Friday, December 18, 2015

Different Perspectives

Yesterday I dialed a wrong number. A woman picked up the phone and, in disjointed, hard to understand English, said hello. I had a hard time hearing her due to all the noise in the background (children). I realized immediately I had not called a spray wash company.

I said "Oh, I'm sorry, wrong number." The woman's voice got a bit strident and she said "no, my number, not wrong".

I told her I had dialed the wrong number. She got even more heated, "no, no, right number".

I tried again telling her I meant to call someone else. Nope, I sure didn't. Or so she said.

Finally I just said, 'I'm sorry' again, and hung up.

It's the little things in life that sometimes stick in your head, ramble around, popping up at strange times (like when I first woke up this morning).

I don't have a clue which country in our great big ol' world that she came from. In my imagination that poor woman paced the floor worrying that someone was going to change her number, take it away or thought she was illegally using that phone number. I have concocted stories in my head off and on...she came from a communist controlled country...the children managed to get her out...she watches their little ones while they work to make it in America...

I wonder if that simple wrong number brought back bad memories for her?

She probably hung up the phone and said "stupid American woman, how can she think my number is wrong?" and then completely forgot about it.

A story with no ending because I will probably never know.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fibromyalgia and Food "Fix"

Years back, when I worked a desk job, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

I had been running regularly, working out, taking aerobic classes, and was very active (but not overly so). Slowly I got to the point where getting out of bed in the morning was painful. I hurt. I was miserable. Sleep was sporadic and I was slugging through the day.

Luckily, being in a management position which gave me fantastic health benefits, I was able to work with my doctor to try and figure out the cause. We did every test imaginable over a long period of time. Finally I ended up with a rheumatoid specialist who came up with Fibromyalgia.

She gave me a whole slew of prescriptions and toldl me to get on the treadmill and walk for ten minutes a day. I laughed, thinking of the races I used to run & thought she was really underestimating my abilities. I couldn't walk for five minutes.

I filled the prescriptions and took them for a few days. I really, really 1) hated the idea of taking all those pills and 2) hated the side-affects. I stopped and went back to being miserable.

However, I didn't give up. I started a search for another answer. I did NOT like the idea of being weak, spiraling into medicine dependence, or being labeled.

I ultimately went to see a nutritionist. Not your typical hospital nutritionist (here's your food pyramid, eat like it says). I went to a private doctor who believed in using food, vitamins, minerals and all that's natural to combat illnesses.

She put me on what she called a shock diet. Nothing white in my diet at all for two weeks. If it was processed with anything white I couldn't eat it. It truly was a shock. I went through withdrawals I suppose. For about three days I walked from refrigerator to pantry to almost banging into walls as I detoxed from all the junk I had been eating (I thought I was a healthy-eater!). By the time the 2 weeks were over I was comfortable with eating whole foods and rather liked the diet.

Long story, but after the shock diet, dumping all the vitamins I thought I needed and narrowing them down to a few select choices, changing my diet, etc. I have never had any of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia... It wasn't an overnight process but it was a fairly quick turnaround. (Note: when I go back to bad eating habits, don't allow myself to get sufficient sleep, I can tell when my body is heading back in the yikes direction. I adjust and get back on track.)

That was my very first real experience with looking at diet and nutrition as a "cure" rather than going with the drugs most doctors automatically prescribe. Since then I've looked for doctors who say diet, exercise, lifestyle before pulling out the prescription pad. They are hard to find.

When my cholesterol started going up my doctor (at the time) told me I just had bad genes, luck of the draw. She "allowed" me two months to try and decrease it before starting me on Lipitor. It went up. I was half-ass about working on it at the time, bought into "gene" thing.

Later I did some research, read how I could lower it naturally with diet and proper exercise. I ditched the Lipitor. My cholesterol is well below the top range and has stayed there for years. My doctor still insists on testing it more often than usual to monitor :-)

I could tell more tales...I have politely argued with many doctors, done it my way and been successful in every instance. Good research and culling through all the hype of the current fads is crucial.

I'm not saying that diet can cure everything, but we really should give it a shot first. Even if it's not "the" cure eating healthy sure will help with fighting whatever you are facing.

I now have an OK doctor. She's not "into" the same things I am but when I walk in and tell her I'm doing this or that she says OK, try it, go for it, we'll do blood tests and see how it works. She has even given me some natural alternatives when I asked. She's still a prescription pad grabber first type, but she's agreeable to trying other things.

I am getting ready to tell her I've gone totally plant based. That's going to be an interesting conversation!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Disapointed in Van's Foods...

