My strong son has a friend in the Marines. His mother once told me that though he had struggled in elementary and high school with ADHD, in Marine Corps Basic Training he had overcome his tendency to be distracted. She used as an example that in Basic he was not allowed to touch his face, and that it had become so ingrained that he no longer touched his face in public.
I kept wondering about why touching your face would be part of Basic Training. What I eventually decided was that it must have to do with the potential of being in a chemical or biological warfare attack. If you make it a habit never to touch your face, you eliminate getting dangerous substances into your eyes, nose or mouth where they gain entrance to the rest of your body.
In this age of Ebola and Enterovirus, I need to stop rubbing my eyes. It is a gateway. If the Marines can teach hyperactive young men to keep their hands off their faces, surely I can stop rubbing my eyes. If you pick your nose - stop. If you chew your fingernails - stop.
I am a tactile learner. (I you are not familiar with learning styles, it is well worth the time to research them, especially if you have children in school.) A tactile learner learns through their fingers. That means taking notes, doodling, tapping. My husband and I have some of our best conversations when I am washing dishes. The computer keyboard becomes an extension of my brain.
The downside of being tactile is that it is nearly impossible for me to learn if I am completely still. Long ago - when I was a teenager - I developed a habit of picking at my cuticles. It helped me pay attention when I didn't have a pencil and a piece of paper. I once joked that I knew the pastor had preached a really good sermon, if I came out of church with a mutilated cuticles.
I must break this habit. Cuts on my hands are another gateway. Other people who cough or sneeze or bite their nails are touching things all around me - door knobs, handrails, toilet flushers, menus, credit card machines... God provides enormous protection through our somewhat impermeable skin. But a paper cut or a torn cuticle is another gateway.
I was in a meeting yesterday and the topic was fascinating. I caught myself tugging at a cuticle. In this age of Ebola, I must stop this habit!
I said two things in the title of this blog, but here is a bonus. I went to fill my water bottles at the water machine yesterday. Our Hill Country water tastes delicious, but they add fluoride, so I buy water at a reverse osmosis machine. It was the end of a busy day, when I pulled up next to the machine. As I was getting my bottles out of the car, a man with a five gallon bottle jumped ahead and started filling his bottle. He didn't exactly cut in line, but I was tired and it made me irritable. I continued unloading bottles.
The man laughed - "Ha Ha Ha, did I get in front of you? Ha Ha Ha I thought you gave me a dirty look. Ha Ha Ha!" There was a shopping cart nearby, so I put my four 2-gallon bottles in the cart and waited for his bottle to fill. He walked over to my cart and said, "Ha Ha Ha, you have a lot of bottles there." Then he touched each of my bottles and counted them.
I had had enough. I said, "Don't touch my stuff! In this age of Ebola, keep your hands to yourself." He apologized, put the lid on his bottle, and left.
In a public place, keep your hands to yourself. Mind your own business. This winter you won't know who has Ebola, Enterovirus, or just an annoying cold. And they won't know whether you are infected and passing an unwelcome germ to them.
Pesto and Venetian Seafood are this week's recipes in the Picky eater challenge.
Our Strong Son came home for a day of football with his Dad. As I was fixing lunch, I asked if he had ever had pesto. He said, "I love pesto." How is it that my son already loves something I had never tasted until Wednesday?
I went to my book club on Wednesday. Among the snacks that our hostess served were deviled eggs. I bit into one expecting the traditional hot mustard flavor, but this was entirely different. I could taste garlic and lemon. I asked, and she said she had made the deviled eggs with pesto. All of the other women were enjoying the eggs as much as I was, so we convinced her to share the recipe - and I'll now share it with you.
Pesto for deviled eggs
1 large clove garlic minced
1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 1/2 cups fresh basil
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
How to make Pesto:
In a food processor pulse the garlic, spinach, basil, nuts, and 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add Parmesan, lemon juice and pulse until well combined.
With the motor running, pour the remaining olive oil and process until you get a smooth pesto.
The pesto recipe makes a lot and you only need a little for
Pesto deviled eggs
6 hard boiled eggs
2-3 tsp Pesto
3 Tbsp Mayonnaise
½ tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp lemon zest
How to make Pesto Deviled Eggs:
Cut the eggs in half and remove the yolks. In a small bowl combine the yolks with all of the other ingredients. Mash until smooth. Put the yolk mixture back into the egg whites.
As much as I loved these eggs, I did not think this could count as my recipe for the Picky Eater Recipe Challenge. My Honorable Husband does not eat deviled eggs, and the challenge is to find new foods for HH and SIL. I was curious to know more about pesto, so when I got home I looked it up on the computer, where I learned that it's not just for eggs, it's for pasta and toast and chicken and fish. I decided to make Pesto Cod.
