Author: mydragonispink

Hello and welcome to my blog! The name "mydragonispink" was inspired by my car which is a Dodge Challenger R/T in Furious Fuchsia and named the pink dragon. I know its fuchsia, but the fuchsia dragon doesn't sound as good so I chose to stick with pink. I love photography and making jewelry. My blog will be varied as I have many interests.

No more sugar, please!


It has now been 3 1/2 months since I began my sugar free journey.  Of course I still have a small amount of sugar, as I’ve mentioned in my previous post.  I even had a piece of the coconut cream pie, pictured above, at Christmas time.  The joy of that piece of pie was short lived, however.  After eating something with a lot of sugar I start to feel a little jittery as if I’ve had too much caffeine or a mild panic attack.  I believe this is because the pie has processed sugar and causes a blood sugar spike.  This adverse reaction helps discourage any further “cheat” snacks so I’m glad it happens.  It’s actually been pretty easy to stay away from sugary snacks and desserts though.

Over 3 months of eating minimal sugar, I lost 12 pounds.  I wasn’t trying to lose weight so this was just an added bonus.  Losing a pound each week with zero exercise is a pretty great bonus, if you ask me.  In the last two weeks I have started exercising regularly, for heart health, and I feel great!  

The greatest and most surprising benefit that I have experienced is sleep quality.  I still sleep the same amount, sometimes a little less, but I’m well rested and don’t feel the need for caffeine at all.  It’s a little difficult to wake up at times because I’m in such a deep sleep.  My answer to this has been to exercise first thing.  At least in the last couple weeks, anyway.  Showering first thing would work as well, but I feel cold as soon as I leave the covers so heating up the body with a good workout is perfect for me.  My sleep quality was always an issue before.  It took a long time to fall asleep and then I would wake up every couple hours and be tired all day.  Now I can fall asleep quickly and maybe wake up once a night.  Sleep alone is reason enough for me to continue a sugar free life.

To sum up my experience, I feel healthy, I look healthy, and that makes me happy.  With results like these, I plan on being happily sugar free for the rest of my life.  

A fried rice Thanksgiving

My husband and I are not overly traditional.  We believe you should celebrate, or not celebrate, holidays the way you want and not what tradition tells you.  If it were up to us, we wouldn’t celebrate holidays at all, but family has other plans.  However, those plans are not until later so we got to have our version of thanksgiving this year.  What is our version of Thanksgiving?  A regular, ordinary, day off.  Ahh, so nice.  So for lunch I made something fast and easy.  Fried rice.

My kitchen and the dishes I cook, are fairly minimalist.  I have plenty of cabinets for storage, but most of them are almost empty.  I don’t buy a lot of cookery or seasonings.  I keep the basics and that’s pretty much it.  There are a couple things that I like about this.  

1.  Easy preparation and therefore, easy cleanup.

2.  Fewer supplies means you have to get creative sometimes.

One of the things I do have is a rice cooker.  I love this thing and highly recommend having one.  So here is my simple way of making delicious fried rice. 

  • First, steam the amount of rice you are wanting to make.  I recommend going by what the instructions on the bag of rice says.  I kind of eyeball it and the amount never comes out the same twice.  We like the whole grain rice, but you can’t choose a different kind.  This is the part that takes the most time.  For two people I think it takes my cooker about 20 minutes.
  • When the rice is steamed, in a large skillet or wok, heat up about two tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat.
  • Scramble one egg and a chopped vegetable of your choice.  I prefer snow peas or sugar snap peas.  Some people like to add carrots.  The beautiful thing about fried rice is that it’s very easy to customize.
  • Once the egg is fried and scrambled up, add the steamed rice to the skillet. 
  • Stir until mixed well.
  • I like to add my soy sauce into the skillet and cook it into the fried rice.  You can add your soy sauce later if you prefer.
  • Add a serving to the plate and you’re ready to enjoy!

I apologize that I don’t put specific measurements in my recipes, but that’s just not how I cook.  I want to give people the freedom to choose what they want in their dish.  If you love vegetables, feel free to add more!  Maybe you like a lot of egg in your fried rice.  The important thing is to find out what works for you and go with it.  Happy eating!

Can we go back to simple dining, please?

Maybe things have always been this way, but it seems to me that we are trying to play everything up to the most extreme version possible. More atmosphere, more flavor, more expense. If it’s not hip no one wants to go there and it’s not hip unless its overpriced and has a long line to enter. Two things I can’t abide, paying more than something is worth and lines. I don’t find the hipster atmosphere and over priced food a fair trade for the portion of my life spent wraiting in your line.

That being said, I am perfectly aware that a lot of people really enjoy these places and would love to find more of them. I am just not one of them.  My two favorite places to eat in Denver are iconic Colfax locations, but simple and inexpensive.

