Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Anybody still there ..... ?

My life got crazy.

I gave up on a lot of things in my life.

Just wanted to let whoever is out there that I am back.

If you'd like to follow me through detox and a healthier way of living - I welcome your company and support.

This is not some "QUICK FIX" for fast weight loss.

This is a life change.


When you simplify your diet for a week, something amazing happens. If you eat only wholesome foods and give your body a break from refined flour, sugar, and caffeine, your body sheds up to 10 pounds of excess water weight and your energy soars. You improve your digestion, stop feeling bloated and congested, and decrease your risk of disease. Detoxing, as this process is known, can also improve your eating habits. These new habits help you keep the bloat off and lose more weight.

Detox diets are a time-honored practice of limiting yourself to certain foods for a short period of time. Some detox diets are so strict that you only drink juices, but ours involves a more varied diet of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. This practice is healthy and safe for most people, say holistically minded doctors like Elson M. Haas, M.D., director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, Calif., and author of The Detox Diet (Celestial Arts, 1996) and The False Fat Diet (Ballantine, 2000). Haas says he's helped more than 10,000 people detox in his 30-year medical practice, and he personally detoxes three times a year.

We asked Haas to create the following seven-day detox plan. It gives you step-by-step instructions on what to do and tells you how to continue to lose weight after the detox is over. Don't follow this plan if you have a chronic disease like cancer or heart disease or are pregnant or nursing. The plan is also not recommended for children or teens.

What to Eat

FOLLOW THIS MEAL PLAN DAILY DURING your detox week. Sit down for each meal and eat slowly, chewing every bite thoroughly. Chewing this way helps you feel full on fewer calories, and taking the time to sit down will keep you from feeling deprived.

WAKE-UP DRINK: As soon as you rise, drink two 8-ounce glasses of filtered or spring water. Squeeze half a lemon into one of those glasses; the lemon stimulates your digestive juices. Your goal is to drink at least six glasses of water by the end of the day. If you have trouble remembering how much you drank, keep track in your journal.

BREAKFAST: Between 7 and 8 a.m., eat one piece of fresh fruit like an apple, pear, or banana. Fifteen to 30 minutes later, eat 1 to 2 cups of cooked whole grains like amaranth, buckwheat, brown rice, millet, or quinoa. (This delay aids your digestion.) Avoid barley, corn, oats, rye, and wheat; many people experience congestion, poor digestion, and other symptoms when they eat these grains. To prepare most of the grains, you'll add them to boiling water, reduce the heat to a slow simmer, and cook them covered for 30 minutes or more until they're tender. (For exact instructions, consult the packaging.) You may want to prepare several servings ahead of time and reheat them in the morning.

To flavor your grains, add 2 tablespoons of 100 percent fruit juice or I teaspoon of an oil and butter mix per serving. To make this mix, combine 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil or cold-pressed canola oil and 1/2 cup (1 stick) of room-temperature butter. Store it in the refrigerator. Use a maximum of 3 teaspoons a day. The fats in this mix keep your tissues healthy as you detox, and butyric acid, a compound in butter, helps heal and protect cells in your stomach and intestines.

With your grains, take a multivitamin and additional supplements to get 200 to 400 IU of natural vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol) and 100 to 200 mcg of selenium. These antioxidants fight the free radicals your body produces as you detox. Taking supplements with food prevents the nausea you may suffer if you consume them on an empty stomach. If you usually take other supplements, continue to take them unless they contain caffeine.

MIDMORNING SNACK: Around 11 a.m., sip 1 to 2 cups of the vegetable water left over from steaming your lunch and dinner. (For more on the steaming process, see "Lunch," next page.) You should reheat this water and can season it with a dash of salt. The broth provides valuable nutrients that separate from the vegetables during steaming, eases hunger pangs, and keeps you hydrated (it counts toward your daily fluid consumption). Next, take 500 to 1,000 mg of vitamin C powder buffered with calcium and magnesium. You'll find this powder at natural food stores; choose a brand that's free of sugar and artificial sweeteners. Mix it with 6 ounces of water and drink. Vitamin C, an antioxidant, neutralizes free radicals produced as you detox, and calcium and magnesium help ease any agitation you may feel as you withdraw from addictive substances like caffeine or sugar.

LUNCH: Between noon and 1 p.m., eat steamed vegetables. You can make them the night before or in the morning and reheat them at lunch. Save the water from the steaming process in a covered container and refrigerate it.

To make your lunch, steam up to 4 cups of raw vegetables in at least 2 cups of water until they're tender but still crisp. Prepare at least four vegetables for each meal, aiming for a variety of flavors, textures, and colors. For example, try a starchy vegetable like a potato, a bitter green like kale, a sweet vegetable like red bell pepper, and a pungent vegetable like scallions.

To achieve evenly cooked vegetables, add them to the pot according to their approximate steaming times. For example, starchy vegetables like beets, potatoes, and sweet potatoes take about 15 minutes when cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes. Chopped into bite-size pieces, bell peppers, broccoli, leeks, greens like collards, and the stems from chard and collards take about 5 minutes. And spinach, scallions, and the leafy parts of chard take just 1 to 2 minutes.

You can season your vegetables with a teaspoon of the oil and butter mix, olive oil alone, or flaxseed oil, as well as small amounts of raw garlic, salt, garlic salt, vegetable salt, and fresh herbs like basil, mint, or oregano.

For variety, eat raw vegetables like lettuce greens, sliced carrots, and bell peppers, dressed with a teaspoon of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon, at two or three meals this week.

AFTERNOON SNACK: At 3 p.m., reheat 1 to 2 cups of vegetable water left from steaming, season it with a dash of salt, and drink it. Follow with 500 to 1,000 mg of buffered vitamin C.

