Category Archives: Opinion/Experience

The Hiatus

It seems like forever since I last blogged here! I’ve missed you!

I’m here to announce a very short hiatus. There are some phenominal things in the works behind the scenes of my blog! Things are getting painted, primped, propped up and prettied for the next big announcement! This is something I have been plotting and planning for the past year or so! Fruition!

This hiatus won’t last long – I’ll be back before you know it – with a huge surprise!

Don’t go far!

Love, Me

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The Saturday Snippet – Fast Food Facts You Won’t Forget

I loved fast food. I would have married it had that been an option. When I was a city dweller, I would make every excuse in the book to eat somewhere so I didn’t have to cook. Not surprisingly, I craved this food more and more and ate it more and more. I recently decided to look up some of my favorite fast food places. Just reading about them makes my mouth water even now! Let’s take a look at what Knowledge Sutra has to say about my four favorite drive thru restaurants of the past.

McDonald’s

The egg’s reputation is recovering, but scrambled eggs as a part of McDonald’s breakfast include much more than egg. Their pasteurized whole eggs have sodium acid pyrophosphate, citric acid, and monosodium phosphate (all added to preserve color), and nisin, a preservative. To top it off, the eggs are prepared with liquid margarine: liquid soybean oil, water, partially hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oils (trans fats), salt, hydrogenated cottonseed oil (trans fat), soy lecithin, mono- and diglycerides, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate (preservatives), artificial flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, and beta carotene (color). Though not all bad, these added chemicals may be the reason why homemade scrambled eggs taste so much better than McDonald’s.

For coffee drinkers, it would seem fairly safe to just grab a quick cup of coffee at McDonald’s on the way to work. But many health conscious people would object to it also including this list of ingredients: sodium phosphate, sodium polyphosphate, Di-Acetyl Tartrate Ester of Monoglyceride, sodium stearoyl lactylate, tetra sodium pyrophosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate, sodium citrate, and carrageenan. Do health nuts still drink coffee?

Salads can usually be counted on to be a “what you see is what you get” item. But McDonald’s adds some interesting ingredients. The salads with grilled chicken also have liquid margarine.

Several salads have either cilantro lime glaze, or orange glaze added. Along with many of McDonald’s sauces, both the cilantro lime glaze and the orange glaze contain propylene glycol alginate. While propylene glycol is considered “GRAS” for human consumption, it is not legal for use in cat food because the safety hasn’t been proven yet [10]. Propylene glycol is also used “As the killing and preserving agent in pitfall traps, usually used to capture ground beetles” [10].

The chili lime tortilla strips that are included in the southwest salads have several ingredients used to hide MSG. They also contain two ingredients that advertise the presence of MSG: disodium inosinate, and disodium guanylate.

The chicken has sodium phosphates (of an unspecified variety). It could be trisodium phosphate (a cleanser), monosodium phosphate (a laxative), or disodium hydrogen phosphate [11]. Why would McDonald’s add sodium phosphates (a foaming agent), and dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent in their crispy chicken breast fillets? It isn’t dishwasher detergent.

Burger King

It’s interesting to note that the BK Veggie Burger has six ingredients commonly used to hide free glutamate (MSG): calcium caseinate, hydrolyzed corn, yeast extract, soy protein isolate, spices, and natural flavors. At the end of the ingredients list, it states This is NOT a vegan product. The patty is cooked in the microwave. Was that a warning statement?

Burger King has three salads to choose from. The TENDERCRISP Garden Salad, the TENDERGRILL Garden Salad, and the Side Garden Salad.

A salad may be a little boring without a dressing like Ken’s Fat Free Ranch Dressing which includes titanium dioxide (an artificial color, or sunscreen, depending on use), preservatives, and the ingredient seemingly mandatory in all ranch dressings: monosodium glutamate.

Once again, as is typical with the fast food industry, they took a simple thing like chicken, and added a long list of ingredients.

