Saturday, July 31, 2010

Had To Add This....

I found this link, apparently written by Basil Marceaux.  Read if you dare..or if you can......


Anyone who can translate it, please leave me a comment!  Make sure you read all the way down to "Things of Important"  and "Things I done for my citizens".

I just can't stop laughing over this....

GO Basil!

1st Sale!!

Yay!  I sold a block! 

I was told to do a block with butterflies and make it pink.  Going quite this pink was a bit of a challenge for me, but I think it turned out pretty well!

Friday, July 30, 2010


I'm not much of a political person, but I'm so hitting the polls to vote for this guy!  He's inspired me to run for the next election.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Addition

Not a baby!  What is wrong with ya'll?!?  New addition to the bucket list.  :)  Read about it here:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Initiations and Sharing

I got initiated into motherhood today.  And Eric learned to share.

Matthew threw up all over me.

It is now 1am and I am waiting to wash and dry 3 loads of laundry and then make my bed. 

I'm not eating any more food this week.   I know I'm next.

Fruit chart

I found this fruit chart to help you guys out!  :)  I really am gonna blog soon about the whole food change....


And the Bottom Drops Out....

Eric is better - 100% I believe.  And it's a good thing too, since we had to deal with the news that John's full time position was given to someone else before he could fill out the paperwork.  He was given another full time position - 4 night shifts, then 4 days off.  There's no chance for him to get overtime, which now cuts our salary in half.  No more house hunting.  No more birthday planning.  Vacation days won't be an option nearly as often since he plans on trying to get hired in another county and working on those days off to make up the difference we are losing in salary.  I am so disheartened.  John works SO hard.  He always has.  Why can't he catch a break?  Why is he treated so poorly everywhere he works?  Overworked and underpaid and no closer to his dream of becoming a nurse.  He's put his time in.  When does it pay off?  It's weighs heavy on my heart that the kids and I partially stand in his way of achieving his dreams.  If he didn't have us to worry about, he could easily finish school.  He could be anything he wanted to be.  But he puts us first and works hard to make sure we are provided for.  I've tried concocting plans that would alleviate that stress from him, but I don't have the money-making potential he has and if I do go to work and put the kids in the care of someone else, that will eat up my whole paycheck.  I don't know what to do.  I don't where else to go to look for jobs.  He needs a job where he can work nights or flexible hours enough to go to school.  A job that would pay him to go to school while allowing him to maintain his job would be tops.  Me, being able to get at least a part time position as a transcriber at home would help.  I am so discouraged and so tired of watching John wear himself out.  I want so badly for the skies to open up and for every blessing to fall on him.  I want him to be happy so bad.  I feel so heartbroken and helpless to make a difference.

I know God is taking care of us.  And I trust Him to do what is best.  We are so blessed it's a sin to complain.  I'm just finding God's timing difficult to deal with.  It seems like we run and run and run to get ahead, but we're stuck in the same place.  I guess we're slow learners and not mastering the lessons He is teaching.  Please pray that we keep God first, and that we accept and do His will gladly.  It's not easy right now.  I want Him to change everything.  Come to think of it.....I was here over 4 years ago.  Crying and crying about wanting a baby.  Fearful I would never have one.  I went to a Wednesday night class where something stuck out to me.  "We need to learn to wait on God and stop waiting on things from God."  I found out I was pregnant days after taking that lesson to heart.  I think it's time for me to relearn that lesson.  God is faithful.  

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Yay for Viruses!

Eric seemed to do fine the rest of the day yesterday.  He didn't eat much - I wouldn't allow much - so by the end of the day I figured it was a fluke.  I still wondered if he had gagged himself, but the repeated episodes seemed to indicate otherwise to me.

This morning he woke me up asking for breakfast.  He seemed to be in good spirits and I figured he must be hungry.  I still wanted to keep things light though.  He asked for Rice Krispies, and I obliged.  While I was making breakfast he mentioned that his bed was "wet".  This typically means he has had an accident, but he had the same shorts on and they were dry.  So I ignored him.  I continued to feed him a couple of small bowls of Rice Krispies and since he seemed to be feeling well I allowed him to have an orange.

I went back to his room to begin my cleaning for the day.  I started in the master closet by putting all the clothes away, then I headed over to his bed to make it.  Guess what was waiting for me there?!?!  AGH!  He had puked.  I have no idea when.  Does anyone else have children that A) don't get upset when they get sick and B) don't bother telling you?!?  Okay, granted, he told me his bed was wet.  *smacks head*  I was upset for a couple of reasons.  One, he had been sick and I didn't know it.  Two, (and I know this is gross but hold out for me) it was really thick - thick enough for me to scoop up and throw out with gloved hands.  He could have choked and I would have never known!!  Three, I should have been able to smell it, to get to it right away.  But it wasn't acidic at all.  It didn't smell at all really.  And I guess that shouldn't be a concern, but it kind of has been because it seems as if his food isn't getting digested at all.  I am hoping this is just a virus and not a symptom of something worse.  I know that's my hyperchodriasis coming out.  I just want him to be okay!

