Archive for July, 2011

Other People’s Handiwork

I have only two links for you this week, but they’re both fabulous. They’re both long. They both give a lot of information.

The Only Healthy Eating Guide You’ll Ever Need from No Meat Athlete (@NoMeatAthlete)

How to Prepare for Barefooting from Mark’s Daily Apple (@mark_sisson) (There is a lot of information in the comments, too, if you have the time and inclination to read them.)


Meatless Meals (I Wish) My Mother Made

We had kale and squash in one of our Bountiful Baskets. A recipe was posted on their Facebook page that used both ingredients. We left out the stuff we don’t like, and we didn’t have as much kale as this called for, but it was really good. When we had it as leftovers, we added a little shredded mozzarella, which was also quite tasty. The recipe is from

White Bean, Butternut Squash, Kale, and Olive Stew

Hearty and healthful! This Italian-style stew fits a rainbow of vegetables into your everyday meals. Made with the convenience of protein-rich canned cannellini beans, it’s a meal in a bowl. Just serve with crusty country bread.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash (3 1/4 to 3 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 medium red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups canned vegetable broth
  • 16 cups chopped kale, thick stems trimmed and leaves cut crosswise into 2-inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon dried, rubbed sage
  • 3 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup canned black olives, pitted and halved*
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated Romano cheese, optional

Preparation Time: Approximately 20 minutes

Cook Time: Approximately 40 minutes

Heat oil in a heavy, large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add butternut squash, bell peppers and garlic; sauté 10 minutes. Add broth; cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add kale and sage; cover and cook until the kale wilts, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add beans and olives, and stir until heated through.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the stew to large, shallow bowl. Sprinkle generously with grated cheese, if desired.

*Note: Substitute Kalamata olives, sold at Greek and Italian markets and some supermarkets.

This Week In Pregnancy: Week 28

Third trimester!

On Tuesday, I had an appointment with my midwife. My glucose test was fine, my belly size is completely average, and everything is fine, fine, fine. Appointments shift to every two weeks now.

As usual, my midwife and I talked for an hour or more while I was there. I’m generally not excited about being pregnant, and I have (normal?) dips in enthusiasm about having a baby, but I always leave my appointments feeling good about carrying around this wily little fetus. Her enthusiasm is contagious. (That, and she knows what she’s doing.)

The uninvited belly rubs have started, mainly from coworkers and always other women. I don’t mind if people ask, but really — don’t just walk up to me and touch my stomach. It’s still my stomach, whether it’s enticing to you or not. Would it be OK for a guy to walk up to you and rub your boobs, just because they’re there?

I am really looking forward to reducing my protein intake back to normal levels. I have been good about making sure I get 80+ g on a close-to-daily basis, but it’s hard to eat a lot of fresh fruits — which are delicious this time of year! — when I need to eat so much protein. Blah.

I am still loving bike-riding and am grateful that my balance is still in good shape.

I am still sleeping through the night if I stop drinking water early enough in the evening and go to the bathroom right before bed. This also makes me happy. Easily getting down over 100 ounces daily.

On Tuesday, I go for another ultrasound to make sure The Kid is growing well. It was in a low percentile for weight at my last ultrasound, so we’re just making sure growth is happening. I’m totally OK with a light baby (I was only 5 pounds, 4 ounces), as long as it’s a healthy baby.

The Big Man and I start our birthing classes a week from Monday. Should be good!

Social Media

I have been kind of amazed at some of the interactions I’ve had on Facebook lately, which is what inspired this post.

I was never into MySpace. I had a page with a couple of bits of info, but not much. And I think my network (I don’t remember what the MySpace network was called) had 5 people in it — Tom, and four other people who never checked their MySpace accounts either.

When Facebook came into play, I didn’t really care about that, either.

When chemo left me with insomnia and a fuzzy brain (to the point where I couldn’t really read a book because it required too much focus), my old friend The Internet helped me pass time.

And I joined Facebook.

At the time, I joined it mainly to see how many of my former students were on and what they were up to. As time wore on, more people in my social circle joined or found me. And then people who I had known in other parts of my life were popping up. And so it grew.

At this point, I use Facebook (FB) on a daily basis — admittedly sometimes too much. But there have been many benefits to it for me.

For people who I am local friends with but who I don’t see or talk to on a daily basis, I get glimpses into what’s going on. I don’t use this instead of getting together, but there have been many times when “I saw on your Facebook page” started a conversation.

For people who I was local friends with but aren’t local any more (regardless of who moved), it’s a way to stay more in touch. With some of these people, we communicate via phone and/or email on an occasional basis outside of FB (and I don’t think we would chat more if we weren’t connected via FB). With some, we don’t otherwise communicate any more — or didn’t at all until FB, in some cases — but it’s nice to be in loose touch.

