A shot at cleaner and greener

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life106 Comments


Last month, I wrote whined about how puffy I was feeling. It's interesting to me that of all the things I write about, scrapbooking included, weight posts elicit the most comments. I do love the commiseration. I like knowing I am not the only one when it seems as though I'm swimming in a sea of people for whom food and weight is not an issue.

I also didn't realize I'd like getting kicked in the ass to stop whining and do something about it. One blog reader said, "Sorry. Not going to join your pity party." At first, I was all, WHAT? Wha? HUH? And then I was all, "Don't you know I'm not motivated by tough love?" And then I was all, "Alright already! I'll do something about it." (So thank you, blog reader, and you know who you are!)

What I decided to do was try and clean out as much sugar, fat and salt as I could from my diet. And get moving again. And make better choices.

Believe it or not, I decided to do the infamous Cabbage Soup Diet/Cleanse. Yes, that's right. The same diet your mother might have done in 1974. I'd  heard good things about it from a friend as a way to help curb your sugar cravings and get you in the right frame of mind to start a diet anew.

Unfortunately, by the time I got to the day known as the Milk and Banana Day, I'd had enough. (I don't drink milk and I don't eat bananas. I was kind of screwed on that one.) Still, the first three days gave me the jump start I needed to get back on the healthy horse and ride.


I read a book that most of you have probably heard of, Skinny Bitch. For those of you who don't know what it is, it's a diet book about the vegan lifestyle, layered with enough profanity it would make your mother blush. A girlfriend of mine went vegan and it changed her body in mind in several ways. LET ME SAY THIS: I have no plans to become vegan and I respect ALL choices of how people choose to eat, but you need to know this as a back story to what I'm doing this summer, and possibly beyond.

The book is brutally truthful about the food and meat industries, as you would expect it to be, considering the topic. [Edited to add: this is NOT an endorsement of this book in any way.]  But there were several nuggets of interest to me. See, my sweet One-Three is vegetarian. Has been for a while now. This is pretty common among her friends, too. They just don't eat meat. From 19 to 22, I too was a vegetarian. Not sure what triggered it, but it was a Burger King cheeseburger that ended it, I remember that quite clearly. I love a good steak. I love a good burger. But this summer, I'm taking a break from meat.


The good thing for me? I love alternative sources of protein. I adore tofu. Beans are my friend. And truthfully, other than a good steak or burger, I'm not a big meat eater. So there's that.

Next, I'm going to eat cleaner and greener. Even though I tend to flinch at organic prices, I'm buying as much organic produce as I can find at Whole Foods, my local farmers market, or even my neighborhood Rainbow Foods store. I'm trying to put better stuff in and feel better. It seems like a logical cycle.

I'm also cutting my dairy to a minimum. No worry on the calcium and protein. I'm making up for it with other foods, and vitamins. I've never been big on dairy anyway. I used to sit at our family dinner table as a kid long after everyone else had left, just staring down a big old glass of warm milk, willing it to disappear on its own.


Although don't ask me to give up all dairy. That goat cheese on the pizza above? DIVINE.

Finally, I'm reading a book called The End of Overeating, a rather scientific look at the food industry in our country, and how it's not just that we don't have will power, but that we really don't have a chance against salt, fat and sugar. I'm just barely into it, but I'm finding it interesting.

I'm not looking for excuses right now. I'm looking for information and then deciding how it can help me achieve my goals.

Finally, I'm exercising at least five days a week. Walking. Light weight training. No, I don't have a gym membership. I'm just making it up as a I go.

Still doesn't mean I won't whine about my puffy ass every now and then. Because believe me, I will. But I just thought I'd share how I'm trying to make some positive changes that will hopefully result in feeling better overall.

Note: I'll post a few of the recipes for the above pics later this week.

Cathy ZielskeA shot at cleaner and greener

106 Comments on “A shot at cleaner and greener”

  1. #1

    I’ve been waiting for the ‘healthy horse’ to walk up to my doorstep for a few months now. Guess I need to go out and bring it home myself. Thanks for the info, definitely good ideas for eating & living well. Wishing us all good luck!

  2. #2

    Sounds wonderful, Cathy. I know that losing weight is an uphill battle, I’ve been working on my puffy booty for over a year now. I’m down 65 pounds, and I’ve worked hard for every single one. And I’m not done. And I can tell you this, it’s not always fun. But sometimes it is. Sometimes, when people tell you how great you look. People ask what you’ve been doing and tell you how much they want to do the same thing, and you are able to help them. Sometimes, it’s fun when you go shopping and realize that you don’t automatically have to grab the XL off the rack. Then it’s fun. And totally worth it. You’re gonna be awesome. And please share the recipe for that yummy looking tofu stir-fry noodle thing. I need to eat that. Thanks!

  3. #3

    You go girl. Thanks for the info and names of the books.

    Here’s hoping I’ll be inspired, too.

  4. #4

    I’ll be over for lunch if you make that goat cheese pizza for me. OK? Several issues have made me take a serious look at the concept of “clean eating”. I’m not the head chef at our house, so implementing it has been tricky . . . but it’s definitely time to cut out the JUNK that we routinely purchase and consume! Thanks for the additional inspiration!

