Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brought To You By The Letter "D"!

My doctor did a blood test to determine my Vitamin D level. He's been testing every patient whenever he does a blood panel for about 8 months now, and has found that about 85% of his patients are deficient in this vitamin. 

Turns out, I'm no exception. Optimal levels are 50-80 ng/ml. Mine is 13 ng/ml, the lowest he's ever seen.

So what are the effects of Vitamin D deficiency? Read on (from

  • Fatigue: "It can be a quite severe fatigue," Dr. Dowd says. In fact, those diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome may also suffer from lack of vitamin D, he says.
  • Body aches: "Bone pain, muscle pain, joint pain [are all signs]," he says. "[The pain] typically moves around—one day it's your back that bothers you, a week later it's your shoulders and the next day it is your feet and hands."
  • Difficulty controlling weight: Vitamin D plays a role in regulating weight, and Dr. Dowd says a deficiency may make it difficult to keep your weight in check. 

Raise your hand if that sounds like you! (My hand is up.) 

What can you do about it? Start by getting tested. If you're deficient - and you probably are - your doctor will likely prescribe supplements, in MUCH higher doses than you can get over the counter, unless you're willing to take 10 or so pills at a time. I'm taking 50,000 i.u. 1x a week for 3 months, then 1x per month for 3 months, then we'll see. 

You can also try the more natural routes - Vitamin D rich foods, and sunshine.


Want more info? Here ya go: 

I'm off to swallow a pill.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

cereal fix!

So it's no secret I love carbs. Sweet carbs, savory carbs, salty carbs. Crunchy carbs. Warm carbs. Cold carbs. If it's made with a grain or a potato I like it. Scratch that - LOVE it.

Cold cereal is one of my all-time favorites, especially for dinner, or bedtime snack. But I don't want just a measly little 3/4 cup serving, ever, thank you very much. Seriously, why bother?

Cereal can be a calorie-laden, sugary mess, but it doesn't have to be. I have discovered 2 magic ingredients that changed everything: 

  • flavored soy milk
  • fat free liquid coffee creamers
Here's the deal -

Buy a bag/box each  of 3 varieties of unsweetened whole grain flakes, puffs, and "o"s ... (rice puffs, shredded wheat, corn puffs, etc) and mix it all up in a big airtight container. 

When you're ready to have a cereal chowdown, fill your bowl up with those styrofoam/cardboard flavored  delights. THEN work the magic... 

Pour on lite vanilla soy milk...and then (get ready, because this is the truly dee-lish part) add 1-2 tablespoons lite/fat-free flavored coffee creamer. Stir it around a little, and take a bite.  I KNOW, right? AMAZING!

For just a few calories, you just turned a bowl of healthy-but-horrid grains into a delicious-and-healthy meal. Caramel, chocolate,vanilla, hazelnut, ANY flavor of creamer will do the trick. Works a treat in oatmeal, too.

Trust. You will like.

Let me know when you try it. :)


Oh, P.S. - I stir in a few tablespoons of flax seed for good measure. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Luna Log - Saturday, 09/25/2010

Today I made my second batch of granola. This time I did not put in the nuts or dried fruit. We can add fresh or dried fruit, and nuts, "as we go". I made other changes as well. I did not put in the brown sugar, or replace it, although I think I could have put in Splenda. So, this batch has less sugar, ergo less calories. Of course, it still contains the honey. Middle Sister said it smelled like I was baking oatmeal cookies. I love oatmeal cookies. Hmmm. I think I'll look for a recipe for oatmeal cookies and modify it.

Maybe tomorrow I will try to use some of my granola to make granola nut clusters like the Nature Valley oh-my-god-expensive and oh-my-god-not-healthy granola nut clusters. I think I can use a small amount of honey for "glue", mixed with the granola, an almond, and 1 or 2 dried cherries for each cluster, then roll it in Splenda to finish and make not-sticky on the outside. If this works, eating granola on the go will be much easier. The process will probably involve very sticky fingers. Maybe I can enlist someone to help and form an assembly line. Volunteers are allowed to sample. Any volunteers?

The corncakes (corn pancakes) are good reheated in the microwave for 10 seconds.

I've looked at some sweet potato recipes, but haven't found a main dish that sounds interesting, doesn't involve lots of ingredients, and would be something we would likely eat. Any one?

