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Friday, February 28, 2014

The Sweet Stuff: Dangers of Natural & Artificial Sweeteners

On the topic of health that I've been too preoccupied with but too tired to share anything about I'd like to make an informative post on sweeteners. I think people are just ignoring the most threatening thing to avoid which is basically SODA. It makes me crazy when people give it to their kids soda because if you haven't heard; cancer is the #1 cause of death in children. It used to be accidents. In life, you can do everything right and still be affected by these things, or do everything inherently wrong and not be affected. The point is not to live in fear, but to be sensible, why gamble with your family's life? I pray for a long and healthy life for my family like any mother would. So if you love your kids, please stop giving them soda. In case you didn't know before here are: Reasons you Shouldn't Drink Soda

The problem with soda isn't just the sugar content, but the chemicals used to make it. Aspartame is #1. It's found in a variety of soft drinks, yogurts, candies, fillings, puddings, etc. Pregnant women are advised against coffee and liquor, but soda is never mentioned despite the risks associated with apartame; Pregnancy & Aspartame .




Today we're finding that people are trying to keep the calorie count down in an effort to lose weight, or keep health risks down, but really this what you should think: 

So Sucralose is the same thing as Splenda, and recently I realized it was in my greek yogurt! It's like is there anything not tainted anymore? I stick to whole foods, natural things that don't come from a package as much as possible. Greek yogurt is actually good for you but only when it's organic and sweetened with regular sugar, because you can't trust any of the sweeteners these days.


I was watching the Dr. Oz show, and he previously endorsed that Agave syrup/nectar is good for you. Today however, he recanted that statement after bringing in an expert on sugars. Apparently all these different sugars both natural and chemical cause insulin resistance. Agave is now shown to raise triglycerides, increases belly-fat that surrounds organs and  ultimately raises chances for heart disease.

The Bottom-line? 

  • ALL sugar is just bad for you. Fruits are the only tricky exception. See link below on how fruits stack. 
  • Artificial sugars like splenda, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup and natural agave might be the absolute worst for you long term. 
  • Sugar causes insulin resistance 
  • Sugar suppresses the immune system by 40% 
  • Sugar causes inflammation and acidity in the body which equates to disease and cancers. 
  • If you're really going to choose the lesser of all evils just stick to Stevia, such as Sweet Leaf drops (I just learned about this product from a gastric bypass patient, will update you when I know more), or Raw Honey. Maple syrup might be expensive, but it's better than using Aunt Jemima on your pancakes.
  • Grams of Sugar on Nutrition facts ÷ 4 = # of teaspoons of sugar in product. Take a sandwich bag and dump that many teaspoons of sugar in to see how ridiculous it is. 
  • One can of soda equates to just about 12 teaspoons of sugar.
DAILY RULE: Before purchasing an item or putting it in your mouth, ask yourself; Did we have this product or consume this product before the industrial revolution? What did we eat before grocery stores? You'll realize that people ate grass-fed meat, home made churned butter, lard, whole milk from cows they raised themselves, bread they made at home from scratch, and non-gmo crops they farmed themselves.

Sources:









http://www.clickorlando.com/lifestyle/health/Consumer-Reports-Caramel-coloring-danger/-/1636830/24071896/-/ldhhhsz/-/index.html

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/sugars-transported-liver-convert-glucose-2090.html

How Fruits Stack

Monday, February 24, 2014

Braggers of Materialism

If you know me very well you'll know that I'm not into brands, yet I'm a flashy girl who likes nice things like the average person. Who doesn't want to look good? Now for most people that doesn't make sense so let me break it down for you; I wouldn't buy "red-bottom" shoes because they're "Louboutins" but I would buy them because my favorite color is red, and I fell in love with them at first sight not knowing who made them when I found them at some clearance sale for $40 with my coupon. If you're still not clear about what being materialistic is and how I feel about it, let me do this in a Q&A form:

Q: What is materialism?
A: məˈti(ə)rēəˌlizəm/ noun 1. a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.

Q: Michelle, you say you're not a materialistic person then why do you like fancy things, such as cars, homes, and clothing?
A: Being materialistic has nothing to do with your likes/preferences/tastes for things and has everything to do with the attitude that you live to acquire and only accept the things are expensive, luxurious, and/or popular. As stated in the definition, being materialistic would cause you to not be comfortable with living within your means, and not furthering one's self spiritually. The sole quest would be to further yourself materially. I like nice things but only for a bargain price. For my $600, a purse or shoe should have my name on it in real gold, not the name of some narcissistic idiot who thought they could take over the world with it. Just saying.

