Shaking It Up just a bit

I didn’t do a lot to Shake It Up today, but I did wear a really different outfit today — a far cry from my usual Eddie Bauer waffle shirt with a fleece vest. I wore a pair of boots with a skirt and sweater. It is pretty amazing that the outfit even worked out, because I just grabbed the various pieces of clothing before I left the house this morning to go to the Fitness Center to exercise before work.

Here is what I also did today to Shake It Up — I decided to make brownies after work this evening. I figured if they came out well, I would make another batch to bring on Sunday to our friends’ Super Bowl party. For anyone who knows me, the fact that I went home to bake is surprising, since I do not really cook a lot. What is not surprising though, is that these brownies are ridiculously healthy. They are made with sweet potato, almond flour, cocoa, and the frosting was made with dates and tahini, which is sesame butter, and more cocoa.


This is what the brownies should have looked like.

So here is the good news and the bad news. The good news is that the recipe was easy to follow and very healthy. The bad news is that they had no added sugar to them, so unfortunately tasted terrible. (We had to sprinkle sugar on top to eat them.) The good news for our friends we watch the Super Bowl with is that I will not be bringing them to the Super Bowl party this weekend!


Shaking Up the Sugar, Salt, and Fat

I have been reading this really great book called The End of Overeating, which is written by David Kessler. He is an MD who was the FDA Commissioner from 1990 to 1997. He was instrumental in regulating Nutrition Facts labels, and was active in attempting to regulate  cigarettes.

He has since written this book which delves into how food companies manipulate the salt, sugar, and fat in processed foods as a means of getting us to crave certain foods. He talks about how you can describe to the tiniest detail eating something that is your favorite food — how it smells, crunches, feels in your mouth, lasts in your mouth, etc.  And, it is the combination of fat, sugar, and salt which impact our desire for certain foods. These favorite foods become habit forming for us. They become habits by impacting our brain neurons, and actually alter our brain function.


Here is an example of a candy bar that someone might crave….


So back to what I decided to do to Shake It Up — I have been trying today to figure out what foods I eat that have added sugar or fat, and I realize that there is not really a lot that I crave. The only food that I really crave is salmon, and that seems too healthy to give up. 🙂

Baked Salmon


I am going to Shake It Up this week by trying to figure out if the processed items that I like contain added sugar or fat or salt as a way of making the food taste more enjoyable, thus increasing the amount I crave them. I will be closely reading ingredient labels this week with this in mind. So even though I did not really do much differently today, it was the start of what should be an interesting week.


Sometimes you can Shake It Up too much…..

So if you remember, I was told on Thursday, December 31 of last year that I needed to brush my teeth for 2 minutes twice daily. That seemed very manageable, plus a great idea for the new year. I was very meticulous about making sure that I was paying attention to all parts of my mouth, and dividing up my mouth into 8 sections — you know top/bottom, right/left, inside/outside — so that all parts got equal time. I found out from several coworkers that you can buy a very special electric toothbrush that will let you know when 30 seconds is up, and you can move onto the next section. I also went to the local home/bath type store, to find that for $179 you can buy an electric toothbrush that you can use with bluetooth if you want to print out reports and graphs etc for your brushing data. That seemed like a crazy amount of money for a toothbrush, plus I don’t need anything else to track in my life. Instead I decided to just keep using my electric toothbrush, and use the second hand of my watch to be sure I was brushing adequately. Turns out that I was brushing too hard — go figure. I ended up with sores in my inner mouth at the gum line, tearing up the skin inside my mouth. Bummer. I wanted to just eat ice cream to make my mouth feel better, but that didn’t seem like a good solution.


So what did I do to Shake It Up on Thursday? I decided that I had better cut back on how I was brushing! Too bad! Here I thought I was doing just great by starting a new habit, and it turns out that I was overly zealous about it. So OK, I had to modify my toothbrushing.

I also decided to wear a different outfit on Thursday. Last week, on Wednesday I wore a new pair of boots to work, and I was told by a fellow worker that I should have done that on a Thursday instead of a Wednesday! So last week I told her that I was shaking things up by doing something different on a Wednesday instead, but that didn’t seem like the right answer to her, so I wore them again this week.


These are not what my boots look like, but they sure are cute!!



We ended the evening by going to a new restaurant, and I ordered something really different — something I had not seem on a menu before. It was a salmon dish, so it wasn’t all that extraordinarily different for me, but it was prepared totally differently. Turned out to be a really yummy choice.

Did you do something different to Shake Up your routine this past week? Let us know!






Shaking It Up by being less sedentary…….

