The first weekend of healthy eating

Saturday, Day 4: Homesick for winter, which is easy when it is warm and sunny where you are. A little depressed and crabby, lethargic. But I decided to quit torturing myself and turned off the Weather Channel and took the dog for a long walk. Then I treated myself to a dinner of tuna with a little homemade mayo, half an avocado and a sliced tomato. I couldn’t face the Indian Curry for a 4th straight day. Thought about making some popcorn (popped in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt) but I honestly wasn’t hungry.  I watched “Gone Girl” which really held my attention and didn’t feel the need to nosh on anything during the movie.  I surprised myself by not snacking at all for a full day.  Yeah me!

On Sunday I washed and waxed my car, ate well and had a greek yogurt for an afternoon snack, but that was the only snack I had. And I finally finished the Indian Curry.

Also on Sunday my husband announced he too was going to be eating healthy.  This is not a good thing, at least for me.  I had very deliberately not told him about my doing a “Whole 30” -ish 30 days.  When my husband did the “Whole 30” the last 2 times with me he ate 2 to 3 times his normal amount of protein and sweet potatoes and yams.  He ate a token bite or two of other vegetables and filled in his diet with copious amounts of fruit, nuts, raisins and Luna Bars.  I would come down in the morning to find all the yams or sweet potatoes and meat gone leaving me with brussel sprouts and cauliflower for breakfast.  I found myself eating a lot of sauteed spinach and eggs which got old after a week.

This round of healthy eating is going so much better than tries in the past and I don’t want the hubby wrecking it.  Cooking more of something isn’t a good option, he’ll just eat more if it is something he really likes.  He won’t cook for himself.  I suppose I will just have to tell him what things he can’t eat, that I have them earmarked for my meals.  (This may or may not work as he can conveniently forget  when he makes his lunch.  He has to be at work really early and leaves the house before I get up.)

In summary:  today is Day 7.  I have stopped the mindless snacking and eating when not hungry.  My sugar intake is waaaay down.  I decided to use the greek yogurt for a snack or dessert instead of breakfast and I have only eaten one.  I am feeling much more positive this go around as I am doing a lot less cooking and hence a lot fewer dishes and spending less time in the kitchen where all the food is!  For example (besides the Indian Curry day after day) on Monday I fried up some all natural breakfast sausage, nuked a yam and mixed together.  I had enough for lunch yesterday and breakfast today and tomorrow.  I added some roasted brussel sprouts left over from dinner too. I can make one dish and it will last for 3 or 4 meals making healthy eating much easier.  On the negative side I have not been sleeping well and I am very tired. In the “Whole 30” fatigue is expected around day 6 or 7  possibly exaggerating my tiredness,  so hopefully this phase will pass soon.

Tomorrow is food prep day for a long weekend camping trip.  I have once again been having problems figuring out what to do about breakfast.  It will have to be something I can reheat or cook on the stovetop so I am kicking a few ideas around.  As for the hubby, I will cook some extra yams and sweet potatoes and split them up evenly.  This way he can eat all his in one sitting and I can divvy mine up and not have to worry that they will still be there when I am ready to eat them. Same with turkey tenderloins.  There are two in the package, I will roast them both and we each get our own.  It seems silly to have to do things this way but I have learned from the past.  If I am to be successful in my healthy eating endeavour I need to ensure I have control over my food.  And I don’t think my husband is really trying too hard to be healthier anyway, yesterday he finished off a large chocolate bar his Dad sent him for Valentine’s day.


Day 1 – Day 2 1/2

Luckily I decided to do the 30 days of healthy eating right before I went to the grocery store so I was able to do some thoughtful meal planning. I just forgot about breakfast on day 1. I improvised with the last hard boiled egg, a packet of tuna in olive oil w/jalapenos and some celery.
I  had a few rough moments. For Valentine’s Day I had gotten a box of Dove dark chocolate truffles and there were a few left. I put them in a plastic bag and placed them with the rest of my chocolate stash (dark chocolate covered almonds). Out of sight, out of mind. Seriously. I had forgotten about the almonds. I keep a little chocolate hidden for PMS days and I can go weeks without touching it. If I didn’t hide it my husband and son would eat it and I would have nothing for the bad days.

So far I have been doing very well.  I fought snacking on day one with some raisins, cashews and olives.  I stood firm against eating a  roll with my yummy soup for dinner.  (The soup was a homemade chicken vegetable with ‘zoodles’).  Day 2 I dealt with a headache and feeling a tad depressed by watching the two episodes of “Downton Abbey” I had on the DVR and thoroughly enjoyed them both.  I also treated myself to Chipotle  for lunch after picking up a few items at Trader Joe’s which is right next to Chipotle’s.  This morning I improved on the Indian Curry Mix I made for lunch on Day 1.  It is ground beef with chopped up cauliflower, grated carrot, curry powder and a little coconut milk.  It tasted okay for one meal but I (as planned) had a lot left.  I ate some for breakfast yesterday and it was still just okay.  This morning I doctored it up with a little more coconut milk and added a few raisins and unsweetened coconut chips.  Better but still  not my favorite.  I will be glad when it is gone.

