I’ve Had Better Days

I’ve also had better weeks. And worse weeks.

Saw my knee ortho (PA) yesterday and shoulder ortho today.

Knee: PA advises cortisone shot. I tentatively scheduled it for May 10. Weirdly, the knee buckled slightly when I stood up at the shoulder ortho today. But, it held. 

I went swimming the other day. Could do a great scissor kick while on my left side for the first time in I don’t know how long. That was amazing! But I had great difficulty doing the side stroke on my right side because of my shoulder, so I couldn’t test out my scissor kick there.

Right Shoulder: Random hardcore pain in R arm. We’re talking a 10/10 on the pain scale. Ice is highly effective in stopping the pain. The pain started two weeks ago today, out of the blue, which is why I scheduled my follow-up with my ortho a couple of weeks early. 

The surgeon tested it. The shoulder is now grinding and clicking, and there’s a smaller range of motion than there had been up until two weeks ago. The arm is also a bit weaker. 

The ortho is requesting a new MRI with dye to see if it’s torn (which would require another surgery) or if it’s just inflammation. This is freaking me out because they have to start an IV on you, and I just don’t trust the techs to do a great job, especially since my veins run, hide, roll, and collapse at the sight of a needle. 

From what I’ve read, failed shoulder surgeries are all too common—plus my original tear was large, requiring four anchors. But from what I’ve read, having a failed shoulder surgery is not good news because it won’t ever be as good as it could have been.

Left Shoulder: Having an open MRI Thursday to see why there’s grinding, weakness, and pain. MRI’s are not invasive, but no one loves them. You have to lay completely still for forty minutes or so, the darn thing is noisy, and the place I’m going to doesn’t give you headphones with music. At least I’m having an open MRI. The closed ones really suck (hence the cute cartoon).

Anyway, the staff had messed up the order (wrong shoulder and closed machine), but I think I’ve got that straightened out. If the imaging center doesn’t receive the corrected order in time, I’ll reschedule it.

So after today’s news, I was very depressed. Feeling better now, thanks to messaging with a BFF. But I will definitely require hand-holding. You all know by now how much I hate needles! 😱

So please keep your fingers crossed that I won’t need any more surgeries. Frankly, the novelty has quite worn off, thank you very much!

Spring Madness 

Spring is here, and the days are getting warmer. So what does that mean here in SoCal? The community where I live has opened the pool. Unfortunately, the pool is solar heated, which means the water still isn’t warm enough. But it’s supposed to reach the high seventies later this week, so hopefully I’ll get brave enough to take the plunge.

I’m looking forward to going swimming and gaining back some more strength and mobility. And cross training is supposed to help with weight loss. At least I sure hope so. So besides going to the gym, I’ll work on my breast stroke. Freestyle and water aerobics will have to wait for many months until my shoulder is completely healed.

In case you’re wondering about the main photo up on top, I had found the original, free image of the swimmer and then had fun tweaking it in my latest app discovery, Painnt. I’ve been spending hours playing with various filters… I love photography and special photo effects. I’ll have to showcase some of my favorite photos in the coming weeks. Here are some of my favorites:

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Quinoa gone wild.

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Dockside garden.

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Happy puppy.

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Beautiful flowers.

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Secret garden.

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Flower garden.

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Tabbies at play.

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Jewels good enough to eat. These berries look like sparkling gems.

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Pelican spreading its wings on Huntington Beach pier.

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A black and white photo of the famous bandleader, John Philip Sousa (center), and his band gets loaded up with color. My great-great-grandmother’s brother, holding his clarinet, is seated next to Sousa on the left. Musical talent definitely runs on my dad’s side of the family—now we know why.

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Sunset photo turned into sunrise colors in Painnt. Newport Beach.

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Sea bird. Newport Beach.

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Boating. Newport Beach.

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The seal lifted his heavy head to stare at me as we passed by. Newport Beach.

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Reflections. Dana Point.

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The bridge to peace and quiet.

Rare rainy day in SoCal.

Pretty pitty goes for a car ride.

Sketch created in Painnt app.

Dried flowers.

The Cottage. San Juan Capistrano.

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Got the Midas Touch… at least where flowers are concerned.

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Cozy outdoor fireplace.

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Stairs leading to beautiful cove and solitude. Laguna Beach.

