A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

I now twit, er... or tweet. Anyway, you can follow me on twitter @Aeon1202

Friday, December 30, 2011

Love You

I’m guilty.  VERY guilty of being incredibly cruel to somebody – namely me.  You would not believe the awful, hateful things I’ve said to and about myself and my body over the years.

Although I would never do this, in moments of insanity I have been guilty of thinking, ‘you know… I could just slice the fat off of me with a knife.  No really, it would TOTALLY work.’

I’ve sustained injuries, insults and humiliations and responded with a shrug and a response of, ‘well I deserved that, I’m fat.’

I’ve over-reacted horribly to bad social situations, jobs for which I’ve been turned down and other assorted normal life rejections with, ‘well of course they didn’t want me, I’m fat.’

I’ve refused shopping trips, cute outfits, excursions and roller coaster rides all with the same lame excuse, ‘I couldn’t possibly wear / do / go to that.  I’m fat.’

And it is an excuse.

That’s not my point though…

This stupid, stupid crap doesn’t just hurt you when you do it to yourself.  It hurts the people around you.  It hurts the friend who thinks you’re amazing, it hurts the child to whom you are the center of the universe, and it hurts the lover for whom you are an absolute goddess.  It invalidates and dismisses all that they see in you as meaningless.  Worthless.

It also hurts the person listening to you who may be heavier than you who is struggling to love and accept themselves the way they are.  And when you tear into yourself with such vitriol, makes them wonder, ‘oh my gosh – if they hate themselves so deeply, and I’m so much bigger… what horrible thing must they think of me?’

So before you rip yourself to absolute shreds, stop – take a breath, and look around.

Look down.  Do your legs work?  Do they take you where you want to go?  Then those are good legs.  Do your arms lift what you want them to and hands create beauty?  Then those are good arms.  Does your body bring wonder and pleasure to someone?  Then that is a good, good body.

Stop.  Breathe.  Let it go.  Look around you.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

British Adventure Food, Part 1. The Savory

I'm spending the Christmas holiday season with my fiance and his family in England. Since she's curious, Carolyn asked that I write a post about our Christmas dinner. Surprise! It was practically the same as a Christmas dinner in the States: turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, carrots, brussels sprouts and roasted potatoes. The only interesting difference was the dessert and frankly, I don't think a whole post about Christmas pudding would be very interesting to anyone but me

Here's a picture I took of Christmas dinner. As you can see it's all very familiar.

Instead, I'm going to talk about all the other Adventure Food I've been sampling.

I started using the term Adventure Food with my friend Andrea. She and and I had taken a few fun road trips the summer before last, and also a long cross-country road trip in the spring. We had a lot of Adventure Food. They're the foods that are experiments, a bit of local cuisine you want to taste, something you only have on special occasions, or are just plain fun. For example, funnel cake is an Adventure Food, I only I have it at fairs and festivals. Coconut coated candy apples for breakfast at Coney Island are another example.

My previous posts here have been about vegetarian cooking. That's because when I'm at home, I eat primarily a vegetarian diet. It's entirely for environmental reasons that I won't go on about now. The point is, I still eat meats now and again. So, upon arriving in England for my first visit back in October, I decided to happily sample British cuisine both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Since then I've had several fun and interesting foods. There are enough that it will be best to organize them into two posts, the savory and the sweet.

A full English breakfast was at the top of my 'must try' list. Breakfast is my favorite meal and I knew it would introduce me to black pudding. The core of the meal is familiar with eggs, toast and bacon. But add in some friend tomatoes and mushrooms, baked beans, sausage, black pudding and a bit of HP Sauce and it's a gigantic new thing. Black pudding is a sausage made from cooked down blood with a filler of some sort (the ones I had were barley). Because of the gruesome ingredient I was a little skittish about trying it. The texture was softer than I generally like for sausage, but the flavor was fine. Actually, it reminded me a bit of scrapple. HP Sauce is a particular brand of brown sauce that's served with just about everything but seems to be a requirement with a full English breakfast. It's tangy and awesome. I may have to find it at home.

