Hello Fresh Review

Look what landed on our front porch!

First and foremost, this post is NOT sponsored. In any way. This is my honest opinion.

I know what you’re thinking, “But Karen, you’re one of the cheapest people on Earth, why in the world would you try Hello Fresh?”

Thanks for asking, friends, I’ll give you a few reasons.

  1. Because I was curious.
  2. Because I’m sick and tired of eating out and wanted something healthy
  3. Because a favorite YouTuber offered a discount code and I have trouble passing up a deal.

So yeah, I bit the bullet and signed up for Hello Fresh.

Kevin thought it would be fun to film us cooking the first recipe. It’s pretty obvious we’re not experts but you know what? We had fun and that’s all that matters.

We’ve tried five recipes so far:

Salsa Verde Enchiladas – I gave it four stars out of five. I don’t know that Kevin really liked this recipe all that much – it didn’t have meat, just a lot of beans, that I paid for later on in the week. *ahem* (We didn’t get a picture of this recipe)

Chicken Gyro Couscous Bowl – I REALLY liked this recipe. We happened to cook it on a really hot day and it was a perfect dinner as it was more of a cool salad-type meal. I gave that one 4 out of five stars.

Hone Thyme Pork Tenderloin was the third recipe. We diced sweet potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts, which I’ve never had before, and Kevin cooked the pork tenderloin on the grill. It was probably my least favorite. I gave it three out of five stars. Not that it was bad, just kind of bland. I will say though, I REALLY enjoyed the roasted brussels sprouts, I liked the charred taste, and the sweet potatoes were also really good, which makes me want to have them more often.

Italian Chicken Over Lemony Spaghetti was the fourth recipe. I REALLY liked this one as well and gave it 4.5 stars out of five. Again, Kevin cooked the chicken on the grill (it’s really the only way to prepare meat, in my opinion) and I cooked the zucchini and the noodles. Something about this recipe that I found really cool, was making a sauce and then tossing the fully cooked spaghetti noodles into the sauce. It re-hydrated the noodles and the pasta soaked up the flavored liquid which really gave it a good taste.

Pork Carnitas Tacos was okay. I gave it three out of five stars. The pork was crumbled and I “pickled” the onions in a white wine vinegar liquid which was an interesting taste. But it tasted a bit like hamburger helper, to be frank.

(We didn’t even try to make this picture pretty – I was over it by then and I said, “screw it, just use a paper plate”)

We also discovered Poblano peppers. Kevin and I have never had those before, at least, to our knowledge, they were in the Pork Tacos and we REALLY liked the taste of them. We will definitely use those in some of our recipes instead of plain green peppers.

We got another box today with Beef and Veggie Bibimbap and Blackened Chicken Penne recipes that we’ll try this week. I’m not a big beef fan so I’m not really looking forward to that one, but any chicken and pasta dish and I’m ALL about it.

Okay, let’s real talk here:


(I’m starting with cons because I feel like it outweighs the pros, overall)

Price – By FAR the biggest con, in my opinion.

So the discount code made the first box, of two meals, come to $28.00. The second box of three meals was $32.00. And the reason we got three meals the second go around was because for a low, low price of $1.50 per person, we could get a third meal and we were like, “why not?” The price is really not that bad – we figured we end up spending about $15 to $20 per meal for both us when we go out anyway. And this is healthy food so .. why not. The third box, which came today, cost $45.00 for two meals. And the reason it’s more is because my discount code is less on the third and fourth deliveries. The price will jump to about $60 bucks once the discount – FOR TWO MEALS.

Now I can not justify that price, really for any reason.

We have one more week with a discount and I’m really not sure if we’ll do it or not. We’re on the fence about it. We’ll see how it goes.

Cook Time

If you’re thinking getting Hello Fresh delivered to you will save you time, think again. On average, each meal took about 10 minutes to prep and between 25 – 35 minutes to cook. Now you’re coming up on an hour each night before you have a chance to sit down and eat. And let’s not forget the clean up. True. You don’t have to make a special trip to the store to buy the ingredients but let’s face it, if you plan ahead you can buy the ingredients when you have to go to the store anyway so …


Convenience – It’s delivered to your door. You don’t have to spend time hunting for specific ingredients at the store, it’s literally dropped at your door. Also, it’s fun to choose your recipes from the site every week.

Selection – The Hello Fresh website has a fantastic selection to choose from. They give you a list of recipes to choose from each week and they have meat/veggies/ vegetarian / and other diet options for those that can’t, or won’t, eat certain foods. All of the recipes look delicious and definitely not recipes we would try otherwise on our own.

Fresh Ingredients – All of the ingredients that have come with the recipes have been top notch. The meat/veggies have been fresh and really tasty. Absolutely no complaints there.

Portion Size – All of the ingredients have been perfectly measured out and make two nice-sized meals. Nothing goes to waste and we don’t have extra of something that will sit in the fridge, go bad and get tossed.

Cancel Anytime – Which we will be doing very soon. However, I will keep an eye out and use discount codes as I come across them as it would be fun to do Hello Fresh once in a while. Definitely not every week.

I know there are more pros than cons and I said in my opinion there are more cons than pros, but I just can’t past the price. To me, it’s just not worth spending that much money on.

