Monthly Archives: February 2012

Pseudo-Wordless Wednesday

Coscinodiscus magnified 100x

I did an experiment today that involved looking at marine pollution levels in terms of phytoplankton species.  This is the image of a centric, single-celled diatom belonging to the genus Coscinodiscus, magnified 100x. The image below is a close-up image. I love that I get to do this every day!

Coscinodiscus magnified 100x


Fitness Friday

Well we skipped right from one Fitness Friday installment to the next. Sorry about the lack of posts over the week. It has been insane lately!

Anyway, as you know my husband and I have been traveling (stay tuned for a blog post about it), and through that time I have done all I can to stay on track. I have to say that I feel like I’ve done an adequate job doing that. I ate a decent breakfast every morning, and managed to consume good quality protein while we were away. All of that plus the almost constant walking, some running, and standing means that I got in a good consistent amount of exercise as well.

Weight: No change. I’m not sure why, but I am glad it didn’t go back up!

Exercise: Lots more walking. Lots and lots of walking.

Diet: Ate out every day, but I tried to consume quality protein in the form of seafood and veggies. The only thing I didn’t get to do was make my green smoothie. I’m determined to make that this coming week. My husband is quite hesitant though.

Goals for next week: It occurred to me that I need to actually quantify and set specific goals. In doing so, I think I will hit specific targets instead of just doing general, broad things. A goal of mine is to make a green smoothie. This will get done! I want to take the dog on a 1.5-2 mile walk every day, and spend an hour every other day weight training. As for diet, I want to cook from home for every meal.

March is rapidly approaching, and with that comes the Mommy Blogger 21 Day Challenge with Elizabeth from My This N That Life. Thank you to everyone for keeping me accountable and pushing me toward my goals! If you have any tips, tricks, recipes, etc. feel free to leave them in comments, email, or Facebook me!

For the Fatty/Fitness Friday link up, go check out Going Crazy, Wanna Go?! and leave the link to your story. I want to help others as well!

Fitness Friday

I know, my post is late. Although Going Crazy, Wanna Go?! had her post up in time, so go check hers out and let me know what you think!

But before you yell at me and be all “why are you slacking?!” I can explain. My husband and I are out of town, and the hotel internet is sooooooooo sloooooooooow. I think it’s the sheer amount of traffic. A smart person who has traveled at all in the last year knows that hotel internet is notoriously slow, and would have written and scheduled the post to go up today. I, however, failed to do that.

Overview

Anyway, so how did I do this past week? Well, I got more sleep! Let me break it down:

More sleep —> more energy the next day —> able to get everything done —> able to exercise!

So, that’s what happened. It was glorious. In terms of goals for last week, really the only thing I didn’t do was make my green smoothie. That’s on the list for this coming week. I can almost guarantee though that I’m going to gain weight this week due to the fact that I’m out of town, and eating healthy without being able to cook isn’t easy. I’m going to do my best to up the exercise though (lots of walking involved here) and staying hydrated will do wonders I think.

Weight: -1.5 lbs.

Exercise: Lots of walking, etc. It felt great!

Diet: Cooked from home almost every day, healthy meals too, but didn’t quite hit the veggie target. Valentine’s Day didn’t help though, and I snacked on chocolate covered strawberries my husband was sweet enough to bring me.

Overall feeling: I feel fairly sluggish still, but I think this is mainly a result of the lack of sleep. Apparently it takes a long time to get over the impacts of being severely sleep deprived.

Goals for next week: I still want to try a green shake/smoothie, and if I like it I’ll post the recipe, and work at least one vegetable into two meals per day.

I’m excited to do the Mommy Blogger 21 Day Challenge with Elizabeth from My This N That Life in March! As usual, thank you to everyone for keeping me accountable and pushing me toward my goals! If you have any tips, tricks, recipes, etc. feel free to leave them in comments, email, or Facebook me!

For the Fatty/Fitness Friday link up, go check out Going Crazy, Wanna Go?! and leave the link to your story. I want to help others as well!

Crunchy Moms

Melinda, the awesome mama at Buddha Bunz, made this awesome what people think (I have no idea what the actual name of this meme is, but I’m going with it) picture. This is a meme that has popped up everywhere for what seems like every religion, occupation, hobby, etc.

