How I improved my blood works results

before I start- here comes the usual drill about the disclaimer and all that- “I am not a doctor or registered dietitian or any other practice that concerns health or nutrition”.

All my tips are based on my own personal experience, what works for me- might not work for you-  do your own research and all that.

Now let’s get talking.

*I am assuming you want to have good blood work results .because we are all raised as achievers and this is yet another test.

*I am assuming you understand how important and accurate these blood works can be, and the huge advantage in checking your health using accurate measures, instead of opinions of this or that person.

I am aware that some conventional doctors have a problem with the vegan diet, and they are still under the impression that “a healthy balanced diet consists of meat-poultry- well at least fish!” (………..)

#I am not a health expert and I am assuming all of you are no fools and would rather do your own research on such an important subject as your health, so I am not going to copy and paste here excerpts from medical articles and pretend this is scientific research when clearly- it is not.

Go read and educate yourselves on this subject. many people wish each other good health and some even add that “there is nothing more important than good health:- I always think -this is so true- so why not act like it? meaning- make sure you eat healthy food, get plenty of exercises, get checked once a year, take good care of your teeth (!) and try to eliminate as much stress from your life as possible?

I am aware bad things happen even to healthy people. we live in a very polluted world, and sticking to our cell phones and computers all the time isn’t making it better.

But- you can still try to correct what is in your control.

What you eat, how you much you eat, the amount of exercise you do, and how you relax.

So -once a year I do a full blood test checkup and analyze my results.

*keeping track of my B12 -folic acid-iron levels is super important to make sure everything is under control.

Being vegan it is important to check B12 levels, since B12 is derived from animal sources, and vegans usually supplement this vitamin. This is the only supplement I take, I see no reason to swallow a ton of pills when I can simply eat a balanced full of vitamins diet.

*to that- add the fear of blood fats- LDL- known as “bad cholesterol, and HDL- known as good cholesterol.and let’s not forget about these Triglycerides…

ok let’s analyze it:

B12:

this year, (End of February 2018) my B12 results were quite similar to last year (545 if this is of interest to anyone- I understand this is a reasonable number so I don’t linger on it). I take 2 tablets of 1000 mcg B12 a week. no chewing or swallowing- I put it under my tongue and let it dissolve. seems to be doing the job. if any of you people is vegan- please don’t play around with this important subject. this b12 is very important so get yourself checked and decide on supplementing if you are low on that count!

Hemoglobin (HB):

12.6, about the same as last year.

Cholesterol:

Last year: (February 2018) 190-exactly a year later- 132.

Bam!

That is a drop of 30%!

Calc LDL (aka “bad cholesterol”) :

last year: 118 this year: 69.

Double bam!

that result was almost cut in half!

triglycerides:

last year 73, this year- 56.

also a drop.

my calcium is 9.37 and my protein levels are 6.64, all in the normal zone.

I was really happy with these results.

Naturally because they are good results ( from what I checked- desired cholesterol levels are under 200, triglycerides are under 150 and desired calc LDL is under 100), but because I implemented 2 major changes to my diet the past year, and I have been waiting to check if I was right in assessing it would make a big difference in my results.

The thing is- basically if you want to conduct a study to research a phenomenon- from what I know- you can’t mix in another component …now I have no idea which of the 2 changes I’ve made- is responsible for the great results…but having raised 3 children I will use the old trustworthy method -when in quarrel- call it a tie.

And the 2 changes I made that are (equally) responsible for the change?

#1. I stopped drinking alcohol. 

I wasn’t drinking that much before- a shot of whiskey (30 ml)- but I used to have that small glass every night.

I called it my “winding down time” when finishing my chores at home- after a long day at work.

I told myself that this is only 30 ml. what harm can it do? I can’t go to sleep without my “nightcap” and a lot of other BU** S***

I stopped drinking totally on June 2018, although I really liked the way alcohol made me relax, and I love the taste of an ice cold beer in the summer, and a glass of red wine is recommended by the blah blah blah and all those excuses.

I had a hunch that small amount of alcohol is responsible for at least a part of my cholesterol results, that admittedly weren’t high to begin with, but I eat a healthy diet and had high expectations that weren’t met last year. but were definitely met this year.

People- do whatever you want- drink- don’t drink- drink only on occasions- (why? because you are in fact an introvert who dislikes events and would rather be home reading a good book? well then go home and read a good book, my friend!).

It is definitely none of my business

It is your business. totally.

manage your business as you like.

If you are under the impression that you can’t survive without a drink a day, because you are miserable at work and your family this and that and everything else- your choice.

I can tell you the first few weeks without my “nightcap” weren’t nice at all, but afterwards, I got used to not drinking.

I don’t bother to imitate with a glass of wine filled with cranberry juice, because I care not what people might think of me.

I actually find it extremely funny should they think I’m too much of a nerd to drink, knowing the opposite is true…

So I drink water, and when a glass is raised to make a toast-I raise my glass of water.

I decided that what’s in my heart is more important than what’s in my glass, and if the person concerned is not ok with my choices- well I think he or she didn’t deserve me raising a glass of anything to begin with.

#2: the other major change I made- in January 2019 I started intermittent fasting.

