Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Capture The Fly

Roses from my garden ^^ !

Thomas brought in a tomato the other day that brought about a dozen fruit flies with it. You may have seen my Instagram Story about catching fruit flies. I received so many responses, I thought I’d share it here too! I learned this technique to catch them many years ago. I *think* I just captured the last one just now.

Start with a glass full of apple cider vinegar, and roll a piece of paper into a cone. You might need a small piece of tape to help the cone hold its shape, but you want the cone to touch the edges of the glass. The flies travel down through the cone to get to the vinegar, but then they can’t fly back out because they try to go up the edges. If you see any in there, you can take the cup outside and release them, although some of them do drown in the vinegar.

Actually Mazen and I played fly catcher the other day as a game. I love to leave the deck door open for fresh air, but inevitably flies come in. I gave him a plastic glass, and he had a blast catching them and then using his classroom placemat to slide under and carry them outside.

I went to strength class this morning, and then had a big salad for lunch. Leftover salmon and potatoes, sheep feta, heirloom tomato, chickpeas and spinach. Plus a few chips as an appetizer!

I’ll leave you with these words today that have been on my mind for many reasons:

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Is There a “Problem” with Weight Loss Culture?

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August 16, 2017

Is There a “Problem” with Weight Loss Culture?

By Mark Sisson

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Inline_Is_There_a_Problem_with_Weight_Loss_Culture_08.16.17I recently read a piece from the New York Times in which the author, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, recounts her lifelong struggle with dieting and body acceptance and her relationship to food. She tackles the failure of most “diets,” the fat acceptance movement, the Weight Watchers-as-support-group phenomenon, the Oprah Winfrey body weight yo-yoing. What makes it an effective article is that, rather than cast herself as dispassionate journalist reporting the facts, Akner is elbows deep. She herself is the subject as much as anything else. It’s a powerful article. Go read it.

The article doesn’t come to a neat conclusion. There’s no prescription at the end. It meanders. It explores. It’s messy. I think that’s exactly how most people feel when trying to tackle this diet/health/bodyweight/eating thing: confused, lost, conflicted, overwhelmed. Go look at the comment section from the article, and you’ll see that pretty much everyone got something different from it.

Some were outraged that the writer would argue that being fat is perfectly healthy (she wasn’t).

Some chimed in with their preferred diet, the one that worked for them. I saw a few mentions of paleo, even.

Some recounted their weight loss journeys and struggles and failures.

Some admonished her for not mentioning exercise.

Some gave her diet advice.

It ran the gamut. The comment section was all over the place. Everyone had completely different reactions to the same material.

The article wasn’t about what works, what doesn’t. It was about the insanity of living in the diet-mindset, where every bite of food is analyzed, every calorie label scrutinized, as the people around you drink regular soda “as if it were nothing, as if it were just a drink.” It was the author wanting to accept her body but realizing she couldn’t—and the agony and insanity that results.

I get why we have convoluted things like hypnotic lap bands (hypnosis so good it replaces bariatric surgery) and food relationship classes where you learn how to eat and appreciate raisins. Because people are flailing around inside an obesogenic food system trying to find something, anything that works. But since they’re searching within the confines of the modern food environment, nothing works. Nothing sticks.

It’s also why I think finding a baseline is so helpful, a fundamental starting place that transcends the boundaries we’ve erected. Whatever your life story, you’re still a human. Your ancestors were hunter-gatherers at some point, and the modern industrial food system is novel to your physiology. Eliminating the major offenders—excess carbs and sugar, refined vegetable oils and grains—and restoring the attitudes that used to be normal—fat and meat are perfectly healthy—are suitable for everyone. You can tinker with macronutrient ratios, recent ancestry, “to keto or not to keto,” and all the minutiae on your own time. But those basics work as a starting place for everyone I’ve ever encountered.

You just have to step outside the obesogenic food system that’s been constructed for you.

But look at me: I’m just giving diet advice all over again….

I think my takeaway, however, has to be this: You should never accept your mutable limitations. It’s true that some characteristics can’t be changed. You can’t make yourself taller or shorter. You can’t force yourself to be an introvert or extrovert. But a large portion of what we consider to be shortcomings to our health, happiness and well-being can be improved upon. Like the amount of body fat you carry.

And let me be clear. It’s not about sinking into despair because change can’t happen in a day. It’s essential to accept the process and yourself in it. As for body acceptance, a “goal weight” isn’t necessary. In some cases, it’s counterproductive. You don’t need to turn success and failure into binary options. Better is good enough. Movement is enough.

As much as I sympathize with the author of the piece—and it’s a gut-wrenching, powerful piece, hard to read in parts—I can’t budge on even the mere entertaining of the notion that maybe being overweight or obese isn’t so bad for your health. Those are dangerous waters to tread.

