Posted on

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.

Posted on

Blindness, Self-Confidence, and Being Enough

Blindness, Self-Confidence, and Being Enough Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

Today’s Guest Post was originally published on BlindAlive February 05, 2017 by Mel Scott

Being Enough What Does It Mean?

What does it mean to “be enough?” How does it feel? How will we know when we have reached that blissful state of “enoughness?”

These questions have been churning in my brain consciously for years, and probably subconsciously all my life. Well, I have been pondering on it long enough. I have some ideas that might help sort it out.

To say, “I am enough” is a very different statement than, “I have enough.” We can quantify “having enough:” there is enough food, shelter, or whatever it is that is required. “Being enough” is a bit more elusive. It is a state of mind. To be willing to say, “I am enough” and truly believe it, even for an instant, allows for a feeling of inner spaciousness; a peaceful expansion of consciousness.

I could easily tell you at this point to do twenty affirmations every day saying, “I am enough,” and eventually you will feel better. This absolutely can be an effective practice. I use it myself but I want to introduce another idea.

Are We Being Realistic In Our Expectations?

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation and the person said to me, “I am sad because I am not enough.” Usually, I might have said something like, “Of course you are, look at all the people you have helped and influenced over your lifetime.” There are a lot of dismissive remarks I could have made. This time, however, what shot out of my mouth was, “You are right! You are not enough and you never will be, so get over it!” I felt kind of shocked when it spilled out of me, but I realized the truth of the statement immediately.

How can any of us ever be “enough” when the To Do List is infinite? How can we be enough when we feel “less than” due to blindness, deafness, or a thousand other physical conditions, or when the size of our pants aren’t the size we have decided is the perfect one? How can we ever be enough when we measure ourselves by a superhero we have conjured up in our own minds? How can we be enough when the mark moves up as soon as we reach it?

We can’t! There is no way! Therefore, to be sad about not being enough means you will be sad about it the rest of your life. That does not work for me.

A Proposed Solution

The way I see it is I can either drop the thought, “I am not enough” and even drop the thought “I am enough.” They really are not useful because a measurement is inherent in both statements. I propose we drop them both. Can you imagine that? You never have to be enough again and you never will feel sad again because you are not enough. “Being enough” is no longer a measurement that applies to us.

How does that feel?

For me, a whole world of guilt-free possibilities just opened up. So much inner space can be created if we get over “being enough.” Let it go and observe how you feel. Take it in and you might breathe easier.

BlindAlive would love to hear your reactions to this post. You can comment on their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, or subscribe to their informative chat list.

Featured Image Description:

In the photo are 6 flat stones atop one another decreasing in size to convey balance. The stones are sitting on a rocky beach in the foreground. In the background is the ocean and the pastel colored sky is on the horizon. The color palette is a calm, soothing one in softly muted grays, blues, pinks, and whites.

Posted on

#ItGetsBetter: Embracing Self-Made Confidence

#ItGetsBetter Featured image description is in the body of the post.

“True confidence doesn’t come from your not having any fear. It comes from trusting yourself to act in spite of your fear.” ~Unknown

#ItGetsBetter couldn’t be a more appropriate intro to the following piece written by a remarkable young woman I connected with on Facebook. Caitlin Hernandez is such a charming storyteller and I so enjoy reading her commentary. She is hilarious when she takes on family member personas, complete with accents. In today’s post, she speaks to something deeply personal to her and how she chose to embrace self-confidence. 

#ItGetsBetter: Embracing Self-Made Confidence

I’m hesitating a bit to share this, but I’m going to because I can, and in case it helps someone.

So one of the boss fifth-grade teachers I share students with offered to be my “blind date” for our school’s fundraising auction (I won’t out her YET, but I’m sure there’ll be pictures!). I was so stoked because, frankly, I don’t ever go to (boring and awkward) “adult functions” like this on my own unless (a) I’m coerced and/or (b) I know I’ll have someone to hang with who won’t middle-school-friend dance-ditch me. But then I remembered that I’d have to dress up … nooo! And I also remembered that y’know, everyone at school thinks I look like an eighth-grader. So then I started getting a little excited about dressing up and maybe actually stunning people by proving that I can look my age. I don’t know why that matters to me–it probably shouldn’t–but it does.

Hunting For the Perfect Dress

Anyway … my mom, as she so often is, was delighted when I semi-grumpily told her that I was sick of wearing my sole “little black dress” whenever I have to dress up, especially because the lacy material snags on everything, and that I guessed the time had come to go on another dress hunt. We went to Macy’s and had a shockingly easy time finding not one, not two, but THREE very different dresses which (a) fit me and (b) were on super-sale. (I told her gleefully that, now, I won’t have to go shopping for years. She just grumbled.)

