Good Health

New Favorite Breakfast-Overnight Oats

Preamble: I'm not really a food blogger. But I do like food very much!

My breakfast routine is pretty routine. Usually nonfat greek yogurt with fruit or berries and sliced almonds on top. Occasionally I'll have cereal, but that's kinda more like dessert in a way. (Even if it is made up of high fiber twigs and flakes.) I love oatmeal, but it's not cold enough for a big bowl of hot breakfast yet (I live in Los Angeles - go Dodgers!)

Overnight Oats have been on my radar for a while, but I didn't pay attention, thinking they were too prep heavy. Turns out I have idiotic thoughts and in fact they are SUPER EASY!

  • 1/2 cup rolled/old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup milk (of whatever kind of milk you like)
  • 1Tbs chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit
  • Put all that in a mason jar, stir well and refrigerate 5 hours or up to 5 days. When you go to eat it, stir well and add honey or syrup or fresh fruit or nuts. 

That's it! Here's my before/after shots. I like using frozen cherries in oatmeal or the yogurt/fruit combo. And almonds. Lots of almonds! PS - also kinda healthy for you.

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Note: Many of my links (and/or images below) connect you with Amazon Affiliates products. I write about things I love and use. I don't get compensated to write about them. (I'll tell you if I do.) However, if you do decide to click through and end up buy something, I'll get a little bit from that sale.

Mason Jars: 

 

Quaker Old Fashioned Oats:


Homemade Kefir and Smoothies and Blenders

IMG_5455Whilst we were in England, I had three lovely visits with a friend I've known since high school. She taught me about making your own kefir for all that probiotic goodness and I've tried it now that I'm home. I had heard interesting stories on the BBC about how our microbiome may affect our physical and mental health. Fascinating stuff. Why not add it to a healthy diet? (Which I'm working on to make better habits!)

I decided to keep it simple, cheap, and cheerful to start in case I hated it. So I bought dry kefir starter and put it into milk. (The options are coconut water, juice or milk. I am not a fan of coconut water, thank you very much. With amount of coconuts I've peeled, cracked, drank and eaten as a kid in the tropics, I'm pretty much DONE with that.)(#islandgirl)

The flavor it creates is like a tart yogurt flavor in a creamy milky texture. I like it a lot. It's super easy: You put 1 quart of milk into a pitcher and one packet of dry kefir starter. Place a paper towel or coffee filter over the top, keep it in place with a rubber band and let it sit on your counter for 12-18 hours until the seeds bloom. Basically you know it's ready when the milk turns to cream and it has a lovely yogurt smell. Then you refrigerate and drink or make into smoothies or whatever you like, keeping 1/4 cup to start a new batch.

One very important step: once it's ready, blend or whisk it to smooth out the chunky bits. Because there will be chunky bits and that was an almost instant turn off when I poured out my first glass to drink. I quickly poured it back and texted my friend: What do I do with the chunks!?!?! 

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And the smoothie was good. But once I learned you can't kill the kefir with blending, I just give it a quick whisk in a glass before drinking it if I have no time for smoothies.

And putting it in smoothies is super yummy just like adding milk or yogurt. I tend to toss in whatever fruit is getting a bit too squishy plus some frozen fruit to make it cold. I also like to add shredded carrot and sometimes spinach if it's about to be past its prime. (The other morning I forgot the frozen stuff and have to say a lukewarm smoothie is not super great...lesson learned!)

IMG_5452Here is a ridiculous picture of my blender with peach, kefir, carrots, apple and banana. Crystal clear! LOL. Currently I have a GIANT Ninja blender. I was purchased in haste last year, but does come in handy for larger batches of smoothies and such. 

Oooh, random thought: I have about 1/4 cup of passion fruit juice that I squeezed myself when I made passion fruit curd a few weeks ago. (Post on that later!) I will put that in a smoothie soon! MMmmmmm. 

I'm giving it a shot, maybe it improves my mood? (Not that I need much help in that arena.) Maybe it improves my colon health? (Won't really know that until I get my next colonoscopy.) Maybe it improves my smoothy flavor? (Never a bad thing.)

No matter the result, I'll report back.

 

 

 

P.S. Many of my links connect you with Amazon Affiliates products. I write about things I love and use. I don't get compensated to write about them. (I'll tell you if I do.) However, if you do decide to click through and end up buy something, I'll get a little bit from that. 


February Goals Recap

Last month I reviewed my 2018 goals and what I had accomplished so far. Now it's the end of February and I'm here to do it again. 

My February goals were:

-Lose 8 pounds

-Meditate 5-10 minutes every day

-8 Push ups a day

-Work on my script 2x a week

-Add strength work to my routine

-Flossing 5 days a week

 

So how did I do? 

