Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chocolate ≠ Sugar

I'm doing great about no sugar/no dairy. It's been over a month now and I haven't had any cravings really. (Didn't even give in to the Tim Tam...) But I decided that dark chocolate is exempt from the list, as it has such health properties...I'm being choosy though. Only dark (60-85%), fair trade, organic chocolate. I've heard that the best brands are Alter Eco, Theo, and Equal Exchange, so when I found some in the co-op, I bought one of each to experiment with. One ounce per day. One actually had quinoa in it (mock rice crispies...) which makes it mega healthy, right??

Good news, bad news

I had an "aha" moment during another news flash about the problems with statin drugs. I knew Red Yeast Rice was a natural substance that provided the same cholesterol-lowering properties of statins, but (I assumed) without the side effects of being a "drug." I've been taking Red Yeast Rice for several years and it has lowered my cholesterol from 270 to 171 while actually raising the HDLs. About a year ago I developed a pain in my right arm muscle that I attributed to overdoing it on the weight training, but no amount of tapering off or stopping upper-body weights altogether made the pain go away. I wondered if maybe the Red Yeast Rice was causing muscle issues like a statin. I went off it, cold turkey, last week and 5 days later I don't have the pain in my arm....So, that's the good news. The bad news is my cholesterol is probably creeping back up into the 270s again. At this same time (synchronicity at work) I read this article on foods that fight allergies, (my "seasonal" allergies have decided to be year-round) and almost every one of them also lowers cholesterol! So here is my new "diet": dark red and purple-colored foods, green leafy vegetables, turmeric (hello, curry!), onions, berries, cabbage, cauliflower, nuts, oranges and lemons (especially the pith--I now eat one whole lemon, pith, rind and all, every day!)

Monday, March 19, 2012

kindred spirit

I've been hitting up people I know for donations to the Chamber of Commerce Auction. I got a friend of a friend to donate one of his paintings and went by his house to pick it up. I'd never actual met him  or his wife before and was very impressed with their home and decorating style. His wife gave me the grand tour and I ooh'd and aah'd over their lovely home. Turns out that we have a lot in common: They like Stickley furniture (they had one antique in-the-style-of cabinet) and Frank Lloyd Wright. She told a story of serendipitously (yes, she actually used that word!) coming upon a private tour of a FLW home on one of the islands and tagging along; I told her of our trip to Chicago and touring the FLW homes there. She grew up in Syracuse NY, he is from Oakland, CA. By the time she used "serendipity" in a sentence, I knew I'd met my new BFF. As soon as I'm over this bout of colds and sickness, she wants to come over and see my Stickley bedroom.

Tim Tam is calling me...

I had never heard of this product before until yesterday when it came up twice in a few hours. The first was in a book I'm reading, The Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz:

 David poured us both a cup of coffee and then disappeared in the pantry for five minutes looking for something. He used to hide junk food from himself and so I could only conclude he was hunting for a particular item. He returned to the kitchen table with an unopened but battered box of something he called Arnott's Tim Tams, 'mint crisp' flavor.
"Where'd these come from?" I asked. Having Rae as a sibling, I've become a kind of expert on sugared delicacies, and this was certainly unfamiliar packaging.
"My friend brought them back from Australia." David cracked the seal and dunked half his cookie in his coffee.
"How long ago?"
"A few years."
"You must have some serious guilt to spill."
"I have a bad feeling in my gut."
"It will only get worse after you eat these. Have you checked the expiration date?"
"Try one and then you'll shut up," he said.
I did and was certainly quiet during the consumption of the exquisite biscuit. Why oh why don't we have these in every major US supermarket? It's madness. Australia, I love you. (pp. 268-269)

A short time later I put the book down and did some "pinning." I was interested in a pin that had a cute girl kissing a cute guy on the cheek with this description: {10 Things} That Have Made All the Difference in Our Marriage

When I followed it to the source, the blog post had some good advice, which I read all the way through. At the bottom was this "Ps, We'd like to take this opportunity to do a Tim Tam Slam in honor of all of the people who just made it through this post. Pretty sure it was longer than the Magna Carta." 
By following that link, you get the instructions for dunking your Tim Tam into your warm beverage of choice. What are the odds? It's a sign that I need to forego my "No Sugar" vow (going on 4th week!) for this one experience. The post states that Tim Tam can be found at your local Target store. Will certainly check it out. Who knows where this path may lead?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Over dinner with the Siemers, Jason told us about a close call he had. He went to a job in Tacoma, only to find that there was a miscommunication and he didn't have an appointment there after all. That put him in Montesano at the Courthouse in the afternoon, instead of the morning, when he would have been if he'd known he wasn't needed in Tacoma. It was in the morning, about the time he would have been there, that a man (Steven Kravetz, photo above) came into the court house, stabbed a deputy, took her gun and shot her, and then stabbed a judge who came to her aid. He would have been right in the middle of that...Synchronicity at its best. At least for Jason, not so much for the judge and deputy...
(It was his mother, pictured here as well, who turned him in when she discovered he was wanted by the police. They captured him 24 hours after the shooting.)