Monthly Archives: November 2010

Fiala/Titanic – Oh God Oh God Oh God!

Sunday, my pastor, Dennis Bourns, had a sermon that wasn’t.  He said that he meant to speak on thankfulness, but instead relayed a number of stories from a recent ministry trip to Northern Ireland.  I’m glad he did.  The theme running through the stories was about depending on God.  He called it something like steering clear of the iceberg, where you can see that your Titanic is definitely heading for disaster, and all you can do is pray, “Oh God oh God oh God!”  Then, He responds, and alerts you, or opens your eyes, to a way out, one that you would not have previously considered.

I needed to hear that.  It seems I can see my ship on the path to destruction, and too many times, I just brace for impact, instead of asking Him to divert the ship, or come up with some sort of Plan B.

Afterward, Dennis asked each of us to participate in a time of corporate prayer, each praying individually for that “iceberg” in our lives.  I prayed for my 11 year old son Grant, who, I’m afraid, is bent on destroying himself and taking down as many people as possible with him.  That’s a “gift” of motherhood, by the way:  Extrapolation — perceiving events the events of today, and envisioning a possible/likely future if things proceed down the current path.  That can be both a blessing and a curse.

I asked my hubby what his was, and he said, “Fiala.”  I do understand that.  A day or two previous, he called her situation “distressing.”  It is.  She’s in the middle of the worst outbreak she’s had in a year.  Head to toe with eczema — BAD every-square-inch-of-her-body-covered, sandpapery, intensely itchy eczema — and on top of that, it got infected (impetigo), so now she’s on antibiotics (Septra).  In addition, she’s broken out with a different kind of rash…  I think it might be related to the impetigo, but I’m not sure.  It looks different than her “standard” eczema, larger, redder papules.  She is absolutely miserable, and it’s heartbreaking.  Right now, we’re totally praying, “Oh God oh God oh God,” because we simply don’t know how to proceed.

For now, in addition to

  • Septra
  • Various topical remedies (including olive oil, Vaseline, and bacitracin — when she can handle it, because when her skin is really raw, it stings too badly)
  • Hydroxazine for itching (which seems to work, but also makes her giddy/hyper)
  • Bleach baths 2-4x/week (the doctor we saw at the urgent care center said to do it every day for the next week or two, but that’s too irritating to her skin),

we’re taking her diet down to “bare bones” as my hubby calls it — the foods that we know are the least likely to cause a skin reaction.  That means lamb, garbanzo beans/flour, oats, blueberries, all the veggies of the brassica family, olive oil, cinnamon, and stevia.  That’s it.  On one hand, that sounds like a lot of food — and it is definitely enough food on which to survive.  But, on the other hand, it is a very simple diet for a sweet little two year old girl who loves to eat, and she spends a lot of her day asking for food (food other than what she can have) and feeling left out, often crying over missed food.  Obviously, the things that are hardest for her to understand are foods that we’ve previously OK’ed, but are now taboo, particularly maple syrup, honey, and a wee bit of sugar (like in her all-blueberry organic jam).  It’s hard to say no.  I caved and gave her cranberries on Sunday, and she paid a dear price for it on Monday.  I had been thinking that her previous bad reaction to cranberries was tied to the corn syrup in Craisins.  So, I got a variety from Trader Joe’s that is sweetened with real sugar.  She was SO VERY MISERABLE on Monday (yesterday)… that did it.  I have buckled down on her bare bones diet, with no risks allowed.  Already today, she’s doing better than yesterday, although only nominally so.

I’m thinking a trip to the pediatric g.i. doc is in our future.  My hubby hasn’t been much in favor of that, since, in the last year, I’ve done a good job of managing her care, and Doctor Mama doesn’t cost a $50 specialist co-pay.  But, I’d been considering it anyway, as Fi doesn’t appear to be making any improvements, digestive- and skin-wise, and I’m feeling rather lost without some doctoral care.  And, these last two weeks (when her skin has gotten awfully terrible again) has rather spurred me on to re-prioritize finding a doctor for her.  I mean, I haven’t made a appointment or anything yet.  But, I’m thinking that we’ll need to take that step.

