eating healthier

All The Things I’ve Stopped (Part 2 of 9)

SuperBetterI'm going to bet that a few people thought that I failed at finishing this blog series, much like the projects that are going to be mentioned in this blog series. But that is not the case! I did want to finish the Blogging Heroes blog post before continuing with the series, and I got that done last week. Then, I decided to keep my personal blogging to one to two times a week, unless things change in my life. The last thing I need is to pile on more responsibilities, and I'd like to ensure that this blog doesn't end up in "failed and forgotten" bin again. So, I'm keeping my blogging schedule to something manageable so it fits in with the rest of my life and I don't get burnt out from overextending myself.

What Is SuperBetter Again?

SuperBetter is an online game designed to help players get better at "something." Since the founder, Jane McGonigal, founded the game after suffering a severe concussion, many of the "somethings" are health-related. For example, there is a "Power Pack" in the game designed for eating healthier and losing weight (and a multitude of other health issues) called the Full Plate Diet.

With this pack, the player completes a series of quests to help them get better at eating healthier and losing weight. There are bad guys that need to be overcome, such as drinking liquid calories or having no fiber-strong foods for meal. To help you complete quests and conquer bad guys, you can enlist allies (such as your family and friends, or maybe a nutritionist) to help you. There are also power ups, which are actions that the player can take to get stronger and to do better against the quests and bad guys. Hopefully, the player completes all the quests, has lost some weight, and is much better at eating healthier than they were before.

Naturally, those same steps would happen with any Power Pack. The only differences are the types of quests, the types of bad guys, the types of power ups, and perhaps who you might choose as an ally (like switching out the nutritionist for a physical therapist or life coach). The idea is to turn healing and recovery into a game.

Why I Stopped Playing the SuperBetter Game

To be honest, I got bored with the game. After I completed the Full Plate Diet pack, I found little value in continuing the game with the other packs. The Full Plate Diet pack was a great pack and I don't regret doing it, even though I still have room for improvement. The main complaint I have about SuperBetter is that there's very little "re-playability" after you finish or take on your primary health problem. There aren't many people who want to eat healthier, but also need to recover from a sports injury and work on their migraines. Once that person starts eating healthier, the other two problems may become less of an issue.

It's possible to create your own pack, and customize the game toward something that you do want to improve, but that takes time and research that I didn't really want to put in. As much as I liked the thought of, say, creating a Power Pack to improve my poker game, I wasn't enthused enough about SuperBetter to start "modding" the game. It would have been nice if a modding community formed around the game, so that half the packs available weren't geared towards those recovering from a concussion, but I didn't have the time, enthusiasm, or skill set to start creating my own power ups, bad guys, and quests.

I stopped in the middle of a Power Pack called, "Better Than a Chill Pill," which is meant to lower stress, to combat anxiety. or to relax more easily so that you can sleep better. I think I originally chose this quest to lower my stress and to sleep a bit better. I don't think I have a problem with either now. I would say my new problem is that I sleep too much. I need a Power Pack to help me get out of bed, start the day, and to be excited about the day. I don't need a chill pill. I need an awakening pill.

I Might Restart with SuperBetter

They have added a few new Power Packs since I stopped, and one of them looks really interesting. It's called "Make It Epic", and it's designed to help you improve your motivation and persistence. There's another one called "Absurdly Grateful", which is to help you focus on gratitude, which also looks pretty neat. But, instead of starting a new pack, I should probably restart some of the old packs. I could certainly use a reboot on the Full Plate Diet to improve my eating habits and to lose a little more weight. Naturally, I could always do another run of "Being Awesome", even though I haven't been diagnosed with depression or psoriasis, and don't have too many problems with anxiety.

But, then again, maybe not. I don't need more things to do. Besides, I am working with my business coach, and she's giving me plenty to help me get super better at all sorts of things. I don't need two tools in my life accomplishing the same thing. That's why I got rid of the bullet journal. I also don't need more tasks to add onto my to-do lists. My life already provides me plenty of quests, bad guys, and power ups.

