Custom Search

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sugar Sugar

I heard on FISH radio a DJ say, “Christmas cookies—proof that the Keebler elves do not work for Santa Claus.” Yes that is correct. Nothing says the holidays like fresh baked goodies oozing in butter and sugar that remind you of your childhood or a Martha Stewart segment that you wished had been your childhood.

Like a Pavlovian experiment gone awry, every time it rained I turned on the oven and baked something. Four dozen Mexican wedding cakes, two dozen bell-shaped short bread cookies, five dozen gingerbread people, and tins of rum-balls—the spicy air filled our house and made me feel happy. I managed to make a couple dozen raw truffles for my vegan friends but that was the only sane choice I created. I did not eat any of the treats. I waited for Christmas Eve. As I did Thanksgiving, I promised myself no diet restrictions on the holiday.

Meanwhile, neighbors brought by homemade goodies of their own—cranberry bread, sugar cookies, fudge, almond bark, almond brittle. My cousin brought her famous walnut caramels. Boxes of See’s candies arrived from nowhere. Mom brought pies and I made German chocolate cake. One friend delivered a basket of fresh mushrooms—a touch of reason in a season gone mad with sugar.

So Christmas Eve came with out-of-state-relatives as well as local ones and a hot soup supper before Mass. Christmas Day sparkled with baked brie, roasted pig, olive bread, black beans, tables full of snacks and treats. The following days we shopped, ate in restaurants, ate pie before bed, and drank wine.

The sugar hit my system like a linebacker in the playoffs. By Tuesday, my hands shook, pimples popped-up everywhere, and headaches became a cascade of pulses throughout my waking hours. Oh sweet heavens, what did I do to myself?

I found the detox tea next to the green tea made myself a pot and drank. For the next two days, I sipped water then detox tea then water. Today, Thursday, I feel I can walk into the kitchen without sucking honey from the plastic bear’s head. Better but not well. From July 1st to December 24th, I removed sugar, flour, and most processed carbs from my diet. In four days, it seems I destroyed the progress that I made.

To top this all off, I gained three pounds in one week which makes a net loss/gain of zero for the month of December. All for sugar, sugar.

I have learned my lesson. Next year I will only make raw truffles if I make anything at all. Homemade will include something not baked but crafted or sewn. Better yet, I will give oranges, apples or a fresh pineapple. I will not eat myself ill.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy New Year!

The first decade of the twenty-first century is creaking to a close. This decade moved like forty-year-old motor oil in a farmer’s tractor. This wasn’t a horrible decade—not a Hitler or a Black Plague decade. We had our moments—Giants’ win of the World Series, Obama election, genome sequencing, discovery of water on Mars, and Harry Potter, a few surprises in an otherwise dim ten years. I hoped for more.

Some of images created by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick for this decade came about like big screen cell phones and uppity computers. But I wanted to jog around a cylindrical space ship, use a zero-gravity toilet, and float inside a monolith. I believed with all my teenage heart that I would be living in a solar home and flying a fusion car by now. Truth is that I wanted to have my 2001 celebration at McDonald's on the Sea of Tranquility. I even moved my expectations to a 2010. Instead, I spend most of my focus erasing decades of bad eating habits of my Standard American Diet (SAD), opting for food my great-great-grandparents grew in the old country two centuries ago with little hope of going to the moon in my lifetime.

One of the apps on my Internet home page is a graphic of our solar system that shows the actual location of each planet minute by minute. Do you remember singing “this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius?” I do. Harmony and understanding. Peace. I think of those words watching the app that aligns planets on my flat screen. I prayed that we Americans could embrace each other during this depression, give each other a hug, veggie sandwich on sprouted bread, and a job. That "love would steer the stars."

Each year I make a list of resolutions then go somewhere alone on New Year’s Day to reflect on the past year and my future. This year I am spending the day with my husband and my friends. My resolutions will include giving hugs, feeding someone veggie sandwich on sprouted bread, and creating jobs.

