Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Catching Up



My sister visited from the great frozen land in eastern Canada.  For them this is a winter to remember, or more likely they'd just rather forget it. Ontario has been under an Extreme Cold Warning, for what seems like weeks now.  She felt like she had come to Florida here on the west coast. The first daffodils are blooming, as well as some forsythia. Spring is getting an early start. It rained one day, and was cloudy for a couple,  but we had 3 days of sunshine when she got here, and another three days before she left.  She joined us in our Whole 30 eating plan, and is looking forward to great changes. She left yesterday, having completed 9 days of healthy eating.  I talked to her today, she said she is missing her chef (me), but had a roast in the crock pot and was oven roasting some vegetables.  Supper is taken care of for her, with leftovers for tomorrow.

We didn't do anything really exciting, although we did visit a lot of thrift stores, and I guess for us, that IS exciting! We also took Jake and Luna to a self serve dog wash at the local pet store.  First time I've ever paid money to clean our dogs, but for $10 a dog, it was well worth it.  Just nice to not have to kneel on the bathroom floor and lean over the tub.  Everything was included, waterproof aprons, grooming tools, towels, shampoo and a big dryer.  We passed up on the dryer as I knew it would freak Jake out.  I'll definitely go there again.





One of the 'red sky at morning, sailor take warning' sunrises.



Red sky at night, sailor's delight....



Cathy brought a present for Meredith, a late birthday present.  It was the tea set she had won in the silent auction in a Brockville thrift store, when we were in Ontario last November. The only thing was that she didn't know she had won it until we were back home, so Cathy had to drive half an hour to pick it up, and then pack it carefully in her carry-on luggage when she flew out here.


At the thrift store I found a cute half apron, which some one had embroidered with starbursts to make a border all the way around, and it matched the china perfectly.  It was 99 cents, but linens were half price that day:)

And since it is now marmalade season, I'm doing a lot of this.


It takes about 14 Seville oranges for a batch of marmalade.  The oranges are smaller this year, for some reason.  Since I make 10 batches over the year, that is a whole lot of oranges to juice during the short time that the oranges are in season. 

A few weeks ago I was buying veggies as well as marmalade oranges.  Not far away from my favourite veggie place is the Salvation Army thrift store.  It's not out of the way for me to go there, so I usually stop in.  You just never know what you might find!  
I've seen these citrus juicers before, and wondered why anyone would bother to drag something like that out of the cupboard to juice a few oranges, and then have to clean the darn thing after.  This time I had just bought marmalade oranges, enough for three batches.  The brain kicked in at the right time, and while I was looking at this gadget, brand new in it's box complete with instructions, for a whole $3.99, it occurred to me it might just be the thing for those marmalade oranges, and might save my wrist from some twisting and turning.  Hot damn, the thing is awesome!


28 orange halves done in a couple of minutes!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Whole 41

As you may have guessed, we've been away at Oliver for a week and a half.  It had been three months since we were there, so it was nice to go and find everything okay.

I wanted to give you an update on that food plan that I started on January 1st.  Remember all the colourful meals I showed you?  Well this is day 41 of no sugar or sweeteners, no grains (which would include pasta of course as well as rice and similar things), no dairy other than ghee or clarified butter (which has the milk proteins removed), no legumes, no soy, no alcohol.  We have removed most foods that cause inflammation in the body.  I'm loving what I'm eating, we eat three meals a day with mostly no snacks.  We are well on the way to,  or already have retrained our brains to not crave that sugary or salty snack.  Is it hard, no, not at all.  I met a friend who is on the same program, and after we had bought our produce one day, we went across the road to Tim Hortons and had a cup of tea and a good chat.  Standing in front of the donut case didn't bother us in the least, we had no urge to have one.

So what do we (Larry joined in five days after I started) eat you ask?  We eat some protein at each meal. Eggs, fish, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, bison etc.  We have some fat or oil.  The rest of the plate is filled with vegetables and maybe a bit of fruit.  Nuts and nut butter are allowed, but no peanut butter.  Peanuts are legumes.

These were my meals on January 26th.
Tuna patties made with sweet potatoes, onion, egg, tuna and any other added vegetables. Left over salad, plus avocado and cherry tomatoes



Curried butternut squash soup with added chicken, plus tomatoes, kiwi and cashews.



Leftover chicken stew with a multitude of vegetables on cauliflower rice.



