things that make me happy in this silly world

books

update!

this is major:  i packed my husband’s lunch for work.  it contained roasted spaghetti squash with tomato sauce (homemade with grape tomatoes) and whole milk mozzarella.  and he LOVED it.  this is my all-carb, all-fast food-loving husband we’re talking about here.  i feel victorious.  he’s losing weight, too 🙂

i’ve been absent for a while because i have been swallowed by the back hole of blogs and articles concerning paleolithic and primal living.  i’m in the middle of discovering what all this is and it’s riveting.  i’ve found that dr. cate‘s teachings are very closely mirrored in these lifestyles.  i’ve been so overwhelmed with information and i can’t get enough!

i can’t believe how much information is available and i’ve just been missing out on it for so long.  i’m always updating the blogroll in the right column so check out those blogs that are way more established than mine.  i’ve become a HUGE fan of Sean Croxton at Underground Wellness.

i’m currently reading:

this book is pretty amazing so far and has been mentioned over and over and over in the health blogosphere.  it’s the first of many books that i want to wrap my fingers around regarding health.

i also got:

although it’s been getting a lot of positive reviews in the eyes of paleo and primal people, it’s just OK in my opinion.  i’d much rather follow gluten-free and paleo-friendly recipe blogs like elana’s pantry instead.  which is what i’ll be doing from now on.  in fact, i think following blogs (which almost always contain recipes) is way more practical and yields better results that buying a cookbook.  i’ve made a few recipes from the cookbook and the best one has been the paleo bread.  although, the recipe for paleo bread at elana’s pantry looks much more delicious and i plan on making it as soon as i can get my hands on some coconut flour.

paleo bread. i toasted up a slice with butter in the morning and toasted another slice to go along with a salad.

and one last thing.  i bought $85.00 worth of products at US wellness meats. i’ve been waiting forever to order from them.  i got 2 blocks of grass-fed butter, a wedge of grass-fed raw mild cheddar cheese, 2 lbs of grass-fed ground beef, package of free-range chicken wings (for the ole ball&chain), 3 or 4 bone-in skin-on free-range chicken breasts, and a load of free-range chicken livers (aka: nature’s multivitamin).  i think that’s it.  i get it in a day or two! 🙂


i’m (coco)nuts

a few years back i got on a kick to go “all natural”.  i read a lot of information about synthetics, chemicals, additives, etc. that are in everyday products and i was determined to rid them from my life.  i succeeded for a little while but found that a lot of “natural” specialty items were EXPENSIVE.  i needed to save money so i sort of gave up.  funnily enough, the only things that stuck with me after i was done going full throttle hippie were the most inexpensive products: baking soda and vinegar.  magic materials.  i always clean my kitchen counters and mirrors with a vinegar/water solution.  suuuuper cheap and suuuuper effective.  and when i need to give the bathrooms or any surface a good scrub, i pour on the baking soda.  add vinegar to it and it’s 6th grade science all over again.  plus it’ll eat away all the gunk and make for squeaky cleanliness.  and the best part:  it won’t require ventilation or a breathing treatment afterwards.  and your dog or baby could lick it and, you know, not die.

so, since i’ve been on the straight and narrow with the foods i’m putting into my body, i’ve decided to ease myself back into my hippie jeans and revisit the products that can be used outside the body.  revelation:  a lot of the time what you put into your body is just as suitable for use outside the body.  and if you think about it, doesn’t it make sense that you would not want to put something on your body that you would not be able to eat?  skin being the largest organ and all that.  and it absorbing, like, everything it touches.

my aim is to slowly convert back to natural whole products that are inexpensive and as multi-functional as possible.  2nd revelation:  duh, you don’t have to spend tons of money on natural products–just buy them in their most basic form!  last night i took the first step.  i nixed my shampoo, conditioner, and lotion for baking soda and coconut oil.  i’m so excited by how much money i’m going to save.  i was even able to invest in organic coconut oil which doubles as body lotion and a deep hair conditioner (and i can cook with it if i so choose).

thanks to nourishing flourishing i learned to use baking soda as shampoo.  baking soda is wondrous.  i mixed about a tablespoon with some shower water in my hand, rubbed it into my scalp, let it sit a bit, then rinsed it out.  the conditioner was where things got fun.  apparently, oil does not feel super slippery like bottled hair conditioner (dur!) so my stupid self kept adding TONS of coconut oil to my hair (the ends only) thinking i wasn’t using enough and i woke up today with a grease-ball head.  i’ll have to use a MINISCULE amount next time or just leave it for a deep conditioning treatment.  i read that vinegar is a great hair conditioning agent which i may try next time (lord knows i’ve got tons of it).

