30 Good Things Before 30: #17 – Burnt Broccoli

30-good-things-before-30You know how to tell if you’ve found a really good thing? If it stands the test of time and still has a place in your life years down the road.

That’s what I’ll be talking about tonight with #17 on my list of 30 Good Things Before 30:


Burnt Broccoli

I was turned onto this little beauty of a cooking method by a friend back on my west coast days. It was about five and a half years ago.

I know this because I was so totally in love with this method that I wrote a blog about it.

Five and a half years later and I’m still very much in love.

The Method:

  1. Cut up a bunch of broccoli.

    Tiny green trees

    Tiny green trees

  2. Throw 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a covered pot and heat on high just until it starts to smoke.
  3. Quickly — very quickly — throw all the broccoli in, cover, and leave for 2 minutes.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pot and give it a shake. Put back on burner for another 2 minutes.

    Don't be afraid if it gets real smoky in there. That's what you want. It's burning in all the deliciousness.

    Don’t be afraid if it gets real smoky in there. That’s what you want. It’s burning in all the deliciousness. (Also don’t mind my stovetop: I’m a messy cook. I’ll clean it up when I’m done…)

  5. If broccoli aren’t at desired tenderness, put on the cover, give another shake and put back on the burner for 2 more minutes.

That’s it.

Easy.

Scorched little green trees

Scorched little green trees

And delicious.

I had these tonight alongside a Mexican ground “beef” wrap. It was inspired by runger and, more specifically, by running past Mexicali Rosa’s in the last few hundred metres of my 13 km run.

Came home. Made this.

runger

The runger is real

Delicious.

By the way, you can also do burnt broccoli in the oven. It’s every bit as easy but requires more forethought since it takes them quite a bit longer to burn just right. Not the kind of thing you’ll come home and do when the runger is this real. A good recipe for that method is over here.

Week 3 (a.k.a. the week I lost my mind)

Here’s an interesting tidbit you might not know. My weeks are longer than yours.

That’s why my Week 3 of Dr. Andrew Weil’s 8 Weeks to Optimal Health starts today despite the fact that I embarked on Week 1 on Jan. 9. That’s 21 days ago — officially making my weeks about 10 days long.

It’s called the Ali-Cat Calendar. I expect it will replace the Gregorian calendar any day now. Just wait.

In the mean time, let me entertain you with a new array of Mini-Resolutions as I embark on Week 3. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even get them all done in a regular-person week.

Probably not . There’s a lot of them.

Mini-Resolution #18: Retire Old Red

With the possible exception of trading my second cup of morning coffee for green tea, this is the biggest sacrifice Dr. Weil has asked me to make.

In Week 3, he talks about electromagnetic toxicity. Household appliances like electric blankets, heating pads, plug-in clock radios and blow dryers generate electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and some research suggests these can negatively impact our body’s internal systems, increasing incidence of cancer and decreasing immune system functioning.

From DrWeil.com:

..a study in rats at the University of Washington… found DNA damage in animals exposed to a 60 hertz field for 24 hours; more damage was found after 48 hours. … the study leader said that data from this and a previous study suggest that the effects of exposure are cumulative and may build up in humans over time as a result of repeated brief use of common plug-in appliances. He suggests limiting exposure to as little time as possible, particularly with devices used close to the body.

A quick look around the Internet shows that most people think this is load of crap.

But in for a penny, in for a pound, right? I said I’d do this eight-week program to best of my ability and I intend to follow through.

This week, I will banish my electric throw blanket — a long-time staple in my lounging activities. Luckily, I got a Snuggie for Christmas. I will survive.

Mini-Resolution #19: Say Goodbye to the Dirty Dozen

Sigh.

Dr. Weil and I may be on the rocks. First he took away my second cup of coffee, then my electric blanket. Now he’s taking away some of my favourite fruits and vegetables.

Well ok, not really taking away but giving me the ultimatum to buy organic or say goodbye.

I’ll give him credit for one thing: he doesn’t ask for a full switch to organic produce. Rather, he suggests we  avoid or eat only organic versions of a few particularly dangerous products. Specifically, the Dirty Dozen.

The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization which aims to disseminate knowledge to protect public health and the environment, compiles the Dirty Dozen — a list of the 12 most contaminated foods. They also list the 15 cleanest (the Clean 15) and claim that people who eat only from the latter ingest just two types of pesticides daily versus 10 daily for those who eat the Dirty Dozen.