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Mission San Juan Capistrano.

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Meditation.

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Textures and shadows.

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Classic brown tabby morphs into a jewel-toned kitty.

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Elegant baby shower.

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The Eternal Flame. Photo of lit candle with a black background was transformed into a beautiful mosaic.

Can An App Really Help You Lose Weight?

My Fitness Pal is a free app that I utilize daily to record my food and exercise. Not only does it help tweak my diet, but I’ve found the daily articles and recipes to be extremely helpful too.

Today, for example, I read an article written by Kim Westerman titled, “Losing Weight When You Physically Can’t Exercise: Doreen’s Journey.” Doreen used My Fitness Pal to log her meals. I’ve also benefited from logging my food and exercise each day in my quest to reach my fitness goals.

I, too, have experienced issues with mobility over the last ten years because of injuries, arthritis, and a couple of surgeries. I also have an acquaintance who is in even worse shape than I am, so I hoped that the article would prove to be an interesting and motivating read. It was.

SO I’M OVERWEIGHT—WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

I think what many people don’t realize is that obesity is far more detrimental to one’s health than they might think. Everyone pretty much knows that obesity can cause heart attacks or clogged arteries. But the very fact that someone is obese may bring on nasty metabolic changes, which in turn can cause diabetes, chronic inflammation, and arthritis.

New research suggests that it’s not the stress on the joints that causes arthritis, it’s the metabolic changes caused by an over-abundance of body fat. That was definitely an eye-opener.

It took being diagnosed as pre-diabetic in May 2015 to get me started on the road to fitness. I knew my body could only handle minimal impact exercise, so I took up swimming and water aerobics to build up my strength and flexibility. I cut my sugar intake drastically, ate better, and lost a little weight. I began going to the gym. But as the months went by, I found my weight loss was unbelievably slow and frustrating.

In July 2015, a friend recommended My Fitness Pal to me. I downloaded the app on my mobile devices and have been using it ever since. I heartily recommend it. So far, I’ve lost 61 pounds. Yes, I still have more body fat to lose, but I now have normal glucose levels. And that’s a big win for me!

Most people go on a diet to look better. But I’ve discovered that it was more helpful to consider looking good as a happy byproduct of losing weight. The true motivation for me to lose body fat and to gain muscle was to regain mobility, avoid diabetes, and increase my longevity.

I’M THIN—WHY DO I NEED MFP?

But what if you don’t want to lose weight—should you still use the MFP app? The short answer is yes.

You may think you’re eating a healthy balance of macros and micros, but nine times out of ten, you’ll find there’s something in your diet that needs tweaking. Most people that log their food are amazed how much sugar, fat, sodium, and calories they actually consume. And are you getting enough iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C? Usually the answer is a resounding no.

You won’t know the answers to your questions until you log your food into an app such as My Fitness Pal.

MORE ABOUT MFP

MFP doesn’t differentiate between ADDED sugars and what is naturally found in food. Since food labels do not reflect that information yet, MFP can’t either. Unfortunately, it’s the same with B vitamins. I’m hoping that once labels are improved, MFP will incorporate that information into their food analysis.

It’s important to note that if you’re eating clean and sticking to fruits, vegetables, and dairy, there will be naturally occurring sugars in those foods. Those are not inherently bad sugars. (However, if you’re needing to manage blood glucose, there are extra steps you need to take to ensure there are no untoward spikes, such as sticking to low glycemic load foods.) I always eat protein with every meal or snack to help my body deal with naturally occurring and added sugars.

One of the real dangers to healthy eating is consuming processed foods that are almost always laden with added sugar and sodium, not to mention additives, preservatives, and food coloring.

But there’s another danger that is often overlooked by even those who consider themselves to be clean eaters: adding too much sugar or salt to what otherwise would have been a healthy meal.

For instance, when I began making my homemade vegetarian soups, I diligently logged all the ingredients. To my surprise, I discovered that I was using entirely too much salt. It sure didn’t taste too salty!

So I cut back drastically on the salt and threw in a lot more spices to give my soups more flavor. I also add one or two tablespoons of Bragg’s nutritional yeast to each bowl of soup for additional B vitamins and flavor. I’m not a fan of nutritional yeast’s taste except in my homemade soups—that’s where I think it adds greatly to my veggie soups’ savoriness.