DINNER: Between 6 and 7 p.m., eat another meal of steamed vegetables. Steam up to 4 cups of raw vegetables, and flavor them with the seasonings suggested for lunch. Save the water from steaming to drink the next morning. The early mealtime gives your body a chance to digest dinner before bedtime so it can concentrate on detoxifying overnight. After dinner, do not eat again until morning. Instead, sip noncaffeinated teas like chamomile (Matricaria recutita) or peppermint (Mentha piperita).

Adopt These Detox Habits

IN ADDITION TO THE DIET, TAKE UP THE following habits this week. These habits enhance your body's ability to shed waste through the organs of elimination, including your bowels, lungs, skin, and urinary tract. The more you stick to these habits and the more water you drink, the less likely you are to suffer from side effects like headaches and fatigue as you detox.

EXERCISE. Each day this week, do an hour of moderate exercise like walking, cycling, or yoga. You can divide your exercise into two half-hour segments, or into four 15-minute chunks. Exercise boosts your circulation of blood and lymph (the fluid produced by your lymph glands to sweep waste out of your body), makes you sweat out waste, and increases the frequency of your bowel movements. Do some of your exercise outside this week; breathing fresh air enhances your detox.

BE REGULAR. You should have a bowel movement at least once a day this week (but twice a day is better). Frequent bowel movements are key to feeling good as you detox. If you don't have one the first day, drink 1 to 2 cups of a laxative tea daily for the rest of the week. Look for a tea that contains herbs like cascara sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana), Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium), and senna (Senna alexandrina). You'll find laxative teas at a natural food store. In addition to the tea, take psyllium husk twice a day. For each dose, take 1 or 2 teaspoons of powdered psyllium husk mixed with 8 ounces of water, or two 500 mg psyllium husk capsules with several glasses of water. You'll find psyllium at natural food stores.

USE A LOOFAH. During your showers or baths this week, gently scrub your skin with a wet loofah, a natural sponge available at drugstores and natural food stores. A loofah aids your detox by stimulating circulation and sloughing off dead cells and other waste that collects on your skin.

TRY A NETI POT. If you feel congested during your detox week, rinse your nose and sinuses with saltwater with the help of a neti pot. This teapotlike device is sold at most natural food stores. Instructions in the box describe how to do it. Use the neti pot up to three times daily.

SIT IN A SAUNA OR STEAM ROOM. If you have access to a sauna or steam room, use it for two 20-minute sessions this week to help your body sweat out waste. If you don't have access to a sauna, stand in a hot, steamy shower for 5 to 10 minutes at least twice this week.

TAKE A BREAK FROM NEWS. To limit toxic thoughts, which can undermine your health, observe a news fast for three to seven days this week. Make an effort to avoid news or other emotionally disturbing information from the Internet, magazines, movies, newspapers, the radio, or television. Use the free time to relax and enjoy self-nurturing activities like listening to music or reading a book.

How to Deal with Symptoms

ALTHOUGH YOU'LL FEEL LESS BLOATED AND more energetic by the end of your detox, it's normal to experience some unpleasant symptoms early in the week--including fatigue, headaches, hunger, irritability, and nausea--as your body sheds waste and withdraws from substances you may be addicted to, like caffeine or sugar. These symptoms are usually worst during the first two days. Here's how to cope.

FATIGUE: Believe it or not, the best way to pull out of energy slumps is to exercise, so schedule walks for the times you feel sluggish. Dehydration often causes fatigue so make sure you're drinking at least six glasses of water a day. And you may need more sleep than usual. If you're tired, go to bed at least 30 minutes earlier.

HEADACHES: They're common in the first 24 hours, particularly if you're withdrawing from caffeine. Drinking plenty of water and having regular bowel movements can alleviate these headaches. You can also use white willow bark (Salix spp). This herb, available at most natural food stores, contains salicylic acid, the active component in aspirin. Take it daily in one of two forms: liquid extract (1 teaspoon or 4 dropperfuls) or capsules (standardized to 120 to 140 mg of salicin). (Don't use this herb with blood thinners or if you have kidney, liver, or bleeding disorders or aspirin allergies.)

HUNGER: If you feel hungry and depleted in the afternoon, eat a small amount of protein at 3 p.m. (the time when it's best digested by your body). Try 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked legumes (like lentils), sprouted beans (like sprouted garbanzo beans or lentils), or 3 to 4 ounces of organic chicken or fish that's baked or steamed. Use the approved flavorings from page 59.

IRRITABILITY: Withdrawing from caffeine or sugar may make you feel agitated. To relax, take 300 to 400 mg of calcium and 250 mg of magnesium once a day.

NAUSEA: Drink peppermint or ginger tea (Zingiber officinale), two stomach soothers. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon of dried herb. Cover, steep for 10 minutes, strain, and drink up to three cups a day.

How to Lose More Weight

ONE OF THE BENEFITS OF A DETOX DIET IS that it forces you to break your usual routine to try healthier habits. Here's how to build on those good habits, prevent future bloating, and lose more weight.

GO BACK GRADUALLY. Returning immediately to your old diet, as tempting as it may be, can cause you to regain weight. You'll also miss out on the chance to spot foods that cause symptoms like bloating, congestion, or fuzzy thinking, Haas says. Start by adding back one new food each day, beginning with foods that are less likely to cause those reactions, like beans, fish, and grains other than wheat, before you move on to dairy, sugar, and wheat, which are often problematic. After you reintroduce a food, note how you feel 15 to 20 minutes later, three to four hours later, and when you wake up the next day. If a food causes symptoms, consider eliminating it from your diet. Even if it doesn't cause symptoms, you may want to eat less of it because it's likely to contain more calories than fruits and vegetables.

STAY ACQUAINTED WITH VEGGIES. Keep your refrigerator stocked with the vegetables you enjoyed while detoxing, as well as vegetable snacks (like bell pepper strips or grape tomatoes). They have plenty of fiber, few calories, and, unlike processed foods like crackers, won't induce bloating or add pounds.

