Monday, February 13, 2012

Green Eggs & No Ham

This sounds ridiculous, but I've been in search of an egg plate for close to 10 years and finally found one, so I got obsessed with making deviled eggs this weekend.  I ran into a snag that turned into genius (if I do say so myself)....  I don't have mayo.  I also don't like store-bought mayo (because of the crap oils they use).  I ALSO don't have any eggs that I can trust to use raw to make my own right now.  So what to do?!  I experimented and came up with this:

Green Deviled Eggs

  • 12 eggs (preferably organic & pastured)
  • 1 ripe avocado

Also start with:
  • ~1/8-1/4 c. Extra Virgin Kalamata Olive Oil
  • ~2-3 Tbsp. Yellow Mustard
  • ~1.5-2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • ~2-3 Tbsp. White Vinegar (be conservative on this one)
  • ~1/4 tsp. Salt
  • ~1/4 tsp Garlic Powder (optional)
  • ~Tumeric (optional)
  • ~Cayenne Pepper (optional & to taste)
  • ~ dash of Paprika per egg (optional)

Prepare, peel and halve the dozen hard boiled eggs and reserve the cooked yolks in a mixing bowl.  Remove the avocado from the shell and the pit and add it to the eggs in the mixing bowl.  Add in the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and a little bit of white vinegar and salt.  Blend until smooth with a hand mixer or blender.   Now here's the kicker:  every person has a different idea of how deviled eggs should taste.  Luckily, you always have leftovers of the filling.  I'd look at the spices in a recipe you already like, start there and adjust accordingly.  So if you like it more mustardy, add mustard, blend and taste until you get the flavor you want.  The same goes for the rest of the ingredients.  Be very cautious with the vinegar.  They don't seem to taste right without some, but it would be hard to bring it back to flavor if you put in too much.  Once you have the filling right, put it in a piping bag or a plastic baggie with the corner cut out & squirt into the empty egg halves.  Top with Paprika if desired...  Et Voila!

I hope you enjoy these too!  (they'd be sooo great for a Seuss Themed party....  hehe)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Faux Beef Burgundy

So, I've been on a rampage to use up food before I go visit my parents for the weekend.  This is especially difficult since we have about a 2 week back-up on our crop share produce.  In order to use up some mushrooms & onions, I thought of a Beef with mushrooms & onions in a red wine base.  Here goes:

Faux Beef Burgundy

  • ~1.5 lb. Stew Beef
  • 1 medium to large red onion
  • 1 pkg white mushrooms
  • 1/2-1 large sweet potato, peeled & cubed
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Bottle Cocobon Red Wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1-1.5 Tbsp Herb de Province, dried
  • 1 tsp. Oregano, dried
  • 1.5 tsp. French Thyme, dried
  • dash or two Paprika
In a 4 qt. slow cooker, make a nest (don't know if this is entirely necessary) of sliced onion and nestle cubed beef in it.  Place cubed Sweet potato and mushrooms on top.  Add spices and pour vinegar and wine all over.  Pour yourself a glass of wine too?  Cover crockpot & either cook on low for ~7 hours or cook on high for an hour and a half, then switch to low for 2.5 hours.  Mine wasn't "pretty" because I took no care or artistry in how I cut the bits, but the taste was to die for!  Serves 4.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Musings on Style

So this has been a dichotomy day...  I woke up this morning and stumbled upon this blog post from Advanced Style...
I love it!  I feel a certain affinity for these ladies eventhough I don't share their fashion taste.  Great for them.  I wouldn't wear some of it myself, though I am intrigued by the black lace and bead string shirt in the third photo & would be tempted to try the black and grey outfit in the second (it wouldn't work.  I'm kinda abysmal at layering even if I try).  I approach everyday as a dress up session.  This is why I love working somewhere with semi-lax dress code.  That's why I'm a little bummed about working at home - no runway & nobody to discuss choices with (yes, one of my male coworkers would comment on my outfits, give opinions, etc, & no he wasn't gay or metro).  This is also a reason I'm looking forward to getting older.  I figure the older I get, the more comfortable being flamboyant I'll be (already happening as I define my own concept of adulthood...).  I'd even like to go off the deep end sometime when I have brilliant grey hair & run around in full Victorian dress for a week randomly - just to entertain myself & other people.

But then later today I ran across this: 
And I feel really bad for the girl raised by people who buy into this.  I feel really bad for people propogating this.  Girls who are raised by that *may * break out of that mindset, but more likely, I doubt they will become a Lady of Advanced Style.  : (

Just my 2 cents.

Needless to say, I got inspired by the first, and reacted to the second, and determined to wear flaming red leggings under a black cowl neck tunic sweater with my hair braided & coiffed up, with black & red stone Victorian inspired dangle earrings, with a three strand "pearl" choker - and all that will be paired with a vintage black velvet swing coat and asymmetrical black velvet hat from the early 50s when I venture out today.  : )

Monday, December 5, 2011

Food for thought

This week, I've run across these two articles...

