Quote of Inspiration
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Sunday, October 31, 2010
I ate scrambled eggs, fruit, veggies, home-made turkey chili, home-made pumpkin bread, butter, milk, yogurt, peanut butter and drank a lot of coffee.
Here is what I found:
1. On the two days that I ate only fruits, veggies, peanut butter and oatmeal, I felt great. I lost 5 lbs. in two days. I didn't have big dips in my blood sugar levels. When I was hungry, I felt hungry but I didn't feel shaky/weak/confused/agitated. I simply felt hungry. I didn't feel cravings for foods, because when your only option is another hard-boiled egg, well you just don't want it that badly. When your option is Oreos, there is a much stronger pull.
2. On the days I introduced more carbs (albeit non-processed carbs) like rice, potatoes and home-made baked goods, I gained back the weight I'd lost and felt much more bloated. Much more.
3. When I ate too much, even if the food was unprocessed, I felt bloated and overly full.
4. When I was eating so well, on days one and two, I didn't find I needed to drink so much water. In fact, I only drank about 40 oz. on those days and still lost the weight and felt less bloated and lighter.
Overall, the experience taught me several things. One, I was eating a lot of processed food that I wasn't even thinking about: lunch meat, crackers, bread, a treat at Starbucks, etc. In addition to eating a ton of processed food, that left little room for fruits and veggies. I ate nearly twice as much fruits and veggies this week than in previous weeks. Second, food is food. If you eat too much of it, no matter what it is, you will feel unwell. Third, just because something is homemade and "unprocessed" doesn't make it healthy. Perhaps if I stuck to a much more rigid definition of "processed" it might make a difference (like not using wheat, dairy, etc.), but for my purposes, I simply meant no added ingredients I couldn't pronounce and stuff found in a box or can. I made lemon posset, for example. It has sugar, cream and lemon juice. That's it. And I ate it. And it's just simple junk food. It's not "healthy" because I can name all the ingredients.
In the end, I went from 138.6 pounds to 135.6 pounds. That's fine. It doesn't feel drastically different, though. Maybe because I've been eating lemon posset and home-made pumpkin bread slathered in real butter........
Still, the experience was extremely helpful in allowing me to see that it IS possible to live without processed food, that I WILL feel better with a diet richer in fruits and vegetables and that my blood sugar is directly linked to crap.
And now...........we're going to trick-or-treat and I'm going to wolf down some dodgy mini-Snickers bars.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Okay, so I got out all my supplies (having to unearth them from the storage closet), and I threw them all on the table in typical Amy-fashion, all half-hazard and slightly askew. I had the computer and directions sitting next to me, and I began threading needles, cutting squares of fabric and sewing wonky stitches up and down pieces of purple felt, Van Morrison playing in the background, rocking my gypsy soul.
It was very easy, which means that if I'm saying that a kindergartner could easily have accomplished this task. The directions were cake. The bag came together just as described. It took me all of 50 minutes, and that includes time spent digging out my supplies, adding cream to my coffee and turning up Van more than once.
Here is the finished product:
It wasn't until later, driving around town feeling all domestic and crafty, that I realized I sewed the tooth all the way onto the bag, forgetting to leave the top open to hold the child's actual tooth.
For some reason, I thought this was hysterically funny, and I couldn't stop laughing about it for at least a full minute, nearly crying.
Incidentally, I went to Barnes & Noble and looked at other simple sewing books, particularly projects for kids (my level anyway). The thing about it is this: most handmade stuff just doesn't appeal to me. If I want a good tote bag, I'll get an LL Bean Boat & Tote. I can't imagine making my own clothes. I have no inclination to make clothes for my daughter's dolls. So......I'm glad I did it. I think hand-sewing is HIGHLY preferable to using a matching. And one day, I will sit in a rocking chair next to a fire, and I will quietly sew a quilt by hand.
Until then, everyone is getting tooth fairy bags.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
And then....I felt awful. I was very full. I felt sluggish all afternoon. And come on: I saw the people making the food right in front of me. What gives?
Then, I thought about the salt. The salt! I got on the scale this morning and am back to 135. That's fine, but I think the point is that when I lost those 5 lbs. and now that I've gained 2 back, I really think so much of it is the SALT. There is so much salt in processed food and in restaurant food. So much.....
When I cook at home, I use much less salt (and I'm pretty liberal with my salt), and when I'm focusing on eating fruits and veggies, well there's just not so much salt.
I ate some more of the leftover chicken teriyaki for lunch today, with steamed rice and peas. It's sitting a little heavy, but I'm okay with that.
So far, the days when I've felt the best (less bloated, more energy) are the days when I ate homemade, unprocessed, healthy food. I mean, of course it goes without saying. But saying something and experiencing something are two different things entirely.
