I love this picture. I love the feel of the greenery, of the moving water, of the sheer potential it represents. To me, running water and the outdoors is happiness.


I haven’t been able to do much in the outdoors over the past couple of years, due to a lot of weight gain, injuries (in large part due to that weight gain) and illness. For someone who grew up outside (and yes, I loved the outside when I was younger, although I admit I usually was curled up someplace in it reading), this has been a hard couple of years, and I’m almost positive that being inside and not able to hike and swim and walk the way I want to has contributed to my depression.


In August 2015, I finally admitted I needed real help. Not just nutritionally, but a coach who would administer the tough love and unconditional support I needed to get my life healthy again. I was lucky enough to find that in my friend Shannon, who is a coach for Herbalife. If you’ve ever met me, you know I LOVE food. Like, seriously, LOVE food. The taste, the smell, the mouthfeel – yeah, I’m a bonafide foodie, and for years, I was resistant to having anything to do with meal replacement shakes. Of course, it didn’t help that the ones on the commercial market like Ensure and Boost are full of chemicals and SMELL like chemicals as soon as you open the bottle. So I was skeptical.


Trust me, I’m not trying to sell anyone anything. For one thing, I know that my path isn’t everyone’s. We’re all different. But let me tell you, without Shannon, I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am. I’m walking again. I’m down nearly 30 lbs since August. And the shakes – well, to be perfectly honest, they’re amazing. I love them. (And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I can have cookies and cream cheesecake for breakfast. Okay, well, maybe a little.) And the best part? It doesn’t smell chemically. When I open my vanilla protein powder, it smells like vanilla. My hubby and roomie loved the waffles I made with them (reminder to self, make more waffles.).


For another thing? It’s not cheap. Now, granted, in the long run, it’s cheaper than eating fast food all the time, and it’s cheaper than medical bills. But it does require some outlay of cash.


But for me, it’s been worth it. If you are interested in talking to my coach, you can hit Shannon up – her husband Tom is a coach as well, if you want a guy instead. I can personally vouch for both of them – they’re amazing, and I’m lucky to have them in my life. Because of them, I’m looking forward to hiking this summer, and maybe, just maybe, getting my bike out again.



Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.


I love tea. It’s no secret that I love tea, and that I am a wee bit of a tea snob (yes, Molly totally gets it from me, except that I can’t afford to buy my personal blends all the time, so I do occasionally buy tea from the grocery store. But even then, it’s still the speciality teas. I just don’t like plain black tea anymore.) – but I used to have another habit as well. I used to live on soda.


It started in college, when I was on my own (yay!) and could make my own decisions about what to put in my body. It turns out I was woefully unprepared for such authority, which led to me living on caffeine, sugar, and about 4 hours of sleep a night. It was not a pretty sight.


In December this past year, I decided I was quitting soda again. Cold turkey. I’ve tried and failed to do this before – I’ve always cheated and then given up because “well, I’m just addicted and that’s it.” But this time, for whatever reason, it stuck.


I haven’t had a soda (barring mixed drinks) since December 3, really. I do not count ginger ale as soda, because I only drink it when I’m really not feeling well. But for those who used to know how to find me by following the trail of Pepsi cans, this is a huge thing. I’ve replaced the soda with iced tea and hot tea, and even occasionally with water. I still like bubbles, but I can get those with seltzer.


It hasn’t been easy. I still crave them, but I remind myself that tea is better (I drink mine unsweetened, so the savings in calories alone has been huge), and that soda bothers my stomach. That soda has a ton of processed garbage in it. That I have better things to drink.


That said, you will pry my rum and Coke with lime out of my cold, dead fingers. So if you see me with a soda, rest assured, there’s probably booze in it.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Just to remind you, if you love tea as much as Molly and Schrodinger do, you can buy their favorite teas at Adagio Teas!

Molly’s Christmas Blend

Schrodinger’s Earl Grey

The Snow Queen’s Blend

For the tea lover in your life! And since it’s official that I’ll be at ConCarolinas 2016 (just got my invite today!), I can say safely that I will have tea with me there!



Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Usually, fall is the time I start going into hibernation mode. By this, I mean that I start craving tons of carbs, bundling up in every blanket I can find, parking myself on my couch and refusing to move until spring. Yes, I’m probably more than part bear. Or cat.