  Now, I have to be honest.  I read the last blog post & skimmed the first article.  I need to do further reading into the Rat Park study & read the paper listed in the first one.  On the surface, though, assuming both authors are correct with their summaries...  it's really making me think about the mismatch in nature of humans vs. our constructed environments which we believe to be "ideal".

Just food for thought.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The spectre in the corner...

It's there. In the shadows in the corner. I know it's there. I'm just constantly waiting for the time that it's going to do something... change something, wreak havoc, attack, or just loom behind you casting a shadow and making your freak out because you know it's there looming... I don't know.

In case people have wondered... Gee, she used to post funny stuff all the time on Facebook or silly status messages on G-chat! She used to organize stuff more. Ooh. Why haven't we heard any progress about a really cool costume this year?

This is what my life has been like for 2+ years now.
This is what I need to/am doing... or at least trying to do.

I have very limited creative juice left these days. I'm spending 40 hours a week working a job that "sucks", but that I realize may only really "suck" because everything else is highly stressful, so I decompress at work & then don't do my work sometimes & then have to work when I don't want to because I still need to get the shit done. When I'm not at work, I'm trying to make sure I get enough exercise & eat well enough so that I can keep my mood stable enough to keep myself together (what I eat drastically affects my mood). I'm also trying to make sure that I get out & see friends and hang with people because doing fun things with people who like me is extremely beneficial.... at all times & especially now. I'm finding it hard & difficult when I see all my friends "progressing" with their lives - having children, getting new jobs, talking about how wonderful life & marriage and relationships are - while I feel like I'm stuck in a tar pit, not able to move, and knowing that there should be a rescue team on the way at some point, but having no idea when the hell they'll show up & pull us out and we can start moving again. Waiting... kills... me. * head to wall *

Don't get me wrong. I know we're doing what we should be doing. I know things are moving, but it's slow. Baby steps. Waiting... augh!

I go through phases where things seem "normal" again. When we really got the ball rolling on treatments and for the two months after J started taking meds, I saw a noticeable improvement. He's being more rational, more even keeled.... but it's not 100%. I know it's supposed to help over time and that it's a slow process, but I guess I got my hopes up and convinced myself that there's an end in sight. I had fingernails for 2 months. I got inspired to create. I laughed, smiled & talked. It felt good.

Recently I came to the realization that while there's an end somewhere (hopefully), it's not in sight. There's a rope leading into a dark tunnel and there's an end somewhere, we think, but right now we just have to keep following the rope into the unknown and hope that it leads us out. I hate waiting. I hate living in a world of unknown. I hate living in a situation that I have no control over. But I have to focus myself away from the hate and as the British say "Keep Calm & Carry On." Sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I want to reenact a Sophie Kinsella novel (which I've never really respected, by the way) - heroine gets in really deep trouble, runs away from all her problems, has fantastic adventures, and then the problems go away and life ends up happy & more fabulous than it was before she ran away from her problems.  Not practical.  ("F#ck practical!," says the little voice in my head).

This got posted yesterday. It seems... appropriate? Everybody around me seems to be in some sort of stress, depression or crisis. I'll blame it all on Fox News.

In the end, I feel like I'm emanating bad vibes to the point where I'm unpleasant to be around right now.  I really feel like I'm not me unless absolutely nothing's stressing me out.  I feel like the currently every-day-stressball that is me is someone I wouldn't want to introduce to new people.  I need to run or swim more (gets the angst-energy out & centers me).  I get frustrated because I know the fixes, but can't always follow through on them.

On the up-side, things aren't all bad.  At least we ARE doing what we're supposed to be doing to take care of all this shit.  I've been fortunate to get some time to explore and work on other ideas.  Things suck & I might be teetering on the edge, but I'm so far managing to keep myself from going over the edge (I think?).  I've managed to learn buckets about myself, my brain & my body (since that's the only thing I have some modicum of control over right now & I'm really putting it through the paces).  Some of my friends have been really supportive and I've also had some really amazing people come into my life this year and I can't even begin to say how much any of you all mean to me.  I love you guys.

In the end, I'm looking forward to making some self-preservation Samhain Resolutions soon (no, not a religious thing, I just like samhain & figure resolutions help more if you make them BEFORE the glutton period instead of trying to make up for it after!  Haha!)  and might consider changing my motto from 'keep calm & carry on' to:

Get Angry and Charge Forth!

That is all.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Two-week update: 2011 PBC

Yup, so I've been bad about cataloguing this.  First, I got SICK on days 4-7.  I wasn't doing anything, blogging, tracking, or otherwise.  I also cheated on my sickest day & broke down & got a DQ Reese's Cup Blizzard (with PB sauce added in) because I had no will-power (it was, however, the mini size Blizzard).  Then, the rest of the week I ate pretty well, but it was a crazy week, so I didn't track either.  The one thing I CAN say is that while I'm eating well, I have NOT been doing any of the very simple exercise plan other than maybe "moving slowly".  This will change tonight!  After a week and a half of comeplete & utter sedentary living, I am going CRAAAzzzzYY!  I need to climb on stuff & run around, stat!

This weekend I also cheated a little bit & had a starbucks (sugar) and a margarita (sugar & crap), but I had negative experiences with both, so that'll teach me.

