Friday, May 28, 2010


We just returned from a quick trip to the back country of New Mexico. We were at the mercy of restaurants - and in a place where fresh food is hard to come by. I packed lots of travel food, green smoothies to go, homemade granola, bags of veggies, containers of sliced fruit, nuts, and those new Trio granola bars at Costco (kinda sugary - but I didn't want to loose control and eat a pile of ribs). So, we were doing fine, but last night we went to the town's only restaurant and the salad bar was nothin'.

 This is where we ate dinner. Yes. I rode the horse. JK.

I ordered a burrito, hold the meat, hold the cheese, hold the sour cream. What I got was a tortilla filled with beans (kinda greasy - but warm) and rice topped with iceburg lettuce. It was fine. I did have quite a few of Hannah's sweet potato fries. Tasty. But I felt heavy and tired after dinner. Usually I feel light and healthy after I eat.

Tonight we are home again. There isn't much fresh stuff - time to go shopping. I rummaged around the fridge and made this for dinner.
  • Spaghetti squash (slice in half, cover each half with plastic wrap, put 1/4 cup water in a bowl and microwave for 12-15 minutes until done. separate squash from rind with a fork)
  • Spaghetti sauce (classical brand with extra mushrooms and zucchini added)
  • Hummus and toasted whole wheat pitas (I added roasted red peppers to the hummus this time - good)
  • Grapes
While in NM Roland and I went on a 3 mile hike. I realized half way through the hike that there was no way I would have even attempted that pre-breakfast hike 3 months ago and today I was disappointed that it wasn't a longer hike. Cool.

We are going again in July and I already placed an order for a difficult 6 mile hike to the Tooth of Time.

The Tooth of Time!

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010


    We just registered the family for the Bolder Boulder. It's the 2nd largest race in the US. It's 10K. Last year 53,000 people ran.

    I'm nervous.

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    What I Learned at the Vegan Potluck

    Remember those over achievers , Sharon and James (go here to read how amazing they are), who pestered Roland to change his lifestyle?  They invited us to a vegan potluck. Usually I worry about what to wear to a party with people I don't know. But this time I worried about what to bring!

    These people have been eating vegan their whole lives, right? What if I put something in the food that offended them? What if I said the words, "ribs" or "styrofoam" on accident? What if they thought I was a poser for only being vegan 3 months? What if they didn't like me?


    Turns out that they are really nice people. Super fit, uber healthy nice people. They were kind and encouraging and didn't laugh when I bragged about running 3 miles. I bragged about that to a man who ran the Leadville Ultramarathon 4 times. The Leadville Ultramarathon is a 100 mile high altitude race (you have to run it in less than 30 hours. really.). One of the guys there holds a record for the Leadville race. The potluck was full of ultra marathoners, marathoners, competitive racers, competitive bikers, and real life exercise freaks.

    And they all eat vegan.

    When I apologized for only running 3 miles one of the men said, "Hey, I had to start too. We all have to start someplace."

    This is what I learned at the vegan potluck: they all had to start someplace. They haven't been vegan their whole lives. Most of them have only been vegan for the last 5-10 years. They weren't born athletic. They work hard at it. It didn't come easy. It doesn't come easy.  They use to eat meat. And sugar. And dairy. Just like me. And just like me, they stopped. They just stopped 5 years before I did.

    Its so easy to look at a fit person and say, "Oh, that's easy for her, she's in good shape, she loves healthy food, she's always been that way". But that isn't true. She had to make the decision to take care of herself. Like I did.

    So I had something in common with those vegan pot-luckers. I started, just like they did. I wanted to suck up all their stories, all their wisdom. They were more than willing to share.
    One day I hope to be like them.


    Oh - what did we eat? Pizza (gluten free), wild rice avocado balls, pumpkin hummus, lasagna (gluten free), Chinese cabbage salad, fruit, my chickpea curry, cookies, and fruit pie. It was amazingly delicious and satisfying. It was the healthiest meal I have ever eaten with the healthiest people I have ever met.

    I think it is time for me to plan my own vegan potluck!