I lost 3 pounds. Not as much as I planned, but I lost 3 pounds, that's in the right direction. That makes 11 total for 2018. And with all the new habits I'm building, I'm feeling good moving into March and beyond. I'm still only drinking one day per week. (A trip to Las Vegas not withstanding in February...there was a bit more drinking there!) And not snacking after dinner. This one is huge for me. And I've done REALLY WELL on that new habit. Snacking and drinking wine after dinner are about comfort and imagined "I've earned this" baloney. I've had two months to build these habits and they will be put to the test in March and beyond as I started a new job this week. Stress for me leads to comfort eating and now I'll find new ways to relieve stress. Like....

Meditation. I started with 6 minutes a day (more than 5, less than 10!) and have upped it to 7 minutes a week or so ago. I missed 2 days this month, so I'm proud of myself for that commitment. I enjoy it and feel like it might already be helping me to just be calmer in my mind when things are busy and nutty and stressful. There is definitely a pause in certain situations where I do a "huh, that's a thought" and observe it, then decide what to say or do next. All that instead of just reacting quickly. I'm not saying it happens every time, but it seems to be making an impression. I'm doing Mindfulness mediation and it's challenging to my little rabbit brain. And again, with this new job and new stress, I need to commit even more to being still for 7 minutes a day. I have a plan to do 1 minute of meditation instead of snacking at work. We'll see how that goes!

I exchanged push ups for planks. I do 1:15 worth of planks 6 days a week. I find if I rest a day, I'm better at it the next day. The push ups were not getting better as I wasn't doing much of other exercises to increase my upper body strength and I was frustrated with my lame push ups. Perhaps I'll return to them in April.

Have not worked on my script. Fear.

Have not added a regular strength set to my daily/weekly routine. I need to put it in my daily journal as a thing to check off. (Checking things off on a page is R E A L L Y satisfying for me!)

Flossing has been continuing apace. Well done me.

 

Goals for March:

-Lose 8 pounds

-Meditate 5-10 minutes per day

-Plank 1:15 or more per day (Along with the regular walking/stair steps)

-Work on creative writing 2x per week

-Schedule the stretchy bands work outs into my weekly routine

-Keep flossing 5x per week!

 

I'll be back with updates around Easter....! 


Look How Fat I Was*

MyMarlin*I was not fat.

But boy oh boy, I thought I was. This was me in 8th grade with the first and only marlin I've ever caught. 175 pounds (technically a "rat" in the big game fish world). My dad was friends with the captain, Ben Baldwin (in the boat behind me) and the fish were biting like mad in Kona for a few weeks. Dad called to say, "Come over and catch one!" so I did. An unusual weekend visit to the Big Island during school.

Catching a marlin is hard, btw. It took 20 minutes to reel it in. And as the angler, you have to sit in the chair and do all the work yourself, just in case it is a record breaking fish. (Record breaking fish are 1000 pounds or more, just so you get why this one is called a "rat".) The crew on the boat, all experienced anglers, coach and cheer you on while you do it. It was a blast and I was really excited. 

But back to the fat part. Where did I get the idea that I was fat, ugly, unattractive, etc etc? So sad that I had no confidence in my strong body (well, maybe a bit more after wrestling that fish in). I am working so hard now, almost 40 years later, to feel good about who I am, what I look like and to not say a damn negative thing about myself in front of Harper. Even when she pokes my fat tummy and says "big tummy!" How do I create confidence in her? How do we help her know she's beautiful, inside and out? How do we make sure that when she looks at a picture of herself in 8th grade she thinks, "damn, I look great!" 

I will keep working to make it happen!

Also, in the last few years, I weigh lot more than that rat fish did. And I bought a bikini last year because F*UCK IT. Life if short. It feels good to just enjoy being at a beach or pool. Maybe that's the best way to teach Harper. 


2018 Already?

Seems like it was just November. December went by in a flash. Finished a job, then Thanksgiving, then Harper birthday then family visits then a trip to Seattle, home for Christmas and New Year and WHEW.

2017 was a good good year. I'll be honest and say the first half was much better than the 2nd! Because of course it was ITALY 2017 in the spring. My long planned birthday gift to myself. It turned out better and more wonderful than I even imagined it would. Here is an image from one of our last days in Lucca. Was was so sad to be saying goodbye to such a lovely town and an amazing experience.

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We got home to LA and LA had not changed at all and stood out as dull and full of concrete in contrast. I know I know, not fair to compare Tuscany to LA. But it really made me sit down and consider what the next 5, 10, 20, ?? years might look like. What do I want them to look like? I made a 5 year plan that will be a huge help for the long term goals. But for our distant plans, we are still working on them. Questions like: are we going to live in LA until we die? Are we going to live in this house until we die? All very valid and very REAL questions. Intense questions. Questions we can't answer just at the moment and that's fine. Just as long as they are out there and we are considering. 

