Monday, March 3, 2014

Miss Informed Helps Again!

I was recently asked a great question, and having promised to answer any that are posted in my blog's comment section, I am obliged to help:

To Miss Informed: please tell me why there are so many different health "ideas" out there. I am almost 83 and still do not know what is healthy for me. I hear quinoa is good and has more protein than meat, but it is a grain and grains are not supposed to be good for you because of GMO...any help you can give would be appreciated!

Ah, yes, I can see why you are perplexed by the myriad of information currently available. So allow me to condense all the experts' suggestions into a single recommendation: do not, under any circumstances, eat food. I know this sounds impossible, but it's really a lot easier than you might think. (I wouldn't know of course-- I've never tried it-- but it seems simple enough.)

Hold on, you asked why there are so many different health ideas out there, and I haven't even addressed that yet. (I guess Carolyn Hax's job is safe after all...darn.) But I think the better question would be "How can I capitalize on all these health trends?" Ah! Now I can help!

What do you like to eat? Then link it to something wonderful about you. For instance, do you love salt? Are you slender and healthy? Then start promoting The Salt Diet! Provide your own testimony about how salt has kept you thin, trim and vibrant. Once you start getting the message out, your next step is to write a cookbook. (Don't worry about having good recipes, just make sure there is a ton of salt in them.) When someone "science-y" tries to refute your claims (they are SO annoying), just increase your Salt Diet posse and send them out into cyber-space. (A.k.a. recruit family and friends to blast these "experts" in the comments section of any negative articles written.)

Proven strategies for a thinner, healthier you!
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

Okay, okay, in all seriousness, I do have a personal stance on health ideas, old and new. Here it is: If God (not man) provided it for food (and assuming you are not allergic or intolerant); eat it and enjoy. And the closer it remains to its natural state-- meaning organic, non-modified, and unprocessed-- the better. But you know what? Enjoy some naughty stuff on occasion too. It's fun.

Hey, maybe I'm good at this advice stuff after all! (But really, consider moving forward with that Salt Diet idea-- I think we might be on to something! And besides, mmmmmmmmmmmmm...salt!)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Just Ask Miss Informed

I'm trying something a little different today. I have a lot of friends who admire my wisdomness and awesome mother-like skills. I mean, a lot. So I've decided to share some of my hard-won knowledge by answering a few inquiries. You're welcome.

I've noticed that whenever I come to your house, your son's room is in pristine order. How do you get him to keep it so clean?

The state of LM's room, as we speak.
Ah, yes. I hear this one a lot. It's easy, really. First of all, encourage your child to dump their belongings all over the rest of the house-- the more rooms the better. For instance, they should throw their shoes and jacket in your bedroom, stash toys and electronics in the living room or dining room, pile schoolwork on any spare surface area they can find, and fling their dirty laundry in the bathroom. As long as none of their stuff actually remains in their room, it will never become messy. Regarding making the bed everyday...well, I don't think you can teach OCD, so you're on your own with that one.

I hear your kids aren't eating sugar for an entire year. They must have incredible discipline! What can I do to get my kids to eat less sugar?

One word: dates.

This is going to require some effort and expense. No big deal, though. Simply stop saving for retirement to increase your grocery budget, and set aside a few extra hours a day to search for (and alter) recipes that fall within your no-sugar parameters. When your kids beg you for a treat, you'll be ready to whip up a cake that nobody particularly enjoys, but cost $10 and took 2 hours to make. Time and money well spent, friends.

Our energy bill is through the roof. Any suggestions on how to keep it more manageable?

This would probably help.
Yes. Are you married? Your husband can turn the heat down during the day from 9:00am-4:00pm while you're at home and he's at work. The theory behind this strategy is that he is gone, so why would the house need adequate heating? And don't worry-- your 63 degree environment won't bother him a bit while he's at his temperature-appropriate workplace. Of course, you'll have to compensate by blasting space heaters all over the house in order to function at a human level, but I'm sure a few of them are somewhat energy efficient...maybe. At night, go ahead and have him crank it down to 55 degrees. The added benefit here is that your kids will stay in bed all night long. If they even think about getting up to pee or grab a drink, their feet will literally freeze off. Oh, and a wintry house is a great excuse to buy that new coat or sweater you've been drooling over-- you know, the one from Nordstrom that costs $200? So I'm not sure how much money you'll actually save in the end, your husband can probably answer that better than I can.

Well, I think that's enough for today! Hope I've been helpful! Feel free to comment below if you have any questions you'd like me to take a stab at sometime in the future. :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sweet Surrender

On January 1st, my kids took a bet to eschew sugar for the entire year. (Yes, I realize that eschew is not Greek for "chomp with teeth," although that would certainly make this deal easier on everyone.)

I approved their decision-- which was motivated by money, of course-- until awareness struck: I'm the cook around here. I buy the food. I make the food. I eat the food. I love sugar.

In an attempt to walk with them on their journey, however, I decided to forgo sweets for the month of January. You know, to help them navigate these uncharted waters. And it has been a challenge to satisfy our sugar cravings during what I now refer to as "The Withdrawal." (I'm told it'll take about a month before we don't feel like dying anymore.)