MAINTAIN PETITE PORTIONS. At every meal, put one-third less food on your plate than usual and chew each bite thoroughly. As you learned from eating your low-calorie detox meals, eating slowly helps you feel satisfied with less.

KEEP ON MOVING. If you exercised more while detoxing, keep it up. Brainstorm ways to fit exercise into your day, like doing a yoga video before breakfast, walking a few sets of stairs at lunch, or taking your dog for an after-dinner stroll.
DETOX AGAIN. Haas suggests that you repeat this process two to four times a year to support your healthy habits. Next time, consider following the detox diet for up to three weeks. This can lead to even greater improvements, he says.

Judy Bass, a writer in Stoughton, Mass., is a frequent contributor to Natural Health.

Your Detox Diet Plan

FIRST, DECIDE WHEN TO DETOX. SELECT A WEEK WITHOUT A DEMANDING SCHEDULE or a food-related function like a wedding. Start on a Friday; you may experience minor side effects like headaches during the first days of detoxing, and it's easier to handle these at home than at work.

You'll eat only vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, consuming 800 to 1,400 calories a day. You'll also drink just water and noncaffeinated herb tea. Choose organic foods when possible to limit your exposure to pesticides and other chemical additives. Shop for the foods you'll need before you begin. If you'll be away from home during the day, prepare your lunch and snacks the night before and bring them with you.

The day you begin the plan, start a journal. Each day carefully record any changes in the way you feel, physically and emotionally. If you experience side effects like headaches, see "How to Deal with Symptoms."

RELATED ARTICLE: Putting it to the test.

HOW I Lost the Bloat

Last fall I fell into a rut of unhealthy eating. A detox promised to be just what I needed to get back to a healthier diet. So, despite some concerns it would be difficult, I volunteered to try our plan.

I was surprised by how full I felt every day. In fact, I was never hungry, although I sure did crave crackers the first four days. I also experienced mood swings. I was particularly cranky after a trip to the grocery store where I saw so many foods I couldn't eat. But just as with the cravings, my moods evened out toward the end of the week.

From the first night, I slept like a log, waking early and refreshed. I hardly ever hit the snooze button like I usually do. As the week progressed, I was often physically tired by the end of the day, but usually mentally alert.

By the last day, I noticed differences in the body parts where I usually carry extra weight: my face, hands, and waist. My rings went on easily, and my pants were looser. I lost 4 1/2 pounds, and I've kept them off. More importantly, I'm eating less (I learned I could be satisfied with less if I chewed slowly) and choosing healthier foods. To learn some of the tricks that helped me that week, see "How to Make Detoxing Easier," page 16.

--Rachel Streit, 32, Natural Health Editor in Chief

Learn More About Detoxing

To get more information about detox diets and find other health tips, see, the website of Elson Haas, M.D., or consult his book The Detox Diet (Celestial Arts, 1996).
COPYRIGHT 2003 Weider Publications COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Pink Spotted Flower Moth is the only one who reported points from last week. 180 points!! Yay!

Another wonderful bug who is ON this, has already lost 9 pounds - just from cutting out sweets and soda!! We will call her
Occisa Rubyspot Damselfly.

Way to go, ladies!!!

Remember - this weight will not come off if you aren't in the process of changing your eating habits and getting some physical activity. You need to put forth the effort.


Why Eggs?

Consider the egg. Its purpose is to bring new life into the world and to nourish that life until it reaches the point where it can survive on its own. No wonder eggs are one of the most nutrient-rich foods available to us. The egg is a symbol of spring and new life partly because of the nourishment it provides. But it is also because during the winter, chickens do not naturally lay many eggs. The return of the light brings the return of eggs.
Eggs have lots of vitamins. They are rich in the B vitamin family, and also contribute vitamins A and D. In particular, egg yolks are one of the greatest sources of riboflavin, B12, and choline, which may well not only help developing brains in utero, but protect us from age-related memory loss. In the mineral department, eggs are especially rich in selenium. Eggs are also abundant in lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids which protect our eyes from macular degeneration, among other benefits. And the lutein in eggs seems to be better absorbed than when it comes from vegetable sources. Almost all these nutrients are in the yolk of the egg. Some eggs even have significant amounts of omega-3 fats. So-called "Omega-3 eggs" have usually been been fed flax seeds to raise the level of omega-3 fat in the eggs. Also, hens that have been allowed to feed on a variety of natural food for them (greens, grubs, etc) produce eggs with more omega-3 fat. "Pastured eggs" are one name for these hens, though note that "free range" hens usually don't share this diet.

Do you know why the egg is so incredible when it comes to nutrition? One egg has 13 essential nutrients in varying amounts – including high-quality protein, choline, folate, iron and zinc – for only 75 calories. Eggs also play a role in weight management, muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function, eye health and more.

One egg provides 6 grams of protein, or 12% of the Recommended Daily Value. Eggs provide the highest quality protein found in any food because they provide all of the essential amino acids our bodies need in a near-perfect pattern. While many people think the egg white has all the protein, the yolk actually provides nearly half of it.The high-quality protein in eggs helps you to feel full longer and stay energized, which contributes to maintaining a healthy weight. In fact, research* shows that eggs eaten at the start of the day can reduce daily calorie intake, prevent snacking between meals and keep you satisfied on those busy days when mealtime is delayed. Muscle Strength, Repair & Preservation Research indicates that high-quality protein may help active adults build muscle strength and middle-aged and aging adults prevent muscle loss. Consuming eggs following exercise is a great way to get the most benefits from exercise by encouraging muscle tissue repair and growth.

But Isn’t it Bad to Eat Too Many Eggs?

Eggs have a lot of cholesterol, so for a long time it was considered unhealthy to eat too many. However, advice is changing on this as more research comes out. To my knowledge, no evidence shows that eggs are in any way harmful to our health. In fact, some studies show an improvement in blood lipids from eating eggs. It seems that this high-cholesterol food raises our "good" cholesterol rather than the "bad."

