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Adventures in Fasting, Part 1

April 24th, 2018 at 09:33 am

(Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional nor offering advice to anyone. This is my experience alone and hope that someone might find it interesting or prompt them to do their own research, as I have.)

Hello! For various reasons, I led myself down the path to experiment with Intermittent Fasting. Basically, it’s voluntarily not consuming food for a period of time- it can be hours or days. I have been practicing a form of this for years- “Skipping Breakfast”. I was operating with an eating window of 11-7 most days. For me, even when I eat ‘clean’ during the time frame, I will only be full for a couple hours and then the cravings hit. I was snacking all afternoon. After dinner (whether it was high protein/low carb or lots of veggies and big portions, whatever method I tried), I HAD to have something sweet or salty. Or both. I’m not overweight, but have gained 5-10 lbs in the last couple years (I’m a small person) and have a belly pooch. I need to get a handle on this before perimenopause!

My research led me to many sources. The most exciting to me is finding Dr. Jason Fung. He has many You Tube videos and podcasts. He has had success treating diabetics with fasting to get their blood sugar under control. There are many others- Michael Mosley made a documentary on fasting using the 5:2 method, for example. Of course, fasting has been done for thousands of years, as part of religion and healing- Hippocrates and others, so it's not really 'new' but it's been all but forgotten by the medical profession. There are a lot of different programs for fasting. I think that’s what is cool- one can do their own research and figure out the best way for them as an individual.

I’m currently in a 38 hour fast. I stopped eating at 7pm on Sunday night. I’ve only consumed water, coffee with a splash of heavy cream, herbal tea and homemade chicken broth with extra sea salt. (There are differing opinions on whether consuming anything other than pure water is a ‘real fast’). Last weekend I fasted for 24 hours and 22 hours with no issues, other than some tummy grumblings which passed in a few minutes. I had a harder time on this longer fast - major headache, fogginess, white-coated tongue. Pretty sure my body was detoxing and repairing yesterday. I slept great last night and woke up tired, but no headache. I meant to stop the fast at the 36 hour mark (7am) but now that the worst is over, I’m getting more energy and mood is great. I’m going to play it by ear and see how I feel during the day. I do have a smoothie and nuts if I need them, and all kinds of food in the work café.

I’m excited to see how this goes for me. So far I’m enjoying this process and learning about myself and what I am capable of. I am finding that it’s more mental than physical. I will make more posts on this subject soon, along with new insights. I’d love to hear your experiences if you have tried fasting.

Keeping up with my retinas

April 11th, 2018 at 02:48 pm

Hmmmm today I logged on and see my new avatar loaded, the one that wouldn't work last week! Weird! So now I'm showing my 'beach cat' body! (Do you see a cat on a beach? Or the cat with purple wig, which was my original picture?)

On Monday, I went to the retina specialist for my 3 month checkup. My retina is healed and still attached, woo hoo. Now it's time for the second surgery, to remove the silicon oil. The earliest available is May 9. I was hoping it could be sooner, but it's fine. He is going to perform a laser procedure on my other eye at the same time, as that retina is thinning, so I won't have an emergency later. I'm excited to get two things done at once.

I'm doing great on groceries. As of yesterday, spent $93.21 out of $330. It's time to cook more food, so going to Safeway to get a special on rotisserie chicken (saving bones and carcass for broth), plus some frozen broccoli and hamburger patties. I bought the small bowl of fruit at the work cafe. Pineapple, green grapes, orange segments, honeydew and cantaloupe. Plus some pumpkin seeds! I got a bangin' deal last weekend on a small piece of halibut. It was marked 50% off but rang up 75% off.

MONEY: Chase paid me the $300 bonus for my new checking account, but not the $200 for savings yet. Which is weird, because I fulfilled the savings requirement right away, but not the checking yet. Hopefully I won't have to make a stink about it... I have some mature savings bonds to cash next month, so I will visit my local branch and complain if I haven't received it by then. I still have not been able to get a focus group gig, or any online surveys worth anything. I wonder if I pretended that I made minimum wage and had 3 small children, if I would generate more interest? But why aren't any companies interested in a middle age woman with no debt and a lot of disposable income??

