduced Fat Dubliner cheese. This is made from milk

from grass fed cows, smooth texture with 1/3 fat.

 

5. Another choice of cheese is Vermont Creamery Fresh Goat Cheese.

I love this natural, lower fat cheese with the flavor of sourness, like

it is made out of sour cream.

 

6. My youngest daughter and I had an antipasto box and added hummus

with sliced carrots and cucumbers from Opa’s Greek Restaurant, located

across the street from my apartment to watch a movie. We felt self-righteous

and healthier than our usual buttered popcorn and chocolate candies, we

usually buy to eat when we are sitting on a mattress in my living room floor.

We watched the movie that Beth recommended, so I must write a review soon

on the movie. Coming Soon at a blog near you!

 

7. A delicious and acquired taste that was shared with me by a friend, is the

Kalamata Olive Spread that supplies good olive fat and that tangy flavor of

olives. I enjoy this on pita corners, supplied by the Opa’s Greek Restaurant

or spread directly on a thick slice of cheese.

 

8. Planter’s Nuts has come up with a great new product called, “Nut-ration

Heart Healthy Mix.” This can be a great protein snack that meets some of

your salty taste buds’ needs! (Hint: 50% less sodium than their other cans

of mixed nuts.)

 

9. If you are one, like one of my old boyfriends, who likes to have pizza to

‘chow down on,’ you may wish to try Amy’s brand, which has a whole wheat

kind of crust or Amy’s Pesto Pizza, with has less saturated fat and sodium,

along with baking it will bring out the fresh taste, you can also add some of

your garden herbs and vegetables. You may find this brand either in the

general frozen foods’ aisle or you may need to look for Amy’s in the healthy

frozen foods’ section. In our local Kroger’s, I found several variations of

this name brand in a separate area of the store, close to the produce

department.

10. Since I mentioned deep fried mushrooms, on my lunch menu today, I

should offer a healthy alternative: “Alexia Mushroom Bites with Roasted

Garlic and Olive Oil.” They are a non-greasy yet tasty substitute. I like to

add a low fat ranch dressing, which if you haven’t tried Cindy’s Kitchen

brand, their product line offers Fresh Buttermilk Ranch. Yummy!

 

When I mentioned that my youngest daughter and I viewed a movie,

while eating the antipasto and hummus with vegetables, I would also like

to include in this post a recipe for:

“Spiced Chickpea Yogurt Dip”

Serves 12 people.

a. Rinse and drain 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas.

b. Add to food processor, with 6 T. of 2% plain Greek-style yogurt,

2-3 T. of fresh lemon juice, 2 T. of extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 tsp.

minced garlic and 1 and a 1/2 tsp. Moroccan seasoning (McCormick

has this, along with other shops sell different variations).

Season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.

c. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

(Makes 1 and 1/2 cups.)

Serve with pita chips, corners or crudités for dipping. Or as I

mentioned, we chose to add carrots and cucumbers.

 

Which, by the way, the fun walk and lively conversation, along with the

tasty treats, were ‘way’ worth it the calories and ‘danger’ to our arteries!

Yet, definitely not ‘worked off’ on our 1 mile walk home.  My friend chose

a chili dog, a peanut butter shake and also a side dish of French fries. No

ranch, just ketchup.

 

Have fun any way you can this weekend!

Closing with a ‘real’ quote from great comedian/philosopher, George Carlin:

“Those who dance are considered insane by those who can’t hear the music.”

 

 

 

Healthy and Simple “Switches” to Lower Carbs

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The Institute of Medicine recommends 130 grams of carbohydrates a day!

One big sundae, with my girlfriend, used up my daily ‘allowance’ and then

some of the next day’s, too! Smiles for this, but seriously, I have several

close friends who have to consider their carbohydrates, due to diabetes

and/or high cholesterol.

The sugary, starchy ‘yummy’ stuff, can be replaced or “switched” into

equally delicious, but more healthier foods. I love it when I find a few in

a row, so hope you will enjoy this compilation list:

1. This is the place I have trouble in:  restaurants!

Give yourself one carb allowance for that meal. Choose to splurge on a

glass of wine or a beer. Or would you rather have a piece of bread or a

dinner roll?

