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Cravings

14 May

Sometimes I feel like I am a pregnant woman.

Stay with me here, I’m not trying to freak you out but sometimes I have serious cravings for particular food.  It’s like if I can’t eat three sprinkled donuts in the next five minutes my stomach may eat itself and my head may explode.  This got me thinking what is going on?  How come I can crave a cheeseburger while I am eating dinner? Why are cravings assaulting me irregardless of time of day, or hunger?  Is it the full moon?  Am I some mutant human that craves various foods at various times, morphing me into a über unpleasant person with only one goal in mind?  While I would be ok with that if it gave me X-Ray vision or the ability to fly to the nearest donut shop, I don’t think this is happening.  So I decided to do a little research.

I discovered that the body is really freaking cool.  According to a Discovery Health article, hunger comes from the body while cravings come from the mind.  When you are hungry a hormone called ghrelin is released and tells your mind, specifically the hypothalamus (a really awesome thing that regulates a lot of body functions) to “GET ME FOOD!”  The hypothalamus then tells the rest of the body, “Hey let’s go get some food…” and you can figure out the rest from there.  But when you have a food craving your mind takes over.  It was believed that cravings were your body’s way of getting a specific nutrient, but scientists have recently decided this isn’t the case.  Instead, according to this article, food cravings follow a similar neurological path as drug addiction.  The same part of your brain is used, usually pulling a particular food from a memory and then urging you to get this food.  Once you eat it (usually something sweet in my case) your brain rewards you with dopamine, which is the “feel good hormone.” According to the article “Neurologically speaking, that fast food joint isn’t much different from a person selling drugs.” Hmmm I guess that makes sense, whenever I think about In and Out Burger I do get pretty ravenous and start freaking out that I can’t get it.  This probably helps explain why so many Americans are overweight! Instead of being addicted to drugs, the majority of Americans are addicted to greasy, fatty fast food…and maybe some drugs.  Hey me too! On the food part, not the drug part, unless coffee is a drug, which I am beginning to think it is.

Anyway back to the brain and cravings.  It turns out your cravings and taste preferences for different foods are created in the WOMB! That’s right, if you hate tomatoes, thank your mom.  During the second trimester your sense of taste and smell develop based off what your mom was eating.  And if your mom was more adventurous while she was pregnant, eating a variety of food, when you born you were probably more open to trying new foods!  Crazy.

It turns out another big portion of cravings come from memory.  After all you can’t really crave something you have never had.  I think you can crave a combination of foods you have never had, but that bacon and ice cream combo you are thinking of is made up of two different tastes you already know and love.  That is why I crave In and Out Burger I think, because every time I have had it I was on vacation.

So what are the consequences?

Well food addicts, like drug addicts constantly increase the amount of their given vice to get that “high”, meaning every time you give into your food cravings for donuts, or cheeseburgers you are lifting your threshold higher so next time you will need to eat three burgers instead of two to get the same content feeling (dopamine).  I don’t know how true this is though because every time I give into a donut craving I can still only eat 2-3, not 4-5, but maybe I don’t give in often enough to make a difference.  It is crazy to me that food = drugs for some people.  Actually not some people, most people.  It is a vicious circle too because the foods we crave are so easily/quickly accessed and so cheaply purchased. I am blessed by the fact that I get to be married to a nutritionist, who has totally changed my eating habits, and made me more aware of what I am eating, too bad everyone couldn’t be married to one.  I think it also helpful to be active, it is hard to survive a long training ride on donuts and cheeseburgers.  I think I would die.

So what does all this mean?

Well for me it means that food cravings are normal.  Everyone has them, it just varies from person to person on how often you indulge.  Kaleigh is always saying “Everything in moderation.” To try to live your life without ever giving into your food cravings is just plain stupid.  You will be miserable.  In fact if you are on a diet or trying to lose weight giving in every once in a while will make you more successful in the long run.  Think about it this way, if you can have one snickers bar a week then you will be less likely to break down one day and eat a gallon of ice cream.  It also means that the body is AMAZING! There are so many complex reactions and processes going on every second it makes it hard for me to understand how people can’t acknowledge that some greater power is responsible.  It all works to perfectly, at least in my opinion.  Lastly it means Kaleigh’s teachings are rubbing off on me.  Before I met her I wouldn’t have cared what I ate as long as it tasted good, but now I am reading labels at grocery stores and am trying to get rid of processed foods…except for the occasional donut!

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New Beginnings

27 Sep

This weekend I was not feeling great, but the weekend gave off a sense that things were a changin’.

Like these babies…

When we got them in our box, they were mostly green with hints of YELLOW. Mysteriously they started changing orange, and now they are mostly RED with some green?!

