Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (8/15 – 8/21)

This past year has been one of many healthy new habits gained and some not-so-healthy old ones lost for good. Below are some of the many changes that have been made

  • Daily meal planning: Every day I make sure I know what I’m going to eat the next day and the calories for that food. I still start with 1200 calories/day but add calories according to how much walking we do.
  • Water: Both Brett and I consistently drink at least 72 ounces of water a day.
  • Reduced coffee intake: I finally found my sweet spot for daily coffee intake: two cups of half-caff in the morning, and a cup of decaf in the early afternoon.
  • No sodas: A Diet Coke a day was an old habit, but no more! Brett got me one in May for a birthday treat, but it didn’t taste as good as I imagined it would be and I haven’t wanted one since.
  • Reduced sugar intake: We keep supplies in our pantry for a once-a-week s’mores treat, but they’re hidden at the back of the pantry where we’re not tempted by them. Otherwise, no cookies, cakes, pies, etc. enter the house these days. A small piece of baked oatmeal in the evening, made with a little bit of maple syrup, is our sweet of choice these days.
  • Vegetarian diet: We’ve nearly arrived at a full vegetarian diet, more plant-based (cheese is the only animal-based product we eat), and feel so much better for it. Along with exercise, it’s helping us to keep off the weight we’ve lost (and keeps our food costs down as well).
  • More exercise: We walk nearly four miles every day now, and with everything else we do almost consistently get in 10,000 steps a day. I’ve also stuck with upper body strength training for nearly a year now. We still get more aches and pains then we did when we were younger, but we’re in the best shape we’ve been in a long time.

We had to find several ways to use feta cheese this week so that it didn’t spoil and have to be tossed out. Besides putting it a salad on a cheese board, and on pizza, we also ate it in sandwiches and as a snack. We bought a big container of organic feta at Costco last month, made from sheep’s milk and imported from Greece, and it ended up containing a LOT more cheese than we imagined. The feta has been positively delicious, so much better than what’s usually available in supermarkets, but we will be giving this variety of cheese a break for a while as we’ve had it so many ways for the past couple of weeks and are eager to have something different.

The coconut squash dal we bought was very good and we’re glad we bought a case of it! The quinoa salad was our favorite dish of the week though – I took a recipe I’ve used for years and added feta cheese and cucumbers to make it a main dish salad. We loved it and were very happy to have leftovers for a couple of days. Besides having meat sauce over zucchini noodles, we also used the leftover sauce on our mini pizzas – delicious! We have just one more small bag of the sauce left in the freezer now, two packages of ground beef, a very small pork chop, and a small package of roast chicken breast. We’ll be meat free in September!

Sunday: Coconut squash dal with steamed rice; Indian-spiced roasted zucchini

Monday: Zucchini noodles with meat sauce

Tuesday: Vegan Orange chick’n (actually batter-fried mushrooms); vegetable fried rice

Wednesday: Quinoa salad with cucumber and feta cheese

Thursday: Mini pizzas with leftover meat sauce

Friday: Cheese board

Saturday: Falafel sandwiches; tabouleh salad

Our desserts were yummy lemon blueberry baked oatmeal on Tuesday, s’mores on Wednesday and Friday, and pumpkin baked oatmeal the rest of the week.

We’re looking forward to trying this tofu burger seasoning mix this week!

We’ve got another Big Shop coming up this week. We’re also going to try some Japanese tofu burger patties using a seasoning mix we found at Walmart on our last Big Shop – it looks interesting. I’m planning to make the egg roll in a bowl (with ground beef this time), but If Costco has a nice selection of sushi we may pick up a package or two of that as a treat. I’m using plant-based ground “be’f” to make the mabo nasu.

  • Zaru soba; hayakko
  • Eggroll in a bowl (or sushi, depending on what’s available at Costco)
  • Tofu burgers
  • Mabo nasu
  • Sweet corn ravioli with pesto
  • Cheese board
  • Mini pizzas

We started off our walking this week with a hike on the Waiokapua Trail at the Barking Sands base on Monday. The day was partly cloudy and much cooler than usual with a nice breeze, but for a fairly level 2 1/2-mile hike the trail was as much work as ever. We always finish feeling absolutely drained and can’t figure out why, whether it’s more humid out there than we realize, the trail itself, or something else. After hiking we had to walk another quarter of a mile from the parking lot out to out spot on the beach which just added to our feelings of exhaustion. Still, it was nice to have a change of view, and we’ve been unsuccessfully searching for the name of a plant along the trail with giant pods that were bursting and sending big balls of fluffy stuff everywhere.

