Category Archives: You Can!

You Can Do It: Badge #41

You can do it

It’s been quite a while since I’ve browsed my copy of “You Can Do It” — a book blogging project I’m doing with Aimee. Rather than do the badges in order, I’m skipping ahead to badge #41: Eat It.
Essentially the idea is to take a closer look at what you are eating, see how it makes you feel, eliminate junk and add more healthy stuff. This isn’t that big of a leap; I’m neurotic about what I eat. I grew up in an athletic home. My mom taught aerobics for ten years, my dad and brother were great swimmers, and I’ve recently dug in my heels to become a triathlete. You feed your body crap, you feel like crap, you swim/bike/run like crap. Einstein, I’m not.
So, knowing how to eat healthy is in my DNA. Doing so habitually, and eating an appropriate serving size, is not.


Fruit-free breakfast that screams: time to go to the grocery. 1 cup of fat free cottage cheese, one Western Alternative bagel, 2 tablespoons of fat free cream cheese: 272 calories, 1 gram of fat, 38 grams of protein.

Specifically the badge suggests you:
1. Food journal for a week to take a nutritional inventory. I like Sparkpeople. It’s free and comprehensive. Also, I like having a buddy. Colleen encouraged me to stop drinking soda and I feel worlds better having made this little change.
2. Follow the guidelines. Know how much you should be eating vs. how much you are eating. Here’s a great tool.
3. Learn serving sizes and how to read nutritional labels. (I am also on alert for high-fructose corn syrup in my food. It seems to be in everything these days and there is nothing about “corn” or “syrup” that is going to make me healthier. In simple terms: the feed corn and other grains to animals to fatten them before slaughter. Old McDonald, I’m not.)
4. Make a meal plan and shop with taste in mind. Fresh produce and spices are easy and healthy ways to make your meals much tastier. This is an area where I need to change; I go to the market about once a week and never have enough produce in the fridge. With my new job, I’ll walk past the market each way everyday and I hope this helps nudge me to be different. Also, I’m getting more involved with the Phoenix Farmers’ Market.

I also figure a great way to have ready access to fresh produce is getting off my lazy duff and gardening. I’ve lamented countless times how my patio garden is tiny and gets the wrong sunlight and a dozen other reasons why it won’t work to grow a thing. However, the main reason nothing has grown is because I haven’t been here long enough to keep it watered and pay it enough attention. And frankly, I want a magic garden too! This resource for Phoenix gardeners and my new schedule are giving me hope this will change.

Peter Hoffman was recently interviewed in Bon Appetit. Hoffman is the owner of several restaurants in New York City and is a champion of buying local, supporting farmers’ markets and eating healthy food. A bit I enjoyed, while we’re on the topic:

Bon Appetit: Why should Americans support local farmers’ markets?

PH: Buying from local farmers is about getting off the grid — not the power grid, but the food-system grid. Money stays local, our outlying regions can remain agriculturally productive, and the landscape is preserved. The food tastes better because it hasn’t traveled as far and is fresher.

Bon Appetit: If someone says to you ‘I don’t shop at farmers’ markets because they’re too expensive,’ how do you respond?

PH: Get with it. That is the real cost of food. Vote with your fork and your belly, and support the opportunity to buy directly from farmers — and eat better food by buying from them.

Getting with it, Peter.


You Can Do It: Dreaming

she's a bit excited, no?

Aimee and I have decided to go through You Can Do It one project at a time to challenge ourselves and learn a few new tricks. (And yes, I say it in that same voice too.) The book is deemed, “A merit badge handbook for grownup girls.” Pretty sure boys can play along too, but I like the notion of having a handbook for those of us who wish we were still in a Girl Scout troop.
(Although truth be told, I did not like my troop. The leader was miserable and the other girls weren’t so sweet. The only reason I stuck with it was camp. Night sky filled with stars, horses, canoes, crafts and being outdoors without my little brother under my feet for an entire week was pure joy.)

found for $8 at Changing Hands.

Project one in this girl’s guide is “Dare to Dream.” To earn your badge (a set of stickers in the back of the book), you should answer the following questions:

1. What have been the proudest moments in your life?
Graduating from college and seeing my family in the crowd, being inducted in the Peace Corps, visiting my brother for the first time in Colorado and seeing the life he’s created for himself, cooking Christmas dinner for my family.

2. What would you do if you won the lottery and money were no object?
I’d buy a beach house in Carlsbad, California and fill it with adopted children. I’d volunteer in the community, be an active mom and grow a kick ass garden. There would be lots of time to write those novels too. And a couple huge pound puppies running around.

3. What are the roads you didn’t take because at the time they seemed wrong to you, unfamiliar, too rocky, or just less traveled?
I didn’t stay in the PC when it became intolerable. I could have been stubborn to prove a point and I am so thankful I’ve finally realized it was a really good choice to come home.

4. What did you daydream about as a kid?
Camp. And the beach. And having my own family one day. There was a dream of being a Harvard lawyer too, but I think that was more due to lots of “LA Law” viewing with my folks and not so much a true desire. However, that is a good career, so anyone else dreaming of that should definitely go for it. Being a lawyer would be such an amazing job. One of my friends is currently in law school and she’s finding that it is interesting. She’s even been looking at how much are attorney websites for when she finishes her degree. She really wants to become a lawyer.

5. What childhood pursuits or pastimes would you like to pick up again?

6. What makes you feel free, serene or full of nervous excitement?
In order: taking long, solo runs, being on the beach or in the mountains, blind dates.

7. What would your perfect day contain?
Exercise, family, friends, good food, time in prayer. And we might as well add a dash of Javier Bardem in there too.

8. List the women you most admire.
Lordie. The list is long. Eleanor Roosevelt is on there, and so is Martha Stewart, my mom, grandmas, girlfriends.

9. Are there dreams you are a bit embarrassed to admit?
Well, my latest dream is to own a small organic farm that helps provide supplies for my tiny bakery — where I am able to feed others and provide a pretty place for people to enjoy breakfast. With their dogs.

Aimee — did you make your list? Next up: “bust a move.” Oy vey, my two left feet are apparently going to take a dance class. This should be amusing.