Monthly Archives: June 2012

Father’s Day Weekend

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We had a lovely weekend weather-wise. Friday night we went to a Summer Tracks concert. Originally, we were going to the movies to see Men In Black III but dinner went late so we went to the concert instead. While we only saw the headliner, The StereoFidelics they kicked butt and it was a most excellent show plus we caught up with a number of friends. But it was serendipitous because we ran into one couple we’d not seen for a few months. He’s an excellent musician and I told him of a song my guitarist & I are working on, Anna Nalick’s Breathe and we made plans to get together with the gang for a jam.

I’m so glad we saw him, so full of joy and enjoying the fine music at the concert, because I just learned today that he passed away on Sunday. How fickle is life, only 58, in good (supposedly) health and very much in love with life and his wife. No one yet knows the reason. If dinner hadn’t been late, we’d have gone to the movies and not the concert and I wouldn’t have seen him…

Saturday we went tubing and canoeing on the Green River and then finally went to see MIB III at the theater in town.

Father’s Day started out with my only-on-special-occasions Dutch Apple Pancake for breakfast. Then we went to a local indoor flea market where I found a really cool tablecloth & 6 napkins in dark blue with a gold foil Egyptian motif. I got the cloth for a covering for my work desk in the home office, so teh napkins were a very pleasant extra. Dinner was a chicken and vegetable stew over  potatoes mashed with sour cream & cream cheese with homemade artisan bread. I’d recorded the first Sherlock Homes movie with Robert Downey Jr. and we watched that with some homemade coffee ice cream.

All-in-all a perfect weekend, except for learning about my friend today.

I’m looking at some photos I took over the weekend and am sharing them here. I’m looking at the ice cream, bread and Dutch Apple Pancake and I’m looking at these lovely veggies and fruits coming on in our garden and I’m thinking it might be a good time to fore go the bread-y and sugar-y stuff and jump back on a juice-fest!

The soybeans are from organic seed. Studies with GMO soybeans are flat out scary! So, since I love edamame, I found a source, Wannamakers for organic seed and they are just one state over in South Carolina.

The beautiful shiny orange mushroom is from the Ganoderma family,and is also known as reishi a highly respected medicinal mushroom. Some say Reishi can cure cancer, HIV and a whole host of other dire illnesses. Most of these claims come from people selling reishi pills. In my opinion, these mushrooms, dried and taken in tea form somewhat consistently, will significantly benefit the immune system and support other aspects of the body to effectively keep itself in good health. Again, just my opinion.

Picked beets, kale and green beans to have in my juice tomorrow morning.

Do me a favor – Tell all your family and friends how much you love and appreciate them, right now. Life is fickle and all we have is right now. I’m going to get off the computer and pick up a harmonica, then I’m gonna get the dog and go hiking. I’m going to live in a way I’ll have no regrets.

 

 

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Fad Diets – Paleo, Wheat Belly – Just Eat Real

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Posting from my friend Judi Finneran’s post today. I agree 100% with what she’s saying. She and I did our 60-day Juice-fest together. Let me know what you think.

Wheat Belly, The Paleo Caveman Diet, Dr Atkins and Eat to Live

Let me just start off this post by saying very clearly, I am not a doctor, a dietician, a nutritionist, a scientist or an expert of any kind in the field of healthy eating.  I am simply a person who has battled weight my entire adult life and have spent the same amount of time in personal study, reading, trying, living and coming to finally understand what healthy eating is for me.  Being almost 200 pounds overweight at one time, did not in any way diminish my knowledge of calories, carbs, fats, food combining, healthy eating etc. I just did not always choose to act on what I knew to be true for me.

For the past several days I have been listening to the book Wheat Belly, by William Davis, MD.  While I was initially drawn to reading the book due to my own loveof starch carbs (give me a potato or a chocolate any day) I was underwhelmed to say the least and frightened by some of the information espoused in the Wheat Belly Diet.  90% of what I heard, in MY OPINION, was complete hooey as much as I would have loved to believe it.  Anyone who tells me I can grab a block of high fat cheese for breakfast, not worry about how much I eat and still lose weight causes me to drop to my knees, saying “tell me it’s true.”   Suggesting fried eggs as a great breakfast nearly made me trip on the sidewalk.  I do agree with the points made about we eat too much junk and many of them are wheat, bagels, pretzels, crackers, etc.  But overall, listening to this book made me fearful for people reading it.  It is just another fad diet, again in my opinion and designed to excite those who worship at the alter of a highly saturated fat diet.

