Pancakes, Flapjacks, Griddlecakes, Hotcakes, ?

Just now, I made and ate me some flapjacks. I was wearing a western shirt and Levi's, so I wanted to call them by their cowboy name. We mostly called them pancakes when I was growing up, but once in a while my dad would get in one of his yokel moods where he tried to speak with a country accent and use terms from the cattle range. The effect was slightly marred by his John Wayne impersonation.

Funny, my mom and her brothers and sisters actually raised cattle on their Minnesota farm growing up, and they say 'pancakes.' My dad's dad worked as a sound engineer in Hollywood, so I guess that explains the difference in their perceptions of how cowboys speak.

My parents had friends who called pancakes hotcakes, and I have also heard them called griddlecakes. Have you heard any other names for this bread that you fry from batter? Crepes are not quite the same thing. They were in vogue for awhile in the 1970s, so I have tried crepes. Pancakes are thicker than crepes, which are paper thin, at least the ones I had here in the States were.

Most people eat their pancakes, flapjacks, hotcakes, or griddlecakes with maple syrup. I can have syrup on waffles, but syrup on pancakes makes my throat close up. I don't know why. I have tried other flavors of syrup, and I like blueberry syrup, but I eat my pancakes, flapjacks, griddlecakes, or hotcakes with jam.

No, I don't eat empty flour-based calories often. I didn't eat flour at all when I was losing weight. Now that I have kept 90 pounds off for 9 months, I eat flour sometimes. I do think of flour as a treat, though, and not as a staple of my diet.

Chocolate is my favorite treat, but money is tight right now. We are eating from our pantry. We ran out of non-Halloween chocolate weeks ago, and we are not opening the Halloween candy we bought on clearance last year until the first trick-or-treater shows up Wednesday evening.

147.8 One Used from $998.96

Where do people get these prices? I mean, I know my book is good, but $998.96? If you want to pay that much, please pay it directly to me! I will autograph a copy for you! Does anyone have the slightest idea what makes used booksellers price books so outrageously? I could almost understand if this was a rare, out of print book. However, this is a newly released book that is very much still available new! I had to take this screen shot to commemorate this mind-bogglingly huge price.

I taught English these past three school days. I was in for one teacher both Friday and Monday, and then for a different English teacher yesterday. Friday and Monday I had sophomores and juniors, so it was pretty straightforward, but yesterday I had freshmen all day. They get younger every year! They were so funny with the little hand clapping games they play. We had ten minutes left at the end of class, so I had them play Pictionary, which was a big hit. It was so fun to hear them yelling out the names of all the Greek and Roman characters from mythology.  Hehe!

I am keeping the weight off! It is not as difficult as I anticipated. For one thing, my stomach has shrunk considerably. I get full on just one helping of whatever I am eating. Potluck lunches at church are when I notice this the most. I can get and eat one plate of food, and then I am done. I can't even eat dessert if I fill my plate with lunch. I really do have to save room in my stomach if I want to eat dessert.

I gained .4 pounds yesterday, and am still well within my goal weight of 145 to 149.9 pounds. For exercise, I taught, so I was on my feet most of the day, and then Scott and I walked the dogs half a mile in the park in the drizzling weather. Here is what I ate yesterday:

Wheat Chex and organic soy milk
Tuna salad sandwich (solid white tuna packed in spring water, Miracle Whip, Mrs Dash, red bell pepper) on wheat toast
El Monterey bean burrito with salsa
9 small homemade cinnamon sugar cookies (add a tablespoon of cinnamon to the flour mixture while making sugar cookies)

148.6 Now that I am strong again, a wire whisk is easier than getting the electric mixer out

Now that I am strong again, a wire whisk is easier than getting the electric mixer out. If you've never let yourself go and gotten fat and weak, then you likely have no idea what I mean. You are probably saying to yourself, "Of course the wire whisk is easier! It's a no-brainer!" You probably haven't ever used an electric mixer unless you were making whipped cream, mousse, or something else that needs to be whipped for longer than a few minutes. But heck, you probably never make those things anyway.

