Thankfully…

Dear readers,

Maybe it’s the improved levels of Omega 3’s in my body due to the new eating regimen, or maybe it’s me feeling good just because, but I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

This year I have had a lot to be thankful for: good health, good friends, and amazing opportunities to travel and enjoy life.

2013 has been a blockbuster year for me to see art, both locally in NYC and abroad: the Tate Modern, Prado, Sophia Reina, SMAK Contemporary in Gent, the Armory Show retrospective at the NY Historical Society, Chelsea galleries, and many more events and museums than I can mention now. (Check out the “Art” tag in the tag cloud for posts.)

It’s been a blockbuster year for music too: seeing BB King live was a high point, along with visiting tons of jazz clubs from Amsterdam to Madrid to Barcelona, along with local jazz in Jersey City too, and “discovering” jazz pianist Bill Evans for myself has really made my year. (Check out the “Music” or “Jazz” tags in the tag cloud for posts.)

The amount of artistic talent I’ve been exposed to in 2013 in incalculable – but it has had a tremendous effect on me. I’m inspired to keep putting my energy into seeking out musical, artistic and writing talent.

Amazingly (to me, at least) I’ve also continued to have editors accept my work for publication. While 2013 was not a highly productive year for me when it comes to producing finished fiction, I was able to regularly maintain this blog (thank you readers!) and recently, I joined a Jersey City writers group so I can invest more energy into this creative part of my life, which is essential to me. (Yes, I’m doing it, damn it!)

Finally, although it’s a challenge, I continue with my mostly-vegan eating patterns, plus I’ve given up caffeine. This change has been significant, and has already produced tremendous benefits, like more energy, regulated sleep and digestion, losing weight, and a feeling of well being. I look forward to more of the same!

I hope you, dear reader, have much to be thankful for too. I hope you are living up to your creative potential. I hope that this year gave you many reasons to be inspired, and that you seek out ways to continue to be inspired.

If I’ve played any part of that at any point this year for some of you, I’m grateful.

Thankfully,

Carol

 

Advertisements

Three Shows on Now – Chelsea Art Galleries

Yesterday I went art gallery hopping in Chelsea to see the latest and greatest. It has been many months since my last visit. Along the way there were three artists I found interesting enough to want to share their work here.

It’s impossible to go to Chelsea and see “all” the galleries in an afternoon, there are too many. So what I’m presenting here is just a tiny slice of what I saw yesterday, which is an even smaller slice of what’s actually on view.

The first artist is Justin Bower, and the show is Panic Room. It’s on (through December 10th) at Unix Gallery, 532 W. 24th St in Chelsea, New York City.

Here’s an excerpt of the statement on the show:

Panic Room focuses on the destabilization of the human subject and problemitizes how we define ourselves in this digital and virtual age. Complex backgrounds referencing optical art relate to a certain kind of “code” and control the subject in Bower’s paintings. His art interrogates the autonomy bestowed upon us by the ideals of the Englightenment and opens a dialogue documenting the trauma that technology has on the contemporary human. In an age where infinite data is comprised of replicable code, the works confront the viewer with a radical question of “What am I?”

Alternatively, you could go with my interpretation of these works:

Chuck Close on acid.

I like them.

Here they are:

Justin Bower - Panic Room face 1

Justin Bower – Panic Room face 1

.

Justin Bower - face 2

Justin Bower – face 2

.

Justin Bower - face 3

Justin Bower – face 3

.

Justin Bower, face 4

Justin Bower, face 4

.

The second show is Skylar Fein’s The Lincoln Bedroom, on now (through Dec 21st) at C24 Gallery, 514 W. 24th Street, NYC.

The Lincoln Bedroom is a series of installation pieces that provoke the viewer to re-imagine history as a not-so-sanitized version of events as what we might read in our school textbooks.

