Friday, April 29, 2011

Oh, the aroma! Sweet heaven. I love the smell of coffee. It brings back great childhood memories of waking up every day to the familiar and comforting scent of my father's coffee.

When Danny and I were first married in '95, we used to enjoy our morning coffee together. We had our own bean grinder and would explore different flavors. At night, we enjoyed our beer and brandy. We fell in love over Malibu rum and Bob Marley. In the morning, we'd start another day with some java.

This went on until 1999 when we both vowed to forgo any addictive and/or harmful substances; this included coffee, certain teas, alcohol, and tobacco. We were following council from the Word of Wisdom, a law of health adopted by the church we converted to.

We were fortunate enough to be able to give up those items without too much trouble. Maybe being excited about our new life made it easier. We were abstinent for many, many years.

But, I became a coffee-drinker, again. It didn’t happen overnight. It began with caffeine tablets once per month to help me through PMS. Then it became ½ tsp instant coffee once per month. The coffee use joe-balled to more and more – stronger doses, more days per month, more times per day. I would stay up later, telling myself I’d make up for it with a cup of coffee in the morning. The longer my to-do lists became, the more I would drink. I had many excuses to justify my use.

I wasn’t getting the same effect as I once did. It used to make me happier, brighten my day, reduce my anxiety, ward off depression, and give me enough energy for the demands of motherhood. Towards the end, I was more tired with uneven moods. I felt I had to have it and was dependent on it. It certainly didn’t help control my appetite; if anything, it stimulated it.

I’ve been studying intuitive eating and exercising the past several months. Those things emphasize listening to the body. It dawned on me that I was not listening to my body’s cues and was instead trying to manipulate them with coffee. I began pondering again the wisdom behind the Word of Wisdom.

About that time, I became ill. I thought this was a perfect time to completely detox from caffeine. I felt horrible anyway, what were a few more caffeine headaches/migraines?

That was a few weeks ago, and I see and feel a huge difference now that I vowed to not drink coffee anymore. I wake easily in the morning. I fall asleep faster at night. I do get tired in the afternoon, but instead of ignoring my body’s signal for rest, I honor it and sit or lie down for 5-10 minutes with my eyes closed. I’m not groggy afterwards. To perk up (and if I have time), I take a 10-20 minute walk. Sometimes dancing around the kitchen is a good substitute. And, without the stimulating caffeine, I can also listen to my body’s true hunger cues. My next goal is to simplify my life so I don’t have a marathon of activities tempting me to bring on the brew, again.

I still love the smell and have a coffee-scented candle. Gotta say, though, it feels good to be decoffeenated.
Has anyone else given up coffee (or sodas)?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Parsnip Pancakes

I tried a new veggie on my family:  parsnips.  Here is the link for the recipe:  Parsnip Pancakes (they actually look like hash browns) at What Am I Supposed To Do With That?


Parsnips are rich in several vitamins. A serving provides 38 percent DV for vitamin C, which helps form collagen; maintain capillaries, bone and teeth; metabolize protein; and absorb iron. Vitamin K, which acts a coenzyme during the synthesis of proteins involved in blood clotting and bone metabolism, is present at 37 percent DV. Parsnips contain 22 percent DV for folate, which aids in protein metabolism, prevents megaloblastic anemia, helps lower blood homocysteine levels and prevents neural tube birth defects. They also provide 13 percent DV for vitamin E which, along with vitamin C, is a powerful antioxidant. Parsnips have 8 percent DV for thiamine and pantothenic acid, and 4 to 6 percent DV for riboflavin, niacin and B-6.

Parsnips also provides 6.5 g fiber, or 26 percent of the Daily Value (DV). 

Read more:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Snack Attack Report 5 and Quality

A month has passed since I began the experiment, and it's time to reevaluate. Neither DH nor I were comfortable with how much sugar was being consumed, and DH was not happy with the eat-when-you-want-to practice. We did like how certain foods weren't as big of a deal anymore and how competitive eating stopped.

5 y.o. - He: shared his stash often,went through it slowly, chose to snack on a variety of real and play foods

10 y.o. - She: went through her stash slowly, shared with her friends, chose to snack on a variety of real and play foods, ate a lot more candy than usual (Before the experiment, her holiday candy would sit on a shelf, forgotten. When it became part of her stash, she began eating it more and more).

