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What I Never Wanted to Write

Lisa Jo was born to Kathy Galusha Kincheloe July 11, 1968, in Enid and passed away Monday, Sept. 21, 2009, at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center after a courageous battle with cancer. Lisa and Gary Wehrenberg were married April 22, 1989. Lisa attended and graduated from Enid High School in 1986. She graduated from Northwestern Oklahoma State University with a bachelor of arts degree in law enforcement. She received her masters of counseling and psychology with honors from Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Lisa owned and operated The Chimney Sweep until 2005. She was a school-based counselor for several schools. She had a passion for helping children and youth and counseled in many schools, therapy and family settings. Lisa was an active member of Lahoma First Baptist Church.

Lisa especially loved sponsoring youth and children's trips to Falls Creek. She also inspired and encouraged many cancer patients and their families. Lisa loved Christian music and especially enjoyed watching her children's sporting activities. Lisa is loved by her husband Gary of the home; daughters, Tabitha Blythe of Oklahoma City, Kelsi Nicole of Vinita, Okla., and Jayci Alis of the home; her son, William Chase of the home; grandsons, Curtis Hudson and Heston Jo, both of Vinita; and several other family and friends. She was preceded in death by Alfred and Jo Ann Galusha and one grandson.

Lisa was a cherished wife, beloved mother and devoted Grandma Pisa. She did have a beautiful smile, quick laugh and sweet spirit, but she also was a scrappy fighter who tackled life head-on, never shrinking back. Her love for God, her family and others was contagious. A little bit of Lisa will always live on in anyone who was privileged enough to have met her.

That is the official version. Quick, concise, summarizing. Just the facts. Maybe in a few days, I can do a better job of it. Maybe somehow I can find some kind of words to explain it to those of you who don't know her. I hope so. I'll try.


DAY 39

Yesterday, I gave blood. Besides being altruistic, I am cheap. They take your blood pressure for free.


The last time I gave blood, in May--back before I gave up diet soda and quick carbs--my bp was 136/82. And I was happy to see it. Yesterday, it was 130/80. Coincidence? I think not.


Yesterday, I also cowgirled up and mounted the scales. Since the last time I weighed...forty days ago...the day I started eating green and clean...I've lost seven pounds. Coincidence? I think not.

Ok, ok; I suppose seven pounds in forty days isn't anything stunning and dramatic. It won't merit me an infommercial or anything. But I'll take it! Besides, It's a great thing to finally be rid of sugar cravings, to feel like I am really taking good care of myself and my family (at least, as much as they will let me. Nobody else but me seemed to get excited about the unsweetened-yogurt-and-chia-seed-blueberry smoothie. Huh. Go figure.) and to be excited about eating real food.

I mean, when you can get to the place where you see feta cheese with spinach as a real treat, it does something to your head. It changes the way you see a lot of things. It makes you think more about what you are really doing, not just to your body, but to your life...are you packing it with junk food because you aren't getting enough of the real good stuff? You start asking yourself, "Am I eating this because I really want and need it, or because I am used to it and it's handy and quick and colorfully packaged and everybody else loves it and it gives me that fast shot of feel-good?" And then you start asking yourself those same questions about a lot of other things in life.

Enough already. I'm getting off the computer now. I've got, you know, real stuff to do right now.


DAYS 12-37...

...can all be pretty much summed up like this:

I eat like a squirrel. I am subsisting on nuts and seeds and berries. I am beginning to scamper. And, also like a squirrel, people are either amused by me, or really, really irritated by me and want to pelt me with small stones or sic their poodles and beagles onto me while I munch on my cute little foodstuffs.

To disclose fully here, though, I must admit that I have not been eating clean and green with 100% accuracy. For instance, every Saturday night I throw caution to the winds and eat chips and pico de gallo and salsa and queso with wanton abandon. That particular food habit is not up for discussion here. We shall speak of it no more. Because I ain't quittin' that 'un. And I wash it down with a Clementine Izze Soda. (World's SECOND BEST beverage, right after Metromint water.) And I smack my lips and lick my fingers, if no one is looking.

I have also consumed six chocolate chip cookies and two brownies and two tablespoons of ice cream and maybe half a sleeve of crackers before the raccoon ate the rest of the Gouda that went with them. (Sigh. It was really a lovely cheese. But that's a whole other story altogether.)

To put that in perspective, though, I once could easily have eaten all of that before supper on a week night. If I wasn't too hungry. To say that I ate that much sugar and refined carbs in a 25-day time frame is not just progress--it's a freaking miracle.