  5. #5
    Cindy McDannold

    Be thankful that you live in an area where you can even BUY good food. I live in rural west central Illinois and can’t even purchase much of anything. If I wanted goat cheese I would be laughed out of the county. If you can’t fry it, it AIN’T worth eatin’. You would think that in the middle of farming country we could do better than that. Good luck from your chunky, puffy southern neighbor.

  6. #6

    Skinny Bitch changed the way I eat too. Although I had been a vegetarian for a year when I read that book, I will never eat meat or drink milk again. I can eat cheese, though. But I have definitely been a lazy vegetarian and have been feeling like crap. I am trying to do the same as you…more organic produce, less stuff in a box, and no more diet coke (that one will be tough!!). Good luck in your efforts! You can do it πŸ™‚

  7. #8

    You go girl! I’ve come to some of the same conclusions lately. I complain because “I don’t eat that much”, but when I looked at what I WAS eating, I realized how much of it was not helping the process. Ours is the first generation to grow up on junk food and prepared foods (remember what a treat those TV dinners were?, ever look at the nutritional info on those things?) Here’s to more fruits and vegetables!

  8. #10

    Good for you, girl! You go girl!
    I never joined the pity party either, just didn’t participate in the comments. But, I do believe in the power of positive thinking and just take it one day at a time.

  9. #11
    Sue in Grapevine

    I would love to have the recipe for the pizza you showed. It reminds me of a pizza I had in SFO earlier this year.

  10. #12

    Good for you, Cathy! I started on a no refined sugar lifestyle about 2 months ago and although I am planning to return to having sugar in my life soon, it’s taught me a lot of lessons, especially how much sugar is in everything we eat. We’re trying to eat more organic, local and fresher foods as well.

    Love the photos, the food looks great. Thanks for the book recommendations, going to check them out today. And mmmmm, love the steak too. πŸ™‚

  11. #13
    Sara Mangan

    Hi Cathy,
    Have you ever tried Trader Joes? They have some good food and the prices are pretty good. There is one in Woodbury.

    Also, a comment on the weight training. Weight train as much as you can. I started taking an hour long class (because I just can’t motivate myself at home) that’s just muscle toning. I could tell it helped my metabolism. You will notice a difference.

    Thanks for your post.

    BTW, did the “diet” really help you not crave sugar?

  12. #14


    I have to tell you, I’ve always worked at being healthy and at a thin weight, but life circumstances have changed that for me. I have an autoimmune disease that has me completely homebound, and when I have to go on steroids I puff up a lot, but always have been able to get it off in decent amounts of time.

    I have currently been going through an intensely bad and painful spell and the high amounts of steroids have left me with something called Cushing’s Syndrome. It’s awful and ugly and I don’t even recognize myself in the mirror… it left me 30 pounds heavier in just 4 weeks and it’s going to be like this for a long time until they can get my meds figured out and disease somewhat regulated.

    I know what it’s like now to look in the mirror and not see yourself. But where I have no choice, YOU DO… and I am SO happy for you that you are taking your life in your hands, being logical and making a difference. This will be so good for you, but also for your family… what better example can you live than to make sure you live for them? By being healthy that’s exactly what you’re doing. You will never regret this and I’ll be cheering you on! DON’T GIVE UP.

  13. #15
    Kris Van Allen

    good for you, cathy!

    i’m glad you found the sources of mojo you needed to get jump started. now you have a great plan, and you’ve shared it to keep youself accountable.

    don’t forget, though, to cut yourself some slack when state fair time comes around…a few cheese curds and tiny tim donuts? eat a few and you can use that post-yummy sickness to remind yourself why you are doing this!

  14. #16
    Andrea Adams

    I’m going to suggest a different kind of book for dieting- The Four Day Win by Martha Beck. It is not about the food in this book, but about your brain and how you think. (you can feel free to follow any kind of diet while you read it, though.) Check it out- I think you’ll find it enlightening.

  15. #17
    Sonja Chandler

    This is so awesome!
    I’ve been reading, changing, shopping and eating healthy ever since I lost my mother it cancer in 2003. I myself just don’t do the junk anymore. Never. It’s just not worth it. We think the food we desire makes us happy but in truth the choices we make to eat the crap make us eternally miserable. Here’a a quote I heard awhile ago. I don’t remember exactly how it goes so bear with me but it was something along the lines of “Don’t judge an endeavor by how it feels when you start it, judge it by how it feels when you end.” or something like that. You get what I’m saying.

    Here is a great blog. She is a good friend of mine. She knows her stuff and has been doing it for a good while. It may be helful to you. http://www.homesteadblogger.com/thegraingirl

    You are going feel spectacular in no time!!

  16. #18
    Sonja Chandler

    This is so awesome!
    I’ve been reading, changing, shopping and eating healthy ever since I lost my mother it cancer in 2003. I myself just don’t do the junk anymore. Never. It’s just not worth it. We think the food we desire makes us happy but in truth the choices we make to eat the crap make us eternally miserable. Here’a a quote I heard awhile ago. I don’t remember exactly how it goes so bear with me but it was something along the lines of “Don’t judge an endeavor by how it feels when you start it, judge it by how it feels when you end.” or something like that. You get what I’m saying.