Kitten balls, and a peek into parenting an Aspie child.

A few minutes ago, getting Fiala ready for a nap, she spied some white fluff on the bathroom sink.  “Mama, may I have a sof’, sof’ kitten ball?”

I hand one to her, correcting with a hearty laugh, “They’re cotton balls, not kitten balls.”

She gives me a mischievous look, grinning while stroking her cheek with the “kitten” ball, “Mee-ow, mee-ow.”


And this is awesome.  I could easily see myself having a very similar conversation with Grant.  (My son Grant has a learning disorder that is very much akin to Asperger’s Syndrome.  It’s called Nonverbal Learning Disorder, and it’s like Asperger’s MINUS obsessions, but with the ADDITION of fine and gross motor skill issues.  He was diagnosed when he was four, and is now 11.)

Vegan Reduced-Sugar Maple Pumpkin Pie (GFCF)

I was inspired by this recipe, on Affairs of Living.  However, the author sweetens her pie almost exclusively with stevia.  I enjoy stevia in moderation, but I don’t particularly enjoy the flavor of an item — especially a dessert — which relies heavily on stevia.  I am making an increasing effort, though, to minimize our family’s consumption of refined sugar.  Accordingly, my recipe below calls for very little sugar, but it does call for some.  I also modified a number of other ingredients from the original recipe.  The results obtained a thumbs-up review from all of my children and my husband, who is quite the pumpkin pie aficionado.  Everyone said that the coconut flavor was undetectable, and that the texture and flavor is perfect.  I was particularly pleased that this pie stays “rigidly” custard-like when cut.  In other words, the slices of pie retain their shape, and do not collapse on the plate.

A few ingredient notes:

  • Agar-agar powder: Invaluable for egg-free “creamy” goods like custards and pies, and vegan “gelatin” desserts, this inexpensive ingredient is readily available in Asian markets.  I typically buy Telephone brand, which is around a dollar for a 0.88 oz packet.
  • Coconut cream: Much thicker than coconut milk, and much higher in fat content,  it resembles softly whipped cream upon refrigeration.  Coconut cream makes this vegan pumpkin pie both lighter in texture and lighter in color than many dark, dense vegan pumpkin pies I have tried in the past.  I was tickled to find a brand — again, in the Asian market — called Kara, which is in a tetra-pack (unrefrigerated carton), and has NO PRESERVATIVES.  It’s inexpensive, too — $1.99 for 500ml, or $2.99 for a full liter.
  • Stevia: I use powdered, concentrated extract (purchased from Trader Joe’s — $9.99 for a 622-serving, 1 oz container).
  • Mace: If you do not use mace regularly, please start now!!  It is a spice similar to nutmeg, but lighter and more complex.  I adore mace.
  • Pumpkin: I made this recipe with home-cooked squash purée.  The pumpkin I used, though supposedly good for cooking, was disappointingly watery and fibrous.  Many home-cooked squashes are much more watery than canned pumpkin.  If, indeed, you start with fresh pumpkin, make sure you use a food mill or something similar, to yield smooth puree.  If it is watery, do like I did — place it in a cheesecloth-lined strainer, and let the water drip out, which will result in thick, no-liquid purée.

A note about crusts: There are a blessedly increasing number of commercially available frozen gluten-free crusts.  I am too cheap to buy them, however, and always struggle with uncooperative homemade g.f. pastry.  Use an unbaked crust for this recipe.  Since it cooks at a high temperature, if you are using a “normal” wheat-based crust, you will almost certainly have to use a pie shield to protect your crust from burning (g.f. crusts are typically less-prone to burning).  You may want to try Affairs of Living’s Gluten-Free Crunchy Pie Crust.  I’m going to be trying it myself, when I make pie again in a couple of days, as well as “standard” gluten-free pastry crust.