I know peppers come in different colors depending on when they are picked, but I can’t say I’ve ever had peppers change colors on my counter!

Like I mentioned, this whole weekend I feel like I have been fighting off some sort of bug. I did force myself to make some pumpkin bread though.

I must say, this was NOT my best batch. I think it is because my pumpkin was picked too early, it seems like it was rushed. You can kinda tell in the above picture, not super orange inside.  The flavor just did not have its regular depth. The bread was still decent and it was a new beginning because I never have put chocolate chips in the bread before.

The recipe calls for walnuts but my munchy husband hit those up and I didn’t have enough. The chocolate chips made up for the less-than-normal moistness of the bread.

I have been in a bit of a food slump this weekend. Nothing was sounding good to me.  Here is one of my ‘meals’.

Roasted potatoes with ketchup.

Until today. Kinda. This morning didn’t go well but this afternoon I made my first homemade pasta sauce, another new beginning. I pretty much followed Ashley’s 5 minute pasta sauce recipe except that I used fresh heirloom grape tomatoes from our box and cooked it for about 20 minutes to concentrate the flavor. I then put it in the blender to make it especially smooth.

Really yummy because I also tossed it with diced zucchini (we have a TON from our box) and half a carrot shredded. The mix turned out 1/2 veggies, half pasta.

And the sauce turned out ORANGE!!

Topped with some nutritional yeast to make it a little “cheesy” and it was delicious! I definitely prefer making my own sauce now.

Another new beginning this weekend included me making a decent batch of chili and cornbread! In the past, for some reason I can not produce a really great tasting chili or cornbread. Saturday I put our crock pot to good use. I followed a recipe from a 5 ingredient crock pot cookbook. There were only a few ingredients it called for. Beef, tomato sauce, chopped onion, and chili powder. I followed Bob’s Red Mill recipe for basic cornbread, subbing coconut milk and 2% milk for the buttermilk and corn flour for the cornmeal. It was awesome! This all went un-pictured as we ate really late on Saturday and the pictures would have been bad (and I was feeling really sick at this point too). The next day, the husband ate all the leftovers up before I could get my hands on them! I am excited that I finally made a decent batch of these two things though.

Does anyone have a chili or cornbread recipe that they really like? I’d love to try it! I think I still have plenty room to get better!

Nothing new happening with the dogs. They basically laid around all weekend with me. Although, Molly almost did a flip in the kitchen! Earlier in the day I accidentally spilled a sesame oil bottle. It was hard to clean up so some oil remained on our faux wood floors. As I was baking pumpkin bread, Molly was trying to sneak a taste. I startled her and she tried to scurry out of the kitchen. Instead she almost flipped over herself and landed right on her side! She just laid there for half a minute totally stunned. It was priceless!

Recovering...

The biggest new beginning that is going on here is that I was offered another job!! YAHHHH!

I was actually offered my new job only a week from when I was laid off at my previous job! I feel really blessed that this was such a short turn around. I start Wednesday morning and I am so happy! A totally new job! It is still some-what related to my degree in Nutrition, but in a completely different setting AND I can walk to work!! It’s amazing! No more 50 minute drives to work!! We are going to save a lot of money just from me not having to drive to work. Awesome!!

Enjoy the rest of your Monday aka MNF (Monday Night Football)!! For some weird reason I want to root for the Bears (Kyle’s going to kill me when he reads this). Maybe because it seems they are the underdog? If I don’t have a personal connection to the teams playing, I always root for the underdog. Nothing new there 🙂

A Weekend of Healing- Sunday

20 Sep

As Kyle mentioned, we did not do much of anything on Sunday. And it was great! Well, Kyle had to work a few hours in the morning, so he did something, but after that, we just hung around the house.

I slept in and then woke up and made an ultimate comfort food… chocolate chip pancakes!!

Topped with walnuts, butter, maple syrup and banana slices!

Accompanied by Teeccino. Kyle made some before he left for work and he went with the Caffe Organic variety.

Molly believes this is meant for her. Dream on pup!

It is earthy and good, just not blowing my mind yet.

I know Kyle used less water, but the taste still seemed weak to me. I think I will try it in the french press tomorrow and see what that gives us.

After doing some cleaning Kyle got home. We hung around all day, watching football, reading, laughing at the dogs, ENJOYING each other’s company (due to conflicting work schedules, this has been a rare occurrence). We snacked on more candy corn and cookies. I had a bagel! I haven’t had one in so long. I also had leftovers from Saturday night. Stuffed peppers. I kind of went off of Julie’s recipe. I didn’t have several things she used and I also added some things.

