Monday, April 30, 2012

raw radiant health

Everyone is curious how the raw food challenge went. I would like to document it.

According to the specific challenge I was doing (radiancecentral.com), I was about to not only abstain from cooked food, but also dairy, coffee, alcohol, and all sugar save for sugars found in fruit.  This was to be a raw vegan food cleanse, in other words.

DAY 1:

Breakfast: I had muesli (raw oat, date, nut, and raisin cereal) with raspberries, a banana and green tea.  This would be my breakfast for all days of the challenge.  So far, so good.

Lunch: giant green (meaning it had spinach and veggies and stuff as well as fruit) smoothie and an obscene amount of baby carrots.  I literally ate during my entire lunch break and was then a couple minutes late back to work simply because I was eating the whole time.  Raw foods are either too little chewing (smoothies, soups, etc) or too much (carrots and greens, etc).

I don't remember dinner, but I felt pretty good the first day.  I felt energetic and alive and I probably ate 15 bananas throughout the day.  However, that evening I was very bloated and felt rather uncomfortable.

DAY 2:

I started to feel the mental slowness that they say is associated with detoxing, but I think it's just 'cause I wasn't eating any fat and the myelin sheaths coating my synapses felt raw because they needed that cushiony fat.  I was still feeling positive about the diet, but my brain was not at full power and I felt very low energy.  I usually take Luna for a walk every day, but I did not do so day 1 or 2.  Time felt like it was extremely slow.

DAY 3:

I wrote a blog that day, but this is where the days start to really melt together.  I "cheated" several times.  I ate bread (super healthy Ezekiel bread, but bread nonetheless) a few times, yogurt (super healthy 4 ingredient no-hormone Greek yogurt, but yogurt nonetheless), roasted nuts, and popcorn (homemade with whole butter with sea salt and cinnamon, but popcorn nonetheless).  This was Wednesday of last week, the day of my cleaning job and I was in slow motion.  I felt exhausted, and only got about 80% of the work I would usually get done in 5 hours at the house I clean.

DAY 4:

Every morning I would eat my breakfast while watching a video meant for that day of the challenge sent by the host of the Raw Food Challenge, Natasha St. Michael.  I have been following her video podcasts for a couple of years now and she is this person that normally entrances me with her happy radiance and health tips, but by this point I was disillusioned with her and hated her for making me so hungry.  I was enjoying figuring out how to use a blender and prepare my own smoothies and salads, but at this point I knew I wasn't going to make it 7 days.  The diet had surpassed its usefulness and a few people from the support group forum on the site had started mysteriously disappearing.  I knew we were dropping like flies and I was sticking to the diet just to avoid my husband's high-pitched ranting that he does, because also at this point I felt raw.  The whole world was bright and loud and I felt sensitive to every stimuli kind of like you do when you're sleep-deprived....or, perhaps, FREAKING hungry?

DAY 5: This day I walked for the first time all week, to and from work.  On the way home from work I still hadn't had lunch and was very hungry and my legs burned like fire the whole walk home.  I was DONE.  I ravenously ate TWO WHOLE PIECES of Ezekiel bread with coconut butter on them and it tasted like heaven.  If you've ever had Ezekiel bread, it tastes vaguely like rocks, so this is a big deal.  I needed something more than fruits and veggies.  You see, when all you eat are fruits, veggies, greens and limited nuts (we were only supposed to have 2 tablespoons MAX of nuts per day) you have to eat like a Brontosaurus to feel full and this was exhausting.  I spent many a lunch on the porch with a smoothie or salad just eating for an hour straight and still feeling rough around the edges afterwards.  I ate a lot of nuts and they were the only thing that eased the headaches besides chai tea.  Once after eating a handful of nuts I swear I FELT the nut oils coursing through my brain veins.  Sweet relief!  I drank a lot of chai tea as well; I think the warmth and spices distracted me from my starvation.

On the subject of poop (stop reading now if you can't handle it): After the 24 hours of bloating, I dropped a massive load that looked slightly green, like baby poop...smooooth.  From then on, when I had to go, it was NOW and it was quick.  I could have been a dog stopping for 5 seconds to season the grass and then moving on with my life.  So that part was cool...super waste management efficiency.

I weighed myself every day of the challenge and I hovered at 145, like I always do.  I can't decide if my scale is broken, or if I really and truly didn't lose weight after 5 days of eating like a bird.  How frustrating!  All this suffering and not a pound lost?!  Are you serious?!?  Sometimes I would meet this number of 145 with calm acceptance...if I'm not losing weight on a bird diet of nuts and berries, then this MUST be the weight I am supposed to exist within.  And sometimes I kicked the scale.  I would like a second opinion, because my face does look less puffy and I feel lighter...whatever.

