Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Downside of Being A Foodie...

So I have been pondering writing this post for a week.  It's a tough subject and one I wasn't even sure I wanted to go into in my blog but I decided it was time.  First I will enlighten you with a funny cartoon as an introduction to today's topic...
Pretty funny huh?  Unless it describes your swimsuit collection.

So according to the National BMI index I'm obese!  Not just overweight but OBESE!  Wow.  That smarts huh?  I think this is the downside of being a complete foodie.  I'm obsessed with food.  I didn't really ever think of it being in a bad way though.  I mean what could be bad about being a good cook?  Someone who spends time saving money at the store?  Someone who enjoys trying new things?  Apparently over time it makes you fat.  Folks out there might be cringing when I type that but I had to wake up and face the fact that I was downright fat.  Not just a little heavy, not just put on a couple pounds over the years either.  I was flat out F-A-T!

While the weight has slowly been added on over the last 6-7 years I think this realization happened sort of all of a sudden.  People kept taking pictures of me and I didn't want them posted anywhere because the picture made me look heavy.  Well what do you know-the pictures made me look heavy because I was heavy!  I was turning into a regular Sherlock Holmes here.  In fact none of my clothes were fitting and I was reduced to hanging out in really bad floppy stretchy pants.  Trust me, it wasn't pretty (and it still isn't.)  So all of this brings me to the following conclusion-I had to do something!  So last week I started a "diet".

I am going to use the word diet loosely because I don't think a "diet" is really what is needed here.  I am making more of an overall lifestyle change.  I have a few basic rules I am trying to follow in the hopes of at least feeling good and healthy and being able to get into some decent shorts in time for our family Disney trip in the Fall.  (Or how about being thin enough that my legs don't rub together on long walks?)
I sat down and made the following list about what got me in this shape in the first place so I would know what needed to change:
  1. Cut back on going out for lunch.  We had developed a twice a week El Rio Mexican habit as well as a once a week Pizza Hut Buffet habit.  Obviously this was a huge part of the problem.  While I will miss my buddies at El Rio, I think probably this should be saved for a special occasion.
  2. Cut back on the alcohol.  How I love my wine and my margaritas, but also a HUGE part of the problem.  I am going to save any alcohol for special occasions or maybe limit myself to once a week or something.  This one I haven't nailed down specifics but I can already tell cutting back is making a difference.
  3. Realize I don't have to cook a huge dinner every night.  This one is hard.  I love cooking and trying new things so I like putting on a good meal each night, all week.   I started thinking about it and especially during the summer, something quicker, easier and healthier is ok.  If I do cook, I'm trying to do a meat and two veggies instead of a meat, starch and veggie.
  4. Move more.  This one actually goes hand in hand with the alcohol cut back.  I had gotten into a bad habit of hanging out on the couch in the evenings with a glass of wine, watching tv.  Luckily I have realized that without the glass of wine, I really don't care to just sit around and watch tv.
  5. Eat earlier.  We have a terrible habit of eating dinner around 9pm.  I know that isn't very good for you.  Luckily going along with the not drinking and the not fixing huge dinners every night I find it easier to eat earlier.
  6. Finally, smaller meals throughout the day instead of two big meals.  I'm usually a skip breakfast, big lunch, big dinner person.  Once again I know from everything I have heard and read that smaller meals and more of them actually helps your metabolism so I'm vowing to eat a small breakfast, some small snacks and smaller meals.
So all of these things seem to be a bit more common sense than an actual diet but luckily I see all of these things as achievable.  Nothing is off limits really, more of just a wake-up call that I need to live my life differently if I ever want to strut a bikini ever again (and I do.)  I need to lose 50 lbs to be back in the "normal" weight category on the BMI chart.  50 lbs.  Wow.  That's a lot.  But luckily one week in and I'm doing really well and feel great about what I am doing.  So one week down, 5 lbs down, about 45 to go.  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Whistle While You Weed...

So I think there is something wrong with me.  A serious undiagnosed illness.  Something so unbelievable I glance around as I type it to see if anyone is watching me...

I enjoy weeding.

Sadistic some would say.  Crazy stuff others would say.  But I really do enjoy spending time outside, pulling weeds, listening to music and making the garden look all pretty.  Of course sometimes I let it go a bit long and the rows end up looking something like this...

Look at the pretty okra row on the left, all nice and weeded.  Then gaze upon the mess that is the green bean rows.   That's a lot of weeds.  But like I said, I do enjoy it-mostly.  For an hour or so, or two, but when you have been weeding two and half hours and you now have this...
A little more than half a row done in two and a half hours.  Ouch.  But it does look nice.  I remember having this problem last year right off the bat.  Horrible weeds for one round and then once I got them out of there it was minimal for the rest of the summer. 

