Month: March 2011

One More Recipe

Today I had another successful recipe and I couldn’t resist posting about it.  It is a sweet potato goat cheese spinach frittata.  I am very excited about this dish because it can be made with so many different variations.  Also it is high in protein, full of veggies, and omega 3 eggs.  Most importantly it tastes good!

I encourage everyone to learn how to make frittatas.  They are so easily adaptable to nearly any diet/lifestyle. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Spinach Frittata.
3 small white sweet potatoes peeled and cooked
8 eggs beaten
6 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup sharp cheddar
10 ounce bag frozen spinach
1 green bell pepper diced
(onion would be good but I didn’t have one)
1 cup diced button mushrooms
olive oil
cook bell pepper in olive oil and mushrooms until soft. Add spinach until it gets soft
Remove veggies onto plate. Make sure side and bottom of pan are covered with olive oil.
Slice potatoes and put in bottom of pan
Add eggs and then dollops of goat cheese on top.
Once eggs get slightly cooked add vegetable mixture
sprinkle cheddar on top and place in 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
You can add anything to this recipe, any vegetable or cheese that you like. It could also be made with meat such as ham, bacon, sausage or chicken. 

Two Successful Recipes

As I have mentioned in previous posts it has been hard for me to find successful PCOS friendly recipes.  In fact, most of my attempts have been unsuccessful and pretty much the last two months I’ve been living off of mojo bars, veggies, fruit and other nibbling.  However, as I keep trying I am slowly learning how to cook for my new body.  I’d say out of 10 meals I have one real success. When I do find something that works it is super exciting and I want to share it with the world- that’s where my blog comes in!

Here are two of my favorite recipes:

lamb burgers with sweet potato chips and spinach salad.

Lamb burgers with Sweet Potato Chips and Spinach Salad (adapted by me from the Low GI Guide to Living Well with PCOS by Jennie Brand-Miller)

Lamb Burgers

1 1/4 lb ground lamb extra lean

1 cup fresh Ezekial 4:9 bread crumbs

1/3 cup parsley finely chopped

1/3 cup fresh mint finely chopped

1 egg

1 clove garlic crushed

1/2 tsp olive oil

Sweet Potato Chips

2 lbs white sweet potatoes (if you haven’t tried these they are so good!)

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

Spinach Salad

4 cups spinach leaves

12 cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp feta

agave based balsamic dressing

Preheat oven to 425 and line baking tray with spray.

To make chips place the sweet potato, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl, and toss to coat.  Spread over lined trays in a single layer.  Bake for 45-50 minutes

Meanwhile, to make the burgers, place the ground lamb, bread crumbs, parsley, mint, egg, and garlic in a large bowl.  Use clean hands to mix until well combined.  Divide the mixture into six portions and shape into round patty.  Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the patties and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until the meat is no longer pink and thermometer reads 160.

To make the spinach salad combine ingredients and toss with dressing.

Serve the burgers on a whole wheat or sprouted wheat roll with some lettuce, tomato, feta cheese and a little mayo.  I also dipped my chips in a little bit of organic ketchup which I surprisingly responded well too.  You could also use a little olive oil mayo and lemon juice or mayo and hot sauce.

Turkey sausage ragu over quinoa pasta- finally a pasta that tastes good!

Everyone knows I LOVE Italian food, and I have searched high and low for a good low GI pasta.  The wait is over!  This is my recipe and it is delicious.  I’m so excited!  This also makes a huge pot of food.  I will have leftovers for days!

Turkey sausage Ragu over Quinoa Pasta

3 Italian turkey sausage (Harmons makes a number of different kinds of sausages and turkey is leaner then pork).

1 large can of Italian plum tomatoes

button mushrooms quartered.

Frozen tri-color pepper blend (or fresh orange, green, red bell pepper)

1 small can tomato paste

1 box quinoa pasta any shape (I used macaroni)

Italian seasoning

Olive oil

Cook sausages in a little olive oil until barely pink.  Slice put back in pot.  Add tomatoes and crush with potato masher so it is chunky.  Add Italian seasoning, tomato paste, bell peppers and mushrooms.  Cook until sauce is slightly reduced and mushrooms are soft.

Follow package instructions for pasta.  You can then add the pasta directly to the sauce or keep it on the side.  A little Parmesan on the top would be good. Yum!!

This sausage and pepper mixture would also be good on a roll as an Italian hogie.

