Archive for January, 2012

The “Conventional” Way of Doing Things

Several conversations all happened within a few hours of each other, and they got me to thinking…

Since when is the natural way of doing things not normal?

“Is this food organic?” “No, it’s conventional.”

At some point in time, those meant the same thing. Now they don’t, and organic is the odd one out.

Not all change is progress.

There was a recent study done by the CDC on breastfeeding and vaccinations, and it turns out that breastfeeding inhibits the effectiveness of at least one vaccine. The CDC’s recommendation? Don’t breastfeed when it’s time for vaccinations.


The more I learn about breast milk and what it does to/for a baby, the more amazed I am. It’s not just food.

When I tell people I had a natural birth, many tell me I’m crazy or I’m a hero, but really, I was just trying to do things the way they ought to be done. (OK, and I didn’t want an enormous needle in my spine.) There certainly is a place for intervention, and sometimes it’s necessary because things don’t always go the way they’re supposed to. (Often, the early interventions are what cause the later interventions, but that’s another post for another time.) But intervention is definitely the norm.

We’re so far from natural in so many ways. Sometimes it’s progress, but many times, it’s not.

Does it bother you? Can you think of other examples?


Meatless Meals (I Wish) My Mother Made

There are so many variations on beans and rice. Today’s comes from No Meat Athlete; we made it with brown jasmine rice and white beans.

The bites that included pineapple were quite tasty. The other bites were a bit bland—despite the onion and garlic—so next time we have this, I’m going to dice the pineapple and mix it in. I’ll also use some seasonings in preparing both the rice and the beans. (Not sure what seasonings yet…) That should spice it up a bit and make it quite tasty. Or maybe I’ll just add a whole lotta pineapple 🙂

Oh — every recipe I’ve made that calls for chopped cabbage grossly overestimates how much is needed. Unless your cabbage heads are really tiny, a quarter of the head yielded more than two cups chopped.

Hawaiian Beans and Rice


  • 1 cup dry brown rice
  • 1 can drained and rinsed beans, or 2 cups cooked
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped red cabbage (about half a head)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 can sliced pineapple, juice reserved

Cook the brown rice in a rice steamer or follow the directions here. Heat up the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the beans and heat through.

Stir the red cabbage, ½ cup pineapple juice, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and smoked paprika into the bean and onion mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, until cabbage is cooked but still crunchy. Stir in spinach and cook for 2 more minutes, until slightly wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, spray a frying pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat on medium high. Lay pineapple rings in pan, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Fry for 2 minutes per side, until nice and charred. Serve on top of beans and rice.

Feeling fancy? Add a chopped red bell pepper in with the cabbage, sprinkle beans with a minced jalapeño pepper, and fold ½ cup of toasted coconut into cooked rice.

One for the Locals & One for Everyone

For the locals:

Second Chance FitCenter is putting together a team for the Broadmor AIR 5K/10, held at Kiwanis Park on Sunday, February 26. Register at and send me a message to let me know what size shirt you want. (I need to know about shirts by February 10; online registration ends February 22.)

For everyone:

I have put in for a $1,000 grant from GOOD Maker, “to fund a workshop or project created by you, that promotes the fitness, health, and well-being of your community.” My idea is to run a 6-week “Play Like A Kid” series in a local park, free to anyone who’d like to participate. “Getting exercise” doesn’t have to equate to “do boring exercises in a smelly gym when it’s beautiful outside.” Grant money will cover toys/equipment and publicity — I don’t get paid.

If you could take a moment, click here, make an account (required for voting), vote for my idea, then pass the word along, it would be fabulous. At the end of the voting period, whoever has the most votes wins.

Our Bodies Prefer Healthy Food

The Big Man and I went to Costco the other day, just to check it out, see if joining would help meet our needs. I’ve been to Costco before and know what it’s like in there. I guess it’s just been a while…

The over-abundance made me kind of nauseous.

But what we talked about on the way out — without a membership — is how striking it was that the majority of what is available is highly processed crap. In very large quantities.