Here’s an excerpt of the gallery text describing the show:

Abraham Lincoln shared a bedroom with Joshua Speed in the 1830’s in Springfield, IL. Many historians, biographers, and scholars have speculated about the nature of their relationship, causing an ongoing debate about Lincoln’s sexuality. Fein’s work combines factual and fictional histories, and proposes evidence of these uncertain moments through his imagery and objects. Since no photographs exist of the Speed residence, the artist relied on photos and sketches of similar structures, as well as on his imagination to create an impressionistic, and slightly hallucinatory recreation that is far from a museum period-room.

What I can tell you is that the Lincoln Bedroom is highly amusing and yes, thought provoking. The installation works well and pokes fun at many histories that have been told and re-told, or are largely untold, in the textbooks.

Here are some images from the show:

An entire building was constructed to house the bedroom. The outside looks like a general store.

An entire building was constructed to house the bedroom. The outside looks like a general store.

.

"Men's Magazines" is a rack of fictionalized mags, many with pornographic themes

“Men’s Magazines” is a rack of fictionalized mags, many with pornographic themes. My favorites are the top two on the left showing a menacing wrestler in his underwear, but the topics are “antiques” and “camping.”

.

Moorcock's "Specifics" - treatments on the right for women, and on the left for men. Very funny stuff.

Moorcock’s “Specifics” – treatments on the right for women, and on the left for men. Very funny stuff.

.

The last show I have to share is Shinichi Maruyama’s Nudes on at the Bruce Silverstein Gallery, through Dec 21st, 535 W. 24th St., NYC.

The SLATE article written about the show says it well:

Specifically for NUDE, Maruyama created each image by combining 10,000 individual photographs of the dancers to compose a single shot. Maruyama is aware his images capture a new way of showing the human form and motion over time, and he hasn’t forgotten photographers who paved the way for this new technology.

“I know the advancement of technology has allowed me to create these new images that would have been impossible for others in the past,” said Maruyama. “The scientist/photographer Étienne-Jules Marey, who contributed a lot to many artists more than 100 years ago, used a camera that shot 12 images per second. But because of the technology we have today, I was able to use a camera that let me take about 2,000 images per second.”

I took some shots with my cell phone camera to share here, but the shots on the SLATE site are much better quality. Use the link I provided above to SLATE if you want to see more images than what I have here.

Dancer 1

.

Dancer 4

.

Dancer2

.

Dancer3

That’s it for now, until the next time I visit the Chelsea galleries!

The Incredible Edible Egg (White)

After scrupulously journaling every bite of food going into my mouth for the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a trend: I’m falling short on my daily protein requirement.

And how do I know my daily protein requirement? WebMD is a source I trust, so I got it there.

WebMD says:

Protein requirements are complicated because the amount we need changes with age.

  • Infants require about 10 grams a day.
  • Teenage boys need up to 52 grams a day.
  • Teenage girls need 46 grams a day.
  • Adult men need about 56 grams a day.
  • Adult women need about 46 grams a day.

Okay, so on Fitday.com I set my daily custom nutrient goal to between 45-50 grams a protein a day. On many days I haven’t come close.

Why?

My analysis shows me that I’m eating lots of vegetables everyday, along with fruits, nuts and seeds along with some whole grains like quinoa. But unless I’m eating beans on a given day, my protein requirements don’t stack up.

But I don’t wanna eat beans every day.

Why else?

The Jury is Out on Soy

I have decided that for me, soy is not the right go-to food to supplement my protein intake. And just because the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides huge subsidies for the soy crop in this country, just as they do for corn, doesn’t mean I want soy in every product. (Does anyone remember what high fructose corn syrup has done for us?)

Here are some things to consider:

Beginning in 1996, bacteria, virus and other genes have been artificially inserted to the DNA of soy, corn, cottonseed and canola plants. These unlabeled genetically modified (GM) foods carry a risk of triggering life-threatening allergic reactions, and evidence collected over the past decade now suggests that they are contributing to higher allergy rates.

