Wednesday, February 7, 2018

B143. Eating Quick, Easy, Cheap, and Healthy!

"I don't have time to eat healthy."
"I can't afford to eat healthy."
"You are what you eat."

Yes you do, yes you can, and yes we are.

I am not a cook or a nutritionist, and I'm too frugal to spend a lot of money on everyday eating. I have learned firsthand though that what we put into our body directly affects our health, our energy level, our mood, and even our intelligence.

If I could convince you that with the same amount of money and prep time (or less!) that you use for your quick meals, even including those drive-thru pick-ups, you could eat healthy, would you give it a try? I'l try to give you just enough to inspire you, and then you can create your own ideas. There's a fun challenge to making the nutrition perfect, and mine never is, but if you ate a fast food burger and fries today, I can beat that!

For breakfast today I had a bowl of maple & brown sugar instant oatmeal, two dried plums, and my multi-vitamin and calcium supplements for the day.

Prep time: less than 3 minutes, counting 2 minutes in the microwave
Cost: approx. 50c

Calories: 235 (I eat gummy vitamins!)
Calcium: 63% of RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance)
Potassium: 204 of 3500 RDA
Protein: 5 of 64 RDA
Fiber: 12 of 21 RDA
Sugar: 24 of 48 RDA (The gummies are 5 . . .)

Iron: 16% of RDA
Vit. C: 27% of RDA
Vit. A: 45% of RDA
Carbohydrates: 47 of 160 RDA
Sodium: 263 of 2300 RDA

For lunch:
Bird's Eye makes these great superfood steamer bags. Put the bag in the microwave, and voila! I had the barley & kale one today. There's also a quinoa &spinach, and maybe others. While it microwaved, I put 3/4 cup of the frozen tropical fruit in a bowl, and put a green tea bag in a glass of water. For dessert: a Dove dark chocolate! If you're on the road, did you know that Chick-Fil-A has a superfood meal, and fruit cups?
Prep time: 5 minutes in the microwave
Cost: approx. $4

Calories: 337
Calcium: 22% of RDA
Potassium: 214 of 3500 RDA
Protein: 10 of 64 RDA
Fiber: 12 of 21 RDA
Sugar: 21 of 48 RDA
Iron: 28% of RDA
Vit. C: 125 of RDA
Vit. A: 61 of RDA
Carbohydrates: 58 of 160 RDA
Sodium: 588 of 2300 RDA

For dinner:

I've become a fan of "bowls." Just choose your own ingredients, and throw them all in! Tonight I had organic spring salad with a whole small gala apple, 1 tsp sunflower seeds, 1 tsp (already sliced) almonds, kelp powder, 1/2 can sliced beets, 1 can blackeyed peas, and 1/4 cup frozen peppers & onions. No dressing needed with all theses flavors, and there are plenty of leftover ingredients for a new salad creation tomorrow! If you're on the road, Chipotle has great bowls. Just be careful how much you put in it!
Prep time: 10 minutes. I heat the peas, peppers & onions, and beets on the stove, and cut the apple and put everything else in the bowl while they heat.
Cost: approx. $3

Calories: 566
Calcium: 28% of RDA
Potassium: 1305 of 3500 RDA
Protein: 29 of 64 RDA
Fiber: 19 of 21 RDA
Sugar: 28 of 48 RDA
Iron: 44% of RDA
Vit. C: 101% of RDA
Vit. A: 34% of RDA
Carbohydrates: 93 of 160 RDA
Sodium: 1565 of 2300 RDA (Be careful not to eat too many canned foods - lots of sodiun!)

You don't have to study labels of everything you eat, and you don't have to keep up with all these numbers. I included them here to tell you my secret. I use the My Fitness Pal website, and it counts everything for me. At first it might feel a little tedious typing everything you eat, but after a while you find yourself in a kind of eating routine, repeating the same foods often. It keeps up with the nutrition stats too, including others I didn't list here, like fats, trans fats, etc. If you do nothing except trade your fast food for healthier food, you're a winner!

Four more important words for healthy eating:

: At first you will feel like you're still hungry, because your body has adapted to all that junk food. Fill up your hunger with water, or use my trick of flavoring a glass of water with a couple drops of whatever drink you want. I like peach juice or Sunny D. If your stomach growls that's a good thing. It's shrinking so it doesn't need as much to fill it up.