One thing that I did find interesting was that I thought "I've beenn eating well, but I still got sick."  : (  I ended up giving J my cold...  his has lasted about a week now instead of 3-4 days.  I blame the faster recovery on better nutrition.   Anyway, more updates will come eventually.

Also, on the sleep front, I decided to try keeping the display for my bedside clock turned off durng the night now.  I never thought it would,but it's made a world of difference in the quality of my sleep!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 3: 30 Day PBC



  • Hard-boiled Egg
  • London Broil Steak Beef
  • Squash Butternut
  • Coffee with splash of whole milk

  • Baby Carrots, Raw
  • Collard Greens
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Just Mango Slices
  • Beef Jerky (homemade)
  • Turkey Breast Shaved

  • Beef Jerky (homemade)
  • New Zealand Sweet Apple Rings
  • Pure Coconut Water
  • Raw Almonds
  • Raw Pepitas

  • Honey Dijon Dressing
  • Sliced Swiss Cheese
  • Spinach, Raw
  • Turkey Breast (Skinless, Roasted)

  • Lime Juice, Raw
  • Tequila
  • Unsweetened Baking Chocolate - Easy Melting
I think this counts as both my "move slowly" and "Lift Heavy things"....  I went and did a KaBOOM! playground build today and basically spent from 10 AM until 3 PM moving a mountain of mulch.  I thought it would never end.  So after a zillion squat lifts, and walking who knows how far in circles (I felt like ants...  a stream of people constantly moving in a line from one place to another & back carrying stuff.).  I figured I deserved a tequila tonight!  : )

Other than Having to pack food for myself today (knowing that the breakfast was going to be bagels & muffins, the snacks were granola bars & the lunch would be sandwiches...) this whole thing has been going pretty well.  I need to plan a little bit more, but not by much.  It's hard to resist the siren call of French Fries, but I think it'll be worth it.  I'm feeling pretty damn good.  I think my taste buds are recalibrating too because my dried apple rings today tasted as sweet as candy.  it was weird.  (For the record, tequila & lungs don't mix.)

Gonna go pass out now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day 2: 30 Day PBC

  • Fried Egg
  • New Zealand Sweet Apple Rings
  • Vegetable Kabob
  • Whole Carrots
  • Coffee with a splash of whole milk

  • Raw Almonds
    Raw Pistachios

  • Asparagus
  • Baby Spinach
  • Mixed Berries
  • Olive Oil
  • Oven Roasted Beef
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Squash Butternut
  • kale, raw

  • New Zealand Sweet Apple Rings
  • Unsweetened Baking Chocolate - Easy Melting

  • Asparagus
  • Generic Butternut Squash
  • London Broil Steak Beef
  • New Zealand Sweet Apple Rings
  • Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Pineapple


    J & I went to check out the Holmes Run fitness trail.  We jogged a bit, walked some, sprinted a little, and climbed all over things.  We racked up about 2 miles over the course of 48 minutes (the last 14 were a stroll around a pond).  During my little sprint, I felt like I was flying & I must have been - my watch says my max speed 5:14/mi.  Whew!  Never knew I had that in me. I wouldn't be able to do that for longer than a few seconds though.  I don't know how people would do a marathon like that!

    Also,  I'll be having a bit of a challenge tomorrow...  I get to go to a playground Build for the day.  They "provide" breakfast, lunch & snacks, but the breakfast is bagels & pastries & the snacks are granola bars, so I'm making Beef jerky right now & bought a veggie pack for a supplement throughout the day.  I'll also be bringing my leftover steak & squash for breakfast. I should be able to forage well enough for lunch.  Yay!

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    30 Day Primal Blueprint Challenge

    OK, that's it.  I need something to keep myself honest right now.  I'm irritated by the 15 lbs that I've packed on this year, by the fact that if I don't get this under control, I'll have to go buy new pants again, and by the fact that I'm in a cycle of: eat bread - get irritated by symptoms - say "I shouldn't be eating this" - continue to eat bread...  that I'm currently stuck in. 

    Just yesterday, Mark posted the 2011 30 Day Challenge & I'll do it just to keep myself on track.  Here's the info graphic.  It's very simple.  If I can't do it, then I should just wander off into the woods & let bears eat me. 

    The Livestrong website is down tonight.  Boo! (not related, but...)

    So Far:
    • 1 hard-boiled egg
    • 2 carrots
    • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
    • 10 oz. black coffee
    • 1/2 order Steamed Chicken & Mixed Veg (snow peas, celery, carrots, broccoli, asparagus, etc) from the Chinese place
    • 10 oz. brewed blueberry black tea (unsweetened)
    • ~ 5 Raw Almonds (because I felt snack-ish)
    • a serving of New Zealand Dried Apple Rings from TJ's
    • a circle of Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
    • Bacon & Cheddar laced Hamburger Patty 
    • Grilled Vegetable kabob
    • tequila w/ Lime Juice
    • Another Baking Chocolate disk for dessert
    • none.  : (