Read my previous post to learn what and why and how :

 

and read if you are interested in other peoples opinions.

benefits of intermittent fasting

So there is a tie between stopping to drink alcohol and intermittent fasting- but who cares?

Both decisions are evidently good for my health, I feel great, once getting used to them- I no longer experience any discomfort practicing them, and let’s face it- eliminating alcohol and dinners is quite a money saver too!

I absolutely have no respect for what other people might think of my choices, as long as they pass my strict tests: they are legal’ good for my health, make feel vital and energetic, and make my skin look good. and they don’t cost a lot of money.

enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

thank you again Pexels for yet another great and free photo.

So- intermittent fasting??

well, people read my disclaimer- no doctor, no dietician, no scientific nothing. do what you want, eat what you like, basically, do your own thing, this is my experience, I have no idea what’s good for you if you don’t know either- then consult someone that you believe does know.

now to the point. so after my vipassana course in September, I realized skipping dinner was a valid option for me. actually, I felt much better when meditating on an empty stomach.

So for a few months, I continued to skip dinner, though I did snack in the afternoons.

Approaching  January I stumbled upon an article about intermittent fasting and suddenly it hit me- all the benefits mentioned made sense- i already knew that from vipassana…

So i decided to give it a try.

Intermittent fasting has many variations: 18/6,16/8,20/4,omad- all named after the fasting/eating windows you decide on.

Omad stands for one meal a day.

My choice- since I am clearly a morning person ( i get up at 3 or 4 am every morning- no alarm clock), was 19/5, meaning 19 hours of fasting and a 5-hour eating window between 7:30 and 12:30.

Many times this becomes 18/6, but usually, I can manage pretty well with my 5 hour window.

Am I hungry?

First, I sure was.

I was so hungry during the first two weeks that I was afraid to exercise, thinking hunger might do me harm.

Turns out the opposite was true for me.

Again, use your brain to decide if this is good for you, for me If (short for intermittent fasting) even enhanced my exercise performance!

I workout early in the morning and only drink one cup of black coffee – no cream or sugar of course, and a glass of hot water with 1-2 tbsp of acv.that is apple cider vinegar.

Both are totally acceptable as part of fasting and even recommended.

I eat when I get back from training, and enjoy a hearty breakfast of rice milk or almond milk I make myself, heated for a few minutes, and to the bowl, I add 2 tbsp of ground flax seeds and 2 tbsp of homemade granola. and a sliced banana.

If I have apples I make apple stew with dried pruned boiled with the apples and use the water from the stew instead of the vegan milk.here is a link to the post explaining that genius idea. Flax- point! how I simplify my healthy eating with minimum cost!

Some days I am so hungry (or feel hungry- not necessarily the same you know) that I continue to snack: a few almonds, a few walnuts, a Medjool date (or 2.lets be honest many times 3. I can’t help they are so good . they are the best sweet treat I know, seriously, and I’ve eaten my share of sweets) , a few spoons of granola drizzled with a tahini-agave sauce I make (* simply mix 1:1 ratio of both and add water until you like the taste and consistency. that simple. yes. it is), a cookie, maybe 2. most likely 2, a banana. enough. this is getting ridiculous. 

As you can see, some days my breakfast kind of blends into my lunch through the connecting bridge of “the snack”.

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As for lunch- most days I eat no later than 12:30 many days earlier.

I eat a protein-based meal: beans, lentils, chickpeas, with vegetables and a small side of carbs: a piece of whole wheat bread with tahini, rice, some pasta. potatoes.

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I make sure I am feeling full when I finish eating, knowing that I won’t eat again until 07:30 the next morning. because my meals are protein packed, for me – this makes sure I am fine not eating anything else for the next 19 hours or so.

I drink ginger infused hot water or add herbs to my hot water, acv (apple cider vinegar)  infused water, and that cup of black coffee first thing the next morning. no sugar added to any of the drinks, no fruit, not even my beloved apples. The idea is that the body needs to stop digesting for a substantial amount of time so it can concentrate on using the food we already put into our body, which as you can see in my case- is quite a lot.

after practicing intermittent fasting for more than 2 months I can say that this is a method that works really well for me.

less stress over what to eat at dinner

more free time since not preparing- eating-cleaning dishes

my body feels lighter-yet my exercises improved!

can’t forget the frugal point of view- less food to buy -keep-prepare etc

at first I had some trouble being the cook at my household: fasting and preparing food for others- this is only for the bravest of them all. sorry- can’t do that. no way. so I started organizing everything for my partner and my son’s dinner -ahead. they heat their food and clean up after themselves- so I don’t have to deal with that.

I think people have gotten so used to the idea of 3 meals a day- that they never stop to ask themselves -is this really what works best for my body? my eating habits? my needs?

For me- as of now- this method works great.

love to hear if you tried it- and if not- what your stand is on this issue.

ciao- the cooliflower.

 

 

My frugal farewell party at work

I think you already know I am an introvert.

What does a frugal introvert have to do with parties? well nothing, but I had a feeling that retiring early after so many years without mentioning would be a bad idea -as it would not give me any sense of closure, and might let people at work believe I am leaving with a grudge of some kind- which is not true. well not entirely anyway.

