Archive for August, 2010

myth debunking: “I can’t afford to eat healthy”

If you have debt (and have taken control of your spending, if that was the issue), you don’t have extra money to spend.

If you don’t have debt but have otherwise been negatively impacted by the state of the economy the last couple of years, you might not have extra money to spend.

If you are like most people, you probably believe that eating healthy is more expensive than eating garbage (and that eating well is a luxury, not a necessity).

Combine these, and you have the perfect excuse for not eating well.

Drop the excuse!

Today’s post is not about all of the long-term monetary costs of not eating well, nor is it about how you pay short-term in currency other than money when you don’t take care of your body.  Today’s post is about mind over money.

Yes, Ramen and mac and cheese are cheap.  But so are rice and beans, and they are infinitely healthier.

Here is a link to a post with 5 rice-and-beans recipes and here is one for Hawaiian rice and beans.

If you are looking for cheap produce, you can buy what’s in season at your local grocery store (most expensive), you can buy it in bulk at your local warehouse store (cheaper), you can buy it fresh at the local farmer’s market (even cheaper and fresher), you can buy it from a co-op (cheapest but least selection).  Prices vary, depending on where you are and what you’re buying, but if you plan what you’re eating around what’s cheap, you can have some tasty, inexpensive meals that are quite healthy.  (And, of course, this varies by season as well.)  You can also stock up on frozen veggies when they’re on sale or you have coupons.

“But I want to eat meat!”

Well … meat is relatively expensive.  But if you eat it twice a week instead of every night, it will be much cheaper.  If you mix it in (think chili) instead of serving it up on its own (think chicken breasts), you can use less (increase other ingredients) but still have the flavor.  Also, buying an entire chicken and using the whole thing is much cheaper than buying chicken parts.

Convenience foods are also expensive (unless you’re an avid coupon shopper).  Pretty much anything that comes in a box is going to cost more than its component parts.  “Instant” foods (rice, oatmeal, potatoes, etc.) cost more than their slow-cook counterparts, and they lose a lot of their nutrient value.  Double whammy.  If you have a slow cooker, you can cook the slow-cook versions fairly effortlessly.

Finally, we throw away a ton of food.  If you eat everything that you bring home from the grocery store, you’re in better shape than most of us.

How do you eat healthy food on the cheap?

who is in control: you or the food?

So many of us have a bad relationship with food.  Taking a few minutes to examine your relationship with food might help you to sort out eating or weight issues if you have them.

Why do you eat?

  • hungry
  • bored
  • sad
  • happy
  • habit
  • it’s there

I was reading an article about bingeing and am glad it is not something I’ve ever really had a problem with … but I know quite a few people who struggle with it.  My issue was always simply eating too much, and too much of it being garbage food.

Allowing yourself not to feel deprived helps to relieve you of the urge to binge.

But there’s a difference between eating as much of whatever you want any time and not feeling deprived.

If you practice mindful eating and recognize when your taste buds are sated, you’re less likely to eat a large quantity of any given food at one time.  You’re also less likely to eat for reasons other than “I’m hungry.”

When you use food primarily as a means to fuel your body, your relationship with it is much healthier, and you control the food — the food stops controlling you.

Who’s in control by you?

other people’s handiwork

How is it that another week has come and gone already?  This was a stressful week at work, but I have some things brewing at Second Chance FitCenter that I’m excited about.  We’ll see how it all washes out…

Make the Most of Your Time — Give Love and Support from Zen Family Habits: This is a short and simple explanation of how judging others and being socially competitive harms us and lowers our own quality of life.

The Longer Your Waistline… from Disease Proof: Another short piece, this one on the correlation between mortality and waistline, regardless of weight/shape.

smoke? you may be killing your unborn children! from What I Learned Today: A third short piece, summarizing an article explaining smoking and changes to DNA.

Meatless Meals (I Wish) My Mother Made

We have made this easy, tasty dish several times, and we usually have it with rice.  There’s not a lot of chopping to get it all ready, and, as usual, we opt for cooked dry beans rather than canned.

Chana Masala (Spicy Chickpeas) with Spinach from

Chana masala with spinach is a vegetarian variation of a traditional and popular Indian food dish. If you don’t have all the spices on hand, it’s OK to omit one of them without too much trouble, but don’t omit more than two or you will have a completely different (and bland!) dish on your hands. For a heartier chana masala, toss in some tofu with the chickpeas and serve over rice.


  • 1 can chickpeas in water (also called garbanzo beans) or 1 1/2 cups precooked + 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloved garlic, diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • juice from one lemon, (approx 2 tbsp )
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 large bunch of spinach or two handfuls, rinsed


In a large skillet or frying pan, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.

Add chickpeas straight from the can, including all the water. Add spices and lemon juice, cover, and simmer about

10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more water if needed, until chickpeas are cooked and soft.

the time and expense of hair

Back in June, while The Big Man and I were on vacation, we were on a ferry.  At times like that, I am more grateful than normal to have extremely short hair.  Only a week prior, I had buzzed my head, #2 all the way around.

