An update to my coconut experiment...of my three volunteers, all male, one in his late 30's, the other two in their 50's, one reported, after just a week that his skinny jeans were so skinny any more. One of the 50 somethings lost 3 pounds the first week and said his skin was better...he must suffer through cold Illinois winters. Unfortunately, my third volunteer had to stop as the coconut oil was giving him heartburn. I have not been as diligent about my daily consumption, however, I think there's been a shift in my body fat. My weight goal for the year is to drop the last 5 pounds so the target is 50 KG, 110 pounds. I've been listening & reading to the raw foodists, the paleo people and more just to see what I'm willing to tweak. It really is about lifestyle change and how much you are willing to change your lifestyle to accomplish your goals. On the fitness front, more plyometrics and a little more diligence on the weight training and cardio. Also been slipping on the yoga practice during the holidays so that needs to be back on track as I'm thinking a 500 hour training course in the fall. 

 
A couple of weeks ago, i stumbled on to this post about coconut oil. I talked three friends into adding coconut oil into their diet. Yesterday, I stopped to visit one friend who wasn't sure, but his skinny jeans were't skinny anymore. Then this morning, a friend in Chicago who added coconut oil noticed his skin is not so dry in the cold winter air and he's dropped three pounds. Hopefully I'll get an update tomorrow from the third participant. Any ladies willing to experiment...read the article first...the author's anectodal results are near the end.
 
Why am I up at 1:30 a.m? Thunder so loud it set off the neighbor's car alarm and a very fast passing storm. Decided to check my email...I do subscribe to way to many health newsletters, at least it doesn't cost me anything but time and there are some nuggets of gold. However, this one was a typical buy my pill because I've discovered something new. This one was for maintaining blood sugar levels. "You won’t feel guilty about every meal, or squint to read every list of food ingredients, because you will know that your blood sugar will be kept in check, as long as you also eat and exercise in a healthy way." And there it is, just as with the old time diet aids...take this pill and also eat and exercise in a healthy way. Now if we just all would eat and exercise in a healthy way, can we save our money and not buy the magic pill and have the same results? Oh, the new find is blueberry leaf extract. I live in Bangkok...blueberry leaf made me think of mulberry leaf, something that is sold hear as a tea. Google the benefits of mulberry leaf tea and sure enough, it can help with blood sugar levels. Just found what is possibly a similar solution at a fraction of the price.
 
Just had this cross my FB page. http://www.burnthefatblog.com/archives/2010/10/are_you_an_active_couch_potato.php
Bottom line is long,uninterrupted stretches of sitting does not do a body good even if one exercises regularly. I have to admit I'm luckier than most, my pay-the-rent work, although mostly tied to a computer screen allows me to sit, stand, dance, bounce, or whatever else I can think of. However, when I start to sew, I can sit for hours and not realize where the time has gone. One tip is to find an timer (I've found them at my version of the dollar store). I'll set it for 15 minutes as a reminder that I need to get up and stretch. 
 
More bad news at the day job...the government decided we owe more taxes from two years ago...yikes...the challenge will be to manage the stress while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Started a salsa class last week, learning LA/Cuban style...after 3 years of NY style, a reversal, but a fun challenge. Still going to the yoga studio at least 3 times a week, but I'm trying to do a few poses in the morning at home. For me, the practice of yoga helps me to keep my sanity. On the nutrition front, started playing with my new Excalibur dehydrator. Decided that my 16 year old US one needs to be retired. Th Ex is fabulous...made collard chips and understand why so many are addicted. Testing out drying frozen blueberries and cranberries since the commercial ones always have sugar. Also some banana yogurt leather with cinnamon & nutmeg and banana chips with cinnamon. Earlier this week tested a vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe that got my daughter's approval. No sugar, no butter, no eggs. Since I have a tendency to eat when I'm stressed, trying to make stuff that won't take me too far off track. Stuff that crunches which is why I find the collard chips amazing. 
 
Unofficially single. Returned from an 8 day stay on Guam where an uncontested divorce takes only 7 days. Still waiting for the official paperwork to arrive. When I returned to Bangkok from Hawaii, I learned the boss was relocating to the US and I was left "in charge". Company has not been profitable and though there are potential new business, it's uncertain, maybe 35% chance of happening. So I now have the unpleasant task of downsizing the company. Stress is the major challenge. Getting back on track with exercise and nutrition, so hopefully it will help me keep life in balance. Still working on losing some of the February weight. Stumbled on the concept of primal, so will be truly eliminating wheat to see if that helps.
 