Q: Michelle, didn't you say you made a wish-list for your husband for holidays and anniversaries?
A: Yes, I did, because my husband needs help in getting an idea of what to buy me. I'm not extreme or particular. It's the thought that counts, so why not make it easier for him when he's got a demanding job and we have a lot going on at home. It's better than not celebrating an anniversary at all. I have simple items on the wishlist such as scented candles, chocolates, books, and makeup. Higher end things I have on there are like gold hoop earrings because why not if it's a gift?

With that being said, you will never catch me with jeans on that cost over $100 that look like I got them at the thrift store and yes I know about quality because you better look like a G if you spent a G on an outfit. Raise your standards without raising the price.

I feel that success is no longer measured in whether you are happy at the end of the day. Success is no longer about whether or not you've reached your goals. Happiness is no longer measured by a smile on your face, a content heart,  and overwhelming gratitude that you feel blessed to be alive. Individuals today are now measuring their happiness by: How many things did I acquire? How many people did I impress? Who has a bigger/better __________ than me?

Are we striving to better ourselves or are we striving because we need to look successful? While it's a rat-race for everyone to keep up with one another, it's also a disgusting charade on social media of people boasting about what they have and making up lies about the things they don't have. Take these rappers for instance, I was pretty surprised by it:


Published yesterday via Mark Dice on ThisIs50.com 


What irks me the most is the fact that we're breeding the most aggressive people in today's consumer economy; KIDS!
So you're talking about buying and doing xyz and you don't have some of the most necessary and basic things for your kids? Really? 
Everything on earth is part of a material world, a temporary prison in which we come back through the laws of karma. If we raise our consciousness and remain humble when we triumph over adversity maybe we have a chance at some real happiness even if it is temporary.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

4 Rules for Re-Defining "Normal" in Motherhood

Before I became a mom, I said I would zip my ass back into shape in 6 months, I would give birth without any drugs, I would breastfeed for over a year, I wouldn't yell, I would just talk to my kids, I wouldn't let my kids eat this or that, etc. We're all blissfully ignorant until life is happening and we're losing control right before our eyes. Nobody knows what their experience will be like, our judgments are shaped by those experiences. Sometimes it's not other people who take you down that road, but you and your expectations of yourself. I have a two and an almost five yr. old and I'm no where near where I used to be. Today it hit me after seeing a video that I might never really reach my very realistic idea of perfection, even though someone out there is out there showing and telling the world it can be done because they did it. All you know is that you've been unable to do it. 

Too much is happening daily. Responsibilities get bigger, lifestyle changes become harder to manage, marriage becomes tougher as there is more adaptations to be made, and kids keep sucking the life out of you daily. If you pay attention and make an effort, sex becomes hotter, and you become happier and grow wiser. Valentine's Day just passed last Friday, and I was stressing the fact that it wasn't going to be special if we took the brats with us to the restaurant that we wanted to go to so badly. Instead I calmed the fuck down and told myself this is temporary; find another way to make the night special. By the way I have vent how I hate when stupid people on FB go on posting "why do we need a day to show people we love them, how you should love them and treat them daily". Every year it's always that one dumb person saying that, it never fails. I just want to say; hey you there, maybe when you grow up one day and pull your head outta your ass, you'll realize that; regardless of how much effort you put in daily if there's any time left between working and a blood sucking family, it's just not the same. Maybe then you will realize we need these wonderful holidays to pull out all the stops, to actually dedicate a day to be blissfully, tooth rotting sweet, romantic and special. That's my new definition of "normal". My husband and I dedicate the weekends to quality family time but Monday-Fri is a grind, we barely get to cuddle, or share anything heartfelt. Valentine's Day for me is the day to stop and admire my girls in the pretty dresses I dress them up in and take pics of every year. It was the day for me to forget about being fat and get dressed up and sexy-ed up to enjoy a scrumptious meal I prepared and the treats he brought home for us the indulge in while the smell of scented candles took over our home. 
Our smallest even though she's only two years old is the ultimate cockblock. It doesn't matter what time it is day or night, this child will wake up and cry when you're trying to get your freak on. So Valentine's night is also great holiday to have to dedicate for a night of pleasure. You can tire them out all day in hopes for a deeper slumber.

