I Know a Heartache When I See One

Lately I’ve been listening to songs with new ears, and it occurs to me how many of them can be assigned to emotions about food. Seriously, I’ve heard at least a few whose subject could be my ugly, yet powerful nemesis: sugar. I am going to try to bring these songs to my feeble mind when I am bombarded by relentless temptations in weak moments.

Here is my first one. Maybe it will help you, too, if you’re familiar with Jennifer Warner’s crossover hit from the seventies.

“I Know a Heartache When I See One”

Look at who the wind’s blowin’ up the road,
Shining like a northern star,
Actin’ like the answer to all my prayers,
But, baby, I know what you really are.

So don’t you knock on my door:
I won’t be home anymore.
You can find me out walking in the sun.
Oh, you hide it so well
It isn’t easy to tell,
But I know a heartache (heart attack, diabetic foot amputation)
When I see one.

Life and Death Are in the Power of the Tongue

Who remembers the old proverb, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof”?

I always understood this proverb to be all about words and how we use our words either to build up or to destroy, but I have been thinking these past couple of weeks about the tongue’s power over my body as well.

The tongue is a selfish member. My tongue doesn’t care if I have diabetes. My tongue doesn’t care about my heart, my joints, my feet or anything else. My tongue cares about one thing: my tongue. My tongue always looks out for number one.

“Oh, that tastes good! Gimme some more of that!” My tongue doesn’t care how many grams of sugar are in something or how many grams of fat or how many chemicals or unpronounceable ingredients or how processed something is. My tongue wants whatever makes my tongue happy.

My tongue doesn’t care if my stomach is saying, “Enough already. I don’t think I can eat even one more bite.” My tongue thinks, “Well, there’s still at least three bites left in the bowl, and I’m having them all!”

My tongue doesn’t care if my joints are inflamed and ache. My tongue doesn’t care if my feet are numb or even if they end up being amputated. My tongue is indeed selfish and not a friend to me or to any part of my body, and sometimes it is necessary to put my tongue in timeout.

It is time for me to esteem other members of my body more highly than my tongue.

I am not doing myself any favors when I give in to the temper tantrums of my tongue. My tongue should not always get its way.

“Deny yourself and follow Me,” Jesus said. I am ashamed to say that I have spent a great deal of my life following my tongue. What a sad commentary. What a poor testimony.

“Live as though your life depends on it.”

“Eat your food like medicine or someday you will eat your medicine like food.”

Sometimes you need to tell your tongue, “Be quiet, you big baby. Stop thinking of yourself all the time and be kind to the other members of your body.”

The tongue is so small and yet it yields so much power–the power over life and death.

I’ve Poisoned My Husband

I want to shout an apology to my husband from the rooftops. I can’t say “I’m sorry” enough. I feel horrible.
 
This morning I insisted that he eat my microwave-version baked strawberry yogurt oatmeal, even though the only kind of oatmeal he normally eats is either in the form of an oatmeal raisin cookie or the newly-tried THM E pancakes. (Yes, the whole family loves those!)
 
My thought was, if I used steel-cut oats, he wouldn’t have that texture that he doesn’t care for. Shoot, they would almost be the texture of the THM pancakes when I pulverize the oats to powder in the blender, right?
 
I had his bowl and my bowl right beside each other on the counter. Every ingredient was exactly the same, except for his I used 1/2 cup of steel-cut oats and for mine I used 1/2 old-fashioned rolled oats.
 
I delivered it, piping hot, on a potholder while I nuked mine. Basically, he sat there and played with it. He took a tiny bite here and there, saying that he didn’t really care for it.
 
“Oh, stop your whining,” I said. “It’s good. You only think you don’t like it. If you would actually try it, you would see how delicious it really is. You tell me over and over that it’s up to me to help you with your blood sugar and then you turn your nose up at the healthful foods I make for you.”
 
As I ate my oatmeal, my mouth literally watered and I relished every sweet bite of that delicious, steamy gift from heaven above.
 
After fifteen minutes or so, it became apparent that he was not going to eat his oatmeal.
 
“Oh, good grief,” I said. “Bring it here, ya big baby. You cannot throw away that perfectly good oatmeal.” Famous last words.
 
After I finished mine, I stuck my spoon into his. Something was off. Way off. Why was it so thick? It’s almost like it absorbed every ounce of fluid I put in there and it still wasn’t enough. I took a taste. Blech! It was awful! Not just bad. Awful! Still, I took three or four more bites, trying to dig out the strawberries, but even they didn’t help the flavor.
 
I made them exactly the same, except for the type of oats I used!
 
“Oh, Chuck, I am sooo sorry! This is horrible. But trust me when I say that mine was delicious. I’ll fix you one like mine tomorrow.”
 
“No, thank you,” he said. “Can I just have some ham and eggs?”
 
What happened? Do steel-cut oats absorb more? But, you know what, it didn’t taste good, either. I keep the steel-cut oats in a mason jar on a shelf by my kitchen sink. Do they go bad?
 
I feel horrible. I feel like I have ruined any chance I may have had in getting my husband to eat oatmeal.
 
On the upside, he is now drinking ACV and taking Triple Zero yogurt and a packet of Truvia to work to eat on his break.
 
I know for a fact that I used to eat steel-cut oats when I first started THM and I don’t remember anything like what I experienced this morning. I don’t have a clue what went wrong.
 
But Chuck, honey, sweetie, I am sooo sorry. You are not a whiny baby.

And This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Restraint has never been my strong suit. When Ree Drummond makes her kids a special treat, say, an ice cream sundae with whipped cream and various toppings, she likes to tell them, “Practice restraint.”