Which brings me to other very popular fad diet book out there right now, The Paleo Diet.  The author is Loren Cordain, Ph.D., the world’s leading expert on Paleolithic diets.  Seriously, how many experts on there on the Paleo Diet to make him the leading expert?  When I hear people talking about “The Paleo Diet”, I picture plates loaded with big bloody slabs of beef.  And as in Wheat Belly, carbs are the enemy.  Not just junk food carbs, but also vegetables.  I would like to find one physician who would ever tell a patient to eat more red meat.  To me, this was Wheat Belly was a caveman slant, designed to attract real men who eat meat.  Right.

To me, in my opinion, these are both just redressed versions of the Atkins Diet of the 70′s and 80′s.  The same old stuff in a new outfit, out to fool an new bunch of people.  The reason I keep stressing in my opinion is because I am not an expert.  I am just someone who has never, ever, not even once heard of someone dying from eating too many vegetables.   I was a server in a restaurant when the Atkins Diet was in its heyday. I most often worked the breakfast shift and the most common meal was steak and eggs.  The eggs were either fried or scrambled with cheese added.  Again, seriously.  Oh and no toast.  And we all remember how Dr Atkins died, right?

I admit it, I am a true believer in Eat to Live, Nutritarian Lifestyle by Dr Joel Fuhrman.  It just makes sense to me and I don’t see anything in there which could possibly kill me.  Fresh whole fruits, tons of veggies, no processed foods, healthy whole oils, no added salt or sugar.  Just whole, healthy clean food.  Dr Fuhrman and Eat to Live has stood the test of time and there are 1000′s of long term success stories to back every thing up.

Come learn more about Dr Fuhrman, Eat to Live, Nutritarian Lifestyles in my Dr Fuhrman’s Eat to Live – Nutritarian Plant Based Diet and see for yourself…

Teaching Healthy Living and Eating to Live,

Juicy Judi, Living Vegan

veggies, eat to live

The #1 Weight Loss Secret – Drop your SSBs!

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There is only one food that studies have consistently shown to be directly linked to obesity and to Type II Diabetes … sugar sweetened beverages.  Sugar sweetened beverages have become so bandied about in the global health world they are now known by the acronym SSB.

According to Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “… sugary soft drinks are the number one source of calories in our diets. We get more calories from sodas and sugary drinks than any other individual food — cake, cookies, pizza, anything.”

Chicago area hospitals are phasing out all SSBs including so called energy drinks.

The dire effect of SSBs on our health has prompted New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose limiting the portion size of SSBs to 16 oz. Vendors violating the size restriction could be fined $200 per infraction.

Sugary drink consumption may just be a part of the U.S. obesity epidemic, but the products are the largest single source of sugar in the diet and have a major impact on health, Thomas Farley, New York City’s health commissioner, said.. Reducing obesity by just 10 percent in New York City would save about 500 lives a year, he added. “It’s ridiculous to say we shouldn’t try something that’s only going to solve a portion of the problem,” he said at an event sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a group that has long advocated against junk food.

Bloomberg’s proposal will be submitted June 12 to the New York City Board of Health, which will then vote on it after a three-month comment period. If approved by the board, the ban would take effect early next year.

Don’t think you are doing yourself any favors by choosing sweetened tea over soda. While I am a Southern lady through & through, real southern sweet tea is off my table. Even 100% pure fruit juices, while nutritious, can pack on the calories. Check out this excerpt from their Health Department fact sheet:

I don’t drink sugary beverages, only 100%juice.That’s healthy, right?
Fruit juice is more nutritious than sugar-sweetened fruit drinks, but it’s packed with calories from the natural sugars found in fruit. Limit your intake to no more than six ounces daily, the amount in an old-fashioned juice glass.Or dilute juice with water or seltzer to cut down on calories and sugar. As a rule, it’s better to eat your fruit than drink it.

Why should anyone decide what I can eat or drink?
You can eat and drink what you like—we just want you to have all the facts.The beverage industry spends billions of dollars marketing products to children and adults.Consumers deserve to know that these heavily-advertised beverages are the largest single driver of the obesity epidemic, and that there are healthy alternatives.

Isn’t lack of exercise the real cause of obesity?
Exercise is essential to good health, but calories are the main culprit in weight gain.And controlling your calories is easier than consuming too many and then trying to burn them off.A typical adult needs 27 minutes of brisk walking to burn off the calories in a single 12-ounce can of soda, 46 minutes to burn off a 20-ouncer. So skip the soda and take the same walk.Your body will thank you in more ways than one.