I was just making oatmeal cookies. Why am I making cookies when it's not Christmas? Well, we don't have the money to buy peanut M&Ms. Necessity is the mother of industriousness, don't you know?

Firstly, the oatmeal was stale. I had to spread it out on every cookie sheet we have and bake it for 20 minutes, to get the stale scent out of it.

Secondly, the recipe said to cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer. Ours broke last Christmas, and we never did replace it. I saw the wire whisk in the drawer and thought, "Well, that will probably work. I arm will probably feel like it is going to fall off, though." Nope! Not only did the whisk work, it was a lot less of a hassle than getting the mixer out! The dogs were disappointed that there weren't two beaters to clean, but they'll live.
I gained .2 pounds yesterday and now weigh 148.6, well within my goal weight of 145 pounds to 149.9 pounds. I walked my usual 1.3 mile route around the park, with the dogs. I ate Special K and organic soy milk, a tuna salad sandwich, raw baby carrot sticks, and burgundy beef soup over rice. I also had a few homemade Almond Roca cheesecake bars, a few cheese and sausage snacks, and some pumpkin spice brownies at Bible study last night. :)

147.6 But I don't like pink!

As a rule, I don't like pink. Maybe this is psychological. Pink is what you dress a baby in to help others know the baby is a girl, so in my mind, "Pink is for babies." By extension, pink says to me, "Girls are weak." I remember discussing this with my sister and other girls when we were still in school. I know I am not the only one who feels this way.

Maybe it is just my coloring, though, rather than any psychological reason, that makes me dislike the color pink. Most shades of pink are pastels. Pastels compliment blonde women really well. My mom is blonde, and she looks great in pastels. Up until recently, she decorated her house in pastels, too, so that her environment complimented her coloring. I'm a brunette. I think jewel tones compliment my coloring, and pastels clash with my coloring.

But look! Here I am in a pink sweater! I think it looks good on me. What makes this the exception? This is a jewel-toned pink (rare ruby), rather than a pastel. It is actually a deeper toned pink to the naked eye. The camera washed it out a little. 

As with speech, tone is important in color. You can put a bunch of different colors together, such as pink and black, so long as they share a tone. When you speak, often your tone conveys more of your meaning than your words do.
I lost 2.4 pounds yesterday, so it must have been water retention weight from the chili dip I ate on Friday and Thursday. I walked my usual 1.3 mile route. Here is what I ate:

Special K and organic soy milk, tuna sandwich (white tuna canned in spring water, Miracle Whip, Mrs Dash, 2 slices of whole wheat bread), raw baby carrots, Nature Valley Sweet n Salty Nut Bar, Foster Farms Breaded Chicken Breast Patty, 1 tablespoon ketchup, steamed broccoli

149.6 Faerie Cookery

Those of you who know me know I love Ireland and everything Irish, including the fae folk, or faeries. Imagine my delight when my call for healthy recipes yielded a treatise on faerie cookery! I hope this guest post by author John Woodward delights you as much as it delights me!
Any Irish man or woman will tell you that there were Faeries in Ireland once, but long ago, they left. The year 1848 is often cited, as it represented the depths of the Potato Famine. The Faeries -- most of them -- actually sailed away in 1850, crossing the Atlantic in a pair of clipper ships, under the protection of two Scottish brothers and sea captains. An enterprising Part-Faerie man named Solomon Murphy had found unsettled lands for them in the quarry hills above Atlanta. They remain there to this day, living under a great Concealment. The Human world believes their home to be a private nature preserve. Their greatest challenge is to raise enough food for themselves without changing the appearance of their woodland home. Aside from a tiny farm patch on the edge, the Georgia Faerie Circle Lands must appear to be uninhabited old growth forest. Furthermore, it is not the Faerie way to harm or drive off the animals that share the Lands, so they must be provided for, too.

Faeries are only three to four-and-a-half feet tall, but they have wings and fly, so a typical Faerie consumes more calories than a Human should. They eat no meat, nor do they use the skins of animals for clothing. (The Faeries never kill, for to do so would break their Covenant with God and abolish their Powers.) When they arrived in Georgia, they knew very little about the native foods. Luckily, their new Lands were not completely uninhabited. There were Cherokee Indians who had hidden from the mass removal known as the Trail of Tears, a a few escaped slaves. They taught the Faeries which foods may be gathered in Georgia.

