23 August 2009

Cooking Breakfast

I've been making yogurt lately. I'm on the third batch and each time I fine-tune the process. I've found that non-homogenized milk is the best to start with and overall is better for you. I get a gallon of milk, organic of course, and heat it up to about 180 degrees. Then I pour it into a bowl and let it cool to about 110 degrees. At that point I get my yogurt starter out of the freezer and add about half a teaspoon of starter to a few tablespoons of the warm milk and stir it up before adding it to the larger bowl. Doing it this way seems to disperse the culture throughout the milk better. Then I keep it warm for around 15 hours and then put it in the fridge!

I've also been making granola. I've tried a couple of recipes but haven't really made a batch that I love yet. My breakfast of choice now is Blue Planet coffee, black or with a bit of half 'n half, with my homemade yogurt with my homemade granola mixed in.

This time around I put some fresh blackberries into a few containers of the yogurt with a bit of agave nectar for sweetener.

I'll let you know when I get the granola recipe figured out. If you have any tips, let me know!

10 August 2009

The Summer of 2009

This has been a good summer. I have felt more like myself this year than I have in a long time!

I've been dieting which has brought me closer to my passion: eating locally. I've lost about 30 pounds and have thoroughly enjoyed visiting the farmer's markets every Saturday. I've frozen corn, green beans and an assortment of berries... which should get me through about a week of the off-season. I've also done a bit of canning of some spring berries and plan on making salsa in the next week or so.

I've been walking/jogging in training for a 5k run I'm doing in Chicago in September. I realized today that I only have 16 training session left until the run. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to walk most of the race... which is unfortunate, but it's kept me motivated!

I've started making my own yogurt and granola, I'm eating lots more veggies and fruits than I ever have and in general I'm pretty happy.

So to recap: so far it's been a good summer!

until later!

01 July 2009

Diet Drag

What's really frustrating is that I've lost almost 25 pounds... and I'm only a third of the way to my goal!


21 June 2009

Eat Local Omaha

I'm reading a fantastic book called "Plenty" by James Mackinnon and Alisa Smith: a couple in Vancouver who lived one year eating only food produced within 100 miles from their home. This summer I'm trying to shorten my overall food miles and so far I'm doing OK. But the one thing I've had trouble with is visualizing how far my 100-mile reach is. So, I downloaded a map and put in the 100-mile boundary. All of you living in Omaha, the image here shows your limit. Feel free to use it as reference as you hunt and gather!

If you're not in Omaha, go to James and Alisa's site and find your 100-miles.

14 June 2009

Diet wrap-up

The first 20 days of my diet are over and I have survived.

I lost 16.8 pounds and 2.55 points off my BMI.

I stuck to the diet the full 20 days, I had trouble on the weekends and evenings when I didn't have fish cooked. Without a set schedule, it's much harder to remember, or even be able to, eat every 2 hours. I ate the most calories on June 6 at 865 and the fewest on June 3 when I had 463.

There were just a few days at the start when I felt like I wasn't eating enough calories, but that feeling went away and I've felt great ever since. I'm happy with the results. I think my metabolism is functioning better and I'm certainly eating better!

The best part is I'm eating primarily local food. All my vegetables, half my fruits and the chicken is semi-local. The fish of course is not from around here.

Now begins the second stage!

10 June 2009

The Plateau

It seems I have hit a plateau. They say that the first week or two of a diet is the time you lose the most weight and it's that weight that you tend to gain back very easily. So, I dropped 12 pounds like it was a hot potato, but I don't think I've lost anything in the last week. The only thing different about the last 4 or 5 days is I haven't consistently had my evening protein (fish). I haven't had the desire to make it and so have replaced any evening food with a couple of cheese sticks. This means I've had much fewer calories, but more of those calories have come from fat. Regardless, how it's even possible for someone to eat 500-700 calories each day for a week and lose 0 pounds... well, that's a mystery.

But I am not giving up.

04 June 2009

The weight melts off

I've made it half-way through the strictest part of the diet. I'm trying to work out what I'm going to be eating when I'm done dieting. I'm not thrilled about the chicken and fish that I've been eating daily, so I need to work out a good protein source that's easy to cook and low fat, low carb. I'll figure out something.

I've been reading lately about all the GMO crops that are taking over our food supply. Sugar beets are now almost all GMO (thanks monsanto) and they become refined sugar... then I read yesterday that they are about to release GMO wheat. So, on my "do not eat" list is already corn and corn products (high fructose corn syrup, frito-lay chips), plus any animal that eats the GMO feed. Now sugar and everything that's made from it... and soon wheat. This mess is really making it hard to survive in the winter time.

Anyway, that's pondering for another day. The graph indicates my weight loss since the 25th when I started this fun.