So I received a budget from the office and managed to save some money (yes- I am frugal with office money too…), and wrote to everyone that there will be no speeches, no gifts and no “funny” videos, just some wine and sweets, and good music.

Just in case you were wondering- no- none of the food was vegan.

No one in my whole office (more than 100 people) is vegan, and I see no point in making a point specifically on my departure day.

Live and let live or whatever.

I bought perishable serving “plates” and paper cups, wine and all kinds of sweets, and gave the office a Cezanne photo reproduction to remind them to eat well even when I’m not there.

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I made presents for the closest people I liked working with:

clay hedgehogs, that can be used as pen or pencil holders.

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I made a playlist consisting of the following songs:

*on the turning away- pink Floyd

*all the time in the world- deep purple

*I’m leaving today- Christina Aguilera

*think (freedom -from the “blues brothers)- Aretha Franklin

*another one bites the dust- queen

*hallelujah- Leonard Cohen

*goodby-madonna

and that, my friends, is all.

(I wonder who relates to this reference…)

I can tell you people were shocked of the absence of speeches, and at first, just stood there waiting for something to happen, but then I explained to them that no speeches are planned and they are free to grab a free drink and enjoy the food and music.

I guess breaking office traditions isn’t done in one event…

I managed to pass the event although every bone of my introvert bones was aching. I understood closure was needed here- mainly for me.

After 27 years, it was time to say goodbye (I’m full of references today what do you know) -and I believe it was imפortant to do it properly. well -in my version of appropriation anyway.

I did receive gifts, though I repeatedly said that I need nothing and they better donate the sum of money they intended to buy me a gift- to someone that is in need. but people have a way of behaving I can’t change, and if someone leaves the office- then presents must be given no matter what.

one great gift I got was the hammock in the above picture.

the 12 -15 people I was directly in charge of got together and bought me this huge hammock, and although I said no gifts -I admit I love this thing…

Besides that great hammock, I received some books, and a week later I went to the book store and exchanged all the books for a voucher (added to 150$ total) and this coming holiday my daughter will get it as a present. 

In case you are wondering what’s wrong with books- or asking yourselves is this woman a book hater or something- well quite the opposite my friends, quite the opposite. 

I love books, and I love reading. maybe it has to do with my being an introvert- maybe not, but the fact is books have over the years, been a true and loyal and fascinating companion for me. 

I have a big library at home, or rather- used to have one, since a few months ago I decided that “a book unread is like a person unloved” -hence my decision to konmary my library, and give the library the books I will not read again, and the rest will be re-read- and then decided upon.

This decision implied also that I will not buy any new books until I finish re-reading my whole library.

I admit I did but Ruth Ozeki’s new book (couldn’t help it she is brilliant that woman) and another 2 but this is such a difference from my previous behavior that I forgive myself those minor setbacks.

So I survived the blaming face from the sales lady at the book store (“doesn’t she appreciate books this strange person”-no she didn’t say it out loud but she just as well might have) and got my voucher.

Now it’s time to make the best use of time. and life.

Carpe diem my friends- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

thank you pixels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flax- point! how I simplify my healthy eating with minimum cost!

*Before I start rambling on, need I remind you (again) that I am not a dietitian -registered or unregistered- I was a lawyer for many years until I decided to retire early, and live healthily ever after. 

That was meant to say- people- use your god given brain and check if what works (great) for me- will also work for you. my recommendations are -as far as I know- healthy, tasty, frugal, vegan, environmental and legal. that is a lot to be said about anything, let alone nutritious food. but- who knows- your body might not react well to I don’t know what because of- I have no idea why- so again- use your brain. I tend to believe it was put there for a reason. 

I have nothing good to say about fashionable superfoods in general.

I somehow believe all natural unprocessed food is “superfood”.

I believe there is absolutely no need to rush to the health store every time a new kind of grain is found, and personally live quite well without spirulina, goji berries, and many other examples.

Being a frugal shopper I believe that if I can’t get what I am looking for in my online supermarket- and have to go especially to the health store for it- then I don’t bother.

But- on the other hand – I put a lot of effort to eat healthy nutritious food.

Lately,  since I implemented intermittent fasting into my life, meaning on most days I don’t eat between noon and 7 am the next morning, my eating options have narrowed to eating only the best most nutritious food in every meal since I only eat breakfast, a midday snack, and lunch.

And another criteria is that it doesn’t cost a lot of $$$.

So, I found out what my own super-foods are, meaning what foods are nutritious, tasty, easy to prepare, and keep me feeling light and energetic feeling relatively full until the next day.

Flax seeds meet all the above criteria:

#1: flax seeds are super nutritious:

according to resources online, 1 tbsp contains 1.3 (!!!) grams of protein (listen, people, this is a lot for 1 tbsp), almost 2 grams of fiber (!) and 1600 mg of omega 3 fatty acids.

#2: flaxseeds are easy to incorporate in your daily diet:

*In the vegan world of cooking, flax seeds are used as egg substitutes- not in taste, of course, but in its ability to glue tie together ingredients. meaning in baking bread, buns, cakes, or sticking veggie burgers together.