For over 160 years, the Faeries have practiced their unique agriculture, which supports them as long as they are diligent and careful. Every tree that falls is replaced with a sapling fruit or nut tree. They grow squash and gourds in the sunny clearings, and plant berry bushes on the hillsides. On the hilltops, they graze sheep and goats, for their milk and hair. They clear away other vines, so that the grapes have room to grow. Last, but not least, even the ferns are edible. (It helps that their Power with Animals enables them to tell the goats and deer exactly where to eat. They do most of the weeding.)

The Faeries rarely build fires in the daytime, to avoid Humans seeing smoke over their Lands. Fortunately, they are nocturnal by nature, so they do most of their cooking by night. The caves that dot their Lands are close to the surface, and have little hidden chimneys built in. When they have to build large fires on the surface, they stretch a woolen canvas between the trees to hide the flames. They preserve much of their food for Winter by smoking or drying it.

Here is a typical Faerie Autumn meal, adapted to our cooking methods:

Faerie Squash

One small butternut squash, cleaned and cut into ½-inch cubes
     (reserve the seeds)
One acorn squash, cleaned and cut into ½-inch cubes
     (reserve the seeds)
Peanut cooking oil
½ cup dried apple
½ cup dried peach
½ cup raisons
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
Chopped pecans
Chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a glass or ceramic bowl, combine the squash with a very small amount of oil. (The Faeries have to make oil by pressing nuts, so they hardly have any at all, and are very frugal with what they do have.) Bake covered for thirty minutes. Uncover and add the apple, peach and raisons. Sprinkle with the ginger and cinnamon.  Bake until the squash is tender.

In the meantime, gently brown the pecans, walnuts and squash seeds in a flat pan on top of your stove. When the squash comes out of the oven, garnish it with the nuts and seeds. Drizzle on a small amount of honey.

Notes: The Faeries cut up their food with brass knives, because iron is poisonous to them. The Faeries gather the bark of the wild cinnamon plant and carefully preserve it, because wild cinnamon needs a long hot summer to grow in North Georgia, and is not always available. You can use regular store-bought cinnamon. The Faeries have a few beehives, but they are as careful with their honey supply as they are with oil.
You can dry apples and peaches in a 200 degree oven on a baking sheet.

You can learn more about the lives of the Faeries in Georgia by reading TERRA LUNA (The Return of Fiorgaels), our epic urban contemporary fantasy & paranormal romance.
This is Cherise again. How delighted are you at the idea of faerie cookery! 

You can sample Terra Luna for free by clicking that link and then clicking on the book cover to "look inside" the book. Update Dec 14, 2012: I have now read Terra Luna. It's a really fun story, and I do recommend it.

I have lost .8 pounds since my last post on Saturday. Sorry for not posting more often, but I was busy substitute teaching yesterday. I am also really busy writing Dog Aliens 1 Raffle's Name so that I can get it published soon. I have decided to only post to this blog when I have something to say. I do still keep track of my daily weight and food intake. I know I will have to do this the rest of my life. It is the price of keeping the weight off.

150.2 PA Woodburn Lost 50 Pounds at Age 69

Today I have a guest post for you from my friend PA Woodburn. She is 69 years old, and wanted to share with you how she lost 50 pounds this year!
When I was in my forties, my work sponsored a weight management class. Many State workers volunteered, myself included. The encouragement and competition were excellent. I shed 87 pounds, dropping from a size 18 to a size 4. Plus, I became super fit. The medics returned a year later to test how much fitness we had retained. I kept my good shape and weight for at least five years. I remember going into a store and asking the salesperson in a whisper,”Excuse me for sounding stupid, but what size is smaller than small?”

