Sunday, January 26, 2020

Cruise Control, Annual Raise, a Cleanse and a New D.I.E.T.

Cruise Control: So my retirement accounts are on cruise control.  Just getting the year-end numbers on our outside accounts and waiting for my pension to update with its annual contribution and interest to the cash balance portion of the plan. I've already upped my 401(k) and catch-up contributions to max them out by year-end.

Annual Raise: Next week I get my annual performance review.  Shortly thereafter we will be told our raises and our annual incentive bonus.  The raises are barely cost of living.  Last year I think I got 2.7% so I would expect around the same for this year.  The annual incentive bonus is a different story.  My company's philosophy is to pay less and provide bigger bonuses dependent upon company performance and your individual performance.  We are almost 4 years out from a merger and last year was the first year my side of the business operated under the acquiring company's performance appraisal policy.  Last year my net bonus was about $13,000, compared to around $5,000 - $6,000 premerger.  Definitely nothing to sneeze at.  You can always tell when the pay-out happens as suddenly there are new luxury cars in the office parking lot.  Meanwhile I sock it away and continue to drive my 2007 CR-V.  LOL!  Just another example of differing priorities.

A Cleanse: So for the last 10 days I've been doing a cleanse.  My favorite Director at work told me about this diet he and his wife did where he lost 15 lbs and his wife lost 30 lbs in a month.  He said you have to eat every 2-3 hours no matter what and he was full all the time, but the weight just fell off.  Sounded like a dream to me so I asked him to send me the info.  He emailed the link and I researched it and went through the entire website.  It looked pretty legit so I went ahead and signed up for the 10 day cleanse and then ordered the book.  I just finished the book and today is the last day of the cleanse.  Since starting the cleanse last Friday I've lost 7 lbs. Not too shabby.  Tomorrow I start the actual diet which is 28 days long.  This is the book and The D.I.E.T.:
She prefers to call it a D.I.E.T - "Did I Eat Today", because this is the opposite of traditional diets which restricts types and amounts of foods.  This diet is about eating whole, real, healthy foods in a way that is supposed to ignite and increase metabolism so you burn fat.  You do have to give up coffee, alcohol, dairy, wheat, soy, corn & sugar, among other things.  Which I find easy enough to do, particularly since I'm doing Dry January and I like herbal teas.  I'm not sure I believe 100% of what she say the science of it is, but her results speak for themselves, the foods are healthy, many are plant based and she wants you to eat organic and natural which we believe in anyway.  Screw Monsanto and ConAgra!  It is more protein than we like to eat but I can do it for 28 days.  It will just blow my grocery budget for sure.  Luckily the take-out and alcohol budget will go down.  LoML is not doing this with me but he will eat the dinners so this shouldn't be too disruptive.

That's it for now.  Have a relaxing and restful Sunday!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Primarily Plant Based Eating

For the last eight years or so I've done my best to switch my family over to real, whole, organic food.  We've always been good about cooking at home so this wasn't much of a stretch for us.  The LoML does most of the cooking for dinners and he is sometimes resistant to this plan, and sometimes resorts to what he calls "Boxed Dinner" which translates to purchased frozen items (think fish fillets, french fries, etc.)  or boxed rice sides a la Rice-a-Roni.  But for the most part we cook from scratch and eat as much organic, local grass fed, etc. as we can afford.

For Christmas I bought him "The Blue Zone" cookbook and an Instant Pot and told him I want to eat more beans and greens and less meat.  This move, eating more plant based, is both extraordinarily healthful and economical.  Double win. 

I just finished reading this book and highly recommend it.  It makes so much sense and I feel as if my normal food preferences lean towards this type of eating.

Here are some of the plant based meals I ate this week. 
For breakfasts: I have fallen in love with Chia pudding made with oat milk, a little cinnamon and berries on top.  My other go to is steel cut oats cooked in water with dried blueberries and nuts, or apples and nuts.

Lunches were: salads with kale, apple, craisins & nuts, and broccoli & apple salad with some left over soba noodles:

Dinners were things like: soba noodles with roasted broccoli, a bean, sausage & kale stew, veggie frittata and a stuffed cabbage abomination.

I say that the stuffed cabbage is an abomination for a good reason.  The LoML travels periodically and when he comes home he brings home all the leftovers from the restaurants he where he had his meals.  It is usually what I call crap food and after his last business trip I told him I didn't want to eat that crap anymore.  Last time he came home with leftover greasy Chinese food (no veggies in sight), a giant Italian hoagie (longer than my arm), a Popeye's bucket o' chicken with sides, including the famed chicken sandwich, and a bunch of bags of different chips and cheese crackers.

