Tag Archives: beans

The Bean Can Workout

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For several days it’s been just too hot here to go for a walk.  I vowed, after our ghastly winter in which it was just too cold and icy to walk, that this summer I would not complain about the heat if we were lucky enough to get some.  So I’m not complaining about that.

But of course if I’m writing I am complaining about something,  and todays topic is how sloth-like I’ve been feeling.  Only for a few days, though.  Last week I was so freaking ambitious it was scary.  I moved furniture around in the basement.  I cleaned the windows and curtains down there and vacuumed and dusted and even did a bit of painting.  I washed light fixtures and cleaned and rearranged clutter and tried not to think about how the carpet should be burned and how gross the ceilings are.  Then I imagined my grandchildren in the future reminiscing with each other about visiting and having to sleep in grandmas creepy old basement when they were young.  After that I sighed a lot and told myself the experience would no doubt build character.  Because just imagining the work involved in doing everything that needs doing is exhausting.

So, now that I’ve been sitting around for a few days resting and doing nothing except wondering what I should eat next, I’ve come up with a much better fitness plan.

I should mention my eye exam first, because I like to take a very meandering approach to getting to the point, but trust me, this is relevant.  Visual acuity was way down in my left eye and intraocular pressure was up.  My optometrist asked if my blood pressure was okay.  Well, we had just driven downtown on a Monday, so it was certainly a possibility that it was elevated. He asked me to come back early Friday morning before drinking coffee to have the IOP rechecked.  He also did a retina scan.    That Wednesday I went to my doctor to have a possible plantar wart on my foot looked at (it’s a whole other story, I know, we think it’s just a callous although she did the liquid nitrogen treatment just in case) and my blood pressure readings were high enough for her to be concerned and suggest that I monitor it for a month and keep a record.  First thing in the morning before coffee, last thing at night before bed.  I am also checking fasting blood sugar readings daily, so I suppose you could say I’m currently keeping the worlds most boring diary.

Exercise for helping to control both these things is very important.  The early rush hour trip back to the optometrist resulted in slightly less elevated IOP, normal enough retina scan, normal enough macula, check up in a year.  I also have early cataracts.  That’s pretty normal as well.  What would be even more normal is having an optometrist close to home instead of smack dab in the middle of the city.  And to give up all this “before coffee” nonsense.

But back to the exercise thing.  Finally.  I’ve lost a lot of weight since retiring and I don’t want it to creep back on due to lack of activity.  I’m way more clued in about diet and nutrition and smarter choices, so I’m pretty sure it’s not a huge leap to develop the same kind of commitment to keeping my joints from seizing up.

Walking is still the best.  Cutting the grass is equivalent to a walk.  Now for the days when I can’t make myself put on shoes and go outside, I will do a 30 minute bean can workout.  It’s actually a fifteen minute seniors low impact thing, but I’ve upgraded it slightly because I’m not ninety yet.  I found it on YouTube.  There are no doubt gazillions of these videos to peruse, but on this one I quite liked the nice young man (this is how seniors talk) who went through 10 different exercises, telling me how great I was doing before I even got off my butt to do anything.

He uses a chair in some of them for balance, does squats that don’t kill your knees, side to side steps that remind me of one of my random dance moves in high school, marching in place with swinging arms and high knee raises.  Killer stuff. I changed the wall push ups to fridge push ups because I’d rather have greasy handprints there.  Side to side twist and punch from the chin is exactly as much fun as it sounds.  But the best part was using “weights” which were actually water bottles,  for lifting and curling and pressing and whatever else you call messing around with heavy things in your hands.

I had to improvise with a can of black beans in one hand and a can of mixed beans in the other because I don’t have water bottles around when W isn’t home. Did I mention he’s gone fishing for the entire summer?  And is also looking after some things for his elderly parents on the side.  This is why the grass cutting here is all mine.

My preference in lieu of plastic water bottles is a refillable water container because there’s nothing wrong with our tap water.  I can appreciate the convenience of bottled water when it’s necessary but I think it’s a silly wasteful gimmick we’ve gone way overboard with for the most part.  I do have some bottles of Diet Pepsi in the cupboard but it’s probably not a great idea to shake those up for 30 minutes.  But the good news is it gives me an excuse to drink a couple of them and then fill them up with water to use instead of canned goods because they hold 710 ml vs. 540. And could conceivably make a bigger impact on my shoulders.  Which is where most people never think to concentrate when slimming down.

Anyway it will be a few days before the Pepsi bottles are ready because I try to limit my sodium and artificial sweetener intake, so it will be Bean workouts until then.  The beauty of this series is there’s nothing bouncy or heart attack inducing.  Always a plus.  You do as many repetitions as you can of each one, and go through the routine twice.  It was kind of fun!  I think I might even be able to break out in a sweat if I try hard enough!  I like the concentration on stretching and gentle movements, a combination of yoga and Tai Chi for the very lazy.

Now when I’m feeling like a slug and think a snack will perk me up, I will do as many fridge push ups as it takes to change my mind.  Hey, it could work!

Okay, I gotta go and get started on one of those bottles.  I love a project.  Maybe one day I’ll graduate to real dumbbells.  But then where’s the fun in that?

The Bean Rules

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Whenever someone sent me a text message to ask me what I was doing in the last two weeks when we were on holidays, my answer was pretty much always “beans”.  My sister is a slave driver.  And she has a lot of beans.  Remind me next time I decide to go visit her to try a different time of year, would you?

I didn’t have to go out to the garden to pick anything, though.  She and my brother-in-law did all the picking.  My grandchildren were thrilled to help with that sporadically too, although they’d never make any money at it since most of what they picked they also promptly ate.  Peas and cherry tomatoes were a big hit.  Cucumbers.  Giant zucchini.  Almost makes me want to get back into gardening.  Ha.  No it doesn’t.

But anyway, back to the beans.  There were green ones and yellow ones in buckets and bowls, delicious at every meal, but what do you do with the overflow?  I’m glad you asked.  It’s a complicated process.  There are rules.

The beans have to be sorted, putting all the straight ones in one bowl and all the crooked ones in another.  I thought they were kidding at first too.  But nope.  The crooked ones need the tops and bottoms cut off, and then they can be cut in half if they’re short and in thirds if they’re long.  They have to be washed.  Then they are blanched in boiling water, dumped into cold water to cool, and then drained and packed into plastic bags for freezing.  But wait!  Don’t seal the bags until you’ve poured in a cup or so of the water they were boiled in.  This gives them more flavour.  No one wants a bean that tastes like cardboard.  I found out the hard way that these bags are tippy, and if they fall over, all that precious juice flows across the counter.  Some cold day this winter when they cook up that bag of beans they will know who to blame for their tastelessness.  (Sorry).

The straight beans are destined for greatness.  If you have never had a dill bean in your Caesar, you have no idea what you’re missing.  The tops and bottoms are left on these.  They are also washed and blanched and popped into cold water to cool.  Then the real fun begins.  The beans have to be right side up. (Apparently it makes them easier to pull out of the jar later.) They must be painstakingly packed into sterilized mason jars containing a clove of garlic and some dill weed.  The beans have to remain straight, and the jar has to be full.  The whole time I was helping with this job I was trying to think of an easier way to do it.  Like buying some dill beans from a store, for instance.  If you use the flat side of a knife you can pack the beans in even tighter.  It’s practically an art.  I had no idea.

Finally, a mixture of bean water and vinegar is poured into each jar and they’re sealed. Something else I learned – when you open up a jar of these to put them on a vegetable tray, half of them will disappear before dinner.  I don’t know if this is also a rule, but I’ve seen it happen more than once.

My sister doesn’t even like dill, or dill pickled anything, but every summer she does this labor of love for the rest of the family who do.  Ever since I came home I’ve been toying with the idea of going to a farmers market, buying some yellow beans (do you suppose they’d be willing to sort out all the straight ones for me?) and doing up a jar or two.  But then I think it must be the heat making me think this way, and really, that’s a lot of Caesars to get through.  Plus I hate rules.

Beans In My Ears

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Beans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This great but extremely dangerous little song was Number 30 on the charts in 1964.  I can remember singing along to it on the radio.  What I cannot remember is exactly why.  Guess I’m just a sucker for repetitive lyrics and a catchy tune with a message.  Len Chandler and the Serendipity Singers meant it as a statement about adults not listening to their children.  What followed the songs release was a number of radio listener complaints and doctor reports about children putting objects in their ears, so the song was banned and black listed.

This is one of the reasons we can never go back to the sixties.  It’s just too scary.  Listen at your own risk.  Hide the beans.

Superheroes

What superhero would you want to be rescued by?

Oh crap. Do I need rescuing? I hadn’t noticed.

Just give me a minute here to conjure up that little old superhero I keep hidden deep down inside myself somewhere. I know he’s in there because he’s popped up before to help me fend off THE FORCES OF EVIL.

Oh, wait – isn’t that a defunct reggae band or something where all the guys changed their last names to Evil? But they’ve disbanded the band. Maybe they decided to give up the daunting task of forcing evil on us all.

Okay, here he is! My super hero! Kick Ass Coffee Man! Stimulate and energize me, my amazing bean roasting friend! Rid my world of lethargy and inertia. Save me from torpidty and hebetude, for they are beastly villainous machinations of the devil!

So yeah! Okay, how hard was that? I should be good now for the rest of the day. Thanks buddy. See you tomorrow.