Monday, July 17, 2017

Flying to Minnesota for a Visit

I was getting lots of requests to come and visit for just a while and since it is 110 degrees (on a good day) it sounded like a plan to me as well.

Don't get me wrong, the heat isn't bothering me at all.  It's very much like winter in the north.  You are uncomfortable for brief periods between the house and the car and the store but it's not that bad. 

In the north I'd be struggling with boots, gloves, hats, scarves and coats.  Here I'm just warm for a bit, and I like that much better.

I fly out on Tuesday, the day I complete my Whole 30 diet, so can relax my diet for a bit during the stay but I plan to stick to it as much as possible to continue the progress I'm making.

It's another first for me to arrange my own flight and transportation to the airport.  I'm feeling so grown up!
Since I'll have to pay for a bag any way I plan to stuff my new suitcase to just under the allowable weight with clothes that I'll be leaving in Minnesota for next year.

My neighbor will be watching the cats for me and it has been such a joy having her across the street.  We talk almost every morning on my deck while her dog tries to coax the cats into playing with him. So far he's just been rebuffed with hisses, but maybe one of these days.

Our visits are like therapy sessions for both of us as we navigate our new lives in Carriage Manor.  I've been here a little longer and had the advantage of having Sister Mary show us the ropes early in our stay, so I've been able to fill her in on things.

We teach each other many things and share similar interests and it's nice to have a girlfriend I can see in person and talk with on a regular basis.  That does not mean my other girlfriends scattered about the country are less important, but it's good to be forming some new ones as well.

If it were not for her I wouldn't even consider leaving my babies for such a long period.  I'm still nervous about it, but she says she'll send me texts and photos during my absence to see they are fine.

I'll keep you posted with photos of the Minnesota digs when I arrive.

Long Live the Queen

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Visit to Our New Vet Clinic

Now that my doctors have been located in our new area, it was time to find a vet for the kitties.  My first visit was to Banfield Pet Hospital that is associated with PetSmart.  But, I hated having to haul them through the store and past all the dogs roaming around for their nail trimming and rabies shots.  Then I received a recommendation from one of my Thursday night out ladies to try 1st Pet.

1st Pet is a 24/7 facility, so if an emergency should arise I could take them in directly and they'd have all their records, so I took them in for a nail trimming to check it out.  I liked what I saw and registered their information at this facility.

This is a cat friendly facility and there are two rooms set aside just for cats that no dogs ever walk through to eliminate all scent.  Much nicer than at PetSmart!

George needed to go back in to have his teeth checked and they did some blood work to check on his liver enzymes, which seem to be higher than they should.  

Dr Waldo asked me if I wanted some water and without thinking I said that George was probably too stressed out to drink anyway.  He smiled and let me know the offer was for me and that he wouldn't even serve it to me in a bowl.  Duh...I just had a Betty White (as Rose Nyland) moment.  As soon as he left the room I turned to George and asked "Where's Waldo?" but he was not in a humorous mood and just glared at me from his crate.

George was whisked away to the inner sanctum and one of the ladies brought in the "mini bar" for my enjoyment.  Of course, with being on the Whole30 diet I couldn't partake of much of the offerings and I always carry my own water bottle...bummer.  There was some nice chocolate at the bottom of the basket.  The popcorn looked the safest choice for when I can have grains again so I took this to enjoy later.

During the absence I was able to enjoy the Catster magazines provided for reading material while obsessing over the untouchable chocolate.  I was never meant to be this good!

The liver enzymes are still elevated so I'll bring him back in 4 - 6 weeks for another testing and if it's ok they will proceed with his dental cleaning.  If not we need to figure out what's going on with his liver.  I contacted the vet clinic from Wisconsin to have them fax the records to the new clinic.

It feels good to have all my doctors, dentists and vets lined up in my new home.

Long Live the Queen of Homesteading

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Deck is Complete

I struggled with trying to make everything fit on the deck and when my neighbor Sandy was over one morning she looked at the huge metal shelf and said "that has to go".  She was so right.