    Saturday, May 22, 2010

    Easy Peasy Dinner

    Changing your eating habits can be a little overwhelming. I sometimes feel like I am learning to cook all over again. It's nice to have a few easy dinners you can prepare without much thought or effort. Here is one of my old reliable meals that I modified to fit this healthier lifestyle. If you make this twice you can make it in your sleep. The measurements are loose so you can make it to your taste - I like lots of ginger and garlic and sesame.

    I use a lot of garlic. I just bought this press from Williams Sonoma and I love it. I haven't minced a single garlic since!

    I like this meal because it is easy to have all the ingredients on hand so it's always ready to go.

    Easy Peasy Stirfry:

    Frozen stirfry veggie mix (I use half of the big one from Costco it has mushrooms and other good stuff)
    2 t. peanut oil
    grated fresh ginger - to taste (I use about 1-2 tablespoons)
    minced garlic 1-2 to taste
    tofu - pressed and soaked in low sodium soy sauce - this is optional. I try to use tofu sparingly and the stirfry tastes just as good without it. It adds a contrasting texture.
    sesame seed oil
    wild rice

    Start the wild rice.

    Pour peanut oil into large saute pan or wok (I don't have a wok) and saute ginger and garlic at medium heat for 3 minutes. Increase heat and dump frozen veggies into pan. Saute, stirring veggies around as they cook, You may need to add a little water (or soy sauce - but that increases sodium and you should be watching your salt intake) to keep veggies from sticking. When veggies are thawed and starting to cook add optional tofu. Do not over cook or veggies will be mushy, you want them tender/crisp. Before serving drizzle lightly with sesame seed oil - maybe 1/2 teaspoon to begin - sesame seed oil smells wonderful but too much and it tastes bitter - so taste as you go. I store my sesame oil in the fridge - it lasts forever.

    If I'm feeling fancy I will toast a tablespoon of sesame seeds in the pan before adding the oil and then set them aside to sprinkle over the stirfry.

    Serve over rice with a side of fresh pineapple. Makes great leftovers the next day!


    This stirfry won't have that glossy oily look you are used to seeing in stirfry because, hello! we are taking care of our bodies! But I promise it tastes just as good - in fact, I say it tastes better!

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    12 Week Bravado

    Yesterday I promised to share my age and weight. I regret that now. It was said in a moment of confidence and bravado. In honor of our 12 week anniversary on the Eat to Live program I will keep that promise.

    I am 46 years old. I turned 46 this week. I don't mind telling you I am 46 because I feel like I am 36. In fact I feel better now than I did at age 36. I am stronger and healthier now. But sharing my weight...that seems like such a stigma. Each Monday I step on the scales and I am amazed that I have lost weight. I average 2 lbs a week. Occasionally I will show a 1 lb loss, but the next week it will 3 lbs. I feel surprised by the loss because I am completely satiated on this diet. I don't feel like I am struggling at all. It seems too easy.

    Are you interested in how tall I am? I always like to know how tall people are along with their weight. I am 5'9".

    Okay. Enough stalling. When I started this diet on February 16th I weighed 236 lbs. I set a goal to get under 200 lbs by my 46th birthday. On my birthday I weighed myself and came in at 199!
    • I've lost 37 pounds in 12 weeks.
    • I've lowered my cholesterol by more than 50 points. 
    • I can run 3 miles - alone - without anyone pushing me. 
    • I feel pretty darn good about myself.
    • I only need 6 hours of sleep - unless I work out really hard. 
    • I have energy and stamina.
    • I am more cheerful and think more clearly.
    • Allergies are nearly gone
    • Skin looks better and better each week.
    • I want fresh produce and whole food to eat. 
    • the list of good news goes on and on.
    I bought some new shoes to celebrate. I spent a better part of my birthday trying on clothes only to find that the plus size is too big and the "regular" sizes are too snug. So for the time being I am still in baggy clothing, but that should change in a few weeks. 

    So now you know. I weigh 199 lbs. But don't hang on to that number for long - because it ain't stickin' on me.

