Grrrr! This beast will gorge itself on just about anything! [Source]
The Ugly: The Monster Returns
Here it is, 2011, and it’s already time for a confession (don’t worry, it doesn’t involve criminal activity). Once again, it appears the dreaded beast has reared its ugly little head. If you’ve been reading my blog for any time at all, you likely already know that I’ve been dealing with “the beast that is yeast” (ie, candida) since around December, 2008 (and following the anti candida diet, or ACD, since March 2009). And while candida is, indeed, beastly, it’s not the particular monster to which I’m referring. No, the beast I mention here is one with which I’ve struggled my whole life: the Binge Monster.
I’ve both been wanting to write about this issue and also avoiding it for a few weeks now. You see, over the past couple of months or so, after more than a year watching the numbers on my scale move steadily in a downward direction, they have once again begun to creep up–five pounds up, at last count. And while my weight has fluctuated by one or two pounds quite often over the last year, with a couple of days of “clean” and “green” eating, it tends to stabilize again.
But not this time.
Five pounds is real. Five pounds is substantial. Five pounds is a button on your shirt that’s now too tight. It’s one more hole on your belt (which, up until four months ago, you couldn’t wear at all). It’s a little less definition under your cheekbones, a bit more girth around the middle, a pinch around the elastic of your underwear. Five pounds is half a dress size. Like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, the scale seems to admonish you: ”I will not be ignored,” it screams, tacitly threatening the established routine.
I worried about posting this on the blog because I didn’t want to disappoint so many readers who’ve followed my progress up until now. After all the accolades, all the encouragement, I was mortified to have to admit that old habits have wormed their way back into my life (and let me be clear on this: I have not veered from the diet. Not a grain of white sugar or refined flour or mushrooms or alcohol or other forbidden foods have passed my lips; I am still eating ACD-friendly foods, and my candida symptoms, overall, miraculously still continue to improve. It’s just that the re-introduction of certain ingredients and foods—like flours, cocoa and baked goods–have generated more desserts hanging around the house, which led to eating more desserts, which led to. . . five pounds).
Would my readers see this slip up as a failure (as I did)? Would they think less of me? How could I let them down after all this time? How could I let myself down?
[It may be ACD-friendly, but too much of a good thing is still too much.]
The Bad: How Old Habits Are Revived
When I first began the anti-candida diet 22 months ago, I felt so ill and was so desperate that, honestly, I would have followed any regimen that could help alleviate the symptoms (the worst of which was an angry, painful and constantly itchy rash across my chest and most of my torso).
At first, I put no restrictions on how much I ate. The diet was easy: my old nemesis, the Binge Beast, lurked in the shadows but never dared venture into the light. The notion of bingeing simply wasn’t in the realm of possibility back then (seriously, who binges on zucchini or broccoli?). Even when I experienced a fleeting desire to “cheat” on the diet and eat something with sugar or gluten, the lingering raw, pink rash was enough to dissuade me. Like a photographic afterimage or the barely discernible outline of a house blown away in a hurricane, that pale, freshly scarred skin was a visible reminder of why I needed to persist.
But then I began to feel better. Baking, and desserts (of a sort) and chocolate returned to my life. Sure, they were ACD-friendly, but they still triggered that buried, recidivist impulse when I ate a chocolate cookie, a piece of brownie, a bowl of ice cream. And before I knew it, I was eating not one, not two, but four brownies at a time.
For most people, sugar cravings are supposedly eradicated after 5-10 days on the ACD, but that has never been the case with me. Instead, my cravings continue to cling more ferociously than the toddler at Mama’s knee on the first day of school. One day, I suppose, I’ll get used to it.
As with other addictions, the binge mechanism requires a constant ratcheting up of the stimulus–in this case, certain foods–before satiation is reached. You may be pumping food in at one end, but your stomach doesn’t register it the way a “normal” digestive system would. And so, someone who binges is able to consume perhaps twice as much–three times?–as a healthy eater before the “fullness” switch is flicked. And even then, it sometimes takes nausea for the breaker to finally trip, the “overload” signal to get through.
I already knew that the feedback mechanism, in those of us who binge, is damaged. It’s like filling a bucket with an old leaky hose: for the bucket to be filled, you’d have to turn the faucet on full blast, expending more and more water with more and more waste that never reaches the target, until the container is finally replete. In the same way, my own fullness circuits require more and more alimentary input to finally register “enough.” But how does one fix this damaged circuitry?