Also, I got Jamie Oliver's e-mail this morning. If you all haven't seen his show, look it up online. I cried every week. He's really inspiring. In today's e-mail was a list of the top 10 worst processed foods. Here they are:
1. Chicken McNuggest (24%)
2. Hot Dogs (19%)
3. Fake Cheese (14%)
4. Lunchables (13%)
5. Spam (9%)
6. Twinkies (5%)
7. Soda (5%)
8. Artificial Sweeteners (4%)
9. Diet Versions (4%)
10. French Fries (3%)
Quite the list, huh?
Here's the link to Jamie's website:
He's fabulous. His site has tons of recipes, too, and they're all very simple and unprocessed. They're not necessarily "healthy," but at least they're real.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
In two days, eating nothing processed but eating full meals and still eating within my calorie range (drinking wine, eating salmon & avocado and eggs), I have lost..........
So, I started on Sunday weighing 138.6. Monday morning I weighed 135.8. Today, I weigh 133.2.
I have worked out for 3 weeks, hard. And I've not been able to break 135. Now, I stop eating junk, and I drop 5 lbs.
Okay....I'm off for the day.
Monday, October 25, 2010
I'm eating a raw carrot. And it stinks.
So far today, I've eaten:
Scottish oats, raspberries, 1 tsbs. pure maple syrup, 1 tbsp. half-n-half
1.5 hard boiled eggs
1 Apple w/2 tbsp. peanut butter (peanuts/salt only)
1 Carrot (large)
Handful of Strawberries (thank you California)
So.....I am going to attempt a week w/out processed food. This means no store-bought bread. No crackers or cookies (unless I make them myself). No candy. Nothing out of a box, unless for some reason I chose to make pasta. Then, I think I'll go with the dried stuff. But, the point is to stop eating all this stuff filled with junk and chemicals.
I'm not sure if I'll lose weight. I hope I'll feel better. I hope I'll sleep better. I've already done it for over 24 hrs. and I have to say, it's not exactly hard, but it does require some thinking and planning.
For example, I usually eat toast in the morning. I eat healthy bread (Milton's), but it's processed and, thus, is out. So, for the past two mornings, I've eaten oatmeal with pure maple syrup and berries.
For snacks, instead of eating handfuls of crackers, a bowl of Grape Nuts or a bite at Starbucks, I've eaten hard-boiled eggs and fruit.
For lunch, I've been eating home-made turkey chili with salad - home-made salad dressing (which is so much better anyway).
Last night, I ate salmon with mango-salsa and a glass of wine.
Now, I'm not out in the back planting wheat and corn and hoping to harvest it by Friday so I can eat some toast. I do realize that packaged/processed food can have a place in a healthy diet. But I also think an occasional detox from all of it does a body good, and I've always wanted to see if I can do it, if it will be difficult, and if it will be worth it.
So far, I've nearly eaten and had to clearly avoid the following: Honey-Nut Cherrios that my kids had spilled on the floor (yes, I was considering eating handfuls of them while I was helping the kids to clean them up), chocolates from See's candies (why do they give you samples?), a Smarties roll that my son got at gymnastics today, Goldfish crackers and leftover pasta my kids didn't eat (it was a Lean Cuisine, which they love and which my daughter always finishes by saying: You cook so good, Mommy).
Whew.....it's going to be a long but hopefully good week.
The second fig I want to tackle is sewing something by hand. I've thought about this for a long time, because I have this idea that sewing stuff makes you a better mom and person as a whole. I'm not sure why that is. I just have images in my mind of loving mothers in cozy houses whipping up adorable children's confections and quilts on their sewing machines, the foot pedal humming softly against the sound of children frolicking outdoors.
I know. Really, I have no idea where I get these ideas. I certainly wasn't raised with them.
Well, I have a sewing machine, which I bought so that I could make my sister's daughter a quilt. That quilt turned into a total fiasco. I was pregnant at the time, and the machine kept jamming, and I kept crying and my husband kept coming over to me and asking me (begging me) to give it up, buy a quilt and be done with it. But I was dead-set on that quilt, and when I finally finished it (you can't imagine the angst), it was not even usable because the damn thing was about to fall apart simply as I handed it over to my sister.
So, I put the machine away and swore it off. Then, I thought that maybe I could be a partial domestic goddess and go all 1872 on everyone and hand sew.
So, it's on my list. I would love to hand sew a quilt, but I also know my limitations, and so I'm going to start small..........very small.
Here is what I plan on making:
Wish me luck. I am glad my husband is gone, because I suspect that something will go wrong here: I won't be able to properly cut the felt, my needle will break, etc., etc. Sigh. Then again, it could be a blast and then everyone I know will be getting tooth fairy bags for Christmas, and it will be my signature gift: tooth fairy bags and a bottle of booze.