Variety: Even with healthy food, you need to vary what you eat from day to day. If you're watching your numbers, try to balance out today's highs and lows tomorrow. And even if something is really good for you, too much of a good thing isn't a good thing. Mix it up. And that includes giving yourself treats - anything you want. Just work it into your plan (as opposed to eating whatever pops into your mind at whatever moment), and watch the portions.

Exercise: Eating well is half the health quotient. Exercise is the other. If losing weight is a concern, look up (on My Fitness Pal or somewhere else) how many calories a person your age and size should be taking in, and then whatever you take in above that number, you need to also burn. If you eat too much, work it off.

Water: Water really is so important. Our bodies are made mostly of water, and when we don't drink enough, it slows everything down, and we feel tired and out of energy. Think of a river drying up during a drought, and the hard red clay of the riverbed cracking in the sun. Eight cups of water a day is a good goal.

How did I do today?

Calories: 1182  - Good! My personal daily intake is 1280 to lose weight and 1480 to maintain.
Calcium: 113% of RDA  - Good!
Potassium: 1825 of 3500 RDA  - Low!
Protein: 44 of 64 RDA  - A little low
Fiber: 36 of 21 RDA  - OK
Sugar: 77of 48 RDA - High - You'll learn that sugar is in a lot more than candy and cake . . .
Iron: 89% of RDA - OK
Vit. C: 253% of RDA - A lot, but maybe OK for flu season?
Vit. A: 140% of RDA - A little high
Carbohydrates: 206 of 160 RDA - A little high
Sodium: 2431 of 2300 RDA - OK - I never salt anything, but cans and prepared foods have a lot.
Water: 7 cups (We can't count the water in tea and coffee.)

So tomorrow I will try to balance this. Maybe a meat for protein, a banana for potassium . . . and I'll watch the sugar intake!

Again, it's not complicated. Ignore all the nutrition data if it stresses you. Just trade your junk food for something your body needs for strength, energy, happiness, intelligence, and health!

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B123. I Cooked - Don't Laugh!

Friday, February 2, 2018

B142. Real Men and Real Women

Men and Women are different.
“Equal rights” is a good thing.
All people are “real.”

Most men are physically bigger and stronger than most women. Some women are physically bigger and stronger than some men. Real men are large and small, weak and strong. Real women are large and small, weak and strong.

Most men think logistically in black and white. Most women think through a filter of feeling. Some women think mostly in logistics. Some men feel more deeply. All people are real. All women are real women, all men real men.

Because most men are physically bigger and stronger than most women, most builders and welders and mechanics are men. If a woman chooses to be a builder or a police officer and she is able to perform the job, no rule or law should prohibit her.

Most women are natural caregivers – to children, aging parents, suffering and grieving friends. Some men are. Some women are not. If a couple decides together that the husband will stay home and care for the children and the wife will go to work, no laws or social norms should prohibit them. They are both real.

Real women are cashiers, soldiers, pilots, pastors, artists, and full-time moms. Real men are plumbers, taxi drivers, chefs, poets, hair stylists, and teachers.

Men are not better or smarter than women. Women are not better or smarter than men. Men and women are different. Equality and mutual respect means they can share their strengths, living and working together, complementing and appreciating each other.

All men are not alike. All women are not alike. Gender and gender roles need no definition. If a little girl likes to play with toy cars, maybe she will grow up to do her own oil changes or to appreciate the differences in makes and models. If a little boy plays with dolls, perhaps he will become a caring father or a compassionate nurse. A man who cries watching a movie is real.  A woman who bench presses 180 pounds is real.

Being like or different from most men or being like or different from most women does not make a person better than others. Nor less real. All people are real. Men and women are different. Men and men are different. Women and women are different. We are all uniquely created. We are all uniquely of value. And when everyone is valued, the real world we all share is good.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

B141. Checklist Christianity

(Don't skip the light print. That's where all the fun is . . .)

When I was a child Christian teachings were a little more subjective. Something about God’s grace, not our works. Lots of talk about forgiveness, and loving our enemies, and allowing God to be the judge of others. Knowing the difference between God and Caesar . . .

Now though, hooray, in our new age of enlightenment, we can just use a fundamentalist checklist – a list we can control on our own without having to depend on what God might or might not be doing. Just print it out, and check it off.

