19 6 / 2012
Back…after a while.
The first half of this year has been an eye-opener.
First two months…swamped with photoshoots and gala graphics which resulted in not having the time to cook and eating junk food to get by.
Third month….revelation: my Scleroderma disease is worsening. It was not a great surprise. I was told at 25 that it would be a very mild case. Wasn’t expecting my symptoms to show up until 55 or 60 years of age. WRONG. I’m 35 and not even close to the assumed age range. Another thing, my doctor at that time wasn’t quite so helpful: “Just warm your hands under running hot water and wear gloves at work.” Um, I’m a graphic designer and photographer. You expect me to design/edit with gloves on? Never did I get any nutritional advice from this man.
Third month - now…Cooking meals from scratch, getting creative with menus at restaurants, scoping out Farm-to-Table restaurants, making ingredients from scratch (almond flour, mustard and the like) as well as beverages (raspberry water, almondmilk, oatmilk). Lost 10 lbs as a result of cutting out the following ingredients deemed not safe for my condition:
- White Sugar
- Flour (White or Wheat, Unbleached or Bleached, Refined, Enriched)
- Nightshade Plants (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes)
- Brown Sugar
- Animal Dairy
- Certain Fruits (citrus, pineapple)
- Canola, Vegetable Cooking Oil, or Pam Cooking Spray
- Fried Food
- Processed/Packaged Food (Corn Flakes, Bagged Potato Chips, Coke, to name a few)
- Red Meat (can consume in limited quantities)
- Shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crawfish - can consume in limited quantities)
There might be more but can’t think of them right away. Yes, I have had to cut back drastically. It’s amazing the great lengths I could go to get creative with what I could actually eat.
And finding and making up recipes are fun to do. Thankfully, my husband liked about 95% of what I’ve made.
And I started a veggie garden again. The Summer of 2011 Drought really killed it for us, but this summer is looking good. As a MATTER of fact…it’s thundering at this point and has been for a while. My plants are going to be happy campers all summer. It’s really nice to have all that rain!
It’s really nice to have learned so much in a short time. I have a much deeper appreciation for farmer’s markets nowadays. I get way too excited when my local market opens up for the month (it’d be nice if that was everyday, instead of going to my grocery store…)
Will be blogging quite a bit more often, with recipes, of course, that are much healthier - it’s fun to eat clean and you’ll fall in love with the actual ingredients coming from the backyard.
30 3 / 2012
My Food List.
Food I’m avoiding for the sake of my health:
Drinks I’m avoiding for the sake of my health:
-Any juice not handmade at home
-Non-Alcoholic Beverages with Sugar Added
List of foods/ingredients to try before the end of the year:
-Almond Flour √
-Coconut Oil √
-Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
List of Food to learn to LOVE:
-Tomatoes (Grape Tomatoes: √)
-Buy everything organic
-Rid of sugar completely (other than natural sugar found in fruits)
-Grow Fruits and Veggies
-Make Everything, even dry snacks and condiments, from scratch!
-Head to in.gredients, store in Austin, to stock up on natural ingredients.
30 3 / 2012
Eating better, Working out. Everyday.
Ever since my revelation, I’ve made the dramatic switch to eating CLEAN. Of course, there were times when I had to compromise (ordering food from restaurants, making use of what we have lying around).
I’ve successfully got rid of the temptations: caffeine and fried food. As for white flour, I’m almost there. As for sugar/brown sugar, I’m getting there.
We were celebrating my husband’s birthday not too long ago and I went ahead and ate a vanilla cupcake, forgetting that it has white flour and sugar. That’s the last cupcake, ever. There’s the Mac & Cheese at Luby’s and forgot that it is indeed pasta (which has white flour) and I did not feel so awesome afterwards, physically. That’s the last mac and cheese dish.
Then there’s this supposed “lighter option” dish I ordered from Chili’s. Can you said SCREAMING SODIUM AMOUNT? It was horribly salty. I had salmon with grilled lime and garlic shrimp. No bueno. I called Chili’s to offer that they DECREASE the salt intake tremendously out of consideration for everyone’s health. They said well, just take a look at the nutritional information in a PDF on our website. I’m not sure if I’ll go back to Chili’s again unless they do something about the amount of table salt they so generously poured on all over the place.
I loved salt. I would sneak in some growing up. Never thought I would be so sensitive to salt in the future.
I’ve gotten over the salt temptation, which is great. I actually don’t miss it so much. I use sea salt, sparingly on very few dishes. Like on potatoes. I plan to make Kale Chips one day and I’m sure I will use a bit of sea salt on those.