Now, we’re not raw over here. We do consume processed foods. But we take in a lot less than we used to, and the amount keeps going down. This is good. That kind of stuff really isn’t good for your body, even if it’s made from whole wheat.

Back when I was in college, and shortly thereafter, I could easily eat a pint of ice cream in one sitting. (Curse you, Halo Farms!) Chicken fingers and fries were a great meal. Mozzarella sticks were an indispensable appetizer.

As my habits changed, I ate these less frequently. I didn’t realize how much better I felt until I would eat a large quantity of anything fried (for example) and would feel terrible. At this point, eating a large quantity of sweets will make my stomach unhappy. Most greasy food isn’t even appealing any more.

Just like many people, I would have denied that food would change my energy level. But when you’re not spending so much energy ridding yourself of garbage, you have more energy for other things.

Nichol talked about this a couple of weeks ago: “My body is no longer equipped to handle that much grease.”

Hooray! Her body is that much closer to operating as it should.

When you get to that point, you have options: you can keep eating greasy food (in her case) or sweet food (in my case) until your body takes it in without feeling sick. (You are still getting sick — you just don’t notice it.) Or you can take it as a handy reminder from your body that no, this isn’t really what I want to fuel myself with.

It could happen to you. But you have to swear off of those kinds of foods enough to let your body recuperate from how you’ve been feeding it. Then your body will remind you when you’re doing it wrong.

Almost Week 4!

It’s Wednesday! Today’s post is by Nichol.

I can’t believe that as of this coming Sunday, I have been committed to running at least a mile a day for FOUR WEEKS!

I know!

I don’t expect to see changes in my body right away, but I swear the other day I was feeling my butt cheeks (don’t ask) and I swear they felt firmer. Is that possible?

I am so tired I can’t think straight right now, but let me leave you with a pictorial description of how tired I am (so tired I couldnt push my glasses up my nose):


And my giant stress zit is almost gone from my chin. Yay!

How’s your week been?

Product Review: Funky Monkey Snacks

Full disclosure: I received samples from these folks for review. I receive no other compensation.

I get quite a few e-mails from places that would like me to review products on the blog. Most of them are products that I wouldn’t want to sample or to recommend. Just because it’s labeled healthy doesn’t mean it is healthy, and when it comes to recommendations, my standards are pretty high.

I received an e-mail regarding Funky Monkey snacks and after checking out their website, I decided to give them a try.

They sent me Bananamon, Purple Funk, and MangOJ.

The concept behind these snacks is very simple: fruit with a spice or juice along with it, freeze-dried. Bananamon = banana + cinnamon; Purple Funk = banana + açai; MangOJ = mango + orange juice. That’s all. Two ingredients.

Added bonus: all of the ingredients are organic.

They advertise as “fruit that crunches” and it does! I suppose this is a result of it being freeze-dried instead of sun-dried or dehydrator-dried.

These snacks are fruity and crunchy — not quite crunchy enough to be comparable to potato chips made from fruit, but pretty crunchy.

For my own personal tastes, these are not a snack I would buy to munch on every day, mainly because I’d rather have regular ol’ fruit. However, these would be a great snack to keep in my desk at work or in the diaper bag for when I’m hungry and didn’t pack a snack — places where I can’t just leave fruit until I need it because it rots.

I think these would also make a great snack for kids. They’re vegan and completely nut-free, accommodating most special diets. Do your kids eat fruit snacks? See if you can sneak these into the rotation — they’re much healthier than the gummy snacks otherwise available.

Bottom line recommendation: give them a try!

2011 In Summary

I’m a bit behind here, but I was looking at WordPress’s 2011 summary of Change Is Possible and thought I’d share a bit of what I learned.

My five most popular posts — as measured by page views — in 2011 were

  1. Meat Glue
  2. What Can I Use Instead of Plastic?
  3. DIY mouthwash
  4. body image, body fat, denial
  5. Letter To My Younger Self

Did you miss any of them? Click through! Disagree that they should have been popular? Take it up with everyone else who clicked through 😉

My most avid commenters were Melanie, Trisha, Lisa, Shawn and Amy. Thanks for commenting!

When you like what you see here, please share it!


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