What About Information Digestion?

information digestion dietAs I've previously mentioned, I finished reading The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption and, overall, I found it to be great read. Author Clay Johnson makes several excellent points throughout the book, essentially arguing that the problem is information over-consumption, not necessarily information overload. He uses health and nutrition as a metaphor, where we don't blame obesity on food overload but on food over-consumption, and that information over-consumption is the big problem for a variety of reasons. I do agree with Johnson, and I do agree with some of the solutions that he offers. One of those solutions is avoiding information and news sources that simply confirm our beliefs, typically sites and television shows that tell us that we are right instead of providing the facts or forcing us to challenge our notions or worldview. Another solution he advocates is a program called RescueTime, which monitors how you spend your time online and provides an accurate picture of your information consumption habits. From there, you can figure out what to cut and how to better spend that time that was typically wasted on mindless information consumption.

However, All that Is Only Half the Story

Limiting our information consumption and choosing the information we consume wisely are incredibly important. I don't disagree with that. I think the book falls short in what I'll call "information digestion," to keep with Johnson's health and nutrition metaphor. In regular health and nutrition, there's no reason to think about digestion. It's an involuntary bodily function that happens when it's supposed to, although eating the wrong things can mess with digestion and make it harder and more painful than it ought to be. However, with information consumption, we need to think about digestion too. We need to think about how we're interpreting the information, using it and acting upon it. We have to think about information digestion because it's not involuntary and how we digest information can change depending on our behaviors and attitudes.

Removing sources that just confirm our beliefs doesn't necessarily help because any news article or source can be interpreted as information that confirms our beliefs or that just presents one side of the story. For example, Huffington Post released survey findings earlier this month showing that only 36% of Americans have a lot of trust in that the information they get from scientists is reliable and accurate. Over 50% of Americans have a little bit of trust. With science journalists, 57% of Americans have a little bit of trust while 26% said that they don't trust science journalists at all to report on scientific studies accurately. These statistics make me wonder who these people would trust for information regarding scientific studies if they don't trust scientists or science journalists. I have a hard time believing that a politician or a lay person could report on scientific studies accurately or disseminate their contents reliably.

Hence, Our Need for Information Digestion

This is where information digestion needs to come in, as the source needs to be evaluated as well as the information the source is providing and what that information could mean or imply. Critical thinking needs to take place here, and we need to be willing to let information challenge our worldviews or what we believe. After all, it's still confirmation if we automatically write off the information because it came from a scientist or science journalist. It's also not good digestion if we approach the information with mistrust because it came from a scientist or science journalist because we might not necessarily take away anything valuable from that information. The idea of information digestion is a concept that merits an entire blog post on its own because it's a rather complicated concept. It's about recognizing when you have that bias, how to evaluate sources/information, and accepting the fact that you may not always be right or know everything. Not everyone wants to change their minds or admit that they are wrong.

Why It's Easy to Overeat When Eating Out

And 7 Solutions to Keep Your Appetite in Check

eating healthierMy SuperBetter quests to eat healthier have come back, and today's question is to evaluate why it's so easy overeat when eating and to come up with solutions to those reasons. For the purpose of this exercise, I'm going to define eating out as actually sitting down at the restaurant or fast food joint to eat. This isn't going to include takeout, delivery, or eating the leftovers the next day. Here are two main reasons why it's so easy to overeat, and 7 solutions you can do to stop yourself from eating too much the next time you choose to indulge (hint: one of these solutions isn't to stop eating out all together. That's just no fun and everyone deserves a little fun in life):

Portions are Huge, and No One Wants to Waste

Sometimes, the best places to eat out offer huge portions at a great price. Others upsell, where for just a dollar more you get a larger drink or an extra side. Every now and then, it's just a lot of food. The point is that it's easy to overeat when eating out because, well, there's a lot of food to eat. Here are a few solutions to the huge portions problem:

  1. Don't Go for the Upsell - Sure you get something more for just a dollar more, but you also save a dollar by sticking with your original order.
  2. Cut the Liquid Calories - Drink water and water only. It fills you up without adding to the calorie count. A bonus trick is to drink a whole glass of water before having your meal, whether at the restaurant or before you go.
  3. Be Willing to Take Something Home - Some people have a thing against leftovers, which is just stupid. Another excuse I hear is, "this doesn't reheat well." If it's delicious, and you can't eat it all, then just take it home. I like the idea of having a second meal that I don't have to cook and can just throw in the microwave.
  4. Stop Eating When You Are Full - If there isn't enough there to take home for an additional meal, then you don't have to eat it all. The best way to avoid overeating is not overeat, and to not force yourself to clean your plate because that's the right or polite thing to do.

