from fat to thin

Monday, 31 October 2011

Living Streets

I am trying to get organized and i know i've been a bit laxed and lazy with my blog this last week but it's because i've been living the high-life whilst staying at my daughter's house when she was away. Chance would be a fine thing but it was nice just having space to myself.

I can hear you asking - how is the fruit challenge going? Rubbish really. I have managed it a couple of times but yesterday i had some orange juice in the morning and i did have salad with my lunch but that's not really fruit, even i know that, so doesn't count.

And the exercises? About the same as the fruit challenge really. Like i have already said laxed and lazy. But when you are the worse at something there is plenty of room for improvement - so they say or someone does. I often wonder who 'they' are??

Actually i am stating that the exercise isn't going very well but last week i did a little experiment and tried walking a mile from my daughter's house to the local supermarket. It took me an hour. Most people can comfortably walk a mile in 20 minutes. I tried it a couple of times with similar results, it takes me 3x as long as anyone else to get anywhere. However i will map out a mile in my area and see how long it takes me to walk it and see if i can improve on the time and maybe, eventually the distance too. I also figured that i need to have the hour spare to just trot along at my extra slow speed, which even though i'm not yet back at work i am often busy doing, what? oh this and that, stuff, you know!

Anyhow on to other things, i found this web site, called Living Streets and it's an english site and not only does it encourage us to walk but also to help take care of our neighbourhood streets. I can also log how far i've walked in a day and gain points, erm nope, not sure what the points are for, will try and find out. 

Walking is supposed to be one of the best exercises we can do but i'm not sure it counts when you are walking like a snail. Monday seems to have become exercise day so i shall let you know how it all goes.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Hey Apple!

As i was on the bus yesterday i noticed out of the window a tree laden with apples and another mound laying around the tree. My first thoughts was wow! apples in a public place and my second oh! what a waste. Usually by this time of year most apples are picked, polished, stored, or eaten but here they were and why? because the tree was at the side of the bypass road that connect the city where i lived with the next one. I think if i lived closer i may have paid it visit.

So today a simple -

Apple Crumble

Makes enough for 4-6

1lb or 600g of cooking apples 
4 tbsp Brown sugar
60g sultanas
add cinnamon

200g plain flour
100g butter
100g sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Make the crumble first. In a large bowl add the dry ingredients and mix well. Cut the butter into small squares and add to the dry ingredients. Using the tips of your fingers (and thumbs) rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles bread crumbs. Leave to one side.

In a large bowl add some cold water and the lemon juice. Peel, core and chop the apples into mouth-watering pieces and add to the bowl of water (stops the apple going brown). Once all the apples are prepared, drain well and add to the baking dish. Add the sugar and cinnamon and a couple of tbsp water. I like to put my apples in the microwave to get the cooking started, try 3 minutes to start give the apples a stir then put back in for another 2 minutes. Add sultanas. Sprinkle the crumble mix over the apples, smooth out. Cook for 30 minutes in a  medium oven until brown and bubbling.

Serve with custard, ice cream or cream.

NB you can do lots of variations on a similar theme with this one, so once you can do the original, have a bit of fun and try something different - add oats to the crumble or use a different fruit.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Do what matters most - first

Do you do what matters most - first?

In a world where money is king and extra fast is everything i find myself being forced to slow down, spend less and make do. In the past i have often remarked about 'how nice it would be to live without money' but i never thought that my life would so evolve that, that statement would become true.

However that day seems to been forced upon me. For me living on less is not a problem but the world expects me to want worldly pleasure, just simple ones such as going out for a burger or going to see a movie. When i tell people that i have no money they continue to try and cajole me into whatever it is that they would like me to do, but really when i say i have no money, i mean it - honest.

I have been reading a number of blogs recently talking about 31 days to ..... each blog focusing on a different themes but all with one intent to make life better. There are many things i would like to change in my life and i always have good intentions to succeed, but i always seem to fail. Yes, i have written about this not so long ago and here i am back feeling like a failure again, but i will only have failed if i don't get up and keep fighting. I cannot to afford to fail.

I need to change what i eat and how and when i eat it. I know it won't be easy but for 31 days i need to create new habits and do away with the old, one thing at a time. So for 31 days i'm going to eat differently, better.

Habit One: Eat one portion of fruit with each meal.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

This and That

That's what most people eat, a bit of 'this' and bit of 'that' but we rarely think about what food our bodies actually need or how much it needs. In short we eat to eat and not eat to live. Well, i realised that was just what i was doing and it wasn't good and it certainly didn't have a positive affect on my body.

I had got into the habit of going into certain shops and buying chocolate and chocolate biscuits and there is nothing wrong with doing so as long as it's only now and then but for me it can be several days a week. I've stopped doing it. I've acknowledged the fact that i do it and that i need to quit and now i'm chocolate addict in recovery - for now.

