Archive for the ‘fattofitbyfifty’ Category

Garden Fresh

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Last weekend, i was on retreat with my lady friends in La Grange, TX. We gather there at a lovely place to explore fibery goodness. Mostly, we spin, but there is some knitting and weaving going on as well. It’s an open forum for us to explore and learn from each other. This was the 4th year and I think the largest group to date, 20 of us.

Each year, I have volunteered to make breakfast on Saturday morning. Lunch and dinners are provided for us, and one of the women brings eggs for us from her chickens. I make scrambled eggs with some cream and brie and a side dollop of pesto which I make with whatever I have on hand, using whatever herbs are bountiful from the garden. This year, I used mostly basil with a good handful of sage and parsley. To that, I added olive oil, parmesan, garlic and pecans. It was a big enough batch that I left half of it home.

With the pesto, I made a pasta salad. I had De Cecco Acini Di Pepe Pasta No 78 on hand. It’s small pearly pasta which I add a lot to soups. Martha had given me pecans from her yard which she toasted. A good handful or three of those were rough chopped and added. I finely inced some onion, and rough chopped some snow peas. There were some small peppers and tomatoes from the garden and I also added some chives.

A couple weeks ago, we picked up a plant at the nursery that said “use as spinach”…I am still trying to get the name of it. It is a little green on its own, but chopped up in a pasta salad? Yes, please.

I have made it twice this week and it is tres yumm. I just had the last of it for lunch with 2 hard boiled eggs chopped into it. We have a bit of an egg surplus at the moment so I hard boiled a dozen plus earlier in the week and peeled them so they are ready and waiting in the fridge…brilliant. I made up a bowl of egg salad using a healthy handful of dill from the garden and it might be time for some more of that, too.

My goal is to migrate toward more fresh ingredient eating this summer using this as a loose guideline to see how an anti-inflammatory plan might help resolve my woes…

Trying again…

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

There was something about the last template that I didn’t quite care for and since I would prefer things simpler,and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was bugging me, I am opting for a new one. Woohoo! I get to change my mind!!

I went out to the garden this morning to cut some herbs for a coworker and guess what I found at the parsley buffet?Digital StillCamera Not one, or two, as seen in this pic, but about half a dozen what I think are black swallowtails in the making. I wasn’t upset about this because this was parsley I salvaged from last fall’s plantings that I just tore apart and stuck in the edge of the bed. It came back nicely and there is more in another location.These caterpillars are huge and I rather like the butterflies when they morph, so as long as they confine their dining to the parsley, we won’t have any issues.

Also in the garden, the sweet banana pepper is on a tear. Digital StillCameraI have already harvested from this plant twice, and there are about a dozen or so more ready to pick by the weekend. I am trying to think of these peppers as snack food and I do like them, but it remains to be seen that if they are eaten in quantity if they equally like me. The jalapeno plant has been pretty prolific as well, and the bell pepper has been less so, but more so than last year.

We continue to move more toward a vegetarian diet. I think we will always be confirmed flexitarians, but meat is less and less a part of it for us. The past year has been strong with these sorts of transitions.

last week we watched the Engine 2 video on Netflix. I have been planning to do the month of July as total veg, so the 28 day challenge from Engine 2 seems appropriate. We would start sooner, but have company here for a week and don’t want to force our choices, and rather than throw everything out that isn’t challenged approved, we will take the next 2 weeks to use up some stuff.

The hardest part of this for me, is not using olive oil when cooking veg. This plans advocates using veg stock or water to saute and I did a trial run a couple of days ago and it just isn’t comparable. I appreciate that it is something I need to get used to and that 28 days of it will shift my palate so I am committing to this wholeheartedly, but I also appreciate that being miserable with what I am eating will not contribute to my success, so I allow for the addition of sparingly used EVOO.

In particular, I am going to try this meatloaf, and this recipe for migas, quite likely one of them tonight for dinner. Tofu and I are not friends, but I am ready to extend the effort and give it a try in this fashion. In general, I don’t care for faux versions of stuff I like, and in the past I have opted to do without. I am hoping that if I can tolerate, or even better, enjoy these dishes that something might ckick to make this change sustainable.


