The Jack LaLanne Power Juicer

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that matters of health are very important to me.  As I look back on my 55 years, I guess they always were.  Among many other things, I’ve owned several juicing machines, convinced that they would help me maintain good health.  My current contraption is called the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer, and it’s the best I’ve tried.  I’m chalking that up to the influence of its namesake, Jack himself.  

Who was Jack LaLanne?   

                     

Jack was born in 1915, was purported as a youth to have been a juvenile delinquent, and was reformed at the age of 15 when his mother took him to hear nutritionist Paul Bragg speak.  He reformed his poor eating habits, eliminated all white flour & sugar, and owned a “health-food bakery” by the age of 18. 

In 1936 at the age of 21, he opened what is believed to have been the country’s first health club in Oakland, California.  At the time, doctors warned against working out with weights, believing it could cause a heart attack or even male impotence!  But eventually LaLanne, first seen as a crackpot, came to be known as America’s foremost authority on fitness.  In 1951 he produced & hosted The Jack LaLanne Show, TV’s first workout program.  The show featured Jack performing calisthenics to snappy music, usually with only a chair or table ledge as equipment, while he urged America to “get up, work out, and feel better”!  The show became nationally syndicated on ABC, and ran successfully for 34 years.  (And I really do remember watching it with my mom who was physically handicapped!) 

During this time Jack devised such now-standard gym equipment as the leg extension and weight pulley machines.  He was the first to produce protein supplements and nutrition bars.  Jack demonstrated his high levels of personal fitness with a series of stunts, usually performed on his birthday.  Among those … in 1955 he swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco, while wearing handcuffs.  And in 1971 for his 70th birthday, he swam a mile while shackled to 70 boats, that were carrying 70 people!

                                              

Jack was in his 90’s when he began touting his juicers, and still continued to work out daily, an hour in the gym and an hour in the pool.  He claimed he had not missed a day of workouts, or had a sugary dessert, since 1930.  When he died just last month at the ripe old age of 96, the spiritual father of America’s fitness movement was reported to have been holding a hand-weight!  See www.jacklalanne.com for more about Jack.

 

Why Juice?                                   

So with the history of this fabulous role model, whose name literally looks me in the face every morning in my kitchen, how can I not at least try to emulate him?  But juicing takes commitment, and I have my times of slacking off.  Beyond the inspiration of Jack, I look at juicing as a way to preserve not only my own health, but that of my husband Bob’s, too.  Now my Bob is not a fan of vegetables in general, and he’ll be the first to admit that.  But I’m proud of him since in the 19 years we’ve been married, he’s literally gone from a triple by-pass (at age 37), to being somewhat of a food snob!  He’s much more picky than I about fat on meats, spending lots of time cutting it off any food he’s served where it appears.  For a guy who really did live on burgers before we met, he now asks when his dinner salad will be ready, and actually compliments me (well, sometimes) on new veggies that I present on his plate.  So when I really began to take juicing to heart and asked him to try it, I was happy to have him say he liked it!  Now our fresh juice with breakfast is a way of life … and we miss it when we are not at home.

How I Juice:

Here’s the commitment part.  I juice the freshest fruits and vegetables I can get, and that means buying mostly organic produce in winter.  The rest of the year, I maintain a good-sized garden where I attempt to grow all the produce I need.  I regularly juice carrots, celery, beets & their greens, kale, swiss chard, spinach, romaine lettuce, mustard greens, parsley, cilantro and apples.  On Sundays, I spend time putting together my bags for each day of the coming week … just under 2 pounds of produce yields our two glasses of juice.  This way it’s easier to just grab a bag in the morning & juice it.  When I’m prepared ahead like this, the juicing & pouring takes about 3 minutes.  Then we drink the juice within 20 minutes … the nutrients begin to escape very quickly. 