Our blood sugar is good.  No big highs or lows, no feelings of being desperate to shove something into my mouth.  It's not hard to make it from one meal to the next.  If I get a slight niggling feeling of hunger, I have a cup of water or tea or coffee and that does the trick.  I found that I can drink black, cold brewed coffee.  In fact it tastes just as good as the coffee with 1% milk I used to drink, and I don't get the bitter aftertaste.  Everything just tastes BETTER!  I have had improvements in a lot of small issues.  Most of the stiffness after sitting down for a while is gone.  The tightness I'd feel in my feet in the same situation is gone.  Some minor swelling I'd get in my lower legs is gone.  Swelling that has been there for years in my lower left thumb is gone.  Muscle soreness in my left hip that ran down to my left knee is gone.  More energy! I wish I could say I'm sleeping better, but unfortunately not much change there.  Less gas:)  There is no calorie counting or limits on amounts, within reason.  Obviously if you stuffed yourself full of nuts or nut butters, or white or sweet potatoes, or too much fruit, you wouldn't lose much weight.  I'm down 12 pounds.  The easiest 12 pounds I've ever lost.  I haven't knowingly cheated in 41 days.  I'm in no rush to add anything back at this point.

This isn't quite the fountain of youth, but I feel like I've made a lot of positive moves to improve my health and remove a lot of inflammation from my body.  I'm continuing on.  I wish I'd done this 20 years ago. Larry keeps mentioning about adding things back in, but he hasn't yet.  I am making a point of trying new fruits and vegetables.  The other day I bought plantain, jicama and dragonfruit.  We ate the dragonfruit at lunch.  It reminded me a bit of kiwi fruit, but I liked it better.  Sunday and today I used the plantain to make tortillas.  I just found out that jicama is the root of a legume, but it is okay because the part of the legume we are trying to avoid is the seed. I've now tried the jicama raw.  Oh wow, love it!  Many of you have probably heard of the Paleo diet.  That is generally what we are eating.
Lots more info here www.whole30.com.  
It is life changing.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Happy Birthday Calli!

This was going to be a more involved post, but I'm already a day late, so I'll just make it short and sweet.  Dear Calli hit 15 yesterday.  Here's a couple more videos of her.  She's having a lot more fun here than she was in the two in the previous post!  



And Jake is all 'play with me, play with me'

Sunday, January 25, 2015

More Pineapples


We had that whole Hawaiian Pineapple Express storm system dumping rain on us for two days straight.  Really ugly and a bit depressing.  The upside is that the temperatures are really mild. Bothers the dogs much less than us, so they still expect their daily exercise.  You will probably laugh at us walking out there through the bush with our umbrellas.  A bit awkward at times, but beats struggling into the rain gear, which would make me TOO HOT over the top of my other clothes.  Maybe it's my British background, but we use umbrellas a lot here.  This was yesterday morning.  Calli was not impressed.

You dragged me off my nice comfortable bed....for this?

Despite averaging 60" of rain here a year, we do not have rain coats for the dogs.  Some days though, you just kind of get fed up of towelling them off every time they have been outside. So Calli got the one thicker winter coat.  She doesn't move fast so no worries about her getting too hot. Luna and Jake wore reflective 'vests' that I got from the dollar store.  Any bit of rain being deflected from their coats was better than nothing I thought.

Luna has a new routine when we walk in the morning.  She HAS TO find her ball. Sometimes she is frantically running up and down the driveway, trying to find it.  Worst case scenario, if we don't know where it is, there are a couple of older balls that will fill in in a pinch, but this one is definitely her favourite.  She will roll it from down by the house, all the way up the alleyway, through the old riding ring, and out to where the old horse shed is.  She will usually leave it there, go through the bush with us, and make her rounds, and then when she knows we are on our way back, she will run ahead, get her ball and push it down the hill, and through the gate, and days like yesterday, pushes it half way up the trail.  She is pretty tired on the way back sometimes, and will sometimes abandon the ball, so you have to keep watch.  Don't want to leave it out there or the coyotes might start up their own soccer game.  (many years ago they played havoc with water hoses we left out there).  Here she is moving it through the big puddle just inside the riding ring gateway.


Other end of the riding ring, almost at the horse shed.


Waiting to be told that is is okay for them to go through the gate to the bush.
  