      Friday, July 8, 2011

      Ice Cream Escapades

      So this year I started seeing a mini ice cream maker in stores.  It seemed like a grand idea since it would essentially be single serving (I don't need a whole gallon of ice cream at a time).  I waffled.  Then I went to an Irish restaurant in April and had homemade Bailey's Irish Cream Ice Cream.  Needless to say, I went and ordered the Ice Cream Maker almost immediately - that awesomeness sealed the deal!  True to typical fashion, I decided to throw out the recipes that came with the machine & just wing it.  The first batch failed.  I tried making it with only Heavy Cream & Pureed blackberries & a little bit of vanilla extract.  Fail.  It wasn't bad, but it was like slurping down solid cream & just barely sweet.  Batch 2 was decent and the most recent batch (last night) was almost perfect!  In case anyon'e interested, here's what I made:

      Kiwi Ice Cream
      3 ripe kiwi - peeled and pureed (ended  up being 1.5 cups)
      1/2 cup Half & Half
      1/2 cup Heavy Cream
      vanilla extract (probably 1/2-1 Tbsp)

      Blend all together & chill.  Pour half in Ice Cream Maker & follow directions. Slightly sweet & slightly tart.  (should make a full pint)

      Strawberries & Cream!!!
      1.25 cups pureed ripe strawberries
      1/2 cup Half & Half
      1/2 cup Heavy Cream
      1/8-1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream

      Blend all together & chill.  Pour half in Ice Cream Maker & follow directions. (will be softer because the Baileys will partially prevent the freezing/setting.)  Should make a little more than a half pint.

      Friday, June 24, 2011

      Friday Article Wrap-Up

      It's been a while since I've done one of these so....

      I also found a lot of old article Wrap-up posts that never got posted, so here are some from that:

      Friday, March 18, 2011

      Everything's Perfect, All the Time... (Not)

      It's time to be honest here. I'm not looking for sympathy, or consoling. I'm just being honest & telling it like it is. Everybody has bad days. Either bad days for a reason, (you break you foot, get rear-ended, and then mugged on top of all of it - that's a legitimate bad day!) or sometimes not for a reason... you just feel like it. There was an internet/newsmedia discussion about a month back about how FB is "making people less happy" by making everyone think everyone else is perfect & happy. I also found this posting on Psychology Today that I think is more to the point, or at least more to the reality...

      Facebook has turned into one of my ways to communicate with my friends, since there's too freaking many of you! (No complaints here...)

      I, for one, accidentally fall into the trap of "ideal life posting" most of the time just because I don't like a lot of molly-coddling. If you post on FB "having a really shitty day", people respond & try to comfort & etc. It's an emotional trap either way... if I'm actually having a shitty day, I don't really want to be touched, or comforted... (I only want that from either my husband or my mom) I just want to be allowed to grumble & get over it. That's it. However, if people post "comforting" things, I frequently get irritated (don't poke the bear) or if nobody responds, I fall into the trap of "nobody cares!" It's a real catch 22. (actually, if people posted "yeah, that sucks." I think that would work.)

      As a result, I frequently opt for not posting. So if you don't see any updates for a while, It's usually A) I'm ridicu-freakin' busy or B) I'm having a not-happy day (doesn't necessarily mean unhappy).

      So back to being honest: today... I'm having a day. One of those days when you know your head's not in the right place. One of those days when you know that what you're thinking is probably not the case (or at least hoping that you're wrong). I spontaneously feel 20 lbs. heavier & fluffy overnight. I feel like a failure. I can't get any projects started or finished & have no direction.  Or, if I do have direction, I feel like I keep spinning my wheels & can't move forward (I like action).  I feel like I'm letting everyone down all the time and am a horrible person more than I like to be.  I can't keep my house clean, I can't find time to make my own food half the time.  I feel like I'm being unnecessarily a party pooper because I don't like doing things that I don't like doing.  I'm sorry if I avoid it because I know I won't like doing it.  I have 30 years of experience now and know what I do and do not like dammit!  And there's no point wasting time on things I don't like anymore.  I feel like I should be more agreeable.  I feel like I should be more happy because other people feel like I never am (although I feel like I'm actually happy 85% of any given day and that seems pretty darn good to me).  I feel like I'm a failure because I need to plan things & can't "just go with it".  I feel like a grinch.  I feel like a hippocrite.  I'm pissed that I have too much stuff & I hate having this much stuff , yet I can't get rid of any of it & I keep trying and failing. AND my banana that I just bought for my breakfast is half rotten inside. 

      And...  I'll get over it.

      Can't wait until I get to go play on the playground in the 70 degree sunniness this afternoon.

      Friday, January 14, 2011

      Pondering Movement

      Sometimes I have a breakthrough discovering how to get my body to do a particular movement or hold a particular position. At those times I get shocked as to how much of a disconnect there is between what I think I should do, what I actually should do and what I actually end up doing. Sometimes the first two are in line with each other, but getting the third part to agree seems to be a major challenge. I frequently think I need Physical Special Ed. Maybe that's why I've never been able to hit the volleyball. Who knows.

