Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Thoughts on one month of vegetarian

It's been a month. I'm proud of us. We have kept to it without fail for a whole month. We have made almost every one of our meals, because going out to eat for a vegetarian is hard. After lots of research, basically we can have a salad almost anywhere, after that it gets hard.

Since we are Lacto-Ovo vegetarians (we still eat dairy and eggs), anyplace that serves breakfast all day is good because we can have Omelets. Denny's is also good because for no extra cost any burger that they have can be substituted with a Boca Burger (which has become a must have item in our house). Bennigan's also has a Boca burger. And the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday's is good. And finally Burger King has a vegetarian sandwich.

In the past month we have eaten out a total of 3 times together, I have 2 more myself.

Since we are also not anti-kill the animals types of vegetarians we have continued to use chicken broth instead of switching to vegetable broth. It's just too big of a cost difference to make the switch right now, maybe after we have been doing this for a while.

I have averaged 1.5 servings of fruit a day and 4 servings of vegetables a day for the past month. I am eating a lot less carbohydrates.

As far as energy goes, I have more energy now than before, and I'm drinking less caffeine and more water. I like the additional energy that I have. However, I have been having memory problems. I still have some things that my mind is great with, but more and more things I'm just not remembering at all.

Along with the switch to vegetarian I mentioned previously the website SparkPeople that we have been using. There have been several really good recipes from there that we have tried, and using the site I've lost just over 10 pounds this month. Erin is right behind me at 9 I think.

Our Vegetarian musts:
  1. We had to love beans. All kinds. The beans are the protein that we get. We have beans in probably half of our recipes.
  2. Boca burgers are great hamburger substitutes, lower calories, and have great protein.
  3. Ground Boca is a better meat substitute for chili or spaghetti than smashed beans.
  4. Having food ready to grab and go is a necessity. We keep carrots, celery, apples, and 100 calorie snack packs to be able to take a snack with us as we are walking out the door. I've already pointed out the difficulty of eating out.
  5. Read the labels. Vegetarian doesn't mean healthier. We buy frozen french fries, but they are only pre-cut potatoes, not already fried. Then we bake them with no oil. They are just as healthy as having a potato.
  6. Our salads have gotten interesting with lots and lots of toppings; green, red, yelllow, orange peppers, celery, carrots, hard-boiled egg, raisins, cashews, and pretty much anything else we can find.
  7. Fruit with cool whip for dessert is healthy and low in calories.
There's lots we've learned about being vegetarian in a month, and a lot we still are trying to learn. But without a doubt, our hands down best recipes have come from Betty Crocker's Vegetarian Cooking. We now have about 10 vegetarian cook books, but that one has the easiest to follow recipes with the most common ingredients.

Monday, January 29, 2007

After 6 years it's coming

I've been looking and patent, and finally, I'm getting a tattoo. I had settled on what it was going to be, and then Erin found something that fit what I had really been looking for, so without Erin I wouldn't be nearly as excited.

I'll keep you in suspense about what it looks like for the next month while I have to wait for the appointment, but it's coming, and I'm so excited.

The only clue, it has my get off my ass motto "do something" in German. I've been saying to myself for years, now I'll have a constant reminder.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Just dessert

Dessert is something that I don't have very often. I go out of my way to avoid desserts. My thought is that a meal should be enough, I should not need to eat right after eating.

Strangely this thought is stuck with me from my childhood. Not that my parents didn't make dessert occasionally, and they never discouraged me from it, I had to do that all on my own.

I had a terrible asthma attack when I was a kid (I think I was 7 or 8). Up until then I had never had a breathing problem. After the attack, I became a different person. I changed from the athletic non-stop running kid that I had been to a couch potato. I gained a lot of weight and became a nerd. Imagine, without an asthma attack I may have just been a really smart athlete. Instead I became the amazing blog posting geek that I am.

During my fat years (still working on getting out of them), I had a particular incident that has stuck in my mind. My dad had gone grocery shopping and brought home a generic hostess cupcake type of thing. This particular treat was kind of a rarity. I was already eating 2 or 3 bowls of cereal for breakfast to make sure that I could get as much of my favorite cereal as I wanted before my brother would eat it all. So when everybody else was gone and I was home by myself watching TV, I had a treat. Then another and another. It only took me about an hour to finish the entire box (I can't remember if it was 8 or 10).

I remember later that day my dad came in and opened the snack drawer and saw that I had finished all of them. He didn't yell at me. Yelling would have been expected, instead, he just looked disappointed. I disappointed my dad. That's probably just about the worst feeling that I have ever had.