It's getting harder and harder to find things that don't have cane sugar, dextrose, corn syrup, or some other really bad-for-you sweetener. One of my no-sugar faves has been Van's Foods gluten-free waffles. They had three that were fruit juice sweetened. The regular, the blueberry and the apple cinnamon.

Not only were they gluten-free, sugar-free (fruit juice only), they were and are dairy free, egg free, non-gmo and a whole bunch of other great things. The perfect treat. 

I didn't pay attention.

They changed the blueberry at some point and now they are cane sugar sweetened. Yuck. I have two boxes I'll have to toss in the trash.

Realizing they'd changed their package had me label-reading again. I discovered that the couple of Classico spaghetti sauces I usually picked up had also changed and now had sugar. They were great without it.

I guess it's just getting to the point in our America that if it isn't sweetened with sugar it isn't going to sell.

I don't think a little bit of sugar is horrible for someone. But when every single thing that's stocked on grocery --- and health food --- stores these days has sugar there is no such thing as a 'little bit of sugar'.

Have you seen the stats on children and diabetes? Have you seen the stats on overweight and obese children? I know I'm on a soapbox and most are walking by shaking their heads, but I'm gonna stay on it and maybe a few will go out and do a tiny bit of research, think about what is being pounded into our heads by non-stop advertising.

I wonder why so many of our so-called health foods are chocked full of sugar?

I think it's getting ready to be a hot-button issue. I sure hope it will be.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

On the hunt for sugar-free frozen potatoes...(Healthy Eating Post) - updated

I am a lazy cook. I used to do gourmet meals, spend time in the kitchen, but there's just way too much to do in life these days. I'd rather be in the studio!

Given there's only two of us, buying fresh often results in a lot of waste. I toss half of what we buy sometimes simply because we like variety and we can't eat a whole bunch or bag before it goes bad.

I'm not into buying real potatoes, cleaning and cooking them either. Yep, lazy cook. I will at times but when I want hash browns for breakfast or fries for dinner I want them now.

If you've read any of my past posts you know I don't eat any form of added sugar. It works for me...maybe not for you. I have found so many benefits from cutting it completely out of my diet over the years! Plus I've learned it's easier to ditch it all rather than try to eat just a little. I always want more and the craving cycle starts.

I've looked for frozen potatoes without added sugar over the past few years without success. Now that I'm moving to a much higher plant-based diet I wanted, needed, some potatoes. I got serious about finding some.

Who would have thought that finding hash browns, home fries or other frozen potato products without added sugar would be a problem? Did you know that your Ore-Ida, Alexia, etc. have sugar on them? It's getting harder and harder to find things that don't have some form of added sugar.

I know many of you are saying something along the lines of "who cares?". If you're diabetic they tell you not to eat potatoes anyway, sugar or no added sugar. Most of you already think I'm over the top with my 'no sugar' life-style! Give up cookies? cake? candy?

If you're eating sugar and you know it, that's one thing. But if you are eating sugar in your blue cheese salad dressings, mayonnaise, and other items that don't need or call for sugar, it seems kind of sneaky. According to some statistics over 80% of what you buy these days has added sugar. I dare you to go to the store and fill your cart up with things that have no added sugar...and try to go just five days without sugar. Bet you spend those five days craving the stuff, talking yourself out of giving it up. You will go through withdrawals.

I recently watched a fairly short documentary narrated by Katie Couric titled "Fed Up". If you have kids, or you struggle with your weight, I'd highly recommend that you watch it.

Here's the trailer:
  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCUbvOwwfWM)

I looked at every single bag in the grocery store's regular frozen food section. No luck. Every single bag had added sugar, plus many had things I couldn't pronounce. I went on-line looking at ingredients. No luck until...I finally found ONE company that doesn't add sugar to their potatoes: Cascadian Farms.  (http://www.cascadianfarm.com/products/frozen-potatoes). Guess where I'll be heading later today??? They sell them at Kroger in their healthy section. They probably sell them at Publix and other stores, too. They are organic, too! Big plus.

Here's another documentary, from Canada that's well worth watching.




 And one more (I keep finding them and adding):




I found some interesting sites while on my search:
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=48 - interesting take on the much-maligned potato
http://www.potatopro.com/ - loads of information
http://www.potatoesusa.com/index.php - United States Potato Board

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Shopping at Sams Club (Healthy Eating Post)

I was pleasantly surprised to see more organic offerings in the aisles as I wandered. There is very little I will buy at Sams aside from paper products as they only stock the most popular selling items. Sadly that means some of the most unhealthy stuff that exists usually.

