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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hearty Soup/Stew for Winter Blues






Winter....cold, white, dark....it is no wonder some species spend all of it in slumber.


There is also a kind of a psychological claustrophobia that sets in, I think, as we spend so much time indoors. Even with my farm chores taking me outside a mandatory 3 times a day, I still feel so restricted....closed in by so many outer layers I have to don to survive the temps....closed in by the shut windows and lack of sunshine. Still, winter does have a beauty all its own and yesterday we had the kind of frost that I just love; it layers on the tree branches and crystallizes outward giving everything a magical feel. That, along with a bit of misty-fogginess to the air and it felt positively knights-in-castles, princesses-in-palaces and fairies-frolicking-in-the-woods around here (well, actually the fairies probably only frolic in spring and summer, but anyway...). I ventured out with the dogs for a walk and to take some pix.






The color palette of my dogs matches the winter world now that our Golden Ret. mix is gone....mostly blacks, grey and white now and that is the other thing I crave in winter: COLOR!




Ahhh, all is not lost....a bit of color as our cat, Lakota (aka M.C. - "Man-Cat" as he is definitely a man's cat and a nod to M.C. Hammer as he has all the grace of a sledge hammer) has decided to accompany us on our walk.



Feeling a bit refreshed from getting some air and time with nature, I want something really hearty and substantial to eat. I was thinking of all the winters that I used to make up beef stew and have some buttermilk or baking powder biscuits with it. I realized it is the STARCH that I really want...not the beef.


(For a fascinating discussion on starch, see John McDougall's lecture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XVf36nwraw The Starch Solution).




So, I made up a soup/stew initially trying for a simple potato soup. I sauteed some onions and garlic in some veggie broth, then started adding vegetables. Chopped carrots, celery, sweet potatoes and golden potatoes (cubed) all went in and I continued adding broth. I lightly seasoned with parsley, salt and pepper and a dash of Bragg's aminos. Later in the cooking process (probably about a half hour) I sauteed some mushrooms separately and tossed them in, liquid and all. By now, it was smelling about the way I had hoped, just simple flavors and lots of texture.


I made a batch of Susan Voisin's biscuits, finding a thin cast iron pan of my grandmother's that has circles in it and is perfect for this use. http://fatfreevegan.com/blog/2010/03/01/drop-scones-or-biscuits/ Instead of soy milk, I used almond milk and think I will try oat milk the next time and also reducing the liquid and adding 1/4 c of applesauce. They did come out well though and were the perfect compliment to my soup/stew.


Just prior to serving, I took my immersion blender and spot-blended for a minute or so right in the pot. I wanted to mash up some of the potatoes so that the soup would be very thick and stew-like. It definitely did the trick.


I had some collards that were threatening to wilt, so I had sliced those up and sauteed lightly to serve separately, but I ended up putting them on top of the soup and they were really good that way.


I guess it is one of the gifts of cold weather and dreary winter days, to be able to enjoy a simple stew and some basic biscuits.....this certainly wouldn't have been nearly as tasty mid-August!


Sue, keeping-it-simple, in Ohio


Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Recipes - A Cooking Day

It's sub-zero here in Ohio. A great day for staying in and cooking something that will warm us from the inside out.



I've been wanting to find a nice vegan soup recipe, but something different as well, so decided to try Susan Voisin's Curried Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup. Anyone switching to a vegan food program or just interested in getting some good and different plant-based recipes, would definitely benefit to check out Susan's Fat-Free Vegan blog.... http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/. She has a way of uniquely blending flavors that is truly inspiring. Here is my version of her soup (go to her site and see a MUCH prettier picture of this soup!).













Here's a link to the recipe to Susan's soup.

http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2010/12/curried-cauliflower-sweet-potato-soup.html




I was amazed at the flavor of this soup, (peanut butter? Who would think to add that....genius!), and it was definitely warming. I don't care for spicy and hot food, and this soup seems very hot to me, but even so, I ate it and found it to be delicious. I think next time I will actually measure the water I put in, as I think I may not have used enough; I also plan to cut the curry a bit and think that will suit my tastes a bit better. I used a can of diced tomatoes that had chilis in it rather than adding the pepper separately, so that likely added more heat.




I can easily see this soup as being a stand-in for the traditional chicken noodle; I will likely make it again omitting cauliflower and adding wild rice. It'll definitely be a keeper that I'll have fun playing with---the very best recipes are like that: wonderful in their original form and great in other adaptations.