So after about three weeks of eating vegan, I’m at a fork in the road (yes, pun intended.)

What I’ve decided, for now, is that I will go back to eating egg whites. Egg whites are a protein super-food with zero fat content, and low carbs too. (Bodybuilders have known this for a long time.) Also, I can eliminate cholesterol and saturated fat from the egg by not using the egg yolk.

Last night, after a few days in a row of falling short on protein, I made a “hash” of 1/2 cup of egg whites, mushrooms, 1/4 cup of black beans, and 1/4 cup of diced tomatoes with various spices, salt and pepper. It was delicious, nutritious and filled with protein.

I finally put my protein consumption into the green again.

Ironically, the jar of mayonnaise I’ve been discussing on the blog with religious fervor still remains in the refrigerator unopened with its saturated fat content intact. 🙂

Let me also say, for now, I am still committed to staying off dairy products. Dairy does have saturated fat and cholesterol, so for now I see no reason to go back to it … because there is something pretty satisfying about having a food log that reads: Daily Cholesterol = 0 mg!

It’s just one more step in the journey…

Jersey City Writers – An Inspiring MeetUp!

I want to give a shameless plug to the Jersey City Writers MeetUp, that I joined this evening for a “writing prompts” session. It was my first time sitting in with the group and it was a great experience.

The Thursday group meets at a cool space called IndieGrove on Newark Avenue. There is a Tuesday night group that meets at Tachair Bookshoppe, also on Newark Avenue, which I plan to visit in the future.

Tonight, fourteen writers got together for this session, which as far as I’m concerned, is phenomenal turn out. It was an eclectic mix of people with a variety of literary interests, which kept things lively and fun.

We cycled through three different writing prompts, with ten minutes to write on each prompt and then we went around the table and everyone read their work.

Jim, the host of the Thursday group, brought yummy snacks and a welcoming approach to me as a newcomer, for which I’m grateful. As it so happens, Rachel, the lovely hostess of the Tuesday group also attended this evening, so I got to meet both facilitators my first time out.

Clearly it was my lucky night.

Actually, tonight was the first time I’ve written something “new” from a short story perspective in many months.

I’m so excited to have a group of local writers I can rub shoulders with to push me to keep creating!

A beautiful day in the neighborhood – Jersey City view of the Freedom Tower

It was 65 degrees and sunny today – the Freedom Tower looked fantastic glinting one of its jeweled facets in the sunshine.

Beautiful lower Manhattan skyline view from Jersey City - Nov 2013

Beautiful lower Manhattan skyline view from Jersey City – Nov 2013

Also, it’s been made official, while the building itself is 1776 feet (the year of independence for the U.S.) with the architectural spire at its crown, the Freedom Tower is the highest building in the United States.

Sometimes even I can’t believe how lucky I am… this view is only a fifteen minute walk from my apartment!

The Freedom Tower - Nov 2013

The Freedom Tower – Nov 2013

It was a great day for a walk in the neighborhood!

Tranvestite and National Book Award Winner William T. Vollmann

For some strange reason, William T. Vollman recently came across my radar. I hadn’t heard of him before, yet another testament to how out of the loop I am on contemporary literature.

First, there was a the Newsweek article “The Lush Life of William T. Vollmann” from November 6th, two weeks ago; quickly followed by a New York Times piece “William T. Vollmann: The Self-Images of a Cross Dresser” on November 13th, four days ago.

The articles have been published to promote the release of The Book of Delores, who is Vollmann’s alter-ego when he cross-dresses, something he has been doing for a long time but only decided to “go public” with now. (Although he comments in the NY Times article, he has ‘shielded’ his wife from his cross dressing, and he asks the reporter not to interview her since she doesn’t know about that part of his life.)

I came to find out in my wanderings that Vollmann won the National Book Award for Europe Central in 2005, and he also won a PEN award for The Atlas, a 450+ page tome of short stories.