Eggs have a shelf life of about 60 days when refrigerated. In the United States, the “sell by” date is no more than 30 days after the day the eggs were packed. They should be used within 3 to 5 weeks after that date, according to the USDA. Some hens are fed feed with flax seed meal to increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the yolk. However, it would be a lot less expensive simply to eat the flax yourself.

Eggs are best stored in the carton they came in the coldest part of the refrigerator. To insure protection against disease such as salmonella (rare), thoroughly cook eggs. Egg whites can be frozen for up to a year. Egg yolks don’t freeze as successfully, but mixing ½ tsp salt in with each yolk will work. Hard-cooked eggs will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator; they do not freeze well.
When you eat eggs for breakfast, it takes more energy for your body to burn that protein. It gives your metabolism a big jump start for the day.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Whale or Mermaid?

Recently, in a large city in France ,a poster featuring a young, thin and tan woman appeared in the window of a gym.

It said, "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

A middle-aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.

To Whom It May Concern,

Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans).

They have an active sex life, get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins, stuffing themselves with shrimp.

They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia ,the Bering Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia .

Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs.

They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans.

They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.

Mermaids don't exist.

If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human?

They don't have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them, not to mention how could they have sex?

Just look at them ... where is IT?

Therefore, they don't have kids either.

Not to mention, who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?

The choice is perfectly clear to me: I want to be a whale.

P..S. We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver, and a piece of chocolate with my friends.

With time, we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room, it distributes out to the rest of our bodies.

So we aren't heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy.

Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, ¨Good grief, look how smart I am!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Time Has Come!!

We are OFFICIALLY starting this round :o) I know there were many of us that had very good intentions with starting before Christmas - alas, it was not meant to be.

The very first step in this is being PREPARED. This lifestyle change will not happen on its own, and will not happen without some work on your part.

Start at the grocery store. On the right hand side of this blog is a list of foods that are really good choices. Try to avoid fast food, but if you must get it, make wise choices. Choose grilled chicken over crispy, no mayo, wheat whenever possible.

Take the time the next day or so to sit down and make a list to take to the store. You must have healthy options on hand to succeed.

Remember - this is a lifestyle CHANGE. You will not shed your weight overnight. You need to commit yourself to exercising as a part of your day. Look at it as a must - like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. It is not an option. It is a part of your new lifestyle.

Get me your pictures (front, back, side) and measurements if you have not already done so.

Here's to a better you ... RIGHT NOW!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We've covered the "Skinny" end of things. Now let's talk about the "Service".

Notice the blog is titled 'Skinny Service'.

It is 'Service' for a reason.

The prizes that will be awarded for weight loss and good behavior will be from each one of us.

We will set weight goals in 3 month increments. At the end of the 3 months (or when you have enough points), you will get to choose from the prizes listed. What are the prizes? Well, that is up to you.

What each one of us is going to do is to donate something of worth. Say an hours worth of house cleaning, free babysitting for a night out, a handmade blanket or quilt squares, a prepared dinner to take home and cook, a gift card, a variety of handmade cards, a ride in a fire truck around town, a personal tour of whatever.

For example: I will donate a photo session at no charge. I will also donate 1 16x16 mounted picture of your child or self. I will pledge one hour of time to clean part of a house, I will donate a delicious dessert, I will donate a crock-pot meal for your family.

Those are 5 things just off the top of my head that I personally will donate. Once all the donations are pledged, I will assign a point value to them. At the end of the 3 months, you can "purchase" what you have enough points for.

I know this can get tricky with out of state people or people who work full time. Use your imagination. Maybe you have something in your basement that someone would like. If you sew or do vinyl crafts or woodworking, that is another. Or, if you would like to donate a gift card to Target that would also be something.

Details will be worked out in the near future. For now, just be thinking of something you can donate.

This is optional. You are not going to be forced to donate a thing, and yes, you can still participate. But a good working society is one where people give selflessly to help one another.

I have had the talk with my cousin, Stacie, many times - when someone does a service for you, you are more likely to turn around and do one for them. It's the Golden Rule. Stacie once came to my house unannounced and took my kids for the day. She also brought me lunch on top of that. She wouldn't be talked out of it. She knew I was having a very hard time in my life, and she stepped in. What a huge service that was to me. I was so grateful for that time. So one day, when I knew she wouldn't be home, I went and cleaned her house for her and left before she got home. It continues to this day. We serve each other without expecting anything in return.

So keep this in mind as you are thinking and pondering.

Even if you choose to not do this or not to participate, please serve others more with no thought of yourself in return. Let's be more Christ-like in our example and actions this coming year.

Healthy Idea

Ten Fast Fruit and Veggie Ideas
By: Reader's Digest
Struggling to get your fill of fruits and vegetables?
Try these 10 tricks:

1. Start with vegetables. Before you put anything else on your plate, start with a salad, a heap of green beans, or a stalk of broccoli. After you’ve eaten your vegetables, add the other components of the meal. Since you’re eating your veggies first, when you’re hungry, you’re likely to eat more.

2. Make a super salad. One 7-ounce bag of washed lettuce equals a bit more than one serving. Add a sliced tomato, a diced apple, and a quarter cup of raisins and you’ve just increased that to four servings.

3. Keep it convenient. Either slice vegetables yourself and keep them in the fridge in ice water or buy precut vegetables. Don’t shun canned fruits, either. If they’re packed in unsweetened syrup, they provide a quick, convenient way to get a serving or more. Try canned peaches on ice cream or mandarin orange segments in salads. Frozen vegetables are another excellent shortcut. Throw them into soups or stews without defrosting. Buy bags of frozen chopped onions and peppers for quick starts to dinners.

