Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Poor People's Disaster Preparedness

You would probably not be reading this if you feel good about how things are going in the country, economy and the world. We have all noticed that there have been a few glitches in the financial sector for a while and Mother Nature has been on a rampage too. I am against a lot of pointless worry. If I am going to worry it needs to do some good. I intend to get ready for disasters.

Most disasters have a certain generic quality. If you are ready for one disaster, you are ready for most other disasters, with a little tweaking for specifics. We all need water, food, clothing, shelter, warmth, a way to eliminate body wastes, safety, etc. That still applies in a disaster, any disaster.

My first step is to figure out how to survive long enough to find out what is going on and have an idea what to do about it. That is the first day or 24 hours. If you are on a tight budget that is a good place to start to avoid being overwhelmed with the cost of it all. Every time you go shopping think of one small item you could use to eat for a meal without too much preparation, especially cooking. If you can't manage a whole meal, get part of a meal at a time.

Water is something you can probably do something about for free. I am sorry for getting ahead of some people here. Lots of people do not know why you might want water in a disaster. You just turn on the tap and water comes out, right? Nope. Lots of disasters can stop water from coming out of the tap when you turn it on. An earthquake, for example, can break the water lines. Cold weather disasters can do the same thing. A radioactive disaster can make it so you won't want to turn on the tap and drink what comes out, depending on where the water comes from. Ok, I'm not here to explain every possible disaster to you. youtube does that. :-p

If you ever drink soda pop, bottled water, juice, or milk and other things besides, you sometimes have nice plastic bottles that they came in. Wash out the bottle and you now have a water container for you to store water for disasters. Free water storage for disaster preparedness is good.

Smaller bottles of water may not feel as satisfying and secure as a 50 gallon container, but they sure are a lot easier to find a way to store. You can put them under the couch, or bed or in the closet or behind the books. Find some nooks and crannies to put them in. You will need more water than you drink because you have to wash your hands and dishes, etc. A gallon a day per person is conservative. You can use less if you are careful. Experts stress that trying to ration water for drinking is a bad idea, but you can save on the cleaning water.

The next problem is what to do if you tap water is not great. I do not like drinking the water that comes out of my tap and I do not want to lug a lot of heavy water bottles around all the time, or pay for them. I like my Mr.Coffee coffee maker. It has a permanent filter that you can get to filter your water. I do not drink coffee, so it is easy for me to dedicate my coffee maker to water filtering only. If you use yours for coffee, you need to decide whether you are going to clean it out in between coffee and water filtering use or get another one. Not every Mr. Coffee coffeemaker will hold the permanent filters. My local Costco has the right kind on sale now. Unfortunately I found that out after I had already paid more somewhere else. It may not be too late for you. They say on the side of the box that a permanent coffee filter is included.

Your hot water heater may be a water source for disasters. It depends on what kind of hot water heater you have. The newer ones do not have a spigot on the bottom, but on the top. That means you will have to have a pump to get water out of them. You must know how to shut off the water going in and out of the hot water heater so it won't go down the drain, literally. If you have a disaster, keeping the clean water in your hot water heater for drinking later needs to be a priority. As soon as you get up off the floor or whatever, go take care of the hot water heater. You need either a wrench that will turn a thing that closes in the water in the tank or a special tool made only for that purpose. The special tool is less likely to walk off, so I favor it, taped to the hot water heater with instructions for use. If the heater runs on gas, you may want to turn it off if the gas is not working, to avoid an explosion.

If you live in an apartment building, you will have to talk to the manager about the water in the hot water heater, and using it in a disaster.

Toilet tanks can be considered a water source for emergencies. I gather they need to be considered contaminated. Even contaminated, they can be purified for emergencies. It is water you don't have to go out and bring home. That can be pretty valuable.

I am not going to cover purifying water for emergency use yet, because that is kind of advanced.  I am starting with the easy stuff for a few days of preparedness first.

Next post will have ideas for places to find non-consumable disaster preparedness items, and links.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Suicide With A Knife And Fork

Refined foods are a fairly recent innovation for humans.  I do not believe they are a good one, either. They are not especially good for anyone, but aboriginal people lack the generations of exposure to them that non-aboriginals have. If you carry aboriginal genes, refined foods can be a slow poison to you. 

One of these deadly refined foods is alcohol. For most aboriginal people, drinking alcohol is like trying to run a Volkswagen bug on jet fuel. It rots out your insides and your brain. You get diabetes and need to have limbs lopped off as you get gangrene. Heart problems and strokes are part of the results of drinking alcohol for most Aboriginal people.