Strangely, I didn't have a lot of cravings, it was more like I was suspended in a timeless dream of endless fruits and veggies.  I felt miserable often.  I didn't socialize.  I didn't even want to go out into the world.  I was despondent and no longer felt as if this diet was doing anything good for me.  Friday night Michael came home from work and announced, to my extreme delight, that he was done with the diet.  We rejoiced.  I immediately ate a chunk of cheese.

I learned slightly more than the information that 7 days is too long for me to eat only raw foods.  I also learned to think about meals differently.  A smoothie really CAN be a meal.  I can have a small sandwich with a side of raw veggies and that's enough.  I don't have to have chips or dessert with every meal.  I do think that the first two days reset my habits a bit.  I cut my sugar addiction down severely.  I am liking my new super healthy muesli and fruit breakfast and intend to stick to it.  I now know how to use a blender and cut up fruits and veggies.  I will no longer feel intimidated in the produce aisle.  I now enjoy juicing citrus fruits and even made my own margaritas with all fresh ingredients Saturday night for my brother's birthday party.  I was pleased that I went 5 days without coffee, processed sugar, alcohol, and soda.  After the tornado we sort of fell off the health wagon and began eating anything we could to make our lives simpler and it was definitely time for a cleanse.  We were just too overwhelmed to eat mindfully.  I feel like I am back on track eating healthy and the next time I fall off, I will have this raw food thing in my back pocket to initiate for 24-48 hours (not a whole week!) to reset again.

I would definitely recommend the diet to someone for purposes of cleanse/resetting your body.  But do it for however many days you feel good doing it.  Like they say in yoga class, listen to your body.  This diet will tune you in to your senses and you'll hear every single complaint.  I now know that I honestly work better on grains and dairy.  I'm sure some people feel great on raw foods, but I'm the granddaughter of real Midwest farmers and need my dairy and bread.  These farm-woman arms won't sustain themselves!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day Three: Raw Food Challenge.

3 of 7.

And I'm over it. I think I've gleaned from it what I need to get out of it. I think from now on I will adopt better breakfast habits (maybe have fruit and muesli instead of raisin toast and Cheerios) and I definitely think I will start choosing salad and smaller portions/healthier options for lunch every day. I also think that this experience has taught me to think differently about snacking. Despite my overall hunger while doing this diet/cleanse, I've realized that a banana and/or a handful of nuts and raisins is plenty for a snack. I think I will start taking a tiny Tupperware of nuts with me in my purse wherever I go, because most of the time, that's enough if I'm feeling peckish.

So, although I am still on the diet, I feel like I've proven to myself that I can do it and gotten what I needed from it healthwise.

I have been cheating a little. The nuts I eat are roasted, not raw, but we have a TON of nuts in the house and I refuse to spend 40$ on raw nuts when they taste like crap and I have a more than adequate supply of tasty nuts in my cabinets already. I also had a piece of Ezekiel bread today and a greek yogurt. But, I don't consider these falling-off-the-wagon offenses. I'm not really a purist at heart, so it's not a point of my pride to see if I can be 100% raw foodist for 7 days. I know I CAN, but I would also like the path of least resistance in life. I am doing this to integrate the benefits of this diet into my everyday life, and as I have already thought about how I will do this, I feel I have accomplished this goal.

So why am I sticking with it, then? Two reasons: one, Michael is very invested in this, so I am sticking it out with him, and two, Vanity: I am hoping to lose weight. A diet that consists of fruits, veggies, nuts, and greens should afford at least a 5-pound loss, right? I hope so, though I'm still 145 (as always) at present.

For nothing else, this is a great way to flush the crap out of my system. I will hold to higher regard the achievement of abstaining from alcohol, coffee, sweets, and soda for 7 days than subsisting on fruits and veggies alone.

Also, the light at the end of the tunnel is Indian food on Sunday!!! I just need a picture of Navratan Korma in my pocket at all times to remind myself that I will survive!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Fear Itself

Episode 60.
airdate: 26 Oct 1999.

Halloween episode! Buffy is still moping..."post-Parker depression". Giles looks cute in a poncho and sombrero.

Professor Walsh looks like the female version of Riley. Riley is actually pretty sweet. OMG, am I going to like him this time around? It takes a long time to get used to the corn-fed Iowa boys, but he has his endearing charms...slightly. I still wouldn't date him.

Buffy is red riding hood with weapons in the basket. Xander is James Bond. Willow is Joan of Arc. Oz is God, portrayed by a nametag that says "Hello, my name is God". Anya is a bunny.

There's a frat party that's all scary Halloweeny, and of course it ends up REAL scary Halloweeny 'cause the boys drew demonic symbols on the floor and accidentally got blood on it (Oz cut his hand on a speaker wire). Anya is late to the party and there's no door to the house so she can't get in. The windows close up in front of her eyes. Xander becomes invisible. Anya goes to get Giles. "Summoning spell, temporal flux." Oz starts turning into a werewolf. Willow does a spell that goes awry. Buffy is ineffectual as a savior and abandoned. It's everyone's worst fears realized.

