Category Archives: Exercise

Pantry Stew – Eating Healthy Economics 101

My husband’s a golf pro.  This means that we live kind of lean in the winter.  I spend the summer stocking up on pantry food, like beans, quinoa, brown rice and gluten free pasta:  stuff that can make cheap dinners to live off of in the leaner times.  I haven’t quite reached prepper status yet, but some people may think I’m a bit excessive.  Hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  Well, we still have a couple of weeks left until he goes back to work so right now I’m kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel for creative things to make that are still healthy and tasty.  Beans are definitely the way to go.  Come summer, we have our garden to eat from and, living out in the boonies, we have a lot of farm markets to go to as well for the things I don’t grow.  We have a large freezer that is still full of frozen veggies.

Here’s the economy of eating healthy:  you have to pick and choose what you can afford.  Thankfully, we have a ‘budget’ type of store around here, called Aldi’s.  They’re all along the east coast of the US, and I don’t know where else they are.  But, they just started selling a line of organic things:  canned goods like beans and tomatoes and broths (except they don’t have veggie broth), plus they have a limited amount of organic veggies.  If you’re one of those “I will only eat orgaclean-15-dirty-dozen-287x300nic vegetables and find extreme disdain with someone who doesn’t,”  you can stop reading here.  I buy organic when I can.  I try to buy the ‘dirty dozen’ organic only.  Other veggies, I stick to washing them really well and peeling them.  Once again, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  The way I figure it, if you’re eating healthy things, I think your body should be able to detox from the pesticides and junk that you’re getting from the non-organic stuff.  I try to eat non-GMO as much as possible, but really can’t afford to shop at the local co-op exclusively.  I just can’t with a family of 5 to feed on a limited budget.  And I won’t even go into my “shouldn’t ‘they’ make the good food cheap to eat so everyone will be healthy” spiel.

So, this was my pantry meal of the day:  a bunch of beans and chopped veggies.  Also, I need some good carbs in me.  Now that I’ve been feeling better for the first time in a long time, I started exercising.  I’ve been weight lifting (arms and upper body 3 days a week a legs twice a week) and walking every day (about 2-4 miles, depending on the route).  On the weekend,  do some sort of cardio.  Today, I did 55 minutes of Zumba (that I took out of the library).  This stew was very filling and fulfilling without feeling heavy on my stomach.  And it gave me some energy post workout.  Plus, it made a really big pot, so I’ll have some quick lunches this week.  Enjoy!

Pantry Stew

Pantry Stew


28 oz. Can Chopped Tomatoes

15 oz. Can White Beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz. Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz. Can Kidney Beans, not drained

2 Cups Vegetable Broth

1 Cup Lentils

1 Cup Cauliflower Florets

⅓ Cup Almond Butter

2 Carrots, peeled and chopped

1 Zucchini, chopped

1 Medium Sweet Onion, chopped

2 Teaspoons Cumin


Combine all ingredients in a stock pot. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes. Add more vegetable broth if it seems too thick.


Why I Eat a Nutritarian Way – Nothing Tastes as Good as Healthy Feels

I’m not sure how to start this. I’ve never been a ‘follow a specific diet’ person. I mean that I’m not a trendy, jump on the band wagon sort of person. I tend to be an off the beaten path sort of person. But, I have to say that I’ve read the “Eat to Live” book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and his follow up book “The End of Dieting” and they have truly changed my life (both came out of my local library). I’m not here to debate whether eating animals is ethical. I used to live on a farm and that’s how we got most of our food. I do think that it’s better for a person to raise their own food if they have the room to be able to do it. I think it’s healthier and that it instills a sense of how much work it takes to raise food and makes you a little more appreciative. That’s about all the soap box that I have on that subject.