However, if you live in the boonies, or you have a very busy schedule and don’t have a lot of time to plan your meals or shop for ingredients, this would be a great option.

I have to admit, though, I HATE to cook. And I mean – I. HATE. TO. COOK. I hate everything about it. I hate the time it takes to cook. I hate the fact that it literally takes you ten minutes to consume something that took you close to an hour to make. And I hate the clean up. I would rather grab something to eat and get it over with in the fraction of the time it takes you to make something from scratch.

Overall, it’s been a fun, and delicious, experiment. Again, Kevin and I have tried things we wouldn’t normally ever try and that’s always a plus in my (recipe) book.

Food, Life

Sick and Tired

Literally. I’m literally sick and tired. This is the biggest reason I’ve been quiet this past week – I’ve felt like crap.

It started on Wednesday. I had a little bit of a cough. And my chest felt heavy. I never had difficulty breathing, but I definitely felt chest pressure. And mind-numbing fatigue. By Thursday, my sinuses were completely clogged and I felt like crap. Still went to work, but it was rough.

Friday was a bit better, but not by much.

Do I have COVID? Who knows, maybe? But most likely, it’s a head cold. I know it’s hard for some people to believe, but it IS possible to have something other than COVID.

Today? I feel … ick. Sinuses are still pretty clogged but at the same time, I have a runny nose and though I’m still coughing, it’s only occasionally and my voice sounds really croaky. I doubt I do a podcast tonight because my smoker’s voice is not cute.

I’m rarely sick. Like, EVER sick. So this took me by surprise. I was prone to sinus infections for a number of years but then I discovered nose spray, Zicam and hot liquids. (Tip: Routinely burn the back of your throat. Don’t give yourself third degree burns, but hot enough for it to be uncomfortable. I have found that really helps burn off any bacteria that might be camping out).

Yep. I went to work even though I felt like dog shit. I haven’t called in ONCE in the ten years I’ve been with the clinic. I didn’t call in because I didn’t want to ruin that record, (though to be honest, I did think about that), but rather, I wasn’t sick enough to stay home. I guess I should define my reason for staying home – when I can’t walk upright.

On one hand, I probably should stay home when I feel like this. I don’t want to pass this on to someone else. And I would have, if I thought what I have is contagious, (but what if it was COVID, Karen?? Huh? Huh? Chances are, it isn’t, so calm your self righteous self down), but on the other hand, I’m tough enough to deal with it and in fact, getting up, taking a hot shower, distracting myself at work, does wonders – I usually feel way better by the end of the day whereas staying home I would have been focusing on my poor little self and wallowing in my sickness.

I feel like most people nowadays use any excuse, at all, to stay home. People don’t tough it out anymore, they call in “sick” if they have a headache, or the sniffles, or cramps or … whatever. I don’t know, maybe they’re telling the truth. Maybe their headache is a migraine, or their sniffles is a sinus infection, or their cramps are so severe they CAN’T walk upright, who am I to judge their motives? But judging by the work ethic of most people nowadays, I am suspicious.

And I don’t really care – do what you want. But it DOES put more stress on the poor saps you left to cover for you and do your work for you.

It’s just something to consider the next time you’re tempted to call into work. I’m just saying.

I started my OMAD fast this week. For those that don’t know, OMAD stands for “One meal a day.” I’ve determined that for me, my feeding window (I always feel like a cow whenever I talk about my “feeding” window – moo), is 3:00 – 7:00 PM. That way, I can still eat dinner with Kevin. And it’s every day, not every other day, or three times a week like I’ve been doing for the past 18 months. So, I fast 20 hours a day, every day.

I started it on Monday and it was rough. I was never so glad to see 3:00 PM roll around that I ate about two meals in four hours and felt SO SICK afterward. Lesson learned – I won’t do that again. But since I’ve been sick for the majority of the week and NOT HUNGRY, it hasn’t been that bad. I’m getting used to it now. And for the past two days, it hasn’t been a big deal, at all. I have been drinking water with sea salt though and I think that helps.

But being sick, it got me to thinking – is fasting GOOD for you when you’re sick? Does it help heal you faster?

Good question, if I say so myself. Ha!

I’ve also heard, or read somewhere, that when you fast and start burning fat, that you can release a virus, or some sort of sickness, that was trapped in your fat and get released when you burn that fat so that is why you feel sort of sick when you start a program designed to burn fat.

I have no idea if that is true, but it sort of makes sense to me.

So. I don’t know. I don’t know there is a hard and “fast” rule (see what I did there?) to whether you should Fast or not when you’re sick. You just have to do what feels right for your body, I suppose.

All I know is, fasting feels right for me and if I can improve my heart health and avoid brain disease, like Alzheimer’s, and extend my life expectancy, then I plan on continuing it.

Now. It’s 3:00 o’clock and time to break my fast.

Your turn. What do you think? Do you Fast? Do you Fast when you’re sick? Why, or why not?

ADDED: I just thought of something – what if I’m feeling sick because I wear a mask to work all day every day? I think, eventually, it’s going to come out that wearing masks cause respiratory issues. Mark my words.


Fasting Update

I started fasting in November 2019. Right before Thanksgiving. Probably the WORST time to fast. But what can I say? I’m an idiot.

