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

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Recipe Share: Finger Lake Sprouts

Unless you’ve decided to try living off of Soylent, cooking your own meals is an integral part of maintaining a healthy diet.  So I’m going to make an effort to share a healthy recipe I’ve either found or developed myself at least once a week.  This insures a bit more posting and, I admit, I may be sucking up to Pinterest just a little.  Boy howdy, nothing moves faster on Pinterest than a recipe with a nice picture attached!

So, on with the food!

Side Notes:  As I mentioned yesterday, this is based off of something I had in a bistro during a recent weekend trip to the Finger Lakes area of New York State (thus the name).  The bistro version was flash fried in very hot oil for delicious crispiness and finished off with I believe one of those very slow cooked balsamic reductions.  My baked version sacrifices a little of the fried flavor in exchange for a much lower fat content.  If you would like to lower the fat and calorie content even further, just eliminate the walnuts.

In the below recipe I used Thai chili flavored olive oil and fig flavored balsamic vinegar that I picked up at the City of Rochester, NY Public Market.  If this place was near my house, I would be there every weekend.  It is AWESOME.  That being said, use whatever tasty flavors of oil and balsamic that you have on hand in your own version.

Finger Lake Sprouts

1 lb. Brussels sprouts
1 tbsp. good olive oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. salt (or to taste)
¼ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut off the end of the sprouts, (removing any dirty outer leaves that fall off) then cut them into quarters.
Wash the sprouts thoroughly then allow them to dry.
Toss the dry sprout quarters in 1 tablespoon of your favorite olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of salt, then spread them on a baking sheet with the inner parts facing up.
Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the sprouts turn slightly brown and crispy on the edges.
While the sprouts are roasting, toast the ¼ cup of walnuts in a dry pan over medium heat until they darken slightly and smell very nutty.
Combine the roasted sprouts, toasted walnuts and 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar in a bowl and toss together thoroughly.

Nutrition Info (per ½ of recipe):

Calories: 250
Fat: 16.5
Carbs: 14
Fiber: 8.5
Protein: 9.5
Sugar: 8


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Status Report: .4 lbs. lost, 62 lbs. total


I gained 1.5 last week and lost 2 this week – resulting in the “boing!” effect of boomeranging up and bouncing back down, which results in very little cumulative loss over the past two weeks.  Also, obviously, I hid like a yellow bellied coward and didn’t post a status report last week instead of fessing up to the gain.  As Ted wisely told me, people reading this deserve and need to know about the missteps because… well… everybody has them, they’re a part of the journey and we all need to know it’s not the end of the road (or the world).

To be honest I’ve been feeling pretty uneasy of late.  My appetite is large and relentless, forcing me to live with constant, stomach-growling hunger for between three and seven hours each waking day.  This has been resulting in a few days each week where I blow right past my 1,200 calorie goal and shoot up between 1,600 and 1,800 instead – not a total disaster, just not where I want to be.  I haven’t found a solution for it.  The depressing truth is if you’re going to keep your body in a state of constant weight loss for months and months on end, it’s going to respond by making you want to eat more so that you stop doing what it incorrectly perceives as starving to death.  I’ve considered begging my doctor for an appetite suppressant but I’m just so scared of them, when people have bad reactions to them it tends to be heart damage.

In better news there was a much happier reason for gain last week than just succumbing to hunger: I took a trip to upper state New York to see my niece’s horn recital at her college, which led me to reverse engineer a healthier recipe for the fried Brussels sprouts I ate at the New York Wine & Culinary Center while there.  We won’t discuss the gnocchi with pesto cream sauce… *ahem*

I'll be posting the recipe tomorrow as soon as I finish typing it up!

Mmm... tasty car...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Status Report: 1.4 lbs. lost, 61.6 lbs. total

I seem to be doing a solid 1 & 1/2 lb. loss per week right now.  It's perhaps a wee bit slow, but it's steady and healthy and I'll take it.