It's Easy to Go Overboard with Dessert/Appetizers/the Free Bread etc.

Another way to overeat is to order too much food by having additional courses, or not paying attention to all those rolls, bread sticks, fill-in-the-blank free food in the basket. Here are a few solutions to that problem:

  1. Split the Dessert- Sometimes, the desserts can be pretty big themselves. Desserts are part of the fun when eating out, and eating out should be fun. To avoid overeating, split the dessert with someone. If it's something like cake or cheesecake, then only eat half and save the other half for another day (I grant that might be hard to do with ice cream).
  2. Skip It All Together - Part of the reason to eat out is to have dessert, or to try that delicious new appetizer.  But, the additional courses don't help if you're trying to watch your weight and not overeat. Instead, pass and eat all of your main course.
  3. Ask the Waiter/Waitress to Stop Refilling the Bread - No one thinks to do this because it's turning away free stuff, and probably because no one thinks to do this. But, if you're full, or if you want to avoid overeating, then let that food go to someone else.

Me and My Comfort Zone

coming out of my comfort zoneI'm pretty much done with using SuperBetter to eat healthier, and as a whole, I think I've established a few more good eating habits. I'm conscious of including a fiber-rich food with each meal and of avoiding processed foods since they don't have fiber (or much of anything when it comes to nutrition). I've finished all the quests for the Power Pack, so I've started a new Power Pack on being awesome. One of my quests is to evaluate my relationship with my comfort zone. In a nutshell, I've always been in favor of coming out of my comfort zone and of avoiding the safe and easy routes as much as possible. However, I do think I could do a better job of coming out of that zone.

Falling into a Routine

In regards to my comfort zone, I think that it's very easy to fall into a routine or a normal way of doings things. This makes things that are out of that routine a bit stressful, even if they are small things or things that I've done before. For example, phone calls, meetings, and interviews are always stressful to me, even though I've done them many times before and have done them well. They're only stressful because I don't do them all the time, but because they overwhelm me, I might put off that phone call or find a way to email that person instead of calling them. I do need to work on this. I don't know if having them happen more often will help. I used to cold call people as a part-time job. It never got any more fun or less stressful with each day of work.

I think this is also the case in normal business operations and getting a startup going. It takes innovation to make something happen, but it's very easy to get caught up in what needs to be done with each day. It can also be tough to take chances since you don't want to lose everything you've built up to this point, or to waste money on something that doesn't work or that doesn't end up as successful as you hoped. It's true that starting a business requires a huge leap out of the comfort zone, but I do think it takes subsequent leaps and jumps to keep that business going and to turn it into something big.

How Often am I In the Comfort Zone?

Probably more often than I think, as you can jump out of it to do something, but then if you don't make any more leaps after that, you essentially just move the comfort zone instead of coming out of it. I suppose the tricky thing is keeping track of the line and knowing where your comfort zone is and whether or not you actually come out of it. For example, I put off going to the bank because my bank closed the branch that was closest to my office. To go to the bank, it's now about an hour one way by public transit to spend five minutes depositing a few checks. Now, I wouldn't call this an unwillingness to come out of the comfort zone, but a dismay regarding the hassle it is for me to go to the bank. I know i could just switch banks, but I just bought a whole new box of business checks. If I switched banks, then I'd have to spend more money on business checks. My point is that, with the comfort zone (and the way it can move if you choose to leave it from time to time), it can be difficult to figure out if you're back in it or not.

5 Natural Strengths I Have

i set goalsAs one of today's SuperBetter quests, I am to write down five natural strengths, or five things that I am good at, and then relate those strengths to my goal of eating healthier and losing a few pounds. So, that's what I'm doing. Here are five things that I'm good at, and how each one could possibly help toward my SuperBetter goals:


Writing, like I do here, helps because I can chronicle my journey as well as use my blog posts as a way to hold myself accountable (it's why I'm doing so well on my summer reading list). If I write in a blog post that I am going to do something, then I feel extra compelled to do it because people will see and will know that I said I was going to do something. I don't want people to see that I've gone back on my word. I also don't want people to see me fail, or to have to say that I failed, so that's extra motivation as well to get this done.