For both of these groups of people, I like seeing pictures that are posted — kids, vacations, events, home improvements. I look at almost all of the photos that come my way … though if someone I don’t know all that well posts 150 wedding pictures, I’ll probably just skim the thumbnails.

Neither of those are especially surprising to me. But there were other surprises.

There are people I’m FB friends with who I went to school with (elementary, middle, high, college, grad school) who I didn’t necessarily talk to all that often when we were in the same place at the same time. Some of these people, of course, just show up on my friends list and that’s all. But many of them have turned out to be people who I have things in common with, or who I have had many interesting e-conversations with (usually through private messages). For this reason, when random people I used to know send me a friend request, even when my first thought is “Why would you want to be my FB friend?!” most of the time, I’ll accept the request.

If it turns out that the jerks are still jerks or the drama queens are still drama queens, there is the quick and easy unfriending, which I have also used on occasion. As it turns out, not everyone outgrows the “I’m going to be annoying and I’m the only one who will think it’s funny” phase.

I have friended people who I’ve met at social gatherings and triathlons who I probably wouldn’t otherwise ever have stayed in touch with.

I have friended people who I’ve met — either in person or online — in the young adult cancer survivor community.

I have gotten a lot of useful feedback on questions and ideas about a wide variety of things — camera recommendations, general baby stuff, places to eat when I’m out of town, how-to answers. I ask more of these kinds of questions than I see most people asking, but most of the time, I get useful answers. The answers don’t always come from people I know well, or from people I would think to ask.

I have also seen articles, videos and pictures that I never otherwise would have looked up or found. Sure, some things that people post are junk. But there are at least one or two things every day as I’m scrolling through my news feed that I click through and look at. Some have inspired blog posts or have ended up in my weekly link roundup.

I know much more about what’s going on in professional sports than I otherwise would. I mean, who knew they still have hockey? Or that so many people watch soccer?

So FB for me is a significant news source. It’s a means of little connections with local people. It’s a means of staying connected with non-local people. It is a meaningful way that I connect with people, and so in that sense, it fills a spot in my interpersonal world.

(And since so many of my former students were in college and posting about things that I really didn’t need to know, I created a second account that they all got shuffled over to. There are other folks who I’m friends with over there, too, but the majority are current and former students.)

And yes, sometimes it’s a pain. People post stupid things, say things that are annoying or infuriating, etc., etc. I have gotten better about only pursuing arguments/debates until they make me angry, because really, I don’t need more stress in my life. Arguing on FB is something I have 100% control over. Even though sometimes it means not even opening the e-mail saying that the opposition has replied again, or ignoring the little notification thinger.

I resisted Twitter. I don’t have internet on my phone. And then I became a small business owner and it seemed like having a Twitter account was a prudent thing to do. So I have one (@2CFC). But I still really don’t like it. It seems that if you want to have conversations and connect with people, you need to be on all the time, which I don’t have the capacity or the desire to do. So I’m on sometimes. I interact when I have something to say. I retweet things I think are interesting, useful, or funny. But I’m not a big fan.

And because I have multiple email accounts (personal and business), a blog, two FB accounts (plus a page for Second Chance FitCenter), Twitter, and other sites that are business-related, I haven’t even looked at Google+  There is too much online to do as it is. Anyone have an account and want to report back?

How do you use social media? Why? Has it surprised you? Is it a joy or a chore?

Tri Training

I guess it’s time to get off my rear and get going. Last thing I officially trained for was a 5K in October, so I have a new goal and I have to get busy.

On top of training, I’m working like a loon because now there are layoffs (I work for a non-profit mental health agency and Arizona enjoys taking money away from AHCCCS as much as they enjoy taking it away from education). I an not interested in unemployment again, so I am doing my best to demonstrate what a dedicated and awesome to have around employee I am.

On top of THAT I have started school again. Woo. I’m taking an anatomy and physiology class right now. According to ASU, I have a deficiency. Boy, do I ever.

So I’m done vacationing and back in the real world. It’s even harder to find tri training time, especially because I don’t want to give up yoga and zumba (both once a week) and I need at least one full day to learn about the stupid body.

I did manage to swim 50 laps in the pool, which equaled about a quarter of a mile. Joke was on me though, mini-tri swim is an eighth of a mile. So, this past weekend I swam 25 laps then raced an overactive border collie for a tennis ball a million times (yes, in the pool. She will play ball anywhere).

I biked 11 miles a couple of weeks ago, but there was a disco length break halfway in between.

So I can bike. I can swim. But can I run? I guess you’ll have to come back next Wednesday to find out.

