Know Better, Do Better

 

 

 

ad·vo·cate

 [v. ad-vuh-keyt; n. ad-vuh-kit, -keyt]  Show IPA

 

verb (used with object), ad·vo·cat·ed, ad·vo·cat·ing.

1.

to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly: He advocated higher salaries for teachers.
noun

2.

a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc. (usually followed by of ): an advocate of peace.

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I spend too much time on the internet. I have three tabs open right now so I can check my email, watch my Facebook notifications rack up and shop for new band shirts for the boys… while I blog. I run into a lot of characters online, and before I get started you should know, I like them all. Minus the trolls. Trolls divide us further and waste our time. But I like the rest of them, even the well meaning advocates that completely miss their mark.

Have you met these people? They have a cause and they are passionate about it. And I mean passionate. Their Facebook timeline is filled with daily memes and quotes and articles about the miracle of their chosen cause, or causes. For example, I post a metric shitton of stuff about coconut oil, vinegar and avocados. (A metric shitton is an actual unit of measurement I just invented equal to “many”) I threw out all of my store bought cleaners and hide the new ones The Barkeep keeps buying. I have spray bottles of vinegar water everywhere instead. I put it in my laundry. I take a shot of apple cider vinegar to clear my sinuses and use it to make salad dressing. I have coconut oil in my bathroom cupboard, the medicine cabinet and, of course, the kitchen. And I just really like avocados. They keep me full. They replace cheese when I’m doing well about skipping dairy. I am an advocate for these things. I want to inform other people about their benefits. You may recall I also love my cloth diapers (currently sitting unused thanks to all the chlorine in our water right now) and Baby Legs and wearing my babies. I feel strongly about these things and when they come up in conversation I try to control myself as I explain why.

I discovered most of these things online from other advocates. Advocating is a good thing. Sharing your passion is the best thing. I am an advocate for advocating. Do something. Spread the word, teach someone, show someone, just come down off of your high horse first and remember that you most likely weren’t born with this knowledge. And if you were, remember that not everyone came from your background, your income bracket, your side of town, your way of life. We are all learning, even as we advocate, and we should all be accepting of others who are learning at a different pace.

There are some things I feel strongly about that I’m not completely comfortable writing about in such a public format… yet. Sometimes when I present people with the facts about these things and they seem unimpressed, impassive or completely reject the facts, I want to pull my hair out. Then I remind myself, there was a time I was the same way. It’s hard to accept bold new information. They may have to hear it many times from many trusted sources. They may need to see it with their own eyes. They may just need time. They may never agree. This doesn’t mean a person is ignorant or uneducated. I mean, it doesn’t always mean that, I’m not trying to suggest you haven’t met some truly ignorant people, because I have. But not everyone who disagrees with you, no matter how “right” you are, is stupid. Wasting your time trying to convince them that they are is stupid.

I saw a lovely picture online of a father folding laundry while wearing his baby in a carrier. I went to comment and was shocked by the hateful comments before mine, referring to his carrier as a “crotch dangler” and calling him an idiot and a terrible father. Not only was this attack alarming to me, but so was the news that my carrier was actually a crotch dangler and could be harming my children. A “crotch dangler” is basically any forward facing carrier that makes the baby hang in front of you with it’s hips spread apart. This can overstimulate the baby and possibly cause medical issues. Many of the women commenting were claiming to be advocates of baby wearing, but I have to admit they turned me off of the idea for quite awhile. Something I once enjoyed became yet another reason to judge each other and call names. It made baby wearing seem complicated and only for a certain type of person, specifically snarky, know it all bitches. Thankfully I was added to a local baby wearing group on Facebook and discovered that was not (always) the case. I met actual advocates of baby wearing that would happily teach other parents what carriers worked best and how to use them.