      Last night was a classic example of my disconnect & that's what got me thinking about it again. I use gymnastics rings sometimes and ever since I was a little kid, I have flipped myself upside down, hung from the rings & put my legs straight up in the air. More or less, it's a handstand without the hands. I have NEVER been able to do a handstand. Theoretically, they should be the same as long as you have the strength in your arms. I take that back, the center of mass relative to the pivot point is different, so you have slightly different torques and control issues. Anyway, I tried to do a handstand in an Acro class last night & I could support myself upside down. The arm strength was not, apparently, the problem, but I couldn't stay upright without people holding my legs. Then someone came by & said "tighten up your stomach & squeeze your glutes." That piece added up to being a heck of a lot more stable. Apparently, I was letting my mid-section be all loosey goosey. No wonder I couldn't balance. You'd have just as much luck balancing two things that were connected by jello. I must be used to keeping that form because otherwise I'd have the same problem with the rings. I think the mitigating factor is that with the rings you hang and my arms do that pretty well, so I can kinda ignore them. Here, pushing, supporting myself, that's "new", so I subconsciously focus on my arms & forget about everything else. fail.

      Also, I have problems if I have to move one bit at the same time as the other... hands and feet, or even right-hand, left-hand. When learning piano I preferred syncopated rhythms which are "harder" because it was easier for me - at any given moment, you're usually only using one or the other. Ballroom dance (social, not competitive) works well because you kinda "lock in" your arms (bad way to describe it) and focus on moving your feet in particular ways. With Rock Climbing, you typically only move one foot or one hand at a time. (I avoid dynamic moves). In parkour, most of the vaults are hard for me to process because it requires both hands and feet in synchronicity. Ponder, ponder....

      Sorry. Might not be interesting to anyone else, but it's just something I'm pondering. Hope the disconnect starts to go away the more different things I do.

      Tuesday, January 4, 2011

      Graceful like a Rhinoceros

      I have to tell you.  I'm back to doing Parkour & Loving it, but it's a very humbling experience...  Anyone who's seen me dance or who's seen me in Exuberant Animal...  you won't believe me, but I'm a Klutz, lack all semblance of grace, and moving is very hard for me.  It takes me considerably longer than most, it seems, to figure out how to get my body to move the way I want it to.  Hence, 70% of the parkour lessons involve me standing there and staring into space with a sour expression on my face while the other 30% is me actually moving.  Seriously.  The staring off into space bit is me trying to figure out A) what I'm doing wrong and B) how to fix it, but mostly I just look frustrated.  At least it's a very humbling experience and I've only managed to come away with one shin gash & a knee bruise (correction: massive knee bruise) so far, so I think I'm ahead of the game.  I need practice.  Lots & lots of practice.  I'm essentially in "special ed" when you give me something new to do.  Just to learn to dance I needed to repeat everything over and over and over again.  Once it's in muscle memory, I am golden.  This is what I hope to get from Parkour is that when I'm older I will go to stumble & fall and instead catch myself &; prevent catastrophe.  Or maybe if I'm ever being chased, I will know instinctively how to get over, around or up something to save my butt.  These are my hopes.  Now to practice.  : )  Someday I will not be moving like a rhinoceros.  Just not today.  Or tomorrow....  Or probably not next week either.  Ah well.

      Sunday, January 2, 2011

      Why I'm not really eating grains anymore, sorry for the inconvenience

      I apologize in advance to anyone who's used to ordering pizza or feeding me spaghetti when I come around.  : )

      So on and off over the past year, I've been experimenting with going grain free.  This year I'm planning to ramp up my effort even more.  I don't know if people are wondering why, but here I'll put it out there anyway in case you're interested.

      The whole thing started with trying to lose weight in '08 to '09...  I started using The Daily Plate and calorie counting.  It worked for me for quite a while.  It had a handy graph that showed weight v. calorie intake.  I first noticed that if I ate veggies, I could get a lot more food for my calorie expenditure than if I ate breads, so I made a substitution. Then I noticed that after the initial weight loss, I'd go through plateaus and the periods where I'd drop weight again.  I also could track that the plateaus would be when I was eating grains and the drop periods with veg instead of grains (both were the same number of calories consumed & expended).  I love data! 

      OK, fast forward to July/August of 2009 and I go to the MovNat seminar, they feed me "paleo" all week, I come home, get pizza & a beer & have fish & chips the next day for lunch.  Subsequently, I broke out in a rash around my torso and forearms.  I went to the doctor & the doctor wrote it off as being woods related eventhough it was a breakout pattern that is related to Celiac stuff.  At some point I requested the full test for both markers of Celiac & came back negative.

      Starting with that MovNat experience, I experimented over the next year with on again/off again paleo/primal, and have done a lot of reading and personal research into human body metabolism and health and nutrition and all that jazz.  If you know me well, I've probably irritated the shit out of you this year with all of this.

      There's been a lot of press this past year about Gluten Free diets & products and there's been some info about it and a bunch of articles about it being a fad and people are just jumping on the bandwagon.  "All these people are claiming to be 'gluten intolerant' and they're not celiacs so they're just making a fuss to be special & it's stupid" etc...