This is important, Dr. Weil says, because regulations on acceptable levels of pesticide contamination only consider short-term exposure (i.e. if it has an immediate toxic effect) and not the accumulation of long-term exposure. They also consider each pesticide in isolation and not the possible interactions between them.

So this week, I am going to try to either avoid the Dirty Dozen or — in the unlikely event that prices aren’t too exorbitant — buy them organic. Which is going to be a challenge because I regularly consume a lot of the Dirty Dozen including apples, bell peppers, celery and carrots.

This will require some creativity in order to not break the bank.

Mini-Resolution #20: Me and Miso

Once again, Dr. Weil suggests we substitute one serving of meat for a soy product this week and, because I’m up for a challenge, I’m going to opt for one I’ve never tried before: miso.

I have absolutely no idea what this is. I’ve heard murmurings about miso soup in my day, but have never tried it. And I certainly didn’t know it was soy-based. Not until Dr. Weil mentioned something to that effect. I can’t quite recall the exact details as I was still reeling from his brutal electric blanket embargo.

Anyway, I will find out what it is, I will cook it (you have to cook miso, right?) eat it and report back.

Mini-Resolution #21: Don’t Stock Believing

Groan. That’s supposed to be a pun. A little Journey reference? No? Anyone?

Anyway, in Week 3 Dr. Weil again recommends that we up our veggie intake. To facilitate this, he provides some recipes for vegetable stock which is, apparently, incredibly handy for cooking vegetables with. Who knew?

Not me, but I’m about to get educated when I make my first-ever homemade veggie stock this week.

Mini-Resolution #22: Stretch it Out

Stretching: my nemesis.

Well, not so much. Mostly, it’s just like a really boring acquaintance who if you saw at the mall, you would duck into the nearest store just to avoid contact. And you’d stay in that store as long as you needed to, even if it too was something really boring like that wicker store (you know the one), because it’s undoubtedly the less painful choice. But then your boring acquaintance comes into the boring wicker store (you should have known that would be her taste!) and starts talking to you about all the boring wicker baskets and it’s like boredom overload and your brain explodes.

Yeah. Stretching. It’s like that.

Nonetheless, I will be doing it five minutes a day because Dr. Weil says it’s good for me. It increases flexibility, reducing chance of injury and brings about a “welcome alteration of consciousness.”

Or perhaps it, like the breathing exercises, is just another way to lull me to sleep. Like I needed the help.

Mini-Resolution #23: Let Myself Be Breathed

No, that’s not a typo. That’s an actual Dr. Weil-ism.

Letting Yourself Be Breathed is a new breathing exercise that consists of the following:

  • Lie on your back, with arms relaxed at your sides
  • Focus attention on your breath without trying to influence it
  • Imagine that with each inhalation the universe is blowing breath into you and with each exhalation drawing it from you. Let yourself feel the breath penetrating every part of your body, to your fingers and toes.
  • Repeat for 10 cycles of inhalation and exhalation.

Dr. Weil doesn’t go into much detail about why this particular exercise is so important. He just says that, if done properly, we should find it “unusually refreshing.”

My issue is that it requires imagination. I’m not so good with that. If I told you to close your eyes and picture a purple lamp, I bet you could do it, right? I can’t. I just don’t seem to have those  neurons.

I’ll work on it.

Mini-Resolution #24: Get Provoked by Prose

This is my favourite this week. Dr. Weil would like us to make a list of  inspirational books that we’d like to read. These could be books of poetry, biographies, books on self-help, spirituality or anything else that moves us. We are to select one and begin it this week.

To which I say “Yay!” I’ll be heading to the library this afternoon, no doubt.

Mini-Resolution #25: Become an Amateur Agriculturalist

This is optional but I’m taking it on because it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Dr. Weil would like us to look into growing some of our own food.

That is, of course, easy for him to say. He lives in Arizona. Assumedly in a big house with a giant backyard. I live in Victoria, BC. In a third-floor apartment with a balcony.

Nonetheless, I know it’s possible to grow stuff here. The previous tenant, my best friend, succeeded in growing tomatoes, basil and a bunch of other herbs. It can be done.

Maybe not by me, but I plan to enlist the help of my dear fiance — whose green thumb can hopefully mitigate my thumb of death — and see if we can get ourselves a little garden started.

And that is all. Thank God because that’s a lot.

