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 –>

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?



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.