Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Pre-Diabetic Weight Loss Foodie Frustration

Navigating the world of what to eat and what not to eat is extremely frustrating.  Any google search will most likely end up with you having cancer from any product that isn't air (and even then...) and searching on is like having the entire nutrition section of a real world book store dumped on you.

In today's world of dieting - labels are all the rage.  Whether it's Paleo, Atkins, gluten free, carb cycling, or keto - associating some famous person with that label makes it even more appealing it seems.  If that gorgeous, slim, healthy person eats this way then maybe we should too right? If [thisfood] is good for you and [Famous Celebrity] is eating it, then let's rush out to Trader Joes/Whole Foods/Specialty Store and buy it, right?

Except I'm pretty sure you and I AREN'T celebrities. Most people don't have countless hundreds to spend.  I also don't have a personal trainer that comes to my house or my posh gym and someone to cook and clean for me.  I also don't have a nutritionalist on hand to answer my questions. I have Google.  And Google gives me cancer, every time.

So what to do?  For me - I haven't found an exact answer yet. I'm muddling through the best way I know how, trial and error.  I was recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic. I can't lose weight, I feel like shit, and I feel like I look like shit. My skin, hair, everything. Yuck.  After quitting smoking and having a baby 3.5 and 2.5 years ago, respectively, the weight never came off.  I cycle. I try to eat healthy. Nada. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. I'm still holding steady at a whopping 170 lbs.  I refuse to become diabetic and if I can turn this shit-train around I'm going to.

There are days when I'm frustrated beyond belief.  As a mom of 3 kids, one with a pretty much full time job, one in Football, and a busy toddler, I don't know where I"m going to find time to meal plan everything that goes in our faces.  One meal for me, one meal for the family? Twice the meal planning? I already take 5 hours a week or so couponing.  Where am I going to carve out the additional time to plan every meal I eat? If you're like me, you go to the fridge and find a suitable snack or lunch and eat it.  Now I have to rethink that.  I can only stock things that are suitable.

I love food. I love buying it, making it, smelling it, tasting it. After being diagnosed and getting frustrated  with all of this information overload, I just want a shake or something that has everything I need in it and keep it moving. I'm tired of failing or being wrong or spending hours trying to learn and ending up with grilled chicken breast, steamed broccoli and brown rice.  Can you just give me a pill or a shake and I'll end my love affair with food and swear it off indefinitely?


This isn't a very upbeat blog post and for that I apologize. I hope to share with you what I learn, if anything about preventing this disease from actually manifesting. If I can help even one person avoid Type II diabetes then I'll be happy.

So I will try, each time I post, to list one new thing I've found to help me navigate the not-so-easy world of weight-loss, low carb, low glycemic, low sugar, low fat, low calorie world.

Today's find: Norbu Sweetener. (or any Erythritol sweetener, but I like this brand)  

If you're like me you've already given up on the lovely legal crack that is refined sugar. I love the crunch, that little pop of sweetness, and the warm feeling of joy and light and sun and perfection that is white sugar. I stumbled on this at ShopRite and thought, well why not. I'm sick of the Pink Blue & Yellow war. And of course, if you Google them, they give you cancer. If you Google this - it does NOT give you cancer. Silliness aside, the benefits for us prediabetics and those with diabetes are pretty good.  According to the site and the science of it, this is mostly erythritol, an alcohol sugar. They add Monkfruit but I'm not thinking it's very much since pure monkfruit is super sweet and you have to use a tiny bit more of this than sugar for sweetening.

I'm not going to go into the science of it because frankly, I'm not sciency. Or Englishy apparently either. You can go Here (with actual sources) or Here or Here to learn about it but basically here are the Pros & Cons:

Zero Calorie sweetener
Does NOT raise blood sugar
Easier on the gut than others
Doesn't contribute to the formation of cavities
LOOKS like sugar
Crunches like sugar
So far long term studies suggest NO carcinogen issues

You have to use more of it, it's only 70% as sweet as sugar
Can cause a tiny bit of stomach upset if you use excessive amounts (but so can sugar to a diabetic or prediabetic)

In my search for healthier and safer options, this seems to be a good one. I'll gladly pay the exorbitant price for it - heck I would go to Starbucks for basically melted ice cream with a pinch of coffee and dropped upwards of $5 a pop so why not take that money and put it towards sweetness for the week?

