Eating Out … Then Eating Right

The past month of my life included more than usual travel. Some for business and some for pleasure; some in planes and some in cars.

It also included a whole lot of eating out.  I’m not fond of eating out on a regular basis because restaurant food tends to have ‘more’ … more sodium, more fat, more sugar, and just plain more food. I chose carefully but still ate more than I usually do so I am glad to be home.

After a grocery store run this morning, my refrigerator looks normal again. I’m looking forward to eating mostly fresh vegetables, fruit and a bit of protein.  Mainly because after eating out so much I feel … sluggish and … sleepy. It’s amazing how energetic I feel when I eat better. I really need not slip back into bad eating habits too; it’s sooo easy to do. The more junk I eat the more I crave. After a year of good eating, I rarely had cravings…but the last few days I have craved all kinds of stuff…and caved too. 😣  Oh well, the key is to get back on track right away.

So, this is what the meals this week will include:

1. Lettuce – 2 heads of Green Leaf and 3 small bunches of Romaine lettuce 🥗

2. Red, yellow, and orange peppers

3. Cucumbers🥒

4. Onions

5. Watermelon🍉

6. Cherries🍒

7. Nectarines

8. Yellow summer squash

9. Organic carrots (organic) – *more about this later

10. Breakfast will probably be a boiled egg 🥚 and cottage cheese ( sounds nasty but is actually pretty good and a good hit of morning protein).

Lunch and/or dinner will include these foods along with a ton of water and a couple mornings of fasting.

Regarding the carrots, I don’t buy organic veggies unless they are on sale except for carrots (I buy whole carrots in the bag).  I wash everything in vinegar water. CarrotsHowever, I’ve noticed something about some non-organic carrots; they have little to no taste compared to organic carrots. Plus, non-organic carrots get slimy after a couple days when I cut them up. Organic carrots taste so good and carrot-y. 🥕🥕🥕

A couple summers ago I jarred my cut vegetables and it worked out nicely. Last year I was too lazy to do it and I was busy eating too much junk and gaining weight. 😏

I decided to use jars this week.

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…. oh, also having pitted prunes… because I like them. Haha!

Tomorrow is Sunday, a good day to get back on track.

Be Inspired!

☀️

Jan

 

 

The Not-So-Funny Thing About Fat

July 6, 2017 was a year since I started changing how and what I ate.  I didn’t know for sure what would happen physically, but I knew I needed to gain control of myself in a way that could be for the rest of my life. I had no intention of blogging about it, as a matter of fact, I didn’t even tell anyone initially; I just started making small changes after the first three or four days of detoxing. Boy, that was hard.

One year and 57 lbs later (that’s a good rate I think for myself; just over 1 lb per week average) I feel I have some control but it’s still about daily choices . I’m sure the loss will be slower in the following weeks and should stop completely in about 6 to 8 months, simply because I would have to eat less than 1000 calories per day to keep losing.  I don’t plan to do that; the goal is to be healthy, not sick.

I only started to blog about my eating changes after getting numerous emails and texts about what I was doing.  The weight loss was being noticed. I was mainly focused on my health. I didn’t necessarily want to put it all out there on the internet but I wanted to be an encouragement to anyone who needed it. It is hard work people! Much encouragement is needed … from anywhere.  Blogging can put one in a vulnerable place but I’m willing to risk it if there are people out there who will read the blog and can get another boost to keep going. I know when I started it gave me great hope to see others who were eating healthier and on the same path and struggle as I was.

So, a whole year has passed.  I have never watched my health habits for such a long stretch but like I said in an earlier post, my motivation this time was to BE HEALTHY,  the weight loss was a nice benefit. You probably noticed that I haven’t put any photos of myself on the blog yet.  I have several photos but I mostly posted headshots.

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The not so funny thing is, before losing weight, I really didn’t feel fat, or looked all that fat to myself.  I had a million excuses in my pocket, ready to use any of them when confronted by my own self about my size. They worked for the most part. Lying to oneself is as bad, if not worse than, lying to others… just saying.

Anyway, I can’t say I’ve had setbacks over the past year because my new way of thinking is not about ‘falling off the wagon, and ‘getting back on my diet’…it’s about making choices…and we can all do that…everyday.  I just had to make way more good choices than not so good choices in what I consumed. So, if I had a meal that was a not so good choice, then I made sure to follow it up very closely with very good choices for the next few days. Simple enough.