      Here are two things:
      1) Article on Celiac Diagnosis - summary: you're only celiac and get a celiac diagnosis once the villi in your intestine gets destroyed.  THEN you get the immuno response markers in your blood stream that they test for. The destroying happens over time.  Some people will get to this point, some people won't but that doesn't mean there's not damage going on because you can find the same markers in the stool of people who have a problem with it and who don't show up on the blood tests.  End result: lots of people can have issues and body responses without knowing this is the cause.
      2) Article on digesstion of grains, comparing Europeans and Africans - summary: european children couldn't break down proteins in grains well while african children could because the african children have bacteria in their guts (coincidentally also found in the stomachs of termites) which breaks down the grain constituents for them.

      After a while of experimenting on my own, here are a few of my own personal findings which are leading me to give up the grains for real (I don't mean to be a pain for meal planning, but it's a quality of life issue at this point):

      When I go grain free:
      • my winter eczema (which has been getting progressively worse every year) is non-existent
      • my seasonal allergies are almost non-existent (used to be non-stop from March to November)
      • a lot of my low-grade aches & pains go away**
      • I don't get PMS bitchiness or cramps
      • my intestines normalize & I don't fart as much and become more "regular"
      • my mood swings disappear
      • when I don't get fed on time, I just get hungry, instead of turning into a raging psychotic bitch
      • I feel like I have more energy & my ability to move is improved.
      • I also *seem * to get sick a lot less
       ** I starred this one because to be honest, I didn't realize I was achy until I STOPPED eating grains & felt different.  You don't realize how shitty you feel until you feel good?

      Anyway, I've at this point been so many time through the cycle of  grains/no grains that I can see definite patterns at this point and reasonably make these conclusions.  During allergy season, if I go on a weekend grain bender (this may be just eating like a normal person), my nose immediately starts running & clears up in a day or two when I go back to no grains.  Same with the eczema.  I currently have a little red crusty patch on my right calf and I've been partaking in the holiday splendor.  I went semi-clean again yesterday (today back to full clean) and it's a little better than it was. I expect it to be gone by tomorrow or the next day.

      Anyway, to sum up:  once again, I'm not choosing this lifestyle to be difficult on other people; while the physical ailments are motiv, it's more the psychological effects that motivate me.  I don't like feeling like a raving lunatic - especially now that I can no longer blame it on being female or having PMS.  Now that I know I can control it by what I eat (or don't), I feel like anything else is being unfair to myself and my friends and family.

      Also, not to get preachy, but seriously...  if you are reading this & have any sort of chronic pains, moodiness, really bad PMS, skin problems, allergies, or anything that classifies as an "inflammatory condition", try 30 days no grains.  Just try it.  If nothing changes, then so be it.  If something does change, then it may be helpful!

      p.s.  some may be tempted to argue "how can so many people have issues with grains?  we've been eating them for thousands of years & some cultures still live almost exclusively on them!"  Well, true.  people have been eating them for a long time, but we've also stopped eating dirt and termites.  that could, ultimately, be what's making the difference.  I don't know.  All i know is that since I can't take a termite supplement, I'll just stick to not eating grains as much as possible.

      Thursday, December 30, 2010

      Evidence of why restaurants should label their calorie contents...

      The other night we decided to go to Panera for dinner.  It's convenient because it's quick, not ridiculously expensive compared to other things around here & generally healthy depending on what you get.  My go-to is a soup & salad combo.  While waiting for J, I got to stare at warm, cozy, delicious looking posters promoted their NEW Peppermint Hot Chocolate.  YUM!  Looked divine.  Seasonal, warming, yummy....  So I checked the board to see how much it would break the bank.  If you haven't been in the past year, Panera started posting the calorie content on the board next to the prices...  Oh, holy, frickin______!!!  610 calories?  Almost twice as much as a regular hot chocolate there??  More than my entire main meal?!?!?!

      Needless to say, I decided against it.

      Sunday, December 26, 2010

      *sings*: These are a few of my favor-rite things!

      So, I don't know if it's the season (I think they play the Sound of Music song as a holiday song), or what, but this song has been running through my head for days and I really want to do a blogpost about my favorite things (in a kind of inspirational essoteric way):

      Friday, October 8, 2010

      We need a better look at Autism

      I just ran across the following article, Siblings of autistic children may share some symptoms, and it reminded me (again) about something I had heard a while back about a scientist proposing an little-talked-about theory linking Autism to prenatal androgen exposure (example of research on the androgen link).  I will be really interested to see where future research in this field leads.  If the Androgen hypothesis is correct, it could also account for the findings in the science article that I found today.  If we could some day get something solid that will lead people away from the oft-refuted, but still accused immunization link, that would be a good thing.  Trying not to harp on another subject, it's also making me wonder once again if this is at least partially influenced by the shitty state of the Standard American diet...  I've heard a lot about how PCOS, which is also characterized with abnormal androgen levels, is influenced by diet and insulin resistance.  Just something I'm pondering right now.

      For the record, this is just the pondering of a layman with a general science background.  I'm not a medical professional, nor do I play one on TV.  But I still wonder about these things.
      UPDATED:  Link to the guy from whom I first heard about the hypothesis

      Wednesday, July 14, 2010

      Will I?

