Monday, June 4, 2012

Nora loves her horse!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Benefits of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Children

When I was growing up, my mom was excellent about making sure that we always had fruit and vegetables with our dinner.  I actually really loved eating fresh food when I was a child, including the broccoli that my sister turned green even looking at.  I had to draw the line at lima beans and brussel sprouts though. 

Doug and I as we embarked on our adult life were not....great... about including fresh foods.  Okay we were terrible.   Many times we were lucky if we saw a fresh fruit or veggie in any of our foods.  Our fajitas and other main meals that featured fresh veggies were the exception rather than the rule.

Recently we were introduced to Bountiful Baskets.  You have to log on early, especially if you are in a high demand area.  Our baskets sell out in about 5 minutes.  Oh wait...they get touchy on facebook if you say "sell".  Rather "all contribution slots are spoken for in 5 minutes or less."  Suddenly "sell out" seems much easier to say and type....but I digress.

We were underwhelmed with our first basket.  It was about half of what we have been getting every other week. But since then we have been flooded with wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables.  And since Bountiful Baskets is now a good half of our food budget we don't want anything to go bad.  Our meals have suddenly bloomed with variety as we learn how to cook new foots and we are forced to experiment.  Some of our experiements have met with success and some of the are massive failures.  I don't care how often you read it...boiled Jicama does NOT mash.

Anyway, we had noticed that Nora was slowly constricting herself to fewer and fewer foods.  She would dive into a basket of berries, but was turning her nose up at bananas and other veggies.  I realized with a sinking feeling that her father and I were stunting her exposure to foods which can either set a young adult out looking for more flavors or make them run and hide when someone tries to introduce new foods.

Fruits and vegetables, especially before they have been cooked to death are full of micro and macro nutrients.  During their formative years, children are using every smidgen of good nutrition to store away in their bodies to ward of future illnesses and diseases.  Without a proper mix, some vitamins and nutrients can not be fully utilized by our bodies.  And the incredible genius that created our world made most of those nutrients together in one food.  Often times foods filled with calcium also contain vitamin D which unlocks that calcium for usage within our bodies.

Fruits and veggies also contain lots of helpful fiber to keep a child full and their system moving...

Not only are fresh fruits and vegetables good for you, they are part of the primary producers of our planet-which means the energy they give us is only one step away from pure sun energy.  Energy given to us by meat and animal source (milk and cheese) are at a minimum two steps away from pure sun energy as meat animals must consume plant (and sometimes other animal) energy sources.

Finally. fresh fruits and vegetables are colored with all the colors of the rainbow- and a crayola box.  Kids can have fun picking fruits and vegetables that match with their favorite colors, and creating edible works of art....if they will stop eatting the artwork long enough to create with it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Progress Update and What I have learned

Over the past few weeks I have been doing Atkins.  I have lost about 13 pounds and my weight loss is slowing, but that is pretty normal.  I have lost a full pant size which is fantastic.  It is to be expected that sometimes you lose inches over weight, especially if you have been active.   In addition to being more present and aware in my own life (no more falling asleep at 7:30pm!), I have been able to enjoy horseback riding for long time periods, volunteering by landscaping for our local Zoo, and playing with my daughter.
 
During the past week I had several cheats.  I ate carbs at the Ranch Ride which was catered, then I ate carbs at the lunch for the Zoo Volunteers, and finally on Mother’s day we went out to eat at my favorite Chinese food restaurant.  All of it was good and I am so thankful that my body did not pack on the pounds!  I am grateful to be able to start over every day and recommit to following my Atkins diet.
 
I have learned various new recipes and found that I can enjoy a greater variety on this diet than I had anticipated.  I have learned that losing this weight and becoming healthy is even more important to me than I realized.
 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Comments-

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Bee Colony Colapse Disorder/Destruction

I know most of the people reading my blog are more than familiar with the facts of life.  And no- I am not talking about the birds and the bees.  Well, actually I am.  Talking about bees that is.  But before I get started on that- how about a refresher course.

Here is how earth works.  Sunshine+Plants=Food for other things=things that dies=food for decomposers=more food for plants.

It all comes back to sunshine and plants.  Without either one of those things, our planet would very quickly die along with everything on it.  Eventually even bacteria and viruses would die for the lack of food and host organisms.

Plants are amazing things.  They have every way of reproducing imaginable.  From broken stems and roots, some plants are able to create an offshoot.  From seeds or even spawning new bulbs.  But the most typical type of reproduction is still sexual reproduction.  Which is a bit hard when your feet are rooted in soil and you can't make your way over the the devilishly handsome geranium from next door. So what is a frustrated plant to do but call in a little romantic help?

