Wednesday January 11, 2012 10:35

Macrobiotics: Calm and Clear

by Amy Plouf

I am feeling a lot more calm lately. That is one of the purported results of the macrobiotic lifestyle. We still aren’t 100% macro around here, but we are enjoying the process. I am sure my kids are too!

In December, my face resembled that of a teenager. And I don’t mean the youthful, wrinkle free, even coloring. I was a mess of pimples.   In an attempt to rectify that, I am currently reading/studying Christina Pirello’s Glow.

In it she has a 30-Day Plan to Glowing Radiance. I am embarking on that path. So watch out, by late February I should be video blogging and wowing you all! Ok, please stop laughing.

My first step at her council is to avoid the use of chemical cosmetic products. We had already started this process, in an effort to eliminate synthetic ingredients that might irritate my children per the Feingold Program.

I also am trying really hard to become one of those girls who washes her face every single night no exceptions. This has been a lot easier since we have given up alcohol. I would get so sleepy and then personal care went out the window!

Last I am trying to use natural products to rid myself of my two vices: melasma and under eye circles. Almost every macro book recommends shiitake tea for under eye circles. My mushrooms are a soakin’ as I type. I haven’t found a natural cure for melasma yet, so for now I am gonna stop putting chemical gunk on there. You gotta wonder about a cream that can cause birth defects. Do I really want that on my skin? My mom has been telling me to nix that for years.

I am pretty sure going pure and natural with my food, cleaning products and personal care is gonna make a positive change in how I look and feel.

What do you do to look your best naturally? Are you calmer when you eat better?
I am starting to think milk really is just for baby cows.

Wednesday November 30, 2011 10:02

I Love it When My Chicks Agree

So….. I have a couple of chicks that are influential to me. I have yet to meet either of them, yet that is.

First there is the Flylady.  She helps me keep my house clean when I listen to her.  Then there is Alicia Silverstone who’s book The Kind Diet has been a real help getting started macro.

Flylady has a habit of the month she recommends you adopt. This month’s just happens to be menu planning. Of course I tell you this on the very last day of the month.

Alicia also recommends you take time to plan your food for the day, because if not your decisions tend to be “made in haste, out of stress or hunger, and they tend to be less than stellar.” I can 100% assure you of this. Do not leave the house hungry and hope to stay on the straight and narrow macro wise!

So I was very disciplined and meal planned on Saturday and then ran off to the local natural foods joint with my wombat on Sunday.  She marched around with her mini shopping cart as I pushed my regular one. Anything that looked appealing was taken from my cart and placed into hers. Sensible plan and more than fine with me. But….. I have yet to make any of those meals. We have gotten into a little take out jag. It happens around here. We got Indian two nights in a row this week! Yes it is true.

I get an A+ for menu planning and an F for execution! Oh my.  Better get cooking!

Happy Hump Day,


Wednesday November 30, 2011 07:24

Bye Bye Booze…. But Not Tonight

Another temptation that is winning is alcohol! Jabie and I are forever trying to completely quit drinking to no avail. I was doing so well yesterday and today until he suggested we split a bottle of red wine tonight. I personally have no problem with drinking red wine. I don’t looooove it, so I rarely have much. It is the perfect drink in moderation for me. I like that unlike a mixed drink, like margaritas, you know you are getting the exact same amount of alcohol in each glass. And I am not gobbling up all that sugar.

The macrobiotic diet isn’t about forbidding any certain food, but I think it is safe to say daily drinking isn’t recommended. Our goal is to save the red wine for our date nights and special occasions as opposed to keeping alcohol in the house. Baby steps!

PS I love that this bottle says Loma on it, since that is our nickname for our little girl.



Tuesday November 29, 2011 10:06

Nightshade Vegetables

Nightshade veggies include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. These are kind of a no no on the macrobiotic diet. Which kind of stinks because I really love ratatouille.

This isn’t a problem for me within my daily cravings. I can cook plenty of yummy foods from the vast macro library I am assembling. God bless Amazon by the way. However, when ordering at a restaurant things get a little trickier.  Having a vegan menu is more common than a macro one, and this is one of the differences between the two diets.  Vegans eat nightshade vegetables. My favorite Indian restaurant has 5 dishes that are vegan and nightshade free (or could be easily amended). We have tried one or two of them.  Those potatoes and eggplants call out to me. It is just wrong.