Their fears are manifesting the demon; feeding it to fruition. When the fear demon manifests, it is only a few inches tall. Cute, right? Your fears are smaller than you realize.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Harsh Light of Day.

Episode 59.
airdate: 19 Oct 1999.


Opening scene at the Bronze with "Dingos..." playing. Buffy has been spending time with Parker, cute dark-eyebrow guy. Enter Harmony. She's a vampire now.

Parker is so charming. I would have fallen for him too...if he was my type. Anya barges into Giles' apartment. Her hair is so dark and pretty. She confesses to Xander that she can't stop thinking about him and asks where their relationship is going, etc. Spike! is Harmony's boyfriend. She calls him Blondie Bear. Harmony is so pretty.

Anya shows up at Xander's and takes her clothes off, thinking that if they do it she'll be able to stop thinking about him. Buffy keeps having to hide stuff from Parker 'cause of Spike and Harmony and stuff. 1999 was a great time for music and clothing. Buffy is wearing this cute top that has all these ties in the back. I'd love to feel confident in a shirt like that. Perhaps after my 7 days of raw food, I will.

Parker and Buffy totally do it...and so do Anya and Xander. They both have their second times on the same night. Buffy thinks it's the start of a relationship and it isn't, whilst Anya says she's over Xander, but it's actually the beginning of a relationship that lasts the rest of the series.

Spike has spent the episode looking for the Gem of Imara, which is a vampire myth holy-grail-thing that's supposed to make vampires invincible and impervious to sunlight, and they found it 33 minutes in.

Parker blows Buffy off, then Spike shows up in the sunlight and he and Buffy have a knock-down drag-out on campus with people everywhere.

Conclusion: Spike is a dweeb and Parker is a "poophead". Ah, I get it. The harsh light of day is dealing with the mistakes you made the night before AND vampires walking in the light.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Living Conditions.

Episode 58.
airdate:12 Oct 1999

This is the one with the psycho-weird roommate.

It's particularly spooky to me because I hate it when people are up in my space, like this roomy is to Buffy. Enter Parker. Xander is at school which is cute. "Don't non-college guys usually populate the non-campus?" It would have been interesting if Joss had let this one simply be roommates annoying each other instead of demon stuff. She is an only child and needs to adjust to living with others.

Everyone's hair looks beautiful in this episode. Giles, Willow, Buffy, Oz.

Buffy's roommate is a demon, of course. A demon that listens to Celine Dion and Cher. It should be noted that this whole episode while Buffy is continually bitching about Kathy, Willow is dealing with an all-the-time loud partyer as her roommate.

Finally, Willow moves in with Buffy as it should have been this entire time.

Monday, April 16, 2012

the pro/con list for Spotify and MOG.


I've subscribed to both and have been very indecisive about which to make my primary music subscription service.

///Spotify

PROS:
*has 320kbps options
*has scrobbling (to scrobble means to upload your music-listening stats to last.fm. It's super-awesome...sign up...I have no friends on there!) support for last.fm
*has cool music-discovery apps that I use such as pitchfork.com and last.fm
*cool genre-based radio
*can see what your facebook friends are listening to and listen to their playlists which would be AWESOME if any of my friends listened ever...or made mixes...ever.

CONS:
*320 has been speculated to not translate to all songs or not be converted properly and doesn't sound as crisp as MOG's 320.
*has a very flawed "play queue" feature...so flawed that I created a playlist called queue so I don't even mess with it at all.
*interface is pretty but can be a little overcrowded.

///MOG

PROS:
*very good 320kbps sound quality
*simple interface
*cool artist-only continuum radio
*high quality artwork
*has a specified iPad app
*has better app interface for iPhone too

CONS:
*does NOT scrobble to last.fm. It says it does, but it does not. This is a big deal for me.
*doesn't have good enough music discovery features.

I would choose MOG in a heartbeat if it scrobbled properly because then the ONLY downside would be that I would have to go to last.fm and pitchfork.com separately to find new music to listen to if I don't know beforehand. This has plagued my day...I love MOG so much but I can't find any hacks to get it to scrobble. I gotta have my music stats, man.

On a happier note, I have previously lamented that Pandora listening won't scrobble, but today while I was painstakingly searching for a way to get MOG to scrobble, I found a cool Chrome extension that will do it for Pandora, so now that I have reluctantly given up on MOG as my primary subscription service, pretty much everything I listen to (from Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes) will be scrobbled from now on.