Meanwhile, he seems to be doing fine.  No fever, he says he's "hungry" quite a bit and he's eaten fairly well today.  He has been less active, and has seemed to prefer laying in our bed and watching Madagascar over and over and over again....

I'm a bit on edge with the puking (of course).  Any time he coughs I ask if he is okay.  He smiles and says yes, that he is just "swallowing".  I try to keep reinforcing the use of the bucket.  He really likes that being explained to him.  "I gag in the bucket?"  "Yes"  "Gag in the bucket and then put it in the toilet!"  "Yes".  All grins.  Pretend gagging in the bucket.  Bucket on the head.  More smiles.  I mean, I can't get much better than this.  God has blessed me.  I have yet to deal with a child who is so sick they can barely move.  And I haven't had to hold a child while they get sick every hour on the hour.  And I haven't had to deal with two of them sick at the same time.  I'm glad God understands my phobias.

So, under the assumption that this is a virus (and I'm wondering if it's the same one Matthew had) I spent the whole morning running around the house with my hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, spraying every hard surface in sight.  Eric and Matthew's bedrooms are complete and the bathroom is done.  I have to get to the front of the house soon.  I was just pooped from all that deep cleaning.  I think our water bill may be a bit high this month after all the hot loads of laundry I've run today! 

I know this was a totally pointless blog.  Thanks for reading!  :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Yesterday was full of good news.  John got a full time position with the EMS.  His new schedule is incredible.  Work 24 hours, off 24 hours.  Repeat...I don't know how many times..then 4 days off.  YAY!  Things were looking up!  New full time position, house hunting today, vacation time on the horizon, 2 beautiful children - I was feeling incredibly grateful and blessed and also.....nervous.  They say when you hit rock bottom there's no where else to go but up.  I feel the opposite is true too.  When you're at the top, there's no where else to go but down.  And yesterday was pretty tops for me!  So even though I was awoken this morning by Matthew's lovely set of lungs, I was excited about looking at all the beautiful houses today.  After making Eric's breakfast, I focused on making Matthew's.  Then I heard the gagging.  What has this child (Eric) put in his mouth this time?  I spun around in time to watch him puke.  And puke.  And puke.  I did what any loving mother would do.  I went and got John.  :)  AGH!!!!!   John was the hero (there John!) and took Eric to the bathroom and cleaned him up and then came back and cleaned the mess up.  Eric's not running a fever and seems to be okay now, but I decided to stay behind with him just in case.  We didn't need him puking in the car or worse, somebody's house.  *sigh*  So I'm missing out on seeing all the beautiful houses I worked hard to pick out.  I was SO looking forward to today.  Eric was too.  A huge part of me wanted to pack us both up anyways and risk it, but things could have been disastrous if we tried to go.  Now that we're just sitting at home, I'm SURE there won't be another incident! 

So I am getting to hear over and over again about Eric getting sick, in typical 3 year old fashion.

"Is it terrible, mommy?"
"Is what terrrible, baby?"
"Yes.  Gagging is terrible."
"Yes.  Gagging and then sneezing a lot is terrrrible!"

Sneezing a lot.  Yeeeesss....that's what you were doing.  And then he reenacts it again and again to make sure I fully understand exactly what he's talking about.  You all know I'm loving that.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Today's Thought

These are 2 interesting videos from that 2 different friends of mine posted.  Thought you might like to watch them as well.

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

The State of Christianity from Urbana 09 on Vimeo.


In order to make sure that I could stalk my stalkers, my sister introduced me to a site that keeps record of who comes and goes.  I decided to check it out today.  I've learned some interesting things.

1.  I must be getting boring.  I started blogging in April where I had 289 page views.  This has since dwindled to 230-some odd page views.  I need to find more interesting material to write about.

2.  I have a friend in Waterloo, Ontario.  Hi Canada!  Don't worry.  The site doesn't reveal your name.  Just your location.  You should leave me a comment some time so I can "meet" you.  :)

3.  Hello to Winchester, New Hampshire too!  I don't think I know anybody there.  I bet it's a beautiful state to visit!

4.  There are a few other frequent visitors from the northeast.  I wonder why people from the northeast are more intrigued by my blogs than people in other parts of the country. can I reach out and gain the interest from 1 person from every state?  I think it's my new goal.

