playgroupolitics


Fresh and Easy ain’t so easy
August 13, 2008, 8:05 pm
Filed under: food, mommyblog, Uncategorized, west valley phoenix

I was so excited to have Fresh and Easy open near me.  Convenient, healthy, pre-made meals, that I could just stop and grab on my way home.  Because it was owned by Tesco, a British company, I was hoping for some international flair.  Well they do have samosas and frozen Indian entrees.  But what a disappointment! 

The store is communist era spartan, with a warehouse feel, in a small store space.  The pre-made food isn’t that healthy (white rice instead of brown, for instance) and not very kid friendly either.   Despite touting themselves as environmentalists, they give you more plastic bags than you could shake a stick at for your groceries.  And, they plastic wrap fruit (four apples plastic wrapped together–Why?)  And, there’s not really a good enough selection of everyday stuff to do your regular grocery shopping.  So, Fresh and Easy is definitely an extra trip.

On the bright side, is that they have good sauces (like Thai peanut sauce), the frozen Indian entrees mentioned above are tasty, and whole wheat pizza dough which I haven’t been able to find elsewhere  is admittedly awesome.  Did I mention cheap wine?  That is a plus.  Also, their economic woes are my gain, as they give out a $5 off a $20 puchase coupon every week and, discount aging items 50%.  Do I care if my watermelon is past its sell by date?  No I don’t.  However, I predict that Fresh and Easy won’t be long for this neck of the woods (Phoenix West Valley).  You’ve got to be junk foody and mass appeal or go whole hog organic earthy crunchy international.  Can’t please everyone you know. 

What prompted this post is a nightmarish trip I took there yesterday with Q (almost 2) and T (almost 4).  It’s self serve check out.  Fine and dandy, but if you’re buying liquor or you’re using a coupon (and I was doing both) you need a salesperson to come and enter things for you.  This may be an effecient use of me by Tesco, because they don’t have to pay me to check out my groceries or to wait for their salesperson to view my license and enter my birthdate, but it’s not an efficent use of Tesco for me.  Also, forced to self-scan my coupon, I heard a reassuring beep and assumed all was well.  It wasn’t, so since I wanted my bleeping  $5 off, I had to get a void.  Meanwhile my children are losing it, screaming and running away and refusing to sit in the cart.  Did I mention how hard it is to scan and bag your own groceries with two small cranky children to keep track of?  Admittedly this is my fault, as I made this stop post daycare, and I should have known better.  By the time we got out of there we were no longer fresh or easy, but rather cranky and pissed.

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STRESS–REALISTIC WAYS TO DEAL
August 7, 2008, 8:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Stress–ways to deal that might actually work–taken from DG newsletter that took it from http://www.stress.org

Contemplating and agonizing over a situation continues to heighten stress levels.  Acting on the stress will help address the problem providing you with ownership of the issues and a sense of power to manage the situation.  Acting may also take the form of research as learning more about an issue provides additional tools and knowledge to address the situation. 

  • Imagine Positively. Often our worrying stems from imagining and visualizing negative situations. Instead shift the negative images to positive images. For example, if you are worried about a friend and the potential of poor test results, imagine your friend receiving positive news and the celebration you will plan for her.
  • Relax. Meditation and yoga enable you to focus on the present instead of focusing on the items that cause worrying.
  • Keep a Worry Journal. Frequently many of our worries never come to fruition and instead live in our imaginations. By keeping a journal of your worries you can review these stressors and notice how many do not actually happen.
  • Be Active. Physical activity reduces stress hormones, increases the production of endorphins which enhance your mood, and relieves muscle tension.
  • Decrease Caffeine Intake. Caffeine increases feelings of anxiousness serving to heighten your stress.
  • Reduce News Intake. Media often reports negative stories that may lead to anxiety. Consider decreasing your intake of negative news.
  • Touch. Whether we pet our cat, hold hands with someone, or give hugs, touch may shrink stress by reducing the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. Giving touch, as opposed to receiving touch, reduces stress levels more significantly. Touch therapies such as Reiki, reflexology, massages, or chiropractic care also have positive effects.
  • Find a Listener. Individuals, who are able to share their worries with another individual who actively listens, find their stress levels decrease. When identifying an individual to be your “listener” consider the following suggestions associated with successful listening: (1) reduce internal chatter enabling you to stay more focused on the other person, (2) ask open-ended questions to enable the other person to share more deeply and thoroughly, (3) avoid interrupting as it sends a message to the other person that what you have to say is more important, (4) do not share your opinion unless asked, and (5) shy away from sharing your story as it minimizes the experience of the other person.
  • Be with Nature. Sitting outside, taking a walk in a wooded park or along the water, and other outside pastimes reduces heart-rates, helping to reduce low-level stress. Note: watching nature television shows have not been proven to have the same effect.


Alli–nope there’s still no easy way to take off the pounds
August 5, 2008, 8:58 pm
Filed under: fat, food

Like lots of people, I’m always looking for a shortcut to take off that last 10 pounds (does it still count as the “last” ten pounds if there was no first 10 pounds?).  I’ve got the slow creep over the years.  I blame kids, not because of pregnancy baby weight, but because I can no longer fit in the daily step aerobic class like I used to.  Also, I live in AZ, where God forbid you should walk to anywhere other than your car. 

So clever me thought I’d try Alli.  It’s advertised for the seriously overweight, so for the thin-for-America type like me it should work like gangbusters, right?  Wrong.  In sum, Alli causes you to poop out the fat.  One pill=25% of the fat of the meal you just ate.  It’s not cheap, but hey, neither is liposuction.  & I hate to say it but you can have nice hair, nice clothes, and a pretty face, but nothing counts as much as being thin.  You know it’s true.

Alli didn’t work.  Sure I pooped out some nasty fat (you can see it).  I only took it once a day, because I figured I wasn’t eating that much to begin with and I didn’t have that much weight to lose.  I took it once a day for 3 months.  My conclusion?  It made me hungry because I didn’t have the full feeling you get from the fat.  And consequently I would eat more.  And I was hungry!  So, as I doubt I’m the only one with this clever idea, let this be anecdotal evidence for you, that someone with the same brilliant idea as you has already done it.  And it didn’t work.

On to my new shortcut attempt:  Special K protein water.  It’s supposed to keep you from feeling hungry.  I think it does.  It tastes pretty good too.  If only it could keep you from getting bored.