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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bye-Bye Cellulite

Standing in the shower, scrubbing my skin with lemon and oatmeal soap, and letting the warm water pour down my thighs, I discovered something missing—cellulite. Gone. The cottage-cheese-rippled legs that have been so familiar these last six years have changed into firm smooth thighs from my sexier past.

Cellulite is excess fat stored in the body in ugly dimpled patterns. Skinny women that gain weight over a short period of time tend to have cellulite more often than their heavier sisters. We, well plumper ladies, tend not to get bumpy legs until enough weight gained makes us obese, adding that extra nastiness around the legs and buttocks—like a pair of shorts made out of bubble wrap. I wore that layer myself.

I am sure there is a wealth of pills, herbs, creams, exercise regimes, and literature covering the elimination of cellulite. I have not looked for any of them. From the start, my goal has been to lose weight to become a healthy kidney donor for my husband.

After meeting my weight goal in November, I decided to continue dieting to reach my ideal body mass index BMI by June 2011. For me the side benefits of continuing the raw food diet for the last three months included smooth skin, no pimples, stronger fingernails, and the elimination of cellulite. That’s quite a laundry list of perks for eating better and exercising once in a while.

Keeping in mind that I am still thirty pounds overweight, it should be exciting to find out what other benefits are waiting for me in the near future.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


My husband and I traveled to the Bay Area this weekend to attend the memorial service of our good friend, Spyros Stamos. As Paul has been on four weeks of bed rest, this adventure purported to be outside of his comfort zone and mine. We decided to stay at the same place that I took him when he recovered from fractured hips. Handicap accessible—the room included a shower that a wheelchair comfortably fit, giving my husband freedom to use the bathroom on his own. A luxury by our standards.

The last time we stayed there, Paul was heavily drugged for pain and unconscious most of the time. I had little time to eat or sleep—let alone use the amenities. In anticipation of a different experience, I packed my swimsuit—the red one in all my blog photos—and workout clothes. The first morning there, I managed to get a half hour workout in the gym and twenty lovely minutes in the hot tub.

The same chain of Inns had a location closer to our friends and the memorial service but they wanted $99 for the first night and $75 for each night following. This location close to Oakland Airport offered the exact same facilities for only $57 per night. For thirty bucks, we could afford the time and gas over the seventeen mile difference between the two locations. A bargain—so we thought.

Friday morning, I leapt out of bed and took full advantage of the complementary guava juice, coffee, eggs, blueberry waffles, and yogurt—pulling together a like breakfast for the still-sleeping moose. Okay the blueberries were fresh and the self-made Belgian waffles I made fit in the palm of my hand. I didn’t cheat that badly. After all, exercise and swimming followed the breakfast.

We did the memorial service and visits with friends. Paul held together fairly well considering. We collapsed in the room, watched Denzel be gorgeous in “Unstoppable,” and fell into a restful sleep.

The next morning I brought the coffees in the room. Paul watched the local news channel.

“A young man was shot last night in a hotel close to Oakland Airport,” said the newscaster.

Cameras followed a reporter through the lobby and past our room. The pretty female reporter started interviewing a middle-aged black woman.

“Hey,” I said, “I just talked with her over the coffee machine.”

“Shh.” Paul leaned towards the TV screen.

Seems there was a party on the third floor during the night. Things got ugly. A young man was killed somewhere above our heads.

“Guess we are staying at the Fremont Marriott next time.” I smiled a weak smile at my husband, knowing full well who picked the hotel location.

“Ya think?”

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Un-Cook Books

I bought my darling a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day and a pile of books for me. Yep. I went online to looking for raw un-cook books. Most raw recipes I have found so far feed an army of six and I am just one—Moose has a whole other diet. So I let my mouse do the walking. I purchased “Alive in 5—Raw Gourmet Meals in Five Minutes” by Angela Elliott, “Ultimate Raw Vegan Chocolate Recipes” by Kristine Suzanne—hey, it was Valentine’s Day—and “Raw Food Made Easy—for 1 or 2 People” by Jennifer Cornbleet. I liked the fact that Jennifer’s last name looked edible.

After reading all three cookbooks, I found that “Raw Food Made Easy” may be the most useful. Both Ms. Cornbleet—I loved that name—and Ms. Elliott had complete information on how to set up a raw kitchen, what utensils to buy, and when to use them. The chocolate book had pretty pictures.

“Raw Food Made Easy” covered a wider range of flavors including Asian, East Indian, Mexican, and Italian. I craved Italian. Because the portions were smaller I could visualize preparing the food daily. Jennifer Cornbleet had some of my favorite foods listed in a raw version like Olive Tapenade and a mock spaghetti recipe—“Zucchini Pasta al Presto with Marinara Sauce and Not Meat Balls.” Oh, yum. Her book included full menu ideas and a collection of raw desserts for my Sunday cheats.

Hope you will get the spirit to try something new this week. BTW you can go on Amazon and preview the books and a couple recipes.

I gained two-tenths of a pound. Given the holiday and the past month’s events, I can’t complain.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine Chocolate

Monday is the day—chocolate abounds. What to do about your waistline then?

