My Florida yard is small but I am trying to fill it with native plants to attract bees, butterflies and wildlife. After reading another blog about planting milkweed to help monarchs survive and thrive, I began researching the types of milkweed to plant here in central Florida where I live.
Do Your Research and Plant Native
Big box stores sell plants that look nice, and are not necessarily concerned with native species. Customers usually want pretty things to brighten up the home landscape.
Bringing non-native plants into the yard can end up being a problem. Florida contains many invasive species – the air-potato and Brazilian Pepper trees come to mind. They invade and push out more native plants. This is also true for wildlife that has been imported, but that is another blog post.
Although this page is about milkweed, researching all types of native plants for the landscape will go a long way in helping the butterflies and birds. Native plants will survive nicely, with little help, when planted where they should be.
Types of Florida Native Milkweed
There may be more types, but this is what I found when writing this page. Visiting a local nursery that sells local plants could be very helpful.
Butterfly Weed – reddish orange flowers, blooms late spring through fall
To cook this super easy, one pan, Keto dinner all you need is three ingredients. Buy some lean ground beef (1 pound), a can of organic, low sodium, diced tomatoes, two medium size zucchinis, and some chopped onion, which is optional.
Order of Preparation
Brown the ground beef in a large frying pan. While the meat is cooking, dice a zucchini into pieces. The easiest way to do this is to cut off the ends and cut the zucchini in half. Stand each half and make cross-cuts all the way down so the piece is in quarters. Lay it down on a cutting board and slice.
Open a can of diced tomatoes. Chop some onion if you want. I did to add flavor.
When the meat is cooked, remove it from the pan and set aside. I put it into a bowl I would be using to eat from to save dishes.
Add a pat of butter and heat the frying pan to cook the zucchini. Stir and cook, with the onions, until it is mostly tender. Dump in the can of tomatoes and add the cooked ground beef. Simmer for a few minutes to heat the tomatoes and blend the flavors.
This delicious and quick meal is now ready to eat! Add salt and pepper as you like.
Any vegetable you like would work in this dish. Some options would be broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, eggplant, and peppers. To stretch it, for those who eat carbs, eat it with rice or pasta. Crusty bread would be good too.
It may be no surprise to my readers that I dislike the way things are going in Florida. I visit the cities as little as possible, but had to go to Daytona the other day. With the races, bike week, and whatever else goes on to attract tourists to this place, Daytona is definitely a place I avoid.
This Covid mask-wearing thing is getting so old. I am grateful to have a work-from-home job where I can be mask-free all day long. But I am not sure how long it will be worth it to work. Last year things began to slow down and it just got worse and worse. Products are not available to put designs on, and people are out of work and can’t buy things anyway.
Whenever I think about leaving the house to go shop and then I remember I will have to wear a mask – and I stay home.
Many products are hard to get, including specialty cat food. My cat needs special food because she has intestinal issues. She tends to have diarrhea if she eats the wrong things and a cat with diarrhea is not fun! So I spend loads of money on special, prescription cat food. Now this type of cat food has become hard to get. The store in Daytona had it, so I picked up my prescription from the vet (so ridiculous) and my son drove us up to PetSmart.
It turned out they had one bag left… so kitty will be diarrhea free for now.
By the way, Daytona is not a place I EVER visit. Long ago I used to drive to the mall, and pass the Speedway and the dog track and lots of green forests. But developers see trees as being in the way, and they can’t wait to flatten acres of land to put up stores, restaurants, car dealerships, and apartment buildings and condos. This is typical Florida now.
Roads are now 4-lane where they used to be single lane. This is a good reason to stay home. I took these photos the other day as we sat in a turn lane with the big “Welcome to Daytona Beach” sign in front of us. We were right next to the Daytona Speedway (below).
I always wonder where people lived before Florida that was so bad that they actually like it here. My eyesight is getting bad so I don’t drive much, and I certainly don’t like to drive to Daytona. It used to be an iconic place and now it is dumpy and touristy and traffic is crazy.
If you like traffic, crowds of people, sitting at lights for long amounts of time, eating fast food, shopping, and being baked under the endless sunshine, come on down. This is the place to be.
I began the Keto Diet in August 2020. Now it is mid-February 2021. After years of basing my eating on kidney friendly foods, for my PKD, I still felt horrible. I knew I needed to do something about the way I felt.
I’m not skinny, but after following a low carb diet for six months, I am feeling much better. Because I wrote, but never got around to publishing notes from my first weeks, I’m including them here.