These vegetables are thought to exacerbate certain health conditions such as arthritis and acne. Personally, I want to see if they have any link to my shoulder pain, headaches and canker sores. I have always been asked if I eat a lot of spicy food or tomatoes due to my chronic canker sores.  For me it is worth it to trying to eliminate them for awhile and see what happens. Previously we tried the Feingold diet for our son, which considers salyiclates to be a contributing factor in ADHD. Guess what also has salyiclates? Eggplants, tomatoes and green peppers. Hmmmm.

Not quitting tonight though. Hubby is en route home with  Indian take out and it isn’t all nightshade free. Baby steps.

My hubby is my Indian food bringing hero!

Have a great night,


Monday November 28, 2011 10:06

Macrobiotics : The Answer to She Wants it All

Jabie and I have decided to embark on a new way of life. We have been studying the macrobiotic diet since September, and have been trying to implement it since mid October. We took a break while traveling to LA for our Days of our Lives blog DaysTalk. It was our goal to remain macro and I am sure LA would be THE place do it, but by the flight I had gone AWOL. Jabie had bumped us up to first class and while he ordered the oatmeal like a good little macro, I was a little overexcited by the experience and dove right into an omelet!  Thanksgiving at my parents’ house proved to be a bust too, when our first stop was to Buffalo Wild Wings. Hah! Try going meat and dairy free there. It is possible, but I don’t have that type of will power yet.

We now have a little awesome kiddo with ADHD and we would like to manage his symptoms drug-free. We aren’t there yet, but I do believe diet is part of the solution. We had dabbled in macrobiotics briefly back in the Spring of 2004 and I started thinking it might help now. ADHD and macrobiotics don’t appear as a pair much on the Internet. We decided to give it a try and unlike the other two diets we have tried, we decided to not only do the diet also, but do it first before the kids. The first two diets I honestly was cooking all day for the munchkins and then ordering out  for us at night when I was beat. Not good.  We also have a little princess who is to put it mildly a picky eater. She might not be going full on macro with us.

Pictured here is Jessica Porter author of The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics.

What I hope to gain from the macrobiotic lifestyle:

1. Patience

I want to be a fun, silly, zany, happy, inspiring nurturing mom. NOT a  screaming, threatening overstrung anti-role model.

2. Energy and Momentum

To be a  mom, wife, homemaker, blogger, runner, gardener, and musician.

3. Health

I have a few minor health issues that just take away from life’s joy (canker sores and headaches).

I would love for my family to not be dependent on daily medication.

4.  Beauty

Why not? You are what you eat. Exercise and nutrition makes your hair, skin, and body just look nicer!

5.  A Greener Lifestyle

I am raising a budding environmentalist who at 6 cringes every time I do not recycle. This diet and going green are just naturally aligned.

Wish me luck,


Tuesday January 4, 2011 11:06


A dear friend, Wendy, from my running club forwarded this to all our members. Here are her words, “Hi all … I think we all want to be of help and need to be helped at times .. it’s hard to figue out when and how. It came together for this lucky group. Thought I’d share this really cool moment in time …. Enjoy!”

The best day of fishin’  ever!!!

Four young Sitka black-tailed bucks fell upon good luck Sunday as they were pulled from the icy waters of Stephens Passage, Alaska by a group of locals on Tom Satre’s 62-foot charter vessel.  Four juvenile Sitka black-tailed deer swam directly  toward the boat..
Once the deer  reached the boat, the four began to circle the boat, looking directly at the  humans on board.  Clearly, the bucks were distressed. With help, the typically skittish and absolutely wild animals came  willingly onto the boat.  Once onboard, they collapsed with exhaustion, shivering.

Here the rescued bucks rest on the back of Tom Satre’s boat, the Alaska Quest. All four deer were  transported to Taku Harbour.  Once the group reached the dock,  the first buck that had been pulled from the water hopped onto the dock, looked back, then leapt into the Harbour, swam to shore, and  disappeared into the forest. After a bit of prodding and assistance  from the humans, two others followed suit, but  one

deer needed more help.  Here he is being transported by Tom Satre 

Tom, Anna and Tim Satre help the last of the  ”button” bucks to its feet. They did not know how long the deer had  been in the icy waters or if there had been others who did not survive.  The good Samaritans (humans)  describe their experience as “one of those defining moments in  life.”  I sure it was for the deer, as  wel

This touched me and thought I’d share too,


Monday January 3, 2011 08:44

New Year’s Eve Plouf Style

For the last few years, my brother-in-law Chuck has been coming over to cook for New Year’s Eve. This is a true treat. Chuck is a chef of high caliber. We have compared his cooking to the work of a great musician. Watching him cook is quite a spectacular event.