Tom’s Diner.  Tom’s looks like it hasn’t changed its decor since the 1960’s.  Not in the way a hipster restaurant had a designer scour the earth for the perfect retro style, but like everything was purchased in the 60’s and well cared for ever since.  I’m certain my mother had those exact plates when I was a child.  Granted, I wasn’t born until 1973, but she didn’t buy new dishes until the 80’s.  Walking into Tom’s is like stepping back in time.  A beautiful time machine that makes me feel at home.  The food at a diner was never meant to be “amazing”, but is meant to be comfort food like your mom, or you, would make at home.  Tom’s provides good food, and lots of it, at a good price with great service.  In fact, the staff has always been one of the things I love most.   Every person working there has a unique character all their own and are enjoyable to be around.  From my experience, this is just the Colfax way and Tom’s Diner is definitely a part of Colfax.

Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs.  Another Colfax staple that has perfected simple dining.  As you would expect from a place that specializes in hot dogs, you order at the counter and wait for your number to be called.  You can sit at a counter inside or have a picnic in the patio.  The patio area has tables and a pet station so Fido can hang with the family.  One of the great things about Denver is that it’s pretty pet friendly.  With about 300 days of sun a year and fairly mild weather, we are outside a lot and like to bring our furry family members along.  Decorating the patio area walls is the history of Steve’s for your light reading pleasure.  The food is quite tasty with lots of options to choose from, but of course, I always go for chili dogs.  Even though it’s small and there are always people there, it never feels over crowded.  Just cozy.

The first customization of my Fiat 500 Abarth.

The Fiat 500 Abarth is a fantastically fun car for multiple reasons.  Aside from being fun to drive, they are relatively cheap and easy to customize.  There are endless possibilities and for once, I am looking forward to customizing my car.  Normally I leave my cars exactly as purchased.  Don’t ask me why, I don’t have an answer.

500-abarth-lowered

This picture was taken the day I brought my little cherry tomato home.  The previous owner had the car lowered and although I had some reservations about buying a car that was modified, Fiat assured me that it was a Fiat technician that had installed the kit.  There are plenty of people that prefer their Abarth lowered and it is pretty great in the corners, but I’m certain those people have another car as their daily driver.  Or they live in a smooth, flat, perfect world with no railroad tracks.  Unfortunately, I do not and this car is meant to be my daily driver.  Yes I can slow way down for anything that is an inch above the ground, but there are always sudden surprises that pop up.  My biggest concern wasn’t speed bumps, railroad tracks or my driveway.  My biggest concern was winter driving.  My husband has had an Abarth for a couple years and it’s really pretty great in the snow.  However, the snow gets packed in the wheel wells of a regular Abarth so I was certain it would be even worse when there is less space.   Despite my concerns, the car was a good price and there really are not a lot of Abarths to chose from in my area.  Used or new.   So I bought the car knowing that I would have to pay to raise it back to normal pretty soon.

The dealership was going to charge about $1,800.00 to replace the springs, but we decided to go a bit cheaper, because we can.  My husband found the same springs he has on his for about $160.00 and his dad was able to help install them.  I normally would not agree to do it ourselves, but his dad is experienced and has the proper equipment to complete the job safely and correctly.  It was completed today and here is what it looks like now.


It doesn’t look like a big difference, but it is a huge difference driving over the train tracks near our house.  I had to drive about 6 mph over the tracks when it was lowered and it was still risky.  Now I can fly over them at 25 or 30 mph if I so chose.  I no longer have to remember to take a different route with tracks that are smoother.  I will be sad that corners will not be quite as snug, but the car is still fun and it’s personalized to my taste.  I’m not sure what changes I will make in the future.  Most likely a gear shift knob at least, but there are endless possibilities and miles of fun to be had!

Hold the sugar, please.

In continuing my efforts to become a better me, I have chosen to stop eating sugar.  I don’t mean that I can’t have any sugar because that’s not really practical.  I have stopped eating added sugars.  For 5 weeks now, I have been eating less than 45 grams of sugar a day.  It’s usually between 20 and 25 grams per day.  From what I have read, 4.2 grams of granulated sugar equals one teaspoon.  So I am averaging 4 or 5 teaspoons a day which is what the American Heart Association recommends for a woman. It doesn’t seem like that’s a difficult request but they do not distinguish between natural and added sugars.  It all counts toward the same total grams of sugar.

How did this start?  This was not something I planned on doing.  In fact, I was certain I would never give up my candy, soda or cupcakes.  Man do I love a good cupcake!  It started one weekend when I ran out of candy and was too lazy to go to the store.  I realized on Sunday that I had already gone two days without candy so I thought, this is a good time to stop eating sugar.