As for how this strength will help me eat healthier and lose weight, I think it speaks for itself. As long as I want to eat healthier and lose weight, and set goals for myself, then I can do it and it will be done.

Thinking Outside the Box

I think differently. My mother and father will tell you. They'll also say that the world needs people that think differently. I think this strength can help me in finding ways to keep myself motivated, productive, and making progress. For example, I have my inferno of productivity game, which is really awesome and I've been getting lots and lots of points in recent weeks. I am on track to be have enough points to get my file cabinet at the end of next week. Exciting! Anyway, if you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always gotten. Thinking outside the box will prevent that from happening. The results from my Fascination Advantage test would call this, "a fresh interpretation of the details."

Planning and Organizing

love making listsI love making lists (as the photo on the left explains). I also like thinking about the future, and planning for the future, and seeing everything come together when it needs to. This skill makes it easier to think about what it takes to reach my goals and to make those necessary steps. It also comes in handy when I plan meals for the week, go grocery shopping, plan for the next day, and organize myself and my thoughts for important moments and meetings. This skill also helps make the goal more manageable. Instead of it being one big, lofty idea, planning and organizing can make it a little bit easier to attain.

Fearlessness About Failure

I don't let a fear of failure, or the possibility of failure get in the way. I've never been one to do projects that I knew I could get an A on, where I took on something where I was sure to be successful. I just do what I want to do. I realize that not everything works, and that failure is inevitable at times. I suppose I'm not worried about failing at eating healthy or about losing weight because there's no way I can fail now. I still have kept off the weight I loss when I went vegan about eight months ago. The only way to go is up, you know?

Empowering Beliefs about Myself

Using the empowering beliefs about money as a springboard, I have created my empowering beliefs about myself as a way to have more confidence and to delete those negative thoughts and emotions. It takes abut 66 days to turn something into a habit, and I haven't quite had these beliefs written down for 66 days quiet yet. Even if I have, I don't think I've written them down 66 times yet, since I don't write them everyday. So, well, here they are. I think it's a great way to end this post as I focus on my strengths and have them at the top of my mind.

  • I, hereby, delete these negative beliefs from my system at the source. Now, I can replace them with empowering beliefs about myself. J
  • I am awesome. I am an amazing human rights activist, a phenomenal writer, and an even better person. I am destined to change the world.
  • I am Pocket Aces Agnes, a budding poker phenom who is constantly improving at everything she does. I am well-liked because I am lots of fun at the table and away from the table.
  • I am a great businesswoman running a great business. It’s only a matter of time before it’ll be unthinkable NOT to care about Stirring Media, LLC.
  • Someone I don’t even know loves me right now. I do more for this world and for people close to me than I could ever imagine.

5 Top Priorities in Life Right Now

top life priorities For today's SuperBetter quest, I am to list the three to five top priorities in my life right now. There are things that, today, are the most important to me in the world. So, I'm doing that, and here are my top five life priorities right now, in no particular order.

My Business

This is a top priority (and the top time suck) in my life right now, if not the number one priority. Every day, I am doing one thing to continue moving Stirring Media into the direction of a digital media company. I finally ordered a few roasts from my affiliate partners yesterday, so once those come in and are reviewed, I can finally open up that avenue for income. My goal is to be ready for August 22. There's an amazing networking event happening that night, and I've already bought my ticket, so my plan is to make that the first night that I network and present Stirring Media in person as a digital media company.

Eating Healthy

Naturally, this is a huge priority right now since I am doing my daily quests to get better at eating healthier and to knock two things off of my life goals/bucket list. I am currently focusing on abstaining from eating out for an entire month (eating out includes restaurants and fast food as well as frozen dinners. It does not include buying a coffee). I am a week into that one and still going strong. I have tons of food ready to be made into meals, and it's going to be delicious and exciting. Once this month is over, I'm going to then focus on going vegan for an entire year. Part of the reason why I didn't commit to both at the same time is that I needed to eat all sorts of meat and dairy products that were already in the house. Since they will be gone by the time the month is over, going vegan will be easier and I won't have to waste food to do it.