All the recent coverage, plus the evocatively strange personality of the writer, drove me to find out more about the author’s work. (Yes, it’s no surprise: titillation sells.)

Yesterday I went to The Strand (my favorite bookstore in New York City) and piled my basket with Vollmann tomes: The Book of Delores, Europe Central, The Atlas, and Rainbow Stories – the last two being collections of short stories. I hopped on the elevator to the third floor Rare Book Room and ensconced myself in an overstuffed armchair to begin digging into the texts.

The Book of Delores is what it says it is – the investigation of Vollmann’s alter-ego Delores over many years. Vollmann has had a long standing fixation with prostitutes, and has sought out these sex workers all over the world and then written about his experiences in his many works. In Delores, he portrays himself as a painted whore, with all the trappings of the trade.

Vollmann as Delores

Vollmann as Delores

I found the images grotesque.

I’m not sure what Vollmann hopes to accomplish with the publication of this book. Perhaps the breaking down of taboo barriers, although I don’t believe this book will do that. “Delores” doesn’t accurately represent femininity, or masculinity either.

It seems self-indulgent on Vollmann’s part to inflict this particular face to the world; although it is his right to do so as a part of his artistic expression.

After my tour of Delores, I picked up Europe Central. After reading the first three pages, I was reminded of James Joyce’s Ulysses. While it seems like it might be readable, it confronts the reader at every turn to defy narrative. I freely admit I didn’t give Europe Central more of a chance, and put it back in the pile of books I wasn’t going to buy.

Then I picked up The Atlas. As with Vollmann’s other works, the collection (from what I’ve read thusfar, about 60 pages) is obsessed with prostitutes in exotic locations. But the language is stunning, and the emotional resonance of some of the shortest stories is intense.

Yes, that’s probably the best description of Vollmann: intense.

But why is it that when men write about whores they win writing awards and make names for themselves?

Earlier this year I wrote about Arnon Grunberg’s Blue Mondays, which I stumbled upon in an Amsterdam bookstore. I had simply asked for a well known local author who had been translated into English and was handed the book. I had no idea what it was about. Grunberg won a Dutch award for best debut novel for that work, which is an account of a young man’s many experiences with prostitutes in Amsterdam.

Where are the women writers claiming their own sex as a right of passage in their literary works and making big names for themselves?

Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus? Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness where she describes her life as a lesbian, cross dressing as a man? Or how about Lydia Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water, a memoir where she explores being sexually abused as a child, and then a disastrous marriage, miscarriage, devolving into severe drug abuse etc. Perhaps Elise Schappell’s Blueprints for Building Better Girls, a short story collection I reviewed earlier this year, with women characters who really scared me. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Lolita is a classic, taught every year in universities in mainstream literature classes. If it wasn’t for my Women’s Studies classes, I would never have known about The Well of Loneliness, which I read in college. I should add, I never attended a lit class where I was required to read Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook either.

But none of my rantings take away from William T. Vollmann’s command of the English language, and the force of his artistic vision as I understand it (so far) in The Atlas. His character studies of the prostitutes and the world in which they live is emotionally compelling reading.

I just wish there were some highly decorated women writers who have positively claimed their sex as a part of their writing too and made their careers more successful by doing so.

My Well Stocked Veg* Pantry

From left to right: Black Truffle Oil, Chia Seeds, Powdered Peanut Butter, Avocado Oil, Red Quinoa, and organic carrots

From left to right: Black Truffle Oil, Chia Seeds, Powdered Peanut Butter, Avocado Oil, Red Quinoa, and organic carrots

One of the new and unexpected benefits of my recent change in eating habits is the introduction of really interesting foods I have not cooked with at home, and in some cases, had never eaten before.

I find this kind of cooking experimentation a lot of fun! It’s a way for me to create flavor profiles I may not have tasted before and combining ingredients in ways I’d never considered.