I still remember it, and when I eat dessert I still think back to that day when I shoveled in a whole box of treats. I told myself that would never happen again. That's why I have a hard time with desserts now. I have to be able really deserve the dessert that I'm going to have. I can't just have one to have one, or I will see that look again.

Now I try to continue to do what's right. I still look for my father's approval, and I think "what would dad think about me doing this". I hope that the decisions I've made have made him proud.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Quick football thoughts

Superbowl
The Bears will win the Superbowl. The experts have already picked Indianapolis to win. The Bears, with the best record in the NFC this year have been underdogs time and again. They just find a way to win. Football frustrated me a few years ago when the Ravens and then the Panthers each won the Superbowl. Both teams had the same kind of luck that the Bears have this year. It doesn't seem to matter how bad of a game they are having, something just falls right for them to win. Some people are predicting that Rex Grossman will show up and be good. I think he'll have about 5 really good plays and the rest will be completely mediocre. But that's ok, because the Bears defense will continue to dominate by taking the ball away. Peyton Manning is a great quarterback, but my prediction is that it's the Bears defense that wins this game while the Colts defense goes back to having trouble stopping the 1-2 and sometimes 3 punch of the Chicago Bears running game.

Dallas Cowboys
One of my favorite coaches has retired again. For the sake of his legacy I hope he doesn't return. I love Bill Parcells, but I think he has lost something. Maybe it's just that today's players don't listen to his kind of tough love as they used to in the olden days. He hasn't won a Superbowl since coaching with the Giants, and even though his career record is a winning record, there are a lot more blips on it from restarting than there should have been. He was the start of the New England Patriots dominance. He brought on a lot of the talent that was still there when Bill Bilicheck took over from Pete Carroll, whom I always thought was a joke in the pros. Then he turned around the Jets who hadn't won anything since Joe Namath and made them a contender. Since then they have been a contender almost every year. Parcells legacy at a franchise seems to outlive him. I think he has a better effect on the organization and other management personnel than he does on the players. For that reason, and since he obviously still loves football I hope he gets a job somewhere up the food chain from head coach. Someone can make him a consultant.

Many are saying he left Jerry Jones in a tough spot where he can't get a big name to come and coach. Honestly though there are only 2 coaches in the NFL that would be a big name worth getting, Jeff Fisher and Bill Cowher, neither of which are available. This can be good for Jerry. Now he can get the underdog unknown coach and give him a shot. Ron Rivera's name has been thrown out a lot. I think he would be a good head coach. I wonder if co-head coach Mike Singletary would leave San Francisco to join his old teammate. There could be a reunion of '85 Bears coaching in Dallas. They may even be able to get Dan Hampton (radio announcer) or Richard Dent (Defensive coach with Chicago) to also join. Everyone talks about how Parcells and Dungy and other coaches have a coaching legacy. What about Tom Landry and George Hallas? Mike Ditka is a result of both of them, and so are all of his ex-players that are now coaching. The '85 Bears defense-turned coaches are built in his image, not in that of Buddy Ryan. I hope Jerry Jones does something completely unpredictable and gives someone a chance. I remember Deion Sanders wanting to coach a few years ago, he played in Dallas, maybe there's another chance for him. If he does, remember I predicted it here.

Tennessee Titans
Look for Jeff Fisher to get a contract extension. There is no better consistent coach in football right now. He even took this years misfits in a rebuilding year and after starting 0-5 ended up 8-8. That's right he ended up stronger than than the Indianapolis Colts did. They should be in contention next year, now that Vince Young has a year of experience.

Chicago Bears
Don't look for the Bears to lose too much in the way of coaching. No matter what the rumors are, teams generally don't want to wait until after the Superbowl to make their coaching changes. They like to have a staff in place by then, which leaves the great potential coaches from Superbowl teams stuck for a year or more. That's the only reason that Charlie Weis didn't get an NFL job before he took over at Notre Dame.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Jonas Party

My little boy turned 5. He's such a big boy now. He's sleeping in his new room. He has a new bed. He can get in/out of the car completley by himself including buckling and unbuckling his own seat belt. He can even make his own toast. He's such a big boy. :(

His independence is growing. Most of this weekend he played upstairs in his new room. He loved it. Guitar, army men, dinosaurs, etc. He just had a good time playing.