At 68, I’d retired and put it all back and then some. I felt old. When I went to my care-giving job for a mere four hours I’d come home with an aching back, painful right hip, and heels on fire. I knew this was my last chance. I had to take action, or I would sink into a crippling old age very fast. It would be a lot harder than the last time because of body aches and a much slower metabolic rate. I simply dreaded having to exercise for hours every week to lose a few pounds. I was 240 pounds, and a surgeon told me that if I lost 20 pounds I could delay hip-replacement surgery. My sleep apnea doctor told me if I lost 50 pounds I could probably discard my CPAP machine, which I really hated. Still, I was very resistant to dieting. I knew the effort I’d put in before and simply didn’t wish to repeat it. I’d recently published a novel and was more interested in promoting it than exercising for 2 to 4 hours a day. My success the first time resulted from an obsession with dieting. Been there, done that.

We have a Saint Bernard, Zeno, who can’t be left at home alone because of very severe separation anxiety. He broke a tooth biting through a door knob and then another. After $6,000 of doggy dental bills, I quit care-giving.

One day, I saw President Clinton being interviewed by Dr Gupta on CNN. He looked very slim and healthy. President Clinton explained that he’d gone on a plant-based diet and felt that it had saved his life. They mentioned a book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure by Caldwell B Esselstyn, Jr., M.D. I purchased the book that afternoon feeling like a dork, because I never emulate celebrities of any kind. But, Clinton sure looked good. It was a no-oil vegan diet. Deciding to try it no matter what, I bought a good supply of the recommended food. I wouldn’t exercise until I’d lost some weight, and I wouldn’t restrict calories. I had been a vegetarian for over twenty years, but as vegan a would have to sacrifice milk, eggs, and cheese. Could I survive without ice cream? Packing up my brand new ice cream maker, I ordered The New McDougall Cookbook: 300 Delicious Ultra-Low-Fat Recipes by John A McDougall M.D., and Mary McDougall online.

Our Saint Bernard has very bad front elbows. We decided to do arthroscopic surgery followed by stem cell injections. I mention this because Zeno had to be kept still for six weeks. The veterinarian wanted him kept in a crate. I didn’t want more broken teeth. We piled up all the furniture and fenced him in. I couldn’t move much either because he would get up if I did. We wanted this very expensive and painful procedure to work. I started the diet when he had the surgery. In spite of my lack of motion, I steadily lost weight. Not huge amounts, like they do on TV in “The Biggest Loser,” but every week I’d lost some. Best of all I didn’t have any of the cravings and deprived feelings I usually get when dieting. I’d eat huge amounts of vegetables, fruit and only recommended carbohydrates with some beans and soy for protein. I had a few problems with my Warfarin because people on blood thinner are advised not to eat many vegetables. My blood had to be checked more frequently.

It’s a year later. I haven’t broken the diet once. I’ve lost fifty pounds, and I’m now a size 14 going on size 12. No back, heel, or hip problems for months. I’ve discarded my CPAP machine. My blood pressure has dropped from 112/70 to 92/56. My body mass index has dropped by 8.58. I have a waist. I haven’t exercised consistently, partly due to laziness and partly due to Zeno’s restrictions. He’ll never be able to go for long walks like a normal dog. I need to lose another 50 pounds. There’s still some flab. I’ll stay on this diet forever. I kept all my size 4 clothes, so if I get that thin again I won’t lack a wardrobe. Maybe I won’t hit 4, because I’ll be 70 on my next birthday, but I may have added some good years to my life.

The best thing about this diet is the lack of cravings or hunger. Frozen bananas blended with frozen veggies and fruit are a lot like ice cream. The worst thing is eating out. I usually eat a meal before I head off anywhere I’m going to be confronted with food.

Now that I can squeeze into a swimsuit, we’ve decided to move to Southern California as soon as we can sell our house in Washington state. I can’t wait to hit those California beaches. Don’t know if I’ll be bikini material, but we’ll see.

I’m now working on my second novel. I’m hoping it will be published before Christmas.

My first book, Cries in the Dark, is an animal-rights mystery thriller: Alex Buchanan finds that she can telepathically communicate with animals. On her first day in an American Sign Language lab for chimpanzees, her friend is killed. Several other people, including Alex’s boyfriend, are murdered or just disappear. Some lab chimps are sold to a vivisection research facility. Certain that she is being stalked by a serial killer, Alex has to find a way to help the remaining chimps. She must track down and confront the killer before becoming the next victim.
This is Cherise again. Isn't PA Woodburn's story inspirational!

