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Turning Those No No No Nos INTO Yes Yes Yeses!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


The Fat Self Never Fights Fair, says FEEDTHEHUNGER -- and that's so true. But of course the "fat self" is NOT my "myself": not the self that I aspire to be and the self I truly am at my most authentic.

The Fat Self focuses on the "nos" -- the things I "can't have". Triggering food-indulgent rebellion that sabotages weight loss and weight maintenance. I find it helpful to reword the "no" into a "yes" (possibly because there are enough "nos" already dwelling among those subconscious repressed traumas and painful emotions!!). For example:

Yes, food is healthy fuel for me.
Yes, I'm really going to enjoy those fresh raspberries I bought for me.
Yes, I can soothe myself in many ways other than attempting to scratch that itch using food which doesn't work anyhow: for example, a walk around the garden, time with my golden retriever, a bubble bath . . .
Yes, exercise makes me feel terrific and releases all those endorphins.
Yes, I can decide to experience positive emotions which will reinforce my positive choices.
Yes, food is healthy fuel for me.

Yes yes yes yes yes. Yes to the me I want and intend to be.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GABY1948 9/17/2014 9:38AM

    I'm with you! This is also an outstanding way to look at it! emoticon emoticon

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KANOE10 9/17/2014 9:01AM

    I liked reading this today. I had a no, no, scale day and your positive blog was just the thing I needed to turn my no's into yeses. Yes I can do this.. and I will conquer not crumble.

Great blog..and the other one was excellent also.,

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PHEBESS 9/17/2014 8:25AM

    I always appreciate your positive view on staying with your healthiest options!!!!

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_LINDA 9/17/2014 8:19AM

    emoticon The Power of Positive Thinking! Yes, absolutely!

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DDOORN 9/17/2014 8:14AM

    My latest blog was all about the wonderful pay-offs I'm enjoying, the "yes" that is such a big part of my life...YES! I can DO IT!

And so can we ALL! :-)


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NANCY- 9/17/2014 7:59AM

    Love the way you spin the No into a Yes. It does make life so much easier to live with affirmations.

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ROXYZMOM 9/17/2014 7:32AM

    emoticon Positive self talk. Siebold would be so proud!!

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/17/2014 7:31AM

    emoticon Yes! We CAN live healthy.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 9/17/2014 7:29AM

    Absolutely! Accentuate the positive as the old song used to say.

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FEEDTHEHUNGER 9/17/2014 7:11AM

    I like the way you turned it around -- positivity works! Right now, I'm feeling pretty negative because I'm struggling so much I feel like a tired mother half-heartedly telling her kids, no, no, no with about as much effect. Your way sounds MUCH more attractive.


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SWEDE_SU 9/17/2014 6:55AM

    what a positive statement - emoticon

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LEANJEAN6 9/17/2014 6:53AM

    Great inspirational blog!--The power of "yes"===Lynda emoticon

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Passion: the Theory

Monday, September 15, 2014


What an interesting article about the connections between anorexia, eating disorders more generally and neuroscience: based upon explorations of passion theory.

Passions are a good thing, right? Beyond a longing for passionate romance, perennially celebrated in movies and novels and poetry and music, we've extended our quest for passion-as-meaning into many other areas of life. We talk about "finding your passion", "following your passion" and seek passion as motivation. But is passion (in its Latin root, and in application itself) really a form of suffering? Is passion evidence of disordered and excessive "control" in the brain itself, requiring rewiring? Can we replace one passion with a healthier passion? Anorexia of the food control variety (which can be lethal) with exercise anorexia? Or maybe not.

Moderation in all things, said Aristotle --- the best is the enemy of the good, said Voltaire.

And does that extend as well to moderation in passion?

Yesterday's trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario for the Alex Colville show was great:(Torontonians, this is amazing!! what a passionate love story he and his wife Rhoda shared!).


Then segued into some marvellous jazz down the street at the Rex. And a rare swiss cheese mushroom burger with fries! Mmmmmm, delicious!

And what is interesting me is my increasing ability to stop eating when I'm full. I left a good portion of that burger on my plate. And a good portion of the fries as well. I enjoyed it intensely but "moderately". Skipped supper altogether -- was simply not hungry. Ended the day well within calorie range.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLENDERELLA61 9/16/2014 9:22AM

    I'm very impressed with the stopping when you are full and then not eating because you weren't hungry. WOW! You have arrived. Something like that would make me hungry and want to eat lots, lots more.

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ROXYZMOM 9/15/2014 10:19PM

    My son did have a passion to lose weight and then kept going and did end up with anorexia last year. He does have OCD, and I definitely think that was the underlying culprit. The passion fed the OCD. And, one huge problem with anorexia, is that the brain matter shrinks up as the person is starving themselves. At that point, they can't think straight or logically anymore. They can't understand. The anorexia totally takes over. My son hasn't told me what snapped him out of it. He was very close to death and still didn't get it. I know the psychiatrist told him it was harder for him to do what he was doing - all the rituals, puking, etc. than to just let it go. He still has days when he picks at food - it is always stress induced. He now recognizes that is his trigger.