I'm averaging five workouts per week, and I've been having a more difficult time getting up early to do them.  However, since it's warming and staying light further into the evening I'm a lot more prone to taking my Ted for an evening walk (or slow jog) after work anyway, so I'm not too worried about my lack of morning-person-hood.

Not too much else to report this week except that I was given an opportunity to join an online inspirational coaching/leadership/fitness group for free for the month of April and I'm excited and looking forward to being a part of that.  It's just a place online to share goals, hold one another accountable to our goals and encourage one another.  If anyone reading this would like to join they have extended the sign up deadline until Friday - just let me know and I'll tell you who to contact to get on board!

This snail is riding a skateboard, your argument is invalid.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Girl Who Didn't Like Girls

When I was in college, most of my friends were guys.  This was largely because the things I was obsessed with were (at the time) still more popular with men than they were with women.  Things like Star Wars, Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, Tolkien, Comic Books, World of Darkness, computer games and a hundred other turbo-nerdy, pop culture paths of interest.

Since then (we’re talking about the nineties, more or less) women have learned to let their nerd-flags fly in far greater numbers, I’m no longer in such a minority.  But at the time it was commonplace for me to go to a gaming convention, sit down with a bunch of fellow geeks for an RPG and easily be the sole girl at the table.  It was also not uncommon for one of the male players to lean toward me, give me a dreamy smile and exclaim, “it just adds something so… special when a woman plays!”

And then I would promptly disappoint them by rolling up a male character.

These days a female gamer isn’t a rarity.  Although we’re still slightly outnumbered by our male counterparts, when I was involved in a (very small) production company running live action role playing game events my partner and co-author was female, and so were about 55% to 60% of our players.  The whole world now knows what that creepy guy at my gaming table did almost twenty years ago: girls make great nerds.

However, back in college the end result of my geekiness was that most of my friends at the time were male, I was one of the guys, and at the time I just thought that made me so cool.  I would often be heard saying things like, “most of my friends are guys, I just don’t get along with women as well.”  Or worse, “girls are too boring, I prefer hanging out with guys!”  Since I was nineteen years old and basically a walking hormone, that comment probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone.

On the other hand, how sad is it that in the twentieth century I had still been so indoctrinated by pop culture to believe that female was bad/boring and male was exciting/good that I was proud to make statements such as that?  I truly believed that my tendency toward more male friends than female made me something unique, fun and interesting.  In my mind, being more guy-like or fitting in better among guys was inherently superior.  What could the underlying belief for that be except that deep down in a place I wasn’t examining too closely I truly believed that males were superior?

I was selling women short.  In truth, by not simply encountering people as people and instead partially defining how potentially interesting they were by what was between their legs I was selling everybody I encountered pretty short.  I “couldn’t relate” to an entire 52% of the population because (like me) they had boobs?  Seriously?  In doing this I was saying that the arbitrary fact of their gender was the primary or most important thing that defines them, and since I was judging them inferior based on it – yes, that is basically misogyny.  Ugly word, but true.

It didn’t change overnight, and to be honest it didn’t even change intentionally.  I happily bounced through life for years believing that I was a much more interesting and cool girl because I was a nerdy “one of the guys”.  What changed it really, were the amazing (and infinitely patient) women in my life.  Women like my Grandmothers, my Auntie, my Mother and my Sister, who as I grew older I was able to better see for the outstanding examples of strong femininity that they set.  They had always been that way, but it took a lot of time for me to grow wise enough to see them for what they truly were.

It took female friends like my former roommate who was capable of putting on a pair of biker boots and dancing all night, cooking an outstanding meal and then kicking your ass at whatever game you cared to play.  She taught me to put on makeup (correctly), speak in ridiculous Monty Python accents and offered to go with me and hold my hand the first time I had to visit the gynecologist.

I know gamers and scientists and geeks and nerds and authors and teachers and mothers and lovers and glitter fairies and warriors and adventurers and fashionistas who all bring something beautiful and unique to my world.  They are women, but the most important thing I've learned isn't that they can be women and be all these things too - it's that whether they be women or men, amazing people are an incredible blessing to have in a life.