I can’t do that. When I lose control, I lose control. In the last month, I had gotten off-track with sugar cravings. Sometimes I would stop by Casey’s to see if they had any of those heavenly sugar cookies with the white frosting. Most of the time they did not. Sometimes I would turn on my heel and march straight back out the door (my way of protesting, like “Well, okay, then, if you don’t have my kind of cookies, I just won’t buy anything at all!”–as if they cared), but a time or two I bought a couple of sugar cookies without the frosting because that’s all they had. Did you notice the word “couple”?

When I decide I’m going off plan, I go way off plan. I can’t have a cookie because a cookie is not enough. I want two or three cookies. Or four.

I had this discussion with a coworker one afternoon as she sat on my couch chatting after she dropped by to pick up her jewelry order. The subject was donuts, and we both agreed that it’s hard to stop at just one.

“And that’s why we can’t have nice things,” I said. She erupted in laughter, and immediately I knew I had stumbled upon a catchy blog title.

It’s easier not to eat donuts at all than to stop at one.

Confession time. In the last few weeks I bought, on three separate afternoons, those vanilla sugar wafers (Always Save, the cheap ones) in the cookie aisle at Piggly Wiggly and ate them all single-handedly before the night was through. They weren’t even the “good stuff.” They weren’t gourmet cookies by any stretch of the imagination. A whole package cost me only $1.29 or something like that, and the guilt I felt afterward far outweighed any pleasure that was derived from eating them. Or maybe not. It’s easy to say after the fact, but, while I was stuffing them into my face, I was thoroughly enjoying them.

Here’s something I’ve noticed about myself, though. I set out to eat the whole package. When I bought them in the store, I had no intention of stopping after just three wafers. This was premeditated gluttony. I barely took the time to chew each one. The sugar, oh, the sugar. I can’t even explain the euphoria I experience when that sugar hits my tongue, but I can’t get enough of it and I can’t get it fast enough. I couldn’t even leave my parking spot without ripping open the bag, and I had three rows gone before I hit my driveway–and I only live about three minutes from the store!

Then the depression sets in. I can do fine all morning and afternoon. I have my okra smoothies, my Ezekiel toast or my baked oatmeal. I can coast through my day and be 100% fine, and then in one unguarded moment in the grocery store unravel my whole day.

My husband doesn’t think I’m serious when I say that I cannot go to the grocery store unsupervised.

The nutritionist said on Extreme Weight Loss that the cravings diminish after the first couple of weeks, but they will only diminish if you quit giving in to them.

Even now I feel like one of Pavlov’s dogs. Just the thought of those cheap sugar wafers has my mouth watering. I’m not even hungry. I just drank my coffee okra shake and had two pieces of Ezekiel toast, but the mental picture of those yellow, crunchy sugar wafers with the sweet centers literally has me almost drooling.

I’m pretty sure my grandma used to call those ice cream cookies or icebox cookies. They come in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Sometimes you can get packages with all three in them, like neopolitan ice cream–but vanilla is my favorite one, so I just buy the packages that have vanilla. Excuse me, “bought” the packages. Let me just put that in past tense right now before I give myself permission to continue in this destructive lifestyle.

The fall is here and we never got our bikes bought. That’s just as well. I was afraid of getting hit by a texting driver, anyway. Chuck and Chelsea dragged me out to Confederate Park on Saturday to get some walking in. I felt wonderful afterward. My family gave me money for my birthday, so I could buy a Fitbit. I was hoping it would motivate me to walk more, but so far I haven’t.

The treadmill has gone by the wayside. I pretend that I don’t do the treadmill because the motor is going out in it, but the truth is that I have lost my mojo. My motivation to walk on the treadmill is sporadic at best. I walked on it last week a couple of times, but over the summer I could probably count the number of times I got on the treadmill on one hand.

Do you know what that means? That means that I gained some weight over the summer. We went on vacation the first part of July, and all bets were off when it came to my eating. I ate anywhere and anything. Continental breakfasts included four or five donuts, orange juice, raisin bran with milk. I was out of control, and the scale showed it.

I was horrified to discover that suddenly I was up twenty-nine pounds from my lowest weight I had reached after discovering Trim Healthy Mama. Friends went from saying “Wow, how much have you lost now?” to “Are you still doing that Trim Healthy Mama thing?” When that happens you know something has gone wrong.

The difference has mainly been the treadmill–and my occasional sugar outbursts. I still separate my fats from my carbs. I make the Trim Healthy Mama pancakes on page 259 of the new cookbook and don’t even miss the butter. Oh! I have to tell you something. A few days ago, I ran out of vanilla extract, so instead of putting vanilla extract in them I used half a teaspoon of maple extract and a teaspoon of butter extract. Mm mm! They were tasty!

I also throw a handful of blueberries on top after I ladle them onto the griddle. I wish I had tried these long before now. They are wonderful and my family loves them. The recipe is so easy that I had it memorized after only fixing them one time.

Finally I am putting that griddle that Chelsea got for me for Christmas a couple of years ago, when she was in Kindred Hospital, to good use. I used it a couple of times when I first got it for S pancakes, but they don’t hold a candle to these E pancakes. When I say I think I could eat them every day of my life, I am not exaggerating.

I put some chocolate chips in some for Chelsea, and she took some to work with her. Karmin, the owner of the salon, ate three of them that day and gave them a two-thumbs-up.

I only wish I had ordered some more of the THM Super Sweet when it was on sale last week. No one can tell these are not regular pancakes. Chelsea remarked that they are every bit as good as any pancakes she has ever had, and here’s probably the biggest compliment: Cameron said this would be something good to have on Christmas morning. To eat these pancakes and suddenly equate them to a special treat for Christmas morning? That made me beam.

