Sunday, May 31, 2015

Fifth Monthly Assessment - May 31st

Well, last weekend the family was visiting on Charla's deck, exactly the same place as my "Before" photo was taken last August, so I asked Tyler to take a "Halfway" photo.  Of course, I knew I would be posting this so I left off the hat and sunglasses.   Also no wine glass - no wine glass all day, I might add.  Can you see a difference?  I weigh 17 pounds less (128)!  Hard to believe!  I think wearing a little color helps, too.

August 2014
May 2015

I think there's a lesson to be learned here - okay - one I should have learned well before now.  If I would take a bit more time and thought with my wardrobe, and maybe be willing to suffer a bit (by omitting the baseball hat), I would look better regardless of how much I might weigh at the time.  Just something to keep in mind.

So what went well this month?
  • Hip pain is really gone - I can tell when I walk up the stairs.  In fact, I actually jogged up the stairs a couple of times  : )
  • I have continued to lose weight, albeit slowly, even though I've had quite a few cheats - mostly bread and pancakes.
  • I had no wine at all during the first and second weeks of May and only a couple of glasses the fourth week.
  • My appetite seems to have decreased - I'm not thinking of food all the time.
  • I had my first Stitch Fix, which was a lot of fun, and a great feeling when I fit into the clothes I received.

And not so well?
  • I need to watch the cheats - don't get overconfident!
  • I haven't been walking - too hot and sunny.  Must do it earlier in the morning!   
  • Totally overdid on the wine during the entire third week.  I had some every day, and more than one glass.
  • I didn't do my physical therapy exercises very often, but here's a good thing - I find myself clenching my core and butt muscles automatically during my everyday activities.  Walking up and down stairs, getting in and out of the car, gardening and even unloading the dishwasher, I am using my core and butt to be stronger.  When I lifted the full watering can, I noticed I was holding it with my core and my arm muscles, not my back.  I have to keep this up!

I really enjoyed the afternoon of chatting and enjoying Charla's beautiful yard, and eating (of course).  Charla made a delicious and pretty healthy lemon bar dessert that was gluten and dairy free.  The crust was delicious!  Tastier than the crust of the lemon tart I had made with coconut and almond flours.  If she will share the recipe, I'll add a link in a future post.

I didn't get a photo of the youngest and cutest family member, Ossian, a budding engineer, but here are a few pics of the rest of us:

That's Alethea's brother Seth lurking behind the umbrella, and his lovely girlfriend Stephanie, flanked by Stan and Alethea's dad Merv.

Seth had a gift for Charla  : )

Tyler and Alethea

Mira and Ossian (and Merv) enjoyed root beer floats!  All in all a great day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Healthy Products for our Bodies

My friend (and co-grandma of Mira), Charla, has been my role model for healthy living.  She's a great cook and gardener and makes her own healthy products for skin and body care.  Charla is also a writer and the author of a blog about writing and online dating!  You can check it out at Out Of My Mind.  This post is from Charla:

I am a believer in only putting organic and natural products in, and on, your body. Growing up in the science and consumer-mad ‘50’s and ‘60’s I am sure I was exposed to a lot of “supposed to be good for you” personal care items that were plainly just not.

I use vinegar to clean my floors and Bon Ami in my tub and sinks. Vinegar and baking soda followed by a pot of hot water has cleared many a drain in my home as well. 

I use Charlie’s Soap Powder exclusively for my laundry (, which leaves the clothes soft without the need for a chemically enhanced fabric softener.

One of my favorite things is an air freshener that is so easy and cheap to make. All you need is a small plastic or glass spray bottle (the smaller one’s have a finer spray) filled with distilled or purified water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil or oil combination. My favorite is Lavender and Ylang Ylang.

From my friend and fellow writer Judy Manzone’s book, FamilyHoney, here is her recipe for:

1/4 cup light oil (she recommends olive oil I use sweet almond oil)
2 tablespoons Shea Butter
2 tablespoons Cocoa Butter
2 tablespoons grated beeswax
Combine oil, Shea and cocoa butters in a small saucepan and heat slowly (or microwave on low in microwave-safe bowl) until clear. Grate in the beeswax and stir until melted.  If you are inclined you may use an eatable organic color or flavor at this time. Pour into small pots or decorative glass bowls.

From The Detoxinista (, my favorite face and body cream. I have made it three times now and it gets better each time. I will note the changes I made and why. BTW, Detoxinista is one of my favorite go-to sites for vegan, paleo and gluten free goodies!

Favorite 2-ingredient Lotion
4 ounces raw Shea butter (I ordered what is pictured from Amazon. It is great)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I use sweet almond oil, also from Amazon, for a more moisturizing cream, olive oil can be drying. I also use 3 tablespoons to make a slightly softer lotion)
(Essential oil of your choice. I use Lavender and Ylang Ylang because it is one of my favorite combinations. A few drops of each should do it; everyone has a different nose. Shea butter, because of the way it is processed has a sort of burned smell to it, while not unpleasant, I prefer to scent the lotion for my tastes.)

Gently melt the Shea butter over the stove using a double boiler (oven safe bowl in a larger pan of water). Add the oil and put in the fridge until it is halfway solid, then whip with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes until fluffy looking and white. I put it in an easy open glass jar for quick access. If you add anything with alcohol or water in it, to make it thinner, this lotion will not keep long. You need to warm it between your hands before it spreads easily on your body.

Here is her recipe for:

Home made deodorant
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons Shea butter
1/3 cup baking soda
¼ cup arrowroot
6 drops pure essential lemongrass oil
Melt the cocoanut oil and Shea butter in a microwave safe bowl on low, or in a small saucepan on low. When melted, whisk in the baking soda and arrowroot powder, the stir in the essential oil and pour into a 4-ounce glass jar with airtight lid.

A caveat: I tried this and one other baking soda based deodorant but seemed to have a reaction. I have known others who use it with no problem. I prefer Pit Powder (by Muddy H2O on Amazon) or either of the Crystal deodorants. None of these irritate and seem to serve me well without the added preservatives and chemicals. Here is a picture of them.

I also have used a great tooth cleaning concoction from, which tastes great and freshens your mouth as well. One part sesame oil mixed with one part licorice powder, premixed in small, lidded jar.  I bought licorice root and ground it in my coffee grinder

Another tip is to use an equal combination of Lavender oil and Tea Tree oil for toe and fingernail fungus. (ugh, but it had to be said)

Of course, you should try to use organic whenever possible.
Another added bonus to making your own products is that you don’t have the trash from store-bought containers and you have the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are not supporting chemicals and unsafe plastic packaging that can outgas into your home environment.

Have fun and experiment. It is freeing when you realize you don’t NEED to go buy something at the store!

By the way - Pam has a guest blog on my site, Out of My Mind,  that should be interesting  (and personal) to read!

P.S. from Pam:  Thank you Charla!  I look forward to trying out some of these products and recipes!