*When grounded, and if kept in the freezer (!!!) in an airtight glass jar, flax seeds actually taste good in my opinion. a bit nutty. and somewhat sweet.

This is not to say you should devour spoonfuls on their own, but definitely feel free to add them to your granola, especially if you make it by yourself.

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I ground my flax seeds every week in my vitamix. can’t imagine my life without it, and this is no add since I get nothing from them.

*a pro tip on grounding flax in the Vitamix- ground only a cup of seeds every time. don’t overload the machine or it won’t ground the seeds well. flax seeds are much better-digested ground than plain and it takes a minute to ground so.

#3:flax seeds have a way to make you feel full through the day. probably all that fiber. don’t know.

#4: flax seeds are relatively not expensive. in my online supermarket, they cost 3$ for a pack of 500 grams of plain -not grounded seeds- that after grounding last for about a week for me.

*In the winter time- especially after running or swimming – I need a good warm nutritious breakfast. smoothies are not an option in the winter for me, so I “invented” an alternative: I make “apple stew”  with apples, prunes water and a bit of brown sugar. let it boil for 20 minutes or until quite soft but not too soft. for frugal beasts- close the gas after 15 min and leave with lid tightly on- to continue boiling in its own heat.

 

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I divide and pack this stew in glass containers, and at work I heat the stew for a few minutes, then add 2 tbsp ground flax seeds and 2 tbsp homemade granola, heat for another 30 seconds, the consistency thickens very much so unless you have a desire to dig into cement- add soy or almond or rice milk- or more liquid from the apple stew, and enjoy a very filling and nutritious meal!

Enjoy-the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How much should we teach our children about money?

Hi everyone. today- a subject I have been thinking quite a lot about. well -for years actually.

I have 3 kids- and I am not sure I did a good enough job with them on the financial subject.

when my 2 grown-ups were little, I didn’t let them in on every financial contemplation I had- mainly because I wasn’t frugal as I am now, and though I never enjoyed spending money, I also didn’t aspire towards early retirement. I am actually not really sure I had specific financial goals -until about 4 years ago when it became clear to me that I had to get going if I wish to get anywhere financially.

My youngest, on the other hand, turned to be very frugal and environmental, (maybe he didn’t just “turn out to be like that, I am fully aware of the impact I had on his way of thinking),

He is so concerned about financial issues, that one day, after hearing me contemplate whether or not to buy something, he asked me in concern if we have enough money to survive.

This was a wake-up call for me.

I thought children should not be excluded from financial issues, but I wasn’t going in the right direction here. he was 10 at the time. (now 14).

I sat down with him and explained that I believe in being frugal and therefore try to buy only necessary stuff -with deliberate pampering “splurges” from time to time. those deliberated “splurges” come after much contemplation too considering whether or not this splurge is the right thing to splurge on, how much value will I derive from it, and is it the best deal I can get on the splurge.

I explained that thinking about future goals and saving money in order to achieve those goals is something I believe in. and so I try to pay attention to the money I pay and cut down on unnecessary expenses.

I explained the basic income- expense thing, a little bit about investing, and then he got tired from all of it and went back to his computer.

So the question remained.

I believe children should be told the truth about many issues concerning grown-up lives:

When any one of my kids was having trouble at school- I shared my struggles -both in school and nowadays. didn’t lay it heavy on any of them, but I most certainly didn’t discard their troubles by saying something like- “it’s nothing’ get over it, you should be stronger”.

Life can be tough, and let’s face it- it doesn’t get easier, and I think letting your children think that you are an infallible saint isn’t going to help them confront troubles that occur in their life. it will only make them feel that there is something wrong with them- if their role model- their parent- never experienced issues like he or she is experiencing.

This leads me to financial education: I believe that once you establish a relationship with your kids that is based on being true and fallible -within age+comprehension limits of course- I wouldn’t let a 5-year-old in on major financial issues or failures) then you can gradually let them in on your financial thinking process.

My middle son is a YOLO advocate, no changing his mind, and believe me I tried. he is now 22, looking to find himself- and postponing going to university- “until he feels like it”.

I respect his way of thinking, although where I live university isn’t super expensive and you cannot land a decent job anywhere without a uni degree. this is his decision.

I did let him in o my financial thinking about his future- but put no pressure on him to go my way.

There is a fine line between educating your kids on financial matters- and scaring the hell out of them.

I thought maybe a more remote -academic approach should have been used, but the attention span of kids is ridiculously short, and financial issues tend to rise up generally when they want you to buy them something and you have to say no.

This exact moment- in my opinion- is not a good moment to start preaching your frugal theory. it will do one thing for sure- leave the room- either physically or if they are more polite- only their mind will drift away, and they will not be willing to listen- let alone understand and accept- your point of view.

In my experience- the best results in getting your kids attention- is to have these kinds of conversation when they -and you- are relaxed, no one is super tired and hungry, no one is on the phone, and there is some kind of reference to cling to.

I have no way to assure you your kids will see eye to eye with your financial thinking. as you can see- one of my kids most certainly does not. but the main thing is to find the right time to pitch the idea of smart financial conduct- with demonstrations from your own household if you wish- both failures- and successes- to implement the points.

would love to hear your take on this complicated issue.

the cooliflower.