Weekend almost over.

April 8th, 2018 at 07:10 pm

It's been a good weekend, although the weather is crappy. Very rainy. At least I wasn't motivated to spend money on plants.

Yesterday I went to the movies. It's been awhile- at least a year. My BF wanted to see "Ready Player One". I enjoyed it, although I'm not really into video games and avatars and all the artificial/computer generated characters.... it had a lot of great 80s music. We had theatre popcorn, but i brought in beverages.
For dinner, we had bacon cheeseburger sliders and potato and radish salad.

Today I cooked: rice in instapot (have frozen veggies to add to it), chicken and mushroom alfredo with bowtie pasta, and zucchini & almond butter brownies. That should last us lunch and dinner for a couple days. Tuesday or Wed night will make a quiche and a big green salad. I have my coffeemaker set to brew coffee in the morning!

My thoughts on Salad

March 28th, 2018 at 01:08 pm

Yep that's right. SALAD. I'm rethinking a lot of things in my life that I believed were the 'right', 'healthy' things to do/have/consume.

SALADS. I'm done with 'em.

Okay, not really done with them forever. But I am done with having them as part of my daily diet. Here's why.

1. I'm reducing the stress in my life. Embracing minimalism. There's so many ingredients to buy and keep track of (if you want to make a proper salad)! Various types of lettuce, cut up veggies, nuts, croutons, bits of cheese, maybe dried or fresh fruit, eggs or chopped chicken, salad dressing.... everyone is into BIG SALADS that have all the vitamins and minerals you need. For me, it's too much work to prepare and store the ingredients. Lettuce and greens have a very short shelf life and often start wilting or getting mildew-y within a couple days. And having all the different storage containers to keep everything in. GAH!

2. The cost of fresh ingredients, especially the highly perishable produce. For a 2 person household, I often can't use it up before it goes bad.

3. You gotta wash and dry all the produce well and store it in an airtight container, or ziplock with paper towels and squeeze all the air out. I don't want E-coli or whatever else.... even the bagged produce or premade salads, that are supposed to be triple washed, often get recalled for contamination. There was a recent recall on plain old romaine lettuce.

I do love salads. If I see an enticing recipe and I'm in a certain mood, I will make them occasionally, maybe on the weekend. Or if I find a particular combination of components that I don't mind eating over and over until they are used up. For the time being, I am going to eat cooked/steamed veggies that I can prepare in advance and heat up with whatever else I'm eating. Some fresh, some frozen, whatever works for my schedule and budget.

What say you? Have you had similar epiphanies with food or anything else in your life?




Frugal moves

March 25th, 2018 at 01:27 pm

It's been a great weekend. Woke up Sat morning to a dusting of snow, and it melted by afternoon. The sun has been peeking out throughout the weekend and really improves my mood.

Here are some frugal steps I've taken over the last few days:

- I pulled a new college ruled notebook out of my stash and named it My Frugal and Health Journal. I need one place to keep track of everything, in writing, on a daily basis.

- Made chicken stock in my Instapot from rotisserie chicken carcass.I love this because it takes less than an hour. Using the slow cooker, it's at least a 12 hour process. I also have a big ziplock in the freezer, that I add any veggie scraps or random chicken bones to, for future stock making. I try to drink at least one cup of my broth a day (add some water and warm it up.) It's so healthy for you! And keeps my hunger at bay between meals.

- Grocery: Fred Meyer: .99/lb asparagus, pastured eggs sale $4.99 dz, box of sliced mushroom 1/2 price, frozen veggies for $1. Even though diet soda was on sale, I did not buy, as I'm doing a cleanse and soda is not allowed, so no need to spend on it now.

- Grocery Outlet: I rode over there with my man. He was going to the hardware store in the same shopping area. I saw many things that I don't need right now but will go back later (like foil, grass fed ground beef, frozen veggies). I bought him some snacks: organic popcorn for .99 and gluten free crackers. I picked up a little bag of beet chips for me, also some chicken meatballs and Nathan's hot dogs for my lunches.


