Thursday, December 30, 2010

40 4 40: 13 - Organic Foods, Lifestyle Choices and Effectuating Change

Within the last two years, I've been (sloppily, slowly) making a lifestyle change in the food department to eat more cleanly, consuming more purely raw foods, geared specifically away from gluten and its by-products (i.e. vinegar), because I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance (non-Celiacs).  Just before my awareness of gluten issues in my life, I had been making the changes away from things that contained trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

With the help of a holistic specialist, I went on a month-long cleanse, two weeks of it were nothing but juices.  I did it specifically to break a sugar addiction (it worked for a while....), and to lead a healthier lifestyle in general.  I am a little fearful of getting cancer at a too-young age since it's so rampant in my family. Also, at the time, I suspected I was pre-menopausal.  My mother entered menopause at age 39.  I was 38 at the time.  It wasn't out of the realm of possibility.  Additionally, I was having chronic migraines, five out of seven days a week.  My stomach was upset often, I was moody, crabby, irritable, and sleepy all the time.  I suffered from bouts of sleeplessness.

I just couldn't take it anymore.  I didn't want to feel like a slug just barely surviving life.  I knew there had to be more.  I knew I had to take responsibility and action for my own health.

With a heightened awareness of food, comes several frustrations.  Firstly, and most obviously probably, is the learning curve of what ingredients are safe to eat, and which aren't.  Generally speaking, prepared & processed food are horribly unhealthy for a person's body. 

I started shopping at grocery stores that specialize in organic foods and supply foods that are made to tailor to the health-conscious and/or allergy-burdened lifestyles.

It would be easy to blame convenience for our rising health issues concerning obesity, cancer, heart disease.  It's easy to look to the food industry and say, "you make the food we buy, so it's your fault".  It's easy to blame Starbucks, McDonald's, Chick-Fil-A and all the drive-through places:  "If you'd make healthier foods and offer them, we'd be healthier as a society".  

We have only to blame ourselves.

Certainly there is truth to pure foods being to expensive. Certainly there is truth that fast food restaurants such as McDonald's offer a more cost-efficient meal to a family.  Still, it's a personal choice.

We have the power of choice.  We have the freedom of choice. 

Robyn has several good articles on her website in which she offers buying organically on a budget, various nutritional information articles (i.e. HCFS), and she provides very good information via Twitter.

Q: What did your research reveal about the cost of food and food production?
A:Prior to unearthing all of this information, I was in the camp that thought that organic food was a lifestyle choice of the rich and famous or a hippie movement.  And it completely bothered me that it cost so much.   And in all candour, when we met the management teams of these companies when I was a food industry analyst, I ignorantly dismissed their work as a profitable marketing niche. 


But as I began to learn more, I realized that our taxpayer dollars are being used to support farmers that grow crops with chemicals, while farmers that grow crops without the use of synthetic ingredients are charged a fee to prove that their crops are free of these ingredients, then charged a fee to label these crops as having adhered to this higher standard, and at the same time, are not offered the same crop insurance and marketing assistance programs.  In other words, the way the food production cost structure is set up now, it is cheaper to produce food using chemicals than without them.  That means it’s also cheaper to buy foods made with chemicals. 

Or is it? Products made with synthetic chemicals have hidden costs that affect all of us—these externalized costs are called ag “externalities,” and they include damage and the chemical contamination of water sources, soil resources, and wildlife and ecosystem biodiversity, as well as damage to human health from such things as exposure to pesticides. No studies have been done to assess what the cumulative impact of all of these toxins and their synergistic toxicity are having on the health of our families and environment.

With the use of antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, pesticides, and artificial colors and dyes, some of the greatest threats to our health aren’t actually found in our DNA, but in our food supply. So, while we only spend 9 cents of every dollar on food, we spend 16 cents of every dollar managing chronic disease.  On the other hand, if we choose to invest in organic products and those produced without the use of these synthetic ingredients, we are not only investing in our health, by reducing their families’ exposure to these toxins and the health risks that they might present, which can pay health dividends for a lifetime, but we are also paying the true cost of food rather than the artificially reduced prices of conventional food enabled by the federal allocation of taxpayer resources.  

Choose to not be lazy.  Choose to think critically.  Choose to be active in the food revolution.  Choose to invest time and effort into food preparation.  Get involved locally and nationally to effectuate changes in U.S. food manufacturing practices.

Lastly, hear this, please:  This blog post and I are not intending to be judgmental.  My intent is to educate (mostly myself, haha!).  I readily admit that I still eat chocolate, drink soda sometimes, love a good hamburger at Twisted Root.  I will go through times where I'm eating way too much gluten (thanks Thanksgiving and Christmas)!  I kind of take it for granted that my allergy isn't life or death.  I need to  commit to being better.  And when I read articles like Robyn O'Brien's, I get re-inspired.

Here are a couple of GMO Twitter feeds to which I subscribe (genetically  modified foods). I don't read everything that's tweeted, nor do I preach this as gospel.  Just critically read what you do read.

Non GMO Project

GMO Journal

Food Alliance

There are LOADS of others....click around and learn more! Then ACT! Inspire ME to do the same. :)

~Whoosh!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

40 4 40: 12 - WW: Mark Twain

1. A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
Do you let yourself off the hook easily?

Sometimes I do, mostly I don't.  Just depends on how much PR work and damage control might need to be performed.  :P

2. A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.
Do you think everyone lies?

Yes, I do.  Everyone.

3. A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
What was the last thing that you had to learn the hard way?

I live my entire life learning the hard way....ask my mom & my husband!


4. A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read.
What types of things do you read?

Biographies, autobiographies, true crime, Patricia Cornwell novels (Kay Scarpetta), some religious things.  I have a couple of daily spiritual readings I peek at, and I like to read magazines such as Parenting, Psychology Today and some of the house/travel genre.

I'd like to read more often, but my attention span is so short and when I settle in to read, I fall asleep pretty quickly.  It took me over a year to read Eat, Pray, Love.

5. A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.
Have you ever thought about something that did not exist and later it was invented?

No, I haven't, BUT I *do* have a couple ideas right now.  Anyone want to be the business side of this creative mind?

6. Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.
How well do you think that you observe people?

I vacillate between being overly observant to oblivious.

7. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
Have you ever used humor to diffuse a difficult situation?

Absolutely, and there's a fine line between being disrespectful and adding levity. 

8. Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.
How important is your age to you? Do you ever lie about it or refuse to reveal it?

Age is important to me, but I agree that the boundaries of age are starting to stretch.  In the past, a person who is forty, fifty, sixty years is considered older, but there's a LOT of youth in these ages ranges anymore. 

I am about to turn 40 (30 days or so, but who is counting?), and it's one of those milestone ages where people expect that I'm dreading it.  Truly, I'm not dreading it at all -- in fact, I'm rather looking forward to it.

I feel old when I hear about my friends from high school who have kids who are in college, or are grandparents already.

9. All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.
How important do you think confidence is? Are you confident?

Confidence & lack of it is *extremely* important in all things.  Again, there's a fine line to walk -- the line of being cocky vs. confident.  

People tell me they feel confidence from me, and I suppose, for the most part I am.  There are, of course, arenas in which I lack it.  I find where I lack confidence are the areas that also lack discipline, commitment, obedience.  Enter in:  learning the hard way and letting myself off the hook.  :)

10. Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
Do you do everything you should to be healthy?

Absolutely not!  I am evolving, though, so wish me luck!  (I let myself off the hook too much in the health department!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

40 4 40: 11 - Mademoiselle

I have become enraptured with the scent that can be found in this bottle....

