Archive | May 2017

Out of Darkness, Into the Light!

 Trust. Have Hope!

      Gradually, imperceptivity, step-by-step, sluggishly transformative…things change!

Life’s metaphors may speak about our journey towards increasing health and friskiness, from imbalance to greater personal balance and health. Many examples in life abound:

  • In gardening: weeding, preparing the soil, adding compost, planting seeds, watering, and waiting for the harvest of delightfully colorful, nutritiously splendid, sumptuously growing, and tasty produce.
  • In waiting for fruit to ripen: oh the beautiful blossoms, then small green leaves and tiny fruit, the seasons of warmth, cold, and rain…all connected, to bring about a crunchy and delicious apple or other fruit (I LOVE plums, peaches, pineapple, grapes, oranges, and more!).
  • In going from winter’s early darkness: from just 1.2 minutes a day increasing the light and warmth that is available, until we arrive at the splendor of summer’s long and warm days!

  • In arriving at a destination: when you drive your vehicle from place to place, you have an awareness of your starting place as well as an awareness of where you are going. You accept that you cannot get there instantaneously; you accept that you will travel the distance, and in time, you will arrive at your destination. You do not get so discouraged at the midway mark that you just turn around and go back to your starting place. You accept the distance between your starting place and where you desire to be–and you continue to move in the direction of your destination. You understand what is required, and you do it. We want to understand that the journey between where you are now and where you want to be–on all subjects–can be just as easily understood. You keep taking the required steps and don’t stop until you arrive at your destination. Just as it is possible to contemplate a trip from Portland, Oregon to Seattle Washington, contemplate a trip from financial insecurity to financial security, from confusion to clarity.
  • To really understand this evolutionary process I encourage you to get up one morning before dawn (in summer maybe around 5 am, and in winter around 6:30 am) and sit in a chair with the lights out where you can look out the window. At first the sky will be completely dark (except for stars or the moon), and very gradually you will notice the outlines of trees, buildings. The images of household objects will come into focus, until you can see everything clearly.
  • So consider the journey from wanting to ride a bicycle to riding one…or of desiring to drive a car to driving one…or from inner distress to peace…or from illness to well-being…and lastly see how this gradual learning process applies to your journey of arriving at and maintaining a healthier weight and life.

Come into your true self…a gradual awakening…just like the arrival of the dawn.


Step-by-step: Visions of health into realities, you make the difference!

Moment-by-moment, choice-by-choice, you plant seeds of well-being and nurture them and…

You reap the harvest of health and friskiness!

Taken from my diary in 1992 during a emotionally discouraging time:

             Oh, Bobbie sweetheart, remember where you were…

Contemplate how do you keep and nurture hope during difficult times?

May the seeds of self-honoring and respect, self-empowerment and awareness, sprout, grow, and… blossom into a wondrous, abundant new life for you!

Investigate the Epilogue-The Tree Story

Along your journey of change, be gentle with yourself!

Be respectful towards yourself:

“Don’t shout at the apple and demand that it ripen!

It won’t ripen any faster and all you’ll get is a sore throat!!!”

—Advice given to me by my counselor

Don’t Give up!

Mindfulness-Meditation-Slowing Down in Our Daily Lives

What is mindfulness?

The opposite of mindfulness is mindlessness.  It is being on “automatic pilot,” out of touch with our bodies and our experience in the moment.  For most of us, our minds are often constantly wandering.  We are often quite literally “not here” in the present.  And we can be absent in many ways from the best moments of our lives because we are caught up in our thoughts, memories, plans, or feelings.

Mindfulness is moment-to-moment, nonjudgmental awareness.  It involves paying careful and detailed attention in the present moment—just noticing and exploring whatever our experience is from one moment to the next, without judging it as positive or negative.

 Mindfulness includes just observing:

  •  Paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, without judgment.
  • Allowing yourself to just “be”—versus always having to “do” something or change circumstances or your experience in some way.
  • Objectively observing your experience, and perhaps quietly naming it to yourself (such as “thinking,” “planning,” “remembering,” or “sad,” “happy,” “worried”).
  • When your mind wanders, simply bringing it back to your breath or other object of focus and the present moment—again and again.


Mindfulness meditation

Formal practices of mindfulness are at the heart of mindfulness meditation—also known as “insight meditation.”  Mindfulness meditation enables us to be more grounded in the present moment and develop a greater understanding of our experience and how we relate to it.

One of the benefits of this type of meditation is that we can focus the meditation on the experiences we typically deal with every day.  We learn and practice mindfulness meditation by focusing on the breath—but we can also focus the meditation on our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and experiences.

Mindfulness meditation will help you learn and experience nonjudgmental awareness in the moment. Practicing mindfulness in meditation can change the quality of your everyday life by increasing your awareness and your ability to be present and alive in the moment, attuned to all of your experience and the world around you.