Do you have someone who really wants to try a dessert after the meal,

who would be willing to ‘split it’ with you?

Make your plate fill up with vegetables, fish, meat, or a protein of some

kind.

2. Instead of having regular order of pizza, ask if they have a carb-free

choice, whole grain crust or possibly gluten free. Any of these beats the

‘white dough crust’ that usually you enjoy. Now, vegans and vegetarians

use a lot of vegetables to fill their plate and suit their palate, too. Can

you skip the pepperoni? If at the store, you could buy turkey pepperoni…

Otherwise, go for all the vegetables, add a little extra red pepper flakes

and you will find yourself satisfied and feeling kind of ‘righteous!’

3. If you are interested in totally carb-free pizzas, try a Portobello

mushroom or eggplant slices for the base, add sauce, (try to check for

less sugar in your pasta sauces…) and go to ‘town’ on the veggies!

4. While ordering burgers or veggie burgers, try asking for a lettuce

‘wrap’ instead of a bun! You can also do what my friend does, she

puts her meat on her salad! Steak, chicken strips and even- burgers!

5. When you go out with family or on a Sunday brunch ‘date,’ you

may want to think about scrambled eggs with onions, peppers, cheese

and mushrooms, or an omelet! Try to get only one whole grain pancake,

ask for real butter and a small amount of real maple syrup. (I order, for

example, at Cracker Barrel, the breakfast for ‘Any Ages’ which has one

egg, one bread and one piece of meat. I love their thick bacon. Sorry, I

know I have Vegans who are my blogging friends!

Then, I put my cornbread muffin in a box (saving it for another day)

and ask for one Pecan Pancake with real butter and real maple syrup!

It adds up to (I think) about $5.99, with my beverage of choice, coffee

included.

As a matter of fact, any of their daily specials, you can get “Kids of Any

Ages” with a bread and beverage included. It is a smaller portion, of

the Friday Fish Fry, for example, but it satisfies! Most places have Senior

Menu, but are only eligible for over a certain age. I recommend ‘ala carte’

when you cannot find what you want on a menu. There used to be a

“Hoggy’s Restaurant” in Delaware, Ohio, where you could order two

vegetable meals or three vegetable meals. Also, you could do salad and

soup. Sometimes, you have to let the calories go in soups, but asking

about carbs, while diabetic, is important!

6. Thai and Indian curries, don’t necessarily have to go over rice! This

was a new concept to me, thanks to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s holiday

suggestions for making a bland serving of cauliflower or broccoli, taste

so much more interesting. I also find cheese sauces and ask for it on the

side, then can decide how much to put on my vegetables.

The article gave this summary: “The rage in the Paleo community is

“Cauliflower rice” as a nutrient- and fiber-rich way to stick to your diet

and still enjoy Thai panang or chicken tikka masala.” (December, 2013).

7. I am sure you have already tried Spaghetti squash, but just in case

you have been holding back on this, it is easy to prepare, shreds and

looks like spaghetti. I like having it with marinara sauce, lots of fresh

Parmesan or Romano cheese sprinkled over it. You can also make your

meatballs, (my son does this) without any bread crumbs but using some

mushrooms and eggs to hold it together. Do you have any favorite ways

to make meatballs without bread or cracker crumbs?

Just FYI: According to the United States government’s food guidelines,

a serving portion of spaghetti is one half a cup. (That is 1/2 cup, folks!)

At least, practice with whole wheat pasta and find it delicious by not

overcooking it! It makes it a little healthier and yet, not as much as

you could eat of spaghetti squash! Or eggplant parmesan…

8. A way to get the flavor of Italian restaurants is to always ask for

the red, marinara sauce, pour it over a piece of grilled chicken or a

pork chop, or a veggie burger, then add an unlimited number of

salads, if you are at Olive Garden! (Yes, their Italian has carbs!)

9. Another favorite food of many is mashed potatoes or macaroni and

cheese. Both of these can have substitutions of cauliflower, one with it

being mashed, with a little milk and butter and the other with cheese

over cauliflower florets.