    Here is a great healthy food blog. She is a good friend of mine. She knows her stuff and has been doing it for a good while. It may be helful to you. http://www.homesteadblogger.com/thegraingirl

    You are going feel spectacular in no time!!

  17. #21

    Good for you for making the changes. I struggle daily to eat the right thing. to get to the gym. this trying to be healthy and eat right is a full time job in and of itself. Good luck on your journey. Every small step helps

  18. #24

    Better choices and balance. Even if our exercise habit is to “make it up as I go.” That’s a style I think I can handle! Think it could help me move something off my own caboose? We’ll see.
    Better choices and balance. I like it.

  19. #27

    Uh, hello? How cruel is it to post gorgeous looking food with no recipes?! Seriously, my mouth is watering! I love the quote above about judging the end result. I always think how yummy some crappy food tastes and then after I feel awful. You go, Cathy! Thanks for the kick in the butt! πŸ™‚

  20. #28

    Thanks for the name of the book. I’m a vegetarian and would love to check it out. Last fall I gave up cookies, most candy and fried foods and lost about 15 lbs. Being this much lighter made running much more enjoyable and I’ve been able to increase my speed and distance and lose another few pounds. Turns out I still don’t look perfect, but I feel strong and healthy.

  21. #29
    ~ alli ~

    After reading Skinny Bitch, I stopped drinking milk (straight up) and eating eggs altogether. I still eat ice cream and cheese, which I know is made from milk, but I just can’t do shots of it anymore. And when you consider what an egg is – YUCK! That book really opened my eyes to so many things about food that I am embarrassed I didn’t know. It’s so hard in our society to change established patterns. And it doesn’t help that I *HATE* cooking, so I struggle everyday with what to eat. Good luck to you!

  22. #30
    Susan W

    That first picture you placed on your blog looks really good. What is it? Where can I get the recipe???

  23. #31
    Melony Wells

    AWESOME Cathy! You can totally do this. Remember it’s NOT a diet it’s how we feed our body and soul. Eat to Live not the other way around πŸ™‚ And please remember not to totally deny yourself either, if you feel like you want to eat a burger then find a way to make it a healthy burger – turkey burger? And a treat now and again will not RUIN everything, it will assure yourself that this isn’t prison, your going to have to face those yummies sometime. Like I tell my kids, “a treat isn’t special if you have it everyday”.
    You CAN totally do this for yourself! And again I encourage you to get rid of the scale…it’s a mental bad guy, trust your clothes to tell you how great your doing πŸ™‚

  24. #33

    what a fantastic post Cathy. Everytime I visit Vancouver, I come back eating hemp or thinking I’ll become a vegan. Yeah and how about some coke and cake with that????!!!!!!!
    I’m thee worst eater ever. And I’m getting worse. Am I lazy? Do I not care? I can’t figure it out.

    I never did like milk, maybe due to the powdered version I had to drink as a kid-now that is blue milk! Sugar is my addiction.

    I’m going to look up all the books mentioned here….I just don’t want to be puffy anymore.

  25. #34

    I read a vegan cookbook, I’m not sure if it was Skinny B****, but all of their ‘healthy’ recipes were just regular recipes with the meat taken out. Still tons of fat, sugar, and carbs. Like you said, clean is the key. I live in a dormitory situation and I don’t have as much control over my food as much as I’d like to.

    My mom and I signed up for your Big Picture class. I bought it for her as a Christmas present. Someday, when she passes on, the book she created will be a priceless heirloom to me, more important than anything else she could pass down.

  26. #35

    Tell us more about that pizza!!! Looks amazing – was is homemade? Pleaseeeee share the recipie if it is. And all the best with the new regime – its all good stuff πŸ™‚

  27. #37

    Good for you! I recently made a goal to be healthier as well. We are trying to stay away from as much processed food as possible and I am running while my husband is doing the P90X program. As an ex-smoker of 15 years I can now run 2 miles. I haven’t run a mile since I was in 8th grade. It’s amazing what we can teach our bodies to do. I actually feel better after I run. We haven’t gone vegan but we are doing our best to limit our red meats. With 2 little girls dinner is a challenge but so far we are getting there. Keep it up and good luck!

  28. #38

    Also check out “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver – a very engaging read for a nonfiction book – and “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” by Michael Pollan. Both very informative on the food industry vs. real food and what it does and does not do to your body and, while vegan and vegetarian friendly, do not push either lifestyle. Which was nice, because I’ll never be either. They completely changed the way I look at food, which is changing my life as I type this.

    Good luck, to you and me both. This sh*t ain’t easy.

  29. #40
    Judy Lucas

    Okay I’m watching the view- and reading your blog and apparently the gods are trying to tell me something- on the view today is a cookbook with nothing buy foods under 200 calories- OH MY GOD – The chicken wings were coated with Kashi Cereal- and they made some kind of cupcake out of cake mix and Hot chocolate- I mean come on and the cupcake was like 170 calories- I wish I could remember the book they were talking about- but it had a green cover….going over to abc.com to try to find it now….

    I too have struggled- my husband is doing nutrisystem and to be honest – crappy food is just faster considering I have to also feed a 1 year old- but I think you (and the View) just gave me a kick in the old pants

    So- THANKS Cathy!


