Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lazy Sunday

Today the husband traversed mid-Missouri to take part in Stream Team activities along the Bourbouse River. This left me home alone with the fur children all day! Normally, a day like this would be full of snacks and processed foods. However, today was quite the opposite. My breakfast was surprisingly nutritious and filling for being composed of an apple, glass of milk, and two graham crackers. I cannot express enough how perfect an apple is when bought from a local farmer at this time of the year. Just perfect.

For lunch, I made Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta Salad. It was full of veggies and made with whole wheat pasta. I recommend trying this recipe and taking it to work for lunch. It's really something to look forward to and totally loaded with fiber, so it will keep you full. Today the pasta salad was paired with an ice cold glass of water.

After passing up Taco Bell on the way home from church, I got to work on a Spinach and Caramelized Onion Quesadilla. This is a variation on a Robin Miller recipe and makes one serving. It's not perfectly healthy as far as a meal goes, but for a quesadilla, this one has a lot of nutrition!
1 multi-grain wrap (or tortilla)
1/4 medium onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup spinach
sour cream (optional)
salsa (optional)
guacamole (optional)
1. In a large skillet on medium-high, caramelize the onion in olive oil and sugar. The onion will be caramelized when it becomes brown. Be careful not to burn it.
2. Cover one side of the wrap with cheddar cheese, a layer of spinach, the caramelized onion, and any other type of food you want to load your quesadilla with- bell pepper, mushroom, chicken, shredded pork, etc.
3. Fold the wrap in half and put it in the skillet, flip the quesadilla when it begins to brown. Be sure to spray the pan with a cooking spray so the quesadilla doesn't burn.
4. Cut into thirds and serve with your favorite condiments: sour cream, salsa, guacamole.

It's no longer going in the trash

Not many people know that I subscribe to Fitness magazine and have for the past three years. I read the magazines religiously- cover to cover and always glean some information to enhance my lifestyle. Everyone knows magazines have tremendous giveaways. Everyone also knows that I love free stuff. Who doesn't? So one day this summer, I created an account with Fitness magazine so I could enter to win free stuff on a daily basis. When entering contests for free stuff, Fitness suggests signing up for their newsletters. Normally, I look at the topics, "Drop a jean size" or "Create a healthy meal plan" and say 'no thanks.' One auspicious day when I was particularly excited about the $25,000 Girlfriends Getaway prize, I said 'yes' to the Daily Fit Tip. Ever since then, Fitness magazine has been sending me tips EVERYDAY on how to be healthier, and EVERYDAY I have been highlighting those emails and clicking 'Delete.' EVERYDAY that is, until today.

Today I looked at the subject: What to Eat in Your 20s, 30s, 40s and clicked on the email all while pompously thinking, 'they're gonna tell me what I already know.' The article started off talking about what to eat in your 20s. Calcium, vitamin D, fish oil, whole grains. Okay, duh, I knew that. I was about to navigate away from that page of common sense, when I decided to read WHY us 20 something women should be getting all of these. Did you know that your 20s are the last decade in which you can build bone without bone loss? I didn't! Oh crap. Now, I had taken Viactiv on and off throughout my 20s, maybe even a straight-up supplement when I was in college, but I never knew that this was the LAST DECADE to build bones. Yikes. Reading on I discovered it is necessary to take in 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. Well, I had always thought that eating the right foods would get me all the calcium I need. To an extent, I was right. One cup of organic skim milk provides 30% of the calcium need of someone on a 2,000 calorie diet. One cup of spinach? 8%. One half cup ice cream? 10%. One juice box full of organic apple juice? 10%. One six ounce serving of Stoneyfield organic yogurt? 30%. I could eat all of that food each day and still only get 88% of the calcium someone on a 2,000 calorie diet needs. By the way, who is this 'someone' on this 2,000 calorie diet? Obviously percentages of what we all need vary depending on our age. So these percentages are most likely a moot point for a women in her 20s. The important thing for us to know is that our bodies need to get 1,000 milligrams. My milk chocolate Viactiv supplement contains 500 milligrams. I plan to take one of these a day and get the other half of my body's calcium needs from servings of dairy and dark leafy greens. Also, for those who are wondering: CheezIts have 0% of your body's calcium needs. There goes that excuse for scarfing them down. ; )

