It’s Taco Tuesday! – Healthy Tacos

Since eating so many tacos piled with cheese has helped me increase my weight, I need a replacement (food or activity – anything really) every, single week.  My entire family loves Taco Tuesday, so I can either be depressed and deprived every Tuesday until this weight is gone, or celebrate Taco Tuesday in a different way!

This weeks’s celebration:

Healthy tacos!

Lettuce wraps around taco meat are actually quite yummy! You get the crunchiness of a shell, but the calories of a water leaf.  Also, I make like 10 mini tacos with my allotted 6 ounces of meat.  By the time I’m done, I feel full and satisfied.  (I also revel in the fact that one day I can put cheese on them, too!) You really should try them, and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Score for this week’s Taco Tuesday:

9 out of 10

A Disney Cruise to Remember

Let’s take a trip… down memory lane.  Our family’s favorite memories come from our travels.  Here are just a few.

Our first Disney Cruise… not many people get this opportunity.  But, if you can, it is worth it.  Best. Cruise. Ever. This particular cruise was to the Caribbean.

stingraysClark (the dad): Feeding and swimming with the stingrays: on Castaway Cay (Disney’s Private Island), we had the chance to play in the pool with the stingrays, making sure to watch our step!



Attie (the mom): Running a 5K on Castaway Cay: They have a big ol’ race now.  But, that
5K, it was just 10 of us.  We got off the boat early and ran with one of the staff members. We saw parts of the island no one else got to see, and we explored  long before others were allowed to debark. I received a certificate and a water bottle for running it.



Elizabeth (the big sister): Swimming with the dolphins: On our excursion to Tortola, a British Virgin Island, we swam and played with the dolphins.



David (the little brother): the Pirate Party… Argh!: We dressed up like pirates for dinner then went to a big party on the deck afterwards.



I went down to Austin the other day to find some inspiration for my jog.  I ended up at Mayson Park, a quaint, quiet area that is known for its beautiful ponds with koi fish, foliage, and an old, white house which I believe is used for weddings.  Wandering freely in the park (and on the roof of the white house) are magnificent peacocks. It is always fun to feed the koi and the peacocks, but today, I was interested in the miles of trails behind the park.

I have explored those trails on numerous occasions.  There are plenty of trees to keep the area fairly cool in this 100 degree heat. I put my airpods in, cranked up my tunes, and took off.  I ran for 20 minutes before I even realized it – enjoying the beauty of nature, the sparkle of the water off of the nearby river.  It was truly motivational.

After 2 miles, I knew I was lost on the trails. I had not been paying attention to the trail signs since I was in “the zone” – my favorite way to run.  But, I also knew that I was surrounded by a park, a river, residential housing, and a street.  If I kept going, I would eventually make it back to civilization – just hopefully near my car and not on the far other end of the trail area!

Another 10 minutes passed, and I started to feel uncomfortable.  Something was off, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  I turned off my music but left my airpods in my ears and started to walk.  I almost felt like someone was following me.  But, I couldn’t hear any footsteps, human or animal, or see anything out of the ordinary. I decided all of the “Safety Talks” my father had given me about running alone were just messing with my mind.

I continued to walk until I found a trail sign and started heading the 2+ mile trek back to my car.  I was probably just overheated, because I started hearing a rustling in the underbrush; and, it was getting closer to me.  At that moment, I decided it didn’t matter if I was over thinking it or not.  I had chills up my spine, and I needed to get out of there fast.  I began to run – not a casual jog – but, full on run.  I was scared – really scared.  I didn’t stop to look back until I heard a rumbling sound right behind me.. I remember falling… and that’s all.

I woke up on a bench next to the parking lot of Mayson Park, my ankle the size of a grapefruit and a knot on the side of my head to match. My throat was burning with thirst. I had scratches all over my body, my clothes were covered in dirt and leaves, and I was missing one running shoe.  My airpods were still in my ears – void of any sound.  My car was alone in the parking lot.  I was in pain and knew I needed help.  As I sat up, a soft object fell from my chest to the gravel below – one brilliant, peacock quill.

The police looked for any clues as to what happened.  I was no help.  I didn’t know who or what was after me – if anything, I’m still not even sure.  I couldn’t point them in the right direction and could barely explain the sounds I heard. All of my injuries seem to point to a fall and tumble down a rocky trail.  I certainly couldn’t explain how I managed to end up in that barren parking lot – alone with nothing but a magnificent feather.  My bumps and bruises will heal with time, but I’m not sure my mind will.