Oh, and just as an FYI -- If someone is exercising too much it is called "Exercise Bulimia". I learned that a large number of aerobic instructors have it. Exercise Bulimics tend not to go on vacation, etc because they have a fear of not getting all of their exercise in. (I learned way too much last year!!)

Great job on recognizing when you have had enough, and still enjoying tasty food!!
Moderation can be a great thing!!

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CRYSTALJEM 9/15/2014 3:29PM

    Saw that article but haven't had time to go back and read it. But now you've helped me put it on my priority list. Glad you enjoyed your evening have a great day.

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PATRICIA-CR 9/15/2014 3:05PM

    Again, very interesting article. emoticon

Happy to hear about your wonderful trip.

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1CRAZYDOG 9/15/2014 2:13PM

    Yes, I think this passion applies to many addictions for sure. The way the brains of these are wired? Perhaps. For sure, thought, a one-size-fits-all approach is NOT always successful. Interesting article.

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SQUIRRELMOMMA1 9/15/2014 12:20PM

    There is a woman who runs at the park that I walk at. She runs for hours and hours. She is very thin, almost like a walking skeleton. One day she and I struck up a conversation about running and she told me that she 'has' to run everyday. It is painful to watch her because she is so incredibly thin. Exercise anorexia? Probably.

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DSHONEYC 9/15/2014 11:13AM

    Passion without suffering = ? It is said "He suffered for his art" or "Her passion is all-consuming" and yet we continue to misjudge self-interest for passion.

Love Alex Colville work, especially in his devotion to his model/wife. He didn't hold her up to be a great beauty or model of womanly character, but a loyal friend and lover and deserving of "capture" by his easel & paints.

Love your emoticon and emoticon control. I strive with passion for such control!

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FEEDTHEHUNGER 9/15/2014 10:26AM

    I think there is no question that the passion can attach itself to self-defeating things and wreck havoc in people's lives, causing immense suffering. All of the addictions reflect this kind of passionate attachment to the cause of actual misery whilst maintaining a deluded belief that one is pursing the good. More and more in the mental health field I hear talk about neurological wiring and its importance to moderating behavior.


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CARRAND 9/15/2014 9:44AM

    Moderation in everything!

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DDOORN 9/15/2014 9:14AM

    Jeez, I dunno...don't think we can have too much of the "right" kind of passion...! :-)

Sure hope I can get to the point regarding food that you've accomplished. Yesterday was tricky, dealing with the after-cycling hungries. I actually think I would've fared better not to "go there" with any food afterward as I had eaten so much earlier to avoid bonking. Once I started to eat...just an innocent spinach salad...the hungries came on! But I prevailed...dropped another pound for my troubles...lol!


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NANCY- 9/15/2014 9:08AM

    Look at you! Finding your new comfort zone.

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PHEBESS 9/15/2014 8:51AM

    Looks like a wonderful exhibit!

And interesting about passion, the side that is suffering, the passion becoming an obsession to the extreme - how did we forget that side in modern times?

But yes, food that satisfies is so much more filling than food we eat because we think it's good for us. I can eat less really good chocolate than, oh, steamed mixed vegs - and feel more satisfied and not want anything else.

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/15/2014 8:48AM

    Interesting article. Looking at the issue from many sides is part of keeping motivation going, for me, so I appreciate every time someone shares a link of this sort! emoticon

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KALIGIRL 9/15/2014 8:48AM

    Interesting indeed - not much for passion - instead a more live and let live philosophy...
Glad you had a healthy eating day!

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SANDICANE 9/15/2014 8:37AM

    The best is the enemy of the good.
The best is the enemy of the good.
The best is the enemy of the good.

Words to be pondered...words to mold a life.

Congrats on your "different that before" eating habits.

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SWEDE_SU 9/15/2014 8:19AM

    food for thought, indeed!

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Boyhood (the Movie)

Saturday, September 13, 2014


That article and my blog yesterday about the sacrosanct family dinner hour hit a nerve: sorry. I did family dinners when my kids were small and I was home full time, yes I did. And DH did family dinners when I was back to school. And family dinners continued to happen with less frequency with kids in high school (but still happened) as we accommodated their schedules. And family dinners happened less frequently once the kids were off to university themselves . . . and when at home (as right now) mostly cooking for themselves to accommodate a great diversity in dietary preferences.

Interestingly, nobody commented directly about the connection I see between women (mostly -- really, still mostly) making family dinner happen, and women's sacrifice of their own nutritional needs to make it happen.

So what a coincidence that last night all of us -- DH, DD, DS, moi-- went to see the new Richard Linklater movie, Boyhood. Filmed over 12 years, a few weeks each year in the life of the same people (sister, mum, separated biological dad, several of mum's husbands/boyfriends), beginning with a six year old Mason. Basically we watch him grow up until he heads to university. It's fascinating. The plot line is fictional but the moments are so perceptive. Including quite a number of "family dinners" -- of both the heart warming and the unspeakably toxic variety.

It's long. And it could almost equally have been called "Family". Or "Motherhood". Or possibly "Fatherhood". Or even "Sisterhood" although the "Samantha" character is sketched out a bit more lightly .