In other garden news the whole laying mulch thing is sort of hit and miss.  The areas that I put down the newspaper look great but the areas that I did mulch and no newspaper look like this...
Many weeds popping back through.  So I think I will rake back the mulch, weed again, add newspaper and then mulch again.  Also that pepper doesn't look very good, a couple of my peppers are a little yellowed.  Not sure what is going on there-but everything else looks fantastic.  The green beans are so smart, climbing their little green bean labyrinth and already reaching over 5 feet tall in some instances.
The squash, cucumbers and zucchini are also doing well and getting big FAST!
So now that I have updated everyone, I think I will head outside and finish up those two last half rows of weeding.  Then I will be done, oh well except for re-weeding all the non-newspaper parts.  By the time I finish that it will be time to start weeding everything else all over again...I guess it isn't organic to use Round Up in the garden right?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Foodie Mecca...

I thought I would take a few minutes today to tell you about my new favorite place to grocery shop-The Buford Highway Farmer's Market.  (Located just North of 285 on Buford Highway)  At first I was slightly put off by this security "lookout" in the parking lot.  But after my first trip (on a busy Saturday morning--I warn you, don't make your first trip on a Saturday) I realized that hopefully the security lookout is just there because it is a completely chaotic, busy parking lot.
Inside the store is clean, recently renovated and full of every imaginable type of fresh fruit, vegetable, meat and seafood-and some unimaginable!  The produce prices are pretty hard to beat-for example limes at Publix have been 3 for $2, at this place 5 for $1.  I would say that I recognize approx. 25% of the produce available with the rest of it a crazy mix of different ethnic fruits and veggies.  I'm not sure what Sook Kat Leaf is but $1.19 seems like a good price!
They have both a Hispanic type bakery as well as an Eastern European bakery.  There is a large selection of specialty meats and cheeses in the European deli as well.  One of my favorite areas is the fish/seafood section where you can select from probably over 50 varieties of whole fish, cut to order.  They also have live trout, lobsters, crawfish and other crustaceans to choose from.  Beware long lines on the weekend.  (For example if your take a number from the machine is 40, they may only be on number 1.  There are actually benches and seats for the wait.)
The meat section has quite the selection, variety, freak show of a collection of meat products.  For example I offer the following conglomeration of tasty morsels you can pick up while you are there...
It looks like you even get more than one snout for $3.35-what a deal!

Finally it helps to know a bit about exactly you are looking for before you head down-other wise you could be face with decisions like this-what exactly are in all of these bags and how do you pick what to buy?
Or there's this product which was on sale-which is great-if you had any clue whatsoever of what it might be.
Really in all seriousness, I actually do love this place.  I buy all of my sushi making materials here.  (If you are looking for the sushi grade fish take note that it is in the far left side of the store-separate from the area with the fishmongers.)  I could browse in here for hours I think...so head on down...tell them I sent you...although I don't think anyone will understand what you are saying.

Friday, May 7, 2010

My Okra My Okra-Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

Ok, I admit it's probably not so cool to mess with Bible quotes when discussing the garden but look at this...
I mean sheesh-everything else is doing so well.  But the round #1 of okra-not so hot.  I wonder if it got too dry, if I planted it too soon or if the plants were just junk?  Oh well.  Luckily everything else is doing well--so welcome to your Friday April-um I mean May-is it already May 7th??-Garden Update.

First off the green beans are thriving, full of weeds and ready to be thinned for the last time.  This weekend I hope to thin them, weed them, and then run the vertical stringers.  I usually hate having it look so weedy but last year this same thing happened right off the bat-a bunch of grass started growing (I can't grow grass in the front yard but apparently I grow it well in the garden.)  I am letting it get a little bigger as they are actually easier to pull out when they are taller than an inch or two.  (Taken a few minutes ago after some morning watering.)

Next up, I did decided to mulch the tomatoes and peppers and I really do like the look and the lack of mud when walking around.  That being said I should have laid some newspaper or something under the mulch as the weeds are now coming up through the mulch and will be much harder to pull now that there is mulch.  I do plan to mulch the rest of the garden this weekend (after adding newspaper in the aisles and pulling all current weeds.) I added one more tomato and 3 more peppers yesterday-so 10 tomatoes of about 6 varieties and 16 peppers of about 10 varieties.
The cucumbers, squash and zucchini are doing well all from seed and I added 2 eggplants yesterday.  I plan on thinning these one more time as well (although it so pains me to pull up healthy plants!)  The herbs are also thriving and I enjoy having the mulch there as it really keeps the dirt off the plants.  Who wants gritty dirt in their herbs right?  I added one more basil and two dill plants that I hope to use to make my own pickles later in the summer. 
Finally back to the poor okra.  Luckily okra is cheap and for $8 I bought 18 more okra plants-so okra-round two started yesterday.
So that's it, I'm totally done planting (maybe.)  Check back next week for some "weed free" garden photos!