There is another sort of 'this' and 'that', that we as humans think we should indulge in and that is buffet resaurants. I went to lunch with a friend at a really nice one today. There was plenty of 'this' and lots of 'that'. I on the otherhand are a buffet restaurants dream. I go in, i sit down, i eat a starter, a main and a dessert and that's it. Even when i go to a well-known pizza restaurant, which i love, i eat 2 maybe 3 slices of pizza and salad, then i'm done.

Dessert is nice, yes, it's really nice and if we only go out to dinner occasionally we should definately indulge but not every day. I've switched to fruit which i found i didn't eat enough of, so i changed that too and i'm trying to eat at least a portion of fruit with each meal. For some it is easy but for me it means i need to make a change, a permanent one.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Exercises and the cold

No, it's not me
People keep asking me if the cold weather is affecting my arthritis and I reply no, not really. However today that is not the case. For the first time I have woken up with knees that feel twice the size of what they should be and stiff to the point that I have found it difficult to even get dressed.

I’m staying at my daughter’s house while she is away for the week and I didn’t realise how difficult it would be to get in and out of her bath/shower. My bathroom is tiny, lots of walls to hold onto but my daughter’s bathroom is huge and there are not many nearby walls. However it was good to get into the shower and getting those old joints moving.

This seems to be the exercise day, so here are a few more;

For this you will need a step, the bottom step of a flight of stairs in fine, works for me, anyway.
Stand in front of the step, feet hip distance apart, step up with one foot, then lean forward bending the knee forward over your toes. It’s important to keep everything in alignment. Hold for 3 and then step down, repeat x12, repeat with the other leg.

Stand in front of the step, feet hip width apart, step up with one foot, follow through with second foot, so you are now standing on the step with both feet. Step down with the first foot followed by the second foot, repeat x12. Then repeat using the second leg first, repeat x12.

Don’t forget to do the full body stretch at the beginning and the end.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Remember this ...

'Lay not up for yourself treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal;
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.' (3 Nephi 13:19,21)

The world would have us believe that we must have lots of money.

 A big house, bigger then we need.

A fancy car.

When i was a child it was known as 'keeping up with the Jones'. Not even sure who the Jones are but as a child it always seemed that we had to be one better than them. Today we worry constantly about security, about the loss of financial wealth and earthly pocessions. The scriptures warn that if we lay our hearts upon the treasures of the earth then in the end we will have nothing for after death we can take nothing with us but ourselves and our families. I know for certain that God will not want to know how much money i have made during my earthly life but what exactly i did with the money that i made, whether that was a little or a lot.

The Saviour Jesus Christ as left us this message 'Peace i leave with you, my peace i give unto you: not as the world giveth, give i unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

Remember this always ...

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A ticket to ride ...

Or maybe not, maybe a ticket to work though!

I went to the doctor’s today and these days you don’t get a sick note you get a fit note. Which states that you are either unfit for work or it states you are fit to work under certain conditions. I received such a note today from my doctor. It states I can work with ‘amended duties’ and ‘altered hours’.

Now it is up to my boss and me to decide what exactly that means and if work can accommodate my needs. There is one thing I do know for certain that I can’t work in job that requires me to walk all day. I still walk with an aid, that’s what it’s called. In practice it’s a NHS stick. Yep, like the elderly use because now I my body is officially old. Well my knee is anyway.

There were also junior doctors in with my doctor today. I did tell them that I was kind of boring and not very interesting and which my doc said ‘yes, I was’. I think if the new doc’s become General Practitioners they will see a lot of patients with arthritis and will eventually not think it’s very exciting either. 

The reason I am trying the ‘work’ thing at this point is to see if it’s possible both for me and for work.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Chocolate or Potatoes?

I wanted to write a really exciting post about eating fruit and vegetables, but i really couldn't do it. Get excited that is. Now chocolate, that would be a whole different thing.

However, my mind is taken back to when i was a child and the fact that chocolate aka sweets were only allowed on weekends. birthdays, Easter and Christmas the rest of the time they just weren't available, neither was the money to buy such delicacies. I would like to state for the record that i haven't bought any chocolate since Sunday and i've eaten just one 2 fingered kitkat, yesterday. But i can feel my resolve weakening, feel myself being forced, body and soul, to the nearest shop for the chocolate delights that are know to be there. But i know that once i buy, then tatse the delicious chocolate, i know it will lie to me about it's real tatse for under the smoothness, there is that horrible soya taste. 

It's okay you can think i'm crazy, my children do so all the time, but i can really taste the soya. It's in everything that used to require butter and its foul. It is used as a cheaper alternative to butter and is supposed to give that lovely, smooth, buttery taste you are supposed to get from eating chocolate but alas it's just not there any more for me. Don't they realise they are killing the chocolate experience, crazy, mad world.