Running – or Something that May Resemble It

I’ve been struggling recently with weight loss… simply because I really don’t want to do it anymore.  I mean, I want the weight to be gone.  I just don’t want to control and restrict myself anymore.  I’ve hit that point – that mental block.  But, continue I must. So, I went looking through weight loss blogs for inspiration. I happened across Starting Again by Lazy Hairy Bear.  He described what it felt like to be running again after a long while off – when you aren’t sure if your body will agree to do the work anymore. It awoke something from my past – that feeling I used to get when running… or better yet, that sense of accomplishment after the run.

So, I’m inspired.  I’m not sure my body will agree to it, but I’m going to run today… at least one mile. It will be a good distraction from the focus on healthy eating.  Of course, there are all of those health benefits, too.  Thanks, LHB!

The high should be 97 degrees today, and I would prefer not to have a heat stroke on top of being out of shape.  Maybe I will celebrate success with a trip to the pool? – or maybe a pizza – I’m not sure yet.

Anyone want to take bets whether or not I survive?! It’s a crap shoot.

Blogging Happy

Happiness is… learning how to categorize my blogs!

It took me some time, trying to create new pages (didn’t work), trying to create child pages of my blog (didn’t work), having a small anxiety attack and clicking on everything I could think of (didn’t work), and finally clicking on LEARN (Worked!). It was the page that came with the initial email when I signed up and had long been deleted.

Success… happiness… it doesn’t take much. Now if I could only learn how to insert emojis from my laptop.

Benefits of that Vacation

Travel is the best gift you can ever give someone.  The experiences we have outside of our own little corner of the world serve to grow and strengthen us as fellow human beings. For me, I can also get away from the routine.  I come back refreshed and ready to take on anything (as well as exhausted, because I want to do as much as I can when visiting destinations).

Visited States Map Create a Map of all the places you ve been

U.S. States visited so far

Our family started the tradition about 6 years ago that instead of presents for holidays, we would go on a vacation.  Our kids were on board with that plan – believe it or not.  We are be no means world travelers – simply because our family of four budget doesn’t allow for it.  But, we have been to many states and a few countries surrounding the U.S. as well.  Our family vacations are experiences our children will never forget – their minds soak in so many new sites, histories, and cultures.  We are truly blessed to be able to have these adventures as a family.

Visited Countries Map Create a Map of all the countries you ve visited

Countries visited so far

So, even though the Dalai Lama really did not suggest it, I believe we should all live it. “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before,” – whether it is 30 minutes from home or 3,000 miles away.

I will be sharing a few of our journeys in future posts. Please, comment if you would like to suggest a place for us to visit!

In Polite Company, We Don’t Talk About It


In polite company, we don’t talk about politics or religion… or about nutrition.  images-6Let’s face it.  1 in 3 of us are having to deal with being overweight – and so are many of our kids.  You can find expert advice on how to lose that weight on every street corner – a dime a dozen.  But, what no one talks about is the emotional addiction to that food.  We use food in our culture to celebrate.  We reward our children with treats.  When most of us think about food, it makes us happy.

I recently watched a video of Dr. David Kessler explaining the science behind this emotional attachment to food  in “The End of Overeating” (the video is below).  Basically, sugar, fat, and salt in combinations trigger the pleasure center in our brain.  Americans’ diet over the last four decades has increased tremendously in those three ingredients with the processing of our foods. Those foods, in turn, act like a drug – stimulating our brain.

The power of the food addiction (I know, no one likes the word “addiction”, but there it is) doesn’t necessarily come from the food itself.  We are driven (much like Pavlov’s dog) by stimuli all around us.  Anticipation is powerful.  imgres-4It is the smell of the pizza when I walk into Costco that gets me in trouble – long before I actually see or taste said pizza.  As a matter of fact, the very thought of going to Costco makes my taste buds start watering.

So, really, those of us that are wanting to lose weight need to deal with the emotions of eating first.  (I don’t pretend to be an expert, but replacing a behavior with a new behavior is working for me. Also, avoiding situations that will get me into trouble is very helpful when I’m hungry.) images-7Changing how we think about food – and feel about food – is a necessity if we want to lose the weight and actually keep it off this time.

As a society, Dr. Kessler recommended adding boundaries back into how we view food.  Over my lifetime, smoking has made the transformation from being acceptable to not.  Food can’t be demonized the way smoking has been done, because we all need food. But, going back to it being three meals a day (instead of grazing all day) will be a step in the right direction.  imgres-5

As for me, I have to be the change I want to see in the world first.  I’ve got to lose the weight and the emotional baggage it represents for good.