anyhoo, i got out of the shower and slathered myself head to toe with coconut oil and it was AH-MAZE-BALLS.  i was so scared it would leave me feeling sticky but it was luxurious and made my skin look super dewy and glowing.  and the most interesting part of this experience?  i used it on my face.  i have suffered from acne 4eva and have been suuuuper psycho about things that go on my face.  i’ve been on antibiotics (tetracycline, minocycline, erythromycin), i’ve used horrendous prescription topical treatments (cleocin-t, peroxide, retin-A—>all strengths. and they eventually stripped the pigment from my face which didn’t come back for years), i used birth control pills, and i almost killed a doctor who wouldn’t prescribe me accutane (thank GOD i never used it).  so putting anything oil-based on my face was enough to give me a panic attack.  i eventually got off all medications and just used proactiv which worked pretty well.

but i’m done being harsh to my poor skin.  after changing my diet to follow the principles of deep nutrition i saw pretty immediately that my acne was being soothed.  i only have to wash my face at night (that’s ONCE a day! UNHEARD of for me).  i’ve reduced the proactiv products i use to only the cleanser.  and i plan on replacing it with a natural product after i do a little more research.  i almost thought dr. cate was being too ambitious when she explained in “deep nutrition” that removing sugar and vegetable oils from my diet would significantly improve acne (along with tons of explanations as to why this is so).  but the logic was sound and, so far, i’m free of acne and the trapping cleansing routine that comes with it.  dr. cate also mentions in her book how ancient egyptians “enjoyed protection from acne and other skin infections because of a secret ingredient in their makeup”…FAT!  and she goes on to say that “quality beauty products are made with natural saturated fats”.  so i decided to give it a go.

this was supremely out of my comfort zone since my entire life i have believed that my oily acne-prone skin should avoid oil-based products at all costs (magazines, tv, doctors, everyone tells you this!).  then i thought “i’ve bombarded my skin with toxic chemicals, ingested harsh medications, spent tons of money on doctors and products and never has my acne been totally controlled.  why the HELL is my breath catching at the mere thought of putting some nourishing organic coconut oil on my face?!”  i was almost enraged when i recognized how backwards my beliefs had become and overcome with emotion that i was finally taking charge.  so i dunked my hand in the oil jar and gave my face what it has probably been screaming for my whole life.

this is me, right this second (grease-ball head and all) with NO makeup and skin conditioned with coconut oil. and i have chronic cystic acne. but i bet you can't tell 🙂


saturated fats

i LOVE butter.  my parents used to play around with me as a kid and hand me a stick of butter when i wanted a snack.  har har har.  i cut it out of my life for years (minus when i would fall off the “wagon” and splurge).  but i have brought it back with a vengeance.  meaning that it makes a daily appearance in my food usually while cooking.

this is a typical breakfast:  egg omelette with asparagus, baby spinach, sharp cheddar, and cooked in BUTTAH.

i’ve read a few books and articles about the comeback of saturated fats and how the alternatives (mainly trans fats) are making us probably the most unhealthy we’ve ever been.  there are all kinds of super scary facts out there for the viewing about how trans fats wreak havoc on every part of our bodies and how prevalent this fat actually is.  if you want a wallop of easily digestible information about this, read deep nutrition.

through the years, a couple things i’ve heard have stuck with me:  trans fats are bad and they’re in fast food.  we should chuck the margarine and stick with plain old butter because butter is better.

but what are trans fats?  what do they really do to us?  what is the difference between margarine and butter?  but butter is all fat and aren’t we supposed to be avoiding that???  things get really confusing really fast.  that’s why i think people should really take an important initiative and educate themselves.  scour the web and other resources and find what’s out there.  i was shocked and horrified by the things i’ve found out.  and i’m still looking…

most of all, i was confused by a lot of contradictory claims (still am, as a matter of fact).  but yesterday, i got my issue of TIME and the front page practically said “FOR SARAH”:

the article was written by dr. mehmet oz (of oprah fame).  his “you: on a diet” was one of the first nutrition books i read that really spoke to me.  from this book, the main points i carried with me were to avoid sugars as much as possible, get rid of trans fats, and eat whole unprocessed foods.  however, dr. oz also touts that saturated fats are bad and should be avoided along with trans fats.  but dr. cate’s deep nutrition practically glorifies saturated fat by the very definition that it’s “saturated” and can’t be changed into evil things through the process of heating and such (unsaturated and trans fats have “holes” because they aren’t fully saturated and this causes them to be unstable.  they combine with other things to create life-depriving specimens within our bodies).  i really like the approach that dr. oz and dr. cate take on nutrition but i don’t like how they seem to butt heads on saturated fats.