While I personally find most of these memes annoying just because of the sheer volume of them, this one hits close to home. I can’t tell you how many times I have overheard people talking about co-sleeping or bed sharing being dangerous. Truth be told, everything can be dangerous if it’s improperly handled, just like co-sleeping. However, when done or used properly, most things can also be safe (just like co-sleeping).

Please, please, please educate yourself and the benefits and risks of every parenting decision you make and don’t just blindly follow the media or mainstream thought processes.

I would like to extend a big thank you to Melinda for allowing me to post this picture. Go check out her website!

*Note: click on the picture to make it bigger and to read what the media one says.

Pseudo-Wordless Wednesday

My husband proposed to me four years ago this Thursday (2-16). Since we don’t do Wordless Thursday, I decided to go ahead and post it for Wordless Wednesday.

Here’s the abridged version of our engagement story:

I’m a giant science nerd. I always have been, and I always will be (I owned a microscope at 8, collected bugs and filed them as correctly as possible, in terms of taxonomy, from the age of 5. I majored in a science in college and basically minored in another area of science, I love teaching science to anyone and everyone who will listen, I identify best with Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory… you get the idea). My love of science isn’t limited to one field, but my heart lies with genetics (and marine biology).

My husband set up a whole display in an exhibit about the human genome at a local museum where I was volunteering. My mom’s birthday is Feb. 13th, so he set it up to propose the weekend my mom was going to be coming into town to celebrate with us. The picture is of some  of the flowers that he had waiting and a sign he had made to go in a huge timeline of scientific discoveries throughout the ages.

We walked through the exhibit, and I got to the end of the timeline and read it. I had no clue he was proposing, but I kept looking at it thinking “um.. I made a significant scientific contribution? Really? What did I discover?” I turned around, and he was down on one knee with a slideshow playing of things we had done together.

It was perfect.

Valentine’s Day is Difficult…

..when you’re trying to change your eating habits.

If I could stop at one chocolate covered strawberry, chocolate from the huge box of chocolates delivered to me, or keep from munching on the Valentine’s Day candies that seem to be just everywhere, it would be one thing. Alas, I find myself snacking on that instead of making some kale chips, making a green smoothie, or simply eating strawberries sans chocolate.

I mean I’m just facing a reality here. Valentine’s Day is difficult, but not impossible, provided my will power decides to step it up a notch.

Anyway, I wanted to wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day from Let’s Call It Crispy. Does anybody have any fun plans?

Fitness Friday

I quickly realized that the middle of the week with Wordless Wednesday going on was not a good place to post my fitness accomplishments and setbacks. So, instead of Workout Wednesday, I’m installing Fitness Friday (because alliteration is all the rage in the blog world). I have to credit Janet from Going Crazy, Wanna Go? for the idea and guidance in putting this together.

Overview

It’s been a week full of setbacks, if I’m being completely honest. It really has. I’m working on a pretty large project outside of the blog that had me up really, really late every night and getting up early the next morning. This resulted in exhaustion, and honestly food was the first luxury to go because I was simply too exhausted to feed myself properly. To make matters worse, my husband was gone all week for work, which left me to single handedly take care of all the household responsibilities. I know that it shouldn’t matter whether or not he’s home, but the reality is that it’s easier because I can focus on one or two things and we can split up the responsibilities. Oh well, these things happen (is what I’m trying to tell myself).

Starting weight: To be revealed when I have reached my goal weight.

Starting measurements: Will also be revealed when I have hit my goals

Sleep: I averaged about 47 minutes of sleep per night from Monday to Friday this week (I know… I know).

Exercise: HA! Yeah, that’s a whole lotta none. Zip. Zilch. I didn’t even take the dog for a walk like I normally do. I just took her to a local dog park and let her run around.

Diet: If it wasn’t from a box or a grilled cheese sandwich, I didn’t eat it. I literally consumed zero vegetables.

Overall feeling: I feel fairly sluggish. This is probably due in part to the fact that I have eaten almost nothing but pure crap, but also in part to the sleeping pattern.

Goals for next week: My goal is to get more sleep, around 5-6 hours per night if I’m being at all realistic. I want to try a green shake/smoothie, and if I like it I’ll post the recipe, and work at least one vegetable into two meals per day.

