Stuffsoup – a little blog with a lot of "stuff"

21 Day Habit?

Posted in 30-day vegan cleanse by stuffsoup on March 11, 2010

I often wondered where the 21-day habit theory came from. Apparently, in 1960, Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote about amputees needing 21 days to cease having phantom sensations in their amputated limbs. He also believed that it took 21 days to adjust to any change. So, that is who came up with that idea – and it certainly seems to have stuck. Though, perhaps the more recent research from a paper in the European Journal of Social Psychology would be more accurate. Researchers found it took, on average, 66 days to form a habit (though the span was from 18 days up to 254 days!).

Well, here we are on day 21 of my 30-day vegan cleanse and I don’t think I could consider this a habit. I guess in some ways it is easier since I more readily know what I can have. Though I do still want things that aren’t a part of this cleanse, like the birthday cake my family was eating tonight. But, I can tell you now that I’m not planning to do this fully for 254 days to ensure automaticity.

Day 21 – no phantom pain

Breakfast – bowl of grapes

Snack – carrot sticks

Lunch – tortilla chips with “summer” salsa

Dinner – black bean sweet potato chili over quinoa

The good, the better, the best. The kids ate ham mini pizzas (made on english muffins) and they looked like they turned out just perfectly. Please bear in mind that pizza would be my deserted-island food. I’m glad they turned out for the birthday girl and her now much-younger brother. I’m glad I like the chili ok or it would have been even harder.

I guess there is something that has kind of become a habit and I think it might be the most important part and that is… I think more about my food. So perhaps some of that phantom diet pain really can pass.


Time Keeps Ticking

Posted in 30-day vegan cleanse by stuffsoup on March 10, 2010

Seems everyone goes through time warps now and then. Whenever something exciting is coming up or something decidedly NOT exciting is going on, time seems to drag on and on. Yet when things are going well or if you are in a hurry or sometimes just when you are not watching, somehow the clock seems to tick so quickly. A couple of weeks ago, it seemed winter would never end. Now, I feel surprised that spring seems to be in the air and March is ticking by.

Some days seem to drag as we go through them. But, people say all the time how your children’s years go by quickly and that you should enjoy them while you can. I think that is true with or without kids. Years seem to go by quickly whenever we are doing things we enjoy doing. Suddenly we look back and can’t believe how many years ago some event happened. Time is tricky like that.

Day 20 – random

Breakfast – bartlett pear

Snack – carrots, a plum, and a Larabar in peanut butter cookie (clearly the pear was not enough for breakfast)

Lunch – summer salsa with corn chips and blueberries

Dinner – lentil soup over quinoa

The good, the better, the best. It really was handy to have so much quick food on hand today to grab as I went along no matter how random it all seemed.

According to Zall’s Second Law, “How long a minute is, depends on which side of the bathroom door you’re on.” I guess it is all the same minute, hour, day, week, year no matter what, so we might as well enjoy the moments we can.

The Eyes Have It

Posted in 30-day vegan cleanse by stuffsoup on March 9, 2010

I guess one of the tough parts about getting another year older is the visits to see the doctors for checkups. This morning, it was the eye doctor for my daughter. It is always amazing to me what the eye doctors can discover about children’s eyes even before they can really read an eye chart reliably. They pull out all the tricks; stickers on their noses, video screens at a set distance from the exam chair, giving things fun names like “sticker” instead of eye patch, and putting eye drops in before a kid can wonder why they are looking at the ceiling.

It is funny to me too how quickly the kids want to be “all done”. There were so many times when the people from the doctor’s office would say “almost” even though I prefer to say what all has to be done before the end such as “we’ll wait for the eyes to dilate, she’ll check you again, then we’ll see the doctor, then when SHE says we’re all done, we’re all done”. And so it goes through life, right? I’d like to be all done with this vegan cleanse sometimes too. But I committed to 30 days and so my inner grownup says, “you’ll just do the rest of this week, this weekend, then one more week, and you’ll be all done.”

Day 19 – reg

Breakfast – oatmeal with berries and almond milk

Snack – red grapes

Lunch – yummy pad thai and a thimble full of rice milk (that is all that was left in the container — how DOES that happen?)

