Friday, March 30, 2012

Mexican Love Affair!

My family really enjoys Mexican food. Like we really really really really really love it. However, many of our favorite recipes are loaded with a high calorie content, as well as way too many fat grams! Think layers upon layers of melted cheesey and creamy goodness!!!! Nachos, and burritos and chimichangas, oh my!

In an effort to find a quick meal that met our Mexican cravings and yet met our nutritional needs, I stumbled upon a fantastic Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe. This meal is quickly thrown together on those hectic soccer nights! It's also become one of the most requested household meals - loved by kids and adults alike! We love it topped with fresh avocado, jalapeño, a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, some crushed tortilla chips and maybe a small dallop of crema! Mmmmm. Let me know if you try it!

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced (I substitute leeks)
2 tablespoons minced garlic (I am heavy on the garlic)
2 jalapenos, finely diced
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes (I like Ro-Tel tomatoes for spice)
1 (14.5-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 bag of frozen white shoepeg corn
3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
2 limes, juiced, plus wedges for garnish (I use lime juice when out of fresh lime)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves (the family detests - so I eat it ALL MYSELF)
1 (8-inch) flour tortilla, grilled, cut into thin strips (I substitute blue corn chips crushed instead)
1 avocado, pitted, sliced
1 cup shredded Monterey cheese

In a large saucepan heat the vegetable oil. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Once the onions have softened add the garlic and jalepenos and cook for another minute. Pour the chicken broth, tomatoes and beans into the pot and bring to a boil. Once at a boil lower heat to simmer and add your chicken breasts. Cook the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes. Once chicken is cooked remove from pot. When cool enough to handle shred it and set it aside. Add lime juice and fresh cilantro to the pot. In a serving bowl add a mound of shredded chicken. Ladle soup over chicken and top with a lime wedge, grilled tortilla strips, avocado slices and cheese. Copyright 2012 Television Food Network G.P.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Act Your Age!

I like to workout.

Most days.

Ever since my health challenges, I find myself wanting to work out as much as I can. For awhile there I had a great schedule, one that I could embrace the gym rat in me (yes, I had become one) and workout at least 5 days a week. My schedule changed and that followed with a significant injury. I still workout, but it's not enough in my mind.

You see, I'm not happy unless I'm not happy unless I'm kicking my own ass. Some of you who know me well are probably laughing and affirming my insanity, right?  (I see you nodding your head!)

Think Jim Carrey and "Liar, Liar".

Until recently, I would not do any form of exercise other than running, cycling, massive circuit training (lifting the same weights as the men in my class) and more.

Yoga?  Um, no thanks.  That's for relaxation and zen-ness stuff, not exercise.

Zumba?  Definitely not. I like to dance, but on a dance floor and after a few drinks (I suddenly become immensely flexible!)

Walking?  Um. No. Why would I walk when I can run?  Walking is for people who have themselves convinced they "can't" run.

So. Yup.  What does Ms. Kick-My-Own Ass do?  She does not use her brain, apparently. She kicks her own ass, time after time after time.

I have yet to learn how to listen to my body and I have yet to act my age. I am convinced there is a major dysfunction between my cerebral cortex and my limbs. Even when a friend recently called me "thick", I chuckled and took that as a compliment.

Well, it goes like this:  I try to train with my 14 year old daughter and her teammates. Track sprints. I TOLD YOU I KICK MY OWN ASS!   The first couple of workouts, I survived and in fact, I surprised these young girls as I nearly kept pace with them.

Then. It. Happened.

My 38 year old body said WTH?!  Okay, really - it screamed at me in that voice...W...T...F, Rebecca!

It rebelled. In a big way.

I tore both my plantar fascia as well as my hamstring within two weeks of each other.

One part of me wears these battered body parts with a sick sort of pride. A confirmation that yes, I pushed myself and I pushed it hard.  The other part of me is starting to rear its rational, motherly, and responsible side. How much do I need to push myself?  Do I seriously need to push beyond my breaking point, as evidenced by these recent injuries?

No. I do not.

I need to go back to basics. I like to workout and I need to keep it that way. Why this is such a challenge for me?  I cannot explain it rationally to you all. 

Maybe now is the time to revisit my opinions about yoga. You know if I'm flexible, my ass kicking won't hurt so much!

I have been embracing hiking!  I have tried a couple of yoga classes!  I have walked.  Yes.  I walked laps and laps at soccer (and I only jogged and sprinted a little.......).  I am trying hard to get there - that place that may just link my cerebral matter with the rest of me in a cohesive fashion.