 

p.s.thank you pixels for yet another on the spot photo for free!

Frugal tip- taking care of your stuff+easy homemade pizza recipe!

For years I treated my stuff as replaceable.

I didn’t take very good care of it because I thought- ok- if it breaks -I’ll buy another.

I was under the impression that stuff is there to serve me while it lasts, and since buying new is always a nice thing (or so I thought) and since I work very hard and raise 3 kids and take care of the house- I don’t have the time to spare /waste on stuff maintenance.

After minimising my stuff , and understanding the importance of frugality combined with mindful minimalism in the environmental aspect, I understood that I would have to change my attitude towards my stuff.

The first thing I did was start reading the instruction manuals/labels/tags carefully before operating or using any device.

In the past, I bought something, took a look at it, and started using it instinctively, thinking why waste time and effort on reading useless manuals .

Turns out there are a ton of important things you can learn from reading the tags.

For instance-here is my calphalon pan. below are the using instructions.

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20190122_145145.jpg 1. hand wash only.

2. for better cooking results- preheat the pan without any oil.

3. after cooking allow to cool before washing.

ok- truth is I would never have done instructions 2+3 hadn’t i read the label.

Another tip is to take a photo of the instructions-labels-warranty and mail it to my gmail -to keep under the products name.

I always keep the receipts, the only thing is I can never remember a year or two later, when the receipt is needed, where I put it….

Sure- you can keep a binder -I did that too- but this leads to heaps of papers -and wasted time looking for the specific receipt when needed. not with gmail/

And no- I don’t have any shares in gmail sadly.

here is another example: my pizza pan.

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(Getting nothing from anyone here -so just buy or not- none of my business.)

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I would never have saved this warranty tag before- but this is a lifetime warranty and why not take a quick photo and save it? and why not read the using instructions carefully before making the first pizza?

Another tip is to remember to clean your vacuum cleaner and fully recharge it after every use. can’t count the times I began vacuuming the house only to find out it stopped working and needs a 2 hour charge ..

Same goes with the IRobot– to keep it running smoothly- clean it thoroughly at least once a month and change the necessary parts every 6 months- it will hold for much longer.

Your washing machine? definitely needs a full check up once a month.

I clean the filter let it run empty with only citric acid to keep from suds building up and clogging it.

*Do your own research -I have no idea if my tips are good for your stuff too- I do know that the basic principle of learning how to take better care of your stuff- can save you a lot of money and replacing time.

*These are all examples- I can think of many more as I am writing this- like pouring baking soda and vinegar with hot water down my kitchen sink once a month, not pouring my coffee to my sink  unless I threw the coffee grains residue to the compost before (seriously- this is a sure way to clog your sink!) , washing my my wooden floors only with a damp cloth and never leaving water spots on it, changing my dish scrubs every week and so on. 

Before I wrap up- I need to  mention laundry regulations..

#1:The obvious thing is to seperate whites from colours.

#2: separate towels and bed linens from clothes.why? because linens are big and have a tendency to wrap a loving hug around all the other clothes you put in the laundry, and the hugged clothes don’t get much of the laundry cycle besides that hug, which to you is pretty irrelevant I should think.

#3: get a mesh bag for your socks. this will save you time and effort gathering those socks – especially the ones that decided that laundry time is their chance to escape their sock spouse. this will also prolong your machine’s life since instead of the beach in Thailand the escaped socks usually find their way to the machine insides or pipes.

#4: read those labels before putting your precious shirts to the laundry machine…

I admit I never buy garments that need dry cleaning- This is too much of a hassle for me and I’ve read the fumes from dry cleaning are quite an ecological hazard- I am not 100% sure about that but since it is so easy to find great substitutes that are glad to be washed either by hand or in the laundry machine, why bother?

I believe I made my point.

Check your stuff for use and care instructions, take good care of it and save yourself a lot of time and money- all the while minimizing your carbon footprint . yay on all counts.

Now it’s time to learn how to make this great pizza at home.

The dough is from “food network”- here is the link- just click.  great pizza dough

By the way when he writes “dry yeast 1 envelope” I am using 1 tbsp of dry yeast .turns great indeed.

For the sauce- 1 canned tomatoes, tomato paste -small , 1/4 cup water, salt, pepper, a little sugar to contradict the acidity of the tomatoes, heat and stir for 10 minutes on low, add basil or oregano if you like, don’t (add) if you don’t (like), taste and cool a bit. this can freeze well too.

Since my household prefers thin based pizza, I had to learn how to stretch that dough to the maximum- I started with a rolling pin and that didn’t do the job one bit. so I started using my hands, and managed to get the dough to top the pan then quickly put the sauce on top.

Now here you have to be careful- since in my experience- thin dough+regular amount of rich sauce =disaster.

But: thin dough +thin layer of rich sauce=success.

Plus- don’t let the sauce wait on the pizza for too long before entering the oven-in my experience- the sauce tends to wet the thinly stretched dough- you don’t want to go there believe me.

