A Little Bit Sick

A Little Bit Sick

It has been years since I was under the weather with a cold! On Sunday evening, after dinner, I thought I might have tried to swallow something I shouldn’t have, my throat felt as if something were stuck there. There wasn’t. By Monday morning I had an irritating cough. Yesterday the cough persisted. Last night I had a raging headache. This morning I am a bit congested and the cough is still with me. No fever though, thank goodness.

Because I was coughing so much during the night, Diesel decided to try to get some shut eye on my easy chair.

Today is my Yoga class and I have decided not to attend. There are other women there who would find this bug more than annoying, were they to catch it. I’ll hold fast here at home, and wait out the symptoms.

This morning I prepared myself a lemon drink, water, lemon, and wee bit of sweetener. That calmed the cough for a while, but it came back. I will just have to keep drinking!

I will still be going out for my walk, bundled up to the eyeballs so as not to catch a chill.

Lately, I have been fiddling about with recipes, making up some of my own. I wanted to assess the nutritional value of them, and came upon this site, Calorie Count. There are many sites that will analyze a recipe for nutritional value, but this one seems to be unique. It allows you to type in all the ingredients in one go, or copy and past them in from another digitized recipe. The other sites I found allow you to input one ingredient at a time, then click enter, then start again on the next ingredient, which is very time consuming.

While I was at the site above, I kept a record of my daily food intake, and was pleased with the results, based on a Mediterranean Diet. The results pointed out weaknesses though, too many of my calories came from fat, and too many from saturated fat. This occurred because I ate an avocado which put me over my limit for fats, and later in the day a cheese sauce, the cheese put me well over the limit for saturated fats. I did pretty well with the calories, the fibre, the sodium and the cholesterol though. According to the calculations on this web site, with the calories I am consuming on a daily basis, I should be losing weight. Nope, not happening. That does not matter to me though, as my focus is knowing I have a good nutritional balance with my daily food intake.

The Orthopaedic Surgeon did advise me to loose weight, to aid the maintenance of my knee. It isn’t that simple though. I have no intention of starving to lose weight at my age. If consuming the caloric intake advised to lose weight doesn’t do it for me, then it is not going to happen. I am slightly overweight, according to the calculations on the site. The ideal weight for me, that they propose, was one that I could only maintain on a strict diet (less than 900 calories a day, when I was much younger), which I am unwilling to do. If I eat more than 900 calories a day, I am going to be heavier than my “ideal” weight. I doubt very much indeed that my actual ideal weight resembles the calculations currently in use for such purposes. I plan on continuing to eat a balanced diet, and to walk daily, and if my weight goes down, then that is just a pleasant side effect, it is not my real goal.

The real challenge for me, in eating a balanced diet, is access to fresh vegetables. $$$ Fresh vegetables cost a lot more money than carbohydrates, so that they sometimes cost more than the budget will allow. Usually I can find something fresh on sale. One week it was spinach, another week it was broccoli. As far as fruit is concerned, I don’t even try to purchase fresh fruit in the winter, except as a treat. I settle instead for raisins, dates, dried cranberries, and our own frozen rhubarb and strawberries. I have splurged on a little box of clementines this winter, another treat!

We have just come through another cold spell, not as frigid as our February cold snap, but still below normal for this time of year. The sun is shining though, which adds untold cheer to the day. Even with the cold temperatures of the last few days, the sun was strong enough to melt snow.

Worldly Distractions


Little House in the City
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Wednesday 25 March 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -9.6°C
Dewpoint: -11.1°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: NE 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -14

Country House
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Wednesday 25 March 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -6.8°C
Dewpoint: -9.9°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: ESE 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -12


“Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults.”
469 BC – 399 BC

[This seems the antithesis of the Machiavellian spirit.]


  1. The latest I’ve heard about the fats is that we need fat, our brains need fat, but that the unsaturated (plant based) fat is better than the animal based. I’ve also heard that not eating so much in the evening is better. I attended some health lectures and took notes, about the phases of digestion, the anabolic (absorption) and the catabolic (burning fuel) stages. If the catabolic phase is allowed to be long, which not eating at night allows, we burn more fuel. I’ve tried this for a couple of weeks and the skirts seem to be looser. I’d lost a bunch of weight quitting the sugary carbs, and then gained some back. I might again fit those size 12 skirts. But even if I don’t, I seem to sleep better when I’m not loaded up with food. The doctor who gave that lecture, and another doctor who was on PBS didn’t say anything about calorie counting, but always about importance of the vegetables. I suspect they’re more expensive where you’re at. Yuma’s close to the farms that grow them, and is even known for being “winter lettuce capital of the world”.

  2. I have nothing to back this opinion up, but it is MY personal belief that the “normal” weight of people is seriously exaggerated much lower than it should be, mainly by insurance companies and doctors who really don’t want us to be happy and healthy but rather always wanting to lose more and more, almost impossible as we age, and so we’ll keep coming back to them for help! It irks me no end.