Please comment on anything you found to help you if you've found your way here about diabetes, weight loss, or just life in general.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Red, Yellow, White & Blue - Oh My Taters, I Love You!

This year is my first year REALLY doing a garden. I am getting some decent tomatoes, awesome cauliflower (fresher is WAY BETTER than the store stuff), one large zucchini, and I'm  going to have so many red Italian sweet peppers I'll probably hate them by next spring.

I so tried potatoes! My son hilled them (piling dirt around the stem to keep all those baby taters warm and happy and hidden) and I let them grow grow grow. 

Lately they haven't been looking all that great, so with a Google and a determined mind-set, I harvested most of the potatoes.  I was SHOCKED at how many I have. Easily 25 lbs. 

My purple ones are much smaller than the red, but that's ok. There were many more. Odd though, smaller potato, bigger plant. Hm.
I still have about 5 plants in the ground, they look hale and hearty (always wanted to use that phrase!) so I'm leaving them until they start to look brown.

Had one totally stinky rotten one. Smelled so foul I gagged. Bleh!

Tonight we are dining on the purple - or blue - ones and they're getting sautéed in olive oil, a touch of garlic and salt.  We are having a shepherds pie type of meal - no crust - over rice! Because Asian, duh.

Anyway, here are the photos from today and only one broken nail to show for it!

Also a couple potatoes were weird inside. I chucked them in the compost bin. 

One looked like a baby Pokemon: 

After cutting them, into my reclaimed antique but totally usable square cast iron pan where they turned a nice shade of blue!

I can't wait to eat these!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

I Say Nothing

One day my foot started hurting. It hurt bad. Real bad. Walking hurt. Standing hurt. 
But I had to do things so I dealt with it.  

When I mentioned it, the doctors couldn't find anything wrong. Suggested physical therapy. That didn't do anything. It came and went and I kept talking about it. I kept dealing with it. Did searches on the Internet for it.  Asked other folks about it. Dealt with it. It After a while, people didn't want to hear about my foot anymore. I stopped talking about it. I kept dealing with it.

Then one day my knees began hurting.  Stairs were a bitch. Pain on the inside, outside and anytime I bent them. You know you bend your knees when you walk, right? I told my family and they were concerned. I told my doctor and they couldn't find anything wrong, really, and sent me to physical therapy. The inside/outside pain kept happening. I pushed through at PT and dealt with it. pT didn't help. The pain continued. I told my family that my knees and foot hurt. They weren't so concerned. Some said I was looking for attention. I didn't say anything else. The pain continued. I dealt with it.

Later, when I would be tired, I was told to go to bed earlier, drink less coffee and more water. I tried but babies don't like that schedule and I got headaches from lack of caffeine. And I was tired. Always tired. I disagreed and was called argumentative. What do I know about my own body? Some called me a hypochondriac. I just kept it to myself. I made excuses for my naps and tried harder to get things done when I had energy. It made me more tired. My foot and knees hurt. I dealt with it. 

Someone told me the gym gives you energy. Would help me lose weight, help my knees, help my foot. All that weight. My joints weren't meant for this weight, they said. I heard them call me fat and I wanted to argue but didn't want to be argumentative. And when I looked in the mirror I thought, "Well maybe I am too heavy. Maybe they're right". At night when I went to bed I would think about saying something but I didn't want to seem whiny, so I kept it to myself. I dealt with it.

