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Archive for the ‘Diet & Nutrition’ Category

WE HAVE NOW PASSED the six months to 50 mark!    This is the final countdown to my 50th birthday and my end goal of being perfectly fit and healthy when I turn 50.   I can do this!

I spent some time getting super organized for the next six months of blogging.  I’ll be posting according to this weekly schedule:

Saturdays — Bread baking & recipes
Sundays — Soup recipes
Wednesdays — Vegetable recipes
Thursdays — Fruit recipes
Fridays — Fitness reporting

And my hope is that some of you will jump on and report your fitness activities for each week in the comments section. Either way, you’ll hear about all I did (or didn’t) do for exercise every seven days.

I’ve already found 35 delicious soup recipes and I’ll make one every Soupy Sunday, just like we did early in the year. I’ve also bought Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, the second book by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I don’t know about you, but months of fall and winter weekends filled with fresh-baked bread and homemade soup sound completely heavenly to me. I can’t wait to get started!

The Facebook page is still going strong — I hope you can recommend it to your friends!!   I usually post links and share videos and recipes on the page.   We also get photos posted from our friends on the page, along with links to the wall, which anyone can post at any time.   I’m all about sharing ideas, information and recipes.

I’m also still going strong on Twitter (@14monthsto50), approaching 900 followers, which I know is total babydom in Twitworld, but for me it seems like a big deal.  All I know is so much information passes over Twitter every day that I’m still astounded by it!   I love it as an information-sharing source. 

On the weight and fitness front:  I’ve lost 17 lbs. since I started this blog in January.  I want to lose at least 10 pounds more, and you know how that goes.  When I get there, I’ll probably want to lose a few more.  I’m so happy with my improved diet and health — this has truly been a lifestyle change and it is something I completely prefer.   I wish I could make everyone eat the way I do!  

I’ll be back here tomorrow with a veggie dish or two, some photos (if I can remember how my camera works) and we’ll kick this thing off!!   See ya then.   And thank you all so much for sticking with me through my hiatus — love ya!

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I woke up with so many things on my mind today, things related to this blog and the reasons I started it, that I just had to share. 

On the food front, I am still very much guzzling the purple kool-aid of the organic “real food” movement.   There is a difference between organic and non-organic food, and I think it’s important to avoid chemicals, hormones and other awful things in food.   I think the thing that makes it hard for people to embrace the “bad food” idea is that nothing bad happens to you immediately when you eat bad food.  Any ill effects will be later in life, like cancers.  And since you can’t point to it and say “Oh, I got that pancreatic cancer from eating _______ for 10 years,” then it just goes on and on.   A friend of mine (to whom I’ve been talking about bad food for six months) said a couple of weeks ago (about some food evils), “This is really bad, these companies need to be held responsible, the government should be involved, people need to be told what’s going on!”  And then I told him, people ARE being told what’s going on.  But until having a healthy dinner becomes more important than getting to the kid’s soccer practice on time, no one will care.  And then he said “No, I mean they need to REALLY be told, it needs to be all over the evening news and in the papers.”  Well, guess what?  It is!   All of the bad meat stories, e-coli stories, food recalls, health issues, good documentaries, websites, groups — how many times and ways do people need to be told something before they HEAR the information?   So then we concluded it does come down to taking care of your own family and conscious purchases/lifestyle.  When enough people are doing that, then it becomes a real movement and creates real change.

So, I continue to beat my friends over the head on Facebook and Twitter, and use my dollars to vote at the checkout stand – my small way of trying to make change.  

A fun thing I’m getting to do this week is to revamp a friend’s pantry.  He’s finding it complicated to sort out his diet, and I’ve accepted the challenge.  So I first assessed what he normally buys for home, and I’m going to have him replace his unhealthy choices with healthy ones as he needs to restock.  I’m pretty excited about it for a couple of reasons:  I can blog about it and help others do the same thing with their food, and it helps me document exactly how I eat.  I’ll end up with a very good view of my exact food choices, something I’ve sort of internalized lately as it has become habit.