So in the spirit of moving things around (which I love so much), the heavy shelving went to the side of the house to store trash cans, and other sundry items.  It will be a nice spot for Left Brain to hang his bike helmet, gloves and sweaty clothes when back from a long ride.

I'm in love with these little tables to tuck into corners.

I found a smaller, cuter baker's rack at Hobby Lobby and this works perfectly for my decorative items that I never had space for.  It will double as a serving area for snacks when we have people over to visit or play cards.

I made a little sitting area at the front of the deck using the table that used to be inside the house and the two extra chairs from the dining room.

A new table cloth was added to the table to continue my brown, orange, yellow and red theme going on out here.

The string of orange lights add a little festivity to the area.

I found that an over the door hanger fit on my pvc pipe "wall" and so I added this little planter with fake flowers on my "cat proof" wall.

A cheap little shoe rack has been added to the front entryway to keep them organized.

This classy gate to the deck now has an open/closed sign.

It's starting to come together nicely and the cats and I enjoy the deck at about 5:00 am when you can actually be outside for any length of time.

Long Live the Decked Out Queen

Side note:  by the time this blog is being posted it has been rearranged already.  This will come to no surprise to anyone who knows me.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

My Little Smart TV

I've always wanted a small TV in the kitchen area so I can watch my shows when Left Brain is commandeering the remote in the Arizona room.

I picked up a 24" smart TV thinking it would sit on the kitchen counter, but it didn't really fit, so I put it on the hutch.

This works nicely as I can lay on the couch and watch TV with a couple of cats snuggled next to me.  I know...not everyone is lucky enough to have a couch in the kitchen.  It's an odd spot for it, but it's so comfortable I can't part with it.

I did add the washable pet cover, which is a bit too large, but it keeps the cat hair off better.
this was the first one...too little

There wasn't any satellite connected to this one, so I used it mostly to watch TV from Amazon Prime.  Although I'm finding it hard to find time to watch any TV, even in the summer it seems my days are overly full.

Well, one thing lead to another and I contacted Dish to see about having a box in this room so I have full access to everything.

Now that I have everything at my fingertips, I decided that this one was too small for when I'm sitting at the table.  This will become more important during football season when it's our turn to host.

So, being the considerate person I am I exchanged the 24" screen for a 39" one, because that was the largest size that would fit in the space.

Aaaah...Queen of my castle...and the remote

Long Live the Queen

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

She's Everywhere

I was in the process of seeing if my small black bins would fit inside my new bookcase for storage purposes when I turned and....

there she was.

Yup.  Everything fits nicely inside.

Long Live the Queen of Cats

Sunday, July 9, 2017

I'm having too much fun decorating my little nest!

A friend of mine was here recently for a week to set up the place they purchased and I was able to assist her in a couple of projects and joined her on a shopping trip.  On an impulse I purchased this canvas...I didn't know it would end up being the inspiration piece for my Arizona room.

Watching her transform her space inspired me and soon I found myself looking at my space with new eyes.

Another friend in the park was selling his lazy boy chair for a very small price, so I scooped it up quickly to replace the odd blue chair that has seen much better days.

I removed the heavy wood end tables and replaced them with some smaller fun pieces.

tray for near Left Brain's chair

couldn't resist the turquoise side table for by my chair

little white accent table to coordinate with the fireplace/entertainment center
this fun little table is by the front entry

My latest (and only large purchase) was this gorgeous bookcase for that dead space on the wall behind the recliners. It works nicely as a charging station as well as providing additional storage.

I've been enjoying this journey immensely and it's all coming together nicely now.

Long Live the Queen of the Decorated Castle 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Entertainment center with fireplace

Since I was struggling with trying to arrange the furniture in our little Arizona room it finally occurred to me to remove the little fireplace and buy an entertainment center that had a fireplace built into it.

I found one I liked the looks of (and the price) at Home Depot so placed the order.

When I arrived I uncrated it outside and carried the pieces into the Arizona room, where they sat for a few days while I mentally prepared myself for the task of constructing it.

It wasn't as white as I had thought it would be, but the color goes nice with the rugs in the room. 