-This weekend I cooked ahead: made 'crack slaw' (ground beef/cabbage/onion sauteed with coconut aminos and sesame oil), roasted sweet potato and broccoli, made 'risotto' with cauliflower rice (I riced it myself) and mushrooms, steamed asparagus, cooked basmati rice.

-I mended one of my socks. It was a brand new pair that I put on yesterday. After a couple hours I realized a toe was poking out. Frown It is part of a Costco multi pack that I've had for a long time. I pulled out my little sewing kit and stitched the hole up. Not pretty but should make it last for a bit. They are really soft and cute socks too.

-I cancelled all my Amazon Subscribe and Save subscriptions for April. Decided I could do without them for a month. Saving about $50.

- Returning a few tops I ordered from Old Navy.


Purchases made:
- New home phones. Our last unit is about to die (can only talk for a few minutes before battery runs out), so i found a set of 2 (main unit with answering machine and one additional) on Amazon for under $40.

- Supplements. Trying to eat better, detoxing from junk food and keeping my energy up. I decided to invest in some quality supplements from an author and Doctor that I trust and respect. She was having a 20% off sale so I bought 60 day supply of them.





Pre- Friday!

March 15th, 2018 at 03:03 pm

It's warm and sunny in the Pacific Northwest. I love it!!

I made $200 selling more jewelry. A silver coin, a pair of earrings with tiiiiinnnnny diamonds, and 3 rings, one had particles of diamonds, all had gemstones.

Surgery payback fund is up to $540.00.

I bought a bowl of fruit this morning at my work cafe. $1.35 for about a 2 cup capacity. You can also get a larger bowl for $1.80. They have a nice variety and you can fill it to the brim! The strawberries and pineapples were washed and cut; saves me so much time. I also picked out some red grapes. I take them home and we can snack on them for a couple days. It's a bargain. I love it in the summer, when they have cherries!

My food budget as of today is : $169 out of $350. I am picking up a rotisserie chicken for dinner tonight, and on Friday taking my best friend to a birthday dinner. The restaurant will be doing happy hour so I will eat off of that menu and drink water (can have wine when I get home!)

I failed on the "zero on clothes" for March. My friend gave me a Friends and Family 25% off for Athleta, which I looooove but their clothing is $$$$. I looked online and only found one item I'd like but it was $128. 25% off and tax would make it about $105.00. Well I couldn't justify that, but they are in the same family as Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic. I started checking out the other sites and Old Navy had great looking stuff and everything 40% off. I bought 9 items for the same price as that one jacket. I haven't received my order yet, but surely I won't like at least half the items when I try them on, so will be returning some with the prepaid label. I also had $22 on a gift card, so I can deduct that from my spending.

I'm using the excitement of these new spring clothes to keep me motivated on eating right and exercising!

Developing a weekly meal system

March 6th, 2018 at 02:21 pm

I've been thinking about this for years- a system to organize and prepare my meals that's more efficient and doesn't involve me cooking every night. (I'd like to add that there are only 2 people in my house, and the other one will eat just about anything and be happy!) Here's the latest I've came up with:

Sat/Sun: (for Sun-Tues)
- look in fridge/pantry for ingredients I have, check out grocery flyers for what's on sale, then shop for what's missing. Cook 2-3 entrees (for lunches at work and dinners).
- Prepare 5 'salads in a jar' to take for lunches. (I just tried this idea this week!! Brilliant!) I'll explain this if anyone is not familiar with it (see end of post)

Wed: (for Wed- Fri)
- buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store on way home, to eat the next couple days.
- prepare 1 additional entree

I think this will work for me, as long as I don't get tired of eating the same meals for 2-3 days- which I typically do not. I only have to plan, shop and cook a couple times a week, which saves me time and gas.

I'll report back next week with how it went for me. Would love to see others' ideas on what they do.


*Salad in a jar: use a regular size canning/mason jar. Put dressing in first, then firmer items like cut up veggies, cheese, nuts, protein; finish with greens on top (you don't want the greens to touch the dressing and get soggy.) When it's eating time, dump everything into a bowl or plate, mix and chew! Easy.

Depression setting in...

