Monthly Archives: October 2011

Michael Pollan’s Advice for Healthy Eating


Yesterday, there was an article in the Plain Dealer about Michael Pollan’s recent visit to Cleveland.

I like Michael Pollan’s simple approach to a healthy food plan that he sums up in just seven words:

“Eat food, mostly plants, not too much”.

I can handle that!

He elaborates with the following seven rules:

    1. Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. “When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can’t pronounce, ask yourself, “What are those things doing there?” Pollan says.
    2. Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.
    3. Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
    4.  Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot. “There are exceptions — honey — but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren’t food,” Pollan says.
    5. It is not just what you eat but how you eat. “Always leave the table a little hungry,” Pollan says. “Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, ‘Tie off the sack before it’s full.'”
    6. Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It’s a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. “Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?” Pollan asks.
    7. Don’t buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.

Michael Pollan has a new book being released tomorrow called Food Rules:  An Eater’s Manual . Some quotes from the book were shared in the PD article.  These are the ones that I particularly liked:

“Make water your beverage of choice”

“The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead”

“If you aren’t hungry enough to eat an apple, then you’re probably not hungry”

Michael Pollan advocates that if we allow ourselves to enjoy real food, we will be healthier.  I can do that!






Last night, someone asked me how I was doing with the blog.  Translate (in my mind):  “How are you doing with weightloss?  You don’t look like you’ve lost any weight.”  I immediately felt shameful and defensive. 

I responded by confessing that I hadn’t really been focused lately on the blog and my efforts to be healthier.  The blog really isn’t about weightloss specifically, but about feeling better about our bodies and living healthfully with good food and enough exercise.  I still felt wrong somehow,  like I should have lost ten pounds by now.

It’s easy for me to get distracted from my mission.  Even though I’m retired, I find that visiting with friends, a home project, or whatever is on my daily agenda becomes the focus rather than taking care of myself with healthy food and daily exercise.  Eating healthfully and daily exercise isn’t a habit yet, and until it is, I need to keep it at the forefront of my day.

I haven’t checked in on the blog in several (or more) days.  I’ve been walking, but not regularly (3 days a week instead of 4-6).  Although I intend to eat more vegetables, it’s easier to grab something with carbs.  I’ve been out to eat more in the last couple of weeks, and I haven’t made the healthiest choices from the menu.  And then there’s the matter of the bag of Halloween candy that’s been waiting for the trick-or-treaters.

I do better when I read some of my healthy lifestyle materials or post something on this blog.  It helps me refocus on my mission to eat healthfully and exercise each day.

Exercise in the morning is critical for me.  If I’ve got plans or an appointment in the morning, then I need to walk before then. 

Eating more vegetables doesn’t mean that I can’t have other foods.  But I do need to put some limits on my unhealthy food choices.  I’ve used food journals in the past, and I know that it’s a good strategy to help me be more aware of what I’m eating.  It also makes me think twice before I eat something unhealthy since I’ll have to write it down.  I’m going to put a journal in the kitchen and write down what I eat.  I’m going to look up more recipes with vegetables and consciously make better choices with my meals. 

I want to find a healthy way to eat without feeling punished.  I don’t want to diet, but making healthy eating my way of life.  I’ve failed in the past, when I’ve made my eating restrictive and made weightloss all about willpower, shame, and fear.  I really want to find a way to get beyond that. 

I do want to lose weight too.  I probably will never reach the ideal picture that I have in my mind, or the ideal number on the scale.  But I can do better with eating and exercise which will definitely result in better health and probably weightloss too.

10 Worst Stereotypes About Powerful Women


So Forbes surveyed women in high ranking, powerful positions as to what their least favorite stereotype about powerful women is?

Here’s the list.

1. Ice Queen
2. Single and Lonely
3. Tough
4. Weak
5. Masculine
6. Conniving
7. Emotional
8. Angry
9.  A Token
10. A Cheerleader

The tough part about reading this list is that the only terms that I think male leaders that might appear would be “tough” or “masculine”.  I’ve always said about myself that “I can get the job done and I don’t have to act like a man or woman to do it”.

But I usually think that stereotypes exist for a reason, so it leads me to the questions: does it make people somehow feel better putting these labels on female leaders? are others looking for any possible way to discredit female leaders? why do these stereotypes persist? how can we change the perception and converstaion about female leaders? are women judging female leaders as strongly as men? do some female leaders feel pressured into acting and appearing a certain way in order to lead?