A friend of mine has strict dietary requirements for his various ailments, and he’s always prided himself that he’s been eating clean for years. However, he was adding two tablespoons of maple syrup to his daily breakfast of oatmeal and berries. Maple syrup is sugar. Even though he was eating egg whites with his breakfast, he still was consuming a big load of simple carbs each morning. This practice was detrimental to his health goals.

I advised him to stick to steel cut oats, not rolled, to lay off the maple syrup entirely, and to add a tablespoon of chia seeds instead. The chia seeds provide antioxidants, as well as healthy fats which help slow absorption and keeps you feeling fuller longer. That’s what I do, and even though I consider myself to be a recovering sugar addict, I’ve found I don’t miss the sugar in my oatmeal at all.

BUT ISN’T IT A HASSLE?

I wasn’t sure I wanted to log my food and exercise. I had tried keeping a food diary on paper many years ago, and I had hated it. But by using the app, the experience has proven to be fairly hassle-free and far more rewarding than I had assumed. I’ve been logging my food for over 600 days now. I think I can safely say that it’s a good habit that I’ve acquired.

Try MFP for a month. It’s free. And what can you lose, except those bad habits that have prevented you from being the healthiest you’ve ever been?

On the Hunt

If you’re like me and on a strict budget, going on the hunt and bagging some terrific bargains will take your blah day and turn it into something terrific. Well, I’ve sure had one hellluva bargain hunting week so far.

First, I stalked online for a George Foreman grill and found a 4-serving grill and panini maker for $30! And yes, Virginia, it has removable plates.

Then, in my quest to find chicken breasts on sale to cook on the afore-mentioned grill, I turned my finely honed bargain-hunting attentions to the weekly circulars. And there it was.

I had uncovered an amazing bargain at Food 4 Less—they had boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.47/lb. And today was the last day. I rushed right over.

Since I have rarely shopped at this store, and a friend of mine had often told me how inexpensive Food 4 Less was, I decided to price check some of my favorite buys, such as mozzarella cheese, yogurt, Kashi cereals, and coffee.

Boy, was he wrong! The prices are about the same as Stater Bros, but they can’t even come close to the low prices at my Walmart Neighborhood Market. So Food 4 Less is out unless I spot a fantastic sale like the one I found today.

You see, I have my own little system. I get the bulk of my items at Aldi and the 99 cent store. I save a bundle there.

There are certain items I buy only at Walmart Neighborhood Market. And no, it’s not one of those huge box stores where you can buy a shotgun, ammo, steaks, and a cell phone all in one place. It’s JUST a grocery store. No crowds or bizarre people… it’s nice and clean, and this one is fairly new.

I don’t buy anything they have to weigh, and I time my shopping trips to coincide with picking up my prescriptions. That way there are no long lines to wait in. Hee, hee! 😆

I go to Stater Bros when they advertise good sales on items I buy everyday. I’ll sometimes splurge and buy my beloved drink, Bai5 (the Panama Peach flavor that my Walmart N.M. doesn’t seem to carry), perhaps some chicken, and the occasional steak (they really do have the best tasting beef).

We got the new circulars today. I’ll be checking out what’s on sale for the coming week. Can’t wait to bag my next quarry.

OMG. I just had an epiphany. I’ve turned into my mother. 😳

Mom used to buy many things on sale. In fact, my parents thought nothing of driving all over town to various grocery stores to buy sale items. But here’s where I’ve turned into my mother…

Mom would call me up, all excited, and tell me which stores she had dragged my dad to that day and how much they had spent… cherries were on sale at Y for $XX, toilet paper was on sale at Z for $XX, and so on.

I’d nod, murmur “Uh, uh” at appropriate intervals and pretend to be interested. I was working 50-hour weeks back then, so the last thing I wanted to do was run around to different stores to buy my groceries.

Sometimes if it sounded like a really good deal, I’d ask them to pick up something for me the next time they went back to that store. She’d get so happy at that—! Moms love it when you take their advice. So my parents would rush out the next day to get it for me. It was really very sweet.

Now I may not drive all over town, wasting gas and time just to buy groceries, and I certainly don’t call up my nieces and tell them where to buy chicken breasts on sale for $1.47/lb. The heck with that!