Happy 2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Answer is “40 Inch Four Folding with Handle Trampoline”

Ignoring the obvious syntax error in the above title which was, by the way, taken off of an enclosed instruction manual, the question? What did I get from my husband for Christmas? Wait…it’s not Christmas. Not exactly but I did answer the door when FedEx delivered straight from China, a package with an ink rendering of the contents on the cardboard covering.

Yes! I beseeched my darling on a daily basis for the newest gismo, even going so far as to print out a Google price comparison of the appropriate resellers. It arrived this afternoon.

Note to all newly-weds: if you want something specific other than car floor mats for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or other important event, printouts of the online vendor will do much to increase your mate’s ability to please your wants and needs. Paul and I have been together almost twenty-nine years. We are skilled at fulfilling each other’s bliss.

I did offer to wrap it but he and I both knew that I would not be calm until the assembled work-out gear stood in the living room.

So twenty minutes later, the box shredded and the packing material spread over two rooms—thanks to my basset/pointer mutt—I mounted shiny new trampoline in front of the fireplace and bounced like Tigger, "a very bouncy fella."

I bounced until my gluteus maximus clinched like the Philadelphia Eagles clinching the NFC East. Real tight in just seven minutes and forty-three seconds.

That goal of a getting into a new size-sixteen dress for New Year’s may be within my reach. Yes, I lost one pound this week and I gained a trampoline. Life can be good if you focus on the little stuff.
Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just shoot me

I have a cold. I have my first cold in about eighteen months. I hate getting sick and I’m a lousy patient. But here I am. I over did the holiday prep, didn’t sleep, rarely wore shoes, and played fetch with Dex when my hair was wet. But the clincher—I sat in a hospital waiting room for four hours--a virtual Petri dish of bugs. Yeah. I asked for it.
My trusty Zicam failed. So did Airbourne. Had homemade chicken soup with extra garlic last night and a hot toddy before bed. Still sick. So today, I emptied the shelves at Walgreens—Benadryl, Theraflu, Nyquil, Dayquil, Vicks, Ricola, and orange juice—trying everything. The stuff knocked me out for two hours but I still feel like garbage and look like Meg Ryan in You Got Mail.
My husband tactfully has not mentioned that I skipped my flu shot this year and last. He gets his every year. So far he is not as sick as me. Sick or not, I think the flu shot is a mistake for anyone not on the critical need list such as babies, elderly, and chronic patients like my hubby. I can type this with a wad of used Kleenex in one hand and a mug of peppermint tea in the other. I oppose subcutaneous injection of viruses that cannot be cured, contained, or controlled. Hey, maybe it’s just the fever talking.
Good news. I lost three pounds. With the gain last week that makes a net loss of two pounds for December and a total of forty-five pounds down. Of course, I have consumed a pound of dates this morning, four glasses of orange juice, and a can of Campbell’s Chicken and Stars. It’s not likely I will be dropping anymore weight today.
God bless!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Not a Great Week

My husband is in surgery having a Vitrectomy eye surgery. I wait.

When we got the date, the memories of past hospitalization that I kept suppressed, started surfacing in bits—his hip repair, the cataract on the left eye, the cataract on the right, the peritoneal implant, and multiple amputations of the right foot and leg. With each memory came the need to eat.

Not surprising, as I had plumped-up ninety pounds in the past three years, the solution to all my stress rotated around eating. Candy bars, cookies, French fries, and burgers equaled comfort. With days turning into weeks and months of hospital bed vigils, food became a reliable friend to meet the anguish and frustration wrapped around an ailing husband.

As you know, I had to battle that pattern to lose forty-two pounds these past four months.

But this week, I slipped back into old patterns. No French Fries. However, the raw chocolates sitting in the refrigerator started to call to me on a daily basis. I had a half of chocolate after dinner then one lunch and finally I threw them in the trash—with no regrets. The next day, the Medjool Dates container somehow sat on the counter. I had two, three, four, and more before they were put away. I drank less water. I ate more peanut butter. By Sunday, I wanted to eat every half hour.