And there’s the order from a great restaurant, Kublai Khan, that was messed up. I always have my dish STEAMED. No oil, no rice, no noodles. Just shrimp or chicken or pork or beef and just vegetables and almonds. All steamed. No salt. I LOVE it like that. Well, recently, they plopped in some meat that I didn’t request for, and they went ahead and steamed AND then stir-fried everything. I didn’t notice when I picked it up - only when I got to the office. No choice but to eat it. I didn’t want to have to drive all the way back. So I called and they insisted they gave me the wrong order. I looked at my dish - no noodles or rice. It was indeed mine. After eating it, not a good feeling. Not going to order online anymore. Just gonna order in person and make sure they steam it and that’s it. They do have great food. Just not really paying attention to the instructions…
It’s really amazing how the diet really affects everyone. And exercising, too. I’m hardly tired when I get home from work. HARDLY. When I was eating junk food (take out, etc.) I’m even more tired the next day and then night.
Since the revelation, I had no choice but to whip my own ass into cooking everything from scratch for myself and my husband (he’s actually losing a bit of weight already!), working out extensively in the mornings, walk our dog twice a day, and I’m surprised that I have much more energy (not the hyper kind - the stable kind that lasts all day). It’s really worth all the work out and eating better.
I’ve purged my closet, got rid of packaged food listed with hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Everything is looking good, but I do have some ingredients still, that I cannot consume: Brown Sugar, White Flour, White Sugar. I’ve been baking some cookies. Donated some at the office. I want to get rid of these ingredients. They’re just too tempting. I would scoop up some brown sugar and savor the taste. I’ve been really good at bracing myself. But if they are not there…I’d just as easily forget about it.
My mom said, but what about baking some goodies for other people? I still plan to. I don’t want to leave the ingredients just sitting there, wasting away then expire. I will buy ingredients ONCE it’s time to bake (more likely in the holidays…yeah, a long way from now.)
Oh yeah, last Saturday, my husband and I came upon Menchie’s. WOW. What a dream come true. Because I can’t have anything with sugar, it was hard for me to not enjoy dessert. Menchie’s offers frozen yogurt and some are SUGAR-FREE! AND they also have FRESH fruit toppings. I was so excited! Got blackberries, raspberries, diced pineapple and almonds. It was GREAT! I’m going back there once in a while, that’s for sure…
I’ve been thinking, I’m definitely going to get some more vegetable seeds to start planting. I got two tomatoes growing like crazy, from when my husband and I went to the farmer’s market 3 weeks ago to buy the tomato plant. Can’t wait to go to the next one. I’m really loving the Change. Buying everything organic and growing food ourselves (we have an small orange tree, planning to buy lemon and lime trees, as well as apple and pear trees.)
NOW THAT I HAVE MORE ENERGY THAN I EVER IMAGINED…I can do all this. Cooking, Working Out, Growing Food, and of course, Eating Clean.
It’s the weekend! Cannot wait to bake more cookies to donate and work on the garden some more.
Y’all have a great one!
13 3 / 2012
My Dietary Changes and Inaccessible Healthy Food
This is the third week…of eating quite differently.
I’ve had to get rid of the following:
- Corn Flakes
- Rice Krispies
- Soda Pops
- Anything to do with Chocolate
- Anything made with White Flour, White Sugar and Brown Sugar (Refined)
- Packaged/Processed Food: Potato Chips, Candy, Cookies, Canned Soups, Canned Vegetables, Cookie and Cake Mixes, all of Pilsbury dough products, pretty much everything.
Imagine not being able to eat any of the above.
The only thing packaged that I’ve been consuming are:
- Milk (I drink Simple Truth Organic 2% with Omega-3)
- Ingredients (Cinnamon, Oregano, Olive Oil, Honey, etc.)
- Protein (Chicken, Beef) - but I plan to start going to Farmer’s Markets and Meat Markets to get the freshest kind, never packaged.
- Cereal, as mentioned in the previous blog.
- Canned condiments I made over the holidays using basic healthy ingredients (salsa, BBQ, etc.)
As a result, I’m feeling much better, more fit, more energetic, not as heavy after eating, appreciating plant-based food more than ever and my legs are starting to change, now that my jeans are starting to get a bit loose on me. In addition, I have been working out and taking Nexium & Vitamin D3, which is making things so much easier for me, health-wise. I don’t have heartburn or bad gas as much as I used to. Worth all the extra work.
It takes dedication and willpower to better yourself and your own health.