On top of that, however, are a few other activities from previous week t0 round out Week 3:

  • Another one-day news/Twitter/Facebook fast
  • 20 minute walks five days a week
  • Continue the supplement plan
  • Continue the old breathing exercises in addition to the new one
  • Continue swapping that coffee for green tea
  • Eat two servings of fish
  • Eat broccoli twice
  • Make some more time to just hang out in nature

Wait… do you hear that?

I think it’s the sound of my week growing even longer.

Burning up my broccoli

You know what’s really awesome?

When a recipe tells you to scorch food.

You know why that’s so awesome?

Because you can’t screw it up.

I speak of my latest adventure with broccoli. It began with the advice of a dear friend. She’s stranded on that God-forsaken rock called Newfoundland with very little fresh produce to speak of but has managed — on occasion — to hunt down a head or two of broccoli. And when she brings home this precious green gold, she’s got the perfect cooking method which she was gracious enough to share with me.

And now I will share it with you:

Apparently, this method originated with Heston Blumenthal.  Don’t know who he is? That’s okay. I didn’t either and I call myself a foodie. I Googled him and realized my face should be burning with shame for not recognizing his name. Suffice to say he’s the owner and chef of The Fat Duck — just a little three-Michelin-starred establishment in Berkshire, England.

In other words, he’s probably a guy you could take a cooking tip or two from.

His broccoli cooking method is described here. Basically you just heat up some olive oil over high heat until it starts to smoke, then throw in your broccoli, cover it and leave it on the high heat. Then salt it, pepper it, toss in a bit of butter, shake it up, cover it again and leave it for another two to four minutes.

When it’s done it should be scorched in some spots and green in others. That’s right. I said scorched.

But don’t let that freak you out. It’s fantastic. I guess the idea is that the high heat concentrates the broccoli’s flavour. Or something. I don’t know. Ask Heston.

All I can tell you with authority is that it was quick, foolproof and delicious. Also, that I will be making it again.

Thanks, Jamie!

My first aha! moment (and a slew of new Mini-Resolutions)

I’m back. Bet you thought I blew this popsicle stand, huh? So did I — temporarily.

I didn’t post again on Saturday like I said I would. Then I didn’t post on Sunday. Or Monday. And by Tuesday, I was thinking “who the hell am I kidding? I’m never going to follow through on this!”

Then I gave myself a metaphorical smack upside the head because you know what I don’t need? Me putting unnecessary stress on myself about my New Year’s Manifesto to work toward better holistic health and well-being. You know why? Because that kind of stress is not at all conducive to achieving holistic health and well-being.

In fact, that kind of stress is actually much more appropriate for the all-or-nothing Alison of New Years past. You know, the one who resolved on Jan. 1 to lose 10 pounds, ate a chocolate bar on Jan. 2 and then decided she’d blown it and might as well give up?

I’m not having any of that Alison this year.

And that realization was my first aha! moment of this whole process. Amazing what a little procrastination can bring about. Here’s to many more aha! moments to come *raises water bottle in a toast*

Now I must admit, that while I was being negligent on my blogging I was being equally negligent on my 8 Weeks to Optimum Health plan. I’m supposed to be about half-way through Week 2. I’m not. I’m just kind of hanging out in limbo between Weeks 1 and 2.

But you know what’s great about this? I make the rules and I say a little limbo never hurt anyone. So tomorrow I end my hiatus and embark on Week 2.

Which means a whole slew of new Mini-Resolutions. Now I should mention for any of you Dr. Weil purists out there — and I assume there are a few — that I’m not doing absolutely everything the good doctor recommends.

In Week 1, for instance, he suggested I make a list of injuries, illnesses or other health issues that I have recovered from in the past year, along with a list of anything I did to speed the healing. I didn’t do this. The only thing I seem to have recovered from in the past two years is asthma *knocks on wood* And that just disappeared, seemingly of its own will. I can’t really claim that as my own.

In Week 2, Dr. Weil suggests something else I’m just not gonna do. He wants me to set up a water filtration system in my home. The ones he suggests ring in at about $2,000. Ba-ha? Unless, Dr. Weil personally donates and installs said water filtration system, it’s not gonna happen.

No worries though because Dr. Weil has a contingency plan whilst I scrounge together money for a water filtration system. In the mean time, he says, just drink bottled water. Ba-ha, again!