So!  With no further ado…

Vegan Reduced-Sugar Maple Pumpkin Pie (click for printable pdf)
makes one 9″ pie

  • 3 cups pumpkin purée
  • ¾ cup coconut cream
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 level 45mg scoops stevia extract (or 4-6 drops of liquid stevia)
  • 1 tsp agar agar powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground mace
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 – ¼ tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Prepare an unbaked 9″ pie shell.

Beat together all ingredients until light, smooth, and well-incorporated.  Spoon into the prepared pie shell, using a silicone spatula to level and smooth the filling.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, using a foil pie crust shield (or a purchased silicone or aluminum shield), if necessary, to keep from over-browing.

Cool completely at room temperature before cutting.



Fledgling garden plans, free Triumph Dining cards, and Christian persecution in Pakistan

  • Yoeme Purple String Beans

    I am slowly working on planning my garden for the spring.  In Phoenix, that means starting seeds in January and planting in late February.  I am planning on getting most of my seeds from Native Seeds, which, among other projects, sells seeds, well, native to the Southwest desert — northern Mexico, New Mexico, western Texas, and Arizona.  It looks like I’ll be able to plant beans, tomatillos, tomatoes, squash, chilis, and not much else if I want to go 100% native.  I guess that shouldn’t surprise me.  It IS the desert, and not much grows here.  They also sell heirloom seeds that were introduced to the area from Spain 200+ years ago…  And corn.  I can plant corn, but that’s a later planting, like in July-ish.

  • Well, that was easy.  I have semi-wanted a set of Triumph Dining’s laminated restaurant cards… but not enough to pay the $10.95 price tag, as I have successfully “winged it” lo these past eight years.  Then, I get alerted to an online voting site for Triumph’s Best of Gluten-Free Awards.  In exchange for participating (and signing up for Triumph Dining’s very helpful newsletter, to which I was already subscribed), the first 2,000, myself now among them, receive a pack of the laminated cards for free.  It was really fast, especially considering that I did a copy and paste of “I don’t purchase these items”, which was applicable for about a third of the 42 categories, as all 42 are regarding ready-made gluten-free grocery items, or restaurants with gluten-free menu options.  That was my only wish:  That there was a “not applicable” selection for each category.  Still, even with its imperfections, the polling was easy, and I’m happy to have “earned” my cards.  🙂
  • I was alerted to this by my dear cousin, who is a nun:  A Christian Pakistani woman defended her faith to co-workers who were claiming that Christianity is a “false religion.” Days later, she was taken into custody and jailed, tried, and convicted for blasphemy, and is now facing the death penalty.  If you follow the link, do watch the short video from her husband (and Voice of the Martyrs), appealing for prayer.  Even Pope Benedict is working for her release.

Fresh Ginger-Roasted Yams

I love yams.  Not the goopy, syrupy yam sludge that is an unfortunate mainstay of American Thanksgiving meals.  But real yams, cooked in a healthy and appealing way.

Red Garnet Yams (sweet potatoes)Well, what makes a “real” is a subject of much debate.  Is it a yam?  Or a sweet potato?  My favorite is a Red Garnet, which I guess is technically a sweet potato.

We eat yams year-round, and I have cooked them in just about every way imaginable.  Often, I cube them and toss with LOTS of ground allspice, a teensy bit of brown sugar, salt and Earth Balance Soy-Free (which is the most buttery non-dairy “margarine” on the market, in my opinion).  This is my 9 year old son Wesley’s favorite dish of all time.  Recently, though, I made a dish that was a bit of an experiment.  I was so tickled with the results that we will surely be seeing it on the Thanksgiving table, if not sooner.

One note about cooking temperatures: You can roast yams at just about ANY temperature.  One reason I bake them so often is, no matter what the temperature at which my main dish is cooking, I can throw a casserole dish of yams right alongside of it, and the yams turn out fabulous.  They are nigh impossible to burn or overcook, particularly if you’re using very little (or no) sugar.  They can sit for hours in a warm oven and stay wonderful.  If you are baking them (or warming them), don’t stir frequently, unless you want mashed yams!  When I made the recipe below, I was roasting a turkey (another “holiday” dish we eat year-round) at 325°F, and cooking time for the yams ended up being about 90 minutes.  However, you can roast yams at up to 450°F, which will likely decrease the baking time to about 40 minutes.