Based on that criteria alone, I would call this little experiment a screaming success. Eating less sugar and refined carbs has tamed my cravings. Even now, if I am diligent for a day or two after I overload (a double-chocolate brownie from Starbucks...would you call that cheating? Maybe? Well I suppose you could, if you wanted to get all legalistic about it and all...besides, it didn't even taste that good. I didn't finish it.) the cravings disappear and I am once again happy to eat a tomato for dessert.

Have I lost weight? I honestly don't know. I am scared to get on the scale. But my jeans are comfortable again.

What else?

I feel really, really good...except when I've cheated, then I feel almost hung-over with sugar and vow not to do THAT ever again. My nails are the longest and strongest they have ever been--which greatly pleases both myself and That Man Whose Back Won't Stay Scratched. I have saved $40-$50 in quarters, since I no longer raid everyone's piggy banks for my diet pop fix. That One Tall Kid Who Keeps Insisting I'm His Mother has asked me to feed him more of what I'm eating, and really liked the lentils. How much is that worth?

I am in too deep now. No turning back.


DAY 11

I meant, the day AFTER tomorrow, I would finish that thought. That's what I meant.

But first, a little word of encouragement for you fellow sugar-kickers: I think, I think, that it really might work. I'm beginning to think it's possible that we maybe, might, could kick this sugar-craving habit. I think. Possibly.

Last night I was working at our family snow-cone stand. (Oh. I didn't tell you that part, did I? Uhm, Yeah. But it's going to help get seven kids through college. The Nobel Peace Prize was founded by a munitions baron. You don't see anybody calling him a hypocrite, do you?) Anyway, I was stuck down there, and I was hungry. I called my son to ask him to bring me an apple. Couldn't fit me into his packed schedule...said to call his sister. I texted my daughter. She was in a movie. Great. I was honestly, legitimately hungry. And there were two chocolate chip cookies on the counter. My mom had left them for the kids. They ate all but two. Two.

Let me reiterate: These were The Home Made Chocolate Chip Cookies of My Childhood. I was hungry. I was bored. I was miffed. They were there.

Heck, yeah, I ate one.

At least, I started to.

And it was sweet. Really, really sweet. Too sweet.

It tasted too sweet.

One half a cookie was enough.

Because it was too sweet.



I was reading a little about the bio-engineering of our world food supply.

And then I quit, because it was just a little too dad gummed scary. I then went right straight downtown to the farmer's market and bought a cucumber, three zucchini-pineapple muffins and a dollar's worth of beets with the dirt still on 'em. I felt much better.

I don't think I am a conspiracy buff, or an alarmist. But.

Doesn't it just make sense that we should slow down a little in the god-playing end of things? It's the same with global warming. I am not sure why people debate about that. An analogy: Let's say, for example, that I am working on my car. I don't know much (anything at all) about cars. They're pretty complex machines, aren't they? But, suppose I got under the hood and started fooling around with things, experimenting. Maybe I'm trying to increase my gas mileage. Maybe I'm trying to get it to start easier. Maybe I'm just curious. Anyway, here I am, tinkering, when a stranger--who may or may not know more about cars than I do, I don't know...there's really no way to know in this scenario--shouts, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? STOP THAT RIGHT NOW BEFORE YOUR CAR BLOWS UP AND ENDANGERS US ALL!"

So, let's just suppose that happens. Then what should I do? Ignore him, because I kinda got the hang of things now, thanks, or at least step back and see what's going on before I jam my ratchet back under the thing-a-ma-bob? Maybe he's right, maybe he's an idiot...but I think I would like to learn just a little more about the cause for his alarm before proceeding. I am an err-on-the-side-of-caution kinda person. Especially when it comes to things like food, shelter, and life as we know it.

As for people who are so adamantly indifferent about the's a pretty complex machine. I'll give you that scientists don't know all there is to know about global warming. I'll give you that all the projections could be wrong. I hope they are. Probably they are.

But. Would it kill us to just take a step back and look things over before we decided for sure that it's all bunk? I mean...maybe just stop making such a mess for a second while we figure out why the bees are all dying?

That Kid Who Likes To Stay Up All Night Talking and I were talking one night about going green and so on. She asked me why, of all demographic groups, ours (middle-class Evangelical Christians in The South.... and all Republican, too, Herself excepted) is the most reluctant to do anything for the environment.

That is a good question. And while I can't speak for everyone, I can toss a guess out there.

I think it might be a fear of committing blasphemy.

Some people seem to think that if we admit "We've messed it up beyond repair!" and that we have altered our planet, it somehow diminishes God, makes us too powerful, makes it seem as though we don't believe in His omnipotence anymore.

I don't see it that way.

