Monday, January 18, 2016

I deserted the Food Babe Army. Maybe you should too.

Once the twins began eating solid food you could say I went a little overboard.  Ok.  More like so far overboard the boat was gone.  I wanted them to eat decently, as in real food and not a bunch of packaged crap.  Plus I needed to lose baby weight.  Twinsane Asylum indeed.

I started looking for meal plans that contained real foods.  (Think outer perimeter of the grocery store.)  And that was all fine and good.  I found the blog 100 Days of Real Food which had some great meal plans and some workable strategies to eat a little better and to encourage your kids to eat more whole foods instead of filler.  Though her less expensive meal plan option was unrealistic, I found ways to eat better foods and really enjoy her recipes.

All was right with the world.  Until I started worrying about the food dyes, the HFCS, and the synthetic 'toxins'.  That is where the Food Babe came in.  Vani Hari is a self proclaimed food activist who 'investigates' ingredients in certain foods and then calls out the major companies with products containing the offending items.  Man, did I buy in to the fear.  Because if you know me or have read this blog you know my pregnancy was traumatic.  The twins were preemies, one came home on oxygen, and we worried about milestones or if they would ever catch up to their same age peers.  Needless to say I was frazzled and scared and that made me emotionally vulnerable.

As a teacher I see the copious amounts of crap that my students consume on a daily basis thinking it is nourishment.  In an effort to teach my boys the importance of food as it relates to providing fuel and nourishment to their bodies, I let simple fear consume me and Vani ran with it.

At first I fully supported things like asking Kraft to get rid of food dye in the products marketed to kids.  After all they were just there for neon orange color, not flavor.  And you know... 'research' which usually involved websites that agreed with my POV.  Get some of the crap out and make an improvement.  I will sadly admit I posted some obnoxious nonsense on their FB page along with the rest of the Army.  (Really sorry about that Kraft)

There was some satisfaction in this of course and I eagerly awaited to see what Vani would check out next.  I liked her natural product recommendations for health and beauty products and I thought she was making a legitimate difference.  That I was taking my health under control.

Not terribly long into this world, where I got more and more fearful of food.  ( I am still not ok with the months of October through April revolving around candy and parents giving said candy to kids that aren't their own- because raising kids isn't hard enough without extra sugar).  Monsanto was the devil, all food needed to be organic, big food was out to poison us, Bad GMO's BAD.  I imagine I was real fun at parties.

But even as I was reading labels and upending our pantry, Vani started to bother me.  Because she really didn't seem to understand being on a budget.  Or have any real suggestions for the 'every man' other than the smug "it is better to pay for it now than medical bills in the future' that she and her followers spew out.  It was starting to bother me that not only was everything a pitch to one of her affiliates but she really went off the rails of the crazy train over products she wouldn't deign to consume anyway.

She demonized non organic wine- my husband works in the wine industry so I knew her claims here were wrong and alarmist.  She made over dramatic posts about how she almost choked when she saw her husband drinking *gasp* bottled tonic water.  It seemed to get worse in a short period of time.  Everything was poison, everything was trying to kill us, conventional grocery stores were SCARY.  She was on elaborate vacations what seemed like weekly.

Then she attacked Newcastle. (I would link but don't want her page to get anymore traffic ;))

Don't mess with my beer.  My care factor on it being colored with caramel coloring was exactly zero.  Everyone knows drinking too much is not good for you caramel coloring or not.  So why was this woman pitching a fit over beer that she didn't drink anyway?

I unfollowed her on Facebook after that.  I simply could not handle being that scared over food all of the time.  Sure I continued to make better and reasonable food choices- I made lunch for the boys instead of them eating school lunch, I tried to avoid candy as a reward and excess sugar. It made life easier.  My kids were happy and healthy and I wasn't freaked out worrying if I was inadvertently poisoning my kids.

Plus I started to take the advice I gave to  my students in Environmental Science- Question everything.  Ask for studies, ask what is the motivation/goal of the person I am watching/reading/following, and Consider the source.  As I really dug deeper into the science (the real science not the faux science a la Natural News) I realized that I had been duped.  I joined the FB group Banned by Food Babe where they humored my questions and pointed me to actual research, scientists, and farmers.  Questions were ok, disagreement was ok, and science once again regained its spot in my brain.