What happened to June?

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

My loss of the month of June seems very fitting. It flows right into how I have been feeling in a why bother sort of way. Uninspired. totally.

Since joining up with Farmhouse Delivery, my eating has been the most nutritionally sound ever. I am making every effort to not throw anything away and only passing on the items I know I will not eat. For example? Two weeks ago we got some okra and I had every intention of using it in a stir fry recommended by my friend Mariet that she insisted keeps the Okra fresh and crisp, and not at all slimy. I just didn’t get to it and had to throw it out. So when okra showed up again last week, I passed it on to one of my coworkers who I know finds it delightful. Inspiring, even. I still have carrots from two weeks ago that are crisp and will cook them up tonight with some ginger and honey. I also still have an acorn squash that I am not yet sure how I will cook. Maybe baked and stuffed with wild rice, but the acorn squash has a longer shelf life so I can think about it a bit further.

Tomorrow we see a new delivery. It might have figs or blackberries and I might eat them upon delivery because figs? Can’t get enough of fresh figs, ever.

Then there is our first garden. It is nothing short of a success where the tomatoes and cucumbers are concerned. I might turn into tomatoes and cucumbers. I have been eating them every day for lunch (at work). I bring in a cuke, and a handful of small tomatoes and if I have one, a small avocado. sliced up with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, or a dribble of balsamic if I have remembered to bring some.  Add to that a few stone ground wheat crackers and I am more than full on few calories. Possible too few, but what’s to be done about that if full?

I feel it’s an issue of concentration in some way, and I just can’t be bothered to find consistency in tracking. The fitbit was going strong for the first six months, but the last couple of weeks I have been a fitbit slacker and I am currently trying to get back into it. I feel that the inconsistencies are even in my thoughts as I am composing this post, and I fear that my incoherence is pretty blatant. I feel the best path for the moment is to just sort of go with it. My eating is under control for the most part, and I am definitely eating the right foods. The real exception to this is the peanut butter m&ms. I am better having them on hand then not. When I don’t have them available, I resort to more of a binge sort of situation. When they are available, an ounce of them in the evening is more than satisfying. But still, I would rather not be eating them as much as I am, but at least it is under control for the most part.

I can’t seem to focus on tracking and eating well simultaneously, so I am going to focus on what I am eating and not worry about calories because with it being so produce heavy I am still moving toward improved health. I was hoping to have seen some progress by now, but the scale still doesn’t move so I will focus as much as possible on improved health rather than weight loss.

May is almost out the door…

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Not much happening here. I am doing fairly well with the eating choices for the most part. I feel that there is an ongoing shift in my resolve to be more fully committed to healthy choices with each week that passes. There is still an ongoing battle with peanut butter m&ms though there has been a shift with that, too. I feel if I am craving something, my body is trying to tell me something. The level of craving seems to fluctuate and when it is really high, I get them, no recriminations. I do my best to enjoy them with a healthy dose of reason.

We joined up with anewish CSA sort of program called Farmhouse Delivery. They have been an Austin company and have recently begun servicing Houston, too. Unlike a traditional CSA where you prepay at the beginning of the season (or year in some cases), there is a weekly charge to your credit card and you can start at any time. Everything is locally sourced and if not organic, sustainably grown. We got our first bin from them yesterday and between that and the garden we have going, our healthful choices are going to be ratcheted up a notch or two. The mango we got yesterday was a bit too ripe to slice but have no fear, it didn’t go to waste. I cut it open and got all of the fruit into the blender and then blended it with some vanilla ice cream. It was a perfect use for it. We also had a small pizza using a locally pre-made crust from the Farmhouse additional shopping options. I spread the crust with a tbs of olive oil and then sliced up one of the heirloom tomatoes we got, some basil from the garden and some locally made mozzarella. Oh, and carmellized onions. Tres delish. With the pizza we had a small caprese salad. Definitely a modest dinner compared to how we used to eat.