_____1. Protest strongly against gay people. Repost anything against them that comes across your social media feeds, even if it’s deceptive or a lie. Spread to all your friends that gay people are dangerous, sick, perverted, and live far away . . . and don’t forget to handpick those 6-7 passages in the Bible to justify that you are speaking for God. Even if you have some doubts and questions. Ignore the questions, and just keep the memes circulating!

_____2. Protest loudly against abortion, especially accusing “pro-choice” people of being godless murderers. Bumper stickers are a nice touch. Continue to focus on the so-called “partial-birth” abortions as if they are a norm. This will help distract people from ever realizing that hardly anyone is “pro-abortion,” and from having the meaningful discussion of whether the government should be in the position of making such decisions.

_____3. Vote Republican, no matter what the office or who is running. Do not get distracted by morality. What matters is politics. Most importantly, call everyone who doesn’t vote all-Republican a “liberal,” as if the word is a great insult. People will often follow a name-caller’s lead without questioning what the word really means, just like the Vietnam soldiers were trained to call the Vietnamese “gooks.” Names make it so much easier to disregard people as children of God. Didn’t Jesus say “No one comes to the Father but by the Republican Party,” and didn’t he eat with Republicans and Sinners?

_____4. Use your Bible as if it were the fourth Person of the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son . . . God the Book. Carefully pick out verses to justify numbers 1-3. Don’t actually read the Bible though or encourage others to read it, or they might be confused by those other passages that seem to say just the opposite. Be careful to avoid, or at least just brush over, all the words of Jesus about loving even those people we were calling names in number 3.

1-2-3-4! Done!

If this doesn’t sound right to you, and I admit, it sounds a little off to me too, like politics and religion have gotten all tangled together, then there’s the old alternative. Maybe we should go into our prayer closets alone, pray for God’s discernment in these confusing times, read all the way through Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and 1 Corinthians 13, and try that radical love thing Jesus was always talking about.

But then we might have to acknowledge that those other people get some things right too.  Gosh, I don’t know. A checklist is so much easier!

Disclaimer: This is not an anti-Republican post. It is an anti Republican-equals-God post. And yes, Republicans are the ones with this issue.  Definitely not all Republicans. Definitely not all Christians. Feel free to ignore it and move on if it doesn't apply. The blogger is neither Republican nor Democrat. The post is satire.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

B140. A White People Challenge

This MLK weekend let’s do something. All of us white folks. Something.

What if we see this weekend, not primarily as a celebration of a great man who had a dream, but as a reminder and an opportunity to realize his dream, to do what we can to make our world a kinder place for all God’s children, or maybe just to open ourselves to a bit more understanding of racism from a not-white perspective? Will you join me?

What to do:

Attend a local MLK event. Check your newspaper for parades, community breakfasts, church events, etc.

Invite a black friend for lunch or coffee. Maybe in your own home. Maybe several friends, black and white.

Watch a movie or documentary. With your family. With friends. Alone. Check one out from the public library, or stream on-line. A few good ones:
            Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Historical Perspective (2002)
            American Experience: Freedom Riders (2011)
            Ruby Bridges (1998, view free here)

            Hidden Figures (2016)

            The Jackie Robinson Story (2013)
            Captive Heart: The James Mink Story (1996)         
            Selma (2014)
            Roots ( miniseries 1977)
            The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1973)
            The Untold Story of Emmett Till (2005)
            Four Little Girls (1997)
            The Help (2011)
            King (1978)
            MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (1 hour video reading

Read a book or one of MLK’s speeches, or listen to one as you travel. A few good choices:
            America’s Original Sin (Jim Wallis, 2016)
            The Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehead, 2016, fiction)
            Small Great Things (Jodi Picoult, 2016, fiction)
            The Class of ’65 (Jim Auchmutey, 2015)
            Twelve Years a Slave (Solomon Northup, 1853)
            Freeman (Leonard Pitts Jr., 2012, fiction)
            To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee, 1960, fiction)
            Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass, 1845)
            The Help (Kathryn Stockett, 2009)
            MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech (transcript and 18 min. audio

Visit a Civil Rights Museum or another black history site. A few good ones:
            Center for Civil & Human Rights, Atlanta GA
            MLK National Historic Site, Atlanta GA
            The International Civil Rights Center & Museum, Greensboro NC
            National Museum of African American History Culture, Washington DC
            MLK Jr. Memorial, Washington DC

Donate to your local NAACP, or a local black church or university.

Write a Letter to the Editor or write a blog. Maybe about one of the above experiences, or anything else that might make a difference.