Easy Stuffed Peppers

2 medium peppers (I had one HUGE one and one small)

2 eggs

2 tomatoes, pureed

1/2 small can sliced black olives

1 small onion, finely chopped

about 1 T of seasoning from Lipton Pasta Sides Alfredo, or onion powder

5 oz can tuna, water drained

4 mushrooms, diced

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with foil. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Slice peppers in half and rip out the top with all the seeds attached. Lay the peppers on the foil, cut side facing up. Distribute filling evenly among the pepper halves. Bake for 25 minutes or until filling is warm.

These were really easy and awesome. Kyle thought they needed more spice (=heat), so you may want to add some hot sauce to the filling before scooping it into the peppers.

After lunch was a nap, more hanging around and church. It was amazing because the message and music at church was exactly what I needed to hear. It’s so strange but so comforting that this happens more often than not.

Afterwards, we were treated to some Baskin Robbins. Cookie dough is just too good. Thanks Papa and Mama B!! So kind of you to take us out.

So things that came out of this weekend:

  1. Clearly God feels I need  a break. A time to sit back and do things I’ve really been wanting to do. Time to dream. Time to get to be with Kyle and have a lot more fun with him. Time to have fun with the dogs. I even made a list of things I’d like to do with all my “free time”. I’m a big list person.
  2. This is a time to discover something else. Something new.  It may not be the ideal job right now, but a job is a job.  Which leads me to my next point…
  3. Don’t take anything for granted. I’m reminded of this yet again. You think you know what the plan is, but it’s not. Things are always changing. Don’t take your job, your life, your friends or family or anything else for granted because before you know it, it’s gone. Without any warning. And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
  4. This kind of is the same thing as point #3, but appreciate the little things. It’s hard when your tired and you’ve been running around like crazy because… well life is crazy, but don’t forget to pay attention to little things that warm your heart. Like a faint glow behind the mountains at 8:30 pm, getting to laize about with some one you care for, the sweet look that your puppy gives you as you scratch their belly, giving your significant other a heartfelt, but simple compliment, the way sunshine trickles on your skin and can give you goosebumps. I’m drawing from these little things to really give great joy to my days.
  5. Don’t stop dreaming. Even though you think you are where you should be, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep on dreaming up other amazing things you can do with your time here on this earth. Have confidence that YOU are capable of wonderful things. What happened in the past does not define the rest of your life and the future leaves open so many possibilities of things that can be accomplished to help others.
  6. I knew this very well before, but I just want to throw it out there that I have an amazing husband. He is strong, positive, loving and caring. He is my rock. He gives me hope and makes me shoot for the stars. He rocks my world.
  7. I have a lot of room for growth, but I’ve come a long way. All I can do is trust and pray.
  8. Readers, you are likely to benefit from our situation as we are going to have to start getting very savvy with ways to save money. I plan to develop new recipes and find more ways to save money (cause it’s going to get tight here real soon). I’ll will pass on all our low-cost recipes and money saving tips to you!

This weekend was wonderful. Just what my heart, mind, body and soul needed. I hope yours was just as fulfilling.

Love,

Kaleigh

A Few Random Thoughts…

19 Sep

First of all…

I officially HATE the HEAT!  Living in Colorado you have to get accustomed to the fact that on any given day you can have every type of weather there is excluding hurricanes.  You have to get used to the fact that you will have snow into late April and maybe even early May and that the month of August is going to be HOT with lots of rain.  Colorado is awesome in the fact that it has 4 distinct seasons and you have enough time each year to enjoy them.  That said it is September 19th and today’s temperature is 93 degrees!  At this point in the year I am looking forward to the coolness of fall, spending some time with Helga with a few more layers and just getting mentally prepped for the holidays, not sitting in the apartment sweating like a fiend while watching the Broncos beat the Seahawks on a field that is 120 degrees!  Don’t get me wrong I love summer, but please lets move on to FALL!

Next….

I was listening to some AM talk radio this morning on the way to work and heard about some important left-wing movie director (maybe the guy that directed Al Gore’s movie) talking about the fact that he was developing a movie about what is wrong with the American public education system (I guess it is called “Waiting for Superman“).  According to this guy, the reason that public schooling is so bad is that all public school teachers suck.  As a public school teacher I take extreme offense to this thought.  Granted there are some horrible public school teachers out there, but there are also some AMAZING public school teachers out there.  In my opinion without getting too involved into this debate the problem lies in funding and with testing…how do you expect teachers to succeed when the system they are confined to doesn’t work and in fact hasn’t changed for a couple hundred years?  Anyway it just continues to amaze me how many misinformed people there are out there and how easy it is for people to become instant experts on subjects they know nothing about.