Then again, my hunger is propelling me to do these things because one of the issues I’ve faced is lower levels of satiety. It depends what I eat, of course, but I use minimal amounts of oil in cooking and vegetables are filling, but only temporarily. The good news is they are also quite low in calories so it’s okay to have multiple smaller meals during the day.

.

The Veg* Pantry

So, here’s some fun items you can acquire for your veg* pantry that will add lots of options to your flavor profiles:

Powdered Peanut Butter – because of how it is processed, powdered peanut butter has 85% less fat than “normal” peanut butter and can be reconstituted using water instead of oil. (I bought this product because I want to make a home version of “Sesame Noodles” which uses peanut butter and soy sauce, along with chinese noodles and toasted sesame seeds. I have yet to try out the recipe in the “lab,” haha.)

Black Truffle Oil – this is actually sunflower oil infused with black truffle mushroom “essence” so the caloric content is really the sunflower oil first and foremost (120 calories per tablespoon), but it can give dishes a rich, meaty and savory quality.

Avocado Oil – I love avocados so the idea of having avocado oil to add to some dishes was too tempting to pass up. Like olive oil, it’s a great source of poly-unsaturated fat, just like the whole avocado.

An important note about avocado oil – it is highly beneficial to dry skin as well and can be applied directly to the face or body. It is ph balanced at the same level of the oils our skin naturally produces.

Chia Seeds – Yes, I keep mentioning chia seeds. They are a super-food and are high in Omega 3’s, have 5x the calcium of milk, high in fiber, on and on! Chia seeds add a wonderful crunch to any dish, but nutritionally these little seeds are a powerhouse.

Quinoa – What food can you think of where, when you eat 1/4 of a cup of it cooked, provides you with 6 grams of protein? Yeah, I thought so. Quinoa – another super-food. It’s got such a wonderful nutty flavor and fantastic texture, it’s very easy to substitute this whole grain instead of rice or pasta.

Dried organic mushrooms – getting fresh organic mushrooms isn’t always possible, and more to the point, mushrooms go bad rapidly if you don’t eat them. If you keep dried mushrooms in your veg* pantry, you’ll always have a wonderful source of flavor on hand to enrich any dish. Also – mushrooms have been scientifically shown to boost the immune system!

Since mushrooms can also absorb bad stuff from the ground, pollutants and heavy metals and other bad stuff – you should try to use organically grown mushrooms.

(I have used North West Foods in Oregon as a source of organic dried mushrooms.)

Tahini – it’s a sesame paste typically used in yummy Mediterranean dishes. Yep, it’s packed with Omega 3’s, calcium, copper and maganese too, and was first made over 4000 years ago!

.

So there you have it. This is NOT a complete list of all the stuff you can stock in your wonderful veg* pantry … because that could have been a much longer list!

What “Must Have” Items do you have in your veg* pantry that are a little unusual?

Please share!

Five Websites for Better Health Choices

I’ve been scouring the internet for useful websites as I continue on my journey to eat in the healthiest way possible and take good care of my body.

Below please find a list of five websites that may help you if you are on a similar journey.

Enjoy!

  1. VegWeb touts itself as the largest collection of vegetarian (and vegan) recipes on the web. I don’t know if it’s “the largest” but it does have tons of interesting recipes. If you can’t figure out what to make for dinner tonight, look here.
  2. Local Harvest – I just can’t say enough nice things about this website! It is an encyclopedic database of farms and co-ops and food producers and farmers markets across the United States. You can browse the products you want to source directly from the farm and place an order.
  3. Happy Cow – another good searchable database type website to help you find local providers of vegetarian and vegan offerings, including restaurants. This has links for cities globally. Sometimes it lists places that are “veg friendly” which means not strictly veg, but offering some stuff that is…
  4. What’s On My Food – This website is scary. It will tell you the kinds of pesticide residues you find on produce. If you eat non-organic food, and you take one look here, you’ll shocked at which toxins you’re ingesting. (One of the organic farmers I spoke to – after placing an order with him via Local Harvest – told me he would never eat a commercially raised blueberry again after he looked at this site.)
  5. FitDay – If you are interested in tracking what you’re eating, the FitDay site has a huge database of foods and the exact nutritional and caloric breakdown of each, by portion. FitDay also has journaling for any exercise you are doing, and then if you want to really go crazy, you can graph your progress of daily caloric intake vs. the amount of exercise you’re doing. I find the site most useful to know, let’s say, the number of calories in a cup of grapes, but that’s me.