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my fasting journey. But for those of you curious, yes, I’m still doing it and could probably do it better, but my goal was never to lose weight, per se, but to feel comfortable in my skin. To not have to be uncomfortable in my clothes because I’ve made a vow to myself, I will not buy bigger clothes.


My Fasting schedule is: I Fast for 24-hours on Sunday, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Why those days? No specific reasons, those days just work better for me. So, for example: I eat dinner on Saturday night about 6:00 PM. I will then not eat again until 6:00 PM Sunday night. I’m giving my intestines 24 hours to rest and my glucose to drop to zero. Am I hungry? Yes. But it’s not bad and I’ve gotten used to it, to be honest. I think the biggest reason I feel hungry is because my brain has been programmed to turn on my hunger hormone at the “normal” eating times and I just need to re-program it. Which takes time.

But honestly, I’m not really that hungry anymore. And I try to only eat when I’m hungry on “feeding” days. I don’t know why we have all been brought up to believe that we have to eat three meals a day. No, actually, we don’t. And in fact, it’s better if we DON’T do that.

Have I accomplished Fasting goal? Yes – sort of. But it has been a BUMPY road and I learned A LOT about my body in the process. More on that later.

First and foremost, if you’re thinking of starting a fasting program, talk to your doctor. Especially if you have any underlying health conditions, specifically, diabetes. Fasting messes with your blood sugars, in fact, that’s what fasting is, in a nutshell, it lowers your glucose level to virtually zero so that your body has no choice but to tap into your fat reserves, so if you’re diabetic … well, you can see the problem. So check with your doctor before starting something like this.

First of all, what is fasting? Dr. Jason Fung is a doctor one our neurosurgeons at work refers patients to. Well, he doesn’t refer them to him, he encourages people to look him up and watch his videos. Here’s Dr. Fung talking about what to expect when you start a Fasting regiment.

My comments:

  1. Headaches or Dizziness

Yes. I have experienced, and sometimes still experience dizziness. And I’m pretty sure it’s lack of sodium. I don’t really like salt and prefer my food to be salt free so on Fasting days, I drink a glass of water with sea salt and it not only helps curb my appetite for that day, but I have noticed a decrease in dizziness. And it should be sea salt, not the iodinized table salt.

I have also bought bone broth and warmed it up at work to drink on Fasting days. This helps with hunger and I’m hoping the collagen in bone broth will smooth a few wrinkles in the process. (Hey, let me wallow in my self-delusion, please).

2. Bowel Changes

The change in bowel patterns – erhm – I’m going to keep this brief because NO ONE is interested in how many times I go to the bathroom, but I will say, that yes, that definitely changes when you Fast. However, I take magnesium supplements on Fasting days not only for constipation, but it also helps my stress levels. It helps calm me down and I’ve definitely noticed a difference since taking it.

3. Insomnia

I have experienced a bit of insomnia. But since I’ve cut all caffeine out of my diet, this is not as big of an issue as it used to be. I didn’t cut caffeine out of my diet because of Fasting, but because I was having a lot of heart palpitations. Cutting caffeine really helped with that but what REALLY helped my palpitations was taking potassium supplements. Ever since I’ve done that, my palpitations nearly disappeared. (Some of the palpitations was due to stress/anxiety, which I have from time-to-time when my body can’t take anymore and then it just sort of manifests. Fun stuff).

He mentions Blue-Block for insomnia. I actually bought, and am wearing now, Blue-Block glasses I bought from Do they help? Meh – jury is still out but I would like to think they are helping my eyes as I stare at either a computer screen, a phone screen or my Kindle screen all day long. I DO think it helps with eye fatigue.

4. Heartburn

OH. MY. GOSH. YESSSSSS. I definitely experience heartburn. Especially when coming off a Fast. I went through a period of time when I drank Apple Cider Vinegar, not so much for the heartburn but because it also helps with hunger pangs. Thankfully, heartburn doesn’t happen very often and when it does, I just chew on the Alka-Seltzer heartburn tablets and that takes care of it.

The beauty of Fasting is that it’s completely customizable. You can follow any schedule you want. For me, Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays just seem to work the best. I knew I didn’t want to skip Friday or Saturday nights because those are our “date nights.” Kevin and I go out to dinner on those nights.

I will say, that starting out is hard. And start small, by the way. Don’t start with OMAD (one meal a day) or alternate day Fasting. Try skipping breakfast and eat lunch and dinner to begin with. Or, eat breakfast and lunch and skip dinner. Whatever fits into your lifestyle. And then gradually, lengthen your Fasting window. Skip breakfast and lunch and only eat dinner, for example.

Another tip – DON’T DRINK SODA OR OTHER SUGARY DRINKS. I can’t even tell you how MUCH this helps. Those drinks are good and addicting because they are liquid sugar. And sugar is addicting. Also, cut down your carbs. I try not to eat much bread. And I LOVE bread. But again, it helps. Bread gives you a lot of belly fat because of the yeast, which is also in beer, hence, a “beer gut.”

As Dr. Fung said, consistency is key when you Fast. But it’s a lifestyle choice and change and it’s not always easy. Let’s break down the reasons people fail when they try Fasting according to Dr. Eric Berg.

