Sunday, June 30, 2013

Calorie Restriction

I have thoughts about calorie restriction.  I have no scientific basis for this.  I could probably scour the internet and find studies that back up my ideas, of course, but I'm not really interested in that.  I also don't believe this is true for everyone, but I'm certain it's true for me.

I don't think calorie restriction is safe or healthy, for me at the very least.  Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know.  It's mostly an intuitive thing.  I mean, I know I could probably drop some weight by restricting calories again.  I bet it would be really easy to stick to 1300 calories on a low carb diet.  But I fear what that would do to my health.

I'm 28 years old, 5'7, and 185 pounds.  I don't track my calories every day, but once in a while I do, and on those days, they're about 2000 calories.  If I was older, maybe post menopausal, I probably would have to be lower calorie simply because my hormones and metabolism wouldn't be the same as they are now.

I have a long history of malnutrition (eating a high carb, vegetarian diet, and making myself really sick with it).  I know my body is still recovering from that, and I feel like calorie restriction would only hold my body back from healing itself.  A healing body needs more nutrients and calories.  Mine needs more protein.  You wouldn't believe the muscle I've put on without lifting weights.

I'm also trying to conceive a baby right now.  A woman's reproductive system needs to know that her body is well fed, that the baby will be well fed, or it's not going to cooperate. Chad and I have been trying for 13 months, with the only glimmer of hope being a possible early miscarriage (a chemical pregnancy) six months ago.  I don't think we're going to conceive until my body has finished healing itself, and it's not going to get any better if I restrict calories.  I also think Chad's body needs to continue to heal, too.  He was pretty unhealthy before we started, and his body has changed dramatically since going low carb.  He's leaner, more muscular, happier, and more energetic than he used to be, but I'm sure he still has a ways to go.

And besides, what do calories have to do with it?  I think if you have a very deranged metabolism, yes, calories matter.  But I lost weight as soon as I switched from a high-carb, 1600 calorie, vegetarian diet to a low-carb, 2000 calorie, meaty diet.  And so did Chad.

So for now, I'm going to continue eating a lot of calories.  I'm not concerned about losing more weight.  Yes, at 185 pounds, that makes me overweight.  As a matter of fact, my BMI is 29 or so, which makes me almost obese.  But you know what?  I managed to lose 90 pounds (I used to be 275).  I have so much loose skin that I wouldn't be surprised that about 15-20 of those "overweight" pounds are actually extra skin.  Not to mention the fact that I come from a family of big-boned women, with big feet, wide hips, broad shoulders, and large hands.  Of course I'm going to weigh more than someone with naturally petite bones (such as my husband).  And despite the fact I've been gaining lots of muscle (I can actually see the difference), I haven't gained any weight.  So that tells me I'm trading in fat for muscle. 

And I'm healthy, much healthier than I was as a low-calorie, high-carb vegetarian.  Isn't that more important than weight?

Friday, June 28, 2013

My Organic, Low Carb Garden

I have a garden.  A very lovely garden.  It grows all kinds of flowers, and it's lush and beautiful.  Bees love my garden, and I have more dragonflies than a marshy swamp.  I spend many hours in my garden, and it brings me great joy.

I bet you think I have a really awesome English cottage garden, or a well planned Japanese garden.  No, not even close.

I have a vegetable garden.

A tiny little backyard vegetable garden, as a matter of fact.  A raised Square Foot Garden.  But it's my pride and joy, and it brings me more happiness than I can describe.

The cool thing about my garden?  It's low carb, and also organic. 

I went to a little trouble this year to plan a low carb garden.  Last year, I planned and planted my garden before I even knew the science behind low carb, so I was growing potatoes and corn, and probably other starchy vegetables that I can't remember now.

Another cool thing about my garden?  It's tiny by most garden standards, but it's able to produce almost all the vegetables Chad and I need through the summer, not to mention many pounds of fruit.

Here's my garden plan, which I made with my favorite garden planner, Gardeners Kitchen Garden Planner.

