Monday, June 20, 2016

Slow, Steady, and Losing: Weight Loss Update and My Easiest Healthy Salad

I hereby declare, in a most unofficial way, that the last day of school shall officially launch the first day of summer. 

   It is day one and there is a comfortably barefoot little boy, knee high corn, open windows, and all the good that comes with a time of year that I hold to be esteemed right up there with Christmas. It all feels relaxed in a way that is new again.

   We've finally reached the phase in our home renovation where landscaping has become a priority, and along with it, a major upgrade to our garden. Since it is too taxing for someone we'll call One Woman to keep up with the summer entertainment, growing, canning, traveling, and all that life holds in the hottest months, I decided raised beds might be an improvement. A better use of space and hopes for less weeding. The Mister built a number of raised beds for our vegetables and Little Mister's watermelon patch. For almost two weeks I hauled compost and filled boxes, hauled mulch for the walkways, hauling and lifting and shoveling. My kind of exercise, the kind that has a determined end with immediate results.

   When it was all done, seeded and transplanted, it was slightly more appealing. I guess when I count up my canning jars in September I'll better be able to quantify the success of this experiment.
Blackberry flowers
   Meanwhile, I drive by my neighbor's perfectly manicured truck patch. Their enormous garden, which feeds a family of ten, is so well maintained you can probably see it as a neatly defined rectangle from outer space. Mine never looked like that, at least not for long if it ever did. My ragtag assortment of rusty old gates that serve as berry trellises and tomato twine make for an interesting and rustic jungle that finishes the race a little worse for the wear.

   I know what my neighbor would say if I complimented her garden. "That weedy thing?" She would mean it, too. 

   I give a similar response when someone mentions the now 45 pounds I have taken off, and kept off, over the past 15 months. "Oh, but I've still got ten more pounds to go! Maybe 20! If only I could get rid of my..." (If you read my previous weight loss post from a year ago, I was then at a loss of 35 pounds. I slowly lost ten more.)

   Losing 45 pounds, something my doctor called "amazing", didn't seem like enough when I ran the comparisons. Surely I could lose just ten more quickly if I gave up bread, potatoes, corn. But, for what? I didn't want to start eliminating food groups for faster results, making meal times needlessly complicated. I don't need to lose ten pounds fast in order to fit into my gown for Miss Universe, and praise the Lord for that. Instead, I'll continue to shun the comparisons and will keep doing what's right for me, a slow and steady path. Like I've said before, I don't think there is a one-size fits all formula for health or anything else. We know for a fact there is no single way to grow a bountiful garden. Some fundamentals, but a lot of variation. If I lose another ten pounds over the next year, that would be great, but whether it's reshaping your body or your garden, it reminds me of the most valuable advice I ever read: You have to do what's right for your family. That might mean not jumping on the bandwagons, fulfilling the expectations of others. There is grace in doing your own thing, not to mention a higher comfort level.

   Also, you have to decide at some point whether a life without grilled cheese is a life worth living. 

   Would you like a recipe for a fast, healthy, and extremely versatile salad that always gets sincere compliments at potlucks? Of course you would! This easy corn and black bean salad is one of my go-to side dishes for summer and is indispensable for something to bring when there is a last minute invite to a backyard cook out. As a side dish for the family, I cut the recipe in half and put it on my table at home at least once a week during summer. 

My Super Easy Healthy Black Bean & Corn Potluck Salsa-Salad

2 cans black beans, rinsed a drained
2 cans whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained
1 red sweet pepper, diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro

In a two quart bowl, combine all ingredients.

2 T Red wine vinegar
2 T Extra Virgin Olive oil
salt and pepper

Options: This recipe can easily be halved. It is also delicious served as salsa with tortilla chips. 

Substitute two tablespoons of red onion for the red pepper. 
Instead of the red wine vinegar, you can dress it with 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette

So fresh and fast!


  1. That salad looks delicious! I want to try it. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for nothing....Now I am hungry. Again. :)

    1. You can eat this and still lose weight. I did. You are welcome! :)

  3. Little Mister is going to have a great summer!
    I agree with you about following your own healthy way of eating- and I will have to make that salad!

  4. So, how did I miss this blog posting?
    Weight. Slow and steady; that's my weight plan! Except that apparently I gained weight before I lose weight. Honestly! So depressing. I lose in the winter and gain in the summer. Every year. The same 5 - 10 pounds. It's gotta be the water. You know, swimming makes me fatter and not swimming makes me thinner. Or maybe it's the bathing suit! The dreaded bathing suit... I love to swim or I would never, ever wear one. It couldn't be the corn on the cob or the ice cream of summer... or the apple pudding and pumpkin pie of fall. I might try this salad. I love red peppers but, sadly, they no longer love me and they were the mainstay of my meal plans :-( I may just have to be careful and not eat too many of them. Bill will like this. He'll have no trouble eating my share of red peppers pieces :-)

    By the way, I loved this post. I love that little boy and someday I'm going to play with him. Frogs and all.

    1. How did you miss this? Gee, I don't know. Are you an email subscriber? Am I in your blog feed? Did you get the letter I wrote you that was put in a bottle and dropped in the ocean? I can only wonder.
      A long time ago I used to swim for exercise. Two things happened: It made me VERY hungry and I consumed a lot of calories after a swim. Also, I gained weight, mostly muscle. Especially in my shoulders and upper arms. Swimming is probably great for fitness but tough on a trim down. Just my guess.


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