Fresh Ginger-Roasted Yams (click for printable pdf)

Generously serves 6-8

  • 3 medium-large yams (about 4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2 – 3/4″ cubes —
  • 1/4 cup butter, butter substitute, or olive oil
  • 2″ section of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F (or hotter — see note above).

Place cubed yams in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

In a microwave-safe small bowl, melt the butter.  Drizzle the melted butter over the yams, and toss (or stir with a silicone spatula).  Add the finely grated ginger root, brown sugar and sea salt and toss until the ginger is evenly distributed.

Place the yams in a 2-3 quart covered casserole dish and bake until tender, testing with a fork after one hour.  Depending on the size of your casserole dish, the yams will be completely cooked in 60-90 minutes.

NOTE: After you have placed the yams into the casserole dish, resist the urge to stir.  This dish produces roasted cubed yams, and if you stir, they will mash easily, especially after they are done or nearly done baking.  When they are completely cooked, the yams will loose their cloudy appearance, and turn a deeper, more saturated color.


Mad money!

So far, with my $100 mad money (giggling at the irony, there!), I have purchased:

  • A composting bin (actually, we now have two, because my hubby purchased an extra — they’re only $5 each through the city of Phoenix)
  • A kitchen countertop compost container (perhaps he bought an extra compost bin because he felt badly that he broke the top of the compost container… all the reviews said I should save my money and buy a stainless steel one.  I guess that’s why!!  Haha!  I superglued it.  No problem.  I spent $13 on the same exact compost keeper listed for $20-30 online.)
  • Two tops ($19)
  • A necklace and earrings ($7)
  • An apron ($10)
  • 12 ramekins (coconut flan, here we come!!!  $8)
  • Just like this, but blue.

    A ceramic coffee mug with silicone lid and grip, for my hubby ($3.50)

  • A soda ($1)

And I still have $26+ left.  😀  Hm.  Well, even with another 10% for tax (it’s really 9.7% or so, depending on the city), that doesn’t add up to an even hundred.  I seem to recall giving someone a couple bucks for something, but I can’t remember what for.

I’m still hoping to purchase a large, square cotton rug for my bathroom — I have seen them in the past, and of course, now that I have the money, I can’t find one anywhere — and just the right peg/rack thingie for my kitchen, on which to hang my aprons.  Right now, the aprons are sharing a drawer with hot pads and bibs, and it’s getting awfully crowded in there.

Like these, or similar. But not for $130. I heart Mary Janes.

And… I really need a pair of brown shoes — real leather, closed toe, a bit of heel, with some funk to them — but I might be able to squeeze that out of the clothing budget.

It’s been really fun to plan and shop.  Yesterday, after I picked up my oldest son from an afternoon discipleship/Bible study group, I took him with me to Ross, and he really did not want to be there.  But, he made the best of it — as he usually does — and I was laughing at him the whole time, as he mocked various items for sale (“Look!  Another metal amphibian!” in the decorative housewares section — there were a lot of frogs and lizards — UGLY ones — and even a bejewelled and mirrored alligator.  He held it up, “You sure you don’t want this?”).  I told him that if he doesn’t want to go shopping with me, he needs to be more surly or something, because I was quite enjoying his company.  😀


I keep telling Fiala that she’s a genius.  She’s smart, but I am more impressed by her… emotional intelligence.  She’s two years old — just barely — and often more perceptive than any of us.  She is the sweetest member of our family, deeply concerned when someone gets a boo boo, or gets in trouble, or has a hard time with something, ready to give hugs and words of consolation, celebrating — with visible relief and joy — when the difficulty has passed.  Likewise, she notices and files away into her memory things that make people happy, and will frequently say something like, “Great dinner, Mama!” simply because she knows it brings a smile to my face, and she’ll receive sincere thanks and some lovin’ in reply.  She acts with similar kindness and encouragement to everyone.  Recently, she has started asking just about everyone, “Hi!  How are you doing?” because she has noticed how happily everyone responds to a two-year-old who is sincerely concerned with their well-being.  She is simply a gift of God to our family;  I become more and more convinced that God knows we need.  🙂