“I can do that,” I said cheerily. I can definitely whip up a batch of these on Christmas morning. They take almost no time at all, and what a comfort food!

I made the rest of the family sausage links, hash browns and eggs, but my husband commented that he was FULL. Over-full would be my guess because there was enough protein in those pancakes to be a meal all by themselves. I got full, too, and pancakes are all that I eat–none of the other stuff.

Thanks for hanging with me this morning. I know I’ve kind of been rambling. I’ve gotten out of the habit of blogging and I’m just pouring out any thought that hits my brain.

Anyway, sugar: bad (really bad). Trim Health Mama pancakes on page 259: good (really good).

Prejudice

A friend stumbled upon this on the Trim Healthy Mama Beginners page and asked if I would mind its being shared on Facebook. I don’t mind at all. In fact, I told her I would share it on my blog. Actually I’m more than happy to do so since I’ve been slacking on my blogging lately.

I wrote this back on March 11, 2015. My apologies if you’ve read it before.

It’s time for a little dose of truth. How many of us have looked down our noses or clicked our tongues at junkies who are addicted to crack cocaine or winos stumbling out of bars? Let me try to type now with just my left hand, since my other hand is raised high in the air with some of yours! If being totally honest, I have to answer that I have!

How many of us have, at the very least, pitied those who are caught in the grips of alcoholism or drug addiction? Truth be told, there are probably some drug addicts who would look down their noses at people carrying around excess flab, too. “Really?” you may ask. You betcha!

If a drug addict looks in the mirror she may see a body image pretty close to what she sees on the covers of magazines, and society tells her (and everyone else!) that obese people are disgusting. We don’t get that generalization as much as we used to, though, before there were fast food places, donut shops, and Starbucks on every corner in our fast-paced lives. America, by and large (yes, we have become very large!), has become a country inundated with overweight people.

I know for a fact that people have looked in disgust at me before. I’ve seen it, and I have heard it. I once saw a member of my husband’s family look at my protruding, sagging tummy with absolute revulsion in her eyes; she was about eight months pregnant at the time.

When I saw her staring at my stomach, I had mixed feelings. First off—I won’t lie—it hurt my feelings a little. All at once I felt like a big, fat sow, but, at the same time I was experiencing another feeling that involved my receiving payback and the horror of realizing my own actions and reactions of a much younger me.

Growing up, I had an aunt who was overweight. I remember looking at her stomach and wondering how she could stand it and why she didn’t do anything about it.

Under this pregnant lady’s scrutinizing gaze, suddenly I thought, “What if my aunt had seen on my face what had been in my mind!??” If so, I was receiving due compensation when the young, pregnant lady looked at my stomach!

Sometimes it’s not easy to feel something or think something and not let it show on our faces!

Let me be perfectly clear. Addiction is addiction.

I think it was at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting that I once heard that sugar and flour, when combined in the blood stream, create the same addictive effect that alcohol does. I’m no scientist, and I certainly haven’t researched this out, but, if true, it would definitely explain why I have been drawn to Twizzlers throughout most of my life—almost to the extent of a crackhead being fixed on his next high.

Whatever harmful stuff I am introducing to my body, which the Bible tells me is the very temple of the Holy Spirit–whether it be cocaine, nicotine, vodka or Twizzlers–the crux of the matter is that sin is sin. No matter how I do it, destroying my body is still destroying my body, whether I cut it with a knife or spoon in quart after quart after quart of sugar-laden ice cream.

Cirrhosis of the liver, drug overdose, lung cancer, stroke, heart attack or diabetes: the cause doesn’t matter. Dead is still dead.

My dad used to say that dieting was harder than quitting drinking or smoking because we HAVE to eat. We can give up alcohol or smoking and never take another sip or puff, but we can’t just stop eating. After all, we have to eat to live, right? If we give up eating, we die!

Probably what Dad didn’t think about—or at least he didn’t mention—was that we can completely give up sugar, flour, rice, pasta, and milk. We certainly will not die if we don’t have those things. In fact, we could be taking a giant step toward regaining our health and living longer! Let’s finish up this week on plan and take care of our temples! It’s Wednesday, ladies! We’re halfway there!

Changing My Mantra

If you’ve followed me for very long, you’ve probably heard me say that “I don’t do hard.” As a child, I would get frustrated and pop the buttons off the back of my dresses because I couldn’t unbutton them behind my neck. Even now I’m trying to understand why a parent would buy a little girl a dress that buttoned in the back–at least if that little girl was expected to dress and undress herself.

That frustration followed me into my teen and adult years (and I find it completely logical that those same manifestations of anger and frustration have surfaced in my own son’s behavior throughout his life). For instance, I never learned to put on my bra properly. I didn’t have the time or patience to line up the hooks and eyelets behind my back. Who did those bra manufacturers think I was, Houdini?

What I would do is fasten the hooks in the front of my body and twist the bra around to where it was supposed to be and then put my arms in the straps and pull them up over my shoulders. This was contrary to how my mother put on her brassiere, but, then, I am lazy. I have always been lazy and, as a toddler, I was also not very bright.

When Mom and Dad would have us pick up our toys, my brother, who was two years younger than I, would load up his arms and haul all he could carry in one trip to the toy box. I would pick up one toy, carry to the toy box and then return for another. Well, you know, back then I didn’t have a treadmill and I had to get my walking in somehow! Of course, I’m being facetious. The furthest thing from my mind was getting exercise, and, if I had weighed the thing out in my small brain, I may have concluded that carrying more was better than making seven or eight trips to the toy box.

