Saturday, May 31, 2014

Why I Sound Like Yoda When It Comes To My Fitness

This is what I feel like I sound like when someone asks me how I lost 83 pounds.  First thing I say is you're not going to like what I have to say.  Then they immediately crinkle up their nose and say, "exercise?"  They say it with their face looking like they just ate a bad oyster.  They say it with the look of "Well that's not going to happen."  I reply, "Yep.  Exercise."  With a sad I'm so sorry to have to tell this look on my face.  Then they say, "Well, that can't be all you did.  You had to have altered your eating drastically too."  I reply, "Nope. Just exercise and a gentle tweak here and there to my diet.  I eat more.  I make sure my protein is up.  I make sure my fat grams are down.  I don't ingest any artificial sweeteners.  Yes, that includes stevia."
Personal preference on the Stevia.  This is when they argue with me about how one can lose weight without exercise and with all natural stevia.  I just smile a smile that says, "How's that been working for you?  I know it didn't work for me."  And this is when "exercise or do not exercise it's your choice to make" comes out of me.  This is when I feel like I sound like Yoda's famous quote, "Do or do not... there is no try."

I know where they are coming from.  No one... NO ONE didn't want to exercise more than me.  I did it to prove that exercise wouldn't work for me.  I wanted to knock that off my list of things I really tried when I talked to my doctor on what I could do next to lose weight.  I even hired a trainer to tell me how exercise, so I'd have a witness to "she exercised so hard and it didn't work for her."

What I found out was exercise did work.  It worked probably immediately.  The first month I lost 2 pounds without changing my eating style.  The 2nd month I lost 2 more pounds.  I did this through Thanksgiving and Christmas.  January came around and my trainer gently suggested I might want to stop drinking diet soda.  This is when the weight loss really took off.  I stopped diet soda originally just for a month.  Liked the way I felt so much I never when back.  I started adding healthy fats to my diet.  My trainer suggested I make sure I was eating enough protein and I wasn't even close to eating enough until I started watching it.  Even though I didn't add salt to my food there were things that were high in sodium.  Salad dressings high in sodium.  The Seasoned Rice Vinegar I used to replace salad dressings had a lot of sodium.  My diet has evolved a lot over the past 2 1/2 years really with just little changes.  I knew if I made big changes and big restrictions from my normal way of eating I'd never be able to stick to it.

Exercise is my baseline.  I don't ever sway from doing it.  It is what keeps my body and my eating on track.  Who wants to mess up a good workout with bad food.  I don't.  So, as Yoda so profoundly said, ""Do or do not... there is no try."  You decide for yourself how you want your future to look.  Mine looks fit and trim.

Homemade Taco Seasoning... Why?

I originally started making my own taco seasoning, because store bought was too salty for me.  I quit added salt when I was 17.  I went to live with my Grandmother while going to college and she couldn't have salt due to high blood pressure.  She was miserable and complaining about bland food quite a bit at the time.  So, I thought this is my future.  I may as well get use to no added salt now, so when I'm 60 I won't be so miserable.  Fortunately for me I grew up with very little added salt, so making the switch wasn't too hard.  Taking my added salt to nil really made store bought foods like canned soups and seasonings like taco seasoning seem overwhelmingly salty.

I tried a few recipes and found I liked this recipe and started making my own.  For some reason I really like the minced onion in this one.

In addition to less salt I found I could also control the heat of the seasoning too.  I tend to be a bit of a pansy with spicy foods.  When I make this seasoning I found out adding no salt is really terrible tasting.  It is really hard to recover from it too when seasoning the finished taco meat.  On the other hand lessening the spiciness isn't a problem.  Anyone wanting more heat just sprinkles on some Tapatio on their taco or burrito.

I like to mix up a batch and keep it in the pantry.  First time I made it many years ago I put it in a sandwich bag and stuck it in the pantry.  Next day when I opened my pantry I was slapped up side the head with a strong smell of taco seasoning and shelf liner.  One would think it was delightful.  No, it was overwhelming and not something I wanted to smell every time I entered the pantry.  I placed the bag of taco seasoning in a jar with a lid and that keeps all the wonderful smell inside the jar.  Now that I think about it why don't I just put the seasoning in a mason jar and save myself a baggie?  Proof one can learn something new every day.

So, when making this experiment with the salt and the heat.  I like to use 1 T of salt and 1 tsp of cayenne pepper for my perfect taco seasoning.  I also never have ground oregano so I rub about 1 tablespoon of the oregano leaves between my hands to break it up a little for the 1 1/2 tsp of ground oregano.

3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup paprika
3 tablespoons salt, optional
3 tablespoons dried minced onions
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground oregano

Mix together and store in a tightly cover container.  Makes about 12 servings of mix.  Add 3 T of mix to 1 pound of browned ground beef along with 3/4 cup of water.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, and cook, uncovered, 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Use seasoned meat in tacos, burritos, nachos, taco salads.  Enjoy.