Thursday, January 31, 2008

Local Food Movement

Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables.
They probably get jet-lagged, just like people.
~ Elizabeth Berry

As I look at ways to get healthier, I am becoming more and more interested in the idea of eating locally. This means buying food from my local farmers market as often as I can which, in southern California, is almost every week of the year (I know - I'm very lucky!)

There are lots of large-scale benefits of eating locally: it helps the environment; it supports our local economy, etc. I like the idea of doing what I can to help in these areas. But the bottom line is this: what's in it for you and me?

The answer is: plenty!

The more locally grown foods I consume, the less processed junk I eat. And it's those cheap processed foods that make me fat and unhealthy. If, for example, I make more own salsa with fresh tomatoes, fresh onions, fresh cilantro, I have better control over the sodium, the added oils, and certainly the chemicals that I put into my body. That these ingredients are grown locally, thus avoiding damage from transporting produce, reducing the carbon footprint from shipping, etc., etc. is an added benefit.

I also love the idea of living a simpler and slower life. This is a hard one for any of us to achieve, I know! Most days, I can barely keep my head above water, with all that needs to be done and all that I want to experience. The Slow Food Movement is part of this, the reverse of eating fast food. It's about taking time to plan, to shop wisely, to prepare and eat our food in ways that sustain both our bodies and our spirits.

There is a wealth of information out there on eating locally, slow food, etc. One of my favorite magazines, Edible Ojai (which is a lovely town here in Ventura County, California) comes from a great publisher, Edible Communities. They have magazines from cities and towns all across the country. See if there's one near you.

I encourage you to research the issues regarding the local food movement. I certainly have a lot more to learn, and I need to make time to practice what I preach. It's all about investing in my health and our future.

Until next time...

P.S. A huge thank you to all those who posted get well wishes. Your care and concern meant a great deal to me. Isn't it a wonderful thing to feel well after being sick? Makes you feel like you can conquer the world!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Healthy Me Check-In

Sleep, riches, and health to be truly enjoyed
must be interrupted.
~Johann Paul Friedrich Richter

I'll do my official weekly weigh-in tonight at my support group meeting. Last week, I was down half a pound. Yahoo! But who knows what tonight will bring.

I have been sick as a dog for the past twenty-four hours.

It may be the flu, although I had my flu shot last fall. I'm no longer throwing up, but I'm awfully achy this morning. But I've wondered if it's something more...

I haven't journaled since Friday morning, and because I stopped being accountable to myself, I allowed lots of extra food to sneak in: a larger portion of this, a bowl-full of that. I'm very well aware that I'm way over my calories for the week.

Although I may have the flu, it also feels like my body is saying, "Enough is enough!"

I think sometimes we have to be really sick before we can appreciate how great being healthy feels. So I'm going to take this 24-hour bug and use it as a springboard to get back on track. Even if the scale doesn't budge for weeks and weeks, I KNOW I feel so much better when I treat my body with the respect it deserves.

Until next time...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Yummy Recipe!

Food is so primal, so essential a part of our lives,
often the mere sharing of recipes with strangers
turns them into good friends. ~Jasmine Heiler

I tried a new recipe last night for Katie's birthday dinner: Soft Chicken Tacos from I love their website! Not only can I always find a good, healthy recipe for any dish I'd like to make, but they include reader reviews. If a recipe has a high rating from the people who've cooked it, I know it's a pretty safe bet.

I liked it so much that I'm including the recipe at the end of this post, with full credit for the recipe and the photo above going to Cooking Light. My only complaint were the white corn tortillas. Yuck! Does anyone have suggestions on how to better use them so they don't fall apart and/or taste like cardboard?? If not, I may spend a few extra calories next time and use low-fat flour tortillas. Oh, and it was raining cats and dogs last night here in southern California, so I broiled the meat in the oven instead of using the grill.

Other than that, the recipe is a keeper. Or as we say in my family, it's a Re-Do! Let me know if you try it.

Soft Chicken Tacos
Thigh meat makes these tacos especially moist, but you can use breast meat instead. Serve with Pico de Gallo or Tomatillo Salsa.

1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Cooking spray
12 (6-inch) white corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese (such as Tillamook)
Low-fat sour cream (optional)

Prepare grill.
Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; rub spice mixture over chicken.
Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 10 minutes on each side or until done. Let stand 5 minutes; chop.
Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide chicken evenly among tortillas; top each tortilla with 2 tablespoons cabbage and 1 teaspoon cheese. Serve with sour cream, if desired.

