It Begins with Me

Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

One Less Dagger

It hurts today. A grinding pain in my chest. I can smell her today. I remember how she smelled when I hugged her. That smell made me feel …. not safe… not loved… but.. I knew she was there. I needed her like air and that smell, the scent of her, reminded me she was there. When she died, all she smelled like was rot and salves. But when I hugged her neck, I buried my face into her cooling neck and the smell was there. My mommy’s smell. And I wept. I lay there and I wept, and my my heart shattered into a million pieces.

My mom died in August. She struggled with cancer as it ate her alive, outside and inside. Her bones were riddled with metastatic cancer, which made them brittle and throbbing with pain. It was in her shoulder, neck, back, and chest/ribs. Early on, it had passed from her breast tissue to her lymph nodes and also attached to her ribs before they could remove it. She waited too long.

Don’t wait too long, please. Pray if you want. Fast and dance and sing and speak in tongues and lay hands and whatever it is you believe in. Bathe in the blood of lamb and fill your heart with his grace if that’s what makes your heart sing. Just don’t wait too long. Get chemo. Take their drugs. Fight. With everything you have, fight. Don’t stop fighting. Don’t embrace death. Believe whatever you want, just don’t stop fighting and don’t wait to fight.

My mother waited. Two years too long. She prayed and fasted and believed that God would save her. By the time my tantrums and tears penetrated the wall of “faith” that the cult she embraced could give her, it was too late. She was riddled with cancer. She threw herself into treatment but it was too late. The damage was done. The treatments were miserable and they bought her four short years. In the end it took her mind as well as her body and left behind chaos and damage for which there is no cure.

My children lost their grandmother. I lost my mother. Yet, don’t get me wrong; there’s a part of me that is relieved. Even happy. And I’ll take the karma hit for that. She was a terrible, abusive, malignant narcissist that really only cared about herself most of her life and all of mine. She abandoned me to sitters and caregivers and never protected me from her husbands. She was always sorry but she never stopped the behavior. Not me nor my kids was ever more important than her personal needs and her “faith” in God.

But she was my mommy and I loved her. Dearly. Desperately. Unconditionally. Without end or reason. And a part of me is bleeding still, gashed from the loss of her long before I was ready to let go.

If you are reading this, and facing a diagnosis for cancer? Fight. I have nothing against faith. I have nothing against vegan diets and homeopathic cures and vitamins and supplements. Just don’t do those things INSTEAD of fighting with our given tools. Do those things ALONG SIDE those tools. Don’t wait. Don’t wait too long.

Someone will miss you. Someone will weep in the car, in the dark, missing you. Someone will regret that there will never be the years hoped for. Someone will miss you.

Thanks for listening.


Holding Pattern

My life got thrown into a blender right around my 50th birthday. When things went horribly, magnificently sideways, everything I had been working on and planning went into a holding pattern. I can’t focus on me when I have to focus on everything and everyone else. That’s just how it works.

I continued on my diet. I continued to watch everything I ate and drank.

However, my weight leveled off at 270 and other than a pound or two in either direction, I have remained right there. I suppose I finally lost the weight that was from overeating and baby-making, which accounts for some of it, but overall I accept that I’ve reached the point where exercise must come into play. Ugh. So after losing roughly 60 pounds, I’m on a holding pattern there too.

Also in this gambit is the accidental overdose of Naproxen (Aleve).

I will spare you the ugly details about bruises and a whole bunch of swearing. In the end, it meant that I had to give up ALL pain meds for about a month, and am down to 1 powdered aspirin (BC Powders) at night and nothing all day. I have had an ache in my belly for a while now since then, but not enough to drive me to the doctor and frankly, I have such crappy insurance that I can’t afford to.

How crappy? Well, I have a $5k deductible, that’s how bad. So much for seeing any doctor, ever.

On an amusing side-note, my employer sent out a notice asking people to put their children and spouses on the plan. After I laughed bitterly, I politely (mostly) declined. So much nope. Never work for social services unless you are truly dedicated folks; It’s neither monetarily or benefits rewarding, other than the obvious good karma parts.

The question is this: How do I diet and exercise without the benefit of painkillers? My family is dreading it as much as I am. Jazy is grumpy and growly when in pain.