Just trying to accept and act my age!  Now will someone come play with me?!?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I think I look great.
I don’t want to change myself.
I am smolderingly attractive. Yes. Smolderingly.

If you don’t want to murder me yet but feel hateful all the
same, settle down. I don’t actually feel those things at this exact moment in
time, but I am trying to make a point. My point is that we don’t have a
culture, particularly amongst women, where saying these things is socially
acceptable – whether we feel them or not.

Men can feel these things. They can say shit like “Check out
these guns” or write songs where the refrain is “Girl look at this body, I work
out” or whatever. They can be admired for their peacock-iness, and it will get
them further in business, love and life.

Women are expected to have conversations that center around
all the things they want to improve. Their cellulite. Their chunky thighs. The
number on the scale. Women bond over
these conversations. And god forbid, if a woman were to admit to her lady
friends that she was feeling particularly sexy and attractive one day, forget
it – she is OUT of the henhouse. The other women would be threatened, locking
up their own lovers and broadcasting a 5-alarm feeling of insecurity.

I once watched a documentary (shocking, I know) where a transgendered
person who had been raised as a female wanted to begin living life as a male.
She consulted numerous doctors and specialists for help in making this
transition, and then she did something fascinating. She went to a drama coach
to learn the gestures, body language and mannerisms of a man.

“It’s easy to come across as a man through body language,”
said the acting coach. “Every time you walk into a room, walk in like you own
the place. Walk like everyone admires you, like everyone wants you. Every
single place you go, behave as though you are the king.”

Instantly, the woman appeared to be male. That was all it

I recently wrote an article for a business publication about
females in the workplace in 2012. After interviewing female business leaders
from all over New England, I began to understand that while female
characteristics are quietly valued in business settings, they will never help
women to break the glass ceiling and become CEOs and Presidents of Corporations.
Ultimately, what women need to succeed is to adopt more of a male mindset. A
mindset where they are entitled and deserving of every privilege, where they
demand what they want and what they know they need.

And though I am not talking about business here today, I am the CEO of
my own life and need to behave as such. Like I am the king. And if I have to
fake it until it becomes natural, so be it.

I have spent my entire life feeling like I needed to lose
weight to improve myself, and yet each time I stumble across a picture from my
past, whether it be from when I was a teenager to some of the more recent
photos, I wonder why the hell I have wasted so much valuable time wishing to be
something I am not. I am fine just the way I am. I am healthy, strong. Happy.

And even more importantly, I am at a point where I am ready
to get the cluck out of the henhouse, because I don’t want to hang out with the
hens that are still wishing for what isn’t.

I will be over in the other henhouse – the one where the funky chickens are
playing poker and drinking martinis and shaking their beautiful tail feathers,
getting ready for a glorious day around the farm the next day with the roosters
and the chicks.

The roosters know what’s up. And they are having tons more fun.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I need to walk by myself often.

I need a dress that make me feel like a girl

I need jeans that make me feel like a woman.

I need to do push ups and carry heavy things.

I need to turn the head of someone.

I need to move through a room unseen.

I need to point, ask, and have someone do it for me.

I need to talk to someone.

I need to not talk for so long that I am surprised by the sound of my own voice.

I need someone to listen and nod.

I need someone to gently correct me.

I need that number on the scale.

I need that sale item to brag about.

I need my children to have a belly laugh a day within my earshot.

I need someone on my side.

I need someone by my side.

I need a summer peach to drip so drastically as I eat it that I can't keep up and stop trying to and let it roll down my arm.

I need to point out my flaws and have no one correct me or agree with me.

I need my dad to think it is a good idea.

I need my mom to let me do it. For her.

I need 5 minutes in a sunbeam with a cat. (10 mins without the cat.)

I need to volunteer for something at least once a month.

I need a tan before I put on a bathing suit and that is a catch 22. (and Irish thighs ain't smiling)

I need to lose the guilt, sometimes, and embrace it other times as it makes me make wise decisions.

I need Tylenol PM (knock off brand of course) in my cabinet so I never have to use it.

I need the first spoonful of peanut butter out of a new container.

I need to sit around with my friends and not talk about weight loss every now and then.

I need to be a real grouch and have no one call me on it.

I need a hug to get out of my grouchness but won't ask for it...

I need my space. (It is probably next to you, though)

I need to see 4 months into the future.