Then there’s the machine clean-up.  This is said to be the part that causes most people to fail long-term in juicing.  I try to make it short work.  When I’m done juicing and have poured the juice into glasses, I IMMEDIATELY put on my rubber gloves and thoroughly rinse the juicer.  If you let it sit, even for a short while, the job will be harder.  I disassemble the parts, and simply run them under hot water, washing the debris down the drain.  I leave the parts to drain for the day.  Rinsing the juicer takes me another 3 minutes.

Every so often when I have time, I’ll load the parts into the dishwasher, but that does not remove the heavy staining very well.  The better way is more time consuming … load the parts in the sink filled with hot soapy water with bleach & leave it soak.  Later, spend some time scrubbing with the brush that’s included.  Now, keep in mind that I’m regularly juicing a lot of highly colored produce, so the parts definitely become very stained.  I suppose the proper way would be to soak & scrub the juicer after each use, but that’s not happening in my life.  And I have the less expensive white model; I imagine the stainless steel would hold up better.

So there you have it … juicing is a great way to add tons of healthy nutrients to your diet.  Visit http://www.powerjuicer.com/ for more details.  To our health!

 

Fitbit love!

December 2010 brought me a new gift.  No, it’s not what you’re thinking.  This is a gift I bought myself, four months earlier, and it’s called a Fitbit

Touted as being the latest thing in tracking your movements and converting that to useful data, I was most curious to see if it really worked, or was just a glorified pedometer.  I was particularly curious about Fitbit’s ability to track my sleep quality, since I consider mine to be terrible!  As an over 50, post-menopausal woman with several pounds to lose, this tool sounded like it would really help. 

So back on 8-5-10, I plunked down $100, plus $9 for shipping, on my debit card.  My confirmation e-mail said they expected to ship my Fitbit by August 30th.  Fitbit has a great website www.fitbit.com that can be used free-of-charge by anyone, whether you have the device or not.  (It’s a good site for tracking your food intake and daily activities, along with your weight and measurements.  But it’s pretty boring until you actually get your Fitbit!)  Luckily the site has a great forum, used by other Fitbit owners, and it was not till I visited there that I realized the wait I actually faced!  From what others had posted, it seemed the wait would be longer than August 30th.  The site was later changed to say my Fitbit would ship in early November, then changed again to the first two weeks of December.  I finally got my confirmation e-mail on 12-7-10, and it arrived on 12-9-10.  I don’t think I’ve ever waited this long for a shipment of anything!

My first few days were spent a little confused, but I figured it out and now I love it!  It does indeed track your calories burned, steps taken, activity levels and sleep quality.  Since the Fitbit contains a 3D motion sensor like the one found in the Nintendo Wii, it tracks your motions in three dimensions and converts this into useful information about your daily activities. 

Ten weeks later, living with Fitbit has become routine.  I wake up in the morning with it in the pouch on my arm, and press “stop”.  I remove it from the pouch & clip it to my waistband where it stays for the day (some women clip it to their bra).  I turn on my computer as early as I can to allow Fitbit to sync, and see the report of how I slept.  If I’m not wearing anything to clip Fitbit to, like while dressing, I just carry it in my hand.  I sit it on my vanity while taking a shower.  I check it multiple times per day to be sure it’s still there, and to see how many steps I’ve taken.  I allow it to sync to my computer at least once in the evening to track my progress.  When I go to bed, I set Fitbit up in it’s pouch, and press “start”.  (Some people prefer the sleep tracking while sleeping with Fitbit  clipped to their shirt.)

Fun Stuff I’ve Learned as a Fitbit Owner:

Before this, I really thought I was an active person.  While I knew I was falling short of the recommended 10,000 steps per day, I had no idea I was coming in so low some days on the movement scale.  It was depressing at first to see Fitbit’s pie chart for my activities showing the great majority of my awake hours were spent either “sedentary” or “lightly active”.  The better activities are “fairly active” or “very active”.  All these scores are calculated by the software, and are too deep for me to understand, but that’s OK. 

Even now that I’ve become religious about getting in my 10,000 steps, it’s hard to score the higher grades, but it gives me something to strive for.  Just wearing this thing causes me to be conscious of it most of the time.  Translation; I’m moving more with greater purpose!