The rest of the week we took our usual walks up at the park. We picked up trash again on Thursday, filling another bag and a half this time, frustrating because we only filled one bag last week! Hopefully we will see less this coming week. We found an amazing 39 lost balls last week in just five days of walking the perimeter, a new record, and also broke our previous one-day record of 10 when we found 14 balls on Saturday. Brett washed up all the dirty ones yesterday, and got them all dried and sorted.

Sunday is bath day for most of the lost balls we find – they almost always clean up well and look as good as new! We’re constantly surprised though by how many of them are in pristine condition.

14 thoughts on “Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (8/15 – 8/21)

  1. As a single working mom, Diet Coke was my go to for energy, comfort, etc. When I developed stomach problems, I gave up carbonated drinks. Now if I have one somewhere, I don’t really like it. It’s interesting how our tastes change with our habits.


    1. I loved Diet Coke, and remember being so excited to see it on the menu when we traveled through the UK on our way back to the US in December 2018. But I have no interest in it now, and was very surprised by how little I enjoyed it back in May when I had some on my birthday.


  2. Diet coke is my only allowed on international business trips drink. Because, that jet lag in the afternoons! But, I’m with you, I don’t miss it at all. Coffee/tea is a struggle for me mid-day, for whatever reason.

    Your consistency is so impressive, on both the diet & fitness front. Well done to you & Brett!


    1. I could definitely see drinking a Diet Coke on the plane coming and going to Japan, just to stay awake (because airplane coffee is awful). My current coffee intake seems to be perfect – just enough to keep me happy but not enough caffeine to keep me awake at night.

      One of the reasons we’ve been able to stay so consistent with diet and exercise is that we’re not busy and distracted with a million other things these days. We can go out much except to the park, and we’re making the most of it.


  3. Your dedication to meal planning, eating and exercise is inspiring! Keeps me thinking I can do the same.


    1. The continued presence of the virus here, and having to stay at home and local has been a huge motivator to learn new habits. I keep a daily checklist that includes walking and menu planning, and since I like to see things get checked off it’s made those things something I want to do every day. Plus, results!


  4. Interesting as always. When you say you only eat cheese as your non-vegetarian or non-vegan food, you mean also no milk, cream, eggs? That would be really challenging! You sure have broadened my horizons!


    1. We don’t buy dairy milk, cream, or eggs any more. I bake with applesauce instead of eggs these days, and so far it’s gone well. I did buy a tiny container of sour cream earlier for a recipe – we tried the vegan one but it was too expensive and the flavor was awful (IMO), but sour cream won’t ever be a regular purchase. We still allow ourselves to have seafood now and again, but have found we don’t crave it – we’re very satisfied with vegetarian eating.


  5. You do sell those golf balls, right? My friend makes a good amount from his golf course walks in Phoenix.
    Pepsi was my poison. I drank 12 in the last six weeks of moving. I know I won’t be buying one again anytime soon.
    At $4. A pound for 80/20 ground beef, we are following you into vegetarian territory. Eggs, milk and cheese are still in the fridge.
    Love your pictures from the walks!


    1. For now we’re just collecting golf balls, but plan to sort and bag them according to condition and brand and sell at our garage sale before we depart. Do you know how much your friend sells them for – we have no idea how to eventually price them.

      Letting go of meat has definitely helped our bottom line when it comes to food shopping. We’ve completely switched over to oat milk, don’t buy eggs, but will never remove cheese from our diet!


      1. Oat milk! I gave up almond milk (and almonds) once I found out how much water it takes to bring an almond to harvest.
        Golf balls go for .25 to 1.00 each in Phoenix. Wash, sort, look up quality. He started on Facebook market place and now has a following 😉 Who knew- such a market….


      2. YaYu turned us on to oat milk last year – it’s very good.

        That’s exciting to hear about golf ball prices. We are planning to sell a bag of 25 anywhere from $5 to $10, depending on the condition. They are starting to take over a cupboard here and I may be forced to put them up on Facebook sooner rather than later.


  6. Your self-discipline is quite remarkable! I wish some of it would rub on me.
    I recently discovered at Costco, in the frozen section, 2 dishes that I really like: Yakisoba noodles w/veggies (vegetarian) and Chicken Yakitori w/rice. I know that you’re walking away from eating meat, but the chicken is incidental in this dish. One needs a magnifying glass to find it🤣.
    I remember when you were giving up on your beloved Diet Coke, and I am so amazed at how emotionally detached of it you are these days. Good for you!


    1. With not being able to do a whole lot of other things, self-discipline finally became a bit easier (I’ve never been very good at it before). Funny you should mention yakisoba as it’s on my shopping list this week!

      I have had days where I miss Diet Coke, but then remember how I didn’t like it when I tried it again back in May and suddenly I don’t miss it. My son has a worse addiction to Diet Coke than I ever did, but it’s not available in Japan (just Coke Zero). Whenever we visit we buy loads of DC for him at the commissary.


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