My garden isn't exactly the same as this picture; I tend to go with the flow and sometimes I can't be bothered to do it exactly like the chart says.  So there are no Brussels sprouts in the bottom right square garden, there are English peas instead of the second row of beans in the top left square garden, and I planted a dwarf tomato in one of the pepper spots.  But it shows pretty well what I did.  In case you can't tell what I've got in there based on those pictures, here's a list:

Bush beans
Pole beans
English peas
Bush zucchini
Vine zucchini
New Zealand Spinach
Loose leaf lettuce
Romain lettuce
Sugar Snap peas
Daikon radishes

And the only thing I have that I have growing that isn't strictly low carb is two small squares of dry beans, which I grew mostly out of curiosity and that I plan on eating slowly.

Organic vegetables can be pretty expensive, which is why I like growing my own.  Plus, I have such a love for nature, that I feel like it's the only way you should be growing vegetables.  I'm not saying it's always easy, but it does have its advantages.  Like, did you know that using pesticides actually increases your pest problem in the long term?  Plus, you can go out into your garden and eat something right off the vine as long as it looks clean (don't eat something with bird poop on it).

 It's too late this year to plant a garden (unless you live in the southern hemisphere), but it's the perfect time to start thinking about what you're going to do next year.  Go spend an afternoon in your yard and pay attention to how the sun falls across different parts of it.  Vegetables need at least 6 hours of full sunlight a day, and they do much better with even more.  But you also have to make it convenient for you to reach and water it, so don't put it as far away from your house as you can.  

If you have poor soil, think about having a raised garden, like mine.   It's more expensive initially, but you don't need to keep amending it every year the way you do with a traditional garden; just a little compost right before you plant.  Plus, its much easier to care for. 

And you don't have to have a traditional row garden, either.  They're a waste of time and space, in my opinion.  I live on 0.1 acre in town, so I try to cram in as many places to plant as I can.  When I'm done planting my raised gardens, I start looking for ways to add more planting space.  I've filled pieces of concrete molds with soil.

Cut-and-come-again leaf lettuce

I've filled 5 gallon buckets with a hole cut in the bottom.

Daikon radish buckets

I've filled window boxes with soil.  And yes, I've even filled cardboard boxes with soil.

Runner beans and pole beans

Vegetables aren't very demanding.  I mean, they are, of course.  They demand lots of sunshine, lots of water, and good rich soil to live in.  But otherwise?  They're happy to care for themselves.  They don't care if they're directly in the ground or in a container.  Of course, you want to give carrots and other large root vegetables like daikon radishes plenty of vertical  space, but even they're pretty forgiving.  I've seen pictures of carrots that bend at a perfect 90 degree angle because they hit the bottom of their container.

And if you're really trying to save money, consider heirloom seeds.  That's all I grow in my garden, with one or two exceptions.  Why?  Partially because I love the heritage and the stories behind those seeds.  Partially because I don't agree with how modern seeds are bred (using inbreeding, harsh chemicals, and sometimes radiation to create mutations).  But I think the biggest thing I like about heirloom seeds is that they're open-pollinated.  That means that they can breed and make seeds, and that you can then collect those seeds, and when you plant them, you'll get the exact same plant as the parents.  With modern plants, there's a good change you're getting a hybrid.  Hybrids either don't produce seeds, produce only sterile seeds, or if they do produce viable seeds, the plants that grow from them aren't the same thing as the parents and are usually far inferior.  

Plus, you get amazing variety with heirloom seeds.  I'm growing purple pole beans, radishes the size of your arm, tiny one pound watermelons, spinach that grows on a vine, white and green carrots, zucchini that grows up a trellis, tomatoes called "hillbilly", and dry beans that have pink pods.  Last year, I grew blue dwarf corn!

Now enough jabbering.  Here's all the rest of my garden pictures!  It's still early in the season for my area, so only the peas are really big right now.