You can also practice mindfulness in many ways during your ordinary daily activities. Being mindful of your experience during your activities can be very enriching—and informative. Everyday mindfulness can also help you prevent and decrease stress and other unpleasant experiences.

Try doing ordinary activities “mindfully” as you slow down

There are many ways to practice mindfulness. Try doing some of your daily activities mindfully. Consider the activity the most important thing you can do in the moment—and something that deserves your special attention. Slow down and pay attention moment by moment.

Using all of your senses, pay attention to your experience in your body and your mind. What do you see? What do you hear? What scents or smells do you notice? What do you feel with your hands or in other parts of your body? What feelings or moods arise? What thoughts do you notice?

Practicing mindfulness is not to “think about” your experience, but simply to notice your thoughts. As thoughts and feelings arise, note them to yourself, and allow them to change or shift as they will—and gently bring your attention back to the activity at hand, and your direct sensations.

Activities to practice doing mindfully could include:

  • Making and drinking tea or coffee mindfully. Notice each step in the process, every sensation and every detail. Drink in slow motion, noticing every aspect of your experience as you sit and enjoy your drink.
  • Taking a slow-motion bath or shower. Using all your senses, simply notice and enjoy a warm bath or shower.
  • Washing dishes mindfully. Consider washing the dishes to be the most important thing you can do in the moment. Wash them thoroughly, with careful attention to your complete experience.
  • Taking a mindful walk. Notice every part of your body and all of your sensory experience as you walk. Notice all of the details in the environment around you—take them in with all of your senses. What do you see, hear, smell, and feel?
  • Brushing your hair in slow motion for several minutes, or brushing your teeth mindfully and thoroughly. Pay attention to every detail from start to finish.
  • Taking a mindful drive. Notice every thing you do and experience during the drive, including your experiences in your body, your feelings, and your thoughts.

Lifestyle Awareness Training: Do less. Enjoy what you do more. How?

  • Just don’t do something. Sit there! Have unscheduled time. Practice slowing down and doing nothing every day. Practice useless gazing. Really, observe the world around you. You will probably feel uncomfortable at first. Choose to act outside of your normal routines.

Notice (be mindful of) what you are doing with each of your daily activities:

When you wake up

As you get ready for work

When you use the toilet

While you brush and floss your teeth

As you wash your hands

When you take out the garbage

Be present as you wash dishes or clean up the kitchen

Notice the sensations as you drink coffee or tea

Be present when you hug someone

Notice how your breakfast and other meals taste

Notice your “hungers”—for food, rest, affection, accomplishment, and nurturing activities

When you go for a walk

While you talk on the phone

As you drive your car

When you grocery shop or do errands

As you turn on the TV—also notice how what you see effects your emotions

Be deeply present as you meet others

When you get sleepy, celebrate your blessings of a comfortable place to lay your head


  • Pay attention. Don’t just do your activities on Have a sense of the sacredness of your life. Your life is rich and valuable. Celebrate your wild and precious life!
  • Resist rushing. An example from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Present Moment Wonderful Moment (mindfulness verses for every day life) and Peace Is Every Step deal with driving, something that most of us do every day.

For a PDF copy: Mindfulness—Meditation—Slowing Down in Our Daily Lives

Make Your Mind an Ocean: Become Your Own Therapist!

Four Foundations of Mindfulness: body, feelings, mind, and all phenomena

How to Plan Quick and Easy Menus

                                    DINNER, WHAT’S QUICK & EASY?


Making Quick Dinners

Busy schedules create a need for quick and easy meals. Fatigue, stress, and special events can threaten to overwhelm our intentions about eating sensibly.

Planning is the key, but it is easy to forget as pressures mount. A few moments of planning will reduce last-minute stress and confusion and save approximately 15 percent on food costs. I eat all of my meals and snacks for about $7.50/day. Planning ahead does not mean you have to plan every detail. Merely decide when you will plan your meals each week, leaving allowance for changes. Keeping your pantry well stocked is the key!

                                                   Quick Meals According to Categories

How to Plan  

  • Review your upcoming schedule. When will you have time for: Planning? Grocery shopping? Cooking? Who will eat the meals? What are their food preferences?
  • Have necessary materials available, such as cookbooks, newspapers, magazines, and a shopping list.
  • Prepare a cup of tea or a cool drink to sip when planning. This can make it enjoyable. We suggest that you also involve other family members, when possible. This helps them feel included. They also develop the skill of meal planning.
  • Be realistic. Plan foods you will prepare easily. See “Quick & Easy Meals For Busy Lives–According To Meal Categories” below.