02 June 2009

The Diet, day 9

I'm almost half-way through with the first phase of my diet. I've lost 8.8 pounds. Yesterday wasn't good, everything I ate tasted horrible. Even the pear tasted odd and I couldn't finish it. Today, on the other hand, went really well.

I'm trying to eat as much local foods as possible. I'm getting a lot of greens from my CSA farmer as that's what's growing right now in this part of the country. Greens. Radishes. Asparagus. Green Onions. That's about it for fresh veggies. There are a few places that grow hot-house vegetables, but they don't have the same earthy, natural flavor that rain-fed veggies have (IMHO). So, twice a day I get 4 oz of vegetables. Have you ever weighed 4 oz of greens? It's a LOT of greens--a BIG Salad.

Fruits in this area consist of berries (ALL berries) and stone fruits. There are apples, of course, and a random pear tree here and there, but those ripen much later in the year. I like berries, but plain and raw hasn't been my favorite way of eating them. Raw, plain blueberries always taste weird to me, tart and bitter, strawberries the same. But I realized that I haven't ever had "real" strawberries; those picked fresh that are less than an inch in diameter (normal sized). So, I bought some from the farmer's market. Picked and eaten on the same day... they were sweet, juicy, a touch of tartness and bright red all the way through! Delicious. It's only fresh strawberries for me from now on. $2 for a pint of those gems is a deal that can't be beaten!

31 May 2009

VLCD or Starvation Diet

Lost: >5 pounds

I am nearly a week down in my super diet and everything is going well! It's not as hard as I thought it might be. I'm trying to change my eating habits and lose weight and get healthy!

I've signed up for a 5k run in September and my training has been difficult due to the extra weight I'm carrying around. I decided I had to drop some weight fast and found a plan that will help me lose weight, eat more healthily and change my eating habits.

I did a lot of research, starting with a trip to a medical weight-loss clinic. I settled on a very low calorie diet(VLCD). A VLCD must be low in fat and carbohydrates and very high in protein; the high protein will help protect your organs and muscles from being damaged while your body searches for fuel.

I eat every 2 hours and must get at least 3 liters of pure water (nothing in it). I decided anytime I feel the need to eat, I will either clean the house or read a book. Here's my diet:
8:00 One egg
10:00 4 oz fruit
Noon 6 oz chicken breast, grilled
14:00 4 oz vegetable
16:00 4 oz fruit
18:00 6 oz fish
20:00 4 oz vegetable
any time: 1 packet liquid protein drink

It doesn't seem like a lot, but it's been plenty for me since I am eating every 2 hours. My body is getting used to having food on a regular basis and it's healthy food.

I'll follow this diet for at least 20 days. At the 20-day mark I'll decide if I want to continue the diet for another 10 days. Then I'll very gradually add 100 calories until I get to 1200 and stay there until I reach my goal weight.

Stay tuned...

08 March 2009

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05 March 2009

Kitten in a bong

Out of all the news that could come out of Nebraska, the one story that generates so much "ink" is a moron in Lincoln who stuffs a 6-month old kitten into a bong... and then smokes it! I couldn't figure out why this story made so much noise, but after reading a few of the articles, I figured it out... the quips. You've got a cat, some pot and a moron add some creativity and you've got some fun writing. Here are some of my favorites:

The description from the moron about the previous two times he'd done this; according to the Jakarta Globe: “Every time we took her out she would pretty much just lay down and proceed to act like a stoned person,’’ Schomaker said.

You want to chill that pussy out, you got to toke that pussy up.
Samuel Jackson's blog

The dope who put a kitty in an over sized bong...
The Nebraska State Paper

MSNBC: he was hoping to calm the cat by smoking him into submission.

WSFA has got several good ones: deputies who eventually arrested the man weren't initially called to the scene to rescue the imprisoned furball turned furbong.

Shadow probably would've been higher than any tree she could've ever imagined climbing.

The L.A. Times: Bet the judge asks him, "Dude, what were you smoking?"

stuff.co.nz: Police discovered Schomaker's attempted feline freakout

Gizmodo: It presumably ate a shitton of cat food when it got there (to The Humane Society).

The Insider Shoemaker said Shadow was hyper following the rendezvous withe fuzz,

06 February 2009

National Wear Red Day

Today is National Wear Red Day! Today is when everyone wears red to spread awareness of heart disease in women.

So, in honor of the day, I decided to extend the theme to food...

So, here are some red foods we can eat on Go Red day (of course these are foods that are in season):
Breakfast: Ruby Red Grapefruit, toast with Strawberry Jam
Lunch: Borscht or Red beans and Rice
Snack: a Red Apple or Cherries or Red Grapes
Dinner: Red Snapper with Red Cabbage and Red Potatoes with Red Wine
Dessert: Red Velvet Cupcakes

Happy Wear Red Day!