Luna Test

I changed settings to see if I start getting emails again when one of us posts. So, this is a test post.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Luna day

Yesterday I did not blog. I kept putting it off, thinking I would have a little more to tell you, if I spent a little more time on Calorie Count site. I did learn some more. I also took wrong turns, which wasted my time and gave me a bad night of sleep, aches and pains that did not stretch out, and a healthy dose of frustration.

On the knowledge side of the equation, I learned that CC (Calorie Count) is a part of I scanned a list of staff experts, including a nutritionist, a nurse, a weight loss consultant, and a wide range of others. I browsed the recipe section and found a low fat, LF (low fat), LC (low cal) recipe for corn muffins that I used last night. (more about that below) I also input my recipe for Veggie Mex, which took a while, and then somehow lost it! I don't know if it has gone out to limbo land or into a time-space continuum, but I can not find it on Calorie Count.

"!huD" (The reverse of "Duh!" When I learn the proper procedure I will reclaim my "!huD". Possibly I've found a new curse word.)

So, on to the corn muffins. RCUU could not detect that I used no sugar. LC! Also, I used a combination of 2% milk and LF yogurt. (I did not have skim milk on hand.) The batter seemed extremely thin, unlike my Family Cornbread. (Maybe, Mother was right, you have to use the magic spoon.) Instead of baking in a muffin tin, I sprayed my skillet with butter flavored canola oil and made corn pancakes, corncakes? Really fast, no baking for 25-30 minutes, and though I cooked all of the batter, it was so thin I probably could have refridgerated and used later (Hmm. Might have to add more baking powder later.) RCUU loved them. I found I did not need butter. I did try cupping one into a "taco" to dip into honey for dessert. YMMMMM.

I won't include the recipe below. It is on file at Calorie Count.

I enjoy finding a new recipe that meets my need, trying it out, and modifying to suit. Sense of accomplishment is happiness. (That and chocolate.)

Happy eating healthy, everyone!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Luna looks for iHelp

For about 3 days, I have been following false leads on the internet. I started by googling "free recipe analysis". I want to enter a recipe and click to calculate nutrition information.

Yesterday I stumbled on a site called Calorie Count which may do what I want. I signed up, got my basic information entered. Today I logged my breakfast consumption into my Food Log, which then calculated my nutrition/calorie intake, and allowed me to access my reports. This looks good. There is a section for logging your activity, too. Also, I spotted a recipe search section where you can also enter your recipes. I intend to investigate further. The site obviously can look up and accumulate nutrition info, so I'm hopeful.

Of course, you can join groups on the site for discussion, etc. But I have my compatriots on Eye, which I like better.

Word of warning. From Calorie Count, I clicked on a "cartoon" about losing belly fat. It is an advertisement for Acai Berry Max Cleanse. I read the article about the journalist's personal test of the product and decided to check out the free trial offer (just pay $3.87 shipping). I went to that site, filled in my name, address, email, etc. When it asked for enough info to charge my card, I paused long enough to google the site. ShoNuf - a long list of complaints about being charged $87+, and getting a monthly charge on card. and unable to contact anyone at contact information on web site. FRAUD!!! Thank goodness I listened to that little suspicious, intuitive voice in my head. (I'm currently reading The Gift of Fear about trusting your survival intuition. Easy read. I want to pass the book around to everyone I know.)

Please pass along recipes you like that are high in fiber, low in fat and sugar. I really like our Veggie Mex, but we need varity.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


So, despite having been on and off the wagon in equal measures (that's an exaggeration, I've been on most of the time) I am happy and surprised to report the loss of yet another pound. That brings my total to 6, which has me pretty much right on schedule for "one pound a week." Hurray! xox, Susan

In other news, wifey has lost 8 lbs by frickin' osmosis. She eats what I buy, so she's pretty much got her personal Jenny Craig consultant doing the meal-planning, shopping, and cooking.

I'm jealous. Does it show much?

xox, Susan

p.s. Elder Sister, you've lost TWELVE POUNDS?! That's incredible!!

Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Who, besides me, is still blogging?
What happened to getting email every time one of us blogged?
When did this become a problem?
Where do we go from here?
Why don't I know what I'm talking about?