I gained .8 pounds yesterday and am .3 pounds over my goal weight range of 145 to 149.9 pounds. I walked five laps around the park, so almost 2 miles. I ate and ate and ate, though. We finally gave in and turned the heater on last night. I think that will help stem my cravings from here on out. Here is what I ate yesterday:

Special K and organic soy milk
Nature Valley Sweet n Salty Nut Bar
El Monterey bean and cheese burrito with salsa
2 snack packages of Halloween shortbread cookies
8 pieces of Halloween salt-water taffy
Corn Dog with mustard
Ritz crackers n cheese snack package
Chili Dip
Snack package of Halloween shortbread cookies
Nature Valley Sweet n Salty Nut Bar

149.4 Crying Fence Photos and Video

I took these photos and this video of our crying fence yesterday. The fence started crying all on its own! This is 100% "discovered art." I only happened to notice that our fence was crying as we drove by it yesterday on our way to Costco.

"Whoa! Look! Our fence is crying!" I told Scott.
"Heh, yeah, it is."
"Just a sec. I want to take  a picture."
"I want to take a video, too, so look out, I'm recording!"

I only used Photoshop to crop the photos and to place the three photos at left on one image together. My best guess on the origin of the crying effect is that moisture got on a lubricant that the fence-builder put on the screws last summer when he built the fence. I further guess that the lubricant had become blackened by dirt over the past year, so that when it dripped out it left a black trail.

I don't know how long the fence has looked this way. Probably, it has since at least the last time it rained, I imagine, but these guys only just caught my attention yesterday. Maybe for Halloween we'll dress them up and put lights on them. :) We plan on staying home to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters this year.


I lost .8 pounds yesterday, and it must have all been water weight from the Qdoba food I ate the day before, because I hardly took it easy on the food yesterday. I did walk twice, for a total of 7 laps around the park. There and back and three laps is 1.3 miles, so I walked one lap more than 2.6 miles. Plus, we shopped at Costco yesterday. Here is what I ate:

Special K and organic soy milk
From 2011 clearance sale, taken out of freezer:
   4 Snack packs of Halloween shortbread cookies
   2 packs of 10 Whoppers malted milk ball candies
El Monterey bean and cheese burrito with salsa
Costco samples:
    2 taquito halves with jalepeno Greek yogurt (YUM!)
    1/8 Salmon patty with teriyaki sauce (I like habanero sauce better.)
Corn dog with mustard

150.2 Spokane Fall Wild Flowers

These are some wild flowers that sprouted up in our front yard here in Spokane this fall. I love how they are white from the top and purple from the bottom! You can't tell from this picture, but they are small, about the size of a man's thumbnail. They grow in clumps the size of my head. I love how dozens of these little fall flowers sprout up out of one root. I have no idea what their official or even unofficial name is.

I have mentioned before that I have a black thumb and should not be left in charge of any garden. A writer at heart, with my mind planning and imagining and plotting, I am just too absent-minded to remember to water plants. Animals I can deal with, because they tell me when they are hungry or thirsty or in need of a trip outside.

Wild flowers are Godsends for me. I don't have to worry about them at all. They just show up in my yard and dazzle me. We had quite a selection of different wild flowers last season, too, but I expected them then. Fall wild flowers were pretty surprise blessings.

Our neighbor across the street mows just the center of his lawn, leaving the edges free for the wild flowers to crop up. I hope we remember to do the same next year during the growing season.

That brown in the background shows you how naturally dry it is here in Spokane in fall. We water our lawn, but this clump of fall wild flowers is on the drier outskirts of our yard.


I gained .4 pounds yesterday and am now outside my goal weight range of 145 to 149.9 pounds. I will get lots of exercise and take it easy on the calories and sodium today in the hopes of sinking back down below 150 pounds. If I haven't done that by tomorrow, then tomorrow will be a diet day on the Scarsdale Medical Diet.