Not this year. In August, I met up with one of my friends, who is an Herbalife coach, and it changed my entire outlook. I’m not normally a shake person. I don’t like the idea of not eating real food, and the chemical smells of most commercial shakes make me nauseous. But I agreed to try a 3-day trial, figuring at the worst, I’d make my way through it and then be done.


It was amazing. World-changing. When I got on Shannon’s scale that day in August, I was shocked to see the scale read 321 lbs. Yeah, that’s not a typo. I’d known it was bad, so I’d been avoiding my scale, but not that bad. No wonder my hips and knees were killing me, and I could barely walk 2000 steps a day. I knew I had to do something.


Before trying the shakes, I’d reached out to my gastroenterologist, to make sure this wasn’t going to be bad for my Crohn’s disease. To my surprise, he told me that Herbalife was actually one of the companies they suggested when folks were going through a flare, or had to give up solid food for a while (yeah, that happens. It sucks). So with his blessing, I started the trial.


I’ve been on Herbalife now for almost 2 months. I stepped on my scale this morning, and it said 303 lbs. My hips and knees don’t hurt much. I’m up to an average of 3500 steps a day, and steadily working my way towards 5000 (my first goal) every day. I don’t just use the elevator at work anymore – I take the stairs, about half the time. I’m starting to park farther away, because I can.


Best of all, when I’m having a flare, I know I can make myself a shake with protein and complex carbs that WON’T aggravate my symptoms, instead of filling up on white rice or applesauce.  I’m definitely a work in process, but it’s finally going the right way.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.


I don’t get many of these anymore. I slept late, had my shake for breakfast (for those who don’t know, I’m doing the Herbalife program right now, and it’s FABULOUS), and already folded a load of laundry while watching last night’s Ghost Adventures. Now, I’ve got a cup of tea, because it’s getting cool again, and instead of iced tea, I’m craving hot tea again. That’s part of fall I love. The fact that snow is coming? Well, having the snowblower means I don’t worry as much, so yeah, I’m okay with the fact that the seasons are moving on.


I’m baking bread today as well. I’ve figured out that it’s not the gluten that bothers me – it’s the artificial preservatives. Which is awesome on the one hand (Yay, real bread again!), but dude, do you know how much of what is offered at the grocery store is full of artificial preservatives? I can handle guar gum, xanthum gum, salt, and citric acid. That’s about it. But that’s okay, because it means I can use my bread machine again! Yay!


I’m writing again too. The current novel involves a poet and a watercolorist – both things I have very little experience with. So it’s a learning experience. But I’m enjoying it. I’m also writing it without an outline, and it’s not an urban fantasy that involves the world as we know it ending. It’s a reminder that even if there isn’t a super-evil coming to destroy us all, there are stories that are woven in the tapestry of time. Hmm, I might have Mark use that. A tapestry of time would be a lovely image for Abby too.


In addition, I’m working on the concept for the next Advent story. Since I introduced some of Drew’s family during the Wedding story, I thought I might investigate some of the other people important in Molly, Drew, and Schrodinger’s life. And how to do that? With books, of course. (I also admit to being inspired by a Pintrest post about doing a 25-day book Advent calendar. How cool is that?)


Today, I’m blogging, both here and setting up the week’s blogs over at Dark Knights Paranormal. We’ve got another investigation coming up on October 12 – if you’re in the New Hampshire area (or New England, really) and want to come along, you can sign up here to join us!  We’d love to have you along!

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

I know, it’s still a long way until spring, but seriously, I feel like I’m trapped in George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones world.  Between the depression and the SAD and the god-awful snow (seriously, there’s been like 60 inches of snow in the past month!), I feel like I’m smothered in cotton.  So what have I done?




I have totally been sleeping when I haven’t been at work, and eating all the foods that aren’t good for me (darn it, gluten!  Why are you in all my comfort foods?) and not writing.  Well, not really writing.  I did get some words in February, but I didn’t finish Secrets, and I haven’t finished the first draft of Deep Waters, both of which I wanted to do.  I haven’t lost any weight.  I didn’t make it to the gym.


But that’s in the past.  And I can’t change the past.


What I can do is focus on the future.  The days are getting longer (finally), and spring is coming.  I now have trackers that work for my sneakers, and I have my FitBit, which lets me see how I’m doing.  I have a new desk at work, and dammit, I have a birthday coming up.  I don’t want to be unhealthy any more.


