Happy Labor Day

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I hope you and your loved ones have a happy Labor Day!

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My Low-fat, Plant-based Diet

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I’ve been following a low-fat (no oil), no prepared foods, plant based diet since the middle of March.  I was over-weight and just couldn’t lose any weight, even though I had been Vegan for 3 years at that point.  I had watched Forks Over Knives and was aware that I needed to decrease my oil and processed foods consumption.  However, it wasn’t until I got the book Seven Day Rescue Diet by Rip Esselstyn that I found a simple and easy diet to follow.  And that was when I started to lose weight.  Was it hard?  Well, cooking without oil can be a little bit difficult, but I quickly adjusted.  Now I use some water instead of oil and I add more herbs and spices to my food then I ever did before.  One of the easy things about this diet change is that I liked all the foods that I was eating.  For the first month, I was completely about cooking my own food.  These days I will get a pizza with no cheese on it from the local take-out, so no, I don’t feel “cheated”.   I will also eat Chinese take-out that has been steamed with no sauce on it.

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So, have I been losing weight?  Yes!  With absolutely no calorie restriction (I actually eat a lot), so far, I’ve lost 23 pounds.  For a moderately over-weight woman of over 50 this is huge.  I don’t exercise every day, but I do eat all I want every day.  Here is a list of my meals for one day:

Breakfast – one shredded wheat biscuit with plain Almond Milk (I eat Post Shredded Wheat), I only eat one because I also have a large glass of water, a banana and a peach or plum.  If I’m not that hungry I’ll save the banana for a snack around 10:00 or so.  I will eat another banana if I’m hungry later on in the morning.

Lunch – a fairly large salad with either homemade oil-free dressing, or bought oil-free dressing with little to no “extra” stuff in it.  I’ll then have a baked potato with a little salt, pepper and garlic on it.  And again, I’ll have a large glass of water.

Snacks – if I’m hungry in the middle of the afternoon I’ll eat some fruit.  With it being summer, that could be sweet cherries, a peach or plum, grapes or a banana.  If I’m really hungry I’ll have more than one piece of fruit.  If I’m eating cherries I’ll just have a few (or more) handfuls of them.

Dinner –  usually I’ll have a bowl from Seven Day Rescue Diet.  If I’m not having that, I could be steaming up some veggies and having them with preservative and oil-free soy sauce and some brown rice or quinoa.  I put a ton of spices on my food.  I’ve always used a lot.

Desert – I usually have fruit in the evening.  Right now, since it’s summer and strawberry/blueberry season, I’ve been having that for a treat.  And, even though I normally only eat whole food, I will have the vegan whipped cream on those.  Not every night but one or two nights a week.

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When I started this diet, I didn’t eat a single prepared food.  I made everything from scratch, including hummus.  Homemade hummus is really good.  I now eat some no-oil, no-preservative guacamole, oil-free salad dressing, and I make veggie sandwiches with vegan sandwich thins.  But, I mostly (6 days out of 7) still follow the no-oil, low-fat diet.  I now have added plain peanuts to my diet, so that’s really good if you feel like a nosh.  I’ve also had air-popped popcorn with a small amount of salt on it – one caveat, popcorn without vegan butter can be pretty dry.  I’ve also made potato chips in the microwave – they are really good with some garlic powder on them, but are time consuming to make.

The only issue with eating this way is that you have to actually make your meals.  It can take more time than I’m used to, but it also tastes much better than prepared foods.  If you want some recipes let me know and I’ll share some with you.  The other important thing is that I drink a lot of water.  All the time.

As far as health is concerned, I used to have fairly bad asthma and now I don’t.  We’ll see how the rest of the summer goes, but the humidity hasn’t really bothered my breathing as much as before I started this eating plan.  My fibromyalgia also isn’t giving me as much pain as before.  Those were my two health issues, and they seem to be improving.  So, I’m looking forward to losing more weight on my goal to a healthy weight.  If you have any questions let me know in the comments below.

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This Day

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Last Saturday began as a normal day.  As I fed my two dogs and one cat, my oldest dog, Sierra, was behaving normally.  She’s been having a really hard time walking due to arthritis and old age, but she has been holding her own even though she’s been getting worse and worse over the past year or so.  However, by nine in the morning she’d lost control of her bowels, and was just lying on the floor looking upset and confused.  I called the vet and told them what was going on.  That afternoon we took her in, determined that there was nothing more to be done, and we had to let her go.  I can’t tell you how horrible this has been.  While I know that it was the best thing for her, it’s been the worst thing for us.  We have been devastated by this.  Every time I go through this, I both can’t believe that it’s happening, and vow to have no more pets.  My heart is ripped apart, and I feel as though I just won’t be able to get through it.  I’ve been crying almost non-stop for days, even waking up crying.

