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Friday, January 29, 2010

More organic blah blah blah...

Every day I log in here with the intention of posting something but then I get distracted by checking other blogs first... Next thing I know, it's an hour later and I'm reading stranger's blog that was linked from another blog from another blog... And then it's time for bed or something and I haven't posted.

I'm still really enjoying my organic/natural/whole foods project. Last weekend I donated a lot of food we had in the cupboard to family. In a way I felt bad giving them processed food but they aren't at a point of wanting to change anything right now, so they were happy to take it. It isn't like it was total crap either... Some of it I was kind of sad to see go but then again, I wasn't. It is amazing how different I view food now. Between watching Oprah on Wednesday (the entire episode was on what is really in foods, etc.) and reading books like Fast Food Nation and In Defense Of Food and watching documentaries like Food, Inc., it is very easy now to pass up a lot of fast food and highly processed food. It's funny though that I felt like this even before I started reading all this stuff. I started doing it to regulate hormones and my metabolism, period. Now with all this other information, I think it'll be even easier to stick with it. The fact that I've lost 15 lbs and some inches doesn't hurt either. ; )

With that said, Julie and I went to a restaurant last night because we had this irresistible 2 for 1 coupon. The food was alright but nothing spectacular. I managed to eat about half of my portion and Julie barely touched hers. She told me that she's spoiled on the cooking at home now. I think I agree with her. Anyway, soon after I started eating, my nose started to run. I didn't think anything of it because it's not uncommon for that to happen while eating hot food. It didn't stop once we finished though and all night I periodically had to blow my nose. This morning it was the same thing... It wasn't until I was sitting at my desk at work looking at my empty tissue box (that has been empty for three weeks now) that I realized how significant this was. I tried to think back to the last time I had to take an allergy pill mid-morning. It's been a month. For a whole month I haven't had the annoying nasal drip (not quite a runny nose, just annoying enough to have to sniff throughout the day) that causes me to take an antihistamine on the really bad days. The tissue box on my desk that has been empty for three weeks would normally have been replaced at least 2-3 times in a month. Wow. I don't even know what it is that caused me to have the chronic nasal drip because I've never been tested for allergies but I'm willing to bet it had something to do with what I ate last night. By the afternoon I was fine again so I'm guessing whatever it was has passed through my system. Everything I ate last night was generally something I would make at home... I'd just use organic or whole foods instead of whatever they used that wasn't. Crazy. I guess this is one of the reasons why I feel great since changing my eating habits!

I'm watching the movie Free Willy on the family channel right now. I used to like that movie when I was younger and I guess it's still pretty good. My little sisters used to watch it over and over and over again like they did with every new video they received. I think I've watched The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Santa Clause and various Carebears and Barbie movies each over fifty times. Oh, not to mention Dirty Dancing and Steel Magnolias. Both of my sisters LOVED to dance around to Dirty Dancing (I think they wore the ending out on that movie) and for some reason, one of my sisters loved to quote Steel Magnolias all the time. This four or five year old would go up to people and say, "There is no such thing as natural beauty." Why? Because Dolly Parton asks Darryl Hannah to repeat that line to her in the movie. Crazy kid...

Anyway, I'm knackered (as my brit girl would say) so I'm off to bed. I'm going to check out the Farmer's market tomorrow morning to see if I can score some more and/or cheaper organic food. I'm totally excited about it and looked up the vendors online and I see there are a lot of variety and the place is huge so I'm sure I'll find some good stuff. It's kind of nice to have an interest in something that doesn't involve the computer or the television. Cooking every night has really cut my sitting down and vegging time down a lot which I've found to be a relief. Okay, shutting up now...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Water torture...erm, exercise...

Tonight Julie and I went to a drop-in water fitness class. Holy crap, the woman leading the class was scary - We spent half the time terrified that she'd wade over to where we were to check our form (which she did a few times) and the other half giggling because she would get out of the water and over exaggerate the moves. Overall it was fun and I think I'm going to sleep really good tonight!

Right now I'm watching Julia Child on some public tv station hack the hell out of a chicken. She's preparing the chicken for roasting but it looks so disgusting I think I need to change the channel. Then again, it is amusing when she loses her train of thought and looks around and says, "Now... what else do we have around here..."

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Late last month, amid the Christmas chocolates and dinners and other wintry treats, I weighed myself for the first time in a couple of months and nearly fell off the scale. I had gradually creeped up 20 lbs in a matter of 6 months and although I kind of knew I had gained a bit inch-wise (tighter pants), I didn't really pay it the mind I should have. In fact, I had consciously approved the consumption of all sorts of crap in November and December when stress at work was high and my mood was low. It was a cycle feeding itself really, eating crap made me feel like hell so then I'd eat more crap. In the last couple of days in December, I decided to stop the consumption of garbage and go back to eating healthier. I didn't really have a plan aside from wanting to eat healthier and I think if I had just left it at that I would have probably fallen off the proverbial wagon already.