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Let me know what you think of these recipes.  I’m excited to be slowly finding things that taste good! I am developing a new relationship with food that will be better and more customized to my body then it used to be. Please share with me your recipes and product suggestions.  Thanks!!

Success

“For workaholics, all the eggs of self-esteem are in the basket of work.”

Judith M.  Bardwick

(I love this quote because it was totally me a few years ago.  Now the eggs are more spread out!)

I’ve been thinking a lot in the past few weeks about the cost of success.  I always thought I was a person who was meant for great things.  Oddly I don’t remember being specific on what those great things might be but greatness was expected.  However, recently I’ve had a chance to observe successful people and I wonder if the cost is worth it? In saying this I am particularly focusing on career success.

A friend  of mine is a leader in a company and he works all the time- sometimes 14 hour a days with work on weekends.  I can see dedicating such time to something I am truly obsessed with but for just a job it makes me wonder. Especially with a family it begs the question- how much ambition is too much?

Part of the reason I have been pondering the topic is lately work has taken a back-seat in my life.  Don’t get me wrong.  I still work hard at both of my jobs but they don’t overtake my thoughts or time as much as in previous years.  I have too much going on with my health to be stressing out constantly about work.  I do what I need to do and then move on to other things.  For this moment in my life work is not #1 on my priority list.  My spiritual and physical health are first and then work is a distant third.  The lifestyle changes I am making are saving me from diabetes, various cancers and early heart disease- what can be more important than that?

this was my old vision of myself minus the martini

Such a change in my attitude towards work is a bit surprising and sometimes a little upsetting.  Its hard to have something that so identified me for years become a non-sequitur.  A part of me feels guilty for not putting in the 12 hour days and as many weekends? Its like I’m not living up to my potential.  I’ve always had this desire to be a pulled together ‘classy’ career woman but it has never happened.  There is a part of me which feels sad at the loss (at least the current loss) of this vision.

The truth is I don’t know if I ever had what it takes to be a  top-tier success.  Work has practically led me to ulcers  and the stress has led to panic attacks on several occasions.  Working long hours also enabled many bad habits including eating fast food, rarely cooking, never taking a break, and not having time to exercise.  I can’t do that anymore.  I can’t live that life anymore.  It makes me crazy!

As I said, I still work hard but I am starting to let go of the ‘workaholic Rachel’ and become someone else.  I am not sure who, but I know it will be healthier and happier!  Isn’t that worth any sacrifice?

(I do want to add how grateful I am for my job and the flexibility it provides.  I don’t know how I could have made it through the last few months doing anything else.  It is such a tremendous blessing.)

Cookies!

Yes, you read right- this post is about cookies.  But, how you might ask, does a girl who is eating low GI and no sugar eat cookies?  Oh, it’s an exciting day my internet friends, and I’m not dreaming! Its a reality! I’m eating cookies as I write this blog. Yum!

Up until now my success with agave/low gi baking has been mixed at best.  In fact, cooking in general has been difficult.  None of the cookbooks I’ve tried have been any good and the several options on amazon seem poorly reviewed (the library amazingly doesn’t seem to have any cookbooks on the subject?).

Frustrated, I decided to try some recipes online that are featured on blogs, and so far they have been much more successful (wouldn’t you think it is the reverse?).  These cookies were my first baking recipe I got from a blog, and believe it or not they are made with whole wheat flour, peanut butter, agave, and few other ingredients.

The only sugar comes in the dark chocolate chips.  (I also used all natural peanut butter with no added sugars).  Don’t they look yummy? There is also no butter or oils!  It almost seems too good to be true, but they are delicious!  I’m so excited!

I’m already thinking about ways I could jazz up the recipe.  Next time, I will make them smaller so they aren’t quite as heavy and adding oats would be good.

I was just telling my sister that it made me sad I might not have the experience of making goodies with my children.  Now, if I ever have any, its nice to know there are cookies I can make and eat with them! It seems like a little thing but it actually means a lot.  I’ve given up so much in the last few months and it is nice to know of one less thing I have to sacrifice to the low GI alter…Hurray!

Don't they look good!
Cookies!