  30. #41

    Way to go Cathy! I know it’s hard, but at least you know you’re not going it alone. I ready skinny b**** and it was very eye opening. I will admit, after reading it I had quite a bit more questions than I felt I got answers for. None the less, it has made me think twice about the things I eat. That in itself was worth the read. They also have a recipe book out, skinny b**** in the kitch. Haven’t read it yet, but heard good things about it. Keep up the good work and post those recipes!

  31. #42
    Robin M

    Lovin the Potato Goat Cheese pizza. Did you put Rosemary on it?
    I made one the other day and put olive oil and crushed garlic on it first followed by the potatoes and rosemary. YUMMY!
    best wishes making better choices. I could never go veggie but we try to have 2 nights a week as meatless.

  32. #43
    Tammy Vasser

    Thank you for being so honest. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one that struggles and reading your plan gives my an idea that maybe I could make my own changes. Thanks for blogging!!

  33. #44

    Good for you!! I’m working on it myself this summer and would love to get some of your recipes. One cookbook I go to regularly is “The best of Cooking Light” it’s got really yummy healthy recipes in it.

  34. #45

    Hey, Kathy, good for you! I still about 10 pounds to give up so you’re not alone. Looking forward to some of your recipes. The photos make them look scrumptious.

  35. #46
    Tamie Spears

    Beware of Splenda (sucralose) and Nutrasweet (asparatame). Both are chemical junk worse for your body than a little regular ole sugar, yet the Skinny B**** books and many diet books recommend them. They are neurotoxins and are very dangerous. And NEVER let your kids have them! Try the new drinks sweetened with Stevia (a plant). Right now, I’m in love with SoBe Lifewater which is zero calories but no chemical sweeteners. They are FABULOUS! And they quickly kill a sugar craving for me. (The new Vitamin Waters that are 10 calories are also chemical free and pretty yummy).

  36. #49

    In all seriousness, I have so far been on a 2 month long ‘lifestyle diet’ of eating significantly less salt and meat and upping the fruits and veggies. Realistically, I do like the occasional bit of meat but really, I feel borderline vegetarian too. In any case, to make up for it, I supplement with vitamins and am feeling REALLY GOOD! I lost the last few post-pregnancy pounds just by eating lighter fare. I don’t do dairy either that much like cheese since it does have alot of sodium in it. This sudden diet change all stemmed from being sick for over 10+ years and finally realizing it was the salt and processed foods I was eating! If you want to lose weight and keep it off, stay committed to the lifestyle of feeling great πŸ™‚ You’ll be more inclined to continue with your new diet changes once you realize you feel AND look great. πŸ™‚ Wishing you tons of success!

  37. #50

    rats, i kinda liked the whinning. it was so funny. πŸ™‚ and i could so relate. and it somehow made me stronger.

  38. #52

    Oh, that glass of warm milk was in front of me too! I still love dairy, but I have a hard time drinking milk without ice in it πŸ™‚

  39. #53

    Congrats on your fresh outlook. I need a new outlook also. I don’t have a lot of weight to rid myself of, but the healthier eating is something I really should do for me and my family. You may have given me the kick in the pants I need to do it right. Thanks.

    Also, you might want to try the 30 day shred by Jillian Michaels. She’ll piss you off and make you work hard, but only for 20 minutes. Just something to take the monotony out of a routine!!!

    Please keep posting about your struggles…it helps out all of us.

  40. #54
    amy schubert

    FYI – I lost about 35lbs over the last year just cutting back on my sugar/carbs. …
    And I discovered my absolute favorite lunch (especially in the summer) is raw (preferably red) bell pepper, cut into strips, dipped in hummus ….
    Good luck!!

  41. #55

    If you haven’t already, “Animal, Vegatable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver is a book to read, and please head on down to our new Trader Joe’s in Highland Park for some delightful options for your summer menus!

  42. #57

    Yeah for you on your cleaner eating choices, About a year ago I read a book call You on a Diet, by Dr. Oz ( the guy on Oprah),changed the way I eat. The cartoons in the book are kinda annoying but the info is great, all about how our bodies use the food we put in them it was very eye opening. I am so glad you are sharing your recipes, that pizza looks heavenly. tena

  43. #58
    Heather Johnson

    I did two things recently that have made a world of difference. 1) I bought the bodybugg–I need definitive beginnings and ends and knew that having the math to back up exactly what I was doing would help and 2) I bought a vita-mix blender at Costco. I make fruit and vegetable whole food drinks every morning now–easily getting in 9-12 servings of f/v a day versus my 0-1 before. All in all, a $600 investment–but I tried to look at it through the lens of money saved on reactionary medications down the road. (I was pushing 225 and I am only 5ft tall with a family history of diabetes.) Check these things out–they may make a difference!

  44. #60

    Brilliant post! Go Cathy Go! I’ll be here if you ever want to whine or cry or vent your frustrations. And I’ll be here to give you a gentle & reassuring “you can do it”. πŸ™‚ Good for you!!

  45. #61

    Good job Cathy — so glad you are having some success with being healthier.

    That said I have to comment — in case anyone gets this far — that Skinny Bitch is probably the worst book ever written. It is evil incarnate. I too thought it was amusing with the swearing and was intrigued by the topic.