What to Plan 

  • Think of a meal “focus” or category, then use simply prepared foods to round out meals and add interest. Consider fresh or canned fruit for dessert, a variety of sliced breads, vegetables that are quickly cut, or bagged salad mixes. See suggestions below.
  • Select protein items that cook quickly, such as poultry, thinly sliced fish, or shellfish.
  • When preparing mixed dishes, keep the number of items to five to speed up the process.
  • Plan for leftovers. Prepare several dishes at the same time. With extra food prepared, you will be able to take a day off from cooking!
  •   Check Out Delicious Quick Meals!

Use of Time-Saving Equipment

  • Apple corer
  • Slow cooker
  • Food processor
  • Large vegetable steamer
  • Microwave
  • Pressure cooker
  • Rice cooker

Ask For Help

  • If the post-meal clean-up discourages you from cooking, ask for help in cleaning up.
  • Make meal preparation a group affair.
  • Request a back or shoulder rub since you are preparing the meal! Ahh!
  •   Listen to your favorite music. Ooh…this part is FUN! I just made a salad and steamed veggies while listening to some wonderful tunes! Singing is FUN too!

Keep it Simple

  • Once you have your Healthful PANTRY set up it’s easy to “max & match” meals
  • Keep a variety of “emergency foods” on hand for times when there is NO time to cook
  • Perhaps try one to two new recipes per week.
  • Include the new ones along with old favorites.
  • Keep a folder with menus and recipes in it.
  • Think seasonal: in Winter–> soups and stews, baked meals; in Summer–> salads and sandwiches, and stoveless meals.

                                                                        Quick Menu Ideas!!!

          Quick & Easy Meals For Busy Lives–According To “Meal Categories”

Developed By Bob Wilson BS, DTR



Great flexibility and mouth FUN!

Noodles, rice, beans, potatoes, frozen/fresh: peas, corn,  eggplant,  all other vegetables,  tofu, tempeh, frozen/fresh meat, fish & poultry, lowfat gravies and soups

Use LOTS of fruits and veggies

Stewed tomatoes, onions, green/red/yellow sweet peppers, garlic,  sun dried tomatoes,  sautéed  or microwaved vegetables, dried or canned beans, bean soups, lowfat chili, lowfat/fat-free cheeses, lowfat meats, fish or poultry, lowfat salad dressings

See vegetarian main dish ideas

All kinds of fresh/frozen vegetables & fresh/dried and canned fruits, dried/canned beans, refried black, pinto, & spicy beans, tofu, tempeh, rice,  barley, buckwheat, bulgur, lowfat dairy products (yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese), chili, pita bread, tortillas, nachos with lowfat cheese/salsa, Garden Burger/Sausage& Garden  Spicy Bean, yogurt & fruit, SPICES from “A to Z”!
Breakfast For Dinner

On-the-Go Packed Lunches

Use when HOT or in a rush

Lowfat omelets/frittata  made with egg substitute & all kinds of vegetables, lowfat waffles/pancakes with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc., whole wheat French toast, all kinds of cereals, lowfat/fat-free milk and yogurt, lowfat muffins
Baked & Microwaved Dinners

Baked dinners in Winter, microwave in Summer time

Potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, all kinds of vegetables, lowfat lasagna (noodles, stewed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, lowfat cheeses, beans, etc.), lowfat meat, fish or poultry, tempeh, even commercial lowfat frozen entrees and dinners!
BAR (Salad, Taco/Burrito & Potato!)


-Fruit & Vegetable Salads

-Potato Salads

-Green  & Marinated Salads

-Slaws & Mixed Fruit/Vegetable

-Bean & Grain Salads

Mix and Match!

Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, sweet bell peppers, green beans, jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower,  beets, onions, corn, cabbage,  eggplant, spinach, zucchini, fennel root, pineapple, oranges, bananas, apples, melons, pears, grapefruit, grapes, kumquats, kiwi fruit, mangoes …and MANY MORE!, salsa, spaghetti sauce, tortillas (corn & whole wheat),  red/purple or Yukon Gold potatoes, lowfat meats, fish & poultry, dried cooked & canned beans, lowfat salad dressings, flavored vinegars, chutneys, sauces & dips

Use Kabobs & stir frys; encourage use of veggies and fruits!


Grilled/broiled chicken & turkey, fish,  meat with vegetables or fruits (kabob’s), marinades, SPICES!
Soup (stews/chili’s) & Salads (Sandwiches for Summertime!) Chili, lentil, split pea soup, borscht, gazpacho,  all kinds of vegetables & fruits, SPICES!, mustards, bean spreads & refried beans, GREAT breads
Stir Fry ALL vegetables- fresh & frozen, tofu, tempeh, chicken,  turkey, lowfat thin-sliced meats,  SPICES, marinades, low sodium tamari soy sauce, hot sesame oil, noodles, rice

Planned cook-overs

???????  Mix & match–cook up large batches and freeze extras, make large  vegetable & fruit salads, soups, bean spreads–Use when “no time to cook”!
Guinea Pig!