I need to be needed

I need a shower.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wisdom to Getcha Thru the Week

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” ― Marilyn Monroe

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” ― Mark Twain

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ― Siddhārtha Gautama

“That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending - performing. You get to love your pretence. It's true, we're locked in an image, an act - and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you're trying to steal their most precious possession.” ― Jim Morrison

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

“I am beginning to measure myself in strength, not pounds. Sometimes in smiles.” ― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

“Don't try to fix me, I'm not broken...” ― Evanescence

“Why should we worry about what others think of us, do we have more confidence in their opinions than we do our own?” ― Brigham Young

“I never loved another person the way I loved myself.” ― Mae West

“Women who love themselves are threatening; but men who love real women, more so.” ― Naomi Wolf

Friday, March 23, 2012

Foodie Friday :: Canine Edition

Last summer, while enjoying the on-foot scenery cruising by my in-laws’ beach house in an upscale coastal Southern Jersey community, an old friend of my MIL’s stopped by. She waited to be introduced to her friend’s family.

“This is my oldest,” I gestured to the beaming tween, who’d grown a foot taller at the introduction.
“…and my middle,” I continued, as my sassy 8-year old did some sort of gymnastics move on the concrete porch.
“…and my swan song,” I cooed at my 5 year old, who’d shocked and delighted us with her conception, as she posed and postured for approval.

“And THIS must be your baby!” she said. We all looked around. She was looking at Rocco.

Rocco is my pug.

“Oh. Him? Nope. He’s our dog.”

MIL’s friend: Confused and horrified.

I was a stranger in a strange land, where poodles have pink bows, sleep in bed with their owners and participate in doggy playdates. I stood solidly among the minority.

I am not one of those pet owners who call my animals “furbabies.” My pets came after my children, and therefore, are simply pets.

I would apologize for this except that I am a decent if not exceptional pet owner. I love my pets, and my pets love me. My cats I largely ignore except to feed them, which makes me a perfect housemate as far as they are concerned.

Rocco, only the second dog I have ever loved and therefore stalked until its owners agreed to let me have him (yes, twice in my life I have fallen in love with a particular puppy who belonged to someone else and rallied hard to adopt, successfully), is my faithful companion. I am his master, his mistress and his guru, which is why dogs are (wo)man’s best friend.

As his caretaker and his alpha female, however, I do something that only pet owners who also dress their dogs in argyle sweaters and matching rain boots do. I make food for him.

Okay, not meals. I leave that to the wonderful Wellness brand dog food – the brand his previous owners made us swear up and down we would continue to feed him. We have friends that laugh at us for making that promise and actually following through, but I am nothing if not a woman of my word.

But like ladies who lunch in beachfront communities, I like to make dog treats for him. Because I love to bake and be in my kitchen but I certainly do not need to be making batches of cookies that have to survive on the counter for several hours until my kids get off the bus (as though that is even ever gonna happen), I have resorted to scratching the baking itch in a new and innovative way. I make treats for Rocco.

However, while I would love to give you a recipe, I have none. Except to offer you these guidelines:


Take a bowl. Find whatever leftover dinner you have frozen in a random Tupperware or ZipLoc bag in your freezer. Extra points if the meal has been there so long it no longer qualifies as something you would feed your family but you hate to throw it out.

Beef stew? Meat lasagna? Tomato overflow from last summer’s garden? Or even better- the sludge from last night’s pot roast or baked chicken. Don’t throw it out! Feed it to your pet J

If you have a food processor, you’re psyched. Makes the job easier. Otherwise a mixer or blender will do.

Throw in some beef or chicken stock if need be. Throw in some favored veggies – Rocco loves carrots and sometimes, butternut squash. Some butter if you need a fat. Maybe an egg or two… Hard-boiled and past their prime? Yes! Perfect dog food.

Once you have a sludge fit for a Rottweiler, mix in whole wheat flour until it’s gooey enough to spread, or doughy enough to roll out if you want to cut out dog bone-shaped treats. I find Rocco could care less if they’re pretty.

Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet, and if possible make knifed grid-marks in the size you want so that it’s easier to break apart later.

Final step: cook the bejeezus out of it at 225-degrees. Until it’s hard as a rock and barely recognizable as food. This could take all day. I don’t know. I trust your judgment, Curvy Girl reader.

I wish this recipe could be more concise, just as I sometimes wish Rocco had an owner that spooned with him at night.

