Why Skinny People Live Longer

This past week I had my annual exam, you know the one you dread. You might think I dread it for the awkward small talk you have with your doctor while their head is in a place you can’t see or the drawing of blood which leaves a bruise on your arm which makes the grocery clerk think your husband beats you, no. I dread the part where I have my clothes on and am sitting in my doc’s office and we have to discuss “my weight.”

I know I have a good doctor because we always discuss “my weight”, no matter how much both of us hate it. The real problem is that years ago I did get down to a really good weight so he says to me, “I know you can do it, because you did it before.”

Since my check up three different friends have confessed to me they have “middle-aged check-upitis” too, all because they do not or did not want to have the weight discussion with their doctors. One friend even said she has not had a check up in three years because she wanted to lose weight before going in to see the doctor. That plan back fired because she ran into her Doctor out socially and he told her there she had to lose weight and get in for her check up.

Now, I have never had a doctor even raise his voice to me about my weight, but that is what is happening in my own head. Every person who needs to lose weight already knows it, but it is your doctors job to say it out loud.

So here is my theory why skinny people live longer…. Without having the dread of the stepping on the scale at the doctor’s office they are more likely to get their annual exams and catch potential illnesses before they go too far.

Also, skinny people often exercise to the point that they wear their knee joints out prematurely. This often interferes with their ability to work out which they actually like to do, so they seek out more medical attention than just their yearly physical. I am amazed how many people find life threatening heart problems when they go to get their pre-op exams. If it weren’t for their crazy need to run 13 miles a day they might have died of a heart attack while waiting in line at the DMV.

I also don’t know one skinny person who attributes odd pains to gas. If something in their middle is not feeling right it certainly is not due to something they ate. That pain is worth exploring and not waiting until the Mexican food you had yesterday has had it’s way with you.

So we all know that losing weight is good for your health, but maybe pretending you are skinny, at least in your mind, and getting your annual check-up is the best way to live a longer life.

Diet Jeopardy

In the spirit of Alex Trebeck…

“What is 22.”

“How much weight I have lost?”

“What is $558.25”

“How much money per pound is pledged?”

“What is 182”

“How many people, couples, families or companies are supporting me in the weight loss challenge?”

Regularly I am going to report my results on the first of the month, but I will not be near my regulation scales on July 1st, so today is the day to close out June.

That leaves me four more months to reach all my goals. I think that I am on track to lose 50 pounds by Nov. 1 and you can be sure I won’t be closing October out early. You can’t imagine how helpful it is to me to stay the course when I have all of you supporting, cheering or just plain watching me to see if I can do it.

My second goal of trying to raise $1,000 per each pound lost is by far the harder goal to reach. If you are reading this you probably already pledged something and I thank you for that. If you haven’t pledged, it is never too late. There are some benefits for you. Your donation to the Food Bank will be tax deductible, you will be included in the list of my supporters on the blog and you will have the satisfaction that you are feeding people who are hit the hardest by this economy and are truly thankful for you. I have met these people and it is humbling how appreciative they are for donors like you.

The best part is that The Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC will take every dollar you donate and turn it into $10 worth of food. What leverage that is, you help me eat less food while at the same time you help other people get to eat something.

I know the phrase win-win is over used, but this is a win-win-win.

So I have to do the dieting part and I hope that you are reading and enjoying the blog and the recipes. Any help you can give me by forwarding the blog to everyone you know would be appreciated. I don’t think I can get to the $1,000 goal by myself. I need you, your neighbor and your neighbor’s mother to join the campaign.

Thanks again and God bless each of you and your dog.

Who Shouldn’t Fly- And It’s Not Who You Think

Last week Carter and I flew to NYC and tomorrow I am off to Texas.  This frequency of air travel is reminiscent of my life before Carter was born and I flew over 100,000 miles a year, but that was pre-9/11.  Thank goodness all this flying is not my normal life anymore.


Recently I have noted there are certain segments of the population that should never attempt to go anywhere via commercial airliners.  First, hoarders.  With most airlines allowing only one small carry-on before charging you outrageous fees to check a bag, a hoarder has a hell of a time deciding what not to bring home from a trip, what with all the sample size shampoos and lotions available at hotels and the half–eaten lunches, that are still perfectly good and deserve to be brought home to be eaten at a much later date, perhaps 5 or 6 years in the future.