Stereotypes often undermine the ability to have an open mind about someone’s uniqueness. We all have an IQ, a sense of humor, abilities, passions, fabulousness, etc. And I think this article was just a reminder for me to continue to keep an open mind about each women’s reasons for acting and appearing a certain way while balancing that she (and we) are all individuals.


Breaking Barriers


I think I am turning a corner. Feel like I’ve had several “a-ha moments” the past few days. I think the applied reflection of what matters and who I am is starting to sink in. And what I am  is “enough”

 I’m consciously eating healthier, getting a little walking in each day, focusing on some house improvements, making plans with friends again. Maybe my thyroid meds are kicking in and I’m less of a zombie. Who knows – but I am just feeling better about everything as of late. And the fact that I am NOTICING it is what is different.

So I’m breaking some barriers in my own mind. And I was inspired yet again to see this barrier being broken – a female football player at Trinity H.S. won homecoming queen along with her teammate winning homecoming king.  This girl is obviously a leader who had the confidence to try out, make the team and play all four years at her high school. If she can follow her passion despite the odds and be recognized, then why can’t we as adults? You go girl!

Miss Representation


I watched a documentary last night that made a big impression on me.

The film is Miss Representation, and it explores / explains how American youth are being sold the concept that women and girls’ value lies in their youth, beauty and sexuality. It is a a call-to-action campaign that seeks to empower women and girls to challenge limiting labels in order to realize their potential.

They are uniting individuals around a common, meaningful goal to spark millions of small actions that ultimately lead to a cross-generational movement to eradicate gender stereotypes and create lasting cultural and sociological change.

The documentary really made me step back and take a critical look at the many, many, many media images of females: what is their intention? who is their real audience? who is paying for these images and who is buying these images? who is challenging or accepting these images. The other really thought provoking areas were the blurred areas between new and entertainment and between entertainment and reality. I thought the statitistics presented in terms of increases in plastic surgery, depresssion, advertising and the beauty industry indicate that we’ve been heading in the wrong direction since the women’s movement in the 70s. 

I strongly recommend this documentary to all people and I especially would like to watch it with my 11 and 16 year old nieces. They need to know that their value really lies in their intelligence, wit, philanthropy and successes. And that they need to be mindful of how females are portrayed in the media – not falling prey to the nonsense we are “fed” each day. I’m thinking we should arrange a screening of this film in Cleveland.

Check out



I just visted the Oprah’s Lifeclass website and watched some video clips from Lesson One:  The False Power of Ego.  I really wish I would have seen the whole episode because the video clips truly spoke to me

It’s my ego that is driving my shame about my body and my desire to lose weight.  It’s my ego telling me that I can only be a worthy person in a smaller body.

In one of the clips, Oprah talks about how the ego-self instills fear and keeps us from our true self.  It struck me when Oprah said that operating out of ego means operating out of fear.  I remember that when I had dieted and lost weight before, I was very much in fear:  fear of carbohydrates, fear of being fat, fear of disapproval, fear of  not having love in my life.  My motivation to exercise and follow a very strict diet was all about fear. 

I don’t want to go back to that place of fear.  That is my real progress.  Working from a place of fear isn’t productive.   I agree that my ego and fear keep me from being in alignment with my true self.

I need to work on disengaging from my ego’s conviction that I’m lovable and worthy only in a smaller body. 

When I’m free from fear, I can move forward in peace and love.

10 Day Plan to Accept Who You Really Are


I came across this article via the Oprah Lifeclass curriculum. It’s entitled “How Self-Acceptance Can Crack Open Your Life”. There is a brief 10 question self assessment and then a 10 day plan to accept who you really are.

Self-acceptance is an invitation to stop trying to change yourself into the person you wish to be, long enough to find out who you really are. Robert Holden has a 10-day plan to help you figure out who this self is that you’re supposed to be accepting and how to say yes to your life. 

Do you accept yourself as you are? It’s a simple question that many people find difficult to answer. At the deepest level, self-acceptance is either complete or not at all, but for most, yes/no feels too limited because you worry about all the things you would like to change about yourself.

Check out this link and see what you think.