I know it’s hard.  I know I’ll backslide sometimes (movie theatre popcorn, you are my kryptonite!), but going forward, I’m going to keep myself accountable here on the blog, on Twitter (I’m @vg_ford there), and on Facebook.  I’ve got modest goals for March:

1. 250 words a day

Not just on the blog, but on actual stories.  I need to keep writing every day.


2. 8 hours of sleep

Seriously.  I’m sleeping more, so that on the weekends I don’t spend until noon in bed.  And I’m going to try and stick to my weekday sleep schedule on the weekends, so I don’t screw everything up.  End result: if you see me online after 11 pm and I’m not out somewhere, tell me to go to bed!


3. 6 lbs gone

That’s the physical goal.  6 lbs will bring me under 300 lbs, and that’s my first goal.  I can do this.  No more soda, no more gluten, no more crap.  It’s going to be interesting, as my gut is not happy with raw veggies and fruits right now, but I’m going to try some smoothies, and more steamed/cooked veggies.  And real food, not processed food.  And water.  And tea.  (Glorious tea)


So there’s that.  I’m off now, to get my 250 words (at least), and then over to Mom and Dad’s for a roast lamb dinner.  I’ll see you all tomorrow!

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

I love summer.  I love getting out in the sun, swimming, picking berries, going to farmer’s markets, reading on the beach, camping, summer events…. summer is my favorite time of year.  It’s what I look forward to all year.


I do NOT want to spend my summer on crutches with this knee of mine.  However, I think that might be my fate.  We find out Monday.  Yes, I hurt it again.  No, I don’t want to talk about it.  (For the record, I was over helping my mother out, and stepped wrong on the stairs.  Not out being wild or anything.)


However, the biggest thing I love about summer is all the fresh food.  Everything tastes better in the summer, when it’s been freshly picked, or bought at the farmer’s market.  And although we’re eating pizza for lunch today, I’m getting ready to make some seriously fresh foods for the week.  Tonight we start with a ham steak and steamed broccoli with bacon and garlic.  And probably mashed potatoes, although we’ll see.  Nom.


I’m also going to make another batch of Chex Mix (maybe I’ll make that tomorrow over at Mom’s, since I’ll be at Mom’s for the day), and some marinaded chicken.  I need to get salad stuff too – I’m on a serious Caesar salad kick for some reason.  I think it’s time to pull out my cookbooks and see what kind of seasonal recipes I can find.  Also, I need to bake something.  I’m craving baked goods, and the good GF ones are expensive.  Maybe I’ll do biscuits?


I need to sew too.  Palio is next weekend (eek!) and I promised a friend I’d have her sari hemmed.  I need to go and get the thread for that, and then do it.  And finish my skirt.  And pants.  And go to work.  And write.


Good lord, what a life.  I love it.


Oh, and now we can officially announce it – my hubby started his new job this week!  So yay!

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

I love bread.  No, trust me, you don’t understand – I REALLY LOVE BREAD.  And now I’m gluten-free.




Except that I finally found a bread recipe that works and tastes like BREAD.  So here it is.  The original recipe came from Food.com and was done by GlutenFreeGirl in 2006 – I’m giving you my tweaked recipe, which I found works better.



3 tsp ground flax seed

3 cups rice flour

1 cup tapioca flour

3 tsp xanthum gum

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

2 tbsp fast rise yeast

2 tbsp melted butter

2 whole eggs

1 tsp vinegar

Olive oil for the top



1. Proof the yeast with the sugar and warm water for about 5 minutes.

2. Mix together the butter, the eggs, the vinegar and the xanthan gum, then add the yeast mixture.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat for about 3 minutes.  It’s a VERY sticky dough.

4. Put on a greased cookie sheet and slash diagonally every few inches, if desired.  Or put in a regular greased bread pan.  Let rise for approximately 20-25 minutes in a warm place.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bake for 40-45 minutes (45-50 for the bread pan option).  If you are doing the French loaves, cover with tin foil after 20 minutes.


SO good!

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.


Tomorrow starts my new schedule.  For those who don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I’m going to what’s called a 4×10 schedule.  I’ll be working Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30 am to 8 pm, and have Wednesdays off.  Now, I still have an hour commute each way, but that day off in the middle of the week is huge.  The last time I had a 4×10, I was the healthiest I’ve been in years.  I’m really looking forward to getting back to that state.


