Monthly Archives: March 2014

“The world is a book and those who don’t travel realy only one page.” ~St. Augustine~

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“Isn’t it mysterious to begin a new journal like this? I can run my fingers through the fresh clean pages but I cannot guess what the writing on them will be.”
~Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy in Spite of Herself~

I’m ECSTATIC this week to blog about me and Jerry’s new food journal that he gave me as an early birthday present!  For the longest time, Jerry and I have talked about keeping a journal regarding the adventures we take since we love going on road trips and trying out different foods that each city has to offer.  Throughout the years, we’ve gone to some really cool places; however, we never wrote down where we went.  As you know, as you get older, your memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be, so we were finding ourselves having those little “arguments” trying to recall the names of the restaurants we’ve been to along with where exactly it was located.  After many of these wonderful “arguments”, I decided to be proactive and began to search for food journals but not one where a person keeps track of what he or she eats daily but rather a food journal of restaurants that me and Jerry have visited.  Much to my dismay and frustration, I could not find a journal that had what we wanted.  Finally after some time of searching, I went on Etsy and found a lady that made journals from vintage books.  The really cool thing about her was that she customized journals from the type of book we wanted along with sections of areas we wanted to visit but the best thing about her was that all proceeds go to her teaching other people how to up-cycle and rebind old books  After showing Jerry the work she did, he was pretty impressed with her especially since he was very skeptical about it at first especially the price of the journal.  Since I told Jerry that this is what I wanted for my birthday, he decided to go ahead and work with the lady to come up with a design for our journal.  After a couple of weeks, we got our journal and I can honestly say that I’m absolutely in love with it!  The journal is made from The Travels of Marco Polo, and it contains five sections consisting of USA, Great Britain, Italy, Vietnam, and Food for Thought which will be used as a reference of future restaurants we want to visit.  Each section is divided by maps of the countries we selected.  Our dream and goal is to be able to visit these countries together since one of us has been to all of the places.  We love to travel but have never been able to share that experience of going abroad together, so I think it’s really cool that we have a journal that can be a visual reminder of us to work hard towards that goal.

This week we will be going to Dallas, so we will be able to use our food journal for the first time!  People may think of us as odd for keeping a food journal, but we are a couple that LOVES food and not just any type of foods.  We love going to unique ones where people get the ingredients from the local farmers and small mom and pop restaurants where the food is an outpouring of their love.  I definitely know Jerry is really excited about the trip because he has planned out all the eateries we will be going to and has not given me any hints on where we are going.  I tell my family and friends that he’s like a kid in the candy store because every single day for the past couple of weeks, I constantly hear him say, “Ooooooh!!  I’m so excited about our trip and I bet you just have NO idea where I’m taking you!  You’re just going to absolutely love them all!”  For some people, this maybe annoying but for me it brings a smile to my face because I can definitely say that we never have a dull day in our household.  Even though this will be a fun trip full of surprises, I still have to keep track and not forget that I’m trying to lose weight especially since I’m 4 pounds away from losing 10% of my weight.  That may not sound a lot, but it’s the first big milestone I will have hit for Weight Watchers.  My plan of attack is to enjoy the foods I eat but not to go all ravenous on the foods.  I plan on portioning things out and eating my 5 serving of fruits and vegetables throughout the day.  Will it be hard?  Yes!  I just have to keep in mind that making smarter food choices will outweigh the benefits of me stuffing my face and feeling like a comatose.  The nice thing about not being on a diet is that I don’t have restrictions on food.  I can eat whatever I want but I just have to plan it and portion it out.  Needless to say, I’m really excited about the beginnings of writing in the journal and building memories that Jerry and I can look back on several years from now, and I want to make sure that those are good memories and not ones filled with looking back and regretting that I stuffed my face to the point of being a glutton for punishment.

