Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Still Doing the Home Improvement Thang

So, it is my established opinion that home improvement projects suck, but the results are so good that I forget the hassel two weeks down the road. Since I have tons of aqua blue left (a whole gallon) I'm going to probably paint my gray bathroom blue in a couple weeks--I will need a couple weeks respite (perhaps I'll do it after Chinese New Year and my decluttering project is down--yes, that's what I'll do).

So, on the fitness front: I just bought about $100 of Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers meals--they are deeply discounted with the whole News Year Resolution crowd about to embark on new fitness regimes and I thought I'd buy them before the pickings are slim. Lean Cuisines are $1.78 and Weight Watchers are $2.18-$2.88. Very good deals.

Here's the thing, I don't particularly care for frozen meals, but I have to be honest. Starting this semester, I will be at work from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Monday, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday's and Thursdays--that is going to suck. Well, I actually won't be at work the whole time. I'm taking three classes (paid for since I work at a University) in order to get a teaching certificate. One semester of suckitude means that next year, while teaching, I'll only have to do the commute driving once per week each semesters. Also, I won't have to pay tuition. Also, I'll be on flextime--which means really LONG days, but Friday's off (so I'll write my novel). I might as well do the flextime, because I have to stay in the evenings anyway. SO, like I said, serious suckitude.

I have to be practical. I will need to eat lunch and dinner several nights per week at work and though I can make batches of chili or rice and beans cheaper than $1.78, most everything else is more expensive and takes time. So, I'm going to go to the dark side and eat frozen meals (though I'll try to integrate some raw veggies and apples as well).

Despite the sucky schedule, I am going to persevere and try to work out six days per week. Monday's will be my off day, Tuesday and Thursday I will do a pilates tape when I get home, Wednesday will be a full work out at the gym (generally involving the elliptical, my favorite) and then Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I will work out on the treadmill or go to the park at home. I will also have stair climb breaks (to get my blood flowing) and I will have handweights/rubber bands and do some squats when at work. The long days means stiff body, so taking a couple minutes here an there to get ones circulation up is important for health. I may also try to take a Saturday morning Yoga class, well see.

So, my general week should be:

Breakfast--Greek Yogurt & Granola; Black Tea
Lunch--Frozen Meal
Dinner--Frozen Meal
Snacks: one apple per day, other options include, almonds, another yogurt, raw veggies/hummus, edame, gluten free crackers w/ cheese, Luna Bar, etc.
Exercise: Day Off

Breakfast--Greek Yogurt & Granola; Black Tea
Lunch--Frozen Meal
Substantial Snack from list above
Dinner--Soup or Luna Bar in class
Exercise: Pilates

Breakfast--Greek Yogurt & Granola; Black Tea
Lunch--Frozen Meal or Wacky Wednesday
Dinner--at home, so will vary.
Snacks, see Monday
Exercise: Full Work Out at Gym, Elliptical & Toning

Breakfast--Greek Yogurt & Granola; Black Tea
Lunch--Frozen Meal
Substantial Snack from list above
Dinner--Soup or Luna Bar in class
Exercise: Pilates

Meals @ home, so will vary
Exercise: Treadmill or Walking/Jogging in the park. Yoga possible.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I'm sorry for the absence. I have tons of pictures of holiday fare to share and I want to get back on reporting a daily food diary via image, but currently my house is upside down. I am painting my kitchen and decluttering my house. Bad idea to try both projects at once. I have some before pictures and I intend to take some after pictures of the project, but the redecoration resulted in cramming my living room with so much stuff, I can't find my camera to computer cord at the mo'.

1st a discussion of decluttering: this is something I've needed to do for a long time. I have too much stuff and I've even moved unorganized stuff twice. I have several closets, yet I wasn't quite sure where all of my Christmas decorations were this year, so I just used candles and chargers to add a festive feel to the living room, but didn't put up the tree or even put lights on my hibiscus as a substiute. My goal is to know where the important things are and get rid of the unimportant. On the 1st day of my decluttering saga I produced FIVE bags of reclyable paper from old magazines, mail, school papers, etc. That wasn't even digging deep (my parents have offered use of their recycle bin to help me get it all out this week). I have two boxes of give away in my trunk which was just sitting between my living room and kitchen for like six months (thus, give away I meant to give away last summer!). I haven't even started the real dig yet--I just got rid of some surface clutter. So, decluttering is really a big project that I will engage in between the Western New Years and the Chinese New Years (my friend Ipsita, she's Indian, told me that the Chinese always try to sweep away the old and uncessary before their New Year, so I figure I can tweak that ancient custom and marry it to a New Year's Resolution: New Years day, declutter begins, January 26th (early this year), the Chinese New Year and the day my decluttering should be complete. I think that that is reasonable, but I'm going to have to really committ to recognizing that what I thought of as necessary in the past may really not be and its keeping me from having a more livable living space.