However, in the process of looking up Pesto, another Mediterranean recipe caught my eye. It was called Venetian Scallops. I decided to do a few Venetian Shrimp to go along with the Pesto Cod.
10 - 20 Scallops and/or shrimp,
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. garlic minced
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
How to make Venetian Seafood
Heat oil in a pan. Add seafood and cook 1 1/2 minutes per side. (Do not move them in the pan until it's time to flip them)
Once scallops or shrimp are cooked, remove from pan and turn off heat.
In the same pan with the heat turned off, add garlic, parsley, and lemon juice. Scrape up any left over bits from cooking the fish. Turn the heat back on and bring to a simmer for a few seconds.
Arrange scallops or shrimp on a plate and spoon a little pan sauce over each one.
Our lunch menu was Pesto Cod, Venetian Shrimp, Saag Mushroom, rice, and roasted vegetables (carrots, zucchini and onion)
I got rave reviews from both SS and HH. SS said that normally he preferred red fish to white fish, buying salmon, trout, or tuna over cod or tilapia. He said the pesto made a huge difference in the cod, and moved it officially into his like list. The shrimp were second place.
The shrimp really were very good. It's just that the Pesto Cod was incredibly outstanding.
My husband’s mother is in her 90s. I have blogged before about her osteoporosis and blood pressure issues. When she goes to the hospital, they always take her to Baylor in Dallas. However, three weeks ago, when she had symptoms that appeared to be a stroke, they took her to Presbyterian Hospital. So she was there when Thomas Duncan came to the emergency room and was turned away. She was still there when he came again and was admitted.
When we read about the five children who might have been exposed and the five schools they attended; we were concerned about a teacher friend who works in an inner city Dallas school. When the names of the schools were released, the friend’s school was not named. However a school my husband attended, which is two blocks from his mother’s house was on the list.
I read another article about Thomas Duncan’s fiance, and learned that she attends the church where my husband was baptized. That church is helping the quarantined family members.
OK - Ebola may be distant from you, but it is feeling pretty close to me. I told this story to a group of friends at lunch, and saw them began to move away from me, until I said that we had not been to Dallas to see HH’s mom and no one from Dallas had come to visit us. The ladies relaxed and began to breathe again.
With all the conflicting news about how easily the virus spreads, I have been thinking about how I need to be proactive for my family. I don’t give much credence to government sources that say everything is under control. But I also don’t believe the conspiracy theorists who predict eminent disaster. I’m mostly interested in reports from people who have been in Liberia, or who have experience fighting epidemics.
One expert recommended getting a flu shot. He said that if you show up at an emergency room with fever and achiness, you don’t want triage routing you to an Ebola observation room if all you have is the flu. He made a good point, and I got a flu shot - the first I’ve had since I stopped teaching school.
A Washington Post reporter who spent several weeks in Liberia said that hospitals, hotels, and public buildings have containers of Clorox water at the doors. Before entering, you rinse your hands and arms in Clorox water. You also step into a trough to rinse your shoes in Clorox water. I bought some extra Clorox and stored it in the garage.
The same reporter said that people who have first aid gloves wear them. People who don’t have gloves tie plastic bags over their hands. Some experts say the Ebola virus can live for two hours on a hard surface, other experts say it can live for two weeks. I had a half box of first aid gloves already, but I bought more.
Homeland Security recommends keeping food and water for at least 72 hours. I always intend to keep more than that, but frankly some of our food and water had been used. The Ebola quarantine period is 21 days. If there was an outbreak in our community, and shop employees stayed home to protect themselves, it might be hard to find food for sale. I restocked my nonperishable food.
I read through the Blood Type Diet anti virus protocols. Unfortunately there is not much overlap between what is beneficial for Type Os and what is beneficial for Type As. I need to add a few of those supplements to my list.
I’m not a fearful person, and I have no intention of becoming one now. However, Ebola has already hit pretty close to my family. I want to be proactive and prepared.
When DD met SIL, he was in training for bicycle racing. After two years of marriage, what she has learned is that when he is training he eats healthy, but when he is not training, he prefers fried chicken and pizza. She has also learned that because he grew up in a family with five children, there were no leftovers. He is of the opinion that eating leftovers is somehow bad.
In many ways DD's husband is very much like her Daddy. HH talks about eating healthy, but when left to his own, he eats bread and chips. While he cheerfully eats leftovers, I've learned that after I use a recipe a few times, he is tired of it, and wants something new.