Wish me luck...........
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I dog-eared the page with this quote, and when I finished the book and went back to read this particular passage, I loved it still.
Here it is:
Most people, Kamala, are like a falling leaf, which is blown and is turning around through the air, and wavers and tumbles to the ground. But others, a few, are like stars, they go on a fixed course, no wind reaches them, in themselves they have their law and their course.
When I first read this passage and underlined it, I thought that a person had to be one or the other. Now, as I think about Siddhartha's journey as a whole, I think a person most likely has to be both - a leaf at times, a star (hopefully) in others.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Well, that's it for this week. I should post my impressions toward the end of the week. I am excited. It's nice to read a book of such substance, that I suspect will have a deep and lasting impact on my view of the world and my own life.
Monday, October 18, 2010
We arrived at the museum, and Maggie was thrilled with just that. I'm not kidding, she was all beside herself to be going somewhere alone with me, somewhere she'd never before been, somewhere full of promise. I love seeing the world through her eyes because it reminds me that life is still exciting and wondrous, and seeing her so pump
ed to go to our little museum made me feel badly for thinking I had to put this visit off until I could take her to a "real" museum in New York, San Francisco or even DC.
Well, we arrived and got our tickets and each wore a little blue square sticker indicating we had paid our dues.
Right off the bat, Maggie was full of questions. There was a large wooden sculpture in the entrance of the museum made into the shape of an animal - antelope, deer, etc. - and she was very curious about this. When I told her it was made of wood and that art can be made of many different materials, well she was all obsessed with this idea for the rest of our visit. We walked past the wooden sculpture. Then, she ran over to an African mask and some clay vases. She was running up and down the halls, before we could even determine where the Theibaud paintings were housed, asking me, "What's this made out of? How about this one Mom?"
We finally did get to the exhibit. We looked at a few paintings on display outside the main room, and Maggie was fine with that but it was hard for her to stand still for very long, which meant that I only got a cursory glance at each piece. We did stop and look at one painting, a man in a tree, in a park, at night. Maggie was curious about this painting, because she couldn't figure out why a man was in a tree, in a suit, in the middle of the night. But then, just when I thought we'd have some sort of existential conversation about the meaning of life, Maggie was gone, running up and down the exhibit and saying, "Mommy, you have to see this painting. It's totally amazing."
That was her phrase for the day: totally amazing.
She liked Thiebaud's art and especially liked his work done in pastel-colored paint. She kept thinking the paintings were still wet, because the paint was very thick and still glossy looking. I tried to explain the concept of oil paint, but really I think I was just talking out of my ass because I have no idea why the paint still looked wet, if his thick brush strokes mean anything and how his paintings come out looking like something when, if you look up-close, it's all just a smattering of this and that, all half-hazard.
Then, Maggie came to a drawing, and it was hung next to a painting.
Maggie: "What is this one made out of?"
MamaP: "Pastels. They're like crayons. What do you think of it?"
Maggie: "I like it."
MamaP: "Does it look different to you, different from this other one?" And I pointed to the painting.
Maggie: "Yes, it's different."
MamaP: "How is the crayon drawing different from the painting?"
Maggie: "Well, the crayons stick to the paper and stay there. The paint just kind of drips down."
I wanted to kneel down to the floor and bow my head in thanks: she's brilliant. It's true.
We breezed through the exhibit, and I was at times a little frustrated that I couldn't linger, read about the work, decide how I felt about all of it. But Maggie was running amok and some other patrons (there was a van drop off from a local assisted-living facility) were giving me dirty looks.
We wandered around the rest of the museum, and for some reason Maggie was totally enthralled with the elevator. Now, the elevator was quite large and seemed somehow really modern and cool, but really, she's been in a thousand elevators. Still, this was really "great" and "cool."
There were, as I said, a lot of "totally amazing" pieces of art, and each room we entered I had Maggie point out which painting drew her attention first. They were usually paintings of flowers, and I don't really like flower paintings, but whatever. It was very cute.
I have to say that a lot of California art looks a lot like paint-by-numbers landscapes. But hey...who am I to say?
Then, just when our visit was coming to a close, Maggie entered the modern art section of the museum, and she fell in love and was utterly taken and mesmerized by a sculpture of a cowboy riding a flying horse that was attached to another flying horse, and the horses' eyes were made out of red light-bulbs.
This was truly, truly "totally amazing." This was stop-and-stand, mouth open in amazement amazing. Maggie walked around the entire thing, oohhing and ahhhing and asking me if I was actually seeing this thing.
I was. It was horrid. Wretched. God-awful.
But hey, who am I to say?