Tonight we had an intense need for chocolate, so I found a Paleo fudge cake recipe. I think if I'd dusted cocoa powder over a deflated balloon and gnawed on it for a while, I might have had a similar result but with much less effort and expense.

But after two weeks without sugar, the cake tasted like weeknight decadence. On a non-sugar-fast day my kids would have given me the "you're kidding, right?" glare. But tonight they asked for seconds. Desperate times....

I'm already wondering where else I can leverage this new-found psychology. ("Hey kids, we're going to go without wi-fi for an entire year, but check out this dial-up modem!") The possibilities are endless.

Friday, January 10, 2014

13 Things I Learned In 2013

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I think this family photo adequately displays lesson #11
1.     I prefer to gain weight rather than lose it. This must be true because I ended the year heavier than I started it. (2014 took care of that when it gave me its version of a New Year’s weight-loss plan called “The Diarrhea Diet.” Thank you 2014, for helping me lose 2013’s excess pounds! Should be at least a month before I put them back on again.)
2.     My dog has some sort of mutant gene that causes her to never die. Seriously, I'm sure every year will be her last, and yet…she’s still here. Shedding more stupid fur than ever. And forgetting that we feed her, then begging like a half-starved orphan puppy until we relent and feed her again, because imagined or not, the poor thing is hungry!
3.     My life can suddenly change direction without my express permission. When did this sort of disregard for my authority become okay? I think it’s high-time Life and I had a little chat about this.
4.     I’m a complete hypocrite about health. My grocery cart is one big contradiction and testifies against me every time I shop. And yet, I continue to buy my organic fruit and non-GMO corn and eat it alongside the processed lunch-meat and decidedly GMO white bread. I refuse to use food coloring, but Jelly Bellies are somehow exempt. And on and on and on.
5.     I enjoy reading my kids’ YA fiction as much or more than they do. In fact, now when I read an actual meant-for-adults book I'm irritated that I have to decipher covert symbolism, and remain confused as to whether I’m sympathetic to the complex protagonist or not. Makes my brain hurt! YA is the refined sugar of the reading world, and we all know how much I like sugar.
6.     No matter what my husband says (and you need to trust me on this one) I do not snore. He’s never been able to prove it, and I have witnesses who will corroborate my claim. It’s called “breathing heavily,” for those who’d like to know the scientific term.
7.     I don’t enjoy housework. Oh wait, I didn’t learn that in 2013—I’ve known that my entire life. Moving on….
8.     The pet store betta fish I was sure we'd be free of within a month has somehow survived the last six. Just like the wild frog that was supposed to kick the bucket when my daughter surreptitiously brought it home from a field trip. We were told, on good authority, that the creature would croak (no pun intended) within weeks of domesticity. We’re going on year 3 now. Lord, why? Why do our pets have such freakishly long lives?
9.     I can still sleep in like an adolescent. I'm not as skilled as a college student, mind you, but I give a pretty respectable teenage effort nonetheless.
10. After reading “Divergent” I decided my fear landscape would look something like driving a stick-shift in San Francisco rush hour traffic, followed by keeping a time log of my activities throughout the day, followed by being forced to wear belly-shirts, followed by eating Monsanto corn, and ending with “The Diarrhea Diet.”
11. The happiest place on earth really IS Disney World. I know this for a fact now. (Which leads to lesson 11A: This 30-something can still ride teacups like a boss!)
12. I’m strangely addicted to reading the comments at the end of internet news stories even though the human depravity reflected therein is almost enough to drive me to drink. (Why are people so mean? Why?)
13. And finally, due to homeschooling, I’ve rediscovered all sorts of elementary school knowledge that I’d forgotten long ago (probably shortly after I took the test on said information). Thus proving that there really is a lot of stuff you won’t use later in life. (But I kinda feel smart knowing it again.)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Dustin' Off

Aack! Looks like this ol' blog hasn't been used for a while-- it's pretty dusty.

What I thought was a month or two off to ponder the next phase of blogging turned into a year-plus hiatus. Oops. It's not that our crazy train has derailed, trust me. It's just that...I learned I need to change my approach when sharing about the ride. My kids are getting older, see, and more prone to embarrassment at the hands of their dear mother (who happens to lack a certain amount of discretion).

The days of posting quotes are probably gone (sigh). Not only for the fact that someday my kids will read this blog and possibly disown me, but also because most of my son's musings are no longer appropriate for public consumption. I can't go posting about his pre-teen, Aspie-direct thoughts on female anatomy now, can I? (Hilarious as they are.) Oh, you may wish I would, but you see my quandary, don't you?

A new era has dawned.

Some of you wonder what I will write about in the absence of LM quotes and other slightly inappropriate kid scenarios. Ye of little faith! I suppose you'll just have to come back and see then, won't you?

(Truth is, I haven't the faintest clue what I will post about next, but we should all pretend I have something brilliant in mind. Brilliant, I tell you!)

Until then....