Human Rights Activism

Twice a month, I meet with the St. Louis Amnesty International chapter to plan events, to write letters on issues, and to build awareness for human rights issues. Three times a week, I write a blog post for the chapter's blog covering chapter activities, the latest human rights news, and tips and tricks on how other human rights activists can be more effective activists. I am also currently reading the book Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor (It's a good read, but not an easy one). My human rights activism is my way of helping others and giving back to the community. It also can be very marginalized and stigmatized work, which means that it's work that needs to be done but that few people want to take the initiative to do.


Poker is a definite life priority, as once I finish my current goals in SuperBetter I'm going to set a few quests, bad guys, and power ups to help me get better at poker and to commit to building my bankroll. Once I finish the healthy eating bucket list goals, I'm going to work on the poker ones on the list. I think these goals will take the longest and the most work to accomplish, as no one gets to play in Bobby's Room or win a World Series of Poker bracelet over night. That level of skill takes a lot of time and discipline.

Reading Books

I'm making it a point to finish my summer reading list and to continue reading books on topics that interest me. It's been a LONG time since I've read for fun regularly. I am pushing myself to finish Pathologies of Power, since it is a long book that's very dense and somewhat long-winded. The content is interesting, but the book is designed to be a college textbook and not a good old non-fiction book that you can get through in a few days. I have tons of books waiting for me, and I'm pushing myself to get through this book so I can read all my other books. There are so many things I need to learn!

Bonus Priority: Playing Rogue Legacy!

As I've been saying this whole week, I finally purchased Rogue Legacy today! I redeemed my points and was able to get it, as well as The Cave and the Grand Theft Auto pack. I was able to get three games instead of two (well seven games instead of five since the pack came with five games) because the pack had an additional discount today on Steam. This made enough room in the budget for one more game. I have enough gaming to last me the rest of the year. So, I'm going to get to work on that gaming and play more Rogue Legacy!

OMG, I'm Going to Go Hog Wild on Video Games

file cabinet I want I know I'm supposed to be working toward that file cabinet, that really awesome $25, $50 file cabinet that's going to cost me 300 productivity points to get (see, I redeem the points so that I can spend the money on the file cabinet. The idea is that by earning 300 points, I would have also earned enough money to reward myself for my hard work. It's also good to set goals, and with these sort of goals, I can be conscious of them and save the money as well. Plus, I really need that file cabinet. I've been putting it off for about a year. I probably could have bought it earlier, but never made any solid plans to buy it and to get it back to my apartment.

But, Steam is Having a Summer Sale

Steam is having a summer sale! So, tons of games are anywhere from 30% to 85% off! There are now TONS of games that I want to get, not only because they are on sale but also I now know of games that I didn't know existed. For example, I can get several of the Grand Theft Auto series for maybe $15 or $20. I can also get really cool games like Rogue Legacy, Trine 2, Spore, Orcs Must Die 2, The Cave, Evoland (this list could go on FOREVER). Since Steam saves games to the cloud and delivers them digitally, I don't have to worry about them running out. However, I do need to worry about the prices going back up once the sale is over.

I already had to take a huge hit to my points because I needed to eat out. I recovered most of those points last week, but I still have less than half of the required 300 points. It will cost half of what I have to buy one video game, and the summer sale ends in one week. Perhaps I could consider this extra motivation to get as many points as possible over this week. If I get at least 11 points each day (including today), then I could 77 by Sunday, which would allow me to get a couple of games with the $20 budget allotted in the reward.

Decisions, decisions. I need to sort out my priorities over what to do with the points, as well as what games I want to play first. The latter will be in a future post. But, I do need a file cabinet really bad. My files have been piles on the floor ever since I brought them home when I moved offices.

By the way, if anyone else if on Steam, then please add me as a friend! You can find me under my (not so) secret identity, Pocket Aces Agnes!

So, About that Meal Plan...

I still haven't finished it (I've started), so I've turned it into a point and I'll get it done tomorrow/today (I am writing this after midnight). I really don't need more to do, but I'm going to keep forgetting about it or pushing it back if I don't turn it into a point. So, I've turned it into a point, which are badly needed now so I can get video games and/or a file cabinet. I also need to stay productive and to stick toward my goals. Right now, I'm not doing too good a job with my SuperBetter project, primarily since there is meat in the apartment again and I need to get rid of all the meat. I will be better! Things will be awesome!