Kitchen Redocoration: So, this has been a project long in the making and I planned to do it over the break (I work at a University, so I'm lucky to actually get a 2 week break). Taking down all the wallpaper proved the hardest--gross, goopey, and difficult and when the final piece just over my sink was about to be scraped off, gawd I was tired. Honestly, it took my two full days. The painting is going much smoother, with the help of my tireless father, but taping off the cabinets and protecting the floor constitued most of yesterday; then the ceiling painted white; today we'll do another coat on the ceiling and we'll start on the walls, going up to about 6 inches of the ceiling because we'll have to tape of the ceiling when its dry to finish the top bits of the walls. Originally in the plan, I was going to get some char molding and go around the room with this white molding at about 36 inches from the floor to give it a fancy look. I'm not sure now. We'll see if I'm happy enough with the aqua color. Once I find the cord, I promise I'll share the before and after.

Now, again, lesson learned, never try to redocorate a room while at the same time decluttering! It made sense in a way (two weeks, two projects) but I think getting the kitchen done, then doing decluttering will be best in the end.

Exercise: I haven't done the treadmill, but 10 hours pulling wall paper is a hell of a lot of activity points. I'll be back on the treadmill Thursday, but between now and then I'm pretty sure I'm getting tons of exercise. Not quite moving levels of exercise, but quite enough.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Once again, Egg Substitute omlette with toast, clementine, and English Breakfast Tea. I need to go out in a few minutes and get my dad a present (I know, Christmas Eve--crazy), but I also need to get something for dessert tonight. I think that I might go to Meijers and kill two birds with one stone (and then as a reward, get a Starbucks latte--I might try something seasonal. I usually order a sugar-free hazelnut latte with 2% or skim milk, but once per year getting a pumpkin or peppermint or eggnog drink seems appropriate. Its raining, last night there were tons of accidents around the state because the rain was right at freezing (though thankfully it didn't turn into an icestorm and right now its above freezing, so its just wet). I'll be careful.


2nd Day Down

For dinner, I had a black bean garden burger on gluten free toast with some cheese and 2/3 a cup of veggie soup with milk. I also had a bit more pudding (see image below from lunch).The brand was Gardenburger, which is vegan. Here's the rub, I prefer Morning Star Farms or Amy's for taste, but they both have wheat gluten or Seiten as one of their main ingredients and that will seriously tear up my tummy. Gardenburger doesn't claim to be gluten free (they use soy sauce for flavoring which is made with wheat) but its way less glutenous than any of the others I've come across. Now, this isn't a full examination of all veggie burgers out there--this is based on what's available at Kroger. Co-op and Whole Foods probably have better selections, so I should investigate there, but this one was very tasty and much better than Gardenburger's original. One of my favorite veggie burgers is homemade tempeh and lentil, but I can only make it in fairly large batches and even freezing, I throw out more than half anyway. I think its important to experiment with meatless meals beyond simple rice and beans.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dec. 23, 2008

Egg substitute omlette again today, the toast is a different variety (Gluten free, but made by a different company. I believe its a combo of rice flour, tapioca flour, etc. My favorite is the millet); I also had a clementine and some breakfast tea.

After breakfast, I tried out Heavy Weight Yoga but I had technical difficulties and couldn't find my DVD remote--I could only play the bits that the immediate "play" instruction would allow. She, Abby Lentz, seems like a really caring and compassionate human being who is trying to introduce yoga to people regardless of their bodily condition--so wheel chair bound, fat folks, people with limited mobility due to age or pain--which is great. I will admit that the little I saw wasn't for me, however because it was very very basic and I've done enough yoga to know that what I need to do right now is a bit more traditional beginners stuff. I'm not giving up on the tape, but I think that I'd like to see if my mother would enjoy doing her tape more. Once I can access more of the postures and sequences, I'll try again.

After the technical difficulties, I puttered around for a while, the I thought I might try one of those universal remotes I have around the house to see if I could set it to use with my DVD. It sort of worked. So, I decided to pop in Shiva Rae flow yoga. This is a two DVD set and its extensive. There are routines from 26 minutes to 108 minutes and you can set your own sequence via the DVD matrix option (which I haven't tried). I started on her sequence, the Spiral, and the first 15 minutes were really cool. But, it started to get hard, fairly quickly after the first 15, so I've decided to take her advice and watch her routines and try to figure out the matrix function before trying to complete a routine. So, after that 15 minutes, I decided to hop on the treadmill.