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    PMS Update

    It's not like PMS rules my life, but I have been affected by it. My men readers might think they don't need to read this but they are just kidding themselves if they think they aren't affected by PMS. Think of how much better their lives would be if they could reduce the amount of PMS around them!

    Here is the data from 3 months of nutritarian PMSing:
    • No cravings
    • No bloating (but I did retain water - about 2 lbs worth - maybe I'm still too big to notice if there is bloating. You may have to have a flat tummy to notice.)
    • No cramps
    • Still get pimples - just one big one next to my ear
    • Still cry at touching commercials, corny stories, and son's graduation
    • Still surrounded by idiots 2 days a month - (it used to last an entire week - that's a long time to roll your eyes)
    All in all I think that is a quite an improvement.

    Tomorrow I am going to tell you how old I am and HOW MUCH I WEIGH! Pretty brave hu?

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Chickpea Cauliflower Curry

    This is one of my new favorite recipes. It's easy to prepare - one of those open-the-can-and-pour recipes - and it is yummy:

    1 onion chopped
    3 teaspoons curry powder
    1 can (15 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
    1 head cauliflower - cut up into florets
    1/2 of a 15 oz can tomatoes - diced
    4 oz can chilis - diced
    15 oz can coconut milk ( I used lite)
    1/3 cup chopped cilantro

    Spray pan with oil spray, saute onion until it starts to brown. Add cauliflower, chickpeas, curry, tomatoes, chilies (add these to your taste- I like lots of them), and coconut milk. Simmer until cauliflower is tender and liquid thickens up. I live at a high altitude so I used all the coconut, but if you are in a more humid area you may only need half the can. Add cilantro before serving. Serve over brown rice.

    Serves 4

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    Losing Control

    Yesterday I was tempted by Oreos - for crying out loud! I've never liked Oreos. But I quickly shoved 4 into my mouth before I stopped myself by putting them into my son's bedroom. It scared me when this happened. I love the feeling of control that I've had for...3 months now (I know! Right?).   This is the second time I have done this. Last time it was with those nasty circus cookies.
    Hey! These are nasty!

    In both cases it was because I let myself get too hungry. Yesterday I didn't take time to eat a decent lunch that would last for hours. Instead I just had a green smoothie - 2 hours later - dazed and confused with Oreo crumbs on my face.

    Today I had a big salad with nuts, avocado, black beans, and toasted pita with hummus. You could wave a plate of warm homemade chocolate chip cookies in my face and I would proudly laugh! I don't want that! My body is too good for that!

    You have to take time to care for yourself. Don't let yourself get too busy, too distracted, or too involved to feed yourself right.

    Today's Food:
    • Grapefruit and orange salad (grapefruit is 6/$1 at Sunflower this week)
    • Huge green smoothie (kale, red chard, apple, banana, ground flax, blueberries, and water)
    • One slice dark rye bread
    • big salad with nuts, avocado, apple, red pepper, black beans,  
    • toasted pita with hummus
    After School Snack:
    • Warm applesauce with cinnamon
    • More grapefruit (hey! it's cheap)
    • Michelle's Sweet-potato Leek Soup (Hey! It's snowing!)
    • Kale Salad (hey! it's good for you)
    Also -I made these cookies for the family and they were good. I had to practice self control while they were in the kitchen.  If you expect cookies to be buttery and sugary you might want to call these scones or biscuits to manage your expectations. They smell wonderful and taste good with a cup of chamomile tea.

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    Sandwich and a Book

    Last night I made this delicious sandwich for dinner:  It was perfectly wonderful, and I actually had 2! The boys liked them too. I didn't grill the eggplant, I broiled it and I didn't use the veganaise (fake mayo) and it was so good!

    My 13 year old is now drinking a combination of rice/soy milk out of the cow's milk container. He has no idea. I think I will let him enjoy it for a few more days until I tell him. I just have to remember to keep replacing the milk!

    You need to read this book:

    It is absolutely amazing and interesting. Hurry! Go get your copy now!

    Saturday, May 8, 2010

    To Sneeze Or Not To Sneeze

    That Is The Question.

