It’s what you don’t eat that matters.

I just read Gary Taubes excellent article on Sugar in the April 13th New York Times Magazine.

Check it out here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html

I have been having my own dietary adventures for the last few months, and stopped eating all wheat-products and sugar (No sweets, no added sugar)  about two and a half months ago.  I do eat a bite (1/2 a square, so a whole chocolate bar lasts about a week)  of dark chocolate on most days – that is as sweet as it gets.  I eat as much meat, cheese, vegetables, fruit, rice, beans, rice pasta and any other thing that I want, and I have never felt hungry.    In fact, I am way less hungry than I used to be, and I find that I have less food cravings (which were always for bread and pasta and sweets) than I used to.   Amazingly, I have lost more than ten pounds!   And I feel much better!

I always have been pretty health conscious, and thought that my diet was very good.  Lots of organic food,  I baked homemade whole wheat bread  and “healthy” muffins almost every week and I felt like I ate more vegetables than most people, although I rarely ate five servings per day, which is the reccommended amount.  I felt like I was eating what I was supposed to eat, but I still felt like crap.   I was tired all the time.

Turns out, lots of people are intolerant of wheat.   Who knew?  I knew that whole wheat products where much healthier than processed white flours and pastas, but it never occurred to me that I ought not eat wheat at all.   Your doctor probably won’t tell you that you might be intolerant to wheat (or anything else) unless you have celiac disease, which is much more severe than intolerance.  But some doctors like Dr. Mark Hyman (http://drhyman.com) have some very interesting ideas about inflammation being the root cause of many common diseases, and one of the common sources of inflammation (among others) is wheat intolerance, and poor diet.    Taubes’ ideas on sugar fall right in with this line of thinking.
The health foodies have been decrying the “Great Whites” for years, but it seems that it’s not processed wheat and sugar that are the culprits, it’s the wheat and sugar (fructose) itself.   Amazing.

-T

You Tube is the best Study Buddy Ever

I don’t really spend much time on You Tube watching silly cultural blips (except when Chris makes me) and frankly, that It’s Friday, Friday, Friday song made me want to move to Canada so I could get my self-respect back, but if you are not using it to study, you’re really missing out!

There are so many amazing things posted on You Tube that can really simplify your study time, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

I great example is my A&P II class, there are literally thousands of videos on all of the subjects that we studied in class, from lectures posted by professors, to animations to, study guides posted by students.   There is a lot of material out there,  and some of it is really very good.

I also found videos of my chemistry labs online — the labs in most undergraduate science courses are pretty much identical, so even if the video is from another school it’s often exactly the same.  I thought it was really useful to prepare for lab by watching someone do it first.

When I get tired of reading, I often go onto You Tube and find a lecture on the same topic.  I am really visual and I love being able to watch the material.  Animations of complex topics, especially for A&P, are so helpful!

So if you are tired of reading and re-reading your notes in preparation for that final exam, pop on a video instead.

Happy Studying,

-Theresa

Violet’s Agility Adventure Resumes

Well, I just studied for the last six hours, so I think I can fool around a little now.

Last night I took Violet to agility class for the first time after an eight or nine month hiatus.

When I adopted her, I immediately started working her on wobble boards and tippy boards, and shaping a lot of agility-specific behaviors: contacts, targeting, wrapping the jump poles.   I really wanted her to be a great agility dog.   We worked hard a few times a week for most of 2010, had made pretty good progress, but we got to a point where I wanted more, and I was really stressing her out.  She is * super* soft, and if I lost my patience she would run into her crate and hide.    Which of course, made me even more frustrated. It is one of those times when you are quite literally your own worst enemy.  You know you should relax, but you just CAN’T.  It was a cycle of despair.   So I stopped, before she really started to hate the whole game.

So I took a break, and poured all that perfectionism into obedience, which went great and we’ve had a lot of fun doing that.