I’ve only been on this diet for 3 weeks now and I’m amazed at how good I feel. It only took a week before I felt some very measurable effects on my health. I mentioned in an earlier post about finding this after praying about it and I still think that it was an answer to prayers. First of all, I started having health issues after my second child was born: fatigue, extreme aches and pains, digestive issues, immunity issues, pernicious anemia, chronic epstein barr syndrome. There were probably other issues that weren’t diagnosed. So, for 14 years I’ve been searching for a way to combat this. I’ve tried many different ways of eating. I’ve tried many Chinese herbal supplements and other herbal supplements. I refused to just be put on pain meds. Sometimes the pain was quite bad and I wouldn’t want to get out of bed. I learned to deal with it. I made friends with my heating pad. I have a high threshold of pain, too, so when I say I was in pain, I really was. Some solutions would help a bit. I got a glimmer of hope when I went gluten free about four years ago. The pain was a lot less and I had times when I actually had some energy and some of the digestive issues had cleared up. After a year of being gluten free, some of the symptoms came back even though I was very careful about eating gluten. So, I searched for another way to combat the inflammation and then I went paleo. That helped my immune system because I was really focusing on a good probiotic and healing my gut. But, I was eating a lot of meat. It was healthy and organic and grass fed, but it was meat. And, meat doesn’t combat inflammation. So, this is what brought me to Eat to Live. But let me preface this by saying that I’ve never been a carboholic or junk food junky type of person. If you are, you may have a bit of a problem at the beginning of this diet. All I can say about that is just to hang in there. Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.

Here are the basics of the Eat to Live diet:
Furhman Food Pyramid
The G-BOMBS is a mnemonic device to help you remember the highest nutrient dense foods:
Greens: Raw leafy greens, kale being the highest nutrient dense food, is a great way to lose weight. you can eat unlimited quantities and they fill you up with fiber and nutrients.
Beans: (and other legumes) are a nutrient dense source of good carbs and the starch is not completely broken down in your digestive system, so the carbs don’t spike your blood sugar.
Onions: (and any allium family vegetables like garlic, shallots, leeks, etc…) They help with you cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as having anti-cancer properties and anti-diabetes effects.
Mushrooms: Great for their anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.
Berries: Naturally sweet, low in sugar yet high in flavor and loaded with anti-oxidants, berries are just really good for you.
Seeds: Nuts and seeds contain healthy fats and are rich in phytosterols, anti-oxidants, and minerals.

Of course, this is really a very, very brief summary. You’d be amazed at how good they are for you.dr_fuhrmans_micronutrient_scores-1-300x237

This is his suggestion for amounts to each day of the G-BOMBS:
Nutritarian Checklist
I can’t say that I follow this diet to a T. I pretty much do, though. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten this many legumes in my life. But, my body seems to like them. I’ve been doing special occasion foods but keeping them vegan (like the pizza crust, which is a Friday night pizza night thing). My body is just functioning a lot better this way. I’ve lost weight even though the only exercise I do is yoga. Now don’t get me wrong. Yes, yoga is an exercise. But, I’ve never been able to lose weight unless I was doing an hour of high intensity cardio each day and burning like 600 calories or more a day. And that was only if I was counting calories. I don’t count calories now. I don’t even really ‘watch what I eat,’ in the sort of American way of thinking about it. I just eat. I try to fill in the parameters, but I just eat. If I feel hungry, I eat a little more. If I feel full, I stop eating. It’s really a simple way to eat. Dr. Fuhrman stresses longevity and I’m on boat with that. You can eat paleo and build some great muscles, but if you’re straining you kidneys and liver, what kind of quality of life are you going to have down the road? This is really a sustainable way to eat. Ask me any questions you have. I’ll try to answer them to the best of my ability.


Terrific Turmeric

In my never-ending quest to find something to ease my joint pains, I started using turmeric.  I don’t have anything to report yet because I just started last night.  I tend to have a lot of upper body pain:  shoulders, elbows, hands and wrists.  It usually makes me really tired when I’m achy and it makes playing the flute and guitar difficult.  Right now I’m achy.  It usually happens this time of year.  I’m not as bad as I have been for the past few years, but it’s still annoying.  On one hand, I would give anything to stop the achiness.  On the other hand, I don’t want to be connected to a bottle of medicine.  I’ve been doing yoga and at night time, I do 30 minutes of stretching (which, by the way, has the added benefit of making me sleep like a baby).  It helps if I get a good night’s sleep, but it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep if I’m achy.  arg!  It’s sometimes frustrating.  So, hence my experiment with turmeric.Turmeric

Turmeric reportedly has many benefits.  Holistic health practitioners use turmeric to clear infections and reduce inflammation.  hmmm…reduce inflammation.  That’s like whispering sweet nothings in my ear.  Turmeric also contains antioxidants.  The National Cancer Institute reports that UCLA did a study on turmeric and they found that it has a component, curcumin, that blocks the enzyme that promotes the growth of head and neck cancers.  Not that that has a lot to do with me, but I thought it was pretty cool anyway.  Also, turmeric is a very potent anti-inflammatory.