If you want to stalk me on last.fm and see all my dirty listening secrets, go to www.last.fm/user/mixtressrae. From here you can see what a profile looks like and what it does so you'll be enticed to start an account and then tell me about it so I can music-stalk you!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Freshman.


Episode 57 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
airdate: 5 Oct 1999.

Time for season 4!

Buffy hasn't picked her college courses...big surprise. She's not totally in it. She was never an academic girl, but she's schooled in the ways of slayin'. Ok, so I haven't done one of these in awhile. I'm rusty. Bear with me. I'm always jealous when I see kids going off to college in pop culture. The whole idea of leaving home and living in a different place and meeting new friends you'll have for life. My experience at college didn't happen until I was in my mid-twenties and I was already all growed-up. I only made a couple of friends in college and I don't hang out with them much anyway.

Willow's hair looks awesome. She's officially not a nerd-girl anymore and visually transitioning to lesbian. Oh, god, Riley already? Buffy looks so cute in her flowery dress. She looks grown up. Ack, roommate with the Celine Dion poster! I bet it's so weird living with a stranger...but if you bond, I bet you're friends for life...see? Jealous again. If I had it to do over, I would absolutely apply to multiple colleges and go to school at 18. It seems so cool to JUST have to go to school and not work right away after high school.

Buffy feels alienated. I don't remember her being so insecure at the beginning of the series when she started Sunnydale High. Totally cute blonde vampire chick kills the first other freshman Buffy bonds with. Buffy goes to see Giles and finds he is listening to David Bowie and is with a beautiful woman visiting from England. Giles is so sexy.

Buffy asks Giles for help and Giles tells her she can handle the situation herself. She feels rejected. Tons of going-to-college-not-really-metaphor. "Are we going to fight or is there going to be a monster sarcasm rally?" The cute blonde vampire is named Sunday. That's so cool. Buffy doesn't do well in the fight and has to run off. She goes to see her mom and her room is all taken over by art gallery stuff. She is getting no comfort anywhere. When she gets back to the dorm, the vampires have stolen all her stuff and left a note in her handwriting to make it look as if she'd taken off, which is their M.O. when they kill a freshman. Next, she tries the Bronze for comfort and Xander is there! He's been on the road during the summer having a Kerouac adventure and shit.

He seems a little more confident. He immediately notices Buffy is not adjusting well and councils her. This is one of Xanders first forays into the "heart" of the group. He's really just been a clueless doofus most of the time. They finally figured out his character. The road trip did it...made him all manly and self-assured. He cheers her up and they go investigate. They find their lair. Buffy accidentally drops in on them prematurely (falls in through a skylight) and they're kicking her ass for a bit before Buffy gets her confidence back and Xander steps in with Oz and Willow. Giles shows up after they kill the vampires, so they're all together again at the end of the episode.

And there's a glimpse of dudes in army attire tasering a vampire during the very last scene and credits...

Bootstraps.

I am really only interested in myself, in my journey and the journey of those I love. I'm getting to the point where I am admitting my libertarianism. I want to be free to do what I want all the time. I want my money to be MINE. It's not fair that a family of four with only one member working gets several THOUSANDS of dollars back from taxes, when my husband and I get less than a thousand when we both work and have 5 dependents (two ferrets, two dogs, and a cat). Our dependents don't matter to the government and our lives are worth less of the MONEY WE MADE because we aren't breeders (I mean no offense to those with child...though I won't be propagating, I understand the species needs to continue. I like humanity.). My money should remain mine. However, I believe in funding libraries and parks and roads in a mandatory way, I don't think we should fund other human beings we don't know. It simply isn't fair that I work and make about the same as a person who refuses to work and gets disability.

I'm getting ranty, but really, I don't understand why more people don't admit that they feel the same. Why would I care about some random homeless person? I don't know this person's situation...perhaps if I did, my feelings would change and if I bonded with said person, I might CHOOSE to help them if it was within my power to do so and if I felt that helping them HELPED them to help themselves. It's not my problem if someone I don't know has no job and no home. Who has the energy to care about every starving stranger on the planet? Really?

I believe in freedom. I believe in taking responsibility for your own life. And if you choose your destiny, you should get to use the fruits of that self-made destiny for whatever you want. If a native from another country, for some weird reason, wants to live in America, let them. If a person wants to live on the streets and drink a lot, let them do it. Perhaps they're not as unhappy as we think they are. And if they are: not my problem.

Consenting adults should get to choose all aspects of their lives. The only people that should be limited are those that take choices away from others. Jail is not for people that imbibe substances or enable others to do so. Consenting adults can alter their consciousness if they want. What do you care?

Marry who you want.
Live where you want.
Dress how you want.
Spend your earned money on what you want.

FREEDOM.

There are a lot of ways I don't want to live my life, so I simply don't make the choices that would lead me to an unwanted life. Live and let live, man.

Followers