Bacteria a Good Thing?

Today, I passed up fudge brownies, chocolate cake, iced cookies, and more–all provided to the faculty by our wonderful booster club parents.  The best thing about my self-denial?  It was easy!  Didn’t feel like a denial so much as taking good care of myself.  The cravings I used to have for sweets have almost disappeared.

I think getting off wheat is part of the change, but also the giving up soda.  I NEVER would have thought I could go eight days without Diet Coke, but I have.  Instead, I’m enjoying my lemon water and a delightful new discovery, courtesy my son:  kombucha.  My favorite is Buddha’s Brew cranberry.  I mix the fizzy, fermented beverage with a little orange juice (as in the juice from fresh-squeezed oranges) and water in a big insulated cup, and that’s my treat for much of the day.  Yes, there are natural sugars in juice, but I’m not avoiding all sugars–just refined sugar.  Small steps!

In addition to the live cultures in the kombucha, I’m taking a probiotic each morning and night.  After some research, I settled on the Bio-Kult brand.  The nutritionist we talked to said health begins in the gut.  You’ve got to be able to efficiently process what you eat, and fermented drinks/food and probiotics are good for that.

I’m now feeling more energized as I start my day, less hungry as I go through the morning, and more in control as I make my decisions as to what to eat.

Next up:  adding in regular exercise.  I stopped going to the gym while recovering from a hysterectomy, and I’ve never REALLY made it back.  Gotta find that determination, because summer is coming, and I want to feel great in my tank top and shorts again!


One Week In

I won’t always post about the food I’m eating, but I thought I’d give a quick now vs. then picture of my diet:


Breakfast–steel cut oats, plain yogurt, fresh berries, some honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Snack–an Evolution pepita, almond, and cranberry bar.

Lunch–greens with tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, turkey, and a lemon balsamic dressing; a tangerine; apple slices

Snack–salted plantain chips from Whole Foods

Dinner–salmon in lemon garlic butter and steamed broccoli.

Snack–Way Better brand chips with fresh salsa

Drinks–water, or water mixed with kombucha and fresh squeezed orange juice.

Seven days ago:

Breakfast would have been McDonald’s.  Lunch would have been salad, but with ranch dressing, croutons, and a side of whatever bread-y packaged snack I felt like buying in the cafeteria.  Then add lots of mini-Milky Way bars, always available in the library lounge.  Dinner would have been Subway or All Star or pizza, followed by chocolate.  Snacks would have been more chocolate.  And Coke Zero.  LOTS of Coke Zero.

I certainly feel better than I did a week ago!  Yay, me!

Ice Day Tomorrow

Well, they’ve called it:  my school district says no school tomorrow due to winter weather event!

I don’t know how much ice this “event” will actually bring, but I’m grateful for the very threat of ice if it means an unexpected break from a too-hectic, too-stressful week.  It means staying up late tonight and sleeping in tomorrow, followed by some much-needed cleaning of house, grading of papers, and planning of lessons.  I’ll clean out our fridge and pantry, making room for our new whole, unprocessed grocery store buys.  Out with the old way of eating, in with the new. It will be that much easier to put together good meals with organized shelves and bins.

But all that is tomorrow.  For now, I’ll set aside the school bag (and this computer) and turn on the television.  Should we continue season two of “Bates Motel” or season three of “House of Cards”?  Maybe we’ll watch a little of both!

Ice, ice baby…

Stepped on the Scale


I knew I had been gaining weight (and eating way too much) all year long, but dang.  The scale at the gym says 165.  One hundred and sixty-five pounds on a petite frame that is 5′ 1″ is not a healthy thing.

Having to buy size 14 pants last week should have clued me in that this was getting out of hand.  That’s four sizes up from where I was at the time of my hysterectomy two years ago, and it’s six sizes up from where I was at the time of my mastectomy and treatment five and a half years ago.

I miss my old clothes, and I miss the way I used to feel in them.  I miss the figure I used to have:  the one that was proportional and even pretty despite the dramatic change that resulted from cancer surgery and radiation.  I miss being able to climb stairs without feeling out of breath, and I miss feeling strong both inside and out.

The good news is that all that is within my power to have again.  I can lose this weight and the constant aches, pains, and fatigue that come with it.  In fact, I’m already on my way.  This is Day 3 of avoiding refined sugar and processed foods, and I’m determined to keep going.  Throw in some regular exercise and some key supplements (more about that later) and a new old me is on the way!


This morning I wake with a terrible headache. The kind that lasts for hours. The kind that makes it hard to move very quickly.

Caffeine withdrawal, maybe?  Eliminating caffeine is not one of my food goals, but getting off of diet soda is.  No Coke Zero yesterday. No Diet Dr. Pepper. No TAB.  I’ve gone more than 24 hours without soda.

Because I was Mormon for thirty years, I never learned to like coffee or tea, so I have no appealing substitute for my beloved cola.  This sacrifice will be the hardest part of my nutrition makeover.

Every day on the way to work, I stop (stopped?!) at McDonald’s for a 32 oz. cup of diet soda. Almost every day on the way home, I stop (stopped) for another. For stretches at a time, I’d also keep some bottles of Coke Zero in the fridge at home, but then I’d tell myself that one strategy for drinking less of it was to never buy it at the grocery store. That way, I’d just have it as a treat whenever I got out.

Yeah, right.

I know all the reasons diet soda is bad for me. Especially as a cancer survivor. I’m going to persevere in cleaning up my nutrition, and giving up that (delicious) drink is a key part of the plan.

But oh, this headache! Day one of withdrawal, I guess.  I’ll be sure to drink lots of water today…starting now, as  I reach for the ibuprofen.

March 1

So, today I ate plantain chips.  They were delicious!

And I had apple slices dipped in fresh peanut butter–really fresh peanut butter, ground by me right in the store.

And I drank some blueberry kombucha.  Whole sips of it.  Consecutive sips.

I also made some salad dressing in an attempt to find a no-sugar alternative to the Dole citrus dressing that comes in the Sunflower Crunch ready-made salad pack.  My mistake was in using a white onion instead of a vidalia onion, but hey, the recipe has potential.

I have potential, too.  I KNOW I can make better choices in the foods I eat, and I started today by NOT eating sugar or wheat.

Now I’m heading downstairs to cook the pork tenderloin recipe in this month’s Prevention magazine…and to discover what the heck balsamic vinegar is!


Note:  Balsamic vinegar, simmered for ten minutes before basting the meat, makes an excellent sauce for pork tenderloin!  Cook for 30 minutes in a 425 oven, add some parsley as a garnish, and wow!  Easy and delicious.  We’ll be making this again.


We’re a family who has decided that enough is enough.  We haven’t been our best selves in a long time, but that time is over!  We’re going to find out if good food, regular exercise, and fresh air can heal what ails us.

Here’s to a happier, healthier 2015.