      There are lots of other things for me to talk about sometime soon, but just wanted to make a quick note of this article and correlations...

      Click it. Read it. Will I?

      Hehe. Anyway, it was quite cool for me to read because it puts into words something that I suspected for a long time... I think I succeeded at running because I approached it this way. I started out "can I be one of those people who likes running?" We all know the answer at this point. Now, after reading that blog post, I'm also seeing a connection with most of the other things that I've learned to do and succeeded at. Can I learn the Piano? Can I sew? Can I Crochet? (the last one, I can affirm that I can and I can do it well, but I choose not to because it makes me very angry. go figure.) Just as a teaser: the next one I have lined up is "Will I be able to make a business out of my creative skills?" We'll see how it goes. : )

      Friday, June 11, 2010

      Friday Article Wrap-up

      As always, here are the things I've been reading this week in no particular order:


      Mindfulness... such a simple word. So little meaning if you look at it and so much meaning if you think about it.

      More and more I am drawn to a quote attributed to Buddha: "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and our own common sense."

      Mindfulness is changing my life.

      Though I can maybe argue that I've been practicing mindfulness all my life (and that brings to question some nature v. nurture questions), I was never really "mindful" of mindfulness until last summer.

      I was first introduced (or rather, first noticed the word and its usage) to mindfulness last summer at the MovNat Seminar with Erwan LeCorre. He introduced me to the idea of mindfulness in movement - the difference between long jumping and long jumping with a purpose... don't just jump. think about why you're jumping (give it a purpose) and how it feels and if you failed, why you failed - was it lack of ability or mental interference? Also, don't just jump, and don't just move, but be mindful of your environment and your senses... what works for a dry area or a man-made area may not work for an unprdictable environment of change. Really, it all relates to awareness.

      Next I ran into it through my work with Exuberant Animal. First, I interacted with Kwame M. Brown and then at the East Coast Jam, I met Frank Forencich, the founder. I can't remember specific quotes, but I remember recognizing the term 'mindfulness' and that is really the basis behind Exuberant Animal. It is play-based fitness, but it also specifically to combine the mind and body and community by performing purposeful,mindful movements that are fun because you interact with other people.

      About a month ago, I ran across a post by Greg Carver, who I met at MovNat. He's posted once before on mindfulness of movement but this post was referring to introducing mindfulness in eating as well. It makes sense to me.

      Greg Carver:
      Mindful Movement, Mindful Eating - "it seems logical to me that we can also be mindful about food and eating."

      Two nights ago I attended a lecture on Barefoot Running by the authors of a book by the same name, Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee. At some point, I think when discussing the issue of glass on the road (people always ask, well, what about glass?!? you're going to hurt yourself), he said you end up being more mindful about where you're putting your feet.

      Today, I ran across this video, which is cool in and of itself, but here again mindfulness pops up.

      Mad Viking: - "I take kids up here and get them to turn off their cell phones, which is step one of mindfulness training, and just sit for ten minutes and listen to the birds that are around here..."

      So, noticing "mindfulness" in the Mad Viking video was the key that clicked the lightbulb on. I don't know why, but the repetition and connection hit today and I started pondering... I think I've always practiced some degree or another of mindfulness - whether it's from my mother asking me to think about why I did this or that, or if it's something as simple as being hypervigilant with being aware of my surroundings, which has kept me safe several times.

      As a teen/adult, I've always tried to be mindful of how I interact with other people and the things around me. I realized I was unhappy in shoes where I couldn't feel the bumps on the ground. I discovered that I enjoy running, but only barefoot and only when I can "go inside" my body and feel the ground and feel how my muscles and joints are reacting. I also have found that I LIKE "working out" if I have a purpose. I've started to find that being Mindful of what I'm eating , as Greg suggested, is wonderful. I'm having more luck optimizing my health by being mindful of how my body feels after eating various things and that being mindful about my eating habits can really change what and how I eat... I relly enjoy cooking most of the time now because I've changed it froma chore into a creative process. I had a problem with preparing a whole chicken for grilling until I stopped tossing it around on the counter and started treating it with respect and being gentle with my preparation. Small changes are becoming big changes and it's really interesting to sit back and look at.

      Maybe I live by mindfulness. Maybe it's the essence of my being and happiness and I just never had a word for it. The more I'm realizing that isolating myself from my environment and nature makes me unhappy, the more I am finding ways to make myself happy. I think being mindful about things help one be more open minded. When you can separate yourself, even temporarily, from your feelings and view things with a clear mind... a blank slate... interesting things happen. I like stepping back and watching people as if I were not a person... like Jane Goodall watching chimps. I don't think it's harsh, I just think it's being mindful of the fact that I'm an animal too - that we all are - and that some things people do make as little sense when you take yourself out of context as watching some of the things animals do that we don't understand.

      I've also been finding that it's not a natural reaction for most people. It seems hard to convey to my Exuberant Animal classes how to be mindful of their movements or even that they should. I think it's something that can be learned. Maybe most people don't understand any importance of it or might understand why some people would find it important, but see no personal value in it.