  1. Never Start

It seems “unnatural” to not eat. So it’s a mental shift away from what we’ve been taught our whole lives. In order to survive, you must eat. And sure, that’s true, but skipping a meal or two doesn’t equate starvation. “You’re switching food fuel with fat fuel.”

2. Feel Worse

Yes. I won’t lie. When I started my Fasting journey, the third day WAS AWFUL. I was dizzy, a little out-of-my head and I felt like my stomach was going to eat itself. I believe I broke my Fast a bit early that day because I was so miserable. But I didn’t give up. The fourth day wasn’t as bad and after a while, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I still have hunger pangs but I just ignore them most of the time. I found out, the hard way, that most of my struggles were due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. When I started taking potassium and started drinking water with sea salt, my symptoms went down SIGNIFICANTLY. I also eat a lot of eggs on my feeding days and raising my vitamin B levels also really helped. So, learn from my mistake – keep your electrolytes up, it’s important.

3. Don’t Lose Weight

I dropped about 20 pounds in three months. And then … nothing. Now granted, I haven’t been as active as I need to be. Remember, I’m either sitting on my butt reading or I’m sitting on my butt blogging or checking my Patreon, so I’m quite confident when I start my walking back up, I’ll drop some more pounds. But the fact that I dropped that much weight right off the bat was very encouraging. And people at work noticed and were encouraging, that really helped me to stick to the plan. And remember, my weight loss goal was just to feel comfortable in my skin, not necessarily to get down to a size zero. Not because I didn’t want to be smaller but because I don’t want the stress of staying that size. Staying overly big or overly small takes a lot of work and quite frankly, life is too short to want to deprive myself of the small pleasures all so I can stay overly small. No thanks.

I also Fast to repair my internal organs. And it’s healthier for your brain which studies have shown help prevent Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases. And it also prolongs your life expectancy. There are A LOT of health benefits of Fasting, not just weight loss and to be honest, those benefits are more important to me than being stick thin.

4. People Discourage You

“You’re not starving your body, you’re just shifting what fuel you’re running off of.” Dr. Berg says when you eat is more important than what you eat. I found this interesting and encouraging. Insulin is triggered by carbs and frequent eating. I wish I had known this stuff when I was in my 20’s. I think a lifetime of Fasting would have made my life a little easier now that I’m in the my 50’s. It’s not too late, but if you’re reading this and you’re younger, I encourage you to look more into this alternative. I recommend watching Autumn Bates and Fledge Fitness YouTube channels. They are both GREAT resources on what Fasting is, how to implement in your life and the science behind the lifestyle.

So. I’m sorry if you clicked on this post thinking you were going to get a before and after picture. Honestly, I WISH I had taken a before picture but again, my goal wasn’t merely to lose weight but to feel better on the inside and the outside. I think I’ve accomplished that but I’m ready to amp it up another notch. I’d like to start OMAD (one meal a day). I’m close to doing that now. Even on my feeding days, I have been trying to stick to my fruit smoothie in the morning, skip lunch and then eat dinner. My fruit smoothie is:

Handful of Pineapple
One banana
Greek yogurt
One scoop of protein powder
One cup of Almond milk
Handful of Strawberries

It tastes like liquid ice cream. I LOVE them. I drink them three times a week right before work and that will, most times, curb my hunger and I don’t eat lunch. I hate to give them up, but I suppose I could drink them as “desert” after dinner.

At any rate – I want to try OMAD and of course, start moving more. I have been walking a few times around the hospital during the weekday and I’ve been averaging about 7000 to 9000 steps per day. It’s better than nothing.

So Fasting is not a fad for me, it’s a lifestyle. One that I really don’t have any intentions of stopping. The trick is finding a schedule that fits in with your life.

It’s a personal journey and one I hope you will look into and try.

Good luck!

Food, Getting into Shape

Alternate Day Fasting: Two-Week Update

Good day, everyone!

As the title suggests, yes, I’m still doing the alternate day fasting. I’m heading into my third week.

I’m currently fasting on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. I have figured out those are the best days for me to fast. I routinely have clinics on Mondays/Wednesdays and I have found that if I’m fasting on one of these days, I lose patience with patients more easily and I’m on my feet all day so I’m burning calories and feel more hungry. In addition, we have a lot of food days and I didn’t want to miss out on those days with my doctor and mid-level.

My feeding days are, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Again, these days work best for me. Fridays and Saturdays are the days that Kevin and I go out to dinner and again, I didn’t want to miss these “dates.”

I’m only fasting three days of the week because I’ve been reading (I’ve done A LOT of reading up on this topic) that if you fast for too long, your body goes into starvation mode and instead of releasing your fat reserves for energy, it holds on to your fat because it doesn’t know when it’s getting it’s next fuel. I don’t want that to happen because if I’m going to put myself through this, I want to maximize the benefits.

So far, so good. It’s been a struggle, I won’t lie, but mainly with my Ghrelin hormone, i.e., your hunger hormone. This hormone kicks in when your body is used to eating, breakfast, lunch and dinner times. I have to keep busy and drink lots of water when that hormone rears its ugly head. But it’s manageable and not too uncomfortable, more annoying than anything else.