I did my month of 1000 calories as suggested by the doc and the scale still hasn’t moved an any appreciable way. I take that to confirm I am eating too few calories (even when I was eating 1500. So not I am going to shift the other way.

The online calculators I have tried say to maintain my weight I should be eating any where from 2347 to 3818. My doctor said to make the math easy, 3000. The calculator that factored in the most specific info says 2700, and the average of the high and low is 3082. The last time I was actively losing, I think I was eating about 2200, and if I take the docs 3000 and take off 500 cals from that per day to lose a planned pound a week, that puts me at 2500 a day. For the next month, that will be my daily goal and we’ll see what happens.

Post Race Post

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

I try to never say never, but I don’t think  I will be doing that again any time soon. I’m glad I did it and I am equally glad to have finished, but it wasn’t in any way fun or inspiring. The experience has left me a little flat. I know that all my cons would be moderated had I followed through better with my planned training, but there just aren’t any pros. I went to the website with the photos from the race photographers, and while I didn’t expect than any of them would be flattering, I feel so much better than I look in these photos. Of course that makes me wonder if I am just deeper in denial than usual.

I have a bruise on my right big toe under the nail and I am pretty sure it is from the 5k. I think my toe nail was a smidge too long to be walking in a sneaker that long, and I think as a result I injured the nail bed and have a lovely bruise. I am hoping I don’t lose the nail, but that is what it feels like might be going on with it. I also had a huge blister post race on the underside of the same toe that has since resolved itself. I was expecting my shins would be sore, but they weren’t, but for the 13,000 plus steps I did on race day (first time my FitBit went past 10k steps), I didn’t get past 2,000 steps the day after because my feet hurt so much. Still a good weekend step average, but not something I want to be striving for.

Just. Didn’t. Like. It.

The past week I have taken a sort of break from the juicing. I have still been doing the fruit blends in the morning but something is off with my digestive crud and I am trying to get that back on track a little. In addition to that, we will be on vacation for 2 weeks and I want to not be going from juice to not while on the road. Still undecided about packing the cooler. I think we will be making more effort to be stopping where there is a grocery store available so we can have some better choices. It’s all good.

Pre race post

Friday, April 27th, 2012

tomorrow is my first 5K and my planned training, no surprise to me or anyone who knows me, went a bit off course. Or maybe since this blog is about putting it out there, I should just say I was interested and didn’t do it. I have been increasing my step count each week and am currently right around 6K steps per day, but I will still surpass that tomorrow morning during the race. I am figuring the 5K should be about 7500, so it still might kick my ass.

The race shirt is an athletic style and is thin and white and I am not sure if I will wear it or not. I can only imagine it if  I get sweaty and think that might make it rather transparent. The race bib is imbedded with seeds and can be planted after the race and flowers will grow. I totally dig that.

The juicing has been going well. I have mostly been having a fruit blend for breakfast, a vegetable blend for lunch, and a modest dinner. This past week, I have been feeling a little blah, so I have loosened up with the juicing a little. I am not really seeing much movement on the scale, but my clothes continue to get looser. I still haven’t taken measurements and will try to get that done this weekend. I know that the changes I have made to my eating, whole foods for the most part, are permanent this time. Sure I have had a few indulgences here and there, but they have been isolated and not cerried me further down the garden path as it were…

I have added more steps in the last two weeks while at work by going on walkabout at 10 and 2 each day. I take the elevator down to the first floor and then take the stairs upswitching stairways on each floor, and stopping on 4 to hit the restroom. I find that the meandering path of switching stairs makes it a lot easier to get to the sixth floor and it currently takes 9 minutes, bathroom stop and all.

No downward spiral…

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Not too much new to report. I am still juicing breakfast and lunch with a snack of fruit or veg and then having a fairly modest meal for dinner. It’s four weeks since I started this and it doesn’t feel like I am doing something special. It feels like it is what I am supposed to be doing.