I got up every day. I made lunches and ran errands and watered plants. I did laundry and mopped floors. I vacuumed. I vacuumed again. I walked dogs and I stayed up late doing dishes. I went to the gym and I rode a bicycle. I weeded garden beds. I played with a toddler. I took Tylenol. I ignored the pain. There was no reason for me to have it, other than being too heavy, and maybe I wasn't going to the gym enough - you know because I didn't have enough energy. I dealt with it every day. I heard that I was complaining a lot. I heard that I was not fat. I heard go to the gym, eat less, eat more meat, eat more vegetables, eat less vegetables. I did what I could. I stopped arguing and I dealt with what I could. I ignored the pain and pushed through the exhaustion. The fog. The fuzzy brain.

I dealt with it by taking more Tylenol, drinking more coffee and eating antacids.  By exercising like a fiend, by not eating. My knees hurt worse, my foot never stopped hurting, and I'm so much more exhausted. Some days I can't retain a thought for more than a few minutes. I "fuzz out". I try but some days it hurts too much.

I work out and don't eat enough and don't lose a pound. I made myself sick. The doctors just told me to eat more and work out less. I said nothing. I don't want to be argumentative. I don't want people to think I'm making it up. I've begun to wonder if maybe I am? I wonder if I did this to myself? If it's my fault, if this just my life?

I deal with these questions every night after I take something for pain and try to sleep but can't. I wonder if today is the day I find something on the Internet that isn't just my fatness, lack of exercise and/or imagination. 

I think about the back spasms that I've said nothing about and the semi constant headache I have. I think about how occasionally I feel good and have no ache's and pains and wonder if I'm just losing my mind. If I'm just "getting old". I look around at other people and I wonder if they are silent too, and that this is normal. Maybe that's why people think I'm making it up or want attention, because they are this way too?

I hurt and don't know why. I say nothing and I deal with it. When I am asked why I say nothing I tell them, and I'm told that's foolish. If I tell
them what's going on they gloss over and look doubtful. 

This is my life. I hurt. I deal with it. I don't say anything.

This is my life.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Breastfeeding "Open Air"

To all of you who get offended when you see a mom breastfeeding in public without a cover, I have a question:

Why is it my responsibility to manage YOUR feelings?  If you see my breast while I'm feeding my child and get uncomfortable why is that my fault? I am doing something that is intended for a breast to do, and if you feel sexual about it that is YOUR feeling and Your responsibility.  


If I were strangling puppies, punching cats, having sex in public, peeing/defecating on the street, or masturbating in public then I would expect outrage because all are illegal, some are terrible and cruel, and three can spread diseases like E. coli, and STDs like HIV.

Breastfeeding is not illegal. 
It is not cruel and terrible. 
It is not sexual. 
It does not spread an STD or any other disease. 

I am not spraying it on anything. I am not pouring it out down an alley. I am not killing anything. I am not having sex with my child, masturbating with my child, or urinating or defecating with my child.

I am doing the opposite. I am nourishing, bonding, and loving my child. I am giving my child his food.

Whether a mom chooses to cover or not, bottle feed or not, is none of your concern. If you don't want your children seeing me, and if your partner/husband/wife lacks enough self control that seeing breasts turns them into a rape machine - then I suggest you NOT point me out to your delicate children and philandering partner because - and hear me on this one - 

I am not responsible for yours, your partners, or your children's actions or feelings.

So I will continue to breastfeed, whenever, however, and wherever I'm legally allowed to be.

And to all you formula moms, covering moms, & pump n feed moms - you kick ass too! Don't let anyone make you feel bad for doing what you feel is best for your family.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

DIY No Sew Baby Wrap/Wrap Skirt for $5.75

If you're a baby wearer then you know the exorbitant cost of a wrap or carrier.  And if you're like me, you just can't bring yourself to spend that kind of money on a piece of cloth - especially if you're like me and sew.