Hey, Dr. Weil: Ever hear of that NRDC study that tested 1,000 bottles and 103 brands of water and found one-third of them contained levels of contamination? Or the fact that bottled water is subject to less rigorous testing than city tap water? Not to mention the lovely thought of Mother Earth crying while all those plastic water bottles are being churned out.

So no. I will not partake in the water-related foolishness of Week 2. I will, however, jump on board with the rest of Dr. Weil’s recommendations so here’s the next batch of Mini-Resolutions.

Mini-Resolution #11: Get Cooking with Quinoa and Mini-Resolution #12: Get Cooking with Kasha

This week Dr. Weil says I should be focusing on increasing my consumption of whole grains. And that’s probably true. Aside from whole wheat pitas in my fridge and long grain brown rice in my cupboard that I never cook because it takes 45 minutes and I’m always too hungry to bother (can you say spoiled by Minute Rice?), I’m just not much of a grain-eater.

So I’m doing double time this week and resolving to try out two new whole grains suggested by Dr. Weil: Quinoa and Kasha. I don’t really know what they are, I don’t know where to buy them and I sure as hell don’t know how to cook them, but that’s the adventure, right?

Mini-Resolution #13: Get Acquainted with Soy

I’m no stranger to tofu. I’ve even cooked some edamame. But I know there’s a whole world of soy out there that I know nothing about. This week, as part of Dr. Weil’s quest to get the world to cut back on animal protein and opt for the vegetable variety, I am committed to investigating the soy section of my grocery store and trying one new soy-based product. Maybe tempeh, soy grits or TVP? Who knows? Again, I don’t even know what those are. But I will find out and consume at least one of them or their brethren.

Mini-Resolution #14: Do the green tea swap

I don’t think this has come up yet in this blog, but I’m a coffee lover/addict. I refuse to start my day without it. I also refuse to drink it out of anything but my giant Tim Hortons mug; however, this isn’t about my OCD right now.

This week, Dr. Weil is asking me to do the impossible and swap out at least one of my daily cups of joe for a cup of Japanese or Chinese green tea. I don’t know what the caffeine content is in this stuff, but I’m just not convinced it will give me the same pick-me-up as my Salt Spring Island coffee <— product endorsement. Free coffee, please?

Mini-Resolution #15: Be one with nature

I don’t know if it quite makes up for the brutal green tea swap, but I dig this Mini-Resolution.  Dr. Weil wants me to visit a park or some other favourite nature-filled place and just hang out there, doing nothing in particular but “feeling the energy of the place.” Connecting with natures is healing, Dr. Weil says. It’s an antidote to the modern human’s epic problem of being too much in one’s head. I dig very much.

Mini-Resolution #16: The Twitter/Facebook Fast

I’m putting my own spin on this. Dr. Weil asks that in Week 2, I engage in a one-day news fast. His reasoning is that paying attention to the news commonly results in anxiety, rage and other states that aren’t conducive to well-being. He ask that we “broaden our concept of nutrition” to take into account not only what we put in our bodies but also what we put in our minds.

Now, I’m not a voracious news consumer. I think I’m pretty well-informed but it’s not unusual for me to go a day without paying attention to the news. What would be unusual is for me to go a day without logging on to Facebook or, my more recent obsession, Twitter. And I’m pretty sure both of these mediums can induce the same anxiety, rage and other negative states Dr. Weil’s talking about.

So one day this week, in addition to ignoring the news, I will not Facebook and I will not Tweet.  Sigh. How ever will I  procrastinate then?

Mini-Resolution #17: Breath Observation V.2.0

As you’ll recall, I sucked at breath observation in Week 1. Week 2 gives me another chance and also tacks on a second breathing exercise. In addition to my five minutes of breath observation, I am to spend one minute focused on the breath cycle itself. But instead of our natural tendency to think of inhalation as the first stage of the breath cycle, Dr. Weil says we should reverse it and begin with exhalation. The reasoning? Potentially, we are better able to control our exhalation because our muscles allow us to push more air out. So if we start with exhalation and focus on pushing more air out, we automatically breathe deeper and take more air in during our inhalation. And deep breathing is good for the soul.

In addition to these, Dr. Weil asks that I round out my Week 2 activities by continuing my supplement regimen, eating fish at least once and broccoli at least twice and walking 15 minutes a day, five days a week (i.e. my walk to work in the morning).

Oh, and I haven’t forgot about hot yoga. I’m going to go. Promise. Eventually the shame of consistently having to write about how I still haven’t gone will force my butt into that hotter-than-hell torture chamber.

