Category Archives: Life in general

Just everyday shenanigans, pithy remarks, things that go bump in the night.

Forks Over Knives

I got into a discussion about food recently and why it’s not good for you.  Hmmm.  I like food.  I think the basic food groups are chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and coffee.  Works for me.  Or rather, it did.  I had been lamenting the fact that I just didn’t feel good anymore.  My joints hurt, I had indigestion, food just didn’t taste like it should any more and don’t even get me started on how much it costs just for a simple burger meal at a fast food restaurant.  On top of that, I had gained a LOT of weight in the five years since I retired and I wasn’t liking it one bit.  I live at the beach and I wouldn’t be caught dead in a swimsuit right now.  Talk about the proverbial beached whale.

So, I’m talking with a friend and she tells me about a video she thinks I should watch –  “Forks Over Knives”.  She gave me  a few highlights from the video and so intrigued me that last week, I requested the DVD from my library.  I’m cautiously glad I did.  On Friday night, my husband and I sat through the video and then proceeded to have a huge discussion about food.  The definition as I see it for FOK is to eat only a whole-food, plant-based diet.  No meat.  Ever.  Further, the claim is made “that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.”  (Before we go any further, here’s the website: http://www.forksoverknives.com. There’s a link to the synopsis of the video that explains in detail the “personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn”. The video was shot in the United States, Canada and China.)

It’s not that we don’t believe in the premise of FOK, but we do like meat.  So, we may be doing some tweaking to the meal plans.  I don’t mind giving up beef, but I do love poultry and some fish, occasionally.  Still, one of the best lines of the video was this (I have to paraphrase here:) If it walks, squawks, swims, has eyes and a mommy and daddy, don’t eat it.  Well, that takes care of beef, pork, poultry and fish.  Hmmm.  The filmmakers did on-the-street surveys, asking people questions such as why do people eat meat or drink milk.  Without exception (at least in the video), the answers were “protein” and “calcium”.  But the argument is that a whole-food, plant-based diet will give you everything your body needs to nourish and sustain it. 

According to the website, there is a book and a cookbook that go along with the video.  There’s also a book written by Dr. Campbell titled: The China study : the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted and the startling implications for diet, weight loss and long-term health.  Dr. Campbell worked at length with the Chinese to identify areas in China that had exploded with degenerative diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers never heard of before in that area and the implications based on the western-style diet the Chinese had adopted.  I’ve requested that book from my library as well.

My husband and I haven’t signed on to do anything, we’re not supporting anyone or anything, and we haven’t been compensated in any way for this little essay. But after watching the video and hearing some of the statements and statistics presented, we’re willing to venture forth into this diet, a little at a time. Our next step is to research the whole-food, plant-based diet in more detail for foods that we can fix and that are readily available for us in our area of the US. I like market research, especially if I get to eat the research. So, I’ll keep a short diary of what we’re eating and get back to you on that.  I should also mention that to go along with this new life-style eating change, my husband and I have joined the local YMCA so we can ramp up that exercising everyone says is so necessary – but that’s another topic for another day.

As an end note, I want to thank those who have emailed me and called me about my dad’s recent stroke.  Thank you.  He’s home now under good care and doing far better than any of us had thought he would.  He has no physical ailments other than tiredness but he has lost some of his short-term memory.  That can happen with a thalamic stroke.  He’s doing mental exercises, working and using cheat sheets.  When I spoke with him yesterday, he said he could be talking to someone and forget why they were talking.  I told him he was describing me.  I’m so very grateful he’s alive.

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Filed under Books and reviews, Cooking, diets, DVD, exercise, family, food, health, Life in general, research, studies, video

Grateful

Even though Thanksgiving Day is still a few weeks away, I am so very grateful right now.  My dad was hospitalized this weekend with a thalamic stroke that confuses me.  He had just celebrated a birthday on Wednesday when he started feeling poorly.  By Friday evening, my stepmother had grown increasingly concerned with his erratic behavior and distracted talking, so she called his doctor and got him admitted.    He’s still in hospital, and for now, I’ll rely on my sister who lives in his area to help me stay informed, rather than make the long trip.  If she asks, though, I’ll be in my car before my husband can shut the door.  I’m grateful, so very grateful he’s still alive. I’m even more grateful that my stepmother, who is going through her own special health scare with a three-weeks-removed mastectomy, was on the phone with the doctor and getting him admitted before anything else could happen.  Thank you, Connie.

