Friday, October 31, 2014

It's a 7 Quick Takes Kind of Friday!

1) It's been a month, so it must be about the right time for Quick Takes, eh? I have a few minutes while I'm waiting for my afternoon snack, so I will write a blog post. (I'm roasting mushrooms and zucchini; I'm really looking forward to it, and excited about it, but it also smells like crescent rolls. You know, the kind in a can? The kind that's all kinds of not Whole30 approved? Yeah, I don't know why that's what it smells like, but it does, and now I want some.)

2) Speaking of the Whole30, it's going fairly well. (I admit to some cheating; I'm not eating foods that are off the plan, but I am eating some of them prepared in ways that are not approved.) I'm getting plenty of fats and proteins, and I have to say, I am really enjoying the food that I'm eating. It's kind of similar to how I was trying to eat anyway, but I just don't have the leeway for those fun treats, and there is no "I'm too tired" or "I don't feel like planning a meal/getting groceries/chopping food/cooking food". You have to do it, so you do. Let's clarify. It's not that I have this wonderful amazing willpower, because I don't. But I can breathe and the foods that I am eating are not making my mouth itch. Therefore, I'm very motivated.

3) Obviously, if you take on anything this drastic, there are a lot of people who think you are all kinds of crazy. One of my friends was very definite in her statement that "no diet can completely take care of allergies".  True. I don't expect a miracle cure, but I am very excited to have a little better management and control of them. What to know what else? She had some different allergy problems, so she went to the dr. and got several different medications. Her symptoms are improving but not gone, and the last time I saw her, she felt drugged and gross. My symptoms are improving but not gone, and I feel awesome!

Seriously, though, the diet changes are very drastic, and I can see why a lot of people don't want to mess with it. I do have plenty of side effects to deal with... Like all the time lost to chopping vegetables! It's not for everyone, but I prefer to deal with the inconvenience rather than feel like crap. I also feel like I am working on healing some underlying problems that I have, rather than just fighting these current symptoms.

4) I'm not being terribly scientific this week, but I have also been trying some essential oils. I have been using some that are for seasonal allergies and some that are for breathing. Because I started them around the same time as the eating, it's a little hard to tell whether it's the seasonal allergy one helping, or the diet. The breathing one is awesome. I only use it when I feel that slight tightness with breathing, and it works well and it works fast. I haven't tried it in place of my inhaler, but I love it for when my symptoms are there but not bad enough to make me want the inhaler.

5) Finally, I made a discovery this week. This has been coming on for a while. In noticing how people move and what some of our restrictions with movement are, I've been thinking about how bad chairs are for us in a lot of ways. Anyway, I haven't done a ton about it in my own life, but I read an article this weekend that fanned the flames, and now I've been finding myself sitting on the floor a lot. I have a cushion (I have hardwood floors; it's the only way!) and it's interesting. I can only do it for so long right now. There has to be good posture or it's going to cause more harm than good, and after a period of time, I can't use good posture, so I'll get up and move around, or sit in a regular chair.  I am SO much more aware of how bad my posture is in the chair, though!  I have been feeling like my low back muscles have been doing their job a lot better, and I even tested a movement pattern that I have a hard time with due to poor back stability, and it is better.  Also, I got a massage today and the massage therapist even noticed less tightness in my back.

I know! I'm crazy restrictive about my diet, I'm using essential oils, and now I'm eschewing chairs! What's next?!!*

6) Enough of my newfound insanity. (Though feel free to remind me of any of your own "craziness" so I don't have to feel alone here!) I wanted to remind you to sign up for the calendar giveaway here if you're going to. I'm going to end it Monday and pick the winner. Also, I don't know if I'll get to posting much of a Europe trip recap here. I have it in another place for those of you that are interested in photos of Europe, just email me for the link (it's got my name attached for my family and stuff, so I won't just post it here).

7) I have very few photos from the last month or so, but here's one at least.

Have a wonderful weekend and head over to Jen's for more (sane) Quick Takes!

*Actually, probably some sort of vinegar cleaning solution to replace my Cl.orox wipes. I know, they're bad and I shouldn't have waited this long, but DANG, they're convenient!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dragged onto the Bandwagon

The Whole30 bandwagon, that is. If you're not aware of the Whole30 thing, congrats! Enjoy the awesome shelter of that rock you're under. If you are sick to death of the Whole30 thing, good news! By the time some fad has made it around to me, it's on it's way out. In my case, I've been seeing bits and pieces of this phenomenon around, and what I saw seemed like a pretty good idea. Eating fresh vegetables, good meat, some fruit and nuts, etc. Basically only really nutrient dense real food and nothing else. I didn't personally feel a great need to try it, because that's already sort of how I eat and my weight is not an issue for me right now, so I was happy to simply cheer others on.

