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Everywhere these days you hear about clean eating. There are so many diets: paleo, Virgin, Arbonne challenge, 21-day Fix, and so on. I’ve watched the documentaries “Fed Up” and “Hungry for Change.” My mother developed type 2 diabetes and passed away. I realized I wanted to take action and improve our eating and maybe lengthen our lives. So, I like to call these changes reset eating.
I started with “The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet.” This book helped me learn about portions and the role of sugar. There’s a nice chapter on the psychology of changing how you eat that was very helpful. It also includes menu plans.
Next, I began using the “Flat Belly Diet.” The book gives meal plans for one, so perfect for an “empty nest.” I can cook for 2, 4, or 6, for whoever is home for dinner, just by multiplying. The central idea is to eat four small meals each day and include MUFAs (mono-unsaturated fatty acids.) We are enjoying olive oil, nuts, dark chocolate, avocados, and olives. I’ve learned to keep measuring cups and spoons handy and measure everything.
I never thought we would be happy with a ½ cup of pasta each, but the variety of foods and tastes are very satisfying. The recipe for Sassy Water (named for the nutritionist Cynthia Sass) has changed my attitude towards hydration and got me off diet soda! If you are trying to eliminate foods (gluten, dairy, soy, and so on), the menus are easy to adapt.
Getting out of ruts
I found “The Weekend Makeover: Get a Brand New Life by Monday Morning.” Jill Martin and Dana Ravich present the tactic of taking time to do a makeover on different areas of your life. The plan is broken down into Friday night through Sunday night schedules and you tackle one area each weekend. That can translate to any 55 hours. Just reading these ideas gave me inspiration and the mindset that it’s okay to focus on yourself. It’s so easy to do things the same old way forever if you’re overworked and tired. The book is easy to read and full of tips for exercise, friendships, wardrobe, diet, and more.
Becoming a grandmother
“Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting” and “Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting” are such interesting books to read. “Bringing Up” is the full story of journalist Pamela Druckerman’s experiences raising her first child in Paris. “Day by Day” summarizes the tips from French parents into an easy-to-read numbered digest. We loved the ideas of how babies can be taught to eat good food and behave with adults. I was really inspired by the provided French day care menus. These books are good for parent and grandparent conversations about food and discipline.
French parenting is based on philosophies of Jean Rousseau and Dr. Françoise Dolto. Children should have experiences to lead to self-assurance, tolerating differences, and taking pleasure in life. Even infants are thinking humans, so it’s important to explain what is happening in the family and their role in it. I love these ideas and I’m trying to apply them.
“To Our Children’s Children: Preserving Family Histories for Generations to Come
” comes as a small book with lots of questions about how you grew up and how you live. A companion volume is larger with the same questions but lots of space to write your answers. The Gardener and I haven’t gotten very far with this project, but we’ve enjoyed reading the questions and telling each other the answers (amazing what you don’t know even after more than twenty years together!) I think we are going to type the answers and maybe add photos to make a digital and printed copy, so we really only needed the small book. Others may enjoy writing the answers with a nice pen in the journal. Some of the questions include:
- Who was your best friend in the neighborhood as a child? Where did you play?
- What were the clothing trends when you were in high school?
- What’s your daily routine in the mornings?
- The Hobsess blog encourages us to find joy in the second half of our lives
- Gigi Eats Celebrities takes a light hearted look at staying fit and healthy
- nom nom paleo has great info and recipes for resetting your eating
- Peanut Butter Fingers gives advice on healthy food and fitness
- The Sunshine and Elephants blog demonstrates positive attitude and enjoying life by making seasonal bucket lists!
- Kids Activities blog has a wide range of things to do with children, organized by age.
- 10 books that changed everything from Life in Grace
Let’s talk story
I feel blessed that I’ve been able to retire while I’m still in pretty good health. I have regrets that caring for my family and working hard at my career meant that I didn’t care for myself very well. The telling moment for me was realizing that one reason we chose our house was for the bathtub and the skylight over it. I hadn’t used the bathtub in 8 years! I just always thought I didn’t have time for a bubble bath.
I’m enjoying learning about modern skin care and improving the way we eat. I’ll be great if Chick-fil-a, Zaxby’s, and Bojangles would all go away!
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