A friend of mine shared a recipe for gluten free pizza. The crust was made of eggs and mozzarella cheese, no grain at all. I sent it to DD as a joke, saying that she should try it for SIL. One thing led to another, and we have challenged each other to find healthy recipes for our picky eaters. Here are the rules. One week I find a recipe and we both make it. The next week she finds the recipe.
The recipes cannot be time consuming to prepare. She has a baby, and I have a company to run. Neither of us can spend hours in the kitchen.
The recipes need to be relatively good for both Type As and Type Os. SIL needs to eat less wheat and cheddar cheese. HH needs to watch his carbs to keep his blood sugar down. He also needs flavor or he adds lots of black pepper, which is not good for him.
We are going to try to avoid avoids, making substitutions where it's possible. But we are not going to reject a recipe that nudges our husbands toward healthy eating if an avoid is present in small amounts.
We have to be able to prepare small quantities so leftovers are limited.
The pizza was a huge hit. I was surprised at how much like deep dish pizza this grain free recipe tasted. It was fast and easy. All of us loved it.
Gluten Free Pizza
3 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
Boars Head turkey pepperoni
Pizza sauce, tomato sauce or Marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray 8x8 pan with cooking spray.
Mix eggs, cheese, and spices. Pour in pan and bake 15 minutes.
Take the pizza out of the oven. Top with sauce, pepperoni, and any other toppings
Bake 10 minutes more.
Then it was DD's turn. She found
Quinoa Enchilada Casserole (this is how I adjusted the recipe to be more in line with the BTD)
1 cup quinoa
1 jar mild enchilada or taco sauce
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles, drained
2 cups chopped chicken
1 cup canned black beans, drained
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro or 1 tsp dry cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese,
Cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine quinoa, chicken, enchilada sauce, Rotel, black beans, cilantro, and cumin.
Spread quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with cheese
Bake until bubbly and cheese has melted, about 15 minutes.
Serve immediately, garnished with avocado and tomato, if desired.
HH and I both loved this recipe. I used to make traditional chicken enchilada casserole before the BTD. The old recipe had so many avoids, and I couldn't think of enough substitutes. This has a similar texture and a similar taste, but the ingredients are much healthier and the result is definitely lighter and less greasy.
Next week it's my turn again. I'm going to see what I can find in the BTD Recipe Center.
It must have been a year ago that I read an article about research that showed people who sat for longer lengths of time died earlier. The researchers emphasized that they weren't studying a sedentary lifestyle, they were studying length of time sitting. So someone who exercised faithfully for one hour a day and spent the rest of the day at a desk job might sit longer than a store clerk who came from work, watched TV and never exercised.
I saved the article, thinking it a curious fact that might make an interesting blog. I was concerned that I spent way too much time sitting at the computer, but I seemed helpless to change my own behavior. Photo editing can’t be done standing up!
About six months ago I read another article about the same subject. This researcher delved a little deeper into why the statistics showed sitting was a statistical predictor of early death. He proposed things like - people who sat a lot tended to snack on unhealthy food - vending machine snacks at the office, large sodas in the car, ice cream and chips in front of the television. Or sitting could effect circulation to legs and feet. Again I saved the article, but again I never wrote the blog, or acted on the advice.
Then I developed two mild symptoms. They came on a couple of months apart so I wasn't sure whether they were related. One of the symptoms was abdominal pain on my left side - not severe, but nagging. If you look up abdominal pain, all of the scary stuff is on the right side. I am pretty self aware, and I’m not afraid to experiment with myself. I tried different supplements, switching out some neutral foods, changed up my exercise. The pain did not respond to any of those variations. There were only two things I noticed with any consistency - the pain moved around and (I bet you see this coming) it was worse on days when I did a lot of sitting. In fact on days when I walked around all day with 20 pounds of camera equipment on my back, I didn’t hurt at all.
Eventually I went to the doctor. He said the abdominal pain was muscular skeletal. So I called my Strong Son the Physical Therapist. He stretched me out on the sofa, checked me over, and said that he is certain I have a slightly bulging disk at L1 or L2. None of the tests he did indicated a severe bulge, but the location of the pain is consistent for the nerves that come out of L 1 and 2.
He says that when I sit and bend over to work on the computer I increase the pressure on the nerve. When I arch my back, it reverses the bulge and relieves the pain. He gave me two exercises to do, and I am getting better.
But I know what I really need to do. I need to get up from the computer more often, and stop sitting for long periods of time. Precisely what the article said a year ago. If you are sitting too much, don’t wait, like I did, for something uncomfortable to develop. Get up and get moving.