11 y.o. - He: went through stash quickly (nearly empty by Fri's restocking day), prefers the extra-sugary stuff, does enjoy and requests fresh fruit

Me: I had no desire to dip into their stash; I had my own: a large bag of peanut M&M's that I'm still working on (In all fairness, I was sick for two weeks and had no desire for them. Otherwise, they'd be gone, I'm sure). I keep a zip-bag of them in my purse along with some pecans.

What's Next:
We are continuing the snack stash boxes with modifications. Each box will have (typically): favorite nuts, dried fruit, real granola bars (not candy bars disguised as granola bars), and ONE play food -- all customized to their tastes. Additionally, I'm buying different types of beef jerky for them to try -- a higher quality*, less greasy variety -- and ad to their boxes.

5 y.o.'s choices: pistachios and cashews, raisins, rolled wafer cookies (plus the granola bars and beef jerkey I'm having them try)

10 y.o.'s choices: pistachios, dates, Lindt dark chocolate truffles* (plus granola bars)

11 y.o.'s choices: cashews, apricots, pop tarts (3 of the 4 packages in the box), (plus granola bars and beef jerkey I'm having them try).

-They can eat when they are hungry, BUT they must ask first when the next meal is ready (if it's within 20-30 minutes, they'll need to wait).
-They can snack on veggies and fruit almost any time (supplied in fridge and counter).
-They have to make their play food last at least a week. (We'll restock once per week).
-I will provide additional real-food after-school snacks; then they can dip into their stash if still hungry.
-Future holiday candy: they can choose their ultimate favorites and donate the remainder to the Bishop's office (he has a candy jar).

Lindt truffles can be expensive but are a better quality chocolate. I want to encourage them to get a taste for quality in a variety of foods. Then they'll learn that cheap versions are not "worth their taste buds**." We may not purchase a lot, but the quality will be savored. That's also why I'm trying better quality beef jerky for the boys.

I've noticed this for myself: when I choose better quality, I lose a taste for cheap stuff (which is usually less healthy). I've been working to learn to cook and bring in flavorful veggies and better quality meats, etc. In the process, I have lost the taste for most fast-food. (This is a work in progress, one I haven't mastered, yet, but do see changes in).

For example, I used to buy steaks for everyone in the family for dinner. I'd buy the cheaper cuts that didn't turn out very good (I know, my skills may have a lot to do with that). Now, I buy the expensive cuts of meat, but because they are expensive, I buy one cut, and we all (5 of us) share the one. Although less quantity, it's so much better. It's enjoyable. With that joy comes a feeling of being satisfied and fed.

**"Worth my taste buds" is a quote from Jarah and Eating for Your Soul -- That quote resonates in my head as I make choices and gives me much to ponder upon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Exfoliate the Scale

I used to weigh myself everyday, and every month I would do several measurements and report them on the side bar:  BMI, belly fat, fat %, etc.  The scale messed with my mind.  I'd lose weight, see the number go down and think, "That was easy," then not be diligent.  Or, I'd feel like I should have lost weight, (worked hard, felt good in my skin, happy), then I'd see the number higher than expected and feel like giving up.

I stopped weighing myself several months ago as a challenge from Jarah (Eating for Your Soul - a program about intuitive eating/exercising and spiritual growth).  This is an action about being more kind and respectful to myself.

Here's a quote from Jarah, "Getting on the scale is all about judgment, and it brings you back to the diet perspective you learned about in Step Two.  You are letting the numbers determine your day and once you get on the scale, the thoughts of calorie counting, good vs. bad food, and exercise for the sake of weight loss return and there you go!  To stop the cycle and the diet perspective, you need stop weighing yourself.  It's about giving up the need to control the body so that you can start to listen to it."

It's been an empowering experience after packing away the scale.  I pay more attention to how tight or loose my clothing are instead, and  I take other cue's from my body.  If I have been exercising and eating quality foods, I feel great.  I don't need a scale to throw me off track.

This step also included getting rid of clothes that didn't fit (posted about it here).  That was really tough for me, and I didn't do it the first time I went through the program/steps.  I felt like I was some how giving up ever being size I want to be, again, by getting rid of the clothes.  This time I compromised and instead packed my favorite too-small clothes away in the garage.  Now, every item in my closet fits me, and it's no longer depressing to go in there.

