Thursday, December 30, 2010

Step this way

We recently joined a local gym. Will uses the cardio equipment and I do classes. I love Step class and have done a couple other classes, all of which have left me very sore! However, it's great to be working out again after 1.5 years without a gym membership. During our stay at my parent's I tried to exercise, to take walks and play outside with the kids, but then it got harder and harder to stay motivated and winter came and I was done. Life got busy and stressful with a new teaching position for me, commuting to and from school with the girls and planning a move into our own home. Now, seven months later, we are living in an easier routine, living close to school, and loving our own home. And it was high time for a gym membership.

Yesterday I was taking a step class and was having difficulty with some steps I hadn't done and one or two that I had, but had either heard them called something different, or just had forgotten the terms, when I realized exactly WHY it was difficult to follow the instructor. At first I thought it was because I was to the right side of the room and really had to turn my head to see her. Then I realized that I'd been mimicking the woman to my left and slightly in front of me and not having any difficulty doing that and THAT is when I saw it: The instructor was FACING US! OMG! That's why I'm all confused as to what side of the step we're on and which way to walk around the step, which I never found that difficult when I did it regularly. In NC at the YMCA, the instructors faced the mirror, same as the participants. We could see the instructor move exactly as we were and the way he/she looked in the mirror was how we should look. What is this weirdness with the instructor facing us? Granted, they do mirror our movements, starting with their right when we're to use our left. That must be difficult to say LEFT when you're going right.

Oh well, I'll improve. One of the things I like about Step is that it's mentally challenging, which really distracts you from the physical challenges. I'll keep going and learn the new moves and get stronger.

Monday, December 27, 2010

On Journaling

My sister gave me a journal for Christmas. I used to journal a lot, but since I started blogging, I've given up the written journal. While blogging helps put things in perspective, I am guarded in this format. When I journal, it's just for me. I rarely look back through journals. In fact, I have a bunch packed in a box in my closet.
I started journaling when I was 10, the summer after fifth grade. I think I filled the whole journal. I decided at that age I would not have a diary because it was too cliche and girly. I thought journal sounded more sensible. I even wrote "Dear Journal" along with the date of every entry. I have always dated entries. Sometimes, if there is time lapse between entries, I give updates that are relevant to the story as if my writing will one day have a reader. Truthfully, I want it to, even though I know it reveals my darkest thinking.
At times I probably held back, but most of the time I wrote as I thought, dirty words and all. My photography professor told us that she journaled and kept them all, but that if anyone should read them in the future after she dies they will think her life was terrible because she mostly wrote when she was depressed or upset about something. I totally get that. Getting it down on paper is a way of getting it OUT of my brain so I can have peace. Logically I still know about my issue, but after I journal it I can let it go and often find a solution.
"What's the worst that can happen?" is a strategy my mom taught me. I don't think she realized she was imparting such wisdom. I know she wanted to help me, but she also wanted me to calm down so we could both get some much needed sleep. I was upset about not finishing a school assignment and I was crying before bed and exhausted and mom said, "What's the worst that can happen? Will someone die? Will you die?" There was more, but that's the basic gist of the game. Then you calm down and think about the actual worst thing that can happen and how you can deal with it should that be the result. That is the basis of my journaling.
I plan. I record. I list. I complain. I exclaim.
Not all entries were downers. With having a husband and kids come overwhelming feelings of love. I've written about the good and my love for my family. I journaled consistently until I had G 5.5 years ago. I even journaled while I was in the hospital on bed rest before having her prematurely. After her birth I did very little journaling. I only journaled when necessary to help myself cope with things. I have a journal from her early years that is very sparse. I was very caught up in taking care of two young children, then going back to school, then finding a job and well, now I'm here.
And I have a new journal. It's a pretty red journal with a motif of leaves and birds on the cover. I've tried to do gratitude journaling, but I've never gotten into a routine. Not that it doesn't help, but I find it better to be more flexible with my journaling. Recently I've been craving the act of emptying my head before bed. Sometimes just writing things down helps me remember. I hate thinking of something I should do the next day right before drifting off to sleep. If I journal before bed, I think of those things and write them. I have the option of referring to my entry the next morning, but usually just writing it before bed helps me remember it the next day.
As much as I love typing, which I do very quickly, I really enjoy writing. I love feeling the pen flow across the paper in cursive style.
I intend on going through my journals one day. I know there is one journal in particular that I want to destroy because I was waaayy too free in what I shared and, well, if my kids want to keep my records in the future I'd rather them not know every gritty detail. My hopes and fears, yes. So, I will keep them. For what it's worth, they are a record of my life.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Salad is possible

