Saturday, February 19, 2011

Going to the Doctor and Other Miscellaneous Stuff. ;-)

This week went by like a flash. We had errands to run and things to do and then the weather on Thursday and Friday was nothing short of stupendous and I thoroughly enjoyed it I might add. Both days we reached 75 and I could not have been happier. I am SO ready for spring to arrive.

I am going to summarize this week and try to get back into the daily blogging habit. Something has changed for me regarding blogging and I am not sure what it is. I have been finding excuses this month not to blog and I don’t know why. Maybe I am running out of things to say but I am not exactly certain what changed?

However I do have an idea of something that might be interesting for me to write. What would you think of me researching specific consumables and writing about that? I could share the good and bad about specific foods/herbs/spices etc. Does that have any appeal for you? If you have different ideas I would love to hear them? I am still hashing around ideas in my head so this is a great time to let me know what you are interested in reading. I am also curious if hearing about each of our meals is useful? I have to admit it is boring for me to write but if a lot of you find it useful I will keep doing it.


Dan worked from home in Tuesday morning since we both had appointments with the internist and noon and 12:20 we drove to the appointments together. Our appointments were generally uneventful. Dan and I had our usual friendly competition to see who did better on “the tests”. I will let you decide what you think here are the stats:

Blood pressure: 122/80 (Dan), 118/76 (Alicia)

Blood Glucose: 87 (Dan), 75 (Alicia)

Cholesterol: 141 (Dan), 189 (Alicia)

Vitamin D: 39.7 (Dan), 57.4 (Alicia)

B12: 442 (Alicia), Dan’s was in the same range 6 months ago so it wasn’t retested.

I think I was “winner” on three tests and Dan took cholesterol by a mile. You know that losing the cholesterol “battle” means that I need to step up my game right? Our internist believes my cholesterol issue is probably genetic. Can you imagine how bad it would be if I ate the standard American Diet? I think my cholesterol level is probably exacerbated by perimenopause. However I also think there are things that I can do to improve it. As soon I have my plan in place I will let you know what I will be changing. It is always something isn’t it? *shakes head*

Being a girl of course I skipped breakfast before going to the doctor and getting on the scale. After all it was bad enough that I was wearing a big sweater and thick pants so was adding breakfast on top of that was out of the question. No vanity here, LOL. I felt so good when I finally got home that I considered fasting on Tuesday but opted to eat a salad instead.

My lunch which was very late (around 4pm) was a huge salad (yes that is a serving bowl it is in) and included: mesclun, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell pepper, wine vinegar, nutritional yeast and chia seeds. Chia seeds are healthy but the texture is a bit odd when they are soaked, like tomatoes seeds. I guess I have completely not warmed up to the texture yet. But I am trying to add them to food when I think of it for the health benefits.

After eating my salad I made a pound of black-eyed peas in the pressure cooker. The beans cook very quickly in the pressure cooker. I combined 1 pound of dried (unsoaked) black-eyed peas, 8 cups of water, 2 bay leaves, no-salt seasoning, crushed red pepper and peeled smashed garlic. Cook the beans for 5 minutes under high pressure then let the pressure reduce naturally. Once the beans were cooked I added a quart of canned tomatoes (you can use 2 – 15 ounce cans), minced garlic, diced red onion, finely diced celery, no salt seasoning, cumin and oregano and simmered until the veggies were tender. I ate this as soup and added quinoa to Dan’s for more calories and protein. This lasted a few days for us so we will be seeing it turn up later in the post.

Later I had a banana and walnuts that I forgot to photograph.

During the evening I was doing a little nutrition reading and came across this article about fermented vegetables. I had read something similar by Dr. David Katz in our internist’s waiting room early today. Coming across this article made me think the universe was trying to tell me something. Until reading these two articles I was considering adding some kimchi or homemade sauerkraut to our diet. I am going to rethink that now. Do any of you have any articles on the nutrition of fermented vegetables? If you do I would love to know the reference. Thanks!

Dinner for me was another salad this one contained: mesclun, grape tomatoes, artichoke hearts, balsamic vinegar, freshly ground flaxseed and nutritional yeast. Dan had a bowl of the black-eyed pea soup and salad and finished dinner with a giant serving of strawberry banana soft serve.


