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Julia
I've been trying out the Blood Type Diet. It was recommended to me by a friend who swears that it works for her like nothing else has. Since all it really requires is that I not eat certain things, I'm willing to give it a shot. The fact that my list of proscribed items contains most of my favorite ingredients is a pain, but I also look at it as a challenge. After all, I'm a cook. I can make ANYthing tasty and satisfying, right? If it works, groovy. If not, I can go back to making chicken fajitas with black beans.
My list of foods to avoid includes:
Chicken
Most beans (black, garbanzo, pinto, kidney)
Lentils
Corn and corn meal products, and corn syrups while I'm at it
Coconut and coconut oil
Olives
Most oils (I can do olive, almond and walnut oil)
Most grains (Oats, Rice, and Spelt are okay to eat)
Shellfish
Peanuts
Tomatoes
Avocados

Thank goodness I'm allowed wine, cheese and chocolate. I'd never have agreed to this, if those were off-limits. I can also eat basically any vegetable or fruit you can think of. As Mexican dishes are a staple at our house, you may notice that I'm pretty much SOL on those. Stir-fry is totally doable, though, as are your standard Midwest steak-and-potatoes dinners.

You may also have caught that wheat is a no-no. HA! This 'diet' has me going gluten-free. Well played, diet, you have me doing something I swore I would never do. This has taught me the wonder of Oat flour and Brown Rice flour, which have allowed me to continue the tradition of making pancakes and waffles for breakfasts a few days a week. (Frankly, I'm rather enjoying those new pancakes and waffles.) But I also have discovered that despite the gluten-free craze that has swept our nation's grocery store shelves, I can't eat 99% of those processed gluten-free items. Why? Because they contain Amaranth, or Barley, or Corn, or Sunflower oil, or Safflower oil, or Coconut, or garbanzo flour, or basically a half-dozen items that are also on my no-eat list. Also, for things that are supposedly "healthy," boy are they incredibly processed! *snort*

I'm not actually bothered so much, although I'm bummed that I can't enjoy a sandwich on any kind of bread, or cheese and crackers (cheese and meat and apple slices sure do go a long way, though). But that's just it: I'm not supposed to eat gluten, so I don't eat things that would generally need to contain gluten to be tasty. The pseudo-varieties are so highly processed that I can't even think of them as "real" food.

I can have rice or quinoa pastas (so long as they aren't made with corn flour, too, which many are)...those are things I could make myself, at home, if I had the time and inclination (just like I'm making my oat and rice flour pancakes). I can't make a satisfying gluten-free bread, so I don't try to fake it. If I couldn't eat dairy, I wouldn't go out there trying to fake it with soy cheese. My goodness, that stuff is horrid. I made a white-bean hummus (cannellini and navy beans are still okay for me to eat) that is actually tastier than the garbanzo variety I'm used to, so I'm not lamenting a lack of hummus. But I'm not out there trying to concoct some Frankensteinian monstrosity of pseudo-whatever to replace the guacamole that's off limits. If you can't eat it, don't eat it, especially if you're choosing not to eat it out of an aesthetic or morality-based standpoint. I sympathize with people who can't digest meat proteins and eat Vegan out of necessity, but people who choose Veganism because it's faddish, or because they love the animals...I'm sorry, you guys, but just stop with the "It's totally just like a hotdog only made of soy!" bullshit. If you're going gluten-free because Oprah told you to, stop trying to find a gluten-free bagel or a Mexican restaurant serving gluten-free tortillas (outside the traditional corn tortillas...I'm talking about those yahoos who want fake flour tortillas made with an ingredient list a mile long, because they're deathly afraid of "gmo wheat"). Suck it up and realize that your eating choices have limited your options.

If your body rejects gluten, I'm really sorry. Celiac disease is horrible, and I'm glad there are things like rice noodles and oat cereals, and gluten-free brownie mixes made with real ingredients, and that you can still eat many things that were once wheat-only items. But if it's a CHOICE, just suck it up already. I choose not to eat avocados, so no guacamole for me. If you choose not to eat wheat, figure out how to make what you want without the wheat flour, or just shut up about it. There are people who are deathly allergic to tomatoes, and guess what? They don't eat marinara sauce. It's not rocket science. You don't always get to have your (gluten-free) cake and eat it, too. At least, you won't get a cake that tastes as decadent and ooey-gooey moist and awesome as the stuff you used to eat back before the Wheat Boogeyman. It'll be crumbly and taste a little weird. So deal with the crumbly weird cake.
 
 
Julia
05 May 2015 @ 05:06 pm
I've tried posting three times between the last post showing, and now. All three times were from my phone. All three times, apparently, failed. The app also shows complete blankness where my friend feed should be. Fie upon thee, LJ App for Android. I have deleted and re-installed you three times, and you still don't work. This means updates will occur less regularly, as they will require that I use my laptop, which I think I remember to use once every few weeks.

The Professor is thinking about getting a desktop; primarily for gaming, I think, but any desktop with the specs for gaming will also have the necessary drive space and processing power to handle photos, which is all I really want. The Chromebook that serves as my laptop is certainly functional for browsing the internet, but absolutely abysmal at doing things such as "displaying large numbers of photographs in my G+ photo folder" or "uploading images from an SD card"

KidK is almost 3. He's making this abundantly clear to me, primarily by being too clever by half and also more cantankerous than a cornered badger. Oh, SO reactive, this child. He does not take disappointment gracefully. But he's as charming as a door to door salesman...the successful kind.

I am feeling the itch to get back into some kind of monetary productivity. If it gets much worse, we may ever consider putting KidK into some kind of daycare facility until preschool starts in the Fall. I pick up odd catering gigs here and there, and I make a little money once in a while through crochet orders, but I want to feel like I'm contributing more than just the daily care of our progeny. I'm going to start donating plasma this week, and I'm going to follow a couple of leads that might garner me a legitimate data entry job that I can do from home. I'm not ready yet to take the plunge into the full-time workforce again, but that's entirely due to the fact that I'm not willing to drop our very sensitive child with the huge bubble of personal space into a situation where he's suddenly with complete strangers for 8 hours a day. Not gonna happen. If his best friend's daycare provider had an opening, I would be less worried. He loves his friend to pieces, and both of them have tried to convince me that he should come to daycare so they can continue playing all day. But no dice there yet.

Working on an eating adjustment. Unpopular opinion post to follow.
 
 
Current Location: Home
I Feel: : cynicalcynical
 
 
Julia
12 April 2015 @ 10:16 am
It's fascinating for me, having been on three sides of the fitness/body image/health arena, to see where the social stereotypes shape our views of other people. Where I am now is especially interesting, as I get to straddle a gap between two worlds whose borders were long held inviolate, but are now beginning to see some blurring as social media and the grand information sink of the Internet have brought to light the truth of something long considered mythical: The "Fat & Fit" person.
I was once your stereotypical obese person.

I led a sedentary life and ate pretty much whatever I felt like. I still did a lot of my own cooking, but I also ate far more than was necessary, and the lack of any kind of regular physical activity ensured a fairly steady weight gain. At a certain point, I discovered my hidden well of personal motivation and over the course of a year and a half, became your stereotypical skinny fit person.

It was a complete lifestyle overhaul, and it worked for me. I never starved myself, I just ate exceptionally healthy foods and exercised....okay, I exercised too much. Six days a week at the gym plus 30 - 40 minutes of calisthenics at home every night. But my body craved the change and, once I got over the weight loss fervor, I found a very healthy place and stayed there for several years. Then, in my mid-30s, I became a mother. My body, already starting its 35-year-old metabolic decline, reveled in the hormonal changes and ballooned. Adding to that, I discovered that I have one of those body types that packs on the pounds when breastfeeding (it is, in fact, a myth that breastfeeding melts the pounds off all women. Some women lose weight. Some women see no real change. Some women gain weight).


After all the hard work I had put into being and staying fit, I took my body's changes as a personal insult. I was eating right, I was getting as much exercise as a stay-at-home mom with no means for a gym membership could get...I even underwent various diets as my son's nursing became more for comfort and less for nutrition, and ramped up my exercise so that I was working out three or four nights per week in addition to the biking/walking/stair climbing/child chasing that were a part of my daily life. My body continued to put on weight. At some point, I decided that I really needed to stop focusing on the scale and just focus on being healthy and happy, so now I work out because I enjoy working out. I do high-intensity circuit training using body-weight exercises, and I bike everywhere that I can with my toddler in the bike trailer behind me. I also enjoy eating the food that I make and I don't stress over whether that banana-oatmeal muffin is going to make me look "more fat" because it's not going to change the minds of the people who judge me anyway.

The funny thing is, when I was lean and would talk to people about fitness, I would see the usual process of judgement. Their eyes would flit to my toned arms, my lean legs, my defined calves, and you could actually see that moment where they decided that yes, I knew what I was talking about when it came to fitness. They would treat me as an equal and would happily discuss various fitness and health topics.

Now, it's a different story. When I discuss the body-weight exercises, or my love for biking everywhere, their eyes make the journey again and see my rounded arms (never mind that they swing, lift, flip, and carry my 35# toddler all day), my broad hips (never mind that I can do 200+ full-depth squats, 100+ single-leg deadlifts, and 200+ glute bridges with perfect form in under 30 minutes, nor that my butt is damn shapely), and the muffin top that refuses to go away no mater how many fresh veggies I eat or hip thrusts I perform, and then they smile a polite smile and will quickly try to change the subject, or give me a condescending response, their whole attitude one of "uh huh...suuuuuure you like fitness. Walking up a flight of stairs is probably your idea of a big workout."

You bet, it's frustrating. But there's also no real reason for me to get bent out of shape over it, because I know I can do those things. It doesn't matter if they believe me. It doesn't matter if the people at the pool see me in my one-piece and shudder, because they don't know my life or my journey. And if they feel so rude as to actually say something to me about it, I will shrug and mention that nobody is forcing them to look. I don't need to tell them about my journey. I don't need to tell them about my friends who look like the fittest people out there who can't even jog a block because of health concerns. I don't need to tell them that my husband thinks I'm sexy even with these extra inches, and that I can still out-bike him anyday. I don't need to tell them any of it, because their judgement doesn't deserve my defensiveness. So long as I can keep up with my kiddo, so long as I continue feeling healthy and happy, so long as my bloodwork keeps coming back like the labs of a 20 year old gymnast, I'm good.
 
 
Julia
08 April 2015 @ 07:11 pm

Become a parent.

 
 
Julia
07 April 2015 @ 11:52 am

I placed the modern equivalent of a personal ad in one of the Facebook moms' groups I follow. There appear to be vast uncounted hordes of lonely moms. Response was swift and enthusiastic. We have two tentative "get to know you" playdates set up, one for this Thursday for the more Southerly moms, and one next week for the more local ladies.

TBC....

 
 
 
Julia
02 April 2015 @ 05:07 pm

Game of Thrones is like a gorram drug for me. George R.R. Martin posted a teaser chapter (http://www.georgerrmartin.com/excerpt-from-the-winds-of-winter/) for Winds of Winter, which I stupidly read, and now I'm jonesing for the rest of a book which is still being written.

 
 
Julia
01 April 2015 @ 02:22 pm

No, really. Especially in the Spring. I feel like, if everyone in Iowa had a turbine for their house, the entire state could be energy independent. They call Chicago The Windy City, but we have nothing to stop the winds blowing down from Canada or up from the Gulf but the occasional confused tree.
*insert baffled tree picture here*
This makes outdoor play, even on beautiful 79° F days like today, somewhat problematic when your toddler views wind as an irritant at best, and a cause for full-blown anger at worst.
"Hey kiddo, you want to go out and play trucks in the backyard?"
*gust of wind thrums the double-glazed windows and hails tree buds and loose grass with a rattle against the glass*
"Nope, I'm still playing trains Mommy. Come play trains! You need to talk to Thomas!"
*grumble*

Easter is this weekend. We're doing an egg hunt at my folks' farm, with my brother and his family. My nephew is 7 and my sister-in-law is concerned that the necessary restrictions to make an egg hunt fun for both a 7 and a 2.5 year old would be a letdown for him. We have come up with what may be the brilliant solution of hiding nephew's eggs in the front yard and  son's in the back. We don't get the fun of a joint egg hunt that way, but at least we wouldn't have to constantly tell one or the other of them to put an egg back so its rightful owner can find it.
Also, this prevents KidK from excitedly opening an egg full of Starburst and cramming a week's worth of Red 40 in his mouth when nobody's looking. Ughhh...we have had full threenager sullenness for the past few days, goodness knows we don't need the Red 40 Beast added to pre-threenagerhood attitude!