We see the single mother initially separated from the biodad, who's fun but pretty irresponsible with the young kids. She's needing to return to school and get an education and make a living to support her family. (What a struggle -- and as a woman who went back to school with a totally supportive husband and two young kids, that struggle resonated.) She ends up as a professor -- smart smart smart but continuing to make horrifying choices with respect to her subsequent partners.

And (Spark People subtext!!) she quite definitely struggles with her own weight as she tries with greater and lesser degrees of success to do it all.

Not much sentiment here -- it's gritty.

Loved the portrayal of each of these family members.

Loved the (spoiler alert?? don't think so really) concluding take-away: it's not so much that we seize the moments. The moments seize us.

If you haven't seen it -- worth the trip and the time I think, and in particular viewing from our Sparkie perspective!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KLONG8 9/15/2014 12:58PM

    Family dinners - I was raised that way but as a single adult who married a little "late" my DH and I eat a lot in front of the TV. But we generally cook together and get some time together that way. But my upbringing kicks in and I try (TRY) to pull the family together once or twice monthly (grandkids, kids, a friend or two) for a sit-down dinner. I love it and I think everyone except the 9 year old who gets a bit bored enjoys the reconnect time. Hopefully, even our 9 year old gets something from it (and his family does the daily dinner very nicely!

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SLENDERELLA61 9/14/2014 11:17PM

    I went back and read the comments from yesterday. Lots of memories and lots of emotions. Thanks for the movie recommendation. I'm sure we'd enjoy that one!

And once again, thanks for your kind and helpful comments on my blog. -Marsha

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FEEDTHEHUNGER 9/14/2014 7:09AM

    Moms not only make it happen, but take it in the neck for the ways in which things fall apart for those around the table if and when they do. We are that important and that central to the life of the family and that central role requires a lot of sacrifice, not a popular concept in today's world which focuses mostly on self-fulfillment and personal happiness.

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SWEDE_SU 9/14/2014 6:41AM

    interesting - you are no doubt right about women being controllers of the kitchen and the diet that the family eats/follows. and the woman neglecting - or ensuring - her needs. but perhaps it is that awareness, that we *can* control what goes on the table that empowers us also...

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SANDICANE 9/14/2014 1:39AM

    Hey thanks for the movie review and tip. Yep, it's us mom's that make dinner time dinner time! DH would eat over the kitchen sink or in front of a the TV watching whatever sporting event was the easiest to click to, if it weren't for me!

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_LINDA 9/13/2014 11:49PM

    Yes, its Moms who still do the majority of the work and who get the kids in a split. They have nuturing hardwired into them. Really, it is. But they do have to respect hubby's preference of food. And that most often is just the old meat & potatoes..

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SQUIRRELMOMMA1 9/13/2014 7:32PM

    You are so right - women make i happen! It is important to us to have the family sit down together, to spend time with our kids, our hubby, our pets. There are days when I know (KNOW) that without me my DH would eat out of whatever canned food item he could lay his hands on and to heck with nutrition. But it is important to me that he eat a balanced meal so we can enjoy each other's company for many years to come.

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GABY1948 9/13/2014 4:09PM

    I do agree with you about women making it happen! And I think I would like to see that movie. Thanks for recommending.

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TRAVELGRRL 9/13/2014 3:26PM

    I missed your blog yesterday, but if women are compromising their own nutritional needs for those of their families, WHOSE fault is that?

I saw on the news the other day that children who are fed veggies before they are ONE year old continue to eat veggies when they are older. Children who are given SWEETS before they are one year old continue to crave sweets.

As far as men go, maybe "food" should be one of those serious discussions before marriage, like religion, children, money, and sex!

My husband easily adapted to my way of cooking. My daughter's husband, a meat and potato guy with hatred of ALL things green is now a lover of most veggies (except winter squash).

Just sayin!

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1CRAZYDOG 9/13/2014 2:58PM

    You're right! It is mostly the women who make it happen, but for me . . . totally worth it.

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CRYSTALJEM 9/13/2014 1:36PM

    Thanks for the movie recommendation, and I definitely made the connection between mothers and the family meals yesterday. Your blog was spot on.

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DSHONEYC 9/13/2014 10:57AM

    Yes, plan on seeing it. It's been awhile since a good movie has come to town and I love the style of this and that it truly was 12 years in the making. Thanks.

PS. cannot identify with "family dinners" and probably will be strictly a voyeur of "Boyhood". Could I have been born without a motherhood bone?

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DDOORN 9/13/2014 10:31AM

    I've had my eye on this flix for some time now...can't wait to see it! SO annoyed that mainstream theaters aren't carrying it and can only see it in small "artsy" theaters...!


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KALIGIRL 9/13/2014 9:54AM

    Will have to put it on my list of things to see...

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PHEBESS 9/13/2014 9:31AM

    I agree, wonderful movie!!!!! My take on the movie is that we don't necessarily have grand pivotal or defining moments that create us, that make us who we are - rather, who we become is a gradual process of very small, very undramatic moments along the way. And yes, those moments seize us, however small and un-grand they are. They just accumulate and pile up and eventually they then define us.

