Taking Care of Me

This month, I’ve decided that I need to work on “me” – loving myself, accepting myself, taking care of myself.

And specifically doing something special for myself every once in awhile, that I wouldn’t normally do.

I was shopping in Lexington, MA yesterday. I parked my car about 1/2 mile from the center of town, and walked to Peet’s Coffee & Tea shop, where I picked up a tin of Jasmine Fancy loose-leaf tea. Yes, that is one of the good things I’m doing for myself: Loose-leaf tea.

I was hungry, so I decided to treat myself to lunch at Panera Bread.

I ordered the tomato mozarella flatbread sandwich. Just a teenie sandwich with a bag of chips next to it, but it was wonderful sitting by myself, feeling independent and relaxed.

I rarely ever order good food when I eat out. It’s usually something quick and cheap at a fast food chain. But this month, I’ve started eating clean again…and I have refrained from unhealthy take-out or junk food for a couple of weeks now, and it has paid off BIG time. My energy is up, I’m starting to lose the extra weight I put back on, and even my feet are less dry and cracked. Ha!

Yep, the food budget is over the top, but you know what? I’ve decided that my husband and I are worth it! :-)

New Affirmation

My new mantra/affirmation: “I love myself unconditionally right now” ~~Louise Hay.

I was watching the movie “Hungry For Change” earlier this month, and the part that most struck me was from Dr. Christiane Northrup – speaking about the power of loving yourself. I immediately wrote down the affirmation, and decided to try it.

I try to say it out loud a few times every day (sometimes looking in the mirror, and sometimes not)

I’m not sure if it’s exactly working, but it must be doing something right, if I took time for lunch at Panera yesterday!

Celebrate the Life of Robert Kennedy (Fitness Publisher)

I first saw Robert Kennedy’s (the publisher) name on Clean Eating mag and as the publisher of Tosca Rena’s books. Naively, I initially thought he was part of the political Kennedy clan, and never really gave him much thought.

Then sometime last year, I heard of his death, which led me to do a little more research. I learned that he was married to Tosca Rena, and that there was no relation to “the” Kennedy family.

Yesterday, I received a newsletter email with an e-book download – a collection of photos from of his many stages Robert Kennedy’s life, put together by his photographer friend, and his family.

It made me want to learn more, so I read his wikipedia page, along with a blog post message from his cancer doctors.

Bob Kennedy passed away from lung cancer, but he was not a smoker. He was diagnosed in Feb, 2012, and he passed in April. How very sad. He was brave not to accept traditional chemo cancer treatments, and tried to battle the cancer with alternative therapy.

He had two children with his first wife, a daughter and a son. His son was in a tragic car accident which caused severe brain damage. His wife committed suicide after the accident. His son also passed in early 2011.

If you have a chance, download a copy of the e-book; it’s joyful and sorrowful, but inspiring!

Other Links:
Robert Kennedy Publishing
Robert Kennedy’s wikipedia page

After 1000 Days, My Top 3 Weight Loss Tips

Yesterday was my 1000th login day at MyFitnessPal and a friend asked me for my top 3 tips from my journey.

I took a little time to think about it, and here they are.

  1. Eat whole, unprocessed foods. If you are truly hungry, eat, even if it means going over your calories a little bit every once in awhile (as long as you are eating healthy whole foods.) No need for “fads”, like eating every 2 hours or not after 6pm. Listen to your body and eat when you feel it’s right.
  2. Treat yourself every once in awhile. Don’t call it a “cheat”, it’s a treat to reward yourself for a job well done. When treating, make sure to choose something really worth the calories, not some crappy Oreo cookie. Treat yourself to a piece of chocolate cake or dinner at your favorite chain restaurant. And LOG LOG LOG. Don’t hide your choices, always log!
  3. Soul Search to figure out what made you overweight in the first place. It’s a long process, and you might not ever be “cured” but once you understand what’s inside your brain, you can learn to live with it.

    It might feel scary to keep your food diary “open” to your friends, but it will force you to be accountable for your actions, and that is a good thing. Don’t ever be ashamed of your food choices, just strive to get better.

Remember that nothing happens overnight.

Food choices don’t magically become healthy in one week; it might take months before you transition to whole foods.

Baby steps! You are in this for the long haul, not for a quick fix! it’s a lifestyle not a diet!