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One, Two, Three, Four…and More

Two things I’ve done this week – well, actually three that have to do with personal entertainment….hmmm, maybe four.  The first thing is that I finished that loong serial by Randy Wayne White – all 19 books – starring that hunky Doc Ford and his stoner friend Tomlinson.  While I’m glad I’m finished and ready for the next series (CJ Box’s Joe Pickett series), I sure hope there’s more adventures starring the Doc.  The second thing is that I’ve actually finished the first two Pickett novels, and enjoying his third, Winterkill so I’m well into that series now.  That Joe – he’s so…human.  Love his wife, too.  Great series – I can just about smell those Wyoming “hills” while I’m reading.

The third thing is that I think I mentioned that my husband gave me the Google Nexus 7 for my birthday and I’ve been having a heck of a ball with it.  I’ve filled that sucker up with all kinds of apps – both reading and games – but the one I’m enjoying right now is Jewel Quest Heritage.  I remember playing JQ several years ago on my husband’s big desk top computer and played that one to the bitter end.  Now, it’s a much smaller screen, but still just as sharp as I remember from the past.  This one has the same main character plus his wife and daughter and they are still trying to put the Jewel Board back where it belongs.  The graphics are good, but I just enjoy playing the game.  Unfortunately, it seems time speeds up while I’m playing and before I know it, hours have gone by.  Hours whereby I could have been reading. 

The fourth thing is – we saw Alex  Cross yesterday.  Great Movie!  I’ve not seen Tyler Perry in any previous movie (not a comedy fan) so watching him act out my fav detective Alex Cross was a treat.  I have read all of James Patterson’s Alex Cross books but it’s been at least two years so it was a fresh treat to actually see the beginnings of Cross’s life on the big screen.  I’ll have to go back and read Cross again.  If you’re a Patterson fan, don’t read what the critics are saying.  Just go and watch Perry bring Cross to life.  It’s a good movie, rated PG-13 mostly for the violence. 

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to my friend, Alida.  She’s the librarian at my little neighborhood library and she’s a ball of fire.  This past weekend she spearheaded the library’s first birthday and it turned into a real party, complete with cake, barbecue, live band, silent auction and books, books, books.  We had a ball.  Alida, this one’s for you!  Thank you for all your hard work and your wonderful friendship.  I’ve met a kindred spirit and I’ve not had as much fun in years!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  Pick up a book at your local library and chill.

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It Happens Every Four Years

Nope.  I’m not gonna tell you who I’ll vote for in this election.  Not what this post is about.  I’m so grateful that we, as a nation have the freedom and wherewithal to elect our Commander-In-Chief.  I need to remember how we were formed – through the blood, sweat, and many shed tears of our ancestors, through the many battles hard-fought and hard-won on both our native soil and foreign battlefields, and through the many, many elections we have held on these precious shores.  There’s a reason why so many nations attempt to emulate our election processes.  They work.  And Thank God they do.

However, I’m about as politically savvy as a post-hole.  It would take a year of intense study for me to understand the political processes involved in electing our President.  I’ll rely on the political process to work, and I’ll exercise my precious right to vote.  I do have an opinion, though.  I don’t see the burning need for these so-called debates between a sitting President and an opponent.  Debates just make both parties seem mean and TESTY.  They are nothing but “civil” verbal brawls.  There’s just this sense of a boxing match – shake hands and come out swinging.  So, I’ve purposed not to watch, ever, any more, a political debate.  My freedom.  My choice.  And before you skewer me on not knowing where the candidates stand, I DO know how to read, and I DO pay attention to results.

I will say this about campaigning for anything – be it a candidate for any office, from the mayor, to the governor, to the President.  You can promise me anything, but I won’t believe until you deliver.  Forever and ever, amen.

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Filed under elections, Life in general, political processes

Windows and Books

When I was a child, we used to do this thing called “taking a Sunday drive”.  I remember riding in the back seat, looking out the car windows and into the windows of houses we’d pass by.  I would wonder about the people in the houses – who were they, what kind of lives did they lead, where did they go when they weren’t home.  And if I saw the people through the windows, I’d wonder if they saw us.  Driving was kind of invisible – like the lives inside the windows of the houses.  Now, I’m all grown up and guess what – I still wonder about those houses and the people in them.  We don’t do the “Sunday drive” any more – it’s more the “get there and back as quick as you can” thing.  Unless we’re going to the beach.  Then I enjoy the drive.

But here’s the analogy between books and windows.  Windows keep me guessing.  Books give me knowledge.  I actually get to know the people in the “book windows” – their names, their families, their lives.  Sometimes with serials, I’m permitted a longer perusal – I get a little more involved, like hearing their thoughts and seeing the consequences of their actions and their reactions to the same.  It happens whether the characters want it or not.  Books are my windows into the lives of strangers – safer and much more informative. 

Happy Monday!

