Monday, October 23, 2017

Final Milk Experiment IMHO: Soy vs Almond vs Coconut vs Goat

In the past month or so, I've been experimenting with various non-cow milks. I was trying to cut down on the sugar in my coffee in order to lose weight. One thing I discovered very early on was that my stomach seemed flatter when avoided cow dairy products.

frozen cubes of
coconut liquid
During the past few years, especially as we were trying to cut expenses, my dairy eating was almost only the milk I put in my coffee. I've been having sesame paste, which is extremely healthy and inexpensive, with foods that most people would eat with some sort of cheese. My husband still eats cottage cheese. Besides that, our protein consists of organic eggs, from a producer here in Shiloh, chicken and sometimes beef or fish.

First I tried coconut cream. The container had been in my closet for a few months. I didn't need any sugar with it to enjoy the coffee. Then I realized that it had separated, leaving a fatty block of coconut cream and some liquid. I mixed the cream with a ripe mashed banana, a bit of vanilla and cinnamon. To that I added chocolate chips and left it in the refrigerator until serving it at a nice meal. It was a great success. And the liquid I froze as "ice cubes." One morning I had those in my coffee. The flavor was fine, and I didn't need sugar to make it palatable. But the "taste of coconut" stayed with me all day.

goat milk
almond milk
Next I tried almond milk, and I must admit that I really liked it. It was sweet and didn't need any added sugar. Of course that was most probably be because there is a lot of sugar in the "milk." I was told by someone that it's not a real milk and there aren't many almonds in it. She suggested I drink goat milk.

The person who suggested the goat milk claimed that "it's delicious." So, yes, my next experiment was that. And I must admit that it was the worst milk I had ever tasted. I was rather surprised, since I love plain goat yogurt and have it daily as part of my breakfast.

almond vs soy milk side by side
Yesterday I needed more milk and planned on getting almond milk, but the first store I went to only had soy. So I began to rationalize the advantage of buying soy milk. I know that there are many people who consider it a terrible health danger. I checked the Nutritional charts of soy and almond milks side by side. Both are marketed/produced by Tnuva, Israel's largest dairy company. Even if you don't understand Hebrew, you can see that many of the number matchup. I have no doubt that Tnuva did this on purpose, since they both have all sorts of vitamins added. Even the calorie count is the same. Soy and almond milks are the only two non-dairy protein based milks I could find in the refrigerator section of the store. I am not interested in trying the rice milk, because I try not to eat rice; it's a carbohydrate.

I sent the above photo to Instagram and facebook to ask advice. People weren't shy. Soy milk has many disadvantages, which was pointed out numerous times. Many people suggested almond milk made without sugar. It wasn't an option, though when I had it in my coffee, I didn't need sugar.  I also have a number of friends who make their own almond milk in a blender, but since I only need it for coffee, and I don't have a blender, nor am I interested in adding to my chores, that's not an option for me. No doubt you're curious about what I decided to buy. My facebook friends know already, and you can see the picture below.

soy plus sugar
Since being female, especially at my age, the "estrogen" in the soy isn't a real issue, and this is an "experiment," I bought the soy. This morning I poured it into my coffee. I did not like the taste at all. I even found myself adding a bit of sugar to make it palatable.

My conclusion is that I will buy almond milk whenever possible, and I'll check out coconut milks in other stores. The canned ones I saw all had those "E" additives which I don't want.

On the whole, this has been a very interesting experiment. I'm very grateful that it is very easy to buy a variety of milks here in Israel. I also wish to thank all of those who contributed their knowledge and opinions about the milks. Of course, taste is very subjective. Also, since, thank Gd bli eyin haraa, I don't have any medical condition forcing me to look for an alternative milk, I can be very flexible in how I "accessorize" my  morning coffee.

Your advice and opinions are still welcome, thanks.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Frozen Coconut Liquid in Coffee

You may remember my post about Easy to Make Non-Dairy Ice Cream. I had discovered that the coconut cream I had been using as a "non-dairy creamer" in my coffee had seriously separated. Part was solid enough to make "instant ice cream," but the rest was just a weak liquid. I froze the liquid in an icecube tray, later putting the cubes into a bag.

This morning I decided to try being non-cow-dairy for a few days, again. Last week I went back to eating cow dairy and found myself getting bloated. I wasn't uncomfortable, like many who are lactose intolerant. I just looked worse, all the extra pounds/kilograms in my stomach. Since I was all out of non-dairy milk, I remembered the cubes in the freezer and added them to my coffee.