Nope. I text them. 😜

And of course, I post about it on Facebook for all my hundreds of friends to read and then I blog about it.

Vegetarian vs. Eating Chicken for Weight Loss

img_9128A couple of things I want to discuss today has to do with chicken vs. vegetarian diets, weight loss, and a sale at Macy’s. Actually, there’s a tie-in. Really!

I’m excited because I just bought a new George Foreman grill online at Macy’s for $30. It’s large enough for me (4 servings) and has removable plates. I wanted red, but hey, for $30, I’ll be OK with white. Anyway, now I’ll be able to quickly grill chicken breasts for that added zap of protein. My favorite method is to sprinkle Cajun spices on a chicken breast and grill. It’s that simple.

The sale ends February 26. If you’ve been thinking about buying a GF grill, now’s your chance. The same grill costs about $60 at Kohl’s and $47 at KMart. So it’s a fantastic deal!

My next point has to do with a great article in My Fitness Pal, which gives some terrific information about eating healthy, satisfying foods. Be sure to check out the recipes, too. But boy, I’m telling ya, this next paragraph made so much sense to me:

“Lean proteins, like chicken, aid in satiety by affecting the hormones that control hunger and how quickly food empties from our stomachs,” says Keri Glassman, MS, RD. “Chicken also has the highest thermal effect of food, meaning it burns the most calories during digestion, versus carbs and fat.”

See? I KNEW I was losing weight faster when I was eating chicken as opposed to when I was sticking to a vegetarian diet! I’m making lovely, healthy vegetable and split peas or bean soups, but they’re carb-heavy. It would be more filling and would enable a more efficient weight loss to eat four ounces of grilled chicken, a cup of vegetable soup, and black forbidden rice (or brown jasmine rice), rather than a big bowl of soup and rice for dinner.

Plus, if I’m eating a chicken breast with the meal, I can halve the amount of split peas or beans in the soup and double up on the veggies. It would result in soups that have less carbs but are still healthy and delicious.

This subject has been a huge bone of contention between me and a vegan I know. I had told him that I seemed to have lost weight much faster when I had incorporated chicken into my diet. It was driving me nuts that my weight loss had slowed to a crawl.

In fact, my simple musings about this caused him to stop talking to me for two weeks. (He hates having his beliefs challenged.) This vegan was sure that his diet was healthier than mine, even though his diet is low on variety and he hasn’t gone to the doctor in over ten years. He has no idea what his blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, or CBC is.

He’s assuming he’s healthy, but since he’s 52 years old, the only way to know if his lifestyle is working well for him is to go to the doctor and get a physical. He has health insurance, but he refuses to go to the doctor for a checkup.

The guy is a vegan because he believes certain studies that I, frankly, discount as junk science. He believes eating vegan is healthier than being a vegetarian or omnivore. He also subscribes to the theory that people are not omnivorous, which is something I heartily discount.

I ate vegetarian for a year because I’m a huge animal lover and factory farming distresses me. I hate the thought of killing animals. I also can’t afford to eat chicken or salmon daily.

But I’m recovering from my second surgery in less than a year, plus I need to kickstart my weight loss program again. I got off track for the first time in over a year after this last surgery, so if I add chicken and salmon back to my diet for now, it will help kick my desire for sweets and butter.

I’d like to try this way of eating for awhile and compare it to my weight loss results just prior to surgery. Yes, there will be variables to take into consideration, but the fun of trying this experiment will have the added bonus of motivating me to lose weight. Oddly enough, I had felt like giving up the fight recently, but today, I’m finally feeling galvanized.

Being able to build muscle again is having a positive effect on my outlook, too. I went back to the gym a few days ago after my enforced, post-surgical six-week hiatus, and I’m in physical therapy for my shoulder. I’ll be feeling stronger soon—I can’t wait!

Another motivator that I plan to use is to set short-term goals. I use my Chūze Fitness app to set exercise goals for which I garner points. I’ve already earned a free month at the gym! My previous goal was to exercise three times/week, but now I’ll up it to five. And I’m setting my next weight loss goal to 30 lbs. But believe me, I’ll celebrate each ten lb. weight loss, perhaps with a new outfit. That will be fun!

But I digress—back to discussing the article.