I went 1.7 miles, 35 minutes, 2%-2.5% incline while watching another Gilmore Girls episode.

I decided to make a nice lunch--chicken, two small red potatoes, and green beans w/ a tablespoon of spaghetti sauce (I didn't have any salsa). This will be my main meal for the day.

I also had dessert--some sugar free chocolate fudge pudding that I made the other night. I think pudding you make tastes better than pudding cups.

Despite how pretty and yummy this meal was, I ate too fast because I was preoccupied about going out...I was in my head about what to do next, etc. I really need to try to be more contemplative when I eat. Give thanks and bring myself into the moment.

Monday, December 22, 2008

1 Day Down

So, I'm really food blogging--crazy! I'm also fixing my system so that my computer will stop downloading all 64 pictures from my camera everytime I want to upload one.

Okay, so above is some veggie soup with bits of lamb cut up and added to it and a bit o'cheese sprinkled on top. I had two bowls actually and a piece of millet toast not pictured. I took 1 cup of veggie soup, added about two ounces of lamb and a couple extra cabbage leaves to round it out; heated and served. I filled the bowl half way each time because I ate on the couch instead of the table so that I could watch a show during dinner. Next to my soup/stew is a BL Lime--my sister once proclaimed that that would be her super secret code name if she needed to check into a hotel as a celebrity some day. As a rule, I don't like beer. I'm just not a cool chick like that. I don't even really like girly beers, like Blue Moon or Stella Artois, though I'll drink those two and BL Lime more willingly than a "real" beer. BL Lime is a beer, but very light and lime flavored, not sweet so it isn't a pop-alcholic (think Zima, wine coolers, etc), but "real" beer drinkers probably regard it as lowly as such sweet concoctions as Mike's hard lemonaide, etc. I don't care. I wanted a drink tonight and I didn't have any red wine. Honestly, what I really wanted (yesterday) was some Silk Soy Milk Egg Nog (90 calories) and some rum--it was on sale at Kroger and way cheaper calories wise than "real" egg nog, but the idea of running across the parking lot in 4 degree weather with four bags of groceries in hand to get the rum sounded way too hard at the time. Perhaps I will brave the weather tomorrow and make said purchase and get ingredients for a dessert for New Years Eve I promised to make. I have no idea what I'll make at this point. Any ideas non-existent readers?

Okay, exercise stat's for the day:
Treadmill 35 minutes. 2% incline and 1.68 miles. I watched Gilmore Girls to accompany and picked up the exercise room for the last 5 minutes of the show. I was going to do toning, but I tried to start out with a wall sit and it hurt my knees, so then I vowed to shower and do the toning tonight--thus far? No toning. We'll see, maybe I'll do a little downward dog for my shoulders/arms and abs. Tomorrow, I'd like to do the pilates DVD and then the treadmill. Since I'm off for the next two weeks, I'd like to exercise everyday just to get back in the routine. Even once I'm back at work, I'm going to aim for 6 days per week. More on that later.

Experiments with Tofu

So, for lunch I made a rice noodle soup in chicken broth (took chicken broth, ginger, soy sauce, red pepper flake, some Thai green chile paste, a tad bit of sugar and marinated the tofu while I was on the treadmill). At first, I was going to be very holy and just have the veggies, tofu, and noodles, but as I started to eat, I felt deprived and started fixating on the shrimp I had in the freezer. I had made this once before with shrimp and I couldn't help compare. Tofu I make at home is often a "chore" to eat. I like it in miso (but when I have miso I know I get to have sushi too) and I like it in thai/japanese restaurants when its mixed with veggies and over rice--usually the tofu in those cases is fried.

One thing I absolutely know is that I will not eat or appreciate anything at work that I make at home with tofu. I've tried it once or twice and I've always given in and gone out to lunch with the work crew. Now, I love my colleauges, but we work in a small town in the south (I commute from the city to a regional university) and the food choices are pretty much fast food, chain food, or home cookin' where everything is friend in lard. Lately, I've been going out to eat A LOT with my colleagues. Getting out of the office is a huge appeal--its boring to sit all day at the same place. It has had a detrimental effect on me, spiritually, finacially and physically. Because I am a typical healthy eater, chain food isn't good for me--its weird to my system and I eat gluten more than I ought to (I have a gluten intolerance). Plus I'm going to be way poorererer this next semester because I won't be working my second job teaching as an adjunct. Flextime also generally keeps me from going out. Next term I will generally be on flextime and bringing homemade meals and Amy's or Ethnic Gourmet meals. Plus everyone has vowed to be on a diet or similar next term in the office, we're all great reformers for 30 seconds at least. Anyway, my point, NO TOFU for lunch (unless its Amy's tofu) and when I make it at home I should probably just through in some shrimp or beans to make it less chore like. There will be other posts in the future about me and meatless eating...