White sugar and white flour are not a lot better for Aboriginal people than alcohol. They may not cause damage as quickly as alcohol, but eating that kind of junk is almost as deadly in the long run. Whole wheat and other whole grains are a more natural aboriginal diet. We have had those as a part of normal diets for many generations, unlike the refined carbohydrates. Potatoes and corn were domesticated by Native Americans and are complex carbohydrates that are much better for aboriginals' health.

Meat that is full of hormones and antibiotics is not good for anyone, but is even worse for aboriginals. It is expensive to eat organic meat that is free of the bad stuff, but medical care is even more costly.

Dairy is not good for a lot of people who are not even aboriginal. Many people are lactose intolerant, but a higher proportion of aboriginals have this problem. There are lactose intolerant remedies to help lactose intolerant people eat dairy without bad effects. Health food and even groceries often carry them. Not everyone is helped by the enzyme drops for lactose intolerance. Low fat powdered milk does not cause me the problems that whole milk does, but I only use it in foods most of the time. Mozzarella is a comparatively low fat cheese and cheese substitutes are available in health food stores.

This blog post is a real bear for me to write because of the emotional issues involved for me. I have told other Native Americans about this before. I expected the answer to, why we have such a problem with alcohol as a group, would be well received. It was by a very few. Most said the idea of a genetic predisposition to problems with alcohol would be used as an excuse for more prejudice. The logic of this escapes me. The Drunken Indian cliche is kinda hard to combat when you see it live and in person so much. The only ones who escape this reality are escaping reality.

Scientists discovered something they call a "thrifty gene" that many aboriginal people have. The good part about it is that people who have it make it through famines more often than those who don't. When a thrifty gene person does not get enough to eat for a while, their body sort of shifts gears and becomes more efficient about burning food/fuel. More work can be done on less food, or even stored body fat. That allows enough work to be done to get more food to survive the famine. Someone without the thrifty gene will simply become too weak from lack of food, to work to get more food to survive, and they die.

The bad part of the thrifty gene is when someone with it eats refined foods, including alcohol, it messes up our insides and we get diabetes, heart trouble, strokes, high blood pressure and alcoholism. People without the thrifty gene can eat all the refined foods, including alcohol, because they have had so many generations of people eating those refined foods that their bodies tolerate them. This does not mean those refined foods are actually good for people without the thrifty gene.

I see no reason to feel inferior to people who can tolerate refined foods, because their ancestors spent so many generations consuming things that were bad for them, that their bodies are not as hurt by the refined foods any more. It does not seem like a good reason for people who do not have the thrifty gene to feel superior to people who have it either. I can see their point about people who have the thrifty gene trying to catch up on exposing their bodies to refined foods, especially alcohol, in one generation.

I figure I have the thrifty gene. I do not consume refined foods much. This is better for anyone, but close to essential for someone who has the thrifty gene. I have come to prefer whole grain flour to bleached and brown rice to white, etc. I don't drink alcohol. I have eaten those things in the past, but it has been a long time since I ate a lot of them. I am not a diabetic, and my blood pressure is low. I am slightly overweight, but will be within my correct range shortly.

There are some tribal groups that are making a great effort to return to their healthy traditions. I feel this is a matter of common sense. This is not a bad idea for anyone, to eat things that are good for them, whether they have the thrifty gene or not.   If you have genes from an aboriginal people, refined foods will make you very sick and probably kill you early. Please take care of yourself and stop consuming the foods and alcohol that will kill you. Think of the seven generations before you and the seven that will come after you. You are not only hurting yourself when you consume things that are bad for you.

I wanted to give you links about the thrifty gene but found that scientists are arguing about it now. The message still applies. We know that refined foods, and alcohol are bad for aboriginal people so we should not consume them. Osiyo.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What Kind Of Fuel Does Your Body Run On?

A person who bought a new car and drove it out of the showroom without knowing what it ran on would probably not be your candidate for making a good decision.  You are doing the same thing if you do not know what your body needs to function well.

I decided to do this post because of a joke. Sometimes I joke about chocolate being one of the basic food groups. I discovered that people really believed that it is one. I can agree with the sentiment, but not the information. In this blog post I wish to help you learn what your body needs to run on. Experts agree that there are a set of basic food groups.  They don't all agree what these basic food groups are. They all get the same foods into their basics.  They just arrange them differently and differ on how much of each you need.