Friday was an all day adventure for me, I left the house by 7:50 AM and didn't get home until after 9 PM. We had lunch at Jonas's new apartment. He seems to like that a lot, because he's got his own space. He can have his alone time now, which is more and more important to him as he grows. After a while of getting to see all of his neat suff at his mom's we drove straight to Chuck-E-Cheese. We spent 3 1/2 hours there. I never thought I could have that much fun with the mouse. It was awesome. As we stood in line, another customer asked if we had a coupon, we said no, and he handed us a sheet and said, take what you want. We were thinking about a family deal that gave us a pizza, drinks and 50 tokens. There was a coupon for the same meal, with twice as many tokens and for $4 less. The kids would have had fun still, but doubling the tokens was awesome. On 55 tokens, Jonas earned 204 tickets, not bad considering his favorite games to play weren't giving out tickets. He did get lucky and get 40 from one play of a game.

Saturday was a cleaning day. Almost all day we just cleaned the house. It had been a while since we had a good cleaning day like that. The house looked awesome when it was done.

Sunday we had Jonas's birthday party. Since he doesn't like candy, cake, cookies, or most other sweets, we had asked him several weeks ago what he wanted, and gave him some options. He chose a popcorn party. It was cool. Erin found some great recipes online that she has commented on at her blog. We made a popcorn birthday cake with peanut butter and corn syrup. It sounded good and looked great, but I think was too hard. Everyone was a bit leary about it when Erin cut into it and a piece shot across the counter as it broke away.

Jonas had a blast, we had a blast, and my little boy is 5 now. We measured him and weighed him. My little boy is so big.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Amazing

I sat here today while the kids were resting at nap time and was watching a show on FitTV about families trying to lose weight together. I was a bit upset that the parents didn't understand that the reason their kids were fat was because of the families lifestyle. I was yelling at the TV just like I do during sports, and politics, and well, anything else. For me TV is an opportunity to yell at others without them being able to yell back. I get a lot of my frutstrations out that way. I also get to learn lots of new things that I can reflect on, or just file away for later.

I noticed several things. Families that have weight problems, are not active, at all. They eat very unhealthy almost all the time, and they use food as rewards. Then I noticed that when someone lives a healthy lifestyle, they don't need to sit around and watch FitTV, because they are already out somewhere being active.

Tonight I took my own measurements so I can track my weight loss. I'm not posting them, but suffice it to say, I'm embarrassed. I knew I had been gaining weight and looked bad, but I was shocked to know what my measurements actually are. I am amazed that I can even fit into my clothes.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Recent lack of posting

I haven't been posting as much for the past week. One of our goals this year was to lose weight, as well as switch to full time vegetarians. Late in December Erin found SparkPeople. It's supposed to help us track our calories, lose weight, and accomplish our goals.

I like the idea of the site. It wants to be more than just a weight-loss site, it wants to be a total life goals tracking site. Currently almost all support on the site is for losing weight, there is a forum for getting out of debt, but it's fairly limited.

There's a lot going on at the site, which has been keeping me pretty busy. Initially there is some setup that is a little time consuming. They have a database of over 10,000 foods, but it seems that almost everything we've eaten hasn't been on the list already. That's ok, because the site lets you customize and add your own food, and remembers it. As we continue the foods that we eat regularly will be saved, and save us time.

If you are interested in losing weight and doing it the right way by changing your lifestyle, take the time to track it. You may as well get some support while you're doing it, so go to SparkPeople. The best thing. It's free!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Free college education

It's not the same thing as going to an accredited university, but there is a ton to learn. Colleges are starting to put their course content online for anyone. The most impressive is MIT with 1550 courses online. Read more about it from this Yahoo Post.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ever tried gator?

Ohio stores are stocking Gator meat because football fans are crazy and they think they'll want to eat real Aligator meat at their parties.

I've stayed basically in the standard American foods and haven't even tried most things that would be hunted. I've never had Aligator, but I know several people who have and they say it's a pretty good meat. I think it's funny that stores think there will be an increase in sales due to a football game, but then again I've been to some tailgating parties where the food was crazy just because of the game. I guess football fans really are crazy.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Balance the budget please!

Today Yahoo reporeted "Bush: Congress must limit pork spending". Bush is proposing to balance the budget in just 5 years. How is it that we let our leaders get away with this? If they don't have money they can't spend it. For years the government has been living off of credit. Every year they add more and more to the debt, but they don't pay off what exists. It's not just a federal problem, states do the same thing. I think there should be a moratorium on credit for the government. If they don't have the money they can't spend it. Not only that, all governments (town, county, state and federal) should have to pay off their debts. You want to give the economy a boost? Put the trillions upon trillions of dollars back into the economy instead of holding it in debt.

How can governments do this? Just like everyone else they have to make the hard decisions about what is the most important and what has to take a back seat. Congress has voted itself pay raise after pay raise, it should be forced to take a pay cut. I have gotten in debt trouble in the past, but I'm paying it off and not declaring bankruptcy. I think the government should have to do the same.