Do you ever feel like you are more sedentary than you used to be? Remember when being more active physically was just normal, like riding a bike just for fun or carrying small children around? Now it seems like I need to seek out activity such as going to the health club in order to be physically active. When I woke up Thursday, I decided that I was going to Shake It Up by being less sedentary. Here is what I did differently:

  • I parked a little further away at the grocery store in the morning, so I had to take a few extra steps.
  • We have a meeting every morning at work, which we call “stand up.” However, instead of standing, everyone sits….. I decided to stand instead.
  • I had already set up an area in my office where I can conveniently stand and have access to everything I need without sitting down. I can set up my work laptop on a portable computer stand or on a 4-shelf bookshelf, and do most everything I need from standing instead of sitting. So I spent most of the day standing instead of sitting.
  • At lunch, instead of sitting around just eating, we took a walk afterward for 20 minutes.
  • Even though I often try to wear something different on Thursdays, I wore my regular gym shoes so that I would be comfortable doing a lot of walking. So no cute shoes for work on Thursday.    😦

It did feel good trying to be more active at work. Ironically, there were not more steps used over the course of the day (my fitbit does not lie), but it certainly felt like more!

And, by the way, I did decide to buy a kind of fruit which I have not had in a really long time — a fresh apricot — and it was delicious!

Apricots with leaves on a white background.

My afternoon snack.

It would be fun to hear if you have done anything differently to shake up your routine!





Shaking It Up x 2

I didn’t post for New Year’s Eve, mainly because things were pretty busy and hectic. So for the last day of 2015, once again I didn’t know how I would Shake It Up……. until I went to the dentist that morning. I was told that I needed to brush my teeth longer. Everyone knows that they are supposed to brush their teeth at least twice a day. But, did you know that you are supposed to brush your teeth for an entire 2 minutes each time? Who knew? Well, I was very excited to hear that piece of information. I told the dentist and the dental hygienist about my blog, and that brushing my teeth for 2 minutes each time would be how I would Shake It Up that day! What an important new habit to form. The irony is that I did not actually do anything differently on that day — New Year’s Eve– because I didn’t get ready for bed until after midnight!! But it was a great new habit to start on January 1st.

For this week, I didn’t have any great plans for shaking it up. Since nothing as earth shattering as brushing my teeth differently didn’t cross my path, I decided to do a couple of small things instead. I decided to wear a top that I had sewn a couple of years ago. I don’t usually wear it to work, because I have been saving it…… Saving it for what, I do not know! So I decided to wear it today.

I tried to insert a photo of the top I wore, but I can’t figure out how to do that yet.  So just imagine a really cute top.   🙂

The other thing that I did differently was to have a new kind of fruit — something I had never had before. I had a Minneola, which is apparently a type of tangerine. My internet sources say it is a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. All I know is that to my unsophisticated tastebuds, it tastes like an orange.

Happy 2016, and here is to Shake It Up Thursday!!




Shaking It Up for Christmas

This post is a bit late, but things have  been busy with the holiday. With this past Thursday being Christmas Eve, I was not as focused on Shaking It Up, but it was still a successful day.

The first thing that I shook up was breakfast. Not because I wanted to, but I kind of had to. I was planning on making vegan Cocoa Bite Balls as a dessert to bring to my cousin’s for Christmas. The recipe contains oatmeal, and there was not enough for both the dessert and for my breakfast that morning. Since you have figured out by now that I am generally a creature of habit, it would come as no surprise that I pretty much always eat the same thing at breakfast. My preferred breakfast usually is oatmeal, but I needed to eat something different so that I would have enough for the dessert. (More on the dessert later….) My breakfast turned out to be quite delicious, and held me until lunch. That was also shaking it up, because I tend to snack frequently throughout the day.

And now back to the vegan Cocoa Bite Balls—-

I always bring the same thing for Christmas at my cousin’s — a loaf of cranberry orange bread. It always comes out well, and everyone seems to like it.

For some background information, this past Thanksgiving I made 2 different kinds of cranberry sauce. I made a traditional cranberry sauce plus a cranberry orange relish. I considered that to be shaking it up. I was informed by a family member that bringing 2 cranberry dishes was not really shaking it up, it was just more cranberries. Well first of all, Shaking It Up is all relative (no pun intended.) For me, bringing 2 different cranberry dishes at Thanksgiving met my parameters for Shaking It Up, but I took the suggestion to heart, and decided to bring a second dish  for Christmas — totally different from the cranberry bread.

