Saturday evening, after watching a show on Netflix called The Game Changers, my husband announced he wanted to go on a plant-based diet. He said the show talked about the health benefits and that we should try it several days a week. Not go full vegan, but cut out meat three to four days per week. The movie featured professional athletes and Olympians who went plant-based and got stronger and gained more endurance. It argued against theories we’ve grown up with that to be strong you need to eat animal protein. The movie explained that plants also offer complete proteins.
When our kids were young, my husband told them that if they wanted to grow up big and strong they needed to eat something “with a face.”
At the exact time my husband said he wanted to cut out meat, I was charring a giant tri-tip on the barbecue that I found half price at the store. I also sauteed shishito peppers in sesame oil, cooked green beans from the farmer’s market and heated up mashed potatoes. It was a delicious meal. Yes, we eat a lot of meat. Would I be able to give it up? Or cut back? I crave protein and eat beef, chicken, pork and fish.
I watched the show on Sunday and thought I could try it a few days a week and see how it goes. We’re both feeling aches and pains we didn’t a year or two ago — and if a plant-based diet makes us feel better and healthier, why not? So, I cooked a batch of lentils. My son introduced me to lentils a few years ago and they are a staple in his diet. He’s not a vegan, but he definitely doesn’t eat meat every day.
I tried a different type that that I haven’t used before, fast cooking red lentils, and I simmered them in vegetable broth for 15 minutes. The package said one cup lentils to three cups liquid. They need to be rinsed before you cook them. Then I prepped garlic, onion, peppers, carrots, celery and cherry tomatoes.
I sauteed garlic and onion and spices in avocado oil. I’m an avocado oil fan because it cooks at a higher temperature than olive oil. It cooks faster and hotter.
The secret is to come up with a blend of spices that you love and season it well. The lentils pick up the flavors of their surroundings.
It was filling and delicious. I sent my husband to a friend’s house with a big slab of the tri-tip roast. I’ll enjoy the leftover tri-tip on a non-vegan day, but if I’m going to try going meatless three days a week, I don’t want it sitting in the fridge staring at me.
Should I try going plant-based three days in a row? Or, mix it up?
Have you tried a plant-based diet? How did it make you feel? I’m not known for a lot of will power. Do you have any tips or recipes I should try? Is it cheating to eat cheese or use butter?Would you give up meat? Why or why not?
Here are some plant-based recipes from the The Game Changers website: CLICK HERE.
We had a ping pong table gathering dust at our old home. We went back and forth on whether we wanted to move it or not. Our movers showed up with too small of a truck, they had to find a Uhaul to complete the move — so that set the nail in our ping pong table’s coffin. We donated it to Angel View Crippled Children’s Thrift Shop.
It had some good years of use. We raised our kids playing ping pong. We had relatives and friends over to play. The swim team played at our house. But lately, it had sat folded up in a corner in our garage.
Once we moved, I didn’t think about ping pong until our August beach vacation. At the park above the beach there were two concrete ping pong tables. My husband and played several games a day. We’d laugh so hard and it kept our heart rates going.
Then we went to Berkeley for a long weekend to visit the kids. My son found as an amazing airbnb that had a ping pong table in the living room. We played with the kids every evening. My son who had shoulder surgery had to play left handed and he was still beating us. It turns out that at his former job, they had a ping pong table at work. He played hours with someone he said was very good. It will be interesting to see how he does when his shoulder is healed and he plays us right handed.
After the beach and Berkeley trips, I decided to order a new ping pong table. It would have been so much easier if we had kept the old one, but that’s like crying over spilt milk. We researched tables and decided we wanted one that was outdoor and could stand up to weather. I was so disappointed when it was delivered!
The ping pong table arrived. Now about that “some assembly required.”
I’m usually pretty good at assembly required projects, but this one had me spooked. My husband cut open the box and there were multiple plastic packages of bolts, screws, nuts, etc. numbered starting at 40 going through the 50s, jumping over a hundred and ending at 128. My first step in assembly is making sure all the parts are there. I got out the instructions and they listed all the parts — but the numbers started at one and were consecutive — contrary to the contents in the box. I noticed the same type of screws in multiple bags. It completely overwhelmed me how to start.
My husband said, “Let’s send it back.”
I googled our area and ping pong tables. I found a game room guy. I called and asked if he’d assemble the table.
He said “Yes, next Wednesday for $450.”
My husband said, “Like I said. Send it back.”
I texted our realtor and asked if he knew anyone to assemble ping pong tables. He told me to use a website called Thumbtack.com. Good advice. They have service professionals at reasonable prices to do whatever you need. We found an affordable person who turned out to be a nice young man in his early 20s who assembled our ping pong table just like that for a fraction of the cost of my first quote.
So now I can say “Let the games begin!”
What fun activities do you like to do on vacation and at your house? Do you play ping pong or pool? What else do you do to stay active?
Do you like assembly required projects? How do you approach them?
Last week we were fortunate to see our bobcat in action inches from our bedroom window. I posted photos and video HERE.
Sunday on our morning walk, I caught sight of a squadron of javelina. Yes, that’s what a group of them are called. These were six youngsters I believe, because they were smaller than ones I’ve seen in our yard. Also, they didn’t have tusks. I thought they were related to pigs, but a docent at the nearby preserve told us they are in the guinea pig family.
There’s never a dull moment in the desert of Arizona. I’m enjoying the surprises!
What are some of the creatures you have in your neck of the woods?
I had so much fun showing off my new home to my guest this week. I had the company of my sister-in-law to visit thrift shops, consignment stores and an outdoor mall called Scottsdale Quarter. We went out to lunch, had fun sitting around talking until late in the night — (anything past 8 p.m. is late to me!) We hiked, walked and swam in the pool.
We took her to the lake last night. She loved it and said she’s coming back with her husband. They have a boat and spend summer days on a lake.
We watched sunsets and of course the wildlife with our bobcat as the highlight. It was interesting to view my home of nine months through the eyes of someone who has never been here before. It was like seeing it for the first time.
These are the photos she took with her Android. I have an iphone SE and my camera isn’t nearly as good!
What are your favorite things about having guests? Do they stay with you or nearby? Do you like to cook for them? If you do, what do you like to prepare? If not, where do you like to go out?
My husband called to me from the bedroom. “The bobcat is here!”
“Where?” I asked scanning my view past the fence in the backyard.
Wow. The bobcat was lounging inches away from our sliding glass door. She looked hot with mouth open breathing. But instead of panting, she was scenting her next meal. My cat Olive used to do that when scouting for birds in our backyard — before we moved to the wilds of Arizona.
I called to my sister-in-law to come into our bedroom and we stood fascinated watching our very own “animal kingdom.”
The bobcat nonchalantly grabbed a bird midair and took it behind a potted plant to munch. She climbed a tree and came down with another snack of a baby bird. Another baby bird was hopping on the patio oblivious to the danger. That life ended quickly.
The bobcat moved into the shade and fell asleep on our patio, sated with an afternoon meal.
I’m a little nervous to go outside after dark. You don’t know what’s out in those trees or under our patio furniture. It’s literally a jungle out there!
Thanks to my sister-in-law for the amazing videos.
We haven’t been out hiking for months in the preserve by our house because of the summer heat. Finally, the weather is breaking and it felt wonderful to be out in nature at the gorgeous McDowell Sonoran Preserve once again.
We have a house guest, my sister-in-law, and it’s fun to show off our new town to her. She loved the hike, too and took some great photos of our desert life. I’m looking at things through her eyes and it’s inspiring to me.