Don’t most of us do the same thing now with our groceries? We load ourselves up with eight or nine heavy bags and try to open our front doors with our pinkies or elbows. Heaven forbid that we have to make two trips to our car!

I guess you know that Flylady recommends taking only your frozen goods in first, putting them away and then returning for more. This makes perfect sense, certainly more sense than balancing all those bags (and boxes maybe!) and trying to free an appendage to open the front door!

With Trim Healthy Mama I have always said it must be easy because “I don’t do hard.” The fact is, it isn’t always easy. The concept is easy, but following it perfectly 100% of the time is not.

There are times when life’s stress creeps in, and sometimes we may even be plagued with bouts of depression. When that happens we slip into old patterns and destructive food choices.

What I have noticed is that, as I slacked on the treadmill, I slacked on saying no to sugar. We went on vacation and I returned to finally weigh myself after many promptings by my husband and son. I was horrified to learn that I had gained weight, not just a little weight, either. It was a substantial amount of weight.

I was afraid to weigh because, just as losing weight is a motivation to keep losing more, gaining weight has a tendency to do the exact opposite–and I didn’t want that to happen. What if I completely gave up?

It took me a week, but I lost six of the pounds I had gained back. I haven’t completely given up. I’m still having oatmeal for breakfast most days or Ezekiel toast and chocolate peanut butter shakes with okra, and I’m still having salads or burgers without buns or pizza on low-carb wraps for lunch. The fact is that I’m still not eating buns or potatoes or rice or pasta, but . . . And there’s the big, fat but. The sugar! Oh, the sugar. Please, God, free me from this addiction.

For lunch today Chelsea and I went to the Mexican restaurant. Now, they have excellent cheesecake there that is only $2.25 per slice. Did I mention that it’s very good cheesecake? I can have an awesome on-plan meal (no rice or tortillas) and then totally destroy it with a piece of cheesecake.

Today I had a grilled chicken salad with extra veggies and a dollop of sour cream on top. I did not partake of the cheesecake. I told Chelsea beforehand that I would come home and make myself either a chocolate muffin in a mug or a peanut butter cheesecake shake for dessert. That gave me something to look forward to, to keep my mind off the cheesecake. Then I got home and decided I didn’t really even want dessert, so I just drank some water. Victory.

It was a small victory, but one small victory piled on top of another amounts to one great big victory.

I continue to watch Extreme Weight-Loss Makeover and I halfway identify with the people on that show. I say “halfway” because I’m still convinced that I couldn’t do what they have resolved to do. “I don’t do hard.” I can’t seem to help it. I hear myself speaking those destructive words to my heart. That, my friends, is negative self-talk.

I’m changing my mantra. My new mantra will be “I can do hard and not die.” I love that mantra because it is an ambiguous statement. It can mean “the treadmill won’t kill me” or it can mean “if I do the treadmill I can live longer.”

To cement my new mantra into my brain, for the last two weeks, I have put on my bra the correct way. A couple of times I wanted to cuss (and I don’t cuss!) and a couple of times I wanted to give up and a couple of times I wanted to rip and tear my bra into a million pieces and throw it against the wall. I could feel angry tears ready to come spilling out, but I held them back, just as I held back any cuss words lurking there in the darkness of my mad and frustrated heart. (It could very well be that I need therapy!)

I know you probably don’t care, but putting on my bra is getting easier now. I can do hard and not die.

I don’t like sweating or getting dirt under my fingernails or a whole host of other things, but I can do hard and not die.

With God as my helper, I can be free of a sugar addiction. On Extreme Weight Loss Makeover, the nutritionist said that the cravings should wane after a week of no sugar. I’ve done it before and I can do it, again. And I can do hard and not die. Lord, help me, please–if not on my own, then by Your strength.

Into Her Clothes and into Her Head

I was standing in line at Bio Life yesterday afternoon, waiting to get my finger pricked and my blood pressure and temperature taken, when my eyes landed on a young miss who was probably five foot nothing with a tiny frame. I glanced around at the other attendants and determined that her lab coat was a mere fraction of the size of the others. Was it a small or maybe even an extra small? I wouldn’t have been surprised. Her slender body made the perfect clothes hanger for the lab coat that hung crisply down the sides of her body, unlike some of the wrinkled lab coats of her coworkers that tucked into fat rolls and stretched across girthy backs and bosoms.

Every woman in there would probably love to be able to get into her clothes, but, at that moment in time, there at Bio Life on that Saturday afternoon, I wanted to be able to get into her head. What did she think about? What was her relationship with food?

When ten or ten-thirty rolled around, did she start thinking about what she was going to have for lunch? Was she counting the minutes until her lunch break or was she one of those that others had to prompt to head back to the break room because food was the last thing on her mind?

What would she think if someone told her that a coworker had brought in a box of Lamar’s donuts for the rest of the employees? Would her mind wander to that box of donuts all morning long until she was finally able to partake of one? Would she worry that all the chocolate ones or coconut ones or glazed ones would be gone by the time she got to them?

What would be her first thought if coworkers asked her to join them for Blizzards at Dairy Queen after work to beat the summer heat? Would she relish in the thought or would she politely decline because she had determined not to fill her body with junk like that or would she go and order something else without even being tempted?

I can’t help but wonder if there are people in the world who contemplate what the bare minimum is that they have to eat to still be able to sustain life. Are there people like that? Are there people who don’t enjoy eating or, at the very least, don’t spend as much time thinking about it as I do?

I once had a skinny cousin who would forget to eat. How is it possible to forget to eat? For most of my life, my thoughts have been consumed with food. My whole family was that way, and probably my parents’ families were, too. It’s a cycle that’s difficult to break.