Since I wasn't sure how the soup would come out, I decided to make some chili and some cornbread to go with. For the chili, I used kidney beans and also these beautiful cranberry-pinto type beans. I've got a bit of a bean fetish going on right now and can't seem to stop buying more and more beans! I joked with a friend recently that I probably have enough beans right now to feed half the population of Ethiopia!




I just made a simple chili recipe, sauteeing some onion and then adding tomato paste, water and seasonings. I added agave instead of brown sugar and also used an idea from another recipe and tossed in some frozen roasted corn that I picked up at Trader Joe's. That was a nice addition.




In the picture are some 'crackers' that I made up. I had a chunk of flour that I was attempting to make into oatmeal bread, but hadn't really risen correctly and I ran out of time, so stuck it in the fridge overnight. I decided to try to make a flatbread or some crackers....rolling it out very thin and then popping in the oven. It actually worked fairly well and I'd like to play with this a bit with more seasonings.




For the cornbread, I used the recipe on the back of the cornmeal container, but just did an easy conversion substituting almond milk for the regular milk and applesauce for the oil. Instead of eggs, I used 2T of ground flaxseed mixed into some water and allowed to sit for a few minutes. This cornbread turned out fantastic...I really had to control myself or I would have seriously indulged.



Also, fun for me was to bake this up in my grandmother's cast iron skillet. I have one of those glass-top ovens that doesn't allow use of this cookware on it (something I didn't realize until AFTER I bought it), so it is rare that I use this skillet. Anyway, I always feel some kind of comfort or connection when I use something of one of my grandmothers. Probably a lot of people feel this way. Knowing that she had her hands on this item for the same use and feeling that deep sense of continuity of purpose. One of my prized-possessions is a wonderful small bound book of my grandmother's recipes, canning techniques and other tips.

I wonder if Grandma ever made cornmeal in this skillet....I'm sure she would have loved this version of it.

Sue, eating well in Ohio

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pizza Night - Take Two

So Friday rolled around and I tried pizza again making it this time to my husband's specifications (ANYthing to get more veggies and whole foods into him!).



I cut down the volume of the crust, going for a thinner, crispier version and added on black olives and banana peppers to his toppings.


His pizza, pre-cooking....mushrooms, banana peppers, vidalia onions and black olives.



Mine, with red, orange and yellow bell peppers and vidalia onions.
I didn't allow enough reduction in cooking time for the thinner crust, so I thought it was a bit over-cooked.



Here they are fresh from the oven, with ground up cashews on top.


The verdict: I preferred the thicker crust, but my husband really liked this version.....so next time, I'll do mine differently, and keep his the same. I am thrilled to have a pizza that he can really enjoy....he ate nearly 3/4 of it plus a salad. I figure that even with all of that, it is nowhere near what he would consume, calorically, than even two pieces of his usual loaded with cheese, pepperoni and sausage.


One thing I noticed about preparing this pizza, is that even with doing the crust from scratch, prep time is actually quicker and much easier. I've been making home-made pizza for most of my adult life, but since there are fewer ingredients, it is just a breeze. I think of all the oil I used to slather on top of the crust....why??? It doesn't need it at all. And shredding cheese either in my food processor or by hand....a mess to clean up as well. Then if you add browned ground beef or cut-up pepperoni....even more to deal with. That makes another point: this pizza is cheaper too. A few cups of flour, some yeast, vital wheat gluten, dash of salt, oregano & other spices, a small can of tomatoes, small can of tomato paste and fresh veggies---some quick addition and I figure these two pizzas cost us approx. $9. (Not including electricity to cook if I'm being exact). So, nutrient-rich pizzas for less....not a bad deal and we'll have left-overs on Saturday, probably the equivalent of 4 -5 meals, ....approx. $2./meal, plus a salad.


I think that given that so much of what we enjoy to eat is formed from habits developed throughout our whole lives, that this pizza will take a bit of time to become routine and what is expected for my husband. Breaking the 'status quo' and addictions to cheese and casein and grease and fat will fall away and I see it as my job, no, my mission to find delicious alternatives that my family can (literally) sink their teeth in.


I know I am making progress: my 23 yr old son said to me this week, "maybe sometime you and I could go shopping together". (This during a discussion we were having about nutritive value of foods). I could have fallen over.....why, yes! I certainly WILL go shopping with you! You never know when you really are making a difference.


NOTE: Pizza stones rock. I only have one and used it for my husband's pizza of course. Will be making a stop to pick up another one this week. They are also great for making rounded bread loafs. I figure, for what I am saving on cheese (and probably by-pass surgery), I can afford to get a really nice one.


Sue, making progress, in Ohio

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Recipe - Mushroom Gravy

Part of the challenge of the last 6 months for me has been adopting this food plan (vegan, whole food) while sharing my life with a non-vegan husband. Probably the worst part of this process has been gaining all of the wonderful, life-enhancing (and even life-SAVING) knowledge while sharing my life with a post-heart attack husband and trying to find a way to live with this knowledge and still respect my husband's right to his own choices. How does one live with a person with a disease and have the knowledge on how to fix it and not want to just cram it down their throat (along with a healthy daily dose of kale!)?

I found my personal peace in all of this about 12 weeks into the program though (for the first 8 weeks, my husband made no comments at all other than the occasional "I hope you don't end up anemic....I'll be really upset if you do"), when I realized I would be shooting myself in my vegan foot if I took an aggressive stance and would get farther by just gradually presenting the data here and there and in lieu of worrying, focus my attention on becoming a good vegan cook.


I am still very much in the infancy of this process, but am delighted to note that my husband has come a very long way with me. He's seen first-hand the many positive changes in my health and well-being, and I think that has been more powerful than anything I could have said to him.


Last night I decided to try to cook something for dinner specifically with him in mind (sounds very gracious of me doesn't it, but really I wanted to hog the last of the leftover lentil loaf for myself!). I've been enjoying the recipes in the back of Caldwell Esselstyn's Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and I especially enjoy the fact that I don't have to convert the recipe removing any oil from it (more on oil and THE BIG LIE about "healthy oils" in a later post). My husband loves mushrooms (I do not) and I thought I would try the Mushroom Gravy recipe and serve it as a sauce over some whole-wheat fettucine noodles. I was amazed at how easy it was and how well it came out. I even had a bit on my left-over loaf and it was quite good. Best of all, my husband devoured it and went back for seconds saying "keep this one".....that's about as good as it gets around here. Mission accomplished.

Sue, trying it (even if there are mushrooms in it) in Ohio



Forgive the poor quality of the food pictures.....I am definitely going to have to work on my food photographic skills!







Mushroom Gravy: definitely a keeper! (from Esselstyn's Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease)

1 onion chopped
2-3 garlic cloves (minced)
10 oz mushrooms - sliced (I roughly chopped)
veg. broth, wine or water (I used water)
2 C water
2 T whole-wheat flour
1 T miso, tamari or Bragg's aminos (I used Bragg's)
2 T sherry (optional) I skipped
black pepper

Stir fry onion over medium heat adding water as needed. Allow to brown a little, scrape, add liquid and repeat, taking care to not burn (I let carmelize a bit and scraping this browning off the bottom of the pan really gives a nice brown color to the sauce). Add garlic and mushrooms and cook until soft. Add more liquid as needed.
Add one cup of water, stir.
Mix whole-wheat flour and aminos in one cut of water, stir and add to sauce and stir again. Add sherry if using.
Continue cooking til thickens; add pepper.


And how about a nice salad to go with? I've been trying the 3-2-1 salad dressing also from Caldwell Esselstyn's book: 3 parts balsamic vinegar, 2 parts dijon mustard, 1 part maple syrup.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New recipes - Lentil Loaf

I remember the very first meal I made. I was in 9th grade and cooked spaghetti and meatballs for my family. I think it was for a Home Ec grade. I thought I was so cool. What a great feeling it was to prepare something, serve it and see the smiles and satisfaction my efforts brought. That was 1969 and I've been cooking ever since. I can't say that I am one of these people that absolutely LOVES to cook (pass me the apron and move over, June---gotta get dinner on the table before Ward gets home--definitely NOT me), but I have always realized the very utilitarian function of being able to prepare one's own food. And, let's face it; how many things in life do you get such a relatively short turn-around time from effort expended to reward attained.





40+ years is a long time to be cooking a certain way and then have to relearn the basics. But, I decided learning to cook plant-based meals can be just a new challenge for me and it's been fun to learn about the different food that exists in the world that I had never heard of. Spelt? Kamut? And isn't kale something you plant for fall ornamentation?





So, like everything else I do, I jumped in full-force and ordered an impossible number of vegan cookbooks from the library, printed off an ink-cartridge worth of recipes from the internet, hit Half-Price Books and cleared them of their vegan cookbooks, joined a dozen or more recipe groups, blogs and you-tube how-to's to get re-educated. After two weeks of this, I had only tried about one new recipe....despite a myriad of recipes printed and pages bookmarked, I wasn't able to figure out what to cook! I had done it again: made the simple complex.





So, back to my watch word for the year: simplicity. One doesn't need to do EVERYthing all at the same time! I decided, make TWO new recipes a week. Just pick two and FOCUS (there is THAT word again) on those. That way, for sure I will get some new ones done and not drown in an ever rising sea of choices.





This week I chose pizza for Friday night, mostly as a 'reward' to my non-vegan (post-heart attack) husband who has bravely been trying to eat my food for several weeks now. I am so proud of him, and it does my heart good (and hopefully his heart too!) to see him putting forth the effort. Pizza is a BIG thing for him, and I wasn't at all sure how this would go.





I made my regular bread recipe (warm water, yeast, touch of salt, whole-wheat flour, gluten) and added just a touch of raw, fair-trade sugar. For the sauce, I pureed a can of chopped tomatoes with chilis with a small can of tomato paste and added oregano on top of that. Toppings for my pizza were TONS of yellow and red bell peppers and vidalia onion and for his, lots of mushrooms and onion. Baked at 425 degrees for about 25 mins then I sprinkled on some ground raw cashews and returned to the oven for about 10 mins. Mine tasted so good I could not believe it. I don't know if it is because it has been so long since I've had anything like that or if it is a result of my taste buds changing, but it was delicious. My husband was a bit under-whelmed at his, calling it 'bland', but he likes things spicier than me and gave me some ideas to improve it, i.e. add black olives and banana peppers. But he DID eat it! Will do for next Friday.





For dinner last night, I made Lentil Loaf from Caldwell Esselstyn's "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease". I had leftover lentils and brown rice to use up in the fridge and changed up the seasonings a little bit. I was very skeptical on how this was going to turn out, but it was really good. Even my son's girlfriend (non-vegan) ate it and said she liked it. Next time I make it I'd like to add maybe some sweet baby peas and corn. I made mashed potatoes to go with, using a combination of half white potatoes and half sweet potatoes. I boiled them with some celery and a couple of shallots and then blended all together with some almond milk. Oh boy were they ever good. Never would you need any butter or anything at all to go with them.





It feels good to be building up a set of 'go-to' recipes and especially to see that my family can still enjoy my cooking, even if it is so different. Funny, those smiles and the satisfied faces are even sweeter rewards to me now knowing I am cooking with health firmly in mind.





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I had my son take a picture of me this morning, so I could get something on here to represent where I am now. For some reason, I feel like I am half-way although every time I do the math, I calculate that I really am more than half-way to my goal. Anyway, here I am, 37 pounds lighter than when I started a year ago in November, and 23 pounds lighter than my picture taken at the Canyon last June.






I'm getting there....at least I know who I am now when I see a picture of myself!


Sue - losing it in Ohio


Recipe for Lentil Loaf (adapted from Caldwell Esselstyn's in Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease)

1 1/2 C lentils, cooked

1 large vidalia onion, chopped

6 mushrooms (I used baby bella)

veg. broth or water

2 C fresh spinach, chopped

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (I think this would be good with the variety with chilis as well)

2C brown rice (I used short grain)

1t garlic powder

1/2t sage

1/2t marjoram

additional seasonings to suit taste (I used red pepper flakes, parsley and thyme)

1/4 - 1/2 C ketchup or BBQ sauce


Oven 350 degrees. Stir fry onions and mushrooms in water or broth til tender. Add spinach and cook covered til spinach wilts. Combine all ingredients except ketchup and add to lentils. Press into a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Spread ketchup on top. Bake for 45 - 60 mins.


Mine was a bit crumbly and I was expecting it to be able to be sliced like a loaf, so I may increase the liquid next time. I think it would also be excellent with the addition of sweet peas or corn.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Managing the Difficult via the Easy

My goals for 2011 are a bit different from prior years. Instead of doing the specific goal-listing e.g. lose 25 pounds (although that is actually a mark I would like to hit this year :-), I've chosen to go for concepts or ways of being instead, reasoning that if I follow these basic tenets, the specific goals will come in line.

So far I have come up with: consistency, focus and simplicity. (I'm tempted to add more, but then that kind of undoes number 3 :-).

I was happily working on consistency and going through my day-to-day reveling in the notion that if only I would do all the things I do so well SPORADICALLY on a CONSISTENT basis, that all would be well, when it hit me: I AM consistent. I am consistently INconsistent! I tend to flitter and flurry in fits and starts energetically diving into a project with 150% earn-a-Girl-Scout-Badge enthusiasm only to burn out a few weeks later and not accomplish what I originally set out to do. I am surrounded by incomplete projects and enterprises that are a reflection of my consistency.

So, I thought...well, I just need to FOCUS. Focus...what a great word. Implies power and determination and stick-to-it-tiveness. That's what I need...MORE FOCUS! So I set out and work on the here and now only to find my focus drifting once again and here I go off into fits and starts.....just in a more determined fashion.

I stop and think....I will always be a grasshopper at this rate and never snatch the pebble from the master's hand if I don't get a grip on this....and the solution presents itself. What I need most, is practice. How many things in our lives have we EVER become great at or even marginally competent at without PRACTICE. Practice makes perfect has been drummed into our heads from an early age. Learning to walk, writing cursive, driving a car....everyone expected and allowed for us to have practice, and lots of it. Cursive writing, for example....do you remember the reams and reams of specially lined paper and hours spent learning to master the skill and then more time developing one's own style? No one would have expected us to just pick up a pen and be a master at that skill without YEARS of practice!

I reflected on the philosophy of one of my favorite authors and horsemen, Mark Rashid (I highly recommend all his books to horse people or not), about how we have 24 hours a day to practice proper breathing and also all the other hours in the day that we are not with our horse to practice various aspects of being a better leader and so on. All of this time we can use to our advantage to train ourselves.

I began to see all the opportunities throughout my day to practice the type of consistency I want in my life....to practice greatness on a small and doable level. For example, following through with putting the laundry away right away instead of plopping it on the bed to handle later. Or any number of very small actions that can be taken throughout the day to practice being thorough. I reason that, like my horsemanship skills, these things when practiced will bleed over into the larger and more challenging aspects of my life that I want to change.

I remembered some quotations from the great Lao Tzu: "Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small," and "Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy".

So, I guess I will go ahead and add one more word.....PRACTICE.

Sue, practicing in Ohio

Monday, January 10, 2011

RE-Education & re-alignment

I remember quite clearly the exact moment when I knew I would change my diet forever. I had been reading quite a few books (some of which I had read a year or so earlier, but hadn't been ready to embody the message) and had been trying to get my mind around some of the concepts. I had pretty much committed to going vegetarian, something I had done previously in my life, but hadn't considered vegan as a diet option (how could I possibly live without cheese?!?!?).


I was standing in our barn and the equine dentist was out to do our horses' teeth. In case you aren't familiar with this procedure, it is quite the ordeal. The horse is sedated enough to make the procedure tolerable for him and his head is supported while a large speculum props his jaws open so the dentist can work on his teeth.


We have 5 horses, so quite a bit of time was going by while I was just leaning back and observing. About on the 2nd or 3rd horse I remember having the realization of how similar equine teeth are to human teeth; down to even the presence of a singular canine tooth. You could have knocked me over with a proverbial feather. I thought: I DON'T THINK WE ARE SUPPOSED TO EAT MEAT!!! I continued pondering this thought off and on throughout the rest of the dentist's visit and considered things like the mammoth size and strength that my horses have managed to attain while ingesting only hay and fresh grass. Hmmmm.


I began to really feel a shift to an alignment with the plant-eaters of the world and it felt just very right; I could feel the truth of it in my core.