Main question, Is any one out there????

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Luna Returns

Congratulations to not-ES on having lost 9 pounds already! Wow! I'm glad to hear you are having a tough time keeping your pants on at work - and I mean that in the nicest way. You'll be flashing your students soon if you don't spend time with the sewing machine. You are my inspiration to get back to the plan.

I haven't been blogging in a while. Time for me to get back on the straight and narrow. Straight from what I eat to narrow(er) in the hips, belly, butt, torso, thighs, bust, face, fingers, upper arms, all my "jiggly bits", as Briget Jones would say.
Fell off the wagon at Cotter, have had a tough time climbing back on. Amazing how quickly a few sweet, fat grams of delicious taste and texture can ruin a perfectly good plan! I must say though, that SSS has me beat for one day off the wagon. I laughed out loud at your list of transgressions.
I climbed out of the muck in the road and back onto the tried and true wagon yesterday. I still have muck all over my body, but I'm working to slough it off. I'm weighing naked in the mornings. Recording on the Healthy Day Checklist. Searching for recipes high in fiber, low in fat, and reasonable in calories. Tonight I am making a new dish - Black Bean and Corn Pie - one kind of pie that will fit in the plan. I found the recipe at, recipe follows. The site did not provide nutrition information, not even portion size. I've calculated Weight Watchers points and best-guess servings for HDChecklist and re-arranged recipe into "my" recipe style. I'll report tomorrow on how it is received by three guinea pigs - wait, don't use the word pigs - we can be experimental subjects.

Black Bean and Corn Pie
Preheat oven to 350 F. (I will use my toaster-oven with convection heat)
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat
1 T. olive oil
Add finely chopped
1 medium onion
1 medium red bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
4 garlic cloves (I am using minced garlic from a jar)
Cook until softened, 6-8 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in
1 (16oz) can unsweetened tomato sauce
1 (16oz) can black beans (I will drain and rinse well)
1 (16oz) can corn (I will use whole kernel)
2 t. chili powder
2 t. cumin
1/2 t. fine sea salt
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
Stir and mash the beans some to make a thicker consistency.
Pour into an 8x8 inch glass baking dish.
Sprinkle on top of mixture a layer of
mozzarella cheese (I will use about 1 cup)
In a large saucepan, boil
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. dijon mustard
1/2 t. fine sea salt
Stir until mixed. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, 3-5 minutes.
Spread the cooked cornmeal over the bean mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
(I will cut into 9 squares because it is an 8x8 baking dish, but I think two squares should be a serving.)

Here's what I "reckon" the numbers to be.
WeightWatchers points 4 per square, so 8 per serving.
veggie servings, 3 per square, so 6 per serving.
protein, 4g per square, so 8 per serving.
I did not try to calculate calories, but reasonable for a meal I think.

I am totally guessing on how to calculate protein from a combination of beans and grains. I took the protein amount from the beans and from the corn, added that together and used that to figure out amount per square, then added the protein from the cheese per square to get 4g. Do either of you know how to actually calculate protein created by combining beans and grains?
I hope this is one we can add to a list of good meal choices. Tomorrow I hope not-ES will comment. (By the way, did not-ES choose another moniker yet?)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Amazing Before & After!

Peter Jackson, the disheveled, portly director and creative genius behind The Lord of The Rings films, before:

And here he is, now, after losing 70 lbs in 2004-2005, and keeping it off:

His trousers are still too long, but damn! He's a handsome fellow!

How he did it: By following a strict diet of yogurt, muesli, and soup, plus exercise at a home gym.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Luna Log 09/04/2010

Yesterday I did good on eating and drinking water, but no heart-rate-increasing exercise. Neck knot; enought said.

I was really proud of myself for not indulging after RCUU and I made pear preserves. RCUU has been longing for home-made-like-Madelyn-made pear preserves for several years. The recipe requires those hard, green pears with bad skin that never soften. He found a loaded tree in his cousin Linda's backyard! No one wanted them; many were rotting on the ground, so he brought home 2 stuffed Walmart bags full. I doubled the recipe and we used about a third of the stash. I did NOT find a low-calorie recipe on the internet. Maybe sometime today I can search HungryGirl for some pear recipes. (We're experiencing Fall-like weather, which has me in the mood to bake.)

