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Always Learning

Here I am on Day 20 of the Whole 30 program, and I haven’t lost my mind. Yet. There’s still time, I suppose.

I’ve learned a lot on this journey so far.

1. It’s ridiculously easy to make your own mayonnaise. Takes about a minute if you have a food processor.

2. I still don’t like mayonnaise very much. Although homemade is supposed to be a fabulous treat, I’m still not a mayo gal. Although I may try again and jazz it up with more flavor, such as adding some grainy mustard, roasted peppers or roasted garlic to the mix.

3. It’s ridiculously easy to make your own sausage. If you can buy ground pork at the grocery store, you can make sausage in about a minute. Maybe a little longer if you have to search for the measuring spoons. The basic recipe would be marvelously easy to tweak, to make it spicier or add more sage. I used a pound of pork and a half-pound of ground turkey, and was extremely satisfied (read: smug) with the results.

4. Coconut aminos are really not a fabulous seasoning. While they are better than nothing, I’m not crazy about them. They taste watery and weak to me, light the Ghost of Soy Sauce Past. I’ll continue to use them over the next 10 days, but this is not an item I’ll use voluntarily in the future.  Bragg’s Liquid Aminos are another story, though.

5. Food boredom is a real thing, although not every is afflicted with it. I can eat the exact same breakfast two days in a row with no problem, but by the third day I start feeling wriggly and hampered. On the fourth day I wonder why I hate myself so much.

6. Even the lactose-intolerant can get cravings when walking through the deli section of the grocery store. I wanted to sniff all the cheeses, but feared this would lead to licking the packages, so I just motored on by.

7. It is possible to miss oatmeal. I found a fabulous breakfast that Joe and I both really enjoy, and I can’t wait until the 30 days are up so I can try it with oatmeal instead of coconut.

8. There’s a whole lot of flossing going on. Between all the meat and all the veggies, it’s a wonder I have time to do anything else.

If you’ve ever tried Whole 30, I’d love to know what your experience was like. And if you love coconut aminos, please tell me why.



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Ambassador to Arkansas

Whole 30 update: Day 14, and I think I’m finally on top of it. I  don’t spend most of my waking hours thinking and talking about it, planning meals, reading labels or contemplating my sanity. It just is.

On the positive side, my jeans do feel a little looser. I seem to have more energy, and my sleep has been stellar.

On the minus side, I’m still craving a piece of peanut butter toast more than anything else.

So. Arkansas.

During the magical, floating, time-blurred space between Christmas and the New Year, I attended a party that was women and wine. Lot of women. Lot of wine. Everyone brought snacks and we were a loud, happy  bunch.

Toward the end of the evening, I mentioned that my daughter, home from college, was coming to pick me up. (Who needs Uber or Lyft when you have a teenager with a license?) A woman I didn’t know asked me where my daughter was going to college.

“University of Arkansas at Little Rock.”

The woman put her hand on my arm and pulled me to the side. “I need to ask you something.” Her voice was low, intent. “I need to know, what are the people in Arkansas like?”

I wasn’t sure how to answer. My husband has a goodly quantity of family in Little Rock, so those are the people I hang out with in Arkansas. I’ll be the first to admit, in the in-law/outlaw lottery, I won. These people are smart and funny, and they laugh at my jokes. They’re fun to hang out with.

I said as much. Even after several glasses of Chardonnay, I wouldn’t claim to have extensively surveyed a representative population of Arkansans. I have not been appointed the Colorado Ambassador to Arkansas. In short, they’re people.

The woman’s quest became more urgent. She leaned closer. “But what do they think of Hillary?”

My first impulse was to ask, “Duff? Swank? Edmund?” I held back with admirable (I think) restraint. I debated saying that people who knew both Bill and Hillary back in the day said Hillary was the smarter of the two. I’m also under the impression that some Arkansans thought she was uppity for not taking Bill’s last name when they first married.

Instead, I pulled her claw-like hand off my arm and said, “How should I know? They probably have a variety of opinions, just like people in the other 49 states.”

That was all the launching pad this woman needed. She proceeded to rev up her rant to tell me what a horrible woman Hillary was, was a disgraceful human being, and (direct quote), “If they needed a vagina in the White House, they should have picked a different vagina.”

Don’t dwell on that quote for too long. Your head will explode. After a shrill diatribe about what an anti-feminist Hillary is, this little yapping woman reduced a presidential candidate down to her reproductive organs. Yeah, that’s not dismissive, condescending, sexist or anti-woman at all. What a moron. .

When she let me get a word in edgewise, I asked her, very politely, if she could possibly understand that the way she felt about Hillary was exactly the same way some people felt about Donald Trump. Because I was still trying to be polite.