In the first week I was astonished by how much sugar was in EVERYTHING.  What can I eat that doesn’t have sugar?  Pizza?  No.  Cereal?  Only occasionally and yes, it tastes no different than eating the box.  “Healthy” granola bars?  Are you freakin’ kidding me?  No!  Juice, of any kind?  Absolutely not.  I realized quickly that it was pretty much impossible to eat no sugar and be healthy.  I’m sure there will be people that argue with me about that, but I think you should still have fruit once in a while and fruit has quite a bit of sugar naturally.  Also, I do not want to ingest to many artificial sweeteners.  I doubt that is healthy.  So in this first week, I resigned myself to the idea that I will never again eat candy, dessert or drink soda.  No pizza either but, as you will read later, that changes.  The good news is that you no longer crave those things.  You may want it when you see it, but for the most part, you realize that is a want, not a need and you don’t have to indulge.

During week two, I noticed that I wasn’t as tired during the day.  Probably because my sleep is deeper and better quality.  I don’t toss and turn as often or wake up every two hours like I used to.  In fact, during the 3rd week, I slept straight through the night sometimes.  This may not be amazing to some, but I have never slept through the night unless I was sick or something.  I was a bit perky and hyper during this time period as well.

I think it was week three that I thought I was sweating more than normal and some people do a 21 day sugar detox so maybe I was sweating things out.  I also noticed that I would just keep working and forget to take my lunch because I wasn’t actually hungry yet.  One word of caution here.  When you are not eating sugar and your tank runs out, you are out and need to find food fast.  The alternative is one cranky individual that can no longer function properly.  I was pretty sure I was going to faint in the middle of the Halloween store because I didn’t stop to eat before going in and it was larger than expected.  It was my own fault.  I knew it was past lunch time and that I needed to eat, but wasn’t feeling the hunger pangs yet.  Lesson learned.

Week four and five have been smooth sailing.  No side affects and I’ve discovered that I can make homemade pizza that has much less sugar, but still tastes pretty good.  In the future I may try to make the dough and sauce myself, but for now, I look for marinara with the fewest grams of sugar per serving and pre-made pizza dough from the store.  Also with the lowest grams of sugar, per serving, that I can find.  It’s not ideal, but it’s a nice treat.

If you have tried to stop eating so much sugar or know a great, low sugar recipe for barbecue sauce, feel free to share in the comments.  I would love to hear all about it.

 

My Continued Struggle

It’s been a few months since I decided to deactivate my facebook and spend less time on social media.  Life without facebook has been so much easier than I expected!  I have even noticed that I am proud of not being attached to my phone.  Much like my pride when I quit smoking and drinking.   When you make an effort to improve your way of life, you should be proud of yourself.

Do I occasionally find myself reaching toward the facebook app?  Of course!  Obviously, I should have deleted the app, but I only think about it for a millisecond out of habit and its extremely easy to redirect myself.

How do I keep in touch with my friends?  I don’t.  I realize that may seem harsh, but I’m not really a social person anyway.  I will text people occasionally to make plans, but if I was only keeping in touch by clicking a like button on a picture or meme that you posted, I wasn’t really invested in our interaction anyway.  People think they are, but think about it, how much effort do you really put into liking a post?  Sure, maybe you spent time finding the emoji you think fit the moment best, but its not like you spent the time to put pen to parchment and focus solely on your relationship with this person.  I would love to bring back the days of writing letters but that is a subject for another blog, another day.

What do I do with my extra time?  Everything.  Nothing.  Life is a beautiful thing, try not to miss too much of it.

My Struggle Today

On Sunday, I decided that I should reduce my dependency on social media as a way to waste time until my eventual death.  Because, that’s really what we are doing.  At least that’s what I am doing.  It’s called social media, but it’s not being social when you are ignoring people you are out with in an attempt to be legitimately social.  For me, all social media seems to do is further alienate me.  Before everyone posted their meals, feelings, politics and every other aspects of their daily lives on full volume, I had know idea I was so different from the norm.  The problem is that I am probably not much different than everyone else, just different than everyone that is loud.

I decided my Facebook was what needed to go.  Out of everything I am involved with online, Facebook causes me the greatest stress.  I have never felt that I could really be myself on my own page because so many people that I know are completely different from myself and, if I go by their posts, not interested in accepting other sides.  Not to mention my own limitations of accepting other views.  Not much would get me as angry as a ridiculous political meme.  I’m not against people keeping in touch with their friends and making new friends.  There are some great things that can come from social media, but I am a firm believer in removing any stress that is in your power to remove.  I have always had issues with holding onto stress and need to minimize all the stress I can so bye bye Facebook and hello blogging and the outside world!

Fast forward to today and my Facebook free life.  It sounds great, but as I have discovered, quite difficult to adjust to after years of regularly scrolling through updates or posting pics of the things I find worth sharing.  There were several times that I found myself reaching for my phone or iPad to see what people were up to or if anyone has commented on my lasted posts.  It has been such a struggle to stay on the path.  I know it’s possible to reduce my dependency on social media and I am looking forward to spending more time outside, learning and experiencing the world with my complete attention.  If nothing else, at least I will get to spend more time smelling the roses.