Thistle Dew Nutrition

Ramblings from a "Simpler" and perpertual student of natural health, with a strong focus on how to eat well to prevent chronic diseases.

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Location: Saugatuck, Michigan, United States


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Vacation Reciprocal Theory

It seams to me to be that we would be able to take many more vacations and much higher quality vacations if it weren’t for my Vacation Reciprocal Theory. This theory goes like this: When you have time for a vacation you seldom have money; and when you have disposable income you rarely have time to enjoy it in the form of a vacation. I have been pondering this theory for over a decade now and I have yet to find that we have both time and money to enjoy a vacation that is actually wanted. Usually we compromise, go for a long weekend instead of 2 weeks, go “up north” instead of Florida, and how many times have I promised myself “next year we’ll go to (fill in the blank)”.

Last summer my husband said that we were GOING to go to Colorado for at least two weeks in 2006, trailer our motorcycles (yes, I have my own) and ride around the Rockies until we just couldn’t take any more of the beautiful-ness. Now he’s building 3 houses and can’t go anywhere longer than a 3 day weekend until something like OCTOBER. Yup. Sure. I actually to feel quite sorry for him about this, because he is quite stressed, and could use a good respite.

You see, the Vacation Reciprocal Theory is rearing it’s ugly head at us right now, but for opposite reasons. He is working his tail off (no time for a vacation), busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest, and making a good bit of money (can afford a vacation). Me: not so much. It’s slow season at the cube pharm, (yes I mean Pharm, as in pharmaceutical company) so I have lots of time, but still not really a lot of money because we have it all put into a Spec house that we are trying to sell. Time for a vacation, no money, and no Honey to share it with.

Yeah, I know. You-all are feeling SO sorry for me right now.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Herbal Beers

Please let me know your esteemed opinions on this most recent brain fart I’ve had. Really, I’d like to know if you think this is a good idea!

Herbal beer! Drink you way to health!

For instance:

Ginger beer, with just a bit of mint and maybe some lemon to help with digestion. This would be especially good to drink with a heavy dinner.

Mullein beer that you could drink when you have a chest cold because it might help break up the mucus.

Raspberry leaf beer, which we could also add some raspberry flavor to, and make in a nice light or white beer for ladies with “female problems”.

Bilberry beer for people who bruise easily, or have circulation or eye problems.

St. John’s Wort Beer so that we’re happy drunks! It would be especially good in January through March when the winter is getting us down. I wonder if we could even add a little bit of Vitamin D to it specifically for the mid-winter blues.

Echinacea Beer to help give our immune system a boost.

Yohimbe beer for male virility. We’d put that in a good porter. (That should be a top seller)

And my opus: Dandelion beer, because it’s used to promote a healthy liver! (HAHAhahahahahaha! I crack myself up!)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Snacks are snacks. Snacks are not meals. Think of snacks for what they are: a way to keep your blood sugar level nice and even, to prevent it from getting too low, so that you don't gorge yourself when you finally do get to sit down to eat a meal (preferably not sitting in a car).

Things happen when your blood sugar gets too low: your body starts pumping out glycogen (instead of insulin) which uses your storage spaces (fat) for the production of energy in your cells. At this point you’re probably thinking “cool!” But there’s more to it than that. Have you ever noticed that when you’re hungry, or even when you’re not really hungry, but you’re tired and you need a little boost, you are also kinda cranky and aggressive, and you can’t seem to focus your eyes, or you have the attention span of a gnat? It’s at this point that your pituitary and hypothalamus kick other glands into action, and they all work together to give us a kind of “fight of flight” mental attitude. This could have acted as a good response a thousand years ago, when a hungry man was exhausted, but he was ornery enough to hunt and kill just about anything that had the bad luck of crossing his path.

That being said I’d like to get back to the “snack is a snack” thing. If you eat the average maintenance diet of 2400 calories a day, then each of your meals should be around 800 calories. That’s not a lot of food, but keep in mind one crispy chicken club sandwich at McDonald’s is 680 calories. (I looked up a Whopper, but Burger King no longer makes it easy to look up nutritional info. If I remember right they were over 800 calories). A Snicker's bar is 280 calories. Anywho, what I’m getting at is DON’T make your snack a meal. Make it just enough to “tide you over”.

ALSO: healthy snacks take forethought. I know it’s easier to go to the snack machine and grab a bag of chips, but that’s 85¢, and the apple in your desk drawer cost you a quarter. I’ve tried to keep the fact that the items below need to be taken to work with you, so I’ve included as many as I could that don’t need refrigeration. You may also want to invest in some reusable little cups with snap on lids, you know, like Tupperware or something. This will prevent you from eating a whole bag of something by limiting your snacks to what can fit in the little cup.