Her restricted diet gets more and more difficult to manage as she gets older.  If you’re 12 months old, and you’re eating something different than the rest of the family, you’re not that likely to notice.  But, if you’re 24 months old, and you really like eating, it becomes a source of frustration and sadness that you can’t eat what everyone else is enjoying.

Countless times, Fi has asked for a food item, only to have me respond, “Oh, Fi… I’m so sorry, but you can’t have that.  It will hurt your skin!”  or, “It will hurt your tummy!”

At lunch on Thursday, we had a similar exchange.  Fiala had her Fi-safe lunchmeat, carrots, and farinata.  She was particularly desirous of the pepperoni and cheese that others were having.  I sometimes give her a bit of sheep’s milk romano, but she really wanted a whole slice of provolone.  “No, Fi.  I’m so sorry.  This cheese will hurt your skin, honey.  And your tummy.  I can’t give it to you.”

Fiala was quiet for a while, thinking.

Then, she piped up, in a heart-achingly hopeful voice, “Cheese makes me better, Mama!”

I about laughed and wept at the same time.

Precious child.

I throw down the veggie gauntlet. (A contest!)

**CLARIFYING**  You do not have to “beat” my family’s veggie consumption in order to win.  You just have to leave a comment with your own family’s weekly produce total.**

You could win a prize.  For real.  Homemade cookies, baked by yours truly.  Gluten-free and dairy/casein-free, and very tasty. As many varieties as I end up making.  You’ll receive three dozen.  Perhaps more.  So, keep reading.

Our current schedule has me grocery shopping every Wednesday evening.  It’s a marathon type grocery shop, in which I visit three or sometimes four stores, over the course of 3-4 hours.  I’m always trying to lessen the time it takes, but to little avail.  If I get home before 11:00, I’m pleased.

As I unload the groceries — in fact, even as I’m shopping — I start thinking, “How am I going to fit all of these in the fridge?  In the pantry?  We’ll never eat this much.  In fact, maybe I can get away with not shopping at all next week!”  But, it never fails:  We eat the food.  And, the next week, I have to go out again.

Baby bok choy

A huge portion of our grocery bill is from fresh fruits and veggies.  We eat a LOT.  A lot.  In fact, I decided to add it all up and figure out, on average, how much each member of our household eats.  Then, I thought I’d run a little contest…  I’ve decided against giving the award to the family who eats the most, because that would be too hard to prove.  So, you have to do is simply participate in order have a chance to win a package of cookies, mailed Priority Mail, from me!

I simply want you to get ONE WEEK’s worth of grocery receipts and total the poundage of all the fresh fruits and veggies, and divide that by how many family members you have, resulting in average pounds of produce per person, per week. OK?  If you purchased 16 pounds of various fresh fruits and veggies, and there are four people in your home, that would be an average of four pounds per person, per week.  And, I know that bigger people eat more than smaller people, but we’re going to ignore that for now, OK?


And why is this??  Just because I am curious if anyone out there eats more produce than we do!!  However, even if you eat way less, please play along!!

The only guideline is that it MUST be fresh.  If you purchased a 10 lb bag of potatoes, and you know you’re not going to eat all of them in one week, that’s OK.  It still counts.  Fresh herbs count, too.  Packaged veggies & fruit count if they’re fresh — like bagged salad — as long as there is nothing added to them, like croutons and the like.  Frozen, canned, or dried items, just for this contest, don’t count. Nuts don’t count, either.  For example, this last shopping trip, in addition to what is list below, I purchased six 15 oz cans of petite-diced tomatoes, four cans of green beans, two 12 oz packages of frozen peas and one 12 oz package of frozen baby lima beans, 0.94 lb of dried cranberries, 0.74 lb of raw sunflower seeds, and nearly two pounds of almonds.  But, they don’t count.  🙂

I will pick the winner at random on Friday, December 3rd, 2010, so you have three weeks to enter.  Use only one week of produce purchases, though!  You have more chances to win if you publicize the game in more than one way.