Since the frozen coconut liquid's white color is deceptive, I ended up needing all the ice cubes for the three cups/mugs I drank. It added a sweet coconutty flavor to the coffee. It wasn't fantastic, but it certainly tasted a gazillion times better than the goat milk I had a couple of weeks ago. I still love natural goat yogurt, but the milk totally killed the coffee.

I've been warned off of soy milk because it mimics estrogen in the body, but I don't know if it's all that bad in small quantities for a woman of my age. I'm not interested in rice or oat milk, since they're both carbohydrates. So that leaves me with either almond or coconut milks.

Today I must go shopping for a non-dairy milk.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Another Letter to The Editor

I've been sending letters to the editor for decades, and I have a pretty good success rate in getting them published. Here's my latest:

I wrote it in protest to the latest THREE LADIES - THREE LATTES, Ess ess mein kind* column which appeared in the Jerusalem Post's local magazines, In Jerusalem and Metro last week. All of the letter that appeared in last Friday's issue complained about the article. I don't think the column is all that popular. Many of us read it, but we're rarely happy with the three replies. But this last one was definitely the worst.

A tip I forgot to include in my letter is to make a chart in which you write what is to be served at each meal. It really helps, especially if you check the lists...  So many of us have stories of foods we forgot to heat and serve. The best way to really enjoy the spiritual aspect of the Jewish Holidays is to plan the menu and do the food preparation in advance. And minimize, of course. Remember, the more choices, the more overeating. And the more choices, the more you have to shop and prepare. Jewish Holidays shouldn't be all about food.

*You can only get the full article if you pay the Jerusalem Post.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Dangerous New Trend/Toy

Have you noticed any of these new "vehicles" on the street where you live? They are extremely dangerous. They are wider than shoulders and not all that easy to handle and control, especially on a narrow street. There have been many accidents.

Besides the danger to others, the people "riding" them aren't getting much exercise. Walking, skating and cycling are much healthier.

They should be banned!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Jerusalem Fun! Lots of Photos

I just spent a couple of days in Jerusalem. Here are some pictures, and explanations are in the captions.

Some buildings in the Center of Jerusalem have special lighting.

Some buildings in the Center of Jerusalem have special lighting.

Street decorations

I treated myself to a cup of coffee.

Following the path to Matan


Jerusalem Old City Walls

Kotel, Western Wall

Kotel, Western Wall
It's nice to get away for a bit. At my age, I have to live the "bucket list" while I can.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Found It!

The other night I discovered that one of my earrings had disappeared. It must have fallen out of my ear during or after taking a walk with a friend. It's a big silver one, which has fallen out/off a few times. But all the other times I'd hear it, or notice it on my clothes and it wouldn't be gone for long. I just figured that its luck had run out. I thought of putting a note in the Shiloh group email, but was too tired.

I carefully checked the jacket and sweater I had been wearing. And then I sort of forgot about it.

Then the following evening I took another walk. When I got to the bench where my friend and I had sat to talk after walking I decided to look around.  Of course. You guessed it.

There was the earring waiting patiently in the dirt, not harmed at all, Baruch Hashem, Thank Gd.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tough Choices and Easy Failures for Dieters

I think that this week will be a bad one for my weight loss quest. Last week, even with the Jewish Holidays, I managed to reduce a bit. But this week, I'll be eating in restaurants a few times.

Yesterday I showed up for a brunch on a very empty stomach. I even made a point of getting a decent walk in beforehand. I was very hungry by the time I sat down. OK, I saved a few calories by being able to substitute a second coffee for the juice. You may not realize this but juice is just the sugar, the calories of the fruit without any of the roughage which is so good for your system. And also it takes a few apples/oranges etc to fill a glass with juice.

The breakfast/brunch I ate was like two meals, with two eggs, some lox, cheese, salad, a bit of bread etc. But I could rationalize that brunch is "two meals."
But then... suddenly this irresistible calorie laden vision appeared in front of me:

I failed to resist. OK, I had half of the cake, none of the jam and just a spoon of the whipped cream --just to check if it was real of course-- Sometimes self-control deconstructs and just disappears.

To quote Scarlett O'Hara:
"Tomorrow is another day..."

And since today is yesterday's tomorrow...

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tip: My Tip To Make Laundry Easier

Today, daylight hours for me, was "National Laundry Day." I did about a half a dozen loads of wash. Most of the wash was hung outside to dry, and Gd decided to let us skimp on electricity. The weather was perfect.

And after my husband helped by taking in the dry wash, the real work had to be done, the sorting, folding and putting away. That's the part I don't like. That's the part I have trouble making time for.