Not sure about lunch today.  Either tuna in olive oil with a little homemade mayo and fresh tomato or sauteed spinach with fried eggs.  We’ll see what I am in the mood for. Dinner is salmon and roasted yams and asparagus.

My shoulder is quite sore today, maybe from the humidity?  Still asleep by 9:00p each night. I think I had such a tough time with day 1 because I woke up thinking I should already feel better.  I seemed to have forgotten it is going to take a few weeks to detox the body.  Silly me!

I am still feeling strong that I can do this.  I am reading the Whole 30 website each day.  Even though I am only doing a pseudo-  Whole 30 the timeline is still applicable and it gives me an idea of what to expect on how to feel.  I also use the recipe ideas and gain inspiration from other people’s stories.  I need to keep plugging away, one day, one meal at a time.



Me and my $@#! thyroid

Shortly after moving to Tucson I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  It sucks.  I am just now starting to try and learn more about it.  I am on medication and the dosage increases every year.  Before Christmas I was feeling pretty well.  I had reduced the amount of wheat I was eating and had my snacking under control.  And then we went to Flagstaff and ate out for 4 straight days, then I got sick and then it was Christmas.  My exercise/yoga routine was on hold for a few weeks and my eating habits imploded.  I am having lots of joint pain (hands and shoulders), am ready for bed by 7:00p and scary crabby.  It is time to retake control and see if I can help myself feel better.

I have somewhat impulsively decided to eat uber healthy for 30 days.  I made the decision on Monday to start today,  Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  My 30 days will end the first day of Spring.  It seems like a nice window for self-improvement.

I will sort of be following the Whole 30  rules, but not entirely, hence I am NOT doing the Whole 30.  I have tried it twice and never could complete it.   Three  no-no’s from the whole 30 I am going to break are: 1.  I am going to eat real butter (instead of ghee)  2.  I am going to eat Greek yogurt (at least until the ones on hand are gone) 3.  I am going to eat peanuts (and Trader Joe’s peanuts only peanut butter).

What I will be doing:  eating lots of fresh veggies, some fruits and lean proteins.  Only planned snacks, no random binge eating.  Mid-morning an apple or banana with PB and late afternoon nuts or celery, carrots and/or cucumber.  I will not let myself get too hungry.  I will drink lots of water.  Avoid sugar, soy, grains and dairy (except for the above mentioned items) and anything artificial.  I will be doing lots of cooking and lots of dishes.

This blog will be my accountability watch dog.  I won’t post every day but I will keep track of how things are going.  I don’t know if I will write down every morsel of food but I will admit any slip ups or full scale crashes.  I will also be on the look out for physical and mental changes.

I was going to write “send me luck” but there is no luck involved. What I need is willpower, perseverance and the ability to keep my goals in sight.  My goals are to sleep better (no insomnia and sounder sleep), stop the mood swings and reduce or eliminate my joint pain.  My starting weight is 142.0.  I would love to lose 5 or 6 pounds but that is a secondary goal. For now my scale is out of sight in the cupboard.

I have a good feeling about my success for the next 30 days.  I have very specific aims I am trying to achieve and I am using a plan I have devised myself that should meet those goals.  And if  not?  I will worry about that in 30 days!

School Days

We have been camping with my son since he was 9 months old. We were living in Montana amid many beautiful camping spots including Glacier NP. We typically went camping every other weekend all summer long and as far into autumn as the weather would allow.
Once we moved to Tucson we realized we didn’t have to winterize the trailer and we went camping about once a month year around. Loved escaping the heat and exploring different pieces of the state.  Arizona is very diverse with mountains and plains as well as deserts.
My son went to half day kindergarten so we were still able to leave on Fridays for long weekends. But when he started full day first grade we were reduced to camping only over holiday weekends. It has been an adjustment and I have missed out regular escapes.
The last time we went camping was in October. We didn’t camp over Veteran’s day because it fell in the middle of the week, Thanksgiving week end we had tickets for the college football game on Friday.  We skipped New Years because of being sick and bad weather and somehow just forgot about Martin Luther King Jr. day.
It is tempting to just keep my son out of school now and then. He doesn’t even get President’s Day off. It would be so easy to let him skip a Monday and head out to a nearby campground. But I don’t want to do that. I want my son to think school is an important responsibility. To know that school is not optional.  Luckily he loves school and has never complained about going or asked to stay home.  I have watched other parents keep their kids out of school for a week to go to Disneyland and two weeks for Hawaii. Sure, travel is broadening but it doesn’t replace crucial learning at this early stage of their education.  Plus, when he gets older I don’t want him to skip school because through bad examples I have  taught him that school doesn’t have to be a priority.
It sucks  being tied to the school schedule. But I remind myself it is not forever, we have all summer and some scheduled long weekends off during the school year.  I did  promise  myself though that if it ever snows here in the desert  (a whole inch not just flurries)  E will get a snow day, even if the schools don’t close.  I don’t want to be a total ogre.