He doesn’t – he just has me and my oldest and my middle and my swan song loving him endlessly, and hubby too who loves him like the son he never had. And we care about him, and we want him to be well and live a long life so we can love him up and down and sideways until he needs a freaking break from it all.

But he’s our dog. And he’s a curvy dog. And even curvy dogs need a treat from time to time.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Cleaning!

Ahhh, the warm and breezy days of spring have arrived prematurely in the Northeast. After an unusually mild winter, we Yankees have nothing to complain about with respect to the weather. However, everyone seems to be embracing these seasonably warm temperatures and spring cleaning has taken charge.

As part of my spring cleaning ritual, I have realized the importance of cleaning on a different level. Instead of only removing fingerprints from the winterized windows, and those long lost dust bunnies in that remote corner of the room; I have given my pantry a spring cleaning. Wow. for a family of healthy eaters, I sure had a lot of processed crap to dispose of (namely, that maple flavored syrup product I referenced in an earlier blog).

Make your spring cleaning ritual even more cleansing this year! Have you stopped to consider your personal care products and their ingredients? Somewhere, a couple of years ago, I read by the time a woman is ready to go to work, or go out for the day – she has used some 563 different chemicals. Eeeew.

Think about it for a second. You wake up and shower. Your face wash has some 10-15 ingredients; followed by your shampoo with another 20+ ingredients; followed by your conditioner; followed by your shaving cream; your body wash and more. After you have toweled off, you have lotioned your legs, you have deodorized your armpits, you have used yet another lotion for your face followed by serum, mousse, gel and hairspray for your hair. Only now do you start on your “face” – foundation, blush, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, lip liner, lip stick…….now 563 ingredients does not seem so unrealistic.

I will admit it. I like to lotion my legs after a fresh shave. I like to smell good. I also am reaching an age where each anti-aging lotion on the market seems to be magnetized towards my face (i.e. crows feet, smile lines, age spots and more).

I began using to check out my favorite products. I was horrified to find many of them were rated an 8, 9 or the absolute worst 10 on their rating chart based upon their toxic ingredients.

I have slowly started identifying new products on the market that satisfy my need to feel silky or smell good, but will not send my hormones on a trip. I now think twice before buying that on-sale shampoo without first reading the label. I made it my goal to remove parabens (cancer causing buggers – known endocrine disrupters) from all of my household personal care products.

My daughter was using ProActiv – isn’t that what every teen uses to keep their face acne free? FULL OF PARABENS. No, thank you. Believe it or not, we have often found places like Ocean State Job Lot to carry an assortment of organic and chemical free personal care products at a bargain price! Recent studies by EWG have shown that from a sample of teen girls aged 14-19, the teens had an average of 14-19 hormone altering cosmetic chemicals in their bodies!

Check all of your products. You will be surprised. Read more at this recent post here:

Spring clean your house, your life, your body… steps are a great way to start. Beauty should definitely not come at a price.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Food Matters

Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food

- Hippocrates

My husband was out of town last weekend, and you know how it is. I just go buck wild when he's away.

That's right, I drink wine spritzers and stay up late crafting while I watch as many documentaries as possible. I'm out of control.

Unfortunately, one of the documentaries I chose to watch, Food Matters, horrified me on a million levels. It made me feel like an alien padding through the sandy terrain of this strange strange world we live in -- one where pharmacutical companies and government agencies basically put the immediate kibosh on anything that remotely resmebles a cure for cancer (or any other disease for tha matter), because there is no money to be made in a population of people enjoying good health.

You'll have to watch it for yourself. This curvy girl gives it 5 out of 5 stars, and I am only 1/2 a cup of coffee into this day right now and can't even pretend to be eloquent.

But let's just leave it at thins -- the grocery store is your pharmacy. The local farm is your first aid clinic.

Food can heal you and sustain you. Food Matters.

You are able to view this documentary online (they will even let you watch the first half free)for $4.95 through this website and I highly recommend you do...and make your family watch it with you! For those of you who stream Netflix through your Wii or Xbox, it is currently available under "documentaries." Let's start a revolution, people. Get educated and get over modified non-food items-that-appear-to-be-food.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Does my brain make my butt look big?

SO here is an A-list I can get behind. These have been researched and documented to boost brain power. How many of them do you fit into your mouth a week? A day? A MEAL?? You could be mad smart while filling your gut with satisfying food to hold you over for a while. No surprise a lot of these foods have fiber and proteins that help keep hunger at bay.