I concede that I had an advantage.  My hair fell out when I went through cancer, so I already knew what I looked like with really short hair — and I already knew it looked good.  (Really, is that an advantage you want to have?)

As a woman, there is a lot of pressure to have long hair.  I had long hair for a long time.  At some point nearing the end of college, I decided that I had a low-maintenance life and high-maintenance hair, and that the hair had to go.  I chopped it off, short for me (and generally what you see in magazines under “short hairstyles”) but not extremely short.

Over time, it got shorter and shorter.

It is interesting to me how many people ask me if my husband is OK with it.  Umm…  He can give me his opinion, but ultimately, I’m the one wearing it.  (Yes, he’s liked it every length I’ve had it so far.)

It is also interesting how many women have come up to me and said something along these lines: “I love your haircut!  I wish I could wear my hair like that, but my head is bumpy/my skin isn’t clear/I wouldn’t look good.”  Let me tell ya something: my head is bumpy, too.  But with hair on it, ya can’t tell.

Now, not everyone would look good with super-short hair, just like not everyone looks good with long hair.  But I think more women could pull it off than give themselves credit.  It’s just scary to buzz your head.  But only the first time 😉

What’s wrong with long hair?  Inherently, nothing.  But this is what I didn’t like about it:

  • it needs to be brushed at night and in the morning, and sometimes in between
  • it needs a lot of shampoo and conditioner (unless you use the no-poo method)
  • unless you’re not going out right away, it needs to be dried
  • when there is wind, it’s in your face (ferry, general wind, car windows — I love driving with the windows down!)
  • it requires more maintenance to stay healthy
  • said maintenance is more expensive  (I could cut my own hair … if I bought a decent buzzer … which I just might do)
  • it needs to be dealt with during exercise and any other time when hair in one’s face is inconvenient

Yes, there are occasionally times when it would be nice to have long hair.  Sometimes I would like to hide behind it.  Sometimes I feel like I would be “hotter” with longer hair.  But those are more self-confidence issues (for me) than actual hair issues.

So ladies, if you are feeling worn for time or if your hair is just generally a nuisance, consider chopping off your hair.  You just might like it 🙂  (And if you don’t, it will grow back…)

just because I’m curious…

I have had a handful of conversations in the last year or so that have gotten me to wondering…

In your opinion:

How heavy is too heavy?

How thin is too thin?

Where is the line between overweight and obese?

Where is the line between “normal”/”healthy” and overweight?  (I hate both of those words in this context, for different reasons, but I couldn’t figure out a better one to use.)

At what point does your weight become a concern for you?  Or stop being a concern?

At what point does someone else’s weight become a concern for you?

Are heavier people “allowed” to wear form-fitting or otherwise revealing clothes?

Just curious.

I have other more hot-button wonderings, but I think I will save them for another day 🙂

in sight, in mind?

I came across this short article at Web MD about a phenomenon they are calling The Fruit Basket Phenomenon.  Here’s the gist:

A hotel put out two baskets of apples at the front desk, and people ate them.

The reason this is striking to me is not because it’s brilliant, but because it’s brilliant.  I have heard a zillion times that if you want to eat less candy, ditch the candy bowl.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Or at least out of reach.

But I have never heard it twisted this way: don’t get rid of the bowl; just fill it with what you do want to eat.

Have you seen this strategy before?  Do you use it?  Might you use it now?


Second Chance FitCenter has a Facebook page.  I have taken to posting articles over there that don’t often get posted here.  If you’re interested, you can see and “like” Second Chance FitCenter’s page here.

houses and cars: a dichotomy

I like the word dichotomy and rarely have the chance to use it 🙂

I am one of the unlucky/unwise ones who bought during the boom (because that’s when we happened to get married and buy a house).  Consequently, our house is currently appraised for just under 2/3 what we bought it for.

There are many folks who would see nothing wrong with The Big Man and I walking away from this house and our mortgage, since the house has depreciated so badly.

I’m not here to argue whether or not that would be socially, economically, or ethically correct.

What is interesting to me is how many people don’t have the same mindset on what is typically the second most expensive thing they buy: their car.

Most of the people who I know who have purchased a car have bought a new car (as opposed to a used car).

As soon as you drive the car off the lot, it’s not worth what you paid for it.

Would you buy a house that lost a significant portion of its value as soon as you signed the papers?  Why do it with a car?

Duke it out in the comments.  I’m interested to hear why one is OK and the other isn’t…

“I’m Gaining Nuttin’ For Christmas”

6 weeks to the same you!

Second Chance FitCenter is proud to present a 6-week course on the psychology behind and tips for beating holiday weight gain.  (These tips are, of course, applicable year-round.)

You can come to my home for the classes listed, or we can set up one for your circle, whether it be your home (family, friends), office, church, etc.

I am considering also doing a webinar if there is enough interest outside the local area.

The image below has all of the details: what the topic is for each class, dates/times, cost, etc.

(If you are in a Reader, you might need to click through to see the graphic with all of the details.)

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