Saturday, October 31, 2009

Vegging out

One of the things that came up in my work getting healthy group was the fact that many of us don't get enough fruits and veggies during the day.  We also discussed sharing recipes.  So, here's my contribution to killing two birds with one stone.*

Eternal Soup
From "Passionate Vegetarian" by Crescent Dragonwagon

3 cups dehydrated black bean or pinto bean flakes
2 cups homemade vegetable stock or commercial vegetable broth
1 bag (16 ounces) frozen vegetables, either a mixture or a single vegetable, or 3-4 cups virtually any assortment of fresh, raw cut-up vegetables
1/2 to 1 cup "something tomatoey," could be tomato puree, good-quality bottled salsa (as hot or mild as desired), canned diced tomatoes with green chiles, spicy or regular tomato or mixed vegetable juice, or leftover spaghetti sauce
Boiling water, preferably spring or filtered,
to cover
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Additions (Optional)

Parmesan cheese
Hot sauce
Cilantro or parsley
Plain yogurt or sour cream
Other yummy bits & pieces

1. Plug in a slow cooker. Pour in the dehydrated bean flakes, stock, vegetables, and tomato product of choice. Turn the heat to high. Add boiling water as needed until the pot is nearly full. Stir well a few times. Cover.

2. Let simmer for 1 to 2 hours, or until you can smell its fragrance or until you start getting hungry. Turn the heat to low if you feel some ingredients might be getting overcooked.

3. When ready to eat, season with salt and pepper, ladle out the soup, and add whichever of the optional additions or whatever else appeals to you. Serve with toast, crackers, or a scoop of cooked pasta or grain in the bottom of each bowl.

4. After lunch is over, unplug the slow cooker. Let the soup cool to room temperature, then cover and place the entire pot in the fridge for tomorrow. Next day, add more liquid and/or more beans and vegetables- any of the first four ingredients listed above- stir, reheat slowly (allowing any fresh ingredients to cook through), and eat- with a canny sense of satisfaction.

I am making this soup for dinner tonight.  Some vegetable broth, some frozen veggies, some salsa and chick peas (butt beans, as Kate calls them).

It's important if you want to reuse this soup time and again that you keep any animal products out of it.  Feel free to add cheese or bits of meat if you want, but do it at the bowl, not at the pot.  Play with this soup.  Get a little crazy- throw in a sweet potato one day, some okra the next time you have it (not gonna happen in MY soup, but some people out there like okra) then spice things up with salsa or black beans.  It's a great way to get your veggies in a tasty, low fat, high-variety manner.

*no birds were killed in the making of this blog post.

Ups & Downs, or I Was Called Stupid by a Centenarian

Gorgeous happy day here in beautiful Kansas.

As many of you know, we are fortunate enough to have Bo's great aunt Wyonna (Sue) living about 30 miles from us.  She just hit 99 years old in June and, while she's slowing down, she's still healthy and sharp as a tack.

Let me back up.  Last Saturday we went to a Halloween party at some friends' house.  I made Rice Krispy treats, and managed to burn the boo-jeebus out of my arm because I forgot the pot was hot.  dur.  MELTED marshmallows, MELTED butter. 

Today we went to see Aunt Sue and Kate mentioned my burn.  Aunt Sue listened to the story, then laughed uproariously, slapped her thigh and proceeded to tell me what a stupid thing that was to do.  Evidently it was a high point of her day.  :)  Not so much for me, but it was kind of funny.  I just hope when I'm 99 I'm still able to call younguns stupid.

After we got home I hopped on my bike and rode downtown.  It's about 2 miles from my house to work, and a few hundred more yards to where I wanted to go.  (brow wax touch up- I'm beginning to really like that)  Sure, I could have driven there, the car wasn't being used, but by riding my bike I got to smell the fallen leaves, get a good look at the neighborhood Halloween decorations, enjoy the crisp air.

Unfortunately, I was reminded that some people don't see bikes on the street.  I wasn't hurt, I wasn't even close to being hit, but it was yet another in a long string of "How the heck can you NOT SEE ME?" moments.

Since I think I'm going to be adding bike riding to my getting-healthy repertoire, I stopped in to Sunflower to check out headlights, rear view mirrors and tiny hot evildoers.  (long story)  I now have a Christmas wish and a mirror on order.  Yay!

Anyway- I ended up biking/walking just over 4 miles today, I feel tired and kind of sweaty (eew) but good.  Not dead, I didn't push it too far, but right now I think that just getting MOVING is a good start.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Diet = die to a t

I won't diet.  I won't count calories, I won't cut out chocolate, I won't run from carbs.  (I will, however, run from bears or zombies.  Just FYI.)

I don't see the point of dieting really.  Somewhere down the line, I would stop a diet.  And then what?  Would that first Double Stuff Oreo (mmm... Double Stuff) make my thighs balloon after 6 months of an Oreo-less existance? Would a dish of pasta make my head spin?

Why take that risk?  Why not develop a *gasp* MODERATE habit of eating?  One that can be maintained for years, for life? 

yeah yeah- I know.  If it was that easy, why am I at 209 lbs? 