Then, when I thought it couldn't get worse (there was a ceramic sculpture done in that blue-and-white Dutch tile kind of ceramic - and the sculpture was a semi-automatic rifle and a grenade), Maggie fell in double-triple-love with a sculpture that was depicting a death-row inmate being put to death, and there were a bunch of protesters with signs depicting each side of the debate. And to top it all off, there was a foot pedal on the floor, and if you pushed the pedal the whole thing started flashing lights.
Dear God, Maggie pushed that pedal a thousand times.
When we left the exhibits, we headed downstairs to the cafe where Maggie chose a cupcake and chocolate milk. We split the cupcake and she sucked down the milk.
I asked her later what her favorite part of the day was, and she said the paintings and the cool elevator.
I have to say, my favorite part of the trip was seeing her so excited about the modern art stuff. I call it stuff. I should call it art, but I can't bring myself to type that out. Sigh....
Anyway, I loved it because she loved it without any preconception, without any idea of what she was loving or if it was the right thing to love or what other people (me, for instance) might say about it. She just loved it, red lights for eyes, foot pedal, everything aglow. It made me look at all of the art differently, because I realized how much we like or dislike what we experience based not on our own taste but on what society says is "right," and (to be honest) how we like to think of ourselves.
All-in-all, it was a lovely day. Maggie bought a Thiebaud post card in the gift shop and drew a heart-breaking picture of herself and her father, holding hands underneath a rainbow to send to him in Afghanistan. I nearly cried when I saw it.
And then I thought: now that is art.
PS - the painting is of Stevenson and was done by John Singer Sargent, 1887. Wouldn't it be fabulous to have a painting of oneself by someone like Sargent???
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Maggie, "We're going together, just you and me?"
MamaP, "Yes, just you and me. To the art musuem."
Maggie, "Is it close?"
MamaP, "Yes, only twenty minutes."
Maggie, "What will we do there?"
MamaP, "We'll look at the paintings and talk about them and tell each other what we think."
She thought about this for a few seconds, and then she reached up, put her hands on my cheeks and said, "You're the best."
Monday, October 11, 2010
My desire to do this began about two years ago, when I was sitting at the computer one day looking at art.com. Maggie came up to me, and I put her on my lap and we started looking at the art. I asked her which pieces she liked and which she didn't like, and even though she was 3 at the time, she had clear preferences and opinions. On top of just her likes and dislikes, I began to ask her about the art itself, about the paintings, and she started to tell me what she thought of them, why she liked them and what she thought about the subject matters. It was fascinating and enlightening and thrilling. We do it still; though I admit to being lazy about it recently. We do have a few Renoir books downstairs, and we sometimes flip through those, and Maggie tells me which ones she likes and why she likes them and what she thinks about them. It's all so wonderful because it makes me look at the paintings in a new light and I realize how powerful and compelling art is for all of us.
Maggie's favorite painting (thus far, obviously) is by Hopper. Her two favorite artists so far are Edward Hopper and Degas. She loves Degas because she loves ballet. But Hopper is her true love, and there hasn't been a painting of his that we've seen so far that she doesn't like. Well, but her favorite is entitled "Hotel Room."
I asked Maggie what she thought of this painting, and she said that the women in the painting looks sad to her. I think that's such an interesting observation and comment, and every time we come back to this painting, she says the same thing: that the woman is sad.
Interestingly, I was in Madrid a few months ago, and a friend suggested I go to see the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, a fabulous collection of art that is really staggering in that it was collected by one family. Anyway, I went, not knowing a thing about it, and low and behold, I walked up face-to-face with Hopper's piece, "Hotel Room."
I thought of Maggie and vowed to take her there one day, to show her the original piece of art and to see if she felt the same way about the painting in person.
So, this week I am taking Maggie to her first art museum. It's a small museum here in town, and I wouldn't have thought to take her here except for something that happened last week. I was getting the mail and I received a large envelope from a relative I rarely hear from. In fact, I'd not spoken to her in years. Inside was a small note and a newspaper clipping from the New York Times about a new exhibit at our local gallery from a famed local artist. I myself had never before heard of him, but when I read the article I was intrigued, and I vowed to take Maggie with me.
The artist is Wayne Thiebaud, and below I'll post a few of his pieces. Maggie and I are excited, and I think that while I'm there I'll sign her up for art classes. I can't wait to hear what she has to say about our visit, which I'm planning for Tuesday or Wednesday.
I think one of the best things about having kids is that you get to view the world through a whole new lens......
I'll post later about our big adventure...........
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
That's it. I sleep with it on me every night, grateful that fall has arrived in Nor Cal and I have use for my new quilt.
I love that I set out to do one thing - purge my closet - and ended up with something else in the process.