5.  Apparently my blog is best read right before lunch or right after.

6.  Which brings me to my next interesting discovery.  My Jillian blog was the most popular one this month.  Quite fascinating with the copious amount of reading material available concerning health and nutrition.  Jillian Micheals - if you ever read this, you totally owe me.  Call me.

7.  Even though I endorse products and websites, and even though marketing directors have SEEN me promoting their products, I have yet to get anything for free.  I guess that only works if you are famous and endorsing the product on TV.

So, my combined research has led me to the conclusion that while I may be becoming a boring blogger, people in the northeast find nutrition blogs fascinating.

I think I'm going to write about ranches and rodeos tomorrow and see what new readers I can round up...

Setbacks and Exhaustion

I didn't even get a chance to go look at the house I love.  It's under contract.  *sigh*  AND another one of the houses that I was very interested in seeing which was well below our price range is under contract too.  I'm still excited to see the others on our list though.  My very favorite one is what John listed at the "top" of our price range.  But it will have to come down at least $10,000 for us to get it and I doubt we'll be able to swing that one.  Who knows what will happen?  Still pretty awesome that we should be in a house by the end of the year!  :)

In other non-housing news, the boys are keeping us busy.  I'm about ready to put them both up for sale.  :)  Eric is in his repeat everything 15 times mode. (I feel like I've said this before in a previous post.  How many times do children go through this stage??)  What one conversation looks like.  Now imagine this 100 times a day (different topics of course!)

"Mommy, are you sleeping?"
"Are you sleeping?"
"Are you sleeping?"
"Are you sleeping?"
"Please stop talking."
"Mommy, I am TAWWWWKING.  Are you sleeping?"

So help me....this phase is so exhausting.  Sometimes I even change up the answers.  It doesn't help.

"Mommy, I need ice"
"Mommy, can I get ice?"
"No.  You don't need ice."
"Mommy I need ice."
"Eric.  I said no.  Stop asking about ice."
"Mommy, can I get some ice?"
"Mommy I need ice."
"No.  No ice.  You don't need ice.  I don't HAVE ice.  You're not GETTING ice.  Do not say the word 'ICE' one more time!"
"Mommy...I need some ice"

He has also remembered how I don't like people to go hungry.  So his fall back statement when he doesn't want to do something is, "I'm hungry".  Sometimes he's throwing a fit about one thing, and realizing that it's not working will sop mid-sentence and say, "I'm hungry!"  It doesn't work.

Matthew is getting a mouthful of teeth.  4 new ones have just broken  through and it looks like he's trying to get some more in.  He's not walking yet.  I'm sure he would if we worked with him a little bit more, but I can still catch him fairly easily right now.  I am delaying the walking for as long as possible!  His hair is coming in nicely and is still very light.  I really do think it will stay dirty blond, but we'll see!  He talks almost as much as Eric and like to sing the ABC's.  He's still as opinionated and strong-willed as ever, and he still likes to make a run for the toilet whenever he gets a chance, but his smile with those beautiful dimples melts me every time.  I can't help but squeeze him up!

Bucket List

Finally got my bucket list up.  I'm sure I will be adding to it.  Add what is on your bucket list too!  And if you can help me out with my list, let me know!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pretty Crazy

So...funny story connecting my 2 house-hunting blogs:

The realtor wrote me concerning the house I said I loved.  She said she saw it a couple of years ago when it was on the market for $200,000.  So, the thing I said about wanting a $200,000 house for half the price?  Yeah....  Can't wait for this next house hunting adventure!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Now that a house is on the horizon, I'm in major decorating mode!!  I've waited nearly my whole life to decorate a child's room and I'm ready to give my boys cool rooms!  I am very interested in doing one of the rooms in a monster theme.  I love these little monster plushes.  Is there anybody out there in cyberland that can make a dozen different kinds?  I'll pay you!


Ok....haven't been on site to check it for sure...but I am in LOVE with this house!  AND it is in our price range.  A little higher than we wanted to go, but maybe we can negotiate it down some!!!  I am hoping we can go with the realtor on Wednesday to check it out.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

House Hunting

Our apartment lease is up next month!  Which means....time to find a house!  Looks like we will be staying in the tri-cities, so we have been house hunting.  It has been quite a while since John and I last bought a house, and that went so easy I barely remember it!  This time around, we are taking our time to find a place where we can be settled in for the next 10 years or so.  I have in mind the amount of "house" we need/ want.  3-4 bedrooms, kitchen with plenty or counter top space, a dining room, a basement, and a backyard.  Not much, riiiiight?  Ok.  So it's quite a bit of house for the amount of money we plan on spending.  Which I think is starting to frustrate our Realtor slightly.  We have now been house hunting twice.  And we found a house in Elizabethton and a house in Kingsport that would "work".  But it's not EXACTLY what we're looking for.  I decided today that we should start looking for houses in a higher price range since we can mostly likely negotiate the price down.  I think this will help our search immensely.  I told the Realtor that I "like to cook and we have company in a lot".  John jokes that we want a mansion for $100,000.  He's just kidding - sort of...  :) 

