Monday, April 25, 2016

What You Are Is What You Eat

I am happy to report that I have finally received the boost that I needed to get on with the slow weight loss / better health plan that I started last year.  I lost 25 pounds last year, with very little effort.  No starvation, no craving, no counting calories, or carbs, or fat grams.  No weighing food portions.  No paying big corporations money for packages of fake food full of ingredients that are difficult to pronounce or that are vague, like "Modified Food Starch".  In short, no food obsessions.  No massive exercise program.  Just went on with my life.  It was liberating!!

Then I had my knee replaced and was told not to try to lose weight while I was trying to recover.  Knee replacement for me hasn't been smooth sailing like it was for Hubs.  But so far, I'm still progressing just a little bit each day, eight months out and counting.  It's major surgery, just in case anybody thinks it's not.  They cut things off that you were born with and remove them and put back in things that are made of metal and other materials.  When it's put that way, it even scares ME.  But it's done and I've learned some things that I can share. 

Frankly, I'm sick and tired of doctors who blame the patient for every damned thing that goes wrong.  If you weigh too much, they'll tell you you're having problems because you're obese.  If you're old, they tell you you're full of arthritis, or that you've just worn out your joints.  You know, my grandmother was obese, AND old, and she never had to have her joints replaced.  She never had back problems.  None of my grandparents ever walked with a cane, though my mother's father complained of "rheumatism", but it went back to when he was tossed into a cold river as a child so he could learn to swim.  I'm not exaggerating about this.  His mother died about the same time he was born, possibly giving birth to him, but I don't know that for sure.  But her death left his father with a bunch of children to raise, and he delegated the responsibility of the infant to an older daughter and then, as he grew older, to an older son, about whom my grandfather had some memories of events that would be considered child abuse today.  Gramps' father was never very involved in his life because he remarried soon after the death of Gramps' mother.  The new wife was a widow with children that he took more of an interest in than he did in his own children, from that point forward.  So I don't suppose that older sibling cared whether Gramps drowned or not, when he threw him into that river.  But afterwards, he came down with rheumatic fever and nearly died from that.  Gramps always said that his rheumatism was caused by the rheumatic fever. 

Back when my mother was a girl, the automotive industry was in its infancy.  It was not uncommon for people to have teams of horses and wagons instead of cars.  And when people went somewhere, if it was possible to walk, they did.  It was a lot of work hitching up the horses.  My mom called walking "Riding Shank's Mare".  Adults didn't run, unless there was a reason to.  Like if they were in a hurry to get where they wanted to go.  Or if they were chasing someone or being chased.  I think there will come a time when all this running people are doing will be seen for what it is: the premature wearing out of your joints.  Just as God didn't make us to be sitting in front of a TV all day, He didn't make us to be on the run all the time, either.  It's somewhere in the middle.  A woman's body is made so that if she's on the run, she has trouble getting pregnant. 

My joint replacement came about because I tore the meniscus in my knee.  Lesson #1.  Never get down on both knees, put your arms around something that will give resistance, pull and twist.

I had arthroscopic knee surgery done by an orthopedic surgeon here in town that was recommended to Hubs by someone.  Lesson #2.  Don't just take one person's recommendation of the doctor that is going to cut you open or make a hole in you that wasn't there before.  Ask lots of people.  That doctor told Hubs, after surgery, that my cartilage was "raggedy", and he had to do some scraping.  He told Hubs I should lose weight.  And that I'd be needing knee replacement at some point "down the road".  He did not mention the need for any exercises after surgery and I had to find those online.  When I complained to him of difficulty with pain the first time, he reiterated that I needed to lose weight and sent me to Physical Rehab, where they straight-out told me I'd get better if I did my exercises, but if I didn't, I wouldn't.  Towards the end of Rehab, I went back to the doctor, and said, "I'm still having a LOT of pain right HERE", and showed him the spot.  He said, rather blithely, "Of COURSE you are!  THAT's where I had to scrape off your cartilage!"  ASSHOLE.  It was then I realized that no amount of physical rehab was going to eliminate the pain.  Of course, he knew no exercises in the world were going to help me be pain free and he expected me right back in his office needing knee replacement.  In a perfect world, I would sue this guy.  But, I'd have to find an attorney out of town.  And I'd have no way to prove I was fine before the injury.  Even if I did, the raggedy-ness could be blamed on the injury, I suppose.  And then, more than likely, nobody in the local medical profession would want to treat me for anything again.  I'd have to go out of town for everything.  So, I had knee replacement done by the surgeon in Tulsa who did both Hubs' knees and all the rest is history. 