  1. Leave a comment below with your per-person fresh produce consumption (that is the only requirement).Other things you could do:
  2. Write a blurb on your blog, leaving a link to this post and/or
  3. Put a link on your Facebook page.
  4. “Like” the OSC Facebook page
  5. Um, I guess you could tweet it  (I don’t have a Twitter account, but I’ve seen other bloggy contests where the person hosting the challenge encourages others to tweet. )
  6. If you find some other way to publicize the contest, just leave a comment here and tell me about it.

So, if you leave a comment, blog about it, post it on FB, add OSC to your FB “Likes”, tweet, and run a little blurb in your local newspaper, you’d get six chances to win.  😀

Not that anyone must write it out like this (though you can, of course, if you’d like!  I’d seriously LOVE to see what others are eating), but I’m going to list out all my fruit & veggie purchases:

At Lee Lee Oriental Market:

  • 1.64 lb chin kung choy (baby bok choy)

    Mexican Grey Squash (a little squatter than zucchini, and much less bitter)

  • 2.25 lb turnips
  • 0.42 lb fresh ginger root
  • 0.56 lb fresh peeled garlic

From Sprouts Farmers’ Market:

  • 5 lb carrots
  • 3 lb baby carrots
  • 5 lb baby watermelon (guessing on the weight of that one — it’s two little seedless watermelons)
  • 2.56 lb broccoli
  • 1.5 lb celery (guessing on that one, too — one bunch of celery)
  • 0.94 lb hot house cucumber (I weighed it — one cucumber)
  • 1.83 lb Mexican grey squash
  • 0.95 lb parsnips
  • 4.0 lb pink grapefruit (they were 4/$1 — such a deal! — and I did weigh one this morning, and it checked in at one pound even, so I’m estimating the total weight)
  • 1.06 lb red bell peppers (three small ones.  I weighed them on my kitchen scale)
  • 0.50 lb red onion
  • 2.54 lb red skinned potatoes
  • 1.62 lb rutabaga
  • 3.86 lb fuji apples

From Fry’s:

  • 4.37 lb seedless red grapes
  • 2.25 lb lettuce (3, 12-oz bags)
  • 1.01 lb roma tomatoes
  • 0.75 lb fresh mushrooms
  • 4.67 lb bananas
  • 2.0 lbs carrot chips (Yes, that makes ten total pounds of carrots.  We eat a LOT of carrots.)

That makes 54.28 lbs of fresh produce.  We have seven people in our family, so that makes our average per-person consumption at 7.75 lbs per week.

So…  What’s yours?

Interesting health stuff: Celiac, pregnancy, birthing…

Karen, the non-girly-girl-DVD-aerobic-dancer

There are many times I just don’t feel adequately “girly.”

One of them, I must say, is when I got a DVD program to do some step aerobics to, nearly three years ago, now.  I was looking for something by which I could exercise without leaving home.  I love to walk/run, but that’s logistically difficult to figure out.

  • Running in the early morning would require that I get up early.  I am not a morning person, and in order to get myself enough rest, I’d have to go to bed earlier.  The thought of losing that extra nightly hour or so that I frequently spend by myself, after everyone else has gone to bed, makes me twitchy.  I’m an introvert, and that’s my recharge time.
  • Running in mid-day is becoming more of a possibility, as my youngest is now two years old, and my oldest is 13, and I can leave everyone alone at home for short periods of time, occasionally.  However, the best time for running would be in the afternoon when the little girls are napping, and that time valuable in a lot of ways that I’m loathe to give up.
  • I really enjoy running in the evening after dinner, but that decreases my time with my husband, and would add even more evenings where he puts the youngest children in bed.  I like putting my girls in bed, and feel sad when they don’t have Mommy to pray for them and read them a book and tuck them in…  Daddy does a great job, but we already have two nights weekly (small group and grocery shopping nights) when he puts them in bed, and I just don’t want to add any more to the mix.

