Thursday, May 21, 2009

The good, the bad, and I hope nothing ugly

Well, I thought about just deleting yesterday's post -- that would be an easy way of getting out of writing what I ate today. I could also wait a day or two (or three) until I got it right before I posted and hoped that no one minded. But that wouldn't be what I said I'd do. So I'm writing to share the good and the of what I ate today.

The Good:
Morning -- Apricots and some apple, fresh raspberries,
Odwalla Superfood
Noon -- See "the bad"
A few hours later -- Veggie sandwich on this new whole grain round bread that's very fibery (see pic -- this bread, but my own veggies and no cheese or bacon -- I should have just taken my own picture, huh?) with avocado, spinach, romaine lettuce, green bell peppers, red onion, carrots, tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and pepper.
Night time -- Odwalla Superfood
Later -- a few peanuts

The Bad:
Noon -- Chocolate Mint Builder Bar -- not super bad at the outset, but after eating it (which I only ate because I'd been at a school concert practice at the school, came home, had just an hour to clean the house before a house showing, so I ate something I didn't have to prepare), I just wanted more and ate another one -- so 2 in a row. Not the best thing.
Afternoon -- Remember those new little Oroweat sandwich rounds? I ate two more of them after eating my sandwich. What was I thinking? I was full! (but they were good, so that's probably what I was thinking)
Later -- Nuts over Chocolate Luna Bar -- more chocolate -- I ran errands while being a bit hungry and ended up eating one from the car on the way home unplanned. It tasted so plastic-y sweet to me that I determined I wouldn't want one next time. We shall see if I remember that. I had one oatmeal cookie (the healthier version that we make here at home -- whole wheat, Earth balance butter, unrefined sugar -- but still -- it all adds up)
Tonight - - I don't think I ate much before the Spring Concert, but came home and decided to have some SoDelicious Soy Ice Cream because . . . well, no good reason. I wasn't tempted by any of the desserts at the concert, but came home and thought "now would be a good time to eat that SoDelicious" since I didn't have any of the dessert at the concert. Not very logical.

So the over all pattern I'm trying to break here is not eating all these Clif bar products and soy ice cream -- too many grains too. Dealing with the first problem first, if I'd stop buying the stuff, that would make it easier. But if I do have it handy, I need to go for the fresh whole foods first and leave those for rare moment or at most, once a day.

I'm going to post again when I have an ideal eating day. My morning really was good. It just unravelled later on.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Everyone needs accountability in sticking to a goal that they've set. That's particularly true with fitness goals, whether it's eating or exercise. People like to have exercise buddies -- someone to go on a run with or to check-in with online or on the phone to report their workouts. With eating, it helps too to have a friend or relative to either compete with (one friend of mine is having a "Biggest Loser" contest with her brothers and sisters right now) or to motivate. My mom once said she'd pay me $100 if I lost my college weight . I've checked in with friends on the Video Fitness forum for years with my workout. I've e-mailed friends about my eating goals, working side by side with them. Sometimes I can do it alone, other times it's extra helpful to have someone to be accountable to.

Well, guess what? I need you to help me with my accountability. In the past (well recent past -- since I've really improved my eating habits), I've found that once I get going with eating better, I do really well. It's almost effortless. But those first few days are crazy hard. I've been experiencing this crazy hard phase for the past few months. Ever since I was sick in February and my appetite came back, I've struggled with eating healthy consistently. Oft times I'm eating healthy foods, but am eating too much of the grains and healthy sugars. Too much of a good thing is still too much. I've been gaining weight and I don't like having my pants fit so tight.

So I bought a new scale at Costco this afternoon. My friend (the one doing "The Biggest Loser" with her family) borrowed my scale over a month ago and I've found it has been easier to ignore the weight gain without *really* knowing the facts. That time is over. I'm weighing in tomorrow morning and my glory days of eating too much are gone. Time for glory days with self-control.

I don't want to do this, but I'm going to *ugh* plan out my eating before I eat it. I am so bad with saying "this is what I'm going to eat tomorrow" or even the next meal in specifics. I like the freedom and the whim of eating whatever whenever. I don't think this chaotic approach is all that helpful. So I'll write in here each morning, noon, or whenever what I'm going to eat and what I do eat for 30 days. Think I can do it? I'm thinking now I may be a little crazy, but I've got to do it so I can get back in the driver's seat. I love self-control more than I love to just eat what I want when I want it.

I'll log the first day on this blog (and copy it to my reneeonrawfood blog so I can have it all recorded there). After that, I'll do the details on that blog and will just comment on aspects of what's on my mind with it all on here. If you want to have access to the other blog, just let me know and I'll add you on. I restricted it a few weeks ago because I started feeling like I was writing that out to the whole world and for some reason my lack of perfection there seemed like something to keep more private -- like any of us are perfect. But those were my thoughts and hesitations at the time. Perhaps I'll change it back later on.