The USDA used to have food arranged in a pyramid, they still have some pictures of this around.  They are trying to switch to MyPlate instead. USDA site about MyPlate The groups are fruits, vegetables, protein, grains and dairy. How much you eat of each group depends on what you want to achieve with your eating. Examples of what you might want to achieve with your eating are weight loss and muscle development for athletes. People who want to lose weight usually eat less fats, sugars and carbohydrates. More detailed site on nutrition

You can eat less fats by cutting back on oils, fatty meats, drinking low fat milk and low fat cheese and low fat yogurt.  I like to substitute low fat yogurt for dairy that is much higher in fat like cream cheese or sour cream. It is easy to thicken yogurt by draining liquids out of it by placing it in a strainer or on several layers of cheesecloth and letting the liquids drip into a container.  You can use the nutritious liquids from the yogurt in soups. That is a way to get used to the change from cream cheese or sour cream.

Most desserts have a lot of sugar in them.  You can look at the label on them and see how much sugar they have in them. If it does not have a label, you can look at the links in my previous post about exercise to stop holiday weight gain and find the calories in the food.

A lot of sugar in your coffee or tea can add up to more calories than everything you eat and get you fat in no time. I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners because studies show that people who use them regularly usually gain back any weight lost within a year. They have also been shown to be related to cancer.

Honey is one of my solutions to this problem.  Honey has the same number of calories per teaspoon as sugar, but it has three to five times the sweetening power, so you can use 1/3 to 1/5 the amount of honey as you would sugar and get the same sweetness. Stevia powder is 16 times as sweet as sugar, so I use it some.  When I cook with it I use half sugar and half stevia powder- that is using a brand that adds bulk to the stevia powder so that it has the same volume as the sweetening power in an equal volume of sugar.  In other words, if you need 2 cups of sugar you can use 1 cup of stevia powder and 1 cup of sugar. You really need to know what you are doing if you completely substitute stevia powder for sugar because sugar does other things besides sweeten in a recipe and you have to allow for all those changes as well. I mostly don't risk it. There are plenty of sites on the internet for recipes low in calories.

For those who don't know, stevia is an herb and a tiny bit of it sweetens as much as a lot of sugar.  It is hard to calculate how much to use in a recipe because you have to account for the difference in bulk between the stevia and the sugar. I only use straight stevia powder in things like dry cereal and milk, coffee or tea.

Now for carbohydrates. There are a lot of fad diets that cut out carbohydrates entirely. I do not like them, unless you are using a nutritionist. They can cause you to start burning up parts of your body that you will need later, and I think they are dangerous. I do not think they work well either, but cause people to go off their diets entirely and even gain weight instead of losing.

My favorite approach to carbohydrates in weight loss is to simply change the kind of carbohydrates I eat. I  stopped eating refined carbohydrates (carbohydrates that have had a lot of unhealthy stuff done to them,) and eat complex carbohydrates, like potatoes and whole grains, instead. People often think of potatoes as fattening, but that is only because of all the fattening things people usually put on them. This is where I especially like to use low fat yogurt to replace the fattening stuff. When I had more weight to lose, I used to put butter substitute powder from the grocery store on the potato and low fat yogurt. I also use fresh basil from my greenhouse. Sometimes I put legumes and vegetables on the potato instead. When you are creative, you won't miss the fattening stuff as much.

I am heartily sick of writing about weight loss, etc. by now but have one more bit to tackle on the subject before I move on to other things. Aboriginal people are not ready for refined foods. If you have genes from an aboriginal people, refined foods will make you very sick and probably kill you early. I wish to write about this next, and then I believe I will begin to write about ways to cut back on your living expenses.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shop Until The Pounds Drop

Many of us are defeated in our weight loss plans before we get to the grocery store check out.  Once you have a lot of  calorie-loaded non-nutritious foods surrounding you at home, you are in trouble on any kind of weight loss plan.

Researchers found out why that happens.  Your stomach makes an enzyme that affects your brain.  This enzyme causes your brain to steer you to foods that have a lot of calories in them. This is a very recent discovery, but it was known some time ago that hungry people will spend more money than those with full stomachs. I had a personal adage from a while back to, "Never shop on an empty stomach." ( Compulsion from stomach hormones to buy junk food)

There are steps you can take to fight against the tyranny of your stomach over your brain. You already saw the above one, "Never shop on an empty stomach." If possible, eat before you leave to go shopping.  You can buy something to eat in a shop or cafe' that has fewer calories than other things or you can take along something and eat it before you go into the store. I have put some oat/whole wheat crackers, dried seaweed pieces, nuts, and dried fruit in a zip lock bag in my pocket and taken along a bottle of water to drink with them. The foods I just mentioned were chosen because they are nutritious, don't take up much room, I like them, and they don't have many calories. I can fit a whole meal into a small shirt pocket with those foods. If you are not used to eating dried foods, it would be a good idea to check on portion sizes first. You will get a horrendous stomach ache if you eat too much. They expand when they contact the liquids in your stomach. Eat the dried foods very slowly, chewing them well, with plenty of water and they will fill you up.