but in the TIME article written by dr. oz, he seems to be swinging towards the “saturated fats are not so bad” bandwagon.  which makes me HAP-PAY!

want to get healthy?  then forget about diet soda and low-fat foods.  instead, tuck into some eggs, whole milk, salt, fat, nuts, wine, chocolate and coffee.

and this was the clincher for me:

bad fats generally include saturated fats (found in animal products), trans fats (found in hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils) and their cousin cholesterol (found in egg yolks, meats and dairy products).  even this general grouping, however, can be misleading: new research is finding that some saturated fats (like those found in coconut oil) may actually be good for you and that dietary cholesterol may not affect blood cholesterol as much as we once thought.  the only fat that is universally accepted as bad is trans fat…

dr. oz’s book was published in 2006 and since then, a revised version has come out (2009).  so i’m wondering if his new perspective is reflected in the new version.  anyway, it makes me glad that two doctors i respect seem to creeping up on the same page.

i would like to point out that i have heard bad things about trans fats and sugars throughout my life.  but i would still eat these things fairly regularly (like A LOT of people i know).  it wasn’t until i started actively researching on my own that i found information that brought me to my knees.  i recommend dr. cate’s book all the time because it is a good launching point to begin searching for answers.  motivation only came to me when i was hit with truths and were so ugly and yet so applicable to things i have been through.  i’m not just talking about yo-yo dieting.  i’m talking about failed pregnancies and fertility issues, being taken advantage of by the medical system, acne, being a “late bloomer”, seeing the people i love suffer with preventable and easily fixable health issues, and SO SO SO much more.  it’s not enough to tell people to get rid of or add things to their diets if they have no idea why or how devastating and far-reaching the effects can be.  basically, it comes down to FIND YOUR MOTIVATION.  and being skinny is NOT enough.  dr. cate‘s book has a slurry of motivating reasons.  when one of them knocks you to the ground, keep plowing.


welcome back (to me)

helloooooo, again!  (check out the updated about page)

really glad to get this blog going.  i’m praying for consistency, devotion, creativity, and honesty.  good. luck. to. me.

i will start by saying that i’ve cleaned up my act in the past few months using those ever-elusive and magical ingredients that make for a trim bod, endless energy, and a fluffy helping of good well-being:  exercise and good nutrition.

i lost my grip on these things early in the year due to being manhandled by the medical and hospital system (which i may go into when i feel like it).  but i found something that helped me get my perspective back—> Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan.  i will definitely have a lot to say about this book in the near and probably far future.  in the meantime, you should just get a copy and read it so you can have a lot to say, too.  if you personally know me and i’ve tried to force feed you this book, my apologies (but you should really get crackin’!).

if you’re the one reader who popped in on my blog throughout the last year, bless you.  i’m glad to finally be giving you some new material.

i finished off my last piece of salmon the other day.  check out this glorious lunch:

s&p, olive oil, and mustard...yes indeedy


i am number four by pittacus lore

archimedes is awesome.  he has put me back in a reading groove.  i’ve just finished “i am number four”.  i think being able to read while on the treadmill has contributed to my finishing so quickly.  i’m able to adjust the size of the font so i can still read while bobbing up and down 🙂  one of the many wonders.

i quite enjoyed this book.  basically, there are 9 alien children sent to earth because their planet was destroyed by another alien race, the Mogadorians.  the 9 aliens are from Lorien and have to grow up on earth honing their superpowers while blending in since they are being hunted by said Mogadorians.  their ultimate goal is to return to Lorien and restore their planet.  we are following along with “number 4” or “john”.  the first three have been killed.

i kept feeling the longing and loneliness of john’s nomadic life.  he travels with his keeper, henri.  and henri, you the man.  when they finally settle in Ohio and develop real relationships, the stakes are higher.  the entire story is shrouded in captivating mystery.  i appreciated that there was so much explanation and history given without feeling like it was shoved down my throat.  inevitably, john and henri are tracked by the Mogadorians and a showdown ensues.  it’s not over the top but it doesn’t disappoint.  strangely enough, the story is written in such a normal way given the subject matter.  which i really appreciate.  the teenagers cuss (without being crude or vulgar), they make out, they drink at parties while mom and dad are gone.  and none of these things ever overshadow the actual story.  it’s like the author didn’t pander to a specific crowd and i like that.

and…there are casualties.  😦  i’m grateful because it makes for a great story but it’s devastating all the same.  anyway, well done!  i do want to mention that one of my favorite characters is Bernie Kosar, an amazing beagle that rocks my world.

the ending is torturous because i can’t wait for the next one!  and i found out that they made a movie already! (????)  it’s being released next year! (wha?!!?!)