There have been two occasions, around 6 in the evening, where I feel like my stomach starts turning inside out and is eating itself. It’s terribly uncomfortable and borderline painful. When those times occurred, I cried uncle and ate a spoonful of peanut butter which helped calmed it down enough I could handle it. Yes, I broke my fast, but I worked hard to keep my calories under 500 calories during those times. This is not ideal and I felt like I failed when I gave in and ate just a bit, but I honestly couldn’t think of anything else, the feeling was THAT powerful. So, though not ideal, you have to do what is best for your body and at that time, I felt like I needed to do that. However, I’m going to try very hard NOT to let that happen again.

After the second time of this happening, I looked up what I could do to avoid that feeling in the future. The information I’ve found said to eat a lot of protein before your next fasting period. So, this past Wednesday night, I ate dinner, as usual, and then, before I went to bed, I heated up some frozen cauliflower, broccoli and carrots in the microwave and ate that whole bag, (well, nearly all of it) and a can of tuna and when I fasted on Thursday, I felt no hunger pangs, at all. In fact, that day was the most comfortable I’ve felt fasting. It was a breeze.

Yes. My body is getting used to these fasting periods, but I really think eating the vegetables and tuna really helped get me through the 36 hours of fasting. Because that’s what it ends up being, 36 hours of fasting. For example, tomorrow is a fasting day. So, I will eat breakfast, lunch and dinner today, won’t eat anything at all tomorrow and will break my fast at breakfast on Monday. That is roughly 36 hours of not eating anything.

I worried at first that I would want to binge eat on my feeding days after coming off a fast but so far, I haven’t experienced that. Yes, I’m hungry, but not ravenous. And I can feel my stomach has shrunk so when I do eat, I’m not gorging myself. I’m also more focused on making sure I’m eating good foods as opposed to junk food. Yes, I still eat the occasional slice of bread or sugary snack, but I’m not going overboard and quite honestly, I’m not really craving junk food that much; I find that I’m craving more good foods and they are tasting better as well.

I’m so lazy that I didn’t take my body measurements when I started this and I certainly haven’t weighed myself because I stress too much about numbers when I do that, but instead I’m focusing more on how my clothes fit. I have noticed that my scrub tops are fitting looser. I don’t have to tug on them quite as much to give myself breathing room, though they are not hanging off of me I definitely think they are looser.

I think the biggest indicator for me will be when it comes time to do my health screening with work again in the summer, when they take my blood pressure and weigh me. I’m hoping my weight drastically shows a difference, but other than that, I’m not interested in weighing myself.

Speaking of vitals, I have noticed a DRASTIC change in my resting heart rate since fasting. My resting heart rate would typically run in the high 70’s but I’ve been noticing that my Garmin is charting low 60’s now. Granted, I don’t know how accurate my Garmin tracking is, but in the three years I’ve been wearing my Garmin, my resting heart rate has NEVER been that low.

I haven’t noticed any changes in my energy levels so far. I don’t feel like I’m more tired than I was before though I do feel like my mental clarity is a bit better; I don’t feel as sluggish as I used to. And I feel like the quality of sleep I’m getting is a bit better, too, but it’s still early days.

My next plan is to start making it a goal to get 10,000 steps per day. I typically average about 7/8,000 steps on a clinic day so reaching 10,000 on those days won’t be too hard but when I’m not in clinic and sitting all day doing computer work and answering phones, I only get about 4,000 steps. I need to get back in the habit of getting right back on the treadmill when I get off work instead of changing into comfy sweats and sitting down to veg on YouTube videos. Everything I’ve been reading about fasting cautioned you about not really attempting any “hardcore” (not that I’m ever a hardcore fitness geek) exercise program right after fasting but to give yourself a few weeks to adjust to the changes before starting anything outside your normal day-to-day stuff and I feel like I’m ready to incorporate more physical activity now. So I will dust off my treadmill and start walking again.

I also plan on trying Keto coffee to see if that helps suppress my appetite on fasting days. Keto coffee is coffee, coconut oil and butter blended together. I bought coconut oil and butter last night and I just bought a foam frother on Amazon to take to work and use.  I’m excited to see if the Keto coffee hype lives up to the name.

I was talking to my brother-in-law about fasting on Thanksgiving and he let me borrow his “Complete Guide to Fasting” book. I haven’t read it yet, I feel like I’ve gotten so much information about fasting from YouTube, but he says he’s done five-day water fasts before. I don’t think I’ll ever get that hardcore about fasting, but then again, I never though I would be doing what I’m doing now, so you never know.

I also downloaded an app on my phone, it’s called “My Net Diary” just to keep track of what I’m eating on my feeding days. Though I have no intention of counting calories, this has been interesting to see and it does motivate me to keep my calories under my “ideal” calorie intake in order to reach my ideal weight goal. It has become a game, of sorts, to keep my caloric intake within range. I’m hoping this, along with fasting three days a week, will accelerate my weight loss goals.

I’ll check in with you all again in a few months on my fasting journey and let you know how it’s going.

Overall, I’m very happy and excited to fast. I feel better, I will hopefully, eventually, catch sight of my chin again someday and I hope all of the research I’ve read is correct and I’m preventing Alzheimers and extending my life expectancy by fasting.

