Goal 2 Update

Here is another good reason to cut out beef: Fairbank Farms Recall Ground Beef Contaminated with E. Coli

Back with Goal #2: Eat Less Beef

Ok, wow, I’ve been gone nearly a month. Not good for a fledgling blog. Basically, I tried to do too much at once, and this blog was one of the things that fell by the wayside. Now that my wedding is over, I am returning to this blog and the goals it represents.

We’ll start my return with Goal Number 2, eating less beef. I am doing this primarily for my health. Red meat is the worst type of meat for your health. It has it’s benefits (protien, iron) but I can get those benefits from other sources. This is part of an overall move to a flexitarian diet.

To a lesser degree, meat is really not good for the enviroment. It seems like beef is the worst (if this is incorrect, please correct me). I’m trying to live a “greener lifestyle,” and this seems like a natural step to me.

Now, I know you must be wondering why I say “eating less beef” instead of “eliminating beef in my diet.” Well, simply put, I really like beef. I enjoy a good burger, steak, etc. So if I allow my self the ocassional indulgence, I am more likely to stick to it. I am going to limit my beef intake to when I am out of my home. For example, I’ll eat the comfort foods I grew up with when I am at my parents place (moms sauce just dosn’t taste right when the meat balls arn’t cooked in the sauce).

I am hoping this will end up like sugary snacks.  That is, the less I eat sugary snacks, the less I crave them.  So hopefully, I will just loose my appetite for beef.

Adventures in Granola

As promised, here are the results of my granola expierement….

Fan-freaking-tastic. It was tasty, crunchy and cheap. About 8 cups of granola for approximately $5. I also have the assurance of know exactly what went into the granola, and how much went in. That just always makes me feel better about what I am eating.

My recipe is a modified version of what can be found on the NYT Bitten Blog. I made two kinds, one for me and one for my fiance. The recipes for both are below. One thing I found very interesting was that while the maple syrup had a more distinct flavor, the honey made the granola clump a little better. So depending on what your preference is, that may help you decide which sweetener to use. Do note though, that none of this granola really clumps too well due to lack of added oils.

Cinnamon Apple Maple
3 cups of rolled oats
1 Apple
1/2 cup maple syrup
Dash of salt
Cinnamon to taste
Ginger to taste
Vanilla to taste

Honey Pecan Almond Berry

Honey Pecan Almond Berry

Honey Pecan Almond Berry
3 cups of rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup mixed dried berries
Dash of salt
Cinnamon to taste
Ginger to taste
Vanilla to taste

Bake either mixture on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Mix it every 5-10 minutes.

Goal #1: Eat Less Processed Food

This is going to be the first in a weekly segment called “Goals.” (Creative arn’t I?) Basically, every week I’m going to set a tiny baby step goal towards living a more “real” lifestyle. These will be the little moral victories that add up throughout the course of my journey. The first goal is to eat less overly processed food. Now, I’m not going to lie and say I’m going to stop eating all processed foods. To me, processed food is going to be defined as “something that has several ingredients in it that I cannot pronounce.” So, there will be alot of processed foods I will still eat. For example, my favorite cereal Kashi Honey Sunshine (follow the link for a free box) is A-OK. However, CoCo Puffs are out.

Now, how do processed foods help me live a less technologicaly dependent life? Well, it doesn’t really. But, overly processed foods tend to either A) lack flavor, or B) be overly sweet or salty (to make up for lack of flavor). Eating “real” foods is like HDTV for your taste buds. Plus, as I go along in this journey, I’m finding its not really about using less technology (although that is a major part) its about enjoying the important things in life and living a healthier, more active lifestyle.

To work towards this goal (and to save some money) I tried making home-made granola this weekend. Stay tuned for the results!

Multitasking on NPR

I love NPR.  One of my favorite shows is Talk of the Nation, which I listen to via Podcast.  In particular, I always look forward to Science Friday.  This past Friday, there was a topic that really hit home. The title of the show was Multitasking May Not Mean Higher Productivity.  Now, I am someone who prides themselves on being able to multitask.  However, this episode caused me to look at multitasking in a different light.

Dr. Nass was the guest for this show.  He is a HCI (Human Computer Interaction) expert from Stanford.  His studies on multitasking focus on mixed media multitasking.  That is, gettng several inputs from several sources at once.  IE part of what I am trying to overcome. Apparently, we are all very bad at it.  And the better we THINK we are, the worse we actually are.  Oops.

This exceprt is the most terrifying:

“It’s very frightening to us, and I think the reason it’s so frightening is we actually didn’t study people while they were multitasking. We studied people who were chronic multitaskers, and even when we did not ask them to do anything close to the level of multitasking they were doing, their cognitive processes were impaired. So basically, they are worse at most of the kinds of thinking not only required for multitasking but what we generally think of as involving deep thought.”

So multitasking may be harming the quality of everything I do, whether I am multitasking at the time or not.  Yikes.

While I’m not sure I belive all of this or not, it does support my goals here.  I am going to be cautious and try to multitask less.  At least in my personal life.

Introduction

Hi. My name is Nicole. I am an information addict.

Information addiction is defined by Wikipedia as “a hit of pleasure, stimulation and escape and technology affects attention span, creativity and focus.” I have been like this all my life. I remember being a child, spending hours on end at the library greedily soaking up every word I could find on whatever topic I was obesessed with at the time. While this was foreshadowing a problem, at the time it was healthy. I was increasing my vocabulary and learning to be a better communicator. I had to come up with different ways to find what I was looking for in the card catoglog which sharpened my problem solving skills. Then, when I was in about the sixth grade I finally convinced my parents to get an internet connection. This put me into overdrive, and I have never stopped.

 Since then, I have been in a constant connection to information. Constant email, text messages, news stories, etc. This also turned into an obsession with technology. Learning how I could get this data easier, quicker, and have it with me at all times. Looking at my Zune Podcasts everything is about some form of technology.

For a while, this seemed like a blessing. The entire world was open to me. Unfortunatly, this began to consume me. Any time I would wonder about something, I’d type it into Google and find the answer. Then, on an off chance, I asked on facebook if anyone had any good Podcasts I should be listening to. A friend recomended The Dirtbag Diaries. It reminded me that the world was not about the answers, but the path to those answers.

I am now in the process of relearning how to deal with information. I remember going camping with my parents as a kid and having to figure things out (how to get back when we wondered off the state park trails for example). I am relearning how to learn. In a way that is not just facts, but the journey.

This is a log of my quest.