But I don't know if I will ever get away from doctors telling me I'm obese.  Some years ago, I lost 50 pounds.  I did it by white-knuckling it and working out in a gym three, sometimes four times a week.  For pleasure, I was line-dancing, and Hubs and I would go to lessons once a week, we'd practice at home, and then once a week we'd go where there was live music and dance all evening.  I weighed 173 pounds at 5'4.5".  I wore a size 8.  My waistline was 23".  I looked every bit as good as Marie Osmond does now.  Then I started having some significant "gut" pain and other problems, I'm pretty sure it was from all the artificial sweeteners I was using, and went for a sonogram.  The specialist who did the sonogram wrote in his report that I was "obese".  WHAAAAAAT????  This is not Lesson #3, but it's an observation, and it's that doctors have a nasty little habit at looking at some chart that generalizes about your bone structure and your muscle mass and says you are obese if you weigh more than 135 at 5'4.5".  If I weighed 135, I'd be skin and bone.

But anyway.  I wandered off a little.

What I wanted to share with you this time is the link to The Food Revolution Summit that Fiona sent me.  It starts on April 30, but they have things you can look at now that will be interesting and informative.  Go HERE for some videos you can watch from last year.  Go HERE for some short introductory videos, the first of which explains how Ocean Robbins, whose grandfather was the Robbins of Baskin-Robbins, was born into better health through better eating.  From that web page, you can download a PDF schedule of what you'll be seeing after April 30.

I'm not getting anything for telling you about this.  I'm going to watch it, and now I'm sharing how you can, too, if you want to.  Whether you do or don't does not affect my bottom line in any way except that I know some of you are experiencing some health issues and it's my desire to help.  Maybe it'll give you some helpful information, maybe it won't.  That's all I'm sayin'. 

I found it interesting that Ocean Robbins' dad was a hippie, and his beliefs about food were why he didn't go into business with his dad.  When I was newly married, I was a Navy wife, and so I lived in California, only a busride from the base.  I knew people from many walks of life, some of whom lived the Hippie lifestyle, right down to sitar music and funny smoke smells, and I have since wondered what happened to them all.  Had they become the Establishment they so distrusted?  Or had they, as members of The Establishment contended they would, died in poverty and squalor of drug overdoses and sexually-transmitted diseases?  I remember how "regular" people felt about Hippies back in those days.  But considering what The Establishment has done to us over the years in the name of The Almighty Dollar, we have plenty of reasons to think that what they are guilty of doing to us in secret and conspiracy is a much bigger crime than any Hippie ever did to us, all out in the open. 

Oh, and if you live in a country other than the USA, and you're reading this, DON'T start eating American fast food!  Dr. Dean Ornish says people in Third World Countries are better nourished than Americans are, even though one in three of us is obese.  Just so you know.

I was kind of afraid to see what my scales had to say to me, after not weighing for awhile.  You know the cartoon where the scales say, "One at a time, please...", that sort of thing.  But I was pleased to see I'd only put back 3 pounds and some of that might've been because, you know, some days you just weigh more than you do on other days.  In the past, if I'd been off my program for seven months, I would've packed all the pounds I'd lost back on, plus more.  So I think I have something to celebrate.  I never did go back to eating like I used to, because I understood, this time it's a lifestyle change.  When somebody tried to hand me a sugary doughnut, I said, "Oh, I don't eat those things".  I went to dinners where people all around me were eating pie, cake, and those mixtures of Cool Whip And Other Stuff, and I wasn't tempted.  But I admit to eating my share of salty things like potato chips.  Seems like, salty things must be the next big draw for me.  *Sigh*.  So, I said, "Buh-bye" to the potato chip bag and I went back to the agreement I'd made with myself last year to not go overboard on portion size, to not go back for seconds, and to not eat after supper.  Because it takes that in order to lose weight.  I've been doing OK and I when I've felt truly hungry I've eaten.  Yesterday morning I was back to my lowest weight of last year, which was after surgery when I could not sleep to save my soul.  Boy, was I ever cranky!  Every pound I lose from this point is new territory.  The goal for the rest of this year is 25 more pounds lost.  And that will be my Christmas present to myself. 