About the cheese– well honestly I mixed the cheese I had in the freezer, (not cheap yet not mozzarella) but in my experience the trick is  to top all the leftovers with good mozzarella- it looks and tastes great -so my household members say. (about the looks you can judge for yourselves:)

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By the way- the picture above is one of my pizza’s as well

About toppings- go for it and use what you got- sweet potatoes, olives, whatever.

I always double the quantities, and use 1 kilo of flour -2 tbsp dry yeast and double the rest. it makes 6 medium sized pizzas and I slice and freeze them to be eaten in the next two weeks.

why slice?

Because sometimes my partner/son only want a slice (rarely but happens) and this way they can pop a slice out of the freezer and in the oven for a few minutes- and bam- yummy (or so they tell me) pizza at home for a fraction of the cost.

Really- fraction of the cost.

Try for yourselves.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to truly Simplify meal prepping

From time to time I glimpse at meal prepping videos on youtube , and 3 things never cease to amaze  me:

#1: meal prepping for 4-5 days- using the same food.

For example- a pot of rice , a pot of beans,nuts, fruit and greens, are used in different combinations for lunch throughout 4-5 days.

Am I the only one that gets bored so easily?

Sorry people- can’t have the same kind of food day .after day.after day. after day.

Even if it is combined differently.

#2: the food is supposed to last in top condition though stored combined with other food, and contain ingredients that -even on their own- are not super resilient for 5 days in the fridge. 

Did any of you actually try to eat beans or chickpeas after  they were 5 days in the refrigerator??no. way.

How are you expected to eat greens that were sliced 5 days ago, and spent those days next to anything that is even remotely damp?

And buns-bread- focaccia- whatever -does it go stale and tasteless after 5 days only in my fridge?

#3: How are you supposed to heat your lunch when your container is combined with ingredients that are not supposed to be heated? 

Are you supposed to eat cold lunches all the time? by the way the same question is relevant to meals in jars- could never understand that concept. if you add quinoa to greens and something that even remotely resembles a gravy or a sauce- in my experience the next day- you will have a very interesting jar of porridge. and a cold one too, since you are not supposed to heat the greens and the sauce.

In my experience, especially after starting intermittent fasting a few weeks ago, eating the same  cold lunch for 5 days, as my main meal of the day- is going to make me feel super deprived and totally miserable.

No. way.

I love food. I love eating. I love thinking what I will eat on my next meal. I will not stick to any plan that will make me feel deprived.

So?

So simplify your meal prepping by batch cooking +freezing+labeling.

So simple. 3 steps only.

#1: batch cooking:

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yeah tham homemade buns freeze really well!
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bean stew. freezes well too

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baked sweet potatoes and apples (?!?!)

#2: freeze em:

 

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#3: defrost and assemble any combination you like from the variety you have in your freezer. 

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half&half: sweet potato&banana cream soup-with mujadara

 

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vegetable soup with brown rice
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salad with baked spicy chickpeas
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lentil soup with mejadra

Pack your lunch in different glass containers, cut your salad fresh at work- and add heated legumes on the side.

Think about it- this way the number of combinations is endless! green salad, vegetable salad, soups, stews, different kinds of grains, all kinds of legumes- each time you batch cook one of these -freeze and label separately -in  small quantities so you can mix and match later as desired.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

Simplify it: Organizing my online groceries- part 3

Before we begin- In case you wonder where and when happened parts 1+2 – I am more than happy to oblige: here it is: explaining my 3 weekly online grocery shopping, saving time and money .My online grocery shopping: saving money+big time!(and my quick bean stew recipe for no fresh produce situations)

Organizing your online groceries: preparing ahead and simplifying your cooking!(the sequel)

Ok- now that the mystery is solved, we can relax and wonder why parts 1+2 weren’t enough  to get the concept of buying food. what’s the big deal, you might be asking yourselves.

well- the deal is big. it is very big.

Getting the groceries in a frugal and efficient way and making sure you waste almost no food before you get fresh groceries- is great. it is.

but making sure you enjoy the fresh produce that had just arrived, so you waste 0 money, waste 0 time (ordering then throwing away?? what’s the point? surely you can do something better with your time) and most importantly- prompt yourself and your family members- to eat healthier.

#1: I know for a fact, that when fruits are displayed in my house, they don’t need excess prompting to be eaten, as opposed to fruit hiding somewhere.

I am aware this is not a valid option for summer days -but a few fruits can always be displayed in a bowl where everybody can just reach and enjoy.

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tomatoes are considered fruit FYI

#2: what about those vegetables? 

I know many times my groceries included all kinds of pretentious vegetables that ended in the compost bin after 2 weeks of being sadly neglected.

This is not only a money waster but also -in my case- made me develop an aversion to those poor vegetables – I constantly felt that they were staring at me from their exile in the fridge, thinking I am not worth their effort.

so -my tip is don’t make any plans the day your groceries arrive, and start dealing with them aspirational veggies you ordered – right. now.

for instance- I used to read all about the benefits of pickled veggies, and decide I am going to incorporate them pickled whatever in my diet the minute the groceries arrive. buy a big batch of beets, and turnips, and such, and time just went by and so did my aspirations.

If I take the time and prepare the pickled veggies on the same day they arrive- check on the quality of your pickles, check on the no waste, and check on the no guilt feelings towards them turnips.