Coloring outside the lines

I am a rule follower which makes sense when you join the military at age 17. But now that I am older I am finally beginning to loosen up a little. I can deviate from a recipe a bit, modify rules for playing board games that my son isn’t quite ready for (like LIFE) and ignore (guilt free) the beseeching requests to help with the Book Fair at school.

A few months ago I bought a kit to make a winter wreath for the front door. The house always looks so bare after Christmas but I am not ready to put up Valentine decorations until February. Over time I have acquired a few wintery decorations but I hadn’t found anything for the front door.

Here is a picture from the kit:


Once I opened it I realized I was not in the mood to do a running stitch around a gazillion felt circles and put it away again. A few weeks later I took it back out and read all the directions. Still not feeling it, plus I didn’t love all the red on red. The next day I looked at it again. What did I love about it? The mittens. I improvised it into the wreath pictured below:




Most of the extra materials I already had on hand. I wrapped the wreath form with a silvery yarn I really liked. I had bought it for a needlepoint project but it didn’t work. (The little sequins wouldn’t fit through the canvas.) Then I made a bunch of mittens out of felt I had leftover from other projects. I wanted the colors to look like winter but not specific to Christmas or Valentine’s Day. After I had made a few I realized I wasn’t making pairs of mittens and I didn’t want to make a second set of matching mittens. I liked making each mitten unique. I started thinking of it as the ‘Lost Mittens’ wreath and thus the sign was born. The bow at the top I made following the directions in the kit, simply substituting white floss for the black.  And voila:  an unique winter wreath for the front door that I quite enjoyed making.  Score one for following my own path!

Moment of Insanity

I had declared 2014 the year of the purge and spent a lot of my purge time on books.  I totalled it up and I donated seventy-nine books to Goodwill last year.  I also sold some to a used bookstore.  I didn’t keep track of how many but I made multiple trips and had at least $100 in store credit.   There is still much work to be done this year.  I will say the more I get rid of the easier it gets to be honest about what I really love and truly want to keep. I am a big reader and while I utilize the library a lot, over the years I have acquired many books. I buy far fewer these days, mostly used and typically because a book is missing from the series I am reading from the library, most annoying.

Back in the day was a different story. I bought a great number of books and despite a thorough weeding out with every move the numbers continued to grow. At one point I signed up for the Library of America (LOA) series. I think I got one a month. They are nice books with cloth covers in 4 different colors and slip cases. They looked very nice on the built in bookshelf next to the fireplace in my last house. But this house has no built-ins of any sort.

The dream was always to have, not a library exactly,  but an office or den with a wall of floor to ceiling bookshelves. I finally gave up that dream last week, never going to happen. When I picture retirement I always picture myself in a small house. I will have a big bookshelf somewhere. And I will still have a finite amount of space for books. So I decided to really look at my LOA collection. Was I ever going to read “American Sermons” or Sherman’s memoirs? No.

I went through all the books attempting to be very realistic about what I would want to read when I am 70 years old and can’t make it to the library (or worse, the day libraries have few “real” books).  Out of 57 volumes I decided to keep 24 and try and sell 33. I was very excited, I was getting rid of more than half!

So then I went on-line to look around and see if I could sell them and for how much. Alas, in my browsing I found an 88 volume set of the Agatha Christie Mystery Collection. In great shape. With free-shipping. For ~$5 a book.

I had been looking for this set for years. I always regretted that I didn’t get this series instead of the LOA. (I would have if I had known about it). I love checking these volumes out of the library, the smooth leatherette covers, just the right size and it is Agatha Christie. And without a whole lot of thought I bought it.  The next day I began to worry about what I had done. It wasn’t the cost that was the problem but where was I going to put all these books. Eighty-eight volumes times one inch equals how many feet of shelf space? Seven. Were they all 1″? So between seven and fourteen feet of shelf space. Hmmm.

Thus began the big book rodeo.  I herded books from one bookcase to another.  It took a few days and a few trips up and down the stairs but I think all the books have found a pleasing place to settle.  In my rearranging I even found a few more books I could sell/donate.

I feel a little bit bad about making such a large purchase when my goal is to downsize.  I comfort myself with the thought that I have the room for these books I love because I got rid of so many I didn’t.  Every time I pass them in the hall they make me smile.  And isn’t that what life is all about?

Before:  Mostly LOA books, a few over-sized art books.  The upper right corner is for books from the public library.



After: The bottom two shelves now have my husband’s history books.  These were previously on the wicker shelf where my Agatha Christie collection now resides.  The books with sports themes have been moved to the man cave and interspersed with the bobble heads, NASCAR cars and sports card collection. (Yes, those are a few A.C.  books on the middle shelf.  They are the few non-mystery volumes that came with the set.)




And here is the new collection.  I usually prefer to have more knickknacks intermingled with the books to break things up a bit visually but I can live with this for now.



I saw books on a mantle in an old movie and wondered why I had never thought of that.  Now I have a few books on the mantle.