I'm still mulling over Fed Up With Lunch blog and read this post about bringing salad in for students to assemble and eat. It makes me think about my own kids and kids of others I've witnessed eating, or not eating as that case is often. One of my mom goals was to have my children eat salad without complaint. Well, they love baby spinach, which G just calls lettuce. She likes any kind of lettuce, unless it's bitter. She'll eat romaine lettuce leaves plain, on a sandwich, or with nut butter. I got her palate adjusted to green juice at the young age of 3 years old. S was already 5.5 when I started juicing and still isn't too keen on it. But, I have served salad, raw veggies and a variety of dips since they had enough teeth to eat it... basically starting at 2 years old. I've had friends kids over who ate salad without complaint, or minimal at first. In fact, the younger they are, the more willing I've found kids to try new things. One thing, though, parents and caregivers need to remember, is that when kids 1-3 years old and even beyond that, try new foods, they need to be allowed to spit them out if their tastes reject it. Forcing a child to swallow food he/she is having a very negative response to will only make it more difficult to encourage the child to try new foods.

I implemented the "no-thank-you-bite," which my kids almost always swallow (G has been known to run to the trashcan a spit once or twice). If they don't like it, they just say no thank you, make a face like what's in their mouth is horrible and shake their head "no." Okay, I tell them, maybe you'll like it when you get over. It doesn't stop me from making that food again or offering it for another "no-thank-you-bite" another evening.

Often my kids' taste preferences change from month to month and week to week. One week G doesn't want more than two bite of sweet potato and the next week she eats a half of one. The girls keep trying parsnips and are adjusting to the taste, though not really liking it, yet. S likes carrots raw and shredded, but cooked--no way.

Kids also get tired of foods if they're given them over and over again. Now, there are children who thrive on regularity and request the same foods over and over without fail and without ever tiring of them. That happens. Adults can be like that, too. But children, like adults, can desire variety. One week G wants no other jelly but raspberry on her nut butter sandwich. The next week she doesn't like raspberry and wants it plain. S gets tired of nut butter sandwiches and misses the days of deli meat, so we switch it up with vegan bologna sandwiches.

Cheese. Oh the pickyness with cheese. For one thing, dairy doesn't agree with any of us, but everyone but G has it from time to time. S likes it sliced with crackers or apple. She likes provolone on a sandwich. But, melted cheddar grosses her out. She tries to tolerate it because she's used to eating what is for dinner, but she really can't take much of it. She prefers mozzarella pizza to any Mexican-style food with cheddar.

I think I set a pretty decent food example for my kiddos. We don't use food to award, but we do consider sweets and dinner out to be treats that are to be appreciated and not expected. I can't put my finger on exactly how my kids have grown to eat salad, but they do. Asian Miracle dressing from Vegan Lunchbox certainly played a part for G as does organic Ranch for S (regular Ranch has MSG in it and it bothers her skin, not to mention kills brain cells--which I will leave up to her to make the decision if, when and how to kill brain cells). I'm not saying you're doing everything or anything wrong if your kids won't touch anything green. I'm just saying to keep trying and eat what they eat. If you serve kids something that you wouldn't want to eat, what does that say to your kids (uh, exactly the point of Fed Up With School Lunch!)? When I sit down to dinner with my kids and my plate matches theirs, it helps them to eat it. And what's for dinner is for dinner. As I tell my kids, I don't make bad food. If I did I'd understand you're not wanting to eat it and wouldn't expect anyone to eat it. But I make really good food. Tasty, not too spicy, flavorful, whole, fresh food. Healthy food for mind and body. Healthy for digestion. Healthy for immunity and energy.

