Summer Reading Lists

I saw a news article recently where former President Obama published his summer reading list, which he’s been doing for years. This got me thinking about my own reading list. Of course, I don’t just limit it to summer as I read about 2 or 3 books a week year round.

And just now, I’ve got two “books in real life” partially read through on my bedside table and am halfway through another one on my Kindle app. I read the Obama article and although his taste runs more to the international stories of real people, there were a few I want to check out. One of which is a science fiction, Andy Weir’s “Project Hail Mary.” I haven’t read his other books but I own the movie, The Martian, which was adapted from one of his books and it’s one of my favorites.

Last week the New Mexico State Library rural bookmobile stopped at our mobile home park. I had seen the truck a time or two before but hadn’t ever stopped in. This time I happened to be in the Ranchhouse visiting without my dog so I popped over to the bookmobile. I chatted with the two employees, got a library card (I haven’t had one for many years), and got signed up for online resources. There are a lot of books you can read online or listen to for free if you have a library card.

This got me thinking and I went online to check out the local “sticks and bricks” library in my nearest town, about 20 miles away. They also have a lot of free online books and all I have to do is go in and get a library card. I plan to do that very thing this week. I’ve been paying for Amazon Kindle Unlimited for about 4 years but if I can start reading quality and entertaining books for free online, take me there!

So what’s on my summer reading list?

“Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal” — a memoir by Jeanette Winterson. I’m almost finished with this book and really enjoyed it. She’s an insightful writer with a lot of classic literature knowledge.

Hope Callaghan’s Cruise Ship Cozy Mysteries — I’m in the middle of the last one, 21 books in total. These are free if you have a Kindle Unlimited account. Engaging but not taxing on the brain. Good for reading before falling asleep.

“F Is For Fugitive” — one of the alphabet series detective mysteries by Sue Grafton, who published 25 in the series before passing away. I have the paperbacks and decided to dig them out and re-read the series again after a number of years.

Books that are waiting for me for the rest of the summer:

“H Is For Hawk” — a memoir by Helen McDonald

“The Year of Magical Thinking” — by Joan Didion

“The Art of Memoir” — Mary Karr

Plus anything exciting I come across as I explore more that the public libraries have to offer. I think the reading journey has just begun.

One Day on the Acid Watchers Diet

Food preparation has become my zen, not by choice. It’s labor intensive, definitely on the opposite spectrum of fast food. How many people can resist the urge to go the easy way out with their meals?

I’ve waffled over the years from a staunch healthy diet to relishing the gustatory pleasures of local restaurants. I’ve never had to actually change the way I eat by doctor’s orders, it was always because I either wanted to lose weight, get more healthy, or was feeling fine and really let go with the baking and the fried, fatty foods.

Now, my pain has become so severe and I want to heal naturally, not be stuck on evil prescriptions that come with more side effects than benefits. I was recently diagnosed with several things, all related to digestion, that explain the pain. I have a hiatal hernia, moderate to severe antral gastritis, distal esophagitis, and mild colitis. So, I had to make an immediate and strict lifestyle change and choice.

I’m a little over one week into the process and I thought I would document a typical day and what it involves. Thank goodness I’m retired but if you have to follow this same routine, it’s not too hard to prepare things in advance on the weekends and have your meals ready to go during the week.

I purchased the book titled The Acid Watchers Diet, not specifically for those with a hiatal hernia but often quoted by someone with HH as being most beneficial. I typed up the list of ingredients in chapter 9, The Healing Phase, and took it with me to the grocery store. I don’t specifically use the recipes in the book but I read through them to get ideas. There is one grocery store about 25 miles from me that carries a lot of fresh and organic ingredients, thank goodness. I hadn’t been grocery shopping in over a year because I was doing curbside pickup from Walmart due to the convenience. That practice has ended.

Today is Saturday, July 3

With this diet, you are supposed to eat 5 small meals a day. Hence all the constant preparing and clean up all day long.

7:30 Breakfast

I made a smoothie in my Vita-mix with the following ingredients (note: I never measure anything when I cook so these are all guesstimates).

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup frozen fruit (strawberries, peaches, mango), partially defrosted
  • 1/2 cup non-fat milk, reconstituted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 T maple syrup (the good kind)

10:30 mini-meal

I made a “dip” and sliced some organic carrots, celery, and cucumber

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup olive oil mayonnaise diluted with coconut oil (I shake it up in the mayo bottle before measuring out)
  • 1/4 tsp Mrs. Dash seasoning

Mash together with a fork and stir well.

12:30 Lunch

I took some leftovers that were made with:

  • diced baking potato
  • red pepper
  • celery
  • baby Bella mushroom

Cooked in water and coconut oil a few days ago.

I added the following to the Vita mix:

  • leftover potato mixture (about 1 to 1 1/3 cup)
  • 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup chicken bullion (I use Better Than Bullion)
  • 1/2 cup non-fat milk, reconstituted

I took this soup and microwaved for one minute.

3:00 Afternoon mini-meal

1 no added sugar fruit cup (cherry, peaches, pineapple, pear) with Simply Granola on top

5:00 dinner

The day before, I had prepared two tilapia fillets and saved one for today.

Set oven to 350 and grease a glass baking dish with coconut oil. Dip defrosted tilapia fillets one at a time into first a mixture of beaten egg and water and then a plate with cornstarch and nutritional yeast. Place fillets in the baking dish. Turn over once after 10-15 minutes. When fish is flaky and not pink, remove from oven (about 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness).

For dinner tonight, I combined the following:

  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated carrot
  • 4 small baby Bella mushrooms chopped
  • 1 tilapia fillet, pre-cooked, and shredded
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 T Bragg’s aminos (tastes like soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger

(Note: celery is nice too but I ran out). Cook in a nonstick pan with a small amount of water. Add more water as necessary until everything is cooked through and hot. This usually makes two meals for me.

Here’s to health. Enjoy!