You notice that I said, not so good choices versus bad choices. What exactly is a bad choice??  In my world, there are none. IMG_0763
I’m not a regimented robot, I’m a human being, and that includes moments when I had foods that were not so good for my body (chocolate cake, pizza, chicken wings) but they were good for my mind and spirit at the time. Also, life offers different occasions where you’ll enjoy some tasty foods. A little bit does not derail you, and it keeps from feeling deprived I’ve found.
Side note: If discipline is and issue and you know you won’t quit till the entire pizza or cake is devoured then you might need to come up with a different strategy for yourself before you take the first bite.

That’s all for now. I hope the bearing of my struggles has encouraged and challenged you to keep a healthy lifestyle as your goal.

P.S. This blog is to encourage myself too. 😏😎

Jan

Taking A ‘Real’ Break

For the past week I have enjoyed time off from working to be with friends and family in my hometown.  I haven’t been back to the place I was born and raised in more than 15 years, and haven’t seen many of the people in as many years or more. Don’t do that people….go visit your family and friends as much as possible.

My life was getting away from me; doing more of what I had to do rather than want to do.  Like many I assume, I work way too much at different jobs and projects…and before you know it life and time slips by. I was thinking, now that I am in my 50’s, I really need to regroup, reorganize, and re-prioritize life. Some things I have to do…like work to pay the bills, but I also need to make sure I ‘stop’, just stop and enjoy the times, places and moments of my life. So, this is what this week was about.

The crowds and madness of airports and flying is not my thing…😳😣 so I took a 15 hour road trip from Georgia to New York. I love being on the road…if/when retirement ever comes my way my dream is to rent a mini-RV a couple months a year and drive the country… exploring all things, writing about it and drawing portraits.  😊🙏🏽 … I might be part nomad and  ‘wanderer.

As I drove through Kentucky, the fields of bluegrass seriously touched my soul. Blue skies and puffy white clouds on the road was the perfect remedy to weeks-on-end of non-stop work and things that had to be done. The closer I got to Lake Ontario the more relaxed I begin to feel as this was my home territory.  I’m not fond of snow any longer but I remember  summers that included humidity, sun, misty rain, chilly nights in July, … ever-changing weather. The saying goes, if you hate the weather in Rochester, wait 10 minutes and it’ll change.

I saw so many parts of my home town…. some beautiful, some not so much…but they are all a part of my memories growing up in the area. Conesus Lake was perfect on the day I visited.

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How did I ever miss going to the Harriet Tubman House when I lived here? It was so inspiring to hear her life story again…an amazing woman for sure.

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Also visited parts of the city where I used to roam around regularly.  Sadly, many parts have deteriorated in the past 15 years as I’m sure has happened in several cities across the country with the decline of the manufacturing industry.

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I also enjoyed attending a surprise birthday party for a sister-friend!  A wonderful time… and let me just put this tray before your eyes😌😋. I was in cookie heaven.  Can you believe these were homemade??

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So now my week of R&R is coming to an end.  I can’t believe I want to stay a while longer. Currently, I am sitting on the back deck of my dear friends’ home, under an umbrella, feet up, viewing the countryside, feeling the breeze and prepping my mind for the journey home. Every other day has involved me criss-crossing the city to visit with everyone I could fit into a day. Today is me chilling.

Quiet. Peaceful. Relaxing. It’s just beautiful y’all.

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Hope you will find a place to rest and relax this summer. Be safe!

Peace, Love, and God’s Blessings on YOU!

Self-discipline: But Who Wants To Do That??

IMG_0714The ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it. synonyms: self-control

Self-discipline is hard. Let me just put that out there to start; if it wasn’t, more people would exercise it. It’s just plain easier to not exercise, to eat what your body is yelling for, and to engage in all sort of activities that backfire on your own well-being.

Since dropping some pounds I’ve been told that I have a lot of self-discipline. 🤔 I never really thought about it; I guess I do, but I never used it much when it came to food…or not as much as I should have.

After some thought, I would say everyone has some measure of self-discipline if you are managing your life to some sufficient degree. I mean, you must discipline yourself to get up and go to work, pay your bills, manage your stuff, be responsible for your ‘people’, etc.