4. Drink them. Although you don’t get the same amount of fiber in canned fruit or vegetable juice as you do in the whole fruit, it’s still a good way to get a serving or two a day. Add a small can of V-8 or tomato juice to your afternoon snack, or throw a banana, a cup of berries, and a container of nonfat yogurt into your blender for a three-fruit-servings smoothie. Sprinkle flaxseeds on top for even more cholesterol-lowering power.

5. Get them on pizza. Forget the pepperoni. Order a vegetable pizza. You’ll get sweet, roasted vegetables with every slice.

6. Hide them. Add grated carrots to lasagna or spaghetti sauce. And use potato-puree to thicken soups in place of cream.

7. Use them as condiments. Salsas are all the rage these days. Don’t stop with tomato salsas. Fruit salsas (pineapple, onion, and mint, or cantaloupe, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar) make wonderful accompaniments to pork, fish, and chicken. Try jarred chutneys for an easy option.

8. Give ’em a roast. Roasting vegetables such as onions, carrots, turnips, bell peppers, eggplant, and even asparagus is a wonderful way to bring out their natural sweetness. Just spray the vegetables and pan with cooking spray, or drizzle on a bit of olive oil, then roast in a hot oven (450°F) until done. (Different vegetables require different cooking times.) Check often, and turn midway through. Grilling is another way to bring out the flavor in vegetables; try zucchini strips at your next backyard cookout.

9. Get them in burgers. Veggie burgers, that is.

10. Plan an adventure. Buy one exotic fruit or vegetable on your next trip to the grocery store. Here are some to try (and some ways to try them):
Carambolas (star fruit). Ripen at room temperature (the ribs on the skin will turn brown) then refrigerate. To serve, cut into star shapes with the skin. They’re a great complement to meat in stir-fries.
Plantains. Available year-round, this slightly acidic fruit tastes a bit like squash. Try green plantains peeled and chunked in stews.
Tomatillos. Available year-round from Mexico and California, these small fruits resemble green tomatoes and have a slight, sweet apple or plum flavor. They’re the basis of green salsa and are loaded with vitamins A and C.
Belgian endive.This type of lettuce has a mild, slightly bitter flavor, and it’s packed with fiber, iron, and potassium. Use it in salads and substitute it for crackers with vegetable dips.
Jicama. Known as the Mexican potato, jicama (HE-cah-ma) is a root tuber, like potatoes. Buy it smooth and firm with unblemished roots. Serve it cold and raw, or in soups, stews, or salads. It’s great as a substitute for water chestnuts.
Bok choy. An Asian cabbage, bok choy is excellent chopped and stir-fried in a bit of peanut oil and soy sauce, or throw it into soup just before serving.


Cutting Back on
"Bad" Carbs
By: Reader's Digest
Ten ways to make
low-carb healthy.

Thanks to the popularity of low-carb diets, nearly half of Americans say they are watching the amount of carbohydrates they eat. If you're among them, we're providing these 10 tips so your carb control is healthy and wise!

Bear in mind that there is a huge difference between Cheese Doodles and oatmeal. Both might be categorized as carbs, but their benefits are on opposite ends of the health spectrum. In the last chapter, we detailed the benefits of “good carbs.” Now it's time to explain what a “bad carb” is. Here's the simplest answer: white flour, refined sugar, and white rice. More broadly, any food made primarily of a carb that has been processed in such a way as to strip out ingredients that hinder quick and easy cooking. Why are refined carbs a problem? Easy: They digest so quickly that they cause blood sugar surges that lead to weight gain and other health troubles. Here are some ways to avoid troublesome carbs while still getting the fuel you need for good health. Carb-counting meets common sense, right this way...
1. Tell the waiter to hold the bread. At almost every restaurant, your meal starts with a basket of rolls, breads, and crackers made from white flour. If it's not put on the table, you won't eat any. Or, if you really need something to nibble on, ask if they have whole wheat varieties.
2. At Chinese restaurants, ask for brown rice, and limit how much you eat to one cup. In fact, some Chinese restaurants have started offering to swap a vegetable for the rice in their combo dinners, knowing that many people are on low-carb diets. At home, always cook brown rice instead of white. Brown rice hasn't been processed and still has its high-fiber nutrients.
3. Instead of bread, use eggplant slices to make a delicious sandwich. Broil two thick slices of eggplant until brown, then add mozzarella and tomato, olive oil and basil to one slice, suggests Nicole Glassman, owner of Mindful Health in New York City. Top with the other slice of eggplant and broil again until the cheese melts.
4. Wrap your food in lettuce leaves. Yes, skip the bun, tortillas, and bread slices and instead make a sandwich inside lettuce leaves. Glassman suggests going Mexican with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, salsa, and chicken; Asian with sesame seeds, peanuts, bean sprouts, cut up green beans, and shrimp with a touch of soy sauce; or deli style with turkey, cheese, and mustard.
5. Buy old-fashioned snacks in kidsize bags. Truth is, pretzels, tortilla chips, potato chips, and cookies are mostly bad carbs, made primarily of refined flour, sugar, salt, and/or oil. You want to remove as many of these foods from your daily eating as you can. But if you can't live without them, buy them in small bags--1 ounce is a typical “lunch box” size--and limit yourself to just one bag a day.
6. Break yourself of your old spaghetti habits. Almost everyone loves a big bowl of pasta, topped with a rich tomato sauce. The tomato sauce couldn't be better for you; the spaghetti, however, is pure carbohydrate. While spaghetti is fine to eat every now and then, for those sensitive to carbs or wishing to cut back on their noodle intake, here are some alternatives to the usual spaghetti dinner:

Here's the easiest choice: Switch to whole wheat pasta. It is denser than traditional pasta, with a firm, al dente texture similar to what you'd get in Italy.

Grill vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and onion and slice them into long, thin pieces. Mix up and pour your spaghetti sauce over the vegetables for a delicious and immensely healthy meal.