Do you have any non-scale victories (NSV)?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Snack Attack Report 3 and 4

You would think being sick in bed would be the perfect time to blog.  Strangely, I haven't felt like blogging or being on the computer at all for over a week.  I barely watched television.  I slept when I could and read quite a bit (as well as exercising my brain with several Sudoku puzzles).  Reading and rest are  luxuries I'm not afforded very often.  Maybe that will be "my thing" to be passionate about (referring to a previous post about passions and hobbies).

I haven't been diligent about keeping track and restocking the snack boxes during my sick time.  I notice my 5 yo shares with everybody without even being asked which is so different than my oldest (see photo below).  My daughter is eating more of her Halloween candy than before (she used to forget about it).

Before getting sick I restocked with:

5 yo
Slim Jims
Fruit snacks­­­­
Fig Bars
Fruit leather

10 yo
Dark Choc M&Ms
Better quality fruit leather than last week

11 yo
8 Pop Tarts (UGH!  I KNOW!!!)
BBQ Kettle baked potato chips (I don't know if baked is that much better than fried)
Fruit leather

This week, they all asked for pop tarts and granola bars (I did introduce organic alternatives).

It's been about a month.  I'd like to continue a version of the snack boxes similar to what I did for the second week:  have one of their favorite play foods mixed in with real-food snacks like a favorite nut, dried fruit, granola bar, beef jerky.  I will continue to serve fruit and/or veggies after-school-snacks.

"Thomas's Pepsi Not everybody's!
Do NOT touch !!!!"
Yeah, a little possessive.

I haven't spoken to DH about continuing the snack box idea.  He was against it but said he'd give me a month.  Ironically, though, he brought home a six-pack of Pepsi (short cans) for our 11 yo.  DH bought himself a liter of Squirt.  I.don'  He'll say our son only had 3 and was made to share the rest with his play dates and brother and sister.  I'm not comfortable with a soda stash in the house.  Maybe it should be included in the true sense of the experiment, but I can't bring myself to include it.

It's a gorgeous spring day today.  Time to walk amongst the living.  (whiff)  Are those pop-tarts I smell?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Bit of This and That (Ahhchooo!)

I guess it's my turn to get sick.  I'm so wiped out.  I haven't felt like being on the computer at all the past few days.  I hope all is good in your neck of the woods.

Snack attack reports -- I have a rough draft of the 3rd report I did over a week ago, and I've been too uninterested to even think about it.  I think they are doing okay.  There's still stuff in there, and I haven't wanted any of it.  My own bag of M&M's is still there.

Eating for Your Soul - The 10 week program is over. It's been great.   I will now have one-on-one sessions.  Some of you may remember I used to type out some of the lesson steps while I believed it was a not-for-profit program.  EFYS is going in a different direction, and a publisher is looking at the program.  It's not a good idea for me to reveal too much about the steps and content.  I hope the publisher scoops this up as is and helps it get off the ground.  I see it helping many people.

Well, that's about it.  My blanket and pillow have a stronger pull on me than this computer.  Stay healthy, everybody.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Candy-free Easter

Candy-free Easter:  10 Easter basket ideas kids will love - without the sweets - Anne Wallace Allen For The Associated Press  - Daily Herald

Susie Peyton, an art teacher in Redwood City, Calif., has always tried to minimize the candy in holiday traditions with her three kids, now ages 11 and 15.