It's hard to comprehend that we could be moving again soon.  Into a very permanent place.  John and I haven't lived anywhere more than 3 years (?) at a time I believe.  If it feels this unreal right now, I can't imagine how I will feel on moving day!  It will be so nice to have a place to call our own though and we're making sure it's everything that we need.  We're not settling or rushing into anything this time.  And believe me when I say we have all of you in mind while we're shopping!  Whether it be if mom's wheelchair can fit through the doors or if there is a place to put guests up for the night.  So we expect everyone to come visit us in our SPACIOUS house just as often as you have patiently crammed into our tiny apartment!

John and I both silently wondered how difficult this would be dragging 2 little boys along with us.  Would you believe they LOVE it?  The first day Eric was so excited to see the first house that he cried when we left.  We explained that we were going to look at more and he was thrilled.  After every house he would ask if we were going to look at more houses with my friend (the Realtor).  After the last house, we had to deal with a complete meltdown once we explained we were done looking for the day.  I'm not sure why it excites him so much, but it has made the process more fun for us.  He walks in and says "Wow!  This house is HUUUUGE!"  with the exception of a foreclosure that we checked out.  He walked in first and said "This stinks!"  And he was right.  I don't know if it is customary for people of foreclosed homes to saturate the carpet and floors in urine or if those people just lived that way, but we are done looking at foreclosed homes.  Unless of course there's a foreclosed $250,000 home running less than half price!  In above average condition.  :) 

We will keep you updated on what we find.  Here are a couple of houses that I am hoping to look at.  They seem ideal.  Maybe one of the m will work out!

Cast your votes!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Little Helper

This is what happens when I am bent over the sink washing dishes to put in the dishwasher.....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Grocery Shopping and Meals

I should have been blogging about such things all along, but we can pick up here.  Today I went out for the first grocery shopping trip off the week.  Last week, I went over my $100 limit by $6.  This could have been avoided with slightly better planning, but all in all not a bad money week.  Of course, very little was organic, but most everything was whole, natural food.

I feel great that I've been able to change the way we eat and keep costs reasonable.  HOWEVER, several things are starting to concern me.  If you noticed, I haven't mentioned a whole lot about meat.  We haven't had to buy any because we had stocked up on chicken breasts last month when they went on sale for $1.75 a pound.  I don't know how buying meat is going to factor in once we run out of what we have.  Another concern is that we will no longer have WIC after this month.  I'm happy about that for the most part, but it did provide $12 worth of produce for us as well as it would have taken care of the cost of the soy milk, which is running us $40 a month.  I have got to wean that child off of soy milk!

Today I spent $50 on groceries.  More than I would have liked for the first grocery trip of the week, but it may work out.  That $50 covered breakfast for everyone for the week, as well as a week's worth of fresh fruit, and several lunches.  I didn't get any fresh vegetables, so I will have to either check the Farmer's Market tomorrow or just use the frozen veggies and cans that we have in the house.

One of my favorite "organic" changes has been changing my cleaning supplies.  This is a great way to not only cut toxins in your home, but also costs.  All you need to clean and sanitize your house is a spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a spray bottle of vinegar.  That's it.  It has proven to kill bacteria as well as bleach-based cleaners without all the harmful side effects.  That was an easy enough change to make.  The hydrogen/vinegar solution also effectively cleans your fresh produce!  So....even when you can't buy organic, you will be able to have cleaner food than by rinsing with water alone.

So tonight's menu consists of RACHEL RAY'S MEATLOAF MUFFINS WITH BARBEQUE SAUCE, fresh green beans, homemade organic mashed potatoes, and fresh strawberries and pineapple.  I substituted ground turkey for the beef.  No, this isn't part of going organic.  We made the switch from red meat before this process in order to eat healthier.  I prefer the lightness of the ground turkey to beef anyways.  I used STUBB'S BBQ SAUCE.  It was on sale and is all-natural.  I could read (and identify) all the ingredients - and no HFCS!  I was going to take pictures of dinner, but I'm feeling to lazy to do that (and dinner is not ready yet anyway).

