Friday, July 21, 2017

Another way to eat

If you are like me, you are eternally searching for a healthy way to eat. In the past, I tended toward the high-protein, low-carb diets for weight loss, but found them unsustainable. Similarly, I like the idea of being vegetarian but could not get it to work for me, particularly the emphasis on soy products (ugh).

Then my ex had not one but two heart attacks recently. Now I'm more concerned about overall health rather than just weight loss. Coincidentally, my neighbor across the street turned me onto How Not To Die, by Dr. Michael Greger, and his Daily Dozen (available as an app).

For the past month or so, I have been migrating toward Dr. Greger's plant based way of eating. It hasn't been that hard, as I like fruits and vegetables (and they are all in season right now) and nuts and beans. Not one to throw out food, I have been gradually clearing the cupboards of foods not on the list.

One thing I like about Dr. Greger's approach is he promotes what to eat instead of what not to eat. For example, if the only way you will eat salad greens is if they are topped with Bacon Bits, go for it, because eating the greens is more important than not eating the Bacon Bits. For me, I can't seem to live without dairy.

One thing I do not like about the Daily Dozen is it is WAY too much fiber for my system. I find it more doable if I alternate bean days with salad days, and choose Cheerios over oatmeal. Also, I cut some of the high fiber portions by half.

A surprising side effect of eating this way is my craving for carbs has begun to fade away. I like to eat something salty followed by something sweet. Now instead of chips and a Snickers bar, popcorn (with butter and nutritional yeast) and then a piece of fruit usually suffice.

I'm not 100% compliant, but then that is not the point. I no longer buy meat to cook at home, but when eating out I usually have some kind of animal protein (bacon still tastes wonderful but other meats now seem rather meh). I still enjoy ice cream but add fruit and nuts to my sundaes.

So far, I am finding this an enjoyable way to eat. I haven't lost any weight (see ice cream above) but I feel more self-righteous. We'll see if it affects my cholesterol numbers in six months.

Monday, July 17, 2017

It's only money

I used to joke that it is easier to buy a new car than new tires. This year I did both. The plan was to trade in the car before it needed tires, but I procrastinated a bit too long, then didn't want to feel rushed into a car-buying decision. (In Fort Wayne, Tire Barn is the place to get tires - fast and friendly.)

I test drove both a Honda CR-V and a Subaru Forester. Either car would have made me happy, but I went with the CR-V because it was familiar, the dealership is familiar, the salesman is familiar, and the car itself felt fresher than the Forester. Ordinarily, I steer clear of extended warranties, but this time purchased one because of all the fancy new electronics.

Boring colors to choose from. This is Sandstorm Metallic.

Speaking of which, some of those electronic features are not working out like I expected. Android Auto is a disappointment, rarely works without rebooting my phone, and then craps out unexpectedly. The Bluetooth hands-free mode is better but still sometimes requires a phone reboot to connect. And one time the display screen went completely blank; I had to stop and restart the car to get it back, something I'm not likely to do on the highway.

For everyday driving, the car is fine, smooth and zippy, and I like the safety features... mostly. Sometimes when the car beeps at me because it thinks I should be braking, I get annoyed. But I am growing fond of the blind spot indicators on the exterior rear view mirrors, as well as the backup camera, when I remember to look at them.

Then there are the buttons. There is a button to start the car, several to open and close the hatch, three to train (one opens my garage door). The moon roof switch works like the window switches, with auto open/close. Locking the car involves touching ridges on the door handle, unlocking is accomplished by just grabbing the door handle.

There are some features I executed during the test drive but have not had the opportunity to try on my own, like the adaptive cruise control with low speed follow and the road departure mitigation. Tomorrow my SO and I are taking a mini road trip, though, so there's my chance.

I'm geeky enough to be turned on by all the new technology, but sometimes the CR-V feels like too much car for me, too fancy. Some days I have to remind myself that learning new things is good for my brain. I also really loved my old CR-V; it was hard to let it go. This one won't be the automotive love-of-my-life, but it'll do. And my granddaughter is really impressed by it - that counts for something!