Where did the day go? I know I started it with a big marinated broccoli salad. I started by lightly roasting some frozen broccoli in the halogen oven. Have I said recently how much I love that little oven? While the broccoli was cooling enough for me to handle I used my hand held julienning mandoline to break down a carrot. I also sliced a red bell pepper and added that to the salad. To the veggies I added a little dressing of red wine vinegar with a touch of stevia and tossed everything to coat it with put in the refrigerator to cool. When I put the salad in a bowl I added some raw pumpkin seeds. I really liked the way this turned out and decided to experiment with more versions of this salad which you will see later in this post.

About mid-day the weather started to warm up to 65 so I opened all the windows to let in the fresh air. There is nothing better than airing out the house after it has been closed up for months. It was a little chilly but I had to do it. I actually left the windows open all day and night. That is how much of a fresh air fiend I am.

Lunch for me was a bowl of the black-eyed pea soup that I made yesterday. I put the same thing in Dan’s lunch but he has a bowl about twice this size and quinoa to put under his bean soup.

I also had my usual orange and Brazil nut snack. I pack the same thing in Dan’s lunch every day so that he gets sufficient selenium too. Dan isn’t wild about the taste of Brazil nuts but since they are the best source of selenium which he knows is important for the immune system he eats them without much complaint. He has to complain a little because that is just how things are in our relationship. Thankfully I know he enjoys complaining and that it isn’t serious. I swear I don’t understand how men think. LOL

Dinner for me was another salad. With the weather warming up I am starting to crave salad again. This one contained: mesclun, grape tomatoes, artichokes, thinly sliced cucumber, and was tossed with nutritional yeast and red wine vinegar. I topped the salad with a few white chia seeds.

Dan worked late on Wednesday and had another bowl of black-eyed pea soup with quinoa; a big salad and strawberry banana soft serve for his dinner.


This was the first day of truly glorious weather. The felines and I enjoyed having the windows open. You would think none of us had every smelled fresh air before.

Breakfast for me was savory oatmeal which this time included: oats, water, nutritional yeast, cumin, no salt seasoning, finely minced garlic, fresh baby spinach, wheat germ, freshly ground flaxseed, grape tomatoes and raw pumpkin seeds. I was not happy about how the oatmeal looked with wheat germ on top and decided to start adding it to the oatmeal before the spinach.

After breakfast Masi was snuggled up on our bed. Yes the electric blanket was on because I am totally wrapped around fuzzy cat toes. ;-) I took my big camera into the bedroom and managed to get another picture of him with his eyes open and wanted to share it with you. I think he is such a pretty boy.

Lunch for me was a bowl of the black-eyed pea soup. I sent the same thing in Dan’s lunch only much more of it and with quinoa to put under it to make it a complete protein and add calories. I also send a salad in Dan’s lunch to make certain that he gets his fresh veggies. I need to learn to worry as much about my nutrition as I do about what goes into Dan.

Both of us had an orange and Brazil nut snack.

For my dinner I wanted more veggies. This time I made a big bowl of marinated veggies which included: lightly roasted broccoli, red bell pepper, red onion, red cabbage, and defrosted frozen mixed veggies (carrots, peas, corn and green beans). I dressed this with red wine vinegar, course country Dijon and stevia and added a few raw pumpkin seeds to the top for healthy fat. This really turned out well so you should expect to see it show up very often. With summer approaching we will be eating a lot more cold veggie dishes soon.

Since I had the end of the black-eyed pea soup for lunch I needed to make another pot of soup for dinner tonight. This time I made a pound of black beans in the pressure cooker. I combined the dry unsoaked but rinsed pound of black beans with 8 cups of water, 2 bay leaves, 6 cloves smashed and peeled garlic and cooked it on high pressure for 22 minutes. I let the pressure reduce naturally and added a red onion, 1 quart of canned tomatoes (no salt), 2 minced chipotles in adobo, 6 cloves garlic, cumin, oregano, no salt seasoning, cinnamon, cocoa powder, chili powder and paprika and simmered until the veggies were tender. Voila bean soup in well under an hour. That is one of the best things about a pressure cooker. I love that you don’t need to soak the beans and they cook so quickly. If you are like me and you don’t plan a pressure cooker can be a life saver at dinner time.