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carrots- definitely underrated.

grated them in seconds in my Braun hand blender, added grapefruit juice (I have a grapefruit tree- not wasting that great juice) and dried cranberries.

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0nions- why not?

Pretty+ makes you want to cook.

#3: don’t be shy to display your beans. 

jarsyes it does take some time to get them in the jars but besides it being a feast for the eyes- this increases the chance of you making lentil stew by 79%! and the chances of you making bean burgers by 66%!

20181216_192213.jpg#4: buy minimum condiments- and store them in an airtight jar.

I get that people are taught that in order to cook favorable food you need to have a cabinet -even two- of very exotic condiments.

sorry – in my experience, this is totally untrue,

the fewer condiments you have- in my experience- the greater the chance that you will enjoy using them.

I think people are generally creatures of habit. sure you can go wild from time to time and experiment- but there are so many flavors to experiment with freshly ground black pepper and regular salt+adding paprika- or turmeric, or Morrocan mixed herbs- or soy sauce -vinegar, regular or rice vinegar, olive oil, coconut oil? lemon?curry paste? agave syrup? ginger? the possibilities with basic regular condiments are endless.

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Just don’t hide the condiments in a distant drawer out of laziness- or the chances of you making that spicy whatever- will decrease by 98%.present them proudly in tight jars and enjoy them.

speaking of which: ginger- increase the chances of you using it by cleaning -cutting -and freezing it the day it arrives.

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Any more tips?

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

Organizing your online groceries: preparing ahead and simplifying your cooking!(the sequel)

I buy my groceries online- once every 3 weeks. (with the exception of fresh soy milk and  we get at our local grocery shop ).here is a reminder of the previous episode of “conquering the art of online grocery shopping “: My online grocery shopping: saving money+big time!(and my quick bean stew recipe for no fresh produce situations)

Doing major grocery shopping efficiently is not an easy task, and needs a lot of preparation- bothwhile getting the delivery- and afterward. 

But-

Once you’ve mastered this – you get to enjoy the massive time+money saving skills you acquired, plus you raise your cooking skills+your healthy eating habits- to a higher level- simply because suddenly everything you need is visible and reachable.

*I know this preparing ahead is a pain in the ***. I am a full-time working mother of 3 (ok 2 are now grown up but I remember the days I had to manage to feed and take care of a 5 person household).  

But- at the end of the day- let alone at the end of the month- these tips are huge time savers, and the time and money you save because you are eating healthier- well it’s a triple win situation.

let’s get to part 2:( part one is getting the groceries online, as described so vividly in the previous post I linked above)

Preparing a few days before online groceries arrive:

#1: going through your fridge: emptying fruit and vegetable cabinets!

Got some leftover tomatoes? peppers?

Read here how to avoid this situation.

My zero food waste tips: part 1: vegetables.

My zero food waste tips-part 2: fruit

But- if you still have some veggies hidden in the corner of your vegetable drawer, this is the time to be creative!

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option #1: stuffed peppers: the stuffing: kinoa+bulgur. the sauce: tomato sauce with slow cooker all-night beans I just made

#2: going through your freezer- taking out long timers to see some sunshine!

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“breadsticks” -had some pieces of 2 months old whole wheat bread that was no longer appealing. cut them to stripes, mixed in a bowl with olive oil, dried oregano, salt and pepper- and while baking focaccia in the oven- these went in as well.

*Yes saving electricity as well. (READ HERE MORE TIPS ON THAT- ALWAYS USEFUL TO BE MINDFUL).

How I reduced 25% of my electricity and gas bills ( 5 tips and another V for enVironmentalism)

#3: going through my pantry- (wow I forgot I had that pasta!)

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an innovative way to use the above-forgotten pasta

Even the dry products in the pantry need some TLC.

Clearing and cleaning the fridge and freezer a few days ahead is important because:

  1. it makes room for the products you ordered-makes much more sense than standing in front of a full fridge and trying to manipulate the new products in.
  2. so much more environmental to use what you already have first…believe me 3 weeks is enough time for me to forget the treasures I have stacked in my fridge, let alone the freezer…(by the way the stuffed peppers you saw above- were filled with frozen quinoa and surrounded by tomato and bean sauce- matched together simply because I didn’t have enough space in the freezer for all the beans I cooked…turned out marvelous!)
  3. knowing what you already have at home- saves you a lot of precious money! one of the clear benefits of online grocery shopping is the ability to add and remove products from your list until the last minute. believe me, I change my list every 2-3 days- when I think of a new recipe , when I check the fridge and find my nooch is gone, when I find out walnuts are on 35% sale, or when I find a hidden treasure of oats in my pantry.
  4. Clearly, it is so much healthier to revisit your food items and check for unwanted visitors like ants and such. (dried dates attract ants in the summer like crazy! do yourself a big favor and keep them in the fridge during the hot months!)
  5. obviously, a clean and tidy fridge-freezer-pantry are nicer to use and to look at as a general rule of living. thus more appealing to look for new healthy meals to prepare!

#4: check your cabinets for empty jars :

No use standing in front of 200 grams of paprika and having nowhere to store it. (Just a random example I came up with).

