Wednesday, October 31, 2018

BOO (hoohoo)!

It’s Halloween. And something really scary happened this morning—I realized as NPR woke us up, that whenever I hear someone say “the president,” I knot up in a hard lump of seething anger. And if I hear Voldemort’s voice, my anxiety level jumps to “steaming fissure.” It occurred to me, again, that I need to focus on what's GOOD in the world.

In order to surround myself with a more positive vibe, I’ve given up all news except PBS News Hour (and I only watch that every couple of weeks). For the rest of my news, I watch Colbert, Oliver, and Bee. Still, putting a funny spin on the news isn’t enough to soothe my anxiety. So, in addition to my gratitude journal, meditation, extra Vitamin B and chamomile tea, lavender baths, Theta-wave music CD’s, and extended periods of total silence, I’ve compiled a list of things to remind me (us) that in spite of a relatively small number of GRUBS (Greedy Repulsive Unrepentant Bastards), we humans are pretty okay…

1. All but the most radical people of faith—of all major religions—are beautifully kind, peaceful, and generous people. For example, after the shooting by a white terrorist at a Pittsburgh synagogue, Muslim organizations instantly raised over $200,000 to help victims and their families.

2. I finished grading a stack of papers, and the next batch won’t come in for THREE. WHOLE. DAYS.

3. The Great Barrier Reef has been dying. Scientists have now successfully bred GBR coral in the lab and transplanted it back in the wild.

4. Young people are expected to turn out in record numbers for the November 6 midterm elections.

5. The hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica is recovering, according to NASA:

6. My 82-year-old mother fell twice last week. Hard. On a hardwood floor. She didn’t break a bone, and her spectacular shiner only adds to her Halloween witchery.

7. Honeybee populations are on the rise.

8. Our kids, their partners, and our grandkids are compassionate, funny, smart, dear human beings all.

9. This barber gives homeless folks haircuts for a hug:

10. The Women’s March of 2017 drew over 3 million people. 3 MILLION.

11. Ezri lost another tooth, this time at school so she could show everyone, and she brought to dinner, so she could show everyone at the restaurant, too.

12. Our bathroom remodel, to make our main floor more mom-friendly, is finally done. And it turned out sweet as can be.

13. Babies were born to two of my online students (in the same class) in the last month. Both students kept right on with their school work and let me post pics of the babies on our course website.

14. Coffee prices have been decreasing (so stock up the freezer—they’re expected to go up up up starting in 2019).

15. Trick-or-Treaters. C’MON! Could these kids BE any more adorable and full of promise?!?

16. A record 256 women are running for the House and Senate in November. SO PLEASE VOTE.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

KETO rhymes with NEATO

I’m weary to my bones from current events and American polidicks, so this blog is about food. Food fixes everything, right? Three-fourths of Americans (the number that will be considered overweight by 2020, according to the CDC) can’t be wrong, right?

As a person who’s struggled with weight since my uber-hormonal childbirthing days, I’ve finally settled on a keto lifestyle, which is the only sustainable plan that helps me shed lbs and puffballness, feel less joint pain, and have a workable amount of energy. In addition, my blood work is holding steady at “amazing,” in spite of my tendency toward high (sometimes skyrocketing) blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides.

I’m not here to promote the diet. Eat whatever you want, and leave my diet alone. But if you’re already keto-ing, or if you decide to give it a try, I’ll tell you about a few things that make sticking to the plan possible for this hard-core Dorito-binging, I’ll-have-a-Butterfinger-with-my-ice cream, reformed KetoNerd. And if you need the basics, you can look up KETO stuff all over the interwebs. It’s basically protein, non-starchy veggies, and good fat ( Anyway, here are my tips:

1. Coffee – Morning coffee with 1 tsp organic virgin coconut oil and a “glug” of organic heavy whipping cream. Good fats, no carbs.
2. Tuna salad and egg salad – protein, sugar-free mayo, negative-calorie celery, a few onion flakes, parsley. A great breakfast/lunch, and a nice change from slabs of meat.
3. Monk fruit sweetener – If I must have it sweet (a bit in vinaigrettes, fat bombs, mini cheesecakes, etc.), this is a good tasting, 1:1 substitution, no net carb alternative to sugar. which I no longer eat (except on rare occasions in my daughter’s amazing cakes).
4. Thick-it-Up – a carb-free thickener for sauces, gravies, and soups.
5. Paleo Protein powder – protein powder, water, a spoonful of full-fat plain yogurt, a spoonful of coconut oil, and a few blueberries = breakfast smoothie.
6. Whisps – these things have SAVED. MY. CARBAHOLIC. LIFE. It’s cheese, baked crispy and shaped like a chip. Dip in egg salad, tuna salad, cashew or almond butter (unsweetened), eat out of the bag. They come in several flavors.
7. Atkins Meal Replacement Bars – I keep these on hand for a quick go-to meal replacement, or when I have to have something sweet.
8. Coconut Aminos – good sugar-free substitutes for teriyaki and soy sauce.
9. Joseph’s Lavash Bread – when I absolutely MUST have bread. ½ of a giant piece has 5 gms carbs (I keep it under 25 gms/day), and ¼ piece, or 2.5 gms carbs, is just right for a BLT, hotdog, tuna/egg salad rollup. But mostly, BLT.

In addition to these pantry staples, I try to do production-line cooking on weekends, then freeze or fridge smaller portions for the coming week: I sauté/bake beef chunks, chicken thighs and/or chicken breast chunks, and lamb chops/cubes (my favorite), I make my tuna/egg salads, and I boil eggs for quick grab-n-go protein/fat. The good fats I use are coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, heavy whipping cream (for coffee and sauces/soups), and occasionally, butter. Lots of salads, green beans, broccoli, and celery (which I dip in nut butters, cream cheese, egg/tuna salads). I try to buy as much organic, grassfed, and minimally processed food as I can. When I eat out, I eat meat and a salad. I avoid fast food, but if I’m stuck on the road, I’ll go for a fast food salad with protein.

So there you go. Keto 101. Hey, maybe that’s Donald’s problem…his diet…yeah, that’s it…