Here goes:

If you’re craving salt:
Pickled asparagus out of the jar
Artichoke hearts on rye crackers
½ cup Guacamole or salsa
Any nut butter, including almond butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter, and macadamia nut butter. Go ahead, eat it off the spoon.
Crabmeat salad (please make sure it doesn’t have sugar or MSG)
Salami, summer sausage, or similar Italian meats

If you’re craving sweets:
Grapes and Stonybrook vanilla yogurt (any fruit except bananas can be used)
5 Panda brand black licorice chews
3 “coins”/pieces of Droste’s brand dark chocolate Pastilles®
A cup of applesauce or fruit (not fruit "in syrup")

Other good stuff stuff:
Cole slaw, preferably fresh.
A big chunk of hard yellow cheese.
A hard boiled egg.
A Wasa cracker with either nut butter or hummus spread thickly on it.

The best tip of all: NUT’S a.k.a. You are what you eat. Always keep a bag of nuts in your desk drawer or locker, or even your car. It doesn’t matter what kind of nuts, don’t get caught up with how many fat grams are in those cashews. You’re only going to eat a handful anyway. Get them in the shell (so they are fresher and you eat them slower) or shelled, raw or roasted, salted or unsalted. Just PLEASE don’t get the flavored or honey roasted kind since these usually have a lot of hidden sugars, artificial garbage, and MSG on them.

Try to mix it up: have yogurt this week, almonds next week, hummus the following week, licorice the week after that… etc. I’ll try to post other snack ideas once in a while as I get inspired.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it!

I’m supposed to get my order of organic live herb plants today. I ordered them from this place: and I’m gonna have so much fun this afternoon and tomorrow figuring out where to plant them all. Woo hoo! I got full sun plants, and part shade plants, and tall and short plants, and I think I’ll have to move the iris’ from the middle of my little flower garden to that I can put my giant purple thistles there instead, and… well, you get the picture.

I’m so excited I could almost pee my pants. Work? Today? No, I think I’d rather go blogging to take up the time.

Start the day off right

Eat Breakfast. You’re mom and grandma were right. If you want to lose weight and be healthy eat breakfast. If you eat breakfast you’ll have the energy to make it through the gauntlet of work to lunch without any physical or mental breakdowns; you won’t be as likely to have a sugary snack mid-morning, and you won’t feel like gorging yourself when you finally do make it to lunchtime.

Here is a list of good breakfast choices:

Cold Cereals:
My favorites: Nature’s Path ® brand Optimum Zen with cranberries and ginger.
Kashi ® brand Autumn Wheat.
Other lower glycemic cereals:
Kellogg’s ® All-Bran ®
Kellogg’s ® Special K ®
And pretty much anything made by Kashi®

Tip #1: Eat it with whole milk, not 2%, low fat, or no fat milk. The Whole milk will satiate you better and longer without many more Calories or much more fat. We’re all about satiety here!
Tip #2: Eat it out of a coffee cup, not a bowl. A serving size of cold cereal is ¾ to 1 cup, so if you’re filling a huge bowl with 2+ cups of cereal it’s cheating.
Tip #3: You know better than to put ANY sugar on your breakfast.

Hot Cereals:
Oatmeal. Now the question was asked if there was a difference between instant oatmeal, 5 minute (regular) oatmeal, and the little packet of flavored oatmeal. Well, ask and you shall receive, although you may regret it. The glycemic index of old fashioned oatmeal is 58, steel-cut oatmeal is 52, and instant 1 minute oatmeal is 82! That is when you have the actual serving size, and make it with water. What about those cute little packets of instant oatmeal? All the sugars and flavorings of the little packets drives the GI number for those easy gems right through the roof. My GI Values book didn’t even list that one.

Eggs: Eat eggs every time you can. Eat them for breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner, midnight snack. They are GOOD FOR YOU, they will NOT raise your cholesterol levels, they might even help lower your bad cholesterol, they are an excellent source of protein, minerals, and enzymes.

Cooking a two egg omelet is quick and almost as fast as cooking two eggs over easy. Just whip the eggs in a bowl with a fork, throw in a pan with a little bit of butter, wait 30 seconds, which is enough time for you to get any of the following out of the fridge to put in your omelet: black olives, chives, mushrooms, avocado, and/or cheese. I plan to post more omelet suggestions on my recipe blog soon.

Sausage, bacon, ham, etc.: The protein and fat in these breakfast meats won’t go to your hips unless you eat them with carbohydrates (hash browns, toast, croissants, etc.), so their good in a no-carb low GI way. But remember that they are chocked full of sulfites and sulfates, and ultimately these things are bad for you. My suggestion: It’s fine to have them once a week or so, especially if you’re not having sulfated meats at other meals.

Next we’ll discuss tips on healthy snacking at home and at work. I know; I’ve been promising this for a while now, but I’ll really try to get it done soon.