Where we get fit and spin (wool)

Archive for July, 2012

Two Recipes for your Health

I’m not a foodie, but I do have my moments. I made two recipes today to use lots of veggies since I have a garden, belong to a community garden and belong to a C.S.A. To explain, a C.S.A. is Community Supported Agriculture- you buy a share from a farm at the beginning of the summer, and you get a share of whatever is produced throughout the summer. Anyway, I have LOTS of veggies in the house, and part of our goal with our community garden is to encourage our church members to eat healthier, since the garden is a church activity, so I came up with some recipes that I thought everyone would like. Eating lots of veggies is the BEST way to stay healthy. While people can argue the point, I see a strong correlation between taking care of your physical body and taking care of your spirit. I also make a “kale slaw”, but that is just cole slaw with kale substituted for the cabbage. I didn’t have enough after the pot luck to bring any home, so I guess it was successful.

So, I thought I would share the two recipes to help others enjoy their veggies.

Americanized Tabbouleh western version of a middle eastern salad

I changed it to use all the kale I have:

3-4 kale leaves, finely chopped
1 c. Bulgar wheat, prepared
1-T. lemon juice
1t. lime juice (optional)
¼  of an onion, chopped
1 cucumber peeled and chopped
1 c. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2T. Italian dressing
1-4T. chopped fresh mint
Mix and chill

All amounts are approximate, I don’t measure things, I go by look and taste.
Now, this second is based on a possible memory, I thought I had heard of something like this, but couldn’t find any recipe, so I just “winged it”. It turned out fantastic.

Beet slaw

beet salad

pretty too!

1 peeled shredded beet
6 or so baby carrots
a few splashes of balsamic vinegar
a dab of  molasses
a dab of strawberry jam
a good squirt or two of olive oil mayonnaise
a handful of dried cranberries
I wasn’t sure what raw beets would be like, but it was really, really good. I had a carrot salad that was a bit sweet with raisins at a restaurant the other day, giving me the idea of what to put in.

Why I Like 4 Wheeling

polaris ranger

It’s a toy, but I like it.

Those who know me might be surprised that I like 4 wheeling. It isn’t exercise; in fact it is pseudo exercise. It feels like you are doing something, while you are sitting. I like hiking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing, activities that some might see as being in opposition to 4 wheeling, since they are all looking for the same real estate.

Here are the reasons I like it. While it is pseudo exercise compared to what I do, for someone who is not active, and would not exercise otherwise, it at least beats the couch. You at least have to activate your tva and other core muscles isometrically to keep from being bounced around. It follows my principle that anything beats nothing. It also engages you in the real world, as opposed to watching the idiot box.

As far as the environment goes, when people are interested and invested in using our parkland and forests, they are interested and invested in maintaining them. The more people who want to use parks for recreational activities, the more money and power will flow to the park system, improving and increasing access for all. Since ATV’s operate in their own little niche, the owners will have to travel to locations to engage in their hobby, increasing tourism and boosting local economies.

It also makes my dogs happy. Today we went on two 4 wheeling jaunts and two short walks. It was 95 degrees, making short walks a necessity. The 4 wheeler provided natural air conditioning.

So there you go, even an exercise nut can find room in her life for other things. Most of my life is intense, I like living in high gear. This is one activity where I have to sit and do nothing, and probably the only one that wouldn’t drive me nuts. I wouldn’t want to do it for hours on end, we agreed on that today after a 6 hour trip, but shorter jaunts are soothing and pleasant, and it gives my husband and I a joint activity, very important for a healthy marriage.

There’s One Born Every Minute

Most people will recognize the quote from P.T. Barnum, but after finding out about this latest diet book, I’m certain it’s true. You know, I’m not even going to name the book or the author, since that would just give him/her more publicity, and that is the last think I want. However, what makes this diet especially annoying is that it appears to be targeted at young people, and is primed to feed into eating disorders. It features fasting breakfast and replacing it with coffee. The one person cited in the article I read substituted diet pop, since she didn’t like coffee. Like that’s a good idea? Looking at the changes in peoples’ diets, they did make some good choices, changing the meals they did eat for healthy choices. But, when you add fasting to that, this is basically a starvation diet. So, starving yourself will make you lose weight, but who can live like that? What happens to these people when they “go off” this diet?

Do I really need to say that the best way to “diet” is to make lifestyle changes that you can live with forever? Why is this so hard for people to wrap their heads around? Why do these fad diets never lose their appeal? Should this author be forced to set aside part of his proceeds to treat all the young people with eating disorders that will be negatively impacted by his book?

Is there anyone in your life who is following one of these fad diets? What is their rationale? Have you tried to talk them into a more sensible approach?

No Turtles Here


How slow can you go?

All right, this might come across as bashing other people, and maybe it is. If so, I apologize in advance. However, I can’t help feeling like I want to give the human race a collective shake. It seems to me there are two types of people in the world. The curious, active, ambitious, interested and interesting ones, and then there are the others. I have been running into the others a lot lately. They are the ones who don’t want to know. Anything. They aren’t curious. They don’t ask why. Their main goal in life appears to be to do as little as possible. They are happy to just be, like a turtle basking in the sun. While I don’t have anything against turtles, there ought to be some difference between them and us.