Last Saturday, we drove out to Paige to what has become my favorite LYS (local yarn store). It’s a two hour drive, and yes, there are many closer options. I go to them, too, but there is a different sense of community I get from Yarnorama. I had a juice in the morning before we went, and we stopped for a kolache and chai on the way. I hadn’t had any meat or bread the previous six days, so the process of eating the kolache was something tangible, and I was full from just one(not two…or three…or four). And I think I only drank about half of my grande chai. These are baby steps for sure, but there was no guilt associated with any of it and the pure delight at these flavored tastes was wonderful.

On the way home, we stopped at the Chappel Hill Bakery and Deli because Elizabeth saw Best Kolaches in Texas on their sign. We were hungry (they also have bbq) and we both had the one meat plate. Elizabeth got brisket and I got sausage. It was good. But best of all their sides were good and far superior to what most bbq places offer. I had green beans and mac n cheese. the mac n cheese was thick and not too saucy. Elizabeth had mashed potatoes and baked beans and those were both very good and fresh made. It was more calories that I wanted to be eating, but I stopped when I was full and didn’t overdo it. It was proof that I could eat these things in a reasonable fashion. And because I am not eating them all the time, there was no adverse digestive consequence.

As we were checking out and I was asking for a cup for water, I saw that they had Mexican Pepsi. It’s been a month since I have had a Pepsi and honestly, I am surprising myself that I am not missing it. I decided to have one with my dinner and it was excellent. But I only drank half of it. I threw half of it in the trash. Huge.

Feeling like the above accomplishment marked me a big girl, I got a bag of peanut butter m&ms. there have been Hershey kisses in a jar on the counter for months. I make sure it stays available because a couple of kisses satisfy me when I want some chocolate. I am just not there with the peanut butter m&ms. The bag that should have been lasting a week was gone in a day. Bye-bye. I won’t be doing that again right away.

Day 18

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

It’s been another week on the journey and I am still going strong. Sure, I have had a treat here and there, but this is a life change I am making, and honestly, treats will be a part of it. but something is different this time and the only thing I can say with any certainty is that maybe I am just ready for it. In short, it’s time.

As I am writing this, I am feeling hungry. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was feeling hungry or not so I have been letting the feeling brew and yes ma’am, I am hungry! this isn’t in itself, a huge revelation, but it is a major signal for me that I am actually paying attention to my body and what it’s telling me. This morning it was saying “Have that bright, lighter juice this morning…you know, the orange one…” So I juiced up two Texas (local!) grapefruits, two handfuls of baby carrots and a healthy inch of ginger. I am diggin’ it. Elizabeth, not so much, so she got the blackberry, kiwi, grape, strawberry, mint combo we have usually been drinking for breakfast. That blend I don’t have to strain and all the fiber and pulp are consumed. Anything with carrot I strain because I can’t get past the feeling of a mouthful of sawdust.

I should mention that I was using a juicer and that had been fine. I think i have had it for a year or so. I recently acquires a Ninja 1100 blender and they claim to be a juicer as well as a blender and that all the pulp liquefies enough to not need to be discarded because you want all that fibery yumminess (and hey you can strain if you feel it is necessary). If there is carrot in it, yes, I am a strainer. I totally dig this blender and all I have used it for is juicing. I was intrigued by friends’ conversations about the Vitamix and how much better (and more $$) it is than the Ninja. for me to trade up again eventually, I would have to see a demo and be able to taste the carrot for myself.

Lunch juice is spinach, ginger, cucumber, celery, bok choi and a green apple. this seems to be my sort of go to blend and I strained it, even though it is carrot free. I do usually add carrots, but I used the last of them in my breakfast juice. My reward for finishing it (not all that much of a challenge) is a yummy sweet banana for my afternoon snack. I also brought in a blueberry ricotta muffin, but I might actually pass on that.