I’ll keep you posted.

Confessions of a flower-killa

Want to hear something ridiculous? I still have my Christmas tree up.

Today, I finally took the red holiday bow off my apartment door. At least the neighbours won’t know what a slacker I am.

Well, a slacker in terms of Christmas decorations, that is. You know what I’m not a slacker about? Broccoli.

(You know what else? I still haven’t learned to spell broccoli. I have to use the spell-checker every time. In fact, I just noticed I spelled in wrong in my original Mini-Resolution.  Maybe I should make a Mini-Resolution to get that straightened out.)

If you’ll recall, sometime ago I made Mini-Resolution #4: Find and prepare two tasty broccoli recipes between Saturday, Jan. 9 and Friday, Jan. 15.

This stemmed from Dr. Weil’s simple request that I eat broccoli twice during the week. I (like a fool)  decided to up the ante and not only eat broccoli twice this week but attempt to cook it in two new tasty ways. And to judge the tastiness (or lack thereof)? My carnivore of a fiancé.

Broccoli

The only survivor of this week's broccoli binge.

As a result, I bought more fresh broccoli in the past week than any other week before. Maybe more than all weeks before added together.

It’s not that I don’t like broccoli. It’s that I don’t like preparing it. I got that from my mother. She only buys frozen broccoli so she doesn’t have to deal with the actual preparation. And I don’t blame her.

I also learned this week that you’re supposed to peel broccoli. As if it wasn’t enough of a pain in the ass already. This was shocking to me. I mean, I’m no gourmet chef but I spend a pretty significant amount of time in the kitchen and still somehow missed the memo on this one.

Maybe that’s because most broccoli I’ve met in my life has come from the frozen food section. Who knows.

I tested out two recipes this week: Garlic-Spiked Broccoli and Mushrooms with Rosemary and Oven-Roasted Broccoli with Panko and Parmesan.

The first one kinda sucked. I think maybe I’m not a huge rosemary fan. I also think I undercooked it. Nonetheless, I’m counting it because my fiancé claimed it was in fact “tasty” and proceeded to eat the leftovers the next day of his own volition.

The second one was super good. Of course, I’m of the mindset that you could put Panko crumbs on just about anything and have it taste fan-frickin’-tastic.

Health-wise, you really can’t go wrong with either of these recipes. The second one is higher in calories and fat. About 108 calories per serving (the recipe says it makes four servings but I’d say it’s actually closer to six so that’s what I’m calculating with) versus 56 for the first one, and 7 g of fat versus 2.7 g for the first one. Both clock in with 2-3 g of fibre, around 4 g of protein and more than 100% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C.

Of course, I’m not done with the whole broccoli fiasco just yet. As I embark on Week 2, Dr. Weil is insisting I keep on eating the stuff. That gives me plenty of time to test out the cooking methods recommended by a couple of my readers. Thanks again, my lovelies!

And now, because I don’t eat right 100% of the time (take last night, for example, when supper consisted of tortilla chips and salsa and some left-over holiday fruitcake), there is my Mini-Resolution #6: Begin taking Dr. Weil’s Antioxidant Formula.

Supplements

My slew of supplements

In addition to my regular multivitamin and calcium supplement, I am now taking selenium (200 mcg), Vitamin E (400 IU), Vitamin C (250mg) and, to meet Dr. Weil’s mixed carotenoid requirement (in addition to the beta-carotene that’s in my multivitamin), lycopene (10 mg) and lutein (50 mg).

Now I should mention that I’m not blindly following everything Dr. Weil has said. I have done some research into the pros and cons of the supplements I’m taking. Here’s the quick and dirty:

Selenium

  • Pros:  Supports a strong immune system, regulates thyroid function, may help reduce the risk of some cancers and play a role preventing cataracts and heart disease
  • Cons: May increase the risk of Type II diabetes. High intakes (over 400 mcg per day) can cause selenosis (symptoms of which include gastrointestinal upsets, hair loss, fatigue and irritability)

Vitamin E:

  • Pros: May prevent or delay coronary heart disease, reduce incidence of breast and prostate cancer, prevent cataracts or age-related macular degeneration and slow cognitive decline (i.e. delay the progression of diseases like Alzheimer’s)
  • Cons: In very high doses, it can interfere with the body’s ability to clot blood meaning it’s probably a no-no for people taking blood thinners.