Can We Talk?, Food, Parenting

Child Obesity Linked to Working Moms and Corporations

Wow. I can’t believe the mom-o-sphere hasn’t been up in arms about this latest “study.”

And before we go any further, just to set the record straight – I’m a mother. I’m a blogger. But I don’t consider myself a mommy blogger. No disrespect to any mommy bloggers out there, I just don’t put myself into that category. So when I say “mommy bloggers,” I’m not talking about myself, per se. I prefer to observe a group, as opposed to being part of a group, then I can be more objective (and vocal) in my opinions without being boiled alive.

If that makes any sense.

Anyway, here’s a snippet of the article:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The more mothers work during their children’s lifetimes, the more likely their kids are to be overweight or obese, according to a US study published on Friday.

Researchers from American University in Washington, Cornell University in New York state and the University of Chicago studied data on more than 900 elementary- and middle-school-aged children in 10 US cities.

They found that the total number of years the children’s mothers worked had a cumulative influence on their children’s body mass index (BMI) — the weight to height ratio used to measure if a person is overweight or obese.

The researchers were unable to clearly explain the findings but theorized that because working mothers have little time to shop for healthy food and prepare meals, they and their children eat more fast- and packaged foods, which tend to be high in fat and calories.

I wish the article had linked to the study, I would like to see the data on this “conclusion.”

Though I can sort of buy it. I mean, working parents are pressed for time. And fast food is fast and convenient. And when you have a 1001 things to do when you get home at night, cooking is low priority. And the kids are hungry. And probably whining … and offering healthy choices is a lot of extra work AND expensive.

I’m guilty of doing this from time-to-time. Kevin and I will get home and THE LAST thing we feel like doing is cooking dinner and then cleaning up afterward. So, we’ll go out and grab some Wendy’s (or some other fast food) just so we’ll have more time to relax and do the things we need to do.

We’ll all crunched for time, we all cut corners whenever we can. There’s nothing wrong with that. I guess the problem starts when that’s ALL we do – when we consistently go for the unhealthy shortcuts and skip the healthier options. Eating healthy is not really that hard – if we make a conscious effort to do so and plan ahead.

Dr. Laura’s blog is what first drew my attention to this. Here is what she had to say on the matter:

The most important part of this study is the part that gets people mad. Well, it gets moms mad. Children’s chances of becoming fat rises the longer mothers work outside the home. Weight problems among children have soared in the past 3 decades as more women have joined the workforce.

But the main problem children have is the inattention of their mothers, because their mothers are burning the candle from one end to the other and all along the middle. Because women have been bullied by the feminist mentality, they no longer believe being a mother and a wife and a homemaker is an adequate thing for anybody to do.

So they have full-time jobs, kids and a husband. They can’t adequately take care of their kids to make sure they exercise and eat right. …

What studies like this show is how important you are to the well-being and health of your children

As usual, Dr. Laura doesn’t mince words. I’m sure that working mothers out there aren’t purposefully feeding their children fatty foods out of neglect, but convenience and cost are definitely factors. I can totally understand WHY working moms resort to these types of food, but I wonder if they’re really thinking about the long-term repercussions of doing so.

(And just for the record, and just to keep things fair and balanced – I’m sure there are a lot of working moms that break their backs to make sure their kids are eating right and getting enough exercise. I’m also sure there are some stay-at-home moms that feed their kids a lot of crap, too. Everyone has their reasons, everyone has to do the best they can do. My point is to try and raise awareness about making healthier choices for our childrens’ sakes, if for no other reason).

One of the reasons I think this article hits a nerve for a lot of people is that once again, parents feel like their parenting skills are being questioned. It’s like watching a caged animal being backed into a corner – they get vicious and defensive. And once again, some people will do, or say anything, to get out of being held accountable.

Which sort of leads me to the other thing I wanted to talk about…

How some people think it’s the big-bad corporations’ fault that people, in general, are obese because of the food they sell.

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(RSS readers – another video that won’t show up in your readers. My apologizes. Click over to watch it).

Where to start….

Yes. Some companies offer fatty foods. They do so because they want to make a profit. It’s the reason companies exist. They do not exist to better mankind, they exist to make a buck. And when they’re successful at making that buck, they expand and employ people.

Jobs make an economy strong.

Should they offer these types of fatty foods? Well why not? People buy them. If people stopped buying them, they would stop making them because they would be losing money. Again with the profit margin thing.

Personally, I think it’s sort of sick that they sell these heart attacks waiting to happen food types and it makes me uncomfortable when I see obese people inhaling these fatty foods. But guys, no one is forcing them to eat that stuff.

No one is twisting people’s arms to buy these fatty foods. No one is holding a gun to people’s heads to consume these fatty foods. Is it sad that they make unwise choices? Absolutely. But it’s their choice. They have the freedom to make that choice and they will have to deal with the consequences of making that bad choice.

(Pst – moderation is KEY).

I’m not sure how it’s the corporations’ fault that people make bad choices.

Once again, blaming corporations is much easier than owning up to our own weakness. Pointing fingers is a heck of a lot easier than exercising will power and simply refusing to eat the junk that’s offered.