Dan worked late so he ate after I had finished. His dinner was a big bowl of black bean soup with quinoa and a bowl of the marinated veggie salad that I made earlier today.


Today was another absolutely fantastic weather day. It was 59 when we woke up. I loved having the windows open all night to let in fresh air. Come on spring! LOL

Breakfast for me was a bowl of the marinated veggie salad that I made yesterday on top of a little quinoa for the refrigerator and a few sliced almonds for healthy fat. I know I say this all the time but this is exactly why I always make intentional leftovers. Sometimes you are busy and the idea of cooking just isn’t appealing. That pretty much explains the entire month of February so far. However even though I didn’t want to cook I still had homemade food in just a few minutes and that was great.

Dan had his usual green smoothie with kale and banana for breakfast. I have started adding wheat germ to his smoothies and oatmeal too. I wanted to increase the amount of vitamin E we are both getting. It doesn’t seem to impact the taste of texture but it does increase the nutrition.

Lunch for me was a simple salad of baby spinach, artichokes and grape tomatoes. I made a quick “dressing” of nutritional yeast, red wine vinegar, freshly ground flaxseed and no salt seasoning. If you like nutritional yeast you should give that combination a try.

The lunch that I packed for Dan was the marinated veggies and black bean soup of quinoa, an orange, 2 Brazil nuts, walnuts and marinated veggies.

I knew dinner would be late since we were going to run errands after work so I made myself a small bowl (less than 2 cups) of the black bean soup.

We needed a few things from the grocery store (mostly kale) so after Dan left work we made a quick trip to Whole Foods (no kale!) and picked up some fresh organic herbs (cilantro and parsley), organic tofu, organic braeburn apples, and organic pink grapefruit.

While we were in Whole Foods we grabbed a 15 whole grain veggie sushi with avocado and cucumber to include in dinner. For those that are interested the 15 grains were: 1) sushi rice, 2) black rice, 3) glutinous rice, 4) germinated brown rice, 5) glutinous millet, 6) adzuki bean, 7) black soybean , 8) glutinous foxtail millet, 9) corn, 10) jobe’s tears, 11) amaranth, 12) black sesame seed, 13) white sesame seed, 14) barely, 15) buckwheat and 16) white sorghum. Well, the label said 15 but clearly it is 16. No OCD here! LOL ;-)

Then we decided to make a quick run to Wegman’s for a few things. I was hoping they were would organic kale, but it wasn’t to be. We picked up organic sweet potatoes, shitake mushrooms (for the immune system impact), brazil nuts (for selenium), macadamia nuts (for making nut cheese), raw pumpkin seeds (for salad and Mexican dishes), wheat germ (for vitamin E), more organic beans (about 12 pounds) of various varieties and a bag of raw super food granola. Are you shocked that I bought granola? Me too actually, but here is why I bought it.

The granola contained: maca, reishi, and astragalus….talk about immunity boosting granola. I had to buy it just to see what it tastes like. The bag I bought has entirely too much sugar in the form of (agave, dates, and palm sugar *rolls eyes* I am more interested in how the flavors come together than anything else. My plan is to use the granola like a crunchy topping for sweet oatmeal. If we like it you know I will be making my own healthier version soon. Some things around here just never change. LOL

When we were heading for the checkout we ran into our friend Louis. Now running into your friends at the grocery store isn’t strange typically but Louis lives in Delaware about 2 ½ hours from here so we were surprised to see him. It was great to see him even if it was only for 15 minutes.

Once we got home and had everything put away I made a very quick dinner. We had the multigrain sushi from Whole Foods. Since we don’t need to sodium I tossed the soy sauce which didn’t make Dan happy but he knows why I did it at least. We also had the end of the marinated veggies that I made yesterday. Those were such a big hit I made another batch on Saturday to try them out on my parents.

We both liked the multigrain sushi so you know what that means….yes I will be making some at home. Luckily I just happen to have a bag of organic multigrain that I picked up at the Asian store which will come in very handy.

