Monday, February 11, 2013

Weight Watchers: Take 2

Wednesday I weigh in and that will be the end of the first week of my second try with Weight Watchers. I followed WW last year at the same time, February through May and lost 23 pounds. Yeah! I made the top of my weight range and decided to take a break, maintain for the summer and lose the rest of the weight I wanted to lose in the fall.

My good habits fell to the wayside after my dad died unexpectedly in July and I gained almost all of the weight I had lost. I still grieve but I'm ready to get fit and healthy and be the woman I am on the inside on the outside. I'm embracing life now which I think is what Dad would want more than anything for me.

Yesterday I came up with 20 reasons to reach my ideal weight. Here they are, not in any particular order of importance:
  1. Be healthy.
  2. Be a good role model.
  3. Feel good about myself and gain a better self-image.
  4. Be able to not despise shopping.
  5. Be athletic again.
  6. Have less back pain.
  7. Make my family proud to be with me and proud of me.
  8. Be able to do more with my kids such as learn to ski and go swimming without feeling ashamed.
  9. Accomplish something measurable through hard work.
  10. Feel more attractive.
  11. Get back into shape before menopause.
  12. Acknowledge aging and face it by getting stronger physically and emotionally.
  13. Control what I can control.
  14. Take steps to heal--recover/grow through grief.
  15. Practice self care and thereby become a better caregiver.
  16. Show the world the "real" me.
  17. Make the last half of my 40s and the whole of my 50s healthier than my 30s.
  18. Make my 45th birthday symbolize a rebirth.
  19. Be an inspiration to others.
  20. Remember that the body is the temple for the soul and treat it as such.
Thank you. Be well.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Angel at the Airport?

On the way home from Indiana, where we said goodbye to my dad who had died tragically in a freak accident, we were hanging out in an airport waiting to board our second plane. A young woman handed me this note.

Thank you, young lady. You made my day/week/month/year!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What I Said at Dad's Celebration of Life

My dad died on July 18, 2012, unexpectedly. His Celebration of Life was on Saturday, July 28. Here's what I said (or close to, I ad-libbed a little):

Hi I'm Danielle, aka dani, the youngest of Mike's kids. To dad, life was sweet. He enjoyed the honey in life and tried to leave anything that was not honey alone.  He and we had a lot of fun.

When I was little my dessert had the tendency to disappear. I, being  miss gullible would somehow be convinced to leave the table. When I got back dad would be waiting for that look of alarm on my face and crack up. It didn't get old. To this day I try not to leave the table once dessert is served.

When Eric and I were teenagers, we were craving ice cream, moaning and wailing about not having any. Dad told us to go look in our Granddad's freezer (he had a summer cabin on our homestead). Well, because we knew Dad, we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that there wasn't any ice cream over there, having been sent over there before to get only imaginary sweets. No way were we going to go check this time and give dad the satisfaction. Well this lament for ice cream went on for I don't know how long, I think weeks. Each time dad would tell us to just go get the ice cream from Granddad's, insisting that there was some there. I'm sure you can guess the rest! We eventually gave up, risked being laughed at, just knowing that we'd come back empty-handed. This was Dad, come on, no way was there going to be ice cream there! Of course we were fooled and came walking back to our house carrying ice cream with dad beaming and laughing at his success at bamboozling us. I'm sure he would have loved to have seen our faces when we opened the freezer.

My kids call him a silly jokester. He delighted in everyone but kids especially because they are so much fun --not spoiled by age and seriousness. We were fortunate to spend a week with him in January. We live near Seattle where it rarely snows. Turns out that we got a lot of snow the day before and of his trip and it meant that many flights were canceled including Dad's. He was able to book a flight to New York but then got stranded there when his connecting flight was canceled. He called me, exasperated, which was unusual and surprised me. He must have just been tired. When we hung up, he was okay again. It turned out to be an awesome adventure and serendipitous because he got to spend a whole day in Manhattan having a great old time taking pictures and experiencing NYC.

His visit with us was wonderful. He fell in love with his granddaughters all over again and they with him. He was planning to come back next January. I was on cloud 9.

Sort of like he was when I got married. I'm not sure who was happier, him or me. I'd never seen him that happy and it made a great day even better. Knowing he was happy because I was --that was cool.
The same thing happened with the arrival of each of my children. Dad knew my joy and shared it.

Speaking of birthdays, I like to think of the day dad died as another birthday. Dad's view on death is quoted on the cards for this party-- death is just another door to walk through. John Lennon described it as getting out of one car and into another.

Birthdays at our house always included homemade layer cake or whatever dessert we wanted. Dad made a lot of cakes--he had found a fantastic chocolate cake recipe that everyone loved-- on his blog he called it a super duper delicious chocolate cake. We ate huge pieces of layer cake-- Bird pieces we called them. Dad and I usually had a piece for breakfast the next day. I still do that. It's a tradition.

Dad surrounded himself with meaningful treasures -- little things that brought him pleasure or reminded him of someone or something. One of the things that was on his desk is a bracelet with an inscription in Sanskrit. It is worn down on the inscription side indicating maybe that Dad kept it in his pocket and rubbed it with his thumb. He wrote about this bracelet on his blog.
The inscription is a Buddhist mantra: Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum
(Ohm mah nee pahd may hoong)
This mantra is often carved into stones and placed where people can see them. It's said to contain all the teachings of the Buddha and that saying it brings a person closer to enlightenment, improving their lives in every way. Dad cared deeply about improving himself and tried to influence others positively through  the changes he made in himself. I think he experienced a lot of success with that. I'm proud and grateful that Michael was my father.

I wasted far too much energy and emotion in my life wanting his light to shine on me. I've learned that it was shining on me the whole time.

I'll close with some of the things I remember dad saying:

Tomorrow is another day.
It's an adventure!
Feeling great pain means you can feel great joy.
Carpe diem
You're bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!

And finally:

Go get'em!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Nourished Kitchen Challenge Week 4

I have found the month-long challenge motivating and very worthwhile. I need to review the week's challenges and see what we did and report on specifics, but we have continued along the path toward more traditional foods very well.

I discovered that the beet kvass I made a few days ago is quite good now with a tiny bit of apple juice added. I read online somewhere also that next time if I add less salt and ferment it for longer, the taste will be more pleasant. I think that the second round of fermentation on this batch will be better because it won't be so salty anyway.

Tonight, I'll make tilapia fish sticks breaded with sprouted grain wheat bread crumbs and sauteed in a little coconut oil, some brown rice + barley + daikon radish seed medley, and some roasted carrot puree.

Yesterday I made some oatmeal cookies with maple syrup that were pretty good; the kids really like them. Getting used to the non-refined sugar taste may take some getting used to by us grown ups though.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Nourished Kitchen Challenge Report on Week 3

We had a good week in general with trying out recipes and food prep the "real food" way. We used techniques covered in Nourishing Traditions and covered on the blog Nourished Kitchen.

Day 15: Track down a SCOBY--such as a kefir starter. I didn't have luck with this; the food co-op didn't have any and I decided not to order any from an internet source. We eat a lot of yogurt and may eventually add kefir to our repertoire.

Day 16: Make cultured veggies: I made beet kvass. Everyone in the family agrees that it certainly looks delicious but it tastes horrible. I might brave it and just gulp it down as "medicine." Is there a way to make it more palatable? Perhaps add a little to a glass of ice water and add honey? I might try that later.

Day 17: Make yogurt. We make yogurt at least once a week and sometimes twice. I made it twice last week so that I would have extra to make yogurt cheese.

Day 18: Make cheese. I made yogurt cheese and happily harvested the whey for future fermentations. The cats discovered the cheese though, left on the counter for more draining time, while we were all at an ice skating lesson. Grrr. One quart of yogurt wasted and cat throw up on the entry mat. Gross.

Day 19: Prepare nuts and seeds correctly. I tried doing this last week but discovered that my oven cannot go lower than 180 degrees F. I would like to try again after I have a food dehydrator.

Day 20: Soak some beans. I'm doing that today. I'm curious about the advice Sally Fallon gives, that you only need whey or lemon juice (or I assume any acid) with black beans. The advice from Nourished Kitchen is to soak all beans in water and cider vinegar.Why the difference? I have a bean mix that includes some black beans soaking right now in warm water with cider vinegar.

Day 21: Eat veggies with fat. We had carrots last night made with plenty of butter. The recipe was Carrots Vichy (pretty much glazed carrots) from Nourishing Traditions. The kids have never been so enthusiastic about eating any vegetable. I think the 2 tablespoons of honey helped. Phil and I thought they were way too sweet and will use much less honey next time.

Other fun food prep along the same lines this past week:
  • We gave the kids exclusively raw milk for drinking and used pasteurized, vat-processed nonhomogenized milk for cooking and pasteurized cream for butter making and for adding to our breakfast porridge (soaked oats in buttermilk) which we enjoy almost daily now.
  • I soaked brown rice for eating at a few meals throughout the week.
  • We enjoyed carrot soup made with chicken stock we had made ourselves.
  • I nursed sourdough starter throughout the week but the bread dough didn't rise yesterday! Grrr. I have the loaves in the oven now but I'm guessing that the yield will be more like rocks than bread.
  • Phil found a great butcher who sells pastured everything and picked up some beef bones for stock-making (simmering right now in the slow cooker) and a veal roast that I'll make tomorrow or Wednesday.
  • Phil made waffles for a special addition to Saturday's breakfast using buttermilk-soaked oats.
  • We're continuing to buy only cage-free/organic eggs.
  • Phil also stopped using the microwave to defrost frozen sausage.
  • We've been enjoying sprouted bread and sourdough bread (all store-bought right now) slathered with lots of butter. It feels sinful to us both after eating no grains at all for so long.
  • We're buying more organic food in general and finding good deals.
  • I've got the paperwork for signing up for a veggie-share from a local farm this summer. I'd really like to plant a big garden but I think it's safer with a new baby coming this spring to assume I won't have the time I need to tend to one. Hopefully we'll be able to plant some things that will supplement the weekly box from the farm.
  • I picked up paperwork from the food co-op so we can sign up as members and get member benefits, such as a discount two days a month.
  • One of the things I bought while at the co-op was some coconut oil. I made breaded tilapia on Friday and sauteed it in coconut oil. Wow! It was super delicious.
We used to eat out about once a week. I can't even remember the last time we ate out. The girls have noticed and are begging to go out. We're enjoying our homemade food, though, even when I've not planned anything, I can scramble and get something nutritious on the table. The cost of food at restaurants (even fast food) is ridiculous and the food is inferior. I hope we can sustain these new habits.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Feeling Virtuous

Here's what's happening in my kitchen:

Beet kvass is fermenting. Beet kvass is really healthy! It's a digestive aid, cleanses the liver and is good for kidney stone producers (me). All it is is a couple of large, organic chopped up beets soaked in 1/4 cup whey, 1 T sea salt and 2 quarts filtered water at room temperature for 2-3 days. It's popular in the Ukraine. I've never had it. I hope it tastes good. It is very pretty but I can see that if the kids like it, they'll have to use covered cups. I think it will stain like nothing else.

Yogurt is draining for production of yogurt cheese and whey. I need the whey for other fun fermented things such as gingered carrots.

Milk is heating in the slow cooker for more yogurt because we're yogurt monsters rather than cookie monsters.

Sourdough starter has been fed today; only one more day and I can make bread.

I put leftover pork shoulder in the freezer and posted a freezer inventory so we don't forget what's in there to eat.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Successful Yogurt and a Horrible Way to Wake Up

The yogurt-in-a-crock-pot method works great! I left the crock pot wrapped up in towels out overnight, leaving it out unintentionally 8 hours longer than suggested in the directions. It didn't matter at all (I didn't think it would but I thought we'd end up with tarter yogurt). The yogurt is still pleasantly mild and it set up beautifully.

Pregnancy leg cramps have begun. I woke up in agony from the worst calf cramp ever. It's amazing that a muscle cramp can be so painful. Week 25 is a little later than cramping started with the other two I think, so I guess that's positive. Most of the cramping I had with my other two pregnancies were hip cramps. I don't think I have a preference on the location--none would be nice.