    However, it is not really a book about being vegan. It is a book about being skinny by creating an eating disorder in yourself. It says things like, learn to hate eating. Feel how wonderful it is to be empty and feel hungry.

    It is awful, awful, awful in every way. Learn to be skinny by being unhealthy. HORRID.

    And the two authors are ridiculous in the extreme, Like the part where they say we as humans are not evolved to eat meat because we cannot hunt for meat like predators do, as we have no claws or other devices for killing prey. Completely dismissing the entire field of evolutionary anthropology. Completely dismissing human dentition as being relevant at all. (our dentition obviously shows that humans are evolved to be omnivores) I found that especially offensive.

    I love that you are being healthy! (I just really HATE that book)

  46. #63
    Shaun McPherson

    Cathy, I am your best supporter on this “Life Change” for you. Those of you reading this I am the girlfriend that told Cathy to buy the book “Skinny Bitch” It changed my life. I am in the best shape I have every been in. Also I have suffered I.B.S. since I was 12yrs.At 30yrs it got so bad I was in the hospital 2-3 times a year.
    Since I have read this book. I have not had any problems I do not know what I cut out that made everything work right Mind,Body. This is the best I have felt in years! It will be 3yrs in October that I have followed this book. Best of Luck My Best friend! Shaun McPherson

  47. #65

    You may also want to read, “Eat This, Not That.” There is a regular food version and an eating out version. It is amazing how making simple choices (Big Mac vs. Whopper) can save you hundreds of calories! My hubby found the books at Costco.

  48. #66
    Jennifer Larson

    If you need an indulgence, sugar-free popsicles are wonderful–and only about 15 calories. I admire your fortitude, but these are sweet treats that you can feel good about.

    Good luck, and enjoy working up a sweat.

  49. #67

    huh…seems you and I may have hit on the same ideas at the same time. I am beyond puffy and am finally ready to do something about it. I am working my way through Dr. McDougall’s 12 day free menu plan. http://www.drmcdougall.com/free_5a.html I definitely needed to cut the processed crud out of my diet. I’m also walking twice a day 5 times a week. Let’s hope some positive changes result in less puff! LOL! Good luck!!

  50. #68

    Here’s to a healthy summer with plenty of aliveness and energy for you, Cathy! I got interested in a wholefood vegetarian life thirty-five years ago and never looked back. if you’re into clean and green you might be interested in more raw food recipes – e.g. Raw, The Uncook Book by Juliano, and any books by Leslie and Susannah Kenton (older books from the 80s but still full of good stuff). oh, and don’t forget small quantities of high quality Omega 3 and 6 oils. Rooting for you!

  51. #69

    It’s been mentioned. But you have got to read Michael Pollan’s book IN DEFENSE OF FOOD. Great entertaining writing and simple truth (really).

  52. #71

    Good for you. I have been cutting back on foods for about a year..slow progress for me, more cause I love to snack.

    Anyways walking is good for you, I go 5 mornings a week and then do a light weight workout with my wii fit.

    Kudos to you for trying to change for the healthier.

  53. #73

    while you’re reading, check out “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. the problem is carbs. lose the carbs (but not the fat or protein!) and you’ll shed your excess weight. also, hot off the presses is Mark Sisson’s “Primal Diet” – another good lifestyle changing book. the scientific evidence for improved weight loss and improved cardiovascular status is gaining for the higher fat way of eating. throw out the old (scientifically unsupported) low-fat thinking.

  54. #74

    -M-… I do agree with you, actually. Those girls are too extreme for my taste, and i found it very hypocritical that at the end, they say, “We really don’t care if you’re skinny or not,” which I don’t believe them on that.

    I did find certain points of the book interesting and it led me to look in other places for more info. So it’s definitely NOT a ringing endorsement by me.

    : )

    In other words, people… it’s not a book with the answers, but it just got me thinking.

  55. #75
    Michelle Contarino

    You go girl..gives me something to think about as well. Keep us posted on your journey. And I love your whiny weight loss posts..they make me laugh and make me remember that I am not alone!! Good luck. Gotta check out the cabbage soup cleanse…hmm!

  56. #76
    amy sotolongo

    Love your new eating and healthy ideas!
    Just wanted to let you know that I have found Jillian Michaels 30 day Shred to be a great exercise video and it really kicks your butt….but I listen to it on mute cause I can’t stand her voice lol!
    All you need is some light weights!

  57. #78
    Diane Roberts

    Tsk tsk

    Now you KNOW that the Cabbage Soup Diet/Cleanse really isn’t the way to go about it. Didn’t WW teach you anything???? LOL.

    Cutting out meat is all well and good, and I can see your point, but what happens when that Burger King cheeseburger rears its ugly head again and you end up bingeing on meat and making yourself physically ill? Treat yourself to the occasional healthy steak (maybe) with plenty of green salad, just to keep the treat demon at bay! And just to be on the safe side, why don’t you point what you eat too???? ;-D

  58. #79

    Cathy, sometimes I feel we are so two of a kind! I have just lately begun investigating healthier eating, especially organic and whole foods. Jillian Michael’s book-“Master Your Metabolism” is what has started me. I am not done reading it yet, but have learned so much already. Some of the facts are amazing. We are already making changes to our eating habits and way of life. I HIGHLY recommend this book. It is well written and factual and well worth it. IMO. Thanks to a couple of the other posters for their links and book ideas. I will be checking them out also.
    Good luck to you Cathy in your quest! Please keep us informed of your progress. And share with us good things you find, whether it be recipes or websites etc. Especially the recipes for the foods you showed today! They all look so yummy! Would love to have them.