Continuing…

Today is Sunday and I am happy to say that my family and I have done absolutely nothing all day (expect get some groceries).  Sam, Molly and even Kaleigh have already taken a nap today in the stifling heat of our apartment while I have been watching three professional sporting events at one time!   I have been splitting my television time between the Rockies vs. Dodgers and the Broncos vs. Seahawks.  At the same time I have been watching the U.S. Pro Road Race Championships which was won by a 21 year old named Ben King who soloed for 50 miles to win against the best American professional cyclists.  Amazing!  That is the way to win a bike race, alone after indescribable suffering…

Furthermore…

Kaleigh recently lost her job.  And while this was a very sudden, very surprising event I do think that nothing but good can come from this.  GOD has a plan for us and a plan for her and while this change of circumstances is going to change a lot of things in our lives I am really excited for her and the things that in store for her career and our lives.  So if you here of any good job openings in or around the CO area send them our way and we definitely take any of your prayers and thoughts as we transition to a new phase…

Lastly…

On a musical note there is one band that has been totally rocking my world lately.  A band that if you have not yet checked out you definitely need to check them out on your next iTunes surfing session (I’m not the only one that does this right?)  The band is Bon Iver and they are KILLER, ROCKIN, THE BEES KNEES (insert your favorite descriptive word)!  I don’t quite know what it is about them, but they have a very crisp, clean sound almost like you are listening to a jam session that is taking place in your living room that is soooo very addicting.  Skinny Love is a great song to start with as is Flume, but the new EP has some great songs on it as well.  Be sure to check out Blood Bank and Woods.  Below is the music video for The Wolves (Act I & II), another gem.

I hope everyone has a great week!  Remember to pray for us!

A Weekend of Healing- Saturday

18 Sep

It is so strange how God works in our lives. You go through your days thinking that everything is going great, you are where you need to be, you are doing what you are meant to do (well at least for a while). And then BAM! Your whole world changes. Without any real warning. And all you can think is…”Now what?”

You try to be positive in bad circumstances. You want to be. But its so hard. It’s so hard to see what these circumstances mean. What do I do now? What is the plan for ME?

Friday was a really tough day for the 2 people.

Comfort foods and relaxing immediately ensued. Things such as pizza, Amy’s macaroni and cheese, pbfingers flourless peanut butter cookies and CANDY CORN! We definitely did not hold back.

Pure sugar, but it isn't fall without them!

This weekend is meant for healing. Meant for relaxing. Reflecting. Praying. Trusting.

A LOT of trusting. Trusting that the plan for us is good. Trusting that things are going to be ok. Trusting that something so great is going to come out of this.

This morning I woke up to this.

Very fitting for the mood. A dreary and cool (but welcomed) beginging to the day. This absolutely meant warm oatmeal and “coffee”.  On a side note, since I have been on my detox, I haven’t had caffeine in about a month and a half. I tried it a few days ago, and it didn’t go well. Heartburn. So I ordered this…

It’s called Teeccino. We got a 12 pack sampler so we can try a bunch of different flavors! It is herbal tea  that is supposed to taste very similar coffee. It has no caffeine in it, but has natural energy boosters. I am hoping that I am going to like  it because I don’t think my tummy can handle the acidity of coffee very well :(. This is very depressing because I LOVE coffee!

We decided to try the Hazelnut variety this morning.

Brews just like coffee.

It was good. Not amazing. The flavor was not very strong so I think the next batch we try, we’ll use less water. No heartburn though!

My oatmeal on the other hand WAS AMAZING! The best I’ve had in a looong time! It was like I was eating banana bread batter! It was oats, with banana, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves, walnuts, brown sugar and cut up gala apples.

After watching a little football, we decided to walk over to the small dairy farm that is right behind our apartment complex. They were putting on a fall festival! Perfect day for it!

piggies!

Complete with camel rides and llamas!

Here’s what I was hoping with all my heart that we would find here!!!

It's hard to tell but this guy was huge! Bigger than a toilet bowl! (I couldn't think of anything better)

PUMPKINS!!!!

Here’s what we came home with! I am so excited! I have been longing for home roasted pumpkin for about a month now! It’s definitely the secret to making deep flavored and delicious pumpkin bread!

First pumpkin of the season!!

Beautiful!

Kyle had to work this afternoon and evening, so I watched some more football, took a nap, went for an hour long work out and made some stuffed peppers for dinner. And had another cookie. Day one has been nice. Heart warming, soul soothing and laid back. I am grateful for this day. I hope tomorrow will be just as wonderful.