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The Cycle of Insanity a Brief Follow Up

With the events in Paris and all the unspeakable horrors around our world sharing my prior blog seems trivial, almost selfish. I want to help others, and I know one person CAN move mountains with the appropriate determination and PERSEVERANCE. One small voice can be heard if the right personalbert_einstein_head or people are really listening.

Why again?  Why now?  I actually have no idea.  Maybe people just wants to make money off of our painful memories? But maybe, just maybe this is the right time, and karma will take its appropriate course for all the innocent victims he left behind. Or maybe I am just a gullible idealist. Yesterday’s blog is not just my story, there are numerous victims. And although trivial in comparison to world events, removing one hurtful human being from the fabric of our population can only be an impetus for positive change.

From experience I can tell you just how hard it is to know whom to trust. Unfortunately, I have always been too trusting, and I still am. I always want to believe that people are good at heart, and that hurting others is not what most individuals set out to do. Even after years of being betrayed and hurt by others my general belief system has yet to change. I suppose I epitomize that well known definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein.

windows-and-doorsFor me I suppose it’s always been about PERSEVERANCE. I continue to try incorrect paths, and open wrong doors and windows. Or maybe I’m just hard headed. I think my general belief that humanity is good, is what keeps me opening those windows and doors and heading down those paths. This blog, this NY Times article, all my contacts with new influential people may once again amount to no change; and Marc Gafni (aka Mordechai Winiarz) may continue to hurt others the way he has for the past 3-4 decades – but it wont be because I didn’t do everything in my power to expose the truth. I would not venture to tell anyone what to believe or think – I can only rest at night knowing with confidence that I have spoken the truth. I have told and retold my story with courage, tenacity and hope.

Setbacks and Excuses

At this juncture I feel the need to talk about setbacks and excuses. Although I was called back for a roll in Four Weddings and an Elvis I was notified last night that I did not get cast in the production. This had me saddened and disappointed. In the past I would have turned to chocolate to brighten my mood using this setback as an excuse to eat. But I talked my way through this one with family and friends. I know the arts are full of constant rejection, and there is someone always just a bit more talented, or better for the part, or just simply better at their art than you. But that one time out of 100 that you do get to shine can make the disappointment worth it. Like losing all the weight, it’s all about perseverance. Little steps (I was reminded – you didn’t drop 135 pounds all at once!) – at least there was a callback this time!

I am moving forward and working on my next audition – gotta keep moving forward. I am also looking at a variety of other ways to stay involved in the theatre on a full time basis

fear failureWeight can be an excuse for not following your dreams, so can money, so can life’s circumstances – there is ALWAYS an excuse to turn away or freeze – from the fear of failure. But failure is inevitable sometimes. No one always gets it right! Failure is necessary for growth. I think the weight loss, and not being a kid anymore has helped me realize that with perseverance finding joy is possible. You may never be a millionaire (unless of course you are under the false assumption that money brings joy and persevere towards that goal), but you can be happy.

For me the weight loss came first, but maybe for you it’s the guts to follow your heart. When you are in a place of joy EVERYTHING gets easier; including the ability to make healthy choices.

I find it interesting that since I started on my “journey of joy” a lot of weird coincidences, circumstances and connections fell into place. I had job offers (granted not in my field of choice), made new friends who are now more like family and reconnected with some VERY old ones…all the way back to preschool! Yes this is me at 5 in preschool. I am actually friends on Facebook with more than one of my classmates here!

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Who knows it may just be one of these connections that enable me to continue following my dreams, or even just be the extra encouragement I will need during moments of doubt – and there will always be those moments. With my inner conviction, and all this support; both old and new, the decision to not turn to food at those moments will be easier – not simple, but easier.

Take some time to think about what your excuses are to not start on your journey, or to stop mid-journey, or to take a U-turn after coming a long long way. Once you realize that you are rationalizing your way into failure reach out to someone for help. Shoot me an email through my “About Me” page, and I can try to be supportive from a distance.

Cheese & Chocolate!

I was watching GMA yesterday and they referred to a study recently done about the addictive qualities of cheese. Well I feel like a study was not necessary. I know many people (myself included) who can tell you with out a doubt that they are addicted to cheese.

Now, like everything else if you are actively trying to loose weight full fat cheese needs to be eaten in moderation. But, cheese is one of those things I refuse to give up entirely (kinda like chocolate). I have had to give up quite a lot on a gluten free diet, so cheese and chocolate are staying.

I think you need to remember that dieting should not be about deprivation, but about moderation and healthy choices. You need to still enjoy food, just not eat it for comfort or distraction, but when your body is hungry. Eating mindlessly is a very easy trap to fall into. Before getting on the computer or watching the television it is probably a good idea to fix a healthy snack to keep nearby (this especially goes for computer time at work).