Normal used to be a peaceful night out to dinner and sex. Now normal might mean dragging your children with you and  the possibility of them ruining the evening because you had to squeeze fingers in public, and yell in the car ride there and back. If you're a first time mom or a mom trying to find yourself in all this effort of trying to get back to normal, I have 4 ground rules for re-defining normal. If you have a lot of outside help (ie; sitters, family members nearby) keep moving you probably can't relate because you're not on our level. Sorry, but you can take your hand off the heat when it gets too hot.  
  1. Reinvent yourself- Accept what is, change what's unbearable. Find the new you as if you're now a blank slate, like a brand new computer with different specs, or even think of it like upgrading software. Thought it was hard being in a relationship and losing your identity? Individuality is even harder to maintain with kids, but finding more to life than being called mom helps.
  2. Make time for yourself- Nights up, a few hours here and there, have dad take them out, or you go shopping and leave them home. I once hid in the pantry to eat a snack to get a break. 
  3. Never stop doing the things you love- Personally, I love dressing up, doing my nails, my hair, reading, staying up, listening and singing to ridiculous songs, dancing, and watching my shows. I talked to a friend who said she finds herself depressed sometimes and told her to get Spotify so we can share this music we used to listen to, and she said she's "too old" to listen to ______ music. You're never too old for anything that makes you feel vibrant. REMEMBER THAT
  4. Forgive yourself-you're trying to do the best you can and making mistakes sometimes. When you fall short, you feel horrible and it's okay. I say this because I learned to do this only today after I had my own melt-down, which was neither the first nor the last. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My First Encounter with a Pecker

I read an article that had this picture on the site and it instantly took me back to a childhood memory. It was highly exciting to me as it was to me when I was in 2nd grade. The first time I had seen a real mature adult penis was in a newspaper looking for a story for my current events homework. There it was; in all it's male, flaccid, burly and long but circumcised glory. I was so curious about the male form and wanted to share it with my friends so I cut it out and took it to school the next day. An older girl who lived next door overheard me showing it to my friends that day and that same afternoon she told my mom. Needless to say I never saw a dick again until JHS and if I did I sure as hell wasn't going to share it with anyone. Since then, I always assumed they all looked the same.

As I was walking on the treadmill the other day, I watched one of my favorite shows "Sex in the City". Two of my really close friends and I always watched the show since High School, and while it's been 10 years since; we're still the crazy girls we were, always talking about life, clothes, boys, and sex. I've always identified with Charlotte and Samantha from the show. In this particular episode, Charlotte dates a man who's uncircumcised and she's completely weird-ed out. Her reaction to all the skin was too obvious to take back and the guy ended up going and getting circumcised for her before their first sexual encounter. I can imagine reacting the same way. I think I've always found the penis to be highly erotic until I found out about uncircumcised penises. In my mind they're supposed to be the way they are in porn. They're supposed to be all muscular, pure man, veiny, with a big beautiful pink mushroom top, long, and thick, clean looking, and that extra ridge...ohh my...Okay calm down Michelle, let's not get too carried away...

When I found out about uncircumcised penises for the first time, I eventually looked it up online. I was honestly turned off. However 85% of men in the world is Au natural...While I really didn't care to publicly go into detail with how much penis interaction I've had or have not; I'm an open book so I will just go ahead and say that I've only been fully intimate with my husband and I can't imagine all that extra skin.

Then I looked up what were people's preferences and it's split down the middle to a 50/50. 50% of women preferred no skin, and 50% preferred skin. I don't know what skin is like and I don't think I want to know. One of my friends told me how her boyfriend had a stench to it, that alone made me feel like tossing my cookies because I'm big on smells. So the way I see it is this; if it's cleaner, it's better, if it's got that amplified ridge, it's better, if it's less sensitive which means lasting longer than 20 mins than those with skin, it's better, if it's associated with less risks for STDs, it's better. However because my opinion is biased since it's pretty much aesthetically and experience basedIf I had a son, I'd probably make the decision based on hard research. The fact that skin is the way God intended it also makes me wonder. Hope to hear from you all on this topic. In the meantime check out this video, it's so fitting for this post. I couldn't help myself, lol. We're really not all that innocent!




Check out the debate:
http://www.debate.org/opinions/do-females-prefer-males-who-have-circumcised-penises

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chicken & Spinach Pita Pizza Recipe

Hey guys, I know I've been slacking with the recipes and health posts. I will share some more very soon. For tonight here's a very fast recipe idea. It nets about 450 calories, 46g protein, 33g carbs, 14g fat and 6g fiber. It's fast if you cook a bunch of chicken breasts ahead of time, healthy, delicious and very filling. What's more is my older daughter loves it!