So what’s so different this time? I am pondering this as i drink my green…One thing that strikes me as telling is that I haven’t had a Pepsi in three weeks. I haven’t wanted one out of habit. I haven’t really even had a conscious thought about Pepsi and that in itself, is huge. Thomas was going to the store yesterday and asked if I wanted him to pick up anything. The usual items are Hershey kisses (we have), Marcona almonds (we have), Pepsi and Lays plain kettle chips. I said no thanks, and he paused and asked again, “No chips?” I didn’t want them. This is not to say that I won’t get them when I do want them, but I don’t feel the need to have them available. Just in case. And honestly, when I want them, the store is a mile away and if I want them badly enough I will go get them. But again, not wanting them? That’s huge.

There is a jar of kisses and a container of almonds on the pantry shelf. My current sweet indulgence is 6 kisses and 12 almonds and that is about a 200 calorie dessert that totally satisfies me. I did the math as closely as I could estimate on the almonds, but last week I bought a kitchen scale so that I will know that my portions are not out of whack. For nuts in particular (as pointed out by my niece) there is a lot of room for error with larger nuts if measuring 1/4 cup, but xx grams is xx grams. I am going to confirm the Marcona almond portion tonight and adjust if I need to.

So the juicing is going well. I have been having a modest dinner of mostly produce, and on occasion, having a couple ounces of meat or fish. Last night we had company and I made a most excellent spinach salad with quinoa. I made a two other vegetable dishes and honestly, the salad was enough. Of course having leftovers, I won’t have to cook tonight. I like that. I feel like there was something else I was going to say but it is eluding me. But hey, I can just post again, can’t I?

Take it like a big girl…

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

I have been meaning to post my lab results sooner. I saw the doc last Thursday and time has just gotten away from me. That, and it wasn’t all good news. But nothing tragic, either.

In November of 2010, I had the opportunity through the Lesbian Health Initiative to get a well woman exam and mammogram. I didn’t have insurance at the time so this was a good thing. The doc I saw at that time came in with my lab work and said to me “Well Maxine, we need to get your diabetes back under control.” I said, “My what?” She put me on Metformin which I took for 3 months, my A1c went from 6.7 to 6.1 and I lost 30 pounds, and since it was coming down, doctor that I am (not), I decided that I didn’t need the meds and it must have been the dietary changes I had made.

Since then I have maintained that loss within 5 pounds and I thought I must be doing okay. We have continued to make improvements to our regular diet. Processed foods are mostly nonexistent at least 90% of the time and when they do creep in here and there, they are a one time deal, not a regular occurrence. There has been a dramatic decrease in the amounts of meat we eat of any variety. Beef is once a month or less. Chicken and pork have gone from daily to one or two times a week and fish us on the upswing.

I don’t know what finally pushed me over the edge to getting back to conventional medicine, maybe just a subconscious knowledge that it was time. Dr T ordered a shitload of labs and before the tech was done with me, she had taken 8 vials of my blood. The good news is that my cholesterol is mostly awesome. Total Chol is 141 with a preferred range(PR) of 125-200. HDL (the good chol) is 38 with a PR of >46 so that is a little low and I need to find out how to raise that. My LDL (the bad chol) is 83 with a PR <130 amd my Triglycerides are 102 with a PR <150. I think for the most part, this makes me a cholesterol rockstar!

The other highlights, not so stellar…My glucose was 106 with a PR 65-99. Not terrible, but high. And my A1c is back to 6.7. Out came the Rx pad and I am back on Metformin. I think a key difference this time, is that Dr T actually took the time to talk to me about it and explain how and why it works and why I want to keep taking it until my A1c is down to 5.7 or lower. I am with the program a little better than when the old doc (hot as she was) just threw some pills my way and just said take these.

I've always known I am borderline anemic, so the hemoglobin being low was no surprise. It was 11.6 with a PR of 11.7-15.5. There were other iron things that were off and the doc ordered some more blood work for an iron study before advising me further on that. My B12 is also low at 155 with a PR of 200-1100 so I am taking a B12 supplement. My thyroid function was normal.

