8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life

So, I was browsing the interweb this morning and stumbled across LiveStrong’s original video page.  Did you know they make motivational and exercise videos?  Just because?  How amazing is that?  So, today’s video is from their “A Little Bit Better” series, and is episode # 100, and is all about 8 pillars of a nutritious life.

So, what are the tips?

  1. Drink Up – stay hydrated!
  2. Eat Empowered – celebrate foods you CAN eat, don’t focus on foods you CAN’T eat.
  3. Exercise
  4. Pamper Yourself – small indulgences help you
  5. Sex – Link between libido and weight/health, also emotional benefits from intimacy
  6. Sleep Deep – better decision making and better levels of emotion throughout the day
  7. Stress Less – Manage stress and everything else will fall into place more easily
  8. Environmental – By having a relaxing or happy environment, you are increasing your odds of success.

This video is actually pretty fun, and motivating for me at least, and you know what?  I think I agree with all of it 🙂  How about you?

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Horrified at Stomach Pumping Machine

So I happened upon a link to ABCNews a few days ago, and meant to write about this, but ran out of motivation unfortunately.

The Aspire Assist

This is the AspireAssist, a tube that goes directly from your stomach (like, the organ), out of your abdominal muscle/skin and is attached manually to a pump about 20 minutes after eating.  At this point, 30% of the ingested food will be sucked out by the pump and dumped into a toilet.

Here’s the video that I watched on ABC’s News site:

A few things to get straight:  This is not FDA approved, so it’s not available to us in the US.  Next, this is considered for long term weight management.  That means, you keep this tube for as long as you like, and don’t need to learn to eat better, exercise, moderate portion sizes, or any of those other “pesky” weight loss “gimmicks” (please read the sarcasm here).  When I was in highschool, girls who had eating disorders were scorned, mocked, degraded, and sure, maybe envied for their willowesque figures.

But now, as adults, we understand that eating disorders are not healthy.  So how is this any different than say, bulimia? Sure, you aren’t ripping apart your esophagus with stomach acid, nor are you eroding your teeth, but you are still controlling the aftermath of eating, rather than controlling the eating in the first place.   This has been done so far in a few countries in Europe, including Sweden (if I remember correctly) and here are some things that patients and doctors have mentioned.

“Some people manage to lose weight on a diet, but the kinds of changes you need to make to keep it off are probably not sustainable for many,” she said. “There’s a lot to be said for people being in the driver’s seat with their own body, with their own health. This allows a patient to do that while under the care of a physician.” ~ Katherine D. Crothall, president and CEO of Aspire Bariatrics, the maker of the AspireAssist

Really?  So the problem is that we can’t maintain our weight loss?  No kidding!  That’s not news, that’s life.

From Wall-E in the year 2805

But, Crothall believes that this pump can help us keep our weight managed (without the irritation of being responsible for our actions, rather we just deal with the consequences more efficiently).

“People often wish they could just eat and make the calories go away. It was only a matter of time before someone came up with this. This is an enabling device, not a helping device ,it doesn’t do anything to make someone change their relationship with food. Once you put this in someone, they’re never going to want it taken out.” ~ Keith Ayoob, an associate clinical professor of nutrition at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City

Oh thank God, someone with some sense, and even a PHD!

Now here’s the funniest part.  This is supposed to be a “temporary” solution, because surgery is long-term and pretty much unchangeable without additional surgery, right?

Crothall (creator and CEO) said that her company hadn’t looked at how weight loss is maintained once the device is removed but was marketing the device for long-term use. She said that trial participants were offered counseling to help them modify their eating habits, but there was only anecdotal evidence that any of them made changes.

Cederhag said he’d eventually like to get to the point where he no longer needed the pump, but if he couldn’t maintain his lower weight without it, he’d be fine with keeping the AspireAssist in indefinitely.

So…back to square one.  We are now turning into the people in Wall-E.  We’ll be relying on machines to do the work so we don’t have to.