Geneen Roth advises us to honor the true source of the hunger–be it physical, psychological or emotional. Each time you listen to these messages, it’s like fixing one tiny leak, filling the hole that allows the nourishing foods to escape without your notice. Eventually, the sequence is completely restored to its original condition, and your body and mind both register the full impact of the food you eat. I know I was waylaid from that journey over the holidays–it’s so easy to become sidetracked by old habits. I am still waiting for that day when I am effortlessly aware of my body’s signals and, like the HH, can pass up even one last pea on the plate because “I’ve had enough.”
Bingers never have enough.
In her latest book, Women Food and God, Geneen Roth talks about emotional (or compulsive) eating with the same accessibility, insight and sagacity as always. And food, she points out, is a fallback position when we seek nurturing. She writes:
The bottom line, whether you weigh 340 pounds or 150 pounds, is that when you eat when you are not hungry, you are using food as a drug, grappling with boredom or illness or loss or grief or emptiness or loneliness or rejection. Food is only the middleman, the means to the end. Of altering your emotions. Of making yourself numb. Of creating a secondary problem when the original problem becomes too uncomfortable.
After 22 months (and before this latest turn of events), it appeared that both my health and my weight had more or less stabilized, yet I found myself still dissatisfied. Yes, my health has vastly improved, but I’m still not 100% better. I had grown tired of writing “no progress” or “status quo” on my Progress Tracker page.
Is it because my recovery has plateaued and I’m bored? Is it because my health is not where I’d like it to be, my symptoms (albeit drastically reduced) still lingering? Is it because, despite major strides with candida, other health issues persist, and I’m simply frustrated? Is it because The Ellen Show hasn’t called me yet?
When I think of the progress I’ve made, I can’t help but notice there’s a little voice in the back of my head,the child’s voice that begins to whine, “Twenty-two months, and still not all better?” Sure, there are many worse things than a candida rash that just won’t disappear, and I am thankful my illness is no more serious than this. But the part of me that connects to that little voice still wonders, ”why can’t you just disappear already? When will you leave me alone and let me live my life without having to think about you every. single. day? When will I be able to return to my old life?”
The answer, I now realize, is perhaps, “never.” I can’t return to my “old life.” And then, rather than accept that this diet will likely be my new, and perhaps permanent, way of life, there comes the whining toddler again, pouting and complaining, ”Well, if I can’t eat what I really want–sugar and chocolate and frosting and layer cake and fudge–well, then, when I concoct something that’s at least moderately tasty, I will eat more than I should–heck, I’ll eat it all–because I need something that’s at least a little bit sweet in my life.”
Do I capitulate and repeat old behaviors, because that’s the easiest, the most comfortable plan of action? Or is there another solution?
The Good: Renewed Commitment and Determination
When it comes to matters of karma and fate and previous lives, the HH is more of a devotee than I; yet I do believe that events, circumstances, people and personal issues come into our lives for a reason. In this case, I was delivered a mini-epiphany by none other than Nietzsche himself, in the form of a book written by author and psychiatrist Irvin Yalom.
In discussing a patient who relapsed and manifested psychological problems that had already been vanquished years before, Yalom cites the great philosopher, who theorized: ”when we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.” In other words, we regress to earlier behaviors after trauma or too much stress or overwork. Well, that made total sense to me: over the past two years, I’ve made huge strides in the battle of the binge and combating candida. Slowly, but certainly, I’m beginning to tap into what my body craves as compared to what my psyche craves. But when one’s reaction to chocolate harks back more than 45 years, a mere 22 month-timespan on an anti-candida diet isn’t enough, on its own, to vanquish that impulse.
[This may offer some comfort, but it's only ephemeral.]
But more food is not the solution.
Well, duh. Of course food isn’t the solution. Food is never the solution, unless you’re the lone survivor on a desert island with no chance of rescue, like Tom Hanks in Castaway. Rather than abandon the ACD, I’ve decided to recommit with renewed vigor; a renewal of our vows, so to speak. For a while, at least, I’ll be stepping back to an earlier stage of the diet that removes some of the foods I’ve recently re-introduced (such as chocolate or agave nectar–sniff, boo hoo). I’ll begin a candida-focused cleanse and return to some of the best principles of the NAG diet.