So the dessert I chose was vegan Cocoa Bite Balls. They were made with cocoa, banana, dates, figs, sugar, flaked coconut, and something you would never guess — carrots! It does emphasize the principle that I generally follow of never making a new dish for company or to bring to someone’s house. Anyway, everyone was very polite and had one, but I did notice that nobody said “wow, these are great — can I have another one?”

The bottom line is that it is good to Shake It Up. Sometimes it comes out well and sometimes it doesn’t, and that’s ok.

Let me know if you did anything to Shake It Up on Thursday!







Just for a minute……

First of all, I am wondering if anyone did anything today to Shake Up their routine. It would be fun to share if you did.

When I started my day today, I really wasn’t sure what I would do. I started out with an initial plan, but I changed my mind first thing this morning. It wasn’t until I was brushing my teeth and put my toothpaste down on the counter — just for a minute — that I realized what I was going to do today to Shake It Up.

I tend to put things down somewhere, and instead of just putting it away, it sits out. It might be a tube of toothpaste that sits out the bathroom counter, a magazine waiting to be read, some things that are sitting on my desk at work. There are often papers, a stray paper clip or rubber band, an extra pen or pencil etc that are on my desk at work — there just for a minute…….

So today I decided to put things away right away, instead of having them sit out for what might be a couple of minutes or a couple of weeks. Anyway, you get the idea.

This meant I needed to put things away right away — like my calculator at work goes in a certain spot, the pens go into the pencil cup, the sticky notes go back in the drawer.

It also meant that some items that had been sitting out on my desk for awhile needed to get put away, like a binder that has been sitting out for a couple of days.

This was not an earth shattering Shake It Up day. Nobody really noticed that I did anything differently. But, it did help me be aware of a habit that could be changed with just some self awareness.

So let’s go back to the question as to whether you did anything differently in your day today. I have had people tell me that they have done something to Shake It Up on a Thursday, and I applaud them for getting out of their usual routine.  At any rate, it is fun to Shake It Up!





Having a hard time eating, and other things….

My plan for the day was to shake things up by doing as much as possible with my right hand, since I am left handed. It turned out to be harder than I thought.
Here are the high points (or low points) of the day:
– Brushing teeth and combing hair — a challenging way to start the day. It took some thought, but it worked out ok.
– The salad bar at the grocery store this morning — a bit messy trying to put the lettuce etc into the food container. I don’t think I made too much of a mess though. At least nobody was staring at me.
– Eating — this didn’t go so well. It actually took a fair amount of concentration. I realized that I was not enjoying eating my food, so I decided that I had made a pretty good effort at it, and decided to go back to eating with my left hand instead.
– Putting on my coat — Have you ever noticed that when you put on your coat, you always put a certain arm in first and then fling the coat around behind you? I never really thought about that before today. I tried to put my coat on starting with the other side — that was probably the most difficult thing that I did today.

So all in all, I did shake things up today. It was an interesting experiment, and probably good for my brain to get out of the usual routine.

I hope you had a nice Shake It Up Thursday.

It would be fun to hear if you did anything differently to Shake It Up today!



Getting ready to Shake It Up – using the other hand

So, here is what I have been thinking — I am left handed, and I do just about everything left handed — eat, stir a pot, throw a ball (to the dog, who I am pretty sure is ambidextrous), write, etc. You get the idea. I was thinking the other day how it work to try to do most things right handed instead. It would certainly get my brain engaged in what I am doing.  So this week’s Shaking It Up may not be as obvious to other people, but it should be interesting to see how it goes.

Let me know if you decide to do something differently this Thursday. It may be doing the same thing as me, or something else. Have a great day!



Shaking It Up today

So I hope you had a nice Shake It Up Thursday. I did a few things differently today to Shake Up my routine.

For starters, I wore a very different outfit. I tend to wear the same type of clothes to work all of the time — jean style pants, a long sleeve shirt and a fleece vest. I usually wear gym shoes, color coordinated to match my outfit of course, because I am pretty much on the go all day at work. So I decided today that I would wear a skirt and pair of ankle boots. It was definitely different enough that people noticed.

You know how you usually sit at the same spot when you sit down to eat? Well, I certainly tend to do that. So when it was dinnertime I sat down in my usual spot, then said “oh yeah, Shake It Up Thursday,” and I got up and changed spots. The dining room looks different from the other side of the table.    🙂

I already have plans for what I am going to do next week, and I will fill you in when I write the next blog. Just suffice it to say that I am left handed, but I ate lunch today with my right hand. It didn’t go very well……..

Let me know if you did anything outside of your usual routine today to Shake It Up. It would be fun to share what others have done.  And if you didn’t do anything for Shake It Up Thursday this week, there is always next week!