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!

Life is Good – Employment, Time Management, Farm Meat, and Spring Veg CSA

Wow it’s been so long since I’ve posted. A lot has been going on.

First and foremost, I am EMPLOYED! Yay. After being laid off three separate times by the same company, I am happy to report that I have a brand new job that I really love!

I’m earning more money, but with that comes more working hours, which translates to less time for other things! Haha! But I’m adjusting.

Humbled on a Budget

During our financial rough patch, I was humbled when I realized how difficult it is to eat healthily AND responsibly with less spending.

I’ve had to cut some corners. I think the biggest adjustment was buying more meat from Whole Foods instead of the local farm.

I’m happy that I didn’t have to resort to supermarket factory-farmed meat, but now I can completely understand why so many families are forced to purchase cheap meat because their food budgets are stretched to the max. We are a two-person family and I can’t even imagine how difficult it is for larger families.

How dare I criticize anyone for their food choices, especially if they are trying their best on a limited budget!!!

Scratch Home Cooking is a Challenge

It was easy for me to preach home-cooking from scratch when I was unemployed or working less hours. Heck! I was home for the majority of the day for the past 3-4 years. Of course it was simple for me to find time to bake bread, can tomatoes, make lunches, and cook dinner every day!

Now that I’m away from home 6.5 – 7 hours a day, I realize how difficult it is to manage and balance my time at home. But I’m making adjustments and utilizing shortcuts like the crockpot, meal planning, and make-ahead freezer dinners.

It’s arrogant for me to criticize a working mom choosing canned cream soup or a jar of tomato sauce. Everyone has their own set of restrictions and who am I to judge. It’s another humbling lesson learned.

Farm Meat and Springtime CSA

More good news!

Thursday, I received a meat delivery from Open Meadow Farm – the first one since January, 2013, before I was laid off in March. I am so blessed to have the means again to buy meat from a local farm!

I will never take it for granted again!

Today, after receiving their newsletter, I decided to register for the Spring Vegetable CSA at Farmer Dave’s.

We had a CSA for two summers a few years ago, but this will be a first for the off season. Sure, I’m paying a little more than I’d pay for vegetables at the grocery, but I’ll know exactly where and how my food is grown and it’ll be worth it.

And I won’t take THAT for granted either!

Appreciation for Life’s Blessings

I feel lucky and so BLESSED that both my husband and I have good jobs.

There’s an overwhelming amount of appreciation and gratitude for my life. I’ve been on the other side (unemployment,) and it’s very depressing and degrading.

But there are no regrets, because without emotionally dark experiences, I’d never realize how special the lightness is.

October Unprocessed 2013 with Bob’s Red Mill Coupons!

I’m up for the challenge!

October Unprocessed 2013 is right around the corner, and I just took the pledge for my third year.

I just need to set some customized ground rules ahead of time; the original Eating Rules processed food definition is a bit too stringent for me, so I’ll be thinking about my own guidelines in the next few days.

It’s extra exciting this year, as Bob’s Red Mill (my fave) is sponsoring the challenge and they are offering some really valuable coupons, like REALLY good coupons, for those that sign up.


I just printed the page of coupons now:

  • Buy 1/Get 1 free (up to $4.99)
  • Save .75 on one product
  • Save .55 on package of Scottish oats
  • Save .55 of package of whole wheat flour

I’ve been slacking on my blog lately, and I’m really hoping this will spark new creativity. I’m looking forward to next month!

October Unprocessed 2011 – Day #15 & 135.6 lbs

Yay! I’m half way through my October Unprocessed 2011 challenge! There have been a couple of flubs along the way, but I’m not worrying too much. Life is too short to beat yourself up with too much nitpicking.

In general, I think I am doing a great job with the challenge.

And a bonus! I weighed myself this AM, and I was shocked to find that I’m down to 135.6 pounds! I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not; I know I haven’t really been working out, so I hope it’s not just muscle loss. Or could it be from the challenge? I don’t think I was eating THAT poorly before, but maybe these past couple of weeks were “different” enough to cause a change.

What’s Been Happening?