They run full bore up the field, Jake starts out in the lead but Luna catches up, and then they have a bit of snark fest with each other, and then turn around and come back, generally. Unless they pick up a hot scent out there, and then they just keep going.  Usually on the way back Luna will throw herself on the ground and have a really good roll.  And if she is extra hot, on the way through the bush she will lay in the creek in a deep spot, for a quick cool down.


Calli was not impressed with yesterday's walk at all.  It was kind of like, well You dragged me out here in the pouring rain, YOU can get me through the creek.



Sorry for the shaky filming. Holding an umbrella in one hand, the camera steady in the other, and NOT fall in the mud was a bit of a struggle.
Can you hear the rain.  Sounds like a fire crackling in the background.
A bit past the creek, she got moving under her own power.


Today was just the opposite. Still really mild, and the sun came out and it was like a spring day.  I was down to capris and a t-shirt on the way back from our fast walk.  We try to do a half hour fast walk up the road with just Jake and Luna, to get our heart rates up and get some decent exercise.

Day 25 of Whole30 for me.  Larry is five days behind me.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Out of the Fog

Yesterday started sunny and clear, a good frost overnight.  As we headed out for our morning stroll, (it's pretty darn slow these days as we go at Calli's speed), I dumped some coleslaw and some yogurt over the fence to the chickens.  The coleslaw we ate for 4 days as part of our Whole30 meals.  It had turned bitter and both of us had had enough of it.  The yogurt has been sitting in the fridge for the last two weeks, and being dairy, is off limits to us right now.  I'm just happy that nothing goes to waste though!  The hens didn't think much of the coleslaw either, but they sure liked that lemon yogurt.


As we were walking we could see the fog hanging at the edge of the land to the north, where it drops down into the river valley.  Once again threatening to roll over us.
As we walked down the trail, I spotted this.  Kind of looks like white fur doesn't it?


What it is is ice crystals.  Maybe you've all seen it before.  I just find it one of those amazing things in nature.
There is some more info here


Those strands of crystals are about 2 1/2 inches long.  We seem to get them if it is mild during the day, and then freezes overnight.



The old lady strolling along.
She will turn 15 in another 11 days.  Pretty amazing I think:)


This picture makes her face look really old, but she actually looks quite good.


She is usually following along behind us, at her own pace, but sometimes she gets sidetracked and we have to go back and get her.  She can't hear you unless you are within a few feet.  This morning she ventured off the trail and got stuck of course.  It doesn't take much to get her stuck these days.



And by the time we strolled back, the fog had rolled over the edge and down past us, but you can still see blue sky at the right.  It did fully clear up again and was a beautiful day.  


I went to visit my mum, who is now back at her care home.  She is pretty well doing what she did before, toileting, getting dressed, etc, on her own, much to the dismay of the staff.  Got to admire her independance, although the nasty tone of voice reared it's ugly head when I first got there.  After that it was fine and we had a nice walk and found a sunny spot to stop for a while.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Stuck in the Fog

This morning when we went for a walk through the bush, it seemed like the fog was going to burn off.  It was bright and we could see blue sky overhead, and it had all the beginnings of a lovely Spring-like day in January.  A bit later when we did a fast mile walk down the road with just Jake and Luna, the sun was mostly out.  We drove away from home to run some errands and buy vegetables and not far from home we came out into beautiful sunshine.  We were sure by the time we got back, nearly three hours later, that our house would be basking in the sunshine too. Wishful thinking.  As we are heading back north, not far from home, we could see the fog bank rising up from the river valley below and spilling over the top of the hill, and of course, over our house. 

Around four we took the dogs for another walk, they expect it now in the afternoon, and it was like this. (It felt like all we did was walk dogs today) Yuk, socked right in.  We were extra careful along the road, I was wearing a florescent vest and the dogs were on leash.  The cars seem to be able to sneak up on you in the fog, and all of a sudden are right there.  These pictures are on the road allowance so no cars here.





After all that grey, here's some colour.  Larry and I are still doing the Whole30 meal plan.  No grains, no dairy, no sugar, no soy, no legumes (except green beans or snap or snow peas).  I'm having fun making the plates as colourful as I can.  Some examples of what we CAN eat.  Do we look like we are deprived?  Not at all.  I'm really happy about all this, I feel great, I've lost a very few pounds, I'm not hungry and not snacking, and have lost a lot of aches and pains.  
Breakfast on the left, lunch in the middle, dinner on the right.  I even ate out one night.  Didn't have the bun, scraped the sauce off the chicken and had oil and vinegar dressing as their vinaigrette had added sugar.  The friend I had dinner with started her Whole30 yesterday.

