Dwarf blueberry bush, with cute unripe berries

Peppers, kolhrabi, beets, turnips, garlic, dwarf tomato, vining zucchini

Close up of my Purple Top Milan turnip
Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and onions under a bug-proof net

Sugar snap peas, romaine lettuce, carrots, bush beans, and kale I'm letting go to seed

Close up of my Amish Snap sugar snap peas

Pole beans, English peas, onions, and zucchini under bug nets

Cucumbers, tomatoes, dry beans, and New Zealand spinach
My swing, and one of my raspberry brambles

My strawberry box

Some delicious strawberries

Onion and watermelons

My other raspberry bramble

Today's pea harvest

I hope you enjoyed my garden.  Now go out there and start thinking about how to start your own, or if you already have one, go take some pictures of it!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Garden Fresh

There's nothing like garden fresh produce.  I live in an area where the gardening season doesn't start until pretty late into the year, so I don't have a lot right now.  Strawberries, a few sugar snap peas, and mountains and mountains of fresh, loose leaf lettuce.

It's much different from store-bought lettuce.  It's thinner, softer, doesn't really have a crunch to it.  But then, that might also be because I pick it young, and I grow it in the shade to keep it from turning bitter.  Either way, just because it's different doesn't mean it's bad.  It's delicious, and it makes me really proud to be able to feed my family with the plants I've grown. 

I've been making a delicious and simple dressing for it lately, too.  Basically, it's 1 part extra virgin olive oil, 1 part mild olive oil, and one part balsamic vinegar.  Whisk in a bowl until a nice emulsion has formed, salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

When I have more ambition, I plan on making some low carb creamy dressings that don't have any yucky seed oils.  I love ranch dressing, but we stopped buying store-bought condiments a long time ago.  It's impossible to find any dressing or mayo in the store that doesn't have soy or canola oil in it.  Yuck.  I already make my own mayo out of olive oil, and there's a decent looking recipe for ranch dressing in Dana Carpender's 500 low carb recipe book that uses mayo, so I'll give that one a try sometime.

Until then, we're really enjoying our fresh lettuce with balsamic vinaigrette. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cheap, Delicious Meat

As a low carb paleo homemake on a budget, I've come to find the cheapest pieces of meat you can buy in the store.  Things like chicken thighs and hamburger have become staples in our house because they're both cheap and easy.  But sometimes you want a break from those cuts of meat.  So this weekend, I bought another cheap piece of meat I knew was delicious.

I bought....  a really massive pork shoulder.

In case you can't tell, that's not a small crock-pot.  It's a pretty big one, or at least a pretty decent sized one.  And thank goodness it just barely fit in there, because it's been 80+ degrees in our area and I didn't want to have the oven on all day long. 

The pork roast ended up weighing almost 8 pounds, but it only cost me about $10.  At our local Wegmans store, you can buy meat in club packs that have a lower per-pound price, which is almost always how I buy my meat.  Strangely enough, the pork shoulder only comes in club packs, so even if I wanted a smaller shoulder, this is all I'd be able to get.

Not that I'm complaining.  After 6 hours on high, and then an additional three hours on low, the pork was finally done.  And it was beautiful.  Pork shoulder, when properly cooked, is what they make pulled pork out of.  After you cook it, you can do so much with it.  We've had it with low carb bbq sauce, with sauerkraut, in wraps, cold, in soups.  It's delicious.

This is before pulling it.
And the best part is, it freezes really well.  So if you're feeding just one or two people, you can cook it all up at once, and then repackage it into small freezer bags so you can pull out one serving at a time.  A large pork shoulder like this one should give you 5-8 meals for two people.

And it's easy, too!  Just stick the whole roast in a slow cooker, salt and pepper, and add a little (1/2 to 1 cup) broth around the sides.  Depending on the size and the power of your crockpot, it should take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours.  You know it's done when the meat pulls away in delicious strands.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Nature, Friends, and Being Lazy

Chad and I had a lovely weekend.  Usually, I feel like I need to give Chad lots of time to himself so he can read books or play video games, since he's worked so hard throughout the week.  The funny thing is, the weekends where he does spend most of his time playing video games or goofing off on the internet are the weekends where he's the least happy, and the ones I feel most lonely. 

But this weekend, spurred on by the desire to make advantage of every beautiful day we have this summer, I decided we were going out and doing stuff.  So I went over to and downloaded a set of geocaches onto the new handheld gps Chad's dad bought for us.  Then we headed out to Walmart to pick up some bug spray, because the mosquitoes have been terrible this summer.

While at Walmart, we ran into one of Chad's old school friends, who invited us over to his wife's birthday party that evening.  After saying goodbye, we headed to the camping section with high hopes that we could find a deet-free bug spray.  Luckily, I never leave home without first checking the Amazon reviews of a product I'm thinking of buying, so when I saw this on the shelf, I knew we were in luck.

So we grabbed our bug spray and our gps, and headed out to some local trails we hike on all the time.  It was very fun out there.  We'd never gone geocaching before, so it was a learning experience for us.  I'd chosen a Ranger Rick geocaching trail meant for kids so we wouldn't have too hard of a time of it. 

I was pretty glad we'd brought the bug spray with us, because as soon as we got under the trees, there were swarms of bugs after both of us.  But the instant I sprayed the Repel on, they totally left!  This stuff is ridiculously strong smelling, though.  It's 30% lemon eucalyptus oil.  It left a bit of a cooling effect on my skin, which I didn't mind because it was so hot out there.  But don't touch your eyes when you have this stuff on your hands!

We saw lots of wonderful things out there on the trail.  Like a bunny.

A pretty red flower growing in a marshy area.  It looked a lot like a trout lily, only much bigger and also not yellow. 


And some yellow lotuses (not to be confused with water lilies, which have leaves that float on the surface of the water, and are usually the beautiful pointed petaled pink flowers people think are lotuses).

After spending an hour and a half out in the hot forest, we came home and showered, and then headed over to Chad's friend's wife's birthday party.  It was fun.  We only knew a few of the people, but it was laid back and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.  I got to hold onto one of their 7-month old babies.  I took a picture of Chad, too, so he could see how cute he'd be as a dad.

Both baby and Chad are shy, private people.

Then we came home and spent a good long time on our front porch, just relaxing, chatting, eating low carb ice cream, and watching the sunset.  It was a wonderful weekend. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Low Carb Shepherd's Pie

I love shepherd's pie.  Do you?  I ate it a lot when I was younger, but had to stop once I became a vegetarian.  Then when I moved in with Chad and was doing all the cooking, I made vegetarian shepherd's pie a lot.  I used lots of vegetables and a can of cream of mushroom soup for the bottom layer, and lots of creamy mashed potatoes for the top layer.  It was pretty good, at least to my taste buds at the time.

I don't eat potatoes anymore.  And I don't eat canned soup.  But I still love shepherd's pie.  So what's a girl to do?  Why, check Linda's Low Carb, of course!

Linda currently has two recipes for low carb shepherd's pie, but one in particular looked scrumptious to me.  The problem is that I didn't have exactly all the ingredients the recipe called for, but that's ok; I tend to tweak recipes even when I do have all the ingredients.  So here's how I made my shepherd's pie:

1 pound ground beef
1/2 medium onion
1 large carrot, chopped
1/2 cup frozen green beans
1-2 tbsp coconut flour
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoons low carb bbq sauce
1-2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

1/2 large head of cauliflower
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sour cream
sprinkling of garlic powder
lots of salt and pepper
2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

I don't keep xanthan gum on hand, mostly because I haven't done any research on it and I don't feel comfortable using it.  Also because I have no idea how best to use it.  The coconut flour worked quite well, though.  I got that idea from Dr. Davis' Wheat Belly Cookbook, where he uses coconut flour to thicken gravy.... or am I thinking the Cooking with Coconut Flour cookbook?  Hmmm... Anyway, I got the idea from somewhere!  I don't know exactly how much I put in.  I just sprinkled it in until it was thick to my liking.  I also don't know exactly how much Worcestershire sauce I put in, because I just kept adding more (I like it a lot).

Also, I have this problem where I get caught up in the process of shredding cheese, and then suddenly notice that I have cheese mountain.  So there was more cheese than I planned on having, but it turned out pretty well anyway.

You'd think that the coconut flour would be distracting in the gravy; it's a little grainy and of course tastes like coconut.  But actually, it works super well in it.  I'm certainly going to remember that trick the next time I need to thicken something.

Anyway, it was a fun experiment!  And it reminded me of how much I love to cook!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free, Low Carb Granola!

I love granola.  I've always loved granola.  I ate granola bars when hiking, on road trips, when camping, or just as a delicious snack.  I even got into making my own granola bars at one time, which is when I found out how bad granola actually is for you.  It's literally oats and nuts stuck together with a ton of honey or sugar with what I thought at the time was an ungodly amount of butter. 

I miss granola, though.  Even though I no longer eat oats or sugar, I sometimes long for the simple pleasure of eating a sweet and salty crunchy mix.  So I decided I would just jump in and make some granola, low carb style! 

My intention was to make granola bars, but there wasn't enough of a stickiness factor, and so instead it's just loose granola.  I'll try again another day with more xylitol (the sticky part) and see if I can't make bars.

For a first try, though, it came out pretty amazing.  I'll keep working on it.  Until then, here's the recipe!

(P.S. This stuff is addicting!  Make sure to dish yourself out only a little at a time, or you may eat the whole thing!)

Low Carb Peanut Butter Granola

1/2 cup dry roasted almonds
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp xylitol*
1 tbsp vanilla coffee syrup (such as DaVinci)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Add the nuts and coconut to a food processor and pulse several times until no large chunks remain.  Or, if you don't have a food processor like me, hand chop the nuts until they're roughly the size of oats.  I left in some big chunks for variety.  Add raisins and set aside.

Mix xylitol and syrup in a microwave safe cup.  Microwave on high for 15-30 seconds, or until syrup is hot.  Stir mixture until all the xylitol dissolves. 

Add the peanut butter and the syrup mixture to the nuts at the same time, and stir well until all ingredients are incorporated.  Spread granola mixture evenly on the bottom of a greased 8x8 dish.  Cook in oven for 10 minutes; remove and stir mixture.  Return to the oven and continue cooking for another 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to completely cool.  Store in a resealable bag or plastic container.

*Don't try to substitute this with Stevia or Splenda.  The xylitol has similar properties to sugar, and in this recipe, it acts as a sticky binder.  You might be able to use erythritol with no problem, though, or even plain sugar if you don't mind eating a little bit.


Nutrition facts with raisins:

Six Servings:
Calories: 200
Fat: 15g
Protein: 6g
Carbs: 13g
Fiber: 3g
Net Carbs: 10g

Eight Servings:
Calories: 150
Fat: 11g
Protein: 5g
Carbs: 10g
Fiber: 2g
Net Carbs: 8g

Nutrition facts without raisins:

Six Servings:
Calories: 180
Fat: 15g
Protein: 6g
Carbs: 8g
Fiber: 3g
Net Carbs: 5g

Eight Servings:
Calories: 135
Fat: 11g
Protein: 5g
Carbs: 6g
Fiber: 2g
Net Carbs: 4g

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Becoming a meat eating, paleo/primal/low-carb person has really expanded my diet.  Along with the conventional meat that I'm now eating, like beef, chicken, and bacon, I'm also finding myself getting more and more adventurous.  First I tried ground lamb (I won't be trying that again; too gamey), then beef liver.  A couple of weeks ago, I picked up goat meat at the farmer's market! 

And then, last Friday, I saw something I knew I had to try.  Strolling through the farmer's market, in the same stall that had the goat meat (I went back to pick up more!), I saw....  this.

