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November 17, 2011

Never doubt that brave nurses can change the world!

Election day today. The nurses have been pulled away from patient care to sit in literally hours of mandatory anti-union meetings. They've been intimidated one on one by their managers. Constantly told lies. It's horrible to watch how these consultants who run anti-union campaigns work so hard at depriving people of their rights to something so simple as a voice on the job.

Today and tomorrow are the vote days. Say a prayer for the brave nurses who are standing up to the lies, threats and intimidation and trying to win a say in the decisions that affect their lives.

Posted by april at 6:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 15, 2011

My vacuum is a patient there...

Our poor vacuum. Between the cat's fur and my long hair and occasional vegetables dropping from the table, it has to contend with a lot. No wonder it's a bit dysfunctional.

I took it to a local repair shop and they assured me that I had come to the right place. "This is the vacuum hospital," said the repairman.

I called on Friday to see what the diagnosis was.

"My vacuum, Animal, is one of your patients," I said.

That did get a good laugh.

"What is it with you about things medical?" said MR.

Well, it was bound to happen.

Posted by april at 4:08 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 14, 2011

Spaghetti Squash!

It had been ages since we had spaghetti squash. But for some reason I took a fancy to it at the market and so we had it tonight.

Correction: I had it. MR prefers his nearly calorie-free shirataki noodles. I know I spelled that wrong and I don't care.

I made him a spaghetti sauce with 1 cup diced no salt organic tomatoes, a teaspoon mashed garlic, a tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and a liberal shake of Mrs. Dash Italian Blend, plus 250 g diced white mushrooms. I made myself a sauce of 1 can no-salt added generic tomato sauce, 1/2 cup no salt added tomatoes, a teaspoon garlic, tablespoon balsamic, and liberal shakes of Italian blend.

As a side dish I made him asparagus steamed in lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and Mrs. Dash onion and herb blend. I heart Madame Dash.

The dinner was delicious and fast, which was especially good considering that I am three days out from a very difficult election at work and have no time to do anything. I am barely holding up my end of the conversation. Luckily MR has been through this with me before and knows the drill. I am nothing but an organizer before the vote: you get your partner back a few days after.

I'm exhausted and miles to go before I sleep. Night blog...

Posted by april at 6:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 9, 2011

Dietary Profiling

One must never waste an opportunity to find some humor in the weekly grocery shop. After all, it's pretty grim. The bright spot is our produce employees, who are are friends because we are probably the biggest consumers of produce they have. We chat about the status of the mustard greens. We lament together if the scallion order is late. They are cool guys, who value their service to humanity in providing us with fresh, often organic vegetables and fruits.

My other favorite person at our local Giant store is Meg, who is usually working early checkout duty on Saturdays round 7 am when I check out. She works nights at a nursing home as an aide, days in the grocery store, and cares for her grandchildren. She is a really nice woman who also loves veggies. We talk about how we like to prepare eggplant, sprouts, tomatoes, cabbage etc. as she rings up my veggies.

Then at the end of the trip, after I have paid the bill, the cash register spits out my receipt and also some coupons. The coupons are supposed to be tailored to my likes and preferences, based on the data recorded from swiping my store card about what I like to buy.

Sometimes the coupons are helpful, like the time we kept getting $1 store brand cottage cheese. Rode that one out for awhile. Or the coupons on cat treats for the furry one. But sometimes the coupons don't quite hit it right.

For example, a few weeks back we got coupons for Morningstar Farms fake sausage products. Well, I like those well enough, but we don't really eat soy much so we gave them to my mom who loves those things. Close, though, I can see why you'd think that the people who buy a lot of organic veggies and milk and Quorn would want Morningstar Farms fake meat.

Sometimes they just plain hit it wrong. This week they gave me a coupon for the newest Slim Fast shake. Okay, I get it. We occasionally buy South Beach Diet Bars to handle the on the road with no food crisis situation. But Slim Fast shakes: thanks but not thanks.

I got to thinking about dietary profiling and how they're reinforcing what they perceive to be our habits by giving us coupon incentives to purchase similar items. Never once has an offer spit out for more veggies. "$1 off asparagus!" would be a very welcome sight at the cash register, especially considering that we were on AR (Asparagus Restriction) almost all summer because I refuse to spend $3.99 a pound for it. Granted they do really only offer discounts on processed foods, at least to us, they still hit it close enough with something we can use most of the time.

But what about those people whose existing dietary habits aren't that good. Are all those people filling their carts with chips and cookies getting more coupons for more of the same? "You enjoyed Lays ripple chips... try Herrs ripple chips!" More Hostess cupcakes? There is an entire aisle of our grocery store dedicated to ice cream and frozen desserts. If you buy one, do you get encouragement and financial incentive to just keep buying more, week after week? In these economic times, any sort of financial incentive is powerful.

