Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

And yet another year in my life begins - I can't even imagine what this year will bring. Nothing ever turns out the way you imagine it. I slept really late and thoroughly enjoyed the extra rest. When I got up, I saw the cutest woodpecker in my backyard. He and a huge Monarch butterfly lingered for quite a while. At least I think it's a Monarch - it's orange and black and really big. I've never seen one quite like it before.
We had steamed eggs and old-fashioned oatmeal for brunch and my favorite Orange Spice Tea. I've got lots to do today but it's just stuff like laundry and getting ready for the week ahead. Nothing too strenuous.
And that's the way I like it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's been a while!

It's been a while since I've blogged. Yes, life has been busy enough to find it difficult to do a lot of things. But next Friday, I go on vacation - yippee! I am so looking forward to it. It's just a week, but it's a necessary one.
I've been drinking a lot of the Timothy's Chai Tea k-cups over the past week - it's really good. Probably one of the nicest morning cups of tea around. Today I managed to snag a box of Timothy's Earl Grey. I tried the Timothy's Kahlua the other day - don't bother. It had potential but it just doesn't work. Smells great though.
Right now, I'm drinking lavender butterfly, a green tea with lavender. It's surprisingly good. I think even people who don't like floral teas would like this one. It's available at
I'm still trying to eat as low-salt as I can. An employee lunch day from Subway and a family barbecue this week didn't help. Processed meats, sauces and bread are loaded with sodium so even a so-called healthy sandwich from the sub shop is a no-no. The barbecue - well, I won't even go there - let's just say I over-indulged. But barbecues only happen two or three times a year and I'm back on track today and yesterday. I am really surprised at how differently I feel when I eat low-salt and how I feel when I eat the regular stuff. Maybe I have a mild allergy to sodium - who knows. Let's just say the feeling is significant enough that I WANT to stay on this diet, even with its limitations. The lack of baked goods is a downer - I may have to order some salt-free products such as baking powder, baking soda and soup bouillion from the US since they don't seem to available in Canada - at least this part of Canada.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Salt Free and the eating's easy ... sort of ...

I am continuing on this path of eating salt-free, or, in reality, less salt than I am used to. There's sodium in everything so it's pretty well impossible to completely escape it. But I think it's going to work for me. Why?
1. I haven't felt this good in years. The achiness and brain fog are gone. Completely. Who knew?
2. No upset tummies or acid - in four days! That's a record for me!
3. Food tastes way better. Seriously.
4. My clothes are starting to fit a little better.
5. I seem to fill up faster and my cravings are less prevalent.

However, it's not going to be easy to keep following because ...
1. Pretty much everything you buy, including my beloved baked goods, is saturated with salt. I had no idea just how bad it is. Even basics like baking powder and baking soda are loaded with salt - to the point that I'm putting baking aside for a while.
2. Restaurant food will pretty much become a thing of the past but then, I don't eat all that often in restaurants now so I won't mind too much.
3. I'll be doing even more scratch cooking than I am now - and I'm doing a lot now!
4. I'll have to cut back on cheese and bread - two surprisingly salty foods!

I think the benefits will far outweigh the losses though!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More tea! Less Salt!

Over the pleasantly long weekend, I read a few books on salt-free living and diets that manage to avoid GERD problems. I grew up in a a family that practised eating low-salt, low-fat, low cholesterol diets and surprise, surprise, we were all thin and healthy. Skip ahead a few years and guess who's forgotten how to cook and eat that way? And who now has blood pressure and weight issues? And guess who's now getting back on track? The best thing about the low-salt books is that they pointed out the biggest sources of hidden sodium (canned soups are unbelievably high) and what foods are OK since there's next to no sodium. And if you cut back on sodium, weight will probably come down too. Armed with this knowledge, I visited a few grocery stores yesterday, planning to buy low sodium bread, low sodium cheese and various other products to keep me on the straight and narrow.
Guess what? I could find hardly anything low sodium or sodium free in our stores. I live in an area that has one of the worst cardiovascular rates in Canada and that usually starts with high blood pressure .... which can be caused by too much sodium over time...
I can't say I'm surprised. Stores only stock what they can sell and what's in demand. But still, I really thought there would be more products available. I did manage to find some sodium free cereals by Kashi so at least breakfast will be OK. And some salt-free peanut butter for a lunch sandwich. Both products were great and I had both today. I fell off the tracks at supper with macaroni and cheese - which I found really salty after my salt-free foods earlier. And that's a good thing - I really don't like the taste of salt so if it's noticeable, I'll make more of an effort to cut it out.
I was a little more lucky at the K-Cups store and managed to snag a box of Timothy's Chai and Timothy's Cranberry Green. The Chai is delish - just the right amount of spice and excellent for morning. The Cranberry Green was so-so - it could have been better but now I'm stuck with a box of so-so.