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An advocate is a person who speaks for a cause, not against others. An advocate should be inclusive and strive to make others feel welcome to their cause, not alienate those with less or wrong information. That’s not advocating, that’s judging. Which is fine, do your thing, just call it what it is. You feel superior because you were informed first. Own it, just don’t call it advocating. It turns people off. If you want other people to join your cause, don’t be a jerk.  Now you know better and when you know better, you do better.

we’re all a little weird

Sharkboy and Little S are only 2 and 3 years old but I think about my school options often, especially this time of year. Public school, Catholic School, Montessori school, home school, there are so many choices and it is all so overwhelming. I keep coming back to the idea of homeschooling and wondering if it’s something I really want to do. I have the usual hang ups: Am I qualified? How will we afford to eat? Will it make my kids weird?

That last question always brings me back to a family I used to work with when I taught preschool. They seemed like a pretty normal family at first but as Mom became more comfortable with me she started to ask a lot of questions about her son’s behavior and the general idea was always, “is he normal?” This is actually a fairly typical concern and a question I hear often. She began to ask it so frequently and fervently that it stopped being normal.

Her family, her friends, the internet, they all had her convinced she had to do things one certain way or her kid would be weird. The problem is everyone has a different opinion about what that one certain way is. It’s enough to drive a concerned mom bonkers.

“If you adhere to a strict schedule your kids won’t have any flexibility.”
“If you throw out the schedule they will have no structure.”
“If you force them to eat healthy foods they will have eating issues.”
“If you never make them try things they’ll be picky.”
“If you co-sleep they will never sleep alone.”

It’s giving me a stress headache just coming up with examples. So, I’m going to put your mind at ease. Yes, your kid is weird.

Think about your friends growing up. Think about their families. How many of them did you think were kind of weird? Be honest with yourself. I only had brothers growing up, and a handful of them, so I was outnumbered by boys. My best friend had an older sister and their house was always amazing (but weird) to me. Clothes piling out of the closet, tampon boxes in plain sight, curling irons everywhere. And so much make up.

Wait… that sounds like my house now. That’s not weird.

I had another friend with a single mom (which was really weird at the time) and their cupboard was filled with generic brand groceries. I have no idea when generic brands became more readily available but at the time they were fairly new to me and a lot of my friends, so we thought that was super weird.

That also sounds a little like my house now, though.

I’m sure I can think of someone really weird. Like the family with the 4 (!!!) kids all close in age that ran around on rooftops and played in the creek and had a poker table in their downstairs that alternated between a very elaborate Hot Wheels Land and a Dungeons and Dragons table.

That was my house then. And I’m certain a lot of people thought we were weird.

Looking back at the families I have worked with in childcare I could tell you something “weird” about every single one of them, making weird an obsolete term in this context. If we’re all weird then that makes us normal.

In an online discussion about schooling options a complete stranger asked me, “but aren’t you worried they’ll be weird?” Just like that *poof*  one less concern. We’re all a little weird. I can’t go through their life trying to protect them from that or from the people who will notice, in fact, I’d do well to remind them at every chance.

Magic

Place your bets: Cyrus versus Syria

If you have a TV or computer or even just walk among the living during somewhat normal hours you have probably heard about Miley Cyrus at the VMAs on Sunday night.

You can narrow social media response to a few main categories.

The die-hard fans: Mostly tween and teenage girls… and their mothers. They either don’t care about how unusual her performance was or they loved it to pieces so just leave Britney alone already.

The turncloak fans: Mostly tween and teenage girls and definitely their mothers. These are young girls who didn’t realize that the lyrics to the song they loved were about drinking and drugs. I feel for these girls, not so much for their mothers. Were you really fooled by that wig? You thought Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus were the same person? She is a grown woman, if you are going to get your panties in a Miley sized wedgie over their music then maybe you should listen to it before you let them buy it on iTunes. These are the actual lyrics to the song, referencing dancing like you are in a strip club and doing lines in the bathroom. She did not sneak these lyrics in for the VMAs. AND if you are letting your children listen to Blurred Lines and watch that ridiculous video then don’t cry foul about Miley’s performance.

The slut shamers: Many of these are the same moms mentioned above and unfortunately their daughters are following their lead. Some of them are grown women with no children (of that age) that have no business watching the VMAs. I mean, do what you want with your Sunday night, but I was only watching it because Beauty turned it on. I personally don’t care what Miley was wearing or even that she was twerking her cute little booty off. I was more upset about the teddy bears and the horrible choreography than her wardrobe. Okay, those panties were a little weird and the simulated rim job was not my taste. (pun not intended but left for amusement) She is an adult now and as she says in her song,

It’s our party we can do what we want to
It’s our house we can love who we want to
It’s our song we can sing if we want to
It’s my mouth I can say what I want to
Yea, Yea, Yeah

So, yeah. Take that. It’s MTV. If you were looking for reserved try The Cooking Channel. I’m just guessing, I don’t actually watch cooking shows.

The clueless: This is mostly older adults with no teenagers or young parents with young children who only knew something happened at the VMAs, or that the VMAs still exist, because on Monday morning their feed was flooded with updates. If they posted about Miley at all it was to ask, “what is twerking?”

And last, but not least, in fact, the focus of my writing,

The “what about Syria” crowd: For every two Miley posts like the type above there was at least one “all you people are talking about Miley Cyrus while meanwhile in Syria…” post.

Show of hands (via comment), did you actually forget Syria existed while you were talking about Miley Cyrus? If so, and be honest, did you even know something was happening in Syria before the twerk scandal?

Here’s my opinion. You may not agree and you may not like it but don’t pretend it’s not what you came for. I don’t report the weather here, folks.

If anything, a well known white pop star licking and smacking black people, dancing provocatively on another controversial pop star, and saying, “hey, we do what we want and you can’t stop us, we can’t even stop ourselves” is exactly what we need, especially to draw attention to Syria.

I have seen more conversations online about racism, slut shaming, the state of our music industry, the direction our daughters are headed and rape culture in the past few days than I generally see in a whole year. (And that is saying a lot because I follow a lot of left leaning pages and my friends are the kind of people who care about this stuff.) These are conversations we need to have. We should be having them daily.

Now that we understand and agree that discussing Miley Cyrus’ tongue and twering is important, back to Syria. No one who knew there was conflict in Syria forgot about while discussing these other, also important issues. Maybe they prefer not to discuss it online. Maybe they were talking about both and Facebook does that thing it does where it hides the stories getting less comments. Maybe they were discussing it in private groups. *raises hand* But I assure you, no one forgot Syria existed.

However, people who have previously been hiding under rocks or forced to watch Dora all day, and the percentage of teenagers that just don’t care about things outside the halls of their high school, were suddenly bombarded with “what about Syria?” posts, and asked themselves, “yes, indeed what about Syria?” They may have even looked it up or asked someone or read the posted article.

So, come down off your high horses friends, and discuss Miley Cyrus with us. I bet her horse Blue Jeans gets high, too. (Wait, that was Miley Stewart. Her multiple personalities get so confusing!) We promise not to forget about…. that one place…

Just kidding. In case you have no idea what all the Syria talk is about: this should be easy to understand. 

How I Know My Family Is Out To Get Me: Kitchen Edition

Recently I was informed that my family insisting on three solid meals a day AND snacks is not actually proof they are out to get me. Fair enough. Surely this list will convince you.

  • Wet, bloated macaroni noodles hiding under a plate in the sink. If you didn’t want to touch it when it first fell out what makes you think I want to pick it up the next day? It looks and feels unnatural.
  • Lettuce. Lettuce is my nemesis. That my family continues to consort with my sworn enemy is proof that they are not on my side. It falls on the floor and apparently becomes invisible. It sneaks into the dishwasher and adheres to plates so thoroughly I have to scrape it off with my thumbnail. Ick.
  • Wet meat. I want to hurl just typing that. That little pile of goop caught in the sink drain catcher is bad enough with a bloated noodle, but wet meat? Gag. You don’t do that to someone you love.
  • Standing water. It stands to reason if wet meat and a bloated noodle turn my stomach then reaching into water someone else left sitting with any possible combination of disgusting mystery ingredients is not going to please me.
  • Dirty sponges. This is just evil. Sponges are gross. No really, sponges are gross.

A sponge that’s been in use for no more than two or three days in a kitchen will harbor millions of bacteria,” said Elizabeth Scott, co-director of the Simmons Center for Hygiene and Health in the Home at Simmons College in Boston. That’s a problem, she said, ”if you pick up the pathogen or a pathogenic E. coli, salmonella or campylobacter on the sponge.”

She added: ”That means that any time you use the sponge to wipe up a surface you are potentially spreading those pathogens.”

  • Dishes Jenga. When I walk into the kitchen and the dishes are piled haphazardly in the sink, likely to fall at any moment, I just walk back out again and hope it was a bad dream.
  • The set of measuring spoons tethered together by a ring. I find it suspicious that this is the only dish ever thoroughly rinsed, therefore I have to wash each spoon because I have no idea which one was used.
  • The glob of jelly on the counter. The paper towel is right there.
  • The last smudge of something leftover from last week. I open the fridge, delighted to realize there are leftovers I can serve instead of cooking again, only to discover not only is there not even half a serving left, but now I have another dish to rinse and clean.

That’s how I know. 

Sappy Wedding Post

We went to a wedding this weekend. It was two hours away in a tiny town that was almost in another state. We were running late. The kids were hungry and a little whiney even though I made a big beautiful breakfast. I scrambled eggs, anyway, and toasted some waffles. I should probably mention that we were at Our Bar the night before the wedding, too, and The Barkeep was actually in the wedding, so we kind of needed to get there on time, which meant leaving at 8am and not stopping every half hour for drinks and gas and an SD card for the camera. I don’t wear dresses for very often, especially not dresses that require a strapless bra, but I wore one Saturday and I even made myself a pair of what I have decided to call my “east side Spanx.”  My dress material was not very forgiving so I cut the legs off of an old pair of control top panty hose. I left enough length on the thighs to control them, too. (I’m a 37 year old mother of four, sometimes parts of me need control.) These were 10 times more comfortable than the bra. I felt fabulous.  Just try it some time. Hike them up as high as you need to to feel hot and never write a blog telling your closest friends and complete strangers the secret to your sexy dress.  Anyway, east side Spanx, strapless bra, whiney kids, teenagers obsessed with boy bands, it was quite the ride.

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We made it on time, though, and there are some friends that just pulling up beside them puts you at ease. That’s my buddy T-Pig. Beer in hand, shorts and a t-shirt, looking cool and comfortable in the sunshine. We followed him 2 blocks from the park to his family’s house that was also a bed and breakfast. I have been to a lot of weddings. I have been in a lot of weddings. I have never been so relaxed preparing for a wedding. Everyone was milling about eating muffins, drinking lemonade or Coors Light, and chatting. His family opened their home and business to all of us and made us feel welcome. Then we went back over to the park and witnessed one of the most awesome weddings I have ever been part of. (It was worth the two hour drive, especially when you put it in the perspective that they drove 8 hours to have their wedding closer to all of us.) It was sweet, simple and fun. Pinwheels marked the aisles, the kids used bubble guns instead of tossing flowers, one of the couples did a cute dance as they walked down the aisle, and another friend of ours officiated the ceremony. His speech was short but meaningful and interesting. The Bride wrote vows that made everyone cry. We’re going to call her Sparks… like Nicholas Sparks, she writes romantic tearjerkers. Seriously, though, she did it again later at the reception and it sounded completely unplanned and off the cuff. I think she should go into politics.

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Sharkboy and Little S dissolved in to tears and wails of agony shortly before the wedding started, so we invented The Tantrum Tree. You can bawl your eyes out, but do it down there by that tree where no one else has to hear it. Every event should have a tantrum tree.

This blog isn’t actually about their wedding, though, it was just their wedding that got me thinking about the inevitable outcome of weddings… marriage.

coors

H-Bomb’s wedding was also amazing, though very different from Sparks and T-Pig’s. It was her minister that told the story of The Itsy Bitsy Spider before their vows. It made me giggle, but at least he was interesting. (I have stood through some boring sermons.) He compared a married couple to the spider, climbing up the water spout, bad days come and knock you down and make your climb seem impossible, but then the sun comes back out and you can climb again. It may sound bleak, but it’s realistic. Relationships are hard work. No two people are alike enough to never disagree and many people were never taught how to disagree without causing damage. On top of that, life is hard. Shit happens. Cars break down. Businesses downsize and jobs get dissolved. Babies are born, or babies are not born in to a home that waits for them. Homes get foreclosed. People get sick. Careers get relocated. So many curveballs. Every couple makes a promise on their wedding day to keep getting back up and to keep climbing together. And they mean it. Right then and there they mean it and they believe it. But life is hard.

pinwheels

Standing there in perfect weather at the perfect wedding I had an epiphany. It started with the subtle idea that in this age of technology we could easily videotape every wedding on a small device and carry it around at all times. When the rain comes and waiting for the sunshine is just too long and difficult, you can open the file right there on your smart phone and relive your promises to each other. That idea took hold and rooted into something more. Every couple needs advocates. Like godparents, if you will, to sponsor the couple and champion them through rough times.  The bride and groom would each choose an advocate to help them with their wedding planning and vow writing. The advocate would pledge to see the couple through the hard times and back into the sunshine to the best of their abilities. Imagine if after telling your friends and family about recent chaos in your home you each got a call from your advocate, they took you out for a drink and talked about how you, as a couple, always inspired them. Your advocate would talk to you about thought you put into your vows and what they meant to you. They would remind you of something else you worked through together back when it was easier, and how good it felt to bask in the sunshine together.

Weddings are beautiful and full of promise. If everyday could be pretty dresses and laughing children, out of state relatives and delicious cakes we would never need reminded of the sunshine. It would also get very expensive and tiring. How do you suppose I make this catch on? Who do I talk to about changing the way weddings work? Wait a minute, hold the phone, I just did a little Google research to remember the name of a celebrity wedding planner (it was David Tutera) and realized there is an entire channel pretty much dedicated to weddings. That is where I need to start. I’ll make it the trendy new thing all the hip brides are doing and it will catch on. In the meantime… maybe we can just take it upon ourselves to support one another. Be an advocate for your friend’s relationship, for your sister’s marriage, for your brother’s family.

corny

I’m not worried about my friends. I know they have advocates and each other and plenty of sunshine. That is my wish for everyone.

Boobs

As in, you are all acting like a bunch of boobs.

Recently a woman from my hometown uploaded this photo on Facebook:

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This is pretty amazing and got a lot of attention, and not just from the hundreds of people saying, “Wait, what is a crab rangoon pizza? Where can I get this amazing delicacy?”  A crab rangoon pizza has a crab rangoon base, surimi, green onion, asiago and mozzarella cheeses, and is topped with crispy egg roll strips and sweet chili sauce. You can purchase one in Des Moines, Iowa at Fong’s Pizza. Some day I’d like to write you a whole blog about how very cool Des Moines really is compared to what you have been told, but that will have to wait. If you look beyond the delicious purchases you will see that one was paid for by a staff member at Fong’s to thank the mother for breastfeeding. Neat, right? It was such a happy story that it made the news in other cities and right here in Des Moines.

http://whotv.com/2013/07/18/free-pizza-nursing-mothers-receipt-goes-viral/

Again, neat story. It should really end there. But no. People have to go and be grossed out and offended by it. I’m grossed out and offended by a lot of things but I keep most of it to myself because the world doesn’t revolve around me and my likes and dislikes. I want to go to every single news site about this wonderful story and just “educate” every single moron like this woman *Ellen that just compared her breast to her butthole. (Don’t worry, I’ll get to that.) But I don’t have the time or the patience so I’m just going to write my responses to the standard comments here and hope some of the boobs out there read them.

I don’t mind breastfeeding in public as long as they cover up.

1. Why? What about a woman’s breast is offensive? The size? Because some women have smaller breasts than some men, do these men also need to cover up? Please? I’ve heard some people say “hot” breasts are okay but not flabby, ugly ones. Fair enough. Put your flabby, ugly chins away and your flabby, ugly thighs and all the rest of you, too. It offends me. Actually, your face offends me, cover it up.

2. It’s hot, people. It’s 90 or more degrees in Iowa right now, more with humidity. The baby is already nestled up against Mom’s body heat and you want a blanket on his or head, too? That’s child abuse. If breasts offend you that much then you go in the bathroom and eat or you eat dinner with a blanket on your head.

I’m tired of people saying breastfeeding is natural, so is masturbation but I don’t do it at the table.

If you can’t tell the difference between masturbation and breastfeeding then you have some deep psychological issues to explore.

I’m tired of people saying breastfeeding is natural, so is taking a dump maybe I should show you my butthole.

That is paraphrasing *Ellen, I think she deleted her original comment before I could cut and paste. Ellen has some serious issues if she is truly comparing her breasts to her butthole. I don’t even know where to start.

A lot of people try to compare breastfeeding to using the restroom when the “natural” debate comes up. Let’s just end that now. Breastmilk is a source of nourishment and more. Anything you do in the restroom is not. I feel like I shouldn’t even need to explain this. The last time I had to say, “we don’t eat poop,” I was talking to a 6 month old.

bfing

Breasts are not offensive but they are a private part. Are you going to tell me that if you have a daughter you’ll be okay with her walking around topless?

Um, yeah. It’s her body. Once she is an adult I won’t “let” her do anything because her body does not belong to me.

But again, this comparison is dumb. Walking around topless and breastfeeding are not the same thing. There is less breast exposed during breastfeeding than there is in bra advertisements at the mall. I don’t see anyone draping blankets over those.

I don’t want my children exposed to that.

The little flash of sideboob they might glance during breastfeeding? Don’t let them near the internet! They might see Miley Cyrus on the Huffington Post. Don’t take them to the mall, they might have to walk past Victoria’s Secret. And definitely keep them home from the beach. Because I’d hate for them to be exposed to a human breast. <—That last link is all marvelous man boobs and I suggest you check it out for some comic relief.

Your kids will always be exposed to things you wish they didn’t have to see. Use ach experience as a learning opportunity. Tell them how you feel about it and educate them about the situation. Especially breastfeeding! This is the moment where you get to shape and change our future society, the society your children will be feeding their own children in. Tell them now, “breastfeeding is the healthiest, most natural way to feed your baby.” You can elaborate for more advanced learners but make sure you send that message. Then say, “but if it makes you uncomfortable, look away.” It’s important they learn now some things will make them uncomfortable, that doesn’t mean those things are wrong or that they can be rude about it.

 I hate the moms that feel like they have something to prove and make a big production of it. It’s natural and awesome for baby and mom so don’t ruin it by making a scene.

They don’t like you, either. You’re the one that made breastfeeding weird and obscene. You, and others like you, that bought into the notion that somehow a woman’s breast was more offensive than a man’s or that anyone ever had the right to judge whose breast was attractive enough to be seen, you are the ones who made it a big deal, not the mothers that are trying to take back the natural act of feeding their child when he is hungry.

*whew* I typed all this with Sharkboy and Little S fighting beside me, singing in my lap and threatening to pee on me, so I hope it makes sense. I swear they’re not neglected, it was less than 20 minutes of a day that was entirely devoted to their good times. They will survive.

I am not trying to shame anyone that is not comfortable whipping it out in public. Our society is obsessed with breasts in an unnatural way and it has caused people to be uncomfortable with their own bodies. Or maybe you’re just shy. That’s okay.

And ya know what, it’s okay to be uncomfortable with other people’s breasts, too, it’s just not okay to expect them to make themselves and their child uncomfortable for your sake.

I’m done with my soapbox, but I bet you’re not. Go ahead. That’s what the comments are for. ;)

 

*names changed to protect the  innocent

I’m not on a diet.

A quick note about my personal health journey:

It’s difficult to explain to people that you’re not on a diet when you eat “weird” food. People immediately assume it’s about weight loss and try to coach you with their own tips and tricks, which are usually the complete opposite of what I am eating. I’m not on a diet. I’m not worried about losing weight right now. I’ll gladly accept weight loss along with the other healthy perks, though.

After writing Macaroni For Dinner I was lucky enough to happen on a group of families that were decidedly not snarky about their health choices. It was also around this time that I was suffering from a second bout of weird symptoms. I was on a diet at that time and even though I had cut my calories down to 1000 a day and I was working out and doing everything the internet and Snarky McSnarkbritches suggested, I could not get the scale to budge past the first 20 pounds I had lost. Every few months large clumps of my hair would fall out and my nails would not grow without cracking and chipping. My joints and bones hurt constantly. I was exhausted and always felt mildly ill. Then, through the wonders of the internet and a group of people who actually listened to my symptoms, I uncovered more and more information about how food affects my body. 