    A while back I was bragging about all the wonderful changes we have noticed since changing our diet and one of the most celebrated was the almost complete disappearance of our seasonal allergies.  My smart charming friend, Andrea, sent me this email:
    hmm... what about seasonal allergies? my kids suffer. SUFFER. do you really think if i change their diet, it will make a difference to their grass allergies?? i want to embrace all this, but i am a skeptic. i do believe it works for other people, but i don't think that
    a) it's a realistic approach for a busy family with young children
    b) it works for everyone. what if i'm part of the "everyone it doesn't work for" part of the equation?
    In no way am I qualified to give Andrea answers to those questions. But I can tell you that 10 years ago my husband and I did a sugar free diet in the fall and all of our allergies went completely away. Every spring and fall since when the sneezing, coughing, congestion, dripping, itching, and hives would begin I would remember the time I had an allergy free fall because I was sugar free (no white flour either).

    Since we have started eating only nutritious plants and taken all refined foods (sugar) out of our diet our allergies are once again gone! I believe it is because sugar taxes my system so much that it cannot handle pollen too, so it shuts down and then I need antihistamines, drops, sprays, and inhalers. But when I quit the sugar my body is strong enough to handle pollen and most all the symptoms go away and I only need the occasional antihistamine. Here are 2 quick articles about sugar and allergies: and  .

    Andrea's Questions:
    a) Is it a realistic approach for a busy family with young children?
    Yes. You are in charge of what your children eat. They eat what you give them, especially when they are young, they don't procure their own food. The first week will be a hassle - just switching over - but then it gets easier. You will have to plan ahead and do prep the night before (cutting up veggies, preparing fruit, replacing sugary jams with honey) but after a week or two it will be second nature.

    I think you should do it without a lot of fanfare. Don't make a big announcement: "Children! You are forbidden to consume sugar! It is bad! Horrible! From now on we will eat "healthy" food only! And dammit, you're gonna like it!"

    No, just do it. Make no edicts or announcements, just quietly do it and rave about those amazingly sweet cherry tomatoes, and that deliciously exotic hummus dip. Or perhaps your family would be willing to try an experiment for 3 weeks - you could make it a game with a special calendar/chart - they could help with the food prep and choose recipes they can help make for the family. I suggest either doing it quietly or making it an adventure.

    b) Does it work for everyone? What if I'm the "everyone it doesn't work for" part of the equation?
    I don't know if it works for everyone. It worked for us and it's worked for others. So try it for 3 weeks. See how you feel and then if it doesn't work for you, you never have to worry about it again. But if it does work (and I think it will!), your sweet children will be healthier, stronger, and able to roll in the grass without getting hives! And no more pills, sprays, drops, inhalers! How awesome would that be!?

    Isn't it worth a try?

    Note: Roland and I and our 17 year old son have been pretty strict about eating this way and we have all gone off of our seasonal allergy medication, excepting the occasional (2x a week?) antihistamine. However, my 13 years old son still eats lots of refined food at school and friend's homes and social events and he still suffers. I won't force or manipulate to get him to comply - this has to be his decision.

    How desperately I wish I had fed my kids this way when they were young. It may be my biggest parental regret.

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010


    I started serving my family whole wheat pasta (mostly spaghetti ) by adding a little more whole wheat to the regular pasta each time until finally all the pasta was whole wheat. No one said a word about it.

    Now I am doing that with milk. Ike, my 13 year old, loves his milk, but that milk isn't very good for him. So I am slowly replacing the milk he drinks with rice milk. It will be interesting to see if he notices a change.

    He is using that milk on the granola I made yesterday:

    My Granola

    I like this recipe because it tastes better than store bought, the kids can help make it, it has much less fat than other recipes I've tried, it makes the house smell wonderful, and it is so easy to make! We had friends over last night and served this for dessert with fresh fruit (strawberries and pineapple) and ice cream (for our non-vegan friends). They loved it.