Of course I teased him the entire time. I am reading the White Queen by Philippa Gregory right now.  I informed him regularly, by the hour, that if the meal should not be every bit as good as last year he would suffer the same fate as the characters in my novel. Since he is quite attached to his head, he exceeded our expectations.  YUM!

We gave Chuck a curry cookbook many Christmases ago. It was one of those gifts that was really for us. So the ceremony starts with Jabie taking off to Chuck’s to pick the recipe. Then they go to an Asian market for the ingredients. Chuck always says we should be eating by 7. This sends Jabie and me into gales of laughter. We usually eat about midnight. A good curry cannot be rushed.

Jabie called to inform me they had chosen the recipe.  Beef Aubergine. He asked if I had any favorites. Even though I have a French name, I clearly proved I don’t speak it when I said, “Oh yah, I loved that eggplant one he did a couple years back.”  Jabie was sweet when he explained what aubergine meant.  Chuck also makes these bread pancake things that I began calling “roguntaddes” but that is not the name. And I don’t know what is. Jabie made a vegetable dish a well, which he wasn’t that thrilled with but it went well with the meal.

This is my absolute favorite New Year’s Eve tradition. I suppose I shouldn’t admit that, since my co-blogger and I spent many a New Year’s Eve out on the town together. But this yearly tradition of cooking together and visiting, being silly but laid back is just what I love.  We all know the key to my heart is through my stomach!

Happy New Year!


Thursday December 30, 2010 13:09

New Year’s Resolutions

OK Ladies, it’s that time of year. New Year’s Resolutions need to be made. And kept!

This article from the Post Standard might help you get the ball rolling.

I am a bit of a nut. I love the idea of self improvement. Hence the theme of this blog. I literally have pages of resolutions on how to improve my character, health, and parenting.

How though, does one change a resolution into an actual habit.  I took these notes on habits, and I am sorry to say I don’t recall the source.

1. Identify a bad habit, and start small

2. Write it down, along with 5 reasons you want to change it. Carry that with you.

3. Give yourself one month. You can add another habit after a month, but keep working on this one too.

4. Use affirmations. If you want to start exercising more often, you could say, “I am someone who works out regularly”

Now where I get tripped up is the picking one habit part. When I get on a improve me kick, I want to fix it all. So here goes:

I want to start running again.

5 reasons:

1.  for my health

2.  I miss it

3.  I enjoy spending time with my fellow Forerunners.

4.  it helps relieve stress

5. when I was working hard at it,  I enjoyed the sense of satisfaction from improving my times and occasionally placing in my age group

affirmation: “I am a runner”

Goal: 1 month from now still running. January 29th run a 5K.

Sunday October 3, 2010 11:10

Faces of Breast Cancer – How to Be a Friend

by Jodi McLean

You will see a lot of pink this month.   The Susan G. Komen marketing machine is relentlessly raising the awareness of Breast Cancer and keeping it top-of-mind; not only in October, but all year long.  I salute the SGK Marketing Team!  Tigresses!  I am constantly amazed at the passionate and know-no-limits, action-driven power of this campaign.  To say that it is inspirational is an understatement.


My friend and hero, Kerrie, is in another valley of  her roller coaster ride.  We spoke yesterday, and she is back in the hospital…  I have blogged about Kerrie’s story a few times:   

Meet Kerrie 

SHEva Kerrie Needs You

Following a double-mastectomy in her 30′s, many chemo and radiation treatments for the tumors that metastasized in her lymph system, and two unnerving gamma knife procedures to target the tumors that invaded her brain, she has been given more discouraging news this week.   I can’t imagine how much more a person can be expected to take.  As her friend and cheerleader, I am completely disheartened…there comes a time when the “don’t let this disease define you, or discourage you, or beat you” messages become hollow.  I think we are there.

I found this blog to be helpful to me - it appears to be written by a breast cancer Warrior who was continually asked by her friends and family how they could help. 