  1. I have been back to baking bread completely with whole grains. No white flour at all, using whole wheat, rye, and corn flours. Bread has been delicious, and it’s renewed my love for wholesome bread again. I admit I was getting sloppy, adding up to half white flour to my bread dough.
  2. I’ve actually stopped eating dark chocolate bars. Not intensionally, it just kind of happened that way. I have a bar of Equal Exchange organic 80% chocolate in my cupboard, waiting for me if I feel the urge to have a bite, but I haven’t really felt the need yet. Equal Exchange is soy free, but does contain “organic raw cane sugar” which might or might not be an acceptable “unprocessed” ingredient according to some participants, but I decided ahead of time that I would make an exception for chocolate if necessary. PS I did make the “powerballs” and they are good, but they aren’t really the same.
  3. I’m still occasionally eating white pasta and white rice. I never considered those to be “evil” unprocessed choices. They aren’t something I eat every day, just maybe once a week or so.
  4. I renewed my love for yummy barley. It’s so inexpensive at the Whole Foods bulk isle and you only have to buy what you’ll need. I bought a small amount of pink lentils, and I’ll be trying millet soon too. The bulk isle is a great way to try out some grains without the commitment of a full bag, and in most cases, the per lb price is LESS than the pre-bagged version anyway!
  5. This challenge has made me soo much more aware of food and ingredients. While at Whole Foods, I usually spend time noshing on samples at the end of the isles, but now, I’m more aware. No more stopping for their “organic” cookies and chips. It actually feels good to pass them and not partake.


We went out to dinner last Saturday night, to the Lobster Tail, a local seafood restaurant. I had purchased a Groupon months ago, and it was set to expire. I ordered a grilled combo dinner of shrimp, scallops and haddock, and was so happy that all the seafood was US-caught! It was absolutely delicious! They also served a side salad (with balsamic dressing), fresh green beans and a wonderful rice, which seemed to be a spanish risotto. There was such flavor, I was thrilled!

And we topped it all off with dessert to go. There was so many devilish choices, but I went with the cheesecake.

It was a deliciously decadent meal and I don’t think I strayed too too far from the unprocessed rules, but if I did, it was worth it! haha!

PS. I did agree ahead of time that I would give myself one day a week to go out to eat, as long the restaurant was fairly unprocessed. Okay, the cheesecake probably strayed a bit too far, but again, I’m not going to nitpick!

Take out dinner last night at the local Asian restaurant: steamed chicken & veggies with Japanese vegetable fried rice. That was probably more in line with “unprocessed” than the cheesecake! LOL

One More Stray

And one last “stray” I want to confess. The other night, we had salads, and I did use Cindy’s dressing (with gums,etc). No, it’s not the worse thing I could have done, but probably not following the unprocessed rules.

The bottle has been open in the fridge before I knew I’d be doing the challenge. I could make the excuse saying that I didn’t want to waste it, but truth is, I just didn’t feel like balsamic vinegar on my salad that night. I wanted a buttermilk creamy dressing. I really need to learn how to make this myself someday!

I can’t promise that I’ll stay away from Cindy’s Dressings again this month. We’ll see.

Sixteen More Days Left

So, 16 more days left! I don’t foresee any problems, and I hope it’ll be as successful as the previous 15 days!

I’ve really REALLY enjoyed reading the daily guest posts over at Eating Rules. I’ve learned lots of wonderful information.

  • What are gums?
  • The Scoop on White Flour – this is probably my favorite post so far, written by Cassidy Stockton from Bob’s Red Mill. I had no idea that some whole wheat flours are not ground from a whole grain. Some sneaky flour manufacturers “separate all three parts of the wheat grain and re-combine them to produce whole wheat flour.” That doesn’t sound as healthy as grinding an actual whole grain. I have been meaning to contact King Arthur to find out what their grinding process is.
  • Zombies & Advertising – a subject very close to my heart. It drives me crazy that Food companies are allowed to vastly stretch the truth in their advertising content and no one is stopping them! Long ago, I stopped purchasing most food products that are heavily advertised in media, and Big Food Corporations are not concerned with our health and well being, but only care about profits!

I can’t wait to read what’s coming in the next 16 days!

October Unprocessed 2011 – UPDATE Day #8

october unprocessed 2011

Day #8 for the October Unprocessed 2011 challenge over at the Eating Rules blog.

It’s been going very well, maybe a tiny flub or two at the beginning, but for the most part, I’m going strong! I was already a fairly “clean” eater but participating in this challenge has forced me to look even deeper at ALL food products, and I’m finding a lot are not as unprocessed as I’d like.

Today was a big challenge. I went with my DH to his work for a few but I didn’t realize he was going to be there so long. Had I known, I would have brought a snack.

Well needless to say, I was hungry in no time and I didn’t think there was much to eat at the office. I was so tempted to sneak a bite-sized butterfinger candy from the snack bowl. But I stayed strong!

Yes, it would have been so easy to grab a highly processed piece of candy or snack, I mean there was no one looking over my shoulder waiting to arrest me for eating proceeded food. But I thought about it and realized that if I cheated on the challenge now, what would stop me from cheating again and again? And then what would be the point of continuing on with the challenge if I wasn’t taking it seriously?