You can take all the calcium in the world, but it's nothing without it's partner in bone development: vitamin D. This wonderful vitamin is necessary for calcium to be used by your body to create bone. In other words, your body needs vitamin D to be able to properly use the calcium. First grade explanation: vitamin D and calcium go together. You need both for your bones to grow big and strong. According to the article, you can get vitamin D from food, but it's not easy to get the vitamin from food alone, so you should take a supplement too. Now, it does not mention getting vitamin D from the sun. However, after reading a fact sheet on vitamin D, I am vindicated. According to the fact sheet, just 5 to 30 minutes being out in the sun as little at two times per week can get you enough vitamin D for the whole week. Sounds a lot easier than stressing about the vitamin D content of food all week long! : ) It is also suggested one takes a daily supplement when unable to get sun exposure i.e. Missourian's in winter time!

Now, I will definitely be paying attention to my vitamin D and calcium intakes. Bones are important to me. The fish oil portion of the article didn't really give me a good biological reason why I should be taking the supplement or stressing about getting it into my diet. According to the article, fish oil should be taken to lower stress and thus enhance happiness. For me, there are other things in my life that lower my stress way more than fish oil, mainly my dogs and my husband. So, instead of taking this supplement/stressing to get it into my diet, I plan on playing with my dogs more and talking to friends on the phone. Both are sure ways to elevate my happiness level!

Whole grains is such an obvious one. Of course refined grains cause mood changes and often times take your energy. My main problem eating refined grains is that they are so good I just have to keep eating them. Whole grains just have so much more nutrition than the refined grains because of that they taste healthy and I am much less likely to overeat on them while watching Arrested Development. Whole grains are just so much better for you and aren't too expensive to get into your diet! After praising whole grains, I must admit to having a pack of all purpose flour in my pantry. It is scarcely used throughout the year; mostly around Christmas time to bake cookies. Everything in moderation.

My life has changed today: I will now open my Daily Fit Tip, unless it mentions dropping a jeans size. Not interested in that, just interested in keeping my body healthy and my mind happy.

I want to know....
What is your favorite way to get calcium into your diet?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Trying New Things

Randomly inspired by one of Kyle's "friends" on Facebook, I checked out this afternoon. I searched through recipes containing the ingredients I already have at home and found four recipes I wanted to try. So tonight we cooked Sweet and Sour Chicken with Brown Rice. It had a good flavor, but it wasn't anything special. It definitely tasted healthy. I don't think I would try this one again; I have a Martha Stewart stir-fry recipe I like better. As always, beer with dinner was a good choice. : )

My name is Brenda, and I'm a garagesaleaholic

Saturday mornings are the best mornings of the week. For me it is the only morning of the week full of choice. I can choose to sleep in or I can choose to wake up early. I can choose to have breakfast at home or grab a burrito at the Farmer's Market. I can choose to take the dogs on a walk or have them lounge around the house with me. Most importantly- I can choose to garage sale or sit at home wishing I was garage saling. I am a garagesaleaholic.

It all started five years ago when I was a fresh-faced twenty year-old or as some people who knew me might say, a cheap a** college student. One Saturday morning on a hot summer day, my high school BFFs and I were cruising north of Saint Louis is Troy, Missouri. We were ready for a day of acting like hicks at the Lincoln County Fair. When we reached the fair, we balked in horror (cheapness) at the admission fee of $25. We just wanted to see some pig wrangling and eat corn dogs. Neither of which was worth that type of dough, so we decided to explore Lincoln County and all it's glory. As we drove down a country road lined with six-foot tall corn stalks, we noticed we were being followed by a semi-truck. This reminded us of the first horror movie we saw together- Joy Ride. After being scared out of our wits, we got onto a street with heavier traffic and low and behold, a garage sale sign. We made our way to the garage sale, which really should have been called a car port sale.