I started by eliminating gluten from diet, just to see how it would make me feel. You have to understand what a huge sacrifice I thought this was. I love pasta. It’s quick, easy and delicious, especially covered in cheese. I felt better almost immediately, though, until I discovered gluten free substitutes. You can still have pasta, bread, even doughnuts, with a gluten free lifestyle. This works well for many people. Not me. I felt worse than before. 

My cousin had mentioned doing something called the Whole 30 and several friends in my super secret girl group were raving about how wonderful a “paleo lifestyle” felt and how it helped with everything from bad skin to horrible PMS. I’ve always shunned fad diets and trendy eating. “If you want to lose weight burn more calories than you eat.” That also works well for some people. But I didn’t want to lose weight. I wanted to feel good again. So… I dabbled a little. I read a few articles. I checked out the Whole 9 Life website. I threw it out as hogwash and went back to it again in case I was wrong. I said it was too hard, too simple, too trendy right now, too expensive for my family, too anything to get out of having to give up my beloved Diet Pepsi. 

I decided to try it for a week, a full seven days without grains, dairy, legumes, sugar or pop. AND NO DRINKING. Eep. The night before Day One we went shopping for veggies, avocados and healthy cooking oils. (Have I mentioned how much I freaking love coconut oil?!) That night my cousin suggested I download the book It Starts With Food on my Kindle. I read a little bit of each section, took a deep breath and decided, I was doing the Whole 30.

For 30 full days I did not drink, not even soda. I didn’t eat a single grain or slice of cheese, not even a bite. I ate a LOT of avocados and grilled meat and asparagus wrapped in bacon. (Yes, bacon is allowed, as long as you can find the right kind!) I ate eggs with green onions and mushrooms and more avocado and meat, so much meat. Hamburgers wrapped in romaine lettuce, tacos on lettuce wraps, pork slow cooked with apples, and things I had never cooked before like leeks. I made half of every meal vegetables so I had to branch out and try more. I even started eating fish. 

It was expensive at first but after 30 days it evened out because you can’t swing by a drive through or run into a convenience store on the Whole 30. You have to plan your meals and shop at the grocery store. You don’t have to buy the book. All the information is online for free.

It’s not a diet, but I did lose 18 pounds in 30 days without counting calories or worrying about weight. My nails started to grow. My hair is shiny (and full!) and my skin is clear. I’m not making any money from telling you this or even trying to convince you that you should do this, too. I’m just saying it worked for me and if you’re interested you should look into it and see if it might work for you. 

Since my Whole 30 I have continued eating a paleo diet most of the time. On the weekends we might go out to eat and we almost always have a few drinks at our bar, but it is usually easy not to go too far off track. I’m not losing much weight doing it this way, but I’m not on a diet, I just want to feel good, and for the most part, I do.

I feel like garbage right now because I have been eating garbage. Between my road trip with Goldy and Beauty and the holiday I have been eating all the wrong food and my body is rejecting it. I’m considering another Whole 30, just to get me back on track. In fact, I keep saying I am going to do it and then I make excuses, like “not on the road trip” or “not over the holiday” or “I’m definitely going to need a drink on this camping trip…” and I think I need some serious motivation. Maybe it’s you? Maybe you want to try it, too? And if a whole group of readers wanted to join me maybe I would have no choice but to rock the Whole 30 again.

Let me know. 

It turns out my thyroid is a mess. That’s not the clinical term but until I get decent insurance it’s about the best answer I’m going to get. Your thyroid affects a lot more than I ever realized. And a lot more has an effect on your thyroid than I realized, especially food. So, I’m eating for a healthy thyroid, not weight loss. I’m eating so that I have energy to play with my kids and so we can paint our nails together and so that my hair never falls out again because it’s scary and feels far worse than gaining weight. I’m eating for my health… and I’m eating a lot

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