Well this time he came home with fried clams (can you even eat those leftover??) Chinese food, and a corned beef sandwich with about 2 lbs of corned beef on it.

When dinner was served I just assumed this was regular stuffed cabbage, but no.  This was an evil impostor.  Instead of tomato that sauce on top is Sriracha, and inside was tofu, rice, peppers, mushrooms and. . . are you ready for this?    Peanuts!  Like some sort of kung pao tofu and greasy rice filling.   He called it Amasian stuffed cabbage.  😕  I told him if he ever made that again I was divorcing him. LOL!

So I think overall I've done a pretty good job this week minimizing meat and eating healthy.  At the end of next week I'll be starting a 10 day cleanse and then when that is done I'll be doing a 28 day diet, again plant based but more strict as I do really need to lose some weight.  Beans and greens baby!!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

So Far so Good!

I like easing back into a regular schedule.  I had to work Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of last week.  and was super busy as my boss and my director aren't back to work until tomorrow.  I work in sort of a legal capacity but I am not a lawyer or a paralegal (was a paralegal for 19 years) but the work is similar, just a different forum.  We have a case we filed in November and we received discovery requests on the 16th, 27th and 31st from the other parties with a 15 calendar day turnaround.  Not very nice of them as they were aware that my Company's corporate employees are essentially gone the week of Christmas through New Year's at the least.  In any case, I handled it, kept the assigned lawyer in the loop and have scheduled the requisite review meetings for next week.

As far as my goals, we are 5 days in and I'm doing well in all but the walking goal.  Its dark and cold in the a.m. and p.m. and if I can't get away from my desk during the workday its just hard to make this happen.  I have two dogs that could definitely use the change of scenery a walk would bring, but I just haven't been able to motivate myself.

I've changed my 401(k) contribution and catch-up contribution to achieve the maximum contribution by year end.  We'll see how it shakes out.  We have a new benefit year starting in January so my net pay should go down a bit due to higher benefit costs so I'll be a few bucks poorer for the next two and a half months as we don't get our annual raises until mid-March. I can always readjust as I go.

All of my regular savings are on autopilot so baring any surprises they should achieve themselves.

Haven't had any alcohol and am sticking to my mostly whole food and plant based meal plan. I think I'll do a post later in the week highlighting some of what I've eaten.  We just went to our local natural foods grocery and bought all kinds of things to make new plant based/vegan recipes for me for breakfast and lunch and maybe the LoML will use some to make us dinner (hello tempeh? LOL!).

That's all I have for playoff weekend Sunday.  The games so far have been amazing.  I hope your favorite team wins!  Go EAGS!!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Happy New Year - Welcome to Dry January

My family did this little challenge last year. My kids and their BFs did it too.  Our livers and bank accounts were definitely grateful. Unfortunately, with the Eagles in the playoffs the LoML says he won't be doing it on playoff weekends.  I'm still trying to convince him but he at least has committed to not drinking during the week, which is fairly typical for us anyway so not really a challenge for him.

I'm back to trying to eat an 80% plant based diet.  I've thrown together a green smoothie for today and tomorrow's breakfast and I have the last slice of leftover home made pizza for lunch today, which has kale, caramelized onions, garlic, tomato pesto, a little bacon and goat cheese on it. 

Our festivities for New Year's were fabulous but the food was rather rich for us.  We spent the Eve and part of yesterday with my D#1's BF's parents who we are good friends with.  They served beef tenderloin, crab cakes, roasted potatoes, green beans wrapped in bacon, home made bread and an arugula salad.  Topped off by plenty of wine, champagne and leftover Christmas cookies and fruitcake for desert.  In the morning we had a lovely french toast bake and a hash brown, sausage, egg & cheese casserole, plus fruit salad, coffee and bloody marys.  Everything was outstanding.  We had a wonderful time, stayed up too late, ate and drank to much and laughed a lot.

When we got home we hung out with our pets (2 dogs and 2 cats that D#2 and her BF stayed with for the night), watched some bowl games and had a lovely spinach and arugula salad with cranberries, apples, and sunflower seeds in a light citrus dressing topped by a seared piece of salmon and diced avocado.  A nice light, repentant meal.  LOL!  I did have a couple glasses of wine too.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable New Year's Eve.

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