I’m also doing the Mommy Blogger 21 Day Challenge with Elizabeth from My This ‘N’ That Life officially starting in March, so I’m excited about that as well. Have you seen Elizabeth’s before and during (I won’t say after because I don’t think she’s done yet) pictures? She looks amazing! Between Janet and Elizabeth, I have plenty of motivation!

For more Fitness Friday, go check out Fatty Friday at Going Crazy, Wanna Go? Tell her Andrea says hi!

Do you have any tips, tricks, or helpful hints? Let me know in the comments!

Almost Wordless Wednesday

 

 

This is a hawk of some sort. Last Saturday, my husband called me from the driveway and told me to quickly but quietly come outside.

Apparently, he came home from the grocery store and this large-ish hawk was sitting in our next door neighbor’s driveway. Here, it is sitting next to another bird it killed. I think it’s a juvenile harrier hawk or something similar perhaps. He just sat there, staring at us for quite some time. If anybody has any ideas on what kind it might be, please let me know! I have other photos I could email or post. Thanks!

Fooducate iPhone App Review

I would like to (hopefully) introduce you to literally the most useful app on my iPhone, Fooducate.

What is Fooducate?

Food + educate = Fooducate. This is a FREE app for Android and iPhone, and it is designed so that the average person who goes grocery shopping can make more informed decisions by allowing you to scan the UPC barcode on a wide variety of products.

Here it is on my phone. I keep it next to the dirty dozen app so that I can keep myself organized at the grocery store.

Why I Like Fooducate: 

Fooducate is so simple in its design, it’s brilliant. I love it because one of the challenges with eating healthy is finding a diet that fits the modern world. For example, I have seen shake diets, diets where you are restricted to eating food that a certain company makes, and diets where you pop a magic pill that is designed to eliminate fat, and the list just keeps going. The problem that I have with most of those types of diets is that it sets up a situation in which you’re held hostage by these products in order to maintain your waistline. You’re thin and look great while on the products, but the minute you decide to switch back to eating real world food from the grocery store, or you want a piece of cake, bam! Twenty pounds added right back on.

Fooducate is great because it allows for making informed, healthy choices while working within real world grocery stores and food options. Its easy, at-a-glance system lets you know quickly whether an item is worth your money or not.

How Does It Work?

First, go to the store where you normally purchase your groceries. Take the bagel section on the bread isle in the following average store, for example.

Now, I am fully aware that bagels aren’t necessarily the best food choice as a whole. I know that bagels contain WAY too many carbs for one sitting, etc. But, on this particular day, I wanted a package of mini bagels to make bagel breakfast sandwiches for breakfast, and I figured this would be better than stopping by a fast food place on my way to work. But, how do I make at least a better bad decision? I fire up the Fooducate scanner.

I grab my favorite brand of bagel, and simply scan the code on it using the camera on the phone by lining up the barcode with the little box on the app. I need to say here that this UPC is not the actual bag of bagels I grabbed. The reason is because once the camera focuses on the barcode, it immediately scans it and getting a screenshot of the barcode in the box is very, very difficult. So, I decided to just go home and scan my carton of milk over and over again until I got a decent shot.

If your camera isn’t working for whatever reason, you can also manually type in the UPC in the box at the top (this can also be done on the website in case you don’t have an iPhone at all). What comes up is the familiar grading system that we all know and love. A is good, D is… not so good. So, after scanning my favorite brand of bagels that I normally purchase, I get this:

This gave me pause. I mean, I knew it wasn’t going to be an A+ or anything, but a C-? Really? Yes. This grade isn’t an arbitrary number the creators of Fooducate came up with to startle somebody into eating 100% organic 100% of the time. An explanation of how they evaluate food can be found here, on their blog. They take into account ingredients, amount of processing, and other factors to generate an easy-to-read grade. Tapping on the arrow on brings up a bunch of information while maintaining the at-a-glance set up.

It shows you exactly how many calories per serving, and where it falls on average. If you keep scrolling down, it tells you the main key points to watch out for in this product and how many food points it’s worth for people on a point diet system.

My favorite part of the app though is that it shows alternatives to the food item that was scanned. If you go back to the screen that you get right after you scan it (three pictures up), on the bottom right there is a button that says alternatives. What you get when you tap that is a list of suggestions so that if you choose to select a healthier bagel, you may.

