A yummy egg recipe

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Okay, I’m not going to start posting recipes because that could become my whole blog and I’d rather post messages that inspire and motivate my massive readership ;-) to eat more healthfully, exercise more regularly, get off pharmaceuticals, find balance, and be happier. That said, this one is so simple and good (and you can modify it to suit your tastes, like I use Fleur de Sel instead of Spike) I just had to share:

Baked Mini-Frittatas with Mushrooms, Cottage Cheese, and Feta

 (Makes 6 servings; recipe created by Kalyn.)
Ingredients
12 oz. mushrooms washed and sliced (I used brown Crimini mushrooms, also called Baby Bellas)
2 tsp. olive oil (or more, depending on your pan)
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese, rinsed
3 oz. (3/4 cup) crumbled Feta Cheese
3 T thinly-sliced green onions
6 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. (or more) Spike Seasoning (or use any type of all-purpose seasoning blend that’s good with eggs)
fresh-ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Spray 6 Jumbo Muffin Cups with non-stick spray. (Or use any type of extra-large muffin cup or pan, but the silicone cups will keep the egg mixture from sticking more than other types.)

Wash the mushrooms in a colander and blot dry with paper towels. Slice mushrooms into thick slices. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and saute mushrooms until they release all their liquid and it has evaporated and the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes. Layer the sauteed mushrooms into the bottom of the muffin cups.

While the mushrooms are cooking, put the cottage cheese into a fine colander and rinse with cold water until only the curds remain. Crumble the feta cheese and thinly slice the green onions. 

Layer the cottage cheese, feta, and green onions on top of the mushrooms. Beat the eggs with Spike Seasoning and black pepper, and divide eggs among the muffin cups. Take a fork and gently “stir” the mixture so all the other ingredients are coated with egg. Bake the mini-frittatas about 30 minutes, or until they are set and lightly browned on top. Serve hot, with a dollop of low-fat sour cream if desired.

 
NOTE:  Eggs are super good for your brain! Always get good, organic eggs from free-range chickens. Bon Apetit!

Thing #2

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‘Tis the season for gaining a few pounds, but so what? Enjoy that  yummy turkey (it’s full of protein) dive into a mound of mashed potatoes (no gluten, at least), and fill up on yams and brussels sprouts (nutritious and delicious). Pumpkin pie? I’m in, except for the crust – don’t like the way white flour makes me feel. Still, I’m thinking we all should just relax and enjoy a little indulgence. Own our choices and accept our bodies. Even if they aren’t perfect. Or maybe they are. What IS a perfect body, anyway?

Hmm, seems like I covered that topic in my book, 50 Things I Learned In 50 Years Of Dieting . . . let’s have a look at Thing #2:

#2. No body’s perfect. Until it is.  

What I mean by a “perfect” body is one that’s perfect FOR YOU. A body you’re not embarrassed by or unhappy with. A body that is low in fat and high in strength. A body that supports you in achieving your life goals.

Getting from where you are to where you want to be begins by envisioning that perfect body within you. And then believing you can create it.

So.

When you look at your reflection and see rolls, cellulite, poofiness and jiggles, instead of thinking “My body sucks,” think this: “My body is a hunk of marble and inside this hunk exists my perfect form. All I have to do is carve away the excess stone.” Or, in this case, fat. The idea is to stop looking at what’s there and SEE what’s underneath there.

Hey, it worked for Michelangelo when he was carving his statue of David. It can work for you and your body, too.

 

p.s. Give thanks for your body, no matter what shape it happens to be in today. Tomorrow is another day! Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

Some inflammatory remarks

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Sugar is worse than heroin. Artificial sweeteners are real hazards. Wheat is whacked.

What’s wrong with these staples of the American diet? They cause inflammation inside the body, which can in turn cause a host of health issues, including arthritis, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. Less severe effects on the body and mind include weight gain, fatigue, aches and pains, brain fog, anxiety, and depression. I used to think calories were the enemy. Now I believe it’s food that causes inflammation. Avoid them and you really don’t need to worry about calories.

In a nutshell, this is what you want to avoid: anything processed, packaged, or prepared; hydrogenated or trans fats; all things deep fried (sorry!); white sugar in all its devilishly appealing forms (double sorry!!); dairy products (triple sorry!!!); synthetic sweeteners (put that Diet Coke down); most meat (except the free-range, grass-fed, or wild variety);  and anything with gluten which means wheat, barley, and most oats among other things.

What CAN you eat? I think you know, but here goes: vegetables (you knew that was going to be on top of the list, huh?), fruit (especially berries), nuts, wild fish, lean organic meats, good fats (like olive oil and the kind found in avocados), eggs, beans and legumes, and gluten-free whole grains in major moderation (read Grain Brain if you want to know why). There are also spices that help ease inflammation, like turmeric and cardamom and ginger. Think curries! With brown rice!!

This is a big subject and I’m only touching on it because there are already great books and copious articles about inflammation (www.toquietinflammation.com), but I want to put the notion on your mental radar screen so you can go out and explore it further. Try cutting out inflammatory foods (starting with gluten, possibly the body’s worst enemy) and see how you feel. I know I can feel the difference in my joints, my back, my ability to focus, and my energy level when I eat clean and simple foods.

One mistake people make when cutting out gluten is to go nuts on gluten-free grains instead of incorporating more vegetables and protein into their diet. My advice is to try to keep your grain intake down to two servings or less, per day. And make sure they’re whole grains, not to be confused with whole wheat or multi-grain. The less grain, the more brain!

And while we’re talking brain, one way to stop obsessing about what foods are doing to you physically is to focus on what they’re doing to you mentally. It’s easier to eat the healthiest foods if you think of it as feeding your brain. We all want to be smarter, right? Especially us blondes. Eat brain foods and that roll around your middle will disappear without your even realizing it!

The pharmaceutical industry would love for you to keep feeding your face with inflammatory foods so you’ll keep buying ibuprofen and other scary anti-inflammatory drugs like steroids. But how loyal do you feel to Big Pharma? Try a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water each day and see if that doesn’t help ease your aches and pains, without all the damage to your stomach.

I’m no doctor, so don’t take my word for it. Do your own empirical study. Once you’ve been on a diet of anti-inflammatory foods for awhile, go ahead and get that pizza, or have that big bowl of ice cream, or dive into that pile of French fries. Then see how you feel.

I’ve been dieting for 50 years and this idea of calming inflammation is a revelation. Insightful and motivating. And if it helps me to look better in my skinny jeans, well, then, I’m even more for it!

The joy of gentle exercise

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Okay, I admit it. I have a tendency to push my body a bit. For a woman in her mid 50’s, that is. Swimming. Biking. Running. Triathlons. 10Ks. Half-marathon. Tennis. Yoga. Kung Fu. Weights. Treadmill. Hiking. Not that I don’t have complete lapses in my exercise program, believe me, but I generally try to keep on keeping on. Otherwise my body falls quickly back into a state of sorry-ass, unflattering flab-dom.

The result of all this exercise, besides maintaining some small degree of fitness, is soreness. Most of the time I ache. I try to tell myself it’s a good ache, but really it’s just kind of annoying achy-ness. In my back. In my knees. In my hips. At least in those places. Sometimes others.

If you’ve been following my posts (which I know you haven’t because I have, like, zero followers) you’ll remember that I have mild arthritis and two bulging discs in my back. But this is not going to stop me from my pursuit of prime-of-midlife athleticism. If it’s a choice of being sore or being out of shape, I’ll suffer the soreness, thank you.

That said, I’ve decided to add some super gentle workouts into my regimen to see how they feel. At first I resisted, thinking these types of exercises were for old people, and lord knows I ain’t about to acknowledge anything old about myself. Yet. I’m hangin’ onto youth-dom just as long as I can. However, I have tried three workouts that I have actually come to love. Or, let me say, my body has come to love. And I honestly believe by balancing the gonzo stuff with the gentle stuff, maybe I won’t ache so much.