I recently read through a copy of Meghan Telpner’s latest ebook, 21 Days to Health, and found it a great refresher course for me: these are all steps I’ve either taken before or still maintain, but having them written out in logical succession will be a wonderful motivator as I work through this renewed challenge. Rather than extend an already too-long post even more, I’ll save the details about what, exactly, I’ll be eating (and not eating) for another time. (I plan to post an entire “ACD Diet” page in the next month or so.)
I hope you’ll continue to stick around for the journey, bumpy as it may be (I promise I’ll still serve you yummy food along the way).
As I’ve said before, I see this blog as a chronicle not just of weight loss (or gain), but also a journey toward wellness and learning to eat like a “normal” person, making peace with sweets and cravings and emotional eating. I feel a bit like the novice tightrope performer whose step has faltered and now sees clearly what the next moves must be to regain balance; I’m determined to forge ahead on that journey. With that approach in mind, I’m confident that, eventually, the ever-elusive goal, wellness, will be revealed.
* Or, Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad (sorry, Girls)
[Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Chocolate Buttercream Frosting from Sweet Freedom]
Okay, let’s get to the dessert first (really, we should all eat a meal that way at least once): I received my cookbook’s (paper) proof in the mail today (the sample that I must approve before production can begin) and I’m thrilled! Now that the publisher has the approval, they can swing into action and the book should be ready by May 25th (the date by which they’ve promised it will be available). On that date, you’ll be able to purchase it directly from the publisher or (for those in the Toronto area) from me! The book will be available through amazon.com about a month after that. I’m also hoping to offer an e-book version at a lower price, so stay tuned! In the meantime, if you need a reminder of what types of goodies will be represented, take a peek at the cookbook blog.
As always, thanks for your patience–and thanks for indulging me by allowing me to blather on about this on DDD! I’ll be providing all the specifics about how to order, cost, etc. as soon as I know them.
And next, our “diet” update: This week marks the end of Phase I (six weeks!) of my anti-candida diet.
Having spent the last six weeks without the company of any fruit, baked goods, desserts, sweeteners of any kind (save stevia) or any other foods that could feed candida, I’m happy to say that I do feel I’ve made progress. In a nutshell, over the past six weeks:
- I rediscovered the versatility of beans, the allure of cauliflower popcorn (minus the bucket), how much I like fresh beets, and the pleasing simplicity of millet (more on that in a future post).
- The overweening lethargy and muscle heaviness I’d been experiencing has lifted; I now find it easier to walk around, easier to walk up the stairs, easier to complete my workouts at the club (hey, septuagenarian couple with the matching T-shirts! Howdy, punky chick with the spiky hair! Nice to see ya, burly guy with the black ankle socks!), and have even extended my time on the treadmill a bit.
- Many of my sinus problems and much of my nasal congestion have evaporated. I’d estimate that my sinuses are about 70% better than when I began the cleanse.
- I’ve lost about 12 pounds. I say “about” because I wasn’t certain of my exact weight the day I started the cleanse–but I do know it was an all-time high. I’m now at the lowest weight I’ve been since I started this blog in October, 2007 (yikes! Has it been that long?)
On the other hand:
- Many of my original symptoms remain. I’m still experiencing other rather unpleasant side effects of excessive yeast, such as absentmindedness, “foggy thinking,” rashes and absentmindedness (oh, wait, did I say that one already?–ah, you see what I mean).
And so, what’s next?
Well, according to most ACD sites and experts, one should remain on the diet until all symptoms have abated, or at least six months, whichever is shorter. Six months?? Honestly, as much as I may be keen on quinoa, think tofu is tops, am enamoured of arame, or even cherish chia, I can’t see living without fruit or most whole grains for that long. On the other hand (seems I’ve got several hands, here), it’s become abundantly clear to me that I feel better physically, have more energy, and am able to lose weight when I follow a very “clean” and healthy diet such as this. As long as my system is overrun with that scourge, candida, I’ll be drawn back again and again to unhealthy eating.
