The Old Dog Seems Willing And Another Wake Up Call - Life ... It's Why We Cook. Blog at - 226355

Life ... It's Why We Cook.

The Old Dog Seems Willing and Another Wake Up Call 
Mar. 8, 2011 7:00 pm 
Updated: Mar. 10, 2011 5:31 am
Cindy Lepp has posted another update about Danny. Click over to Caring Bridge and leave her and Danny a note.<

Those of you that have followed my blog from the git-go, know that I have had a rather upending year and a half. Now, my wife and I are finding ways to include exercise and healthier eating in our later years. There are numerous recipes right here on All that are delicious and healthy, as well.

I define the word "healthy" as not being harmful in moderation. Low sodium levels, low or no fat, low or no sugars, and no artificial anything. We have discovered that the ingredients we dislike are only on foods that we don’t need to buy. Freshly prepared food that is prepared correctly and has no need for those ingredients. This suits our program fine.

We have come to a plateau with weight loss. My wife is very discouraged with hers and I have not lost enough during the past two weeks. I’m thinking I will quit making evening meals and go for fresh fruit and vegetables. We may not be metabolizing our food enough before we go to sleep. (7:00 for my wife and 11:00 for me.) The vegan style of dinner may allow better metabolizing. If I do this, I’ll be scrambling for different ways of serving it so we don’t get tired of same-o same-o. I may be forced to become creative- if my brain can handle it. Maybe, we just need to wait for warmer weather so we can do more outside.

I’ve changed my workout to a more strenuous regimen. On Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays, I do resistance, free weights and breathing. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, I do calisthenics, isometrics and breathing. Every day a walk of at least one mile. On Sundays I do breathing, walking and recuperation.

I cannot eat anything cooked directly over open coals or flame. The charring of the meat is a carcinogen that the doctors do not want me to ingest because of my extreme risk level. I think what I will do is to go back to cooking over charcoal and put a cast iron grill over the grate. I’ll still get the smokey flavor I like without the exposure to burned fat. I may get the combination grill and smoker. They should be showing up in the stores very soon.

Yesterday, was a scheduled followup visit to my surgeon/oncologist at the UofM Medical Center and all he could find were good things. Instead of going back every two months, he has scheduled me for every four months. My wife and I left there feeling like we had been reprieved.

Today was a scheduled followup appointment with my dermatologist. He found three basal cell carcinomas. In the stage they were in, they could be destroyed easily and no further treatments should be needed. What set me back on my heels was how quickly they came on. It was less than two months ago that I was inspected and everything was OK. That scared the he!! out of me. I never thought of myself as fragile, but it punctuates what the oncologist told me in February- that I am in extreme danger of cancer attacking me.

I want to say to everybody to cover up when in the sun and use a very good sun block.. SPF 30 is the one recommended. Tell your kids and grandkids to cover up, too- regardless of their age. If you have to nag at them- do it. Do it because you love them. The sun may not be a problem to them now, but when they get to my age they will pay the price. All it takes is just a little effort to protect yourselves and your families. Wear hats and use sun block.  