Since I like curry/Indian type of flavors, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try using turmeric more.  This morning, I had a teaspoon of it in my breakfast smoothie (I didn’t actually taste the turmeric at all because I had cinnamon in it as well and that’s all I tasted).  For lunch, I made humus and added turmeric to it.  This was very tasty.  Here’s the recipe:Red Pepper Hummus

Sweet Pepper humus:

1 Can Chick Peas, drained and rinsed

1 Sweet Red Bell Pepper, chopped

Juice of 1/2 of a lemon

2 Tablespoons Tahini

2 Cloves Garlic

1 Teaspoon Turmeric

Small handful of parsley

Pinch Cayenne, to taste

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions: Throw everything in the food processor and process until desired consistency.  I wanted mine to be smooth, so I didn’t bother chopping the pepper first and just threw everything in.  If you want it a little chunky, chop the pepper first so it takes less processing to mix everything.  Serve as a veggie dip, which is what I did for lunch, or spread on a sandwich or crackers.

I could eat this a lot:  just the right bite to it and satisfying at the same time.

Oh, yeah, and last night I made a night-time milk with hemp milk, turmeric, cinnamon, and little bit of honey.  It was tasty and calming.  So I’ll give a report on how the whole turmeric thing shakes out, if I see any results.

Until tomorrow…

Update – Eat to Live, Start of Week 3

Well, so far I’ve lost about 15 pounds.  I have to give God the glory for that.  When I started this diet, I prayed for wisdom on how and what to eat, and how much to exercise.  I’m still having a foot problem in my left foot that makes it hard to do much, so I can’t say that it’s by my own power that I’m losing the weight.  I’m actually surprised at how much protein I’ve been getting.  I wondered, maybe even worried a bit, that I wasn’t getting enough protein, but I took a day and entered everything I ate on myfitnesspal and I was very surprised that I actually got plenty of protein and stayed pretty low in fat, despite the amount of nuts I was eating with all the dressings I use and the nuts I add to recipes.

Okay, I have to admit that I used to think of vegans as being ‘way out there.’  What I’m doing now is good, though.  I highly recommend this way of eating to anyone out there.  And, I have to tell that doubter, that feels like they have to eat meat to get the protein to build muscle, that you don’t need it.  Back in the day when I was a vegetarian, I did eat dairy and eggs as well, mainly because I didn’t know you could possibly get enough protein from plant products.  One of Dr. Fuhrman’s philosophies is that what you eat should be nutrient dense:  nuts, dark greens, legumes.  When you think all the way back to the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were originally created to eat the plants.  Genesis 2:9 says, “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”  It was only after they were cursed that they were told to kill animals for meat (“cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;” – Genesis 3:17B).  Haha – I guess you could say that eating animals causes sorrow, ya know, with the killing and all of that.  Now, don’t get me wrong:  I don’t value the life of an animal over the life of a human.  I’m just saying that biblically, we were made to eat a diet based on plants more than animals and I think we’ve skewed that concept in our diet a bit.  Even in Old Testament times, killing the fatted calf was a once in a while sort of deal, not an everyday sort of deal.  Their diet was primarily plants and grains, and very little animal products (the examples of Daniel and Ezekiel are two that come to mind).  That being said, I’m totally on board with this.  You can’t discount the effects it’s had on me so far.  I haven’t been able to lose weight in about 12 years, since my second child was born.  I was constantly counting calories and never losing weight.  I tried lower calories, higher calories, low-fat, high fiber, high protein.  Nothing worked. Now, I’m losing weight and I’m feeling great.  I never feel hungry.  I haven’t been counting calories or anything.  It’s really quite amazing.

Here’s the run-down for yesterday and today:

Breakfast:  raspberry and kale smoothie yesterday and a mango/raspberry and kale smoothie today.