Finding other comfort, pleasure and distraction is key. I can’t tell you what will work for you. I can tell you what works for me: ANYTHING creative. I write, draw, paint, sing, act, and design… This refocuses me and brings me joy. Here is our mantel decorated and ready for Halloween.

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I like to visit with friends who understand that I like to make healthy choices and just talk, and share stories. Find what distracts you from stress and sadness – a walk outside, your pets, your children, solving problems or puzzles? It’s different for everyone.

I have a callback for that show tonight that I mentioned in my previous blog: Four Weddings and an Elvis at Rover Dramawerks in Plano, TX – and I am very excited. This in and of it self helps me stay on track. If I know I am going to perform, or even audition, I need to look my best that helps me stay motivated.

A bunch of friends went out to the 2105 Halloween Block Party on Cedar Springs. Now being gluten free I can’t drink beer and try hard not to drink too many of my calories. I now enjoy some hard cider, and can still have some party time with friends. We dressed as a bowling team (team name The Gutters and the Udders) and each couple had their own couple name. This was my mom’s idea and it was a huge hit as our photos appeared in Guide Live and on Flashy Foto’s Facebook page. Here we all are:

Halloween is hard on a diet, especially for a chocolate lover (and worse if you have kids). When purchasing candy for your trick-or-treaters try and buy stuff you are just not that crazy about. Kids will pretty much enjoy any candy you give them. You could also bag them individually if you have the time, which may avert you from breaking into the candy. Don’t deprive yourself entirely just don’t overdo it. One Resees Peanut Butter Cup will not destroy your life or pack on 5 pounds, but a whole bag of them might.

Let me know how your Halloween goes, and remember to HAVE FUN!

 

Rhode Island Restaurant Round Up????

Eating out is always a challenge whether you are actively trying to lose weight, or just maintaining. And with the holidays coming up it’s about to get even more difficult.  I really hate feeling deprived at a table where everyone is indulging, but I really don’t think you have to be deprived, you just have to use portion knowledge and plan ahead if you want to indulge a bit.

We North Texans know a little something about eating out. According to eaththis.com (http://www.eatthis.com/these-us-cities-eat-most-fast-food): Dallas is #4 on the list of cities that eat the most fast food. “Everything is bigger in Texas–including the citizens’ appetite for fast food. Those residing in Dallas eat the stuff 16.8 times per month.” According to a ZAGAT survey the average amount we eat out as a nation is 4.5 times a week. “At the high end, Atlanta surveyors eat out the most frequently (5.2 times per week), while the country’s least frequent diners live in Portland, OR, and Minneapolis (both at 3.4 times per week).”  (https://www.zagat.com/b/the-state-of-american-dining-in-2015) I don’t know if they surveyed Dallas/Fort Worth area residents, but I think we would be fighting for that spot with Atlanta easily.  I don’t know where Providence, RI ranks, but this op-ed so to speak is being targeted to an audience of one currently.

When I was in 4th grade I had only a handful of friends (most of whom I am still in contact with via Facebook). That school year a girl moved to Forest Hills, NY and attended my elementary school.  She has remained a friend (albeit in and out of touch and long distance) ever since.  You know who you are!

4th grade
I’m the one circled on the right.

There are just some people in your life who you know you will always have a connection to… she is one of them. In an effort to be helpful, I have reviewed some menus of local Providence, RI restaurants (hopefully some of which she has frequented or may in the future), and have offered here my thought process on what I would order should I have the opportunity to visit. I will try to do this occasionally for other friends/readers or just for some other locations based on my readership.

I looked up some of the top restaurants in Providence, RI on Trip Advisor and downloaded some menus.  I will provide links to these menus below.  I read carefully the menus from the following establishments:

  • Los Andesri
  • Café Nuovo
  • Gracie’s
  • East Side Pockets
  • Figidini – Wood Fire Eatery
  • Chez Pascal

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First I want to say that I was NOT looking at prices.  If you want to lose weight and save money my best advice is to eat at home as much as possible. Prepare in advance on weekends and freeze if necessary because as we all know dining out gets pricey quickly and can destroy a budget in one night.

Normally I would recommend not ordering an appetizer – but sometimes a nice salad helps to fill you with little caloric addition.  Alternatively sometimes the appetizer menu looks so good, you can chose from there for your entrée.

Los Andesri:

If ordering an appetizer I would go with the Ceviche Martini or the Choros A La Chalaca, most of the other choices are in a cream sauce, or is fried or buttery.  If you are going to choose a salad the Ensalada Con Quinoa and the Ensalada Del Jardin are both good choices.  Almost all the entrées are very rich and greasy – I would choose the Picante de Pollo, possibly the Fricase.  But choosing from the seafood section of the menu might be the way to go.  Any of the Ceviches would be a good choice or the Sudado De Pescado.  Even the Paella if eaten in moderation is a good choice.