Feeling a little guilty as my friend posted a link to my page and I haven't updated it. Life happens, in my case dealing with the death of my mother in February and then spending July & August working on clearing her house in preparation to rent it. What I learned for myself is how much I can let myself be allowed to be influenced by my environment still. Life was hectic when I got back to Bangkok in March...moving house, costumes for dance recitals, rehearsals and more. Did manage to get my exercise and nutrition back on track and dropped half of the pounds I put on with the February coffee & cream puffs. Headed back to Hawaii in late June to start clearing my mother's house...the great ambition was to have it emptied by the end of August. However...instead everything is sorted and by going a bit slower, there was good closure for all in the family. While in Hawaii did learn about how who one is with can have impacts on eating & exercise practices, even with good willpower & intentions. My guests in July were healthy eaters...fresh veggies, snacking on summer's fruit bounty, the occasional glass of wine or beer. Plus regular yoga. Regular trips out to watch sunsets & waves breaking were good for the soul. Then the kids showed up in August...junk food appeared as well as the Hamburger Helper. I live in Bangkok without cable. In Hawaii, the tube was turned to the reality shows...I can't believe what is designed to be entertainment now. Inconsiderate, rude behavior broadcasted that must have a detrimental effect. Glorification of toxic behavior. Not sure this is representative of the majority of the US, the problem is this is what is seen overseas and then we wonder why Americans are hated internationally.
 
I love my new Vitamix...lots of improvements since I first bought one over 15 years ago. This one is actually must easier to use and keep clean. I've been experimenting with all sorts of juice combinations....what I like is how it pulverizes the fiber and seeds. Did a veggie one the other day...learned I need to tone down the pepper as after a few sips my lips were burning...it was much spicier than V8. I've made peanut butter too...a bit wary as it was making peanut butter that killed my old machine. Between the juices and cutting out the coffee (well most of the time) I am feeling great energy. Now if I can manage the stress of the upcoming move....I am tossing out as much as feasible...over lunch today the discussion was on how clutter can be stressul.
 
Just returned to Bangkok after a the most stressful month of my life in Honolulu...it was my mother's last month. I made an emergency trip at the beginning of February as my 91 year old mother had a stroke, fell & broke her hip. She was to be on bed rest for at least 6 to 8 weeks as her weak heart precluded any surgery. I did manage to fit in 12 yoga classes during the 4 weeks to help manage some of the stress. But I knew I was medicating with sugar, caffeine & alcohol...I was introduced to Satura Cake's cream puffs and then there were all the comfort foods like cone sushi. I was making daily or sometimes twice-daily visits to the hospital while clearing the clutter from my mother's house so that she could eventually return. I knew I was in trouble by week three of my trip when the jeans I had popped it's button. So a combination of bad nutrition and not enough physical exercise has added 4.8 kilos (around 11 pounds). Why do I know the number so accurately? When I arrived back in Bangkok, I had to go to the hospital for a medical certificate for my work permit. I already ditched the caffeine just before I left Honolulu. Now it's a matter of getting back to a regular exercise plan and improving my meal composition. Five days back and I'm starting to feel better. Nutrition is improved and almost back to a regular yoga practice schedule.
 
One of the challenges when you change your eating patterns...small frequent meals, is having something fast  & available. One can't do food prep 6 times a day. Early on, I figured out at my height, under 5 feet, that my portions needed to be somewhere between 200-300 calories. This is also the period when I was diligent about figuring the calorie counts in everything. Now I don't bother unless I'm developing a new recipe. What I try to do is bulk cook, then freeze or package in single meal portions. Tools I find that help are the silicon cupcake trays and small plastic containers. Here in Bangkok, we have Daiso, the 60 baht shop, similar to the dollar stores in the US. I think most countries have some version...years ago in Taipei, I think it was the 10 Taiwanese dollar store. At Daiso, I've found lots of useful tools, inexpensive timers, small plastic containers, thermal lunch bags and more. My daugher returned home after college and is now training to be a dancer. Her schedule means she eats on the run and she needs to eat every few hour as well. For her, I'll take store bought hummus, repack it into small single serve containers, then slice up cucumbers and pack those into single serve containers as well. I make batches of granola as well and repack these into single serving packages. It's always available to grab and go and she can buy yogurt to add a bit more protein. One of the fun treats are what I call healthy cookies. I found a biscotti recipe that uses no butter, but gets it fat from the nuts. The original recipe used hazel nuts, but living in Thailand this is imported and expensive. I tweaked the recipe to use locally grown cashews, and added a bit of dried fruit. for sweetness. I make this up a few times a month and because the cookie are dry, they keep well. I tuck a few of these in my purse when running out of the house so that I'll always something.  And of course, here in Bangkok, there is the ubiquitous 7-11...