Last night went really well, she was very happy to be there, and whined with excitement when we pulled into the training barn parking lot.  She knew where she was!   She was really happy and  fast, and seemed to remember everything we worked on last year.   I was really proud of her.

Now I just have to learn to keep my happy face on, no matter what.   Good Girl, Violet!

-T

I’ll miss CCBC!

I am very excited to be going to UMB in the fall to begin nursing school, but I have to admit, I will miss CCBC!  I have enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people and becoming a part of the CCBC community.   It really has become home in a very short period of time.  But I know that I’ll keep taking classes here, once the initial madness of nursing school calms down.  There are just too many cool things to do here . . .  that flight simulator looks like too much fun to miss!

Penultimate Week!

I think the week before the last week of school is the hardest one of the whole semester.  The end is near, but there is still so much to do, and the real panic of finals hasn’t kicked in yet for that nice adrenalin boost to carry you through the end.   Penultimate Week, I hate you.

Ok, two exams down.  Four to go: to lab exams this week and and two lecture finals next week.  If only the weather weren’t so beautiful . . . it’s making it very hard to study.  :)    Now I am going to confess that getting all A’s is my priority, but at times like this, it becomes really challenging to stay the course.  Self-discipline!  Help!

As an older student, it’s much easier to focus on school because I have quite literally already been there and done that.  Nothing seems too urgent or exciting as you reach your late 30′s.   You start to realize that everything is pretty much the same, and you can’t really miss out on anything, because it all just happens over and over again anyways.  I remember being an undergrad the first time around.  Every party I went to was an eagerly anticipated event, every weekend’s shenanigans with my friends seemed like it was the most important thing ever!!!   Yeah, that’s pretty much never happens now.

The things that distract me now are much fewer and further between, and are so incredibly mundane that I am almost embarrassed to mention them.

Like the end of semester household meltdown. All the things that any respectable haus frau attends to on a weekly or monthly basis has pretty much fallen to the bottom of my priority list all semester.   The accumulated disaster that is our house from a whole semester of “this is not my priority right now” neglect is starting to really intrude on my peace of mind.  I have three months worth of un-filed papers blooming on every surface.  And my mountainous supply of Costco TP, kleenex, and paper towels which would have made any compulsive hoarder cry with envy is totally gone.  Of course, as a poor student I refuse to pay retail, so it’s Costco or nothing.  If I don’t stock up again soon, well, let’s just say it won’t be pretty.

The garden says, “Theresa . . . plant me . . .  water me . . . weed me . . .”  And there is a critical bug infestation on one of my plants  that demands twice daily tiny green caterpillar removal — I refuse to spray it with poison, even though Chris thinks I am nuts going out there and removing the little munchers by hand twice a day.     If I don’t pick them off, that plant will die for sure — they ate around 50% of the weeds in just a few days.  I looked at it one day and it looked fine, the next time I looked at it it was literally half gone!  I had hoped to put  a drip irrigation system in my vegetable beds this year, but alas, no time.     The evil garden committee from our Home Owners Association came skulking around last week, and I was pretty embarrassed about how scraggly and sad everything looked.

And I just can’t stop cooking, that is not negotiable.  I really do not believe in eating processed foods, and I will not feed my family junk, so I cook at least twice a week, in big batches so that I can freeze at least half so we have plenty of  healthy homemade frozen options.  Between the cooking and the shopping, it eats up plenty of time.   Yesterday, I went to Whole Foods to get more So Delicious coconut milk (it’s AMAZING!!)  and splurged on a turkey breast (expensive) and two turkey wings (cheap).  I brined them overnight,  and while the bird brined, I made Toor Dal for the freezer.  Then I woke up this morning and roasted the bird while taking a first stab at taming the paper monster that threatens to overtake my entire house.

It dosen’t feel like procrastinating, in fact it feels absolutely essential, but it sure eats up time.   Speaking of things that eat up time   . . .  I better go study now!

-T