Always use a shopping list and stick to it. The displays at the end of the aisles and by the checkout stands are planned to make you buy things you don't need. This often also equates to calories you don't need. The whole grocery store is planned the same way.  There are researchers out there studying how people shop, teaching grocery store managers to lay out their store to encourage impulse buying. It is no accident that you have to go clear across the store when you only need a carton of milk. Site about watching your shopping habits
This is designed to make you spend more money and maybe get fatter

I have known about the science of encouraging shopaholics for a long time, and some of it still ticks me off. If you were not aware of this, I hope it makes you angry enough to stop falling for it. Your puny bank account and expanding waistline are not all your fault. You were pushed under that freight train of commercialism.

It is unfortunate that many readers are likely to have little idea of what to put on their shopping lists to fight the bank account slimming and waist widening effects of commercialism.  I do not wish to insult those who already know the basic food groups, etc. It would be failing those who do not know, however, if I do not do a post on such things.  Next post will be on basic nutrition.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Write Off The Pounds

It is very difficult to lose weight if you have no idea what it is that causes you to eat, even when your body does not need for you to eat.  A food diary helps clear up some of that mystery.  I was very reluctant to keep one, but the price for my diet counselor made me pay attention to her.  If you decide to use a food diary, it may save you $300.00 to $1000.00 a month. Counseling only can start around $300.00 and go over $1000.00 if diet food delivery is included.

Some of the useful things I have learned from a food diary are that I binge on food sometimes and why I do it.  I can often tell when I am getting ready to binge now and know what I can do to prevent a binge or lessen the damage. I know what foods cause me the worst problems with weight gain and what foods will keep me from feeling deprived of my favorites. An indirect benefit of a food diary for me is that I am able to avoid the urge to binge most of the time now.

There are some excellent sites on the internet to help you with your food diary. Particularly helpful sites are:
This one has the USDA nutrients data base and printable food diaries
This one is by family physicians and has a BMI calculator

Experts recommend newbies keep track only of the foods consumed because they are easily confused and overwhelmed.  Keeping a little bit of useful information l is better than nothing.  If that works  it is always ok to get more elaborate, with nutrients and possible emotional and social triggers for binges etc., later.

A good  food diary is useful to give you a record of where, when, what time, who you are eating with, and how you are feeling when you eat.  By looking at your food diary you can see what causes the eating that made you gain weight. You may be eating from habit, boredom, loneliness, or from being upset about something. Looking at the pattern in your food diary will tell you what causes you to eat more food than your body needs to run on. This gives you a chance to plan your eating in the future so not only will you stop gaining weight, but will be able to lose your excess weight.

Even if you do not think that you are ready to make much of a change in your eating habits and behaviors, you can use the information in this series of blog posts to gain less, during the holidays, than you would otherwise.
"A pound of body fat equates to approximately 3500 calories.  So if you have a calorie deficit of 500 calories (meaning that you burn 500 calories more than you eat each day) you would lose approximately one pound per week."  (Nitty gritty site for serious dieting information)  The opposite is also true - if you eat 500 calories more per day than you burn, you will gain about a pound a week.  Every pound you don't gain during the holidays is one less for you to lose later.

I want to write about how to keep the pounds off while you shop, before you even get it home, next.

Recipes To Help Lose Weight

Popcorn has done a lot to keep me from being shaped like a beach ball. Other people have usually found it helpful too.  It does not work if you eat it with a lot of butter and salt, etc. on it.  I make it with olive oil and don't put anything else on it.

Store brand popcorn works fine for me. If you like this you may want to dedicate a popcorn pan.  Mine is about 8 inches across by 4 inches deep.  It makes enough popcorn at one time to fill a large bowl. That is the dedicated popcorn bowl. 

1/3 cup of popcorn kernels works well for me, but it would be best to start with 1/4 cup to see what your pan will hold.  You  won't like it if popcorn sprays all over your kitchen from a too full pan.  2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in the popcorn pan is the way to start.  I turn my stove burner on high and stay right there and watch it.  As soon as the oil flattens out and runs quickly across the bottom of the pan when you pick it up and tilt it, the pan is hot enough to put in popcorn.  I have the popcorn kernels already measured out and ready to dump in the pan.

