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Three Fail-Safe Solutions for Sensible Portions

Portions featured image example description is in the body of the post

Three Fail-Safe Solutions for Sensible Portions

Summer is almost here and if you struggle with controlling your food portions today’s post has some excellent tips. This post by Lisa Salinger of Blind Alive was originally published on March 12, 1017.

“Portion Control!”

Does the mere mention of the term make you cringe? Controlling portions is difficult for everyone, but I believe it is even harder for people who are blind or have low vision. I’m here to give you some helpful tips so it doesn’t have to be such a chore. When faced with a situation where you are not sure how much to eat, there are three basic things you can do.

1. Do it Yourself

When you are preparing your meals at home, you have a great deal of control over your portion sizes. Though it may be tedious, I find it helpful to weigh and measure my food. I find an ice cream scoop with a lever especially useful for this purpose. The lever makes getting the food out an easier and quicker process.

You’ll want to confirm this is the case with the one you have, but generally, a level scoop contains one-fourth cup. You can also buy scoops for making cookies that are great for easily measuring condiments or smaller amounts of ingredients. I have a scoop that measures one tablespoon and is ideal for nut butters.

If you want to get the entire family involved, you can also buy serving spoons designed to measure in one half, three-fourths, and one cup sizes. I also have a few fourth or half cup containers with lids that are great for storing individually sized portions of snacks.

  • Don’t know how much of a specific food you should have?
    You can consult sites like My Fitness Pal, and Calorie King, which also have their own smart phone apps.
  • Just getting started?
    You might want to consult a nutritionist to learn about the amounts of various foods that might be best to eat.
  • Additional resources:
    • Contact a state agency or Association for the Blind. These agencies can connect you with a rehabilitation teacher to teach you how to weigh and measure your food.
    • Many of the catalogs with products for people with low vision sell talking kitchen scales and tactile measuring cups. To find serving sizes and calories in many packaged products, check out Directions for Me, which has an extensive database of foods.

2. Ask for Help

Though it takes some time to figure out portion servings when I am at home, the real trouble starts when I eat elsewhere. In those cases, I find I need to ask for help.

I might ask the server at a restaurant to suggest a meal that is on the smaller side, or I might order from the Senior Citizens’ menu. Generally, portion sizes at restaurants are nearly twice the size of what we need, or what we would eat at home.

If I can’t easily tell with my fork or a carefully placed finger, I may ask questions like, “Is that a half or a whole chicken breast?” I’ll also sometimes ask the server about how many ounces the entrée is if I haven’t already found that information on the menu. I often ask for a small to-go container to be brought with my meal. I try to save roughly a third to a half of what I’m having for lunch, with the exception that if they are separate, I eat all my vegetables with dinner.

3. Let it Go

Sometimes, you are eating at someone’s home, and maybe the food is unfamiliar. Or maybe it’s a buffet, and the order of the day is a dab of this and a bite of that.

Sometimes, the best you can do is to make the best choices you can and move on. While this shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence or give the rationale to be completely unrestrained, there’s also no point in obsessing over those things you don’t know and can’t change.

If you’re spending time with people you care about, let that be your focus, not how closely you stuck to your goals. If you choose more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, then you have a bit more overall leeway.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that you are controlling the portions and making the decisions that will aid you in living your best and healthiest life.

If you have more suggestions for making portion control easier, please let us know. You can comment on our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, or subscribe to our informative chat list.

Featured Image Description:

The image is silverware, napkin and white dinner plate with a small portion of a chicken salad centered on the plate. A silver sauce-boat containing salad dressing is above the plate.

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Guest Post: Lisa Salinger

Reach! 3 Invaluable Tips To Endure The Holidays

Originally published on BlindAlive

If I said I’m here to tell you about three unbeatable moves for the entire holiday season, what would your reaction be?

Maybe your heart does a little happy dance because you love the holidays in any way, shape or form. Maybe you feel almost nothing, and you wonder if it’s worth your time to keep reading. After all, retailers have been pushing “The most wonderful time of the year” since before Halloween.

Or maybe you passionately hate it all. Maybe you’re dealing with a job loss, a break-up, a life-changing diagnosis, or the death of someone you love.

I’d like to suggest that whatever your state of mind, you’ll love these three moves. In fact, I find them unbeatable all year-long.

First, let’s talk about the equipment you’ll need. You might want to wear comfortable walking shoes, but slippers, party shoes, or bare feet will also do nicely. You can sit, stand, or lie down.

The most important skill you will need for each of these moves is to reach! Here they are:

  1. Reach In!
    While this sounds like an anatomically impossible stretch to do with your body, it’s vital to do with your mind. Reach inside yourself. Are you incredibly sad, but are doing your best to put on a brave face? Or maybe you are keeping up the facade of acting coolly disinterested or hassled by the entire scene when you can barely contain your excitement and enthusiasm? You may not feel like you can let your feelings show, and even though it would be ideal if you could, you owe it to yourself to be honest inside your own head.
  2. Reach Out!
    Are you depleted? Reach out. Chances are, there are family and friends who’d love to lend a listening ear. Do you have energy and excitement to spare? Reach out. It’s important to be flexible and patient with yourself. Some days, some moments, you may be giving. Others, you may be receiving. Just do your best to keep reaching out and connecting meaningfully with others, both for their sake and yours.
  3. Reach Up!
    Have you ever listened to a workout where the instructor abandons particular steps and says something like, “Just move! Just do what feels best to you?” This third move is one that leaves room for lots of interpretation. For some, reaching up means taking time to connect with God and think about the significance of the season. For others, it might mean reaching higher — putting on that last burst of speed to complete goals first begun in January. It might mean reaching higher within yourself, to emerge victorious from struggles that seem impossible.