It can be quite overwhelming and boring, too.

Years ago I'd get the kids to help me, and we'd sort the clean dry wash into baskets like these, according to family member. But now I'm stuck doing it all myself, and I don't like the old method.

 I made up a new method. I search through the wash for various kinds of items, like all of my husband's clothes go on the smaller couch for him to put away. Then, depending on my mood I make piles of other types of things. One pile at a time. To the left you can see the floor cloths all folded up. And then I put them away. So you suddenly see that less and less laundry is left to fold.

Of course, sometimes I take a break, and each time I return I find it less daunting, because I've already put away a lot of laundry, bit by bit.

And suddenly, the couch is clear, clean of laundry.

I highly suggest this method. It works for me, and I hate housework.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Harvey Weinstein in the Land of the Casting Room Couch

Why davka has Harvey Weinstein been expelled from the Academy of Motion Pictures when Mel Gibson, Bill Cosby and others are still in that exalted body? Whom did he touch/exploit that got those Hollywood people so enraged?

I'm no youngster, and from everything I've read over the decades, Weinstein's behavior was the norm, the price for fame for many -both male and female-

It's rather ironic that davka, at the same time that Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who idealized/institutionalized female sexual exploitation, passed away Harvey Weinstein became the symbol of evil.

There must be something we're not being told.

Friday, October 13, 2017

"After the Holidays," אחרי החגים

Here in Israel and in some of the Jewish World, there's a frequently heard phrase:
"After the Holidays,"
Acharei hachaggim... אחרי החגים
The "Holidays" referred to are Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Succot and Simchat Torah. From beginning to end, not counting all the preparations, mostly in the kitchen but spiritual, too, this is a period lasting a minimum of three weeks plus to almost two months.

Jews out of the Land of Israel who observe traditional Torah Judaism don't have the twenty-three hour break before Shabbat that I have. They are now in the third week, out of four, in which a two day holiday is immediately followed by Shabbat. We, here in Israel, just had it once with Rosh Hashanah.
sukka partially undone

Since we're not supposed to do any "unnecessary work," like laundering, we have a backlog of dirty wash. I asked my husband to take down the sukkah walls, so I could hang wash easily this morning. So now one wash is already hung to dry in the sun, and a second is being laundered in the machine.

Today, I'll do the side dishes for our Shabbat meals. The meat and poultry were cooked before Simchat Torah.

This coming week begins more of my study schedule. Matan's regular classes will begin, though my senior citizens study program in the Ofra Girls High School began at the beginning of the regular school year with the teenagers.

When I was a high school remedial EFL teacher, this part of the year, from after to holidays until Chanuka, made up the bulk of the time we had to teach all of the year's curriculum. TU B'Shvat was sometimes too soon after Chanukah, and then, if there wasn't an extra Jewish Month of Adar, Purim took over the kids' time much too quickly and lasted a lot longer than you'd expect. Don't forget that almost immediately after Purim comes Passover, and by then the school year is well over, considering how many Bagrut, Israeli Matriculation tests the kids must be prepared for. Honestly, I'm glad to be out of that high pressure wringer. Yes, sometimes retirement has its advantages.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Diet Update, Weight Loss

Like too many people, I've been struggling trying to banish unwanted, unneeded, unattractive and unhealthy kilos/pounds. And in addition, I've had an occasional though chronic cough* that annoys more than anything else.

About a decade ago I managed to lose about 15 kilo, 30+ pounds, by reducing carbohydrates and getting out of the classroom. The rationale behind the low carb diet was based on the Blood Type Diet which prescribes this sort of eating plan for those with Type O blood. And when I was teaching in the yeshiva high school in Beit El, my schedule made it difficult to eat well. But the real reason I was pushed/encouraged into trying to diet was a chance to join the StartFresh kosher diet program for free in exchange for blogging about it.

The vast majority of that weight stayed off until about a year or more ago when I noticed that three kilo, six or more pounds, had suddenly reappeared. I tried all sorts of painless maneuvers to remove them, but somehow instead of reducing I found that two more had joined them. That meant that I was well over five kilo or eleven pounds more than what had become my weight. Even at the reduced weight I was technically overweight, though not obese.

Of course, I blamed my return to the classroom for the additional two kilo. Then at the end of June I really retired. The pool opened, and I exercised in the water a few times a week. And, although I began to look better, the extra weight didn't budge.

I needed to "recalibrate."