I did manage to squeeze a few minutes in at the thrift store today too, while Larry went to the library. 
An unopened bottle of Avon's Skin so Soft, a blue glass jar for Meredith (or me), both 99 cents each, and three new cotton dish cloths for 29 cents.  There was a 20% discount today, so for a grand total of $1.80......:)



















Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Day 6

A few days before New Years I read this blog post here.  It hit a nerve.  There was so much there that I could relate to, especially the chocolate chips part.  My go to comfort food.  It's a rare time that a bag of choco chips actually makes it into some baking.  And if it does, such as cookies, well you can be guaranteed I will have eaten my share of the total batch in the first few hours.  I am addicted to food, the wrong foods. 

For quite a while now I haven't liked how I've felt.  Not as much energy as I'd like.  Aches and pains, and other pains.  A whole bunch of different physical ailments that add up to a lot when I put 2 and 2 together.  A lot of it I blamed on the extra weight I've been packing around for far too long.  Between Meredith's and David's birth, I weighed 30 lbs less than this.  I'd love to get back to that. Who wouldn't.  

I looked into the Whole30 plan mentioned in that blog post.  The idea of a whole bunch of people doing it together sounded fun.  I joined the Facebook Page.  I was sick right up to New Years Eve, but knew at that point I was on the mend.  I decided to just dive right in and join along on the Whole30 ride.  What is Whole30 you ask.  This is taken from the whole30.com website.

Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.

You can read the rest of it here - www.whole30.com/step-one/

The plan is to eliminate most things that can irritate or cause inflammation in the body.  For 30 days you eat meals that do NOT contain added sugar in any from, which includes honey, maple syrup and the variations of the words that end in 'ose'. Grains and pseudo grains are banned, as are legumes (including peanuts), dairy and soy, as well as alcohol.  Sulphites, MSG and carageenan are banned.  Basically the meals consist of vegetables, animal protein, and fat or oil, with some nuts and fruit.  We are to try hard to stick to three meals a day, with little snacking.  Coffee and tea are allowed as long as they are compliant.  

Larry got sick on New Years Day, but yesterday he started to feel better.  Today he joined me on the Whole30 plan.  He too has a bunch of physical issues he'd love some help with.


This was supper tonight.  Butternut squash topped with a ground beef and veggie mixture.  Sauerkraut on the side (that was a new one for us, but it was good mixed in with the ground beef)  and a few grapes and pomegranite seeds.  Loving the colourfulness of it all!



Breakfast one morning.


Today was my second time going out shopping for this plan.  I seemed to be constantly blocking the aisle with my cart as I stood and read labels, and had to put most of those things back on the shelf because they had sugar in the them.  If it wasn't sugar it was soy or some other 'banned' substance.  

I haven't weighed myself since I started.  It is strongly encouraged that you don't weigh yourself until you have done the full 30 days.  I don't feel like I've lost any weight yet.  My body is still sorting itself out.  One thing that I have noticed though, is the lack of stiffness in my hip joints after I have been sitting down for a while, either on the couch or at the computer or in the car.  Sometimes it was so bad that I could hardly walk for the first few seconds.  Yesterday I suddenly realized that that had seemed to have gone away.  I remembered to think about it after I got out of the car after driving for half an hour.  No stiffness!  
While I was shopping today I took my blood pressure at the pharmacy.  Now my blood pressure has usually been pretty good, but today it was even better at 108/68.  

I figured I deserved to stop at the thrift store!  Poked around in there and spent a whole $3.70.  These were my best finds.  

Red tags this week were 50 cents.  So for a whole $1 I got these two collectibles.  The round one is about 10" in diameter.


This one originally was $8
One of the smaller containers out of this one fill up the palm of your hand.  Anyone know what they are?  All I can assume is they sat on a dresser or desk and held 'stuff'.  Maybe jewelry or make-up or maybe they are collectibles holding collectibles.  They are metal, probably aluminum, as they are very light.  The clear lids are a thick plastic sort of stuff.  Pretty interesting I thought.


Just what I need, more 'junk'!!