February 6th, 2018 at 10:40 am

Well, it's winter and typical Seattle weather (cloudy, rainy, so little daylight) so I would be feeling a bit down anyway, but....

(Pausing to pull on my Complainy Pants)....

The gratefulness of saving my eyesight via surgery for detached retina is wearing off. Weekends are great, because I can putter around the house doing chores on my timeline, lay down/nap as much as necessary. I barely get through the workday, and then home to lay on the couch and listen to/watch TV and attempt to get ready for the next workday. Having one blurry eye just makes me MENTALLY tired, because my brain is constantly having to compensate to even out my vision. I'm happy that my eye is healing but I feel like all I can do is count down the days/weeks until my next surgery.

I know what I need to be doing to help myself. First is exercise. I have been holding off because there are a lot of restrictions and I don't want to hurt my eye, but also many things I can still do. My belly is getting soft and I know I'm losing muscle tone. It's really hard to get motivated to start. So that is on me.

The next is diet. I did well last weekend by preparing a few meals to eat this week, but that only lasts partway and then I'm back to trying to put something nutritious together when I am so tired. I need to allow myself permission to get take out occasionally and rely more on convenience foods. But that eats into my "spending diet" goal to reduce my grocery costs.

Last on my complaint list is the medical claims. Luckily, I have $3000 maximum out of pocket for this year, and the company contributed a little to my HSA account. Now the claims are coming in, and I already put most of it (over $2300) on my credit card which I will have to pay off next month. I have the money sitting in my savings account, but dang it, it makes me mad because I have to spend that money!!! I set yearly savings goals last month and I won't be able to meet them because of my stupid eye. Also, I bumped my HSA deduction to the maximum, so that's $60/week going there, and I won't be able to reimburse myself for my out of pocket costs until the end of the year.

Oh one other thing. I did my taxes and I owed $45! So crappy.... one more expense that I didn't expect.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Quick post-op check in

January 26th, 2018 at 02:17 pm

Hello! I'm doing well after my surgery, which was on Jan 16th. I didn't have time to research the procedure ("vitrectomy"), which was probably a good thing, because it looks really gross. I didn't realize that it was actual SURGERY, where I'd have to take off all my clothes, have an IV, etc. (Thought it was on the level of Lasik... silly me!) I was comfortable and didn't feel anything during the procedure, and all the staff were friendly and answered all my questions. I had to spend 5 days and nights with my face toward the ground (called Posturing). Sleeping that way was the absolute worst!!! I rented equipment to help with that. Now I can sleep on my left side, but absolutely cannot be on my back. I have a silicon oil bubble in my eye, which needs to press on the retina (which is in the back of the eye) to help hold it in position for about 3 months. It will require another surgery to remove the oil. My eye is still red, watery and dilated (helps the healing process.)

This is my third day back to work (not full days). My vision is cloudy, due to the oil bubble, so I have to get used to it. I am getting better everyday, and so thankful that this technology exists to save my sight. Smile

I'll post my results from my January Spending Diet (ha ha ha) after the month is over!

Yep, I was right (unfortunately)

January 16th, 2018 at 09:07 am

I have a detached retina. Surgery in a few hours. Family and friends are stepping up to assist me, which is such a great feeling. I won't be blogging for at least a week while I recover. Thank you for the positive thoughts!

Good news is I will be forced to relax at home for at least a week, and I get a 10% discount for prepaying my out of pocket cost at the hospital.

I'm scared about my eye

January 15th, 2018 at 11:37 am

I have an eye exam this afternoon. Worried because one afternoon last week, in the car on the way home, I noticed there was a blurry/cloudy spot on my right eye. It's like when you rub your eye and your contact slips and gets scrunched on one side, only I don't wear one in that eye. I tried washing it out with water and lens solution. I'm worried that it's a detached retina. Of course, self-diagnosing on the internet is a bad idea, hence the dr appt. Please think good thoughts for me!

On a positive note, I had FOUR No spend days last week! And my kitchen backsplash is installed and grouted! I'm thrilled with it. Last step is the drywall person to stop by and repair the area where there used to be tile and now it's all wall. After that, I'll be able to really clean and make it sparkle!