Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Crap?

Healthy eating and Halloween are two ideas that don’t really go hand-in-hand.  As a newly adapted “clean-eater”, it makes it very difficult to raise a family and still follow the traditions that have been so ingrained not only in me, but our culture.  I don’t want to be the “mean mom” that won’t allow her children to go door-to-door, sporting their costumes and taking in all of the spooky decorations and lights around the neighborhood.  Forgoing the smell of autumn and candy and fear in the air ~ it doesn’t get much better than that!

But, my rational side doesn’t see a sack of fun Halloween treats anymore.  Once the loot is dumped on the table, I only see a mountain of high fructose corn syrup, sugar and everything artificial.  Yuck!  How can I in good conscience let my kids eat the crap that I spend all year teaching them against?  I would be a hypocrite.  “All of this stuff is horrible for you girls except on October 31.”  This contradictory rationale doesn't jive up in my head. 

Verdict:  The girls are going trick-or-treating this year.  I’m hardly equipped with the right answer to deal with this head-on.  So, here’s my compromise.  Instead of handing out sugar to trick-or-treaters this year and dealing with the leftovers, I’ve opted for healthy alternative treats.  I have bags of pretzels, small bins of Play-Doh, plastic spider rings, blood-shot freaky eye patches and so on (hey, at least it's not toothbrushes!).  Hopefully, a trend will start where 100% of the “treats” given out are not all sugar-based, artificially sweetened items ready to perpetuate the growing child obesity problem America is now facing. 

As far as my girlies go, I continue to educate them about nutrition and explain to them that they are ultimately responsible for how they treat their one and only body.

Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Biggest Winner...

My family and I moved to Louisville, Kentucky at the beginning of the summer.  I had been in a funk…it was three months before my 40th… I had become overly-involved in my work and volunteering at our previous location…and I had gone into a semi-depression.  We started really working on our new home to make it our own and I was very involved with hard labor ~ finally a job that was benefitting me and my family.  My deflated esteem was steadily rising.

Three months ago, my health club announced that they were starting a Biggest Loser group.  I signed up.  My goal this time around was not to win, but to learn moderation and to understand what a “lifestyle change” really meant.

As far as exercise, we started with a bi-weekly Boot Camp (along with independent work-outs) and I almost died the first few weeks.  Damn.  I used to be strong.  I used to be able to keep up.  What happened to me?  In about week three, I started to pick up.  My strength was coming back.

Parallel to this workout regime, someone mentioned something about “eating clean”.  What the heck was that?  I immediately researched Tosca Reno and purchased one of her books.  Brilliant!!  Eat non-processed, whole, organic foods.  No HFCS, no high-sugared foods…pretty much nothing with a bar code.   Hmmm…shop the perimeter of the store.  Fresh veggies and fruits, lean meats and organic dairy.  Granted, I’m not 100% “clean”, but my frozen quick meals are Amy’s Organic over Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers.  The ingredients are organic and real as opposed to “what the hell is that ingredient” and “really, that much sodium???”

I didn’t “win” my Biggest Loser, but I definitely am a winner.  I now eat real foods.  We had our weigh-in tonight.  I lost 23 pounds, came in fourth place and have a new lease on life.  I don’t “journal” my food.  I’m not afraid of eating anymore.  I get it.  I finally get it.  I eat carbs ~ they are not all created equally (my favorite is the Quinoa/Flax bread from Whole Foods).  I eat fat (avocado, nuts, olive oil).  I even order a dessert to split on date night with my hubby (although I only have a few bites, it’s all I need).

Life is better.  Sex is great.  Is there really anything else that matters?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bethenny Rocks!

We were introduced to Bethenny Frankel on Martha Stewart’s The Apprentice, and laughed out loud with her snarky, witty one-liners on The Housewives of New York, but over the past few months, I’ve realized that she is much more than just a reality star and the creator of the SkinnyGirl margarita ~ which I have yet to try (hint-hint to anyone wanting to get me a little something for Christmas this year!).

About two months ago, I happened upon Naturally Thin, Frankel’s book on her views of eating and being thin, naturally!  There is a Kindle App on my Ipad which works out brilliantly for my ADD-style of reading.  Sometimes I’m in a learning mood, and then a half-hour later I want a light, fun read.  Frankel’s is more the latter; however, it is by no means fluff.  She makes tons of great points and states things in a way that just makes sense.  For example, due to diet brainwashing that we’ve all experienced, she used to be afraid of foods…even to the point of asking sushi chefs to remove avocado from rolls.  I completely related to this.  Until I started eating clean, I didn’t eat avocado, nuts, olive oil, cheese or anything perceived to have a fat content.  What I should have been running away from was processed food, but that’s a whole other story.

