Just a few things that have been on my mind today, a little long, a little controversial too.
“Grow Up and Eat Your Vegetables!”
I love this time of year, veggies a plenty! Whether it’s a roadside stand, a farmers market or that friendly sign at Kroger or Giant Eagle telling me how they are supporting local farmers by carrying Ohio-grown produce whenever possible, the fruits and veggies are naturally ripe and fresh! Last weekend when Pop barbecued for my birthday, he also gave me my birthday present. My birthday presents from Pop are always awesome! I got a bag of cherries, a half dozen white peaches and a big bag of zucchini. Pop always picks up my favorites, down to choosing the white over yellow peaches. With him working in the produce department, he picked my goodies up after work Saturday morning. I couldn’t get fresher if I got them myself. But, I also get the “pick of the litter.” Pop knows what looks the best coming off the truck in the morning! I still have a couple of zucchini left, but the peaches were finished by mid-week and well, the cherries lasted through Sunday!
In the world of trying to make less of me, I tried Nutrisystem. It’s a good program if you can afford it and if you have a modest amount to lose. For me it was a good jump start. I dropped 40 pounds after a slow start. Their counselors on the phone are great. I switched a few things around and changed my dairy or protein add-ins to mostly protein instead of dairy and then I started losing better. Well, the start of the year I quit losing, even gained a little. Mostly due to stress as I was going along on the journey to the ultimate MS diagnosis.
Unfortunately, while the switching out most of the dairy worked for getting the weight loss going, lowered Vitamin D goes with MS and my blood work said my Vitamin D levels were DRASTICALLY low. That’s not Nutrisystem’s fault or the fault of the counselors. I didn’t even know I had MS when that “fix” was made in my diet. A year later the only “good riddance” feelings I have is to the prepackaged food. The diet plan is sound but the food as a whole isn’t so great.
So, I did some doctoring with the food, adding spices to save the flavor. Some of it was beyond help. Those things were mostly the dinner entrées, which are usually just swimming in not-so-good to gross gravies. I do still have a few breakfasts left that I will miss when they are gone.
Visiting the community message boards there was a shock! I was hoping that someone had already called counseling and gotten an “Okay” to dump most of those gravies or at least had some good ideas for fixing the flavor. What I found was a lot of very unsupportive people insisting you had to “do it MY way” because they were “experts.” It only takes losing some successfully and posting a lot to be an “expert.” Oh jeez, I can’t stand uncredentialed experts. The board bullies were brutal to people and probably lose Nutrisystem as many customers as they help.
The one thing the board bullies had in common was that they HATED vegetables. Oh, GROW UP! I’m thinking that’s maybe why they ended up there in the first place! For me it was mostly the nuts. I discovered my greatest nemesis in the weight gain world was the portion sizes of nuts, pumpkin seeds and the like. Maybe that explains the cholesterol issues for me? I got my fat servings under control and not only did I drop some weight, but I got my cholesterol levels down too. Of course, I didn’t get the adults who don’t eat vegetables. I mean, they hate ALL vegetables? What are teaching their kids?
I’ve always eaten a lot of vegetables, often raw and when they are cooked I only seldom add any more than a little spice or a touch of butter. The bully experts told me I had to eat all the gravy because it was important for "the stats." They all seemed to agree that the answer to the gravy issue was to steam large amount of vegetables and pour the gravy over them because it made it easier to eat the vegetables. What? After already saying that I ate lots of veggies raw or naked and liked them they tell me to put the gravy I don’t like on my veggies? My answer was that I quit ordering the stuff with gravy. That made the selection very limited.
So, I switched to Weight Watchers when I found out how bad my Vitamin D level was. Like I said, not at all blaming Nutrisystem for it, but I’m eating lots of dairy now and losing again. I’m also not bored at all and no gravy baths for anything because I cook it and my veggies-a-plenty are raw or un-gravied too! I’m diet-wise in a better place.
I’ve always thought that stem cell research was a good idea. The results there have been in tests are near miraculous, but I’ve never climbed on the soap box and supported it because it didn’t promise a benefit to ME, so I hadn't researched a lot. My bad on that one. You never know when something that’s a good idea for “other people” may end up being an idea you want more done about for YOU! That’s kind of where I am now. There is a lot of research being done on the results of stem cell treatments for MS patients. So now I’m stepping up on my soap box in support of it. It was a great idea before, but when it became personal, my eyes opened wide enough to see my empty soap box.