Okay, so I'm really doing this obsessive food blogging thing

Look at how pretty my breakfast was! Seriously, very pretty very tasty. I had an egg substitute omlette with cheddar cheese, a clementine, a piece of millet bread toast, and English Breakfast tea.

Today, December 22, 2008, is the day after the Winter Solstice. Now, I dig the Equinoxes and Solstices--days the earth gives testament to the passing of time. Whether you view this from a Neo-Pagan perspective or a natural philosopher's perspective (old-timey for the contemplative scientist), these natural events provide good moments to pause and take stock--what am I doing right? How does the light/dark impact me as a human being? Etc. Many like to take stock at the New Year--but in truth, New Years Eve has no basis in the natural and is completely culturally constructed. The Chinese calendar is much older (as the Jewish calendar is), yet the despite the confusion wrought by the Julian/Gregorian debate, we still follow a very imperial Roman kind of system. Now the Solstice, whether human beings are around to "discover" it, it really is the shortest day of the year. The darkest and the most winter of winter nights. After the Solstice, the earth is moving (in the Northern Hemisphere) back toward the light.

I have been lately becoming more and more lazy and ill inclined to move about this Fall. There are a couple reasons why this is so: 1. I can't afford my gas heat to keep my house at a comfortable temperature, so I have a electric heater in my living room for when I get home from work and an electric blanket to sleep with--so moving away from my heat sources sucks; 2. I've done some flextime the past few months and sitting all day for 10 hours is exhausting! Sounds counterintuitive, but it really sucks you of all energy. So, I want to figure out how to MOVE MORE. Now, hopefully next year I will be teaching fulltime, which will involve standing for much of the day and walking around (yay), but for now I need to move in my current circumstances. I have a few plans for this--which I will elaborate on as I go--but they are general, like walking up four flights of stairs three-four times per day and actually using my weights at work.

TODAY, however, is not about elaborate plans--today, I simply need to get on the treadmill and clean my house. I've already taken a picture of my breakfast (which eat, live, run has inspired me to start doing regularly--not as punishment for eating, but to really document in a way that won't make me neurotic).

So, when I post lunch/dinner, I 'll let you know how the movement/exercise goals were met today. We are moving toward the light as a hemisphere and light to me means getting going. Its life, its growth, its vitality.


Thursday, December 11, 2008


I am probably the 10,000th blogger to address this, but Oprah, seriously? This week Oprah felt that it was necessary to make a press release regarding the deep shame that is her current weight. Now, love her or hate her, everybody has to recognize that Oprah is peerless in her accomplishments--she is more than a media mogul and philanthropist, she is an icon. I have a great deal of respect for Oprah.

But...her yoyo example is dangerous and its sad to see this woman so beat down by her inner demons and self-loathing.

Dear Oprah,

Eat right because it tastes good and its healthy. Exercise because movement feels good and is flourishing.

Let me guess, when you're fat you feel anxious and when your skinny you feel anxious about the idea of getting fat. That's a lot of anxiety. That's a lot of wasted time and emotional self-abuse.

Now, I have to admit to the fat-o-sphere that I'm not one of those fat acceptance bloggers who believes in HAES (Heathly at Every Size). I believe in striving for health at whatever size you are. I think that some people are more prone to fatness than others and Oprah and I are two such people. I don't want to put an arbituary number out there like 200lbs or 300lbs or 400lbs as the cut off for health, that's not something I'm claiming to know or that I think that that kind of number can be established as a universal. But, I will say that I do believe that Oprah can be healthy and beautiful at 200lbs.

200lbs isn't some magical number of human worthlessness. Why is 199lbs better? Because it doesn't have the stigma of "over 200 pounds"? Probably. But, numbers are arbituary. If you fetishize a number all you are doing is putting a further mental barrier between you (your mind) and your body (also you). You are othering, disassociating--whatever you call it you are fundamentally doing yourself a disservice and putting distance between how you sense and perceive the world (your body) and how you process those sensory experiences (your mind).

Instead of starting a new round of dieting and personal reform (I am saved I am saved I am saved by diet X), try to be still. Try to move for pleasure. Try to eat for pleasure and health (they need not be counter productive to on another).


p.s. That goes for me too.