Monday, June 18, 2012

First Step Taken

It appears that the fast was successful for both hubby and myself.  I am glad that we ended up doing it together.  The desired outcome was achieved.  We both did lose a little weight, but it truly was the first step toward eating healthfully and more consciously.  An entire week passed by with no eating out and no grain consumption.  It's a miracle!  Well, maybe not a miracle, but it is a humongous accomplishment for the both of us to be sure.

We both have developed some terrible habits over the last several years.  The worst, by far in my opinion, is regularly dining out.  Back in the day dining out was a special treat and something in which we rarely indulged.  Then, the kids got older.  Before you knew it we went from having seven children living at home to just three.  Eating out picked up a bit.  Then, we were down to two at home.  Then, we went from two teens to one young adult and a new baby.  Holy cow did we ever start eating out a lot!  It wasn't like we woke up one day and decided that we'd rather eat out than eat at home.  There was no conscious decision made by anyone.  It just kind of crept into our lifestyle.

Eventually, hubby eased into eating carry out in one form or another EVERY DAY at work.  Not to mention the occasional breakfast at the restaurant before work and the occasional dinner out with me after work.  On top of all of his eating out I started eating out with the remaining boys as well.  It was nothing for me to grab some Mexican food for lunch while running errands or to allow myself to be 'conned' into the occasional stop at Coney Island.  Basically my average became about two or three times per week eating out.  For someone that has to be super particular about what she consumes in order to be fit and healthy eating out is not a good thing.  At least it wasn't with my previous attitude about it.

See, even though eating out had become regular and normal and expected I was treating it like it was still a special treat.  With it being a 'special treat' I was still of the mindset to indulge in items that I would not normally eat or prepare at home.  Things that are not so friendly to my waist line.  I have to be careful with the carbs.  Bread and pasta, even whole grain, are terrible for me.  They pack on the pounds.  Not to mention my meal out was almost always meat based.  This fast allowed me to take a break from grain completely, and I did okay without it.  Even though our fast is over I do plan to continue with no grains for this week as well.  It seems to make a tremendous difference.

This past week of fasting has allowed me the time necessary to dig a little deeper into researching food and how it effects our health and weight.  Why does it have to be so complicated?  It's a wonder more people are not obese or deceased with the corruption in our food system.  I seriously feel like I need to be a detective in order to figure out what to eat and be healthy.  I mean, certain things are obvious.  Don't eat fast food.  Don't eat processed food.  Stay away from sugar.  Caffeine really isn't good for you.  Meat and dairy may not be a good idea either.  Vegetables are important.  Fruit is good for you.  I'd say that's about where the beginner knowledge level stops.

Then, you get into the more complicated stuff like Monsanto, GMO's, pesticides, food additives, the corruption of the food system, wheat (or is it?) and other grains, good and bad oils, and on, and on, and on. Somewhere along the way I discovered information about eating for your blood type as well.  That is pretty compelling and definitely got my attention.  When I read about it it was completely like it had been written just for me in describing my blood type, and wouldn't you know it that I have the most complicated one of all; AB.  Oh, yippee!

Oh, then I learned about the Paleo Diet.  It seems all the rage right now and really does make some sense.  It's about eating foods that do not require additional processing to be consumed.  So, things like grains and dry beans and dairy would be out.  It's mostly fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats.  Not too bad, really.

My bottom line, at the moment, is eat mostly vegetables, some fruit, no sugar, no grains, and little meat.  The vegetables and fruits are no big deal.  Sugar is a little challenging.  Grains will get added in slowly starting with rice next week.  I also plan to switch all my flour to rice flour for a while and experiment with baking some of my own things like tortilla shells, bread, and healthy baked goods from scratch.  Meat really isn't a big deal either.  We only eat venison that we procure and process ourselves and beef from our friend's farm. I plan to add lamb and turkey when I manage to find a good, local source.  The hubby also eats fish, but I am allergic.  Since I don't purchase what I call 'grocery store meat' we are a little more conservative on our consumption already.  My current goal is to not consume meat more than once per week.

I have spent hours on Pinterest researching foods that fit my new requirements, and I have even been taking mine and the hubby's blood type recommendations into consideration as well.  I absolutely LOVE Pepperplate and have been using that to collect all the recipes I plan or desire to actually cook at some point.  It's awesome, because I can use Pepperplate to create menus, create a meal planner, and print a grocery list.  It really is an awesome tool, and it's FREE!  I originally discovered it as a free download on my Kindle Fire. It sat there for a while without me realizing what an awesome tool I had at my fingertips.  I use it all the time now.  We are even using it to catalog and edit our recipes for the cookbook I am co-writing.  If you've been around here regularly you know that this is an on-going project of many years.  We are finally ready to start wrapping it up and hope to have it completed within a year.  So excited to finally see a light at the end of the tunnel on that one!