The science is settled. Excess body fat is harmful (not to be conflated with “extra” fat in the right places, which—depending on gender and pregnancy status—can actually be healthy). It secretes inflammatory cytokines and directly causes insulin resistance. It weighs you down, increases the stress placed on your joints. It makes free and full movement more difficult. No one should labor up and down stairs or be unable to hang from a bar or grunt with exertion when they get up from the ground if they can avoid it. And most people can avoid it simply by losing excess body fat.

Even if the fat itself is neutral (it’s not) and merely indicates deeper health problems, losing the fat tends to resolve those problems (or go a long way toward it).

What I found most interesting is that I think the author understands this, too. If not explicitly (she discusses the evidence both for and against the idea of fat as intrinsically harmful), certainly implicitly.

Her inability to accept her overweight body despite wanting to and thinking it’s the “right” thing to do maybe suggests a deeper, subconscious acknowledgement that being fat is unhealthy.

But couldn’t it be social pressures at fault? Many of the commenters, and the author herself, default to the idea that acceptance is “good” and imply that “society” is to blame for our inability to accept our overweight bodies. This argument falls flat for me. Society is made of humans, who are biological beings. Society is therefore a product of biology. Society’s norms and mores don’t emerge out of nothingness. They develop for real reasons. They may be bad reasons, or good ones that become corrupted, but they are real things that arise out of human biology. It wasn’t as if a council of elders long ago decreed that being obese is bad because it’s “ugly” or “unseemly,” and it just stuck. Far more likely is that society has (by and large) deemed excess body fat undesirable because, the fact is, it’s a net negative for human health.

Something in me thinks that people who claim to love their body despite being obese are ignoring or drowning out that inner voice spurring them toward change. Loving who they are as people is of course something else. Nor is anyone talking about physical perfection here. But if they truly do love their excess body fat, they do so at the peril of their health. Self-love doesn’t erase the physiological ramifications of being obese. That’s my central concern.

This weight loss business is hard. I’m not suggesting it’s easy. But hard things are often worthwhile things. In fact, difficulty can be an indicator of worthiness. It’s true that our culture and its food system don’t encourage choices that help us build and sustain our best health. Fortunately, however, we get to decide for ourselves.

Thanks for reading today, everybody. I’d love to hear your thoughts on  weight loss culture—for all its truth and shortcomings. Take care.

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Tomatoes May Reduce the Risk for Skin Cancer

Nothing beats a sun-ripened tomato picked at the height of the season. It’s basically the taste of summer. Yet there may be more reason to eat a tomato than deliciousness alone. Daily tomato consumption may reduce the risk of developing skin cancer, a new study suggests.

 

Researchers at Ohio State University found that male mice that consumed a daily diet including 10 percent tomato powder for 35 weeks and were subsequently exposed to ultraviolet light developed an average of 50 percent fewer skin cancer tumors compared to mice that did not consume any dehydrated tomato.

 

One theory as to why: Potentially bioactive pigmenting compounds – lycopene, which gives tomatoes their color, or possibly glycoalkaloids, for example — may protect the skin from being damaged by UV light, according to study co-author Jessica Cooperstone, an assistant professor in the departments of Horticulture & Crop Sciences and Food Science & Technology at Ohio State.

 

Results were similar for both tomato varieties tested — red and tangerine tomatoes (named for their color, not for any relation to the citrus) – but not for male and female mice. Interestingly, the researchers found, female mice fed a tomato diet did not show any significant difference in tumor growth, compared to female mice who did not eat tomatoes. Male mice have previously been shown to be more prone to tumor growth following UV exposure than female mice — and human males are more likely than women to develop skin cancer as well.

 

“Men get skin cancers at two to three times higher rates than women, even when you control for unproductive UV exposure,” Cooperstone tells Healthy Eats. “The reason for this is really still not known.”

 

As for whether the link between tomato consumption and skin-cancer reduction may hold true for humans, as well as mice, she says, the data, at minimum, should spur further investigation.

 

As part of a balanced and healthy diet, this study, along with others indicates that eating tomatoes may be beneficial. But, Cooperstone warns, don’t throw away your sunscreen – using it regularly is still the most effective way to reduce your risk for skin cancer.

 

“There is some data in the literature that suggests continued tomato consumption can provide an SPF of about 2, so certainly not a sunscreen replacer,” she says.

 

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. Her work has appeared in publications including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Glamour and Marie Claire, as well as Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer. In addition to contributing to Healthy Eats, she blogs for Food Network’s FN Dish.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.



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The Amazing Maze Mazen

Guess who is now into mazes?!?! I’ve been waiting his whole life for this day. And also to take him to an Amazing Maize Maze (a corn maze) in the fall. I hope to take him to Liberty Mills Farm this fall. Don’t you think he needs a shirt that says “My Name Is Maze” when he goes?!