I hold the lid for the pan in my left hand while I gently shake the popcorn kernels in the oil in the pan in my right pan.  Set the pan down on the burner frequently to allow the pan to get hot.  As soon as the first kernel pops, put the lid on the pan.  Continue to shake the pan, setting it less frequently on the burner as the popcorn inside pops faster.  When the popcorn stops popping after touching it to the burner, it is done.  I usually stop when there is no popcorn popping after a second.  Dump the popcorn into the bowl and enjoy it.  The extra virgin olive oil gives the popcorn a nice flavor without needing butter.  If you find it too bland, you could add butter substitutes and salt substitutes.

Salad is my second favorite instead of fattening foods.  I found that preparing the salad greens after I bring it home from the store makes it stay fresher.

I soak the greens in cool water for a few minutes to an hour.  Even if they are a little wilted they will absorb water and become fresher and more crisp.  If the weather is hot, you may want to add ice to the soaking water, especially if your tap water is a little warm.

You will need either paper towels or lots of cloth ones, to gently blot the leaves dry.  Salad spinners are another way to dry off the leaves. Line a plastic container with towels. I have only used paper towels so far, but am planning to work out a way to use cloth.

Place a thin layer of greens in the bottom of the plastic container on top of the paper towels.  They can be more than one leaf thick, but they spoil faster when they touch.  If you eat them fast, no problem.  Otherwise, one leaf thick is best.  Put another layer of paper towels on top of the leaves and add another layer of leaves.  Keep alternating leaves and towels until the container is full.  The greens will stay much crisper and not spoil as soon when you do this.  They are also ready to eat without further preparation except tearing into pieces if you prefer.

I like to make the salad a balanced meal.  That means I put a protein, at least one other vegetable, and a carbohydrate in it.  I usually put in low fat yogurt which counts as a protein and a fat.  Most of the time I make a dressing in addition to the yogurt with oil and vinegar with chopped basil in it.  If I think I need to cut down further on my fats I will only use the low fat yogurt as dressing.

Brown rice is my carbohydrate most of the time for the salad.  Sometime it is leftover pasta, or breadcrumbs or cubes or chopped potatoes. Carbohydrates in the bottom of the bowl absorb liquids from the salad.  Save some to put on top to make it look nicer. Put the rice in a circle on top of the greens leaving a ring of leaves showing around the edges.  I put the yogurt on the rice and if I am adding oil and vinegar that goes on top of the yogurt.  You can mix the basil into the yogurt or oil and vinegar or just sprinkle it on top of everything.  Next put the decorations on the ring of greens.  That might be black olives or mushrooms.  If you are using beans or nuts as your protein, that can go there as a decoration too.  Beets, broccoli, and carrots are colorful vegetables that make nice decorations.

I think this post is long enough so I may put in more recipes later on other posts.  I intend to write about ideas for how to do a food diary next.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Binge Prevention Recipes

If you fast and shrink your stomach and can tell when you are actually hungry, it will be easier to not eat the bad stuff, but it does not hurt to have things handy to eat that will keep you satisfied and ward off binges on unhealthy, high calorie food.

One of my favorites is popcorn.  This will not work if you get those microwave things full of butter and salt.  There are too many calories in them.  I make it with extra virgin olive oil and don't put any butter or salt on it.  I only use about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to make a big bowl of popcorn.  I just make it in a pan on a stove burner.  It has very few calories this way and the olive oil gives it a taste I like a lot.  It is quite filling and satisfies the need for crunchy.  When I eat it I know that I am satisfying an emotional need to eat something.  I know from experience that when I feel this way, unless I eat something like popcorn, I will go on a binge and eat so many calories that it will take me a week or more to burn them up or lose by not eating or eating calorie reduced foods.

Every person has to find their way of satisfying the urge to binge.  Popcorn may not be your solution.  Another one that I use sometimes is salad.  As long as you don't load it with high calorie food and dressings, a salad does not have many calories, in enough to fill up your stomach and satisfy your urge to binge.  A salad has to look nice to satisfy me.  I keep extras around all the time for this purpose.  Some of them are small cans of mushrooms, black olives, breadcrumbs, cooked rice, low fat yogurt, and I have cherry tomatoes and basil growing in my apartment so they are usually available fresh.  The black olives can be a little risky because they are high calorie.  You have to make sure not to use too many.  They are mostly for decoration.