But again, let’s be fair. It’s also equally sad that healthy food is not more affordable.

Do I wish the food industry wasn’t so off balanced (and dare I say, corrupt?). Yes. Do I wish people would start demanding that healthy food be made more affordable and available? Yes. And I think we’re starting to make strides in that direction. But do I think we should blame and/or punish big industries for people making bad choices? No. Just don’t buy their products. Get them where it hurts, in their profit margin. They will soon get the hint.

Once again, it’s about taking responsibility for our choices. Once again, society is scrambling to blame someone else.

I’d be discouraged by all of the finger pointing, but I honestly think people are starting to wake up to these tactics.



Cooking Italian-Style Chicken Strips

This is Jazz, my youngest son, and he’s eating a dish that he cooked for us the other night.

I know, judging by his expression, that he appears not to like what he cooked, but actually, he was trying (keyword: trying) to appear cool in his approval.

I’m thinking he failed.

Anyway, he made this recipe in cooking class and he was dying to try it out on us.

Actually, Dude took the same cooking class and …

What’s that? How in the world did I coax my very manly teenage boys to take a cooking class?

You mean aside from my threats of getting out of the car when I drop them off in the morning, wave and yell so loudly that our neighbors in the next county can hear me, “Have a good day, boys! Mommy loves you!”?

Er … nothing. They WANTED to take the class. I didn’t have to do anything.

Granted, it sounded more fun than a lot of the other class choices, but still, cooking class – for my teenage boys. I was quite thrilled, if you want the truth. I mean come on, EVERYONE needs to know how to cook for themselves, right? I mean, I’m quite sure I’ll be over at their apartments every day making sure they drink more water than soda, brush their teeth and to pick up their dirty (stinky) socks, I can’t possibly make their meals too, now can I? I mean, I need to draw the line somewhere, don’t I?

(Okay fine, I’ll be cooking their meals, too. Whatever).

Anyway, where was I … oh yeah. Voluntarily taking a cooking class. Actually, the boys don’t mind taking classes they feel will benefit them in “real” life (because going to school to learn proper English and how to calculate distance is not real life, don’t you know). And this cooking class was definitely in that “real-life” category.

I’m proud to say that both boys quite enjoyed their cooking class (and when I asked them if there were a lot of boys in their cooking classes, thinking that maybe the REAL reason they wanted to take the cooking class was because it would be chock full of cute girls and they wanted to take advantage of the 50:1 girl-to-boy ratio, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there were quite a few boys taking the class. Of course, they could have been lying to me but let’s humor my disillusions, shall we?).

In fact, Jazz enjoyed his class SO much that he wanted to try one of his favorite recipes from the class out on us.

So, last Thursday night was Jazz’s night to cook for us. I asked him what he needed, I put those items on our grocery list, I bought those items for him, and he cooked for us.

We had to monkey rig the breading a bit – there simply wasn’t enough to coat the number of strips we made, but it turned out really good and we’ll definitely be adding it to our recipe rotation list. (Kevin made a database of recipes and printed it out so when it comes time to plan the next week’s menu, all I have to do is take out that list and POW, instant no brainer. I like no brainers).

Here is the recipe for Italian-Style Chicken Strips if you want to try it out for yourself:

Italian-Style Chicken Strips

Prep: 15 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Serves 4

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (by the way, don’t waste your money buying bread crumbs, just toast some bread, then take a fork and scrape off the crumbs).
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 cup corn meal (we had to add this just to make more breading. It worked nicely).
1 pound of skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into strips
1 cup Olive oil
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
Spaghetti noodles (enough to feed four [or more] people).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and pepper in a bowl. Give it a good stir.

Cut chicken into 1/2 inch strips. Place in breading mixture, coat chicken completely.

Place chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle Olive oil over chicken strips.

Bake 9 minutes. Turn pieces over and bake another 9 to 11 minutes until cooked completely through.

Serve with spaghetti noodles, pour spaghetti sauce over chicken strips and noodles.

Praise your child immensely and try and talk your child into cooking for you more often. Momma needs more blogging material.



Fasting Facts

Fasting is a natural practice done to promote healing. Taking a break from food allows for a re-balancing within the body.

So I read more about fasting …

I’ll admit, some of it sounds a little hocus-pocus to me, but I think there are definite benefits from fasting. Here is a bit of the information that I found (you can find a lot more information at

What are the benefits of fasting:

When we cease the over-indulgence that has become so common in our modern world, even for a short while, our lives and our priorities become clearer.

Fasting will:

1. rest the digestive system (BINGO! And the biggest reason I would even consider fasting).
2. allow for cleansing and detoxification of the body (!!)
3. create a break in eating patterns, while shining a spotlight on them
4. promote greater mental clarity (I have my doubts about this)
5. cleanse and heal “stuck” emotional patterns (sounds a little new age to me – however, if you feel better physically, I’m sure the emotional is not far behind)
6. lead to a feeling of physical lightness, increasing energy level (I could definitely use more energy)
7. promote an inner stillness, enhancing spiritual connection

Apparently, fasting initiates the body’s own healing mechanisms. In fact, this site claims that when someone fasts, they can often times experience flu-like symptoms because the body works overtime to rid itself of toxins. I can buy this because your body goes through something similar when you start an exercise program. Have you ever exercised after a long period of being lazy and felt more sick than good? It’s because your body is burning fat, which traps viruses and when it burns, the toxins release thereby causing your body to go into protective mode, fighting off the released viruses. I’m sure fasting does something similar, at least, that makes sense to me.