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Filed under Books and reviews, family, Life in general

Actors, Movies and Books

I don’t know anything about his personal life nor do I know, without Internet searching, what movies he’s made throughout his life, but when I saw Liam Neeson for the first time in Schindler’s List, I told myself he would be someone to watch over the years.  Yesterday, my DH took me to see Taken 2, and I knew I had been right.  The guy’s a great actor.  I don’t care that it’s a sequel – because I hadn’t seen the first, I enjoyed the sequel all by itself.  I didn’t recognize Neeson’s role, Bryan Mills, from any books I had read, even though the storyline seems to be culled from a myriad of other “clandestine-spy-operative-covert-war-mercenary” stories out there in novel-land.  After all, that’s how James Bond got started 50 years ago in the movies.  (Sean Connery – be still my heart – he still has the moves even now.)  So, if anyone out there in bloggerland knows the books this movie was “taken” from, please let me know.  I’m not gonna search for Bryan Mills through the bazillion novels with the title of Taken.  I’ll just say I enjoyed the movie.

So.  While we’re waiting for the feature to start, we get a glimpse of new movies rapidly approaching.  My husband and I rate the trailers ourselves – “must-miss”, “must-watch”, “maybe”.  Most of what we saw in the trailers were “must-miss”.  Ouch.  I know the trailers are usually themed along with the feature and in this case, most of them were of the “spy-vs-spy” category.  I didn’t see anything that I wanted to put on my “looking-forward-to” list.  At least not right now.  But that doesn’t mean there’s not a good movie to watch.  After dinner last night, we watched Brigadoon.  That’s a wonderful musical love story with Cyd Charisse, Gene Kelly and Van Johnson.  And yes, my husband watched it with me.  Payback.  I pick the Netflix movies, he picks the theatre runs.

Finally, one last actor – Tom Cruise.  I have absolutely enjoyed Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels.  In my mind, Reacher is a rugged 6-5, 250 pounds, so it’s a stretch for me to see Cruise as Reacher, no matter how pretty he is.  However, One Shot is one of Child’s best Reacher stories IMHO, so I’ll reserve judgment until I see the film.  Trailers just don’t do enough except tease the imagination.  And I do like Cruise as an actor.  Enjoy the movies!

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Filed under Books and reviews, cinema, internet, Life in general

NASCAR, Books and Everything Else

It’s Monday already.  What happened to the weekend???  Gorgeous weather here on the Gulf.  Husband out for daily walk in a sweatshirt of all things, and I’m doing the laundry.  So.  What happened this weekend?  A huge crash at NASCAR, here at Talladega, several books read, fun with cards and kids at the library, and church.  My glasses came in so I picked them up.  They feel odd.  It’s been 2 years since my eye surgery, so wearing them’s gonna take some getting used to on my part.  Still, those fuzzy objects in the background are a little sharper.  Going to the movies will be fun again – I was seeing movies in 3D without the 3D.  Painful.  I can still read my beloved books without the glasses so that’s a plus from the surgery.  YAY!   

Books.  I read several – did I mention that already?  Karen Kingsbury’s prequel to The Bridge (already preordered) was offered on Amazon so I snapped that and read it; Davis Bunn’s All Through the Night (awesome read!); Randy Wayne White’s Dead of Night and Dark Light; started Anna Quindlen’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, and White’s Hunter’s Moon.  I’ve requested the last four Doc Ford novels from my local library and then I’m done with that series.  I enjoyed those books, even with the ecology and environment preaching by White.  Since I’m not a scientist, some of the facts went over my head, but they were good conversation starters with a friend at the local library who’s a great advocate for the same causes.  There are so many good books out there that I sometimes wish I could just read by osmosis.  Then I could do several at the same time.  But what fun would that be?

I have to admit that I didn’t watch the NASCAR race, but my husband did.  When I mentioned that I knew Talladega is here in Alabama, he just looked at me and smiled.  I asked if he wanted to go to a race there, he said sure, someday.  Hmmm.  Christmas present to him – tix?  That got me thinking – Christmas is coming and I haven’t done a lick of shopping for anyone yet.  I’m confident we’ll get the job done, probably in one day.  Books for everyone!!  Wait – if you’re family, and you’re reading this – forget that!

My husband helped me put bookcase number six together for our bedroom and wonder of wonders, he agreed with me that we need a seventh.  HA!  We have a wonderful master bedroom with a huge window that would be perfectly framed by two bookcases.  Can’t wait.  Well, I can, but I don’t want to.  I’m not a patient person, which is surprising.  I always thought once I retired, I’d learn to sit back, relax and let life happen.  Nope.  But I’m learning.  If I can sit still long enough to read a book in one sitting, then something must be happening, right?

Happy Monday, y’all!!

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Filed under Anna Quindlen, Books and reviews, card making, Davis bunn, Randy Wayne White, sports, Talladega