  3. Joan, that is what I understand as well, it is the kind of fat we eat that is crucial to our health. I cook and bake with olive oil, and on occasion will use canola oil when olive oil simply does not suit the recipe. The avocado is very high fat, and some of it is saturated fat. There are a few plant based foods that are significant sources of saturated fat, and avocados are one of them! I would have been under my limit of saturated fats if I had skipped the cheese sauce, something for me to consider in future, on the days when I just have to have an avocado!

    That is interesting about the long catabolic phase of digestion. It makes sense not to eat late in the evening. Actually, my stomach is so iffy right now, that I have been eating an early dinner. I’ve not noticed my waistline shrinking though, I wish it would!

    The Mediterranean diet recommends that a high percentage of caloric intake be from vegetables. The calories come in for me with what I put on the vegetables!

    Vegetables are expensive here, as farming is a seasonal activity in all of Canada. We import a lot of vegetables and fruits from other countries and areas, USA, South America, China. The frozen vegetables are not so nice plain, not like the fresh vegetables, so I tend to add things that aren’t as good for me, to make them palatable. Usually by late June, when local produce begins to hit the stands, Attila is having a “salad attack”, craving salads for every meal, he makes them, so it is very nice.

    How wonderful to be close to farms operating year round, there in Yuma! I didn’t know you were the “winter lettuce capital of the world”!

  4. Bex, I suspect there is some truth in what you are saying. I look at the generations of my family, into the 19th century, and women in particular, became more “broad of the beam” in their middle and older years. I do a lot of genealogy spanning two counties/districts here in Ontario, and all of the images show women over a certain age to be predominantly larger than their former selves. I don’t think it was diet or lack of exercise that brought this about, just natural aging. There are body types that don’t experience this, but I feel that is genetic predisposition, a happy circumstance to be appreciated by those who enjoy it. I don’t think it is anything the rest of us should be aiming for.

    I am a bit overweight, but I know that the isolation and limited funds for the foodstuffs of my choice are at the root of it. I am not isolated at the little house in the city, and I have access to less expensive food supplies, so I am hoping that eventually my weight will come to rest where it naturally needs to be.

  5. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Sorry to hear about your cold. If you’re feeling really off then feel free to hold off on the walk for a day or two, as your body might need the extra energy to repair itself from the illness.

    I felt a strong connection to everything you were saying about diet. Several years ago I was down to the weight expected for my height. I got there by doing a near constant low carb “fat fast”, where almost everything you eat is fats and your calories are between 800 and 1200 a day. That’s the only way I could maintain it, unless I started putting in huge amounts of exercise.

    I reasoned that if I started doing those huge amounts of exercise to maintain that weight that later I would just gain back again when I stopped, and research now says that’s of course true. So instead I began to accept that my body simply wasn’t going to accept my staying at my “healthy weight” while having a healthy diet. (I have a low metabolism due to being hypothyroid and insulin resistant.)

    So now I eat just lower carb with protein and nice, healthy fats. (I’ve been bad the last few weeks and need to get off the carb wagon.) When eating lower carb both Bri and I had fantastic cholesterol checks when having a full blood panel done, so I know it’s good for me.

    If I remember correctly, a lot of places do list a different healthy weight for those over 50. It’s either 10 or 20% higher than the healthy weight for younger people, though I don’t remember which. But I do think the “healthy” weight produced by the insurance tables is way too low. I know when my weight was down that my wrists looked skeletal, and the insurance tables thought I should still take off another 20 pounds! (I would have almost had to stop eating in order to do that, my calorie count at the time was so low already.)

  6. I sympathize Teri! I don’t think it is healthy to reduce calories that drastically for any length of time. The older we get the more dangerous that type of dieting becomes.

    I was the “big” woman in my family, the rest of the women are small boned. I am large boned, by any method of measurement. There is nothing petite about me, and there never was. I was born a big bouncing baby girl, and I grew up to be a big bouncing woman, but for a brief time of “skinniness” when I experienced my teenage growth spurt! We are all different and beautiful in our own way!

  7. Well, this is a surprise, I have influenza! My symptoms have been getting worse, it started suddenly at suppertime Sunday evening. I am now running a low grade fever, had the chills off and on all day, no appetite, killer back ache, brutal headache, dry cough. Attila suggested cranberry juice, before the fever started. I had been drinking plain water, the juice is better, and it makes me feel slightly better too. I have lots of it!


  8. Hope you are on the mend. It’s been a nasty flu winter – so many people on the mountain were sick for a long time. I hope you have the abbreviated version.

    I have fretted about my weight since I was about 13 years old. It’s insidious that I spent a lifetime worried about body image. My sister and I were considered the tubby kids of our extended family… and everyone let us know. That perception never left me – that I thought the whole world saw me as tubby… and I wasn’t.