What I love about science is that it can change based on new evidence.  Right now, science is not on the side of the Food Babe.  Does that mean research shouldn't look into some of these claims? Of course not.  It means you keep exploring all options and change if the evidence supports it, but don't demonize what the the research DOES support.

Vani does not like opposition or anything that questions her so called expertise.  She plays the victim even as she sends her Army to attack another company and cries Shill and Troll when people question her tactics or lack of evidence. She bans people on Social Media for simple questions (and yes outright calling her out) but acts offended when the companies she harasses does the same. She calls all dissenters part of a PR spin machine even as the hashtag #IWasBannedByFoodBabe trended on Twitter.  (I am on the hashtag and am in fact a real person despite Hari's claims)

She associates with pseudo-intellects like Nassim Taleb who likes to call people that disagree with him the R-word.

 Hypocritically, she cries TOXIN about ingredients and then posts affiliate links to products that contain the same ingredients- I guess it is ok if she gets paid to promote it.  She has no scientific knowledge, contradicts herself, and yet somehow is considered an 'expert' in her field.  She bullies actual scientists and companies but cries crocodile tears when she is criticized or questioned.   Interestingly though, it is mostly her army of minions that attack companies on their actual social media accounts while the Food Babe sits back and watches.  Heaven forbid she get her hands dirty, but she will declare victory for herself and her narcissistically named Army so she can say she 'consulted' with the company.

Moms.  We are in this together and being a mom is scary.  But I am tired of living in fear.  It isn't good for me, isn't good for my kids, and is quite frankly, exhausting.  If you don't want to eat certain things, don't.  But don't let yourself be manipulated by a woman that only cares about making money off your fears.

Time to say ENOUGH to the Fear Babe

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reboot of Sorts

Happy New Years Eve!  I hope you are here, that you join, that you stay and prod me to keep up!

Obligatory Resolution post of course :)

Except I hate those things.  Well...not really hate so much as find them problematic.  So here are some hopes I have for the new year.

Blog more- Under the ideas of "Pray, Play, Makeup, Hooray!  Come What May!"

        What does it mean?  Pray- anything prayer related, God related, worship related, praise related.

Come Join me on Facebook-  TwinSane Asylum

  • Play- Mostly twin antics :)

  • Makeup- I am cosmetically challenged but am learning.  Join the goofy journey with me (full disclosure, I am a Younique presenter and will lovingly refer to my products as well as anything else my product gypsy heart finds)

  • Hooray!  Praises, laughter, fun, kind of a hodgepdge

  • Come What May- Again, a hodgepodge- concerns, hopes, problems, support.
Be Grateful More
Workout More to keep up with these crazy kids
Play More
Eat better
Serve More
Love More
Give More

Follow Him More

What are your hopes this year?  How can I Pray for you?  Welcome back :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

I am 40 and My Give a Da$# is Broken

I may be late to the plethora of "This is 40" posts, but I have to say I have enjoyed reading many of them.  40 is a funny number.  In your twenties you kind of dread the big 3-0 and then as you get closer to it realize it isn't that big a deal.  But that 40 looms in the distance and that one is scary.

Because it is the end of that threshold.  You HAVE to be a responsible adult.  You have more years behind you than you may have ahead of you.  And people really start scrutinizing what you wear and do.(She is old enough to know better!)

I realized that as I drew closer to 40 that none of it mattered.  I had spent so much of my twenties and thirties worrying about what others thought and how I was being perceived or judged, that I rarely allowed myself to be "me".    And the more I thought about it, the more I stopped giving a damn.

I don't give a damn if you don't like what I think.  That is why it is called my opinion.  It is ok for you to disagree with me, ok to have a dialogue with me so long as it is respectful, but I really don't care if you don't like it.

I don't give a damn if you don't like what I say (unless it would harmful to another person in which case, I get you).  When I moved to Texas 18 years ago I quickly learned that my frank and blunt outlook on things was considered rude.  Much better to smile and nod and talk about your disagreements behind the other person's back.  I like to call that the "Bless your heart" approach.  As a people pleaser, I have had to work really hard to follow this one.  And I am done caring about it.  I certainly won't let the "You're an idiot" slip out but if I think you are wrong, I am not going to be afraid to say so.  So..beware ;)

I don't give a damn with how I am perceived (for the most part).  The truth is I am a socially awkward fairly nerdy but talkative introvert and as a result I don't fit nicely into most circles.  This character trait did not serve me well as a teenager in that vast jungle of wanting to be like everyone else.  I spent a long time trying to go along with the herd and have found in recent years, that I am much happier just being the person I am. Quirks and all.