For exercise yesterday, I walked my usual 1.3 mile route with my dog Oreo. I also substitute taught, which means I was on my feet most of the day, especially since I had freshmen for the first three classes. Here is what I ate:

Special K and organic soy milk
Vending machine package of peanut butter cookies
Half a can of Amy's organic lentil soup and raw baby carrots
Handful of bite-sized chocolate candies
El Monterey bean and cheese burrito with salsa
Snack package of shortbread cookies
Snack package of Whoppers candies

149.8 Spokane Last Warm Day Oct 2, 2012

Yesterday, October 2, was officially the last warm day of 2012 here in Spokane, according to the news on the radio this morning as I drove to my substitute teaching assignment. It was a gorgeous day! I got some photos of Scott hosing off the bags we bought at the surplus sale last week. It was 80 F out, sunny, and cloudless. We did have some smoke in the air from a fire, but it wasn't bad.

The wind came up last night and lowered the temperature 30 degrees below the projected low of 63. It didn't freeze, but came pretty close! It was 38 degrees this morning when I left the house!

Quite a difference in one day. As you can see in the picture, Spokane can look just like Southern California in weather in October. It has about the same lack of humidity, too, when it is not raining, hailing, or snowing. Usually it doesn't do that in Summer, but it did hail last July 4...


I gained 1.2 pounds yesterday. I walked my 1.3 miles, for exercise. Here is what I ate:

Special K and organic soy milk
2 slices of wheat toast with 2 tablespoons peanut butter
El Monterey beef burrito with salsa
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Qdoba steak taco salad, light on the ranch dressing, no cheese, no sour cream
Slice of ham lunch meat and slice of American cheese

148.6 Spokane is dry in fall

It's dry here in Spokane in fall, much like in Southern California, where I'm from. We even have smog right now here in Spokane, from a big brush fire way out in Wenatchee. In an odd way, this comforts me and makes me feel at home. So Cal does have seasons; they are just not the seasons most people are used to: flood, fire, and fog. Fire season is just wrapping up, back home.

Those of you who live in wet climates look at the world in an entirely different way from those of us who live with fire seasons. This shocked me on two distinct occasions.

We moved to Forks, WA in September of 1996 so that I could teach math at Forks Middle School. I lasted at that two months and ended up finishing out the year as a floating substitute teacher at Forks High School. I really don't know how to deal with kids under 14 years old...

Anyway, back to the fire theme. It is really wet in Forks all the time, so people just do not fear fire, at all. One night when we were out driving around, we saw sparks leaping way up in the air. We drove over there to find a huge tower full of wood that was on fire. Alarmed, we got out of the car and ran over to help. We found a bunch of guys standing around, joking, smoking, and completely unconcerned.

We explained that we were from the deserts of California, where such a fire would bring the entire fire station over. These local guys explained this was business as usual for them, and that there was no danger at all that this fire would catch or spread. We were all pumped full of adrenaline from seeing it, and couldn't sleep for quite a while.

The other place I was shocked by unconcern over fire was Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was in a car with someone who flicked a lit cigarette butt out the window into a grassy hillside. I gasped out that I had driven by too many hillside fires from people doing that. The person laughed and explained that never happens in Minnesota. Again, I was full of adrenaline for an hour after that, pumped up either to fight the fire or run away from it, I'm not sure which.
I lost 1.3 pounds yesterday. Oreo and I walked up into the hills, as you see in this picture I took up there yesterday with the camera's timer. Soon, that path will be covered in ice and snow. I didn't wear my pedometer, but I think we walked about 1.5 miles, 1/4 of that up a steep hill and 1/4 of it back down. Here is what I ate yesterday:
Special K and organic soy milk
1/4 cup peanut M&Ms
El Monterey beef and bean burrito with salsa
3 eggs scrambled with sauteed onion and red bell pepper, with cold salsa on top
Half a serving of Backpacker's Pantry freeze dried stew with chicken that Scott was trying to see if we want to bring it on our next backpacking trip (I thought it was good. He thought it was OK.)
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I ran out of peanut M&Ms.)

149.9 Lowering Your Sodium

Lowering your sodium is as easy as watching the nutrition facts labels on the foods you eat, and following four easy steps. First, see how many servings are in the container. Second, check how much sodium it has per serving. Third, figure out how much sodium you have already had today. Forth, determine how much of this food you can afford to eat today.