I have been working on cooking better for myself and eating more regularly during this lull. I have tried to work on lowering my stress (hahahahahahaha) but that’s not going so well.

I did take the doctor’s advice and start drinking wine. ONE glass a day, roughly 4-6 ounces in a little glass. It has a sedating effect as well as a gastrointestinal one. Apparently there is a lot of good things in wine, particularly red wine.

A few pointers however. Don’t drink wine just before bed. At least for me, it means that I’m WIDE AWAKE for hours no matter what I take. That was a long learning moment and a terribly long, exhausting day to follow. Also, don’t drink wine with anti-depressants. It felt like I drank half a bottle of Jack. Noted. Lastly, good wine is pricey, so join a club. I did. I heartily recommend Naked Wine. They’re customer service is top notch and their selection is awesome. The site is easy to use and helpful as is their app. Two thumbs up.

To refresh your memory, I was prohibited from eating:

  1. Grains and Seeds (all of them. Sigh)
  2. Legumes (all of them. sigh)
  3. Nightshades (not even touching, actually)
  4. Dairy/Eggs (I did find that I could have small amounts of aged [18+ months] cheese)
  5. Sugar/Sweeteners (maple syrup, agave syrup, and molasses are allowed in SMALL amounts)

I lived that diet for 8 months. Currently, with all that I’m doing, I am back on Jasmine Rice (grain), SMALL amounts of raw sugar, eggs, and peanuts, black beans, and some nuts. I am going to start experimenting with sprouted beans to see if I can tolerate them. I tried regular beans other than black beans (not sure why they are different) and it was a strong body message equivalent to a Gibbs-smack. I have also been eating potato chips or hash browns made from potatoes (no skins, not even a hint), but I gained a pound doing that and I think it’s still a no.

All in all, I’m pleased. I do feel better most days, and have very little gastrointestinal distress anymore. I think my gut is on the mend.



Here’s to a better 2018. I’ll try to write more. Toodles.


Sustaining Progress


I’ve been on my new diet now for five months. I have gone from 330 pounds to 277 in that time frame. I still suffer from reactions and hunger, tiredness and overall crankiness, but overall I feel better than I have in a long time.

My jeans are loose but still fit.

I am hungry often but nothing looks or tastes all that good. I tend to push eating out of my head and often go all day without eating more than an apple or some corn chips with a Naked juice.

My end goal was not to lose weight, but to feel better – less bloated, less painful, and less nauseous.

The moment I stray from my diet, I suffer from all three.

I drink a lot of peppermint tea.

I am tired a lot. My pain levels are higher than I would like but diet has little to no effect on that as long as I stay away from Nightshades.

When I eat regularly, I stop losing weight almost immediately. I gained 2 pounds when I had Lactaid ice cream or snacks like sweet potato chips. Cheating is apparently not allowed. I also bloated up and felt generally icky the next day – signs that I should not veer off track. sigh.

I have been struggling with depression and anxiety in high levels for the last few weeks. I have had a headache during that time above and beyond my daily level. I am having a hard time dealing with the constant pain and bleh that goes with all of this, and I miss my comfort foods.

I don’t miss them enough to go back, however. It just sucks.

I stopped seeing my shrink around the time of my last entry, which likely isn’t a coincidence. My depression, anxiety, and mood swings returned almost immediately but my insurance will not cover it and there’s nothing to be done about that. I will not put my family into debt or take away food from the budget so that I can find some stranger to talk to about crap in my life that will never change.


Summer is upon us and I will be spending a great deal of time and energy getting my house clean, fixed up, and in better shape than it is currently. My children and I will be doing that adventure together. I am putting my weekend job on hold for now so I can focus on the weekends on all the things that need to be done.

I plan to write here more as I progress, and show pictures and write about all the things happening – good and bad. I look forward to that.

My blood pressure is normal.

My cholesterol is fine.

My blood sugar levels have been constant and within acceptable ranges.

I need a mammogram and other tests for my age.

Oh, and I turn 50 tomorrow. Meh.

More later as I find it… stay tuned.


Shopping for Six Plus


We have four growing boys, 8 cats, and 2 dogs as well as 2 adults in our house. My husband and I strive weekly to fill the larder and keep everyone happy, healthy, and well fed. It’s a goal and we do a pretty good job.

