I used to tell myself that as long as I made it at home without processed foods, it was okay. That lead to a lot of fresh baked bread slathered with butter, home baked desserts every few days, and lots of things covered with a thick layer of cheese. One day I said, "That's it. I'm done," and I meant it. Sugar is probably my worst downfall. I only use organic, raw sugar and I try to keep it to small amounts.
There is no rhyme or reason to my "plan." I believe in the 80:20 proportions. If 80-90% of what you eat is healthy nutrient-dense real foods, then anything goes for the other 10-20%. All fruits and veg, grains and beans, nuts and seeds, are fair game. That is huge. I am constantly full, there is an endless supply of choices.
Basically, I have tea in the morning, then oatmeal or homemade granola or fresh fruit. I want to start making smoothies for the summer. Lunch is either healthy leftovers or a big salad. Dinner is a small early meal, usually veggie-based stir-fry, soup, stew, tacos, pizza. If we want meat, we share a chicken breast or a steak, or sprinkle a little prosciutto on a pizza.
My favorite snacks are popcorn with coconut oil and salt, apple slices with almond butter, dried fruit, nuts, homemade energy bars. I stopped drinking wine every night, maybe once a week now, so it's a special treat. I do eat meat, cheese, milk, yogurt, bread, crackers, but in very small bits. The only thing I absolutely will not do is soda, that stuff is evil. My drinks are hot or iced tea (so many flavors to choose from), water (sometimes I add flavor with lemon, or small amounts of juice, but mostly plain from the tap), and kombucha (which I drink a half a glass a day).
Most weight loss depends on food choices, with the remainder coming from exercise. I walk almost 2 miles every day, as I have for years. I have add a little weight session, takes about 15 minutes to do a few push ups, squats, core, and arms for 3 sets, 3 times a week. Not much, just a bit to add strength. I can feel the muscles through my skin now.
In a few days I'll write about specific foods that have worked for me--simple, clean, delicious.
In addition to your standard clothing, comfortable shoes, socks, pjs, personal grooming supplies, you're going to need some specialized items to go on safari. We are going to Tanzania with Overseas Adventure Travel. This is my fourth trip with this company and I have nothing but raves for how well they treated us. Researching everything previous to leaving has been a challenge, but you might as well benefit from all that work.
You need a Visa to get into Tanzania and have at least 6 months until your current passport expires.
Use travel cubes for separating out your supplies and clothing, especially the small things and especially if you are using a duffel bag as your main luggage. I have saved those clear plastic cases that new sheets come in as a stand-in for the mesh style cubes. You can also use gallon or 2 gallon ziplock bags and squeeze the air out. Or Space Bags, available at Costco.
The pharmacist told me the secret to long airplane flights--Benedryl! It's safe enough to give children without a prescription. Figure out when it will be morning where you are going, count back 8 hours and pop the pill. I took one as we were taxiing down the run way and never knew we took off. Woke up about an hour away from England, refreshed and happy. A blow up pillow and ear plugs help too. Also, for the first few days take Melatonin in the evening of the place you are staying to get in tune with their cycles.Since white is one of the colors you shouldn't wear, I am using a box of green RIT dye on my old white shirts. You also shouldn't wear black or dark blue, as it attracts teste flies.
Duct tape is invaluable as you travel. Keep a small piece wound around a pencil or an old credit card in your backpack. You can get it in wild colors for marking your duffle and backpack. You can use it to repair broken luggage or shoes, fix holes in mosquito netting, seal up hotel room curtains, cover the drain of the sink for laundry, tape bottles closed so they can't spill, cover blisters, etc.
I've heard that the staff will wash your laundry, except underwear. For the ladies, 3 pairs of panties, plus panty liners should work. Bring a small amount of laundry soap (I like Dr. Bronner's Castile liquid soap) for a do-it-yourself solution. Carry a small roll of TP and ziplock sandwich bags in your day pack; you may need to use the "bush toilet." Some women take a little device called "Go Girl," sort of a female urinal.
Sawyer PREMETHIN insect spray for clothing. I found this at Wal-Mart for $10. You spray your clothes several days before leaving. It will work for up to 6 laundry washings.