We talked about my weight and I told the doc that I have been tracking with the Fitbit both steps and food. I explained the increase in steps and stairs and that I have been eating around 1700 calories, having a 500-1000 calorie deficit daily (sometimes more) and than since Dec 13, there has been zero movement on the scale. He told me that the hospital's obesity program advocates a month of 1000 calories a day with no increase in activity to sort of restart the metabolism. He told me to maintain my weight I should be eating 3300 cals a day and maybe I haven't been eating enough to lose. He advised me to try 1000 cals a day for a month and if I see loss to go back to 1800 and see what happens.

Last week, we watched the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Netflix. It chronicles Joe Cross' 60 day juice fast that changed his life with a loss of about 90 pounds if I remember correctly, as well as sending his disease into remission and allowing him to come off his medications. There is an associated website, The website has a lot of juicing recipes available as well as blends (smoothies) and simple vegetable meals and several options for how to use these in various combinations.

If you are doing the straight up juice fast, it’s 5 days of veg meals followed by x days of juicing only and then 5 days of veg meals to re-acclimate your digestion to food. I am doing a mixed plan of juicing and whole foods. I am on day six of having fruit juice for breakfast and veg juice for lunch with a snack of whole fruits or sprouts. Then having a dinner of some sort of veg and a protein side. So far the protein has been tilapia or quinoa(in an awesome spinach salad) and on one occasion, Elizabeth and I split a pork chop. Last night we each had one link of cheddarwurst with a large bowl of a veg and white bean stew. This has gotten me very close to 1000 calories a day and I have no complaints.

I have also had a handful of nuts here and there and yesterday I had a half cup of the granola I made. That was a workout for my jaw. I got on the scale and I think I am down 5 pounds. I say think because the home scale and the doc’s scale don’t agree, but down is down even if the actual number might be in dispute.

Since this has been easy, I am going to continue on another week and see how it goes.

Who knew?

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

I know…maybe I am the last to know…After 47 years, hey, my taste buds might have changed. Spinach is on the menu. There. I said it.

I have never been fond of spinach in any way, shape, or form. A few years back I did find I actually could tolerate it in a recipe from Sarah McLachlan’s cook book Plenty, but admittedly, I increase all the other ingredients in the spinach pine-nut cannelloni to create a less spinachy filling. Other than this recipe which I have made maybe 5 times in the last 10 or so years, spinach has just not been an option.

Flash forward to the new plan gearing to more healthful choices. We were at one of our current favorite restaurants, Brasil, and I decided to try the spinach couscous salad. I still don’t know what prompted me, but I remain glad that I did because I really liked it a lot. And this was no wussy little salad portion on a side plate. It was a dinner plate mounded about 6 inches high, no plate in sight. I ate every morsel.

I have since made this at home, and last night i subbed quinoa for the couscous because Elizabeth is trying to stay away from wheat. We also had a small cheese plate with some nuts and a smidge of fig jam, so I made a slightly smaller salad.

First I made a homemade lemon vinaigrette using this Martha recipe. Very tasty and very lemony. I added 1 tbs of vinaigrette to 2 cups of spinach leaves(per person) and tossed. On top of that went 1/2 cup of plain cooked and cooled quinoa. Then I chopped up two sun-dried tomatoes and 2 rinsed artichoke hearts each. I toasted up a 1/4 cup of almond slices (divided to two salads) and then sprinkled each one with 2 tbs of crumbled feta and drizzled a second tbs of vinaigrette over the top. It was a pretty close approximation and muy delicioso. Brasil adds thinly sliced red onion, but that is something I still don’t care for raw so I left it out.

When I made the quinoa I made 2 cups to 3 cups of water, knowing there would be extra so we will have this salad again tonight, or at least I will. I also wanted extra to try a recipe I had for breakfast quinoa. mix equal parts cooked quinoa with almond milk. I added a handful (accurate, I know!) of raisins and pecans and a tsp of cinnamon and a tsp of honey. Then i microwaved it when I got to work for 2 mins, stirred, and then a minute more. Then I let it sit to cool for about 5 mins covered with a paper towel. All the liquid was absorbed and while I initially thought that might be a bit heavy handed on the cinnamon, since i know it is good for me and it wasn’t horrible, I will likely add that much again. Another quinoa success!