Graham insists sausages are different in the UK. While it's true that there is amazing sausage here, I think the US sausage situation has improved in the past 10 years. Richer and more exotically flavored sausages are now in nearly every grocery store. I guess it's been that way here for much longer. Game sausages seem to be more common in the UK. We bought some very nice wild boar sausages at a butcher. They were amazing at breakfast served on toast with some HP Sauce. Actually, that's an interesting thing. I've seen more butchers here than at home.

Pates and terrines are very common. I think I've seen one or the other on every menu I've encountered. Chicken pate seems to be the most common, but there have been some that are more interesting. One of the best was a venison terrine at The Angel Restaurant in Guildford. Graham's father received two types of pate as Christmas gifts, hare and wild boar. Hopefully I'll be able to sample them in a few days.

Pasties (pastry with a variety of fillings) are everywhere, there are even chains that specialize in them. This makes me very happy. Like Scotch eggs, pasties are something I equate with renaissance fairs. Here, I can pick up fresh ones at a various shops in town or at a kiosk at the train station. For Christmas, a pasty chain The West Cornwall Pasty Company, had a holiday themed one with turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. It was very tasty.

Speaking of Scotch eggs (which are hard boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, breaded and fried or baked), unsurprisingly, they're everywhere. I tried to not squeal with happiness when I saw them for sale in packs of two at a mini-mart. I may need to start a letter writing campaign to Wawa.

On Boxing Day I went to a football (soccer) match with Graham and his brother. On the trip to the stadium I mentioned this British foods blog post, and upon arrival I was coaxed into having a cup of Bovril. "It's a beef drink" they said. I was nervous and instantly had images of African blood and milk mixtures that I had seen as a kid reading National Geographic magazines. I was handed a drink and right there on the foam cup it said "beefy drink." I took a sip and was relieved to learn it was beef broth. And you know what? On a cold day in a football stadium, a hot cup of broth was really, very nice. I've since learned Bovril is a beef extract and can be used in various ways, the hot drink being a common one. I've seen jars of it on shelves at the supermarket.

Another popular extract is Marmite, which is made from yeast. I've snacked on Marmite on toast a couple of times. It's extremely salty and savory - a strong and odd flavor that's growing on me. I'm curious to see how it is in hot water as a drink like Bovril.

I've been told fish and chips are best on the coast where the fish is fresher, but we did get some at a local chip shop. (The shop also had Chinese food, which is great.) Yeah, the hole in the wall fish and chips were as good as the fish and chips I'd get at a British style pub in the States. I'd love to take a trip to find a really great chip shop for comparison.

The Indian food here is fantastic! The large Indian population probably has to do with that. Restaurants have far more eclectic menus with more choices and regional curry styles. It's been heavenly.

There was a little bit of language confusion when it came to talking about vegetables. From a couple of recipes, I was already familiar with aubergine, which we call eggplant. But swedes and courgettes were new vegetables to me, that is until I had some. Swede is rutabaga and courgette is zucchini.

I think that covers my experiences with savory foods in England. If in the next couple weeks I try some more things (such as bubble and squeak), I'll post an update.

Look for a post about sweets, Adventure Food, Part 2, in a day or so.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I sometimes have people say things to me like, “I am in tune with my body,” or, “I know how to listen to my body.”

I don’t think my body and I are actually on speaking terms.

It’s not that my hunger impulses don’t work, I’m just guilty of ignoring them a lot.  It’s breakfast/lunch/dinner time, so I should eat.  Or, hey these fries are good – I’m going to eat all of them.  Meanwhile my stomach is waving the white flag and yelling, “STOP EATING THAT, STUPID!”

My cravings are also kind of whack.  I’ll hear normal people say, “I’m craving something crunchy!” and then go eat a celery stick.  Whereas I don’t seem to crave anything that doesn’t involve salt, sugar, fat or grease.  Let’s be honest, I didn’t get to be the size I am from craving fruit all the time.