Back to Mrs. Q (FUWSL blogger) who says her health is fine; and as far as I know stands by that now having just finished the project. But I haven't read about a recent blood test, which I would bet differs from the one she had just before starting the project. I don't care that she eats whole foods the other two meals of the day. When you're sick with the runs in the middle of the night because of school pizza, that is not healthy. Think of all the good flora that got flushed out and how that weakened her immune system. The digestive tract is so important for human health. It is how we get nutrients and how we fight viruses and how we detox anything bad out of our systems. I hope she publishes if her blood work results changed. Maybe a slight rise in bad cholesterol or a slightly elevated blood pressure... something small.

Balancing out bad with good foods does help. I think that my grandfather's high tomato, fruit and tea consumption helped him live as long as he has (88 Dec. 24th) but the bad food (i.e. meat and dairy) has made his body frail and stiff for the last 10 years. Not how I want to live my last 10+ years. Not even how I want to live my last 5 years or 1 year. I want to move till the end. I want to be in a body that helps me, not hurts me. I pray for good health and I do the best I can to achieve it. I'm far from perfect and never will be. I'll always "cheat," but in the end the green juice craving comes back and a crunchy apple sounds like the perfect snack.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

School Lunch Blogger

My husband found me a new blog. The only bad thing: it may be ending soon! It's like Green and Crunchy all over again (that blog is even deleted). Fed Up With Lunch is a blog by a teacher who ate school lunch every day for a calendar year. My husband heard about it on the radio or saw an article or something and asked if I'd seen or heard of the blog, because I do love my food blogs! I hadn't heard of this blog, so I googled and found it instantly. It's had quite the following. Recently the blog was featured on MSNBC. I've read a hand full of posts and the project is coming to an end. I hope she keeps blogging, especially about the transition from processed foods to fresh, whole foods. She had a dairy/gluten free son, so I expect she'll try to eat well after the project and maybe share what she packs for lunch. I am curious as to whether she'll notice her taste buds change after she changes her eating and if she'll struggle with cravings for sugar and fat. I know I did, and still do, sometimes. I fight it off with a cheesy omelet or pizza and then get back to vegan foods. Anyway, the thing I find MOST interesting is the packaging the food comes in. Everything hot comes in individual containers with plastic wrap to peel off. YUCK! Think about all the nasty carcinogens that are in the food just from the packaging and heating process. I'm going to explore this blog some more. Check it out!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Running Wilde

The child is cute, Felicity is grown up and Job is basically still Job with a new name. Don't know what I'm talking about? Check out one of the best, smartest, funniest, wittiest shows ever on television: Arrested Development. Netflix it or go buy it! It ran for three seasons. Running Wilde, while having some actors and characteristics of Arrested Development, has not been a successful show. I've been watching it on Hulu and heard it's been cancelled. It's just as well. I can only watch one episode at a time.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Food Blog Winter 2010: Skip the mayo Salmon Cakes

My second self-designed recipe. I took the idea of using chickpeas from one of my favorites: fallafel. Because G cannot have egg or dairy, I use egg replacer and the chickpeas substitute for mayonnaise which most people use. (Yes, this means, from time to time I eat salmon.)

10oz of skinless and boneless cooked salmon (I recommend Bumble bee Premium Wild Pink Salmon in 5 oz pouches)
1 can Chickpeas, rinsed
1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, whichever you prefer.
Sprinkle to taste: Cumin, Chili powder, sea salt, pepper, Coriander, garlic powder--experiment with seasonings you like
1-2 eggs or egg replacer
Optional: diced onion

In food processor, blend chickpeas and fresh herbs with eggs and seasonings.
Put the salmon in a bowl and add the blended chickpea mixture to the salmon and mix well.
Heat olive oil in a skillet.
Form mixture into salmon cakes/burgers and place in skillet. Brown on both sides and serve over salad or as a sandwich.