And believe me, the irony of the situation isn’t lost on me: I’m about to publish a desserts cookbook, yet I suffer from an overabundance of candida–typically caused by too many desserts. And while the bulk of my diet is composed of incredibly healthy foods–ones I truly enjoy–that’s not to say that those wholesome, healthful foods are the only ones I eat. My weakness is chocolate, and more than once I’ve been hoist by my own Lindt 70%. (I’ve probably ingested enough of it over the past year, in fact, to supply all of Switzerland on Valentine’s Day). Add to that my own baked goods and treats–albeit healthy–and you’ve got too much of a good thing, as they say.
And so, I’ve decided to forge ahead with the next phase of the cleanse (which allows a wee bit more variety in the diet) and keep at it as long as I can. The basic approach on the blog will remain the same, and I’m going to attempt to include desserts in moderation (even if I won’t be eating them as much). I’m still determined to achieve that elusive ”normalcy” I wrote about way back when the major focus of the blog was the “Diet” in “Diet, Dessert and Dogs”–to be able to eat like a “normal” eater , consuming a wide variety of foods and courses (including dessert) in moderation–to kick this sweets addiction once and for all! (Or, at least, keep trying).
And when I do reach that goal, promoting a dessert cookbook–even baking all the samples that will go along with it–will be not only possible, but enjoyable.
Because really, never having dessert again would surely suck all the sweetness out of life.
“Um, Mum, while we understand that your book and your diet are important to you and everything, forget about blog updates–how about dog updates? We have some exciting developments going on, too, you know. What about my new white hairs on my muzzle–or how Chaser managed to catch that Frisbee over the fence yesterday? ”
Here’s how I was going to start this blog entry:
I simply can’t believe it–it snowed yet again yesterday. Will this accursed winter never end? The drifts on the driveway (oh, lord, another few hours of shoveling!) have already enveloped my car in a duvet of white, and little tempests are performing pirouettes in our back yard, propelled along by the wind.
The newscast today said that we’ve already received 72 cm. of snow this season (that’s about 33 inches), when the average for a Toronto winter is around 20 cm. That’s more than triple the snow we usually have–pretty much a new record!! That’s more snow than I can remember in the last decade! That’s more snow than any human should reasonably be asked to shovel or trudge through or brush off their coats or blink against as they stumble through the assault of bitter cold flakes! That’s just TOO. . . MUCH. . . . SNOW!!!!!!!
But since that would have sounded totally juvenile and excessively emotional over, well, snow, I decided not to start my entry that way. And so, instead, I will start it like this:
One of the things I enjoy about blogging is the ongoing discovery of new blogs I like to read, and, of course, learning about the people behind the blogs. Comments are great for this (and I never cease to be delighted–and always a bit amazed–each time I receive a new comment on any post). Memes are also useful this way, as they provide more information about the authors as well.
And so it was particularly rewarding (pun intended!) when I discovered that a blogger I’ve recently “met,” and one whose blog I regularly enjoy, presented me with an “Excellent Blogger” award. Whoo-hoo! Thanks so much, Romina! I’m very honored and extremely delighted. What a great way to enter into the weekend. (“We are so proud of you, Mum! Um, so is this a reward of food, Mum?“)
Part of my responsibility as a recipient is to pass along the award to others. I’ll take a few days to mull it over before posting about it (I take my duties very seriously!). In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about some other weighty issues.
While driving to meet with my book club cohorts the other night, I heard an interesting interview on the radio, and one that got me thinking.
[Short pause for puerile rant: the book we were discussing was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, even though I wasn't entirely enamoured of the author's own portrayal of her personality during the year she spent hedonistically chowing down, assiduously seeking spiritual nirvana, or unintentionally attaining true love. I found her writing to be evocative and entirely engaging, frequently burning with a hard, gem-like flame of well-crafted prose, yet still highly accessible and firmly rooted in the world of the mundane.
And so, you can only imagine the depths of my dismay when, while surfing the net in preparation for our discussion, I came across this piece of information. Can you imagine a better way to ruin a perfectly good book?? The irony is palpable. Ah, well, there goes another movie I'll never see. *SIGH*].
Ahem. Sorry about that. Back to the radio interview: the host was chatting with Rick Gallup, the man who popularized the concept of the Glycemic Index, in his book The GI Diet. Now, rather than being just another diet guru, Gallup is extremely well equipped to discuss such issues as blood sugar levels, lipids and hormones, as he was the past president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.