So here are the three ways I use self-discipline while trying to be healthier:

Self Discipline Strategy #1:

I am NOT a gym rat. I don’t like the smell of gyms, not just the body sweat mustiness, but the smell of all the equipment … the rubbery and plastic-ky smell. I would rather get outside and exercise if it weren’t a million degrees here most of the year. 🙄 I prefer to work my exercise into my life as much as possible, which isnt easy considering my job requires that I sit on my rump 8-10 hours per day.IMG_0715

Fortunately, I work for a great company and have one of the best managers ever and he allows me to telecommute a bit. With that, I have a big counter that is actually standing desk height so I started standing up all day. After a couple of weeks of this I started having leg and back pain (moderation please)…so now I stand for 4 hours then sit. Still great for building core and lower body strength.

I also bought a low-end treadmill that folds up out of my way when not being used. No, I don’t jump on that thing for 3 hrs per day, but I do manage to do 20-30 minutes 3 or so days per week. Don’t laugh! It’s better than nothing and after more than a year I’m still doing it. That is part of the goal….to keep it up long term.

Last, I do floor exercises: leg lifts, stretches, etc, that I got from a PT. They help a lot too.

Self Discipline Strategy #2:

I’ve discovered over the past months that one of the best ways I can control my food intake is to simply talk to myself. I did realize I was doing this until one day I heard myself out loud saying, “OK girl, that’s enough. Stop eating.” 😂. Guess what? It worked. It was like I obeyed my own positive commands. I kept talking to myself, especially in the evenings when I KNEW I didn’t need to eat anything else for the day.IMG_0713 It works, although I have to say it numerous times on occasion. Apparently, there is power in telling yourself what you will or will not do. I’m sure there is some scientific data behind this somewhere based on psychology or religion or something. I’m not even interested in the research of it, I just realize when I know in my brain that I’ve had enough, I sometimes need to tell my body the news. “Just stop girl!” Maybe that is a basic definition of self discipline.

Self Discipline Strategy #3:

It’s so funny when people see me eating regular food, or so-called unhealthy food they seemed all surprised. 😳 😊. People, that’s the whole point. The reason we (I should say ‘I’) struggle is because the first thing one thinks of when dieting or getting healthy or whatever, is what needs to be eliminated from their diet so suffering can take place until defeat kicks in.IMG_0716

That wasn’t my strategy this time. I still go out with my friends, I still eat what I like, I don’t feel like the last year has been a year of deprivation and torture, and I’ve lost 57 pounds so far. I once heard of a man who explained his secret to a major weight loss. He said, “Well, I only eat once slice of bread instead of the whole loaf.” Yep, that’s pretty much the strategy I’ve adopted … sounds like self discipline to me.

That’s all I’ve got for you this evening people so… go talk to yourselves! I just told myself to go get on the treadmill…for 15 mins 😌

Talking About Snacks

I’m back!  I hoped to blog more than I do but … life happens. I’ve been out of town a bit and while away I had a chance to think about blog topics. One thing I thought of was snacks.

If you are like me, snacks often become ‘main meals’. Since I don’t have to please anyone with my culinary talents I tend to eat a lot of random foods and try new (sometimes weird) food combinations.  I thought I’d share some of my favorite snacks.

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1. DEEP RIVER ZESTY JALAPEÑO POTATO CHIPS:
YAAAASSS!!!  I bet you weren’t expecting this, huh?

This is my #1 favorite junk food snack. I love kettle chips…. but they DO NOT love me (bloating from salt). So, now that I try to eat healthier I don’t eat them nearly as much as I used to.  In the past year I’ve had them twice. So, no harm done physically.

Even though they are not a regular  snack anymore, they stay at the top of the list for my go-to mental health prescription.

2. MINI PRETZELS KNOTS AND MUSTARD:
Something I’ve learned over the past 11 File May 09, 8 19 00 AMmonths is that the ‘crunch factor‘ is an important part of ‘eating’.  Sometimes after eating I still wanted to eat, even though I am satisfied and not thirsty. I figured out that what was missing was the crunch factor.  A hard crunch of a pretzel completely satisfied this need.  So on occasion I will eat pretzels with mustard as a dip.