1000 Straight Days of Logging Into MyFitnessPal

Whoo hoo.

Today marks the 1000th day of login days at MyFitnessPal!

Even though I am in weight-loss maintenance, for me, it’s important to continue logging my daily food intake. It keeps my calories and other nutritional data on track and since my diary is open to my MFP friends, it keeps me accountable.

Happy 1000th day to me! :)

1000 days of logging in at myfitnesspal

900 Days of Logging at MyFitnessPal

Today I am celebrating my 900th straight day of logging into MyFitnessPal.com. Next month, it’ll be 3 years since I started on my healthy journey! What a wonderful experience this has been!

It all started with a quote on a Facebook friend’s wall on July 20th, 2009:

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.

After various unsuccessful attempts to “get healthier”, I saw her post, and for some reason, it clicked! I knew this time would be different, I knew this time I was going to stick to it no matter what!

I started tracking my calories on fitday.com, but a few days later, I found that Myfitnesspal.com was better, so I copied all my food info from fitday. Ever since then, I’ve been logging in and tracking my food, even before MFP kept track of the total log-in days. I don’t think I missed more than one or two days of tracking, even while on vacation.

I wasn’t always perfect in the foods I chose, but I logged them anyway, and now looking back, it’s awesome to have a record of my food diary, and how I’ve evolved through the years.

In fact, here is a screen shot of food diary on July 21st (click for larger version):

first day of food diary

During the last 3 years, I have lost (and maintained) 65+/- pounds. I’ve never felt healthier! I’m going to be 50 this year, and I didn’t feel this good, with so much energy at 30!

Life is good! Happy 900th day, next stop 1000!

Project Food Budget / My Healthy Budget: February Month 4 / Week 2

Project: Food Budget Weekly total: $70.25

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal, home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and spices/herbs.

There’s two of us eating 3 (mostly) meals per day. My husband occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.

February – Month Four, Week Two

project food budget

This week, I’ve spent $70.25, with a month total of $272.39. After my CSA meat delivery later this month, that’ll leave approximately $127 for the rest of February. Yeah, I’m a little nervous, that’s $60 for each of the two remaining weeks of groceries.

On paper, it’s doable, but it’s going to be tricky.

Budgeting Dilemma

I hate saying it, but I think I’m now starting to regret signing up for my local meat CSA. It was paid-in-full months ago, but I am applying the monthly cost of $83+ to every month that I receive a delivery. Problem is, we don’t eat much meat, and I now have a freezer full of meat!

It’s annoying because I’m applying the cost, but we’re technically not consuming it. The positive side is, I’ll have enough meat into the summer! :)

I’m putting WAY too much pressure on myself to keep within this budget. Last month really depleted my pantry, and I’m starting to feel deprived and a little resentful. sigh. That’s not good! So, I have a choice.

Either add a little bit more to my budget, until the CSA is over.

Or, maybe I could go back to my original idea to apply the cost of the meat we actually consume each week. I think I’m leaning toward raising the budget.

***What do my budget buddies think???

Spending Details

Dining Out: $11.00 – ice cream sundaes
Entertaining: $0
Groceries: $59.25

Whole Foods Market (Fri, 2/10) $59.25: organic bok choy, (2) grapefruit, organic cauliflower, beet root (local), 2lb bag o’ organic carrots, 3lb bag o’ gala apples, 4lb bag o’ navel oranges, split chicken breast, uncured ham, Emmenthaler cheese, feta cheese, (3) Nasoya tofu, Earth Balance mindful mayo, frozen organic green beans, (2lb) Lundberg brown basmati rice, peanuts, wild Alaskan canned salmon, peanut butter, salsa, Muir Glen tomatoes, Sonyfield plain yogurt, dark chocolate

Food Notes:
WF had a “Madness” sale on split chicken breast value packs for $1.99/lb. My dogs eat raw, so most of it was for them (their food is on a separate budget), but I kept a piece for us and split the cost appropriately. They also had Hake fish on sale too, but I resisted. It’s not the most sustainable fish choice, and DH isn’t a fish-fan anyway.

See? It’s missed opportunities like this that are starting to drive me bonkers!

I did pick up some Nasoya organic tofu…for FREE! whoo hooo. $1.25 Whole Foods store coupon stacked on to the $.75 newly printed internet coupon I found this morning. They were selling it for 2/$4. I got three: 2 silky and 1 soft.