“I’m the awful mom who goes through their Halloween basket and throws out all their hard candy,” said Peyton. “They have a big sweet tooth, and they would eat candy for breakfast if they could.”
Easter, with its expectation of chocolate eggs and marshmallow peeps, presents unique challenges for mothers like Peyton. Store aisles are bulging with Easter-themed chocolate and confectionary.
But there are plenty of other options, as inventive mothers like Peyton have found out over the years. Here are 10 themes for candy-free Easter baskets kids will love.
Gardening basket. 
Gardening is at least as much as symbol of Easter as a foil-wrapped rabbit, and a row of carrot tops pushing through the soil is something kids will remember long after the last jelly bean is gone. Instead of using a basket, try a small rubber gardening tub, a plastic watering can, or a bucket organizer — $25 at Gardeners Supply catalogue, Add colorful seed packets, a pair of gardening gloves and a few intriguing gardening tools.
Sleepover basket
Cradle a pair of slippers, some new pajamas, and a couple of silly joke books or bottles of nail polish in a small, sturdy overnight bag. Add a plain pillowcase and some fabric markers so the child can decorate it. Then add a nightlight. There’s a good selection of affordable ones in themes from Las Vegas to T-Rex at Lamps Plus,
Bird lover’s basket
Birds are another sure-fire sign of spring. You can use the birdfeeder as the basket; many of them have lift-off roofs that provide an original nest for a bird-friendly collection including birdseed, some seed-covered suet bells, and a pair of inexpensive binoculars or a stuffed owl. The National Audubon Society has a free brochure called “Bird Feeding Basics,” downloadable from its website:
Art basket. 
Peyton used to start with an inexpensive plastic beach bucket from the dollar store. Add a sketchbook, gel pens and fancy-edged scissors. Scrapbooking stores carry a fantastic array of rubber stamps or places like Stampadoodle Art & Paper, in Bellingham, Wash., will custom-make any stamp you want.
Sports-themed basket, geared toward the passion of the child in question. 
For a gymnast, that might mean a new leotard, shorts or warm-up gear, all nestled in a handy mini-laundry basket. Throw in some new grips, chalk or wrist guards. Gymnasts also like gymnastics-themed T-shirts, posters for their rooms, hair ties and the all-important hairspray and curlers. Nail polish is usually prohibited in competition, so add some nail polish remover to the mix. For Little Leaguers, try new batting gloves, baseball hat with the logo of a favorite team, sunglasses and a book about a legendary player. Future hoops stars might like a pump and needles to keep basketballs firm, a team jersey and matching shorts, and a sweatband.
The food basket
Just because candy is off-limits doesn’t mean all food has to be. Pancake mix, exotic cookies such as Pocki sticks (a Japanese treat available at most Asian stores) and some fresh fruit. Retired Portland, Ore., dietician Carolyn Knutson, who has spent time comparing sports bars, recommends Kashi chewy granola bars, which are low in fat and sugar compared to their shelf-mates at the grocery store.
The goldfish bowl. 
Every year, humane organizations around the country plead with parents to steer clear of gift bunnies and chicks because so many of those impulse purchases turn into unwanted pets. But if it’s a live gift you need, try goldfish. The setup is inexpensive, the care is minimal and the fish themselves, in the right setting, are a strangely soothing addition to any kitchen counter. 
The cooking basket. 
Use a large mixing bowl as your container. Add a kid-sized apron — Williams-Sonoma has a nice one for $22 with a garden theme, — and mixing spoons — Anthropologie has beautiful nesting spoons and cup measures, and a darling chicken-themed egg timer — along with a colorful spatula (Oxo’s is just $7.99, available at Bed, Bath & Beyond). As for instructions, there’s no better guide for the newly hatched chef than Georgeanne Brennan’s “Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook.” Brennan shows a rare sensitivity in her treatment of delicacies like Shlopp (homemade granola) and Lime Ice.
The memory basket. 
Craft stores like Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabrics sell sturdy decorated cardboard file boxes and upholstered sewing baskets that can be made into scrapbooking kits for the very young. Add a photo album, some scrapbooking paper and some prints, either from your own printer or an inexpensive site like Snapfish, Add a blank book and an invitation to write in the journal every day, even if it’s only a line.
The sweet-smelling basket. 
One of the biggest hits among the seventh-graders I know this Christmas was a scented candle that smelled like a cupcake. As any pre-teen will tell you, you can find a lip gloss, candle, or lotion in almost any flavor or fragrance under the sun. Recently, Jelly Belly got in on the act with a host of products that smell like jelly beans but don’t cause cavities, such as bubble wands, nail polish, candles and even stationery.
And even if you’re anti-candy, consider throwing in a few real jelly beans and chocolate bunnies.
“The bottom line is that all foods have a place in a diet, but it’s a matter of frequency and amount,” said Knutson, who was a department chairwoman at Clackamas Community College in Oregon and has worked in community and hospital nutrition. “It’s OK to have candy on special occasions. It’s a part of living.”