 I am a HOT AND SPICY mustard girl.  I have some mustard that makes my organs burn but it’s so good; and the best part is that most mustard varieties are only 0 to 10 calories.
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Side Note:  This Sweet Hot Mustard right here had me lit up when I first tried it! The first taste is so sweet and just as your brain registers the sweetness the fire hits you and all normalcy vanishes…but it’s so good.

What else is in the buggy that day? … grapefruit, spinach, and lemon ginger tea. 

 
3. FRESH CUT VEGETABLES:
This has become a favorite.  I keep red, yellow and orange cukes and pepperspeppers, and cucumbers in the refrigerator so when I have an attack to eat when I’ve already had a meal, I do not eat anything I’ll regret.  I can eat unlimited amounts of this … guaranteed to be full and satisfied long before I’ve racked up any substantial calorie count. Typically, I sprinkle with salt, pepper and rice vinegar.

 

 
4. APPLES … APPLES …WATERMELON:
These are my two favorite seasonal fruits.  I eat apples all winter and watermelon all summer. Both are good to me and for me.

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5. POPCORN (Made on the stove):
I don’t eat microwave popcorn, but I eat lots of popcorn… (filler food). I have one of popcornthose Whirley-Pop Popper that you put kernels in to make popcorn on the stove.  I use a bit of coconut oil and I buy Amish kernels …. taste so good.

Whoever told me about putting Hot SAUCE on popcorn, I’m coming for ya …. that is the BEST SNACKING ever!  Try it!
OK, that’s it.

 

6. BOILED EGG & COTTAGE CHEESE:
I texted this picture to my mother and she Boiled Egg and Cottage cheese snackresponded with one word … “YUCK!” 😂😂

OK, it might not look all that appetizing but it does the trick.  If you need a quick hit of protein and need to stave the hunger, this does it.  The egg is about 70 calories and a 1/4 of cottage cheese is about 50 calories, so for about 120 calories, you get protein and a feeling of fullness.

What more do you want people?  P.S. I don’t even register the calories for the cuke slices…. it’s minimal.

What’s that sprinkled on top?   Cayenne Pepper.  I put it on many edibles; it gives a little kick to your food, boosts your metabolism a bit and it’s good for you.

Now you have to tools to snack and not blow your healthy living goals!

I Tried These 2 New Foods

I’m not the most adventuresome when it comes to trying new foods.  Chances are, if it is slimy, looks like it will attack me as I eat it, or comes out of the ocean (except salmon and sometimes shrimp), I won’t mess with it.

Recently, I tried two new foods though… quinoa and riced veggies (cauliflower). Hmmm… interesting things I discovered about both.

First, the quinoa.  Was walking through Publix and saw this on sale and bought it. Read lots of good things about quinoa, good source of protein, and that it’s a SEED, not a GRAIN, therefore no gluten issues.   Who knew? (I didn’t apparently).

 

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It looked fairly interesting in the bag, and I thought it would be a good way to ‘feel’ like I was eating pasta, but wasn’t so, I cooked it (just like rice) and surprisingly it was very delicious. The tri-color made it interesting  too.  I believe it comes in black, white and red, or so,etching like that.

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So, I don’t know if it was because I was in such a hurry to try this on the first day or what but the second day I opened the container and saw this😳:

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…are these WORMS??? … I won’t lie, I did have a ‘moment’  🤢

I started Googling like a mad women and discovered that the little wormy-looking things were actually sprouts… it’s a seed, so the cooking process causes the quinoa to germinate! OOOOHHHHHH! I get it now!   Found that to be quite interesting … so I continued to eat it and wasn’t grossed out at all…because it’s like sprouts … I can do that.

The next new thing I tried was Riced Veggies (cauliflower). I’d seen this online too but no way was I going to do all I saw in the video because cauliflower is not one of my favorite vegetables so I figured it didn’t deserve the labor involved in ricing it.  However, while at Kroger I saw this and thought! “Here’s my chance!”

File May 29, 11 52 34 AMIf I liked it, it could be a good substitute for real rice, which I loooove (and rarely eat). So, it went home with me.  It was interesting for sure; looked like rice kind of too.  I cooked it easily enough and added my usual spices ( garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, etc.)  and it was surprisingly very good.