Two days into eating healthier, on January 1st, Julie and I were browsing at Chapters looking for left over Boxing Week deals (I've noticed that
the sales are no longer one day now but rather a whole week long event) and I randomly picked up Jillian Michael's latest book, Master Your Metabolism from a table and flipped through it. I hate 'diet' books because they're just nonsense and I was thinking that I lost some respect for Jillian for doing a diet book (money grab) when her expertise is in physical fitness, but as I flipped through it I realized it wasn't really a diet book like others I had seen. It was more like an education on hormones and triggers and how, when and why your body reacts to processed foods and whole foods. For example, everyone knows vegetables are good for you and everyone knows refined carbs are bad choices, but I didn't know exactly why they are. When you don't know the why, why bother doing it? It's like science and math classes back in high school - If you don't understand the fundamentals behind the formulas you are using to solve problems, you're going to have a hell of a hard time remembering all of the formulas and which ones to apply on an exam. Anyway, I think the main reason why she put out the book was because she was all screwed up as a teenager (overweight, acne, etc.) and along her path to where she is now, she picked up a lot of information from endocrine specialists.

So, since I picked up that book, I've lost 11 lbs and some inches (I don't know how many because I can't find our tape measure) without much effort at all. I'm probably consuming between 1400 - 1800 calories a day and am only holding myself to a few rules:
  • As little processed food as possible
  • Nothing with high fructose corn syrup
  • Eat every four hours (three meals + snack per day) whether I'm hungry or not
  • Not eating after 9 pm
  • Try to get at least 7 hrs sleep per night
The restriction on the processed food sound like a tall order but it actually isn't much of an issue. Large chain grocery stores carry a lot of organic products now and the big food manufacturing companies seem to be finally realizing that people want to actually understand the ingredients they are reading on the label of their products. A lot of preservatives and miscellaneous ingredients that aren't critical to the composition of the product are being dropped from popular foods in order to shorten the ingredient list. More and more people are flipping over a package to check out the list of ingredients these days; Chances are, a person will choose a food with a short ingredient list over one that goes on and on with chemical names only the scientist developing it would understand.

This week alone, I've made nachos, pancakes, eaten ice cream (twice) and eaten cookies. The nachos were comprised of organic Hippy Chips, organic salsa, Kraft aged shredded cheddar (the least amount of processed ingredients), a ton of chopped green pepper, orange pepper, green onion and red onion. The pancakes were made with organic whole grain wheat, organic milk and eggs and were topped with apples and rhubarb I stewed with Agave Nectar and a bit of organic maple syrup (I am Canadian after all). Sooooooooo good. The ice cream I have in the freezer is pistachio and greet tea, both of the organic variety. I didn't realize that organic ice cream kicks processed ice cream's ass in taste. Wow. As for the cookies, they too are organic and I found them at Shopper's Drug mart of all places. Shopper's Drug mart has a fast-growing organic line - I also buy my oatmeal and a few other things from that store.

I could probably go on and on about other meals I've made but I'll spare you. I have realized though that the more I cook, the easier it gets and the more I like it. I've found that chopping vegetables up and putting them in containers in the fridge is a HUGE time saver. I usually employ Julie for most of the chopping. She tells me she usually grumbles about it but then remembers the pay off, so she doesn't mind it in the end. Having pre-cut items makes throwing together a meal a piece of cake. And the more I cook, the more inspired I get to try new things. In the process, I've come up with at least a handful of new dishes that both of us really enjoy. It seems silly to say, but I'm just really having a lot of fun in the kitchen and with food in general.

The biggest and best thing that has come from all of this, actually specifically Jillian's book, is the fact that I've re-trained my body to trust that it is going to get its next meal. This amazing feat almost makes me cry when I think about it. For as long as I can remember, I've always been afraid that I would go hungry. There were various reasons for that in my past that are too complicated to even get into, but even now as an adult, I still had that problem. Even though I know I can feed myself food pretty much whenever I want to, my body still acted like it was in starvation mode. This meant that any time I was around prepared food or offered food, I felt I had to eat it, whether I was hungry or not because 'maybe I wouldn't be able to eat again for a long time', even though I KNEW when I was next going to eat again. Crazy, huh? Keep in mind that this was how my body acted whether I was dieting or not. I remember discussing this with Julie last year when I was particularly annoyed with my eating habits. I was debating whether or not I should see a psychologist about it (thinking it must be psychological trauma from my youth, etc.) because I just could not see myself ever being like the people around me who could eat breakfast and then not eat again until lunch and the same with dinner, etc. I thought I was addicted to food and felt hopeless to change anything. Well, within a week of eating whole, natural foods, I am at last experiencing what I never thought I would. I can now pass over all sorts of food now, not with willpower, but by my body not setting off all the "I'm starving, feed me, feed me!!!" signals that I used to be instantly flooded with at the sight of food. It's like I look at it and my body evaluates and says, "Um... nope, still good here. Lunch is in an hour, we trust that you're going to actually eat at that time and we're fine until then." In Jillian's book, she mentions that after a while, a person may not feel hungry after four hours when it is time for the next meal. When I first started this, I thought 'Yeah right, I won't even make it to four hours.' but I do and there are times when I'm not hungry at the four hour mark, but I make myself eat anyway. Amazing.