Well. This woman feels close enough to Trump to refer to him as Donnie. Back when she was 19 and worked in New York City, all the power brokers loved him (and still do, according to her) and they ALL called him Donnie. She then proceeded to name drop a lot of people I’ve never heard of. I mean, if your claim to fame is meeting Walter Cronkite in an elevator, you should be cognizant of the fact that he went off the air in 1981. That was 36 years ago.

She also added in that New York loved Trump then and still does. Bitch, those are MY people. They don’t suffer blowhard assholes gladly. If he’s so beloved, why did Hillary carry that state in the 2016 election?

Are you wondering why I didn’t respond? Why I didn’t make any of these valid points? She must have had a blow-hole in the back of her head, because she never paused to draw a breath. I couldn’t have shoe-horned in a syllable, much less a word, much much less a complete sentence. This was a one-woman show, audience participation not required or encouraged.

After politely trying to disengage, I finally walked away from the Donnie Trump love-fest, because Thing 2 was waiting at the end of the driveway to drive my happy ass home. In my mind, that woman is still standing in the host’s kitchen, elaborating on all the ways that Trump is a superior human because Walter Cronkite called him Donnie. A surreal ending to an otherwise convivial evening, to be sure.

For the record, the people I’ve met in Arkansas that are NOT related to my husband have all been very pleasant people. And none of them have accidentally spit on my while raving about politics.




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It is Day 10 of Whole 30.

If I see one more post with a photo of a hardboiled eggs and 10 blueberries next to a cup of black coffee, with a caption reading, “Gosh, I felt so full,” I will probably need to be sedated.

Other you-have-to-be-fucking-kidding-me photos/moments:

–a dinner of two lettuce leaves filled with approximately 1 tablespoon each of taco meat and some diced tomato.

–a small green salad with no protein. (Felt stuffed? Get stuffed.)

–a photo of what is supposed to be meal prep for a whole week, and includes cut up oranges. Honey, we all know what those sad, dried-out oranges are going to be like in two days, much less five.

–Whole 30 “packable lunch ideas,” that include recipes with more steps than the French recipes from 1950s cooking magazines.

–one more person who waxes rhapsodic about spaghetti squash and says their family can’t even tell the difference! Either you’re lying or you live with a bunch of idiots.

Yes, I’ve reached the Crankypants portion of the program, where I’m tired of living, eating, breathing, talking, dreaming, and planning my life around Whole 30.

I understand the point of all this. I won’t deny my joints feel better and I seem to have more energy. Just venting here, as opposed to all the Whole 30 blogs that make it sound like sunshine will be beaming out of your ass for the entire 30 days if you just make a meal plan and stick to it. If you just do more meal prep. If you just drink the Kool-Aid and say only positive, lovely, unicorn-fart affirmations about how great the whole journey is.

I am disgruntled. I will continue, but the “I’m so stuffed!” posts with a photo of barely enough food to keep an imaginary friend alive are killing me.

Where’s that sedative?


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Sleepy Day

Day 8 of Whole 30. Righteousness shall prevail! Or, you know, something like that.

Brain feels like it has been completely rewired. Not because of the food changes, but because we had to pick up Thing 1 at the Denver airport at 1:30 this morning,  instead of at 9:30 last night in Colorado Springs.

I had more sleep than my poor, abused spouse. He drove to Denver, while I slept in the car. Thing 2 drove back, while I slept in the car. But I got up when the alarm went off, sort of, and stumbled into my day

Might have to throw in the towel and accept that I can’t drink hot black tea with no sweetener. Occasionally, yes. Every morning, no. I’m switching to iced tea for the duration. I don’t know what the difference is, but it settles better as iced tea.

Since I’m fairly loopy today, I’m glad the meals are all planned out. Breakfast was waiting for me in the fridge. Lunch is an easily assembled salad topped with the remainders of last night’s roast. I can’t remember what dinner is, but it’s written down and all the ingredients are in the house. So if nothing else, this 30-day elimination routine may get me back into the habit of meal planning. Who wants to think the minute they roll out of bed? Not me. Nor do I want to talk, unless something is on fire or leaking uncontrollably.

The craving for peanut butter toast continues. It’s not an item I eat daily, or even weekly. But apparently something about it summarizes the cravings I’m trying to vanquish. It wouldn’t even have to be peanut butter, since Trader Joe’s makes a fabulous Mixed Nut Butter that I would eat by the spoonful OR spread on toast.

Do you know what time it is? It’s time for a nap.

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Some People’s Children Are Wretched

First up, Whole 30 day 5 went fine. I managed to have lunch at Chipotle and stick to the plan. I learned that delaying a meal turns me into a hangry bitch or a brain-dead zombie. Need a grocery run to restock the vegetables in the house.