Just as God gave me this wonderful complex piece of machinery for my body, He has also given me enough freedom to wreak serious havoc with it. Isn't it the same with everything in our reach...our relationships, our lives, our home...our planet?

So do I think it's all certain disaster? Do I think there's nothing I can do to stop the inevitable? Do I think it's too late?

No, no, no, no. Of course not. Not for my planet, or for me. Or for you.

More on this tomorrow.




Preliminary results are now in: I am sure I feel better without sugar.

Today, I ate a (biggish) piece of (Devil's Food) birthday cake, a scoop of ice cream, and about 7 (or ten) handfuls of DORITOS. Then I spent about 5 (OK, really, two) hours lying on the couch in a sugar coma.

Would someone please remind me of this next time I am tempted to say, "Ah, what the heck, live a little, girlfriend! Have the junk!"?



Cucumber water:

Slice some cucumbers very thin. Stuff about 6-10 slices in a bottle of water. Chill until very, very cold. It has to be bite-y cold.

Unbelievable. And I don't even like cucumbers! Thanks to Pam for this one. It's definitely a do-er.

Day 6? Funny you should ask...

Part of my plan--and remember, this is just that...MY plan--is that I get one day off a week to not even think about it. I'm not saying I have license to just go crazy, just that I am not thinking about it. If it's there and I want it I eat it and no guilt, no explanations, no beating up. And yesterday was that day. So none of your beeswax what I ate. (But it was wonderful. Sigh.)

Now. My sweet potato is ready. Lunch.



I just ate some raw cabbage for a bedtime snack.

Did you hear me? Did you HEAR what I SAID? I SAID:

"I just ate some raw cabbage for a bedtime snack."

Do not look out your window for the four horsemen. This is not a sign of The Apocalypse.

But it is pretty frightening, nonetheless.



Sugar is one tough little monkey to shake off your back.

One tough little monkey.



BOO-yah for KEEN-wah!

(Which is, as I should have told you already, how you pronounce quinoa. If you didn't already know. Which, you probably do, since I am usually way behind on trends. Even food ones.)

Anyway, tonight I again sauteed the leftover quinoa-veggie-pork mix in butter, almost, but not quite, browning it a little, and then I added raspberry wine vinegar. And that was GOOD! VERY!

A side note about that raspberry wine vinegar: First, to my mom and my kids--it's NOT WINE! It's VINEGAR. I don't know why they use the word "wine"! If you don't believe me, take a swig. To everyone else, don't be tempted by the whole line of flavored vinaigrette stuff available at the grocery store. Yes, there are raspberry vinaigrettes that look like just healthy oil and vinegar with a little more flavor, but the labels tell you that they have maybe more sugar, spoon for spoon, than ice cream. Look at the different flavored vinegars and olive oils instead.

Which reminds me--nobody out there is actually going to mistake this whole project for advice, are they? Good honk, I hope not! I have zero training, knowledge or expertise in nutrition, health, science or medicine. Heck, I can barely cook, even. In fact, I would welcome any knowledgeable, or marginally credible, or just-not-too-terribly-kooky input anyone else would like to share. (A good place to start would be the quinoa debate that is brewing on my comment section on day 2. Help! Carol? Anyone?)

I guess if I am going to throw this open for public comment like that, I should define the whole project a little more clearly.

Which would be a good thing to do if only I were a little clearer, myself, on where I am headed with this.

Maybe it would be easier to tell you what this is not about. It's not about going vegan or vegetarian or locovore or all-raw or all-live or all-green. It's not low-fat, good fat, high-carb, low-carb blah, blah, blah. It's not about rules. It's not about deprivation or sacrifice. It's not about weighing myself in or beating myself up.

What it is about is the fact that America is getting fatter and fatter, and so am I. It's about de-toxing me from my sugar addiction. (And you can debate all you want about the existance of a true "sugar addiction". All I know is me. I am an experiment with a sample group of 1. And I know I have intense emotional connections to sugar.) It's about the fact that my kids have no idea what food looks like before it's pounded and bleached and enriched and fortified and hydrogenated and salted and breaded and canned and bagged and creamed and injected with sugar and salted again before heating. It's about learning to enjoy real food, learning to choose it and prepare it and taste it and smell it and appreciate it and want it and be satisfied by it.

It's about living a life where I have enough.

There is my manifesto.

And that is why I have no trouble telling you that I DID have one (1) chocolate chip cookie today. (I tried to give it away TWICE! When not even Eli wanted it, I took it as a sign from God that it was my cookie. And it was...divine.) Yes, I ate that coookie. But the rest of the day, I ate real, whole, fairly fresh vegetables and grains and meat and dairy with no sugar and no artificial sweeteners. And it was enough.