So yeah.  I am 40, and I just don't give a damn.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Why I didn't like the Superbowl Coke Commercial (It isn't what you think!)

Apparently there is a giant uproar over the Coke Commercial featuring the song "America the Beautiful".  And while I have no desire to wade waist deep into those shenanigans, I will admit my particular discomfort with above mentioned commercial.

Deep breath.

Confession:  I need continuity, symmetry, and sameness.  Our society jokingly refers to a bunch of traits as OCD, but I am working on not doing that.  Because people that actually suffer from OCD face a debilitating problem and I don't want to make light of their issues.

But I do have some routines, needs, and quirks.  Like Sheldon Cooper's need to knock on Penny's door 3 times with a specific knock pattern?  I get that.  Especially if it gets interrupted. If I see someone with a tag sticking out of the top of their shirt it actually bothers me.  I cannot focus on anything other than that tag-which usually prompts me to tell an absolute stranger that their tag is out and make me deal with a different kind anxiety.

So back to the commercial.  The switching to a variety of languages did not offend my sensibility of English or Americanism, but it DID mess with my need of continuity.

Seriously, Coke.  I listen to twin four year olds that chatter about different subjects at the exact same time such that my brain cannot process the activity I am trying to complete.  Why, why, why, would you break up a song into a cacophony of sounds without continuity?  I don't care what language you use, just please use one and keep it constant!  (Actually producing the commercial in its entirety in each language would be a kind of cool comment on our country's diversity.)

When lyrics to a song switch into different languages, each with their own cadence and flow, it MESSES with my poor befuddled mommy brain and I can't process it.  Mostly because I have small people that don't understand Mommy's need for brain processing time and the simple ritual of watching overpriced commercials is normally enjoyable for me.  A simple thought decompression time, if you will.

And darn you Coke, you ruined it!  I appreciate you making a broad social commentary, but please don't forget the fatigue ridden moms with quirky issues.  We need caffeine in the form of Diet Coke, too. ;)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I don't care how you parent


The mommy wars things makes me batty. If our own parents and society have taught us anything it is that there is not one correct way to parent.  All parents are imperfect and MOST are doing their best to raise their kids to be loving, caring, productive adults.

I Loved this photo gallery: Differing Parenting Styles
And it made me think about my own group of friends and family.  We all parent differently.  Some are more disciplinarian while others are more hands off.  Some are particular about foods, chemicals, breast feeding, formula feeding, circumcision, natural child birth, spanking, crying it out, attachment parenting, traditional parenting...The list is endless and you know what?  All of the kids seem to be turning out just fine.

And most importantly- the kids know they are loved by their parents. They know their parents will support them and care for them.

The photo gallery also made me think that some of the fault lies in our own harmless intentions.  I have issues with processed food-it is one of the battles I pick.  As a result, my Facebook page may have many references to 'real' food and how I think processed food is the devil (no lie).   I do that because it interests me and I am passionate about it.  But in this social media world I can see how easily someone might think that my posting an article about the dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup indicates that I think THEY are a bad parent if they feed their kids products with HFCS.  (I don't.)

Because when we are reading from behind the screen we take things more personally-even generalized observations. I can think of a few times when I was guilty of taking something too personally based on a FB post.

So, for one thing...we have to stop being so sensitive as a whole and agree to disagree.  We also need to post carefully-not to be politically correct but to remember that our online words matter too. We are each unique creations who parent the way we think is correct.  We will make mistakes and we will learn from them.

I believe that if you are raising a child to be caring, sympathetic, respectful, thoughtful, aware, loving, and (insert positive adjective here) you are doing a great job.  You love your child and you are doing the best you can do.

Take a deep breath moms and dads.  You are doing ok.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Dead Dads Club

17 years ago today, my dad lost a very brief fight with cancer. So brief, that as a 21 year old, it had taken me 4 weeks to adjust to his diagnosis. And he was gone. No epic battles, no long bouts of suffering, none of the lengthy horrors you dream about. Horrors many friends have had to endure in their battles since.

 And I was grateful. Grateful that God answered a simple prayer. "If you are going to take him anyway, do it sooner. Don't make him suffer." That gratefulness didn't change my grief. Not then and not now 17 years later.