Substitute spaghetti squash for the pasta. Boil or microwave the squash until soft, then scoop out the seeds and pull the strands of squash from the shell with a fork.

Top with your favorite sauce and a grating of real Parmesan.

Try healthy whole grains as a replacement for pasta. Spaghetti sauce goes better than you'd expect on brown rice, barley, chickpeas, and such.
7. Cut up 1-ounce portions of cheese and divvy up 1-ounce portions of nuts into tiny snack bags. Now you have a handy snack at the ready.
8. Eat potatoes boiled with the skin on. The effect of potatoes on blood sugar depends on how the potatoes are prepared. No need to unspud yourself completely! Also, new potatoes tend to have fewer simple carbs than other types of potatoes.
9. Eat lightly of the new low-carb products. More than 1,000 low-carb products were introduced in 2003, but the FDA has yet to publish any guidelines as to what “low carb” really means. Instead, many new “low carb” foods are to carb-cutting what “low fat” cookies were to fat-cutting: just a new way of pitching foods high in calories and low in nutrient value. In fact, Consumer Reports found that many packaged low-carb foods are actually higher in calories than their regular counterparts. For instance, a serving of Keto's low-carb Rocky Road ice cream has 270 calories, almost double the calories found in many regular ice creams and twice as much fat.
10. Think lightly of the new net-carb measurements. Many of the low-carb weight-loss programs are trying to get their followers to use “net carbs” as the measurement of choice for the appropriateness of a carb food in their diet. This is a measurement of the “bad carbs” left in a food after you adjust for those carb ingredients that don't immediately affect blood sugar. The folks at Atkins Nutritionals say the proper way to measure net carbs is to subtract fiber (as well as sugar alcohols and glycerin, when applicable) from the total carbs listed on the nutrition facts panel of a product. But that's just their version, and that's the problem. “Net carbs” is not a regulated or standardized measurement--manufacturers can define it how they want, and say what they want on product packaging. And there is no science to say that tracking net carbs offers any unique weight-loss benefit.


I really wanted to do a post on depression, for I feel it is very important. I am going to tell you my story, and I have asked 3 other women to share theirs.

I want you all to know, that I am not pushing anit-depressants on anyone. I just wanted to bring this up, because if you are feeling any of these ways, and can't seem to shake free, there is help. Most people are fine and don't take med's and that is wonderful!


I have never thought I was depressed. I was not sad or down. I have a busy life. I teach around 20 piano students, and do photography on the side. The story I am going to relate took place in just this past October. I was swamped with photo shoots, as people wanted their pictures for Christmas cards done. I was doing 1-5 a week, plus piano lessons, pre-school, being a full time mom, cook, grocery shopper, wife, house cleaner ... I had a lot on my plate.

I started feeling very stressed. I thought it was just because I was stretched too thin. I kept telling myself and others "If I could just be a mom and nothing else, I would be fine."

Well, then I started yelling at my children for things that didn't matter. I have a boy who is nearly 4 and a girl that will be 2 in the summer. I did not grow up in a home with yelling, and this was so not like me. Again, I blamed it on all I was doing. I also started crying because of feeling so overwhelmed and guilty.

One day, I had no piano lessons, photo shoots, or school. I was SO looking forward to this day to just be a mom. Well, by 8:30 in the morning, I was done with it and had already yelled at my kids and spent the rest of the day crying - not being able to stop.

It was then that I realized that there may be something else going on.

Long story short, I went and saw a counselor and started taking Prozac. I had a really hard time with that. I didn't think I was depressed. I didn't want to be labeled as one with problems and on anti-depressants. I actually had my prescription for a week before I actually started taking it.

The difference, my friends, is night and day. I have never been so happy my whole life. Prozac has given me my life back ... and I don't even know how long it was gone. I am still as busy as ever, but I am happy. I sit and play with my kids. I smile when no one is around. My relationship with my husband is the best it's ever been.

I want people who are truly struggling with feelings like I was having, to stop and consider that perhaps there may be an imbalance, and that taking an anti-depressant is not the worst thing in the world. And, you don't have to be on it forever. There are even kinds that are safe to be on when you are pregnant and nursing.

OK well I'm not sure what to say or where to begin but here goes.Depression runs on both sides of my family, well, my mom's dads side and my moms, moms side. I have been on and off of anti depressants for many years but I think this is my worst case. I got back on them before I had my third baby knowing I was scared and wasn't sure how I would react after she was here. I always got my postpartum about 6 months after the baby was born. I would yell and shake them and then hug them tight and cry. I didn't realize it was postpartum until I had my second child. I thought I was doing really well and started weaning myself off the anti depressants. Not too long after that my house was in shambles, I couldn't move myself away from the computer worrying about finances worrying if people were talking about me on the web and my kids were not getting fed or dressed. I don't think I showered for about 3-4 days at a time. I was starting to get violent and yell and scream and get physical with my children. It's funny how it didn't dawn on me to get back on the anti depressants. Anything would set me of, if any of my children touched something I didn't want them too or if they said something to me it was like a rocket just blasted off, I came unglued. I would grab them and yell at them and then throw them on the couch tell them not to move and then turn around to walk away and then felt like I wasn't done so I walked back to them and slapped them again. When I realized something was wrong and my children would run away from me the second they saw me I called my doctor and told her everything. I am back on the anti depressants and I haven't yelled or screamed or been physical with my kids for almost 2 weeks. They love me again. My house is slowly getting back in order but I physically and mentally don't do well with change which is why this diet thing is so hard to me and on me. I have to push myself everyday and make sure I think before I react. I can do that now. I will always battle depression and in the winter it is the worst, I also had seasonal adjustment disorder (sad) When there isn't enough sunlight then my body kind of shuts down. I don't get the vitamins that my body needs from the sun. I am hoping that my life can be normal well as normal as normal is. And that my story, I guess.