I listened to my body, which had been sending hints. For a few months I had begun to crave fruit after breakfast. And you must understand that I was eating nice breakfasts of vegetable omelets, which were large and theoretically filling enough to be proper meals. But somehow they didn't satisfy me. I was craving something sweet afterwards, and I had been drinking lots of coffee with sugar earlier in the morning.

Hint! Hint! Suddenly I decided to listen. If my body was asking for fruit in the morning, maybe it needed a fruit breakfast. So, I began having fruit, oats and goat yogurt. And afterwards I even left out the oats. The biggest surprise was that a small bowl with cut up fruit and under a cup of yogurt was enough for me. I felt satiated and had no sugar cravings.

My next challenge was when the pool closed on the first of September. I needed to exercise and really missed the water. Friends suggested I join the sports center in Ariel, even though the swimming pool has very few "women only" hours. Many of my friends go dressed in modest swimwear, which I do have. I went to take a look, but it didn't appeal. It's part of the view from a restaurant, and there are men who just sit by the pool watching...

I decided on the low cost walking, both with a friend and alone. My walking partner and I even exercise together at her house on occasion, and I've even forced myself to exercise to the music in good musicals. 

goat milk
almond milk
An additional change has been in the milk I put in my morning coffee. Instead of regular cow milk and sugar, I've been experimenting with all sorts of other fattier milks* and leaving out the sugar.

Now for the results. In less than two months, plus the summer vacation, over three of the five kilo are off, bli eyin haraa. And during that time I've eaten out, had some desserts etc. I haven't put myself on a super strict eating regime. In addition, there have been days when I've hardly had any exercise. One of my long time "diet principles" is to find an eating routine you can live with. Don't focus on a "weight goal," since maintaining it may well be impossible.

So far, bli eyin haraa (not to tempt the evil eye,) every few days I do see that my weight is slowly going down. I don't know how long that will continue, but I feel that I'm on the right track.

For me this has been a reminder that we must keep on changing and adapting to the new realities of our bodies and life situations. Do you have similar stories? Don't be shy. Comment, please.

*I will blog about my milk and lactose changes and how they have affected my cough in a future post, Gd willing.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Succot, Holiday and Vacation for Some but Not For All

On Jewish Holidays, like Succot, when children are on vacation from school, Jerusalem is one big festival.

Not all the grownups are lucky enough to be on paid vacation. Many stores are open for business, even if just shortened hours. When I worked in Yafiz, we were expected to be at work. It wasn't easy for those with young children, so people like myself ended up with extra hours, though there wasn't any bonus pay.  So, I'd like to remind you to be extra polite and grateful to those who have to work when there are holiday vacation days for most everyone else.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Meeting Some Visitors From China

The other day a neighbor called with an "offer I couldn't resist." 
"Are you and your husband available to speak to a group of Chinese Christians visiting the country?" 

And luckily we were free at the time she needed us. It was great fun. We talked about living in Shiloh and a lot about our town of Shiloh in the Bible.

They were a very friendly and supportive audience. We also got to speak to a number of the group while eating lunch in the sukkah.

I've always loved these little jobs. It's fun for me to talk to groups, especially when they're better behaved than my students had been. I hope we'll get some pictures of us on the stage, and if so, I can post them, too. When I was talking, I could see that some of the audience was recording everything on their phones.

Nowadays very few people use an actual camera. Why should we? The phone cameras are better than reasonably priced cameras and are part of the "package." I'd rather spend a bit more for my phone and get a camera at the same time. I've found that phone camera is easier to control/adjust than the camera is.

I really do appreciate the freedom that retirement has given us. We both now have "small businesses," so that when we're hired for jobs, we can give receipts. And I really do love the fact that I'm not working at Yafiz, since the store is open also on Chol Hamoed, the "intermediate" days of Succot and Passover.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

"thankful for each drop"

Here are more of my morning haikus, which are written on facebook most mornings. I haven't posted them here on the blog for quite awhile. This morning while struggling with finding just the right words, I think I got them. Multiple meanings are very haiku. Aren't they?

sunshine and coffee
but tomorrow maybe rain
thankful for each drop

coffee sans sugar
just isn't as delicious
but weight is dropping

trying almond milk
cold brew coffee tasted great
no need for sugar

sad morning coffee
just doesn't taste all that good
funeral today

up much too early
two-faced mug perfect coffee
with coconut cream

sans sugar small mug
tightened my pouch yesterday
stupendous sunrise

cool misty morning 
cold brew coffee just perfect
after Yom Kippur

Comments and shares on facebook are very welcome. And I'd love to read your contributions to #morningcoffeehaiku.