Now that the holiday season is passing, I feel about a hundred pounds heavier.  Oh my clothes all still fit, so I couldn’t have realistically gained very much, but when I look in the mirror instead of going, “okay – it’s a nice face,” all I’m thinking is, “you have two chins.”  I feel blocked up and weighted down.  I haven’t given myself a chance to feel properly, stomach grumblingly hungry in way too long.

So today I began what I call a listening detox.

I got into work and prepared myself a cup of hot, vanilla earl grey tea (my favorite).  No sugar, no cream, no chemicals.  Then I hydrated.  Then – I just focused on trying to listen.

No food allowed until my stomach actually, literally growled to indicate an empty tank, then some fruit.  I brought four delicious little Clementine’s and I had one each time I growled.  Then, a plentiful supply of fresh, raw vegetables in finger food size (no dip).  All of these are foods which, to put it delicately, have cleansing properties.

For lunch I had a sandwich made with more vegetables and a little cheese.

Dinner was a bowl of the post-Christmas split pea and ham soup I made this evening.  As always, my danger time for food is when I arrive in from work, and I scarfed down a handful of pita chips with artichoke dip while I was cooking.  As usual, this means at the end of the day I wind up taking a mental inventory and wishing I could delete a couple of items from my menu.  At least I’m studiously ignoring the siren song of eggnog  and cookies that is coming from my refrigerator.

It’s not easy.  In addition to all the bio hazards at home, the moment I walked into the office today I was confronted with three big trays of Christmas cookies and my refined sugar craving impulses immediately perked up.  Still, I know that if I start eating them I’ll just continue to feel awful; over-sugared, weighted down, and running inefficiently on lousy fuel sources.

I wish that what my body needs and what it seems to want could match up a bit better.  I wish I did suffer from celery cravings.  In the meantime, all I can do is focus hard on the need rather than the want, and try my best to listen.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


There I am this morning in my enormous, shapeless, cozy sweater and sleep pants - washing Christmas breakfast dishes over a sinkful of suds with no makeup in sight and sleep hair.  And from one side, I can sense Ted standing there silently staring at me.

So I said, "I can feel you staring at me."

To which he replied, "when you go into a museum, do you stare at the artwork?  God gave us beautiful things so that we could look at them."

Then he mooned me.

Ted preparing to read us the story of Christmas from the bible.

A trio of Basiurae before the tree.

Feline photo-bomb!

Yup, it's a zombie plush.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Christmas Wish

Like most yuppies, my husband and I have a busy holiday season.

There are parties to attend and to host, gifts to purchase and wrap, food to make and chocolate confection to create.  Some things, well intentioned, always seem to fall by the wayside – like sending out Christmas cards.  Every year I intend to do it, and every year it somehow falls behind.  I open all the beautiful ones I receive with a mixed emotion of guilt and happiness to be remembered by so many.

It’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking: “Ugh, I’m so busy.  I’m so stressed.  I wish I could just sit and relax and have nothing to do!”

My husband says this to me almost every weekend as we run through our weekly regimen of home maintenance, family errands and social activities.

Me, I always think about the people who genuinely have nothing to do.  Not on the weekends, and not at Christmastime either.  Think about the reality of waking and having this day, and every day stretch before you without a job expecting you, or friends asking for your time, or family inviting you to dinner.

I’ve made choices and I do not regret them but I’m realistic about where they will lead.  I’m married to a man who is fifteen years older than me, I am blessed with one child through my marriage but opted not to give birth to any.  I’ve always said that however many years of spectacular I have with Ted is worth more than a longer span with any other man closer to my age.  He is my soul mate, and I’m filled with gratitude for every moment we have together on this world.

However, I know how likely it is that if I live as long as my grandmothers did, the end of my life is probably going to be lonely.

When that time comes I will have treasured up years upon years filled to the brim with friends and family and a holiday schedule so busy that I barely had time to sleep.  I run around during the holidays and know that this year there are people for whom Christmas Eve is any other Eve, and Christmas Day any other Day – because what makes a holiday but the people with whom we share it?