Thus, I thought the DVD thing would be a good idea.  But, lemme tell you, the idea of having SIX DVDs of really intricate, difficult, strenuous steps, set to music, to memorize and do….  Golly.  That stressed me out.  I forever felt like I was behind the learning curve, could never quite get the steps right, and felt more than inadequate, stumbling around the family room.  Ugh.  I thought, “This should be fun.  I think most women would think this is fun.  I sure don’t.”  It was easy to find reasons to not break out the DVDs.

However, my “diet” thingie had plateaued, even as I continued to decrease the number of carbs I was consuming daily.  I was down to 75 grams.  That’s a really small number of carbs.  I was micro-careful, and still only losing about half a pound a week, at most.  Two weeks, in spite of really careful eating, I lost nothing.  I found myself completely unwilling to go lower than 75g.  I don’t want to starve myself.  That’s not healthy, and it’s really not sustainable.

I began to see that exercise was what was needed to pull me off of that schlumpy plateau.

Even before the diet, I knew I needed to be more active, to exercise.  I am 37 years old, and am really starting to see how easy it is to slide downhill, physically.  I want to be able to hike with my kids without twisting an ankle due to really poor muscle tone in my legs.  I want to not get winded simply by sitting up in bed, or leaning over to pick something up off of the floor!!

So, those DVDs, and the incline step box kept taunting me.

Instead, I decided to post a wanted ad on Freecycle, to see if anyone had a stationary bike they wanted to get rid of.

This is the exact model I have, but it looks like it's unavailable to purchase any more.

Voila!  I had a recumbent bike by that night.  That was Monday, a week ago.  I have since put about 45 miles on the thing, and look forward to “working out” on it.  I’ve snuck a few two-a-days in, as well.  I must like monotony.  😀  I’d so much rather just hop on this thing and pedal mindlessly than have to learn endless dancey moves to a dumb DVD host who never gets winded and who has a fixed, gleaming white smile and an impossibly perfect body.

On the bike, I’ve been doing the model where you start slow, then ramp up effort until you’re maxed out, then bring it back down and slowly build again.

It works for me.

What I’m trying to establish with my kids is that, after I get the little girls dressed for the day, and get everyone started on breakfast, I lock the door of my room and do my 15-20 minutes on the bike, shower and dress, then come out to find everyone almost done with their chores and just about ready to start school.  🙂  It hasn’t quite worked out that perfectly, but that’s the goal.

After just a week, I feel tighter.  Less flabby.  Stronger.  In six weeks of total diet time, I’ve only list 8.4 lbs, but I’m really starting to feel like I’m seeing some fruit from my efforts.  Clothes are fitting just a little better, and I just feel healthier.

This past week, the week of the Advent of the Recumbent Bike, I lost 1.4 lbs, and that was even with sampling some of the candy from my kids’ “Harvest Carnival” Halloween alternative party, AND not having a kitchen scale.  I had been meticulously weighing and documenting everything I ate, but I left my scale at my friend Kim’s house, when we had our magnificent cooking day.  So, I was without a scale for a week.  I got a new one, this past Friday.  I was tempted — highly tempted! — by the $17 glass-and-stainless electronic scale.  But, instead, I spent $3 on a little plastic version, very much akin to my previous scale.

This week, I’m trying to figure out the whole carb + bike thing.  I’m still shooting for 75 grams daily.  Seventy-five grams pretty much equals absolutely no grains and no sugar.  It’s a healthy existence, but it will be nice to see if the bike will give me some leeway for days when (a one ounce portion!) of Stax blares its Siren’s call and I give in…

So.  With bike and scale, I feel very much back on track, and with renewed motivation.  I feel like a nerdy dieter, happy about the bike and scale.  I also feel relieved that I can now sell my videos and incline step on Craigslist with a clear conscience.  😀

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