Dinner – last of the chili ala TJ with brown rice, dried fruit, and a plum

The good, the better, the best. My daughter has 20/40 vision which is what it should be at her age and the doctor told me that 20/40 is legal for driving, though I did not opt to have my daughter drive us home.

I’m still learning about my diet, my tolerances, my draws. I did find out that other people who have done this cleanse in the past had their hardest time sticking to it right about this time and I can understand that. I’m glad you’re there (whoever is reading this – if anyone). It helps me to get through – just like my kids made it through a long doctor visit today.

Welcome to Holland

Posted in 30-day vegan cleanse by stuffsoup on March 8, 2010

Tonight, I went to the Minnetonka parent group meeting (it is part of the Down syndrome Association of MN) and I thought I could write something about how I left the house and forgot to grab something to eat (thus only blueberries for dinner – and in the car no less) or I could write about having a child with a disability. Then, I thought about the essay by Emily Perl Kingsley called “Welcome To Holland” and didn’t think I could do much better than that, particularly as a start, so here it is in case you’ve never seen it.

Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.  It’s like this……
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy.  You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum.  The Michelangelo David.  The gondolas in Venice.  You may learn some handy phrases in Italian.  It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.  You pack your bags and off you go.  Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”
“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy!  I’m supposed to be in Italy.  All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan.  They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease.  It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language.  And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place.  It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.  But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips.  Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.  And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever  go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

Day 18 – go

Breakfast – gs apple with peanut-butter dip

After-workout snack – almonds and a Larabar in cherry pie

Lunch – yummy pad thai

Snack – dried fruit

Dinner – blueberries

Even if I am eating blueberries in the car, I am glad to have a group of people who have been to Holland to touch base with now and again. It keeps things in perspective for me and I appreciate that.

In a Mood

Posted in 30-day vegan cleanse by stuffsoup on March 7, 2010

Do you ever find it difficult to shake a bad mood? Perhaps this post should refer back to yesterday’s post about sleep (or lack there of) or maybe if someone had taken the kids for a few hours so I wouldn’t have listened to them telling me “no” every time I asked them something, I could shake the mood. But, today has been tough. Really tough. And it makes me want candy. A lot of candy.

I stopped buying candy back in November of last year (except for that cadbury milk chocolate bar in January and I felt bad about that, but I ate the whole thing). I’ve had some when it was offered at a gathering or where ever, but I stopped buying it for myself about the same time I stopped buying soda (pop for the northerners). The thing I forgot about when I made this deal is… Easter. My goodness, Easter has the best candy options EVER. Cadbury mini milk chocolate eggs, Reese’s peanut butter eggs, cinnamon chews, and spicy jelly beans are just a few of my absolute favorites. I know every day without these things is a good step, but I think after this 30-day vegan cleanse, I will partake in some sugary goodness (or sugary badness, I guess). But, I hope I will want less of it than in the past. Maybe I’ll even taste it and decide it’s not for me anymore (though I have my doubts).

Day 17 – hanging

Breakfast – oatmeal with agave, almond milk, and berries

After-workout snack – almonds

Lunch – grapes, corn chips, and “summer” salsa

Dinner – leftover chili ala TJ with brown rice

The good, the better, the best. I like making “summer” salsa. All I do is start with a good salsa and add any fresh veggies that I have on hand and beans and corn and anything else that seems like a good fit. I have received many compliments on my various iterations and I like it a lot myself. I’m also glad for any day that I make it in for a workout. And, right now, I am glad the kids are asleep and the house is completely quiet.

I have read that chocolate stimulates the release of seratonin and endorphin which can lead to a relaxed or euphoric feeling and I know that when I have done a fast previously that sugar can give me a headache when I go back to it. Seems every coin has 2 sides. Do you have any love/hate relationships?

Ah, Sleep

Posted in 30-day vegan cleanse by stuffsoup on March 6, 2010

“A new baby typically results in 400-750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year.”* I wonder what the number is if children still wake for help with water or to go to the bathroom or just for a cuddle. And, more importantly, can a parent ever get caught up?

I’ve had it pretty good in that most nights, I don’t have to get up with the kids (though I often still hear them or think that I do). “Unfamiliar noise, and noise during the first and last two hours of sleep, has the the greatest disruptive effect on the sleep cycle.”* So, for nights like last night when they wake up every 20 minutes (staggered from each other, mind you) during the first hours I am trying to sleep, and I am the one to go to them, I really can get thrown off.