I have to add, when I was working on various projects at school (the school improvement plan, or our accreditation application, or the various murals) I'd get home late, sometimes way late like 10 PM - and all I could think was that I was so happy I didn't have children. I didn't have to cook dinner for anyone. That my husband could make his own dinner. Especially while working on the mural, I'd get home by 5 or so, filthy and exhausted - I'd take a shower, eat some cold cereal for dinner with some fruit, and then fall into bed. I was too busy with work to be able to take care of anyone but myself, and was so thankful we had skipped the kid thing. (I truly don't know how mothers do it!)

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KANOE10 9/13/2014 9:16AM

    Thanks for that information. It looks like an interesting movie.
I do think you are accurate in that often women often sacrifice their own nutritional needs when taking care of others..be it cooking or care taking. I know I neglected myself when I raised my children.

Moments do seize us and we have to continue to try to make good choices!

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/13/2014 9:15AM

    "Interestingly, nobody commented directly about the connection I see between women (mostly -- really, still mostly) making family dinner happen, and women's sacrifice of their own nutritional needs to make it happen. "

Seriously, when I was mom to a small child, I wasn't the one making family dinner happen or not happen, and I was still "in the food"... i.e. my idea of nutritional needs was the dinner I made, be it fatty, starchy, or whatever. When I started eating healthier, so did the rest of the family. When I slipped, so did they.

I definitely agree with your "take away": moments *do* seize us!

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NANCY- 9/13/2014 9:12AM

    You are right... if I wasn't here, family dinners would not happen.

But I think that women sacrifice not only their own nutritional needs to make it happen.

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Debunking the Myth of the Family Dinner

Friday, September 12, 2014


Cooking for the whole family and sitting down together for dinner every night (or at least several nights a week) is the hallmark of good mothering. Right?

Of course the family dinner is essential to sustaining close family relationships. But that's not all. It improves your kids' grades at school. It improves your kids' mental health. It reduces the chance that your kids will abuse drugs. It protects your kids from obesity. And a whole lot more, we've been told.

Yup, mums, we should be doing this. Even if we're working full time. Even if we're ferrying kids to organized after-school sports activities. Even if each one of our kids (and our spouse) wants to eat something different. Insists upon it, in fact. Even if the contribution from other family members towards the labour of shopping for food, planning menus, preparing food, serving food and cleaning up after meals is . . . more theoretical than actual on the part of the kids. And the spouse. Even though family dinner feels highly stressful.

Guilt guilt guilt. If I just did it better -- if I just engaged the kids in chopping veggies while we chat-- if I just got more efficient cooking on weekends (instead of getting to the gym) and freezing individual portions of what each family member likes best -- basically if I just were a better mother: yeah, then family dinner would work, and my kids would reap all those key benefits.

Well, maybe it's all a nostalgic myth. Maybe the traditional 50s mums who put family dinner on the table every night for their working spouses and their brood of kids presented dinner on a "take it or leave it" basis. And meant it. Maybe those mums were mostly at home full time. Maybe those mums weren't responsible for scheduling play dates. Or supervising homework. And assigned responsibility to their kids for their own social lives and their own academic progress without even considering it could or should be otherwise.

Such an interesting article.

Gotta say, a lot of those much more relaxed 50s mums were pretty slim themselves. And it seems to me that one of the factors which makes weight loss and weight maintenance so difficult for mums today is exhaustion. It's a reality that picking up "individual choices" at the fast food drive through (and letting kids munch in the car on the way to soccer) reduces stress. It's a reality that when preparing a (rare) family dinner at home, mums may find simply eating what their spouse and at least some of their kids will eat means making one fewer meal.

And the meal foregone? Absolutely, the meal that would work for themselves, taking into consideration their own nutritional needs.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 9/13/2014 5:41PM

    My Mom had to work three jobs as a defacto single parent (my father wouldn't give her a divorce until I was 16, so he wouldn't have to pay child support) When we were really young, she had her mother look after us, or the neighbour, but when I turned 7 I was given a house key. So not much in the way of family meals, just the usual packages and processed. Mom did make a nice meal for holidays, don't know how she managed to get it all together, but we always had turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But my brother and sister were active in sports and were busy quite often so we never ate together much. With today's busy lifestyles, I would say family meals are a thing of the past unless you live on a farm. We did eat all the same thing though, whether we liked it or not. Just thankful to get food on the table. That is lacking in today's world of giving them everything they want.

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BOOKAPHILE 9/13/2014 11:13AM

    There really is no "one size fits all" for many things. I did (and still do) the family dinners. You're right in that I prefer to make one meal rather than two, so my preference frequently isn't the one that shows up at the table. Hmm. I hadn't thought about that as part of my weight struggle. It is. I've been focusing on size rather than content as long as the menu isn't a horrible choice.

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    Every word is a GEM!

I couldn't have said it better. That's why I had boxed mac 'n cheese last night in front of the TV. DH cooked his favorite meal. How could I turn down his cooking?

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HOLLYM48 9/13/2014 9:43AM

    I have been lucky enough to have a husband that did most the cooking since he got home before me so most nights we did have a sit down dinner with our girls when they were younger with no interruptions, no phones, no tv, no music. Then the girls were responsible for cleaning up the dishes and kitchen since we made the meal. Now that they are older and one is back in college, I miss those dinners.
I think we all have to do what we can and even if it means twice a week there is a family dinner, that is better than none at all. I feel more guilty about missing out on school activities that were held during the day because I was always at work at that time. Always something in life to feel guilty about so we really do have to cut ourselves some slack and say we did the best that we could at the time.