I go into why sodium is so bad for you lower down on this page. Urgently, I want you to see how the nutrition facts label on the can of soup pictured here is dangerously high in sodium, but misleading.

First, there are two servings in the container, which is a can of soup.

Who eats just half a can of soup? I do, now that I realize just how much sodium is in canned soup. I fill myself up with steamed vegetables under the soup, to make up for only eating half the can of soup. I pour the other half in a plastic container and put it in the refrigerator to eat later.

Second, just half a can of this soup has 890 mg of sodium! 

That is a crazily high amount of sodium for just one serving of food. The label says it is only 37% of the recommended daily allowance -- however, if you look at the bottom of the label, this 37% is based on a daily intake of 2,000 calories. I gain fat if I take in 2,000 calories in a day. I maintain my weight at about 1,500 calories per day. This varies by how tall you are and how much exercise you usually get per day.

So, if 890 mg of sodium is 37% of the RDA for a 2,000 calorie daily diet, what % is 890 mg of sodium of my optimum daily diet? I think the easiest way to answer this question is to experiment. For a year now, I have been recording my weight each morning along with my food intake and the amount of exercise I got the day before. That is how I figured out I only need 1,500 calories per day. That is also how I figured out I only need 1,000 mg of sodium per day.

I gain water weight if I eat more than 1,000 mg (a gram) of sodium in a day. I know it is water weight because it comes right off if I lower my sodium the next day to below 1,000 mg, even if I still eat 1,500 calories. More on this lower down the page.

Third, this is only one meal.

What have you already had to eat today that was full of sodium? Bacon? Packaged cereal? Lunch meat? Food that has been pre-cooked and packaged is notorious for being high in sodium. That is most of the hype against "processed food." Hamburger Helper, canned soups, and all those other "easy to prepare" items that you find in the center aisles of grocery stores are loaded with sodium. This label is telling you that for just one cup of soup, barely enough for even one meal, you are getting almost the entire amount of sodium that I can eat in a day without bloating up with water weight.

Forth, this soup tastes good, but I can only have 1/4 of a can a day.

For me, I have to limit my intake of this particular soup to 1/4 of a can per day. That gives me 1/2 of its serving of sodium, and 1/2 x 890 = 445 mg of sodium. 445 mg of sodium is still an awful lot, though. For me, it is close to half the sodium I can eat in a day without gaining weight from retaining water.

Eating too much sodium makes the human body need more water.

This is why lowering your sodium is important. Retaining water makes us weigh more. When we weigh more, our hearts have to work harder to pump our blood. This shows up as increased blood pressure. Here is a post where I go more into how eating too much sodium makes your body need more water. It has to do with a mechanism that biologists call "the sodium potassium pump." There is a video of this on that linked post.

By far, the easiest way to lower your sodium is to cook from scratch.

Raw, unprocessed foods have very little sodium in them. Just buy ingredients and cook them yourself, and you will lower your sodium drastically. If you have been living on processed foods (canned foods, boxes of noodles and dried sauce mix, frozen meals, restaurant food) for a year or more, then you can probably lose 20 or more pounds of water weight in two weeks just by cooking from scratch and not eating any added salt.

Sodium is the new sugar.

If sodium is so bad for us, then why do processed food companies put it in our food? Well, as you can see on the nutrition facts label in the photo on this page, they have cut down on calories, fat, and sugar additives in our food. In the 1970s, sugar was the culprit, as documented in William Dufty's landmark book, Sugar Blues. In the 1990s, fat became the offender. So now, sodium is the only thing processed foods can have in it to make it "taste good."


I gained 1.7 pounds yesterday, and I am just barely within my goal weight of 145 pounds to 149.9 pounds. I walked my usual 1.3 mile route. Here is what I ate yesterday:

Special K and organic soy milk
1/4 cup peanut M&Ms
Frosted cinnamon roll and half an apple fritter at church fellowship hour
El Monterey beef burrito and salsa
1/4 cup peanut M&Ms
El Monterey bean and cheese burrito and salsa
1/4 cup peanut M&Ms
Special K and organic soy milk right before bed (bad idea!)