Monday, June 12, 2017

Blood Work Results Are In

My doctor's appointment is not until Friday, but I got the report from my blood work in the mail a few days ago.

This process back to health has been a good experience. I have learned so much in the last few months. I am getting results that I haven't been able to attain before. My diet, as most of you know, has made all the difference in the world. I have been vegetarian before, but never got the results I have now that I've gone vegan. For me, eliminating dairy, eggs, oils and sugar was the key.  I am 100% vegan now and I don't eat any overt fats or take in any added sugar.....nothing more than what comes naturally in fruits and vegetables.  And contrary to many beliefs, plant-based foods have plenty of needed protein, calcium and good fats. I get everything I need except Vitamin B-12, which is a concern for most, I take a supplement. I also take Vitamin D, but honestly I am outside so much that I probably get more than enough from the sun.

I still have a little work to do. My doctor's comments on the latest lab report was to continue diet and exercise and repeat in 3 months. I'm confident I will be completely in the normal range by the time I have those labs done.  My diet and lifestyle have changed for the better and I will continue this way for the rest of my life, so there's no reason to believe otherwise. The results below will show the before and after. 

The results.......

Since March 1, 2017:  I have lost 22-23 lbs. and am still losing.....ever so slowly.

Lab reports:
                                    March, 2017     May 31, 2017
Glucose (fasting)       262                    99 (excellent)
A1c                              10.6                   6.8  (needs to be below 6.0)
Cholesterol                 322                    214 (needs to be below 200)
LDL Cholesterol         220                    143 (needs to be below 130)
Triglyceride               285                    194 (needs to be below 150)
       (sorry if this looks wonky....trying to line up numbers in blogger.....argh!)

Well, that's it in a nutshell. Much improved and feeling great, I'll continue doing what I've been doing. It's working!

I'll update you in 3 months to let you know the results then. In the meantime, hope everyone is having a good spring. It is super busy around here. My garden is doing so good. I picked squash, cucumbers and green beans last week. There are a few tomatoes on the bushes...small and green and plenty of blossoms. I have two new additions to my kitchen Instant Pot (pressure cooker, etc.) and a pressure canner. Love the Instant Pot and I can't wait to use the canner. I'm gonna have so much fun!

Take soon,

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Quick 'Hey Y'all'

Just wanted to drop in and say, hey y'all. Hope you all had a great and safe Memorial Day. We spent it at the beach. And great was wall to wall people and motorcycles and people. Lovely weather, though.

Cliff, Lidia and Sawyer ran a race at Brookgreen Gardens Sunday evening. Sawyer was coming in second place....until his race route was mistakenly merged with the 5K runners. He was dissappointed that he got included with the 5K finishers and didn't get his second place finish. Bless it!

I would love to stay and chat a while, but posting from my iPhone is a challenge. My computer is having issues. Ugh! And I had some pretty garden and flower pictures to show you, too. Oh well, I'll save them for another day. The computer is on it's way to the tech, tomorrow.

Oh yeah, this is the week that I go back for repeated blood work. I'll let y'all know, when I get the results. The weight is coming off super slow now, but I am down 21 lbs.

Talk soon,

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Potting Bench and a Look Around the Garden and Yard

Hey y'all! Hope everyone is having a nice spring day. It's gorgeous, here, in South Carolina. Mid 80's, no humidity and plenty of sunshine. I've been outside, today, planting flowers and poofing some things. 

Cliff and Sawyer built my potting bench Saturday. Holler! Cliff built it from boards that he salvaged from an old dock that we found submerged in the lake, in front of our property. Originally, I wanted to use the boards to make a table for an outdoor kitchen area, but there's construction going on in that area right now (Cliff is having a shop/garage built). So, we decided that the old dock would make a great potting bench instead. 

I took a lot of, I'm just gonna let you go ahead and take a look around the garden and yard.

 I love that Cliff is teaching Sawyer to use power tools....he sure won't let me use them. LOL!!