I’m so grateful for my stressful, busy holiday and however many of them stretch ahead of me as the years of our life together fly by.  I am warm in the knowledge that right now is the time of my life that I will look back on one day with such joy.  I won’t remember being tired on my feet while standing over a pot of melted chocolate – I’ll remember how happy someone made me when they tasted the results and dubbed it: “magnificent”.

My wish for you this season is for your life to be busy and full, abundant with the people who will make it special for you, and for whom you made it so special.

Merry Christmas, and God Bless!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Totally Office Party

Every place of employment has its good and bad qualities.  One of the good ones about mine is a thorough enjoyment of the holiday season.  We had two office parties this year; the first was catered for us by the wife of the owner who is a very, VERY good cook.  The second was today, a pot luck affair, and my fellow employees are no slouch in the culinary department either.

I made hot baked artichoke dip.  Very easy, very good, very bad for you.

Hot ‘Choke Dip

Drain and dice two cans of artichoke hearts
Add 1 & ¼ cups of mayonnaise
Add 5 oz. of small crumbled parmesan cheese

Mix, spread in the bottom of a baking dish, and bake at 375 for about twenty minutes or until it bubbles and makes your house smell amazing.  Eat with crackers.  Try to share, it’s a bit like crack – once you get a bite you kind of keep thinking about it.

In addition to all the office partying they also exchange gifts.  I’m not all that into gifts so the first time people started giving them to me I was a little mortified.  Over the years, I’ve adapted so that now I just make home made chocolates for everyone.  People are impressed by them and they always get eaten so it seems to work out well.

The whole season is, of course, a complete cataclysm for anybody who is trying to loose (or just not gain) weight.  In addition to the parties we’ve got customers and distributors constantly dropping off pretzels, cookies, chocolates (I’m guilty of course of contributing to that one), etc.  There’s one company that sends us fresh Florida oranges too, those are really popular.

We’ve got a number of folks who are attempting or have successfully managed to sacrifice their fat on the altar of Weight Watchers, so there’s always a fair amount of food related anxiety to go along with our merriment.

People speak in ‘point value’ for pretty much everything edible, if you didn’t know what was going on you’d think we were all playing some kind of food related RPG in the office.

I don’t mind Weight Watchers – as they go I think it’s a decent enough program since they encourage people to eat real food in the real world rather than salt pickled substances from boxes and cans.  I think I can say with definition though that their program does not, in fact, work for me personally.  I’ve been on and off WW at least ten times since the age of fourteen.  Each time I fail, the rebound weight gain has probably been worth another ten extra pounds so.  Ten WW fails in a lifetime, ten pounds each, well… you do the math.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tips From Ted

I've had very little to say of late on weight loss that doesn't involve irritated profanity.  So, for the sake of decorum, today I bring you a tip from Ted.

When faced with a spouse bearing a painful ankle injury such as a grade 3 ankle sprain suffered the week before Thanksgiving, ice becomes an important part of one's life.  Driving through rush hour traffic at the end of the day for example can result in an ankle roughly two to three sizes larger than normal.

To deal with this situation, Ted came up with the following ankle injury icing tip that works quite efficiently.  You will need:

One damaged foot...

Complete with protective sock
Two bags of ice...

In small cube form
One bucket, thoroughly washed...

Stolen from faithful house cat (he was done with it)
Insert foot of spouse into bucket, pack ice all around injury.  It works really well because the ice is kept forced into close contact with the entire circumference of the injury (which does expand all the way around the ankle, I was thorough when I fell down).

After two twenty minute sessions with an hour long warming break in between, my ankle goes back to the size which can currently be considered 'normal' for it, although I'm beginning to suspect that it and my left ankle will never really match again.  It hurts less afterward too.

Probably a better idea though, if you can manage it, is to just not fall down like a big dumb klutz in the first place.

This tip has been brought to you by the letter "T" and the number "52"