The horse's pasture to the East...

Monday, July 25, 2016


Do you remember a few posts back, where I wrote out ideas for changing your diet, dumping sugar, improving your health from the inside out? I decided to take my own advice.

I wrote those posts for a friend who is seriously ill. She asked me for help. When I talked to her about her diet I hit a hot button. She had a melt down and I was the target for her anger. That was fear. And it was an honest answer too. You are what you eat. If you have a crappy diet you will, sooner or later, get sick. So, I decided to have my say here where anyone could read it without being offended. 

Nothing I suggested was radical. Take the sugar out of your diet. Make your own meals. Eat your vegetables and fruits. Exercise, breath and meditate, and do your best to get a good night's sleep. Pretty simple ideas but it turns out that talking to people about diet, even when they ask for help, is tricky stuff.

But I hadn't really taken my own advice. It isn't fair for me to make suggestions to other people without going through the same process. I went through the kitchen, storage room downstairs, refrigerator and threw out all of the prepared foods and sugar. The only thing I use sugar for now is making kombucha. (Kombucha is a fermented tea. The sugar feeds the bacteria. It's a bit like making vinegar or beer.)

And I started making smoothies for my husband and me for dinner every night. We've been doing that since June first. I didn't do it to loose weight. It was an experiment . We do a lot in the evenings in the Summer time so dinner ends up being late, usually after 8PM. Even a light meal has a tendency to sit heavy and it takes up a lot of time I would rather be spending outside working with horses or in the garden, taking photos in that gorgeous evening light or painting. Smoothies made life easier for us. No cooking. All I had to clean up was a blender and two glasses. Easy!

Turns out there were other benefits too. We both started sleeping better. Aches and pains stopped. No more tossing and turning. And, SHAZAAMM! We both lost weight. I'm down 12 pounds and still going. John lost even more but we won't talk about that. Men always loose weight more easily. 

That little 'Grandma Belly' that I had worked so hard to get rid of, the one my Doc said I probably wouldn't be able to loose because of metabolism changes as women age, is almost gone! I kid you not. I went shopping for new jeans and I was able to try on a size 8. I've been a size 12 for several years now, 10 if the jeans were made loose (which is mostly never). SIZE 8!!! I honestly tried on my first pair of skinny jeans. I didn't buy them. They were too expensive and I was looking for work jeans, something to muck out stalls and paint in. But I'm pretty sure they heard my "WHOOT WHOOT!" outside the store on the sidewalk. I put on skinny jeans and looked good in them too.

I honestly did not start using smoothies as dinner to loose weight. I was just trying to take my own advice. It wasn't that much of a change for me, I have to admit. I keep raw honey or 100% organic maple syrup in the house if I need to add sweetness to something. And we've been vegetarians for years and love to eat here. We're both introverts so we like living quietly. Going out is a huge indulgence for us. It's easier to control your finances if you fix your own meals.

(You're wondering about the pictures of Apple. She's pretty. Can't help it if I like to post pictures of her. And I don't have to get a model's release to do it either.)

I thought maybe you'd like some information on how I make the smoothies. They were a big money saver for us too, by the way. We've been using most of the vegetables and berries from our own gardens. You can buy all of this stuff at the grocery store though, so no big deal. In fact I suggest Costco. They have a lot of selections in the their fresh produce sections of vegetables and fruits that are organic and very tasty. 

Here's a list of some of the fruits I use. I try to use at least three in any combination in each smoothie. Keeps the colors, textures and flavors interesting. Ready? Here goes. : raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples, bananas, fresh pineapple, pears, red grapes, green grapes. I never peel any of the fruits i.e.. apples, pears. I do peel the bananas. I sometimes try more exotic fruits but those are the basics. For two people you'll want to (for example) use one banana, 1/2 to 1 cup raspberries, 1/2 to 1 cup red grapes. Sometimes I throw in a fourth fruit, so try adding 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks.