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ROXYZMOM 9/13/2014 9:30AM

    Boy, you did ruffle up some feathers! I was driving all day and missed this one. I made dinner every night for my family (except for occasionally going out). We all ate the same thing and I loved it. It was that one time of day we all got together and talked. When I first opened my business, I didn't get home until 7:30, and we still ate dinner together at 8 every night. It was the only time we all got together. I was born in the 60s -- maybe that made a difference??

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SWEDE_SU 9/13/2014 9:14AM

    wow - reading the comments has been as interesting as reading the blog! also a child of the 50s, we raised our kids with the family meal in the 80s and 90s. it was a take it or leave it basis, except thanksgiving - one son who hated turkey was born on nov 23, and if thanksgiving landed on his birthday, he could choose his own dinner (once it was frozen pizza!) while the rest of us ate the traditional meal. otherwise, usually one person disliked what was served, which was happily consumed by a neighbor's son who usually came to dinner too. i did all kinds of things for meal planning back then, and usually had requests for favorites that were met each night. somehow it all worked out, with the chauffeuring and everything, but i wouldn't want to go back to those years…

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BROOKLYN_BORN 9/13/2014 7:49AM

    I went REALLY overboard on kids' activities. I was so amazed by all the options for suburban kids after my "do it yourself" life as a city kid with NO organized activities, that I had them in everything - music, sports, scouts, You name it. If it was offered we were there. I wanted them to have the opportunities and experiences that I never did

Family dinner? I was good at making casseroles or crock pot meals. So it was there for whomever was home at the time. Whoever arrived later could microwave it.

My mistake was moving on to prepared food like Stauffers Family Dinners, believing they were just as good as mine.

It didn't seem to affect the kids. I wasn't THAT good a cook in the first place, but it did help add the pounds on to me.

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ALIIDA 9/12/2014 10:30PM

    My mother had an interesting saying: A mother's place is in the ...................................


I feel nostalgic, too, for the family meals we had in the fifties and sixties, and I did it for the first few years of the children's lives when I was at home full time.

We've had family meals sometimes and sometimes not. I've never offered my family any choices, but whatever works........

Thank you so much for your fascinating blogs every day.

Comment edited on: 9/13/2014 1:41:54 AM

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ALICIA363 9/12/2014 8:39PM


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POSITIVEHOPE 9/12/2014 8:06PM

    I was that mom. I grew up in a two parent working family and was alone a lot. Latch key kid at 7. Told not to call mom at work unless my leg fell off. I didn't want to live that way as a mom and know the worry and feel powerless to circumstances.
I stayed home and cooked every day. There were few eating out opportunities. No money. The main reason was not blissful family harmony but simply because I saw it as a choice.
We ate healthy home made food. Fits the budget. When my youngest child went to kindergarten I went back to college and took two classes a semester. It took me 10 years to graduate. I learned to cook and freeze and clean deeply during class breaks to make it work. We did spend quality time at the dinner table each night. Interesting conversations some nights. Am I glad I did it, yup. Was it challenging, yup. My kids said they appreciated it. Would I recommend it to others? Only if they see the value in it.
Most telling comment. When my kids went to college themselves they both came home and said how in the world did you do it?

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GABY1948 9/12/2014 6:23PM

    WOW, as usual, after that first paragraph I had a huge guilt headache. I am from the 50s also....born in 1948 and I couldn't even think straight at that point...but then I finished it and that helped a LOT but these great comments all helped even MORE! Loved ONEKIDSMOM's alot and DSHONEYC when she said, "Mother, thy name is Guilt"! THAT would be ME....but I am actually learning from you and the others here I'm not the ONLY one.

Thanks for all your wonderful blogs...yours and the others have helped me so very much!


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_RAMONA 9/12/2014 4:46PM

    Well, now you've done it, Ellen.. that article really aggravated, LOL!

I do think family meals are important... as is learning to prepare nutritious and delicious meals. I don't know how you teach this without the family meal. We all have a hand in getting the supper meal on the table, and we have a darn good time doing it.

I also wonder why we would raise children to believe that every waking minute involves choice? How do they ever learn self-sacrifice, gratitude, and the common good if even right down to every meal, they get to choose? Everyone eats the same thing in our house, and each person is a different degree of 'happy' about it depending on whose tastes were being acknowledged that night.... nobody would even think to whine about it.

The attitudes, values, and expectations illustrated by that article simply baffled me.

I had my own moment of realization three years ago... this may give you a laugh:

You know you're a 'bad' mother when...

As always, aggravated to not, I enjoyed the opportunity to consider an alternative view!