My recommendation is to go with the flow only sensibly. That means to ignore the cheap and plentiful options and go with something expensive and memorable. After all it is a holiday of sorts and should hold some sort of excitement don’t you think?

  1. Edible Flowers work as an alternative to chocolate. They are pretty, make you feel good, and are edible. So tell Romeo to get you rosemary, hibiscus, carnations, chrysanthemums, lavender, marigolds, nasturtiums, pansies, peonies, or violets from a pesticide-free vendor. Washed flowers can be added to tea, champagne, or salads, or dipped in honey or chocolate. High fiber and low cal, it’s a beautiful alternative.
  2. Godiva Chocolate. Have I gone crazy? The calories? The cost? You can run down to your local drug store and get a giant heart full of cheap-sugary candy, or pick up a six piece box of Godiva truffles for about the same price. Box of six Godiva chocolates equals 630 calories. For about the same price, a box of eighteen Whitman/Russell Stover chocolates equals 2,070. The Godiva will cost three times more than the other options but oh baby the flavor. Have one 105 calorie piece a day for a week to celebrate the love.
  3. My choice—Intense dark chocolate with cacao nibs. The company is Endangered Species Chocolate—available from the local health food store. A three ounce bar costs around $3 and has nine individual squares of chocolate to snap off and eat. The whole bar has 420 calories making each square of ethically traded cacao chocolate only 47 calories each. The flavor stays on your tongue forever and the mouth-feel is incredible. Plus ten percent of the profits support wildlife. The inside wrapper has wonderful information on critters. Love this chocolate.
Enjoy the day by telling someone that you love and appreciate them. The flowers and chocolates are optional.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


My mother approached my great-grandmother, decades ago, on the occasion of the death of GG Mapes’ youngest daughter. Mom asked how she dealt with the loss, having buried two husbands and all but one of her seven children. My great-grandmother turned and gave her the oddest look, paused for a long time, then gave some answer appropriate for a minister’s wife—a response meant to sooth Mom’s soul.

I never believed she spoke what was on her heart.

This morning, I recognized her odd look in the mirror.

Thursday, a dear friend died. He was forty-six years old. Recently, you may have lost someone that was also young. Perhaps you just started your grieving of a sudden death, or you like Spyros’ friends and family have held the grief inside since his November cancer diagnosis. Although the quick end came as a blessing for one suffering with immense pain, it did wrench the hearts of those who loved him.

For me, it seemed to be the last gasp of sadness that I could draw in. My mirror reflected that.

Friday at the memorial service, friends will hold hands, hug, cry, celebrate a short life remembered, and part.

I can only accept the truth that this not the final stage of our lives. I will hold Spyros again. For now, I cannot feel sad anymore. Not about Spyros, others we have lost, or my darling’s ongoing suffering—battling diabetes. The joy must be in touch of my husband’s breath on my cheek. The puppy growling in his sleep. The surprise delivery of flowers from a friend.

The blessings in my life are small and powerful—all I need to end the sadness of everyday living. Maybe that was exactly what my great-grandmother said.

God Bless Your Family

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fruit Bars

Yesterday I made my first fruit bars. This whole-fresh-raw thing is scary to me. I have shied away from making anything that looked like baked goods for fear of difficulty and disastrous results.

After spending my usual two hours surfing the internet, I found enough information to make me dangerous—an informed neophyte. This was what I learned.

Raw fruit Bars are a combination of dry ingredients and wet/damp ones in equal proportions.

Dry—Choose a mix of two items up to a total of 1 to 2 cups
Sprouted Almonds finely chopped, sprouted flax seed ground, sesame seed ground, chocolate nibs lightly ground, or pecans chopped.

Wet— Choose two items place in food processor till thoroughly mixed for a total of 1 to 2 cups
Medjool Dates pitted, dried cherries, dried cranberries, fresh cranberries, raisins, dried figs reconstituted, fresh figs.

Mix—1 cup dry and 1 cup wet together. I have a small one cup food processor plus a coffee grinder I use exclusively for nuts and nibs. So I made these batches in small groups. You can do the same with a larger food processor.

Add—Spices. I like allspice and cinnamon. You pick your favorites about a teaspoon of each.
1 tablespoon of Meyer lemon juice or orange juice
1 teaspoon of citrus zest.


Add—2 to 3 tablespoons of honey or Agave syrup to taste.


If the texture is very wet add more dry ingredients. If dry add more wet.
I found using reconstituted figs and fresh cherries caused my mixture to be wet.
Press the mixture into a greased or lined pan to be cut into bars. Or roll into balls. Top with finely chopped nuts or coconut. Refrigerate for an hour then eat. Delicious.

If you want very dry more portable bars, you can dehydrate them in a warm oven for about two hours. Calories per bar depends on the combination of ingredients. Each bar is packed with vitamins and minerals. Fruit bars are great snacks in the winter.

Monday, February 7, 2011


My God-daughter called me today with a bit of a scare. She had been tested for diabetes at the tender age of twenty-seven about the same age that Paul was when he found out he had diabetes. The tests for her were negative. Yea! However the reality of diabetes looms on the horizon not just for Brandy but for many more in the United States.