So we were on the way out and passed the kitchen and DH asked if I wanted some of his peanut butter? Duh. I totally forgot he keeps a few healthy items at work for breakfast or lunch. He had a jar of whole foods 365 organic peanut butter in the fridge and an opened box of Barbara’s brand shredded wheat cereal. I took a big spoonful of pb along with a shredded wheat biscuit. it held me over until we got home.

I stayed strong even when DH ordered a subway sub at walmart while I returned something and bought new batteries for my bathroom scale.

I felt sooooo good about sticking to the challenge even in the face of desperate hunger! Yay!

October Unprocessed 2011 – NO Processed Food for One Month

I stumbled on the October Unprocessed 2011 over on the EatingRules.com blog and it seems like a good challenge to try.

For the most part, I don’t eat processed food, but yes, there are times when a few items sneak in…like a subway sub or some birthday cake from the grocery store.

His definition of “processed food”

Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with readily available, whole-food ingredients.

I call it “The Kitchen Test.” If you pick up something with a label (and if it doesn’t have a label, it’s probably unprocessed), and find an ingredient you’d never use in your kitchen and couldn’t possibly make yourself from the whole form, it’s processed.

It doesn’t mean you actually have to make it yourself, it just means that for it to be considered “unprocessed” that you could, in theory, do so.

There is a discussion from last year

It would be a good challenge, now that summer is winding down. No more vacations to temp me with sugary fatty treats. I signed up! Whoo hooo!

My 2 Year Anniversary!

Darn! I missed my 2 year anniversary! It was on Wednesday the 20th, I thought it was the 23rd! Oh well. What’s important is I made it though another year.

2 years ago, a friend posted an inspirational quote on her Facebook profile and it profoundly altered my life forever.

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.

I had been thinking of a change to a healthier lifestyle, but every time I tried, it never worked out. I always got side tracked by tempting sugary, processed foods.

When I saw the quote on her wall, it “spoke to me” – I knew it was now or never.

So, here I am! I’ve lost 60+ pounds, and at 137-140 pounds and a size 8 jeans, size medium top, I’ve never been healthier!

I follow the Mark Bittman / Michael Pollan philosophy of eating a higher-quality, but less-quantity of meat, and focusing on more plant-based whole foods.

Although, I do believe it’s absolutely necessary to regularly allow myself a decadent “treat”, I try to stick to healthy whole clean foods: vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, with humanely raised meat, dairy and eggs.

During this time, I’ve learned a lot about myself and my body. Some days were horrible, where insecurities got the better of me. I read a lot of good books, and learned a lot about nutrition, the environment, and how to live a happy, healthy lifestyle.

And I think most importantly, I’ve discovered my limits. I now know that I am a compulsive food eater. I know I won’t cure my compulsion, so I’ve learned how to live with it, and it’s working!

All in all, Life is good! And I’m so grateful!

Back from Vacation – 137.2

On Wednesday, we came back from an extended 4th of July holiday and I’m happy that I’ve maintained my weight. Weighed myself this AM @ 137.2 (gave myself a couple of days for sodium water retention to dissipate.)

We ate a lot of sugary snacks – ice cream and dessert cakes, but we walked a whole heck of a lot too!

It’s nice to be able to go away and treat yourself but still remain in control. I’m very proud of myself! Things are getting easier and I am getting more confident that I can maintain this lifestyle!

Happy Summer! :)

Happy Merry Christmas To All

It was a great Christmas! Just relaxing and hanging out today! Trying to get back to normal eating! I think I’m on sugar overload! LOL

Didn’t do too horribly badly eating this weekend. Friday night we were at the inlaws for Christmas Eve, eating comfort foods I eat probably only once a year. Hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls, scallops wrapped in bacon, chicken teriyaki, pecan pie. We brought braised beef with onions, and gingerbread cookies.

Saturday wasn’t as great as Friday night. Carando spiral ham, potato kugali, shrimp with cocktail sauce, taco dip with corn chips, raw vegetables, egg nog, and a whole bunch more sweets, like cookies, chocolate truffles, lemon meringue pie, but I am back to basics today. Feeling good!!! Eating so much processed food makes me feel unhealthy, so I am really happy to be coming back to eating clean again! Funny how that works!

I was actually down to 138.2 on Thursday morning! I keep losing more weight. I don’t know why exactly, but hopefully it’s normal. I visited my doctor a few weeks ago, and my blood work was normal. I’ll be seeing her again in January, so we’ll see what she says.

It was a very Merry Christmas! I enjoyed seeing my family and having a great time together!!!