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CARRAND 9/12/2014 4:23PM

    When my kids were young we played "The Grocery Game." Each child got $20 to buy the food for one dinner. If they wanted Mac & Cheese with hot dogs, they had to buy the box of Kraft Dinner, a pack of wieners and a pack of buns. Each meal had to include a fruit and a vegetable, so maybe a can of green beans and a couple apples would come out of their $20. The balance of their money could buy breakfast cereal, juice or something for lunch. Of course that was 25 to 30 years ago, so money went further. For some reason, getting them involved with the planning helped them understand the process. I got a lot less complaints about even the meals I planned. It helped them learn to add and to budget, too.

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1CRAZYDOG 9/12/2014 3:07PM

    Hmmmm . . . grew up in the 50's, I know the 50's and this isn't the 50's! LOL We did eat together more often than not, BUT it was different times. WE weren't overscheduled. Mom was a stay-at-home Mom. That's just not the case today. . . at all.

So, we do the best we can for our kids, and it is always going to be that way. That doesn't mean there's one way of doing things. Never was, never will be.

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2BDYNAMIC 9/12/2014 11:52AM

    I just know when my Mom (in the 50's) wore the apron and cooked a 3 course meal nightly; set the table etc. etc .................. I have to say this WAS her job; cAring for the family w/ meals, cleaning, etc. etc .............. On rare occasion did she work ......... But the 'tables turned as women took to the work place, and we all know too well the scenario ................. I have ALWAYS held fast to the word DELEGATE to each family member ........ perhaps an observation of the pioneer days when ALL in the family contributed to the family workloads .............. I think the word was called 'chores.' ......... When my kids began school after their toddler-informative years (in which I was home w/ them) then I went to school into a Nursing program , made a career of it to make life better all of the family but we all shared in the daily and weekly tasks to teach them responsibility and values ................ (I was a single Mom at the time and this was survival as well as life lessons taught. However, as my kids reached the age of 12 and thru the teen years I turnd more taxi driver and chauffer as my son often had baseball practice; I would drive into the driveway and within minutes back out again to take him to practice. Then daughters both in sports and more hauling at all hours across town .................. The big thing then at that time wasn't even so much sitting down at the table but never missing a game ............. That meant a lot to each of them to know I was sitting present in the stands watching and cheering ..................... Meals were fast and furious (but not fast food) ............ they were challenging years and often endless hours w/working and full time Mom ............. But I am glad for it and I still love my word DELEGATE of which my DH and I now share in all the family tasks including cooking andgrocery shopping, (Didn't mean to write a novel) ................... emoticon P.S. I took a moment to scan a few posts before mine and I am saddened to think a Mom or otherwise would ever sense any guilt ............ I have never bought into it and I personally feel anyone who has raised children ........ and juggled the daunting tasks this job brings ....... 24/7 they we all deserve a HALO ............ NEVER guilt!!! ........... Please give yourselves a big pat on the back and be good to yourself! ............. and if you did not have kids ............ don't you feel guilty either! .............. Guilt is something a hardened criminal might feel once proved guilty .............. Not Moms!

Comment edited on: 9/12/2014 11:58:25 AM

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DSHONEYC 9/12/2014 10:53AM

    Mother, thy name is Guilt. Boy, not having any kids has left a crater in my life (for which I have few regrets). Now I keep finding out all women have huge craters - they just fill them with different things like guilt, unworthiness, exhaustion, serial shopping, and an occasional nervous breakdown.

My only real memories of family dinners are the times I had to stand in the corner because I wouldn't swallow the spinach or whatever I had stuffed in my cheeks. I'm not sure family dinners (or things centered around food) are the cureall for family dysfunction. Moms & Dads should just spend "quality" time with their kids doing whatever or doing nothing.

I know this family dinner thing made the national news in the US last night...the Norman Rockwell nostalgia piece. I cherish the afternoons my Dad took me fishing and the many hours I helped my Mom crating melons under the huge oak tree on the ranch. Those are the times where we communicated and learned from each other.

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MEADSBAY 9/12/2014 10:10AM

    Interesting article and blog.
Bet you get a lot of comments on it!
The only fast food we ever got while raising our kids was when we were traveling by car.
We had family dinners almost every night but sometimes it was simple things like hot dogs and canned beans (this was many many moons ago).
I would do some extra cooking on Sundays, like a pot of stew or a big pan of lasagna.
It really is more about sitting down together as often as possible and sharing your day.
I feel it's an incredible bonding experience for all and the best way to pass on your values to your children.
And, yes, all three of my kids did sports, etc.
Today's families need to find what works for them.
My son and daughter-in-law both work and have 3 kidlets, 5 and under.
They have a no tv/phones-off-for-dinner rule (huge for them!) and they live in a tiny house so the two 'big kids' sit at a small table, baby in a high chair, parents at the counter (all in the kitchen) and they feed the kids while the grownups have a salad or a drink and appetizer....so it feels like a family dinner. The little ones all need baths and are in bed by 8 and usually mom does that while dad cooks their dinner (while he does laundry and picks up around the house, btw- I raised that man right).
Definitely harder to do for single parents or when both parents work long hours!

Comment edited on: 9/12/2014 10:12:51 AM

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SLENDERELLA61 9/12/2014 10:00AM

    Bummer! I work so hard on those extended family meals ---- probably not a cure-all, but truly it doesn't hurt.