When you’re raised by a mom or dad who equates food with love, you carry that with you your whole life. I’m not saying that my parents didn’t tell me they loved me or that they didn’t give me kisses and hugs and spend time and play games with me because they did, but food was such a big part of our lives and when my dad made a big freezer full of burnt sugar ice cream or a triple-layer German chocolate cake with coconut and pecan frosting I felt love.

My parents were excellent cooks, and mostly our meals were wonderfully nutritious–except for the rolls, biscuits and potatoes and the eight or nine varieties of pies we had for Thanksgiving and Christmas–not to mention the cakes, bread and rice puddings and Jell-o salads.

My parents were reared in a different era. While they were growing up, there wasn’t money for extras. During my mom’s childhood, even a common food like an orange was a rare treat for her. I think my mom vowed that that would never be the case for us. Whenever there was a trip to the grocery store, there was always a treat in the sack for us kids: Slow Pokes, Black Cows, Snickers, Reese’s or Sweet Tarts.

My parents raised a big garden. They canned lots of stuff: green beans, tomatoes, carrots, beets, chili sauce, pear honey, and I don’t even know what else. In the summer, we had a salad with every meal with lots of veggies cut up in there: green onions, radishes, tomatoes, celery and cucumbers. We had fried green tomatoes and fried okra. We had okra and tomatoes. We also had big bowls of cucumbers and onions with a vinegar marinade.

We didn’t have meat at every meal, but we never starved. Sometimes we had beans and cornbread with the homemade chili sauce they had canned. Sometimes we had fried potatoes on homemade biscuits with Velveeta cheese and Miracle Whip and sliced tomatoes, but always there was a big fresh garden salad to go along with it.

I don’t remember there ever being a shortage of apples or other fruit in our house, and we had every sugary cereal imaginable: Quisp, Quake, Sugar Smacks, Cap’n Crunch, Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops. When we were little, Dad also made us lots of hot cereal, too: Ralston Purina, Malto-Meal, Cream of Wheat, oatmeal and big bowls of steaming white rice with milk and sugar. We were well-cared for. I mean, we really were well-cared for, but probably my parents weren’t as educated about nutrition as I am becoming right now.

We always had potatoes, pasta, and bread in the house and we always had milk. Now, I have none of those–except for Ezekiel bread and almond milk, and my family insists that those are not the same thing. I also keep plenty of our new bread, Santa Fe flax tortillas in the house. My husband takes those to work with his tuna salad, and I use them for our sirloin burgers and personal thin-crust pizzas.

We are getting by quite nicely without milk and bread and hotdog buns and hamburger buns.

I remember the spread my parents used to put out for our Fourth of July cookouts: big, thick BBQ burgers with hamburger buns and hotdogs with grill marks on hotdog buns, huge bowls of my mom’s potato salad and macaroni salad, a big plate of sliced homegrown tomatoes and onions, a couple of bags of potato chips and nacho cheese Doritos, a freezer of homemade banana ice cream and a cooler of pop, none of it diet.

I get a little discouraged sometimes because I know I can’t replicate what that meal looked like, smelled like, tasted like and felt like. I feel like it would take too much effort on my part to try to find good THM substitutes for all the comfort foods with which I grew up. There’s a definite learning curve, and I am a lazy person. I’m not using the term lightly. I really am lazy and, for the most part, hugely unmotivated.

Unlike many other ladies, I hate the time it takes to look through cookbooks and Pinterest files. I find it boring and time-consuming.

That being confessed, I am happy with the small changes we have made in our diets: no chips, no white bread or buns, no potatoes, no milk, but I feel that I’m limited now with what I make for dinner. When I was growing up, dinner was colorful and balanced. My mom would plan for some type of meat, generally (except for when we had beans and cornbread or fried potatoes and biscuits), some type of starch (either some type of potato or pasta), but she would also try to offer as many different colored veggies and other foods as she could to make meal time pleasantly appealing to the eye.

I can do that now with our pizzas, omelets and salads. I put as many colored peppers and other veggies as I can in them, but I am limited by my husband’s reluctant acceptance of veggies like celery, cucumbers, broccoli and cauliflower. To be frank, he doesn’t like most vegetables, but I hope he will grow to appreciate them more and more as I have over the course of the past couple of years. I didn’t like Brussels sprouts and wouldn’t have wasted my time on cooked zucchini at buffets, but now those are the foods that I seek out and I pass by my old favorites of mashed potatoes and brown gravy, mac and cheese and fluffy, buttery, yeasty rolls without so much as blinking an eye or even looking in that direction.

As of late, after reading the section in the Trim Healthy Mama Plan book about okra–two or three times!–okra has become the new additive to my shakes (and hubby’s shakes, but–shhh!–don’t tell him!).  I don’t think it’s my imagination that the okra seems to make the shakes more creamy. The cottage cheese also helps, but don’t mention that to my husband, either. He would insist that nothing belongs in shakes except ice cream.

Sometimes I miss my old life and the foods I used to eat, but mostly I think it’s the childhood memories I had that just happened to revolve around the foods we ate.

I can say with 100% certainty that I don’t miss hamburger buns or white bread. I don’t miss milk. I don’t miss mashed potatoes or french fries or baked potatoes or hash browns.

If little by little by little we can become accustomed to doing without those things that are poison to our bodies, not only may we live longer but the quality of the years we have left will be significantly improved.

If we have more energy, if we can sleep better at night, if our joints feel better, those are all good things. If I put hamburger buns on one side of the scale and all the health benefits I get from not eating them on the other side, I know which side of the scale I would choose. Every time.