My mind is still reeling, I’m just hoping that this doesn’t become a solution for many, as it is clearly designed to be.  I can understand if someone is “morbidly” obese then any method to help them lose weight would be better than nothing (right? Maybe not?  I just never know anymore), and if this would be the only way they could get down to a weight that they could even consider starting to exercise at, then maybe it’s not so bad?  I’m being my own devil’s advocate here, and my brain is really having a hard time justifying the insanity of this.

What are your thoughts?  Would you have a tube in your abdomen to help you lose weight?  Why or why not?

The History of Teaspoons

The teaspoon - nearly 500 years in the making

The teaspoon – nearly 500 years in the making

You may be wondering why I’m writing about a teaspoon.  It’s really quite simple (and only slightly eccentric).  As I was measuring out exactly one Tablespoon of my Coffee Mate sugar free creamer this morning, I had the random thought “I wonder why they call this a Tablespoon”.  I know we use spoons at tables, but we have “Fork” and “Knife” with a silent K, so where in the world did we determine Tablespoons and Teaspoons?  Salad Fork is kind of a “duh” , as is a Steak Knife.  I decided to research it a bit and write about the Tablespoon, and then realized its little brother, the teaspoon, should also be represented.  So here it is, the history of the Teaspoon.

It all starts with tea, which has been around since 2300 BC (discovered by Shan Nong, a Chinese Emperor according to legend).  From 2300 BC through 400 AD, tea was used primarily for medicinal benefits (that means it wasn’t used on those cold winter mornings when a blanket, a window and a cup of tea was the perfect morning).  Around 400 AD however, it all changed, and as many things do, it changed beginning with the upper class.  The upper class Chinese began presenting packages of tea to others, which was considered a highly esteemed gift, and drinking it at social events and in their homes.

Fast forward 1200 years (1600 AD) and now China had begun to trade tea with the Dutch and Portguguese, and by extension, Britain and Holland.  Tea was rare in the west (Britain) at this time, and typically it was the aristocracy who had the privilege of drinking the steaming beverage.  It was considered a status symbol, and was a catalyst in bringing maritime technology to Britain such as the Clipper, a ship designed to be faster than the other vessels at the time, and was used for, you guessed it, delivering tea from China to Britain and keeping it fresher by delivering it faster.

While the history of tea is fascinating (trust me, I could continue) this is where we break from its history to the creation of the teaspoon.  As tea was so rare and highly sought after, it was used sparingly, thus the creation of a “teacup”, which is typically smaller than coffee cups.  As this time, a teaspoon measured 1 fluid dram (or drachm),  1/4 of a tablespoon, or 1/8 of a fluid ounce.  During the next 150 years as tea gained in popularity and ease of acquisition, the teaspoon and teacups began to increase in size, until the 1700s when the sizes were  1 1/3 fluid dram, 1/3 of a tablespoon, or 1/6 of a fluid ounce (which we know and love today each time we use a teaspoon).

Now, let’s take this full circle.  The tea-spoon terminology started in the 1600-1700s, along with table-spoon, coffee-spoon, dessert-spoon and soup-spoon.  It was a fad of spoons that continues even today in the little collectible silver spoons that have various emblems on them.

The History of the Tablespoon

tiffany_antique_ivy_sterling_1870_no_monograms_tablespoon_serving_spoon_P0000104504S0007T2

I’ll admit that even for me, this is a weird topic.  Who in the world cares about spoons?

I blame it on a combination of no caffeine and my proclivity for having random-thoughts at the least opportune moments.  It was early morning hours, and I watched my coffee burble gleefully in the Keurig, waiting patiently for the dark brew to finish.  Walking back to my desk, I set down the coffee and reached for my creamer, measuring exactly one Tablespoon (measuring is key, anyone trying to lose weight can tell you that).  Suddenly, a thought struck me as this plastic spoon tipped and dropped the powdery concoction into my cup.  Why is this a tablespoon?  There is no way I’d ever use this at a table!