And be very careful of tanning booths! They can be dangerous, also!
Mar. 9, 2011 3:12 am
Good news from the surgeon! Eating just veggies/fruits for dinner is a good idea. Unfortunately for me - I live with extreme carnivores and I'm not sure how they'd handle no meat at dinner. I made a meatless dinner once or twice and while it was eaten there was lots of grumbling going on, too. As far as exercise goes I'm just anxiously awaiting nicer weather. Yesterday wasn't bad here, just very muddy. Keep up the good work on your new lifestyle!
Mar. 9, 2011 4:44 am
Regardless of anyone's risk factors or age, you're healthy diet and exercise program would be great... your blog is just the nudge I need to get back to a better routine... and with the worst of Winter over, I'm running out of excueses! Keep up the good work!!!
Mar. 9, 2011 5:54 am
I've been told that your body levels off & stops losing as a self preservation thing. You could have something with the evening meal being so late. You might try the quinoa to go with dinner. Some of the sites I looked at were touting it as anti ageing- a miracle grain. I wouldn't go that far but I like it and its nutritional value is high. Hats, long sleeve shirts and sunblock 50 for me :)
Mar. 9, 2011 6:41 am
I can always tell when the coffee has kicked in :) Have you thought about on oven smoking pan? I've seen them used on the cooking shows to impart smokey flavor. I've also seen the chefs improvise with the wood chips using al. pans. I just thought that would be a way to avoid the charcoal but you'd get the benefit of flavor.
Mar. 9, 2011 8:14 am
Hi Mike, Thanks for the reminder of Cindy and Dan's battle.I liked your analogy of "cancer attacking". Nothing could be truer. Skin cancer is something I try to be careful of and you are so right......tanning beds and booths are dangerous if overused.
Mar. 9, 2011 8:50 am
Until I started falling apart, I was meat and taters, also, Mother Ann. It's strange how an attitude changes with a scare.
Mar. 9, 2011 8:53 am
Hi, MK! If I gave you a nudge then I gotta be happy!.
Mar. 9, 2011 9:10 am
I am going to explore the quinoa, Cat. Your post plus a couple earlier posts got my curiosity stimulated. Also, as a sugar substitute, I am going to experiment with Agave juice. It's very much sweeter than sugar but it is in it's natural state and easily metabolized. I'll get to using each of them as soon as I figure out where we are with our food intake. Thanks for the email, also. I have a cast iron stove top smoker from All Clad that I use indoors and the output is wonderful. However, when a food is cooked outside- even though the same techniques areused- it always tastes better than food cooked inside.
Mar. 9, 2011 9:13 am
Hi, Maui Girl!Anybody can sign up at Caring Bridge to receive notice of new posted updates. I think several AR folks have done that because they entered messages in the guest book ahead of me.
Mar. 9, 2011 12:24 pm
Thank you, Mike, for posting the reminder about sunscreen and covering up when going out in the sun. It's sad that so many people choose not to protect themselves from one of the deadliest forms of cancer - skin cancer. We also need to remember that we are more at risk on cloudy days than on sunny days, because the harmful rays are still making their way through the clouds, even though we don't feel the sun's heat. My biracial children complain when I tell them to put on sunscreen. They say "But we're dark skinned. We don't GET sunburned!" and then I launch into my well-worn, know-it-by-rote speech about how ANYONE can get skin cancer...and they start the slathering.
Mar. 9, 2011 12:52 pm
Hi Mike: if you are doing any weight training of any kind you could be building muscle which weighs more than fat; your body may just need some time adjusting and the weight will come off again. I think reversing your meals, for instance having the biggest meal for breakfast and then smaller for lunch and even smaller for dinner oculd be a nice diversion to get the metabolism going again. Both of you hang in there, it is just a matter of time before you get to where you both want to be weight and health wise.
Mar. 9, 2011 12:54 pm
Hi, Keri! Have them read this post! The cancer in my salivary gland was a skin cancer. I just had three destructs of what would have been a very serious cancer. It's all because of what happened when I was still growing until age 22. Now, 44 years later, I'm paying the price of too much exposure.
Mar. 9, 2011 3:48 pm
Hi Mike! Happy to hear the doc's are tired of looking at you:) I want to chime in on the tanning salon issue. Thought you would be interested that several of my composition students are writing papers on the causes and effects of tanning bed use and seem to be acutely aware of the dangers. Also, what can we do to get clothing manufacturers to stop making teeny bikini's for infants?!? I have a new nephew and several friend with young toddlers who are appalled at the lack of fabric in swimwear for little kids. Just another risk for skin cancer; why would we want to expose our children at any age, much less in infancy.
Mar. 9, 2011 4:45 pm
Hi, Janet! The Body Mass Index does not include muscle mass, I have more than average muscle and I am taking that into account. The standard for my weight I is the weight I had when I had the first trouble in 2009. That was 180 lbs. Since then, I went up to 214 and now back down to 201. 21 lbs to go based on my ideal.
Mar. 9, 2011 4:47 pm
Hi, Mangel! As long as people put fashion above their own well being they will continue to cause harm. They will continue this course in spite of warnings from any agencies or individuals. My daughter always kept her girls well covered and, as teenagers, they dress safely. My daughter in law (who is very fashion concious) also protects her daughter in the same manner.
Mar. 10, 2011 5:31 am
Well, like I said after the coffee kicks in, sometimes ideas flit thru. Agave, stevia are both good sugar subs. You can grow stevia too. I got it for an herb lecture I did 3 years ago to show to people but didn't really think I'd manage to keep it going since I'd killed it before. It's like my lemon verbena decidious ( a good thing to know if you think the plant looks dead :) It and the verbena are happily growing. Read Mangel's post, I had my kid covered then sunscreened when age appropriate. The cats would vote to BBQ Bane if they could :)
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Mike Harvey, daPITA

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Battle Creek, Michigan, USA

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Dec. 2008

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About Me
At age 16, I began cooking when my mother was injured in an accident that kept her off her feet for five weeks. At first, my repertoire was fried hot dogs with pork and beans, boiled hot dogs with macaroni and cheese or pizza from a box. After a couple weeks of this, my younger brother was the first to protest and demand variety and my dad was quick to support him. That was my first cooking challenge, learning to plan a meal. About that time, mom returned from the hospital and from her bed, began teaching me things like roast beef, fried chicken, stews and all the sides and trimmings. In 1967, I married and my wife designated herself as the cook and this continued until 1999. It was then that I (voluntarily) began cooking again. At some point, I realized that I was having fun and began searching for recipes that were more challenging and interesting. I found AR and used it's recipes for a long time before registering and later becoming an active member.
My favorite things to cook
Soups. How can I go wrong? They are a great way to use up leftovers and those veggies that are approaching the end of their usefulness. They are always an original recipe. Roasts and steaks are favored, also. Getting the right "doneness" and choosing appropriate sides for a tastey and attractive meal is a continuing and always evolving menu.
My favorite family cooking traditions
If creating impulsive menus and recipes is a tradition then, (I guess) we have a tradition. A new tradition is developing. I have a fruitcake recipe that, I believe, is near perfection. I make it just before Thanksgiving so it is aged enough for the Christmas/ New Year holidays.
My cooking triumphs
Without a doubt, my own recipe for a Reuben Sandwich. It has been a demanded item for many years and I shared it in my AR blog.
My cooking tragedies
Too many. I have been able to throw them out and have something new before my wife gets home. Most of the time, anyway.
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