There are a few I want to point out. Like #19. So special to about #3 instead of mayo on your sammich? Any of the nuts on the list can be roasted quickly and added to a pesto sauce (Add lots of spinach to your basil. On the list!) Put the nuts in yogurt (also on list) for crunch and blueberries for sweetness.

I am happy to see sun tea brewing season has come waaaay early this year. I use green tea. You could sweeten it with crushed blueberries. I have seen acai berry juice used in "fancy" (no, I won't pay over $1.25 for a beverage) drinks. I don't know how to work with them. GO! Find out! Report back! Make me some tea with them!

OK, I am going to get reeeeal personals with y'alls.

Take a knee.

Huddle up.

Some winter mornings, I want a hot cereal situation, but I don't want to have oatmeal (On list) mush sensation. Do you ever have that not-so-oatmeal feeling? You know what can take it's place? Brown rice. You can sweeten it, even. It doesn't have to be a savory. AND should you go for oatmeal, you can make it savory- add even a wee bit of parm cheese to it like you might normally add to a brown rice dish. CHEESE!!!! It is on the LIST!!!! (The harder the cheese, the healthier.) All food options must be finalized with a #19 + #43 combo.

OK, I will leave you to go over the list, get your pad of paper out, get ready to hit the store or your cupboards. What have you. Feed your brain. Your body will thank you.

50 Good Brain Foods

1. Acai berries

2. Almonds

3. Avocados

4. Bananas

5. Blackberries

6. Blueberries

7. Brewer's yeast

8. Broccoli

9. Brown rice

10.Brussel sprouts

11. Cantaloupe

12. Cashews

13. Cauliflower

14. Cherries

15. Cheese

16. Chicken

17. Collard greens

18. Cranberries

19. Dark chocolate

20. Eggs

21. Eggplant

22. Fish

23. Flaxseed oil

24. Green tea

25. Lean beef

26. Legumes

27. Milk

28. Oatmeal

29. Oranges

30. Peanut butter

31. Peas

32. Plums

33. Potatoes

34. Pumpkin seeds

35. Raspberries

36. Red cabbage

37. Red grapes

38. Romaine lettuce

39. Salmon

40. Soybeans

41. Spinach

42. Stabalized rice bran

43. Strawberries

44. Tomatoes

45. Tuna

46. Turkey

47. Walnuts

48. Water

49. Wheat germ

50. Yogurt

Monday, March 19, 2012

TURNING 40 by Jennifer Sheldon, Guest Blogger

The night before my 40th birthday I had anepiphany. You know, the kind that makes you jump out of bed in the middle of the night and write it down, because otherwise you may forget exactly how you wanted to phrase it. (A gift that comes with middle age)

I realized that most of my thinking about myself has been skewed by my peers, Hollywood, and the media. I have spent years of my life wishing I was smarter, taller, thinner, younger, richer. But why?

When I was only twenty I met the man of my dreams and we will be celebrating our 19 year anniversary this summer. I have two children that are as flawed as their parents, but absolutely perfect. I have a small house that I can clean completely in less than one day, and when I call for dinner everyone can hear me. Life is too short for wishing for what we don't have. It's time to love what's there, who we are and where we have been.

So I wrote my mantra down, and I carry it in my purse. Maybe, just maybe, this will inspire you to write yours. And if you just want to use mine, well that's ok too.

I love myself just the way I am today. I wish away no moments, and celebrate life just as it is. I embrace every curve, wrinkle and flaw that is on my body, because it is a part of me. All of the heartache, laughter, sorrow and love has turned me into who I am. I am unique. I am beautiful. And I am happy, because I am me.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bowl of Yums

Who doesn't love a noodle bowl? Stand up, at let ye be glared at!

I love noodle bowls. Noodley noodley noodle bowls. When I go back to NYC, I seek out the noodle. When I am recovering, I seek out the noodle. When I don't know what else to prepare, I seek out the noodle. When I had no money....we all know....we sought out the Ramen! (Still do for a sinful pleasure!)

Well, this noodle bowl is missing a lot of the sin Ramen hangs with. The first time I saw the fat count on my tasty brick, I was preggers with my 1st and thought I would have a light snack/dinner while waiting for later dinner (to be followed by elevnsies of ice cream). I was crushed by the number! But I later found out that curly, joyous noodles don't have to be high in fat! And for this recipe you can use any noodle you want. Soba, rice, whatever floats your boat. My brand?