Losing It With Jillian is on tonight.  Check it out!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Artist of the Day

I'm in an art mood lately.  And I'm crazy in love with this artist.  She focuses on using recycled materials.  It is amazing what she can do with a cassette tape!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bent Objects

I am up entirely too late tonight, but just had to post this.  (Not like I can sleep with all the running and banging going on upstairs, anyways.  Who runs at 12:30am??)  The creativity of people never ceases to amaze me.  I thought you might find this artist as clever as I do.

Check out more of his work at

BAD idea

If you are choosing to go with whole, natural foods - you need to STAY eating whole natural foods. 

I spent 6 weeks in Australia where my host families fed me more food than I thought was humanely possible to consume.  I was positive I was gaining weight pound by pound with every meal.  When my friends and I left and hit the States for the first time, we decided Outback Steakhouse was the perfect solution to cure our sadness for having to leave Australia.  We were sick as dogs.  Why?  Because we had been eating whole, natural foods for 6 weeks.  And I had lost weight.

I had forgotten about that until today.  I've made the switch for - what is it? - ONE week now?  And not even completely.  Remember, I'm still clearing out the cabinets and slowly replacing as I go along.  I had told John I wasn't eating out anymore, but he had night shift last night, so after church I took the boys out for lunch to kill a little more time before heading home.  I decided on Smokey Bones, since we don't eat there often.  Still being conscious of making good food choices, I chose the salmon and perhaps a not-so-good choice of mashed potatoes and gravy.  Though tempted to order sweet tea, I was good and ordered water.  I ate HALF the salmon and a little over half the potatoes before I felt STUFFED.  It was all I had had to eat all day.  I spent the rest of the afternoon feeling uncomfortable and slightly miserable. 

Moral of the story?  This is a "diet" you have to stick with!  Your body can definitely tell you what it wants.  I find it hard to believe that it only took a week for my body to start cleaning itself out.  It was an eye-opener for me today and I think it has made the decision to stay on board with this plan very easy!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Fam's Progress

Ok!  So now that I've given you the new info, here's how we're doing!

Charity:  I feel I'm doing well with the change with nearly none of the issues one comes upon with a diet.  I really am not super hungry (except late at night still..can't figure that one out) and the meals are tasty so I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.  I do struggle a bit after dinner with wanting something sweet to eat, but I will grab fruit if it gets too bad.

I promised to post my weight, so here it is.  157.  What an awful number.  It's a far cry from the 110 I was 4 years ago.  We will see what changes I can make!

I've started working out as well.  I've enlisted to John to help "train" me.  Stupid idea.  He decided doing P90X was the best way to get me started.  ugh.  I had originally thought that I would like Jillian to train me personally, but I was winded after the warm-up.  The workout was an hour long and I made it for about 40 minutes.  I got a taste of what it must be like for the people she works with.  I would have probably kept going, but John kept dropping out and I was discouraged with not being able to fully execute all the exercises properly.  We're going to work out again tonight, but I think he's going to go a different route than P90X to start with.  THANK YOU!  I forgot to mention that we did this AFTER returning from being in the swimming pool where I feel like I get a work out just carrying little boys around in the pool.  I realized I am in desperate need of some intense stretching exercises and will be working on getting a *bit* more limber and hopefully toned.  We'll see!

John:  He has enjoyed the meals.  However, he is huge into snacking right now and fusses that there is nothing in the house to eat.  So he made his junk food run out to the store last night.  He continues to drink soda, which is fine - they're not a huge temptation for me.  The ice cream can be a bit tempting, though.  He brought me back Yoplait Whips yogurt with his junk food as a snack for me.  I told him I couldn't eat it because of the high fructose corn syrup.  He said, "This is a Jillian thing isn't it?!"  It's at this point I must tell you, that I have kept hidden from him the fact that I bought her book and am trying to follow that advice because I knew he would ridicule me over it.  I said, "No.  It's a Charity  thing.  Why would you say that?"  He had watched her show the night before at work and had caught on to her getting rid of high fructose corn syrup.  He teased me throughout the night and I let him think he was crazy for making the connection, but while looking for his gun cleaning kit, he found my book!  Oh well!  He's slowly becoming more supportive as he sees I'm doing this quietly and not pushing it on him to work out or lose weight.

Eric and Matthew:  Ai yi yi.  They are not taking it well.  It seems they are alternating growth spurts, so one of them won't eat a thing for a week and I have to listen to how hungry the other one is all day.  They are not taking well to the vegetables at all.  One night, Eric went to bed hungry.  Which is hard for me.  I had given him 4 pieces of cut up chicken, a piece of a piece of broccoli (truly a quarter of a bite), a baby carrot, a small slice of squash, a sliver of potato, and a spoon full of risotto.  He liked the risotto.  He choked the chicken down.  He put the potato in his mouth, chewed it up and spit it out.  POTATO!!!  Ugh.  He absolutely refused to eat the rest of his vegetables, which combined would have been 2 bites.  So he went to bed crying that he was hungry.  I hated that, but at the same time, if he were THAT hungry..he would have eaten.  I forgot to mention that I also provided ranch for dipping all of the above mentioned food.  Needless to say, he ate quite a hearty breakfast the next morning!