I wasn't actually going to blog about this at all because I always feel so silly when mentioning a change in diet in case it doesn't work out, but the fact that I feel so damn good right now and am excited about cooking and food and how all of it has affected me made me change my mind. That and the fact that Julie will only listen to so much of my excitement before tuning me out in favour of Nancy Grace. I think our grocery bill has gone up a tiny bit but that is balanced by the fact that we aren't eating out much. As long as I can keep the grocery bill reasonable, I don't see why this can't be a permanent lifestyle change. The not being hungry or tempted by food between meals part as well as the feeling fantastic part makes it more than worth while.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Broken Couch

Well, the couch is apparently broken. A piece of 2 x 4 underneath on the one side is broken and is causing the one side to look funny and the one reclining piece broke off because of the wood sticking out under the seat part. Obviously this was broken when we got it but it took a few days to break the reclining part and therefore cause us to look under the couch. Julie phoned Sears and apparently some guy is supposed to come look at it sometime this decade. I hate Sears.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Pictures of the new couch and chair and other various shots around the place from Saturday before my parents came home for the evening (hence the glasses and snacks set up on the table). Please excuse the blurriness... we really need a new camera. Maybe the Easter Bunny will bring one...

View from the kitchen/dining room area:

View of the wall and door to bedroom:

View of the bookshelves and TV opposite the couch:

Time for wine and snacks (or nibbles as my British woman calls 'em):

The long shot from the patio window:

This is where I sit and probably look exactly the same right now (except in PJs):

Loooooooooooooove the new furniture!! It's so comfortable and looks really nice with the rest of our decor. :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Another New Year

Another year and decade in our lives has begun. It still feels like the early 2000's (I guess really, 2010 is still the 'early 2000's', but whatever...) and I'm still in my twenties. I really experienced a lot of new things in the last decade:

  • Finally figured out (read: stopped denying) I was gay (2000)
  • Started working for my current employer for the first time (2000)
  • Laid off by my current employer (2001)
  • Became deeply depressed due to lay off, requiring medication just to be able to get out of bed (that took five weeks) and find a new job (that took three months due to slow economy)
  • Got my license to drive at 23 yrs (2001)
  • Briefly moved to the Vancouver area (2001)
  • Had mono (2001)
  • Started working for my current employer for the second time (2001)
  • Began my first serious relationship with a woman (2002)
  • Heart broken (2004)
  • Heart broken again by same person (2005)
  • Neck nearly broken by rebound fling (2005)
  • Promoted at work (2005)
  • Began my second serious relationship with a woman (2006)
  • Heart broken (2007)
  • My great uncle died of cancer, only the second death in my family in 11 years
  • Met Julie and began my third serious relationship with a woman (2007)
  • Had my nose and sinus crushed by a deflected slapshot at a hockey game (2007)
  • Trip to Philadelphia/NYC (2007)
  • Moved in with Julie (2008)
  • Turned 30 (2008)
  • Met Julie's parents visiting from the UK (2008)
  • Another uncle died of the same cancer (2008)
  • First ever surgery (to repair nose) (2008)
  • Finally received a diagnosis for my finger ailment thanks to Julie (2008)
  • Purchased my first new car (2008)
  • Second surgery (first for finger to remove tumor) (2009)
  • Moved to current condo apartment with Julie (2009)
  • My grandmother died of cancer (2009)
  • Third surgery (second for finger to remove more tumor) (2009)
  • First time away with Julie (Banff) (2009)
  • Went to N.B. and met Julie's ex-wife and ex-girlfriend and their two children (2009)
I know I've probably missed a lot of highlights but this is as good as my memory is this morning.

Time to finish the laundry and ironing (ugh.. hate ironing) before making a batch of vegetable soup. I was looking at my Jan 1/09 entry and my resolution was to use up what we buy, food-wise. Still working on that one but am definitely getting better at it!