  59. #80

    Hooray for the tough love!! I salute you and really hope you stick with your plan, you will feel much better for it.

    I know this won’t be a popular statement but I’m constanly listening to friends and co-workers complain about feeling lousy and being over weight. I think to myself “just do something about it!” it’s not complicated or expensive, it just takes resolve and determination. People say things to me like “it must be nice to be in such good shape”. Well it is but it’s a hell of a lot of hard work too, it’s not easy but it’s well worth the rewards.

    I am almost 48 and 9 years ago I made the choices you are making. I have more energy and am more healthy than I was 20 years ago. I have never joined a gym, or gone to any weight program or had a trainor. You can do it yourself if you have the determination. I went from a size almost 14 to a size 4 without traditional “dieting”, which I don’t believe in. Cut out the sugar/junk/fat/processed foods and you will lose weight.

    So far this season I have done: an 8km race, a 16km race, a half-marathon, a 35km du-athalon and am planning at least 4 more long distance events this year.

    I realize everyone won’t want to become this active but even a brisk 1 hour walk each day can get you in good shape.

    Sorry to go on so but this is one issue I am passionate about.

    Go Cathy Go!!!!!

  60. #81

    I just love reading your blog and you are an awesome scrapbooker. Here is the deal, I have been over weight almost my whole life and on October 31, 2008 I had my aha moment and started eating healthy. Lets just say 2 mini kit kat bars made me have a diabetic episode and I am not a diabetic. I joined WW on November 22 and have lost over 40 lbs. It has been slow but I have been building healthy eating habits. I changed the way I cook and all my recipes. I count everything I eat and I go to 2 WW meetings a week, with the best leader in the world. I have learned you can not do it by yourself. I need the support of the meetings and my leader, I need to get weighed in each week. I have 100 lbs to go and I am going to do it this time. I recenty joined a gym and started working out. I hate it but I am doing it. You can too. You just need to decide what you want from your life. go for it, you are worth it and so is your health for your beautiful family. Find a buddy and go to the meetings together. WW is the most sensible diet, because it is not a diet but a lifestlye. Who wants to eat cabbage and give up dairy, and meat, I don’t. Just do it girl. I know you can.

  61. #82

    Hey!!! I love 75 lbs eating clean… I owe most of it to Eat clean by Tosca Reno from Oxygen magazine… shes written a few books and I really like them πŸ™‚
    From uta lol

  62. #84
    Sandi Malloy

    As I sat eating a cookie while eating your post, this hits home for sure! I last for a few days, maybe a week and then I cave each & every time. Willpowerless – that’s me. Then there is the 14 year old daughter who also hasn’t eaten meat since she was 10. I won’t call her a vegetarian though. She’s more of a junkatarian…probably my fault. Ok, I loved the look of the salad & pizza there. I’m thinking I’ll give cooking as a veggie again a whirl when the child gets back from France. I was one for years in earlier years and somehow let it slip away. Oh how thin I was in those days. Thanks for the inspiration Cathy.

  63. #85

    Sounds like you’re on the right track! Bottom line, YOU have to be the one to change for the RIGHT reasons. Health and feeling good is it for me. You won’t regret it. Glad your mental state sounds more positive. Think of food as “LIVE” and “DEAD”. There’s “live food” that spoils and needs refrigerated. “Dead food” does not. If something has a “shelf life” of more than a week, it’s dead food. You have “LIVE CELLS” so feed it with “LIVE FOOD”. I have a brother in law that has a twinkie sitting on his kitchen counter….it’s over 20 years old. Still looks the same as the day he bought it!

  64. #86

    I commend you on your effort. The one thing you left out though was how are you feeling on this diet. Do you feel like you could stick with it? I think if it agrees with you, you will do great.

  65. #87
    Judy Czarnecki

    Seriously, I wish you success in your “clean summer”. I myself need to get back on the healthy horse & lose the 20 lbs I have put on in the past year.

    You might like the magazine “Clean Eating.” It’s full of recipes that use a minimum of processed foods or added sugar, salt etc. Even my super-picky, meat-and-potatoes husband likes the things I’ve made from this magazine!

  66. #88
    Lori P

    Hi Cathy,

    A couple other books that are great (they may have been mentioned above) are “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food”, both by Michael Pollan. Also “What to Eat”, by Marion Nestle.

    Take care,
    Lori, SLC, UT

  67. #89
    Karen Ellsworth

    It’s Karen from Sandy, I gave you the freeze dried food last year at Simple before it closed. Anyway, e-mail me if you want quite a few compiled recipes whole foods style that my gym instructor put together while trying to fight her mom’s cancer. Its mostly vegan stuff, some of which my kids eat too. I read Skinny Bitch too, and at the time I thought they were too extreme, but I’m slowly coming over, doing the best I can.
    Just remember how powerful you feel when you are in control of yourself.