Surprisingly quick-witted (not to imply that doctors can’t be funny, or anything), Gallup offered a wealth of information about the diet itself, and how to lose weight by eating whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy protein sources. Basically, he was advocating a NAG-friendly diet. That much, I already knew. It’s how to stick with that diet that I find inordinately difficult.
Well, the interview provided one more item in my endless search for weight loss motivation, which I thought I’d share here. Gallup suggested to people in his diet clinic that they keep a bag, box, basket, or any other container in the bathroom alongside their scale. Then, as they lost weight, he said, they should place an item of equal weight into the container. In other words, if you lost a pound, put a one-pound can (or box, or bag) of something into the bag. The following week, if you lost 3/4 pound, add something of equal weight to the bag. Eventually, you’ll have a bag that weighs quite a bit–just as much as you’ve lost (just be sure the items are non-perishable, or you’ll end up with a compost bin in your bathroom).
This seemed a brilliant idea to me, and I’m determined to try it out. Imagine, if you lost 10 pounds, how heavy that bag would be! In my case, if I were to lose my desired 40 pounds, the bag would actually be too heavy for me to lift! Quite a sobering thought, as I am obviously already carrying that much weight around with me right now.
I’d love to add this tip to my (far too short) list of “What Actually Works,” but will wait until I’ve tried it out for a while. Of course, this presupposes that one actually loses weight. Another sigh.
I hate winter. For someone who was born and grew up in Montreal, that is a heretical statement. But I’ve never been athletic, I get cold easily, I don’t have the greatest sense of balance (not exactly a plus when you’re navigating ice-laden sidewalks while holding the leash of a frisky, determined dog in each hand), and so winter makes me grumpy. Grumpy, and lazy.
During the snowy months, I have to be vigilant not to let my exercise routine slide somewhat. I mean, who wants to take the extra twenty minutes to pile on an additional pair of wooly socks, long underwear, scarf, insulated hat, dexterity-diminishing gloves, earmuffs and galoshes, drive through snow and sleet at 15 km./hour to unwrap for another twenty minutes on the other side before changing into workout gear, just to push some weights around for 40 minutes or so? Not I.
And so, I often end up missing my otherwise quite enjoyable workouts during this cold season (“So long, Septuagenarian Couple with the Matching T-Shirts! Sorry to miss ya, Burly Guy Who Stares at Women’s Breasts Between Sets! Catch you next time, Personal Trainer with the Gigantoid Biceps!). Feeling compelled to make it there this morning, however, (after all, how could I let down the legions of fans interested in my Progress Tracker?), I forced myself to go. And then, had a very lovely time. And was truly glad I went.
Keeping motivated can be problematic at any time of the year, but winter presents its own unique challenges. For me, a change in routine tends to help (as starting a new set of machines, for example, or a different activity entirely), but it’s still difficult to keep up that kind of momentum.
I recently came across an interesting article from Lifehack.org that provided some help in this area. The article is actually about tricks for making new habits stick, but I think many of these apply to the habit of exercise as well. One that struck a chord with me in particular was using a “but” statement. As in, “I’m no good at sewing, but if I work at it, I might get better.” There are seventeen other tips as well, including items such as “commit to 30 days” or “form a trigger” (something else you do right before the desired habit, to create a pattern).
For me, changes might include setting out my workout gear the night before I plan to go to the club (the trigger) or asking a friend to commit along with me so that we can be accountable to each other.
I may be having trouble keeping up with my workouts during the winter, BUT I’m working at it. And I guess that means it can only get easier. (And I think moving to Florida might help, too.)
(“Mum, we love the winter. It must be that Scottish heritage in us. So why not make walking US your trigger??”)
People are usually surprised (okay, flabbergasted) to find out that I go to the gym and press weights at least 3 times a week. Their wide-eyed stares and gaping maws would suggest their silent response to this piece of information is something like, “But how can a fat pig like YOU actually do any exercise, let alone lift weights???” Their polite, public personas instead say something like, “Oh? Really? Well, good for you!”
Another one of those bizarre paradoxes of my life is that I enjoy going to the gym and lifting weights, yet there seems to be no discernible effect (ie no taut, bulging muscles, no weight loss whatsoever) from what I do.