I've seen Facebook pictures, google images, and emails of friends and acquaintances smiling proudly with their little ones all trussed up in some yardage of cloth. Cute prints, cute babies, cute mommies, ugly price.
I think I can fix that last part. It depends, however, if you are a label person. I personally am not and will never be. Most definitely I will not spend huge sums of money on a piece of cloth I can only use for a couple of years.  If you are a label person, no judgement, there's nothing wrong with buying what you like if you can afford it. I can't.  If this cloth was going to go with my kid to graduation, I'd spend a couple hundred. However I don't plan on child wearing for 18 years so.....

On to the "fix".  This is the most budget friendly option I could find.  I modeled it after the African back carry in a kanga.  The cloth I had is not traditional kanga and is just a couple yards of cotton. I bought it on sale at Walmart for $5.75.  Not the prettiest, but it functions for what I needed it for. I had the scarf on hand.

If you can get to any fabric store, you're likely to see some items on sale in prints you like.  I would advise you to use cotton or hemp, thin and breathable. If you've ever used a Moby wrap, you know how warm the synthetics can be.

Follow the video instructions below if you want my version of the back carry.

There was no need, none at all, for me to go out and pay the kind of money I see these items sold for.  I could have picked a better print, for sure, but I just needed something on the fly and that cost was too good to pass up.

I would suggest, if you've never back carried before, to do some practice runs with someone around.  Use a chair if you have to or start out on your knees.  I strongly suggest using a friend, partner, etc.

There is a different way to carry a baby that needs head support, an older baby, and a toddler.  This demonstration was for a toddler, however you can make your own baby wraps/slings for next to nothing and with no sewing.

If you want a finished edge, rather than the raw one I have and you don't sew - get some binding tape from Joanns, Walmart, or any sewing notion store. You can get about 3 yards for under $3.  If you get six yards, plus fabric for under $6, you'll have your own carrier for $12.  Even if you spend more on fabric (remember to get light-weight fabric) it will still pale in cost-comparison from buying an actual baby wrap.

If you wish to buy an ACTUAL Kanga, visit They list themselves as, "Kanga USA is a project of Expanding Opportunities, a 501c3 organization and a registered NGO in Kenya. / Copyright © 2012 KangaUSA All Rights Reserved"

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dollars to Kopi Luwak. A DIY Mom's way to save money and have cool stuff.

I've tried to sit down and write this post nearly 20 times, but each time I get distracted by, um, super important stuff. 

Attempt number 21 commencing in 3....



tappity tap tap....

Lately I've noticed a trend of baby wraps, baby carriers, clothing, handbags - etc. It feels like if you are a woman and/or a mother, you must buy these things in order to be viewed as a good mother. Part of the popular crowd.  As if in some way, our insecure selves as new parents need yet another reason to feel insecure about our parenting choices - now there are even more labels, and even MORE pressure to buy or get the newest best thing for our kids. I've been suckered more than once.  Over the years though, I've grown more practical.  When I did cave and get or ask for some cool item that wasn't exactly necessary but really fun to have, I didn't feel bad about it.

It used to be (and yes, I remember these days as I was a mother figure back then too) some 10-15 years ago, that a baby carrier was used to carry a baby.  Now it's used to show status with some soft carriers running as high as $329 on Amazon such as the Vaude Koala Pack all the way down to the Cosmo Cow baby bag sling for $0.01 (plus $30 in shipping).

Absolutely my family looks like this.
Wraps are no better, and the same goes for strollers, diaper bags, and if you're female and reading this I don't need to tell you about shoes, handbags, and clothes.  I'm sure there are many of those out there who can afford a pram for $3,999, however I am not one of them.  

While I don't like "cheap" I do like practical and inexpensive.  A name tag means nothing to me.  If what I have can do the job I don't care if it has a pedigree or not.  The only time I stray from this is when the brand gives back, like Toms Shoes and Alex & Ani's Charity by Design.  

For those of us who don't want to mortgage our house or get run over by crazed soccer moms for some "preppy styled clothes" or contemplate selling a kidney to get a decent baby carrier/wrap that works for more than one thing - going forward every Friday I will post a way to get the SAME EXACT THING as some "high-falutin" overly expensive item.  Some videos and photos may accompany my post.  Actually video and photo will always accompany my post. Any item I do you are free to use my pattern.

