Monthly Archives: September 2012

Calorie Surprises

I have not had much success with diets, but about 6 weeks ago, I loaded an app onto my cell phone that lets me track calories. It calculates my caloric needs for the day and deducts 500, 750, or 1000 calories to arrive at a calorie budget depending on the amount of weight I want to lose each week.

The app is connected to a website but is quite self-contained. It provides charts, nutritional information, allows you to add friends to help motivate, and awards badges for achievements.

As I enter food into the log, I am often surprised by the calorie content. Things that I thought would be high in calories are actually much lower than those foods that I thought were low. A cup of granola cereal with raisins has about the same calories as six slices of bacon, who knew?

At work, our office provides bagels for the employees, making available a tub of butter and cream cheese. Although it may be healthier for me than a donut, it would cost me about 400 calories from my budget, a glazed donut would only cost me half that. I am finding that breads, biscuits, and rolls contain lots of calories.

Another surprise was going to a burger restaurant and finding that their fruit and nut salad had 300 hundred more calories than their regular burger. Most vegetables can be my friend. An entire cup of broccoli, cauliflower, or green beans is only 30 calories. A medium banana or apple has as many calories as two cups of sliced strawberries. Eating out is more interesting. The app allows you to explore menu items for many national restaurants. A potato encrusted fish entrée, at one of our frequent eating spots, with broccoli and glazed carrots are just over 300 calories and not only tastes wonderful but is quite satisfying.

Creating low calorie meals can be interesting. We usually rely on stir fry vegetables with lean meats and light sauces. Chicken breasts and strips usually fit the bill. We have also switched to low calorie drinks. It is amazing how many calories are contained in soft drinks and fruit drinks.

I found that eating slowly and matching up protein with carbs allow me to feel more satisfied. So far, I have lost 14 pounds. I don’t feel deprived because I get to pick out what I eat allowing me to feel more in control of what I consume. If I have enough calories in my budget, I sometimes have a portion of a candy bar or other treat. My diets have never lasted this long. I think it is because I don’t actually see it as a diet per se, but a lifestyle change. I want this to become a habit — a life-long habit.

Conservation and Recycling

This was posted on Awake & Aging’s Facebook Fan Page. I certainly agree with it. When I was young, growing up in Maryland, we had milk delivered by Mount Ararat Dairy. When we moved out of their service area. We got milk from Chrome Dairy, where we picked up the milk in glass bottles, left a deposit, and you returned the bottles when you picked up more. The deposit return went toward the new bill. I am already past my first half century, so I am old enough to remember much of this. Hope you enjoy it.

Being Green

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truely recycled.

But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young person.

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off.

Faith does not make things easy

Faith does not make things easy. When we are going through trials or tribulation, having faith does not make those things disappear. What faith does is give us hope that things will work out for the best. It helps us look to what is possible.

Belief is praying for rain. Faith is bringing an umbrella. Faith is powerful but without love, it is nothing.

Job, for instance, had great faith despite the fact that he lost everything. He did not know what was going on., He did not realize that he was part of a test. Yet, he kept his faith and looked forward to the time that God would reward him. Even his friends doubted the position he held, but he insisted that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.

I look at every night when I go to sleep as a mini-death. I am not aware of my surroundings nor am I aware of the passage of time. O when I awake, it is as if I experience a resurrection. A chance at another day. It is a chance to make better decisions. It is a chance to do better n my life.

I hope that you see each new day as a present. To be in the present is to change the future. I hope you take advantage of the time you have.