Quinoa is on this list of foods that provide satiety, but I never felt satisfied after eating it. In fact, I usually feel hungrier. Strange, but for me, it’s true. Maybe I need to add other ingredients to it, like as pictured in the article. That dish looks yummy!

Greek yogurt and eggs: I absolutely eat them daily. Plain Greek yogurt is marvelous with fresh berries and cinnamon. If I want something to satisfy my sweet tooth and make me think I’m eating dessert, I’ll eat Triple Zero Greek yogurt (the black label). I particularly enjoy the coffee and salted caramel flavors.

Don’t buy cottage cheese if it has carrageenan added to it. Carrageenan is nasty and is believed to cause inflammation. If you find a small curd cottage cheese with NO carrageenan in it, please LMK. Frankly, I doubt there is such a product.

Steel cut oatmeal for breakfast? Absolutely! But I add no sugar or any sweetener at all. Who needs that extra jolt of carbs? Not me. I was pre-diabetic and so I worry about back sliding. For added flavor, I recommend sprinkling in ground cinnamon to the oatmeal while cooking. To keep you feeling fuller longer and to add healthy fats to your diet, mix in a tablespoon of chia seeds to your oatmeal when served.

I usually eat oatmeal with a hard boiled egg for extra protein and satiety. Tossing in some blackberries, strawberries and/or blueberries not only adds flavor and sweetness, but also provides powerful antioxidants and vitamin C.

It’s a fantastic breakfast. Not only is steel cut oatmeal with fresh berries and chia seeds fairly economical, it doesn’t spike my blood sugar. I’m benefiting in a myriad of other ways, too. I’m including whole grains in my diet, and lowering my blood pressure and cholesterol levels at the same time. Another huge plus is that this breakfast will help my skin to retain its suppleness and elasticity. Berries are loaded with vitamin C, which is necessary to produce collagen. This means I’m fighting the ravages of aging, all in one meal. Not bad, huh?

What tips do you have for weight loss and to stay motivated? I’d be very interested in reading your comments.

Videoblog: Wild Weather

Amazingly crazy weather in SoCal today! Had a flash flood alert on my cell phone, so I hurried downstairs to tape the rain coming down. Just then, my roomie came home so got him on video. Watch the video…  The poor guy was totally soaked.

Except for the earlier power outage, I am fine. I made a yummy salmon dinner, and yes, I finished off my meal with strawberries. (Need clarification? Read today’s earlier post, An Odd Red-Letter Day, about the power outage and my jonesing for junk food, yet finally deciding that I really wanted nothing more than to sit by a cozy fireplace and celebrate a milestone with an elegant treat.)

But some poor souls are still stuck on freeways. There’s mandatory evacuations in some areas, mudslides, hurricane-force winds, flooding, and tragically, two fatalities. So sad.

#NBC4you

An Odd Red-Letter Day

Today has been interesting so far. First, I had a power outage that lasted three hours. Couldn’t do anything! Couldn’t make coffee… the gas stove wouldn’t work so couldn’t heat water for tea… Cell was almost dead, then it died. Couldn’t access internet on my iPad, which meant I was cut off entirely from the world. Couldn’t open the garage door, so couldn’t drive anywhere.

No real rain yet, but lots of high winds. Probably good for everyone to stay off the roads if you can.

So what’s all this about a red-letter day, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

Now that the power is back on, I’m happily celebrating my six-week aprés-surgery. No more sling! 🎉🎉 So in honor of that, I’m kicking back drinking espresso-ground coffee with half n’ half and a dash of cinnamon. ☕️☕️☕️

I feel like doing something really fun though. Hmmm… what if I order an overpriced, fattening, artery-clogging pizza to be delivered? I wouldn’t have to brave driving in inclement weather, yet some poor guy would have to slog through flooded streets to bring me a hot pizza. Would eating pizza be satisfying though? Would it feel decadent enough? 😜

Probably not.

Hey, in the middle of writing this short post, the rain finally started coming down pretty hard. Should I run around outside in the rain to celebrate-?? Nah, I’d just end up wet. And cold.

I’d really like to have ice cream delivered to the house. And chocolate. Pie? Should I have apple pie delivered too?