Your diet can trigger health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer or it can be utilized to promote health, strong bones, and a beautiful complexion. The choice is a matter of what you put into your mouth. You could eat nine hundred calories a day and lose weight. It really doesn’t matter what calories you consume. Four and a half candy bars are about nine hundred calories. So are four salads, one banana, one slice of sprouted bread with peanut butter, cup of herb tea, ten glasses of water, an apple, six ounces of lemon sole fish, three pieces of California roll with soy sauce. Now which option—the candy or the food—would be the better health choice for dieting? Yet advertisement after advertisement shows skinny people eating “diet” candy bars or getting energy from a peanut caramel bar. No wonder we are confused.

Whole, fresh, and mostly raw foods offer the solution to hereditary—and I use that term as loosely as the AMA does—illnesses like hypertension and diabetes. Americans must give up fast, processed, and comfort foods to live healthy. Don’t take my word for it. Research magazines like “Diabetes Management” or books like “The Cure.” Please look at the statistics below. The source is American Diabetes Association
Data from the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet (released Jan. 26, 2011)
Total prevalence of diabetes
Total: 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes.
Diagnosed: 18.8 million people
Undiagnosed: 7.0 million people
Prediabetes: 79 million people*
New Cases: 1.9 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older in 2010.
* In contrast to the 2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, which used fasting glucose data to estimate undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes, the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet uses both fasting glucose and A1C levels to derive estimates for undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes. These tests were chosen because they are most frequently used in clinical practice.

Under 20 years of age
• 215,000, or 0.26% of all people in this age group have diabetes
• About 1 in every 400 children and adolescents has type 1 diabetes
Age 20 years or older
• 25.6 million, or 11.3% of all people in this age group have diabetes
Morbidity and Mortality
• In 2007, diabetes was listed as the underlying cause on 71,382 death certificates and was listed as a contributing factor on an additional 160,022 death certificates. This means that diabetes contributed to a total of 231,404 deaths.
Brandy is changing her life by changing her diet. I hope you will do the same.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Seventeen hours until NFL Super Bowl XLV. My husband, born in Saratoga, California, is a dyed-in-the-wool Green Bay fan—the reason, a mystery to us all. Still he is very excited, even inviting my mother, 49er fan, over to watch the game. There is something symbolic about a son-in-law requesting to spend time with his mother-in-law. It’s the frenzy of the gaming season, I guess.

My question is what to serve on Super Sunday? The Moose is on a restricted diet—no brats and beer. I’m a fresh flexitarian—definition not forthcoming—suffice to say I eat some meat and fish with a lot of fresh fruit and veg. Mom is a traditionalist liking food that is reminiscent of the mid-century. That would be the last century. Plus I invited a few guests that may or may not pop by who may have restrictions of their own.

Most media menu suggestions include salty-greasy snacks followed by pizza, hot dogs, burgers, melted cheese dips, and enough cholesterol to kill every guest by the end of half-time. The stores are loaded with Super Bowl cakes, cupcakes, and decorated brownies. Tubs of caramel popcorn and chocolate dipped pretzel adorn the aisles. Is there a chance of finding anything that looks like big-screen TV food but will not demolish our digestive tracks?

Might I suggest a modest theme from across the ocean—the Pacific Ocean—Japanese Food. When it comes to sports nuts, the Japanese qualify. From ping-pong to baseball, this country loves sports. And when it comes to finger foods, they pretty much have the market cornered with healthy options filled with fish protein and high mineral seaweed.

So I have come up with this menu for tomorrow’s game.

Snacks: Wasabi Green Peas (Green), Vegan Sesame Chips (Yellow), Sesame Blue chips (Black)
Finger Foods: California Roll (Green), Yellow Fin Sashimi (Yellow), Dragon Roll (Black)
Grilled: Teriyaki Chicken & Beef
Dessert: Green Tea Ice Cream, Japanese White Jello garnished with canned yellow peaches
Hot Teas: Green Tea and Black Well Dragon Tea

So the best to the Green & Yellow Packers and to the Black & Yellow Steelers. I am eating healthy this Super Sunday.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I start February off at 213 pounds. Today, I have on a blouse I bought twenty-five years ago for a party in Monterey. How I managed to keep it through three house moves and countless increases in dress size, I’ll never know. But oh do I look good in it.

In January, my weight jumped all over from 217 to 211 pounds and back to 213. I never seemed to be able to drop consistently like this past summer. I would like to say that it was all about choices in the food but not so. My husband has been very ill during the month January. The stress involved in having someone I love in pain, has caused fluctuations in my weight and as well as my sleeping patterns. I found that there were days that I gained weight without even eating.

Exercise like walking the dog and jumping the trampoline worked to reduce stress and helped in keeping the weight going down. Even if the numbers crept up a little during the week, the clothes I wore remained on the smaller side.

I am still shrinking.

Moral of the story: Life gets hard. Keep to your goals anyway. It’s worth it.