Because I have no willpower, duh.  The THEORY is solid.  A little of this, a little of that- everything in moderation.  But in actual personal practice it's more like "a little of this, a little of that, Hey that's good!  A lot more of that!"

That's why, in my dream world, I would have someone to make my food in individual portion sizes- no more and no less than exactly how much I need.  *sigh*  Until then though, I have to figure out how to do what I NEED to do, and make it appear that I WANT to do it.

Enter the Bento Box Lunch.  I'm not nearly cutesy enough to make little bunnies out of radishes, or carve my egg salad into Hello Kitty, but I'm down with a beautiful bit of food, packed neatly with an eye for design as well as nutrition.  I bought bento boxes (well, Kansas bento boxes) for Kate and myself, and we've done a little pseudo-bento-ing over the past few weeks.  I think though, that it is time to kick it up and do it for real. 

I don't guarantee cows and piggies, but I'll take pictures of whatever we manage.  :)

I love them.

Remember back in an earlier blog (you know- the one from this morning) I mentioned Mats and Helena? 

Well, this article is about Mats and Helena, and some woman I don't know. 

*sigh*  I love them.  I love their daughter Tova.  I don't know their son. 

I haven't lost my waistline, I've gained an Olsen.

In the spirit of putting it all out there, I should clarify my "I've gained 70lbs" statement.

I mean I've NETTED 70lbs over the years.  There were two occasions in the past 12 years that I lost 20ish pounds in a relatively short time.  So add 40 to that 70 and.... OMG.  I'm lugging around an Olson twin in my saddlebags.

So what made those two occasions different than the 537 other occasions in the past decade or so of my life?  How did I drop that weight?  (we'll get to the why it's back with a Terminator-like vengeance later)

I literally walked my butt off. 

First 20- March/April 2002.  I was in Miami, FL for three weeks, working with the Volvo Ocean Race.  (love the lovely VOR)  My hotel was in downtown, my "work venue" was by the arena where the Heat play basketball.  A little over a mile away.  Since I didn't have a vehicle, and was a little nervous taking public transportation, I walked.  And I don't mean to say I sauntered down Biscayne Blvd, taking in the sights.  I.  HAULED.  ASS.  every day. 

Now, this was difficult at first, because I am, by nature, a saunterer.  You know how John Wayne had his signature swagger?  I have my signature saunter.  If I could figure out a way to do it without being fully upright I would.  However, my work schedule and really- the excitement of working with the race made a saunter imprudent.  So every morning, I'd pack up my 12lb laptop, strap it to my back and start my speed walk down the blvd.  There were days when I'd make the trip twice, racking up 4 miles of walking to and from. 

Another thing that really helped me during that time was diet.  The team traveled with a chef and a nutritionist who prepared lunch and dinner every day.  Ahhh Mats and Helena, how much I miss you.  I trusted Mats implicitly.  He got me to try dishes I never would have even looked at, just because I knew he would not, probably COULD not, make anything yucky.  Pork green curry, salmon with beet puree, pasta, rice, chicken...  All meals were high carb, high protein, and I still lost weight.  Take THAT Atkins!

Second 20- again- I walked.  My company (Securitron) established a "Get FIT" program for employees.  Basically we set up teams and competed with each other to see how much we could walk and how much water we could drink.  By the time the program ended (18 weeks) I'd lost almost 20lbs.  Just walking and drinking water.

So what can I take away from this?  What knowledge (in convenient bullet point format) can I impart?

  • Walk.  Walk a lot.  Walk with intent, not sauntering.  I read somewhere that a "good" walk is roughly 4 miles an hour.  So walk hard (but don't kill yourself) for 15 minutes a shot.
  • Eat.  Find a person you trust to work with you on some recipes.  Take a risk now and then.  When Mats announced the green curry, I announced I would be hitting McD's for dinner that night.  He said to trust him, so I did, and I have never regretted it.
  • Drink.  Lots of water.  Get a 2 liter bottle and fill it with water.  Drink that much every day.  At least.  
So, there's my plan.  I'm going to walk, eat and drink.  Hopefully you'll see less of me around soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 1, Still Tired From the Move

There's a health and wellness group at my work.  Yesterday was our first meeting.  It included a weigh in.  (voluntary)

Well, I weighed in.  9lbs lighter than I thought I was!  I'm currently 209 lbs.  Let me repeat that- two hundred nine pounds.  I'm about 5'6" tall, and my weight makes me obese. 

Huh.  Obese.  I don't feel obese.  I don't think I even look obese, although I'm sure other people do.  I like to joke that I'm older than I act, and now I'm pretty sure I'm fatter than I look.

But thinking I'm thinner than I am does not stave off the health risks I face.  I've been diagnosed as pre-diabetic.  I've been diagnosed with poly cystic ovarian syndrome.  I have phlebitis...  that's just the stuff I know about.  Kind of scary if I really think about it.

Anyway.  Here I am.  Day 1, 9lbs lighter than I thought I was, but still seriously overweight.  I've set a goal of 10lbs down in 8 weeks.  I'd like to start 2010 under 200lbs.  I know it can be done, just not sure I can do it. 

We'll see.