I am glad to be able to share a little bit about my mental illness of depression. I hope this will make others appreciate how hard this disease really is either to live with or have someone in your family suffering with it.

Because I am a very outgoing, happy and silly person, a lot of people are shocked when they find out that I have suffered major depression for most of my life. I am now in my 41st year and thank God every day for the miracle of modern medicine and physicians who care and help people like me who are so extremely challenged with mental illness.
As I look way back into my childhood, I can see signs of depression from about the time I was in 6th grade. My grandfather passed away when I was 12 years old. I remember feeling sad, and remember that feeling going on for a lot longer than perhaps should have been normal. I became somewhat obsessed with death and dying, almost wishing that I would die because I hated myself so deeply. I was a very tall girl for my age with a size 11 foot who played the tenor saxophone in the band and was a complete nerd. I remember hating myself as early as then, when life should have been all about fun and giggles!

I argued a lot with my mom and dad when I was a teenager. I mean, most teenagers do, but it was really, really bad. I even got into physical fistfights with my father and because of my height and weight, could give him a run for his money. I hated myself because I thought I was a 'bad' person. I lied more than I should have, I used foul language, spent too much money on frivolous things and had a compulsion of stealing things from anyone I could. I was a very impulsive person, a trait I have carried with me my entire life, a trait I have hated myself for almost to this very day.

In college, I seemed to pull some of myself together although the thieving continued. I met a young man a few years older than I and we got married. 15 months later our daughter was born. I was 23 years old and had one more year of college to complete my teaching certificate before I could feel like a grown-up.
I remember feeling very depressed after my daughter's birth with crying episodes that did not stop and with fits of anger at my mother-in-law for no apparent reason. My two best friends had both been taking anti-depressant medication and they encouraged me to look into taking it as well. I remember taking it for a few months, feeling better and then just moving on, graduating from college and starting my grown-up life as a schoolteacher.
The first year of teaching public school was horrible and I found myself crying again for non-stop periods of time. My husband was a very daft, passive individual so I always felt like I was carrying the weight of being the head of the household making major decisions, caring for a young one year old child and teaching public school. I remember the emotional roller-coaster I was on but also remembered thinking that I could survive without any medication or talk therapy. How wrong I was!
Towards the end of my third year of teaching year-round middle school classes, (spring 1994) I completely went off the deep end I guess you could say. I ended up forsaking my career, giving up my teaching license, leaving my husband, losing my church membership and waking away from hundreds of friends in the small town I lived in. I managed to stay sane enough to take my 3 and a half year old daughter with me to my parents home 90 miles away where I holed up in their basement crying for days and days and days without knowing exactly why. It was then when I hit rock bottom that I decided I needed professional help, and started seeing a psychiatrist.
Depression was hovering all along, but I couldn’t let it get to me. I was too busy teaching school, raising a one-year old, wearing the proverbial pants in the family and being pulled at in every direction by several people. It felt like depression was light years away, when it was really just crouching in a back room of my mind, getting ready to pounce. I was devastated. I sank. And sank. And sank. The psychiatrist prescribed medication that truly helped me out of the darkness and I became the vivacious, life-loving person I once was.
Fast forward to the spring of 2008. My husband of six years was very difficult to live with and to please. Our marriage had been close to crumbling time and time again and I was looking at another divorce with a two-year-old little boy I was blessed with. One of the things my husband was very adamant about was saving money to the point he asked me to wean off of the anti-depressive medication I was taking to scale back on expenses. Biggest mistake I could have made, believe me! I ended up having another terrible melt down like I did in 1994, but this time I ended up trying to figure out how to use my husband's rifle to take my life. Fortunately he was able to wrestle it away from me and took me to the emergency room as I babbled on and on in the car about what a miserable failure I was. I couldn't stop crying and the familiar feelings of hating myself were engulfing me like a black force pulling me down. Because of the severity of my episode, the psychiatric evaluators in the emergency room recommended I receive in-patient care and was admitted to the Neuropsychiatric Institute that day.
I stayed for a total of eight days. I was now a person who had been to the “funny farm” and lived to tell about it. It was eight days of ups, downs, sideways and upside downs that forced me to look at my illness with more maturity. I had hours upon hours of therapy and group classes which I took fastidious notes in so that I could regain my mental health. After all, I had a two-year-old son to take care of for a very long time and he needed me. Hell, I NEEDED ME!
Now, nine months later, a steady dose of Cymbalta every day and weekly therapy sessions later, I am finally feeling, dare I say, stabilized. The obsessive-compulsive and very impulsive behavior I have struggled with my entire life seems to be taking a break, and I don’t always wake up in despair, covering my head with the blankets for another day.
I am living proof that depression can be treated and that life really is worth living. I have had to undergo several emotional roller-coasters to finally come to the conclusion that depression is part of my life and who I am, and that it can be treated. Much like a friend of mine who has diabetes, I must take medicine every single day to keep me from coming apart at the seams emotionally like she takes her insulin to stay balanced. I look back and can see that 1994 was a stormy time of not knowing what was going on, not understanding behaviors, obsessive worry, and just slowly falling apart.