I went grocery shopping last night as I was low on fruits and veggies. Much to my surprise, it’s gotten more difficult to shop. This brand of store, that I’ve been loyal to for a good 10 years, has made me realize, that this store is not an easy place to shop at. The other store that my husband and I have been going as of late, is a bit out of the way. And that place is swarming with people, EVERY SINGLE TIME we go there. And don’t get me started on the annoying regional president that comes on almost every tv commercial. I never wanted to go to that second store in the first place, but golly, it has tons more options!! Even great seafood options. The first place doesn’t offer peeled and deveined shrimp like the second place does. We have been going to the second store a lot more often. We would prepare ahead of time mentally, for the swarming, though. I mean, it’s a huge store, but still PACKED…always.
Nonetheless, it is a great store to find healthy food in. However, I think Whole Foods or Central Market would be a lot easier for us to find more great options. But do we want to blow $$? One tablespoon of onion powder at a Whole Foods we visited a few months ago was $11 each. $11!!!! Unless the pricing they set up was an error…?
Anyway, my point is, it really sucks that healthy food is not as accessible and cheap like all the junk food are. I wondered why the well-off folks were skinny. At gala events growing up, I noticed they don’t provide generous portions of food. I thought that was it: Eat less. But I’m finding out more and more that it’s the ingredients and the types of dishes they consume. And you’d find them at fancy restaurants, and yes, at Whole Foods/Central Market. All these exotic ingredients you wouldn’t find in your suburban grocery store.
“Fancy food was for the rich; box meals were for the rest of us.” - Tracie McMillian, The American Way of Eating.
Last night, again, was a nightmare. I was looking at the products and I tell myself, “Wow, about 90% of the food products here are processed.” And I also noticed something my friend pointed out: When you go inside the store, everything on the side are healthy and almost everything in the middle of the store are junk food. You have the vegetables, protein, dairy and health/natural food aisle on the sides of the store. Fascinating, huh?
I no longer live inside the Houston 610 loop, so the health food resources are hardly close by. I already submitted a store location request to both Central Market and Whole Foods to open their stores up in the NW Houston area. That would be really nice, no?
I even thought of a “fast food” concept, almost like Subway, but only to the bare basics. What if I want sliced apples to go? I go in and ask for some, and the person grabs an apple, slices them up and package them for me - all fresh, no additives, no preservatives. Some people sprinkle some stuff on apples to keep them looking fresh for the Grab and Go rack - not so natural. So I was thinking, instead of frying burger patties and frying fries, why not have someone chop fruits and veggies right there? And make a salad? Right there? Steam chicken then slice them? Bake Kale as they turn into chips? All right there. The possibilities are endless. I know I should be pitching this idea, but I’m not really interested in running a restaurant, but wanted to share my idea. This is totally doable, right?
I think, with my generation being a bit more nutrition-minded for their own kids (I know I don’t want my future kids shop at the store I was loyal to for so long), I think it’s time for this kind of concept. Phase out the junk (I notice McDonald’s is slowly going down that path) and bring in the basic ingredients not made in a factory. Why not?
It’s definitely time to make healthy food much more accessible to EVERYONE…
06 3 / 2012
Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies, Goodbye for Good?
I know it has certainly been a LONG while since I blogged on here. My side business boomed that I was unable to do everything else. Not only that, I had been busy with my full-time business as well! Weekends were more like work weeks but as of late, things have gotten better.
Of course, I have to mention that I have Scleroderma. So ever since then, I have EVERY reason to really cut back on processed/packaged foods big time, and pretty much abstain from them. After my revelation last week, I’ve gotten better about taking care of my health as well as my husband’s by cooking everything from SCRATCH. And using Paleo Diet Recipes.
After three days of eating everything that’s natural, I wanted to see if I could enjoy my Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies mix again. Yes, I mix the two together. I used organic milk with Omega 3 Fatty Acids. JUST 2 minutes later, my tummy wasn’t too happy with me! Was it the milk? Or the cereal, or both?
A couple nights later, I had a craving for some milk while relaxing in front of the tv…it was not the milk.
I grew up with Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies, eating those almost everyday. I loved the taste of it (I never really liked sugar coated cereal, and thankfully, I inherited the distaste for that from my dad.) I’m going to miss it. At least, I had great memories enjoying these Kellogg’s staples with my dad everyday, growing up.
Looks like my chapter of processed food/high fructose corn syrup is finally closing. Onto a much healthier cereal chapter, but what to get? Will I like any of those I find in the healthy aisle?
I went ahead and got Nature’s Path Organic Cereal over the weekend. Yes, it’s a packaged food but I looked at the ingredients…and hmm, it’s pretty healthy. No weird chemical terms. Now, I tried my dad’s Total when I was little and I HATED it. So this morning, I finally got the courage to have me a TINY bowl of that, along with the Omega 3 Organic milk.