Vitamin C:

  • Pros: May prevent most types of cancer, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration and may successfully treat and/or prevent the common cold
  • Cons: At high doses, can cause nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and other gastrointestinal disturbances. Possibly associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease mortality for postmenopausal women with diabetes.

Lycopene:

  • Pros: May help to prevent macular degeneration, cataracts, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Also appears to reduce incidences of preeclampsia in pregnant women. May also help fight gingivitis. May reduce exercise-induced asthma
  • Cons: Dangerous for people allergic to tomatoes. That is all. (So far, at least. Give science some time; they’ll come up with something)

Lutein:

  • Pros: May reduce the risk of macular deterioration, skin diseases and cataracts.
  • Cons: In a very low percentage of cases, causes slight headache when taken in supplement form. May increase risk of lung cancer.

So there. What does it all mean? At the very least, I shouldn’t get cataracts.  *thumbs up*

I’m taking it all with a grain of salt. It seems everything we ingest comes with a lot of benefits and risks and sometimes both sides seem to carry equal weight. I mean my birth control could kill me (increases risk of blood clots, stroke, heart attack and breast cancer), but it also has benefits (decreases PMS, acne, pelvic inflammatory disease and endometrial and ovarian cancer).

I’ve committed to trying out Dr. Weil’s formula for eight weeks. After that? Well, we’ll see where I’m at.

In the mean time, let’s all just take a nice deep breath and talk about Mini-Resolution #7: Practice breath observation, five minutes a day from Saturday, Jan. 9 to Friday, Jan. 15.

This ended up being more of a pain than anything else. My plan was to get in my five minutes before I fell asleep at night. Unfortunately, breath observation has a tendency to put me to sleep. Come to think of it, it’s basically been my lifelong method of falling sleep: just relaxing, clearing my mind and focusing on my breath.

So this didn’t do much for me. Occasionally, when I was still awake enough at the end of my five minutes to take notice, I did feel more relaxed, my heart rate slowed down a bit and I seemed to have gained a little distance from the things that had stressed me out most of the day.

This week I have to continue my breath observation, with an added breath-related activity that I’ll get into later. But I’m going to try to mix things up and do it first thing in the morning. Hopefully, I’ll be a bit more attentive then. We’ll see.

Finally, there’s Mini-Resolution #8: Buy flowers.

Dr. Weil seems convinced that simply being in the presence of flowers improves a person’s well-being exponentially. So do a lot of other people.

I’m reading a book by Bill Strickland, founder and CEO of the Manchester Craftmens’ Guild — an innovative non-profit agency in Pittsburgh which uses the arts to inspire success in inner-city teenagers. Mr. Strickland describes being so moved by an orchid that he spent years plotting and scheming to find funding to create a greenhouse at his Pittsburgh organization. That’s how passionately he felt that good things would come for him and the people he worked with just by being around these flowers.

I’m also working my way through Eckhart Tolle‘s book A New Earth in which he credits flowers with playing an essential part in the development of human consciousness since they were among the first things human beings came to value which served no utilitarian purpose.

Maybe I’m lacking something every other human seems to have.

Here’s my dilemma: I feel like buying flowers is wasteful. They only last for a few days and then die and it’s always kind of broken my heart to dump a vase of dead flowers in the garbage.

That leaves me with buying potted flowering plants to fulfill Dr. Weil’s recommendation. And the problem with that? I kill every potted plant I touch. Every last one of them. Guaranteed.

They freak me out. During the holidays, my boss brought in a lovely poinsettia for my office. It scared the bejesus out of me. Left in my incapable hands, a plant doesn’t stand a chance of lasting more than a week.

Orchid

The orchid I bought for Nicholas which, I swear, shakes in horror every time I come within five feet of it.

Luckily, my fiancé has something of a green thumb. And luckily, he shares Bill Strickland’s fascination with orchids so I bought him one.

The orchid now sits on the desk in our living room so I am able to enjoy its splendour from a safe distance.

Although, I’ve got to admit I don’t feel particularly inspired by it. But Nicholas adores it and I adore him so I guess that adds to my overall sense of well-being after all, right?

And now, tally time!

Days to go: 340

Mini-resolutions to go: 251

Today, I begin Week 2 of Dr. Weil’s 8 Weeks to Optimal Health. I’ve got some new mini-resolutions to post which I’ll get to later today, I hope.

First, lunch.

Then… maybe taking down that damn tree?

Wish me luck.