There are a lot of filling vegetables, for the number of calories.  I happen to like broccoli and sometimes steam some frozen broccoli for a snack when I want to binge.  Another one I use, that is not quite so low in calories, is frozen fries made of sweet potatoes.  I cook them on a cookie sheet in the oven.  This will not work if you fry them in fats.

Knowing yourself helps enormously in losing weight or keeping it off.  I went to one of those expensive diet counselors to lose weight one time.  She had me keeping a food diary.  The food diary was very educational to me because I learned a lot about why I eat, especially when I am not really hungry.  I see no reason to pay somebody to tell you to keep a food diary.  Pay yourself and go get a new outfit when you lose weight or a new mp3 or ipod or something.  I guess I will write a blog on food diaries.  If you are very happy with your weight loss feel free to send me an ipod, too.

One of the best parts of going to a diet counselor is accountability.  You have a live person looking at you when you step on that scale and it is good news or bad news.  You can get that by having a diet buddy or going to a diet support group.  One of the worst parts of going to a diet counselor is that lately they want to sell you prepackaged low calorie and portion-controlled foods.  The foods can be fine.  They just cost too much.  Ok. I'm lying.  I have not tried all prepackaged foods sold by weight loss counselors, but the ones I tried were awful.  I believe the box would have been tastier.

I went to a diet counselor when I wanted to lose weight for my wedding.  It was not worth it because the marriage was awful, but I lost it by going on an extremely  low calorie diet.  Those diets are nasty because one bite of bad food makes you gain a huge amount of weight overnight.  It puffs you out like a balloon.  I don't think those diets are so good for you because I think they can pull nutrients out of your body and cause problems later.  I took vitamins, but scientists have been finding out about phytonutrients.  They are very small amounts of nutrients that vitamins do not have.  Vitamins sometimes go straight through your body and don't help.  The powdered or chewable ones can help with this.

The awful marriage did have one somewhat good effect.  I was so stressed out by the relationship that I got so I couldn't eat much and when I did eat, it came back up.  I lost over 25 lbs in one month before I left and I was already skinny.  I told some of my fat friends about that .  They wanted to borrow my ex.  I was thinking about renting him out.  I doubt the restraining order would have allowed that though.  :-)

If my popcorn, salad, and vegetables don't do anything for you, it is necessary for you to find your own foods that will do the same thing for you.  Some people are able to satisfy themselves with herbal tea.  Baked potatoes can be lower calorie if you don't load them with fattening stuff like butter.  I have used some of that butter flavored powder from the grocery store and, of course, basil from my greenhouse.  I put fresh sprouts on the potatoes sometimes too.  I grow those and they are easy and taste extra good when fresh.

I can see that I need to put in a post about keeping a food diary, so I will.  Another post about recipes like cooking low calorie popcorn and baked potatoes seems like a good idea too.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Your Messy Fridge May Be Fattening

The biggest consideration in organizing your fridge is that it not kill you.  :- ) This can be helped along a lot by not putting meat where it will drip onto other things and make them spoil.  Dairy could also be a problem in this area, but not nearly as bad as thawing meat.  A plate or bin that is a permanent home for thawing meat and will catch potential drips is a solution to this problem.  I like glass better than plastic because plastic can get tiny scratches on it that harbor unhealthy germs.  The experts did not mention metal, but I think it is worth considering a square or rectangular cake pan for meat thawing.  I must say that it is necessary to clean the meat/dairy/whatever drip catcher often enough to avoid killing yourself too.  I believe this is every time you defrost something in there and it drips.

It is hard to eat a healthy diet when your fridge is so gross it sends you fleeing for the junk food every time you open its door.  We can use getting ready for the Holidays for an excuse or motivation.  I doubt that anyone doesn't know that we need to do this the night before garbage pickup day or early enough to beat the garbage truck to the dumpster/garbage can.  Once you have all the bad stuff out in the garbage, you can clean the fridge and see what you are dealing with.   All the food needs to be where you can see it at one time.

There are two main theories of fridge organization.  The most common is by type of food:  all the dairy together, all the condiments, etc.  The other one is my favorite.  You put things together by purpose.  You put all the breakfast things together.  If you eat a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, you put the cream cheese and bagels in a bin together, for example.  You put all the sandwich things in a bin.  This allows one to carry the whole thing to the preparation and/or eating spot, and then dump it all back into the bin to carry it back to the fridge.  Theoretically this encourages other family members to put things back in the right place as well.