Café Nuovo:

The appetizers at this place are equally rich.  I’d probably skip or maybe chose as an entrée.  Really the best bet of the appetizer choices is probably the chilled oysters, crab cakes or crispy sushi.  The salads are all fairly good choices again watching portion control with your dressings. A good tip is to always order your dressings on the side. If you are skipping the appetizer almost any of the grille choices are healthy but watch the portions again, as they are quite large. Same thing for the grille sides – but probably best to stay away from the creamed spinach or the candied sweet potatoes. I can’t eat any of the pasta, and honestly as much as I love and miss the stuff it is the least healthy choice on any menu.  But if you need your pasta fix (and believe me I understand), I would choose one of the risotto dishes or something in a red sauce (stay away from cream or butter sauces if at all possible).  OK so you’ve skipped the appetizer and are not going with the salad, the grille or the pasta which entrée is safest? Actually most of these choices are pretty good… I’d avoid the rich greasy duck (although I love it), the Angus ribeye (unless you could sub out the creamed spinach), and maybe the filet mignon (rich sauces), but that still leaves almost 80% of the choices on the entrée menu.  After what looks like a wonderful meal I don’t know if you’d even consider dessert, but if necessary stick with the fruit and berries, or the ice cream or sorbet as these likely have enough natural sugars in them that additional refined sugars won’t have been overly supplemented.

Gracie’s:

For Gracie’s I chose to review the 3 course prix fixe menu.  Since this is much more limited I can make the choices more easily.  I would start with Jeffery’s Baby Greens Salad for the first course, for the second it would either be the Carolina Brook Trout or the Tasking of Autumn Vegetable.  For dessert I probably would ask, but likely wind up sharing the Lemon Tart.

East Side Pockets:

OMG this is my kind of food. Now of course I have a problem because I cannot eat pita bread, but I can do almost anything on this menu as a platter version (and you can too if you want to save the carbs).  Yes, falafel are fried, but they are made from chickpeas and again in moderation won’t destroy your waist line.  I love humus and it is good for you.  The chicken kabob is served in a wrap or as a platter so are the beef, gyros and kofta. The platters are served with a salad (go with the light dressing or just an oil and vinegar if necessary) and rice and lentils over Syrian bread.  Again with portion control, all very healthy. I’d eat the rice and the lentils probably and skip the bread even if it were gluten free – save calories and carbs.

Figidini – Wood Fire:

If ordering an appetizer almost any of these are relatively healthy.  If I was saving calories for my entrée I would avoid the Goat Cheese Salad, the Meatballs and possibly the figs.  For my entrée (from the Grill), I would choose the lamb, the chicken or the scallops – avoiding the skirt steak with gorgonzola cream, the sausage and the calamari.  I would personally choose the Artichokes on the side, but although the carrots are served in a butter sauce the vegetables are probably all fairly decent choices.  If I was going to have one of the pizzas (which I couldn’t unless they offered a gluten free crust) I would choose a vegetarian option as most meat toppings on pizza are very high in fat. The older I get the harder I find it is to digest meat and dairy during the same meal.  Then I would portion control the grilled food or the pizza depending on what it looked like when it arrived at the table.  A serving of protein (ie. the lamb or the chicken) should be roughly equal to the size of your fist. If it arrives at the table larger than that, cut off and set aside to be boxed up the remainder, and take it home for another meal/snack.  I can’t comment on the size of their pizzas, but if it’s close to a New York Pie than two slices is more than enough, and if it were me, I probably would leave most of the crust behind because I love the toppings. Didn’t see dessert on this menu, but if you must have some, stick with something that has the least amount of added refined sugar. If you don’t know, ask… most restaurants have a pretty good idea of the nutritional values in their offerings.

Chez Pascal:

Their appetizers are a little more difficult to choose from.  If I was going to order one of these it would likely be my entrée as they are all very rich.  The entrées are a little easier to make a choice from.  ANY of these choices with possibly the duck being the only exception are great choices as long as you portion control.  Everything is about moderation and the bit of bacon, or butter here and there is not going to break you as long as you are balancing your day.  On this menu they offer sorbet as a dessert option and if I needed something sweet after my meal that is what I would choose as the others are both very very high in sugar and for me are not gluten friendly.

I hope this menu review was helpful.  I think it gives you an idea of my thought process when I go out to eat – especially while trying to drop pounds.  If at all possible avoid alcohol as it converts to sugar quickly and will quickly make your caloric intake soar.

Here are the links to the actual menus I reviewed.  This whole process made me very hungry and wanting to take a trip to Rhode Island.

  • Los Andesri:  http://losandesri.com/andes/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13
  • Café Nuovo: http://www.cafenuovo.com/cafenuovo/menu.cfm?cat=2
  • Gracie’s: http://graciesprov.com/menu/
  • East Side Pockets: http://eastsidepocket.com/#menu
  • Figidini – Wood Fire Eatery: http://www.figidini.com/menu/
  • Chez Pascal: http://chez-pascal.com/#menu

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