No-Sugar Peanut Butter Chocolate-Chip Cookies:
– 1 cup natural style nut butter. I use unsalted peanut but you could use salted if you like better (you can also use almond)

– put 2 tablespoons of water in a 2/3 cup measure. Add agave syrup to fill the 2/3 measure (I prefer dark, but light works too)
– 1 generous tsp vanilla

– 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (For wheat-free, sub barley flower, or oat.  For gluten-free sub quinoa flour.)
– 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp salt

– About 3/4 cup grain sweetened chocolate chips – or dark chocolate chips if you can’t find grain sweetened

Oven to 350 degrees, parchment paper on two cookie sheets (or butter them, or use nothing at all). Mix wet ingredients in mixer, add dry ingredients, beat until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Make balls with heaping Tbsp of dough, then squish with a wet fork to get the traditional pattern. I use all the dough to make 12 cookies. I bake Exactly 10 minutes if I want them chewy. (These are easy to overcook due to their color – so watch closely, and take out when they are just barely browning on top.  Maybe start with 8 mins and check the underside of one cookie, just to be safe.  For barley, oat or quinoa, you might want to bake longer.)

A Good Laugh

With all the sadness in the world right now (Japan, Libya, Egypt…) sometimes it is nice to have a good laugh.  I don’t even have kids but I thought this was really funny.  I’m sure anyone with kids can relate.  Enjoy!

Things Learned From Children

1.  There is no such thing as child-proofing your house.

2.  If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

3.  A 4 year-old’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound boy wearing pound puppy underwear and a superman cape.

5. It is strong enough, however, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20 by 20 foot room.

6.  Baseballs make marks on ceilings

7.  You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on.

8.  When using the ceiling fan as a bat you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit.

9.  A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

10.  The glass in windows (even double pane) doesn’t stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.

11. When you hear the toilet flush and the words, “Uh-oh,” it’s already too late.

12. Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.

13. A six year old can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36 year old man says they can only do it in the movies.

14.  A magnifying glass can start a fire even on an overcast day.

15. If you use a waterbed as home plate while wearing baseball shoes it does not leak – it explodes.

16. A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq foot house 4 inches deep.

17. LEGOS will pass through the digestive tract of a four year old.

18.  Duplos will not.

19. Super glue is forever.

20.  Play Dough and Microwave should never be used in the same sentence.

21. McGyver can teach us many things we don’t want to know.

22.  Ditto Tarzan.

23. No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can’t walk on water.

24. Pool filters do not like Jell-O.

25. VCR’s do not eject PB&J sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.

26. Always look in the oven before you turn it on.{that durn hamster…}

27. The fire department has at least a 5 minute response time.

28. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earth worms dizzy..

29. It will however make cats dizzy.

30. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

31.  Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

32.  Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.

33.  You probably do not want to know what that odor is.

34.  Plastic toys do not like ovens.

35.  Quiet does not necessarily mean don’t worry.

36.  A good sense of humor will get you through most problems in life (unfortunately, mostly in retrospect).

37.  2:00 AM is not a good time to hear, “Daddy, diapers don’t flush!”

38.  No time is a good time to hear, “Daddy, your tires are ‘hisssssing.'”

39.  You never want to hear, “Watch me fly!” coming from the roof.

40.  Nor do you want to hear, “Your new cell phone doesn’t work underwater.”

41.  Driveway seal coating and children DO NOT MIX!

42.  Never light fireworks inside.

43.  Under the bed is not a good place to save snowballs for summer.

44.  Bugs are not a dietary supplement.

45.  Walnuts make the blender act funny.

46.  Scissors and hair are often a dangerous combination.

47.  Collecting things is good.

48.  Collecting things that come out of your nose is not.

49.  Eating string is a bad hobby.

50.  Discovering string the next day is a disgusting hobby.

51.  Finger painting is good.

52.  Finger painting walls is dangerous.

53.  If you hear the words, “Can ya eat a lizard’s tail?” it’s too late.

54.  If you hear the words, “Guess what’s in my hands,” you don’t want to know.

55.  If you hear the words, “Guess what’s in my mouth,” you REALLY don’t want to know.

56.  ‘Fan’ and ‘flour’ should never be heard in the same sentence.

57.  The toilet does not make a permanent fish aquarium.

58.  Most toilets can not consume an entire roll of toilet paper without choking.

59.  Any sentence which contains the word ‘Oooops’ is bad.

60.  Any sentence beginning with, “How much do you love me?” means ‘prepare for bad news’.

 

BYU

As I write this post I am watching the BYU vs. Gonzaga game in the NCAA tournament.  BYU has a great team led by Jimmer Fredette who is an amazing player. His skill sets are so solid across the board including three point shots that are way outside.  The thing that is most impressive is he makes every other player better on his team.  I don’t see how you can help but get excited when watching someone who is so good at what they do.