Chicken & Spinach Pita Pizza Recipe 

Ingredients:

1 whole wheat pita or other flatbread
3/4 cup cubed chicken breasts (cooked/preferably grilled) 
3 tbs. marinara sauce
baby spinach or frozen spinach thawed
cooked mushrooms (optional) 
1/4 cup mozzarrella cheese or feta cheese

Steps: 


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spread marinara sauce over the pita. Top with spinach, chicken, cheese.
  3. Season as desired with salt, pepper, oregano etc. 
  4. Bake for 6-10 mins, depending on your oven and desired crust preferences. I love marinara so I add an extra tbs and cook for 9 mins. 
Enjoy!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

My First Garden

If you know me very well, you know I'm a person of my word. I don't talk, I take action. I'm proud of myself as I started my garden like I said I was interested in doing for this years' resolutions. It felt great to be outdoors, doing my own thing. It feels empowering to take the first steps into taking back the food system for the purpose of greater sustainability. If you want to feed your family gmo-free, this is the best thing you can do.

I started some things by seeds because I'm just one of those people who would rather not take the shortcut. I like the idea of starting something from scratch. Since we've stopped buying orange juice, we rely heavily on actual oranges, and why shouldn't we? We live in Florida right? So I decided to use the seeds from a super sweet non-GMO batch of oranges. I love it soo much. I learned that you have to germinate the seeds. I did it like a science experiment we did in elementary school. It was a learning experience for the girls as we put them in a bag wrapped in damp paper towel and waited for them to sprout. I'm learning about all this and so far, so good. The plants I started so far are: Banana, Oranges, Avocado, Basil, Cilantro.I planted them in small pots since the weather has been crazy. I will re-plant them into the ground when they're bigger and sturdier.

Orange seed germination:



Still waiting for the avocado seed to sprout:




The banana plant burned from our recent low temps so I replanted it into a pot. The sprouts of the oranges I planted into the pot to the far right. Hopefully I'll have progress pics in a few weeks.




If you know anything about gardening, please feel free to share any insight you think I might need in the comment box below. I have to get veggies started next, and hopefully I can re-grow some things from the chart above. The most important thing is take action and have fun doing it!







It takes more than just a good looking body. You've got to have the heart and soul to go with it. -Epictetus 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Ironies of LOVE

This is one of my new favorite songs along with Drunk in Love by Queen Bey. This video premiered 2 days ago! I <3 Shakira, not so much Rihanna but she's definitely moving up in my list of favorites.



I love my jams. I love songs I can dance to, sing along to and feel I can relate to. It kinda makes me reminisce though. Is nostalgia ever truly a bad thing? I miss the way certain people used to make me feel. Even if it was pain, they were still experiences and feelings that rocked my world, a story of feeling alive. They say some people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Each of them to serve a purpose in your journey. There are people you let go and make peace with never seeing again, but then they come back. What do you do? They're not causing any physical, emotional, or mental harm. You're not morally conflicted either, so you let them come back in the form of vague online interactions. What's the reason for coming back? Who even knows?


 

Whatever the cause, I take it for what it is, and how it makes me feel. Nothing more, nothing less. I like the way I feel. It puts things in perspective. I appreciate the people who've resurfaced because like the song says; "I can't remember to forget you". The past remains the past but those memories will always be fresh. They were mere fleeting emotional rides I went on when they were in my life. Instability, rebellion, rage, and a yearning for love and  freedom encompassed my young life, a bunch of mixed emotions I don't know how to put into words. I read this quote today and it totally resonated with me. The quote was:

Love, love, love. It’s the reason we get married and divorced, buy homes we can’t afford, have children we don’t know how to raise. Love is infatuation. Love doesn’t exist. Attraction exists, friendship exists. ~ Dr. Willard Evans



Could this be true? When I think about being with someone I think of the companionship and the intimacy. If that person is giving me all their attention, and I can share things and have that deep connection with them, then my needs are being met. At the end of the day all that still translates to is the need for a good, hot friend and a really good fuck. The quote is true. Love is infatuation, love will make you happy, make you sad, make you crazy, make you do things you never thought you would do, love will change your life, love will destroy you. Choose love anyway because in the end, you would willingly die for the very thing killing you... Just because it makes you feel alive and that's irony. I wouldn't have it any other way. Occasional brushes with danger keep reminding me.