The fireplace is nicer than the other one we had and I think we'll really enjoy this in the winter time.

The small fireplace was moved into the dining room where it serves as additional countertop space.

I just love shuffling things around!

Long Live the queen

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Whole 30 meals

When people ask about this Whole 30 diet and I explain that I can't have any alcohol, sugar, dairy, grains or legumes they ask "what CAN you eat?"

There's actually a great deal that can be eaten on this diet, it just takes more planning and cooking.  Let's just say I don't eat out much any more.

Here are some of my favorite new recipes.

This is the Thai Red Beef Curry.  It uses cheap charcoal steak that is cooked for 7 to 8 hours in the crock pot and is soooo yummy.

For a fish meal I cooked this coconut crusted fish with veggies.  It's just cod topped with a mixture of almond meal, unsweetened flaked coconut, shallots and coconut oil.  I baked it in my nuwave oven and it couldn't have been any easier to prepare and is so flavorful.

I always have a bowl of salad ready to go for a quick meal, including for breakfast.  This is the Napa slaw, the first salad I fixed up from my cookbook. It's so fresh and crunchy.

I'm finding that I really appreciate the flavors of the foods now that the sugar has been eliminated.  Everything tastes so fresh and vibrant.

I spend a lot more time in the kitchen these days, but on my "prep" days when I'm slicing and dicing and getting stuff ready for the week I just put on some of my favorite music and dance around while I work, or I pick something to watch on my TV in the kitchen. 

Life is good.

Long Live the Queen of the Whole 30 Diet

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Book Report: 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life

Okay, it was the title of this that caught my attention.  This book is written by Andrea Owen and she has overcome an eating disorder, alcoholism and divorce to emerge as a powerhouse in the life-coaching world.

In her introduction she made a statement that stirred me:
"I had spent our entire relationship, all thirteen years, suffocating myself. Building a life around someone else because I was simply desperate for love. Was it his fault?  No."

She then proceeds with the advice that you must take responsibility for your life.  A simple yet profound statement.  She deals a lot with how your attitude forms your being and how important it is to take negative thoughts and turn them into committed beliefs.  An example of this is to take the thought of "I'm fat, lazy and unattractive" into "I would love to lose weight by eating better and exercising."

In her section of allowing yourself to be alone I learned that personal autonomy is imperative for a healthy relationship.  To get to know yourself without anyone else, to find out what you really want in relationships, your life and your future.  And if your relationships are less than perfect it could be that you don't know yourself yet.

Here is a segment of what she promotes:

  • Take responsibility for yourself.
  • Forgive yourself for your past.
  • Own your story and at the same time love yourself for it.
  • Set healthy boundaries.
  • Go after what you want.
  • Believe you are worth what you want.
  • Take care of your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
  • Accept praise and compliments.
One of her nuggets was "don't complain about anything you're not willing to take action on".  This reminded me of a time in my past when a dear friend, after listening to me complain for the hundredth time how awful my husband was (not Left Brain but his predecessor)gave me the following tough love speech. "I will love you whatever choice you make, stay with him or divorce him, but until you're ready to actually do something about the situation... I don't want to hear about it anymore".  Wow.  I'd lost my sounding board for my pity party and had to put on my big girl panties.  And I did, I asked for a divorce within a week of that announcement.

I've always been a creative person and several friends have encouraged me to return to my sewing and dollmaking, something creative.  She points out in this book that "What might be creative for you is actually creating yourself. Creating that person you want to be, the person you were meant to be. And know that by doing that, you're actually creating your own revolution of sorts- by standing up for who you are and not who you think you should be".  This gave me a tingle since part of my exile to Arizona was to separate from being part of a couple to living alone to figure out just who the heck I was.  I'd lost sight of that while raising kids, caring for elderly parents, working at a job and being married.

At the end of her book she asks this question:
"What if, at the end of your life, there is a questionnaire. Which box do you want to check?
___I made everyone happy by not expressing my passionate opinion because I didn't want to offend anyone.
___I expressed my opinion and it meant something big to me.