First, I should say I never wanted 8 cats because I know you went O.O at that. So do I – daily. However, I used to rescue cats and nearly always had nearly a dozen in and out between cleaning them up, getting them healthy and friendly, and finding them homes. I learned early that cleaning house often, having plenty of kitty pans, and keeping those pans cleaned every few days was the key to a non-smelly house. However, this batch was not my idea and the boys and their father tend the cats, their feeding, and the litter chores. Not my circus. Not my monkeys. Well, 1 monkey likes me. The rest? Meh.

We spend roughly $500/week on food and supplies for the house, which keeps us in kitty litter, pet food, boy food, snacks, and balanced meals.

In the process of balancing this large active family, I have learned how to make lists. Not only that, I have learned how to actually use them. This is probably the more important talent, to be honest.

First, my free plug of the day.

One of the best tools I have ever stumbled upon is a shopping app for my phone. It’s shareable with my spouse’s phone (and anyone else really), updates when either of us makes changes (on all phones and devices hooked to the service), and allows me to make detailed shopping lists so that all that I need is done in one very carefully orchestrated and organized shopping trip (on Fridays).

What tool is that?

I love this app. I highly recommend it for any busy family. Also, it is free or it’s available for very little. It’s worth the pittance it costs and pays for itself quickly in saved gas from extra trips and frustration of not having your needs in an easily made and easily managed place.

In order to fully manage a large family and a strict budget, I make meal plans. Our menu is set out for the week and items are purchased for that plan. Here is an example:

Dinner Menu:

  • baked chicken, butternut squash, mixed vegetables
  • baked pork roast, baked potato, baked carrots
  • beef chili with biscuits and potato wedges
  • beef meatloaf, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables
  • brats-n-kraut, mixed vegetables
  • noodle bake with vegetables inside
  • tacos, baby carrots

Lunch Menu:

  • school boys (3): shaved ham, sliced sharp cheddar cheese, and a loaf of bread with baked beans,  pineapple tidbits, and canned carrots/peas
  • school boys (3): hard salami slices, sliced sharp cheddar cheese, and a loaf of bread with baked beans, pineapple tidbits, and raw baby carrots
  • school boys (3): shaved turkey, sliced sharp cheddar cheese, and a loaf of bread with baked beans, pineapple tidbits, and baby cucumbers
  • school boys (3): (x2) summer sausage, chucks of sharp cheddar cheese, corn chips, baby carrots with dip, and apple pieces
  • home lunch: sausage patty with tater tots, a slice of cheese, green beans, and apple pieces
  • home lunch: beef patty with tater tots, baby carrots (wheels), sliced cheese, and orange pieces
  • weekend lunch: leftovers


  • pineapple upside-down cake
  • cookies
  • fruit crisp


  • meat sticks
  • cheese (string) sticks
  • pepperoni
  • leftovers
  • can of vegetable choice
  • baked beans
  • sweet potato chips (make yourself)
  • potato fries (make yourself)
  • tortilla and cheese (or peanut butter honey)
  • apple
  • orange
  • banana
  • baby carrots and dip
  • salad

The boys are allowed to make some simple snacks as long as they clean up afterward. Both the 14 and the 12 year old are capable of it, although the kitchen is usually a mess afterward. Sigh. The 6 year old isn’t allowed to do more than watch and help as he learns. The 22 year old is handicapped and in a wheel chair with the mind of a 1 year old child, so he has to have everything prepped for him to eat.

The boys have learned over their lifetime that you do not eat anything out of the ordinary or off the list without asking first. Nothing makes Mama angrier than going to make dinner and find the locusts have consumed something she needed as an ingredient. I am pleased to say it doesn’t happen very often.

Because of my dietary restrictions, I cook my own meals separately from the boys’ meals. This means that the boys ALSO ask when they find something that looks yummy, because if they eat MY food it will mean no tech and an unhappy Mama. I am not pleasant when hungry.