On the fitness front, I’ve joined a gym with a friend where I do stationary bike, rowing machine, a couple of arm machines, and a crunch machine that is KILLER.  It’s a pay-as-you-go place, perfect for me when I just don’t want to work out at home or outdoors.  I’m also still walking, my usual five mile walk a few times a week.  I bought a Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred dvd and it punishes me regularly.

I have also signed up for a couple of challenges through Twitter this month, both for dieting and losing weight, to try to keep on track for a month at a time.  Here’s what I’ve learned from that:  if I think someone else is making me do something, or even paying attention to my success at all, I won’t do it.  It’s a personal flaw, seems like.  So, while I have slowly lost a few pounds, and while I am weighing on the scale more often which I think is a good thing, I think I am more successful when left to self-monitor and not report to anyone. 

Which leads me to my next idea:  I think I am reverting to only fruits and vegetables for the next seven days.  Those of you paying any attention to me at all will remember I’ve done this before.  My reasons are 1) it’s easy to remember what to eat and grab whatever I want, whenever   2) I get plenty of nutrition, while eating no wasteful calories  3) I LOVE fruits and vegetables, and I care less for grains and nuts and legumes.  I have always been a bit of a hobbyist dieter, and evidently if I’m not manipulating, restricting, or otherwise jumping through some kind of food hoops, I’m not happy.  This will keep me entertained for a while, and I hopefully will see some quicker weight loss.  I only want to lose around 10 to 15 pounds, and you would think that would be the easiest thing in the world to do, but as I add muscle (just go along with it) my weight has reached a true plateau.  So seven days of fruits and veggies it is!

And lastly, please friends, do everything you can to be more GREEN.  Cut back on packaged products, try to use recyclable packaging, no plastic, and use responsible home and body cleansers.  Bicycle and walk places with your friends and families.  Buy local food to save on the transportation energy usage.  Read, read, read online about being green and really implement the things you read about.   The environment is not outside of us, it IS us. 

And now I bid you adieu – I’ll be back in two weeks to pick up my regular blogging schedule.  I hope you and yours are well.  Big hugs to you all!

(Forgive any typos or nonsense, I’m on an 8″ netbook in a very cold coffee shop. )

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I just received my very first giveaway prize ever and wow!!   For a first-timer this is quite exciting.   I had entered a giveaway with The Kathleen Show for an amazing basket of organic food goodness from Nature’s Path Organics, never ever expecting to win one of five baskets.   But I did!   Today the fab gift arrived and it’s amazing!

As you can see the foods were packed on a gorgeous bamboo tray, and there was even a reusable shopping bag enclosed!  I’ve already tried the Blueberry Toaster Pastries and they were sooooo good.  I now have health bars, cereals, granolas, oatmeal and some great looking organic foods made for kids that I can ship to my grandson.   My breakfasts just became a lot more interesting.  

Thank you again (very much) to The Kathleen Show and to Nature’s Path Organics for such a delightful giveaway.  I couldn’t have asked for a better first time! 

 

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Wow!  I can’t believe how busy I have been.  I’m working on a couple of other web projects and recipes and gardening — life just gets in the way sometimes, doesn’t it?

I cooked something new the other day: rice pasta.  This was the first time I had tried it;  I used the angel hair pasta and I like it!  It’s a bit tricky on the cooking time – my box said 5 to 7 minutes, and I went a bit longer, which made it too soft.  I cooked more later and stopped right at 8 minutes and it was just right.  The water turns opaque white, so don’t be alarmed.   The rice pasta doesn’t have the usual pasta flavors we are used to –  it doesn’t taste like a wheat noodle, maybe closer to the lack of flavor of a white flour pasta, but with it’s own rice flavor.  I like them — I’ll continue to buy them.  I’m still using up my farmer’s market veggie finds, too!  Here’s what I made:

Rice Pasta with Zucchini, Patty Squash & Kidney Beans

olive oil
1/2 zucchini
1/2 yellow patty squash
1/4 large white onion
1 clove garlic
cracked black pepper
1/2 can stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup organic pasta sauce
cinnamon
rice pasta – angel hair spaghetti
1/2 can kidney beans