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SQUIRRELMOMMA1 9/12/2014 9:45AM

    I never took that for cooking each day, yada yada. If you eat as a family unit - be it in a restaurant, fast food, or the dinner table. That to me is the important part. If you eat as a family unit, anywhere, there tends to be conversation and connection between parent & child. That is what is important.

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CRYSTALJEM 9/12/2014 8:45AM

    So true. Really good points here. I am a stay at home mom and I still find it challenging for all the reasons you mentioned. Thank you I needed
It today

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SUSANNAH31 9/12/2014 8:24AM

    My kids are long gone - and are doing their own family dinners at their homes.
Most of the time they manage to eat together - and that is with working moms and dads. I'm happy to say, though, that the dads (my sons) cook just as often and well as the moms.

Now, with only the two of us at home, my husband and I often eat different foods. He still likes meat and potatoes a whole lot more than I do - and he won't eat most of the veggies that I do. Not only that - but we will often eat at different times during the day.

We try to keep things flexible with food in our house, with lots of options: his and mine.

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ISHIIGIRL 9/12/2014 8:21AM

    I have one of those vinyl sayings on my kitchen wall right over the table. It says Dinner tastes better when we eat it together. I don't think it matters really what it is, so long as you do it together. Most nights, its a home cooked meal. I have one daughter who is vegetarian so we accommodate her needs. We are on a budget so the drive thru is a very rare occasion, even when they had after school activities. It takes some planning but there is this gadget I like to use called the crockpot. It works wonders to help get the dinner on the table. Also, I make dinner the responsibility of one of my daughters when I don't have time. Where there is a will, there is a way. This has always been one of my biggest priorities. Once you set the standard, the family complies. If we don't eat as a family, I always here about it. If one of us is missing, I get question. Where is so and so? Im not saying I am perfect, no one is, but making family meals a priority has been a cornerstone of our family bonding. It was like that for me growing up, so I had a great example.

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KALIGIRL 9/12/2014 8:20AM

    Discussions around the dinner table could be good, could be bad...
While having nothing to do with dinner with the family, choices in life seem to be just that choices. Time is the most valuable thing we 'have' and how we spend it reflects what is important.

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NANCY- 9/12/2014 8:10AM

    Still do the family meal thing daily. My youngest is the fussiest, but now he is old enough to fix something else. As far as obesity goes, is is the overall relationship with food, not just mealtime. It is our values and beliefs that guide our decisions as to what we choose to put into our body. the family mealtime is just the opportunity to share.

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KANOE10 9/12/2014 8:08AM

    That poor guy in the article cooking 5 different breakfasts. I agree with you on the exhaustion with working mothers or non working mothers taking their kids to lessons and practices. I had 4 kids playing sports and feel guilty now that I often picked up fast foods on those hectic driving nights.

It is interesting that the article questions the validity of the family home cooked meal.

I do worry about my low income kids who frequently just have a bowl of sweet cereal for dinner.

I still enjoy my sit down meals with my family..even thought we are often eating different things and often come in at different times.

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/12/2014 7:49AM

    Cutting oneself some slack for trying to "do it all" is a vital piece in stress-reduction! I am not my mother. I am not my father. Yet I was attempting to do what BOTH of them did for years! And blaming myself for falling short.

I still suffer from "comparison guilt"... but seriously, you can replace some of those "family dinner" things with walks with the kid, shooting hoops with the kid, setting a good example for the kid... etc. And in the end... we make it if we choose to, both as kids growing up, and as parents to our kids.

The importance of taking care of YOURSELF as a mum is something so many of us miss in this high-pressure, highly media-driven set of expectations! emoticon emoticon

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JAROL7 9/12/2014 7:47AM

    I believe the myth... is not a myth. It will do more for passing on values than any other choice ... IF .... the parents have good values to pass on.

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The days get cooler . . . the carb cravings get stronger!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Yup, I recognize this pattern. Bring on the "comfort food".

Just thinking about baked macaroni and cheese with a crunchy gooey cheesy topping . . . or a robust beef stew with dumplings . . . or a full cream rice and raisin pudding with cinnamon: enough to make me drool.

And they're not on the menu!!

And: that's OK. Really. Because even though I "know" I could make any of the above in a reduced fat version, or I could make any of the above in a full fat version and just have a small portion . . . for me those options would not satisfy. And indulging would trigger a full blown fat/salt/sugar simple carbfest . . . from which I might emerge after Thanksgiving and after Christmas and after Valentine's Day in or about May.

Those annual May magazine articles announcing that bikini season is imminent? Too late, too late too late . . . and too old for bikinis anyhow, of course!! But I WILL still be fitting into my tankinis. And I won't be deviating into a fall carbfest.

Tracking nutrition. Exercising -- at the gym at 5:30 this morning.


Worth it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWEDE_SU 9/13/2014 9:15AM

    yes indeed - i can feel it too. but it is also still a wonderful fruit season. still, those carbs are calling...

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GABY1948 9/12/2014 4:55PM

    This is so true! PERFECT!

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SUSANNAH31 9/12/2014 8:28AM

    This is so true. Thanks for the reminder ahead of time.
I am picturing soups instead of salads - with more root vegetables and beans.
Thinking bathing suit in September and October is a great idea.