But there’s a story that sustained me yesterday. I’m pretty sure it won’t sustain everyone. I’m sure some of you might be horrified. And I’m equally sure that some women are going to do a fist pump and think that it served those little bitches right.

My daughters are I are curvy women. We are not unaware of that fact. We neither hide it nor flaunt it. They both have amazing senses of style and know how to put an outfit together, whether they’re going to an interview or out with their friends. They are smart, funny and beautiful.

So. Yesterday, Thing 2 went shopping for a sports bra. (In itself, that topic could easily take a 6-part series with diagrams, illustrations and a box of tissues for the reader. Sports bras aren’t easy to find for anyone, it’s at least doubly hard if you have a C-cup or larger, and exponentially harder if you’re looking for a plus-size item.)

Thing 2 went to Target, the store where a $5, 5-minute trip can suddenly morph into two hours and a cart full of stuff you forgot you needed.

As she was perusing the women’s wear, she became aware of two middle school girls, probably around 12, who didn’t like the looks of her. They started to comment, loudly, on her looks, her appearance, and her weight. Dear reader, they followed her around the store so they could continue to make these nasty comments. The final straw? One of them asked, “Who could love someone who looks like that?”

Are you horrified and appalled? Even as a grown-ass woman, I don’t know what I would have done under these circumstances.

It became apparent that the girls were at Target with their father, an average-looking gentleman probably in his 30s. Thing 2 struck up a conversation with him by complimenting his Led Zeppelin T-shirt. Turns out the guy is in a band. Sometime they play at a local bar. (“That’s a cool place,” Thing 2 said, never having been there.) They’ll be playing there soon. Maybe she’d like to come and hang out and hear them sometime?

This progressed to the gentleman in question putting his phone number into Thing 2’s phone, a process during which she held eye contact with the two girls and smiled at them.

Full disclosure: Thing 2 is 18, doesn’t hang out in bars, and later deleted the man’s phone number, since she had no intention of calling him.

To the bitchy little girls, I would remind them that the world is not their middle school playground, and not everyone is going to crumble and fold in front of them just because they’re mean, insecure, fairly dumb, and proud to be loud and ignorant.

I hope some day to be as calm and as clever in the face of adversity as Thing 2.


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The Shark in My Bathtub

There’s no adventure in stepping on a foreign object while showering. Naked, teetering on one leg, squinting at the floor while trying to decipher whether your nerve endings felt the skittering legs of a drowning spider.

I quickly realized that very few spiders are aqua blue, so I stooped (risking drowning–I’m not very coordinated) and picked up the mystery object.

A plastic shark, maybe two inches long.

Understand, Thing 1 and 2 are both home on college break, but at 18 and 20, I don’t expect them to leave toys in the tub any longer. Although there are approximately 5 disposable razors and 47 different hair care products at any given time.

I set aside the shark and carried on, with my shower and with my life.

It was Day 3 of Whole 30, the day when we’re warned about feeling fuzzy-headed. I certainly did. I think I disturbed a grocery clerk with my vacant stare, which just happened to be pointed in his direction. I can hope I looked mysterious and calculating, but in truth I’m just lucky I wasn’t drooling.

It was a hungry day, for sure. The body is adjusting to a new fuel, one that isn’t based on simple carbs and sugars. I miss my simple carbs. I want a big bowl of spaghetti noodles drenched in butter, salt, garlic and Parmesan cheese. And the garlic is negotiable.

Nope. Won’t do it.

I keep hearing that the first 4-6 days of Whole 30 are the hardest, and that idea is sustaining me.

Otherwise, I’m pretty sure I’ll be snacking on that plastic shark by day 8.


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First Temptation

At 1.5 days on the Whole 30 plan, and I haven’t cracked yet.

But the fates are tempting me.

Lurking in my inbox this morning was an email from my friends at Panera. Free bagels. For a whole month. One a day, like the vitamins, only yeasty, chewy and delicious.


Do you know how much I love free things? And anything bread-like?

But I dutifully dropped the gorgeous solicitation into my virtual trashcan and moved on with my life. Well, except for lunchtime. I looked at Thing 2 and asked her if I could watch her eat her sandwich. She was not amused.

Days 2-3 of Whole 30 are supposed to be “hangover” days, when your body is detoxing and you might feel headachey, foggy, dull-witted. It’s also a day when you might feel really hungry all damn day. As you can probably guess, I had no feelings of being in a fog, but I thought I might chew off my own foot between breakfast and lunch.

I’m digging my new breakfast porridge. Mashed sweet potato, homemade applesauce, unsweetened coconut flakes, slivered almonds, and cinnamon, heated in the microwave and topped with berries. It’s pretty thick, though, so I might try thinning it with coconut milk tomorrow morning.

Ready for what tomorrow will bring. And if it’s an announcement for free donuts, I’m going to scream.

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