TENDERGRILL® CHICKEN BREAST FILET
Chicken Breast with Rib Meat, Water, Seasoning (Maltodextrin, Salt, Sugar, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Garlic Powder, Spices, Natural Flavors, Onion Powder, Modified Corn Starch, Chicken Fat, Chicken Powder, Chicken Broth, Disodium Guanylate and Disodium Inosinate, Citric Acid, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Dehydrated Garlic, and Artificial Flavors.), Modified Corn Starch, Soybean Oil, Salt, Sodium Phosphates. Glazed with: Water, Seasoning [Maltodextrin, Salt, Sugar, Methylcellulose, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Partially Hydrogenated Sunflower Oil, Modified Potato Starch, Fructose, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Dehydrated Garlic, Spices, Modified Corn Starch, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavors, Disodium Guanylate and Disodium Inosinate, Chicken Fat, Carmel Color, Grill Flavor (from Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil), Chicken Powder, Chicken Broth, Turmeric, Smoke Flavor, Annatto Extract, and Artificial Flavors], Soybean Oil. [12]

Subway

If a sandwich is advertised as healthy, one would expect that the bread would be whole grain. Not so with Subway’s wheat bread. While it does have some whole wheat flour, it’s the third ingredient, listed just before high fructose corn syrup [4]. None of Subway’s breads are whole grain. Ammonium sulfate (a fertilizer) is also added. Unfinished sandwiches may be composted. The bread also contains azodicarbonamide. From Wikipedia,

Use of azodicarbonamide as a food additive is banned in Australia. In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive has identified azodicarbonamide as a respiratory sensitiser (a possible cause of asthma) and determined that products should be labeled with “May cause sensitisation by inhalation” [5].

Most of the meats at Subway contain MSG and/or sodium nitrite.

KFC

The chicken, the gravy, and even the rice all have monosodium glutamate added. Not surprisingly, the chicken in the salads also has MSG. For a healthy menu item, the House Side Salad without dressing has nothing more than iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, and tomatoes.

KFC claims 0g trans fat per serving for all their fried chicken. But The Extra Crispy Chicken, Colonel’s Crispy Strips, HBBQ Wings, Boneless HBBQ Wings, Fiery Buffalo Wings, and more have partially hydrogenated soybean oil listed in the ingredients. So if the trans fat content is below 0.5g per serving, they can round down to zero and claim zero grams per serving.

There you have it – in its chemical glory. Not so appetizing now, is it? I have a very hard time just smelling the greasy odors these places emit – there is no way I could eat at any of them now. Our daughter would love nothing more for us to succumb to the lure of the bright play areas and colorful containers but we have no plans to do that – ever.

Interesting facts about what they consider food! Head over to the Knowledge Sutra website – there are more restaurants listed!

Love, Me


Making Time

There is one thing in my life that I value above anything else. My time.

No job is so important that I cannot take time away from it – to give to myself or someone else should I need to. We must face facts, we don’t always have enough ‘time’ banked for when we require it and one day, we are all going to run out of it. This is not meant to be morbid, but a small nudging reminder that although we can’t see it – it is there – and it is ticking away. We must be smart!

When it comes to our jobs, our places of employment – we ‘collect’ time. I always found this fascinating. What if I collected 2 weeks worth of vacation days and then died before I could use them? I asked about this at my place of employment once and the reply I received was, “Monetary compensation for the days accumulated is paid out.” They actually put a price tag on my vacation. Stellar.

We all have only so much time. We waste our time the same way we waste food and water. We just can’t see time. I always thought it would be interesting to pile up hours as, say, bean bags. How many wasted hours would we have in a year? A decade?

I decided to conduct a little experiment (I love them!) with time. I took one day and wrote down everything I did – like a logbook. I treated it as though I were an employer….and I was the employee. Get it? I wanted to know how much time I wasted per average day.

I then decided to make it a little more interesting. I took a typical day of mine from four years ago and compared it to my current wasted time. There was a huge difference! The old me wasted on average 4 – 6 hours per day. Most of that would have been television and eating!

These days, I barely waste a minute! I’m always energized and on the go – I try to accomplish one major thing per day or more! It depends on the day and of course, plans can change. I roll with the changes and accommodate new  plans with little effort.

Time with my daughter is essential – like water. I adore the adventures she creates for us and the songs she makes up and giggles to when I mess with the words on purpose. We have fun together. We spend time together.

Spending time shouldn’t be wasting away in a job you can’t stand. Why be miserable when you have so many choices in life? I refuse to spend my valuable time being any negative emotion. It makes no sense to me! Sure, we all get worked up at times – but I always remember that time is precious. I don’t want to spend my time foolishly.

“I always thought they had more time.” This was the phrase that scared the bejeebers out of me! I heard it spoken over and over at funeral services I attended as a child. It made me shiver every time someone said it.