Anyway, watching the game made me wax nostalgic of my BYU years (when I was there the basketball team was awful.  It was the volleyball and dance teams that were winning national championships).  I went to Brigham Young University (or BYU)  from 1999 to 2002. I know many people idolize high school but for me it is my college years that stand out.

BYU is  a very special school.  It is owned by my church- the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it has strict standards for all who wish to attend.  (Actually its the same standards asked of all the youth of the church). Each student must commit to an honor code that demands honesty, character, integrity and prohibits alcohol, smoking, coffee, tea, premarital sex among other things.

Some are critical of these high standards, but I believe strongly they provide a sanctuary for people who believe the same things- a space where learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ can be combined with secular study in a way that is not available anywhere else in the world.  Aside from the other BYU schools, there is no other place where a Mormon can express their faith in the way they can at BYU.

It still gives me a thrill when I attend a play at BYU and there is a prayer before the game.  I fondly remember sitting in science class and singing a hymn  with my fellow students or asking questions about my faith to my professors (of any class).  BYU is always criticized for ‘limiting academic freedom’ but I believe I was more free there than I could have been at any school.  As I said, nowhere else could my faith flourish along with my knowledge.

When I arrived at BYU I was SO excited and rarely in life do experiences live up to high expectations but it did not disappoint (I was so anxious when opening my acceptance letter that I went into another room and upon reading ‘we are pleased…’ I started screaming and jumping up and down).

I know its a cliche but I really feel like I found my voice there.  Within my first semester I decided on political science and with this major I learned how to defend my point of view and how to understand others.  I also studied the philosophies of the past which have led to the contemporary lifestyles and ideas.   Its hard to over state the impact these classes had on me.  Even now, nearly 10 years later I still remember individual lectures and assignments.

The motto of BYU is ‘Enter to Learn, Go forth to Serve’ (Its on a big plaque at the entrance so its hard to miss!). I hope I have lived up to this challenge.  If you had asked me at 22 what I wanted to do I might have listed some great and lofty goals.  Perhaps I may have been disappointed with my current simple life?

Its hard to say, but I believe I have taken all the opportunities I can to continue to learn and grow.  I am constantly trying to read, study, analyze, pray and vocalize my opinions to and about the world.  (Hopefully you have seen this as you have read my blog!).  Who knows what I would be like without BYU, but I don’t think my life could possibly be the same without such a fortifying experience.

Some people go to BYU (or any other college for that matter) and breeze through taking the ‘easy classes’ and not really learning- not changing.  Others nitpick every flaw, and do nothing but complain (I was so sick of hearing ‘there’s nothing to do in Provo.  Please! There is plenty to do. You should see the list of activity ideas I came up with of things to do- its like 6 pages long!).   Such whining was not my style.  I always figured if I was going to do something I would do it well, and so I immersed myself in the BYU experience.

I went to activities, followed sports, found teachers and subjects I was passionate about, and even attended a dance or two (shocking I know).  I left BYU with no regrets (and unlike most college experience I can remember the fun I had!). The truth is if you decide you are going to have an awesome experience you probably will.  I certainly did.

The only thing I wish I had done is go on a study abroad but I was having too much fun at school to take time off.  I also could have spent more time but I loved school and had no desire to go home for the summer. If I was given the opportunity to go back and get more schooling I’d do it in a heartbeat (although I am sure it wouldn’t be the same.  You can never really go back to special experiences!).

I know it sounds cheesy but I walk on BYU campus and still feel like it is sacred  grounds.  Doesn’t everyone have places like that which help define their life? Perhaps its the church you get married in or the first home you buy, but for me one of those places will always be BYU. I love it!  I got a great education and it was a happy time of growth and discovery.  In some ways I wish I could go back and live that time again.  Go cougars!  (They just won the game by like 2o points!  Wahoo!  Proof you can uphold your standards and still win games…)

PCOS Product Recommendaitons

In recent weeks I have benefited greatly from the blogs of other PCOS patients.  One of the best has been the PCOS Diva written by a woman named Amy Medling.  She is an amazing example of a woman with PCOS who has learned to thrive.  Her blog is rich and full of weekly menus, book reviews, product suggestions etc.