Hellooooooooo good lookin'!

Pork and Shrimp Pancit


  • 1 package rice noodles, soba, ramen, what have you
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (Do I even use that much? Most likely I don't)
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked small shrimp, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked pork (or chicken? AND chicken, lose the shrimp?)
  • 4 cups shredded bok choy (I have also used spinach, snow peas, D- all of the above)
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 green onion, minced


  1. Cook noodles as directed; drain.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoons oil in a wok or large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Saute noodles for 1 minute. Transfer to serving dish, and keep warm. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet, and saute onion, garlic, ginger, shrimp and pork for 1 minute. Stir in bok choy, oyster sauce and chicken broth. Season with pepper flakes. Cover, and cook for 1 minute, or until bok choy is wilted. Spoon over noodles, and garnish with minced green onion.
Serve it in Winter, Summer, and anywhere in between! Load it heavy with veggies. Change your protein. Anything goes which is why I love the noodle bowl. SO all encompassing, open minded, and ready for what you throw at it.
Noodle it up!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Scary Headlines

Extra, extra! Read all about it!



This Curvy Girl thinks there are some valid truths behind many of the headlines, but I also think we have the power to be more educated, more informed and ultimately empowered consumers.
Regardless of the media firestorm that may (or may not) circulate with the screaming headlines, consumers need to dig a little deeper and find out the source of alarm behind the warning. Yes! People are becoming sick, and sometimes dying, as a result of tainted products from our food industry. Do we need to live in absolute fear? Absolutely not! Do we need to become empowered shoppers and let our money do our talking? Absolutely yes!

There is no way we can control the quality of our products that are vastly available and often only from the big box chain stores. You have heard us Curvy Girls talk about buying local. It is truly the only way you can be sure of the source of your food products. You can engage your local farmer about where his food is grown, how it is grown and further picked or processed for your consumption. These local farmers are only too happy to share this information with you, after all this is their passion and their pride. This is one of many ways to become an educated consumer.

You will hear some of us Curvy Girls talking about simplifying our fuel – going back to basics. Yes, we will talk about this on a regular basis because it is important. We have already shared with you how critical it is to take control. Now, you ask, how do I get started?

We find the following links to be a great source of information – and what is best; this information is ready in easily digestible and absorbable form. The wealth of information available online through the web and social media allows us to be educated on an hourly basis. This Curvy Girl finds many of the sources not only informative but inspiring! Have I shared with you my recent love of green, raw drinks? No e.coli in my CSA share. I know I will not get any pink slime in my purchases from the meat at my local farms.

Let me know what links are your favorites and how you are becoming more empowered in your shopping! Most of these links are on Facebook and offer the daily tips for good health, educated shopping and more.

Local farms for untainted vegetables, fruits and meats:

Share any you have with us on our Facebook page!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Letter To My Daughters

To my gorgeous 3

I’m sorry.

Truly, I am sorry. Why? Well, for so many things, but most of all for the fact that – like me – you will never be able to let down your guard. You will not have the luxury of bathing yourself in junk food at parties and not having to pay the price. You will not proclaim your love of food without at least a mild pang of insecurity, for it won’t seem unbelievable, regardless of your healthy diet. If you end up anything like, me, your curves will betray your commitment to health. People will not be able to mask their surprise when you tell them you run 5k races for fun or that you eat a diet that consists largely of fresh vegetables.

It was the luck of the draw, girls. Sorry.

You will have to find other small pleasures in life to sustain you, and I can certainly help with this. I have found joy in paints and guitar strings and long walks and friends. And, more recently, I find myself overcome with joy and breathless gratitude – simply because of the gift of you.

Of the many things I have handed down to you, my fat genes are among them. And so I apologize, and I can relate. My fat genes, so you know, were handed to me from my father’s side of the family, a fact that I am not sure my own mother ever fully understood. One look at Grammy Lessard’s photo albums prove this. There she is, my paternal grandmother – who you 3 knew far too briefly but who I loved beyond measure – ranging from a happy-looking mildly
voluptuous to an all-out robust over the years. There, too – my long nose, wide smile, loving arms. There too – not a body at all but a human being, a wonderful one at that. A person full of love and generosity. Is this what others see too?

You will undoubtedly have received other blessings thanks to your lineage, from daddy and me: musical ability, a unique singing voice, confidence and cunning. Horrible eyesight and bad skin…sorry for those too. But know this: while you have gotten this most unfortunate hand-me-down of the Lessard fat gene, you have also been given the gift of a mother who understands.