Hope you enjoyed- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

Preparing for early retirement: last month at work

So,  early retirement is getting closer and closer.

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If nothing changes- my due date is at the end of this (short) month- February 28.

Being a walking irony that I am, the minute I wrote a mail to everyone at work announcing my retirement and inviting them to a modest toast on the 28th, someone at work told me he had heard that in 3-4 months a retirement plan is going to be published.

Now if this is true, this can potentially mean a lot of money I, of course, will not receive since my date is at the end of this month.

At first, I admit I got angry. then I got anxious, then I sat down and thought about it.

This is a lot of money we are talking about.

Should I try to postpone my retirement?

This rumor can be true- and it can be false too.

In the past two years, every 3-4 months a rumor similar to this one starts spreading among workers.

This could very possibly mean I would try to postpone my retirement in hope for a retirement plan to come along- and just sit there waiting for a year and maybe even more.

Of course, there is also the possibility that this rumor is absolutely true- which would definitely qualify me to be the next Alanis Morissette.

I have reached the point at work, where I simply cannot go on anymore.

I mean- if I had no choice, of course, I would go on, but working over 27  years in the same job- well that is a lot of time doing the same thing.

I have reached a point where I am so burned out, that my mind wonders everywhere but to the job I have to do- and this is not good. at all.

I am also very distracted all around, focus only on myself and my situation at work, I am anxious and snappy at home- and of course at work, and to put it mildly- this can’t go on any longer.

I decided that I am not going to change my plans due to this rumor.

Early retirement is a well thought about decision I made a few years ago, knowing fully well that I needed to frugalise my habits since my income will downsize to 60% of my current income.

I learned to be frugal, saved money, and although I have no specific plans for my retirement- I can’t wait for it.

I know that the common understanding is that early retirement should not be used to escape a job you dislike, and you should learn to deal with your situation until you conquer it.

And yet this is exactly what I am doing.

Another mistake I am making according to common knowledge is retiring with no plans. this- according to many people- is bound to drive me nuts.

While I totally respect that, and it might also be true; I simply cannot bring myself to make specific plans right now.

Mind you I am a very planned ahead person, I make lists all the time, I love having structure in my life and I am not scared of chores.

And yet- no plans.

I mean- I know I want to grow vegetables  in my garden; and I am seed growing for a few weeks now:

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And since I cook from scratch and clean all scratches- plus my exercise routine- and tending to the garden – not only the vegetables but all of it (I have a small house but quite a large garden – this will be time-consuming. And let’s not forget my beloved blog!

I am an introvert, and being alone has never bothered me- au contraire, and while I am not forgetting the possible void when leaving a management position after many years, I have been thinking about this ego downsizing a lot, read here:Early retirement Jitters-dealing with my ego.

I am spending a lot of time thinking about not being a big shot at work anymore, not getting a lot of urgent calls that need my immediate attention, not being needed at all,

This is not easy for me, certainly after almost all of my adult life after university, I spent at a job where I was always needed and busy.

But I am tired now, and cannot go on giving the way I used to.

It is definitely the time to retire early.

even without plans.

One thing I spent a lot of time contemplating was my cell phone.

I got my cell phone from work- including a plan, and now I need to return my phone -or buy it for 320$, and find a new plan.

So I started looking online. and found myself another phone.

A cheaper one, that has all I need- and is highly recommended for its price.

The cheaper phone is perfectly fine for my needs- I  don’t play games on the phone, I don’t write my posts or anything else for that matter on my phone, and I only need it for basic communication with a few close people, and to listen to music on Spotify while I run or work in the garden.

I also need to take good photos for this blog- but no selfies. I don’t like taking pictures of myself. at all.

So after a lot of searching, I decided on the xiaomi redmi note 6, and this is no advertisement since I haven’t bought it yet- and I get nothing from any company concerning this phone- or anything else.

This phone is going to cost me 227 $ including a 2-year warranty. I am taking the 32 GB and not the 64 GB since I looked online and the word was that only heavy users and gamers have an actual use for that 64 GB and regular users can do fine with only 32 GB.

I also looked for a cheap cell plan and found one that costs 5.5 $ a month and gives 10 Giga of use and free interstate talking minutes.

Since my use is limited as I told you, and I have no love for talking on the phone, this should be enough.

Just to be safe I looked on my phone to see how many Giga I use currently so I have a benchmark- and found out I only use 3 Gb a month so 10 should be more than enough.

The last issue concerning my phone and the one that I hesitated about the most, was my phone number.

I have had the same phone number for a very long time. and my phone is 95% work related.

I sat down and went over my contact list, and hand-picked the few people I would like to keep in touch with after I retire. and the people I need to stay in touch with- plumbing, bank, doctor, etc. I don’t think the list holds more than 40 numbers. mind you I have hundreds currently on my phone.

So after a lot of thinking- I decided to change my phone number, and only notify the people who were on that hand-picked list.

This seems like a small and insignificant decision- but if you think about it – it’s like starting a new life completely.

I wonder how it will go.

3 weeks till retirement day.

wow.

enjoy- the cooliflower.

p.s thanks again pixels for a mood capturing photo.