Are those the kinds of things that Miss Skinny Minny at Bio Life thinks about? Maybe she had a different upbringing than I did, or maybe she knows the same struggles I do. It would be interesting to get inside her head–and wonderful beyond my wildest imagination to be able to fit inside her clothes!

Thank you for coming by for a chat and thank you for supporting my blog by using my affiliate link to order all your Trim Healthy Mama supplies!  God bless!  My THM affiliate link –>https://store.trimhealthymama.com/#_l_df

I’m Strong to the Finish ‘Cause I Eats Me Spinach

After reading the huge section in the Plan about okra, I decided to give it a go. I couldn’t find it at Costco or Sam’s Club, but I did score a bag at Piggly Wiggly. The problem that I perceived was that it was WHOLE okra, not sliced, as I thought it would be.

Since it was frozen solid, I didn’t see a way of trimming the stems without cutting off my hand, so I put the whole okra in the Nutribullet (two and a half of them), along with my peach, cottage cheese, almond milk–well, you get the picture. I blended it all up, and, I must say, I can hardly tell it’s in there. I am detecting a flavor other than peach, but that flavor may be STEMS. Still, it’s not horribly unpleasant.

To mask even further the taste of okra, perhaps I shall try it with my peanut butter chocolate shakes. I may be able to slip a few past my dear Chuckers as well. We shall see.

In other news, I’ve been deferred twice in the past couple of weeks from giving plasma due to low iron. One of my blog readers said she had been told it may be because of tea consumption. Apparently tea blocks the absorption of iron! Who knew? I looked it up on the Internet, and it specifically mentioned black tea and green tea as being culpable for iron deficiency.

I told my daughter that oolong tea shrinks fat cells. She responded, “I guess you’re going to have to decide whether you want fat cells or money.” That’s a horrible decision to have to make! I do not want my oolong tea to cost me $280 a month!

The other night before a scheduled donation, I fixed big Kansas City strips for dinner, and I single-handedly ate a pound bag of broccoli. Today I picked up two cans of spinach and seriously considered picking up a couple of apricots.

Spinach is one of those foods famous for being high in iron. My gynecologist had told me nothing does the trick like red meat, but there are other foods that certainly help, too: nuts, for instance, raisins, and the aforementioned apricots, just to name a few. Broccoli is my very favorite. I love it, love it, love it, and eating a whole pound bag all by myself is not a hard feat to accomplish.

My hope is that I can amp up my iron and still be able to drink my oolong. Thoughts? Oh, and Matt (at work) said that Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, too, and I’m already taking that. Should I increase my dose to two tablets a day, one at morning and one at night maybe?

 

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Live as if Your Life Depends on It

Chuck decided to get even more serious about his eating after his A1c was higher than last time. He asked me if I would be willing to make him a smoothie every morning for breakfast: that way he wouldn’t have to stop somewhere to get a sausage biscuit.

“Sure!” I said. “But are you sure that will keep you full until your first break? You only drink a fraction of the smoothie, so I’m not convinced you’re getting enough protein.”

He can only drink one of those old-fashioned Coke glasses that McDonald’s used to give away. That’s not even half of the Nutribullet container. I drink the rest of it, and, believe me, I could drink the whole thing, just slurp it right down.

“I can’t drink that much. I get full,” he insists. “I don’t know how you can drink that much.”

“You’re kidding me, right? Come on, you should know me by now. I can suck in ice cream like I suck in air.”

“It’s not ice cream,” he responds.

“Yes, it is. It has almond milk, sweetener, blueberries, whey protein, vanilla, all the stuff that you might find in ice cream . . . ” I don’t tell him it has cottage cheese in it because that’s TMI for him. My goal is to get him to drink it, not turn his nose up at it, and he has been drinking it–all except for about a fourth of an inch in the bottom.

It annoys me that he leaves a little bit in the bottom, but he says that’s only because he has manners and refuses to slurp.

“Take your straw out, then, and just tilt it back and drink it.” But he won’t do it. I guess we all have our quirks.

Since I began Trim Healthy Mama, 1% cottage cheese has become a staple in my house. When it’s on sale I usually buy three cartons. I mean, I go through it! Every single day I squeeze in a shake or smoothie at some point, sometimes two during the course of a day, and every shake has about a fourth of a cup of cottage cheese in it.

For those who do not like cottage cheese, I guarantee, you will not be able to tell the cottage cheese is in there. Just ask my husband. No, on second thought, do not ask my husband because I don’t want him to know.

If you have ever found little curds of cottage cheese in your shake or smoothie than I submit to you that you need a better blender. Early, early on in my THM journey, my Nutribullet was gifted to me. It had been taking me about fifteen minutes to make my strawberry cheesecake shake, and I mentioned my slower-than-a-turtle Oster blender in the THM Beginners group. A very kind friend insisted that she send me a Nutribullet. I was blown away by her generosity. She also sent me my very first tub of whey protein powder (back when Swanson’s was still on plan) and a container of glucomannan.

It was right around my birthday, and I was already down about twenty-five pounds. Let me say, it was one of the best birthdays ever. What a gift! And I use it all the time!! Every single day almost. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

My Nutribullet really put my Oster to shame. It takes me under a minute to blend up a smoothie now.

I didn’t intend for this post to turn into a Nutribullet commercial, but, if you’re serious about Trim Healthy Mama and love to incorporate whey protein isolate shakes and smoothies into your daily meal plan, it would behoove you to get some kind of high quality blender, whether a Ninja or a Nutribullet or even one of those really expensive ones. For my purposes, the Nutribullet works just perfectly.