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“We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” ~Alfred E. Newman~

This quote can either cause someone who is reading this to either think I’m crazy or a genius, and I can honestly say that I understand both sides since I have been on both of the sides of the spectrum when it comes to processed foods.  I grew up in a household where we did not have a lot of money, so eating fresh fruits and vegetables were not always an option for my family and eating processed foods was cheaper and quite honestly faster to make.  Don’t get me wrong, my mom was not the one who spent most of the grocery money on junk food.  If anything she tried her hardest to incorporate healthier eating especially as I got older since my weight started going on a downward spiral.  When I think about it now, not only was I a minority growing up in Florida but I was also an OBESE Asian which in many ways is like an oxymoron.  You see, in the Vietnamese culture, the skinnier you are the healthier you are and most men prefer a woman who has very little meat on her.  I was definitely the atypical Asian because I was far from being skinny and had a diet that probably was not the healthiest especially since Vietnamese diets mainly consist of fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry, and fish.

Throughout the years, I always thought that Oreos, Kraft mac and cheese, and Sloppy Joe’s were normal foods that were okay to eat.  I never really thought about whether those types of foods were healthy or not since I grew up eating it.  It wasn’t until I got into college that my thinking on processed foods began to change.  My very close high school friend who I still talk to now began to educate me about the dangers of processed foods.  If you knew this friend of mine, they had the “typical” diet of Americans such as pizza,cookies, and ice cream, so much to my delight, it was always fun hanging out with her since I knew that she would always have some delicious junk food waiting for me to devour! 😉  Anyways, her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer and to make a long story short, they decided to take an alternative route to treat the breast cancer.  They went to a biochemist who began to educate them that what you put in your body truly affects your health, so the junk foods that were a consistent part of their diet was taking a toll on her mom and that their eating habits had to change if they wanted her mother to get better.  Not only was she encouraging her mom to change her diet but also the family and that is what they did.  They went from buying Little Debbies to buying organic fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish, and they CUT out ALL processed foods!  After several months of clean and organic eating, her mother was no longer diagnosed with breast cancer.  Throughout the whole time my friend was going through this, I began to evaluate my eating habits and started researching the dangers of processed foods.  I started to cut back on processed foods and began to buy foods that were grown from nature.  I won’t get into a lot of details, but if you think about it, it just makes sense to eat wholesome, fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables that contain very few ingredients instead of sugar laden, chemically altered processed foods that contains so many ingredients that it ends up taking up most of the package.  To make it worst, it’s impossible to read most of the ingredients because it looks like it came from a foreign language! To me, I want to be able to read and understand what I’m about to put in my mind.

Even though it’s been several years that my view began to change about my diet and trying to incorporate healthier food options and staying away from processed foods, it’ still not an easy thing to do.  When I look back on the periods of my life when I began to pack on the pounds which have been at least 3-4 times, I noticed that my diet changed drastically!  When I was at my heaviest, my diet consisted of fast foods, processed foods, and practically no fruits and vegetables.  I always found myself feeling tired and having a hard time focusing on tasks soon after eating a huge meal that consisted of burger, fries, and soda.  It wouldn’t be long before I began to get hungry again, so I felt as though I was constantly eating but never feeling satisfied.  When I was at my smallest, my diet changed completely.  It went from eating processed foods to eating tons of fruits, vegetables, and poultry.  I found that my energy level was higher and that I was full longer.  My overall health and well being was amazing.  Now one would think that feeling that way would have prevented me from  gaining weight; however, as we all know, life tends to bring about changes and sometimes they end up being more stressful and busier than one anticipates it to be.  I found myself getting back to my old habits of eating unhealthy because it was faster and convenient; however, the tradeoff was not worth it because I ended up gaining the weight back.  My goal this time is to try to be more conscious of what I buy and taking the time to read the ingredients of packages.  Not only am I interested in losing weight but I’m more interested being healthy especially as I get older. This journey is not only about losing weight and looking good but it is also about incorporating permanent lifestyle changes such as my eating habits.  Will it be easy?  Of course not since this has been almost ten years of me trying to minimize eating processed foods.  The awareness and knowledge are there and now it’s time for me to take it to heart and apply for the long term.  With ALL of this being said, to help with my challenge of incorporating more fruits and vegetables into my diet while minimizing processed foods, my husband and I will be planting our own vegetable garden in the next couple of weeks which I am excited about because it allows us to be in control of what we are putting in our garden.  Nothing beats homegrown vegetables that you can pick yourself from your own backyard!

“We are living …