Our grocery list consists of ingredients, some snack foods that I deem acceptable, some easy prep foods for the boys to snack on, and pet supplies. I strive to buy foods for my boys without high sugar, simple starches, red40, or corn syrups. I avoid Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in all its forms, gluten in all its forms, “low fat” items (high in sugar), food coloring, and fake things such as artificial sugar, artificial or synthetic fats, sugars, and materials, margarine and hot dogs. Gluten free is more expensive, so our grocery bill is roughly $125 more a week than the average family of 6 shopping in this manner.

I allow them three “bad” things weekly: one candy (for each boy) of their choice from the .99 aisle, ice cream that is as close to natural as I can get (Breyers, one container), and the meat sticks that I had to search to find so that they were not as horrible as they might have been. They are also allowed one soda every now and then.

I strive to stay between $400-500 a week for all our supplies and groceries. The more ground meat we use, the lower the cost for the week – but the boys get tired of it and there’s only so much you can do with ground meat. I enjoy a variety and so do they, so it’s worth a bit more now and then.

I will be continuing along this vein for a while, to show how we function day to day in our healthy diet and lifestyle goals.



Eating for Tomorrow

“Eating healthy is too expensive.”

How often do I hear that? All the time.

One of my friends that reads this blog, asked me to do a blog on that issue, to explain how I do it, and how I feed a family of four kids and two adults, 8 cats and 2 dogs on the money we spend.

Before I start, I should say that I don’t shop at Aldi or any half price anything. I don’t grocery shop at WalMart although I do buy supplies there for the household. However, were I given a small town choice, that carried what I need, I would take it. Sadly, living in Rural Iowa, that simply doesn’t work much of the time. While a quick “oops need that” run will suffice at the small town stores, they simply don’t have enough selection to justify me shopping there weekly like I do otherwise.

“Why don’t you shop at Aldi?”

  1. The food is green/unripe/damaged, picked over, packaged in groups that are not useful to me usually, and tends to spoil faster for all of the listed reasons.
  2. The food really isn’t that much less expensive in the long run, mostly for the above reason.
  3. Their food is lower quality than I prefer to feed my family.

“Why don’t you use coupons?”

  1. Coupons are typically for items that I do not buy, or for quantities that I will not use in time to make it worth the money to buy.
    • coupons entire goal is, as an advertisement, to get you to buy their product and buy MORE of their product than you intend
    • I resent being used that way, and keeping track of cost and waste has made me choose, for me, against couponing. If it works for you? Grand.
  2. I used to be a cashier and I HATED coupons. The instilled resentment is probably coloring my opinion – won’t lie.
  3. In all my years of clipping and using coupons (about 3 years during a determined stage of my life) I never saved any long term money on anything. I did the math and when coupled with my personal dislike of stray bits of paper and clutter, it really just didn’t work out for me.

“Why shop at Hy-Vee?”

  1. They are “employee owned” … which I don’t completely understand but I know the workers there have been there a long time and seem very happy. I see a lower turnover than other stores.
  2. Their produce is well tended and handlers are trained – no bruised fruit here.
  3. Their prices are competitive.
  4. They offer a member card – certain purchases earn me pennies off my gas prices which adds up quickly.
  5. The “friendly smile in every aisle” is no joke. I enjoy my time there.

So there’s my free ad of the day for Hy-Vee.

I spent roughly $67 on apples (2 bags), pears (1 bag), oranges (2 bags), spaghetti squash (1), 2 boxes of fresh sliced mushrooms, baby carrots (1 lg bag), carrots (2lbs), shredded lettuce (4 bags), 1 lg bag of potatoes, and some corn husks (tamale style).

Last week I bought green onions, onions, mushrooms, apples, oranges, fresh curly parsley, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, and a bag of cranberries. For roughly the same cost.

I typically buy all of the above and sweet potatoes, bananas on sale, grapes on sale, cabbage heads (red and green both), cucumbers, and occasionally squash.

As I have stated before, it comes down to using these things before they spoil. And as aware and careful as I am, I still sometimes lose items to waste. IF I was a single woman, that $70 would buy me a month supply of the same veggies listed. That’s not bad at all.

In comparison, processed food costs more to feed the same number of people the same day. It just seems less expensive – even when it’s not. It’s easy to eat and prepare. It doesn’t go bad if you forget it. And it tastes “good” to you. But in reality, once you go to raw food, you’ll never be able to go back to that cardboard tasting stuff ever again.