Now I suppose that some Eastern religions would say they have the right of it, I would think, since nirvana is supposed to be the cessation of all desire. Personally, I think it is having those desires and satisfying them is what creates happiness. I would consider a lack of desire to be depression. I have been there, I know.

Isn’t it our desires and drives that what give us a better world? Would we have electricity, indoor plumbing and central heat if someone didn’t have the drive to seek out the solutions to those things? I am glad that someone was driven to find out what causes diseases and how vaccinations could prevent them. My drives aren’t that productive, but I have beautiful fiber crafts, good social relations, interesting work to do, and a myriad of skills because of my drives.

Speaking of which, I believe everyone, I mean everyone, should join at least one organization. Now, I know what you are saying, “I hate meetings and fund raisers.” Well, I do too. But organizations are a large part of what makes our society work and they create so much social benefit. We are watching our governments implode, and they won’t be able to provide public activities using tax payer money for long. It is up to us to provide the public good for ourselves. Plus, they provide social opportunity and support. Everyone needs that. But these volunteer organizations do so much for society in general. Do you like any activities like hiking, horseback riding, cross country skiing or snowmobiling? There is a club out there maintaining those trails. Rails to trails? Mostly volunteer and community support. Do you enjoy art? Acting? Tennis? Hockey? Trains? Airplanes? Race cars? You name it, and there is a club or organization putting effort into bringing that activity to people everywhere and using their enjoyment of it to provide benefit to others. I won’t even go into all the good works done by churches, synagogues, and other religious organizations. They do tremendous work. The great thing about joining an organization is that you do what you can. It is the group effort that multiplies everyone’s modest contribution into a greater product. Here’s my caveat to all the driven people out there; you don’t have to join everything, and it is ok to say no after a certain point. You can only do so much, and there is no point in making yourself crazy.

So many do so much for us all, but there seems to be so many that just paddle through life, content to do nothing till they die. I don’t understand it, and frankly, I don’t approve. The trouble is, anyone who would take the time to read my blog is probably already one of the drivers in society, not the passenger, so I’m preaching to the choir. At least I got it off my chest.

Driven, motivated, passive, reactive, organizations, fund raisers, social, society

From “You Can” to “You Have to”

I know I just posted recently on the new easy, convenient prenatal genetic test that is just around the corner, but I can’t get it off my mind. The reason is what history is showing us. We have enjoyed many medical miracles in the last 50 years. The social impact of those medical changes has, in my opinion, gone unnoticed. The number one is the overwhelming trend from “we can” to “we have to”, to the point where it is considered immoral or criminal not to.

What am I talking about? Every medical advance, unless it is prohibitively expensive, and sometimes even then, becomes mandatory. Vaccinations are a perfect example. Now, don’t get me wrong, in general I am in favor of vaccinations. I’m very glad I never had whooping cough, measles, mumps, etc. However, vaccines are now mandatory. You could be charged for neglect if you don’t get your child vaccinated. Sounds good, right? Until we come up against the issue of inoculating children against venereal disease. The argument is out there that it should be criminal to not vaccinate children against HPV. This is a huge moral issue for many people, but for the pragmatists-because we can, we have to.

All right, I can see you still don’t see a problem with this. How about animals? You can now be charged with neglect for not getting proper veterinary care for them. What is proper care? 17$ monthly flea treatments? $35 dollar monthly heart worm prevention? How about 4-5 “essential” vaccines that might run you over $100 dollars. People are abandoning their animals rather than face those kinds of costs, or having them seized by the SPCA. Now shelters have to pick that cost up, and consider the outcry against killing animals, we have shelters being charged with neglect because they can’t afford to feed and care for all these animals to that standard. Because we can, we have to.

We can keep people alive under circumstances that were never possible before, with machines and medicine, yet we are complaining that health care is driving us to financial ruin. Most of these people being kept alive by extraordinary means are being done so by Medicaid or Medicare, as no one else can afford it. Because we can, we have to.

This same logic is driving abortion. If you can find out ahead of time that someone is going to need extraordinary care, abort them and avoid the issue. If you don’t think that is going on right this minute, look at the statistics on Down’s syndrome. Why has there been a 95% drop in the incidence of children born with Downs? Is it because we can cure it? Sure, by making sure they aren’t born. If you don’t think pressure is put on these mothers to “do something” if the test is positive, you have your head in the sand. Once we know something, we are responsible for it. Once we know more about the genetic status of an infant, it will become immoral to bring that child into the world. Because we can, we have to.

I can’t say I have a great answer. Our knowledge has brought us terrible burdens. When we talk about “Obama’s death panels”, we are dancing around a reality that none of us wants to delve into. We have the technical capabilities to do almost anything, if not now, shortly in the future. But that ability comes at a price that has to be paid somehow. Either the market dictates what is or isn’t done, or we come up with other ways to ration or rationalize it. Right now, to most people, abortion looks like the easy fix. Get rid of the expensive problems in advance, rather than deal with the thorny issue of limited resources. But why is killing people at one end of life all right, but letting them die at the other wrong?