File May 29, 11 51 32 AMNow, I won’t say it ‘tasted’ like rice, however, there is something about the texture and look of it that satisfies (or maybe tricks) your brain to ‘think’ rice …. but only for 20 calories per cup.  I think I can do that too.  😎   There was a recipe on the back for Stir Fry Riced Vegetable.  Yum…I bet if you add some chicken to it, 😋.  I’ll let you know if I try it.

So, there you have it! I recommend both of these.  They’re definitely being added to my list of ‘regular’ foods I like.

Is This Considered ‘Cooking’?

I don’t cook.

That is my standard answer when asked about cooking. However, I think I will have to change that statement because I now cook nearly every week.  Not because I enjoy it, but because I want healthy food in the house. Every Sunday I cook a bunch of stuff and have it for the remainder of the week.  My evenings are typically filled and busy with things I need to get done, so I like to finish my day job, eat, then move on to my projects/commitments.

After stating “I don’t cook” to a person I met recently, she looked at me and said, “Well, what do you eat, do you eat out all the time?”  I’m sure I had a crazy look on my face because in actuality, I DO cook.  I guess in the past I thought of cooking as preparing a meal that included all the food groups for people to eat and survive on.  I don’t do that. I just cook for myself, and there is no one to complain, and no one who has picky food choices, etc.  I cook most vegetables the same way, in a little coconut oil, salt, pepper, and lot of spices … boring but tasty.

So, a typical Sunday includes getting home from church and washing, dicing, slicing, sauteing, steaming food … I guess you call that cooking, huh?

Today, I decided try a new vegetable.  I went to a local farmer’s market and bought Swiss Chard.  I recently watched a video to see how to prep and cook it.  Looked simple enough;  like the way I cook collards, spinach, kale, etc.

Swiss Chard

I gave it a bath (in water, white vinegar and baking soda) along with the other fruits and vegetables I bought today at the market.  Everyone gets a bath, then a vegetable brush scrub – sometimes with dish soap. I know it sounds excessive…. but when I watch all the hands that touch vegetables at the markets its a wonder (if you know me) I don’t come home and throw them into the dishwasher.

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Anyway, I ‘cooked’ the Swiss Chard and it was pretty tasty.  Tastes similar to other green leafy vegetables but with it’s own distinct flavor.  I will definitely add this to the food rotation list.

The way I handle eating healthy, by cooking all at the beginning of the week, might not be for everyone because by Thursday, I am usually completely sick of whatever I cooked; but fortunately it is mostly all gone by the end of the week. I have to have a large number of options because I cook 3-5 veggies per week so I need enough options to rotate.  This week was this:

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  1. Red/Orange/Yellow peppers – I wrote about this in a previous post; a good snack veggie.
  2. Collard Greens – I cheated this week and used bagged ones – I knew I was not going to want to spend all afternoon picking greens.
  3. English Cucumbers – another good snack food
  4. Yellow Squash – I eat a lot of this during the summer.
  5. Swiss Chard – I bought one bunch.  It shrunk down to about 3/4 of a cup.  It was more expensive than I imagined – $2.49/bunch.  I will have to catch this on sale in order to have enough for the week. LESSON LEARNED:  Don’t be afraid to try new foods.
  6. Decided to try Quinoa too – I read it is a great source of protein, which I need because as you see, I didn’t cook any chicken, or other meat for the week. I’m not vegan or anything, it’s just that I had beef twice last week and I’m not craving anything ‘meaty’ so I decided to skip a week of meat and just have eggs, cottage cheese, and quinoa as my protein.  It was pretty tasty. Will likely add this to the rotation about once per month.
  7. Bag of apples – was really inexpensive at the market
  8. and Cantaloupe was on sale; not my favorite but will satisfy the craving until juicy, red, decently priced watermelons arrive.

Before you decide you can’t cook and eat like this all week, fret not, because I don’t either.  This food makes up about 70% of my diet now.

I might throw in a slice of Ezekiel Bread and peanut butter one evening, or I might go out with friends and have a salad with chicken on it … or sometimes I might decide to have popcorn with sprinkled with hot sauce for a snack.  The Sunday cooking is primarily a way to not get caught in a state of being really hungry and going for junk food because I don’t have good food in the house.  It works for me…. might work for you.

Sooooo, maybe I am a cook after all…. but I still wouldn’t count on me to cook a full meal for ya…. unless you want a Veggie Plate. 🙂