The deep part: I realize that I’m honing in on the ten-year anniversary of starting college … also the ten-year anniversary of being assaulted … also the ten-year anniversary of feeling incredibly vulnerable and miserable in any outfit that wasn’t jeans and a baggy hoodie zipped to my chin. Struggling to feel safe in your own skin gets compounded so, so much when you don’t know when or how someone is looking at you … and when friends, in trying to be supportive, sometimes compliment you in ways that only confirm to you that you shouldn’t draw attention to your appearance, because that’s just asking for trouble.

Self-Made Confidence By Choice

I’m not going to say it’s taken ten years for me to heal and to feel better. Parts of me felt better a long time ago, and parts of me probably never will feel completely better. BUT I honestly haven’t WANTED to be seen–haven’t wanted to dress up and look good–since I was in high school. I’ve felt hints of it–getting my rainbow dress for Caro’s wedding and having my three, straight-guy aca-besties (straight, best male friends from collegiate a capella) take it in turns to dance with me; wearing my “little black dress” to Choral Institute and standing onstage to read my poem; not being afraid to wear a dress to a karaoke bar in L.A. because I knew Bry and Colin would never let anything happen–but last night was the first time I didn’t just slump on the sidelines while Debbie (my mom) eagerly picked out dresses. I was right in there with her, the way I was for homecoming and junior prom and senior ball in high school: pawing eagerly and shamelessly through the racks of dresses and asking her about the styles that *I* liked by touch and wanted to try on. I really felt like I WANTED to be pretty like I wanted to own that choice.

This isn’t just about dresses. You don’t need dresses or pretty clothes to be beautiful, or to feel strong and safe and confident, or to look your age; I know that. This is about self-made confidence and safety in my own mind and skin … which, for me, right now, feels like it’s about dresses, which I’d almost forgotten I used to like.

I’ll never be that girl who wears anything flashy or scandalous because that’s just not me. But I didn’t feel vulnerable in any of the dresses we tried … not one. And that was HUGE.

#ItGetsBetter

It’s hard to explain. But it’s been so long, and this newfound comfortableness crept up on me entirely unexpectedly, and it made me so happy, even though it’s hard for me to articulate or even understand precisely what it is, or how and why it came about.

Oh, I also got ballet slippers–I can never find shoes!–and a little purse, because Debbie sniped that I’d better not bring my BrailleNote and “wreck the outfit.” Sighties don’t understand anything. And Conrad and Barney (two of my oldest girlfriends) are coming over the day of to help me. I’m still not a makeup girl–I never will be … I hereby decree that here, in writing–but I might consent to a little, just cuz I kinda want to shock people by looking like a real adult, and that seems to work well on sighties. I want my rainbow nails (Alison’s specialty), but that’d probably age me down a few years. I also want my face glitter. Hopefully, that will be approved by the fashionistas.

I don’t even really know why I’m putting this out into the universe, except, I guess, to say that in many ways #ItGetsBetter.

And … thank you to all the people who listened to and loved me enough to help me get here. Even when I was the only girl dressed in a button-down in the a cappella line-up, or wearing hoodies in the summer, or attaching to you like a barnacle in a crowd, or doing any number of the things I did to cope. Y’all know who you are.

#ItGetsBetter Image Description:

Caitlin stands in the corner of the room in front of a gray pillar and a window to her left. She is wearing a fancy, solid-black dress that ends just above the knees with a floral-looking, lace pattern along her arms and down her sides to her hips. She’s grinning and holding the back of her hands out towards the camera, showing off her dark colored nail polish. A small black purse hangs by her right hip.

Posted on

Daring to Own Your Story

Daring to Own Your Story 2017 Featured image description is in the body of the post.

“If I can climb that mountain what else can I do in my life?” ~Becky Andrews

Daring To Own Your Story is a challenging annual women’s retreat created by my friend Becky Andrews. Recently Becky shared her passion to take more blind women on this empowering adventure in her Holman Prize video submission. Take a listen to her 90-second video as she talks about her annual retreat.

Every year, the Holman Prize awards three blind or legally blind individuals from around the world up to $25000 to carry out a dream project.¹

Becky, seated and talking directly to the camera opens the video. She has dark shoulder length hair with bangs and is wearing a chambray shirt with a navy and yellow fruit print pull-over sweater. Interspersed throughout the video are images of Becky and her guide dog Georgie. Some of the other photos include women on an obstacle course, rock climbing, and hiking.

Daring To Own Your Story Featured Image Description:

This outdoor photo is a group shot of attendees at the 2017 Daring To Own Your Story Retreat. Eight women, (some with white canes) are standing, two are kneeling. Also included in the shot are two guide dogs.

¹(2016) Who is James Holman? • Holman Prize 2018. Retrieved from Holman Prize 2018 website: http://holman.lighthouse-sf.org/who-is-james-holmanAccessed March 11, 2018.