Restaurant evangical

We were eating at a restaurant last night when a man came over to our table and started speaking Russian to us. I was wearing a pink cape dress and green head scarf. My husband has a full beard that is a little long and was wearing a plain shirt. Apparently he thought we were Russians.  This man had an even longer beard and similar hairstyle to my husband.

The man was part of a group of conservative Christian Russians living in this community. He was in town to visit one of his sons. It was a little odd because this group has a reputation of keeping to themselves and not interacting with others outside their group very much. If we’d been dressed worldly, I doubt he would have approached us since we were the only ones in the restaurant he talked to. Just goes to show how you dress does make an impression on others. I’m glad our dress said we are Christians.

Anyway we explained we don’t speak hardly any Russian so he switched to English. He told us he was from a town about 100 miles from us. He wanted to know where we went to church and I told him. He then turned to my husband and asked if he also went. Strange to assume we don’t all go together, but he was correct. My husband isn’t a believer and usually doesn’t go with us. The man said he and his family home church. Then he gave us directions to his house and invited us to come if we are down that way.

We were having dessert when he came over again. We exchanged names and a little about our families. He then talked about Jesus being most important thing in life. He wasn’t like most “Bible thumpers” who are rude and insulting. This man was very quiet. He never raised his voice. Not the usual believe or go to Hell. No. He just quietly exalted the Lord to us and how He worked in their lives. You could see the love in his eyes for the Lord. If all evangelicals were like him, I think there would be more success. He made you want to have his love.

It would be interesting to visit this man and his family. I didn’t get the impression it was a mocking or meerly a polite invitation. I think if we actually showed up at his door one day, we would be welcomed.

My husband didn’t really say much. I see the Lord putting Godly people in his path more and more. Real men, not wind up Christians who don’t live their faith in daily life. People he would normally like who just happen to also love the Lord. Hopefully he will see the importance of the Lord in their lives. The Mennonite minister who is a cabinet maker. The leader from our church who is an engineer.

Recalls

Is it just me or have there been a lot more recalls in the past few years than ever? Companies are taking short cuts to help raise profits again as the worldwide recession ends, potentially putting their consumers at risk. Plus there are fewer government oversights and inspections that would catch problems before they get to market, especially imported products. Everything to toys, furniture, food, and now medicine have been recalled.

The most recent recalls of food and medicine are very concerning because they are products that are marketed to children. Campbell’s recall of Spaghetti-O’s with meatballs in 3 varieties was due to a malfunctioning cooker. However, they don’t know when the cooker malfunctioned so they are recalling everything made since 2008. That’s right, 2008. How did they not catch this in 2 years of production?

Johnson and Johnson has recalled Tylenol, Benadryl, Motrin, and Zyrtec.  Ingredients in these products were found to be contaminated with bacteria, however no tained finished products have been found. A recent inspection found several violations. Equipment was found held together with duct tape and others had thick layers of dust on it. Not only that but that but  some of the recalled medicines may have a higher concentration of the active ingredient than listed on the bottle. Others may contain particles or inactive ingredients that do not meet testing requirements. Yikes!

Both of these recalls could have been prevented. Campbells should have checked their equipment periodically. Johnson & Johnson had received complaints about specks in their medicines which weren’t investigated. These are major public health and safety concerns. Rather than spend a little time and money in prevention, these companies now have the larger cost of recalls, fines, and loss of revenue. Not to mention loss of consumer confidence in their products.

It’s not that laws aren’t already in place to deal with problems like this. There are. The problem is in inspection and enforcement. Unless there is a problem, I believe inspections are planned. I think companies need to have surprise inspections at every facility to catch problems before they can be cleaned up and give inspectors a better idea of real time working conditions. Also, just because a company has a prior clean inspections, shouldn’t give it an automatic pass the next time.

These recalls don’t undermine my confidence in the companies as much as in the federal government inspection program of the FDA. While I’m glad they found the problems and the companies are now working on correcting them,  why weren’t these problems found sooner? 2 years of potentially contaminated meat is unacceptable.

Read more on the recent rash of recalls. Surprisingly, I found more information about them from the Christian Science Monitor website instead of mainstream news sites, but all are Associated Press reports.

Tylenol recall investigated May 6, 2010

Drug recall expanded June 17, 2010

Spaghetti-O’s recall June 18, 2010

Kellog cereal recall June 25, 2010

Kroger ice cream recall June 15, 2010

McDonald’s “Shrek” glasses June 10, 2010

Fitness update 2010 #4

It’s hard to believe the year half over and this is only the fourth fitness update. I’ve been busy!

First, I passed my certification test to be a water fitness instructor. That’s right, instructor. Hard to believe I would ever teach a fitness class yet I’ve already had 2 job offers just through casual conversations. Wow! The instructor for the water aerobics class I went to on Wednesday evening was tired so she had me teach part of the class. 🙂 Next weekend I do the CPR/AED and first aid training for the final requirements of my certification.

Yesterday was the last day of the online university quarter. I will get an A in both classes (general nutrition and global citizenship). I’m going to take summer off and return in October for their fall quarter. As part of my university, I got to create an online portfolio. You can check it out here.

I’ve not done much exercise last month. As a result, I my weight stayed the same. However, I started splitting wood recently. I also went to water aerobics and several walks this week.

I have cleaned up my diet again. We have cut back drastically on eating out along with eating more fruits and vegetables this month. Part of my nutrition class was doing a 3 day journal and analysis of my diet. The results showed that when I eat homemade meals, I have a fairly balanced diet. I was low in calcium though, so I’ve started taking a supplement. You can read the report on my e-folio.