18 January 2009

First Day on the Job

Wouldn't it be great if everyone were treated like the president on their first day at a new job? There's a parade and people are cheering you on as you drive to work. When you arrive at the workplace, a big crowd hollers and cheers and reaches out to touch you and get your autograph. Then they make you say an oath... like, "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the job of Computer Programmer, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the company policies." Then after work there's a huge party in your honor!

yeah, I think we all should get that treatment on our first day at a new job.

13 January 2009

Body Temperature Obsession

In the early years of the 18th century, Daniel Fahrenheit invented the scale for measuring temperature (and ultimately the mercury thermometer). It wasn't until the mid-19th century that the connection between illness and body temperature was confirmed even though physicians for ages knew clinically that there was a connection (both high and low).

Throughout the 1970s I spent a considerable amount of time on the infamous green couch at "six-twenty-eight" with a mercury thermometer in my mouth. My mother had previously implemented the rule: you go to school unless you are puking or have a fever. I invariably had one or the other (which is probably the reason I hardly ever get sick as an adult). At some point, I became obsessed with taking my temperature.

I prefer the mercury thermometer because the "old-school" in me thinks it's the most accurate, even though there is proof to the contrary. Unfortunately, mercury thermometers are hard to come by (a.k.a illegal) in most states which the environmentalist in me can appreciate.

Furthermore, when considering the orifices available for taking body temperature, I prefer the mouth. Even though these days the ear is apparently the most accurate. Like most people in this country, I repudiate the rectal thermometer outright. When I was living in France I became sick with a respiratory ailment. Compelled by the aforementioned obsession, I went to le pharmacie to get a thermometer. They thought I was NUTS to want an oral thermometer as the most accurate temperature is taken through the rectum and they didn't even carry any other type! I ended up buying a BRAND NEW rectal thermometer and used it orally.

I mention this all because in the last hour and a half I have taken my temperature three times. I spent the day sneezing and blowing my nose at work (used more than 90 separate Kleenex, but who is counting) awaiting the moment when I could get home and take my temperature.

As a consequence of taking my temp all the time, I know that my normal temp upon arriving home from work is slightly below 97. So when my temp showed 98.9 on my digital (oral) thermometer, I knew I had an itty-bitty fever. Which at this point only shows that my ailment could be attributed to allergies.

I am looking forward to that moment when the cold medicine kicks in and I can lie down and sleep.

a la prochaine!

08 January 2009

Urban Chicken Movement- is it for me?

One night last fall I was browsing the internet as I frequently do. I don't know how I came across it, but I ended up on the Mother Earth News web site and there was an article for finding your dream homestead. It caught my eye and led me down a very interesting browsing path. I eventually came across an article, I don't remember where, that mentioned a chicken tractor with a link. I had no idea what a chicken tractor was so of course I had to follow the link. I found it so fascinating that I ended up spending several hours looking at photos of them, plans for them, advice on how to maintain them, etc. Now, I enjoy trying new things, experimenting and trying fun things. I like to think of them as my little adventures in an otherwise dull life so the thought occurred to me then that I could get a couple of chickens for my back yard.

After doing some research I decided I probably don't have the lifestyle or attention span to take care of poultry. Plus, I can't actually eat eggs as they sometimes make me sick, so it's probably not a bright decision for me. However, I encourage anyone who thinks they'd like to get into the movement to do so. The poultry industry in this country has some of the most disgusting and horrific practices that raising your own chickens would be a very wise health and environmental decision.

I did discover that where I live (Omaha) you can legally own two chickens without having to get a special permit, but that's not the case everywhere. However, several grassroots efforts have passed laws in their city to allow chickens so there is hope. A good site to start your own research is Urban Chickens http://urbanchickens.org/.

You'll want to be sure you don't get a rooster, but if you do, well, there's always Coq Au Vin.

Like Dave Cieslewicz (Mayor of Madison, WI) said "...it's no yolk. Chickens are really bringing us together as a community. For too long they've been cooped up."

07 January 2009

The Flexitarian Viking?

I have been a flexitarian for about 10 years, which might be about 10 years longer than the word has been in existence (according to wikipedia it's been around since 1992). Today I discovered that there is a diet book based on the flexitarian diet. Which I find highly amusing. I have to admit it is partly annoying and yet a source of pride seeing my passion suddenly become mainstream. Having spent all my life so far trying NOT to be mainstream, it's a strange sensation. The words "tree-hugger" and "environmentalist" were not always ones I liked to bring up in public to describe myself, but now I shamelessly assert my opinionated self on others letting them know how they can live in a more sustainable way.