And here's a list of the vegetables I've been using. : any type of greens i.e.. lettuce mixes, spinach, kale, chard, beet greens, carrot greens, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, summer squash, carrots. You get the idea. Almost anything goes. I try to use three or four vegetables . (This is for two people, by the way. Fills your blender to the top so you'll each get a good 12 ounces or more. Use a big glass. ) So I might add a cucumber, chopped in large pieces, a carrot and the greens, scrubbed but not peeled and chopped in large pieces, a couple of different kinds of lettuce (a cup or two), and maybe some celery greens. Celery was my 'outside the comfort zone' vegetable this year. Turns out it's really easy to grow your own and if you cut it about tow inches or more from the ground, it regrows. Easy peasy!

I add 1/2 ounce of Organic Wheat Grass powder (which is one scoop. Comes in the container.) from a company called Amazing Grass. It's organic, vegan, gluten free and raw. Your body is going to love you for adding this to your smoothie! Packs a punch, nutrition wise.

Then I add 1 ounce of Raw Protein and Greens from a company called Garden of Life. It comes in different flavors. I like the vanilla but you can also get plain or cocoa. (I just add a spoonful of cocoa or cocoa nibs if I want a chocolate flavor.) It's slightly sweetened with stevia, is organic and is also raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, soy free. An ounce is the size of the scoop that comes in the container. You can also buy it in packs to try the flavors out before you invest in the full size container. Pretty cool!

There are other protein powders available too. You can find them on line or in your grocery store or coop. The one listed above contains six veggies and 20 grams of protein in one serving. 

You can also add things such as a tablespoon of ground whole flax seed or chia seeds, peanut butter or peanut powder (just found that as Costco) for some added oom pa pa if you want something a bit thicker in your glass. Might want to choose just one though. Keep it simple.

I sometimes add one or two drops of peppermint essential oil or orange or lemon oil, rosemary oil or clove bud oil. But keep it to just a couple of drops of  one flavor/oil. 

Now for liquids. You'll want the equivalent of 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid. I usually combine two. I really like soy milk or almond milk, about 3/4 to 1 cup and 3/4 to 1 cup of either Knudsens Lemon Ginger Echinacea, or Mega Antioxidant or Green Mega (think that's the name). Sometimes I add some yogurt or kombucha and half the soy milk or kombucha and half the juice. Experiment with your favorites. Word to the wise ; don't use anything that has any sugar or fructose added to it. Stick to the real deal. You can also add some coconut water or milk. Just substitute for the juice or soy milk, about 1/2 cup.

Blend away. I blend it at least twice, the equivalent of a couple of minutes. I really like to whip it up. My blender is old though so yours may be more efficient. You'll have enough for two people so half proportions for yourself if you are making it for one. I promise you it will fill you up. I am never hungry in the evenings. 

You're probably wondering if I changed my diet in any other way. Nope. I eat my usual breakfast i.e.. egg and a piece of whole grain toast or muffin, a tomato and maybe some grapes OR yogurt and fruit and nuts, sweetened with honey or maple syrup, oatmeal and fruit and nuts. For lunch I have stir fry or rice and veggies or soup with a dollop of yogurt on top, something like that, (or salad. I love salads!) and for snacks I have an apple and peanut butter or a handful of nuts and cranberries or raisons.  I drink a lot of tea, green or black and herb during the day as well as filtered water. And if my sweet tooth starts knocking at the door I have a couple of squares of Green and Black's dark chocolate. I love chocolate. Made a decision I just can't give that one up. Sometimes, if I'm in town, I will go to one of the really good ice-cream places and have a scoop of ice-cream. It's awesome when you haven't had anything sweet for a month, almost like an orgasm of taste. So satisfying. (she said with a wicked bad grin!)

Eating like this is a life choice. I learned a lot about how to eat when I lived in Europe for a couple of years on a slim budget. There were fresh fruit and veggie markets, the best cheese I've ever had in my life and fresh egg stores almost anywhere. It's our American diet that's the culprit. If you can get away from the junk food, you're on the right path. Try the smoothies in the evening to start with, make the other changes as you go along. Then come back here and let me know how it worked. I want to hear your " WHOOT WHOOT!" stories too.

I love you guys. I'm so glad you stop off to visit ever so often. I promise, the next posts will be more funny stories. Until then, I am ever yours, Nancy, smiling at you BIG TIME! (And standing in front of the mirror one more time to gaze at my considerably skinnier butt!)

PS. Maybe I need to go get my hair styled now, just in case I decide to go back for those ridiculously expensive skinny jeans. 

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