When you stop buying processed foods, you’ll discover you eat less, not more. This is due to there being less sugar and less chemicals that are designed to make you eat more. Chewing your food also changes how you feel after you eat it. Raw food requires you to chew it up and the process of chewing is satisfying. It’s why we like potato chips. If you are serious about your health and weight loss, try the following things for that crunchy and satisfying snack:

  1. slice up celery into bit sized bits to snack on in place of chips
  2. use snow peas or sugar snap peas in place of unhealthy snacks
  3. baby carrots are easy to eat and satisfying to chew
  4. baby cucumbers are a thing – try them!
  5. cut up broccoli and cauliflower as a healthy snack
  6. cut fresh fruit into slices to eat as finger food
  7. pineapple tidbits or chunks are a great ‘sweet’ treat

There are also healthy alternatives to chips such as sweet potato chips that you make yourself. Slice up a sweet potato into slim wheels and lay on a sprayed cookie sheet (I use olive oil spray). Spray lightly with oil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Or, as an alternative, place pepperoni on each slice and then layer another on top. Spray lightly and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Here are a few rules of thumb when eating raw food and keeping it fresh:

  1. Process your food into sealed containers such as cut up celery, sliced green onions, chopped fresh spices, or lettuce. Never leave them out in the air either in your kitchen or in your frig.
  2. Place onions, potatoes, and sweet potatoes into a dark, cool, dry place to keep them fresh and unspoiled for weeks. Do not keep these items in plastic but in a breathable sack or their original mesh.
  3. Place fruit in baskets in the open air and do not leave them in sealed or plastic containers. If fruit flies are an issue, place some apple cider vinegar in a cup and place the cup near or beside the baskets (or between them).
  4. Process sweet fruits such as bananas once they start to turn brown skinned. Mash into a bowl and add a splash of lemon juice and some honey – then freeze for later.
  5. Process stone fruits by slicing thin and placing on a wax sheet after dipping into a mix of lemon juice and honey. Freeze overnight and then peel off and place in freezer safe sealing plastic bags such as Ziploc. (This works for apples too.)
  6. Freeze tomatoes whole and in their skins in a freezer safe bag. When ready to use, run the tomatoes under hot water and the skins will peel right off. They will be ready to core and use, or process in a food processor.
  7. Only buy enough fresh spices and herbs for you to use in a week as they spoil quickly – even in a closed container in the frig.

As you can see, eating raw and healthy is not more expensive but it IS more work. No, you can’t just grab a frozen dinner and pop it in the microwave but your body, your health, and your pocketbook will thank you.


Exchange and Change

Exchange. It means: “An act of giving one thing and receiving another (especially of the same type or value) in return.” (Google).  We are told that by taking one part of ourselves, and giving it up to do something similar, we’re being a grown up. After nearly 50 years in this life, I am ready to say with a fair amount of certainty that this practice is completely worthless and harmful and needs to stop.

When I was a child, my mother once said, “Everyone wants to be original, unique, and special. But, if everyone is special, no one is. Some people are just better than others.” I remember that clearly, mostly because my grandmother snorted and said, “The only people that say that want to be special.” This palpable rage hovered between them for a moment and then slithered away. It made an impression.


I spent most of my life pretending that who I was inside did not exist. It did irreparable damage to my body and mind, exerting stress where unnecessary and creating a sense of despair about my own personal truths. I struggled with depression and rage most of my life, so much so that I fought off my own suicide a great deal of the time I was growing up. My brother had these same struggles, ending in his death at a young age – which left our family in ruins.

All of this can be traced back to being able to be true to yourself. Life is hard. Struggle is real. None of this changes when you are true to yourself BUT the stress of being what you are not fades away, and there’s a peace and acceptance that makes the rest of things life throws at you a lot less stressful.

It was a hard lesson to learn, but I’m proud to say that I did learn it.

I spent the first 30 years of my life trying to “fit in” and the next 20 years struggling “be myself” with varying degrees of success. Labels, while most of us agree can be limiting, also give freedom when applied correctly. Sometimes, having a label helps you feel that who and what you are, how you are, is less odd and more “I’m not alone after all” and that in itself can be freeing.

No one wants to be alone in the dark as some weird aberration that has no place and no name. It’s dehumanizing all on its own.

I truly believe we are all individuals. No one is like anyone else, not really. We are unique in our own existence BUT we are also similar to others who struggle like we struggle, who see what we see, who feel what we feel, and as intense as we experience it. No one is ever truly alone. Mathematically, there is at least a few folks out there like you in every way and to me, that’s comforting. Go math.

We are all special. We are all unique but we are also the same. We are the human race. We are male. We are female. There’s a group of red-heads over there. There’s a group of blue eyed people. Over there are people who survived child abuse. In that other group are people who struggle with mental illness. The list goes on. We are unique but we are not alone.


So how does this effect change?

Exchanging ourselves, and parts of who we are to find what fits better and helps us fit in, is not the way to do it. Instead, we should simply be, and then seek out those that we feel comfortable with. It’s one thing to be surrounded by people just like you, but it’s a whole different concept when it becomes homogeneous (everyone is exactly alike). If you were unlucky enough to be born into a group where you are so different you stand out constantly, this lack of blending can leave lasting scars. It can also effect massive change.


If you were the first black person in your area, or the first Hispanic, or the first gay person, it can be dangerous for you but it can also be a uniquely challenging situation both for you to learn how to communicate effectively so that you can live in cohabitation in the same region they do, and for them to challenge themselves and learn how to live in cohabitation with someone so specifically different from them. You can teach each other – it’s all about how it is approached and handled.

If we all simply agree to disagree when things get heated, and struggle to see the other person as human (or a person worthy of equality), we will have less stress overall when learning to accept each other. We have to rise above religion, capitalism, concepts of gender, and concepts of race to see each other against the overreaching backdrop of reality.

A janitor and a lawyer are both doing an essential job. Payscale should be set on a wide range of difficulty matrices coupled with concepts of education, labor intensity, learning curves, and long-term ability. This idea that someone cleaning floors has a higher acceptability of poverty is completely wrong. Someone has to sweep and clean windows and pick up the trash. Why are they subject to such expectations of poverty and some kind of undeserving process to keep them poor and wanting?

I am 100% okay with a stockbroker making millions as long as the janitor picking up his trash and dusting his office makes enough to pay rent and live decently. That stockbroker has no more worth than the janitor. They are both human. They both have needs that must be met to survive. Why do we automatically feel justified giving the stockbroker millions and fuss at paying the janitor $15.00 per hour?

FYI: $15/hour = $30k/year before taxes and about $25k after. A cheap apartment runs about $900/mo or roughly $10-12k per year, so that’s already half their pay right off the top. $15/hour isn’t great and it really should be higher but we have to start somewhere.

The most common argument I hear about paying minimum wages of $15/hour is that current hard-working jobs are roughly at that level. They squawk that someone struggling to work in a manual labor job or flipping burgers is less deserving a “living wage” than they are, since they work harder, longer hours, or had to have a degree to get that job.

First of all, that’s incredibly short sighted and selfish, so let’s get that out there right now. You are not better than anyone else and no one deserves to live in poverty… and frankly if you think that we’re not going to agree at any part of this conversation so we’ll just stop there.

Secondly, we know from history and historical context that wages move up as the minimum wage moves up. It has happened every time wages have gone up. And the earth didn’t fall from orbit, the moon didn’t crash, the end of the world didn’t happen and we were all better off for it. Prices didn’t increase dramatically and even returned to it’s baseline after some adjustment time passed. The minimum wage isn’t responsible for cost of living increases and it will do nothing to our economy other than stimulate the discretionary income of MILLIONS of people who otherwise are living in abject poverty.

FYI: The majority of those working at or below minimum wages are: single parents, children/teens, elderly “retired” persons struggling to make ends meet, immigrants, migrant workers, and college age kids, and young adults with massive debt. NONE of these people would be hurt and all of them would be helped by the baseline wage going up.

Also, it bears to mention that raising the minimum wage would raise the wages for EVERYONE and thus create a HUGE wash of discretionary income to a large bulk of the American people as a whole. While an article in Forbes claimed the opposite, simple math debunked what they were claiming. No one deserves to be poor. No one deserves to work a full time job and still be unable to provide healthy food and a safe living condition. If you think they do, the issue is your morals, not economics.