“Some studies suggest women need up to an hour’s extra sleep a night compared to men, and not getting it may be one reason women are much more susceptible to depression than men.”* It seems that many women get thrown off when not getting enough sleep. And, although, “Feeling tired can feel normal after a short time”, who wants that for their normal. I wonder if I should get a short, bright light since “Scientists have not been able to explain a 1998 study showing a bright light shone on the backs of the human knees can reset the brain’s sleep-wake clock.” Maybe my knees can help me get deeper into sleep.

Day 16 – homestretch

Late breakfast – gs apple with pb dip and a sample of apple juice (thanks Trader Joe’s)

Lunch – leftover “egg” wrapped in lettuce

Snack – banana bread Larabar and some dried apple

Dinner – leftover veggies and mock duck over brown rice

The good, the better, the best. I didn’t have to think too much about what to have today. There were things in the fridge and cupboard to have that made it easy. I didn’t sample the flat bread at Trader Joe’s, but my brother got to have 2 pieces instead and I could try the juice. So, it is all good.

Even with the early disruptions, what I got for sleep last night should have been enough, but I was still tired today. I guess last night was one of those catch-up nights and we can probably all use one of those now and again.

* Info from 40 amazing facts about sleep from the National Sleep Research Project at

Wow, Wow, Whee

Posted in 30-day vegan cleanse by stuffsoup on March 5, 2010

So today was my day to check in with the trainer at the health club. I was expecting big things. I was actually smiling a knowing smile when I stepped on the scale for her and she didn’t disappoint me. “Wow,” she said, “wow, you’ve lost weight.” And, it’s not really a lot, but it was more than between the last two weigh ins (three times more). I was disappointed in the strength and flexibility parts, but I am still quite happy with the scale and the fat percentage going in the right direction. During this second week of the 30-day-vegan cleanse, my percent of weight lost was just over 2 percent. The rest is just details for now.

Since I was with the trainer, I missed my usual class with cardio and weights and as if by magic, when I turned to see what my other options might be, there was the kettlebell trainer doing another demo. I did one of those “hey, I’m over here” stalker moves and he waved and asked if I’d like to join the demo. Hooray! Then, he told me to grab a bigger kettlebell (25 pounds) and join in. When there was a break in the demo, I tried some of the other moves that he had only shown us, but that we hadn’t done. One was a clean and jerk with one hand which involved pressing the kettlebell above my head. When he saw me doing these, he said, “Wow, I have people who work on that for a year before they can lift that much.” I was worried that I was using the wrong equipment and should have started with something else, but he assured me that it was fine.

Day 15 – go

Breakfast – hot water with lemon and oatmeal with agave and almond milk

After-workout snack – handful of almonds and dried strawberries

Late lunch – bowl of grapes and 2 rice cakes with hummus

Dinner – tofu spring rolls, veggie delight, and spicy mock duck (thanks to a friend for a lovely dinner out and allowing me to stick to the cleanse)

The Good. Another beautiful day for a walk and today the kids rode part of the time in the stroller, so I could actually move quicker. It was nice.

The better. I really do think I could eat tofu often if it was prepared for me. I just don’t know how best to cook it up. It is so tasty when I have it though.

The best. It felt great to have 2 trainers today say “wow” to me – for good things, not because I pinched my fingers between weights or tripped going up stairs or something.

Today was all about keeping up the baby steps… a little healthier food here, a little more exercise there, and little dividends that start to show up. I still have some strong cravings, but I think it really has been good for me to refrain.


Posted in 30-day vegan cleanse by stuffsoup on March 4, 2010

Do you remember the game called telephone? Where the first person in a line whispers something to the next who tries to say the same thing to the next and so on and so on down the row until the last person says what they heard. Sometimes they said the same thing that was originally said, but often something got lost in translation and came out pretty funny. We played telephone at the dinner table tonight using simple words (the kids are 2 and 4 – at least for a little bit yet) and the giggles came even in the whispering and the attempts not to blurt out the word for all to hear (by the kids, not the grown ups :)).