  68. #90

    I know others already mentioned this book – but it is really great:
    “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver

  69. #91

    Hi Cathy –
    Check out Dr. Miriam Nelson’s first book “Strong Women Stay Young” and others she has written. She’s from Tufts University and has great, straightforward weight training exercises for women (and men too) of ALL ages.

    She also has a website:

    Good luck!
    – Lee

  70. #92
    Mary Kate

    I’m on the “Facebook Diet.” I joined Facebook and found an old friend from high school who still looks skinny and gorgeous. That, and yet another birthday around the corner, kicked my fanny into gear! Good luck.

  71. #93
    Pam Funk

    It’s 4:15 am, and your pictures make me want to stick my head in the refrigerator! I am on my way to a healthier, longer life by my food choices. I cut beef out about 10 years ago, and I won’t tell you what happens when I eat some now..it’s not pretty. But diet aside, I walk my dog 3 times a week for about 45 minutes. The fat around my stomach (I’d like to call it baby fat, but baby is 25..ooops!) is almost melting away. Ok, maybe not melting, but dissolving. Good luck, I feel so much better and my BP is almost under control without meds, which is my goal.

  72. #94
    Kathleen Kraft

    Darn. Just when I was sitting on my increasingly large butt feeling sorry for myself and saying “But Cathy Z isn’t having any luck either and is Puffy….you go and do this healthy thing. Fine. I’ll do it too..whatever πŸ™‚

  73. #95

    Good for you!!! Dance of joy, dance of joy – congrats!!! Big hugs. Great progress, lady! Must be that inspiring 1-3 home for the summer. Congrats on the current Knowledge quest. I hear ya. South Beach books are additional resources r.e the science of eating and how what we tend to eat (thanks to fast food and tempting products) really messes with our systems setting us up for failure and cravings.

    Big hugs! Hang in there!

  74. #96

    You can do it!! And I PROMISE after a few weeks you won’t want that other kind of food so much anymore. The fake chocolate will taste horrible. The processed food will taste just terribly salty. AND you will feel so much better. In fact, I would even dare to say you won’t care quite so much about the “puffy”. Of course, you will lose weight and if you are able to regularly exercise you will gain muscle and therefore start to lose some inches. But you will be most happy for how you feel.

    I have known for awhile I just can’t have wheat and refined sugar in my diet anymore. I would do well for a while then slip, feel like crap again (no energy, not nice to be around, stressed) and curse myself for doing it TO MYSELF. Now I have been eating clean (I guess that is the term) and I feel so much better. And something has clicked in my brain. We were at the fair the other day and I ate before so I wouldn’t be tempted by the fair food and I was so pleased with myself. Now I did bring home a caramel apple and sit on my back deck and enjoy it. So you have to live a little too, it is just finding the right balance for you.

    Oh yes, find treats that are not so bad that you have around the house for when you do really want something. For me, I LOVE chocolate so I have gotten my taste buds used to real chocolate. A 70% cocoa content is heaven for me now and those candy bars at the store, I can’t even eat them anymore or a bite will satisfy (I still like a bite of the odd skor bar). If you like salty find something that will do it for you.

    It will click for you just be patient, relaxed, informed and gentle with yourself when you need to and forceful with yourself when you need it! : ) Remember it is hard to change any habit, good or bad.

  75. #98

    I’ve probably posted this before, but I love Clean Eating Magazine (and I have the Eat-Clean Diet for Family and Kids cookbook/informational book as well). Tons of great recipes and nutrition information, and my meat-and-potatoes hubby even likes a lot of the food!

    Also the studio where I work out (and loved so much that I went through training to start teaching a yoga/pilates BodyFlow class!) is doing a 21-day study where people can try a bunch of classes and figure out an exercise routine that works for them: http://www.mytimeoutstudio.com/how-to-start-exercise-in-minneapolis/

    I need to read the Pollan books as well–going to peruse the comments to find out other sites, books, and tips.

  76. #99

    Those recipes look tasty. πŸ™‚

    Another must-read (no doubt you’ve either already read it or it’s been suggested already, but I loved it so have to add it anyway) is The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It made me change the way I think about food.

    Good luck and keep at it!

  77. #100
    Sharon F. california

    Cathy, check out the 20 minute workout put out by the Drs. Oz and Roizen. You, on a diet or any of their books is excellent, but the website RealAge.com is a wake up call to better fitness. When you calculate your real age it will surprise you not matter whether you are older or younger and it gives you definitive ways to go back and give yourself those years. They address all aspects from heart health, weight, etc. The 20 minute exercise workout has not devices needed, etc. Just you and you will be surprised how much you feel it the next hour or day…add that in to your walking and you will be feeling better in less than one week. Plus with clean eating…they promote that…nothing “enriched” should be in your cupboards…They also have a list of vitamins you should be taking like calcium with d plus magnesium…this is key. There are lots of calcium or vitamin D without magnesium and that is a recipe for trouble. Anyway, check it out it will definitely compliment your desires to go in this direction and its very easy… I have been eating cleaner and smaller portions and feel so much better. I am seeing a change in the clothes I wear and that is key for me. Not really focusing on the scale, just how I feel. More energy and my skin looks better thanks to the fish oil capsules and avocado (good omega 3’s).
    Good luck…Just do it!