I thought I would follow her example and begin sharing some of the great products I have discovered that help me with my PCOS.  After all, I’d like my blog to help other’s like Amy’s does and not just be a source of venting and complaining.  If I can inspire one person then all the struggles will be worthwhile.

I also want to say a thank you to the companies that make products that I can eat/use.  To them, it may be simply a business but to me it is like a gift. Finding something that works for me means a lot and each time it happens the grin on  my face is irrepressible.  Thank you!

I will try to do these product updates on at least a monthly basis and please continue to share with me your recommendations and thoughts.  Thanks so much for all your support.

Here we go:

1. Luna and Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss Ice Cream-  Look for this in the organic ice cream section of your supermarket.  There are 16 flavors and all of them have been good, but I particularly like the mint galactica (I know silly name. ).   It is made with organic coconut milk which is full of Omega 3 oils.  It is sugar-free using only agave sweeteners and organic dark chocolate (a little organic cane syrup in the chocolate).   I love it as a milk shake.  There are so few deserts I can have that I am grateful for this ice cream.

16 different flavors but my favorite is the chocolate mint

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.coconutbliss.com/

2. Ezekial 4:9 bread-This bread is amazing.  It is flourless, low glycemic and a complete protein.  I defy anyone to eat it and taste a difference between it and other whole grain breads.  In fact, I think it tastes better than most.  I must say I tried their pasta and was bitterly disappointed.  It was gummy, gritty and disgusting (so far my attempt to duplicate the flavors of Italian food have not been successful.  It is possible I just like it too much.).

The bread is available at my supermarket in the organic frozen food section.  It is highly perishable and must be refrigerated/frozen at all times.  Naturally it must be toasted to taste good (and thaw).  I am grateful to have the ability to eat sandwiches again.

http://www.foodforlife.com/our-products/low-glycemic/diabetic-friendly

3. Clif Mojo bars- One of my problems has been breakfast.  I just don’t have an appetite in the morning but it is crucial I eat something.  Thankfully I have found a protein drink and energy bar I love.  These bars are low glycemic, packed full of nuts, protein and are delicious.  I can also keep them in the car, which has helped keep my blood sugar regular as I work. They aren’t the highest protein bar but they are still enough and they actually taste good. If you go on the Clif bar website you can get 15% off your order using code CLFCB8.

http://www.clifbar.com/food/products_mojo/

 

Japan

Here Anna and I are with Chizu and one of her daughters.(In 2005)

As everyone knows Japan had a terrible earthquake/tsunami this week.  The photos of the destruction have been shocking to say the least.  My prayers are with the Japanese people.  It is beyond sad.

In 2005 I had the great experience to spend two weeks in Japan- mostly in the city of Kyoto.  My family has been blessed with a connection to Kyoto for many years- starting long before I was born.  I’m not sure when but my Grandpa Wagner came in contact with a man named Dai Hirota and they immediately became fast friends and life-long business partners.   Dai has a wonderful wife named Chizu and three lovely daughters (I won’t even try to get their names right).  You might say the Hirota family is an extension of my family.

While I had met Dai and Chizu many times, I didn’t really know much about Japan or Japanese culture, and the only reason I had the opportunity to go was that my parents needed a chaperon for my sister Anna (not a bad gig right?).  She made a deal with my parents that if she practiced her flute for an hour a day they would pay for her to go to Japan  (the ironic thing is she’s totally given up the flute now.  Kind of sad when you think about it).

Anyway, without knowing much I took the long flight to Japan and had an amazing experience.  From practically the moment I got off the plane I remember being struck by how different it felt.  I had been to Europe twice and thought visiting Japan would be similar but I found much more in common between European and my own American cultures.

Everything from the language, the mannerisms, and definitely the food felt different and unique. Experiencing something so out of my comfort zone made me realize many things I both like and dislike about my own culture.  For example, I loved how everything in Japan was either cute or beautiful.  If you buy a box of cookies they are either ‘hello kitty cute’ or  beautifully packaged with ribbon in a lovely box.  Every time we went out to eat, which was nearly every meal, the plates were presented with intricate detail and garnishes- (even the food I liked which Dai called ‘children food’ was gorgeous). In America we tend to rush through life and don’t take the time to make things special- we too often do the bare minimum.

I also appreciated many of the Japanese  mannerisms such as bowing and smiling when you greet someone.  As a guest in a very foreign land it was wonderful to be welcomed so unconditionally and repeatedly!