Matthew isn't doing much better.  He also spit out the potato (what is wrong with these boys?!?!) and turns down all vegetables except green beans.  He loves those.  They both gobble up fruit like it's going out of style though.  They have such sweet tooths!

So that's the family update!  Not terribly exciting.  Probably not that motivational either for those of you wanting to implement a similar change in your diets.  Sorry!  Maybe there will be more encouraging weight loss entries that will be more positive.  :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Going Organic

 This has probably been my most discouraging part of this journey.  Organic really is twice as expensive.  I am feeling much better simply by eating whole natural foods, but it would be nice to not have the extra toxins in the food.  So, I was happy that Jillian addressed the organic issue.  I'm going to type a lot of what she says, because she puts it so well.

What is the best way you can be sure to avoid 90 percent (that's a huge number..) of all hormone-disrupting agents in our food supply?  Go organic

Organics help you stay slim and prevent diabetes.  More than 90 percent of endocrine-disrupting pesticides that hang around in our body tissues come from foods we consume - especially animal products.

Organics help you avoid scary hormones.  The FDA currently permits six kinds of steroid hormones to be used in producing cattle and sheep.  80 percent of U.S. feedlot cattle are fed or injected with steroid hormones.  Each of these cows gain up to 3 pounds per day.

Organics help you avoid pesticides and other chemicals.

Organics help you prevent antibiotic resistance.  Massive use of antibiotics in the meat and dairy industries leads to widespread antibiotic resistance, exposing us to potentially fatal bacteria such as MRSA.

Organics makes your food taste better.  Duh!

Organics in season make your diet more diverse.

Organics make your food more nutritious.  Organic fruits and vegetables can't rely on pesticides - they have to fight off bugs with their own "immune systems". naturally raising their antioxidant levels.  (I thought that was interesting)

Organics help you save the earth.

This was a pretty powerful example regarding organic that she used:

God created tomatoes and they have all the cancer-fighting health benefits mentioned above - the best form of medicine with no harmful side effects.  Now let's take our little tomato and see what happens in the name of capitalism.  The tomato is grown conventionally, and sprayed with up to seven kinds of pesticides.  Then it is picked too early because it must make the long journey across the country - or across the world - from its original location to your supermarket.  Yes, you are now polluting the environment with all the gas used to transport the tomato.  But there's more.  The tomato is still green because it was picked too early, so now it is sprayed with argon gas (also used to euthanize dogs) to make it turn red prematurely.  WOW!  We have just taken God's natural medicine and turned it into poison - for us and our environment.

Now I understand why all you tomato lovers prefer a fresh home grown tomato!

My favorite part:  she talks about the price of organics.  And understanding that not everyone has enough money to go completely organic, she broke down what you should do if you can afford it.  She does mention that if more and more people eat organic, organic food will become cheaper.  Kind of a catch 22 if you ask me.  You have to have the money to buy it to begin with.  But here's her list:


meat, dairy, eggs.
peaches and nectarines
bell peppers
foods you eat a lot

I call this the "Hey if you've got the cash, why not?" section.  Better safe than sorry.

processed foods (this confused me.....)


foods you don't eat that often

Soo..nice to have the list, except the majority of the food we eat falls in the "always eat organic category"

Restoring Foods

Ok, my faithful Team Jillian!  Has everyone cleaned out their cabinets of all processed foods with additives?  Hmmm..I didn't think so you slackers!  Tsk, tsk....on to the next part anyways:  restoring foods that trigger your fat-loss hormones. 

1.  Legumes:  Best choice are red beans

-dried beans are better than canned

2.  The allium family (garlic, onions, leeks, chives, shallots, and scallions)  Best choice is garlic.

-crushing, chopping, or chewing garlic helps release allinase enzymes, which trigger many of its beneficial actions.
-try to eat these raw - allinase can be deactivated by heat
- pair garlic with olive oil to release even more helpful organosulfur compounds.
-leeks take the best aspects of garlic and onion and combine them with fiber.  Great food choice.

3.  Berries - Best choice - all of them!

-organic is a must.  Berries are among the most pesticide-laden fruits.

4.  Meat and eggs - Best choice:  Alaskan wild salmon

5.  Colorful fruits and vegetables - Best choice are tomatoes.

Eat the rainbow people!

-cooking tomatoes concentrates their power
- in contrast, many other veggies lose their potency with cooking

6.  Cruciferous vegetables.  Best choice - broccoli.

I found this interesting:  Don't cook broccoli on the stove - microwave it instead.  You'll preserve 90 percent of the vitamin C, versus 66 percent with boiling or steaming.

7.  Dark green leafy vegetables - Best choice is spinach

-use baby spinach for salads and mature spinach for cooking

8.  Nuts and seeds.  Best choices:  Almonds and walnuts.

-crush flaxseeds before you eat them; otherwise they'll pass through your digestive system without being absorbed.
-eat nuts raw whenever possible -roasting nuts can damage their fats.

9.  Organic Dairy.  Yes organic....I'll do a separate organic blog.  Best choice:  Organic low-fat plain yogurt.

10.  Whole grains.  Best choices:  oats and barley

*all information taken from Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels, chapter 6*  To learn which foods trigger specific hormones - pick up your own copy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Keeping Up With Jillian (and Charity!)

When I saw that Jillian Michaels had her own show (Losing It With Jillian), I just HAD to watch to see what crazy nut jobs would willingly let this mean, evil woman LIVE with them for a week.  I had watched Biggest Loser in the past and was a huge fan of Bob.  What a cutie!  I would work out with him any day.  But Jillian was a different story.  I couldn't stand her.  I wondered if those poor contestants got a choice of trainer or if they just got stuck with her.  This past year, John brought me home Jillian Michaels Wii game.  I made him take it back.  I told him I didn't want her in my house in any shape, form or fashion.

However.....I got quite hooked on her show.  I began to see that she really did care about people, and in a lot of ways she's like a realist therapist.  The technique is hard to swallow, but in the end it's very effective.  She knows that people are capable of far more than even they realize.  I respect that.  And the show puts her in a different light.  She may well have been just as compassionate on the Biggest Loser, but editing never really does justice to any reality TV personality.  She still screams and yells during the workout and pushes until the people cry or puke (which she loves!) but I was able to see why it works.

For whatever reason, and I don't remember exactly how it came about, but I came across her book Master Your Metabolism.  It caught my attention because it deals with the endocrine system and how food affects your hormones, and since I strongly believe MY hormones are not balanced, I decided to read it.

So here's the short version of the book:  Eat only what God made.  As Jillian says, "If it grows in the ground or has a mother, you can eat it".  The long version of the book?  Lengthy explanations of the variety of hormones that make up your metabolism, lengthy explanations of the things we eat (or in some cases use, such as plastic, cleaners, or cosmetics) that throw those hormones out of whack, and how to restore balance to your body by simply eating whole, organic foods. 

Now this is not new news to me.  I have been very interested in "going organic" for a long time now, but I didn't really feel that push to move that way because while it is most obviously the best way to eat, it didn't seem so harmful to just eat "healthy" and watch portions.  There are plenty of people in my life that choose to eat natural, organic food.  Reading the book even reminded me of a college art teacher I had that would fuss every time we brought candy, soda, chips, or "junk" food of any kind.  He would go off on a tangent about how it was all "poison".  He wanted us to eat healthy!  It was important that we not eat those foods with preservatives and additives because we needed to be fit so we could make art!  We always laughed at him.  Turns out, I guess he knew what he was talking about.  And it makes perfect sense.  The amount of chemicals and additives in the food we eat is pretty staggering.  And it makes perfect sense that eating that food is leading to all the health problems we experience. 

The book is not so much about losing weight (though you will, no doubt!) as it is eating properly to clean your body of toxins and restore homeostasis to the different hormones, thus improving your fat burning potential.  So I decided I wanted to give this a try.  I am on board with any program or information that reinforces what God has placed here for us.  I strongly believe God has given us EVERYTHING we need to live healthy lives.  He made our bodies and he provided the food to take care of them. 

Biggest obstacle?  Cost.   Isn't that the reason why more people don't eat organic?  (It's also quite time-intensive, but I'll get to that)  Since I'm really wanting to take care of my health (and lose wight) and since I strongly believe that this is solid, valid information, I sat down and calculated how much we currently spend on food in a month.  WOW.  Far too much.  I knew that I could cut down costs and start moving towards organic if I took the time to 1) plan meals, 2) cut coupons, 3) shop more often and spend less.  This is a particularly good time to start implementing this new way of eating as we have a Farmer's Market just down the road.  I haven't had a chance to get over there yet (it's only open 2 days a week) but I think that will help a lot.