I also just realized that they are a local company from Ayer, MA – very cool. I’m not a soy eater, but I tried a sample of the “Engine 2” fruit mousse a couple of weeks ago at WF and it was delicious. Plus there are tons of recipes and videos over at Nasoya, so I’m willing to give tofu a shot. I just won’t tell DH!

I also used coupons for Lundberg rice, Stonyfield yogurt, Earthbound mayo, Muir Glen tomatoes, and Whole Foods chocolate bar, saving over $12. It’s not “extreme” coupon-worthy, but it’s a start! Thanks to Kait, I’m a coupon-luvah!

Week of Meals

  • Thursday: Trader Joe’s Vegetable Lasagna – ok for frozen, and cheaper than take-out. Takes an hour to bake.
  • Friday: Baked sweet potato and fried eggs
  • Saturday: Ham split pea soup w/veg stock, carrots, celery, celery root topped over brown rice
  • Sunday: Oven braised bone-in chicken breast w/ tomatoes & onions, over lentils and roasted cauliflower
  • Monday: Pasta with canned whole tomato and bok choy
  • Tuesday: Frozen leftover beefalo meatloaf with roasted beets, carrots, and quinoa
  • Wednesday: Upside Down Pizza (veggie bake) made meatless with frozen mixed veggies, canned tomatoes, sauteed onions, chili peppers, roasted peppers, and feta cheese.

Want to Join the Project Food Budget?

project food budget

It’s never too late to join the Project Food Budget!

If you’d like to participate, get the details and let Emily know you’re on board!

Here’s who else is budgeting this week:

Windex Mini Concentrated Refill Toxins

We watched the CBS This Morning show and they showcased the “best new consumer products” from Better Homes & Gardens.

I had to laugh because one of their recommendations was the Windex Mini Concentrated Refill Pouch – they touted it as better for the environment because there was less waste in the packaging. Huh?

windex mini concentrated refillable pouches

Okay, saving the environment with smaller packaging, but perhaps ruining our lungs, soil, and water supply with toxic chemicals inside the smaller package. That makes no sense!

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if Better Homes and Gardens really did try to make our homes and gardens better by recommending natural products that weren’t poisoning our lungs and environment; but I guess their big corporate advertisers like Johnson & Johnson wouldn’t like that too much, would they?

Here’s the list of ingredients:

  1. Water
  2. Cleaning Agents: Ammonium Hydroxide, Ethoxylated Alcohol, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  3. Fragrance
  4. Preservative: Benzoisothiazolinone
  5. Dye Liquitint® Sky Blue Dye
  6. pH Adjuster: Citric Acid

Yeah, Johnson & Johnson claim to be transparent with their list of ingredients; they really try hard to convince us that there is no danger with the chemicals they use, but truthfully, ammonia is toxic for our lungs, skin and our earth no matter how hard they try to spin it otherwise.

And sorry, I am not stupid, I don’t need blue dye in my cleaning products to “help me see where I applied the product and when a product is used up.”

There is also absolutely no need for “fragrance” but unfortunately the public equates clean with a strong chemical smell. It’s really very troubling.

The worst part is because the product is ultra concentrated, these ingredients are super strong compared to regular bottled windex. I can’t even imagine this product being accidentally ingested by children or pets, or spilled on your skin or down the drain.

Take a peek at Windex’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) (link opens to a pdf file) and it should scare the crap out of you!

Please keep products like Windex out of your home!

Try a mixture of plain white vinegar and water in a spray bottle; it’s 100% non-toxic! I use vinegar & water to clean my counters, sink, and even my produce. It works great!

Paula Deen Diabetes Announcement – Just Take Your Medicine, Ya’all

As predicted, Paula Deen made the official announcement that she is diabetic. Even though she was diagnosed 3 years ago, her reason for coming forward now is that she wants to help others.

In reality, she’s coming forward with a profitable new partnership with drug maker Novo Nordisk, marketing a new “helpful” web site called Diabetes in a New Light, which should really be called “pulling the wool over your diabetic eyes so you can’t see the true light.”