10. When you are making salads at home, you can certainly prevent

the croutons, fried tortilla strips, sugary salad dressings, and the

bread bowls or tortilla shell bowls. I found out, surprisingly, that

Ranch and Blue Cheese Dressings are the main ones with low levels

of sugar. If you make your own dressing, you may use vinegar, oil,

a small amount of Blue Agave Nectar or honey, but you are in

control of adding delicious spices! It will be easier and less calories,

than the store bought dressings. If you love blue cheese, look up on

the internet, some healthy recipes or buy yogurt based or ones in the

low calorie or even the sugar free aisle! In the summer time, if you

are not diabetic, adding raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, orange

slices, and even watermelon, can really brighten up your salad.

If you are diabetic, you know how many berries or other fruits you

may have in your daily diet. I enjoy adding pecans, walnuts or

almonds to my salads, for protein instead of meat. Spare use of

cheese, will limit your calories, of course!

Enjoy your food preparation and your meals out, too. You deserve to

be pampered and have someone else prepare it, wash the dishes and

help you to slow down while you eat. Isn’t it true? Don’t you eat much

slower at a restaurant? Allowing yourself to savor your foods, will always

help make you mindful. This is good on so many levels, to add “Being

Mindful,” into our lives!

My last suggestion on this trip down “Carbohydrates Free Street” is:

I hope you find these helpful and easy ways to make your diet a lot

more healthier and nutritious. Any changes will help you feel much

better!

 

is

 

July 24, 1987: An Insurmountable Achievement

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A young girl, who was overweight and sometimes ridiculed, went off

to college. Even there, she did not get concerned about her rising

weight, her expanding waist line. Her health was failing, due to long

hours of studying and limited extra time to walk, exercise or worry

about her diet.

It was not until she reached the age of 40, that this wonderful woman

decided to take action! She started hiking and going on natural trails.

She made plans to achieve more miles, and she started to make progress

in her renewal of energy and her health revived, too.

At age 66, she climbed the highest peak in Continental United States,

Mt. Whitney.

How motivating!

How exciting!

What an exhilarating ride this story is taking!

You will be so much more inspired, when you get to the true climax

of this story. I am very proud of this woman! I wrote this all by myself

hoping to build to where you will hear waves of roaring instruments

or trumpets blasting…

This is the anniversary of her biggest climb:

A woman named Hulda Crooks climbed Mt. Fiji, in Japan when she was

91 years of age on July 24, 1987!

Way to go, Hulda!

I would like the songs, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Climb

Every Mountain” to be included in your heads while reading the final

chapter of her life.

Hulda Crooks reached the age of 101, dying in 1997.

What would have happened to her life, had she not reached the place

she could hardly walk or breathe?

It makes all of my little complaints and ‘molehills’ seem quite small!

“Cleaning House:”Clutter in Mind and Life

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This is an amazingly quick and carefully pruned list of

questions to ask yourself in January, 2014. I hope it

will be a successful and productive year for you and

yours, along with a balance of a carefree, uncluttered

mind and life.

Here are some New Year’s Resolution questions to help

you to organize and clean your life and house:

1. Do I love it?

(Oh, this can be handled in so many dimensions and give you

quite a week-long “pause” before you act on this one!)

2. Will I use it?

(This one is so important and yet, so tough to act upon!)

3. Can I afford it?

(I love this one, especially with all of those after

Christmas sales and January clearance items!)

4. Live “Large” on Less. Can you do this?

(I like to call this, ‘trimming the fat in your life.’)

5. Can you keep focused on what matters most in your

life?

(This is also an important one to keep in mind, whether

at work, with family or at play. I also would include,

Are you doing what makes you happy? Can you take steps

to get to where you will be happier?)

This has no references to weight loss, per se.

This list has no improvements given to you.

This is one to get you thinking and to start living a

better, much improved and satisfying life NOW!

Don’t put off for tomorrow, what you can DO TODAY!

Touchy Subject

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I could have started by saying this is also a weighty subject!

Weight is such a sore subject!