Start your water boiling for the rice pasta.  Chop the onion and slice the squashes, then saute along with garlic and cracked pepper in olive oil until vegetables are browning slightly.  In the meantime, add pasta to water and cook the recommended time, rinse with cold water.  Return the pasta to the pan and add the kidney beans to it;  stir slightly to mix.   To the vegetable saute add 1/2 can stewed tomatoes, 1/2 cup pasta sauce, and a dash of cinnamon (or two).    Stir until heated through.  Put drained pasta with beans onto a plate and top with some of the cooked mixture.   It’s delicious! 

I always use organic ingredients, but the choice is yours. 

If you haven’t discovered glass storage containers yet, have a look at the small one in the photos below.  It measures about 3 x 4 x 4 inches and is so handy for storing canned foods when I only use a portion of the can’s contents.  These containers come in all sizes, but I have been using this small size every day to put stuff in my fridge. 

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I’m going to be tough on myself from now until July 4 – no salt and no sugar — at all — ever.  

Eating only unprocessed foods, I think the salt part will be easy.  I just have to avoid shaking it onto anything.   The sugar part though . . . that involves giving up coffee.   So I supposed I should say I am giving up salt, sugar and coffee until July 4.    There is just something missing in my weight loss program.  This month I wanted to lose 10 lbs by July 1, and I’ve lost zero pounds.   I need an extra boost, since I’m already moderately exercising and I’m not eating anything that’s even close to being bad in any way. 

I’ll report back here after one week to let you know how it has gone.

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I’M SIPPING COFFEE AND GETTING my plan together for this week.  I’ve had smoothie recipes submitted via my facebook page — I’ll be making those all week and posting them here.  So perfect for these warm spring days!   I almost live on fruit in the summer, with such good seasonal variety available. 

We also have Cinco de Mayo in a few days!   Arriba!   I’m gathering some Mexican meal deliciousness for you (including cocktails).   Then next Sunday is Mother’s Day — I’ve already found a refreshing lemon drink made with honey, and a radicchio/goat cheese on crackers appetizer.   More about those later . . .

And about that exercise plan I started four months ago . . .  well, it’s really starting to take off!   My goal is to walk an entire hour every day this week, and you have to hold me to it, dear reader!    One hour every day, surely I can work that in.   I’ve also got a couple of walking websites to share along the way.  I’m trying out podcasts, too, so when I find one that is good enough for you, I’ll let you know.

If you aren’t involved in Twitter yet, I urge you to check it out.  You can start by following me and others in my network.   We talk about all of the things you are interested in:  health, fitness, some are vegetarian or vegan, and some are interested in the green lifestyle.   Create an account if you have the time – I find that a wealth of information flows over Twitter almost constantly.   If you do create a Twitter account and have questions, please email me at 14monthsto50@gmail.com or post your questions on my Facebook wall (click the Facebook button in the right-hand column) – others may have the same questions.

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I’VE TRIED A FEW DIFFERENT whole grain pastas lately.  My two favorites have been a thin spaghetti whole wheat pasta by Archer Farms and this Kamut Ditalini by Eden Organic.   I received a sample of this in the mail, and I have to say I really do like it.  I find, as many people do, that the whole grain pastas can be . . . well . . . grainy.   And by that I mean they are grainy to the tongue — rough where we are used to feeling smooth from our white flour pastas.  So the thinner long noodles or  short cut noodles like this ditalini are better at blending in with the food and not calling attention to themselves.   You feel like you are eating a whole dish, not just a grainy pasta with some other stuff around it. 

I prepared this dish by sauteing white onion, green and red bell peppers, and a clove of garlic in some olive oil.  Once all those were softened, I added a can of kidney beans and a can of diced onions.  In the meantime I had the pasta boiling (has to boil for 10 minutes), and then after draining the pasta, I topped it with the veggies and beans.  I’m going to try this pasta again in some other recipes, but for a first try on a thrown-together quicky meal, I have to say I do like it.

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