Now here I am, on something like Day 4, and yesterday I was yelling at vegetables. So, yeah. I think it's going well.

(Seriously! What is with vegetables?! Whatever, they're good for you, blah, blah, blah, but they are a LOT of work to prepare, they're work to eat and they take up a LOT of space in your stomach and barely give you any calories for all that work! Y'all, I am hungry, and I don't have time to fool around with all of this nonsense, especially when I'm trying to take in enough calories to maintain my weight.* PLUS, there is the bloating associated with that much vegetable consumption. Worse yet, they kept landing on the floor as I was trying to dice- hence, the yelling. Grr!)

Ahem. Anyway, how did I get here to this place of craziness? That's a very good question, and I don't really remember exactly where I was on this a week or two ago. I only know what's happened in the last week to push me off the fence and into the middle of this with minimal preparation. I don't know if I'm really doing the Whole30, we might have to call it the Whole30ish. Lemme 'splain (for those of you that are still reading; if you're bored already, feel free to click away!)

Okay, I was thinking about it anyway. I have been noticing that my sugar and grain intake has been higher than what I like for it to be and than what is optimal for me with the inflammation and stuff. When I saw a friend mention on fb how much better she felt after doing the Whole30 (a friend who eats better than I do!), I thought that maybe I should give it a try. I decided to go ahead and buy the book, and then try to get in 30 days before Thanksgiving, but I was going to read, then buy groceries, then start.

Instead, I went for a hike and something in the air set off my allergies, and I fought asthma all weekend. (My biggest allergy symptom is that my asthma gets worse.) And all day Monday. Any little thing kept setting it off. This perfume or cologne, that 10 minute walk, ONE measly serving of Greek yogurt. My workouts were crap. By Tuesday, my immune system was in fits and suddenly ALL foods were making my mouth itch. No. Freaking. Way. I have to eat, and food is a big staple in my diet! I can deal with my asthma/allergy twins most of the time, but they can't just keep changing the rules on me and getting more sensitive to absolutely everything!

Enter the Whole30 (and some essential oils, and staying inside, and making an appointment with an acupuncturist). Now, I am definitely doing Whole30ish, because there are a couple of things that are different for me right now. One of the things that the founders are big on is don't step on the scale. They want you to be more aware of how you feel when eating better (even though for the first few days, that means feeling like crap). Weighing yourself makes it about the numbers. I still weigh myself consistently. I actually lost a little weight this week (actually a lot; 4# in 4 days; this is not a good thing, not when it's because you can't eat/aren't sure what to eat), and I really want to maintain where I was. I think it's good to have a little reserve, and knowing what my body composition is, I don't really want to lose weight. Anyway, my point is that as I figure out how to get enough fats, etc., I want to know my weight so that I can maintain it. I would also like to make sure that I don't go the other way and gain weight. So, yes, I will be weighing myself.

One of the other things is that I have made myself smoothies and will continue to do that as needed. I always have them with other food, because I don't want that sugar** hit all by itself, but the argument against them is that drinking your calories means that you are going to get more calories than your brain is aware of. To which I say, "Good! I have 4 pounds to gain."*(Again.) Other than that, I am trying to follow it pretty closely. Definitely don't want to be eating anything off the list.

I had a really low energy day Friday and then off and on Saturday. Also, some of the crabbiness and crampiness yesterday. It's frustrating to still feel hungry while your stomach feels too full of vegetables to eat. However, I did a little workout at the gym today and I felt awesome, no inhaler needed. I could smell several different perfumes and colognes today and none of them triggered the asthma. Whether that's the food or the essential oil, or what I don't know. What I do know is that I am loving all this oxygen! Also, since I'm already used to eating fairly healthy, I am LOVING some of the foods that I'm eating. They may be a pain in the butt to prepare, but they sure taste amazing.

Okay, I've gone on about all of this long enough. Anyone else either tried this or do you want to try it? What are your thoughts? I can tell you that it's enough work and the first few days are uncomfortable enough that if I wasn't so partial to breathing and eating, I may not have made it this far.

*Yes, I know I just made you hate me. I'm sorry, but that just happens to be where I am and what I need right now.
**Only the natural sugar from the fruit, of course.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hey! How About We Do a Calendar Giveaway?

Okay, I am working on a calendar for 2015. I actually a little early this year, crazy!  I have a lot to do today, so that's why I'm doing this now. I am fan-stinking-tastic at the procrastination game. Anyway, I do like to give away one calendar each year, and I'm really excited because I get to order from the place I really like this year, because last year's calendars were a bit of a disappointment to me.

I'm still making a few adjustments, but I have to warn you that if you've had a calendar from me before, there may be a repeat photo or two. I really have too many photos to do that, but I have a couple of favorites and I wanted to include them in this year's calendar because I am giving it to a few people that haven't gotten a calendar from me before. Also, I usually like to use pictures that I have taken in each of the months (so a July shot taken the previous July), but I have several European pictures in there, despite the fact that they should only be in September if I was going to be true to my normal self-imposed rules.

I feel that a small sampling is in order (but things are subject to change!)


Let's keep it simple. If you want a calendar, leave a comment. There are no rules really, except the rule that I can arbitrarily change the rules if a situation demands it. You will have at least a week to enter, but after that, whenever I get around to it, I will pick a random number or draw a name out of a hat or whatever. If you win and I don't have a way to get in touch with you, I'll move on to the next person. You can email me at catholic mutt(at)gmail(dot)com if you don't want to leave that info in the comment or if your email isn't linked to your profile.

Monday, October 6, 2014


It was a beautiful Sunday in October, NOT in May. I didn't know I had any cause for concern. So I go to Mass and what do I find? The diocese is celebrating a year on marriage and the family, and you may have heard that the bishops have a synod going on. A whole Mass about marriage and the family, and my tamer thoughts included, "Oh, hell."

Sad, isn't it? And this is coming from me feeling in general like I'm in a good place in life! I think maybe I'll move out of the diocese for a year. And find a particular church where they don't really think about or mention current events like synods on families. Too much, you think? If you have any other- less drastic- ideas about how to avoid having almost as much fun as Mother's Day on multiple occasions throughout the year, to be staged without warning, please let me know!

Don't get me wrong, marriage and family is of the utmost importance. I'm all for anything that we can do to uplift and strengthen that. But. It sucks to go to church and have it highlighted and magnified that you are alone in that pew, and that you are forgotten. If not forgotten, no one knows quite what to do with you. There is no meaningful place for talking about singleness, but if you're really, really lucky, someone will remember to tack on something about "singles" or "other callings/situations" at the very end. Not enough to actually be included in the real conversation, but I guess better than being forgotten completely. I think we got left out completely at this Mass, but I'm not really sure. I was kind of a mess by somewhere in the middle of the homily. Good times and great sneak attacks.

However, while I needed a moment to vent, I'm not writing this post to get stuck in the "woe is me" place. I still go there sometimes, but I try not to spend very long there anymore. While I was there, I got to thinking. There are SO many people that are going to feel left out and isolated in their pain when the subject of marriage and family is brought up. We all have an idea of what family is and should mean, but most of us have some sort of wounds or pain surrounding what actually is in our lives. Parents that never loved the way a parent should, children who have turned away from their parents, marriages that are not perfect, losses of parents/children, struggles with infertility and subfertility, having many children and finding yourself feeling alone and overwhelmed, divorces, struggles with homosexuality, children born out of wedlock, histories in so many ways do not match up to ideals, such as past partners, history of abortion, and so forth, feeling alone in the midst of a crowd of family, trying to do everything right only to still not have all of it work out the way that it should. What else, guys? What are some of the other things that belong on this list, that are leaving people in the pews feeling left out of the conversation because they don't fit the perfect mold? There are so many wounds surrounding the family, and if we don't make it less invisible, we can't start to address it.

In my opinion, as great as it is to have discussions and synods and focus on catechesis, it gets us nowhere if we don't figure out how to BE family to each other. As long as someone is sitting in the pew feeling invisible and isolated in the midst of their struggle, we aren't going to get anywhere. We all long for family in our lives. For that support, for knowing that we are not alone, and for knowing that we matter in someone's lives. We can't make every family an ideal situation. We can't make a support group for each individual category of suffering. But we can offer support to each individual in our life that is suffering. It really doesn't have to be much; having someone say, "I see you. You matter. I care" is often worth so much more than anyone could imagine.