Lunch for Two for $10!

In: What's Cookin'?

Over the last decade, I have spent the same amount of money each month on food. Ten years ago, that meant that I had a dinner party at least once-a-week, provided snacks for all the neighbor kids, had a liquor cabinet stocked with premium brands, and bought food at gourmet shops, both for guests as well as my family of four who ate nearly all meals at home since “school” took place at our dining room table. Today, it means that I feed myself and one child with the occasional Whole Foods gift card tossed my college kids’ way…and no dinner parties…and no liquor. Nobody can tell me that the price of food has not quadrupled in that time as I have spreadsheets to prove otherwise. And yet, you can still eat a clean, tasty, and nutrient-rich meal for less than what it  costs to go to McDonald’s. I am going to have a conniption if I have to explain the obvious health benefits.

But with the recent conversations about healthcare coverage, people are focusing on the wrong thing. Sadly, people do not consider the backend expense of poor eating habits and lack of nutrition. I save a bundle by having a healthy family. According to Forbes, medical expenses for the average family of four exceeds what they spend on groceries. Well that is stupid!

If you want to save money on both food and health care, consider eating at home as a start. Step two is preparing fresh foods for your family. And include them in the process. One of my “rules” for my children was that they learn to make 50 meals before they left home. I implemented that “rule” when they were young enough that they thought it fun to chop, stir, slice, and pour; by the time they realized that I could not make them do anything, they already knew a tremendous amount about nutrition, food pairings, and taste, not to mention how to use food to heal themselves.

The next time you are tempted to grab something quick and easy,2013-05-02_14_24_29 try making some grilled fish, rice, and salad. The dishes featured in this post each took me less than fifteen minutes to prepare and cost $10- for two people! That is $5 each. You cannot even get a fastfood meal for that much. And if you are truly that short on time, grill some meats or tofu one day and use it for salads the next three.

Enrich yourself with healthy eating; enrich your life cooking with others; and enrich your savings by abstaining from empty calories. Bon appetit!

 

 

Keep Steppin’ Toward Your Goals!

In: Fit-n-Fab 40's, Mish-mash

Altogether and to the tune of “I Feel Pretty”- “I feel icky, oh so icky. I feel icky and blecky and gray!” Okay, that is all I’ve got. I am sure there is some medical condition that goes along with my symptoms. WebMD says either appendicitis or a strained muscle. Now if I had stools that looked like little fingers, it could also be colitis, or something like that. Regardless, it is totally my fault, I am certain, and is definitely a result of the prescription I’ve given myself to create a bigger and bolder me.

As I mentioned in “Serving Size, My Ass” some months back, I’ve been doing a bit of an experiment. Though not stuffing my face with quarter pounders, mostly because I am terrified of eating at establishments where they have to remind their employees to wash their hands after wiping their asses; oh and I don’t consider “beef product” to be acceptable for human consumption (Yeah Andy, I hope you are reading this!), I have been eating as much and exercising as little as the average American 45-year-old woman. I’ve reached two conclusions: genetics and lifetime habits give us the bodies our personalities inhabit. That works for me but some of you poor suckers out there are doomed. Best to kill yourselves now. Oops, just kidding. Unless you are nearly 100, you still have the lifetime habits thing to work for you. So get on it!

We don’t choose to whom we are born, though Hollywood and uber rich people, who have the good sense to know that they are entirely unattractive and ought not to procreate filling the world with mini-me’s, have introduced sperm and egg discrimination, an unnatural selection, if you will. For the rest of us, we’re stuck with the couple who fucked each other. In the memorable words of my then 6-year-old, “The daddy put his penis in the mommy’s vagina and his sperm chased down her egg and got it.” And if they were fat, knock-kneed, and hairy, good chance you too will look like a troll. But as I said, lifetime habits… and a good wax job will help a lot!

And what are some of these habits? Well Grandma Leone taught me to drink a glass of water first thing in the morning, which I do, as does my daughter. At some point that habit will affect genetics, I am sure. (I just had a very disturbing vision of a kangaroo pouch developing where biceps are that collects water. Don’t ask me where the water will come from but you must admit that the placement of the pouch is handy because immediately after drinking you can wipe your mouth on your forearm.)