 He's almost finished. I was so excited!

 And here it potting bench! It looks a little bare right now, but I'm not finished with it yet. Cliff is going to put the cleats back on that once held ropes to tie up boats and I have some cute little hooks to hang on it, too.
I'm, also, thinking about putting a chair and umbrella there to the right of the potting bench. You know, so a girl can relax in the shade for a few minutes after doing all that gardening.

 The shelf is the perfect place to store things up out of the way of my work area.

 See that metal colander hanging there on the right. It's one of my new finds. I have a smaller one just like it that I use in the house, but I'll use this one to gather my vegetables.

 There was a lot of planting going on here this morning. 

I have a new you see her? She's Glory the goat.

 Oh, and I also have chickens in my garden. This is Marvin and Matilda. It would be nice if they would help fertilize. Ha!

 Around the yard, the Day Lilies are starting to bloom.

 The hanging basket is up for Mama Bird to enjoy, when she comes home.

 I'm planting these Dianthus tomorrow in the side flower bed.

I absolutely love purple flowers!

Speaking of loving some flowers.....Glory gives new meaning to stopping and smelling the roses or in this case, Zinnias. 

The garden is doing great! Lettuce and carrots. I've already picked the lettuce, twice.

 The Lone Ranger....the only sugar snap pea that came up. I need to go back to the drawing board with these. I think I should have planted them earlier.

Or maybe I should have just hooped the sugar snap peas in the compost bin. Everything comes up in there....with reckless and wild abandon. These are pumpkin seeds. I'm letting them do their thang. 

Oh law! There are those chickens again.

Happy day! Talk soon!


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Salsa Verde

I've got another favorite recipe for y'all. It's actually my daughter, Emily's, recipe, but I taught her to share. If you like Tex Mex, then this is the recipe for you. You can eat it with chips, if you like. Of course, I eat it on baked potatoes and drizzle it over my salads. It's delicious drizzled over beans and rice, too. 


Tomatillos: 4 to 5 large...or...7 to 8 small
Jalapenos: 1 large or 2 small
Onion: 1/4 large or 1/2 small
Garlic: 3 cloves
Cilantro: 1 bunch 
Salt: To taste

  If you've never seen tomatillos before, they look like small green tomatoes in a thin papery green husk. They are sold in the grocery store near the tomatoes. You will need to remove these husks and wash the tomatillos...they tend to have a sticky residue on the skin. You'll notice that I used one and a half pieces of jalapeno. This gives it a pretty good bit of heat. If you like a milder Salsa Verde, use just one jalapeno.

Next, place the tomatillos and jalapenos in a pot and bring to a vigorous boil. Immediately, remove the pot from the burner and set aside. Reserve the water for later, if needed.

While the tomatillos and jalapenos are coming up to a boil, wash your cilantro and peel your onion and garlic.

Place the cilantro, onion, garlic, tomatillos and jalapenos in a blender or food processor. Add salt to taste...I usually start with about a 1/2 tsp. 
You can always add more, if you need to.
If the salsa is a little too thick, add a tablespoon or two of the reserved water. 

This recipe yielded one quart.

Of course, the salsa will be warm when you're done. Refrigerate it for a couple of hours to cool and let the flavors meld. The salsa keeps well in the fridge for a couple of weeks....if it lasts that long. I doubt it will. You'll want to eat it on everything. 

Let me know if you try it. 


Health Journey Update: 

Weight Loss:  19 lbs.
Blood Sugars today: 102
Energy Level: Fabulous
Exercise this week: Bike - 40 miles, Walk/Run - 2 miles  

~~ ** Laurie **~~

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In Case You Were Wondering...

This is my garden post. 


I have really had a lot of fun getting out in the garden this spring, planting and watching things grow. The plants are still small and I can't wait until they fill in the beds and start giving me lots of veggies. 