Part of doing that is getting back to making my own food.  Yes, I talk about cooking all the time (or so it seems) but the truth is, for the past month or so, I’ve gotten away from really cooking.  Most of the stuff has been premade by the grocery store, or (sadly), bought at work.  Now, don’t get me wrong – my work has a lovely cafeteria with an emphasis on natural and locally-sourced foods.  But it’s expensive, and not free from cross-contamination from gluten.  And it’s expensive.  So today, as I take it a bit easy (because I haven’t done a 10-hr day in about 3 years), I’m going to be taking stock of my freezer and fridge and figuring out what to make for the next two days.  Wednesday night is a return to dinner WITH MY HUSBAND!!! So that will be a special one too.


I also want to write today, but I’m not going to push it.  250 words would be great.  Just enough to start my streak again.  I need to start brainstorming a February story (I may not do a full publication on it, but if nothing else, it will go out on the blog).  I also need to keep working on FTP’s worldbuilding/plotting and I need to write a plot synopsis for Into Thin Air.  I’d like to get that out the door for queries by the middle of February, so I can start working on other things.  I’m also going to start editing Advent #1, since I’m going to be releasing that at Balticon.  Gotta get moving on that!


(Also need to look at other things for Balticon, such as cards for Cassandra and tea blends for Molly.  And cards for Schrodinger!  He wants some.)


And no, not watching the Superbowl.  Might watch the Puppy Bowl, though.  Or not.  We’ll see.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Cons screw me up – even when I go in trying to be healthy, I always seem to end up sick.  Bleah.  This last week has been super busy as well, so it’s no wonder I ended up with con-crud and all sorts of headaches.  That’s why I went to bed early last night, with lunch already packed.


We had rotisserie chicken for dinner Sunday, and we had one left over, so that’s what lunch is today: rotisserie chicken, the last half of a stuffed apple (thank you, Mom!) and roasted sweet potatoes.  In the refrigerator is garlic and cheese sausage that’s thawing and will be stuffed into butternut squash that I’m going to roast tonight when I get home.  And there will be homemade chicken soup later in the week.  I love fall.



Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

and it’s official – I have a cold.  Gluten does not cause green snot to come out of my nose.  *sigh*  Just what I needed before Capclave.  I’m alternating tea and juice and hoping to kill it dead.


Bah.  I hate having a depressed immune system.  However!!!  I resisted Panera this morning! (Managers brought us in breakfast – they brought me a fruit cup, since I requested that, rather than gluten.)  Go me!


I’m getting this under control.  Tonight, we swim.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

My nephew got married this weeked.  Yay, weddings!  Except for the fact that most weddings are full of gluten, and I am finding that I am really, really weak when it comes to gluten.  This is no one else’s fault but mine.  I had rolls and wedding cake and cookies…and I still feel crappy this morning.


My head hurts, my nose hurts, I’m bloated and sluggish, and I want nothing more than to take meds and go back to bed.  Unfortunately, I don’t have that option.  So I’m going to be pounding the antihistimines today (they help with the reaction), and the tea, and I’m going to push myself to walk on my lunch break.   Lunch itself is whole foods – a yogurt, some pepper strips, peanut butter and apple butter on rice cakes, and more tea.  I have a con coming up, and although I was planning on some things that had gluten in them for it (because let’s face it, it’s easy), I’m changing my plans.  I think instead of american chop suey, we’ll do chili  - still able to be done in the crockpot, but gluten free.  I think we’ll also bring some gluten-free biscuits, and apples.  I’ll be bringing rice cakes too.  I’d forgotten how easy they are to top and use.


Wish me luck.  I’m feeling really awful today, but I can’t stop my life just to recover.  There are things that I need to do, and dammit, I’m going  to do it.  Live and learn – I just hope I can remember this lesson this time.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.


My kitchen smelled like memories this past weekend.  Apple kugel, cinnamon-raisin french toast drowning in maple syrup, roasted butternut squash, honey bbq chicken tenders.  It’s amazing, how much smells can bring back memories of my parents’ and my grandparents’ kitchens, and it’s times like this that I wish I had kids to pass these smells and recipes on to.  The good news is that my sister-in-law is doing just that for my nieces, so they won’t be forgotten.


Food is such a family thing, I’ve found.  Eating healthy hasn’t been as hard for me (although the gluten-free part has been a bit of a struggle – I love bread!) because my parents encouraged us to eat healthy.  I love me some ice cream (yes, there is a pint of Cherry Garcia in my freezer right now – I’m human!), but even more, now, I’m realizing how much I love things like a crisp apple from the fridge, or the natural sweetness of roasted butternut squash with cinnamon.  The bite of cheddar cheese with that apple.  Creamy peanut butter and apple butter on top of a rice cake.  Fresh popped popcorn, with fresh melted butter.  Homemade Chex Mix.