4 servings (serving size: 3 tacos)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 329(34% from fat); FAT 12.5g (sat 3.5g,mono 3.5g,poly 2.9g); PROTEIN 27.4g; CHOLESTEROL 86mg; CALCIUM 109mg; SODIUM 466mg; FIBER 3.9g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 29.4g

Elisa Bosley , Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2006

Until next time...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

To be young again?

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. ~ Chili Davis

Today is my oldest stepdaughter's birthday. She turns twenty eight today, and has an exciting future ahead of her: she just became an RN, and starts work tomorrow at our local hospital. What a great birthday gift, don't you think?

All this focus on birthdays, of course, reminds me that we're all getting older. The milestones always make me wonder: if I could, would I change anything that's happened through the years? Would I do it all again?

The answer is always no.

I've had a pretty happy life overall (and, the good Lord willing, may there still be much more of it to come!) My life has certainly taken detours that I hadn't expected. But the reality is that every detour ended up taking me down a path that's turned out to be pretty sweet.

Most importantly, getting older has brought about a sense of inner peace that I didn't have when I was younger. Sure, I now have wrinkles and sag where I didn't use to sag... I still struggle with weight and curly hair that can be unruly. But for the most part, I am proud of who and what I am, and know a little better now why I'm here.

What about you? If you could, would you go back and do it all again? What would you change, if anything?

Happy Birthday, Katie! May your life just keeps getting better and better!

Until next time...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Happy 25th!

Time is the coin of your life.
It is the only coin you have,
and only you can determine how it will be spent.
Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
~ Carl Sandburg

I met my best friend Jeanne when we were both 15 years old. It was World History class and we found it was much more fun to giggle and share stories than listen to the teacher. We loved the same things: music and books, movies and liberal politics. But mostly, we shared a love of boys. We bonded almost immediately.

Somewhere in those early years, we took notice of the fact that good things always seemed to happen to us on the 25th day of the month. We'd have a lovely meal at a nice restaurant, and notice that it was the 25th. One of us would get good news, and we'd note that it was the 25th. Once we saw a gorgeous rainbow and instinctively knew it had to be the 25th, which it was.

Finding ways to celebrate ordinary things is fun, and can add such spontaneity to life. I always keep my eyes open on the 25th of each month for what's pleasurable to me, and for what goes right. If I'm looking for it, I can always find something positive.

Jeanne and I have carried on a tradition for over 35 years now, so I say it today to you: Happy 25th! Stay aware of something good happening today because good things always happen on the 25th!

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Confessions of a Junk-Food Junkie

Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space lies our freedom and power
to choose our responses.
In those choices lie our growth and happiness.
~ Steven Covey

I have a confession: I love junk food. Chips... ice cream... fries. The photo above makes me salivate just to look at it!

I know, I know. It's poison for my body. I truly believe that. Yet I continue to crave it. I don't think the cravings will ever really go away. Even at my healthiest, when I was at goal weight and maintaining, I still had to fight the desire to drive through Taco Bell (the thought of which makes my thin husband gag!)

If there were no consequences, what I'd really want is a good book, a comfy chair, a bag of Cheetos on one side and a bowl of M&Ms on the other, and I'd be a happy camper for the rest of my life. But there are consequences: weight gain, high blood pressure, achy joints from sitting too much, etc., etc.

It all comes down to choice. It's about what I want most in life versus what I want most at the moment. And it's so hard to remember that when the junk food calls my name. So I have to stay conscious enough to stop the forward momentum, allowing myself time to think about my choice.

I dropped half a pound this week by staying within my Points, but I ate a lot of junk in those Points. No Taco Bell or M&Ms certainly - but very few green leafies and fruit, either. So that's my goal this week: to get in more fruits, vegetables, good-for-me dairy choices and less low-calorie ice cream and 100 calorie snack packs.

After all, junk food -- in whatever form -- is still junk food.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Healthy Me

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Be not afraid of going slowly;
be afraid only of standing still. ~ Chinese Proverb

I've signed up to take part in an online health challenge/support group I found completely by accident yesterday (isn't the Internet a wonderful thing?) It's called (as you can see by the photo above) Healthy You, sponsored by Scale Junkie (check out her Blog: it's great!)