The only challenge I had with Japan was the food.  This surprised me because I thought I was an adventurous eater.  After all, I had tried octopus in Greece and liked it!  Some of the food was good in Japan but it was all very different from the flavors and tastes I was used to.  I loved the gyoza and ordered them almost everywhere we went.  I also liked the pork curry and the udon bowls.  Even the sushi bar was a lot of fun, but I did not care for the caviar sushi (I didn’t try the really scary sushi).  There was also this weird cold rice noodle dish that was too gummy for me.  By the end of two weeks I was tired of Japanese food and actually went to a McDonalds- just to taste something familiar.

The funniest experience with food happened at the Hirota’s house.  At the only meal Chizu made for us, we were served a delicious dish of sukiyaki (kind of like stir fry).  The catch is the Japanese eat it with a raw egg cracked into the bowl.   The entire trip I had kept with my commitment to try everything that was presented me but this was too much.  Anna was also looking at me panic-stricken.  Meanwhile Dai was smiling- knowing Americans do not like the raw egg.  Just when the eggs were passing our way Chizu said ‘does anyone want any rice?”.  We said a gleeful ‘yes’ and put the rice where the egg should have gone and everyone giggled at our American ways!

It was a great trip.  The only sad thing is that all of the photos except for four have been lost.  In a family of photographers this breaks my heart.   I particularly wish I had the photos of my feeding the herds (yes herds) of deer in the city of Nara.  They have tons of deer just roaming the streets and there are vendors that sell wafers to feed the deer.  If you recall I have a bit of an animal phobia but never the less, I shot my wafer into the air and the deer came swarming.  I have never been more petrified but I did it! Anna can attest to my feet of courage.

Here’s a picture of someone else doing it.  Can you imagine me doing this!

My experience was must scarier. I remember I was on a tree stump and stuck out my wafer and got swarmed by deer on all sides. Scary!!!

 

Here are the four photos I have! (So sad).  I love the Japanese people.  I love Japanese food.  Anna and I have a favorite place called Nagoya Sushi Restaurant in Salt Lake.  It is delicious. If anyone wants to go there I’d be more than happy to oblige!  Everything I’ve had there has been great.  I probably spelled everyone’s name wrong.  Sorry!

Anna and I at the golden temple in Kyoto. Anna looks so young. Do I?I think you can tell how hot it was that day!
At the temple in Nara. I wish there was a deer in this photo.
Anna and I at the sushi bar. We tried the caviar but didn't like it! I wish they had a conveyor belt sushi bar nearby like the one we went to in Kyoto. It was fun!

I hope the Japanese people are able to regroup and rebuild.  I know they certainly have the wonderful people with great faith and persistence. God bless Japan.

Forgetting Favorite Foods

Today I’d like to ask you my faithful reader to envision your favorite food. Perhaps it is something made by a mother or grandmother?  A dish that even the smell makes you weak in the knees?  Now I’d like you to imagine not eating those foods anymore, ever? No exceptions, no holidays, no special treats. Then I’d like you to make this change in a little over a month.

Welcome  to my world!  As I’ve discussed in previous posts on January 31st I was diagnosed with PCOS and put on a strict low glycemic diet by my endocrinologist.  The reason why I have to be so strict right now is I am taking a powerful insulin lowering medication called metformin- 2,000 mg a day.  Some people can’t take metformin at all, or take a year to get to my dosage, so my progress is actually great, but there are side effects- particularly if I mess up and eat a simple carb or sugar. (I also take an array of supplements and other medications to help with a wide range of symptoms.  I’m like an old woman with medicine right now!)

I have learned the hard way that eating any sugar with metformin is no fun resulting in light headedness, sudden fatigue, nauseousness, etc.  Even food without carbohydrates but with sugar listed as an ingredient seem to make me sick. Artificial sweeteners also cause an even more poignant reaction so they are out.

On the plus side, when I get the eating right, I feel great!  In fact, I feel better than I ever have in my life.  I also am confident I’m on the right track insulin-wise, and am losing weight at a rapid rate.  It took me nearly a year to lose 35 lbs and since 01/31/11 I have lost nearly 15 lbs- almost half of the weight it took me a year of grueling work to lose, lost in one month!  That certainly puts a smile on my face!

The one benefit of the strong medicine is the fear of an episode has made otherwise tempting food less appealing.  (I can imagine its kind of like the pills they give alcoholics which makes them throw up when they drink.  Having such an unpleasant response makes it easier to stay on the straight and narrow!).

