Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Diet Myths

Do you have an instant negative reaction when you hear the word "diet?" Does it conjure up images of deprivation and dissatisfaction, of mountains of raw veggies, of guilt over that cookie you had last night, of extremes like only eating grapefruit for a week, of those oft-quoted statistics about the inevitable failure of diets which then leads to even more weight gain? Maybe you have a more temperate response than this, but I suspect for most people, myself included, there's at least a bit of a negative connotation when someone mentions the word "diet." I say, it's time to reclaim some vocabulary!

I'll admit, "diet" is a word I've avoided for years. To me it was synonymous with "deprivation" and "temporary," and I was not interested in giving up my enjoyment of food or in following some kind of strict eating system for a certain period of time, because what happens when you reach your goal and go back to eating "normally" again? If you need to make changes, make them! But make them sustainable, and, if you're me, as delicious as possible to boot.

Myth #1: Diets are temporary
In fact, the word "diet" simply means the way a population eats. You, a population of one, may not be on a diet, but you still have a diet - whatever you usually eat. Diet, therefore, is a statement of reality, nothing more. And if you decide to change the way you're eating (what, when, and how much) then you're changing your diet, plain and simple. It's up to you if those changes will be permanent or temporary.

Myth #2: Healthy diets don't taste good
Maybe this is less of a myth and more of a personal beef, but I refuse to accept that eating well involves eating stuff that tastes gross, or (equally appalling in my books) has no taste at all. For example, this morning we had a delicious breakfast which was filling and I daresay would have cost upwards of 12$ at any respectable restaurant: a frittata packed with tons of nutrient-rich veggies (mushrooms, spinach, onion, red pepper), hearty 16-grain toast, and half a grapefruit. And this deliciousness is "diet food" in even the traditional sense, as Wilson and I are following a new diet (read: a new way of eating) which so far has helped me lose over 10 lbs over a two-month span that included Christmas! I reject protein shakes as a necessary part of any diet (because, blechgh!!) although if you enjoy them (really?!?) like my husband, more power to you.

Over the coming weeks I plan to share more of our diet details and more myths I have encountered as I have begun trying to piece together what our diet should look like, not just to lose extra weight, but even more importantly, to be as healthy as possible.

For now, though, I leave you with that simple four letter word: diet. I do hope yours is delicious! :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013


This just in! New studies show that bloggers with limited access to a personal computing device with full keyboard experience a 67% greater chance of delayed blog posts and are less likely to blog on a semi-daily basis than those with regular private access to a laptop or computer. This study funded by an anonymous group of hypothetical middle class persons whose laptops inevitably break down on the cusp of extended warranty expiration dates which unhappily coincide with major holidays and thus delay repair of said laptops for an indeterminate amount of time.

Man, can I feel for those people! I'm so thankful for my android tablet (spoiled!) which Wilson gave me as a birthday present this year, but I will say that typing out blog posts (or anything longer than a brief email, really) on it is a bit of a pain. And yes, Eugene is still in the laptop hospital somewhere, while technicians try to figure out why he keeps shutting down and refusing to reboot at the most inconvenient moments. In the meantime, I expect my posts to be a little more sparse than usual, but hopefully this will be remedied soon. Fingers crossed! :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Swept Away

They came back with viols as big as themselves, and with Thorin's harp wrapped in a green cloth. It was a beautiful golden harp, and when Thorin struck it the music began all at once, so sudden and sweet that Bilbo forgot everything else, and was swept away into dark lands under strange moons, far over The Water and very far from his hobbit-hole under The Hill. . .
And suddenly, first one and then another began to sing as they played, deep-throated singing of the dwarves in the deep places of their ancient homes; and this is like a fragment of their song, if it can be like their song without their music.
Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

                                                   --The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

Having just seen "The Hobbit" last night, I can say without question that one of my favourite aspects of the film was this song, sung in perfect deep and haunting tones by Thorin (Richard Armitage) and his company of dwarves before they set out on the quest to reclaim their homeland. In the film none of them were playing instruments, but that in no way took away from the impact of the moment. I felt exactly as Bilbo did - that I was swept away and caught up in the beautiful, soulful melody that Howard Shore created to bring Tolkien's words to life.

(Apparently, someone who loves this song as much as I do has created a youtube video that just repeats it constantly for 25 minutes. Score! Plus, I love the clarity of the words/voices in this version, so you can hear their charming accents when they get to "the winds were moaning" - double score!!)

HT: Ruth at Booktalk & More, who inspired me to start you-tubing this song after this sweet post.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Book List: January

January first, a day for new beginnings and resolutions and dreaming big. There has always been something that draws me to fresh starts, whether it's the start of a new month, a new week, or even a new day. But when a new day also occurs on the first day of a new month, which also occurs on the first day of a new year? Well, my friends, then anything can happen.

So to kick off 2013 on my little slice of the Internet, we shall begin with a list of books. Now let's be clear: I am not promising, resolving, or in any other way making a concrete goal to read the following books this month (way too many and I'm not remotely that ambitious) or even this year. If I'm going to be making resolutions (which I'm usually a little dubious about to begin with), they will be few in number, well thought out, and serious enough to become true priorities in my life. (And you may, or may not, hear about them later!)

This is merely a compendium of titles I'm interested in reading, recorded here for posterity my own benefit, and yours if you like to see what other people are interested in reading and/or get inspired by such lists. Plus, recording the books I'm going to possibly read this year if I feel like it/get around to it (but no guarantees) makes me feel all organized* and kind of like I'm back in school again with a list of titles I have to get through. Except, without all the icky stress and pressure that went along with a for-credit course, and I don't actually have to get through them all. Way to avoid commitment, Kate!

The one thing I do plan to do with this list is "update" it every month. Some titles will get crossed off as I read them, others will be added, others will probably be dropped as I lose interest, and others will most likely stay on the list for the whole year and never get read. Which is totally fine. Maybe I should call this Kate's Non-committal Book List for 2013. Because doesn't that just roll off the tongue?

Kate's Non-committal Book List for 2012: January

[in no particular order]

The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
The Lord of the Rings trilogy (J.R.R. Tolkien)
In Defense of Food (Michael Pollan)
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (Deb Perelman)
The Edible Woman (Margaret Atwood)
Les Misérables (Victor Hugo)
The Narnia series (C.S. Lewis)
Seeing with New Eyes (David Powlison)
Speaking the Truth in Love (David Powlison)
The Meaning of Marriage (Tim Keller)
Home: A Memoir of My Early Years (Julie Andrews)
This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence (John Piper)
Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking (Susan Cain)
Casino Royale (Ian Fleming)
Still Alice (Lisa Genova)
The Hiding Place (Corrie ten Boom)
Fear of Food (Harvey A. Levenstein)
Yours, Plum: the Letters of P.G. Wodehouse (P.G. Wodehouse)
A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)

*As you can see, given that this is a completely haphazard list that will be constantly changing and could ultimately be considered meaningless seeing as how I am not actually stating any intention of reading through these titles but instead reserving my right to follow every capricious whim and flight of fancy I may (or may not) have in regards to the quantity of books I plan to read this year, my standards for organization are not at an all-time high right now. Maybe check back in a year or two. Or ten. (Give or take).