They've always had a sampling of organic fresh veggies such as spinach, kale and lettuce. This time I noted they had carrots --- non-GMO labeled, too. I found a number of things that were labeled non-GMO.

I didn't find any organic fresh fruit. Maybe they had some frozen organic but I already have enough so didn't check it out.

The organics things they had on the dry / non-refrigerator/freezer aisles included some soups, some chips and a few other items. All but one of them had sugar of some sort. I don't do sugar. It was nice though to see a better selection.

I found some non-GMO/organic rice with kale and chia seeds that I grabbed to try. Very good, had it for dinner when I got home. It's microwavable stuff, too. I hate to spend the time cooking any more, just too much to do in this world. Dislike cleaning up even more than cooking...

re: Healthy Eating Post - I thought I'd start labeling them with that title just so those who could care less will know to skip them. That is assuming anyone at all is reading along...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

People think I'm crazy...

Yep, they do. Well, I probably am in many ways that seem normal to me...but the one that most of my "normal" friends and family think I'm over the top about is what I eat.

I'm usually the lone one who asks for a veggie plate at a banquet. I'm the one my Mom calls before I go visit to find out if I'll eat this or that...and no matter how many times I tell her I'll find something to eat she still wants to try. I love her all the more because she does try, even though she thinks I'm crazy! I'm the one who gets the call asking if I'll bring my own food at Board meetings or other day-long events because they can't figure out what to order for me.

Now I'm kind of inching toward going vegan. I'm already a self-titled vegetarian. I will drink milk, eat some cheeses and eggs and haven't cared if my gluten-free, sugar-free waffles were made with dairy (I just discovered they aren't!). Going vegan means I'd give up all by-products with dairy, cheese, eggs and other food items made with animal products.

I'll tell you up-front that I think animals are on this earth so we can eat them and / or wear them. I've been a vegetarian since my teen years. I've probably bought and cooked meat three times in the past 20 years --- to feed someone else. Grass fed, hormone and antibiotic meat raised the way they used to be raised, of course.

I've known that it was kind of hypocritical to not eat meat because of the way they're processed, fed, treated, but give a pass to the milk, eggs, and other products produced from those same animals. I buy organic, cage free, but haven't been as stringent when it comes to the mixes, frozen waffles, etc. that I buy for convenience.

As I wrote in a previous blog I have been watching all kinds of food and health related documentaries while I'm walking on the treadmill. They have finally convinced me to give it a shot.

I'm going to move slowly, not go hog wild (pun intended).

I am going to majorly increase my veggie and legume consumption. I am going to only buy vegan processed foods (like my waffles). I pulled the cheese out of the fridge and tossed it in the freezer so I can give it to someone in the family who eats cheese. I left some things in the fridge because my husband is not on the same page and so we'll have dual eating habits.

I'm doing this for two main reasons that have a lot of subsets.

1- the health benefits. I watched, and then read, enough to see clearly that meat, dairy, etc. eaters had much higher incidents of a wide, wide assortment of illnesses. I won't bore you with all the details but it was enough to make me dig further and ultimately decide that our food and diets have changed over the past 50 or more years and it just ain't healthy to eat them pigs...

2 - the way we raise and process our meats is disgusting, criminal, horrific. Castrating animals without any anesthesia? cramming them into pens? cutting off beaks? grinding up live chicks? Not to mention the deplorable working conditions for those who work in the meat processing plants.

This isn't a "new years resolution", it's something I've been moving toward for a while and yesterday watching one of the movies again things crystallized in my mind.

Here's my plan:

  • No cheese.
  • No eggs.
  • No butter.
Just doing those three is going to be a major adjustment but I'm not stopping there...
I will:
  • Use organic, non-GMO, farm raised cow milk in my morning tea for a while until I've cleansed my palette and adjust to the other changes. That's the only time I use milk and I that tea is a vice I enjoy too much to ditch. Gosh, I am already doing enough crazy without depriving myself of my early-morning enjoyment!
  • Substitute vegan foods (waffles, mayo, butter, etc.) for some of my current choices.
  • Include a daily veggie smoothy with some fruit (decided the juicing was for the devout)
  • Eat more legumes, seeds and nuts.
  • Make my plate 70+% veggies.
  • Take a B12 supplement off and on. 

Those are some major changes for yours truly. I'll keep you posted. I had a vegan waffle with half a banana, natural peanut butter and organic raisins for breakfast. Wonder what I'll do for lunch?

My friends and family thought I was crazy before. Now they are going to think I'm certifiable.