Anyway. . . RCUU also brought home a bag of Linda's homemade yeast rolls. (She's famous in southeast Arkansas for those rolls, among other favorites from her catering company.) Just smell it in your imagination. Hot yeast roll, melting butter, and fresh, still warm pear preserves. Ahhhh. I wish I could believe that my imagination is just as good as the taste, the texture, the warmth, the satisfying slide down my throat. The sip of hot tea - a perfect complement. Okay, enough rapturous description of food I'm NOT going to eat.

On another subject, I forgot to weigh this morning until I was pulling on my work shorts. How much difference could that make? I weighed. Oh, no! I took the shorts off and weighed again. Whew! My work shorts weigh 1.6 pounds! I never would have guessed. In reality my weight is flucuating a little every day. Although I am weighing every day, I'm only going to record weekly, except on my Healthy Day Checklist.

ES says she is not using the Checklist. How about SSS?

Friday, September 3, 2010

DIY 100-Calorie Packs! (Hungry Girl Exclusive!)

Directly (as in copied/pasted directly therefore I get NO credit) from Hungry Girl:

Guilt-free, portion-controlled snacks ROCK... but they can be pricey. Save cash -- DO IT YOURSELF! Here's the 411 on exactly how many/how much of some of our favorite treats are equal to 100 calories, plus a few fantastic 100-cal combos!

DIY 100-Calorie Packs!

14 almonds
PER SERVING (about 14 whole unsalted nuts): 100 calories, 9g fat, 0mg sodium, 3g carbs, 2g fiber, 0.5g sugars, 3.5g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

25 pistachios
PER SERVING (about 25 dry-roasted unsalted nuts): 100 calories, 8g fat, 0mg sodium, 5g carbs, 1.75g fiber, 1g sugars, 3.5g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

16 Popchips
PER SERVING (about 16 chips, average of all flavors): 100 calories, 3.25g fat, 235mg sodium, 16g carbs, 1g fiber, 1g sugars, 1g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

15 Guiltless Gourmet Tortilla Chips
PER SERVING (about 15 chips, average of all flavors): 100 calories, 2g fat, 156mg sodium, 17.5g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 0g sugars, 1.5g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

12 hard pretzel sticks (not rods)
PER SERVING (about 12 small plain sticks, average): 100 calories, 0g fat, 460mg sodium, 23g carbs, 1g fiber, 1g sugars, 2g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

19 hard pretzel twists
PER SERVING (about 19 mini twists, average): 100 calories, <0.5g fat, 400mg sodium, 20.5g carbs, <1g fiber, <0.5g sugars, 1.5g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

5 cups 94% fat-free microwave popcorn
PER SERVING (about 5 cups popped corn, average): 100 calories, 0.5g fat, 204mg sodium, 22g carbs, 4g fiber, 0g sugars, 2.5g protein -- POINTS® value 1*

13 Quaker Quakes Rice Snacks
PER SERVING (about 13 mini cakes, average of all flavors): 100 calories, 2g fat, 223mg sodium, 19.5g carbs, 0g fiber, 3.5g sugars, 1.5g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

4 Hershey's Milk Chocolate Kisses
PER SERVING (about 4 pieces): 100 calories, 5.5g fat, 15mg sodium, 10.5g carbs, <0.5g fiber, 9g sugars, 1g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

4 teaspoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
PER SERVING (about 4 tsp., average): 100 calories, 5.25g fat, 5mg sodium, 12g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 10.5g sugars, 1g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

27 Reese's Pieces
PER SERVING (about 27 pieces): 100 calories, 4.75g fat, 38mg sodium, 12g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 10g sugars, 2g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

45 mini marshmallows
PER SERVING (about 45 mini marshmallows, average): 100 calories, 0g fat, 25mg sodium, 25.5g carbs, 0g fiber, 18g sugars, 0.5g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
PER SERVING (about 1/4 cup, average): 100 calories, <0.5g fat, 1mg sodium, 26.5g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 21.5g sugars, 0g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

25 jelly beans (like Jelly Belly)
PER SERVING (about 25 small jelly beans, average): 100 calories, 0g fat, 14mg sodium, 25g carbs, 0g fiber, 20g sugars, 0g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

HG's Super 100-Cal Snack Mixes!