Now I am going back to my studies. I’m really itching to get at that A&P coloring book. I even bought new colored pencils!

“Where Do You Get Your Protein?”

As a vegetarian, I have been asked this countless times. As a vegetarian pregnant woman, I have been scolded for endangering my baby by not eating meat.

This is the thing: most of the people who are quick and loud in telling me that I’m not getting enough protein have no idea how much protein I should be eating or where protein can be obtained.

The amount of protein the average person needs is debatable, but that’s not my goal here today. For sake of discussion, we’ll use the current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). The following chart comes from the CDC’s website:

So as a non-pregnant woman in my 30s, I need roughly 46 grams of protein. Let’s look at the protein content of some simple meals and snacks. I will use what I eat as examples.

(Just to clarify — any food that has a label on it has the protein per serving marked.)

For breakfast, I’ll either have a bowl of cereal (5 g) with rice milk (no protein, but if you drink animal milk or almond milk there is some) or a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal (4 g). Or maybe scrambled eggs (6 g each) with toast (4 g per slice).

Lunch? Maybe a sandwich (bread: 4 g per slice): peanut putter (9 g) or tomato (1 g) with mozzarella (8 g). Or a salad: spinach (0.8 g), tomato (1 g), avocado (4 g), carrots (0.5 g).

There are so many dinners … Last night, we had whole wheat spaghetti (8 g) with sauce (2 g) and Tofurkey sausages (29 g). Most of our dinners include black beans (15 g per cup) or chickpeas (14 g per cup). WebMD has a great article about the goodness of beans. Firm tofu has 11 g in 1/2 cup.

For snacks, I’ll eat a serving of almonds (6 g) or have a banana (1.25 g) with peanut butter (9 g).

The only meals I have trouble estimating protein content for are stews and soups, where everything is mixed together and I don’t really know how much of each component is in my bowl. Otherwise, just measure what you’re eating, compare that to the serving size, and add up the grams.

Also, the amount of protein listed above is per serving. A serving is not “whatever is on your plate.” I had at least two servings of spaghetti but probably less than one serving of sauce.

“But meat is a complete protein!”

The adult human body requires 20 different amino acids in order to use protein. Nine of them are not produced by the body and are thus considered “essential amino acids.” They aren’t more important than the others — it’s simply important for us to consume them.

Food sources that have all nine in abundance are considered “complete” proteins. Food sources that are imbalanced (one or more in low quantity) are considered “incomplete.” (Some sources I’ve looked at said that no food source that contains protein is actually missing any of the essential amino acids — they’re just not abundant. Other sources said that some amino acids are missing entirely. New science vs. old science? Easier-to-explain vs. slightly more complex? Not sure. Regardless, they need to complement each other.)

Nutritionists will often refer to complete proteins as “superior” which I take issue with. Really, they’re just simpler. Eating a variety of vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains will give you all of the essential amino acids. The classic example is rice and beans: both are incomplete, but what one lacks the other makes up for.

For a long time, it was believed that vegetarians and vegans needed to combine incomplete proteins at each meal to ensure the correct balance. That belief turned out to be false. The body doesn’t care if you eat your essential amino acids all together or not. All proteins are broken down and stored as individual amino acids, and the body “mix and matches” as needed. As long as all nine are eaten each day, the timing on when exactly they are consumed is irrelevant.

Quinoa, which is a grain, is a complete protein. I have read that soy beans are complete and also that they are incomplete. I can’t tell you which is correct.

Do you know how much protein you eat in an average day? I challenge you to track it for a week and see what you come up with…

Other People’s Handiwork

Today is the last Sunday before school starts for me. Teachers return on Wednesday in my district (yes, that is July 27), earlier than most around here. Later than a few. It’s my 7th year teaching in Arizona, and school starting in July still messes with my head…

There were several things on the summer to-do list that haven’t gotten done. For some, there is still hope. For others … well … they’ll have to get worked into the work schedule. It’s all good.

Top 10 Superfoods for a Healthy & Active Lifestyle from Money Crashers (@moneycrashers): While I hate the word “superfoods” and think it’s been way overused, this is a good list of foods that will serve you well to consume regularly and moderately.

Save Money Making Your Own Smoothies – 8 Yummy Recipes from Out of Debt Again (@outofdebtagain): We’ve talked about smoothies before. Here are 8 more recipes you can try!

FDA Says Walnuts Are Drugs and Doritos Are Heart Healthy from I’m not a huge fan of the FDA anyway, but this is ridiculous.

Too hot to trot? from Prime Fitness for Women (@themusclediva): Succinct and sound advice for those who are exercising outdoors in hot weather, and how to make sure you stay safe.

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