Also, Fitbit has revolutionized the way I think about my sleeping!  I know I used to sleep more poorly, especially while going through menopause.  I’ve always been a very light sleeper, and any extra light or noises are enough to disrupt me.  But now that I’m used to sleeping with Fitbit, I am shocked to learn I regularly sleep 7-7½ hours a night!  I wake up an average of 6-12 times, and my sleep efficiency is 95-98%.  Now hold on, these numbers may not mean what you think they do. 

When worn on my wrist as I do, Fitbit says I woke up every time my hand moves.  Most people move their bodies multiple times at night, but it doesn’t mean they are waking up, as in actually getting up.  The sleep efficiency number is another calculation Fitbit does that I don’t really understand … but 98% sounds pretty good to me!

I have a long way to go with getting where I want to be physically, but I know I will now with this cool little item.  If nothing else, Fitbit reminds me all day long to keep moving, and I know I am improving my balance, coordination, strength and endurance by doing so.  Fitbit is the perfect companion to my favorite slogan … make health a habit!

10 Things I Did Today to Make Health a Habit

1 – I took deep breaths

            10 to be exact, while laying flat on my back {no, that’s not really me in the picture}, before getting out of bed.  Experts say we don’t breathe right, so it’s an area I want to improve on.  Benefits of deep breathing are:  reduced stress, lower blood pressure, improved sleep quality, and relaxation of muscles.  And I read somewhere that cancer can’t live in an oxygen-rich environment, so why not try this?

2 – I hugged & kissed my husband

            Check out this link … people in a happy, committed relationship are happier and healthier, and those in a happy marriage even more so.   I love you honey!  http://www.healthytheory.com/committed-relationships-help-improve-mental-health

3 – I hugged my dog

            They say people with pets are happier & calmer.  Theories abound as to why, such as:

  • pets count on their people for their very lives, so their owners feel fulfilled;
  • dog owners specifically tend to move more, as in walking the dog;
  • and, the unconditional, always there, I’m-so-excited-to-see-you behavior of a dog just makes most people happy!

4 – I walked 10,000 steps

            Elsewhere on my blog you will find my testament to probably the best purchase I’ve ever made to improve my health … my Fitbit!  This amazing little thing clips inconspicuously to clothing, and is also worn at night.  It tracks my steps, calories burned, activity levels, and sleep quality.  This was so worth $100, $9 to ship, and a 4 month wait … check it out at www.fitbit.com!   I’ve not only dropped a few pounds since I got it on 12/3/2010, but it is a constant reminder to JUST DO IT!

5 – I did weight training  

            I do a serious, 45-minute weight training session twice a week at the gym, and am seeing big payoffs in the toning department.

6 – I stretched  

            I watched my beloved father spend the last years of his life becoming more & more frail, taking more falls, and having more problems with his balance.  I fear it’s genetic.  Now granted, he lived to the ripe old age of 87, but I know it’s possible I will live that long or longer.  So I work hard at keeping flexible, doing stretching & yoga daily.

7 – I ate well

            I took my vitamins.  I drank filtered water all day long.  I ate 3 servings of fruits, and 6 servings of fresh vegetables.  And I made fresh juice!  Thank you for Jack LaLanne and his Power Juicer!  I’ve owned several juicers in my life, but this one’s the best.  I have more detailed posts on my blog about this, but I juice nearly 2 lbs. of fresh fruit & vegetables each morning, and my husband & I drink it down.  Tastes great, virtually no fat, low in calories, high in great for you stuff!

8 – I brushed & flossed my teeth

            After a scare with periodontal disease last year, caring for my teeth has become routine.  I combine health efforts by brushing my teeth while standing on one foot, then the other, brushing for 2 full minutes, morning & night.  And my floss has a place of honor, near my evening TV-watching chair, so I never miss a night.