There are two main theories of placing tall objects.  One is to put them at the back of the shelf so you can see all the shorter stuff in front of it.  The one I like the best is to put the tall things to the side of a shelf and the short things along the opposite side of  that area.  I hate knocking over the green chili sauce when I drag out the whipping cream.  You can still see the short stuff with this method.  If you have nice big door shelves that you can put all of your tall things like milk or juice jugs on, then you have one less thing to think about when you organize your fridge.

There was a suggestion I read that one use one crisper bin to put veggies and fruit in and the other for meats.  Since most fridges have the crispers located at the bottom, this will help contain meat drips.  Crispers mostly keep produce fresh and crisp longer.  If you don't have a crisper bin,  you can make do with a plastic container lined with paper towels.  The paper towels soak up moisture and slow down rotting.

I will give you links to give you more information if you want it. 

I was going to put in places that sell fridge organizing containers online, but nah.  Once I get ads on here, the organizing items will be here.

 Go forth.  Organize.  Be Healthy and Happy.
I am going to write about good stuff to have handy to eat to keep down the bad stuff binges, next.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Does Your Little Round Belly Shake Like Santa's When You Laugh Like A Bowl Full Of Jelly?

Exercise to make up for fattening holiday food will only work if you eat a little of the bad stuff.  It can take a looong time to exercise it off if you really make a pig of yourself.  I like to figure out ahead of time what goodies I absolutely cannot do without.  One of those is my annual cream puffs.  I usually make them in batches of about 70 + bite sized ones.  It is hard to cut down the quantity because of the eggs.  I may see if I can do a smaller batch this year or give the extras to someone fast before I can eat them.  It will have to be very fast, however.  I filled them with mint flavored blanc mange that did not have as many calories as a lot of my fillings, so will probably try that again.  Lowered fat pudding might be ok as well.  I don't know whether I can be satisfied with low calorie fake whipped cream or not.  I know I am going to use real maraschino cherries.

Ok.  Once you pick your poison(s), you need to find out what the damage will be.  You can look up your holiday must-have favorites on the links.  One of the calorie counter sites told me that a small cream puff will be about 73 calories.  The site link is here:  Site with calories in food.
This site is fancier and has more info about the foods like fats, etc.

I feel deprived if I don't have my cream puffs for the holidays and that can trigger eating binges later that are way worse than the cream puffs.  Sometimes you just have to go for the best you can manage and be satisfied with that.

Once you find how many calories you are dealing with, you can go to these sites and figure out how long it will take you to burn off what you plan to eat.  They have book racks for stationary bikes.  :-)  You could try pacifying yourself with music or a video or TV if your chosen exercise will allow it.  I am not sure whether you can add the calories for TV watching onto your other exercise or not.  I guess you will be able to tell when you zip up your jeans the next time.

You may not need TV while you exercise if you are a newlywed.  I also found how many calories you burn while you watch TV, read, or sleep.  I don't plan to use those exercise plans for my cream puffs, but thought I might make a reader or so happy with them.

Nifty exercise site with a list of calories burned in exercise
This is a more serious bodybuilding site that calculates the calories burned by your exact weight

This is how many calories are burned while sleeping:

61 calories per hour

Assuming a body weight of: 150 lbs

This is calories burned while you just lie there (slackers):

Doing Nothing, Lying In Bed Awake, Listening To Music (Not Talking or Reading

68 calories per hour

Assuming a body weight of: 150 lbs

Watching Television

68 calories per hour

Assuming a body weight of: 150 lbs

These are what I actually intend to do to burn off my cream puffs.  Since I weigh less than 150 pounds I know that I will have to exercise longer than an hour to burn off 476 calories in my cream puffs.  No.  I will not eat only one cream puff.  Book rack.

Stationary Bicycling, General

476 calories per hour

Assuming a body weight of: 150 lbs

Stationary bicycle, 150 Watts, Moderate Effort

476 calories per hour

Assuming a body weight of: 150 lbs

For tomorrow I thought that it would be good to write about organizing our fridges.  How are we going to get everything in our fridges for the holidays if we have moldy stuff in there?  How are we going to avoid those extra pounds if we can't find the carrot sticks when our imaginary hunger pangs strike?  If we don't find something comparatively healthy to eat, we might find ourselves with one more fattening thing to eat that we didn't plan on.  We have to get off the exercise bike sometime and we need to save it for our favorites.

I think the post after the fridge cleaning tomorrow will be things you can eat when you feel hungry that won't require extra time exercising, to burn off.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Holiday Flab Fighting Without A Diet

I hate diets.  Diets are fattening.  A calorie counting, exact food plan diet, does not work for me.  I worked out a better way to maintain or lose weight. This series of blog posts is a way to share my weight loss tips.