True, when the alarm sounds at 6:30 and I’ve only crawled into bed at 11:38 the night before, it can be difficult to haul myself out from under the blankets. Many mornings, I end up sleeping another 30 minutes or so while C. takes The Girls for their morning exercise, after which I finally throw back the covers and get into my gym clothes to head out as he hops in the shower. Other days, I don’t manage it at all, and end up rebuking myself for being so lazy.
But when I do get there, I’m always happy. Years ago, I established a good routine with a personal trainer, and have followed it since (I suspect it’s time for a change–maybe this new Plan will be the catalyst).
Because of my back and knee problems, my workout is limited, but I do cover all the machines I’m able to. I love the feeling of pushing those muscles to the limit and lubricating those joints as my blood starts to circulate more quickly and efficiently. Despite all the overeating and the erratic aerobic exercise, I seem to be able to persist with the weights on a relatively regular basis (except when my back decides to snap and I’m out of commission for a week or so–but I’ll save that for another post).
As someone who’s relatively shy and inner-directed, I am quite focused when I follow my routine and rarely speak to anyone else there (which also helps me keep to a schedule, so that I can get home in good time–meaning before Chaser has to be put back in a cage–and get started with my day).
But I do certainly recognize the “regulars” and we tend to acknowledge each other with curt smiles and nods. Most of the regulars I see are older than me (and my hats go off to them–cudos to you, Bald Man in Your Seventies! My admiration, Little 60-Something with the Spiky Black Hair! You are my inspiration, Septuagenarian Italian Couple with the Matching T-Shirts! And hope I’m as flexible as you at that age, Elderly Gentleman Who Wears Black Knee Socks!). A few are my age, and some are younger. There’s one couple who work out together every time I’m there (which leads me to believe they actually go every day, as my own schedule can change day to day), and they look almost exactly like the Canadian couple from the old “Participaction” commercials. There’s also a rotund girl who’s no more than 18 at best, who dutifully arrives every morning to meet her trainer and strain through a series of exercises on the machines, with hand weights, and on the oversize exercise balls. I hear her laughing even as she grunts to finish a set, sweat blossoming on her T-shirt, and I feel recharged.
So I like my routine. I feel guilty when I don’t do it for more than two days. And I feel energized when I’m done, a bit more lithe and flexible, a bit more awake and ready to start the day. The fact that it seems to have no impact whatsoever on my physical appearance is secondary, I suppose. But as I say to C. on occasion, man, I must have fabulous muscles under all this fat.
Today was also my day to update the Progress Tracker–go see how I did!
For a long time now, I’ve wanted to start a blog about food. Being an organic baker and a Natural Nutritionist, I’ve learned a lot in the past few years about which foods are healthy, which aren’t, and how to bake terrific desserts that won’t harm your health. And while I’ve enjoyed a modest amount of success at my business, there’s always been the nagging feeling behind it all that I’m a. . . . fraud. How can I purport to be a holistic nutritionist when I’m (quite) overweight, and can’t seem to stop myself from eating foods that aren’t good for me? How can I tell others how to “eat healthy” when I can’t manage it all the time myself?
Paired with my lifelong food issues has been a love of dogs. I was born in the Year of the Dog, and my honey tells me I have “dog-like qualities” (I didn’t take offense, as I think that’s a compliment!). About five years ago, we got our first furry kid, Elsie (black Lab-Border Collie cross). Then, seven months ago, we got 6 week-old Chaser, a Lab-Border Collie-Shepherd cross. See pix of both of them attached to this post.
When trying to decide what to blog, I realized I had to somehow combine both those things–dogs and diet. Most of my waking hours are pretty much consumed by one or the other (not to disregard my actual job, or anything!). I thought that writing about these two things in tandem might help me to gain a bit more personal insight, to learn why I can’t seem to stay on a healthy eating plan these days (I used to be about 40 pounds lighter–and even then, I thought I needed to lose weight!), and to figure out how to develop the emotional or psychological fortitude to get healthy again.
I don’t know why, but I’m sure my dogs will have something to do with it.
So this blog is devoted to my quest for physical health and ideal weight, my love of food and recipes that will move me in that direction, and, of course, my two dogs. Along the way, I’m sure I’ll mention my honey of ten years, my friends, my family. . . .but really, what it boils down to in the end is diet and dogs.