I already knew about "fake food", and I've been making changes as I go along.  For instance, I enjoy peanut butter.  I like it on many things.  Bread or crackers.  Celery or carrots.  Spoons.  But I'm having to get better about reading the labels.  Most peanut butter has a certain amount of corn syrup in it.  They say that's so it'll be spreadable.  And so I've put up with that.  But then Hubs picked up a jar of "Honey Roasted" peanut butter at Aldi.  OMG, it was soooooo sweet.  Corn syrup and HFCS were the first on the ingredients list after peanuts.  Honey was last.  Meaning there might be a teaspoon of honey in every gallon.  I do not have to eat that peanut butter as it's smooth, and Hubs will eat that.  But I determined that, the next time I buy crunchy peanut butter for myself, the label is only going to say, "Peanuts, Peanut oil, salt".  Yeah, it'll separate.  Yeah, it'll be hard to spread.  So be it.  That or I'm going to buy peanuts and have a little handful of them instead of my spoon of peanut butter.  Or maybe I'd sidestep peanuts entirely and go more for the almonds and walnuts.  Sunflower seeds.  So this is something I won't buy any more of once it's gone.  I'm hoping I'll be able to convince Hubs to join me in the anti-HFCS peanut butter crusade.  But he insists on keeping a lot of things around that I wouldn't.  *Sigh*.   All I can do is share things I learn with him as I go along.  He has this need to make his own decisions and can be really stubborn about it.  You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.  I sure know how to make Hubs roll his eyes, though.

There are a lot of things in my pantry that I'm just trying to use up and then not buy again.  I think a lot of people, when they decide to eat a different way, go into their food storage and throw everything away that doesn't fit into the plan.  I might give it away, but I won't throw it away.  And sometimes I think, Hell, I've been eating it all this time.  I'm already contaminated.  So use it up in the normal way, and then don't buy it again.  It's baby steps.  Every now and then I do have to throw something away, but it's usually because it got 'way past the "use by" date, like a couple of unopened bottles of salad dressing I found when looking for something else.  I have not used bottled salad dressing for years.  Usually my salad gets sprinkled with parmesan or some kind of grated hard cheese, some sunflower seed, pepper, and a splash of lemon juice.  Hubs won't eat salad if he doesn't have bottled Thousand Island dressing, and he won't eat any other kind.  I've tried to make those clone recipes and he just rolls his eyes and sighs. 

When it comes to cucumbers fresh in from the garden, I still love to dip them in ranch dressing, and I guess you might say I'm as bad about Ranch as Hubs is about Thousand Island.  So I buy the powdered dressing mix, and mix it with milk and mayonnaise according to directions.  Yes, it has some bad ingredients, too. 

Serving Size: half a teaspoon??  Seriously??  Does that count licking your fingers?  *Sigh*.  Huffington Post has a recipe that sounds good, HERE.  But, just so you know, salad dressing with no additives to increase the shelf life means it goes bad quickly.  And that means it's a pain to just make a little bit whenever I have a cucumber from my garden and a craving for a quick snack.  I saw a recipe for a cucumber salad on AllRecipes HERE and I wonder if equal parts sugar (or honey), sour cream and vinegar with maybe some dried parsley and onion could be mixed in a small jar and kept in the refrigerator would be stable for longer because of all the vinegar?  Gosh, that seems like a lot of sugar, though.  I have something in my files that's equal parts sour cream and mayonnaise with only a token amount of sugar and some dillweed and powdered garlic.  I'd have to keep sour cream on hand and I don't, usually.  Then there's always that recipe that was an old standby of my mother's: equal parts vinegar, water, and sugar, poured over cucumber slices and onion rings.  As I remember, it was very sweet and I could probably cut back on that.  Whatever the dressing is, it's got to be something quick and easy or I probably won't go to the trouble if I'm just in out of the garden.  Just plain cucumbers are kind of boring. 

When you find out you haven't been eating as "healthy" as you thought you were, it's disappointing, and the remedy is sometimes daunting.  I  grind the flour for my bread, grow and put up fruit and vegetables as much as I can, and cook most of what we eat from scratch.  But I can see I still have far to go.  There's that pizza Hubs and I have on Wednesday.  A day I like to take off from cooking.  I know it's not as good for us as something I made from scratch, and I wonder if that's real sausage or some soy product on it.  It seems I'm forever picking up something, turning it around to the back of the label and saying, "OMG, I shouldn't be buying this stuff!"  It's just that there's so much that's messed up, you know?  Thanks to advice from Fiona, I've talked to Hubs about how he can get Pepsi that's made with sugar instead of HFCS, which still isn't healthy, but is at least better than what he buys now.

I usually grow beets and cabbage in my garden.  This year I didn't plant either.  Now I'm wondering if I still have time to stick some seeds into the ground because Carole just sent me this cabbage recipe.  It sounds interesting, different, and easy:

Wash and remove outer leaves. Cut 1 to 1-1/2 inch steaks crosswise, brush both sides with olive oil, garlic pepper, salt.  Bake 30-40 minutes. 40 minutes was recommended to have crispy carmelized edges. I might sprinkle a bit of sugar over. (Carole's note, not mine)

I bet this would turn out OK if made in an iron skillet with a lid, on the stovetop.

I still have "Freezer Cole Slaw" in my freezer, we've eaten some and it's not as good as fresh, but still crunchy, as long as you drain the liquid off it completely and then stir in mayonnaise.  I think THIS is the recipe.  The biggest problem is, I keep forgetting to set it out early enough to thaw. 

Well, this is another one of those disjointed blog posts, I hope you will be able to make heads or tails out of it and find something in it that makes it worth your reading time.  Thanks to all those who comment or who e-mail me directly.  I do so enjoy your friendship.   Hugs xoxoxo


  1. This was interesting for me. I want and need to loose weight. This points out some things that need to go. Chips for one! I had quit buying them and then Max started bringing them home when he shopped and my will power failed. This encourages me to get back with the program.

    1. Yeah, I'll miss those chips. Hubs buys them and then I eat them. When I really have to have something salty, maybe I could do popcorn... popped on the stovetop with some coconut oil. No butter, small amount of salt.... But at my age, I have to be careful eating popcorn. I have broken a tooth before on popcorn.

      Americans live to eat when they should be eating to live.

      Keep on keepin' on, dear heart. Hugs xoxoxo

    2. Make your own using potato/carrot/parsnip/whatever you fancy in the oven with no fat?

    3. Jo, I've tried that, and maybe I haven't done it right, but doesn't work very well for me. I've tried drying slices of things in the microwave, and that was a pain. Then tried the dehydrator, too, and gosh, I could break a tooth on those, too.... Seems somewhat labor intensive, no matter how it's done but maybe that's just me. I'll get over missing them, and that's probably best. I find if I try to make something that mimics a food I have a weakness for, I tend to go back to the original at the first opportunity because I haven't trained myself to choose something else. (sugar-free chocolate pudding comes to mind, but I haven't had any of those since I realized how many additives were in those little boxes) Chips fall into the category of "Nosh food" aka "mindless eating" for me, something I definitely do not need to be doing.

      Oh, but we might be talking different things. I think what you call "chips", we call "fries". What we call "chips" is what you call "crisps". Heh. Hugs xoxoxo

  2. You're just a wealth of information! Miniature Hershey bars and Coca Cola are my weaknesses I think. I try to fix healthy meals but find it more difficult to cook now for just the two of us. I would like to lose ten pounds at least; however, I get weak spells and have to eat something to give me energy to do this farm work. I take no medication, other than Aleve to help with my shoulder pain; there's a lot of lifting on the farm for a 75 year old woman. lol

    1. Charlotte, I know how hard farm work is, and you probably burn a LOT of calories. Hubs could stand to lose ten pounds or so but if we kept candy bars in the house, he'd be a lot heavier. He simply cannot resist them. I get those weak spells, myself. Sometimes I'll make a cup of tea with honey in it and grab a hard-boiled egg from the refrigerator. Or cheese and a few crackers. Except I've been reading the ingredients on the crackers and I guess I'm going to have to start making them instead of buying them.

      Have you tried making "chocolates" out of cocoa, honey and coconut oil, stored in the freezer? 1/2 C. coconut oil, 1/4 C. cocoa powder, 2 Tbsp honey. Melt the coconut oil and stir in the cocoa and honey. Pour into silicone mold and keep in the freezer. Eat them frozen or drop one into a mug of hot milk. Otherwise could add peanut butter, or slip an almond or walnut half into each one, dried fruit, whatever you like. Lots better for you than Hershey bars.

      Have you ever had switchel? You might find you like it well enough to substitute it for your CC sometimes.

      I agree, it's hard to cook for just two. Lots of times I'll divide a "standard sized" meal into 3 or 4 and freeze the extras. They come in handy for when I'm just not feeling like cooking and all that cleanup after. I should do that more than I do, but some things just aren't as good out of the freezer. Since I had to process all those potatoes we grew last year, because they were all sprouting so bad, I've really found it handy to have blocks of mashed potatoes and ziplock sandwich bags full of diced (blanched and peeled) potatoes in the freezer. I find I have to add a little more milk to the mashed potatoes after they've thawed. I use the diced potatoes right out of the freezer, drop them into a skillet with some olive oil, then add chopped frozen sweet peppers and onions. Very good that way. Then all I have to do to make Hubs happy is to cook a piece of meat and some kind of vegetable, or make a salad. If he didn't think he had to have meat and potatoes, I'd make a salad and be done with it.

      Even with what I already do, it's lots of changes for us and I don't know how much I can do with Hubs. But SOME changes are better than NO changes. Hang in there, and congrats on the "no meds". Me too, so far. Hugs xoxoxo

  3. You can make your own "nut" butter from whatever nuts you prefer. I had success with almond and sunflower butter until my spice grinder died! You don't need to add anything you don't want in there ;-) Back to the peanut butter meantime...

    1. Yeah, I've actually made peanut butter before in small batches in a blender.

  4. I am glad your going to watch the food revolution, we can compare notes. Let me know what your hubs thinks of the pepsi stuff.
    I am "obese" I know I am and have battled with weight my entire life. I have dieted and that has made it worse. Here on the farm I have lost 20 pounds over the winter by behaving myself. Stopping the after supper snacks and watching portion size and cutting out HFCS. I allow myself an occasional soda. We have pancakes on Sunday. From scratch. I roast my veggies in a very light drizzle of EVO. Bake not fry and now our gardens are in the works eating will have to get even better.
    I make our own ketchup, Ralph loves Ketchup and of course commercial Ketchup is almost pure HFCS. Our ketchup is richer more tomatoey and has 1 5th the sugar, it is only faintly sweet.
    Simple slow steps I think are the best. They make things a daily habit and you don't feel forced!

    God Bless and take care

  5. Sounds like you and I had about the same history, the same results, from the same plan, at the same time! Heh. There are a lot of things I don't make from scratch because Hubs simply will not eat it. I cringe every time I open a can of Cream of Mushroom soup. He likes it thinned down with milk and uses it like gravy. I can make good gravy, but he likes this better. I'm beyond getting hurt feelings about how he prefers all that crap over my homemade stuff. Now it's just annoying and I haven't enjoyed cooking for a long time.

    I do not miss soda. The non-diet kind tastes too sweet, the diet kind tastes too chemically, and really what I enjoy is the fizz, which is bad for my bones. I was drinking a lot of coffee and recently replaced that with green tea. I've not had the roaring headache I usually get when I try to stop drinking coffee. Strange... This will have to be just one step at a time for me because I don't know how well I'd adjust to doing it all at once, even if I could. And Hubs, well, he'd just say he wasn't hungry and sneak out to Burger King. I still fry, but in an iron skillet with the lid on and hardly any fat. I will usually buy chicken breast for pan frying and will buy what they call "leg quarters" for making chicken stock and casseroles. Once in awhile I will fry some the traditional way for Hubs, it's "soul food" for him. I could easily give up meat and at $6 a pound for beef, there'd be a lot of good quality stuff I could spend that money on instead. Hubs came from a big family that struggled to survive. They lived mostly on wild game, fresh-caught fish, beans, vegetables from the garden, and biscuits. He and his sibs all think they've "arrived" if they can afford to eat steak. It's a mental thing. Seems like almost everybody tends to have a lot of emotions tied up with what we eat.


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