Along with health and government officials looking at ways of limiting SSB consumption, others are looking to tax it, much like tobacco. Municipal leaders in Richmond, Calif.,  where more than 58 percent of Richmond’s residents are obese or overweight, announced a November ballot initiative for a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

The EpiAnalysis blog has a very informative article about taxing sugar-sweetened beverages.

So here is the bottom line, ReThink your Drink. Drink water – lots of water.  Jazz up your water by infusing it with fruits like citrus and herbs like ginger and mint. Dilute your fruit juices with club soda or selzer. Rather than store-bought tea drinks, drink herbal teas. They’re tasty and not caffeinated. Herbs, especially mint, are so easy to grow no matter where you live, in either containers or soil, inside or out.

Want to Lose Weight? Exercise – Just Gotta Do It!

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As one of the Queens of the Weight Lost & Found department, I know all about losing weight; I’ve dropped and popped back on the same 30 pounds for so many years its not even funny anymore. So I am determined to keep it off by helping as many others reach their goals as I can.

The real studies that matter have determined that the vast majority of people who reached their weight loss goals and kept it off long term have three things in common:

  1. They exercise at home
  2. They eat breakfast
  3. They weigh themselves regularly

I can sympathize with everyone trying to reach and maintain their ideal weight because the main reason I start to pack the pounds back on is I swan dive off the exercise wagon. It seems when I give myself permission to not exercise, I also give myself permission to indulge in poor food choices.

Exercise does not have to cost a thing, you don’t need fancy walking shoes or stylish jogging suits – just get up and walk. Walk for 15 minutes. Smile while you’re walking and tell yourself over and over, “I feel great, I love to move!” Each week add 5 minutes more.

Once you get in the groove, if you want to reward your self and your happy feet, go ahead and get some  new sturdy walking shoes or a comfy pair of yoga pants to wear walking.

Do some crunches, push ups and knee lifts and jumping jacks. Start off with 5 of each if that is all you can do, then each week add 5 more. This takes less than two minutes. That’s one commercial.

I know I am worth the time of one commercial. And so are you!

Lavender Farm

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Day 4 of 28 – Advanced level Turbo Jam

Provence, Hidcote and Grosso lavender plants for sate

Went to a charming 24-acre farm in Burnsville, NC. The Mountain Farm grows lavender and blueberries and raise dairy goats, llama and baby doll sheep along with miniature guard donkeys. The owners took over this farm 40-years ago with the idea of making it as sustainable as possible, pretty forward thinking for their time, eh?

They also have two large wind turbines, installed for free by a state grant, that cuts their power bill in half!

Growing many types of lavender, the Farm produces all sorts of wonderful high quality beauty products (balms, bath salts, lotions, soaps and shampoos) culinary products (lavender teas, sugars, salts, honey) and fiber products (dyed and un-dyed wools, and knitted hats and such).

Doesn’t this just lure you in?

One of the really neat features of this farm is they’ve created a 7-level labyrinth of lavender (say that 3 times!) Different from a maze, there is no puzzle to getting into or out of a labyrinth; there is only one way in to the center and one way out – it is more of a meditative exercise than a mental exercise.

Which brings me to why I’m blogging about this. I’ve grown lavender for a long time and used it in many crafty-kinds of ways, yet I’ve never used it in cooking. Now, since coming back from the farm, I’ve googled all sorts on interesting recipes using lavender.

Basically, you can substitute lavender for rosemary in most any savory dish. I found recipes for adding lavender to desserts from chocolate cake to cookies and creme brulee (wow!) as well as for making lavender salts and sugars.

Wind turbines cut the farm’s power bill a little more than half and are practically silent in operation so as not to disturb the animals in the barn.

I bought a lavender tea sampler: Love Potion, Lavender Chai, Lavender, Mint & Hibiscus and Lavender, Chamomile & Mint. The Lavender Chai this morning was really good and the whole kitchen smelled heavenly!  I like my teas to have strong flavor, especially in the morning, as well as a nice aroma and this tasted really good, very earthy but not at all bitter.

This experience just reminds me of how many things we grow are good for us and can add an extra dimension of flavor keeping us engaged and keeping eating healthy from being boring!

So now that my own lavender is in bloom, I’m going to try it in all sorts of dishes – don’t be surprised to find a new recipe with lavender in my Regular but Awesome Recipes soon!

View of the Black Mountains from the center of the labyrinth