Thus began the curiosity of “Why is a tablespoon, a tablespoon?” and further along, “why is a teaspoon called a teaspoon?”.  I knew it must have to do with history, but had not a clue as to what it’d actually started out as.

Spoons have been around as long as humans have been able to carve curves into wood, from neolithic era until modern day.

Tablespoons obviously “existed”, but were nameless until the 1700’s.   It was customary for Europeans to bring their own spoons to the table, so much to the extent that they’d carry spoons with them just like we now carry pens, wallets and other various “necessities”.  Once the spoon started being placed on the table, rather than being carried by the user, it began to be known as the Table-Spoon, and yes it came along with the Table-Fork, and the Table-Knife.

Eventually the rest of the spoon-family came along, including Tea, Coffee, Dessert and Soup spoons.  As the dessert spoon and soup spoon gained popularity in every-day use, the Table-spoon began to to be used more as a serving spoon, rather than as an eating spoon.  It wasn’t long until the tablespoon (no longer hyphenated) began being used for cooking, and gained popularity as a standard of measurement, 4 fluid drams (drachms), 15 ml, about 1/2 a US fluid ounce.

Thus was born the tablespoon as we know today, the larger size spoon no longer used for eating, sometimes used for serving (ever wonder why you get those huge spoons in your kitchen utensil set?  Call one a “tablespoon” instead of a “serving spoon” sometime and see what reaction you get).

It’s time to finish my coffee, and maybe serve myself up another cup.

Thanks for reading!

It’s a New Year and a New Adventure!

Jessica Simpson lost 60 pounds on Weight Watchers PointsPlus

The new year might have started out yesterday, but I feel like I’m starting out a new me as of today.

For those of you keeping tabs, the scale of death informed me last week I had crept back up to 180.2!  Let’s talk about devastation, or more likely, the stages of grief.  I was in denial, I begged, I bribed, and now I made it through to acceptance.

Does it suck?  Yes.

Is this a setback? Yes.

Have I learned from this? Yes.

What have I learned? Get off my darn high horse and realize that just like everyone else, I am merely mortal.  I had considered going back on Ideal Protein, but unfortunately have realized with the addition of cooking for my husband, it’s going to make more sense this time around to do Weight Watchers PointsPlus.

I’ve lost on this program before, although I was never willing to incorporate exercise.  For the record, I’m still trying to determine how they stretched a 4-letter word out into an 8 letter word, it’s two 4-letter words crammed together in my personal opinion, and is doubly bad compared to the rest of those 4-letter words!

So, as soon as my next paycheck arrives, I’ll be driving to the local supermarket and picking up my favorite high-fiber, low calorie breads (Oh Sara Lee Simply Honey Wheat, it’ll be nice having you back in my home), vegetables (onions, bell peppers, and probably some I’ve never tried nor can pronounce), fruits (huge challenge for me to eat fruit) and lean meats (no problems there, but I always seem to cook the same meal).  Finally, it’ll be time for “The Extras”.  Those seasonings that people say they have in their “staples” category for their home.  Taragon?  Parsley?  Parsnip? Is there a difference? Catnip? I don’t know!

I’ve dug out my cookbooks (yes, they have dust on them) and am planning on cooking some sort of dinner every night for the next 3 days.  I’ll focus on day # 4 when I get there, for now, 3 is a good place to start.  Last night was pork chops in a cream-of-onion soup base, which I then put onto Hungry Jack Potato spuds.  Yeah yeah, spuds = duds but they were fewer carbs and calories than my preferred Stovetop Stuffing, so nyeh!

On the fun side of all this transitioning, I’ll get to start adding new recipes that I’ve tried and liked to my blog, hooray!  Although that might mean another breakdown of the pages, which I’m dreading…I can’t lie, dread, dread, dreading!  Or worse, stepping away from the pre-made WordPress blog set up and moving over to a more HTML/CSS style website…

That just about put me into anaphylactic shock, we’ll stick with this layout…for now.