My hope is that I have taught you well enough…how to eat well, how to exercise with purpose and joy, and how to live fully in the skin you’re in. My hope is that you might have even more confidence in yourself, be even stronger in your passions, care even more for yourself, than I ever have. My hope is that you will realize that there is one woman in your life who would lay down her life for yours and how could anything possibly be worth more than that? What size clothing could bring you more comfort than knowing that I am on your team, every single day of your life?

Over the years, I want you to remember this: While you will always have to watch what you eat and you will probably never know whatever joy there is in being one of those women with the tall sinewy frames, you have something that not every girl has. You have a mother who will always, always, always be your very biggest fan. I think you are the absolute best there is, all 3 of you and your size or shape, frankly, doesn’t matter to me.

I see you for everything you are in your heart – I see through your body into your soul. I know the rich gooey goodness that is YOU and I will never place any judgment on the width of your bellies or the chubbiness of your bums. I will adore you equally and fiercely. Endlessly.

With love, love and always love

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I am not an A-lister....

We are a nation obsessed with losing weight and/or obesity. It is a growing problem, so that is no surprise. We all know the different diets out there. We all know the need to move and do the simple math of calories in, calories out. Or maybe we know more the liquid diet. Or is it the South Beach? Did we hit the Mediterranean? How about we are back in the time of cave men. Maybe we shall eat subway sandwiches forever! Or eat bars and shakes. We will count! We will subtract. We will have meals delivered and get some spray tan before the celebrity endorsed photo shoot. We will Jamie Oliver the schools with healthier meals (Um, YES PLEASE!) We will couch to 5k. We will couch to 100 push ups! We will body Bugg it. We will watch Biggest Loser and eat desert and hope they burn off our calories. A science experiment of sorts (that has not panned out, FYI).

But can you leave my kid's school birthday alone, please?

At my children's school, The administration is enforcing healthy eating in the caring for our kids. They really DO want that. I BELIEVE that. I believe that they thought- we need kids to eat more healthy foods; let's research programs now to do this. And they were handed a list, the A-list, to follow of foods that are considered healthy in moderation for children to have at school and for children to share, barring any allergies in the classroom, for their birthdays. In fact, the A-list becomes mandatory in August.

I sat in a little butt hugging Kindergarten chair 4 years ago and listened to the the teacher explain it. And again the next year, and again...the school only wants only A- list foods to come in, if any, for class celebrations. AND if you prefer to forgo food for a little trinket instead, go for it.

So, referring to this list (from the John Stalker Institute) I see a lot of great snack ideas. I do. I am not being sarcastic here at all. Most of them, my child is not going to eat/want on their birthday, however. Cereal bars? We happen to eat TJ's bars all the time. NOT birthday material. Grahams? An eye roll as they are in our cabinets already. (Some of the ones listed on the A-list are the brands with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) which I have eliminated from our shopping trips and home all together.)

OOOOOOH! Rice Krispie treats! They are on the list! The store bought variety of these, already


(you don't have to read all that. But see how it is ALLLLL that?)

Or you could go with this: whole grain oats, corn syrup, sugar, whole wheat flour, canola and/or rice bran oil,

high fructose corn syrup, brown rice flour, fructose, corn flour. Contains 2% or less of: whole grain corn, wheat

starch, glycerin, maltodextrin, corn meal, salt, sorbitol, gelatin, natural and artificial flavor, baking soda, tricalcium phosphate, color (red 40, blue 1, yellows 5& 6 and other color added), trisodium phosphate, sodium

citrate, citric acid, maltic acid. Mixed tocopherols added to preserve freshness. Vitamins & minerals: calcium carbonate, iron and zinc (mineral nutrients), A B vitamin (niacinamide), vitamin C (sodium ascorbate), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), A B vitamin (folic acid), vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate, vitamin A (palmitate), vitamin B12, vitamin D3. Contains wheat ingredients.

(and let the teacher enjoy that- especially with the kids who have a food dye sensitivity=bonkers behavior in minutes.) That is called a Trix bar.

Now, as I said, there are plenty of great snack foods on that list. In fact, when I read through, I was inspired by some of them for the lunch box and picnics. And we all know we can make a nice fruit salad and most kids will dive in. Mine included. But what to BRING on their SPECIAL day?!?!!? They don't want to be the kid bringing fruit or pantry boringness that they love when it is NOT their birthday. They want to bring in what we all brought in when we were kids. When it was ok to bring in cupcakes and cookies and brownies to celebrate.