Plus, autumn is a great time for walking and walking and walking....

(It's the pies that are my biggest temptations in the fall.)

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NANCY- 9/12/2014 8:01AM

    Time for more root veggies. We can change our expectations.

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KANOE10 9/12/2014 7:53AM

    I was at the gym at 5:30am also. You are right about the cooler weather and tempting comfort foods that start appearing. You are absolutely right that we want to avoid a carbfest from Oct.- May. Thanks for a good reminder as we head into the holiday carb season.

I can't wear bikinis either.. emoticon

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    I've just finished my cheese-fest binge and will now cling to my veggie lifeline. You are so right. I took the first step out of frustration and the next thing I knew, everything I fought against was on the plate! it's a tough reset button to push.

Hooray for roasted Brussels sprouts!

Comment edited on: 9/12/2014 5:53:35 AM

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_LINDA 9/12/2014 12:55AM

    Oh those carbs!! Mac n' cheese, my all time favorite, could eat a whole package lol.
That is why I can't have them in the apartment. With these cold temperatures comes the bountiful harvest. I am enjoying carrots, parsnips, purple beans and purple and pink fleshed potatoes as well as a beet borscht soup, all thanks to local growers. Nothing, and I mean nothing beats them!
Here is to healthy food and fun fitness!

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CARRAND 9/11/2014 8:20PM

    I don't do low fat cheese. It has to be real or I won't eat it.

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/11/2014 6:54PM

    Comfort foods for me have changed... lower fat versions, portion control, for sure... but also different foods that are still warm and filling but better for me. Brussels Sprouts, roasted, anyone? Better than candy!

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1CRAZYDOG 9/11/2014 5:47PM

    I can smell the Mac 'n' cheese from here! For sure it is the beginning of the craving for carb heavy foods, but Mac 'n' cheese would be one that sends me into a tail spin too. So, gotta know what you can handle and what you can't. Not easy, but with mindfulness, you can identify those foods you just need to avoid.

Good luck!

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FIFIFRIZZLE 9/11/2014 4:23PM

    You are so right! Those carb cravings cannot be assuaged with non carb foods because the body wants carbs to help us to add insulation, which we needed to endure the cold weather. To which of course we are not subjected in the modern day, as we have so much control over our environments.

Heartier beanier soups to the rescue?
As you know I am a fan of adding psyllium to my soups to thicken and make them more satisfying.


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SLENDERELLA61 9/11/2014 3:10PM

    Your consistency at the gym and in the kitchen/tracking is commendable and impressive. While it will be "summer" here for many more months, I understand the drive to hibernate in the winter - brown fat and all that. It's partly psychological and partly physical. You are very wise not to give into it. Yep, it can devolve into a carb-fest and you know what you really, really want and it isn't that!!

Very good reminder. Good blog. Take care. Enjoy your cooling days. -Marsha

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FEEDTHEHUNGER 9/11/2014 2:22PM

    A cuppa does just as well for me as a carb fest and luckily I like to drink my tea plain.


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TRAVELGRRL 9/11/2014 1:42PM

    I agree!! I can't make full fat versions of anything and eat a small portion, and so often the reduced-fat versions aren't satisfying. Or I still want to eat the whole thing anyway.

I DO find that the less I deviate from the good, whole, wholesome foods, the less I want of the garbage.

And such a good feeling that is!

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JANTHEBLONDE 9/11/2014 1:15PM

    I am so glad to hear you won't be deviating into a all carbfest! Love your positive attitude! Keep on track and girlfriend! I hope you have a wonderful day!
Hugs and love

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PATRICIA-CR 9/11/2014 12:49PM

    emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 9/11/2014 11:43AM

    Here's to knowing your triggers and finding alternatives - gotta love the onset of soup weather!

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ID_VANDAL 9/11/2014 11:21AM

    I need to get some of your DNA! You are so consistent in your activities and, as you well know, that leads to success and more success.

I probably won't be wearing a bikini anytime soon! emoticon

Keep up the good work.



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DONNELDA22 9/11/2014 11:16AM

    Time to get your receipes out for your wonderful homemade soups (no cream soups).!!

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DSHONEYC 9/11/2014 10:37AM

    emoticon + emoticon = emoticon

You remain the Maintenance Queen! emoticon

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PHEBESS 9/11/2014 10:03AM

    You continue to be my hero!

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SQUIRRELMOMMA1 9/11/2014 9:47AM

    emoticon emoticon

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ROXYZMOM 9/11/2014 9:02AM

    I love this blog! You rock!!

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CRYSTALJEM 9/11/2014 8:53AM

    You are so my hereo today. Hope sunrise was beautiful.

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SANDICANE 9/11/2014 8:52AM

    Oh girlfriend, how timely is this blog of yours! Yep, and those same magazines that have bikini season articles in the spring, now feature breads, muffins, loaves and yes, mac & cheese, all complete with glossy pics!!!

I'm not choosing them either. When I ate that way, I gained weight...always b/c I couldn't say "enough"!

Have a happy, happy day, and thanks for the timely blog! You are a very special SparkFriend!

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DDOORN 9/11/2014 8:52AM

    Hearty legumes to the rescue! :-)


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