My garden is still under construction, so to speak. I still don't have a potting shed or a potting bench, for that matter. Hopefully, I can hogtie Cliff long enough to at least make me a potting bench, soon. Or, I just might have to pull out his power tools and make one myself....even though I'm forbidden from using power tools. HaHa! He does get brownie points, though, because he made me an extra raised bed and another compost bin.

I have a couple of garden accents I want to hang and I am patiently waiting for my zinnias and marigolds to grow big enough to plant around in different spots. Perpetual progress, I think, sums up the garden pretty well.

Well, as you can see, I took lots of photos and I'm just gonna go ahead and let them do the talking. 

I just love my little garden. It looks so cottage-y.

I've planted more vegetables this year than last and if I had the room, I would plant even more. I'll give you a quick list.....carrots, lettuce, onions, kale, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, celery, tomatoes, cantaloupe, jalapeno, beets, radishes, squash, zucchini, watermelon, cucumbers, string beans, okra and dill. I also planted some spinach and sugar snap peas, but I think I planted them too late. Only one sugar snap pea germinated and the spinach never grew taller than an inch before dying off. 

My new raised bed is under the window and is home to the string beans and okra. And, do you see the pink tub and a tiny bit of a blue tub sticking up beside the new bed? That's where my other compost bin went. Cliff had not installed it yet before I too these pictures. 

From this view, in the top left corner of the garden is where some sort of potting shed or bench is day...some day...whenever. 
And do you see that metal bin hanging on the side of the house? I use it to store a few small garden tools, extra gloves, garden string and scissors.

Last winter, I direct composted in the garden beds as well as topped dressed them with leaves. I really used too many leaves, though. They didn't break down all the way before it was time to plant. I probably spread the leaves 3 to 4 inches thick. However, the leaves that did break down made some good compost for the beds and the remaining leaves, although not very pretty, are helping to hold moisture and keeping the soil somewhat cooler during our long hot days. Because of the direct composting, I had a few volunteers. This is a watermelon volunteer.

....and, this is cantaloupe volunteers.

One way to get free plants and is so much fun to experiment with is to cut off the bottoms of certain vegetables that I buy at the store and root them in water. I've done it with celery, romaine lettuce and this one, bok choy.




Carrots. Yes, they need to be thinned, but I can't bring myself to do it. I've never had good luck growing carrots until this year. And they look so pretty that I hate to bother them.

Mixed lettuce. I picked quite a bit last weekend. It was delish.
I did a succession planting of this lettuce, Saturday. I'm not sure how it will fair since we are getting some really hot days, lately.

Tomato. I planted several varieties of tomatoes this year....some heirloom and some cherry tomatoes, too.

We've already been enjoying the radishes.

Since space is limited, I'm trying planting in pots this year. The one in the center is cucumbers and the two on the sides are zucchini and squash

  Cilantro, also growing in a pot.

String Beans


And before you go, I just had to show you one of my flowers in bloom. I am so happy with this Catmint. This is the second year's growth. I've planted them beneath my crepe myrtles. I love them so much that I ordered three more and planted them in the back of the house to help hide the AC unit. 

Last, but not you remember
The Hope and The Potential?
This, my friends, is The Promise.

I've already picked the early cabbage and this head is in my we speak. It will be sauerkraut in a week or so. I can't, I love that stuff. I have a later planting of cabbages growing, but once again, it's getting hot and I'm not sure how they will do. I'm still learning the best time to plant things, but with our unusually warm February and then a freeze in March, I'm sure the plants are as confused as I am. 

Hope I didn't keep you too long. I'll give updates as the season progresses. 

How's your garden growing?

Oh wait, I wanted to show you our salad from the garden. It's just lettuce, radish and a few sprigs of dill. I dressed it with plain white balsamic vinegar. Soooo good! 
I also wanted to show one of our favorite plant-based meals. A beans, rice and vegetable bowl. The possibilities are endless. And, depending on the combination, each bowl has it's own unique deliciousness.

Check back in a few days. I'm going to share another favorite recipe.

~~** Laurie **~~