First is gentle yoga. Yes the class is mostly “old ladies” but so what? They are beautiful and kind and why do I feel I have to surround myself with younger friends all the time? Plus, I don’t feel bad if I can’t keep up, because there’s nothing to keep up with. It’s about taking it easy and doing what’s right for one’s own body. Nobody lifts an eyebrow if I can’t do “crow.” Because we don’t even do “crow” thankgod. It relaxes my mind, stretches my body, and relieves some of the soreness. I leave class happy. Not sweaty, but happy. And that feels good.

Second is water aerobics. Again, I imagined a bunch of ladies in pink flowered swimming caps and red lipstick, splashing and chatting, chatting and splashing. Not real exercise. Just kind of silliness, right? Wrong! The water offers great resistance without being hard on the joints. It’s gentle but vigorous. It’s a healing kind of workout. I get tired but not worn out. My joints feel looser and my body feels stronger when I’m done. After class I swim laps, which really gives me a nice, rounded workout.

Third is tai chi, otherwise known as “the grand ultimate exercise.” Tai chi can be thought of as a meditation in movement. It’s the basic structure of kung fu, but done very slowly, with deep breathing and grace. It strengthens, stretches, fills your chakras with fresh energy, and rejuvenates all parts of the body, mind and soul. If you practice it long enough, you can use it for self-defense, too. I love tai chi and I believe I will practice it for the rest of my life. I don’t think a more complete, healthful exercise exists.

So there ya go. My two cents for the day is: be gentle on yourself. Don’t always worry about torching calories. Ignite the healing power from within. You’ll ache less. Feel better. And last longer.

 

 

 

 

 

My path to a pain-free back.

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Pain in the back is, well, a pain in the back.

Mine started a couple years ago after too many tennis singles matches. All that twisting, turning, lunging, reaching and stop-start running gradually took a toll that I refused to acknowledge until a time came when I realized I was pretty much in constant pain. I tried laying off tennis for a couple weeks, but that didn’t work. I tried some over-the-counter pain relievers, but that didn’t work. I tried ignoring it, assuming that it would resolve itself, but that didn’t work either. Then I got serious.

I started going to a 90-minute power flow yoga class two to three times a week religiously (or should I say spiritually). I was convinced that yoga would straighten, strengthen and heal my back. Nine months later I was still in pain, though I did love a lot of what yoga was doing for me. I went to my doctor, who prescribed physical therapy. This I did for several months, even the at-home exercises they recommended. Still, the pain persisted, though I do believe the exercises helped. I then started seeing a chiropractor weekly for several more months. Not much relief. Discouraged but not daunted, I started therapeutic massage on a regular basis. It felt great. But the back pain persisted. So I went back to my doctor.

She sent me to ge an MRI, which revealed two slightly bulging discs, some mild arthritis, glut weakness, hip stiffness and an over-extended lumbar spine. My doctor recommended I get a cortisone shot in my spine to ease the inflammation and help with the pain. I did not want to do that. It seemed to me that cortisone might mask the symptoms temporarily but couldn’t actually heal the problem, which is what I was really dead set on doing. So I hired a personal trainer to work with me on building core stability and back strength. I quit tennis completely to give my back a long rest, but am continuing to run (making sure my form is good), swim and bike. I still do yoga sometimes but now avoid the forward bending postures that irritate the discs by stretching them the wrong way. I bought a lumbar support cushion for my desk chair. And I started acupuncture.

I don’t know exactly how acupuncture works but it has something to do with opening up circulation and pathways to healing. It is not an instant cure, but it does seem to help more than anything else I’ve tried. I also take these awful-tasting Chinese herbs for muscle strength and lord knows what else. Hey, if I have to eat dirt to make the pain go away, I will choke it down. Gradually, the pain is decreasing and I attribute it to all of the above. Thank god for health insurance, which has allowed me to try these various remedies without going broke.

Pain is tricky. It takes experimentation and listening to one’s body very carefully to deduce the best course of treatment. As for my own pain, I know that I need to stretch in the right ways, strengthen the right areas (especially core), keep moving but not in ways that exacerbate the problem, maintain good posture, and enhance my general health through a good diet, herbs and supplements. Curing the problem that causes pain is a process that requires patience, attention and diligence. It would be a lot easier to pop a pain pill every day and not have to work so hard, but that’s only going to make matters worse in the long run.