Time is ticking, and that’s a good thing! Isn’t it funny how time works? If you have to work a Saturday before a big concert – time goes so slow. When you finally get to the concert, you can’t believe how fast it went by! When we watch a movie we love, it seems like such a short flick…..but pop in that girly movie and watch time screech to a halt and ooze by for the next 3 hours and sixteen minutes (Titanic, anyone?).

We can’t put it in the bank like money and we can’t get it back once we spend it. We don’t have time to hang on to the bad. We must embrace the positive aspects in our lives and always improve who we are and how we feel. It is the way to wellness!

Spend a little, give a little and save a little. My grandfather’s sage words when it came to money. I changed it to better suit me these days, now I think of it in terms of time. I save the biggest portion for myself and my family – I give a little of my time away to others and I spend a lot of time with those that I care about most. It works for all of us!

We are not meant to fear things like time – to panic that it is running out. Like the wind, it isn’t here forever. It will ebb and flow and ours will fade one day. Enjoy it now – cherish it – encase yourself in the delights of life while you can! Let go of the bowsail and off you go!

There are no do-overs. It’s now or never. Are you getting the picture? Just do it. Move it or lose it……

Love, Me


Mind Over Matter

I have been learning a few things in my never-ending journey. Hard to believe, I know! It has been incredible – and those who used to know me certainly would be surprised (and in utter disbelief) of who I am now. A few short years of intense evolution – mind, body and soul – and here I am. Anew! I can only attribute it to one simple thing. Mind over matter.

There are several other key elements involved, but without mind over matter – you have a big pile of not much. It takes a unity of connections within yourself. That’s the mind, body, spirit connection!

If you believe you can’t, you certainly won’t. If you believe the outcome of your endeavor will be bad – it shall be. If you know it will be positive, then you will reap positive rewards. The outcome itself doesn’t really matter much – it’s the perspective in which we look at it. Feeling nauseous? Let me elaborate…..

Two women are attending the same party.

Woman number one is excited to go, taking her time to dress for it, have her hair done and rev herself up for a great night of fun and dancing! She spends the afternoon listening to her favorite music, swaying back and forth to the melody – unaware that anyone might be watching. She is lifted by her favorite tunes – inspired. She can even feel the light kisses of the wind drifting over her skin and she appreciates it all.

Woman number two is dreading the evening. She feels fat and guilty after eating the buffet for lunch that afternoon with her work colleagues. They had sat together and mocked other women because it made them feel better about themselves. It made them forget about themselves. She would rather sit at home and watch reruns on television tonight while she shovels tablespoon after nutritionally empty tablespoon of Hagen Daaz into her frown. She needs a haircut and her feet are already swollen. She is comfortable in her sweatpants for now. Dancing? Not on the agenda for the night.

What’s the difference in these two women? It’s obvious, isn’t it? I’ll tell you a little secret – both of them are me. Shocked? Don’t be – I just finished telling you I had changed. I wasn’t kidding. Woman number one is the present me. Woman number two was the old me. I’m certain I don’t have to tell you which me I prefer.

It all starts with the belief that you can. Do one little thing for me – go back into your memory banks and figure out the answer to this simple question: Who ever told you that you couldn’t? Think about it – it is the beginnings of something wonderful!

Love, Me

 

 


The Saturday Snippet – Perfection

Nobody’s perfect!

I remember hearing this throughout my life and I always thought to myself, “What a great way to get out of having to try!” I wasn’t aware then (or now) of what the definition of perfect was. I had never witnessed it.

No one ever sat me down and said to me that I had to try to be perfect in every way – it was something I thought we all just did. We learn this very young when we see our parents frantically rushing around before a dinner party getting everything  just right. Perfect.

We get the picture even more as we grow up. Our school athletics department ensures we practice drills until we can’t take anymore, our mothers spit shined our faces so strangers didn’t think we were slobs and generally, you didn’t speak to anyone for fear you would embarrass your parents (I always tried very hard to accomplish this one).

Why do we try to be perfect anyway? Isn’t this a lot to live up to, especially when the end result is always disappointment (nobody is perfect). I can’t count the number of times I told myself to try even harder when there really was no possible way I could have accomplished what I had set out to do.

Will your kid’s big grade four hopscotch win make a huge difference in her later career? No, but it’s funny how cheerleading will. It is how we look at things – putting far too much emphasis on beauty and material things than true talent or behavior.