It should be mentioned that Forbes also supports lower taxes for business and the “trickle down economics” that ruined our country in the first place. The rich want the poor to stay poor – it’s always better for business when you have a large bunk of slaves to do your work cheaply so you can make more money.

And that is why Capitalism is under siege, just like Communism was/is. They are two extremes that refuse to find middle ground for their suffering working poor. Something has to give. No one “deserves” to live in luxury while their workers starve. That mentality is why heads literally rolled in France and that time is coming again. People are sick and tired of being sick and tired while the “owners” and kings eat and live the very best on the bones and hard work of the suffering poor.

This all has a point, I promise.

Personal change comes at a price. Who we are inside must live, but it should not live at the expense of others. Happiness comes when you strive for it, choose to find it, and choose to live for it. Success isn’t about money, it’s about happiness and contentment. Being true to yourself is absolute, but it should never be gained by hurting others. The same can be said for riches, or any other “thing” we strive for. And that is where humanity has stumbled.


You cannot be happy if the people around you are miserable. If you reach riches through the suffering of others, there will be a cost much higher than you can truly pay. Enjoy your financial success, but remember to give back.

The same can be said for being yourself. Yes, we should all strive to be ourselves but not at the expense of others. If you are a jerk, and you’re happy being a jerk, then you must be prepared for others to react when you are a jerk. To whine that you are only being true to yourself doesn’t work, because you gained this contentment with yourself through the suffering of others.

It’s a pretty deep and involved concept, once you start delving into it.

I would love to be a full time artist and writer. That’s what I am, deep inside. However, I have to have a job. I have kids to support, a husband to work together with. We are a partnership, he and I. If I quit my job and become an artist, who puts food on the table? My own choices to support my “truth” will take my family apart. That isn’t okay, and it should never be encouraged.

It goes to also say that WHO you are, is not about your job, or your material worth, or what you DO or say. It’s a lot more complicated than that. WHO you are is HOW you respond to challenges. WHO do you hurt? HOW do you handle disappointment and depression? Do you lash out? Do you withdraw? Neither are acceptable. If you are a fat woman, where does the line sit between enabling an unhealthy lifestyle and loving yourself for who you are? It sits smack dab in the middle, between not hurting others and not destroying yourself.

Nothing worth striving for is easy.

I will not exchange who I am to fit in, but I will also not destroy, damage, abandon, or neglect my responsibilities, my children, my friends and family, and the who of who I am. It’s a delicate balance that I am not always perfect at, but strive to be.

Like everything in life it’s about balance.

Balance is hard.


Mythbusting Minimum Wages

Pink – Perfect (VEVO)

Perfect (Pink) Lyrics


Death by Intent


Corporate America is killing you as sure as you sit reading this. They do it and they don’t care. All that matters to these individuals is making money and getting richer. Your life, who dies, who lives, how much someone suffers, all do not make it into the consideration room. Policies and actions slated to be implemented are all kicked into motion without one real thought to who will suffer, how much, or how often. The only part they consider is: can we be sued if someone figures it out, how much money will we lose when they do, and how much money will we make until them.

Lines on a graph for profit and loss. You aren’t even in the equation.

This callous disregard is not new and in fact, its probably more cautious now than it was say, 200 years ago. Litigation has made them wary and it has made them clever. They make choices based on collateral damage and plausible deniability. You are a speck on a graph. It’s important not only to understand that fact, but to understand that to the powerful elite, the little guy has never mattered and that isn’t likely to change in the near future.

That said, you have a lot more power now than you did even 100 years ago. The mob-mind can and does make choices that will effect the bottom line, so the fact that they even weigh the cost says a great deal about how things have improved for the common man. So, while it is disheartening to face that you don’t really matter to them, you can take heart that on some level, your power to retaliate against their profits does matter to them and choices are made with that in mind. It’s a start.

The biggest way to gain control over corporations is, logically, to stop giving them your money. Well, I hate to break it to you but that’s simply not going to happen. Everything we use, buy, sell, and covet is owned by a very small group of people in this world. Choice is an illusion and through advertising and flat out deception, we have all been played.