The trick is you have to do the work.  If it's just covenience you want, and not cost savings, then go buy the item you want and keep it moving. No one will judge you.  But if you want to save money, then follow along and take whatever money you've saved and go put it in the bank or take your family to get ice cream.  Or buy Kopi Luwak. Whatever floats your boat and puts you in your happy place Mom or Dad.

Please feel free to message me if you have something you want to recreate, to work around, or to get but don't want to spend the money for. I'll try and figure out a way to get it, make it, or trade it for next to nothing.  

This week?  Baby carrier/wrap, skirt, and some super comfy wrap pants - all from one single piece of cloth.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Label of "Parent"

The purpose of my blog originally was to write about my journey as a SAHM, or a stay at home mom.  I do that sometimes but I think lately I've been getting away from that and trying to stay "current".   I'm not awesome at that.

I've been reading other bloggers lately and trying to find my groove. I'm not a shock-blogger, I don't have a lot to say that's edgy.  A few things, but not enough to base a whole blog on. I'm not into any industry that is marketable really - unless you count parenting. I do know one or maybe three things about parenting my children.

Something invaluable that my parents taught me was that just because a thing is out there and costs money, has a label, and says it will sing your little one to sleep while making dinner, walking the dog, and giving you a foot rub - doesn't mean that is in any way true.  The only thing that can do that is yourself or your partner.  Unless you are a celebrity, then I suppose you could have a team of assistants. But for those of us less celebrity-fortunate, it's down to us.

New parents. Be easy on yourself.  Trust yourself to do the right thing for your babies but know that

once in a while you will fail. Because you are human and are not perfect. If you try to live up on a pedestal with very little sleep juggling first a baby, then add house work, a job possibly, a to do list, going to the doctor (yours and the pediatrician), diaper rash, colic, groceries, dinner, the dog walks, play dates, mom's birthday - guess what? You are going to drop something or you're going to fall off the pedestal and land down here with the rest of us mere mortals.  We will gladly offer a hand and pick up your spilled groceries and re bag them, offer to walk them into your counter, help you find an app to schedule your mom's birthday reminder, advise some diaper rash cream, get you a cup of tea and take your dog for a walk.  Because we've been there. You are not alone.  Every child is different, yes, but every child is still a child. And you are still a person who needs attention and a village.

Co-Parents of a more than one kid - please take time to yourself. Remember that you aren't being selfish by doing something for yourself, but you are being healthy. Your relationship MUST have time for you and your partner if you are going to survive the tiny terrors that are threatening your very existence yet affirming it at the same time. Such a constant battle - being so proud and so in love with your little ones yet - so desperately needing to get away. Don't forget the one you chose. Remember how you thought they'd be a good parent? Don't get mad when they don't live up to your expectations.  They're juggling too. Talk to them and then LISTEN too.  Don't think that just because you know what's going on that they'll know why you're mad.  Your children will grow up and move on - you have to work harder to keep your partner.  Do the work.  Reap the rewards.  Love them but more important, love yourself too.  This is hard.

Single parents - you have one of the hardest jobs in the world.  Being your kids' everything at some point. Having no one to really share the burden with. Feeling all of the responsibility and man that's a heavy load.  Your children WILL remember how hard you worked for them. They will grow up and if they have kids of their own become awed by how much you did and marvel at how you did it all on no sleep, $7 in the checking account, and worry always nipping at your heels.  Think back to when they were tiny and you had no sleep? You've got this. You can do it.  Find people around you who can be your support, your rock, your friends and family. Other moms, dads, or grandparents. We are out here, and can lend a hand.

And all of us, if we practice patience, kindness and make a commitment to ourselves and our kids, it will be ok. They will grow up and think of us one more time as super heroes.

Because we are.