9 – I slept well

            When I got to full-tilt getting thru menopause several years ago, I knew I never slept soundly, and I was sure I was not getting enough sleep {and no, that’s not me either}.  But Fitbit changed that!  For one thing, I’ve learned that although it’s ideal to sleep without waking for a solid 7-8 hours, it’s really not very common, especially in women.  The truth is that if the amount of sleep you get allows you to wake refreshed and not be tired during the day, it’s probably adequate for you.  Fitbit has proved that, although I do wake up briefly several times during the night, I always go right back to sleep.  I average a total of 7.25 hours of sleep a night with a sleep efficiency of 95-98%! Of course, I am getting more physical activity in to meet my 10,000 step goal each day, so I’m sure that’s helped.

10 – I wrote this blog

            whereby reminding myself how well I’m doing in my quest to remain healthy for as long as I can!

Does SPF plus SPF equal more SPF?

In my quest to look as good as I can for as long as I can, I try to follow the advice of the so-called skin care experts.  One of the biggest things they seem to agree on is that the sun does more to age our skin than anything else, so never go without sun protection factor, aka SPF.  It’s in most of the skin products I use, notably my moisturizers and foundations.  So, does using SPF 15 in my moisturizer followed by SPF 15 in my foundation mean I have SPF 30 on?

Evidently NOT!

Now this SPF thing can get really deep.  It’s a multiplier that is supposed to tell you how much longer you can remain in the sun without a burn when wearing a sunblock.  So if you can usually tolerate 10 minutes in the sun without getting a burn, an SPF 15 sunblock will provide you with 15 times that, or 150 minutes in the sun without getting a burn.  So it would go that SPF 30 would allow you 300 minutes.  But then it’s said that SPF 50 and SPF 100 are about the same, and the FDA is considering capping SPF at 50.  But then they say SPF deflects 96.7% of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks 98%, and SPF 100 blocks 99% … this discussion is getting a little confusing.

Then there’s the advice of how much of the stuff you really need to use.  Experts seem to agree most of us use significantly less than we need.  It seems a common bit of advice is that you need an ounce (a shot glass worth) to get the advertised SPF effect.  But, is that a shot glass on my face, or my whole body?  I can’t seem to find that out, but it’s got to be the whole body, right?  Unless walking around with a slicked face is up your alley!

But, I digress … I’m talking mostly about protecting my face here.  So it’s said that once I’ve applied SPF to my face, if my face is “untouched and there is no sweating” (?*! ~ it’s 90 degrees & exceptionally humid here in Michigan today), it is acceptable to apply the SPF just once at the beginning of the day … what?  What’s the alternative … step into the ladies room in the middle of my workday & slather sunscreen over my makeup … talk about a slick?   

But getting back to my original question, the consensus seems to be that when applying several products containing SPF, the SPF number of the last one you apply is what you consider you’re wearing.  So, I’d be better off skipping the SPF in the moisturizer, and counting on the SPF in the foundation to track my numbers.  Then I just have to hope I apply enough of the stuff, I can keep my hands off my face, and I can remain calm & sweat free throughout all my days!

Again, NOT!

Sleeping on Your Back Equals Less Wrinkles?

OK, that sounds logical.  It makes sense to me that the very effect of gravity on my face, when I’m laying on my back, would sort of make it all lay flatter, right?  The lines would be smoother, the skin would be tauter … I get it.  But have you ever tried it?  Well, I have, and it just doesn’t seem like a long-term solution for me.

 For as long as I can remember, I’ve slept on my side.  Usually my left side, but I do alternate.  When I first go to bed, it is comfortable to sink in to the mattress and settle things down on my back.  But within minutes I’ve turned on my side.  So trying to stay on my back for any length of time … well, it feels like coffin practice, and there’s nothing relaxing about it!