I eat these foods, and I remember: making Chex Mix, before a family holiday party at Gram’s.  Or getting to “try” the popcorn balls she always bought for Halloween.  Kugel for Christmas morning, if Mom had a chance to make it.  Or for breakfast out on the field, cold from being in the cooler, as we camped.  Apple picking when I was younger, and we’d take over an orchard.  (Four kids – trust me, we took it over).  Hulling strawberries for Mom after we picked in Uncle Charlie and Auntie Marion’s fields, so she could make strawberry jam.


I really didn’t know how to cook before I got married.  I didn’t need to – there are SO many good cooks in my family (including one pro! ) but once I was out on my own, I went the boxed route and realized very quickly that no, most things that come in a box are NOT food.  (I’m looking at you, macaroni and cheese.  Shudder)  So I learned.  And trust me, if I can learn to cook, you can too.  I was SO bad.  I burned water.   And jello.  Seriously.


No real food plan this week.  I’m heading into a remicade treatment on Wednesday, so food is going to depend on what my tummy is up to.    I made sure to stock up on yogurt, nut butter, and rice cakes, and tuna fish.  Mild stuff, so my tummy doesn’t rebel too much on me.  We’ll see how it goes.



Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.


Part of the reason I write this page every week is to remind myself of what I’m trying to do.  Yeah, I know, Yoda said to either do, or do not – there is no try, but honestly, I’m human, not a Jedi Master, and I have to try.  Because more often than not lately, my best intentions have gone the way of the dodo (wow, talk about mixing metaphors!).


It’s stress.  I am really lousy about dealing with stress.  I internalize a lot of it, and then I blow my top, and my diet, and everything else.  I don’t take my meds on time all the time.  I don’t eat right.  I end up rushing, and not taking the time to make the foods that will make me feel better, or forgetting them at home, and then I eat fast food, which doesn’t help either.


It’s a journey.  I really need to remind myself that I didn’t gain the weight all at once, and that stressing about it is not healthy either.  I need to set up meals the night before.  I’ve written up a meal plan for the week, and rather than just doing dinners, as I’ve done before, I actually sat down and planned out the entire week of food: breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks.  I’m planning on going to the gym and swimming on Tuesday and Thursday (they have new hours for the pool) and I have morning appointments on Monday and Wednesday.  I’ve made allowances for those days, working that into my food plan.  It really is all about the planning, and the follow-up to the planning.  Make the plan easy enough to follow through.


I’ll let you know how I did next Monday!

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Happy Monday, folks!  I think I’ve FINALLY got this cold on the run – I actually took Saturday off and RESTED.  Well, I wrote, but I could do that from the couch.  Sunday I felt so much better!  Ate real food, did chores, and wrote.


This is going to be a good food week.  I’m finally able to take all my meds and supplements.  I’m able to eat and taste my food (I hate that about being sick).  And I have such good food to eat!


Sunday Mom, Lily and I went to the Nottingham Orchard, where we got a bag of lovely little Cortland apples and a 1/2 gallon of fresh cider.  Then we went to the farmer’s market in Nottingham, where I got hickory-smoked honey, a head of hickory-smoked garlic, fresh dried beans, fresh pears (Seckels, Patterns and Lucious), some heirloom apples to try, another jar of leaf lard (FINALLY!) and a big beef soup bone.  Picked up eggs on the way home, so I can have some baked goods that I can eat.  So here’s the menu for dinner this week:

Monday – homemade baked beans and pork chops

Tuesday – roasted winter squash stuffed with broccoli-cheese sausage stuffing

Wednesday – eggplant pizzas

Thursday – salmon with roasted potatoes and roasted broccoli

Friday – Teriakyi chicken thighs, garlic green beans and sweet potato fries


We’re doing exercise this week too, once again.  Swimming Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  My knees are complaining, because I’m carrying too much weight on them, so I need to start slow.  I’ll be walking every day at work for my lunch break.  I am NOT being this heavy come the spring.  Hell, I’m not being this heavy come Christmas!


Don’t you wish you lived at my house?