After One Month on Keto, Notes:
When I cut carbs I saw changes right away. I lost about 10 pounds. I was weighing my self and taking waistline measurements on every Monday. But, I wrote this at the four week mark:
“The Monday morning weigh in was not impressive this past week. I lost less than 1/2 a pound and lost 3/4 inch around my waist. This seems ridiculous because I have cut out 1/3 of my meals every day. How do you eat seven fewer meals a week and not loose weight?
But, I am not going to worry about that. I want to see changes that tell me my kidneys are being affected. That would mean getting thinner around the waist and lowering my blood pressure. The bad kidneys make my BP high and I would love to see that come down. So far, not much difference.”
Weigh In Notes and Measurements
I’m hesitant to share my weekly logged weights and measurements, but by listing them here you will see how I did lose weight in the beginning. I am in my 60’s and haven’t lost weight at all in probably 20 years – no matter how much I exercised or watched what I ate. All I did was cut out the carbs and the pounds began to go, but I did not lose a lot of weight.
Aug. 24, Day 1 : 171.6 lbs, waistline: 40.5 inches
Aug. 31, Week 1 : 165.2 lbs, waistline: 39.5 inches
As you can see, the pounds dropped off quickly in the beginning. Then I stopped weighing myself. I threw my scale away (in frustration – just kidding) so I couldn’t post my weight, but I suspect that I today I weigh around 160 pounds.
I really wanted to see my waistline get smaller as an indication that my kidneys were shrinking – losing all the cysts. I suspect that will take a very long time, if it will ever happen at all.
After Six Months of Intermittent Fasting
The fasting part of this plan is going very well. I really believe in this part of my diet plan.
I stay busy all morning, working usually, until noontime, then I cook something low-carb for my first meal of the day. When I need a snack, I usually eat a few nuts. No more chips or crackers. Sometimes I have a few slices of cheese.
I eat one more meal for supper anywhere from 5:00-6:00 and try to be all done eating by then, or at least by 7:00. I drink water all evening. So, in general I don’t eat for 18 hours out of the day.
My mind feels very good and I have no trouble concentrating on work. My younger sister was recently diagnosed with dementia, and my mother died of Alzheimers, so keeping my mind going is one of my top priorities.
I am sleeping fine most nights and continue to NOT have heartburn.
I do not get much in the way of exercise, but I do Yoga stretches. If I moved more it would be helpful. I have my excuses, and I know I should. I just can’t seem to get myself motivated to care.
Shopping and Cooking
Like all things, getting started may be the most difficult part of making a change. Eating is a huge part of life. Food and drink are the fuel for our bodies. We can choose to add useless junk to our system, or beneficial nutrients. We only get to eat so much in any given day and most, if not all, should be working to increase our health.
At the beginning of this diet change, I boxed up my high carb, unopened foods and gave them to the Boy Scout’s who came around at holiday time.
Grocery shopping is easy, and I know what to buy and what to avoid. The only “food” troubles I have is keeping track of bad kidney food while eating Keto. An example is avocados. Look up any page on eating for Keto and I bet you will see an avocado! But, avocados are high in potassium, which makes them a food to avoid with kidney disease.
I’m also still careful of sodium, which the Keto diet plan seems to ignore. I do not count carbs, just avoid high carb foods. Some days I think I do eat too many carbs, but most days I believe I stay under the 50 grams recommended for ketosis.
These Days Staying on Track is Easy
My shopping list looks different these days. I’m careful of my kidney needs, but mostly I try to stick with Keto friendly food. I’m eating more vegetables than ever. I feel like I am eating the healthiest I ever have!
If you are curious about Keto and intermittent fasting, take a look at the documentary “Fat Fiction”. This show opened my eyes to a better way of looking at food. I’d already tried to become healthier because of my kidney problems, but in reality I was not eating all that great.
The Fat Fiction show, along with Dr. Weimbs’ study results on reducing cysts in animals with PKD by fasting, is what opened my eyes. (Read Ketosis Slows the Progression of PKD if you have PKD and need some hope, because finally it seems there is some.)
Here is a link to a list of food documentaries on Netflix and Amazon for more information about the Keto diet and how to change the way we look at food. Even if you think it’s stupid to follow a specific diet, these shows will make you think.
All information on this blog is to help myself, and share my journey. I am not suggesting anyone do this diet, but to keep an open mind. I am not a qualified nutritionist, or any type of medical professional. Please read my blog disclaimer here.
Credit for the giraffe photo at the top goes to Howard Wilks at Pixabay.