Whatever you do this holiday season, Keep On Reaching In, Reaching Out, Reaching Up!

If you’d like to share your story, we’d love to hear from you at Support@BlindAlive.com.

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Guest Post: Lisa Salinger

Creative Thinking … It Tastes Just Like Chicken

Originally Published June 05, 2016 on BlindAlive by Lisa Salinger

Veggie topped pizza with broccoli, tomatoes, yellow and red peppers, and cheeseHave you noticed how many things are said to taste “just like chicken?” From frog legs to tofu turkey, to alligator meat, the refrain is the same: “It tastes just like chicken.” I doubt that anyone is actually gullible enough to believe this. After all, nothing tastes exactly like chicken except for, well, chicken. So why do we say it? My unproven theory is that we want to compare something that’s new and unfamiliar to something we know and like, or even love. It’s why parents tell children that their liquid medicine tastes just like candy. The parents know it’s not true, but to them, the health benefits of taking the medicine are preferable to the consequences.

I’ll never forget my first taste of whole wheat pizza with vegan cheese. A delivery order to my office had been confused, and we ended up with four of these pizzas, and only one traditional one. Some of my coworkers were not pleased, but they were hungry, so they dug in. Comments followed quickly. “This doesn’t taste like pizza. It’s awful!”

A friend of mine sometimes refers to me as Polly the Peacemaker. Polly is for Pollyanna, who always looks on the bright side, and peacemaker comes from the fact that I’m happiest when everyone in my world is getting along. So you can see why I couldn’t just let the negativity continue.
“That’s because it’s not really pizza,” I said. Only something that sounded so offbeat would stop the conversation in its tracks.

“I don’t really think of it as pizza. If I did, I’d be really disappointed. I think of it as Vegan flatbread, and it’s pretty good. The crust is different, but it’s kind of nutty, and it has texture, and the cheese doesn’t taste like standard Mozzarella, but it’s a nice mix with the veggies that are on top.”

If you feel like you’re just eating a healthier version of pizza, and you don’t really like it, you’ll just feel cheated, or at least I have. But set that notion aside, and maybe substitute a mental script like, “I am making healthy choices and am enjoying Vegan flatbread.” It may just sound like a game of semantics, but why not recognize the unique differences of each food you try? After all, not everything tastes like chicken, and that is as it should be.

If you’ve found a helpful food substitution or a mental trick that works for you, please let us know. You can always respond via social media or on our Facebook group.

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Guest Post: Lisa Salinger

“The Right Tools

Originally published February 28, 2016  by  Lisa Salinger

Have you ever gotten a stone stuck inside your shoe? You try not to walk on it, and gingerly limp around until you can stop and remove it. Yesterday, this happened to me, with one important twist. When I tried to remove the offending stone, there was none to be found.

I was able to ignore it for the most part and went on with my day. Unfortunately, every time I got up from sitting at my desk, the discomfort was back, and by the end of the day, my slight limp turned into a hobble, and I could barely put weight on that foot.

“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s. where your power is.”

The culprit, it seems, is something called Plantar Fasciitis, a condition that, while painful, can be easily treated in most cases. It happens due to repetitive micro-traumas to the plantar fascia, a thick fibrous band of connective tissue that runs the length of the foot. Treatment involves taking a rest from walking and high-impact activities and stretching the Achilles tendon and the muscles of the calves and feet.

I’m not thrilled about giving up my daily walk, even temporarily. I walk a minimum of an hour a day, and it’s rare that I don’t log ten thousand steps a day on my FitBit. To be perfectly honest, I don’t always enjoy walking and wonder sometimes if that hour could be better spent. However, if I don’t walk in a given day, I feel restless and full of nervous energy, and focusing on even simple things can sometimes be a challenge.

I feel so fortunate at times like these to have tools in my figurative toolbox. That way, when something needs to be fixed or adjusted, I am ready and able, because I have the right tools for the job. In this case, I have three, and I’d like to share them with you.

  1. First is creativity. This is the mindset that asks, “How can I do this?” rather than saying, “I give up.”
  2. Second are things that will help me keep moving. How can I get in some of that all-important cardio that seems so beneficial for my health and well-being? For a few days, I’ll spend more time bouncing on the stability ball. It’s not as vigorous as walking, but it’s an adequate substitute for now. I also purchased a rebounder about a year ago. This is a mini trampoline with a rail I can use for balance, and the springy surface will lessen the impact to my heel.
  3. The final tool comes straight from BlindAlive. I was already doing our Cardio and Sculpting with Weights workouts, but now I need something that involves minimal standing on hard surfaces, and minimal impact, at least for now. I plan to make good use of the Gentle Workout Set and the Pilates Chair with Ring workout. These emphasize muscle stretching and strengthening more than I have lately. The fact that I have this problem in the first place is a gentle reminder from my body to strengthen and use my muscles so that, like good tools, they are ready for any job.

If you have any questions about what you’ve read, or you’d like to learn more about any of our workouts, please fill out the contact form at www.BlindAlive.com. We’d love to hear from you!