I have taken to carrying around a picture of myself from when I was in my heavier

form. I went through a rough time during my late forties and it was not until a doctor

said I would have to start taking an anti cholesterol medicine if I didn’t lose twenty

pounds that I even thought about taking action.

(With a remonstration that if that didn’t work, I would have to lose another

twenty the following year.)

I show this picture to my latest online dates, saying a little white lie, “Here is a

picture of my dear sister.”

I love to wait to see what the man says. A recent man said, “I don’t see the

family resemblance.” The next man said, “Is this your twin that hates to stand

next to you when she gets in the family photograph?”

When I said, “This is me!” The first man apologized. I then explained that it was

taken while I had been going through the “change” and that I was also juggling

teaching five days a week, going to college to complete my Master’s and waiting

tables at Cracker Barrel to save my home and marriage. The next thing he responded

back with was, “Did you sample the food there too much?”

That irritated me, “No, I would have one corn meal for a seven hour shift as my

reward for working 2 jobs from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m.” I would add, “Have you

ever heard of stress cortisol? That is weight that gathers in the middle due to your body

experiencing stress. I didn’t even drink beer or overeat to gain almost forty pounds

in two years!”

The second man got a little more of the backtalk than the first. It upsets me because

in the picture I am holding my newborn first grandson, Skyler, and my smile is so

big! I look happy, in my opinion! My daughter, Skyler’s mother, says I look ‘radiant’

when she reviews all of my early grandma pictures.

My Mom, on the other hand, (I can now crack up and laugh about this!) gave me

an entire CASE of Slim Fast for my gift on Mother’s Day during this period of time.

Even my ex-husband chuckled during those years because she would (seriously,

I am not kidding nor lying!) give me two Rye Krisp crackers and a piece of low

calorie mozzarella cheese while preparing appetizers and hors’ d’oerves fit for a

king or queen during the holidays.

Well, needless to say, I decided to kick butt! I was no longer going to eat those

stupid replacement snacks, take the darn meds or listen to my own already

crazy depressed lectures in my head. My goal the first year was to lose twenty

pounds. We would hope that was enough to get the cholesterol reading to drop!

My teaching assistant, Karen, and I decided to eat mini meals of proteins with

veggie snacks. We loved eating celery with low fat ranch dressing and cheese,

along with turkey or sliced beef. We would pull these out while the kids drank

their milk and ate their cookies, rice crispy squares or other things served at our

school. We would always grab two extra milks and drank those also.

All the way to school and back, (forty minutes one way) I would take my extra

large water bottle and lift and lunge with it while holding the wheel with the

other hand. I would lean forward, tucking my belly in. I would crunch my butt

at least 100 to 200 times. I would listen to loud, obnoxious rock and roll music

and while the lyrics spoke of sex in their overt way, I would picture my soon to be

svelte body.

I did not do a tailspin when we went into foreclosure due to my husband’s being

out of work for 2 and a half years. I did not go insane when the OSU Dean told me,

“You will not make it to your Master’s if you don’t take a sabbatical from teaching

and buckle down for the last fifteen credits.” I was able to maintain my composure

when both Ashland University and my alma mater, BGSU, said they could not get

me to the 2008 deadline of No Child Left Behind with a Master’s degree either.

If the worst thing that happened to me was to have to retire from preschool special

education, so be it. But, by golly, I would look good going out!

The end of the story is, I did lose forty pounds in two years. I look much thinner

and maybe not too bad now. My cholesterol dropped almost fifty points from an

all time high of 265. My teacher assistant bought and lifted five pound weights

and she was able to also lose almost that amount.

We both felt good physically but emotionally, we were basket cases!

We wept on the last day of school while clinking our espresso coffee cups together

as we had developed a seven year friendship with a five times a week tradition held

for seven years. My teaching ‘neighbor’ came over and took a picture of our morning

coffee routine that last work and cleaning the classroom day.

“We had a ‘good run’ together,'” I said. And she choked both of us up by

saying, “I won’t forget these days, they were the best there ever was!”

 

Side comment that makes it all come into perspective: The last years while I was

scrambling to save my job, my other teaching ‘neighbor’ was trying to hold onto

her life. Jean, we will always remember you and your wonderful teaching ways!