I speak to women every day who complain about how they are feeling and how they look. I give out compliments freely and I mean every single one of them. When I do, I see ladies wilt  and a look of disbelief crosses their faces. No one takes in what I am saying, nor do they believe it. The opinion we have of ourselves is always negative – why? I aim to change this, ladies!

Perfection won’t happen – ever. Get over it. Our goal is to be the best us we can be. The simplicity does not lack intellect. Think about it. We will not look like Drew Barrymore because we are not Drew Barrymore! She is gorgeous, funny and talented but she isn’t perfect either (Drew, feel free to call me, we need to hang out!).

I have met so many genuine people who share their stories with me – and I am so grateful to them for that. Through them, I learn so much while sharing my story at the same time. I know that when I am open and honest about who I am, others feel safe to be that way with me too.

We must always be bettering ourselves. Learning is the most important aspect of this, in my humble opinion. Progress is the key to life! Sure, we are all on the same conveyor belt headed out-of-town – but let’s enjoy being perfectly imperfect, shall we? Who knows – maybe we’ll have a few good laughs along the way!

Love, Me


Putting It Into Perspective

I am going to keep today’s blog post very, very simple. It is simple only in the sense that actual words will be fewer….but the importance of the words themselves could be life changing. They changed my life. Are you ready?

“Place an acorn into the ground. That acorn will struggle to break through the earth again and grow into a mighty oak. Now place a sheep in the ground – all it will do is decompose.”

Think about that. Yuck! (You’re welcome).

Love, Me


Using Nature As Nature Intended

I imagine that there is a man – and he paves paradise and puts up a parking lot – everywhere. Now, here we are. Thanks, man.

I was never one to notice nature. I feigned appreciation of it when my tree hugging buddies would voice opinions on it. I never bothered to really pay attention, I had things to do and people to see! I did dislike the city though – the hot, smelly pavement in the summer reeked of crushed out cigarette butts and melted gum. Cement was everywhere.

Nowadays, I think very differently and I am so grateful for that. I received a rare opportunity – the chance to stay home and not only heal myself in a physical sense, but figure a whole bunch of things out in general too! Using nature the way she is meant to be ‘utilized’ is an incredible feeling, and I barely do it justice. I have a garden and a greenhouse filled with seedlings – and the kale – wow! The rest involves a deep appreciation for everything – and I mean everything. OK – maybe not mosquitos!

Since I have moved to this home, I have learned about the hazelnuts and wild strawberries that grow near my yard! I also have a wild raspberry patch that has gone unattended for years. I’ve added a watermelon patch, so raspberries would be terrific!

There are so many things we are discovering. For example, the other day we wandering down the driveway to the school bus. It had rained and we noticed the driveway was littered with little snails. It was really fun to watch my daughter gingerly pick them up, examine them and explain to me what she saw. Through the eyes of a child!

We all need to take time for ourselves – it is crucial. Stress kills people. Exhaustion, worry – fear, it all plays games with our minds and bodies. Get enough rest and eat right – you’ll feel great! We need to spend time with our children instead of saying we should – we need to simply do the things we say we always want to do!

Dandelion tea (or wine!), stinging nettle tea, rosehip tea – we drink them all, and all are picked and dried from areas surrounding our home. It makes me feel cozy all over! These remedies (teas) are not gimmicks, they are medicinally proven cures to various ailments. For example, lemon tea can settle a stomach ache. So can ginger tea. I used to drink garlic tea until a friend mentioned that I should probably slow down on the clove consumption for a while. What can I say? I love garlic! 

One crushed clove of garlic is equal to 10,000 units of antibiotics…..something like that. Got yourself a cold? Crush 2-3 cloves of garlic and swallow whole. If you can stand to chew it – knock yourself out!

Nature is an intricate system – more detailed and finite than anything else. We can upset the balance quite easily and we do.

All it takes is a quick internet search to find all of the information you need on harvesting things in nature. My neighbor planted the idea in my head and I’m so glad she did! I’m learning a lot and really having a good time! We added honey suckle to our salad too. Delicious!

So get out there and eat the edible stuff, leave the cacti and such alone and you’ll be just fine.

Never eat something from nature if you don’t know what it is or what it does. That would be like eating a donut and thinking everything was going to be alright. We know better!

Love Me