Take a look:

who owns everything

These companies are in cahoots with each other. So in the end, you can’t really outsmart them save living off the grid and growing everything, making everything from your food to your soap and your clothes yourself. Who has time for that? Not me. So in order to gain some control over yourself and your buying choices, for your own health and benefit, what can you do? You can, for starters, stop buying processed food. Learn to cook and make your own food. It’s a huge step forward for your personal and family health and welfare. And, even better, it’s within your grasp as a way to take back some control of your life from the giant mega-corps that run our country.

One of the ways you can win is doing your research, and giving your money to local people instead of chain stores. Buy pet food from small companies that are privately owned. Buy your food from stores that are employee owned or owned by local business people. Buy online from small businesses. It’s a process and it’s largely hit or miss, but it’s a place to begin.

Another way to outsmart the corporations is to stop buying processed food. Stop buying prepackaged food. Buy from a meat locker or local grocery store (not a chain) that supplies fresh meat. Learn to cook food yourself. It’s not hard and once you are used to it, you’ll never think processed food tastes better than your own.

So how do we navigate the grocery store to find food that is good for us, without going broke? Processed food is prepackaged and portioned, low priced and easy to get. Perfect right? Well, just like the old adage, “nothing good is free” and “nothing is ever free,” comes the “nothing worth doing comes easy.” The very fact that it’s easy, pre-packaged, and cheap should tell you something – they had to cut corners to do all those things and you will pay the price in the long run.

It’s also important to buy only what you need, to avoid wasting the food you bought. Part of the reason that the myth of good, green food being more expensive is that people buy too much at once. If you only buy your fresh food for recipes, and limit snack foods and extra items you won’t use in a recipe, not only are you going to contribute to your overall health by limiting fatty/sweet snacks, but you also limit your waste.

The best way to do this is to find a recipe site you like. Most sites offer the option of changing the servings, so you can shift the amounts to only what you need. I use “AllRecipes” and there’s not really a reason, other than I feel their site works better for me. My name there is “Jazybee” and you can drop by and take a peek at some of my favorites should you be inclined.

Due to my dietary restrictions, I have to “fix” any recipe I find, but I’m an accomplished enough cook that substitutions are not difficult for me and usually end well (not always!) and if not, I learn and try again. For instance, I tried to make cheesy broccoli soup with coconut milk and it was a total fail. I couldn’t even eat it. But live and learn, a little research and I’ll try again. Cooking is like that.

Processed food are full of sugar and cheap, unhealthy oils. Now that we know that it isn’t the fat that’s necessarily bad, but the sugar too, and that sugar can cause the body to overreact or underreact to the fat and other ingredients we consume, we can make proper choices and limit what isn’t good. This is wholly in our control. Shifting away from refined sugars and sticking to “healthier” fats, we can change our consumption and get healthier.

Your health is your choice. My gram always said that, and she’s right. It was easy to blame a lot of factors but in the end, your health is your choice. I can’t fix that I have Celiac’s and I can’t fix that my immune system is likely permanently out of whack but I can fix the rest of it. I can choose what I put in my mouth. I can choose what I buy and from whom and how often. I have choices and while they may be, in reality, limited, I still have choices and I will make them as much, and as often, as I can.

One of the most difficult battles I faced was giving up sugar. I also shifted my family away from refined sugar to “raw” sugar. Eventually we’ll make a full shift away from “white” sugar entirely, but I don’t want to give them too big of a shock. Baby steps and all that. :) We are cooking with less and less sugar and consuming less and less sugar on a daily basis. We switched to lard, coconut oil, olive oil, and ghee. We limit our fried foods to once a week. We upped their raw fruit and raw vegetable intake. We increased their overall vegetable intake. We increased their water intake. All in all, the transfer has been fairly smooth and I doubt they even really noticed.

While our change in diet wasn’t initiated or encouraged by desiring weight loss, it has been an unintended consequence. Every member of my family has lost weight, on a healthy level, since our switch away from sugar. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I am seeing them snack less and make healthier choices. They still eat with gusto and everything on their plates. I am confident that as we gradually shift away from less healthy options, they will learn to eat well and healthy and never miss a beat.

Until later.


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