How to Help a Loved One Who Has Cancer

I will never, ever give up on Kerrie, and I told her exactly that yesterday.   I settled on “appreciate the little things” when she said that her lunch was being delivered and she was hungry.  I couldn’t help but think that hunger was a positive sign; her body is still fighting!  “Focus on small victories” I told her.   And then I hung up and cried all day.   It’s not that I’m giving up, I am just SO ANGRY that she has to go through this…and her family has to helplessly watch their daughter/sister battling for her life.  It never lets up.  She fights and fights and the disease gives her a bigger punch.   How can she be asked to keep fighting when there are so few winning battles to keep her inspired?   I want to fight along-side her, but I’m completely thrown by this persistent, powerful enemy.

Please, ladies, get your mammograms.  I will say it again – it is SO EASY!!  It does NOT hurt.  It is quick and pain-free.  My sister had her first mammogram last week and she laughed about how easy it was!   Just do it, and spread the word.   Please help to control and ultimately find a cure for breast cancer. 

As always, this is for Kerrie.  I send you my love and inner-strength every day.  You are my hero.

Please feel free to share your inspiring stories here. 


Wednesday September 29, 2010 19:06

Support the HOME TEAM!

by Jodi McLean

Tonya & Jodi

Yes, I know, I have really been on a sports kick with my posts.  I’m really not this one-track minded; it’s just that it’s Fall, and that’s when I catch the Football Fevah.  Plus, we are approaching the baseball post-season and I’m an avid baseball fan these days, so I’m riding that heat wave, too.

Not-so-much with the basketball this decade (although I loved the Pistons in the Isiah Thomas era) and I’m really not that into hockey, so you won’t be bombarded with posts about all-things sports.

Here is my current beef.  I live in St. Petersburg, FL now.  I was born & raised a Detroit Tigers fan.  My Grandmother is probably looking down on me (and sis) with disapproval that we are cheering on another team than her beloved Tigers.  Grandma listened to EVERY Tigers game on the radio long after she couldn’t see the TV.  Some of my fondest memories of Grandma Fritch are of her sitting up in her chair in the dark, listening to Ernie and Al on WJR.  I’m choked up just thinking about it (in a happy way!)   Grandma taught me to watch the game with the TV on mute and listen to the play-by-play on the radio.

I now live maybe 5 miles from Tropicana Field.  I go see a live baseball game at every opportunity.   I have as many Rays hats and tee-shirts as I have/had Tigers gear throughout my life.   Why change allegiance?  I haven’t.  I still love the Tigers and want them to win.  BUT, I love baseball!  I LOVE having MLB in my current home-town and I will support the home-team completely.  I cheer for them, I buy the gear, I buy the tickets.  I’d like to think that I am doing my part to ensure that there will always be MLB in St. Pete.  (On top of the fact that the Rays are a dynamic, entertaining, talented team!!  Have you bothered to watch??!!)

I am SO OVER the Yankees and Red Sox fans, who have now chosen to live in Florida, dissing the Rays and laughing at the attendance at the games.  If you watch baseball or read the sports news, you know that Rays attendance is abysmal, even with their phenomenal play.  WHY?!  I don’t get it.  Don’t tell me it’s the economy…fans in Detroit still buy tickets, and I know what the economy is like there.

SHEva Lori reminds me that Florida is a transient state.  Very few people were  born and raised here.  Plus, the Rays are only 12-years old this year, so we haven’t really established any sort of history or legacy for sports clingers-on to glom onto like the Red Sox and the Yanks.  I mean, both of those teams have been playing ball for a century.  Their baseball tradition has been passed down for generations and today’s adult fans were born & raised to be fans of their team.  I get it.  But that won’t happen for the Rays for another decade or two.  Meanwhile, the Rays are still getting established…so back off with the judgement of “bandwagon fans” and “team loyalty.”

(Side note:  as I write this post, I am smack in the middle of a Facebook argument with a Red Sox fan living in Florida over this very topic. )

Am I a bit overly emotional about this debate?  Yeah, probably.  But I adore driving 5 miles down the street, knowing where to park that I won’t get ticketed or towed if I have to leave my car there overnight (shout-out to Ferg’s Sport Bar!!)  and watching some amazing professional baseball.  The Rays play in the AL East.  The Tigers, the Yankees and the Red Sox come to town with regularity…who wouldn’t pay and cheer fiercely for that continued opportunity to physically participate in such competition? 

Just sayin’; Yankees & Red Sox fans who live in Florida, if you are a true advocate of baseball, STOP with the constant snarky remarks about the Rays and support your Home Team!!!   You don’t have to convert, we just need to keep MLB in OUR TOWN.  Open your minds.

Jump on the bandwagon!  Go RAYS!