When we overindulge, our bodies are overwhelmed and it creates a burden on the body. When this happens, the body goes into survival mode and concentrates on the areas of the body that need attention first, shoving less important issues to the side. When you fast, the body can concentrate on those less important issues and work on healing/fixing them.


During fasting, we rest our system from the constant onslaught of food stuffs. We usually think of food as giving us energy, so it can be a new way of thinking to understand how the food we eat actually requires energy. Digesting, assimilating and metabolizing–these activities require a great deal of energy. It is estimated that 65% of the body’s energy must be directed to the digestive organs after a heavy meal.

Free up this energy and it can be diverted to healing and recuperation. It can detox and repair cells, tissues and organs, eliminating foreign toxins as well as the natural metabolic wastes (which are also toxins) produced even by our healthy cells.

And this is what the body will do during a fast. It will take advantage of that time and energy to do some housecleaning. The overloaded, overworked system, unable to properly handle all the toxins, has been storing any excesses in the tissues where they can be dealt with later. This is one of the great health benefits of fasting in that it offers this opportunity to play “catch up”.

Fasting itself isn’t necessarily a “cure” for anything. What it does is “set the stage” or create the environment in which healing can occur. Our bodies know how to heal themselves. We just have to “get out of the way”, and this means on all levels of our being. Fasting has a way of rebalancing us on all those levels.

Interesting. Oh wait, I already said that.

It warns that people who are anemic should not fast. Hmm … I am anemic, but not severely. I think if I build up my iron reserves before starting the fast I should be okay. I will also have to wean myself off caffeine before starting as well to save myself from the killer caffeine-withdrawal headache. (Which are pretty killer for me).

Oops. Just read that people recovering from surgeries should not fast. Rats. That would be me. I’ll have to wait a few more weeks at least before I attempt this. But that’s okay, that will give me more time to properly prepare myself. Because a person who is prepared to fast will often suffer less than a person who hasn’t prepared.

There are different types of fasting:

Fruit Fasting – A popular form of fasting is fruit fasting, ingesting only fresh, raw fruits. This is a good fast for beginners, especially the one-day fruit fast. It offers some choices as to the fruit to use, and like all fasts, you can create your own specific routine.

A fruit fast, like any of the fasting methods, will create an environment for your body to heal. You will experience an internal cleansing as the body’s systems begin the housekeeping they’ve been unable to do before. Toxins stored in the tissues will have an opportunity to be flushed out.

This detox will come with symptoms resembling the flu. Headaches, nausea, diarrhea, sore throat, coughing, fatigue, body odor, body aches, and sinus discharge are all considered normal reactions during a fast. If you find yourself with any of these side effects, take heart! and know they are a sign that your body is healing.

Does the sugar content of fruit concern you? Don’t let it. Fructose, the sugar in fruit, is slowly broken down and converted by the body through several complex processes, into sucrose and glycogen, supplying energy over a long period of time. Fruit is actually recommended for many with sugar-metabolizing disorders, such as hypoglycemia.

A fruit fast is actually what they recommend for one-day fasters and/or beginners. I’d probably stick with apples, though there are many more fruits you could choose from. They recommend four apples for the day – one for each meal and one for a snack. I could easily do this for one day and this is probably the one I’ll start first. I’d then like to go on and try the juice fast. You can read more about the healing effects of a juice fast here. (This will also give me some time to shop deals on juicers).

There’s a rice fast, I’ve never heard of this one. (Who am I kidding, I’ve never heard of 95% of this stuff) and “a brown rice fast can alleviate many digestive troubles.” Hmmm, I may have to try this one, too.

There is also a water fast and a master cleanse fast, but I’m not really that interested in those.

I think I’m going to have to try this over the weekend as I will have the time to simply rest, which is what is recommended. (They actually recommend taking naps – I can do that!) I’ll try a one-day fast to begin with and possibly work my way up to a two, or even a three day fast, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m really curious to find out how my body reacts to eating nothing but apples and drinking two quarts of lemon-flavored water.

Be careful not to fast too frequently; allow your body sufficient time to rebuild nutritional reserves. Two days per week is too frequent, as is one week every month. Recommended fasting times for regular, occasional “maintenance” and rebalancing are one day per week and/or 3 days per month and/or 10 days yearly.

I’m thinking two days per month might be better for me, but again, we’ll just have to see how my body reacts.

I’m excited to try this. I’m not looking forward to the detox symptoms, but I’ll prepare and hopefully it won’t be that bad. I’m most excited to see how this affects my digestive tract. If I can keep it cleaned out, then I shouldn’t have any problems. Right? At least, in theory. We’ll see how it works out when I actually start one.

In the meantime, hide your candy. 😉

P.S. By the way, things are quietening down again. I think it was just gas yesterday. I just picked at my food all day so my intestines wouldn’t have to work as hard. There is definitely a learning curve to this experience.