As for 2018 - there are goals. Weekly goals, monthly goals, yearly goals. But all of that is predictable and unsurprising so I won't go into that until February as I want to walk my talk and then I'll report back. One goal I will share is to do 5 push ups a day for the month of January. I know, I know, sounds lame and easy. But for me, 5 push ups are hard. And PS I have to do them on my knees because my upper body strength is not great. Also - it's nice to make a goal that is reasonable and totally doable. No extra expense, time or equipment needed. I'll keep you posted.

I hope your 2018 is full of peace and hope and prosperity and joy and good health. 

 

 


New Belts - My Karate Family

Harper started shotokan karate in late spring this year. We were looking for something sporty that wasn't soccer (dear god, I'm putting off soccer as long as I can) and when offered karate, she said yes. With advice from preschool parent friends, we started at the Culver City Rec Center with Sensei John. Turned out there were kids in her class from preschool - excellent! After a short while, Kurt decided he wanted to join in. Both started as white belts, as you do. Harper tested up to Orange a few months ago and two weeks ago, they both took tests. Last night - ta da! Both got new belt colors!

NewBelts NewBelts2


Back To The Farm

Last year we discovered Underwood Farms in Moorpark (and their smaller sister farm in Somis). They close from December to March and recently reopened so we drove out and picked some lovely veggies and strawberries. Then Harper had fun in the bouncy house and feeding the goats.

YUM!

Strawberries1 Strawberries2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberries3

Rollin

Aside from the super delicious strawberries, we picked carrots, sugar snap peas and radishes. Harper had mostly carrots (with ranch dip) for dinner. She tried the radishes and seemed okay about them. But then just had more carrots. Awesome.

HarvestDinner

 

PS you know a place is uber kid friendly when all their porta-potties have these in them.

Toilet


Weigh in Wednesday on Thursday -- STOKED!

SnowleopardI weighed in at 181 today. That makes 11 pounds down total since August 6. And finally past the plateau I've been stuck on (184). That is 11 pounds in 12 weeks. Slightly less than a pound a week, but slow and steady wins the race!

The fast diet has gone very well. I have only missed one fast day since I started. There are plenty of fast days where I just want to cave in around 4pm and have a...something. But that's the point - it's psychological. I just want something. Sometimes I am actually hungry at 4pm, most times I'm just responding to years of habits. But all is good and the number keeps going down.

My BMI was at 30.1, now it is 28.3. This puts me in the merely "overweight" category but out of Obese which is always nice. Again, BMI is not a perfect indicator of health, just another piece of info.

I'm very happy about this continued weight loss. Honestly, the only downside to the FastDiet plan is that I don't cook as much and man, there are so many recipes I want to try!


Weigh In Wednesay on Thursday - Maintain

LibraWeighed in today at 183, still down 9 pounds from my starting point, but have been on this plateau for a few weeks. Frustrating, but there it is. I haven't really been doing much to change up the non-fast days, though I have been eating a lot less ice cream as the weather cools off. (Yesterday notwithstanding.)

The fast days are much easer to deal with, though if I time my two meals badly, I get HUNGRY and a little cranky. But it passes. Honestly, there are fast days when I wake up and am relieved to not have to really worry about what I'm eating. It's nice.

 


Return To Wii Fit - Snowball Fight!

My dear friend Jackie in Scotland (or as I know her best @JacMac30) commented on my recent post about the 5/2 plan and getting back in shape. She said: "well done you! I've dusted off the wii fit and have been enjoying the snowball fights once more ;)"

SNOWBALL FIGHTS!!!!!!!

I thanked her profusely as I hadn't thought about that in about two and a half years and it's just what I've been needing for some additional core and leg work on top of walking.

Kurt had to find/dig out the Wii Fit Plus disk and this morning I retrieved the WF balance board, scraped out the very dead batteries and fired the whole thing up. WOW am I out of shape. (This is not a surprise, by the way.) But it felt good to do the crazy chicken flappy thing, the obstacle course (gotta to get that jump mastered again), the skateboarding (oooh my neck gets so stiff!) and the snowball fight. There was much muscle memory but muscle fitness was lacking. Can't wait to start approaching my high scores again.

Funny thing was, in the couple of days before finding the disks, I was trying to remember what the snowball fight images even looked like. I couldn't do it! Amazing how memories get buried like that.

Wf-snowball
Here's a screen image I found on the interwebs.

I had actually forgotten all about the skateboarding game until Saturday when we were watching Yo Gabba Gabba and Tony Hawk was on doing some sweet moves. I got doubly excited remembering how well I used to do with the skateboarding. So aside from the stiff neck, that was super fun to return to this morning.

Wii Fit has not been updated in years, however. I don't know if there is a plan to update any of the courses or games, but that would be great as they can get old after a few weeks/months...

But thanks for the kick in the pants, Jackie! (And you know I don't mean "plastic"!)