Getting My Fabulous Fat A$$ in Gear

eating healthier I've barely done anything today, so I really need to do something to get me started and to make me productive. I understand that it's a Sunday and that I don't have to be productive, but if I don't get a few things done then all those things will be put off until tomorrow. I really don't need to put off more things to tomorrow. I also need to accumulate points so that I can get my file cabinet. I had to dip into my point stash a few days ago because I needed to head to my Amnesty International meeting and I haven't had dinner yet. I needed my points so I could eat out for my meeting.

Getting Real about Weight Loss

What I really need to do is to plan my meals out for the next week so that I can make sure that I'm getting that plate full of fiber and am on my way to making my own meals and being vegan (the two life goals/bucket list items that I am working on for the SuperBetter project). This way, I won't be tempted to eat out or to eat more of those dreadful taquitos. Maybe I will do this today, even though I won't go shopping until Wednesday because this coming Wednesday is the day when everything is 10% off at Local Harvest Grocery. You can't pass up 10% off on your entire bill.

Part of my SuperBetter quest for today is to write an honest paragraph about being above your ideal weight. I am much closer to my ideal weight than I was before I went vegan, and I really think I can lose another 10 to 15 pounds and get myself to what I weighed in high school. That would be amazing, since in high school there were P.E. classes, 10K runs, band, and athletics, although I wasn't eating all that well at all. It would be great to get there simply by changing my diet and eating better, without adding any exercise regimen or daily gym visits or anything like that. I think it would also be great to be at my high school weight almost 10 years out of high school, which is something a lot of people can't say.

What You Can Do When You Lose Weight

Also part of this quest is thinking about what you can do once you lose the weight, or what losing weight could help you achieve. Here's what I think it can achieve, besides the obvious things of better health, improved body image, boosted self-confidence etc. etc.

  1. Eat All You Want Once You Know to Eat the Right Foods - Dieting and weight loss is always associated with skipping dessert, smaller portions, and exercising all the times. Although those things aren't bad, it does make the idea of losing weight one that involves a lot of pain and sacrifice, when it doesn't have to be that way. Once you know what the right foods are to eat, you can eat as much as you want and never have to worry about gaining weight or burning off all those extra calories. Once you are eating the right foods, you don't have to think about smaller portions or even skipping dessert. You can have a full plate and still eat dessert. It's just that the dessert and that plate will look a little different from before.
  2. Get New Clothes - This is the best part because once you lose a significant number of pounds, you're old clothes won't fit and you'll have a very good excuse to get new clothes. It's always nice to get clothes that are smaller, instead of having to shop because you need clothes that are bigger. Also, since you've made it a necessity to get new clothes, this little shopping spree doesn't turn into a luxury or into something you're doing to make yourself feel better. You already feel better because you lost the weight, so you feel better while already looking better.

Curse You Taquitos!

taquitos Part of my eating healthier, SuperBetter, goals is to avoid the amazing taquitos from El Monterey. It's so hard to abstain! They're really delicious, and it doesn't help that there are two whole boxes in my freezer right now. This is one of my bad guys that I need to fight and to defeat, and today I was the one who was defeated. This one is going to be tough; at least until all the taquitos are gone. Then, it will be easy because all I'll have to do is to stop buying them.

I Have Books to Help Me

Books, books, books! I do have several books that can help me eat better and to do a better job of planning my meals so I don't resort to eating out or microwaving something. One of those books is The China Study Cookbook: Over 120 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes (if you're all about books with pictures and short paragraphs, then cookbooks are your style. I don't really have anything to compare this too, but I think this book has a lot of short and easy recipes, with rather easy ingredients to obtain. It also looks like I could easily make meals for one or two people. I have another plant-based diet cookbook, called The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan That Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds. I do like that it's a 28-day plan, but it's also written by a male firefighter, where one serving for him is really enough to fee four people. I made a lasagna out of this book, which was really good, but was gigantic when I was finished. The recipe said this fed four people, but it looked more like 10 to me. It provided my fiance and I, like, six meals between us and I couldn't even use all the ingredients because they didn't even all fit in the lasagna pan.