The food environment doesn't so much upset me as it disgusts me. The more I learn about the health care system and about epidemiology the more it becomes clear to me that a) our health care system is about to collapse under the weight of preventable chronic disease b) chronic disease is almost entirely preventable. Yet we continue, in our capitalist madness, to allow the incentives (and the candy bars) to be put in all the wrong places.

Somebody needs to do something about this.

Posted by april at 4:06 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 7, 2011

What I ate yesterday and why

Sunday, home with MR. Finally.

Breakfast: low carb pancakes, Sunday treat, from Big Train. MR is the great pancake chef and we always have special breakfast together on Sundays.

Lunch: half of the stew I made, a big pot filled with:

veggie broth
3 uncured organic turkey dogs, 40 cals each, chopped up
1 bag frozen Oriental blend veggies
1 can unsalted crushed tomatoes
lots of Texas Pete, garlic, curry powder and pepper

50 g avocado

1 string cheese
The other half of the veggie stew with 1 tsp flax oil

What I ate today and why:

Busy day at work. Breakfast: 1 cup cottage cheese with 1 tsp flax oil
Lunch: 1 crepe at the most amazing crape shop in Philly, the Red Cup Cafe at 4th and Fairmount where I had a meeting with a nurse. My crepe contained bacon, goat cheese, spinach and eggs. What's not to love?

I probably won't eat dinner because that's enough food for today!

Work is busy with an election in two weeks. It's a good thing I gave up a social life long ago...

Posted by april at 4:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 5, 2011

41!!! As in, it's not even close to too late!

Hey David and Marianne,

Responding to you both...

TGIF TGIF TGIF I heart Katy Perry.

Onward... to David's question.

41 is nowhere near too late! You want to look 41 when you're 63, right? Start now and you will. People seem to freeze in time when they start CR. It's amazing. You are just the right age to start. You can dramatically reduce your risk of all age related diseases. Go for it!

What I ate today and why:

Morning: spinach feta wrap at Starbucks while doing an hour of work before heading to my hair appt in Jersey. Yes, I still get my hair done in Jersey every 12 weeks. Once a Jersey girl, always a Jersey girl. I've been with the same stylist for 12 years.

Snack: string cheese.

Lunch: cup cottage cheese, lowfat, with 1 tsp flax oil.

Dinner: 300 g MR's heavenly mashed cauliflower with 200 g tomato chopped in and 2 Laughing Cow Light cheeses, plus 1 tsp flax.

Wine. 2 glasses.

Time for sleep... catching up from super busy week and super busy week to come.

Posted by april at 6:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Last Friday Night

David asks a good question:

Hey. April. I've been trying to CR for several weeks and failing. The problem I have is Friday night. I have always used the weekend as a time to eat and drink whatever I like. Do you have any strategies that have helped you when you socialize or when you are not working?

I'm pretty dialed in during the busy work week, but the weekends and holidays are a problem. Thanks!

First, I'd have to say that the holidays are not the greatest time to start CR.

Second, what do you mean by failing? Are you losing weight slowly but steadily? You don't have to eat the same thing every day or the same number of calories every day to do CR. For years I was very successful keeping very low calories on most days then having about one day a week when I'd go out for a big meal and not worry about it. I maintained a low weight and felt great.

I'd say that is you want to maintain that fun socializing when you don't worry too much about calories, just cut your calories on regular days back a little to make up for it. It's easier to be a bit hungry on weekdays when as you say, you're busy. You don't have to maintain an average every day, shoot for a weekly average.

As long as your slowly losing weight until you get to the point where you're happy, you're doing fine.

Some people find it stressful to bounce up and down. If you are one of those people, then you need to come up with strategies to not eat so much when out. I find that eating a bit before hand really does help. It's amazing how social pressure seems to disappear if you've had twenty grams of almonds just before going out. Also minimized liver damage if you drink on something other than an empty stomach.

Posted by april at 5:14 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 3, 2011

A really healthy day at the... IHOP?

So today I was at an IHOP most of the day meeting with workers.

Sure enough, they have really healthy options!

eggwhite omelette with spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers and Swiss cheese: 350 cals plus fruit cup on the side.

I grabbed 2 sticks of string cheese between office and yoga class

Lunch/dinner, again at IHOP:
Their tilapia plate, covered with a mushroom tomato balsamic sauce and with a huge side of broccoli. Delicious! 490 total.

It was an 13 hour work day by the end with a one hour break for yoga, but I still managed to sit down with MR for half an hour and chat, and work on my school work for relaxation after all is said and done. Time for bed...

Posted by april at 7:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack