Friday, July 31, 2009

The Best Hike Ever (Mount Audubon)

The picture above was taken on June 28th on top of Mount Audubon in northern Colorado. It was an amazing hike. The weather was warm. There were lots of wild flowers on the mountain. There were patches of slushy snow that were melting and forming narrow streams. I loved the sound of the streams. I walked along the streams that were running gently down the mountain. At times, I closed my eyes and just stood in a shallow stream and listened to its soothing, gentle sound that took me back to my childhood. The last time I had walked along a stream was on the foothills of my hometown when I was about 12 years old. It was a beautiful and sunny summer morning. The hills were lush, the trees were green and the stream was cool and refreshing. If I could be anything in nature that’s what I would want to be, a stream. A gentle stream that beautifully sings as it runs down a hill nurturing all that crosses its path.
Mount Audubon
Distance: 4 miles one way
Elevation: 10,480 to 13,223 feet
Highlights: Dramatic views of peaks and plains, alpine wildflowers
Difficulty: Strenuous
"This prominent mountain, which can be seen from many points in Boulder County, looks like a dish of ice cream with one spoonful taken from the side. Because it is one of the many Indian Peaks, the views from the summit are especially dramatic. Imagine looking down on Mount Toll! Two-thirds of the trail lies above timberline so the views and the alpine wildflowers en route are also magnificent."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My relationship with a chocolate chip cookie

As I walked into the building this morning the security guard who sits in the lobby, and makes sure that no one without a badge gets into the building offered me a chocolate chip cookie. He is a nice and friendly guy, so I make sure that his friendliness is returned. I really didn’t want a cookie at 9:00 AM, but I took one to be polite. As I was riding the elevator, I thought once I get upstairs I’ll just throw the cookie in the trashcan. I don’t need any sweets today. But once I got to my desk, I just put the cookie on a tissue on my desk. In the back of my head I was thinking I’ll keep it for a rainy day. Maybe later on I will be craving something sweet like I sometimes do in the afternoons. At the same time, I was thinking I had a piece of cake last night, and I’ll probably have my mocha today at about 10:00, since that seems to be something that I cannot give up. I have become addicted to these amazing mochas that I buy from this little family owned coffee shop a block and a half from my work. It seems like I can’t really go through the day without one. I always get a small, non-fat, light whip mocha. At least, I try to keep it healthy. That is the only sweet thing I usually have during the day. Of course, sometimes I give in to a cookie or a piece of chocolate. Today may be one of those days, since there is a chocolate chip cookie sitting on my desk looking all pretty.

Later in the day at about 3:00 PM, I take a break from work by having a cup of tea. As I’m making my tea, I think should I have the cookie with my tea or not. I go over everything I have eaten during the day. For breakfast I had a little bowl of cherries with a handful of walnuts. Yes, my diet is unusual. I try to eat a lot of beans, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetable. And I try to eat very little meat, dairy or processed foods. This diet works the best for my body type. I count my calories too. For my size 1300 to 1500 calories a day is sufficient. I, also, workout three to four times a week. What screws up my diet are sweets. My daily mochas shouldn’t be a part of my diet, but I justify having them. They make me happy! They really do. For the fifteen minutes that it takes me to drink one, life is perfect. It is the happiest fifteen minutes of my day. Can I have fifteen perfect minutes a day even if the mocha has chocolate which is sweet, milk that has added hormones, coffee that has caffeine and whip cream that is full of saturated fat. The answer most days is a resounding “yes”. I tell myself, it’s only 10 ounces of milk, it’s only one shot of coffee, it’s only a little bit of whip cream and just a bit of chocolate. I have actually looked at the label on the container of the chocolate syrup they use at the coffee shop. It has no fat and only a few calories. So, cherries and nuts for breakfast, a mocha at 10:00, which is about 300 calories. For lunch I had what I usually have a salad made of beans and vegetables with just a little bit of olive oil and lemon juice dressing, very healthy and low fat. For dinner I’m going to make sure I’ll eat low fat and healthy especially if I’m going to have the cookie. I’ll probably have something like Salmon with corn.

My tea is ready. The question remains. Should I have the big fat chocolate chip cookie with my tea or not? I sit at my desk and look at the cookie the same way that a cat looks at a gold fish in a fish bowl. I count the chocolate chips, exactly thirteen. The cookie looks moist and soft. I tell myself maybe I’ll eat half of it. I have a sip of tea and bite into the cookie. It is so good! I love it! I have another bite. Before I know it, I have eaten half of the cookie with a few sips of my tea. I am totally enjoying this. I tell myself just eat the whole thing, reminding myself that I’m going to do a workout tonight. I eat the whole cookie as I drink my tea.

About 10 seconds after I swallow the last bite of my cookie with my last sip of tea, I think to myself, I am feeling so fat. I always associate feeling full with getting fat. I usually try to stop eating before I feel really full, but that is hard for me to do with desserts. I look at my belly and wonder did it get bigger in the last 10 seconds? Then I think, It’s impossible for it to get bigger in that short of a time. I start to have feelings of regret about eating the cookie. I should have, at least, had just half of it. I probably put, at least, 300 extra calories in my body. I wasn’t even hungry, so the fat is not even going to be used at all. It is just going to be stored in my body probably on my belly. I think I should just get up and go for a 10 minute walk around the block so a little bit of it is burned. Then, I think, you’re so weak. You can’t even resist a cookie. What is wrong with you? Why can’t you not eat something that your body doesn’t need. For an instant, I think maybe I should go to the bathroom and make myself throw up. Then I think, that’s going overboard. I’m not bulimic, just go for a 10 minute walk and make sure you workout tonight and no more junk food for today. I do have a love hate relationship with sweets just like my relationships with men!

As I’m getting up to go for a 10 minute walk, I smell popcorn. Someone in the office has just made some microwave popcorn. It smells so good! I wish I could have some! Here we go again… Just kidding!