This trying to find out who you are and what you really want is hard least for me.  I envy those who have clear thoughts on the matter...I've always been a slow learner.  But I think at age 65 it's time to work it out.  Wish me luck.

Long Live the Evolving Queen

Friday, June 30, 2017

Taking Care of Business

On Monday I had my follow up visit with my doctor to go over the lab results.  With the Whole30 regime I'm not allowed to weigh myself, but technically...she was weighing me and I just happened to notice the numbers.  I'm down six pounds so far in just eight days, so I'm feeling pretty good about this new lifestyle.

I got my Prevnar 13 shot for pneumococcal pneumonia...good to go there.

The lab results are all good with a couple of things that are getting out of whack that she thinks diet and exercise will take care of.  So I am opting for not taking anything at this time and we'll check again in six months to see what the results are.

I got the TV all hooked up and couldn't find the Amazon button so did an online chat with Vizio and learned that it needs to be updated to the next version.  Sure enough, after following their instructions and waiting for it to take effect there it was.  I've been playing with my Amazon Prime movies and learning to create a watchlist, play, pause, etc.

My estimates came back for fixing the window and replacing the back door and we may be able to get another RV style door to keep the screen door function.  Otherwise it's a steel security door.

On Tuesday I went to the dentist in the morning to get my two crowns replaced.  I'm very impressed with this office.  They are able to take the impressions right there and using some kind of a 3D printer they mill the new crowns on site.  Then they tried them in my mouth to make sure everything was good before they did the final baking.  It added another 20-30 minutes to my appointment, but there was no getting temporary crowns and having to return for the real ones.

I called the man about the door and window again today and arranged for him to come over at 4:00 for final measurements and seeing for sure which door would be best.

I ran home to get my pickleball paddle and a banana for lunch since my mouth was still frozen and I could at least manage a banana without any damage .  I played until 3:00 and decided to return a little early for a shower and get some cooking done before he came for the measurements.

You can imagine my surprise when I entered a very warm house.  The AC had quit at some point during the day and it's now 108 outside and 90 inside.  Thank goodness for our insulated windows that are helping hold it to a livable level.

The ceiling fans came on placed on the floor for my poor suffering furry friends.  I took a nice shower and wet down the cats to help with cooling.

The repairman wasn't able to come until the following day, so it was a warm and sticky night...but hey...I'm from before AC was standard in each house so I just dealt with it. With the lower temperatures it only reached about 93 degrees and in the morning it was cool enough to need my sheet and blanket again.

Wednesday morning was very productive since I needed to stick around for the arrival of the repairman, so fixed a nice breakfast of bacon with eggs and left over asparagus.  The old me would have been all whiny about not being able to add some goat cheese or feta cheese to this dish.  The new me was marveling at how incredible asparagus tastes.  I'm starting to have a shift in my taste buds and the flavors seem more alive than ever before and I realize that in the past all I was tasting was the cheese.

The repairman arrived about 2:00 and our AC was low on freon.  Now it's runny nice and things are cool again.

Each day brings a new adventure!

Long Live the Sweaty Queen

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Book Report: Women and Desire ...Beyond Wanting to Be Wanted

In this book the author, Polly Young-Eisendrath, tackles answers to Freud's question about what women really want.

This resonated with me during my period of hermitage as I grapple with the question of "What do I want from my life?"  I don't think this question is unique to any woman and my personal belief is that it all stems from the way we were raised.  Think about all the stories, such as Cinderella, we were fed growing up while forming our values as little girls.

We were trained that if we were good enough, nice enough, pretty enough, well mannered and sweet then some day a handsome prince would come sweeping down the hillside on his white stallion to claim us as his own and we'd live happily ever after.  Bull-crap!

That's why this book really hit a nerve as I learned how women have been conditioned to be the Object of Desire, with no core self, no clear autonomy and self determination under our own control.  The Prince Charming is the Subject of the story and the helpless damsel in distress is merely the Object of Desire.

Here is a quote from the book that I liked: "When you learn to speak the truth, you come to recognize that you have no special power over others to make them do your bidding.  You cannot pressure or scare away others by speaking your desires.  Other adults also have free will.  We all have a responsibility to speak our own desires and to respect those of others."