I'm joining this particular challenge because its focus is on GETTING HEALTHY. This journey should not be all about the number on the scale, although that certainly is one indicator of success. There are SO many more ways I know I'm succeeding:
  • the heartburn/GERD disappears when I'm eating healthy;
  • my life feels calmer if I'm writing down what I eat (perhaps because I have complete control over something?);
  • my self-respect increases with each passing day

I've lost five pounds since the beginning of the year, which feels like the proverbial drop in the bucket. I'll weigh tonight at my weekly support group meeting, and see what feedback I get from the scale on this past week.

For today, I'm choosing to celebrate those five pounds gone becuase it's all about attitude, and as we know, attitude changes everything!

So yeah me, as Katie always says!

Until next time...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Follow your Passion

Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~ Harold Whitman

I attended my first national quilt show yesterday, The Road to California, in Ontario. Talk about sensory overload! There was so much to see and so much to experience, it was almost overwhelming. Hester said to me as we walked in the door of the convention center, "The talent you'll see here is on a very different level than at our local quilt shows." She was right. It makes me almost embarrassed to call myself a quilter.

But I still do!

I continue to learn so much about my newest passion: the use of various fabrics, colors, threads, stitches, designs. I am rather obsessed these days, and have been for months. My garden has woefully been neglected since I took my first quilting lesson (don't tell anyone I'm a Master Gardener!)

I believe that when we follow where our heart leads, we add to the greater joy in the world. When I do things that make me come alive, I create an energy that touches those around me in a positive way.

What's your passion? Give yourself the chance to experiment with the various areas that interest you until you find the thing that ignites your spirit. It took me a long time to find quilting, and I'm awfully glad I did!

Until next time...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Taking Time for Joy

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment. ~ Buddha

I just read a great article in the latest issue of Prevention Magazine (pick up a copy, if you get the chance.) It's about making joy last.

They quote a social psychologist, Fred B. Bryant, as follows:

"Finding joy means opening yourself up to it. The value of taking time to appreciate positive experiences seem obvious - trite, even. Yet it's s skill that few people have mastered. The reason is simple: we're busy, and we have a lot on our minds."

Does that sound familiar?

There are many days that all I do is run from event to event: classes, appointments, lunch dates. These are all things that I love to do. Yet I allow myself to become so busy with things I should be enjoying that I get spread far too thin, and lose the joy that each event should bring.

Granted, there are other days when I'm bored silly!

So how do we go about finding a balance, and appreciating the joy in life?

I can't help thinking that the answer to both is about learning to live in the moment. To stop worrying about what's on tomorrow's agenda, or about what we did (or didn't do) yesterday. What's happening at this moment - and how can I more fully participate in it?

A few years ago, one of my stepdaughters asked if I could help her mend a hole in something. We opened up my mom's old sewing machine, and I went to work. She was bending over me, watching as I stitched. I began to tell her stories about my mom teaching me to sew when I was a little girl (and how I never listened!) My emotions got caught in those memories of the past, and I found myself feeling sad because I didn't have a child of my own to pass these stories to.

Then a lightbulb went on inside me and I thought, "Wake up, Pattie! Look what's going on right under your nose!" I was passing along these stories to the next generation. My stepdaughter may not be a child of my body, but she learned a little more that day about my history. It also helped us to bond just a little bit more.

Let's vow to take the time to acknowledge and appreciate the positive experiences that come our way. I know this is an area where I need a lot of work. I want to stay in the moment and open myself up to finding joy.

I will if you will. :-)

Until next time...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A New Year... A New Beginning

Well, I've done it. I've started a Blog, to add to those of over a million of my closest friends. :-)

It's a new year and a time for fresh starts. 2007 was, for me, a year of failed expectations and broken promises made to myself. I failed - mostly myself - on a number of levels. But boy, did I learn from all that happened!

I've learned that keeping weight off doesn't just happen. It takes hard work and commitment, just like it did to take it off in the first place. So I'm back to square one, again.

I've learned that I don't have a product to sell, so I really don't have a business. That's ok, because I've also learned that I don't have an entrepreneurial bone in my body!

I've learned to quilt and create a web page, to garden in the California sunshine and to bake bread, and I know that I have much more to learn about each of them.

But perhaps the biggest thing I've learned is that it's still all about attitude. My attitude hurt me many times in this past year, but in the end, being positive about all that life holds has saved me once again.

So here's to a healthy, happy 2008 -- full of new learning opportunities and more chances to make good choices.

Until next time...

Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them - every day begin the task anew. ~ St. Francis de Sales