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Yep, I was on vacation for the past week, which is why  I didn’t post.  I was actually planning on posting, but after Harper’s Retreat, I got sick.  I think it was a combination of stress (running an event, even a successful one, is stressful) and the fact that allergies are killing me, and poor Kate was so sick during the event.  I have a very depressed immune system even during the best of times, so it really was the perfect storm.  At least I had plenty of time to sleep (mostly).


However, when I get sick, or stressed, the first thing that goes is my eating habits.  I haven’t been exercising either.  Speaking of a perfect storm.  So this week, since I’m going back to work, it’s time to get back on the horse.  Tuesday is going to be hard – we’re going to the movies for Brian’s birthday, and I LOVE movie-theatre popcorn.  BUT – I’m going to commit to health, and that means no large popcorn.  A SMALL popcorn will be fine.  And a water – not a soda.  I need to do this – for me.  I need to reclaim my health.  So one thing I will do is tomorrow morning, before work – I’m popping some popcorn at home, and I’ll bring it into work.  I’m recommitting to the gluten-free way of life, and I’m going to be eating healthy.


I’m also going to be exercising.  I’m committing to exercising 3 times a week, every week.  I will be reclaiming my fencing lunge.  I’ll be getting healthy, and lifting weights.  I’m done being unhealthy.



Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.


I’m under a lot of stress at the moment.  I’ll be honest – it’s mostly self-inflicted.  I’m autocratting (running, for those not familiar with SCA terms) a fairly large event Labor Day weekend called Harper’s Retreat, and the week before the event is always nerve-racking to me.  There’s SO much that needs to be done, and of course, my mind is racing as to what can possibly go wrong.  Weeks like this are when everything healthy I’m trying to do usually breaks down, and I end up eating fast food and barely sleeping.


Not this time.  I know this week is going to be hard, but I’m preparing ahead so that I don’t have to worry about what I’m eating, at least.  There is a beef stew prepped and in the fridge, all ready to be popped into the crockpot this morning.  It’s already in the crock insert, so all I need to do is add water, put it in the outer portion of the pot, and turn it on.  Dinner for Brian and I for the next two days.  We bought a lovely heirloom rye bread at the farmer’s market on Saturday, and some goat cheese with blueberries and pecans.  Yesterday, we bought apples and peppers at the local orchard, and honey ham from the grocery store.   My lunch and snacks are packed into bento boxes and ready to be popped into my lunch box.  All I need to do is make breakfast, and then go.


I’m going to continue to walk on lunch this week – I don’t think I’ll try and squeeze in gym time, because I don’t need one more stressor.  Part of my plan is to make sure I’m moving all week, so that I can work off some of the nervous energy.  And prepping my medications/lunch/dinner the night before (I’m only working Monday through Wednesday, luckily) to make sure that I get everything I need done.  I’ve got a checklist of what needs to be done for Harpers, and I know I’ll get it all done.  It’s just a matter of working through it.  And not losing my mind in the process.


I met with my nutritionist on Saturday, and got some new ideas (like finally using my bentos!) for adding protein to my midday snacks.  I’m falling back to grazing, which isn’t good for my waistline.  So I’ll be doing things like apple slices with peanut butter, lunch meat and fruit or apple sauce, maybe some of the rye bread with the goat cheese.  Cucumbers and pepper slices with cream cheese (although she wants me to cut down on the dairy).  Things like that.


Oh, I put new batteries in my scale.  Expect a weigh-in on Wednesday.


I’m just going to take it one day at a time.  That’s the way to do it.  One day at a time.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

I don’t know what it is this year, but lord, have my allergies been doing a number on me!  I’m hoping that the healthy turn I’m taking with my life will keep them in line, but I don’t know.  I even resorted to Benadryl last night, just so my nose would unclog enough to sleep.


Made some very healthy changes this weekend – we got a new bed!  We’ve been sleeping on a 20+ year old full size coil mattress, so we finally decided to upgrade to a Bobopedic Queen-Sized Memory Foam mattress.  Oh.  My.  God.  I LOVE it!  My body doesn’t hurt anymore when I sleep!  (I have fibromyalgia in addition to my other health issues, so sleeping and not hurting is a definite win for me.)  Neither does Argus’ back, which is awesome.  I think more (and better) sleep will help my energy levels come back up.


Of course, I’m on a downward slide right now anyways, because I have a Remicade treatment on Wednesday, and the week before a treatment is kind of my nadir.  I get very achy, very tired and (to be honest) very whiny.  This week wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it was hard.  Monday and Tuesday will be hard too, but I’m going to be kind to myself and just push forward until Wednesday.


