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October 2012

Would you eat your kid's science project?

Prop 37 companies support
You really need to check out the Cornucopia Institute. They made this poster.

In California next month, voters will decide the fate of Proposition 37, which will mandate GMO labeling on foods. And as the old saying goes, as goes California, so goes the nation.

Don't you want to know what's in your food, or more specifically, what your food is? A couple years back, I wrote about genetically-engineered salmon bred to grow bigger and faster than conventional salmon. I don't know about you, but I don't want to ingest anything with "bigger, faster" attributes. I don't need "bigger, faster" -- I'd like a heapin' helpin' of "smaller, faster," please.

The reason I'm posting the above poster is to show the "axis of weasel" on the left -- the seemingly tree-huggy companies that are making sure Prop. 37 doesn't pass. Back in the day, Larabar, White Wave and yes, even Kashi were independently owned, small companies. But they were soon bought up by monster food conglomerates who are more concerned with making a buck than making wholesome food (yeah, I said it).

Staying away from genetically modified organisms (that's what GMO stands for, yummy) just makes sense. There are no large long-term studies on what fiddled-with foods can do to humans. (There are some animal studies, and they're freakin' scary.) I just prefer not to eat somebody's science experiment. How 'bout you?

Yes, eating organic is more expensive than conventional foods, but if you can afford it, doesn't it make sense to eat the most "un-fiddled with" version? Find an organic farmers' market, look for organics on sale at Whole Foods and your local grocery store. Know what the Dirty Dozen are and focus on those.

How to turn an ugly jicama into something awesome


Spiced jicama
Time to break out the vintage 'hacienda' dishes for the Mexican jicama sticks.

The jicama is not a pretty vegetable. It's beige and lumpy and bulbous. But when you peel it and cut it, the inside is crisp and juicy.


It's a native of Mexico, and my favorite way to eat it is to play up its heritage with a squirt of lime juice and a sprinkling of salt and chili powder.

Jicama ingredientsSince I got a brand spanking new bottle of McCormick Chili Powder from my recent Fitbloggin'-eve trip to McCormick's kitchens, I bought a jicama (usually found in the "specialty" area of the produce section) and doused those jicama sticks liberally with chili powder.

Another cool little trick I learned at the McCormick tour was that when you use a finer grain, you can get away with less salt than

I love chili powder -- it adds a lot of flavor without a lot of sodium and adds just a kick of heat. It's great on chicken breasts, eggs and even trail mix (I shook a little into a bag of trail mix at Fitbloggin').

A whole cup of jicama is only 46 calories and provides 6 grams of fiber. It also offers a decent amount of vitamin C.

Chef's Table at the picnic table

I'm on Nutrisystem, and finished week 2.  Although my scale moved only half a pound (wine and cheese party last Friday), the food kept me motivated. I've been having dinners at lunchtime, which gives me a larger portion of food when I need it and it's very satisfying.

Butternut squash ravioli nsThe Chef's Table line of frozen dinners are amazing! I wish there was a more amazing word than amazing to describe not only the taste of these meals but the aroma as well.  Last week I had the butternut squash ravioli, which, when microwaved in a school breakroom, emitted the most beautiful fragrance that had my co-workers asking what I was eating.

Arroz con poll nsToday, I had the Chef's Table arroz con pollo, which again, made my co-workers' tastebuds kick into overdrive. When I opened the steam-bag at the picnic table, I was  impressed with the amount of chicken, and once again with the flavor.  

In late August I had a car accident and my car was totaled. I stopped exercising because I didn't want to exacerbate any muscular issues I had from the accident.

But I got the OK to start exercising again from my doctor, and I'm going to take full advantage.  My trainer Sara is as excited for me to start up again as I am. Time to fire up the Fitbit again.

Follow me on twitter (@martorella) where I'll give you lunchtime reviews of Nutrisystem's entrees and whatever else is on my mind.

Disclaimer: I have been selected to participate in the Nutrisystem NSNation blogger program. For three months, I will receive the food free of charge to help facilitate my honest review. No other compensation will be received.

Tunes for Tuesday: No More Drama, by Mary J. Blige

Ever have a song change your life? Well, maybe not your entire life, but how you look at certain things? This is the song that made me stop boo-hooing about weight loss and body image and self worth and the whole shebang. I saw Mary J. Blige perform this song 10 years ago (!) on the Grammys and the sentiment just burned into me. There's me and there's the weight. The weight doesn't define me, and if I'm not happy with the size I'm at, I need to do more work. Sometimes I do the work, sometimes I don't. Simple as that.

Right now, I'm doing the work.

Care to jump off a plateau with me?

Jump off a plateau
Happy October, everyone! Pumpkins are decorating store displays, boots have replaced flip-flops in fashion magazines and we're shvitzing like usual down here in the swamp.

Can you believe Halloween candy is already in grocery stores? Who the hell can keep bags of Snickers in the house for an entire month without ripping into them? My tactic is to buy Halloween goodies at the very last minute. I also tend to choose things like pretzels and microwave popcorn, so if there are leftovers they're not sugar bombs. And y'know what? The kids actually like them. 

Anywhoo, since it's the start of a new month, I thought it'd be fun to start a challenge, and I'm opening it up to everyone who has been stuck on a plateau. I've been farting around with the same 5 pounds for, ahem, two years and I'd like to get off this ridiculous merry-go-round. 

Let's all leap off our plateaus this month and set things in motion for the rest of the year, much of which is fraught with landmines loaded with cornbread stuffing.

It can be dangerous out there, and if we start with a strong October, we can power through the rest of the year. I'm already off to a good start. I've lost a couple pounds the past couple weeks and I feel like my head has been screwed on straighter than usual in regards to working out and eating.

Got any tips? Share them in the comments or on the Shrinking Sisters Facebook page. I'm going to change up my workouts to do more strength training. I was doing ChaLean Extreme twice a week but I'm going to increase it to three times a week and alternate it with cardio that I love (Turbo Jam, Zumba and Hip-Hop Abs). If you do what you love, you're more likely to want to do it, right?

So who's with me? My goal for October is 5 pounds. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it'll get me down lower than I've been in 15 years. And 5 pounds is totally do-able.

LET'S DO IT! (I'll leave you with a moving scene from one of my favorite inspiring dramas -- no, it's not "Hoosiers":)