To my surprise, I actually liked it. It has that “nasty Total” flavor but only for a millisecond. And it also has Flaxseed, which has great health benefits.
It’s good. It’s all good. No, actually, it’s even BETTER.
I think I could get used to this new chapter…blissfully!
27 9 / 2011
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02 9 / 2011
My Vision of Utopia.
No preservatives in food.
Food is grown in the backyard.
Cafeterias in schools, workplaces and hospitals serve made-from-scratch food, no preservatives used.
We bike into town.
We walk to our own local grocery store, which serves non-packaged food and fresh protein (meat, seafood and poultry).
We handwash clothes and use a clothesline.
We head outside for recreational activities.
Offices, Schools and Hospitals use iPads/laptops (my doctor does) instead of paper, and they recycle paper, plastic and metal.
Grocery stores use glass as packaging for liquids. No plastic at all.
No gas used at all for any motors. We have our own reel lawnmower. If one has a huge yard, get a few horses or cows.
Everything is made-from scratch.
All restaurants/food industries ban all preservatives.
Shut down all plants used to make preservatives and use them as apartment lofts instead.
Mason Ball Jars of condiments in pantry/fridge.
Make your own ice cream, using the ice cream maker.
Use your iPad in place of paper newspaper.
We all have our own gardens.
Ban all soft drinks.
Go for walks two times a day.
No concrete - just gravel roads.
Make your own clothes.
Make your own everything.
The way it was back then. That’s my dream world.
I have to admit that it is easier said than done to switch to 100% organic, preservatives-free. I’m getting there. If I grew up in my own Utopia, then I would think this world is a mad, mad, mad world gone crazy.
02 9 / 2011
Well, it’s no secret, Houston has had a bad summer - it’s the drought. It had been very unbelievable. All of my herbs (except for Fennel) did not survive. I was lucky enough to have savored them in my cooking over the summer, however. The sun was scorching and the water just wasn’t enough to save them. I hardly have any shade in the backyard (the umbrella does not count as a permanent shade!). So I may have to get a patio roof or something, to help herbs survive, with just a bit of sun everyday.
I’m going to start trying again in October, when the weather is more cooperative. I have all these pots ready for seeds.
Oh yes, I have to mention this part: A friend of mine, a native Houstonian, came to town from Florida, where she lives for good, said, “I’m gonna drop the F-word about how f***ing hot as hell it is in Houston!”
And that, itself, is enough to say the heat is to blame for the herbs’ demise. (cues dramatic music.)
Hurry up, Fall weather…
24 8 / 2011
Fennel. In Our Garden.
I’ve always been curious about this plant in our garden. I wondered if it was just an annoying weed. It was so cute when small, then it grew to be gorgeous and very exotic. I never knew what it was at all. Researched for the breed and if it was considered a threat to the garden or us. That was a month ago. No luck.
Sprig of mysterious plant.
Finally, I found out today thanks to a couple of friends. It’s a Fennel herb plant. For a while, I thought it was a Spurry/Spurrey plant. But no, it definitely is Fennel.
Way earlier this morning, I had to chop off the sides some because it was pretty much invasive and the walkway is actually narrow (it was on the side of my house).
June 14, 2011
July 4, 2011
August 24, 2011
It was an inch tall in early June. And it’s around 7 feet tall now. I guess I gotta maintain its height?? It really is a gorgeous herb plant. As I finally found out the breed name, I researched it even further and this is what I found:
With its umbels of tiny yellow flowers and dark green or bronze wispy leaves, fennel is a decorative addition to the herbaceous border where it makes a good background plant. Be warned, however, that many other plants dislike fennel and grow poorly when forced to share space with this strong herb.
Culinary: Leaves are used in salads, and stems are eaten fresh like celery. The seeds are popular in baked desserts, such as bread, cookies, and cakes. The entire plant is safe for human consumption.
Medicinal: Fennel tea has said to soothe the stomach. Ancient physicians recommended it for the increase of mothers milk. Fennel has a huge history in Greek and medieval times. Fennel was thought to be one of the ‘Nine Sacred Herbs’. Also indicated to reduce the effects of alcohol.
Aromatic: The oil extracted from fennel is sweet in aroma. Used in perfumes, liquor, and soap.
Ornamental: Fine feathery foliage makes this a very attractive plant.
7 feet in height
Coriander will stop Fennel from forming seed. Wormwood will stunt the plants growth. Add to food at the last moment, for heat will destroy the flavor.
Well, there you go. Now, I know what it is, and what to do with the leaves when they start sprawling out all over again. This is just so awesome…
19 8 / 2011
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