I was walking through Nordstrom's around Christmas and spritzed some at the base of my neck between my collar bones.  All day long, I was distracted by it.  I loved it so much I wanted to seduce myself

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

40 4 40: 9 - Isn't He Handsome?

I'm smiling on the inside, I swear!
It's the day after Christmas and the gifts keep coming!

My Husband and I surprised the kids with a trip to the local animal adoption shelter.  My Little One picked this guy, and he's quite fond of her.

Such a handsome boxer mix!  Everyone who has seen him so far asks, "is he a pit mix?", and  I keep correcting them:  "BOXER mix!".  (Myeah -- I see the pit, too.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

40 4 40: 7 - Christmas Eve Wow

I attended Mass at 4:00 today because My Eldest was singing in the church choir at that time (we typically attend midnight Mass).  The community caroled while we waited for Mass to start, and of course, the whole service was filled with traditional songs.  This night, the parish community was treated to the not-so-traditional "The Rocking Carol".  (It's written in the perspective from the children of Bethlehem when Jesus was born.  The children wanted to rock Jesus.  Isn't that so sweet?  *melt*)

There is *nothing* like the angelic voices of children singing.

I cried.

My Little One looked over to me during song and noticed I was crying.  I had quit singing and closed my eyes to just be in the moment...to soak up the wonder and awe of the coming of Jesus....to hear it in the voices of children and fellow believers.  I was consumed by the moment and was nearly buckled to my knees.  And, it was at this time, at the peak of my humbled wonder, that My Little One put her tender hand on my face and asked me why I was crying.


"Don't worry, love, they are happy tears."

She started tearing up, too.

She hugged me with her fair-skinned delicate arms and said, "I'm crying happy tears, too, mama".

Wow.

Just... wow.

The Love.  The Love present in that moment -- wow.

We enjoyed the rest of Mass, filled with the anticipation of the coming of Christ and all that it promises.  My Eldest did superbly and I am a proud, proud mother.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

40 4 40: 6 - Wonder Woman Converse (WANT!)

Yes, you read the title right.  Wonder Woman.  Converse.  As in SHOES!



To get your own, order here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

40 4 40: 5 - Duran Duran Faves

In anticipation of the new album "All You Need Is Now" coming out on December 21st, I've been swimming in Duran Duran media.  After all these years, I still find Mr. LeBon to be quite yummy.  As of late, he's been wearing a beard, and it's rather sexyhot.  I typically do not like facial hair, but he looks simply edible.

I've been a fan of Simon with dark hair for a long time.  And his hair shortshort like in the "Serious" video has me hormonal like a 15 year old girl....



Another of my ohsofavorite songs that no one except die-hard fans know about is this gem of lyrical poetry:


"Perfect Day" - originally by Lou Reed - is one of Duran Duran's best covers (and videos) ever:



Lastly, funkalicious, dance-able and inyourFAYCEe is "White Lines":



YES, I'm excited about the new single, the new album and Simon sporting the dark hair (and a full beard!) again.  *swoon*

So, tell me.  What's YOUR favorite Duran Duran song?  (And don't feed me some b.s. about not liking them or they're gay.  You know your danced - or at the very least tapped your foot - to them somewhere along the way.  Don't be skeert.  OWN IT!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

40 4 40: 4 - Some Duran Duran for Christmas?

...I have failed at commitment (again).  I owe you (myself) several blogs.  I will catch them all up and make you (me) ohsohappy. 

In the meantime, click on this iTunes link and give a gift to yourself and/or others.  You'll be a more complete person for doing so.  And Santa will thank you.  As will I.



In the words of half my blog inspiration...

~whoosh!

40 4 40: 3 - O Holy Night

"O Holy Night" is my favorite Christmas song.

A close second is "We Three Kings of Orient Are".

Lastly, the exquisite lullaby "Away In A Manger", I could listen to over and over....

Enjoy the new music on the page.

Monday, December 20, 2010

40 4 40: 2 - Food Favorites


Today's 40 4 40 is about my favorite combinations, specific to that which is ingested and legal:
  • Peanut butter & chocolate
  • Raspberry & dark chocolate
  • Popcorn and cherry Coca Cola
  • Old Grand Dad and Coca Cola
  • Coconut & chocolate
  • Piña colada flavored Layla Farms drinkable yogurt drizzled on Red Rock chocolate chip granola
  • Crunch peanut butter & strawberry jelly on a spoon at the same time
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches with chicken noodle soup
  • Tortilla chips & guacamole
  • Fritos & bean dip
  • Ranch dressing, sautéed mushrooms, mozzarella cheese on a well done burger with potato bread
  • Guacamole and tortilla chips
  • Sunflower seeds on salad (or a baked potato)
  • Do-Si-Dos and chocolate milk (kinda goes with the first on the list)
  • Hot lemon tea with honey
  • Pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage and onions on thin crust pizza
  • Spaghetti with meatballs
  • Turkey on the same fork with my cranberry sauce
There are tons more, of course.

~Bon Appétit~

Sunday, December 19, 2010

40 4 40: 1 - Comet

My 40th birthday is quickly approaching. I'm welcoming it with a loving embrace and a smile. WTF is wrong with me?! haha!

Admittedly, I'm sort of resigned to "aging", but then there's a tinge of me that isn't. Truthfully, I'm more bothered that I have that tinge than by the aging itself. I suppose it might be the natural grief process of realizing I'll never achieve that potential that everyone but me knew about, and I'll never have that wild youth I so often daydream about, all that globetrotting I had envisioned, and my body isn't in the shape I thought it would be in at this age. All in all, those are some heavy disappointments in my mind.

However, there's more to me than my shape, my wiley, well-travelled youth and being that doctor, teacher, big screen star. I am humbled by all the OTHER things I am at almost-40. I'm amazed at all that I've done by now.

So, to honor being forty, I'm going to do a serial post of forty things about my forty years. These things might be inspirational, spiritual, insightful, jokes, trivia about me, recipes, a lil ditty... You get the idea.

Today -- a big announcement:

I've been accepted to the University of Texas at Dallas, home of the Fighting ..... Comets? 

Okay, so Comets don't fight.  But they are cool.  (Right?)  Therefore *I* am cool.  (Right?!)

I *will* graduate from this school.  And it'll be with a real degree.  And the plan is to graduate from this school BEFORE My Eldest graduates high school.  That gives me eight years. 

What's eight more years?

~Whoosh~

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WW: Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins!)



Today we picked Julie Andrews. Here's Wednesday Wickedness!

1. “All love shifts and changes. I don't know if you can be wholeheartedly in love all the time.”
Have ever felt that you’ve been in love with someone constantly over a long period of time?

I believe you can be wholehearted in love all the time, but it might not be with the same person.  I agree that love shifts and changes -- as it should -- after all, people shift and change.  The constant:  GOD.  God is love and love is God.   On that you can rely.

2. “I am an optimistic lady.”
How optimistic are you?
I'm fairly optimistic.  It's hard for me to be around negative energy.  Avoiding negative energy included not watching the news, reading the news, being around people who are cynical, judgmental, pessimistic, critical.

It would be fair to say that I keep my head in the sand.  Someone once told me that if I do that, I should be prepared to have my ass lit on fire.  I will take my chances....

3. “I don't think today's younger audience... would even know what 1920s musicals were like.”
Do you have any knowledge of 1920 films or musicals? If yes, any favorites?

Admittedly, I don't.  I suppose I know of some silent films, but not musicals.  (It's nice to be in the "today's younger audience" group!)

4. “I hate the word wholesome.”
Play word association. I say “wholesome” and you say:

Goody-two-shoes

5. “I have always wished I could learn to be a potter. I love collecting ceramics; it would be so fulfilling to create something lovely.”
What have you always wished that you could be?

A sports photographer (a.k.a trust fund baby? HA!)

6. “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.”
Tell us about something that you had to persevere through.

I'm not entirely certain that I've perservered anything yet.

7. “Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.”
How do you define your self discipline?

Shaky at best.  I admire people who can be driven, ambitious and stay the course.  I admire those who are strongly convicted and have the discipline in which to stay strongly rooted.

Julie Andrews has found the paradox of freedom in "chains".   There are times in my life where I can see that I experienced the same.  For example, entering into Overeaters Anonymous and practicing the twelve steps was so freeing.  The tools and practices that were encouraged were extremely burden-lifting.  I squirm in pain at the simple choice of what to have for breakfast each day when I'm NOT in program, whereas, if I've given it fore-thought and committed it to a sponsor, I can wallow in freedom and just relax, stay the course and see the light at the end of the (never-ending) tunnel.

8. “Sometimes opportunities float right past your nose. Work hard, apply yourself, and be ready. When an opportunity comes you can grab it.”
Have you ever missed a golden opportunity?

Oh sure.  Of course.  But I didn't think of it like that until it passed.

There have been a few times, when presented with a choice to do or not to do, to go or not to go, I've thought "I should do this", but I trust the process.  If it's an opportunity that was golden, and it passed, it wasn't meant for me at that time anyway.  Plus, I try not to dwell on the past too much.

9. “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and... SNAP! The job's a game!”
Have you ever had that perfect job that was always entertaining?

Being a mother -- fo' sho'!

10. “Sometimes I'm so sweet even I can't stand it.”
Has anyone ever considered you as sweet?

I don't think so.  I've been told I'm sweet, but not so sweet that it was intolerable.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Santa

Just sharing this year's Santa pictures....


My Eldest & The Best Looking Santa I Know!
My Little One & The Best Looking Santa I Know!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Duran Duran - All You Need Is NOW!

Go download your free copy of the new single from Duran Duran.  (<~~ that's the link to do it.  CLICK!)  It's called "All You Need Is Now".  Just like love, this is really the only other thing you need right now.

You'll be a happy camper.  You'll be president.  You'll be the king or queen of the world.  You'll be numero uno.

Most of all, you'll make me happy.  (Added bonus:  you save money!)

WW: Jennifer Aniston

Today we picked Jennifer Aniston. Here's Wednesday Wickedness!

1. “A relationship isn't going to make me survive. It's the cherry on top.”
What part of your life do you consider “the cherry on the top”?

Willingness to be better.

2. “I almost resent the whole fashion thing. Good God- never wearing the same thing twice and all of those things. It's a pain in the ass.”
How much does fashion impact your life?

It doesn't.  At all.

3. “I've gone for each type: the rough guy; the nerdy, sweet, lovable guy; and the slick guy. I don't really have a type. Men in general are a good thing.”
What’s your type?

"Men in general are a good thing."  Amen, sister.  Having said that, though, I go for clean-cut men that are bigger than me (so I can feel small and secure). 

4. “Once you figure out who you are and what you love about yourself, I think it all kinda falls into place.”
Do you still learn new things about yourself?

Every.  Single.  Day.  (See answer to question 1.)

5. “The greater your capacity to love, the greater your capacity to feel the pain.”
Have you ever had your heart broken? If yes, how did you get over it?

Of course I have, and it's strictly in the context of boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife.  Every relationship experiences a heart-break.  In my motherhood, my childhood, my friendships, work relationships, yesyesYES I've experienced them. 

How do I "get over" them?  Pray, act, be & do better.  I try to realize the lesson and move forward.  Forgiveness is immeasurable.  Since that's the case, love is unconditional.  (I, by NO means, have mastered this action! See answer to question 1 again.)

6. “There are no regrets in life, just lessons.”
What is the most recent “life lesson” that you have figured out?

That I don't feel worthy to feel my own feelings that might be in conflict with another's.  That's gotta change.