It has been hitting me lately just how much time actually goes into food in our lives.  Some of us grow it, so we have to plan our gardens, procure our seeds, plant and tend our gardens, and preserve the spoils.  Even if you don't do all that there's still learning to cook, planning the meals, shopping for the food, loading and unloading the food, preparing the food, and cleaning up afterward.  Plus, we have to stay educated on food prices, availability, and quality.  It's a cycle that can never end.  We all have to eat and feed our families.

No wonder I was dining out so much!

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Journey Begins

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
~ Lau-tzu

In researching this quote for use here I discovered that this is actually a modified translation of the original quote.  According to my research, the quote would be more accurately translated as, "The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one's feet."  I have to say that I like the intent of the more literal translation much better.  The focus changes from the step to the action required to reach one's desired destination.  We have to start where we are, and move, in order to get results.

The journey I am beginning might as well be the journey of a million steps for how I feel about it.  Obviously, my attitude must be a good one since I am starting, but I have attempted this journey several times in my 41 years.  Ultimately I did achieve a modicum of success each time.  However, I did fail to maintain the success in each journey taken.  Due to this fact I harbor an inner fear that this journey will be no different.  I pray to God that is not the case.  I pray that this journey finds lasting success for both my hubby and myself, as we are taking the journey together for the second time.

What is the journey?

Weight loss and sustained health.

Today we began together a cleansing fast that I found online after being inspired by the results my girlfriend and her husband have experienced during fasting they have been doing together.  I have tried the fast they are doing before, and I know it's not for me right now.  I need to eat in order to be successful, so no lemonade fast for me this time around.  On this journey our first step, or our beginning action, is the seven-day cleansing fast.  Today is all fruit.  

In preparation I went to the grocery store and stocked up on everything for the first four days of the fast.  I spent about $120 on groceries, and bought a cart full of produce.  I still need to get the meat portion of the fast, but I refuse to purchase meat from the grocery store.  I've not decided how to tackle this part of the fast, but I figure I have a few days to figure it out.  I have not established a relationship with a local farmer yet, so I have no reliable source for clean poultry which is what fast calls for on Day 5 and 6.  Hopefully I can figure something out between now and then.  As a possible alternative I did pick up some tofu for myself, but that will not cut it for the hubby.  I was disappointed to see that virtually all the meat analog products in my local grocery store all contain wheat gluten.  That's another discussion, but it doesn't fit into this fast either.

When I returned from the grocery store I filled the kitchen counter with my spoils and began cleaning and prepping all the food.  For my hubby, I packaged his first day's necessities into containers and put them on a shelf in the refrigerator for him to grab in the morning.  Fortunately, we have two refrigerators, so I removed anything that didn't fit into the fast from our main refrigerator thereby removing any temptation and allowing us to stay focused.  I then put all the prepped fruit into pretty bowls and just set them on the shelves in the refrigerator.  Now it is easy to just open the door and eat.  No work involved.  For day two I cleaned and prepped all the veggies, packaged them, and moved them to the other refrigerator.  Tomorrow I can remove the fruit from the kitchen and replace it with the veggies.  I plan to continue this tactic throughout the week.

I began my day by weighing myself, marking it on the calendar, and drinking a glass of water.  Next, I was able to take the time to do some prayer and reading before Avery greeted the day.  It was a nice way to start things out.  

As my first 'meal' this morning I tried a new smoothie.  It was pretty good.  Here's the recipe, if you're interested:

1 mango
1 orange
1 lemon

I prepared the mango by pitting it and dicing it into the blender.  Then I halved the avocado and just scooped it on top of the mango.  I used a hand juicer and juiced the citrus.  After I juiced the orange I did scoop the pulp into the blender.  Then, I added the juice and blended until smooth. (I think it would be better with a lime instead of the lemon, but I didn't have one on hand.)

The mixture was pretty thick, so I added some water to thin.  It would taste best chilled, but I just drank it up.  The thickness got me to thinking that it would make great popsicles or even vegan ice cream.  Maybe I'll try that in the future.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Mr. & Mrs.

Mr. & Mrs. Steven Schmekel

I know some of you noticed my absence the past two weeks.  Well, what better excuse can a mother have than the marriage of her youngest daughter to a most awesome young man.  We now have a son-in-law!

We traveled the 15 hour trek from Michigan to Missouri to be a part of the big day.  What I didn't anticipate was no wi-fi for most of that time.  I had full intentions of at least keeping up with my Friday Farmgirl posts, and I hoped to blog about our vacation along the way.  The best laid plans...

Give me a couple days to get back on track here, and I promise to get all caught up.  I have plenty to share, and for those of you that wondered the newspaper is holding its own so far in the garden.  A lot is going on in the yard, so there will be plenty to share.  Thanks for you patience.  :)


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