The political world is quite threatening. I am not a registered anything but a registered voter. As far as party goes, I’m American. But I’m a disabled American now and I’m starting to see myself leaning left enough that I could totally walk away from the Republican party members because they have become quite anti-people. If that party has its way, the healthcare reform that was passed will be revoked. In addition to healthcare for people who can’t afford it, it also means that if my husband were to change jobs, I’d be uninsured with a life-long debilitating disease. That reform includes the end of “pre-existing conditions” as a reason for an insurance provider to refuse to cover someone. In the end, money is SO much more important than care, right?
Also, greatly influenced by the religious anti-choice nuts, the Republican party is really paying at least lip service to cutting funding and halting stem-cell research, because I guess research to save lives encourages abortions.
Don’t misunderstand me on this one. Anti-choice is a carefully chosen term. As an American I am pro choice. I don’t understand how anyone can not be. Personally, I would never have an abortion or encourage anyone close to me to have one. I also personally don’t condone use of fertility clinics. My personal thought is that there is a reason for unplanned pregnancies and a reason some who want babies can’t have them. It’s my spiritual beliefs that say if you are pregnant, didn’t plan to be and don’t want a baby, DO NOT KILL IT. Have the baby and give it up so the parents who want a child can adopt it.
Of course, I realize my belief that it’s killing a baby is religious. In a country where we have the freedom to choose, or not choose at all, a religion that’s right for each individual, we cannot make laws that prefer one religion to any other. If there are religions that do not hold that a fetus is a human life until birth, how can we as Americans govern when the fetus is a life?
The mini-abortion rant does go back to stem cells, really. There are two things the Republicans that are sleeping with the church ladies need to consider. The first is that not all stem cell research is embryonic stem cells. There is a hospital I was reading about, not in the US, because the treatment isn’t approved here, that uses your own stem cells, drawn from fat cells that are processed and reinjected. There have been good reviews from MS patients who have the courage and money to try it out. Last I checked the most obese country in the world has plenty of fat to donate to that cause.
The second thing, while they are kissing butt for the anti-choice religions, is MY religious beliefs. Who do I have to cozy up with for my religious convictions to be a political star? I don’t know if someone is going to Hell for having an abortion. As a ‘lil old human, I’m, not qualified to say “God says….” Best I can do is say “I feel like what I am doing will or won’t please God.” But let me ask this of those church ladies. If it’s a baby before it’s born and it’s killed. Does it go to Hell too? My belief here, it would be un-American to choose a religious influence to create a law, my spiritual beliefs find some solace in that the stem cells from aborted fetuses can be instruments to save people that are already living with diseases. The anti-choice church ladies may be seeking to strip those lives of their purpose.
Ah but, these are the same people who throw their own children in front of cars to keep people from going in to a family planning clinic. People or a soul’s purpose have little meaning to them compared to their own agenda and being right at any cost.
If you have an opportunity to talk to a candidate or your legislators, ask them where they stand on stem cell research and if they’re against it, WHY?
David and I are thinking of expanding out family again. It’ll be a while yet. We didn’t want to run out and adopt another cat right away, part because we wanted to honor Baggle’s memory and let Kaline and Carla get used to each other without him. Yeah, they are a little different together than they were. Kaline and Baggle were that way after we lost Chester too. But the other part was that we do a lot of weekenders in the summer and have vacation plans coming up too. It wouldn’t be fair to introduce a new cat and then leave. All three of them needed us there as they got used to Carla being in the family. There are definitely things we could have done better with introducing Carla and I’d like to make sure we do them better with the next new cat. So, we’re probably looking at mid to late fall, like we did with Carla.
We do have a name picked out, Joe or Jo Morgan, Joe for a boy and Jo for a girl. I think we’ll probably use the middle name, but as David says, “it depends on the cat.” I guess I gotta agree with that. The reason for the choice was that we have a Red Sox cat and a Tigers cat. We give bonus cat treats when all three of our teams, Tigers, Red Sox and Reds win. I thought we ought to have a cat named for a Reds Hall of Famer. But David thought it was a little unfair to have two cats named for my teams and only one for his. Joe Morgan is the name of the Hall of Fame member of the Big Red Machine, 1972-79, and also the name of the Boston Red Sox manager, 1988-1991. No, not the same guy. Their playing careers overlapped just briefly at the end of the Red Sox manager’s career and the beginning of the Big Red Machine member’s. It’s a puurrfect name for our third baseball kitty!