So I got started this week.  I mentioned it to several people and they were wanting to know the information I was learning and see how it was working for me.  So now I am blogging about it.  I am about 5 days into it.  Here's how those days have gone.

Jillian strongly suggests that you go through and clean out your cabinets of anything that contains these ingredients :

Hydrogenated Fats
Refined Grains
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Artificial Sweeteners (interesting science behind this one!)
Artificial Preservatives and Colors
Glutamates (MSG)

Can I just say, that's like EVERYTHING in your cabinets?  Go look for yourself!  She encourages her readers to throw it all away.  She admits she has gotten flack for giving that advice as opposed to giving the food to a food pantry, but she feels if it's not good enough for you to eat (it's toxic) why would you give it to someone else?  I don't know how many hungry people show up at the food pantry looking for organic food, but that's beside the point.  Neither throwing our food out or giving it away was an option.  I was going to have to slowly make the transition. 

I decided that I would limit the amount I spent on food to $100 a week.  I didn't know how far that was going to get me if I was going to go organic.  First grocery trip, I spent $30. I got strawberries, blackberries, clementines, fresh green beans, a head of romaine, 2 squash, a gallon of soy milk, and 2 boxes of eco-friendly risotto.  I should mention that the only organic thing purchased in the above mentioned was the risotto.  It was a buy one, get one deal.  The reason Jillian pushes for organic is because of the pesticides and hormones used and how they affect our hormones.  Since I am wanting to be as toxin-free as possible, the price of organic was a little discouraging, but I am certain we will see an improvement in our health simply by cutting out the above no-no's.

That's as far as I have gotten in the book - what to cut out (and all the info on our hormones and all the bad things in our environment).  For those interested, she also suggests limiting (if not cutting out all together) the following:

Starchy root vegetables (aim for less than 2 servings a day)
Tropical fruit (5 servings a week)
Dried and canned fruits (treat like processed foods)
Excess soy (I don't need to explain that)
Excess alcohol
Full fat dairy and fatty meats
Canned foods - "Where do we live, in a fallout shelter?" LOL..she actually gives good reasons for avoiding these.

So now the big question - how am I doing with this change?  It is more time-intensive.  I REALLY have to plan meals and be prepared to wash, cut, dice, steam, opposed to opening a can.  But I'm okay with a little extra work for the health of my family.  Cost so far is not an issue - of course we're still eating what is currently in our cabinets, but the past two nights the dinner menu looked like this:

Seasoned chicken (done in crock-pot - no butter or broth)
Butternut Squash Risotto (eco-friendly, i.e. organic)
Fresh green beans

It was delicious!

Turkey burgers on whole wheat bread

Also very good- though I did use onion soup mix for the burgers.  Ssshh..don't tell Jillian!

I eat Special K with a banana for breakfast.  I should mention that Special K (though a "healthy" cereal) is a no-no as it contains high fructose corn syrup.  I've cut out drinking soda and tea completely.  I stick with water and limit myself to one glass of juice a day.  My appetite seems to have decreased.  I can barely get through lunch without feeling a bit nauseous, and I end up eating a later dinner.  By bedtime (like now) I'm STARVING.  Not sure why that is, but hopefully it won't last long.

I have decided to make my own whole wheat bread since we can't afford to buy organic whole wheat.  We get whole wheat bread with WIC, but it still has all those additives.  I figure I can make our own bread and know every ingredient in it.  I did go to the store today and spend $20, which got me wild Alaskan salmon, whole wheat hamburger buns, honey - which I did not get organic.  I couldn't understand how honey could be more organic that just plain honey and I decided not to spend twice as much to get it.  Whole wheat flour (once again - not organic to save money and yet still make a healthy choice), and onion soup mix.  I don't foresee needing anymore groceries this week, so I may get off with just spending $50 for the week, while providing my family with significantly healthier meals.  Well, I take that back.  I may need to figure out something for lunches.  The greatest part of my meal planning/shopping is for dinner.  Lunches, for me, seem to be the hardest part of going organic/natural.  What are you supposed to eat?  I think I did PB&J one day and a turkey sandwich the other with fresh fruit both times.  Not the best choices, but I'm not sure quite where to go with lunches - salads maybe?

As far as my weight - I don't know.  I did not weigh myself to begin with.  I will weigh myself tomorrow and post it for you  and I will let you track my progress with me (if you are so inclined).  As I continue reading, I'll continue posting information that I think you might find helpful.  I suspect the foods she is going to list will match up nearly identical to the foods found in "SuperFoods" a book by....someone..I don't know.  Once again, one of those books I bought because I believe it matches up quite nicely with God's design.  If you have questions, I'll try to answer them.  I wouldn't mind having a team of people join me on this journey!