The second segment is the technology non-savvy.  I can’t even imagine how in the world someone who is not a computer whiz can even purchase a ticket on an airplane, let alone get a seat or a boarding pass.


The third group is the out of shape, at least if you don’t have a direct flight.  Now a- days airlines don’t seem to give a hoot that they are selling tickets where passengers have to make a connection in less than 45 minutes.  Heaven forbid you are seated in the back of the plane on your first leg, with a full flight of people who all carried on all their bags because they had to, and those bags are really heavy with stolen shampoos and lotions.  So you are spending 25 minutes trying to get off the first plane parked at gate A24 only to discover that your next flight takes off from D99.  As you deplane the “I can’t be any more bored with my job” gate agent’s helpful words are, “You better RUN.”


The fourth group, are the dieters.  The good news is that airlines no longer serve you bad food that is also fattening.  One might think that no food would be good for dieting, but not for six hours or more.  And the TSA really frowns upon you trying to bring anything liquid or wrapped in foil through the security line, so none of the food the hoarders doggie bags are going to make it pass the screening machine.  So you are left to try and hunt down something healthy, as you run between flights and if you are not technology savvy you are unable to pull a list off the internet of the food vendors available along your route between gates, even if you did have time to stop and buy something it is all more fattening than the horrible stuff they used to serve on the airplane back in the good ‘ole days.

Thai Slaw with Chicken and Peanuts

This is a really crunchy, satisfying summer salad.  I like to add the dressing right before serving so it does not get soggy.


6 cups of shredded Napa cabbage

2 cups of shredded red cabbage

10 green onions chopped – white and green parts

1 cup of shredded carrots

1 red pepper diced

½ cup red onion diced

½ cup chopped cilantro

1 pint cherry tomatoes halved


1/3-cup fish sauce

1/3 rice wine vinegar

8 packets of Splenda

2 T. limejuice

1 T. Sesame oil

1 T. water

2 cloves of garlic – minced

2 T. fresh ginger – minced

2 dried red chilies – crushed or ½ t. red pepper flakes

3 half chicken breasts- grilled and shredded

6T. Chopped peanuts

Mix all the veggies together.

Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake up.

Add the chicken to the veggies and toss together with the dressing.  Only pour about half the dressing on at once and see if you need more after tossing.

Put in individual bowls and sprinkle with a tablespoon of peanut on each bowl.

You can get at least 6 dinner size servings out of this.

You can use other vegetables, like diced cucumber, avocado, hot peppers, zucchini, green cabbage, Savoy cabbage, whatever you like.

Blackberry Mint Lime Cooler

All my life I have always equated blackberries with summer in North Carolina.  Growing up in Connecticut we did not have indigenous blackberries.  But when we went to visit my paternal Grandparents at Hom-a-gen Farm, in Providence NC we had an over abundance of the sweet berries that grew wild in a huge thicket down the hill from a cow barn.


My grandmother, Granettes, loved blackberries and my Granddad loved anything free so I was often conscripted into climbing between the prickly brambles to pick the juicy ripe berries.


Granettes was a very good cook from whom I learned many tricks in the kitchen.  She was not great at giving me recipes, but would describe at length how biscuit dough should feel between your fingers or how to tell that caramel icing for the 1-2-3-5 cake had been cooked the right amount without ever using a thermometer.


Blackberry cobbler was a huge favorite, especially with the Yankee Grandchildren because first it was a dessert, something we did not get often and second the blackberries were so fresh, those few we brought back in the bucket and not in our stomachs.


I will never forget the earful Granettes gave Granddad when a farm worker accidentally wiped out the whole blackberry patch with a bush hog.  It was a sad summer without blackberries.


Yesterday, when I was writing about Friendly’s, a drink I used to get there in the summer came back to mind.  It was a watermelon cooler.  I think that at Friendly’s it was merely watermelon sherbet and soda water run together in the milkshake machine.


Since cobbler is not on my approved list of helpful weight-loss foods and I was thinking about that watermelon cooler I made up a yummy black berry drink.


½ cup fresh blackberries

2 T. fresh limejuice

2 packets of Splenda

4 mint leaves

1 cup of ice

10 oz. club soda


Put everything in a container that you can put a stick blender in, or in a blender and add about 1/3 of the club soda.  Whirl up until the ice is crushed and the black berries are gone.  Pour in a big glass and add the rest of the club soda.  Tastes like summer to me.



