Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Good-bye, girls--part five

***update on what it is like to live daughterless.

(1) Yesterday we were out of bananas. I went to the store and bought two bunches of bananas, a yellow bunch and a green bunch. By bedtime, all the bananas in the yellow bunch were gone. I did not have a banana yesterday and neither (as you might have guessed) did Dad. This sounds like a set up for a math word problem, but I am going to leave it at that. Suffice it to say that food expenditures have not wavered since the females departed.

I made a huge pot of chili last night--I used my 8 quart pot and it was at least 3/4 full, so we're talking approximately 6 quarts, give or take. When I packed up the leftovers, there were about 3 cups left. Maybe. That's 3 cups left from 6 quarts, and 6 quarts equals 24 cups. So approximately 21 cups of chili were consumed last night, and we did not have company. That was Dad, DJ and Jon. I ate approximately 1.5 cups, so between the three of them, they consumed 19.5 cups of chili. Since we are intent on doing math here, you can see that each of these men ate an average of 6.5 cups of chili last night, over a quart and a half. Dad probably ate less than that, which means... I'm getting a headache taking this all in.

(2) There is less laundry. I am not sure why this is, because you never seemed to produce the bulk of what came through. However, I guess having less beds to change and less towels to wash makes a certain difference.

(3) Nobody ever throws anything away. This makes me sad. Especially when they actually put empty containers away and I think I have things and then find out that I don't (why is it harder to recycle the granola box than to put it back in the lazy Susan?). It also makes me sad to find little bicky wrappers, empty milk cartons, torn up bits of paper, tags that have been removed from new clothing, and little cardboard boxes that have been squashed but not tossed... all over the table and the counters.

(4) Bedtime has a distinctly different rhythm. I can't really explain it, but it is different, more abrupt, jaggedly lacking something. The other day I discovered that we get The Waltons on channel 286. I sat there and watched two or three episodes in a row, choking back tears the whole time. You have never even seen The Waltons, but it was a part of my childhood, probably the only show my mother ever liked. And at the end, all the Waltons lie in their separate beds in their various bedrooms and call out good-night to each other, and it is a long and loving process. Bedtime here is too short and lonely now. One of these days someone will appear in my room and have a heart-to-heart with me again while I am lying under my covers...


I was going to talk about nutrition today.

Today I think we will cover beverages, otherwise known as fluids.

My best advice is this:

Drink 64 oz. of plain, pure water every day.

I do not always do this. Especially in the winter, when I get cold, I have trouble with this. However, at those points in my life when I do it, I definitely feel much better. Here are some hints for helping you to drink 64 oz. (8 servings, 8 oz. each) of water per day.

a) Drink a glass of water first thing when you get up in the morning. This is really good to get your body going in a healthy way, and if you just gulp it down first thing, that is one glass out of the way, only seven to go!

b) Drink water with every meal. You will usually drink 12-16 oz. of water (or more!) with a meal anyway, as most glasses are larger than 8 oz. (our little juice glasses at home hold 8 oz., if that gives you some perspective). So if you use a large glass for dinner and if you fill it twice, you have probably consumed a minimum of 24 oz. right there. Suppose you do this for both breakfast and lunch. 24 + 24 + the 8 you drank first thing in the morning, and... voila, you have downed 56 oz, virtually pain free. That leaves only one more 8 oz. glass for you to swallow, which leads me to...

c) Get a water bottle (like your Sig, Shannon), and carry it with you as much as possible, drinking and refilling it. There you go. You are over 64 oz. and it was easy-peasy.

But, you may ask, "Why would we want to drink all that water?"

Drinking lots of water has so many benefits, it is hard to begin. It is good for your health, flushing impurities out of your system. In so doing, it fights infection and can also prevent illnesses. Water drinking also prevents constipation, and in so doing (and also perhaps independently) prevents headaches. It can even alleviate a headache. Drinking lots of water is good for your skin, good for your breath, and good for reminding you to get up and walk down the hall to the bathroom when you are focused on a sedentary activity and might otherwise forget to get up and stretch. It can help you keep trim and fit because if you are concentrating on drinking enough water in a day, you are less likely to think about snacks or feel that you need them. You get less of that gnawing hunger feeling in your belly if your belly is usually full of water, and that prevents overeating at mealtimes as well. It is even good for your teeth, keeping them rinsed and flushing away food particles.

