Saturday, October 30, 2010

Utah Vacation - Spending Time with Family & Friends - Meeting my Favorite Author

Hello! Remember me? Yeah, I haven't been here for awhile. But I have a super good excuse, I've been on vacation!  My family and I just returned home from our week stay in Utah visiting family and a dear friend in Las Vegas.  My husband and I agree, this was probably one of the most fun vacations we have ever taken.

We stayed a week with family in Springville, Utah.  The kids played and caught up, as did the adults.  We also were able to watch the season change before our very eyes.  We left California after a day where the AC was needed, and we arrived in Utah on a typical autumn evening.  By mid-week, it was snowing throughout the Salt Lake Valley.

It was such an exciting week for me that I found myself without an appetite.  Yes, you heard correctly, WITHOUT an appetite.  I know, usually while on vacation, it's so easy to gorge on good food.  We had good food, I just didn't feeling like eating it.  I even had some dark chocolate stashed away, just in case.  I had one piece the day I bought it and I didn't touch it the remainder of the trip. I know, I am shocked too.

The only thing I can think of is that I was truly in a relaxed mode. When I am relaxed, food takes on a whole new meaning for me and I have better control over it, actually, it would seem, that I have complete control over it.  When I am stressed, tired and can't think straight, it's easy to snack and gorge and loose all control.  It felt great being in control this week and I feel a new resolve to get into a better routine to keep it permanent.

An exciting event that happened while in Utah was an opportunity to catch up with our favorite author, Kaleb Nation, at his book signing.  You have seen me talk about his books before.  (If not, scroll down)  Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse was published last year.  This year, Bran Hambric: The Specter Key, was released.  He's as sweet in person as he is online.  It was truly a pleasure to meet him.  We wish him the very best.
Kaleb and me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why I avoid fast food like the plague.

I've spent posts explaining the horrific nature of fast food and why it's not helpful in our weight loss efforts.  Yes, we live in a busy time and there are meals where we have to partake.  But it should be infrequently, very infrequently.  When I hear of families hopping from one FF joint to the other  because they are too busy to cook for dinner, I cringe.

My dear friend, Angela, brought this to my attention today.  I've heard of a Twinkie lasting for years unchanged, but I've never seen it.  There is something about a photograph of food that bacteria won't even touch that speaks volumes.  If it's not decomposing naturally by the umpteen gazillion bacteria that exist everywhere on the planet, what the heck is it doing to your body?  What does your body have to do to break it down? Poor, poor body.

Click HERE for the article.


I am ashamed to admit this, but today was the first day I hopped on the elliptical in a long time.  Positivity is something I want to bring to this blog because no one wants to read something depressing and unmotivating.  At the same time I want to keep it real.  The journey is long.  Even when you get down to your ideal weight, you aren't done! It's a lifelong journey and once you admit it, you can be easier on yourself.

So I grabbed my latest read, Fablehaven, and I did 20 minutes at level 10.  Boy, did it feel different, but it felt good.  Since I started my writing journey in May, I haven't been focusing on my weight loss efforts like I should.  By cutting out the exercise alone, I gained 8-10 pounds over the summer.  I try not to let the reality bother me, but to use it as a motivator.  (Right now my winter jeans are a motivator too)  NEVER STOP EXERCISING!! Had I continued my daily workouts, I likely would have maintained.  I know this, yet I allow myself to forget.  Why? I guess I'm human.

So today, I decided to officially make a commitment to do NaNoWriMo.  For those who don't know what this term means, November is National Novel Writing Month.  NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1st through 30th.  I've never participated in it before, but with the helpful and loving coercion of my dear husband and one of my lovely critique partners, I'm ready to take on the challenge. 

The word count doesn't frighten me, when I wrote my first novel, I did 97K in five weeks.  I also know that once I get started, the words should flow.  The thing that initially frightened me was that I didn't have a single idea floating around in my head.  Not one.  Luckily, a little staring and some online time, an idea hit me.  I have a rough outline and I am feeling like I can do it.  I have a few weeks to make a more reliable outline I can work with and I think I'll be able to finish the challenge by the 30th without loosing too much sleep or gaining any weight.  (I am also going to make the commitment to regularly workout too)

Do you have an interest to start writing?  This is a great way to get started.  Check out the website: www.nanowrimo.org  There are a lot of resources!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Aspartame is EVIL

For years I've avoided Aspartame. It's in all sorts of diet foods and soda.  I've said it for years, avoid it.

If something is not natural, we shouldn't be putting it into our body. When I say "natural" I define it as something directly from nature, unadulterated. Anything we put into our bodies that isn't natural, our body has to work extra hard to process it, if it can process it at all.

When trying to be healthy to lose weight, the least distractions you give your body the better.  I'm an advocate to keeping your diet simple and eating real foods.

Some disturbing info about aspartame I got from this article. This information also matches what I read back  when I was working on my Holistic Nutrition degree in: "Excitotoxins:The Taste That Kills.

It's a nasty substance, please avoid it for your own health.
  • According to the Department of Health and Human Services, aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA.
  • The maker of aspartame, Monsanto, uses genetically engineered bacteria to produce the “sweetener.”
  • linked to blindness
  • migraine headaches
  • dizziness
  • seizures
  • nausea
  • numbness 
  • muscle spasms
  • weight gain
  • rashes
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • tachycardia
  • insomnia
  • vision problems
  • hearing loss
  • heart palpitations
  • breathing difficulties
  • anxiety attacks
  • slurred speech 
  • loss of taste
  • vertigo
  • memory loss
  • joint pain. 
The following chronic illnesses are triggered or worsened by ingesting aspartame: 
  • brain tumors
  • multiple sclerosis
  • epilepsy
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • mental retardation
  • lymphoma
  • birth defects
  • fibromyalgia
  • diabetes.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

10,000 Pounds of Tomatoes (Part 2)

So what did I end up doing with my 10,000 pounds of tomatoes? 

A plateful of home grown tomatoes served with salt and pepper is absolutely delicious. There isn't enough salt, pepper, spice or sauce in the world that can make store-bought, anemic tomatoes edible. 

Fantastic on BLT's, cold cuts or just plan bread.  We'll even chop them up in a bowl, add some balsamic vinegar, blue cheese and call it lunch.  There are endless serving suggestions for these gems.

My husband made these for dinner the other night and I've been craving them ever since.  Just a tad bit more involved than slicing tomatoes, but the flavor is worth the little extra effort that is needed.

Slice and toast Dutch Crunch bread.  Dip bread onto a plate drizzled with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Cover with sliced tomato sprinkled with a dash of salt and pepper, mozzarella cheese and basil leaves.  So good--now I want to make some for lunch!

Earlier in the week, I cut up as many tomatoes that would fit in my pot.  When it boiled down a few inches, I added more until it reached the top.  I cooked the sauce for several hours until it got thicker and cooled it down so I could put it in the fridge.  

The following day, I fried up ground beef with onions and garlic.  Then I added enough sauce to make a batch of spaghetti sauce.  While I let the flavors merge into each other, I added the flavorings and seasons to make it taste yummy. 

I made spaghetti twice that week and the left-over plain sauce was frozen for a later time.

There is no way to photograph these, because they are ugly no matter what.  I dried the rest of the tomatos that I had in my dehydrator and this is what they look like.  They may be ugly, but they are tasty little snacks that can only be made with home grown tomatoes.