While reading this book I was recalling how my daughter expressly asked that we not compliment the granddaughters on how pretty they were, even though they are stunningly gorgeous.  We were asked to tell them how smart they were, how brave, how clever, how tough...anything but focus on their physical attributes.  These little girls are now young women who are spirited and not afraid to speak their minds!

A friend of mine, Yifat Gohar Levenstein, has recently proclaimed a year long ban of not shopping to break ties with consumerism and portions of one chapter in this book really hit home with me on how she feels. She will be sharing her experiences on a month by month basis and it should be interesting to see how it goes.

Women have been historically linked to shopping as men are to sports as it provides a feeling of being in control and making our own choices.  But this is just a clever ruse as well.

Years ago only the elite would afford the latest styles and fashions while the everyday woman looked on in longing.  Then came the department stores with ready-to-wear clothing that allowed access to more women to participate in the competition for fashion.  This phenomenon forged a pattern in women to shop ever three or four days as it became an outlet for social interaction and pleasure.

As the author states "a profound cultural transformation in which both women and stores were caught up in the murky business of creating desires and longings that can never be satisfied." "Shopping was designed for women as an intoxicating mix of promises to be both the Object and the Subject of Desire"

A further extension of this is the contemporary shopping mall and mega discount store that can now appeal to all women at all income levels.  It all comes down to consumerism and a ploy to reach as wide a market as possible.

Then the author brings down the sad truth: "But women are not in control of either the fashion industry or other large retail enterprises, they have once again been tricked into believing they have power as Objects of Desire. Retailers seduce us to buy freedom when no freedom is available. Instead of freedom, modern consumerism creates more desire, even compulsion". Shopping was designed to create and multiply desires for things and images. Most shoppers are unconscious or somewhat unconscious that shopping environments, especially beautiful and sensually pleasing ones, create need and breed desire."

Does this make you think of all those stupid purchases we've made to "make us feel better"?  I know I sure did.  The thrill of seeing the item, purchasing it and then having it hang in the closet and seldom or never worn.  Reading this book and learning where that need comes from made me both angry and sad.  Is it any wonder that teenagers flock to the mall? 

She brings it home with how to break this cycle and become the Subject of our own story, rather than molding ourselves  into what we believe will make us desirable to others.  The following is a collection of quotes from the book that gave me strength and hope in creating myself into the person I want to be.

  • Personal sovereignty or autonomy means feeling free to choose and to intend your actions.
  • To be capable of personal sovereignty, you must come to know all your desires.
  • Holding on to your authority means breathing deeply and standing firmly behind your decision without shame or blame.
  • If we don't wake up to the problem of wanting to be wanted, and practice being the Subjects of our own desires, then we feel that others are always choosing for us, that our lives do not belong to us. We don't feel responsible for actions because we feel out of control.
  • Personal sovereignty is the ability to know and practice self-determination in whatever circumstances you find yourself.
  • Those who identify with being Objects rather than Subjects function more in terms of what they "ought" to do, what they "have to" do, or what they "should" do because their sense of worth arises from others' evaluations, reflections, desires.
  • Men have been cheated out of a range of feelings and experiences in emulating the lone hero, resulting in unhealthy internal pressures, excessive narcissism, and feelings of isolation, resentment, and depression.
  • Unless you have two options, you don't have a choice.
  • To engage your desires, with the recognition that they will teach you about your limitations, your vulnerability, and your conflicts, as well as your strengths, will lead to the discovery of your own nature, of who you are.
It has been an interesting journey into the self as I read and learn and practice making my own choices.

Long Live the Queen of Books

New Toys for a New Life

One of the members of my support team, we'll call her Jennifer because that's her name, has been very instrumental in guiding me through these dietary changes in my life.

She is a guru in the kitchen for knowing what to buy and how to fix it in a healthy manner and I'm happy to have her on my team.

Since so much of the food I'm eating now requires baking and roasting and the temperatures this week are expected to be record setting highs of near 120 degrees; I was very intrigued by her mention of a NuWave Oven which generates very little heat.