Blueberry Basil Greek Yogurt Dessert

Growing up in Wilton, Connecticut we lived in what was considered the boonies.  The closest grocery store was at least fifteen minutes away and there were no restaurants except for a Friendly’s ice cream shop.    Actually, we lived equal distance between the Wilton Friendly’s and the Ridgefield Friendly’s, but we rarely got to visit them.  My skinny mother did not believe in desserts.   Except on Sunday nights after two of the three daughters had gone to bed.  Well, actually she never believed in desserts, but my father had a way of breaking her down.  After a weekend of hard 1970’s partying he would crave something sweet and she would succumb to his temptations.

So usually sometime around 9:30, while I was watching TV in the family room I would hear my father’s bright yellow VW Scirocco tear down our long gravel driveway like a rocket headed for Friendly’s.  I would have to go to bed before he made the 45 minute round trip, arriving home with two half gallons of hand packed ice cream, one always Butter Pecan, my mother’s favorite and some chocolate concoction like Jamocha Almond Fudge for my father.  My father, never one to live small, always gilded the lily with a pint of hot fudge sauce.

My sisters and I always found the evidence of the forbidden dessert on Monday morning when we opened the freezer to get a can of Minute Maid tangerine juice out of the freezer, but amazingly by the time we returned home from school the contraband dessert was AWOL.  My mother’s guilt over having ice cream caused her to throw away the devil’s due.

Having spent the day at school hoping to get ice cream for our afternoon snack my sisters and I got good at making desserts from things people don’t usually consider dessert.  Grapes, sour cream and brown sugar was a favorite, but cinnamon toast with a huge amount of butter soaked cinnamon sugar on top was practically on par with birthday cake.

Today’s recipe is something along the lines of a Carter girl dessert concoction.  It’s simple, and actually quite good in the best of summer ways.

1 cup of fresh blueberries

4 Basil leaves –chiffonade

3 heaping tablespoons Greek Yogurt

½ t. honey

Sprinkle of crystallized Ginger

Mix it all together; eat pretending it is ice cream with hot fudge sauce.

What’s Left to Give up?

I love watching weight loss stories on the news.  First, people who are terrifically skinny, even in the camera-adds-ten-pounds world of TV are the ones doing the reporting.  I am not sure that Robin Roberts or Diane Sawyer have ever had an issue with their weight.


Obviously, dieting stories are good for ratings, because they are constantly running them, but somehow more and more people are getting fat.  If the stories were even somewhat helpful some part of the population would be getting thinner; perhaps the group who watched the news.   But that does not seem to be the case.


My favorite reporting about weight control is when the anchor reports on the outright dangers of consuming one food or drink, such as sugar-laden sodas or 600 calorie Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino.   No S**t.  I have not had a drink with real sugar in it in at least 30 years.  Oh, maybe I had a sip of real lemonade, but once I realize that liquid sugar had just gurgled down my throat, I throw down that cup and run.  I would always rather eat my calories, than drink them any day.


Another liquid culprit often blamed for weight gain is alcohol.  I have a friend, who shall remain nameless, announced to a group of women on a church retreat that she was not drinking wine that weekend, but instead was having vodka because she was on a diet.


Since I gave up drinking in 1984, not for dietary reasons, but because I drank too much one night in Miami and lost my underpants.  When I woke-up with the worst hangover on earth without those panties I swore I would never drink again until I found them.  Suffice it to say I no longer have alcohol to give up to help lose weight.


Gluten is the new darling of foods-that-should-never-pass-your-lips, as is the anti-white-food group, white food being made up of white flour and sugar.  So I too have given up sugar and most flour, except a little of that magic Wondra that makes pan-sautéed fish so good.  But is that the answer?  Probably not.


The latest report on the news that I actually think might be a winner is giving up your big plates.  They say that if you use a smaller plate and fill it up, your brain thinks you actually ate more than if you used a big plate and put a smaller amount of food on it.  So small plates it is.  And thank god, because I am running out of things to give up.


Note to readers:

If you have been missing recipes, I have been away in NYC and taking Carter to Camp Cheerio so I have not been home to cook.  Please send me messages of what you are craving so I can make up some new recipes for things you want to eat.