Don’t cook the poor thing!!

TRY SOMETHING NEW!  Check out magazines, newsletters, cookbooks, newspapers and then keep a file –one page per “category”–with your favorite “yummy”  recipes to use again!
Adapted from Yolanda McVicker, Frugal Homemaker Newsletter

                                  Cook It Quick! link:

                                                IS AN EXCELLENT SITE!



13 Ways to Eat More Fruits and Veggies

  1. Try at least one new vegetable or fruit each week. To enliven meals, switch from the old, familiar green beans, apples and bananas to okra, winter squash, papaya and kiwi.


  1. Eat more “meal” salads. Use a large salad as the base, but throw in meat “condiments” —several ounces of cooked chicken, turkey, tuna or some low-fat cheese and/or legumes.  Add warm bread, and you’ve got a complete meal.  See Dinner Recipes for examples. For very simple ideas, see BOB’S SIMPLEST SALAD MIXTURES and use Bob’s Everything But The Kitchen Sink Salad as a base for scrumptious meals.
  2. Put fruit in your vegetables. Add sliced or chopped apples, pears, grapes, melon, kiwi and orange sections to tossed spinach and cabbage salads. You can even combine cooked vegetables with fruit.  Try the “Fruit & Vegetable Salad”. Serve cooked yams, with Carrot-Apple Salad and Black Bean and Corn Salad (see Dinner Recipes section). CREATIVE GARNISHING FUN!
  1. Take advantage of ready-made bag salads.  These are great when you’re in a rush or feeling tired.  Look for fresh ingredients, and add a low-fat or fat-free dressing.  Experiment with some of the darker greens, like Romaine, kale, and leaf lettuce—they’re tastier and more nutritious.
  1. Have at least one fruit serving with each meal.  It’s easy. For instance, have a banana or strawberries on cereal, a piece of fresh fruit with your lunch and/or as a snack and a fruit serving with dinner.  (If you don’t feel like cooking a vegetable or making a salad, slice up some cantaloupe or honeydew melon.)  Look over ideas for Stoveless Meals in the Essential Skills area. Also visit ideas for delicious breakfasts and lunches.

Garbanzo Appetizer

For Bob’s Garbanzo Spread Appetizer,

  1. If you’re in the dessert habit, try substituting fruit, served in a creative way, in place of at least three deserts a week.  For instance, try an apple baked with some cinnamon and a few raisins, a banana with a small amount of reduced-fat peanut butter, or “Baked Bananas” (see recipes), a bowl of fresh, juicy mixed berries, or a big serving of fruit on top of a small serving of frozen yogurt or angel food cake.  (To save on unwanted calories, avoid fruit canned or frozen in heavy syrup or with added sugar.) See also Nutritious and Yummy Snack ideas.


  1. Experiment with nonfat flavorings.  Sprinkle nutmeg and lemon juice on spinach or broccoli, dill week and Dijon-style mustard on green beans or carrots, and basil on tomatoes.
  1.   Mix your vegetables.  For example, combine corn and beans, zucchini and onions, red potato and carrot slivers, eggplant and tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. Frozen mixtures without sauce are fine too.  Try “Italian Salad” or “Italian Marinated Vegetables” or “Steamed Marinated Vegetables”. Discover Essential Skills #6 Planning and Preparing Delicious Recipes.
  1. Eat more vegetable-rich main dishes.  For instance, try  “Eggplant Parmesan” or “Zucchini Pizza” (see dinner recipes).
  1. Combine vegetables with tasty broths and juices.  Green beans cooked in chicken broth, summer squash in tomato juice, and carrots or beets in fruit juice are flavorful and need no added fat.


  1. Have at least one vegetable at lunchtime. Take along ready-to-eat carrots, cucumbers and celery, or red pepper slices with fat-free salad dressing.  If there’s a refrigerator at work, keep these items on hand.
  1. Be creative with low-fat potato toppings.  Try salsa, nonfat cheese, and nonfat sour cream with chives, fat-free butter spray and a few bacon bits, fat-free salad dressings, low-fat chili or low-fat cottage cheese with dill weed.
  1. Try roasting or grilling vegetables. Roasted vegetables taste heartier and more flavorful than steamed or boiled ones, and they are easy to prepare. Coat chunks of peppers, zucchini, summer squash, onions, eggplant or firm tomatoes with a light coating of vegetable spray or marinate them in a low-fat dressing, and grill or bake at 400° F oven for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally.

Additional Terrific Ideas For Enjoying Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits and Veggies Help You Manage Weight.pdf