All kidding aside, this is a major concern for me.  In researching the topic, it seems many professionals are in agreement that sleeping on your back will help to prevent wrinkles.  They also say avoiding the sun, not smoking, not squinting, controlling your facial expressions, wearing sunglasses and sunscreen, and adding ample antioxidants to your diet will help as well.  So I guess by being a non-smoker and eating a great diet, I’m doing the right thing there.  I have been an eyeglasses & sunglasses wearer for as long as I can remember, and I keep my prescription up-to-date ~ that should handle the squinting issue (except when I’m putting on eye makeup and/or checking same).  And I do wear sunscreen regularly.

But controlling my facial expressions ~ what?  My face is one big facial expression!  I smile a lot.  I frown a lot.  I raise my eyebrows frequently.  People have told me I’m funny just by observing my facial expressions.  I don’t think this is going to be something I can change!

So, back to the back-sleeping issue.  One piece of helpful advice I found comes from an unknown writer who understands this method may be impossible for some people.  She instead suggests you use satin pillowcases because satin won’t bunch up like cotton, and it’s smooth surface can’t tug or pull at your skin.  This is something I’m considering trying.

Another tip says to sleep with a body pillow alongside yourself, resting as much of your weight on it as possible.  You can prop your shoulder and part of your chest, and/or throw your leg and hip over it.  This will keep your head turned somewhat away from the pillow, keeping a lot of the weight off your face.  All right, so now I need a body pillow too … a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond is in order.

But alas, the most prevalent news concerning avoiding wrinkles comes too late for me.  They say “wrinkle prevention starts early in life”, and the sources I referred to seem to think that’s before you’re 30!  Well, I guess at 54, it’s safe to say I missed that boat! 

So I’m sticking to the age-old rule … if I just keep smiling & using the facial expressions that got me into this mess to begin with, no one will be able to see the lines, right!!!???

Yoga is the Perfect Exercise

Complete fitness, flexibility and relaxation can all be achieved by anyone through the practice of yoga, and that’s a tall order for any exercise regime.

My Life

In the 1970’s & 80’s, I dabbled with running to achieve a fit body just as I had with gym memberships, Jane Fonda VHS tapes, and the latest fitness items ordered through the mail.  I didn’t last long with any of those, but figured I was at least ahead of the game by trying.  Then I became a mother, and thoughts of keeping myself fit took a backseat to raising my son, which turned out to be a bit of a workout in itself!  When I came out of that fog, several pounds heavier I might add, I was settling into a good routine with regular walking and stretching.  That’s about the time that menopause took over my life, and at times I wondered if I’d make it through.  As I entered my 50’s, attacks of debilitating back pain became common, and my knees began to scream at me.  Now it’s five years later and that phase of my life is over.  My viewpoint of my body has never been better, and body aches and pains are few; I credit Yoga.

My Fears

Yoga always seemed like an unattainable dream to me.  I’d buy yoga magazines for inspiration, but end up frustrated trying to emulate the pictures of the svelte young people doing impossible poses.  I’d read articles about Linda Evans’ yoga practice and check books out of the library showing Raquel Welch in unbelievable positions.  Wow, I wish I could do that!  But a few years ago at the height of my discomfort going into menopause, I decided that an honest try at yoga was worth it.

The Facts

Yoga can be done anywhere, anytime, no equipment needed.  I find early morning in complete solitude to be my favorite setting, but I’ve also done it 2 feet away from a blaring TV in a small hotel room with my husband.  It’s ideal to be on a bare floor with a non-skid matt, but a carpeted floor or the ground outside works, too.  Of course you could spend big on lovely yoga attire, and I agree that workout clothes can be inspirational; but yoga can be done in anything that allows you to freely move your body.  But the biggest thing to NOT do is try to imitate the images of others doing yoga!  Yes, your goal is to do the pose correctly, but simply holding that pose as best you can will accomplish nearly the same goal.  As you continue to practice that pose, you will get better & better at it, I promise.

My Workout 

I practice the most basic of yoga poses (including child’s pose, down dog, chair pose and tree pose) at least a few times a week, and have done so consistently for the last two years.  On those impossible days where time is at a premium, 3 complete sun salutations do the trick ~ it’s a great way to wake up.  I also belong to LA Fitness, so I’m getting all the other exercise I need there.  I know getting through menopause has something to do with it, but I am now a much calmer person.  I have the ability to face a problem with a few deep breathes, which I could never do before.  Since stress used to rule my life, this has been a tremendous relief, and I’m sure has had a positive effect on my health.  I really think yoga saved me!

Is Mineral Make-up Best for Me?

It seems mineral makeup has been all the rage for a few years.  If you watch the infomercials and hear what celebrities have to say, you’d think it was the end-all for all women.  Expert professionals can be found online touting it as wonderful, while others exclaim it’s worthless or even dangerous!  So following my skeptical and curious nature, I had to try it myself.  The experiment proved that this latest craze is not for me.

My makeup is pretty basic: foundation or tinted moisturizer, concealer, blush, powder, eyeshadow, and mascara.  I know I’m not alone in feeling that finding the right cosmetics is half the battle.  For me the trickiest of those is eye makeup.  Matte eyeshadows in flattering colors are getting harder for me to find, and I cannot wear waterproof mascara.  And if I don’t use powder to set my foundation before using eye makeup, I’ll look like a racoon by noon! 

With these known issues in mind, I began buffing on the minerals.  Over a period of several years, I’ve tried Bare Escentuals, Alima Pure, and Smoky Mountain Minerals, all with the same results.  This stuff is messy!  It takes me much longer to apply than what I’m used to.  As you get carried away with buffing, you either get it too light or too heavy … could this be the next generation of Pan-Cake?

But the worst of it is the eyes … no matter what I did with the minerals, the racoon was always with me.  So I tried augmenting the minerals with a few touches of my normal powder.  Then I found myself mixing them together till I said, what’s the point!   

Figuring that I again am just too old-school for a new concept, I was thrilled to find the following quiz, on one of my favorite sites, Totalbeauty.com:  http://www.totalbeauty.com/content/quizzes/q_mineral_makeup

Here’s my results:

“Um, no thanks.  Mineral makeup might not be your cup of tea for a variety of reasons.  True minerals are often formulated without binding agents so if you associate the words ‘loose pigment’ with ‘my own personal hell,’ mineral makeup will definitely annoy you.  And like conventional makeup, reflective materials such as mica, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide give sparkle to mineral makeup, says Dallas-based dermatologist Dr. Erin M. Welch.  So if you’d rather look matte than have a subtle sheen, minerals might not be for you.  Also, your normal skin type doesn’t necessarily need special treatment (as in, you don’t have to avoid preservatives found in regular makeup), so no need to switch to minerals.  And above all, true mineral makeup can be expensive, which may not fit the budgets of most women who land in this category — so spend your money elsewhere.”

Yeah, that’s what I said!

The Brita Pitcher

One of the disadvantages of living in a large metropolitan area, as I do in Metro Detroit, is city water.  For years I defended it, and even missed the taste if I’d been out-of-town.  But either the water has changed, or I’ve become much pickier!  It tastes different on different days, but the smell of chlorine has just become too much for me.

So entered the Brita Pitcher into my life … a great deal at Costco at an initial cost of under $30.  With this simple addition, I no longer feel I’m putting unnecessary chemicals into my body.  I can really taste the difference, and don’t have to deal with all those plastic bottles.  The pitcher I bought is called the “Vintage”.  It holds ten 8-ounce glasses, and has a very handy electronic filter change indicator.

I do change the filter about every 2 mos., very easy to remember and plan for with the indicator right there in your face!  The indicator has four bars, so I make sure to have an extra on hand when I get to one bar.  But I am the only one using it, as my husband can’t be bothered.  If you have multiple people using it, you’ll need more filters.  One filter costs about $8, a pack of 3 $21, or a pack of 6 $38.  I know they also sell refill filters at Costco, so I’ll be on the look-out for a good price there.