I remember loving workbooks when I was little. My mom bought Mazen these two maze books and I bought him this basic addition and subtraction one. He has picked up on math quickly (using his fingers to count) so I thought trying some picture math might be a good start. I think he’s probably still a little young for the written version, but I’m going to see he might get it right away!

Here’s some math for you: 1 Kohr brothers ice cream + 1 little boy = 2 happy faces.

And here’s an oatmeal maze for you: start at the almond butter and see if you can find the bottom of the bowl? Watch out for the blueberries!!

Have you ever done a corn maze?

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A Day with Family, Quiche, Legos & Oikos

I have partnered with Dannon to help promote Oikos. I have been compensated for my time commitment to review Oikos. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Thank you to Dannon for partnering with me on this blog post.

Since Mal is off for the summer and Qman is only in daycare part-time, I’m busting my tail to get all of my work done Monday through Thursday, so I can enjoy “summer Fridays” with my boys. I’m up and at ’em at 5:15 AM along with Murphy, who is starving for breakfast. He’s practically jumping in circles around me as I walk into the kitchen. I immediately feed him because he’s making quite the ruckus and I don’t want him to wake up Mal and Quinn and then I pour myself an iced coffee. After that, I head upstairs and sit down at my laptop. It’s time to work – at least for a little while.

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At 7:00 AM on the dot, Quinn’s alarm clock tells him it’s “ok” to wake and get out of bed. I hear his bedroom door open, so I poke my head into the hallway, say “good morning,” and give him a big hug. (I love sleepy Quinn. He’s so cuddly!)

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Quinn tells me he want to “go downstairs,” so I scoop him up (and his seven blankets – the blanket posse grows bigger everyday) and bring him downstairs. We watch a show together while he wakes up.

I start to get hungry, so I make breakfast for Quinn (pancakes, peaches, and milk) and reheat a piece of Easy Tortilla Breakfast Quiche that I had made the night before. Just as we’re about to sit down to breakfast, Mal wakes up and comes downstairs into the kitchen, so I reheat a piece of quiche for him too. I also make him some toast while he pours himself an iced coffee. Mal finishes off breakfast with a strawberry Oikos Triple Zero Greek Nonfat Yogurt (because he’s obsessed with them too).

easy tortilla breakfast quiche oikos

Meals are still kind of a struggle with Quinn, but we do our best to make them fun. This morning, he eats a couple of mini pancakes, all of his peaches, and some milk, so Mal and I are happy! 🙂

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After breakfast, we get ourselves ready for the day and the drive to Legoland Discovery Center at Assembly Row in Somerville. We purchased tickets online and arrived right when it opened, so we only waited in line for a few minutes.

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Legoland was awesome! Qman absolutely loved it. There was so much to see and do, including interactive games, play area, rides (FYI: kids need to be at least 3-feet to ride most of them), and even a short 4D movie, which was my favorite part of Legoland!

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I’ve never seen a 3D movie and this one was 4D, so we got wet and wind blown in our faces! 🙂

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After some fun at Legoland, we grabbed lunch out at a restaurant before heading home for Qman’s afternoon nap.

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During nap time, I cleaned up the house and did payroll for Designed to Fit Nutrition. Mid-afternoon, my stomach starts to grumble, but dinner is still hours away, so I grab a banana creme Oikos Triple Zero Greek Nonfat Yogurt from the fridge, add some rice cereal and chocolate chips, and snack time is one of my most delicious ever! Combination of flavors and textures is basically dessert, but without a ton of sugar and a protein boost to help me feel satisfied.

oikos triple zero banana

When Quinn woke up from his nap, it was time for a family walk with Murphy around the neighborhood. It was a fun way to get some exercise in for the day! 🙂

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When we returned from our family walk nearly an hour later, it was just about time for dinner, so I whipped up a quick meal for us. In the mix: Ground chicken, rice, spinach, and jarred cowboy caviar. So good!

After dinner, Mal and I give Qman a bath, get him in jammies, read books, and put him to bed. Mal and I usually take turns doing his bedtime routine, but, recently, we started doing it together as a family. It’s a nice way to spend some extra time with one another.

Once Quinn is asleep, it’s time for Big Brother and dessert, which is my current favorite situation. I had two Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies and, my goodness, they are the best treat ever. I love how decadent these cookies are – the Oikos Triple Zero Greek Nonfat Yogurt definitely adds some extra nutrition!

oikos salted caramel chocolate chip cookies

After our show is over, we get ready for bed. Mal and I both read for a bit and lights are out just 15 minutes later. What a day! 🙂

The end.

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How To Make Guacamole With A Mortar And Pestle

Summer is fading fast and the kids are starting back to school. But one of the benefits of living in a place like Northern California is how spoiled rotten we are with having summer produce far into… Read more →



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