  78. #101
    Lisa Cohen

    I have also chosen to reduce my meat intake and have always been a huge foodie. I found that when I shifted my focus from the meat as the main protein and focused on vegetarian preparations (to either serve on the side of simply prepared animal protein for my family) I found that VEGETABLES CAN TASTE AMAZING!! It’s just that previously I had gotten into a rut where the veggie was an afterthought and so it TASTED like an afterthought. Now it takes center stage with chicken, beef, steak as a side. While I have chosen not to eat meat, my husband and my two kids still are proud omnivores but this way that I’ve started cooking makes us all happier!!! It’s always a work in progress but one that I get to savor one meal at a time. I LOVE FOOD and that will never change.

    I should say that I have noticed a BIG difference in my body when I shifted away from animal protein in that I felt better after meals (not quite as full), and I did lost weight (went down 2-3 sizes)… but I also increased my exercise because I found something that I liked, NO LOVED…. bicycling. It made me feel like a kid again so now when I hop on my bike I don’t just do it for 30 minutes and wish it was over. I hop on, find a place to ride, some places to explore, and wish I always had an extra 30 more that I could ride!

    I thought I’d include some of my favorite cookbooks and blogs with for those days where you need inspiration. πŸ™‚

    Cookbooks (admittedly many of these are vegetarian because you probably already have the animal protein thing down pat, but anything you make in these books can be served with some of your already tried-and-true meat recipes when cooking for friends or others in your family that might not be ready for full-on vegetarian meals yet):
    -Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison (she is my favorite lately as you will see by some of the other recs below)
    -The Complete Italian Vegetarian
    -You already have A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen but that’s one of my favorites as I mentioned yesterday on Twitter
    -Vegetarian Suppers by Deborah Madison
    -Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson (her Cook 1.0 book is good too!)
    -Local Flavors by Deborah Madison (using produce from farmers markets)
    – Vegetable Soups by Deborah Madison (this is the newest to my collection but I’ve made two soups already and they were great!
    -How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

    Okay… that probably covers most of the cookbooks in heavy rotation on my countertop (the ones I use 5 times a week or more for our everyday meals). The other one that I’ve been using for baking is King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking book.

    And as for blogs you must RUN, don’t walk over to 101cookbooks.com (hands down my favorite healthy eating/vegetarian blog – Aiden might enjoy it too!) Heidi has a great site and also a mobile version for the iTouch/iPhone that you can use to search for recipes while you’re at the farmers market or grocery store.

    I also started a collaborative blog with a friend that I met through digital scrapbooking and designing (Nancie Janitz) that focuses on healthy, flavorful meals. It started because whenever I made something that was SOOO GOOD, I just wanted to call her up and share it (and she did the same) but sometimes she wasn’t home so we decided to start a blog so we could post it and share it with not just each other but other people that were looking for GREAT food… not just healthy food! I just posted two yummy recipes last night that I made for dinner (and can’t wait to eat again for lunch today!): http://wholeabundance.blogspot.com/

    Since I don’t live in those hip parts of California where I imagine they serve up goat cheese millet vegetables bowls and I, instead, live in the exurbs of Washington DC, (which happens to be Mediocreville when it comes to good food) I’ve found that when going OUT to eat places that specialize in Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, etc. tend to have the best choices for someone looking to focus on healthful foods.

    Another vote for reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen… or any of his other books for that matter… but TOD was a stand-out. Also, Fast Food Nation was a book that changed my life for the better in terms of food and what I will eat and what I choose not to.

    Good luck and if ever have ANY questions feel free to email me.

    I’m off to savor my leftovers right now!! All this talk about food has my belly grumbling!!

  79. #102
    Kelly in Canada

    Hi Cathy,
    Wow, I just read through all the comments…that thing about the twenty year old twinkie is just so wrong. How gross is that? Anyway, it’s funny isn’t it, that we all know what we should be doing but we have such a hard time doing it. I will join the chorus regarding ‘You: On a Diet’ and ‘In Defense of Food.’ They are both informative and Michael Pollan’s is actually extremely well written. A cook book that I use often is Alice Waters’ ‘The Art of Simple Food.’ The recipes are simple and lovely.

  80. #103

    You are SO headed in the right direction! Just dumping refined sugar, fat and most dairy has translated to a 30# loss for me so far this year. Stay on the clean and green track…you’ll be glad you did!

  81. #104

    Congrats on eliminating meat. I am reading Skinny Bitch at the moment as well and it has motivated me to stop eating meat. I would love to go vegan but cheese, oh sweet cheese – but like you said reducing is a good thing. I am also reading Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston which is a good one too. I know you can do it !!

  82. #105

    I hate you.
    You have the motivation that I have not yet summoned of myself!!
    Although tonight I told my 18yo daughter that I am going to start getting up before everyone else and going for a walk… as soon as I get some decent shoes.
    To which she replied
    (did I mention that she lives on her own?)
    Hey – us old farts can’t are at high risk of shin splints.
    I hear that they’re the leading cause of… lower front leg pain.
    (and I hate it that my teenager is right!)

    You’re a better woman than I am.
    Must go.
    The chocolate PopTarts are calling my name.

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