Buff--Survivor fans will know these multi-purpose cloth tubes used for dust masks, neck warmers, scarfs, etc.
Bring along photocopies of your passport, 2 extra passport photos, visa, credit cards, air travel itinerary and travel insurance.
Make a little first aid kit in a ziplock or tin--Imodium, antiseptic cream, band-aids, aspirin, personal meds, Q-tips.Rick Steves' backpack. This is so useful as an airplane carry-on and daypack on the safari. I have never seen such a lightweight, durable pack. For the plane ride, load this with your passport, money, pillow, earplugs, food, reading material, puzzles, camera, medicines and an extra set of clothing. For safari, load it with binoculars, water, first aid kit, insect repellent, sunscreen, camera equipment, etc.
Dry Shampoo, also called No-Rinse Shampoo--this might work for you. Test it out before you leave. The idea is to wet your hair with it and towel it off.
If you are bringing a big camera, make a beanbag style pouch (or use heavy duty ziplocks) to steady the camera of top of the vehicle. You can fill it with rice, beans, lentils. Some people wait and fill it with sand once they get there to save on the weight in their luggage. Also, lots of memory cards, batteries and charger and converter for the charger, etc. Polarizing filters. Lens hood. One of those straps that brace around your back will keep your neck from wearing out. Keep your camera in a dust-proof case and never change lens in the field. Know your camera instructions and practice before leaving. I would suggest looking at high quality photos and website to get photography ideas and tips.
Birding binoculars work well, because they are light weight. Look for 10x40 to get the best distance coverage. Pawn shops are an excellent place to look for quality used ones.
A doctor recommended taking Pepto-Bismol before taking malaria meds to minimize stomach upset. Also it is a good idea to take probiotic pills for a week before and a week after the trip to fend off bad bugs. Taking an aspirin before long flights so you don't get Deep Vein Thrombosis (if you are not already taking blood thinners).Bring crisp dollar bills for small purchases and tips. Use a debit card at the ATM to get local money. Use Capital One credit card -- they don't charge you for the foreign transaction fee. Call your credit card company to tell them when and where you are going.
Other little things that are small, lightweight and will make you trip more pleasant: unscented products
neck strap for glasses
antibiotic hand gel
i-pad loaded with guide books, etc
flip-flops for the showers
hat with a wide brim
empty water bottle to fill before getting on the plane
warm layers for night and morning
alarm clock for sunrise safaris
You know what is overwhelming? A gift of over 200 Meyer lemons! My daughter lives in the abundance capital of America, Sonoma. They have a teeny tree, no bigger than five feet tall, with literally a thousand lemons on it. They were small, but plenty juicy.
So, let's see--what to do with that overflowing plethora? Actually, I went through them pretty fast. First, I filled the dehydrator with slices. These are nice to have around for flavoring tea or water. Here are my other projects:
Spiced Lemons--I found a recipe for Spiced Oranges in the UK Country Living magazine and adapted it to lemons.
Lemon Vanilla Marmalade--I have to admit this didn't work out so well. I burnt it twice. I am saving it to use as a marinade on BBQ meats.
Lemon Ginger Exlier-- this is delicious added to hot or cold tea, plain or soda water, or pour over fruit or ice cream. Simply boil equal amounts of water and sugar, turn off the burner and add the lemon zest and chunks of ginger. When it's cooled add in the lemon juice. Strain out the zest and ginger. Bottle and refrigerate.
Lemon/Thyme Mustard--I read that mustard is easy to make with mustard seed, vinegar, etc. I just substituted lemon juice for the vinegar and added in the zest and some fresh thyme. Even though I used the mildest yellow seeds, it turned out quite strong. It is supposed to mellow with age (it's going to take a long time). Basic Recipe.
Lemoncillo--soaking a bunch of them in vodka right now.
Preserved Lemons--packed in salt.
Some more ideas that I haven't got to yet--
Lemon Sugar--whirl the dried lemons in a spice grinder, mix with sugar.
You can get double the juice from your lemons, check this out: