Monday, January 30, 2012

imma let you finish in a minute

 
This weekend my 3rd sister (if you count my cousin, which I do) graduated from college. Hooray! She also LUNGED AT THE PODIUM TO CORRECT THE PRONUNCIATION OF HER NAME DURING THE FORMAL COMMENCEMENT. Heh. I guess she still gets the degree, though. So that's handy.
 
And we decided to still go out to lunch afterwards because GEEZ we'd already made reservations and braved the graduation traffic. So we went to Big Fish, and lunch was pretty good. What was NOT pretty good was having to leave the saltines and horseradish and cocktail sauce they put on the tables. Automatic/free food = MY JAM. Especially when it's strange condiments. I have eaten bowls of guacamole with a fork and nothing else (in fact, on day 1 of my Whole 30 challenge...note to self: ask dinner companions if they have food allergies before ordering $11 guacamole appetizers). So not eating that stuff was hard. But I got past it.
 
But then. The end of the meal came. And of course the graduate should get dessert! 3 out of 5 of us could not partake (Mom - Atkins, me and Aunt C - paleo), so we gazed longingly at the dessert selection on the menu and shut our eyes in agony at the verbal listing of dessert specials. My sister ordered the bread pudding (with motherfcking sabayon AND chocolate sauces), and when it came, it was a behemoth. I looked at that stomachace-inducing beast, and lo...it was beautiful. But too big to finish.
 
So she asked for a box, which I (bravely) held steady for her. And as she was scraping the god.damned.sauces. on top of the bread, she said, "It smells like French Toast." And I immediately thought, "I would hurt a small child for some French Toast." And my mother and aunt looked at each other and whispered, "french toast...fuck," and crumpled into heaps of longing.
 
Overall I'm still enjoying my Whole 30 experience, and am doing really well with sticking to it. But if you're trying to avoid food-related temptation, don't go to lunch with my sister. Don't mispronounce her name to a packed ballroom full of people, either, asshat, because she will Kanye the ish out it.
 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

beyond the help of even a venn diagram

 
That cross-section of individuality and commitment to unity in marriage. It's sometimes a pain in the ass. Notably, when you really want one outcome to a situation, but the situation as a whole is really more your partner's domain than yours, and you have to trust that s/he has your best interests in mind and won't back down from obstacles. Even when you would really really like to be the person to address the obstacles yourself because OMG YOU ALWAYS HANDLE YOUR OWN PROBLEMS NOT DOING ANYTHING YOURSELF SUCKS.
 
Luckily, while we were laying in bed (once again consciously making ourselves late to work) this morning, we learned our bed is perfectly positioned and pointed for marital and family happiness. Per the Feng Shui Diva. So that's handy, I guess.
 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

road trip

 
Update on Paleo/Whole 30:
 
Swoon. I love it! I love love LOVE it! I really love the no-excuses, just-eat-the-healthiest-thing..ness. We made dinner plans with a friend a few weeks ago, not knowing at the time that I would soon rope my beloved into the most restrictive diet on the planet. So yesterday, trying to decide where to go, I suggested we just have her over for dinner. And I'm so up to date on my contents of my kitchen, and have so many foods ready to go already, that a last minute dinner "party" is not a big deal! That. Never. Happens.
 
Right now I've got boneless pork chops, in a spice rub, with (from scratch) chicken broth, cooking in a crock pot on my counter. When I get home I'll do a little dicing, a little mixing, a little steaming, a little baking, and BAM! Pork carnitas wraps (cabbage leaves instead of tortillas, P.F. Changs-style) with guacamole and sweet potato fries. With homemade mayo for dipping because I made homemade mayo last night and ZOMG AMAZEBALLS. I never knew I could love mayonnaise like this.
 
This weekend we're taking my youngest brother-in-law to Connecticut to see a school he was accepted to, and will be visiting my (namesake) aunt and uncle. And by "visiting" I mean "forcing ourselves upon them." Hooray family hotels! And visiting. Totally hooray visiting. And also my aunt works at a more different college, so there might be some sway-ful propaganda happening. It's going to be super action-packed. And it's going to snow up there! I get to see snow! Finally! I love snow. So so much.
 
Now trying to figure out snacks, though. We've got nuts, hard boiled eggs, and I'll slice up veggies to take with us, but...we'll have to brave the big bad world of commercial food at some point. I don't know if we have enough food or time to prep food to keep us on track the whole time.
 
If I had more time I would try my hand at jerky-making. We have a dehydrator and have been talking about doing this since we got it, but it just hasn't happened yet. And we don't have time to do any food-spiriments before we leave tomorrow. And most prepackaged jerky has significant amounts of soy and sugar, among other things. Maybe I'll cook up some chicken and put it in a cooler after cutting it into strips. And get some olives.
 
In any case, it's not impossible. I'm constantly surprised by how much I can do with the foods that ARE allowed, and how little effort it takes on my part. Just gotta figure out how to take this show on the road...
 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

vitameatavegimin

For the past few days I've felt really...out-of-focus. Like I wasn't processing things as quickly as usual. Less energetic. More sleepy.
A lot like how I've felt for my entire life, with the exception of the past 4-6 months (the same amount of time I've been dabbling in paleo AND have been taking vitamins regularly).
I had NO idea what was up. I knew it wasn't the diet because my blood sugar has felt great. Before starting Whole 30 I would crash ALL the time, and feel dizzy and nauseated before nearly every meal. That doesn't happen now.
 
So I was a little worried. And I told The Foliage about it. And he said, "Didn't you stop taking your B or D or whatever vitamin to do Whole 30?"
 
And then I remembered I'm a moron. I stopped taking my multivitamin (which contains B12 and has changed my LIFE via ENERGY) because it posed a minor threat to my Whole 30 compliance, due to traces of soy being in the pills. I replaced my vitamin D supplements with a gluten and soy-free option, but was unable to find a multivitamin that fit the requirements, so I just decided to forego multivitamins during the 30 days.
 
Big mistake. Dear Whole 9 People, I'm sorry. I'm totes sticking to EVERYTHING else. But I really need my multivitamin, or my life will go back to being one long naptime. LYLAS, Ceej (or CCTP if the government ever cuts me a break)
 
 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

baby you can drive my car

 
We joined a rock climbing gym last night! Oh, man. OH MAN. It is the funnest. I went rock climbing once in high school, and was HORRIBLE (legs shaking halfway up the wall, paralyzed by fear, horrible). The Foliage went once around the same time and I'm guessing it went better. Because the guy's ridiculous and leaps over things and runs 10 miles for fun.
 
Last week we used a LivingSocial deal we'd bought for an introductory class at Earth Treks, a local climbing gym. (Annoyingly, it's across the street from our now-old apartment, so we COULD have been walking there for the past year if we'd known about it earlier. Luckily, we didn't move far, so it's only about 5 miles from our new place.) Couple-friends of ours joined us, and one of them is a ferreal climber, so after the class we tried out different climbs at the gym.
 
And. OMG. So fun. So so so fun. So so so HARD. I did way better than I thought I would, and as soon as I woke up the next morning, one of my first thoughts was, "I gotta go climbing. Like now." And obviously The Foliage is a huge fan of anything that's physical, ESPECIALLY if bright colors are involved, so he was immediately excited about it. So talking him into a membership took little to no effort.
 
We went again last night, just the two of us. I wanted to go without friends, so the only people I knew there would have vowed and signed that they'd love me forever. Even if I got stuck on a really ridiculously easy climb.
 
As we were taking turns climbing and belaying (being the person on the ground so the climber doesn't, um, die), I was thinking about what a great couple activity it is. A physical manifestation of being 100% vulnerable to another person. And working together but separately towards a common goal. Communication and helpful feedback is imperative. And taking feedback gracefully. Luckily we worked on that last one a lot when we did the Insanity workout program last spring. I am like a professional Foliage-advice-taker now. Which is handy, because not taking things personally is not my strongest attribute.
 
We both want to improve our rock climbing abilities, but I should note that I have NO desire to climb outside. None. Whatsoever. God did not create mountains with footholds in mind. Nature does not exist for the purpose of extreme sporting. People who do that are, in my opinion, fcking NUTS and should not be allowed to be in charge of their own well-being. Even people who lead climb (which means they clip in to carabiners as they climb, instead of having the constant assurance of an overhead rope at all times) inside are mental. To me. I'm not what you'd call "brave" or "adventurous" probably.
 
But now we have to buy climbing shoes and harnesses because the rental ones are total crap (I have climbing gear opinions! OMG!). And force ourselves to make time to go. As long as that motherfcker keeps his hand on the rope.
 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

rok

 
Today is Day 1 of my first Whole30. Or, I should say, it's OUR first Whole30. Because I totally wrangled my accommodating husband into doing it, too. But he's only committed to the super strict plan for the first week.
 
Here are the rules (if you don't want to click on the link). For 30 days:
-No grains (including corn)
-No legumes (including peanuts/peanut butter and ESPECIALLY soy products of any kind)
-No added sugars. The only sweeteners allowed are fruit juices.
-No dairy except clarified butter or ghee.
-No alcohol (even wine for cooking)
-No white potatoes. Because people use them too much as a crutch for the absence of grains.
-No "processed foods" (containing carageenan, MSG or sulfites)
-Caveat to legumes ban: green beans, snow peas and snap peas are OK because they are WAY more (fibrous) pod than legume
 
So that leaves us with meats (grass-fed, free-range), vegetables and fruit (avoiding GMOs), eggs, and nuts. And seeds. And cooking exclusively with olive oil, coconut oil, rendered fats and clarified butter, rather than vegetable and canola oils. Oh and of course mushrooms are allowed. Because they're the best thing ever to exist on the planet. Duh.
 
At first when I brought this up to The Foliage, he was of course a little put off. But then realized that he'd unintentionally started eating more along the lines of paleo rules anyway, because that's how I had been eating/cooking/stocking the kitchen. And that even when he went out to eat, he trended towards paleo-approved foods. But he's still not as convinced about the whole thing as I am, which is understandable, so I'm SO grateful that he's even committed to 7 days of depriving himself of gummy candies.
 
Here's why I'm convinced: I've spent a LOT of time over the past several years reading up on different diets, not for weight loss, but for maximum nutrition. I never come across the different pieces of information when I'm looking for them, they just show up in my life. And are completely unaffiliated. But they all seem to be saying the same things. Human stomachs aren't meant to digest dairy and soy and other legumes. Traditionally, responsibly raised animals provide nutritious meat and organs and bones for making healing broth. Antibiotics kill your immune system and should be completely avoided.
 
This isn't about weight loss, it's about being as healthy as possible. And when I follow paleo rules, even when I've half-assed them, I don't have upset stomachs after every single meal. Which I can't remember ever happening in my life before. Like, ever. I've been diagnosed with the illusive IBS and prescribed ineffective pills. I've become a ginger tea connoiseur. Nothing has helped my stomach the way paleo has.
 
And I do want to note that I don't think that the foods I ate growing up were bad. Just because I don't want to eat them now doesn't mean I'm upset that I ate them before. I lived in a WAY healthier house than most kids I knew. In fact, I feel like the values I was raised with are the reason I'm so drawn to this diet now.
 
So here are the snacks I packed myself today:
-2 hard boiled eggs
-1 orange
-1/4 cup mixed raw almonds and cashews
-3 large carrots, sliced
 
I also have a couple of Larabars at my desk (and I just saw this recipe which I'm pretty excited to try at home) but I doubt I'll dig into them today unless I have a serious sweet craving.
 
This also means we totally gorged last night. Founding Farmer's is...amazing. And union-owned! Awesome! Besides being an all-around responsible business, everything they make is incredible. In. Cre. Di. Ble. I think Step 1 of my life after completing the Whole 30 will be to sidle up to their bar and order a Constitution...dios mio...
 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

aaaaaaaaaaalligator

 
Picture:
 
Me. 15 years old. Small town in Ohio. SMALL town. Attending the small town's country high school. Not even the town's main school. The one next to a highway, across the road from a cow pasture. Braces. No idea how to work a hair dryer at the same time as a hair brush. School's most advanced classes are "college-prep" level. No honors. No advanced placement. So many pickup trucks.
 
See:
 
Me. Wanting to get the eff. out.
 
The way that people got out of my town (or claimed they were going to, with the full support of their parents) was through sports. I was aware that this was (1) unrealistic, and (2) not gonna work for me. Even if the town suddenly became a hotbed of recruiters...I would not be their pick. Ever. I knew I needed to get into college. A good college. With mad of them scholarships.
 
Cue:
 
Extracurriculars.
 
I joined EVERY academic club the school offered, and was even a founding member of one (Spanish Club whaaaaaat). I wrote for and took part in publishing the school paper. I helped to run the school store. But there were so few options. So I went to the guidance counselor's office at least once each week to ask about new opportunities opening up.
 
I know what you're thinking. How did I have time for extracurricular activities with all the dates I was going on?! Well, I'm as surprised as you are, guys.
 
But ferrealz I was surprisingly (to myself) popular, given the above circumstances. Probably because my boobs have been impressive since I was, like, 11. And also I'm super fun geez! And also I'm not saying I was A group, but before high school I'd definitely been D or E group at best (in a class of under 20 people...peeing yourself continually will really help with that) so being B or C group was a BIG DEAL for me (hooray bladder control!!).
 
Anyway, so the guidance counselor knew me. And when she was asked to solicit the sophomore class for student ambassador applications to the South-Central Ohio HOBY conference, she just handed it to me. I didn't even have to compete with legit popular girls! It was immediately mine! And then when I went home and told my mom, she said SHE had been her school's HOBY ambassador in Indiana! WE WERE A F*CKING LEGACY! (Cue: pressure for my future kids...don't let me down, jerks.)
 
So. I went. And holy. mother. it was incredible.
 
I'd been raised to be compassionate and caring, of course, but it wasn't until I went to HOBY that I realized that I could creative positive change in a real way. And that I had to take responsibility for generating the changes I wanted to see. That so many issues/organizations/people needed ME and they didn't care about my credentials or age, they just wanted some damn help!
 
I blame HOBY for my inability to stay motivated at jobs that will earn me good money, but do no good for humanity. Thanks for severely curbing my earning potential, guys.
 
The conference really made me think about public education, and that's remained my primary area of interest ever since. For a while, I wanted to be a lobbyist for educational issues. Until I realized I'd need a poli sci degree, which was not happening. Also it was before I realized that I would never be able to have a job just to have a job - that I'd need to give a sh*t about the overall mission of my employer to keep showing up to work every day. Which I only realized about myself within the past few months. So. Way to go, self. In any case, after the conference I continued to feel passionately about service to my community, but never thought about getting involved with HOBY again. Although I've often credited it as being a defining moment in my life.
 
Bottom line:
 
A blog and twitter friend (shuddup) had a HOBY profile picture, which I asked her about, and then it struck me - Hey! She's an adult and also involved with HOBY! I'M an (I guess whatever) adult and I can totally get involved with HOBY! OMG!! And now she's set me up with a DC contact! So I can get involved again!
 
I. Cannot. Wait. To do things with this incredible organization and post about it here.
 
And also SERIOUSLY futurekids. Make friends with your guidance counselor. Or I'll make you mow the lawn. Twice.
 
(I'm not going to go through and link every single time I mentioned HOBY, so here are the relevant links:
Look them up and get involved, and pressure your HS sophomore friends and family to look into their local conferences)