 Because contrary to the phrase, you never "get over it." You adjust. You adapt to the circumstances which become your new normal. But you never get over it.

 Sure. I am not in a fog of tears, grief, and frustration. I am not so exhausted and overwhelmed that my mother, aunt and I laughed and cried hysterically trying to craft a Eulogy in "Klingon". (Long story) There are no priests, no funerals, no cards. On this day of the year, it is always a bit darker in my world.

But it isn't just this day. There are little things, little moments. Like when I hear the song "They Don't Know" by Tracey Ullman. Because my dad was an avid music fan. His genre of choice was 50's and 60's music, but thanks to a full on 80's child he was fairly well versed in my own brand of music awesome. But that song he loved. It really reminded him of the music he grew up with. I hear it and I want to call him and tell him it made me smile to think of him. And I remember. There is no phone that can span this distance.

 Or college basketball. My dad was a huge UNC fan and I was a huge Duke fan. The yearly meet-ups of those two teams was an event attended eagerly by dad and I every year. My mom usually made herself scarce as it got pretty heated and dramatic in our living room. My dad and I didn't have a great relationship during my teenage years (I was a turd) but this was 'our thing.' Even now I can't stand to watch it. Though my husband has become a Duke fan himself and would love to watch a great rivalry in action, it is no fun to watch the game without having my dad there.

 Firetrucks. My dad was a firefighter. It was his passion to help others and as a fireman he was able to do so. He loved it so much he worked a paid firefighting job in a city and volunteered as a firefighter in our smaller suburb until he got injured and was unable to continue working as a firefighter. The boys are at the right age where they are fascinated with fire trucks. Any time we pass a station they shout and point at the trucks. Today one of the trucks had its lights on and they talked about it all day. My dad would be in his glory if he were here. The boys room would look like a fire truck threw up in it. And he would be laughing and playing right along with them. 

My dad could talk to anyone about anything. He would find a topic if need be. He loved sitting and talking with people where they were. I tell my husband he and my dad would have had a great deal to talk about.

 He was caring, kind, generous, and genuine. The kind of guy that would let you borrow anything, would save an injured cardinal from the road, and would sit and play board games with his family.

 And I will never get over missing him. Wishing he could hold his grandsons. Or give me a hug.

 There was a scene in the TV show "Grey's Anatomy" where the dad of one of the interns dies. Christina (the rigid, left brained, stone faced one) found her grieving friend and told him about the club they were both a part of. One you can't join until you are in it. The Dead Dads club.

 It is true. Not just for dads but all loss. Parents, spouses, friends, family. You can't possibly understand until you are there. But you really hope no one ever has to join the club.

 I miss you Dad. Today and Every day. God willing we will meet again. I love you.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Boys will be Boys and the Preschooler Mom

It started as a regular summer morning.  The dudes and I had breakfast, piled into the car, and made it to swim lessons a few minutes early.  Really that should have been my warning that something would not go right.

While getting E-dude's shoes off, G-Man was climbing on the lounge chair behind me.  Suddenly, a screaming cry.  Little G-Man had done a face plant into the concrete.  Sigh.

I picked him up, held him tightly, and fished out some wipes to clean up the blood on his lip.  And he kept crying.  And bleeding.  It took me a few minutes to register that he had not simply cut his lip...he cut his gums.

Above his big tooth-big gash.  (Gross picture at end of post)

And it was bleeding all over the place.  Good grief do mouth injuries bleed.  Little man missed swim as we tried to stop the bleeding-which took a little while but thankfully stopped.  Teeth still in place and no wiggling.

We got home, had some popsicles and I got a good look at his mouth.  And like any mom...panicked.  I took pictures, called his pediatrician, and a pediatric dentist.  Based on my description, the pediatrician said we could bring him in or wait to see if it improved.  They assured me gum injuries healed quickly and just to watch to make sure it was healing.  I wasn't assured.

The very kind assistant at the dentist said something similar but welcomed me to send her a picture so she could let me know if the dentist felt he should be seen.  

I could mention that G-Man was in great spirits and taking full advantage of the popsicle angle.  Other than his mouth hurting, he didn't seem to be bothered.

The dentist felt that as long as the tooth wasn't loose and G-Man wasn't complaining, to just let it heal and keep an eye on it.  

That finally made me feel better.  At least for the moment.  Because we all know that this is the easy stuff.  All parents of older boys give me that look and say "just get used to it."  But...does anyone really get used to it?