7. “Really try to follow what it is that you want to do and what your heart is telling you to do.”
Have you ever went against what your heart told you to do?

I am guilty of not following my heart enough. 

8. “The ultimate is finding a place where you have no inhibitions, nothing to hide, where you can learn with one another.”
Do you have any inhibitions when you are in love with someone?

Yes, I do.  I am learning to find safety in being vulnerable with those closest to me.  It's extremely hard -- the hardest thing I've ever done.  Being vulnerable = putting those inhibitions into the light. 

9. “Life can be dramatic and funny all in the same day!”
What is something that happened recently in your life that you found extremely funny?

I don't remember the event, but I remember laughing so hard it hurt last week.  I was with others, and we all just fell out laughing. 

10. “The first time I kissed Brad my knees went weak - I literally lost my breath!”
Have you ever kissed someone and your knees went weak?

YES!  And he still takes my breath away....

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Best 20 Minutes You Can Spend Today That Will Make A HUGE Deposit Into Your Life & Those Around You For A Lifetime and Beyond



+

Live this.

Make it your legacy

Teach others.

Engage this in your professional lives, your friendships, your parenting, your childhood, your lover/spouse/life partner. 

+

Make the selfless choice. 

+

Understand.

+

Validate

+

Empathize

+

Invite others into YOUR world.

Be vulnerable.

Allow for growth.

Be teachable.

Surrender.

+

THIS. WORKS.

+

It.  Is.  Love.
Unconditional.

+

Amen.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

WW: Groucho Marx


Is he giving us the finger?!

Today we picked Groucho Marx. Here's Wednesday Wickedness!

 1. 'A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere." 
What is a superstition that many have that you think is crazy?

Opening an umbrella indoors, the black cat crossing under a ladder at midnight are two that I find crazy. 

Oddly, I am spooked by the broken mirror superstition.
2. "A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running."
What were you in the hospital for the last time that you were admitted?

Child birth.

3. "Alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse."
What payment do you make that seems ridiculous?

Except for medical, I'd say almost any insurance. 

4. "Humor is reason gone mad."
How would you describe your sense of humor?

It's all over the board.  I enjoy a good, cheezy joke.  I like the dry humor of Brits and the subtle double entendre in words.  I also like a bit of dark humor.  I've even been known to laugh at humor that is controversial, but I try to keep all that in check.  I DO NOT like potty humor -- at all.

5. "I have a mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it."
Who was the last person that you wanted to beat with something or other?

I don't have this inclination often, but, without naming names or describing situations, I can think of a person or five that I wanted to at least slap in the back of the head.  I have no tolerance for stupidity.

6. "I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception."
Would you ever like to change something about your face?

I wish it was thinner so my cheekbones and jawline were more accentuated. 

7. "I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury."
I read an article recently that asked if marriage was still relevant. Other than to raise children do you see the point?

Marriage in the context of a sacrement is relevant, yes.  Civil marriage is contextually relevant.

8. "If you've heard this story before, don't stop me, because I'd like to hear it again."
Do you find that you tend to repeat your stories?

I don't think so -- not to the same person over and over.  I will share the same story with a new friend or group of people.  I'm pretty good about remember with whom I've shared stories.

9. "There's one way to find out if a man is honest - ask him. If he says, "Yes," you know he is a crook."
Do you find most people that are in your life to be honest?

I believe everyone tries to be honest, but we all lie. 

10. "Wives are people who feel they don't dance enough."
Have you ever felt that your significant other did not go out with enough?

I'm not sure I understand this question, but this is my interpretation of it:  Do you feel like you dated your significant other long enough?

No, I don't feel like I dated My Husband long enough.  He and I both acknowledge that our courtship was not long enough, BUT, we also both trust the process and believe we were brought together for a reason bigger than us. 

And for the record, I love to dance and don't get to dance nearly enough.  :P