Meals are easy ones this week.  With so much fresh produce, it’s so easy to eat healthy!  We did burgers on Sunday, and there were a few left over, so that’s dinner tonight (with fresh pickles from Mom and left0ver fruit salad, nom!).  Tuesday is pork chops with sweet potato fries and zucchini (I might do the pan frying method, it worked really well with the eggplant).  Wednesday night is eggplant pizzas and mojitos!  Thursday is salmon with kale.  Friday I think might be pasta with veggies.  I can’t think that far ahead just yet.


That’s the thing that sucks about Crohn’s.  I get so tired.  It’s like I have NO energy at all.  However, I’m doing little things to work on that.  Sleeping.  8 hours is a minimum, and that’s pretty non-negotiable.  Eating well.  No real sugar anymore; added sugar, that is.  You take my fruit from me over my cold, dead body.  And slowly adding in the exercise.  I’m making a vow now to wear my sneakers to work every day, so I can walk on lunch.  There’s  a guy at work who lost over 100 lbs just by walking.  He’s my hero.  I need to start doing that again.


What are you doing to stay healthy?

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

I lost a lot of last week, due to work stuff, and so my healthy lifestyle took a bit of a hit.  However, this is a marathon, not a sprint, so I’m back up on the horse.  We will NOT discuss this weekend, when I had Domino’s pizza (and not the gluten-free type either) two nights running.  Ugh.  At least I didn’t have any soda!  I resisted that!  Go me!


Today, after sleeping all day (investigations wear me out), I made my first attempt at eggplant pizza.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  I think (and Brian agrees) that this is how we’ll do pizza from now on.  He didn’t even miss the crust!  And it was sooooo good!  I think I know what I’m doing with that big zucchini in my fridge – “french bread” pizzas!  I have the lamb chops still in the fridge, so I think I’ll thaw those and make them as well.


I’m finding that you have to have a plan for the week, and it has to be flexible, or the entire eating thing goes to hell.  I have a few cookbooks about snacks and lunches that I need to read, so I can have some things ready to grab if I oversleep.   Luckily, I have a lot of eggs, and a lot of zucchini.  I think I’m making zucchini bread!  Or muffins. I have blueberries, too.  I foresee a lot of baking this week.


And exercise.  No swimming this week, but I plan on hitting the gym to walk/run on the treadmill two nights – right now, I’m planning on Tuesday and Thursday, but that may change (depending on the dump schedule).

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Yep, restarting the blog.  I’m sorry I’ve let it slide, but I’ve found that there are some things that have to give, and this time, it was the blog.  (And the housework, this past week.  Seriously.  I don’t even want to THINK about people coming over, because it’s that bad.  I’m in CLEAN ALL THE THINGS mode for the week.)  But I’m back!


Now that life is coming back to semi-normal, I’m setting up a schedule for myself again.  It’s funny – I used to think I hated schedules.  I hated planning.  I was a live for the moment, fly by the seat of my pants kind of person.  Not anymore.  I find I get zero done if I don’t have a schedule.  Is that part of getting older?  Maybe, but I prefer to think of it as getting wiser.


Part of the scheduling I’ve been doing is meal planning.  I went mostly gluten-free in November, and we’ve been playing with the Paleo diet ever since.  Now that I have time to cook again, I really want to keep myself fed well, because when I don’t plan, I eat crap, and I feel like crap.


So one of the things you’ll be seeing on Mondays is my meal schedule for the week.  This week, Argus and I are enjoying the following:

Monday: baked summer squash with apple chicken sausage stuffing

Tuesday: pepperoni pizza portabellos

Wednesday: sweet and sour crockpot kielbasa

Thursday: swiss and mushroom burgers with sweet potato fries

Friday: pizza! (because it needs to be easy – that’s launch night!)


I’m also experimenting with zucchini noodles this week, because I have a ton of zucchini this week, and I’d rather not buy gluten-free noodles if I don’t have to. Saving money, you know?


This week also marks heading back to the gym and the studio.  Tuesday morning is studio time, and Monday and Wednesday is swim days at the gym after work.  I’m determined to get my body health.  However, my scale is currently broken (well, it needs a new battery, and I keep conveniently “forgetting” to get one), so we’ll just have to go by how I’m feeling.


And I’m feeling pretty damn good right now.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.



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