See you tomorrow on here. *Hanging my head like "what have I done?"*

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sleepiness as Motivation

Yes, this is another post about eating. It's what I think about. It's what I write about. This morning I could not get my body out of bed. I could not even get my head to move to look at the alarm clock. I didn't want to move. I managed to reset my alarm and then I didn't sleep much in all that time because my daughter's cell phone alarm went off over and over for the next hour. Did that make me think "Just get up!" No, not at all. I couldn't. I was in a fog.

I thought about how easily I'd gotten up yesterday and the day before. I was eating really well all week. But yesterday I got off track a bit -- I can't even remember with what right now -- oh yeah, a Kashi apple cereal bar and some Kettle Chips. This may not sound all that major, but for my body, it makes a big difference in my energy and sleep needs.

When I came back home from taking my children to school (our school is so little it doesn't have buses), I crawled back under my covers and slept for 2 more hours. I didn't feel like working out after that either. But after a day of eating well (mostly raw foods, a few green smoothies, a ton of veggies on a toasted wheat roll for dinner -- yum!), I felt good tonight and finally got to my workout that was planned for this morning.

I was tempted a few times today to eat some snacky things like Annie's Chocolate Bunny Grahams (they taste like the tops of Oreos to me -- but even better), but my mind went to how I felt early this morning compared to how I felt the mornings before. I didn't want to feel so groggy again tomorrow. I wanted vim and vigor to start my day off right. I've seen this connection in my life for months, even years. But it takes time to get it instilled in my brain. Why is that?

Monday, May 11, 2009

STS is finally here!

After the year-long wait, Cathe's Shock Training System (STS) has finally shipped to all the anxious customers who pre-ordered.

I started this post on February 13th of this year. Somehow I got side-tracked and didn't get to finish it. I think my STS shipment arrived from the UPS truck that day and I had planned on starting it that following Monday. The 13th was a Friday (no superstitions here, but it's always fun to know when it's a Friday the 13th) and the next day was Valentines Day. That's when I ate a whole Chocolove candy bar that I'd bought for myself so I wouldn't eat the one I'd bought for my husband for Valentines Day. Then I ate his, went back to the store, bought 2 more, ate mine again all in one day, then had a little of his too. Way too much sugar, even if it was unrefined. Way too much chocolate. From that point on, I started getting symptoms of the flu my kids had had for the past 2 weeks.

I started feeling sick the next week and never got to start. After that I got super sick and now all this time has passed without me ever starting STS. Craziness. I pre-ordered this periodization workout system last May, waited all that time for it to film and be produced, edited, shipped, then it sat on my shelf for almost 3 months. :) The first month was understandable. I wasn't healthy enough for much of anything. The second month I was not only building up my strength and stamina, but was also trying to remember why I loved exercising. It was hard to get myself to move. But this last month has been one of trying to focus and keep going. I've been doing Slim Series workouts and Cathe's CTX (Cross Train Xpress, which I'll write about later -- I love that series).

My eating was spiraling downward this past weekend, so I thought it was time I took everything up a notch as soon as Mother's Day was over (you know the whole start on a Monday thing as well as the wait till after the holiday is over mode of thinking). Surprisingly, I did it. I got up early this morning, got out all my weights, barbell, step, band, stability ball (this series has a TON of equipment). The first workout is Meso 1, Disk 1 -- Chest, Shoulders and Biceps. It was fun, well, all except for the who knows how many sets of push-ups. I love chest work, but she must have done 7 or 8 different sets of push-ups. I did sub some chest flies and presses in there a few times. Hopefully I'll work up to it though in my subsequent chest workouts.

I'll let you know what I think of Mesocycle 1 after I finish the first 4 weeks. Then I'll review Mesocycle 2 when I've finished it. I sold Meso 3 to a friend of mine because I just thought it was too heavy for my post-surgery lifting restrictions. I'd have to modify far too much. I figure I'll do Cathe's 4 Day Split (which is a heavy lifting program I've been able to handle before) along with her Plyo Legs (Meso 3 alternate leg workouts if you don't have a squat rack for the really heavy lower body work) when I get to the last 4 weeks of the program. Maybe I'll be ultra-toned one of these days. Or maybe I'll just be stronger and more disciplined. That would be nice too.