Plant-Based Diets

One of the toughest parts of the plant-based diets is getting all the ingredients and having affordable access to some of these foods. The China Study cookbook seems a little bit more helpful in where to get certain ingredients and also uses ingredients that are more accessible. For example, as part of the first week of the Engine 2 diet, you need to have Bragg Liquid Aminos and agave nectar. I don't know what those things are and what they look like, let alone where to get them. The China Study doesn't have anything as unusual. It's also not as strict as the Engine 2 diet, although the China Study doesn't advocate for too much of a diet except whole, plant-based foods.

Another book that I have to help me is the Full-Plate Diet, which isn't at all about having a plant-based diet. It's simply the idea of adding more fiber-rich foods (which are essentially fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds). It's called a full plate diet because it encourages you to eat your fill, but to switch out foods that low in fiber with those that are higher in fiber, or even just adding the fiber-rich foods to what you're already eating. Since the foods that are higher in fiber also tend to be those with lower calorie counts, you can easily lose weight without having to restrict yourself or to go hungry. So, instead of not having any ice cream, with this diet you can have the ice cream. It simply suggest to maybe add bananas and/or blueberries to your ice cream. Not a bad trade off. On top of that, this book is very informative about these fiber-rich foods and also offers a lot of tips on how to "power up" your meals and how to switch your foods. I like that it's so helpful.

Well, my poker tournament has started, so I'm going to do that now.

The A-Ha Moment(s)

a-ha moments One of my quests for SuperBetter is to document my a-ha moment, the eye-opening experience that moved me get back on the eating healthy horse. I've been putting off doing this quest for a few days because I don't know if there really was one a-ha moment, and I wouldn't consider any of them juicy or interesting (unless you count the food as juicy, which it might have been). It was more like several little moments that each took me one step closer into my descent toward carnivorous helplessness and death and destruction when I turn 70. I suppose I'll document those, and if it turns out something was juicy, I'll take about the juice.

It All Started with a Bucket of Chicken

Really, when does it not start with a bucket of chicken? I decided to go vegan just after Thanksgiving, and did a really good job of maintaining that diet for a few months. Then, on one really bad day, I wanted a bucket of chicken from KFC because I wanted comfort food and fried chicken is comfort food. Ever since then, it's been really difficult to go back to being vegan. I still manage to eat one vegan meal per day, and I am much more conscious of what I eat and of what I put into my cart at the grocery store (and of what other people put into their carts, which can be pretty awful sometimes), but it hasn't been the same since that bucket of chicken.

All Those Times When People Thought I Was Vegan

Even though I haven't been keeping up with my diet as well as I hoped, there were (and probably still are) a few people who thought I was vegan. So, accommodations were made to ensure that I had something to eat at gatherings or that we went to a restaurant that offered vegan options. Although that was very nice of these people and I will still happily eat vegan options, it had gotten to a point where it wasn't necessary to make the arrangements in the first place. I felt bad about this because it was unnecessary trouble as I no longer really needed those special arrangements. I didn't want to feel bad, but I also didn't want to have to say that I wasn't vegan anymore, as if being vegan isn't all that it's cracked up to be. I think it is since I lost weight and felt very healthy.

I Devoured a Box of Taquitos in Four Days


This might have been the "tipping point" moment, where I ate an entire box of taquitos (24 per box) in four days. For four days straight, I had six taquitos as one of my meals of the day. Although these things are delicious, that's an incredibly unhealthy way to go and I knew I needed to do something or else I was going to gain the 10 pounds I lost while I was vegan. I really didn't want to be eating so many of these processed foods, or foods that we think that are good for us but really aren't (like yogurt. You got to be really careful with yogurt. The little Yoplait cups have more sugar than a can of soda. And let's not get started on those things like Gogurt and Danimals.) I don't each much yogurt anyway (unless it's soy yogurt), and I have no idea what the big deal is about Greek yogurt. It's probably not much different from the other stuff and the hype is just marketing hype or something.

Anyway, that's the gist of these a-ha moments and my downward spiral into eating, well, a normal American diet. I felt like it so much easier to go vegan the first time. Why is the second time around so difficult?