I now have days with almost no pain, so I know I’m on the right track. Pain is a signal, not to rush to the drugstore, but to slow down and figure out what’s causing the problem and what could possibly heal it.

The next thing I’d like to add is Tai Chi. As soon as I can find the time. I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

 

 

 

A different take on dieting.

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Okay, just for fun I had to post this “interview” with a Japanese doctor:

Q: Doctor, I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?

A: Heart only good for so many beats, and that it… Don’t waste on exercise. Everything wear out eventually. Speeding up heart not make you live longer; it like saying you extend life of car by driving faster. Want to live longer? Take nap.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: Oh no. Wine made from fruit. Fruit very good. Brandy distilled wine, that mean they take water out of fruity bit so you get even more of goodness that way. Beer also made of grain. Grain good too. Bottom up!

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can’t think of one, sorry. My philosophy: No pain…good!

Q: Aren’t fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU NOT LISTENING! Food fried in vegetable oil. How getting more vegetable be bad?

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: You crazy?!? HEL-LO-O!! Cocoa bean! Another vegetable! It best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming good for figure, explain whale to me.

Q: Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! ‘Round’ is shape!

Well… I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember:

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways – Chardonnay in one hand – chocolate in the other – body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO-HOO, what a ride!!”

Lesson? Live life to the fullest and never take dieting TOO seriously!

Some words of introduction

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laurie_fritts_final_1563x2500pixHello!

I’m about to dip my toes into the cool waters of blogging. Bear with me as I attempt to maneuver my way through this technology that is new to me.

My intent with this blog is to create a community of health-seekers. A forum by which we can all share our thoughts, ideas, tips, strategies, philosophies, struggles, successes, recipes, exercise programs, workouts, insights, advice . . .  anything we want to share with others for the purpose of motivating and inspiring, or even seeking motivation or inspiration for ourselves.

I’ve just written an e-book that is available through Amazon for Kindle or iPad called 50 Things I Learned in 50 Years of Dieting. I’m going to share the first lesson with you right now.

 #1. You eat what you are.

Conventional wisdom has it the other way around, but I believe the cycle starts with your mind. You are: depressed, insecure, lonely, unfulfilled, sedentary or overweight, so you eat foods to fill a void or make yourself temporarily feel better, possibly even further sabotaging your emotional and physical health. You are: happy, busy, social, confident, active and thin, so you eat foods that give you energy, sustain your health and fuel your dreams.

Those of you in the latter cycle can pat yourself on the back and put this book down for now. I want to talk to those who are caught in the first one.

If you’ve not been feeling good about yourself and consequently eating foods that make you feel even worse, the easiest way to put the brakes on this self-destructive course is NOT by changing your diet, but by changing your mind. Thoughts become things. And yes, you DO have control over your thoughts. And you can use them to change your habits.

Think to yourself (even if you don’t believe it at first): I am strong. I am beautiful. I am healthy. Now stop rolling your eyes. This works (even if you don’t understand how). In fact, write down these three sentences and post them where you know you’ll see them every day, throughout the day. On your computer screen. On your closet door. On the fridge. These three thoughts will seep into your subconscious and start to manifest themselves in your dietary choices. Soon you will begin acting in ways that support your vision of strength, beauty and health. C’mon. Try it and see what happens!

Maybe you’re thinking that’s too simplistic. I mean, you have some big, complex, psychological issues to deal with. You’ve had shit happen in your life. And it’s just not that easy. My thought? You’re not making it any better by eating crappy food. Talk it out with a friend. Go see a therapist. Or read some self-help books. But get off the couch and stop wallowing in whatever it is that’s holding you back. Then go post those three little sentences.

Okay, but what if you want to believe and want to change your thoughts, but when you look in the mirror you’re hit with the hardcore reality of a body you’re not happy with?

How do you keep the faith? Keep reading.

. . . . perhaps this will inspire you to begin, or get back on, or keep plodding away on that path to total wellbeing. Eat well. Think good thoughts. And have a wonderful day!