True to form we ended up staying up very late last night, well after midnight in fact. So much for getting back on our early morning schedule. We really need to work on that again tonight. It is much more difficult to turn night owls into morning people than I anticipated.

Happy Thoughts:

There are so many things to be happy about this week that I need to keep my list short so that I don’t bore you to tears:

• Dan and I were both generally happy with the outcome at the internist. I have some cholesterol work to do but overall it was a good visit.

• The weather this week has been magnificent. I can’t say enough how much I have enjoyed this early taste of spring. I am looking forward to getting my bike out of storage for some outdoor exercise that isn’t hard on my knee. It will also be fun to use the TRX outside. Woo hoo! I am such a geek sometimes. LOL

• I have been reading another new health book and am really enjoying that. Learning new things always puts a big smile on my face.

Speaking of new things, have any of you heard of “The Great Courses” before? I ordered a set on health they have on sale that covers nutrition and disease. Once it arrives I will let you know what I/we think of it. I said we since I know I will be getting Dan to watch the parts that I think are interesting. One of the reasons he is completely on board with my healthy lifestyle is that I make certain he learns along with me. Knowing why we are doing different things has lead to greater compliance if you know what I mean.

• It was wonderful to see our friend Louis briefly Friday evening. I wish he lived close like he used to because I miss not having him around the corner. But on the bright side I talk to him at least twice a week and frequently more often. It is always great when a friendship stands the test of time and mileage.

Signing out:

That is the update on what you missed last week. I need to clean up my kitchen from the meal with my folks and get a few other things done around here. Talk to again soon, hopefully tomorrow. I am very interested to hear what you would like to read in my coming posts.


  1. Hi, Alicia, I like hearing about what you eat. I find you inspiring! I also like your idea about sharing good/bad of various foods. I never knew why selenium was beneficial until your post today, and I'd like to know more about spices, especially. Thank you for continuing to share with your readers!

  2. I've heard of the Great Courses. We have several of their lecture sets, from Math to CS Lewis to History.

  3. I do enjoy reading about your meals/food and seeing your recipes. But if posting about your meals is what is keeping you from blogging? Then who cares what we like/don't like, lol. Posts are much better than no posts, no matter what they are about :-)

    I hope you had a great Saturday!


  4. Looks like you are really eating your beans and greens...good job! I would be interested in your research re: consumables! xo

  5. I love fermented foods! I know know of specific articles but I know The Body Ecology Diet (not all vegan but vegan-friendly) has a lot of scientific info on it.

  6. Do you know what your cholesterol breakdown is? If your HDL is higher than his, you might be the winner. :)

    I love avocado rolls!

  7. Lovely blog you have here, with lots of healthy ideas :-)

  8. Wow, lots of salad! I have been craving it a lot lately too. By the way, I gave you an award on my blog!

  9. Congrats on your (and Dan's) excellent test results! I had to look up my last ones to see how they compared (I'm not competitive either!).

    I've been following your blog for awhile and am pretty familiar with your general diet (and what it looks like in photos), but new folks might think differently. On the other hand, if they're really interested they could check out your archives, which is what I did when first seeing your blog.

    I like hearing about new recipes and methods, new health research, kitchen equipment reviews, exercise tips and equipment reviews, books ...basically, anything health-related! Therefore, I'm supportive of whatever blogging ideas you have in those regards. I can understand wanting to change things up a bit so that you don't get burnt out!

    Our weather was also fantastic and I had our windows open, though not as long as you (I get cold very easily). I wish the warmth were here to stay!

  10. congrats on the clean bill of health : )

    as far as future content of the blog, i'm curious about your snacks but i don't think there needs to be pictures and all of that (i know how each photo takes time to take it, upload it, edit it, post it, arrange it, etc etc)

    i always enjoy your health-related content and recipes but if either of those were missing i'd still read your blog and enjoy it!

  11. I've learned so much from your blog already; I really appreciate all the health tips and would love to hear more of that (the good and bad points of various foods).

    I made a soup today with turmeric and black pepper, turned out delish! I didn't know that they made each other more bioavailable til I read it on your blog.

    Your day-to-day eats are also cool to see, not sick of that yet at all :)


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