    Finally at age 67 I no longer worry. I eat anything I want with moderation… and have lost weight. 🙂

  9. NORA

    Dear Maggie,

    I hope you are feeling a lot better now. Sending TLC! I have never had influenza but it sounds like the cousin of bronchitis and hubby has had that. He has actually frightened me when he had it because he sounded awful. Hoping that this note finds you up and about and breathing freely with no aches and pains.

    I have been slim all my life. My parents used to bribe me to eat with money. Ha, Ha, Ha….money to me was nothing. Bribe me with a puppy! 🙂

    I am very pleased I have gained 6 pounds in the last two weeks. This is quite an accomplishment for me especially now. Doc asked me to keep a food journal. I have done that before and for years but gave it up because I never referred to it and it was time consuming. This time I am recording calories. I was only able to get about 600 in prior to these last two weeks. When I saw how little that was I made a huge effort to consume more grub. It’s not a high point. Eating can and does make me feel worse but I did it.

    I am also making sure that I do not extend beyond my caloric intake and use that energy. So I am doing a lot of lounging! Ha! I am able to get about 1,000- 1,500 cals in a day now. My aim is a bit more and to reach a whopping 115 pounds. I will be a new me. My clothes will fit! Yay. We skinny people have problems too.

    Before you posted about being ill with influenza you were walking. That my friend DID motivate me to at least go out on to the patio and grab some sunshine and do deep breathing. Thank you. It is easy to be a slug when one doesn’t feel well. Friends can be so helpful with a needed push.

    Okay, to much about me and not enough about you-sorry. x0x0x0x0x0

  10. Reenie, this flu started off being not terribly bad, but yesterday and today it has really taken a firm grip on me. Diesel is watching over me. He sleeps next to my face, occasionally stroking my cheek or my forehead with his paw. He doesn’t startle at all when the hacking cough starts. What a trooper.

    I was up at 4 am, and went back to bed at 7 am to sleep until 1 pm. When I got up the snow was falling wet and heavy! I closed the curtains and went back to bed, 🙂

    I too worried somewhat about body image throughout my adult years. What a complete waste of time that was. When I look at pictures of myself, I think “what a healthy looking, attractive woman1”. Who is it that sits on our shoulders, judging us through the mirror. It is an ominous presence to be sure.

    Glad you have rid yourself of that Reenie! People are so beautiful when they are purely themselves, there is a kind of mystical symmetry to them.

  11. Nora, it seems I am not through the worst of it yet, but as of this afternoon it doesn’t seem to be getting any worse.

    “Bribe me with a puppy!”

    Gosh Nora, it is hard to understand how they would have missed that opportunity!

    Congratulations on your weight gain, and reaching your caloriec goals. It is fascinating how different we all are, how much we share, and yet how endlessly different our lives are. Enjoy that sunshine!

  12. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Love Nora’s comment of “Bribe me with a puppy!” Would if I could!

    Sorry about your flu, Maggie. I was wondering if you might be running a sub-grade fever when you were saying before you didn’t have one. Hope it’s running its course now and you’re starting to feel a bit better.

    The flu shots this year are supposed to have a very poor rate of coverage. They misjudged which strains would be prevalent so the shot has been helpful in only about 20% of the cases. 🙁

    I haven’t given in to flu shots yet, relying instead on never touching my face when out of the house and vigorously washing my hands as soon as coming home from being out. For the most part it seems to work, I haven’t had the flu (or at least one that lasted more than 24 hours) in about 3-4 years – since SD got out of the lower grades and stopped bringing “bugs” home.

  13. Teri, I probably was running a low grade fever early on, just didn’t recognize it as such. The cough was merely irritating at that point, and the other symptoms got a whole lot worse by yesterday.

    Your experience with SD in school reminds me of the only time I was sick when I was a single Mom in Grad School. I had daycare, but it was across the city, over an hour commute in heavy traffic.

    I had a high fever, the chills etc. and Terra was just having none of it, she was three years old and raring to go. I bundled us into the car, drove to the university, put her in the daycare and then sat in a tiolette booth near my office, on the toilet with the door locked, all day, and slept there, perched on the toilet. There was nowhere else to go, my office was used by other Grad students who would have complained, oh yes, they were quite the bunch, and there was no one who would help with the children. I did that for three days. At one point the janitor got a ladder to look in on me, was sympathetic, god bless his soul, so he left me. He checked on me occasionally. The ex, their father, would have seen it as an opportunity to play nasty games, not as a need to give his child proper care. Anyway, that was the one and only time I was truly sick in all those years as a single Mom. Getting sick again scared the bejeezus out of me!

    No lollipops and rainbows for us!

  14. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Wow, that’s quite the tale, Maggie. I’m so sorry you had to go through that to avoid your ex’s game playing. I have some idea of what it’s like, with Bri’s ex being a big game player, too.


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