      Ah well, I've rambled into some other realm here.

      All I know is that I really believe the overall concept of mindfulness is important to me, though I may avoid using the word, and I really hope it isn't a word or concept that gets picked up as a "thing" that people get behind and strip of all it's importance or meaning by overuse. I worry when people corporatize good concepts.

      Here: I'll leave you with something to be mindful over... : )

      Friday, June 4, 2010

      Friday Article Wrap-up

      Thursday, June 3, 2010

      Dietary Observations

      So, I came away from this past weekend with an interesting observation.... as of Tuesday I had developed a rash along my stomach, back & chest. Not itchy, just bumply.

      Observations: it was similar to a rash that I came away with from MovNat (recap at bottom of original post)... During MovNat, I ate whole, fresh foods that were cooked, but not processed. I also had no grains or dairy. When I came back, I treated myself to a pizza & beer Saturday night, Sunday we were stuck at an amusement park, so I ended up with Fish & chips & mexican food. Monday I had the rash.

      For the past three weeks I've been eating 80% whole, fresh, minimally processed, and grain-free. Tuesday, due to schedule conflicts, I had to eat & run and ended up with Filet-O-Fish ^ fries for lunch & a breaded buffalo chicken wrap and battered fries for dinner. Wednesday I had a rash.

      This is twice now that I've had a similar sequence of events and come away with a torso rash. From this, I conclude that I was more likely right than my doctor (I figured it was diet affected and Dr. said it was from crawling around in the woods). This lets me form several hypotheses... A) grains are doing it, B) processed fried crap is doing it, or C) potatoes are doing it, listed in order of likelihood (in my opinion). As of lunch time today, I will start back on a whole/fresh diet again, keep at it for a week & then see about reintroducing bread products in quantity. See what happens. If that doesn't do it, I'll try fried foods. Then potatoes, etc....

      I want to figure my body out.

      Friday, May 28, 2010

      Oops and thoughts about the future...

      Yeah, so I just realized that I posted the Friday article Wrap-up on Thursday and my sense of time is all off. I thought last night was Friday, but then I thought today was Thursday or Wednesday while I was driving to work. Oh well.

      So the post yesterday had something to do with a hint that I'm contemplating teaching again. I am. It'll probably be years down the road. I'm looking into programs. I should get my degree in it this time at some point. There's a fast track program which would be more my speed, but it looks like I'll have the same problem as last time because I won't get classroom management or grade assessment skills until after I'm already in the classroom... but I've found some good resources on my own this time and may look into that down the road. I do need to figure out what prereqs I need though because while I could be fully competent going into the fast track program in Physics and maybe Math, That's not all I want. I'd also like to have the necessary reqs. for health and Phys. Ed.

      Why?!? Why would someone who HATED Phys ed want to teach it? How could I teach phys ed if I still have an innate loathing of volleyball? Well, I don't know the answer to the third question, but to the first and second I put this: through my work with MovNat & Exuberant Animal this past year and by being exposed to SPARK (the book) and stuff like this, I think I can best apply my knowledge and positively impact people by applying my science at an early age... It's so empowering when someone tells you WHY you should move and move a lot, rather than when someone tells you that you SHOULD move a lot. It's also better getting the education in WHY and the experimenting and learning it for yourself. I think I can do the most here. That is why. : )

      This is why: Physically Active Play and Cognition

      Thursday, May 27, 2010

      Friday Article Wrap-up & Teaching Commentary

      OK, I normally refrain from adding commentary on the Friday Article Wrap-up, but this one is near and dear to me since I'd wanted to teach since 7th grade, taught for a year (hellish) and am considering going back to it someday. It's especially near to me because I had an opportunity to be one of those people who gets left behind in school at an early age and I also (thanks to a wonderful teacher who pulled me back from the abyss) went on to excel in school.

      Long story short: the more I hear about education cuts, the more I feel ill. I hear people complain about jobs going overseas and worries about the US staying competitive in the marketplace, etc, etc. Then people go on and complain about bipartisanship & spending and we're spending too much, so let's cut education. OK, I admit that's a very simplistic view of what people are expressing, but those sentiments exist. I really WANT people to start thinking about teaching and education the same way they think about doctors and engineers. They are critical. They get paid alot because they are critical. But you don't get doctors or engineers without the teachers teaching them first. Teachers and kids are the building blocks of all other industries. How much they succeed dictates how much our country and industry succeeds later. You can't have an educated voter participating in the democratic process without an initially educated student. And engineering jobs and innovation jobs will continue to go overseas if the better educated people are overseas. Just think about it. END of rant.

      Friday, May 21, 2010

      Friday Article Wrap-up

      Wednesday, May 19, 2010

      New Swamp-Water Smoothie

      • ~ 2 cups washed & loosely loaded spinach
      • ~2/3 c. shredded carrots (or the equivalent whole carrots)
      • ~1/2 standard pkg blueberries
      • 1 medium red apple
      • ~2 Tbsp. Almond Butter


      Put in blender. Blend until ready, put in glass & enjoy.

      Nutrition for the whole thing.