Where can you find quality whey protein isolate?  Trim Healthy Mama sells it –>HERE<– or you can use Piping Rock –>HERE<–.  I generally buy the Piping Rock, only because I can buy a 1.2 pound tub for $13.99. Unless you can find it on sale, the Trim Healthy Mama is generally $16.99 for a pound bag. (*Post edit: I just checked my link, and, at this point in time, it appears that the Trim Healthy Mama whey protein is cheaper than the Piping Rock: that is not normally the case.)

Yesterday as I was leaving work I happened to look up at a billboard and saw this phrase: Live as if your life depended on it. So simple, yet so profound.

Every choice you make affects your life in some way, whether it’s a food choice or a moral choice–or if you choose safety or recklessness.

I don’t know if it’s just in Missouri or nationwide, but I noticed the department of transportation put up a sign on I-70 that said road deaths were up 6% from last year. I don’t know that this is the reason, but immediately I wondered if it was because of texting.

My son plays basketball and softball (and tennis, too, sometimes) in other towns. Often, to save on gas, he rides with a friend. He told us that one of his friends texts constantly behind the wheel, yet he rides with this friend just to save on gas.

Chuck and I told him we would give him money for gas if he would stop riding with this friend. I would rather pay out gas money than attend my son’s funeral because he doesn’t put as much value on his life as he does a tank of gas.

What you put in your body as food and drink matters. Poor choices lead to poor consequences. This is true across the board, whether you’re talking about nutrition, driving habits, choice of friends, etc.

If you don’t want to spend your life in jail, don’t choose criminals as friends.

It’s pretty basic stuff.

If you don’t want to die early of a heart attack or diabetes, don’t buy processed foods with a lot of trans fats or sugar.

Today is the day God has given you. Live as if your life depends on it.

Motivation, Motivation, Wherefore Art Thou, Motivation

This summer it seems that almost everything has gone by the wayside. I haven’t had the drive to write. I haven’t had the drive to walk. I haven’t had the drive to do much of anything.

All that needs to change. Pronto.

I’m still eating on plan. Most of the time. Still something must be amiss because I’ve been deferred twice from giving plasma in the past couple of weeks due to low iron. They said my protein is fine (of course! with all the baked oatmeal and whey protein smoothies I eat!), but my iron has missed the mark by one point. Twice! What could cause that?

I gave again yesterday, and they didn’t comment on where my iron level stood, so I’m assuming it was completely within the normal range. Had it been borderline low they would have told me, as they did once before.

Just to be on the safe side, on Monday, I fixed Chuck and me a big KC Strip steak, and single-handedly I ate a whole pound bag of broccoli. I’m thinking of picking up a few cans of spinach later to add even more iron.

Do you think my iron is what has me feeling so unmotivated? Actually, “dragging” may be more the word. I feel zapped of all strength. My husband says that’s probably it. Boy, I hope it rebounds soon because this feeling pretty much stinks. I’ve been making sure to take all my vitamins twice daily and have added to my regimen four iron tablets, two in the morning and two at night.

Chelsea has had plenty of problems of her own here of late. Her foley catheter has not worked for about a week. She wakes up soaked every morning, and the mattress pads we use on her seat cushion are wet, as well. They would be worse if it weren’t for the Tena/Options/Poise pads she wears. I kid you not when I say those things will hold upward toward two pounds of fluid!

She starts seeing her new urologist on the 28th. She tried to get in sooner, but they told her since she is a new patient they didn’t have a time slot big enough to squeeze her in. She has been a trooper. I know how frustrating that has to be, and, yet, as always, she has been cheerful, easy-going and patient.

She wanted to hold off as long as she could for a Foley change because our vacation is at the beginning of next month (her birthday week), and she wanted to go with a fresh Foley in hopes that she would have no issues while we were in Branson.

Yesterday was the final straw for her. She knew it just wasn’t feasible to wait for another week to see someone so she decided she would head to the ER bright and early this morning, since Chuck is off work today, to get a new Foley placed. That way she would still be home fairly early to report in for work at the salon to help on a busy day. The ER visit was perfect timing I’d say because the catheter fell completely out as she was transferring from her chair to the car.

I’ve heard from both Chelsea and Chuck and they should be home within the hour. A new Foley was placed quickly and the results from the lab are already back. While she does not have a raging UTI, she does have a slight infection and they’re sending her home with a ten-day antibiotic. They told her if something else grows in the culture in the next few days they’ll go from there.

We are thankful that it has been a long while since her last hospital stay. While they have discontinued her home health, I’ve had no problem with the dressing changes, and we’ve not had to use the wound vac for over a year. Medicaid drags its feet about approving funds for medical supplies, so mostly she has been ordering her own off Amazon. Once in a while the wound team at Centerpoint will throw her a bone in the form of a sheet of Aquacel AG, but, for the most part, she has been buying everything: ABD pads, tape, kerlix, and Aquacel.

People occasionally tell her that she would qualify for Medicare, too, but, even if that is so, she’s afraid some doctors’ offices wouldn’t take her if she wasn’t straight Medicaid.

I guess life just wouldn’t be interesting if it wasn’t one thing after another, huh?

My son had a fiance (of sorts) for a little while. Probably it was her idea. The whole thing bothered me from the beginning because he had hardly known her three weeks before suddenly they were “engaged.” That’s not the only thing that bothered me. She was from a different religious background and has an eighteen-month-old child.

People tell me that at 28 years of age, it may be hard for him to find a girl (okay, woman) who doesn’t have a child (either with or without a previous marriage). With God all things are possible, though.

To my shame I have not prayed every day for my children’s future spouses, even though I’ll be the first to say what a wonderful idea it is to do so. I do when I think about it, but I don’t always think about it. Strike two is that she apparently drinks. Strike three is that she also apparently cusses.