It is thought that there are a lot of reasons that people suffer debilitating depression. Plain and simple, depression is caused by chemicals mis-firing in the brain and it is treatable. I learned that my emotional melt down in 1994 which jump-started me into therapy was just the culmination of years of depression built on anxiety built on despair. It may take an event such as the birth of a child, the loss of a loved one or simply overloading yourself with too many irons in the fire to get you to the point of no return, but those events are not the causes of the disease.
Depression treatment does work! Look for help from a professional and begin getting your life back or help your family member get the help that they deserve. They actually do desire to feel better trust me. Depression hurts everyone. Depression can make you feel hopeless and unable to help. But by taking the primary step deciding to get treatment it can make all the difference in the world. It can save your life as it did mine. Medical care is simply the answer! Look for a professional to help.
Will I ever “get over” my depression? Will I ever be free of medications? Probably not. But the amount may decrease with time as I begin to fill in the holes of the floor beneath me—and carefully watch my step.
A few years back, I had a lot of different and hard things going on in my life and it just got to be too much. My husband had many demands on his time and was not home much, my kids were having various health problems mixed with many injuries that required emergency room visits, my mother and sister were both struggling with depression (to the point of being suicidal), my home flooded (twice) and I had to move in with my in-laws for a month, and I had gotten in way over my head volunteering in my kids' classes. That is (sadly) the very brief version of what led up to my "emotional breakdown" and clinical depression. Fortunately, I knew what the signs of severe depression were and recognized them in myself. I was losing weight, unable to sleep, nauseated all the time, afraid of almost everything, not enjoying the things I normally do, crying all the time, and unable to cope with my life in general. I probably should have recognized the symptoms sooner but I was distracted with the circus that was my life. Until my mother and sister had struggled with depression, I really thought depression was a "choice" and that if you stayed busy and kept a positive attitude you could get through it. Now I know that depression is VERY REAL. It is a chemical imbalance that is an illness and is nearly impossible to overcome alone. When I reached my breaking point (feeling like I couldn't take care of my kids anymore and wanting to just hide away) I called a counselor and my doctor. The next day I began taking anti-depressants and went for my first session of counseling. For me, the medication helped a lot even though I was on a very low dose. That may not be the answer for others who struggle with depression. The counseling was a huge help and I truly believe everyone should go to counseling at least once or twice (depression or no ;0)). I learned that I needed to take care of myself first, before I could care fo r my family and that I couldn't, shouldn't, and wasn't expected to do it all. Learning to balance my life was a skill that took practice and is something that is always evolving. I also had to learn to say no. Now, when I start to feel down or overwhelmed I try to take a step back and look at my life. Typically, when I feel that way I am not taking care of me. It really is important for us to take time for us each and every day. I learned a lot from my struggle but the things that stand out the most are taking care of me and having balance in my life.
A funny email I just read from my sister-in-law.
I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives.
By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace. Dr Phil proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started and have never finished." So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished and before leaving the house this morning, I finished a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos, and a box of chocolates.
You have no idea how good I feel right now.

Calorie Cutting

Calorie-Cutting Tactics
By: Reader's Digest
Eliminating those calories (as well as burning more through exercise) doesn't have to be painful.
Starvation and deprivation diets simply don't work.
Instead, the little things are what matter.
Here are seven ideas to get you started:

1. Eat breakfast. A study published in the February 2002 journal Obesity Research found that eating breakfast was a key behavior among people who averaged a 60-pound weight loss and kept it off an average of six years. Participants told researchers that skipping breakfast made them so hungry that they overate during other meals and snacked on unhealthy, high-calorie foods.

2. Measure that cereal. The average serving of cereal is 1 cup. Yet most adults pour out at least twice that.
3. Scoop and save. Every now and then someone comes up with such a cool kitchen utensil that you just have to rush right out and buy it. That's the LĂȘ Scoop. Its function: to scoop out the inside dough from a bagel, leaving you with the outer crust (and, of course, less fat and fewer calories). Fill the inside with nonfat cottage cheese sprinkled with ground flaxseeds for an easy, low-fat, low-calorie breakfast.

4. Buy the smaller size. The larger the portion in front of you, the more you'll eat. It's a proven fact. When researchers sent 79 parents home with a video and either 1- or 2-pound bags of M&Ms along with either a medium or jumbo size tub of popcorn for each family member, they ate more M&M's from the 2-pound bag than the 1-pound bag, and about half a tub of popcorn, regardless of the tub size.

5. Make smart switches. See how much you can save by switching from high-fat, high-calorie indulgences to lower-fat, lower-calorie options. Just by making the following substitutions, you could lose 25 pounds a year:
Instead of eating this once a week
Try this once a week
Calorie savings

Large fries
1-ounce snack-size bag of potato chips
383 calories a week,or 5.7 pounds a year

Fried chicken breast
Roasted chicken breast and wing and thigh without skin
243 calories a week,or 3.6 pounds a year

Veggie burger
216 calories a week,or 3.2 pounds a year

Three slices bacon
Two slices deli-style ham and two eggs and egg substitute
199 calories a week,or 3 pounds a year

Chocolate ice cream
Nonfat fudgsicle bar
240 calories a week,(1 cup) or 3.6 pounds a year

Pasta carbonara
Pasta with tomato sauce(1 cup)
246 calories a week,or 3.7 pounds a year

One slice cheesecake
One slice angel food cake with strawberry topping
130 calories a week,or 1.9 pounds a year

6. Skip the soda. If you drink non-diet soda, you can cut 160 calories (per 16 ounces) out of your day just by switching to diet soda. Better yet, drink green tea or water flavored with a squeeze of lemon or lime.

7. Start with soup.Studies show that people who start a meal with soup--especially broth-based soup--end up eating fewer calories by the end of the day without feeling hungrier.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Let's Jump Off The FAT TRAIN!!

Anyone want 'in' on this round??

I have to admit that after my surgery in March, life for me got pretty sweet. I couldn't exercise for a few weeks, so I didn't. Then I never started back up because it's so much easier to stay in bed in the mornings. Life is crazy and busy, so I just ate what was available and what sounded good. I know exactly how I gained every one of these 30 pounds over the past 8 months. But I want off this fat train.

If you would like off the train as well, and need someone to be accountable to - let me know and let's get this thing started again!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Check This Out!

There is a website called It's part of facebook. It's FREE, you can track your workouts. So far I really like it. I havn't been able to put my distance in because I don't know how far I run, I just put in the notes where I ran to. Then I put how long and my average heart rate (I have a POLAR heart monitar watch that I use for that) Anyway, check it out!