This moral dilemma weighs on me a lot. “Because we can, we have to” drives much of the health care debate, but anyone can see there is no way to satisfy that. What is happening to our animals is happening to us. We can’t afford it, the governments can’t afford it, but morally, how do you say no? And is killing our children the answer? When life and death were in God’s hands, it was sad and hard to deal with, but we were off the hook, morally. We took all these things into our hands, putting us in the moral hot seat. It makes me glad I’m not God, because I don’t see any good answers, at least in the short term. I usually like to write articles where there is an answer in the end. I like to ask questions I have an answer for. This one, I have no answer for, but I think we are coming up with “solutions” without even looking at the implications of what we are doing, especially morally. We are killing the babies since that seems like the easiest answer. You don’t have to look at them- you can pretend it isn’t real. You don’t have to look someone in the eyes and pull the plug. We’ve rationalized it into not even being killing.

Healthy Eating at it’s Finest

I will be the first to admit that going that extra distance on healthy eating is a challenge. When we look at the typical Western diet (what a cliche that’s become!), there is much about it that is more about convenience, profit or taste rather than health. Lets review for a second what we know about good food:

  • Fresh is best, followed by frozen, dried and canned.
  • Vegetables are the powerhouses of nutrition, and what is least consumed in a typical diet.
  • Vegetables, being low in calories, should form the bulk of our diets, since we all love to eat.
  • Fresh food is best locally grown, since then it isn’t wasting gas being shipped, and losing nutrients on the way.
  • It is good, if possible, to avoid pesticides, and other chemicals in our diets

Knowing all this, we should all be growing as much of our own food as possible. However, once you grow all this goodness, what do you do with it? Learning about canning and freezing is it’s own field of learning. Also, what do you do with all that kale?

So that is what this blog article is about. My experiments to get as much of the green stuff in as possible. Lets start with the garden:

broccoli in the garden

Broccoli- the leaves are greens too.

lettuce and chard

lettuce and chard- all greens can be used interchangeably. Yes, you can cook lettuce.

Beet greens and kale

more greens, kale and beet tops.

As you can see, you can be harvesting from your garden from early spring- don’t wait to put the lettuce, peas and spinach in, all through the summer, but much of that is just the greens. Those are the most nutritious parts, but how often can you have them sauteed or in a salad before you get tired of them? So I have been experimenting with getting ways more greens in. I have my little magic blender knock off, and I’ve been pureeing the greens and adding them to my morning oatmeal. Many people make green smoothies, blending the greens with fruit and milk. When kale is blended, it has a lovely fresh green taste, like eating summer. However, I realize that many people would not find that appealing. I’ve also chopped them and added them to my tuna or pasta salads. I think that is great, but again, I would add a little at a time, gradually increasing the amount to get used to it.

As you can tell, I’m all about grinding them up and using them as biomass. First, you can get a lot more in you in an unobtrusive fashion.  If I stuff my little blender full, it grinds down to about 1/4 cup. This also gets you past the texture problem, as kale and broccoli can be a bit tough. I’m still working on how to get this mixture into other foods, to get the less enthusiastic members of the family on board. Today I tried adding it with eggs.

First, I ground the greens, then I threw them on the griddle with dried tomato and basil:

ground greens on a griddle. Looks like baby poop.

M-m-m-m, looks yummy, doesn’t it?

Well, I’m thinking “this is not looking like a winner”. But, I persist, adding some chopped onion, egg and cheese:

greens and eggs

Now, that looks better. Not.

But, me being me, I go through with it and eat it:

finished egg dish

I don’t know how it looks to you, but it looks better than it has a right too and wasn’t bad tasting.

So this was the finished product. It tasted better than I hoped. My biggest complaint was that it was a bit dry. Don’t blend your eggs- it takes all the structure out of them, taking away that “eggy” texture. It was odd that it was dry, since you have to add some liquid to blend the kale, and veggies are mostly liquid. I probably cooked the greens too long. I will try this again, it was good enough to do that.

In other veggie cooking news, kale chips are all they are cracked up to be, and more. Very addictive. I wonder if my other greens can be cooked the same way? I’ll try and let you know.

What do You Say After You Say “Wow”?

I’m certain I posted about this amazing lady before, but I can’t find the post. I was trying to show  her to someone, and drew a blank. It doesn’t mean it isn’t here, it just means I do a really bad job of tagging. After taking some time to do a deeper search, I found her again.

Are you all waiting with baited breath? Saying “Who? Who are you talking about?”

Here is a role model for me, or anyone for whom age is a daunting factor.

Ernestine Shepherd. That’s who. Here is the link to her website if you want to know more.  So, don’t tell me you are too old, too out of shape, too anything. She’s not and neither are you. She didn’t start doing this till she was in her 50’s.

Take your inspiration for the day and go.

Ernestine Shepherd, worlds oldest body building woman

Is this not a “wow” moment?

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