Bees are the cupids of the plant world.  They are enticed by bright colors and intoxicating nectars of various flowers.  They rub themselves all over one flower before flying off to snuggle the next one.  While they diligently stuff pollen into their pollen sacks, they are busy helping bring together flowers from all over the area. 



But what happens when the bees start dying?

In recent years, the world has been suffering from a mass die off of bees.  Apiaries are finding their hives abandoned instead of merrily buzzing with workers.  Areas which used to be a smorgesboard for summer pollen gathering are strangely quiet.  And farmers are finding it harder and harder to find beekeepers who have bees available to "plant" in their fields for pollination purposes.

So what happens if the bees are gone?  Well say goodbye to the easy to buy fruit in the store.  Any produce will have to be hand fertilized.  Most all plant based fruits will become wildly expensive and almost impossible to come by.  You can look forward for self-propigating foods such as the potato.  So watch out for something similar to the Irish Potato famine.  Potatoes will soon be our main source of nutrition.

However, recent news is coming forward stating that recent surveys of bee populations are finding some species- especially native species are still around.  I wouldn't necessarily consider them thriving, but they are still there. 

Huffington Post Article

I recommend that we all follow some general guidelines to help secure the safety of our little buzzing friends in our area:

  1. Try to avoid over use of toxins that are dangerous for bees- such as wasp spray
  2. Don't use toxic pesticides on flowers and other bee attractions- I would challenge you to find healthy alternatives
  3. Use organic and sustainable practices whenever possible.
  4. Build bee houses for Miller bees and consider putting in some hives if you have room on your property.
  5. Learn more about bees and their life cycles.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

WOW Fish Tacos! (low carb friendly!)

Fish Tacos.  The idea of fish tacos always sounded weird to me.  Fish...in tacos.  That couldn't be good, right?  Well that was before I saw how much my husband was enjoying the new Taco Johns fish Tacos.  So of course then I had to try one... and I loved it.  I love it more than my time honored favorites at Taco Johns (this is saying a lot).  But now I am low-carbing it and such lovely things as Tacos are now not on the menu....or are they?

Here is the second part of the story:  We just recently started doing Bountiful Baskets.  So each week we are getting lots of lovely produce and we never know exactly what we are going to get.  On Saturday I got our regular basket plus the Mexican themed basket.  Suddenly we had all sorts of stuff that I just don't buy.  Like Tomatillos, peppers (spicy not green) and limes. 

I swear I heard  Doug giggle like a kid on Christmas morning when he saw what I had brought.  He set to work making a great Mexican chutney:

Doug's Mexican Chutney:
Rough Chop the following:

One white onion
One Anaheim Pepper
One Pablono Pepper
Cilantro
One Tomatillo
and cover with the juice of one lime. 

Refrigeration makes the flavors meld in the most delicious way.

So how does this relate to fish tacos, you might say?  And exactly how are tacos low carb friendly?  Well we got the excellent tip that if you want a "breaded" taste and feel for chicken or fish (probably any other meat you like to bread) all you need to do is dip the item in a raw egg and then roll in Parmesean Cheese.  Then fry or bake (hot) to create a lovely golden crust.

So we decided to try our Parm crust on fish and see how we like it.  Yes Parm cheese and Fish.  I know- crazy you say.  But trust me!  You will never go back to bread again!

We used Tilapia.  It is cheap, mild and did I meantion cheap? 

So combine piping hot "breaded" fish with some sour cream and Doug's Mexica Chutney and you might swoon in delight.  Amazing.  We should probably patent it.  Just don't sue us if you fall out of your chair in amazement! ;)

If you are low carbing in- Use a large lettuce leaf as your tortilla.  It tastes great and gets in some of those leafy greens!

It's seriously amazing and I would share a picture-- but we ate all the evidence!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Whoo Hoo!!

I am officially comfortably wearing size jeans (dryer dried!) no wiggling, no sucking in of my tummy, easily buttoned and zipped!  I am also wearing a size 16 shirt that was known for "love handle creep" "Before".  I have a feeling that I am going to start demarking my life as before Atkins and After Atkins.  I am so glad that I am able to start wearing the other clothes in my closet!  That means I can use at LEAST 2 more pairs of jeans- possibly three.  I would like to drop down on more size before I wear my black legging like pants.  I don't wear them to work- but I like to wear them riding.

I am so excited!  I can't wait to crack the 170's!! :)

My Beautiful Nora Girl

Nora's Musings