P.S. (Want to see the nutritional facts from the back of the Chocolove wrapper? It's not a pretty sight. Multiply that fat content by 3. Then double it for the day I ate 2 of them -- or was that the days that I ate 2 of them -- oh dear! One bar has 36 grams of fat! So that's (36 x 4 in my head, mmm, 72 x 2) 144 grams of fat. Yikes! I guess the sugar content isn't all THAT bad with it being dark chocolate and all. Still it's not a whole food and it didn't do my body any favors beyond the few moments of tasting wonderful. Still that's 3 months of finally getting back to where I planned to be with my workouts in February. Live and learn!)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day Musings

I was just thinking about how to relate my post to Mother's Day. I think I'll write about how my mom influenced my thoughts on eating and exercise and how I hope to do the same for my children.

When I was growing up, my mom cooked simply. She was married right after high school (I can't imagine if my either of my oldest daughters were married that young) and learned to cook from what her mom had taught her. She cooked many "dishes" from "the south" -- like lima beans and hot water cornbread (loved the cornbread, hated the beans). We learned to love fruit, but didn't eat many vegetables that weren't from a can besides potatoes and corn -- oh, and iceberg lettuce. I never really developed a love for any vegetables that weren't starchy.

My mom liked to bake so I learned to love baking too. We baked bread, cakes, and lots of cookies. My mom didn't buy junk food, but she bought sugar, flour, and shortening, so we baked up a storm with that. She went through what many called "health food kicks" back then. She'd buy things like brewer's yeast and would go to "The Happy Belly" health food store from time to time. The doctor would tell her about the health benefits to certain foods and she'd try cooking with them or"taking them" for awhile. It seemed like these foods came in glass jars or were kept in brown paper bags. Sometimes she'd buy liver to help us get iron. That was the grossest. None of us liked liver. She'd have us use lots of ketchup to drown out the taste.

I think at that time we thought eating healthy wasn't very tasty and was kind of difficult to do -- so it came in phases. As I've learned in my adulthood how eating healthy can be just as delicious and mouth-watering, I've seen that it doesn't have to come in waves. I guess it can come in phases, but not in short bursts that go away. It's more in phases of progression, learning as I go. I've known that my children will be watching me and didn't want them to think "this is just some thing mom's going through and won't last for long." I've wanted them to see the wisdom in the changes I've made and we've made as a family. I think that's worked for us.

I started out with small things like giving up dairy for myself or not buying foods with refined flours/sugars or hydrogenated fats. Sometimes they'd complain (especially when I stopped buying refined maple syrup -- they asked and begged me to buy Aunt Jemima or Log Cabin syrup again when I started buying pure maple syrup. They liked the thicker texture). But I held strong, explained why the newer purchase was better for our bodies, and told them if they wanted some, they could eat it when they were at their friends' homes. This they did, but not very often. Eventually, they'd tell me that when they'd eat a more refined version of something at a friends' house, they didn't like it as well. It didn't always make them feel good afterward either.

So I'm thinking I've taken what I learned from my mom - - the importance of seeking out healthy alternatives for eating -- and have taken it a few steps further with my own children. I think they've seen how I've changed our shopping and eating and have grown to understand and appreciate it. I'm not saying I've done a perfect job at it. I surely wish I'd started much earlier -- before any of them were born. And I wish I were a little stricter in some areas. Overall though, I'm happy I'm where I am now.

As for exercise, I don't know if any of my children have ever remembered me not exercising. I've either gone to a health club to swim or take classes (which they probably don't even remember) or have done home video fitness workouts since they were born. I really grew to love fitness in 1996, when my oldest daughter was 6 and my 4th child was born. They probably don't have a memory of a mom who said "ugh" to fitness. Even though we're not a very competitive sports-oriented family (we average about one sport a year, which isn't much for a family with 6 children), they all like to challenge themselves and enjoy running, playing outside, swimming, bike riding, and sometimes even working out with me. I love it when they do yoga with me -- so soothing and so much fun.

Since my mom was young when she had us, she played with us like she was a kid too. She did gymnastics with us in the living room, jumped on the beds with us (we didn't have trampolines back then), took us swimming all summer long, and encouraged us to play baseball (probably our family's favorite sport). She started running (they called it "jogging") when that became the fad of the 70s and joined a health club and taught aerobics when that became popular in the early 80s. I taught aerobics when I was a senior in high school (mostly to ABBA music - - loved it!) Had I kept going, I might have been right up there in the video fitness world with some of the early aerobic queens, like Denise Austin and Kathy Smith! Fun thought :).

Happy Mother's Day to you all, whether you are a mother or not. If you are, cherish the mothering you have been blessed to do. If you aren't, cherish the mother (or mothers) in your life.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Loving Attitude

I don't know that much about Gabriel Cousens, but I know he's a raw foodist who is well respected in the raw food community. He has a Rejuvenation Center in Pategonia, Arizona called Tree of Life where he leads workshops and spiritual retreats to help people on their path of healthy living. He's also written a few books and has produced a few dvds about live food cuisine.