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This is the story of Sierra.  Our son wanted a dog of his own for his fifteenth birthday.  I took him to numerous shelters, however all of the dogs there needed to be the only dog in the family due to previous issues. Since we had another dog and two cats at that time, none of the dogs were a good fit.  I went on Pet Portal and found a no-kill shelter about two hours away.  They had pictures and histories of all the pets available on their web-site and we found the prettiest mixed-breed dog.  Her name was Sierra, and she was available.  So, we took a trip there with our other dog (to make sure that they would get along), and met her.  She was skittish and shy, but very loving and got along with our dog Shadow.  She had had a hard time of it, since she’d been an abandoned dog, and then had been adopted and brought back twice due to her nervous and skittish behavior.  However, we just knew that she was the dog for us.  And the rest is history.  At first, she would “squat and pee” when people approached her due to her fears of being abused.  But with time and love she calmed down enough to realize that she was safe.  Although for years she was afraid every time she got in the car that she was going to go back to the shelter,  she eventually came to believe that we were never going to dump her.   She was sweet, and funny.  Her favorite thing to do was to hop around on her back legs when she was excited and also when she wanted to see what it was that you were carrying.  We called her a Kangaroo due to this, and also due to her coloring.  Going for a walk and getting treats were two of her favorite things.  She also had a blue ball that squeaked, that we called her “baby ball” since she would walk around with it in her mouth, put it on our laps and we were expected to tell her how beautiful her “baby ball” was.  She’d then grab it and jump up on the couch to cuddle with it.  She was such a loving and sweet girl.

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In our family our pets are our family.  They are our children, they are loved and they are a huge part of our lives.  There is a hole in my life the size of our sweet and loving girl.  Sierra, you have been loved and will be forever missed.

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Lead in Baby Food

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Years ago, when I had babies, I read an article saying that lead was found in baby food.  At the time, I was a stay-at-home mother, and decided that I wouldn’t buy any baby food, instead, I would make it.  The way that I accomplished this was to simply put some of the food that I’d made into a food processor and then fed it to my babies.  I was already making my own applesauce, etc. before learning about the lead issue, since I didn’t want to feed my babies refined sugar.  I still make my own applesauce and have only ever added some cinnamon to the finished product.

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The reason I’m sharing all this with you is that once again, scientists have discovered that there is lead in baby food.  The amount is around 20%, with baby juice and root vegetables being the main culprit.  Researchers say that although there is some lead found in the soil where the vegetables may be grown, they feel that it is the high level of processing that is causing the problem.  However, since there is no acceptable level of lead intake, this is cause for concern.  I know that the time constraints on a family with a new baby are excessive, but I do encourage you to make your own baby food.   I know that most people are aware of the effects that environment has on the growth of a child, so if you can, perhaps you should consider making baby food yourself. It really doesn’t take that much time, and the result is that you would have one less thing to worry about. When it comes to raising children, one less thing to worry about is always welcome.

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http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/06/15/533103892/lead-detected-in-baby-food-samples-pediatricians-say-theres-no-safe-level

 

Clutter

Clutter

I recently watched a documentary on clutter.  First of all, I must admit that I was pleased that I don’t have the level of clutter in the houses that were shown.  These were typical American homes; however, these weren’t hoarders, just the usual clutter that we’ve probably all seen.  You know, where you can’t walk anywhere except in the ally-ways that have been made.  None of these houses looked like that.  So, they weren’t talking about the extreme clutter.  Just the mostly normal amount of clutter that most families live with on a daily basis.

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However, while I was watching the documentary I was wondering what the effect on people is from just having the “normal” amount of American clutter.  Some of the information that I found includes weight-gain, stress, sleeping problems and anxiety.  This I can believe, since even though I don’t have the amount of clutter I saw in some of those houses, I do have more than my fair share – and it drives me crazy.

While I have no ambition to become a minimalist, I do want to stream-line my life.  I know that I’ve got too much.  Who really needs thirty or so journals? Well, apparently, I do, since I keep buying them.  Or how about twenty or so plastic and stainless steel drinking bottles?  Yes, even though I’ve gone through them, gotten rid of a bunch, somehow, I’ve managed to end up with more of them.  Seriously people?  Do we really need more?

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So, my project for the next few months so going to be getting rid of the clutter.  Have you done this?  How did it work out for you?  And, if you accomplished this goal, have you seen any differences in how you feel?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

An Empty Nest

My contemporaries often talk about their grown children moving back home after college due to the job market and low pay.  However, I’ve never had an “empty nest”.  My son chose to work instead of going to college, and now he has a great career where he actually earns quite a bit of money.  He however, has told us that he plans to never move out.  But, at the ripe old age of twenty-six, it’s more than time for him to leave.  Make no mistake, I love him dearly, however, he really needs to get out and live life on his own.

Ah, what a rant!  Our daughter is another story.  She’s stayed at home to go to college on-line, and will be graduating in August.  She helps with the housework, cooks dinner sometimes, and is usually quite sweet.  We have no drama, etc. with her.  She works by babysitting, dog-walking and creates content for a web-site related to her area of studies. Her plan is to stay at home for a year after graduation, and then hopefully go to graduate school in the U.K.   She would love to move out, but needs to save as much money as she can.

With all this, I must admit that I’m dreaming of a house of my own.  A little french country cottage or a hobbit house would be just wonderful.  Think of all the peace and quiet!  Family, you can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them!

 

Parenting manual.