Using your newfound knowledge, make your own mixes! Or try out ours...

Jelly Bean 'Stach Snack
PER SERVING (10 small jelly beans + 15 pistachios): 100 calories, 4.75g fat, 7mg sodium, 13g carbs, 1g fiber, 8.5g sugars, 2g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

Candy 'Mallow Popcorn
PER SERVING (9 Reese's Pieces + 8 mini marshmallows + 2 1/2 cups 94% fat-free microwave popped corn): 100 calories, 1.5g fat, 120mg sodium, 19.5g carbs, 2g fiber, 6.5g sugars, 2g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

Chocolatey Caramel Crunch Mix
PER SERVING (2 tsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips + 6 Quaker Caramel Corn Quakes): 100 calories, 2.5g fat, 130mg sodium, 17g carbs, <0.5g fiber, 8.5g sugars, 1g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

Berry Nutty Twist Mix
PER SERVING (1 1/2 tbsp. sweetened dried cranberries + 5 almonds + 5 mini pretzel twists): 100 calories, 3g fat, 105mg sodium, 16g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 8g sugars, 1.5g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

*The Points® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the Points® registered trademark.

yum! - xox, Susan

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Luna Log 09/02/2010

I did pretty good today. I ate my "breakfast" at 11:30am. I simply got busy and didn't feel hungry. I also managed to drink my quota of water. AND I rode my bike for 10 minutes, plus I sweated like a cold soda on a hot day for (2) 30-minute periods while acquiring, loading, and unloading 80 new Steralite plastic tubs with lids! Whew. I'm counting that as exercise.

I had my daily diet coke along with 1 serving of FF Pringles this afternoon. Then for dinner a big salad, 1/2 avocado as "dressing", leftover steak, and Activia Blueberry Cheesecake dessert yogurt.

I've started weighing every morning again because there is a blank to fill in on the Healthy Day Checklist. On Tuesday, the first day I used the checklist, I was at 142.8, on Wednesday 142.0, and this morning 141.0, but I'm not counting any of that as official because weight fluctuates during the day, day to day, etc. But I am hopeful.

This evening, ES showed me how baggy her slacks are. Oh, how I love it when a plan comes together.

Luna Log 09/01/2010

I'd better write fast, or it won't still be 09/01.

I did pretty good today. I treated myself to a sweet this afternoon with a cuppa. I remember Susan telling me once that I could make a cookie last longer than anyone. Yeah. At the time, as I recall, we(ES,SSS,me)were spreading butter on vanilla wafers and sprinkling on cinnamon sugar. My first time with that yummy treat, but not the last time. Today it was a pecan sandie with dark chocolate chips. I made it last for 30 minutes. Ahhh. The package is hidden out of my sight so I did not scarf down the entire bag.

Tonight I tried out a new concoction on ES while RCUU is out of town. ES will eat almost anything I can come up with. I'm not completely happy with the ratios, but here's what I did. Sweet onions and sweet bell peppers (yellow, orange, red) sauted in olive oil, plus 2 cans rinsed and drained red kidney beans, and 2 cans diced Italian style tomatos drained, served on whole wheat rotini. I thought it either needed fewer beans or more tomatos. ES said definitely NOT fewer beans, so more tomatos. It was pretty good! Dinner for two tonight, plus lunch for two tomorrow.
Probably something more prosaic for dinner tomorrow.

I'm still learning on the Healthy Day Checklist and the Pyramid Tool. In some ways it seems very limited. The idea that you spend the same amount of calories per category by adjusting portions is odd. I don't know yet if I like it better than the Weight Watcher point system. I'm keeping an open mind.

I did manage to get all my water servings today. I like to drink unsweetened iced tea without the ice with dinner. By using decaf tea, which I use for RCUU anyway, I can count it as water. My hot tea is decaf, too. On WW, unsweetened juice counts as water as well, but probably not on the Checklist - I'll look.

Well, SWEET dreams my sisters. Blog you tomorrow. Luna

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Big Pretty

Sisters - I think perhaps we're not trying hard enough to fully embrace our luscious curviness (while at the same time trying to get rid of it...)

I believe we can, and SHOULD, do both.


Though we travel the world over
 to find the beautiful, 
we must carry it with us
 or we find it not.
 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson