Our General Approach to Food
Our diet regimen is an example of the general principles of the Use of Food for the purpose of enhancing life quality and increasing life length. We (Paul and Kitty Antonik Wakfer) follow a modified caloric restriction protocol, though we have ceased using the term Calorie Restriction or "CR" as a label for our protocol - too many negative connotations arise in the minds of many in the general public and even in the scientific community. (See MoreLife Yahoo message.) We simply give a very brief description of the nutrient dense characteristic achieved generally through no regular use of pasta, rice, most grains, processed sugar, and emphasis on berries among fruits and omega-3 protein sources. Referral to our more extensive examples below is always given.
For those interested, general information and two separate discussion groups on CR - science only and general interest - are available through the CR Society website; a number of members are extreme in their CR practices, a view we have publicly stated on their list as being unnecessary for achievement of lean vigorous bodies with the strong likelihood of long life. Important Note: As of Dec 18, 2002, the CR Society has become a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization; therefore we no longer suggest that individuals join and support it. A separate support group for enthusiasts - "newbies" or old-timers - is the CR Support Group; it is less populated with extreme practitioners and the option to read and post/reply to it only through its Yahoo website is available for those who don't appreciate large numbers of daily emails.) However, this Yahoo group is strongly controlled by its owner (and one of four moderators), Francesca Skelton. She maintains the archives as hidden to everyone except members; the membership numbers are inflated with more that 20% of the listed total by the practice of not removing those who have a bouncing status - bad email addresses and therefore not receiving emails of the messages (and this does not even count those members who have elected not to receive email, but no longer read or post to the group). All new members are moderated and introduction of information with which Francesca Skelton does not agree and/or comments that question her opinions are belittled or not allowed to appear at all. Older members have been placed on moderation status when their messages have challenged the owner's statements and sometimes their messages have been deleted from the queue. Both of these last have happened to Kitty and Paul Antonik Wakfer and both were banned from the CRSupportGroup Yahoo January 23 2007.
Calories and Us
We do not regularly count calories, but rather have developed a "calibrated eyeball" along with a sound understanding of nutrition. We vary little from the types of foods listed here (a wide variety) and know from previous reference to the USDA Nutrient Database the caloric value of certain size portions. When considering adding something entirely new, we will "look it up" and assess it for nutritional value. While some calorie counting software programs can be very useful to the newbie calorie restrictor (Kitty used one for a few years before joining with Paul), we have better things to do with our precious time than weighing meals and entering amounts for a precise daily accounting.
Periodically - maybe once a year - Kitty weighs the served portions of meals and determines a typical daily intake. Kitty performed this task in January 2008 for our one daily meal with 2450 and 1900 calories calculated respectively for Paul and herself. With the change on July 2 2008 to fasting 1 day out of 3, our weights have actually dropped without any noticeable reduction in total food quantity preparation in our 3 day cycles.
Calculations done on 3/3/07 when still eating once a day resulted in 2101 and 1724 for the two of us. Kitty does plan in the future to measure our food in a 3 day cycle to determine our effective daily caloric intake; we expect that it is still in the range of 1900 and 1600 respectively for Paul and Kitty based on our current weights. (Historically, Kitty did this calculation for herself on 2/6, 2/7, and 2/10/04 with 1576, 1556, and 1183 calories respectively; while all three were 24-hour days, on the first two we consumed 3 meals and the last only 2. Paul's caloric intake was calculated on 2/10/04 at 1954 which was approximately the same as on 3 meal days due to his higher amount of snacking when we were consuming only 2 meals at that time.)
Our weights have remained within a range of less than 5 pounds for several years but stabilize lower when our physical activity is more energetic and more often when eating the same caloric quantity. (Frequent high energy dancing and purposeful long walks were a natural part of living in Toronto during the warm months each year prior to June 2005. Occasions for these forms of enjoyable exercise that have a specific purpose other than simply exercise are much less in rural Ontario and in Arizona.) With the occasional review of calories (especially if there has been a few pounds of increased weight), we are satisfied that our calculated eyeballs are generally sufficient for our purposes.
In March of 2005 Paul and Kitty made a conscious reduction in the amount of protein eaten daily, chiefly by reducing the frequency and quantity of eating meat excluding fatty fish. The reasoning for this is the theory that encouraging the body to utilize more of its own protein sources for the creation of new protein will reduce the level of damaged and damaging proteins that accumulate during aging, contributing to the extension of life span by the reduction of calories. R1 R2 R3 The actual typical amount of protein consumed daily for each of us has not been calculated at this time but will be in the future. The amount of nutrient dense carbohydrates have been increased to provide for appetite satisfaction, to provide additional phytonutrients and to maintain our total calorie consumption at about the same level.
Our omega-3 oil intake has been increased since 2004 from both food and supplement sources and is the greatest source of the higher calories, though we realize that until that time we had not been completely counting the calories in several oil-containing supplements. Kitty also has been getting more of her protein from nuts than before 2005 which brings along with it additional calories from the fat content. The "typical caloric intake" on the health statistics page was modified to reflect the higher amounts at that point in time.
In January 2006, we changed our meals to twice per day, initially with very little or (and usually) no snacking in between and after a few months with no snacking at all. Some recent studies have suggested an hormetic effect with intermittent fasting and so in mid-January 2007 when we witnessed the example of 2 friends, we tried one meal on two consecutive days. Since we experienced no negative effects and found it tolerable (especially with frequent intake of green/rooibos tea), we then decided to alter our eating pattern (and also for our supplements) to one meal per day.
In early July 2008, after 18 months of 1 extended meal each day, we decided to increase our period of intermittent fasting by going one day out of 3 without eating using the schedule described below.
In conjunction with reviewing our March 2007 blood test results we reevaluated our intake of meat and concluded that it had gradually become more often and in greater quantity than we had decided was wise in January 2005. Both of us had higher homocysteine levels than desirable since late 2005 (rising to above 8.0 mcmol/L in March 2007) which did not decline despite numerous supplement alterations. However after reducing our meat intake to typically only twice per week starting in late April 2007, both our homocysteine results in mid-May were below 7.0 mcmol/L (Kitty's actually 4.9).
Since our individual body weights and fat percentages remain low, we know that we have been sufficiently restricting our calories; our energy levels are very high and immune systems are very good, indicating good nutrition. (Our multi-parameter blood level testing, typically once every 18 to 24 months with analyses by Paul, can be seen for Kitty and Paul).
Updated 6/4/10 Our Meals, Wherever & Whenever
With our change to one meal daily in the second half of January 2007, the previous layout of this Diet Regimen page became obsolete. However since many people continue to eat three meals daily and the information is still valid for much of what goes into our 1 meal each day, the detailed meal information is now contained on separate pages.
Our cycle of eating beginning on July 2 2008 with increased intermittent fasting first followed this pattern:
Day 1: Eat from 9-10am until 3-4pm
Day 2: Eat from 3-4pm until 9-10pm
Day 3: Do not eat at all
Our fasting time alternated between 40 hours (when the whole fasting day occurs) and 24 hours (when we ate early one day and late the next). The content type of our 2 meals was the same as previously; we simply ate until we were full during that time period so that our caloric needs to maintain our average weights would be sufficiently met during this time on the 2 eating days.
After 2 cycles we stretched the 6 hour eating period to 8 hours since we both found it impossible to consume the amount needed in the shorter time, as was reflected by a significant drop in our average weights. In addition, once we had been on this regimen for about 5 weeks we decided that since we were not really hungry on awakening the second eating day, we would begin both meals in the early afternoon, thereby relengthening our long fast (which had been shortened by extending the eating period itself).
Our current pattern of eating, started August 7 2008:
Day 1: Eat from 1-2pm until 9-10pm
Day 2: Eat from 1-2pm until 9-10pm
Day 3: Do not eat at all
This provides for a 40 hour fast when the whole fasting day occurs and a fast of 16 hours between the 2 eating days. There are times, especially when we are at the cottage in Ontario where we do lots of physical work on the property, when a snack on the fasting days is felt to be necessary - sensations of weakness or extreme lethargy occur on these occasions even after our Non-Food supplements. This is less so for Kitty than Paul, whose weight slips to 130 if this is not done. Any snack taken on the fasting day is done about 8pm, at least 2 hours after our Non-Food supplements, and is relatively small at probably 200-400 calories.
These long eating periods are not spent just eating. We found after a few cycles that is beneficial to take a 2 to 3 hour pause after the first 2 courses to clean up, prepare the next portions, do a little other work or even recreate a bit. This has prevented the tendency to some epigastric tenderness experienced by Paul when the eating was more continuous during this time period. We also are usually asleep by 1:00am and are ready to take on the new day between 8:00 and 9:00 am.
We made changes in our daily routine at the end of May 2005, when we moved out of Toronto to rural Ontario "cottage country" and also left behind our previous 28-hour day (description). For many months we tried to consistently maintain 3 meals in a shortened day and found this difficult - it often felt like we were eating just because it was time to eat. We even found this to be the case sometimes when we did change to 2 meals daily. In addition, some recent research at that time had found that moderate periods of daily hunger are actually beneficial. (See Foods Summary regarding benefits of a fasted state.)
We had long ago found that our "clocks" are not set in a fixed rigid pattern viewed to be typical by many. Paul finds himself most mentally active in the later evening and so bedtime can easily be between 1 and 2am, however with our intermittent fasting pattern he has been willing and able to adjust to getting up between 8 and 9am and even being fairly physically active soon afterward. Kitty has always been able to awake early with a good 7 to 8 hours sleep (easily falling asleep after getting sleepy while late night reading) and still finds that to be true. In Ontario with enjoyable outdoor atmosphere and the many physical and mental activities presenting, the motivation to "get going" is with us. On our fasting day we take only our set of supplements appropriate on an empty stomach - but not until between 4 and 5pm. Before and after that we only consume drink green/rooibos tea and water and continue to do so until we take those supplements meant to be taken prior to eating at about 12noon the following day. After 45-60 minutes we start our meal, taking approximately 8 hours to consume it all in courses, interspersed with various short activities indoors and out (including cleaning up after cooking and eating), and with the longer break of 2 to 3 hours after the main/dinner course but finishing no later than 10pm (most often 9pm). (We will see how our late night dancing effects our schedule after first of November 2008 and what modifications may be needed.)
Paul's smoothie that use to be consumed at Breakfast is the first course of our single meal on our eating days,
preceded by some fresh fruit, which Paul finds especially enjoyable on those days when he makes the smoothie.
(Often our first fruit consists of as many as 12 different types.) Cocoa yogurt seen in first photo was replaced in Fall 2008 with LEF's Cocoa Gold in a small amount of kefir and is consumed immediately prior to the fruit. Kitty still adds plain yogurt to her smoothie.
Paul modified his smoothie making in the Fall of 2009, so that he makes one every first day of eating in our 3-day cycle; this change allows for easier measuring, mixing and blending of the many ingredients. Half of the large smoothie goes into containers to be consumed the following day. Paul gets ~3/5 of each half of the total mix, and Kitty eats ~2/5. When we started the one meal in January 2007, we would then go directly to Kitty's hot or cold cereal, but changed this practice in April of that year.
Since beginning the intermittent fasting, Kitty has been keeping a written plan for several meals ahead, coordinating with purchases and trying to avoid needing to use a lot of kitchen space when Paul makes his smoothie. (She has always planned uses of purchased and foraged food items so that spoilage was avoided and nutritious meals were ensured.)
Typically Kitty has already mostly completed the preparation of the Dinner-like or old Supper type course and lets the cooking finish while eating the smoothie. Many times we eat the smoothie - always preceded the shared serving of CocoaGold laced kefir and then fruit - while simply warming up left-overs of previously prepared large amounts of an entree (purposely done to save time on future meals) and cook vegetables fresh. A salad is most often part of our overall meal (sometimes enlarged and actually the main course) and its preparation may be completed after the "main" course has been eaten, typically done for our 2 eating days on the first of them.
Now it is our practice to eat the cereal - which we occasionally substitute with two or 3 super delicious pancakes (depending on the size), a mighty muffin apiece or mighty muesli - after the "main" course. In Spring 2009 we moved our approximate 2 hour break from after the cereal course to before it; this is when we both take a break from actual eating and is especially welcome if the amount consumed has been especially filling. It is during this time also that Paul does the majority of dish washing as Kitty stores any leftovers.
We several years ago developed the habit of having a separate berry course rather than combining them with the cereal - thawed frozen mixed berries, extra thawed blueberries, fresh strawberries, kiwi and sometimes citrus and/or apple. In Ontario during the months from mid June into September we make good use of fresh berries we have foraged in the immediate area, including our own mixed berry patch. Paul used to splurge and add a bit of vanilla ice cream but Kitty has always enjoyed hers plain, though she does sometimes add walnuts or macadamias. With the intermittent fasting practice, we have found that adding some nutritious snack foods is actually needed to keep our intake at a proper level.
Dessert is included within the total concept of our 2 meals every 3 days, aiming not to eat anything within 3 hours of sleeping.
Dining out is still part of our periodic enjoyments and we have found that in some situations we can eat the first course before going to the restaurant (then even consuming all our pills and meal cocktail eliminating the need to take these with us). Going to a buffet restaurant actually makes more sense now since that arrangement allows us to take our time selecting and eating various foods that fit our nutrition requirements.
The information on travel foods still reflects part of our regular lives since travel between Arizona and Ontario occurs at least twice yearly and we do like to take shorter excursions also. In addition, the notes regarding our periodic return to a 24 hour day made when we were on a schedule of 6 days of 28 hour duration are being retained mostly for historic purposes.
Traveling is a part of almost everyone's lives and eating while doing so is a necessity. We have found ways to eat nutritiously while still enjoying the trip, whether for pleasure or business. (When we lived 6 days of 28 hour duration, our schedule reverted to a 24 hour day when we traveled in order to be able interface with the rest of the world in its regular wake/sleep pattern.) Our change to 1 meal daily took place after our Fall trip from Ontario to Arizona in late October 2006, so we considered how it would work with our 2500+ mile drive.
In mid Spring 2007 we made our first long distance trip since beginning our 1 meal daily routine. Our 2 driving days between Arizona and eastern Ontario are very long but we decided that eating one large meal over several hours while enroute, with many drinks of hot green/rooibos tea before and after, could work with some modifications. We leave Arizona in the evening after the major commuter traffic in Phoenix and drive all during the night. We began the day at about 12 noon, completed packing the car and then ate the smoothie course before starting off about 7:30pm. We bought 2 Filiberto's burritos in a quick detour off the highway in Chandler and then began to eat the first one (breakfast: eggs, ham, peppers, onions, cheese + hot sauce) along with a generous amount of salad greens after we had cleared the north part of the greater Phoenix area on I-17. The second burrito (white fish) was begun after our first gas stop in Winslow Arizona, about 2.5 hours from departure, with more greens. (We find the fish burro good tasting even when it is no longer piping hot, fortunate since rewarming it with the contained shredded lettuce and sauce would probably degrade the flavor.) The burros were held by Kitty for Paul to get a good mouthful as he drove; she also fingerfed him the mixed greens between burro bites. After the gas stop in Albuquerque, we ate trailmix Kitty had prepared a couple days before and fresh fruit with sips of tea. (Emptying the refrigerator of all perishables is a must, and the food purchases and preparations for the week before departure are carefully planned. Somethings can tolerate long stays in the freezer and others must be taken with us.) Paul helped himself to the trailmix situated for easy access between our bucket seats, with the fresh fruit cut up on a tray in his lap.
Paul uses a lot of energy on these long drives, sometimes even losing a pound while Kitty typically gains one or two. In the years before he met Kitty and traveled often between Toronto and southern California, he nibbled his way through the 36 hour stop-for-gas only drives. (He'd then sleep 14 hours on reaching his destination.) Our layover on the AZ-ON route for the past couple of years has been in Terre Haute IN and has worked quite well. Our food intake on the rest of that first day, consisted of peanut butter with banana on rye bread, carrot sticks, more fruit, left-over super nutritious pancakes, more trail mix and some Cheerios and CheezIts that Kitty especially enjoys. We had the last of this along with coffee, which replaced the tea we'd finished off from the 2 thermoses somewhere in Oklahoma, soon after we left the Pontoon Beach IL gas stop (St. Louis MO area).
The second day we drank coffee - mixed with hot chocolate for Kitty - from the thermos first warmed at the motel and then refilled at our initial gas stop in Indianapolis. We decided not to begin the smoothie course until after we'd left Lansing, our last gas stop in the US before we crossed the border at Port Huron MI. which would come about 6 hours from the motel we'd left in Terre Haute. Kitty spooned Paul's 3/5 of the container contents into his mouth as he drove and then ate hers as he sipped coffee. There were no delays at the border and after we made a stop at a TD Canada Trust bank branch in Sarnia (the other side of the bridge from Pt Huron) to withdraw some Canadian cash (we'd forgotten ours in AZ), we started on the rest of the meal. This second day's main course consisted of sardines, hard boiled eggs, cheese, cut vegetables (cabbage, celery, carrots and tomato) and rye bread. After the last gas fill-up at the junction of the 401 and 402 highways, we nibbled on trailmix, fresh fruit and the last of the super nutritious pancakes, pausing as we maneuvered through the always rough Toronto area traffic. A last cup of coffee with lots of milk and a large oatmeal raisin cookie purchased at the Coffee Time about 1.5 hours away from the cottage were our last food intake. We were very ready for sleep after getting to the cottage about 9:30pm, turning on the power, unpacking the car and attempting to turn on the water. This last proved to be a problem - but that's a subject for another place.
It was decided ahead of time that we would not take any of our supplements during the AZ-ON drive mainly since we would not be stopping for meals and handling the meal cocktail and large number of capsules/pills while driving had be found previously to be a hassle. The 2 day break from supplements, especially while on this virtually straight through drive, was very welcomed. When we do a leisurely drive with stops for visits and/or excursions, we maintain our supplement regime.
The remainder of this section is as it was prior to 2007 since our earlier practices may be of value to others in deciding how to handle eating when traveling.
When using air travel (before US restrictions extending to carriers of other countries became so oppressive) we first made use of the "low calorie" meal options when reserving tickets but found that they were typically low-fat and contained too many white potatoes or rice, although some airline meals were better nutritionally then others. We later determined that it was just as easy to eat the regular non-pasta meal offering, pass up the bread, and shared one dessert leaving the other for later. In addition we took dry fruits, especially prunes since bowel regularity can easily be upset by changes in schedule and regular food intake.
When we travel by car for conferences or visiting, we eat breakfast wherever we have spent the night. If it is at a hostel serving breakfast or B&B, we eat their non-wheat cereal, supplementing with our own fruit (berries when available) and nuts. Our breakfast powders (Kitty and Paul) are either mixed with the cereal and milk if the combination is to be cooked, or simply with milk and poured over cold cereal. Other protein sources such as cheese, meat, and eggs are selected when available. We will treat ourselves to a small amount of muffin or bread when there are fruit or nut varieties and even save some for later in the day. If we spend the night in a regular motel, we include our cold cereal from home and purchase fruit and milk, keeping the latter two in our cold chest with plenty of ice. Tom (Paul) does not attempt to take his typical smoothie breakfasts with us since they require refrigeration and he just enjoys the break. Usually his preparation schedule is such that at least one is in the freezer when we return.
Depending on our plans for the day we will either eat lunch out of the coolbox in our car or at a restaurant; supper will then be the opposite. We will buy locally cheese, canned meat or fish, vegetables (peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, cabbage and baby spinach leaves are good choices) along with rye bread and peanut butter. (There is no need to carry around prepared salads from home that will likely be limp in 2 days if not well refrigerated.) Even washed fresh berries in season keep very well in a plastic container stored in the cool box, providing delightfully refreshing snacks when eaten with nuts. We eat this selection while stopped along the road if traveling for pleasure, though Paul (Tom) in years past just gnawed on them while actually driving between California and Toronto. [I do not do that now only because the passenger seat, which used to hold my cold box now contains Kitty ;-) --Paul] But when we're simply driving between Toronto and Arizona, we eat at least supper on the move and sometimes breakfast if we want to get moving quickly upon arising. With these purely drive situations, we've typically emptied the refrigerator of perishables from either location and have hard boiled eggs and more fruit varieties in addition to the list of items above.
Our dine out meal while traveling is selected as explained in the Dining Out section above. When we do this once each day, we do not find a need to be any more restrictive than not indulging in a high calorie desert each time. Since we are typically not as active due to the long hours driving, we often find the restaurant meals too much and "doggie box" the remainder to be included with our next "box meal".
On our Toronto to AZ and return drives, we plan our refueling stops for the Flying J truck stops and before October 2004 had been eating one of our main meals in both directions at their Restaurant. Their buffets are reasonably priced and provide a good selection of cold and hot vegetables along with several choices of meat and often a fish; we just have to be good about keeping our high carbohydrate low nutrient choices to a minimum. It was not unusual when we had eaten the buffet to then just skip supper, since we are then really are not hungry for a third meal. When our munchies in the cool box are especially nice - along with our large selection of nuts and dry fruit - we just forgo the buffets entirely and eat while driving; Kitty does the selecting and serving since Paul typically does the driving. Since the Arizona to Toronto drive in late October 2004, we have not been eating any restaurant meals at all during our intercountry drives. This change has actually kept us from becoming drowsy in the late evening hours and allowing for more alert 12 to 15 hour drive days, punctuated with fuel and exercise stops every ~320 miles.
We keep plenty of cold water with lemon juice on hand - filling up our insulated liter drinking container with ice at refueling stops in the US is especially easy - while driving. We also take our teas along and, if not too tired, brew a small travel pot's worth in the evenings. We find certain motels along our Toronto/AZ route have coffee makers and even two with refrigerators - we try to use them as this makes a last meal (if we stop early) and breakfast easier. Snacks along the way consist primarily of dried fruits and nuts when in other than the US, though we always make sure that Paul has sufficient "medicinal chocolate" to enjoy with thermos of purchased coffee (though he starts off from home with the thermos filled with green/black tea heavily laden with milk). Kitty likes to fill her travel mug at each pit stop 2/3 hot chocolate to 1/3 coffee. A yummy snack treat, far better than purchased muffins, is super nutritious buckwheat blueberry pancakes or the muffin version - cold or hot. See the recipe and make extra for drive along snacks.
Modifications for 24 hour schedule while in Arizona (or anywhere else):
As a further modification of the 2/7/03 note below, Kitty moved virtually all her prune and all nuts (except filberts) eating to supper rather than include them in her breakfast cereal when our days are only 24 hours. Hemp pressing extrusions that she enjoys as a favorite snack plain or with prunes (having been removed from her breakfast cereal itself) are also included at the 3rd meal instead.
Mainly for the conclusions reached regarding having our supplements 3 times daily, we have ceased the two meals daily practice we used last winter and early spring (and July too) in Arizona. (This also permits us to get outside for yard work or to just enjoy the cooler temperatures on early Fall mornings in the desert.) Breakfast is typically about 9:00am, dinner at 3pm and supper about 8:30pm. Our breakfasts are fairly well set due to the powders that are their main ingredients, but dinner and supper are much smaller, with the latter more like a large snack. And other snacks that are a regular part of our 28 hour days are almost non-existent under these circumstances. So far there have not been any weight gains for either of us. As long as we stay active with yard work, walking and (hopefully twice weekly) dancing, we will be able to maintain our lean body weights with this meal schedule and quantity.
By the second week in February 2004 we were finding it very difficult to maintain 3 meals a day on a 24 hour schedule. It seemed like we had just finished eating and it was time to prepare and eat the next meal. Paul even found himself tipping the scale at 143 lbs! Kitty didn't have as much trouble in the weight department but was in definite agreement to reduce our meals to only 2 per day (typically 12noon and 8:30pm) with 1 or 2 small nutritious snacks. Kitty's breakfast is typically not fully consumed at breakfast and becomes either her later afternoon or late night snack. See Note 2 in Kitty's Supplement Regimen (same for Paul's) for how these are handled when eating only 2 meals daily.
Reducing the length of our cycles from 28 to 24 hours means that our 3 meals occur closer together. In order not to consume more calories than necessary - and therefore gain undesired weight - we reduce the size of our meal and snack servings. Kitty most often forgoes any snacking between meals, just not finding herself hungry. We can determine if we are doing this successfully by our weights, which we take each day on arising. An adjustment period of 1 or 2 weeks is not unusual and we may initially see a gain of a couple of pounds. However, these are shed once we have accommodated ourselves to the different eating, exercising, and sleeping schedule.
We have found that 3 days in a row out of 7 eating only 2 meals a day works well for us as a means of keeping our caloric intake sufficiently low to maintain our lean weights. (It very convenient from a time-usage standpoint since on only 24 hours a day, 3 meals with preparation and clean-up takes a lot of time - or at least seems to ;>) We don't eat larger meals on those days, but will include a small snack a few hours before bedtime.
More dietary ideas from the way we "relate" to food.
Food is an important part of staying healthy, living long, and enjoying life while doing so. While not an obsession by any stretch of the imagination, the activities related to food are an important part of our day. We shop together, whether in "cottage country" of northeast Ontario (and before June 2005 at the supermarkets within walking distance, at a 24 hour market, or at Kensington Market - the outdoor markets in Toronto's China town) or in central Arizona. Deciding what to eat and actual meal preparation are also joint activities. Either one of us is capable of making a delicious and nutritious meal, but working together in either of our kitchens provides added opportunities for "togetherness".