F.D.A. Ruling Would All but Eliminate Trans Fats – NY Times Article

YES!!

It’s about time the Food and Drug Administration take steps to eliminate heart attack inducing trans-fats from the American diet. This is great news!

I have to strongly commend NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who started the trend by requiring NYC restaurants to stop using trans-fats in 2005. It was an important catalyst to help get things where they are today with the FDA. Good job mayor Bloomberg!

You will need to click on the link to read the entire NY Times article, I have posted two excerpts here.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/08/health/fda-trans-fats.html?_r=0

EXCERPT 1

The Food and Drug Administration proposed measures on Thursday that would all but eliminate artery-clogging, artificial trans fats from the food supply, the culmination of three decades of effort by public health advocates to get the government to take action against them.

Artificial trans fats — a major contributor to heart disease in the United States — have already been substantially reduced in foods. But they still lurk in many popular products, like frostings, microwave popcorn, packaged pies, frozen pizzas, margarines and coffee creamers. Banning them completely could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year, the F.D.A. said.

“This is the final slam dunk on the trans fat issue,” said Barry Popkin, a nutrition epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The proposal is a rare political victory in an era when many regulations to protect public health have stalled. A landmark food safety bill took years to carry out, in part because it collided with the 2012 election season. And rules to regulate the tobacco industry are still stuck, four years after the law calling for them was passed. But just last month, the F.D.A. toughened restrictions on narcotic painkillers over industry objections. Thursday’s announcement got the attention of food experts.

“The F.D.A. is back,” said Marion Nestle, a professor in the department of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University.

The agency has proposed that partially hydrogenated oils, the source of trans fats, no longer be “generally recognized as safe.”

EXCERPT 2

Partially hydrogenated oils are cheaper than saturated animal fats like butter, and for years were thought to be healthier. They are formed when liquid oil is treated with hydrogen gas and made solid. They became popular in fried and baked goods and in margarine. Crisco, originally marketed in the beginning of the 20th century, was the archetype, although it now contains no trans fat.

But over the years, scientific evidence has shown they are dangerous because they raise the levels of so-called bad cholesterol and can lower the levels of good cholesterol. In 2003, the F.D.A. required that artificial trans fats be listed on food labels, a shift that prompted many large producers to eliminate them. Two years later, New York City under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg told restaurants to stop using artificial trans fats in cooking; other places, including California, Cleveland and Philadelphia, followed suit. Many major chains, like McDonald’s, found substitutes and eliminated trans fats.

Those actions led to a stunning reduction in consumption: Americans ate about one gram a day last year, down from 4.6 grams in 2006. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that blood levels of trans fatty acids among white adults in the United States declined by 58 percent from 2000 to 2009.

New fiction up on Failbetter!

Given the generous support of editor Thom Didato and editorial staff at Failbetter, my very short micro-fiction work “Holocaust” is now live and available for your reading pleasure!

Please give the story some readerly love, by clicking the link:

http://failbetter.com/49/DeminskiHolocaust.php?sxnSrc=ltst

It’s a funny thing about this work… I wrote it several years ago, and the piece was accepted over a year ago by Failbetter and is now getting some public sunlight.

It’s ironic to me because the entire story is about 200 words. But writers need to cultivate patience to get their works published, and I’m extremely pleased this piece is seeing the light of day.

A permanent link appears on my Published Stories page.

Enjoy!!