I’ve been strict with No-S Diet eating the past few weeks. That was hard, but worth it. I finally have my apatite under control again. The weather has been pretty hot recently (by Alaskan standards anyway), in the upper 70’s and low 80’s. This has made it easier to cut out fats, and indirectly eating out. Eating fats when it’s hot tends to make me miserable.

The combination of restarting exercising and cleaning up my diet has resulted in my loosing 2 and half pounds this week. I can already feel my arms and legs tightening up. My dresses that were stating to get tight are looser. Hopefully I can keep that going.

My alarm is set for 7am. I get the rest of the family up at 730. The plan was the use that half hour to exercise, but that hasn’t happened. I’m too lazy in the mornings.

Goodbye space shuttle

Time’s almost up for being able to see a US space shuttle launch. There’s only 2 left, ever. And who knows when or even if something will replace it since Obama canceled the research program that was working on it. Now the Russians and Chinese are the major players in space.

I was told many years ago that man’s window into space exploration was very limited. As soon as oil started to become scarce, it would be over. No one really believed that. No one wanted to believe there would be a time when oil would no longer be cheap. Well, in hindsight, that statement is proving to be prophetic. Oil is now triple what it was in the 1980’s and the manned space program is on it’s way out. There’s only 2 scheduled shuttle launches left before the end of the program.

The next one (STS133) is scheduled for launch in mid-September and we’re going. We got plane tickets to Florida yesterday. I’ve seen the shuttle once piggy-back when I was a child. It was going to Kelly army base in Texas, which is beside Lackland air force base. The flight path took it low over our elementary school. Needless to say everyone ran outside to watch it. They actually circled the school a few times and we all ran around chasing it.

My husband is really into space. He started the International Space Exploration and Colonization Company in 1988 to research food production with a goal toward use in space. We’ve both been to NASA’s facility in Florida, but have never seen a launch.

Time is running out. Now or never is almost upon us. We want our children to be able to see it. So we’re going to Florida. While we’re there we’ll probably do other more traditional tourist activities, but our main reason for going is to see the launch. We’ve given ourselves 2 weeks in case of delayed launch.

Seduction of food

By taking classes to become a personal trainer with a degree in Associates of Applied Science: Health Fitness Specialist, I’m gaining lots of motivation to improve myself and get in shape. I knew I was unhealthy and overweight. What’s surprising are all the little ways and details of exactly how unhealthy being overweight is.

In my nutrition class this week, we had to watch an hour long video about body composition and weight management. The entire video was very good and looked at several ways  to measure body composition other than the usual BMI (weight to height ratio). The one I liked best was a combination of BMI and waist circumference. This helps to take into account people who may incorrectly be in a higher risk category because they are more muscular yet still slim.

It was also interesting that skin fold measurements may be up to 50% off due to error in measurement by the tester. So these are among the least accurate measure of body composition. Yet they still can be useful to tell a rate of change if measured carefully by the same person at the exact same body locations each time. They just shouldn’t be the only measure of body composition.

Then he talked about the brain’s role in weight management. Some of which I knew. One thing he said that was very enlightening was that food seduces the brain. Even before you eat, your brain is producing soothing hormones at the thought of eating. They showed 2 slides of cocaine addicts. One was the addicts brain watching a nature video. The part which controls the hormones was inactive. Then when they were shown a video of drug paraphernalia (not even the drugs). This activated the part which controls the hormones. He then said for many people, especially those who are obese, food or the thought of food does the same thing. We don’t even have to see or smell the food. Just thinking about eating and getting things ready will begin the release of feel good hormones which will encourage us to actually eat.

This is why we need to keep the cookies and chips or whatever your weakness foods are, out of the home. I don’t remember which company had the slogan “no one can eat just one” but this is very true. It’s best to avoid temptation and just not buy them or have them around. If you want them as a special treat, many snacks are available in small packages at convenience stores. Buy ONE small package. Then when they are gone, that’s it until you’ve earned your next reward. You aren’t being tempted by the rest of a large package. Plus driving to the store makes you think about what you are doing and you may decide it’s not worth the trip.

However, you shouldn’t totally deprive yourself of your favorite snack and treat foods. Use them as a reward for reaching a mini-goal. Studies have shown that people who deprive themselves of certain foods are less likely to stick to their healthy eating plan long term verses those who allow themselves an occasional treat. So allow yourself all things in moderation.

This is one of my favorite aspects of the No S Diet. You can have sweet treat foods 2 days a week.  This gives you motivation to stick to eating healthy the other days because you know you will get your treat. It also limits the amount of treat foods you eat so you aren’t always eating junk. You can have single servings of any other foods at each meal so you don’t have to give up your favorite foods. You just eat less of them at once.

One aspect of the No-S that I have modified is no snacks. I get headaches if I go long between meals. So I allow myself a healthy snack such as a piece of fruit or raw veggies (but without sauce or topping such as dressing or peanut butter). They have very few calories yet are filling. Plus, almost everyone can benefit by eating more fruits and vegetables. Instead of No Snacks, for me it’s no Sweet Snacks. This also helps me eat less at meal times because I’m not as hungry. Plus all the research I’ve read is that 3 medium sized meals and 2-3 small healthy snacks is better than 3 large meals and no snacks because it keeps your blood sugar levels more steady throughout the day.

Food is an addiction. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Like any addiction, education is the key to conquering it. What’s motivating you this week to stay with your fitness and healthy eating plan?