However, there are foods I miss. It seems like everyday I discover a food I can no longer eat (or at least can’t eat for the several years I’m on the metformin).   Even foods I thought were healthy I am learning are not good for my body.  For example, tofu is high on the glycemic index (it makes sense when you think about it- its a highly processed food!). Soy in general is not the miracle food I once believed it to be!

On Saturday we had a family function and everyone was very accommodating but it was difficult.  They had some of my favorite things including mashed potatoes, fried chicken, baked beans and pie (including lemon meringue pie, my birthday pie).  I brought some of my own salads, coconut milk ice cream, and my uncle made roasted chicken but that’s all I could eat.

Honestly looking down at my empty plate of salad and chicken felt a little sad. The hardest part is feeling like I am missing out on a full experience- food is such a rich and interesting part of life.   It’s a way of understanding cultures and bonding with friends/family.  Most of my special memories involve some type of food. Giving up all those moments is hard.

Oh well!  I suppose I will have to figure out new ways to achieve the same memories.  It’s just food after all (or so I keep telling myself).

What food would you miss the most?  If any of you have gone through similar changes I’d love to hear how you cope/transition?  I’d also be curious for low glycemic recipes/suggestions (particularly for desert and breakfast).  Thanks in advance.

this was like me Saturday except for instead of a solitary pea I had a bare plate with chicken!

Comfort Books

He that loveth a book will never want for a faithful friend, a wholesome

counselor,a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter” Isaac Barrow.

Its no great secret that the last 2 months have been very intense.  Everything from the low of my fall, to the high of my PCOS diagnosis, and then all the moments in-between, have  created an intense time! Aside from the outlet provided by this blog, and long chats with my family (and much time on my knees in prayer), one of the greatest sources of release and comfort can be found within my personal library.

Any visitor to my home can not help but notice scores of books on nearly every open wall.  These books are diverse and cover a variety of topics- both fiction and non-fiction. The amazing thing is if you pull out any book from my shelf, a story will immediately pop out of my mouth.  For instance, you might pull a philosophy book and hear me ramble on about ‘this professor’ or ‘that theory….”.  Or you might pick a chick lit book and hear a story of how I rested on the beach while reading it and how happy I was.

By chance you might pull what I call a ‘comfort book’ and quickly you will hear me sigh “ahhhh….I love that book.”  These are books that I could and have read many times- each time feeling at home with the characters and stories.  They truly are like old friends.

I wish I could easily quantify  what goes into these types of books; however, it is just a feeling the book exudes that makes me want to return to it again and again. These books make me happy and help me feel loved.  They also somehow make me  feel unique but part of a group? They make me cry and laugh, but most of all they involve me in the characters- characters that I love.

Probably the earliest comfort book I grew attached to was Little Woman.  Like most American girls, I related to the stories of the each girl and wanted to see them happy.  I wanted to take care of them but loved that Marmee was there.  The knowledge of such a mother was comforting. Also the ambition of Jo is easy to relate to.  Her ambition makes me feel like I can do anything.

Another comfort book is Anne of Green Gables.  In the first of the series, the dream-like mind of Anne is so beautiful.   It is the best capture of childhood wonder I’ve ever read.  To this day, I feel like I am floating  while reading it.  Anne is such a lovable, wonderful character, and I can’t read the books without wanting her to be happy. Its a perfect comfort book.

Others that I love- some of these I’ve mentioned other places on the blog

1. Cheaper by the Dozen

2. From Mama’s Bank Account

3. All Jane Austen

4.  All Elizabeth Gaskell but especially North and South

5. The Complete Poems of Elizabeth Bishop

6. The Delicacy and Strength of Lace

7. Gilead

8.  My Life in France

9. Red China Blues

10.  Jane Eyre

11. A Year in Provence

12. To Kill a Mockingbird

13. Cry the Beloved Country

14.  Adam Bede

15. Room with a View/Howards End

16.  Incidents in the life of a slave girl

17. The Hiding Place

18. The Secret Garden

19.  James Herriot books

20.  Christmas Carol

(The Help was a good comfort book but it hasn’t been around long enough to bare repeated viewings! )

I’m sure there are many more comfort reads  I’m forgetting.  Never the less, I’m thankful for all the  books that brighten my spirits when I am down, encourage me when projects are difficult,  and even help me feel loved on a bad day.

What are some of your comfort reads?