Let’s Turn Off the “Diabetes in a New Light”

So I checked out the Diabetes in a New Light web site, and uh, seriously, someone should turn off that light before it hurts someone. :(

  1. The site is financed by Novo Nordisk, a Diabetes DRUG company, so right there, that’s a HUGE conflict of interest.
  2. There is nothing on the site that mentions PREVENTION of diabetes, only what to do if you’ve already diagnosed. Hmm, why prevent diabetes when there is so much money to be made.
  3. There’s nothing about trying to reverse it with diet/exercise. Again, Big Pharma can’t make millions if we can reverse it on our own with natural means. (Novo Nordisk’s drug Victoza, had global sales of $734 million in their first 3 quarters of 2011)
  4. Victoza’s list of scary cautions & warnings on every page should be enough to make anyone think twice about taking this drug.

Basically all the web site accomplishes is regurgitating common-sense diabetes advice while tricking you into giving them your personal information in order to sign up for a newsletter. Why do they need your mailing address for an email newsletter?

hmm….the answer is at the bottom of the form, Novo Nordisk want your permission to bombard you with marketing materials from them and their “affiliates or vendors.” What do you get in return? Oh some delicious, diabetic-friendly recipes. Worth it, right?


If Paula Deen truly cared about people then she would be giving her re-worked recipes and tips for free, without making you sign away your privacy to a drug company!

It’s Just Entertainment, Ya’all

I watched the Paula Deen interview on the Today show, and she tried so hard to convince us that all she wants to do is help people, but at the same time she skirts around the question if she’ll change the way she cooks and eats.

Her eventual answer was that she NEVER ate like that every day, it’s just entertainment, ya’all, and that she’s always been about moderation. Since when, Paula?

Perhaps she should have mentioned more about moderation during her “butter is beautiful” or “add another cup o’ sugar” shows on Food Network. Ugh. Yeah, what a great role model. It’s just for entertainment!

Wouldn’t it have been refreshing if Paula came forward and admitted that she was wrong, and that she made a lot of big mistakes with her health?

There’s no money in mistakes. Don’t change your life, just take some meds.

Farms Don’t Pay For Endorsements

This situation angers me the most because she didn’t go public with her illness until she secured a lucrative deal, and since the local farm-fresh industry is not paying for endorsements, why promote a change in lifestyle for free, when a top-bidding Big Pharma company will pay you millions to promote their drugs!

And the topper is Novo Nordisk is actually claiming that when they came to her to be a partner, they didn’t know she was diagnosed with diabetes. wink wink. Yeah, the National Enquirer knew, but no one else did? Makes me sick. I think I’ll eat some butter.

More links:

Project Food Budget / My Healthy Budget: January Wk 1

Project: Food Budget Weekly total: $35.74

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal, home-cooked meals while sticking to a $308.49 $400 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and spices/herbs.

There’s two of us eating 3 (mostly) meals per day. Breakfasts are usually light, and we try to eat left-overs for lunch. My husband occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.

January – Month Three, Week One

project food budget

Since I was over in December, my budget was reduced for January, leaving approximately $56 for each week (not including my local meat CSA).

Whoo Hoo! This first week of January, I’m under budget with $35.74 spent, leaving $272.75 left for the rest of the month. I shopped at two grocery stores this week (Market Basket & Whole Foods).

Since I felt I did pretty well this week, I was inspired by my budget buddy Angela from Test Kitchen Tuesday to take a photo of my purchases:

click to view larger:
my grocery purchases this week

Market Basket: $17.96 – Whole Foods: $17.78 = $35.74
Broccoli, organic baby spinach, organic pears, organic apples, avocados, bananas, mango (which turned out to be spoiled & will be returned/replaced), whole peeled organic tomatoes, local green cabbage, organic chicken broth, yogurt, kiwis, organic flat-leaf parsley, organic carrot, olives from bar, beet bulbs, bag o’ oranges, bag o’ onions.

Dining Out: $0
Groceries: $35.74

Week of Meals (short week)

Sunday: Tomato Veggie Soup w/ bacon, mushrooms, green beans, corn, cranberry beans, & sharp cheddar.
Monday: Pork ribs (local) with barley and winter squash
Tuesday: Bread pizzas with spinach, roasted peppers, olives & aged cheddar
Wednesday: Veg minestrone with beans, pasta and guacamole topping

Want to Join the Project Food Budget?

project food budget

If you’d like to participate in the Project Food Budget, get the details and let Emily know you’re on board!

Here’s who else is participating (Welcome all the new blogs this week!):