Today, Samantha, my nine-year old daughter, and I decided to do a workout.  We flipped on On Demand to the exercise section and, low and behold, Bethenny has a workout, Body by Bethenny!  We gave it a whirl.  There were three sections…yoga, strength and booty.  Samantha and I tried the yoga.  The renamed “boob-to-knee pose” was hilarious, but I suppose you’ll have to do the workout to see this one.  Self-admittedly, I’m a calisthenics-type gal, but in an effort to do new things, I stuck with it.  Although tough for me, it was a lot of fun.  It was obvious that my flexibility and balance could use some tweaking.  My new goal: add yoga at least once a week to my workouts!

Thanks, Bethenny, for the inspiration and laughs!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Make Room for Zumba!

OK ~ I have to admit.  I was dragging my feet to the Zumba class…I even made my mom come with me.  Spinning and Boot Camp are my exercise classes of choice.  Why should I waste my time on a silly little dancing class?  So, eating my words from my last post, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.

Zumba, with its Latin beats and moves, from Salsa to Meringue, was a blast.  I couldn’t think of the last muscle mix class where I was smiling, laughing and shakin’ my ass!  Also because we are on the heels of Halloween, she threw in a couple of spooky songs adding to the ridiculously silly hour of sweat.

By the end of the class, a lady in her sixties let everyone know that her calorie-counter thing showed that she had burned 1013 calories.  Really!!?  Sure, you have to take height, weight and age into consideration; however, damn ~ even though I outweighed her by about twenty pounds, I made up for it in my moves.  Although I just turned forty, I can still break it down (just ask me!!) ~ LOL!

By the end of the class, my entire head was soaked, and my calves and quads were killing me.  I had an incredible cardio workout, there was a smile on my face and I didn’t even have to do a push-up!  I would give Zumba two zesty onions up.  Will I do it again?  You bet!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Whatberry?? Wheatberry!!

Today was a treat!  I went to Blue Dog CafĂ© in Louisville, Kentucky.  They are known for their wonderful bread.  And, although, my veggie Panini was by far the best I’ve ever had, the side show stole the meal. 

They served a wheat berry salad on the side.  Wheat berry had never passed my lips before this day ~ I just didn’t know what to do with it, so I never bought it.  The salad was very simple, but incredibly tasty and satisfying.  It had lima beans, green onions (the green and the white part), currants, and some sort of sherry.  Beautiful!  I ended up not only taking home a fresh whole-grain cereal loaf, but a pound of this salad for me and my family.
So, what is wheat berry (or wheatberry)??  According to Wiki Dic, it refers to the entire wheat kernel (except for the hull), comprising the bran, germ, and endosperm. Wheat berries have a tan to reddish brown color and are available as either a hard or soft processed grain. They are often added to salads or baked into bread to add a crunchy texture; as a whole grain, they also provide nutritional benefits since they are an excellent source of dietary fiber.  If you are on the fence about trying this because you think it may be too “granola”, think again…it just tastes good.

Next, after what couldn’t have made for a better afternoon, I stopped by the Bardstown Farmer’s Market for the first time (I’m new to the area).  What a great experience.  The produce was priced right…the people were proud of their business…and most everything was local.  This last descriptor is an important fact as I’m just learning about our “carbon footprint” on the earth.

New things are scary.  Scary things build character.  Think back to a wonderful experience that you’ve had.  I would bet that you were nervous about that experience before you jumped in.  My advice to you would be to step outside of your comfort zone ~ give something “strange” a try!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Life as I Used to Know It

My journey began about six months ago.  I turned forty and was at one of life’s standstills.  Also, during a school physical, my nine-year old’s doctor asked if she had started her period.  Wha??!  She’s nine!!  The doctor told me that girls are reaching puberty earlier these days mainly due to the hormones in our milk.  I immediately went home and started doing research.  Amazing.  I soon started buying organic milk, never mind the hiked price.  I didn’t need a child in elementary school with boobs.  Organic eggs, veggies and fruit soon followed.

A few months later, my health club was hosting a 12-week “Biggest Loser” class.  It was time to recharge my body.  It was time to get my quirky personality back.  I mean, c’mon…I used to be pretty cool ~ I used to be fun.  Where did that person go?  When had I morphed into this stereotypical mom?  My shoe collection turned from a sea of colorful and trendy heeled shoes to dull flats and flip-flops.  I rotated three pair of jeans with my sweatshirt collection.  I even stopped wearing make-up.    

My weight has roller-coastered for my forty years, taking it’s dives through The Grapefruit Diet, South Beach, Atkins, Jenny Craig and multiple tries at Weight Watchers.  Although all were temporarily successful, I inevitably gained the weight back, plus some; however, you already knew that.  Finally, I started “eating clean”.  Wow!  The light bulb finally went off.  My Oprah “A-ha moment” finally hit.  I have found moderation…that far-away country I’ve been meaning to visit for years.  Hmmm…eating healthy, organic, non-processed foods works.  Throw in a little paraphrased Bethenny Frankel wisdom of considering food as a bank account and by eating anything you want, just not at the same time, and you can have a life again.

So, here I blog.  I will try things that are new to me and report back.