Once you set it up and have soaked the filter as directed, you put water from the tap in under the flip-lid.  Here it slowly drains through the filter into the pitcher.  In that area under the flip-lid, you will have more & more black particles as the filter ages … you can ignore these because they can’t make it through the filter into your water.

When I first got my pitcher, it seemed there were particles not only in the entry reservoir but also in the water I was to drink!  It took me a while to realize this was because I kept taking the whole darned thing apart, trying to rinse everything off … don’t do that!  Any cleaning of any parts should be done in conjunction with replacing the filter.

If you keep the pitcher full all the time, you’ll never be pouring from the pitcher at such an angle that the flip top lid and/or filter fall out completely.  There is no reason to remove those until it’s time to change the filter.  The one time this did happen to me, I never did get it to drain very quickly again until I changed to a new filter.

Another little thing, when you fill the reservoir with new water, don’t put it to the tippy top.  If you do, it will spill out (there’s an overflow hole up there) as soon as you move the pitcher, draining onto the pitcher handle, and all over the place.  If you want to fill it that much, just leave it sit till it has a chance to filter out the top water.

All in all, I am very happy with my Brita pitcher!

Yoga Teeth

I have no idea how I came up with this, and please don’t confuse me with a Yoga pro!  This is just what I’m calling this odd behavior I’ve developed. 

In a quest to keep my teeth healthy, I have a large clock in my bathroom that ticks ~ really drives my husband crazy.  But I have several health & beauty things I do that require timing, so it’s perfect for me.  I brush my teeth for 2 full minutes morning & night with my favorite Sensodyne toothpaste, and watching/hearing that clock assists me greatly. 

In an equal quest to remain physically healthy with a balanced body, I took up Yoga a few years ago.  I don’t do any particularly difficult Yoga poses, just those I can accomplish without falling over! 

I’ve now become quite good at standing on one foot, for balance, while brushing.  I brush for 30 seconds on the top front standing on one foot, switch feet and brush for 30 seconds on the bottom front, switch feet and so on for the top back & bottom back teeth. 

It’s a little thing, but I think a bunch of little things can add up to be really good for you!

Baking Soda ~ Miracle Cleaner

I bought one of those beautiful enameled & heavy grill pans this past winter when I didn’t want to face freezing myself to cook dinner on the outside gas grill.  The weather doesn’t change what I want to cook, so I thought this would be a great alternative.  BUT, I’ve only used it a couple times because it seems to be impossible to clean.  It shouldn’t surprise me … it’s the same impossible- to-clean problem with the outside grill.  (But I really only “clean” that once a year, and usually cover all the yucky parts with foil so I have a prayer of cooking without flaming the food … note to self: replace that grill!) 

So, I did what I often do, and googled the problem.  Many responses came up, so I did my own testing of these various ideas.  Here’s the best I found:

After rinsing the pan as best you can, put it in the sink.  Because it makes me  feel bad to just do this, I soak it in water over night.  Mind you, this appears to have no effect on the end cleaning whatsoever.  Now that my nest is empty, and hubby could really care less, what’s wrong with doing this?  Well, it does make me feel bad, guilty, like I’m getting away with something!  How goofy is that?  Well, I earned these wrinkles … time to live a little.  Go to bed & forget it!

The next morning, in the light of day, fill the pan with about 1/2 inch of water, and put it on the stove on high.  As the water heats (boiling is OK),  scrape the worst sections with the tip of a plastic spatula, freeing the gunk from the ridges where they seem to just hang … I spent about 1 minute doing this.  Then, wearing my Mister Clean Nyplex rubber gloves (these are the best!) I pour the water off into the sink, sprinkle the pan liberally with baking soda, then give it a once-over with a nylon mesh scrubber … maybe 30 seconds here.  Voila!  After a good rinse now, the thing looks pretty good!

Now it’s not perfect, and doesn’t look like it just came out of the box new.  But, like some other wise women encountered on this google search said, save your stress for when you really need it, avoid a quest for 100% perfection, and what happens in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen (the kitchen cabinet, that is, behind the closed cabinet door)!