Wow. What lofty goals I have. Junk food. 😖

OK then. I choose… Champagne 🥂🥂, chocolate🍫🍫, and strawberries 🍓🍓🍓 to be delivered to the house. Far more elegant, decadent, and satisfying. 🥂🍫🍓And flowers 💐💐 to brighten a gloomy day.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll go back to sipping my coffee. ☕️☕️ Wish it was in front of this fireplace though. Now that would make it much better. 😊

#NBC4you

Ben on CNN.com: Stay engaged with Trump supporters

Good article that addresses several talking points… Interestingly  enough, I’ve been posting for over a year that DT is a conman who certainly didn’t give a rat’s a** about us and pleading with people to not get conned. It didn’t help. At all.

I didn’t call his supporters names or claimed that they were racist, although I admit to using colorful adjectives and monikers while describing DT himself. Yet all during the election, total strangers would leave comments on my Facebook posts, scolding me for being a liberal and a Democrat.

That really used to make me laugh when they labeled me a liberal Democrat because I was raised conservative. In fact, I had always voted Republican until DT. But in no way would I vote for a man whom I believed was a racist, sexist, morally corrupt, narcissistic, autocratic bully.

I’d explain to my dissenters that I was a conservative, but they didn’t believe me and dismissed me as a liberal.

The issues were discussed daily on Facebook. I pleaded with fellow Republicans to consider voting for another nominee (practically anyone but DT), but nothing I said led any of his supporters to open their minds to what I believed to be the truth.

His supporters refused to listen to one word against their hero. They ignored obvious signs that DT was sexist, racist, or narcissistic. Even during “P***ygate,” his supporters would ignore DT’s self-admitted incidents of sexual assault against women. Instead, they’d point their fingers at Bill Clinton and his extracurricular activities, even though he wasn’t the one running for office.

In fact, DT’s supporters were rarely able to defend his behavior, tweets, or expressed policies, even when challenged to do so. They’d attack Hillary or Bill Clinton instead.

I agree with the sentiments expressed here in Ben’s post. Don’t call someone a racist or an enabler of a sexual predator just because they’re a DT supporter. Well, unless they happen to belong to a hate group or something like that. But do I think these tactics will sway anyone?

No. I don’t. Sadly, most people won’t acknowledge DT’s failings until something he does affects them negatively. It will have to be a personal loss in order for any of his supporters to acknowledge that they were conned.

Another crucial aspect of this is Fox News coverage of DT. Evangelicals have told me that I shouldn’t trust the “liberal media,” such as CNN. They get their news from Fox News and other conservative media. If Fox News reported on this administration’s propensity to lie and spread propaganda, then perhaps there will be a chance for his supporters to see that they’ve been used, manipulated, and generally conned.

But even if Fox News and other conservative news media report on some of the more grievous offenses of this administration, they will always peddle the Republican agenda. So instead of presenting a balanced picture of DT, they will minimize his offenses. It will certainly be a cold day in hell before they turn on DT and expose him in the manner in which he deserves.

But the time for partisanship has passed. We must stand up together for what is right. We must defend our constitution and refuse to be motivated by fear and hatred. And we must take back our country; otherwise, democracy, as we know it, will be in tatters.

#nbc4you

The Roundabout

Published today on cnn.com, I argue that respect and engagement are our only path forward as a nation.  An excerpt:

I am firmly opposed to Donald Trump, but because of where I live, I know a lot of good and decent people who voted for him.  If I feel the urge to disparage Trump supporters as a group, I have to reconcile that urge with what I know about the Trump voters with whom I work, eat and pray.

There are unquestionably people who voted for Trump for ugly reasons, and those folks are probably beyond persuasion (at least by me), but I’ve decided I’m going to spend the next four years trying to persuade the good and decent people; to appeal to their reason and the “better angels of their nature.”

Persuading them means addressing the motivations they’ve expressed, not the motivations we might ascribe to them based on the…

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Healing Foods

Salmon

Tonight I made salmon with veggies in parchment paper. I had never tried this cooking method before, but my sister had served salmon using this technique and it had tasted terrific. So I thought I’d give it a try.

I chose sweet potato, Mexican and yellow squash for the vegetables and served the dish with brown jasmine rice. I drizzled a little olive oil on the vegetables and used plenty of spices, too: garlic, Cajun spices, Mediterranean Sea salt, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, and parsley.