I wonder how much gets lost in translation every day even from the first person. With email, texting, or other typed communication not being able to evoke the kind of emotion that is intended with the words, sometimes there are misunderstandings. Even when people are in the same place, tone can be misinterpreted or words misconstrued. Say nothing and that silence may even be misread. Seems it would be good to check once in a while to see if the message sent is the same as the message received.

Day 14 – on hand

Breakfast – 2 gluten-free waffles with agave and berries

After-workout snack – handful of almonds and cup of rice milk

Lunch – 1/4 pound of nutty quinoa salad and 2 rice cakes with hummus

Snack – gs apple with peanut-butter-almond-milk dip

Dinner – lentil soup over brown rice

Good, better, best. Today was filled with many good little things… a walk in the spring-like weather, holding hands, a nap, a shower, a workout, and many kisses on the cheek.

Watching the wheels turn in the kids’ heads while trying to pick up the subtleties of communicating and the rules of the game at dinner was worth many giggles tonight and giggles are good.

Oh, what a time

Posted in 30-day vegan cleanse by stuffsoup on March 3, 2010

I think you could call this a busy day. Three kids, 4 breakfasts, 4 school drop offs, 2 loads of laundry (at least one couldn’t wait), 2 errands, 3 lunches, 6 snacks, 50 snowballs tossed, 80 pushes on the swings, lots of walking with a bit of carrying, cooking dinner for 5, eating dinner with 3, 2 bedtimes, 3 books, done. I think the books on my night stand will have to wait again.

I have discovered though that I like to be busy. Really busy. But then I like to be done. Completely done. I think what people refer to as “project work” is right up my alley. I like to work like a crazy person, getting things done as if I were 4 mere mortals, but then I need to stop and breath so I can get ready to do it again. Some people are steady Eddies, but I don’t think that’s me. I’m sure I’d have fewer stumbles if I took my skis from side to side, but I like pointing my skis right down the hill, taking my jumps, perhaps my falls, and then having a nice soak in the hot tub.

Day 13 – whole

Breakfast – most of a gs apple with dip of peanut butter and almond milk

Snack – sample of 2 quinoa salads (thanks, Lakewinds) and handful of dried strawberries

Lunch – 1/4 pound of nutty quinoa salad and 4 fresh strawberries

Snack – red pepper slices with hummus

Dinner – chili ala TJ, spoonful of beets, and “french fries” (baked julienne potatoes with olive oil and seasoning) with nasoya original veggie-based sandwich spread

I think what I like is the intensity and the challenge of too many things to do. What I need to continue to concentrate on is the parts that I would call “the little things” which sometimes wait while I am playing with the kids on some adventure. I sometimes long for calm serenity, but for now, I kind of feel comfortable with a bit “out of control”.

Ah, girl scouts

Posted in 30-day vegan cleanse by stuffsoup on March 2, 2010

I was a girl scout, and before that a brownie. And, apart from the crafts and camping and badges, I sold cookies. I remember a lady who told me once that she was going to buy extra boxes because I was walking door to door in the rain (I still love walking in the rain.). And there was that man who told me that I could sell ice to eskimos. I didn’t understand and so he tried to clarify by saying that he’d even buy a used car from me. Anyway, he bought cookies.

Selling girl-scout cookies is different now, moms or dads come along and sometimes, you can even buy them at the grocery store. As long as a girl scout comes to my door, however she gets there, rain or shine, I buy a box of cookies. I’ve already received delivery of 2 boxes and more is on the way. They sit here, teasing me. I smile at them periodically knowing that I will likely indulge after my 30-day vegan cleanse and so I’ll have the last “bite”.

Day 12 – whatcha got

Breakfast – cup of oatmeal with agave and almond milk

After-workout snack – handful of almonds

Lunch –Spanish “egg” on corn tortillas

Snack – watermelon

Dinner – chili ala TJ

The good. I left half a tortilla. I stepped away to help my son and when I came back to finish the last half of the second one, I realized I didn’t need any more. Seems silly, but it was a good thing for me.

The better. I did a class called total conditioning today and I felt strong working already sore muscles (kettlebell sticks with you!).

The best. Going for a short walk with kids all hand in hand and coming home and having my son announce happily “That was fun!”. I’m just so glad we went.

Kids watch. They learn. They see when you choose to support people that come to your door and when you choose not to. They see when you make healthy changes and make moving part of your day. I’m not perfect, but I hope my kids are learning mostly good.

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