Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

My expectations for 2011 are not, I'm afraid, exactly worth writing about.  I don't see this year being much different from 2010, other than that I won't be moving across country and that's a really good thing.  Still, it hasn't been an awful year so if the status quo stays the same, I'll consider myself to be in fine shape.

I have been looking forward to this day for awhile now -- although with very mixed emotions.  Many years ago when I worked in the Napa Valley wine industry I began what became a yearly ritual one January after a holiday season particularly laden with excessive amounts of fine food and even finer wines.  When folks there throw a party, it's done right, and during the holidays there's a party pretty much every day.  So, at the end of that particular year I decided that my body needed a break from all that rich food and all that wine, so I set the month of January aside to eat reasonably and be alcohol-free.  The first couple of days were a shock to the system, admittedly, but I was determined and soon found that the habit was easily broken -- substitute a pot of herbal tea for the evening glasses of wine, and all was well. 

I've done this almost every year since, partly because it just feels good for my body, and partly to be sure I can still stop (I do come from two families of alcoholics). Thankfully, stopping hasn't been a problem.  This year I'm adding a couple of new twists to the deal, and those, frankly, are going to be tough.  So, I thought I'd write them down here.  Writing it down, telling a lot of people, supposedly makes it harder to go off the wagon -- and I'm not talking about the alcohol part. 

This year, the biggest change is cutting out coffee.  Makes me cringe even to say it, and the smell of green tea in the untasted cup before me also makes me cringe.  I don't like green tea.  Or black tea.  But, the idea for this month is good health, cleansing the body, so a healthy tea is a must when it comes to substitution for the coffee.  I'm not worried about the caffeine loss -- I cut that out months ago.  The issue with coffee is the way it boosts the demon cortisol hormone that puts belly fat on our bodies, and that happens from the coffee bean, whether caffeinated or decaf.  Yesterday, I put the coffee maker away out of sight, no more to be used.  Alas. 

I also really have to stop the sugar-fest I've been on for the last few months.  Not sure where it came from, as I've never craved sugar the way I've been doing lately.  So -- that's out, too.  See why I've been dreading this?  I'm a little afraid that I've bitten off a bit too much all at one time, but it's all needed so I'm going to do it all. 

Aside from that, I'm going to concentrate on eating healthy, immune-building foods such as yogurt, eggs, mushrooms, garlic, chicken soup, beef and sweet potatoes.  Beyond that, as long as it's not a sugary food, or something that turns to sugar in the bloodstream, it's an open book for fresh fruits, veggies and cashews for snacks.  I spent 3 days last week making chicken soup -- two days simmering the stock (I'm really fussy about making chicken stock) and another day simmering half the stock with onions, mushrooms and garlic then pureeing it into a sort of broth.  More stock left in the freezer when this is gone.

Green tea -- yuk!  Awful way to start the day, frankly. On the positive side, the outside temp was 62 when I got up at 5:30 -- and about the same inside.  Been awhile since I could say that. 

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