....Duck eggs?  I mean, I know they're birds.  I know other birds lay eggs.  I know theoretically you can even eat those eggs.  But I've never actually seen anything but chicken eggs.  I knew I had to get them.  But first, I had to ask the guy behind the counter what they tasted like.  In the same beat, both the seller and my mom said "they're richer".  Later on, I found out my mom had kept ducks and chickens when she lived in California as a young wife.  Jealous!

For $2 a half dozen, I figured I had nothing to lose.  So I brought them home.  They look similar to chicken eggs, but.... different, too.  The shells are slightly translucent in spots.  And they're a little bigger than the farm eggs we buy (which I think are jumbo sized).

It got really interesting when I cracked them open.  The membranes under the shells are much thicker, so you really have to pull the shell apart to get the egg out.  And then the white was incredibly thick.  Like....  I don't even know how to describe it.  If I tried, I probably could have gotten the egg white to stretch several feet.  The yolks were quite large, and they were very dark. 

Out of curiosity, I cooked two chicken eggs along side two duck eggs.

Chicken eggs on the left, duck eggs on the right.

It surprised me to see that the duck egg whites are much whiter than chicken egg whites.  Once they were fully cooked, the duck eggs where pure white, whereas the chicken eggs were more ivory.

As for taste?  There honestly wasn't that much different.  The duck eggs were a little more sturdy in texture, and the yolks tasted a little yolkier.  Bot otherwise, they were eggs.  And they were delicious.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Good News, Everyone!

My favorite low carb recipe website, Linda's Low Carb, has just started a brand new blog!  I'm very excited about that.  It's called In the Kitchen with Linda, and Linda says she plans on writing about her frugal low carb lifestyle, with shopping tips and recipes.  We certainly need a good frugal low carb blog. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Love Goggles

The other day, on a whim, I asked Chad if he ever looked at girls to see if they were pretty.  I'm sure at this point he panicked, as any sensible man would if their wife asked them that question.  After a few seconds hesitation, I told him that I wanted to know because it had to do with another question I had, and that it wasn't a trap question.

When he answered that he does sometimes look at other girls to see if they're pretty, I asked him what shape he preferred on a girl.  If he liked rounder, curvier girls, or skinny flat-tummied girls.  To my surprise, he said he liked the rounder girls better.  That the longer he's with me, the more he likes round, curvy girls, because that's what I am.

I'm pretty sure that's what they call love goggles.  I'm sure there might be a girl somewhere that would have been offended by what he said, but I found it to be incredibly sweet.  And it got me to thinking about society and our standards of beauty.

The media, with a few exceptions, glorifies women who are thin, tall, and very beautiful.  If they don't have a lot of natural beauty, they get heavy doses of makeup and professionally created hair-dos to make up for their plainness.  Women everywhere have to see beautiful, perfect celebrities staring back at them from the cover of magazines, on tv, in the movies, in ads.  Their perfect beauty is almost inescapable. 

I began to wonder if having those women as standards of beauty has changed what we as a society think of as beautiful.  Like Chad's love goggles, perhaps we've developed love goggles for thin, tall, perfect women.

Then this weekend, I clicked on a link over at Weighty Matters.  It was a page full of Photoshopped celebrities, and it made me realize that, not only are we basing our ideas of beauty on perfect people loaded down with makeup and hair extensions, but then the photos of them are completely overhauled.  Check it out.  And if that's not enough, this page has some extras.

There's one that made me really stop and think.

If that's too fast for you, here's a side-by-side:

What were the folks photoshopping this picture of Jennifer Lawrence thinking?  The before shot is beautiful.  She's well toned, curvy, smooth, and genuinely lovely.  But they didn't want curvy and well toned; no, what they want us to see, what they want us to see as beauty, is a woman that looks emaciated.  They want us to see her ribs sticking out, and her hips poking through her skin.  They want her face to look gaunt.  They want her arms to look skinny and weak.

You know what the phohoshopped version reminds me of?  A picture I saw recently of Portia de Rossi, an actress who has written a book about the struggles she's had with anorexia. 

Portia is the one on the right.
At her lowest, she said she was 82 pounds. For a woman that's 5'7, that made her BMI 12.8.  Here's another terrifying picture of Portia at her worst:

So here we are, in the middle of an obesity epidemic (or so the authorities tell us), and the media is showing us almost nothing but tall, beautiful, perfect, nearly anorexic women.  It's all we see, on tv, movies, magazines, ads.  And then real women look in the mirror and see non-perfection, wrinkles, a little arm jiggle, maybe cellulite or stretch marks, and they begin to hate themselves.

Our ideas of beauty are skewed.  And I believe our ideas of "ideal weight" are also skewed.  Who decided what ideal weight is?  BMI has serious flaws, including the fact that it doesn't distinguish between fat and muscle, and it doesn't care if you have petite or thick bones.  It also doesn't care if your genes tells your body to store extra fat in certain parts of your body, like your butt or your breasts.  Does a woman with large breasts have a higher BMI than a woman with small breasts?  Of course she does, because she weighs more.  And that's ridiculous. 

Last August, Discover magazine had an article about BMI in it, and how researchers have decided that BMI is a bad way to measure obesity.  So you know what they suggested?  They suggest lowering the BMI obesity threshold from 30 to 24 for women and 28 for men.  Great.  Now almost everyone will be obese.

I think over the years, ideal weight has gotten lower and lower.  And our love goggles has made it so we as a society only see tall, rail thin women as beautiful.  I don't think most people can even recognize normal, healthy weight anymore.  Look at this before-and-after picture of actress Mischa Barton and tell me which one you think is normal and healthy.

Now check out these actresses from the early part of the 20th century.

Gloria Swanson

Anita Page
Anne Baxter

Lucile Ball

Marilyn Monroe

Betty Grable

They're beautiful.  They're curvy.  Some of them are well toned (look at Lucy's arms).  But they're not exactly skinny by today's standards, are they?  They're almost...  normal.  The kind of  beauty that doesn't threaten average women.  Yes, they're beautiful, but it's a more natural kind of beauty, where there are flaws and imperfections, but those only add character. 

I think we've been lead astray by the media into believing that skinny equals beauty, and that you have to have perfectly smooth skin and a flawless face.  But it's all an illusion.  Celebrities are real people, under the makeup, hair products, and photoshopping.  Just for fun, google your favorite actress's name with "without makeup".  Here's a couple of  mine.

Penelope Cruz
Now here's a real girl without makeup, without fancy hair products, just trying to live a normal healthy natural life.

This is me!  Wearing a dress I made!  And holding a cucumber I grew!

I know I'm not in the same league as any of those celebrities up there, especially not when they're all made up to look perfect.  But just because I don't fit into society's idea of beauty....  does that make me ugly?  Or does true beauty allow for natural differences and individual uniqueness? 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fresh Picked

You know what my favorite time of the year is?

Strawberry season!!!  Yes, my friends, it's that lovely time of year when the strawberries decide to bless us with their bright red deliciousness. 

I'm lucky enough to have two sources of strawberries.  The first is my 2x4 raised strawberry bed.  It managed to produce almost two gallons of strawberries last year, which was enough to make Chad sick of strawberries by the end of the season.  The second source I have is one that I was blessed with.  We have lots of wild alpine strawberries growing all throughout our yard, and one spot, in the small side yard next to the chives, is so well suited to them that there's dozens of plants, and the berries get very big (for wild berries).  I love them not only because they're free, but because they have a flavor that's unmatched by any cultivated berry.  They take the flavor of a regular berry, and condense it down to fit into a tiny package.  It's like eating candy. 

I plan on going to a large field this weekend where I know a lot of wild strawberries grow.  Hopefully I'll have timed this right.  Usually I'm too early or too late, which is easy to do because wild strawberries only have about a two week season. 

Nature is awesome!