And Grandpa Nick was a lifetime gardener who taught me the indispensable worth of growing a home garden from which one can harvest the vegetables at the time they are ripened with all of the delicious micronutrients and enzymes at their peak. My mother and her parents insisted that salad is something to eat in addition to cooked vegetables, as well, reinforcing the habit of eating raw and colorful foods daily.

And let’s not forget the importance of moving the body. I have seen firsthand what not doing that will do as my mother has become quite sedentary the last ten years. She actually broke her foot getting up to turn off the tele. And to think that our neighbors thought it dangerous for us to be skateboarding off the roof! But truly that has been the most painful part of this process for me. Sitting still is an art form; being slothful is gross. So upon my return last week to what would have been an hour a day of exercise, something anyone can do, even if in increments throughout the day, I thought I’d jump right in. Well let me tell you, moving a body that has not really been moving for six months is a bit of a chore. But if you’ve always been an athlete, it is relatively easy to get back on that horse. Which is what I did and most likely the reason I have now been laid up doing nothing for three days. My strength and muscle memory did not account for the stiffness and rigidity of my ligaments. Damn! Hello 45-year-old body, you suck!

Persistence and perseverance are key. Blown ACL and meniscus, broken leg, broken foot, torn hamstring, dislocated shoulder, Broken nosebroken tailbone are injuries I’ve rehabilitated from and other than being a human barometer, I’m no worse for the wear. However, after this little injury and the last one, oh yeah the one when I broke my nose the first day back after breaking my tailbone, I am going to try walking the horse before galloping or even trotting.  After all, there is still plenty of time to jump fences for all of us. We just have to get there one step, habit, and sometimes faceplant-at-a-time.

But in the eternal words of Rob Schneider, “You can do it!”

“Single Serving Size, My Ass!”

In: Fit-n-Fab 40's

395547_2917153280627_1014581357_2929834_294509463_nSo let’s get this straight kids, you do not get to have an ass like that at 44 and eat the “single serving size” portion that the US Food and Drug Administration has determined appropriate. How do I know? Because after 6 months of eating according to the recommended allowances by the FDA, I no longer have an ass like that either!

How have things changed since before I had children 20 plus years ago, when I was not as meticulous about what I ate, and now? For one thing, a single serving of soda was 6 1/2 ounces then; and today, according to this 20 ounce bottle of ginger ale in front of me, that is a single serving. And a candy bar to go with that soda? Well a single serving used to be about 160 calories. And now? 400! What was called “King Size” and appropriate for 2 1/2 is now labeled as a single serving. How did that happen?

There are a number of reasons that contributed to this situation: the sugar embargo and the introduction of High Fructose Corn Syrup, corporations marketing to consumers in the “Costco” era where more is cheaper and therefore better, the FDA saying it’s okay, blah, blah, blah. fat ass What it really comes down to is people’s unwillingness to take personal responsibility for their decisions. Nobody made you pick up that fork. It was not a corporation that made that woman’s ass look like that!

So cut it out. Literally. If you can’t do it all at once, aim small, miss small. Cut the candybar in half; substitute garbage sweets for nutrient rich ones, ie, Hershey’s Reese’s for dark chocolate-ceovered almonds; drink water with a slice of fruit in it. And then reward yourself with something other than food…like a healthier pancreas!

This is an addendum I’m adding here. A dear friend, Andrew, the hugger, shared this photo with me. It is a fantastic visual. However, it is not entirely accurate. Most of those drinks have High Fructose Corn Syrup, not sugar in them. And to elaborate on what I wrote above, when HFCS is eaten, the body is only able to digest small amounts at a time and only in the liver which converts it directly into fat. Unlike other carbohydrates, HFCS does not cause the pancreas to produce insulin, the substance that acts as a hunger quenching signal to the brain. Hence, the vicious cycle, eating food that gets immediately stored as fat and never feeling full, causing us to crave even more food in an attempt to get the nutrients we need. May I remind you that the FDA has ruled twice that HFCS is “safe” to consume. And if the government is saying that it is safe, isn’t it? I don’t think so…unless you want to be morbidly obese, have diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

 

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