This morning on the scales, my backsliding showed in a one pound weight gain. Skipping breakfast, because Paul had to fast for the surgery, I pledged to not shove my emotions onto a spoon and push them down to my waistline. So after sending him to surgery, I wandered down to the hospital cafeteria.

At a quarter to one, the food line was crowded with staff, doctors, nurses, and waiting loved ones like me. I found the salad bar, made a spinach salad with egg, grabbed a fruit bowl, water, and headed to the register.

The gentleman in scrubs in front of me had grill cheese sandwich with the specialty of the day tomato bisque soup. The couple behind me had Diet sodas, cheeseburgers with fries, and cookies. I found a table to share with a hospital administrator. She finished a plate of fried fish and fries. She left but came back with a coffee, scone, and pudding. In the entire room of predominately hospital personnel, not one person opted for a lunch of fresh vegetables and fruit as I did. The majority had a sugary-based treat to go with the popular greasy dishes.

Okay, I know that these places are set up with the desserts first, ice cream and candy bars close to the register, and fried foods being the order of the day. But this is a hospital. Shouldn’t the cafeteria be a little more proactive in the food offering?

The salad bar really sums up the intent. Start with spinach leaves and lettuce in the big bins. Next fried tofu mixed with veggies in an oil dressing, potato salad, macaroni salad, and a mix of spaghetti and veggies in a large bowls. The smaller bowls offered cucumbers, beets, olives, egg, beans, tomatoes, chickpeas, green beans, peppers, and corn. The end of the display housed five dressings—one low calorie—and toppings of sunflower seeds, raisins, and croutons. The salad bar included fried food and pasta. How easy would it be for anyone to add the calorie laden offering when dishing up a salad?

I recently read an article in Raw Food magazine. The traveling writer started with this theme, don’t leave home without food. The thought is that in the real world—outside of your home—sugar, fat, and carbs lurk around every corner. She traveled with carrots, apples, and almonds.

For me, it’s water. I need water to cut hunger and make me say no to the bad stuff. So here I am waiting for Paul to sail through his surgery, armed with a bottle of Calistoga.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

She’s shrinking...

Sandwiched between Halloween-sugar-extravaganza and the traditional Thanksgiving-stuff-the-guests, November remained a good month for my diet with a net loss of 2.2 pounds—not exactly earth-shaking but fine for the circumstances.

The excitement for me is the change in my apparel. Remember a few months ago, I gave away all the 20W and 2X clothes? I settled into 18W/1X as my new image. That only lasted a few weeks, when I discovered that my 16W pants fit very well. A cold snap in Sacramento caused me to dig out the pajamas size XL and toss the oversized 1X nightgowns. My husband and I went through our closets looking for warm clothes that fit. I unboxed his blue jeans. He tried on pair after pair with none fitting.

Just for giggles, I tried the blue jeans I borrowed from him back in the eighties when we were dating and both wore the same size jeans 36/29. Oh dear heaven, they fit and are now located in my jean drawer. Borrowing clothes—it’s like having a big sister but only it’s a husband. I told that to Paul’s nurse and she said she did not want Paul to show up in one of my dresses. We laughed because Paul has boney white knees and just last year he wore a kilt to our God-daughter’s wedding. Does that count as a dress?

This morning I tried to button a pair of size 16 corduroy pants—very cute and chocolate brown. I am a half-inch around the waist from victory with these. I know I can do it. Stick with the raw food program. Ignore cooked food especially breads, pasta, and fast food. Exercise. Okay. I have been lax on actually exercising. I prefer to mend fences, walk the dog, put up Christmas lights, and sand tables. But a few tummy crunches would get me into those brown cords a lot sooner. Sigh.

New goal: Size 16 by New Years. I will need a new dress. Oh and bra. Shoes, can’t have a new dress without shoes…