Fun Fact: I am still on the fence on Red 40. Not whether I think it's harmless -- why the heck do we need to eat dye in everything? -- but whether I'm convinced that it has negative behavioral effects on my son. Since it's usually fairly easy to avoid it, I figure there's no harm in continuing to avoid it, but my family does get a little side-eye at me whenever I kention my desire to keep KidK away from most food dyes. Oh well. I was always the weirdo anyway, so this can be another "let's just humor the poor deluded hippie" moment.

 
 
Julia
31 March 2015 @ 10:55 pm

The majority of women who seem most active in various "Crunchy Moms' Groups" are in their mid-20s, with at least one but (at least, around here) up to 5 children, love watching 'reality' TV as their guilty pleasure, and desperately believe -- or want to believe -- that Essential Oils are the cure for everything. They suggest spa days and mama/daughter mani/pedis for all special events, consider Ruths Chris a great restaurant, and most seem to expect flowers from their husbands for all birthdays and anniversaries. They attend church services religiously. (ba-dum tschhh)

Yes, I am sitting here in my shady corner,  feeling old and silently rolling my eyes at them. Basic is Basic, no matter your level of wooj-belief. I fully expect other people to sit and roll their eyes at me. Goodness knows, I deserve it for some things.

What really cracked me up today was when someone asked for suggestions on "favorite workout songs." The comments were rife with shouts of "Katy Perry Dark Horse!", "Rhiannon Shut Up and Drive!", "anything by Taylor Swift!", etc. Then there was me, little dark old me, who pipes up with "Remanufacture by Fear Factory, Lagwagon's "Hoss" album, most everything by Daft Punk, the "2 + 2 = 5" album from Deadmau5, the EA FIFA World Cup game soundtrack, and "In Silico" by Pendulum."

It was like those moments when all conversations in a loud party end at the exact same moment, so your comment of "Actually, I think I may have snorted my grandma's ashes by mistake when I was 18" goes ringing through the crowd and everyone just turns and looks at you with the exact same expression of utter confusion tinged with the beginnings of terror. I know there are kindred souls out there in their own shady corners, so I actually enjoy those moments when the comments stutter to a halt for a solid few handfuls of minutes. We all need to get our kicks somehow.

 
 
Julia
30 March 2015 @ 04:13 pm

When your only companionship, for most of your waking hours, is a nigh-threenager, you find yourself taking every opportunity to separate yourself from the chaos and get some kind of mental relaxation. Today, I joined KidK in the backyard and, while he ran around with various diggers and his lawnmower, I built a tiny wall. It lasted just long enough for him to notice and use his wrecking ball to knock it over (at least I gave him permission first).

I realized how lonely I am. I see my Village back in Baltimore doing things together, their kids involved in joint activities and building new skills, and I feel like we're in limbo here. But without the added support of a village, I lack the mental energy to really involve my child as much as I want to.

This makes me feel like an utter failure. My child does not paint or do crafts or join in circle-time at the library (believe me, I've tried). He will play out the same 4 second clip of his favorite stories over and over. It's great that he's so into imaginative play, but I wish he'd be more willing to expand on the storylines a bit.

This post has no purpose. Just tossing leaves into the void.

 
 
Julia
29 March 2015 @ 02:14 pm

Most of the peoole came. I still somehow manged to make too much food. But it was a good time. KidK wasn't really feeling the 'socialize with other kids' vibe, which has me a little worried. He's had so little regular contact with kids his age since we moved here, he's stsrting to treat Mama and Daddy like the 'real' friends and playmates and all others as strangers and interlopers. He did great playing on the equipment while I was part of the playing group, but as soon as I went back to socialize with my own age group, he quickly lost interest. *sigh* Oh well. Hopefully he'll be able to start preschool in the fall. Hopefully too, this summer will see more regular socializing with the same kids.
But on the plus side, successful social event!

Speaking of, I had a great Ladies' Night with a colleague and old friend of The Professor's. She invited three other ladies (including myself) to hang out in her hot tub and drink wine and be served food by her eldest child. It was one of those "Oh, is thiswhat people do on Ladies' Nights?" moments. I'd never had one before. Despite being the only gal not in academia, it was still very fun. I need more of those kinds of nights, where I am reminded that my worth as a social creature is not entirely reliant on my status as a mother or spouse.