    Robin's Granola
    In a large bowl mix:
    • 3 1/2 cups rolled oats
    • 1 1/2 cup raw nuts (I like whole and chopped nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans - what ever you like)
    • 1 cup mixed raw seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, flax, unhulled sesame seeds)
    • 3/4 cup All Bran Buds
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 t nutmeg
    Mix together:
    • 1/3 cup honey (you can cut this to 1/4 if you like)
    • 1/4 cup canola oil 
    Pour honey mixture over the oat mixture until well blended. Bake on 2 foil lined jelly roll pans at 325 at 15 minutes sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded coconut over granola and toast for 3 minutes (total cooking time is 18 minutes). Watch carefully so it doesn't burn. Remove pans from oven and let cool. Pour into bowl and stir in 1 cup dried fruit (craisins, raisins, etc.)

    Store in airtight container.

    Monday, May 3, 2010

    We Did It!

    Before the race. 
    Kelly, Joyana, Michelle, Me, Debbie, Angie, Shay, Linda

    I did it! We did it! It's hard to believe that 12 short weeks ago I couldn't even run for one minute and I ran (most of) a 5K!

    Beautiful Garden of the Gods. The start line - about 830 runners - we were near the back.

    The entire event was amazing to me, from the shuttle to the start line to running into Roland's arms at the finish line to the celebratory breakfast in Manitou Springs. It's all I've thought about the last 48 hours. My friend, Diana (who is having her baby as I type), told me this is called a "Runner's High". I never would have thought that those two words, Runner's High, could be associated with me! But gosh darn-it -- I've got Runner's High and it feels great!

    Linda (pink jacket around waist)  finished first in our group.

    Joyana (in black) looks like she is strutting across the finish.

    Right before the race I had to use the bathroom, you don't want to run with a full bladder, and nerves  made me need to go. The line for the 8 porta potties was at least 15 minutes long and the race started in 5 minutes so Joyana, Debbie, and I ran into the bushes and did our business right in front of 830 racers. I thought we had picked a private place to go, but it was next to a trail that lots of people used - sorry if I flashed you. Debbie flashed lots of people!

    When the race started I was shivering with nerves, excitement, and fear. I ran all but the steepest hill and walked part of one long hill. I saw people cheat the course but no way would I do that. The people who ran the 5 mile race zipped past me like I was standing still. It was thrilling to hear them come up behind me, huffing and puffing and grunting with effort and then watch as they bounded past - beautiful. If you've never run in a 5k I highly recommend you do it just so you can be next to those amazing runners who run twice as fast as you.

    The finish! 
    Coach Michelle crossed with me - she ran back and forth through the race checking on all of us. Such a great gal.

    I passed people too. I was told that I should try to pass people but I thought that would be impossible, it was a miracle that I even showed up, but I did pass them. And then some of them passed me.

    We are pretty happy - Debbie, Joyana, Michelle, Kelly and me.

    Angie and Kelly, both fast capable runners, stayed with me the entire race. It must have been painful to run so slow. I love them for that. They both would have ranked near the top of their age group, but they stayed with me, coming in very last in their age group. Such dear loving friends. I insist that next time you both run your own pace ok?

    I ranked 17th in my age group with a time of 46.49. I was disappointed with the time, but that was gun time so I think I can take a minute and half off my time cause I was near the back at the start. Also, lots of people told me that because the race is so very hilly (very) that the time is slower for everyone.The oldest woman to run was 73 years old and she finished in 39 minutes! My hero.

    Sweetheart Angie

    When I saw the finish line and heard the music and the announcer, I got goose bumps. Roland was standing right at the finish with the camera - I couldn't wait to get to him. Ah, I do love that man.

    Coach M

    Christine, Jen, and Cumorah cheered us on and Jen gave us all leis as we finished. The running group (officially called "Weak In The Knees" as we nearly all had knee trouble last week) gave me a huge bouquet of flowers. It was quite the celebration, my cheeks hurt from smiling. There were lots of pictures (check us out on this guy's site) and hugs and even a few tears of joy.

    Michelle, Shay, Debbie, Angie, Me, Cumorah, Joyanna, Jen and assorted darling children.

    Can't wait for the next one!