The list displays alternatives that have grades all the way from a C+ to an A-. We looked for the A- option, but couldn’t find it in the store. We were able to find a B- option however, and we went home feeling good that we could still eat something that we liked! If you tap on the other options, the food information pops up about those as well so you can know exactly what you’re eating.

What Else Can Fooducate Do?

Fooducate has this handy menu that you access from the little checkered looking box at the top left corner. In many of the photos above, it has a little red 6 on it. This menu serves as a dashboard for the app.

From this dashboard, you can look at the last product that you scanned (product), read messages from Fooducate (messages), and go to the barcode scanner (find). Fooducate routinely offers fun giveaways for scanning certain products, so it’s prudent to check the messages from time to time. I obviously failed to as evidenced by the six messages, and missed some really great opportunities.

Next time, I'll be checking my inbox. Duh.

Under lists, you can see the history of the things that you scanned and if you sign in you can actually create shopping lists to make grocery shopping an in-and-out event.

The Healthy Me icon lets you look at the products you have scanned, and see where you fall on average with the rest of the Fooducate users that have scanned products. I really liked this function when I first got the app because I went around scanning everything in my house, and I went back and looked at the Healthy Me list and saw that I was way below average. For example, when I first did it, my grade was an average of a C+. I have brought my average up to a B+ after using this app. I figure if my goal is just to increase the average, it’ll help curb bad eating habits.

Daily Tips takes you to the Fooducate blog, where there are always new and interesting articles to read regarding food health and safety.

If you go back to the find icon and tap, it’ll take you to the barcode scanner. However, if you’re not scanning anything in particular, you can tap browse. The browse function displays a list of categories set up by food type.

If you keep scrolling down, tons of food types come up. Today I wanted to play around with breakfast foods, a category listed just a little further down the page. I tapped on it, and it came up with an even more specific list of breakfast choices.

Now I wanted to know what all was going on with cold cereals, so I clicked that:

and it brought up a list of the top graded cold breakfast foods in the breakfast category. The problem with this is that I don’t have a Publix near me, and I have never seen Simply Fiber in my grocery store at all. The issue was resolved when I went to the popular tab though.

Cheerios and Kashi are pretty popular, so that’s much more feasible for me to find at my local grocery.

Add Products to Fooducate

If you find yourself in a situation where you scanned your product, but you got this message:

it means you have the opportunity to help build the Fooducate library. I received this message when I scanned my Tropical Traditions coconut oil. I simply followed the directions on the Fooducate app, and when I was done taking all three pictures, it gave me the option to email it in.

They released their Fooducate Plus iPhone app as well, with a lot more features and no ads. This version does cost $3.99 and I don’t have it, so I’m not a good candidate to review it. I did want to mention it though in case you might be interested.

 

Conclusion:

The functionality of the Fooducate app is almost perfect. It is intuitive in its design and it allows me and my husband to make quick but correct (by our standards) decisions regarding our food selections. This app makes shopping a lot less of a hassle because I’m not standing there in the middle of the store holding two different types of bagels and trying to compare nutrition labels on the spot. Fooducate has already done that for me. Their website and blog are equally helpful because they are filled with tips and tricks to healthy eating and post pitfalls to avoid with tips on how to avoid them.

As far as I know, Fooducate isn’t sponsored by any of the big food corporations, so what you get is information that is updated as frequently as possible. Additionally, they are openly agains the big food corporations sponsoring the American Dietetic Association (you can also read updated information here).

This is definitely one of those ideas that I wish I had thought of a long time ago! What are your thoughts on the Fooducate app? Is this something you think you would use? What are your thoughts?

*This review is in no way sponsored by Fooducate. All opinions are 100% my own, and the content is 100% mine and not taken from anywhere else. The links to the Fooducate blog and website are the resources I used to create this review.*

Weekend Blog Hop!

Since WordPress won’t let me upload a Javascript (I don’t like it, but I understand why) anything, here is a link to a wonderful blog. She’s hosting a weekend blog hop, so I encourage you to go find new blogs!

http://laynesthriftyfinds.blogspot.com/

Have a good weekend everyone!