On the road to health: tough choices

It’s been a little over a week since I’ve begun my adjustment from vegetarian to my new eating habits, which includes giving up eggs, dairy, and processed foods in addition to already having given up meat over a year ago.

Patience is the key in this situation, but it’s been a challenge so far.

First, I’m surprised to report that what I thought would be hard has been easy and what I thought would be easy is much harder than I thought.

What do I mean?

Giving up eggs was, in my mind, a huge sacrifice. But over the past week, not only have I done without them, I have not craved fried eggs or omelettes. What I realized is I was using eggs as a “crutch food” (I made that up) because I’d convinced myself I needed some animal protein in my diet.

However, giving up dairy products has been extremely hard for me, and I’m starting to understand why.

Mouth feel.

When you eat food that turns your brain “on” it has “stuff” in it that let’s your body know it’s higher in calories and is more satisfying to eat.

Butter is an example of a food that creates an experience that you cannot get from olive oil or avocado. (I have not eaten nut butters yet, like cashew butter, but I can see I will be compelled to try them.)

It’s the same for me with cheese. Cheese is calorically dense, and creates a reaction in the brain and body when it’s consumed that increases satiety and is just … satisfying… to eat.

Which leads me to…

I’m freakin’ hungry.

I’m willing to concede that if I’m hungry, it’s my own fault because I could just “eat something else” but what’s happened to me over this past week is strange.

I have to THINK much, much more about whatever it is I want to eat and how I’m going to prepare it and do I have everything I need to prepare what I want, etc.

I’m not saying thinking more about what I’m putting into my body is a bad thing, but I am saying it is taking up mental energy and I will need to get to a place, reasonably soon, where I am not spending this much time thinking about what I’m going to eat and struggling with the available choices.

And I have struggled with my choices.

There are two items I had put on my “give up” list that I’m not currently prepared to give up.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a processed food, and adds a LOT of calories to meals (120 calories for ONE tablespoon, ouch!)

In cooking, you can give up olive oil by using a non-stick pan on a high heat burner, to brown onions and to cook veggies.

BUT, when you add olive oil sparingly, it makes it easier to cook the food more rapidly and to achieve browning, plus it adds mouth feel because it is a fat.

So for right now, I’ve mostly done without it, but in cooking I do use a little. While I am continuing my transition into this new eating lifestyle, I’m going to have it on my list of available ingredients.

Salad Dressing

Same principle as olive oil.

I’m not prepared to use lemon/lime juice, or vinegar by themselves as my salad dressing, along with other herbs and spices. I know I could, but with everything else I’m giving up I just don’t want to give up all salad dressing.

My compromise?

I found a low calorie salad dressing (35 calories per tablespoon) and I measure it out so I don’t over-use.

In case you are wondering it’s: Briannas Special Request “Lively Lemon Tarragon Dressing.” And while “canola oil” is an ingredient, it is number 8 on the list. Without oil, the number one ingredient is water and the number two is honey, so…

But there is an up-side item I have added to my diet that is a great find.

Chia Seeds

When you add Chia seeds to foods they get a great crunch, and while they look similar to poppy seeds, Chia seeds are a superfood. They have TONS of Omega 3’s in them, which make them an extremely healthy addition to salads, and yes, even a bowl of oatmeal.

Results, so far

Results so far have been good!

Sleep patterns are normal. I wake up in the morning, refreshed, without an alarm clock. (Reminder: I do not use caffiene.)

My digestive system loves me. My body is running like clockwork. With all the water I drink, and Vitamin C along with the higher amounts of fiber in my food, everything works properly.

Energy! I have more of it, which I especially notice when I go out for my daily walk, which has turned into a daily walk/jog because I have THAT much excess energy to burn. I’m doing 4-6 miles a day.

And yes, the scale loves me too. I’ve lost a few pounds, and while I’ve been attempting to get to my goal weight for a while now, with my new eating regimen, it’s becoming easier to get rid of the unwanted weight.

That’s it for now, but after only one week in, I think it’s good progress!