Just do something. And if you want to extend your impact on the world, include more white people. Invite your book club to read the book. Invite friends or family members on your museum trip or to the MLK parade. Introduce your black and white friends to each other.

And then share on social media what you did. Why? Because it takes us all to make a movement. Our posts can motivate others to want to be a part, and our posts can show our black sisters and brothers that we are walking beside them as best we know how; and with our small efforts this year, we will understand a little better next year, and the next and the next.

"In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." (MLK)

" . . .one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all"  (the Pledge of Allegiance to the US Flag)

Top: Inside Ebenezer Baptsit Church where MLK Sr. was pastor during MLK Jr's childhood, Atlanta GA
Mid-blog: MLK's childhood home where he was born, Atlanta GA
Below left: MLK Memorial in Washington DC
Below right: MLK's burial site in Atlanta GA

Saturday, December 30, 2017

B139. A Personal Inventory of 2017


2017 has been a challenging year healthwise. Thus health merits the lead story for the year. As the year began, I was recovering from Dec. 2016 strabismus (eye muscle) surgery. Then in June I had a needed follow-up surgery, also for the strabismus. The surgeries were successful, except that they left my brain confused, having compensated for the strabismus for so long. I struggled all year with something called torticollis, which is an involuntary turning of the neck, causing my head to always be turned to the left instead of straight ahead. At this writing, I have just had a first botox injection to relieve this, and I'm hopeful 2018 will be a new beginning.

Speaking and Blogging

Because of the problems with my eyes and my neck, two of my favorite activities have been difficult this year: reading and writing. Thus, I posted far fewer blogs this year than any year since I began blogging, back in the MySpace days! I did get to speak in November at JMU; and the few blogs I put out were these:

B133.  Racism: It's Time To Change the Way We Talk about It (and the Way We Listen) (challenge)
B134. Dust As I Am (religion)
B135.  Three Tales (personal story)
B136. Just a Story about my Lawn (personal story)
B137. One Puzzle, Many Pieces(challenge)
B138. Salisbury City Council Candidate Recommendations (politics)

Volunteer Work

Communities in Schools - 3rd grade literacy
Literacy Council - adult literacy
Lee St. Theatre
RHM Food Pantry
Campaigning for now City Council Person Sheffield and now mayor Heggins


Columbus, OH (August): Scioto Mile, Short North Arts District, Kelton House (Underground RR), Franklin Park Conservatory (butterfly exhibit), Fresh Market, German Village, Pistacia Vera

Atlanta, GA (Sept): Centennial Olympic Park, MLK house/church/burial site, Aviva by Kameel, CNN, Atlanta Breakfast Club, Center for Civil & Human Rights, Rolane, Debby


I've been a Presbyterian now for 5 years and am loving my church. This year I've continued to be active in my Sunday School class and my small group.  I got to lead the Presbyterian Women's Bible Study for two months, and I'm serving currently on the Pastor Search committee.

Books I Read (or listened to): 32, listed in order of publication

The Odyssey (Homer, c. 800 BCE), audio)
The Canterbury Tales (Geoffrey Chaucer, 14th century, audio)
Look Homeward, Angel Unabridged (Thomas Wolfe, 1929/2000, audio)
**The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck, 1939, audio)
*Animal Farm (George Orwell, 1945, audio)
**1984 (George Orwell, 1949)
*The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway, 1952, audio)
The Strange Career of Jim Crow (C. Vann Woodward, 1957)
The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb (Eric H.F. Law, 1993)
The Best Things Ever Said about Parenting (Bill & Nancie Carmichael, 1996)
The Shunning (Beverly Lewis, 1997)
Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind (Ann B. Ross, 1999, audio) Good Harbor (Anita Diamont, 2001, audio)
*Walking in this World (Julia Cameron, 2001)
Teacher Man  (Frank McCourt, 2005, audio) Women Who Read Are Dangerous (Stefan Bollman, 2006)
Finding Water (Julia Cameron, 2006)
Secrets in the Dark (Frederick Buechner, 2006)
Cotton Patch Gospel: The Complete Collection (Clarence Jordan, 2012)
The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 ( ed. Young & Glaser, 2012)
The Royal Queen Elizabeth Miller (Audrey Blackford, 2014)
Almost Famous Women (Megan Mayhew Bergman, 2015)
**The Firebrand and the First Lady (Patricia Bell-Scott, 2016)
**America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege . . . (Jim Wallis, 2016)
Becoming Wise (Krista Tippett, 2016)
*The Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehead, 2016, audio)
Who Is Jesus: What a Difference a Lens Makes (2016, Judy Yates Siker)
*Small Great Things (Jodi Picoult, 2016, audio)
Personal Diaries & Journals (Jan. 1975 - Feb. 2017)
The Last Generation on the Farm (twice, D. Schneck / J. Schneck, 2017)
Salem Presbytery Pastoral Search Manual (2017) a not yet published novel (written 2017)