But for some reason, my lovely dinner wasn’t baking in the timeframe that I had expected—in fact, it took four times longer than it should have. Seriously!

Oh well, it was my first try. I’ve found that I often have to tweak something the first time I attempt a new recipe. It’s always a learning experience.

I didn’t mind the fact that the whole thing was taking forever to cook. But you try taking heavy Pyrex out of the oven over and over—and over and over again, using only your non-dominant arm.

I’m tellin’ ya, it sure was hard on my poor, overworked biceps. But I dared not risk using my right hand at all.

You see, the other night I had made a big pot of homemade yellow split pea with veggies soup. Unfortunately, I aggravated my right shoulder when I transferred the soup into a large Rubbermaid container. I had to use both hands to pour it, which was something I was trying to avoid.

The PA had warned me not to lift anything heavier than a coffee cup with my right hand. I’m trying to be careful, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. It’s not like I have scores of people lining up outside, all clamoring to help me with my daily chores, right?

So yeah—because the stock pot was too heavy, I had renewed pain the next day, which meant icing and taking a few pain pills. But I worry that despite my best efforts I’m doing too much, which can result in a failed surgery. Now both shoulders hurt a bit. <sigh>

Anyway, the good news is that my salmon dish came out delish! The other good news is that because I had made entirely too much food, I have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow.

I think the next time I make this dish, I’ll eliminate the Cajun spices and add lemon slices instead for a different twist. I’d also like to try asparagus instead of the squash, but I’ll definitely keep the sweet potato. Sounds yummy, huh?

I’m glad I tried this new recipe. It’s high in protein and vitamin A while providing a healthy fat, all necessary nutrients to promote healing.

According to the article, Ten Best Healing Foods After Surgery, “Eating the right foods after surgery can promote faster healing and minimize the swelling, bruising and inflammation that often accompany a surgical procedure. Not to mention, fueling your body properly will give you the energy needed to get back to your normal routine more quickly.”

But why only eat this way after surgery? We should all strive to incorporate these amazing and nutritious foods in our daily diets.

 

Are All Greek Yogurts Created Equal?

In a word? No.

Want some shopping tips for Greek yogurt? I love Greek yogurt, but you have to take care to buy the real deal because it’s not regulated like it ought to be.

I buy Friendly Farms Plain Nonfat Greek yogurt at Aldi (see pic). At over $3, it’s about half the price of other brands, plus Fooducate gives it an A. Try adding berries, bananas, walnuts, pecans, granola, apples, chia seeds—and cinnamon. Cinnamon is not only good for you, it also tastes great. I add cinnamon to Greek yogurt, steel cut oatmeal, coffee… I find that the added flavor lessens the need for sugar.

img_8738I also buy canned pumpkin at Aldi. I sometimes mix half a can of pumpkin with a cup of their plain Greek yogurt, two teaspoons of sugar (the pumpkin needs sweetening), some cinnamon, cloves, and pumpkin pie spice for a dish that’s high in protein, calcium and vitamin A. You can add granola for added crunch, but watch the sugar. I didn’t add granola until I got my blood sugar under control.

If I want all the flavor of a dessert, but with none of the downsides, I’ll buy flavored, blended Greek yogurts. However, I’m careful to check the nutritional label. I make sure it’s got at least 15g of protein, that it’s strained like Greek yogurt is supposed to be, and is not overly high in sugar.

All too often, stores sell so-called healthy yogurts that are so full of harmful additives and added sugar that they really ought be classified as a dessert. Don’t be fooled by what’s essentially junk food.

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I’ll buy Chobani sometimes (the blended pumpkin spice sold during Thanksgiving is fantastic), but usually I buy Dannon Oikos Blended Triple Zero Greek Nonfat Yogurt. I love the coffee, salted caramel, chocolate, banana cream flavors… Fooducate gave Oikos Triple Zero Greek yogurt an A.

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I buy these yogurts at my Walmart Neighborhood Market. I then scan my receipts into the Walmart app (Savings Catcher) on my phone and it checks the price against other stores in my area. If Savings Catcher finds a lower price elsewhere, I get the difference back as a Walmart credit. Walmart rarely has Triple Zero on sale, but other stores often do.

The Savings Catcher works great! And this way, I don’t have to drive all over the place, chasing sales. That’s a win-win in my book any day.