We had no idea this sale would make such an impact on our future. As we looked around, we saw 25 cent everything. The dollars we saved bypassing the fair would go a long way here. I snatched up a gray t-shirt with purple writing that said Trojans on it (as a twenty year-old, this made me giggle) and a polka-dotted belt. My total for these purchases: 50 cents. I was hooked.

Fast-forward five years, and I'm still garage saling. I hope to share some of my garage sale wisdom with you on this blog. My knowledge is far reaching and truly, I could write a book, but the only people who it would interest would be too cheap to buy it.

One piece of wisdom I can impart is my definition of a deal. The idea of a deal has evolved for me throughout the years. It used to mean anything that was a good price, then it morphed into anything that was a good brand and a good price. Currently at this stage of life, a good deal is defined as anything I need and/or will use that is a good price. So check out the deal I found today on the Deal of the Week page.

I want to know.....
What is the best deal you've gotten at a garage sale?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Food Friday

Check out the food I ate today. Looking back on it, I wonder if I've eaten enough calories... Hmmmmm... I don't like to count those. Not going to start now!

Breakfast was 1/2 cup Stonyfield strawberry yogurt with 1/2 cup vanilla almond granola paired with some local watermelon. Delicious and it kept me full throughout the morning!

Time for lunch! Of course, I brought my own lunch to school. I always do... it just varies in quality. Today was a good one- baby carrots with organic red pepper hummus, Missouri watermelon, and a vanilla chip granola bar from Cascadian Farm (my favorite granola bar!!!). Unfortunately, I didn't get to that apple. Maybe later for a snack!

I was so hungry for dinner, but I veered away from my habit of snacking. Instead, I buckled down and cooked! If you've ever looked for an affordable organic pizza, you'll know how hard they are to find. Our main grocery store doesn't even carry one, so we have to make a special trip to buy a Full Circle Organic Cheese Pizza. I love getting the plain cheese pizza for a few reasons. 1. It's the right price point. 2. It's a blank canvas. You can put anything and everything on it! Tonight's pizza had Applegate Farms pepperoni, local bacon, local red pepper, one of my dad's shiitake mushrooms, and (drum roll please) a tomato from our garden! Probably one of our best combinations to date. Go me. I won't bore you with all the veggies in the salad, but I have to point out the tomatoes. A student gave them to me this morning. She grew them in her garden. She's getting an A.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why Would You Do This?

Throughout the 27 days I've been 25 years old, I've begun (began?) to notice things about myself. Some things that need to change and some things that are pretty awesome. Two things in main need of change are my eating and exercise habits.

Before I can make changes, I need to face my current reality. The current reality of my eating habits is as follows: I eat too much incredibly expensive food. You might think, "Incredibly expensive? Stop eating out!" Well, that's not it. My food is expensive because its either organic or local, or for the perfect combination: organic and local! I have no intention of changing the type of food I am eating- I love knowing the farmer who raised my meat and picked my watermelon. However, I need to change the amount of food I am taking in... specifically, the processed foods. An organic cookie is STILL a cookie. Really, it is. 3 organic cookies? Yep, still cookies. : ) So basically, I want to eat LESS processed foods, but continue eating the same amount of fruits and veggies- LOVE 'EM!

The current reality of my exercise situation is far more bleak. To tell you how bad its gotten, I will admit to this: my gym called me this weekend. They noticed I hadn't been coming in recently and wanted to know why. GAH! I cannot tell a lie- I haven't been running outside or chasing my kids around the house. I've been lazy. Straight up, sitting on my bottom, eating aforementioned organic processed food and wasting time... not even watching t.v., just wasting time. WTF? Now, I haven't been completely inactive, I have taken the dogs on good (2+ mile) walks each day of the weekend. However, the effects of this inactivity are a bigger belly (it's bigger than a friend's who is 15 weeks pregnant. Yes, seriously.) Additionally, my arms have zero tone. Just so that I am not completely negative, I will give myself props for my feet. I fit into all of my shoes! This is my current reality.

This blog seeks to document a change in my reality. It will be a process, I do expect slip-ups, but overall, I seek to become a healthy, active person. Naturally, it will be hard work getting back into my grove, but I'll make it fun. The next 338 days of year 25 will rock.