You may say, "But the water where I live tastes bad!"

Some water does taste bad. There are times when the water here tastes bad. Let me know if you want a water filter system for Christmas. The Brita system is pretty good, although the replacement filters can get expensive.

When we go to NC on vacation, I hate the water there, so we buy gallons of water from WalMart. You can usually get a gallon of water from WalMart for about 88 cents. 64 oz. per day comes out to 3.5 gallons of water a week, and if you want to make a half gallon of orange juice concentrate with this water instead of using the blechy tap water, you might as well plan on four gallons per week. This will cost you $3.52 per week, which is not free, but probably won't break the bank. (The half gallon of orange juice which you make from the extra water should be a nice amount to carry you through the week. If you add the whole 64 oz. to the concentrate, it will be a bit weaker than their suggested dilution, but I've always added an extra can of water to our OJ to make it go farther, so it should taste familiar to you. In the end, that will give you 76 oz. which means you can have nearly 11 oz. of orange juice every morning for the week, not a bad system!)

Other tips for fluid intake:

Water is always delicious served with ice, lemon and a straw. For a really special treat, squeeze about a quarter of a lemon into a glass of water, then drop in the rind or zest it. Stir in 1/4 tsp. stevia powder. Serve with ice. This is natural, sugar-free lemonade, and it is delicious.

Tea is really good for you. You can't quite substitute it for water because of the diuretic effect of the caffeine, but tea is good stuff. It actually seems to help people avoid getting sick. Also, it is very soothing for almost all illnesses. It soothes tender stomachs when there is a digestive disorder, and it soothes sore throats and helps to clear out sinuses with its antiseptic steam when you have a cold, too. Keep tea on hand!

The green tea varieties at Aldi (lemon ginseng or passion fruit and jasmine) are quite tasty, even without any sweetener. You might like to brew two of these tea bags in a quart sized ball jar. After the tea has steeped for 3-5 minutes, remove the bags. Cap the jars and set aside to cool, then chill in the refrigerator. This is a refreshing way to reflavor unsavory water. I have plenty of ball jars, so just say the word if you'd like some.

Hot tea is best when you are sick. You can also drink hot water with lemon, which is incredibly healthy and purifying. Hot water with lemon and honey is an excellent remedy for a cold or a sore throat.

Please do not drink soda. It is so unbelievably bad for you. If you get a terrible craving for a sweet, carbonated beverage, try mixing half a glass of your favorite natural fruit juice with a half a glass of club soda. This is actually much more refreshing than soda. Plus, it has only half the sugar of a glass of juice and only half the carbonation of a glass of soda (carbonation contributes to kidney stones). I particularly like cranberry juice this way, but orange juice and ruby red grapefruit juice aren't half bad.

Orange juice is the best kind of juice, because they don't usually add sugar to it; oranges are naturally sweet (read your labels, though!). Most other fruit juices are loaded with HFCS. You can have some of these juices now and then for a treat, but they should not be a part of your every day diet.

Please, really, avoid soda like the plague. Please. Soda is death.

Milk is OK. I prefer to drink whole milk, because it is a more natural form of milk. If you can afford organic, that's obviously the best for you. I always try to get milk that comes from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones, even though I can't afford organic the way these boys go through milk. I encourage you to think of milk as a food rather than a beverage. Drink water to quench your thirst. Drink milk to give yourself a feeling of satiety. Kefir and yogurt are generally easier to digest than milk. If you ever want kefir grains, let me know.

Well, that's enough for today. There will be more coming.

Other posts in this series:
Good-bye, girls--part one,
Good-bye, girls--part two,
Good-bye, girls--part three,
Good-bye, girls--part four.

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