A weight gain during the holidays this year is not acceptable.  I wish to lose some weight now, not gain more.  I have been looking up things to help me with this goal and realized that there must be lots of other people out there who do not want to gain weight in the holidays either.  This blog post will share useful things to help with that goal for all of us.

The first way to not gain weight is to shrink your stomach so you won't need to eat as much to feel satisfied.  I do that by fasting.  I am not talking about 40 days in the desert here, just a little bit.  It will shrink your stomach with a little fast of even one day.  Some people I know have reasons why they can't do a regular fast.  

There are all kinds of fasts. You can do a juice fast, where you only drink juices for however long your goal is.  You can only eat fruits and veggies for a fast or a no carbohydrates fast.  You can do a combination.  There are other kinds too.
Just check with your doctor if you have any health problems first.  
I like to stick to one day fasts  lately.  If I feel the need for more.  I fast a day and then eat normally for a while and then do another day later.

Something that works well for me is to flush myself out with a single fruit diet the day before the actual fast.  I don't like food sitting inside me rotting for the duration of my fast and this usually happens if no new food comes in to push out the old.

Extra fluids are necessary for fasting.  You will probably lose a little weight during a fast and that releases toxins from the fat that burns up.   Pesticides on the food that you eat and other bad stuff gets stored in body fat and when that fat goes all that junk in that fat comes out in your system.   

Some people have been known to have strange effects from this, including hallucinations.  Extra fluids, especially water, help get this junk out of you faster so it won't bother you so much.

Another advantage of fasting is that it helps you to remember what hunger feels like.  Most Americans do not know what it feels like to actually be hungry and we mostly eat for emotional and other reasons.  We get some twinge in our belly and interpret it as hunger and a signal to eat.  A reminder of what hunger really feels like makes it easier to ignore something that is not hunger.  You are less likely to eat when you don't really need to.

This blog post is getting too long, so I will continue tomorrow with how to exercise to make up for any holiday goodies you do eat and still not gain weight.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fresh Alaskan Tomatoes In December

These are tomatoes in my indoor apartment greenhouse.  It bears year round.  I thought people might like to find out about doing this as well.  It is pretty nice to have fresh tomatoes in December. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

My 22-year-old Cat and His Basic Preventive Healthcare

Snoogies is 22 years old and still in very good shape.  He still runs and plays and has wrestling matches with his younger brother.  He can run to the top of his six foot cat tree in one shot and likes to sit up there like a fat vulture and survey his domain.  He is still shiny and soft and cute.

He is too fat, so he eats a senior cat food for weight control.  It also helps prevent hairballs.  I put a tiny amount of cheaper food mixed in with it.  For some reason they like it better that way.  That is their dry food that I leave out in a bowl for him and his brother to eat whenever they want.  I keep another bowl of unmixed weight control beside it.

They have a water fountain with a filter in it near their dry food.  Pet water fountains are not cheap, but they are much cheaper than vet bills.  One vet bill will usually buy you several water fountains with extra filters.  I believe that urinary or digestive and elimination problems cause most cats to die too soon, so a filter is a small price to pay to keep my beloved cat with me a few more years.  I pre-filter their water before I put it in the fountain so they don't get a lot of chlorine in their systems before it goes through the fountain a few times.

It is hard to get cats to drink enough water.  They will drink much more water if it gets aerated through a fountain than if it sits in a bowl.  In the past some of my cats had urinary blockages.  They can die from this very quickly.  I took one of them to the emergency vet in the middle of the night.  The vet told me if I had waited another hour she would have been too far gone to save.  That was way too close for me.  I now do my best to make sure my cats never get like that again.

A cat that I had in my teens died after I took him to the vet several times.  She could not find anything wrong with him.  The vet asked for permission to do an autopsy on him.  She said it would help save other cats if she knew what caused his death.  She told me afterwards that it was a urinary blockage that killed him.  They were just beginning to find out about Feline Urinary Syndrome then.

Since then, I have learned a lot more about prevention of urinary and bowel problems with cats.  I plan to share this with other cat lovers.  Much of what I have to say can apply to dogs as well.  I am undecided whether to add my dog knowledge here to this blog or not.  I do not know as much about dogs as about cats, but I still know a lot of good stuff about dogs.  I also have quite a bit of knowledge about some other kinds of animals like goats and chickens.  I think I will just write what comes out now, though.