I just read this quote from him in an article about the much-talked-about swine flu:

"The previous protocol for protecting against the viral flu that the Tree of Life has put out in the past is very effective against this human bird swine flu and for protecting the immune system combined with adequate sleep, live food, good hydration, and a loving attitude. This protocol applies to building the immune system against all flus."

I like this. I've been thinking similar thoughts about how I can avoid catching impending viruses or bacteria through healthy eating and adequate rest. I'm usually well hydrated, so I don't even think about that. But I didn't ponder the fact that a loving attitude could contribute to a strong immune system too. I've recognized that stress and worry can weaken my immune system, but haven't seen the reverse, that a proactive loving attitude could be strengthening to my health. I know that it contributes to my happiness and the happiness of those around me, so I usually have a positive, loving attitude anyway. It's an added bonus to know my loving attitude can also keep me strong and healthy. What a wonderful thought.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Healthy Teeth

I spent about 4 hours in the dentist chair on Saturday and have a several more hours to go. I've always had unhealthy teeth. It seems like every check-up I had when I was growing up resulted in a reported cavity. I should have known that if I went a few years without a check-up that I'd be in for a doozy of a diagnosis when I came back.

My husband's teeth are just the opposite. He always gets perfect check-ups and goes years, even decades without seeing a dentist in between. It's not like he brushes or flosses any more than I do. I've asked dentists about this and have been told that some teeth just have stronger enamel. I think my children (all but one, anyway) got his genes with this. They are not avid brushers and always have perfect check-ups. The one who gets an occasional cavity also wears his molars down like I do -- *sigh*.

I'm determined to start with a clean slate after all this dental work is done. I want to be proactive, even if I do have weak enamel, and prevent any more decay.

Here's what I've gathered:

1. Flossing is truly essential. It's not optional. Most of my cavities are down in between my teeth where food gets trapped. If I were flossing daily, that food wouldn't have a chance to sit in there and cause problems.

2. Sugar is the enemy. No, I don't want to hear this. Of course I don't want to hear this. But it's true. Sugar is the cause of decay. Even unrefined sugar. (Flour isn't much better because it sticks to the teeth). The dentist told me that the poorest countries that don't have access to sugar have the cleanest teeth and the straightest teeth. (He attributed crooked teeth to our consumption of dairy, which leads to allergies and illness, mouth breathing, etc., and crooked teeth. This was unusual to hear from a dentist because most promote dairy consumption to get that calcium that no one seems to think is readily available in plant foods). Whole foods, especially vegetables are once again, what should be the bulk of our diet.

3. Eating meals is less harmful to teeth than snacking. Now, I'm a grazer and want to hold onto my right to snack as much as possible. But this is an interesting theory from a larger article on preventing tooth decay:

"Larger intervals between meals provide more opportunity for acid to be neutralized and more time for the acid damage to be repaired. Frequent snacks, however, provide for a constant acid attack and provide less time for tooth repair."

4. Brush at least twice a day. I know most people do this -- Brush morning and night. I would think if you're eating sugary foods (even fruit, smoothies, etc.), you should brush after that too. Any time the sugars can sit on or in between your teeth, that's a risk for bacterial growth and decay.

I remember in 5th grade, my teacher (Miss Oeding) told us that after you eat, you should brush within 20 minutes to get the food off of your teeth. I would run to the bathroom and say "But Miss Oeding said . . . " and it would drive my mom crazy (or at least that's my memory of it). It bugged her that if she told me to do something, maybe I would, maybe I'd forget. But whatever Miss Oeding told me, I did. I've seen the same with my kids :).

5. Drink lots of water. The water will rinse the food or whatever is in your mouth and will dilute the acid that's forming. This is beneficial to keeping your mouth clean and free of bacteria.

6. See your dentist often for a professional cleaning. The dentist told me that flossing can only get down so far into the gum line. Bacteria can develop lower than that line and can be cleaned out by a professional dental hygienist. I have deep pockets in my gum line, so I know that this is a risk for me. Even if you don't have dental insurance like me, paying between $70 and $150 for the cleaning isn't that much in the grand scheme of what you might pay later on if problems arise. Dental hygienists can also screen for oral cancer and help prevent gum disease.

From another online article: "If diagnosed early, gum disease can be treated and reversed. Gum disease is an infection in the gum tissues and bone that keep your teeth in place and is one of the leading causes of adult tooth loss. If treatment is not received, a more serious and advanced stage of gum disease may follow."

Now that I'm armed with knowledge, I am better able to keep my teeth healthy and strong. I'll let you know how I do at my next check-up.