But the scientist in me wanted to learn more and to find some cold, hard facts (plus I knew I would be questioned and questioned hard by relatives and friends) and would need data and lots of it. I came upon (via The Healthy Girl's Kitchen blog) the book that pushed me firmly over the vegan cliff: The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell. This book is so compelling I simply do not know how anyone could really process the information contained in it and not be motivated to make a change in the direction of a plant-based diet. It should be required reading for certainly all Americans, and better yet, for all of humankind.
Of course then as I read more and more, I learned of all the other parallels between the human body and other herbivores: intestinal length, taste buds, chewing action of the teeth and so on. I looked at the mouths and teeth of our many barn cats and our dutiful dogs and again saw that we are so much more similar to our horses than to our cats/dogs. It is these simple and irrefutable differences that I tell people about who question why I have chosen this diet. You can see the instant that most of them ponder their own teeth and for a minute grasp the truth of it. Of course upbringing and years and years of programming are hard to combat. (But, 'we've always done it that way' has never been an adequate argument for continuation on a given path). And so, when I present these observations to friends or interested parties, I watch for that flicker of light as, just for a moment, they too wonder....hmmm....maybe we aren't supposed to eat meat.
I'm continuing my education and it is great to see so many other esteemed professionals coming out in support of plant-based diets for health. It's an exciting time and I am hopeful that the disease epidemics that currently plague our country will be overcome. It's good to be vegan.

Sue - firmly on the plant-based path, in Ohio

Other books that had a huge influence on me were Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet, Rip Esselstyn's Engine 2 Diet, Skinny Bitch by RoryFreedman and Kim Barnouin, and many more.



Friday, January 7, 2011

Gotta Start Somewhere

I wish I had started this blog 6 months ago. I really do. But, I figure there is truth in the old sayings, like 'better late than never', and I want to avoid the experience of 6 months from now thinking, 'I wish I'd started this a year ago'.


I'm coming up on nearly 6 months since going to a plant-based diet. This has been, with the exceptions of marriage, motherhood and horsemanship, the biggest and most fantastic journey of my life. The reason I regret not starting 6 months ago, is that I know there are many positive changes that I will now have to just try to recall; things that aren't a problem now that were before. For instance, the other day I had a headache....my 2nd one in nearly 6 months. It hit me how odd it was to be having a headache but I recall quite vividly the excruciatingly debilitating headaches that have plagued me for most of my life. Gone. So many things like that that I will have to now squint my mind's eye to recall.


I am one of those individuals, like so many probably, who thought they were being health-conscious. I know many in my family would have even classified me as a health-nut from time to time....I've always been active, taken vitamins, eaten fruit and veggies and so on....yet I now know that I was not even close....forget being on the same page....not even in the same book. Not eating in fast-food restaurants and baking one's own whole wheat bread and eating fish and chicken instead of beef, and eating organic greek yoghurt is still the path of physical destruction. (I think too on that term: Health-Conscious.....funny when so much of America is health-UNconscious, being duped into believing the current food pyramid, trusting our government and people PAID TO LOOK OUT FOR US about our food safety, and so on).


I'm going to create this blog as a running record of my results and experiences on my journey of 'going Vegan', of getting healthy, of getting RE-educated and of truly creating my life. My hope is that possibly, some day, I can refer someone to it and it'll give them a bit of support as they go on their similar journey. Healthy Girl's Kitchen http://healthygirlskitchen.blogspot.com/ has been such a life-line for me as I hope to be for someone. There were days when I was so lonely on this path that I would just search Wendy's blog and read and re-read and come away knowing that at least one other person was also fighting the good fight. But mostly, this blog is for me; to help me keep track of the road already traveled, as I go forward deeper on the path that I am finding, sadly, isn't all that well trodden. Still, the food revolution is definitely coming about, and there are others firmly on the kale-flanked road to good health through food. Like Dr. John McDougall says: You can't keep a truth secret forever or something close to that.


To punctuate my first blog and to prove to myself that I really am as brave as I think I might possibly be, I'm going to upload a photo. This is a photo taken June 2010. I don't know if anyone else has ever had this same experience, but when I first saw this photo, for a second or two, I could not figure out who was standing next to my husband and why we would have a picture of them. You can imagine my gasp as I realized it was me and that I had just had the experience of not recognizing my own self in a picture!




There I am....at the Grand Canyon. Now, I'm not brave enough to tell you how much I weighed in that picture, but I will tell you that it was 20+ pounds more than I have on me now. AND, I had already been doing a serious work-out regime for 6 1/2 months and had lost 12 pounds before this trip!

So, here's the start of my blog...gotta start somewhere....maybe someone reading this someday will also be considering starting their journey, their blog, or whatever. START! Doesn't have to be perfect...don't we do that to ourselves so many times? We need to get this in place or that in place first and then we'll start... I will create my own adage: any effort is better than no effort at all! Wait, there is a much better, time-honored one: The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.

Best to you in all you start.


Sue, blogging, in Ohio

(Now to find a suitable picture that shows me now!)