I know i said i was going to get excited about fruit and vegetables but they just don't move my soul in quite the same way. Maybe i'll tell you about my Dad the gardener? Now that was vegetables worth eating and i did once have a vegetable garden myself and there is nothing more satisfying then pulling up a potato plant and finding not one but a whole load of potatoes. If you have never grown potatoes you really should, some ideas on that another day, maybe.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Oompa Loompa

I was just musing on the effect that food has on our bodies. Then my mind wandered to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Violet Beauregarde and the fact that when she ate a sweet that contained a three course dinner has she reached ther desert she became round and turned blue, like a blueberry.

This is what i mean, if I ate an orange would I become orange, round and dimply not unlike the Oompa loompa’s themselves. May be they had been eating oranges? Or may be carrots and broccoli? With orange faces and green hair the Oompa Loompa’s are industrious people always working hard and striving to do one better than before, imperfection isn’t allowed.

Now I make bread, or I used to when there was lots of us to feed. Yes, it was cheaper and it took time to do, in fact there were days when it was a daily chore. I always have a great feeling of satisfaction when the bread is finally cooked and out of the oven. Now my bread would be fresh enough to eat for about 36 hours, then it would be fit only for toast and within three days it would be starting to go mouldy. 

The problem with commercial bread is that we want/need it to last all week and the manufacturers know this and tries it’s best to fulfil our every desire. Now I’m sure when I was a child the bread was made from whole meal flour and at some point we began to eat white and now there is every shade in between to suit every taste and desire. I also get suspicious of bread that isn’t going mouldy or at least a little dry after three days. As you can tell comercially made bread bugs me and i think someone out there could do it better.

It seems that I’ve ranted on about bread but really this post wasn’t about bread it was about this; so do we really want to look like the food we are eating and what would we do if every time we ate a piece of chocolate and ... I will let you imagine. 

However, maybe it would get me to eat leeks and spring onions more, I rather like their shape but being a bit green might be a problem.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

No, sorry, not me
Yesterday on my daughter Emily’s facebook page I read that she had been out running. She said she had enjoyed it but she should have been at church, conference or not. However a word of warning for all those runners, it’s the worst exercise you can do for your hip, knee and ankle joint, especially if you do it for a while, even if it’s a long while and then stop. A second warning osteoarthritis is genetic, sorry Emily.

So what is the answer? Walking or swimming or even cycling is better, whether it’s road bike or a stationary bike it matters not. Exercise is the answer to stave off the development of osteoarthritis although it can’t be prevented indefinitely.

So here is part of my tiny exercise routine, which is hoping to turn into a fully grown routine eventually.

1.       Fully body stretch

2.       Thigh flex – sit on the floor, legs out straight in front, flex the foot towards you and press the knee into the floor, hold and release and repeat 12 times, each leg – you should feel the thigh muscles contract

3.       Knee bend – same position on the floor, bend knee slight put heel on the floor and slide foot towards the body, bending the knee as you go, hold and then release slowly, x12

4.       Standing squat – stand feet hip width apart, bend your knees as if you are going to sit on a chair, hold and then stand, x12

5.       Door slide, it’s a squat, using a door or a wall. Lean against the wall feet hip width apart about a foot width from the door, slide down the door into a sitting position, hold and come back up to standing and repeat x12

6.       Full body stretch

Firstly I started off doing 6 of each exercise and every 4th day adding 2 more. Secondly they only work if you do them regularly, aim for at least every alternate day to begin with increasing to every day over time. Lastly, remember the stretch is just as important as the exercises. 

Try and go for a walk today too.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Soup, Soup

You can now buy whole recipe books full of soup recipes and there are even web sites/blogs dedicated to just soup. However this will not be a whole book or a whole web site it is is just one simple recipe.

Soup, Soup

makes 2 portions

1 large pototo, peeled and diced - bite sized (jacket potato size - big)
1 onion, diced
peeled and diced carrot the same amount as the pototo
peeled and diced swede/turnip/parsnip, each vegetable should be the same amount as the potato
tin of beans/pulses - chick peas,butter beans, etc about 200g
tin of tomatoes, chopped
stock - stock cubes and water
dried basil

Put all the vegetables into a pan. Add enough stock to cover and a bit more. Bring to the boil and simmer until the veggies are cooked, about 15 mins. Add the beans and the tomatoes and the basil. Bring back to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. It's a complete meal but i do like a bit of crusty fresh bread to go with it. 

You could always change the flavour by adding different veggies, cabbage works well and so does brussels sprouts. You could always add baked beans in tomato sauce, instead of the tomatoes which would change the flavour again. Or try sliced leek instead of onion. This thing with this soup is, that it can't go wrong, so go on, experiment and enjoy.

Being just one on my own most of the time i like to make this soup. Eat half and save half for another day. If you are storing food, remember to cool it to cold quickly, store in the fridge/freezer and heat until boiling.

ps. you could always try adding small dumplings.