Lunch: Leftover vegan chili and salad yesterday

Dinner:  I made a recipe from my health book yesterday.  Here it is:

Crockpot Curry Veggies

Ingredients:Crockpot Vegetable Curry

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

4 Medium Carrots, sliced

1 Medium Onion, chopped

4 Garlic Cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons Curry Powder

½ Teaspoon Turmeric

5 Red Potatoes, cut in chunks

2 Cans Chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1, 28 Ounce Can Chopped Tomatoes, not drained

1, 14 ½ oz. Can Vegetable Stock

2 Tbsp. Salt Free Seasoning

8 Ounces Frozen Petite Green Peas

1 Can Light Coconut Milk


In a skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the carrots and onion and sauté until onion is translucent.  Add the garlic, curry powder, and turmeric and cook 2 minutes more until the spices are slightly toasted.  Transfer vegetable mixture to the slow cooker.  Add the potatoes, chickpeas, tomatoes, stock, and seasoning.  Cook on low for about 5 hours.  Add the coconut milk and peas and cook 30 minutes more.

I’m a curry fan, so I really enjoyed this.  It is super filling, but it was actually a good meal for a spring evening.  It’s kind of light but still comforting type food.

Yesterday, my daughter and I walked about 3 miles as exercise.  Today, I’m going to walk about 3 miles and do an hour of yoga (I’m really loving yoga).  I’ve been having a lot of upper body aches and pains lately, but that’s pretty common for this time of year for some reason.  The chiropractor helped a bit yesterday, but I’m still getting some burning in my shoulders.  It seems to be fairly seasonal – in the fall and spring – so it may be related to allergies, I don’t know.  I’m hoping that if I stay the course, a lot of the aches and pains will go away.  I know my body is functioning better all over, so that may come in time.

Until tomorrow…..

Aw, Nuts

I’m really surprised how many uses there are for nuts.  This weekend, I stayed on track, for the most part.  We had company over for dinner on Saturday and I made lasagna.  So, for myself, I made a vegetable lasagna (no noodles – I’ll post the recipe this week) with a cashew ‘ricotta’ filling.  It was really good, and very filling.  Then for Easter Sunday, we were going to my mom’s house and she was making ham, so I made a vegan shepherd’s pie and for dessert I made a ‘cheese’ cake with raw cashews.  It was really amazing.  I never would have thought of all of these uses for nuts.  It’s amazing how much you can learn with a computer and just a little time.  Of course, I altered the recipes because, well, I’m a little OCD and that’s just how I roll.  At dinner I got adventurous and made my own dressing with cashew butter.  I’ll post the recipes tomorrow – I’m a little short on time tonight because I have a ladies homeschooling luncheon to get ready for.  Besides, I’ll probably be eating all leftovers tomorrow.  Here’s the break down for today:

Breakfast:  oatmeal made with whole oats, blueberries, almond milk, and flax meal

Lunch:  leftover veggie chili; salad topped with a little dairy free cheese and creamy sesame dressing

Dinner: vegan shepherd’s pie; salad topped with curry ranch dressing (I could drink this stuff)Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Dessert:  vegan ‘ cheese’ cake with strawberry topping


Exercise today was walking 3 miles in 41 minutes.  It felt good.  Tonight I’m going to do yoga when I’m done with getting ready for tomorrow.  Oh, yeah, I lost 3 pounds this past week – not as good as I thought I might do, because of how much I lost in the first week, but I’m still going in the right direction.  Until tomorrow…..

Working a Plan

Okay, I’m a little OCD (or CDO, for those of you who are really OCD and don’t like letters out-of-order).  So, I decided that the best thing for me is to make a plan, a schedule of exercising.  Today I walked 5 miles.  It felt great.  I really love to walk.  It took me about 1 hour and 10 minutes to walk the whole 5.  It was a pretty good clip.  That will be my Friday exercise.  I’m still working on what  to do for the other days, but I want to mix it up a bit.  I’ll probably do a lot of walking, though, because that’s what I like to do the most.