The straw that broke the camel’s back, though, is when she told Cameron the other afternoon–the very afternoon that she met Chelsea and me for the first time–that she went out drinking with some friends and had sex with another guy.

What? Yep, you heard me right. So that was his “fiance.” The fiance who smokes (electronic cigarettes now), drinks, cusses, has a different religious upbringing and a child and apparently is not faithful.

Things have been interesting, to be sure. Something tells me this may not be the girl for him.

On a positive note, my jewelry business is going well. I have been building a customer base and have several orders ready to go out the door. I have to say, though, with my low iron and frequent brain fog, that I’m afraid I’m going to forget something or mess up in some way.

I have already messed up once by sending one lady’s jewelry to another lady’s address. One name was right underneath the other name on my customer spreadsheet, and apparently, even though I had the name right on the envelope, I had written down the wrong address. I couldn’t understand why she never received her package. I remembered distinctly checking her package three or four times before taking it down to the post office with the rest. (I don’t know if being OCD is a blessing or a curse. I always end up checking the shipments three or four times. Finally, I have to seal the envelopes because I know if I don’t I’m going to keep checking it, but, if it’s sealed, I think to myself, “It must be correct, because I wouldn’t have sealed it unless I was 100% sure that everything that is supposed to be in there is in there.”

In light of this, how was it possible that one lady did not receive her jewelry? I started going through different scenarios in my head. Had I dropped it on my way into the post office? Had I carried it with me into the room with my shipping supplies and laid it down somewhere?

As it happened, I had another pair of the earrings I was supposed to have sent her, and my daughter had the exact necklace and had only worn it once. I just shipped her duplicate items and thought no more about it until my other customer sent me an email one night that read: Dirinda….. I received a package addressed to _____________ but with my address. It has a necklace and pair of earrings in it. How would u like to take care of this?

Mystery solved! It would have been solved sooner, but the lady who received it hadn’t checked her mail for a week! I really thought I must be losing my mind. It turned out that I needed to just be more careful when copying addresses from my customer spreadsheet!

I am wanting to find some frozen okra so I can start tossing a handful into my shakes and smoothies, but, so far, I haven’t found any. Of course, I’ve only checked at Costco and Sam’s Club, so maybe Piggly Wiggly has some.

While I donate plasma, I read the Trim Healthy Mama Plan. There are so many healthful foods I want to utilize more. Okra is one of them. I also need to remember to put that teaspoon of ground flax in my baked oatmeal or in shakes or smoothies.

I have to take a small group of kids to McDonald’s today, so I’m having a grilled chicken bacon ranch salad for lunch. I’ll have to take my own cucumbers, celery, egg, extra lettuce and salad dressing–and just maybe a generous sprinkle of ground flax!

For Father’s Day the kids got Chuck a Royals wreath, and I got him a name log for our front lawn. We haven’t done the landscaping, yet, so the log is still in our garage. I want to put in a couple of sedum plants and a rock garden with pavers set up in a rectangle over the stump that was the beautiful tree in the corner of our lawn.DSCF3336 Chuck's Father's Day Name Log 2

The business that made our log is the Wood Den, located in Festus, Missouri, and they even sent a short video (very short, time-lapse-style) of them making it!  Mostly what you can make out is the carving of the Kansas City Royals logo on the right side. The whole thing goes too fast to even make out the letters of our name. 

It’s hard to believe that we’re on our third week of summer school already. One more week after today, and I’ll be ready for a a small break before regular school starts back in the middle of August. Then, next thing you know, winter will bring its chill and Christmas will be here–again.

It’s hard to believe how fast time goes. In September I’ll be 57 years old. Me. When I was seventeen years old, I could never imagine how it would feel to be knock knock knockin’ on 60’s door. Maybe it won’t in three years, but right now, even just three years shy of that mark, sixty feels like such a foreign number.

When Chelsea was born, I didn’t know how long we would have her with us. Obviously, with spina bifida there are lots of health issues: shunt problems, pressure sores, and who even knows what else (we all saw the roller coaster ride we experienced in the last couple of years!).

I didn’t want to think about or talk about the longevity of her life. It just goes to show, though, that nothing is promised or guaranteed because three of her classmates have already passed away. Three babies who were born healthy and “normal.”

One was hit by a truck at the end of his fifth-grade year, while attempting to cross the street on his bike. Another passed away four or five years ago with complications from a cold or flu, and the third passed just a couple of weeks ago, on her thirtieth birthday, from a brain tumor with which she was diagnosed four years ago.

I’ll always remember what I overheard a former Sunday school teacher tell a lady in our church who had been diagnosed with cancer. He said, “We’re all terminal. We don’t know when we get up in the morning if we’ll see the end of the day. Just because you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness doesn’t mean that you won’t live longer than the rest of us.”

If a person doesn’t know the Lord, that’s a serious matter. For the believer, death is just a shadow that can’t really hurt us. For the unregenerate, death is just the beginning of dying every day: an eternity of torture and pain, eternal death with no end in sight.

I often hear these words of seeming comfort when a person passes away: “At least they’re in a better place now. At least they’re not in pain, anymore.”  Really? Unless a person has given his life to Christ, a statement like that has no merit whatsoever. No one knows, except the person himself and God, but we can get a clue from the way a person has lived his life whether he was a true believer or not. We can ascertain from the words that he spoke what was in his heart.

Dear reader, if you don’t know for sure where you’ll go when you die, message me. Email me. Let me share with you how you can be sure of heaven when you die. If you die today or tomorrow, you’ll want to know for sure where you’re going.