Monday, June 7, 2010

New tea!

I'm not usually a fan of Celestial Seasonings teas although I have to credit them with introducing me to herbal teas in the first place. Lemon Zinger and Wildberry Blackberry were two of my favorites over the years and Candy Cane Lane is one of my more recent favorites. I finally got around to trying their Vanilla Strawberry Rose today and I have to say it's pretty good. I've been wanting to try this one for well over a year but something always stopped me before, which is a shame. It's a strawberry cream flavored black tea - not much rose - and it's quite lovely in a summery way. A good drink for those who like strawberries but who are not sure if they're ready for a full-fledged tea yet. And again, I do think it will work well iced for summer. Not for everybody but if you like flavored teas, you should give this a try.

Rainy Weekend

It rained all weekend and last night, it thundered for hours - very unusual for around here! In fact, this part of the Maritimes is suppose to have the least amount of thunder storms in Canada. Last night ended that. Today, it looks as though it will rain even more but little matter.
I'm off!
I scored a day off work and I plan to waste it wisely. I've got some errands to do after I write this and I may pay a visit to the bank today but otherwise, I plan to do as little as possible and thanks to the weather, initial plans of lawn mowing and other garden activities will be curtailed. Electric lawn mowers tend not to be a good idea in torrential downpours.
I will be looking for new K-cups to try when I visit pretty much the only location around here that sells them later. I did try the Timothy's decaf Columbian again last night and again, I didn't like it, which is bizarre. I've really liked everything else from Timothy's - their teas are terrific. This decaf tastes like bad decaf that's been left on the burner for too long. Maybe I just got a bad box.
On Saturday I visited Value Village and hauled home a stash of English bone china tea cups and saucers - 3 cups, 4 saucers - for $10. I don't think anything has ever been used. I have a weakness for anything tea-ish, especially pretty cups. Right now I'm drinking a freshly opened sample of raspberry black loose tea from It's pretty good - you can taste the black tea and the raspberry equally. I think this would make an even better iced tea.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bad Week For Everyone

Today seemed a little better, especially when I found out everyone else was having a bad week too! Misery does love company!
Of course, compounding the problem today was an overwhelming desire for salty foods (no-no for high blood pressure) and the fact they put a charity chocolate bar box in the lobby where I work. I ate ramen and blew 4 bucks on two bars, which are now safely tucked away in my desk for emergencies. Yeah, chocolate cravings are now considered to be an emergency. So much for healthy eating. I'll try again tomorrow. Lunch will be a peanut butter sandwich, clementine, blueberries and a granola bar.
Speaking of weird emergencies, this area lost cell, telephone and internet for two hours yesterday, due to a cable that was accidentally cut. Two hours. You'd swear by the way people were reacting, that their best friend had died. The Emergency Measures Organizations stepped in and police had to step up their patrols - I kid you not. Since when did losing the phone for an hour or two become an emergency? Personally, I found it to be a relief - I actually got some work done! I think people are much too fond of their phones these days. I use my cell phone as an emergency device and only turn it on when needed. I could live quite happily without it but on trips, it does make me feel a little better. But for the most part, it is a money waster. I much prefer to use a land line because the sound quality is so much better. The sound quality on most cells is so bad, I don't know how people can stand it. But then, I find MP3s and wav files pretty irritating too - I really do hear a difference and anything less than the best just doesn't cut it for me.
There are some things where I am really snobby and others that I could care less. Here's my snobby file:
1. quality tea, coffee and chocolate
2. sound quality on everything
3. grammar and punctuation in professionally produced books, magazines and newspapers.
4. Mac computers

My "Could Care Less" file
1. cars - as long as they run
2. garden weeds - dandelions are pretty!
3. books - I'll read just about anything!
4. music - I'll listen to anything - it just has to be done well
5. status products
What does your list include?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Work, Blood Pressure

I am seriously hating my job these past few days. I go through periods of this every so often and it doesn't help that it's been a busy, fast-paced, brutal week. I even had my vacation week cancelled - and normally it wouldn't bother me since I didn't have anything special planned for that week - but today, it seriously steamed me. I can take another week in its place but I did want that week off. Grrrrrrr.
I did a blood pressure check on my self on Sunday and found it was high - which was a shocker for me. I've had low blood pressure for all of my life until now. Maybe work is stressing me out too much. I've been eating really well the past few days - lots of fruit and vegetables - but I ate a chocolate bar when I got home because of all the work stress. I needed it. My diet has been bad lately and I am working to clean that up - now I really have no choice. Supposely tea is good for all that but right now, it doesn't seem to be helping.
Any ideas for a new, low stress career?