Here’s my rundown for the day:

Breakfast:  Oatmeal made of whole oats with almond milk, dates, blueberries

Snack:  Apple

Lunch:  Salad topped with kidney beans and Dijon date dressing; And, I came up with a Fuhrman  friendly, yummy, super easy and very filling vegan chili:

Vegan ChiliVegan Chili

28 oz. can chopped tomatoes

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 green pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 Tbsp. Spike

1 Tbsp. Almond Butter

1/3 Cup Pumpkin Seeds

Directions:  Throw everything into a soup pot and cook for about 15 minutes.  Serves about 6-8.  It’s very filling.

Snack: banana with almond butter

Dinner:  Vegan/gluten-free pizza (I used a mix by a company called Namaste – it was pretty tasty, and it’s vegan, and it only has 1/2 teaspoon of oil in it) with mushrooms, peppers, onions and dairy free cheese (Daiya)Vegan Pizza

Dessert:  Yummy banana oat bar

I’m feeling a little hungry tonight, which is unusual, but I may need to increase my calories for the day if I exercise as much as I did today.  It’s too late to eat now.  My chili at lunch was very filling, so I didn’t eat much of it, so I may have not had enough to eat for lunch.  Oh, well, it’s good to go to bed a little hungry, right?  I think that’s a good thing, anyway.

Until tomorrow….

Trying to Keep My Focus

Okay, today I was a little sick of eating salad.  I just couldn’t bring myself to eat one for dinner.  I really wasn’t all that hungry and IStrawberry Banana Date Smoothie had a ton of fiber today, so I just felt salad-ed out.  I need to make exercise a priority.  I was extremely busy today and we just got home from our nursing home ministry and it’s 8:00 at night and I just don’t feel like exercising.  I need to find my groove for doing it.  I think I definitely need to do it in the morning, because once my day gets busy, the next thing I know is that it’s late and I’m too tired to exercise.  So, I guess my number one priority will be to go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier.  Okay, I put that out there.  Now I have to follow through with it.

Here’s the run down for the day:

Breakfast:  Strawberry Banana Date Smoothie (I added a couple of dates to my strawberry smoothie to sweeten it up – I was in the mood for something sweet this morning)

Snack:  Apple (felt like having a bagel, but ate an apple instead)Spaghetti Squash with Spinach Alfredo

Lunch:  I took my leftover cauliflower ‘cheese’ sauce and added some spinach and mushrooms (yummy); salad topped with black beans, a little dairy-free cheese, and Dijon date dressing

Snack:  banana with almond butter

Dinner:  I’ll call it Millet with vegetable gravy.  This was my first time eating millet as a grain.  I’ve used millet flour for baking bread, but never ate the grain.  I really liked it.  It was a little coarse textured, which I like.  I just cooked 1/2 cup millet with 1 cup of water and a teaspoon of Spike.  Then I took some mushrooms, broccoli, eggplant, and carrots and water sautéed them, added some Spike and water and thickened it up with a little arrowroot.  This is comfort food at its finest.  My family was having chicken and dumplings, so I felt like having some comfort food too.  It was really tasty.Millet with Vegetable Gravy

Dessert:  I had a yummy banana oat bar before the nursing home.

I’m enjoying trying different vegan recipes.  I feel so much better.  Now, if I can get the new cat to sleep somewhere else besides my chest tonight, I’ll probably have a better night’s sleep.  So, the plan is to go to bed a bit earlier and get up earlier to exercise.  I already know that I won’t have time tomorrow during the day.  We have company coming over on Saturday, so I have to prepare for that plus I’m making things for Easter dinner at Mom’s on Sunday, plus I’m making an Easter dress for my daughter, which is taking a lot more time than I thought it would, plus I have to think of food to make for myself.  On Saturday, we’re having lasagna for company, so I’m making myself a veggie lasagna, with zucchini as the noodles.  On Sunday, I’m going to make a raw cheesecake for dessert, but I don’t know what to make for myself for dinner.  I making twice baked potatoes for the fam, and I’m thinking that doesn’t really fit in with the Eat to Live diet.  Argh – gotta keep focused!  Maybe I’ll also make some twice baked sweet potatoes.  I haven’t made them in years.  It’s a Moosewood recipe.  Okay, I’m back in focus now.

Until tomorrow….