Saw On Stage: 9

The Diary of Anne Frank (LST, Feb.)
Blood Done Sign My Name (St. John’s Lutheran, Feb.)
Sister Act (PPT, Mar.)
Voices from the Margin: Point Blank (LST, Apr.)
The Dixie Swim Club (LST, Aug.)
Mothers and Sons (LST, Sept.)
*Next to Normal (LST, Nov.)
Peter and the Starcatcher (ASC, Nov.) Piedmont Prime Time Community Band Christmas Concert (Dec.)

Because reading and writing were such a struggle this year, I watched more TV and ridiculously more movies than my norm.
TV The Mary Tyler Moore Show (season 1, 1970) The Brontes of Haworth (miniseries, 1973)
Gilmore Girls (season 1, 2000-01)
Big Bang Theory (season 10, 2016-17)
Jane the Virgin (season 3, 2016-17)
**The Vietnam War  (PBS K. Burns / L. Novick 10-episode documentary, 2017)

Movies: 102, listed by release year

A Farewell to Arms (1932)
42nd Street (1933)
The Count of Monte Cristo (1934)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Gulliver’s Travels (1939)
*The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Casablanca (1942, 75th anniv. showing, twice)
A Canterbury Tale (1944)
Captain Kidd (1945)
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
**Broken Arrow (1950)
Harvey (1950) Roman Holiday (1953)White Christmas (1954)
The Caine Mutiny (1954)
1984 (1956)
*Anne Frank’s Diary (1959)
*Inherit the Wind (1960)
Butterfield 8 (1960)
Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
*Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967, 50th anniv. showing, repeat)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
David Copperfield (1969)
Baldwin’s N-gg-r (1969)
Hello Dolly (1969)
The Call of the Wild (1972)
Cabaret (1972)
A Doll’s House (1973)
Claudine (1974)
The Eagle Has Landed (1976)
Julia (1977)
The Goodbye Girl (1977)
Chariots of Fire (1981, repeat)
Terms of Endearment (1983, repeat)
The Bostonians (1984)
*The Jesse Owens Story (1984)
The Fourth Wise Man (1985)
Empire of the Sun (1987)
**Dead Poets Society (1989, repeat)
**Dances with Wolves (1990, repeat)
City of Joy (1992)
Bye Bye Love (1995)
Blast from the Past (1999)
Matrix (1999)
The Crossing (2000)
These Old Broads (2001)
Christy:A New Beginning (2001)
**Goodbye, Mr. Chips (2002)
Radio (2003)
Hidalgo (2004)
*First Daughter (2004)
Catwoman (2004)
A Good Year (2006)
The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)
December Boys (2007)
*For the Bible Tells Me So (2007, repeat)
*Chasing 3000 (2008)
*Prayers for Bobby (2009, Lifetime, repeat)
An Education (2009)
From Time to Time (2009)
Animal Farm (2009)
The Happy Poet (2010)
How Do You Know? (2010)
*The Client (2010)
*Infancia Clandestina (Clandestine Childhood) (2011)
*The Wise Kids (2011)
Atlas Shrugged Part 1 (2011)
Atlas Shrugged Part 2 (2012)
*Emperor (2012)
Blue Jasmine (2013)
*Captain Phillips (2013)
Black Nativity (2013)
The Great Gatsby (2013)
Atlas Shrugged Part 3 (2014)
**The Good Lie (2014)
*Creed (2015)
Diary of a Chambermaid (2015)
Coat of Many Colors (2015)
*Suffragette (2015)
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)
Finding Dory (2016)
Mr. Church  (2016)
The Innocents (2016)
**Hidden Figures (2016)
**The Shack (2017)
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
*Wonder Woman (2017, twice)
*Battle of the Sexes (2017)
Victoria & Abdul (2017)

Expectations for 2018

Better health, more blogging, and far fewer movies
Possible travels to Indianapolis and Orlando

* ** my favorites