So, I was off to Bed Bath & Beyond to search out this little treasure.  Actually, it's not so little, but is very light.  Since I have a very small space to work in I opted for setting it up on a table on the deck, but soon it was too hot to be outside and it had to come back in.

Thankfully it fit in the weird useless corner shelf, otherwise there was no space for it at all.

It has a clear dome so you can watch the food cooking, which is kind of fun.  Nothing like watching the bacon sizzle and turn brown.

Also, since I'm not using the oven in my house now I've put the cover over the cooktop and have been using my induction burner for any indoor cooking I need to do.

This is simplifying my cooking since there is a lot of food prep with this diet, but it should be worth it and it did provide an excuse for some new toys!

Long Live the Queen

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Before I started my Whole 30 diet I was heating up the last frozen pizza.  I was so looking forward to this treat since I won't be eating pizza for a long time.

I preheated the oven and slid it into place and then set the timer on the microwave.  Why I don't use the one on the oven, I don't know...I always use the microwave.

Hmm, it says door ajar, so I opened and closed the door and hit START again and went to the other room to watch TV while my last pizza supper cooked.

Holy crap, batman!  What is that horrible smell?  Is my pizza burning?  It smells like plastic, didn't I remove the wrapper?

Yikes!  I noticed the microwave was turning around and the charred remnants that were my plastic splash guard and my cloth trivet holders were smoking.  I didn't see any flames and when I opened the door the smoke poured out and the smell was awful. 

I ran for the patio door to get outside and breathe, it was choking me.  Then I ran back in and wet down a dish towel to put over my nose and mouth and pondered what to do.

Well, pondered may be an exaggeration...I was freaking out to be honest.

So, I started to fill the sink with water and sacrificed one of my plastic spatulas to the task of scooping out the smoking hot mess.  The plastic stretched upwards like cheese on a pizza when you cut away that first slice.  I tossed it into the water and ran more water over the top of it.

Oooooh!  Like a cheese on a pizza...I'd forgotten the pizza in the oven by this time.  So I turned off the oven and opened the door to more smoke as I pulled out a very crispy,charred pizza.  Damn, damn and double damn.

Since this was my last pizza to be had and I was hungry I ate the better parts of the pizza and threw the rest.  

Hmmm, maybe the universe is trying to tell me something here.  It's a good thing I'm starting this new lifestyle change!

Long Live the Queen of Burnt Offerings

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Week One of the Whole 30 Completed

Well, the first week of this new diet is done and without any major setbacks...until today.  It wasn't a major setback, but more of a small blip.

I was checking out a new synagogue today and did not plan my meals well.  For breakfast I wasn't hungry so only had some honeydew melon.  I took a banana with me to eat in the car, but I was very stressed and anxious of this new synagogue and pulled into a McDonald's.

This isn't going to end well was my first thought.  I ordered the sausage and egg burritos with a hash brown and orange juice.  I didn't plan to eat the tortilla, but threw caution to the wind and chomped down.  The orange juice in retrospect probably had more sugar in it than I really needed, but it seemed the safer choice.  The hash brown is just potatoes, even though the frying probably wasn't completely kosher either.

Ooops, what an odd choice of word right before going into shul.

The service was lovely and I felt welcomed and embraced by the tiny group that made up the service.  Apparently summer time is hard on all shuls in their endeavor to make a minyan.

I really enjoyed the entire experience and think I found my new spiritual home.  For the kiddish they had what appeared to be white grape juice and some challah.  I drank the "wine" or juice, not sure since it was a tiny amount and took a teensy bit of bread since it seemed more important to "break bread" with this group than follow the diet to the letter.

After I finished up some shopping I stopped for a haircut and to pick up some groceries.  When I got home I fixed myself a nice big taco salad made with some bison meat I'd prepared yesterday.  I found a salsa that looked the most Whole 30 compliant and it added a kick to my taste buds that was needed badly.

Technically I should be starting on Day 1 again as the rules state, but I'm a rebel and will just continue on my merry way since my transgressions didn't seem all that severe.  I do have to admit that after my small indulgences every sweet treat I spotted the rest of the day was calling my name louder than the day prior.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day and I'll resume with new vigor and strength.