Ev wanted to bring in: plain cake flour,table salt, baking powder, unsweetened chocolate, unsalted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract.

And she did.
Yes, I am a bit of a rebel. I wear combat boots with my Laura Ashely's. (oooooooooh. Thasssss riiiiiiiiiight)
But I am generally a good sport in schools because I teach in schools. Because I support teachers. Because I would never want to be a principal and therefore have mad respect for them. And I am a complete democrat and believe in supporting the welfare of others. Chunks of paychecks go...and I grit my teeth and bare it for those who need it. And I know that the reason for this A-list is to help children that eat like crap every day of their lives have one less opportunity for crap....maybe....once every few weeks/months..... But my kid doesn't eat like crap. And my kid bringing in a purchased corn syrup bar is going to help no one. And my kid bringing in brownies won't hurt anyone. It is beyond that, this problem the schools are battling. I am not giving them each a sheet cake of brownies. I am giving a portion of a treat as I am a strict believer in every food having it's place in life- in moderation if it is a treat, in abundance if it is a veggie, etc.

I walked in with my tray of brownies. The Assistant Principal saw me and gave me a hearty eyes up to heaven and an abrupt turn on her heel to walk into her office. I felt my panic of a good girl in her ugly boots, but I made long strides down to the 1st grade wing. I brought my girl her treats! (Cue fireworks! Slow motion footage of children jumping up and down cheering, teachers coming into the halls, their hands all held together over their heads swaying to "We Are the World"....)

And I came home and stewed about this a little more.

As my dad would say, "Now hear me....hear me" (to get complete attention and eye contact to be clear as possible) I will follow a school's lead when they say NO food. I will buy the cutest pencils and erasers (which the classrooms need anyway). I will look at my kids and say," no food treats allowed, would you like to give stickers?" But if you are giving me a list of foods that is being made mandatory by Framingham State with all their research that has ingredients that I have never heard of, or ones I have banned from my own house, I won't do it. I won't play fair.
I will make my 8 ingredient brownies- that I can pronounce! and I will bring them in.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Guest Post: Ditching the Diet Mentality

today's guest post comes from our friend over at Stop by sometime and show her some love, or comment here so she knows you're pickin' up what she's puttin' down!
How I Stopped Using Exercise as Another Diet

When I was filling out the enrollment forms for Green Mountain, I was questioned, “What are your goals for your time here at Green Mountain?” I quickly responded, “unhooking weight loss from exercise.”

In the past, during my diet-mentality days, I looked at exercise as a means to an end. That end being weight loss. If I wasn’t attempting to lose weight, exercise was not a part of my daily schedule. Exercise was sweat, hard work, feeling fat and unfit, and drudgery. What did I enjoy about exercise? Being done! Burning calories!

Stemming from my stay at Green Mountain, I now experience what exercise can really be like: joyful movement. I am able to connect with my physical body and focus on what it means to feel pleasure in the moment of exercise – not just being done!

Before my stay, I had begun to experiment with this philosophy of joyful movement. I participated in Anusara Yoga classes and walked outside in the summer because it made me feel good in my body. During my four weeks at Green Mountain, I expanded my means of joyful movement by incorporating upper and lower body strength training, as well as Vermonting and low-impact aerobics. Coming home, I fell in love with group exercise classes such as Group Power and Group Active and started actually using my gym membership instead of just paying my dues!

Today, I find myself moving joyfully most days of the week. I continue to enjoy my practice of yoga and walking outside when the Midwest weather permits. Not because of the calories it burns or as a form of punishment; rather, I do it because it is now a part of my life. What else is a part of my life because of movement? Sleeping better, more respect for what my body can do (as opposed to what it looks like), more energy and strength, and having peace that my relationship with movement is being healed.

Ditching the diet mentality includes ditching exercise for weight loss. I know the exercise I do may or may not lead to weight loss. I only participate in movement activities that bring me joy, regardless of the impact upon my weight. This decision has lead to sustainability.

Do you have to do joyful movement in a gym? No! First of all, there should be no HAVE TOs when it comes to movement. Find an activity YOU enjoy. Making the right match is not only important when it comes to finding satisfaction in the foods you eat, but also in the types of activities you engage in. You are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your own personal plan for movement.