Too Much to do?

Bloomington, IL has recently built a several new venues for entertainment. There is the Cellular One Collosium, and The Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. NPR ran a program the other day stating that even though both have had more attendance than projected, that people are complaining that there is too much to do. People are complaining that there's too much to do. Are you kidding me? There's still only 3 venues for entertainment and things are scheduled far enough in advance that the only real problem is people prioritizing what it is that they want to go and see. If you want to see a show, but have hockey tickets, then sell them or give them away, you have a month at least to plan.

Personally I like the extra entertainment. Having both the colloseium and the civic center will help to bring in people from larger cities and give them more to do. Bloomington is the fastest growing city in the state. It needs to keep spending money to improve the town. There are 2 things that will bring people to Bloomington. Good jobs, and things to do. State Farm has provided the good jobs and unemployment in the town is lower than in most of the state. Now with the Collesium and the Civic center there are 3 good venues for events.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

MySpace annoyances

Maybe it's just teenager annoyances, and not MySpace. I have seen really 2 or maybe 3 MySpace sites that were neat. But mostly they are just a way to post, "Hey I'm here and I'm a bitch" Where has all the self respect of people gone? I remember when I was a teenager. There wasn't a one of us that didn't want to be a badass rebel, but none of us wanted to be bitches, ho's sluts, or anything else. Just 15 years ago those were still considered insults, yet I look on MySpace now and I see everywhere "Hey slut how'd the trip go. Call me ho". What the hell is that. That would have caused a fight not long ago.

Is the lack of respect for each other the same thing that carries over into a lack of respect for adults, jobs, education, and life?

I personally know some of the people who have MySpace accounts that have this negative derogatory language on it. They are not always happy, positve people. I can't say how much the negative language affects their lives, but I would bet that it at least plays a part in it. How about we switch to a more positive phrasing. Start commenting on MySpace with "Hey Hero!" "What's up stud?" "You rock, brainy?" Change the language to a more positive slant, and the people will change too.

I don't think any of them are bitches, ho's, sluts, or skanks. These are, can, and should be nice people that contribute to society in just a few short years. Help them realize that.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Years resolution

I was discussing New Years resolutions the other day, and my friend said she doesn't make them because she doesn't follow through with them. I tried to suggest a resolution that was more within reach than maybe what she normally makes, but she was set on not making a resolution.

That got me thinkng about New Years resolutions. I don't look at New Years resolutions any differently than any other goals that I make, it's just that the New Year is a good time to sit back and reflect on a year and start planning your continuing progress for the next year. Resolutions are short term goals of things that you want to accomplish within the next year. They are not some burden to be added to your life that will make you miserable. If you want to spend more time reading, walking, less time watching tv, then make that your resolution, and make a plan to get it done. Track which television shows you watch, and then figure out which ones you could do without. Set aside time to walk or read. Record your television shows and fast-forward through commercials. A 30 minute program is really only about 22 minutes long. Save 5 or 6 of those by fast forwarding through the commercials and you've just cut your TV watching time. Do that 5 dyas a week, and you have an extra half an hour. What will you do with your extra 30 minutes? Clean the house, walk read? Whatever you do with it, make sure that it helps you reach one of your other goals, or resolutions.

I can't imagine a year without resolutions anymore. I like to know what direction I am taking my life in. I may not achieve all of my goals every year, and I may decide that some of the things that I wanted to do originally are not worth the effort. I don't end each year having accomplished every resolution that I started with, but I do have an idea of which direction my life is heading at the start of each year, and that is why I make New Years resolutions.

Happy New Year!

My new year was pretty nice. We spent the evening with family playing games and eating food, it was a fun time. We didn't get to stay for midnight though because after 11 Jaden was still awake. Instead we came home and rang in the New Year silently with just the two of us. Jaden did finally fall asleep in the car. That demon child had fallen asleep 3 times while we tried to put him to bed, but he would not stay asleep.

Jonas reading

The other night while we were eating dinner, Jonas finished first; he was running around and playing. All of the sudden he stopped and said K-Ar-i-boo. Cariboo. We were stunned. He had just read the word Cariboo on a game that was sitting on our counter. It was awesome. I had worked with Jonas on word sounds, but not on putting them together, he did that on his own. Later that same night we read an easy reading book for bedtime, and he read many of the words to me. Everytime he got one right on his own he was really excited. The next day we also kept reading it was amazing how much he was figuring out on his own. It won't be long and he'll be reading all the time. He wanted to read everything he saw. He tried reading signs on buildings and trucks that we were driving past it was awesome. He tells me he wants to learn to read so he can read to Ady when she wants him to.