Long Live the Hungry Queen

Friday, June 23, 2017

They're So Shiny!

I went to my new dentist in Arizona and found out I need to have two crowns replaced...bummer.  But to sweeten the deal they threw in the office exam with the xrays and offered me a free whitening session.

I'd never tried this before and didn't think it would make much of a difference since I've been a cola drinker my entire life and they are pretty yellow.

But I was wrong.  Here is the before photo:

Here I am during the procedure...will the real Hannibel Lector please stand up?

And here is the final result. 

I was not able to drink any soda or eat anything colored like catsup for 48 hours, so this just jump started my new Whole 30 diet I was scheduled to begin soon.  More on that later.

Long Live the Queen

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A New Doctor Has Been Found...and a New Life Style

I went to one doctor for a prescription refill, but just didn't have a great feeling about the clinic or her, so did not return for the physical.

Thankfully one of my Thursday night ladies told me of a physician she liked and I made an appointment with the nurse practitioner there.

I had my initial exam with her and absolutely adore her.  She's personable and easy to talk with.

My plan was to ask her to recommend me for the lap band procedure, but I knew from earlier research that my BMI isn't high enough to qualify for this.  She was not able to recommend this procedure and instead told me about her own journey with the Whole 30.  Of course this necessitated a visit to Barnes & Noble!

The premise behind this plan is to eliminate foods demonstrated by science that promote unhealthy cravings and habits, disrupt the metabolism, damage the digestive tract and burden the immune system.

For 30 days you abstain from all alcohol, sugar, grains, legumes and dairy.  You are not allowed to weigh yourself or check measurements during the 30 days.

After 30 days you carefully and systematically reintroduce foods to see how they impact your cravings, mood, energy, sleep, digestion, pain level, body composition and athletic performance.

They state very clearly that this will change your life as it alters the emotional relationship you have with food.  I know I am a sugar addict and an emotional eater, so this is of great interest to me.  My mother always told me that she used to put coca cola in my bottle at about 8 months old, because I liked it.  No wonder I have a major coke habit!  The part I'm really hopeful about is the weight loss that most people experience.

Because we are so accustomed to heavy doses of sugar in our diet our bodies have become dependent on this for an energy source.  When the sugar is removed, the body will relearn how to burn body fat for the energy it needs.

To get started you need to set a start date.  I chose June 18th as the number 18 corresponds to the word "chai" in Hebrew and that means "life".  Since I am embarking on a new life of self discovery and trading in old habits for a new way of thinking and being, this date resonated with me.

Step two is to build a support team.  That one was easy.

Step three is to get the house ready.  This meant removing all the forbidden foods to remove temptation.  We have a lady in the park who takes food (even opened containers) to a food bank, so I boxed and bagged up everything and threw some others that were out of date and removed all temptation.

Step four is to plan for success.  This involves filling the pantry and fridge with items that are approved for this venture, making some meal plans and planning for what to do when eating out.  Since I'm living a solitary live that is much easier with only myself to plan for.  I think I'll be eating a lot of salads when I go out, and carrying my own dressing...but it's about the company and not the food anyway so that's fine.

Step five is to toss the scale.  You are allowed one weigh in but then are not to check your weight until the end of the 30 day period.  This is because your weight can fluctuate greatly day to day and cause discouragement.  So the scale is up on top of the washer/dryer...out of sight and out of mind.  Next I'll do my measurements and take some photos of myself for a before and after photo.  You will probably not see these since I plan to use the cell phone for some nude photos.  But I may decide to do some in a swim suit so I could share the results as well.

The book guides you through day by day as to what emotions you may expect and they are brutally honest.   My doctor warned me that about day 14 you'll want to kill someone, so it's a good thing Left Brain is safely tucked away in Minnesota.

They also provide pdf files to download that guide you to the correct foods and even supply a shopping list.  I've never read so many labels in my life.

I'll keep you posted as to how things go.

Long Live the Queen of Self Improvement